A Few of Our Favorite Things

For Valentine’s Day, we wanted to share some things that we love—from health and beauty items to entertainment, we hope you’ll find something new to try and love this February.

While we all had our favorite items, topping the favorites list are talking with mom, working on the ranch, being able to take notes on our phones, pit bulls and spending time with our families. And, don’t forget Oklahoma State football and the OKC Thunder.

Entertainment

For the Home

For the Office

Health and Beauty

Other

 
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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Kanban to the Rescue

Use Trello to organize anything and everything.

Trello is a simple but powerful visual tool for organizing, managing, and tracking team or individual tasks. At AcrobatAnt, our favorite setup for using Trello is known as a Kanban board. Originally developed at Toyota to improve manufacturing efficiency, Kanban boards are commonly used today in agile software development.

Kanban boards are made up of lists of cards. Each individual task is assigned to a card and then pulled from left to right between lists as work progresses from an outstanding task to completed item. The simplest Kanban boards we’ve seen include lists for To DoDoing and Done. Most of the time, we’ve found it helpful to also add lists for HoldReady and Test.

Lists within a standard AcrobatAnt Trello board (from left to right):

  1. To Do: The initial bucket of things to do. This is the backlog of all of the outstanding issues in the project. New issues are added here.
  2. Hold: Something is blocking this task from being pulled through the system. Another task needs to be completed first, a stakeholder needs to weigh in, etc.
  3. Ready: This card is ready. Nothing stands in the way of work being started!
  4. Doing: Work is underway! The task is actively being worked on.
  5. Test: The initial work for the task is finished, but it still needs to be checked for quality and completeness. In software development, this is where quality assurance happens; for copy, this is where the text should be proofed. When issues are found, the card should be moved back to a previous step in the process for additional revisions/work.
  6. Done: This is for when a task on a card is done. The task has been completed and tested to ensure that it is truly complete.

Here is an example board using household chores as the tasks that need to be completed.

Kanban is different from other project management strategies because there is no set period of time in which a project phase must be completed. Instead, Kanban uses the continuous delivery of updates to create constantly progressing products and projects. This can be difficult to reconcile with a hard deadline for the initial launch of a project. At AcrobatAnt, we use additional tools for task management and time-tracking in conjunction with our Trello boards so that Kanban becomes a process within our larger project management strategy.

In the end, using a Trello Kanban board is a great way to organize, manage and visually display the state of a complex project, like launching a new website, at any given moment.

If you would like to learn more about Kanban, Trello or agile project management, contact Ryan at 918-949-3109 or [email protected].

The following articles are also great resources to learn more about Kanban and/or Trello:

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Ant Q&A: David Downing

David Downing
Owner, Account Service Director

How would you describe your job?
I’m one of the “guys in a suit” (when we used to wear suits) who provides good, sound communications counsel to clients and manages the client relationship. Then I make sure everything gets completed on time and on budget. It needs an even-brained person—just enough right-side to know and appreciate excellent creative work and plenty of left side for planning, strategy, research, etc. The in-between is kinda like herding cats.

You’ve been in this business for a long time. What keeps you so enthused about coming to work every day?
Yeah, I’ve been at it nearly 40 years because I truly love this crazy business. I love seeing brands built. I love seeing successes happen for our clients. I love mentoring the young account people coming up in the business. I love watching the technology evolve. Plus, I’m having too much fun to retire.

What projects/activities do you pursue outside of agency work?
I serve on the board of a non-profit called The Janada Batchelor Foundation for Children, a.k.a. MainSprings. This organization is dedicated to eliminating extreme poverty in Tanzania. I spend a good deal of weekend time at the family ranch in northeastern Oklahoma, where I (attempt to) manage the land for the deer and wild turkey populations. Plus, there’s always a project to be done on 330+ acres. My wife and I have been decades-long season ticket holders/supporters of Tulsa Ballet Theater, and also regularly attend performances of the Tulsa Philharmonic and Tulsa Opera. You’ll also see me at concerts of those classic rock bands of the ‘70s when they come through town (Eagles, Billy Joel, Rush, Moody Blues, Paul McCartney, to name a few) and in Stillwater on game day, because we’re OSU season ticket holders. We also travel abroad pretty regularly with our four grown kids.

