The majority of the time, Halloween is associated with vampires, jack-o-lanterns and ghosts, and the creativity behind the holiday is often forgotten, but for The Halloween Gathering, this was not the case. Leading up to this past Halloween, FLIRT was selected as the agency responsible for all of the visual branding for the event, allowing us to really show our creativity as well as assist with such an amazing and original event here in Chicago.
This event is made possible by the Chicago Cultural Mile Association, a foundation committed to bringing awareness to the part of Michigan Avenue south of the Chicago River, known as the “Cultural Mile”. This vibrant section stretches along Michigan Avenue from the Chicago River to Roosevelt and eastward to the Museum Campus. It houses numerous creative institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago; historic real estate such as The Fine Arts Building; and public service monuments such as a the Cultural Center. The Halloween Gathering is intended to bring all of these units of Chicago’s creative community together to celebrate the artists’ holiday through workshops and theater performances during the day and a spectacle parade at night that included 80 of Chicago’s artistic groups.
FLIRT was able to contribute to this event in some of the ways we know best. Our responsibilities included assisting with overall event and stage production as well as designing the visual branding/promotions for the event. From directional signage throughout Millennium Park to advertisements on CTA buses and train cars – we created it all! Our favorite bit that was conjured up was the theme logo for the event. What we call the “Creative Skull” (pictured right) is an original logo that encompasses all of the stunning aspects of the Chicago Cultural Mile. It includes Sue from the Field Museum, The Tiffany ceiling found in The Cultural Center, one of the famous Art Institute lion statues and more. But our excitement about this event didn’t come to an end when all the branding was complete. We could not wait to see it all come together after the months of preparation with the Chicago Cultural Mile Association.
During the day we were blown away by the masses of people creating crafts in the Conjure Tent, viewing theater performances at the Wrigley Stage and partaking in dance workshops at the Enchant Stage. Once evening hit, everyone then gathered for the spectacle parade along Columbus Drive, which was packed with dancers, artists and even flame throwers. Seeing this diverse group of people come together to celebrate this holiday was truly remarkable, and we can’t wait to get started on plans for next year!
Some of the best and easiest ways to attract future clients and customers are to show how you are unique, what inspires you as a team and how you let loose in and out of the office. Facebook and Twitter have been helping to make this simpler for businesses over the last few years but Instagram is one of the most recent to take off in the realm of marketing. It may seem to be oversaturated with selfies and photos of current meals but not for long.
According to Instagram, it has over 300 million users, 70 million+ photos and videos are sent daily and 70% of users are from outside the United States. Businesses are now taking advantage of the exposure that it brings to their target audience – not only pertaining to their product or service but to their culture as well. These numbers alone show that this is a growing tool and companies are learning to utilize it more in their marketing strategy by implementing the usage of hash tags, posting contests and sharing internal events. Scrolling though Instagram it is apparent which companies have figured out the perfect social media equation by integrating Instagram into their marketing strategy.
Here at FLIRT we are working daily to grow our social media presence and we are aiming to develop our Instagram over the next few months to showcase even more of our personality and culture. In this process we have followed some Instagram accounts that we enjoy viewing and pulling inspiration from every day:
Surface Magazine: @Surfacemag
This is an American magazine of global contemporary design; their photos show design elements ranging from digital art to office designs. Their most recent “contest” encouraged viewers to take photos of their offices and share for a change to be featured on their page; companies are looking to be recognized and Surface also gets attention – it’s a win/win!
Everyone knows who Nike is, and their uploaded pictures are just as noteworthy. From athletic motivation to scenic horizons, they always make for an inspirational picture in your feed – they have mastered the art of making their promotion seem effortless.
American Express: @Americanexpress
This top company has created a flawless way of uploading an esthetically beautiful picture while sneaking their product in the image in the slightest way. Whether they are showing food, products or locations you can somehow always tell that American Express has branded the image.
Sharpie puts a unique twist on their Instagram uploads by using Sharpie markers to create all of their images. This detail not only makes for intriguing art but it also incorporates their product and showcases the usefulness and versatility of it.
Whether you have to partake in the everyday sticky, humid and crowded commute to and from work or travel with the kids to their daily summer camps, everyone has the same mindset when it comes to the summer months – to relax and enjoy the weather when they get the chance. Granted, it hasn’t been the most “fun in the sun” kind of summer yet, there are still more stimulating things to do than spend your days organizing your work schedule and your evenings preparing meticulous meals. These next few months are meant for cliché summer activities, i.e. bonfires, relaxing on the beach and spending the evening watching fireworks. With the help of a few of the newest apps, you might just be able to achieve all your daily tasks and enjoy that margarita by the pool without feeling totally disorganized.
Do you ever find yourself looking through your contacts trying to remember the name of the person you met at a networking event the night before? It happens to best of us, well most of us actually. Humin allows you to enter and search your contacts the way that you think about them. For instance, you met Mark at the company barbecue event last evening in Chicago – search where you met him and his information will come up just the way you entered it!
