Getting to the core – core values that is.

StarWars_LightSaber

Earlier this year, our company began the revealing process of looking at our culture to better understand who we are and what kinds of things we stand for. Not that we didn’t have a certain way of doing things, but more so because we’d never taken the time to analyze or articulate them in ways that could benefit not only our staff, but all those we work with.

For most companies, the process of defining your core values is typically one of the first things done when an organization is starting-up, going through management changes or undergoing a repositioning effort. And seeing as our agency is coming up on our 30-year anniversary, we decided that it was finally time to let everyone – ­ from staff and vendors to clients and even our own families – know exactly what Staples Marketing is all about.

For anyone who’s gone through this process, you know that there’s a ton of information available to help guide you and in my case, I’ve been fortunate to have worked for a number of organizations including Kohl’s (http://kohlscareers.com/our-culture/how-we-work/) that have done a great job of living their core values through their mission.

In our case, we began by treating ourselves as if we were a client and conducted some research involving both internal and client surveys. This included a range of questions to gauge current attitudes and perceptions about how we operate and what makes us different. And while it told us a lot about what we already knew, it also helped reveal areas that we were surprised to learn. Overall however, the responses were extremely favorable when it came to things like being responsive and reliable, in addition to our willingness to do whatever it takes. Even if that means taking care of a client request on a weekend or playing the part of an extra in a video shoot!

After analyzing the results of the surveys, we started to see common responses to questions which eventually lead to our defining the agency’s key attributes AND our core values. Then, to give them added strength, we included an adjective to each value to help describe how, or the degree to which we act. In our minds, it makes them more meaningful and helps keep them top-of-mind. Learn more about our Core Values here.

We even decided to create a weekly award for recognizing a Staples staffer for exemplifying one of our core values in the face of daily challenges. The Force Award is an authentic Star Wars Light Saber replica, complete with light and sound effects, and it’s now on display and making the rounds throughout the offices at Staples Marketing.

Next time, I’ll dig deeper into our core purpose and mission.

Is Your Nine to Five Taking a Toll on Your Body?

blog-post_August

If you spend your work day sitting in front of a computer screen you may be unknowingly causing serious harm to your body. As a graphic designer, I know all too well about the negative side effects of a desk job. On an average day I find myself sitting for at least 7 hours and I can honestly say that I have some of the world’s worst posture. I squirm and slouch, lean and tilt, and by the end of the day my back is hurting and my energy level is at an all-time low.

If you find yourself getting sucked into a laundry list of bad habits like me MAYBE it is time you do something about it!  Luckily I’ve discovered an essential life hack for fixing my poor posture at work – it’s called yoga.

By doing yoga a few times a week, I alleviate the major areas of tension in my back and at the same time minimize my stress levels. If you are looking to improve your mind and body here are a few exercises to get you started: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/07/yoga-desk-job_n_3707818.html

Go Kenosha Kingfish! Inspired Fun at Staples Marketing

Kenosha_Kingfish_1

Earlier this month, the Staples Marketing crew was recognized by our principles, Danny and Steve for meeting our 2nd Quarter goals. To celebrate, we swung down to the Historic Simons Field, home of the Kenosha Kingfish, a Northwoods League collegiate baseball team. A night of baseball including all you can eat and drink on a party deck? Count me in!

Aside from the usual hot dogs, brats and burgers, there was also a surprise menu addition: cranberry cashew chicken salad sandwich, which was delicious!

Need something to wash it down with? How about soda and about eight different domestic and craft beer options!

As if the game wasn’t entertainment enough, there were tons of antics in between the action: including the mascot, King Elvis, flying across the field on a zip line, enormous beach balls being tossed around in the stands, kids “catching” King Elvis in a net, and trivia. What more could we ask for? Well maybe three feet of licorice and a gigantic popsicle – Thanks, Steve!

Whether the Kingfish won or not, we were grateful to celebrate a win for our team –  that’s inspired fun!* (*one of our core values)

Kenosha_Kingfish_2

State Fair State Of Mind

423442_10150981894556426_1703209630_n

The Wisconsin State Fair new food list is always a ton of fun. It reads like a science fiction novel about food. I’ve yet to make the rounds at this year’s Fair, but some of my favorites from years past have been the Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger topped with Chocolate Covered Bacon, the Deep-Fried Stuffing Balls with Gravy, and the Deep-Fried Peanut Butter & Jelly on a stick – maybe the greatest food item of all time.

What’s interesting to me, though, is that the more deep-fried and bacon-wrapped the new items get, the more my eyes and taste buds start seeking out the simpler items. While an order of Deep Fried Maple Bacon Cookie Dough and a Mac & Cheese Bacon Burger Quesadilla both sound amazing, I’ll probably start with a corn-on-the-cob. I’m not alone on this one.

The same principle applies to marketing in general. If you don’t feel right promoting your business as the deep-fried, full-throttle, YOLO sort of company, that’s perfectly okay. There are plenty of prospective clients out there who actually prefer a nice corn-on-the-cob (or whatever simple item or service it is that you sell).

You don’t have to shock people into trying your goods and services. In fact, going the simple honesty route can help to establish your company as one that clients can rely on for the long-term. One can’t live on bacon-wrapped and chocolate-covered forever.

The key is to present your honest message in an honest way, but in a way that gets attention. What you’re selling may not have the attention-getting flash of some of your competitors, but there’s reliability and staying power in what you offer, and your prospective customers will see that. Be yourself, get some new business, and then go celebrate with a Peanut Butter Bacon Bison Burger!