Give us six fun facts about David Downing:

  1. My high school football team won back-to-back big-school state championships in 1974 and 1975.
  2. I was a walk-on college football player at Oklahoma State University. I also threw javelin for the track team.
  3. I play drums, sorta.
  4. I successfully spearheaded an initiative to create a statewide high school for the visual and performing arts.
  5. I’m obsessed with my Downing genealogy and am currently tracing it back as far as possible.
  6. I’m equally comfortable sitting in a tree stand in the woods or in the audience at the ballet.

 

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising 
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Celebrating the Holidays—Ant-style

Over the years, AcrobatAnt has developed some unique holiday traditions—a good blend of fun and heartfelt, silly and serious.

Secret Santa

In early November, we draw names for a Secret Santa gift exchange that takes place at our annual Christmas party. Why draw names so early? Because our tradition is that each gift must be handcrafted in some way and personalized to the recipient. Sometimes the gifts are touching, sometimes silly and sometimes downright bizarre, but they’re always highly creative.
Senior Art Director Dell Chambers, with a custom clock modeled after himself.

12 Days of Christmas

Everyone knows the traditional “Twelve Days of Christmas” song. The Ants deliver something a little less-than-traditional on each of those 12 days, e.g., Crazy Sock Day, Ugly Sweater Day, Twinsday, Why-Is-This-In-My-Closet Day and, of course, Pajama Day. Every year we mix it up with new themes, so be sure to follow us on Facebook or Instagram to bear witness to this year’s shenanigans.
Ants showing their pride and cool graphic tees.

Seeing double for Twinsday!

Craft-building at The Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis

One of the privileges of working with Saint Francis Health System is the annual opportunity to share an afternoon with some of the greatest kids you’ll ever meet—at The Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis. Creating Christmas ornaments and other holiday decorations with patients and their parents is a wonderful experience and a great way to get into the real spirit of the season.
Account Coordinators Rachael Cervenka and Jennifer Hardgrave crafting with a patient from The Children’s Hospital.

Supporting Women In Recovery

The holiday season is all about giving, so one of our favorite traditions each year is making Christmas a little more special for those in the Women In Recovery outpatient rehabilitation program. Donations by the Ants help many of these women afford Christmas gifts for their children and essential items for themselves. A Family and Children’s Services program, Women In Recovery is operated in partnership with The George Kaiser Family Foundation.
Hot chocolate and bonding with some members of Women in Recovery.

The Ant family wishes you and your family the best holiday ever.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

IP Targeting—Leveraging Your List

We have all heard the expression “right person, right message, right time” when it comes to developing effective marketing strategies. With great lists and on-target messaging, direct mail can still be a viable tactic to include in your communications mix. Because direct mail falls short when it comes to message frequency, including it as part of a multi-tactic plan is needed to be effective. Unfortunately, other mass media tactics often fall short when it comes to being able to precisely target messaging to an audience.

Most companies spend valuable time and money to ensure that their direct mail audience list is as targeted as possible to help improve conversions. It is now possible to take that exact mailing list, with names and physical addresses, and target the same households digitally; IP targeting. This technique allows you to add frequency of message to your already targeted prospects to improve conversions more than direct mail alone.

If you have been in the marketing world for a while, you are probably familiar with the Rule of 7. The marketing Rule of 7 states that a prospect needs to hear your message at least seven times before they’ll take action. In today’s cluttered marketing landscape and bombardment of messages, it will likely take more than seven impressions to be noticed and make an impact on your target consumer. Another benefit of IP targeting is being able to deliver targeted, frequent impressions to reinforce the message to the prospect, who also received the same message via direct mail.

