Say Something Nice Logo 2

Not Getting the Job, but Making the Right Connection

The business world is a tough place.  And if you think it’s going to get better in the near future, let me introduce you to this novel concept called reality.  It’s something that the governments of the world are currently being introduced to (If you are unfamiliar with Marx’s Das Kapital; it’s a long, often difficult to understand set of works discussing the functions of capitalism, the history of capitalism, and most importantly, Marx’s famed view on capitalism’s diminishing rate of profit.  Like I said, it’s not an easy read.  Nor is it what I call uplifting).

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about today.  I wanted to talk about the value of being rejected by a potential employer.

Like I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m currently in a purgatory like state of employment/unemployment.  I’m in that fickle and highly stressful stage of life between my undergraduate degree and my graduate degree.  Yes I graduated from a top tier university with a true liberal arts degree (I could of graduated in 2.5 years… I studied 4) and a work ethic that most employers would kill for, but the fact remains that I’m also competing in a world that is in all honesty a wash of “cheap” undergraduate degrees.  (Notice how I did not describe the undergraduate as inexpensive.  They are anything but inexpensive).

But I do not let that detour me.  Doing so seems in my eyes unproductive as worrying about things that you can’t do anything about is simular to travelling via rocking chair: you expend a lot of energy, but you don’t move anywhere.

What I can do (and I encourage others to do) is continue forward progress.  It may seem like you are constantly being pushed back 4 steps, but if you make 5 forward steps, that’s still a net gain of 1 step.  It’s not a huge gain, but with the college football season coming up (and my string of productive Saturdays about to start disappearing), a gain is a gain.  It’s not a touchdown, but neither are most plays in a game.

And that brings me to my point.  When you get rejected by a potential employer, take it for all it’s worth.  Make a connection with the people at the company, make a solid impression, and initiate a relationship.  It’s not a job, but it’s forward progress.

That being said, I want to leave this post by re-visiting an old idea (the SaySomethingNice initiative) that I was reminded of by a recent (and non related) Improve Everywhere Campaign.  On a side note, Charlie Todd, the founder of Improve Everywhere is also a UNC alum and one smart guy.

 

I’ve got one more Silver Dollar, but I’m not gonna let them catch me! Part IV

Oh blog… how I’ve been lazy and neglected you.  Well, more pre-occupied with this and that.  Hulu and a glass of wine on the other hand…  we’re always good.

Well enough of that, time for an update on the #Saysomethingnice Project.  I made it back from a crazy long weekend in Savannah and I’ve got the day “off.”  Thanks to a few recent projects I’ve tackled in my internship (email newsletter design, Twitter backgrounds, etc), I’ve been able to spend lots of time getting re-familiarized with Adobe CS.  Fun stuff, but sooooo time consuming.

So here is the latest modification of my project cards.  For the front, I mostly just cleaned up some lines and other minor things.  I personally like it, but I am totally open to any ideas.  This project is as much a learning experience for me as much as anything else.  The back side on the other hand is very different.  I tried a few ideas that looked good when I sketched them out, but when I started playing around in Illustrator…  not so hot.  Something was just off.  It kinda reminded me of creating a photography series: what seems like a good idea in theory often just doesn’t work when you actually do it.  But you don’t know until you try it out.

Along with the card design, I’ve been thinking about different ways to build the project’s website.  After all, the ultimate goal of the project is to show how personal interaction and online interaction can influence each other.  Without using Flash, I’m limited, but then again, too much flash is just repulsive.  And it’s not exactly the friendliest program to work with.  I think I have a rough idea to start with, but one step at a time

I’ve got one more Silver Dollar, but I’m not gonna let them catch me! Part III

It’s been a week or two since I’ve talked about my #saysomethingnice project, but life sometimes works out that way.  The old saying about everything happening at once: totally true. When it rains, it really does pour!  A lot of new projects are getting started at my internship and I’ll be honest, my brain can only take so much before turning to mush.  Luckily, I’m thrilled with our new projects.  They just take a lot out of me!  And of course, St. Patrick’s Day is coming up!  Savannah, here I come!

