hustle

Alpha Omicron Pi Snapchat Filter Collection

You know I'm no sorority girl...but I was excited to work with Alpha Omicron Pi at the University of Georgia when they came to me for their recruitment week. AOII recently launched their own Snapchat channel and wanted a custom geofilter for each themed day of "rush". These fun, engaging designs made a lasting impression on the hundreds of potential new members that walked through their doors. This collection earned nearly 75,000 views.

  • Day 1: Welcome! This design has now been approved by Snapchat as a permanent Community geofilter at their residence. 
  • Day 2: For house tours, I modeled the original AOII sorority house, which has been a landmark on campus for over 80 years. 
  • Day 3: I incorporated the sorority's jovial panda mascot to celebrate their standing commitment to the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation on Philanthropy Day.
  • Day 4: On Preference Day, AOII sisters boasted their prestigious sorority legacy with a free-spirited interpretation of the traditional jacqueminot rose.
  • Day 5: BID DAY! The grand finale of recruitment week ended with a vibrant 90's celebration. I used clean lines and vibrant colors against a dark transparency to make the design pop in an understated fashion.

Though I have worked on many event filters, I enjoyed that this collection was spread out over a series of days. Each Snapchat geofilter has its own unique flair, while the delicate hand-lettering and sorority symbols string the filters together into a cohesive collection. Interested in collaborating for your next event? Let's connect! 

 

BEGINNERS THOUGHTS ON FOOD STYLING

When I went to work for a food company, I figured there'd be a lot of free food opportunities. Naturally, I accepted the position with the promise of endless Cinnamon Toast Crunch and pizza rolls. But I never guessed that there'd be so much time spent in the real kitchen. Developing recipes for our websites, testing product changes...and curating an extensive library of food porn for social. 

An unstyled example of the crazy things I get to sample in the Betty Crocker test kitchens...Helper Korean Cheeseburger Mac recipe.

An unstyled example of the crazy things I get to sample in the Betty Crocker test kitchens...Helper Korean Cheeseburger Mac recipe.

My former understanding of food photography was pretty simple: stand on your chair in a restaurant and get the perfect top-down angle before you eat. Easy!.......NAHHHT. Little did I know how much incredible effort goes into styling the food shots you see on Bon Appétit or foodie Instagrams.

I'm talkin' tweezers. Actual eyebrow tweezers that they use to carefully reposition a misplaced grain of rice. I'm talkin' portable humidifiers to add water droplets to the salad after it's been sitting on set for too long. And if you didn't sprinkle the sesame seeds evenly, start all over. And you're fired. 

This was the photo I took on my iPhone  before  the real food stylist came. I had the green onions on the chicken ALL wrong. Look at them. They're lopsided and unevenly scattered. The snow pea on the top left of the bowl is flat and shady. WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME?

This was the photo I took on my iPhone before the real food stylist came. I had the green onions on the chicken ALL wrong. Look at them. They're lopsided and unevenly scattered. The snow pea on the top left of the bowl is flat and shady. WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME?

A big part of all photography is lighting. To plan our shoots, the photographer always asks us about the location of the set..."Is the kitchen facing the east or the west?...Can you Google Map it?" She knows to avoid times of the day that are too bright or too dark. If we're in a home kitchen, we stand on tables and counter tops with giant white poster board to deflect the light for the perfect shot. 

When the lighting is right, even iPhone photography is magical. 

When the lighting is right, even iPhone photography is magical. 

Above all, I have learned that the greatest key to food photo success is the grocery shopping. It will take a ton of time to crop out a soggy spinach leaf in the salad. Instead, we splurge at Whole Foods to get the most photogenic ingredients. And you must buy extras. Your handful of cilantro can lose its freshness in a matter of minutes and then you're S.O.L. 

See those little bruises in the hollow of the avocado? INEXCUSABLE!

See those little bruises in the hollow of the avocado? INEXCUSABLE!

Pokemon can grow your local business

My not-so-little siblings shamelessly hunting Pokemon in the jungles of Miami.

My not-so-little siblings shamelessly hunting Pokemon in the jungles of Miami.

The new PokemonGo app is taking the world by storm. With the use of augmented reality (remember all that talk about 3D goggles and virtual reality?), the game challenges users to (literally) search around town to catch Pokemon. People are getting together with friends to go chase after Pokemon in real life; most Pokemon can be found at central locations like landmarks, parks, malls, etc. 

This article describes how even the most playful of apps like PokemonGo provides opportunity for unique integrated advertising. We’re not talking banner ad placements or expensive brand partnerships. Pokemon sightings can be used by local businesses to draw foot traffic. For a couple dollars, I can plot a location on a Google Map to be a Pokemon “hub”…So if I own a coffee shop and I want more customers, I can make my shop a Pokemon hub and it will bring dozens of Pokemon hunters to my doorstep in a matter of minutes.

