Do you feel in a constant state of chaos? Tips to rebalance your life.


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work-life-balance-signpost-10088168With all of us on the fast track of life often times we fell overwhelmed. The cell phone ringing, email flowing in, demanding kids, pets or family it is hard to stay in balance. Do you even realize if your life is in a constant state of out of balance? Personal coach Laura Berman Fortgang states, “You know it’s time to make a change when misery and stress outweigh joy on a daily basis for two weeks or more.”

More than two-thirds of the employees surveyed believe they can “have it all” when it comes to a having both a successful career and a full life outside work. Work-life balance is so important that more than half of those surveyed have turned down a job offer because of the potential impact on it. Source:

The book, Living Your Best Life and NOW WHAT? 90 Days to a New Life Direction, suggests evaluating the state of your life with the following quiz.

True or false:
1. I have more than enough time to do what I want to do.
2. I am on a health regimen that helps me feel energized.
3. I look forward to every day.
4. There are no people in my life (at home or at work) who drain me.
5. I love my home (location, contents, the feel, the style).
6. I have no clutter in my home and/or office.
7. I live a life pursuing what I want instead of what I should do.
8. My work is satisfying and rewarding.
9. I take at least two week long vacations a year.
10. I do not work on weekends.
11. I get plenty of sleep.
12. I have plenty of quality time with my children and/or the people who matter to me.
13. I have at least one hobby or pastime outside of my work and family activities.
14. I eat foods that make me feel energized instead of sluggish.
15. I have the space to take at least 15 minutes of silence a day.
16. I have friends that are easy to be with and a joy to spend time with.
17. I carry no heavy emotional burdens or addictive behaviors.

Earn one point for every time you said “true.” If you answered “true” more often than “false” (a score of at least 9), you are probably living a well-balanced life. If you scored 8 or less, your lifestyle may need to make some changes.

Didn’t pass the quiz? “Stop. Take two days off immediately to regroup and relax,” Fortgang advises. “Ask yourself what you are hating, tolerating, or resenting about the current state of your life. Make a list and start doing your best to correct things right away.”

Balancing the demands of career and personal life will always be challenge. Keep a diary of all of the events you do for 3 days or more. this will give you a sense of where is your time really going. Also record how do these things make you feel. Are they things you could delegate to someone else? Are you just over booking yourself or are you letting others dictate your schedule? Of course there will be situation you just can not say no. But overall are there any trends that are sabotoging your happiness and are time suckers.

Consider these tips to rebalance your life:

  • Track your time. Track your daily tasks. Decide what’s necessary and what satisfies you the most. Cut or delegate activities you don’t enjoy or can’t handle.
  • Explore of your options. Ask your employer about flex hours, a compressed workweek, job sharing, telecommuting or other scheduling flexibility. See if there is another staff member who will switch or take up additional hours that are challenging for you. Of course you would want to check with your immediate supervisor prior to doing this option.
  • Learn to say no. Whether it’s a co-worker asking you to spearhead an extra project or your child’s local cub scout group asking you run a kid’s party, it’s OK to politely decline. Do not accept these things out of guilt or obligation. You need to set aside time for the activities that are meaningful to you.
  • Leave work at work. Create a boundary between work and home. Make a conscious decision to separate work time from personal time by putting all electronic devices on vibrate or on the charger.
  • Manage your time. Organize tasks in groups or do a little daily. For example, running errands all at once or doing a load of laundry daily, rather than saving it all for your day off. Put family events on a weekly calendar with an daily to-do list. Prioritze and let the rest go.
  • Reinforce your support system. At work, join forces with co-workers who can cover for you — and vice versa — when family conflicts arise. At home, enlist trusted friends and family to help in with child care or personal responsibilities when you need to work overtime or travel.
  • Take care of yourself. Maintain a healthy diet, add a physical activity daily and get enough sleep. Set aside time each day for an activity that you enjoy, such as meditating or reading.

Check in with yourself periodically to gauge if you are in balance. Share with us below on ways you rebalance and de stress. 

Source: Webmd, Mayoclinic and Huffington Image source:

If your business took a selfie, what would people see?


