Creating art at the end of the world

On the first hot sunny day of the season, with temperatures of 29C, the Iconium Media film crew ventured around Edmonton to film Soap Box Duo's music video which will appear in RSVP Ministries upcoming film series, Voice. The series is designed to encourage people to come alongside one another and to give a voice to those who are silent.  This three part series tells the story of Alexander and Jenesa's journey.  

RSVP Ministries creates small group curriculum that features film. Check out their website, where you can order and purchase one of their previously completed series. 

Iconium Media is thankful for the opportunity to partner with clients who use powerful storytelling to help make a profound difference in people's lives.  

The Soap Box Duo, Alexander and Jenesa. 

Music video: Shades of Blue. 2017.

Music video: Shades of Blue. 2017.

Meet our team

The Iconium team creates compelling and engaging visual stories. We work together, complimenting one another's skills.  Our team consists of: Zachary Walter, Jr. Designer; Denver Capcara, Filmmaker; Dana Franklin, Content Specialist; Kaylin Schenk, Jr. Designer; Karen Schenk, CEO; Chantal Beaudoin, Content Developer; Adam Hutlet, Filmmaker. Missing: Cheryl Purschke, Sr. Designer.

The power of emotional storytelling

Use engaging media that makes them feel and respond

If you really want to engage your audience so that they cannot help but engage with the message or service you offer, you have only a moment to capture their attention.  Once captured, you need keep it.   We have found these tips helpful in creating media that elicits a response.

A beautifully shot cinematic film or photography will stun you with its spectacular beauty. The combination of well framed shots and perfect music can make ordinary things look spectacular.  A well-written script captures your attention and leaves you riveted and deeply engaged.  You know those times when you clicked away because somehow the story or the visuals lost your interest.  You don’t want that to happen.

What is it about media that makes it work?  How do you know when the piece has “IT”?  What exactly is “IT”?   Capturing emotion in film is a huge challenge. There are many key factors at play that storytellers face, however, there are several things that can be done towards keeping your audience engaged.

Three tips to capture the emotion of your brand

1. Set the stage

The backdrop, the props, the details and the stage create the context for the story, whether told on film or in your photos.  As a script is being written, help people frame your story and help understand what the story is part of.  Show the big picture and help them grasp what is about to happen.  On film, this involves showing shots that give context. The story needs to be positioned and anchored.  This story is being told on your website, your social media presence and in your print material.

2. Master the art of perfect timing

There are key moments that take place in any story. It may include a frown, a tear, or a flicker of anger.  It’s there one moment and then gone the next. To capture these moments on film, the cameraperson needs to anticipate, and to feel what is taking place. They need to be prepared to zoom in tight as the emotion heightens. They need to be familiar with the story so they can anticipate what might happen.  Many of those 1-second moments are caught on camera because someone’s emotional engagement was high enough to feel the story.  As they felt it, they caught it on camera.  They were intentional.

3. Build your story in a powerfully engaging way

The camera captures the footage, but even the most beautiful filming does not result in a powerful story. The real work happens at the editing suite. This is where the cinematic shots, the script, the music and the vision come together. Stay with the story. It’s not just an assembling of footage or positioning a photo. This is where the visuals make the audience feel.  If key parts are missing and you still don’t have “it”, this is where you take the time and go get that piece.  It matters. The story you are creating needs to be powerful. 

What do you want people to feel?  Will they stay engaged long enough to get there?  Understand that people are busy. They really don’t care what you create unless it looks interesting enough to make them click. Then, once they’ve done that, you want to keep them engaged.  Keep the story engaging and don’t lose their attention.

You want people to engage with your brand, to read your article, watch your film because it is THAT good, not because it is THAT bad. You want them to feel powerful emotions and to engage in the solution that is presented by that film.  Create compelling media elicits a response. Do this in film, print, photography and in every single product that markets your organization. People will respond when they feel.

Whatever widget, service or message your organization wants to present and sell, the answer is in providing relevant, emotional and compelling storytelling. 

Make it simple. Make it emotional. Make it compelling.
Then, fill the orders. 

Videos that bring results

According to a report published by Forrester, including video in an email leads to a whopping 200-300% increase in click-through rate.

According to a report published by Forrester, including video in an email leads to a whopping 200-300% increase in click-through rate.

Have you ever wondered how to get your message across in today's over-stimulated and highly digitized world?  

 "Facebook and Nielsen research found that up to 47% of the value in a video campaign was delivered in the first 3 seconds, while up to 74% of the value was delivered in the first 10 seconds." (1)   

These findings are true to what Iconium has discovered first hand.  By placing the face of the message at the beginning of the story, and then telling the key message within the first ten seconds, while adding subtitles allows the story to be viewed when people are not in places they can have the audio on. 

The first 10 seconds matter most. Don't try to tell your whole entire story. Think about what your clients need and wants. 

Video ads - Iconium 2016

Video ads - Iconium 2016

Create video ads that work

1. Capture immediate attention

The faster you capture people's attention, the better.  Start with your most captivating contents.  Use stunning shots and vivid backgrounds. 

Put your "hero" up front. Use your celebrity or recognized character on the beginning of the film. 

Feature the brand early. Facebook notes that ads with brands and the messaging in the first 10 seconds effectively reach 3 x more people. 

