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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.

Can Personality Tests Make a Difference for Your Team?

At first glance, a personality test may not seem like a valid exercise to bring to your workplace. While this writer firmly believes taking a “Which Golden Girl Are You?” quiz is never a waste of time, it might not give you much insight into how you can improve your relationships in the office. Personality quizzes that specifically focus on determining and comparing working styles, however, can certainly be beneficial for your team.

Taking a closer look at workplace personality types can help you to build healthier and more productive relationships on a personal level — an undeniably valuable benefit considering that many of us end up spending more time with our co-workers than we do with our loved ones. Of course, by improving your one-on-one work relationships, you’ll also help to promote more effective interactions across your teams, which ultimately contributes to a stronger, more successful business.

Determining and understanding personality types is trickier than it sounds, though. First of all, there are a number of different methods and models to choose from, with each one presenting its own pros and cons. And once you settle on a personality model that sounds like it will work best for your team and your goals, the results you get won’t instantly translate to healthier relationships — it’s all a matter of taking what you learn and applying it in constructive ways.

With all of this in mind, the GO2 crew is just beginning to learn about how our own personality types may be influencing our team dynamics. We’ve chosen the SELF profile model designed by NST, or National Seminars Training, to guide us.

NST describes their quizzing tool as “a fun, quick assessment of people’s interaction styles.” Now, I feel I have to give you a few caveats on following that link. First, the graphics will instantly transport you back to your elementary school days. And when you finish the quiz, your results will include some superfluous “fun facts,” like a list of celebrities that, according to NST, share your interaction style. But if you can overlook the aesthetics and the fluff, you’ll find some valuable insight.

To give you a general overview of the SELF model, it’s based on four major personality types or interaction styles that you’re likely to find on any team:

  • Social — a creative, persuasive and outgoing risk-taker who thrives on building relationships.
  • Efficient — a dependable, organized and goal-oriented leader who likes to have both control and recognition.
  • Loyal — a caring, compromising and helpful team player who prioritizes harmony and understanding.
  • Factual — a reserved, methodical and meticulous thinker who emphasizes accuracy and logic.

self-graphic

What makes the SELF approach particularly great is that it gives you quiz results with much more nuance than what we’ve found with other models. You won’t just get a description of your personality type — the SELF model puts it all into context for you, with a breakdown of your interaction style and a greater understanding of what that style means for you and the people on your teams. You’ll even get suggested working strategies that can help you to improve your interactions with employees, peers and managers of all styles.

After taking the quiz myself, I have to admit that even the “fun facts” do have some potential to help put it all in perspective. For instance, one particular fun fact helped me to clear up any doubt I’d had about being labelled an E. “In the Seinfeld sitcom, the character most like E is Elaine” — okay, I’m sold.

Once you begin putting your SELF profile information and advice to work for you, you’re likely to gain a better understanding of how each personality type or interaction style can play an important role in your workplace. You’ll see that individual strengths complement one another to create more balanced, effective teams.

If you and your team decide to find your profiles through SELF or any other method, keep in mind as you read your results that a personality type is never an absolute — we are all dynamic individuals who may work, react and adapt in different ways at different times. You’ll want to use the results of any personality test not as a rigid set of traits and rules, but as a general framework that can help you navigate workplace relationships and set your teams up for greater success.

Introducing Ingrid Preuss

GO2 Advertising has strengthened its strategic planning and branding expertise with the recent addition of Ingrid Preuss as Client Service Director.

With over 20 years’ experience, Ingrid brings proven excellence in brand strategy, brand positioning, advertising, consumer promotions, point of sale and experiential marketing for top global brands including McDonald’s, British American Tobacco and P&G. She has successfully managed multi-million dollar accounts at Ogilvy & Mather, OgilvyAction, Grey London and Jotabequ Grey. With her vast and varied background, she brings tremendous marketing insight to the GO2 Advertising team. Originally from Costa Rica, she graduated from the Universidad Latina de Costa Rica.

Ingrid sees a bright future for GO2 Advertising and is excited to play a key role in the growth and success of the agency. Her goals include helping to further develop the talented client service team and maximize business relationships.

