Category: Uncategorized

04 Jun 2019
subject_matter_experts_blog_blog

SMEs Are People First, and They Need You to Be Prepared

They’re knowledgeable, but cryptic.

They’re busy, but necessary.

Of course, I’m talking about subject matter experts.

Chances are that if you’re a writer, researcher or on a content-based project, you’re working with one or more of these brilliant professionals, or SMEs.

Communication can often seem difficult, or downright impossible. Sometimes it IS their personality, but sometimes it’s you… and your relationship with them.

Is it possible to break through and build a relationship with someone you don’t know and still reach your deadline? Yes, it is — with these six steps.

 

Step 1: Study the industry or topic beforehand

Have you ever had a teacher who spoke over your head without taking time to answer questions? If you’re unprepared, a SME meeting can feel one hundred times worse — not only are you losing precious time by not understanding, there’s no extra credit to help you out.

Your SME will assume a lot about you before you talk, including that you’re prepared and ready to talk about the nuances of the field. For instance, if you’re talking to an architect, they won’t think to explain what AutoCad is; they’ll just explain how it fits into their process and move on.

What you shouldn’t do: Totally wing it. Being unprepared for a meeting makes you appear sloppy, inefficient, unproductive and ruins your chances of working for that client again!

What you should do: Give yourself a quick introductory education on the project topic. Go to YouTube or just Google it. You don’t need to know everything — just enough to follow along without making them backtrack every ten seconds.

 

Step 2: Find common ground

If cute, unlikely animal pairings have taught us anything, sparking a friendship is always possible. However, there’s a fine line in professional relationships between wanting to get coffee together and being a doormat for late work and excuses. Take a moderate amount of time in the beginning of the meeting to introduce yourself and the project, and let them do the same. This will also let you gauge their tone, interest level and project understanding.

What you shouldn’t do: Bash your job, the client or the project. It may be easy to bond by saying neither of you want to be here right now, but that will only open the door to negativity. Don’t associate yourself with bad feelings in the eyes of someone forced to work with you.

What you should do: Laugh a little. Even if they help writers or researchers every day, each new project and relationship is awkward and overwhelming. You feel it. They feel it. Lightening the mood will make them relax, which makes them give better responses overall.

 

Step 3: Have a specific direction that you can steer them

People chosen to be SMEs are usually chosen because they know the industry or topic backwards and forwards. Assuming you have an understanding of the project, you still don’t know near as much as they do. And this spells trouble for your brain.

While you might be excited to talk to someone who can give you more than you need, you may find that they have no clue where to start and begin drifting aimlessly into an irrelevant topic. More often than not, they don’t even know what your project is even about, so you’ll have to narrow it down for them.

What you shouldn’t do: Stop them from drifting altogether. For example, if you’re researching mortgages to write web copy about buying a house, and your SME starts talking about a new federal mortgage program that you’ve never heard of, listening to it may give your writing a new perspective. Flexibility is key to an effective interview.

What you should do: Create a list of questions that you can use to stay organized. If you get off course, come back with the next question. Also, make sure to explain the project and its expected deliverables. Being on the same page will make for a better flow.

 

Step 4: Use open-ended questions and let them explain in full

Closely connected to step 3, the type of questions and attention you give plays a part in the kind of information you get.

Think of this part like a first date. Yes/no answers will only bring awkward pauses and make you want to pretend there’s an emergency. By asking open-ended questions, you can get full answers and clearer guidance of what else you talk about. Further, by staying engaged and paying attention, they become more comfortable with giving information, opinions and overall time.

What you shouldn’t do: Cut them off. Like step 3 said, drifting to a certain degree is good. Prompting with a new question is the best way to get back on topic, but make sure you let them finish their thought before you change the subject. Otherwise, they may shut down.

What you should do: Ask follow-up questions that you didn’t prep. If you didn’t understand something, or if you want to know more, just ask. Most times, you’ll get just one meeting with that individual. You’ll regret not asking questions when you had the chance. And they’re less concerned with helping you after the fact.

 

Step 5: Let them review your work with reasonable time

Once you get your content drafted and ready for approval, send it to your SME. Even if you’re not prompted, it’s important that your content is right. They shouldn’t mind looking at it, but make sure to give them enough time. A day, or an hour, is not enough. If you have a tight deadline, let them know during the meeting and give them an ETA. If you have more time, standard turnaround for a busy professional is three to five days.

