Idea Lab

JOIN US IN WELCOMING OUR FALL INTERNS!

This fall, we are excited to welcome our new marketing communications intern, Michael Morgan, and new graphic design intern, Cienna Tohme, to the Ideaworks team! 

Michael is a senior at the University of Scranton, majoring in strategic communications with a track in advertising and a minor in business communication. Last spring, he worked as a social media marketing intern and is the active president of the University of Scranton’s advertising club. Michael is a basketball fanatic and enjoys going on long hikes in his free time. Marketing is a strong passion of his; Michael cannot wait to begin his career in this exciting industry. 

“I am grateful to be a part of the Ideaworks team and cannot wait to get started!”

Cienna is a senior graphic design major at Wilkes University. She loves nature, enjoys creating art and is fascinated by astrology. Cienna is a talented individual who cannot wait to make her presence known through her work.

“I am so excited to begin creating, along with gaining practical work experience in a professional setting.”


Not a Place, But a Feeling

This month, Ideaworks Marketing celebrates its 22nd anniversary, and that has me thinking about home.  Over the last few months, I’ve missed our office at 197 Wyoming Ave. As grateful as I am for the technology that allows us to work from our own homes, there is something special about being together under the same roof.

197 is not a sterile workplace, but a vibrant, homey space where we share a significant part of our lives together. I miss the faces, the hellos and goodbyes, the encouraging words. And I especially regret missed opportunities to gather in our conference room for celebrations large and small – a birthday, a holiday, a special recognition or – this month – an anniversary celebration.

There’s always a bright side, however, and for me it’s been this: Our weekly Zoom meetup gives us all a unique insight into each other’s lives and homes. We’ve met each other in new contexts – in makeshift offices in living rooms, kitchens, and porches. We’ve been Zoom-bombed by children and significant others – including Peter Steve’s beloved Portuguese Water Dogs, Crispin and Dante. And through the magic of green screen backgrounds, we’ve been transported to Alyssa’s honeymoon in Italy, an airline lounge at JFK, and even the Simpsons’ living room!

And, of course, we’ve all been grateful to spend more time with our loved ones. Carla Henry was able to spend a week working from her parents’ house in Kentucky, and I welcomed family, including my two favorite people in the world – 3 ½ year old Harper and her new baby sister Hazel – to come for a visit (in a socially-distant mobile home in my driveway).

In all of these ways, we have adopted new strategies for maintaining team spirit and the feeling of home. We have begun to spend more time in the office, as individual needs require, but we’re following the changing situation and regulations closely. We hope to make our way back to 197 soon.

Stay safe. Wear a mask. And don’t hesitate to reach out to let us know how you’re doing.

Donna Hansbury, President and CEO

Stay Inspired

While I was scrolling through my social media feeds, this anonymous aphorism caught my eye: “When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is.” In our last blog post, we outlined our initial response to COVID-19, but today I’d like to discuss how our agency worked through some of the adjustments we have made during the pandemic and quarantine.

For me, and for the entire Ideaworks team, it all comes down to this: staying inspired.

To inspire – to influence or animate with an idea or purpose — lies at the heart of our identity and mission. Ironically, for the present moment, the word comes from the Latin inspirare, which means to blow into, or breathe upon – but even in ancient Rome it took on the figurative sense of “to excite and inflame.”

To be sure, the quarantine changed the way we operate – for example, by moving conversation and collaboration to online meeting apps and quick text messages. We regularly meet for all-hands check-ins, and I’ve been sharing jokes and thoughtful quotes to keep everyone engaged. But our focus remains the same: coming up with ideas that work.

As our clients faced mounting challenges – including serious reductions in revenue and even the shuttering of businesses – we have been helping them craft strategic communications to keep customers engaged and aware of changes in their hours, their services, their facilities and their menus. More recently, we have been supporting clients’ moves to reopen business with new safety measures in place, and even to launch new ventures in facilities management and food service with enhanced infection control and social distancing measures in place.

As we all find our way through this rapidly evolving environment, please accept my best wishes for continued success in all of your endeavors – not only in business, but also in your personal lives and in your communities. Great things are always right around the bend, and with the right attitude you will be ready to meet them. That’s where your power is. Stay inspired!

Peter Steve, Owner and Chief Creative Officer

Our Response to COVID-19

We surely don’t have to tell you that the Coronavirus is preventing many businesses from operating normally. We’re certain that you are experiencing COVID-19’s effects on business – along with other changes to daily life – for yourself.

But what we do want you to know is that our commitment to handling your marketing and design needs remains just as crucial to us as ever.

