//Culture

Workplace Culture

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?

2019-04-29T13:50:41-06:00April 22nd, 2019|Culture, Industry Trends|0 Comments

Going for the goal: Media planning in 2019

“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

2019-04-22T13:11:34-06:00March 6th, 2019|Culture, Industry Trends, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Celebrating our 90th birthday!

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.

You can find photos from our celebration on our Instagram story. To see highlights from our history and accolades from friends of Wendt, visit our 90th anniversary page.

2019-02-08T09:51:00-06:00February 7th, 2019|Culture|0 Comments

Christmas Traditions With Our Team

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?

Brenda Peterson

President/CEO

If there was snow on Christmas Eve, we’d go cross country skiing on the streets in our neighborhood with our dad. He was such a cool dad!

Tiffany Aldinger

Production Manager

We would go to my grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve. We would open a present, have Swedish meatballs and lefsa for dinner, and go to the evening church service. When we came home, we would open the rest of the presents.

Carol Kruger

Senior Vice President

Helping bake the cookies – which, let’s be honest, mostly meant eating the cookie dough.

Sheena Annala

Art Director

Going up to my grandparents’ farm Christmas Eve with all my aunts, uncles, and cousins. We also used to get a present from Santa there.

Meghan Shaulis

Art & Digital Director

We always got to open one gift on Christmas Eve because we just couldn’t wait until the morning. After that we would eat treats and watch Christmas movies.

Lorie Hager, CPA

Chief Financial Officer

Helping my mother make dozens upon dozens of different kinds of cookies. It was a family event with everyone mixing, baking, decorating. It was the way our family kicked off the holiday season and certainly made the time together special!

Kara Smith

Creative Director

My mom, sister, and I would listen to the Mannheim Steamroller or Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas albums and decorate our tree. Also, my mom would make us wait until we had breakfast and all the family members arrived before we could open presents on Christmas. It always killed me!

Tegan Bauer

Social Media Specialist

There was always a ton of people in and out of my grandma’s house. I had no idea if I was related to them. We would decorate thousands of homemade sugar cookies on the pool table with gallons of colored icing. If you made a “mistake,” or Uncle Leonard bumped you or stuck a finger in your ear, you had to eat the cookie.

Teresa Appelwick

Publicity Coordinator/Social Media Assistant

So much food. My mother put in so much work – the kind of work you wish you would have appreciated more in the moment and saying thank you doesn’t adequately translate. All the aunts, uncles, and cousins gathered at our house – 20 people in a three-bedroom house in the country. It was perfect. Thanks Mom and Dad.

Jennifer Fritz

Vice President of Client Services

My favorite memory is traveling to my grandparents’ house. We were packed into a small but cozy home. Grandma would play Christmas songs on the accordion, and we watched holiday movies. The best part was waking up Christmas morning to the smell of grandpa’s homemade breakfast; I would do anything to be able to eat breakfast with him again.

Johnny-Interior

Johnny Ewald

Graphic & Digital Designer

My favorite tradition was Christmas evening consisting of an early church service and large family gatherings at our home or a close relative’s house. We would usually have my grandma’s lasagna for dinner followed by opening all the Christmas gifts. On Christmas morning, we would have a couple smaller gifts, a full stocking, and one big, more meaningful gift from Santa.

Pam Bennett

Senior Media Planner/Buyer

Going to dinner at Eddie’s Supper Club on Christmas Eve night. We would dress up, my mom and dad would have drinks. This was a big deal for my parents. My sister and I would get Shirley Temples. After dinner we drove around Anaconda Smelter-Black Eagle to see all the homes decorated with lights. When we arrived home, Santa had mysteriously appeared during our evening out!

2018-12-18T10:33:31-06:00December 17th, 2018|Culture, Industry Trends|0 Comments

5 Ways Your Business Benefits From Giving Back

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:

  1. Brand awareness and visibility
  2. Positively shape attitudes and reputation
  3. Customer loyalty
  4. Relationship building and networking
  5. 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.

2018-12-06T08:59:05-06:00December 6th, 2018|Culture, Industry Trends|0 Comments

Halloween – A Wendt Tradition

halloween

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!

2018-10-30T10:59:32-06:00October 29th, 2018|Culture, Industry Trends, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Casting and Creativity

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.