What you shouldn’t do: Give them more than one business week to review. They’ll procrastinate and forget… and you’ll find yourself deciding the nicest way to pester them through email. No one likes that game.

What you should do: Plan out your timeline before the first meeting and tell them where they fit in. If you don’t stick to it and see them getting tasks later or earlier than said, tell them so they can dedicate some time to it.

 

Step 6: Give them a thanks and shout out at submission

Step 6 is really two steps with a common theme. First, say thanks to the person who helped you. They may have had no choice in the matter, but they still did it and got you through your own job. Letting them know you appreciated them will only help you.

Second, tell the person you deliver to — their boss or otherwise — how much help your SME was, if possible. Don’t overdo it, but that kind of stuff helps fuel compliments, performance reviews and even promotions. Consider this a pay-it-forward situation.

What you shouldn’t do: Discount them because you didn’t like their personality. It’s hard to speak kindly of someone you didn’t click with, but you have to think long-term. What if you keep getting jobs from this client? You don’t want a reputation for being hard to work with.

What you should do: Be honest. If they didn’t give you any time and didn’t review your work, say something. You’re responsible for the content being correct, but you’re not a magician (probably). And if they really did bend over backwards for you, make sure someone knows how well you were treated. By doing so, you’ll probably end up working with that SME again.

 

Learning and understanding the personality and priorities of your SME early on will keep you sane as you navigate your project.

Yeah, they’re not perfect, but neither are you. While you may slip on your timeline, they may have trouble returning emails. Staying observant of their quirks and working with their strengths — not against them — is the only way to get your content approved and out the door.

 


About the Author

amanda-lovewell-headshot

Amanda Lovewell is a copyeditor for bloomfield knoble. She works to keep the brand voice intact for us, and for our clients. She lives for any form of artistic expression, especially music. One day, she would love to travel creating short stories about her misadventures.

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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bk is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bk provides a one-to-one approach.

Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at (214) 254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

14 Jan 2016

The bk ‘We Care’ Campaign Launches for 2016

The Special Olympics is bk's longest running We Care program.
The Special Olympics is bk’s longest running We Care program.

I know, I know. The year just ended and you were barraged with social media messages about holiday charitable support from seemingly every company in the U.S. Holiday charitable support now seems as ubiquitous to the holiday season as “Holiday Sales Events” (kill me).

At that time of year we, bloomfield knoble (bk), may appear to be callous or indifferent to charitable support. The fact is, we provide support year-round. So by December we are wrapping up our 12-months of work and readying for the new year of support. Like everything, we kind of over achieve. It’s in our nature.

If you are not familiar, the bk “We Care” program consists of our choosing 12 charitable organizations each January. We provide financial support to all of them in January, then we spotlight one each month of the year to provide pro bono social media support or hands-on volunteerism by the bk staff. Most of the organizations have been supported by bk for years. However, we do try to add in new worthy causes each year. For instance, this month, we are spotlighting the Special Olympics of Texas. This is the 18th year we have provided support to the Special Olympics. It was the original organization we chose when we founded this agency and we hold that group very close to our hearts.

Last year I finally made the effort to explain why we let you know that we support charities. Here is that blog Why bk is Telling You We Support Charities. Therefore, I won’t go into that again. But I do reiterate that providing support for organizations year-round is better than checking it off a list once each winter.

It is wonderful that people think of charitable efforts during the holiday season. But making a difference means committing to some heavy lifting all year long. Since we focus on several human/civil rights organizations and environmental groups, we know they need support every day in any way they can get it. Therefore, we encourage our peers and colleagues in the industry to adopt this approach. It is actually less effort and more meaningful than just writing a check at the end of the year.

Further, while there is nothing wrong with supporting one group at the end of the year, we would urge you to consider sharing the wealth and expanding your support.

As an agency, we have found that our focusing each month on a different cause or group allows us to include every one in the office. Some people may not be much of an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) supporter (I am, however). However, they may really be into pandas, so the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) gets them more involved and jazzed to support that month.

bk Partner Chris Weatherley's We Care organization of choice is the Coastal Conservation Association.
bk Partner Chris Weatherley’s We Care organization of choice is the Coastal Conservation Association.

