INSIGHTS ON CREATIVITY

by MEREDITH FORDHAM HUGHES

Year Two of One Spark (in photos)

Year two of the One Spark Festival in Jacksonville, Fl is off to a killer start, and you should be there! I did the street tour with some friends today and had a blast. With a variety of creators and vendors, there really is something for everyone. I decided to ditch the true photog gear and go smartphone only. So, I’ll let my street snaps speak for themselves.

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THE Steve Williams

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Street entertainment

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Church rock

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Shaun Thurston masterpiece, Project Atrium

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More Thurston at MOCA

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Goldfish anyone?

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Random silliness

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You are here.

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Tasting

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They see me rolling…

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#20297

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Accidental scarf painting

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Good logo sighting

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Get schooled!

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Art, Burrito Gallery… and Siracha!

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Burro Bar? Yes.

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Sighting: The most interesting man in Jax!

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Black and blues

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Carrot girls

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Flying T-shirt!

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T-shirt assault

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Jam sesh

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Street dance crew

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#love manatees

Get out there and support your community. Go to One Spark!

http://www.onespark.com
#onespark
@beonespark

Four suggestions for a real LinkedIn connection

Let’s face it, most of us hate those dreaded cold call LinkedIn connection requests. I’m not talking about requesting an introduction through a mutual LinkedIn connection. I’m referring to individuals who are obviously poaching certain companies or areas of expertise, then just hitting the connect button.

Here are a few suggestions on how to become a REAL connection:

1. Study up
Does your target connection belong to a professional association? Did he/she announce they are going to an event via social media?

Go where they go, but don’t be a stalker! The last thing you want to do is make your encounter uncomfortable. Also, think about what you will say when you introduce yourself. Starting a conversation with, “Hi, I’m Jim and I’ve been lurking on your LinkedIn profile. Will you buy promo from me?” probably isn’t a good opening line.

2. Pick up the phone and call or write an email
I know, both of these suggestions seem archaic, but sometimes they work. Both of these require a certain tone, so don’t put on your sales voice. Be professional, yet approachable. Sounding like a telemarketer will probably get you nowhere. Always think in terms of what you would respond to if you were the recipient of the call or email.

3. Listen
Listening and true interest in your target connection is key. Don’t be “that” person staring with glazed eyes or looking around the room for a more important person. Take genuine interest and create engaging conversation.

4. Follow up
This step is one of the most important, yet least used. Follow up with an email, phone call or note card. This is classic business etiquette that has been pushed to the point of extinction.

Duck and Dressing Delivers Another Robertson Success

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The season five opener of A&E’s hit Duck Dynasty ushered in a new beardless face to the cast. Rebecca “Honorary Robertson” came home to West Monroe from a stint as a fashion intern in the other L.A., Los Angeles.

The reason for this blog post? My additional post-show research showed that Willie and Korie Robertson have funded a cool boutique for Rebecca called Duck and Dressing. Not only is it a nice play on the Dynasty name, but it just looks like a fun place to shop.

The beginnings of the brand look cohesive and the promo photos are beautifully composed and processed. The clothing style is every bit of the descriptive words on the site: simple, edgy, southern and chic. Those filling their head with visions of hot pink camo gear, think again. The look is fun and fresh, yet “Sweet Home Alabama” at the same time.

Maybe it is my own Southern roots talking, but I like the idea of bringing some deftly integrated version of “big city” culture back home to a small town. Plus, the boutique will nicely round out any Duck Commander tour and provide some reality show spin-off potential.

If the momentum and southern hospitality stay true, this one is going to be a winner.

More on Duck and Dressing: www.duckanddressing.com or on twitter at @duckanddressing.

Photos courtesy of Duck and Dressing.

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37 Years Later, Lupinacci Descendants Gather at Economy Park

by Meredith Fordham Hughes

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On July 20, 2013, the descendants of Vincenzo and Annetta Calderone Lupinacci gathered at “The Barn’ in the Old Economy Park in Ambridge, PA. Thirty-seven years had passed since the last reunion, which was held in the same location.

Almost two hundred guests attended this momentous event, decorated with tasteful Italian inspired décor in green, white and red. A large cookie table of traditional Italian sweets was a site to behold with mini cannoli, lady locks and almost any other kind of cookie you could imagine. The tables were adorned with fresh cut flowers, Italian and American flags in mason jars placed on matching tablecloths and runners. Colorful pennants of red white and green fabric hung from the rafters, and photos and an interactive family tree decorated the walls.

