Tag Archives: Business

IABC Morning Managers Meeting

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Seattle IABCI found myself staring at the Cafe Ladro, the coffee bar at the bottom of the Bellevue Expedia building at 7:00am this past Tuesday morning and asking myself a number of questions. I asked, “Why did I leave my warm bed at 6:00am to come listen to someone speak about corporate identity?  Do I really care about corporate identity as a small business?” And most importantly, “Why would I bother to read the menu, when I know the answer this early is ALWAYS a 2 shot espresso!” The answer to all of these questions was that I had been invited to attend an IABC Morning Managers Meeting on Company Culture: How to define it, defend it and liberate it. I was excited, I had the chance to listen to Kristin Graham, vice president of engagement and communications at Expedia Inc.

If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to listen to Kristin Graham speak then I strongly suggest that you find her at the next KOL panel and take a seat. She is dynamic and excited about corporate culture, which is more than most professionals can say. She is also a natural public speaker who is very intelligent and sometimes gets a little over-excited: she may curse in the middle of a presentation. The latter is my personal favorite. But all of this is a reflection of how passionate she is about her work.

During her presentation she made two points that stood out to me. The first was that “the culture of an organization is embodied by the people working there.” When you are looking for a way to define the culture, you need only to look to your colleagues. This a point that many of us boutique agencies fail to grasp, and why so many of the creative agencies tend to go under or completely change after the founding partners retire or quit.   A statistic states that almost “90% (of businesses) are out of business at the end of five years.”  While this statistic applies to all business in general, it isn’t hard to imagine this happening for much the same reason across many industries- no one has defined the businesses culture. It is safe to say that any boutique agency that is interested in outliving  the senior management needs to be memorable to clients as an agency that has more than just the best people. It needs to develop a corporate identity that will not only interest future clients, but also entice and inspire new employees.

The second thing that Kristin discussed in her presentation that made me sit up and take notice was that culture is the set of behavioral patterns that is encouraged or accepted by leadership. In essence, it is what a company will hire or fire over, which means when you are defining what your corporate culture is, do not misrepresent yourself or your company.  When you begin to develop and define your company’s culture, start by asking yourself that key question.  And realize that corporate culture is something that evolves with time and it isn’t something that you always find on a poster.

In our next post we will provide some simple definitions about what corporate culture is and provide some examples of well-known cultures.

Because even we don’t know everything

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Sometimes even creative professionals need a little more education.

We were sitting around yesterday discussing different ways to increase the long-term value for our clients brands. And during the meeting someone said, “so the question is: are there other ways, in addition to what we are doing, to measure brand equity?” To which one of team said, “Brand equity, is that like home equity?” Brand Equity Basics – it sounded like a great blog topic to me, at the time.

What is Brand Equity?

In a nut shell it is the difference between of benefits between having a brand name as opposed to not having one. When your brand is well-known enough then you can charge people more money, or premium prices, for your product. A few examples of brands that are able to sell at premium prices include; Nike, Adidas, Apple, Chiquita bananas, VW and TOMS. And a couple of non-name brands include companies like; Jewel Companies Generic Cola and Kroger’sNaturally Preferred. But even house brands are beginning to gain brand equity, like Boots skin care products being sold at Target in the US. However, in the ever-changing world of marketing even generic brands such as No Name Brand is growing brand equity and using it to increase prices for products.

What isn’t a Brand?

Because everyone seems to believe that they understand what a brand is – I thought it might be a good moment to write about what a brand isn’t. A brand isn’t a logo – according to Marty Neumeier – and that is a key thing to remember. That means that things like the Nike Swoosh, the 3-strips from Adidas, the golden arches of McDonald’s or the white apple from Apple is not a brand, but a logo. This is a key thing to remember and not get confused about.

How we attempt to measure Brand Equity?

A brand’s equity is ultimately derived from the actions and words of consumers. As marketing professionals we are constantly testing ways to effectively measure the value of a brand for stakeholders. There are three key levels for measuring a brand are at the corporate, product and consumer level.

Corporate level – This is where a firm makes a calculation regarding how much the brand is worth as an intangible asset.