It’s about inclusiveness and maximizing the impact we make. Just because our creative director/agency partner, Chris Weatherley, is really into the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), doesn’t mean that Thomas Thompson, our lead strategist is. In fact, I think Thom prefers the Electronics Take Back Coalition to any outdoor activity we might support.

The point I am making is that in order to make an impact we have to get people involved. As a top advertising agency based in Dallas, TX, we simply applied the same tactics to our internal charitable support as we do to client advertising planning campaigns – reach people where and when they are most interested. Limiting one’s reach to one group minimizes interest with your potential participants. As with any marketing effort, we activate the target audience through compelling content that drives them to take an action. It’s advertising 101, really.

So follow us through social media  and support our “We Care” campaign throughout this year. Take note as we implement our social media editorial calendar and support a different organization each month by highlighting the volunteerism in our office, as well as general support of the organizations’ own outreach and awareness efforts.

Then, why not join bk and change up your support format from a holiday theme to a dedicated annual effort? We could all use your help.

Thank you for your support – Eric J Hirschhorn, partner, the bloomfield knoble Advertising Agency


 About The Author

clark-bachelot-headshotEric J. Hirschhorn is a principal at bloomfield knoble. For 17 years he has helped lead the Dallas-based advertising agency from start up to becoming a premier, full-service agency whose clients include some of the most influential companies in America. Eric lives to spend time with his family, to work and to travel the world in search of unique fishing adventures.

Connect With Eric Hirschhorn
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

14 Oct 2015
cheap-car-300x243

Government agencies are hurting themselves and their mission

Guessing games are not fun to me. Especially when everything is riding on choosing the right answer. For too many local, state and federal agencies that bloomfield knoble (bk) has dedicated its resources to assisting, they are playing a dangerous game that only hurts their outreach mission. This is not done intentionally. Most of the leaders of these agencies, departments, authorities, etc. believe they are doing the right thing. That is the shame of it all.

The lack of disclosure concerning budgets for important outreach and awareness work (government terms for marketing and advertising) is hurting the agencies and their missions. When a new RFP is placed on my desk and it is from our public sector friends, I immediately direct our RFP response team to ask the party responsible if they will disclose their budget for the ask. In most cases, the only way to receive an answer is to respond via the public forum of submitting questions and then receiving answers in bulk via the RFP site to all respondents. This always means the answer comes with a week or less to complete the RFP. That alone knocks out most of the best vendors. There is too much wrong with this process.

If you need a huge truck to haul your workload, why would you buy this cheap car?
If you need a huge truck to haul your workload, why would you buy this cheap car?

If I don’t see a budget and a very, very clear summation of the need, I instruct our team to ignore it. Often we hear back from the agency asking us why we did not submit for their RFP. (Backstory: Usually we have to show up in person for a pre-meeting and the agency leadership hears our experience and becomes highly interested in our RFP response.)

Our typical response: “Your request was unclear in terms of effort, deliverables and process. Moreover, you have not set a budget so, regretfully, we could not respond.”

Their typical response back to our typical response: “We think you should tell us what that budget should be.”

By this thinking, these government agencies are starting a dysfunctional relationship. (I should know. I have been in several, to date.) If there are no clear goals, process, level of effort and/or clearly defined deliverables, that makes it hard enough. But remove any parameters of a budget and now the RFP response process is, at best, a guessing game. This is especially true when actual media planning and placement are involved. You just can’t guess that without the required information.

So, we stay away from these RFPs because what really concerns me is that if, somehow we were to guess right and be awarded the contract, we will find our agency in a game of Russian Roulette we don’t expect to win.

Now, I have painted government agencies with a very broad brush. Certainly their are groups and individuals that get it and conduct a thorough and proper RFP process. These are the agencies we seek out and choose to work with. They understand they need a trusted advisor and partner. Even when we lose out on one of those RFPs to another vendor, at least we know the work likely will be done well.

It is common sense in the “real world” (outside government agencies) that a marketing or advertising firm be given clear goals to achieve within a pre-determined budget. If we don’t meet or surpass those goals, we get fired. Simple.

