marketing

Video Production & Why it Matters in Marketing

Did you know the average person’s attention span has shrunk to about eight seconds these days? Only eight seconds! That means that most people won’t even make it through this sentence before they’re on to something else.

Still there?

Okay, great! Because High Five Media has a little secret to help your business attract even the shortest attention spans on social media.

Video! Video! Video!

Should we say it again? 

If you want to get noticed on social media, you need to be posting video content.

Especially custom-made video content. Why videos? Well, let’s take a look at the facts.

Video Compared to Other Techniques

There are a lot of attention-drawing techniques out there for social media. Two of the most common techniques are linking articles and attaching pictures. Those aren’t too bad.

In fact, visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content, and content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.

But video takes things to the next level.

The list goes on and on!

Why is Video Better?

For starters, you get to engage viewers on two completely new levels.

The first one is motion. It may sound obvious, but movement attracts our attention way more than static images do. That’s because motion can convey feeling or cause emotions in the viewer.

For example, imagine you want to inform your viewers about the dangers of oncoming trains. Which do you think bring up the sense of danger better? A speeding, moving train or a motionless picture of one?

The second trick up video’s sleeve is sound. Again, it’s obvious, but sound and sight together engage our brains exponentially more than sight alone. 

What you may not know is that sound can even change the way we see something.

According to a recent study by UCLA, sound affects vision in a similar way to how smell affects taste. 

Moving music or familiar background sounds might literally change how your viewers perceive the content in your video.

When you’re targeting social media goers, you need the emotional connection that video provides.

Your Video. Your Message.

A properly made video won’t just give information; it will connect the viewer to the personality of your business.

That’s what makes video more powerful and more crucial than any other social media tool, because that’s what why we get onto social media in the first place—to connect.

Want to see what your business’s video could look like? Check out these videos made by High Five Media!

What have you done to capitalize on the video trend?

Five Content Marketing Resources for Newbies

Content marketing, a word thrown around in the business world yet rarely defined. At High Five, we like to make sure everyone is on the same page and the same planet so let’s quickly break it down:

Content- consistent, valuable information through various mediums: articles, blogs, videos, pictures, social media posts, info graphics, etc. 

Marketing- the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service

In simplest terms, content marketing delivers valuable information to buyers in hopes that it will promote and sell a product or service

But, here’s the trick. 

Society is over feeling like they are constantly being sold something. They don’t trust you. I mean honestly who enjoys listening to that car dealer’s sales pitch, or furthermore, who actually trusts him or her? 

For content marketing to be successful, a business must master the art of intentional, genuine communication between their customer and themselves. Content marketing says, “Hey look at these DIY projects you and your honey can do this weekend.” Instead of,  “Come to Lowes, we are a warehouse full of building stuff.”

Oh, content marketing. How valuable you are to business when done correctly.

If you’re ready to dip your toe into content marketing, start with these five great resources

Search Engine Optimization: Want to make the first page of Google organically?  You first must understand the ins and outs of SEO.  

Blogs:  An easy way to create more content for your business is to enter the world of blogging. 

Video Content: If you read our blog post 3 Trendy Social Media Takeovers in 2016 , you know that video marketing is vital

Social Media: #Twitter #Facebook #Instagram #crucial

Content Marketing Plan: Even if you’re not Type A, having a content marketing plan ensures that your online presence will continue to build. 

What are resources you use for content marketing? 

3 Trendy Social Media Takeovers in 2016

 

It’s 2016, and man it’s going to be a sweet year for social media. As we research the possibilities, High Five can’t help but get excited to explore new video techniques and creative ways to approach content. Let's take a look at new trends in social media and see just how sweet 2016 will really be.

Video

This isn’t a surprise for those of us who spend a shameful amount of time watching Tasty’s quick how-to videos (hello, cheese-stuffed pizza pretzels) and those darling kid videos. I mean who doesn’t want to watch a little boy in his dinosaur jammies wish you a good mernin’? We eat those videos up. In fact, more than 50 percent of people on Facebook in the U.S. watch at least one video a day, and that will only continue to multiply. Brands will need to get their creative juices flowing, since we believe that video marketing will be one of the, if not the most effective social marketing strategy in 2016. 

