We are fortunate at Old Hat Creative.We get to work on a lot of really interesting projects and sometimes we get to find out about things before anyone else, which is always interesting.A lot of the work we do revolves around campaigns that different organizations are in the process of executing and we help with that execution.
Sometimes it is a campaign to raise money for student-athletes.Other times, it is a campaign to raise awareness about one of their student-athletes.However, in the current landscape of college athletics, a lot of the campaigns are about new facilities.Stadiums, locker rooms, administration buildings, food centers, student athlete lounges, indoor facilities, and any other thing that a college campus or athletic department might need.This type of project is a lot of fun.Few things get fans as excited as a fly through video of a new stadium.
ESPN has a set of commercials that have the tag line, “Never graduate.”The essence of the commercial is that you never leave behind those old rivalries you had from college and that comes into play when doing a campaign for any university.The fans want to know that their stadium is going to be the best.The fans want to know their facilities are the best, so new recruits will want to attend their school.The fans even want to know the website promoting this new project, is the best of its kind.In their eyes, it should not even be a question, they are better, IN EVERY WAY!Being a fan is when you get to ignore logic (for the most part) and that is a large part of the fun.
At Old Hat, we pay attention to both sides, logic and fan logic, because we want you to have the best of both worlds.We want all of your fans to be amazed at the plans for the new stadium.We want all of your fans to go into work the next week bragging about the video promoting the new stadium.We want all of your fans to bookmark the website promoting that stadium and go to it EVERY DAY!And most of all, we want to make your job easier by walking through the process with you and making sure every aspect of the campaign gives your fans braggin rights.
The title of my blog today is “Campaigns and Classmates”. If you made it this far, you can understand the “Campaigns” aspect of the blog, but may be wondering what this has to do with classmates? Old Hat is about to start on another campaign project with a new client and we are excited! On top of that, we will be traveling to campus to work with the staff on this campaign and I will get the chance to catch up with some classmates from grad school. New client, check. New campaign, check. New stadium, check. Old friends, even better!
Another year and another successful NACMA in the books for us. We had a great time catching up with current clients and connecting with potential new clients. Overall, the trip was a blast and here are the top nine things we learned:
1. Stuckey's is an American Tradition - Anyone ever heard of Stuckey's? It's a chain of gas stations that I thought had gone the way of the dodo bird. There used to be multiple Stuckey's locations dotting I-35 in Oklahoma but I haven't seen one in years. As luck would have it, there's one right outside Pensacola, FL and we stopped there TWICE on this trip. Stuckey's is a great place to stop if you want really cheaply made chachkis, ugly t-shirts, alligator claw back-scratchers, etc. We decided to pick up surprises for all the staff that couldn't make the trip with us. See below.
2. The back seat of a Suburban is not meant for adults - Six adults in one suburban in a 45 hour (total) road trip is tough. Josie and Hannah are the smallest so we forced them into the third seat for a good portion of the trip. I gave them a hard time for complaining about it but the fact of the matter is, that seat wasn't meant for adults. Holli and I rode back there for a while on the way down there and then started the trip back with a solid 6 hours back there. It was not enjoyable. Here's a photo of me and Holli asleep in the back while everyone else is enjoying their spacious seating.
3. There's Only One Place Left in the World That Still Allows Smoking Indoors... And We Had Our Party There - For all of our clients that are chain-smokers, I'm sure you were delighted to see that the bar we chose for our party allowed smoking. For all of you that DON'T want lung cancer, I'm sure the cloud of smoke was a bit of a shock when you arrive. On the upside, the bar's vending machine DID offer condoms. So we had that going for us... which was nice.
4. Make Sure to Bring $1.25 to Pensacola Beach - Pensacola Beach is a pretty nice beach. Crowded... but the sand is white and the water is clear. But if you have any desire to walk out on the pier, you better have some cash with you. Pensacola must be very proud of their pier as they charge $1.25 to walk on it. It's like a toll road for your feet. We walked over to it but hadn't brought any methods of payment with us so we opted out of the walk on the pier. Oh well.
5. The Lighting is Better in the Suburban than in My Shower - So apparently sunlight through the back windows of a Suburband does a better job of showing missed spots on shaven legs than the lighting in my shower at home. Holli noticed a few spots on the drive out there that she had missed so she hollered at whoever was in the front seat to fetch her the razor she keeps in the glove compartment for this very reason. I'm thinking about installing a shower in the Suburban so she can kill two birds with one stone from here on out.