Use engaging copy. The use of interesting, compelling copy will be effective. (1)

2. Design for sound off

76% of rated video ads required sound to be understood, according to a Facebook's recent study. 

Tell your story visually. Create the story so it can be understood without sound.

Use text and graphics to deliver your message. Use of text overlay and graphics will help the viewer grasp your story. 

Use captions or sub-titling. Internal Facebook tests show that captioned video ads increase video view time by an average of 12%.

76% of rated video ads required sound to be understood, according to a Facebook's recent study. 

Tell your story visually. Create the story so it can be understood without sound.

Use text and graphics to deliver your message. Use of text overlay and graphics will help the viewer grasp your story. 

Use captions or sub-titling. Internal Facebook tests show that captioned video ads increase video view time by an average of 12%. (1)

3. Frame your video

Pay careful attention to how the film is framed so that key elements are highlighted. Create interesting shots so that people will stay engaged. (1)

4. Try new things

Experiment and try new things. Pay attention to the stats so you can see what is working. Keep the videos short, but make sure it is long enough to tell the story. 

5. Call to action

Keep your goal and objective as the focal point throughout the entire piece. Ensure that the call to action is clear and that your audience knows exactly what to do.  Don't be afraid to repeat it!

6. Boost your video

Facebook, Instagram and other social media give opportunities to boost the video. Do your research so that you are creating the right target audience so that the very people you want to market to are seeing the video.  Your video is only as helpful as the people who see it.  If you don't know how to do this, we are here to help you.

7. Iconium filmmakers

Our filmmakers specialize in telling your story on film in a compelling and engaging manner to elicit a response from your audience.  We listen to you, we help you by writing the script with you (or for you), we create the visual concept and work with you so that you are as much of the process as you would like to be.  We turn on the cameras, help you tell your story, edit the story and then help you make the piece work for you!   Contact us to begin the process!  

A video ad for wedding services  
A video ad for a realtor house tour 


(1) Retrieved from: Facebook Business Marketing

Iconium captures surprise proposal in NYC

Iconium filmmakers capture a romantic proposal

He knew it had always been her dream to be proposed to at the top of Rockefeller Centre in NYC, so when he realized Sarah was going to be in New York the last week of August, he made plans to surprise her!  

Travelling all the way from Calgary, Alberta to New York City, Brett did everything he could to give her a "rock on the rock", and make her dream come true.  Iconium was there to film it.

Iconium filmmakers, Adam Hutlet and Denver Capcara, drove to Calgary to journey and document the story of Brett as he travelled to New York. They had the opportunity to capture the incredible proposal, as well as beautiful, iconic, and cinematic film throughout their 24 hours in NYC. From the top of Rockefeller, to Times Square, they filmed and photographed Brett and Sarah all over the Big Apple, finishing with an engagement shoot in Central Park. They finished the trip by assembling a rough cut on the plane ride home, which was presented to a crowd of people at a surprise party upon their arrival. 

I want all of you, forever, you and me, everyday.
— the Notebook

Proposal: Rockefeller Centre, Times Square, New York City, September 2, 2016

Casting call

Iconium is hosting auditions for a narrator.  If you live in the Sherwood Park or Edmonton region and are a good communicator and comfortable in front of the camera, we invite you to audition.  During the audition, you will be given the opportunity to read the script on a Teleprompter.   

Audition Dates

Email to book a time.  

Filming Dates

Custom booking during business hours

Project Synopsis
Nuvo Series is a digital learning platform where participants are engaged in an intimate, dynamic group experience that walks them through a curriculum that creates Multiplying Churches and Communities. This Christian based curriculum will be used globally and will be translated into many languages.   This curriculum represents different nationalities  around the world.  Each lesson will feature a unique narrator to profile some of the many faces of society.

Additional Filming Opportunities
There are 10 lessons in phase 1. Four have been filmed and 6 more different narrators will be required. 

Narrator:  This is the trainer who gives an overview of each lesson in a storytelling manner and sets up the online learning group.  This script is pre-written, will be read off a teleprompter and will be complemented with supporting visuals in post-production.

A wedding story

A flower girl reflects.

A flower girl reflects.

A glimpse behind the scenes

She laughed softly. He gazed at her with love and adoration. They had loved each other for many years and had longed for this day. Her eyes sparkled with delight. She was now married to the man she loved.  They could begin their ever-after together.  Her beauty was radiant. An attractive bridal party clearly celebrated the joy of the couple. 

The fun and individuality of Nathan and Noèlle was apparent.  A Lego character of Kylo Ren was set in Nathan's boutonnière. He grinned as he talked about this accessory.  As the bridal party settled into a vintage classroom in the MacKay school, Noèlle took command and proceeded to bring order to the class.  Most attentive of course, was the groom. 

Iconium filmmakers, Denver Capcara and Adam Hutlet capture the emotion and heart of many of these moments as they create a mini-documnetoary of THE LOVE STORY, our Platinum package.   Enjoy these behind the scenes photos of a beautiful wedding day.  

Learn more about Iconium weddings

Build a passionate and motivated team

Align your team to accomplish goals together

Entrepreneurial leaders are highly motivated and driven to fulfill their mission and calling. They explore multiple ways to accomplish their goals and do so in a passionate way. It won’t work is not a term that is in their vocabulary.  If an entrepreneurial leader is clear of a direction, they vigorously pursue it.  These leaders surround themselves with people who will help them accomplish their goal. 

