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Memorial Day Weekend 2016,As we ease into Memorial Day Weekend and the unofficial start of summer, it’s fun to talk about all of the plans being made, from family barbeques and trips to the lake to watching a ballgame and just relaxing in a hammock.

Based on some of the conversations I’ve had this week, here is a numerical snapshot of some Memorial Day Weekend plans:
35 – The number of people coming to a friend’s cabin. I wished him good luck and said someone should keep a journal of the weekend, and then read it next Memorial Day Weekend. And then burn it in the fire pit.

90 – Extra traffic time, in minutes, that one person is anticipating it will take them to get to the lake.

6 – The number of times that same person estimates they will threaten to pull the car over if their kids don’t start behaving.

1 – Bathing suits being packed by a family of five for the one child who just doesn’t care what the air or water temperature is.

4 – Bags of charcoal purchased by someone who plans to grill each and every meal all weekend long.

Thinking about Memorial Day Weekend, all of these numbers and what the holiday truly represents reminded me of some staggering numbers that my parents shared with me after their recent trip that included a stop at Normandy, France.

9,387 – The number of American Soldiers buried at Normandy American Cemetery. This is greater than most of the town populations in the lake regions many Minnesotans are heading to this weekend. Included in the 9,387 is a father and his son who are buried there side by side and 33 sets of brothers resting beside each other.

1,557 – The number of names of Soldiers inscribed on tablets in the cemetery’s Garden of the Missing. They came from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

14,000 – The approximate number of remains of Soldiers originally buried in this region that were returned home at the request of their next of kin.

These numbers are sobering, and humbling, yet they only represent one cemetery, from one campaign, in one of the many wars fought by U.S. Armed Forces.

While Memorial Day has become a time to relax and celebrate the start of summer with friends and family around the bonfire, it’s really about each and every one of the white headstones that seemingly stretch into the horizon forever in our national cemeteries.

It’s about those who never got a chance to sit an extra 90 minutes in traffic to get to the lake, or never had the privilege of being a grill sergeant for the weekend.

It’s about those who, instead, went off to a real war as a real Sergeant.

And about those who never made it home.

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“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”

– Chinese Proverb

Minnesota Fishing Opener 2016This is a special week. The 2016 Minnesota Fishing Opener is on Saturday, which is certainly one of the great traditions here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. I once heard a professional angler–who was quite the character–respond to a question about preparing for the fishing season with this answer:

“I start by taking all the tackle out of my tackle box. Next, I carefully spread it out across the floor so I can admire all of the different lures and various colors. Then I take a broom, sweep it up and throw it all away. After that, I jump in my truck and drive over to the bait shop to buy all new stuff.”

Judging by the lines at the local sporting goods stores this week, it appears quite a few people heeded his advice.

You can learn a great deal from fishermen and the timeless activity of fishing. Patience, waiting for the fish to bite, integrity and honesty by keeping only the fish you should. In fact, it was at opening weekend several years ago that I learned the six Ps: Proper, Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

During another opening day weekend, someone in our fishing party took a less experienced angler under his wing. With nothing more than serendipity, the duo landed on a hot spot where they quickly caught the walleye limit. That evening around the bonfire, the rest of us listened to this angler recite the Chinese Proverb about giving a fish versus teaching to fish. We were all happy the next day when he got skunked. We reminded him of his saying and pointed out that it’s called fishing– not catching– for a reason.

Success Starts with Education

Plenty of great memories and funny stories come from opening weekend. Looking back, our fishing partner was on to something. It really is about teaching versus giving. And that philosophy carries over to business each and every day. When working with customers, success often starts with educating. Many of our clients here at Prime tell us one of the reasons they enjoy doing business with us is because they learn something new every time we meet.

Like fishing, business takes patience, luck and even a combination of the six Ps. But just like fishing, it starts with someone willing to teach.

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05.08.16

Prime Team

Happy Mother’s Day from everyone at Prime Advertising.

We hope all moms have a fabulous day!

