Gratitude

November 24, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @ NYCA

Thanks for reading this blog. Just saying thanks makes us feel good.

Here are 465 ways to say thank you. That’s nothing compared to the millions of ways to express the sentiment. Each and every one of them makes everyone in the world happier. Nothing works more productively, consistently, euphorically to make one feel happier than saying and being thanked.

It’s old fashion good business. Even if you text it! Saying thanks is a payment that enriches two ways at once; the receiver gets nourished just as much the giver. Plus it’s 100% tax free!

Future NYCAer, Kamryn

At NYCA, if we have one holiday that captures our spirit it’s Thanksgiving. We sit around the floor, eating pie – you know we are big pie eaters here – and share what we are each thankful for. It’s not about being clever ad people with pithy zingers. Quite the contrary. The room fills with warmth, openness, respect, love, appreciation. Sweet sincerity pie with enough to go around and around.

Thanks again for reading this.


Change is hard. Wait, no it’s not.

November 9, 2010

By Michael Mark, CEO/Creative Director @ NYCA

At NYCA we have a criteria that our work is only good if it grows the business. We say, “Nothing Matters But grow!” Of course, many other things in life matter but this is a mantra to help us focus and steer clear of the staticky small stuff that can get in the way. Like noise cancelling headphones. It works, but extreme focus can cause rigidity, fear, burnout or repeating a method because it is known, or merely time efficient. We want consistent production of grow! ideas and the benefits and joy that comes with them.

It’s easy to get stuck, trapped emotionally, creatively and fall into a pattern (a pitfall in consistency). This is bad for new ideas, bad for the soul, bad for business.

That’s why change is not only good, it’s a must. They say change is the only constant thing in life and I have heard and know personally how hard it is. But it beats the same every day. So I’m going to try to convince you and myself to stop resisting the inevitable and learn to embrace change, flow with it, even push it along.

1- Change requires deep introspection. That means learning about yourself. Who can be more interesting? So we gotta love that!

2- Change causes internal shifts. Shifts remind you that you’re alive; you can’t argue with life!

3- Change is giving up the known. I love pizza but how many times can I eat it? I discovered sushi many years ago when someone pushed me to it and it’s my favorite now!

4- Change challenges our self-image. I hope I’m better tomorrow than I was today, so thanks, change, for the opportunity!

If I haven’t convinced you of the joy of change think of this: what does it cost you to constantly stay the same? Talk about tense! How does it feel when you have to shut down your own natural energy and desire to stretch, to explore? That’s one person with two mega- forces inside them going against each other! Pepto anyone? How does staying in a rut, going over the same spot, again and again, affect your heart, your mind, your sense of self? I think it’s against the Geneva Convention.

So as we say in the NYCA Seed book each NYCAer gets when they drink the grow! juice (paraphrased to protect the ancient secret code of the NYCAer): Try new things, fail, fall, learn, take a new route to work, go out to a new place to eat, sit in a different spot at the conference table. Reinvent yourself in part and find your authenticity. And never ever be boring! Oh yeah, and grow!


A tale of the little tree…

June 22, 2010

By Mark Graham, Traffic Director @ NYCA

When I started work at NYCA three years ago, the philosophy of “grow” was what drew me here. The grove was the physical representation of that philosophy. The grove had plants associated with each of our clients and with agency anniversaries and other milestones. The grove was dominated by a large tree. It shaded our meetings. It sheltered us in the rain. It provided a feeling of tranquility as you walked in and out of the office.

Then one day the tree was gone. The building owners had it chopped down. All that was left was some bark and a few stumps. Michael tried to save some pieces to remember that tree, but that tree was gone. Where was our shade, where was the shelter?

Not too long after, I planted a seed. A seed of a sago palm. Most people don’t realize that it is not a palm at all, but rather a Cycad, a totally different type of plant. Cycads are a group of plants that are very primitive in their origins. Fossils have been found on almost every continent on the planet. What better representation of keeping the history of the old tree alive with than this! I watered the spot. I made sure it was free of weeds. There wasn’t anything there, but I knew where the seed was planted.

As the new tree sprouted this spring, I began to think back on that old tree. It was being replaced right before my eyes. With a tree that was going to be just as inspiring. Just as good at providing shade. Just as good at sheltering. Just as good at everything we valued the old tree for.

Then it dawned on me. The old tree was like an old employee. An employee that we thought was always going to be a part of the agency. She was the go-to person — but then she was gone. Guess what?! The “small trees” are being nurtured and growing to be even stronger. Would my sago palm have grown in the shade of the old tree that we found so fantastic? No. They prefer direct sunlight. Growing the sago palm in the shade typically gives one lanky, stretched-out leaves that are weak. If in too much shade, this species can actually just stall and do nothing. Just as the employees are thriving now that they are in the direct light of their own – they will be strong!


Work is Life

June 3, 2010

By Michael Mark, CEO/Creative Director @ NYCA

I don’t mean your work is life.

I mean your work can have life.

If you imbue it with purpose.

If you charge it with an inspired idea that is relevant to the brand, the product, the consumer.

It is not enough to ask it to make one think, to be amazed, engaged.

You must ask it to do something.

You must ask it to make others do something.

It will show that it is alive by its ability to move an object.

A product off the shelves perhaps.

A consumer to share its contents.

An equity to tilt upwards.

If your work is just pretty or smart or merely novel you will have a flat-liner and no one will care.

In such a case you must reach into its innards and squeeze, press oxygen into with a bolt of activation.

Look to the moment of media connection. That’s where the transformation happens.

From theory and philosophy to good, honest work.

Advertising ideas are useless unless they are active.

They are born to persuade, sell, change behavior, create motion, create growth!

So make living things.

And one day you can sit back in the rocking chair and marvel at all your millions of offspring working away out there, making you so proud.

At NYCA, that’s our life’s work.