Advertorious

Advertorious News & Blog

Blog Page

You Never Know Unless You Ask

advertorious 0 Comments

no1Have you ever thought of something or had a great idea and said “they’ll never listen.” Maybe you were burned in the past. Maybe you grew up learning to keep your mouth shut. The fact is everyone is a critic. They will tell you why something should not work or why it will not work. The question remains. Should you listen to them?

When I was 5 years old, I went on a walk with my Dad around Penn Vassar Park in Dearborn, Michigan. That is where we would have our ‘man talks’ as Dad called them. I specifically remember portions of this talk because it opened my eyes to all kinds of opportunities. I forgot the exact context why we were talking about this, but the main idea he wanted me to take away was that if you do not ask, nothing will happen. You cannot go. You cannot play. You cannot win. You cannot lose. You cannot, you cannot, you cannot.

To this day I always ask. I always say “Why not?” My father’s exact words were “The worst they can say is no,” – that, however, was in reference to asking a girl out for the first time.

Think of how many times you may not question something or not start with a new idea because someone may hate it. They may say it is stupid. One of my favorite shows is Mad Men and I love the fashion designs by Janie Bryant. I thought she would be perfect to interview for Advertorious.  One night while I was sitting at home after work I referred back to my new years resolution and I said to myself  “what is the worst that could happen?”

The worst did not happen. Within 20 minutes I had made it through the phone to her publicist and booked the interview of Janie Bryant for later that week. That interview led to another one with Julie Deane of Cambridge Satchel Company. I had never held an interview before. Without prior experience I relied on my business ability and the tenacity for bettering myself to move forward.

I have used this thinking in all areas of my life, not just business. Not all of them panned out. You may also need to become a little hard of hearing the first time you get a ‘no.’ In one of his books, Zig Ziglar taught me that a ‘no’ can be a ‘yes’ in disguise. Striking gold takes time. The important thing is trying. When you think you have a good idea or want to try something, go ahead. After all, what is the worst they can say?

Demystifying the C-Suite

advertorious 0 Comments

c-suiteOver the last five years I have been fortunate to work with Director, Vice President, and C-Suite level colleagues very closely. This has taught me a great deal about the ins and outs of how a business is truly run and how expectations are managed. For those that are not fortunate enough to work as closely with this set often, it may be very intimidating.

If you are intimidated enough, they may see you as a less than great performer. If you are intimidated enough, they may not get the correct message from your work. If you are intimidated enough, you will avoid them and let someone else take credit. So let us stop all that before it starts.

  1. They are human and make mistakes. Yes, it is true. You may want to think they landed in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 and are stranded here only to make your life a mess. Lucky for you, they are not. All humans make mistakes. What differentiates the C-Suite from others is that they learn and apply mistakes of theirs and those reporting to them.
  2. They don’t know everything. They should not know everything either. they hire and cultivate those below them to make the right decisions based on the overall company vision. If the CEO is a finance person they do not know everything about marketing, and vice versa. They surround themselves with experts of industry. Who knows? you may be that expert.
  3. They want to see your hard work not hear about it. Bring them ideas when afforded the opportunity. If the opportunity does not present itself, find a need, and make a pitch to present it to them. Start solving their problems. Walk the walk as they say.
  4. They are busy. They don’t just sit around all day like some may think. This level is juggling many different initiatives. When trying to get a hold of them on an issue or pertinent project you may have to try a few means to get a hold of them. Email does not always cut it.
  5. They will go to bat for you. If you make yourself visible to the C-Suite they will stand up for you when needed. They are very protective of their top performers. If you repeatedly take initiative and always keep the company’s best interests in mind, they will recognize it. You may not even realize how much they like you. Find ways to get them talking about you without you in the room, you may not even know it for months or years.

Taking all these things into consideration, they can fire you as well. Tread lightly. However, as long as you always put forth your best effort and are sincere about it, you have nothing to worry about.

Have you noticed anything else about the C-Suite?

Personal Brand Leadership at Any Level

advertorious 0 Comments

who_says_elephants_cant_dance_gerstnerThe term “personal branding” has been around for a few years now. However, many individuals still have a difficult time grasping what that exactly means. When focusing on your personal brand the goal is to elevate, while staying true to, yourself at work and at home.

