Smart brands are grabbing consumers' attention in bold ways—from innovative 3D projection on landmark buildings and mannequins to rich, multi-screen experiences that enable viewers to dig deeper into the content they want, to apps that encourage users to explore and share music, ads and TV shows. Inspired brands have found a way to reach consumers using traditional media in non-traditional ways.This was the conversation held last Wednesday at our latest Knowledge Tap event – Let's Get Engaged. Industry experts Joshua Cohen, president & CEO of Pearl Media; Garrett Jamison, YuMe's director of southwest sales and Eric Zimostrad, senior manager of media partnerships at Shazam LA, joined our VP of digital production, Aaron Dubois, to illustrate how brands are using online, out-of-home and broadcast media in new ways to share their brand message and to excite and engage consumers. To get more details, be on the lookout for our panel video.The next Knowledge Tap event will be here before you know it. Please help us make it even better. We'd love to hear your feedback or ideas for potential topics. Send us a tweet @phelps_agency with the hashtag #KnowledgeTap.
My friend, Mike Dicciccio from Pennsylvania, asked for my opinion on key essentials for business success in these times.
I answered that companies need:
So, to review: Mike asked the question of a small group of agency presidents. I "replied to all" with my answer, and the others filled in the missing ingredients of "dollars and sense" to make the answer more complete. That process of improving on an idea illustrates the benefits of #1 above. As Howie Cohen once said in his famous campaign, "Try it. You'll like it."
Happy New Year!
The best way for businesses to increase customer following in social media is to push out good content to naturally attract followers. And, it's critical to know and understand the people they want to reach to get their attention — and keep it.
These were the key issues discussed on Wednesday when we kicked-off our Knowledge Tap event series at our Santa Monica office. Our ballroom was transformed into a happy hour where clients and friends joined us for an evening all about customer engagement through social media.
Industry experts, including Chris Falcioni, West Coast sales director, Shoutlet; David Henzel, VP marketing, NetDNA; and Dillon Wilson, director of strategy and campaigns, PartnersHub, joined our social media coach Janette Rizk for this exclusive panel discussion. Keeping with our theme, guests tweeted their questions and comments during the panel for everyone to see on our live Twitter feed.
If you missed this event, our next Knowledge Tap is slated for February. More information to come!
If you attended the event and have feedback or have a topic you'd like discussed, send us a tweet @phelps_agency with the hashtag #KnowledgeTap.
Consumers are being bombarded with messages through several mediums simultaneously. They aren’t just watching TV—they're looking at second and third screens, surfing the web on a tablet or looking up the latest app on their smart phones. With this new generation of consumer behavior trends we are now witnessing an even stronger need for IMC—all communication avenues delivering one brand voice.
More than $171 billion (that's $171,000,000,000!) is the projected amount to be spent in 2012 in the U.S. on marketing communications. With people being inundated by so much commercial information, how can we expect to get our customers' attention unless we’re relentlessly consistent and efficient in the placement of our message?
Research shows that whether it's a TV commercial, in-store promotion, website or editorial, most often people don't consciously differentiate between the media they absorb. They just consume the messages.
It's repetition that burns a brand's message into the minds of customers. That's why it's called branding.
IMC reflects how the customer sees it – a flow of information about a company or product from indistinguishable sources. One brand, one voice.
All information about a company combines systematically in the mind of a consumer as a "brand." The way people formulate ideas about brands is a natural process. What happens when messages are integrated? What happens when they're not? Consistency and integration promote clarity. Inconsistency promotes confusion.
Natural systems are the most powerful. An animal's body is a system. A cow is a system. You can't cut a cow in half and expect it to produce milk. So it follows that you can't cut a marketing communications program apart and expect it to perform at its highest level.
To minimize entropy (the disorder of a system) and maximize syntropy (the alignment of energy and form), marketing communications must be integrated into one seamless system.