6. 500 Square Feet is a LOT of Awesomeness - The past few years, we've had a 20 x 20 foot booth space in the tradeshow. This year, we decided to go with a 10 x 40 foot space to mix it up a little. It was a little experiment. Well, due to a longer story than you care to hear, we expanded that to 10 x 50 feet. It was nice to have all that space but I think we'll go back down to 10 x 40 next year.
7. Robert and I have Similar Tastes in Swimwear - I've known Robert a long time... since we were juniors in college, to be exact. And we've worked together for many years. So I know him pretty well. But I have to admit that I was surprised when we got ready to leave for the beach and discovered that our swimsuits were nearly identical.
8. Just Like the Seminoles, My Diet Dr Pepper Record will Forever be Unconquered - FSU was the latest in my trek to have the record for the most Division 1 college campuses upon which a person has been photographed drinking a Diet Dr Pepper. This was number 26 for me.
9. People Would Rather See My Wife Hula Hoop than See Me Do ANYTHING - It all started as a joke. Last year we had a hula hoop at the booth because we wrapped a sign around it. Holli hula hooped with it, I video'd it, uploaded it to facebook and she became a hula hooping sensation. So I decided it would be funny to make this year's t-shirt giveaway an Old Hat University Hula Hooping Team t-shirt and to promote it, I'd have her hula hoop at landmarks all the way to Orlando AND at the booth. Well what I discovered is that videos of her hula hooping are far more popular than anything I've ever done on camera. So far, her videos have been viewed 3,201 times. The most popular was the one of her hula hooping with Nicole Imbrogno. You can view that on the Old Hat facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/oldhat
Analytics are a big part of my job. To be more specific, Google Analytics are a big part of my job. We install this tool on almost all of our sites. We do analytic reports for our clients and I am constantly monitoring the analytics for our sites.
Users web habits interest me. Through analytics, you can trace a users path as they navigate your site and find out what pieces of content are the most valuable to the user. If they are a frequent visitor of your site, they typically have an exact path of getting to your site and then to the content they want to see. Studying these habits or trends is the best way to understand who your users are and what they want.
Google has an add on for Chrome that allows you to see the stats while still surfing the web. Any time I go to OldHatCreative.com, I can see what people are doing on the site right then and there.
If you are going to NACMA next week and end up on our website, I will probably be studying you. Seeing what content you like and what content you ignore. It will help when we redesign the site and it will help make navigating our site, easier for you.
I realized this morning that NACMA is less than three weeks away...and started to get a tiny bit stressed.
We still have lots to do! NACMA is a team effort around here, and nearly everyone in the office is contributing in some way. There's been hotel reservations, party invitations...trailer rentals and graphics environmental. A photo shoot and ordering loot. Booth construction and office obstruction. And I don't have enough brain power to think of more rhyming phrases. Instead, I'll turn my attention to checking more off our list.
Old Hat Clients - make sure to watch your mail and email for more information soon!
Every failure is a lesson. Honestly, the blog could stop here. I know better than to start a blog or a presentation with the final point, but it is how I am going to roll today. If you want to stop reading, just click here.
Thanks for staying with me to this point, I will do my best to make it worth your time. Failure. It sucks, but we all go through it. I am a firm believer that you should constantly be learning and I have said as much in quite a few blogs. Every interaction and every experience is an opportunity to learn. I wish I could say that I always keep that in my mind, but I am human and prone to forget. However, when it comes to failure, I make a point to think back of the situation to see what lessons could be learned.
Recently, we failed on a bid for a project. It happens. We get to do a lot of amazing work, but we also do not always have the winning bid. It is a part of the business and always will be, but what we learn from those failures goes a long way toward us not failing the next time we place a bid. Based on what you have read so far, it is fair to be wondering what the lesson from this failure was and that is the reason I asked you to keep reading. Unfortunately, there has not been a clear lesson from this failure. We obviously failed because we are not doing the project, but the reasoning behind that is something that was entirely out of our control and I HATE IT. I want to learn and improve so I can blog about the amazing project we are working on, not my failure. I want to be better the next time we put out a bid.
