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The Power of Me

1917731_623443457452_2042715_n The Women's Fund recently reached out and invited me to write a post sharing what the phrase “Power of Me” means to me. Those many only be three little words...but together they're one heck of a big statement.

So big, in fact, I had trouble getting this post started. I sat down to write several times last week, and found myself in late-night standoffs with every writer's worst enemy: a cursor taunting me from a blank, white screen.

In search of a spark of inspiration, I googled "powerful women." The images that popped up were a grid of symmetrical smiles, pearl necklaces, tidy hairstyles and practical heels.

Point taken, but that's certainly not my kind of power. My smile is lopsided. My signature hairstyle is a messy bun. I go barefoot whenever possible.

Up next, I headed to the Thesaurus in search of synonyms. What I found were: forceful, controlling, wicked -- adjectives better suited for a Disney villainess casting call than characteristics of someone I'd want to know or spend time with.

Just when it seemed all hope was lost, I stumbled my way across an etymological revelation that gave me the clarity I'd been seeking.

The word "power" comes from the Anglo-Norman French poeir, an alteration of Latin posse (‘be able.’) Posse is the same root behind the word "possible."

And for me, that's what the Power of Me all about. Possibility and potential.

It's hard for me to pin it down in words, in the same way I would struggle to articulate the experience of blinking or breathing. I come from a long line of courageous women who have pushed boundaries, crossed lines and defied norms. Women who raised happy families and raised the bar. In doing so, they also raised me to understand that given enough determination, dedication and hard work, anything is possible. I've never considered that a belief...because in our world, it's fact. There are generations of stories to prove it, and a certain kind of courage that has been handed down in our DNA. A willingness to stand up, stand for something and take a stand.

As I'm writing this post, it has occurred to me that maybe there's a reason it was so hard to write about the Power of Me. Perhaps it's because my Power of Me is just one chapter in a much greater story. A story about the Power of We.  

 

*This blog post was sponsored by The Women's Fund of Central Ohio. In exchange, I received two tickets to The 2015 Keyholder event. (One of the most inspiring nights in Columbus!) 

 

5 Awareness Campaigns That Got The Art of War Right

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Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” is chock-full of brilliant insights. (So much so, I feel like it should be a required read for every marketer, entrepreneur and business person.) And while we, thankfully, don’t have to stand on the frontline of an actual war each day, we are immersed in a form of war. We fight for attention. We fight to be remembered. We fight to break through the noise. We fight to not only make people give a damn, but to give enough of a damn they take action and do something.

A tidbit of wisdom from The Art of War…

“Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate. Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” 

A couple days ago, I clicked a video that popped into my Facebook feed. With the flurry of pre-Super Bowl ads floating around, I assumed it was another pre-release for SB XLIX. (I was wrong.) Upon hitting play, the spot led me down a familiar path. Then along came the thunderbolt.

Not only did this PSA get the fight right, they even followed another of Tzu’s tenets:

“When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.”

Some of Us called PepsiCo to the floor, leading them right to the only open escape hatch. They’ve been called out. Now if they want a way out, they’ll have to change their ways. 

Here are a few other examples of PSAs that got the thunderbolt right…

(Warning: Trigger alerts.) 

- See more at: http://www.brainsonfire.com/blog/2015/01/15/5-psas-got-art-war-right/#sthash.maFcrWDZ.dpuf

The Early 90s are Calling (with some marketing wisdom)

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Growing up a child of the late 80s/early 90s, there was no shortage of tangible ways to socially signal your coolness level. (And they were hard to miss, as many of them came in neon.) From the range of hypercolor shirts in your wardrobe rotation to the size of your slap bracelet collection to the number of New Kids on the Block buttons pinned to the back of your acid-wash jean jacket, social status went hand-in-hand with stuff. But of all the late-80s greatness, one social signal reigned supreme above them all: the clear phone.

But let’s rewind a bit.

