Other Voices December 16, 2016

Written by

Amanda Jakubowski

Account Manager

A true skill seeker, Amanda looks for every opportunity to learn from clients, other BFTers and the world around her. As an account manager, she keeps a long list of client projects organized and on track, using her ability to connect with people across disciplines to keep everyone moving toward the same goal. Amanda began her marketing career as an account coordinator at BFT.

I believe in taking every opportunity to share information with others…and listen. It’s how we all grow and make those around us better.

Fast Facts:

  • Rebel baker.
  • Eternal optimist.
  • Has mastered the art of paddleboarding with a dog.

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!

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.

Adam Rice

Design Director

For Adam, it starts with branding: creating the visual identity and standards that will provide a client with a recognizable look and set the tone that makes everything that follows uniquely theirs. Adam’s personal appreciation for how art and words work together helps him bring insightful, intelligent and visually impactful design solutions to each project he touches—from product brochures to trade show booth design experiences. Prior to joining BFT 5+ years ago, Adam spent 10 years working for well-known brands across the contract furniture industry (Steelcase, Herman Miller, izzy+ and The HON Company). He’s also helped rebrand and create visual identities for various museums including the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA), The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) and Grand Rapid’s ArtPrize. His passion for design developed early; by age 15, he knew he wanted to be a graphic designer.

Good work begets more work.

Fast Facts:

  • Youth sports coach.
  • Known to stalk stray typography in the wild.
  • Loves the crack of the bat, the smell of the grass and hot dogs. Baseball is just the best.

With 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.

5 Ways To Build A Thicker Skin So You Can Go Through Life Smiling

Thick skin is not easy to build, but it’s important to look in the mirror daily and remember who you are and your worth. Darius Foroux reminds us all to avoid taking things personally, to stick up for yourself and others and to keep life in perspective. He also says being liked by everyone is an impossible mission.

It’s impactful advice for everyone, because we all feel doubt and insecurity at times. I would add just two things to this list. First, quality trumps quantity. Surrounding yourself with good people will not only strengthen who you are but build a network that will have your back. They also will help you grow, which is the second thing I would add. We, as humans, are always improving and adapting. So, never reach an endpoint in your own growth and don’t forget to share what you discover, because we can all learn from others on how to be stronger each and every day.
— Amanda Jakubowski, Account Coordinator

An Existential Crisis for Gen Z

What happens when everyone is the star of their own reality show? And, more to the point, what is the role of the marketer as the barriers between creator/entertainer and audience blur? Just asking. After reading about the viral video behavior of today’s six-year olds, the only thing that’s clear is that the future isn’t what it used to be.
— Gayle Ronan, Director of Content

OK Go New Video Features Morton Salt Girl

OK Go knows what it takes to create a viral video. From a giant Rube Goldberg machine to the effects of zero gravity, the band has long used color, motion and sound in unexpected and clever ways. Now, they’ve partnered with Morton Salt to illustrate how much can happen in one, seemingly small moment. Whether or not the video creates the emotional connection Morton Salt is after remains to be seen, but the company’s #WalkWithHer campaign is sure to get a boost.
— Ruth Rich, Editor

Ray Kurzweil: In the 2030s, Nanobots in Our Brains Will Make Us \’91Godlike’

I remember the day after Dolly the Sheep was cloned, my English Literature professor came in with abruptly shorter hair, which seemed out of character for her. She went on to explain that she cut her hair immediately after hearing about Dolly—she wanted to remain in control of herself and wanted to remain “her.” “It’s only a matter of time until they’re cloning humans,” she said. “But, there’s only one me, and I’m me.” I vaguely understood at the time what she meant by her words and hair-cutting gesture. Today, as I hear Ray Kurzweil theorize about having tiny nanbots implanted into our brains, I begin to understand her point of view. What sounds like an episode of “Black Mirror” could possibly become a reality. The idea of linking our brains to the cloud to access information so we can appear “funnier,” “sexier” and “smarter” feels like we’d become less human and more cyborg. Personally, I’d rather remain “me.” I like the 300 million modules in my neocortex the way they are. Maybe it’s time for a haircut.
— Adam Rice, Senior Art Director

6 Things to Know About Marketing to Millennials

I was born at the peak of the Baby Boom, which means I’ve been in the workforce for longer than I care to remember. Or possibly, can remember. Luckily, I’ve been in the business of creating marketing and advertising over these past three-plus decades, which has forced me to stay alert and aware of ever-changing demographics.

Today, Millennials are a force to be reckoned with and recognized as a huge and powerful cohort of consumers. The problem is that far too many of us are lumping them into a homogeneous group of “entitled and disloyal,” tattoo-bearing, beard-wearing hipsters.

To those of us in the “hip replacement” generation, I say WTF (Way Too False)? This article points out that they are NOT all the same and span a wide range of ages and lifestyles. They are connected to technology and sharing with others, as witnessed by the phenomenon of social media and brands like Uber and AirBnB. They reject hard-sell techniques and resonate with companies that take care of people and the planet.

So, open your eyes—and your mind. Market to Millennials with respect, subtlety and inclusion. If you do it right, they’ll become your most powerful brand ambassadors. — Mike Meyers, Creative Writer