MIMA November “The Art + Science of Content Strategy: How Values, Interests, and Insights Can Unlock Creative Ideas”

Thanksgiving is around the corner, with family members returning home for turkey and all the trimmings. MIMA welcomed back a family member, Brad Spychalski (Creative Strategist at Pinterest), to dish out an appetizer version of Pinterest’s Workbench curriculum and to share case studies of how big brands are leveraging Pinterest.

The Workbench curriculum is grounded in the pillars of brand strategy:


What are the unique benefits of the product/service & how can you leverage that in content?


Categories of Interest, as defined by Pinterest: Hobby, Vocation, Preference, Projects, Passions


Dig in to define the “Human Truths” – Who is interested in… What category… and When are they interested in it? When do certain topics peak and decline?
Here are our Top 3 Takeaways:

1. Use of Pinterest in B2B? Brad shared B2C examples from big brands with big budgets; the audience wanted to know how to best apply or really prove out an investment in Pinterest for a B2B brand. Brad stressed the marriage of a pin + a helpful blog post. The pin drives traffic, but be sure there’s strong content delivered on the other end.

2. Pins Don’t Die Make an investment in Pinterest and your pin will be there “forever”. Pinterest has witnessed interest in pins come and go.

3. What’s Next? Visual Search. Camera functionality within the app.

Brad concluded by reinforcing the importance of the visual in using Pinterest. Descriptions are integral for organic search, but the image needs to do the heavy lifting in driving audiences to click.

MIMA will close out the year with the Holiday Party, Tuesday Dec 6th at the NE Solar Arts by Chowgirls. Toast to the end of 2016!

Top 3 Takeaways – Mpls MadWomen “Authentic Leadership”

Mpls MadWomen events are warm, welcoming, supportive, a bit sassy, and ultimately uplifting. The November 2016 event was perfectly timed, gathering us together at Target Commons to hear from Tammy Redpath, SVP Target Creative and Marketing Operations, interviewed by Mpls MadWomen President, Alison Beattie.

Here are our Top 3 Takeaways:

1. Over-functioning & not being cranky about it…

Tammy is seriously the Energizer Bunny of leaders. She seemingly never stops, is always positive, and has super-human abilities to remember names and make everyone feel special. However, her ability to function at a high rate of getting shit done fast, can sometimes lead to overwhelm which feeds into resentment because she feels like no one is helping. If you can relate, her bit of advice: “If you have capacity and time and decide that you want to take on a task, do it and DON’T be cranky about it.” It’s not personal, the people who care about you aren’t meaning to be disrespectful by not helping; they just know how highly capable you are. Give them a break, give yourself a break, and ask for help. Or, if they offer help, TAKE IT. Or, if you don’t ask for help, DON’T BITCH ABOUT THE FACT THAT NO ONE IS HELPING YOU.

2. You don’t have to like everyone, but you have to respect everyone

There are very few people Tammy works with that she actually doesn’t like. The fact is, you have to get the work done and in order to do that you need to have respect for those around you, understand who they are and how to work with them. It’s not productive or helpful to carry around dislike.

3. Being comfortable with the uncomfortable & not second guessing your authentic self

Leaders need to show up for their team in a way that’s not always comfortable. Introverted leaders may struggle with this more, but in times of conflict, strive, struggle… all leaders are looked to for guidance. The ability of a leader to rise above and not let all their emotions out should not be interpreted as being inauthentic. Further, if you don’t bring your authentic self in the process of managing up, it will trip you up. If you are your authentic self and receive tough (make you cry type) feedback – OWN IT. Own it, MOVE ON and move forward fast, DON’T WALLOW. Learn from it and do better next time.

The part of the discussion that touched upon the challenges of transitioning back to work after baby had an overarching message that resonates across all topics – SHARE YOUR STORIES. By being authentic and open about our own personal stories, we all find wisdom, inspiration, and strength. The next generation will feel more empowered to share their stories and continue the trend of authentic and relationship-based leadership.

Share your story with us, either over a one-on-one coffee (email us to schedule) or in the comments section on Facebook and LinkedIn. See more highlights on Twitter #authenticmpls. Watch for more recaps and reviews at Mpls MadWomen.

MnSearch “So, You Think You’re Worth More Money? Sustainable Career Growth in a Digital World”

Think about female/male collaborations in entertainment. Most have become fodder for pop culture cheekiness – Donnie and Marie, Sonny and Cher, Captain and Tennille, Regis and Kathie Lee. After this week, the digital marketing community can tout a respected collaboration of CLICK’s own Kat Duncan and LeadPages’ Josh Braaten.

