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

Spring has arrived: Free Wallpapers

After a long and cold winter, we’re just going to say it: SPRING HAS ARRIVED. And that means longer daylight hours, bright blue skies, melting snow, and the fresh air that comes this time of year. So get out and enjoy everything spring has to offer. We know we will!

-The Wendt Agency

Click to download wallpapers:

2019-03-26T16:33:15-06:00March 21st, 2019|Uncategorized, Wendt Buzz|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

Be Merry: Free Wallpapers

Christmas is the most wonderful time of year. It’s the only time of year when you can wear ugly sweaters, enjoy copious amounts of sweets, and sing out loud to your favorite Christmas tunes. So this holiday season, enjoy all those little things that make this the most wonderful time of year.

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

-The Wendt Agency

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2018-12-17T13:14:48-06:00December 7th, 2018|Uncategorized, Wendt Buzz|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

Hello Fall: Free Wallpapers

Nothing beats the sights and smells of fall. The amazing colors, the crunch of leaves as you walk down the street, and let’s not forget about cozy sweaters and pumpkin-flavored everything. Oh, and college football! These are just a few of the things that make it a bit easier to say goodbye to summer and hello to fall!

-The Wendt Agency

Click to download wallpapers:

2018-10-10T13:31:30-06:00October 9th, 2018|Uncategorized, Wendt Buzz|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

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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

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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

Finding Balance as a Mom

This Mother’s Day will mark the fourth year I am celebrating the holiday as a mommy, and I thought it would be the perfect time to reflect on the challenges and triumphs that come along with being a mom.

Finding the right balance in life can be a constant but important struggle in order to be the best version of myself, whether that is creating a marketing plan for a client or playing Barbie dolls with my 4-year-old daughter. While there are days I feel like I am struggling and everything is spiraling out of control, those are balanced with days where I am incredibly productive and proud of my abilities both in the workplace and as an engaged mom. When I begin to feel overwhelmed and question the amount of time I am away from my kids during the workweek, I remind myself that I am working not just for me, but for my little “me”s. I am being a role model for them, striving to set the example that they can accomplish anything they put their minds to. Even though I may have occasional doubts, I know I am modeling strength, passion, and determination.

The Wendt Agency - Thanks MomI can honestly say I find joy daily in both areas of my life – work and home. I feel energized and ambitious in the office, where I am surrounded by people I have a huge amount of respect for, as we collaborate and create solutions and strategies together. After a full day’s work, I can feel drained from all the mental stimuli and problem solving, but as I pull into the driveway to pick up my kids and see them jumping up and down waving out the window, it gives me the energy I need to give 100% of myself to the people who love me most.

I believe motherhood has made me a better leader and employee and, vice versa, my career has given me tools to be a better mom. Problem solving, patience, multitasking, confidence, perspective, adaptability, empathy, and resilience – these are all traits that I practice daily in all areas of my life. It takes perspective and patience to manage my 4-year-old’s meltdown when I give her a pink cup instead of a green one, just as it takes adaptability and confidence to put together a new-business presentation for a piece of business Wendt is pitching. Practice makes perfect! Well, OK maybe not perfect, but practice helps.

I would be remiss to not give credit to those around me who constantly provide the love and support I need to be a productive and happy mom.

My incredible mother is on speed dial daily. She instilled in me hard work and dedication, working two jobs during my childhood, but was there for me always. My loving and supportive husband is an amazing hands-on dad who sets the perfect example for our kids. I am thankful Wendt is an awesome, supportive workplace that encourages home/work balance. I also draw strength from all the other women in my life who play a role in providing support and love as amazing grandmothers to my children as well as my other mom friends who can relate to the daily challenges.

Plus, there is a vast amount of social posts and blogs about the craziness and pressures of motherhood that has provided me with great insight as I continue to practice being the best employee and mommy I can be. Below are a few of my favorite blogs.

http://www.workingmommagic.com/

https://www.mother.ly/work/

https://www.today.com/parents

So here’s to all the moms out there trying to find balance. You should be proud of everything you do!

Say Thanks to your Mom with a custom Facebook frame

To use the frame, launch your Facebook app and select the camera. Before or after you take a photo, tap on the wand located at the bottom left of your screen. Click frame image on lower right, and it will show you a list of frames. You can also use it as a profile photo. To do so, hover over your profile photo and click “update profile photo” and select “add frame.”

ADD FRAME

MEET OUR MOMS

By Jennifer Fritz, Client Services Director