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May 11, 2017

written by Adam Faust

Should your company be on social media (Yes or No)?

If you posed this question to anyone under 35, I think they would look at you like you had flip phones for hands. I think the 40 and over crowd silently wonders if all this sharing is worth a nickel. (Remember coins?) The older set doesn’t want to say this for fear of sounding old, but as a 36-year-old who sits on the defining line between millennials and Generation X, I see both sides. Here is the answer.

Yes, if you have a good company.

No, if your company sucks.

That’s it. You can stop reading now if you want. But, please continue if you want to unearth the sophisticated method on which my hypothesis is built.

Don’t flip out.

Social media is a fantastic tool for consumers, potential employees, employers, and anyone trying to gain a better insight into an organization. In the very long ago, you couldn’t gain much valuable information about a company’s culture through anything outside of their website. But websites are mostly bull crap. It can be difficult to garner valuable insights from a company’s website. It’s generally a bunch of big headlines with ambiguous claims, “People are our business” and “Smart work for cool clients.” It sounds nice, but it doesn’t tell anything about what is really going on behind the scenes. If you’re trying to make an informed decision about a company you want something you can dissect a little deeper.

Review websites like Yelp can be misleading. Mostly, because it’s written by people who write Yelp reviews (I have written a few, and I regret all of them). Glassdoor is moderately helpful, but totally anonymous. An anonymous reviews are as trustworthy as a man in a ski mask.

The following three points are why I believe social media is the truest window into a company’s real culture.

  1. You’re only hurting yourself. The company puts out content they want you to see. They made a deliberate decision and said, Yeah, this is good, this is us, lets share it. This is the number one reason it is better than any review site. It’s even better than word-0f-mouth. In every post, every pic, every clever caption, they are telling you exactly what kind of an organization they believe themselves to be. A word on word-of-mouth: It is wildly overrated. When someone tells me, oh, you’ll love this restaurant! I’m always responding jack-assily in my head like, Why would you assume I’d like Ham & Gerkin Provisions? Ham is weird and I hate pickles. Just because I like you, does not mean I like your gerkins.
  2. How phony is your bologna? (gross) A counter argument to my first point is that social media isn’t real. Organizations are just posting what they want you to see. This is true. But, no crap. You know what else isn’t real; first impressions, leased cars, and the shit we tell ourselves. Just like everything else, we use our common sense and BS detectors to wade through what is true and what is phony.
  3. Walk the talk. Does your organization have a bunch of values written all over your office?  That’s good. If they’re serious about them they probably should. But social media is where you can see if they’re living them out. Social media is an awesome platform to promote more than your humble brags. It’s where you can show your employees you give a damn about them. It’s a place you can tell your clients you appreciate their loyalty. It’s a digital customer service window with stadium seating. And the stadium is filled with existing and potential customers. Which makes it the greatest customer service tool to which we’ve been granted access. If you have a great company, you can now share realtime interactions on Facebook Live. If your employees are happy let them show it with SnapChat and Stories. If you care about customers, solve their concerns in the comment section.But, if your company sucks, you’re better off closing the windows and waiting for this whole social media fad to fade away.

April 18, 2017

written by Adam Faust

So many followers, so soon.

I didn’t start this blog for the followers, but man, I have to say it sure has been a really nice bi-product. I figured in the first year of our blog we would have a few supportive comments from friends and family, but I had no idea complete strangers would be so moved by my musings. For instance, Doughboy praised, “So excited I found this article as it made things much qurkiec!”

And, Jenay lauded, “You are so awesome for helping me solve this myseyrt.”

It continues, with mentions from Denver, “I can already tell that’s gonna be super helflup.”

The Five + Eight forum is alive and swell.

And, how interesting our all of new fans’ names? I am not all that surprised, as I’m confident that our fans share our flair for creative. Like, our supportive Valinda, “Mighty useful. Make no mistake, I apaeicrpte it.”

Another trend I observed that seems to run through all our compadres is a high level of typos. At first, I wondered how Jock could miss so badly, “What a neat areiclt. I had no inkling.”

