Congratulations, you just got your first agency job and were just handed a shiny, new box of business cards. Even though you’ve already handed out a bunch and have put many more in “free lunch fishbowls” around town, here’s some real talk for you: Ignore your job title.
I’m not saying ignore what you’re being paid to do, but ignore what they’re calling you when you do it. Especially if your job title involves the words “ninja” or “rock star.” Here’s why: Job titles are artificial. They establish hierarchies and put people in nice, little boxes. But that’s just it, they’re limiting. If you’re a copywriter, you may feel restricted to writing. If you’re a designer, you may feel restricted to design. If you’re on the account side, you may feel restricted from creative work.
These are artificial labels and you’re doing yourself a disservice if you blindly adhere to them. If you spend your time trying to be the very best exemplar of your job title, you miss out on so many other opportunities. And if you wait until your job title matches exactly what you want out of your career, you’ve waited too long.
But when you ignore your job title, you ignore those restrictions and free yourself to grow your skill set. It’s up to you to forge your own path and begin building the kind of well-rounded portfolio that will always keep you employed, even when times are tough. So don’t be afraid to step outside your job description and show the passion to learn and try new things. It’s good for you. And your boss will notice.
These days, knowing the costs inherent in hiring employees and given the challenging economic climate, firms are trying hard to hire “mini-agencies” — talented people who are capable of delivering most (if not all) of an entire campaign themselves. With a little work and a lot of passion, you can become one of those people.
If you’d like to learn more about this and nine other ways you can become an indispensable part of your company’s team, register for Invaluable Isn’t Impossible, the second webinar in the Grad School online lecture series. I’ll be giving the talk and taking your questions on Wednesday, May 15. Interested? Click here to register.
While it’s a great honor to be recognized at the district level — and we’re eager to hear how the work does at the nationals — what’s most important is that we’re only a week away from our first Grad School webinar! Next Wednesday afternoon, Rick Riley and Sarah Melamed will present “The Nightmare About Your Dream Job,” in which they’ll “give you tips, do’s and don’ts about how to present yourself to get your job, and how to continue honing that skill to excel on the job.”
Click here to register for our inaugural Grad School webinar. Looking ahead, next month I will talk about how to make yourself invaluable on your job. In June, Jennifer Spike will show you how to use social media to act like a brand and think like a marketer. We hope you’ll join us. And if you’ve got an idea you’re interested in seeing covered, let us know in the comments!
This Thursday, Rick Riley and I will play host to more than a dozen AIGA Cleveland members, participating in an informal give-and-take about what it takes to prosper in the creative world and how to get a job in advertising. Think of the event, which AIGA calls Reverb, as a miniature, analog version of the forthcomingGrad School online series of webinars. Here’s how the organization is describing it:
Reverb is a changing monthly discussion among creatives. This month’s second Reverb is geared toward students and recently graduated professionals looking for advice on entering — and excelling within — the workforce. Led by Rick Riley and Joseph Hughes of Melamed Riley, one of Cleveland’s leading advertising agencies, the discussion will include: Tips on presenting your work, standing out in your job search, what professionals look for when hiring, and how to excel once you land the job.
Gather your questions and prepare for advice from those who were once in your shoes! Riley brings nearly 30 years of agency experience to the table, having written for brands ranging from beer to burgers to hardware to housewares to candy to colleges. And Hughes has forged a designer’s eye, journalist’s education, and one-time science geek’s curiosity into a multi-faceted career that’s brought him to all corners of the creative world. Together, they’ve (probably) seen it all — and have lived to tell about it.
As an AIGA member myself, I’m honored that AIGA Cleveland wants to hear from Melamed Riley in their ongoing conversation about the important issues facing the creative world. I’m looking forward, too, to some challenging questions from attendees. Can’t make it yourself but have a question for us about the business? Let us know in the comments! Interested in registering for the first Grad School online webinar, “The Nightmare About Your Dream Job”? Click the button below.
