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Creating a New Business Logo Steeped in Meaning

Bluebird Law logo breakdown

Using a Logo to Set the Tone for a New Business

A new business is literally a clean slate. There are no long-standing processes, no boxes of letterhead; there isn’t even a name. It’s both an exciting opportunity and a daunting challenge. When Ariel Overstreet-Adkins decided to open her own law office and reached out to us last year for help with the branding details, we knew our expertise could create a logo that would be both memorable and meaningful.

Overstreet-Adkins had already chosen a name: Bluebird Law & Public Affairs. The name resonated with her because her Grandmother Smitty loved bluebirds, saying they were good luck. Skiers refer to a good day on the slopes as a bluebird day. Just the sight of a bluebird still brings Overstreet-Adkins a spark of joy and excitement and signals spring and new beginnings. Certainly appropriate symbolism for a new business!

The Wendt creative team used all of those emotional connections as the foundation of a logo, sure to stand out in a world of mostly drab and staid law firm logos.

2021-02-25T10:19:26-07:00February 24th, 2021|Clients|0 Comments

What is the Origin Story of Wendt’s Beloved Mascot?

Several years ago, we contracted with a local firm to do some professional business consulting with the Wendt team. These consultants also happened to be my aunt and uncle. At the same time they were doing this work for us, they were in the process of opening a new office in downtown Great Falls. Many friends of theirs had provided décor to help make their offices feel welcoming and comfortable. One of the gifts was a 3-foot tall stuffed shaggy dog. Well, my aunt and uncle did not feel that the addition of a stuffed shaggy dog to their beautiful office was the bomb! So, in comes this stuffed shaggy dog to one of our staff consulting sessions. Cheerfully, regifted to the Wendt team! Promptly, he became a treasured part of our group. He was dubbed Augustus Gus. Now, it would be fun to report that that name has some sort of extraordinary significance to our agency. But frankly, it does not. That’s okay, it’s still a great name! We gleefully welcomed Gus, the cool new mascot, into our agency world.

Now Gus’ job description is varied, and as an integral part of Team Wendt, some of his responsibilities include:

  • Stand up straight when someone walks by, and hope for a pat on the head, but don’t beg
  • Lounge in offices that are not being occupied by staff — at the moment
  • Make new staff members feel welcomed, warm, and fuzzy
  • Join all holiday team functions, and happily participate whenever someone carries you into the event
  • Be totally huggable when children stop by the office to visit, or make them cry if you’re in the mood
  • Hide in dark places and scare the heck out of teammates whenever possible, then roll around laughing on the floor, or strike a pose for a social media post
  • Never blink when guarding the front or back door from intruders
  • Allow “real” dogs in the office, as long as they don’t stay forever
  • Happily wear hats, wigs, scarves, or masks, even when they are uncomfortable
  • Keep your hair messy and convey confidence that a messy mop is fashionable at any time
  • Be the namesake of Wendt’s Spotify account and proudly own it
  • Always maintain a distinctive stare

Gus provides a tremendous amount of entertainment, comfort, and joy to our space. We can’t imagine agency life without this quirky, kind of cute, mostly ugly, stuffed mutt.

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Brenda Peterson, President/CEO

The Wendt Agency

2021-02-08T15:35:37-07:00February 8th, 2021|Reflections, Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

Using Logos to Tell a Brand Story

It Takes More Than Pretty Colors to Create a Useful Logo

At The Wendt Agency, we understand that a client’s logo is a living, breathing, reflection of their brand. It tells the world who they are and what they represent – sometimes without any words at all. Six years ago, we began working with a new client, at the time called Montana Family Education Savings Program (MFESP).

One of our first projects was a comprehensive rebrand, including a new name and logo. We worked closely with internal stakeholders to build a brand truly reflective of the organization’s mission and vision – changing the name from Montana Family Education Savings Program, which doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, to the more emotionally connected and aspirational one of Achieve Montana. The new name highlights the positive results of reaching a goal, such as saving for higher education.

Next, our creative team envisioned a new logo – simple, compelling, and memorable, using every element to tell the story of Achieve Montana.

