Jennifer Andos, Owner and Creative Director of Paperfish Creative, LLC, escaped the agency world nearly 20 years ago. She has designed for Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and many other Fortune 500 companies and now gives technology companies, non-profits and other small businesses this same level of service and creative. Jennifer’s strength is getting to the personality of a business and telling their story in a way that is individual to them, while introducing their greatness to the world.
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Full transcript below:
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:00:00] Hi, I’m Jennifer Mulchandani,
Heather: [00:00:02] and I’m Heather Myklegard.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:00:04] Welcome to The M Word where we have uncensored conversations on all things marketing.
Heather: [00:00:10] Due to COVID. We are not recording in the studio and apologize for any poor audio or technical. As soon as it is safe, we will have our guests with us in the studio until then stay healthy and wear a mask.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:00:28] Hi, and welcome to The M Word. I’m Jennifer
Heather: [00:00:31] and I’m Heather.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:00:32] And today we’re talking to Jennifer Andos with Paper Fish Creative. Jennifer is the owner and creative director at Paper Fish Creative, and she escaped the agency world nearly 20 years ago. She has designed for Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and many other fortune 500 companies. And now gives technology, non-profits, and other small businesses the same level of service and creativity. Jennifer’s strength is in getting to the personality of a business and telling their story in a way that is individual to them while introducing their greatness to the world. Welcome to the podcast, Jennifer. We’re so glad to have you on, and I especially always adore to talking to another Jennifer.
Jennifer Andos: [00:01:13] I know. Hi. So nice to see you. I know, Jennifer’s unite for sure. There’s a lot of us.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:01:19] Yeah. There are a lot of us.
Jennifer Andos: [00:01:21] There are a lot of us.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:01:22] I’m okay with it.
Jennifer Andos: [00:01:23] I am too.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:01:24] Yeah. Great. We appreciate you being here. Why don’t you just set the stage for us and just tell us a little bit about your business and your background and where you are in your marketing journey today?
Jennifer Andos: [00:01:36] Sure. My business, PaperFish Creative is 14 years old and the importance of that is that when my son was four weeks old, which like today seems complete insanity, but it’s what I did. And PaperFish does strategic branding and design. And I don’t ever say that I do marketing, even though I do marketing, there’s a whole part of marketing that I don’t necessarily do that I have total respect for, the tracking and the data… that’s not me. I make it all pretty. So that its perfect to share. So PaperFish, we do all kinds of branding, so complete, like logo to personality, the whole branding guide, all that kind of stuff. Then we give people entire packages of basically everything, the idea is six months in, or however long it takes us to do your branding, you flip the switch and all of a sudden everything is new. Your team has new apparel and your website is fresh and you have your new persona. Like, That is my favourite.
Heather: [00:02:31] Ooh, I want to dig more into your favorite. So I know you’re a creative talk to me more about what would you, if you could do one thing every day in this creative space, what would it be?
Jennifer Andos: [00:02:41] Oh, it would be the message. I love the messaging part. So, I actually went to school to be a journalist, not for graphic design, the graphic design happened a little later. And so I loved the message part. So I like the research and then getting the message. And then I feel like my art, my design is just the catalyst to share that message. So I love the messaging part. I think probably the most.
Heather: [00:03:08] So would you choose a rebrand or a new brand? What would it be more exciting for you?
Jennifer Andos: [00:03:14] Rebrand for sure. A rebrand, because usually those people have already figured out their niche and they’re coming back knowing really what they do. I think all of us, a lot of us, at least I did, started thinking, I’m going to start this business doing this, and then time evolves and all of a sudden you don’t do that, or you do this and this and this. Especially when a business has grown and every time you hire a new employee, all of a sudden, you have new offerings because they offer something new. The excitement of finally getting your current customers to realize everything you do; you could feel it in the company and they are so excited to have this fresh new look. Yeah, for sure. Rebrand. I love it.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:03:51] Just to carry on that, a rebrand versus it looks like, You work with some really well-known established brands, they don’t rebrand every day. The McDonald’s of the world are literally your clients. How has the experience working with them on just their different branding needs versus creating the brand from your imagination?
Jennifer Andos: [00:04:14] From scratch?
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:04:15] Yeah, it is.
