Here's what's on our mind.
A blog curated by our team.
Although the feeling is very bittersweet, I’m excited to announce that our CEO, Lance LeBlanc, has accepted an incredible new job offer.
Here’s the news, straight from Lance:
It has been a true joy to collaborate with Josh Ferrara and Jonathan Simmons at Hivemind Creative. However, after much prayer and careful consideration, I have decided to accept a job in Houston, TX. God blessed my family with a ministry opportunity that I simply cannot pass up. My family and I will be re-locating to Houston, where I will be working with the Vanderbloemen Search Group. VSG does executive staffing and consulting for churches and ministries around the country and I am excited to see what God will do through this new partnership.
We are incredibly thankful for Lance’s friendship and leadership, and we couldn’t be more excited for Lance and all that his next season entails. Congrats, Lance!
The day is finally here, it’s time to announce the recipient of the Hivemind Creative Mission Trip Scholarship!
We’ve sorted through all of the submissions, and we had our work cut out for us! We’ve received some really inspiring scholarship applications, and each one of you have great stories. After narrowing the selection down one by one, we’ve finally come to a decision...
This is Shannon Mahoney. She doesn’t know it yet, but she is the recipient of the Hivemind Creative Scholarship! While each and every single one of you who applied had incredible causes that you are going to be a part of, Shannon’s story really stood out to us. Here’s a little introduction to Shannon:
She’ll be going with the Convoy of Hope and a team from Chi Alpha Fellowship in Lafayette, LA to bring food and medical supplies to the people of Haiti. While on the ground, Shannon and her team will be serving the poor, feeding the hungry, and bringing Jesus to those without hope.
We were so inspired by Shannon’s humility and sense of purpose, and we are incredibly excited to partner along with her to help reach the people of Haiti.
We wish we could help each and every person that applied, but even if you weren’t selected, there are still plenty of resources available to you to help you continue to raise funds toward your goal. In addition to using a fundrasing website like YouCanSend.me, projects such as car washes, garage sales, and even a letter to friends and family can be extremely effective in reaching your goal.
Congratulations to Shannon!
With all three of our founder partners coming from church backgrounds, ministry was always much more than something we did only on Sunday mornings. Moving into this new business venture, we wanted to set up our company in such a way that our successes didn’t only benefit us, but also benefited ministry. It’s easy to talk about giving back when your company has grown, but we wanted to start giving back right from the start, which is why we’re incredibly excited to announce the Hivemind Creative Mission Project.
The Hivemind Creative Mission Project
For our project this year we’ll be giving out a $500 scholarship to a high-school or college student going on a short-term mission trip. We interact with a lot of people going on short term mission trips, so it only made sense that our first project would involve helping to send someone on their mission trip. Here’s how it works:
- You fill out our scholarship application.
- If we choose you, we help fund your trip!
That’s all there is to it! We only have a few basic critera:
- You need to be a current student (high-school or college level).
- You need to be going on a church-sponsored mission trip.
- You need to submit your application by April 30, 2013.
What if I don’t get chosen?
Although we wish we could help send everyone, there are many creative ways you can raise money that will help you reach your fundraising goals. Some of our favorites are car washes, personalized letters to friends and family, donating work (such as mowing lawns or babysitting), or raising support online through Facebook, Twitter, or with a fundraising site like YouCanSend.me.
We’ll be choosing our first scholarship recipient at the end of April, so be sure to apply today to get your application in on time!
If you and your team haven't already been asking this question, you are already a little behind on planning. Easter is only 11 days away (even closer if you have services on Friday or Saturday). But you're not too late!
I recently heard Easter called the "Super Bowl" of the church world. In no way was that comparison meant to demean the real meaning of Easter, but instead to illustrate an important point. A lot of people come to Easter services. A lot of people that normally don't attend church. Family, friends, visitors, churched and unchurched... basically people from all walks of life, and all kinds of backgrounds. Churches have a special opportunity on this weekend to share the message of Jesus with the largest possible audience. Let's make sure we take it seriously.
We could get all tied up in the minute details of planning, your unique church or community culture, your schedule, and various other elements, but for the sake of simplicity let's stick to the basics. Here are just a few thoughts that may help you get ready for maximum impact on Easter weekend:
1. We’ve Been Waiting For You
This is a frame of mind and an attitude of the heart. As you plan your sermon, worship, kids activities, space for extra cars in the parking lot, after-church dinner — you get the idea — adopt this mentality throughout the process. "We've been waiting on you". We've all been to a retail store or restaurant where the moment you walked in you felt as though you were an inconvenience to the employees. It seemed more like they were waiting on you to leave. That's not a great feeling, and it's certainly not the feeling you want people visiting your church to feel. When you take on the “We've been waiting on you" attitude, it affects your preparation, and builds excitement in you and your team. Your church and visitors will notice, and they will feel welcome.
