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How Values Strengthen Collaboration

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At the top-most northwest corner of Montana, nestled among dense forests of Douglas-fir, stretches a 90-mile-long reservoir — Lake Koocanusa. Before 1972, when the lake was formed, the Kootenai River would wreak havoc in this area and cause extensive flooding each spring. Floodwaters spanned across Montana, Idaho, and British Columbia. The United States and Canada recognized they had a mutual dilemma that threatened values which were important to both countries – the health and safety of their citizens. So, they collaborated to harness the Kootenai, creating the Koocanusa and thereby providing flood protection for all and harnessing hydroelectric power in the process. The name, Koocanusa, itself is a portmanteau of Kootenai, Canada, and USA. (Thank you, Alice Beers, of Rexford, Montana, whose winning contest entry named the lake.) 

Collaborations Always Strengthen Strategy

Collaboration is what allowed Canada and the U.S. to create a strategy and solve a shared problem. Collaboration is also what recently brought our team to the Wilderness Club Resort located on the banks of the Koocanusa for our annual retreat. That, and some much-earned R & R. Here at The Wendt Agency, one of our core brand pillars is that we are a team of free-thinking individuals collaborating to achieve success. But what does that mean? Why is collaborating essential to strengthening strategy? (Read how we produce superior creative when we collaborate with our clients here.)   

The answer is simple. Innovation thrives when teams work together to create solutions. Innovation, in turn, is what we bring in everything we deliver to our clients. Former Head of Innovation and Creativity at Disney, Duncan Wardle, puts it like this: “The moment you can transform my idea into our idea is the moment you accelerate its opportunity to get it done.”   

Defining Values that Inform Decisions

Incidentally, collaboration was a personal value a few of our team members identified about themselves during a Living into Your Values training exercise we participated in as a group at the retreat. Living into Your Values, created by Dr. Brené Brown, helps teams crystalize what they believe is important and teaches them to consider those values when setting intentions and making decisions. Integrity, growth, balance, and creativity were some other values mentioned in the session.  

When teams can honor each other’s values, it allows for barriers to dissolve and collaboration to happen. That’s when teams solve problems and create magic, like building lakes between nations!  

2021-10-13T16:24:12-06:00October 14th, 2021|Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

3 Tips to Successfully Market Your Small Business

Best practices for search engine optimization

Marketing your small business is crucial if you want to succeed. However, if you are like most small business owners, you are wearing many hats and it is hard to find the time. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet to have the best marketing plan for your small business. Consider the following to establish a successful marketing plan:

1. Know your Audience.

One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make is trying to reach everyone with their advertising. The truth is you don’t have what everyone desires. Once you have identified that target audience, explore further to understand them and how you can reach them in the most authentic way.

2. Create Goals and Objectives

You cannot measure your success if you are not setting your goals. Your goals should be SMART

Specific – Marketing goals should be very specific. Saying you want to improve your sales is vague. Saying you want to improve your sales 10% is clear.
Measurable – Have a tangible way of measuring your marketing goals. You will spend money on your marketing to increase your business. However, if you are not tracking the business, you will have no way to see if your goals are successful.
Attainable – Don’t set unrealistic goals. It is important to consider any limitations that might impede your goal.
Relevant – Make sure the goals are moving your business forward. There should be a real benefit attached to reaching your chosen objective.
Time – Set a timeline for when you are going to accomplish your goals. In the next 12 months, I want to increase my sales 10%.

3. Create a strong brand.

A brand is more than just a name, a logo, and colors. A brand is a promise to your customers that they can expect quality, reliability, and consistency from your business.

Small business owners often feel like they are alone on an island. If you struggle with communicating your business to the public, it’s time to seek professional guidance. At The Wendt Agency, we work with small businesses to become true partners to help clients establish a strong brand and understand their audience so that they can achieve and exceed their goals.

Want to gain more small business marketing insight? Sign up for our monthly newsletter The Wendt Word, where you’ll get marketing news, insights, and Wendt culture.

Kattie Meyer, Account Manager

The Wendt Agency

Before joining our team at The Wendt Agency, Kattie owned her own small lifestyle boutique, Motifs. Kattie understands the hardships that small business owners face. She handled all aspects of marketing her small business and adds that knowledge value to her clients.

2021-10-12T15:24:46-06:00September 29th, 2021|Industry Trends, Uncategorized, Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

Crisp Fall – Free Wallpapers

The morning air turns crisp while there is an undeniable change in the color of the leaves. Shorts and tank tops turn into sweaters and scarves. Pumpkin spice latte and burnt orange hues become the new standard. Fall has arrived, and we are so excited to enjoy every minute of it.