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Work Environment, Prime Advertising & DesignAs a recent college graduate working in the graphic design field, shifting into professional atmospheres with regular hours and demanding deadlines was possibly the strangest and most difficult transition I’ve made. With limited time and demanding clients, how do creative businesses host an environment suitable for artistic minds?

Companies across the nation are starting to make compelling shifts in work values, understanding the impact of a work environment on employee performance, which trickles down to client satisfaction. A recent review on HubSpot looks further into the big ideas of new “open” business environments.

 

1.  An open culture where there is a free exchange of ideas, information and the ability to push lots of boundaries in the office space.

2.  Recreating the workplace setting. Desk arrangements may rotate and employees are encouraged to move around and collaborate throughout the day.

3.  Here at Prime, we enjoy offsite BBQs, happy hour and bowling as well as onsite pizza parties, birthday celebrations and omelet stations. Creating a fun and relaxed environment allows minds to escape work and flow freely.

4.  Companies are introducing “themed” meeting rooms and break rooms–much like our cactus, palms, and aquarium rooms–where employees can interact and collaborate with each other and with clients in a fun, relaxed environment.

 

The review’s results found that workers have an easier time getting to know each other, providing a comfortable space for them to collaborate and express creativity. Employees appreciated the trust offered to them by company management and responded by doing their jobs exceptionally well.

Whether you’re an employee or an employer, be mindful of your current work environment. Here are two ideas we keep in mind at Prime to build and maintain a workspace that supports productivity, creativity and employee morale.

 

  • Attitude trickles down from ownership and management. If management isn’t comfortable with the office environment, employees won’t be either. We are always considering new ideas to continue building a more open and interactive office environment.
  • Be open to feedback from employees. Some people may love their personal office space and regularly scheduled hours while others may not. While there is nothing wrong with expecting employees to conform to an office culture, collecting feedback and suggestions can help us continue to build and maintain an open, creative work environment suitable for all employee values.

 

There are plenty of fun and simple ways to create a high-energy and creative work environment, whether it’s a shift in office layout or the addition of offsite and onsite activities. Get feedback and suggestions from employees and use these helpful starting points to begin building a desirable workplace!

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04.26.16

Prime Team

Elk River Volunteer of the Month, a legacy of volunteering, Prime Advertising & Design, April 2016Congratulations to Prime’s Vice President Marilyn Bina, who was recognized as the April Volunteer of the Month by the City of Elk River. Marilyn was honored at a recent Elk River City Council meeting and accepted her award from Elk River Mayor John Dietz (pictured here). The following are Marilyn’s words about her time spent volunteering in the community that she enjoys so much. Congratulations, Marilyn!

“Volunteering is in my blood. As a longtime Elk River resident, I have seen firsthand how volunteers help make the community a better place to live and work. Without volunteers helping our non-profits, they would be hard-pressed to meet the needs of residents in need of help. Volunteering is the least I can do to make Elk River a safe and wonderful place to live and raise a family.

As a volunteer, I served on the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce from 2011 to 2014 as well as on various other committees over the past several years. I also volunteered my time to serve on the Vestry (Church Council) of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Elk River for six years. This position involved the ministry of evangelism and marketing and included helping my church procure membership in the Elk River Chamber of Commerce. I enjoyed making sure my church supported Chamber events throughout the year, including the annual all-member fall event.

I also served as a member of the Holy Trinity Women’s Group, volunteering time with the CAER (Community Aid Elk River) Food Shelf, the Great River Family Promise and Open Doors for Youth. I devoted countless hours to projects for these causes, from putting together travel bags for the homeless to making sure Holy Trinity Episcopal Church provided non-perishable food items and other needed supplies for CAER throughout the years.

As a member of the Guardian Angels Board of Directors for eight years, I have been involved in the planning, organization and coordination of the Annual Gala during my time on the Gala Committee. The Annual Gala attracts over 400 people each year and helps raise funding for Guardian Angels. I have also enjoyed serving on the Fund Development Committee and have attended the monthly board meetings as well as volunteering on numerous committees of this fabulous Elk River community-wide organization.

Which causes and organizations are near and dear to your heart? I encourage you to give back by getting involved!”