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Selfie. This was Oxford Dictionary’s 2013 Word of the Year. The word gained momentum throughout the world as it evolved from a social media buzzword to mainstream shorthand for a self-portrait photograph.In today’s digital world, people are constantly posting pictures of themselves to Instagram or Facebook for the whole world to see, with #selfie as the caption.

But what does this buzzword have to do with business? Think of a selfie not just in regards to your personal life, but from your company’s perspective. If your business took a selfie, what would people see? How would people feel?

The answer to this question lies in your brand strategy. But what is your brand strategy? It’s not just a logo. Your brand permeates all the key components that drive your business. It communicates to your customers and defines their experience. But building real connections with your customers takes time. Relationships are worth the investment.

For example, take the well-known fast-food chain, Dairy Queen. There are a few Dairy Queens in my neighborhood, but I can tell you in a split second which location is the one I actually want to go to. But why should the location matter? Aren’t all chains the same? Ideally, yes. A customer should know what to expect when they walk in the doors: friendly employees, attentive customer service and fresh food. But realistically, not all locations of a business may uphold these standards.

So how do you ensure that your business is consistent with everyone it comes in contact with? It starts with a commitment to your brand strategy. This requires reflection, intention, vision and focus on how it will make your customers’ lives better.

But where do you start? Baker Creative can help. Our strategies will ensure that everyone company-wide is working together to improve internal communication so there are no disconnects between the company culture & the customer and no missteps to hitting your goals.

Your brand is your company’s soul; your company’s selfie. It is the difference between selling something and becoming a part of people’s lives from generation to generation.

To discover what Baker Creative can do for you, please visit our website at or call us today at (614)836-3845.

What is really on your “bucket” list?


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I often wonder if our “bucket list” is really on the surface what we really want. On my bucket list, I want to go the the great wall of China, visit Bora Bora, and go to the south of Italy by the sea. Take five minutes to consider what would be on yours.

Upon further evaluation, do these list of items nod to something symbolic, something deeper? By auditing these wishes much like an anthropologist may go on a dig. Am I willing to get my hands a little dirty to unearth the truth? To delve into  the authentic reasons why I want to visit these places. What themes are these speaking to me visually as I roll them over in my mind’s landscape?

With one stroke of the my mind’s brush more of the reasons seem to appear much like a valued artifact. I notice my theme is tranquility, and serenity. A nod to what has come and the possibility of what is to come. The anticipation of planning a trip that revisits back in time is sharp contrast to what we know to be today’s truths of what seems to matter at the moment.

The cell phone ringing, the emails and tweets raining in like colorful confetti. In retrospect, all of it not mattering much a year from now. My bucket list seems to be about spending time with my family from a place of serenity and peace. So I invite you to take a short break from your “busy” to take a breath and go deeper,
so you don’t miss it’s true meaning. Be open, walk up to edge of the calm pool. Focus on what matters and go swimming in the deep.

Life is waiting…

Don’t wait for your ship to come in – swim out to it.
~Author Unknown


Call Centers: The Key to Your Company’s Success


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ImageI doubt I am the only one who gets that feeling in the pit of my stomach when I realize I have been redirected to a company’s call center. Let’s face it, most of us hate call centers. Why? It boils down to our past experiences with customer service.

If you are a business-owner and your company has a call-center, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Are you getting a lot of complaints from customers about your call center? Or even complaints from your call-center employees about the customers they speak to?
  2. Do you feel that you are missing out on potential sales because of the way your call center functions?

If you answered yes to one or both of these questions, then your call-center needs to step it up.

A call center is usually the first impression customers have of a company. A customer assigns a voice, an attitude, a personality to a company within the first few seconds of their interaction with a company’s call center employee.

Call centers are often an overlooked part of sales and KPIs. If you are looking to improve brand loyalty, then good customer service matters.

As a business-owner, you have to ask yourself the hard questions. Do you have the right staff and training to support your sales strategy? Your talent affects your market value. It is not just the key decision makers who are the most essential people in your company. In fact, your call center is an extension of your sales team. You never know who could be on the other end of the line. It could be someone from Forbes Magazine! How your call center employees handle a telephone call could make or break a customer’s brand loyalty to your company. It really is about how your customers experience your brand daily, consistently.

Running a business is not all about making money. Your company should focus on being consumer-centric if you want to be successful in today’s marketplace.

