Communicating Professionally

Competitive UO Senior Planner

(9) #OccupyWallStreet October 31, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen J. Ashley @ 1:20 am

This weekend was Halloween where you really get to see the creativity of University of Oregon students expressed via costumes. I was shocked to see many people dressed up as the ‘1%’ referring to the one percent of people in the US who control 40 percent of the wealth. To me, the movement hasn’t been completely relevant. I have gotten the emails from UO alerting me about the Eugene movement, I have followed the hashtags conversations on Twitter and that is about it. Other than that, I have learned very little about this movement. But, I decided to look into it.

Will this movement have any lasting effects on our society? I have not seen any advertisements about it but that doesn’t mean I won’t. This movement has reached nation wide. Can it have any effects on the advertising industry? Of course it can.

Look at the 1960’s; advertising was never the same because of the social movements. We would have never had women or people of color without the civil rights movements. Good advertising is art, and art is reflected by society. Time will only tell if this part of society will be reflected in art.


(8) If everyone is ‘special’ how do you stand out? October 27, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen J. Ashley @ 8:24 pm

(Note: Blog post inspired by Tracey Wong- just cleaned up) (democracy of good ideas)

Honestly, if we are all creative and are capable of greatness how do the great ones rise to the top? Tracey Wong an advertising alum from UO believes that in advertising “anyone can have a good advertising idea, everyone needs to be invested in the creative process. It’s just one of the paths to better creative. ” Well that’s great Tracey! If we are all full of grand ideas how do I stomp (politely) on the competition? Fortunately he endowed on us some knowledge, with a pinch of mine added as well.

Largest hurdle? Getting over yourself

That’s right, us millennials have the hardest time letting go of our egos. That is the worst thing we can do for ourselves, not let go of ourselves. We are not connected to our ideas, we are more than that. We are as good as the people we work with, our end product. Our ideas are going to be shut down. We will not be patted on our back for just doing our jobs everyday. The most talented humble people in this business are the ones every junior-level to VP’s want to work with. I WILL be the person every janitor to CEO wants to work with one day. (If that isn’t to egotistical.)

How do you get an idea? Listen and plan

How can you know what the client wants without listening? It sounds so simple and yet, it’s not. Most of the time, the customer doesn’t know what you know. If they did, why would they pay you? But, why would they pay you if you don’t take in their opinion? Everyone wants to be involved in the process. After you done all the listening and collaborating it is time to plan.

Besides some rare fly-off-the-seat-of-you-pants campaigns, good ones take planning. It takes strategy to create great work. A plan isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ act. Every client is different so every strategy should be different.

I hope these tactics will help me rise to the top. I will try to set aside my ego, listen to the client (even if I don’t want to) and plan. Stay tuned for results =)


(7) Media Planning Work Shop October 16, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen J. Ashley @ 6:08 pm

I felt like the biggest nerd last Friday. Not because I read a graphic novel or watched the Star Wars series all in one day, but I went to an academic workshop that had no bearing on my grade. I actively sought new material for my own education.

All geeky-ness aside, I had a fantastic time. An extremely talented professor and media planner at the University of Oregon- Dave Koranda- dedicated his Friday afternoon into helping myself, and about 15 other UO students learning the art of media planning. At the start Dave warned us by saying “I am condensing a whole term in these three hours, get ready.” It was the most interactive eye-opening class I have ever been to. Above anything else, I got curious.

Media planning sounded interesting to me. I think the media is a necessary evil that I could handle and I am a great planner. I figured putting two and two together could be an ideal fit for me. What I didn’t realize how ideal of a match it is. I did not use my full seat the entire three hours. I was leaning forward, actively participating writing notes down vigorously and absorbing as much as I possibly could. The best part about the workshop-I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. This small group of us  either had a light bulb turn on during the time or did prior. We all had a strong passion for media planning and want to actively pursue it.

After the workshop was over we didn’t pack up quickly and get out. Most of us just slowly sauntered around speaking to one another about media planning. We wanted to know the next course of action-when could we do this again? I, and others, had a fantastic idea of starting a UO media planners club. The logistics of it have not been figured out but it is something we were all very interested in pursuing. If any of you are interested look for the #uomediaplanners hashtag and watch what happens!


(6) A Third Place – Starbucks Style October 15, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen J. Ashley @ 10:48 pm

While I was listening to Scott Bedbury’s lecture he showed an image of what looked like a mind melt. There were circles with arrows and words written everywhere. It was for a project Scott worked on with Starbucks. Through all of chaos there was one over-arching connection through it all, the third place.

Scott explained that Starbucks was more than over priced coffee. It became an escape, a ritual, and a third place to all. A third place is somewhere where you become relaxed and unwind from the world. It is somewhere that doesn’t expect anything out of you; not your time, energy or even brainpower. It is a place that everybody needs.

The fact that a brand created this atmosphere is frankly, outstanding.  Being the go-to place for reaching a Zen-mind is a fantastic space to occupy. I can’t imagine another company competing in this market. Starbucks took brand experience to a whole new level. Becoming the third place to someone is almost a sacred act.

It took me awhile to figure out where my third place was. (No, it is not Starbucks.) With being a senior, double majoring and getting a minor, volunteering, working, being in a sorority, having a love life and a social life, I feel like I have not created enough time for my ideal third place. Then it hit me where it is, (in my third place actually) the shower. Where else do any of us have the time to let our mind race, wander, or even just become blank? My third place is a very private, one-person, orientated specifically to myself place. The idea that Scott Bedbury, his team, and Starbucks assembled an atmosphere of a private, person-focused location with thousands of locations around the world is well, brilliant.


