True North

Value Community: It’s More Than Just Being Together

Micah Fox heads our sales department and serves on the North Star leadership team. He also works to coordinate many of our company volunteer and ministry projects. The ways he pulls us together as a team has given him a unique perspective on our Value Community core value.

Value Community: It’s More Than Just Being Together

A friend of mine spent several years working at a fast-growing technology firm in Durham. We talked about some of the things his employer put in place to improve or impact their sense of community in the workplace. In the office, they supplied a fully stocked kitchen with unlimited snacks and beverages to encourage co-workers to take breaks, be refreshed, and get to know one another. Outside the office, they organized corporate outings, happy hours, celebrations, and game nights. It all sounded great. 

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Push for Clarity: Paving the Way to Take Action

Chris Kindred is a veteran developer for the North Star Marketing team who gets the importance of our third core value. New growth always means new questions to be answered, but our Push for Clarity reveals something that surprises us, over and over again.

Clarity When It Counts

When you are in the center of a football stadium packed with fans, and everyone is staring at you—when the snap comes, and you’ve got that ball in your hands—in that moment, right there, you need absolute clarity about your job. Indecision or uncertainty could lose the game, get you badly hurt, or both. 

Dramatic american football stadium

I had the privilege of playing football at the University of Tulsa during my college days, and there were so many lessons that athletics instilled in me. By now they have deep roots and affect just about every part of my life. This issue of clarity is something that I see all the time in my work as a parent of three amazing kids and my work at the office as a developer with the North Star Marketing team. 

Are We Really Clear About What Clarity Is?

It might seem that clarity is just being clear and making sure things are understood. I think it is more than just transparency, or a basic understanding, though. I think it is about the will to overcome confusion, and about not stopping until you have what you need to take action. That probably means continuing to ask questions and refusing to stay silent when you still don’t have the clarity you need. Those things aren’t always easy, but they sure are important. 

I am a developer. I tend to see things as black and white, yes and no, on or off. The world and our work are complex, and there are gray areas. I get that. But pursuing clarity means we have to boil the gray areas down to the right black and white choices that will allow us to take action. What we call a push for clarity is a dogged pursuit of discernment, so we and our clients are focused on the right things for the right reasons. 

It also means making sure everyone who is a part of a conversation or project has the same understanding. It is all too possible for different people to be absolutely clear about what they heard or what was decided, only to find out later they had very different takeaways! Shared clarity is what we are really after, in the end. 

How the Push for Clarity Puts Discernment to Work 

In addition to playing Division I football, I also have some military experience. If you have not lived it for yourself, it is hard to describe just how much effort our armed forces put into being clear with instructions and orders and procedures. Obviously, in that context, a lack of clarity can have very real life or death consequences. 

Today, when I’m working, I often remember those lessons. If I do not understand something important during an internal meeting, everybody knows I am going to speak up and keep asking until I am clear. In the end, everyone on the team needs the empowerment that comes with being clear about expectations, roles, project needs, and all the other things that make our work together successful. We all know that anything less will cause real problems, so we accept and honor that push for clarity in our culture at North Star.

It is pretty amazing how this core value, push for clarity, both builds community and teaches us to really value community, which is our next core value. If you look long enough, part of that discernment I mentioned shows you more and more of just how connected to one another we are. It opens up all kinds of doors to honoring one another and what we’re working for together. 

3 Ways to Know Your School’s Brand is Expired

When someone mentions expiration date, you might think of a carton of milk or eggs — not your school’s brand. But just like fridge staples, brands don’t last forever, and when you get a whiff of one that’s gone stale, well…it’s pretty obvious.

But how do you know?

We wish we could give you a concrete number that would communicate just how long your brand elements will last. For some schools, it’s five years. For others, a brand can last a decade or even longer before needing a revamp. It really all depends on your unique audience, your specific challenges, and any changes that take place within your school or community.

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Happy Two Year Workiversary, Jeff!

Two years ago today, Jeff Seevers joined the North Star Marketing team as a part of our growing roster of marketing managers. Since then, he has blown us away with his commitment to client relationships, irrepressible creative thinking about every project he touches, and his vision for our work and how we live out our mission. Jeff has been quietly working behind the scenes on high-impact initiatives for North Star this year, and we recently sat down to get the scoop on what he’s been up to, and what’s ahead.

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Pursue Growth: Chasing Sustained, Powerful, Recognizable Growth

Clark Morgan leads the Online Marketing Team efforts at North Star. Clark understands and chases sustained, powerful, recognizable growth internally and for our client partners like nobody else on our team. 

How Would You Define Growth?

Growth has been something that has fascinated me since I was a little guy. I think it started back in middle school with lifting weights and just being amazed at how our bodies can grow bigger and stronger with the right combination of stress, nutrition, rest, and time. Helping people and businesses grow has become a passion for me, but it has also been one of the most challenging areas of my life.

I’ve learned that growth can mean a lot of different things to people depending on who you ask. For some companies, it gets boiled down to more clients; increased profits; and making the company bigger. These are all important, but they’re really the indicators that show us growth has occurred. The real growth itself happens out of sight, under the skin. 

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Kaleen Goodeill Celebrates 3 Years at NSM!

Kaleen Goodeill is our veteran marketing manager in the K-12 school industry, one of several core markets North Star Marketing serves. Today she marks her three-year workiversary on our team, and we caught up with her for an interview to hear what’s new and developing in the K-12 space. We also asked her to reflect on what she has learned in the last year as she keeps growing her skills for serving this dynamic market.

First of all, thanks for all your work, Kaleen! You do an amazing job of leading our team and so many of our school clients. Maybe start us off by sharing something you enjoyed working on in the last year.

One of the most surprising and fun things I’ve been able to do this year is step in with Micah Fox to support our sales team. As he meets with prospective school partners to discuss marketing solutions and strategy, I’ve been able to join in those calls to support him directly and share my role with those schools. [Laughs] I don’t think of myself as a salesperson, and I didn’t even expect to enjoy the sales process, but I have enjoyed this because it has tied in really closely with the thing I love most about my job. Read More

Jordan Celebrates 3 Years at NSM!

Slow, sure growth is a sign of a healthy plant with the strength and roots to flourish for many years. Three years ago today, Jordan Buckhalt joined the NSM creative services department as a budding graphic designer. It’s been wonderful to see him grow.

Jordan, what’s the best thing you learned this year?

For the last six months, for 20 hours of my spare time outside of work every week, I’ve been in the midst of a deep dive course on user experience. I’m close to my certification now, and it’s been amazing to start applying what I’m learning at work. Today, I have a much better understanding of the data that helps us understand our clients’ end-users that we design for in our work. When we can tie what we learn about them to the goals of our clients, that alignment has strong potential! Read More

5 Key Questions for Choosing a School Mascot

If I were to say to you, “Lions and tigers and bears,” you’d likely respond with “oh my!” and have a yellow brick road in your mind’s eye. However, if I were to say “Detroit Lions, Clemson Tigers and Chicago Bears,” you’d likely either growl or grin, depending on your loyalties. And your mind’s eye would likely picture an energetic mascot surrounded by crazy sports fans. 

I daresay everyone has a favorite mascot, whether it’s from a local high school, a collegiate team or the insurance gecko. A mascot is a visual representation of a group’s culture, and today, we’re talking about school mascots.

Source: North Star Marketing

Mascots should generate excitement and inspire loyalty from parents, alumni, athletes, middle schoolers, and kindergarteners. Fans should be proud to proclaim, “I’m a Hillcrest Raven!” because the mascot gives them a sense of belonging to a greater group. Read More