This is a similar strategy to Snapchat’s On-Demand filter offering. Starting at just $5, event planners can pay to place a custom Snapchat geofilter (a graphic design that can be stickered on photos and videos in the app) in an area of their choice. From my own experience, I've witnessed the incredible return on investment that Snapchat integrations can have for a brand (in the advertising world, we're talkin' $0.08 CPM). 

It's fascinating to note the rapid change in the advertising landscape. Our opportunities to interact with consumers are multiplying and demanding the utmost creativity. Plus, the opportunities are extremely short-lived. The lifespan of consumer interest is waning as people are quickly turned off by platforms that are oversaturated with ads. 

Point blank: act boldly, move quickly. 

And Pokemon safely.

most promising 2016 in new york

I traveled to NYC on behalf of General Mills to recruit from my alma mater, the Most Promising Multicultural Students conference. MPMS is where I got my start in advertising, and how I got my job at GMI! It was cool to return a year later, this time on the other side of the career fair booth. 

New York City was cold and rainy. But there's just something about being in the city that makes you feel elevated. There's litter all over the sidewalks, but it's New York City litter. You have to walk for 7 years to get anywhere, but you look so cool when you do it. 

Small Business Saturday

I'm realistic. I don't need a special farm-raised elixir to clean my toilets; there's Clorox for that. If I lost my gloves, I couldn't quickly hunt down a local knitter in time for work. There's nothing wrong with big business; when big business is done right, it does good for the world.

But I'm also an entrepreneur. When I get to choose who I give my dollars to, I want to put them directly in the hands of someone who had the ambition to actualize their ideas. Society needs to reinforce this positive behavior more often. Economically, small businesses create jobs. But most importantly to me, entrepreneurialism is the foundation for monetizing creativity.   

Without it, we have mega companies doing all the inventing for us. Ironically, I am a creative minds at one of these companies. Although I have a few great ideas, I shudder to think the fate of packaged food innovation is in the hands of my co-workers and I. Every once in a while, I wish our consumers would be snacking on boiled peanuts off the highways of Georgia, or dim sum from the mom-and-pop in Chinatown.

Or let's take art for example. If you're decorating your home, you'd likely go to Target and buy the mass-printed canvases and photo frames. Art that was curated by a few dozen merchandisers and marketers at the Minneapolis headquarters. The same art that will hang in a college room dorm in Houston, or an elderly home in Nebraska. But within 30 miles of any Target, there are 30 different artists with unique styles who would adore the opportunity to paint something for your home.

If we let big business curate our shopping experiences, we lose individuality and creativity. Instead of boutiques, we'll have Walmarts. In place of local pizza joints, there will be Dominos. Small businesses need us. If we don't shop local, there will be nothing local to shop for. There's harmony in buying products from their makers. They have a dream-- the American dream. To do what you love; to build nothing into something.

Instead of Applebees, use Yelp! to search for local restaurants.

Instead of Target art, how about my best friend Brynn of Beckoning Art?

Ditch Kroger for your city's farmers markets. If you go to a big enough market, prices are competitive, if not cheaper than grocery stores. 

Shout out to American Express for creating Small Business Saturday. AMEX cardholders receive triple points on this day. Visit their site to search for local businesses within your zip code.

being good just to be good

This is for the big fish in little ponds.

There's a certain level of intrinsic ambition that is required to push yourself when no one is watching. To deliver A+ work when your boss is still wow-ed by your B+ efforts. To dress up to the office when everyone else is wearing business too-casual. 

I suppose we call this overachieving. But even the most type A overachievers sometimes don't feel like jumping through the highest hoops when it's not necessary. 

  1. Be good just to be good: Why leave the Mustang in the garage? Putting your best foot forward is training yourself, like shooting in the gym. The more often you do incredible work, the more that incredible work becomes your norm. Whether it's creating a flawless PowerPoint deck for your presentation or delivering doughnuts to the office. Sharing an out-of-the-blue compliment with a friend or taking a pottery class just because it interests to you. Push your own limits for you, not to impress someone else.
  2. Someone is always watching: If self-gratification isn't enough, just know that there's always someone watching how you work. Life is a series of chain reactions. You never know what impression you made on someone and how that may be passed along down the road. If nothing else, the glow on your face when you're truly proud of your own work will radiate to others. People know the difference between good and really good. 

friends with brands

During CHICKS2015, I gave a 30-minute presentation about the importance of personal branding. Nearly 75 students gathered in the room to learn about a concept that is foreign to most people outside of the marketing and communications realm. This was a meaningful moment for me because just a few months ago, I learned this valuable lesson in New York at Most Promising Multicultural Students

Identifying my personal brand was both a professional and personal "aha" moment. I encouraged the attendees of my conference session to do some soul-searching to find what makes them them. I have attached my PowerPoint presentation for kicks, as well as a list below of my "friends with brands."

