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PR Pros - Here’s your shot!

Creative Company is adding another PR practitioner to the team!

If you love the idea of making news happen and can’t wait to start work every day, we want to talk! 

We’re busy so we are opening the door for another great person to join our team!

The ideal applicant will have strong relationships with both local and national press and/or be capable of developing them. Must be an excellent writer, able to craft winning pitches, press releases, strategic and collateral materials, op-eds, speeches, web and social media content. Must have proven ability to communicate well across channels in a polished and professional manner and deliver materials within established timeframes, often on tight deadlines. Must be able to coordinate and manage press conferences and public events. 

Qualifications:

Bachelors Degree in Journalism, Public Relations or Strategic Communications

Proficiency across social media platforms

Event planning and management skills

Strong writing skills (must provide samples)

Ability to craft winning pitches and garner coverage in major media and niche outlets

Demonstrated ability to serve clients well.

Ability to execute projects under minimal supervision and work effectively and cooperatively with a wide range of internal and external audiences. 

To apply, please send your cover letter and resume to laura@thecreativecompany.com.

Thank you for your interest and good luck! 

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UW E-Business Consortium’s Business Best Practices & Emerging Technologies Conference

(Source: vimeo.com)

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The Wedding Night Manual

We’ve had another great week at The Creative Company! We landed several new clients this Summer which is always good. Revenues are up year over year and the team at Creative Company is strong and growing. 

Landing a new account is always filled with a rush of adrenaline but when knowledge is thin, disappointments can run deep. When everything is new, nothing has been tried and true. It needs to be tested. 

This is why we have the wedding night manual. The wedding night manual is a reminder to all of us about how to make sure that every new client becomes a long term client. Although we’re joking around a little with the catchy phrase, it really is that important to us to get it right.

The Wedding Night Manual

1) Put the right people on the team.

2) Create clear assignments.

3) Commit to your own personal role in the client’s success.

4) Create clear agreements with the client. Always put every conversation in writing as well.

5) Present all new ideas IN PERSON - not via email.

6) Make sure we have “flight insurance” - should anyone on the client’s team leave - make sure you know more than one person on the client side. Connect with them on Linked In. 

7) Set realistic client expectations and timelines.

8) Don’t allow yourself or anyone here to fall into the ASAP mode. Instead, lets do the ASAR role - AS SOON AS REALISTIC.

9) Meet with the client face to face regularly. Schedule it now.

10) Start with baby steps - accomplish them - then move on to something bigger. Progress is VERY MOTIVATING for both sides. Show progress.

11) Aggressively probe for red flags and immediately act on them. Periodically, ask the client if they are satisfied with the work and if they have any questions about procedures, charges, or programs.

12) LISTEN to what isn’t being said too.

13) Deliver more than expected as often as you can.

14) Allow no surprises - communicate well.

If you can think of any others we should add to the list, by all means, share it here! 

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Web Development Internship Opportunity

The Creative Company is looking to hire ONE web development intern for the upcoming fall 2014 semester. The graphic design intern will work first-hand with our design team on projects such as website creation and design, e-newsletter development and design, and more.

We want interns who are off the wall, creative, and self motivated. Candidates are expected to be friendly, work well in a team environment and understand the importance of a good critique. As an intern at The Creative Company, you will work on real projects with actual clients providing support to senior level designers, developers, PR and video professionals. You will gain experience in the agency world as well as assignments that will help build your portfolio and/or resume. This isn’t just your “coffee making” internship: this is real life experience.

Requirements:
  • An online portfolio of visually appealing and interesting work that demonstrates a solid understanding of design and web development (class assignments are acceptable)
  • Knowledge of basic HTML and CSS
  • Knowledge of Adobe PhotoShop and Dreamweaver
  • Understand best practices for web graphic optimization
  • Jquery/php knowledge a plus, but not required
  • Able to follow directions as given by art directors
  • Detail oriented
  • Ability to work with minimal guidance, multi-task, and meet deadlines
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Team player with positive attitude required.
  • Junior/Senior/recent grads
  • Strong organizational skills are a must
  • Knowledge and understanding of common social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Youtube, Yelp, Google+
Responsibilities
  • Web graphic creation and optimization
  • Work closely with our design and marketing teams in the creation UI/UX design for email campaigns and web pages
  • Design creative solutions that are aesthetically strong, thoughtful and appropriate to our clients’ brands
  • Assist in project management and detailed follow through on all assigned projects to ensure successful completion
  • Creation of HTML markup and CSS styles for email campaigns and web pages
  • Basic CMS site maintenance
  • Assistance with digital asset tracking and management
  • Other responsibilities as assigned

This opportunity is paid and would start immediately. All applicants should send their resumes to laura@thecreativecompany.com

The deadline for this opportunity is August 29, 2014. 