Social Commerce

Businesses are finally realizing just how much social media drives sales, but social commerce will surge ROIs (return on investment) in 2016. Last year, one-third of social media users said that they follow their favorite brands on social media and use these platforms to research before purchasing any products or services. Therefore, 2016 will focus on getting those researching to actually make purchases directly on their social media accounts. In 2015, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest began refining their systems to include buy buttons and other e-commerce capabilities in hopes to drive social commerce. But, be ready for it to ignite in 2016.  

Engagement Eruption

2016 will begin the eruption of engagement and we’re not talking about those wedding engagement pictures taking over your news feeds (those are here to stay), but the engagement between businesses and consumers. In a recent study, 70 percent of Twitter users expect a response from brands they reach out to, and 53 percent expect that response in less than an hour. Keeping up with every tweet, post, and comment is pretty taxing, and the demand for a more manageable way to respond is becoming a must. In 2016, messenger apps like WhatsApp will begin to fill that void in businesses’ marketing. Even Facebook announced their plans of a new Messenger to give customers the opportunity to talk one-on-one with their favorite brands. 

As well as new messaging apps, live stream video and 360-degree ads will give the consumers even more ways to engage.  Live video stream platforms like Periscope and Meerkat are at the forefront of marketing discussions. Businesses will begin streaming new product releases, live Q&A’s and behind the scenes footage to connect with their customers in a more personable way.  Also, with the release of the first 360-degree ad in 2015, we will see more opportunities to engage with ads in 2016.

What are some social media trends you've noticed on the rise this year? 

Why We OKC.

Photo of the Oklahoma City skyline by our very own, Jonathan Burkhart

Photo of the Oklahoma City skyline by our very own, Jonathan Burkhart

It's a common misconception that Oklahoma is behind the times (sigh). 

However, many Okies know the REAL truth-OKC has been on the rise and is actually pretty fantastic. At High Five Media, we're proud of our capital city, which is why we're giving you five reasons you, too, should OKC (yep, it's a verb). 

Since its inception, Oklahoma has been the wonderers destination. It started with those wanting the rush of the open frontier, railroad men, and early 89ers, all determined dreamers, dead set on leaving their footprint in an unknown wilderness. Today, in the same vein of the fearless explorer, start ups, risk takers, and entrepreneurs are reclaiming a city.

The steadfast pioneer spirit embodies and new generation of visionaries, who are not only shifting the culture, but are making Oklahoma City cool, again. 

Oklahoma City’s reinvention of cool, most obviously starts with the injection of the Thunder. But let's be honest, the metro area circa 2007 was already a sports hotbed. The University of Oklahoma was and still is a big league with seven national titles, five Heisman winners, twenty-three Hall of Famers and the longest winning streak in D1 history, and we’re just talking football. Up north there’s the brightest orange with OSU boasting fifty-one total national titles, Mike Gundy, an Oklahoma native head coach that’s birthed a powerhouse program, and billionaire Boone Pickens, who makes us feel that half-time uniform changes are somewhere within the foreseeable future. Add in a professional basketball team and you've got yourself a sports utopia awesome enough to make a governor serve up a slathered up platter of ribs to any national sports analyst – oh wait, that’s already happened. 

Which brings me to scoot my chair right up to OKC’s ample food offerings. Steaks, BBQ, burgers, whatever your little foodie heart desires, the city has you covered. Just please remember to generously add Oklahoma’s own Head Country BBQ sauce. When it’s not your cheat day, OKC has an amazingly progressive healthy food movement. Zoë’s Kitchen, All About Cha, Cafe 7, and Cool Greens are unanimous favorites because they strive to bring patrons into a healthy lifestyle community. 

Community is everywhere within this city. The Plaza District, The Paseo, and Midtown neighborhoods are products of OKC’s Renaissance. Millennial owned art galleries, storefronts, and restaurants now line these once dicey streets. This is where art and innovation converge and the new age pioneer’s roots run deep. 

Capital is increasingly generated, and the coolest thing about OKC is that Oklahomans give back. There is a certain standard in our state and it’s one that never hesitates to take care of our own. During challenges of catastrophe, natural disaster, or a mere case of someone down on their luck our citizens are always willing to give--Oklahoma continues to reign in the top ten most charitable states in the nation

We know that outsiders think first our tragedies and secondly the misconceived lack of culture; however, I truly believe OKC residents are the absolute definition of resiliency and innovation. So last but certainly not least, the pinnacle of cool in OKC is the Memorial Marathon. Coined A Race to Remember because of the 168 we will never forget, the Memorial Marathon is one of the United States' top 10 marathons. Similar to Oklahoma City itself, participating in such a worthy cause only gets better with every year that passes.