We carried the new name and brand image into all aspects of outreach using strong imagery, meaningful headlines, informative copy, and an inviting call to action. All of it centered around the dreams and aspirations of both children and their families.

Of course, this logo works in all sizes and across all Achieve Montana’s communication efforts. You can check it out on the website.

2021-02-24T09:34:05-07:00February 3rd, 2021|Clients|0 Comments

Don’t Let a Crisis Stop You in Your Tracks

You can be calm in a crisis

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that the question is not if there will be a crisis, but when there will be a crisis. In some form or another, things will not go exactly as we planned. It could be anything from a mistake someone in the office makes to a world-wide crisis, but it will be something. Having a strategic crisis communication plan in place and ready to go can help your business get through the situation and recover. And yes, the time to create that is before the crisis actually happens.

A well-crafted crisis communication plan provides structure during a very chaotic time. It’s a roadmap giving you solid directions on where to go and how to deal with the less than ideal situation your company is navigating. It helps you communicate both inside and outside of your company, keeping everyone up to date on the situation and ensuring the information is consistent across the board.

So, where do you start? Here are a few questions you should ask and answer to create a successful crisis communication plan:

  • What is a crisis?
    • Yes, you should actually define this. Not every issue or problem is a crisis, so figure out what is a crisis for your business so you can plan accordingly.
  • Who manages a crisis?
    • Someone needs to be in charge, or you will find yourself with everyone in charge and that’s not helpful at all.
  • Who needs information?
    • Probably lots of different people – managers, employees, customers, vendors, shareholders, government officials, the media, your owned social media, etc. Make a list and check it twice.
  • What information do they need?
    • Your employees will have different questions and concerns than the local media. Figure out what info is most important to each of the groups you need to inform, who is responsible for getting them that information, and how that information is distributed.
  • Who is the official company spokesperson?
    • Who is the public face of your company?
    • If there are different contacts for the media or employees – make sure that information gets distributed to those people, so they know who to reach out to.
  • How detailed do you need to be?
    • Maybe you just need a single crisis communication plan or maybe you need several to allow for some specific potential crises. Both can work but take the time now to figure out which is the best fit for your company.

Once you’ve answered these questions, you will have a solid start to your plan. Remember, you won’t have time to create your crisis communication strategy when you are in the middle of a crisis. You will have a lot of other things to deal with. So, spend a little time now to create one – trust me – you won’t regret it.

2021-02-03T09:15:15-07:00January 29th, 2021|Culture, Reflections|0 Comments

The Importance of Reporting

The closing of one year and the start of a new, is often a time of reflection, goal setting, and new perspectives. While one may be reflecting on their personal growth over the last year, setting resolutions for a healthier diet and more exercise, or vowing to watch fewer cat videos on YouTube, the new year is a chance to start fresh. It is a time to orient yourself toward new goals and commitments.  The same holds true with marketing and advertising. It is a time to reflect on the campaigns that were completed throughout the year and evaluate their performance – who your message is resonating with and what tactics are driving the most awareness and sales. However, the end of the year is not the only time these types of conversations and evaluations should be taking place. We are huge proponents of digging deep into data and gathering insights and measurable outcomes of all marketing campaigns – whether in the first quarter or fourth, there are always lessons to be learned that will guide future marketing decisions and strategy.

With all marketing efforts, the goal should always be to optimize your strategy. This is impossible to do if you are not measuring results on an ongoing basis. In addition to campaign completion reporting, it is critical to constantly monitor and optimize your advertising. Regularly view your analytics to understand how people are reacting, measure the conversions that are happening during the campaign, optimize creative assets that are having stronger performance, monitor social posts, and proactively respond and adjust as needed in real-time – all examples of data gathering and reporting that are invaluable to the success of any marketing campaign. Reviewing data such as website analytics, blog leads, email open rates, social media engagement, conversion metrics, and SEO performance on a regular and frequent basis will help align your decision making and strategy with your defined goals and KPI’s.

