Even though we just opened, we thought it would be nice to have a Holiday Open House and invite our friends to come check out new digs. We had a great turnout and wonderful company. Thanks everyone who made it!
Don’t let the afternoon doldrums drag you down. Follow these five tips for a more prolific workday.Sometimes your productivity comes to a screeching halt. You can’t possibly do anything right now. Even getting up to use the bathroom seems like a chore. A coffee the size of a banned soda in New York might help, but even then, completing that writing assignment seems like a distant possibility. Thankfully, there are less-caffeinated ways to overcome this impasse. Here are five ways to be more productive at work: 1. Eat more super foods. The wedge of deep-dish pizza you had for lunch is not going to power you through the day. That’s not just personal experience talking; it’s science. A 2005 study by Great Britain’s International Labour Organization (ILO) found that nutritional intake has a direct impact on productivity. It even said that eating proper foods could boost the U.K.’s national productivity level by 20 percent. So what kinds of foods should people consume to avoid the mid-afternoon stall? According to an infographic from MindFlash.com, which cites the findings of the ILO study as well as data from WebMD, foods that boost productivity include: • fish • dark chocolate • nuts and seeds • avocado • raw carrots • blueberries To learn more about these foods and how they affect you, check out the infographic. 2. Look at pictures of kittens. Browsing images of adorable kittens seems like a time-wasting activity, but a recent study foundthat people who looked at pictures of cute baby animals—as opposed to those who viewed images of adult animals or delicious foods—before completing a task were the most productive. Here’s one to get you started (via): 3. Take a break. Don’t take time only to look at cute animal pictures. Get up and do something. As tempting as it might seem to muscle through a task so you can knock it off your to-do list, researchers have found that doing so will lead to stress and exhaustion. In fact, taking regular breaks dramatically increases productivity, particularly for people who work at a computer,according to a study from 2011. In that study, University of Illinois psychology professor Alejandro Lleras and postdoctoral fellow Atsunori Ariga explored a person’s ability to focus on repetitive computer tasks for an hour. The result: Those who took two short breaks over the course of an hour saw no drop in performance compared with the people who worked straight through. 4. Focus on one activity. In other words, don’t multitask. You know that person in the meeting who’s typing something on his laptop, checking his smartphone, jotting down notes, and nodding in agreement? Well, that person is stoned—or at least as mentally dulled as someone who just smoked pot, according to researchers. A British study from 2005 found that workers distracted by phone calls, emails, and text messages experienced a greater temporary drop in IQ than a person smoking marijuana. Similarly, a study from last year noted that multitasking hurts short-term memory. So, what’s the solution to this problem, given the always-connected world in which we live? PR exec Gini Dietrich offered some advice in a column she wrote last year for Crain’s Chicago Business: “Choose a challenging task that needs to be accomplished the next day. Block out 60–90 minutes to at least get it started, if not complete it. Close email. Turn off Skype and instant messaging. Put your email in offline mode. Turn off every alert you get for your social networks. Set the timer for your allotted time, and get to work. “I’m willing to bet good money you’re much more productive working this way. If it works, determine the top five things you need to accomplish each day, set your timer, and get to work.” 5. Stop forcing yourself to be a morning person. Unless, of course, you are a morning person. Then by all means, get cracking when the rest of the world is struggling through its first cup of coffee. The point is to find your “peak time” and harness it for optimal productivity. If, for example, you kick out the jams from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., then block out that time for your most important projects. To determine your peak time, Lifehack.org suggests you monitor your workflow for a week and jot down when you’re most productive. Adjust your hours accordingly. Of course, determining that you’re an evening person is all fine and good, but how do you benefit from it when you have to be at your desk by 8 a.m. every morning? That might require a meeting with your manager, a job change, or perhaps just boatloads of coffee—plus a few super foods and kitten pictures. Via http://www.healthcarecommunication.com/Main/Articles/9822.aspx
This year we had the pleasure of working with MidSouth Pride and we also sponsored the 2012 MidSouth Pride Festival & Parade. Despite the brief rain, the Ray Rico Freelance team were representing at the festival and marched in the parade handing out coozies (which were gone before we made it through the parade!) Special thanks to Suzy for encouraging me to do this and to all of our walkers — Sarah, Beth, Tammy, Tara, Jeff, Joe, Shane, Keith & Corey. It sure was fun! Thanks Tara for allowing us to use your car. And special thanks to Ella for featuring her artwork this year. <3 Here are a few pics from the gay pride festival and parade in Memphis, TN Oct. 6. UPDATE! Hey we were featured in a snippet from a story on Dateline NBC, too. Check it out! Coverage begins @ 11:47 Dateline NBC Reports on The Swing State ft. Memphis, TN Photos by Ella Hernandez, Matt Riddle, Joe Gordon, Randy Brafford and RJ Marshall-Jackson.
