As we celebrate our 90-year history, we’ve been reflecting with our clients and past Wendt employees on why they like working with Wendt. But our current employees have something to say about our company, as well. We understand that we stand on the shoulders of those before us when it comes to how we got here. It is also exciting to know that just as prior Wendt employees built our company to what it is today, we are stitches in the quilt that is Wendt history moving forward.
If you walk outside your business doors, do your clients know what it is like to be a part of your team?
Our Wendt culture is crafted so we can be the best team members for our clients and each other. We work every day to make sure we bring our best selves to the job. Recently, on social media, we did a series on our brand pillars. Last fall, our directors decided that it was time to review our brand pillars to ensure they encompassed our dedication to our clients, our ethics, and our culture. We refined them – together – in a team building workshop. We proudly display them on our wall, where everyone can review them, and our guests never have to question where we stand.
In addition to the regular gatherings we have, at the beginning of the year we started a new way to recognize one another for the little things (and sometimes the big things). Gallop research shows that it isn’t enough to recognize an employee. Such recognition needs to be “honest, authentic, and individualized.” We would like to think there is an element of fun, too. Enter: our recognition box! If we catch a person excelling in an area that deserves a call to attention, we pick an item that represents that person and the work they did. A pack of stickers for “sticking around,” a squishy ice cream cone for all the stress, a sleep mask for tirelessly working on a hot project. It might sound silly, but it lightens the heaviness of the work, grounds us, and gives us a laugh at the end of it all. The important part, though, is that it gives someone an opportunity to tell one person, in front of everyone, “I see you. You did great. I am proud of you.” It is a real moment away from the hustle of the day where we get to acknowledge a job well done.
Does your workplace have a way to acknowledge the work of employees?
“Let’s start at the very beginning – a very good place to start.”
That might be good advice for the von Trapp family singers in the “Sound of Music,” but it’s pretty bad advice when you are planning a media strategy. In fact, if you want your media plan to be a success (and who doesn’t?), you need to start at the end — what is your goal?
Modern media truly has something for everyone, and a strategic media plan will take advantage of the strengths of each media from social to magazine to terrestrial radio to native. But all that thoughtful planning is wasted if it doesn’t achieve the actual goal of the campaign. It might be a solid plan delivering a lot of eyeballs or making the phone ring or pushing traffic to your website, but if what you really wanted was to have people attend your open house, then it’s not actually a great plan at all. In fact, it is a failure.
The first step of any strategic media planning process should be determining the goal; what is this placement supposed to do? Why is your business willing to spend money on paid media? What result will mean those dollars were well spent?
Once you know that, you will be able to create a media plan destined for success!
BY CAROL KRUGER, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT
On February 1, we celebrated our 90th birthday! It is doubtful Wendt’s founders could have predicted the direction the company was going to take over the next nine decades when the company was established in 1929. Wendt has gone from a two-person agency to our current 14-member staff. We have accommodated and endured both poor economic conditions and abundance. In all of it, the creativity and ingenuity of Wendt have stood the test of time.
We celebrated the occasion with cake, Wendt bingo, advertising history trivia, and charades. On Friday, February 1, we found ourselves on the front cover of the Great Falls Tribune honoring our 90-year milestone. When we look back at our founders and leaders through the years, it is easy for us to recall their great achievements, and we appreciate the Tribune sharing in the grandeur of this milestone. The congratulatory messages and well-wishes from our community due to the recognition reaffirmed our meaning of community. Thank you to all our friends and partners.
One of the best parts of working with others is sharing pieces of our lives with each other outside of work. It is a reminder of how alike we are, and that we each have stories that have shaped us into the people we are today. Here at Wendt, we create opportunities to share our stories with each other so that we can connect beyond the workplace. We encourage you to take time before your holiday break to connect with your co-workers, maybe over a cup of hot chocolate or tea, eating cookies. Ask them what their favorite holiday memories are when they were growing up and what they do to enjoy the season today. In the spirit of sharing, here is how our Wendt team answered this question.
