Winning Attitude

I haven’t ever participated in a beauty, talent or baking contest, but at my current agency they had nominations for the 2013 Achievers Awards. That feels the closest to a Miss Congeniality contest I have ever participated in, because after several nominations anonymously from co-workers, I was selected as a finalist for Winning Attitude.



The nomination was a simple description:
Category: Winning Attitude – she is always there with a smile and a “how’s it going” question. She helps keep the team upbeat and has started music Fridays on 19. She always sees the positive in things and loves bringing the team together while at work or at socials.

Your personality and behavior can truly effect the day of others. Someone around you can extremely be the influence of the positive or negative working environment.

Just a few days later, I got a note from another co-worker that said:
Thanks for the mention in the by the stairs the other day! You’re always so cheerful and clearly the best candidate for winning attitude for the achievers. Congrats on your nomination & congrats on your future award as well!

These small acknowledgements are just clear reasons why giving a simple greeting or hello in the hallway can really influence other’s persona of you.

Moving forward with the week, the 6 of us nominated will be honored Thursday at the yearly Achiever’s event where there will be 1 overall winner.

Also this week, my current agency The Lacek Group went through a big re-brand after being in business 20 years. The website was re-skinned with the new colors and pixels of data points. I also lead the social re-branding working with Designer Tracy Szabo to implement the same branding in the social space. Some of this could be thought as a second thought, but the impressions and influence your brand has within the social channels is very important and shouldn’t be left behind.

Capture_FBsocialContact Us

In agency life, the controlling of stress, time management and your attitude can make or break a team’s performance and the overall project’s moral.

I’ll keep working on my “winning attitude” and you should too!

All smiles for now,
your mn design gal

google glass

Google glass

Agency Content Matters

Content has always been something that comes second nature for me and I gravitate to and am always observing things and taking notes.

Facebook is the most popular channel, but surprisingly some agencies don’t mess with. mono actually has never made a page, and I was told by a past employee, that they have no desire at that time to be part of that space. It was their image to be slightly mysterious. [how cool right?]

But that isn’t the norm, about 98% of all advertising agencies, design shops, creative firms have a Facebook page to talk about themselves, show how they celebrate Birthdays, post shameless summer party photos, share photos from their taco-themed Tuesdays and share how they give back to local charities.


When a friend starts at a company or your interested in working at a new place, what is one of the first things you do? [Facebook them of course!] It’s a very secretive way to snoop and it gives you personal and real-time insight to get to know a possible future employer. See their space before visiting, understand that they have clients they hang out, how they work hard and play hard, the sometimes stocked keg in the kitchen or the cool Ice T and Ice Cube is on their pop machine.

What companies also forget is that Facebook is another place where client’s engage and look at their agency too. They want to see their agency having fun, making a difference and being really cool and different. I can clearly remember working at a web design firm that a corporate client [I’ll just tell you it was General Mills] and they would come in every other Friday and they were just excited to crack a beer and play video games and hang-out with “their agency folks”. Why is that? Because the agency part is the fun part to their corporate jobs! They don’t want breakfast meetings with plain bagels and bad coffee with mini creamers. They want afternoon meetings with beers on the table, giant bags of chips and 90’s music playing while you sit in the coolest and most comfortable conference room they have ever been in!

Where agencies miss the bar is spotlighting their employees within their social content. Lets face it, you can have a really cool name, do fairly great work but if your employees are stale, boring and un-entertaining that client will leave you because there is another agency that does just as great work but has a ping-pong table, a killer view in their conference room and the people just get your needs and make you feel so comfortable – also that Creative Director is just so damn cool the client secretly wants to be him.

make it happen today

How to solve this? Have fun with your employees and let them come to YOU with your social content too.

Example: At an agency I know, they had a employee craft fair. [Neat idea thought from an employee of course!] What was showcased was employee’s original talents, crafts and photography that they did on their own that you never knew about them because of their titles and day jobs. The entire event was just a few hours at the agency but a month’s worth of social content! Spotlight the production manager as a talented jewelry maker, take a picture of her with hand-made earrings on she made for another co-worker and post that. Or the quiet developer that you never knew his name actually paints guitar picks! Even cooler he actually has one from Elvis, [not a true story but that could happen].

Employees love talking about themselves and sharing things if the right people at the agency ask them about it. Before you know it, the employee is sharing their picture on FB with their friends and their old college roommate is the data analyst you have been looking for and you not only have a new hire, but that same guitar painting guy was going to start looking for a job. But now, he likes it because his distance friend is there and he feels like his employer not only cares about him personally but he feels loyal to them.

