Bits & Pieces?
We here at Jigsaw are extremely excited to announce our newest client relationship, with Dirty Girl Mud Run.
The Dirty Girl Mud Run series debuted in 2011 to a sold-out field of over 6,000 women in Wisconsin. The inaugural year also featured overwhelmingly successful events in Colorado and New York. In 2012, Dirty Girl is expanding to 12 cities. Dirty Girl differs from others in the increasingly-crowded field of mud run competitors in that it is specifically designed to be fun and accessible for women of all ages and athletic abilities.
In addition, Dirty Girl is very socially conscious. A portion of all proceeds from Dirty Girl registration fees is donated to National Breast Cancer Foundation. In 2011, Dirty Girls helped donate over $50,000 to help win the race against breast cancer. In each city of the 2012 tour, 250 cancer survivors will receive complimentary registration and special recognition.
In the two short weeks since our partnership with Dirty Girl began, we’ve completed several projects, including a home page redesign and creation of materials for promotion visits to Dirty Girl race markets, such as postcards, posters and vehicle signage. We’ve also begun collaborating on social media and blogger outreach, while planning additional ways to build registration, particularly in new markets for the race.
Jimmy Gohsman, Dirty Girl Race Director, says:
“From the first time we met with the Jigsaw team about possibly doing business with them up until now, our expectations have been exceeded time and again. They took the time beforehand to learn about our business, what we are trying to accomplish, how we are trying to accomplish it, and understood it right off the bat. Their passion shines through in their speedy and remarkably high-quality work, and it’s been fun working with them. It’s very obvious that their goal is to help us succeed by working collaboratively with us, which is very important to us. We are looking forward to a long term relationship with Jigsaw both personally and professionally.”
I, personally, cannot wait to do the Dirty Girl Mud Run here in Milwaukee (Hartland, actually) on August 18th. I haven’t run since my son was born over six years ago (gulp) so it’s going to be an interesting, challenging Spring and Summer.
Check out the Dirty Girl race locations and schedule and Go Dirty Girl!!!
I’m involved in a couple of professional groups that are big into mentoring, which has me reflecting on how lucky I was to have great mentors and role models in the early, formative years of my career. Let’s face it, the ad/agency/marketing industry is not exactly known for excellence in mentoring and training programs; the phrase “trial by fire” comes to mind. So, I thought I would share a few of the lessons that were shared with me early on, in hopes that they might help some young ‘uns new to their advertising or marketing careers. (Gayla, Lisa, Peggy and John, this one’s for you.)
You exist to make your bosses’ lives easier. There are times when challenging authority is appropriate, even necessary. And we certainly don’t want “yes people” who never question anything. But more often than not, you need to be really listening to and acting on the input you are given and asking how you can help instead of putting up roadblocks. Chances are, as a young person in the industry, the people you report to are much, much, MUCH busier than you. So I recommend that you do all you can to help them. It’s how you will advance.
[Tangent: I wonder if the "Millennials" reading this will be offended at the suggestion that they have bosses and hierarchy? Trust me, we want and value your opinions, and social media has trained us all to be more democratic, but work is not a democracy. Not really. I hope I'm not coming across as condescending here, but I have observed a potent "You're not the boss of me." vibe in some - not all - of the "Millennials" with whom I have worked. Bonus points to anyone who can help me truly understand this generation and how they work - enlighten me in the comments. I beg you.]
Underpromise and overdeliver. This is the best piece of client service advice that I ever heard and the same holds true of managing your supervisors’ expectations. Never, ever make promises that you can’t keep. Not keeping commitments kills trust faster than you can say “unemployment.” Conversely, setting expectations that you exceed wins every time.
Check your work. Then check it again. I started my career on an airline account, where if there was a typo in a fare ad, it could be a seven-figure mistake. Sloppy work is just not acceptable. No one is perfect (see below), but job hunters, I’m telling you right now that if there are typos in your resume or email, you are done. *Poof*. In the bin. No chance of employment. We don’t have time to correct your work so you need to demonstrate that you care enough to do great work in the first place.
Don’t try to hide your mistakes. Check your work as you will, you will still make mistakes. In cultures of innovation, it is actually encouraged. In servicing clients, not so much. Yet, it happens, particularly in the trial by fire scenario mentioned earlier. Fresh out of college, I failed to cancel a $75,000 ad placement on time; I simply had no clue about space closing dates and when the ad had to be cancelled. Shortly thereafter, there was a cease and desist order on an ad that hadn’t gone through legal. I was absolutely horrified and for a time, I’m pretty sure I actually hid the file under my desk in hopes that it would disappear. In a lesser organization, I might have been fired. But my mentors understood that I simply didn’t have the information and experience at the time to have possibly known any better. If you are in a gig where you feel like you have to hide your mistakes, you should probably look for a new one.
Toot your own horn. In the wonderful new-ish world of social media, we’re not supposed to talk too much about ourselves. In our careers, though, it is essential. Your boss may well be too busy to take note of your hard work and your accomplishments, other than maybe at your annual or semi-annual review. Therefore, as long as you doing it with tact, it is a good idea to merchandise yourself to them now and then. If a client praises you, pass it along. Update people on your progress. If you are functioning as an island, and no one knows what you are doing, it may seem like a good thing. Trust me…it’s not.
If you can do those five things, you’ll build yourself a nice little suit of kevlar to get through the trial by fire. An advertising or marketing career is not an easy one; but it can one of the most multi-faceted, creative, challenging and fun ones. Don’t be scared. : ]
What about you? What have you learned so far?
