Happy Anniversary to us!

Well how about that! MacDonald Creative, or MDC as we call ourselves now, has just turned 5! Who’d have thought that from our humble beginnings, Rod and I would be working together 18 years later!

I met Rod in 1994 when I showed up as a fresh-out-of-school keener for an “info interview” at Robertson Pick Advertising, where he was working as the copywriter. Don’t laugh, but this photo pretty much says it all. Black suit, black sports car (brand-new-to-me Turbo Eagle Talon, oh yeah baby!), degree in hand. Apparently Rod liked me right away, so as soon as a junior position became available, he vouched for me, and low and behold, I had my first real job.

Years went by, I left to work in other companies and other industries, and Rod stayed on, working his way up internally to Creative Director until I showed up again in 2004 as Production Manager after the birth of my first child.

Rod and I always knew we’d work together again, so another child and another job later, we were both exploring new opportunities, so we met over Fish & Chips at Granville Island and sealed the deal to start our own creative services firm. Two days later, we had a registered business name. Two weeks later, we had work! Two months later, we had a recession (oh ya, Sept. 2008…great time to start a business!). Thankfully, we were engaged by a few clients who weren’t affected as badly by the recession and we made it through our first year.

Over the past five years, we’ve worked with many of Vancouver’s top real estate developers (Polygon, Delta Land, Concord Pacific, Led Mac, to name a few), with some other industries thrown in for variety.

It’s been a great partnership. Our costs remain low because we’re both minimalists and hire the best suppliers for each job and nothing more. We don’t have anything to fight about, because our skill sets aren’t duplicated, so we respect each other’s work and opinions.

Time flies when you’re having fun, and this past 5 years has flown by. Thanks to our clients, all our great supplier friends, and of course to you, Rod. We look forward to continuing to provide “Marketing, Design and Creative” for years to come!

Attention to detail

Although it hasn’t opened yet, we thought we’d share some snapshots of our team at work installing displays for Polygon’s Lakeside neighbourhood within their Sunstone community in North Delta.

We’re pleased to work with Polygon, BC’s most successful multi-family home builder, and to have the opportunity to show you the kind of attention to detail we bring to every one of our projects.

MDC sometimes gets pigeon holed – oh they’re the ad guys, they just do brochures, or they just do web – when in fact we cover the full creative services spectrum, including signage and presentation centre displays like this one.

We’ve been in the business for 20+ years and in that time we’ve learned how to keep projects on time and on budget, and looking good too 😉

Cheers!

In my travels….adventures in other peoples’ advertising

by Wendy Riches

I do alot of driving. And because we offer creative services, I’m always attuned to noticing other peoples’ advertising efforts. So often, when I’m stuck in traffic or just out and about, a piece of advertising jumps out at me, and I just have to snap a picture of it – usually to send to Rod to say “Hey, look at this!”. It’s what keeps us fresh and excited about what we do.

Below are a few “snaps” from out on the road:

Plumbing advertising made fun.

1. Mr Swirl Plumbing – Fixed, Swirled, Plunged…..Amazing!
Gotta love a company that makes shit look fun, literally. The 50’s comic-style illustrations, fun typefaces and casual, friendly copy voice make plumbing seem a little lighter and brighter, and not so stressful. Trust me, we had plumbing issues this summer! I hope these guys mail drop local neighbourhoods with brand consistent flyers too.

Catchy photo and headline.

2. Two Rivers Meats
I couldn’t even tell what this truck was advetising at first, but the  catchy headline and huge photo caught my eye right away so I had to check it out further. Good thing I took a photo, as their url wans’t quite big enough for me to catch (maybe just because I was too busy taking the photo in traffic). My photo told me they were purveyors of fine, sustainable, ethically produced meats. I have no connection to this company, but I took the time to look up and link to their website above because I think they deserve some play for their great Outdoor advertising! And the bald guy on their home page is quite cute. 😉

These two examples illustrate the fact that good Outdoor advertising can be really effective. They make you look. Just be careful not to put too much information on your outdoor ads. They become cluttered fast and no one will get the actual info they need – your name and MAYBE your url.

Advertising crap to kids.

3. Finally, I couldn’t help it, I had to include a bad one. I was in the toy aisle of Superstore and found this gem of a product. That’s right, “Crib Life”. Positioning line: “Born Awesome”. Complete with cell phone, soother and bling – targeted to 5 year olds. Enough said.

MacDonald Creative is passionate about marketing and advertising. We’d love to help you make your product or service stand out to your target audience.

Start Your Fire! An Interview with Danielle LaPorte

By Rod MacDonald and Wendy Riches

Danielle LaPorte is the spark of brilliance behind White Hot Truth, a kick-ass blog ripe with juicy inspiration. We discovered Danielle through social media channels and have come to adore her creative and frank discussions about business, passion and self-realization.