Networking is Not a Dirty Word

The year is 2016. You've just closed a deal for the business opportunity of a lifetime and opened the door to new horizons for your career. The question - how'd you pull it off? The answer - networking 

In a world of ever-expanding digital communication, the word "networking" is often associated with a string of retweets, Instagram likes, and the occasional LinkedIn request. However, the real benefits of networking come with strategic and intentional communication.  

As a generation steeped in the digital age, millennials have the tools necessary to get the most bang out of their networking buck. That's why we've compiled a list of ways to tap into your networking potential.  

  1. Navigate the business waters. As the saying goes, "there are plenty of fish in the sea." This is especially true for the business community. There are numerous invaluable connections from all walks of life that could potentially help you in some way or another. However, Rome's network wasn't built in a day. Start by honing in on business professionals in your industry of interest. By establishing contacts within your career field, you're creating a path to future interaction and furthered insight into the inner workings of the industry.  

  2. Become a follower. (But, don't make it creepy.) Social media is a good way to get your foot in the door with new contacts. By following industry professionals on platforms where they are most active, like Twitter or LinkedIn, and engaging in the content that they post, you are making your name and your presence known. Follow their activity and strive to create professional and meaningful interaction.  

  3. Go off the Grid. With so much of business conducted digitally, a face-to-face conversation is becoming more rare, which makes it all-the-more effective. Attend events and get involved in business-focused organizations, like your local chamber of commerce. Connecting in-person with a business professional is a great opportunity to make a favorable impression, while also fostering unique discussion and adding a human element to your already-established digital presence.  

  4. Talk, don't squawk. Too many times, young professionals make the mistake of selling their experience and skillset from start to finish. While pitching your potential isn't always a bad thing, it can often lead to ending connections before they begin in networking scenarios. Rather than fixating on you, focus on them. Initiate a discussion about their passion for the industry. Glean the tricks of the trade from their years of experience. Turn the tables on traditional topics and become genuinely interested in who they are as a business professional and what they have to offer.   

After strengthening your connections, it's not unusual to find yourself with a vast network of industry professionals, excited about engaging you in the future of the field and ready and willing to help you kick-start your career.

The Intern Files: Put a Little Om in Your Heart

The holiday season brings with it joy, laughter, a few creeping pounds, family time, and yep...stress. November 4th, 2015 was National Stress Awareness Day which almost seems like it was in preparation for the turkey-and-Santa-filled drama that comes with the holiday territory. Being a college student, stress is no stranger to me. Sometimes I feel like stress is this guy who comes and checks into my mind, leaving his hat and coat at the door, staying indefinitely. And sometimes I think we like to glamorize our stress. It’s like we think that the more stressed we are, the more productive we are, which is actually quite the opposite of reality.

Sadly, whatever our season of life is, whatever the job or situation, we are most likely to be experiencing some type of stress. The unfortunate thing is that the human body doesn’t know the difference between our stresses. Whether we’re approaching impending doom or someone is mad at us, our body’s stress response is triggered no matter what the level or magnitude of stress. Fortunately, we also have a relaxation response trigger during which our bodies de-stress. 

The theme for 2015’s National Stress Awareness Day was “Employee Wellbeing as a Worthwhile Investment in Your Business”, so here are some ways to de-stress in your office (or wherever you find yourself):

1. Stretch out your body. 

Take a walk. Stand up. Do some office yoga. There’s a Huffington post article titled “5 Office Yoga Poses (That Won’t Freak Out Your Co-Workers)” with good poses to get your blood flowing. Obviously it’s not good to sit over your computer day in and day out like the Hunchback – stretch out your body.   

2. Stretch out your mind. 

Take a mental vacation. Breathe. Take some time to meditate. Look at pictures reflecting happy moments in your life. Going back to those memories and taking a few moments to quietly reminisce will help you switch out of functioning in the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight) and start functioning in the parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation). 

