TAG Employee Highlight—Anne Spoden

TAG Employee Highlight—Anne Spoden

AnneA Business Marketing & Management graduate of Augustana College, Anne Spoden serves as the Director of Digital Services at TAG. Working closely with clients to build innovative lead generation strategies, Anne enjoys helping clients attract and retain customers with fun, engaging marketing tactics.

What’s Anne’s favorite part about social media marketing?

“I love the human element that social media marketing brings to the table. Social media is ever-changing which also allows me to be creative and explore new possibilities for our clients.”

But before Anne decided she wanted to work in the marketing industry, she had a few other aspirations in mind.

“When I was little, I really wanted to be a teacher, like my mom. But after I realized that I have no patience, and a bit of a diva personality, I figured I should find another career path.”

And we’re so lucky she has chosen a career path at TAG!

“My favorite thing about working at TAG is the people—hands down. It’s rare that you get to work at a place where you actually like the people you work with. But at TAG, I can honestly say that I not only like my coworkers, but truly value the creativity and personality they bring to the table.”

When she’s not working or chowing down on cheeseburgers, you can find Anne either exploring the Quad Cities, or curled up on her couch binge-watching the Real Housewives.

“When I’m not at work, I like to spend time with my fiancé Jim. Together, we like to travel and explore new, fun places in the Quad Cities. I’m also a huge Real Housewives’ fan. In fact, one of my goals in life is to start a Real Housewives of the Quad Cities!”

She’s also loves to show off her hidden talent …

Anne Party Tricks

I’m double jointed. I can twist my arms all the way around, and bend my fingers back to my wrists. It’s gross, but makes for a great party trick! ”

You do you, Anne.

Oh yeah, and she’s also getting married this summer—congrats!!!

 

Did you enjoy learning more about Anne? Keep checking our blog for more awesome employee highlights! TAG, we’re it!

The Best Places to Pig Out in Dubuque

The Best Places to Pig Out in Dubuque

Discover some of the best food around when you try any of these local restaurants in Dubuque! We asked members of the TAG team in the Dubuque office what some of their favorite places to grab a bite are. Check them out and let us know what you think!

Lot One

AJWeb developer, Andrew Haas, is a big fan of Lot One.

“You can find a great craft beer selection and the best tacos in town at Lot One.”

This laid back watering hole has pub style food and a fantastic, casual atmosphere. And the Reubens are amazing—actually, everything’s great!

If you’re looking for a great breakfast place, check out Lot One’s Sunday Funday menu. Every Sunday they’re cooking up some of the best omelets and pancakes in the area! There’s something on the menu for everyone at Lot One.

Kathleen HerberRubix

We can’t start our day without our morning coffee. For Kathleen Herber, Vice President of the Tri-State market, that means making a trip to Rubix.

“Rubix has great coffee, welcoming staff and a great atmosphere. You can’t beat it!”

The key to the excellent coffee is their locally grown coffee beans. The menu also includes delicious food and fantastic organic juices as well. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried their bacon chicken mac and cheese flatbread. If you’re looking for quick, delicious and diverse offerings, Rubix is your place!


L.May Eatery

We love L.May Eatery for the creative options, atmosphere and cocktails! From brick oven fired pizzas to amazing entrées that are changed seasonally, you literally can’t go wrong here! Better yet, they use locally grown ingredients and they have THE best sangria and martinis around. And the appetizer menu is fantastic, hands down best bruschetta in town!

You literally just can’t go wrong at L. May!

Copper Kettle

MikeThe Copper Kettle is a great place to relax with friends and family and enjoy great food and craft beers. The easygoing, lively bar & grill is a great spot for sports fans too, with multiple TVs. The service at Copper Kettle is fantastic and unparalleled.

From fresh salads and burgers to scotch eggs and white truffle parmesan fries, the eclectic menu is full of unique items. And if you haven’t tried the scotch egg yet, you should!

TAG CEO, Mike Vondran has been going to the Copper Kettle since he was a child.

“It’s fun to go back and have a flood of great memories every time. Besides, the food and service is outstanding.”

 

If you haven’t already, stop into the Copper Kettle, L. May Eatery, Rubix or Lot One for some of the best food around—you won’t regret it! These aren’t the only places that we love to frequent, but they’re some of our favorites. Is there a Dubuque restaurant we should be talking about? Let us know! Join our conversation on Facebook!

Top Four Places to Get Creative in the Quad Cities

Top Four Places to Get Creative in the Quad Cities

The Quad Cities is home to some awesomely creative and inspiring places! So, next time you’re looking to get inspired, be sure to check out one of these top four places to get creative in the Quad Cities—courtesy of the TAG team.

