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!
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.
Just over a week ago, our city saw its 4th annual Chicago Ideas Week. From the inspiration of Brad Keywell and to a slightly lesser degree Eric Lefkofsky, founder of Groupon, this magical week brings to world-renowned speakers and hands-on labs and experiences to our city for a curiosity-packed week once a year. Each is designed to inspire the imagination while also provoking and challenging conventional thinking.
At FLIRT, we pride ourselves on being a forward-thinking agency, so we encouraged the entire staff to attend several CIW events to help us to explore our curiosities and expand our thinking. The goal? Apply our stimulated imagination to our clients’ events and internal communications planning. After all, aren’t inspired ideas, beyond great strategy and flawless production, the hallmark of any great communications agency?
Last week, James and I ventured to Merchandise Mart (what I like to call the smorgasbord of Chicago) to walk the floor of The Expo at #techweekchi, the biggest TechWeek in the country. Expecting to meet a bunch of tech start-ups in the Midwest, we were surprised to be inspired with event strategies as well:
Both Cheeky Chicago (the women’s online guide to Chicago) and New Amsterdam (a spirits company) did a wonderful job at appealing to their target markets, visually and experientially. Cheeky Chicago’s booth was bright pink and lounge-y, filled with employees offering free water and deals for their Cheeky Card. Rumor has it they threw a great after party at Studio Paris on Saturday too. New Amsterdam went after the men at Tech Week, setting up their space like the Prohibition period – two barber stations offering shaves, a bar and free shoe shining appointments. Read more…