Well, one of the great things about interning is the chance to experience a little of everything.  And because Method Savvy is a startup, double that!  It’s hard work, but I like challenges.  Every week, it seems like I’m jumping head first into something new.  It’s not a job for someone who likes doing the same thing over and over.  Sometimes it’s stressful and sometimes it’s the best experience in the world.  The situation really is the ideal setting to learn about the industry and gain some invaluable experiences.  After all, being adaptive is essential to any career.  Especially today.

A lot of what I do consist of looking at media and marketing strategies through the perspective of  a marketer.  It’s very business based, but not like running a company.  I don’t really do financial numbers.  I do metrics.  We attempt to increase sales, but we do it by looking at how a company connects with clients.  It’s all about creating valuable relationships with people.  My job is 1/3 business, 1/3 art, and 2/3 intuition.  Yes, having a sixth sense for knowing what will be effective is worth an extra 1/3.  Glue that all together with the ability come up with creative ideas that are actually do-able and that’s my job.  And did I forget deadlines?  Concepts such as ROI advertising, cost per click, and conversion rates dominate a lot of what I do in a very artsy way.  Think of evaluating and creating art as a business strategy.    It’s Andy Warhol meets CEO.

The experience is wonderful, but I ultimately want to work more as a creative.  I like not only coming up with the big idea/strategy, but actually executing the strategy through creation.  But I also know understanding the industry through the eyes of a marketing department will help me design better.  If your client has a business goal and approaches you to work on a project as a creative, you will do yourself a huge favor if you start your design understanding exactly what that goal is.  I think experiencing the marketing/advertising/pr industry in a business oriented setting will help me understand the business side of advertising and ultimately  guide my methods as a designer.

So, back to the #saysomethingnice project.  Here is the latest set of card ideas.  I’ve of course got my thoughts, but I want to hear what other people have to say before I comment.  And if anyone has any experience with Dreamweaver/Flash, I’d really appreciate a few minutes of your time!

I’ve got one more Silver Dollar, but I’m not gonna let them catch me! Part II

My latest project, #SaySomethingNice is developing nicely!  And thanks to the start of the road season being pushed back another week because of snow… again, I decided to brew some green tea, turn up the speakers, and play around with InDesign.  Not a bad way to spend the day.  I’m getting some good feedback on the project and yes, I finally got my hands on an old copy of Adobe CS2.  Thank you Lauren!  And if you are looking for a good Architect specializing in Sustainable Design, I’m sure she would love to hear from you.  I may  be a little bias, but then again, I get to spend a lot of time in OREGON!

Well back to my project.  Having access to CS makes life way easier in some ways, but at the same time, I’m more than a little rusty with Photoshop, InDesign, and that wonderful program known as Illustrator.

So I’ve been playing around with my card design and I have some ideas I think may help make the design be more effective.  After all, I’m relying on a catchy design to help get the word out and hopefully get people to participate.  Part of any good social media program is getting people to interact right?!?  Well, that is an issue I hope to solve by introducing my project personally and by using my card to visually remind people of what I want them to do.  If my design is potent, I think I have a good chance of getting this thing to go viral.  As good of chance as you can have.  Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t.

By now, you are probably asking, “why are you even using cards to get the word out?”  Besides the fact that I really want to play around with CS, I think using well designed cards makes my project unique and ultimately more likely to succeed.  Part of catching someone’s attention and getting that person to do something is based on being unique and personal.  Asking people to participate in a social media experiment by introducing the project through online social media seems like a weak choice.  I don’t know about you, but I get social media based invitations to groups, movements, etc all the time.  It’s both extremely impersonal and a really boring way to introduce something.  There are plenty of times when this kind of invitation is a good option, but not for this project.  It really goes down to one of my basic beliefs: advertisement and promotion should be multi-channel.  If you are trying to get the word out about something effectively, use unique and varied methods.  Create communication that appeals to the senses, gives clear information, and most importantly: BE MEMORABLE.  After all, you want your product/idea/etc to stand out above its competitors.  In the case of my project, integrating a simple, but powerful idea, a memorable design, and a personal touch will hopefully lead to success!