3. Treat yo’ self. 

Eating (in moderation!) is really good for rejuvenation. Stress eating doesn’t have to be all bad. Eat a banana or potato (rich in potassium) to regulate your high-stress blood pressure – it will help with energy and recovery. Eating something sweet helps soothe the production of stress hormones; keep a bowl of Hershey’s kisses or peppermints on your desk to avoid binge eating while still reaping the benefits of the h-a-p-p-y feelings. “The connection between the gut and brain is huge and lots of interesting data supports the idea that the gut is a major mediator of the stress response,” says Dr. Drew Ramsey in a Huffington Post article. “Stress is a brain and immune system mediated phenomena, and your gut is the largest organ in your immune system.” 

4. Have a creative outlet (or two or three or ten). 

Doodle on your lunch napkin, listen to some music, keep crafty things like coloring books and knitting needles in your desk, and keep a journal and pen with you. There are studies that have been performed showing that an individual’s writing that is classified as emotional, valuable, and personal can help strengthen their immune system. A creative you is a healthy you – physically and mentally. 

Wherever you find yourself, and whatever stress you are experiencing, try one of these anti-stress triggers to calm down. They will help keep you from going postal on your co-workers or hiding under your desk and hyperventilating. Of course, there’s more de-stress techniques than the ones I’ve listed… how are you de-stressing? 

 

Peace,

The Intern

A Magazine Resurrection

We're pleased as punch that our Linked Magazine editor, Meg, decided to grace us with her blogging presence with this little entry on why magazines are still relevant. It's a resurrection just in time for Halloween. Enjoy!

Every writer is also an avid reader and a critical thinker.

We inhabit a space that's hard to describe unless you've been there - in which case, no explanation is needed. We always set out to keep ourselves out of a story, and we inevitably either draw on some personal experience to give depth to a piece, or become so personally touched by the subject of our writing that we leave a bit of ourselves in it. Writing is hard. It’s a constant state of self-examination and self-evaluation. Every comma becomes personal; every line as much art to us as the stroke of a brush to the painter or the contouring of a shape to a sculptor. Fortunately, professional writers (a category I find myself in, incidentally) have thick skins. So after we craft our art, we cut and edit it. We try to surgically remove our bias from our writing. Sometimes it hurts and sometimes you really think that last sentence shouldn't have been cut, but you hit publish (or send to the printers) and hope for the best.

Years ago, if you had told me that I would be at the helm of six magazines by the age of 24, I would have laughed. Magazines were declared a “dying” form of journalism so long ago, it's hard to see how they aren't already dead. Except, they aren't dying. That’s never been the case. They’re changing and adapting, and technology has allowed writers to connect with audiences on a much more intimate level than ever before. We can reach more people and get feedback in real-time after our magazines hit doorsteps. 

Dying? No. Evolving? Absolutely.

So before you discount long-form journalism, remember everything is cyclical. We live in an age where more young people choose to scroll through pictures on instagram than read the words in Facebook statuses, and where folks get their news in 140-character snippets from Twitter. But even now, it looks like that 140-character limit may increase. Buzzfeed has reinvested in longform journalism, and most comprehensive journalistic work in the world is being done for newspapers and magazines - articles measured in pages, not characters. Magazines matter just like stories matter. They connect us; they remind us why we cared in the first place. Linked Magazines are hyper-local. Our goal is to connect people by telling stories about the people and places around them. By covering stories in communities around the metro that aren’t being told elsewhere and by highlighting people and groups doing good—real good for people you know (or should know, if you’re new), we’re helping communities connect and grow.  

Magazines do a better job at this than any other form of media out there. They have staying power and allow us to spend more time with our subjects. When I’m writing a story, I don’t have to worry about hashtags or SEO. I’m focused on you, the reader. I’m focused on delivering you beautiful photos and stories to match. I’m I'm focused on sending you a magazine you'll pick up and read. I’m focused on your community, your story and your world.

What do you think about magazines? Do you enjoy long-form journalism? 

Getting Honest about Your Potential

It’s interesting how there’s really nothing new.  

All high school graduations employ the same cast of characters—the popular ones, the beautiful ones, the athletic ones, the smart ones, the weird ones, the quiet ones.  Watching my daughter cross the stage at her graduation reminded me of my own high school experience, and it got me thinking about a person’s potential.  

Ah, high school

Those simple words are likely to evoke a range of emotions and memories ranging from excitement to nausea. Depending on who you ask, high school is defined as either a battleground where people claw for survival or a kingdom to be surveyed and ruledNo matter what sort of experience you may have had, though, there’s something universal about the experience—high school is a fertile ground for potential.  