 Presentation

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

Johnny-Interior

2018-09-13T12:59:10-06:00September 12th, 2018|Culture, Industry Trends, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Let’s try a little kindness, it’s right in front of you

kindness in the workplace

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.

 

By: Brenda Peterson
Brenda Peterson Kindness blog

2018-01-29T13:49:19-06:00January 29th, 2018|Culture|0 Comments

Central Montana and The Wendt Agency — A Partnership
Built to Last

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!

2017-04-06T15:21:46-06:00March 30th, 2017|Culture|0 Comments

holiday

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.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle bourbon or vodka
  • 7-8 vanilla beans
  • Small jars or bottles for gifting

Instructions

  1. Slice vanilla beans in half lengthwise.
  2. Place your vanilla beans in the bottle of alcohol (you may need to pour out drink a bit to make room).
  3. Cap tightly and shake gently.
  4. Store in a cool, dark place for at least 2-3 months, shaking occasionally.
  5. 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.

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!).

Directions

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

Download Brenda’s Fondue Recipe
Cheese Fondue

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!

2017-03-29T11:45:56-06:00December 15th, 2016|Culture|0 Comments

WENDT’S CREATIVE DIRECTOR IS RETIRING AFTER 26 YEARS: PART III

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.

Joe Create Success

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

Joe and Kara
Burke Ranch

“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

Joe Brenda spoons

“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

Joe and girls

“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 grillmaster

“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

Joe and 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

Joe Jen Kara

We could go on and on, but then the mascara would begin to run.

Joe, we will miss you! Congratulations on your retirement!

 

2016-10-26T09:28:53-06:00September 1st, 2016|Culture, Reflections, Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

WENDT’S CREATIVE DIRECTOR IS RETIRING AFTER 26 YEARS: PART II

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.

Retiring Joe baby group

Q: What will you miss most about your job and The Wendt Agency?
Joe: I’ll miss the diversity of projects to work on while creating success for our clients. The people, the work environment, and the culture at Wendt. We have a great crew of people, the office space is awesome, and the company’s management team is very progressive and forward-thinking. I love my job at Wendt and will definitely miss it, but I’m ready for a new episode and adventure in life.

Wendt retreat

Q: What were the most exciting changes and biggest surprises you saw during your career?
J: The quick advancement of computers, cameras (still & video), phones, and software technology were all exciting. Plus they make our jobs easier, faster, and more efficient. While the advancement of computers, software, and camera technology was amazing to witness, the impact and growth of the internet and social media environment was huge.

Joe Film

Q: What were some of the most memorable moments during your career?
J: Too many to count, but a few that stick out include

  1. Having the opportunity to travel the state for various clients capturing the beauty of Montana and its people on stills, film, and video.
  2. Seeing people grow professionally and really come into their own by mentoring them.
  3. Being recognized for my work in design and broadcast from various local, regional, and national organizations.
  4. Once, on a shoot in Spokane, we used a crane to drop a baby grand piano on the sidewalk, and we only had one chance to get it! We got the shot, but the crane broke through the old sidewalk.
Piano drop

Right before the piano drop

Q: What are you most looking forward to in retirement?
J: Spending more time with our kids and grandkids, more time for hunting, fishing, and traveling—a totally different focus and pace based upon our schedule. My wife, Cindy, and I will also enjoy traveling around the country, visiting friends and family.

Stein family hike

Q: What do you love about Lincoln, where you’ll be retiring to?
J: Cindy and I had started going up there years ago camping and four-wheeling with friends and really liked the area. So we started looking for property and found some that we really liked about 3.5 miles from town. In 10 minutes, I can be bow hunting to the north of our place. After just a 10-minute drive on a four-wheeler behind our place, I’ll be fly-fishing on the Blackfoot River.

Joe hunting

Q: What words of wisdom would you give to someone who is just starting their career in the creative field?
J: You need to have a certain amount of creative ability regardless of the discipline you’re pursuing: conceptual, writing, design, illustration, or production. You need to have the drive, the passion, and the willingness to put in the extra hours when necessary to make sure your work is the best it can be. You can’t be thin-skinned with criticism of your work and be willing to compromise (to a point) without compromising the creative.