These are just a couple of young professionals doin' their thing. It's important for everyone to understand that whether you know it or not, you already have a brand. People already have impressions of you. With the advancement of Internet stalking, employers will know loads about you before they even shake your hand. I believe that a personal website is the landing page for first impressions; if done correctly, it will sum up your achievements, personality, style and tone in a sophisticated way.

If you love to make things look cool like I do, take your personal brand a step further. Visually brand yourself with a color scheme and logo to use across your resume, website, business cards and stationery. Let this part reflect your personality and style. My greatest inspiration comes from Pinterest. Check out some of my boards, and search for your own using key words like branding, design, resume design, business cards.

Leading my personal branding session at #CHICKS2015

My Side Hustle

I love this article by Mashable called "Why You Need a Side Hustle". I started my side hustle, DESIGN x LIANA, in the fall and I've been really pleased with where it has taken me. Designing resumes and personal stationery has...

  1. Given me opportunity to practice graphic design. I can never get enough of that. 
  2. Taught me more about branding. When customers come to me for a consultation, I have to be strategic in asking for their needs, wants and projections. Knowing how to ask the right questions to get the information that I need to make the customer happy is the essence of account services. 
  3. Thickened my skin to criticism and feedback. When you're working with customers that typically know little about branding and design, you learn patience...lots of patience. 

Check out DESIGN x LIANA on Facebook. 

most promising recap

Tiffany Warren told us two things when we arrived in New York: to be present and in the moment, and to be prepared because this week would change our lives. And thankfully, I embraced her advice.

Every day that I was in New York, I teared up at one point. Whether it was because of something touching that someone said, or just thinking about how lucky I was to be in that moment. (Or maybe too much estrogen.) I was completely inspired by the people that I met on the trip. To witness how passionate older professionals still are about the industry and their job was confirmation that I am in the right field. The creativity in the air was contagious. 

I learned that it's okay to be myself. Funny, because I prior to the trip, I felt that I've never not been myself. However, I recognized that to employers, I only sell my hard skills. I'm self-motivated, I'm a strong communicator, I have great organizational skills...But what I learned at MPMS is that it's okay to let the real you shine through. There were 50 other students with me that all had the same skills as me, but what they don't have is unique ME qualities

Bravo, AAF. Thank you. 

Brands: You can't sit with us

Now that I see advertising from the "inside", I have been paying closer attention to how hard brands try to "be cool" with the millennials. Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal published a front-page article about how Denny's has recently blown up on social media because they tweeted "on fleek". Yes, this silly slang phrase (which came from a Vine of an outrageous, foul-mouthed girl talking about her eyebrows) made the front page of The Wall Street Journal. 

Older generations are mystified by our generation. We blow their minds with technological intuition and cryptic Internet slang. They don't understand why the stupidest things are so funny to us (and to be honest, I don't know why they're funny either, they just are...). What the "adults" have yet to recognize is that Internet trends are merely inside jokes on a larger scale. Trends like “on fleek” are nothing more than laughable references to a funny photo or video that have been passed around to friends enough times to flood the Internet.

However, just like any inside joke, you only find it funny if you know where it came from. That's why I find it so funny that big brands are trying to get in on these trends, when I'm sure they barely understand them in the first place. Brands pay boatloads of money to tap into our millennial minds because, face it: when we find something to be funny, we make sure it gets spread around the Internet. I would hope that the Denny's social media writer is a young millennial like me, who found the "on fleek" Vine months ago and uses it in regular conversation with his friends. Then one day, he thought, "Wow these hashbrowns are on fleek!"

What I think really happens though? I can imagine that older marketers sit around a conference table saying, ”So what is this ‘on FLEEK’ that the kids are sayin’ this week??” They probably have to Google it, or search Urban Dictionary...

Unless you're in the exclusive Millennials Club, chances are, when Denny's tweets, "hashbrowns on fleek", you'll never quite grasp how funny it really is. It's as if our whole generation has a secret handshake...and in my personal opinion, I'd like for it to stay that way. Because there's nothing more lame than when your mom comes downstairs wearing a concert tee and skinny jeans, trying to be "young again". 

(And by the way, if you're not a millennial, chances are you won't understand the title of this blog post. Gotcha.)

Pasos at Createathon

CreateAthon was a BLAST this year! My team worked with PASOs, a group that supports the Latino community through education, support and grassroots leadership development. Our client asked for a new donor packet that they will present to prospective donors. PASOs' packet was previously in a 25 cent Wal-Mart folder and contained roughly 15 pages of information. 

Our task was simple: make it look better. However, in doing so, we would have to narrow down the plethora of information to decide what is most important to the brand. We also found that the PASOs mission was convoluted, so our team worked to create a new tagline.

