Nellie Logsdon was my grandmother. She passed away when I was 18. But one of her many philosophies was this one. Now, by no means did she intend to say that you shouldn't apologize when you screw up. What she was really saying was, "Don't screw up." She knew how badly it sucks to have to admit when you've failed someone. Looking them in the eye and admitting that you made a mistake and then apologizing for it is really hard sometimes. And she knew that the only way to avoid it was to not make mistakes.
Well, we all make mistakes. And she knew that too. I think that a subliminal part of her message was to say that when you screw up, you MUST apologize. Some people say, "Failure is not an option." But I think she'd say, "Not admitting failure is not an option." And that's the philosophy we have at Old Hat. I cannot tell you how many times we have dealt with vendors that simply will not admit with they've screwed up. And further, they won't try to fix the mistake. Nothing could be more counterproductive to building a loyal client base in my opinion.
Old Hat turns out an absurd amount of projects in a given month. Hundreds of videos/animations, numerous websites and thousands (yes, thousands) of print projects every year. And the amount of times we just completely screw up is nearly 0%. We have many systems in place to prevent such failure. The problem is, we're human and we mess up. Not often, but we mess up. Sometimes we make the most boneheaded, inexcusable mistakes. So what do we do when that happens?
I'm sure all of you have watched a basketball game at some point and seen a player commit a foul. Most of the time, the player (like most vendors) acts like he did nothing wrong. He/she look at the ref as if to say, "Are you crazy?! That was NOT my fault." But sometimes, you'll see the player just nod his head in agreement, point at himself and take responsibility for the mistake. That's Old Hat.
When you fail, you have two choices. You can either embrace it or act innocent. Either way though, the person looking at you knows you failed. Embracing that mistake shows that you are taking responsibility for it and while you may end up looking like you failed, you certainly don't look like a failure.
How to Apologize
We screwed up recently. A couple of times, actually. First step to take when you realize you've screwed up is to do anything and everything you can do to fix it. If we make a typo on a print piece, WE call the printer to see if it's too late to send a new file. We volunteer to go back to the office at 9p on a Friday to revise the file. And if it can't be fixed, just apologize. If you can't fix the problem, at least take responsibility for it. It won't change anything but it'll sure as heck make your client feel better to know you accept responsibility. And don't be afraid to accept responsibility even when it's NOT your fault. "Yes, we just copied and pasted the information you sent us but we should have caught that." Chances are at this point that tempers are high and you should just be seeking to calm things down. The client will remember that rather than being a tool about it, you admitted fault. And it's likely that 24 hours later they'll realize that it really wasn't your fault and they'll respect you even more.
Finally, and most importantly, after a few days have passed, the person responsible for the mistake (designer, client rep, etc.) will send a handwritten note to the client further apologizing for the mistake. By this time, the client is probably totally over it. Which is the perfect time for you to apologize again. Don't just tell them you're sorry. It's imperative that you also outline the steps you will take to make sure that same mistake never happens again. They care that you're sorry... but they care even more that you're not going to let it happen again. They need to be reassured that this isn't going to be a reoccurring thing.
Nellie was right
Your best bet is to follow Nellie's advice and just never screw up. But when you do, nod your head and point at yourself.
Hey folks, good to have you here on the blog today. If you’ve ever come across one or two of my past blogs, you probably realize by now I like to blog using photos. Or perhaps ramble on about things that you couldn’t care less about. Or maybe even combine the two for the double whammy… a useless blog centered around meaningless photos. Well that’s all about to change, at least today. I think.
So Old Hat is about to start working on an athletics slogan for an unnamed client (they have a name, I’m just not going to tell you what it is). And it got me to thinking about what makes a slogan work. I mean, they work… right? I’m not talking about the yearly campaigns that an athletic department tries to tie in across every sport, I’m talking about the overarching university athletics slogan, like “Go Blue” for Michigan.