Product level – This is a measurement where one compares the price of a no-name or private label product to an “equivalent” branded product. This is very difficult when you are attempting to predict the worth and achieve FMA.

Consumer level – Attempts to map the mind of the consumer to find out what associations with the brand the consumer has. In this case high brand equity is associated with strong and favorable high levels awareness.

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What was I talking about? Oh right, global marketing.

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Newman Partnership, Limited has been hitting the lecture circuit with the new some experiences and concepts. We have been talking to CEO’s and directors of marketing all the way to new students.

Currently, we are on our way to Seattle to get away from all the work that we have been doing. But last week one of our team gave a speech, at the Capital City Club about what he has learned about global marketing, and how European marketplaces differ from US markets. Sloan Newman has worked in several areas of the marketing mix including; advertising, digital marketing, events and public relations, and he has a brain that never stops looking at marketing and how different cultures and products advertise to different audiences. He is going to share some of his thoughts and insights from his recent speech to a board of different senior marketers.

I am now on my way as a professional speaker, in all honesty, I laughed at my friends when they joined the Toast associations when we were in school. But I have been told that I have a decent voice, and I do like to engage with audiences. When I was asked to discuss what was going on in the digital market place in Europe, I thought that it would be a simple discussion about how Europe has different attitudes towards website design. However, when I walked into the designated hall I saw that my sign for my discussion said, “Global Marketing.” With four years abroad working in marketing, I am aware of different attitudes towards marketing and advertising, but I am not qualified speaker on Global Marketing. But if I have learned anything from the mentors in my life it is that if you aren’t fully aware of what is going on then you ask the audience and ask them to fill in the blanks.

In this case, I did try to reinforce some important differences that exist between England, France and Germany and how those differ between the US and each of these countries. However, I have included some of these differences below as well as the audio from the meeting. I would appreciate any insight that you guys could offer.

In the United Kingdom, the messaging is direct and is usually used with aspects of emotional appeals.  The United Kingdom is very stringent about how and what can be said in their advertising and at what times of the day certain messages can be carried on their televisions.  And with Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, they can pull and fine companies who provide improper advertising.  English humor is very specific and can easily backfire if not done properly.  As of this week it is a growing place of opportunity for agencies that specialize in product placements in television. The integration of mobile phone marketing is also much more effective than in the US.

In France, visualization is a key aspect to French marketing. Much like Japan, advertising in France is more about the visual imagery more than the messaging.  This is truly a market where sex sells.  And creativity is growing in the digital community due to large investments in infrastructure.  While France was slow to embrace the possibilities of Internet, it is now ranked 24th in the world to be ready for the Networked World (Hutchinson, Harvard).

Germany is the market place that I have found that most reflects the United States.  They are English friendly and much of the print and above the line advertising marketing techniques do follow and mirror American techniques. That means that informational selling points and rational decision-making are a common technique for marketing in Germany.

I have also included the audio from the discussion, which you can download here. speech_08_03_11

The beginning of a long travel begins with a small decision – a call to arms for Transmedia Research

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The beginning of a long travel begins with a small decision – a call to arms for Transmedia Research

For the past six-months I have asked myself, ‘Is Transmedia storytelling a popular phenomenon or does it have a lasting effect for people using social media?’ We, at Newman Partnership, Ltd. realize that the best way to confirm if this true is to do some research.
One of my favorite ways to pass an already busy afternoon.

The New GenerationOur research will attempt to discover if: 1) Are people actually retelling stories that they see in new ways or expanding on previous stories – either from entertainment or popular advertising – or engaging when commercials ask you to send in your stories or ask for your insights? And 2) are these heavy and/or light users of social media. We are attempting to discover if people are becoming more involved in the transmedia process? And if light users of social media are growing in their usage of storytelling.

What is Transmedia?

“Transmedia storytelling is a technique of telling stories across multiple platforms and formats.” – Wikipedia Definition

Transmedia marketing is an emerging marketing technique developed to interact with audiences across multiple forms of marketing to develop brand and product awareness.