Not everyone is a "blank paper person"

Many entrepreneurs are "blank paper people" and they enjoy creating something out of nothing. However, there are many who people need a framework and reason to align with someone else’s goals. They are not necessarily the “blank paper people”.  They are often more than willing to commit to a role and to help accomplish a corporate vision and are willing to lead towards that goal, they need motivation. 

Much of that will come within, but unless a leader empowers the leaders who work with them, the vision and passion will begin to wane.

Personal leadership motivation

I’m a highly motivated person. I commit to things that I can become passionate about. I have a strong belief, which is also an Iconium value, that work is fun. When people love what they do, motivation and drive increases greatly. I’m committed to increasing and inspiring motivation in the people I have the opportunity to lead.

Rewarding leaders

Leaders need to be affirmed and recognized.  It’s important to know what it is that communicates that to each person. People vary in whether they are publicly or privately affirmation and whether with words or gifts.  It’s important to know the team members and what speaks to them individually.

Annual incentive

It’s of value for leaders to have an annual incentive plan to work towards.  For them to see that their contribution towards success results in a bonus is significant.

Long-term incentives

It’s challenging with a start-up to think in terms of long-term incentives, however, it is key to begin conversations and thought processes.  It’s important to answer the why for a leader as to whether they would stay for the long haul. 

Executive coaching and leadership development

Leadership development through training and experience is a gift that can be given to every person on the team.  This needs to happen deliberately and intentionally.  There needs to be room in the budget to accommodate this type of development. It can be done in a way that it is a highly incentivized perk for staff.

Build a leadership team that works

"By 2020 there will be five generations in the workplace at once" - Karen Willyerd

"By 2020 there will be five generations in the workplace at once" - Karen Willyerd

Critical leadership competencies

There has been a dramatic shift in leadership competencies over the past few years.  People need to collaborate, be relational, technologically adept and attuned to diversity and to culture. 

Karie Willyerd states,” but the biggest change the 2020 workplace will present is the most age-diverse workplace: by 2020 there will be five generations in the workplace at once. From Traditionalists born prior to 1946, to members of Generation 2020, who will begin entering the workplace in 2015, leaders will be charged with meeting the wide range of expectations held by each generation.”[1]    Willyerd goes on to express five key skills needed for 2020 leaders.  They are:  collaborative mindset, team development, tech savvy, globally focused and culturally attuned, and future facing.  Each of these competencies are of great value to me personally and to our company.  Leaders who are engaged and high performing will help a company become successful and transformational.

Source leaders and align leadership talent

Prior to sourcing leaders, one needs to be clear what they are looking for.  Once you’ve hired the right talent, it’s important to maximize their efforts.

Goal alignment

There needs to be a goal alignment where leaders understand and embrace the company’s goals, they align their responsibilities with these goals and strengthen their accountability by measuring the accomplishment of those goals.

Strategic talent management plan

It’s important to be "proactive" versus "reactive".  It’s important to follow a clear plan in order to recruit and work with engaged, high performing employees

  1. Fill critical talent management needs
  2. Address company and industry changes promptly
  3. Identify essential skills to be developed in all employees
  4. Minimize training costs by focusing on key development areas[1]

Choosing and building a team

It's important to build a team that aligns with the goals and direction of your company.  These are some of the key items to consider.

  1.  Identify high-quality candidates using job descriptions based upon your requirements.
  2. Hire people who are high performing and hold uniquely valued company or industry competencies. 
  3. Employees need to agree with your values and fit into their distinct culture.

Creative companies, in particular, need to hire a careful balance of creative and non-creative. It’s important to have structure amidst the creative and innovative culture, but too little or too much of either can seriously impact success.


Powerful media can change behaviour in only seconds

Stories change lives.

Stories change lives.

People stopped. It was too good to be true. A t-shirt for only 2 Euros?  Insert coin, out comes t-shirt.  This was well worth the time.  People stopped by the hundreds to take up this offer by Fashion Revolution.  They selected the size of shirt and then were presented with a short and informative video about the true story behind cheap clothing.  After the video played, they were asked, "do you still want this shirt or do you want to donate instead?" , 90% of people decided to donate to the cause of helping change working conditions.  

This story went viral within 24 hours.  The message reached over 300 million people in 200 countries in just 7 days!  Celebrities like Ashton Kutcher chimed in.  The video spoke to the brands and they responded.  This powerful ad campaign caused transformation to take place.  

Take the time to be creative and communicate your message effectively and powerful.  You can make a difference.  Watch this video and then read the rest of this article to learn how.  

Powerful advertising tells a gripping story that elicits a response. A compelling need is created for a product or service. This is done best when it is not overtly about that product, but about the beneficial value. In a heavily media saturated society, it takes a unique angle, a highly engaging, or visually captivating ad to capture attention and to trigger a response.  These three key steps are key to focus on when creating effective advertising.  

Engage emotionally

Both the story and the visual content needs emotionally connect with the viewer. Showing a compelling need that is supported with captivating images contributes to drawing the viewer into the story.  The goal is to keep them engaged right until the call to action so that a response is triggered.

