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Entries Tagged as 'Agency life'

Want to up your creativity?

October 27th, 2013 · Agency life, Innovation & Creativity

idea_lightbulbNo matter what you do for a living, you need to be creative.  Innovative and fresh thinking are always in demand, whether you’re a cop, a plumber, or a marketing pro.

Unfortunately, on the job, we can’t wait for the muses to strike.  We need to be creative on demand because there are clients, deadlines and projects waiting.

Want to up your creativity?

Having a career that demands creativity every day has forced me to find ways to keep that particular saw sharp.  Here are some of my favorites:

Exercise your brain: My goal is to keep my brain cooking at all times, so if I need to call on it, it’s already fired up.  I love brain teasers, word games like Scrabble, games of strategy and even lumosity.com which is like a brain obstacle course.

Simmering: When I’m stuck or every idea I come up with seems tired and overdone, I tuck the challenge in the back of my mind and let it simmer.  I do other things, concentrate on something else entirely and just let my subconscious work out the knots.

Blood, sweat and tears: Okay, skip the blood and tears part.  But sweating really works.  When we move our bodies, all kinds of endorphins are released.  Those magic chemicals put us in the perfect state to create.

Hang out with creative people: This is not only effective, it’s great fun. Actively look for opportunities to talk to creative people about creative things.  Listen to the language they use, the stories they tell and even how they use their body to enhance their tales.  If you live in Central Iowa, you have the perfect opportunity this Thursday.

The Iowa Creativity Summit is Thursday night from 6 – 8:30.  Come hear from David Burkus, the author of The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas.  Check out the event here.  I promise — you’ll get your creative juices flowing for sure!

If you’re like me, your creativity is a tool you rely on.  Like any tool, it’s my job to keep it in tiptop condition so it is ready when I need it.

So how about you — how do you keep your creativity flowing?

 

 

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So you want a career in advertising?

May 21st, 2013 · Agency life, Employees

Fired businessman searching for a job isolated on white backgrouI was recently contacted by a college student who asked if he could interview me for one of this classes.  One of the questions he asked is one I get a lot, so I thought I’d share my answer with you here.

If you aspire to be in our business — I hope it helps.  If you’re already in the business — what did I miss?

What advice would you give to anyone who was aspiring to enter the field of advertising?

Yikes… there are lots of things to know but here are some of the biggies.

  • You cannot do it alone so surround yourself with really smart, good-hearted people who you can count on.
  • The day you stop learning is the day you begin to become irrelevant. There is always more to learn.
  • Before anyone will give you their business, they need to know you care about them/their company.
  • When you make a mistake (and you will make a ton) be very quick to call attention to it, own it and work like a dog to fix it. And never forget to say I’m sorry.
  • If you help other people whenever you can, when you need help – there will be someone there to offer it.
  • There’s nothing wrong with making money. Don’t be ashamed to charge what you are worth.
  • Owning your own business means that when times are tough, everyone gets paid but you. So be very smart about not overspending your money and build up a nest egg for those tough times.
  • The smartest person in the room is not the one who knows all the answers. It’s the person who asks the best questions.

When I hire, I don’t worry too much about the degree the person has or things like grade point averages. I can teach them about marketing but I can’t make them honest or hard working.

I look for people who have a passion for helping other people. I hire people who volunteer their time, have a passion for a cause and instead of whining about it – do something about it.

I definitely want good writers, no matter what position they might fill. In today’s business world, with email etc. – everyone needs to be able to communicate clearly and be well spoken, both in face-to-face encounters and in writing.

I also look for someone who gets that our business is not 9-5 and isn’t going to freak out if they have to work late or over a weekend. Our business is very demanding and depending on what’s going on with our clients, we can put in some incredibly long, grueling weeks.

I also want someone who is willing to do “grunt” work. In a small agency, everyone pitches in and does what it takes to get the job done. If I can stuff envelopes or whatever – so can they.

I want someone who is a self-starter, a lifelong learner, a reader, someone who is funny, ethical and someone who resonates with our company’s core beliefs, which are:

  • Passion cannot be ignored.
  • Breakthrough thinking breeds breakthrough creative.
  • The guys in the white hats do win.
  • We take our work seriously. Ourselves, not so much.
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The path is never straight

March 24th, 2012 · Agency life, Life · 2 Comments

I receive a lot of mail from readers and many times, they have a question that I can answer here on the blog, so everyone benefit from their initiative. Victoria writes:  I am so interested in marketing but don’t really understand the best path into the business.  I was just wondering if you could tell [Read more...]

Do you take yourself seriously?

October 7th, 2011 · Agency life, Business owner/leader stuff, Innovation & Creativity, Love affair with customers, Passion · 5 Comments

At McLellan Marketing Group, we live by our core beliefs.  One of them is: We take our work seriously.  Ourselves… not so much. Let’s be honest here.  None of us save lives every day.  (Okay, if you actually do… you have my permission to skip this post) Sometimes, I think we need to just get [Read more...]

Recognize yourself in this video?

May 19th, 2011 · Agency life · 7 Comments

If so, shame on you!  Whether you’re the client or the agency guy — you know better. While this is obviously over the top, I think we all know that it hits a little close to home.  The work and the audience deserves better.  (Email subscribers – click here to view video.) McLellan Marketing Group [Read more...]

Stop giving it away

May 17th, 2011 · Agency life, Business owner/leader stuff, Customers/Clients · 44 Comments

….Are you giving away your expertise? “Actually, I get paid to do that.”  I hear this every day in a client’s story as they lament a prospect expecting to get their thinking for free. I say this every day in my own head too.  And, I’m betting you mutter it under your breath as well. And [Read more...]

How do you communicate with your team?

April 28th, 2011 · Agency life, Business owner/leader stuff, Employees · 13 Comments

…How’s your employee communication? We’ve talked before about the importance of recognizing your employees as a very important audience for your business. You need them to all be pulling in the same direction. But like any audience — you have to decide what are your key messages to them — and how do you deliver [Read more...]

Advice for finding that first marketing job

April 6th, 2011 · Agency life, Employees, Life · 26 Comments

How to find that first job It’s spring time, which means the robins, tree buds and soon to be college graduates are all popping up everywhere. I remember how tough it was to find that first job.  Everyone wanted you to have experience but no one wanted to give you that first job…so you’d get [Read more...]

5 ways to stay creative

February 25th, 2011 · Agency life, Innovation & Creativity · 33 Comments

How do you stay creative? You write.  You design.  And most likely, you do it on command.  There’s no waiting for a muse.  You have a deadline. As we talk more and more about content marketing and the power of using our expertise to impact search engines and woo potential clients — we have to [Read more...]

How to choose your next agency

August 27th, 2010 · Agency life, Collaborations · No Comments

Having been in the agency business for 25 years or so, I can honestly say I've seen just about every method of agency selection known to man.  And most of them turn what could be an enjoyable experience for all concerned into a nightmare. So I was delighted to see AdAge's recent article by Avi [Read more...]