QC Co-Lab
The QC Co-Lab was established in 2010, and provides an excellent space for creative minds to make meaningful masterpieces! Promoting the areas of technology, science, engineering, art and music, the Co-Lab houses detailed project rooms, including industrial and electrical workshops, a library and classroom and a state-of-the-art AV studio. QC Co-Lab is available to non-members, as well as special events, workshops and a regular Open Houses every Saturday. A QC Co-Lab membership is $30 per month, but provides you access to any and all equipment or rooms you need for your project—what a great concept!
QC CoLab

Quad City Arts
Quad City Arts is a non-profit arts organization that focuses on advocating for local artists by providing the Quad Cities community with educational performing arts programs and services. What’s great about Quad City Arts, is that they offer year-round programming, so you can stay creative all year long. Whether looking to be inspired by up-and-coming artists, or wanting to take a more hands-on approach with visual workshops and events, Quad City Arts offers everything you need to channel your inner creativity and have fun.
QC Arts
Figge Art Museum
The Figge Art Museum is a premier art exhibition and education facility, located in the heart of downtown Davenport. Home to one of the Midwest’s finest art collections, and host to world-class traveling exhibitions, the Figge is one of the best places in the Quad Cities to get your creative juices flowing. If looking at art isn’t your thing, the Figge also offers a variety of interactive art classes for both youth and adults. And, if you’re looking for a fun place to take your kids on a rainy springtime afternoon, their Artica Gallery / Family Activity Center offers a great imaginative spot to hang.
Figge
Crafted Quad Cities
Do you like to craft? Then you’ll love Crafted Quad Cities! Not only can you shop for adorable, hand-made items at Crafted Quad Cities, but they also host a variety of crafting classes—available on nights, days and weekends. If you’re ready to make stuff, they’re ready to help!
Crafted QC
Wherever you choose to get creative in the Quad Cities, all that matters is that you are finding a great place to express your inner creativity. Where are some of your favorite spots in the Quad Cities to get creative? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.

TAG Employee Highlight: Brian Buckles

TAG Employee Highlight: Brian Buckles

A creative problem solver, Brian Buckles, Director of Design Services at TAG, works with our clients to help build their brands.

Brian is a Bettendorf native and a graduate of Iowa State University.

“I always knew I wanted to do something with art. My high school art teacher here in Bettendorf was a huge factor in my career path. He was an awesome teacher and taught us at a college level. He showed me different career opportunities for artists and encouraged me to pursue graphic design at Iowa State.”

Art has been his passion since he was little—but not his only passion.

Buckles Shark“When I was little I went back and forth between wanting to be an artist and wanting to be a marine biologist because I love sharks. Shark week is one of my favorite times of year. I even have tapes from when I was a kid of recorded shark shows.”

In fact, he loves sharks so much that if he were a superhero, he would be Shark Man.

“I’m not sure what my powers would be. I could have a great sense of smell, because sharks have an awesome sense of smell. But my powers would probably be to save the sharks from over-fishing somehow.”

When he’s not working, Brian’s time revolves around his family.

“Family is the most important thing to me. I love spending time with my three kids, and I really enjoy playing and watching basketball, too. We don’t have Netflix or cable anymore, but when we did I used to binge watch shows like New Girl. ”

His attention to detail and creative eye makes him fantastic at his job. His favorite part about working at TAG is getting to work with people who are specialists in their respective fields.

“I try to use whatever God-given abilities I have to bring a smile to someone’s face.

Of course, designing to produce effective communication that ultimately leads to increased sales for our client’s is incredibly important, and I take great pride in helping them accomplish those goals. But that moment when they first see something we’ve created and their face just lights up; that little moment makes all of it worth it.”

How does Brian sustain the energy to produce such amazing works of art? He can’t live without coffee!

Learn more about Brian and his talents by visiting our website portfolio.

TAG Team Highlight: Jordan Kremer

TAG Team Highlight: Jordan Kremer

Who’s Google Analytics and AdWords certified and ready to take your online marketing to the next level? Jordan Kremer, TAG’s Associate Digital Analyst!

“ I come up with strategies to get consumers to our clients’ websites and analyze what they do once they’re on the website,” said Jordan. “I enjoy the challenge of learning new things. Since Google is a constantly evolving marketing platform, it gives us the flexibility and challenge to create new, innovative campaigns that drive results.”

“The best part of Google AdWords is how specific it can get—it’s all data-driven.”

Originally from Cedar Rapids, Jordan graduated from St. Ambrose University with a degree in Business Marketing and Management.

“I love the location of the Quad Cities—it’s a short trip to Iowa City for a game, or a weekend in Chicago with friends.”

When Jordan isn’t at TAG performing the duties of a Google Master, you can find him working out or reading. His latest literary find? Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin  (the book, not the show …).

You’ll also spot him at Van’s in Davenport, throwing back some beverages and buffalo chicken dip.

A lover of Halloween, Jordan can also juggle three things at a time (see below!).
Jordan Juggles

Where does Jordan see himself in five years?