Use a clear simple message

It’s critical to present a single and simple message. A surprising twist or angle can help to accentuate that message. There needs to be focus and simplicity in the story.  It is most memorable when there is a minimal use of substantive words that are presented with clarity.

Call people to action 

Effective advertising needs to have a clear call to action. The viewer needs to be brought to a place that they will make a choice and the obvious choice needs to be clearly presented to them. It’s helpful to have a single call to action is in mind and woven into the architecture of the ad.

Many effective advertisements incorporate social causes.  Many of the top awarded Ads of the World engaged with deeply emotional issues such as assisting refugees, freeing child labor, cyber bullying and against violence. While these ads were gripping, they draw the viewer towards a deeper cause to impact humanity.  The apparent solution is to engage in the program, service or use of the product that is presented.  When advertising engages people, presents and clear message with a compelling call to action, it is doing exactly what it was intending to do.

Be a leader that transforms business and culture

Transformational leadership is best demonstrated in business through clear vision, values and goals and to make changes in a timely manner. In a rapidly changing culture, leaders need to take their organizations through constant change, while maintaining stability. 

3 steps toward transformational leadership

Create a culture of discipline – A team of creative media Millennials will bring with them endless ideas, a distinct dot com culture where there is much less structure and order.  This lack of structure needs to be managed very carefully so that the company can become successful. Creative companies become less effective when they begin with disorder and chaos.  The outer lines need to be firm and clear, with some clear inner grid lines that allow for creative expression.

Validate generational difference - It’s imperative that managers and leaders look at their team members as individuals and cease to categorize them by the decade they were born in. These stereotypes have become unfair labels.  Individuals need to be addressed according to their unique skills and abilities.  It would be inappropriate to categorize people by their ages and the process of generational categorization is equally wrong, but done continually

The impact and use of technology - Technology, in and of itself, does not create transformation. It needs to serve as an accelerator. Many companies seek to adapt to the latest and greatest technology to stay in the game.  This not the right approach.  A company needs to carefully review what they plan to do, how they want to accomplish their vision and goals and then use the most applicable able and user-friendly technology to accomplish it.

The importance of clear vision

Leaders who build into their leaders, and are willing to provide clear vision and direction, while navigating them through change can help them to become even more effective in furthering the goals and vision of a company.  When an entrepreneurial leader has clearly defined and understood their personal vision and values, those can serve as the foundation for their team to determine and own a corporate vision and values.  As a team is invited to participate in a change management process, they will develop a sense of ownership and motivation.

Leadership is the alignment of people to accomplish a common vision and mandate. It is entirely dependent on the people who are on the team.

Success doesn't come from what you have going for your company ... but who. The RIGHT people are your biggest competitive advantage.  So the questions become: "What are you doing to attract, train, develop, and retain the RIGHT people? How do you get the best people, the RIGHT people on board?" [i] Ron Haynes. 

Temporary solutions may be necessary

It’s important to know who needs to be on a team, how to develop them and together create and execute the vision that you are called and committed to.  There will be times when the right people may not be available. That would not be a time to settle, but to obtain temporary resources to meet the needs and then seek the long-term solutions to build out a healthy and highly effective team. 

[i] Haynes, R. (2015). Retrieved from Linked in.



The secret behind Forbes companies

Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany

If the biggest companies care, so can I

The top companies in the world have made dramatic adjustments in becoming global and incorporating technology towards their success.

Every year Forbes works through a process to select the top companies in the world . In order of ranking, the top 6 most admired companies in 2015 are Apple, Google, Berkshire Hathaway,, Starbucks and Walt Disney. Apple has held the leading spot for the 8th year in a row.

Two companies that stand out in particular are Amazon and Starbucks. This is not simply because I love nothing more than a great cup of coffee and a really good book! I chose these two companies because of their exceptional commitment to people having a very positive experience and, in Starbucks case, the fact that they care about having a transformational impact. 

Customer service like no other

I have admired Amazon’s success for the past couple of years. I’ve marveled at the fact that they are the store in my home, that they are a company I trust, that their delivery is fast, friendly and just done right. Their customer service sets the bar for every other online company. “Their mission statement is also their vision. Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online. is successful because of their leadership and ensuring their core values are part of their make-up from day one.”

Values that communicate personality and integrity

Amazon has great values. The fun way that they have been written reveals some of their personality. Customer Obsession, Ownership, Invent and Simplify, Are Right, A Lot, Hire and Develop the Best, Insist on the Highest Standards, Think Big, Bias for Action, Frugality, Vocally Self Critical, Earn Trust of Others, Dive Deep, Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit, Deliver Results.

Amazon truly cares about people! It’s important for companies to show that kind of personal care and customer service regardless of their size. This is something that is a high value for me both as a consumer and as a company.

Commitment to use scale for the good

Starbucks is committed to what they believe in. “… at Starbucks, I’ve always said we’re not in the coffee business serving people, we’re in the people business servicing coffee.” – Howard Schultz

They choose neighborhoods to make a difference. According to Howard Schulz they are committed to their farmers and to becoming America’s front porch. Their website states, “We have always believed Starbucks can – and should — have a positive impact on the communities we serve. One person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time. As we have grown to now more than 20,000 stores in over 60 countries, so too has our commitment to use our scale for good.”