What is your favorite holiday
tradition from your youth?
With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror and Christmas on the horizon, gratefulness and giving back are on a lot of people’s minds. The benefits of generosity on individuals are well known, but not everyone is aware that the same is true for organizations. Participating in the community and contributing to local causes is not only rewarding to individuals, but can also lead to company growth and success.
While the importance of involvement and altruism are widely acclaimed, the benefits often seem abstract or intangible. However, there are numerous payoffs beyond the obvious tax breaks. These include:
- Brand awareness and visibility
- Positively shape attitudes and reputation
- Customer loyalty
- Relationship building and networking
- Employee morale and career fulfillment
By being active in your town and with local nonprofits, your business becomes linked with various public projects and campaigns, which creates brand awareness. Acknowledgements of your contribution such as a logo on a brochure, a thank you from a speaker at an event, a link on a website, or a name mention in a radio spot gets your brand out there. In addition, community and charity-related posts on social media often have high levels of engagement, including shares, and have been shown to drive web traffic and sales.
All of this will lead to positive associations with your company, which influence public opinion. This helps to build a strong reputation.
When your reputation demonstrates your commitment to your community, your potential customers will take notice. Social responsibility is becoming increasingly important to consumers, especially younger generations. Not only do they engage more with brands that reflect their values, but they use their purchasing power to show their support, which translates into sales and your bottom-line.
Giving back also opens doors to connect with other businesses, community leaders, and clients in your industry and area. This network can increase your community impact as well as provide new business opportunities.
Like customers, employees also care about the neighborhood they live in. A workplace that actively encourages volunteerism and community commitment can attract new talent. Providing opportunities where workers feel like they are able to make a positive difference gives them a sense of accomplishment, which helps with employee satisfaction and retention.
So, during this busy holiday season remember connecting to your community and supporting local causes is more than just a nice sentiment. It’s a tangible way to support the people who support you. It benefits you, your employees, and your brand. Plus, it does give you that warm fuzzy feeling.
Every company has a great celebration. Some have their summer picnic; maybe a catered night out at a baseball game. For others, their biggest celebration is the Christmas gift or cookie exchange. At Wendt, we are all about Halloween. Starting a month prior to the largest party of the year, we pull out all the stops. We even have a Halloween Party Planning Committee.
What happens when you put a group of creative brains in the room – each with their own quirks and eccentricities? Innovation! This is great during the year when we are working on campaigns and need to design the next beautiful website, magazine advertisement, or PR push. When it comes to Halloween, though, it means fierce competition. The winner of our annual costume contest walks away with a day off with pay! A day of paid time off brings out everyone’s best ideas.
Take a look back at some of our favorite costumes over the years. Check our Facebook on October 31 to see what shenanigans we have gotten ourselves into this year!
When you think about fly fishing, whether you are familiar with the subject or not, it may seem pretty straightforward. I mean, all you are really doing is casting something that looks like food on a hook to a hungry trout who hopefully is willing to eat it. It’s as simple as that, right? To some, this is as complicated as fishing needs to be. To me, a graphic designer by profession and fly fisherman by obsession, I have found correlations between the two subjects as my experience with each has grown over the years. There are parallels between fly fishing and graphic design that help me better understand each subject. And when you apply certain principles that are proven to be successful in each field, you begin to realize how similar and harmonious fly fishing and graphic design really are.
Casting and Creativity
Have you ever found yourself watching, mesmerized, as a fly fisherman casts a fly rod? The way the fly line loops and unravels through the air, the fly landing ever so delicately on the water. It looks effortlessly beautiful, and it’s hard not to stare, like you are in some type of trance. At times, I find myself doing the same when I see a well-executed logo or design. The way the layout, typography, and patterns all come together to look effortlessly beautiful. Like a fly cast, a series of well-thought-out steps and methodical actions need to be accomplished in order to achieve a successful design. I often find myself taking the fly cast approach when starting a new design layout. The mechanics must all come together to achieve cohesion and beauty.