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The picnic-style gathering was organized by a committee consisting of Joan Lupinacci Fordham, Sharon Lupinacci Kramer, Sue Lupinacci, Harry and Denise Lupinacci, Meredith Fordham Hughes, Joan Inglis, Janet Moeller and Barbara Lupinacci May. The committee planned for over a year to provide a fun experience for all ages. Traveling from as far as Arizona, Texas and Florida, attendees expressed deep gratitude to once again see their cousins, many of whom they had not seen since the last reunion.

The guests were encouraged to bring memorabilia and recipes to later be shared on the family Facebook group page, which sparked the idea for a reunion. The Family of Frank and Mary Stasko Lupinacci group has grown to over seventy members and 550 photos, plus an abundance of family stories and comments. The group, founded by Meredith Fordham Hughes and Al Lupinacci, has become the collection site for family’s history and reuniting descendants.

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Vincenzo and Annetta had six children, five of which immigrated to the Pittsburgh area from the Calabria region of Italy between the years of 1902 and 1906: Ignazio, Giuseppina (Aleci), Vincenza (Bova), Francesco, Genarro. Vincenzo, born in 1843 in Cosenza, Calabria and died in 1908, is buried in New Brighton. Annetta was born in Sicily in 1851 and died in 1902 before the family immigrated to the U.S.

Some of the local areas that the descendants live/lived in Pittsburgh are Sewickley, Sharpsburg Ambridge, New Brighton, and Beaver Falls. Some of the descendant surnames of local interest include Aleci, Bova, DiCatania, and Cutrona.

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UNF New Media Certificate Provides Practical Application of Social Media and Marketing Strategies

by Meredith Fordham Hughes

As part of my UNF New Media Capstone lab, I wrote this press release on the program:

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Digital and social media have proven to be powerful business tools. They are now permanent fixtures of the marketing and communications landscape. Many professionals do not know where to turn to acquire and master these tools. The University of North Florida (UNF) New Media Marketing Certification program can provide that education and guidance.

One of the newest certifications offered by UNF Continuing Education, this is a dynamic opportunity for anyone who wants to profoundly expand their social media skills. The program is a natural stepping stone for new and seasoned professionals. There are many opportunities to bolster one’s communications foothold. Flexible online curriculum and on campus instruction provides interaction with instructors working in the industry. Capstone, a hands-on lab unique to the UNF New Media Certificate, provides practical application of social media and marketing strategies.

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress… new media is everywhere and it isn’t going away. Many businesses struggle with where to focus social media efforts. To meet this need, the New Media Certification program guides students through in-depth study and practical skills application. Participants discover how these tools can enhance business networks and marketability.

Where to start can be overwhelming. The UNF New Media Marketing Certification program is the place to launch into the digital age. Contact Director Timothy Giles at (904) 620-4231 or tgiles@unf.edu, for more information.

Fordham Hughes Wins 904 Happy Hour Card Design Contest

I found out a few weeks ago I won the 904 Happy Hour Card redesign contest! Each month, 904 photographers distribute between 25,000 and 35,000 cards. Read more below.

Reposted courtesy of 904 Happy Hour: 

Jacksonville Fl – Just about a month ago, 904 Happy Hour launched an updated and rebranded website. Along with the new website, the creative team released a contest for local artists and graphic designers to have a chance to add their very own touches to the 904 photo card. There were many submissions and the decision was tough but the design chosen was by local graphic designer Meredith Fordham Hughes. 

“We chose her design because it but was sleek, simple and straight to the point. We were very happy with how the card came out and applaud Meredith graciously for her time she took to create the design,” said 904 Happy Hour founder Charles Wagoner.

The 904 photo card is distributed every time a photo is taken. Each month, our photographers distribute between 25,000 and 35,000 cards. Besides Meredith’s design being chosen and used as the new photo card, she also won a prize pack valued at over $500. 

Meredith Fordham Hughes is an award-winning creative services professional and freelance graphic designer that specializes in branding and social media. She is available for graphic design and social media consulting, and enjoys working with small and boutique businesses. She can be reached at www.meredithfordham.com or followed on Twitter @mercreative.

http://www.904happyhour.com/blog/photo-card-gets-make-over

What Happened To Andrae?

Today it occurred to me every time I hear the name Andre, I think of Santino Rice mimicking Tim Gunn on season two of Project Runway. There really was something magical about the cast of season two, something that hasn’t been repeated in the following seasons. Below are some of the hysterical Project Runway Youtube gems I found, I hope you laugh as hard as I did.