-The Wendt Agency

Click to download wallpapers:

2021-09-22T08:56:48-06:00September 16th, 2021|Uncategorized, Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

Powerfully Focused Marketing: Q & A with Our Senior Digital Designer

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At Wendt, we are a talented team of innovative specialists who strive for excellence. (If you wonder what’s it like to work at Wendt, hint: best job ever, check this out.) We caught up recently with Johnny Ewald, our Senior Digital Designer, for a little Q & A session. Johnny is an accomplished designer, animator, and audio-video artist and storyteller. He creates powerfully focused marketing that does more than just paint pretty pictures. From start to finish, he loves the entire creative process. For Johnny, being creative is what he loves most about his work. Read on as he shares his background and insights into recent industry trends.

Who is Johnny?

“I am a passionate person who puts a lot of thought into pretty much everything I do. There are many layers to me, but if someone were to describe me in five words or less, they would most likely be kind, funny, passionate, hard-working, and easy-going. I have a strong desire to be the best I can be in all aspects of my life, whether it’s creating online banner ads or landing a trophy brown trout on my fly rod. I can be a perfectionist in the sense that I can be hard on myself if I feel like I have failed. What I do know is that life is a journey, and I am still figuring it all out, but am continually open to learning as much as I possibly can and having as much damn fun as I can while doing it!”

What do You do for Wendt’s Clients?

“Being part of an entire team here at Wendt, I contribute to providing clients with Super Service by means of effective creative strategies and solutions. More specifically, I touch many parts of an overall project in the creative department. A few of these parts include digital HTML5 banner ads, creative concepts for TV spots, social media graphics, short video production, and motion graphics animations.”

In Your Field, What Trends Have You been Noticing? What Should Clients be Aware of?

“I have noticed that during the pandemic, what we are going through has transformed the way companies do business. Consumers have turned to e-commerce at an accelerated rate, and I think that a company that offers goods and services needs to keep aware of this trend and stay on top of digital marketing tactics to keep its target audience close. The opportunity for our clients to reach their customers through digital communications is at an all-time high and should be taken advantage of immediately in such a fast-moving landscape.”

You’ve been With Wendt for How Many Years? What do You Look Forward to About Your Work Each Day?

“I have been with The Wendt Agency since December 2017, so nearly four years. Wow! As the idiom goes, time flies when you are having fun! What I look forward to each day working for Wendt is that I get to challenge myself with a wide variety of projects. I enjoy working on multiple projects at once, with each project being completely different from one another. It’s fun to see my ideas at the very beginning of a new project mold into new ones throughout the entire creative process. Sometimes the initial idea becomes so transformed and manipulated during this time; it sometimes transcends the original idea, which can be really cool!”

If You Could Give a Piece of Advice to Your Future Self, What Would It be?

“Don’t be so hard on yourself, and never be afraid to fail! Stress is natural and does not control your life. Breathe, live happy, and remember always to stop and smell the roses!”

At Wendt, we are a team of free-thinking individuals collaborating to achieve success for our clients. To learn more about our team and how we create winning campaigns, reach out to us here. And be sure to sign up for Wendt Word, our monthly newsletter that shares our marketing insight, our expertise, and culture.

Johnny-Smile

Johnny Ewald, Senior Digital Designer

The Wendt Agency

2021-09-15T14:18:50-06:00September 14th, 2021|Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

What’s it Like to Work at Wendt? [Hint: Best Job Ever]

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Starting a new job is like going on a first date. The expectations of both parties can be pretty lofty. There may be some initial confusion. A moment of awkwardness. And more than one misadventure may be experienced by all, but, throughout the whole process, you can’t help wondering to yourself, “could this be the one?”

To work at Wendt is to be a part of a group of dedicated marketing professionals who hold themselves to high standards. We’ve been keeping ourselves to a high standard for over 90 years. Being the longest-established agency in Montana means that our expertise in knowing what drives our client’s customers to action is extensive. For us, we don’t just produce ads. We create ideas. We are constantly working closely with our clients to build lasting partnerships that are truly collaborative. You can read about one thing you need to know about great client collaborations here.  At the end of the day, when we look for new hires to join our team, we thoughtfully look for innovative individuals who can bring creative excellence to their work and who strive to be sincere relationship builders.

What’s it Like to Work at Wendt?