In the effort of elevating yourself to the greatest possible potential is another key term – personal leadership. In the book by Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. “Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance” the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of IBM touched on this topic heavily. Gerstner spoke largely of his days at IBM and its turnaround, but he also spoke to ideals in personal leadership. Three portions to take away from this book for anyone looking to elevate their personal brand are as follows:

  1. “Passion. As a student going through Harvard Business School, I would never have guessed that passion would be the single most important element of personal leadership.” You must be passionate about your work. If you are not passionate you will be passed up like a bum in a subway station. Your work will go unnoticed. Passion shows that you care about your work, the good of the company, and the health of your family. A man by the name of Louis Chevrolet has a passion for driving. A women by the name of Emily Dickinson had a passion for writing. A man named Steve Jobs had a passion for computers. Maybe you’ve heard of them? While not all passions will get you to the top of your field, they will show your drive and propel your forward.
  2. “The common thread among them [great CEOs] is that they…

Read the entire article on the Talent Zoo Blog Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=17709

Life is Too Short

advertorious 0 Comments

I will do it tomorrow. I will get to it eventually. I will stop by someday soon. I will get back to you.  We say these things daily. In the wake of events such as the Boston marathon bombings and Sandy Hook Elementary shootings we are reminded why life is much too short to wait. Putting something off until tomorrow is another day lost, and what if tomorrow never comes? For some, as in the bombings or shootings, it did not.

Emails go unanswered and life goes on. Phone calls go answered and life goes on. You can either choose to let everyone have 24/7 access to you via smart phone technology and move at the speed of sound, or you can take a step back. If you choose to take a step back maybe you will have a chance to give back to your community, church, or family. By this, I am not saying to quit work and devote your life to others. What I am saying is that there are things more important than work. Things such as a loved one’s smile, helping someone less fortunate, or taking time out of your workday to help a charity that is close to your heart, remind you that there is good in the world.

You are part of that good. Sometimes it is easy to forget that. It is easy to rush off to work without kissing your spouse goodbye for the day. It is easy to get upset because the older lady in front to you is taking too long checking out at the grocery store. It is easy to not help a family member move into their new apartment. Did you ever think it might be the last kiss you give your spouse? Did you ever think this might be the only person this older lady talks to all day long, or that she needs help loading groceries into her car? Did you ever think that it may not be easy for a family member to ask for help?

Sometimes it is the simplest things in life that we miss out on. We forget how lucky we are. Celebrate life. Step back and enjoy what is around you. Help others in the simplest ways. And, don’t forget to smile.

Cadillac is Going Rogue

advertorious 0 Comments

2014-cadillac-ctsCadillac is “Going Rogue.” No, not in the Sarah Palin-esque style after which she so eloquently titled her memoir. Rather, in its advertising switch from Fallon Worldwide to three firms from the Interpublic Group of Companies simply called “Rogue.” Rogue is comprised of Campbell Ewald (Detroit), Hill Holiday (Boston), and Lowe (London).

“Our open architecture model brings together outstanding IPG talent with deep knowledge of both autos and the luxury consumer — domestically and around the world,” said Michael Roth, Chairman and CEO of Interpublic Group. “Our offering will be comprised of the exceptional creative capabilities of Hill Holliday, a powerful base of operations in Detroit thanks to Campbell Ewald, and Lowe’s dynamic international network.”

Back in March, Bill Shea at Crain’s Detroit Business told the public that Cadillac would be taking the reins of its advertising back from Fallon Worldwide and giving it to Campbell Ewald. Tuesday, Shea announced that “Campbell Ewald hired as part of Cadillac ad account switch.” The focus has been on Campbell Ewald because of its long history…

Read the entire article on the Talent Zoo blog Beyond Madison Avenue at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beyond-madison-ave/blog_news.php?articleID=17668

Your Past. Your Present. Your Future.

Meeting an old friend is like looking into your past, reminding you of what you love and how you got to where you are. Tweetable.

friend_tweet

When I tweeted this I did not expect the number of positive emotions to come from this sentiment. I began to think deeper about how I felt that night. There are a few friends that some people have that you may not see or talk to in years. However, when you get together, you are transported back to a time that is very different from now. You are yourself, but an outdated model if you will. When I met this friend I was back at the Motorola Razr version of myself – before the Blackberry and multiple versions of iPhones.

Thinking about it in terms of phone upgrades made me think how far I have upgraded myself. My mindset was of a more limited functionality. In a world where everything is so fast-paced and changing rapidly it reminded me that I am achieving my goals. My past has shaped my present and my present is shaping my future. My goal of continual education is paying off.