Jennifer Andos: [00:04:15] The difference I would say is they are, they’re not rebranding, what I’m doing is unusually doing a program. It’s almost like taking their brands and making it different. So like you take their brand and typically I’m taking their brand and combining it with something else, like the Olympic games, so you’re not rebranding, but you’re co-branding. And so it is like coming up with something new with them though, I’m following a creative brief. I’m not. I’m not coming up with the entire idea. But, that is usually the bigger companies is I’m coming up with an event or some, other kinds of art that goes with it. It’s the, I say smaller companies that I work with, usually like $10 to $25 million companies, those are the ones that I’m rebranding that are ready for something new.
Heather: [00:04:56] So you’ve been doing this a long time. Your son was a baby. How have you, how has your creative process and your skills evolved over time?
Jennifer Andos: [00:05:04] I still make it a point of once a month learning something new. When you’re in an agency, you’re forced into it, other people in the agency are starting something new or clients are asking to start something new; but, when you’re by yourself, you really need to infuse that on our own. That’s what I do skill set-wise. I’m always learning some sort of new skill set and I say skill set, meaning sometimes it could be as simple as better use of LinkedIn. It doesn’t necessarily mean a new graphic design skill.
How it’s changed, is a lot so much. I think that’s the biggest thing for me is that when I started aside from a lack of sleep at the time, I wasn’t sharing myself as much as I do. And I know that’s partly also a trend now, is to be open, which is what my favorite thing about marketing right now, actually is: how people can pull back the curtain and tell us how you do it. I was really shy about showing who I am and all of my own marketing was very much this is what everybody else is doing so I’ll do that. And I don’t know if it’s being older or just not caring anymore, I don’t know why, but now I’m just basically willing to share anything, really anything. My big thing in life really is humor. And I hid that for a long time, and now I infuse humor into everything: like, my out of office message, literally anything. That’s been my biggest change and the biggest response I get.
Heather: [00:06:23] Jennifer, I’ve noticed your marketing tactics myself, because I’ve been following you for years. We’ve been friends for years and you actually did a logo for me a long time ago. But I noticed and love the cheers, or the toast that you do weekly,first for another individual or company. Now. And I can relate to wanting to hide a little bit behind all of the things and your creativity; but you are so talented, cause I’ve seen your work. So tell me your inspiration behind the toasts that you’ve been doing.
Jennifer Andos: [00:06:59] The toasts are actually a result of COVID, which I hate putting anything to COVID, but I have to for this. So, last year when our Governorkind of put everybody, and I don’t want to say lockdown, that’s a wrong word, but we all were supposed to stay home. Every single thing you saw, literally from every brand, every human was negative. And in these hardened times and all the things that people were saying, I just couldn’t take it . I couldn’t. I just didn’t want to be like part of that message.
I had decided, naively, that I would do it every single day until it was over. And at the time the Governor said June 10th was like, okay, you do 10th. We’re all off. So I was like, okay, I can do it from April 10th of June 10th. And that’s how I started. I did it every single night, and then June 11th came around and I realized that we’re like, this isn’t overt. And so now I do about three times a week. And I just thank everything, I thank this brewery that I got to tour because I’m having an event there. But other times I’ll thank like my neighbor, I mean anything, everything, but so it’s been great.
It’s like a gratitude practice for me. It’s a great way for me to, no cost, plug people who I care about. It’s just so great. And originally too, I was like really cultivating the photos and had a drink in my hand every day. And now it’s just pure, simple *laughs* me. Yeah. It’s been really fun. And now I’m going to keep that up. I think forever. I just love it.
Heather: [00:08:21] And it just goes to show too, of, one of the pain points for any marketer or brand is that consistency. You’re like, oh yeah, 30 days, no problem. And then it’s 60 and 90. And so I’m proud of you. Good job. And I think it’s okay that you scaled back.
Jennifer Andos: [00:08:36] Yeah. I just had to.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:08:38] Cheers.
Jennifer Andos: [00:08:39] Yeah, exactly. Yeah. But it’s been good. It’s been really good.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:08:43] That’s great. I’m curious, one of the things you said just about your own shift in how you do your marketing and you show up in your own business and you didn’t use this word, but being authentic and maybe vulnerable using yourself as your own marketing. Did that happen because of just a confidence shift as you matured and felt okay, clearly I’m running a successful business. I’ve been around a long time now or did that happen? Was it, was there something else that made that happen?
Jennifer Andos: [00:09:16] Yeah, I think it’s common like fits and starts. Several years ago I did “Listen to Your Mother” and it was this event where you would tell an anthology about something that’s happened like with your mother, about being a mother. And it was a year I was doing a year of yes, that year. And so I said yes, when somebody asked me to do it. And that story, most of them were like these like really gut-wrenching stories and I went out there and I wrote the five minute joke basically. And it was all about me and being a mom. Funny and like meeting my self and like how I really talk. And it was so well received. It’s oh, okay, wait. Now people actually might like this. And so that was the start of it.
