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Dell’s secret to branding success is simple – the internal team didn’t just execute and walk away, they were, and continue to be, engaged in the brand with internal clients and outside agencies at every level and in all media. Having met the team, this comes as no surprise. Part agency, part design firm and all savvy – the GBC team sets the bar high and takes great pride in their work. Most importantly, they value strategy and consistently apply it to their assignments.

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What began in 1984 inside a university dorm room with a $1000 loan is now one of the world’s most recognizable technology brands. With over 100,000 team members across the globe, Dell offers solutions that span from mobile devices to servers and gaming desktops to cloud integration services. But Dell is focused on more than just technology. Having recently been named the greenest company in America by Newsweek, Dell devotes significant effort to corporate responsibility initiatives across the world—all in hopes of empowering human potential.

Over the past few years, Dell has repositioned its brand by redefining its core purpose—giving customers the power to do more with its technology solutions. The internal Global Brand Creative (GBC) team brings the brand to life by ensuring a consistent experience for all of Dell’s customers and team members while inspiring, encouraging and celebrating the power of creativity.

Since taking part in the larger brand repositioning effort, the team worked to redefine brand perception by crafting the vibrant new visual identity system you see today. With the help of agency partners the team then developed a set of brand standards to clearly guide the new identity rollout to every brand impression—from campus building signage to packaging to retail environments and Dell.com.

The Global Brand Creative team members also offer creative and brand strategy guidance internally to positively influence corporate culture and executive messaging. They spend significant time supporting business unit-specific initiatives and campaigns to ensure the brand is properly articulated in marketing communications.

This passionate, growing internal team shows immense depth of ability, as they collaborate, guide and execute brand expression across all touchpoints.

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Summer Office Attire Gone Awry

By Donna Farrugia, Executive Director of The Creative Group

Summer is upon us – and that means warm weather, company picnics … and fashion faux pas on the job. In fact, four in 10 advertising and marketing executives polled by The Creative Group said employees at their firms are dressing more casually on the job.

While creative teams often have a little more leeway in terms of dress codes compared to their counterparts in the legal or HR departments, for example, you don’t want to abuse this privilege. Presenting a polished image is an easy way to boost your credibility and signal to others you take your job seriously – and perhaps move you one step closer to a potential promotion.

As such, here are five wardrobe offenses to avoid this summer:

1. Sheer clothing. Lace and light-weight fabric may be all the rage right now, but your clothing should never be overly revealing.  Also watch out for see-through materials like linen, silk and chiffon.
2. Flip-flops (or Birkenstocks). While open-toed sandals are often OK to wear, foam or plastic flip-flops or well-worn “mandals” are almost never appropriate in office environments.
3. Statement T-shirts. Are you a Twilight fan who’s on “Team Edward”? Or a vegetarian who “Doesn’t Eat Anything That Had Eyes”? Your colleagues and boss may know these personal details, but they certainly don’t need to be reminded of them by your wardrobe. In particular, steer clear of T-shirts that contain political, religious or other controversial messages.
4. Midriff-baring shirts and low-rise pants. No matter how fit you are, avoid showing too much skin at work. Wearing clothes that are extremely form-fitting is another no-no.
5. Acid wash jeans. If you do wear jeans to work, they should be tailored, and not too tight or trendy. Leave your vintage, threadbare 501s or rhinestone-studded flares at home, too.

As a rule, you want to dress to fit in, even though this may go against your creative grain. It’s important to know – and emulate – your company’s general dress code. Ultimately, when it comes to attire, simplicity can be chic. After all, it’s best to bring attention to your ability to do the job well, not your love for oversize hoop earrings or fedora hats.

Donna Farrugia is executive director of The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service placing interactive, design and marketing professionals with a variety of firms. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group’s award-winning career magazine, can be found at creativegroup.com.

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A position description is one of the most critical documents an in-house designer needs in order to properly perform their jobs and advance their careers, yet many creatives don’t have one. Without a list of responsibilities, expectations and required skills, not to mention a reporting structure and work instructions, a designer working in a corporate environment has no benchmarks for success, no tangible short and long-term goals and little if any opportunity to grow creatively or professionally.

If you’re lucky enough to have a position description, review it, determine what may be missing or inaccurate given your current role and work with your manager and HR to revise it. If you don’t have one, be proactive and create one. Then meet with your manager to discuss what you’ve created and work towards its adoption as a formal documentation of your role that will be used during performance reviews and in goal setting exercises.