My present is right here, right now. I am focused. I am focused on learning as much as possible about everything I come in contact with. I am focused on my family. I am focused on my job. I am focused on being my best possible self. For years I have stood firm with this mindset. To see a prior version of myself made me understand that even though my general goals and values have remained the same it has propelled me to new heights.

Do you have a friend like this or have had a similar experience recently? If so, share it with me below. I want to hear about it.

In my tweet I used the word love. I love life. I love my wife, family and friends. I love nostalgia. I love ice cream before dinner. I love to laugh. I love to play complex jazz music at obnoxiously loud levels next to the guy who’s speakers are thumping with hip hop loud enough to rattle the tires clear off your car while stopped at a red light. Sorry for the run-on sentence. But seriously, I love the little things. The thing I discovered was that while my mindset had been upgraded, my love had remained the same. Sure love may evolve, but the specific things that are true to your heart always remain the same.

In business, sometimes brands lose site of what they love and/or what their audience loves. They lose their focus on divert from the plan. Personally I have been down on myself that maybe I am not growing as fast as I should be. Looking back those 5-6 years changed my mind. Look back into the last 5-6 years of your brand. Is your underlying love and focus still there?

Action item: A mentor of mine once told me this and I think it may help you better understand my point. Put your goals, your hopes, your wants and anything else on a piece of paper. Have your spouse do it with you for fun. Tuck the pieces of paper in a jar and stash it away. In five years, open it. You may want to put an expiration date on it or open it on a special day like an anniversary or new years day. When you finally open it you will be amazed at how far you have come.

Never Trust A PowerPoint Expert

What makes someone a PowerPoint expert?

Nothing. Mostly it is self-proclamation. Millions of presentations are created and given each year in PowerPoint, but how many are effective? How many have a clear goal that is translated well into a cohesive and effective presentation? It is not clear if we will ever get these numbers.

Usually when someone proclaims to be a PowerPoint expert it means you now have more work to do to fix the presentation before it is presented to the client. Case in point: In the final step of an RFP process, we were to give a presentation sharing our value proposition with the potential client. The presentation was blocked for a two-hour time window with time for a question and answer session. The “PowerPoint Expert” went straight to building the deck of 67 action-unpacked slides. Many of the slides had text in full sentences and were to be read word-for-word. The expert-created slides made me want to slide under the table. What is worse, in an attempt to include more charts and drawings, smart graphics were used. It is important to point out that smart graphics are only as smart as the person putting them together. They not only differentiated from our color scheme but they modified the graphics in such as way that that they were corrupt. In the end I was the one doing as much as I could to clean them up before presentation day. We did not secure that work.

The PowerPoint may not have completely been to blame for not winning the work but it plays a more significant role than one may realize. The key thing to remember is this is your first deliverable for a new client. It delivers your brand’s image and value.

There are tons of articles on best practices on how best to create a presentation. Similarly, there are at least twice as many articles and media on what not to do in creating a PowerPoint presentation. That is not the goal of this article. The goal is to recognize the importance of PowerPoint as a medium of story. In The Art of The Pitch, Peter Coughter does it better than anyone in explaining on how best to give a presentation. One key point that sticks out is not to start out going straight to the deck to put the slides together. Think about what you want to audience to take away first. Know specifically what they are interested in and then figure out the best way to convey it. Sometimes, you may not even need a PowerPoint.

What presentation formatting nightmares have you seen? What would you do differently?

Here is a funny-but-true video to better illustrate these points by comedian Don McMillan called Life After Death by PowerPoint. Watch it here.

Original article published on the Talent Zoo blog Beyond Madison Avenue at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beyond-madison-ave/blog_news.php?articleID=17626

Business or Busyness?

The business of advertising, or any business for that matter, can get very hectic. Poor time management skills, unreasonable requests, laziness, and work overload are just some of the reasons, good and bad, for being busy. Business and busyness are nearly identical in spelling. In fact, depending on your regional accent, it may sound the same coming out of your mouth. These terms are closer than just in spelling. Why are they synonymous? Do they have to be?

The answer is no.

How are things going today? Busy.

How many times have you had that verbal exchange with someone in your career? The last month? The last day? With an educated guess, I am confident in saying way too much. Saying “I’m busy” is like saying “I was born a human.” Everybody knows it and no one cares. Being busy is part of having a successful life. Very few people get anywhere without being busy.