“In five years, I’d like to be graduated with an MBA to advance myself in my career. I’ve always had an interest in venture capital as well.”

 

For more information on Jordan, and the role he performs at TAG, visit our website!

 

Five Follow-Worthy Celebrity Accounts on Instagram

Currently, there are more than 400 million people using Instagram to share their life through pictures and videos. And of those 400 million people, we are sure you have certain types of accounts you prefer to follow. Home & lifestyle, action, fashion, beauty … you name it. But what about celebrities? Here’s a list of five follow-worthy celebrity accounts on Instagram you MUST follow today.

1. Who: Ellen Degeneres—The Ellen Show
Why you should follow her: @theellenshow is one of the savviest show Instagram accounts out there. Her posts are fun, visual and—of course—hilarious! If you don’t follow her for her #ClassicJokeFriday bits, then at least follow her for her special behind-the-scenes sneak peaks and celebrity close ups. Bottom line, if you’re looking for a quick smile or chuckle after a long day, you can count on @theellenshow to deliver.
Ellen DeGeneres

2. Who: Humans of New York
Why you should follow them: @humansofny shares moving stories from everyday people in the heart of the Big Apple—all guaranteed to warm your heart, and make you feel great about people everywhere. The photos are stunning, the stories are groundbreaking and the people are real—follow, follow, follow!
Humans of New York

3. Who: Ian Somerhalder
Why you should follow him: @iansomerhalder is a huge animal rights activist and a lover of all things good in life. His Instagram account is filled with photos of adorable animals, updates about his work projects and causes he supports, as well as behind-the-scenes shots of The Vampire Diaries—who doesn’t love that? Basically, it’s just an all-around great account filled with real, life-changing things!
Ian S.

4.Who: Rihanna
Why should you follow her: Rihanna made her @BadGalRiRi handle a top priority this past year, posting next-level selfies, hosting killer photo shoots and keeping her fans entertained with hilarious captions and comments. Plus, she’s not afraid to keep it real with adorable photos of her family and friends. 
Rihanna

 5. Who: Lauren Conrad
Why you should follow her: Pretty pastels, fashion musts and beauty inspiration is what you’ll find on @laurenconrad’s Instagram. For those seeking adventure, creative inspiration and active endeavors, following this account is a must.
Lauren Conrad

Well there you have it, a list of Insta-famous accounts, all guaranteed to transform your Insta-experience. Which accounts will you follow? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook!

 

*While this is not an Instagram account, we couldn’t end this blog without giving a special Snapchat shout out to DJ Khaled! This man is currently the king of Snapchat, giving his followers behind-the-scenes access to his everyday life to share with the world exactly what he’s doing, planning and thinking—it’s hilarious! Watch his SnapStory daily to find out the “Keys to Success”—remember, they don’t want you to succeed!
DJ Khaled

TAG Team Highlight: Lauren Santee

TAG Team Highlight: Lauren Santee

If you’re looking to have a quirky conversation with a down-to-earth, creative soul, Lauren Santee is your girl.

Serving as one of TAG’s Social Media Specialists, Lauren writes custom social media content for clients and  creates strategies to develop the best social media tactics to differentiate their brands within the market.

“I like to be creative and help businesses take pride in themselves,” said Lauren. “Social media is a way to help them stand for something, and help them communicate with their customers in a creative way.”

A graduate of  Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, Lauren majored in Business Marketing and Communication Studies.

“I did nothing of relevance on campus—I was just busy living my life.”

At TAG, we’re happy that Lauren has decided to live her life in our social media department!

“My favorite part about working at TAG is the people. We can all be creative together and create great ideas that help our clients succeed.”

Before coming to TAG, and before Augustana, Lauren took a year off of school and decided to pursue her passion in music and make a CD.

“I had some connections in New York City, and decided to head out there. I recorded an album there, then created a music video in a warehouse in Chicago. It was a way for me to have a creative outlet and music sparked my interest at the time.”

{Watch Lauren’s music video for “Let Down” below!}

 

AsideBentley from music and social media, Lauren is passionate about her dog, Bentley, and her family. Outside of TAG, you can find her sipping on a rum & diet (with a lime!), eating chips & French onion dip and writing posts for her new blog, Fetch—a blog for dogs and their humans.

 

Lauren’s final words for this interview? “Stop trying to make fetch happen. It’s not going to happen!”

Expanding Our Presence in Dubuque

Expanding Our Presence in Dubuque

Kathleen HerberIn 2012, TAG was proud to open a second office in Dubuque, Iowa, filling a need in the region for a marketing and communications firm with an emphasis on strategic planning and growth.