Q: If you weren’t the creative director at Wendt, what would you have done instead?
J: Professional fisherman in the walleye circuit.

Joe fish

2016-10-26T09:28:53-06:00August 30th, 2016|Culture, Reflections, Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

Wendt’s Creative Director is Retiring After 26 Years: Part I

The Mountains Are Calling, and Joe Baby Must Go

After 26 dedicated years at The Wendt Agency, our amazingly talented Creative Director, Joe Stein, is retiring!

Joe Stein: Wendt's Creative Director

Joe’s incredible career has spanned 41 years. He joined Wendt in 1990 as the senior art director and has also served as design group director and broadcast director.

Young Joe Stein: Wendt's Creative Director

Here are just a few highlights from Joe’s impressive resume:

Creative Director Joe Stein travels

Joe’s attention to detail has transformed our clients’ products and messages into award-winning creative elements.

Creative Director Joe Stein awards

Throughout his tenure at Wendt, Joe has shared his expertise of combining strategic insights, market research, cutting-edge technical skill, and a comprehensive understanding of print, TV, radio, and digital design elements to create effective creative solutions for a variety of clients.

Wendt has been incredibly lucky to  benefit from Joe’s expertise for almost three decades. But now the mountains are calling, and Joe must go.

Joe’s last day at Wendt is August 31, 2016—check back as we celebrate everything Joe before we say goodbye!

 

2016-10-26T09:28:53-06:00August 26th, 2016|Culture, Reflections, Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

Dedicated to the Red, White, and Blue

by Alyse Considine


USA fan
My passion and dedication to cheering for Team USA and watching as much Olympics coverage as humanly possible borders on the line of obsession.

I remember being in awe of the Magnificent Seven at the 1996 Atlanta games. My sister and I would run outside to do cartwheels and pretend to execute the balance beam on our deck.

Eight years ago, I scored the perfect summer job while a student at the University of Montana: front desk clerk at a hotel that had JUST renovated their lobby to include new flat screen TVs. I saw Michael Phelps win all eight of his gold medals in Beijing.

Four years ago, I was in the middle of moving to Great Falls for a new job, and I made sure to take a few extra days off before starting work so I could watch more of the London Olympics.

USANow, I am grateful to work at an agency that encourages everyone to pursue their passions, and thankfully, they also embrace my quirks–not to mention the dark circles under my eyes each morning as a result of staying up way past my bedtime to watch my favorite athletes win gold.

The Rio Olympic games have not disappointed. The fastest man to ever live, the greatest woman gymnast of all time, the greatest swimmer and most decorated Olympian in the world…it’s all so exciting, I can barely stand it! I am Montana’s Leslie Jones.

Once these games conclude and the 4-year long deep void in my life returns, I’ll be anxiously awaiting Tokyo 2020. I guess deep down I’ll always be the little girl that is in complete wonderment of the amazing athletic feats, heart-wrenching personal stories, and dazzling grand-scale productions, forever cheering for the red, white, and blue.

 

2017-02-22T10:42:23-06:00August 19th, 2016|Culture, Reflections|0 Comments

National Look Alike Day? Yeah, we got that!

April 20 is National Look Alike Day #NationalLookAlikeDay. It’s not the most significant of our annual holidays, but somehow it still speaks to me.

Perhaps it is because it’s roots are allegedly in local TV news. The day is believed to have been created by Pittsburgh television reporter Jack Etzel in the 1980s. I was a local TV reporter at one time and I understand that specific type of deadline pressure he obviously felt. When you need a feature story for the early news, sometimes you get creative! I never invented a holiday, but who am I to argue with someone who did?

While some people choose to celebrate this day by dressing like celebrities or finding photos of famous people they resemble, I think of the amazing people I work with at The Wendt Agency and how we sometimes manage to dress alike. Maybe it shows that great minds do think alike. Maybe it’s a function of our excellent taste. Or maybe it’s just coincidence. Whatever it is, it makes me smile every time!

We keep track of these matching days on our Twin Wall, a very prestigious portion of the bulletin board in our breakroom. I’ve made the board myself a couple of times-once even as part of a very special triplets posting (you cannot deny the value of the red plaid shirt during a Montana winter).

Do you have a twin? Let me know in the comments section and bring a smile to my face. Couldn’t we all use more smiles?