Baker Creative recognizes that every touch point matters. We partner with your HR management to recruit, develop, communicate, train and retain your talent to think, understand and speak with one voice. Baker Creative is here to help you stand out – to help you realize your company’s full potential. Because when every one of your employees is connected to your company’s mission and vision, anything is possible.

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Pinterest: Maslow’s Answer to Self-Actualization


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pinterest_badge_redA successful business is not all about sales and numbers. A large part of a company’s success is knowing how the target consumer thinks. Their needs. Their motivation. The why behind the buy.

It is rare these days to find an agency with the capacity to do primary research on consumer behavior. But at Baker Creative, our in-house research lab delves deeper into the psyche of a consumer. We know that figuring out what makes a target customer tick is an essential part of a successful business plan.

But how does the psychology of consumers translate to an online world, specifically social media? More than you think.

ImageSocial Media: Fulfilling Our Basic Needs?

The more we begin to analyze social media’s effect on our psyche, the more it parallels Maslow’s hierarchy of basic needs.

Begin with Maslow’s third basic need of love and belonging. We connect with friends and family via Facebook, reinforcing the belief that we are loved when someone requests to be our “friend.” Or we “connect” with people on LinkedIn and “follow” people on Twitter. How interesting are the word choices “friend,” “connect” and “follow.” The creators of social networking sites chose these words for a reason. They have a connotation of love and belonging. Doesn’t everyone desire to feel that, no matter if the form is physical or online?

Maslow’s fourth basic need is self-esteem. Doesn’t it give us all a little boost of confidence when we gain followers on Twitter or someone “likes” our Facebook status? We often post about an accomplishment with the hope of people congratulating us. We share a Good Samaritan story to show our respect for others or flesh out our LinkedIn profiles to gain respect from others. As much as we may not like to admit it, the online world has become a source for approval and acceptance when our confidence is lacking.

The fifth and final hierarchy of needs is self-actualization: morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem-solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts. Most social media platforms don’t seem to fulfill this final need. But this is where Pinterest comes into play.

A Fully-Realized Self

Unless new to the social media world, you have probably heard of Pinterest. Pinterest is a pinboard-style photo-sharing website that allows users to create theme-based image collections. Users (called “pinners”) can create and share collections (“boards”) of images (“pins”) that they use to do things like plan trips, organize their homes, or save recipes.

“Pinterest boards are like its users’ personal happiness collages,” says Dr. Christopher Long, a professor at Ouachita Baptist University.  “[They represent] things that I appreciate, that I desire, and that express who I am, whether the things are cupcakes, shirtless David Beckham, or an inspirational quotation.”

Pinterest is a getaway for many users. It is a place where everything has a space. A way to step out of a chaotic life and into an alternate world. A secluded oasis to create visions of the future.

But most of all, Pinterest encourages self-actualization. This is what sets it apart from other social media platforms. Pinterest users’ activities on the site are directly connected to their lives outside the Internet. What they see on the site can inspire them to act. To travel to that beautiful destination. To live out those inspirational quotes. To tackle a DIY project that will complete their dream home.

It could be a bold statement to say that an online outlet may be the thing that is fulfilling one of our most intangible needs. But that is where our world is headed.

Pinterest is inspiring us. Motivating us. Sparking new passions. Helping us realize our real-self. And when we finally discover what makes our soul happy, we should pursue it.

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Using Lemons to Make Lemonade: How RadioShack’s Super Bowl Ad is Bringing the Brand Into the Future


ImageAs someone who works in the marketing world, you can bet that I was more intrigued by the Super Bowl commercials than the actual football game. And I, of course, couldn’t help but view every ad through my marketing lens. Although many ads made me laugh, and a few tugged on my heartstrings, I was most intrigued by RadioShack’s ad.

If I had to predict what I thought would be the best ad of Super Bowl XLVIII, I would have guessed Doritos or Budweiser. But RadioShack? Really? I haven’t heard much about the company lately. Are they even a thriving business anymore? I’ve always viewed them as a company that is a little behind the times. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking this. But I think this is exactly what RadioShack wanted their audience to think. And why their ad concept worked.

