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posted by Julie Turner Jan 30,2013 @ 08:36AM

Finding Possibility

When I was young, my father worked in purchasing for a global manufacturer. Decades later, I still feel the excitement of going to the annual Saturday afternoon family day at the plant. It wasn’t just for the softball and barbecue sandwiches. They’d pull back the curtain on the inner workings of something so huge my ten-year-old brain could barely comprehend it. It was a chance to peer past the color-coded lines on the floor to see raw materials, machinery, products and processes up close. To learn how a pile of very interesting things united and became something altogether different.

Those childhood glimpses of where people worked and what they did were so thrilling to me. They helped me understand not only how my father earned a living, but also how the things of our world come to be. Later, when I had manufacturing clients of my own, I scratched and scribbled throughout the requisite kickoff tour. While others barely mustered interest, my heart raced with the opportunity of being so deep inside an organization. For whatever time I was allotted, I questioned, peered and learned. I wanted to leave with a deep understanding of how every facet of this new place worked and, more important, why it mattered.

Each time I get to know a new client or industry, I feel so lucky. I look with excited, inquisitive eyes no matter what they do. I’m certainly no scientist or engineer. I’ve simply come to realize complexity isn’t scary or boring — it’s a million small opportunities to grow smarter. If I ever find myself feeling a little lost or overwhelmed by pounds of new information to digest, I look down and remember the color-coded lines that zig-zag across a factory floor.

Those lines aren’t just a safety zone; they’re a path. The path can lead you backward to a comfort zone of simple things that are known. Things you can understand by expending little-to-no brainpower. But the path has another other direction. It may feel scary. Unknown. In all that uncomfortable uncertainty lies an expanse of breathtaking possibility.

What’s ahead may seem way-over-your-head complicated. But it really isn’t if you just follow the lines. They will take you to interesting places, if you’re willing to go.

posted by Kevin Smith Jan 29,2013 @ 10:02AM

The Power of Thank You

Moe’s Southwest Grill recently opened its seventh location in Columbia, donating the first day’s sales to local charity Epworth Children’s Home. This charitable spirit really permeates the brand.

Moe’s president, Paul Damico, appeared on Undercover Boss, visiting Columbia and demonstrating the compassion that is the core of the brand. Moe’s Columbia, together with the local CBS affiliate, WLTX, invited some of its best customers and biggest fans to a private screening.

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Nothing beats having a relationship with your customer base, and Moe’s has done an amazing job building one using charitable giving and sponsorships. It's proof that giving back pays off—and that includes saying thank you to your customer every chance you get.

posted by Apprentices Jan 25,2013 @ 02:30AM

On dream concerts.

What would your dream concert be?


Kevin Smith
Crowded House
- Venue: Outdoor park
- Weather: 70 degrees and sunny
- Me: With friends, under a shade tree, picnic blanket, wine

Julie Turner
An acoustic Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett show in a field on a Texas cattle ranch.

Kevin Archie
1. Sufjan Stevens at the Palmetto Compress Warehouse (after I have it converted to a restaurant/bar/music venue).
2. Fleet Foxes around a campfire in a wooded clearing next to a creek at dusk.
3. This.

Will Weatherly
Whiskeytown, Allman Brothers, Stevie Nicks, Rouge Wave…this is impossible. I'm waking up now, thank you.

Ryon Edwards
Simon & Garfunkel with First Aid Kit and a surprise visit by the Clash and David Bowie. Whoaa!

Cathy Monetti
Festival. Outside.
I wouldn't survive it, but here goes:

Shawn Colvin (open)
Jeffery Foucault (set 2)
Emmylou Harris (set 3)
Patti Griffin (set 4)
Bonnie Raitt (set 5)
Sheryl Crow (set 6)
Sting (set 7)

+various and sundry combos of the above, as they come and go.

posted by Cathy Monetti Jan 23,2013 @ 07:08AM

a fine place to start.

Source: ffffound.com via Jeannie on Pinterest

How often do you find yourself making this very statement?

It's a fine place to start. But it doesn't have to also be the place you end.

That's what makes our work so fun, you see. As marketers, we start by whittling away all the layers until we get down to the heart of it, the truth of the matter before us. We strip strip strip away, seeing the things our clients can't see because they are there in the middle of it.

We push and scrape, diving deeper and deeper until we get there.

The is of it is what it is.

It's hard work. Sometimes, it's scary. But when you reach the is, your reward is a wildly fantastic view of possibility. Unfettered and immense and true.