Let's think of it this way. If you stop by someone’s house unexpectedly and they greet you at the door with something like “Oh, I wasn't expecting you... Come in”, do you really feel welcome? What if they greeted you with something like "I was hoping you'd stop by, come on in!” Now you feel welcome, and next time you won't even hesitate to visit.
2. Identify and eliminate your assumptions
Sounds easy doesn't it? Well it's not. The problem with assumptions is that most of us don't realize we have them. Assumptions, by definition, are when we take something for granted. Most churches around the country would say they are all about "reaching" people, at least the ones I visit. The problem is that most aren't aware of how many assumptions are present in their communication, programming, signage and culture. Remember this: people that are new to your church don't know where the "east entrance" is so don't direct them there unless you tell them where it is. If someone asks you where to drop their kids off, don't tell them "at the kidz zone". They don't know what that is. The fact that they asked a question should ring a bell that they are a guest! The truth is we all operate with assumptions, but Easter weekend is a great time to evaluate your property signage, guest information, what is said from stage, and pretty much everything else. If you assume anything, assume that your guest know nothing about your church. Best rule of thumb? Assume nothing. Explain everything.
3. Keep it simple
Since Easter is Super Bowl Sunday, we should do everything over the top right? Not necessarily. Make sure to read our post on Doing Less To Do More for a lesson on keeping it simple. The point here is start with a simple question. What is the one thing you want everyone (adults and kids) to know or do when they leave church? Then, answer that question in your service. All of your planning should go back to that one question.
I always encourage creative expression and excellence, but never at the expense of the audience. The point of a sermon should be clear to the audience. So keep it simple, clear and concise. I LOVE new music, but the point of the worship service is that the people in service actually worship. So, doing 5 of the newest worship songs out there may not be the best idea if your church can't worship with you. Are you getting the idea? Keep it simple. Don't try to outdo yourself, or anyone else for that matter. Do what you’re good at. Do just a few things, and do them with excellence.
4. Kids, Kids, Kids!
Don't have a budget for kids? Get one! Have a budget for kids? Get a bigger one. I'm not suggesting that we throw money at the kids department. I'm outright saying it! We hear quite often about investing in the next generation, so let's do it. Put as much energy and resources as you possibly can towards kids. And by all means, make it fun. Of course you will share the story of Jesus, but are you aware of a kids attention span? If not, google it. It's very short. Kids remember the same way adults remember; things that are fun, sad, funny or shocking stick. I recommend going with fun. They will remember what they learned if they have fun, and they will want to come back. The last time I checked, kids don't drive so they will bring their parents back. I should assume that security is of the highest priority, but second to that should be fun. Give away prizes, change things up, make them laugh and give them Jesus.
5. What's next?
By nature, we’re all a little selfish. We tend to ask this question subconsciously a lot. "What's in it for me?”, "What's expected of me?”, “What about me?”... It’s your job to answer those questions. People are in your service. You have a captive audience. Make sure you are prepared for what’s next. What is the series following Easter? Is there a giveaway planned for your kids services the weekend after Easter? What's your follow up plan? Is there a plan for Baptism? Don't just think about Easter, think beyond Easter.
Let's maximize this unique opportunity we have. We can sit around and gripe about the fact that there are people that only come to church for Easter and Christmas, or we can get busy planning to reach families we may only see once this year.
Often in the creative world we feel the need to outdo ourselves or someone else. We feel a need to do things better, bigger, and more expensive than last person. But why? I can't seem to understand why we all tend to strive so hard to prove that we are more creative, more risky, more relevant than the next guy. Isn't relevance just meeting the needs of your audience in a way that is compelling? At it's core, isn't creativity just problem solving?
We've swapped the real meaning of these words with something much more self-serving. Relevance has come to mean pushing the envelope or doing the next "cool" thing. Creativity leans toward proving that our ideas and budget are bigger, so we can fill our programming and design with all sorts of "creative" elements.
Often, we see something cool at another conference, on TV, or in pop culture, and we take that idea, exactly like it is, and we make our programming and design fit around it. It becomes like a frankenstein presentation. Wouldn't it be better if we asked ourselves what are we really trying to accomplish with this design? Or perhaps, ask why have we gathered this crowd and what is the one thing we want them to walk away with? Simple. Clear. Concise.
