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Knock Your Block Off

Knock Your Block Off

Posted on Apr 27, 2017 by Ian Wilson

Few things are more frightening to a creative than the blank page used to begin every project. It can be unnerving, and you may lock up. Then after jotting down a handful of ideas, you face a new challenge. This time your subconscious is trying to break your stride by sowing the seeds of fear, self-doubt, and temptation.

As I’ve long maintained: Creativity is kinetic. In other words, keep your pencil moving or you’ll end up stuck in the mud. If you do (and you will) find yourself at a standstill, being able to recognize what’s happening can help you to break yourself out of that unproductive mindset, which is the first step to getting back on track. For this reason, I’ve compiled a short list of a few common obstacles you’ll likely face.

  • Stop waiting for the winners

Think of your mind as a jar full of jelly beans, where the blue beans are the brilliant ideas you’re after. If you’re only allowing the blue beans to leave the jar, then your overall yield will suffer. A better plan would be to first pour everything out, then follow that up by sorting the great from mediocre. Getting the subpar ideas out of your head also has its benefits, because it frees up mental resources, clearing the way for fresh ideas to move in.

  • Don’t puppy-love your ideas

We get it, you’re clever. However, your role at this point is to catch as many of the ideas spilling out of you as you can. Just because you think you’ve hit pay dirt is no reason to jump the gun and begin refining. If you feel this way about a recent idea, chances are that you’re harboring a bias toward an idea that it is probably too cute or grandiose to make the final cut anyway. It may be that it only sparkles in contrast to the string of lackluster ideas that led up to it. Plus, creativity usually happens in bursts, so it would be a titanic mistake to stop upon reaching the tip of the iceberg.

  • Stick to the plan

Strategy is the anchor for your campaign. It’s purpose is to ensure that your work aligns with all other work in order to maintain a cohesive and uniform message. The further you try to stretch the leash that tethers you to your strategy, the more work your audience will have to do to make sense of what you are trying to get across. If you make them do too much work, they’ll likely give up and move on.

  • Safety third

Creativity occupies the shared space on the venn diagram between a problem’s solution and novelty. Just as you stick to the strategy, you must also find new ways to approach it. This is the time to take some risks and see what happens. Think of it as shoplifting from the candy store in your mind. When your ideas begin to feel robotic and manufactured, try pushing them to a frightening extreme. Then walk them back to find the breaking point.

  • Physical needs take mental energy

Whether you’re hungry, restless, tired or just plain hungover, your body is trying to get your attention. Working through these distractions can be tough, and your work will likely suffer due to divided focus. Conversely, the endorphin boost from taking a walk, or getting up every so often to stretch, can be great for productivity. Physical activity also doesn’t need to be exercise, it can be as simple as arranging your lunch in an eye-appealing way or giving yourself time to get enough sleep. Find out what works for you, and incorporate it into your process.

Ultimately the solution to getting stuck is always to get back to work. You could wax intellectual about process, or stall for time setting up your environment, but it’s never going to give you the same satisfaction as real progress. Instead, do what the pros do—roll up your sleeves and do the work. Taking a page from one of the United Kingdom’s most renowned prime ministers:

“When you’re going through hell, keep going.”—Winston Churchill

Now, don’t you have some work to do?

 

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6 Ways to Keep up With Daily Trends

6 Ways to Keep up With Daily Trends

Posted on Apr 25, 2017 by Alyssa Zucker

The word “trend” is defined as: “a general direction in which something is developing or changing.” So given that trends are inherently dynamic, the challenge to stay current can be daunting. Industries within the digital sphere require constant adaptation to trends, and identifying them (for which there are many different methods) is always the first step. Keeping up with daily trends is an essential element for creating content that is relevant to your consumers. Diligence here will also better equip you to avoid costly mistakes, through a greater understanding and awareness of social issues and controversy.

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Today’s Special: Acronym Soup!

Today’s Special: Acronym Soup!

Posted on Apr 20, 2017 by Ian Wilson

In this modern world of information being generated, processed, validated; flying this way and that; not to mention adhering to character limits–abbreviations help us to condense important concepts for quick communication. Two popular, and often confused, methods for abbreviating an idea are acronyms and initialisms. Both use the initial letter of each word in a phrase, with the key difference being that acronyms form a word that can be spoken, while the letters are individually pronounced for initialisms (think NASA versus the NSA).

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Congrats to our Clients

Congrats to our Clients

Posted on Apr 18, 2017 by Alyssa Zucker

Two of our very own clients recently closed multi-million dollar deals, and we could not be more honored to have had a hand in their success! In helping these companies perfect their web presence, we have grown fond of our clients and their work, and are thus gleaming like proud parents at their success. We want to extend our most sincere congratulations to AcadmeicWorks and RetailMeNot on their new acquisitions!

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Easter in Austin

Easter in Austin

Posted on Apr 14, 2017 by Alyssa Zucker

If there is one day that embodies all things Spring, it’s Easter. Floral prints, outdoor activities, and an emphasis on brunch make this holiday the epitome the season. We already know Austin thrives in brunch, and Austinites consistently take advantage of the copious sunshine by exploring the many fun things to do outside. In other words, this holiday has Austin’s name all over it. There are many different ways to tackle Easter, and Austin offers a myriad of ways to spend the day.

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How Influencers Have Impacted Marketing

How Influencers Have Impacted Marketing

Posted on Apr 13, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Influencer marketing seems to be taking the lead as this year’s most “influential” marketing approach. Have you ever noticed someone you follow on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat mention different products from time to time? I hate to break it to you, but that influencer you follow was more than likely paid to mention that product on their personal feed. This approach gives companies access to thousands, if not millions, of people they would not have otherwise been able to reach.

Influencers are seen as thought leaders for very specific niches. For example, if an influencer is regarded as being someone who is “trendsetter”, the second they mention a brand or product, their followers are immediately opening up a new tab to get their hands on it. This causes a spike for the number of search mentioning that particular product. This is exactly what companies want, and why they are willing to pay big bucks to influencers to push their products to their loyal, unsuspecting followers.

Influencers make it easy for a lot of companies to reach thousands and even millions of people in their target market because of the fact that there are influencers in just about every niche. By sharing their stories, influencers have made themselves relatable to a wide range of people. There is a good chance that no matter what your product is, there is an influencer that has thousands of followers that are right in your target market. Once a marketer finds an influencer that has a sizable audience they want to reach, they don’t have to work very hard to reach possibly millions of people that sit right in their market!

Influencers are also well connected with other influencers, possibly in a different niche. When influencers partner with other thought leaders, that’s double the exposure to your brand. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat all have messaging features as well. If someone sees something they think a friend might like, they can send it to their friend via direct message. At that point, the friend is exposed to the influencer, and thus your brand or product.

Social media has opened a new world to marketing. With the rising number in internet users that use ad blockers (about half), your retargeted advertisements are now less likely to be seen. With social media influencers, even though they may mention that the post is an ad, it still has a massive impact on the actions of their followers. What influencers are you following?