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Monthly archives "March 2013"

How to Throw the Ultimate Mad Men Premiere Party

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mad_men_amc_tv_season_6Don those skinny ties and freshen up, it is Mad Men season. The highly anticipated season six of Mad Men is sure to break new ground, but since we have yet to know the year the show will be based in, let’s start where we left off. To throw a great Mad Men season premiere party you need a couple of things: friends, atmosphere and food. Let’s just assume you have the friends part covered and start with atmosphere, shall we?

To throw the ultimate Mad Men season six premiere party, there are a nine essentials to nail down, as follows:

  1. Music: Since music was one of the biggest reflections of 1960s culture it comes first on our list.  If you are a fan of the show you may already have a record player, but if not, ask a friend to bring one over. Next you want some great music to play. If you need records too, there are always local record shops happy to sell you some 45s (vintage singles). After all, it would not be very Mad Men of you to have a iPod playing the songs. However, if that is all you can find, it will do. Look for some of the billboard top 40 songs from the mid-1960s. If you are able to get a record player it is not a bad idea to pick up a copy of Jessica Pare singing Zou Bisou, Bisou on vinyl to really set the scene.
  2. Items from the set: What? How can I buy items from the show? You cannot. You can, however, find show-related items at local vintage or antique stores. In a recent excursion this weekend I went to four vintage shops and found a glass bottle of Patio, a lucky strike ad, a tie bar, a matchbook from a vintage Hilton Hotel, some skinny ties and a chip bowl made out of a 1960s Rolling Stones record. To throw a great Mad Men party you have to get creative, like Draper. Sometimes that means rummaging through someone’s old stuff. And yes, it is always worth it.
  3. Dress code: Set one. It is not only fun for a change but it keeps the atmosphere in check. If you do not want to buy clothes chances are you have something you can pull out of your closet that will fit the bill. Just watch the show for five minutes and you will get tons of ideas from Janie Bryant’s creative costume designs. Speaking of Bryant,  if you do not have anything in your closet, you can either go back to the vintage shops or pick up something from Janie’s new Banana Republic Mad Men collection. If all else fails, no jeans.
  4. Taste of the times: No pizza tonight folks. The food should reflect the era as well. That is not to say you must have a pot roast and baked Alaska. Just make sure that food ideas come from things that were popular or at least available in the 1960s. Assuming you are from a non-smoking household, grab a couple of packs of candy cigarettes.  Remember, this party is themed to stand out from a normal party at your house. Put a bowl of nuts out, unless you can find of bag of Utz potato chips. As a fan of Mad Men you may very well know, ‘Utz are better than nuts.’
  5. Remove the screens. Your TV is fine, of course, but leave smartphones and computers out of sight. You may actually remember how to interact with people without all of the modern distractions. Having a vintage phone in the kitchen would complete the look. This may be easier to find than you realize. I was able to find a mustard yellow rotary dial phone in my parent’s basement just a few weeks ago.
  6. Glimpse of the past. Achieve a glimpse into life in the 1960s by placing out a few vintage magazines on the ottoman. If nothing else, you and your friends will have a good laugh at all of the new and improved items that were all the rage back then. In my same excursion over the weekend I picked up 1966 editions of Life, Motor Trend, and Better Homes and Gardens magazines.
  7. Set the DVR. Two reasons here. The first is because if you miss any part of the episode while hosting the party you will probably want to catch up later. As an example, I think my wife and I watched a total of 10 minutes of the Super Bowl this year between the two of us. A second reason to set the DVR is to have some television on in the background. You can either play episodes of Mad Men season five from early morning reruns on AMC or 1960s programs that are currently on TV such as Dick Van Dyke, The Donna Reed Show, Andy Griffith, Bonanza, or Bewitched.
  8. Keep the party going. Cards were a popular way for adults to pass the time is years gone by. If you do not know how to play bridge, or you think it is just an efficient way to get over a body of water, charades was another popular game. You can also wander down to the art department and get some colored pencils for a lively game of Pictionary. Finally, as in Season 2 episode “The Jet Set,” you could play a game where one person names an international city and the next person has to use the last letter to name the next city, and so forth.
  9. Bar in your living room. I saved the best for last. You have secretly always wanted to do this and now you can; put a bar in your living room. Stock it heavily and get some tasty recipes from yesteryear. Start with the Mad Men cocktail guide or just do a little Google search for some of the classic drinks.  Heineken beer could also be on hand to pay homage to Betty’s around the world dinner party from the Season 2 Episode “A Night to Remember.”

