Jim Kuenzer, Director of Creative Strategy
Q: As a Boxcar Creative insider, what trends do you see amongst the group? Any unique in-office habits?
A: First, there’s a ton of overlap. We’re doing a fantastic job of supporting one another and, when one of us gets overwhelmed, jumping in to lend a hand. And part of that, which is the second trend/habit, is learning. We’ve got a studio full of students. People who want to know more about their jobs and continually grow.
Q: What’s your vision for the world of digital communications? How does Boxcar Creative align with that vision?
A: People seem to really enjoy being completely immersed in their phones and tablets all the time. But it would be nice to see someone’s face instead of the top of their head. My hope is that we can find the balance between our digital lives – in particular, our social media lives – and real, physical life. It almost seems like people do things so they can report on it. And then, of course, we expect the likes and the comments and all of that. How about doing stuff for the sake of doing stuff and foregoing this endless need for validation?
I think our greatest success has been that we, Boxcar Creative, understand the need for balance. Our site design philosophy has been to give the user what they need so they can continue their day. I’m sure we could create huge juggernauts or add addicting games to keep people engaged with our sites. But I think everyone is better off if we can quickly answer questions or provide solutions.
Q: Who are you outside of Boxcar Creative?
A: Father, husband, son, brother, writer, musician, actor, reader, photographer, cyclist, camper and Arsenal supporter.
Q: What has been your favorite Boxcar Creative project? Why?
A: Oilogic. We haven’t done a lot of work for them, but I’ve enjoyed writing stories for them. Also, it helps that they’re fun to work with and their products smell nice.
Q: Where do you look for inspiration?
A: Everywhere. There’s no shortage of it.
Q: What part of your role at Boxcar Creative are you most passionate about? Why?
A: The writing.
It’s interesting what’s happened to the English language since social media has taken off. Sometimes it feels like we’re creating a new hieroglyphic language with our incessant use of the emoji. Other times it feels like we’re just being lazy, writing all lower case with no punctuation and sum shorthand 2 say d things we wnt 2 say.
But what kills me is “business speak,” businesspeople making their jobs sound more complex and complicated than they are. Their feeble attempt at job security.
As we, the business writers and content creators, have created new ways of describing products and their benefits, readers have become savvier. They can see through the smokescreen. So while business writers may think they’re being clever or pulling a fast one when they shoehorn 50 words into a sentence that only requires five, readers can see right through it. Consumers are being bombarded with marketing messages non-stop. They can quickly separate the genuine from the phony.
I’m passionate about writing clearly and succinctly. I’ve sworn a blood oath to Strunk & White to “omit needless words.” I eschew adjectives and adverbs in favor of specific nouns and verbs – and I avoid using verbs as nouns (and vice versa).
Sometimes a consumer’s only contact with a product is through that product’s written communications. If what I write is disingenuous or dishonest or too clever or pleonastic, people will know. And we will lose a customer.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of working with a client?
A: Earning their trust.
Q: What advice would you offer a young professional just starting in the industry? Is there something that you wish someone had told you?
A: Don’t make any permanent decisions until you’re 30. This goes for everything: where you’re going to work, where you’re going to live, who you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. Wait until you’re 30 to make it permanent. Travel, experience life, have fun.