But, then it hit me- you know when you’re super stoked about something and your hands can’t type as fast as your brain is racing? It’s a high that is hard to duplicate. And, nothing lights that flame quite like reading someone or something that touches you in a place no one has touched before. If you think that is boastful, I’ll point you to Lavon, who said as much, “Your thkining matches mine – great minds think alike!”

The fact that these folks also seem to only post in the middle of the night and within seconds of each other is even more rewarding. I have to imagine they are up late talking and sharing my writing. I know it’s not officially a fan club, but it may be time to start thinking about one… How does fan club President Brandyce sound?

And, for all you Five + Haters out there, just keep trying to keep me down. I can’t hear you anyway. You’re drowned out by our diehard devotees. Like Adiana, “For the love of God, keep writing these arsltiec.”

Adaina, every arsltiec I write is for you.

Ebery wun.

Our fans are all a-bot us. Illustration by Gabe (@gurbism)

March 28, 2017

written by Adam Faust

Lose Yourself in Protocols

Nothing gets me jacked up like processes. I think any agency owner would confess that’s why he got into the creative biz. When I work on our protocols and the documentation of said protocols, I put my headphones on, the volume up, and press repeat on the explicit version of Eminem’s Lose Yourself.

That’s not true. I am using sarcasm to better illustrate my point.

Alas, processes and protocols are necessary. I have read some smart human beings that stress the importance establishing and implementing a defined process. This is a good excerpt from one of them.

Great systems without documentation are only rumors about the way you do things in your business.

Agency guru-grower, Jason Swenk, opens every podcast by saying,

Systems outperform talent every time.

I don’t know if that is 100%  true. But I have found the more clearly we define our process, the smoother everything seems to run. I have been putting off writing down processes and protocols for about a year. Here are my excuses for avoiding this worthwhile task:

  1. It’s wicked boring.
  2. No one will bother to look at it.

But, then I remember that we don’t do boring stuff. We’re supposed to make things fun and good and different. So, here is the solution:

  1. Don’t make it boring.
    • We avoid boring by taking real pictures of real people really doing it. And, we’ll use a Polaroid camera with only ten pieces of film.
  2. Share it with everybody.
    •  We avoid no one seeing it by sharing it outside the company to every friend, client, potential client or any ol’ looky-loo who stumbles upon it.
    • This also holds us accountable.
      • We can avoid making boring posts by using numbering and bullets.
        • People like bullets.
        • I like bullets.

The following is our process from kick off to concept to completion. Ideally, everyone who works with us should have a similar story to tell once the work is complete. And if we do it like this every time, that story will be a good one.

1.Get together and talk about the project and what it can and should be. The goal is to try and get everyone on the same page and produce a clear vision for the project.

The Kickoff Meeting with your assigned team.

2. Research and Information Gathering. Make sure that all necessary team members can meet with the client prior to commencing work. This process consists of summarizing the goals of the project and receiving a sign off from the client on expectations.

Information-Gathering Process

3. The project manager will set the schedule based on current workload. Ask your coworker what is realistic. The first round should take about a week and then after that we should be able to set it in decreasing increments of 4,3,2,1 days to keep the momentum and the client fully-engaged.

Set the schedule and stick to it.

4. Get to work. There is no one correct approach. Whether it is pencil and paper or computer, this is where the concept takes shape.

Smart work for cool clients. 

5. Lets review and compare our work as a group. Also, we should look back at the original plan and make sure all work reflects the goals we set out to achieve.

Lets collaborate to achieve the best possible work.

6. Repeat until we get it right. Even if we have to eat (that) lunch at our desk.

What is that? Chili?

These pictures were taken with an old Polaroid. Actually, it is a knock off Fuji Film version.  But, I think it gave the photos just the right concoction of cool meets creeper. I can’t believe we actually got six out of ten photos that are pretty decent. Decent may be a bit too kind.

This is the gist of our process. There are some more nuances to it, but you get the main idea. When you have a clearly-defined process it allows you to focus on what matters: the client and the work. And, your sad little chili lunch.

 

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