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Employee-Owner Spotlight: Alec Stringer

As an employee-owned agency, what moves one of us moves us all. So each month, we’re turning the spotlight on one of our many awesome owners to find out more about the unique personalities that shape GO2.

This month, we sit down with Front End Developer Alec Stringer to talk about visiting The Shire, eating grasshoppers and ushering in the technological singularity.

What are you most passionate about at work?

My favorite thing to do at work is problem solving. For me, that can be anything from writing a bit of weird code that makes a website work to solving problems in our corporate culture through our culture improvement committee, GO2 DNA. There is something satisfying about being presented with a challenge that doesn’t have an obvious answer and then working for a solution. “Here’s where we need to be. Here are the resources you have. Figure it out.” It forces you to think creatively and sometimes to learn an entirely new skill.

The projects I work on often aren’t as straightforward as they might seem, so I get to solve plenty of problems. Even something simple like an email is not really. It can take a lot of testing, trial and error to make that happen.

My second-favorite thing is getting everyone on board with silly names. We’re following up on our Comcast internal communication project, Nucleus. I’m going for “2cleus.”

What are you most passionate about outside of work?

I am a foodie. In fact, food is one of my favorite things to eat. I think there’s so much more to eating a good meal than sustenance — why just have lunch when you can have a culinary adventure? You can be experimental with unique flavor combinations, share a new experience with someone or get a taste of another culture. Also, we all eat about 76,650 meals in a lifetime, so I figure it might as well be fun.

Of course, being a foodie means I spend some time cooking. One of my favorite kinds of dishes to prepare is taking something that is generally considered a luxury food and making it more accessible. Like crème brûlée. That’s a dish that’s easy to make with just a few simple, cheap ingredients. But, it’s got a fancy presentation and a French name, so restaurants can charge 10 bucks for a few bites. I like to learn how to make that kind of thing for myself and let other people know that they can, too.

I also really enjoy traveling. I’m trying to catch up to Pete, but so far I’ve only been to two continents. I especially love visiting places with rugged natural beauty and friendly, welcoming people. That’s why my dream vacation would be a visit to Iceland. That’s also why I have a trip to New Zealand planned for the beginning of next year. During that vacation, the cruise ship will make a stop at The Shire so we can see one of the most iconic locations from the Lord of the Rings movies and, hopefully, spot some wild Hobbits.

What are some favorites you’d like to share?

My entertainment favorites are in continual flux, but there is one that has remained constant: The West Wing. It has been my favorite TV show since 1999. It’s well written, well acted, funny and educational. It also allows me to believe in an alternate universe where our government is run by people who genuinely want to make our country a better place.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

My recollections in order from earliest to latest: horse, He-Man, teenager, paleontologist, archaeologist, astrologer, astrophysicist, environmental scientist (this is when I realized you have to know math to do science), CIA agent, diplomat, special effects technician, computer animator. I currently want to be Batman when I grow up.

What is the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?

Chapulines in Oaxaca, Mexico. The taste is nothing fancy, but the crunch is what reminds you that you’re eating grasshoppers. Blech.

What would you like to be famous for?

I don’t want to be famous for anything; that sounds terrible. I would want to do something that contributes to humankind, but I wouldn’t want to be famous for it. I’d rather be the power behind the throne. I might like to promote a global agenda of tolerance or help the world’s homeless. I would definitely like to be involved with the advancement of a scientific revolution like practical long-term space travel or bringing about a transhuman or technological singularity.

Is there something people might be surprised to know about you?

Yes.

The Why and How of Writing a Great Tagline

Slogan, motto, tagline — no matter what you call it, it’s more challenging to create than you might think. So if you’re going to take on this challenge, it’s best to give some thought to the “why” before you start working through the “how.”
 
 
 

Why might you want to develop a tagline?
  • To introduce yourself — a new business can make a great first impression with an effective tagline.
  • To clarify your purpose — your brand name may not tell your audience what you do, but your tagline can.
  • To differentiate your brand — the right words can help you stand apart from your competition.
  • To make an emotional connection — a thoughtful turn of phrase can support brand affinity.

While a tagline may not be an absolute necessity, it can be an asset to your brand if it’s executed well. Once you’ve given some thought to your “why” — and you’ve decided you’re brave enough to give tagline writing a shot — the following steps can help.

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1. Answer these essential questions:
  • Do you have a voice?
    If you don’t have a brand voice, it is my sworn duty to advise you to take care of this now. Your voice should serve as the foundation for your entire brand. You need to know your brand’s tone before you can apply it to a tagline — or to any messaging at all.
  • What do you do — and why do you do it?
    Even if your brand provides a long list of products and services, you should be able to succinctly state what it is you do, as well as why you do it. Do you have a mission statement? A brand story? If not, see the previous question. And if so, try boiling these statements down and you may already be halfway to your tagline.
  • What makes you special?
    In other words, what is your Unique Selling Proposition? Your USP is your differentiator — so you definitely don’t want to lose sight of it as you develop a tagline. In fact, you may find that your tagline can come directly from your USP, perhaps in the form of a few words or a key phrase.
  • Why should anyone care?
    How will your audience benefit from choosing your brand over others? Why might your audience feel a connection to your brand, your mission or your point of view? When you’re creating a tagline, you can’t forget who you’re trying to reach, and why they’d want to hear from you.