I was just recently at Church On The Move for Seeds conference. While I was there, I heard Whitney George, the church’s art director, say this:
“Do less to do more.”
What did he mean by this? He has learned that busy is not better. You see, it’s better to do less, and do it with excellence. After all, isn’t the whole point of what you're doing is for the audience to connect with your message in a way that is compelling?
I've been to conferences and events all over the world, but something was different about this one. The one thing I was most impressed with at Seeds conference was not the amazing sound engineering, the friendly people, the cool decor, the sprawling facility, the video production, the speakers, the set design, or even the BBQ. Those things were amazing, but that's not what made the difference. What really made this experience stand out was that every detail was executed with excellence, intentionality and simplicity.
After the first night of the conference I sent a message to Whitney and with his permission I've copied the conversation here for you to read:
ME — “Dude, here is what I liked about last night. Nothing seemed added out of obligation or to out do someone or even yourselves. What was done was done well. Simple, creative, excellent. Even the programming was brilliant. Worship, teaching... Kudos to you and your team for doing what matters, doing it well, and not caving in to the status quo. Great job!! I was pretty much sick of conferences until last night.”
WHITNEY — “Bro I really appreciate it. That means a lot, and you hit the nail on the head, we don't want to do anything just for the sake of doing it.”
Such a wise thought. I’d like to pose a question to you. Why? When is the last time you asked yourself “why” you do something? Asking yourself the question “why” forces you to start at the beginning.
When you are tempted to complicate your design or add another element to your programming, ask yourself “why”. Let's keep things simple, creative, and excellent.
The other day I walked by my two-year-old. He was whining a bit and pointing to a spot on his arm. With a sort of pitiful, whiny voice, I could barely make out his words: “boo-boo... I got boo-boo”. Without even thinking, as if by instinct, I asked him “Want me to kiss your boo-boo?" Without hesitation he said yes, and offered me his arm. I puckered up and kissed an invisible wound. Immediately he was healed and ran off laughing and playing.
I stood there and asked myself “What just happened?”, “Why did that work?”, and more importantly, “Why did I think it would work?” Admit it, if you have children, you've done the exact same thing. Unless the wound needed obvious medical care, you have offered to kiss a boo-boo. But why? Why do we offer to kiss a wound, and why does it nearly always work? A kiss is technically and physiologically meaningless, and yet with my two year old it seemed to be a miracle worker. It's like a psychological bandaid.
You may think this has nothing to do with design, or web sites, or video production, but you'd be wrong. This little example gives us great insight into how we relate to one another and how we perceive the world. At a core level, we all want to bring comfort and care to others. Likewise, we have needs that we want comforted and cared for.
I'm always interested in the things that bring us comfort. Some draw comfort from a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter day. It reminds them of a simpler time. Others draw comfort from lounging in the sun on a cool afternoon. The warmth of the sun on their skin and a cool breeze in their hair wisps them away from their current reality to a place of relaxation.
Our designs and art should be like this. Something that takes people from their current reality and connects with them on an emotional and intellectual level. Something that speaks to them, grabs their attention, and says “I get you”. Do you design with this in mind? You should. The next time you design or create, think about kissing boo-boos. How you will connect with your audience?
Do you kiss boo-boos in your line of work? Tell us about it in the comments!
Bridges amaze me. Partly because I have no idea how to build them and yet we all desperately need them. Imagine the first bridge ever built. Some guy is sitting around his house, or hut, or... well, you get the idea. He's sitting around and suddenly an abstract, artistic idea hits him. He thinks... “I’m gonna build this complicated feat of physics... to express myself.” Boom, the bridge was born.
Can you feel the sarcasm? Actually, that's not how it happens at all. The greatest creativity comes from the greatest degree of necessity. Maybe it was more like this: A guy and his family and all of their belongings are trying to get from here to there. And in between? A river. He really doesn't have time to find a natural crossing, he needs to cross here, and now. A need has arisen, and inspiration strikes. “I’ll build something that gets me across, and I’ll call it a bridge.”
You see, the greatest catalyst for creativity and innovation is a problem. An obstacle. Something that you, or those who came before you just can’t seem to sort out. When you face something that must be solved, it forces you to draw on all of your creative passion and innovative instincts to solve that problem.
The next time you encounter a problem — whether it’s a river crossing, overcoming the status quo, launching your own business, or helping your kid with homework — don't take the easy way. It doesn't really matter what the problem is. Be creative. Be innovative. Solve a problem and build a bridge from here to there.