In her spare time, Ingrid enjoys staying active. Yoga and barre are part of her regular regimen. She also devours books from Greek mythology, history to spiritualism. Her favorite novel is the widely acclaimed “100 Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez. She’s married and has two children.

The Importance of Agency Culture

The vision of an agency is powered by the energy of its people. Marrying the passion and talent of employees with the goals of the agency as a whole is the role of its culture.

Your culture is part of who you are and how you present yourself to the world. It’s your heart and it’s your vibe. As part of what drives people to do great work, a culture is both descriptive and prescriptive — defining where you are now and where you want to be. Leadership leads the culture not by dictating it but by living it. A healthy culture develops organically from within, but that does not mean that it should grow unattended. It needs to be carefully cultivated and nurtured. Everyone needs to be on the same page, working toward the same goal, or segments of the agency will start to grow in divergent directions.

Since the idea of culture is based on nebulous concepts like feelings and motivations, it may seem hard to nail down, especially if you are used to working with more concrete ideas like profit margins and other analytics that fit neatly into a spreadsheet. Agency culture includes the values, beliefs and behaviors that shape our relationships (internal and external), our work (type, quality and process) and our environment (physical and psychological). Values are at the core. They are what your organization considers most important. The values are reinforced by the agency environment. Anyone should begin to understand your culture the moment they walk in the door because the office reflects it and the people embody it.

Do the work; reap the benefits. Agencies with strong cultures:

talent

Attract the right talent.
People understand their value and want to work at a place that will nurture their talents and allow them to express themselves creatively. Good people want to be at a place that takes care of them and that aligns with their own ideals and goals. You want to hire talented and insightful people who will help your business grow and these employees will be attracted to a place with a strong personality. They can’t know if they are going to fit in with your culture if you haven’t worked to define what that culture is. You will expect more of them but they will also expect more from you.

partnering

Partner with the right clients.
Culture is also part of what we are selling to a client. A brand will want to work with an agency where people are invested in doing a great job. Because the relationship between an agency and a client is a partnership, it is important to have a strong culture in place to ensure that an agency/client match is a good one. When an agency is upfront and communicates clearly about the type of work that they do and the culture that is in place to support that work, it helps establish from the beginning what clients will work well with the agency and makes for a more stable relationship.
 

standout

Stand out in the crowd.
Culture helps an agency make its mark on the world. Many companies have similar capabilities, so culture can help you stand apart and give you something to be known for to attract future clients. A competitor may have the same products, services or processes, but they can’t duplicate your personality. Are you all about ROI or do you want to be known for innovative, out-of-the-box thinking? Your agency culture should reflect the answer to these types of questions and give you an edge.

teamwork

Promote teamwork.
Not only does your culture help to set expectations for how people are going to work together, it also gives your team members a sense of working toward a common purpose. In order for a team to function properly, there has to be an element of bonding that happens between its members so that they come to trust each other. To be a real “team” and not just a bunch of people working in a group, team members must feel comfortable sharing skills, knowledge, ideas and projects and be secure in the knowledge that everyone is working toward the same vision built on a foundation of shared values and positive relationships.

creativity

Encourage creativity and innovation.
If employees are happy to be a part of your culture and are motivated by its values, they will feel freer to express themselves creatively and to take creative risks. Creating an intellectual and emotional environment that nurtures individuality and unique perspectives will help move your business forward, while an agency that doesn’t take the time to ensure their culture is one of trust and teamwork risks breeding complacency and a toxic devotion to the status quo. In this scenario, people may believe they don’t have a voice or that they may face consequences for dissent. Or they could simply be afraid to shake things up. This is a deadly environment for an agency where innovation and keeping up with a changing world are the keys to doing successful, impactful work.

 
Innovation is change and sometimes change is messy, so it is also essential to create an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing doubt, are empowered to ask questions and are willing to make mistakes. Passionate people have a need to satisfy their curiosity and a desire to learn and improve. Promoting this type of culture is a benefit to everyone and helps the company grow.