At Wendt, we love what we do, we exist in possibility, and we strive for the next level. Our office is informal and very creative. We each have a music day where we get to share our favorite playlists, and we all stop what we’re doing to take a moment and play with whatever office pup has joined us for the day. On random afternoons you might find us having drinks and snacks in the common area celebrating a coworker’s new home purchase. And in the summertime, we take a hard-earned annual employee retreat, where we recharge our creative batteries. Some of us have been here for decades, and some of us are in our first year, but we all hold ourselves to embodying our brand pillars.

  • Everything we do is with integrity.
  • We provide Super Service.
  • We are innovative.
  • We create strategies and solutions that build connections.
  • We are a team of free-thinking individuals collaborating to achieve success.
  • We believe in partnerships with our clients and with each other.
  • We have a proud history that gives us knowledge and experience.
  • We are proactive in an ever-changing environment.

We are always looking for talented, curious, passionate individuals eager to be a part of our award-winning team. Could this be you? To learn more, check out our current openings here. Not finding what you’re looking for? Reach out and tell us why you think you would be an excellent fit for our team.

2021-08-26T13:04:07-06:00August 27th, 2021|Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

One Thing You Need to Know About Great Client Collaborations

Best practices for search engine optimization

Is effective collaboration a predictor of campaign success? We like to think so. Generating creative that is meaningful and provides value to the consumer, while meeting the client’s expectations, takes input from all parties involved. We’ve learned that the best client collaborations happen when you have an engaged client and an innovative team that are open to ideas and partnership.  So, what’s the one thing you need to know about great client collaborations? It can lend itself to producing superior creative.

We recently had the opportunity to develop new creative messaging for the Montana Lottery’s Big Sky Bonus game — a Montana-only game that offers a state-wide progressive jackpot. For this campaign, we produced a collaborative commercial, both our agency and the Montana Lottery team were excited to have created together.

Collaborating with Clients to Make Magic Happen

Having worked with the Montana Lottery for the past seven years, we have a history of launching successful campaigns for them. (Read about our recent Montana Lottery: Mega Millions – Always Big Communicator Awards and Telly wins here.) The process for the Big Sky Bonus piece was just the most recent example of a very collaborative effort between our team and the Montana Lottery, from the conceptual phase through production of the commercial. In this instance, the Lottery team had a vision for creating a “winner’s factory” that showcases the high number of winners being created. Our team took that vision and ran with it to bring the concept to life.

We created a “Willy Wonka” style Big Sky Bonus factory that magically made winners for the commercial. The production itself was complex and required a depth of planning. It involved a mix of practical props and special effects. The location was also key in making the concept come to life. We had to find a unique setting with dynamic architecture and interesting angles for filming. The resulting commercial was a playful creation that delights viewers.

Great client collaborations like this one develop easily when you have two teams working towards a shared vision. As a creative agency, it’s our job to dive in and work with the client to flesh out concepts that drive strategy. It’s also our job to take our client’s ideas and turn them into magic. And magic is what happens when teams are open to ideas, open to collaboration, and open to partnerships.

2021-08-12T13:45:16-06:00August 11th, 2021|Clients, Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

3 Reasons Your Company Should Send Out a Monthly Email

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Email newsletters are an essential component of effective marketing for any business. A massive bonus of marketing with a newsletter is that your customers have to opt in to receive communication, so you are already sending it to a captive audience that wants more information about your business. Check out our top 3 reasons to send out a monthly newsletter.

  1. Connect with your Customer. Monthly email communication is the perfect way to connect with your customer and keep your business top-of-mind. Customers want to connect with companies and brands they like, and they especially like being the first to know information, hence why people love insider newsletters. Giving customers an opportunity to connect with you will also help establish trust and create brand ambassadors. If you’re informing while also selling, you’re building a long-term relationship.
  2. Drive Sales. People are impulsive, and including an incentive like a coupon, special promotion, or call to action (Call us now!) can be precisely what the reader needs to take action. When crafting your email think about it as a vehicle for driving sales and creating new opportunities with your customers.
  3. Demonstrate Expertise. When you take time and effort to send a regular email newsletter, you show not only your ability to write and creatively craft an email, but you also convey your expertise. It is okay to brag a little about your services, successes, and simply why they should choose you. This will establish yourself as a strong industry leader and show why your skills or products are superior.

At Wendt, we recently went through the process of reinventing our newsletter. We dug into data and insights to help inform us what our readers were seeking. A newsletter is an extension of your brand, making it imperative that you give it a name. The new title of our newsletter is the Wendt Word, where you can expect to find marketing news, expertise, and a glimpse into Wendt culture. Sign up to receive it in your inbox here!