Fly Choice/Font Choice
Choosing what fly to use can have a dramatic outcome if not given careful attention. In fly fishing, the size, shape, and color of the fly are the most important factors in getting the trout’s attention and determining how successful your catch rate will be. This same formula can apply when choosing a project’s font. If any one of the aspects within the formula is off, the result can hinder the effectiveness or success of the overall design. Thinking about size, shape, and color when choosing a font for a headline on the roadside billboard will determine how effectively I “hook” the attention of my intended audience, therefore making the overall advertisement a success.
In fly fishing, presentation trumps everything! How well you present or sell the fly will determine how successful you are in terms of hooking trout. This holds true in the marketing/advertising world. As a graphic designer, I must think in terms of how I am going to present my ideas for any given project to the client and their customers. It’s learning about their target audience and what convinces them to buy my client’s products or services. How effectively I sell this message graphically/visually will ultimately determine how successful the campaign is.
Blurring the lines between fly fishing and graphic design has made me think outside the box in terms of how successful I am in each practice. Both are a passion of mine, and I strive to be the best I can be in each role. Ultimately, the goal is landing the biggest client – or trout of a lifetime.
BY JOHNNY EWALD, GRAPHIC & DIGITAL DESIGNER
As each new year begins, it’s a new opportunity to restart and do a personal mental check on what’s important. I spend a lot of time driving for my job. And that windshield time is always fantastic for reflection, pondering my “to do” list, singing along to my favorite song (when I can’t carry a tune in a bucket) and occasionally making plans for the future. Sometime in the last year, along the interstate between Great Falls and Helena, I noticed a handmade sign that has become one of my favorites. It states: Just be nice.
Such a simple and perfect sentiment.
I am frequently amazed at how, as human beings, we work so hard to tear each other down. It’s easy to point fingers at others – our leaders, the media, our co-workers, neighbors or family members, and say that they alone have made this world less kind based on their actions. And maybe some of that is true. We all know someone who has nothing more to share than ill will, indifference and meanness. These actions are born of people who are selfish, lack in confidence and are jealous by nature. These traits are heavy-duty and can easily smother kindness, good will and happiness.
We do have the power to make change with every action we take in our lives. All we have to do is to adopt a lifestyle of keeping kindness in the forefront of our hearts and our minds. Seems like a simple concept, but I’m thinking it will take a good deal of practice. However, I’m very confident it can be done. If we start with ourselves, and find ways to let kindness lead us, it will then naturally spill out into everything we do each and every day and ultimately spread to all that we come in contact with.
So let’s talk about what kindness is.
From my perspective, it’s that place in your heart that is wide open, gracious and compassionate. When you look through the lenses of kindness there is no evil, sadness or hate. There is only understanding, tolerance and respect. When we give kindness away it will always come back to us. One kind action leads to another, and another and another. How special is that?
And kindness is free. It doesn’t cost anything to lift someone up with a kind word or deed. This dear friend of mine has an ability to know when I need a little lift. She often will write a little note of appreciation and mail it to me, or at times we’ve been in a meeting together and she has said to me “thank you for this time with you.” Such simple acts of kindness are so incredibly meaningful. And they make me want to do something nice for someone else! It is intoxicating and infectious.
So in this new year, will you join me in finding ways to keep kindness first? We can make this world a better place when our words and actions are both true and kind.
We do more than just work in Central Montana. We live here; play here; explore here.
Central Montana is home in every sense of the word. So The Wendt Agency has always been thrilled to work with the Central Montana Tourism Region to promote the authentic and unforgettable adventures that surround us every day.
Wendt has been a partner with Central Montana since 1992, back when it was still called Russell Country after famed Western artist Charles M. Russell. We’ve traveled to every corner of the region, and we have the photos to prove it! Pics or it didn’t happen, right? And yes, we know that phrase is almost as old as this relationship!
Below is a glimpse of a Wendt road trip experiencing some of Central Montana’s gems.