The key is to have a different party-going experience. Try not to get wrapped up in the same party ideas, but please leave the John Deere riding lawnmower in the garage. For more tips, see the Mad Men Party Planner or watch any of the last five seasons of Mad Men for inspiration. And remember, no talking about the baby and Don gets the big steak.

Dr. Ahuvia and the Brand Love Phenomenon

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aaronahuviaWhat brands or products do you absolutely love that you cannot live without? Most of the time consumers flock towards things like smartphones, iPods, and the like. Last week the American Marketing Association, Detroit chapter, put on an event entitled ‘Brand Love’ with Aaron Ahuvia, Ph.D. at Schoolcraft College. Dr. Ahuvia is the foremost authority on this topic as he was the first researcher published in this area over twenty years ago.

Ahuvia’s explanation of brand love starts with human evolution. “Humans adapt old capacities to new situations,” Ahuvia said. He went on to say, “Love is powerful.” A perfect way of exhibiting this is through anthropomorphism; this is when people take something that is not human and give it human qualities. An example of this is shown in a video of an iCat robot named Daisy. Studies showed that humans had a very difficult time shutting down the robot. Those studied began to develop an affinity for the robot, and when asked to shut it down, Daisy began asking the person not to. See the video here.

Another way this is exhibited is through the saying we heard so many times in our school days: “If you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?” One woman, Erika La Tour Eiffel, did just that. She married the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Ahuvia found that most people actually do love things other than people. The most common things were nature and engaging activities, but closely behind were products and brands. Take a look at Brand Love Central to see the model he developed from this and other studies. Further research by Ahuvia showed that Brand Love helps create sustainable growth and stability in the marketplace.

Is there a formula for success, a love potion of sorts, for brands? Why yes, there is. In fact, there are four key characteristics of brand love, as follows:

  1. Quality and Trust: A brand must start by making sure its products or services maintain quality. Once quality is achieved, trust will need to be maintained. High standards for quality and trust must be present to foster brand love.
  2. Intrinsic Rewards: “Do you love the product or are you just using it?” asks Ahuvia. There is a difference. Certain products people love, while other times people just love the outcome. Ahuvia explained this to the group through tools. Some people use tools because they love fixing motorcycles, for example, while others find love in not only the fixing of the motorcycles but also in the way the tool works, is designed, and functions.
  3. Part of Myself: In this characteristic, Ahuvia explains a term he developed called ‘Looking Glass Love.’ This is a love where we see our own reflection in things that we love other than people. Apple exploited this type of love perfectly in their Mac v. PC television advertisements. The target market was that of a younger generation of people who saw themselves as the Justin Long type compared to the stodgy PC type. This section of brand love brings the deeper connections of love forward.
  4. Part of My Life: “Absence makes the heart grow indifferent,” says Ahuvia. The longer a consumer does not use a product or service, the easier it is to go on without it. To continue to nurture the love, the brand must be a part of the person’s life.

Brand love speaks more for products than it does services. It is most relevant for categories that provide many benefits, have a pleasure aspect, and relate to identity. How will you foster brand love in your business?

Read the original article on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=17185

RFP Responses: 5 Simple Reminders for Success

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Don’t go it alone.

Don’t go it alone.

When a Request for Proposal (RFP) comes in from a potential client to your ad agency you feel one of two things. Either you are excited for the opportunity or you are dreading the long hours it will take to complete. No matter how you feel about it, it is always important to set yourself up for success.

