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Original articles from Don McLean.
How to Maximize Your HARO Response Pitches
I seem to have pretty good luck with pitching media who put out requests through Help A Reporter Out (HARO). Some people say it’s not worth it and some think it’s one of the greatest resources for the PR pro and journalist relationship. I’m in the second boat. The people that say it’s not worth it may not prioritize these requests the same way as I do, so I thought I’d share what I do to help boost results. Read every pitch title. I read every HARO email that comes through my inbox. Miss one email or just do a quick scan...

7 Steps to Pitching Media on Twitter
If phone and email fail to get the message through, try pitching a journalist or two on Twitter. The 10-year-old social network is a place where many reporters today live and work, tweeting several times an hour in many cases. Being that it's used by reporters so much, it's natural to want to try to tap into that from a PR perspective. But how do you do it right?

Who to Talk to When Playing the Networking Game
You walk in a room for a networking event. The music is playing, you have your drink, you’re feeling good. Who do you talk to? Much has been written on how to network but less is focused on who to network with. I have eight targets to look for when I want to meet new people, no matter the situation. Some types you’ll read and...

What the Detroit Free Press Taught Me about Pitching Media
Last week I was able to sit in the morning meeting with Detroit Free Press executive editor Robert Huschka and his staff as part of the NewCo Detroit Festival. After we learned about what they talk about, how they talk about it, and the real-time metrics they review, it turned to the question-and-answer session. I had no intention of asking them about how best to pitch them, but many other...

Why Journalists are Deleting Your Email Pitches
The difference between emailing and phone pitching is a hot debate amongst generations in the PR world. I hear it and I get both sides. However, with a new generation moving entirely to a focus on email communication, you have to understand how to make email pitching work hardest for you before you pick up the phone.

Attention, College Students: 3 Tactical Resume Tips to Land Your First Job
If you’re a college student, look around next time you’re in class. If you’re a high school student, you rock for reading this. You are competing with every one of those people for a job, including the people who graduated the year before you. The problem — nay, the opportunity — is that there's just not many entry-level jobs...

Why Networking is Worth Your Time
When was the last time you went to a networking event specifically to meet people? I thought so. Networking brings about your single best chance of actually “making it,” no matter the industry. World-renowned author of the Four Hour Workweek Tim Ferris said in a recent podcast that it’s not about throwing out a pitch and seeing if it sticks or collecting as many business cards as possible.

How Often Should I Be Logged Into Social Media?
Being a social marketing professional I have noticed the same question popping up over the years — how often should I be logged in? This and other questions seem to reform themselves and surface in most conversations regarding social media strategy. The problem is, it is entirely the wrong way to look at business.

What Happens in Vegas: Brand Immersion in the American Culture
Once a brand is so heavily immersed in the American culture, it creates a huge amount of staying power. The brand name turns into a a word or phrase used to describe entire categories of products or a lifestyle choice. The perfect example of one brand applying to an entire category is Kleenex. Growing up I, like many others, did not know the word "tissue." Kleenex is what everyone I knew called them, no matter the brand.

4 Brand Twitter Fails and 4 Ways to Prevent Them
Capitalizing on trending topics can give businesses the reach that they need on Twitter — if used correctly. Sometimes the tweets do not work and just come back to haunt the business. This is particularly true when it relates to political and social events. While tweeting about a trending topic can be a great way to advertise your company, it can also have harmful effects.

We've Always Done It That Way
The famous term that all innovators either love or hate to hear depending on their outlook is "We've always done it that way." This is used to explain everything from where a brand advertises, to promotions that are run, internal company processes, and just about anything else you can think of. At one time in America, more respect was given to authority.

Cadillac is Back at Hero Status
On June 14, 2013, Bob Ferguson, Vice President of Global Cadillac, spoke to a large group of industry professionals at the Adcraft Club of Detroit GM Day. Ferguson is clearly focused on the long-term brand strategy to bring Cadillac back. After some neglect and declining market share for more than thirty years, Cadillac recently has had its highest sales spike since 1976. Ferguson focused his discussion on Cadillac as an epic tales of sorts. The hero is the automobile, with various sections of the story revealing its true character. Ferguson describes it as a tale with three acts. Act One: Cadillac is described as the hero in its infancy. It is born. It leads. It is iconic. It holds the virtues of the American public. As many know, Act One lasted for many years, from approximately 1902 through 1976.

Personal Brand Leadership at Any Level
The term "personal branding" has been around for a few years now. However, many individuals still have a difficult time grasping what exactly that 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.

Cadillac is Going Rogue
Cadillac 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).

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.

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.

Merging Ideas and Businesses: Mad Men Philosophies
"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...

National Tragedy and the Workplace: Mad Men Philosophies
What 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.