Transmedia campaigns encourage audiences to engage in the marketing process by mixing social media with classical marketing techniques.  It is a conversation between the marketing department and the target audience.  This conversation is created when the company provides opportunities for the audience to develop or recreate the original story under new narratives. And it is not simply a top-down corporate advertising or marketing campaign but a combination of top-down and grass-roots bottom-up.

Who are we looking for?

The Important InformationI am looking to interview men between 16-35 years of age. Who are using social media in some form on a bi-weekly rate.

If you are interested, or think that you have information that would be interesting to this research then please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at sloan@newmanpartnership.com.

What will it cost you?

If you just drop me an email to asking to participate in this research, then I will add you to our contact book and contact you in the next few weeks about completing questionnaire online. The questionnaire will only take about 10 to 15 minutes, and your answers will prove invaluable in the future.

In the coming weeks, I will also be approaching several Transmedia agencies to see if they might be interested in becoming involved in this research. If you are an agency, then please contact me to find out more.

Where will the interviews be?

Interviews will be conducted using an online research technique, and face-to-face interviews will also be conducted when possible.

What will your time mean?

By contributing to this research you will be helping to discover and better understand how people are using the social media to influence stories and advertising. It is my hope that this initial research will help to draw enough conclusive lines to encourage a quantitative research in the future.

Flash and HTML – Who will be using your website?

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The first time that I heard of observational research I didn’t even know it.
I was 18-years-old, driving to the ocean and listening to National Public Radio. The program was discussing a biography about Milton S. Hershey, the founder of The Hershey Chocolate Company. He would spend a few weeks a year working in a shop where Hershey chocolate was being sold. He would meet and speak with people buying products. Now it could be seen that he was just enjoying meeting people, but I like to believe that he was conducting observational research. He was watching people to see and better understand their buying habits and desires for new products.

Observational research is a social study technique of direct observation by which people or societies are observed in their natural setting. The major advantage to this type of research is that if you are clever then you can gain quick and important insight into your consumers. But one main disadvantage of this type of research is that it changes from situation to situation, and it cannot be used to study cognitive or affective variables.

However, maybe we are sometimes too quick to go out and do expensive focus groups and quantitative research when we should take a second to consider doing simple observational research. Especially, when companies are selling products that are fast moving consumer goods where consumers behaviors can be observed.

During my first-year of post-graduate classes I had a brilliant professor, Dr. Niall Caldwell, who taught marketing research at London Metropolitan University. In the third week of class he gave us a problem:
You are in charge of marketing for a small classical church in Southern Scotland. You have been given the responsibility to decide where to place a gift shop/ informational. But you have no money or time to conduct traditional market research. What is the solution to keep on time and within budget?

The answer: “Look at the carpet.” That is because the carpet will show you footfall of visitors.

Transmedia campaign concepts

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When I first began working in Europe, my first position was that of New Business Assistant at a global PR agency based in Kensington, London. One of my first projects was for a new new business pitch (as opposed to new organic) for a large alcoholic beverage conglomerate.

The problem was that one specific brand had become affectionately known as, “The wife beater of beers.” While compiling the background research for the pitch, I came across info that a sister agency had handled the advertising rise and fall of Sunny Delight.

Wanting to be an overachiever, I called up the head of new business and asked for the agencies notes and experiences. He told me that he had actually worked on this campaign, pitching and was one of the original team members.

We became friends and one day he gave me some of the most important and brilliant advice on creating new new business. He said, “When I stated off in this agency, we didn’t really have a strategy for generating new business leads or a worldwide name for ourselves yet. To get noticed, we made a list of companies that we really wanted to work with. Then we developed entire campaign ideas behind this notion and would send it to the contact with a letter stating, ‘Hey, we don’t work for you now. But this is the quality and level of creativity that you could expect from us if we did work for you.”

In that spirit of brilliance, I have created some ideas for companies that could use Transmedia marketing to audiences to generate bi- or multi-lateral communication and advertising.

Apple – “What does the Apple do for you?” concept

Concern – Apple is a market leader and an industry changer, but it has been met with a slew of bad press as of late. From how it handled the loss prototypes to recent student posting a supposed email conversation between her and Mr. Jobs.

