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Feeling Stuck?

You’ve probably heard the term “writer’s block.” Well, we can assure you that that feeling of getting stuck isn’t limited to those of us tossing around nouns and verbs all day. From our researchers and strategists to our accounting team and designers, we’ve all found ourselves staring at a blank sheet of paper or flashing cursor. So what’s the solution?

Inspired by our new Insight on Rapid Prototyping, we asked our fellow Fusion Hill-ers what they do to get unstuck. Here’s some of what we heard:

Change locations – By far our most popular solution, going to a coffee shop, outside, home or even another part of the building for five minutes, gives us the reset we need. Emily Sauer – a director of creative and strategy – notes, “The newness of my surroundings helps ‘restart’ the way I was thinking about the problem I was trying to solve.”

Pick up some inspiration – Reading a favorite magazine, scrolling through Pinterest or walking around a museum – an idea from senior designer Sara Rubinett – can provide just the inspiration we need. Designer Erin Stahel refers to this as “switching out of creating mode and going into ‘soaking’ mode.” Sarah Nelson, a strategy intern, shared the idea of an inspiration walk.

Make a list – Adding more things to your to-do list might seem like the last thing you want when you’re feeling stuck, but Danielle Bender – a senior research strategist – finds it’s exactly what her brain needs. “I start a list of the other stuff I need to do and try to get a few of those things done and actually feel productive. Then I can come back feeling fresh and accomplished and maybe even have some ideas from my time away.”

Make some noise – Listening to music, a podcast or the Headspace meditation app are all great ways our team resets. Jessica Helvey – a director of creative and strategy – says, “I listen to my favorite ‘magic’ song that fixes everything and makes me super creative!” Just what is that favorite song? We’re curious too.

In our quest for ways to get unstuck, we heard praise for funny memes, hot showers and even roller-coaster rides at the Mall of America. But one thing was clear: While it can be tough to take a break when we’re facing a deadline, stepping away for a bit makes us a whole lot more productive and creative in the long run.

What are your favorite ways to reboot?
We’d love to continue the conversation. Visit our Insight Library to download the full report.

| Creative

“Wow, she looks just like me!”

The importance of representation in marketing

Think about the last time you flipped through a magazine, saw an ad for a gym or visited your favorite retailer’s website. Did you see anyone who looked like you? And did you see various races, genders, ages, religions and even disease states represented as well? If you answered yes to the second question, the brands you’re engaging with deserve a high five for their representation efforts.

The concept of representation refers to speaking or acting on behalf of someone – typically those who don’t have a voice, vote or means for being seen by those making decisions that impact them. And when it comes to marketing, the imagery we choose is an important first step.

Little choice, big applause

Slack – a project management and communication platform – recently made a seemingly little decision that got a great deal of positive attention: It chose a dark-brown-hand illustration for its “Add to Slack” button. Kaya Thomas summed up why it matters in a tweet: “It may seem like a small thing but when you see graphics over and over excluding your skin color, it matters.”1

Emojis continue to evolve

A few years ago, emojis moved from the standard yellow to including different skin tone options, and later additions included variations such as red hair. In a review of 1 billion tweets, researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that use of skin tones has been largely positive. Dr. Walid Madgy noted, “The introduction of skin tone choices for emojis has been a success in representing diversity and their extensive use shows that they meet a real demand from users.”2 Recently Apple submitted a proposal for 13 new emojis that would represent people with disabilities. The new designs include a prosthetic arm and leg, hearing aids, people using sign language, and a wheelchair.3

Marketing takes note

Cannes Lions – a major festival and awards for the creative and marketing communications, entertainment, design and tech industries – took on the topic of representation by announcing the Glass Lion: The Lion for Change award, which recognizes work that challenges gender bias and stereotypical images in marketing. The award was launched with the support of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In organization,4 and in 2017 the “Fearless Girl” statue installed on Wall Street received the top accolade.5

So how can we be mindful of representation in our own work? In our latest Insight, we explore how next-gen is leading the way with a look at apps, social media and mental health companies. Check it out and, as always, contact us anytime. We’d love to continue the conversation.

  1. https://www.fastcompany.com/3052541/why-i-used-a-brown-hand-for-the-add-to-slack-button
  2. https://www.ed.ac.uk/news/2018/emoji-skin-tones-promote-diversity-on-twitter
  3. https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/3/17193020/apple-emojis-disability-representation-media-carrie-wade-interview
  4. https://lbbonline.com/news/cannes-lions-announces-new-glass-lion-award/
  5. https://www.fastcompany.com/40432883/fearless-girl-wins-glass-lion-grand-prix-at-cannes-lions-festival

| Creative

It’s His Game, Not Her Game

If you’ve headed out for a round of golf lately, you may have noticed the gender gap on the greens. Men are far more likely to pick up – and stick with – the sport. Golf app 18Birdies asked Fusion Hill to explore the journey of female golfers through ethnographic research, with the goal of figuring out how to attract and retain them.

Through one-on-one in-home interviews, group interviews at Top Golf, and time spent with golfers on the course, we identified the primary motivators and barriers for women. This research serves as the groundwork for a recently announced partnership between 18Birdies and the LPGA whose aim is to promote women’s golf. Fusion Hill also designed an infographic that details the results and recommendations from the research.

The partnership and research have been featured in Forbes, in GolfWRX, and via various social media platforms across the golf world.

Want to explore a gender gap in your industry? Give us a call to start the conversation.

| Research

Triple the Love  

Fusion Hill’s unique blend of research, strategy, and creative has always encouraged employees to thrive in a collaborative, innovative, and fun atmosphere. Now we’re excited to announce that Minnesota Business magazine has once again taken note, for the third year in a row, naming us one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. The award recognizes companies whose work environment, benefits, and overall employee happiness stand out among other workplaces in Minnesota.

Of course, we couldn’t do it without all the employees, clients, and friends who help us keep up the good vibes—from attending our rooftop happy hours to sharing our love for strategic and creative thinking. So thank you all for your part in making Fusion Hill what it is.

We look forward to celebrating this accomplishment in June alongside the other honorees. To see the complete list of winners, visit Minnesota Business magazine.

| Culture

Earth Day Turns 38

With the arrival of another Earth Day, our team paused to ask, “What are we doing to care for the environment?” Top of mind for many of us was biking to work or taking the bus. (And yes, some of us are even tough enough to bike in the winter!) We also thought about how our space uses abundant natural light and how we grow plants on our rooftop patio.

Of course, our eco-conscious mindset extends far beyond the office. And that’s the case for many of today’s consumers. Sixty-six percent of global respondents say they’re willing to pay more for products from sustainable companies. And they’re influenced by a variety of sustainability factors:1

  • A product being made from fresh, natural and/or organic ingredients – 69 percent
  • A company being environmentally friendly – 58 percent
  • A company being known for its commitment to social value – 56 percent

So how can companies – even those that aren’t actually creating products – make sustainability part of their everyday decisions? We explore one answer, how to make print projects green, in our Sustainability Insight. Download it for a handy checklist that provides tips from limiting ink coverage to avoiding the need for adhesives.

  1. Nielsen. Tracking Tactics: Sustainability Practices That Lead to Sales. http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2015/tracking-tactics-sustainability-practices-that-lead-to-sales.html.

| Research

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