The Secrets to Secrets: Mad Men Philosophies
Episode four of Mad Men season six, To Have and To Hold, is very secretive. In the first scene, we learn that SCDP is going after Ketchup after all — behind the scenes. Don and Stan spend a lot of time in a back room at the firm with tin foil over the windows. They are keeping this creative pitch a secret from everyone...

Loyalty, Friends, and Work: Mad Men Philosophies
Loyalty and work in advertising. This is not the standard norm that it once was. Loyalty in this business — in any business, for that matter — is more of an old value that sits on the shelf, used occasionally but most often forgotten. Mad Men’s latest installment in their Emmy-winning series titled “The Collaborators” brings us three major instances of challenged loyalty in business.

Working Through a Client Crisis: Mad Men Philosophies
Sunday night’s premiere episode of Mad Men showed Peggy in a new light. In her new role she is reminiscent of a young Don Draper in Season 1. This episode, though very entertaining, teaches its professional viewers a thing or two about working through a client crisis. The episode was focused on a campaign for Koss headphones called “Lend Me Your Ears”...

Starting an Agency Includes Cultivating REALationships
“Deflate your ego.” This is one of the first things Bilal Saeed, Brofouder of Michigan-based Pakmode Media + Marketing, said to a packed house at TEDxEMU on March 15, 2013 at Eastern Michigan University’s Quirk Theater. Alongside Saeed was Brofounder Tim Adkins, who leads creative direction at the agency. The creative duo’s discussion focused on building REALationships, and not just relationships, to stay successful in business and life.

Dr. Ahuvia and the Brand Love Phenomenon
What 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.

RFP Responses: 5 Simple Reminders for Success
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.

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

Stella Artois Commercial Exemplifies Branding Perfection
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.

NBCUniversal Says Loyalty Has Declined
After 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?

Brain Science in Brand Building
“60 Seconds: How to tell your company’s story & the brain science that makes it stick” is a little book with a big message. Seriously, the book is shorter than Miley Cyrus’ new haircut. However, it tells you exactly what you need to do to build your company’s brand through the consumers' eyes via video. A video can engage the audience and leave them with a lasting impression if done right. Author Andrew Angus, Founder and CEO of Switch Video, lays out the process and gives a look into his proven strategy. Here are a four key points that everyone should take away from this book. 1. Keep the story simple: Simple storytelling is best. The slogan of Angus’ company is “Explain what you do.” It may sound too simple, and you may say, "We already do that."

The Art of Proofreading
It is the copywriter’s fault. It is the manager’s fault. It is the creative director’s fault. It is the designer’s fault. It is the vendor’s fault. It is the intern’s fault. Without proofreading, it is everyone’s fault. With an industry as fast-paced as advertising, it pays to have at least one good proofreader on staff. Let us look at a few reasons why a proofreader is needed and some case studies to back it up.

Brand Extensions Gone Wrong
Brand extensions can make sense. In many cases, brands emerge stronger because of it. When Tide laundry detergent developed the Tide To Go instant stain remover pen, it was a great move. According to Nielsen, brand extensions are five times more successful than new launches in some countries. This is true with one caveat — when done right. "Done right" sounds like an easy statement but it is far from the truth. Some brands fail miserably when it comes to extensions because the extension simply does not make sense. It leaves consumers asking "Why?" Here are two examples describing poor brand extensions that left consumers confused:

An Exclusive Interview with Mad Men’s Janie Bryant
Mad Men is coming. The date has been announced for the premiere of Mad Men season six, and you can feel the excitement building. Fans are begging for details, but AMC has only allowed the release of a few glamorous cast photos. Who is behind the industry-changing costume design on Mad Men? Janie Bryant. Last week, I was fortunate enough to sit down for an exclusive interview with Mad Men’s Emmy® award-winning costume designer.

How Sharp is Your Axe?
Abraham Lincoln once said, "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." Reading that tells us that preparing for the "big moment" is two thirds of the battle. So many people focus only on the moment without sharpening their axe. Look at this in terms of presenting to a potential client. If you go into the presentation room the day of the meeting and you have not done your homework, you have already lost your chance of winning. If this were a test you would only be able to get a 33% as a top score if you nailed it. Looking at it in this manner, you start to realize that homework is what is most important.

4 Must-Watch Super Bowl Commercials
Every year we are stunned by some of the commercials that come out during the Super Bowl. Sometimes they are amazing displays of an advertising budget and sometimes they are lost in a creative director's vision. This year's are more of the same; advertisers trying to outperform each other to get the attention of the masses on this all-American-almost-holiday that is Super Bowl Sunday. Here are just four commercials that you must watch. They will pull at your heart strings, make you laugh out loud, and make you run to YouTube to watch them over and over again.