A strong culture is a wise investment. Not only does it provide many rewards, it is also becoming a “must-have” in the eyes of the emerging workforce.

Four Common Misconceptions About Branding

Branding is complex — it’s the one task that must encompass promises you make to your customers, how you will deliver on those promises and how customers value your products. It involves a lot of moving parts and solid alignment between copy and design. Those who are not exposed to the intricacies of branding may, understandably, simplify the process and make assumptions about its true purpose. So let’s try to squash those common misconceptions and explain the realities of branding.

1. A logo is a brand.

This is a very common misconception, as logos are visual elements that exist at nearly every consumer touchpoint: website, packaging, social channels, etc. Logos are familiar to consumers, and they may become the first thing that pops up when thinking about a company’s brand. But a brand reaches far beyond a logo. A logo is more of a visual representation of the overall brand, an icon that communicates the overarching brand message and evokes similar emotions. It works both ways: brands are not totally complete without a logo, and a logo is never a complete brand.

2. Branding is only the responsibility of the Marketing/Advertising/Public Relations department.

If your company works by this belief, your brand will suffer. It is every employee’s responsibility to understand, support and represent the brand, and doing so will improve consistency and therefore brand equity. For example, if the Marketing department is pushing for a brand that listens to its customers and provides services based on what they want, but then the customer service isn’t up to par, the two departments are not aligned and the brand lacks consistency. This will affect the authenticity of the brand and ultimately how consumers view your brand and your company. Make sure everyone in your organization is prepared and empowered to be a brand advocate, and remember that consistency is key.

3. Branding and Marketing are the same thing.

While the two are closely aligned and certainly work together, branding and marketing are not the same thing. Branding represents what you want your consumers to understand about your company and product. It’s the overall messaging regarding promises you’ll deliver your customers. Marketing focuses on how you’ll get those messages out to your customers.

4. Branding isn’t necessary.

What do consumers tend to rely on most when making a purchasing decision — emotion or logic? It may surprise you, but the answer is emotion. Brands express an idea that consumers can relate to. So your company can (and should!) provide a stellar product or service, excellent customer service and appropriate pricing, but without a strong brand, something would still be missing. You need a brand in place to engage customers, evoke positive emotions and differentiate your company from your competitors. Never underestimate the ability of an effective brand to attract, influence and retain loyal customers.

content-brand-miscon

 

Have you witnessed these branding misconceptions? Do you know of others? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Embracing change: Three essential aspects of change management

We live in a time of constant change. The currents of technological advancement, economic uncertainty and shifting cultural paradigms wash around the business landscape, eroding the notion of a comfortable routine and making adaptability one of the strongest predictors of success. But “adapt” is just another word for “change” and change is hard. In fact, the success rate of major business-related change initiatives is only 54%1. The importance of these initiatives and the challenges they present make having effective change management strategies in place an essential part of growth and success. There are three steps to smart change management: Understand. Involve. Prepare.

Understand

Though some people, especially leaders, thrive on the challenge and novelty of change, most people are naturally resistant. Your new training program or your revamped sales process might be clearly superior on paper, but the motivation for human behavior goes well beyond a calculating assessment of the cold hard facts. There are many factors that might affect a person’s feelings toward major changes in their working life:

  • Emotion – The comfort of the familiar is a powerful draw. Anxiety and fear are very common reactions people have when faced with uncertainty in any situation. The workplace, of course, is no different.
  • Experience – From health and financial situation to education and work experience, each person will evaluate the upcoming change within a context that is unique to their lives.
  • Environment – Along with personal context, there is also organizational context. If there have been many recent changes, change fatigue is a common result. If a business has failed at implementing a major initiative in the past, that will weigh heavily on an employee’s willingness to engage.

Understanding and accepting that a person’s reaction to change will be a result of both rationality/logic and instinct/emotion will help inform your change management process so that the focus is on empowering employees to make a change rather than forcing them to do it.

