By LeRay Warrior, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

With new cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continuing to rise each each day, it makes total sense to abide by the city-wide Stay at Home orders currently in place in St. Louis, Kansas City, and many other parts of the country. Social distancing is one of the most important defenses we have against this new “invisible enemy” and these new laws should not be flouted for selfish purposes.

COVID-19: Washing Your HandsThis is also a time to take a look at your own personal hygiene routines. Frequently washing hands and spraying down surfaces with disinfectant are helpful measures to prevent the spread of this highly contagious virus. But less has been said about your cell phone.

For many, a cell phone can feel like an extension of our body. And yet, while many of us have been fanatically washing our hands, have many of you have also been cleaning your phone on a regular basis?

Phone Harbor More Germs Than Most Surfaces

Cleaning your phone during COVID-19 PandemicThe average American checks their phone 96 times a day. To give that some context, that’s once every ten minutes! Whether we are watching videos or listening to podcasts on our morning commute, or when we’re occupying time in between meetings, we spend a great deal of our existence tapping and touching our smartphones.

But when was the last time you cleaned your phone? The research shows that very few of us take the time to clean our cell phones, despite the fact that they are roughly ten times dirtier than the average toilet seat. You wouldn’t dream of touching a toilet seat 96 times a day, every day, without cleaning. So why do we have a different attitude toward our phones?

How to Keep Your Phone Clean?

Luckily, keeping your phone clean is quite simple. The first step you must take, which many of us are guilty of, is leaving our phones OUTSIDE of the bathroom. When you take your phone into a bathroom, you expose it to all types of bacteria including the very dangerous E. coli. So it’s a good idea to leave it stowed somewhere safe during bathroom activities.

Secondly, when it actually comes to the cleaning of your phone, you can use a soft microfiber cloth to remove germs. Or if you’re looking for a deeper clean, you can create your own cleaning solution (60% water, 40% rubbing alcohol) before dipping a cloth into the liquid and subsequently using it to disinfect the surfaces of your phone. This isn’t something you need to do every day; once a week should suffice.

Use Your Clean Phone to Call Me for Your Next Printing Run

With so many US citizens currently cooped up at home under orders from the State, there’s never been a better time to run a targeting direct mail campaign. Not only will it result in a bump in brand awareness, but it can also provide a slew of new leads, business inquiries, and ultimately sales. With direct mail campaign responses on the up, it makes sense to pivot your marketing strategy to better reflect the current conditions we find ourselves in as a nation.

So once you’ve undertaken a deep clean of your phone, make sure to use it to contact myself or a member of the team and we’ll be more than happy to help you grow your business in spite of this challenging environment.

I hope that everyone you know remains healthy and safe during these unprecedented times!

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

MEDiAHEAD: Words of Encouragementword of encouragement can help to calm us and make us stop to analyze what’s going on in our life. It has the power to make us see the situation from a better perspective.

Have you ever known someone who believed in you, someone who frequently spoke words of encouragement and praise? The kind of person who made you feel you could do it, whatever it was?

Several years ago, when I was going through a particularly scary period in my business, my father started sending me letters with words of encouragement and pictures that he drew.

He used phrases like Go Girl Go, WE ALL Knew you could make it, Today is Good- TOMORROW WILL BE BETTER!

And finally, this letter when things got better:

Congratulations!

“I don’t know what you DID…but I think you DID GOOD! You went down on the count of 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 and then you rose up to living and came (ROARING) back.

YOU SHOULD BE VERY PROUD OF YOURSELF. I KNOW WE ARE!

Signed, A Proud Father

I will always treasure these letters and I have them hanging in my office along with all the other words of encouragement that clients and friends have sent me.

MEDiAHEAD: Words of Encouragement MEDiAHEAD: Words of Encouragement

MEDiAHEAD: Words of EncouragementNow more than ever…

I think right now, more than ever, we need to have words of encouragement around us.