Obversely, it is fine to submit RFPs without a budget if the goals and effort are clearly understood. Even one that asks for media planning. The problem is that requires open discussions and follow up communication to determine the budget based on the goals. Because make no mistake, it is a PARTNERSHIP. Both entities put their reputations on the line with every RFP effort. At least, that is the way bk approaches it.

Unfortunately, our friends in too many government agencies don’t get that. Instead they use terms like, “best value” when it comes to their budget expectations. I can only presume that their thinking is that there is no other way to determine “best value” if vendors are not guessing at the budget. In many cases the government agency simply doesn’t know what the budget should be. I get that not everyone knows what a budget should be if advertising or marketing is not what you do every day. Again, that is why a trusted advisor is needed. And you don’t get one of those if you don’t follow the right process to determine that.

The reality is that “best value” is best measured by lining up competitive bids based on experience, trustworthiness, deliverables, value and rapport. Yes, rapport. Through a rigorous interview process (phone or in person), all of that can be determined. Often, rapport is developed through meetings and discussions which should be integral to the RFP process. The choice often becomes very, very clear through this time spent. If budget transparency is an issue, asking vendors to work to lower that budget or bring added value is commonplace.

What all this leads to is the fact that this lack of process and transparency too often leads to government agencies hiring the worst partner possible. Too often the budget number alone determines their choice. With that thinking, what kind of car would they buy – one with no air conditioning, no power windows, no bumper, etc. You get it . . .

If this sounds like sour grapes, it is not. You see, I am concerned for the work I see being put out after these RFPs we do not respond to come out. This is not the case every time, of course. But too often the goals are not achieved and our tax dollars are misspent. I am less concerned about the tax dollars than the fact that these agencies have very important missions that many Americans depend upon to live better, healthier lives. Better decision making is needed or citizens will continue to suffer.

Trying to change government thinking is a waste of time. At least, metaphorically, that is what reading Don Quixote taught me in college. However, like Don Quixote, when I see a windmill  my dander gets up. It is easy to say things can’t change. But maybe a crazy guy on an old horse with a passion for doing right might start the wheel in motion. Maybe?


 About The Author

clark-bachelot-headshotEric J. Hirschhorn is a principal at bloomfield knoble. For 17 years he has helped lead the Dallas-based advertising agency from start up to becoming a premier, full-service agency whose clients include some of the most influential companies in America. Eric lives to spend time with his family, to work and to travel the world in search of unique fishing adventures.

Connect With Eric Hirschhorn
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

 

25 Aug 2015
oculus

We have our Oculi on the rifts coming in 2016

oculusWas it  Erik the Red that said, “the times they are a changin’ so let’s go see if we can find us some Green/Iceland?”

No. I just wanted to make that reference in my blog to win a bet. Now, here is what bloomfield knoble (bk) has been studying the last few months, as we gauged where we need to direct client spending and our internal resources to focus on new technologies for advertising initiatives in 2016:

Foremost, search engine marketing (SEM) is going to get even more complicated. Surprised? Of course your not. For too long everyone has sat on their haunches placing buys on Google and calling it media planning and placement. Not that that was a bad thing, it just was too easy and not always effective. Through our efforts over the last two years, and our unique relationships with the folks at Facebook, Baidu, Twitter and other key market drivers, we have been at the front of the trend with our buys this past year. (Ahem. . . Our good friend, T-Bone, over at Google, notwithstanding.)

On the Western Front, it seems that our key strategist, Thomas J Thompson, has proven some of his theories that he started to muse upon in 2014. That “study hard” intensity, along with some intense training with IBM’s Watson and other analytical tools, has caused bk to tie in with the offerings of unique players including, but not limited to, Pandora and other app-based platforms. Of course, the one leads the other, not the other way around. Strong analytical research, data points and matching it to the right opportunities is what wins the day. But in my book, it’s the imaginative approach, hard work and curiosity that puts bk out in front when it comes to spotting and taking advantage of opportunities others wait to hear about in industry publications.

I teased you with the Oculus Rift (OR) headline, as if it is going to interrupt the advertising marketplace in 2015. Well, it won’t. However, it is pretty interesting and we are beginning to view it as a future opportunity that we need to gain real-time (yes, a pun) experience in the coming year and beyond. There are all types of scenarios being floated around, so if you have time, do a little more than reading my little blog. Let’s just say that product placement, unique experiential “commercials” and in-game, in-movie ads are going to get a crazy lift as that application platform grows. (Kind of scares me, what with my 1980’s upbringing, what OR is going to bring. I’m just glad I have much smarter folks around to explain it to me — very, very slowly.)

