April 22, 2014

Why We Heart Change

Guest blogging today is Clara Jacob, creative director.

“Change is your best friend,” said Greg Guse, Paulsen’s president, last week at our company’s annual meeting.

It’s tough to wrap my head around that one. My best friend is Ann. Not Change. We’ve been friends since we were three years old – steady and loyal – despite differences between us, challenges in our lives and all manner of change.

Maybe it’s just me, finally growing up, but lately I’ve noticed a lot of change. Transformations, resurrections, evolutions. It’s that time of year. The soil is coming to life, birds are coming home. I even slapped my first mosquito of the season.

Greg also recounted a quote he heard from speaker Ryan Estis at the national NAMA conference in Jacksonville, Florida, a few weeks ago – that the agency business has changed more in the last five years than during the last 95 years! Here in the creative department, the entire earth shifted when we went from sketches, typewriters and paste-ups to computers. People who couldn’t make the leap didn’t fare too well.

The truth is that survival requires change. In his book Show Your Work!, Austin Kleon quotes renowned jazz musician John Coltrane: “The real risk is in not changing.”

And in business we can create a competitive advantage by changing before others. Jack Welch famously said, “Change before you have to.”

Personally, I find change exciting. For example, I like listening to new music rather than oldies. Studies show that learning new things has a positive chemical effect on our brains.

Back to best friends: If our lives weren’t constantly changing, Ann and I wouldn’t have much to share. In fact, much of our friendship is based on our parallel yet different experiences of growing up as we ourselves change.

And back to business: Whether it’s harnessing digital, embracing big data or capturing mobile, our responses to change must be smart and immediate.

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April 04, 2014

Farmer DNA, More Determined than a Protective Mama Cow

Guest blogging today is Krystil Smit, public relations director.

I don’t talk much about the fact that I’m a farmer. It’s not that I’m not proud of being one, because I feel incredibly fortunate that I have lived my entire life on a farm. It’s as much a part of my identity as being born a girl; so I guess the reason I don’t talk much about it is, it’s just who I am.

Because I have a “town job” here at Paulsen, I don’t get to participate in the everyday work on our farm, but I have, over the years, performed nearly every agricultural task you can think of – driving tractor, milking cows,...


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March 21, 2014

Guest blogging today is Mark Smither, VP, strategic director.

I am 50 years old. In advertising years, I am probably closer to 70. I have experienced a career’s worth of deadline-induced stress and sedentary-related weight gain. This is what happens when you choose a profession that requires staring into a computer screen eight hours a day.

When I was a younger man, I would smoke a pack of Marlboro lights, eat a couple of jelly-filled donuts and wash it all down with a gallon of bitter, black coffee just to get my engine started. By the time I was 30, I had managed to stop smoking. However, I never could give up the sugar and caffeine.



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March 05, 2014

Five Cool Agriculture Instagrams

Guest blogging today is Katie Levitt, creative director.

Instagram is the great photography equalizer. Its forgiving filters allow even (ahem) the most clueless amateurs among us – myself included – to take an okay shot now and then. And it’s a wonderful way to appreciate and share the day-to-day beauty all around us. If you’re an Instagram fan like me, check out these awesome ag-stagrammers:

1. Instagram.com/agrowlife

2. Instagram.com/farming_northamerica

3. Instagram.com/farmpicsdaily



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February 17, 2014

Twelve Hours of I-29 Inspiration

Guest blogging today is Bryan Bjerke, public relations director.

I had the privilege of judging the PR entries for the national Best of NAMA competition this past week. It meant a trip to Kansas City, which meant some drive time. I enjoyed the opportunity to put in six-hours-each-way of windshield time on the drive from Sioux Falls to Kansas City. That’s a lot of windshield time. And a lot of time to reflect on both wide-open spaces and the role agriculture is playing in the world these days.

On both the way down and the way back, I noticed how many semis were moving up and down I-29 hauling grain. It’s a reminder of how grain marketing has changed....


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