There will be times we feel powerless and out of control — but we can fill that space with kindness and be a part of the solution to a world problem. We can create healing by learning how to be kind and take care of each other and ourselves during this time.

Let’s all make a plan to check on our friends and clients and try to lift them up with encouraging words right now.

By Michele Stilwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD.

Taking care of aging parentsWhen we were growing up, I never really thought about that day when I would need to start taking care of my parents. We were too busy being kids and teenagers. Then we got to our twenties and it was all fun and exciting. Many of us got to our thirties and started thinking about settling down and having kids. Forties and Fifties we were raising those kids and sending them off to college (or at least getting them out of the house.)

Did you ever think during all those years that the day would come when you’d be taking care of your parents?

Maybe just one of them… or both of them. It’s an eye opener for sure. Things start to happen. They might get sick and can’t do things for themselves. Or their vision goes and they can’t renew their driver’s license. That’s huge. Think of all the places you drive to on any given day.

When parents lose the ability to drive, the responsibility has to fall on someone… most often it will fall to you. The good news is there are lots of delivery services. (Hallelujah!)

Then there are the doctor’s appointments.

You might have a parent that’s sick and having trouble remembering things. You really need to go to these appointments with them each and every time. This can be several appointments in any given month.

It’s stressful when you get to the point where you have to start making decisions on what assisted living, nursing home or memory care facility they need to move to.  Getting them settled in and then checking on them daily to make sure everything is going well. Taking them activities to do, or food they might like, or simply sitting with them just to talk so they are not lonely or feeling forgotten in a strange place.

This is all part of taking care of a parent, even though we might not be mentally prepared.

Taking care of aging parentsI think it’s important for all Generation X’ers to know that several of us are going through this right now. There’s a great support group out there. Our friends, neighbors and co-workers might be going through similar situations or have gone through it already. Lean on them, get the support you need, and talk about it. Help like this can guide you through anything that you may be dealing with.

It’s extremely difficult to go through the process. But knowing others have gone through the exact same thing can be a huge help.

I’m going through this right now with my mother.

You would not believe the support system I have all around me. It’s unbelievable, and much needed.

Another great organization that I can’t put enough words in this blog about is Hospice. The team that they have and the people they employee are “Angels from above”.  If you have had to interact with a Hospice organization, you will undoubtedly agree with me.

This hasn’t been my typical blog post about digital printing or portals. But I wanted to talk about it because I’m sure that people around me are going through the same thing. I wanted to make sure you knew you’re not alone. And as the roles change, it’s important to show our parents we love them as much as they showed us when we were growing up.

Kathryn McDaniel

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

I’m feeling very nostalgic and lucky this month realizing how far we have come in the last thirty years.

Most people are not aware of how we got our start in Kansas City.

I was a print salesperson for two very large web printing companies in the 1980’s. And I split my time between Dallas and New York City, flipping cities every Saturday and traveling several other days a week.

I got married when I was 30, and this didn’t put an end to my traveling – but giving birth in 1989 certainly changed my priorities.

Starting a Printing Company

We knew we wanted to start a printing company, but we weren’t sure where. Since I had grown up in south Florida and lived in Dallas and NYC, I had no intention of moving to Kansas or even visiting Kansas City. My husband was from the Midwest and had been to several of the basketball tournaments, so he was familiar with KC.

After an exhaustive search all over the country, my husband convinced me to visit Kansas City over a weekend.

No one was more shocked that I was, that I immediately fell in love with Kansas City and wanted to move here. The friendly Midwesterners, the beautiful neighborhoods, The Plaza, the booming art scene and the wide variety of businesses that were headquartered here all helped convince me that Kansas City was the place to go.

We bought a newspaper for the Want Ads on Sunday. (Yes, back in those days that is how we bought and sold things, even companies!)

There was an ad for a small printer that seemed too good to be true.

It turned out there was a reason for that. The owner was going to jail for counterfeiting and he had to report to Leavenworth in 2 weeks.