Everyone has experienced that utter surprise when you’re told the deadbeat who sat beside you in History is now a venture capitalist for a multi-billion dollar company, or when, conversely, the

Valedictorian with all the prospects becomes a drug addict who’s living in his parents’ basement. The surprise is visceral and stays with you. This is because a person’s potential is important but it’s only one part of the puzzle for success. In high school, kids dream recklessly—they announce they’re going to be doctors and lawyers and astrophysicists with the aplomb of a British royal.

But potential, like high school, brings with it its own baggage. Some people shine when they’re told they have great potential, while others break out into hives and whither.  In business, it’s crucial to understand the potential of a sale or of a client, so in my own life I’ve given a lot of thought to the subject. The way I see it, people experience two lives—the life they believe they’re capable of and the life they actually live.  In order to succeed, I mean really succeed, you must not only reach your potential, but surpass it. Because blog posts are about boiling things down to sound bites and quotes, I’m going to make this part 1of a 3 part series on how to meet (and then exceed) your potential.

Step 1:  Be honest.  

This might be the most difficult part of the puzzle, because, let’s face it, you think you’re hot shit.  This comes out when you apply for jobs way out of your experience level, don’t get the job, then proceed to tell everyone how idiotic everyone at the company is who didn’t hire you. It happens when you play indoor soccer against an All-American and are genuinely surprised and frustrated when he or she absolutely schools you.  Having confidence is important—it’s actually crucial—but you can’t confuse confidence for cockiness. 

Taking stock of your skills, really understanding your capabilities, your strengths, and (you     guessed it) your weaknesses is a significant part of getting real with your potential.  So many times in job interviews I’ve asked candidates to rank their skills on a set of 1-10, and invariably they spout off a host of 8s, 9s, and 10s. If it’s for writing, I’ll then ask, “If Mark Twain or Jane Austen is a 9, what are you?”  Puzzled they’ll sputter, “well, ah, I mean I guess I’m a 3 or a 2 or (God forbid) a 1.” 

So many people have absolutely no concept of what they’re really worth. This happens on both ends of the spectrum and both sides are equally detrimental. Understanding, I mean really understanding what you have to offer is like putting prescription glasses over your 20/8 eyes.  With honesty you’re able to assess when someone short shifts you, when you’re overwhelmed, or when you need to ask for help. Self-assessment is hard, but totally worth it.

I’m not saying you need to constantly compare yourself to the greats, but I am saying you need to really understand what it means to be an 8 or a 9 in your field. If you’re a 5, what are you going to do to bump up a number? This is a tough pill to swallow, because many of us had (and still have) big dreams for our lives. We see ourselves as capable of anything, so when we fall short, it’s a shock. Getting real with your talents allows you to remove the rose colored glasses and see your work for what it’s worth, and then assess how you can improve it. 

I’m excited to continue with this 3 part series, and hope you find it inspiring so that whoever you were in high school, you’re able to achieve a success you can be proud of today.  

What are ways you can get honest with yourself? Do you feel you’ve reached your full potential? Why/why not? 


The Intern Files: Darken the Lipstick “Forevermore”

 

Once upon a lipstick dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,

Over many a quaint, bright, or curious color in the store—

While I searched, eyes promptly stopping—suddenly the color, popping,

As of some one pointing quickly, making me search no more.

“Tis my color,” I held it up, “this is it, I know for sure—

The color I’ve been waiting for.”

I’ve never been much of a lipstick gal, but this sure was a fun experiment.

Dark lipstick is IN, and what better time to try something new than in the month of Halloween, a time of costumes and all things outrageous?

Elle.com says ‘90s lips are back, from maroon to deep purple-reds to black shades. The lipstick trend that drove parents crazy in the ‘90s is back and more powerful than ever. Thefashiontag.com calls the throwback trend a little more 90s-mixed-with-70s: “glam but dark”. 

Trends are funny things.  Our culture loves them because they are fast-acting, short-lived blasts of novelty. Trends operate to catch our attention, so it is often our lack of attention (mindless scrolling) that draws us in. That’s not all bad though, right? Right! In doing some research, I stumbled across a study performed by Dr. Nico Bunzeck and Dr. Emrah Düzel. It explained that the part of human brains associated with reward circuitry is stimulated when presented with something new. Meaning, new things (like trends) give us neural payoff, almost like learning enhancement. Why do you think that we all know what’s trending on Twitter? It’s because we crave learning new things. 

