blog-header

Archive

see all

posted by Kevin Archie Oct 28,2013 @ 11:46AM

The value of pro bono

A recent article in the New York Times speaks to the importance of not working for free because it devalues all creative vocations, rendering our work worthless to a culture that often defines value monetarily. As a part-time freelance designer, I tend to agree with this premise in a practical sense. Why should I give my time, effort, and skills to someone at absolutely no cost? For exposure to new audiences? A chance to beef up my portfolio? The possibility of future work? While such offers sound appealing and may at times even benefit the creative, they are ultimately the equivalent of asking for a free 5-course meal at a fancy restaurant in exchange for a positive review on Yelp. Spending all your 9 to 5 efforts on a project for next to nothing in return could therefore be considered an insane waste of time.

Why then do we do it once a year, for 24 hours straight? Because pro bono is not just working for free, it's consciously giving for free: giving of our time and talents to deserving nonprofits who's jobs are to give of themselves every day; steadfastly giving back to our communities what they have so graciously given us — a chance to make the world a better place. As I reflect on CreateAthon and all the good that was done last week, I realize that not all work done for free is worthless or a devaluation of our creative talents. Pro bono work can in fact have far greater value when done for the benefit of other do-gooders. It's this spirit of giving back, this CreateAthon, that continues a cycle of good in our community. This is our ever-so-small contribution to the continuing rotation of the great world around us. And for the joy set before us, we will do it again and again.

posted by Apprentices Oct 22,2013 @ 06:15AM

A Little Less Snark Goes A Long Way: Celebrate Snark Free Day

Last week, during our traffic meeting, Kelly shared the PRConsultants Group's upcoming Snark Free Day (today!) and invited us to join her in living one day free of making catty, snide comments. "Well, I guess I won't use the Internet that day," someone joked, and we all laughed understandingly.

In all honesty though, the folks at Riggs are quite low on the snark scale. Whatever you do, don't confuse snark and humor. Trust me, the Weconians will have you in stitches if you spend enough time across the bridge. From Nate's wry life advice (apply at your own risk) to Courtney's impromptu renditions of What Does the Fox Say, we laugh all day long. (I won’t even get into the consequences of having the warped minds of Julie Turner and Michael Powelson in the same building every day.)

My favorite thing about the nonstop banter? It isn't mean spirited. And that's the major difference between funny and snark.

I, myself, am a recent convert to the snark-conscious lifestyle. I won't say snark-free, because hey, I'm human. Snark happens. But about a year ago I came to the realization my own snarky attitude was totally out of control. Now, this wasn't some grand moment of spiritual truth, but rather the typical life event leading to the question, "Why me?" A so-called friend threw some snark my way, and my feelings were hurt. Real bad. Sure, I had my moments where I was only able to see her more prominent witch-like qualities, but eventually I had a true a-ha moment. I was attracting snark, because I was frequently snarky.

Recognizing my own snarky tendencies had some unexpected, but positive, consequences in my life. As I curtailed my own urge to say something snarky, mock someone else's fashion faux pas, or share my disdain for someone else's perspective, I noticed a change in the other people in my life. The snarky ones quietly went their separate ways. My Twitter feed became more interesting, and my Facebook feed less argumentative.

Most importantly, offline, my friendships are so much better. I can count on my snark-free friends to have my back. How do I know this? Once I made an earnest attempt to kick the snark, an amazing thing happened. I found a way to articulate what was really going on, and finally I had friends who listened. Judgment free.

posted by Keely Saye Oct 16,2013 @ 08:48AM

[SLIDESHARE] Social Content: What to Talk About in Your Newsfeed

Ever wondered why your social media followers aren't flocking to your networks or engaging with your content? Inbound Marketing Specialist, Keely Saye walks through a process of finding and publishing content that may help.

posted by Cathy Monetti Oct 14,2013 @ 08:02AM

11 Business Lessons of Our Time

 

 

I was cleaning out a bookshelf the other day when I cracked open the cover of a long-missing sketchbook, one I used for note-taking when attending a lecture or professional gathering. The first page I saw got my attention with the first words written there:

A number of forces have turned things upside down.

Aahhh, I remembered. Early 2009, and the US Economy —and so many small businesses—were beginning to tip in crisis. Thousands of us gathered at Carolina Coliseum for a day-long lineup of motivational speakers, an event unrelated to the Recession, and yet inextricably bound to it. HP/Microsoft/Quantum's Rick Belluzzo opened with this grand profession:

It is the most significant time of challenge in my lifetime.