Their mission statement says they exist to “inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”  

Core values a philosophy as to how to treat people well.

It’s a philosophy that Starbucks consumers have experienced. The coffee is served, but it is not about the coffee. It’s about belonging, making a difference and having an impact on society.

▪ Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.

▪ Acting with courage, challenging the status quo.

▪ Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect.

▪ Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.

▪ We are performance driven, through the lens of humanity.

It's time to care.  

When people feel cared about and like they matter, they commit and come back. The caring needs to be real and the customer service needs to be professional with integrity. I value the fact that these two companies care that much about my experience. It helps me to trust and commit as a consumer. For my company, the customer experience is critical. I want every person to feel valued, looked after, heard and to have his or her needs met.

This is why we exist – is to bring about transformation by caring about people in a BIG way.

 written by Karen Schenk


Most Admired 2015.

Douglas Satterfield, June 15, 2014. Core Values: Retrieved from
Howard Behar,

Quote by Howard Schultz, 2007. Not About the Coffee: Lessons on
Putting People First
. The Penguin Group

Starbucks Mission Statement



A specialist speaks out

Iconium had the privilege of providing web services for Dr. Sveta Silverman. She is a leading specialist in her field of pathology.  She is very good at finding root causes of medical problems.  She also is very good at finding ways to heal medical conditions.  She has a passion for eating well, living a healthy lifestyle and preventing disease.  

The services we provided:

Web  design: Designed the layout and visual appearance of the site and created a user experience.

Web strategy: Creating the web strategy that facilitates learning and communication.

Photography:  Iconium did an onsite photoshoot to provide photography for the website and promotional material. 

Content development: Iconium formatted and restructured the content provided by Dr. Silverman. We will provide ongoing digital strategy services and manage the site, images and marketing for Dr. Silverman. 

Newsletter and commenting capabilities: Iconium created a newsletter that is connected with the site, creating an easy-to-use sign up process for users so that they can receive Dr. Silverman's updates right in their inboxes. 

Marketing: Iconium assisted in creating marketing tools, strategies and resources for Dr. Silverman. launched just days ago.  Since then, she's had numerous comments on her site, received many emails from people seeking her expertise and has seen over 1,050 views on her site.  

Iconium is grateful for the opportunity to create a platform so that Dr. Silverman can communicate with many people who are seeking her wisdom and insight on their special needs.

The most amazing aspect of this project was discovering the passion that Dr. Silverman has to speak out and help people live healthier lives to prevent some of the illnesses and disease she sees every single day.  

Positivity accelerates success

Hohenzollern Castle, Germany

Hohenzollern Castle, Germany

Create change by accelerating success

 “What’s not working?” This question stimulates rapid conversation when asked of a group.  They begin to identify many problems.  They even demonstrate a visual change in their body language during this type of a discussion.  After awhile, though, they will lean back; become visibly tired and need a break.  It can be highly discouraging.   Their leader may try a new tactic to lighten the mood.  They begin to analyze the causes.  This engages the team once again, particularly as they move to the discussion of possible solutions. The leader may then help everyone define an action plan. It’s likely that the team will leave the discussion feeling that their company has serious problems, but they hopefully have a sense of hope that it will be solved.

Sue Hammond states, “The traditional approach to change is to look for the problem, do a diagnosis, and find a solution.  The primary focus is on what is wrong or broken; and since we look for problems, we find them.  By paying attention to problems, we emphasize and amplify them.”[1]

Stimulate innovation: focus on what is working

If the leader of this group were to approach that same team and engage them in exploring the question of what is working, they would dive into the conversation but may have a more difficult time coming up with as many items. Somehow, it is always easier to think of what is not working.

As the team exhausts their ideas, the leader moves them into the line of thinking of what might be.  The team will then light up and many more ideas will be expressed.  The leader then suggests they move into a discussion of what should be.  A team that feels the sky is the limit to the opportunities before them presents countless ideas.  They are eager to plan and innovate.   This group is motivated, encouraged and energized.  Over the next weeks, discussion takes place of what kind of changes need to happen to make room for the new.   

Change will happen through both approaches.  However, the group that pursues a positive approach is likely to solve more problems and be much more innovative and successful in the process. 

Accelerate your momentum

Jim Collins in Good to Great says, “In every good-to-great case, we found technological sophistication. However, it was never technology per se, but the pioneer application of carefully selected technologies.  Every good-to-great company became a pioneer in the application of technology, but the technologies themselves varied greatly[2].” 

Collins describes how technology becomes an accelerator of momentum, not a creator of it.  You only become a pioneer of the technologies that fit directly with your company’s Hedgehog Concept. This concept was originally based on an ancient Greek parable. Jim Collins published a management version in his influential book, "Good to Great." The concept helps your organization focus on three main areas – passion, talent and the economic engine.


Technology, in and of itself, does not create transformation

Technology needs to serve as an accelerator.  Many companies seek to adapt to the latest and greatest technology to stay in the game.  This not the right approach.  A company needs to carefully review what they plan to do, how they want to accomplish their Hedgehog Concept and then use the most applicable able and user-friendly technology to accomplish it.

A successful and innovative leader will guide their team through many ways to accelerate that success.  Below are a few ways a leader can drive this type of change in a rapid manner.