For an example of the application of this concept, imagine that you want someone to change their eating habits to be healthier. Trying to impose a diet plan will theoretically be met with significant resistance, but improving their access to fruits and vegetables and teaching them to cook healthy meals will enable them to make good choices on their own. The same holds true for organizational change: change processes that are cooperative, tactical, nondisruptive and easy to imagine will be met with much less resistance than change processes that are drastic, direct and confrontational.

Involve

collaboration
In order to be empowered, people must be involved. A person will be much more invested in the success of a change they helped devise.

Here are some ways to engage:

  • Hold workshops – Provide a place where people can share ideas and develop a collective understanding.
  • Send surveys – Understand where your organization is at the moment and where its members want to be in the future. Give everyone a voice.
  • Be transparent – Disclosure is essential to engendering the trust that will be necessary for success. A person can’t begin to manage a change they don’t know about.
Prepare

Change is a process. In order to implement change that is realistic, achievable and measurable, a thorough and thoughtful plan should be laid out. There are several change management models for companies to take advantage of, but the one that we prefer is ADKAR from Prosci2. Its common sense approach has proven to be simple, effective, and even inspiring. ADKAR stands for the five stages in your implementation plan that are essential for both initial and ongoing success:

  • Awareness – An employee must be made aware of the need for change.
  • Desire – An employee must be willing to participate in the change; they will want to know, “what’s in it for me?”
  • Knowledge – An employee needs the necessary training and knowledge to make the change.
  • Ability – An employee should have the opportunity to put that knowledge into practice.
  • Reinforcement – It is easy to revert to old habits; an employee should be empowered to sustain the change.

There are many benefits to adopting an existing change management model. Having a framework for your implementation keeps your efforts organized and informs your tactical approach. Instead of starting at zero, saying, “I know something needs to change; now what?”, you can start planning your awareness campaign. Instead of declaring a premature victory directly after implementation, you can see that the reinforcement stage might need to include a rewards program or other incentive. A model can make the daunting task of a major change initiative into a structured and intuitive process.

It also offers a chance to more accurately measure your successes. If employees have a great response at the knowledge stage, you’ll know what tactics to repeat. If your effort begins to fall apart, you’ll be able to pinpoint where it happened with specific checkpoints to evaluate.

The pace of progress isn’t promising to slow, so the need for effective change strategies will only become more urgent. Invest the time now to understand the human aspect of company changes.

Sources
  1. http://www.strategy-business.com/article/rr00006?gko=643d0
  2. https://www.prosci.com/adkar/adkar-model
4 Ways to Enhance Your Employee Communication

An internal audience is arguably the most important segment for any organization to reach. Why is this? Employees are a company’s largest expense, and they are typically customer facing, so they can deeply influence brand perception.

It’s one thing to realize the significance of this audience and another thing to know how to reach them strategically. So, we’ve put together some of the best approaches to internal communication, each of which can be adapted to help you more effectively reach employees, driving greater engagement and results.

Use storytelling

storytellingStories are often more easily remembered than statistics or random facts. But the use of storytelling has importance beyond increased retention. By telling a complete story, you help employees further understand the relevance of your company strategy and provide real-life examples for them to associate with it. Stories are also more likely to draw the audience in and keep their attention longer. Just as you’d want to capture your customers with a story, the idea is the same for your internal audience.

Consider delivery method

deliveryThe way we communicate has evolved drastically over the last five years, and the essence of change is bound to continue. Not only do you have to consider the message you’re communicating, but you must also think about the best methods to reach your internal audience. Are they on social media? Then perhaps an internal forum or social platform would be a good option. Does gamification seem to engage employees? Then it’s time to develop a game and bring out their competitive side. The classic philosophy that says the medium is the message holds true here, so be sure to think about how the delivery will reach the desired internal audience!

Watch language

languageHere, you simply have to consider what you would want. For important information, would you rather read generic corporate speak, or would you rather have the information presented to you like a fun, engaging conversation? This is especially important for an internal audience. They’re often busy and can easily ignore internal memos and messages. If you don’t make your communication intriguing, they are even more likely to pass on reading it, even though they could be missing important information! The easier the read, the more everyone benefits.

