It’s Equal Pay Day.  Here are 20 reasons women excel in business and marketing.

It’s Equal Pay Day. Here are 20 reasons women excel in business and marketing.

April 4th is Equal Pay Day.  Last year, women earned about 80 cents on the dollar.

As a female business owner, I’ve seen the talent, determination, and fearlessness women bring to leading and marketing their businesses.  They combine bad-assery with resourcefulness and make s#@t happen for their people and their profits.


To celebrate Equal Pay Day and make up for those missing 20 cents, here are 20 reasons why the women on your team are worth every penny in growing your business and creating connections.

  1.  Women have the superpower of empathy, and use it to create great work environments and lead their teams.
  2. We have an amazing eye for opportunity, and the skills & determination to master productivity and profitability
  3. Clear strategic vision.  Every startup or established business needs that in spades.
  4. Women drive 70-80% of ALL CONSUMER SPENDING, and we know how to brand and market to them.
  5. Plain and simple, women are really great at managing money.
  6. Perseverance.  The ability to keep pushing through the ups and downs of running a business or raising capital.
  7. Amazing negotiation skills.  Whether it’s landing a top position in a predominantly male field or getting a toddler in the car for school, we know how to navigate challenging conversations with clarity and grace.
  8. Resilience. Understanding what it really takes, and how to put it in action.
  9. An incredible capacity for resourcefulness.  We find ways to make things happen, even if it’s inventing a way.
  10. We’re creative and inventive as hell.  Like beer? Central heating?  Your dishwasher?  Thank a woman.
  11. We understand how vulnerability leads to strong, authentic relationships – even with our customers and clients.  If you don’t think vulnerability has power, watch this Brene Brown TED talk with over 34 MILLION VIEWS.
  12. We are your calm eye at the center of a chaotic storm, particularly in times of  growth or change.
  13. When things get tough, we’re great at building support networks instead of flailing solo.
  14. We’re strong as hell.  I could link to a source here, or I could just recite how far we’ve come making 80 cents on the dollar, or ya know, childbirth.
  15. Our intuition helps us connect dots and make great choices for ourselves and our companies.
  16. We’re hardwired for great customer service, because we understand what makes people tick.
  17. We build powerful teams, because we know how to ask for the help we need from our colleagues.
  18. Strong emotional intelligence gives us an insight on what our colleagues and clients need to feel heard.
  19. Soft skills are magic sauce for a leadership team, and women have them in spades.
  20. Grit.  Angela Duckworth sums it up in this TED Talk that inspired that start of Spur Studio.  Let’s talk if you want to connect about the ways women can help grow your business.



Inspired Pursuits: Brand Strategy to Grand Opening for The Mountain Project

Inspired Pursuits: Brand Strategy to Grand Opening for The Mountain Project

The Spur team is a bunch of adventure junkies, finding inspiration and  twisted pleasure in pushing our limits. The deep peace and huge smiles we find in the mountains fuel our creativity and brings our brand strategy clarity. Naturally we were pretty amped to launch a new brand for a training facility developed specifically for mountain pursuits, founded by none other than The North Face Athlete, ultra-runner, and all around great human, Mike Wolfe.

To put it mildly, Mike is a beast. I mean, seriously, if you need some motivation watch this video of him running The Crown of the Continent from Montana to Canada or this interview. Right now.


Mike approached us this past winter with marketing needs for The Mountain Project a training and coaching facility that prepares athletes for achieving their full potential in the mountains. It’s also a community that harnesses their collective love for watching a sunrise from a mountain peak, and the true joy that comes from a day of deep powder and perfect lines.

Over the next few months, we had the pleasure of working closely with Mike to develop the foundation of his brand: a clear story, powerful logo, and professional business cards that capture the strength, focus, and wildness The Mountain Project represents. It was a blast every step of the way, constantly reminding us why we love where we live and what we do.


This past Thursday, Mike hosted the Grand Opening of The Mountain Project gym in Bozeman, and we joined in the celebration. The facility itself is beautiful. A stunning mural from local artist Rachel Pohl combining peaks from the Himalaya, the Andes, and the Bridger Ridge covers the entire eastern wall to keep athletes motivated.

But, it’s the community The Mountain Project has brought together that’s truly amazing. The people I met at the grand opening weren’t just incredibly fit. They were genuinely happy, deeply engaging and obviously ready for the next adventure, whatever that may be. My kiddo ran around and danced with other little mountaineers while parents drank craft brews and made plans for the next big run or ride. We talked about our stoke for the ski season, and confessed we may need Mike and his team to kick our butts into gear before it begins.

This level of comfort, camaraderie and inspiration I felt at that barbecue is The Mountain Project’s authentic brand, and it’s a damn good one.

If you need help defining the authentic story that inspires and motivates your target audiences, let’s talk. We’d love the grand adventure of creating a brand and defining a marketing strategy to shout your message from the mountaintops.

The Montana Brand and Marketing Strategy: Working Better Together

The Montana Brand and Marketing Strategy: Working Better Together

This week I had the pleasure of joining 100 or so other Montanans who are incredibly passionate about this amazing place we call home at the gorgeously restored boutique Hotel Arvon in Great Falls. I am leaving with more confidence than ever that I am beyond fortunate to live in the company of great minds, and even better hearts. I’m even more confident we were gifted an incredible marketing opportunity in the Montana brand – a powerful draw for visitors and businesses around the world.

