The Blog and Pony Show

Archive for December, 2017

Amanda Koenn - 11:26 am December 22, 2017

Tips From the Bottom Looking Up: A Young Creative’s Guide to Fostering Creativity in the Workplace

Disclaimer: I am not a writer by trade, so bear with me on this. There’s about a 65% chance of unintentional grammatical errors and run-on sentences.

Now, I’d like to discuss the fragile nature of creativity in an agency environment. Creativity is a magnificent, deceitful, elusive unicorn that taunts you from behind your computer screen. When you think you might have caught it, or at least know where to reliably find it, the realization begins to sink in that you are utterly mistaken. And the chase begins anew.

Though I’ve only been in this business for a few years, it’s obvious that fostering creativity is one of the most vital team-building/business-building/individual-growth skills to fight for in your office. So, how do we make sure that creativity has a proper place to dwell within the deepest crevasses of the office? After all, tension is inevitable in the office, because like, Debbie from PR ate that piece of chocolate cake you were saving from Wednesday’s birthday lunch (UGH). But how do you keep the team moving forward and working together in spite of that tension? That, my friends, is (literally) the million-dollar question.

From my humble point of view, the solution lies in a mindset that focuses on a few key things: a fantastic fleet of imaginative employees, managers who encourage and lead, and substantial honest, professional communication on all fronts. This means THOROUGH communication, HONEST collaboration with teammates, and above all, remaining professional by not allowing your emotions—or ego—to get the best of you.

I’ve seen firsthand that creativity thrives in a supportive, trusting work environment. So foster an environment that helps employees progress. Teach them. Be POSITIVE. Give everyone chances to let their creativity flow, even employees who currently play “smaller” roles. You are a team, working together to achieve a common goal. Your workplace culture has to be AIRTIGHT for business and individual employees to flourish. Where there is opportunity, there is creativity. Make others feel appreciated and encouraged. Build an environment that inspires collaboration.

From there, creativity and amazing work inevitably follow.

Lenna Curry - 11:26 am December 21, 2017

3 Ways to Ignite Your Ad Content in 2018

Digital technology is completely rewiring our brains. Fewer people pick up books, and more can’t put down their phones. This is creating significantly shorter attention spans, and it’s also making a lot more noise: Americans are now exposed to up to 10,000 ads per day.

I started my career in digital, and spent several years developing email loyalty and direct response marketing campaigns for Global 500 automotive brands. Since joining Schifino Lee, I write everything from billboards to blog posts for brands of every kind. But no matter what I take on, digital marketing has given me the foundation I need to write effective messaging for any industry, across any medium.

So here’s how to amplify your ad content in 2018, and connect with an audience that’s shifted to digital.

  1. Be upfront about your goals.
    What do you want someone to do after reading your message? Do you want them to be more aware of your brand, or buy a specific product? The call-to-action (CTA) is how you direct readers to take that next step. It shouldn’t be the headline of your ad, but all creative elements should point toward it.Digital marketing is king of the CTA, and traditional advertising can learn a lot from it. For one, CTAs don’t have to be boring old buttons. Check out this landing page for Humboldt County, California. It features an eye-catching design, a clear value proposition and a button that’s way more enticing than “Learn More.”

2. Keep it short and skimmable.
In 1963, David Oglivy wrote, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.” I would be shocked if digital hadn’t substantially widened the gap. We turn to Twitter for news now, and get most of what we need in 280 characters or less.
Optimizing copy for skim-readers and scanners will help you get your readers beyond the headline. Just follow these quick tips when writing longer-form copy:

  • Cut unnecessary words, and even characters.
  • Add section headers to improve readability and flow.
  • Break up heavy blocks of text with supporting imagery.
  • Bold words or phrases to emphasize key points.
  • Use numbered lists or bullet points whenever possible. =)
  1. Don’t just wow them with words.
    This blog might be about copy—but words aren’t the only way to tell a story. 75 million Americans watch online videos every single day, and they retain about 95% of the information presented.

In my experience, working with a professional production company is almost always worth the investment. But if you’re not ready to make that leap, you can start creating content today with your phone. For example, utilize Facebook Live to feature special promotions or events as they happen.

By following these tips, you’ll write clearer, more effective content that converts in just about any channel. So cheers to the New Year, and your soon-to-be new customers.

For comments, questions or help with refining your ad content, hit up

Schifino Lee - 11:38 am December 14, 2017

Five Interns to the Four Winds

This season brought Schifino Lee an international mix of interns with energy and initiative that livened up both the account and creative sides of the agency. Thanks to their funky flair and worldly creative perspectives, our clients were treated to some truly inspiring work.

Cristina Albers | Design Intern

Cristina lives for seeing the world and meeting new people. Born in Venezuela, she’s graced the University of Tampa with her wit and wisdom as an international student. A double major in Advertising & Public Relations, plus Graphic Design, she brings a keen artistic eye to Schifino Lee clients like Alessi and the Tampa Museum of Art. Looking towards the future, Cristina hopes to complete her master’s degree in global branding and communications in the distant land of Germany.

Lale Perez | Design Intern

After leaving friends and family behind in Venezuela, Lale embarked on the biggest adventure of her life and hopped on a plane to Florida. Excited to soak in a brand-new culture, she enrolled at the University of Tampa to pursue a degree in Advertising & Public Relations with a minor in Communications. At Schifino Lee, Lale has lent her artistic ability to the Tampa Museum of Art and Suncoast Team Services, among others. Down the road, Lale hopes to travel the world, creating buzz-worthy content for non-profit organizations globally.

Tristin Izzo | Account Service Intern

Tristin is a real go-getter when it comes to getting what she wants. Rounding out her senior year, Tristin is an Advertising & Public Relations and Interpersonal Communications major with a minor in Business and Integrated Marketing. Woah. Triple threat. She has a knack for understanding companies and has contributed to our work for Tampa Museum of Art and California Tacos during her time here. Post graduation, she’s determined to book a one-way ticket to England and find a great agency to work for.

Nicole Germany | Writing Intern

A little spicy and a little sweet, Nicole takes every writing assignment on as her next big adventure. After receiving a B.S. in Journalism and Communications, she was eager to take on a new roll – helping brand awesome companies. During her time interning, Nicole has worked with Vology and P&S Transportation, among many others. Her proudest moment was the first time she saw her byline in print. And yes, she framed it. Ultimately, Nicole hopes to land a job that gives her the opportunity to brand and manage social media for new and blossoming companies.

Jose Lazarte | Design Intern

Jose received his degree in Advertising Design from Ringling College of Art and Design. With his avid attention to detail, he has crafted graphics for Alessi, Vology and the agency’s own social media efforts. Beyond his design skills, Jose is pretty decent at hitting a tennis ball, having won first place in the regionals tennis tournament in Peru! One day he hopes to live abroad in Rome and immerse himself in the city’s beautiful culture and delectable food.

As their tenure at Schifino Lee wraps up, the winter wind is taking them to their next big challenge. Their contributions have been invaluable and we wish them the best with what’s to come.