1.              Affirm and encourage success

2.              Create opportunity to stimulate innovative dreaming and brainstorming

3.              Use technology to drive momentum  

WORK what works! Accelerate it! Your customers are telling you something. Listen and respond and the problems will begin to dissipate as you focus on managing the success of what already is working.



[1] Hammond, Sue Annis. (2013). The Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry: Thin Book Publishing Co., Bend, OR. loc 38

[2] Collins, Jim. (2001). Good to Great. Harper Collins Publishers, Boulder, CO.  loc 2505

7 attributes of influential leaders

Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany

Leaders. Influence. Leaders.

Whenever I’m asked the question, “Who is someone I consider a great leader?” I find myself having a difficult time selecting a single person.  Many names come to mind and all for a variety of reasons, but I rarely have one single person who I could name as the one person I consider the greatest leader.  I have pondered the meaning of this.  It has made me wonder if I’m possibly cynical or even jaded by previous experiences of disillusionment, but then I realized that the reason really is because I’ve been privileged to be surrounded by many great leaders and that it’s difficult to select only one.

The 7 qualities

In recent months, I’ve been exposed to more highly influential executive leaders than ever before.  I’ve learned a tremendous amount from each of them.  There are common characteristics are represented by each of them.

1.     Clarity of call: know what their giftedness and calling is and have aligned their activities to suit.

2.    Entrepreneurial:  thinking of new ways to do things to make a more significant impact. Even if they are working in a structured environment, they seek new ways to achieve results.

3.    Purposeful:  they are driven to want to make an impact on culture.  They are about so much more than the job or project. They are about the “so that” they can make an impact and bring about transformation.

4.    Affirming: they encourage, affirm and bring out the positive traits in those around them. 

5.    Caring: they genuinely care about people. Their inner circle of people that they invest key time into may be small, thereby enabling them to fulfill the mandate of their work, but they truly care about those they invest into.

6.    Focused: this is a common trait in the lives of each of these very busy leaders. They are focused on what they have called to do. They know what to say no to and they know what to say yes to. They focus and that focus pays off.

7.    Fun-loving: these leaders enjoy a good laugh and making the most of life.

Always learning

A successful leader stays in a position of always being a student of leadership.  It’s important to take what we can from good examples of leadership, and use bad examples of leadership as an opportunity to learn. It helps us know what to do and what not to do. 

Unique styles

Different situations call for different types of leadership.  Surround yourself with leaders you respect and allow them to influence and to speak into your life.  You will be impacted.  Forever. 

Written by Karen Schenk


Take steps to be noticed

Munich Germany

Munich Germany


“If you can dream it, you can do it.”  Walt Disney

Use a voice that gets heard

Media has inundated our world. Every person has become a broadcaster. People stand on the soapbox of social media and proclaim their values and beliefs. 

However, few, if any, are making an impact. They may succeed in annoying people and being unfriended, but few actually further the cause that they have set out to impact. This is a problem. It’s a world of broadcasters that is not making a difference and definitely not resulting in transformation. 

Iconium wants to solve this problem. We have developed a unique strategy to create media that elicits a response and results in transformation. We have a vision to create and facilitate responsive media that results in transformation. 

Create media that engages

Every day, your team is creating content. People are writing, posting, taking photos and video that contributes to how people see and engage with you and how your brand is becoming known.  

Ask the most important question

A simple question to ask yourself when creating content is "what single thing do I want the recipients to do when they engage with this piece of content?"  More than likely, you will have many things you may want many people to do, however, when you narrow your focus to one thing, you will create content in a much more succinct and compelling way.  

Collaborate with your team

When you realize the impact of people on your team all communicating in a variety of ways, it will help you realize that you need a common message and a common voice.  Take the time to align your team.  Help them own who you are and what you do.  It will show itself in how they communicate.  Each one of them is a broadcaster for you.  

Bring focus your communication

As both you and your team realize what your single message is and what you are needing to accomplish, you will begin to sound aligned. The message will be clear and simple.  Every piece that is created will be created for a similar purpose and designed to produce the same result. You may need to create helpful tools to help you do this.  Promotional material, slogans, videos, are only a few of the resources that can help you and your team bring focus to your message.  Do what you do best.... and then do more of it! 

Use a customized approach

Iconium Strategies is different than our competitors. We have a lean model where we pass on the savings to our customers, use our profits for philanthropy, so for a fair price, we offer custom tailored, boutique media services that elicit a response and result in transformation. 

1.  Partner - understand and feel the inspiration behind your vision 

2. Strategize - brainstorm and offer solutions that bring results 

3. Tailor - create custom innovative media solutions 

4. Maximize - over deliver!

Don't do it alone

Iconium desires to help our clients be more successful by becoming their partner. Your mission inspires the work we do. Iconium has a unique relational approach to strategy, design and media helps our clients fulfill their dream. 

We help them use media to accelerate their goals and their vision. 

Have you been stilling the desire to fulfill your dream?  You have a dream and you have a voice waiting to be heard. 

Photo and article by Karen Schenk

Break the stereotype about Millennials

Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany

Build a successful team

Millennials, more than any other generational group, are being managed according to stereotypes.  There are endless how-to books and seminars.  These stereotypes have become unfair labels.