Setting yourself up for success may not seem like something you have to pay attention to. Of course, everyone wants to succeed in their career. However, if you approach RFP responses without a proven process you may be doomed. There are entire companies out there who are dedicated to helping you navigate the RFP process; believe me, I have spoke with them. Here are five steps that will help you respond to RFPs more effectively:

  1. Read, Read, Read: Read the entire request. So many times, people get excited over the opportunity and begin glossing over things. Do not assume the text is standard or that you have seen it before. Carefully take your time to read this document because there may be a few things such as type of submission or how the footer should look that could disqualify you from the process. Miss one of these things and they will just throw your response out. It may sound harsh, but it happens. I will say it again, read it. After all, you want them to read your response.
  2. Timing: Set a schedule and give your team the wrong due dates. Yes, you read that correctly. Set your team up for success by giving a one-day buffer, minimum. There are many steps to completing an RFP response. If one person turns their review or updated text in a day, or even a few hours, late, it throws off the whole team. A solid buffer is always needed. Now, the team will readjust to make up for the lost time, so do not be so quick to give up your day just yet. There is always something at the last minute you may need that extra day for.
  3. Define Responsibilities: Divide and conquer. So many times there are one or two people that try to complete the RFP response all by themselves. This is not the key to success. Build a strong team first and foremost. Not everyone has to be involved for the entire process, but many people can be involved for parts of the process. Different sections can come from different internal Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). This allows the coordinator of the process to be able to focus more on making the response more cohesive and less focused on just “filling it out.”
  4. Re-Read: Re-read the entire proposal once you think it is complete, including drop-in text, to make sure it works. Drop-in text is a good way to save time, especially when you’re offering services that are more standardized. However, you want to make sure the proposal has a cohesive story. Have other internal stakeholders perform clean reads as well. They may be able to add some last-minute polish to the response that you would not catch otherwise.
  5. Quality Control: Let someone not involved in the response read it and perform an independent quality check. For best results, a quality checklist and formal process for review should be in place. One of the most obvious but important checks is to make sure no other company name is included. It almost sounds too obvious but it happens more than you probably even realize.

A good RFP response could win you business that may last far beyond your years with an advertising agency. These five steps will help you ensure that there are no simple hiccups that may disclude your ad agency from the process. The creative part of the response is up to you. What would you consider as the sixth simple reminder for RFP success?

Read the original article on the Talent Zoo blog Beyond Madison Avenue at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beyond-madison-ave/blog_news.php?articleID=17165

Branding the Cambridge Satchel Company: An Exclusive Interview with Founder Julie Deane

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Photo credit: John Phillips/PA

Photo credit: John Phillips/PA

Building an idea from your kitchen table and turning it into a boutique international brand with presences at stores like Bloomingdales is no easy feat. It takes determination, planning, and a little ingenuity. Meet Julie Deane. She was a stay-at-home mom and started the Cambridge Satchel Company to get her daughter into private school to avoid the bullying of her public school classmates. That was five years ago. Since then her business has been growing by leaps and bounds. I sat down with Julie to discuss her business, her brand, and her future.

Don: In the beginning you came up with a list of 10 ideas to raise money to get your daughter into private school. What made you think selling a brand of vintage-inspired satchels would work?

Julie: I had been looking for four or five months before I started the business for satchels because I don’t like this whole throwaway society. The whole approach to not caring or respecting a product because you are going to throw it away bothers me. I really do not like it. My children were going through the stages of wanting a school bag with some sort of motif on it, such as High School Musical. They would like it one year, then the next year they wouldn’t like it so they would want a new bag. The whole way these types of things get labeled gives them a really short shelf life. There is also the aspect that I like things to look clean, tidy, and smart for a long time. School bags today are made out of nylon and they look all scuffed up and are hard to clean, making them grubby looking. I kept thinking about when I was in school having a leather satchel and it looked as good on the last day as it did the first day. It was my school bag for the whole way through. It was not labeling me with trying to tell the world what I liked at the time; it was just a really good bag. I wanted my children to have something like that. They were reading Harry Potter at the time so to connect to them I said “Oh my gosh, Harry Potter. I am telling you that is a boy that would have had a satchel with that Hogwarts school uniform.” That is when they decided that is what they wanted. When I tried to get them a leather satchel they just were not being made at that time in the UK. To me that was such a shame because it is a lovely, clean design. That is why it made the list.

