Lessons Learned So Far: An Intern’s Perspective

I call it the real world because this is how I expect my career to be. I get up in the morning ready to hit the BART train. One thing I learned is that image is a must, so I always go to work in professional attire. I’ve had to adjust from backpacks to briefcases and that each WDFA employee works with two computer monitors.

My perspective on the marketing world is what I thought it would be — a lot of hard work. But time moves very fast in the office where there is always something to do. I’ve learned that as a marketer you have to be caught up on any social media and all the applications to know what is going on in the world. Research is also a must, as you spend a lot of time learning how other companies market themselves. Also, it’s of great importance to have a broad understanding of business, it really does give one a leg up on the competition.

At WDFA, the atmosphere is relaxed even if the workload is not, and we make sure that we never succumbed to the monotony that one may get in an office. I have to say that my time thus far has been nothing short of amazing and I owe it to the whole staff, especially Jessica for preparing me to be the best that I can be.

Nitu Sidhu is a college junior at San Jose State University who is majoring in business marketing. He has a tenacious attitude to learn everything there is to know about the industry.


A Junior Perspective on Type

As part of Gen Y and as un-jaded young designer in advertising, I’m obsessed with noticing every little detail in the web and print advertising world. Here are a few trends in typography I’ve seen (and love) that are becoming more and more popular this half of 2011.

1. Typeface pairing.

This trend is huge in web design right now. With websites like http://www.fontsquirrel.com, type pairing makes it easy for a designer to take any font for an html ride. I personally believe a designer will either do or die when pairing that oblique serif with that black san-serif. This fine line has been won and lost, but the people that are winning are following a few rules.

2. Flourish. Retro-type, boxed up and packaged up for your viewing pleasure.

Logo designs everywhere are taking a step back. Designers are turning their logos into clean, cheeky designs. Logos that were once exaggerated and embellished are now boxed up into cute little packages with simple, clean type, a little texture and maybe an illustrated flourish or two. Typographers then add a bit of texture to take the type to a retro state while maintaining a modern feel. With these simplified layouts, designers transform their type into an understandable package. The type has become the recognizable logo not an embellished illustration. And these logos are becoming the main focal point in layouts, a big bold typographic explosion.

3. Grids. Freakishly perfect grids.

Typographers have been following the rules so precisely that any alumni would be proud. Legibility, scalability and uncluttered layouts are on the rise! Whether in web or print, white space is utilized to its fullest. The minimalist designer is catching the attention of their viewers with large san serif’s and colorful layouts.2

The days of Tahoma, Arial, Verdana and web safe fonts are coming to an end. Eye-resting white space is causing relaxation in a clustered information world. Web users are experiencing easy to understand layouts, rather than anxiety and information ridden sites. Finally, as a bonus, texture and type are taking their relationship to the next level.

– Hannah Coughlin, Junior Web Designer at WDFA Marketing

(1) “Ask H&FJ: Four Ways to Mix Fonts.” Hoefler & Frere-Jones. Web. 14 June 2011. <http://www.typography.com/email/2010_03/index_tw.htm&gt;.

(2) 26th, Lee|January. “5 Top Web Design Trends: 2011 Annual Edition | Free Portfolio Templates.” Jonny Yorke, 26 Jan. 2011. Web. 14 June 2011. <http://www.jonnyyorke.com/?p=2065&gt;.

Why You Should Not Eat Lunch At Your Desk

All of this was within a one block radius on my “adventurelunch” last week.


Raj Prasad: What winning means in today’s economy

Charlie Sheen has talked a lot about winning in the past few months. So I couldn’t help but think about the standards of winning in business, and how much they have changed. The truth is this: In this fragile economy, winning is essentially effective risk management. A definitive factor in business success and failure has always been the amount risk one is willing to take. While getting credit or capital is harder these days, that should not stop business owners and entrepreneurs — especially the little guys — from taking risks.

While our company, WDFA Marketing has faced challenges, there have been a few actions that we have taken to help us both manage risk and to take those risks necessary to keep our agency moving in a forward direction. Those actions include the following:

First, increase the level of communication with creditors and vendors.