If you are looking for e-newsletter inspiration, we highly recommend checking out reallygoodemails.com, which provides great insights and examples of the best emails companies are putting out. With 306.4 billion emails sent and received daily in 2020 (source: Statista), you don’t want to be the only one that is not marketing your brand via email.

Kattie Meyer, Account Manager

The Wendt Agency

2021-07-27T13:25:16-06:00July 28th, 2021|Industry Trends, Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

Improving Your Website’s SEO, Part 2

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In part one of this blog series, I addressed methods in planning your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy, including keyword research, freshening up your content, ranking higher in search results, and copywriting dos and don’ts. But did you know that great content isn’t the only factor in ranking higher in search engines? Other factors that may be holding back the SEO results you are looking for include old content, such as dead pages, and not having an optimized, fast loading website. Let’s discuss what happens when a page has been deleted or is no longer relevant, but still can affect your rankings, and how the overall performance of your website affects SEO.

Cleaning up Old Content

What happens when you remove a page, post, or sell out of a product, or even change the URL of a page? The page, post, or item can still appear in search results because it was indexed but will become a dead link. This means people will still be able to click on the link but will instead visit a page that no longer exists. Think of it as a zombie. It’s still alive and it can potentially hurt you. Having too many dead pages in search results leads to link rot, which is just as lethal as it sounds. Link rot will likely turn away potential visitors or customers from looking further at your site, much like fleeing survivors of the apocalypse. That’s why it’s a good idea to audit pages or posts that are no longer available, whether they’ve been removed, or there’s been a change to the URL structure. You don’t need a hatchet to fight these living dead links, but you can easily combat them without even breaking a sweat or running for shelter. Just use redirects, which take the visitor to another page that provides similar or refreshed information. Apocalypse averted!

If you’re using a WordPress website, download the Redirection plugin or Yoast SEO Premium, which generate redirects based on any changes in a page’s URL structure and allow you to create custom redirects. A 301 redirect is used for a page that has been moved permanently and is no longer available and can direct traffic to a page with similar information. These are the most important type of redirects that can have the most impact on your SEO. If you have a lot of pages that have been removed and aren’t redirected, you could create a fun and innovative 404 error page. That way instead of visitors feeling like they reached a page by mistake, you can provide a game or interactive feature; so, they feel it was worth the time to accidentally land on a missing page.

Your Website’s Overall Performance

Having well-written and informative content is a huge help with ranking higher in search engine results, but search algorithms also take into consideration the speed of your website. Therefore, a holistic approach, or improving all aspects of your website, is a great way to rank higher and get more conversions. If your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, not only will you potentially lose visitors, but also inadvertently drive them towards your competition. Also, having a website optimized for mobile devices is another factor that search engines consider. To test how fast your website is, use free online tools such as GTmetrix.com and Google’s PageSpeed Insights. If you have a lot of images, pages, or plugins on your website, here are a few resources that can help optimize the performance of your website.

  1. Plugin audits – if you’re using a WordPress website, look at the list of plugins that are installed and whether they are necessary or were left over during the development phase. Since plugins contain JavaScript, even when deactivated, they can still slow a site down. Delete those that you don’t need to help save some loading time.
  2. Caching plugins – cache is temporarily stored data that your computer stores and uses to access files quickly. This is great for website’s that aren’t frequently updated, however if you’re actively updating content, use a plugin to automatically clear the site’s cache daily. Or simply clear the cache with the click of a button when you make updates to serve up the most recent version of your website. Some plugins I recommend are W3 Total CacheWP Fastest Cache, and WP Rocket.
  3. Image Compression – if you aren’t properly resizing images before uploading them to your website, then larger images will load slowly on the front end, leading to a decrease in the overall load time of the site. Photoshop is a great tool for resizing and compressing images, but there is also free online software that’s simple to use such as imagecompressor.com and tinypng.com. If you don’t have time to compress all of the images on your site and re-upload them, you can add a plugin such as Smush Pro, which compresses all previously uploaded images as well as every image that’s uploaded while the plugin is active.
  4. Content Delivery Network – a CDN is great way to improve speed by serving the website on networks closest to your visitors. For example, if your hosting server is in California and a lot of your traffic comes from the east coast; the website will take longer to load the further a visitor is away. By using a CDN, such as Cloudflare, your website will be served faster and from a closer location.
  5. Hosting plan – if your site is still loading slowly after trying these steps, check your hosting plan. As a site expands over time and you’re locked into a smaller hosting plan, it’s time to upgrade the storage. Most plans increase by about $20 per package. If you have an active website and plan to stick around, it’s well worth the investment to upgrade.