Next on the list? The big data opportunities seem to have no end now that humans are “self-tagging” themselves with every kind of device they can wear. That is why Watson and other new tools that make it possible to sift through the data make so much sense for our strategic teams to gain expertise in applying. The more that consumers “tag” themselves with watch/wrist devices, clothing, shoes, etc. that have the native apps built right into their daily lives, tracking everything consumers do from bathroom breaks to how much water they consume in a day makes sifting through it that much harder, but that much more rewarding.

Please don’t be afraid of those invasive tracking devices. (They scare me shitless, but I’m not a millennial.) In fact, it should be the opposite for those of you that are not paranoid like me. If I was not afraid of Big Brother, it would be nice when I go window shopping online. You see, I don’t like commercials or retargeting ads that I are not relevant to me. So, it is going to be so much better when all I see are ads for fishing adventures, vacations and college tuition coupons (I wish) because my apps know my habits and needs and only deliver advertising that is relevant to my life.

By the way, those new “digitally active” shirts and shorts slated for 2018 releases are going to really blow everyone’s mind. How will that become part of bk’s targeting algorithms? Well, you’ll need to check back for my 2017 blog, unless it gets pushed back to 2022. (I have heard that is a real possibility. The shirts and shorts, I mean.)

Of course, there will still be growth opportunities for SnapChat, Ello and Wanelo, but everyone knows that. Right?

This was just a reminder that bk knows more than we should, but not near as much as we will in a year. We don’t wait for someone to tell us about it because our clients trust us to get them in front of trends so they can reach their target audience in the most effective, economical and righteous way possible.

I don’t plan to let them down on my watch. Need an agency that is forward thinking, has nearly 20 years of success with Fortune 100s, takes everything personal and lives to succeed? Call me today and let me see if we are a right fit.


 About The Author

clark-bachelot-headshotEric J. Hirschhorn is a principal at bloomfield knoble. For 17 years he has helped lead the Dallas-based advertising agency from start up to becoming a premier, full-service agency whose clients include some of the most influential companies in America. Eric lives to spend time with his family, to work and to travel the world in search of unique fishing adventures.

Connect With Eric Hirschhorn
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

24 Jul 2015
blog-feature

“Build On” Animation – After Effects Tutorial

Check out this video tutorial about the “build on” animation technique that has become very popular in the motion graphics realm of design. To see this technique applied on a much larger scale, take a look at the promotional video bloomfield knoble created for the HOME by Fannie Mae™ application here.


 About The Author

andy-edwards-headshot

Andy Edwards is an Associate Art Director with bloomfield knoble. His interests include shredding on the guitar, pumping iron and, of course, beer. At bk, he is the wearer of many “hats” (figuratively, not literally, of course), in which he especially contributes his creative eye to design and video production. The Force is strong with him.
Connect With Andy Edwards
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

 

24 Jul 2015
blog-feature

"Build On" Animation – After Effects Tutorial

Check out this video tutorial about the “build on” animation technique that has become very popular in the motion graphics realm of design. To see this technique applied on a much larger scale, take a look at the promotional video bloomfield knoble created for the HOME by Fannie Mae™ application here.


 About The Author

andy-edwards-headshot

Andy Edwards is an Associate Art Director with bloomfield knoble. His interests include shredding on the guitar, pumping iron and, of course, beer. At bk, he is the wearer of many “hats” (figuratively, not literally, of course), in which he especially contributes his creative eye to design and video production. The Force is strong with him.
Connect With Andy Edwards
twitter
facebooklinkedin_25x25youtube_25X25

# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

 

21 May 2015
Chicken farmers are under the thumb of an evil poetry empire.

For Too Many Farmers, American Serfdom Is Alive and Well

Chicken farmers are under the thumb of an evil poultry empire.

