now hiring: senior art director

Element is looking for a Senior Art Director that can design, supervise, and art direct for both print and web. Five to seven years of agency experience is a must!

If you’re looking for an agency setting with a wide variety of concepting and design challenges, this is your chance to prove you have what it takes. You know who you are. Now we’d like to meet you.

Check out our website (goelement.com) to get a feel for our work.

If you know your stuff, let us see it! Electronic work samples (PDF or web) are REQUIRED. Resumes sent without links to samples will not be considered. No phone calls please.

View the full listing here

Element Welcomes New Team Member with Drag Race

Cracking UpWhen new Designer, Mike Thornton, rolled up to Element on a Harley, long-time motorcycle enthusiasts, Aldis Strazdins, Creative Director, and Mike Tessmer, Art Director, saw an opportunity for a friendly “Welcome to Element” competition. 

 Not all can look as cool as Mike, Mike, and Aldis, cruising the streets on a hog; the matching Kia Souls in the Element parking lot are a testament to that. However, the drag race was meant for all—not just seasoned motorcyclists. Every employee was welcome to participate in the race, provided they find their own vehicle.

So there they were, waiting impatiently behind the starting line: the three motorcycled amigos, Derek in a land-converted duck-bodied pedal boat, Brad on a silver Razr scooter, Ann and Lori saddled up on a Hover-Round they borrowed from Ann’s grandmother, and Chad, on a pair of the so-called “fastest in the Midwest” rollerblades. The rest of the group’s vehicles ranged from a pogo stick to a simple cape. The group appeared like a carnival of rejected modes of transportation. Despite the gum-and-paperclip cast, excitement filled the air as racers readied themselves to take off.

Sue counted down and waved the green flag. Wheels screeched; the smell of burnt rubber scented the air as smoke hovered above the once populated starting line.

The heat was on.  

The three motorcycles left everyone in the dust, as Eric Severstad, copywriter, stood on the sidelines, waving supportive, grammatically correct signage in the air.

While Mike, Mike, and Aldis were tied for first place, the results were in for second: Brad won propelling his Razr scooter past the finish line; a bittersweet victory he says, now walking with a limp from extensive strength training to his right leg.

The two Mikes and Aldis enjoyed the race so much that they are planning to bring “the gang” onto the open road, providing marketing services on wheels across the nation. The “Hexterminators” will declare “death to boring marketing,” Aldis states. “We’re going to get custom leather jackets for everyone, with our club colors—PMS 300 and PMS 220.”

 

Enriching the Community, One Sub at a Time

Director of Account Services, Nikki Peroutka, is making more room in her life to do the things she loves.

Employees at local grocer, Piggly Wiggly, noticed Nikki frequenting the store an increasing number of times per week. Each visit always included an All-American sub from the deli. Co-workers also noticed Nikki’s curious habit.

“We all knew something was up. She would leave around the same time every day and when she came back, she would close the door to her office, put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign, and not emerge for at least an hour,” said designer Lori Schwartz. Nikki didn’t want to hide anymore and decided it was time to find an outlet for her love of the Piggly Wiggly All-American sub.

Six months ago, Piggly Wiggly developed an after-work program for adults, an idea that sparked when one man shared his battle with the Pig’s potato salad. The “Love Food, Love Life“ program is a resource for all people struggling with an insatiable need for Piggly Wiggly’s food. Program director, Jane Milton states, “We provide part-time hours for those who wish to be surrounded by the Pig product of their choice. Nikki is the perfect candidate. We are here to be a pillar of support while providing her with the additional income that supports her near unsustainable need for the All-American sub.”

Of course, Nikki chose to work her hours behind the deli counter. A very tired worker, who couldn’t keep up with the high demand for the All-American sub, was relieved when Nikki arrived to work his shift. “I pulled a muscle in my arm from slicing all the cold cuts.” When asked why Nikki chose to work behind the deli counter, she responded proudly, “Do something with what you love to eat, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Nikki is beyond excited to have taken a position in the deli and has already come up with a few ways to amp up her favorite sandwich. One recipe uses three tablespoons of butter, cubed and neatly arranged into a smiley face on top of the salami layer.

“I’ll be saving a lot of money by working in the deli part-time, but that’s not why I’m doing this. I’m doing this to be near what I love. Some people do yoga, some paint … for me, it’s thinly slicing some quality meat and layering it precisely with cheese, fresh vegetables, and tangy mayo.” Nikki hopes to spread the love, and the mayo, through the entire community. She believes that others will find joy in her delicious sandwiches and the reminder to follow your dreams.

