Wednesday Weigh-in: Team ME’s Secrets to Staying Focused

In a world filled with texts from friends, cubicle cross convos, Twitter updates and cute cat videos, meeting multiple deadlines seems nearly impossible some days. #teamME is here to offer up the secrets that keep us on track Monday through Friday.

Try One of Our Stay-focused Secrets:

“Keep a master list of action items with due dates, set aside blocks of time on the calendar for in depth strategy sessions, and turn off the phone and email when on deadline.”

– Marie, President + CEO

“Sometimes you have to eat the frog and do the ’worst‘ thing first.”

– Stephanie, Senior Account Manager

“I’ll sip water all day and get up frequently for a refill or take a mini mental break by jumping on social media or reviewing current events. I also put in ear buds and listen to my favorite country artists to lift my mood!”

– Missi, Art Director

“The calendar drives the to-do list, but knowing how to reprioritize is key. Getting caught in meetings may mean pushing to-dos to tomorrow.”

– Mark, COO

“Drink a glass of water every one to two hours. It keeps me hydrated and refreshed so I can concentrate.”

– Jeanna, Account Manager

“I turn my phone upside down – I glance at it far less often when I’m not distracted by every update, and I can still get important calls if they come in. I also re-read this article about stress, resilience and happiness and it recharges me. Every. Time.”

– Mindy, Senior Project Manager

“I make a list at the end of every day, in order of importance, for the following day. It helps me feel confident that I can conquer the next day, as well as frees my mind of work to-do’s, so I can enjoy my family time when I get home.”

– Erin, Art Director

“Every morning, after getting a cup of coffee, I review my list of things to do for the week and organize them based on project deadlines. I write a short list of the most urgent items on a post-it note that I keep directly in front of my keyboard. I cross off items as completed.”

– Leah, Art Director

“Four words: Spotify’s ‘Productive Morning’ playlist.”

– Angela, Account Executive + Social Strategist

Let us know what works for you! Tag @murphyepson and tell us how you make the most of your work day. While you’re here, take time to get to know a little more about our team and the work we do. Or, “like” us on Facebook to stay in touch!

Wednesday Weigh-In: We <3 Columbus

­­June 14th is much more than just another hump day. It marks a holiday observed by the diverse and unified, electric and eclectic Midwesterners also known as the residents of Columbus. June 14th is “614 Day” and #teamME is celebrating by talking about our favorite things about our City.

 

Here’s a few of our favorite things about Cbus:

“Columbus feeds wanderlust-hungry humans. It offers endless places to go and things to see, wrapped up in bite-size neighborhoods. It’s one of the few cities that feel just as much like home as it does new and unknown.” – Angela, Account Executive + Social Strategist

“A culture of collaboration for the greater good. It’s the Columbus way!” – Marie, President + CEO

“Wow, there are so many. Its openness, Jeni’s ice cream, the parks, Northstar Cafe, the trails, the art scene. I could go on all day…” – Stephanie, Senior Account Executive

“The Ohio State University! – Leah, Art Director

“I love the Short North. So many restaurants and shops to choose from. I can park and make a day of it!” – Missi, Art Director

“From sunrise to sunset and coffee to cocktails, Columbus offers everything you need to make the most of your day. I always feel like there aren’t enough hours in the weekend to experience everything Columbus has to offer! Especially now that festival season is in full-swing.” – Rachel, Account Executive + Social Strategist

“Where do I start?! If I absolutely had to pick one thing (but seriously why would I ever want to) it would be the beautiful parks and greenspaces. There are so many, from tiny to immense and urban to suburban. And, there’s always a lot to do at them from rock climbing and trails to concerts and fitness classes. Or, just loungin’ of course!” – Mindy, Senior Project Manager

“I love that Columbus is a large metropolitan city with all the amenities, but still has a small-town feel.” – Nick, Assistant Project Manager + Planner

“There’s so much to do in Columbus, and it’s all so accessible. I love that I can be downtown in 20-25 minutes to enjoy dinner with husband. Or take a short drive to multiple different parks with my twins. Moving here from Chicago, the ease of getting around, and ability to experience the unique neighborhoods makes life in Columbus so much easier!” – Erin, Art Director

 

How do you celebrate 614 Day? Tag @murphyepson and tell us how you make the most of #lifeincbus. While you’re here, take time to get to know a little more about our team and the work we do. Or, “like” us on Facebook to stay in touch!

