Sandstorm Blog

Megan
Sandstorm Talks UX at Drupal MidCamp

Learn more about how to better the user experience on your Drupal website. Take some time this weekend and attend the Midwest Drupal Camp 2014 (or Drupal MidCamp). Michael Hartman, our Technology and Usability Director, is giving a presentation that highlights 4 of the best user research approaches. He will walk you through the practices that uncover what your users are looking for, their needs, and areas to improve.

The user experience research methods discussed include:

Michael’s talk is scheduled for Saturday, March 29 from 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. in the River room at the University Center (525 S. State Street, Chicago).

Learn more about his talk or sign up for Drupal MidCamp.

This blog was posted by Megan on March 26, 2014.
Megan Culligan

About the Author

Megan Culligan

Megan knows the importance of picking a winner. With a background in politics and PR, she knows that a successful marketing campaign requires coordination of many moving pieces and a team focused on achieving a great goal. You’ll see her analytical point of view on the blog, providing insight and tactics for success.

Meaghan
Brill Street names Sandstorm among Top 50 Gen Y Employers of 2013

Adding to a long list of all we have to celebrate this month, Sandstorm is so thrilled to announce that we’ve made Brill Street’s list of top 50 Gen Y employers in Chicago for the fifth time running.

Our growing reputation as one of the best places in the city for Gen Y-ers to learn and grow across a multitude of marketing disciplines is a huge source of pride for us, and is one among many reasons why we’ve been able to develop such a tremendously talented team of creative thinkers and life-long learners.

We love our Gen Y A-team!

This blog was posted by Meaghan on December 17, 2013.
Meaghan Glennan

About the Author

Meaghan Glennan

Meaghan is a storyteller. From the Granite State to the City of Broad Shoulders, she's created impactful true-life tales about people, places, businesses and events. As she guides Sandstorm's story by directing our marketing communications, you'll see a lot of her unique perspective and style.

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Will
Cornucopia of thanks from Sandstorm

Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and Hanukkah begins this week as well. It’s a time to be grateful for the goodness of life. To mark this festive time, I asked Sandstormers: “What are 3 things for which you are thankful?”

Interestingly enough, I noticed a number of patterns in the responses. (I’m always looking for patterns anyway). So, here are the many thanks of Sandstorm by the numbers:

We all love our families, friends, and Sandstorm. (No one was bribed to say Sandstorm and co-worker related things.) We also are appreciative of our health. Sandstormers also rank food and drink highly, which depending on the food and drink might actually counter our good health.

I also asked what everyone is most anticipating at Thanksgiving dinner. The most common answer was stuffing followed by the chaos of having a big family get together. (I said pie and expect there are more pie lovers out there.)

As much as I hate cliché (which, might I add, is a terrible way to start a paragraph), Sandstorm is a cornucopia. We’re all different but still belong in the same basket. (Someone please explain the cornucopia basket to me, it seems so inefficient). We all have different backgrounds, but still share the same values (and cravings).

Take some time to think about what is important in your life (at work and at home). For what are you thankful?

As a special holiday bonus, I’ve included everyone’s full responses below. Enjoy!

(In no particular order)

Sandy

The one thing I am most anticipating at Thanksgiving dinner is eating carbs with no guilt.

I'm thankful for:

  • My fellow awesome Sandstormers
  • My family
  • My health

Janna

Having dinner at our new house with my family and new friends.

I'm thankful for:

  • My first holiday in our new house
  • Healthy family and friends
  • Good food and beer

Nathan

I am most anticipating seeing my family, playing pool with my grandfather & uncles and celebrating my Mom’s birthday. Happy Birthday Mom!

I'm thankful for:

  • Friends and Family
  • Freedom to make my own decisions
  • My fantasy football career success

Derek

Anticipating a delicious prepared meal as last years venue was really pretty awful.

I'm thankful for:

  • A continuously interesting workplace and colleagues
  • HBO GO
  • Upstairs neighbor that is never home

Jason

Stuffing!