Successful campaigns do not just happen. They are well thought out and strategic in planning from inception to launch. At Ray Rico Freelance, we have a great process in place that we use on all our projects. What’s yours? Inception/Initial Discovery – This is where we have our first conversation and discuss our qualifications with you and find out your needs to see if there is a match. Proposal/Agreement – This is where we propose the outline for the project and agreement. Internal Discovery – Here we start doing our research to dig deeper into your project. Discovery – Next we take what we found and meet with the client to review and get their input and propose direction. Concepts/Revisions – We take those plans and begin to concept designs, present the concepts and revise with the client. Production – After edits are made, we execute the design of the project. Walkthrough – Once the project is ready, we walkthrough with the client. Punch list – Finally, we get any last details worked out and prepare to launch. Launch – Lastly, we set your campaign or project live. Followup – Afterwards, we like to measure the success of the campaign or project and follow up to see if you have any additional needs.
JC Penny is ripping up the marketing playbook and starting fresh. They have a new agency with new ideas and fresh ads that are current and getting lots of attention. That’s what is important with advertising. These positive and progressive ads are what caught our attention. The following image is from a post on Facebook. I remember hearing about the Mother’s Day ad. Now the tactic they used next was just as good or better at being affective to a large audience. Both concepts are the new family in every sense of the word. Not long ago, I read an article about JC Penny which explained they were going to change the way they are doing some things. Way to go, I say. The original article is posted below the jump. JC PENNEY REINVENTS DEPARTMENT-STORE RETAILING Unveils Sweeping Shifts to Pricing, Promotion, Presentation, Product Published: January 25, 2012 from http://adage.com/article/news/jc-penney-reinvents-department-store-retailing/232339/ JC Penney is ripping up the marketing playbook and starting fresh. Over the course of a two-hour presentation on Manhattan’s West Side today, JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson and President Michael Francis outlined a series of major changes across all aspects of the department store’s pricing, promotion, presentation and products. Changes will be unveiled to consumers on Feb. 1. JC Penney’s new logo Among the items: The retailer introduced a new logo as well as a new spokeswoman, Ellen DeGeneres, who joined the proceedings via a recorded comedic video. Martha Stewart was there in the flesh to discuss her partnership with the retailer. A new line from designer Nanette Lepore was announced. And Mr. Johnson teased attendees with a brief discussion of a new JC Penney prototype to launch in 2014 and “heavily informed” by his alma mater, Apple . It was an impressive spectacle. JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson “Just like Apple , we’re going to learn that the best days aren’t in the rear-view mirror, they’re right down the road,” Mr. Johnson said, noting JC Penney is 110 this year. “I believe the department store is the No. 1 opportunity in American retail. And this isn’t something I decided last June when I took the job. This is something I decided 10, 15 years ago.” Mr. Johnson told the crowd that during his time working in retail at Apple he would often visit malls to assess possible Apple store locations. His team always parked at the department stores, he said, because there “weren’t any cars.” He then flashed on the screen a picture of the Minnesota-area Dayton’s store he grew up visiting and waxed eloquent about restoring integrity to the department-store concept. Shoppers can expect lower pricing on the first and third Fridays of every month. The first significant change will be embracing a new pricing strategy, consisting of “fair and square” pricing. It includes three types: everyday, regular prices; monthlong values; and best prices, on the first and third Fridays of every month. To determine new prices across its product range, Mr. Johnson said that the retailer looked at what it was charging and what customers most often paid after numerous discounts. He found that only one in 500 items sold at full price, while 72% of revenue was derived from selling products at 50% off or more. For example, a T-shirt that had retailed for $14 but typically sold for closer to $6 will now be priced at $7. In a month when it’s a featured product, it will cost $6. When it’s time to clear it out and change colors, it will cost $4. The retailer is also embracing flat prices, no more 50- or 99-cent add-ons. The strategy will trim JC Penney’s promotions to 12 a year from 590. In an homage to the promotional noise, presentation attendees walked down a hall plastered with old ads and circulars to the accompaniment of a raucous soundtrack that included a cat fight. Mr. Francis called it the “Hall of Hell.” Instead of spending $2 million per promotion, Mr. Johnson said, JC Penney will spend $80 million a month promoting all its products. New ads alert customers to the retailer’s groundbreaking strategy. “Steve [Jobs] would have called this insanity,” Mr. Johnson said of the sheer volume of promotions. “At some point you, as a brand, just