This is easily the most frequently asked question we get asked about our company, so I thought I’d take a minute and share the story of our name.
What in the world is a hivemind?
What’s the name “Hivemind” all about? Why don’t you use a bee in your logo? Shouldn’t your colors be black and yellow? I’m so glad you asked. Let’s start at the beginning.
In an earlier incarnation of our company, there was a time when Jonathan and myself were struggling to decide on the perfect company name. I’d love to tell you branding is always easy for us, but the truth is that doing work for yourself is one of the hardest jobs a creative can be given!
During a late night brainstorming session, the term “hivemind” came up in our conversation. The term has been used as a reference to the internet as a group of people, but being the curious fellows that we are, we decided to see what the origin of the idea was.
As it turns out, the term was originally coined as a reference to the apparent collective conciousness of colonies of social insects, such as bees. Without any audible communication, these insects work like a well-oiled machine, as if they were sharing a brain. You might even assume they were passing along ideas and information to each other by watching how well they worked as one unit, but you’d be wrong.
We immediately saw the correlation between this name and our business. From day one, one of our primary motivations for starting the company was the fact that Jonathan and I seemed to share a brain. Finishing each other’s sentences (in a completely normal, masculine way), asking the same questions, and being interested in similar projects. We also saw immense value in the different life and career experiences each of us brought to our company, and how those helped us to work together to find the perfect solution to just about any problem we were presented.
But that’s not the end of the story. For that, you need to fast forward to today.
As our company was going through a metamorphoses (that’s a fancy word for change) and relaunching with Lance at the helm (that’s like the steering wheel of a boat), we figured we needed to go down the company naming road all over again.
We started to talk through our new concept; the idea that we could collaborate with a network of creatives around the country to bring clients the highest quality marketing work possible, at affordable rates, with reasonable timelines. The more we talked, the more we realized that instead of moving further away from the Hivemind name, we were actually moving closer to it.
The combination of our founders’ combined experience mixed with our creatives’ vast knowledge and skill set was all just a giant beacon pointing toward our new name. The rest, as they say, is history. We’re Hivemind Creative. Nice to meet you.
Yeah, but what about the bees?
Well, Jonathan is deathly afraid of bees. Also, during testing of our original web site and logo designs, some of our focus group participants actually had an alergic reation to a black and yellow version of the Hivemind logo. As you can imagine, it was just better for us to stay away from that all together.
With every new year comes new opportunities. This year, we are pretty excited about the paths in front of us. Time is money, so let’s get right to the good stuff.
A New Focus
With each client we’ve taken on, we’ve seen our role shift more and more toward serving as creative consultants. We’ve helped build websites, design print pieces, and we’ll continue to offer those services as they are needed. Moving forward, we’ll also be focusing on being the entire creative solution for business and church teams that are looking to bring a fresh perspective to their creative process.
A New Name
Sort of. Names are funny things. As we’ve moved through the years as a company, we’ve always been pleased with our name. This year, as we shift into a new season, we’ve decided to adjust our name to better reflect all that our company has become. Starting today, Hivemind Labs is now Hivemind Creative.
As we’ve begun to work with clients on a broader scale to develop all facets of their work, it only seemed right to have a name that better reflects what our days look like.
A New Logo
Every new season deserves a new outfit, so with our newly polished name, we’ve decided to adjust our brand visuals as well. Starting today, you’ll start noticing our new look on lovely Hivemind projects around the web.
We asked our lovely designer, Gabrielle Ferrara, to craft a logo that put more emphasis on the core of our name (“Hivemind”), and we couldn’t be happier with what she’s put together.
A New Site
This has been in the works for for quite some time, and we’re excited to let you take it for a spin. As our company has evolved, we’ve added and subtracted from our available services. Today, we’re launching a new site that will give you a better picture of what Hivemind can do for you and your team.
In addition to the new design, we’ll also be switching to a new address to match our shiny new name: hivemind.co.
A New Partner
This is the one we’ve been dying to share with you! Starting today, Lance LeBlanc is joining the Hivemind family as CEO & Lead Strategist. He brings with him a wealth of experience, working most recently at Healing Place Church, where he served on the executive team as Creative Director and Executive Pastor.
Lance is joining the team at an exciting time, and we can’t wait to share some of the unique projects Lance will be working on in the coming weeks of this new venture.
Full Steam Ahead
We truly couldn’t be more excited about all that the new year holds for Hivemind, and we’re excited to continue working with you and your teams.
If you’ve got any questions or just want to say hi, feel free to send us a note:
firstname.lastname@example.org — email@example.com — firstname.lastname@example.org