Three people in red plaid shirts

Team Read Plaid

Two people in matching outfits

Jennifer and Sarah

Two people in matching outfits

Brenda and Johna

Two people in matching outfits

Carmen and Joe

Two people in matching sweatshirts

Brenda and Jennifer

2016-10-26T09:28:54-06:00April 20th, 2016|Culture|0 Comments

Walkabout at Wendt – Ho Ho Holidays!

December 15, 2015

Well, the weather outside maybe frightful but inside The Wendt Agency it certainly is delightful! From the holiday music in the air to the treats in the breakroom to the brightly lit Christmas tree by the font desk, we seem to be surrounded by the holiday spirit.

I thought I would finish the year with another walk around the office to see how this festive season is showing up here.

A framed piece of original artwork from the Downtown Christmas Stroll circa 1986

A bit of Festivus for the rest of us

Wrapping paper, tissue and ribbons just waiting for the gifts

A collection of snowflakes nestled behind a monitor

A bit of Festivus for the rest of us

A pudgy porcelain Santa

The Wendt Mascot festive for the holidays

And, of course, Augustus Gus doing his best reindeer impression

As you can see, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas here. How about you? How do the holidays show up in your office or on your desk? Use the comments section to show off your holiday spirit!

2016-10-26T09:28:54-06:00December 15th, 2015|Culture|0 Comments

Cultivating a Culture

Culture_5May 28, 2015

In any business, the quality of work that is produced depends upon the type of people that make up the business team. To put it short and a little bit sour: If you’ve got a great team, you’re going to produce great work. If you’ve got a lackluster team, you’re work is going to be ordinary.

Of course, in order to attract and retain talented and hard-working employees, a strong company culture must be present.

So how do you go about creating a strong and positive work culture for your business?

• Seek the right kinds of employees
In the process of creating our work culture, Wendt has garnered a diverse staff. It is beneficial for any company to have a blend of people and personalities that will help maintain a positive, vibrant culture and work atmosphere.

Our team is made up of organized perfectionists, free-thinking creative types and movers and shakers. The spicy blend that results allows us to meet the needs of our varied clients and allows us to grow in new areas and ventures.

• Create Balance
As a local business we want our community to thrive, we want our clients to thrive and we want our state to blossom. Montana makes up part of what we are as a business, whether it’s the opportunity to hit the open road, bike the beautiful terrain or raise our families in a safe environment, a balanced lifestyle is vital to our working culture.

• Play dates aren’t just for kids
While the work we do for our clients is important, there is also great value in taking a break. BBQs, field trips, volunteering in the community – the best part is that we get to know each other as people. This helps us understand that we are not just merely colleagues, we’re friends.

• Say you’re sorry
For a happy working environment to be in place a certain level of respect should exist, from the top of the line all the way down to the interns. For us it means that when we share a heated moment, we say we’re sorry. We care about each other. That’s the Wendt way. And for us, it’s the only way.

Our business is a people business – passionate, dedicated people working for our treasured clients or as they are more commonly known – friends. So take the time to remember the importance of the people in your world and how vital they are to growing your ideal work culture.

2016-10-26T09:28:55-06:00May 28th, 2015|Culture|0 Comments

Rest and Relaxation – Wendt Retreat

20150223_103610

February ended with the Wendt crew heading to Chico Hot Springs for the 2015 retreat. Although the weather was a bit chilly (-11), we were at a hot springs, so it wasn’t a worry at all. We spent time relaxing and bonding through soaks in the hot springs, a yoga class, massages, a delicious dinner and, of course, over drinks in the Saloon. There was work to be done – we focused on our goals for 2015 and did some fun improvisation games that could be used for brainstorming.

The retreat definitely kicked off the year on the right foot and we look forward to bringing this excitement to our clients and community!

2016-10-26T09:28:55-06:00April 2nd, 2015|Culture|0 Comments

Ten Years!

Icehouse Door Great Falls, MT
March 31, 2015

Today marks ten years since we took up residence in our current building on the corner of Park Drive South and 1st Avenue. We moved in on 1 April 2005. Built in 1910 as the icehouse for the city of Great Falls (and so celebrating it’s 105th year!), this building has housed several different businesses over the years. To note the occasion, I want to give a little shout-out to two features that have, surprisingly, remained here through all of this building’s transformations–the doors to our conference room and common area/kitchen!

