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Change isn’t the enemy.

Posted on April 15, 2016 by

They say that change is good, but let’s be honest with one another, it can also be downright terrifying. Change usually means you’re taking a risk. It means the outcome isn’t predictable. And it means you’re about to lose a little bit of control.

I’m a new girl in Edmonton. Actually, I’m a new girl to Canada. I hail from the land of the red, white, and blue. Marrying the love of my life brought me to Edmonton, but that decision also meant leaving my family, my friends, the familiar surroundings that I adored, and the place that I called home. So with that I pulled up my socks and took the biggest leap of faith my life has ever seen. And you know what? It’s turning out better than I ever could have imagined. I have an amazing job, a growing network of friends, my guest bedrooms are always full with visitors, and slowly but surely, it’s all starting to migrate towards a feeling of home.

I’ve learned many lessons along the way: of independence, of intuition, and of resiliency. But what I’ve really learned is how to be fearless, and you need a little bit of that in the advertising world. We’re constantly encouraging our clients to try new things, to break the mold, and to move away from the expected. So here’s my takeaway. I encourage everyone to see the reward beyond the risk, to be a little bold, and to be willing to be okay with the unknown. More than anything, I urge you to see opportunity through fear.

Because sometimes fearless means having fears and having doubts, but living in spite of those things by simply allowing them to build new beginnings.

Dashing Through the Gift List

Posted on December 10, 2015 by

I love shopping. I love gifts. I love Christmas. I love shopping for gifts at Christmas! So, just in time for the holiday season, I am sharing with you some of my holiday tips and tricks for checking off everyone on your list, regardless of if they have been naughty or nice.

  1. Write down everyone on your list that you need to buy for. I keep my list on my phone so I always have it on hand. Avoid the last minute trip to 7-11 on Christmas Day to pick up a gift card for your long lost cousin that you just found out is coming for Christmas this year. I add/edit my list throughout the full year so when someone casually says they would like something, I write it down. It definitely makes Christmas a little easier and people will be surprised that you remembered exactly what they wanted without asking.
  2. Shop online. Around Christmas, tons of suppliers offer free shipping so take advantage! If there is a minimum spend to apply for free shipping, look at your list and see if you can check more people off at one retailer. Beware of the USD if you are shopping at stores in the States – it will be quite a surprise when you look at your credit card bill. Trust me, I made the mistake this year already.
  3. Whenever you find yourself at a store whether it a full mall or just the grocery store, pull out your list quickly to see if there is anything you can quickly pick up to cross someone off. You are already out and about so you might as well make it a productive trip.
  4. If you save money on a gift, don’t feel pressured to spend more money to make up for the savings. That totally defeats the purpose of savings.
  5. If you have a tricky someone on your list and the best option is a gift card – pair it with something small and thoughtful as that instantly makes it a more personal gift. Don’t stress out about the small something – think their favorite chocolate bar, a mini bottle of booze, or a pair of cozy socks, etc.
  6. Shop in small quick batches when you have time here and there. Drop by the mall on the way home from work or at lunch to pick something up. When driving by a store that you know you need to stop at and you are early for your next event, zip in quickly rather than drive by. Not only does this make Christmas less stressful, it balances out your spending so you don’t take a huge hit in one weekend.
  7. As you complete gifts, cross them off your list or mark them as completed on your phone. This is also a great place to keep track of what you bought and how much money you spent. It keeps everything in one spot and is always up to date.

Lastly, if you have no idea what to buy or where to even start, might I suggest my go-to-gift-buying locations – Winners/HomeSense, Chapters/Indigo & Rafters. They have so many unique gifts at these stores and you are sure to find the perfect gift or at the very least, you will be inspired and walk away knowing exactly what to get.

Happy Shopping!

Flying – Not for the Faint of Heart

Posted on January 22, 2015 by

I have been flying a lot more in the last year than in my entire life and in doing so, I have become very intrigued by the way air travel works. As a business traveller, I can say I look at flying much differently than when I was a leisure traveller.

I don’t slight people for the way they navigate through the airport and on planes, but I do now see why the things I used to do – before I knew any better – must have drove people crazy.

I am using this experience to share some of my observations and perhaps save others the time it took me to learn some “travel lessons”. Please share your own tips, as I am still figuring things out and am sure I have a lot more to learn.