Want to read this blog?
Well, you can’t . . . unless you first read these backgrounders and references:
From the Huffington Post
From SustainableAgriculture.com
From the website of Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur
From Poynter

It is my personal opinion, and not that of the representative bloomfield knoble corporation, that the media revolution started by John Stewart and his Daily Show cohorts has been a boon to American society. It is also my opinion that “watchdog” journalism has been destroyed through a combination of greed, special interests and egoism. Some of my cohorts of readers may be aware that I started my career as a journalist. My truly devoted fans also know that I left that industry in disgust after reading a lead story in the Dallas Morning News. The editorial reporting was so indicative of the Belo Corporation politics that I deemed the industry no longer worthy of my efforts and journalistic moral code.

Therefore, I now get my “in-depth” news from shows like the Daily Show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and (previously) from The Colbert Report:(. Yes, I do realize the possible irony and admitted stupidity inherent in that statement. So save your finger wagging for another time when I get on my high horse.

Anyway, what drove me as a journalist was the duty to shine a light into the dark shadows to expose wrong doings. You know, that whole “Watchdog Journalism” thing that is now called “whistle-blowing.” (Jeez, give me a freakin’ break.) Anyway, that is why I like the aforementioned shows. They live to expose – in half hour to 1 hour increments – what they can, when they can, however they can. Furthermore, they do so because it is fun and right. My same motivations as a young journalist.

In particular, I am attracted to stories that expose corporate hegemony and abuses. This happens almost daily, so it is hard to follow up on the many ways corporations seek to exploit humanity. However, I don’t blame the corporations for trying to exploit us. After all, they are the literal representation of the metaphorical scorpion in the Aesop-like tale of the Scorpion and the Fox (or frog, or turtle, or farmer and snake). It is in the nature of a corporation to exploit the masses for gains.

What pisses me off to no end is when our government representatives not only shirk their duties to protect their citizens, but the shirking is done due to graft. Politicians that accept financial reward to betray their electorate have a special, cold place in Hell. Now, add a representative fighting the turn coat representatives and now you have my full interest.

So that brings me to the story John Oliver brought to light on Sunday. This was not the first time the story was reported. In fact, it has been an ongoing issue for years. All he did was use his platform to expose something he knew would make us all feel dirty, since we all love to eat chicken. Here is the gist of the story:

Giant, evil chicken corporations – Perdue, Tyson, Pilgrim’s Pride, Sanderson Farms – are turning American farmers into serfs, by and large. They put all the expense on the farmers, control when and how they receive opportunities to raise the chickens, but never allow the farmers to own the chickens. Any complaints or whistleblowing by the farmers results in the evil chicken corporations punishing them by giving them underperforming chickens (see the piece to understand this) or outright stop using them, driving them to bankruptcy. In at least one case, it drove one good farmer to commit suicide.

Of course, the evil chicken corporations first enmesh the farmers into buying expensive equipment by promising large contracts, which the farmers use to go to banks to take out exorbitant loans. Then the evil chicken corporations use that loan against them, threatening to not provide work or lower their numbers if they make any noise or grumble. This leaves these good American farmers at or below the poverty line. Disgusting.

See the story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=95&v=X9wHzt6gBgI

Okay, okay. You’re thinking I’m a bleeding liberal. Or worse, you are thinking I am not doing my due diligence as a journalist or an informed citizen and taking time to read the other side of this story, the defense presented by the evil chicken corporations. Why should I? It’s the time of knee jerk reactions and believe whatever you read on the Internet, right? Well, truth is, I am a sucker for John Oliver and his ilk. I believe the show’s staff and their ability to fact check just as I once trusted the NY Times and the Dallas Morning News.

Plus, this is a great opportunity to explain what serfdom was and why it is alive and well in America.

Historians generally concur that Western medieval forms of serfdom were abolished during the 19th century following the Napoleonic invasions in Europe. The last country to have officially abolished it was Russia in 1861. At least, that is what the history books might have us believe, depending on who writes your history.

Here is the actual definition:

Serfdom is the status of peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to manorialism. It was a condition of bondage which developed primarily during the High Middle Ages in Europe and lasted in some countries until the mid-19th century.

Serfs who occupied a plot of land were required to work for the Lord of the Manor who owned that land, and in return were entitled to protection, justice and the right to exploit certain fields within the manor to maintain their own subsistence. Serfs were often required not only to work on the lord’s fields, but also his mines, forests and roads. The manor formed the basic unit of feudal society and the Lord of the Manor and his serfs were bound legally, economically, and socially. Serfs formed the lowest social class of feudal society.