In his energetic presentation, he went on to offer this counsel:

  1. Times of immense change create the greatest opportunity.
  2. Take advantage of disruption. Redefine.
  3. Think of yourself as an entity.
  4. Don't be a victim. Things are difficult. Retool and reemerge.
  5. Always strive to make a difference. Make a permanent mark.
  6. Touch someone's life. Believe today you can make a difference.
  7. Take on tough assignments. Risk is good.
  8. Be self aware and open to feedback.
  9. Be a leader. This requires authenticity and integrity.
  10. Take responsibility for your failures.
  11. Be soft-hearted in how you treat people. But be hard-headed about principles and results.

What powerful advice for an audience facing years of upheaval, I thought as I looked back at these notes four years later.

What powerful advice for life.

posted by Michael Powelson Oct 07,2013 @ 08:21AM

Of course we have favorites

Ninety-five percent of my professional energy is spent trying to avoid clichés. So it pains me that I won’t even get through the next sentence without revealing myself to be one.

I’m an advertising creative director, and my favorite client is a bar.

Hope the shock of that didn’t send anyone into atrial fib.

In all seriousness, the smart money says I really shouldn’t be admitting this. It would be better to whip up something frothy and unassuming about an airline whose industrial video unlocked the outer dimensions of my social consciousness. Or the accounting firm’s annual report that Hansel-and-Gretled me toward new heights of disciplined personal finance. I get it. The urge to spin that kind of “client-least-likely” yarn is tempting.

It’s just not true.

The not-so-sexy fact is, our degree of job fulfillment is oddly consistent: We meet up with nice people, stretch in all imaginable directions to get to the bottom of their situation, identify the opportunities therein, then work like hell to communicate that relevance in the most memorable way possible.

Cracking that nut is where the jollies lie. If you help a brand discover something about itself and get that thing noticed in the market, you feel good. If you don’t, well then, not so much. Still, nine times out of ten, the specific category of a client’s business is irrelevant to the ratio of smiles and frowns.

But this post isn’t about those nine times. So all I can hope is that an explanation of the tenth turns out to be less obvious than you might have thought.

---

In November of 2002, I arrived in Columbia from Morgantown, WV. Achingly homesick and too stubborn to admit it, I knew no one but the people who’d hired me. At that point, I was an all-together different cliché — 22 years old with the bank balance to prove it. So I moved into the kind of apartment complex whose parking lot is just as full on a Tuesday afternoon as it is on Sunday evening. Bed sheets hung in windows, beepers hung on belt loops, and folks paced bare spots in the grass waiting on the payphone to ring. The rent was right. But it became clear that unless I hoped to add “Miranda” to my small list of acquaintances, social needs would have to be met elsewhere.

Enter Yesterday’s Restaurant and Tavern. I walked in my first Friday night in town, knowing nothing about the place other than it was a RIGGS client – the first and oldest to be exact.

As in any decent pub, my approach to the bar was met with a smile and expectant expression from the young woman on the other side. Rounds passed and it became clear that the demeanor of this wait staff wasn’t the product of a well-studied handbook or strict managerial coaching. There were no scripted phrases, no upsell ploys or pandering stabs at personal conversation. Just a few kind words and the respect to leave patrons to their own private thoughts or company.

The result was a feeling of genuine acceptance, an easy belonging that sets drinkers and servers on truly equal footing. I knew my requests weren’t putting them out. They knew I assumed no sense of superiority accompanied a seat on the outside of the brass rail. This translates into an unspoken, organic equilibrium that is the hallmark of all Clean, Well Lighted Places — so many of which are literally neither. Settling my tab that first evening, I felt grateful to have located this in Columbia. But it wasn’t until I tried to leave that I realized what I’d really found.

---

Growing up in the rise of “casual dining” franchises, my generation has been long conditioned not to trust, or even notice, the “memorabilia” a restaurant nails to its walls. But something stopped me at the door that night.


Here I was, five hundred miles from home, awash in a sea of garnet and black and orange and purple. But just over the threshold were my own colors and this small salute to home. Trite as it sounds, I can’t tell you how validating that felt. Suddenly my new city seemed a little more open to its transplants.