  1. Be Prepared: When you hit the security line, be ready. Laptops out, metal out, don’t take your water bottle or your large shampoo bottle with you. Be quick, be alert, and yes, you likely have to take your shoes off if you are flying international. Most importantly, don’t stand there looking stunned and lost. You could be holding up people that are trying to make a tight connection or those that just want to get to the airport lounge before their flight.
  2. Use the Lounges: Someone very close to me introduced me to airport lounges years ago, and it’s hard to go back. As a business traveller, you have reliable WIFI to get some work done, a quiet place to sit and time to have a bottle of water, bowl of soup or a warm meal depending on the airport you are in. TIP – You can get a nice discount in the Edmonton Premium Plaza Lounges with an AirMiles card if you aren’t a lounge cardholder.
  3. Limit Carry-ons: If you are going to bring a ridiculous amount of carry-on luggage, please respect the people that put their items in the overhead before you. Really, I get it. You don’t want to pay the fee to check your bag, or maybe you just don’t want to wait for your luggage when you land, however, trying to cram that really big, heavy carry-on in the overhead and crushing other people’s property is unacceptable. Common courtesy costs nothing.
  4. No Baggage Blocking: When you are claiming your baggage, there is NO NEED to stand directly in front of the carousel. We all need to get our luggage, and let’s be honest, that thing moves at a snail’s pace. But have no fear – if you actually stand back so we all have a fighting chance, the world will not end and you will still get your bag. Also, if something happens and you do miss it, it will come around again, very soon.
  5. Let People Pass: When you are getting off the plane, unless you have a tight connection, just let the people in front of you off first. It’s a line, and we all know how those work (well, most of us do). Let people in front of you go first, as there is no need to push through and get off first, especially when I just end up running into you at the baggage carousel.

Now we all know air travel is seldom painless, often frustrating and always tiresome, but there are things we can all do to make our travel experience and the experience of those around us a bit less painful.

Holiday Gift Ideas

Posted on December 11, 2014 by

Our family is a very diverse bunch with unique interests and passions. And even though I love that about them, it does pose a challenge when searching for that perfect gift because it is definitely NOT one size fits all. Call me practical but I want to give my family something I KNOW they will love and use versus something I THINK they might and then it just gets shelved. I don’t want a “Gift Fail”.

Now I did do some creative investigating. For those that didn’t offer their ideas, I reached out and said “Hey, the North Pole called and the elves need your help. They are standing by to get to work on your gifts but they need a bit more direction. Do you think you could drop me few hints that I could pass along to them?”

Well, our 25-year-old daughter sent along some ideas and I was so proud. On the top of her list was “A child sponsorship with Plan Canada for 6 months or purchase a goat for the community”.   How great is that? I couldn’t think of anything better.

Goat_lrgb

 

She also likes to the great outdoors and mentioned she needs a new sleeping bag and a hiker daypack.  So a MEC Gift Card could be the perfect gift for her.

 

81vsWoKpHBL._SL1500_

Our 23 year old is the creative one who LOVES music. His favorite color is also brown. He is the kid that would rather save for something that is higher quality than cheap out on something that will break down so asked for some high quality headphones. For his big gift, we may invest in something like this for him:

 

His twin brother said “Mom, I don’t know what I want, but I know what I need. I am desperate for new clothes but it’s been so long since I’ve shopped, I don’t even know my style anymore.” I think that means we need to cut him loose in the Mall to go figure that out. For him, a WEM Gift Card will be perfect.

 

Our 24 year old son just bought his first house and since he has been tackling some of the renovations himself, he is in dire need of tools and house stuff (plus, we are finding things going missing at our house…hmmmm). So for all those little house necessities, we should just go practical with him and I think a gift card from here would be ideal. 15231.GC_TileLightsEN_4

 

Lastly, there is my husband. A number of years ago I bought him some slippers and he wears them everywhere including outside in the yard and the garage but its time. They need to be retired. So for him, I’m thinking about these:

Ugg Slippers

 

I also really enjoyed looking at gifts.com for inspiration and think some are really great ideas.

So hopefully these might inspire you as your wrap up your holiday shopping! Happy Holidays everyone!

Word Nerd

Posted on November 13, 2014 by

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by words – how they sound, weird spellings, meanings, etc. I still remember as a small child trying to figure out who decided that a tree was a tree or that a bird was a bird. I’m sure all kids think that way, right?

In my daily life, I write a lot of things and for the most part I write about many different things. This is a good thing because if I get stuck, I can move to something else for a little while and come back to whatever it was that I got stuck on. I find these little breaks to be helpful in those times where I just can’t get the words out properly right away. Of course, not everyone can do this.

For those instances or when you have a little writer’s block and just need to get some words flowing, here’s some fun websites to visit.

 

www.languageisavirus.com

Check out the writing games and text generators.

languageisavirus.com

 

oneword.com

www.oneword.com

 This site can help get your brain working. Sometimes the key to writing good copy is starting with writing just anything.

 

www.humanbraincloud.com

This is a good visual word association tool.

humanbraincloud.com

 

| November 11 | Strategy
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Business Moving Checklist – Digital Strategy

Posted on September 29, 2014 by

Congratulations, you found the perfect new space for your business. You have the new location, the movers and all your things packed. Is that it? Not quite…

Use this checklist to ensure your online presence is up to date, and your customers and clients are well aware!

 

Social Media

Change your address

  • Take note of all your active social media properties like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Only change your address once you are officially in the new space.
  • Are you anywhere else online? Google your business name and discover which directories have you listed. Inform them of your new address.
  • Don’t forget review sites like Yelp and FourSquare as your clients or customers may have added your details without your knowledge.