So get on board with us. Look up Representative Marcy Kaptur and let those representatives know what you think of evil chicken corporations abusing American farmers. Or, join the ranks of the chicken f*****g congressmen and look the other way when you buy your chicken. Guilty? Not you, right? You just like chicken.

Illustration by Jeff Carrington


 About The Author

clark-bachelot-headshotEric J. Hirschhorn is a principal at bloomfield knoble. For 17 years he has helped lead the Dallas-based advertising agency from start up to becoming a premier, full-service agency whose clients include some of the most influential companies in America. Eric lives to spend time with his family, to work and to travel the world in search of unique fishing adventures.

Connect With Eric Hirschhorn
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

 

13 May 2015
fistpump_winning

Mission: Accomplished!

At bloomfield knoble, we sometimes find ourselves a little in over our heads when it comes to extracurricular activities. There’s the local bowling league we joined, half-expecting the “season” to be a quick six weeks or so—it was nine…months…long. Then there’s the friendly little afternoon barbecue cook-off we decided to compete in, which turned out to be a 48-hour, 75 lb. meat-smoking clash of epic proportions.

Nonetheless, our intentions are always pure at heart: strengthen the office camaraderie and foster an environment of teamwork and trust.

I suppose that’s just one of the many reasons bk has been honored by the Dallas Business Journal as one of the best places to work in North Texas in 2015! So I guess I was a little premature with the “Mission: Accomplished” banner of a headline, as we are in contention with many other stellar companies to be awarded the overall designation on June 25.

For 13 years, the Dallas Business Journal has recognized “the best companies to work for in North Texas.” This is the first year we have submitted ourselves for consideration.

You could say that the company ping pong tournaments, sporting clays competitions, golf outings, “Fish City” Fridays, etc. contributed to the recognition, but to me, it is because the people who make up this company genuinely care about each other and want to make this place truly great.

We take such an immense amount of pride in the work that we do. It’s that passion for creating outright awesomeness that makes working here feel a lot less like work. While I may have been quick to break out the anointing oils, it’s hard for me to imagine a better team to be on. So to that, I say, “Mission: Accomplished.”


 About The Author

andy-edwards-headshot

Andy Edwards is an Associate Art Director with bloomfield knoble. His interests include shredding on the guitar, pumping iron and, of course, beer. At bk, he is the wearer of many “hats” (figuratively, not literally, of course), in which he especially contributes his creative eye to design and video production. The Force is strong with him.
Connect With Andy Edwards
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

 

 

10 Apr 2015
7df3h38zabcvjylnyfe3

How to Style The Twitter API

Twitter has been a huge pain for designers for the past few years. Styling anything in their API is constantly a source of frustration and agony. With the help of Harry Hopkins we have worked up an easy-to-use solution that can work with any embedded widget.

The first thing you will want to do is to download the source files here. Once you have those source files you will want to do a couple of things to make sure it works with your feed.

After downloading the source files for the project you will need to go to Twitter and make a Twitter widget. You can do that by following the  instructions below.

Select “Settings” from the drop down menu in the top right corner of your default Twitter page.

Select “Widgets” in the left column.

If you have not already created your widget then select “Create New.” If you already have a widget made then select “Edit” on the widget you would like to use.

Insert the “User Name” of the twitter feed you would like to use.

Copy the code provided to you by twitter

You will only need two bits of data from the previously mentioned code. You will need the “href” and the “data-widget-id.” Once you have those two snippets of code you can insert then into the areas indicated below which can be found in the index.html files provided in the source file .zip.

<a class="twitter-timeline"
href=”INSERT YOUR HREF HERE (ex. https://twitter.com/clarkbachelot)”
data-widget-id="INSERT YOUR ID HERE (ex.380184835865575425)"
data-related="twitterapi,twitter"
data-aria-polite="assertive"
data-tweet-limit="3">
Tweets by @YOURTWITTERHANDLEHERE (this is incase the twitter widget does not load)</a>

 

It is set up so that it copies the timeline that the Twitter widget creates and adds another one to the page that you can customize via CSS.