And then I don’t know, the rest of it, I think has just been age and then getting used to it. Like you do it a couple of times, you think, okay, people are accepting it. This is going okay. Like any marketing campaign, if it succeeds in the beginning, you just keep seeing how far you can push it. And then I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.
This is like ridiculous. But like when you’re getting ready in the morning, I was like, huh, I think I’m getting better looking as I’m getting older. Or maybe I just don’t care either way. I’m okay with it. And so I’m feeling this is all the sound, but same idea is working with my marketing. It’s I’m it’s, I’m good with who I am.
And I think maybe there’s like a tipping point. I dunno. Some people are very fortunate to just be born that way. I had to like slowly agent Whip it. And it’s so much, it’s also much easier for me now, being authentic is so much easier than trying to crack the right thing.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:10:48] Do you see at all a change in how your business, your brand, and you can just, you, as an expert are being received based on, this, pulling back the veil at who Jennifer is.
Jennifer Andos: [00:11:00] Yep, absolutely. Absolutely. The toasts have doubled my following and I don’t have a giant following, so don’t get me wrong, but I’m a great, very engaged following group. So that has helped and that’s being me. Then also just selling, actually, it has been better for me coming at this myself because people, I think already know what they’re getting into, if you will.
So when we talk, I feel like they’ve already learned who I am, and so that’s also really helps my conversion rate. Which I know we’re talking about marketing, but in the end, that’s what the marketing for. It’s really helpful. That it’s, it really has helped being myself and being authentic has changed a lot.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:11:40] That’s awesome because I think, We’re often asking our clients to put themselves out there, whether it’s an individual or just even their brand, you’ve got to get out there and try things if you want to grow, and so I think it’s always good when we practice some of that ourselves too. In the spirit of authenticity and recognizing that to err is human, you shared a story with us. I think we all can relate to as marketers putting a ton of time, energy and passion into a goal for a client, whether it be a pro bono client or paid client, or doing for your best friend. It’s like we, we put this in. So you share your shared a story with us that sounded like it was personally painful. Cause it was an issue close to your heart. You know you don’t have to tell us the name of the org; but, if you would share with us a little bit about, what was that what was that big pale, if you will.
Jennifer Andos: [00:12:31] Yeah, so it’s a, it’s an organization I’m a part of. And and I can see which one, which is nice. I have a couple of non-profits so they can stay anonymous, but there’s one day a year it’s called GiveTuesday. That’s what it’s actually called here. It’s actually the day of. In the U S but in Loudon county where I live its GiveTuesday. And it’s a big day where all nonprofits are seeking funds and everybody signs up and it’s a huge deal and there’s a big ramp up.
This last year I had this idea, I was given as my part in this plan to come up with a whole marketing campaign and there’s several people on the board and we videotaped all the members and I was thinking yes, video, everybody says you should do video. Video does well for me. Why should that work? So we videotaped all of the people I gave every single person, individual graphics that they can post other social media to talk about the fact that they’re on the board and every single day leading up, I was posting and sharing and no one on the board shared thier video.
No one on the board shared the personal graphic, I got like zero views on the videos. It was awful, just awful. And it was all that ramp up. And we got, I think we raised maybe $2,500 last year. And this year I did one post a week out, one post in the morning, one, and then I’ll throw out the day. I always say, thank you as to all the donors.
And we more than doubled the money we got. Finally, I realized that they just didn’t have the buy-in like, even though the part of it, you really need that in any of these marketing things, like your brand, your base brand ambassadors, or your employees or your board members. And if they don’t have the buy-in and they’re not helping you. It’s a struggle.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:14:19] So true. And I wonder, and I’d be curious, so you’ve identified the buy-in is a big one, it sounds like you are super enthusiastic. You created, multi-layered campaign with graphics and video and a posting schedule. And for non marketers does receiving that feel like this is going to be so hard. I can’t do it. Like I just it’s too much. And I don’t understand it.
Jennifer Andos: [00:14:41] Yeah, I would think so. And it, yeah, I think that’s true. And even though, and I do this even with product launches, like this happens all the time brand launches when you rebrand is the company buying as a big deal. And so since then I’ve gotten more detailed. Exactly. Literally go to Facebook, post this, say exactly that it’s like an actual step-by-step because and only, still only maybe 20% of the people you send it to will do it, but at least you have that 20%. It’s better than nothing.