What is it that makes the slogan work? Why do some slogans catch on and others don’t? What’s the value in creating a slogan for an athletics program? Those are all good questions, and by good I mean that I probably can’t answer them. But I wanna give it a shot anyhow.
First off, what makes a slogan work? I’m going to narrow that down to my top three- repetition, clarity and conciseness. Each of these plays a big part in helping fans (and even non-fans) retain these messages. Here’s what I mean by those:
Repetition- saying something over and over and over and over and over and over and over so much that seeing or hearing your slogan one more time could cause a seizure, or at least mild convulsions.
Clarity- can I understand your message plastered on a billboard as I drive by it at 85 mph, while my kids yell at me from the back seat because I’m texting my boss about this cool billboard I just saw? If so, that’s clarity. Be careful though, don’t feel like you have to create it for the masses. And don’t allow the masses (internally) to create it for you.
So what if you don’t have the budget to get the message out to the masses? You may have realized by now that we’re in the digital age, and impressions can be cheap, even free. You’ve got a website, right? If not, go back 20 years, create a website, then proceed with the next sentence. How about using your slogan as your URL? A successful URL has a lot of the same qualities as a slogan, so why not kill two birds with one URL?
Unfortunately I didn’t make it to all those questions I mentioned earlier, and I’m too lazy to delete them. But maybe I provided a little sliver of insight about what makes a successful athletics slogan. There’s so much to it, and yet it’s also so simple. Don’t overthink it.
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” they said.
“It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you,” they said.
Those two statements could not ring more true in the story of how Presbyterian College, one of the smallest NCAA Division I universities, became one of the biggest new clients at Old Hat Creative.
Having heard of Old Hat from former coworkers, Simon Whitaker contacted us to help PC celebrate 100 years of football and basketball this season.This included developing a website to honor the past and present, a commemorative logo, a historical and intro video, and various print pieces.We did print pieces for Presbyterian’s other fall sports as well.
We started with the 100 years logo. Our designer, Brian, found a way to celebrate both football and basketball in one logo.
From that point, our designer, Geoff, created an amazing football poster that featured the logo front and center and captured the historical essence of football through photos in the background. (top photo of this blog)
With the print work completed, we were able to design a website with the same design elements.The goal of bluehose100.com is to highlight the great moments throughout the 100 years of football and basketball at PC.
The website is broken down into ten decades.Each decade features stories, photos, and videos to share the story.
One feature of the site that will catch your attention right away is the historical video. Again, with the logo prominent, this video captures memorable moments in time through the 100 years of football at PC.
The website is structured to be continually be updated throughout the season. As basketball season approaches, the content can become more concentrated towards basketball, while still featuring football.
I have had a wonderful time over the last few months working with Simon to complete all of these projects. He has been AMAZING at communicating what he wanted to see and providing us the content we needed to produce these pieces.
PC now has a consistent brand across all platforms to promote and celebrate the history of their athletic programs.
Who knows what would have happened if Simon never had that conversation about Old Hat from his former coworkers.
Can you feel it? Can you feel the optimism and anticipation that fans all over the country are feeling leading up to this weekend? No one has lost a game and everyone thinks or hopes his or her team will stay that way all season. That wont happen to most, a few teams… maybe. Possibly, none. But at this point in the year every one can be optimistic.
So while fans are figuring out what time to start tailgating, what the main course will be or what beer they want to drink this weekend, at Old Hat Creative, things are a bit different. This time of year we are crazy busy trying to finalize everything that needs to be done by kick off. Wait, not kick off, the day before or weeks before or at least when the team enters the field…
Check out what we will be doing this last week leading up to kickoff…
17 intro videos
25 Schedule cards
13 ticket designs
I wanted to end this with a line asking everyone to think about all that goes into these games for fans entertainment but I am not going to do that. In fact, I am going to do the opposite. Do not think about any of this stuff!
Old Hat Creative is here to amplify the sports experience, you just enjoy the game!
