Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Close to Home

Last night I stumbled upon a PBS Frontline documentary called, "Close to Home." It's a look into how the economy has hit the clientele and the owner of a hair salon on the Upper East side of Manhattan.
Complains one patron, "It's the Upper East Side.... This isn't supposed to happen here."

Sure, comments like this are enough to make anybody with some clue of what's going on roll their eyes in disgust and possibly turn off the TV. Thankfully, that particular patron is shown to highlight just how ridiculously unaware some folks are. However, most of the show provides insight into how it isn't just this company or that, it isn't just happening here or there, nor is it even just happening to me.

By following the stories of several people, the documentary does a great job of sharing from different angles: how the economy has affected families, how an older workforce is coping with unemployment, and how some have had to simply start over. One person's story, which particularly hit home, was Rob's. He had been a highly-paid HR exec for a large marketing firm and now finds himself on the other side of the desk. Someone who had once been responsible for hundreds of people now spends endless hours submitting applications, tweaking copies of his resume, and networking with others in the job hunt. His recounting of the day he was laid off was eerily familiar.

One thought I did have while watching, as the tales of unemployment rolled on, was... "I wonder how much that haircut is costing that guy." Ironically, I got my hair cut yesterday, and no - I didn't go to a discount chain, so I, too, had to spend money I don't have on something so simple.

Below is a clip from the documentary. For the full-length version, click HERE.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Notes from 10/23 OCA Meeting

Targeting Companies
Last week, we did something we never usually do on an official basis. Each week we talk about the companies we're researching and submitting applications with, which always leads to great discussions, but we hadn't ever taken the time to really examine who we're targeting.

Six of us listed out our top 10 companies, and it was surprising to see how some considerably floated to the top. Despite the fact that all of us were coming from different backgrounds and from different career levels, 5 out of 6 of us listed Starbucks. REI was next with 4 out of 6. The common theme for both of these was strength of the brand, and not surprisingly, the culture and how they consistently rank among the top companies with which to work.

Among agencies, Wunderman, DNA, and Wong Doody topped our list. Company growth and good, consistent creative propelled these to the front of the line.

Despite some crossover, there were more than 45 companies on the final list, which spanned a wide range of industries and company sizes. And as suspected, many of us were able to connect the dots and determine that we had contacts we could use to introduce our fellow OCA members.

Friday, October 23, 2009

WordPress WorkShop - 10/28

Below is information on next week's WordPress Workshop, to be taught by Richard Geasey.

Date / Time - next Wednesday, 10/28, from 10:30am - 12:30pm
Place - SVC, Room 204 (so up a level from where we normally meet)

To provide a basic intro to WordPress and how it can be used as a tool to create an online portfolio (and more).

-Difference between and .com, and why choose one versus the other
-Obtaining a great domain name
-Selecting a theme
-Installation and hosting
-Pages versus posts
-Plug Ins
-On going maintenance and updating
Richard figures he can cover these topics in 90 min, using samples, and we'll have approx. 30 min at the end for Q&A and possibly hands-on help.

Prerequisites: NONE
We realize everyone may be at various levels of familiarity with WordPress, from "I have no clue" to "I'm close to getting it, but just need help."

Cost: NONE

Materials: While there is no need to bring a computer, I'm going to bring my laptop. The SVC has Wi-Fi we can tap into. And if time allows, we might be able to look at some stuff hands on.

Disclaimer: While we're at the SVC, and they're providing space, this is not an SVC-endorsed course.

Monday, October 19, 2009

International Inspiration

The web can sometimes be a wicked, wicked thing... particularly for those of us with a touch of the A.D.D.

"hmm... just need to grab the exact title of my last manager, and I can finish this job application. I'll just pull it off LinkedIn. Oh, what's that?? 14 of my connections have made new connections themselves today? Oh - someone from XYZ company. Haven't heard of them - better check that out... Interesting web site - and, ooh - an article on their site's blog about social media. Hmm... one of the comments, rather insightful, came from Jane Doe. She's retweeting the link to the article. Wonder who she's following..."

blinking light, blinking light...

[ If you need more time to complete the application, please CLICK HERE. ]

"What the hell was I looking for?? Oh, right... manager's title."
And so it goes.

And this is about the same path in which I found the following YouTube video for a band out of Japan.