Thoughts on a Logo

Twitter uses hash-tags.  It’s great for tracking trends because it creates a universal marker for an idea/name/etc.  Instead of people spelling whatever they want to mention differently or using different words to describe something, hash-tags act to capture ideas/names/events/etc with a universal tag, #Whatever.  For my project, I want people to attach #SaySomethingNice to their tweets.  And that’s how I came up with the idea of using the “#” for a logo.  Check it out!

I think I may add the logo to the backside of the card where I had a penny.  I still plan on attaching a real penny to the card.  After looking at pricing, if I print the card totally in black and white, the savings would pay for the pennies.  Same cost, way more powerful.  Any thoughts?

I’ve got one more Silver Dollar, but I’m not gonna let them catch me!

Well they will!  Or at least someone will.  Im not exactly sure who they are yet,  but I’m not going to let them catch me just yet!  That will have to wait.  And thank you Allman Brothers.  Don’t worry, all will make sense in just a few paragraphs.  I promise.

Here is a question everyone should consider: what is the value of saying something nice to someone?  It depends who you ask, but I think it’s invaluable.  The old saying that “nice guys finish last” is totally wrong in my experience.  Nice people go places.  Sometimes it’s not instant, but good things happen to good people.  And I think that’s something everyone should keep in mind.  People generally like to help their friends.  I can’t tell you how many doors have opened and new opportunities appeared because someone decided to lend me a helping hand.  Add a little perseverance and the sky is the limit.  It’s Karma I tell you and yes, it’s very real.

So I have come up with an idea that I’ll openly taunt as a genius little social media experiment to help us all improve our Karma.  It’s so simple, it’s stupid: SAY SOMETHING NICE!  And if plans totally work out, I think it can prove a lot of things about social media and help some people out as a result.

The Plan!

In a recent post I talked about the power of Twitter.  It’s a phenomenal way to pass on “in the moment/trendy” information.  Gossip, the latest news, what Ashton Kutchner thinks about that new widget… these things go viral on Twitter.  Don’t believe me?  Check out a Twitter Trend report like TweetStats.com.

So how does this help me?  I don’t really care about what Ashton Kutchner thinks about widgets, but I DO care about how powerfully efficient Twitter can pass along information.  It’s sick.  And I want to use that to my advantage.  So here is the basic plan.  I’m still scheming, but the details are close to being worked out…

College campuses are a hotbed for activism.  If you have a message to share, they are a great place to start.  Even if you only reach 5% of the population and persuade 10% of that first group to act on a call to action, that’s a lot of people.  And better yet, if you can start something viral on Facebook or Twitter, college campuses are wired.  Viral events spread like wildfire with students.  Plus, we like being part of the “it” crowd.  Put a bunch of highly connected people together and boom!  Call it the “Meningitis Factor!”  What goes around comes around.  That counts as my bad joke of the post.

I plan to use this theory to get people to do something really simple.  Tweet something nice about someone.  So how am I going to get the word out?  The old fashion way… business cards and by being nice.  It’s amazing how powerful this method can be!  My whole scheme is based on something I like to call “engagement marketing.”  I will design a simple card (prototype to the left…  thank you Adobe InDesign!) with a penny either printed or glued on one side and some catchy text on the other side.  All I’m asking is for people to say something nice to someone and add #SaySomethingNice to their tweet.  That’s it.  And I’m doing it pseudo-anonymously.  People will have to work to catch me!  From there, curiosity will hopefully make this thing go viral.  It worked for Moonfruit didn’t it?

Well people are very curious.  Do something a little different and people investigate.  Do something with a smile on your face and people generally do something nice back.  That why I say, “being nice is invaluable.”  It really is.  I plan on using that curiosity to draw people to my newly formed Twitter Account, SaySomethingNice.  Chances are they will read my profile and click on the website link.  Even if they don’t, the profile says pretty much everything.  But if they do click on the link,  it will bring them to SaySomethingNice.info.  This is where the plan gets fun!  I hope to use the site to visually show how Say Something Nice grows virally.

How I’m going to do this?  I’m still playing around with some ideas, but I think pennies are going to be involved.  For every Tweet I track mentioning SaySomethingNice, I plan on adding a penny to a jar.  I’ll post a picture everyday of the jar growing.    And if I can manage to do it, I hope to get some sponsors who will donate that money to good causes.  I wish I could do it myself, but I’m unemployed people!  More details to come soon!