The Proud History and Promising Future of The Wendt Agency

By Mackenzie George, Wendt Intern

As the longest-running advertising agency in Montana, I knew before walking in the door that The Wendt Agency had a history of excellence. But it was by spending hours and hours shadowing, writing, researching, and listening that I learned just how ingrained that history is. Meghan informed me early in the summer that strong female leadership has been a tradition at Wendt since its inception in 1929. While reviewing the agency’s history, I discovered that the company’s first secretary, Zelma, later became a leader of Wendt. And Tegan made special note of positive female mentorship when I spoke to her about company culture here.

At Wendt, company culture is not a buzzword — it’s an emphasis. Wendt employees ensure there is a seat at the table for everyone. Jen made it a point to invite me to meetings and conference calls. “Thought this might be a good learning experience for you!” she’d write in the email reminders. Ideas are welcomed irrespective of department or experience. I felt very fortunate to be taken seriously. I was asked for feedback and introduced to clients when listening in on conference calls. I wasn’t asked to fetch coffee or make copies; I was granted a seat at the table.

It was kind of them to do that, but it was also smart. Not because I had worthwhile ideas (I spent most of my first day flipping furiously through Wendt’s welcome brochure trying to memorize advertising acronyms), but because it’s a continuation of what makes Wendt, Wendt. Inclusion is part of their MO. Kara said it eloquently: “Take people with very different personalities and ideas and interests and quirks and challenges, and put us all together, and we’re all focused on this thing called Wendt and making it successful … and we care about it enough that we embrace each other, embrace all those differences, and that’s what makes it stronger.” By using differences as a place for growth rather than division, this team has thrived. It’s a system that’s worked for 90 years, and it’s a lesson that other organizations – and not just ad agencies! – should learn from. The creativity flows because everyone contributes to the process.

This tight-knit community means collaboration crosses department lines, but each person still has a well-defined specialization. There is no room for superfluity at Wendt; everyone works energetically each day to accomplish all their tasks. While each person has a specific area of expertise, they all also possess a foundational skill set including a strong work ethic, creativity, and adaptability. As in many fields, success in advertising hinges on whether you can embrace change. It’s an ever-evolving industry, and in response, every one of the 13 people who make up Wendt utilize their versatility in every venture.

As the latest, youngest, and temporary addition to the 13, I was pleasantly surprised to have an office to myself. (Aren’t interns supposed to reside in some corner somewhere, like Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs?) There was a sign with my name on it and a Wendt tumbler waiting for me on my first day. I learned a lot in that office: about click-through rates, tracking campaigns, writing copy, engagement, organic versus sponsored media, and search engine optimization. And Wendt’s legendary email chains. Someone will send a link to an article, a photo, or an ad, and everyone will respond enthusiastically. Here, employees are excited about their work, and excited about each other. Birthdays, babies, and other milestones do not go uncelebrated. Employees’ dogs, who sometimes meander through offices, do not go unpetted. I can’t imagine that the supportive environment doesn’t contribute to Wendt’s commercial success.

I owe a big thank you to everyone for granting me access to their offices to get a glimpse of who they are and what they do. I learned about juggling a job and a family. There were moments of pure joy incessantly squishing Tiffany’s spongy ice cream cone toy. I found renewed motivation to get a good job so I can start building a shoe collection like Johna’s. I was reassured by encouragement from Brenda. These individuals solidified my decision to add a business management concentration to my college plans when I start my sophomore year this fall. And they helped reaffirm a hardy appreciation for my home state of Montana. The current of creativity that crackles through Wendt is inspiring and refreshing, and I look forward to returning to New York having had this engaging experience.

BY MACKENZIE GEORGE, INTERN

2019-09-11T10:35:30-06:00September 3rd, 2019|Industry Trends, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Creativity Changes Constantly. Here’s Why We Should Cling to It

“Creativity that flows” greets viewers as they enter Wendt’s website, accompanied by a cascading, frothy waterfall. This front-and-center placement—and the fact that the word is even larger than the agency’s logo—may seem odd, but it encapsulates the powerful impact creativity has as a cornerstone of Wendt.

Creativity sparks joy in some and shudders in others. Some people seem to believe that it is a magical element found only in children that dissipates as one ages, like monsters under your bed. “Oh, I used to be creative,” I’ve heard, quickly followed by the disclaimer, “As a kid. I drew/wrote/composed/painted all the time.”