The RadioShack ad, titled “The ’80s Called: They Want Their Store Back,” poked fun at RadioShack’s unfashionable brand with old celebrities like Hulk Hogan, Mary Lou Retton, and Alf stealing the store’s outdated merchandise. Then a voiceover says, “It’s time for a new RadioShack.” (See full ad here:

According to an interview with Forbes magazine, RadioShack’s CMO Jennifer Warren said, “We’re using the Super Bowl as the platform to get people to rethink RadioShack. This ad is meant to grab attention, make viewers laugh, and let people know, it’s out with the old and in with the new RadioShack.” And it seems to be working. RadioShack’s stock grew over 7% in early trading on Monday (source:

This a great example of a company taking customers’ attitudes toward their brand and reshaping it. Giving the brand a facelift. Turning a brand that has faded into the background into a brand that is at the front of consumers’ minds.

At Baker Creative, we can help you re-energize your company! We offer strategies that can foster innovation and embed your brand’s soul into the lives of everyone who comes in contact with it. Contact us at 614.836.3845 to get started today. 

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Are you overwhelmed by planning for you next move in business?


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814_3Many entrepreneurs shoot from the hip and hit the ground running. Some never stop to take a chance to evaluate their past performance or changes in the marketplace until one day there has been a shift in their business. Proper planning is the key to keep your staff, clients and finances on the right track. Let’s face it there are a ton of ways to invest a budget. On occasion, I will meet with a potential client who states their plan in “right here” as they point to their head.  Lets face it, a plan that has not been put down on paper is a dream with little commitment. How can a owner or manager properly communicate with the team if the plan is not written down as a blueprint for next steps. How can it be properly assessed and tweaked as an ever changing plan in your head?

Here are a few small tips to help you get started on your next steps:

• Plan early before your staff arrives at the office. Being quite helps you focus and listen to your inner small voice.

• Create a vision board to where you want to be in 2014. Cut out words and images of where you want to be to communicate with your team your vision clearly. Paste them on a sheet of paper and post it in a visible place for all to see in your work area.

• Share with your team your vision and discuss what that would look like and how it will help them in their job roles. Discuss the impact on your customers.

Baker Creative can provide an outside assessment to provide  the right next steps for your business. Get started today by calling 614.836.3845.


What’s On Your 2014 Business Bucket List?


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647_2Though we can make a new start any day of the week, there is something especially appealing about starting fresh on January 1st. If you haven’t done so yet, now would be a great time to sit in silence, reflect on 2013, and create your 2014 business bucket list. What did you do well this year and how can you improve on it next year? What didn’t go quite as you had hoped this year? How will you make sure to correct it going forward?

What are your goals for next year?

Baker Creative, want to help you with your 2014 business bucket list. Over the next four weeks, we will explore topics that commonly appear on business owners’ bucket lists. Here are a few of the topics that we will be discussing:

Create Good Content

You’ve probably heard “Content is King” more than you care to recall. Creating original content by writing blogs, using strong images, and creating compelling copy is important for attracting (and retaining) customers and driving them to take “profitable action”. You know why creating good, original content is important but do you know how to successfully create content? We’ll offer some useful tips.

Increase Brand Recognition

Does your brand stand out in the mind of consumers? Would it be recognizable to customers if they were only to look at your logo or read your slogan?  Brand recognition is what every business owner strives to achieve. Whether you have unlimited resources to achieve brand recognition or if you’re working on a shoestring budget, it is possible to increase your brand awareness without breaking the bank. We’ll give you a few pointers.

Drive More Traffic to Your Business

The holiday season is often a profitable time of year for many retailers and other businesses. Now that the holidays are almost over, we’ll offer information on putting plan in place to continue generating foot traffic into your bricks and mortar location during “off-peak” months.

Increase Your Social Media Traffic

Perhaps you took the plunge in 2013 and created several social media accounts. Hopefully your social media pages took off like gangbusters but if you’re starting to feel like it would be easier to win the lotto than to get people to “Like” your Facebook page. We can help with a few pro tips to help you build your online social media presence.

While creating your 2014 business bucket list may not involve hot air balloons or an exotic, safari trip to Kenya, it is still no less exciting. A new year, filled with new opportunities to make your business shine, is right around the corner. Are you ready?

Share what’s on your business bucket list in the comments section below.