We went home, quit our jobs, packed everything we owned on a truck and moved here not knowing anyone in Kansas City, but so hopeful for our future.

MEDiAHEAD's Start in Kansas City

A New Printing Concept

We had a different concept that we knew would be successful in Kansas City. At that time, there were only quick printers and very large printing companies. No one was doing high quality, short run color, which I knew agencies were interested in.

I picked up the Yellow Pages and started calling advertising agencies – starting with ‘A’ and working my way down. We joked the first year all of our clients were ‘A’ through ‘M’ because that was as far as I got before we got really busy.

I have to mention that after Bones got out of Leavenworth (his nickname they gave him there because he tended to the graveyard) he came back and worked for us for over 10 years. He was one of the best employees that we every had, a true craftsman and nice guy.

Sometimes, something wonderful comes out of something bad. We believe in second chances. And we’re really glad that we chose Kansas City all those years ago.

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

Buying Local is better for the environmentHere comes my yearly reminder before Black Friday hits next week. Where you decide to shop this holiday season has a major impact on both our local economy and the environment.

Many studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned business, most of the money is then used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms.

By buying local, you are strengthening the economic base of our whole community. Enriching your neighbors, by supporting their endeavors fosters the great community we have here in Kansas City.

Buying from a small local manufacturer or maker is also good for the planet. Less transportation, shipping boxes and plastic, habitat loss and pollution.

Our maker community in Kansas City is so unique.

Buying Local

There are SO many cool one-of-a-kind businesses that are an integral part of our community compared to a chain store that looks the same anywhere else. And local businesses hire people that know the products they are selling and take more time to get to know their customers. For example, this series of holiday maker’s markets being hosted at the Roasterie on December 7th, 14th and 21st.

So many of our local businesses also donate more per sales dollar to local non-profits, events and teams compared to any of the national chains.

Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally, and provide the most jobs to our community.

And most important, local businesses mean a stronger tax base and better use of public services compared to the national chains. This means better public services like schools, transportation and emergency services for you and your family.

As a small business owner that works with many small business owners, I feel passionately that small businesses are vital to the success of a community. So when making your purchasing decisions for the holidays, please consider giving your business to local businesses in Kansas City when possible!

Remembering 9/11By Michele Stilwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD.

Do you remember where you were at on 9/11? I will Never Forget.

I happened to be at the Hen House in Mission picking up flowers for one of the people that worked for me. It was her birthday. Over the loud speaker, they said someone had hit one of the twin towers in New York City. In a plane. I immediately stopped in the isle; I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. So I checked out with my groceries and got to work.

I worked at Sprint at the time on Ward Parkway. I ran into the building and they had already set up a TV in the lobby and had the news going. Everyone from the building was huddled together in the lobby watching. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing.

Remembering 9/11I remember it just as if it were yesterday.

So many brave men and women served that day. Some lost their lives and the rest have to live with the terrible memories.

I went to New York shortly after the attacks to see Ground Zero. Let me tell you, no words can describe how it made me feel inside.

They now have a wonderful Memorial tribute remembering all those from September 11 and of those killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February of 1993.

The Memorial’s twin reflection pools are nearly an acre wide and feature largest constructed waterfalls in North America. The pools sit right where the Twin Towers once stood. The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed in bronze panels edging the Memorial pools.

Remembering 9/11This is a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history.

2,996 people lost their lives. 343 of them were firefighters.

So on this September 11th please remember all those who served or lost their lives that day. Take a moment of silence to remember them.

 

Izzy is on the blog team.Hello again… it’s Iz. I have some great news! I’m now officially a member of the MEDiAHEAD blogging team. Woof-oo!!!

As you can see in the photo, I’m intently listening to Jason. He is meeting with us to talk about what we should, and shouldn’t be, blogging about for the next few weeks.