Fast Company recently published an article related to the power of IMC within B2B companies: http://www.fastcompany.com/3002425/creating-winning-b2b-integrated-marketing-campaign. What approaches are your campaigns taking to reach the consumer quicker and with more efficiency? Have you recently modified any of your strategies to incorporate more disciplines under the marketing umbrella?
Employers continue to face a challenge that has existed since the beginning of business – recruiting and retaining great talent.
What is the best way to ensure that you are offering the best for your associates? You make hiring the most integral part of your business strategy. Only the best cultures can attract those that will contribute effectively to your business and culture.
Leadership's purpose, after setting the mission and vision for the company, can almost be distilled to:
This cultural mindset will improve employee retention by enhancing their commitment to the organization, as opposed to their merely "obeying" in order to earn money.
Here's an example of how we show trust at The Phelps Group. We say, "We only hire adults." This means we don't have to tell people when to be at the office, what to wear or how to treat each other. It has minimized the number of written policies and is a reflection of how much we trust our associates.
Our associate Ed Chambliss (who received the top IMC graduate student award when he received his MBA at Colorado University) said it this way in a memo to me:
"I overheard two ladies talking about their company's travel policy. The policy (from a large Hollywood studio) was amazing. It actually dedicated six single-spaced pages to travel policy, including a chart indicating which level executive is allowed to fly First or Business Class (if the flight is over seven hours, of course.) I also caught a glimpse of an entire paragraph outlining how unused airline tickets must be returned to a participating travel agency.
This experience crystallized for me the difference between The Phelps Group and other companies where I've worked. It's one way our organization treats us like responsible adults. In contrast, many companies treat their employees like children – forcing management to act like parents.
We're all responsible adults who, treated as such, will work together to get things done.
To me, this how companies need to treat today's knowledge workers. Our culture treats us as adults. And, given that opportunity, we'll use our common sense to get the problems solved. Isn't that what it's all about?" Well said, Ed.
What is your company's strategy to bring the best people? How do you ensure you keep them engaged in their position over the years?
Inc.com recently published a great article regarding hiring strategy -http://www.inc.com/les-mckeown/how-to-hire-great-people-every-time.html.
The Phelps Group is one of L.A.'s "Best Places to Work" for the sixth year in a row by The Los Angeles Business Journal (LABJ). The agency ranked #26 among all mid-sized companies – 25 to 249 local workers – in Los Angeles.The "Best Places to Work in Los Angeles" program is a countywide program managed by Best Companies Group. Best Companies Group conducted thorough company assessments through a two-part process designed to gather detailed data about each participating company. In part one, the employer completes a questionnaire and in part two, employees of the company complete an employee survey. The collected information was combined to produce a detailed set of data. The workplaces were ranked based on this data.The Phelps Group offers a range of progressive workplace benefits, including reimbursement for education classes and programs, ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan), telecommuting, pet-friendly work environment, green workplace program, full-feedback environment, competitive pay and health benefits, weekly educational seminars and hosted lunch twice a week.
Marketers often talk about the challenges of targeting U.S. Hispanics. While Hispanics are united by language, in reality there are many differences that can present obstacles to a successful campaign.A quick look at Miami and Los Angeles, two cities with significant Hispanic populations, provides an example of the nuances which make Hispanics vary from each other within the target. The Miami Hispanic population is primarily composed of Cubans with an infusion of South Americans. Many moved to the city looking for political freedom, are often more educated and have been able to secure employment as white-collar professionals. Los Angeles Hispanics are primarily of Mexican origin and from Central America. They made their way to U.S. for an improved standard of living. Lacking higher levels of education, California Hispanics tend to find employment as blue-collar workers. The significant differences among Hispanics can be easily addressed by what marketers practice every day. The secret to Hispanic marketing is no secret at all. It comes down to cultural relevance.Cultural relevance is not confined to ethnic marketing, it is found in any successful marketing campaign, whether the target is adult moms, children, millennials, pet owners, coffee drinkers or Hispanics. Cultural relevance requires a deep understanding of the consumer, gender, race, media habits, consumption patterns, insights, etc. In the case of the Hispanic market, cultural relevance will even dictate language preference because not all Hispanics speak Spanish. It's no secret that the same processes used for a successful general market campaign are also required for a successful Hispanic campaign.Hispanic Insights Examples
Great ideas can come from the source you least expect. In companies where ideas fuel the business it is easy to fall into a trap of non-disclosure. Someone comes up an idea and they want to own it, grow it and execute it. They want to perfect it before they show it.
