From coding to designing complete websites, the Lenz’s Interactive team is able to do it all. A recent project of the interactive department has been to switch out client sites using Google Custom Site Search to one powered by Solr instead.

Google Custom Site Search is great. It’s simple to use and since it has Google’s search ability, it pulls up smart search results rather than “dumb word search,” meaning that it’s able to analyze the site’s content and rank the order in which it’s listed so the user can find what they’re looking for instead of having irrelevant pages pop up that happen to include the search term. SouthCoast Health’s website is a great example of how Google Custom Site Search pulls up results for users:

So, why stop using Google Custom Site Search? Well, Google decided to discontinue the paid version of this service in April 2017. When a subscription runs out, the account is downgraded to the free version and its mandatory ads. With the news, the Lenz interactive team got busy looking at alternatives.

The free version of Google Custom Search displays ads above the results.

After heavy consideration, the team decided to switch to using the Solr search platform. Though more complicated to set up and not as smart as the Google Custom Site Search, Solr has “learning to rank,” or LTR, capabilities as well. These ranking capabilities paired with Solr’s robust schema flexibility gives the website developer complete control over how search results are pulled up – even more control than what Google offered!

Though implementing Solr’s search platform is time consuming, Lenz’s interactive team continues to work hard to ensure all our clients’ websites have smart, fully functioning search engines that’ll point users in the right direction.

Lenz is proud to host many interns that leave behind legacies of hard work, creative ideas, and lasting relationships. It should come as no surprise that our 2017 summer intern Allison Miller would combine her social media savvy and natural design talent to leave us with an especially unique legacy: a Snapchat geofilter.

For the 158 million people who use Snapchat every day, one of the most popular features are the geofilters—creative overlays based on location and time that appear around the user’s picture or video. During Allison’s summer internship with Lenz, she noticed the area around the Lenz office in downtown Decatur was lacking a geofilter option that truly expressed the colorful and creative atmosphere of the community. So, she decided to do something about it by designing and submitting her own geofilter for the downtown Decatur Square. As a part of the application process, Allison detailed the rich, cultural history of the Decatur area as her creative inspiration.

Read what she had to say:

“This summer I’ve been spending a lot of time in Decatur interning at a marketing agency. I’ve learned that the agency Lenz has had quite a positive impact on the area.”

“As an avid Snapchat user, I noticed that Decatur had several community geofilters, but none of them really represented the rich culture contained here. Therefore, I decided to use my graphic design skills to create my own. I chose the guitar because Decatur is rich with music history, having been the place where Indigo Girls, John Mayer, Shawn Mullins, and Sugarland got their starts. I just hope that I can continue my boss’ dream of making Decatur the best it can be, and I feel that Snapchat can help.”

Be on the lookout for this Allison’s Snapchat geofilter next time you’re taking a selfie on the Decatur Square!

Our friends at PT Solutions Physical Therapy recently celebrated their 14th birthday! In those 14 years, this physical therapy practice has grown from one clinic in Eufaula, Alabama to 120 across 12 different states. Team Lenz helped celebrate this growth and success the best way we know how: awesome digital content.

Take a look at the videos, graphics, and copy we crafted to commemorate this occasion below. When you’re done, also check out the blog we wrote that celebrates 14 wonderful years in business. Here’s to many more!

 

 

By Jon Waterhouse

As a lifelong Elvis fan, I’ve been curling my lip and swiveling my hip to the king’s music for as long as I can remember.

Several years ago, when Elvis Presley Enterprises first asked me to blog for Elvis Week  –the annual gathering of Elvis fans from all over the globe at Graceland, Elvis’ former home in Memphis, Tenn.– I was all shook up, to say the least.

Elvis Week 2017 took place August 11-19, marking the 40th anniversary of Presley’s passing. It wound up being my fifth opportunity to be the official Elvis Week blogger, and my Lenz work family was gracious enough to allow me to take care of blogging business. (Having only been a Lenzer since April, I was thrilled by their support. It’s yet another reason I can’t help falling in love with the company.)

The Elvis Week blogging gig basically means I’m the eyes and ears of fellow fans for the duration of the royal, rocking festivities. Elvis’ musical collaborators, movie co-stars, friends, family members, and others participate in live Q&A sessions, concerts, and more. And the special events run the gamut from an Elvis Presley 5K to a sold-out Elvis dance party.

This year proved to be the longest and arguably largest Elvis Week in history. Although official numbers haven’t been released, I’m guessing somewhere near 80,000 unique visitors attended across those nine days.