We get together once a month… and sometimes we have coffee and donuts. This particular meeting, there were donuts. I am pretty sure that’s why I was so incredibly interested in this meeting. Who doesn’t love a good donut?

During the meeting the humans realized it might be a good idea to tell everyone I am on the blog team. Especially because I have an organization that I am super passionate about, so it was the perfect opportunity for me to submit my first blog post. Jason agreed.

KC Pet Project and their Volunteers

I would like to give a shout out to all the wonderful people at KC Pet Project and their Volunteers. What a wonderful nonprofit charitable organization! Did you know they care for over 10,000 animals a year and work collaboratively with animal control right here in the Kansas City area?

Izzy gogglesTheir purpose is to facilitate the placement of homeless pets into suitable homes. They work to establish and maintain animal shelters for Kansas City, MO and to maintain procedures which promote health and welfare of the pets in their care. They also spay and neuter to keep the population down, and work really hard to reunite pets with their owners.

How incredibly great is that?!?! This is my favorite part; Kansas City is a No Kill Community!

I love the KC Pet Project. To learn more about them go to www.kcpetproject.org

I sure would love to see more of you, so stop by MEDiAHEAD to say hello; I always have time for a good old fashion belly scratch.

Til next time… Iz.

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

Kat in Italy: The Sweetness of Doing NothingPeople are always shocked when I tell them I’m going on vacation, renting a car and have no set agenda or reservations for a hotel room.

My preference to travel this way started years ago when my sister and I arrived in Amsterdam and our rental was a disaster. We just wandered the countryside for ten days, stopping at places that looked interesting and grabbing a room. We always say it was our favorite vacation together.

This was different than when we used to travel as a family. We were up at the crack of dawn and roaring down the road in our station-wagon towards the largest ball of string… and the next hotel reservation my father had booked for us.

The Largest Ball of String

My husband and I did see the largest ball of string a few years ago, but it was part of a one week wander that we did in Western Kansas seeing wide open spaces, outsider art and strange little museums. We were even invited back to a farmer’s house who we met at the largest round barn in the world. He wanted us to see his cows and windmills.

I try to savor the moment when I travel, because it’s easy to stay present in a new restaurant or place. I also like to savor what I call time affluence—free, unscheduled time.

The Sweetness of Doing Nothing

Kat in Italy: The Sweetness of Doing NothingOne of my favorite Italian sayings is “Dolce far Niente”, which means “the sweetness of doing nothing.”

It does not mean being lazy, it’s referring to the pleasure one gets from being idle. The ability to completely enjoy and savor a moment. For Italians, this concept is a part of their every day life; spending time drinking cappuccino at a café, enjoying an Aperol Spritz at sunset, talking a stroll around the moonlit piazza before bed and spending the day at a beach.

Dolce far Niente is something Italians embrace and something they do very well.

Our Trip to Italy

John and I had the luxury of spending June and July in Italy this summer. He is a teacher, so he has those months available.

We spent most of our mornings drinking cappuccino and reading on the lovely beaches. And then afternoons enjoying historical places and churches. Finally a lovely, slow dinner late into the evening. We had no agenda and booked almost every room on Hotels.com the day of our stay.

We found farmhouses, small funky B&B’s, an 1,100 AD Monastery, a small round house called a trulli and a Napoleonic fort on the ocean. I always added the search  filter of free breakfast, free wi-fi and free parking when using Hotels.com. The deals were incredible because we stayed in areas that had no American tourists. For example, unlike the $400/night hotel in Positano, we stayed 30 minutes away for $80/night in a beautiful Monastery carved into the side of a cliff. And we were the only ones there.

Traveling this way is scary to some people. Part of it is that we think we’re going to miss something. But what we forget is that serendipity is what we’re really missing—it’s the things that aren’t on our itinerary that are often the most important.