IdeaAbove the line advertising campaign that asks the question – “What does the Apple do for you?” – This would be a 3 part advertising/response campaign – using YouTube, TV, Twitter and Facebook to promote the ad. Invite real people to respond about what Apple does for them. The second stage would be monitoring responses and messages on social networks. The third part would be to launch a response campaign, much like Old Spice, but better. Responses would be read from industry leaders and specialists in fields that people responded in, and then the professionals could provide some of their own personal insights. These would then be broadcast over YouTube, Twitter, Digg and Facebook.

Ladurée – Youth centric print campaign for London

HeavenConcern – Ladurée macaroons are some of the most expensive treats in the world, and worth every penny. A Paris based company, Ladurée has almost always focused on exclusivity, much like all the products in the Groupe Holder portfolio. But Ladurée macaroons are still not TOM (top of mind) for macaroons in the Great Britain, and especially not with young people. A key concern with most companies are how to infuse your product with your CLC (customer life cycle).

Pêché mignonIdea – An above the line print and digital advertising campaign.
Create a renewal of cool and luxury by aligning images of Ladurée with music lyrics or humor that, much like Ladurée, has stayed the test of time.  As an emotional appeals advertising concept, it should also play to humor. The transmedia aspect could include a digitally aggregated question, “What is your favorite macaroon?” Generating interactions with audiences and providing possible content for further advertising. It could also provide important material for deciding if Ladurée wanted to accept influence from audiences about what flavors to develop or bring back the following season.

“Put your money where your mouth is,” or “Shut-up and drive!”

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It seems unfair for an agency to tell people that they create digital marketing communications without having something of their own to show that. That is why we have tried to create a clean, direct website for clients to see who we are and what we do. Too often we see many of the large global agencies let their websites run wild with too much information and too little real content. That is why we have taken a simple mentality to creating the Newman Partnership, Ltd. site. It tells the simple truths; this is who we are and what we do.

Step 1: What do you stand for?

Audience, SWOT and Maslow

We began developing our layout by thinking about what defined the Newman Partnership, Ltd. We are a 10-year-old company that was created by Lloyd (Larry) N. Newman, a public relations pioneer in issues management and crisis management and was a former partner in a global public relations firm. Our primary focus is digital marketing communications and social media. Our other areas of specialty include market research and public relations crisis management.

As a boutique agency we rely on a large network of talented people that we can bring in on a per-project basis. This means having some of the best independent minds who know their specialty better than anyone and who work from different countries around the world. it also means world-class talent at a fraction of the cost for the client.

Nielsen Norman Group

the Nielsen Norman Group

To reflect this in our website we created a message that was youthful and a color scheme that is inviting. While the website has several fun aspects it still creates a professional cleanness for companies who want to work with us.  We also considered layout for effective content from the F-Shaped pattern for web users.

Step 2: Are you talking to me?

Once we had defined who we were, and how we wanted the rest of the world to see us, we needed to focus on our audience. Our target audiences include automotive, arts, technology, fashion and health-care/cosmetics groups looking to maximize their digital presence while trying to decrease their costs.

When we begin working on any project we start with the same question, “What is the core of your business? And how do you want to let people know that you are there and get them to notice you.” Because Newman Partnership, Ltd. is not only about getting noticed but also making a lasting impact.

Step 3: What are the rest of you thinking?

The Newman Partnership, Ltd. website

The Newman Partnership, Ltd. website

A smart director always buys his competitor’s products. When designing our website we also looked at what our competitors are using. We created an abridged version of the FCB model and how other boutique advertising and communications agencies defined themselves via their websites.

Agencies tend to define themselves using either emotional or rational reasons. Since we consider ourselves a highly creative agency, we chose to focus our website on a combination the emotional appeals of working with a smaller agency with the rational appeals of working with an agency that has a powerful professional history.

Newman Partnership, Ltd. website is now online, and we are available for projects and new clients.

Coming Soon!

Next time we will discuss the first 3 things that you need when you start creating your website.