Chicago’s Christkindlmarket

It’s here! Chicago’s Christkindlmarket is finally here! Every year, Nabol and I wait impatiently for the opening day of perhaps the coolest market in the city. Located at the Daley Plaza, the market brings amazing holiday vendors that are set up as a little German village in winter. You can find everything from Christmas ornaments to delicious European treats and hot spiced wine. It’s definitively one of our favorite traditions and the best way to kick start the holiday season!

Check out the video we put together for our sister site

Hiding out at Palmisano

Palmisano Park in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago is a fun natural hideout with a fishing pond, wetlands, preserved quarry walls, trails and a fantastic view of the city. Formerly known as Stearns Quarry, its new environmentally-sustainable design honors the natural history of the site.

Back to the Silurian age 400 million years ago, the park used to be a coral reef. Dolomite limestone was formed with time and in the late 1830s, the Illinois Stone and Lime Company purchased it to begin quarry operations. Take a stroll down the park with us and enjoy the view! Here’s a video we created for our sister site

Speaking Hispanic

Hispanics have been speaking both English and Spanish for a long time. But it was until recently that companies started targeting this predominantly bicultural audience, which speaks both languages comfortably in different instances in their daily lives.

Havi Goffan calls this the main cause of communication failure from brands to Hispanic consumers. A strategic marketing approach, she says, should focus on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content that drives customers to act.

“Hispanic content marketing must appeal to the U.S. Hispanic audience and not only to Spanish-speaking Hispanics,” Goffman explains.

This is because within this large audience there is a wide range of acculturation levels, also known as adaptation levels to life in the U.S., that goes from speaking only Spanish to only English. However, brands need to pay special attention to the growing population where 86% of Hispanics under the age of 18 are born in the U.S. and 95% of millenials are U.S. born. This is the customer of the future.

Goffan recommends strategies where brands target each Hispanic market segment the way they might target new moms or newlyweds. With proper research of the cultural codes, brands can build personas with an understanding of the different motivations and avoid cultural clichés.

For example, companies like Telemundo and HBO Latino quickly adapt to the evolving Hispanic audience. From creating soap operas in Spanish that follow the mini-series model to developing English programing that focuses on Hispanic personalities, knowing their audience is translating into great success.

Modern Frida: Link to illustrator information

Cause marketing gone bad

Customers are smarter than ever. While 9 in 10 will support wholeheartedly a company that genuinely backs up a good cause, they’ll be just as quick in calling out those who don’t do it right.

KFC’s “Buckets for the cure” is the perfect example. The company partnered with breast cancer foundation Susan G. Komen in a campaign that promoted a $0.50 donation for every bucket of chicken ordered. The effort unfortunately backfired as customers found a disconnect between the unhealthy fast food chain and what seemed as an “inauthentic and in poor taste” campaign.

Many other companies tout their products as being pink for October’s cancer awareness month. Same thing happens with giving initiatives during the holiday season. These campaigns tend to be vague, targeting big causes like children with cancer or aids, instead of a specific organization or explaining exactly happens with donations.

Another example of cause marketing gone bad is Kellogs’ Retweet for a Meal, a campaign that intended to donate meals to needy children every time someone would retweet a company’s post. At the end, the company wasn’t able to fulfill expectations and the entire initiative was perceived as a publicity stunt.

Steve McKee at Bloomberg explains, “if a brand needs a cause in order to feel relevant, credible, or accepted, it has a bigger problem. Better to make the brand the cause and focus on it.”

The first cause of any company, McKeen says, should be its own. They should strive to make the lives of its customers and employees better through the products and services they already provide. If they wish to support any cause close to them, it’s advisable to make sure it falls within their current strategy so it seems relevant and genuine.

A great Saturday lunch at Manny’s

Published on January 24th by Verdelicias
We’ve lived in Chicago for over three years now, but we still haven’t been able to try all the many food gems that the city has scattered all around. This weekend, we finally made it to Manny’s Deli Cafeteria & Delicatessen, a wonderful old-school Jewish deli that has been around since 1942 – the year my mother was born!