Inspired by two books I am reading (The Lean Startup by Eric Ries and 344 Questions by Stefan G. Bucher, although 344 Questions isn’t a book you actually read) and the fact that I am a giant kid whose 8943765472 questions a day drive all adults around me crazy, I was going to write a long inspirational type of post on the power of curiosity, exploration, experimenting and mistakes. On the power of constantly asking questions and trying new things. But them I stumbled upon this video created by the great folks from Skillshare – a community marketplace to learn anything from anyone. The video does a much better job of encouraging all of us to be lifelong learners with childlike curiosity than the 500 or so words I was going to write.
And because I can’t miss an opportunity to quote Albert Einstein, I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes and a question from 344 Questions.
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein
“When was the last time you said ‘I don’t know’ with eagerness?” – Stefan G. Bucher
Remember how big and rapidly growing Tumblr was last year? Well, no one cares anymore. There’s a new web darling: Pinterest. Just like most social platforms, it’s difficult to easily describe what Pinterest is. For me, it is an inspiration board/discovery tool/visual bookmarking tool. Pinterest calls itself “an online pinboard to collect and share what inspires you. Discover new things hand-picked by people who share your interests.”
Unlike most startups, Pinterest grew quickly in the past few months because it was embraced by DIY crafters, designers and moms, not tech types. Over 59% of Pinterest’s users are women age 25-44, which makes it a very unique environment for fashion, travel, food, art, fitness and home décor topics. Not surprisingly, every day more and more brands start pinning. Some of the bigger and more popular ones are Nordstrom, Whole Foods, Etsy, Martha Stewart, TIME Magazine, Rent the Runway and the Travel Channel. Even universities and libraries are jumping in.
What can brands do on Pinterest?
1. Share what your brand stands for: Pinterest is a great platform to share the essence of your brand or the lifestyles it promotes. It’s not just about your products and/or services, but about the idea behind them, about what they allow people to do. Pinterest makes it really easy to visualize what your brand stands for and what’s the role it plays in peoples lives: empowering people to create the home of their dream, inspiring them to find their individual style, etc. It’s not about you, it’s about how you can help people. And, you can even segment your audiences and create different boards that appeal to different people with different lifestyles.
2. Share your corporate culture and core values: As people become more interested in learning about the people behind an organization and as organizations become more human and transparent, sharing a corporation’s culture and core values in an easy to digest visual way with short stories is a no-brainer. People are interested in the details and images can humanize the brand. Post pictures of the office, lunch breaks, office events, behind the scenes, people volunteering, etc.
3. Increase visibility and interest, even sales: As a great discovery tool that doesn’t require strong ties such as mutual friendship or an asymmetrical following, Pinterest makes it easy to stumble upon a variety of products that a user is highly likely to be interested in. From recipes to books, to furniture, to accessories, a user can find pretty much anything and everything. Not only that, but also pin those items to boards such as “Gift ideas,” “My Wedding,” “Home projects,” etc. Real Simple recently reported that Pinterest is driving more traffic to its site than Facebook.
4. Use it as a focus group: I’ve always said that social media is the best focus group you can ever get if you know how to mine the data and Pinterest is no exception. Millions of people use it to keep track of objects they love, places they enjoy, places they want to visit, foods they devour, clothes they want, things that inspire them. It’s the quickest way to glance into people’s lives and heads. Look at the pinners who follow your brand and see what they’re pinning and who else they’re following. As behavioral economists have told us, asking people what they want/need or how they feel isn’t as effective as observing their behavior. Pinterest allows for just that.
5. Inspire your team: Create mood boards and pin things that are interesting and relevant to your team. The world and the web are full with beautiful objects that make you want to apply for a job at Oscar de la Renta. Pinterest allows you to collect all these objects and organize them in a way that makes sense and is easy to navigate.
Because it’s focused on interests, Pinterest allows brands to participate in people’s lives in a more utilitarian, subtle and non-intrusive way.
Using the Internet to do good is getting, well, “gooder.”
Network for Good, a fund-raising and volunteerism website that facilitates online giving, celebrated their tenth anniversary at the end of 2011. In honor of a decade of doing good online, they released an infographic representing the evolution of the online donor over the past ten years.
Some of the key points? Online philanthropy is now the norm, as the majority of people donating to social causes are doing so online.
According to Network for Good’s findings, only 4 percent of donors made their charitable contributions via the Internet in 2001. In 2011, that number grew to 65 percent – a 1,600 percent increase over the past decade. The general concern over whether online transactions are secure or not barely exists anymore, and a variety of tools are now commonly used to make the online giving process much more seamless. In two mouse clicks, you can instantaneously donate to a cause halfway around the world from you.
The average donation in 2001 through the Network for Good website was $226. In 2011? The average gift dropped to $73 – a shift that Network for Good interprets as an indication that online giving is going more mainstream, with the prevalence of disaster relief donations a key sign.
Comparatively, 1 in 10 donations made to 9/11 relief efforts in 2001 were made online, while 1 in 3 donations were given through the Internet (including mobile) to earthquake relief efforts in Japan in 2011.
It’s no question that the increase in utilization and popularity of social media has played a part in the rise of online giving.
While your grandparents still may ask, “What is social media?,” today, an increasing amount of people are using their blogs, social media accounts and other online resources as tools of social change, to spread the word about causes they’re passionate about and to prompt action from others. Many are cost-effective, easy to use and they work. Social media has incited a heightened awareness of causes and political events worldwide, and has even influenced major governmental change.
Clearly, the Internet is a pretty powerful thing. And this is only the beginning.
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