Tag Archives: community

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

At New Ground Creative, we value taking the time to get to know our clients as well as reflect back to them our observations from outside. We don’t pretend to know them better than they know themselves but we can assist in their process of self-reflection. Same goes for the audiences we, and our clients, serve. Giving these individuals a voice—an opportunity to express themselves—offers valuable information and insights to any business. For the audience, customer, or consumer—it feels good to be heard and that’s a great start to any relationship.

So let’s listen up.

Respectful, mutually beneficial relationships. Sounds wonderful, right? Alex Fischer, local millennial, prioritizes the bulk of their life choices around maintaining healthy relationships, especially when money is involved. They spend some of their hard-earned money on locally grown, organic food and they also trade working hours. Their money goes to people they know and the local economy. Alex enjoys being a part of an exchange that benefits all involved equally, i.e. the farmer needs money or help to keep farming and Alex needs food to stay healthy and nourished.

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Alex at their desk at the ROOT Social Justice Center in Brattleboro. Photo by Biz Hallett.

Alex Fischer is a co-founding collective member of the ROOT Social Justice Center in Brattleboro, a collectively-run community space fostering social justice organizing and focusing on racial justice work that empowers and lifts up the voices of people of color. Alex also owns a business, Open Bookkeeping, offering professional bookkeeping, education & workshops, holistic business consulting and other financial services to justice-based businesses and organizations. Alex describes their business as “an endeavor at the intersection of finance and social justice.”fischer3_62

“Security for me involves the ability to be giving a lot back.”

A sense of security starts with a sense of place and home for Alex. Buying property with others stands at the top of Alex’s 5-year goals which, in turn, serves as the foundation for a 10-year goal of fostering queer and trans youth, along with having a dog… or 5. Alex plans to maintain an income that allows them to pay a mortgage as well as maintain daily living expenses. It is also their intention to save, perhaps by way of a retirement account with their local credit union, so that they can plan for the future and afford to be generous with their money.
Taking steps to create the life you want, making difficult choices and recognizing that no one else is going to take action for you is the real truth of “adulting.” Whether you are a millennial or not, remember that transition into adulthood? It’s a challenging one and sometimes requires incentive and rewards to be executed with success. This difficulty is not the result of laziness but has more to do with the fact that it just sort of happens… all of a sudden… out of nowhere.

“I was younger and it was all Yay! Party time!—making friends—doing ridiculous things—having adventures. Now it’s like—making family and having babies and building careers and buying homes and I’m totally down with it—it’s just fielding the expectations while trying to stay true to myself and my ability to decide what matters to me.”

Want to crack the mystery of millennials? I think their desire to be who they are and wield the strength to decide for themselves what matters is a part of it. This generation has brought about an entirely different approach to marketing and brand. Not only are the approaches largely digital now, but the idea that you can persuade someone to buy what you have to sell is gone. Time to believe in the customer first. Understand what they need. And then follow through by offering what you think they could use in the context of a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship. It all starts with listening.

Stay tuned for our next blog post! We will explore integrity in marketing and get to know local millennial, Evan Morse.

Also be sure to check out Biz’s new website millenniology.com to read the full stories of millennials living and working in and around Brattleboro.

Stop, Collaborate, and Listen

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The New Ground Creative Team – Photo by Kelly Fletcher

Our work at New Ground Creative always starts with a conversation. We love to talk. Well… maybe not Falyn. But have you met our Communications Strategist, Joe, or our fearless leader, Carrie, when she has had a little too much coffee? And our Outreach Strategist, Biz—sheesh—with the blog posts and the hair. That NGC crew is game to gab.

We also listen. We get curious. We want to create and cultivate a relationship, of course, but this research is also a fundamental part of the work we do. Bonus: we get to be students everyday. Some days we are studying millennials and others we are getting to know the ins and outs of a business looking to reinvigorate their brand. Whatever the case may be, research is a big part of our process as well as a personal passion when research means getting to know our community—the people, the places, their hopes, and their needs.

Learning as we go, in this way, can be tricky. Curiosity brings up new questions which results in potential new approaches which leads to new information and a new spark of curiosity. It’s a cycle. Sometimes things don’t go how you planned which can be confusing and frustrating, but inherently a new opportunity arises even out of a problem. Like when I was 7 years old and cut off all of my Barbie doll’s hair. I wanted to do something radically different with her hair but when she had none—I was presented with a new problem. Then one day, I began making her different types of hats. This happens in our process at New Ground Creative occasionally. Seeing problems as potential opportunities serves us and our clients well.

So time for a simple question: Why? Why we are generating this information? Joe has an awesome way of answering this question when it comes to working with our clients. He wants to “arm your audience with language to defend their choice of you.” Businesses spend a lot of money creating a perception of who they are and what they do but the most powerful brands are the ones that own who they truly are. At New Ground Creative, we value taking the time to intentionally get to know our clients as well as reflect back to them observations from within their organization, as well as from their audiences and partners.

Like us, our clients and the people they work with have a lot to say. Up until now we have, for the most part, held space for this discourse and sharing within the trajectory of our process and the corresponding market research we offer. Our interest in millennials shaped a new possibility. Getting out in the community and talking to local millennials opened new doors for receiving information.

Our initial curiosity raised questions such as:

What do millennials care about?

How do they engage with technology?

What are their thoughts on money and what choices do they make about how they spend it?

How are they different as a group and how are they similar?

And how does any or all of this impact the communities where they live and work?

This week we paused to consider why we are asking these questions. First, we are a part of this community and we want to give voice to people living and working here. Second, millennials are a hot topic and largely generalized. In what ways we can, we would like to offer authentic representation of this population through their own words. *Cue David Attenborough’s voice: “Observe the wild millennial in their natural habit. Fascinating.” And finally, it is our hope that this shared research will support what we do, as well as the mission and vision of the clients we work with. And thus a new word is born…

Mill·enn·i·ol·o·gy

noun

  1. the study of millennials addressing common stereotypes and exploring successes, challenges, strengths, weaknesses, goals, and perspectives.
  2. An opportunity for millennials to share their stories and experiences to set the record straight.

The study of millenniology shows that millennials do not fit into a nutshell, not even a genetically modified one.

Our next blog post features insights and perspectives from millennial, Alex Fischer, Owner/Bookkeeper for Open Bookkeeping and Co-founding Collective Member of The Root Social Justice Center.

(For those of you thinking, “You said that last time.” I promise. Thanks for reading!)