In an era when a young girl’s coming-of-age/understanding of the world was heavily influenced by The Babysitter’s Club, the only thing cooler than push-down socks and papier-mâché bangles was the thought of having my own personal phone line in my room. (Just ask Claudiashe had it all.) I spent years pining away for my very own phone line as budding visions of entrepreneurship danced in my head. Meanwhile, my parents spent years insisting that our extremely fancy and high-tech cordless phone would be more than adequate for the phone needs of a preteen girl. It was a logic I begrudgingly accepted until the day I went over to my friend Liz’s house and learned not only had she received her own phone line, it was tied to a clear phone with neon innards. I had never seen anything cooler in my life.

Over the summer that followed, we spent countless hours hunkered down in her room calling our crushes on the clear phone and hanging up as soon as they answered. (The days before caller ID were truly a gift to timid teens.) We’d break occasionally to ride our bikes down to the local mart to pick up a pack of Fun Dip and the latest issue of Teen magazine so we could call the 800 numbers of beauty vendors advertised in the back to request free samples. (Side note: “Mood lipstick” is not a good look.)

Thirty years later, I find myself clutching a very expensive piece of telephone technology; a very distant cousin known as the iPhone. Its capabilities surpass anything I could have imagined. We’ve not only fulfilled, but surpassed, most of the 1988 prophecies Epcot Center predicted we’d see “some day in the future.” Unimaginable things my younger self simultaneously marveled and scoffed at. (Imagine being able to see the person you’re talking to on the phone while you’re talking to them! Impossible.) The future is now, but for some reason I still find myself thinking about that clear phone.

It occurred to me last night, as I was drifting to sleep, that the clear phone was one of the first — and best — marketing lessons I’ve ever had. In a day in age when everyone was creating the same drab product, the clear phone went the opposite way. They opened the kimono. Rather than just creating a product, they created a story. They let the world see the guts and grit of what was going on behind the curtain (or under the plastic, if you will.)

It’s a lesson that has stuck with me throughout my life. And while technology and color trends have changed (thank goodness), this particular lesson is perhaps even more relevant today than it was 30 years ago. It’s no longer enough to create a good product. Anyone can create a good product. Everyone (mostly) is creating a good product. When you’re just in the business of creating a selling a product or a transaction, loyalty is zilch and consumers will go wherever the best deal is. That’s a really hard way to compete. If you want your brand to thrive, you’ve got to be in the business of selling your story. Selling a way of life. Selling a memory. Selling a different and better way of doing things. You’ve got to let people in and give them a peek at not just what you do, but how you do it and why it matters.

You’ve got to give people a reason to still find themselves thinking about you thirty years down the road.

5 Free Stock Photo Sites that Don't Suck

Thanksgiving is arguably my favorite week of the year. It’s short. It’s festive. It’s a three-day parade into the official holiday season. (Though, if I’m being perfectly honest, I’ve been excited about “the holidays” since roughly September 1.) In the spirit of week in which the working world is scrambling to cram five days worth of work into three while visions of food comas dance in our heads, I thought it would be nice to keep today’s blog fun and food-focused (with a generous side of what-the-hell?)

Not too long ago, Buzzfeed posted a list of 50 Completely Unexplainable Stock Photos No One Will Ever Use. Apparently Totino’s pizza took this as a challenge. (A really, really weird challenge.)

In the off chance you’re actually looking for beautiful stock images that are completely usable, here are a few free favorites. An early holiday gift from me to you.

Upsplash oIpwxeeSPy1cnwYpqJ1w_Dufer Collateral test


Death to the Stock Photo* DTTSP2_905


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Life of Pix Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 3.17.13 PM


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Amy Taylor | Resume

To view a much prettier version of my resume, please click here. Amy Taylor Copywriter & Brand Strategist Columbus, Ohio WriteHuman.com Contact Me


PROFILE Throughout my career, I have led the visioning, development and implementation of award-winning marketing, content and social strategies for a wide range of brands and organizations. I am inspired by life, driven to do good and passionate about helping my clients grow their business through storytelling and relationship building that sparks conversation and meaningful engagement beyond a single transaction.


EXPERTISE Marketing Strategy Content Strategy Social Strategy Copywriting Brand Identity Community Development


EXPERIENCE

Lead Copywriter + Community Manager  Brains on Fire, 2011 - Present

As Lead Copywriter, Community Manager and a senior member of the agency’s internal strategy team, I support the success of our clients by developing and implementing social, content and word-of-mouth marketing strategies that inspire community, drive conversation and help brands do better business.