Post about your move

  • Whenever it is that you decide to let your clients/customers know about your move, let your social following know as well. This announcement will vary depending on a lot of factors, but you should definitely give your following a heads up in the week before.
  • Will you be closed? Ensure you post about any closures, or delays customers and clients may experience because of this move.

Capture the move

  • Take advantage of this content and capture images of your old space, the moving process and the new space.
  • Share these images across the appropriate profiles through individual posts, albums and cover photos.

 

Google My Business

  • Update your Google My Business listing with your new address. This will update your Google+, Google maps and Google search listing.
  • Don’t have a Google My Business listing? Every business should – find out how to get yours here.

 

Website & Blog

  • Update your address in the footer, contact page and anywhere else your address is listed.
  • Use your blog to post important information about your move. This can include:
    • Date your moving
    • New address
    • Days you are closed
    • How to contact your business during the move
    • Why you are moving
    • Photos of the moving process
  •  Does your old space need a new tenant? Everyone needs some good karma! Help out your landlord/realtor by posting about the space your leaving. Don’t forget contact info!

 

Newsletter

  • If you utilize email newsletters as part of your digital strategy, ensure you include information about your move in your next couple campaigns.
  • If you send newsletters infrequently, create a campaign to specifically announce the move. Include important details like move date, closures, delays and the new address.

 

Email Signature/Out of Office

  • Give your clients and customers plenty of notice by adding your new address and move date with a short blurb to your email signature.
  • Once you’re in the new space, encourage email recipients to take note of your new address. *Don’t forget to remove this after a couple months or weeks depending on your preferences.
  • Closed on moving day? Use your ‘out of office’ to let customers and clients know you’re currently closed, your new address, and the day you will be back open for business.

OK Go – Being Strategic and Awesome!

Posted on June 17, 2014 by

OK Go just released their latest music video for The Writing’s On the Wall – and it is awesome!

This band is known for their conceptual videos getting major traction online, and this one is no different with a ton of perspective illusions.

Strategy, planning and proper execution make each of their performances a phenomenal success. We love seeing concepts like this, since strategic marketing is one of our core values here at zag creative group.

Check out the video that started it all here: http://youtu.be/dTAAsCNK7RA

Jumping

Posted on October 31, 2013 by

I’m not much of a jumper.

Off a cliff – nope.

In the form of squats – nope.

Teleco-….. whatever that word is where the guy went through walls and into different countries – I wish but nope.

There is one form of jumping that I’m not usually keen on but I am just fired up about lately however, and that is jumping on a bandwagon. More specifically jumping on the Anchorman 2 bandwagon.

I am a huge fan of anything by my man Will F. (except that weird movie where he was all sad and serious… bla) and I am a giant fan of Anchorman. Given this, I’m sure you can understand not only my excitement to find out that they were making a round 2, but also my joy in seeing how various companies have jumped on the wagon to ride Ron Burgundy’s coat tails.

If you live under a rock here are some of my favourite examples:

It Comes Standard

Staring Contest

Scotch Scotch Scotch

And most appropriately for today a message from Ron Burgundy himself:

Special Report

Happy Halloween – if you’re not on the bandwagon yet I suggest you jump!

Stay Classy.

Spend Less For Fresh!

Posted on August 1, 2013 by

It’s no secret that a great website goes a long way in terms of a company’s place within the market. Or maybe it is a secret and I just let the proverbial cat out of its proverbial bag… Ah-well, in the words of the great Notorious B.I.G “If you don’t know, now you know”.

Not to pump our own tires or anything but we know websites – we like websites – we know that we like to make websites and that the websites we make are really great. Want proof? It’s in the pudding.

The pudding.

 

*Warning: the images you are about to see may cause uncontrollable cravings for healthy eats and sporadic BBQ’ing. Wardrobe matching to fruits and veggies has also been reported.

Falling for Jennifer Lawrence

Posted on March 1, 2013 by

Being the movie buff and pop culture enthusiast that I am, watching the Oscars is a pretty big to-do on my list. Seeing all of the stars glammed up in couture I will never wear, walking a red carpet that I will never step a Jimmy Choo on (mostly because I will never own a Jimmy Choo – let alone two) and gracing the stage to receive the coveted statue in front of Hollywood’s finest. The entire evening, to me, seems like such a surreal experience.

Now I haven’t paid much attention to Jennifer Lawrence until recently, even though (or because) she is 23 years old, absolutely stunning and has already played some major roles in some major movies. It wasn’t her riveting performance in X-Men, her kill or be killed attitude in Hunger Games or her Academy Award winning performance for Best Actress in Silver Linings Playbook that got my attention. It wasn’t even her fall up the stairs to the stage to receive her award that made her stand out in my eyes… What made me fall for Jennifer Lawrence was the speech she gave after the fact. Take a look…

I have to say that I was more than impressed with the way the young starlet handled this mortifying moment and, in scouring the Internet I’ve noticed that there is more buzz surrounding this interview then there is around the fall itself.

Let this be a lesson to all – not everything goes as planned and embarrassment happens, it’s the aftermath and how you deal with the fallout (heehee) that really matters. Oh and a good PR plan doesn’t hurt 😉

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