Give employees a way to measure effort

measurementEmployees can’t be enticed to drive results if they don’t know where their own company stands. They need insight into market and customer behavior to develop a drive to perform better than the competition. For example, if they see their own company is closely trailing a competitor, it puts it into perspective for them as to how much harder they have to work to pass the other company. On the other hand, if they’re blindly working toward a generic “let’s drive results” goal, then the exact target is unclear and motivation then suffers. So, in your communications strategy, you should include company standings and current goals, along with competitor details, as well.

 
At GO2 Advertising, we understand that your company’s internal challenges are distinct. So what we can do is match your specific needs with our tailored capabilities and determine your goals that will ultimately shape our strategy for an effective and engaging internal education plan.

Sources:
Harvard Business Review — Eight Ways to Communicate Your Strategy More Effectively

The Importance of Internal Communication

Communication is the heart of any organization. More than presenting products and services, it’s how a business shares its voice, its brand and its story with the world. Significant time, thought and money is invested in external communication, influencing public perception and controlling public voice, but what is frequently overlooked or sidelined is internal communication, even though it is just as important.

Internal communication encompasses everything from functional items like official processes, guidelines and procedures — getting employees the information they need to do their jobs — to inspirational items like mission statements, company values, and voice guidelines — getting employees the information they need to participate as part of the team.

It is important that organizations foster an atmosphere of openness and create systems that will lead to the free and effective flow of information, ideas, various resources and even feelings to promote a sense of shared purpose. An excellent internal communication strategy can unite and inspire members at all levels of an organization. This comes with many advantages, such as employees who are:

 

pro

  • Informed – Having complete, timely information makes everyone more effective and efficient.
  • Confident – Knowledge is power, and being properly informed will empower employees to succeed.
  • Inspired – When all members of an organization understand and believe in the mission and values, they are inspired to do better and work harder.
  • Team players – Giving people at all levels and from all departments access to the same information encourages teamwork.
  • Sharing a common vision – Feeling like you and your colleagues are working toward a common goal leads to greater investment in and fulfillment from the work you do.
  • On message – Organizations should have a unified voice and message that they present to the public. This message will be much more effective and powerful if every employee is trained to use it and inspired to be an advocate.
  • Supported – Employees will be able to work with confidence and creativity if they trust that their colleagues — especially their superiors — believe in them and support their decisions.
  • Given useful feedback – Providing feedback is an important aspect of internal communications because the ability to improve and adapt — both as individuals and as a company — is vital to growth.
  • Respected and respectful – Having care and consideration for how you communicate with fellow employees is an excellent way to show respect and gain respect in turn.
  • Willing to take ownership – The more an employee understands about their company, the more they feel inspired and encouraged to take ownership of its growth and success.
  • Responsive to change – Change on an organizational level can be hard. Investing resources to make sure everyone is aware and buys into the need for change will help smooth the process.

Left to chance, internal communication becomes irregular and inconsistent. The consequences of neglecting these efforts have debilitating effects, including:

 

con

  • Gossip and speculation – Just because communication is not managed doesn’t mean it will not happen. People will fill in the blanks for themselves, often with worst-case scenarios, which leads to…
  • Stress and fear – Even small changes in routine can cause stress if employees don’t understand why they happen. Or worse, if the change comes as a complete surprise. Large changes that aren’t communicated properly can easily lead to job insecurity.
  • Territorialism – If information is rationed out in meager portions, people are much more likely to guard their share.
  • Confusion – If a message is delivered inconsistently among employees or departments, the results can be chaotic with everyone working toward different goals with different expectations.
  • Ineffectiveness – Members who don’t believe in the mission of an organization will be unlikely to see it through, just as employees who don’t understand the goal of a project will be unable to adequately complete it.
  • Inefficiency – If a team begins a project without having all the information they need, time is wasted and trust is squandered.
  • Lack of ownership – Having incomplete information cripples one’s ability to take ownership both of individual projects and of the mission of a company as a whole.
  • Off-message members – If members of an organization do not understand its voice and are not trained to use it, the message they present to the public will be confusing and ineffective.
  • Isolation – People work better as part of a team, but if communication is poor between departments and individuals, teamwork will be hindered and suspicions and resentment could develop.
  • Resistance to change – Did I mention that change can be hard? New work processes, company reorganizations, rebranding, new software implementations. All these things and more are a normal part of an evolving business, but if proper investment isn’t made in communicating these things to employees, the results can be chaotic and even catastrophic.