As the Vice President Tri-State Region, Kathleen Herber and the team work to expand the reach of the TAG community through developing partnerships with local businesses. We have been partnering with firms within the Tri-State area for more than 25 years, and our expansion is a result of the local market needs that have been growing exponentially over the last few years. TAG is uniquely qualified to serve those investing in brand development and management as a full service firm. We pride ourselves on providing real continuity and genuine focus on brand and its successful integration and execution with real passion.

“Our physical growth is in direct response to the business growth we’ve seen in the last several months. The Tri-State region has really welcomed TAG with open arms and has been so very kind in terms of expanded relationships. Our mission at TAG is to become our client’s most valued business partner and we are very grateful that so many Dubuque area businesses and industries have given us that opportunity. We look forward to further growth and expansion in the months and years to come,” adds Mike Vondran, CEO of TAG.

Brand value in this digital age comes in a variety of messaging platforms, and while the marketplace is recognizing this, they rely on partners they can trust to truly capitalize on their brand equity and strategic messaging. That’s where we come in. Our mission is to be recognized as the most valued business partner by our clients. We’ve built our team based upon the ability to adapt, and move quickly and effectively in an evolutionary and responsive way.

Mike HeadshotWe’re building brands, and now with our additional space, we’re going to be able to make an even bigger impact for our clients. We’re excited to continue work in the Dubuque area with our unified commitment, uncommon energy and adventurous spirit!

As a Dubuque native, this expansion means a great deal to Vondran. “Dubuque is my home. I was raised in this community and it provided me with a very firm foundation to build upon. To come home and truly be a part of the local community once again is very rewarding. I am excited to see where we can go in partnership with this great community.”

If you’re in search of a full service agency to build your brand and work with you like no other agency will visit our website!

 

The holidays are good for these three things

Say hello to the most wonderful time of the year—the holidays are here! While we understand that the holiday season brings different traditions and meanings for everyone, we’d argue that there are a few holiday festivities that are loved by all. Here’s a list of the three best things all of us at TAG look forward to each and every holiday season!

Binge watching holiday classics
December is the one time of year you can snuggle up with a warm cup of cocoa and binge watch your favorite holiday movies—without feeling guilty about all the other things you “should” be doing instead. Come December 1, all agendas go out the window. The only thing that matters is catching that seven o’clock premiere of Miracle on 34th Street, followed up by Elf on ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas! Face it, there’s no way not to smile while watching these holiday classics.

Elf

Sippin’ some seasonal delights
It’s time to get those taste buds ready, because the holidays are known to produce some killer drink combos. Peppermint mocha lattes? Eggnog … with peppermint schnapps? Warm apple cider? Yes please! One sip of these seasonal delights is all you need to instantly embrace the holiday spirit. Some restaurants are even taking their love for holiday beverages to the next level by adding a little festive flare to their menus—like eggnog flavored pancakes and peppermint milkshakes. We approve!

Brace Yourselves

Spending quality time with the family
All joking aside, the number one thing to look forward to during the holiday season is the quality time you get to spend with your family and friends. Holiday parties bring the perfect excuse for everyone to get together, eat good food, drink good drinks and create wonderful memories. No matter the traditions your family chooses to follow, it’s always nice to spend this time of year with those most important to you.

Griswold

 

All of us at TAG wish you and your family a very happy holiday! May you watch too many holiday movies, drink way too many holiday drinks and spend some much needed quality time with those you love. Cheers, everyone!

It’s the night before Christmas, and these faces will get you edited out of family photos

A Christmas story told with the help of Director of Digital Services Anne Spoden

Whether you have a go-to pose or just can’t even by the time family photo time rolls around, take notes as we tell you the story of how NOT to take a holiday photo this year!

Twas the night before Christmas, when all throughout TAG,
We got a lesson on posing from the singular Anne.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
Anne stood by the tree with her usual flair.
See, while we in the office typed away at our desks,
Visions of family photos danced in our heads.
I writing content and Anne writing estimates,
Had just settled down after yesterday’s Festivus,
When Anne suddenly started and rose to her feet,
Exasperated with photos on her Facebook Newsfeed.
“We have to end this madness,” said she,
And we both ventured out by the HAVlife tree.

The first common face that we struck from the list
Was the duck face—half-closed eyes and pursed lips.

Then appeared the face that you throw
When you’re so over it—and want everyone to know.

The next face, though cheery, we forbid you to make;
Let’s just call it the “too much wine peace” face.

This “excited to be here” face is too much,
Though genuine, tone it down just a touch!

We call this one the “I refuse to smile after those
offensive comments you made during dinner” pose.

 

Her eyes all a-twinkle, having said her short piece,
Anne returned to her desk with a sigh of relief.
We in the office all oohed and we aahed;
Anne’s expertise earned her rounds of applause.
Now we had a guide; we had no need to dread,
And those awkward family photos flew from our heads.
She sprang back to her work, to her team gave a wink,
And away we all went, working together in sync.
So, from the TAG team to you, from our office so bright,
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!