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December 2012 - Posts

  • How to Thrive and Survive in 2013!

    Dec 31 2012

    My friend, Mike Dicciccio from Pennsylvania, asked for my opinion on key essentials for business success in these times.
    I answered that companies need:

    1. Transparency: There is no place to hide. The truth will come out. And transparency allows you to gather people's thoughts and buy-in on important matters. It builds trusts and allows you to aggregate the brain power of all involved.

    2. Culture that attracts and holds talent: Transparency is part of that. So is exhibiting high levels of trust that beget more freedom, flexibility and the chance to learn from one's own successes and mistakes. If I trust you, you feel it and return the feeling. It's an upward spiral.

    3. A Customer-Centric organization: Not organized by function. Not hierarchical. One that's organized around the client and built for speed to market, with some sort of "crowd sourcing" mechanism that allows for the consumer point of view to be baked into the process.

    4. An unquenchable thirst for new and better ways: Don't make today's decisions with yesterday's information. Example: the use of a specific software is usually considered a tactic. Like a bomb is a tactic in war. But a nuclear bomb is more like a strategy. That's the role new technology can sometimes play.

      My friend, Sue Meany from New York, was on the email string and she added:
    5. I would add to Joe's thoughts, the need to monitor staff levels to projected business levels. Tied to this would be having close relationships at the right level with clients so you're clear about upcoming budgets.

      And my friend, Bob Morrison from Georgia, chimed in with his words of wisdom:
    6. I agree heartily with Joe's observations and Sue's additions. I boil the issue down to three things companies need:
      Cash flow, or there is no business.
      Financial management, or there is no future.
      Great creative, or there is no agency.

    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!

  • Knowledge Tap Launched at Phelps

    Dec 31 2012

    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.

  • Don't Cut The Cow In Half

    Dec 31 2012

    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: 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?