My unsettling goal for 2011 begins with a book and family life lessons…

January 8th, 2011

Family time with Drysdale’s is always interesting. This year, for the second year in a row, it was a time to reflect, grow and strengthen our bonds with one another.

From left to right: Aimee, JoJo, Katie, Melissa, Ashleigh, Hayleigh

While devouring a mouth-watering portion of standing rib roast, perfectly seasoned grilled asparagus and a glass of well-aged wine among other scrumptious fare, my family went around the dinner table on Christmas night to reminisce and ponder 2010 and 2011 by answering these questions:

  1. What things did you accomplish last year that you’re proud of?
  2. From your experiences last year, what life lessons did you gain?
  3. What are your goals for 2011?

Not to bore you with the accomplishments of my family (although I’m sure you are eager to hear about the personal happenings in our lives…lol), I will leave you with the valuable life lessons we all gained from 2010, number two on the list:
* BTW, these are randomly organized, just in case you’re trying to be sneaky and figure out who said what!

  • Embrace your failures – you can learn a lot more from your failures than your successes.
  • Listen to people closely and respond carefully.
  • Learn to work smarter, not harder.
  • Invest your time into things that make you happy and grow as an individual.
  • Take ownership of your experiences and put your own ideas and life teachings to work.
  • You may not always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you will get what you need.
  • Empower others.
  • No matter how hard you work, there will always be people who don’t appreciate what you do.
  • When you start something new in life, give it your all and don’t give up.
  • Your work/life balance is crucial.
  • Be diplomatic when dealing with others, particularly your peers.
  • Don’t get on your sisters bad side!
  • Try to have fun in life. Have fun in life, don’t just try.

So, the last item on the list is crossed through intentionally because initially it was “Try to have fun in your life,” but then my Dad made a great analogy, and one worth sharing. He put a utensil on the table, looked directly in that person’s eyes, and said, “Try to pick up that knife…” In order to make this happen you have to physically DO SOMETHING. So the lesson learned here was then changed from “try” to “do.” Dad is great at empowering us and always making us think about what we say and really evaluate our individualistic views on life.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN:
After reading over this list, if you look back on your experiences in 2010, are you able to take away some or all of these same life lessons? Is there anything new you would add?

On to number three: goals for 2011. I will share with you one of my own, and one I hope you can help me with:

  • Read 12 books in 12 months

Let me elaborate…for a while now I have been trying to find a way to really “get” books and fully enjoy reading. That’s not to say that I haven’t already began reading, just not as much nor as thoroughly as I would like. So, I am going to try something new and hope by writing this to you, similarly to Julie Powell’s blog project of working through 524 recipes in 365 days from Julia Child’s book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, you will help keep me accountable and I will be encouraged to stick with my goal.

For most of those who know me well, you are fully understanding of this feat and hopefully for some, you can appreciate a person who is a slower reader struggling with comprehension. To explain this a bit further; sometimes for me after reading through 3 or 4 pages, I then realize I didn’t quite understand what I just read. With my eagerness to fully retain details, I then to go back and read through it all over again. Not to mention ADHD, which we all have in some form or another, making the distractions of noise or various things happening around me MUCH more entertaining than whatever I’m trying to read.

KICK-OFF BEGINS:
The daunting task of getting through 12 books in 12 months began today with the arrival in the mail of book number one: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson, the first book in The Millennium Trilogy, along with two other books I plan to be reading in the upcoming months.

The Stieg Larsson Millennium Trilogy

I’m not entirely sure what I will write about, but for both my readers and to help myself comprehend what I am reading, the plan is to complete a blog each week reporting my progress, any new life lessons I take away from the “book-of-the-month,” or any initial reactions I have. I now ask myself the question, “How am I going to complete book number one, with already 7 days gone? EEP!”

  • 465 pages + 25 days equals roughly 18 pages/day
  • Plus a weekly blog post

OR I could also try it by chapters

  • 29 chapters + 25 days equals roughly 1.2 chapters/day
  • Plus a weekly blog post

So, here goes…I’ll keep you posted!

Best,
Aimee

p.s. I would love for you to comment below on your life lessons from 2010 and anything you have to share about your experiences with all of this.

Decoding QR Codes – written for tba | PR + Advertising

January 3rd, 2011

What are these fuzzy boxes of randomly sequenced black and white squares popping up all over the country, you ask?

tba_QR_text
Example of a text message QR Code

tba_QR_Code
Example of a URL QR Code

They are called QR codes, or “quick response” codes. Essentially, QR codes are an alternate form of a barcode used to direct smartphones to a mobile website, product video, click-to-call number, or text message by using your device’s camera and a barcode scanner application.

And what’s great about these codes is that every smartphone operating system has access to free QR decoders — and there are an endless number of free websites that have the ability to generate them.