But creativity, at least from my experience, isn’t something you grow out of. Instead, it’s an ever-evolving concept whose trajectory is worth following. I was a horrific visual artist as a kid. Yet my imagination concocted stories of chickens who played the trumpet and little girls who traveled through time. I made business cards for my side hustles that never quite took off (a dog-walking business and tutoring service). Creativity was using rocks for currency when playing “Town” with my other 7-year-old friends. We operated gas stations, ran grocery stores, and led police departments, all from the driveway.

As I grew older, the stories I wrote grew slightly more realistic, and I traded rocks for bimonthly real-life checks, but I never doubted that my friends and I still carried some semblance of creativity. It just looked a little different now: It was finding ways to persuade a staff writer to turn in his articles for the school paper; it was deciding how to angle a forehand out of the reach of my opponent. I wouldn’t have done well with a paintbrush, and honestly, I didn’t feel like I really needed it to innovate.

For the past month and a half, I’ve had the privilege of spending time in the many realms of creativity at Wendt. Whether they accept it or not, one doesn’t work at this agency without this special combo of innovation and individuality. As I interviewed the 14 individuals who make up The Wendt Agency, certain phrases were repeated across departments: on the forefront … wide-open spaces … client satisfaction.

They’re answers to different questions (what makes Wendt special, what they like about Montana, what success looks like to them), but what each response has in common is that sneaky, scary word. To be on the forefront of a field demands creativity. Montana’s wide-open spaces serve as an avenue for creativity to be pursued. And client satisfaction to the degree that Wendt provides each day requires the use of imagination and original ideas. The Wendt Agency utilizes this vision in all departments to ensure success, and it’s a welcome reminder for me that creativity doesn’t have an expiration date.

BY MACKENZIE GEORGE, INTERN

2019-08-06T11:03:42-06:00August 5th, 2019|Industry Trends, Uncategorized|0 Comments

What we love about Wendt

what we love about wendt

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.

Click the photos to see what we love about Wendt.

Brenda Peterson
President/CEO

Lorie Hager
CFO

Carol Kruger
Senior Vice President

Jennifer Fritz
Vice President of Client Services

Kara Smith
Creative Director

Pam Bennett
Senior Media Strategist

Johna Wilcox
Senior Account Manager

Merle McLeish
Media Buyer

Meghan Shaulis
Digital Designer

Sheena Annala
Art Director

Tiffany Aldinger
Production Manager

About Us - The Wendt Agency | Montana Advertising Agency | Johnny Ewald

Johnny Ewald
Graphic & Digital Designer

About Us - The Wendt Agency | Montana Advertising Agency | Teresa Applewick

Tegan Bauer
Social Media Specialist

2019-09-12T10:06:23-06:00June 19th, 2019|Culture, Industry Trends|0 Comments

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

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 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

Care and Feeding of Your Touchpoints

As marketers, we invest a considerable amount of time celebrating the virtues of consistency, simplicity, and clarity. And all of it is true, especially during the all-important process of defining your brand. Delivering a high-quality, memorable experience at every touchpoint is the very essence of defining and maintaining a brand. It is how customers see your company.

Touchpoints allow customers to have experiences every time they “touch” any part of your product, service, brand, or organization across multiple channels and at various points in time. Parking your company car at the county fair? It’s important that your signage and logo are in excellent condition, as this represents a touchpoint of your brand. In addition, make sure your vehicle is clean and free of dings and dents. Are you parked responsibly? (Asking for a friend – some of us are “between the lines” challenged.) As minor as all this may sound, it’s an opportunity to interact with potential customers.

From a wider perspective, touchpoints for tourism can occur at airports, entryways into the city or destination, front-line staff at hotels, convenience stores and restaurants. Think Disneyland. The company takes great care to ensure a quality customer experience from the ticket counter to exiting a ride. Touchpoints for your business occur online, in person, and with or without the consideration that the smallest transaction can positively or negatively affect your brand. Touchpoints allow prospective customers to become knowledgeable on the brand and the benefits offered and allow them to decide whether they continue their journey with your brand.

