Archive for May, 2008
As the times and economic stability continue to churn, the job front for college graduates is looking meeker everyday. While I was unemployed the thought crossed my mind several times, “It is almost better to not have a college degree right now.” Don’t get me wrong-I know there are many jobs available, however you either need 10+ years of experience or a high school diploma. After spending 4 years and $50,000 on higher education- you’re not going to be happy accepting a job that you could have gotten by graduating high school. Thankfully, I’m happily employed and grateful to have graduated in the fall when there was less entry level job competition. All of my recently graduated friends are in a different situation though…I don’t really know what to tell them and part of me feels guilty for having a job when they don’t. So as I am rambling the thoughts in my head, what I am really wondering is how long can this “economic low-point” (for lack of a better term) last? I grew up in a generation that has never experienced a “recession.” How much freedom do I have to purchase a home or a car? Or should I be saving every penny I earn in case this “recession” turns into the great depression of the 21st century?
Yup, it’s actually old news but for some silly reason ADWEEK decided to publish an article called, “The Next Generation” the article looks at “five up-and-coming interactive agencies [that] are looking at the web in a different light.”
The article talks about the five agencies; 360i, Big Spaceship, Deep Focus, EVB, and Schematic and their role and participation in the “digital age” of advertising. It also talks about how these agencies are integrated.
Risdall is integrated. We have been doing Search Marketing for 10 – 12 years. We are currently involved in many online and new media campaigns. We are harnessing the power of social media (new and old), have a very successful PR department and much much more.
ADWEEK says, “Deep Focus was formed with not just creative and media together, but also public relations…” Excellent. I believe that there are plenty of agencies out there that have PR departments and that this is no extraordinary feat.
All I’m trying to say is look past the hype. Sure these agencies are keeping up with the times but like the saying goes, “Anything you can do, I can do better!” Just some playful criticisms
I’ve never felt comfortable using fear as a motivator in advertising. This is a bit ironic considering fear has often motivated me as I was creating advertising. No matter, I strongly believed that selling a product on its merits, not on fear, was ultimately more effective. The only evidence to the contrary I’d seen was in an interview with direct marketing copywriter John Caples, who said don’t just tell what the buyer gets with the product, but what she or he will be missing or risking by not buying the product. That’s still a long way from “Pain, woe and ostracism will befall you if you fail to act.”
But I had to try it. There was a ton of work in the shop and yet I wasn’t very busy. It would drive me nuts to just sit around while everyone else was working. I needed to get my hands on some of that work: a banner ad. A landing page. A four-color spread. I’m not fussy. I just want it now. My solution was to send an agency-wide e-mail soliciting work. I didn’t think writing, “hey, I’m slow, so could you shoot me a project or something so I’m not just occupying space like mound of protoplasm,” would work. After all, there was no benefit to the reader. The message was based on sympathy which ranks right next to guilt as a weak motivator.
No, I needed something that would work, so I stole an idea used very effectively by Beth Anderson, our timesheet sheriff: “If your timesheets aren’t submitted by this afternoon, I’ll come sit with you until they’re done.” Brilliant! To avoid an out and out copy and paste plagiarism of Beth, I made a clever change (try to spot it): “If you don’t send me some work by this afternoon, I’ll come sit with you until you do.” Original? No. Effective? Yes.
Maybe even more effective than Beth’s threats because Beth is exceedingly likable. Anyone would like to spend time with her. I, on the other hand, am not so much fun to be around.
And the work poured in.
If there’s a lesson to be learned from this experiment using a different kind of approach, it might be that long-standing ideas about what makes work good or bad, effective or ineffective have to be constantly challenged. By experimenting, you may find that something you never might have tried actually works. To slightly twist John Caples’ thoughts: even if people don’t change, the times do.
Are we headed for a recession? Maybe, maybe not.
Either way, the uncertainty has individuals speculating about the future and making decisions based on worst-case scenarios. When times get tough, the first instinct is to “hunker down” and cut back. And inevitability, the marketing department feels the pinch first.
Rather than hunkering down, organizations need to market through a recession. They need to stay visible and connected to their customers and community. Speculation and uncertainty has cascading effects on a brand; your customers (and stakeholder groups) need reassurance that you are still there for them.
No matter your size or industry, going dormant can cause irreparable damage to your organization’s most valuable assets— its brand and reputation. A company’s brand and reputation are too valuable to leave unattended for any period of time.
In my Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal (published in the 5/16/08 issue) commentary entitled, “Protect Your Brand and Reputation During Uncertain Economic Times,” I outlined some fundamental steps centered around public relations that companies can take to hedge against the impact of a recession (or at the very least the impact of speculation).
An essential element for building brands and managing reputations, public relations connects your brand with the individuals that matter to your organization. While public relations won’t make your organization recession proof, marketing through a recession will help offset its effects and position a company for quick recovery.
If anything, communicating more, not less, is the key. What do you think?
Inspired by a presentation by Darryl Salerno on “English as a First Language” at PRSA‘s Counselors Academy Spring Conference earlier this week, I’ve been thinking about how we – collectively as marketing and communication professionals – for the most part take for granted our knowledge of the English language.
Honestly, slang, mispronunciation and misuse has turned English into our Second Language. Our first language is the language of convenience – e-mail, text messaging, instant messages, advertising, PowerPoint and signage – is eroding the English language throughout society.
For me the primary culprit is haste. The need to do a much as possible has led me away from the English language. I speak a dialect I call “Siglish.” Evolved from the English of my youth, this dialect uses shortcuts, symbols and em-dashes to convey meaning, tone and urgency.
For example, instead of taking the time to make sure that my light-hearted e-mail is written so that there is no misunderstanding, I simply insert a smiley face character at the end and hit “send.”
As our society continues to adopt text messaging as the preferred form of communication, what will become of our language. Seriously, the Cingular advertising campaign is destined to become our reality.
On a related topic, after the conference, I picked up a Real Simple magazine at RSW from my trip back to MSP and read about a book that I believe should be required reading. Literally, the Best Language Book Ever: Annoying Words and Abused Phrases You Should Never Use Again, by Paul Yeager.
While I haven’t read it yet, I am certain that it will literally be the best book ever!
Let me know what words or phrases you think should be included!
As reported in the June 2008 Twin Cities Business, Minneapolis-St. Paul has approximately 100 public relations firms, 200 advertising agencies and 250 direct marketing firms. It ranks among the top 10 on Carnegie Mellon University’s “Bohemian Index” for its concentration of creative people.
According to the study author, Richard Florida, “The most successful city-regions anywhere are the ones with a social environment that is open to creativity and diversity of all sorts. The ability to attract creative people in arts and culture, and to be open to people of different ethnic, racial and lifestyle groups, provides distinct advantages to regions in generating innovations, growing and attracting high-technology industries, and spurring economic growth.”
Check out his Web site The Rise of Creative Class.
Based on the number of creative minds in New Brighton alone, the Twin Cities is headed for an economic boom!
Ok, as a “newbie” to the ad world, specifically using social networking for business purposes, someone please explain twitter to me! I keep hearing the interactive search folk talk twitter jargon and I don’t even really understand what twitter is? How is it different than facebook or myspace? Or is it just another form of these social networks? From what I have read it appears it is more for businesses. For example:
http://www.doshdosh.com/how-to-get-more-twitter-followers/ gives a list of “rules” that aren’t rules about how to “tweet.” It seems the whole point is of twitter is for people to look at your profile-which is great for businesses, but as an individual why do I want tons of strangers looking at my profile? Help the uninformed!