Don: That is wonderful. It sounds like you really just found a niche and focused on your passion.

Julie: Yes. Actually, I grew up in South Wales and lots of people close to us worked in the coal mines. There was a period in UK history where we had Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister and she shut down the mines. So many people lost their jobs and whole villages just became really sad places with houses worth very little. To grow up experiencing something like that gives me a huge love of manufacturing and bringing these manufacturing jobs to the UK. It is especially rewarding being able to meet the people making the bags.

Don: What would you be doing if you had picked something else off your list?

Julie: I know exactly what I would have ended up doing if my family and I still lived in the United States. I am an obsessive gardener and I have a really nice little British-English garden. It gives me a huge amount of enjoyment. When we lived in the U.S., I thought, “So many of these houses do not even have a fence between them and their neighbor. They are not claiming their space or making it their own.” I was always so passionate about how much more beautiful those lovely houses could have been if the outdoor space reflected the people inside the houses. With that in mind I would have had some sort of landscaping type of company in the U.S.

Don: Wow. That is obviously very different than creating satchels, and probably less lucrative.

Julie: I don’t know about that. If you are good enough, you can do more than just dig a border and put in a few plants for people. If you are doing more than just lawn and garden maintenance by creating this wow factor around that house, I think that could be a fantastic business.

Don: That sounds like a testament to the passion you have for your ideas. So, other than getting your daughter into private school, what has been the second most rewarding achievement of starting this business?

Julie: That is a really easy one because without realizing it, one of the best things that’s happened because of this business is from day one my mum has been really involved. She has helped with everything from choosing new colors to packing the bags to helping me take them to the post office. She has been there every single day. Maybe even more important, the thing it has done for her is give her a new lease on life. She is in her seventies now and she has been given opportunities to do things and actually participate in life instead of staying retired, sitting and watching television all day. People go downhill if they do that.

Don: That is great that you are so close with her and let her get that involved in your business.

Julie: About a year ago, my mum and I won the Red Hot Women award for Red magazine. My mum said, “Oh my gosh, I’m a red hot woman and I’m I my seventies. How about that?” We have also been invited to have coffee with Samantha Cameron, spouse of UK Prime Minister David Cameron, at 10 Downing Street. To be able to do something like that with your mum…it is really getting so involved in life, taking a chance and really throwing yourself at it with a passion instead of doing just enough to get by. Those are the moments that make it worthwhile.
Don: That is absolutely amazing. This is definitely an inspiring story. The majority of people would not let their parents get involved so closely in a business like this. It is great to hear that it is still happening.

Julie: Yes, she is brilliant. When people get to a certain age, many would rather not leave the workforce and have an enforced retirement. Some may very well want to take it easy or travel but for my mum that would have been an absolutely awful thing. She is so sociable and brings so much to the company that by shutting her out we would have been much less of a business. We would have been the ones missing out.

Don: That is really wonderful to hear. You have created such a lucrative business based solely upon satchels. Do you see any brand extensions in the future?

Julie: Yes, we have a new shaped bag and an absolutely beautiful clutch bag that we showed for the first time at the shop opening last month and it was very well received. We need to look at interesting ways of getting better yields from the leather we use for the satchels, and with that in mind, smaller leather goods may make a lot of sense. We are proud to have acquired a fantastic new colleague who will join the team very soon as a product developer.

Don: Does your daughter, Emily, show any interest in the family business?

