Posts tagged ‘Fort Worth internship’

The fireworks of social media

collin-polaFireworks are awesome. They are fun to watch and even more fun to light. But here’s the thing about fireworks: if not handled correctly, they can be catastrophic.

The same point can be made about social media. It’s fun and attention-grabbing, but it can also be destructive if executed poorly. Yesterday, I read a blog post where the writer obviously did not learn about fire safety; so to my younger readers and those not too familiar with social media culture, here are some safety guidelines:

Social media is on the Internet and, therefore, public. Never, ever, EVER (just for emphasis) post something online thinking only a few people will see/read it. Just like you should assume a gun is always loaded, you should also always assume your friends are not your only audience.

Social media is not the best place to vent. Before I start, random Twitter or Facebook updates saying something like, “Man today sucked,” is not what I’m talking about. That is letting off steam; we all need to do it sometimes. What I am addressing is a full-blown vent-fest only appropriate for your friends, your mom or a psychiatrist. If you write an essay-long blog post publicly calling someone out (Kanye West is an exception, go to town on him) or blowing-up after something has bothered you for a while, it probably won’t end well. Remember guideline one: some unintended person will probably read it. If that happens, you will come off as rude or condescending, when instead you probably just had a really bad day.

Everyone has an opinion on social media (this article is proof). The Internet commenter is the modern critic. I’m not saying this a good or a bad thing, because I have seen it go both ways. Social media has provided the opportunity for pretty much anyone to point out a mistake you’ve made. Now stay with me here, if you are venting, you are generally mad. Anger can lead to irrational behavior, which often leads to mistakes. Once this happens and (playing off guideline two) your readers think you’re a jerk, enjoy the commentary firestorm that is to follow. If you give people a reason to talk bad about you, they will.

So that’s it, keep these rules in mind and your social media experience should be nothing but pleasant.

P.S. Everyone going to the TCU game on Saturday should grab a program. An ad we created for McKinley’s is featured, and it rocks. GO FROGS!

09/18/2009 at 1:56 PM Leave a comment

The conundrum of school and work

AlexIt’s Monday morning. I drag myself out of bed and go to class for three hours. After that, I find some spare time to scarf down a meal and then I’m suddenly off to work. When five o’clock rolls around, I’m driving back to TCU and sitting in class for another three hours – begging for life to stand still.

Yes, I’m pretty busy, but I’ve learned that life as an employee and student is a delicate balancing act.

And honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As a freshman in orientation, time management was a concept that the OSAs (orientation student assistants) would drill into our heads. It seemed simple enough. When you’re unemployed, all you have to do is go to class and somehow get your homework done (if you’re good).

Fast-forward three years and enter senior year, where I am a working at Zag and taking 15 hours this semester. This is where the balancing act goes to the circus.

Here are a couple things I’ve learned in the past week about managing valuable time:

Make a schedule and stick to it: It really helps to map out your day ahead of time, but also leave some time for yourself – for sanity’s sake.

Be very self-motivated: It’s tough to get motivated to go to work after hours of class, but I have tell you, a positive attitude works wonders.

Understand that you can’t control everything: I would love to be at work all day (yes, I’m weird), but I also need to make good grades. Some things take precedence over others; just pick your spots carefully

Unless you’re a freshman, never take an 8 a.m. class: I’m learning this lesson the hard way.

Honorable mention: You can never have too many alarm clocks; if you work and go to school, carrying a backpack to the office is not uncool; try to find a normal eating/sleeping schedule – crashing in the afternoon is no bueno.

With plenty of things coming in the next couple months (while hopefully avoiding swine flu), I think if I just stick to these mantras I should be fine.

08/31/2009 at 2:40 PM Leave a comment

Three months and counting

AlexIt was a little more than three months ago that I began my internship here at Zag; how time flies.

Here are a couple of lessons I have learned in my short experience at a budding marketing agency:

Find a mentor. You’re an intern, not the greatest thing since sliced bread. There is much to learn in the industry, so find someone or a group of people (for me, the GCG employees upstairs) to pick their brain – they’ve been at this longer than you. Potential is nothing without inspiration.

The customer is always right. The cliché monster is back, but it’s true. You may have a great idea, but the client ultimately calls the shots – they pay the bills. If you want to run with an idea, be able to back it up – and don’t cry at the first sign of rejection.

The glass is half-full. Donald Draper, the fictional creative director of Sterling-Cooper in Mad Men says, “Advertising is based on one thing – happiness.” I fully agree with this statement; keeping a positive attitude toward your co-workers, clients and ultimately your work is the key to good advertising – no one wants a product when the advertisement/collateral gives an impression of negativity, and all of this is coming from a perpetual cynic.

You’ll have good days, and you’ll have really, really bad days. Most of the time in the office, everything runs smoothly, and there are some days where everything that could go wrong does (the proverbial “crap hitting the fan” day). Sure, the world may be plotting against you, but it’s how you get through these rough patches that defines you. Again, stay positive.

