Other Voices December 9, 2016

Written by

Susan Bray

Director of Strategy

It starts with strategy…and Susan. She oversees the research, discovery and analysis that informs our brand-building and marketing campaign strategies. For Susan, it’s not just about the thinking at the onset of a project. It’s also about connecting the dots throughout, being ready to spot opportunities and helping guide client initiatives to smooth launches.

While Susan has made BFT her work home for more than a decade, she leverages her previous client-side experiences as Director of Marketing at Morningstar Investment Services and Director, Marketing Communications at Business Logic to develop strategies and tactics that will deliver against their campaign objectives. Having spent much of her career working with financial companies, Susan is among the SMEs we rely on when creating solutions for our financial clients.

Strategy is the glue that holds everything together.

Fast Facts:

  • An urban-minded suburbanite.
  • Admits to being a little bit competitive.
  • Never stop asking questions.

Josh Stauffer

CEO and President

An optimistic believer in digital’s transformative power on the landscape of B2B marketing, Josh brings over a decade of agency experience to his role as CEO and president of Blue Flame Thinking. He also brings a lifetime spent in the act of artistic creation and expression…and some serious coding skills.

Josh’s journey from artist to coder to creator of enterprise-grade software applications to digital marketing team leader to business owner began with the realization that the act of creating is more important than the medium used.

It’s not that I am less of a ‘maker’ now. I’m just making something that serves other makers: an agency that provides clients and staff members with a better way to express themselves.

Fast Facts:

  • Classically trained oil painter and illustrator.
  • 5:30 a.m. CrossFit junkie.
  • Han shot first. It’s not a debate, though to be clear, Greedo was a slimeball.

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.

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.

Do You Speak Like a Midwesterner?

Some of us in the Midwest feel we don’t have noticeable accents like our neighbors in other parts of the country or even other parts of the Midwest. Not so fast! Turns out we may be showing our region with just a few words or phrases. And what about those who use language from multiple areas? Well, perhaps that just makes us interesting.
— Susan Bray, Director of Content

First Round’s State of Startups Report

For the second year running, First Round has compiled its “State of Startups” report. The report aggregates responses, observations, opinions and experiences from over 700 startup founders in the tech industry. It’s a fascinating look into the minds of the people disrupting industries all over the world with technology and their unique business challenges. The report covers everything from their outlook on the future of the market to the gender gap plaguing the industry. Of particular interest was the section talking about culture and employee retention. Take a look at the beautifully simple highlight website they built to showcase the results.
— Josh Stauffer, EVP of User Experience

Why Teams That Cook Together Work Better Together

If you’re a foodie, you will want to show your coworkers this article and start cooking up some friendly competition right away. Some startups are engaging their employees with having cook-offs, such as waffle competitions, that are modeled after the Food Network’s Chopped or Iron Chef. And, it’s working. These startups have seen a boost in employee morale, and it gives everyone a break from the daily grind. What’s not to love about food and sharing laughs with your colleagues?
|— Amanda Jakubowski, Account Coordinator

Window Wonderland

One of my favorite childhood memories was walking around NYC during the holidays. Between Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station and the store windows, it felt magical. Well, now you can experience some of the magic without leaving your seat. Google Shopping offers a virtual tour of some of New York’s windows to get you into the holiday spirit.
— Susan Bray, Director of Content

26.2 Miles, 46 Sketches

Live streaming and tweeting from events has become the norm for personal and broadcast communication purposes. But, what about live drawing? That’s what New York-based artist Christoph Niemann did back in 2011. The event? The New York City Marathon. That’s right, a marathon. So, not only did Niemann run a marathon, which is an incredible accomplishment by itself, but he also managed to draw his experiences in 46 entertaining sketches as he ran. We salute Niemann’s determination and perseverance to his craft while emphatically upping the selfie game.
— Adam Rice, Senior Art Director