Creating a Best Place to Work

Posted on March 1, 2012 by Comments Off

Enjoy the articles and resources below that showcase what other companies are doing to be a best place to work as well.

In addition, Jenny Moede, Executive Vice President North America Region, developed the following baseline expectations that she sets for her team leads to help foster a great place to work environment:

1. Leaders are practitioners… working consistently with clients keeps your craft honed and your ideas fresh
2. Financial fluency is a must. Knowledge of the financial details is power when it comes to effective management of your business
3. Lead business development

• Deliberate and strategic development of a sector/business development strategy
• Cultivate personal networks
• Actively engage with new connections
• Apply critical thinking to RFP opportunities (what merits a yes)
• Build strong, collaborative relationships with your practice peers to achieve scale, integrated approaches and creativity

4. Create a robust team community, regardless of geography
5. Offer your team transparency and honesty in both good and bad news
6. Cultivate and share informed and well-defined points of view, particularly about new client opportunities
7. Support your colleagues; celebrate successes, rally in difficult times
8. Bring a problem-solving mentality to everything you do, both within your business and beyond

When Oscar Met Twitter: Predicting Winners by the Numbers

Posted on February 22, 2012 by 1 Comment

Here at Waggener Edstrom, we’re big movie fans. To get ready for the 84th Academy Awards taking place this Sunday, we used our WE twendz pro® analytics service to examine the conversation on Twitter around the nominees. Twendz pro® revealed that in spite of  lackluster box office performances “The Artist” and “Hugo” were the most talked-about Best Picture nominees on Twitter, but that “The Help” was the ultimate fan favorite, with 82% of tweets evoking positive sentiment.

In the Best Actor contest, Brad Pitt had the largest share of voice but Gary Oldman had the most positive sentiment. Seventeen-time nominee Meryl Streep led the Best Actress contest in share of voice for her work in “The Iron Lady”, and finished second to “The Help’s” Viola Davis in the positive sentiment category.

One of the themes among this year’s Best Picture nominees is historic films. In fact, the only best picture nominee that was not based on past events (fictional or real) was “The Descendants”. Early filmmaking was paid tribute in two of the most talked about films, “The Artist” and “Hugo”. While there are some common themes of old Hollywood, history and loss of a parent, the category is also rich with contrast. The Best Picture category has likely never before contained an almost entirely silent film alongside one about statistics and baseball. We look forward to what will surely be a historic night.


The Royal Wedding Guest List Top 10

Posted on April 27, 2011 by 1 Comment

After weeks of speculation about who would be invited to attend the Royal Wedding, the bride and groom released a “selected guest list” which lit up the social universe. Using the methodologies in our Influence Toolkit we monitored online chatter for 24 hours. If the Royal Family based reception seating solely on online influence, this is how it would look. Attention Princesses, Ladies, Earls and Countesses: Make room for the top 10 most influential “elite.”

Extreme Makeover

Posted on September 27, 2010 by 1 Comment

As defined by Wikipedia, a facelift, technically known as a rhytidectomy (literally, surgical removal of wrinkles), is a type of cosmetic surgery procedure used to give a more youthful appearance. The first facelift was performed in Berlin in 1901 by Eugen Holländer.

You’ve no doubt seen the before-and-after celebrity pictures. Joan Rivers, Michael Jackson, George Clooney, Sharon Stone — they’re among the most famous makeovers in Hollywood. Sometimes it’s just a “re-skin,” but in many cases it’s more than skin deep. Zac Efron had the gap between his front teeth corrected and Miley Cyrus had the length of her choppers evened out. Then there’s the hair implants. One of the biggest problems is that they don’t lie against the head properly unless styled. George of the Jungle’s Brendan Fraser, known for his lack of “vines,” looks like he ran out of hair product at home.

But there’s a way to do it right. Not on your face of course, but with your brand. Let’s take a quick look at the corporate world and a couple of companies that have done it right. The multi-colored Apple logo was in use for 22 years before it was axed by Steve Jobs less than a year after his return in 1997. In its place came a new logo that did away with the colorful stripes and replaced them with a more modern monochromatic look that has taken on a variety of sizes and colors over the past few years. The overall shape of the logo, however, remains unchanged from its original inception 33 years ago. Another example is UPS, founded in 1907 (just six years after the first facelift) as a messenger company. Nearly a century and three logo generations later, it unveiled a modernized mark (still in the shield but sans bow string) which symbolizes their expansion from package delivery into a broader array of supply chain services. They were thinking globally. Logos aside, how about brand image? McDonalds is working to improve theirs by tapping into the designer coffee culture. McLatte? Don’t laugh; they’re not the first ones to steal a good idea. Starbucks’ Black Forest Ham, Parmesan Frittata & Cheddar on Artisan Roll breakfast sandwich was born back in 1972. It was called the Egg McMuffin.

