Joseph Muenich, Director of First Impressions

Joseph Muenich

Director of First Impressions
I am Joseph Muenich, the Office Manager and Director of First Impressions for KW2. I enjoy gardening, cooking, boating, fishing, skiing and the Farmers Markets in and around Madison. I moved here from Silt, Colorado in 2000.
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Introducing the Intern Journal – Chapter 1

We’ve started a new tradition at KW2. We picked up a blank journal that we’ll leave with our ever evolving team of interns to communicate across time with one another. Each new intern will be encouraged to tell us their expectations. Through their time here, and most importantly, at the end, we’ll ask them to note the big takeaways from their experience.

Here’s what we got on our first try:

The Intern Journal Entry #1
By Taylor Laabs

3 Big Takeaways From My Internship

1. ASK
Asking questions is a big part of why I had such a great time here. Ask to be in meetings, ask to see new work, ask any questions you may have regarding advertising. Most importantly, ask and be proactive in looking for new work and projects. The projects I asked to be a part of were often the most fun and interesting for me.

2. HAVE FUN
Embrace the culture here, because it’s a great one. Try to attend as many Happy Hours, Beer:30’s and Good Music events as you can. Because during these events are when the best and most meaningful relationships form.

3. CONNECT
Try to form as many relationships with people here as you can. These people know their craft and have a lot of knowledge they’d love to share with you. Informational Interviews are also helpful. Plus, these people are connected to a wide array of contacts and industries that may prove useful to you later on.

Interns are important to us. We value our interns at KW2 and share everything we possibly can with them. They’re involved right away in the thick of things and bring valuable insight. Heck, we’ve even hired a few over the years. It’s amazing to see them go on to big agency jobs in Chicago, New York and LA. It’s wonderful when they come back to visit and tell us about their new adventures.

We thought of The Intern Journal as a tool to help new interns get comfortable and learn about KW2: who we are and what we do. But the good folks at KW2 will certainly learn from reading these words of intern wisdom.

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First (and Lasting) Impressions

The advertising world is a great place for me. There are artists, strategists, writers, digital experts, musicians and other creative minds working with people who specialize in making budgets work and numbers fit into spreadsheets, which in turn churn out invoices, reports, and everything we need to help clients succeed.

I’m a little bit of all of these things. I am creative in that I have been an artist, actor, director and musician. I am also adept in the office environment. I know how to clear most jammed printers, order lunch for 40 people, mail merge and more.

The thing I do best, however, is answer the telephone. This tiny, little part of every day is such a huge deal to me. I am lucky it’s also a huge deal to my employer and our company culture.

Every time the phone rings, it’s my opportunity to get it right, to do something great for someone else. I’ve learned how to smile on the phone and convey that smile to the person on the other end. It is important that I make a caller feel taken care of. It’s so much more than just getting someone the extension they are looking for. It is about shepherding them to the person or information they need, while assuring them that they’re in good hands.

I know from experience that the initial contact can make all the difference. One time, I had an issue with my muffler. I called CarX and the guy on the other line made me feel so sure that I had called the right place; I immediately took my car there. When that same voice greeted me at the door, I became a CarX customer, exclusively.

The hook for me was seeing the face, with the same smile I had heard on the line. It was meeting the one who listened and already understood my problem. It was watching him explain my issue to the mechanic and give me an estimate that was fair, and delivered on. I continued to go there until another mechanic amazed me with even better customer service. There was an important lesson in leaving CarX, too.

First Impressions are important, but lasting ones take a lifetime of work. It’s about keeping the smile on all the time, giving all you can, and making sure you choose the right way to feel around your customers, your co-workers, and your community. The co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s, Ben Cohen, once said, “There is a spiritual aspect to our lives – when we give we receive – when a business does something good for somebody, that somebody feels good about them!”

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I can hardly wait for my Common Cup.

I use the same coffee cup every day, and have for six years. It’s a pyramid-shaped, ceramic mug designed to sit on the dash of a car, with a foam base that won’t slide or spill. It means the world to me. My mother gave me one that looked just like it fifteen years ago. I used that one every day until it broke. I found this cup at a yard sale the next day. It was like a sign or kismet, because it was green and brown, like my new reception desk, and the same shape as the cup from my mom. It was a perfect match. It soon became an extension of my hand.

When my old company closed and I learned of an opportunity at KW2, I was thrilled to read about the Common Cup. “The Secret Sauce,” as the website described. It was about creating community. It was about recognizing that togetherness, collaboration, and really great work were things that grew out of good relationships. And good relationships were based on things like eating meals together, celebrating milestones together, and drinking coffee together from our common cups. I knew about that stuff. I’d experienced that already, in my own way, with my own cup. Suddenly, I wanted a Common Cup of my own – real bad. After getting the job I found myself looking at co-workers cups, putting them away from the dishwasher, wishing and waiting for the chance to hold my own.

The process is long. There are steps involved that take time. The kiln itself at Cambridge Wood-Fired Pottery only fires up three or four times a year. It takes six days of 24-hour care of the flames to generate the heat it requires.

So, today the fires burn in Cambridge. And inside me burns excitement for my own Common Cup. My hopes and fears all spun up in a piece of art I allow to help define me, and define the company culture I am now a part of. That is the good stuff. I’ll let you know how it comes out!

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