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August 2015 - Posts

  • The Real Secret of Blockbuster Brands

    Aug 06 2015

    In today's increasingly convoluted landscape, brands need to learn how to compel audiences away from other devices in order to survive.

    We could spend hours banging our heads against the wall, asking, "What is the secret formula for content that creates unfaltering brand loyalty?" Or, we could simply go to the movies. Consider this: viewers devote 480 times more attention to a feature film than to a website (Time)*. The reason is not the amount of content. The reason is character.

    We fall in love with characters — their quirky habits, their desires, their faults. We give up two hours of our lives to live vicariously through them, in hopes of feeling…something. This is the secret. Give your brand an emotional hook, a mission, an obstacle. Make it a little less perfect and a little more human, and audiences will line up to cheer you on.

    For inspiration, check out Joseph Campbell's exploration of character archetypes and monomyth: The Hero with a Thousand Faces. It makes for a great summer read, and just might help you turn your brand into a blockbuster.

    Maria Brenner - Writer, Producer, Editor


    * What You Think You Know About the Web Is Wrong, Tony Haile, Time Magazine, March 9, 2014.

  • Why Total Market Strategy is the New Mainstream

    Aug 05 2015

    With an ever-growing multicultural population, marketers are starting to realize that the multicultural customer is the new mainstream. By using a total market approach, the shift in strategy will result in increased efficiencies and sales due to the larger, new mainstream targeted with a single message.

    Here’s why an integrated, total market approach is necessary:

    • Brand Perception: Consumers identify with brands that reflect their values. While consumers may appear different on the surface, the best campaigns identify insights that are universal to a diverse audience.
    • Market Share: What were once niche markets have gained significant spending power. Marketers must adjust their strategy to appeal to a remix of cultures (the new mainstream) or they will lose market share.
    • Media Relationships: Media outlets that once overlooked the niche cultural markets are now touting content for an integrated population, so it makes sense for companies to adjust their messaging to reflect these new values.

    First determine the market geographically — regionally or nationally — then identify the mix of the locality’s cultural groups. This will allow you to establish the best messaging and media to reach the targeted consumer, based on their media consumption and brand engagement. The most effective total market campaigns will use one brand voice for all audiences.


    Alex Perez - President, Phelps Total Market


    An in-depth version of this article was originally published in SAGE Business Researcher, May 2015.

  • CSR: The Magic Trifecta

    Aug 05 2015

    Studies show that millennials are believers in corporate social responsibility (CSR), and expect brands to follow suit. Marketing agencies have taken notice by growing their businesses to include CSR offerings, but truly integrated marketing demands that CSR be part of an overall brand strategy.

    As an integrated marketing communications agency, advising clients on corporate social responsibility is something we’ve always done as part of our integrated approach. But CSR efforts need to align with the brand strategy so they will be authentic and believable to the consumer — otherwise they fall flat. Our mission at Phelps is to do great work for deserving clients, and CSR naturally flows from that premise.

    Our Dunn-Edwards Paints client implemented a program that donates thousands of gallons of paint and mistints to charities and worthy causes. Dunn-Edwards is known as a leader in its industry, and the company is giving back in a relevant manner that connects with consumers’ perceptions of the brand.

    As the desire for cause marketing increases with consumers, agencies are promoting it and brands are asking for it — which makes CSR a magic trifecta worth exploring.


    Tori Young - VP, Brand Strategy

  • 3 Tips for Entering (and Winning!) Marketing Awards

    Aug 05 2015

    Award applications can be daunting, often requiring an essay and portfolio of images, results and clips for submission. From 2014-2015, Phelps won 37 awards for work with clients like SoCalGas, Los Angeles World Airports and Panasonic. From our experience, here are three tips for entering awards competitions:

    1. Show measurable results
    Award entries often lose because of a lack of measurable objectives and actionable results. Clear objectives and results (e.g., $100,000 increase in sales, 20% growth) provide a concrete way to judge the success of the campaign. Without them, campaigns seem more of a "nice try" instead of showing real growth.

    2. Recruit someone outside the team to write a draft

    Team members who worked on the entry project daily may be tempted to add too much detail. Enlist someone outside of the team to draft the entry. As an outsider, they'll provide perspective on what's most important and would be impressive to judges.

    3. Write the entry like a story

    Think of the entry as a movie — the protagonist (brand) starts with a problem that it must overcome, gathers more information to inform next steps, devises a plan based on info, executes ideas and reaps successful results.

    Connie Kwon - Public Relations Coordinator