look desperate. JC Penney spent over $1 billion, and the customer didn’t even pay attention.” Greg Clark, senior VP-creative marketing, told Ad Age the new approach will lead to an overall decrease in the retailer’s ad budget. “Honestly, we just didn’t need to spend as much when we shifted the strategy and stopped having to feed the 590-event animal,” he said. “Now the media spend is more impactful, very aggressive and not spread so thin.” New ads breaking today from Mother are a teaser for the revised pricing and an alert to the Feb. 1 launch date. They carry the tagline, “Enough. Is. Enough.” Consumers throughout the spot scream when faced with sale signs, coupons and a mailbox overflowing with circulars and direct mail. A Facebook component includes a “No Meter” and consumers can work through “challenging” exercises to try to get a discount. Separately, a spokeswoman confirmed that Ruby Anik left the retailer late last year and that Mr. Clark is leading the creative and brand-marketing functions. Ms. Anik joined JC Penney in 2007 from Best Buy and had been the No. 2 marketer under former CMO Mike Boylson. JC Penney President Michael Francis Mr. Francis told Ad Age that he has no immediate plans to fill the CMO role, which Mr. Boylson left last summer. He said that the flatter structure has helped his team be more efficient but added that he reserves the right to tap an exec for the position later. The monthly promotional cadence is closely linked with the creative overhaul spearheaded by Mr. Francis. A new logo includes a square red frame, with “jcp” in a blue box in the top, left-hand corner. The frame will be used throughout JC Penney’s stores and marketing. For overall tone and personality, the retailer looked to The Saturday Evening Post. Ads created by Peterson Milla Hooks are meant to feel fresh, warm, whimsical and American. JC Penney ended its relationship with longtime agency Saatchi & Saatchi in December. Monthlong values are on the way. Working with PMH, JC Penney created a personality and color palette for each month that will be carried throughout marketing, in-store displays and even external lighting on stores. By focusing on one month at a time, Mr. Francis said, JC Penney can highlight important consumer events, such as Valentine’s Day, Super Bowl or the Academy Awards. A 96-page perfect-bound book featuring relevant products will be mailed to consumers monthly, in addition to traditional newspaper circulars. “We have the opportunity to capture the consumer’s imagination on a monthly basis,” Mr. Francis said. “Owning the month is a significant opportunity for us.” Mr. Johnson also highlighted the retailer’s plans to return the department store into a store that actually has departments. In the coming months and years, shop-in-shops will be rolled out across brands and categories. Beginning in August, two to three shops a month will be rolled out for the next three and a half years, until JC Penney eventually operates with 100 unique shops. Mr. Johnson said 30 are actively in development. Martha Stewart’s shop, slated to launch next year, is one of those. Ms. Stewart said that Messrs. Johnson and Francis’ “entrepreneurial initiative” prompted her to want to work with JC Penney. She said she looked forward to working with the retailer in the coming years and didn’t acknowledge the lawsuit Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia faces from Macy’s . Meanwhile, Ms. DeGeneres will appear in five yet-to-be-revealed commercials and will promote the retailer on her show. JC Penney has no plans to sell Ellen products. Messrs. Johnson and Francis have accomplished a staggering amount considering they only officially joined the retailer in November and October, respectively. Mr. Johnson said he expects the transformation to be complete by 2015. The final piece of the puzzle is the prototype to launch in 2014. Next year, he said, the concept of the “Town Square” will be introduced. The common area won’t involve selling and will usurp the area traditionally reserved for jewelry and cosmetics. “We’re fine with growing old. We’re not fine with growing stale,” Mr. Johnson said, citing the company’s new mission statement. “We’re rethinking and reimagining, and if we find that we’ve picked up any bad habits over the decades, we’re going to leave them far behind.”
This year we had the rare opportunity to partner with the Wolf River Conservancy in Memphis, TN. The WRC has been a sustainable resource for Shelby County and Memphis for: • Helping residents protect natural resources and protecting habitat within the Wolf River watershed, • Spearheading the Wolf River Greenway project along the urban Wolf River, and by • Connecting residents of all ages to the Wolf River through education, competition, and leisure. Along with assisting in promotions for the yearly Cycle the Greenway event, Ray Rico Freelance has been instrumental in promoting events with our partner Memphis Orthopaedic Group as the Official Recreational Sponsor. Stay tuned for the Harvest Dinner on the Greenway event, this autumn’s premiere event. Details coming soon! We are pleased to partner not only with the Official Recreational Sponsor – Memphis Orthopaedic Group – but also with the Wolf River Conservancy.
I was invited to a gathering around Valentine’s Day so I decided to make some Lemon Berry cupcakes y’all. They were lo cal too. Here’s a tip: instead of oil, I used apple sauce. Made them very moist and delicious!