New things stick with us, and something as simple as trying a new lipstick trend could help us learn things about ourselves. Trends are not only sources of novelty, but also sources of reinvention. So next time you’re thinking about trying out that new trend (like dark, dark lipstick), go all out for it! Maybe the newness will stick and you’ll transform into a new you—forevermore.  

What trends have you tried?

Source: Bunzeck and Düzel

5 Reasons Why Employing Millennials is #Winning

Let's be honest. The term "millennial" likely makes you cringe, and I can't say that I blame you. I'm a member of the expansive, ever-active millennial generation, and sometimes even I become exasperated over the generational hoopla 

If you look past the marathon of selfies and the frenzy of status updates, however, a startling truth emerges: millennials are changing the world.  

A trend of data is surfacing in support of more openly embracing the integration of millennials into the workplace. Why? Well, for starters, according to the Deloitte Millennial Survey for 2014, millennials are expected to make up 75 percent of the global workforce within the next decade. This means that, whether you're on board or not, millennials are likely going to be working for or with you in the very near future.  

Because of this, seasoned professionals are beginning to take notice; they're discovering that we've got plenty to offer.  

We are digital pioneers.  

It's no surprise that millennials are tech-savvy. Nearly every aspect of our lives revolves around digital devices. However, there's more to our savvy than a sophisticated Instagram post or a well-planned Snapchat story.  

Technology developed as we did, and we've easily adapted to each new wave of advances. This means that we're always looking to push digital boundaries. We're looking for new ways to connect online and improve our daily lives. 

Consequentially, this carries over into our professional lives, as well. In an article on Fortune.com, Sally Susman, the executive vice president of corporate affairs at Pfizer, highlighted the crux of millennial potential when she said, "Greater insight from millennials can help us connect online with people of all ages in ways that are, frankly, new and unexpected... 

If given the chance, millennials can be great assets for social media strategy and connecting with consumers on a digital level. 

We lead through inspiration.  

According to an article on Business Insidermillennial managers are more optimistic and lead by "pulling" their employees to succeed rather than pushing.  

What does this mean for business? When millennials lead with inspiration, optimism and by example, motivation increases among employees, and millennials rise as "champions of change," often for the benefit of the company's image and its bottom line.  

We move to improve.  

There's a saying that one of my college professors used to recite, "I give back through feedback." Of course at the time, it usually elicited an eye roll from me. But even then, I eagerly welcomed feedback, nearly chomping at the bit for a chance to better my work and refine my craft. 

Zenger/Folkman's research captures that sentiment by suggesting that millennials are "looking for new ways to work smarter and produce higher-quality work." This often encompasses the desire to both give and get feedback. Such a desire increases communication and fosters a drive to continuously improve - a win-win scenario for employees and companies.  

We are challenge-seeking goal-setters.  

This goes hand-in-hand with our digital drive and our desire to improve. We push the envelope, constantly looking to take things to the next level. It's as if the powers-that-be told ambitious millennials, "Jump," and the resounding response was "How high?" 

In most cases, the status quo is just not good enough. We set goals that seem unattainable and then strive to bypass reaching them and focus instead on surpassing them. This pushes us to bigger dreams and better results.  

We are social investors.  

Investing in the well-being of the community and society as a whole is kind of our mantra, whether or not we're consciously aware of it is a different story. As one of my co-workers puts it, "Millennials grew up on Harry Potter and The West Wing." It may sound cheesy, but it rings true. Our expectations for how to treat others and our elasticity toward social acceptance gives us an innate drive for social responsibility.  

As for how that translates to businesses, Susman explained, "As a new generation entering the workforce without pre-set notions of traditional models, millennials can help shape corporate responsibility programs to move beyond charity and towards entrepreneurial models that benefit society." 

If millennials can and are changing the world, imagine what they can do for your business. 

What have millennials done for your business?

3 Ways to Be Less Corporate-y (It's a Word)

High fives are in, handshakes are out. 

Picture this being read in Heidi Klum’s chirpy Project Runway voice. 

Okay what do I mean by this? Is it a statement against everyone who’s ever shook my hand? Or maybe a stance against all those self-help articles that talk about the importance of a “nice, firm handshake”? 

Nah.  Not really.

