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Original and insightful articles from the biggest names in the business

The Quest for More Engagement

More engagement is on the lips and on the wish list of every marketer. The common understanding is that “engagement” is an aggregate measure of a variety of interactions, which include clicks, likes, comments, shares, downloads, sign-ups, retweets and re-posts. Engagement is a proxy for conversion in environments where goods and services aren’t directly sold.

Harnessing the Power of User Generated Content

The trick for marketers is to selectively embrace, deploy and harness the power of UGC to bolster brand awareness and engagement. This requires 3 steps.

Facebook Boycott Spotlights Social Moderation

Long considered a back office concern, skillful social media moderation is the key to achieving, accuracy, fairness, balance, safety and security in the social sphere.

What Should Data Mean to a Marketer?

There’s a well-known disclaimer in the investment business: “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.” It’s a truism: everybody knows the market could crash this year, even if you made a 40% return last year. But it’s a truth that doesn’t seem to have translated for marketers.

Measuring ABM's Effectiveness

Account Based Marketing is not a silver bullet, but ABM provides a framework and a tool set which can enhance marketing and sales productivity, focus targeting, foster internal cooperation, and spark innovation.

Why You Should Encourage Curiosity at the Office (Part 2)

Curious teammates are better than others at resolving conflicts with colleagues, more likely to receive social support, and more effective at building connections, trust, and commitment with their peers. Read more today about how to foster curiosity in your office.

The Power of Curiosity in Marketers

Whether you are a brand manager, a business owner, or an agency executive or creative, maintaining a healthy level of curiosity is imperative to being successful in your marketing endeavors.

Functional Vs. Dysfunctional Anger

Over the years I’ve met with clients and business people who were resistant to working with a colleague because he or she was an “angry asshole.” But when I analyzed their statement by talking to other colleagues, I found that so-called “angry” people were a very mixed bag.

4 Big Predictions for the 2019 Workplace

The 2019 magic eight-ball says, "It'll be a banner year for learning and growth!"

How to Answer the Most Uncomfortable Interview Question

If you’re interviewing for a new job, or meeting with recruiters, there’s no guarantee that anyone’s going to ask you to talk about your flaws. But it’s a pretty safe bet.

Handicapping the Competition Between Agencies and Consultants

Agencies and consultants are racing to overcome their competitive shortcomings and develop comprehensive integrated marketing offerings in the quest to land big, profitable global clients.

If You Like Intensity, Creative Agencies Can Deliver

Recently, intensity met serendipity for me: I came across FAME, an eight-week portfolio building program at Grey, and was lucky enough to be part of its inaugural class.

Best in Class Ingredients: Getting the Right Mix in New Hires

The summer of 2018 is in full swing and recent graduates are knocking on doors of agencies and marketing departments looking to put their newly minted skills into action.

Does Frequency Still Drive Conversion?

Nobody has definitively studied message frequency and its impact on conversion. James Smith took up the subject as early as 1885 in his essay “A Guide to Successful Advertising.” He enumerated 20 touches and concluded that on the twentieth, prospects buy.

Seven Habits to Help You Achieve Your Goals

According University of Scranton, 92 percent of people who set goals never actually achieve them. Failing to meet goals is frustrating and can set you back.

How to Hire Strategic Thinkers

Good help is hard to find. You want people you can throw in the deep end on day one and can trust to make smart decisions and understand the context and impact of their choices. In other words, you want strategic thinkers.

Four Things Every Marketer Must Know

As a successful marketing professional, you know the importance of following the marketing process when developing a plan to market a new product or service.

Eight Truths for Creatives When Negotiating

Being a bad negotiator is epidemic among creative professionals. We avoid it, sticking our heads in the sand, or, perhaps worse, think we’re above having to negotiate at all and don’t bother to prepare.

The Surprising Productivity Boost of Working From Home

The jury was out on the productivity effect of working from home. It has returned with a surprising verdict.

The Data Stockholm Syndrome

Collecting vast amounts of data about individuals and then using it to persuade them creates a virtual Stockholm Syndrome, where consumers’ kidnapped data is used to create feelings of trust and affection which may or may not be genuine or desired.

Are Creatives Overworked?

Yesterday’s companies could get away with a single ad campaign spread over a few mediums–TV, billboards, and magazines, say. Today, companies are producing content for mobile, social, the web, print, television, physical retail, and a slew of other outlets. But they don’t necessarily staff up to meet demand.

How To Hire Strategic Thinkers

In today’s quick and lean companies, everyone is a leader. You need everyone from the newest intern to the industry veteran to be a strategic thinker you wouldn’t hesitate to put in a room with a client.