Those ragged stickers snapped my funk long enough to hear just how loud the walls were talking. I registered the keepsakes from Michigan and Penn State. I read the hand written tributes to longtime customers and fallen Marines. I studied plaques and flags and oars and framed galleys of books that had presumably been written in the booths they now hung above. I began to understand that these weren’t decorations, but artifacts that told the age and history of this place as sure as the rings coiling to the center of an elderly tree trunk.

And then, of course, there were the photographs. For the next forty minutes I went to the walls.

I scanned the faces frozen in time, fixed in their celebration of birthdays, promotions, their own relationships and life in general. Here was proof that the allure of this place transcended most of the trivial ways we try to classify each other and claim there’s much difference between us. I saw white and black, locals and drifters, professors, dropouts, first loves and ex-wives. I saw folks who must look nothing like themselves now and some who were most surely gone all together.

But most importantly I saw reflections.

The majority of the snapshots chronicled Yesterdays late 1970s origins. And so the photos bore striking similarity to those in my parents’ old albums, the ones I used to spend hours examining, wondering what their lives had been like before me. These questions swirled even more now that I’d reached the age they were then. I took comfort in the belief that, just like all the strangers on the wall, the ones responsible for me had had their moments.

I pictured a time they may have drank too much or laughed too loud. I told myself they too were probably alone at some point, starting from scratch and hoping for the best. I used the faces on the wall and the loved ones they resembled to convince myself that things would work out for me too. And with that, a bar that claimed to be all about the past made it just a bit easier to face the future.

---

Several weeks ago, Yesterday’s asked for an appropriate way to celebrate its 35th anniversary in an outdoor campaign. For good measure, we took a few days and went in several different directions.

Then, of course, we went to the walls.

Hope you enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

posted by Julie Turner Oct 04,2013 @ 04:53AM

This isn’t about content marketing.

This should be a blog post about content marketing. But, frankly, it’s just not happening. Tonight my thoughts are wandering. I cannot stop thinking about all the incredible things that are happening around us these days.

Tonight, I was grateful to be part of the fifth anniversary celebration of 701 Whaley, an Olympia landmark that was shepherded back to relevancy from the brink of demolition. A few blocks uptown, famed photographer Annie Leibovitz (!!) was in town hosting the opening of her Pilgrimage show now on display at the Columbia Museum of Art. It was also a big night for the Main Street Merchants who were hosting one of their festive, popular First Thursday celebrations. Recent weeks have also seen people flocking downtown for the Jam Room Music Festival, the flourishing, weekly Soda City Market, and the beautifully refurbished Township Auditorium, which recently hosted rock phenoms Band of Horses and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

As a longtime resident of the city, I can safely say it’s been a long time since so much activity has sprung from the city center. But there’s more to what’s happening than simply playing host to the festivals, markets, meetings and merchants that are popping up all over downtown. Between the growing numbers of people, you can feel something bigger in the air. It’s an energy; a blend of excitement, anticipation, optimism and pride that’s been in short supply for years.

If one ever wanted proof that downtown is getting its groove back, the dance card full of activities last night would have been a prime example. But what’s most thrilling for all of us? We’re still in the earliest stages of downtown’s renaissance. And I already know I love it!

Maybe next time we’ll talk a little content marketing.

posted by Apprentices Oct 01,2013 @ 07:03AM

New Work: Doing Pro Bono, Pro Bono

Inspired by the American Bar Association's Celebration of Pro Bono, our friends at Taproot Foundation wanted to create a global celebration of pro bono, skills-based service across all professions. They chose last year's Global Pro Bono Summit as the birthplace for their movement. As business leaders gathered to discuss the increasing viability of the pro bono ethic across industries, Taproot rallied the troops. Summit attendees were quick to demonstrate their enthusiasm, and in that moment, Taproot's idea became a worldwide movement.

As lovers of all things pro bono, we were thrilled when the folks at Taproot asked us to develop Pro Bono Week's brand identity. Ryon Edwards and Nate Puza collaborated on a design that captures the essence of the movement: Proud. Spirited. Visionary. The energetic yellow-orange reflects the contagious positivity of that moment last year when Taproot first unveiled their ambitious plan, and the flag bearer dares every participant to think big. Pro bono is no longer a nicety. From now on, it's serious business.

 

 

 

 

billion+_ebook

Flickr

By the numbers

youtube is 2nd largest search engine