Here at GO2, we understand the importance of internal communication, and it’s one of our goals to help clients improve theirs. As an example, we recently created a comprehensive Intranet site for Comcast Business sales representatives. Housing an asset management and search tool, educational materials, product and customer strategies and an offer lookup tool, the Intranet, dubbed Nucleus, provides one solid place for crucial information. We performed research to determine everything for the site — environmental context, user personas, task and process flow, site organization and user interface. And we didn’t stop there. We were sure to include training tactics and engagement elements, including plans for pre-launch, launch and post-launch.

Taking it a step further, GO2 created a site called VITL for Sherwin-Williams. We created VITL for representatives who rely entirely on iPhones, iPads or laptops as they work remotely. The site houses sell sheets and data sheets, which representatives need to access on a daily basis. Before VITL, these sheets were scattered across various Sherwin-Williams sites, and now the representatives can access them in one location in less than three clicks.

As you can see, internal communication strategies, especially within a large organization, have many aspects and can become pretty complex. GO2 can help bring order to chaos, getting employees the information they need in a way that’s understandable, inspirational and supportive of your organization’s mission.

Creativity Outside of Creative Roles

If you work in an ad agency, you hear it all the time: “think creatively.” Within an agency’s creative department, this seems obvious. But it’s important to encourage the extension of creativity beyond that department. In fact, creative thinking is an essential element of success not only for every department of an ad agency, but for any business in general.

Adobe and Forrester Consulting performed a study on creativity’s impact on business and found that 82 percent of companies believe there is a strong connection between creativity and business results. The study actually showed that those companies that were encouraging creativity in the workplace outperformed competitors in revenue growth, market share and competitive leadership.

It’s clear that your business can benefit from more creative thinking. So, how exactly can you foster more creativity?

Reshape your company’s culture.

cultureCompany culture has such an immense impact on business, especially when it comes to creativity. Employees need an environment where they are free to be creative: where they are confident enough to take a chance and suggest new ideas and where they strive to produce better work with each project.

To achieve this, leadership has to make an effort to reduce fear and maintain an open environment where employees aren’t afraid to be curious. Encouraging curiosity and questions will promote exploration and experimentation. Peer support and collaboration should also be ingrained in the culture. It should be to the point where it becomes one for all and all for one, helping one another and pushing each other beyond the standards.

This will lead to a culture where excellence is not only what everyone strives for, but it’s expected because there are no boundaries to limit employees.

Constantly think of more than one solution.

morewaysThis can be done in any role. Though it may take some extra effort to come up with two or three additional solutions, it can pay off with better options and major time savings. At GO2, we often give our clients numerous ideas, thinking creatively to give them what they wish they’d asked for and providing a second option, showing we anticipate our clients’ needs.

Don’t wait for the opportunity to be creative.

creativeIt’s the classic “proactive vs. reactive” attitude. Training employees not to wait for a request to be creative is essential. If they understand the product/service deeply, we should be encouraging constant thought about the next step. At GO2, we don’t wait until the brainstorm or creative brief, no matter if we’re the one putting it together, approving it or reading it to start a project. If our creative team comes up with an idea, they take it to the account team to get their thoughts and possibly even present it to the client. If our account team has an idea, they run it by the creative team for input and then decide how to approach the client with the new idea.

Regardless of workplace, leadership should encourage all employees to start thinking sooner, with the ultimate goal of proactivity. The clients will appreciate this, and it could potentially save both parties a great deal of time.