The South by Southwest (SXSW) series of festivals held each year in Austin champion what’s next in music, film, and interactive technology. SXSW 2013 begins on March 8, but those unable to attend can hear a firsthand account of the festivals from attendees, participants, and presenters — all with Northeast Ohio ties. On Wednesday, March 20, the Cleveland AAF’s professional development luncheon brings together five panelists who will be at SXSW 2013, and who will share what they learned and how it will impact our industry.
To promote the luncheon, Stephanie Landes and I teamed up to design promotional materials for the Cleveland AAF, including the ad you see above. We took a two-fold approach to visually reinforcing the idea that the AAF is bringing a piece of SXSW to Cleveland: One, there’s the graphical representation of “NXNE,” a play on the event’s name incorporating the same color palette. Two, there’s the enclosing shape around the event’s title that references both states and has an arrow headed to and from each.
The NXNE panel comprises bright minds from a variety of disciplines, including advertising, technology, interactive development, and fashion — all with ties to the Northeast Ohio area. They include:
Joanne Kim earned her position at Marcus Thomas with the philosophy that you must “risk or fade into obscurity.” Kim will highlight the significance of SXSW to advertising professionals and how some of the concepts showcased at this year’s event could impact the industry. She’ll also facilitate the question-and-answer session at program’s end.
Mike Knowlton has always had his eyes fixed on the digital horizon. With 20 years of experience in design, programming, advertising, program management, and filmmaking, Knowlton has become a leader in the transmedia community. He speaks regularly at leading cross-media conferences, including Storytelling 1.X, ad:tech, and Storyworld. Knowlton will join the discussion virtually, offering key takeaways from SXSW as well as the interactive technologies to watch for in 2013.
Markus Vogl:Associate Professor at The University of Akron
Markus Vogl is a Northeast Ohio-based multimedia artist with more than 12 years of experience in the field of web, print, and interactive design, experimenting in multiple sensory experiences combining sound, environments, and interactive installation. Vogl has exhibited both in the United States and Europe and has been recognized in Leonardo magazine for his collaboration Circadian Capital.
Developer Chad Milburn pushes the boundaries of interactivity, as evidenced by his team’s latest creation, Plotter. Billed as the first social network for maps, Plotter was chosen from more than 500 web-based products to compete in the fifth SXSW Interactive Accelerator. Milburn will give attendees an exclusive look at what it was like to represent the Cleveland interactive community in a cut-throat competition described as a “fireworks display of innovation.”
If you’re interested in learning more about SXSW 2013, consider attending the Cleveland AAF luncheon. To register, click here. Have you been to prior SXSW events? Are you going to this year’s conference? If so, let us know your thoughts in the comments.
From the moment we began selling tickets to Melamed Riley Grad School, the buzz the event generated fell into two distinct camps: One, people who couldn’t wait to buy tickets. And two, people who wanted to buy a ticket but who just couldn’t make it to Cleveland, be it thanks to a scheduling conflict or — most often — thanks to distance. When you create an event aimed at arming college students and recent grads who hope to work in advertising, design, or public relations with a day’s worth of important know-how, you cast a wide net. Though we focused our outreach to area colleges and universities, we heard from curious people located all over the map.
Which is why we’re taking Melamed Riley Grad School online as a series of webinars coming this spring.
It was a tough decision, believe me, but as time wore on, the amount of super-interested people who couldn’t afford to travel long distances to Cleveland overwhelmed us. Who could blame them: Remember how little money you had as a student? Knowing this, we thought about what we could do to reach the widest audience possible. Bringing Grad School online as a series of webinars accomplishes this. While we’re still ironing out some of the technical details and final dates, we can tell you that going to Grad School will now be tuition-free, and requires no gas money! For their troubles and commitment, we’ve refunded our ticket-buyers and threw in a little extra as a thank you, too.
So, wherever you’re studying, you can soak up all of the knowledge we have to offer! We think the lectures our speakers are planning appeal to a very wide audience, extending beyond college students to include high schoolers and those already in the working world who may be considering a career change. After all, skills like knowing how to give good presentations or becoming jacks-of-all-trades help you no matter where you are in your career. To jump to the head of the class and be the first to know about the spring schedule of Melamed Riley Grad School webinars, click here, fill out the form, and we’ll be in touch. Questions? Let us know in the comments below.