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Happy Earth Day from all your friends at Prime Advertising.

Happy Earth Day

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From print ads and video shoots to logo and web design, American Auto-Body has been a Prime Advertising & Design client for decades. Matt Feehan recently stopped by the office to give an insightful testimonial of his experience working with our team.

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Tank, Office Dog, Prime Advertising & Design Team1.  The 35th member of our team does ZERO actual work. He prefers naps, belly rubs and occasionally chasing his bone if he’s really feeling energetic.

2.  Our owner Mark Murray and his mom Marilyn Bina helped get Maple Grove Days up and running back in the day. We won’t say how far back…but it’s pretty far back there.

3.  One of our team members dabbled in modeling and is the face of an Amish romance novel. For the sake of her kids’ reputation, I won’t name any names. 

4.  You know those community guides you receive in the mail? The ones that tell you when to put out your recycling and have those sweet coupons? We do those. We LOVE our fellow business owners & communities.

5.  We have an endless supply of little white mints and a Keurig in every meeting room. Makes for some solid brainstorming sessions.

6.  We just designed a logo for the award-winning cupcake shop in town. We’ve all had a sweet tooth ever since.

7.  Our diverse range of clients has helped us become experts on the coolest products and services. Did you know fake ice exists? And you can skate on it year-round?

8.  Our photography and video studio is always morphing for client shoots. From a mini hockey rink to a dental office, you never know what type of business you’ll walk into.

9.  Our creative noggins don’t shut off after we leave the office. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard “I woke up last night and thought of this awesome idea…”

10.  Our team does it all. Promo? Sure thing. Print? You got it. Fancy new website? No problem at all. Putting our dishes in the dishwasher at the end of the day? That’s another story…

Sounds pretty cool, right? Pay us a visit, munch on a mint and have a fresh cup of coffee on us.

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Final Four Lessons, Prime Advertising & DesignWater cooler talk in offices around the country was at a fever pitch these last couple of weeks as the NCAA basketball tournament has seen a little bit of everything. From last-minute wins to bracket-busting losses, the March Madness games have provided plenty of entertainment to excite even the most casual basketball fans. They have also provided plenty of lessons that can be applied to everyday business. Here are four key takeaways from the Highway to Houston as we head into the Final Four weekend.

1.  Expect the Unexpected

There have been plenty of upsets in this tournament. Even Jim Boeheim, head coach of the #10 Syracuse team, said he never expected to be in the Final Four. This is a team that started 0-4 in their conference, entered the tournament on a 1-5 slide and trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half against #1 Virginia in the Elite Eight. This team busted plenty of brackets and more than enough dreams. Nobody expected them to be where they are. But through good fortune and hard work, here they are at the doorstep of the biggest event in college basketball. Boeheim said, “Where you’re at is not important, it’s where you get to.” How many successful people do you know with a similar story?

2.  Never Say Never

Teams throughout this tournament were behind, some by as many as 12 points with 44 second left. But they came back and won. No deal is dead, no problem can’t be solved. I used to work for someone in the publishing business who said, “Any change can be made, any sale can be closed right up until the plates are on the press.” Even then, we often heard “Stop the press!” for that last ad or final editorial change. And the company was better and more profitable as a result.

3.  Let Your Stars Shine and Let Your Leaders Be Leaders

Oklahoma made it to the Final Four with their star player leading the charge. The heart and soul of all of the Final Four teams are seniors. When you have leadership and successful people on hand, let the thoroughbreds run.

4.  Establish Your Own Standards and Play Up to Them

As the tournament favorite, #1 North Carolina has been playing like champions. It’s important for teams and individuals, regardless of the competition, to bring their A game. Customers don’t want to settle and they shouldn’t have to. If your employees bring their best each and every day and live up to the motto, mission statement or mantra of the company, your organization will be a winner.

Sports teach participants and fans plenty of life lessons. The 2016 Final Four is loaded with them. Enjoy the games this weekend!

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Easter is the only time when you can put all your eggs in one basket & get away with it!
Happy Easter from all your friends at Prime Advertising.

 

Happy Easter

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