In our Creative Cultures series, correspondent Crystal Henrickson spends a day inside companies to learn how hiring, onboarding, and company culture play a role in employee happiness. From startups to design firms and all in-between, we’re pulling back the curtain on what it’s like to work in inventive and productive environments. Today she’s with the healthy folks at Social Nature.
At Social Nature, building a high-performing, profitable business doesn’t have to come at the expense of creating positive impact.
Launched in 2014, Founder and CEO Annalea Krebs (who’s behind the now-acquired daily deals site, ethicalDeals) envisioned a company that would help millions make greener choices. Since then, Social Nature has built a loyal community of over 200,000 ‘everyday influencers’ who try natural, green products in exchange for honest, authentic reviews shared on social media.
Kim Pickett has been in the advertising business since 2001 and has owned KIMBO Design for over 15 years. Kim receives around ten emails per day with links and attachments to design portfolios. Emma Bullen spoke to her about what she looks for and how to create a kick-ass portfolio.
Emma Bullen: “What do you look for in a portfolio?”
Kim Pickett: “I look for a designer that matches the work that we do here at KIMBO Design and the work I have done with my signature style. If someone does approach KIMBO, they should have a tailored portfolio. Look at where you’re applying and curating your work so it fits and it’s in line. Look at your target audience. What are they going to engage with? You’re not doing it for yourself; you’re doing it for your audience. I can tell very quickly a designer applying to work at KIMBO is a fit.”
EB: “Where do you start when you’re building a portfolio?”
KP: “Start with a brief — ask yourself, “What do I want out of it? Do I want a job? Do I want to win awards?” Hone in on your purpose for creating your portfolio before you get started.
“The most important thing is having a portfolio online. People are busy. If I’m on my phone, I want to see it and be responsive. Some designers don’t know how to program. That’s okay — trade favours with a developer or use the tools that are out there and do a decent job. Add white space and let the work speak for itself. Don’t go overboard, just be clean and simple.”
Ever walked away from a client call, taken a sip from your coffee cup, and wondered — “why are these people being such tremendous jerks?” As Michael Jackson sang, “You’re not alone. I am here with you.” Emma Bullen spoke to Copy Hackers’ Joanna Wiebe to get her expert advice on stakeholder management. Today, we are here with you, in a non-creepy Michael Jackson way.
It Ain’t Easy; It Ain’t Easy
“Think of all of the strange things circulating round,” sang David Bowie. He might as well have been singing about stakeholder management — the closest thing to herding cats you’ll ever get in your career. The best thing to do is to acknowledge that at times it will be a downright messy affair.
“I don’t think there’s any one technique outside of being ready for chaos,” says Joanna. “There is so much personal stuff tied into decisions that are made in board rooms and on calls that you might not know about. Do your best to stay cool while that’s happening. Keep the right people involved when they need to be and don’t worry them when they don’t.”
Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want
Your clients are not the Spice Girls. (That’s probably a good thing, because the Spice Girls are really picky). To set yourself up for success, you need to know who is calling the shots and what outcomes you’re going to be measured against.
“Everyone is so different. At the start of a project, finding out how your stakeholders want to be involved is probably the most important thing to learn, so you don’t have to make assumptions,” says Joanna. “Similarly, if outcomes are going to be measured, you want to know what and how, so you’re not making blind calls on things that matter, or really don’t matter.”
Toronto City Skyline from Shutterstock
Toronto offers numerous digital education learning opportunities–through leading edge courses, workshops and seminars—all designed to provide you with immediate relevancy and hands on digital skills.
Today, we’ve been in touch with some of the leading learning providers in the city. With summer just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to get your digital skills into high gear. From sheer beginner to ‘pro’ education, onsite and online, here’s a run-down of the options around the corner from where you live, work and play.
In our Creative Cultures series, correspondent Crystal Henrickson spends a day inside companies to learn how hiring, onboarding, and company culture play a role in employee engagement. From startups to design firms and all in-between, we’re pulling back the curtain on what it’s like to work in inventive and productive environments. Today she’s with the loving folks at Clearly.
As a lifelong wearer of prescription glasses (and huge fan of vision) I was beyond excited to meet the team behind the innovative online eyewear store, Clearly. With their launch in 2000, the company stepped onto the scene as one of the first online retailers to offer direct-to-consumer prescription contact lenses. Since then, the company has successfully expanded its product line to include a wide selection of designer glasses and sunglasses.
I spent the afternoon at their head office in Vancouver to get a behind-the-scenes look at their creative space and ambitious team culture.
“Ugh, creatives,” said every data-driven marketer ever, with an eye roll. “They’re so difficult to work with.”
I remember the first time a friend said that to me. I was working on a children’s website at the time, producing games, making things out of paper mache, and doing the odd photo shoot with a Teletubby. Incredulous, I asked, “what’s wrong with being creative?” only to realize that my friend was one of “those” marketers. The type that creative marketers complain about. The ones who want results, who track performance. The marketers who — gasp — want to see the data.