It’s also important to realize that in today’s world of social media and reviews, there are touchpoints you can’t control. These can include a customer’s experience when they interact with your product, including visiting your website. Social media has become an amplified “word of mouth,” where a shared experience – good or bad – may influence others’ perceptions toward your brand. There are touchpoints you create to develop and maintain your brand. These include the way you merchandise your space, collateral, and any other messaging through physical channels. Other touchpoints come in the form of customer interaction. Employees, website experience, and customer service all play a huge role in your brand’s ability to provide positive touchpoints and, ultimately, create advocacy with your customers to maintain their loyalty and promote your brand to others.

Whether your business has been around for decades or you are a fledgling new company, brand development – through the care and feeding of your touchpoints – helps you identify a powerful and effective way to connect with your audience. Wendt has considerable experience and success in defining and managing brand reputations. Let us help you identify what makes you unique. Then all that’s left is to believe it, live it, and share it!

BY JOHNA WILCOX, ACCOUNT MANAGER

Johna-Newest2-e1516137568234

2018-08-23T09:27:11-06:00July 30th, 2018|Industry Trends, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Summer Internship Spotlight – Bailey Collins

I spend a lot of time hearing the word “no.” This is no one’s fault in particular. In fact, I’ve been led to believe impossibility is a reality of the fields I’ve chosen to work within. It always starts small: “No, there aren’t a lot of women behind the scenes in advertising,” or “No, creative careers won’t pay well enough to live.” I’m told offices are depressing, firms are immoral, and freelancing isn’t feasible. I’ve heard every starving artist and English major joke there is to hear.

It should be apparent to me by now that my chances at success are slim to none, which is why Wendt blew my mind when I heard of it, and why it has become such an amazing opportunity for me now.

I am a junior at the University of Montana, majoring in creative writing and English literature, minoring in graphic design. I’ve known I wanted to write since I was 12, and have so far avoided the stereotype of the indecisive college student. However, I’ve always known that it’s a long-shot that I will ever become a millionaire with my words alone. Advertising and media arts felt perfect for me. It’s not only a way to feed myself and keep the power on as I write my books but a career that will allow me to stay engaged with my hobbies and feed my creative side. Advertisement spans so many of the fields that interest me– photography, psychology, digital art, design, animation, even writing– that I can’t imagine a more tailor-made career path for myself. That’s even without considering the constant demand and steady growth that’s so conspicuously lacking in many other artistic fields.

But, but, but. There’s still the naysayers. Not many women. Not enough money. Not a good environment. Not much opportunity for advancement.

Since beginning my internship at the Wendt Agency, I’ve job shadowed with many of its employees, spanning from finance to design to social media. Nearly all of these positions are filled by women. Their management is staffed by people who have grown with the company, promoted from within their own ranks. Every day I’ve come in to observe, I’ve been met with laughter and casual camaraderie in what is quite possibly the coolest and most interesting office building I’ve ever been in, with open spaces, curving walls, and music playing through the hallways that changes day-to-day. Several of these employees support families, and since the office is closed on weekends, speak enthusiastically of being able to spend time with them. I find the work, the environment, and the company to be incredibly engaging and uplifting, with projects that speak to my interests and my morals. And those are the days when there aren’t any dogs in the building– because, as I was nonchalantly told on my first day, Wendt is dog-friendly.

In short, Wendt is pretty much what would happen if I could build my perfect workplace. It’s been really inspiring to see such an example against all the negatives and impossibilities I’ve been fed since a young age, especially since many of the stories I’ve heard have been similar to my own in terms of interests and education. Already, many of my own future plans have been influenced by the things I’ve observed at Wendt.

Hopefully, my enthusiasm is apparent. Each day I’m present, someone in the office asks if I’m getting bored yet, and each time, I respond that they’ve underestimated my nerdiness and appreciation for the entire Wendt process. I am far from bored and extremely grateful for the chance to spend a portion of my summer in such an interesting way.

BY BAILEY COLLINS, INTERN

2018-07-26T09:44:47-06:00July 3rd, 2018|Industry Trends, Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Devil is in the Details: Editors Matter in the Business World

The Devil is in the Details

Have you ever gone to a website to purchase an item or research a subject, but once there you realized the content was full of typos and grammatical errors?

Did your trust in the company immediately change?

Did it make you think twice before entering your credit card number?

Did you *eye roll emoji* at the liberal use of LOL speak?

It’s easy to take small details like punctuation and word usage for granted, but these small details can add up to a lot of trust and can mean the difference between someone choosing your services or going to your competitor.