When you have a verbal exchange with someone and you simply say “busy,” you are shooting yourself in the foot professionally.

In building your own personal brand, think about a few things:

  1. How many opportunities am I missing out on by saying “I’m busy”? If you tell everyone you’re busy a majority of the time they will stop asking. First they stop asking how you are doing, then they stop asking you to do things. There go the opportunities to form work friendships. If you tell your spouse, parents, siblings, and the like you are too busy, you will start detaching from them as well. Is work so important and so busy that you skip watching a game with your dad, baking Christmas cookies with your mom, or gardening with your spouse? Is work so important that the last time you saw your best friend face-to-face was over a month ago? Life is short and the work/life balance is never easy to handle. However, without maintaining that balance you will never find true happiness.
  2. Will people stop talking to me because my self-programmed quick response was always the same? After people stop asking you how you’re doing or asking you to do things, they will just stop talking to you altogether. You are a downer now. You are too busy. Try brainstorming new responses and physically tell yourself not to use the word as often. Treat it like a swear word and throw a dollar in a jar every time you use it. The responses you start giving people will be more memorable. Instead of saying “busy,” give a short overview of your day or one good thing that happened. People will think more highly of you for that. In Secrets of Closing the Sale, Zig Ziglar says to start out every morning listening to something uplifting. Something exciting to help start your day. Some upbeat music or an inspirational CD will do. You do not necessarily have to go all Rocky Balboa and climb the steps to “Gonna Fly Now,” but it wouldn’t hurt.
  3. What can I do to better control my schedule? Sometimes you may actually have to change a part of your routine. You may not like the change right away but it will help. One thing that helps is coming into work at 7:00 every morning instead of 8:30 or 9 AM. It gives you extra time to start your day and get moving before others come into your office and pull you in a thousand directions. This is just one example, but in this solid uninterrupted two hours you can usually get more done than in an entire eight-hour day.

Next time someone takes the time to ask how your day is going, tell them something memorable. Leave a positive impression on people because it is a small world in any industry, especially advertising. Everyone is busy.

Read the original article on the Talent Zoo blog Beyond Madison Avenue at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beyond-madison-ave/blog_news.php?articleID=17580

Merging Ideas and Businesses: Mad Men Philosophies

Ted Chaough (Kevin Rahm), Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) - Mad Men - Season 6, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/AMC

Ted Chaough (Kevin Rahm), Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) – Mad Men – Season 6, Episode 6 – Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/AMC

“For Immediate Release” was a perfect name for this last episode of Mad Men. This episode of Mad Men has truly been the best and most action-packed episode of season six thus far. Out of all the infidelity, french subtitles, and lost business, comes a revival of Roger. Through a VIP airport lounge girl, Roger Sterling meets Mikey O’Brien of Chevy. The two hit it off and Roger wins a spot in the creative pitch for their newest model car.

The night before the pitch comes and Don Draper is sitting at a Detroit bar – not surprised. Ted Chaough of Cutler, Gleason and Chaough walks in. Chaough believes that now that their are two smaller agencies in the mix, they now cancel each other out. So for the fun of it, they play a little game of “show me yours and I’ll show you mine.” After they run through a version of their pitches, Don laments that he should sell his brain to Chevy in a jar while Ted suggests they both leave now. Don slyly says, “We. That’s interesting.” It is interesting, especially since Joan berated him earlier in the show for never using that word. Don takes the reins and tells Ted to decide what to pitch while he figures out how to convince Chevy it was their idea. As simple as that, the merger begins. In the time of Mad Men, Campbell Ewald had already been handling Chevy’s business for decades. For this model, in the fictional world, SCDP and CGC won.

Mergers, partnerships, and idea sharing are common among today’s ad agencies for large clients. Just recently, former Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanik of GM formed a historic ad agency structure between Interpublic’s McCann Worldgroup  and Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein, & Partners, called Commonwealth. Unfortunately, this agency structure for Chevy advertising looks to be crumbling.  When creative’s come together to form a greater good for a client they must be able to work well together. Here are a few things Don and Ted, and anyone in this situation for that matter, will have to do to work well together.

