Last month a few of the Imagineers participated in the Community Bucket Tech Gives Back event. Community Bucket is an organization that’s committed to giving young professionals a platform to connect and make friends in Atlanta, by combining volunteer projects with social events. The Tech Gives Back event linked professionals from tech industries and gave us an opportunity to network with different agencies around Atlanta.
In anticipation of National Coffee Day on September 29th, we pooled the Imagineers for their top picks for coffee around the city of Atlanta. In an environment as fast-paced as Imagine Media, we need to stay fueled and coffee breaks are a key ingredient to our success. Not to mention, the Imagineers also enjoy the occasional the opportunity to step away from their desks and work remotely from somewhere new. Here are our favorite spots to sip, strategize and create around the city.
Most professionals might be familiar with core values as a list of abstract words that get posted on the wall in your office, introduced to you during your orientation and then never heard of again. At Imagine Media we approach our core values with sincerity and they are part of our daily conversations, celebrations and goals. This is why it was huge news last week when our leadership team announced that we were going to make some changes to our core values. The updates included shortening the descriptions of each core value in order to make them more memorable and changing our I-word from “Innovative” to “Integrity.” Given that we live and breathe these core values, it was very important to our leadership team to know that these were still values that resonated with us as a whole. The team was excited about these small, but mighty changes to our guiding truths. So how do we put these values into practice? Check out this list of ways that the Imagine Media team incorporates core values into our everyday processes and long term goals.
This quarter the Imagineers have been working hard on a new concept that we’ve introduced to the Imagine Media culture: Imagine University. Each week we have collaborated as a team to create emails that will be sent out to our new hires in a drip campaign style over the first three months of their time with us. Each weekly email has a theme and subsections that expand upon that theme. The teammates receive the emails on Monday and to reinforce the learning, each email also has action items that the teammate will be responsible for completing by the end of the week. We’ve found that this system of information delivery is working well to help our new teammates assimilate into the Imagine Media culture.
Last Thursday we hosted our 6th Double Tap the Keg event in our upstairs and new downstairs office spaces. The theme of the night was Create + Innovate, and we were blown away by our inspiring panel of creative minds. Sitting on the panel we had style therapist and fitness influencer, Lillian Charles; portrait and fashion photographer, Donte Maurice; head of innovation and development at Public School, Rich Santiago; and brand storyteller, Julie Marateck. Together, these four talented individuals left the audience feeling inspired and refreshed moving into the holiday weekend.
The panelists were asked a series of questions directed toward their specific backgrounds and personal experiences.
Rich Santiago gave some beautiful advice when asked how to deal with creative anxiety. His go-to tactics are to learn to multitask well and make sure he’s following inspiring people to keep his ideas fresh. He also mentioned that when working closely with clients he has found that one of the most important things is to allow the client to collaborate and be a part of the creative process as much as possible.
Julie Marateck spoke on the importance of storytelling from the partner’s perspective. She brought up a great point that audiences are smarter these days and are interested in buying experiences, so the goal is to make your brand attainable to the average person. Julie also loves to travel, and discussed how putting herself outside of her comfort zone and experiencing failure is all part of the creative process. Inevitably, on any journey outside of your comfort zone, at some point, things won't go as planned, and traveling prepares Julie for those moments of failure.
Lillian Charles has a large Instagram following, and gave the audience some insight on how she balances the digital content overload that we experience on social media today. She tries to be very cognizant of how much time she spends scrolling and makes sure her social media browsing stays intentional, not habitual. Lillian also gave some lighthearted, but meaningful advice about how to get over obstacles. She said that she and her sister will exchange the phrase “don’t let the turkeys get you down” when they are going through a particularly difficult challenge. While the exchange is an inside joke between the two of them, the take-home message can still apply to anyone: don’t let anything get you down on your road to success, whatever that looks like.
Donte Maurice, the professional photographer on the panel, talked about how he incorporates storytelling into his photography by having a conversation and creating a relationship with the model he’s shooting. Similar to Julie, Donte also discussed failure and how he builds his confidence when he isn’t feeling particularly creative. Donte uses the old adage, ‘rome wasn’t built in a day’ to remind himself that creativity is truly a process and sometimes it won’t happen today. His go-to approach is to sleep on it and he knows he’ll wake up with fresh ideas after resting his mind.
While the panelists’ answers were extremely diverse given their different backgrounds and experience levels, one take away message remained the same throughout the panel: surround yourself with creative people who push you to be better than you are right now. In one way or another, each panelist expressed the importance of mentors, and we couldn’t agree more! At Imagine Media, we encourage mentorship opportunities for both our ambassadors and our full-time teammates.
If you didn’t make this event in our Double Tap the Keg series, don’t worry! We’ll be hosting many more future networking events in our downstairs office space. Keep up with us on social media and look out for the announcement about Double Tap the Keg #7! Comment below with any ideas for upcoming themes or discussion topics!
Story By: Sophie Duncan
Explaining to someone that you have a career based on posting to social media platforms may be a little too modern for some, but we’ve got you covered! We compiled a list of five tips on what to expect when working for a startup company and phrases you could use when some people just don’t understand what you do:
We Foster Accountability
Being responsible for the decisions you make is something that is often instilled in you, but being accountable for your actions is a different story. Being accountable is described as admitting to those the things that you may not want to own up to, instantly. In a small company, you have to be willing to own up to any minor mistake you made. Just because you take ownership of that mistake doesn’t mean you will be punished or scrutinized, it allows you the opportunity to learn from it.