Success can only occur when there is a deep agency-client partnership built on mutual respect and dedication to cutting-edge ideas and solutions.Wendt and Central Montana have built this together, and it shows in our work. Want to see an example? Check out our recent “Fun with Dick and Jane” campaign. It’s just one way Wendt has brought the Central Montana message to the target audience of potential visitors.
We look forward to many more years of sharing the Central Montana story. If you can’t wait for that, head on over to the Central Montana Facebook page or follow them on Twitter and Instagram. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
We are proud to say that creativity is abundant here at The Wendt Agency, and not just in our professional work. Many of us like to exercise our unique talents to help create joy, especially during the holiday season.
Taking extra time to do something special this Christmas can go a long way, whether it’s for your family and friends, your customers, or for those you don’t know personally but are in need of help.
No matter what you do during this festive time, do so with a genuine heart. Your customers, social media followers, and—of course—those you love will appreciate your sincerity and generosity.
Click through our recipes and craft projects below to explore how some of us express our creativity and spread holiday cheer.
Katie’s Homemade Vanilla Extract
This is a great, easy project. This vanilla is perfect for baking (or flavoring holiday cocktails!). It may be a little late for gift giving this Christmas (it does take some time to turn into vanilla), but it would be a breeze to throw together now for an easy holiday present next year.
- 1 bottle bourbon or vodka
- 7-8 vanilla beans
- Small jars or bottles for gifting
- Slice vanilla beans in half lengthwise.
- Place your vanilla beans in the bottle of alcohol (you may need to pour out drink a bit to make room).
- Cap tightly and shake gently.
- Store in a cool, dark place for at least 2-3 months, shaking occasionally.
- When ready to gift, pour into small jars (airplane liquor bottles work well).
Jessica’s Plaid Ornaments
I was inspired to make these after seeing plaid ornaments in stores and because I had some scrap fabric at home. Being from Virginia, I’m not used to such cold weather during Christmas time, so I knew I wanted my tree and house to feel very warm and cozy. I decided to use burnt red colored fabric to match the plaid scraps I already had. Any round plastic ornaments will do for this project; mine are about three inches in diameter. You will also need a pair of scissors, paper clips, and some jute twine.
- Cut your fabric
I cut my fabric to be about 12” x 12” square-ish. The edges don’t need to be perfect as this will add character to the finished ornament. Just make sure when you bunch the fabric around the ornament that it covers the entire thing. The larger the piece of fabric, the more fabric you’ll have bunched at the top.
- Wrap your fabric around the ornament
Place your ornament in the middle of your fabric and bring the ends up to create a nice bunch at the top.
- Tie your jute bow
Take a piece of jute twine about 14-18 inches long. This will be your bow, so the longer the twine, the larger the bow. Tie it around the fabric bunch at the top of your ornament.
- Make your hook
Now take a paper clip and open it to create an S shape. Hook the bottom loop on to your ornament, and then hang on your tree and enjoy!
To me, the holiday season is a time of coming together, whether it is with your family or the friends that have become your family when you are away from home. It’s also a great excuse to watch Christmas movies, listen to happy music all of the time, and really embrace the season of giving and caring for one another.
Alyse’s Christmas Lanterns
I love crafting AND I love Christmas, so combining the two creates hours of entertainment for me and meaningful gifts for my friends and family.
I find repurposing items for crafts and home décor to be especially fun. Resourcefulness is key—what an accomplishment when I take scraps or unwanted items and turn them into something great!
So when I had several white lanterns left over from my summer wedding decorations, I was inspired to transform them into Christmas decorations to give away as gifts (and, of course, keep a few to decorate my own home with!).
I had already spray-painted these lanterns white, so all I needed were decorative items to add to them. I bought ribbons, twigs, pinecones, berries, glittery items, shiny items, beads, etc.—pretty much anything in green, red, white, or silver that would fit inside the lanterns.
Then I simply stuffed the lanterns. This is where happy accidents play a big role! The bottom layer included the heaviest material, and then I added varieties of shapes, textures, and colors as I worked my way up.