That possibility is the passion that drives us. That's what socially conscious marketing is all about.

posted by Ryon Edwards Jan 21,2013 @ 05:06AM

New Work: Goodwill Industries of the Upstate/Midlands South Carolina website

We recently redesigned www.goodwillsc.org for our friends at Goodwill Industries of the Upstate/Midlands South Carolina. We partnered with WECOmates truematter who did an amazing job at site architecture and site development. They always do!

We designed the site with users in mind — we knew it needed to be very easy for visitors to find what they were looking for. It also needed to inform visitors of the mission, which is job training and placement services for people in the community. The main (global) navigation incorporates five areas, three which are dominant: Donate, Shop and Find Work, and appear on every page throughout the site. The sliders below the main nav on the home page offer up stats and facts about Goodwill, and are designed to be updated often. The overall visual design infuses the existing brand identity that we developed and the tonality throughout the site is light and friendly.

This project was a fantastic collaborative effort involving lots of folks, and we couldn't be more thrilled with the outcome. If you have a chance, please take a look — better yet, donate some items to your nearest Goodwill!

 

posted by Kevin Archie Jan 16,2013 @ 05:00AM

Design is a Funnel

One of my design professors always quoted this phrase to us in class — whether he coined it or not I don't know — but one thing is certain: it stuck. Though it took my classmates and me several semesters to really understand what it meant, the phrase is one of truth that still remains relevant to me today. Design is a funnel — a collection of thoughts and ideas sanded down to their bare bones; an eradication of anything that serves no immediate purpose; a culling of the fold; a filter; a razor; a window; a riddle; arithmetic.

When used accordingly, design can be much more than choosing a font, organizing a grid, or drawing a logo. It can be a way of thinking. But how does one tap into such a process?

In Debbie Millman's "How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer," Pentagram partner Paula Scher likens the process of creativity to pulling the handle of a slot machine. She says that we must allow for a period of unconscious processing so that all our past experiences, opinions, inspirations, likes, hates, etc., can "sort of run around in a circle" until they align with the particular goals of a given brief. In other words, it's the funneling down of one's acquired knowledge and past experiences until all that's left is a logical resolution to the problem at hand. It's not not quite magic or invention, though the end result may feel like such. Design is just the simplification of ideas — a funnel for the mind.

posted by Julie Turner Jan 10,2013 @ 06:19AM

The Strategy of the Forsythia

With the holidays now passed, we reach the slow slag of winter. The days are painfully short and the dark creeps on long before I’m ready. Every now and again, the cold manages to muster itself to bite through to my bones.

It’s these days I long for spring even though winter’s barely begun.

A few weeks into the stark, grey-brown nakedness of winter, that’s when it catches my eye. I’ve been waiting for it — a tiny, impossibly bright yellow bloom. One pop of color, the only sign of life on a tall shrub of knobby sticks. It’s a teasing breath of a spring to come.

That tiny flower is an annual sign I seek each year. It tells me the audacious forsythia shrub is waiting — holding its burst of bright yellow flowers for The Day. And The Day it blooms never ceases to amaze me. Without spring breezes, warm sunlight or even green leaves, there, in the heart of winter, those bare limbs put on a spectacular show — the very opposite of all that surrounds it.

Even when it’s one early bloom, it captures my attention. I have to step close to admire it. How smart, I think, to bloom when no one else does. And now, when it’s so completely unexpected. How brave to stand out despite the risks of deep cold and frost.

Smart, indeed.

posted by Kevin Smith Jan 08,2013 @ 02:00AM

Hurrying is so last year.

My New Year’s resolution is to remain calm. I’ve decided to expand this a bit and have calm include not rushing. I’m tired of being in a hurry, and I'm ever mindful that nothing of any value comes from it.

I’m reminded of this in my studio, where I consistently see paintings—both mine and those of my studio-mates—improve when painted over, sometimes over and over again.

 

The same logic holds true in marketing. Success is in the details, and details take time and attention.

By taking time to respond, we might turn frustration into loyalty. If we take the time to go beyond a simple Facebook reply, we may inform some word-of-mouth endorsement.

Technology isn’t making business any easier. There are fewer shortcuts to success than ever. I, for one, intend to slow it all down, minding the details that matter.

posted by Apprentices Jan 04,2013 @ 08:00AM

On 2013 resolutions.

What's one of your new year's resolutions for 2013?


Cathy Monetti
Use it up.

Will Weatherly
Read one book, any book, per month.

Teresa Coles
To make more time for friends.

Kevin Smith
Remain calm.

Julie Turner
Just have one: No New Year's resolutions.

Kevin Archie
To finish everything I start.

Ryon Edwards
Running daily with my dog.

posted by Cathy Monetti Jan 03,2013 @ 11:20AM

In Memoriam

John Hardin Marion Lucas

1947 – 2013

father, writer, comedian, friend

We miss you already.

 

 

 

 

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