Archive for April, 2008

Digital: A jumpstart for connections on the web
April 25, 2008

Others that know me and consider me the “techy girl”; more on a bronze/silver level than a gold. I can and do understand a lot of “webspeak” when it comes to working on the back-end of a website, know many interesting nooks and crannies on the web, and really I know how to find almost anything about anything.

This passion for the internet and all things in it has come from a basic understanding of how advertising on the web works from a metrics standpoint and a strategy standpoint. Once I understood that you can optimize on a media plan during a campaign, I was hooked.

With the realization that not understanding interactive advertising would mean “job obsoleteness” in the future, later came the epiphany that not knowing offline would accrue the same result. Hence agencies recently rolling back in their “interactive” departments into offline/online sitting in adjacent cubicles: MindShare Reveals Major Re-structuring.

In relevance to this blog about gaps in the industry and connections planning, the question of investigation is how, and if so why is connections planning alive on the web?

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Interview: HR Director in mid-size full service shop
April 25, 2008

This is another interview from my trip to Chicago. This HR director was extremely helpful, and told us about what it’s really like to manage the infamous Millennials.


On Millennials in the workplace and the generation gap…

  • First, it’s important to know each Millennial is an individual and there are exceptions to generational trends. But the HR director challenges Millennials (new hires) to:
  • Not presuppose more than they really know.
  • Respect authority in the workplace; don’t think your judgment is the only one that counts.
  • Know that skills and knowledge of the industry are not a substitute for years of actual experience.
  • Be humble. In the past, interns were lucky to be in the office and willing to help on anything. Now they are too self-assured and act as if the agency is privileged to have them.
  • Pay attention to cues in the office that suggest certain expectations or protocol. Just because the culture is laid-back and open, doesn’t mean the employees don’t obey certain unwritten rules. For example, when an office door is closed, it means the person is requesting privacy, and should not be bothered unless the matter is urgent.

In an effort to meet Millennials’ need for more feedback, this agency has implemented a more frequent performance review schedule (every 3 months). (more…)

Integration is Key
April 23, 2008

Highly integrated products are my favorite types of branded utility. The more your product can work with and complement other products, the higher the satisfaction level of your consumer. In order to develop a more highly integrated product, you must establish two things

1) A collaborative model within your agency or company. Today is the universal launch of Facebook chat, a perfect example of deeper integration within an already established utility. Facebook provides many of the functions that other websites provide, while aggregating them all under one brand. Sharing pictures, chatting and messaging are all executed in one portal. Then the features of each utility are integrated within each other. If someone goes offline while you are chatting with them, you can send them a message. Engineers from each team must work together to make this possible.

2) Don’t let your strategy and marketing be confined to the walls of your building (or maybe intranet in this day and age). A willingness to think outside of your product and your company is key in developing branded utility. I think the business world calls this… partnerships. I referenced the Nike+ and iTunes example in my last branded utility post, but it is a stellar example of thinking out side of your walls. On the surface the two companies are very different. They began with identifying the core values and needs of their consumer. Then found a way to collaboratively become a relevant part of their target’s routine

I think it could be fun to brainstorm potential future branded utility partnerships. What do you think? Also, check out Noah Brier’s post on branded utility. There are awesome ideas in here!

I know what connections is…what now?
April 16, 2008

My last post talked about my understanding of connections planning. From there you might ask how it can be applicable to an agency, especially a big agency. I recognize that I do not have experience in agency management, but I do have a perspective from the bottom of the totem pole. I have also had the opportunity to interact with and meet people who are founded the connections planning initiative in their agencies. I have pinpointed 3 practical things that contribute to successful collaborative strategy.

1. Be selective in who you hire. It is important to hire the best talent, but some times talent goes hand and hand with pride. Pride can deteriorate a collaborative mindset. I would be on the look out for people with humble intelligence. As difficult as it may be, it will contribute to a connections attitude. When interviewing try asking interviewees how they function in team, or even a basic question like how an ad agency works. It will give you insight into how they see the agency model and how the disciplines function together.