The workplace has been trained to lead Millennials according to these three myths. 

Three myths about Millennials

  1. Millennials have been handed every thing on a silver platter by overindulgent parents and expect the same gratification from their employer.
  2. Millennials are lazy from a lifetime of playing video games and unprepared for the realities of hard work. 
  3. Millennials, due to their avid use of technology, are accustomed to everything being on-demand and customized which has led to high expectations.

I’ve often wondered why leaders think that only Millennials are innovative.  I know many who are and many who are not.  I also know there are many culture changers who are Baby Boomers, the most influential of all having been Steve Jobs.  Innovation is not about the generation, but about the individual.

Individuals need to be addressed according to their unique skills and abilities. The process of categorizing people according to generational labels is not accurate nor is it effective.  The way leaders need to communicate is not determined by a generational category, it’s according to each individual.

Multiple communication channels

There are many ways to connect with people that you would want to have on your team. It’s important to communicate through many mediums to engage with and connect with potential team members – regardless of their generation.

The influence of technology

There are three primary stereotypes about Millennials and how they relate to technology. 

  1. Millennials view technology more positively than any other generation.
  2. Millennials are more comfortable adopting new technologies.
  3. Millennials are always connected and prefer to interact via technology, rather than face-to-face.

Another myth is that Millennials view technology more positive than any other generation could be considered an insult to older generations who invented the Internet and computers.  Each generation has a variance as to how many people are more or less technologically savvy.  Managers need to take the time to understand the preferences and technical skills of individuals as opposed to generations.  

When a team is choosing the right technology to use, it’s important to take time to do research and to involve the team in the process.  It’s also very important to not determine technical prowess based on generations.  Technology use and comfort varies based on factors other than age.  Managers should ignore the stereotypes and embrace the individuality of team members.

Changing organizational culture  

Many companies have used generational labels.  As they become aware of the ineffectiveness of this type of stereotyping and begin working with their team as individuals, they are able to enable people to become more effective and bring about organizational change.  

Jessica Kriegel in her book, Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit From Ditching Generational Stereotypes[i] presents 6 steps towards creating awareness and changing the vocabulary at your organization.

Be a role model.  Don't read articles about generational differences or encourage people to write about it. Increase communication and understanding with your team and discover areas where you have been influenced by the “generational differences” machine. 

Spread the word.  Speak up when you notice generational stereotyping. Most people do not challenge the concept. 

Create a coalition of change agents.  Encourage like-minded people to begin looking at team members as individuals and not categorized by generational labels.

Review your collateral. Determine to what extent generational stereotypes is an issue and then tailor communication materials accordingly. 

Organize a campaign. Build trust amongst the team by communicating a mutual understanding of the disadvantages of generational labeling. 

Evaluate your success.  Review if there is a shift of culture because the awareness of the negative impact of generational stereotyping.  Celebrate the success.

In a society that features generational differences as a primary method of categorizing teams, the perspective presented by Jessica Kriegel sheds light and brings clarity to a very discriminatory process of approaching teams.  It’s imperative that managers and leaders look at their team members as individuals and cease to categorize them by the decade they were born in.  It would be inappropriate to categorize people by their ages and the process of generational categorization is equally wrong, but done continually.

It’s empowering for me to realize that the intuition I’ve had to look at Millennials based on skills, not on an inaccurate and biased labeling process.  I plan to build a strong team and celebrate the various skills and abilities of each person individually.  When any managers celebrate and develop individuality, people are guaranteed to excel. 

I’ve always appreciated the energy and enthusiasm of those in their twenties and thirties, but what I realize I love more than that is the opportunity to develop innovative leaders.  The individuals I work with are chosen by their skill, willingness to grow and their ability – not their age. 

Written by Karen Schenk


[i] Kriegel, Jessica. Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit From Ditching Generational Stereotypes Hoboken, NJ : Wiley; 1 edition (Feb. 10, 2016)

Entrepreneurs make something out of nothing

Canary Wharf, London, England

Canary Wharf, London, England

Successful traits of a change leader

Leaders who are motivated by a specific purpose and have a compelling vision become change leaders of society and culture. The leaders who are entrepreneurs are those who take initiative to create something that they believe in and have the vision for. They align others to come alongside them and help the vision to become a reality. They are willing to take difficult situations and use the unfair advantage to their advantage. They see opportunity where others may see none.

Dr. David Javitch in “The Entrepreneur as a Leader” gives 10 traits of successful entrepreneurial leaders. He states these points, “The successful leader has vision, communicates well, supports and guides the employees, believes in him or herself, creates an atmosphere that encourages others to thrive, by walking around, acts and reacts in an honest manner, creates and fosters a learning environment, perseveres, and shares successes.”

Top 3 characteristics of a leader

1. A compelling vision
2. The ability to get people on board
3. The ability to execute

4 unique traits of an entrepreneur  

1. Can create something out of nothing
2. A much higher than average desire to succeed
3. Will do what it takes by partnering and working alone wherever needed.
4. The ability to sacrifice to make something happen

The energy behind entrepreneurs

I typically refer to entrepreneurs as “blank paper people”. They have the ability to be energized by a blank and white piece of paper. They are challenged by opportunity and excel even when the odds are against them. I have been an entrepreneur for many years, but am now truly in a place to develop entrepreneurialism.  It’s been highly energizing to step out, take risks and develop my entrepreneurial skills.