The Impact of the Gender Wage Gap

The gender wage gap is a nuanced and complex issue. Here’s a breakdown of how it varies across categories, and the ultimate impact it has on the economy.

Facebook's Privacy Paradox

Data-driven and performance marketers are scratching their heads over the Facebook scandal. We know and work with many sites who gather and monetize their data.

Four Tips for Networking Outside the Box

You need not rely simply on luck to stand out from the crowd. But you do have to think beyond the resume to overcome the challenge of getting lost in the shuffle. Networking is not a myth; it works.

The Case for After-Hour Emails Becoming Illegal

It’s called a right to disconnect: A new bill under consideration in New York City would fine employers that required workers to check electronic communications outside of work hours.

Millennials At Work

Millennials want a “progress life-line” at work, but many aren’t getting it. If they get more regular feedback, they feel more confident and committed to the company.

Coping With Amazon-ification

No matter what service or product you are selling, you have to cope with Amazonification. Customers expect choices, speed, convenience, relationships, and service based on their on-going experiences with Amazon.

Personal Branding Habits of Highly Successful People

Why are some people successful while other talented people fall short? Desire and talent are always the main ingredients for achievement. However, highly successful people stand out not so much because of what they know or even who they know, but because of how they brand themselves.

Is Cold Prospecting Dead?

The direct marketing mindset is changing. It’s no longer a big numbers game; it’s a smart numbers game. As brands intensely compete in every arena without awareness or affinity the message falls on deaf ears. Marketers have to give up the orthodoxy of cold prospecting to recalibrate and readjust their sights.

Why We Need Humble Leaders

We expect pride of our leaders. If you’ve accomplished much, you have much to be proud of. A great leader who is humble is perceived as an anomaly: “He’s done so much, and yet he’s so humble!” As if humility is an impediment to success that must be overcome.

The Rise of Chatbots (Or, Beware the Robot Apocalypse)

Customer interaction and customer service are the critical drivers of engagement, repeat business and brand loyalty. Serving Americans’ need for instant information and gratification is a complex, costly, technically challenging and frustrating quest for most brands.

Is Alexa Your BFF? Will She Be?

On Star Trek, Captain Kirk and the crew vocalize commands to access an omnipotent computer. Alexa, Cortana, Siri, and their peers offer a similar promise to regular folks as their inventors and investors integrate discrete voice-activated devices into our lives.

The Super Bowl as Bread and Circus

The first time I stumbled across the phrase “bread and circus,” it was the name of an upscale Massachusetts grocery store owned by Whole Foods. But the phrase kept zinging around in my gray matter as a Latin metonymic.

The Power of Curiosity in Marketers

Staying curious is just one of many traits successful marketers need. By focusing on constant learning about consumers, technology, tactics, and colleagues, you will be better at your job and, therefore, more marketable.

Why HR and Marketing Need to Talk

Over the Christmas holiday, I joined a few million other Americans by watching the second season of Netflix’s The Crown. We in the USA have an odd fascination with the British monarchy, reliably gobbling up anything related to the UK’s Royal Family.

5 Things on Every CMO's List

Predicting the future is daunting. But recognizing developing short term trends is easier. These five marketplace developments have grabbed the attention and investments of savvy marketers as 2018 gets going.

PURE: The Formula for Customer Engagement

Genuine consumer engagement is the Holy Grail for marketers. We are continually groping for the secret formula -- beyond gimmicks, coupons, points and promotions -- for using content to build bonds between brands and consumers that ensure repeat business, referrals, loyalty and advocacy.

Your Career New Year’s Resolution Check List

The end of the year has come and you’re still in the job that isn’t doing your career any good. Don’t lament that no one hires this time of year. Instead, prepare for your career to be in high gear by early 2018. Here’s a checklist of things to do until it's time to sing “Auld Lang Syne.”

How Influential Are Influencers?

The desire to efficiently multiply reach and frequency in social networks and finesse pay gates has led marketers to embrace “influencers" channel. But how effective are they?

The Four Fs in Resolving Brand Mistakes

Since brands (and businesses) are composed of imperfect people, brands occasionally make mistakes. Good brands don’t make a lot of mistakes. Great brands recover quickly from the mistakes they do make.

Agency Positioning: Don't Try This at Home

I have one piece of advice for any communication professional that is thinking about repositioning their own brand: Don’t. Have you ever heard the expression, “A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client”?

Married to Our Careers, and Each Other

In the midst of all of the excitement, I reminded myself that we were getting married because Chris needed health insurance. Without a good paying job with good benefits that I had at the ad agency, I wouldn’t have been able to offer that health insurance coverage to her.

Why Attending Office Parties Matters

There are several kinds of office events that let you socialize with other people in your workplace. Even if they may seem trivial or unnecessary, partaking in these social events may also yield positive effects.

Are the Holidays the Worst Time to Give?

Thanksgiving is over, and now everybody is getting ready for the big one: Christmas. Stores have broken out the holiday lights and the pine trees, and you can’t move at the mall without bumping into an elf or a reindeer or Santa Claus himself.

Giving Thanks: A Career Retrospective

One of the greatest minds of the past 100 years once said: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” — Ferris Bueller Ferris was — as usual — absolutely right. One of the side effects of “stopping to look around” is remembering how you got where you are today — and all the people to whom you owe thanks.

Thanks to Marketing, Now Every Day is Black Friday

Of the few thousand or so people who will read this column, only a handful, if any, will get up early Friday morning to stand in line for a “doorbuster” special at big-box retailer.

5 Must-Do Tips For Creating Brand You

Top corporate executives, Hollywood icons, and high-profile athletes have long tapped into the branding model to create and build a personal brand. Now, savvy people in every field are using personal branding to be more successful.

Surrender... and Succeed

But please, before we go any further, don’t confuse my suggestion to surrender as “giving up.” Because “giving up” (or “quitting,” as you might think of it) is not what I have in mind at all.

Podcasts: Your Next Marketing Channel

The sound of a disembodied human voice is intimate, alluring and persuasive. It triggers emotional connections and stored memories, buried deep in our limbic brains.

A Collage of Mentors, Part 2

Question any leader or executive about their success and eventually they’ll tell you that their mentor played a big role. Today, however, there is no Jedi-Master Yoda, wise and powerful, taking on people and unlocking the paths to business immortality.

No Yoda, But a Collage of Mentors

The need for mentorship is more profound than ever: success without mentors is nearly impossible. Compounding the issue is that choice assignments in this hyper-competitive world are in short supply. So it’s the mentored employee who will be presented with better opportunities, faster promotions, and top salaries.

To Lead or Not to Lead?

Lack of leadership could be the one thing holding you back from that higher-paying senior position within the team atmosphere — or even barring you from an entry-level position within a company that requires self-starters in a fast-paced environment.

Writing to Scale: A ‘Pentatonic’ Approach to Better Copy

Like most writers, I enjoy my job. I look forward to the unpredictable nature of what kind of project may come in the door at any time. The challenge of starting from a blank page is always a great kick-start to my day, but I also like getting away from it.

Why Great Marketing Is So Difficult

Marketing is an investment. With any investment, you expect a return. A difficult aspect of marketing is that not everything is measurable, so brands are unable to completely and accurately track their ROI.

Management 101: Reconnect and Earn Respect From Your Peers and Team

No matter where you are in your career, it’s important to work well with your peers. But sometimes that is easier said than done.

Inject Some Creativity Into Your Boring Job

Most people who go to school to be in a creative career in advertising, end up doing something on the opposite end of the spectrum.

Not Everyone Makes It

We’ve all heard the stories of smart, talented, deeply feeling creatives who didn’t live to comb gray hair, dead by their own hand in ways violently sudden or through more drawn-out self-destruction. September is Suicide Awareness month.

It's Time to Rethink the Hiring Process (and Job Hunting Too)

The hiring process has remained virtually static for 60+ years. Screeners use resumes to look for a reason to eliminate, rather than select the sender for further scrutiny.

Influencers: Bogus or Bonanza?

B2C and B2B marketers are borrowing equity and leveraging the persuasive power of people who are considered to be cool, experts, trendsetters or opinion leaders and who have substantial social media followings. B2C marketers will spend $570 million this year on Instagram alone.

Back to School, Back to Work, Back to Life

How you react to the season’s big mood swing depends on a few variables. Did you take your vacation too early in the summer? Did you just get back on the red-eye, unprepared for the onslaught that starts the day after Labor Day?

A Two Word Response to Pressure

I was on the phone with a client and we started talking about that word I don’t like hearing very often: “nervousness.” I’ve already been over my views of eradicating that word from the dictionary altogether and replacing it with the word “anxiousness.” Yet, it seems that the word keeps coming up in conversation.

Social Media Is All About Context

An important thing about context is that reaction is often as powerful and sometimes more powerful than initiation. You don’t have to have all the big ideas or even start the ball rolling.

What Dying Brands Should Learn from the Business of Death

When brands or industries are in turmoil, it’s easy to hunker down and take a defensive stance. But too often, that instinct is exactly what leads to a company’s demise. The Blockbusters and Radio Shacks of the world put their heads down to defend old turf when they should have been aggressively striking out after new opportunities.

