Meg O'Hara

If A. Bright Idea had a middle name, ‘collaboration’ would’ve landed in bold, permanent marker on its birth certificate 20 years ago. An ever-evolving industry with continuously expanding offices, collaboration remains at our core, working together to bring the most unique and creative marketing solutions to our clients.

From Bel Air, Maryland to Sonoma, California, no task is completed alone. The hands and creative minds touching each project bring a unique twist to every piece produced, and it’s all because of the relationships we build within our office walls, or lack thereof.

The reality of it is this: some weeks, we spend more time with our coworkers than we do our own families. So, it’s simply inevitable that whether you see it as a blessing or a bad episode of the Brady Bunch, your colleagues become an extension of your family.

And while progressive, we’ve seen studies address whether open workspaces are actually beneficial when it comes to fueling creativity and developing a positive work culture among the team. Many argue open work environments are creatively limiting, as some feel discouraged by the idea of sharing authentic views and opinions because of the anticipated reaction from more experienced team members.

Open offices can act as a feeding ground for pet peeves. You hear every sniffle of your coworker’s cold, every last bite of your colleague’s lunch and sometimes, if you’re really lucky, your awareness of your desk mate’s every move becomes so heightened that you can practically hear them blink. At the end of the day, though, open workspaces allow strong and positive relationships to form between you and the very person who answered the phone at a record-breaking decibel just a few minutes ago.

So, when it comes to running a business or working for one with an open floor plan, it’s important to know the possibilities that can come as an added benefit, as long as you place yourself in the right mindset.

Our team bounced a few ideas off of our nonexistent cubical walls and determined the following pros far outweigh any cons. With an open workspace, you’re awarded the opportunity to:

  • Get to know your manager’s expectations
  • Share ideas with one another
  • Establish stronger bonds, leading to stronger collaboration
  • Understand the strengths of a diverse team
  • Support your colleagues
  • Find quick solutions
  • Become a team

At A. Bright Idea, we truly see one another as members of our family, and we welcome the idea of forming bonds to build trust – bonds which ultimately create the foundation for the creative work we produce. Only good can come from a work environment comprised of individuals on whom you can confidently depend to help your ideas flourish.


Placing the right mix of staff with diverse strengths and personalities helps cultivate this family mentality, and though we understand the concept may not serve the needs of every industry, business or organization, we view our open workspace as a key element in the formula for success.

What are your thoughts on open workspaces? Share with us in the comment section below!

Meg O'Hara

By: Maddie BrightmanGadgets

In our world of creativity and innovation, our bright lights rely on a number of gadgets to bring the ideas into reality. While some prefer the traditional tools, others show their love for unconventional and modern devices. We surveyed members of the A. Bright Idea team and present some of their favorite contraptions.

PERSONAL PICKS

Teri Kranefeld, Senior Communications Specialist & Public Affairs Manager: The Purple A. Bright Idea Pen

Like her fellow marketing colleagues, Teri loves the simple, but necessary purple A. Bright Idea pen. You can find any A. Bright Idea team member with this trusty sidekick attached to a spiral notebook. Teri uses her purple pen for editing the old fashioned way and adding a little purple to everything!

Rob Jeffers, Interactive Programmer: Lava Lamp

It is no secret that we love lights, lamps and light bulbs! Rob has the opportunity to use some of A. Bright Idea’s most interesting gadgets, however he loves his desk’s lava lamp the most. Perfectly branded for A. Bright Idea, this lava lamp has purple water and a silver base and helps keep the creative juices flowing!

Eric Bach, Multimedia Specialist and Designer: Wacom Cintiq Tablet

This gadget is so loved, we have multiple! This tablet allows for a seamless transition from sketching to refinement. Eric finds this tool helpful with digital painting, storyboarding and photo manipulation. Perfect for adding a fine art touch to any project, our Graphics team uses it for custom type, hand lettering, exhibit-models and logo designs.

Wacom Cintiq Tablet

Lissa Tilley, Executive Assistant: The Master iPad

Lissa Tilley can often be found carrying the brain of the office, the master iPad. With this iPad Lissa is able to control all of the music and televisions in the office, and can even create welcome screens to greet clients. When we need a late afternoon pickup and change in the tunes, Lissa and the master iPad are our go-to!

