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January 19, 2016

WHAT’S YOUR WORD THIS YEAR?

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After a season of festive surroundings followed by the anticipatory countdown to midnight, the new year is a time to take stock. It’s an opportunity to lean back, dig deep and discover the virtues of new beginnings…once again. Read More
Six bottles of wine in a cardboard holdster, with the brown and orange wine club logo
December 19, 2015

Wild About Giving

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At Neka Creative, we believe in the power of inclusivity. We also believe in the heart-felt spirit of giving to those in need. This holiday season, the Neka team volunteered at a local Arc Value Village Store unpacking, sorting, stocking, displaying and...re-displaying holiday items for the organization’s “Thriftmas” department. For more than 30 years, thanks to shoppers, donors and volunteers, Arc’s Value Village has helped make life better for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Their stores provide over a million dollars every year for The Arc Greater Twin Cities’ programs. To learn more about the organization or to make a donation, please visit www.arcsvaluevillage.org. [caption id="attachment_445" align="alignleft" width="498"]Eri sorting donations. Eri and Rosemary sorting donations.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_443" align="alignleft" width="423" class=" "]Alan hard at work shelving holiday decorations. Alan hard at work shelving holiday decorations.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_442" align="alignleft" width="448" class=" "]Sheri meticulously arranges holiday gigts and decorations. Sheri meticulously arranges holiday gifts and decorations.[/caption] 12399053_10208155717361706_279709903_n [caption id="attachment_437" align="aligncenter" width="960"]Nina Phouthasack and Michelle Metcalf Nina Phouthasack and Michelle Metcalf[/caption] [caption id="attachment_436" align="aligncenter" width="720"]The holiday spirit is strong with this one... The holiday spirit is strong with this one...[/caption] [caption id="attachment_435" align="aligncenter" width="720"]Those boxes filled up pretty quickly with holiday decorations, toys, kitchen accessories and more. Those boxes filled up pretty quickly with holiday decorations, toys, kitchen accessories and more.[/caption] 12386486_10208155717481709_1733527876_n
November 23, 2015

They Said What?#%$!

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What other people think of me is none of my business.We believe in the pursuit of empathy leading to authentic conversations. That’s one of the pillars of inclusivity but, what do you do when someone challenges something you did…said thought you said…wore…created…stand for? Your first reaction might emote in a way that is oh so uniquely you. You might call a friend and howl at the moon. You might get angry and spew venomously until you wear yourself out. You might fester and fuss until your insides scream for mercy. Maybe you simply shrug your shoulders and say,“que sera sera.” Maybe, all of the above. As the late self-help author Wayne Dyer said, "what other people think of me is none of my business.” While that’s not always easy to do, it sure is something to consider. People’s opinions of you have more to do with their personal filters not your worthiness. It’s not that they’re wrong and you’re right, or vice versa. It just is. And, when you think about it, what a boring world it would be if we all agreed on everything, all of the time. Ideas wouldn’t get better. Creativity wouldn’t soar higher. Invaluable life lessons wouldn’t be learned…and re-learned. If you worry a little less about what others think, ignore their sometimes less than stellar moods and not fall truly, madly, deeply in love with their delicious compliments, you’re free to be more you. When you’re able to (sometimes miraculously) bypass anger, worry, fear and insecurity you can do more create more…celebrate more…appreciate more…shine more. So go ahead, be more.
October 30, 2015

One Size Does Not Fit All

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200220063-001In 2013, Governor Mark Dayton issued an executive order establishing the Minnesota Olmstead Plan. It is a transformative initiative with a mission to make Minnesota a place where people with disabilities can live, learn, work and enjoy life in the most integrated settings possible. This progressive Plan helps people with a wide range of seen and unseen disabilities live more independently, while supporting greater opportunities for them to contribute their unique gifts and talents. Because the very essence of the Olmstead Plan respects the fact that one size does not fit all, it details customized solutions in seven critical areas: employment, housing, health care and healthy living, community engagement, transportation, lifelong learning and education, support services. The Olmstead Plan is a law. It’s a necessity. It is an important civil rights movement. As a passionate proponent of inclusion through the process of Inclusivity Marketing,™ Neka Creative is honored to be involved in this important effort by creating their initial marketing/communications materials.
October 22, 2015

Marketing Inclusivity–Afterthought Or Aspirational Thinking?