A great looking, well performing website with useful information is the best way to satisfy your user’s needs on all levels. By auditing pages, plugins, and optimizing the performance of your website, you can deliver a much more satisfactory product that will also improve the overall user experience, and that’s a goal we all strive for.

Justin Porter, UX/UI Designer

The Wendt Agency

2021-07-14T09:57:22-06:00July 14th, 2021|Industry Trends, Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

18 Awards That Set Wendt Apart

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The 42nd Annual Telly Awards and the 27th Annual Communicator Awards have been announced, and The Wendt Agency is the proud recipient of 18 wins. Our team is pleased to be recognized for the innovative creative work and strategy we provide our clients. And, while the awards are certainly an honor and recognition of our work, for us, it goes even deeper. These awards of distinction reflect the passion we have for seeing our clients succeed.

“Wendt’s clients’ needs and expectations are always our number one goal, so winning both Telly and Communicator Awards in addition to creating success for our clients, is truly special,” said Kara Smith, Creative Director.

Kara Smith, Creative Director

The Wendt Agency

Considered one of the largest and most competitive awards programs of its kind in the world, the Communicator Awards distinguishes creative excellence among marketing and communications professionals. The Wendt Agency won four Communicator Awards of Excellence and nine Awards of Distinction. Awards of Excellence are the highest honor given to entrants whose ability to communicate is the best in the field. Awards of Distinction are presented for projects that exceed industry standards in quality and achievement.

Established in 1979, the Telly Awards receive over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents. The Wendt Agency won one gold, two silver, and two bronze Telly Awards.

Wendt’s winning campaigns were created in partnership with Achieve Montana, Central Montana, Helena Convention and Visitors Bureau, Montana Department of Transportation, Montana Farmers Union, and Montana Lottery.

Communicator Awards — 13 Wins!

Montana Lottery: “Mega Millions – Always Big” TV

  • Use of Humor
  • Award of Excellence

Montana Farmers Union: “Food Security for Us” Campaign

  • Integrated Campaign
  • Award of Excellence

Achieve Montana: Achieve Montana Website

  • Financial Services
  • Award of Excellence

Montana Farmers Union: “Food Security for Us” Website

  • Activism
  • Award of Excellence

Montana Department of Transportation: “Buckle Up Truck” TV

  • Causes & Awareness
  • Award of Distinction

Montana Lottery: “Mega Millions – Always Big” TV

  • Entertainment/ Amusement
  • Award of Distinction

Montana Lottery: “Mega Millions – Always Big” TV Shorts

  • Consumer Products & Services
  • Award of Distinction

Central Montana: “Field Trip” Campaign

  • Promotional
  • Award of Distinction

Montana Farmers Union: “Food Security for Us” Campaign

  • Marketing Effectiveness
  • Award of Distinction

Montana Lottery: Ford Payout Scratch Game Campaign

  • Marketing Effectiveness
  • Award of Distinction

Montana Farmers Union: Food Security Video

  • Social Responsibility
  • Award of Distinction

Montana Farmers Union: Food Security Video

  • Activism
  • Award of Distinction

Helena Convention and Visitors Bureau: “Safety First” Outdoor

  • Advertising Campaign
  • Award of Distinction

Telly Awards — 5 Wins!

Montana Farmers Union: “Food Security for Us” Video

  • Branded Content
  • Gold

Montana Department of Transportation: “Buckle Up Truck” TV

  • Public Service/PSA
  • Silver

Montana Lottery: “Mega Millions – Always Big” TV

  • Use of Comedy
  • Silver

Learn More

Want to learn more about how we create winning campaigns for our clients? Reach out to us, here. And sign up for our monthly newsletter, here.

2021-06-23T12:02:17-06:00June 23rd, 2021|Industry Trends, Wendt Buzz, Work|0 Comments

Endless Summer – Free Wallpapers

Outside is calling. Kids are selling homemade lemonade on the corner for 50 cents. The sound of lawnmowers in the neighborhood roar a bit too early in the morning. And new adventures are waiting to be experienced. Summer is officially here, and we couldn’t be more excited to enjoy every minute of it.
– Go for it!

 

-The Wendt Agency

Click to download wallpapers: