It's official - summer is finally here. This week we experienced the hottest day so far this year, a toasty 31.4 °C! Just bliss, if you ask me. I've been reminiscing this week about all my favorite summer memories and I'll share a special one with you today.
I always thought that sports cars were overrated until I had the opportunity to drive one. Not just any one - a Corvette (convertible and t-top). How quickly I converted. I fell in love with how it purred when I started the ignition, how it hugged the road and reacted to my steering and how it felt to have the wind in my hair when the top was down. It was glorious and I didn't even care that I showed up to business meetings with my hair looking like a birds nest!
The Chevrolet Corvette is an iconic brand that celebrated its 60th Anniversary this year. There's been six generations of Corvettes and the seventh generation - the 2014 C7 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray will be in production very soon. The Stingray has a V8 engine with 455 HP and can go 0-60 mph in less than 4 seconds. You can read more on the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray at gm.ca.
It is the most powerful standard Corvette model ever and will define this brand for the next 60 years.
I look forward to creating new memories driving this one.
Brilliant & Fearless
Theodore Roosevelt, Dr. Brené Brown and Oprah on vulnerability
Theodore Roosevelt lived in North Dakota, my home state, for a number of years before his presidency. His legacy is familiar to me, but it was only recently that I came across this quote:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs …[And] if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
I found it in the June issue of The Oprah Magazine, found for $1 at the Goodwill down the street.
The quote was part of Oprah’s interview with Brené Brown, a professor of social work and PhD who has studied vulnerability for more than a decade.
Her research led to her soul-baring TED talk, one that’s approaching 10 million views, so perhaps you’ve seen it already.
I remember viewing it some time ago, but her it has taken on new relevance in my role at Fusion. Our Brilliant & Fearless motto arrives with another aspect – vulnerability. I’ve written about fear previously, but vulnerability is in the shadows with fear. (P.S. Remind me to address brilliant soon, will you? Brilliant is out in the light.)
Brown characterizes a vulnerability based on mutuality, requiring boundaries and trust. Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them.
I think this is a crucial part of being on a team or in any relationship, between colleagues or in a life outside the office.
The result of this mutually respectful vulnerability, writes Brown, is increased connection trust and engagement.Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the centre of meaningful human experiences. (From the book, Daring Greatly by Brown).
From the interview with Oprah:
Brené: We shut down because we’re scared.
Vulnerability is not about fear, or grief or disappointment. It’s the birthplace of everything we’re hungry for – joy, faith, love, spirituality…
Brené: Yes. There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.
Oprah: You’ve got to be open enough to risk failure.
It’s time to get in the arena.
What up, dog?
Here’s a first. At least a first for me. I did a logo for my niece’s dog — Lil’ Arnie. Born in the USA, Arnie survived death row in two different states before making his way north and finding refuge in a great home in Transcona, Canada. A branded bandana is in the works.
Not the same old, same old.
The other day, I was talking with one of my colleagues at Fusion about how much things have changed in our industry over the last decade.
We’ve read articles about serious challenges that face the advertising agency and particularly the threat of Google and technology and how clients will be able to do it all themselves, eliminating the middle man.
The word agency essentially means middle man. An ad agency was actually the middle man in the early days when agencies made all of their revenues from media commissions. Advertising agencies began as “agents” of newspaper ad space. They would buy the ads at an agency discount and sell them to the client at the rate card rate.
The US's first ad agency. (interesting story here)
The rise of digital marketing and social media was said to spell the end of the marketing middle man. Now, a company can speak directly to their market, hear what they have to say and promote themselves. They can do their own Google Pay-Per-Click or place their own Facebook ads. They can get their brand’s creative messaging done with crowd-sourcing, or “desktop publish” in-house (another harbinger to the death of the ad agency twenty years ago).
Instead, as the world of advertising changes, it has become incredibly more complex. The number of marketing channel choices has grown faster than anyone could have imagined and it continues to increase daily. Instead of simplifying marketing as was forecast, the digital age has brought waves of new data cascading down on the business. And smart strategies are only made by comprehending all of the data. Decision paralysis ensues.
Larger version here (click on it).
We used to come up with cool ideas with cool design and decide whether television, radio, print or outdoor was best. Standing out was most of the battle.
Equity research firm Pivotal Research Group mentions in a recent overview of ad agencies: "As marketers have come to face more and more choices for their marketing strategies, they increasingly rely upon external and ostensibly neutral partners—such as agencies—to both filter ideas and support the socialization of initiatives or process changes across the broader organization. This factor is the most critical one which explains why agencies face no credible threat of disintermediation from technology-driven marketing or media platforms."
Traditional advertising agencies will die if they don’t change. But I don’t see many businesses, because it is now easier for them, taking on what we do to create a strategy and sell a product. It is much more difficult than it ever was. You need experts in all of the many alternative traditional and digital channels, and experts in messaging within these channels to get heard and be considered. And you can’t crowd-source a penetrating message without a keen analysis of all of the data, without the experts on the hundreds of channel choices and without the experts who know how to work within them.
We are changing all the time. Things are happening so fast that we are doing things here at Fusion that we didn’t do last year and dropping things that we did last year. Change is a great thing. Advertising has become so much more dynamic and exciting. And it has become a true science. I love it.
Skulls, Skies and Georgia O'Keefe
Last weekend, a good friend and I loaded our dogs into my truck, told our husbands to fend for themselves and headed west to spend the weekend at my parents' place in the south west corner of Saskatchewan. I've always been someone who loved to be outside and I think as my years living in a city creep closer to equal to my years lived in the country, I start to realize more and more just how good I feel when I leave behind the concrete and pavement for some gravel roads and wide, green scenery. Sometimes you just need some fresh air and no cell service, am I right? So, feast your eyes on open skies:
While quadding along the beaches of the South Saskatchewan River, we came across a number of interesting relics (which my dad strapped to his quad for us with a bungee cord that he naturally had along for such things). We found a deer skull with antlers intact, several shed antlers and this cow skull, bleached white by the sun:
These and the many other antler sheds and skulls that my dad has collected and displayed at the cabin, lead me back to a conversation I'd had at that week's Creative Team weekly huddle about Georgia O'Keefe, and how I've realized that the reason I've always loved her work may be that it reminds me a bit of home, and I relate to the landscape and the moods reflected in her beautiful paintings.
If you don't know Georgia O'Keefe's work, you should really look her up. It was fascinating for me to take a trip to Arizona this winter and see first hand the setting that was so inspirational to her work (she lived in New Mexico for most of her working life) and at the same time to be reminded of the area I grew up in and feel inspired myself. If your heart is like mine and longs for hills and valleys and skulls (what, that's a totally normal thing to say), you'll love her, too.
So the moral of the story may be that no matter where you go, home is always where your heart is... or something sappy like that. Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to talk about slamming through mud on my quad.