Digital impressions are viewed while prospects are engaged in their daily digital activity; checking their stocks, reading the news, exploring social media, etc. That being said, to get the most out of IP targeting, it is important to (1) serve enough impressions to each household to be noticed over a period of time and (2) utilize remarketing to engage those who have shown interest after they leave your site. The prospect may not have time to complete the action immediately, so reminding them that they were interested may encourage a conversion when they are not actively engaged elsewhere online.

If you would like to learn more about IP targeting, remarketing, list acquisition or direct mail, contact Angela at 918-938-7912 or via email.

See our results from an IP targeting + direct mail campaign by reading this case study.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Ant Q&A: Dana Jacobs

Dana Jacobs
Digital Producer

Describe your role as digital producer and its importance to clients.
As a digital producer, I handle all things social media. Depending on the client, that includes writing copy, shooting and selecting photography, creating graphics, planning and executing ad campaigns, responding to customers and reporting analytics.

How has previous career and/or academic experience prepared you for your work here?
In my first job out of college, as a marketing coordinator, I had the opportunity to learn how to use the Adobe Creative Suite and gain a working knowledge of the different programs. In my second job, as a data marketing analyst, I was able to expand my knowledge in the analytics world. My current role is a perfect combination of the two, in that I am creating content for social media and measuring how well it performs.

You just celebrated your one-year Ant-iversary. What do you like about working at AcrobatAnt?
I really enjoy the people here. It’s just a great group of creative people who inspire me to work harder and learn new things to expand my skill set and become more creative. Everyone works as a team and works hard, but they also like to hang out and have fun outside of work, which is a great plus.

You like music and traveling. What are your five favorite concerts and five favorite places you’ve visited, in order?

  1. The Lumineers (second tour)
  2. The Lumineers (first tour)
  3. Mumford and Sons at Gentlemen of the Road
  4. Green Day
  5. Rebelution
  1. New York City, NY
  2. New Orleans, LA
  3. Portland, ME
  4. Washington, D.C.
  5. Austin, TX

What’s so great about your dog?
Everything, but here are a few particulars: He’s a golden retriever, so he has to say hello to every person everywhere we go and there isn’t a single person on the planet whom he doesn’t love immediately. We taught him how to give hugs, high-fives and how to sit in chairs, so it’s not uncommon for him to join us if we’re sitting at the dinner table.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Ants Get LinkedIn at Talent Connect

AcrobatAnt Account Supervisors Angela Harless and Audrey Chambers attended the recent LinkedIn Talent Connect 2017 conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

In today’s business world, recruiting, branding and marketing continue to converge into a single unified strategy to reach business goals. The theme of this conference, “Where Instincts and Insights Meet,” was reinforced through many excellent keynote presentations and breakout sessions. Here are our Top Ten takeaways:

1) 76 percent of candidates want to know the recruiter before applying because they:

      • Feel they can get a leg-up on the hiring process
      • Can get an inside view of the company
      • Can better stand out as a candidate
      • Can see if the recruiter is qualified to recruit for their skillset

What would key candidates find when researching your recruiters?

2) 90 percent of people on LinkedIn have indicated that they are open to new opportunities, while 63 percent say they feel flattered when approached by a recruiter or company with a position that is a good fit for them.

3) Ed Nathanson’s session about the importance of using humor and heart in content was a great reminder that recruiting and content marketing go together. He reminded us that consumers (even candidates) use emotion to purchase: “Positive emotions toward a brand have greater influence on loyalty than trust and other judgments, which are based on brand attributes.” His takeaway: Think about your employees, how/why they do what they do, and use that to drive emotion and authentic communications. These emotions can make online content go viral:

4) Goat yoga is awesome. We’d heard that Nashville had goat yoga, knew we had to try it and are so glad we did. We stretched and strengthened, had lots of laughs and got walked on by baby goats. Thanks for a unique experience, Shenanigoats.

5) A big part of successful recruiting is collaboration across an organization to build the brand. One company that understands this is Heineken, which created a great interview and recruiting video that stays true to its brand while enticing audiences through interactive and unique content. Take a few minutes and start The Interview.