Meet Our Homerun-Hitting Summer Intern, Tim!

Welcome to #teamME! Tell us a little about yourself.

What’s up! I am from Westerville, Ohio and am about to embark on my senior year at Wittenberg University as a Communication major with a minor in Psychology. I love sports, especially baseball. At Wittenberg, I am a two-year captain of the baseball team and have been the starting first basemen since my freshman year. Other than sports, I like to spend my time with friends and family taking trips, eating at good restaurants and visiting cool places around Columbus that usually end up highlighted on my social media.

 

OK, now it’s time for some rapid fire. 

If you could have a cup of coffee with anyone, who would it be? Larry Page and Sergey Brin – I feel like they could throw some great advice my way.

What’s your spirit animal? A Bear – They’re big and powerful, but more so because I’ve always been envious of their hibernation!

What was your first email address? (Don’t be shy.) timtim10x32@aol.com; I still have junk mail sent to it…

What was your first job? I did pool maintenance for Annehurst Pool of Westerville. Nothing like the smell of chlorine to wake you up in the morning!

What’s the next country you want to travel to? China – to explore their culture.

If you were a Crayola crayon, what would your name be? I would have to go with Mango Tango because I like to have a good time.

Where do you go to college? I attend Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. Tiger Up! I’m a huge OSU fan as well.

 

Phew. What a doozy. Catch your breath and tell us what you do at MurphyEpson.
I try to get involved in a little bit of everything. From sitting in on brand positioning meetings for specific accounts to data entry for metrics, I’m trying to experience the whole gamut of the company all while being a help to anyone who needs it!

 

What do you do outside of work?
Before anything else, I try to spend as much time as I can hanging out and going fun places with my friends and family. Whether that’s sitting on the back porch having a good conversation to going to a game or concert, I try to fill my time with enjoyment. I’m also really big on trying new restaurants (no preference on types of food, I like everything). Other than that, I play baseball for a college summer league here in Central Ohio.

 

You’ve got one day in Columbus. What do you do?
Breakfast at Jack and Benny’s with a couple friends is a must to start the day. Then we would take our talents to Goodale Park for a couple games of whiffle ball. After playing for a while, we would snag some tacos at Balboa on Grandview Ave. Then, before dinner, we would run over to Sole Classics for some new kicks and then end the night with a Dime-a-Dog night dinner at Huntington Park for some Clippers baseball action.

 

What’s one piece of advice you would give to an agency newcomer?
Be open to take on tasks that you may be unfamiliar with and ask a ton of questions; there isn’t anyone here that doesn’t want to help out and you can learn something from everyone!

 

Give us a note you’d like to end on.
“You’re never wrong to do the right thing.” – Mark Twain

 

That’s all for now! To learn more about #teamME, click here.

Client Missions Turned Personal Passions

Here at MurphyEpson world headquarters, we’re pretty passionate about walking, bicycling and busing (AKA active transportation). Just ask any one of us, really. Because making our communities safer, healthier and smiley-er is our passion.

May is Bike Month, also known as the most wonderful time of the year. (Except of course for National Walking Day, International Bike to School Day and International Walk to School Day… but I digress.) Let us “walk” you through the “why” behind our passion.

While walking and bicycling are great ways to exercise, travel to familiar places, explore new places and stay (or get) healthier, (bonus points for walking or riding to the bus stop) the biggest benefit to walkers or bicyclists is how much fun it can be.

Whether you’re enjoying quality time catching up with a friend or learning new ways to get around town, it’s fun and much less stressful than sitting in traffic. There is also a ton of medical research showing that bicycling and other forms of active transportation improve your health – physically and mentally (British Medical Journal, 2017). And anything that we can do to de-stress is an ah-ma-zing thing in our book.