The theme of the Montana Ambassadors Annual Conference was “Working Better Together”; a concept that absolutely defines what I believe makes Montana the Last Best Place. In a state that is nearly 150,000 square miles with just over 1 million people total population, I couldn’t possibly feel more surrounded by genuine companionship and true community. For all the times I find myself solo in wide, open spaces I never feel alone.

Why? Because Montana has a culture of rolling up our sleeves to do what’s needed to help our friends and neighbors when they could use an extra set of hands. Car trouble on a sleepy country road? No problem; it’s almost guaranteed the first (and possibly only) person to come by will stop and help. And you’ll probably get a good cup of coffee and some great conversation to share while you wait for a tow. As my friend and colleague from Leadership Montana Chantel Scheiffer said in this beautifully written op-ed about the importance of civility “what we hold in common often outweighs our differences…Montanans believe in the importance of hard work and an honest living…We raise barns, mend fences and if we see a ranch fire, we all pitch in to help.”

Damn straight we do. We pitch in and collaborate because of love, and work ethic, and pride. Because we see the value in ourselves and each other; and because we know Montana has a rich past and an even greater future. Keynote speaker and fellow HATCHer David Yakos of Salient Technologies followed with another powerful point that resonates so deeply with me: “We work in Montana to live in Montana.” We are incredibly fortunate to live in a culture that values balancing adventure, family, and creative expression with profitability and business growth. That balance makes it incredibly fulfilling and exciting to be growing a marketing agency with a head full of ideas and a heart full of the desire to explore more and live fully.

Thank you to all of our hosts and even organizers for helping us work better together.


Creative Inspiration & Powerful Connections At The First HATCH Latin America

Every so often in life the Universe delivers an invitation too amazing to pass up. When HATCH Founder Yarrow Kraner e-mailed an invitation to participate in the inaugural HATCH Latin America this winter, I knew immediately it was time to make room in my personal and work schedules to spend 10 days in Panama with a tribe of 150 creative catalysts and game changers.

Getting on that plane and being part of HATCH Latin America was unequivocally one of the best choices I’ve ever made. And I am so incredibly grateful for the creative inspiration, renewed business focus, and soulful recharge that took place during 4.5 days at Kalu Yala, and 5 days of decompression at Selina Hostels Playa Venao.

Here are my takeaways:

– Authentic, heartfelt connections and strong human relationships are where the real world changes take place. Let’s keep focusing there.

– Stepping away from the office and off-grid is the scariest/best thing I can do as Spur’s CEO and Lead Strategist. Coming back from HATCH, I’m more motivated than ever to do great work for our clients so they can keep doing great work for our communities and our world.

– Creativity is a muscle that needs to be continually trained and strengthened. I’m grateful I get to work with my clients whose projects challenge and strengthen that creative muscle regularly.

It was incredible to be in Panama with such an amazing and powerful network. And it’s fantastic to be back in Montana doing what I love from a place I’m grateful to call home. I love this intersection of adventure and forward momentum.

Cheers, Shannon

Golden Moments: Spur wins four 2014 ADDYs

As the principals of this creative agency, we wake up in beautiful Bozeman every morning knowing that we’ll be challenged and made stronger by our work. That we have another twenty-four hours of opportunity ahead of us to do what we love for people we admire. That we’ve found that beautiful confluence of good luck, hard work, and true fulfillment that feels an awful lot like the definition of success. This is what drives us and energizes us. But, if we’re being honest, it still feels pretty amazing to celebrate validation every now and then.

This past Saturday Spur was honored to receive four gold ADDYs from the Montana chapter of the American Advertising Federation. It was a high-five moment for our team. It was a fun night of acknowledging and appreciating what we’ve achieved in our existence as a creative agency. But, most importantly, it was an opportunity to reflect on the fact that we’ve been inspired to do some great work by clients who appreciate originality and give us creative free reign.

The gold ADDYs were for the Choose Montana and Innovate Montana branding and marketing campaigns developed for the Montana Governor’s Office of Economic Development; for the promotional campaign and website developed for Confluence Design | Build; for the launch campaign developed for fly fishing e-retailer FlyBox; and for the brand identity developed for ReThink Dentistry.

Each of these projects allowed us to explore new angles on messaging and how to convey that messaging through imagery. Every step along the way our clients supported our vision, and appreciated our commitment to forsaking good work for great work. That support is how we won these awards, and why we’re so excited about the next opportunities visible on the horizon.

In short, we are incredibly grateful to these clients and many others who have given us the opportunity to prove ourselves. We are also incredibly humbled by these golden moments of celebration.

Montana Impact Event

Today Montana Economic Developers Association brought together a great collection of Big Sky Country’s top economic development officials and business leaders in the Capitol building rotunda. Spur was proud to see all of the trade show displays and promotional collateral we’ve developed for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) on display in this gorgeous setting. This was the first time we’ve seen so many of the Choose Montana brand materials in one place, and it brought us big smiles to see how well they integrated visually, allowing for greater impact and memorability. Maybe it was the sun that had broken through this morning – allowing for a much-needed dose of Vitamin D – but with the positive feedback we received and the creative plans sparked by the setting, we’re feeling mighty inspired and grateful for this opportunity.