So, if you find yourself still in the new year mode of creating those resolutions and are not already conducting regular reviews of your marketing activities, consider developing an action plan around the types of data you are able to collect. Then schedule regular check-ins to review this data, gather insights, and use these to shift your future strategies as needed.

Jennifer Fritz, Vice President of Client Services
The Wendt Agency

2021-02-03T09:15:54-07:00January 11th, 2021|Culture, Reflections, Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

Connecting to our Community – A Wendt Tradition

Holidays mean helping

“No one can do everything, but everyone can do something” – Max Lucado

During a period of transition my family experienced years ago, I found myself in a place of need that I had not anticipated, and this brought me a great deal of embarrassment. We were struggling to cover our day-to-day expenses, and we did not know how we would give our children the magical Christmas we had experienced as children. Someone in the community had heard of our situation and asked if we could use additional gifts for our family. I declined as there were certainly families with a greater need than ours. However, this “angel” did not take no for an answer, and a few weeks later called with pick-up information for our family’s gifts. I, again, told her other people were in greater need than us, but she stopped me and said, “There is a point of grace in receiving, and you will pay it forward in the future, I have no doubt. “

Fast forward to 2020 and I am so thankful to be spearheading the Wendt holiday giving program this year. As a new employee, I was not surprised to learn that Wendt has a tradition of giving during the holiday season. Each year we strive to give back to our community in a meaningful way.

Giving Back to Our Community

The Wendt Agency's donations to the Youth Resource Center

The Wendt Agency’s donations to the Youth Resource Center

This year we chose to adopt the Youth Resource Center and our team collected items from the center’s wish list to aid them in their mission of, “Meeting the physical, social, and emotional needs of vulnerable youth in a low-barrier, safe, secure, and loving environment.” The YRC provides access to a hot meal, snacks, laundry, internet access, and even a shower to disadvantaged young people in our community. In addition to basic needs, they also provide service coordination so a young person in need of medical, dental, or even behavioral health services can receive this assistance right there at the center.  The Wendt team loaded up the center’s shelves with canned food, snacks, water bottles, gift cards, and so much more.  By giving just a little, the Youth Resource Center will be able to do so much for some of the most vulnerable in our community.

With all the challenges 2020 has brought, I believe it has also strengthened our sense of community. We are looking out for each other more than ever.  There have been numerous opportunities for me to give and receive through the years. I am so thankful to have found a company that values community and looks for ways to give back all year long. No one knows when they may be the one that needs assistance. It is essential that we all show grace and compassion as we move through this life. If we keep our eyes open and our ears tuned, we will be sure to find a need we may be a part of fulfilling.

Jennifer Beisecker, Accounting Assistant
The Wendt Agency

2021-01-11T09:17:05-07:00December 23rd, 2020|Culture, Reflections, Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore have already had their say, and now…

Pantone picks a color of the year for 2021

And The Wendt Agency has some strong opinions about it

OK, let’s get this out of the way right up front – there are some of us here at The Wendt Agency who think Pantone is cheating with their 2021 Color of the Year since it isn’t A color, it’s TWO colors. Come on – the title clearly says color, singular.

However, we are aware that Pantone doesn’t really care what we think and they have been choosing a Color of the Year for a long time now. So, let’s all take a look at their picks – Pantone 17-5104 Ultimate Gray and Pantone 13-0647 Illuminating. Basically, gray and yellow.

Girl wearing a gray shirt in front of a yellow background
The colors of Pantone's Pick for Color of the Year 2021

The official company news release calls this combo “A marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.” Which – maybe? But that isn’t really the way the Wendt team sees it, because the negative reviews far outweigh the positive ones:

  • I’m digging it because of the perfect balance of the realism and softness of the gray with the brightness and hope of the yellow.
  • Love the gray, but unless you are a daffodil or a bumblebee, stay away from yellow; it’s the devil’s playground.
  • A message of strength? I guess I might put those colors in a home gym if I had one…
  • I hate the yellow and gray color combo – this was a big trend in design not that long ago and yellow is such a cop-out sunshine color. Stop ruining beautiful shades of gray with yellow!
  • Those are basically the colors of a Swiffer duster before and after dusting the entire house!