Kids benefit from some exercise before school, too. That’s why programs like Safe Routes to School with its “walking school buses” and “bike trains” are so popular and effective. Kids enjoy the opportunity to get outdoors, spend time with friends and work off some of that early morning energy.

And, if you still don’t understand the reasoning behind our passion, the US Surgeon General issued a Call to Action in 2015 to encourage more Americans to get walking and incorporate active transportation into daily routines.

Now that you know the secret sauce, join us! Channel your inner Freddy Mercury and sing along,

“I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike!”

The New Urban Crisis

Nick Hoffman, a member of #teamME, Recently attended a captivating lecture on the new urban crisis and the disparities that threaten our cities through the Ohio State University’s Discovery Themes Lecture Program. The guest lecturer, Richard Florida, presented a glimpse of his research and findings in his new book, titled The New Urban Crisis, followed by a post-lecture panel. Florida is currently a professor at the University of Toronto, senior editor at the Atlantic, best-selling author, and former Ohio State faculty member.

The new urban crisis interests MurphyEpson because much of our work is with cities and, like our clients, we are devoted to bringing people together to make improvements for the greater good. Keep reading to hear a recap of the event through the lens of Assistant Project Manager + Planner, Nick Hoffman.

 

The Old Urban Crisis

Florida explained that the urban crisis of the 1960’s and 70’s in the United States centered on the deindustrialization of our economy and years of expansion and flight of whites and affluent into the suburbs. The economic changes, loss of industry and people left a hole in our cities. This model has come to be known as the “hole in the donut”. The missing center within our cities led to the loss of revenue, manpower, and services; not to mention an increase in social issues like crime, violence, drug addiction, teen pregnancy, and infant mortality. It has taken time for many of our successful cities to adjust and refocus their strategy; though some cities still haven’t rebounded, and many will never be what they once were.

 

The New Urban Crisis

The increase of inequality and rising housing prices are two key issues that still trouble our cities. These issues are coupled today with the gentrification of our cities, increased income segregation, and the disappearance of the middle-class and middle-class neighborhoods. The new urban crisis is also affected by the concentration of high tech development in specific areas of our cities (creating winners and loser neighborhoods), and an increase in poverty and other social issues in the suburbs. This crisis is only exacerbated, as Florida points out, as our nation has also become polarized, snapping back and forth between different philosophies and agendas every four to eight years.

 

5 Dimensions of the New Urban Crisis

Florida states that there are five key dimensions that contribute to the New Urban Crisis:

  • Growing Economic Gap between Superstar Cities and Other Cities. A small handful of cities contain a disproportionate share of the innovative industries, high tech start-ups, and talent which creates inequality.
  • Crisis of Success. While superstar cities thrive they also experience a series of set-backs which include unaffordable housing prices for blue-collar, and service workers.
  • Disappearing Middle-Class. One of the widest-felt issues of the growing inequality in cities surrounds the disappearance of the middle-class and middle-class neighborhoods. Between “1970 to 2012, families living in middle-class neighborhoods declined from 65 to 40 percent.”
  • Suburban Poverty. Today’s suburbs are much different than those in the 1960’s and 70’s; today there are more poor people in the suburbs than there are in cities – 17 million versus 13.5 million.”
  • Urbanization in the Developing World. While thousands flock to urbanized areas in developing countries, they do not enjoy the same standards of living compared to the developed world.

 

Ohio Mayors Weigh In

Florida then facilitated a panel discussion with Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik, and former Youngstown Mayor and Obama administration official Jay Williams. The discussion centered on the issues Ohio cities face, and what they are doing to combat this urban crisis.