6) Brene Brown’s presentation was equally inspirational and challenging. We could write pages of takeaways about courage, vulnerability, leadership and gratitude, but we’ll limit it to a few quotes that should inspire you to listen to her TED talks or grab one of her books:

        • Vulnerable systems are different than vulnerable relationships. We don’t want vulnerable systems, but we need vulnerable relationships.
        • Vulnerability is about showing up. It’s having the courage to show up and be seen even when we have no control over the outcome. It’s not weakness. It’s the foundation of courage.
        • If you’re brave, you will get your butt kicked.
        • It’s not the critic who counts. If you aren’t in the arena getting your butt kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.
        • The Four Pillars of Courage are Vulnerability, Clarity of Values, Trust and Rising Skills.
        • Reality-check the story that you tell yourself. Your brain always wants a story; it’s the way we are wired. When faced with an uncomfortable situation, say to yourself: “The story I’m making up right now is…”

7) If you are trying to get people to relocate to your small town for a position, communicate your culture. What makes your location different? Where does it win out and how can it compete with other markets (traffic, cost of living, weather, etc.). Talk to people who have relocated to your company and/or area; their unique insights could help determine your points of differentiation, which include people, culture and location. How can you use points of differentiation to tell a story that sets your brand apart? Inspire people with your love for your town and your company.

8) LinkedIn knows how to throw a party. #NashvilleNights at #TalentConnect was one of the best conference events that we’ve had the privilege to attend. They wanted us to experience “Music City” to its fullest and even provided acoustic performers on the bus transportation to downtown Nashville. Once we arrived, there was an abundance of live music, food, drinks, saloons, activities, and plenty of photo ops and fun. We sang karaoke, screenprinted our own T-shirts and two-stepped with new friends from LinkedIn.

9) Sarah Wagener from Pandora reminded us to follow our instincts when it comes to career-defining moments. Data and insights only go so far—following your insights can lead to a fulfilling career.

10) LinkedIn is developing some exciting new tools that utilize membership data to leverage talent surplus, compare talent between organizations and source candidates. One new platform, Talent Intelligence, will provide the data needed to help leverage and support instincts for more efficient recruiting. We’re excited to get access to this new tool on behalf of our clients in the coming months.

Talent Connect 2017 was a great event and we look forward to utilizing these insights to improve our clients’ branding and recruiting strategies.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Ant Q&A: Audrey Chambers

Audrey Chambers
Account Supervisor

Trace your work history leading up to your employment at AcrobatAnt.
I started working when I was 15 years old and really haven’t stopped. After graduating from Oklahoma State University, I accepted a position in Human Resources at the Walmart home office in Bentonville, Arkansas. I later moved to Recruiting and ended my time there in Marketing. It was an amazing learning experience, but I knew I didn’t want to stay there forever, so I took a job as an advertising agency account director and stayed there for a few years. I was in northwest Arkansas for a total of seven years before I made my way back home to Oklahoma. I’ve been at the Ant farm since 2011.

How would you describe your job?
I used to say I see my job as relationship-building, which is still a very important aspect, but it’s not the only piece of the puzzle. I now realize a large part of my job is to make everyone’s lives easier, which I do in many ways—mostly in how I communicate, both internally and externally. I feel it’s my responsibility to take stress off of my clients by delivering great work and being strategic. I try to do the same for the creative team by clearly communicating objectives so we can find the best solution together. I’m the middle-man, the last line of defense, the one held accountable for everything, and I don’t take this responsibility lightly. It’s a delicate balance of organization and remaining calm for the immediate needs, but also looking ahead to see how those things will affect the future. I have to be adaptable and ready for anything!

Why did you get into advertising?
I like the thrill of it, the variety of work and the things I get to do on a daily basis. I also feel like it is a field that helps me utilize some of my strengths. Plus, I get to work with some really amazing people. I’ve learned so much over the years and I enjoy that growth. It’s still work, but it’s a fun industry to be a part of, for sure.