There is nothing wrong with telling your key partners what’s going on with your company, especially how you plan on growing, when you expect things to get better and what you’re doing in the immediate future to keep things moving. If you’re behind on paying vendors, work with them to create a plan. Chances are you aren’t the only one that’s having cash flow issues.

Second, look at your product and service according to today’s economy.

We live in an on-demand society, so businesses have to be nimble. The consumer wants it and they want it as fast as they can get it. Spend some time looking at your operational processes and figure out ways you can be more efficient. Also, don’t be afraid of incorporating more technology into your day-to-day routines companywide. It’s not as difficult or as expensive as you may think.

Try out different pricing models. This is an economy in which you want to bet on consistent long-term gain rather than monumental short-term gains (though those are nice too).

Don’t be afraid of creating partnerships and be open to revenue-sharing models. You never know when that crazy idea that you drew on a bar napkin flourishes into the next great phenomena.

If you want to test out a new concept or service and can’t find the right amount of funding, downsize your idea and cut costs. Focus on creating a flawless execution that can be easily scaled up. Create results on your own and take those out to help get funding. Note results and numbers that showing potential.

Lastly, spend extra energy and resources on employee morale.

Never forget that the people who should believe in your vision as much as you do are your team. As a leader and visionary, you’re delegating while your team is executing. Without them you would just be talking to yourself.

Buy lunch once a week or bring in snacks and put them in the break room. Happy (and full) people are productive people.

You might not able to distribute the high bonuses or raises that you’re used to, or that your team expects. Instead, talk to them. Discuss your successes and address failures by sharing what you learned. Show them the road that you are walking down and the great potential that it holds.

As challenging as conducting business is today, with a little bit of smarts and effective risk management it’s still possible to move forward, even if it’s just one inch at a time.

Raj Prasad fulfilled a lifelong dream and founded his own agency, WDFA Marketing, at age 25, bringing on his two friends and former co-workers as managing partners. Because of his leadership, WDFA has earned accolades as Inc. magazine’s Fastest-Growing Marketing and Advertising Agency and San Francisco Business Times’ Tenth Fastest-Growing Private Company of 2010. Learn more at www.wdfamarketing.com.

Drink Good – DO GOOD Hosts Bollywood Trivia Night to Raise Money for the San Francisco Education Fund

Drink Good – DO GOOD is hosting Bollywood Trivia Night on Wednesday, May 25, from 5:30pm to 8:30pm; trivia starts at 6pm.

Taking place at EZ5 Bar in the Financial District just five blocks from BART and MUNI, teams of four will fiercely compete to see who reigns supreme in Bollywood trivia. The winning team receives the House Party Package: one bottle of each of the liquors served.

As with all Drink Good – DO GOOD events, the goal is to raise as much money as possible for an education-focused nonprofit. This month, the proceeds from ticket sales benefit the San Francisco Education Fund.

“We are the oldest and largest non-profit dedicated to strengthening San Francisco public schools. The Education Fund engages community and leverages financial and human capital to ensure that every San Francisco student — especially those in underserved communities — graduates from high school ready for college, career and civic responsibility,” says, Jessica Pullano.

Each ticket includes sampling different alcohols, including Crispin Cider, Magave Tequila, Artá Tequila and SF Vodka. Waitresses serve patrons while they’re engrossed in trivia and DJ Precaution, California’s Celebrity Bollywood DJ, will be entertaining the crowd. Magic Curry Kart, a San Francisco food truck, will be parked outside serving savory Indian cuisine.

Tickets can be purchased for $30 each or $90 for a team of four friends via Eventbrite.

For more information, visit the Drink Good – DO GOOD website or Facebook page.

The San Francisco Education Fund’s programming focuses on one goal: improving student success in San Francisco public schools. The Education Fund provides cash-strapped schools with two effective and almost unlimited resources – volunteers and funds. It provides busy teachers with grants so they can work in small groups to help solve pressing challenges at their schools. It also engages students to become part of the solution they want to see at their school.