Julie: Actually yes, she is fantastic. She is 13 now; she was 8 when this business started. The thing about Emily is that she knows that this business was set up to help her and she has never forgotten that. Every school holiday she comes to work with me to get involved and help out. She is amazing. She can answer customer service email, she will help out with the mailings, she can do inspections and many other things because she’s been involved since the very start. I do not think there is anybody that I have met outside of my mum who can take a satchel and look at it with such a critical eye and within seconds say if there is a fault or any sort of flaw in it.

Don: It sounds like your daughter is very grounded and shares a lot of the same traits as you and your mother do.

Julie: Emily has the best elements of everybody in our family. She has my husband’s patience, my love of the business and analytical way of looking at it, and she has my mum’s good nature. She has been blessed with the best traits. Then we have my son Max and if there is anybody who was born to be in PR and brand representation, it is him. He could sell a satchel to anybody. We did a thank-you tea party for the bloggers last February in New York at Alice’s Tea Cup. As I was saying goodbye to somebody outside my little boy came out with his little suit on and said to me, “I’ve sold 5 bags to the bloggers, is that sort of where you were pitching it or should I get back in there?” [laughs] I said, “No, it was supposed to be a thank-you tea party, you weren’t supposed to be in there selling bags.”

Don: That is very cute. So with that, where do you see yourself and the business in the next five years?

Julie: Google decided to make us the face of Google Chrome for the UK and Europe and because of that I get an enormous amount of email from all sorts of people. Most of them want to start their own business and ask me for advice on certain ideas. I also go to quite a few schools speaking to those with an interest in starting a business and answering their questions. I really like being involved with that and doing that kind of thing. I think the big challenge for Cambridge Satchel Company is to continue to build a team with really strong skills. When you grow a new business so quickly it is very hard to maintain a team with a strong framework to keep pace with your growth. It is trying to grow the business while still keeping the culture that we have.

Don: Now you said they made you the face of Google Chrome for the UK and Europe. How did that come about?

Julie: Google heard the story of how I started the business with just £600 (roughly USD 906), never having borrowed or having investors. It was simply based on my story of me doing everything from the kitchen table on the computer. It was all done from home from finding manufacturing, contacting bloggers, getting photos up on the website, and everything else. It shows what can be done online. They really liked the story and it fits in well with their slogan, the web is what you make of it. Today, it has over 4.7 million hits on YouTube with just six months in, so it has done really well. This is fairly new. It was only in September 2012 they launched the video. Our U.S. website launched a couple of weeks ago. We’re just about to move into a new factory as well so it all seems to be happening at the moment.

Don: Keep up the momentum! What advice would you give to other stay-at-home-moms (and dads) with an entrepreneurial spirit who are thinking of starting a new brand or business?

Julie: I don’t care what anybody says, it has never been easier to start a business than it is right now. Mainly because of the Internet and so many free resources available. Most people nowadays, even if they do not have Internet access in their homes can get it through a community center or local resource. It is accessible, so there is really no excuse. Stop reading the books. People need a deadline of some kind. For me it was the deadline of the school summer holiday so I needed to do it quickly. The key is to stop waiting until you think you have time and just get on with it.

From its founding at Julie Deane’s kitchen table in 2008 to the multi-million-pound business it is today, the Cambridge Satchel Company is still the same company that bloggers and fashionistas originally fell in love with. Julie has stayed amazingly grounded after the numerous awards and press. That is what makes her brand so amazing. She puts her whole self into the company and produces a good, honest product. Julie Deane leaves us with this great thought that challenges us to get up and start moving with our ideas: We will never have enough time. And what exactly is enough time? Julie started her business in the time her daughter was off from school in the summer — talk about motivation!

Read my entire interview on Talent Zoo at: http://www.talentzoo.com/news/Branding-the-Cambridge-Satchel-Company-An-Exclusive-Interview-with-Founder-Julie-Deane/17134.html 

Stella Artois Commercial Exemplifies Branding Perfection

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Watch the spot here.

Watch the spot here.

Some commercials try too hard. Some commercials do not make sense. Some commercials look like the agency just put an intern on it. None of this is the case with the new Stella Artois commercial entitled “The Artist.” From the first viewing of the commercial you can see what the brand is all about, who they are, and what they want you to experience. “The Artist” is the latest television advertisement for the brand from New York advertising agency Mother.