In a time where “business as usual” might feel different, we’re still ready to serve you, handling your project requests without disruption or any deviations from how you’re used to working with us.

  • Our team is working remotely. All our designers, writers, strategists and executive team members have reliable Internet access and all required programs and resources to bring your projects to life.
  • We can access all files related to current and past projects. Our server is 100% functional and all team members can access it from home. Therefore, whether you have a new project request, need a past file or are working on something existing with us, we want you to know that we will have what you need when you need it. Just reach out!

Stay well, and feel free to email us with any of your project requests as we navigate these challenging times together. The easiest way to reach us is by email as phone contact is limited.

All the best, always,

-The Ideaworks team

A Note From Our Spring Content Intern

Hi, all! I’m Jen, and I’m the new Content Intern here at Ideaworks. I’m a senior at King’s College, where I major in professional writing and minor in literature.

I’ve held previous internships in writing and public relations, and I currently hold two jobs on campus as the English department’s student assistant and as a Writing Center tutor.

My future career goals include any sort of job that will allow me to put my writing and editing skills to use, and I have an especial interest in the field of nonprofits regarding both grant and proposal writing. My hobbies and interests include reading, spending time outside and learning how to cook.

I’m really excited to join the team here to learn more about the digital marketing landscape and pick up some new skills along the way!

Ideaworks Marketing’s Giving Tree Supports Local Domestic Violence Victims

This holiday season, Ideaworks Marketing decided to give back to the community in a fun and creative way. The agency’s Christmas tree, otherwise known as the Giving Tree, was decorated in support of the Domestic Violence Service Center, located in Wilkes-Barre. Various items like toiletries, lip balm, travel shampoo and conditioner adorned the branches, while stockings were filled with goodies – all donated by the Ideaworks team.

Creative mastermind Chris Konnick, administrative assistant, said she came up with the idea because she wanted to ensure Ideaworks left its mark on the community this holiday. “As a previous employee of the Domestic Violence Service Center, I thought the Giving Tree would make it even more fun for our team to come together to make the season brighter for those who need it most. I loved coordinating the effort and can’t wait to do it again next year,” commented Chris.

Sherry Castrine, development director at the Center, was speechless when she came to collect the donations and saw how many the agency gathered. “It’s the prettiest and most creative tree I’ve ever seen for an initiative like this,” said Sherry. “The generosity of the Ideaworks Marketing team floored me. The men, women and children we serve are going to benefit greatly from the items Ideaworks donated.”

The mission of the Center is to provide a path to safety and a shelter from abuse. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please call its 24-hour hotline: 1.800.424.5600.

Lifelong Learning = The Key to Success

This article was penned by Chelsey Tupper, director of operations and client development. 

Learning has always been an integral part of who I am. That’s probably because I was raised by two parents who realized the value of a solid education and both loved uncovering new knowledge. My mom and dad worked fervently to provide my sister and me with educational travel opportunities and even afforded me the ability to go to the college of my choosing. My parents gained their love for learning from their parents, and at the age of 33, I’m beyond blessed to still have the mentorship of all six of these individuals. I’ve witnessed firsthand from my family the importance of lifelong learning, from reading countless books (for pleasure and work) to learning history and trivia to staying abreast of changing trends in your profession and developing new hobbies. Further, I’ve learned that lifelong learning doesn’t just help you excel professionally but also keeps life fun, fresh and fascinating.

Aside from my parents and grandparents, I’ve been fortunate enough to have several mentors throughout my life, and the list only continues to grow. I love listening to others and learning all that I can from the people I meet because each of us has our own, unique experiences to share; it’s incredible what you can soak up from others if you just pay attention and listen. Two individuals whom I’ve been lucky enough to have as mentors over the past three years are my bosses Peter Steve and Donna Hansbury. Peter’s outlook on learning and bettering yourself is very similar to that of my parents and grandparents. He is always reading and researching, and he impresses the importance of this practice upon the Ideaworks team. Peter continuously says that reading all we can about our industry and those industries of our clients is what makes us an invaluable partner. And he’s right. Developing fresh solutions to our clients’ challenges and guiding them in the right direction are what make our clients come back to us, project after project, trusting in our ability to help them succeed. Donna has taught me to become a more strategic thinker and problem solver. For example, she has shown me the importance of taking the time to figure out a new program or concept, and not being too quick to ask others for assistance before delving into  it myself. It’s difficult to find solutions to such things if reading and researching aren’t part of your core, everyday tasks – yet another reason to embrace lifelong learning.