The web sometimes gets a bad name in the working world. However, for every story you see about loss in worker productivity thanks to the latest buzz-worthy website or social media outlet, there are countless corners of the internet that we rely upon while we work. Everybody’s got a few pages bookmarked that they lean upon to get their work done. Equal parts inspiration and education, here are a few of my top useful websites:
Little Big Details: Though I don’t often work in the realm of user interface design, I love Little Big Details because it showcases the tiny features of our favorite sites and apps that make the experience so much more engaging. Plus, it shows you that the best solutions are often the most simple — and most elegant.
Coudal Partners: The official site of this Chicago-based agency has been a core part of my daily web life for years. The brains behind Field Notes and Layer Tennis deliver their “Fresh Signals” – little jolts of inspiration, creativity, culture, and miscellany — on a daily basis. Each month, Fresh Signals has a guest editor who supplies his or her own favorite links. I was lucky enough to be a guest editor back in 2010.
Austin Kleon’s Tumblr: Much like Coudal Partners, Kleon’s site is a catch-all for inspiration and motivation. The author of Steal Like An Artist delivers on a daily basis. You could easily spend a day transfixed in his archives relating to advertising, design, and process, among many others. Kleon calls his Tumblr “A scrapbook of stuff I’m reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about …” and I guarantee you’ll be hooked after giving it a look.
Key Caps: As a Mac-based designer, sometimes I have to know how to make the ¢ symbol. Or the ™ symbol. Or, when I’m spelling out my colleague Renée’s name, the accent mark over the second “e.” Enter Key Caps. The site looks like it was built in the mid-’90s, which makes me like this vital resource even more.
Brands of the World: Quite often, usually in the mocking-up stage, I’ll find the need for a corporate logo. Apart from the vast file of client logos we have on the servers here at Melamed Riley, I’ve found that Brands of the World is a wonderful resource. If you can’t find a logo here, chances are it never existed. What’s more, they’re free and available in vector format.
Beyond my list, I wanted to enlist — see what I did there — a few of my colleagues to share the most useful websites they keep coming back to in their daily lives. Without further ado:
I follow Copyranter (who is now on Buzzfeed) just because he gives equal time to drool-worthy ads and to miserable ads alike. Sometimes it not only helps to see the kind of work I aspire to, but also what pitfalls to avoid.
I often find myself perusing Laughing Squid for inspiration (or sometimes, just a pleasant distraction). The San Francisco-based blog is a treasure trove of all things nerdy, quirky, funny and cool.
This might not be the most “obscure” list, however it’s one that encourages high productivity levels. Just as important as coffee and breakfast.
I have an RSS feed set up with Branding Strategy Insider. They cover a very wide range of branding topics that have given me ideas on how to be thinking about the different brands we work on as well as how to best communicate branding principles with different clients.
I use LinkedIn almost daily. Along with my own connections, I find the groups to be especially valuable as worldwide networks for gaining insights, sharing information and floating ideas. My groups include: Brand Positioning, Market Research Marketing Professionals Group, Strategy & Corporate Strategic Planning Xchange, and Neuromarketing (just for fun).
Netvibes: It is a great aggregator site that allows me to pull in various RSS feeds and sources for one easy go-to location to view new content.
Divvy HQ: A great online content management calender that allows you to manage multiple content calendars more efficiently.
HootSuite: This is my go-to social media management platform. Their customer service is superb and they continue to evolve the platform as social media continues to expand.
Microsoft Tag: A great free quick-response code software platform that allows you to easily and quickly create QR Codes and MTAGs with essential tracking and customization features other platforms don’t offer.
Pingraphy: Allows you to schedule Pinterest pins in advance, as well as track each pin’s performance. This helps social media managers work more efficiently with the ability to schedule the content.
Sports Illustrated: I need to stay current on snarky things said about Cleveland sports and anything of interest on Jimmy Traina’s “Hot Clicks.”
Huffington Post: As content aggregators of the vast left-wing mainstream media conspiracy against conservative values go, Arianna Huffington sure is one.