Okay, so where am I going with all this talk about re-skin and re-fresh? You’ve made it to my blog so you’ve no doubt seen Does it look a little different? For the most part, we have kept the same layout and page structure. But we’ve freshened it up with our new brand colors, fonts, and imagery. Our goal was to contemporize and differentiate our site and show a little more of the Waggener Edstrom personality. We are not a cold corporate entity; we are real people with a passion for what we do.

Notice throughout the site a brighter backdrop and more open space, allowing the layout to breathe and the images to pop. We’ve completely redesigned our Product Toolkit and you can find it on the new Product & Services page. It displays the four segments, the five social media essential products and our 12 key tools. We’ve revamped the Newsroom page with a hero image, and this page now incorporates live tweets and Facebook posts. We’ve redone the Global Practice pages with colorized hero images that reflect the practice. Even the little things count. We’ve added movement to some of the links as you scroll over them.

We believe that conveys our vibrant personality, our commitment to ongoing innovation, and most important, the more human side of Waggener Edstrom.

World Cup: What (and What Not) to Wear

Posted on June 11, 2010 by 1 Comment

World Cup UniformsI’ve been fascinated by international sports uniforms ever since stumbling upon the Palio di Sienna on August 16, 1992. It’s a horse race held twice each year in Sienna, Italy in which 10 horses and bareback riders dress in team colors to represent 10 of the contrade, or city wards. I had ditched my backpacking friends in order to follow a group of rowdy people all decked out in royal blue as they enthusiastically headed towards the town center. What I didn’t expect was the magnificent 17th century spectacle played out before me. Live.

The race itself involved circling the Piazza del Campo three times and lasted no more than 90 seconds. Some of the jockeys were thrown from their horses while making the dangerous turns in the piazza, but it didn’t matter. In the end, The Palio is won by the horse, not the jockey.

But The Palio di Siena is more than a simple horse race. It is the culmination of an ongoing rivalry and competition between the contrada. Rivalries that date back to the late Renaissance. There is passion, pride, and great public spectacle. Sound familiar?

What They’re Wearing
Fast forward to the 2010 World Cup. More than a billion people worldwide, (myself included), will be glued to their TVs, satellite radios, computers and mobile devices to catch the football action from South Africa. Not only will the world’s greatest players be on display, but so will their uniforms. As a visual person and a graphic artist, I’ve always had an interest in what people wear, particularly sports uniforms. And there’s no better stage. The World Cup is the chance for 32 countries to show their chops and bare their colors.

Can I be Tyra Banks here for a minute? Some of the uniforms are really cool. New Zealand’s is simple and sharp and follows the lead of its famous rugby compatriots with a solid all-black logo. Spain, one of the tournament’s favorites, scores with iconic red jerseys and cool blue and yellow outlines and piping. Cote D’Ivoire features an elephant wrapping its trunk around a soccer ball — a very cool jersey for a good team in the hardest group. Serbia has a retro look while not seeming out of style with its classic cross pattern from the sponsor logo to the crest. Netherlands stands alone in orange. And you can never go wrong with pinstripes (ask the NY Yankees), as Paraguay and Argentina have done.

Okay, those are some of my favorites. Now get ready for my “Group of Death” (a term commonly used in the World Cup to denote the toughest collection of teams in one group, but I’ll use here to call out several countries on their attire). Let’s start off with the good old US of A. It’s all for one, one for all as Athos takes the pass from Porthos, who heads it over to Aramis. The shirt has a thick stripe running down diagonally (sans sword). It was inspired by the 1950 design, but it looks more like a Musketeer’s doublet. Slovenia has the Charlie Brown zig zag across the chest; hope they kick a ball better than our favorite Peanuts whipping boy. Portugal, with its heavy use of green and red, brings to mind Grandmother’s Christmas sweater. North Korea? Well, at least they know how to keep a secret. As of my writing this blog post, their official World Cup jersey had not been released yet.