Still, as Business Insider reminds us, these Pantone picks do have a lot of influence and so, love them or loathe them, we will probably all be seeing a lot of them in 2021. You can get all the analysis here:

https://www.businessinsider.com/pantone-color-of-the-year-2021-consumer-products-impact-2020-12

This is probably a wrap on the picks for Color of 2021, and we’ve gone from Sherwin-Williams’ Urbane Bronze to Benjamin Moore’s Aegean Teal to Pantone’s Ultimate Gray and Illuminating duo. Not a lot of consistency across the choices, but that should mean there is truly a color for everyone in 2021!

2021-02-03T09:14:12-07:00December 16th, 2020|Culture, Industry Trends|0 Comments

Gratitude is the Best Medicine

Gratitude is the best medicine

November is the month of giving thanks. And giving thanks requires action.

What if we worked to create a culture of gratitude in our homes and offices? What would that look like? Let’s start with a gratitude definition that I came across recently that helps zero-in on what gratitude is and what it can do for us.

Gratitude is observation. It’s paying close attention. It’s noticing the things that are already here and pausing long enough to see them and think, look at this – isn’t it good? Gratitude is a way of shining a light on things; it’s a way of seeing deeply, and of letting that seeing ripen into appreciation. When we move through the world with gratefulness, when we notice the good things, suddenly good things are everywhere, and the details and the people and the moments of each day transform. They go from being the things we expect to being something exceptional.

Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. It helps us feel positive, appreciate wonderful moments, improve our physical and mental health, helps us manage challenges, and builds solid and connected relationships. There are so many ways that we can express gratitude:

  • A simple thank you, for a simple task
  • A handwritten note of thanks and appreciation
  • A smile and hello
  • A pat on the back – physically or a shout out
  • Acknowledgement or celebration in front of others

It’s so easy to show appreciation with a simple thank you.

We should not take others or their actions for granted. Being thankful for your mate for taking out the garbage, for your coworker for making another pot of coffee, your child for getting their homework done. These expected daily tasks should be celebrated and appreciated. It builds trust, connection, and engagement. Simply said, it will lift their day right along with yours.

For many, the holidays can be filled with sadness, anxiety, or depression. Those with severe anxiety disorders hopefully seek and find assistance with professional help. But sometimes we’re just feeling a little disconnected, sad, or anxious. Research and common sense tell us that being thankful can actually lift our spirits. When we focus on the positive things in our lives instead of what is lacking, we can bring clarity and joy to our lives.

So, who doesn’t want more gratitude in life! Here are some simple ideas on how to show it:

  • Tell three people why you are grateful for them and why they matter in your life
  • Randomly place post-it notes around your work (or home) space expressing gratitude for those on your team
  • Try to find the good in someone you don’t like
  • Be grateful for yourself! Do something nice for you today
  • Create a Thankful Jar – and fill it up
  • Surprise someone with a thoughtful, and inexpensive (or handmade) gift
  • Create your own list of reasons to be grateful, post it in a prominent place to remind yourself that there is always something to be grateful for – or start a gratitude journal
  • Give someone your vote of confidence
  • In a group, draw names and write a note of gratitude; leave the note in a place to be found by the person you intended
  • Tape gratitude notes to candy bars and hand them out
  • Call a friend and tell them why you are grateful for them
  • Make an effort to use grateful and kind words in all your interactions today

Thank you for taking time to read this blog and I hope it inspires you to find more ways to show, share, and practice gratitude! What are you shining a light on today?

Brenda-Final1

Brenda Peterson, President/CEO
The Wendt Agency

References: randomactsofkindnessfoundation.org, and Grateful, Compendium Live Inspired, M.H.Clark

2020-12-02T16:53:36-07:00November 20th, 2020|Culture, Reflections, Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

The Winter Season: Free Wallpapers

This holiday season may feel more unique in many ways, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t able to enjoy the warmth and magic we’ve experienced in years past. Festive lights on houses to drive by, and mugs of hot cocoa to sip on. Nights spent by a warm fire or snuggled up next to a decorated tree. Tasty treats to make and comforting smells wafting from our kitchens.