If you are a leader who has entrepreneurial traits, seek opportunities to develop them and become all you were intended to be.  An entrepreneur is not necessarily someone who creates and builds new things alone.  They work within any environment and seize opportunities to create never-been-done concepts.  Our society celebrates the new approaches.  Doing something different is not only often highly successful, it’s also incredibly fun and rewarding.   Once things work, you can then embrace change management, but that is a topic for another day!  Meanwhile, embrace the leader within you that is desperately wanting to try something new.  Go. Create. Be a change leader!

by Karen Schenk

Technology makes you richer. Technology makes you poorer.


Relationships are both richer and poorer because of today’s use of technology.  Real life experiences can be accelerated through effective use of the digital space.  There is not a single relationship in my life that is not impacted by the affect of technology.  These are some of the ways your learning is impacted.

Share your experiences

We have the ability to communicate quickly with powerful visuals, enabling us to share our experiences with one another.  I can share an experience with people from anywhere in the world by sending videos and pictures to people in real time.  We have an ability to have a quick response from someone whom it could take weeks to connect with.   

Receive information how you like it

The ability to broadcast in multiple mediums to a select and vast number of people is something that has had a most profound impact on our culture and how we learn. Communication is delivered in a multi-media format. Communication takes place in the form of long and short articles, varying lengths and style of video, single images for social media and platforms where one can commentate.   The initial news bulletin typically comes out through social media and then is refined and polished by news organizations after many have already received the news.

In personal and corporate communication, we can have immediate access to perspectives that previously could never have been received.

Learn like never before

The information that is available makes it easier to learn more in a faster way than ever before.  In everything we experience, we can learn more by doing immediate research on our smart phones. We have access to books and media as never before.   We are richer than ever in having the best visuals, the best information and the most intelligent people to discuss these matters with. 

The lost art of focus

Such a vast amount of information and media fills us to capacity and more. The issues our culture are now dealing with is how to process and focus when there is so much information.  In my daughter’s school, it is required for every student to have a laptop during class. All the textbooks are online and all assignments are online.  This is of great advantage to the learning experience.  The downside is that there are endless apps and communication methods that completely distract the students and are entirely unmanageable by the teachers.  No amount of blockers in the system can shut down the many ways of communication and the teachers have a difficult time patrolling the environment.  Students go home to do their homework with multiple windows open to communicate with their friends; a movie in a small screen in the corner and focus is nearly a lost art.

Guard your relationships

Relationships are often robbed of the focus and depth that is often needed and craved. People are communicating with each other, while communicating with often many others at the same time. It’s difficult for people to feel like they matter most.  Smart phones leverage and influence everything that we do.  Take time to show the people you work with and in your life that they matter to you. Give them your focus.   Your focus may involve sharing technology with them as you learn and experience life together.

Make it work for you

As a leader, you have possibilities that were unheard of even a decade ago. You can market, broadcast, engage and have an impact on niche markets. You can quickly discover where you are able to make a difference and in a timely manner touch the people’s lives you are called to.   Harness the way you receive information and the way you communicate. As a leader of a creative media company, I can use compelling visuals and communicate through niche networks in a powerful way.  I can be closer networked to the people in my life.  All of this is powerful if I remember to make the people I’m communicating with, the most important person in my life at that moment. 

Technology will enhance leadership, learning and your relationships when you embrace the power of focus.


It’s time for spectacular results!

Time is short. You work hard and sometimes things just don't happen the way you would like.  It’s time to change that. 

In every business, there are anomalies that surface. We are often too busy to notice their significance. These anomalies could be the “magic bullet”. Perhaps this one-off is the very thing that could help your organization accomplish more than you ever imagined.

Discover your hotspot

What is your organization’s hotspot? Take a look at those things that have worked really well. You may not have noticed it because it wasn’t in your plan or even in your top ten goals. 

Take some time to write out some success points. It could be an article that did really well or it could be a show where presented your product and sales sky rocketed. Perhaps it was an event you hosted that grabbed people’s attention.  Take a look at your stats and look for anything that stands out.  It matters. It means something is working better than everything else you did.

Accelerate what is working

After you highlight a few items, look for patterns. Do your sales increase at events when people can see the product?  Do people engage with your behind-the-scenes stories? Perhaps a social media strategy about a contest you ran did really well?  It’s possible you offered a small demo and people loved it, but it’s more difficult to get people to engage in your full program.

The strategy is simple. Work what is working! If people love your demo, then make it the best demo.  They are clearly telling you that they like a bite-size version of what you market. 

When you give people what they want, they need more.  

Go to market before you are “done”

After you define the things that are working, try new approaches. Invite the very people you are trying to market to, to user-test your work. The big companies do that, why can’t you? Release things that are “mostly” ready. Try small versions and READ your stats. It’s pointless to try new things if you are not getting feedback.

Have you ever wondered how some of the young dot com millionaires are discovering their success?  They are not afraid to take an unfinished idea to market. They see something that works and toss it out to the public. If it sticks, they develop it further. If it doesn’t, they toss it.

WORK what works! It’s your hotspot. Accelerate it! Your customers are telling you something. Listen and respond. 

by Karen L. Schenk