Back in April, I spoke at a local university as part of its annual communication conference for high school juniors and seniors. The conference helps students discern career paths within the communication industry. I love speaking to high school and college students because I remember when I was in their shoes, and listening to young professionals share their career stories and advice was always helpful and inspiring. For this particular engagement, I chose to speak about the value of lifelong learning and how vital it is for success in college and beyond. Throughout the presentation, I shared the advice I’ve gained from Peter and Donna, along with what I’ve learned from my own life experiences. Several students asked questions following the presentation, wanting me to share additional insight into how they, too, can adopt the “always be learning” mindset.

While I may never know which tips, tricks or stories from my presentation my audience found most inspiring, I’m confident that they, too, walked away with something valuable. And as I reflect on that experience and the many I’ve had to shape me into the professional I am today, I realize that there’s nothing more gratifying than helping one of those students reach an important realization: Lifelong learning really is the key to success, and you never know where its influence stops. I am certain that my parents, grandparents, Peter, Donna and the many other mentors I’ve been blessed to have would be proud that I am committed to paying forward what each of these individuals have impressed upon me.

Welcome to the Ideaworks team, Carla and Jorge!

 

This fall, we excitedly welcomed two graphic designers, Carla Henry and Jorge Ariza. Carla and Jorge join Patty Pugh on our creative team, responsible for employing their design prowess and artistic aptitude to bring our clients’ visions to life.

Ever since she was a little girl, Carla always had a creative eye, which is why she chose to major in graphic design. Earlier this year, she graduated from South Hills School of Business & Technology with her associate’s degree. Carla joins us from Posture Interactive, a Scranton-based digital marketing agency, where she served as an intern. In her free time, she enjoys playing Nintendo® games, binge-watching TV shows and drawing silly cartoons in various mediums.

 

Like Carla, Jorge has also had a passion for art and design from a young age, starting with drawing in elementary school. He graduated in 2015 from Keystone College with a bachelor’s in visual arts and is currently working on his master’s in graphic design at Marywood University. Outside of Ideaworks, Jorge always strives to develop his skills and works on a variety of different projects. For instance, he is in the process of starting his own clothing line, along with working on a children’s book series for his thesis.

 

We are delighted to have Carla and Jorge on board and look forward to each of them using their unique design talents to exceed client expectations. Please take a minute to welcome them to our team!

Mixing it up, marketing style

Search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) ads, newspapers, radio, social media, television, billboards, e-newsletters, direct mail…

So many channels, so little time! And you can only stretch your budget so far. Here are four steps you can take to create a stellar recipe for marketing success.

  1. Establish a budget: Incorporating a budget doesn’t mean stressing about limitations; rather, it’s about exploring possibilities. Working within financial boundaries challenges you to be more thoughtful about how you’re spending your marketing dollars. By employing a more streamlined, targeted approach, you can reach prospects who are already considering the service or product you provide but haven’t decided just where to get it from yet. This is where search engine marketing (SEM) could come into play. Searching on websites like Google and Bing is the most popular medium for locating information. In fact, 74 percent of internet users perform local searches, and of this percentage, 82 percent of local searchers follow-up offline via an in-store visit, phone call or purchase. SEM is also very cost-effective compared to other marketing mediums, so it’s worth considering on a smaller budget.
  2. Know your target: It all boils down to understanding your customer. Warm-up to your target market’s demographics, psychographics and lifestyle. Geography, income, ethnicity, gender and age are key factors that impact buying decisions and habits. Knowing your target is especially helpful with digital marketing, where being in the right place at the right time has become less about serendipity and more about strategy. Take Facebook, for example, where 29.7 percent of users are between the ages 25 and 34. This is the prime target demographic for many businesses, so if it’s yours, investing in Facebook advertising will more than likely be beneficial.
  3. Be consistent: They key ingredient in your marketing mix is to create brand recognition, and that involves creating compelling content. While it’s nice to add some spice to your messaging, you want to make sure that everything blends together well and that one piece doesn’t overpower another. That means using consistent themes and messaging across all platforms you utilize. Prospects viewing an ad, web page, direct mail piece or even a video from a well-integrated campaign should receive a consistent flavor from your messaging, with each element of the mix complementing and reinforcing the others.
  4. Measure your success: What does the data show about what you are trying to accomplish? Be sure to measure your marketing efforts against your business goal(s). If one of your overarching goals is brand awareness, track your social media posts. If it’s attracting more visitors to your website, try using Google Analytics. If it’s sales, take a look at how many leads your direct mail or email campaign generated. Useful tools like Constant Contact, Hubspot and Marketo make it easy to follow each customer’s journey, starting with the first visit to your website. Take the time to monitor your progress so you’ll be able to amplify what’s working and adjust what’s not.