Located on W. Roosevelt Rd., the deli is famous for their corned beef and pastrami sandwiches, as well as other traditional recipes like their pickled cow tongue and whitefish salad.

Last Saturday, it was the perfect day for a matzo ball soup, so I made it my excuse to visit Manny’s. Nabol also ordered half a corned beef sandwich, a potato pancake with apple sauce, a vegetable pasta salad and a knish… Oh, the knish! Let me tell you about the knish. We’ve never had one before, but could easily eat one every week! It’s basically a potato dumpling stuffed with meat and finished with gravy on top. It was pretty amazing.

We wanted to order 20 more items, but were too full to do so. Fortunately, Manny’s sells a lot of their soups, pastries and traditional items so you can take them to go. We also enjoyed the family style, relaxed setting, and the staff was super friendly. 

At Manny’s, you pay when you leave, which was very cool. They truly want you to just sit down and enjoy your meal.

How to: overcome info overload

A basic skill to succeed in college is knowing how to highlight what’s important in a book, knowing how to choose the right sources of learning. Same thing applies to the real world where we are bombarded with emails, articles to read, blog posts and social media feeds.

If you don’t make a conscious decision on what’s important for you to know and learn, it will become increasingly harder and overwhelming to keep up. You need to set filters and priorities in order to conquer information overload.

Stop postponing items in your agenda or sending yourself all those articles you’ll never read! Your brain can only be configured to handle so much.

Write down your learning priorities and personal goals. This is what Laura Shine calls “taking a brain dump” in her Forbes article 10 steps to conquering information overload.
  • Write down absolutely everything that concerns you. Bucket them into themes: health, work, family, etc. Order them in level of priority and think about how much time you actually dedicate to improve on those things. 
  • Consider improving on some of that through learning or by making small incremental changes. What would be the solution?

Write down what keeps you busy. Think about the tasks that take the most out of your time. Could you do things differently or find help somewhere?

Delegate and let go some of your goals. You are not a superhero and by delegating or learning to let go of those things, you’ll have the bandwidth to accomplish more important goals. This is part where you give yourself some grace.

Design a calendar of realistic weekly and daily learning and personal goals. 
  • First, write down realistic quarterly, annual and life goals.
  • Then, based on those, set small daily and weekly goals.
  • Daily goals should be things you absolutely most do everyday to stay organized and mentally sane: Take 10 minutes to organize emails, 10 minutes to provide social media feedback, 10 minutes to catch up with a client, 25 minutes to exercise or meditate, drink your lemon water. 
  • Weekly goals should be small goals to help you grow: 30 minutes on Monday to read on technology, 20 minutes on Tuesday to catch up on new music, 30 minutes on Wednesdays to catch up with the boss, 30 minute tutorials on Fridays. Be realistic and keep up. (One or two of these goals a day is enough to start.) 
  • If you delegate some of your work, make sure to follow up, motivate and be appreciative of those who help you. Don’t take them for granted. 

Make time to think and build your own ideas. Don’t just consume information. Make time to come up with your own ideas or at least make an opinion on different things that concern you.
  • Sometimes it helps to write for 30 minutes every week or start a blog or a journal. You don’t have to go very deep, just get it out.
  • If you have time, ask people around you to see how they feel about the subject.

Unplug and listen. Rest. Why spend an exaggerated amount of time looking for inspiration at the office? You learn so much more outside, by making time to connect with your community or just enjoying life. Make time to listen to people’s conversations, take part in other people’s projects, go to events, travel, rest and think. You will learn about yourself and the world around you.

It might take some time to complete the assessment, but if done honestly, it will not only help you keep your personal goals highlighted and relevant. It will directly impact the way you learn and grow, and will allow you to have a bigger impact in the things that you touch.