Monday Madness

workIt’s Monday, but it’s also summer!!! My daughter’s last day of school was Friday, so I was enjoying it with her.

Even though school is out, the rest of us still have to work to pay the bills. But never fear, Monday Madness is here!

For those of you new to my blog, on Mondays I like to provide you with something that makes you smile. This is because Mondays usually get a bad rap. You know what I mean.

And, guess what? I’d love for you to contribute your favorite funnies as well! Just email me!

First up, someone decided to mash up the “Ducktales” theme song with Beyonce‘s “All The Single Ladies” video.

Great Danes being spoiled rotten. Dinky doesn’t like the fact that Romeo is getting loves instead of him. Wait until 1:40.

Finally, Ellen likes to scare her guests when they are on her show. Here are some of her favorite scares.

The post “Monday Madness” appeared first on Fumbling Towards Epiphany.

Monday Madness


Wait! It’s Tuesday – Memorial Day was yesterday.

This means that most of us are back at work today. Thus, we need laughter! Below are some videos that I hope will meet the requirement.

First up, Jimmy Fallon and Jamie Foxx do Musical Impressions. Jennifer Hudson impersonation of “On top of spaghetti”? Awesome.

This is actually an ad for Pizza Hut. They creatively make fun of selfie sticks!!!

Finally, I do enjoy zefrank1’s videos on YouTube. This is the Sad Cat Diary.

Foodie Friday

flagWoo-hoo! It’s Friday!

And, here in the United States, it’s a three-day weekend as we observe Memorial Day, when we remember those who gave their lives while serving in the country’s armed forces.

Many also call this weekend the official start of summer and there are many grills being used to cook hamburgers, hot dogs, fish, vegetables, and one of my favorites – barbeque pork ribs!!!

Now, I currently live in Texas but I grew up in Florida, and have lived in South Carolina and North Carolina. This means that I have a had a variety of barbeque sauces! Let me tell you, the sauce defines a region’s ribs and people get mighty feisty about which region has the best sauce.

ribsFollowing is a list and description of sauces:

The U.S. has a wide variety of differing barbecue sauce tastes. Some are based in regional tradition.

  • East Carolina Sauce – Most American barbecue sauces can trace their roots to the two sauces common in North Carolina. The simplest and the earliest were supposedly popularized by African slaves who also advanced the development of American barbecue. They were made with vinegar, ground black pepper, and hot chili pepper flakes. It is used as a “mopping” sauce to baste the meat while it was cooking and as a dipping sauce when it is served. Thin and sharp, it penetrates the meat and cuts the fats in the mouth. There is little or no sugar in this sauce.
  • Lexington Dip (a.k.a. Western Carolina Dip or Piedmont Dip) – In Lexington and in the “Piedmont” hilly areas of western North Carolina, the sauce is often called a dip. It is a lot like the East Carolina Sauce (above) with tomato paste, tomato sauce, or ketchup added. The vinegar softens the tomato.
  • Kansas City – Thick, reddish-brown, tomato or ketchup-based with sugars, vinegar, and spices. Evolved from the Lexington Dip (above), it is significantly different in that it is thick and sweet and does not penetrate the meat as much as sit on the surface. This is the most common and popular sauce in the US and all other tomato based sauces are variations on the theme using more or less of the main ingredients.
  • Memphis – Similar to the Kansas City style, typically having the same ingredients, but tending to have a larger percentage of vinegar and use molasses as a sweetener.
  • Florida – Similar to the Memphis style because it has a higher percentage of vinegar than Kansas City style. Florida style is characterized by the tropical fruit flavors such as orange, mango, guava, papaya, pineapple, and tamarind as well as peppers with some heat such as chipotle and habanero. Because of its fruity flavor it is commonly served with pork, chicken and seafood.
  • South Carolina Mustard Sauce – Part of South Carolina is known for its yellow barbecue sauces made primarily of yellow mustard, vinegar, sugar and spices. This sauce is most common in a belt from Columbia to Charleston, an area settled by many Germans. Vinegar-based sauces with black pepper are common in the coastal plains region as in North Carolina, and thin tomato- and vinegar-based sauces are common in the hilly regions as in North Carolina.
  • TX BBQTexas – In some of the older, more traditional restaurants the sauces are heavily seasoned with cumin, chili peppers, bell peppers, chili powder or ancho powder, lots of black pepper, fresh onion, only a touch of tomato, little or no sugar, and they often contain meat drippings and smoke flavor because meats are dipped into them. They are medium thick and often resemble a thin tomato soup. They penetrate the meat easily rather than sit on top.
  • Alabama White Sauce – North Alabama is known for its distinctive white sauce, a mayonnaise-based sauce, which is used predominantly on chicken and pork. It is composed of mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt and black pepper.

Now we have some fun! Which sauce style is your favorite?

The post “Foodie Friday” appeared first on Fumbling Towards Epiphany.

Sauce descriptions courtesy of Wikipedia.

How To Explain Your Business To Employees

rigI recently published posts on internal communications, including one on building a successful intranet site.

This post is about developing an intranet site to explain what a business division does to employees who have no clue how your division contributes to the company. They might think they do, but it was easy to see that they didn’t when leadership joked about it in their meetings.

I handled internal communications for what was once called the Global Supply and Trading (GS&T) group in a downstream business.

What is GS&T and what does it do? In short, GS&T gets product to all businesses and markets within both upstream and downstream businesses, as well as being its own mini-trading group, as in trading stock. (They have their own trading floor!)

Now, did that make sense to you?

No? What do you think that meant to employees who worked at the same company in other business divisions? I can tell you that it meant the same thing to them – not much.

Which meant that one of my main tasks in addition to all other responsibilities was to explain GS&T to an entire oil & gas company.

