With All Great Ideas Comes…Jealousy

This afternoon I spent my lunch break as I spend most of my lunch breaks—I took my adorable, feisty, friendly, handful-and-a-half puppy Bandit for a walk, heated up leftovers, and sat at my work desk, eating a fairly healthy meal while perusing the Internet. I work from home, 300-plus miles away from my coworkers and a 25-minute bus ride away from downtown where my boyfriend and most of my friends work. Lunch with my friends gives me only about a ten-minute eating window, and the rest of my lunch break is then spent on a bus.

Today I browsed “The Bold Italic,” where I was met with one of the greatest blog series I’ve read in recent months: four-year-old children reviewing San Francisco fine dining. The results are brilliant.

And a little infuriating. Here I was, stuck on what to write for my own blog post, and someone else came up with a fantastic idea. How adorable would it have been to parade a couple of toddler graduates into the Mustang office and have them review the latest collateral we created for clients? What a great blog post that would have made, or series of blog posts, or e-blasts, or a video. Great fun. Great publicity. Great idea.

Vanquished. Used up. Already put out into the world to be admired by others. Not mine.

I’m met with this emotion often—from creative meetings at work to reading fiction from famous authors or friends to walking into unfamiliar apartments for the first time. There’s always a tagline or a plot twist or an artfully composed shelf that vibrates with that good-idea sensation, a feeling that rides around in my mind, like a freewheeling motorcycle. This motorcycle, however, is saddled with a sidecar: jealousy.

It’s schadenfreude’s mortal enemy: witnessing the success of others’ innovations. Fortunately, the feeling is fleeting (unless it’s a really, really, really good idea), and everything moves on. The good idea becomes either a permanent fixture and you get used to it, or it’s fleeting and you get over it. But what is left in its dusty, war-torn wake either way is something rather wonderful: inspiration.

And fortunately for me, that feeling is not nearly as fleeting, and is far more useful.

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Client Immersion

As Mustang Marketing’s clientele continues to grow—both in terms of the number of clients we have and their stature—any opportunity we have to be in the same room with our clients’ entire team is an important one to jump on.

And so jump I did, all the way to Chicago for the 2014 Marketing Leadership Meeting at the Hyatt at O’Hare last month. Our new client, who provides large point-of-purchase printing displays for companies like McDonald’s, had a trade show booth at the conference, and I went to not only provide support (and a few pieces of trade show collateral), but to meet their whole sales force and get a stronger sense of what kind of marketing direction and materials would best meet their needs.

Basically, we covered in a few hours what would have taken weeks to coordinate via email, phone and video conferencing.

As we draft Mustang’s take on the strategic marketing plan, the RoadMap, for this client, it’s critical to have this kind of understanding about how their sales cycle operates, how they interact and promote themselves to clients, and what they hope to achieve in the future. All of that was on display for this conference, and even more. I got to see what this industry looked like on a small scale—what our clients were doing, what their competitors were doing, what strategies were working and which were being developed, and how they handle local marketing versus national events such as this.

The wealth of client-level knowledge I was able to absorb would have made its way to the Mustang team whether I attended the conference or not, although I would argue it would have happened more slowly and with a lot more calendaring. But being in that atmosphere, the place where this new client gets to show everything they have to offer—and their competitors get to do the same—would have been much harder to come by without taking this cross-country plunge.

All that alone was enough to make the trip worthwhile. But the icing on the cake was meeting the now-famous, World Cup American soccer hero Tim Howard—and getting his autograph for both my son and my coworker, Michael.

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VCCU’s New Building Makes the Pacific Coast Business Times

Once again, the power of a quality press release has been revealed! The Pacific Coast Business Times just wrote an article in a response to our recent release regarding Ventura County Credit Union’s new headquarters building.

The article discusses how VCCU’s growth contributed to its decision to purchase the new building, as well as the building’s role as an investment in the credit union’s future. See the full article about this exciting change below.

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Apply Organization to Yourself Before Applying to Others

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As Mustang Marketing’s production manager, I spend most of my day getting everyone else organized to make sure that all our internal and client-related jobs are completed on time.

When I came into my roll, I had little experience with keeping track of so many people’s roles for so many important projects, as well as my own job responsibilities. What I figured out early on was that the best way to keep them organized was to first keep myself organized. Now, I can only say what works for me, but no blog on organization would be complete without the obligatory list on how to be organized, so I will give you the tips that have helped to keep me do my job…by making sure everyone else does theirs.

1. Write it down! There is nothing in the world more panic inducing than remembering at 1 a.m. that you completely forgot to submit that report or send those promised files off to your very important client—or that someone on your team may have (either way, it’s your fault). If you write it down you have a backup system in place. Write it on a pad, in your phone, on your hand—anywhere that works for you.

2. File it away! I keep files on my desk that have my go-to information in them. Any current project that requires ongoing attention, jobs that I need to get information on for the week, or notes and documents that I end up using on a daily basis. This is great for me because it cuts down on hunting for things and keeps my desk relatively clutter free.

3. Throw it out! I personally am a pizza box away from my own episode of Hoarders. I hate to throw anything away. What if in seven years scrunchies come back in style? Won’t I be sorry then? I have to force myself to part with things that I know I don’t need anymore to make way for the things that I will need. This is hard, but it is much easier to organize a small stack of papers that you need for the week than a mountain of things that are no longer relevant mixed in with the current. File it, trash it, shred it, take up origami, but get it off your desk.

The best tip of all that I can give is that whatever you do, make sure that it works for you. The leading cause of being unorganized is forgetting to be organized. That’s why finding something that works for you is so critical. If you don’t want to do it, you won’t. My hope is that my list of what works for me will help you, or at least gets you thinking of how you can better organize your day.

 

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