What inspires you at work?
I love having an idea and seeing it brought to life in a very tangible, creative way. I am particularly inspired by the people we interview for the Saint Francis Health System account. We have the opportunity to feature real doctors, nurses, volunteers and patients in ads, and their stories are incredible. I feel so fortunate just to visit with them and learn about life. These people have shared some really special moments with us—why a doctor or nurse chooses the medical profession, what it’s like for a mother to see her child suffer with an illness. Their stories move me and make me proud to work on the account.

What inspires you outside of work?
Life! I am a lover of life, food, adventure and my people. I really enjoy traveling to see new things and opening my mind to the big, beautiful world out there. I plan all of my vacations (and my life schedule in general) around good food, and my husband loves it, too. I love my amazing friends and family who challenge me to be better, laugh with me and help me keep everything in perspective. And my kids, Nola and Kai, inspire me on a regular basis. At the end of it all, I’m just trying to make a positive difference.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising 
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Ant Q&A: Matt O’Meilia

MattOmeilia

Matt O’Meilia
Senior Copywriter

How would you describe your job?
My job is fast-paced, demanding and challenging. On any given day, I change gears frequently to adjust to the unique brand personality of each client. So, there’s a lot of variety, both in the types of clients and the things each client needs: ads, brochures, web copy, direct mail, TV and radio copy, short copy, long copy, clever copy, serious copy. Whatever it is, about 99 percent of the time it is HOT copy.

What projects/activities do you pursue outside of agency work?
I play drums in a couple of bands, play guitar when I have time and try to keep in shape by walking, running, biking, and playing golf and tennis.

What kind of music do you like best?
I grew up playing rock and roll, mostly, but I’ve grown to love playing any music that is good, whether it’s rock, jazz, blues, country, folk—any music played with actual musical instruments. I prefer to listen to and play a wide variety of stuff, and the people I tend to play with have similarly varied tastes.

Why did you get into advertising?
With two degrees and seven years of college under my belt, I was ready to become the greatest English teacher in the world, moonlighting as a bestselling author. Eventually I lowered my sights to any job that would enable me to move out of my parents’ house. A friend told me about an ad agency looking for someone with an English degree to be a copywriter. I didn’t know what a copywriter was, but I had an English degree. I applied and got the job. This was in September 1988, when we were still using typewriters and Wite-Out. Now I know what a copywriter is.

How is copywriting different than other types of writing, and what do you like about it?
As I see it, copywriting has three objectives, in this order: get the reader to feel something, learn something and then do something, e.g., make a call, visit a website, order now. Any other writing I do outside of work—letters, songs, books—typically has only the first two objectives. What I like about copywriting is that it challenges me to quickly process a lot of information and boil it down to a simple message containing the fewest words possible. It’s great exercise for any writer. I can make a living as a copywriter, too, which is another thing I like about it.

What do you wish every client knew about copywriting?
The time it takes to compose thoughts and the time it takes to physically type those thoughts on the page/screen are two radically different things.

Anything you want to add about your job or yourself?
I’ve already revealed far more than the world needs to know.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Wacky Wednesdays at the Ant Farm

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the Ants start the day with a brief meeting that we call “huddle.” Our employees are split into groups of three or four and a different group leads huddle each week. Each huddle begins with announcements and ends with an activity. The theme of the activity varies depending on the day of the week. Wednesdays, in particular, are always of the wacky variety.

Wacky Wednesday activities can range everywhere from a few rounds of hangman or Pictionary to an afternoon ice cream social to beat the heat in mid-July. And when big events are approaching, Wednesdays get even wackier—evidenced by our Superbowl “tailgate,” complete with a mini-cornhole tournament and our March Madness mini-basketball shootout.

From group coffee runs to the café next door to participating in chair yoga sessions or watching a compilation of funny YouTube videos, the possibilities for Wacky Wednesday are endless. All wackiness aside, huddle is a great way to get our employees engaged and excited for the day ahead.