Installed as cold storage doors at 5-1/2 to 6 inches thick, both were built by the Bernard Gloekler Company in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania (notice in the picture that the name of the city was not spelled as it is today, with the “h” at the end). Having started business in 1875 when Bernard Gloekler purchased an existing supplier of equipment to butchers and slaughterhouses, he eventually expanded the business into cold storage and restaurant, cafeteria, store and bar equipment. The company’s trademark (an eclipse) can still be seen on our conference room door.

Also in the photo is a metal marker noting two patents. Both patents were awarded to Bernard’s son, John E. Gloekler. The first patent listed was for the latches that were originally used with these doors. All that remains of these latches today are the levers. The second patent listed was for the original hinges that were used with both doors. Given how heavy the doors are and how long they’ve been in service, it’s not surprising that the hinges were replaced over time. However, the links provided will have diagrams of how the original devices looked.

So here’s to another ten-plus years of occupancy in this fabulous, long-lived building!

Icehouse Building Wendt Headquarters, Great Falls, MT

 

2016-10-26T09:28:55-06:00March 31st, 2015|Culture|0 Comments

What’s Your Business Culture Look Like?

Culture_1by Brenda Peterson
July 14, 2014

Last week, I took a call from the COO of Special Olympics Montana. She is new to the position and is enthusiastic about bringing some new ideas to the operation. She asked if she could come visit with me about the environment and culture at Wendt. Of course, I said yes being someone who absolutely loves a good discussion about culture. We had a great visit and it was amazing how quickly an hour can pass when you are engaged in conversation about something that both parties are very passionate about!

So in thinking about that conversation, here’s what we do at The Wendt Agency to keep our culture alive and growing.

Leadership guides and supports our culture, but doesn’t dictate it. There are no meetings around here to beat everyone over the head with the beliefs, values and benefits of Wendt. It just doesn’t happen. A pervasive culture cannot be orchestrated from on high. It must come from a more organic place. Some years back, we put together a Wendt Brand Team. This Wendt committee is responsible for keeping our culture on track with what we see it to be about. By the way, the agency Leadership team does not participate in these discussions. Why? Because we believe our contributions might be construed as heavy handed management. I know some business owners or managers are saying right now “but what if I didn’t like the direction the team is recommending?” Well, you don’t give up your role as a company leader. The Wendt Brand Team presents their ideas to us for the final AOK. To this day, we have not had an idea that needed to be squashed. It is so awesome to see our crew self-edit anything that might be considered a bit over the top.

Why do you need a strong culture? When you think we spend of us on average a third of our entire lives working shouldn’t it be at a place that you feel comfortable? That you want to be there? That you want to be a part of the whole? And contributing to the team?

When everyone is engaged and enthusiastic they just produce better work. Period.

Here are a few things that guide the culture at Wendt.

  • We have a cool space with an open door policy. No office doors, and that includes mine. Everyone is accessible all the times.
  • Everyone has a seat at the idea table.
  • We celebrate our successes and support each other when there is the occasional failure.
  • We embrace each other’s differences – because we are eclectic and free thinking individuals that come together each day to do dynamite work.
  • Relationships are what keep us ticking – we believe in the partnerships we have with our clients and each other.
  • We have a long history (86 years young), and we adapt to the changing communications world – it’s moving at break-neck speed.
  • Super service – ya we got that!

To support and build upon our culture, we do a few other things to keep us connected and refreshed.

  • Every Friday at 4, we come together to wind down the week. We share a glass of wine, a snack and enjoy each other’s company.
  • Summer hours. Everyone loves these, we close our offices a little early in July and August. Summer is just too short in Montana not to have a few more hours of sunshine!
  • Halloween is HUGE at Wendt. The costume contest is epic.
  • We do an annual retreat with employees and significate others. This two day event is loaded with relaxing and fun activities. No business is discussed.

This keeps us happy, creative and passionate about what we do. Shouldn’t your business have a culture that does the same?

 

This article originally appeared in the Great Falls Tribune on Sunday July 13, 2014 and can be found here

2016-10-26T09:28:55-06:00July 14th, 2014|Culture|0 Comments