What Message is Your Diversity Campaign Sending to Your Customers?


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Collage-19Over the past decade, diversity campaigns have become an integral part of major corporations’ marketing and public relations strategies. Often times, these diversity strategies come across as nothing more than a monthly checklist in the minds of consumers. Black History Month posters? Check. Hispanic Heritage Month commercial? Got It. Hot pink, reusable Breast Cancer Awareness bags? Done and done. Creating an authentic connection with minority consumers? Well, not exactly.

Often times, despite their best efforts, many companies continue to struggle with creating authentic connections with their minority audiences, resulting in missed opportunities and profits. CEOs and top Marketing/PR executives are left scratching their heads as they watch their profits shrink and the gap between their company and its minority consumers widen.

The Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia, estimates that in 2013, Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians, and Native Americans will pump over three trillion dollars into the U.S. economy. Despite data that supports the economic value of embracing minority consumers, some companies continue to view diversity campaigns as more of a PR hype strategy than a legitimate vehicle for significantly increasing profits. There are also those who are simply at a loss for how to engage their minority audience in addition to a handful of companies who have damaged their reputations with minorities following negative experiences that their consumers have had.

Most recently, Barney’s New York has been accused of racial profiling of two African-American shoppers who were detained by store security and police after they purchased items from the luxury department store. Chik-fil-A offers a similar cautionary tale, after their CEO, Dan Cathy, publicly shared his anti-gay marriage views last year and again this summer. Despite both companies them issuing a public statement in an attempt to smooth things over, the damage may be difficult to overcome.

While many corporations and small businesses struggle to integrate diversity into their marketing efforts, there are quite a few companies that are leading the charge. Coca-Cola, American Express, and Home Depot were fairly early adopters of the diversity movement in corporate America. These companies realized that diversity, both in the workplace and in the marketplace, added value both from a societal and an economic standpoint.  Not only have these companies reached out to minorities from a consumer’s vantage point, they have also actively recruited, hired, and promoted minority employees. In addition to this, these companies and other notable pro-diversity corporations like them, have also made efforts to reach out to minorities in their surrounding communities by sponsoring local schools, charities, and events.

Hitting a home run with minority consumers isn’t rocket science, at the end of the day everyone wants to be acknowledged and appreciated. Here’s a few simple ways to get started.

  Get Rid of Your Calendar Minorities shop 365 days a year not 28-30, though this phrase is pretty much  Marketing 101, many companies still choose to ignore this, finding it more convenient to acknowledge the cultural or gender-based month du jour and move on. Simply put, as consumers, we’re on to you. We, as minorities, know that you’re throwing up a poster of MLK Jr., Cesar Chavez, or Rosie the Riveter in an attempt to get loyalty points and while to some degree we appreciate the gesture, it can also come across as another item checked off on your monthly to-do list. You can do better; ditch the calendar.

  Get a Reality Check  O.K., you’ve shredded your checklist and trashed your monthly cultural calendar, now what? Have a conversation, in fact, have several. Talk to your employees and customers about what your brand is doing well and what it can do better with regards to diversity. You may discover that one group feels slighted, under-represented, or in some cases, not represented at all. Be prepared to address these concerns in a timely, thoughtful way. Avoid becoming defensive or responding with a knee-jerk reaction or decision. Ask for possible solutions to the concerns that are being expressed or if you’re doing everything right, ask what you can do to become even better.

It should be noted that timing, organization, and a plan for executing a “round-table discussion” are important when soliciting feedback. Although feedback can be quickly generated using social media channels it could lead to a backlash that could quickly become a PR nightmare. Even if your brand seems to be doing everything right, the control factor is relinquished when you opt to use social media for feedback. More structured methods like focus groups, brief surveys, and even having your employees simply ask customers questions can help gain insight in a more structured way.

  Get Help Creating a Game Plan  Should you use a targeted or non-targeted communications approach?How can your brand leverage digital media in in attempts to reach out to minorities? Should you use a focus group to gain feedback? Whether you have a team of marketing experts or if you are running a one man or woman show, gaining insight by consulting a PR or brand strategy firm can help. Sometimes the people who work in a company’s marketing department can become myopic over time, overlooking new opportunities to reach out to minorities. Conversely, if you are a small business owner, you may have fewer resources to work as well as time constraints. An agency can act as an extension of your brand. They can provide valuable research, assemble focus groups, and create strategies that will help you strengthen your brand in the mind of minority consumers.