• Provide strategic guidance on development, implementation and execution of creative, social and content marketing strategies. • Manage online communities and social channels for national and global brands. • Manage agency’s public relations, securing national media placements and speaking opportunities. • Create compelling copy and content for use on web and in print. • Craft copy for new business, insight and strategy presentations, award applications, scripts and case studies. • Manage a team of 25 direct reports for a global online/offline advocate-driven brand community. • Collect, analyze and report metrics, measuring against KPIs and making strategic adjustment recommendations as needed. • Identify opportunities for agency growth and improvement, including recommendation and implementation of new social tools and internal processes.

Marketing Strategist + Copywriter Freelance, 2008-Present

Provide strategic consultation, copywriting services and community management support to a range of clients, big and small.

• Authored articles, talking points and thought leadership pieces on behalf of C-suite and senior executives. Placements include: Fast Company, Forbes, Mashable, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Bulldog Reporter, PandoDaily, Entrepreneur, SmartBrief and many more. • Designed and coordinated social campaign that helped client secure more than $10,000 in crowdfunding.

Community Affairs Assistant City of Westerville, 2007-2011

Provided creative and administrative support to the Community Affairs + Public Information Division of the largest suburb in central Ohio.

• Created content for municipal publications; wrote copy for media releases, social media and internal communications. • Planned and coordinated internal and external special events. • Managed city website, online digital presence and calendar. • Launched and managed the city’s Twitter account. • Received, responded to and resolved public information requests, service requests and resident inquiries. • Chaired Special Event Committee; managed and coordinated event logistics and communication between event applicants and eight city departments.


 

SOCIAL

Twitter: @nomeatballs Instagram: @amyabtaylor Pinterest: @amyabtaylor 


 

INTERESTS

DOGS /// ANIMAL ADVOCACY SOCIAL /// TECHNOLOGY DIY /// CRAFTING ART /// GARDENING LOCAL /// COLUMBUS


 

FUN FACT

An infographic I created about Columbus went viral in 2014. It was shared by Mayor Coleman, and has received over 50,000 views.


 

CONTACT Email me

 

Download a PDF version of my resume here.

 

Meet the Vagabond Barista

With his infectious laugh and signature messy bun, Will Shurtz is hard not to notice -- and impossible to forget. He's the kind of person who walks into a room of 100 strangers and leaves with 100 new friends. As the owner and founder of Vagabond Barista, a traveling brew bar that elevates the coffee experience through a blend of craft, care and human connection, Will regularly does exactly that. [Click here to see him in action.] Will and I first met after he made a visit to Brains on Fire to host a brew bar for our team. Five minutes into our initial chat I was pretty much rendered speechless by the profound wisdom, humanity and business acumen pouring forth from an entrepreneur barely over the legal drinking age. In the months since, I've become a loud and proud Will advocate. And I'm not alone in that sentiment. Whenever Will's name comes up, you quickly discover that everyone has a Will story. This is one such story from a mutual friend...

"With everything and everyone, Will is like a child who is tasting cake for the first time. Fascinated, curious, delighted, excited, and totally unaffected by the jaded, cynical, adult world around him. He bought some espresso cups from me a couple of years ago, and it was like he thought they were the best things he'd ever seen or touched. I've known only one other person like that my whole life. The first time I noticed it in my other friend was when, in high school, he sat down at a science lab table with the dorkiest, dandruff-flaking, acne-faced person in school...and engaged in real conversation with him. He listened and asked questions, and was genuinely interested in what this kid, who most of us didn't even know existed, had to say. I think about that day often. I believe these people are just born with a kind of super love for others, and inherently value human interaction over everything else."

I was recently invited to serve as a mentor to entrepreneurial makers at Greenville's Makers Summit. One of the bright spots of my morning was watching people waiting in the Vagabond Barista line. As they made their way toward the front, you could see a physical and spiritual transformation take place -- like their whole being got lighter and happier. They were simply enjoying be cared for in the moment. I've never seen anything like it, and I left that encounter committed to making a stronger effort to be more open-hearted in the way I live, love and interact with others in my own life. Will inspired me to give other people that gift however I can.