About a month ago, Kat posted a LinkedIn article. Read it, if you haven’t yet. The article inspired the collaboration of Kat and Josh (a.k.a., K&J… I really tried to come up with a Brangelina equivalent, but it feels too soon).

K&J designed an interactive evening of discussion, debate and advice for the MnSearch membership, centered on providing tips and perspectives on growing a sustainable career in the vibrant, but smaller-than-you-might-realize, Twin Cities digital marketing community.

The vibe was fireside chat… without the fire. Under the glow of a projector, K&J started their conversation, which quickly heated up with audience questions. Literally less than 5 minutes into the conversation, the audience jumped in with questions. I wish more events had that kind of energy and involvement.

Here are the top 3 takeaways:

1. Figure out what you’re worth. You might be in more demand than you think. Use resources like The Creative Group’s salary guide to get a sense of salary within the market, but also use some common sense and honest self-reflection to define your worth. Also recognize that you might not want to work for every company, so don’t just follow the money. Culture fit is just as important as money and title.

2. How about if you like your company, don’t want to leave, but want/deserve/need a promotion? Know your value and SHOW your value. Start by asking, what’s the business goal? What determines your boss’ promotion (and your boss’ boss’ promotion)? Focus on how you can contribute to that effort. Translate your achievements into dollars.

3. Someone asked about the appropriateness of coming off as “braggadocios” in interviews. This was an anonymous question. We cannot claim to have knowledge of whether this was from a Trump fan. The advice back – it’s about CONFIDENCE and AUTHENTICITY. Don’t be braggadocios really means don’t bullshit. If you don’t have an answer to a question, don’t make it up. If you lie or embellish and end up landing the job, you’ll be miserable. Be yourself and be proud of your accomplishments and success. Articulate success with confidence and authenticity.

K&J also talked about counter offers, but again READ KAT’S ARTICLE. It covers that part of the MnSearch conversation. An additional point of note we’d like to include here as a #4 takeaway:

4. Even if you accept a counter offer from your current employer, it will end up biting you in the ass as you climb the ladder within that organization. The higher levels of leadership may appreciate and value your work, but you’re most likely never going to be invited to the table of higher leadership. You’ve injured your leadership’s trust, and trust is very difficult to repair.

K&J left many more questions left unanswered. Our hope is that MnSearch will enable them to answer these questions in writing, to be posted at a later date. Or, perhaps more projector-side chats at MnSearch are in store!?

Top 3 Takeaways – MIMA September “Storyscaping® – Stop Creating Ads, Start Creating Worlds”

The task of making it to the U of M on time to attend an early morning MIMA event is daunting at best. However, traffic karma was on my side yesterday morning (as it was for the morning MIMA event in St. Paul earlier this year). YOU CAN DO IT PEOPLE. YOU CAN MAKE IT TO THE MORNING EVENTS.

September featured Darren “Daz” McColl, the Global Chief Brand and Marketing Strategy Officer for SapientNitro. As his title suggests… Daz is a big deal. He’s also really funny and has an amazing Australian accent and attitude (equal parts charm/roughness). I’m also a sucker for anyone with a good nickname.

Daz co-authored a book by the same name as his presentation and you can buy it here.

Top 3 Takeaways:

1. Stories are how we make sense of the world and our place within it. Today’s consumer isn’t satisfied with being told a story; they want and EXPECT to be INVOLVED with the story.

2. The funnel is an old construct. Purchasing journeys are far too short for yester-year’s “marketing funnel” image to be relevant. Today it’s about INTERCONNECTED WORLDS, worlds fueled by inspiration and connected by story and technology. Everything we as marketers do should lead to something else – “always end in a comma, never a period.”

3. The power of storytelling in B2B is underleveraged. Expectations of the target audiences are informed by the same world, just some of the content and techniques might be different.

We expect additional recaps and info (maybe a deck, which was really good?) will post to MIMA Event Recap page. Next up for MIMA is SUMMIT. If you haven’t registered or if your company hasn’t yet purchased a table, GET ON IT. The Summit is on Oct 19th, right around the corner. Expect NUMEROUS takeaways, inspiring messages, fantastic networking, and kickass music.

Top 3 Takeaways – MIMA August “CATFOA – Peter Nicholson”

Tim Brunelle is like MIMA’s version of NPR’s Terry Gross. They have similar interview styles and bare a slight resemblance… almost like long lost cousins. It’s weird, go ahead and Google image search that.

Another thing that’s weird is the acronym CATFOA – “Conversations About the Future of Advertising”. It’s a MIMA Monthly format that, like NPR’s Fresh Air, flows easily with equal parts entertainment, education and inspiration.