My proudest moments of the night (aside from staying awake for nearly 32 hours) was my ability to direct the planning before the project execution. Our team was made up of four graphic designers and two copywriters...many creatives...little direction. I led our group in conducting a SWOT analysis, narrowing down our target audience and pushing the need to incorporate PASOs mission into how we would visually brand our donor packet.

After pounding our heads against the table trying to decide on a tagline, my idea "Step up, rise together" was what the team chose. Paso means "step" in English, so I was particular about included this phrase. It represented the organization's emphasis on making educational progress. When the Latino clients steps forward, with the help donor support, together we will rise together for a healthier community. 

The plot twist of the evening: PASOs wanted a donor packet, but a teammate and I decided that we should throw in a bonus. We designed an abstract poster purposed for hanging in local Latino establishments (restaurants, grocery stores, apartment complexes). The poster is eye-catching and decorative, however raises awareness of the organization. Because of PASOs emphasis on grassroots communication, we felt that an indirect advertisement like the poster would please the client and further its mission to inform the South Carolina Latino community of its services. 

Check out what The Daily Gamecock wrote about CreateAthon here!

Poster for PASOs

Look, ma! I made it in the Daily Gamecock! 

Most Promising Multicultural Advertising Student

WOW!!! I am honored to be chosen as one of the American Advertising Federation's Most Promising Multicultural Students. Thank you to Bonnie Drewniany for recommending me for this amazing opportunity. I could not be more excited to be part of such a prestigious program. Here is a link to a story that the College of Mass Communications wrote about my award.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AAF Announces 2015 Most Promising Multicultural Students

Panel of industry judges selected 50 top-tier multicultural students to participate in the upcoming Most Promising Multicultural Students Program.

WASHINGTON, DC– October 31, 2014 – On Tuesday, October 28, eight advertising industry professionals gathered at the American Advertising Federation (AAF) headquarters in Washington, DC to select the 2015 class of Most Promising Multicultural Students (MPMS). This year’s judging panel included representation from Carmichael Lynch, The CDM Group, Deutsch, Leo Burnett, Mary Kay, McCann Worldwide, Omnicom Group and Team Ignition Pancultural Marketing. 

The MPMS Program is part of AAF’s initiative to promote diversity and inclusion within the industry. Each year, students from AAF’s 200 college chapters apply for the program, and a group of advertising professionals convene to select a new class of Most Promising students. Selected students participate in a four-day industry immersion program that includes professional development workshops, agency visits and a recruiter’s expo. Most Promising students represent the top of their class and have passionately demonstrated their future success in this industry through internships, leadership activities, community service, innovation and creativity.

"We selected from a pool of some of the most talented and diverse students I've come across," said Christena J. Pyle, Diversity & Inclusion Supervisor with Omnicom Group and 2015 MPMS Judge. "When you start here, with this caliber of talent, what you end up with is a class of students that could very well change our industry. 2015 is not even ready!” 

Creating an inclusive advertising industry beginning at the student level has been a priority of the AAF for nearly two decades. AAF offers a myriad of programming that promotes and advances multiculturalism within the advertising industry.  

For more information on the Most Promising Multicultural Students Program, please visit our website or contact Kai Jones at kjones@aaf.org

LUSH Charity Pot campaign

For my senior capstone campaigns class, we have to execute a public relations campaign for a nonprofit client of choice. My client is LUSH Cosmetics’ Charity Pot program, which donates 100 percent of its body lotion proceeds to funding more than 400 grassroots charities. I chose Charity Pot because of my admiration for LUSH's brand and commitment to social responsibility.

LUSH has recently opened a store in Charleston and seeks to build a charity community in its area. Charity Pot aims to support a charity in every state where LUSH does business. Therefore, the Charity Pot team at LUSH Charleston is seeking a new partnership. The goals of my campaign are as follows:

  • To enhance the involvement of LUSH customers in the Charity Pot partner selection process

  • To increase the number of local Charity Pot volunteer opportunities for LUSH staff members and customers

  •  Boost grassroots Charity Pot media exposure to in the Charleston community

The campaign is the real deal: research, planning, implementation, evaluation. At the end of the semester, we will have built a comprehensive campaign book (brief) to deliver to our clients.

Media Kits for Motor Supply

For my internship with Flock and Rally, I was asked to put a crafty twist on the media kits for our client Motor Supply Company Bistro. The kits were sent out to news stations (ABC Columbia, WLTX, WACH and FOX) to spread the word about Harvest Week, a week-long celebration of the farmers that provide delicious foods to Motor Supply all year. 

I decided on a mason jar filled with New Orleans-style gumbo, prepared by the executive chef at Motor Supply. Around the neck of the jar, I tied hand-written tags announcing Harvest Week. The content of the media kit was folded inside of a handmade envelope, wrapped in twine and accented with decorative illustrations. 

(Excuse the awkward photos...the iPhone didn't do it justice!)