High fives are in, handshakes are out is really more of a commentary on office culture than anything else. Today I want to dig into why I’m happy to work at a company that I (and many who step into my zany office space) would consider the anti-corporate workspace.  There are three main reasons I believe why, in today’s environment, the hard-nosed, beige cubicles of the past can’t deliver the same level of productivity that they may have before. 

When I say corporate, I’m referring to the lazy-eyed drone-like work for the man. I’m talking about the punch in, punch out mentality that so many Americans still subscribe to, or at the very least succumb to.  

I may be stepping on some toes here, but what progress ever happened without a few bruised toes? 

Before starting as a partner of High Five, I worked with people who operated in an uber conservative corporate environment.  I saw my friends clock in and play the rat race game…hard. Luckily, I was able to manage my team in a less strict manner, but we all still answered to the man.  Don't get me wrong, my past taught me some really valuable lessons like the importance of diligent work and how to manage people, and I value the opportunities working for a successful corporation afforded me. It allowed me to do my own thing eventually, which is such a blessing. However, when I had the opportunity to help start my own business, I found myself drifting from the corporate structure of my past.

So here are three ways to implement fun, engaging methods in your business, no matter what industry you manage. I believe a more open, dynamic office environment actually increases productivity in employees. If you can take away just one aspect of this post and apply it to your own employees, I believe you’ll see growth that may surprise you.

1.) Positivity breeds productivity

Have you ever noticed how little work you get done when you’re in a funk? You second guess yourself, you feel sluggish, and you can’t focus.  Now flip that around and think of a time when you felt really motivated and inspired. How did your productivity rank then?

In my business I go to great lengths to cultivate a positive, relaxed environment. I know, I know, when people hear the word relaxed they instantly freak out.  They think of the middle aged couch potato chomping away at cheese doodles while he channel surfs. But I’m not talking about lazy. I’m talking about providing your employees with an environment in which they feel comfortable. In this comfortable, positive environment, many employees generate their best work, because they don’t feel the extreme pressure that stricter environments generate. So this might mean the dress code is a little more casual than business casual, if you catch an employee shoelessly typing away you smile instead of grimace, you consider outdoor workspaces just as relevant as indoor desks, or you might even bring in donuts on a random Wednesday rather than just on National Donuts day. Whatever it is, make sure it’s intentional and allows your employees to know that you care about them and trust them to get their job done. This brings us to the next point. 

2.) Just Trust

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very fine place to start (Sound of Music, anyone?).  Trust starts during the hiring process. You have to hire people you feel you can trust to get the work done. This may seem simple, but it’s huge when it comes to cultivating a relaxed, positive environment. If you can trust people to get their work done, and done well, then you have time to tackle other bigger projects. Employees also want to feel trusted. Have you ever worked for a boss you felt didn’t trust your judgment? How did that work out for you? Chances are either your work suffered because you second-guessed everything (Maybe she’s right! Maybe I can’t finish this project in time.) or said boss managed his or her distrust by micromanaging your every move. Allowing your employees to feel truly trusted is almost like concocting a self-fulfilling prophecy. Obviously, you will need to address if they consistently underperform; however, chances are they will rise to the occasion, especially if you did the work on the font end and hired quality individuals. 

3.) Cultivating Creativity

Cultivating creativity is important no matter what industry you’re in. I know this may seem a little woo-woo, but follow me on this one. Creativity isn’t just writing, it isn’t just painting, and it isn’t just making art. Creativity isn’t reserved for the hipsters and the hippies.  Creativity happens every day, and if your business isn’t actively pursuing it, it’s going to suffer. Creativity is a different way of assessing the success or failure of a project. It’s figuring out random ways to engage with clients. It’s taking a chance on an idea that no one else in your industry has considered. Creativity isn’t based in logic, though, it’s based in your employees deepest strengths and passions. It can come out in a logical, analytical pattern; however, true creativity originates from an internal spark of genuine curiosity. 

“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking” 

-Albert Einstein

In my office, I’m surrounded by people who openly call themselves “creatives”.  This is a little overwhelming at times, because as I’ve mentioned, I originally came from a pretty straight-laced corporate environment.  The first time I noticed when one of my employees walked outside and just stared at the trees for 15 minutes, I thought I was losing my grip. But the truth is, we are all wired for creativity. We all need little breaks in the day to reset and reestablish our goals. Yes, that might mean you allow your employees to make a coffee run mid-day, or you let them take some time to laugh at hilarious YouTube videos. Because there’s one thing we aren’t, and that’s a robot (talk about a compelling pull quote). 