Shy away from normal.

normalWhen you step away from normal, new ideas are more likely to spark. Spending time outside of your normal routine stimulates your brain with new surroundings and situations, which can lead you past the dead ends with ideas. So try it – go outside your normal sphere of colleagues, resources, environments, expertise, etc. Network with others in your industry and in other industries. Talk to them about their processes and how they foster creativity. And when you’re networking, try different activities for meetings other than sitting in boardrooms. For example, in a recent networking trend dubbed “sweat working,” meetings are held over a physical activity or exercise.

Everyone has the capacity for creativity, and when we take advantage of it, all parties have the potential to thrive. So no matter the industry, department or position, creativity should be encouraged in every aspect of business. What are your recommendations for fostering creativity in the workplace?

Sources:
Business News Daily — Creativity Business Success
Business News Daily — How to Teach Creativity
Harvard Business Review — How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity
Robert Half — Creativity Lessons from Five Top In-House Creative Teams
Creative Something — How to Create an Environment for Creativity at Work

The Craft of Advertising

A patron approaches an item, excitedly. They inquire about its creation, curiously. They ask about the price, cautiously. They walk away, sadly. If you have any experience as either visitor or vendor at a craft or art show, you have probably witnessed this familiar scene. Handmade items can be enchanting and inspiring. But, they can also be very expensive.

Articles occasionally make the social media rounds, patiently explaining to a society raised on mass production exactly what it takes to make that wire woven necklace or that carefully carved flute. It’s not just time, labor, materials and overhead, but also education, skill, dedication and passion that contribute to both the quality of the work and its cost. One such plea that recently came across my feed got me thinking about my own craft. Though our team here at GO2 doesn’t sew dresses or knit scarves; we make strategies, brands and advertising tactics. And just like any craft, there’s much more to it than meets the eye.

Take sending a marketing email, for example. The final email that the target receives is only the tip of a surprisingly deep iceberg. To send a personal email, you pop open an email client and type away. But to send an advertisement that has any hope of being successful, there are many steps to complete before even a single word is typed and a dedicated team of specialists to help it on its way. It starts with…

The Strategists

ohyeahdata width=The account planners live data and breathe research. The Internet is a sea of noise, and without the strategists, your ad is doomed to drown in it. They study demographics, market trends, competitor data and more to determine the who, what, where, when and why of your email—everything from the targeted recipients to the time of day.

And, you have a vision for this email that includes everything from the message it should convey to the results it should provide. Your advocates in account service are here to nurture and guide that vision through every step of its creation. Catering to your needs and offering a conduit for your voice—they are always on call to service your brand, your ideas and, most importantly, you.

The Creatives

drinkingthatjuiceYou don’t just want someone to like your product; you want them to need it. It’s going to fill a hole in their lives they didn’t even know was there, provide a sense of well-being they crave, and allow them to be the person they always imagined they could. And that is why you need copywriters. A bulleted list of features is great, but in a world of myriad choice, potential customers should know not just why they need a toaster, but why they need your toaster.

But you’ve only got about half a second to convince them to actually read this thing, so it has to look good. No. Great. No. Amazing. The graphic artist has to understand expectations and then understand how to defy them. Deftly balancing form and function, they know how to draw your eye with dimension and convince you with color—ensuring that the message stands out in the crowd.

The Developers

youplusmeThis gorgeous, evocative email isn’t going anywhere without them. The designer can make it look good, but it needs developers to make it work right. Creating a piece that functions on all platforms and with all email clients is no small feat—but the dedicated developer will ensure that it is interactive and optimized. And the tracking codes they include will give the strategists all the juicy data they need to begin the process again.

The QC Specialists

qcallupinhereThey are the guardians of grammar and the sentinels of sentences. Nothing can undermine your message quite like a typo. Not only that, but someone has to make sure that all the hard work of the previous team members makes it into the final product. Was the integrity of the design preserved in translation? Did the copy points all make it in? Do the links link and the displays display? These gatekeepers make sure nothing gets through unchecked.

A great ad often requires a great investment of resources. But when you see it working for you, promoting awareness and generating sales, the payoff is clear. The only ad that’s too expensive is the one that doesn’t work.