About Drink Good – DO GOOD

Drink Good – DO GOOD is one branch of the DO GOOD Coalition. It honors two long-standing institutions that contribute to the spirit and integrity of San Francisco: premium alcohol and social responsibility. It hosts themed events where guests can taste unique alcohol brands, socialize with friends and directly support worthy causes with the funds raised.  Are you doing Good?

“Inc. and Hiscox Present: Managing Risk in Pursuit of Growth”

This past Thursday, May 19th, WDFA founder, Raj “The King of Mañana” Prasad spoke on a panel discussion: Managing Risk in Pursuit of Growth, presented by Inc. and Hiscox. It was hosted at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco.

Raj was joined by the founder of See Jane Run, Lori Shannon, as well as Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk; the discussion was moderated by Inc. Editor-at-Large and author of Small Giants, Bo Burlingham. All panelists inspired dynamic discussions and question-and-answer periods based on their experience and wisdom as small business owners growing their businesses in a difficult economy.

Check back later for pictures and video.

MUNI: A Love Story (For Marketers)

Last week we had Bike-to-Work Day and San Franisco is a pretty great place to enjoy it.

I even heard among some SF executives that the bamboo bike frame is the new Mission Bicycle, which was the new Hufnagel, which was the new Mercedes or something to that effect.

I’m not too status-oriented when it comes to vehicles – human-powered or otherwise. If a vehicle speaks to me personally, I ride it. For now, the train speaks to me and the bus speaks to me. I’m a bit out of practice as far as urban riding goes, so I’m in the market for something I can straight beat on for now. Hopefully I’ll be able to score one I like while it’s still National Bike Month.

Back to the joys of public transit… Now bear with me here. Granted, I could go off on a Bernie Sanders-esque tirade about the less desirable aspects of MUNI management and the general experience (MUNacy – the MUNI lunacy – is the shorthand we’ve adopted to encapsulate our ever-grimy and ever-late transit experiences), but for now we’re going to forget all that… For now.

Staying in the trenches, (Al-Pacino-in-‘Devil’s-Advocate’ style), I’ve found to be an essential part the job. If I want to understand who the people are around me in my city, cruising by on a bike or in a car isn’t really the most effective way. You’ve gotta make connections in real life to connect on a target audience level. You’ve gotta have interactions to have ideas, in my opinion. So get all up close and personal with the rush hour creatures and weekend specimens alike.

Riding the bus or train is a fascinating daily cultural anthropological study, true. It’s also some of the best market research $2 can buy. Instead of using Angry Birds as a diversion for the commute, keep tabs on how many others are playing it, or how many people are reading – and on what medium. Who’s playing Farmville? Who’s watching the new Office on their Droid? Has anyone even SEEN the ads inside the vehicle, or if you were a chiropractor eager to straighten everyone’s “iPhone necks,” would you have to advertise on the floor these days?

And let’s take a moment to talk multicultural. The 8X line originates in the Third Street Corridor, driving right along the Mission and straight through Chinatown. By the time it ends in North Beach, it’s like a live-action Ken Burns documentary about our country’s origins! And the 33 line! Are you kidding me? For generations, delivering happy people halfway across the city to jobs that would otherwise make them miserable were it not for that view.

My point is this: Most cities have 33 and 8X lines, and I think that just a touch of Pacino’s satanic advice could do us all some good. So let’s get our public transit on!

But stay with the bike riding. Let’s not forget – that’s good for all of us too.

– Penned by Jason Fordley

Multicultural Alcohol Tastings in Support of the San Francisco Education Fund

An event so nice they hosted it twice.

Join Drink Good – DO GOOD once again for One World, One Glass: Part Two! Only this time, all proceeds are being donated to the San Francisco Education Fund, in support of San Francisco public schools.

Unlimited alcohol tastings, savory ethnic food, music and supporting San Francisco’s public education system. What else would you do on a Wednesday night?