Heather: [00:15:16] I have also learned the hard way don’t assume that people know what to do and that to have to constantly remind them and almost be up in their face. Did you do it, did you do it? I liked your strategy. I thought it was a good strategy. Jennifer, I want to ask you’ve. A lot of things over the last couple of years that have been outside of your comfort zone previously, and whether it’s age maturity, we just don’t care anymore. I commend you on all of those. Is there any tactic that you haven’t yet tried, but want to, and just haven’t had the courage or haven’t had the opportunity to try?
Jennifer Andos: [00:15:54] Yeah. I don’t even know. So I haven’t done any short videos, like produced videos, I’ve done other interviews like this, I’m actually doing another whole different thing called I Must Ask You a Question and I’m interviewing people, wearing big mustaches, its on my YouTube channel. It’s like super cute and silly, but I’ve never done like the Tik-Tok kind of thing or the Reels. I haven’t done any of those and I’ve always been in fact this woman, Karlyn Ankrom. I’m not sure if Karyln, and she does these cute how-to videos all the time. And I can never in my brain think of what I would teach in those videos. I really think I would get success from it, but I haven’t nailed down even what I would try to attempt to teach someone. So that’s probably the biggest one.
Heather: [00:16:43] We’re in the same boat. We just started doing Reels and we’ve seen a huge increase in engagement. And so now we’re trying to send that to our clients, to you know how we can do this for you. Also, I found that easiest way to do it is just think of one topic or pain point and then three ways to accomplish that and just say it, and then the actual Reel and putting it together that’s what makes it fun and sing-songy but just me personally, I was overthinking it and it’s really super easy and I agree Karlyn does a fantastic big job at those. So maybe, you and I can do those together. I did my first one yesterday and it was really easy, so good.
Jennifer Andos: [00:17:26] Oh, that’s good.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:17:31] So Jennifer, and you mentioned Karlyn who we also know and admire her work. Are there other people you look up to in the business or resources that you follow to stay current on in terms of, your areas of experts? I
Jennifer Andos: [00:17:47] do. I of course, like I think any person in marketing I’m obsessed with Seth Goden. I think it says not just, it’s like it literally his voice when I listened to him the way he talks is amazing, but he’s just , every time I listened, there’s something that really hits home. There’s a closed Facebook group called The Daily Carnage. And it’s my absolute favorite thing I read every single day. It’s all marketing people and it’s amazing. And it is literally carnage so you have to be prepared to go on there and see people ripping other people’s marketing. But mostly it’s people like me looking for, I need a new CRM platform, I need whatever and the advice on there is always the best. Who else? And then otherwise podcasts. I actually listened just to smart lists. I don’t know if you guys listened to Smartlist, but it’s the funniest thing and podcasts. Absolutely. Have to hear it. Yes.
Heather: [00:18:40] Is it an industry or a topic?
Jennifer Andos: [00:18:43] No.
Heather: [00:18:44] Okay.
Jennifer Andos: [00:18:45] It’s Smartlist, this is actually part of how I started doing these mustache interviews. It’s Jason Bateman and auxillary actors and they interview people that are smarter than they are, and that’s the whole point of it. And it’s great. And so I loved that format of just talking and letting them lead what they would talk about.
So that’s how I started doing my interview things because of that. It’s just.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:19:08] I can relate. I feel like that’s what this is. Like we having folks like yourself who are just amazing experts in what they’re doing and we get to just pull out of them some nuggets of information.
Jennifer Andos: [00:19:19] Yeah. Thanks.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:19:20] Thanks.
Heather: [00:19:22] So Jennifer, if you could go back to the first day you started PaperFish Creative and look at yourself, what advice would you give yourself on that very first day?
Jennifer Andos: [00:19:32] Start marketing now. At least, when I started, I had had a business before, and so I very much relied on those old clients and I still get a big dose of my business from word of mouth. But I don’t think I realized at the time that even that word of mouth business needs the marketing. So even if you keep getting referrals, those referrals finally call you because they saw your marketing. And I definitely did not realize that at the time. I just thought that people just kept calling because they got referred. And that was it, but it’s not as simple as that. You still need all those other touch points before they still even referrals pick up the phone. And I had no idea.
Heather: [00:20:14] And I will say, this is a plug for PaperFish, you are memorable to me. Your client gifts are amazing, but I think one year you did coloring book, another year, you did a hot pad.
Jennifer Andos: [00:20:28] Yup, yup!