2. Encourage departments to work together that don’t already have an established relationship. Even if it is just a simple project that doesn’t directly deal with a campaign, it will still put a face to the work. Also, if they are coordinating schedules, they will be able to identify with the daily routines of each department.

3. Give employees in all departments, time to do personal research, even if it is only one hour a week. As ad agencies we are a big part of American culture. Therefore, we need the opportunity to stay in tune with the culture we are influencing. The research should be relevant like exploring technology and trends, but it will also give the members of your team a break from the fast-paced deadline driven world they work in.  You should also encourage them to share what they have learned, further facilitating interaction and team work.

As always, let me know what you think! I love feedback.

Interview: Doug Wyatt, Strategic Digital Media Specialist at Mediacom (Chicago)
April 15, 2008

 

 

Doug is a TexasMedia Ex from the University of Texas working as a Strategic Digital Media Specialist at MediaCom in Chicago, IL. His job involves educating clients about digital media and consulting with the agency’s digital media planners about campaign strategy and integration.

I interviewed Doug during a trip to Chicago this Spring. Here’s what he had to say:

On collaboration…

  • In the digital world, nothing happens without media planners and creatives constantly collaborating.
  • Trust and loyalty are the keys to agencies education their clients on the importance and workings of digital media.
  • A lot of agencies still believe that media agencies are just buying and planning the vehicles for creative. Clients tend to have more respect for media-only agencies than creative boutiques do, and are starting to demand that digital creative bend to the media executions, instead of the other way around.

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Idea Osmosis
April 11, 2008

Idea Osmosis: an enriched collaborative effort developed by different tools, from which specialties join together to form a generalist group that collectively mold the effort by trading, focusing and passing off the effort between group members. In order to effectively innovate and enlighten the client’s marketing and promotional needs, a pure communication line must remain open for all or a selective few to participate in.

We Want to Know What You Think about AdBridge! Click Here

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My name is Jennifer Hallabough, I am 22 years old and about to graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Advertising. Cecelia, Kelly, Karen and myself will be formally introducing AdBridge and ourselves really soon but we are going to start adding more of our personality to our posts so you as the reader can know the ‘kids’ behind the madness. To sum up the kind of ‘ad person’ I am—I love media planning, strategy and consumer analysis. Ideally, I see myself as a person that can translate advertising strategy into a visual image.

Welcome to Adbridge
April 9, 2008

Welcome to Adbridge! We are four University of Texas students preparing to enter the industry. Our goal with AdBridge is to address a variety gaps in the advertising industry, including the gap between advertising agencies and university programs across the country. Check out our introduction slideshow, as we are students, we are open to any insights and criticisms! We invite you to join the discussion.

White Paper: Introduction to Connections Planning and Why We Are Here

Interview: Search Director at Digital Media arm of a global ad agency – Chicago office
April 8, 2008

I recently took a trip to Chicago to interview some industry professionals about how the gaps are affecting the Chicago ad market. This Search Director had a lot to say about teamwork and collaboration, and how young talent is viewed in the industry:

On teamwork and collaboration…

  • The best teams are those where people have complementary skill sets. It makes no sense to have people collaborating unless each person brings something unique to the table.
  • It can be frustrating working with other departments. Media people want to be innovative, and a lot of good ideas hit the floor before they’re sold to the client because everything goes through filters at agencies. Direct media relationships with the client are always favorable.
  • As online media is becoming more important, traditional media is struggling to stay relevant. The agencies that are doing really well right now are the ones that are tailoring their strategy to digital media. Online media is a lot different than traditional – offline strategy doesn’t always translate in the online world, but the agencies that are pulling it off are really successful.
  •  The elephant in the room is clients – they hire multiple agencies looking for collaboration, but what it really creates is competition.
  • Agencies don’t always do what’s best for the brand, most of the time they do what’s best for the client relationship first.   (more…)

Impetus Behind 360: High/Low Effect and the Internet
April 7, 2008

I asked Gene Kincaid, a UT Austin professor head of the Digital sequence in the advertising department, what he thinks will be the driving force behind connections planning and he believes there will be a “high and low” effect. What does this mean?