In fact, Adweek reported in 2014 that a study by U.K. firm Global Lingo found that 59 percent of respondents said they would avoid doing business with a company that had obvious errors on their website.

Details matter.

So what’s a business to do?

The most obvious answer is to hire someone whose job it is to prevent such mistakes. But does such a position exist? It does, and those who do it are called copy editors.

Copy editors work to ensure products are accurate and free of errors before they go out to the public. But copy editing goes beyond making sure you have the correct they’re or their. It includes rewriting copy to make it clearer and ensuring that the tone and phrases are appropriate for the audience. Different audiences require different content – the general public doesn’t necessarily want to read a website full of scientific jargon. And while there’s a time and place for LOLs and emojis, there are also plenty of instances such casual conversation is inappropriate.

Editors will often be tasked with fact checking and ensuring a business’s brand is being used consistently across different platforms (print, online, and social are just a few examples). And a good editor will catch copy that might be embarrassing for the company.

Imagine leaving the “g” out of that delicious angus burger. And, of course, there’s the infamous public vs. … well you know.

There also are plenty of social media pitfalls copy editors can keep your business from falling in. Taking advantage of trending hashtags can be a clever way to get your message out, but it can also backfire if a company doesn’t do its research. In 2014, DiGiorno jumped on a trending hashtag to sell pizza. Except the hashtag, WhyIStayed, was intended to draw attention to domestic violence. The pizza company later apologized, saying it did not read what the hashtag was about before posting.

A copy editor can help spot these errors before they go out to thousands of customers or become billboard-size typos.

So the next time your company is ready to unveil its latest campaign, make sure you have a copy editor take a look at what you’re presenting. Taking that extra step now can save you from embarrassment in the future.

“Copy editors keep your business on brand and error-free.”

TIFFANY ALDINGER, PRODUCTION MANAGER

2018-05-29T09:54:02-06:00May 29th, 2018|Industry Trends, Uncategorized|0 Comments

5 Tips for Effective Billboard Design

Billboards can be a great marketing tool. They can also be one of the most challenging mediums to create. Why? Effective billboards require creativity, considerate design choices and, the most difficult of all, the ability to communicate in brevity. Here are five tips to get you started on creating an effective billboard.

1. Content: Less is more.
Before deciding what goes on your billboard, it is important to decide what the goal is. Is your goal a directional or way-finding board, to get someone to shop a sale, or is it simply for brand awareness? These goals are all very different and will influence what content should be included. It is important that your board have only one goal. There is simply not enough space or time to communicate more than one message.

What content needs to be included? Many people make the mistake of including too much information. With content, less is more. Once you have developed the desired content, consider making additional cuts, such as eliminating unnecessary punctuation and shortening headlines. Remember, most billboards do not need to include a physical address, phone number, and web address.

2. Design: Keep it simple.
The most effective billboards are always the simplest. Focus on your main message with large and easy-to-read text. Evaluate if imagery is necessary. Perhaps a solid color or background texture is the right choice for a simple, impactful design. If using imagery, consider a single image that will attract the reader’s eye to the billboard but won’t make it too busy. If placing text over the image, choose wisely so your text is readable over the photo. When it comes to logo size, pick a size that balances well with the rest of the design. The logo shouldn’t be the main focus, but you also don’t want it to be missed entirely.

3. Choosing the right font.
Your main goal when choosing a font is to ensure readability at a distance. Make sure that the words are large, clear, and easy to read. Bold fonts often work well. Avoid fonts that are too thin, ornate, or script fonts. Adjust the spacing between lines, letters, and words to help improve readability. You can use outlines and drop shadows to help your words stand out. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you are having to add multiple effects to create a readable message, that may mean you need to reconsider the font selection, background imagery or color, or size of the font.

4. Be creative, but don’t stump your audience.
Today’s traveler often, for better or worse, has a busy mind. Billboards need to be a quick read but also need to be interesting and memorable enough to leave a lasting impression. A boring billboard will be ignored or missed entirely, but a clever and impactful billboard will grab attention. Time to put your thinking cap on! How can you approach your message with creativity, but without leaving your viewer confused?

5. Is it really readable?
You only have about 5-10 seconds for viewers to notice, read, and understand your message. If you haven’t gathered yet, readability is incredibly important. Here is a quick tip to test readability. Print out your billboard around the size of a business card and view it at arm’s length. Can you read it? You can make all the best content and design decisions, but all your hard work will be wasted if your board isn’t readable.