The lovable Santino:

Michael Kors brilliance:

 

 

Hand-Painted Lettering by Glen Weisgerber Via Colossal

Have a look at this incredible hand-painted letterform demonstration by Glen Weisgerber! This is a dying art, and it is so nice to see a master at work.

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2013/10/roundhand-lettering-demonstration-by-glen-weisgerber/

Seriously Sick Design: House Industries for Yu Nakagawa

Earlier in the year I was lucky enough to order a font from House Industries, and what arrived the next week was akin to designer Christmas. The box, tape, filler and surprise gifts inside were some of the best branding I’ve seen. Fast forward to yesterday, I opened my email and saw some seriously cool textiles from House. 

From slippers to decorative scrims and shoulder bags to kitchen cloths, House Industries helped centuries-old Yu Nakagawa weave beautiful bits of Japanese tradition and culture into over eighty useful household products.

http://www.houseind.com/showandtell/2013/10/15/HouseIndustriesforYuNakagawa

Killer Branding Interview: Poo~Pourri

by Meredith Fordham Hughes

Have you ever seen a viral video so compelling that you not only clicked for the product, but also emailed the marketing director for an interview? I have, and Poo~Pourri’s expertly viral “Girls Don’t Poop” is that video.

Check out the brilliance:

Poo~Pourri Marketing Director Nicole Story granted me an interview about the sharp and witty branding that garnered ten million YouTube hits in two weeks. A product that could easily be a secret no user wants to talk about, has been transformed into marketing gold to share with your friends via Facebook and Twitter. 

Tell me about the creative process for the campaign. Did you execute the branding internally or use an agency?
Poo~Pourri was introduced in 2007, and has been sold to thousands of gift shops and boutiques for 6 years. So when the “Girls Don’t Poo” video was made, Poo~Pourri’s branding already had a solid look and feel. The video was a collaboration between a group of talented YouTube marketers, and Poo~Pourri’s internal marketing team. The Poo crew flew to another state to meet up with writers, producers, designers, etc. There the brainstorming began. We all basically camped out in a cabin for 2 weeks to crank out scripts, build a new website, hold casting calls, and even shoot the “Girls Don’t Poop” video. Within 2 weeks, the video was posted and picked up by The Huffington Post. The rest, as they say, is poo history.
 
How did your team decide on the prim and proper character with linguistic panache? Was she selected because your target market could relate to her? Was there a concern that the sometimes amusingly borderline graphic puns might alienate your potential customers?
People typically don’t enjoy hearing others talk about poop. Imagine a big, hairy man’s-man talking about the massive stinky dump he just dropped…Now imagine a petite, proper girl talking about the rope she just pinched. While both could be considered crass, hearing that kind of talk come from a cute little lady is much more palatable. And the irony is fantastic (and sharable). Would people be talking about the video if it were a man? No, probably not. And as for the graphic nature of the video and script, we have found humor is the best way to open up the poo dialogue and make people weirdly comfortable talking about pooping. There were absolutely lines we were concerned might be “taking it too far!” But in analyzing consumer feedback, those same lines we were so afraid of, ended up being people’s favorites!  
 
Did the branding start from the product creation, or was there a point which your team decided to rebrand?
When the “Girls Don’t Poop” video was produced, Poo~Pourri already had over 20 product lines/scents. With products like Trap-A-Crap and Sh*ttin’ Pretty, these product lines are heavily infused with humor. The video’s job was to take that humor Poo~Pourri has been building for 6 years, put it on steroids, and market it like crazy to a new audience who has never heard of Poo~Pourri before. 
 
Is there a social media strategy?
Yes. With our followers and likes doubling in a month, we have been active on Facebook and Twitter, responding to non-believers and positive feedback (with humor, of course). Our goal is to continue the Poo~Pourri conversation outside of YouTube.
 
What were the specific steps to get the commercial to go viral?
How viral a video becomes stems from how sharable it is. Our challenge was creating a video that everyone will want to talk about, about a subject matter that no one wants to talk about—pooping! We believe we found the perfect balance of clever writing and the perfect spokeswoman in order to pitch a “taboo” product that (literally) everyone on the planet could use. The Huffington Post was the first major press outlet to pick up the video. It exploded from there. We also knew this video had the potential to go viral in the press, especially radio, so we created a video that could exist as audio alone.
 
Have your social and viral efforts paid off in increased revenue?
Absolutely, at one point our web traffic increased 13,000%. Our goal is to create a positive first time buying experience and create life-long POOers!

A big thank you to Nicole for taking the time to give a peek into the “Poo Strategy”! For more info on Poo~Pourri, visit www.POOPOURRI.com.

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