What They’re Made of
Good news, though, for those of us who are eco-conscious. These players will also be sporting some recycled wear. The Nike uniforms are made from recycled plastic bottles. Each uniform is made from up to eight recycled plastic bottles that are melted down and spun into the polyester yarn used. Nike has saved about 13 million of those plastic bottles from landfills in Japan and Taiwan; that’s enough to cover 29 soccer fields. And making recycled polyester from the bottles takes 30% less energy than creating new “virgin” polyester. So I’ll give Nike a pass on any of their aforementioned uniforms in my “Group of Death.” Just like a typical soccer fan, I’m obviously not shy about expressing my opinion.

Who’s Talking About Them
And speaking of expressing opinions, this year’s World Cup in South Africa will really be the first of the social media age. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were in their infancy in 2006, when the last World Cup took place in Germany, but have since exploded in popularity. Social media technologies now connect millions around the world, and it will allow fans separated by distance to celebrate goals, curse referee decisions and critique fashion together online. Join in, and check out our own dashboard to see who’s influencing conversations about the tournament.

Brilliant Revolutionary

Posted on May 7, 2010 by Comments Off

Today, I officially became part of Jamie Oliver’s food revolution. I say officially because I’ve been a big proponent of food reform for several years – and was riveted to Jamie Oliver when I first watched the TV show on ABC. But today I became the 578,806th person to sign his petition to bring healthier foods into our school systems. As a marketer, I’m a sucker for those who get it right and I truly applaud what Jamie Oliver is doing, it’s brilliant – and made even more so because it took someone “not from here” to bring this kind of attention to how unhealthy we are in this country.

lrg_253Jamie Oliver isn’t a revolutionary marketer, but he’s a skilled one. His message is timely. He combines moxie, smarts, talent, humor and most importantly empathy. He understands his constituents and tailors his communication, whether he’s speaking to a 6-year-old or to an audience of TED Conference attendees. He’s encouraging. He has an idea and uses tried-and- true techniques to make it compelling: powerful rhetoric and visual demonstrations. He makes it about YOU, while simultaneously helping you understand why he is uniquely qualified to lead this revolution. He helps you understand the challenges while simultaneously making you believe in the possibility of change. He offers perspective. He is passionate.

Maybe that is the reason that we’ve had quite a bit of chatter about this topic around the office lately. And, since Jamie’s show was coming to an end, we thought it would be interesting to run one of our WE twendz™ pro  dashboards to gauge the sentiment as well as take a look at who was influencing the conversation.

We analyzed over 940 tweets advocating for people to sign Jamie Oliver’s food revolution petition – most of which were positive or supportive in nature. The negative tweets fell into 3 main categories:

1)  imploring the revolution to include the treatment and compensation of public school food industry workers

2) arguing that diet the revolution is advocating isn’t going far enough

3) simply asking the question whether the revolution was working

Curious about who else is joining the revolution? Well, I’m in good company. While a guaranteed accurate number of signees wasn’t clear on Twitter, the latest tweets put the total signees over 400,000 individuals. Tweets mentioned some notable signees: Sting, Heidi Klum, Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Ricky Gervais, P Diddy and Ryan Seacrest. Good company indeed. And, we identified one interesting trend. Nearly 500 of the tracked individuals had an influence ranking of three or higher (our system is based on a 0-5 scale with 5 being the most influential, based on the number of followers a user has along with their rate of engagement). Meaning they were in a public position of some kind, and therefore more influential than average. What can we conclude from this? Buzz is still building and hasn’t yet been fully adopted by the general public – but we expect it will be based on the quality of the current “listened to” people. People such as those TED Conference attendees I mentioned earlier.

If you care about the health of the current generation of youth, and beyond, I encourage you to not only sign Jamie’s petition, but also to view his TED Conference wish presentation.  As Jamie so succinctly states, “If America does it, others will follow. It’s extremely important.”

Shelley Stevens is VP Global Marketing for Waggener Edstrom Worldwide and previously held an Account Director position at Wieden + Kennedy

And the Masters Fan Favorite is …

Posted on April 8, 2010 by 1 Comment

Before I give up this answer, brought to you by WE twendz pro™, let’s talk about sentiment vs. volume.

What we wanted to look at heading into The Masters was how people were talking about 4 favored athletes. We knew there would be a tremendous amount of volume surrounding 1 of the contestants, but would that volume be positive or negative? What about the other contestants? Is anyone on Twitter actually talking about the skills of these athletes, or are they talking about the drama surrounding them?  We gathered data during the week leading up to the competition.