Good Luck! 

Everyone at The Creative Company

http://thecreativecompany.com/about 

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Graphic Design Internship Opportunity

The Creative Company is looking to hire ONE graphic design intern for the upcoming fall 2014 semester. The graphic design intern will work first-hand with our design team on projects such as website creation and design, print advertisements, social media material, and more.

We want interns who are off the wall, creative, and self motivated. Candidates are expected to be friendly, work well in a team environment and understand the importance of a good critique. As an intern at The Creative Company, you will work on real projects with actual clients providing support to senior level designers, developers, PR and video professionals. You will gain experience in the agency world as well as assignments that will help build your portfolio and/or resume. This isn’t just your “coffee making” internship: this is real life experience.

Requirements:

  • A portfolio, online or printed, of visually appealing and interesting work that demonstrates a solid understanding of design (class assignments are acceptable)
  • Proficiency with the Adobe Creative Suite, particularly Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator
  • Able to follow directions as given by art directors
  • Detail oriented
  • Ability to work with minimal guidance, multi-task, and meet deadlines
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Team player with positive attitude required
  • Second year/recent grads
  • Strong organizational skills are a must
  • Knowledge and understanding of common social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Youtube, Yelp, Google+
Responsibilities
  • Creation of graphic materials for print and web
  • Work closely with our design and marketing teams in the creation of promotional and presentation tools – print advertisements, brochures, presentations, signage, etc.
  • Design creative solutions that are aesthetically strong, thoughtful and appropriate to our clients’ brands
  • Assist in project management and detailed follow-through on all assigned projects to ensure successful completion
  • Assist in design for web site and other digital media
  • Assist with photo editing and manipulation
  • Other responsibilities as assigned

This opportunity is paid and would start immediately. All applicants should send their resumes to laura@thecreativecompany.com

The deadline for this opportunity is August 29, 2014. 

Good Luck! 

Everyone at The Creative Company

http://thecreativecompany.com/about 

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Taking Notes from The Peanut Gallery

I was hired on here at The Creative Company at the end of May. As a 20 year old, entering only my junior year of college, I was turned down by many of the bigger agencies I applied to because “that’s so cute you’re only 20!” I wasn’t expecting to get the job; in fact I was planning on returning back to the comfort of my local pizza store, Giuseppe’s, to once again serve Italian beefs and be the local pizza girl. As you can imagine, when I received my acceptance e-mail from Laura I was ecstatic. She told me she had never hired a sophomore before, but there was something about me she believed in. Naturally, all my studying for my Weather and Climate final went out the window.

It become my prerogative to prove that I wasn’t just some 20 year old millennial following the footsteps of what I’m suppose to be doing. I wanted this for myself. Honestly, I had no idea what I had signed up for. Most of my friends were going to be spending the summer here in Madison floating down Sugar River and eating brats at the Terrace. I was going to be working 40 hours a week or more, doing who knows what, wearing actual business outfits. I have to say, I felt pretty grown up.

My first day at The Creative Company was June 2. I pretty much dove head first into the work I was going to be doing. I was expecting to have maybe a table to work on with a chair and a trashcan; that expectation was blown up when I got my own area to work in, with a new Mac, and access to the Keuirg whenever I wanted. (I always say it’s the little things that make the difference…) The thing is, I realized early on I wasn’t going to be treated like a kid who knew little to nothing about PR. That was new, and Laura and The Creative Company welcomed me in with open arms.

Interning became my life for the summer. I was assigned multiple projects weekly, and constantly switched gears. I learned how to write press releases, do actual case studies, work side by side with clients, and utilize social media programs like Simply Measured. I saw that analyzing results were the key to pinpointing what makes for a successful campaign, and learned how taking an initiative is the only way to work on projects I want to be on. I dipped my toes into video editing, graphic design, email marketing, pitch and copy writing, contacting media, and more.