Mayor Ginther discussed how the Smart Columbus initiative is helping to tackle some of these issues and generally becoming more inclusive in decision-making. He discussed the use of new technologies in trying to make citizens’ lives better, specifically through more reliable transportation and workforce development, with a focus on ladders of opportunity for those neighborhoods in poverty. Mayor Mihalik echoed the fact that transportation is also key in smaller cities like Findlay, since 50% of the workforce commutes from outside the county. She recognizes that the industrial jobs are not coming back and development is needed to transform the business and landscape to match the hip urban areas that people today desire. Former Mayor Williams stated that cities like Youngstown need to redefine themselves. There is a physiological effect on citizens as they wait for their city to take off again like parts of Columbus and Cleveland have. Williams said the key is managing the shrinkage and applying new strategies at the neighborhood level.

Florida then discussed how we, as a society, really are dependent on each other. He asked former Mayor Williams, a recent Obama administration official, “is there any hope in Washington D.C. that we can work together?” Williams replied that “there is hope, but there isn’t a one size fits all fix. There are many different places and economical situations facing these communities but all have the same aspirations.”

Mihalik said it all starts with the mayoral ticket (having strong and knowledgeable leaders), power at the local level (compared to the state and federal level), and toning down the pollical rhetoric. Ginther also discussed a disconnect between the federal and local and state levels, and reiterated that all neighborhoods need to have an equal footing. Ginther also emphasized there is a need to invest in opportunities through private-public partnerships, affordable housing, education, transit, and focusing on children from birth to age five.

 

Overcoming the Crisis

Florida hinted at seven action items in adverting this urban crisis. These strategies include building tax reforms, investing in infrastructure, investing in affordable housing, expanding the middle class, investing in people through job training, engaging in global efforts of emerging world urban areas, and empowering communities and local leaders.

Florida’s overall solution surrounded a theme of “urbanism for all”. He urged for stronger collaboration between cities and regions, because we are connected regionally and work better together. Our country needs to take a hard look in the mirror; yes we are divided now, but both sides need to recognize that we are different. To solve this crisis, we need to set aside our political, cultural, racial, societal, and religious differences and work together.

Finally, I leave you with a quote at the beginning of Florida’s The New Urban Crisis that resonates with our work at MurphyEpson to bring everyone to the table to design urban improvements:

Cities have the capability of providing something for everyone, only because, and only when, they are created for everyone.

– Jane Jacobs, The Life and Death of Great American Cities

 Nick Hoffman is our chocolate-loving, Buckeye-cheering, Assistant Project Manager and urban planner. If you live in Columbus and like Raising Canes or Chipotle, you may have seen him standing in line.

Wednesday Weigh-In: April Fools’ Day Shenanigans & Stuff

If you can’t laugh at yourself and the silly curveballs life throws your way, you’re doing it wrong. It’s a cornerstone characteristic in marketing agency pros because every single day has its own set of unique challenges and changes. Don’t get us wrong, we are suckers for random acts of kindness (especially when it comes to helping save the puppies) but we can appreciate some April Fools’ Day humor just as much as the next prankster.

Without further ado, here are our favorite pranks, publications and foolish moments related to April Fools’ Day.

 

Leah: My husband’s birthday is on April Fools’ Day and no one believes him when he says it’s his birthday.

Missi: I love the show “The Office.” Jim always played the best pranks on Dwight. My favorite was when he put his stapler in Jell-O! Classic, but still hilarious.

Rachel: I was quite possibly the most gullible child to walk the earth circa 1998. My two older sisters who thought they were fluent in French convinced me to go around the neighborhood and knock on our neighbors’ doors saying “Bonjour! Je m’appelle ‘chien.’” I later found out it meant “Hello, my name is ‘dog.’” #LittleSisterLife

Stephanie: Hmmmm. I think the radio DJ faking an on-air heart attack was probably the best prank I’ve listened to.

Angela: When I was twelve, I tried to prank my mother (I know, I know, bad idea). I put a rubber band around the handle of the kitchen sink’s hose and when she went to get herself a glass a water, she got a shower instead. We had a good laugh! But I’m still sleeping with one eye open. Payback must be coming soon, right?

Nick: When I was five years old I told my Dad his shoe was untied. He looked down at his shoe and it was still tied. I shouted “April Fools!”