No problem, right?

HA! This was a bit tougher because this global company is HUGE! Not only regarding the number of employees but also that there were a lot of egos to avoid ruffling.

As I mentioned before, there have been numerous times that talking about sports has helped me form business relationships. This time, I couldn’t rely on football season to cement any relationships. There were too many moving parts. I had to pound the hallways and glue the phone to my ear.

By now, we had social media, videos, and lots of other vehicles that could be used internally. The key was to not get distracted but focus on the goal: explain the business so that everyone understood what it was and what it did. Keep it simple.

I looked at my entire communications toolbox and decided to go with “an oldie but goodie”—the intranet.

I met with the VPs and managers of each business unit to truly understand their functions within GS&T and the company. In addition, I spoke to employees across the globe to understand their roles.

ProfilewireframeArmed with detailed information and asking questions when unsure a piece was being represented correctly, I worked with my team to create an animated, interactive home page, complete with pop-ups over each business unit that quickly explained how it worked within the company.

Then, I tested it. I sat down with the business employees and did two things: 1) Had them look at it cold to see if it made sense and was correct and 2) Sent it to a test group of non-GS&T employees to see how they reacted to it.

Taking all feedback in context, the necessary tweaks were made and the launch was made final.

While I could say that the team did a great job and the animation was a hit because it looked cool, the reality is this: the team did a great job and the new site was successful because we took the time to UNDERSTAND what the business was, what it did, how it interacted with the rest of the company, how employees perceived it, and identified how to simply showcase the business in a way anyone would comprehend.

If that hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t have been able to succeed.

Monday Madness

workHello, Monday. It’s that time again, eh?

Okay, folks! To put or keep a smile on your face during this first day of the work week, I bring you some funnies.

First up, I’m finally chiming in on “Deflategate”. Here’s the Saturday Night Live (SNL) skit.

Let’s stick with SNL. I think Will Ferrell is funny, that is all. I give you “Celebrity Jeopardy”! (You may want to view this with your ear buds in or on your personal computer due to some language.)


Foodie Friday

lobsterIt’s Friday!! Time for the weekend and that means we get to talk about food!

Today’s food: pizza! I don’t know about you, but after a long week, I crave comfort food. Today, I thought about pizza. Specifically, pizza from Chicago. Even more specific: deep dish pizza.

I have an admission. I only recently learned that real Chicagoans don’t eat deep dish pizza. I am serious. I had no idea.

ddpizzaI asked one Chicogoan – Gini Dietrich (Spin Sucks blog) – why the city was so famous for its deep dish if locals only ate thin crust, and her response was, “Tourists!” To be clear, she wasn’t the only local giving this answer. Steve and Cindy Crescenzo (Crescenzo Communications) also confirmed this answer.  But, I know another family who loves deep dish, and they all are Chicago natives.

As this negative deep dish opinion is new to me, I wonder if this discovery comes as a shock to others as well.

For kicks and giggles, answer this question: deep dish or thin crust?

The post, “Foodie Friday” appeared first on Fumbling Towards Epiphany.

A Lot of Information In a Small Package

Infographics are a great way to get the attention of people who have no attention spans anymore.

By Steve Crescenzo

Infographics have been taking the corporate communication world by storm. As attention spans get smaller and smaller, communicators are struggling with how to present complex information in easy-to-digest formats. And a good infographic can often be the answer. Lori MacKenzie and her creative team of communicators and designers who work for the city of Aurora in Colorado, found this out when faced with the challenge of trying to communicate the city’s total compensation plan to employees. They wanted employees to understand that total compensation goes a lot further than just salary—and also show them how the city’s compensation plan compared with other organizations in the Aurora area.

To capture all that information and convey it an easy-to-understand format, she partnered with HR to get the data, and then graphic artists to come up with the design. Though it’s too early for any hard measurement numbers, she has gotten great anecdotal feedback from people who appreciated the information and the way it was presented. Low Hanging Fruit (LHF) asked Lori a few questions about the process, and the lessons she learned.

Employee-compensation-poster-674x1024LHF:  What was the creative process like? Did you provide an outside agency with the data, and they came up with the infographic? Or did you do it in-house?

LM: Everything was done in house from start to finish—including printing. Our communications team met initially with human resources to get the data and then we worked with our graphic artists to brainstorm and come up with the creative design.

LHF: Do you have any measurement numbers on whether or not it worked? Even anecdotal evidence? What kind of feedback did you get?

LM: We don’t have hard numbers, but we did receive feedback. Employees definitely read the information and found the format to be eye-catching. A few employees who are unhappy about the fact that raises have been minimal for many years didn’t like the fact that we were pointing out the total value of their compensation package, but at least we know they read it.

LHF: Why did you do it? How did you know there was a need for this information?

LM: As I mentioned, salary increases have been fairly slim (or non-existent) for many years. However, at the same time, the city has continued to absorb increased costs for our health care benefits. We are also fortunate to have paid vacation time and sick leave, and a solid defined benefit retirement plan. There was a need to help employees truly understand the entire value of their compensation package, and not just their salary.

LHF:  Why the infographic approach, instead of the standard article/poster/brochure? And where did this appear? How did people see it?

LM: We had some success with a report to the public we produced earlier in the year as an infographic. We thought it was important to do something like that for our employees that cut through the clutter of standard internal memos and handouts. We printed posters that were hung in all employee break rooms at all of our facilities throughout the city. We also posted the piece on our employee intranet.

The post “A Lot of Information In a Small Package” appeared first in the Low Hanging Fruit newsletter.

stevecAbout Steve Crescenzo: Through his work as a consultant, writer and seminar leader, Steve Crescenzo has helped thousands of communicators improve both their print and electronic communication efforts.