Publication: MarketingProfs

Seven Things Marketers Need to Know About Agency Partnerships

October 21, 2013

By Satoru Wakeshima

So, you go through the long, arduous task of an agency selection process. “We’re not looking for just a great agency,” you say. “We’re looking for someone that will truly partner with us.” The agencies go through a rigorous request-for-information (RFI) and request-for-proposal (RFP) process that involves lots of important people who have little time for this kind of thing, but “this will affect the future of our organization and our brands!” Then each agency is brought in to demonstrate how it is different, answer questions with all the right answers, and put on a show. Finally, you’ve found them—the agency you’ve been searching for. Great people, incredible talent, the right experience, and, thanks to procurement, a great price! You’re excited and they’re excited, too. “We love these guys! GREAT! (pause) Now, we can’t stand them.”

Unfortunately, those quickly changing feelings are common. Why?

Let’s look at how a partnership between an agency and a client compares to other partnerships in our lives. 1. Money Matters

Most people don’t have to pay someone to be their friend, mate, or partner. Money makes a relationship awkward. But here’s the truth: The creative folks aren’t in it for the […]

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Brand Love for the Long Haul

August 6, 2013

By Christina Papale

The exhilarating rush of new love often feels like it will last forever. But anyone in a long-term relationship knows that love’s initial flames often die down, replaced by a more stable bond that needs some juicing to stay healthy for the long haul. Brand relationships are no different. Keeping a fiery connection takes some work. To unlock long-term love for our brands and set the stage for strong lasting connections, one simply has to look at and apply basic human relationship principles. Here are five ways you can keep the spark alive and forge a devoted, lasting connection to consumers.

1. Spend quality time together Companies work really hard and spend a lot of time marketing brands. But you can also spend one-on-one active time with your own brand to understand and experience its core behaviors, benefits, and experiences. As a result, you’ll truly feel its value and make sure it hasn’t lost its way. Whether your category is technology, CPG, or retail, sit with your products, experiences, and expressions and bring an open, objective eye. Reality show Undercover Boss puts senior management in the trenches to understand the day-to-day realities of experiences they provide, and […]

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Give Back Without Gimmicks

April 16, 2013

By Gregg S. Lipman

Recently, I’ve noticed that charity, that noble concept of giving back to those less fortunate, has fallen to victim to—no surprise here—commercialism. Charitable efforts continue to play a significant role in our culture, traditions, and identity, as they have since the beginnings of civilization. According to Giving USA’s Annual Report on Philanthropy, Americans donated nearly $300 billion dollars in 2012. (BILLION, folks. That’s more than the GDP of say Greece. Or Finland. Or the Kardashians.) As you’ve probably noticed, there’s been a veritable explosion of charitable initiatives in recent years. Not from your local church, Red Cross, or United Way, or even the Girl Scouts (Thin Mint or maybe the nouveau Dulce de Leche, anyone?) but from the vast galaxy of for-profit consumer brands. Why this explosion? Call me a cynic, but we marketers have the data to back up the fact that Americans across socio-economic strata want to get involved and make an impact, and will reward a company that they perceive as making charitable contributions on their behalf. Good for the consumer–good for the brand—good for those in need. A win-win-win. One noteworthy example is the venerable Newman’s Own, which started giving away all […]

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Brands That Surged (and Sank) After Hurricane Sandy

December 12, 2012

By Gregg S. Lipman: When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast on October 29, millions of people—myself included—found themselves without electricity, heat, and water. In fact, more than a month later, some residents of New York and New Jersey are still struggling to get back to their normal daily lives.

But just a few days after the storm, it seemed that nearly all companies had gone back to business as usual—if their promotional emails were any indication. Unfortunately, many of those emails were memorable in that they pretty much ignored the tragedy around them.

Just who are the decision-makers who approved insensitive messages in the days that followed the massive destruction, and did they realize just what had happened on the East Coast?

Retailers Ralph Lauren, Anthropologie, and Urban Outfitters, among others, encouraged email recipients to shop their sites, without so much as acknowledging what had happened. How could anyone shop when they didn’t even have running water, heat, or that lifeline to the outside world, the Internet? When so many people were without food, clothing—homes!

But some brands stepped up during the storm by offering genuinely sympathetic—and in the case of East Coast brands, empathetic—brand messaging that showed the […]

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Tween Marketing

March 15, 2012

By Gregg Lipman:

Tweens are a complicated bunch—as parents and marketers know. Considered “too old for toys, too young for boys (and girls),” this demographic of kids ages 9 to 14 is feisty, opinionated, honest, sharp, cynical, and responsible for $200 billion in sales a year. That means tweens yield a tremendous amount of purchasing power, which is why every smart marketer needs to keep them top of mind in 2012.

Creating, designing, and marketing brands for tweens, however, is a challenge mostly because tweens are full of dichotomies.

1. Tweens aspire to be older—but are still children. 2. They want to be unique—but also fit in. 3. They have strong ideas about what they want to buy—but need parental involvement and approval to purchase desired items.

That last point means marketers need to talk authentically to teens and, at the same time, convince parents that the products are worth their money.

Appealing to parents and tweens isn’t easy. And as the parent of a tween, I can tell you that there’s a fine line between being cool and trying too hard. (I’ve gotten the stink eye one too many times for corny comments I’ve made in front of my […]

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You Never Write, You Never Call: Some Advice from Mom to Johnson & Johnson

May 11, 2011

By Gregg Lipman:

Dear Johnson & Johnson,

For many years, I’ve depended on you to be there for my family and me. Your products are our staples: Your Band-Aids have helped mend scrapes; your Children’s Tylenol has brought fevers down; your baby shampoo has never caused a tear.

I’ve been impressed with how you have consistently adhered to your company’s now-famous credo, crafted in 1943, that begins: “We believe that our first duty is to the doctors, nurses and patients, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services. In meeting their needs, everything we do must be of high quality.” Your corporate actions and brands have always held the high ground.

But, J&J, I’ve been disappointed with the way you’ve handled the recalls of your products, as well as by some business dealings, in the past year. Little by little, your products disappeared from shelves—to be exact, there have been 22 product recalls, involving well over 300 million bottles of medicines, since September 2009—without so much as a peep out of you. (Most notably, OB Tampons went missing, only to return in April, more than six months later … without nary a statement as to […]

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