(5) My Triple Bottom Line October 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen J. Ashley @ 4:35 am

Many of us have heard of the triple bottom line. For those who have not it is when a business focuses on three different areas of success; financial bottom line, environmental bottom line and social bottom line.

The financial bottom line is one many of us are familiar with. It is basically maximizing profits and creating the most wealth for the stockholders. The environmental bottom line has become more popular recently. In part because it does help the financial bottom line. But also because of the consumer mindset being more focused on environmental impact. And lastly, the social bottom line is more complicated to define. It is doing right b people. Not only your consumers but with employees and the community. Thinking about the social bottom line means to treat employees with respect by taking care of their needs. All of these add up to one thing; a great company to work for.

Being an employee at a company who thinks about the triple bottom line is as good as it gets. It means it is a fiscally strong company, environmentally conscious and cares about you and the community you live in.  If I ran a company it would look something like this …

I would search long and hard for a numbers guru. They would think outside the box, be shrewd about financial transactions and be completely invested in how my company performed. I would offer incentives for them to care about the progress of the company and keep them informed on every financial transaction.

Next I would make as environmentally friendly of a workspace as I could. Allowing easy access for recycling and composting. Every new employee would receive a water bottle, coffee mug and a lunch pale with the company logo on them to promote being sustainable in and outside the office.

Once I have secured the first two bottom lines I would spend the majority amount of my efforts on the third, social. I would provide excellent health care for all my employees and a matching 401k. Not only that, but I would focus on wellness and the promotion of healthy living. Besides that I would have my company newsletter capitalize on my employees strengths and successes. Most importantly, I would set up community service work days. During these days the business would shut down and volunteer with a local non-profit in the area.

I hope when I graduate I work for a company that operates on the triple bottom line system. It creates a healthy and productive environment to create beautiful and strategic work. If I can’t find one I guess I will have to start my own.


(4) Send Me to the Circus October 13, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen J. Ashley @ 1:20 am

I will be the first to admit that I am a rational and traditional person. I am a white woman who grew up in a middle class family in small town Oregon. My decisions are usually made with deliberation and weighing multiple options. I went the sensible route with my life. I picked an exceptional university that wasn’t to far from home. I have a part-time job during school and work full time during the summer. My majors of Public Relations and Advertising are not completely sensible, but my minor in Business is. My point through all of this is I may not be your stereotypical ‘outside the box’ thinker, but I am different.

There is something wrong with the way the business world is set up nowadays. There is a fundamental problem of ingenuity . I think it could be because of the giant influx of students getting their MBA. Not that a Master’s of Business is a terrible degree. However, instead of us backpacking through Europe or playing bass in a rock band or hell, joining the circus after college we do the sensible thing. It is because of this that there is a giant gap between the creative industry and the business side.

90 percent of advertising flooding the airwaves and magazines today is crap. It is “buy buy BUY” or bashing their competitor. When all companies are doing is thinking about the bottom line and only asking ‘how much is this going to cost’ it is ruining our culture. To play devil’s advocate to myself, when all creatives do is focus on putting ads out there just to make people say ‘huh’ is not smart either. (I mean we are in an economic crisis.) If I had it my way every advertising agency would require their employees to take periodic business classes and there would be a mandatory one-month sabbatical for MBA students to join the circus.

This idea might seem a little strange but the problem is people don’t understand people anymore. Billing doesn’t fathom the reason Haagen-Dazs made an entire campaign about saving honeybees. Creatives do not understand why the company needs to focus on results, ROI’s and other scary words like that.  Would my idea solve the lack of innovation in this world? Probably not, but it would be a very good start.


(3) You have to trust in something October 6, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen J. Ashley @ 7:52 pm

After Steve Jobs tragic death, many of his quotes were being retweeted. Most, I had never heard before. One quote really hit me hard though. Why? I am not positive but it made me stop, think and even ponder after awhile.

“You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down…” – Steve Jobs

 It made me think, what do I trust in? When my world seems ominous and unrelenting what is it that never seizes to amaze me? Is there something that makes me feel better about my future? Yes, there is. I believe everything happens for a reason, even if I don’t see it.

Having the faith in the way the world works has given me the tenacity to keep trying. My junior year spring term I was applying for internships for the summer. I applied for about 10 internships and had about seven interviews. From that, I narrowed it down to three I really wanted. I decided out of those three, one I really, really wanted. I thought I had this internship. I had an excellent resume tailored to the position, my interviews were spot on and I had a great connection with my interviewer. Then I got the call. “Hey Jen, this is the hardest call I have to make but unfortunately I am giving the internship to someone else.” Umm… ok. I asked why I was not chosen. She said “Well, I am not sure. You did everything right I just gave it to someone else.” Great, so basically I was doing everything right but for some reason I wasn’t good enough.

To say I was disappointed was an understatement. I had my site set and I heard the glass crushing around me. After my pity-party ended I checked my email. I had another interview scheduled. Not only was this internship at a corporation, it paid better and it opened my eyes to a whole new industry, health care. I ended up having an amazing summer and created connections that will lead me to my first job.

If I didn’t have my faith that everything happens for a reason I would not have accepted my second or third choice. I would have stayed in my comfort zone of Eugene all summer and would not have grown as a young professional like I did. Steve Jobs quote about trusting in something greater than yourself should be heard by all. If you don’t, well that sounds like a depressing life.