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
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
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
The sun is shining, the grass is growing, and outdoor fun has begun – welcome to summer! Take it all in and enjoy the long warm days with these free desktop and mobile wallpapers designed just for you.
-The Wendt Agency
The sun is shining, the snow is starting to melt, and flowers will soon begin to bloom – welcome to spring! Take it all in and feel sunny even on a cloudy day with these free desktop and mobile wallpapers designed just for you.
-The Wendt Agency
Click to download wallpapers:
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and it’s about to get sweeter!
Introducing a Wendtastic Holiday – 25 of the best Christmas songs, handpicked by yours truly. From timeless classics to off-beat gems, we’ve compiled them all. And if that doesn’t get you in the spirit (it will), download one of our free Christmas wallpapers! We recommend hipster Santa.
-The Wendt Agency
Click to download wallpapers:
World Tourism Day 2017
This World Tourism Day, the Wendt staff wanted to take the time to showcase the wonderful places our state has to offer. Montana has seemingly limitless possibilities when it comes to sights to see, people to meet, and places to discover. So pull out your map and plan a road trip to somewhere new in Montana. No one ever regretted taking the time to be a tourist in their own state.
Can you believe we are already halfway through 2017? To say a lot has already happened is an understatement. From elections to celebrity news, social media has been an integral part in breaking this year’s biggest stories. Social Media Day is June 30—in celebration let’s take a look at some of the biggest social media stories that have happened in 2017.
As the dust settled from the presidential election, fake news, and especially its prolific rise on social media channels, came into the spotlight. Currently, more than half of U.S. adults say they get news from social media sources. While fake news sites aren’t new, they are now more dangerous because they completely model real news sites and often skew the truth to influence opinions. The influence they were able to wield during and after the election was vastly aided by headline scanning, comment sections, and mass sharing on social sites. In response, Facebook announced the launch of a new initiative, The Facebook Journalism Project, to combat the rise of fake news on its platform and develop a stronger relationship with journalists.
TBD if this will do anything to curb the problem.
While video was the social media buzzword in 2016, it has been integrated into all social channels and continues to reign as king in order of engagement and ROI for users. In a recent Verge article, they talk about Facebook employees’ popular use of “the camera is the new keyboard” mantra. Snapchat has coined itself a camera company from the beginning and continues to move in a video-centric direction with this year’s launch of Spectacles.
Stay tuned for updates across all social media channels that focus on putting videos front and center, with text and images taking a backseat.
Everyone’s On board
It’s 2017, talking about social media and its influence on our lives doesn’t only pertain to our youngest generations anymore. As mentioned above, more than half of U.S. adults get news from social channels. Social media users are getting older; 53% of U.S. users are over the age of 35. While there are still divisions with Facebook trending with an older audience and Snapchat and Instagram predominantly younger, the gap is quickly decreasing.
Look for social media channel user breakouts to become evenly spread across generations and for new innovations from Generation Z as they put their own mark on social media.
The growth of virtual reality and augmented reality is largely thanks to social media. According to an eMarketer forecast, 40 million people in the U.S. will engage with some form of AR this year. We’ve already seen innovations this year with Snapchat leading the charge on social media. But Facebook and Instagram are also rolling out more ways to include AR in their stories for users. VR adaptation has been slower due to costly hardware, but as these costs decrease, expect to see more headsets and glasses being incorporated into your favorite social channel.
Here’s a glimpse at VR’s future: Facebook Spaces
*Augmented reality is the blending of virtual reality and real life. A good example is Pokémon Go.
*Virtual reality is the creation of a virtual world. A good example is gaming or traveling with Oculus Rift or Samsung Gear VR.
United Airlines, Pepsi, who’s next? “Backlash media” will continue to grow as brands try to align themselves and their products with social causes.
This new feature allows users to share their location with friends and see snaps happening around them. This has many people worried about security, but this trend of location-based social media isn’t going away.
There truly is no one-size-fits-all answer for communications outreach, and the 8th graders in Sarah Milling’s class at East Middle School demonstrated that when they created and implemented their own campaigns aimed at marketing a book to their peers in the 8th grade math class.
Regular readers of this blog might remember that Wendt got involved in this project last February, when Sarah reached out to us. Read all about it here.