I'm thankful for:

  • Jon [his husband]
  • Sandstorm
  • comic books

Drew

The thing I am most anticipating at Thanksgiving dinner is finding out where Bree’s chosen to order from.

I'm thankful for:

  • My Wife and Cats
  • My Health
  • My Creative Freedom

Emily K.

Stuffing

I'm thankful for:

  • Cheese
  • Pajamas
  • Family

Mike M.

NOISE! Thanksgiving is at the Marsico’s this year!  We are a bunch of LOUD Italians! You’re welcome, Sandy. ;)

I'm thankful for:

  • My loving family
  • Good health
  • Mexican food

Alma

Chaos. There will be 10 people and 2 dogs, so something is bound to happen!

I'm thankful for:

Andy

Stuffing

I'm thankful for:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Football

LLK

Sufganiyot, since its Hanukkah

I'm thankful for:

  • Coffee
  • Sleep
  • Mexican beaches

Kyle

Stuffing. I love it.

I'm thankful for:

  • The Internet
  • Friends
  • Family

Megan

Cranberry wine

I'm thankful for:

  • My family
  • The Clinton family
  • Dogs

Meaghan

A full belly

I'm thankful for:

  • Old Fashioneds
  • Ira Glass
  • Airplanes

Emily Y.

Not a joke, my grandma’s homemade ranch dressing.

I'm thankful for:

  • Family
  • Friends (yes, including coworkers)
  • Health

Michael

Staying home.

I'm thankful for:

  • Air
  • Water
  • Food

Jesse

I’m looking forward to seeing all of the family that I haven’t seen since last Thanksgiving.

I'm thankful for:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Health

Will

Pie… all of the pie.

I'm thankful for:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Cats
This blog was posted by Will on November 27, 2013.
Will Biby

About the Author

Will Biby

Will wears many hats at Sandstorm. From writing web content to executing social media strategies, he is quick to act and insistent on a job done right. Will enjoys writing, so expect to hear from him often on the blog.

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Will
Sandstorm Bowling at Timber Lanes

On November 1, if you called our office in the afternoon, you weren’t able to reach anyone. We all played hooky and went bowling.

Our core values rolled into one event

Sandstormers have three core values, and our experience on Friday tied together all three:

  • Warrior Spirit: Things got competitive, and we fought through our bowling shortcomings to, for the most part, stay out of the gutter.
  • Learning and Sharing: Some of us were re-learning how to bowl and learning how to score by pencil. Others were sharing technique, pointers, and math skills.
  • Have Fun: We were bowling! Some pizzas, some beers, a few laughs. Plus, we had a jukebox playing tunes such as the Gipsy Kings rendition of Hotel California.

Strike? Spare? Turkeys!?

Our expedition started with a good (and thorough) presentation on scoring by our in-house bowling aficionado Derek. It was a good refresher for everyone. This is bowling. There are rules.

Rolling the Lanes

We headed to Timber Lanes, swapped our shoes and got to business. It got competitive, but everyone was perfectly calm, dude. No one entered a world of pain. (Though, I’m pretty sure I went over the line on one occasion.)

All right! Way to go, Sandy!

Thanks for a great time. I can’t wait to share our next adventure. You can see more of our bowling shenanigans on Facebook and Instagram.

This blog was posted by Will on November 19, 2013.
Will Biby

About the Author

Will Biby

Will wears many hats at Sandstorm. From writing web content to executing social media strategies, he is quick to act and insistent on a job done right. Will enjoys writing, so expect to hear from him often on the blog.

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Meaghan
Sandstorm culture: You Rock!

Want the scoop about our culture? Check out this super-secret take on our recent ‘You Rock’ celebration from the chronicles of our newest Sandstormer, Meaghan Glennan. (Don’t worry, she won’t mind if we share.)

Dear Diary:

Remember when I wrote to you on Valentine’s Day when I was nine and told you that Josh Jeffries gave me a pack of heart-shaped SweetTarts and a tiny paper card with the Land Before Time dinosaurs holding up a sign that said “You’re great!”?