This tact may be confronting and uncomfortable for you, but management is most likely not inclined to take on the creation of position descriptions if they haven’t already and unless you do, you’ll have no clear sense of exactly what is expected of you and no clarity on how to advance within your company.

Make sure to include the following in your description:

  • Title
  • Whom you report into
  • Who reports into you
  • Required skills (both creative and business skills)
  • Responsibilities (what you are required to do – both creative and business functions)
  • Expectations (quality of your execution of your responsibilities – how quickly you perform your functions and at what level of expertise)
  • Role (what authority you have)

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by Ilise Benun

I enjoyed the recent post where Donna Farrugia of The Creative Group wrote about Recovering from Workplace Blunders.

But what about situations that aren’t so clear cut. Your colleague or boss is behaving strangely, which makes you nervous, thinking maybe it has something to do with you.

Here’s an excerpt from my book, Stop Pushing Me Around: A Workplace Guide for the Timid, Shy and Less Assertive, on what to do when you imagine you’ve done something wrong but aren’t quite sure.

Don’t torture yourself. If you sense someone is unhappy with something you’ve done, it is your right (and obligation) to find out. Otherwise, you’ll waste a lot of time worrying! Whether it’s a client, coworker, or supervisor, you’ll be better off if you initiate the conversation rather than waiting for the other person to approach you. It may have nothing to do with you, and then again it might. Either way, it’s best to find out.

In broaching the topic, your people reading skills will come in handy. Keep your eyes open for a time when the other person is open. Then keep the focus on you by saying, “I have a question for you.” Or, “I’ve been wondering about something and wanted to get your point of view.”

Don’t add mystery by saying, “We need to talk.” This often sends another person into his or her worst nightmares. Then, notice the person’s reaction,  however slight. Does he avert his eyes? Is there a slight stress in her voice? Does he step back or put his hands in his pockets? None of these mean
anything in and of themselves, but they are important to observe as part of the whole message.

If the answer is yes, there is a problem, describe the situation from your perspective without being defensive. Let the other person know you did your best and discuss together how could you have done better. Ask what other resources you should be aware of. Approach it as a problemsolving discussion about the future. Don’t focus on the past.

If the answer is no, and it’s clear you were imagining the problem, don’t make a big deal about it and don’t be embarrassed. Do not, in relief, open up and tell the person what you had imagined. Doing so will give them too much information that may be used later. Instead, use the experience to learn your own behavior pattern better so that next time you’ll be able to tell when you’re being paranoid.

Has this happened to you? If so, share stories and strategies about how you have handled it.


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In-house teams typically maintain a low profile in the design world. Whether it’s because they’re embarrassed (which they shouldn’t be) at how their work stands up to the work of their agency and freelance peers or because those same peers are compelled to strut their stuff as a means of gaining new clients (which innies don’t need to do), the fact remains that corporate creatives ignore opportunities to enter design competitions. This decision shortchanges individual in-house designers, in-house design departments and the in-house design community.

Below are just a few of the benefits of entering competitions.

  • It enhances team morale
  • It serves as an acknowledgement by management of the department’s contribution to its company
  • Winning an award is a validation the group’s design chops by their peers
  • Winning an award raises the team’s stature in the eyes of upper management and their clients
  • Winning an award raises the team’s stature within the greater design community

The InHOWse Design Awards competition is a great opportunity to reward you and your team with some much needed acknowledgement, validation and back patting.

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This insight comes to you courtesy of HOW’s own Bryn Mooth. During a conversation about corporate culture, Bryn mentioned a very enlightened habit her husband, Rob, has adopted at work that I’d call “The last printer practice”. Whenever he’s printing a document, he chooses the printer that’s the farthest from his desk, forcing him to walk farther and make more personal connections with his co-workers in the process.

For us designers who are much more comfortable behind the monitor than in front of it, this is a behavior worth adopting. The relationships we cultivate at work are as critical to our success as ………………………………….the designs we produce.

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It’s a no-brainer. 


It’s a perfect decision for me to handle.
I’m glad you asked me that. 


Public relations has written a carefully phrased answer.
I’ll never lie to you. 


The truth will change frequently.
Our business is going through a paradigm shift. 


We have no idea what we’ve been doing, but in the future we shall do something completely different.
Value-added. 


Expensive.
I see you involved your peers in developing your proposal. 


One person couldn’t possibly come up with something this stupid.
Human Resources. 


A bulk commodity, like lentils or cinder blocks.
The upcoming reductions will benefit the vast majority of employees. The upcoming reductions will benefit me.

As seen in the blog “ABCs For MBAs”

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