What most professionals don’t realize is that a good idea has the potential to grow into a great idea, and all it takes is a little collaboration. Inviting others to give their input opens the door for “outsight” -- ideas to help influence the project from an outsider’s perspective.
The thinking is that the client and our self-directed, client-based teams make the decisions on the work. Not department directors. The cultural element that adds creative power and security to this model is an understanding that all work will be subjected to the opinions and feedback from the entire agency. We call it "putting more brains on the work." It begins with commitments from the associates when they join our group that they will expose their work as it moves through its stages of development. It's enforced by peer pressure. After all, our work is shown to thousands and often millions of people. So it’s smart to take the time to get the opinions of at least our associates.
Some of the factors that led to the development of these feedback devices are:1. The speed at which jobs are produced nowadays often doesn't allow for copy testing. This increases the risk that the intended message may not be the message received or remembered.
2. The cost of a mistake can be crippling considering the large number of people who see our work and can be affected by it, and the cost of the media required to reach them.
3. We're capitalizing on the chance to improve the work by getting more minds on it – more ideas, more proofing.4. People working day-to-day on an account can develop personal and team tunnel-vision. Fresh thinking from outside sources helps eliminate this problem.Once again, our basic philosophy is reinforced: Find great people, bathe them in feedback and get out of their way as they make the decisions they're best prepared to make.
The Harvard Business Review offers a good article on the subject. http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/06/let_your_ideas_go.html
Do you feel it’s safe to share your ideas while in the embryonic stage? How do you ensure there is a collaborative spirit embedded in your team dynamics? Tell us about ways you have to make this happen.
Joe Phelps | CEO
In most major religions, God is on the throne. As long as that priority is followed, everything flows smoothly from there.Another way to view this – which is espoused by the major Eastern religions – is we are all one. This is especially true when the definition of an agency is considered. An agency, by definition, is not a supplier to the client. It represents the client. It works on behalf of the client. It is, in effect, the client. Most professional service firms' long-term self-interest will be improved if they adopt this "agency" mindset. We exist as one with the client. What is good for them is good for us – for we are them. We are their agency – not a supplier.At The Phelps Group, we believe that what is truly good for the client, will, at least in the long term, be good for us. Any attempt to put the needs of our firm over those of the clients' is short-term thinking at the expense of our long-term success. Have you ever been in a situation where you were caught between the orders of your company’s department head and the client's needs? That conflict of interest most often exists because of a flawed organizational model.By demolishing function-based departments, and organizing around the client, you help assure that the client’s needs are always on the throne. Then, no one ever has to question who they work for. You always know you are working for the client. Using The Phelps Group as an example of how this works: There is no account management department and no director of client services. So it's always crystal clear to our team leaders and managers that they are working directly for our clients. There is no media department and, therefore, no media director. Our media specialists know that they work directly for the client (and client team) they serve.Our most experienced people with proven abilities to do and teach – who would be department directors in other organizations – are our coaches. When our specialists need additional thinking from someone else in their discipline, they’re encouraged to seek it from whomever they wish and, of course, their coach is often their most qualified consultant.But the coach doesn't mandate the answer. The specialists report directly to their team and their client(s). There’s no doubt about for whom our specialists work.To read more on the subject follow the links below :
How do you ensure your team delivers only the best every time? Is customer service deeply embedded in your company culture? Do you have examples of reaping benefits from taking the extra step?