With the school year coming to an end, it was time for the top two students in each class, 12 students in all, to bring their presentations to The Wendt Agency for a show and tell. And what a show it was; these young marketers had done their homework and then some!
We watched animated videos, heard about scavenger hunts and special PA announcements, checked out customized websites, read peer reviews, took quizzes, and played online games based on book characters. These middle schoolers used any and every tactic they could to reach their target audience in an impactful way that would lead to action. Marketing at its simplest and finest.
In the end, East Middle School’s 8th grade math students learned about a lot of good books for their summer reading lists, the 8th grade English students developed their marketing muscles, and The Wendt Agency got to watch the next generation of communications specialists get their feet wet.
Win – win – win!
It all started with an unexpected email in February. Middle school teacher Sarah Milling wanted to encourage her students to become excited about reading, and also help them learn a bit about marketing. Her idea? In a nutshell, task her 8th graders with marketing a book to their peers. Her question? Would The Wendt Agency be willing to help? Why, of course we would!
The students got to choose any book they wanted, and that means there is a wide variety of types—biographies, fiction, sci-fi, even a graphic novel. But while the content might be different, the challenge is the same: convince other middle schoolers to read your book.
Three members of the Wendt team—Brenda Peterson, Jennifer Fritz, and Carol Kruger—spent a day at East Middle School, walking the 8th graders through a lot of marketing basics:
- Defining a brand
- Doing market research
- Determining your target audience
- Developing a marketing plan
- Deciding on the right mix of communications outreach tactics
We even had a little fun with it, testing their knowledge of logos and tag lines for brands like Pepsi, Beats by Dre, Amazon, and All State. The only one that stumped them? The Quicker Picker Upper, which is for Bounty paper towels. But to the 8th grader who thought “The Quicker Picker Upper” was, or should be, Uber’s tag line—call us when you graduate, because that is genius!
The students are hard at work with their marketing efforts now. We can’t wait to hear how things go and will be keeping all of you updated on the student’s progress as this project moves forward!
2016 was an exciting year for broadcast work and even more exciting is the fact that we were honored with four Bronze Telly Awards! View the award-winning work for the Montana Lottery and Resolve Montana below.
Montana Lottery – Big Sky Bonus
Montana Lottery – Grills Gone Wild
Resolve Montana – It Isn’t Easy
The Telly Awards were founded in 1979 and honor outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs; video and film productions; and online commercials, videos, and films.
Carol, our Senior Vice President and one of our fearless Directors, was recently honored at the 25th annual YWCA Salute to Women event for her work in creative arts. Salute to Women strives to honor women who use their talents and strength to make Great Falls and the surrounding areas a better place to live.
Joined by five other women of achievement and distinction being honored in categories ranging from education to volunteer community service, Carol accepted her award amongst community leaders, past honorees, family, friends, and coworkers. She expressed her appreciation by thanking the women of Wendt for nominating her and to her family for always being there to support her in everything she does. Carol also mentioned that when she was notified of this award, it was one of the few times in her life she was at a loss for words!
While you may think of creative arts as designers, Carol’s work with Wendt’s public relations and media departments as well as being a leader of our agency brings strategy and enthusiasm to the services we provide for our clients. Carol’s ability to think on her feet and grace in handling any situation is enviable not only in the office but throughout the community. She is a mentor to the 13 women at Wendt by showing us all how to respond to situations that might sometimes be a little uncomfortable or awkward with poise and assertion.
Please join us in congratulating Kara Smith and Jennifer Fritz for their recent promotions. We are so fortunate to have their talents on the Wendt team.
Kara Smith has been promoted to Creative Director, overseeing the entire creative department. She manages projects from concept to completion, translating marketing objectives into creative strategies covering everything from print to broadcast and digital work. She ensures all materials meet our standards for quality and innovative creativity.
Kara has been with Wendt for nine years and is a shareholder of the company. She was honored at the Great Falls YWCA’s Salute to Women in 2014.
Jennifer Fritz has been promoted to Client Services Director, working to ensure superior service for all our clients by leading account service activities, managing the account team, and directing client communications. She is a leader in our website services, working in collaboration with the creative director and web development team to deliver breakthrough trends and technologies.
Jen has been with Wendt for six years and is a shareholder of the company. She is a 2014 graduate of Leadership Montana.
Farewell, Joe, and Thanks for the Memories
Joe has officially retired, and after 26 incredible and creative years at Wendt, we have a lot to reflect on!