This fall will be unlike any other for Charlotte, NC. On August 31, UNC Charlotte will kick off its inaugural football season when the team takes the field for their first game ever in the brand new Jerry Richardson Stadium. This moment has been years in the making, and Old Hat is excited to have been part of the marketing and branding process for the new football program. To commemorate this historic season, Old Hat worked with Charlotte to create logos for both Jerry Richardson Stadium and the Inaugural Season.
In addition to the logos, Old Hat also created the season tickets, poster, fan guides and media guide covers.
We're ready to cheer on the 49ers on August 31 when they take on Campbell at Noon and have no doubt that Jerry Richardson Stadium will be packed with Charlotte fans enjoying this historical event.
After any big game, fans and players often want commemorative t-shirts. To meet the demand and to cash in on the 'We're #1" euphoria there are often two sets of shirts designed declaring each team the Champs…you know, just in case.
I've been a designer a while now and over the years I have designed a lot of these championship t-shirts. I've alway been curious as to what happens to the losing teams shirts, jackets and hats. I mean that’s a lot of misprinted items that can’t hit store shelves.
Well, recently I found out about a group called World Vision. These guys save the items from certain doom by sending them overseas to people living in disaster areas and impoverished, third world nations which is great. Of course, there are people right here in America who could desperately use a fresh, clean t-shirt or jacket. I'd actually prefer that these items be donated to local charities. However, overseas distribution is part of an agreement between the pro leagues and World Vision. The I guess the leagues want to avoid any donated items popping up on eBay or appearing on TV.
From a branding/marketing stand point I guess I can understand that decision. But it does make me wonder if the leagues are really interested in helping people in third world countries or if they're more concerned with not offending losing players and heartbroken fans…
I don't have a ton of memories from spending time with my father growing up. He was in a car accident when I was 6 that nearly killed him and for a couple of years, he was incapable of doing much in the way of the typical father-son things. And even after he had fully recovered, he was never the type of father to sit down on the floor with me and play a game. He worked hard all week and then on the weekends he worked harder (I grew up on a farm). This is not to say that my father failed in any way. I think he still spent more time with me and my siblings than a lot of fathers do. And he was a great dad. I'm just saying that due there wasn't just a ton of one-on-one time. Therefore, the memories I do have of time with my father are held very precious to me. Three to four times per year, he would drive me the hour-long trek from Guthrie, OK to Norman to see the Sooners play football. It was the Switzer era and there was no bigger fan of Brian Bosworth than I was. I was equally as excited to go to the 2-3 OU men's hoops games each season. Wayman Tisdale, Mookie Blaylock, Tim McAlester... All my heroes. But I don't think anything was better than when he'd take me to Stillwater to see OU play Oklahoma State in basketball. Gallagher-Iba Arena held all of about 37 people back then and there were typically 4 OU fans in the entire crowd. I was one of them for about 8 years in a row. I'll never forget those times and because of those moments, I have passed that along to my own sons. I want them to have those same memories I have.
Years after I started Old Hat, I finally decided to sit down and figure out our mission. What is our purpose? Why do we do what we do? I had pondered that many, many times and for some reason it was never obvious to me. But all at once it became very clear why we are here and why I started Old Hat to begin with. Almost every person I speak to, whether they are sports fans or not, have some memory of a sporting event that they will never forget. Whether it's just driving to track meets with their dad, attending the World Series or simply playing little league, I've never met a person that didn't have a great sports memory that nearly brings tears to their eyes thinking about. And those people ALWAYS remember exactly who they were with.
Sports brings people together. It provides opportunities for fathers to create lifelong memories with their sons. It allows people to share great moments with their brothers, sisters, mothers, friends, etc. And we get so wrapped up in it that the emotion often turns into embraces and tears of joy. And all of the stresses of life are temporarily invisible.
THAT is why we do what we do. At Old Hat we have the opportunity to be a part of that. We can amplify that experience for people. Whether it's helping get people in the seats to begin with or making they experience better once they arrive, we are a part of creating memories for literally millions of people every year. I take great satisfaction in that.