Cam: My graduating class put alarm clocks in our lockers and set them for 12pm-2pm so that alarms would go off in our school’s hallway every 15 minutes!

Marie: The Onion always nails it!

Mindy: A couple of coworkers I used to know would routinely take turns swapping out keyboard letters when the other was away for vacation or work. I sat in between them so every so often I’d get to hear “Dammit Teresa!” or “Dammit Ron!”

Erin: My husband and I were both design majors at OU (Go Bobcats!!), and we would stay up really late in the design lab working on projects. If I would step out for a minute, he would take a screen grab of my desktop and make it my background image. I would panic, thinking my computer was broken when I couldn’t click on anything. I would turn around and he would be laughing. You’d think I’d learn, but it literally got me EVERY time.

 

May the odds be ever in your favor this April Fools’ Day.

#teamME Lends a Paw for National Puppy Day

Is there anything better than a puppy? We’re convinced the answer is a firm “no.” And if your answer is anything but a firm “no,” we would love to have a thoughtful discussion with you over coffee on your thoughts. Because we need to get in on whatever you’re thinking.

Lucky for everyone on earth, today is National Puppy Day. This means that we get to celebrate our favorite wet-nosed, clumsy little fluff balls in all their puppy-breath scented glory. It’s also a day to help save orphaned puppies across the globe which is always a cause we can get behind.

To celebrate, #teamME donated items for the Capital Area Humane Society (CAHS) to show our appreciation for all they do for our furry friends. For over 130 years, CAHS has worked to combat animal cruelty, help animals in need and advocate for their safety and well-being. A few members of our team have adopted a pup from the CAHS and only return to work to praise how wonderful and knowledgeable their staff and volunteers are.

Find a way to lend a hand, a paw or your resources to your local humane society or shelter and celebrate National Puppy Day with the fur babies who matter most.

Learn more about the many ways you can donate to the CAHS here.

From the #teamME CEO: Our International Women’s Day Checklist

Happy International Women’s Day! Crank up your favorite power anthem and do a happy dance for the women who have come before you. Then, join me in celebrating the women who push boundaries, make their marks and shatter the glass ceiling.

This year’s theme, #BeBoldForChange, calls for all to work toward a more gender-inclusive world. However, unless we know tangible ways to make progress, this theme is merely a mantra. So, make it your goal this week to check off a few of the following boxes and inch our world closer to gender equality.

  • Pay it forward. So many great women mentored me. Take a half hour and mentor the young women who will follow you.
  • Ask for a pay raise. Some studies show women don’t make as much as men because they aren’t as assertive in asking for more money.
  • Take risks. Don’t wait for others to give you permission to do what you know is right for you.
  • Raise your voice. Women won the right to vote because they kept demanding it. Live up to their example and be a force for positive change.
  • Pitch a big tent. Instead of focusing on being left outside the tent, bring everyone in with you: women, men, young, old, rich, poor, a rainbow of nationalities. Pursue equality by being equitable.
  • Create your own path. Are you frustrated by the glass ceiling? Smash it and create your own business.
  • Prepare for Takeoff: Launch or fund a women-focused scholarship — especially in STEM education and careers. Here’s one of my favorites: wtsinternational.org/assets/59/22/2016_Molitoris_Application.pdf
  • Inspire others: Share one of the International Women’s Day videos on social media.

Do your part. Pull your weight. Get it done.

 

And keep this quote top of mind:

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”

— Unknown

 

Deemed the “fearless leader” of #teamME, Marie has a way of translating technical jargon into language we can all understand. Also, she rocked colored pantsuits far before they were trendy. Click here to read more from Marie and her business approach and #teamME philosophy.

How-to Communicate with a Graphic Designer for Top Notch Results

Hiring a graphic designer to help with your brand’s marketing needs can be a daunting task to someone who struggles with articulating creative concepts. You may have ideas swirling around in your head but find it difficult to deliver it in a way a designer can understand (and vice versa). Over the span of 15 years, I’ve learned that building a relationship with a client from day one and keeping the communication as precise as possible will result in both parties being happy with the results. Some preparation ahead of time will not only help the designer see your marketing needs more clearly, but it will also help with the bottom line.