T.J. Brightman, Vice President of Client Relations: Recording Studio

With a degree in broadcasting and history in radio, T.J. was the momentum behind developing our on-site recording studio. Customized with purple and silver soundproofing foam, it’s ideal for recording radio spots and various voiceover projects. You can often find Eric in the “bat cave,” otherwise known as the editing suite, working on video projects and perfecting our clients’ latest commercials.

 

OVERALL OFFICE FAVORITES

Jura Capresso Coffee Maker:

It is no secret that our team enjoys a little caffeine boost. Our multiple Jura Capresso machines are responsible for keeping our team alert and ready for any creative challenge. You can often find staff hovering over the machine waiting for their turn to brew their perfect cup and praying that the “decalcify” alert doesn’t pop up. This gadget is easily used most frequently throughout the day!

Cameras, Cameras and more Cameras:

Whether it’s the trusty XLR, Cannon 7D DSLR or the Cannon XA10 video camera, we’re huge fans of photography and video equipment. Our offices house a variety of video and still-shot cameras that we use for client projects ranging from headshots to web videos, to television commercials and more.

Chad’s Gym:

Why join a gym when you can work out in one designed by our own CFO, Chad Mitchell? Our staff enjoys working out before, during and after work in our fully stocked gym with free weights, cardio equipment, a smith machine, large flat screen TV and full private shower.

Unlimited Ice Cream and Candy:

Technically, this isn’t a gadget, but it’s certainly one of the favorite perks of A. Bright Idea. Whether its coffee, ice cream or candy, we have enough sugar and caffeine to please all! The fully stocked (and custom branded) freezer satisfies a sweet tooth and serves as a great pick me up for the non-coffee lover. Who can turn down popsicles, Klondike bars, drumsticks, chocolate covered bananas and a wide array of fruity or chocolate candy from the candy bar? Staff, clients and visitors are always appreciative of this little treat!

With gadgets and perks like these, our unique work environment provides the right balance of fun and focus to keep our creative and innovative brains flowing for our clients!

Meg O'Hara

By: Meg O’Hara, A. Bright Idea Marketing Intern

As a rising college senior and current A. Bright Idea intern studying communications and public relations, I have the opportunity to compare the information I have learned as a student with the firsthand experience I have gathered at A. Bright Idea. One interesting recent event had me comparing just that– the academic perspective of what I’ve learned about branding and the real-life importance of protecting a brand.

In the past several weeks, America has tuned into the Paula Deen controversy, a well-recognized and seemingly friendly TV personality, under fire for making derogatory comments in the past. Such events have put Deen’s brand at risk, causing many of her supporters, fans and sponsors to cut ties with Deen and her organization. While she certainly isn’t the first to face a brand crisis, as many athletes and political figures also endure such struggles, it is an important lesson to learn from and topic to address – what measures can be taken to prevent a brand crisis and protect a brands reputation? For certain, strong public relations tactics are necessary to maintain the image of the individual or company including developing a crisis management plan prior to incidents, enabling a proactive response and controlling an organizations message.

Here is a quick list of general do’s and don’ts:

1. Speak early and often. This does not necessarily mean that you have to take the blame for something you didn’t do just to settle the storm, but if you’re in the middle of a PR crisis it is important to remember there is a reason why the situation came about in the first place.  For example, if a brand is being threatened because of an offensive comment that a representative may have made and it wasn’t intended to be construed in that way, apologize for the way it was interpreted and for being unclear.

2. Be clear. Nothing is more important than strong communication. If a statement was misunderstood the first time, reword and explain the points. Preparing a statement prior to notifying the public is critical.

3. Control your message. While it is important to be sincerely apologetic, it is also crucial that a representative be poised, well spoken and have key messages rehearsed and ready. When an image is being repaired, consider that the public needs a reason to rebuild the trust that was lost. If the owner of a company or brand cannot keep their emotions intact on camera, viewers might wonder if they are truly professional and fit for representing a company.

4. Stay consistent. Along with sincerity, the public seeks honesty. When a representative changes a story to repair the image of the brand, it can generate more harm than good. Flip-flopping creates doubt and distrust, further tarnishing the relationship between the company and the public.

5. Keep points concise. Dragging an issue on longer than needed is detrimental to the brand. Every issue settles with time and continuing to harp on the mistake simply prolongs the matter.

Though many companies have faced extreme PR challenges, countless come out successfully. New stories arise diverting the media attention away from the issue, and by taking control of the situation wisely with a plan in place, it is more likely a brand or image can be repaired and rebuilt.