Other Voices: August 6, 2018

other voices illustration by Blue Flame Thinking

Written by

Gayle Ronan

Content Director

As Content Director, Gayle oversees editorial creation across the firm. With a financial background in providing banking and wealth management services—and later covering business, investment and personal finance topics for media outlets like MSNBC and Bloomberg—Gayle is most often attached to our professional service clients’ projects. With an ability to match her writing tone to the client or publication, Gayle writes across all channels, from digital ad campaigns and social media posts to blogs, authored articles and researched papers…with a few brochures and website refreshes thrown in.

Whether it’s marketing content or writing under my own byline, the goal is always about making complex concepts and products understandable to those who use them.

Fast Facts:

  • Actually likes walking the dog.
  • A fan of good street art.
  • If forced, would choose clothes over food…and actually has!

Bill Barsanti

Senior Account Director

It’s the blend of the analytical with the creative that still fuels Bill’s ongoing passion for marketing after nearly 30 years in the business. At BFT, Bill is among our financial services SMEs and balances the management of accounts with business development initiatives. He began his career at Ogilvy & Mather, eventually migrating to the client side of the business, where he worked for Zurich Kemper Investments and Scudder Investments. More recently, he provided purely strategic marketing resources to financial services clients at SwanDog Strategic Marketing.

Not a lot of disciplines depend on the blending of science and art the way advertising and marketing do. It’s a good fit with my personality.

Fast Facts:

  • Cycling, cooking and backgammon.
  • Proudly wearing St. Louis Cardinals gear in their archrival’s town.
  • The office go-to for all questions involving amateur roller derby.

Ruth Rich

Senior Copy Editor

Ruth brings a passion for new word order to our content. Hers is the final say when it comes to comma placement, the judicious use of an exclamation point and the adherence to consistency and following each client’s tone and editorial style. Whether it’s Web content, an ad, a blog article or a social post, Ruth wields her knowledge and enthusiasm for getting messages understood in the service of clarity and effectiveness. With more than 18 years of experience—the majority of them spent at Fitch Ratings and BFT—Ruth’s skills in editing, writing and project management help us maintain the quality of the content we produce.

Today, copy literally has only a few seconds to make its impact. Within those seconds it needs to be concise, informative and, above all, engaging.

Fast Facts:

  • Curator of the office radio playlist.
  • Heart of a Chicagoan, product of the Rocky Mountains.
  • Knows her skater slang.

In an industry that is heavily influenced by newsworthy and timely events, there’s always a lot to catch up on at the end of the week. Introducing BFT’s Other Voices, a feature that shares what you need to know now. Read below for more.

When Less Is Best

This compact piece of storytelling was spotted on a small sign outside of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. It demonstrates that a story isn’t dependent on word count but word choice. What I admire most about it is that the performers will take two hours to tell the same story this sign tells in seven words.

A number of years ago, I stumbled upon Smith Magazine, an online publication consisting of six-word memoirs. Admittedly, mine always come in at seven words! But, the practice has made the transition to writing for social channels and digital ads that much easier. I find that when you only give yourself 6–7 words, you can identify the point in what you’re trying to express much faster.

This isn’t a new revelation. Ernest Hemingway wrote one of his shortest and most powerful stories in only six words: For sale: baby shoes, never worn. — Gayle Ronan, Director of Content

World Cup Data as Art? GOOOOAAAALLL!!!

Hard data generally isn’t the first thing you think of when it comes to visual art. But, the World Cup posters created by Zeh Fernandes prove this isn’t necessarily the case. After each match, he generates abstract patterns using statistics, like passing accuracy and number of fouls, and then commits them to canvas.

In a world—and industry—where we use facts and figures to shed light on and better our understanding of complex topics, this creative use of numbers really appealed to me. It’s a keepsake and a study in data representation all in one! — Ruth Rich, Senior Copy Editor

5 Strategies for Leading a High-Impact Team

Whether a project involves a large or small team, having the right parameters to guide interactions throughout can lead to a more successful result for everyone involved. Leigh Thompson—a professor of dispute resolution and organization at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and director of the Kellogg Team and Group Research Center—offers some unique approaches and insights on team leadership.

  • Build a team that’s diverse and fluid. Team chemistry is one thing, but too many like-minded individuals can result in a narrower vision. Changing out team members by including them when their strengths apply can lead to a more creative solution.
  • Focus on challenges that have been faced rather than celebrating past accomplishments. Thompson found groups that spent their time discussing challenging situations and being vulnerable spurred more creative and effective teamwork.
  • Leaders should encourage productive disagreement among group members. Fostering an environment where people feel they can challenge an opinion and offer their own allows pros and cons to be discussed, enabling a stronger outcome. — Bill Barsanti, Senior Account Director

Other versions of Other Voices can be found here.