Daily Beast: Ditto (pardon the expression) goes for Andrew Sullivan.
Rotten Tomatoes: Rotten Tomatoes allows me to be conscientious about which terrible films I am going to choose to pay $10 to see anyway.
Rolling Stone: A vestige of my mis-spent youth, I get to read about all of the music and culture that I no longer listen to or keep up with.
Trend Hunter: In this business, you always feel about six months behind anyway, so why not make sure that lag-time doesn’t get larger?
Motionographer: The latest of what’s going on in the motion graphics world.
There’s only one month to go before Grad School, the one-day conference we’re holding in Cleveland next February 16 to arm college students and recent grads who hope to work in advertising, design, or public relations with the kinds of practical know-how we picked up only after we graduated. And while we want to offer attendees topics stemming from our accumulated experiences, we know something important: We don’t know everything. This is why we listed a surprise topic on the schedule, leaving the time slot up to a contest in which attendees could suggest something they wanted to learn about.
This winning suggested topic is something we feel is vitally important to your success. We’ve all had to deal with rejection in our personal lives, which is never fun. But in your professional life, how you deal with it can be the difference between building a huge career in your chosen profession and folding sweaters at the Gap. Rejection is as much a part of the business as sketch pads and Macs. Listen up and leave Grad School with some great ideas on how to handle it.
A great topic, if you ask us, and one that earned Cesear a free ride to Grad School. I took a few minutes to catch up with our winner, who most definitely appears to be on the right track to a long career in the industry. Without further ado …
What prompted you to suggest this topic?
It was actually the first topic that came to my mind. It’s something that I’ve experienced, yet I’ve never heard anyone elaborate on it or truly prepare me for it. You know you’re going to encounter rejection during the job search, and you hear stories about new business pitches and clients turning you down, but you really have no idea what it’s going be like until it happens. You don’t really get rejected in class, although you might not get the letter grade you expected. I think it’s crucial for advertising students to expect it, know how to react (especially in front of a client), and how to turn around and be motivated to fix the problems so that the client and your team are happy.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a Cleveland, Ohio native, from North Royalton, specifically. I was accepted into Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism originally for broadcast, but changed my track in my first quarter to advertising. I’m a senior, and throughout my time at OU I’ve made advertising a large part of my life through our advertising association as well as our AAF National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) team — and I’ve loved every second of it. I’ve also specialized in marketing and have a Spanish minor, and I work for OU’s athletic department. In my spare time I … well, I don’t really have much spare time, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I graduate in the spring, and would love to end up in either Cleveland, Chicago, Austin, or San Diego, and find a job at an advertising agency working in advertising management or branding. Plan B is to go into sports marketing and media relations.
What are you looking forward to at Grad School?
I’m most excited to bring some fellow Bobcats to Grad School because I think they would really enjoy Melamed Riley. I also think that the topics are fresh and relatable, and I know the speakers will deliver them in a friendly, clear way so that the audience can connect, digest, and retain the information. I like the people and I like the topics, and I want others to hear it as well.
Cesear’s coming to Grad School, so I ask: Are you? Time is running out to get your ticket (or order one for someone you know who is in the target audience). To sweeten the offer, we’d like to offer a special 25% discount on all Grad School tickets when you use promotional code “NEWYEAR” at checkout here. Act fast, though, as the discount will only last through January 25!
We’re hustling here at Melamed Riley to prepare for Grad School, the one-day conference we’re holding in Cleveland next February 16 to arm college students and recent grads who hope to work in advertising, design, or public relations with the kinds of practical know-how we picked up only after we graduated. While everyone is working on their talks and our social media team is busy telling everyone within e-reach about the event, we’ve also been sending out packets to schools region-wide containing informational posters and flyers. It was a total blast working on that collateral, and I’d like to share them with you.
