- Disaster-related damages more than tripled
- Disaster recovery funding quintupled, going from just 11% to over 55% of damages per-capita
- The ratio of preparedness-to-recovery spending slipped from $1 preparedness per $3.50 recovery to just $1 per $142.85.
We’ve just learned that some of our client work featured in the Cougar paper company promotional book, Share on Cougar®.
The identity kit for Leadership Ascent will be on display at HOW Design Live this year in Cougar’s Live Blueline Gallery, in booth 511. If you’re lucky enough to attend this year, please stop by and say hello for us!
About the identity kit
A lifelong mountaineer, the founder (a recent escapee from the world of Fortune 500® client-side leadership training) looked to blend his thus far distinct passions for corporate leadership and adventuring into a single entity that would seamlessly bring lessons learned on the mountain to bear on the boardrooms of his clients. His mindset was fundamentally shifted on his climb up Mt. Rainier, leading to the tagline we developed for him: “Find yourself on the way.”
Where we start considering paper
The choice of paper played a critical role in contributing to the feeling of authenticity in the final design, but we began considering the weight and texture of the paper from the moment we conceived of the historical approach to the kit. As we started to develop the vintage mountaineering inspired stationery, we simultaneously started exploring cost effective paper options to make it come to life.
We utilized century-old, lightly edited public domain maps of the founder’s favorite mountain as the consistent visual, and this required a lot of ink to sit on top of the paper. We went with Cougar’s 70lb text for the smooth grain and solid weight, choosing an uncoated stock to maintain the outdoorsy, weathered feel. Cougar natural was a cost effective stock that had a variety of weights available that enabled us to increase the tactile experience of the all-important business card while maintaining the same look as the rest of the kit.
Our favorite moment during the project
At the initial presentation of the tagline in combination with the ID kit, his business partner (and wife) suggested that our creative director “must be sleeping with him, because that’d be the only we could possibly know him so well.”
The piece on display at the HOW Conference:
On March 14th (Pi Day), people gathered in the Industrial Strength Theater in Herndon, VA to have their minds stuffed with new ideas and stretched by different perspectives. The theater had an intimate black box style, allowing for interaction with the invite-only audience.
Sixteen speakers and performers covered a wide swath of topics ranging from green architecture futures to modern dance duets to the value of unhappiness. The talk about how to use unhappiness as an incredible tool was delivered by none other than our President & Chief Strategic Consultant, Tate Linden.
You may ask how one goes about preparing for a TEDx talk. In working alongside Tate every day I witnessed first hand how it goes down.
First – lots of cursing. Then plenty of excitement. Then the realization that “damn, this is harder than it looks, let’s edit this speech for the millionth time.”
It was a challenge to whittle down the concept from one hefty theory and model that Stokefire has used to help global organizations achieve remarkable success into a 15 minute insightful presentation highlighting the most critical step in the recipe. (And let’s be clear, I wasn’t even doing the work – Tate was.) But the distillation was not even the hardest piece – that part showed up when Tate grabbed the bull by the horns and confronted his largest source of unhappiness in over 20 years.
It was intense, it was surprising, and when he walked off the stage the audience gave a standing ovation with tear streaked faces.
Way to make us proud, Tate.
The video will be out in a few weeks. We can’t wait to share it with you!
TED is a nonprofit group that focuses on spreading worthwhile ideas throughout the world in a series of events and conferences. Known as TED Talks, these events typically feature the leading thinkers and doers of the world that speak on a matter of different subjects for 18 minutes at a time. Previous global speakers include Bill Gates, Al Gore, and Jane Goodall, among others. TEDx events are community planned and coordinated independently in the style of the global TED event.
Our nation’s founding fathers may have been inspired by unhappiness – they wrote it into Declaration of Independence. Seriously. Don’t remember it? Right after “Life, Liberty”… we have “and the PURSUIT of happiness.” See what they did there? We get life and liberty from our first breath, but if we want to be happy? We gotta buy some sneakers, a nice track suit, and then try to chase down happiness.
Don’t like exercise? Prepare to be disappointed. And even if you do like it, you’re still screwed, because the moment you stop pursuing and start having… you’ll find that our founders didn’t tell us we could actually keep happiness, or how to know it when we see it.
Traditional wisdom says that the value of unhappiness lies in making the good times feel that much better. We’re not advocating that you practice masochism on Tuesdays so that your Wednesdays feel better, but being unhappy does provide with us with super powers that disappear once happiness creeps in.
Unhappiness and happiness aren’t as hard to pin down as we think they are – there are specific conditions that lead to one or the other and once you know what to look for you’ll know what to change.
Tate Linden, Stokefire’s President and Chief Strategic Consultant, has been invited to present at the inaugural TEDx Herndon event this Saturday, March 14th (Pi Day). He’ll be sharing the secret sauce on to how unhappiness can be used as a tool to find happiness easier and more often. And we promise he won’t be chopping anyone’s toes off to make the next speaker sound better.
The New England Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks in an exciting game this Super Bowl Sunday with a score of 28-24. Woohoo. All we cared about were the ads though. Apparently 2015 is the year of dad love and screaming goats.
We captured the reactions from the peanut gallery for you – below are some of the quotes heard ‘round the chip bowl.