What time is it? What is the weather like right now? What is the weather like tomorrow? How about next week? That alone is 4 times most people check their phone within 5 minutes. I’m can say I’m guilty of checking one thing and then immediately remembering something else I need to see on my device, after I locked it. Do you ever feel like it consumes you? Let the Checky app tell you how addicted you are to your phone. Every time you open your phone it adds up and then allows you to check the amount of unlocks throughout the day. When you check at the end of the day and have over 100 “unlocks” you’ll be sure to pay more attention to the sunshine outside as opposed to the backlight on your phone.
Plan is the new way to organize all of your calendars perfectly into one. You can see your meetings, tasks, notes all in one location as well as plan time to work on your tasks and know how much time is being spent on each undertaking. It’s like a planner…for your planner!
Have a fear of being the awkward, anti social group out at the local beer garden? Find, match and get together with other groups of friends using Heaps. Heaps can keep your group of friends together and allow you to match with other groups of in the area looking to do the same things as you. Simply put, it’s a less awkward, more inviting version of Tinder!
The last thing you want to do in the summer is spend your evenings in the kitchen, let alone get frustrated with a recipe for an extended period of time. Cookbrite is a new app that gives you step-by-step directions to create a great meal at any time of the day, allowing you to be in and out of the kitchen before the concert in the park with your friends.
If you’re not a student, the question this time of year is: do you take a couple days from work to give yourself a spring break? Most likely the answer is yes. However, like most of us in the work obsessed world, you find yourself checking your email before, during and after your cocktails on the beach. I’ll say what we are all thinking, the last thing you want to be on vacation is stressed, so continue reading for a few of the newest apps and technology developments that may make your trip a bit more pleasurable.
When fingerprint scanning was introduced to unlock iPhones, it seemed revolutionary at the time, but now it is just thing of the past. Windows 10 is now incorporating a bio metric system that will use your fingerprint, eyes and even face to unlock your device. It will store your bio metric signature to the cloud, allowing it to work on any Windows phone, computer or tablet that you have. So when you wake up for that early flight, your password will be the last thing you have to worry about, however, now you have to hope tha tyour computer recognizes your 6:00 am flight appearance… Read more about this here.
We all know receiving a PDF that needs to be filled in or signed on a mobile device only leads to scanning and frustration. Well I suppose colleagues sending PDF’s that need to be completed while you’re on vacation may lead to slight frustration. However, Adobe is finally integrating a bit of their Photoshop software to eliminate this issue. They are adding their “Photoshop magic” to allow for image editing, and also the ability to take a picture and immediately turn it into a PDF will be available. Waiting to finish a document until you land…psh, not when you have a little “magic”. I’m sure Adobe will be asking to use that line in their marketing any day now…
Picture this: you’re on a vacation, attempting to use public transportation or navigate the area and your phone is sans service– so you end up more lost trying to find a signal than you do attempting to find your destination. Sound a little too familiar? Urban Engines is a new app that allows you to navigate, get directions and even see an x-ray version of where you are without being online. You have the ability to download entire cities so that you never have to worry about losing service and ultimately; your mind.
What if you had the money for a vacation without even realizing it? That’s what Digit is all about. Every couple of day’s, digit analyzes your spending habits and removes a few dollars if available, then puts it into a separate account that you can withdraw from at any time, without any fees. What would be more rewarding than at the end of a month opening your account and realizing that you actually have some savings – to put towards a trip of course.
And for the people that ultimately decide not to travel for spring break there is always the option of opening up your computer and pretending to be on a beautiful beach? Thanks Wandertab! Every time you open a new tab in your browser it shows a different landscape for you to lust over. So you get to go to Bali without paying for Bali, perfect!
While the value of company culture is sometimes hard to demonstrate, (it probably won’t pop-up on your annual report or appear on an ROI spreadsheet) it’s crucial to a company’s long-term sustainability. At FLIRT, we are proud to call Chicago our hometown, where deep-dish, jazz and now amazing company culture have become integral parts of what makes our city great.
Being in the business of corporate communication means pushing ourselves and our clients everyday to put the spreadsheets aside every once in a while and take a look at the people behind the brand. And thankfully, companies all over are adapting to the mantra that “culture is what creates a company”. Gone are the days of the cookie-cutter interview, where companies focus solely on past accomplishments and resume keywords, foregoing questions involving personal interests. And when we say culture, we don’t (only) mean a fully stocked beer fridge and ping-pong table privileges, we mean an environment of open, honest communication and a workforce of empowered, respected individuals. In our opinion that’s incredibly good news for employees and employers alike.
Each year Crain’s Chicago Magazine celebrates Chicago companies who have the best environment according to anonymous survey results direct from employees in their “Best Places to Work” article. After reading this years list, I decided to dig a little deeper and go straight to the source, asking a few of the winners a series of questions via Twinterviews (aka interviews over Twitter – catchy, right?)
Continue reading for an inside look at how these companies maintain their culture and keep employees motivated to come to work each day.