Happy Fathers Day!

06.17.16

Prime Team

Happy Father’s Day to all those very special men out there! As a celebration for all the special dads who sculpted the team at Prime Advertising, we put together a fun collage filled with memories to commemorate them on the wonderful job they’ve done raising us, loving us and so much more.  Whether they left too soon or are still with us today, we will continue to cherish and celebrate the memories shared.

Happy Father’s Day once more from all of us here at Prime Advertising & Design!

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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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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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first impressions, Prime Advertising & DesignI recently started working out at a gym in Maple Grove after work. A couple weeks ago, I decided to burn a few calories at another location near my home in Eden Prairie. From the moment I swiped my card and opened the door, something seemed a little off. Was it the harsh industrial lighting? The messy restroom? The dated fitness equipment?

It wasn’t enough to deter me from jumping on the treadmill, but I couldn’t shake the slight feeling of unease. As I finished up my workout, it hit me like a 45-pound barbell dropped on an unprotected foot. No music. Instead of soft, upbeat tunes trickling in over the ceiling speakers, the silence at this location was only broken by the heavy breathing of workout warriors and the dull thud of weights hitting the ground.

First impressions cannot be overstated. For an on-the-fence client, a favorable experience at your office is a surefire way to tip the scales in your favor.

Here at Prime, you can expect pleasant music, a steaming cup of coffee and a warm smile from Suzanne, our receptionist. As you prepare for your meeting, check out our comfy leather chairs and our fun meeting room names–Aquarium, Cactus, Palms, Summit. Be sure to ask for a tour to meet our office dog, Tank!

What is the atmosphere like at your office? What are your clients’ first impressions? Are they excited to come back for follow-up meetings?

From the attitude and attire of your staff to the lighting and furniture in your conference room, every little detail adds to the overall tone of your company. Don’t settle for an office that reminds clients of a factory or a correctional facility. Warm and welcoming first impressions put clients at ease and lead to fruitful business partnerships!

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02.25.16

Nick Van Heest

trendsetting applesA few months ago, I attended a friend’s birthday party. Lots of people, lots of snacks, gorgeous apartment straight out of an IKEA catalog, the whole nine yards. Alongside the cookies, pretzels and popcorn, one snack stuck out like a dislocated thumb–a giant bowl of green apples. As you might expect, the apples spent the first half of the shindig completely untouched. No one goes to parties to eat healthy, right?

And then, on a whim, a friend and I decided to take a bite out of Granny Smith. Almost immediately, the idea spread like influenza throughout the room as partygoers chose fruit over snack food. Within minutes, the huge bowl of apples was as empty as the Moon.

Like the snack selection at a birthday party, why do some products get asked to dance while others are left in the dust? Beyond the traditional marketing mix (product, distribution, price, promotion) the trendsetting success of certain brands often seems random and mysterious. In this highly-competitive market, tiny advantages can spark a bonfire. Combine these four ingredients to stand out like a green apple in a pile of pretzels.

Commitment

Get psyched about your brand. Don’t sell yourself short or worry about what other people will think. Have some fun with your website, blog and social media. Support your product like an overzealous soccer mom. Belief and passion are infectious, but so is self-doubt.

Networking

Word of mouth is more effective than a hundred Super Bowl ads; the recommendation of a close friend is more convincing than a thousand billboards. Get out there and hawk your product’s advantages like a Target Field beer vendor. Be enthusiastic, not obnoxious. Remember, cash cows are raised on a diet of grassroots.

Differentiation

Being out of place is not necessarily a weakness. Like apples at a party, being different can catch your audience off-guard and help you get noticed. With advertisements clamoring for our attention 24/7, the element of surprise is a great way to stand out from the crowd.

Timing

Trendsetting is high risk, high reward. The apples could have easily sat undisturbed for the entire party. Like Apple with the iPod, give your audience what they want before they know they want it. Does that sound risky and difficult? It’s the difference between a trendsetter and an also-ran.

You’ve got the right product; you just need to find the right people in the right place at the right time. Easier said than done, of course. But if a plus-sized bowl of green apples can trounce cookies and popcorn at a birthday party, your brand can take a big, juicy bite out of your industry’s market share.

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Imagine that your company has just hired a new salesman. This guy never gets sick, never takes a day off, never goes on vacation. He is quite the social butterfly–wearing your company’s logo everywhere he goes and recommending your brand to everyone he meets. Sounds like the perfect salesman, right?

From posters and displays to dasher boards at ice arenas, signs are your 24/7 sales force. They communicate the best of your company to the public, promote your brand and aid in customer recall. But like any salesman, your signs need a little guidance to ensure maximum effectiveness. Here are a few tips for reducing clutter and ensuring a clear and effective message:

Business Signage

Business SignageThe signage at your business identifies your location, provides information your clients need (e.g. hours open) and sets a welcoming tone. It should not overwhelm or confuse potential customers with superfluous details. A pleasingly simple and elegant design shows a respect for your clients that they will appreciate and remember.

Ice Arena Dasher Boards

With ice arena dasher boards, simplicity is the best strategy. A simple tagline, a good logo and (at most) a website will be enough to brand your business with confidence. Signage: Dasher board As fans attend hockey games throughout the year, they will notice your dasher and associate your business with their team. Your dasher’s presence endears them to your company and can be the difference maker between you and your competition.

Posters and Displays

Signage: Posters and displaysPosters and display art typically require a little more creative juice than dashers, but the message must still be simple and clean to have an impact. While posters and displays allow for more text and photos than dashers, your designer must keep your message focused with attractive graphics and large, easy-to-read typography.

Resist the temptation to pack in as much information as possible, as this will overwhelm your audience and dilute your message. Even the wildest designs will have the biggest impact with a focused idea, consistency, balance and clarity.

At their best, signs are direct, simple and impactful. While they can brand your company to the public like no other medium, they require a disciplined approach and an understanding of your audience and their environment. With an uncluttered design, a powerful message and a great location, your team of signage salesmen will persuade new and repeat customers time and time again.

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Check out this cool Channel 12 feature story starring our very own Marilyn Bina. Marilyn loves her job here at Prime and has no plans to retire anytime soon!

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