Danielle is releasing a new digital book to help entrepreneurs rock their career according to their truest strengths. And it’s not just a book. The Fire Starter Sessions is a “digital experience… an e-book meets video transmission of acumen and love.” Danielle has worked with more than 460 entrepreneurs in her 1-on-1 Fire Starter consults, from CEOs to coaches, artists to retailers. So, suffice to say Danielle knows her way around combining passion with pragmatism, and can work some incendiary magic on everything from the most infant idea to well-established grooves in need of new oomph.

In the midst of preparations for The Grand Launch of The Fire Starter Sessions (which happens May 12!), Danielle took a few moments to answer some of our burning questions for her. We’re delighted to share her interview!

1) What’s your take on the effect of social media on marketing?

Power to the people! We’re living in the age of the global brain, as philosopher Peter Russell called it years ago. And the connectivity it creates is a force that gives everyone their own wired mega phone. Who needs to put a publicist on retainer when you’ve got a Facebook page and Twitter? If you’ve got a message, you’ve got the means for a revolution.

The dark side of the phenomenon of social media is that it’s allowing professional marketers to be even more surreptitious and clever. What remains the same: an individuals’ choice to be a discerning, champion of truth and substance. Or not.

2) What’s the best way to attract new customers? Are social media methods the most cost-effective way?

Without a doubt, social media is incredibly cost-effective in terms of money. The best way to attract new customers is to have a great product or service, and to believe in what you’re doing so intensely that you have no reservations about using every means to spreads the word about it. And supporting all of that needs to be…love. You need to care about the people you’re selling to. You need to have a genuine affection for your tribe.

3) The economic upheaval of the past year or two has caused a lot of change. Do you think some of it was for good? Examples?

One of my deepest beliefs is that everything is progress. Even upheaval and downturns. The suffering of the economic melt down has been real and pervasive. And, along side that, some illusions have been busted, some accountability has gone down. And! Some complacency has had it’s ass kicked!

I’ve heard dozens of stories now of people starting new businesses — based on their true passions. The “nothing to lose” equation fosters risk-taking and that’s a beautiful thing in terms creativity and entrepreneurship. The Virtual Assistant movement is booming, people are getting really intelligent about how to monetize on-line content, pay structures have shifted…we’re making more with less — and that’s brilliant. And sustainable.

4) How does one best proceed in times of adversity?

Flexibility is a form of strength. You got to be willing to change your plans, your pricing, the way you relate to so-called competition. You got to have compassion, and the irony is that the tenderness compassion feeds your stamina and steel.

5) Do you haggle?

I avoid haggling at most costs. Ideally, not at my cost, but the negotiation game can be so fraught with ego and deception and other such bullshit, I can hardly stand it.

6) What do you see yourself doing 20 years from now?

I’ll still be preaching, teaching, talking, asking. In a few decades, I may concentrate more on issues around birth and parenting consciousness. I may just go for a 100% focus on soul and consciousness. Whatever it is, I’ll be impassioned about it, and feeling freer than ever. And wearing cashmere.

Freedom is the goal. And I figure I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

7) Coffee — good or bad?

Strange fact: I’ve never had even a sip of coffee. For no particular reason. Bizarre, I know. I’m a tea girl. With honey.

8) You can have the word f**k on your home page and still be a cbc correspondent? Amazing…

Hell yes! You can get away with edgy when you’re smart. Offer the useful goods and you can push the boundaries. Works every time.

Need More White Hot Truth?

In addition to her website, you can connect with Danielle on Twitter (she’s @DanielleLaPorte) and on Facebook.
Pre-Ordering for The Fire Starter Sessions is on now. Go to Danielle’s website for ordering information!

3 Tips for Surviving the Economic Downturn

By Wendy Riches

Many of the articles coming through our e-zines and online resources talk about how to survive (and yes, even prosper) during the current economic downturn. We’ve noticed some common threads in all this advice. One is: get back to the basics – to what really matters – and you’ll find yourself in good form when things turn around. Here are three basics to keep in mind:
1. Keep your skills up
Nothing that has happened in the current financial downturn has taken a single skill away from you. You still have every skill you ever learned. But if you sacrifice now to study you will be equipping yourself for tough times AND be way ahead of the pack when easier times come again.

2. Use low cost ways to promote your business
When advertising dollars are scarce, you can do a variety of things to promote your business for little or no cost. Volunteer for time for a charity or sit on a committee board. Write articles and submit them to directories or keep up your blog. Offer to speak at a school or business engagement. Prepare and send out a press release. Write an e-newsletter. Network and introduce yourself to people. Bottom line – connect with people!
Article source: http://tiny.cc/b5JDE

3. Practice great customer service
Marketing has taken a turn into a more technological and consumer-propelled discipline, and many companies are getting lost in the shuffle. They are struggling now more than ever to connect on a personal level with consumers.
Low and behold, the stuff that we were taught in kindergarten and that we teach our children gets zapped out of us as we sit in a multitude of meetings trying to figure out processes, CRM and social marketing.
The solution is simple: PLEASE and THANK YOU! Recent studies have found that although consumers are getting more information than ever, actual customer service is declining. Perhaps getting more business requires less marketing and more common courtesy for our customers.
Thank you for reading our blog 😉