From all of us at Wendt, this year especially, we wish you warmth and well-being and a very Merry Christmas!

Click to download wallpapers:

2020-12-11T09:49:01-07:00November 19th, 2020|Uncategorized, Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

Aegean Teal: Color of 2021

Benjamin Moore selects Aegean Teal as the Color of 2021

Just a few short weeks ago we were talking about Sherwin Williams’ Color of 2021 — Urbane Bronze. Here we are with another contender! Benjamin Moore is weighing in and it sees something very different in our future, choosing a color called Aegean Teal.

This one is described as an “intriguing blue-green that creates natural harmony and invites us to reflect and rest” – Aegean Teal (2136-40).

Andrea Magno, Benjamin Moore’s Director of Color Marketing & Development, says this is a color that can help provide people with a sense of stability in uncertain times.

Want to see examples of what it looks like? Check these out:

https://businessofhome.com/articles/benjamin-moore-reveals-color-of-the-year-2021

https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/benjamin-moore-unveils-its-2021-color-of-the-year

A very unofficial poll of the Wendt office shows this color gets mixed reviews:

  • I like it – gender neutral, not too dark, not too warm – it’s flexible; almost the new beige!
  • I like it sometimes. I guess it depends on where you put it and what colors are around it.
  • Very institutional. Not my fav.

Perhaps the overall opinion at Wendt is summed up with: “Meh.”

But maybe Benjamin Moore was prepared for that because Aegean Teal, while their pick for Color of the Year 2021, is part of their overall Color Trends 2021 palette. That’s a total of 12 colors and hues all “rooted in elegant, handspun textures of the home”, providing us with several other options, in case Aegean Teal is not making an appearance in our living spaces.

Two down and at least one left. Watch this space in December when we expect Pantone to announce their pick for Color of the Year 2021. Maybe they will pick something the Wendt team can all agree on!

2021-02-03T09:13:02-07:00November 6th, 2020|Culture, Industry Trends|0 Comments

Fangs for the Memories

Halloween memories at Wendt

“Halloween is an opportunity to be really creative.” -Judy Gold

There is no one more creative than the crew at The Wendt Agency, which is why Halloween is such a big deal around here. It’s certainly my favorite tradition!

I was unsure what to expect my first Halloween here at Wendt. Halloween has always been one of my most beloved holidays, but the more I heard about the annual celebration, the more excited I became. As part of the planning committee, I was put in charge of game development. I am still very proud of the original Wendt murder mystery game I designed and created based on the game Clue. The office enjoyed my clothespin game that featured around 65 individually hand-painted clothespins. Another one of my favorite games that year was musical chairs with Halloween music, which I won. I also thought my costume was pretty clever; a social butterfly (a fun play on words since I am the social media specialist at Wendt).

The second year at Wendt, I was dressed as the Cheshire Cat (with a wig, elaborate face paint, and very impractical claw nails). That year, I devised a game to get everyone in the spooky spirit leading up to the actual day. We had an array of skeletons around the office and everyone had an opportunity to set up their very own Skeleton Diorama: I also won this game. The committee had a lot of fun buying a few new Halloween decorations and bedecking the entire office. My favorites included the entry way black lights that illuminated the skeleton scenes set up in the street facing big front windows, the repurposed Christmas trees that became a glowing spooky forest graveyard, and of course, the motion sensor ghost that guarded the entryway to the bathroom.

This year I was asked to lead the planning committee, comprised of all new employees who have never experienced a Wendt Halloween. After bringing them up to speed and conveying the significance of Halloween here at Wendt (and explaining the number one rule…keep your costume a secret!), we came up with a bunch of terror-ific ideas for this year’s festivities. We wanted to get everyone excited for Halloween, so we came up with the 13 Days of Halloween (a reverse countdown spin on the 12 days of Christmas). Each of the 13-days leading up to Halloween we are planning something fang-tastic. And we haven’t forgotten about the party itself! There will be plenty of haunting holiday activities then too.

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