As an important person in my life told me, maybe that is the lesson. You cannot control every aspect and you cannot always fix what went wrong. This is not a new lesson, but it is a lesson nonetheless.
Meow, if we wanted to talk about lessons I have learned recently from failures, we could discuss my garden or in all honesty, my pile of dirt, but that is a blog for another day.
When I was in school we had classes that “taught” us how to brainstorm and come up with ideas. For some reason that firmly placed in my mind the idea that good ideas came to you like a bolt of lightning. All of sudden you had this amazing idea, like a lightning bolt in the night.
Turns out, my young mind could not be more inaccurate to what I experience now.
Most of the time a good idea takes time. It involves back and forth between people and getting through a lot of bad ideas. It is definitely a process and it is a process that is almost always going on at Old Hat in one way or another.
It is interesting to me that my mood can dictate the best way for me to come up with ideas at the time. There are three ways I typically brainstorm. Each produces results, but which prefer varies.
The normal method of getting a group together and discussing it. This is probably my favorite and one that I think produces some of the best results. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by so many creative and talented people. Surrounding myself with those same people while brainstorming can be incredibly beneficial. It allows me to borrow some of their genius and feed off of the creativity they bring to the table. It produces results and can be fun.
Another method I use a lot is more isolated. I will meet with the involved parties and get an idea for what they are looking to accomplish. If there is copy that needs to be written or a template, I make sure to get that information. Then I typically lock myself to my desk, put the head phones in, and start typing. I type a lot of crap, but eventually I find my way to something that is worth sharing with others. This method works great if you work alone and then take your findings to a group like above.
This is probably the most natural brainstorming for me and it is pretty much in complete isolation. It is not something that I view as direct brainstorming, but it works. In fact, this is probably more inspiration than it is brainstorming. Sometimes ideas come that can be built upon and this results in brainstorming. For me, I need to be completely relaxed and not thinking about a problem. That is when good ideas tend to come. Interestingly enough this never happens for me at a convenient time. In the shower. Fishing. Hiking. Working in the garden. On vacation. It seems that I have better (or more useful) ideas the more relaxed I am.
All of these instances are places when good ideas come, but not a place where it is easy to record the notes. My girlfriend hates when she sees me walk off talking to my phone when we are on vacation, but I have to record my thoughts. Siri is a great help for this and while I may seem like a crazy person, I usually have her take my notes. I have also been given some waterproof writing pads. I can take these in the shower or out in the rain and write anything without worry about the water.
Brainstorming can be hard. Coming up with new ideas is hard. However, I have found that the more I learn about myself the easier it becomes. Finding that right balance of focus and relaxation is key for me.
A few weeks ago, we held our semi-annual Staff Infection which is our version of a staff retreat. This year's was all about Corporate Multiple Personality Disorder and I think the session went really well. I blogged about the process we used to determine our company's personality HERE
Then I was asked to speak at the Big Ten Marketing Meetings in March and I needed a topic to speak on. I had just finished the presentation to my staff and I got to thinking about how valuable this might be to an athletic department. So I tweaked the presentation a big and went up to Chicago to talk to the universities in the Big Ten about making sure their departments weren't suffering from multiple personality disorder.
I've been presenting to the Big Ten marketing folks for 9 years... and I've never had the response to a presentation like I did to this one. I had multiple people come up to me afterward asking for me to email the presentation to them so they could do the exercise with their department. Many others told me that it was the best presentation they'd had at the marketing meetings. So I began to think that maybe I was on to something.
I believe that many companies, organizations and athletic departments suffer from this condition... the condition of sending mixed messages because their staffs don't know what voice they should be speaking in. They don't know their organization's personality. And since there's no great tool for a company personality test, I developed one myself. I've been asked to present this at a local Rotary Club in April and I'm hoping that I have the opportunity to present on this topic more in the future. It's something I'm passionate about and something that I think could be very beneficial to many organizations.
So, if you're in need of a speaker or presenter at your company meetings or gatherings, and think this could be of value to you, shoot me an email at email@example.com
Great staff photo, huh? Only, that's not us. And that will never be us. We don't wear power suits or ties. We wear jeans, t-shirts, ballcaps, athletic shorts... pretty much whatever we want.