In August Tim introduced us to a new creative force in the Twin Cities agency scene, Peter Nicholson, CCO of Periscope. We learned a bit about Peter’s reasons for uprooting his family from NYC to MPLS (Periscope was the agency model Peter wanted to build in NYC, but to build it there would’ve taken him 7+ years), we saw samples of his work (which includes some great commercials), and discovered his and Tim’s thoughts around cultivating diversity within their creative departments (see below).

Top 3 Takeaways:

1. The Most Flexible Agency Wins – we need to adapt to how people react day-to-day, sometimes minute-to-minute. This nimble approach can only happen when media is truly integrated with the rest of the agency. Agencies need to evolve into almost a newsroom environment, with daily briefings that allow teams to collaboratively look for the storytelling opportunities for the day ahead.

2. Obsessed Talent is the Best – when building his creative teams, Peter looks for people who are fanatic about a specific craft, someone who’s dedicated to honing and perfecting a particular creative output. He made mention of how seemingly linear career paths were when he started his agency career vs. how incredibly nonlinear it can be now. While it’s broader and therefore easier to try different avenues, Peter encouraged burgeoning talent to pick a path and create the best work within that lane before you move onto the next.

3. Why so Many White Guys? This was an interesting point in the conversation, considering Peter and Tim are two white guys. Peter promotes a conscious responsibility to creating diverse teams, but he didn’t get into the nitty gritty on how he ensures diversity is built into his current teams. Rather, he talked about encouraging young people from diverse backgrounds to enter the field and grow within it… and that as more white dudes retire, diversity will open up. A less than satisfying answer. Tim put a cap on this portion of the conversation by stating that he thinks about getting an interesting mix of creative people into the room and trusting that the good work will come.

The entire conversation is posted on the MIMA website if you’re intrigued to hear more from the latest creative leader in our market and Terry… we mean, Tim.

MIMA May “Secrets to Successfully Using Human-Centered Design”

May MIMA was marvelous. It featured Anna Love-Mickelson, co-founder of stoke.d, a human-centered design practice with studios in Nashville and Minneapolis. In addition to having a really great name and a cool, Samantha Bee vibe, Anna was wonderfully engaging. Her thoughtful style brought to light great nuggets of practicality and inspiration.

In all transparency, Anna’s overview of the presentation – “a Design Thinking 101, followed by a 201” – made me groan a bit internally… 101 this community is not. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. Top 3 Takeaways from the “101” portion:

1. Show, Don’t Tell – “The person who brings the prototype to the meeting WINS”

2. Radical Collaboration – Design is a team sport. While gathering many like-minded people in the room promotes easy collaboration, it doesn’t result in the best new thinking. There’s great benefit in differing perspectives and skills. The double plus of differing skills in room trickles into a more effective execution stage. This level of diversity can help drive the project to completion, reducing risk in the translation of concept to execution.
3. Embrace Experimentation – Get beyond your perfectionist tendencies and show that shitty first draft. Getting feedback early sharpens your clarity and promotes effective collaboration. “One who makes no mistakes makes nothing at all.”

Anna encouraged creating a culture with creative confidence – a culture where people don’t feel fearful of putting their half-baked ideas out there. To example this, Anna asked us to take 20 seconds to draw a portrait of the person sitting next to us.

They’re total shit, right? And that’s OKAY.

For the 201 portion, Anna was joined by Scott Mark, Director of Healthcare Innovation and Technical Fellow at Medtronic, and Dean Kephart, MN Executive Director of Distinctive Schools. Take a peek at Dean’s bio – his career is filled with interesting twists and very cool turns.

We wanted to share a nugget of wisdom from each:

Scott, in response to a question about how to get leadership to support design thinking: Find champions within your organization and know where and when to break the rules. Using words like “strategy” and “risk mitigation” work well in corporate cultures, too.

Dean, in response to a question about where he gets inspiration: Be a strong listener and truly curious. In addition to daily walks, he recommends an app called Curiosity that offers curated content on a number of different topics.

We have a little breather before June, but will be back at the event circuit in no time again! Watch for more Top 3s after Memorial Day.

Mpls MadWomen “The Man Event”

“The Man Event” has been discussed since the early days of Mpls MadWomen. The reality of the event exceeded expectations and made a powerful imprint on the women and men gathered at Mia to scratch the surface of this chunky topic. A slew of questions were created, which Jessica Nordell expertly curated. Her moderating style created a warm and inviting environment in which to tackle uncomfortable and awkward topics around today’s state of gender within agencies.

Panelists included:

Ed Huerta-Margotta, Director of Talent Acquisition, Carmichael Lynch

Joe Cecere, President & Chief Creative Officer, Little + Co

Chris Lawrence, Director of Account Management, Fallon

Maxwell Twum, Assistant Account Executive, BBDO

We’re featuring the Top 3 Topics, with summarized quotes:

Topic #1 – Gender Diversity Still a Problem?