Kat in Italy: The Sweetness of Doing Nothing Kat in Italy: The Sweetness of Doing Nothing Kat in Italy: The Sweetness of Doing Nothing

By LeRay Warrior, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

Time is not a commodity that many of us have these days. Perhaps this is even more so the case when it comes to business. Clients demand faster turnaround times to please their own customers. And sometimes opportunities spring up out of nowhere that require materials you don’t already have. At MEDiAHEAD, we understand the need for speed. And how it can help us edge out both our own and client’s competitors.

Why Speed Matters So Much to Businesses

In this digital world, companies need adaptability and flexibility in order to function at their best. For instance, fast-moving teams that can decide on a marketing campaign based on recent events and put it into action can leave competitors scrambling to catch up.

Back in 2016, the first Chicago-based company able to capitalize on the Chicago Cub’s first World Series Win for over a century by deciding on a baseball themed customer offer will have profited the most. By getting out flyers, radio ads, and online materials quickly, they could beat the competition to the punch. This is regardless of what industry they operate in. Which is why we fully understand how important turnaround times are when a client comes to us in a pinch.

We Go Above and Beyond When It’s Crunch Time for A Client

MEDiAHEAD: Our Speed Kills the CompetitionWe don’t tend to do things slowly here at MEDiAHEAD. We have an average project turn around within 24-48 hours.

However, sometimes we have clients who come to us desperate for the fastest possible turnaround times. Whether they need books, marketing materials, or kitting, we are always prepared to go the extra mile. We make sure everything gets delivered accordingly to their rapid time frames. (If you didn’t know, kitting is a process where separate but related items are grouped, packaged, and supplied together as one unit.)

For instance, we were recently able to turn around over 40 training manuals for a local bank in less than 24 hours. Another example is completing 140 kits for Helzberg Diamonds in just 2 hours so that they wouldn’t have to pay for expedited shipping!

Why Do We Place So Much Emphasis On Speed?

Not only do our clients love us for moving things around to accommodate their urgent needs, but who do you think they are going to come back to when they know they are under time pressure? Yes, that’s right. Us. Our speed kills the competition.

How can MEDiAHEAD Help You?

By Michele Stilwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD.

We recently had the weirdest week ever. I’m not really sure if the cause was the weather change or what, but thought you might like to hear about it.

The Stolen Truck

Weird and crazy started in the morning with a truck being stolen from the business next door. In plain site during the day. Just, BAM!

We have quite a few security cameras on our building. And the neighboring business knew this so they came over to see if our video captured the truck getting stolen. And yes, in fact we did have video documenting the crime, which was helpful for the police.

The Door-To-Door Cosmetics Salespeople

On two different occasions this same week, we had women come to our front door trying to sell us cosmetics. We’re thinking it must be a racket… Two different women at two different times? Kind of weird. (People do come in our door randomly…)

The Homeless Guy Who Wanted Business Cards

Homeless Guy's Business CardA homeless man who lives in his car came into our office. He was awesome… incredibly positive. He wasn’t letting his situation keep him down. He wanted to have some business cards printed! He wanted to be different…  and he wanted a way to let people know that he collects items that are different from all the rest.

He met with Michael Johnson who helped him with the design of his cards. He wanted a squirrel on the card, especially the feet. In other words, he wanted to make sure the printing bleed marks didn’t cut into the image. “The paws are so cute!” he said.

He had his spirit dog with him at all times. He lost his dog several years back, but the spirit of his dog is always with him. I loved this about him; he actually introduced me to his spirit dog and told me his dog is what keeps him happy and uplifted.

I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in life we forget to sit back take a good look at ourselves and think about how lucky we really are to have all the greatness around us.

Whether it’s a great relationship, great kids, great friends, a great job, a superb family, a house full of pets, or just a simple spirit dog that keeps you going.

To pay for his business cards, he wanted to trade us some 80’s CDs. We suggested he should get some money for the CDs… and donated his cards to him. And we wished him well.

You never know what’s going to happen in downtown Kansas City… and it was a weird week for sure!