In order to fuel creativity you have to allow people their own unique methods of inquiry. 

Remember the tree-staring guy? I watched him come back inside and edit a commercial that got us national recognition and is still used as an example of our business’ strengths.

Though these tips may feel a little loosey-goosey when it comes to running a business where you need to make money and meet deadlines, I promise you your employees will notice these changes and they will respond positively. In a world where it seems our attention spans are ever waning (140 characters anyone?), it’s important to get real with yourself about the type of work you expect of your employees. When Twitter and Facebook are a mere swipe away, do you honestly think placing a millennial in a beige cubicle, giving them a 30 minute lunch break, and never really engaging with them socially is going to produce high rates of success and growth for your company? Because remember you’re only as good as your worst employee. I think advocating for a trusting, relaxed, engaging environment is the answer. 

If you gain a little weight from all those donuts, then so be it. With all of that business growth, I bet you can afford a new pair of pants.

By: Earle Haggard, Parter at High Five

3 Reasons Engaging Content Still Matters

Hello there, today we're going to beat a dead horse, but it's going to be fun and completely hypothetical and non-violent. Today, we're talking content, how to use it, and why any of this even matters. Let's dive right in sans weapons, shall we?

What sets you apart from the rest? What makes your post have the most likes, the most views, or the most subscriptions? What makes content matter so much? 

Everything has become a tagline.

How do you get attention-grabbers, while still maintaining a sense of professionalism?  Why does this matter?  In this digital age, your content becomes synonymous with your name. Unfortunately, sometimes it is hard to get good quality materials for your content in the world of 140 characters. Some of those in the writing world turn their nose up at the thought of social media and online content replacing their beloved hard-copy pieces they grew up dreaming about writing. But we’re here to tell you that written content is still king in this age; it just shows up in different mediums.  

Here’s a few reasons why good content matters: 

  1. Content is the essence of every idea. A challenge companies could face in the age of endless scrolling is having a single, overriding message. Themed blog posts, catchy hashtags, or creative titles have ways of tying everything together nicely. It’s no different than serial publishing from years ago—it’s just taking a different form.
  2. Content’s form is make or break. Content reaches a much broader audience than in previous years, and with so many formats and layouts like Instagram, Twitter, and Google +, the format of a post could make or break it when it comes to views, likes, shares, and ultimately a reputation. 
  3. Content will live long. If content is well-crafted, the idea it presents will reflect well on every aspect of the company. Content will only last long in the reader’s mind if it is noteworthy.

Written content, in all its forms, is the same. If anything, this digital age challenges writers to be more on top of their game. In a world with a short attention span, writers are called to be even more relevant, clear, and creative. We are not all defined by our #hashtags. Content at its best is self-evident, self-affirming, and completely essential to today’s written world.

What are ways you use content to reach and engage with your audience? Do you think content matters to businesses? 

Fall: The Glorious In Between

F. Scott Fitzgerald writes in the beloved The Great Gatsby, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

This week brought us our first tastes of autumn weather, and boy, it was glorious. So at High Five we started thinking: What is it that makes everyone love the fall season so much?

Pumpkin spice lattes? Boots and scarves? Football Saturdays? The end of the hellish Oklahoma heat?

Autumn is so appealing because it is the “in between". We're gonna' get deep here with some song lyrics. Are ya ready?

Ben Rector sings, “life is not the mountain tops, it’s the walking in between,” in his song “I Like You”, and it couldn’t be more true. The in between is where ideas come. It is the quiet time between life’s highs and lows where we can collect ourselves and reconvene with our senses. It is where long summer days are behind us and long winter nights are before us. The air changes, holding promise and whimsy. Along with that promise, the crispness of the air makes us more in-tune with ourselves; autumn is the time for growth and change, just like the leaves on the trees. 

Make the decision to embrace the changing season. 

Here at High Five, we are in betweeners (yup, it's a word). We’ll help you find yourself and highlight the things that make you “you”.  An endless fountain of creativity and ideas, we will help you find the best form of representation for your business. We will work with you and help you grow into your best. 

Here’s to fall (-ing in love with High Five). 

What are your favorite parts of this in between season? 

“I Like You” by Ben Rector