I started my new job at Sandstorm Design last week, and as it turns out, THEY STILL DO THAT (but no dinosaurs, though). They call it “You Rock,” and it’s basically a chance for Sandstormers to hang out and celebrate one another. They have lunch together, and Sandy, the Principal, reads and gives-out hand-written notes of thanks and encouragement that team members have penned for each other. There were so many sweet messages, like “Thanks for all your help on the new project last week,” and “Thanks! It’s wonderful to work with you!”

I KNOW! Isn’t that fantastic?! Hearing how much appreciation and respect the group has for one another totally killed my new-girl jitters. Any team that takes time out of their day to give props to each other like that is obviously one where I am going to be very comfortable and welcome.

It was such a great introduction to the super fun and cohesive culture here. I’ve only just started, but already there’s been an in-office pizza party in which everyone ate at the table together (isn’t that the best?) and plenty of laughs around the office.

I’m having a lot of fun so far. And the best part? There’s another ‘You Rock’ next month!

Think I’m gonna like it here.

This blog was posted by Meaghan on November 14, 2013.
Meaghan Glennan

About the Author

Meaghan Glennan

Meaghan is a storyteller. From the Granite State to the City of Broad Shoulders, she's created impactful true-life tales about people, places, businesses and events. As she guides Sandstorm's story by directing our marketing communications, you'll see a lot of her unique perspective and style.

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Will
Happy Halloween from Sandstorm

Sandstorm is full of creative minds. We’re dreamers most of the time, and we can’t wait for Halloween to stretch our legs as tricksters. Halloween is always festive at Sandstorm (check out 2011 and 2012).

Annually, you tend to see the scary, the fun and the odd. This year, our costumes ranged from the fun (a larger than life penguin) to the terrifying (fitness guru Richard Simmons). It’s always fun for everyone to have fun while expressing themselves in a different way. Plus, Sandy sweetens the deal by closing the office early.

For the past 3 Halloweens we have had a costume contest. In 2011, a clown won. In 2012, the prize went to a chilling Cenobite (It’s from the Hellraiser films), and this year went to…well, modesty prevents me.

You can see more of our costumed adventures on Facebook and Instagram.

This blog was posted by Will on November 7, 2013.
Will Biby

About the Author

Will Biby

Will wears many hats at Sandstorm. From writing web content to executing social media strategies, he is quick to act and insistent on a job done right. Will enjoys writing, so expect to hear from him often on the blog.

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Will
Scarestorm at Sandstorm

While developing new web sites, repositioning businesses and creating great collateral for our global clients; we’ve taken a little time to get into the Halloween spirit. No, we haven’t been wearing our costumes, but we will. (Sadly, Jason has not been wearing a ski mask every day.) Don’t be scared, we’re still working every day to bring innovative campaigns and technology to you.

Peek inside the agency to see what horrors can be found. (More photos are on theSandstorm Facebook page).

See what past Halloweens have brought to Sandstorm in 2012 and 2011.

This blog was posted by Will on October 11, 2013.
Will Biby

About the Author

Will Biby

Will wears many hats at Sandstorm. From writing web content to executing social media strategies, he is quick to act and insistent on a job done right. Will enjoys writing, so expect to hear from him often on the blog.

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Will
Interactive Agency Looking for a Digital Strategist

Sandstorm Design is hiring! Our interactive agency in Chicago is seeking a Digital Strategist to join our team with an entrepreneurial spirit. If this is you, contact us.

The perfect candidate is a forward-thinking, self-starter to lead client projects through their entire lifecycle. (This isn’t just a project manager.) The Digital Strategist is consulting role that helps define the vision for our projects. They need experience cultivating long-term marketing relationships and comfortable envisioning and delivering in a collaborative, multi-disciplinary environment. Like all Sandstormers, the strategist has to understand and embrace the history, core values and culture of our agency.

It is a digital role. They need to understand how the web and application design and development process work, recognize problematic areas, as well as provide solutions to move projects forward. They are responsible for accurately understanding the client’s objectives and requirements and communicating the information to the design/development team. This requires  excellent written and verbal communication and leadership skills.