Almost a year ago, I started at Old Hat Creative. My second week on the job I attended NACMA in Dallas and at about that same time, the University of Utah came on as a retainer client. This meant great things for Old Hat Creative! We would be their marketing agency, designing anything and everything one can think of in the sports marketing world. Intro videos, posters, banners, calendars, logos, commercials, web and newspaper ads, social media graphics, brochures, postcards, etc. The list goes on and on.
It's been one year now and Old Hat Creative and the University of Utah Athletics are happy to announce a new opportunity! Starting this July, our graphic designer, Luke Atkinson, is moving to Salt Lake City, Utah to work side-by-side with the Utah Marketing department as a member of Old Hat Creative. You can read Luke's story by reading his latest blog entry.
I'm grateful for the time I spent in Oklahoma because of all of the people I met along the way. When Zac offered me the job he was worried that making the transition from Chicago to Norman would be difficult, but to me, the people around you are what make or break the city. And even though I only knew five people when I took the job (all current or former Old Hat employees) I knew everything was going to be okay.
These people are friendly! Even Okies who weren't currently living in Oklahoma made me feel welcome in their state by connecting me with their family and friends still living there. David Brown's parents even called me up to invite me to dinner a few days after I got town. When I wasn't able to go home for Christmas two years ago, a friend's parents took me in for the day. The people here are just plain nice. And they have an amazing sense of pride for their state. They want you to love it as much as they do.
It's no surprise that everyone is coming together to rebuild Moore after the tornado hit on Tuesday. So many people in fact TV reporters were telling viewers that they didn't need any more help on the scene just hours after the destruction. I've never heard something like that, but knowing the people in Oklahoma, it made total sense. Okies like Zac looked for additional ways to help so Jared designed this shirt with all proceeds going to the rebuilding efforts. We are grateful to our clients and friends who sent along their thoughts, prayers, clothes and donations this past week. The support in and around Oklahoma is incredible!
In my three years living in Oklahoma (driving through Moore every weekday to get to work), I tried to see as much of it as possible with roadtrips to Oral Roberts, University of Tulsa, Oklahoma State, Robert's hometown of Paul's Valley for the Noodling Festival ...
... and most recently, Alva - home of the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Rangers. Our trip to Alva was only a few days after a crazy snow storm that left most of the town without running water, which meant our lunch at Pizza Hut included bottled soda and paper plates. The town didn't shut down. They just found another way to get through.
The meeting that day was for a focus group to present our proposed marks for a branding project we'd been working on. The Athletic Director, Andy Carter, filled the room with a great mix of University officials, athletic department staff and student-athletes to make sure the work he put in with us truly encompassed Northwestern Oklahoma State University. As we got to know everyone during the meeting, most of the staff have been working there for many years, some even decades. Even the student-athletes had deep roots to the schoolwith parents and siblings being alums. This identity was not something they took lightly, and that's what we liked about the project. Because of that love for the school and our understanding of that connection, we were able to get the feedback we needed to produce the best marks for the final product. Aaron led the discussion that got them talking about the identity of the school and what people should feel when they see these logos. With our experience working on campuses for so many years, the conversation flowed with everyone feeling comfortable to share openly about where these marks were headed.
On our way back to Norman, Aaron, Jared and I were talking nonstop processing all of the information we received. We were on the right track and couldn't wait to put the finishing touches on the products. Once everything was approved, the guys put it all together into a graphics standard manual to tell the story of the Rangers. These updated marks are now available to print on merchandise, fields/courts, student-athlete letter jackets, as well as other avenues to increase revenue, build brand awareness and strengthen the ties with the community and alums. And these are Okies we're talking about, so when you think about strength within a community, it's a pretty serious thing. And that's what I love about Oklahoma. We're grateful to Andy Carter for bringing in our branding crew of non-Okies for such an important project for his school, his community and his state. But welcoming outsiders is just the Oklahoma way. And I'll always feel like part of that state no matter where I live because of it.