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Author Archives: Emma Bullen

How to Create a Kick Ass Portfolio with Kim Pickett

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.”

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The Greatest Hits of Stakeholder Management

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.”

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5 Lessons from a FinTech Start-up with RentMoola’s Philipp Postrehovsky


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.

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Carving Out a Career In Storytelling with Matthew Luhn

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.

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Change in the Making: CIMC2017 Conference In Review

CIMC, Change in the Making Conference is Western Canada’s biggest marketing and PR conference. Arriving in the world’s biggest stock photo hub, Squamish, BC, it’s clear what draws the big names to attend the conference. No, it’s not just the stunning, picturesque scenery. It’s for learning about the latest trends and meeting like-minded disrupters and influencers in the industry.

At this year’s CIMC, innovative leaders shared their stories with an audience of PR and marketing professionals. Here are the highlights:

Drive Your Career

General Motors is a company that understands the need to be a disruptor in their space. “It helped to go bankrupt,” says GM’s Ted Graham. “Companies like Airbnb and Uber started during the recession. But they didn’t go away when the recession ended. People started really connecting with them and they became part of their experiences.”

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So, You Want To Be A Writer?

Arguably, Charles Bukowski was not the nicest human being. He was a smoker, prolific drinker, and a womanizer. He worked in a series of blue-collar jobs, notably at the post office, on the rail yard, and at various shops and stores before making enough money as a writer to quit. When he took up writing full time, he was 49-years-old.

Good news. You are not Charles Bukowski. And as an on-staff writer, it is possible for you to make more money writing in a month than Bukowski made from his writing in a year, which to be fair was about 50 bucks. (If you don’t believe me, pick up a copy of Charles Bukowski on Writing, it’s there in all its gory detail). So what took Bukowski so long to make some cold hard cash? Isn’t writing easy?

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Why Every Organization Needs Storytellers [Interview with Ron Tite]

Branding and creativity expert, Ron Tite was named one of the Top 10 Creative Canadians by Marketing Magazine. An award-winning advertising Writer and Creative Director, Ron has worked for some of the world’s most respective brands including Evian, Hershey, Johnson and Johnson, Kraft, Microsoft, and Volvo to name just a few. He is founder and CEO of the Tite Group, Executive Producer and Host of the Canadian Comedy Award-winning show Monkey Toast, and the author of Everyone’s An Artist (Or At Least They Should Be). Emma Bullen picked his brains on why every organization needs storytellers and how brands can tell great stories.

Storytelling is a fundamental part of business. Research tells us that stories help us pay attention, teach us to be more empathetic, and allow us to remember concepts years after we’ve heard them. Within the workplace, narratives can help us make sense of an organization, and are an impactful way to communicate values. More than that, storytelling can turn something ordinary into something interesting.

As a brand storyteller and comedian, Ron Tite uses storytelling every day. He’s helped notable brands tell their story. He tells stories on blogs and podcasts and on stage at stand up gigs and at conferences. And he’s changed his personal narrative, the story of what he does, multiple times. In fact, storytelling is so much of a habit that he answers every interview question he’s asked with a narrative. 

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How to Create Big, Bold, Brave Content [Interview with Ann Handley]

Ann Handley was recognized by Forbes as the most influential woman in Social Media and listed by ForbesWomen as one of the top 20 women bloggers. The world’s first Chief Content Officer, Ann is the author of the Wall Street Journal best-selling book, Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide for Creating Ridiculously Good Content and co-author of the best-selling book, Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business. Currently, Ann is CCO at MarketingProfs, a website dedicated to making you a better marketer. Emma Bullen picked her brains on content marketing, writing routines, and social media.

Emma Bullen: What does a typical day look like for you?

Ann Handley: I am gently awakened in the morning by the sweet calls of the downy-throated songbirds, welcoming me into a new day. I arise and dine on a firm scramble of eggs laid at dawn by my cluck of heirloom chickens while sipping coffee from the rarest Kopi Luwak bean, harvested deep in the Sumatran jungle. By monkeys.

So after that… you can imagine that I flit to my desk, dip the nib of my fountain pen in its corner inkwell, and the marketing insights spill out of me onto the page with the same intensity as the yolks of those heirloom eggs spread onto my breakfast plate.

Or: I wake up, sit down at my computer, and force myself awake by scrolling through Twitter.

At some point during the morning, I wander to my backyard Tiny House. It’s really a tiny office. But it’s a dedicated space that helps me focus and do the work I need to get done.

I actually have zero chickens and no songbirds. In case anyone is wondering.

EB: Tell me the story of how you became the world’s first Chief Content Officer

AH: Scene: The offices of ClickZ, my first company, circa 1997. The Internet was brand-new and fresh-faced. There were maybe 13 or 14 websites including ClickZ, which was one of the first sources of information for digital marketing and advertising. Everyone got only four emails a day. There was no social media, no email marketing. No chatbots or Snapchat or Fitbits. Life was simpler. And quieter.

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Throw Out the Rule Book: Business Advice For Female Entrepreneurs

Paula Skaper is a marketer, a mentor, and a natural storyteller. A sought out speaker; she will be presenting at CIMC2017 about email marketing in a talk titled, “We’ve Been Watching You.” In addition to being a serial entrepreneur, having built three successful businesses from her home base in Vancouver, she has recently launched Adizue — a business training company specialising in working with women entrepreneurs. Emma Bullen picked her brains on business advice for female entrepreneurs, email marketing, and speaking in public.

Emma Bullen: What does a typical day look like for you?

Paula Skaper: There’s no such thing! Typically I’m up early in the morning and I’ll check in and clean my inbox from all the clutter. I forward anything to the team that I need them to take care of. Then, I do the usual mom thing and take my kids to school. By 9.30 am, I’m in the office, and I’ll be writing copy, reviewing analytics, or planning client strategy for a campaign. Our client base is quite varied, so I’m switching all the time. In the evenings, I go home and become a mom again. I usually check my email in the evening and I might go to a networking events, work on a presentation, or go out on date night. There’s no typical day, which I love.

EB: You have a broad background of skills. What would you describe as your greatest strength and how have you put that to use in your career?

PS: I think the thing that’s helped me the most has been my willingness to say yes and try something new. I love learning, and that has helped me immeasurably. I dive right into a topic. I’m not a course junkie; I tend to explore. I view the internet as my private library. I’ll sign up for webinars, and I read copiously. Then, I’ll talk about what I’ve learned with my team, and we’ll test stuff out to see how it works.

EB: Tell me the story of how you came to went from opening your own video production company to mentoring female entrepreneurs.

PS: My husband and I started the company when my daughter was a toddler. I had returned to work after she was born, and the hours were insane. When the company changed direction, I saw it as a good opportunity to branch out on my own to start my own business and spend more time with my family. I talked to my husband about the decision and he said, “You’ll be fine. What’s for dinner?”

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