For example: Inform people that you have a career in which you feel you can grow and mature and that you feel with this experience it will allow you to excel in many ways.
Startups vs. Corporate America (Open Environment vs. #CubicleLife)
Entering the workplace is extremely rewarding, especially if you’ve just graduated school. You have to understand that, while the paychecks clear the same, working for a small company versus Corporate America is vastly different. At Imagine Media Consulting, we possess an authentic startup culture. We have an open environment, which fosters collaboration and teamwork. Working for a startup does not mean you will always be in an office environment - you could be in a shared or coworking environment, such as Industrious or WeWork.
Sometimes, explaining to someone that you don’t have an office or that you belong to a coworking environment can be tricky. An easy way to describe this is by letting the person know, you work in an environment that breeds collaboration. It isn’t as divided as a typical Corporate America environment, but there are specific areas to retire to if privacy is needed.
Teamwork makes the dream work! Cliche’, but this is our mantra. We all dreaded the group projects during our last couple of semesters of college. It definitely taught us all how to collaborate and to keep the end goal in mind. Group cohesion is vital in the workplace, whether it is a small startup or a large corporation. Getting along with your peers, partners, and clients is a necessity to a successful business.
Keep an Open Stream of Communication
By keeping an open communication, you allow everyone to stay in the loop. Sometimes, being consumed in your own projects can allow you to blow past a group objective without letting everyone else know. While you are definitely getting tasks done, if other people are involved in this project, it could cause the other person to miss something or even be left out of an important piece of that project.
Examples of this could include -- carbon copying (CC) multiple people on an important email and allowing an easy flow of communication between the relevant people (text messages, Slack channel, or a phone call).
“No, I only took a couple of pictures.”
As a small start-up company, we do the bulk of our custom work with the help of our own Imagineers. This includes photo shoots, graphic design, creating captions (copy), blog posts, and even GIF creation. Be mindful not to eliminate these tasks before they are even considered due to simply believing that there is no way you could put them on your resume.
For example, if you modeled or took pictures on behalf of a partner you could consider that as being a brand representative or, depending on the duration, a brand ambassador. Just ensure that when wording it, you explain relevant details and tailor it to the overall objective of your resume. These details could vary from follower count to engagement.
Have more insight on working for a small start-up company? Comment below, we’d love to hear from you!
Story By: Daija McElwee
In a culture where the success of your company is so often defined in numerical results, it can be difficult to explain what a creative agency can do for your business and brand. While the benefits of hiring an accountant or lawyer, for example, may seem obvious, explaining why a team of photographers, videographers, copywriters, and account managers is necessary is another story. To put it simply, a creative agency will serve as a team of innovators who are invested in the success and growth of your company.
Before hiring a creative agency, it’s important to have a solid understanding of your own brand. Solidifying your company’s values, mission statement, and voice may require some extensive personal reflection. When you have a concrete definition of these important abstract ideas, a creative agency can step in and help you connect your values and mission with your audience.
To develop a creative strategy, you have to be willing to admit where your weaknesses may lie. Perhaps you're lacking authenticity and your audience does not feel connected to your brand, or maybe your voice is great, but your branding and aesthetic need some improvement. A creative agency can provide a fresh perspective and help you identify your pain points in order to come up with solutions and a strategy for next steps.
The creative process will often begin with a collaborative brain dump from the team. They put their heads together to analyze competitors, come up with out of the box ideas, and develop a calculated approach to how your company can present its unique brand and tell your story to the right audience.
From branding and graphics to photography and videography, a creative agency will provide you with a team of innovative minds that can refresh your business and marketing strategy. They have the advantage of experience in content creation and will provide a tactical approach to rethinking your strategy. These creatives will essentially become a part of your team as you build a relationship and set goals together. Your success becomes their success which will be exhibited as they put their creative passions to work for your company.
Hiring a creative agency gives you and your team the free time to focus on what you’re best at. Full-service agencies will also offer resources, software, and analytics to report on the success of your strategy once implemented. In instances where social feedback is solicited, they can also provide community management and sort through valuable feedback from your customers that could be applied to help your business continue to improve your product or services.
Regardless of what your creative needs are, there’s an agency out there that can support them. It's important to make sure that the agency you hire is a good fit culturally, just like you would when hiring an employee on your team. To learn more about the services we provide at Imagine Media, visit our portfolio.
Story By: Sophie Duncan
We’re so excited to introduce Emily, our Photo Stylist. She’s an idealist, doodler and sometimes a designer too. She believes in grand romantic gestures and writing feelings down in pen. She has a heart for finding beauty in the mundane and a passion to create stories visually.
She first found her love for all things creative in high school sharpie doodles and yearbook InDesign spreads. She recently graduated from SCAD earning a degree in Branded Entertainment with a concentration in Film. Emily’s a Florida Orange turned Georgia Peach and for the last three years, she’s been learning how to adapt to Atlanta traffic and snow patterns.
Emily first joined the team as an Imagine Media Ambassador and worked for us part-time on graphics projects while she finished her education. When she’s not in the office she’s capturing video of the things she loves, dreaming up a personal project or visiting her teenage angst through a throwback playlist.
Keep an eye out for Emily’s beautiful styling skills on our Instagram!