“High”: Change and improvement in the industry will come “from the top down” because big agencies will be able to afford interdepartmental training and afford to nurture 360’s. 360’s will fill in the cracks and allow mega agencies avoid missing out on the benefits of real integration and brand consistency, (especially since their clients are demanding it.)

“Low”: From the bottom up, because with the exception of television production, media is less expensive now than ever before and accessible to all—thanks to the internet which cuts distribution costs so much, even free is possible. (That’s right free. It’s not my idea; thank Chris Anderson, author of the Long Tail). Now, Google will buy even traditional media for you. So small agencies are able to provide good service and intelligence, which, as long as egos fall by the wayside, is the perfect environment for connections planning.

Kincaid says the other catalyst behind 360 advertising is the internet. If online promotions are not absolutely integrated with their offline branding, the effect is disruptive. Internet is only a small fraction of many clients advertising budgets, so why is it so important? Let’s face it, online advertising is important because clients are demanding it, and why? because they can directly measure it. Measure it like no traditional media ever dreamed of. The truth is clients know they could probably cut off 10% of their traditional advertising spending, or 20%, or add 10% more and double sales, but which part? and how much? Well, no one really knows. This is why online advertising is a financial dream. Several creative/media campaigns can be tested in a few days, directly measured, and easily improved upon. Online is efficient, so clients demand it. How does this help promote 360 advertising? Advertising on the internet has to be collaborative—there are no rules dividing departments; they industry is still figuring it out and working together.

-Karen Brooks

 

Part 2: Generation Y agency competing with Boomers
April 7, 2008

We are groups of overlapping packets: we are ‘independents’ that can work together, but not always under the same roof.” -Carlos Casa

Carlos and I have been team mates in a project before. We were a part of a team that had to build, market and promote a product built for the iPod. We had to make a business plan and marketing plan, figure out prices, promotions-the works. So one year ago when Carlos announced that he and his brother were going to launch their new advertising agency, Azul & Green, I was not surprised.

Although Carlos has some involvement building a business and an idea of the advertising business, he had to build A&G from scratch, learning how to run, pitch, innovate, and keep business himself. Today, A&G is made of four people: Engelbert, Carlos, Allen, and Shiann. Engelbert handles mostly the day to day operations as well as the buying for the business and clients. Allen is their creative that has some industry experience. Shian and Carlos are more of the account planner roles: researching, talking with clients, helping creatives, etc.

“The difference now is that in the past, you had to have an office,” says Carlos.

A&G is based out of the Casas’ home, but each employee working wherever they please. They come together when they need everyone’s help, input or cooperation. They heavily rely on phone calls and e-mails to keep up to date on status and news.

Azul & Green is an agency that is relevant to one of Adbridge’s core discussions about generations and the industry. A&G is a Generation Y agency where it did not matter how much money they started with, they were going to make their own waves–and they have.

Azul & Green has more challenges but even more opportunities.

A&G is anything but short on great, innovative ideas for their clients-their challenges lie within the budgets. They might have a great idea for a billboard but the affordability of that vehicle compared to others makes it just out of reach. Carlos says they do quite a lot of collateral and newspaper within the Hispanic sector. “A lot of the time, Spanish speaking businesses will advertise in Spanish magazines and the creative will be all wrong.” Azul & Green is in a holding pattern at the moment until Carlos graduates. “We don’t mention that most of us at A&G have not graduated yet but only one client has asked and he was impressed.”

There has been opportunities and new windows opened to A&G that run horizontally to growing the agency including A&G Publishing services. The publishing division develops Spanish targeted educational posters for teachers; available via their website http://www.azulgreenpublishing.com

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