Heather: [00:20:29] And I just, I think those little small touches they make a big difference, and not to mention you produce amazing websites and… Just a plug for PaperFish Creative it’s been a brand that I’ve been following and highly recommend for years.
Jennifer Andos: [00:20:45] Thank you. Thank you. i do love it, I do love it!
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:20:50] So Jennifer, if our listeners want to get more doses of you of Jennifer and PaperFish Creative, where can they find you?
Jennifer Andos: [00:20:58] So of course I’ve a website, PaperFishCreative.com and my Instagram is PaperFishJen. And the reason is as Jennifer, there’s like a million Jennifer’s out there.
And so people. Have often ended up calling me all that paper fishermen. So that became my nickname. So I just used that as my handle. So PaperFishJen on Instagram, I’m on Twitter, but not as much as I should be. And then of course, Jennifer Andos on LinkedIn. Those are my main place. Oh, I do have a YouTube channel too. Do you want to see the mustache videos, which the laugh tracks are fantastic at PaperFishCreative YouTube channel.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:21:35] That’s what I want to go check out. I don’t know if this is going to be too much pressure. I don’t want to end with you feeling put on the spot, but can you close this out with a joke or a funny story?
Jennifer Andos: [00:21:46] Funny story. Oh, geez. I’m trying to think of something funny. Oh my gosh. I feel like my whole life is like a funny story.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:21:52] Let me think. No, I don’t know. I’m sure there is one, but I feel like if you’re like me, if you’re like me, that then as soon as we stopped recording, you’re going to be like, “damn it!”.
Jennifer Andos: [00:22:05] Exactly. Exactly.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:22:09] I’m always five, five clicks too late, I’m not a quick tongue person, so no pressure.
Heather: [00:22:16] Jennifer Mulchandani, can I just say, I think that was our first swear word on the podcast.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:22:22] Which one?
Heather: [00:22:23] You said the D word
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:22:28] Your bar for a swear word is very different than mine.
Heather: [00:22:34] I’ve just been waiting for someone to say a swear word.
Jennifer Andos: [00:22:38] Swear. I know, I can’t believe I know this is like killing me. I can’t think of a funny story because my whole. I feel like everything that happens to me in life has been some sort of crazy events of some sort. Although I will tell you, okay, this, so this is sure story.
When I moved here seven years to go to Virginia. And so I don’t know what year that was, but in 2016, I was nominated for a small business award in Virginia in Loudon county, and I’m super nervous. I don’t know anybody. I’m not even sure. I know our friend Daniela nominated me. Daniela Williams.
But I’m walking up to this thing and it’s in Morgan Park, and it’s a beautiful building. And that day is super windy like today, like crazy windy. And I’m nervous, my hair’s blowing all over the place, and you don’t know what you’re going to wear and I go up and it’s a gravel driveway outside and I slip and fall.
So I walked into this interview with my hair all over crazy and both my hands are bleeding. Like I’m bleeding everywhere. My hair is a mess. It was like, it didn’t even matter that I did it. And I, oh, it was awful. That was the first time I met anyone that worked at the Chamber and it was so embarrassing. Oh my God, it was so embarrassing.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:23:51] You didn’t laugh that day. Did you? But you’re laughing today.
Jennifer Andos: [00:23:53] I did not. But, I ended up winning that year, which is crazy. And then I went to the event and everybody at the event was, they’d go through like the five people in your category and everybody’s clapping, and I win and it’s like crickets clapping nothing because nobody in the room knew who I was. Crazy, it was crazy, but they vote on this like package things. So I had an established business, just nobody here knew that it was well established. Yeah.
Heather: [00:24:26] That’s hilarious.
Jennifer Andos: [00:24:27] It’s I don’t know if it’s funny then, but it’s hilarious to me now. I know.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:24:30] I think that’s just great life advice that, even the things that might make you cry one day, someday later becomes really good fodder on a podcast.
Jennifer Andos: [00:24:41] Oh, excellent. Exactly. Exactly. You never know. I know.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:24:45] You never know. Yeah. Jennifer, we’ve had a lot of fun today and really appreciate your time, you sharing a bit of your marketing journey and story, and your humor with us. And thanks for listening in and see us soon.
Jennifer Andos: [00:25:00] Thank you so fun. Good to see you, Heather. Nice to meet you, Jennifer.
Heather: [00:25:04] see you. Bye.
Jennifer Mulchandani: [00:25:12] Thanks for listening. We hope you’ll come back. Subscribe to The M Word, wherever you listen to podcasts. And for more uncensored conversations, visit The M Word Page at ArlingtonStrategy.com.