In the two larger lanterns, I decided to use a candle as the centerpiece. I surrounded the candle with decorative items that added more colors and textures.
To finish them off, I tied colorful ribbon and small pieces of the interior materials to the top of the lanterns. Voila!
Brenda’s Swiss Cheese Fondue—The Real Thing!
Several years ago, we took a winter vacation to Switzerland. We enjoyed so many wonderful culinary delights, especially the cheese fondue (more than once)! When we got back to Montana, I could hardly wait to incorporate it into our holiday season. Now it has become a tradition for our Christmas Eve dinner.
Here’s the recipe:
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 8 oz. Gruyère cheese, grated
- 8 oz. Jarlsberg cheese, grated
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 3 tbsp. Kirsch (cherry liqueur)
- Salt, fresh ground pepper, and a dash of nutmeg
- French bread, cubed
Rub a heavy pot or ceramic fondue pot with garlic, leaving shreds in the pot. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Slowly add cheeses, continue stirring, and lower heat until all the cheese is melted. Dissolve the cornstarch in the Kirsch and add to cheese. Add a dash of salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Keep over very low flame. At your table setting, provide everyone with a shot glass of Kirsch and a plate with fresh ground pepper. Make sure the shot glass is wide enough to dip the bread cubes in the Kirsch.
Dip a bread cube slightly in the Kirsch (just a little corner of the bread). Then dip it in the fondue, swirling it around in the cheese. Finally, dip a small corner of the cheese-covered bread in the pepper. Pop it in your mouth, enjoy, and start the whole process over again. Once dinner is over, if there is any Kirsch left in your shot glass, make a toast to the holidays!
To me, the holidays are about spending time with family and friends and enjoying the season with fantastic food and drink. Those are the best gifts one can receive!
Farewell, Joe, and Thanks for the Memories
Joe has officially retired, and after 26 incredible and creative years at Wendt, we have a lot to reflect on!
From driving all over the state, to company retreats, to weddings and births, Joe has shared countless life experiences with us, not to mention all the award-winning work he created for our clients.
Here are some highlights from our reminiscing:
“Joe has been an incredibly patient and dedicated mentor to me from the start at Wendt. He has allowed me the freedom to grow, while still teaching me the ins and outs of the business. I am so grateful!” -Kara
“My favorite logo that Joe designed was for Burke Ranch Outfitters. It was the perfect storm of a really cool, open client and subject matter that Joe was passionate about. Because the client lived in Glasgow, we met in Havre to present designs. At first the client was unsure of the design, but eventually we won them over and the client still talks about that meeting today. The logo is brilliant and everyone really responds to its genius.” -Johna
“It was my first Wendt strategic planning session in Whitefish. We all went to dinner one night at the Whitefish Golf Course…fancy food, fancy drinks. Joe and I started balancing spoons on our noses. The CEO of Wendt at the time was not amused!” -Brenda
“I so appreciate Joe’s easy-going nature and willingness to not only put up with 13 women, but handle it all with grace and respect. I would assume he raised all girls because of how well he works with us, but he had 3 boys! Incredible!” -Alyse
“One of my favorite memories is of Joe as our Grillmaster–you always know it is a good day at Wendt when Joe breaks out the grill and starts cooking!” -Carol
“Joe and I spent many hours together tweaking banner ads when I first started, but it definitely made me a better designer. Thanks for all of your guidance and leadership, Joe!” -Katie
“I am going to miss Joe greatly. He is so wonderful to work with, very talented, and easy to be around. I love his easy-going approach and casual attitude. Of course there are times when he would get heated up, but in general he is as laid back as they come. And without sacrificing any quality in his amazing work.” -Jen
We could go on and on, but then the mascara would begin to run.
Joe, we will miss you! Congratulations on your retirement!
An interview with Joe: career reflections and retirement plans
With 26 years at Wendt and 41 years in the advertising industry, Creative Director Joe Stein has loads of wisdom to share. He’s also looking forward to retiring in Lincoln, Montana, for several reasons. Take a look at what we found out from Joe.