In recent years, technology has given the business marketer the tools they’ve been waiting for. Given the ability to test, measure, and optimize, data-driven marketers can turn their marketing departments into well-oiled machines. But the creative marketer has tremendous assets to bring to the table. These artists have ideas in spades, can create a brand identity, and often know the difference between a good headline and a bad one without going to the trouble of A/B testing.
The truth is, data v.s. creative doesn’t have to be a fight. Power struggles in the office reduce productivity and make even the simplest decision feel like hard work. The two sides of the marketing coin both complement and depend on each other. The trick is knowing the tools to help you best work together.
Ever wonder why in 2017, you are still paying your rent with a cheque? Last year in the United States alone, tenants paid $600 billion in rent, $300 billion by check. RentMoola is a company that’s looking to change that through an online global payment network that allows users to pay rent simply — and get rewards that include travel, lifestyle, and home services. Emma Bullen spoke to RentMoola’s Philipp Postrehovsky about his lessons as Co-founder and COO of a fin-tech Start-up.
RentMoola launched in April 2013 out of a real need. Philipp Postrehovsky’s brother and RentMoola co-founder was living as an expat in Shanghai. Daily ATM limits meant Patrick had to withdraw cash for four consecutive days at the end of each month to amass the funds to pay his rent.
Patrick realized he could purchase local currency at Vancouver International Airport’s foreign exchange office for a small service fee using his rewards credit card. He quickly turned his rent payment into numerous free flights, and the idea of PAYING RENT IS REWARDING™ was born.
Fast forward five years and RentMoola are a growing team, mostly based in Vancouver, with Philipp’s brother Patrick now based in San Francisco. RentMoola have come a long way from their early days. Working in the growing fintech industry, the lessons Philipp has learned are universal.
Matthew Luhn is a writer, story and branding consultant, creative writing instructor and keynote speaker with over 25 years of experience creating stories and characters at Pixar Animation Studios, The Simpsons, and beyond. Alongside his work at Pixar, Matthew also trains CEOs, marketing teams, directors and other professionals how to craft and tell stories for Fortune 500 companies, Academy Award winning movies and corporate brands. Emma Bullen spoke to him at CIMC2017 in Squamish.
How have you carved out a career as a storyteller?
I come from a family that is all about toys; they own toy stores. But my dad wanted to be an animator. He didn’t get to do that, so he put his love of animation on me. By the time I graduated high school, I was dedicated to go and be an animator—and specifically for the Walt Disney Company.
I went to Cal Arts, and everyone who had a love for animation wanted to get into this school. The Pixar culture comes from Cal Arts and the animation department A113. While I was going to Cal Arts, I made a student film, and a small animation company called the Simpsons saw it. They offered me a job on the third season of the Simpsons. I did what was totally logical, I quit school.
At this point, I’d reached my dad’s goal; I was an animator. Then I stumbled into the story room. As a team, they were writing a different episode every week. I fell in love with this. It was the story that really interested me. I thought there was no way they’d let me in, so I kept animating.
By Michael Serbinis, Founder of League and former CEO of Kobo
Keynote Speaker at the 2017 Globe and Mail Small Business Summit
May 9, 2017, Delta Toronto Hotel
For tickets visit: Globesummits.ca
Boost your business with actionable insights from Canada’s top entrepreneurs.
Join us for a day of insightful sessions, proven business growth strategies, and innovative ideas from the country’s brightest business leaders. The day features two streams of content, as well as a cocktail mixer, where you will have the opportunity to network with top entrepreneurs, Globe and Mail journalists and business peers. Attendees will walk away with the resources, education, and relationships you need to take your business to the next level.
The scariest point for any company is when they realize their product isn’t working for the market. The next scariest thing is fixing it.
Getting product-market fit right is critical to the success of any small business. As business owners, we know this. That’s why it’s especially terrifying when you realize you’ve got it wrong.
So what is product-market fit exactly? It’s the intersection where the products or services that a company offers meet the needs of consumers by either solving a problem or adding value to their lives. And they are willing to pay for it. And their lives would be worse if they couldn’t have your product. There are all kinds of measures, but when you have it, you know it. All of a sudden the gears of your business are no longer grinding; they are flying.
In our Creative Cultures series, correspondent Crystal Henrickson spends a day inside companies to learn how hiring, onboarding, and company culture play a role in employee happiness. From startups to design firms and all in-between, we’re pulling back the curtain on what it’s like to work in inventive and productive environments. Today she’s with the lovely folks at Thinkific.
Affectionately nicknamed “the Bunker”, Thinkific’s office stands in stark contrast from other bright and glossy corporate offices in town. Located in a shared warehouse in Vancouver’s industrial Railtown, the online education platform has been quietly expanding their company since 2012.
The space—which they split with a few local companies like Thuggies and Bash and Fete—feels creative, energetic and fun, with eclectic features like a shipping container boardroom, a small podcast recording studio, and wood pallet walls that divide an otherwise open space. The openness of the office seems to complement the team well, as colleagues consult and collaborate with one another frequently.