On August 15 alone, the eve of the anniversary of Elvis’ death, approximately 55,000 fans lined Elvis Presley Boulevard in front of the Graceland mansion for the Candlelight Vigil. This annual procession of fans up the estate’s driveway to Elvis’ gravesite in the backyard lasted into the next morning. The devoted respectfully took turns taking the trek, candles in hand. Extraordinary, singular, and awe inspiring.

While covering happenings such as the Candlelight Vigil, time management continues to be the biggest challenge of Elvis Week blogging. After hoofing it in my blue suede shoes from one event to the next, day turns to night. And then I have a blog to write.

Yet, despite the rigors of the gig, it’s unbelievably fun and a dream job for an Elvis nut such as I. Curious? You can check out my blogs here:Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7Day 8 and my Day 9 Wrap-Up.

The last blog details 10 of my favorite aspects of Elvis Week 2017. Below I’ve added a few of my favorite portions of the trip.

The Food

Maximum caloric intake always accompanies my Elvis Week excursions, and Memphians perpetually debate over the best barbecue in town. Like many repeat visitors, I have my favorites. A trip to Cozy Corner for a barbecued Cornish hen remains mandatory. Marlowe’s, just down Elvis Presley Boulevard from Graceland, often gets overlooked, but always delivers. Before the big 40th anniversary celebration concert at the Fed Ex Forum, I gorged at Charlie Vergos Rendezvous. The dry rub on the ribs never fails to delight.

 

The Shopping

For me, credit card fatigue during Elvis Week is real. The gift shops at Elvis Presley’s Memphis, the new 40-acre complex just across the street from Graceland, overflows with kingly merch that begs to jump into my shopping bag. And I always love shopping from the same clothier Elvis did. Lansky Bros., located in the lobby of the iconic Peabody Hotel, boasts the kind of fashion that first attracted a pre-fame Presley at its original location on Beale Street. I stopped in to pay a visit to my friend Hal Lansky, whose dad Bernard dressed Elvis himselvis. After outfitting me to the nines, Hal relayed one of his many Elvis tales.

The Elvisness

The tangible spirit of Elvis Presley during Elvis Week runs thicker than mushed up peanut butter and banana. I find it living in the fans I meet from around the world; the Elvis tribute artists who carry the torch; and at the Graceland mansion and in the adjacent museums. The latter, found at Elvis Presley’s Memphis, features up-close-and-personal access to Presley memorabilia. The king knew his bling, and here are a few of the pics I snapped of his stage duds.

Lenz is proud to present the DeKalb Library Foundation’s Tapas & Trivia, to take place on Thursday, September 28 at the DeKalb History Center. Join Lenz is supporting the DeKalb Library Foundation, whose mission is to provide support beyond public funding while presenting educational, cultural, and literary programs and services to DeKalb County citizens. All proceeds of the event will go towards these efforts.

Visit this page here to buy tickets to Tapas & Trivia presented by Lenz.

“Lenz is all about enriching the community that surrounds us,” said Lenz Founder, President, and CEO Richard Lenz. “We’re excited to support an event that helps improve the lives of the people living in DeKalb County, which Lenz calls home.”

Participants should expect to enjoy tapas while bidding on live and silent auction items. There will also be a local trivia company, Trivial Matters, running a literature and library-related game of trivia.

Lenz is proud to once again support ProstAware’s ninth annual Blue Ties Luncheon as a Diamond level sponsor. As in years past, Lenz is helping to promote the event through traditional and digital media services.

The Blue Ties luncheon on September 8th benefits ProstAware, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing prostate cancer awareness and education to men and their loved ones. This year’s event will feature a keynote address given by legendary NFL coach Dan Reeves, and a special guest appearance by William King of iconic funk & soul band The Commodores. Last year’s Blue Ties Luncheon helped raise a record $125,000 for the cause.

Tune into “The Weekly Check-Up with Dr. Bruce Feinberg” on Sunday August 27 from 3-5 p.m. to listen to an entirely Blue Ties themed show, featuring guest appearances by the organization’s founder and president, Dr. Scott Miller, and executive director, Tim Smith.

Other sponsors of the event include Georgia Urology, Toyota, Northside Hospital Cancer Institute, the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, UPS, and The Coca-Cola Company.

If you’re interested in attending this year’s luncheon, visit the ProstAware website for more information and to buy tickets!

Allison Miller created the following article during her 2017 summer internship at Lenz.

Only eight short weeks ago, I began an internship in the creative department at a small (but influential) marketing firm known as Lenz.