Berline Says 'Brand Yourself'
Fifteen minutes into a talk to advertising greenhorns Jim Berline, of the Berline Advertising Agency in Detroit, said “Brand yourself; it’s all about perception.” While the students in Adcraft’s ADvance class may not have known what to think, he went on to say, “Perception is more important than reality.” What is your brand? How is it perceived?

Why Radio Will Never Die
Over the last couple of years the argument that radio is a waste of time and money has surfaced. We hear estimates on when radio will die. Millions of people are seen daily with iPods stuck in their ears. One could start to see where people would think radio may have a hard time continuing. Who better to speak on this topic but none other than Bob Pittman, CEO of Clear Channel Radio and founder of MTV? Last year, the Adcraft Club of Detroit brought in Pittman to speak during the advertising club’s annual Radio Day. “Radio is America’s companion,” said Pittman, who commanded the stage from the start. “It’s the first social media.” Think about how social radio really is.

5 Tricks for Effective Conference Calls
A conference call is scheduled to discuss your brand or business. The times comes, you take a seat, dial the number, and stare while speaking at the phone. This is the course of most conference calls, but it does not have to be. In today’s day and age, sitting down and having a discussion in person is not always an option. With teleconferencing services, WebEx, Skype...

Digital Advertising Leaders Brought Together
What happens when you take the 20 most exciting “success stories from leaders in advertising, marketing, search & social media” and put them all in the same place? A really good book. Pioneers of Digital, by Paul Springer and Mel Carson, brings these stories together as a sort of history of digital thus far. All in all, there are 20 success stories that would get even the most seasoned professionals fired up to do something more. There are many great takeaways from each digital pioneer in this book.

The Importance of Typography to Logo and Brand
“A logo is not a brand unless it’s on a cow,” says AdamsMorioka in the Logo Design Workbook. The way consumers view a company builds the brand's perception. This starts with the logo but travels far beyond. A logo, a good logo, starts with a study of what the company is and what it is trying to achieve. What does the font in your logo and marketing materials convey?

The Creative Brief: 4 Things to Remember
The illusive creative brief. Either you just pictured yourself in Spain running with the bulls or in an old-timey Western town with a tumbling tumbleweed passing by. Either way, the creative brief comes in many forms. Too much information. Too little information. A good account executive should know how to write the perfect creative brief. With that said, here are four simple things to remember that are usually otherwise forgotten: 1. Keep it succinct. Nobody wants to look at a creative brief that just seems like you threw up on the page. First, we want the creative department to actually read the entire brief, not just skim through it.

Dear Santa, Traditional Branding Works
Change or die. You hear it often. Change is something people have come to expect in most aspects of their life. Brands are constantly changing and for a number of them they should be. There are a few things that never change, such as the taste of Coke (although they tried), the feel of cotton, and Santa. Why don't they change? Why hasn't Santa been updated to a soy milk drinking vegan under 200 lbs and stripped of the red suit? There are many reasons. The Santa we know today can be mainly attributed to illustrator Thomas Nast. He first illustrated Santa Claus in Harper's Weekly in 1862 during the Civil War. In total, Nast created 76 published engravings of our beloved Santa.

Look Out, Madison Ave; Detroit is Coming
Bruce Lee once said, “We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. Yet it sometimes means that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents as well.” The Detroit advertising community has the talent and the intense desire. This was clearly evident at The D Show advertising awards last week.

Branding from Design to Retail: Apple Shows the Future
It is 5AM. Black Friday. They still have a turkey hangover but wake up anyway with coupons in hand to get the best deals in sight. We as marketers push out all the advertising in sight to get people to buy certain products and go to certain stores. It is the one day of year that consumers are guaranteed to wake up at all hours of the night to go shopping to get a few extra dollars off of their gifts.

Is a Super Bowl Ad Worth the Price Tag?
The Super Bowl. It is a national pastime synonymous with football, cold beer, nachos, and wait…advertising? When the football championship game first aired in 1958, one could not have conceived the network executives planned on this being the case. With over 111 million viewers of the big game today...

Tweets DO NOT = Mine
Tweets = mine. You see it the Twitter profile of thousands, but are they really yours? The answer is “no.” Tweets are only kept to yourself and a close group of friends if you have a private profile. However, if your profile is public, the tweets are never really yours. There are many instances when individuals get in a good amount of trouble for tweets posted. Sometimes they mistakenly post a personal tweet with the corporate or client account.

Ford's Gone Scrappy
Engagement. That is one of the key ideas behind getting consumers involved in your brand. After the American auto industry had their troubles, Ford had to reinvent the way it did its marketing or it would fail. One of the ways they did it was through engagement.


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