Describing the brand, Stella Artois’ global brand director, Jorn Socque said in an interview “we are one of the only beers in this [US] market that has the same level of sophistication as wine.” This advertisement, as well as others that came before it, exemplify this trait. Sophistication and panache of the brand in “The Artist” show that this is in fact more than just a beer. After reviewing this commercial, it can be broken down into five distinct key points:

  1. Pulling them in: The consumer is initially pulled in with the art of glass making. It is an art that very few people have seen regularly, if at all. It is that initial touch point where you are not quite sure what is going on but you know you are intrigued to see more. The Stella Artois logo does not fully appear on the glass until 19 seconds into the commercial. They were very careful to make sure to focus more on how the consumer should feel about the product experience first. That is big when it comes to branding.
  2. Sincerity: There is a piano in the background playing lightly, showing sincerity. You cannot see the piano but the expression and the colors coming from within the sound of its key strokes intrigue the audience even more. It is classy. It is cool. It is unmistakably different from other ads.
  3. Something more: The artist is getting ready for something. He cares about the glass chalice enough to put on cufflinks before hand-painting it. Another classy touch. He is a man of fine taste, as seen in his taste in watches and his tailored suit. He cares about not only making the chalice but about everything else in his life as well.
  4. Script:  Many commercials have so many words that the consumer may lose sight of what matters. In this case, simpler is better. The only words in the entire 30-second commercial come in for the last third, briefly affirming, “If this much care goes into the chalice, imagine what goes into the beer.” The brand values speak again. Stella Artois cares about their beer and how you feel while drinking and preparing to drink it. They do not take you through a factory to show you the same beer process that every other company uses; they want you to imagine it. Instead, they take the consumer through the preparation for enjoying the beer. We can clearly see that the words matter as much as the preparation.
  5. Tagline: The commercial ends with The Artist meeting a lovely woman at the bar who ordered a ‘Stella.’ The tagline is not even read like many commercials, it waits for you to read. The consumers are already pulled in so much that they automatically read it themselves. “She is a thing of beauty.” Are they talking about the beer, the chalice, or the woman? Maybe it is all three? In the end it is about a young man showing care — for his lady, his style, and his work.

This is perfect execution. You realize that this is more than just a beer. It is a lifestyle. It is a feeling. The commercial debuted during the Oscars and made its statement right away. What do you feel while watching the commercial? How can you apply this to your brand’s advertising strategy?

Watch the spot here.

Read the original article on the Talent Zoo blog Beyond Madison Avenue at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beyond-madison-ave/blog_news.php?articleID=17103

At 102 Years Old, Campbell Ewald’s Still Got It

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Campbell Ewald’s New Detroit Headquarters

Campbell Ewald’s New Detroit Headquarters

While some say Detroit has a long way to go, it is certainly on the upswing. With the idea of an Emergency Financial Manager looming, waiting on a verdict in ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s court case and other negative press that surrounds Detroit, there is still a sense of new beginnings. More and more companies are relocating their offices to Detroit since Quicken Loans first started the trend back in 2010.  Campbell Ewald is the next of the presumed many more such companies, especially advertising agencies and creative shops, to relocate to Downtown Detroit.

Rumors have been floating around for some time now, but Campbell Ewald held a press conference yesterday making its plans to move to Detroit official. Their new headquarters will be located in the former J.L. Hudson warehouse next to Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions. The new outdoor patio actually overlooks the outfield of Comerica Park, home of the American league Champion Detroit Tigers. Ken Burbary, Chief Digital Officer at Campbell Ewald remarked via twitter that “it’s going to certainly make attending games more convenient.”

To attend the press conference the company brought hundreds of its staff to the event in a convoy of school buses. Mayor Dave Bing was on hand to show his support and welcome CE to their new home. The inside of the warehouse is a blank slate now, but come this Christmas this historic building will have a complete face-lift thanks to the skillful hands of architects Neumann/Smith.

