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Maureen Dyvig

The Zen of Unplugging

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Twenty years after my father had quit smoking I would watch him tap his shirt pocket, looking for his pack of cigarettes. The habit was so ingrained in his DNA I’m not even sure he was aware of his actions. Finish a meal, tap the pocket, get in the car, tap the pocket, feel a little stressed, tap the pocket.

Today, I feel as I’m watching something similar, done over and over by nearly everyone, including myself. Pause in the conversation, take out the phone, waiting for an order, take out the phone, at a red light, take out the phone. I’ve caught myself looking at my phone within minutes of having just checked my updates.

So, we’re addicted to our phones. We basically know this. We also know the negative consequences. We know that we should back off, and sometimes we do for a few hours, but unplugging is surprisingly difficult.

This is not about the research and value of unplugging. This is about my experience and how it felt to unplug for 5 days. Actually, almost unplug for 5 days, I cheated once…just had to check that email.

I signed up for a yoga retreat in the mountains of California and there was no cell coverage. (Not unless you got in your car and drove around for 20 minutes trying to find a signal so you could check in and read those emails including the one that slightly derailed you and interrupted your concentration for a day!) But I digress. The one slip not withstanding, this is how it felt.

Day 1. The first night my little group met. We were there for yoga and meditation, unplugging was not our reason for coming, but it was pretty much the topic of conversation that first night. I had been 5 or 6 hours without contact and was already considering going out in search of a signal. I’m pretty sure I was experiencing some kind of withdrawal. I came to the retreat to relax and I felt panicky. The woman next to me, to whom I am forever grateful, tapped my arm and told me that it would get easier. Something in the way she said this told me that could also get better.

Day 2. Sunrise yoga followed by breakfast in silence…with no phone. Painfully awkward. Can’t figure out where to look? Down? Up? Make eye contact, don’t make eye contact? I really miss my phone.

Day 3. Breakfast was much easier. Made it though day 2 with lots of pocket tapping, becoming fully aware of all the times I would have pulled out my phone. Filled the space with conversation or simply paying attention to all that was going on and experiencing the beauty of my surroundings. Broke down and got in the car around 8pm and found a signal. Big mistake, lesson learned. The stress this caused made me acutely aware of how good I had felt before hand.

Day 4. Ok, I was at a yoga retreat in the mountains of California so to say life slowed down and was peaceful sounds pretty silly. But it did, and I will never know exactly how different this experience would have been if I had stayed connected. I vote for no cell = greater experience. I also noticed that taking the phone out of my life left a lot of time in the day. A class starting in 20 minutes meant 20 minutes to fill, not 20 minutes to spend.

Day 5. Time to go back to life. On my drive back to the airport I let the phone sit on the seat next to me for at least an hour. Earlier I thought I would jump on it as soon as possible but I found myself unwilling to get back, just yet. A bit afraid of it, yes. Excited to pick it up and reconnect, yes. Promise made to be more intentional in my habit, yes. Promise broken, sadly, yes.

My first day – Maureen Dyvig – microblog

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In honor of d.trio’s 15th anniversary we’ve asked all of the current employees to write two microblogs. One about their very first day at d.trio, the other about where they were 15 years ago.

 

My first day at d.trio it was not yet d.trio. It was three people in Megan’s basement asking each other….what do we do now? How do we do it? And what do we call this?

It was January 3, 2000 and because the world did not end at the stroke of  the millennium midnight my somewhat unplanned journey with my two incredible partners began.  If I remember correctly, I think the first few hours were spent in amazement–realizing that we were actually going to do this..start a company, figure it all out.

It has been the easiest, scariest, most challenging, most exciting, nerve racking, amusing, enjoyable, fulfilling thing I’ve ever done and the time has passed so quickly.

Marketing to women

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An interesting item pulled from the latest issue of Adweek, found in an article about marketing to women, “Women control the vast majority of consumer spending in this country, yet when asked in a survey if advertisers understand them, 90% of women said no.”

A missed opportunity? I’d say. In doing a bit of research for this article the message is clear, those who do not figure this out will be lost in the dust.

It’s undeniable that advertising and marketing needs to be relevant to the audience and to do so we need to both engage and understand the audience. It’s perplexing that so many ads directed to women neither engage nor do they seem to understand their audience. And if you’re already rolling your eyes about this subject, it might be because we’ve been talking about this for decades…yet not all that much has changed. Ads to women can be so bad that many women seem to have become immune to them. Trite, ok. Pink, expected. Sexist, stereotypical, speaking down to me, should I expect anything different? The bar is so low that an advertiser has to be blatantly insulting for most women to even notice, let alone take action or complain.