The Masters, one of 4 major championships in professional golf, is arguably the most prestigious tournament on the PGA tour. Thousands of fans flock to Augusta National golf course in Georgia to cheer for their favorites, and to, of course, to be seen.

We observed what the Twittersphere was saying about the golfers and wondered who this year’s fan favorite was.

We all can probably guess who generated the most volume. We counted 21,174 tweets in the last week about this contender. Tiger Woods is 2 victories away from tying the record for the most wins at the Masters, but the tweets weren’t about his ability or his chances of winning; they were about his celebrity. The topics were largely about his marriage, not his performance. The conversations were about his desperate need to reclaim his position as a championship golfer.

Sure, some of the chatter was about his athletic prowess, but the “best golfer in the world,” has a long way to go until he is again remembered for his golf game. Only 141 of more than 21,000 tweets were about his quest for the green jacket and only 66% of those conversations wanted him to win.

The overall sentiment tied to this contestant was clouded by drama, but there were several comments about his “desperate need to reclaim his position as a champion golfer.” There were also questions about his ability to focus and to pull off a win. Not surprisingly, WE twendz pro™ revealed mixed emotions for this contender.

The second most talked-about contestant was Phil Mickelson, with 408 tweets. Phil had some fans cheering for his victory, but most of the conversations were about his pairing (with you-know-who) and about his choice of selecting his wife’s oncologist as his caddy. Although there was little commentary on Phil’s ability to win the Masters, 76% of those who did tweet about his chances were rooting for him.

Surprisingly, last year’s champion, Angel Cabrera received only 34 tweets. Yes, 34. This man won the tournament last year and only 34 people talked about him on Twitter. Only 3% of his fans thought he would win. 

Ernie Els was the third most talked about contestant. 386 people mentioned Els, The 6’3” South African favorite known as “The Big Easy,” in their conversations. People are sentimental about Els, a player seen as a good guy with a long history in golf. There was a little discussion about his choice of caddies, but the majority of people were simply wanting him to win and lauding his performance ability. With 94% of those tweeting about Els cheering him to victory, Ernie Els appears to be the WE twendz pro™ fan favorite on Twitter.

So what does this all mean? We threw out the topic, “Fan Favorite for the Masters Tournament” and measured sentiment around the conversations. We had to do a lot of sifting through the noise to figure out who the fans were pulling for. Hard data and volume were just part of the puzzle; human analysis provided the missing piece.  

21,174 conversations focused on the contestant who has been at the center of a media maelstrom, and the runner-up generated only 408 tweets. Ironically, the person who generated the third highest volume was the clear winner with his fans – Ernie Els.  Although the volume of the conversation surrounding Els wasn’t nearly as high as his competition, the fans who did talk about him did so in an overwhelmingly positive way.

There has been more drama leading up to this tournament than at a Perez Hilton party, but as we cut through the volume and sliced through the noise, it became clear that Ernie Els is darling of the 2010 Masters Golf Tournament.

My new neighbors

Posted on March 3, 2010 by Comments Off

I’ve worked at Waggener Edstrom for 10 years and have moved cubicles (no high falutin offices with doors or walls in most of our locations) nearly as much as people have gone ‘what the…?’ after a Lost episode.

It may be silly, but I always get excited by these moves.  In my time here it’s given me a chance to get to know a lot of different people.  Which leads me to some of my new neighbors.

I’ll call them Scott, Jeff and Allen.  Mainly because those are their names.

They’re part of our WE Studio D team, and have been giddy as kids on Christmas morning about a project to build a multi touch table PC.  You can read about their progress over on our Thinkers & Doers blog, but for me it’s been a kick watching them brainstorming, pulling components together and humoring my questions like ‘So…what color is it going to be?’ 

I’m also struck by how much has changed in a decade and how much more interesting working in this industry and at this agency is than it was when I first started here.  That’s not a slam on what things were like circa 1999.  It’s testament to how far we’ve come, and that change (whether in life, our industry, or our company) should be embraced instead of feared and fought. 

I’ll share a few updates as these guys progress, but for now I’m liking my new neighborhood.












The troika of Scott, Jeff and Allen test out the touch surface for their table PC.  Next week, they try out the flux capacitor.

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