Our World

April 26, 2010

By Lynne Roswall, V.P., Director of Production @ NYCA

It’s that time of year again – when winter turns to spring and the Encinitas Street Fair begins the season in full swing.

While hand-holding couples peruse the clothing stands, handmade artwork, bamboo Salad tongs and cutting boards, jazz / new age / classical music floats in between the bodies walking from stall-to-stall. Families stroll in-time with their kids and their teenagers walk a few feet in front of them, escaping. Consumers talk amongst themselves about the things they want to purchase; they have direct conversations with merchants, listen to their stories (some repeat it to their friends or loved ones) while some find interest in – or are coaxed into – handling the items on the table.

Brands are constantly trying to seep, seemlessly, into our lives and become a part of those conversations. Some have made it. Like badges of honor, our favorite logos are showcased on hats, bags and t-shirts.

Inside the walls of NYCA, we work intensely on the best ways to reach you to help our brands grow! Maniacally focused, we cull the work down to the right word, the right image, the accurate stat, the proving points and the most poignant, clearest way to pierce through the clutter of everyday messaging and entice you. We want you to pause, if only for a moment, and ask you to consider us before you pass us by and go on to the next booth.

Tweets, Facebook ads, email notices and new product requests, videos, commercials, print ads, URLs – all encourage you to come closer, stroll up to the table and try us out. We want you to hear our story, be interested in it, talk about us to your friends and loved ones. And, through the music playing, alongside the strollers and teenagers, maybe you’ll become a fan and wear us proudly… seemless.

‘Round here stop signs are suggestions.

February 11, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @NYCA

Seth Godin said it better than I could. We try to live it here every day.

“One way to think about running a successful business is to figure out what the least you can do is, and do that. That’s actually what they spent most of my time at business school teaching me.

No sense putting more on that pizza, sending more staff to that event, answering the phone in fewer rings… what’s the point? No sense being kind, looking people in the eye, being open or welcoming or grateful. Doing the least acceptable amount is the way to maximize short term profit.

Of course, there’s a different strategy, a crazy alternative that seems to work: do the most you can do instead of the least.

Radically overdeliver.

Turns out that this is a cheap and effective marketing technique.”

You got that right, Seth. We decided at NYCA for us success isn’t only found on the bottom line. NYCAers do whatever it takes to grow clients businesses – and we know how hard that is. No neutral gear. The halls vibrate with this hunger to pass ‘get it done’ on the way to sweet excellence. It shows in the huddles over the details, and the raised-hand honesty when we miss and the prideful but never cocky rhythm in our team’s strides.

They killed my great big idea – I should give them a raise!

January 25, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @NYCA

I had a great idea – no really, a big, rare, juicy one. It was clear, unique – it was an app for cripes sakes! And for a client who is innovation focused!

I ran to the digital producers, “Get your heads out of your cloud computing and get on this faster than now!”

They did their wireframes. Had some questions – actually doubts: cost, timing.

“I don’t care how much money,” I said, “This is a great idea – do it, now!”

They brought it to strategy and they did some research on the target and had reservations. Actually they thought it was a good idea but not in coordination enough with the rest of the work we were doing.

“Go renegade with me!” I called, charging in no one direction.

They brought in media and they did some data digging – interesting idea as it was the target would be insignificant.

Dead. They killed the idea because it wasn’t a grow! idea.

Lucky me, lucky clients.

I trust you with my life

January 20, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @NYCA

I read that 40% of the people who get a diagnosis from their physician will doubt the doc if their social network friends question it. Now, I like second opinions like I do another slice of cream pie but will this undermine the medical attention one gets? How about when people start taking advice from their Facebook buddies and start exercising more than the doc wants and have a heart attack?

And if this happens with someone who has gone to medical school, what happens when you are buying light bulbs from the hardware store and ask your peeps what they think of the sales associate in overalls’ opinion that 60 watts is the way to go?

People trust other people because those people are like them. Comfort is healthy when not numbing. This is a new shift; it used to be comforting to know that the person you were being advised by was different from you. Doctors would wear lab coats to show they were medically superior and perhaps cleaner. These days, fewer physicians wear those coats. Overalls once showed that the hardware salesguy was more serious about his handcrafting; that’s why he had all those places for his tools on his jumper. Now he is either in a costume or seen as a bad dresser. Uniforms in stores are rarely seen and if you took off the associate’s name badge you couldn’t tell the customer from the patient from the tool guy from the doctor. They’re just people talking to people. This puts pressure on the information over pomp — which is a good thing for all advice takers.

Still, expertise needs to be questioned in order to be trusted. I still check the fine print on the diplomas when waiting in the examining room for the doctor.

Happy Holidays from NYCA

December 24, 2009


Happy holidays from NYCA!  Click the link to check out our gift rap!

Creating Harmonious Chaos

April 16, 2009

From Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO at NYCA.


10 Tips for creating a culture that fosters the corporate spirit of harmonious chaos, inspires great work and a better world. Any successful business owner will tell you that staff will make or break a company. Turnover is not only expensive, but also can be devastating to morale and work quality, taking away from other resources to find, train and indoctrinate new employees.

nyca_flowers_1In order to succeed, business owners have to focus a large percentage of their time (at least 25 percent) to creating a culture with a goal: harmonious chaos.

Working at a growing and entrepreneurial company is demanding work. The hours are long and chaos is part of the deal. Keeping employees happy and energized to return the next day, helping your business grow, is critical.

Your team needs a guide on how to succeed and how to create a “culture club” of their own within the company. The guide should contain reminders of what employees already know on how to think and behave and grow the businesses and the community.

The guide can also include activities, events and symbols to foster this club of culture. Everything from golf outings to personalized watering cans for each employee to remind them that they are growers – Planting a grove of trees representing client growth and art classes- these are all ideas to foster a culture that will spur energy and ideas.

In a nutshell, 10 things any company can do to create a better culture to grow better work are:

1. State in writing what the organization is about – clarity is key and find only people who love the vision and repeat it all the time.

2. Take care of the basics – insurance, comfortable chairs, good lighting – sounds simple but it works! Allow employees to make their space personal, have food around – healthy and unhealthy.

3. Listen carefully – no, really carefully to the employees – have some feelers out and people who will tell you what you don’t want to hear because it is good for you – and respond.

4. Celebrate when it goes right. Give spot bonuses – Starbucks coffee cards, afternoon off, flowers, parking spaces, you name it.

5. Tell the truth – allow criticism, say you’re sorry – be a human place. Always celebrate the victories – and be honest about the errors.

6. Be who you are. Don’t be silly thinking it will get you what you want if you’re not silly – it won’t take you where you want to be unless it fits.

7. Work is personal – people spend a lot (sometimes almost all) their time there – when you hire someone, make sure you see the person as an individual and how they fit in the team.

8. Families – you don’t just hire the employee — you bring the family into your extended family.fruit-from-our-clients-tree

9. Have a mission, a cause that is bigger than your P/L that they can sign up for.

10. Create a culture club – put people in responsible positions.

11. Understand who your employees are – they are not like you. They may be younger, older, from another country, even planet (if you’re lucky) – be in touch. Give them the goals and the environment and they will do the rest.


OK, so being on the creative side, that’s 12 tips instead of 10. The end result of these tips is to increase the creativity quotient within company walls – the quotient must go up to solve serious problems and move to the next level. Creating a culture club can steer the work to fulfill promises for all involved.