So, amid the rolling eyes, here are some staggering numbers found:

  • Nearly 85% of all brand purchases are made by women, yet fewer than 3% of creative directors are women. Adweek.
  • About 30% of small businesses are owned by women and women-owned businesses employ about 8 million people or 40% more than the 3 largest companies in the U.S. Combined Government Census. https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/business_ownership/cb10-184.html
  • Faith Popcorn estimates that women make 80% of all purchase decisions and control 80% of the money. 
  • High net worth women account for 39% of the country’s top wage earners. Mass Mutual Financial Group. 
  • And finally, The Yankelovich Monitor states:
    • Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases, including everything from autos to health care:
      • 91% of New Homes
      • 66% PCs
      • 92% Vacations
      • 80% Healthcare
      • 65% New Cars
      • 89% Bank Accounts
      • 93% Food
      • 93% OTC Pharmaceuticals

As a woman business owner in a creative industry, I offer a bit of advice. Please, please, stop using pictures of women in stilettos climbing staircases holding a brief case and a baby. Make an investment in time, money and research…and get better, much better, in all marketing communications to women. Marketing to women is perhaps one of the most misunderstood and under developed strategies and yet, it holds the greatest opportunity for success both now and in the future.

10 Ways to Get Happy

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Ahhhh Pharell, you gave us a song to make us happy even as it’s driving us all a little bit crazy. We saw you on Oprah and you seem like a legitimate, caring person. We are even starting to appreciate your exceedingly homely hats. But, you did more than that, for me at least. You made me start questioning and looking at happiness. Not overall Zen-type happiness, but day-to-day, what am I doing, does this really make me happy, happiness. More importantly, I’ve started thinking…what changes can I make to increase happiness in my life?

So, as I go through my day I occasionally ask myself, does doing what I’m doing make me happy at this moment? I acknowledge not everything I do can possibly make me happy, but just asking this question serves two purposes. First, it helps me notice when something does indeed make me happy and secondly, it reminds me to try to figure out a way that I might be able to incorporate just a little bit of happiness into what I’m doing…even if it’s a not so happy task.

So, here are ten simple ways to put a little happiness into your day.

  1. Take a play break. Run up and down a flight or two of stairs or take a quick walk around the office or even better, the block. Send a silly email or leave a fun note on a co-worker’s desk. Figure out something to do that will make you (and maybe others) smile.
  2. If the sun is shining, let it shine on your face for a full minute, even if it’s only through a window.
  3. Search around the radio until you hit on a station playing music you would not normally listen to and give it a chance.
  4. Take the longer, less traveled, scenic road to work.
  5. Put something colorful or beautiful in your office that catches your eye each time you enter.
  6. Toss out some clutter.
  7. Learn something new.
  8. Smile. The action alone sends a message to your brain that your happy. (Apparently the brain is easily fooled.)
  9. Leave an outrageous tip for outrageously good service, or just because your server is having a hard day.
  10. Do a good deed, anonymously.

The hidden secrets of color

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Much as been said and or written about the way color shapes our world, our attitude and our thoughts. This, you may be happy to hear, will not be a blog about the psychology of color…fascinating as the subject is.

The original intent of this blog was to study and report on the use of color and Fung Shui. However, my research on this was a bit disappointing. Red=fire and passion, Yellow=happiness, Blue=tranquility and peace, Pink=softness and love. A bit too expected. I was not finding the usual tidbits of interest that a Fung Shui study usually reveals, except for one many of us already know:
“If you want to inspire prosperity in your life, paint your front door red. Subsequently, if you want everyone to know you want more money in life, paint your front door red.”

So, my quest for a color topic continued. I went on a Google rampage searching for something new and interesting about color to share with our readers. Color surrounds us in marketing and even as we are keenly aware of it and its impact at all times…I wanted to find something different and new.

Turns out I found something different, but not so new. Something pretty old. Early 1900’s old.

And I know, I promised this would not be about the psychology of color, and it isn’t, not exactly. This is a psychology test you can take…about color. Seems it was created by Dr. Max Luscher and has been widely used in Europe for screening job and college applicants for…oh, about 100 years. Dr. Luscher studied the responses of hundreds of thousands of subjects (that’s what they state) and compiled formulas that determine how people feel, based on their color preferences. It takes about 3 minutes to complete and, for me at least, the results were surprisingly interesting and pretty accurate. You can learn more about Dr. Lushcer, or take the test at colorquiz.com.

 

Growth.

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The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today.
An Ancient Chinese Proverb, simultaneously telling us it’s never too late and, “Wow, you’re really late.”