That was the best part. Laura and the team treated me well and trusted me to get work done. I showed them how I wanted to work and learn, and they let me. A lot of times I was on my own to figure something out and I loved it. There was never a moment where I was bored, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for a project. Working at The Creative Company proved to me that if you want something to happen, its up to you to figure out how to get there. Like we said, “You must be present to win.”

I’ve been inspired by everyone at The Creative Company because its rare to hear people say how much they love their job-and I hear it every day. A lot of people my age have no idea what they want to do, and while I can’t say I will stay in PR and Advertising my whole life, I know that this type of work environment is one I always want to work in.  It’s hard being seen as the generation who will make less than his or her parents, but I believe the key to proving everyone wrong is finding something that believes in you just as much as you believe in it. For me, it’s putting my heart and soul into my future career, and being more than a 20-year old millennial. The Creative Company is an experience of a lifetime, and I couldn’t be happier to be coming back this fall. 

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Never Ever a Dilbert Day

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I started The Creative Company in 1989 when I was a senior in college. While doing a little research on my longevity and wanting to make sure we continue for at least another 20 years, I contacted the National Business Women’s Council to see how I rank. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, I had a 1 in 6 chance of making it this far.  Given that I had no connections, I was 21 years old and no money, I doubt anyone would have chosen me for the “most likely to succeed” award.  But here we are - 25 years later - with many awards and accolades including Southwest Wisconsin’s Business Women of the Year, Several Best Place to Work Awards, Recognized as one of the Best Ad Agencies in Wisconsin (Gold) by Readers of Corporate Report Wisconsin and many other industry awards and accolades for our work (Addy’s and Alchemy Awards).  I’ve also served on a national board for the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, a division of the National Retail Federation (2+ Terms).  Fun fact:  Fewer than 16.6% of women are ever invited to serve on a national board.  

But to be frank, I was conflicted about some of the statistics I found.  It turns out that women tend to be far more under capitalized than men which is one of the reasons the average women owned business does $130,000 a year.  This naturally leads to fewer employees and as it turns out, less than 10% of women owned businesses have employees.  Most experience faltering growth as they reach 5 to 9 employees or earn $250,000 a year.  (Source:  AmEx Open).  In other words, there is a glass ceiling of sorts for women although it doesn’t appear that experts know exactly what that ceiling is all about.   

My first decade was a struggle.  Although I had employees, they were young like me which meant that we were all learning as we worked to some extent. But we had many wins during those years as we represented clients in the hospitality industry and a telephone company at a time of rapid change.  I also began working with the Small Business Development Center at the UW which was of great help.  It wasn’t until I was in my early 30’s though that the company took off. We benefitted from a robust economy which was a relief after two Gulf wars and 9/11.  In addition to media buying and strong creative, we also created a management consulting division to help brands grow from the inside.  We hit over a million a year in 2003 and enjoyed growth and success along with our clients.  This also put us in an elite class of business owners as fewer than 6% of male owned businesses and 2% of female owned businesses hit these numbers.

I turned 40 the same year as the recession.  The recession had a profound affect on Creative Company as retailers cut budgets in droves.  People weren’t buying cars and jewelry and so the agency that supports them needed to make a change.  As it turns out, it was a change for the better.

I rewrote the business plan in July of 07 creating a future for Creative Company that focused more on showing, not telling.  Stronger design.  Better stories.  And online integration of everything - from email marketing to social media and websites, this was our space to thrive in.  Branding stories that mattered to the hearts and minds of customers was a winning strategy as well as showing not telling and using new technology worked for us and our clients.

Seven years later, it was a good decision although admittedly, it felt in many ways like starting over.  Sales were a decade low point when we made the change though so there was no where to go but up.  Yes, there were clients who changed with us and many new ones that came along, but the skill set it required also brought new staffing needs and in an industry where change is ever present and the channels themselves are ever changing, the pace is different, the challenges are real and the competition is tough and yet we’ve experienced double digit growth every year with respectable margins for our industry.  We’ve also given well over $100,000 to non-profits in the community (over the last 5 years alone) helping to build lives of young people, feed the hungry and making a positive impact on the lives of many here in Dane County.  