Notes from 10/16 OCA Meeting

No new members to report. That's probably a good thing.
Small, but lively group, this past Friday. We covered several topics, including:
- Online portfolios (OCA is setting up a 2-hr WordPress WorkShop); Steve Andrews, art director, suggested the web site / service,, which is where he developed his site.

- Our top targets. We had the suggestion that next week, our 'homework' is to bring a list of the companies we're looking at - to compare and contrast - and, more importantly, to see who has connections within these firms and agencies.

- Marchex, who is hiring product and product marketing jobs, as well as looking for a Media Buyer, here in Seattle.

- LinkedIn, and how companies are using the tool to quickly vet possible employee candidates. HR reps at companies, such as T-Mobile (which is where the inside info came from at a recent information session), can look to:
* double-check that the resume you've submitted matches that of your profile
* how well-connected you are (would a Sales Rep candidate only have 23 connections?)
* see how well-liked you are (how many recommendations does this person have?)
* use it to check references.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Notes from 10/9 OCA Meeting

Welcome to several new people:
- Richard Geasey, with over 20 years of technology business development, has recently published a book on local search -
Get Found Now.
- Jeff Rea brings 25 years of marketing experience and was most recently with Voltap, LLC. He is currently consulting with several local firms.
- Sharon Whiting, online marketing manager, most recently worked with (Yahoo! Sports).
- Wes Youngquist, art director / creative director, is currently freelancing with ad agencies along the West coast.

Thanks to Lisa Quast, last week's guest speaker. Lisa gave an inspiring presentation on how to manage your career search by creating a strategic plan. Her book, Your Career, Your Way, provides a road map for the steps she suggests implementing, including:
1) Review assets and liabilities
2) Determine your differentiators (what do you bring to a company that makes you unique?)
3) Get feedback (from former co-workers, friends, mentors, and people you trust)
4) Know your competition
5) Determine your goals, long-term and short-term
6) Create your career plan - write it down.
7) Implement your plan
8) Check your progress
9) Stay focused - tenacity, courage, and commitment
10) Celebrate achievements

If you couldn't make it to the meeting but want a copy of Lisa's presentation, let me know and I can send one.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Inspiration Comes in Many Forms

It's not marketing. It's not advertising. It's not even related to business. But I love the following video which I'd stumbled upon a while back.

For those not familiar, these are little 5-min historical vignettes, as told by someone who has had a few too many drinks, and acted out as narrated. I realized one day, as I helped my 5-year-old count and roll coins from his piggy bank, that my own father-to-son versions of George Washington's presidency and Abe Lincoln's take on the civil war were not too dissimilar in style (minus the occasional hiccup, slurring of words, or trip to pay homage to the porcelain bowl).
I do, however, tend to pepper my historical accounts with a fair amount of the word, "Dude."

There are several in the series, but this one is my favorite:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Notes from 10/2 OCA Meeting, Job News!

Marci Kearney has accepted a contract Marketing Manager role with Microsoft and will start next week. Another example of the power of the OCA group... Marci heard about the job through our Kelly Resources connection, Marc Tolan.
Congrats, Marci!

Welcome to new members:
- Deanne Krauter, art director and graphic designer, most recently with Coldwater Creek where she was for 13 years.
- Laurie Krisman, marketing communications, and new to Seattle by way of Denver. Laurie was most recently working with Xcel Energy, and spent 6 years with Qwest Communications as a marketing manager and copywriter.

Topics covered last week:
- Taproot Foundation, and how they can be used as a great way to volunteer your skills, while giving back to non-profit groups in the area. Click
HERE to see a list of on-going projects in Seattle.
- Design groups that are active in Seattle and often host social get-togethers.
* AIGA - the American Institute of Graphic Arts, has a local Seattle chapter
* SPGA / Seattle Chapter is part of the Graphic Artists Guild.
- We also discussed the possibility of having someone in to do a workshop on building an online portfolio. I'm talking to someone now about that and am seeing if we can line him up shortly.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Marketing for Social Good

Last week, Aquent sponsored a webcast titled, "Good Marketing: Marketing for Social Good."
It's part of a program put together by the American Marketing Association, and the presenter was Nancy Goldstein from Compass (x) Strategy in Chicago.

Very interesting topic, as many companies are starting to focus on sustainability projects, designing for 'good,' and investing in cause marketing and corporate-sponsored foundations.

Link to the presentation can be found here.
Link to other upcoming AMA webcasts can be found here.