The small entertaining things work too. Take a picture of the Friday beer cart and post that a few times a month [not every Friday of course that deadline for the client was killer]. Did a partner or Creative Director speak somewhere for a local nonprofit? Did someone go and take a picture of him? Did you write a blog post about it or at least post the picture tagging the organization? You just missed out on thousands of impressions and that speaking gig lost his chance to triple in value.

agency culture - beer cart

I took this picture and made these employees laugh to capture the Friday beer trolley invented by this employee and friend.

When client’s visit, remember they check-in too and some will even tag you on Twitter. Twitter is slightly different then Facebook in my opinion with agency content because you want to also be forward-thinking and have new business at top of mind always.

When that same client tweeted your agency did you reply back to them? That can be a negative feeling for that client without you even knowing. Remember to check your social channels and respond and thank NEW re-tweeters and always be mindful of client tweets and remember if you want that digital business you better be watching them in their digital space.

Finally, I have to note that a very small 10-person design shop that I worked at wasn’t on any social sites and didn’t want to be. I convinced them they should be because the website didn’t say ANYTHING about the people that worked there. So after multiple weeks of selling and then educating the company and 4 partners on what Facebook was (other then stalking old High School friends) we launched. Not only was it successful and but even got all 4 partners to get on Facebook themselves and they found those old friends and past co-workers who then noticed and starting bringing in new business. I moved on from that job months later after getting social up and running but the Facebook page and Twitter (even though it’s just posts that are posted on FB that I totally don’t recommend but is good for these guys for now) is still up and running. The content still continues to be new and it’s even better then I could have imagined because a production artist with some passion was added to the admin to maintain the content as well. The social creative is still up with what I designed and created for them and it’s part of their agency culture to update it.

This blog post is near and dear to this MN Design Gal’s heart, because I’m so passionate about agency branding and online content that I find myself thinking of new and re-branding strategies in my sleep. [nerd]

your agency design gal – designing my path through life one post at a time

pic of this mndesigngal

Nacho Mama

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 13. That means your mom, any new mothers, (including three of my best gal pals and their 3 sons) should be celebrated all the way up to those hip-old Grannies, (my Nanny Carole and Nanny Joan of course).

my mom on the lake

My Mom Candee with her daughters Trina (My younger sisters) and Me

To follow-up on my May Day Basket social post for the Cedar Floral Design Studio. By the way, did you LIKE them yet? They are at 32 Likes just 5 days after delivering the May Day baskets to total of 12 local businesses resulting in a possible 32,000+ impressions.
The Like stat is a bit lower than what I had expected, but for a small locally owned flower shop this is very good. Lets face it, I’m not working on a National brand right? Now that we have hit past 30 Likes, Facebook activates the insights panel. That means one can now get all nerdy with the insights, impressions and amount of reach including an analyse of the demographic that is currently Liking the page. Waiting at least 1 week to generate the insights works best, and even 1 month is even better.

Facebook Live Comments So remember your MaMa on Sunday, a new Mother (whom could even be your wife) or that is a friend or family member and to share the love with not only flowers (from Cedar Floral Design Studio) but to make them feel special and thank them for their hard-work and love.

nacho mama,
your mn design gal 

Not a Mother- they aren't mine

Steve and Kael (3 weeks old), Caden (6 mos old) not my kids- my best friend’s boys.

Did You Receive Your May Day Basket?

May Day is today, the 1st of May and it comes around every year. I can remember as a kid, my lovely mom Candee would make little May Day baskets and we would take them to neighbors. We would ring their doorbell and smile and/or leave it on their doorstep. It was a strange little tradition, but always put a smile on people’s faces and my mom especially loved getting a little crafty with us kids.

Well, welcome to 2012 and not only are little kids not suppose to ring door bells and run away or take candy from strangers, but who has the time to do this kind gesture?

Today, I delivered 31,038 May Day Flower Baskets. The baskets were super cute with white daisies and bright Spring flowers to cheer up strangers, neighbors and friends.

Ok, this was all done online, the social clubhouse Facebook to be exact. Social media has taken away the hand written notes, cards and birthday messages and replaced it with a post on your wall. (Sometimes that written note from Grandma is literally written on your Facebook wall, including the indents and a love you Grams.)

This cyber May Day basket concept came after talking with my mom about the May Day post for her work’s Facebook page. She reminded me to write something like “Hooray for May Day!” or “Happy May 1! May Day is here!” I took that suggestion to the next level making a hands-on sharing opportunity to increase brand awareness for Cedar Floral Design Studio and increase their likes.


The tricky part with posting a picture on someone’s wall as a Page is some have altered their settings so you can’t do so. Most cases the local businesses I wanted to deliver to had the front door wide open for me to ding-dong.