Years ago, I heard a management consultant speak about lessons learned on the turnaround trail.  I still remember the title because it resonated with me and my own story.  There are continuous set backs and wins in business.  Your ability to remain flexible, work towards tomorrow and be open to new ideas and new possibilities is essential for your success.  To some extent, you also have to be what the market needs you to be and like them, you must be willing to change.  Last but not least, you absolutely must be resilient.  

Today, women-owned firms represent one of the fastest growing segments of the economy, experiencing growth at 44%, twice as fast as men.  (Source:  Economic and Studies Administration).  I am encouraged about this data for other women because of my own successes professionally and personally as a business owner but how many will make it to the top is anyone’s guess.  There are gender barriers that still exist as the COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandburg clearly points out in her book, Lean In.  

But there are countless rewards for those who dare to lean in.  Through the agency, I’ve been able to shape Madison in many ways as we’ve worked tirelessly behind the scenes on the PR front and we’ve helped countless businesses achieve real growth through better advertising and marketing both online and off.  I’ve also personally had a chance to work alongside and become friends with many leaders both here and across the country and together, we’ve created career opportunities for many people over the years mentoring some and learning from others but always collaborating for the greater good. 25 years and thousands of connections later with a thriving team in an incredible community, I’m glad I made the decision to go into business.  

I often say, I’ve never had a Dilbert day.  I’ve been many things as the CEO of The Creative Company - challenged, frustrated, exhausted, excited, courageous, bold and even fearless but I have never, not for one second, been bored.  Every day, I’m given a blank sheet of paper, a spreadsheet with goals that must be met, clients to serve and a community with great needs.   On my best days, I’m a passionate creator with great vision.  On my worst days, I am, if nothing else, tenacious.  And I think that’s the secret - I never ever give up - not on this business, not on Madison, not on my team and not on myself.   

Laura Gallagher

Founder and President

The Creative Company, Inc.

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Internship Opportunities

The Creative Company is looking to hire ONE graphic design intern, ONE web development intern, and ONE PR and Social Media intern for the upcoming fall 2014 semester. Graphic Design and Web Development candidates will work first hand with our design team on projects such as website creation and design, print advertisements, social media material, and more. PR and Social Media candidates will be working with our team to create social media campaigns, write press releases, pitch story ideas, and more. We want interns who are off the wall, creative, and self motivated. Candidates are expected to be friendly, work well in a team environment, understand the importance of a good critique, and be self-motivated. As an intern at The Creative Company, you will work on real projects with actual clients providing support to senior level designers, developers, PR and video professionals. You will gain experience in the agency world as well as assignments that will help build your portfolio and/or resume. This isn’t just your “coffee making” internship: this is real life experience.

For PR and Social Media Intern:  

Responsibilities:

  • Creation of social media contests, advertisements, designs and overall management.
  • Ability to manage multiple social media platforms at one time including but not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Hootsuite, and Instagram.
  • Analysis of social media results and ability to interpret results.
  • Calling/sending pitches to News outlets.
  • Creation of e-mail marketing campaigns and template design.
  • Work closely with our PR professionals.

Requirements:

  • Junior/Senior/Recent Grads
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Ability to work with minimal guidance, multi-task, and meet deadlines
  • Experience with daily writing, strong editing ability, and dedicated work ethic
  • Professional written and spoken communication
  • Creativity and attention to detail 
  • Following industry-related news on approved online publications
  • Proficient knowledge and understanding of common social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Youtube, Yelp, online outreach, partnership marketing, as well as new design technologies

Click here for information about the Graphic Design internship.

Click here for information about the Web Development internship.

This opportunity is paid and would start immediately. A portfolio with previous writing/design samples is preferred but not required.  All applicants should send their resumes to laura@thecreativecompany.com

The deadline for this opportunity is August 29, 2014. 

Good Luck! 

Everyone at The Creative Company

http://thecreativecompany.com/about 

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thecreativecompany:

We recently shot this video for Tim Metcalfe and the World’s Largest Brat Fest.  In it, Tim tells the story about his family’s commitment to this community and invites viewers to be a part of it.  It was shot here at The Creative Company in studio space on the third floor of the former Gisholt Manufacturing Building.  Emmy Award winning producer Marv Turner directed the video with Art Director KT Arneson producing.  

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