Campbell Ewald originally left Detroit for Warren in 1978 to be an earshot away from the GM tech center. Prior to that, CE was actually located in Detroit for 67 years. Leland K. Bassett, Chairman and CEO of Bassett & Bassett Communication Managers, welcomed Campbell Ewald back to Detroit via Twitter saying “We’ve been waiting 36 years for you to join us in Detroit again.”

At the press conference, CEO of Campbell Ewald, Bill Ludwig said, “I think it’s a very vibrant time in the city… it’s part of our DNA and I’m glad it’s being reawakened.” Mayor Dave Bing added “It’s going to take bold visions like Bill has done to bring Detroit back.”

Bill Ludwig and the team of approximately 600 at CE will certainly play a large role in the revitalization of Detroit. With CE now headed back to Detroit, this helps fulfill Dan Gilbert’s vision that he set forth with Opportunity Detroit. “When I graduated, I wanted a job in MI to somehow be a part of Detroit’s revival. Thank you @campbellewald for allowing me to do so,” said Kristen Selasky Account Coordinator at Campbell Ewald via Twitter.

The creativity and ideas flowing out of the heart of Detroit right now are unbelievable. When Frank Campbell and Henry Ewald started the company with 6 other employees in 1911 it is doubtful they would have imagined the company to be as large and agile as it is today. How many companies do you know of that are over 100 years old and still making tracks?

NBCUniversal Says Loyalty Has Declined

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curvenotesAfter my haircut this weekend at local old school barbershop Roger and Rod’s, Rod asked me if I needed more hairspray to get me to my next appointment. “Sure,” I said without hesitation. Rod’s place is actually so classic that they do not actually accept credit, cash or check only. After I told him I did not have cash, Rod said “You’ll pay me next time.” I was stuck in my tracks. When was the last time you heard that? Even after I offered to go to the ATM and come back he said not to worry and to just remind him next time. Now, I have only been to Rod’s twice but he trusts me and my word alone. That solidified me as a loyal customer. Rod helped me step back in time to realize that the honor system and loyalty are lost in this day and age. This story is the preface to a few my notes taken from NBC Universal’s latest research for advertisers from The Curve Report.

The bi-yearly Curve Report is based on extensive surveys performed within the 18–49 year old market. At an event hosted by Adcraft and NBCUniversal last week in Birmingham, Melissa Lavigne-Deville announced that loyalty in today’s society exists on a 6–12 month cycle a majority of the time. As NBCUniversal’s Vice President Trends & Strategic Insights, Melissa knows her trends intimately. Discussing this further, she pointed out that loyalty does not exist like it did for parents and grandparents in days gone by. Melissa pointed out that this trend is important especially for automotive advertisers. Think about it; this is not even the length of an automobile lease.

Just a few years ago, loyalty was one of the keys to getting business done in society. You had a ‘guy’ for everything. Most people can think back to that one place their parents always used to go to eat, a beer your dad always drank, one brand of car that your family had to drive, and the list of ones go on. The shifting digital landscape has given younger generations more options. According to NBCUniversal, a fourth dimension has been created. One in which smartphones are changing our neighborhoods and making a personal grid, akin to what Melissa describes as a “topographic light bright.”

Gen Xers and Millennials have shaped, with the help of technology, a new future for business and the way advertisers reach out to consumers. It is up to advertisers, strategic thinkers, and innovators to cultivate the next wave of loyalty. To give consumers an online experience similar to my offline experience at Roger and Rod’s Barber Shop. The statistic of loyalty surviving on a 6–12 month timetable is not an easy pill to swallow. It is your job to figure out how to be the minority and to increase your client’s satisfaction enough to keep them coming back past the average drop off.

What do you do in your business to attract and retain loyal customers? What could you be doing better?

Read the original article on the Talent Zoo blog Beyond Madison Avenue at:  http://www.talentzoo.com/beyond-madison-ave/blog_news.php?articleID=17077