Dove Men+Care – “Real Strength”
Nissan – “With Dad”
Toyota – “To Be A Dad”
When I began my education in Sweden back in 2011, I was determined that my upcoming Bachelor’s degree in Media and Communication would open the doors for a career within journalism. As a person who loves to tell stories I had decided that I could pursue a career in storytelling, and a journalist would be the perfect occupation.
At least that’s what I thought.
Before I got to the US I hadn’t quite encountered the term “branding.” Compared to the Swedish brand and advertising industry, the term “branding” is more visible here in the U.S. It’s not that Swedes don’t work with branding – in fact, it’s the other way around. A lot of agencies describe branding in their work, but they never use the term. They describe their way of working with strategies, storytelling and relationships, but very few link those processes to branding. That’s a shame in my opinion, since the term includes all those components in one simple, single expression. Swedes are very good at bringing English words into the Swedish vocabulary, yet letting them keep their English spelling and/or pronunciation (possibly due to the fact that many languages descend from Latin, but let’s leave that for now). My point is, Swedish professionals within this industry should become more aware of the fact that they are working with b-r-a-n-d-i-n-g, and include the term in their work.
So what contributes to the fact that branding isn’t as in the spotlight in Sweden as it is in the U.S.?
Well, one thing I’ve noticed – and remember that these are only my own reflections – is that Swedes are still very into PR. Over the last couple of years, plenty of new and hip PR agencies has popped up over our oblong country and a lot of youths in the beginning of their 20’s are aiming for a career within this field and marketing as well.
Fair enough, it makes sense, considering that it’s more crucial than ever to be seen and noticed in the world of brands. It’s understandable that companies need the help from advertising and PR agencies in order to get their message out there. But it’s also extremely crucial that both parties understand the importance in telling the brand’s story and that every campaign and move should be a part of the bigger picture.
Sweden is a small country and is very much influenced by the U.S., especially when it comes to pop culture. We watch the same sitcoms, listen to the same artists and get inspired by various viral phenomenon (like the rest of the world.) And no matter how much I love my home country, there are a few things I’ve learned here that I wish to see more of in a Swedish brand and advertising industry. Like the innovative and provocative way of storytelling, the absence of the Law of Jante* and how distinctiveness plays a huge part in the working process.
As I mentioned in the beginning, I love telling stories.
But as you might understand at this point, I’m no longer aiming to become a journalist. At all.
When I’m going back to Sweden, I’m going to make people within the Swedish industry more aware of the branding concept, and I’m aiming to become a skillful brand strategist and make the term more visible.
Because the story behind branding is a story I believe in.
*The Law of Jante is a negative concept within the Swedish society and describes a condescending attitude towards individuality and success. It’s a mentality that de-emphasizes individual effort and places all emphasis on the collective, while discouraging those who stand out as achievers. Basically, individuals are not to think they’re special or better than anyone else.
We pass a lot of people everyday: on the bus, in the streets, at work. We are all there and we are all going somewhere. And how we look, how we dress and how we act say so many things about us. Do you sigh when you have to wait in line to get on the bus? Do you run toward the street to catch the green light? Do you smile and thank the person holding the door for you?
Small factors like these can reveal something about us for our beholders and without us even noticing, these people create assumptions about us as they observe us. A person who sighs in line is bored, a person who runs toward the street is stressed and a person who smiles and says thanks is nice.
Our actions, together with our expressions and looks, create who we are.
They create our personal brand.
Many of us aren’t aware of this. We might not think about ourselves in this way, but the truth is, in every minute of the day, we are branding ourselves. From the moment we wake up, until the moment we fall asleep. In all of the things we do, we are communicating something about ourselves and we are creating an image of ourselves for other people to interpret.
This is why I’m interested in branding. Branding isn’t just about getting a message out there. It’s not marketing, it’s not advertising and it’s not public relations. It’s so much more and it’s goes so much deeper. Branding is about finding the core – the soul – of something and be sure every small detail related to that core is coherent with the brand, regardless if it’s your own personal brand or your company’s.
Branding is about creating a long-term relationship, because branding strives after telling the truth and be consistent to the brand. Your friends and beloved ones didn’t choose you because you told them what a great person you are (marketing), because someone else told them what a great person you are (public relations) or because you been shouting out in public what a great person you are (advertising).
They have chosen you because you are that great person in your own special way.
With all the different voices shouting out their messages together with their brands in today’s society, it’s easy to get lost. I mean, think about it, how many of us haven’t been lost teenagers who tried to be “just like everyone else” or felt that something was the right thing do to “because everyone else is doing it?” As we grow up and find ourselves along the way, we realize what’s most important.
It’s not about what everyone else is doing,
It’s about being true to ourselves in everything we do.
I’ve thought about what I wish for my brand to be. Have you thought about yours?
Washington Flyer covers the best of Washington D.C. and the Capital Region, including entertainment, food, recreation, nightlife, hotels, and travel. These magazines are distributed through the Washington D.C. airports so you can have some reading material on your next flight to Hawaii. (Please take us with you?)
Next time you fly out of Reagan National, check out the September/October 2014 issue which includes a story about the arts scene in the D.C. area. The intro page and centerfold of the magazine features a photo our art director, Lindsay Benson Garrett, took of Gin Dance Company.