I was looking at our "About Us" page the other day and I couldn't believe how corporate looking I had allowed it to become. All our staff photos looked like we belonged in a photo like the one above. But that's not us. So I decided to spend my morning getting US back into our about us page. There are no major changes here but it's a much better representation of who we are than it was before. This page doesn't include our entire staff, by the way. Just the people you're likely to come into contact with when you deal with us. Though after spending some time working on this page, I think we probably need to get our entire staff on here.
Everyone is better than me in some way and from that is how I learn.
That is one of my favorite quotes or sayings or whatever you want to call it. When Tricia asked for life advice for her blog a couple weeks back, that is what I gave her. It comes from one of my grad school professors who really was a walking, talking quote book. When I look over my notes from Doc Higgins' class, everything seems like a quote you keep somewhere that you see everyday, but for some reason this is the one that resonated with me the most.
A couple months back I decided to take on a project for my family and honestly, my own desire. My grandfather, who turns 91 today, never spoke much about his time spent in WWII. I have blogged in the past about him because he was a big influence on my life, but that influence is not something I ever associated with his wartime experience. However, ten years ago he got the motivation to tell his story and managed to write it all down. The project I undertook was to type that out and get it in a digital format that I could preserve and back up. The writings cover his time spent in Europe and centers around the Battle of the Bulge. The last section is a series of letters his father wrote to him while he was overseas. I never knew my great grandfather. For that matter, my father barely knew him as he died when my dad was ten. These letters are the only connection I have ever felt with my great grandfather and I am so grateful to have them.
How does any of this relate to the start of this blog? Good question. It relates because of what I have learned by reading the writings of a man who has been dead for longer than I have been alive. I know there is so much to learn from our history and the great people that came before us. I think I just never thought about learning from one of my ancestors in this way. I am not a great writer but I do it often enough that I can occasionally write something worth reading. I have had seven years of schooling to help me develop some skill. I never thought I would read my great grandfathers words and be inspired by them. I know enough about him to know that he graduated from Texas A&M, but my understanding of his life did not relay how well spoken/written he was.
I have found that people who know the least about a problem have more remedies by far than the poor sucker who is trying to get the job done.
From my limited experience handling organizations I have come to the conclusion that an administrative officer has a great opportunity, and even greater obligation, to study the men with whom he is associated and to have an honest interest in their individual welfares. It is my conviction that if a man studies his fellow-men sympathetically, and not critically unless deserved, he unconsciously fits himself better to discharge his responsibilities.
Those are two of the quotes from his letters that stood out to me. The last one is similar to things we discussed in business management classes. I am amazed by his insight and ability to nail his points with a far greater understanding than I thought a man living in Galveston, Texas in the 40’s would be able to do. He had less schooling and far less opportunity than I did and yet he is by far more profound than I have ever managed to be.
What is even more interesting to me is that I have managed to find tendencies in the way he writes that I have as well. I am not going to tell you writing is hereditary, but it is amusing to me that the voice in his letters is similar to the voice I use when I write certain things.
Not only did reading these writings help me to learn about a man I never knew, it also allowed me to get to know a man I have known my whole life even better. If anything, I have a true understanding of why I can be a smart ass and don’t always do that well with authority. Thanks Grandpa.
If you are still reading this you may be wishing I would wrap this up OR you could even be sitting here wondering if this blog is like one of those movies that you keep thinking is going to end and is wrapped up, only to have the scene switch and another story be told. Almost there…
Next week Ashley, Hannah, and I will be attending the Sports Engagement Forum in Kansas City. I am on a panel discussing digital fan engagement and there are several other sessions over the two-day period. I am going to this as an expert to speak on a panel but there will be so many opportunities to learn. We are experts at what we do at Old Hat Creative but that does not mean we are done. We want to be your experts for all of your marketing needs and the way we do that is by continuing to learn. Continuing to better ourselves, our processes, and our products. Next week, three of us will embark on a trip to learn as much as we can, so we can continue to produce the work you need. And if you happen to be heading to KC next week, let us know. We would love to chat with you.
Yesterday at our mid-year Staff Infection, Zac asked us to pick a project from 2014 we worked on or worked with that we really liked. This list could really go on and on as there are hundreds to pick from. A few projects mentioned yesterday are still being finalized and are almost ready for release - stay tuned as more great stuff is always coming out of this place! And like a parent with their children, it's hard to pick a favorite. But here are some of the highlights…