  1. Find a new office: If one company just merges into the office of another it  could easily become a turf war. The other company would always be seen as the new guys and not as a merging of equals. A new office allows both companies to feel like the new guy and will allow them to start off on a good note without any mention of whose chair you can or can’t sit in.
  2. Set boundaries: Two creative genius‘ that are used to holding the fate of the entire company in their hands may not have the easiest time consulting each other before they make decisions. For client projects like Chevy they may both have to collaborate, but for the rest of the clients they should divide and conquer. Trying to have two creative heads with very different personalities work together may turn into an episode of Jerry Springer fairly quickly. Setting boundaries will help keep work efficient and effective.
  3. Respect colleagues: Peggy is in a new role and let’s face it, Don can’t just throw twenties in her face anymore. also, there is a whole other creative department that both sides will now have to integrate. Colleagues and superiors alike will need to respect each other’s talents.  If they respect each other, they should be able to collaborate more easily and produce even better work. If colleagues start disrespecting each other, cliques will form and it could be a huge detriment to both ad agencies.
  4. Find common ground: Both companies were doing some amazing work already. Once competitors, they are now a merger of equals. This competitive spirit may get in the way so it is important to find a common ground between colleagues. Understand each other, spend some time together, and understand expectations.

Have you ever been in a situation where a company was bought or merged? Maybe a new client came in and your department doubled? How did you deal with it and what was the outcome?

This article originally published on the Talent Zoo blog Beyond Madison Avenue at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beyond-madison-ave/blog_news.php?articleID=17462

National Tragedy and the Workplace: Mad Men Philosophies

peggy_mad_men_season6_episode5What does The Flood have to do with the assassination of MLK? That and many other comments came from viewers on the fifth installment of Mad Men season 6.  This episode did one thing very well. It showed the public how white collar working professionals dealt with a national tragedy at work just less than 50 years ago. Dealing with a national tragedy at work is not easy no matter what time period you are in. Every person and every company deals with these situations differently. Here are five situations in how the Mad Men era deals with national tragedy in the workplace; the similarities to people you may know today are haunting.

  1. The Paul Newman: Don Draper and the rest of Madison Avenue found out about the tragedy while at the Andy Awards with Paul Newman giving the keynote address. One audience member yelled out and the hall quickly cleared for a break in the festivities. When they summoned everyone back into the hall Don said “What else are we going to do?” The idea for this set was to forget about it and move on. After the party Don just wants to fall asleep.
  2. The Harry Crane: Less than 24 hours after the tragedy, Harry Crane is fielding calls from clients on make goods for all the commercials they are not airing. Crane boldly says “Enough of this crap already,” much to the dismay of Pete Campbell. Crane thinks there is too much news coverage on MLK’s death taking up his precious airtime. Crane’s philosophy is to work through the day and move past the situation.
  3. The Creepy Client: Roger’s “insurance friend” Randall Walsh wants to come in the next day, again less than 24 hours after the assassination.  Walsh wants to take advantage of the situation with a new ad. He had a trippy dream where he thinks he spoke to MLK himself. He wants an print advertisement for his property insurance with his company name, a Molotov cocktail, a match, and a coupon at the bottom. Don’s morals stand to attention and he agrees with the client’s current art director not to move forward. Don says it is in poor taste. The creepy client philosophy is focused on inappropriate opportunism.
  4. The Helpers: We see a few instances of people needing to spring into action in the wake of the tragedy. Henry helps the mayor. Abe helps the public by reporting for the New York Times, heading to “… Harlem in a tuxedo.” Megan takes the kids to a vigil in the park. She says ” I just can’t sit around the apartment anymore. I feel like I have to do something.” The philosophy for the helpers is to focus on the needs of others.
  5. The Peggy: Ever the insightful one, Peggy hits the nail on the head. Upon arriving at the office she tells her African-American secretary “You should go home. In fact, none of us should be working.” Back at SCDP, Bert Cooper closes the office early. This group realizes what affect a tragedy has on society and places high value on employee morale.

As we see in each instance, many people have very different ways of dealing with a national tragedy as large as the MLK assassination, especially in the workplace. From extremes of not caring about it to taking time off of work, the Mad Men era is all over the map in dealing with this. This is surprising to see since just 5 years earlier the world was in shock with the death of JFK.  Which set do you or your company fall into when dealing with a national tragedy at work? Was their a sixth category you would add to this list?

This article originally posted on the Talent Zoo blog Beyond Madison Ave at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beyond-madison-ave/blog_news.php?articleID=17427