Today’s Best Practices in SEO

Best SEO PracticesSEO is an integral component of a website’s performance. If a site is not optimized with keywords that reflect it’s content and doesn’t have backlinks from respected sites, it won’t show up when someone searches for it. Well, it might show up on page 3, 4, or 17, but let’s be honest—no one goes past the first page.

 Gaining traffic and awareness come only when a plan is carefully crafted; it must involve keyword research and networking structured around the site’s unique goals. Every site will have its own SEO strategy that works to complete the desired goals. SEO used to be all about keywords. It still is, to a point, but it has grown to be so much more. It is entwined with content marketing, web design, and marketing. Here are some of the need-to-know best practices in SEO:

  • Owning Long Tail Queries 

    Long Tail Queries are super-specific phrases that searchers use. For example, the long tail search for “black wool jackets under $100” will bring a searcher more relevant results to what they’re looking for versus searching key words “black jackets”. The best part about optimizing for long tail queries is while they may have less traffic is that it also means less competition. Not to mention you’ll be gaining traffic from a group of solid potential customers and not someone who meant “black track jackets”.
     
  • Writing How You Speak 
    Since Google’s “Hummingbird” update, it’s become increasingly important to write exactly as you would speak, using “conversational speech” in optimization efforts. An SEO specialist is versed in how to write for the web and knows that Google favors natural-flowing speech over mechanical, stiff phrasing.
     
  • Quality Over Quantity 
    Using good keywords over and over again isn’t going to help your rankings; neither are links to your site from other low-ranking sites. In fact, these tactics will hurt them. Today’s SEO focuses on the context of web pages. The best practice is to use keywords only where they fit, discuss niche and related products if applicable, and have original, useful content that is valuable to users. Fluff need not apply.
     
  • Full Service Integration
 
    Good SEO is not freestanding; it needs support. This support comes from marketing pieces that are directly related to your content, for example: an info graphic that is easily shareable on social networks, optimized with keywords, and distributed to the right areas. Achieving good SEO involves a comprehensive digital marketing plan that connects each component with actionable data. Each marketing effort is only a slice of the pie that makes up the whole.

 

In order to be successful, these tips should always be a part of your SEO plan. No matter what your site’s goals are, knowing strategies like these will help you on your journey to Google’s first page!

Posted in Element | | Comments Off

The Beer Witch Project

It has come to our attention that we may have an unwelcome visitor on our hands. 

Element art director, Mike Tessmer, recently came back from a holiday vacation to Mexico, but he did not return alone. No, it wasn’t a ravenous case of Montezuma’s revenge or an exotic insect stowaway. It was an ancient and angry apparition. And we think the ghostly spirit has apparently taken residence at Element.

Yeah, thanks, Mike.

According to Mexican legend, there was once a young man who desired the affections of a beautiful woman whom he knew adamantly abstained from alcohol. Ironically, his family owned a “sustantivo,” or brewery. To show his dedication to the woman, he dumped hundreds of cases of beer into the Lerma Santiago River. Yet, she still would not have him, which left him devastated. Days later, he passed away. Today, it is said that the ghost eternally haunts those who partake in beer and spirits.

Since the office’s expansion, the interactive group upstairs has been unable to ignore his presence. Web Developer, Ryan Hebl, swears to hear bottle caps, dropping one by one, every Friday around 3:30pm. There is a strong scent of beer floating from Associate Creative Director, Eric Severstad’s office, which is unable to be masked, despite Project Coordinator Sue Barrett’s best Lysol-spraying abilities.

We think the ghost may also be contributing to a few other occurrences in Element’s chain of unfortunate office events: The light in Sales Director Chad Mix’s office refuses to stay on; he is forced to spend his workday in darkness. Dirty dishes are strewn across the café counter, even after being placed neatly in the dishwasher. The chairs in the conference room are constantly found in disarray, rebelling from Account Assistant Rachel Carlson’s straightening them.

Element is planning to perform a séance, which will take place as soon as Director of Account Services, Nikki Peroutka, is able to find candles that match the Element décor.

 

Now Hiring: Web Developer

Can you develop responsive sites with a dynamic CMS? Do you create great user experiences from front-end to back-end? Excited about working with a team and learning new technologies? Do people refer to you as a code ninja? If so, keep reading!

Job Description

A Web Developer with 2+ years experience is needed to join the Element team. See more about Element below. But first, let’s talk about you. The ideal candidate has expert knowledge of markup languages, client and server-side scripting, polished troubleshooting skills, and experience working in all relevant applications. You must possess superior visual conceptual skills and the ability to develop effective websites and web applications for a variety of clients. Not too much to ask, right?

Duties

1. Help establish and maintain the highest possible standards of interactive materials produced by the agency.

2. Highly proficient in WordPress and other open source Content Management.

3. Systems and have experience programming for existing open source tools.

4. Keep abreast of current web and interactive programming/designs trends.

5. Consult with the Creative Director, Senior Art Director, Interactive Director, as well as copywriter, production, and account service personnel as necessary to achieve agency objectives.