“Billboard design is one of my favorite jobs, it can either be extremely challenging or simple. It allows me to put my thinking cap on and come up the most effective way to get our client's message across.”

Sheena Annala, Art Director

2018-04-24T16:59:05-06:00April 18th, 2018|Industry Trends|2 Comments

Breaking Down the Importance of Strong SEO

Header-SEO-2

Nowadays, having a strong web presence is crucial to driving people to your business. Here at Wendt, we love designing and redesigning high-quality websites for our clients to improve their web presence and make sure they are putting their best foot forward daily.

When developing websites for our clients, we make sure that from start to finish, we are intentional about the design, content, and overall user experience.

Our solid search engine optimization (SEO) foundation enables us to not only design and develop a strong website to fit our clients’ wants and needs, but it also ensures that they won’t get lost in search results, which helps drive traffic to their site.

Like with most technology, the art of strong SEO is constantly changing and developing.

This makes the job all the more challenging and exciting. We strive to provide our clients with the most up-to-date SEO strategies.

Some of our focus areas when designing and optimizing a site for SEO are:

  • Developing a site structure that helps both Google and site visitors navigate the websites we create.
  • Writing copy for websites that both readers and Google love.
  • Researching keywords to help the site show up in relevant search results.
  • Building a strong, holistic SEO foundation on the site to ensure that the website is at its maximum capacity for serving the content to users and Google.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

SEO doesn’t stop with the launch of a website – it is something that requires constant work to make sure traffic is being driven effectively and ensure your site continues to grow in rank. Strategies for this include:

  • Linking to your site often from various social media platforms.
  • Frequently pushing out new content (ex. blog posts).
  • Making sure that your site and plug-ins are always up to date (a bogged-down and slow website isn’t user or Google friendly).
“Being able to provide our clients with expert SEO will allow us to give them the complete website package — a beautiful, custom-designed website that is optimized for the best exposure.”

Meghan Shaulis, Art & Digital Director

2018-03-01T09:25:19-06:00February 28th, 2018|Industry Trends|0 Comments

An enigmatic and complex purple takes center stage

ultra violet purple

The new year is here and that means it is time to welcome the Pantone Color of the Year: Ultra Violet. Described as inventive and imaginative, complex and contemplative – this is not a color that blends into the background. This blue-based purple seems to need you to notice it, and notice it we have. The internet is brimming with tips on using this color in 2018. In the mood for some shopping? You can find everything from ultra violet chairs to candles here: Shop ultra violet

Looking to spend the cold winter months inside rearranging the furniture and knickknacks? How-to use ultra violet in decor

Of course, the fashion industry is all over this: How-to wear ultra violet

Ultra violet makeup gets a little tricky for most of us, but check out Kerry Washington’s eye makeup at the Golden Globes. Now THAT is a look that will not get you any side-eye!

So, maybe January is a good time to contemplate where you could inventively use this complex color, or just imagine how an ultra violet coffee mug would brighten your day. Either way, you are probably going to be seeing this color around a lot for the next 12 months.

ultra violet purple
purple nails
purple fog
Photo by Radu Mihai on Unsplash
2018-01-11T10:21:47-06:00January 11th, 2018|Industry Trends, Uncategorized|3 Comments

6 Photography Tips for Beginners

Jessica Billings

6 Photography Tips for Beginners

by Jessica Billings

The best thing about art is that there’s always room for growth. At the beginning of the year, I challenged myself to become a better photographer, and here’s what I discovered.

Bighorn sheep at Logan Pass – due to the low light I had to have my ISO pretty high.

1. Manual mode is a must.

My photography improved immensely as soon as I left the comforts of auto and aperture priority mode on my DSLR. Take the time to learn ISO, shutter speed, and aperture and how they work together. This will take your camera from essentially being the same as a point-and-shoot or an iPhone to a tool that helps you create amazing images.

2. Golden hour is your friend.

Shooting in the middle of the day? Not so much. Golden hour, the hour after sunrise and before sunset, yields photos with softer shadows and more dynamic skies. It also allows for longer exposures, which are perfect for waterfalls and can help smooth out lakes. When taking photos of people during this time, I put the sun behind them for a beautiful glow. It’s a great time to get photos of alpenglow, the rosy light of the setting or rising sun seen on mountains.