You can edit the files referenced below to customize your Twitter feed however you see fit. You can view an example of this in action here. You will notice I took out all of the default Twitter clutter and left just the tweet to be customized.

By simply editing the provided .css file (twittertimeline.css) you can style your feed using full .css properties. Additionally you can use the javascript file (twitterfeed.js) to customize the animation of your new twitter feed. It is pretty comprehensive and self explanatory.


Important Twitter Files

  • /scripts/twitterFeed.js
    • This file copies the Twitter Timeline and then sets it up to cycle.
    • Look for $customTimeline.contents().find(‘.h-feed’).cycle({and you can customize the cycle options.
      • timeout: this allows you to set the timing in seconds between transitions
      • speed: this allows you to set the transition speed in seconds
  • /css/twittertimeline.css
    • This is where all the custom CSS is located.
    • I’ve added this file to the index.html file
    • Look for the following line and uncomment the display:none to hide the original timeline
      • /* Hide the actual widget */
        .twitter-timeline-rendered {
        /* display: none!important; */
        width:90% !important;
        }
      • We left this in so that you can see the original to make style tweaks

 About The Author

clark-bachelot-headshot

Clark Bachelot is an Associate Creative Director with bloomfield knoble. His passions include cajun cooking, the outdoors and beer. In his role at bk, he likes to inspire audiences with his design and focuses on “usability” to make sure the targets of his creative understand what action to take. He is not very good at Fantasy Football.
Connect With Clark Bachelot
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Las Colinas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

04 Mar 2015
motionv2

Motion V2: a Motion Graphics Must-Have

In beginning the discussion on useful tools to help maximize the efficiency of your design workflow, I touched on the concept of utilizing plug-ins to do most of the heavy lifting. The same is true when developing motion graphics; plug-ins greatly assist with the animation process. Whether it’s a lengthy sequence or a quick animation, there are a collection of frequently used “actions” that require repetitious setup tasks. Plug-ins, usually from a third-party, can automate these actions within a friendly user interface.

The motion graphics masses are fortunate for the services of practicing developers and code pioneers, such as Mt. Mograph, for putting in hours and hours of time creating these necessary shortcuts. Mt. Mograph is an online motion graphics exploratory, operated by a single graphics developer, in which various techniques and tools are built, tested, explained and shared.

motionv2-all

Recently, Mt. Mograph released a second version of the “Motion” tool. Motion V2 is a robust After Effects plug-in that is capable of more than 20 different actions, such as:

  • animation interpolation sliders
    • these control the “easing” of any selected animation or behavior
  • common behavior presets
    • frequently used shape animations (burst, jump, warp, spin)
  • object relationship actions
    • controls the way shapes interact (orbit, stare, clone)
  • workflow assist (asset naming, auto-null object)
  • anchor point assignment
  • auto-vignette/color-rigging

After using the tool extensively, I have come to realize that my dependence on the action presets has increased tenfold. As a result, it takes less time to complete the menial tasks (necessary, though tedious).

Motion V2 includes a suite of behavior presets/actions.

To demonstrate the difference in efficiency, take the “burst” function for example. To create the burst animation, individual strokes are created, styled and animated to appear as if being ejected from a center circle. Then, the strokes are multiplied and rotated around the middle. It’s a monotonous process of resizing, transforming and fiddling around with shapes and their behaviors. It requires about 5-10 minutes to create; that’s 5-10 minutes longer than it takes to click the “burst” function on the Motion V2 tool, which instantly generates all of the assets and performs all of the tasks previously mentioned … in a burst.

I highly encourage anyone involved with motion graphics development to check out this very helpful plug-in. You can purchase the tool for $35, which, according to the website, “comes with a non-expiring lifetime license. The license allows use on commercial projects and access to all future updates free-of-charge.” The update is free if you already have the original Motion V1 release. Motion V2 is compatible with recent editions of After Effects (CS5 – CC 2014).


 About The Author

andy-edwards-headshot

Andy Edwards is an Associate Art Director with bloomfield knoble. His interests include shredding on the guitar, pumping iron and, of course, beer. At bk, he is the wearer of many “hats” (figuratively, not literally, of course), in which he especially contributes his creative eye to design and video production. The Force is strong with him.
Connect With Andy Edwards
twitter
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.