Learn to notice the little things. As a copywriter or creative, this is crucial. The smallest details – punctuation, spelling, sentence placement – can ruin the message you are trying to convey. Pay attention!

Honorable mention: You live or die by the deadline (duh); if you can’t come up with an idea yourself, brainstorm with others; don’t ever pass up free Dippin’ Dots in the lobby – they’re delicious.

08/17/2009 at 9:59 AM Leave a comment

Interviewing 101

kelsey-polaAfter completing the interview process for the fall semester, I’ve come up with a few suggestions for all of you go-getters.

Dress appropriately. I don’t particularly want to see your favorite graphic tee or torn-up blue jeans. Believe it or not, first impressions do count.

Check your spelling. If there’s a word mispelled on your resume – it’s au revoir.

Bring all of the necessary materials. If you want to be a graphic designer, I need to see some work, and if you would like to be a copywriter, I have to know you can write. If you’re not sure about what to bring – just ask!

Be nice to the secretary. She is the gatekeeper you know.

Know what you’re applying for. If you don’t even know what you’re applying for how do you expect to get the job?

Come to “wow.” We don’t have all day, so you have to be at your tip-top game to really impress. Confidence is always the key ingredient.

I’m by no means an expert, but after interviewing quite a few people, I’ve realized – as long as you’re good to go on these few tips, you’ve got the job!

08/12/2009 at 2:26 PM Leave a comment

The Pitch

kelsey-polaWhat is it about a pitch that gets your heart racing? I’d have to say the adrenaline of putting all your ideas on the table for critique is more than enough.

The ominous pitch. It’s the backbone of most agencies because it’s typically one of the primary ways to gain a new client.

You’re probably wondering what a pitch even is. To put it simply, a pitch is an initial presentation of strategies and tactics to accomplish your client’s goals and expectations. It’s usually presented in this order:

  • The team
  • Challenges
  • Market situation
  • Competitive analysis
  • Goals
  • Positioning
  • Strategies
  • Tactics
  • Timeline

I know, it seems like a lot of ground to cover, but a pitch moves much faster than you would think.

My advice to you would be to practice, practice, practice. It really does help. And if you have any questions, just email me. Enjoy!

08/10/2009 at 1:36 PM Leave a comment

Zag Recess: My childhood takes a hit thanks to G.I. Joe

CollinLast week was a busy one, so this week’s Zag Recess had to be special.

First we met at Boomerjack’s Grill and Bar to celebrate a successful summer. After chatting for a while, we learned about Kelsey’s love for the show Dog The Bounty Hunter, how Ligia’s father scared her high school boyfriends and Alex’s hatred of the Florida Gators.

Afterward, we headed to the theater to eagerly wait for a testosterone-filled explosionfest that would make Jerry Bruckheimer weep for producing G-Force.  At least that’s is what we thought…

SPOILER ALERT: G.I. Joe was terrible on a degree I could have never imagined. The movie went directly downhill by the end of the trailers.

To give you a better understanding of how bad it was, later that night I watched Miss Congeniality with my girlfriend and felt I had just watched one of the smartest comedies ever.

However our outings aren’t focused on how good or bad a movie was; we all had a great time together. Now you know how bad G.I. Joe is, so remember kids, “knowing is half the battle.”

(P.S. That cliché was used verbatim in the film.)

08/10/2009 at 1:29 PM 1 comment

Printerrific!

RolandoBeing a successful graphic designer means knowing all facets of the industry: PMS colors, contrast, repetition, alignment, proximity, software, product packaging and more.

But one area most amateur designers do not take into consideration when creating their work is the printer.

In a world consumed with computer screens and 1080ppi, people are progressively losing the love and admiration they once had in holding a well-designed printed piece in their hands.

The printer is a graphic designer’s best friend – they can make your work look terrific or terrible –  and I thought I’d introduce myself: Alex and I were off to Curry Printing Inc. for a press check and a mini tour.

Below are my top three experiences at Curry, in no particular order:

  1. The Smell. As you walk into the front office, you are greeted by intense smells of ink, oil and glue. You have to get used to it, but it lets you know what you’re getting yourself into.
  2. The Eyes. I consider myself to have a pretty good eye until I met Cody Curry. He is the owner/president of Curry Printing, and he put my attention to detail to shame. While we were conducting our press check, Cody pointed out spots and blemishes (what he called hickies) that were the size of a grain of salt – no exaggeration.
  3. The Hands. Everyone at Curry Printing is so nice. We are greeted with smiles and firm handshakes – it definitely put me and Alex at ease at our first press check. Quality, precision, and customer service are what Cody said sets Curry Printing apart from the rest.

One thing is certain, printing is serious business that could make or break your hard work.

08/05/2009 at 11:03 AM 1 comment

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