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National Disability Employment Awareness MonthWe all want to be seen and heard. We all have a strong need for acceptance. That’s true in life and it sure is true in business. Genuine recognition goes a long way to make people feel involved. Conversely, treating inclusivity as a marketing afterthought not only makes people feel excluded, it’s just not smart business. Take people living with disabilities as an example of the importance of incorporating the practice of inclusivity in the planning process. People living with disabilities make up 20% of the U.S. population. They’re voracious users of the internet because…well, it makes their lives easier. They’re recognized as the largest minority group in our nation and account for about $220 billion in buying power. Think of the money left on the table if people with disabilities are not included in marketing plans. If that doesn’t make someone stand up and take notice, consider the fact that not every disability is visible. Unseen disabilities refers to hundreds of conditions including mental illness, learning disabilities, medical issues and much more. That’s a lot of untapped inclusion. We salute the brands who have made extraordinary strides to incorporate inclusivity at the very beginning of their marketing process. The Wells Fargo Commercial: Learning Sign Language is a goose bump-worthy spot featuring two gay women learning sign language before they adopted their beautiful new (deaf) daughter. The premise didn’t gratuitously add minorities and people with disabilities as an afterthought. The entire premise, helping people “prepare financially for life’s biggest moments,” revolved around real-life situations in today’s real-life world. It is aspirational, authentic and awesome.
September 8, 2015

Brand Development Agency Receives MBE Certification

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[caption id="attachment_391" align="alignleft" width="203"] President and Owner, Rosemary Ugboajah[/caption] September, 2015, Minneapolis, MN -- Neka Creative is now officially recognized as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) by North Central Minority Supplier Development Council (NCMSDC). This notification, certifying status as a minority-owned, operated and controlled company, emphasizes the agency's desire to broaden horizons and expand connections. "This was a critical step in supporting our brand promise to be the role model for inclusivity. We are well on our way to becoming a creative company to watch," states President and Owner, Rosemary Ugboajah, Neka CreativeDownload press release here.  About Neka Creative Neka Creative is a brand development agency with a progressively authentic focus on Inclusivity Marketing™.  For more information, visit nekacreative.com or contact Rosemary Ugboajah at rosemaryu@nekacreative.com.  
August 24, 2015

Revolution Love. Penumbra Theatre’s 2015-2016 Season

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  Penumbra39thSeasonProgram_pg7_OnTheFrontLine “Let me say at the risk of seeming ridiculous that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.”  Che Guevara. It may be hard to see this as true at first glance and even harder if you are on the other side of the desired change. But take a hard look at all revolutions and you may just see that what lies beneath stems from love of land, country, culture, freedom, equity and above all, people.  Love, being so encompassing, fuels actions that lead to change. This is the premise of Penumbra Theatre’s 39th season – “Revolution Love”. Taking inspiration from the theater’s legacy, programming and Emory Douglas, iconic artist of the civil rights era, Neka Creative developed messaging, design and illustrations to help turn the perceived notion of revolution on its head—A Revolution Born of Love. Penumbra39thSeasonProgram_CoverArtPenumbra39thSeasonProgram_pg22_TheBlackPanthersPenumbra39thSeasonProgram_150417_FINAL11
January 1, 2015

A fun look at 2014.

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A little of this and that in 2014. [caption id="attachment_332" align="alignnone" width="168"]The Mermaid Many a Tuesday tacos at the Mermaid.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_333" align="alignnone" width="300"]20140311_134528-MOTION Exhilarated to see the brand we developed on the highway.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_335" align="alignnone" width="300"]Terry Hastings Magnets by photographer Terry Hastings. Gifts from Alan's Palm Springs trip.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_334" align="alignnone" width="300"]20140503_232351 The A Team partying up this summer.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_336" align="alignnone" width="300"]White Bear Lake Summer fun at White Bear Lake.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_337" align="alignnone" width="300"]Neka at dim sum. Dim sum with friends.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_341" align="alignnone" width="300"]Sheri's birthday Celebrating Sheri's birthday.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_342" align="alignnone" width="300"]Sheri's birthday Celebrating Sheri's birthday.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_343" align="alignnone" width="300"]Wild Goose Wild Geese for the Wild Goose.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_345" align="alignnone" width="300"]IMG_1802 Prince Charles waves at Sheri.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_346" align="alignnone" width="300"]IMG_1806 Who say's you can't flirt with the Mounties. Sheri in Winnipeg.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_347" align="alignnone" width="300"]IMG-20140518-00713 Beautiful Lake Winnipeg. Rocky Gimli Beach.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_348" align="alignnone" width="225"]Photographing Neka Collateral Capturing the finished product. Merwin LTC Pharmacy collateral photo shoot.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_349" align="alignnone" width="225"]"True Friends" by Aboriginal Artist in Canada.  "True Friends" by Aboriginal Artist in Canada.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_340" align="alignnone" width="168"]"The Rainmaker" by Aboriginal artist in Canada. Gift to Rosemary from Sheri. "The Rainmaker" by Aboriginal artist in Canada. Gift to Rosemary from Sheri.[/caption]
November 17, 2014

