Sometimes, it’s not just WHAT you do that makes a difference,

But HOW you do it. And that was the case when one of our trusted printers used an old file for a job instead of the latest one, which included all the edits by the numerous project stakeholders and opiners. It was a bad one. Our client was pretty upset, and we couldn’t blame them.

Maria didn’t lose her cool though; she apologized, and quickly began to research the process, to find out how and where and why the error happened. And then the printer, a long-time and trusted partner, realized they had kept an old file, and had used it by mistake.

Their apology was immediate; unadorned; unaccompanied by the classic comments along the lines of “Mistakes happen,”  “Considering the volume, we’re doing pretty well,” “Nobody is perfect…” They expressed their regret, reprinted and re-delivered, all within a few hours. With grace and dignity. Nice.

Look right here.

Yes we can. Our team is gifted and versatile, and our range stretches and expands to meet clients’ different needs. A good example? Besides supporting Matt and tag-teaming with Kelly as a graphic designer, Jennifer Powell is also a talented illustrator! Check out our latest Featured Project to see her work.

The “Two out of three” rule.

Throughout our 30 years in the business, it has been a good way for us to decide whether an account was right for us or not – the “Two out of three” rule. Meaning?

Basically, and I understand that I’m talking from a privileged point of view, there are three major reasons for sticking to your job; you’re making good money; you’re proud of the work you do; you get appreciation. Well, at Inside Out we say that we need at least two out of those three. Some examples…

We have a pro bono account for which we’re paid nothing but expenses; we feel good about supporting their cause with smart creative, and they show us gratitude. That’s two out of three. On the other hand, there’s an account for which we’re paid well; squeezing appreciation out of them is like milking a rock; the work we do for them makes us look good. Two out of three.

I don’t see settling for one out of three. So far the rule has worked.

You’re quoting WHO?

Yes, I’m quoting Chief Justice Roberts.  A couple of people forwarded me the link to his speech at his son’s commencement, and I’ve got to say I’d jump party lines to congratulate him on it – and I will share a thought that I found very astute.

As cool and as enticing as “Just do it” sounds, maybe instead we should remember what Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Here’s a link to the speech:

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

And this student was oh so ready – but certainly never thought the “teacher” would be a young heavy equipment salesperson, or the classroom, an outdoor table at a golf club restaurant in the Berkshires. Putting down his fork for a couple of seconds, the new and eager salesguy added his own comment to his customer’s musings regarding plans for growing his company. And I took my notebook and pen to write it down, because I found what he said both astute and ever so timely:

“Growing your business is not adding more people and equipment; it’s being more efficient.”

Does it make a difference?

It does. And we know because from the vantage point of view our work gives us, we see it all the time.

It makes a huge difference to find out from your own people what they think about a campaign, a launch or a promotion that you’re planning. They know. They know whether the adjectives you’re piling up match the new product or are just trendy. They know whether production and assembly can meet the deadlines you’re announcing. They know whether the distribution schedule is realistic. And if you ask them, they will know that they count. How about that?

Is Your “Why” My “Why”?

As we were updating information for the Milton CAT technician recruitment website, we were reminded of the strategy we followed when we first created it – we had decided to make it very pertinent to the young tech who’s considering a job, and that meant making it not so much about the company in general but about the location.

Our client Milton CAT has facilities in 12 different locations, ranging from rural Vermont to the coast of Maine and suburban Milford; some of them deal with gentlemen farmers and artisan cheese makers, others with loggers and lobstermen and still others, with giant contractors and multistate paving conglomerates. It makes sense that a young tech who’s considering a move needs to know about the personality and the vibe of each place. They want to learn a bit about the service manager at the location they are interested in, listen to the other technicians’ opinions and last but not least, find out about the area itself.

When we interviewed technicians, we were surprised at how many of them were married or had a live-in partner, even though they were very young, and how often they had kids of their own or their partners had kids. Schools, sports and clubs were important factors in their decision to choose a job, and of course, so were leisure time activities in the area, whether snowboarding, mountain bike riding or hunting.

The five reasons not to do it. (They are all bad reasons.)

Who hasn’t been there? Campaign is ready to hit the streets; press release about the new partnership is one click away from BusinessWire; invitations to the open house have been approved… the last thing you want to do at this stage is take any extra time to tell employees what’s happening. They are all nice guys who work really hard but…

  • 1) They’ll find out soon enough.
  • 2) Anyway, their #1 concern is getting their paycheck on time.
  • 3) What can a floor person or a receptionist add that’s of any value?
  • 4) They’re really busy.
  • 5) They won’t get it.

Say It So It Sells.

Euh. Sounds like manipulation 101. But, isn’t that really what we’re trying to do when we say something? We want to sell what we’re saying – whether it’s a plan or a change of plans; an opinion or a project for which we need our listener’s buy-in.

Wait. Maybe answering our listener’s WIIFM would help us say it so it sells. Most people want to know “What’s in it for me?” before buying it.

It happens.

Once in a while, you have a client who reminds you why advertising is so exciting; why you feel that your job allows you to touch a company in ways you never thought were part of your job; why you finally feel that your job has redeeming values.

For us at Inside Out, David Reece was that client. He just died, and the sorrow in our hearts goes deep. We’ve lost a friend, a fan, a teacher. David trusted us; he allowed us to do things that were the craziest we have ever done for a client – and that worked really well. He believed in us; when we presented creative to him, he knew that we had done our homework; we weren’t just being funky, we were strategic. He challenged us – he made us go beyond and above the traditional confines of advertising, and relied on us to support not just his ambitious sales efforts, but his outside-the-box management initiatives. We will miss him, we pray for his eternal rest, and we’re grateful for the opportunities he gave us, and the fun we had with him.