The problem I have is that it’s still a problem. It’s 2016. I’ve been in the business since the 1980s when the behaviors were horrid. To see even a glimmer of that behavior still around (and I do) really sucks. – Ed Huerta-Margotta

In development of this event, I’ve been part of a conversation that’s opened my eyes that while I’m in an environment that makes me feel like there’s not a problem (working for a woman), gender diversity still is a problem. – Joe Cecere

I’ve always had bad-ass women in my life and I have bad-ass women I work with at BBDO. Like Joe, I didn’t necessarily recognize a problem. Having these conversations have made me realize there’s more work to be done. – Maxwell Twum

The work we do informs culture. Diversity is not just about the composition of our staff, it influences the work we do. – Chris Lawrence

Topic #2 – Talent Recruitment & Retention

Statements like “we just want the best talent” or “that person isn’t a cultural fit” are weak and stem from unconscious bias that we all have. Once you acknowledge that you have unconscious bias, you can be aware of how it informs your assessments. Besides, “culture fit” isn’t what you should be after – you should want people who enhance, grow and evolve your culture… otherwise you might not be in business in the future. – Ed Huerta-Margotta

We’re undoing decades-long behavior of bias. The pool is shallow for talent in general, and in particular female leadership talent. Hopefully we’ll start seeing a catch-up. – Chris Lawrence

I disagree that the talent pool is shallow. Female talent is out there, we need to create environments that are welcoming and appeal to them. No porn mags in the bathrooms. – Ed Huerta-Margotta

No magazines in the bathrooms period. That’s just gross…. At Little + Co we have female leadership, but no female creative directors and honestly I don’t know why, but it’s a problem. I admit I’ve been sitting back and waiting for one to appear and that’s a problem, too. – Joe Cecere

We’re in a creative industry, let’s get creative to retain and grow the rock stars we want to keep. Identify them and creatively adapt to meet their needs, in addition to business needs. Don’t give them a reason to leave. – Ed Huerta-Margotta

We need to be aware of creating atmospheres that allow people to do good work and do right by their families and personal lives. – Joe Cecere

Becoming a parent is a total reset of your life. As a community we need to applaud that transition. At Fallon we recognized that we were expecting an instant “on” from parents when they returned from maternity/paternity leaves. We’ve created an 8-week phased return plan to create a smoother transition. – Chris Lawrence

Topic #3 – What Can An Ally Do?

Start by asking your colleagues what issues they’re facing and let them know you’re an ally and source of support. – Maxwell Twum

There are people who do the right thing and then there are people who don’t care. For the latter, you make a business case for why there needs to be a change. – Ed Huerta-Margotta

Spread the word outside your walls. Talk to other leaders, ask them what they’re doing and share what you’re doing to make it better.  – Joe Cecere

Keep an eye on the Mpls MadWomen website for their conversation recap and an edited video recap to come. Continue the conversation on individual, group and agency/company-wide levels. Share your stories and experiences with others, in order to further understanding and progress in creating more inclusive and supportive environments for all.

MnSearch April Snippets “Efficient Growth through Paid Campaigns”

As an antidote for the cold April Showers, MnSearch offered Snippets and FAJITAS. We always expect great Snippets, but the fajitas were a happy surprise.

Jeff Snyder, Growth Marketer at When I Work, spoke about “Planning, Measuring, Optimizing, and Driving a 10x Lift in Mobile Installs” while Independent Growth Consultant, Jon Thralow, covered “Google AdWords, Positioning, and ROI – Results from a Positioned-based Test”. Here are our Top 3 Takeaways:

1. Jeff stressed simplicity with Mobile Apps. Get users to take action through simple ad copy/visuals. Don’t forget to add value. Make onboarding super simple, the second users launch the app. Make sure there are CLEAR steps as to what’s next.

2. Jon shared a little secret that Google doesn’t want you to know… the THIRD paid position is the best. It’s where the eyes go. Making the simple change of moving from position #1 to position #3 can save as much as 60%/month on paid search. Price per comes way down, bounce rate is better, and conversions increased by over 50%!

3. There’s so much great info in Jon’s article that he shared, that it’s a meaty takeaway on its own. Read it here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/1st-position-best-google-adwords-jon-thralow?trk=prof-post

A final shout out of congratulations to Aaron Weiche on the birth of his fourth child! That prompted cake, in addition to the fajitas. While we wait to experience the MnSearch May 25th event, menu and content, check back for CLICK’s early May takeaways from other events we attend.