Wednesday, April 27 from 5pm-9pm

 Bollywood Life: Dancing for GOOD

South Asian and Indian whiskeys and beers

@ EZ5, 684 Commercial, Financial District

Featuring DJ Timoteo Gigante

Sponsored by Indian West

 Lucha Libre: Fighting for GOOD

Mexican tequilas and beers

@ Gold Cane, 1569 Haight, Upper Haight

Featuring DJ Roger Más

Sponsored by El Mensajero

Pirate Booty: Plundering for GOOD

Caribbean rums and beers

@ Murio’s Trophy Room, 1811 Haight, Upper Haight

Featuring DJ Guillermo

Sponsored by JahWorks.org

Purchase tickets by clicking here. Ticket sales end 3pm Wednesday.

Individual tickets: $25 per bar

World Tour ticket package: $160 for admission to all bars and car service for a group of four friends

Are you doing GOOD?

The 800-Pound Guerrilla in the Room

Sure Creatives have license, but Guerrilla Marketing folks have IDEA CAPITAL, and they shouldn’t be afraid to leverage it. These days, for some of us, it means pitching big and pitching often.

In fiscally predictable times, sure, you want to do all the hand-holding, getting little nibbles of work here and there that you build into grand campaigns and retainers. But I haven’t seen anything remotely predictable since late 2007.

My point is that unstable macroeconomics, coupled with the fact that people expect YOU to be the one that comes up with avant-garde concepts that turn eyeballs toward their brand, gives you much more than creative license. It’s like some sort of marketing top security clearance – like a covert, black ops, double-0 agent of bad-assery (if you will).

Pitch big and pitch often. If you get yourself into the “I don’t want to ask for an NDA on the first date” conundrum, and you’re afraid your ideas might get stolen, then sue big and sue often. I kid, I kid…  But not really. Everything’s time-stamped these days; it shouldn’t be too hard to prove that an idea is yours in court.  But ultimately, none of that should matter because you’re the actual idea person and they just claim to be one while schmoozing it up at the local bourbon tasting. So you’re not sweatin’ it – you’ve got idea capital accruing daily. Use it and be victorious.

Jason Fordley

Jason studied marketing at Plattsburgh State University, has lived in Philadelphia, Barcelona, Manhattan, and now resides San Francisco and has a lemon tree. When not being relentlessly badgered by co-workers for being the most romantic man in advertising, he uses his powers to create innovative ways to turn eyes toward brands he likes, heading up the Guerrilla Division of WDFA Marketing.

It’s about time.

This past weekend WDFA launched an integrated campaign for our client, One Medical Group. The objective was to introduce One Medical Group as the modern-day doctor office to time-strapped New Yorkers and transform the typical health care experience into one that is personalized around the patient’s needs. Imagine that!

One Medical Group isn’t just a trail blazer in an industry marred by inefficiency and dysfunction. They are reinventing the way patients experience and obtain health care. It’s not everyday that an agency gets to work with a client that causes us to take pause and ask, ‘why not’? We feel passionate and honored to be able to work with a client that we can stand behind. Especially one that bestows such creative license to us. Who can complain about that?

As with any large scale campaign, comes a large scale amount of work, sleepless nights and elbow grease. The one thing that always makes it all worthwhile is when it successfully comes together. Of course there are always things you might have done differently in retrospect, but we learn and remember it for the next time.

Walking through one of the station dominations at Bryant Park was like crossing the finish line in a marathon (or at least how I’d imagine it would feel–I’m more of a walker). You never think you’ll make it, but then you get there, have your Rocky Balboa moment, catch your breath, and go home feeling proud of your accomplishment.

So if you’re in New York over the next two months you might catch a glimpse. And if you live in New York or San Francisco, it’s worth a second look at what One Medical Group can offer, because we all have better things we could be doing than waiting forever for mediocre medical advice, am I right?

To read more about One Medical Group, visit onemedical.com or in this NY Times article.

Lindsay Hull
Director of Creative Services

Here are a few photos of our It’s about time campaign.

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