The businesses included with their page and number of Likes:
Chamber of Commerce in Owatonna : 218 Likes
Owatonna People’s Press : 358 Likes
Owatonna Library : 574 Likes
Steele County Free Fair : 3,102 Likes
Old Town Bagels : 370 Likes

The most robust business was a company that had started in Owatonna with over 25,000+ Likes, Josten’s. This one may have a lot of likes, but the odds of having them do a shout-out like down the street business Hair-i-Tage with 603 Likes, is pretty low.

Hair-i-tage Shoutout

The timing of the deliveries was at 4pm and Cedar Floral Design Studio was at 9 Likes total for their page. Within 3 hours they were at 16 Likes. (Not quite what you may be thinking with the amount of deliveries, but makes sense for the level of awareness this brand has and the factor of region.)

Cedar Floral Design Studio Facebook

Most of the page viewers may be night reviewers, but the page owners most likely would have been online during the day and not delivering at 10am may have effected the May Day activity slightly.

The design of the May Day basket was also taken into consideration. If you see the original that is pictured above you clearly see the “From Your Friends then the logo”, but some page owners but get scared with the branding so it is designed to look like a cheerful May basket without the branding. When someone clicks on it to see further though, they will see the logo and then also most importantly my tagging to the Cedar Floral Design Studio page itself. That is what is most important, is to get that user to go on my page and LIKE and possibly get engaged with my content.

This idea is just one of the many that I have to execute in my social media designing career. Stay tuned for the summary on results later this week and also for more of this MN design gal’s social thinking.

May you have a great rest of your May Day!

your flower delivery gal

Judge Your Facebook Page by it’s Cover

Facebook Cover Picture: Do you have one?

All timelines including a cover picture becomes public March 30, 2012, but some admins have pushed them sooner you may have noticed. This means that anyone who visits your page will be able to see your cover image. Covers can’t be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else’s copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines.
Facebook tells us that covers may not include:
i.    price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it on“; (a test dummy for this post only)
ii.    contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section;
iii.    references to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features; or
iv.    calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”
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Your profile picture represents your Page on other parts of Facebook, like in news feed, like normal. Use the logo or another image that represents your Page. Choose an image that’s square and at least 180 pixels wide.
The Facebook Timeline profile cover image is sized at 851px by 315px. I received a tweet reply to my cover page comment, that countered my directions from a social media manager from Arnold World Wide. It made me think that Facebook could be tricking me, so the only way to really find out was to design my own and put it to the test. Right?
I decided to try the measurements that were given to me and make my first Cover Page. In Photoshop I started a document that was exactly 815 pixels by 315 pixels with a white background and at 300 DPI.
For the design I featured a few of my agency’s work on the right-side to make what we do day-to-day for clients, to come to life for the users.
Partners & Hunt Cover Image Facebook
No error messages were given to me on the 851 x 351 pixels, but I also had my imagery at 300 DPI because some screens are even better than and I don’t want my imagery to look blurry if I can help it.
Simplifying the main profile image is key on these new designs. You no longer have to make your logo fit into that tiny awkward space or even that thumbnail. It becomes more of icon that could go with the background or makes people wonder who that is and want to learn more.
I also really like the idea of having your team shine on the cover page. Here is another concept I have for Partners & Hunt Creative Group that shows more of the creative group themselves which could be fitting for some businesses and/or agencies.
Cover concept shown below in a Facebook mock-up template I designed.
Facebook Cover Mockup Template by Tricia
Moving forward also constructed a cover page for This or That Ideas & Services, which is a small business that focuses on creative thinking for busy people. Notice the top left Twitter icon and a few images to demonstrate the creative practices. I believe I’m going against some rules a bit because Facebook encourages users tell stories with the cover with just photos, but having this brand experiment with the phrases and quick reads was my goal because I’m still in the experiential phase with this social environment.
This or That Ideas & Services Facebook Cover
Go Like This or That for yourself and let me know your thoughts on the cover page concept!

Another new feature is the direct messaging to page owners that has never been allowed. In the past, I always found myself going through the page trying to find the email address within the info to get more information on something. But now this will be the quickest way to DM and get an answer on the product, place or brand.

Notifications about new messages will appear right in your admin panel.
After writing my blog post I found this tell-all YouTube video that did a better job on the updates. I guess I could have just embedded this video as my post.
Learn a little bit more from Facebook themselves (not hosted by Zach but a random person that looks smart and is great at voice-over)

I’ll keep learning and exploring! I also find myself thinking that I would be a one-of-kind Community Manager or Social Engagement, I have that creative edge to know what can be done, I could execute it myself quickly and efficiently and my ideas for content are never-ending. Now if I could only figure out how to show those skills off?

Like Me or comment on this post,

you MN social gal

Most of you may not know, but I wear glasses most days to work- it's my nerdy side