I can't help but wonder what would happen if we all made an effort to be more open-hearted in our personal and professional lives. What would business look like if we stopped looking at our jobs as the work we do and started looking at what we do as the daily gift we give? 

new york.

"A city like New York, where everything is moving all the time at this constant driving pace, it’s like a living organism, breathing and changing, and over time your relationship to it becomes like this incredible romance. At first its intoxicating, irresistible  and then slowly it becomes comfortable and safe. You have this cellular connection to it, as if you’ve known it forever, like it's you’re oldest happiness. Sometimes you’re on the outs and sometimes you’re making up, and every now and then you catch yourself in this transcendent moment where you think to yourself, “Oh my God, I'm madly in love with you and I always will be.” Those are the moments that surprise me."

Cleaning Naked: Confessions of an occasional nudist

I'm interested to see what combination of search terms will bring people to this post. And how many will end up here hoping for something much more scandalous that they are going to find. In any case, welcome to those of you who found this post by searching "naked" or "nude." Alas, it's not really going to be that kind of blog post. It seems spring has sprung here in lovely South Carolina. The daffodils have come and gone, the bees are a abuzz and my neighbors have returned to their porches to sip sweet tea (or spiked lemonade, depending on the time of day...) If you're a nerd like me, this can only mean one thing: spring cleaning season has arrived! Here is your excuse to run to the store and stock up on buckets and gloves, sponges and spray bottles.

Before I get to the list of a few of my favorite (cleaning) things, I need to make a confession. I fully subscribe to the theory that you cannot get a tub/shower clean if you don't get in it...nude. Yep. That's right. I clean my bathroom naked. Oh the (in)humanity! I used to clean the bathroom fully clothed, but in my junkiest clothes, I found myself hesitating to really get in there to spray and scrub like a tub needs to be cleaned. I avoided product (bleach stains, hello!) and didn't want to walk around in wet clothing. So that left me with one option. Strip down and get to work.

It's actually a fairly genius system. I can scrub and spray to my heart's content. When I'm done, I just rinse off. No bleach stains. No drippy clothing. Just a sparkling clean tub - and body.

I have a standard cleaning kit I use for the bathroom. Below you shall find a few of my favorite products...

Method Flushable Tub-n-Tile Wipes

Ever feel like certain people using your toilet could use a little…coaching? Practice? Aim? Set this hardworking package of our flushable wipes nearby, and you (or, ahem, he) can wipe and flush at any moment for an instant clean. Great for clean-ups all over the bathroom — sinks, countertops, faucets and tile — and they’re always septic tank friendly. Plus they smell like eucalyptus mmmmint. 

Boston Warehouse Glamour Glove Set in Pink

I have a unique set of gloves for dishes, kitchen cleaning and bathroom cleaning. Call it OCD if you must, but quirky pairs like these ensure that the gloves for the toilet bowl are never confused with the gloves for the salad bowl. And that means we'll all live to see another day. 

Alessi's Merdolino Toilet Brush

With a name like "Merdolino" (which I am pretty sure roughly translates to something along the lines of "lil turd") how could you NOT love this unforgettable toilet brush work of art. Alessi's take on toilet cleaning is an interjection of style fit for any throne, and far surpasses the crappy (pardon the pun) toilet brushes of yore. Style, however, does not come cheap. This brush will set you back $55. 

Barkeeper's Friend

You are probably looking at this packaging and thinking, "Egads! Their branding doesn't look like it has changed a bit since the 1970s." I wasn't alive in the 70s, but I suspect you are right. And that is probably because it was just as awesome in 1978 as it is in 2012. Actually I just did a google search, and it turns out Barkeeper's Friend has been around since 1882. I guess that means they're doing something right. Hit up your local dollar store and stock up. 

Poo-Pouri

What more can be said?

 

Squirt & Mop Hard Floor Cleaner

Another gem from Method. I love this product because my dog has yet to learn how to put on a pair of shoes. I feel better knowing his paw pads aren't being exposed to harsh, toxic chemicals. Now if only I could figure out a way to talk him into doing the mopping....

So what's in your cleaning arsenal? Has your cleaning routine gone green? Do you have a cleaning recipe for success? Share your tips in the comment section below, or send me a photo of your recent before and after cleaning job. Spring cleaning geeks unite!