The campaign executions — with multiple versions within — are all held together with the theme line: Your brand is brand new. The point of Melamed Riley Grad School, after all, is passing along the kinds of tools that will help attendees bolster their personal brand when it comes to finding a job and starting a career. But, at this point, attendees’ brands are in their infancy and could use some shaping from those who have been in the trenches for some time and have the scars to prove it. To illustrate this idea, we tackled the execution in three distinct — and fun — ways:
For this execution, we chose three immediately-memorable brand logos — Amazon, The North Face, and eBay — and twisted their look around just enough to signify where our attendees will likely be at this point in their career. Here is each ad’s copy:
Your brand is brand new.
Find out how to shape it, protect it and grow it into something truly extraordinary at Grad School. No professors, just professionals, covering all the stuff they learned the hard way that can help give your personal brand a competitive edge. Register today at mrgradschool.com.
Campaign: You are here
Your career, like most iconic brands, develops over time and is a journey that has a beginning and (it is hoped) a destination. So, for this execution, we chose three such brand icons — Apple’s apple, Pillsbury’s Doughboy, and StarKist’s Charlie the Tuna — and showed both where they are now and where they started. The copy for this execution is the same as the Logos campaign.
For the last of the three variations, we picked four memorable advertising tag lines — made famous by Nike, Verizon, Capital One, and COVERGIRL — and “edited” them to represent important milestones in the job search process. Here is the copy for this campaign as it appears in each ad:
Your brand is brand new. With graduation just around the corner, there are a few things you should be concentrating on before worrying about coming up with the next great campaign idea. Find out what they are at Grad School. No professors, just professionals, covering all the stuff they learned the hard way that can help you stand apart from all your competition. Register today at mrgradschool.com.
Sending these promotional materials into the world has been an exciting experience, and I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to see a project I care so much about become a reality. I’d be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to again remind you about purchasing your ticket to Grad School if you haven’t already. What’s more, even if you’re not in our target audience but know someone who is, tickets to Grad School make a perfect holiday gift. As a bonus and in honor of this post, we’d like to offer a special 10% discount on all Grad School tickets when you use promotional code “THEMRBLOG” at checkout here. Act fast, though, as the discount will only last through December 20 — just in time to be the perfect stocking stuffer.
Unless you’ve been in deep-space hibernation or have been hiding out in a cave,* you know that today marks the welcome conclusion to a super-long and super-charged election season. In other words, today is election day. Now, we at Melamed Riley aren’t in the business of telling you who to vote for. But, what we will tell you — without hesitation — is to make sure to vote today (if you haven’t already). There are few responsibilities we have as Americans more important than our responsibility to be well-informed and active citizens. So get out there and let your voice be heard!
*And even then, you’ve probably still heard a campaign commercial or gotten some direct mail.
Since leaving school, how many times has something like this happened to you: You learn something important and quickly say to yourself, “Wow, I wish they would have taught me that in college.” Don’t get me wrong: I loved college. So much so, in fact, that I couldn’t get enough and went right back for a second degree. While the college experience is vital, there remains a lot to be learned once you throw your mortar and tassel in the air.
With that in mind, we at Melamed Riley are taking everything we’ve learned since college and are putting on a conference! We’re calling it Grad School — emphasis on the “ad” in “Grad.” If you’re a college student and are interested in working in advertising, design, client-side, at an agency, or for yourself, Grad School is for you! Our day-long conference will take place on Saturday, February 16, 2013, at our downtown Cleveland headquarters. And don’t worry, you won’t have to go into debt to attend this grad school, which we promise will cost less than a night at your favorite campus watering hole.
So, what kinds of things will you learn about at Grad School? Among the 10 presentations, you’ll hear about becoming a jack-of-all-trades (and therefore indispensable), how to stand out in your forthcoming job search, how to work with social media (and how to not let it work against you), and how to present your work. After each presentation, you’ll have the chance to ask questions and engage with speakers. The goal is to arm you with the tools you were hoping to have — or didn’t even know you needed — as you prepare to enter the professional world. And we’ll even feed you!
While we’re hard at work on the full Grad School website and other loose ends, consider this a mashup between a sneak preview and a save-the-date. We’ll be updating this space soon with more news about the conference but, until then, don’t forget to circle February 16, 2013 in your calendar. And get ready for Grad School!