6. Recommend solutions for clients’ web and interactive problems or objectives.

7. Choose the best methods of development, considering code efficiency and resource efficiency for each project.

8. Engage in any personal development necessary to stay current in web and interactive techniques and standards, and research activity required to become more familiar with clients’ businesses.

9. Meet established deadlines or provide reasonable notice to the production department of special circumstances requiring deadline extension.

10. Actively promote and grow interactive department by seeking out new work and new civilizations, boldly going where no Web Developer has gone before.

Benefits

-Paid vacations
-Paid holidays
-401(k) benefits with company matching
-Health insurance
-Dental insurance
-Vision insurance
-Compensation is competitive and based on demonstrated skills and experience



 Requirements

1. Comfortable working with WordPress and/or Expression Engine CMS.

2. Proficient with PHP, MySQL, HTML/CSS and JavaScript/jQuery.

3. Adhere to best practices and testing cross-browser, cross-platform, and/or cross-device compatibility.

4. Have a passion for doing work of the highest quality.

5. Comfortable in a fast-paced, creative ad agency environment.

6. Knowledge of Adobe’s Creative Suite and Microsoft Office necessary.

About Element

Short story: Element is a gathering of creative individuals that delivers strategic thinking, interactive capabilities, sales conversion expertise, and maximum ROI for our clients. And, we have a good time doing it.

Longer version: A full-service ad agency, Element offers everything from soup to nuts (in less technical terms, interactive to broadcast to print). Our team’s experience and insight allows us to handle business-to-business, business-to-consumer, local, and national accounts. Practically everyone here is cross-trained in all areas of marketing expertise: designers know branding, account executives can creatively concept, our copywriter understands search engine optimization.

Within Element, we appreciate the opportunity to do what we do in a casual atmosphere. So, fire up the patio grill, play some Wii, challenge our ping-pong champ, and enjoy a refreshing craft beer on tap. Located in De Pere, just south of Green Bay, Element associates appreciate Northeast Wisconsin’s strong, diversified economy and its dedication to quality and hard work. We take advantage of the outdoor recreational opportunities, culture, and safety. Oh, and that legendary football team.

How To Apply

Forward your resume with cover letter, example URLs, and salary expectations to derek@goelement.com.

Nature Called, Element Answered

Earlier this month, Director of New Business, Chad Mix, continually interrupted a Monday morning meeting by excusing himself to the restroom. Swearing the cause was drinking too many weight loss shakes, Mix apologized, but suggested adding computers to all bathroom stalls in order to maintain a high level of productivity. “Just think! I could have been video conferencing into this meeting and not have missed a thing.”

Planning began immediately. In an attempt to maximize the efficiency of the bathroom upgrades, many ergonomic factors were considered. Since research shows that exercise improves mental focus and brain function, Element purchased squat toilets (common in Asia) to replace the traditional sit-down commodes. And to ensure no strain or discomfort during use, eye-level swivel computer stands have also been installed. 

Since the addition, Rachel Carlson, Account Assistant, has taken over monitoring employee bathroom use. She was asked to determine if there was in fact an increase in productivity by affixing special bathroom sensors to track brain waves and heart rate.

“It was a perfect time to transition my bathroom monitoring duties,” stated Sue Barrett, Element’s Project Coordinator. “We’ve hired several new employees recently and I am having a really hard time matching the correct person to the unique sound of their foot steps as they head to the bathroom. My files are a complete mess.”

Employees are raving about the addition. “I’ve always said I get my best ideas in the bathroom. I’ve also found that the sound of clicking keys from the next stall is surprisingly relaxing,” stated Digital Marketing Director, Derek Blaszak. 

Director of Technology, Kevin Hamilton, has enjoyed the addition so much, that he is currently developing a USB port sensor that will spritz aromatherapy oil into the air every time someone presses “E” on the keyboard.

Since the remodel, Element has caught the attention of several other companies, and an interview with Forbes magazine is scheduled for mid-February, which Carlson suspects will be the peak time of bathroom-related productivity due to fancy Valentine’s Day dinners and gourmet food gifts.

The upgrade has been such a success that owner Lance Peroutka is considering moving his office to the bathroom indefinitely. “When something feels right, you just have to go with it.”

Element Appendage Model Department

Element is pleased to announce that it will be opening a new office in Pulaski, Wisconsin, to accommodate the agency’s growing appendage model department.

There have been an overwhelming number of requests to have its employees model their different appendages, which typically include legs, feet, and hands. However, most employees are open to modeling just about any appendage. 