How do you incorporate diversity into your brand? Share your tips and insights in the comments section below.


Overcoming Diversity Challenges in the Workplace


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It’s no secret that America’s cultural landscape is rapidly changing which has had a major impact on everything from the way we speak, to foods we eat. From a business standpoint, diversity has also had a major impact on how we work and how we train an ever-changing, culturally diverse workforce. The U.S. Census estimates that by the year 2050, new immigrants and their offspring will account for 83% of growth in the working-age population. Diversity has many benefits including a broader service range, multiple viewpoints, a more skilled workforce, and even lower employee turnover.

Diversity can also present unique and downright frustrating challenges like workplace hostility, resistance to change, and communication issues. If addressed properly, overcoming these obstacles can not only  provide a company with new opportunities and insights, it can also help strengthen a brand from the inside out.

What happens when employers face multiple major diversity issues like language and religion? States like Minnesota and Ohio are home to many of America’s largest corporate headquarters. They are home to the nation’s largest Somolian immigrant population. For companies in these areas, both language and religion come into play, when it comes to managing their Muslim, Somali-speaking workers.  Many employers are left scratching their heads as they try to strike a balance between productivity and their employees’ right to worship.

Even workers’ traditional dress requirements can come into play. Earlier this year, Diane’s Fine Desserts in Le Center, Minnesota, lost dozens of Somali workers after the company put a dress code in place that restricted female workers from wearing long skirts. Keeping the body covered is a religious custom that is strictly followed by many Muslim women however the company viewed the long dresses and skirts as a safety violation. The workers were told to either stop wearing long skirts or leave, a move that resulted in the resignation of over thirty workers who cited that the new dress code conflicted with their religious beliefs.

Employee tension and resentment from both native English-speaking employees and their non-native English-speaking counterparts is not uncommon. A major retailer in Columbus, Ohio has had difficulty managing employee relations.  Native English-speaking workers have asked management to require that only English be spoken in the workplace. Many of the workers feel uncomfortable around their Somali-speaking co-workers and believe that their Somali colleagues are talking about them in their native tongue. This naturally, has angered the Somali workers, some of whom speak poor English and would find it extremely challenging to speak English for an entire shift.

The Islamic prayer call has also presented an issue for companies in this region, particularly for those whose Somali employees work primarily in production. During the  Islamic prayer call, which occurs five times a day, Muslims must stop what they are doing and pray. The prayers usually last about 5-7 minutes.The prayer call has presented several issues, the first being the most obvious, production. Companies must decide how to walk the line between not infringing on employees right to worship and not letting this right interfere with the company’s bottom line.

In November, DHL management in Cincinnati created a PR nightmare for DHL after they recently fired 24 Muslim workers for praying on the job. The new head manager at that location recently made changes to the company’s flexible break policy, which allowed Muslim workers to take their break during their prayer time. DHL is currently investigating this issue but the backlash could be huge for the international shipping company.

These recent cautionary tales begs the question: What is the best way for a company to navigate these delicate diversity issues?  Here are a few options:

  • Delegate- Choose one or several members from the cultural group in question to act as a leader(s). These leaders can help with translating and clarifying training information, which can help to reduce miscommunications and increase productivity.
  • Flexible Break Times- Flexible break times allow employees to take their allotted break at a time that is convenient for them. They may choose to use this time as they wish: for prayer, a smoking break, to make a personal call, etc. Flexible breaks not only give workers more freedom and privacy but they also help reduce hostility from other co-workers who may view Muslim workers prayer time as an extra break. Flexible breaks create a sense of equity among co-workers and aids in building trust between a company and its employees. Everyone wins!    
  • Open the Lines of Communication- Ask for employee feedback on the companies’ current policies. Changes to the policy may not be possible but perhaps there are ways to make them more flexible or to make accommodations for the group in question in a way that is fair for all employees. These type of round-table discussions are also a good opportunity for the group’s ambassadors to bring any unresolved issues or concerns to the forefront.

What tips or suggestions to you have for addressing the issue of diversity in the workplace? Share them in the comments section below.



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