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November 2014 - Posts

  • Noir Friday — Where independent businesses reign

    Nov 25 2014

    Year after year, it’s becoming apparent that big-box retailers are getting a jump start on their Black Friday campaigns before you have a chance to pack away your faux spider webs and candy buckets.  

    As retail businesses compete for consumer dollars leading up to the holiday season, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing an increase in Pre-Black Friday deals and campaigns starting right after Halloween. Companies such as Best Buy, Target and Walmart have been ahead of the curve by aggressively launching a slew of TV, print and digital advertising to announce their Black Friday deals and Grey Thursday openings. According to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF), holiday consumer spending is up five percent since last year, with the average person spending more than $800 on gifts this holiday season.

    So, how can small businesses break through the Black Friday promotional clutter? Leverage, leverage and leverage!

    • Build and leverage relationships
      Build and leverage relationships in your community throughout the year. Being a part of the community and participating in local charitable events will give you an opportunity to build a rapport with customers that want to invest in you and see you succeed. Additionally, these invaluable relationships you gain will help humanize your brand in the community – something most big brands lack.

    • Harness social media
      Social media has become an adopted medium of communication by all ages – so there are many channels to communicate with and reach your customers. Leverage your owned channels (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and/or Twitter) to curate and amplify your brand story. And at a minimal cost, increase the visibility of your brand through paid ad social tools like promoted posts and tweets.

    • Be creative
      Unlike big-box retailers, small businesses have opportunities to be more creative when publicizing their products for Black Friday. Don’t be afraid to get your product in front of the customer. For example, if you sell music products – have a “battle of the bands” holiday competition at your store and invite local residents, music bloggers and reporters to attend and vote for their favorite group.


    Matt Burnam - Public Relations Coordinator

  • Nielsen’s big, online metrics plan can potentially be the best gift for marketers

    Nov 21 2014

    Nielsen and Adobe are teaming up to offer accurate, digital-audience metrics for online TV consumption and video: Digital Content Ratings, Powered by Adobe. For media planners, advertisers and brands, this will finally provide a standardized system to measure digital video content, which has traditionally lacked alignment between site analytics and other measurement data. We should see more accurate audience data, which will help us understand who is watching what shows and, more important, on what devices.  

    Why is there a need?
    Consumers have a variety of options when it comes to viewing content, and advertisers need to understand where their target is consuming TV. Do you ever think, “I watch a show on CBS”? No, you tend to think, “I watch ‘The Big Bang Theory.’” Consumers focus on the content because they have multiple devices to watch their favorite shows. Understanding this, Nielsen knows its current ratings system is outdated.

    Why is it a big deal?

    Each year, TV viewing on alternate devices grows exponentially — which means that the kind of data Nielsen and Adobe will provide can be extremely beneficial during media planning stages. By including tablets, smartphones and connected TVs in total consumption, we can better understand the target audience and reach them more effectively with optimized marketing campaigns. This is becoming more prevalent as we see more companies provide their own TV viewing platforms.

    HBO announced plans to launch “over-the-top” subscription for consumers in 2015 and bypass cable companies, and CBS soon followed along with its “CBS All Access” pass. Viewing TV through a cable box set is not the only way to watch content anymore and should not be the only way to measure TV. Nielsen ratings currently measure limited platforms and, while ratings can decrease, it doesn’t necessarily mean the show is not performing across other devices.

    What can marketers expect from this?

    If it works, it’s a service marketers will be keen to get their hands on, as it will be the first comprehensive, cross-platform system that can measure TV online and video across desktop, smartphones, tablets, game consoles and over-the-top devices. With the data Nielsen acquires, marketers and media strategists can understand their target consumer consumption habits for their marketing campaign, purchase a mix of online and on-air media, and finally measure the results of those campaigns.

    Keep expectations realistic!
    Due to methodology and technical errors, the data we see won’t be 100 percent accurate — but neither is what planners are currently using. Nielsen’s new effort is encouraging for marketers because it’s a step in the right direction to bridge the measurement gap. Nielsen’s new service is expected to roll out in 2015 but media giants such as Starcom and Turner Broadcasting are already participating in a beta program. We’re excited to see the data when the service becomes public!

    Nitya Polipalli - Media Coordinator

  • Phelps PR Team Honored with Three PRism Awards

    Nov 21 2014

    Phelps took home three PRism Awards last night at the Public Relations Society of America-Los Angeles Chapter’s 50th PRism Awards! The Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), Tetra Pak and Monrovia teams were honored for their outstanding work on recent public relations campaigns at the ceremony hosted by television personality John O’Hurley.

    In the “Public Education” category, Phelps won for the “LAX is Happening” modernization campaign that delivered inspirational messages of the airport’s multibillion-dollar renovation. The campaign informs the community about construction, traffic delays and other upcoming impacts to travelers.

    The Tetra Pak Milk Unleashed campaign case study video won for “Creative Tactics.” With dynamic animation and an engaging script, the video presented the research, execution and results of the successful campaign that educated millions of moms about shelf safe milk.

    For the third time in four years, Phelps won a PRism award for Monrovia’s Plant Savvy newsletter that offers consumers gardening tips, design inspiration and DIY ideas to establish Monrovia as the leading plant expert in the gardening industry. Earlier this year, Plant Savvy won for best overall enewsletter by the Garden Writers Association.

    Phelps’ Tetra Pak, LAWA and One Day on Earth teams earned Awards of Excellence for their efforts in “Digital Public Relations Programs,” “Logo/Identity Design” and “One-Time Media/Special Event: Nonprofit,” respectively.

    PRSA-LA annually recognizes outstanding programs and materials created by public relations professionals.

  • What's the Nub? — And how we can use it to create sharper, more powerful campaigns

    Nov 13 2014


    In our world at Phelps, the nub is an uncovered truth that leads to a strategic insight, that inspires a creative jolt, that stirs the target’s emotions and delivers powerful results. As we see it, there are three different kinds of nubs – maybe more even, but for this blog, we’ll focus on the three big ones:

    Product Difference as the nub identifies a real physical difference that the competition doesn’t have. One example is from Dyson, which focuses heavily on its differentiated product design that means it never loses suction. Another example is from Duluth Trading Company whose women’s tee features a long tail that supplies ample coverage during times of bent-over work.

    A Pre-emptive Promise as the nub is very effective in claiming a position by identifying a meaningful promise that may not be unique to the company, but by getting it out there first, becomes ownable by the brand. Snickers’ “You’re not you when you’re hungry” line could have easily been claimed by a nutrition bar or potato chip brand but Snickers did it first and a memorable campaign was the result.

    A Psychological Insight that results from digging deeper into the consumer psyche can create a powerful nub that resonates with the target. Audi did a great job with this approach when they challenged the target to consider a car that doesn’t follow the usual script of what a luxury car is, i.e. a BMW or Mercedes.

    We recently found the nub for our Tahiti Tourisme client who was looking to differentiate its islands experience from ones available in Mexico or Hawaii. Most any destination can claim white sands and beautiful beaches. But understanding what the target wants most, we focused in on Tahiti’s differentiating quality of privacy that is omnipresent throughout her breathtaking islands. Privacy. The ultimate luxury.

    Next time you want to craft a message that sticks, make sure to find the nub that your audience can easily grab onto and take with them.

    Howie Cohen - Chief Creative Officer