But isn’t this the truth about growth, or change. You’re always late until that moment when you actually do something different, then magically, you’re right on time.

It’s been a long cold winter here in Minneapolis and spring has many of us looking forward to some things growing and some things changing. We need to see some melting, some green showing through, more sun shine, less pot holes.

Spring is also a good time to think about ways to grow professionally. Take a class, learn something new, discover a new creative outlet. Or, take on a new client or project. Reach outside of your comfort zone. Something as simple as re-arranging your office make a difference. Change something just for the sake of changing something.

A simple photography class can get you to look at things just a bit differently and when you see the world differently, you might start to see different solutions to a challenge or a better way to accomplish a task.

In our profession, we are tasked with learning new things all the time and sometimes this can be overwhelming. But when we seek out and purposely learn something new, something different can happen. Sometimes it can be fun.

And remember, the second best time to do this is today.

A lesson in brevity

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Sometimes you can say more with fewer words.

Following is a recent post made by my friend, a middle school science teacher.

Student: “I’m going to miss class tomorrow, I have to go to a violin thing.”
Teacher: “Ok, thanks for telling me.”
Student: Starts to leave and turns back, “By the way, this is my favorite class and I’m going to be an engineer when I grow up.”
Teacher:  “Yes you are.”

Google Glass and Me

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I’m not someone who is normally considered an early adopter of new technology. Technology and I have a sort of mutual respect for each other, meaning we, (or more accurately, I) keep a respectable distance until new and technical becomes easy and less complicated,  mainstream with most of the bugs worked out. When Google Glass was announced, I took my typical “stay away from me” stance and could not imagine anything that I would ever want less in life than to walk around tethered to the internet day in and day out. Never. Ridiculous idea. Not to mention the obvious driving and zombielike walking issues. So, what happens when this tech-averse human finds herself unexpectedly at Google headquarters and some very excited, very nice Google Glass ambassador hands over a pair? WOW. To summarize my experience: it really is all that cool. It understands you and answers questions and commands in a manner that will make Siri pea green with envy. The itty bitty little screen up in the corner of your right eye is actually pretty easy to see and unless you lock onto it, or ‘glass-out’ in Google speak, it might not always impede your vision. moglasses My love affair was short lived as there were others waiting in line like school children eager to take their turn. Will I buy them? Not likely. But will I view them on others with the same disdain? Honestly, probably not as much. I can see now that they actually might have some purpose for some people, but the obvious human interaction problems will be hard to eliminate. Google has just put out a Google Glass Etiquette guide in an attempt to help users understand how to behave while wearing the Glass. It makes for some pretty hilarious reading with advice such as…’respect others who have questions about the Glass and don’t get snappy with them’ and ‘how to avoid being a glasshole.’ For more information, check out the Daily Beast.

Putting PowerPoint On A Stage

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by Maureen Dyvig, partner at d.trio

PowerPoint. We love it. We hate it. We love to hate it…especially when it makes that occasional font size, bullet shape or spacing decisions for us.

Most of us, however, rely upon it to help us in a multitude of expressions. We sit in meetings and review slide after slide of information and it serves the purpose of helping us to present details in an organized way. We love this about it.

This all changes when speaking or presenting to a group. If you are standing at a podium, the rules of PowerPoint should change dramatically. Although it can still serve as a organizational tool, the presenter must resist the habit of relying on PowerPoint as a crutch filled with bulleted items to simply help them remember the points they intend to make.

According to Robb High, new business consultant, when addressing an audience the PowerPoint slide should contain no more than 10 words. Think of the slide as a bill board. When this shift happens the presenter becomes story teller and your audience would much rather hear a story than read bullet points.

From Fresh to Outrageous

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Our word for the month of May is Outrageous and I have to say, we’re all pretty excited about this word and have some fun ideas lined up to represent it. Last month our word was Fresh as we were thinking April…Spring…Fresh…right? However, April brought more snow than showers but with a few adjustments, freshness prevailed. As we now transition from Fresh to Outrageous the recent show at the Minnesota Art Institute comes immediately to mind. Art In Bloom is a yearly event which just recently celebrated it’s 30th year at the institute. At Art In Bloom, local artists and florists re-create the essence of artistic masterpieces using flowers in a most Outrageous way. If you’ve not been, you’re missing out on some serious artistic inspiration, not to mention amazing scents.

For some photos of this years winners, check out the Art Institute page:
http://www.artsmia.org/art-in-bloom-2013

 

-Maureen Dyvig is one of the founding partners of d.trio marketing group