Client Spotlight: Speaking of Inclusivity

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Client Spotlight: Speaking of Inclusivity

Anyone who's traveled to a foreign country understands the perspiration-producing vulnerability of language barriers. Am I being understood? Do I get what they're trying to say? Is my lack of clarity taking us down the proverbial rabbit hole?  Read More
October 13, 2014

A Brave New Brand World

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A Brave New Brand World

The world is connecting in ways we once only imagined. The cultural landscape of the marketplace continues to evolve in quantum leap proportions. A deeper level of communications is needed now more than ever. What hasn’t changed is the human desire for acknowledgement and respect. People want to be seen for who they really are instead of being relegated to lazy, sometimes damaging, stereotypes. Neka Creative saw a missed opportunity in marketing; an opportunity to grow market share by taking an authentically progressive approach to reaching the hearts, minds and pocket books of all audiences.

Introducing Inclusivity Marketing

Inclusivity Marketing is the holistic process of bringing different perspectives, histories, experiences, needs and motivations together in one cohesive brand development process. Neka Creative built their firm on the vision to “be the role model for inclusivity.” That translates to aligning internal cultures with powerful strategic directions. It means bringing brands to life for external customers in a way that intrigues, inspires and motivates. And above all, it’s about understanding the need for all voices, cultures and people to be taken into deep consideration. Given Neka Creative’s vast experience in marketing/communications, they saw this missed business opportunity in countless strategic and creative situations. But beyond simply recognizing an

Inclusivity Marketing – the holistic process of bringing different perspectives, histories, experiences, needs and motivations together in one cohesive brand development process.

opportunity to help organizations authentically engage with all audiences, their passion for inclusivity comes naturally.

Building Brands in a Great Global World

While everyone is a proud Minnesotan, each one of the core team has the unique gift of perspective. President and owner, Rosemary Ugboajah, born to Nigerian parents, was born, raised and trained in London. Designer and creative director, Alan Tse is originally from Hong Kong with family living on the west coast of Canada. Strategic and creative writer, Sheri Ellis grew up in heartland of the Canadian prairies, Winnipeg to be exact. Strategic writer, Larry Splett is all-American but speaks the fluent dialect of “industrial. “There are many more members of the Neka Creative team and while it’s not a prerequisite to be from another country, it is absolutely critical for every person to be exceptional at what they do and to have a genuine respect for different cultures and perspectives,” says President Rosemary Ugboajah. She goes on to say, “Inclusivity is a major movement that continues to impact the way we approach marketing and brand building. We’re at the right place, at the right time.”

Money Talks Inclusivity

While this is a heart-felt calling for Neka Creative, there is a strong economic argument for Inclusivity Marketing. People of color in the U.S. continue to grow at staggering rates and so does their buying power. That means business. To be successful, companies and organizations need to understand the nuances of appealing to the ever-changing cultural marketplace. To keep the argument closer to home, by 2040 people of color will comprise 40 percent of the seven-county Minneapolis-St. Paul region according to the Metropolitan Councilʼs February 2014 issue of “Metro Stats.” Additionally, 74.9% of women identified themselves as the primary shoppers for their households, according to the MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer. Women, in fact, control $12 trillion of the overall $18.4 trillion in global spending. In the spirit of inclusivity, we also need to understand the growth of the LGBT market. The total buying power of adult LGBT individuals is projected to be $790 million by 2012 with 23% switching products or services in the past year because a different company was supportive of their community*. * source: Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications Clearly, the marketing world is changing with no signs of turning back. The good news is there’s room for everyone with opportunities to be much more inclusive in our brand building efforts. That’s marketing gold. projected_buying_power We're interested in what you think. Leave a comment or email us at rosemaryu@nekacreative.com
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