QR codes are quickly beginning to register on the marketing radar and businesses are looking for the most creative way to use them to best promote their company. Here are a few places these complex little communication channels have recently been seen:

• Magazines
MagazineQRCode

• Billboards
qr-code-times-square

• Business cards
QR_businesscard

• In-store displays and windows
American_Eagle_Outfitters_Times_Square_2010-11-16

• Print ads
Heartonfires_QR_codes

• Television broadcasting
• Buses
• Event tickets
• Maps
• Trade show materials
• Direct mail campaigns
• Coupons

Really, just about any printed surface the general public would need to get more information about a business or product can have a QR code. They are structured in a way that is readable from a 360-degree direction and work on both a small and large scale, leaving endless possibilities for concept development.

qr_cellar-key
Visit the Cellar Key website using this link.

qr_wrappingpaper
You can order QR wrapping paper using this link.
qr-code-wall-640
Ethical_Bean_Coffee_QRmark
QR_real_estate1

HOW IT WORKS
Here are a few applications you can download for scanning QR Codes:

For iPhone or iPod touch:
QR Scanner
TriOut
QuickMark
NeoReader

For both Apple and Android devices:
ShopSavvy

You can generate QR codes from a number of sites, but the one I have found particularly easy is Kaywa QR Code.

QR CODES IN 2011
Because QR codes are customizable, users are able to measure how many people are being targeted with a particular marketing piece, in turn allowing for easier calculation of ROI or “return on investment.”

Neilsen reported that by 2011 51% of all Americans will be carrying smartphones. Will QR codes be the future of advertising? With society gravitating toward online gaming and viral videos, it’s only natural that QR codes will enhance our mobile experience. If you are interested in learning more about how you can integrate QR Codes into your marketing strategy, be sure to give us a call.

Website Wins American Design Award

December 12th, 2010

Honored to have my website chosen as the recipient for an American Design Award.

#, @, RT? Twitter: Back to Basics – written for tba | PR + Advertising

October 11th, 2010

I once heard someone say that people you are friends with on Facebook are the people you have once known personally, but don’t really have much in common with, and the people you follow on Twitter are those you don’t know personally but have a lot in common. How can you start interacting and making a connection on the Twittersphere? Many people are still unaware of the benefits of Twitter and how it can help a company or an individual engage with the public. Here are a few basic pointers on how to start doing this:

1. Hashtags #
A great way to get in front of like-minded individuals is to put a #hashtag symbol before a keyword. If you use a hashtag in your tweet, and you have a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag can find your tweet. Anything can be made into a hashtag, but there a several common ones that can be found here. As a side note, the location you put a hashtag into your tweet is really up to you. Most people put them at the end of their tweet, but you can also integrate them inside the tweet. This is also a great way to find out what people are saying about your company or industry.


2. @ Replies or “Mentions”
By using the @ symbol or #hashtag in front of a Twitter username to reply to someone or refer to their post, you are basically saying hey, @XYZTwitterUsername, I am paying attention to you! The user below prefaced his RT (which I will go into next) with a comment, which makes this a hybrid tweet. He both mentions @thebecheragency by making the comment “Hilarious!” and RT’s @thebecheragency’s post by saying RT before the username:


In this post, user @WhitleyGaffney mention’s #thebecheragency by using a #hashtag. It is not as easy for the Twitter user to notice these posts, but it is still searchable. Best practice would be to use the @ symbol when mentioning @XYZTwitterUserName in your post.


3. RTs or “Re-Tweets”
If someone posts something interesting on his or her wall, RT their post. This will share it on your wall and will appear to all of your followers. A standard RT does not include additional comments

4. DM or “Direct Messages”
A direct message is a private, off-the-record message that you can send your followers. Think of it as a short email. The only rules are that the user has to first follow you and the message has to be under 140 characters. One great way to use DMs is to send a short thank-you message to the user when they follow you, or to make connections with them outside of Twitter.

5. Follow Those Who Follow You
Personally, if someone is trying to sell something, speaking in a different language, or is posting vulgar information, I will not follow them back. If for example you are a contractor and another local contractor follows you, follow them back! Twitter is a very powerful networking tool that could potentially lead to strong partnerships and friendships. By following your followers, you can not only monitor the competition, but also re-Tweet relevant information of local and national companies or individuals who are in similar industries.

6. Find and Follow Like-Minded Twitter Users
This is crucial to learning more and engaging within your industry. The best site I have found for this is Twellow. It is very straightforward and allows you to add your username to certain categories. For example, @thebecheragency is listed under 5 categories:

  • Marketing + Advertising + Ad Agencies
  • Marketing + Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Marketing + Public Relations
  • Information Technology + Software Programming + Web Developer + Web Design

Social media is supposed to be fun! The more you do it, the more familiar it will become. It can seem like a lot if you are first starting out, but really becomes second nature when you dive in. Yes, social media is always changing, but please feel free to give me, or anyone at tba | PR + Advertising a call if you have any questions and if there is anything we can assist with.

Featured on CSS Glance

August 13th, 2010

Lots of appreciation goes out to CSS Glance for adding my portfolio to their gallery! I’m flattered to be in the company of other great designers.