Where do you find live music, champagne and the best, most awesome guests?

At the Inside Out Communications 30th anniversary party, of course.
We had an amazing combination of clients, very old and very new; team members, also, some very old and others, very recent; friends, all of them tried and true, and cool neighbors from our building.

Of course, Matt created the ideal combination of classy and funky invitations; Greg Hayes found us a perfect band; Becky put together tray after tray of greens and yummies; Kelly organized and pretty-fied left and right; Larry cooked some delicious Del Terruño beef and Maria made her famous Chimichurri – which disappeared in a matter of minutes. And what did I do? Mostly, I cried, and hugged. Oh well. Thank God for Maybelline. How could I not tear up when I saw our much loved art director Brian Latham, who came all the way from Houston, Texas, to help us celebrate? Or when Bill Goodchild and his wife walked in? They were clients from 28 years ago, and our first industrial clients, too. And Pauline Dzengelewski was here, even though she had badly injured a foot, and climbing to the fourth floor was no fun for her. She is now with Dedham Savings but 28 years ago, she was our client at West Newton Savings Bank. Tyrone Pinkham did sales for us in another life, way before E.R.; Steve Sellew was a client a good 20 years ago and he was here, and so was Joe Bartlett, who believed in us and hired us to help launch HarvardNet, one of our most exciting and glamorous accounts ever.



Tomas M. Hult, Jeannette A. Mena, O. C. Ferrell, Linda Ferrell and others say,
if a stakeholder was not asked for input at the development stage, it’s easy to guess what their opinion will be when the project is ready to launch.

By definition a stakeholder has a personal interest on the matter, therefore a stakeholder’s input is relevant – whether you agree with it or it drives you crazy. And who are the stakeholders? You may have to do some digging. Depending on factors such as the type and size of the company, the visibility and importance of the project, and the market, stakeholders can range from staff, family members, clients, prospects and suppliers to competition, media, regulatory agencies and government officials. But one thing’s for sure:


A project can screech to a halt as the next-in-line, but never-before-seen nephew of the CEO is called in to cast the tiebreaking vote. Ouch. That’s why we believe that in order to develop the best strategy and creative, the team should have timely access to the stakeholders and experts who will be asked to approve the final product.

In summary, at Inside Out Communications, we try to get input from the same panel that gives the go-ahead.


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.