Joe Phelps | CEO
Marketers are often in a quandary over the best time to post on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to maximize customer engagement. Is it in the morning when many people check their Facebook page before they go to work? Is midday better because users look at their Twitter stream during lunch? Is evening best? Which days of the week generate the most engagement? And what about B2B versus B2C — are the dynamics different
Here are some insights from a recent article, Timing Your Social Media":
While timing is important, it is even more important for companies to be strategic about social media by making sure the messaging is aligned with other marketing efforts. Regardless where it is in our 24-hour news cycle, compelling content rules. It comes as no surprise that the best way to engage your target is to create enriching, interactive content that will interest them any time of day.
Janette Rizk | VP, Social Media
I grew up in a world of shotgun TV advertising where you could reach millions of people all at one time. We thought that was pretty cool. But it's nothing compared to what we can do today. Thanks to the Internet and emerging technology from the likes of Google, we can now speak to a billion people, one person at a time. What's more, we can personalize the messages so that we're speaking to each one, right here, right now, in real time. Suddenly, the possibility of being relevant in people's lives has become profound. Instead of trying to sell them stuff they don't need, we can actually be helpful in their lives by connecting them with the goods and services they really want. Timeliness and personalization are changing the marketing communications landscape and it's never been more exciting. Stay tuned.
Howie Cohen | Chief Creative Officer
One of the fastest growing social media trends over the last few years has been mobile photo sharing. We have seen this utilized via Twitter and Facebook but now, more than ever, people are using dedicated apps to visually interact with each other and, more important, with brands and products. Instagram, the reigning champ in the mobile photo sharing world, has more than 15 million users who have uploaded more than 400 million photos just in the last two years! The potential for businesses to leverage their products and consumer engagement is significant. Here are a few rules to get the most out of the app:
Post interesting images: Focus less on branded images and products and instead post lifestyle photos that are visually appealing.
Post consistently and often: Posting a few images a day keeps your brand or product top of mind and offers more opportunity for users to engage.
Get the community involved: Social networks work better when brands get conversations going. Brands that respond with @replies to those who comment and actively use hashtags generate more activity on their profiles.
All of these rules allow businesses and brands to become humanized in the eyes of users and gives consumers another platform to engage, learn about and share a company's product or values.
Chelsey Allodi | PR Coordinator
The music video phenomenon is not new. Its roots as a promotional marketing tool go back to the 1930s, when shorts were produced featuring bands, vocalists and dancers. The MTV generation was born in the 1980s, — and the music video found itself to be an integral part of mainstream society, creating new opportunities for advertisers. Today, YouTube dominates the way we view music videos and provides record labels with the necessary top 100 lists, listener feedback, viewing levels, demographics and link-related resources to spread its message virally.
Posting music videos on blogs, personal social media profiles and webzines is now a popular pastime, so musicians are looking for new ways to promote themselves through the Internet. With the advent of HTML5, new interactive possibilities are helping artist's seed their songs. In 2010, Arcade Fire's "Wilderness Downtown" video used Google to push the boundaries of what is possible online. This video was so successful; it exceeded 2 million views by the end of its first day!
This new phenomenon of integrated interactive viral marketing is fast becoming popular. Recently The Red Hot Chili Peppers "Look Around" and Fox networks New Girl TV show have created spreadable music-oriented content to create visually pleasing viral results.
Craig Allen | Art Director
Sometimes marketing isn't just about getting your message to the right audience. It's also truly knowing your audience and being able to spot trends in advance that can work to your business' advantage. Smart marketers are online — not only to promote their business on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but to follow their target market, see what they are doing and where category inclinations are moving. In other words, it's not enough to be in the social media venues and add followers — you have to follow.
Someone from your company needs to periodically visit the pages of people who "like" you on Facebook and see what is going on in their lives, follow your followers on Twitter to see what they are tweeting about that is important to them, visit pinterest.com to see what people find tangible and interesting in almost any genre and report their findings.
Making social networking a two-way connection will enable your business to be ahead of the curve when it comes to spotting trends, new interests and hot topics — allowing you to launch fresh business ideas that will successfully speak to your target market.
Tori Young | Account Manager