Like every summer, time went by too fast. Before I say goodbye for now, here are five of the most influential things I learned during my time as a LENZtern.

Community matters.

While I spent most of my internship working at a desk, there were times when I was able to explore the area around the office – and in turn, learn about the community that surrounds it.

The highlight of every day is walking through the One West Court Square building in the morning and being greeted by the security guard, Tony.

“Good morning, Allison! I hope you have a wonderful Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday / Friday.” Though our conversations are short and similar each time, it is always a pleasure being greeted by such an optimistic member of the community.

“Thank You” goes a long way.

“Thank you” notes are common practice in the world of business. At Lenz, however, everyone goes beyond expectations by thanking anyone and everyone for things as small as fixing the lock on a door to things as big as getting treated for lunch.

Experiencing such great appreciation firsthand really showed me how much better it feels when someone thanks you for your effort. I have found that it effortlessly promotes a healthy, happy work environment.

Collaboration is the key to success.

The most inspiring work I have done this summer has been created through some form of working with my supervisors and the other intern, Laura. Whether it was creating graphics or generating content for a client, my best work was generated through collaboration.

Because we specialize in building brands, almost every project I did was shaped by previous work. While trying to stay on brand with graphics can be limiting, I was actually intrigued by the challenge of creating something unique within brand guidelines.

Lenz is more than just a business.

I was originally drawn to Lenz because of the effort put into creating a great experience for clients and community members. Richard founded Lenz on the basis of “rejecting the negative reputation of the marketing industry and using the same tools for positive change.”

As my experience progressed, I could see just how much that statement was truly applied to company work ethic. At Lenz, everyone pays attention to detail, thinks outside the box, and goes above and beyond what is asked to ensure that everyone who interacts with our team leaves feeling great.

An internship is more than just a job.

My internship was typical in that I worked a simple 9-5 shift Monday through Friday. However, I found that when the clock stopped, my experience did not.

During the first week, Richard sent Laura and me an article titled The Other Sixteen Hours of Your Internship. The article described how an internship is so much more than a job; an internship is an experience. What I chose to do with my hours outside the office mattered as much as official work.

From working at my desk – to building relationships with professionals in my field – to chasing squirrels on the roof, I can say that my experience at Lenz was like no other in the best way imaginable.

A work by Lenz Creative Director Ben Barnes recently received worldwide recognition, when it was hosted at a museum in Milan, Italy.

The poster, entitled “Sow,” is the first in a series of three posters. Ben created the poster back in the mid 2000s based on the World War II Victory Garden Posters, most notably borrowing their militarist feel with a strong call to action. When asked why he made the poster, Ben said, “I wanted to do some good with the skill set that I had.” Ben wanted to motivate people to help the environment, and the poster does so by encouraging everyone to plant a garden.

When Ben began creating the poster, a professor that inspired Ben pointed him in the direction of a contest. The contest, called Green Patriot Posters, was hosted by two professors at the Rhode Island School of Design through an idea they called the “Canary Project.” The professors, just like Ben, wanted to use design as a way to do good and help the environment. The contest called for posters that had an aspect of environmental activism, and Ben’s poster fit right in. A year after the contest, the Canary Project picked Ben’s poster to be a part of a book produced from other art entered in the competition, alongside artists Shepard Fairey and DJ Spooky. The book received recognition from multiple online sources, including wired.com.

From there, the success of the poster snowballed. A year later, Ben was asked if his poster could be included in a large format calendar which would be released in Germany. Of course, he said yes. Fast forward yet another year, and the poster was included in a nationwide design museum tour alongside several other graphic design works. The exhibition was called “GRAPHIC DESIGN: NOW IN PRODUCTION,” and its travel list would make any voyager jealous. From New York to Texas to Los Angeles, Ben’s poster traveled across the states.

But the poster’s journey wasn’t done. Ben’s work made it all the way to Milan, Italy at the Triennale di Milaon Musuem. The poster joined other photographs, publications, and graphic materials produced by artists, architects, and community gardeners from across the globe. The exhibition, called ‘Urban Orchard’ and a part of the events of the 21st Triennale International Exhibition, presented a series of subjects related to urban agriculture.

Ben says, “It was all overwhelming, shocking, and surprising! I wasn’t expecting anything to come out of it. I was just thinking that this is something I could do and maybe use for my portfolio to show potential employers where my head is at. It’s just nice to feel like I could do more.”

Ben also said that, to him, his design and work isn’t about the recognition or awards. It’s about doing what he loves.