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2. Just start writing.

Often, the hardest part of writing anything at all is just getting started. Start by writing down some phrases that answer the questions above, keeping your “why” in mind.

  • Try different approaches.
    You might want a short sentence or phrase (like Strategy Empowering Creative) or maybe just a series of words (Seek. Learn. Create.) You might try crafting a mini mission statement or summarizing your brand’s philosophy by starting a phrase with “Because.” By experimenting with different formats and approaches, you’ll find the one that works best for your brand and your message.
  • Keep it simple.
    No matter what format your tagline may take on, you’ll want it to be simple. First of all, you won’t want it taking up a lot of room wherever you use it. And more importantly, you want it to be effective. So keep it short, then see if you can make it any shorter. And if you go with a series of words, a string of three nearly always works best.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for help.
    Writing isn’t as easy as it looks. That’s precisely why some of us are able to make a living doing it. Great taglines aren’t created in an instant; they take strategy and skill. So if you’re not sure you can get the job done on your own (and particularly if you don’t have a brand voice in place), there’s no shame in getting someone with experience to help you out.

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3. Narrow it down.

Once you’ve got a fairly long list of possibilities, make it a short list. Eliminate the weakest lines. Then eliminate some more. You might want to start by categorizing your ideas (taglines that say what you do vs. ones that say what you believe, for instance), so that it’s easier to identify your strongest options.

  • Don’t overthink it.
    You can make quick work of the elimination process. Some taglines might not feel right, and even if you can’t pinpoint exactly why, it’s okay to simply strike those ideas from your list and move on.
  • Get feedback.
    Don’t think you have to develop your tagline all on your own, even if your business is a one-person show. You can of course hire a professional to handle this job, but in any case, asking others for some constructive feedback is never a bad idea.

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4. Walk away for a bit — then make your tagline official.

It’s helpful to let an idea simmer for a while. Leave the project alone for a day, and when you return to it, you’ll be able to eliminate some more options. You might also realize that an idea you’d thought was good is actually great.

When you select your ideal tagline, remember that it’s not permanent. Like any element of a brand, it can shift and evolve along with your business. The key is finding the right words to represent who you are right now.

Our Strategic Partnership with Comcast: Three Years and Counting

Here at GO2, relationship building is one of our core strengths. We know the more we can collaborate and build partnerships with our clients, the more successful we can be in helping them reach their goals.

We’ve recently finished up a Retrospective Portfolio, which highlights that relationship-building element in our work with Comcast. We are at a point in our relationship where a recap is appropriate; we’ve been working with the company for nearly 4 years and have been involved in many different capacities, divisions and efforts. The Retrospective Portfolio encompasses all that we’ve done together and shows each division we work with just how deeply connected we are to the company’s brand and growth initiatives.

So what does a project like this entail? Well, first we had to look back over all the numbers — we’ve been keeping track of everything since the beginning — and we found some pretty interesting statistics to share.

  • The number of people who have worked on the account over the years was equivalent to the number of people involved in a full game of Major League Baseball, of course including the coaches, umpires, etc.
  • We’ve completed enough projects for the account to total the number of cast and crewmembers for two Hollywood blockbusters.
  • The miles we’ve traveled for meetings and presentations totaled almost the circumference of Mars.
  • The number of status meetings was almost up to the total number of songs the Beatles wrote.
  • In the hours we put into all the projects collectively, we could’ve watched the entire Star Wars movie catalog more than 1,500 times.

 


Next up, we included a timeline of major projects, new teams we’ve begun working with and new contacts we’ve met and worked with.

And then it was time for the specific project highlights. In this section we were able to show our ability to do multiple kinds of tactics and different levels of work, from strategic to executional and everything in between. We walked through the highlights of planning, employee engagement and outreach projects and explained how we categorized it.

Lastly, we shared the current team’s bios and highlighted personal accomplishments and events over the course of our relationship with Comcast.

So this is all great, right? But what does it mean? How does this actually strengthen a client-agency relationship?

  1. It shows how invested we are in our client’s brand and objectives.
  2. It highlights our strategic partnership and outlines how we collaborate to make a great team.
  3. It shows our comprehensive experience and our unlimited enthusiasm to continue expanding upon that.
  4. It demonstrates the personal relationships shared by our teams.

Our philosophy at GO2 puts communication and relationship building at the top of the priority list. What would you say are the best ways to enhance client-agency relationships? Tell us by leaving a comment below.