Still not sure how to mix it up? We can add the secret sauce your marketing plan has been craving. Contact Chelsey Tupper, director of operations & client development, to learn more about how we can help. She can be reached at 570-609-5650, ext. 310 or chelseyt@ideaworks.marketing.

 

 

From the Desk of Devanie Heller: 6 Things I Learned From My MarCom Internship

In January, I was determined to solidify my summer internship before going back to school for the spring semester. I wanted to be sure that I gave myself ample opportunity to find the perfect fit so that my first marketing internship would be worthwhile. Therefore, I Googled “marketing agencies in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area,” and began calling each agency to get an idea of who was looking for an intern.

After following up with Ideaworks, I was asked to come in for a face-to-face interview with the agency’s director of marketing communication, Pete, and senior manager of marketing communication, Alyssa. The interview went wonderfully, and the next thing I knew, I received a call with an offer! Little did I know that once I met the rest of the team and began diving into my work, it would feel like home. The culture was so open and friendly that I truly couldn’t have been happier to be part of the team. I absolutely loved coming into work every morning – always wearing a smile, ready to tackle the day’s responsibilities.

During my three months as a member of the Ideaworks team, I learned so much that it’s nearly impossible to whittle down an all-encompassing list of the knowledge and insight I gained, but these six items are surely significant.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Since this was my first internship, I was eager to absorb everything I could, which often meant asking many questions. Though I was undoubtedly anxious to jump into a new adventure, everyone was more than welcoming. It did not take long for me to warm up to my co-workers and ask for help or clarification, because I always wanted to do my best and impress the rest of the team.

  1. Every day is different when you intern at an agency

Each day at Ideaworks was unlike the one prior. Some projects were large, others were small, but each had its own originality and importance for our valued clients. I sat in on various conference calls, discussing anything from the types of graphics that would work best on a concert venue’s promotional collateral to the kinds of prizes and incentives that would most appeal to a client’s target audience. From each client call I participated in, I learned several tips and tricks about how to talk with clients and the best ways to work with them to meet their respective needs and wants. Above all, one of the most important things I learned is that it’s always top priority to deliver exceptional work for clients.

  1. The real world is different from the classroom

While I did not receive a letter grade for my work here, I still needed to put forth my best effort when working on any task to which I was assigned. Nonetheless, that is about the only similarity between school and my internship. At Ideaworks, I was able to learn first-hand how to organize and structure projects, follow new client developments, create social media schedules and more – not just read about them from a textbook or simply learn definitions. I’ve always enjoyed school; however, after my time with Ideaworks, I’m even more eager to dive into my marketing career.

  1. Independence is everything

The classic intern stereotype is that he or she runs for coffee and scans papers all day without truly contributing to the team. My experience at Ideaworks was the exact opposite, for which I am tremendously thankful. My first week on the job, I was given a list of projects to start developing in collaboration with our content team, and it made me incredibly happy to know I was entrusted with these tasks. Giving an intern, like me, the independence and trust to take on client projects meant so much, and I was grateful for the opportunity to make each project my own, which also helped increase my confidence. It was such a great feeling to work with a team that believed in my abilities and wanted to see me succeed, especially as a young woman new to this industry.

  1. Social media is more complex than you might think

Before my internship, I never had the opportunity to manage a business’ social media, but I was always eager to do so. Now, thanks to Ideaworks, I can proudly say that I have professional experience handling all things social, such as brainstorming, writing, editing and proofreading post content; posting and scheduling; and managing accounts on the various platforms. I learned that a substantial amount of research and time go into crafting a post for just one platform, let alone creating a weekly content schedule. I’ve also come to better understand which types of content keep followers engaged. Gaining more experience with social media management was a valuable experience that I know will suit me well when I begin my career in marketing, since the use of social media isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

  1. Change is good, and experience is invaluable

A summer internship in my field of study was such a great opportunity because I had the chance to learn many new things and gain invaluable hands-on experience. I firmly believe that my internship with Ideaworks helped sharpen my skillset in a way that will prove invaluable when it comes to interviewing for marketing jobs after graduation. I am a firm believer that change is positive, and this summer, I realized that the dynamic atmosphere of a marketing agency is a great fit for me and one in which I can see myself excelling.

 

Each day that I came to work this summer, I was given opportunities to step out of my comfort zone, and as a result, I learned more about myself and my abilities. Because I made it a point to be proactive and find my summer internship early – and then absorb as much knowledge as I could during it – my time with Ideaworks was extremely beneficial and rewarding. I cannot stress enough how happy and thankful I am to have been part of the Ideaworks Marketing team this summer; it was truly the perfect fit for me!

-Devanie Heller, Ideaworks Marketing intern, summer 2019