“I can’t help but admire all the different appendages each Element employee has to offer,” stated Account Executive Danielle Papineau. “We offer ‘hands’ down the best features I have seen in East De Pere. This new department will allow our company to showcase the manicured style we have always wanted.” 

Others have agreed with this statement for weeks. After the world bared witness to the exceptional legs and hands present at Element, the demand for appearances quickly grew. Ann Behling, who started at Element as a Graphic Designer, was recently promoted to Lead Elbow and Leg Model. “It is very freeing to finally be recognized for my many fine attributes. I think this department has only seen the beginning of its growth. Pulaski is the perfect place for us to continue our quest to dominate the appendage model market.”

Mike Tessmer, Appendage Model Director, is very optimistic about the future of appendage modeling in the current economy. “Everyday we see campaigns that feature unrealistic, overly-prepped talent being portrayed as the everyday man or woman. The beauty of Element’s appendage offering is that we can feature the common looking knuckle, pinkie toe, or knee cap in our clients’ campaigns. This talent is raw and straight from Northeast Wisconsin, the Holy Grail of the appendage modeling world.”

Tessmer is also accredited for the launch of this new department due to his recent hand modeling success in a local television ad, shaved knuckles and all.

 

 

student shadows element

As part of Element’s continued effort to encourage young professional growth within Northeast Wisconsin, we recently opened our doors to a motivated scholar wanting to learn more about us and how an advertising agency works.

It was our pleasure to meet Tara Lovdahl, an art and English double major at St. Norbert College. Tara is a movie critic, competitive board game player, and freestyle dancer. She doesn’t have a favorite color. “I don’t discriminate,” she said.

Tara came to Element in hopes of gaining a better understanding of how an agency works, along with getting some advice from our experienced staff on what it’s like to be part of the professional world.

After introductions and a tour, we put Tara to work with our copywriter, Eric. “Since Tara’s double-major gives her a unique skill set, I was able to put her writing and concepting skills to the test using some real-life examples. Tara showed insight and abilities beyond what I expected.”

Before visiting Element, Tara had a Mad Men-like impression of ad agencies; a smoky collection of offices filled with suited, scotch-drinking men.  Fortunately (we think), we demystified her stereotype and were able to show her Element’s uncommon personality.

“As an English major, I like to think of things in terms of stories; hearing everyone’s unique professional experience in the creative field was helpful for me as I approach my own journey into a career.” She says she enjoyed getting a better idea of the ad agency’s process along with getting to know Element’s unique culture. “It was also nice being recognized as an improvisational performer from Comedy City, which might make me a J-list celebrity.”

It was a pleasure to meet Tara and have her job shadow at Element. If you or anyone you know is interested in getting to know more about Element, please contact us. We’d love to meet you!

New Sales Promotion has Large Impact on Salesman’s Life

When Element brainstormed a fun, new way to engage prospective clients, they never knew their idea would put their salesman Chad Mix’s health at risk. Just a couple, short months ago, Element decided to send out pizza boxes as invites welcoming new business targets to their office for lunch.
 
“We thought this was a great way for businesses to learn more about us, meet our people and see our space without feeling the pressure of sales meeting,” said Lance Peroutka, Element’s Agency Director who widely supported the pizza luncheon idea. “We came up with an eye-catching dimensional mailer that prompted people to setup an appointment and choose a pizza of their liking online.”

Mix was all on board with the pizza lunch concept from the very beginning. At that time, Mix was active hunter, healthy and very passionate about his career. Selling for just over a year, Chad loved entertaining new prospects at sporting events and on the golf course.
 
“The world was at my fingertips. I loved making new connections and the fact that Element was willing to do whatever it took to support my new business efforts, really motivated me,” Mix said. “When they launched the pizza luncheon promotion, I was excited that, in addition to all the other job perks I received, my lunches were now covered as a company expense. I knew the more I sold, the more free lunches for me.”
 
What appeared to be a ‘free lunch’ at the time turned out to be far from the truth after Mix’s health took a drastic turn for the worse about 7 weeks after launch. He went from a lean 170lbs to 227lbs after bringing in 32 new businesses for lunch in just 35 days. It wasn’t only his weight that increased but also his cholesterol which has led to costly doctors’ appointments and expensive high blood pressure medicine.
 
“In the long run, this promotion has cost us more than just a few cheesy pies. He had the world at his fingertips, but now all he has at his fingertips is pizza sauce” said Mix’s co-worker, Derek Blaszak. “Chad lost all focus when he started packing on the pounds. He only cared about the free pizza.”
 
Mix, who is currently on medical leave, hopes to return to Element soon. Element’s Christmas promotion, which was set to launch in December and included chocolate fondue kits, is being re-worked as to not tempt the ravenous Mix.