All Sandstorm employees must meet deadlines, be aware of scope and budget of projects they are assigned to and work cooperatively with the team and clients.

To apply, please submit resume and cover letter. Please NO phone calls. If you have any questions, please comment to this post.

Specific Role Components

  • Accounts for overall financial performance of client
  • Creates clear and informative project briefs to outline priorities and motivate teams
  • Assists with quarterly or semi-annual strategic business planning meetings to develop near and long term strategies
  • Determines appropriate engagement models for the project and client relationship (time and materials, fixed fee, retainer, other)
  • Seeks opportunities to apply previous strategies and project methodologies to achieve desired outcomes efficiently
  • Develops proposals and sales presentations
  • Assists existing client growth
  • Enters time and cost estimates
  • Reviews and approves invoices and payables
  • Assists with strategic planning, concept development and requirements gathering
  • Identifies resource and personal needs to fill gaps in the agency’s capabilities
  • Participates in industry and local events/associations to build awareness and reputation of agency and to network with clients
  • Creates case studies
  • Seeks media coverage of client work to increase awareness and solidify reputation in the digital marketing space
  • Consults as needed

Qualifications

  • 3–5 years of account management in similar organizations
  • Bachelor’s degree in marketing, business or equivalent field
  • Previous experience working in agency or professional services
  • Experience in digital marketing
  • Proficient writer
  • Exceptional communications skills
  • Social media platform experience preferred
  • SEO and/or SEM experience preferred
  • Information Architecture understanding, Axure familiarity a plus
This blog was posted by Will on October 1, 2013.
Will Biby

About the Author

Will Biby

Will wears many hats at Sandstorm. From writing web content to executing social media strategies, he is quick to act and insistent on a job done right. Will enjoys writing, so expect to hear from him often on the blog.

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Kellye
Sandstorm and Discover Help Emerging Leaders

Sandstorm’s Strategy Director, Laura Luckman Kelber, and Creative Director, Janna Fiester, were delighted to speak at Discover Card’s YPOD lunch event. They presented alongside Roger Horchschild, Discover’s President and COO, and Mark Graf, EVP and CFO, to address the theme Dealing with Ambiguity: How to Manage Uncertainty in an Ever Changing Environment.

While an ambiguous request can often trigger fear, Laura and Janna shared some great techniques for overcoming your fears to accomplish the task at hand. The Sandstormers pulled from their marketing strategy expertise to share examples of managing ambiguity in the brand experience and user experience landscape. Applying their UX process, they taught the emerging leaders to take actionable steps to define goals and tasks, and to ultimately transform uncertainty into success!

Interested in learning more? Check out Sandstorm’s Ambiguity Road Map!

This blog was posted by Kellye on August 30, 2013.
Kellye Blosser

About the Author

Kellye Blosser

Kellye’s unique approach involves a delicate balance of left and right-brained thinking. She most recently hailed from the corporate video world. Here at Sandstorm, she’s excited to bring strategic, innovative thinking to every project.

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Will
7th annual Sandstorm guac-off

This Sunday was the 7th annual Sandstorm Guac-Off. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon of fun and food (and some canned champagne). This was an exceptional Guac-Off. We had a whopping 10 entries with special ingredients ranging from sweet to savory, mango and pineapple to hummus and edamame.

I know you’ve all been waiting, and the results are in. Being crowned in her first Guac-Off, this year’s “El Champion” is Emily Kodner (with a substantial assist from her husband Kenny).

Sandstormers must like it hot, since the winning guacamole was the spiciest with roasted jalapeños. You can see pictures of the winners, winning guacamole and more on our Facebook page.

This blog was posted by Will on July 30, 2013.
Will Biby

About the Author

Will Biby

Will wears many hats at Sandstorm. From writing web content to executing social media strategies, he is quick to act and insistent on a job done right. Will enjoys writing, so expect to hear from him often on the blog.

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