Every year at work, we publish our Strategic Outlook for the year. I've been doing the creative layout for several years, getting the content from the CEO and CTO and various other management team VPs and putting it together into an 8-page brochure that is distributed to all the employees. It's a fun piece to work on, since it's internal and I can be a little bit freer with the format than with our official marketing material.
This year, during a meeting with the CTO, he emphasized "thinking in new ways" as a theme for the whole piece and suggested that maybe we could re-think the layout and do something different than a traditional book-style brochure. "For example, we could turn it on its side and do a calendar-style layout," he enthused. I agreed, and then a flash hit me: why stop there? That was still a book-style with 8 pages, just turned horizontally. Why not do one long piece that folded up into a single page size; a document that opened out like an accordion when you began reading it and which pulled you all the way through the themes to the end. It could even be hung on the wall like a poster!
Now, of course, after several discussions with our printer, who informs me that my idea is probably too expensive and hard to print, as the width would be longer than their machines can handle, we're having to re-think again...but I'm still excited about the fold-out poster-style piece and think we can make it work, even if it has to be a big rectangle poster instead of a long strip. Even my printer had a great idea: instead of folding it up...maybe we could distribute it ROLLED UP in tubes!
Another thing that happens at the beginning of every work year is the Kickoffs. Sales Kickoffs, Department Kickoffs, Regional Kickoffs. Our department's kickoff is planned for the first week of February, and just before Christmas we had a brainstorming meeting to talk about what our team would do. Each team within Corporate Marketing has the mission to do some sort of presentation about who we are and what we do (even though we're all in the same department, each team works fairly independently and it's a fun way to find out what our department colleagues are up to).
Our team is Marcom (Marketing Communications) & Events. We grew quite a lot in the last 13 months, adding 8 new people and 2 consultants to our team. Last year, we set up our presentation room as an event, with a pop-up booth using our corporate graphics but incorporating pictures of ourselves, plus a bunch of funny promotional posters, and a datasheet featuring our team members instead of network cameras (which is what my company makes). It was quite a success, and we felt we had raised the bar already quite high. But get a bunch of creative people in a room and serve them glögg and lussekatter (saffron buns) and the ideas start to flow. We are doing a short film, and the committee that is in charge of driving it has come up with a really great concept and storyboard. They were considering some additional sequences that might be used as "trailers" and welcomed ideas for those as well.
Today, I came up with a great one, that cracked me and the rest of my teammates up. We've been working more and more with QR-codes, in advertising and event material and they're starting to be ubiquitous in marketing material all over the world. A QR-code is a square bar code that you can scan with your smartphone, which then takes you to an website or sends you an SMS, or puts contact info directly into your address book. MY idea for one of our film sequences was to have the Marcom team walking around with QR-codes on our foreheads, or as shoulder tattoos and show someone scanning one which would take them directly to our Marcom Helpdesk web interface to submit a request. One of my colleagues immediately quipped, "The Girl With the Marcom Tattoo!" and we all burst out laughing. I told Anders about this idea during dinner and he said,"And you call ME a geek!" Hee!
But the day wasn't even over yet! Martin and his classmate Frida walked up to my office after school, as usual, and when I was done, we left to drive home. I had been thinking about the fact that we have the first AWC meeting of the year coming up at the end of January and we were still missing a guest speaker. I had already confirmed someone for February, but the professor of sociology we'd been hoping to get for this month hasn't been returning emails. Suddenly, a light bulb went off over my head and while managing not to drive off the road in the glare of my great idea, I turned to Martin and asked Frida (in the back seat) for their attention, and then asked them if they would be willing to be guest speakers at the meeting and talk about what it is like to grow up in a dual-nationality, bilingual home. Neither of them even hesitated; they agreed immediately!
Frida's mom is English (though she's not a member of the AWC) and she and Martin have been in the same class since her family moved to Flyinge in the middle of Kindergarten. I told them it would be for about 20 minutes with time for questions, and that they could have a PPT if they wanted or just talk. I also said I needed to ask Karin as well, when we got home, so she didn't get her feelings hurt by being left out, and when I did, she agreed immediately, too! So, I emailed the board and let them know I had confirmed guest speakers for January as well.
And guess what? The week isn't over yet, either! Plenty of time for even more great ideas this week! What great ideas have you had lately? I bet you've had a few!