From driving all over the state, to company retreats, to weddings and births, Joe has shared countless life experiences with us, not to mention all the award-winning work he created for our clients.
Here are some highlights from our reminiscing:
“Joe has been an incredibly patient and dedicated mentor to me from the start at Wendt. He has allowed me the freedom to grow, while still teaching me the ins and outs of the business. I am so grateful!” -Kara
“My favorite logo that Joe designed was for Burke Ranch Outfitters. It was the perfect storm of a really cool, open client and subject matter that Joe was passionate about. Because the client lived in Glasgow, we met in Havre to present designs. At first the client was unsure of the design, but eventually we won them over and the client still talks about that meeting today. The logo is brilliant and everyone really responds to its genius.” -Johna
“It was my first Wendt strategic planning session in Whitefish. We all went to dinner one night at the Whitefish Golf Course…fancy food, fancy drinks. Joe and I started balancing spoons on our noses. The CEO of Wendt at the time was not amused!” -Brenda
“I so appreciate Joe’s easy-going nature and willingness to not only put up with 13 women, but handle it all with grace and respect. I would assume he raised all girls because of how well he works with us, but he had 3 boys! Incredible!” -Alyse
“One of my favorite memories is of Joe as our Grillmaster–you always know it is a good day at Wendt when Joe breaks out the grill and starts cooking!” -Carol
“Joe and I spent many hours together tweaking banner ads when I first started, but it definitely made me a better designer. Thanks for all of your guidance and leadership, Joe!” -Katie
“I am going to miss Joe greatly. He is so wonderful to work with, very talented, and easy to be around. I love his easy-going approach and casual attitude. Of course there are times when he would get heated up, but in general he is as laid back as they come. And without sacrificing any quality in his amazing work.” -Jen
We could go on and on, but then the mascara would begin to run.
Joe, we will miss you! Congratulations on your retirement!
An interview with Joe: career reflections and retirement plans
With 26 years at Wendt and 41 years in the advertising industry, Creative Director Joe Stein has loads of wisdom to share. He’s also looking forward to retiring in Lincoln, Montana, for several reasons. Take a look at what we found out from Joe.
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.
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.
Q: What were some of the most memorable moments during your career?
J: Too many to count, but a few that stick out include
- Having the opportunity to travel the state for various clients capturing the beauty of Montana and its people on stills, film, and video.
- Seeing people grow professionally and really come into their own by mentoring them.
- Being recognized for my work in design and broadcast from various local, regional, and national organizations.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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’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.
Here are just a few highlights from Joe’s impressive resume:
Joe’s attention to detail has transformed our clients’ products and messages into award-winning creative elements.
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!
Please join us in welcoming our new graphic designer Jessica Billings to the agency!
We’ve already put Jessica to work in the creative department collaborating with the team in all stages of the design process, from conception and planning to completion. She provides art direction including layout, illustration, and graphic design. Jessica is also responsible for the design and development of digital creative for websites, social media, and online advertising.
Jessica earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design with an impressive 3.65 GPA from Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, in May 2016. She worked as the Senior Art Designer at Design Lab, a student-run design agency at Longwood University.
Want to learn more…Jessica Billings, Graphic Designer
Our Social Media Specialist Sarah Yoder is now a shareholder!
Sarah has been our Social Media Specialist/Account Manager at Wendt since 2010. She develops strategic social media plans that allow our clients to achieve success through real-time conversations with their audiences. Social media account setup and management, app creation, online reputation management, cat videos, memes, and sarcasm are all tools she utilizes to support our clients’ online marketing strategy goals.
Wendt became an employee-owned corporation in 1955 and we currently have nine employee owners. Sarah joins the other current Wendt shareholders: Brenda Peterson (CEO), Lorie Hager (CPA, CFO), Carol Kruger (Senior Vice President), Joe Stein (Creative Director), Johna Wilcox (Account Manager), Pam Bennett (Senior Media Planner/Buyer), Jennifer Fritz (Senior Account Manager), and Kara Smith (Associate Creative Director).
Of course, the ADDYs also give us the opportunity to get together with the other agencies from across Montana. Looking at all the amazing work created in our state during the last year, sharing the stories which drive our creativity and pondering the existence of mermaids at the Sip ‘n Dip all added up to a magical evening!