Define the Project

Before the meeting, knowing what materials you’ll need is key. Are the pieces digital or in print? Is it a logo, a brochure or a website? Do you already have a brand established? Are you looking for a re-brand or a refresh? (Here’s how to know the difference.) In any case, bringing examples or documents that support your vision can help the designer bring forth a product you’ll love.

Fill Us In

At the first meeting, give an overview of what your company is about. Key messaging or a mission statement is also a helpful way to direct a designer’s understanding of the business. Be as specific as possible, including who your target audience is. Discuss some ideas about what the project is or a rough idea of what you would like it to be. Be open to a brainstorming session that will allow for creativity to flow. To avoid any confusion later, it’s a great idea to discuss all the logistics of the project from start to finish. This would include concepts, drafts, editing, deadlines and production.

Get the Ball Rolling

If you need inspiration, here are a few ideas that clients have brought to our meetings to open up the conversation:

  1. Pinterest board for inspiration
  2. Website pages you admire
  3. Key words or phrases of the look or feel you’re going for
  4. Paint swatches from a hardware store of color palettes you enjoy
  5. Sketches on paper/napkins
  6. Logos from other companies and why you like them
  7. Documents with your company’s messaging and mission
  8. Photos of your company’s office and environment

 

Next time you are meeting with a graphic designer, hopefully these tips and advice will open a creative portal that will make it an easier experience for you and the design team. For more on working with creatives, check out our write-up on 3 Tips for Working with Creatives.

 

Random Acts of Kindness Aren’t Just for Your BFF Anymore

The holidays are over, motivation from New Year’s Resolutions has expired and all of our anticipation is focused on a beach vacation; which is all the more reason to slow down and take some time to make those around you feel special.

Enter: Random Acts of Kindness Week.

We challenged #teamME to do something nice for someone in their lives; whether it’s in the office, at home, at the gym, in line at the coffee shop, you name it. Some bought flowers for the office to enjoy, and others brought enough snacks to keep us well-fed for weeks. Marie, our fearless leader and CEO, was the proud recipient of a sleep mask for the beauty rest she deserves, Jeanna, account manager here at #teamME, received flower seeds to get her green thumb moving and our trendy social media strategist, Angela, was gifted a tiny, crocheted cactus so she finally has a plant she loves so much, without the worry of killing it. (Hey, we all can’t be great at everything.)

“RAKs” are so beneficial in building, not just personal relationships (who doesn’t want to be on the receiving end of kindness?), but also business/consumer relations; so much so that companies have increasingly adopted RAKs into their marketing strategies and public relations efforts. A few of my favorites include:

  • Panera Bread’s program, “Panera Cares,” a pay-what-you-can café at certain locations
  • AirB&B giving 100,000 costumers $10 to do a “unique act of kindness” for their #OneLessStranger campaign
  • Marks & Spencer making it snow on Christmas in Southern England where they rarely see snow
  • McDonalds starting its “Pay with Lovin” campaign which allowed random costumers across America to pay in acts of kindness, like a call to Mom

Random Acts of Kindness campaigns famously generate a lot of attention and profit for brands. Millennials are especially more concerned with what a brand stands for. Brands like TOMS, Love Your Melon and Warby Parker — all are booming in business due to their charitable efforts. Just like we want to keep the friend around who actively makes us feel appreciated, audiences want to keep the brand around that either makes them feel appreciated or makes them feel like they’re doing something good.

This might not work with every brand, business or campaign goal, but trying to incorporate more kindness is the type of marketing the world needs more of.

 


Cam Householder is a Sophomore at The Ohio State University majoring in Strategic Communications and Pre-Business. Cam has interned for #teamME for a year and never ceases to be a light in the office. (And she has some of the most beautiful calligraphy skills this side of the Mississippi.)

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