Social Media Is All About Context

Politicians’ extensive use of social media starts with an understanding that there is a series of ongoing conversations that create ready-made audiences and contexts for their ideas, their points of view, and their rants. The take-away is that context is a springboard for social media creativity.

Why Marketers Need to Be Customers To Understand the Experience

You don’t have to be an enthusiast about your client or it’s product, you just need to viscerally understand why someone would be enthusiastic about them.

Positioning: Don't Try This at Home

I have one piece of advice for any communication professional that is thinking about repositioning their own brand: Don’t. Have you ever heard the expression, “A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client”? After we completed my own brand's repositioning, I can safely say this proverbial wisdom applies equally well to brand consultants.

It’s Also Important to Know What Customers Don’t Want

Agencies and clients spend a lot of time and money trying to figure out what their current and prospective customers want. However, it’s just as important to invest in determining what customers don’t want. That way, brands can best deliver products and services that are most relevant to their target audience. So how would you go about figuring out what consumers don’t want?

Running Your Race

When you watch a professional presenter perform under pressure, it appears effortless. What you don’t see is what goes on before that performance, and the way the speaker uses those final few minutes before he or she begins to speak. I’ll tell you about my personal ritual, and how this might help you the next time you have to perform under pressure when you read…

So Trump is Pragmatic. Now What Does That Mean?

Words are slippery items. We now know that the smart conversationalist listens to see whether the important word in a sentence is “dictionary-use” or “situational.” This is not an academic game. Understanding the distinction can be a matter of career life or death. The fact of the matter is that words mean what we want them to mean. So what did Obama mean when he commented that Trump is not ideological? “I think ultimately he’s pragmatic…”

To Become Better at Your Work, Get on Tinder and OkCupid ASAP

There’s nothing quite like setting up a Tinder or OkCupid account to make you think about truth. To make you think about good writing. To make you think about good imagery. To make you think of a good, compelling, innovative strategy. To make you think about results and success.

Three Pointers to Help You to Present Like a Pro

When it comes to presenting, I’m often asked the same question time and time again: “Isn’t it true that the really great presenters are just born with the ability to speak beautifully?” ​I’m sure you can guess my response.

The Upside of Anger

Anger is usually viewed as a disrupting, destructive emotion, especially in business — unless, of course, you’re a well-placed executive without those limitations. The religious typically view anger as bad stuff, something we should set aside and, to quote St. Paul, never go to sleep with. But like most generalities, there are exceptions.

Stop the Bullsh!t and Make Your Dreams a Reality

I actually remember one situation where a senior executive at another organization was required to provide a report to our company, and after several weeks of waiting and making multiple requests, FINALLY the report arrived. I dug into the report with great vigor for several days. However, every page was not relevant to our project. Eventually, I confronted the individual in an attempt to understand the content of the report. More time went by, and eventually she admitted to me that she simply pulled a random document from her files, changed the title, and sent it to me so I would stop bothering her about the deadline for the report.

Deceive in Doses, Not in Deluges

Deception is not only inevitable in business, but sometimes necessary or strategic. If you track “deception” or “lying” on my custom Google search, you’ll find a number of blogs dealing with the issue. See, for example, my blog, Powerful people are better liars.

5 Influencer Marketing Pitfalls to Avoid

Imagine landing a brand ambassador who already has thousands, if not millions, of fans to promote your product to. Sound impossible? Not in the slightest. Every day, social media turns people with extraordinary talents and personalities into stars, and with it, an opportunity for them to make money as influencers; in turn, drawing more attention to unknown brands.

Congratulations — You’re A Content Curator!

Despite an attempted ban by a former colleague of mine (looking at you, Michael S.), “content curation” is a buzzword that’s out there and seemingly here to stay. Which got me thinking about who is actually doing content curation — and I came to the conclusion that it’s me. And you. And all of us.

The ‘Reverse’ Job Description: A Company's Responsibility to Employees

The way I see it, every open role should have not just a job description, clearly iterating what is expected of the new employee, but would also have a “reverse job description.” That is, what are the required tasks of the company to ensure the success of the new employee?

My Favorite Things About Ad Agency Life

I don’t know why I’m writing about ad agency life — I haven’t been an agency employee since 2014. Oh yeah, I remember why I’m writing this. 'Cause I miss it. Sure, we all like to complain about the day-to-day stuff. “The client just doesn’t get it!” “We have like zero budget!” “How do we sell THAT?!?”

Can Media Be Normal in an Election Year?

I never thought I’d be saying this, but I actually miss seeing those photos of what Mark had at his dinner out last night. Instead I’m getting outrageous shots of Melania’s modeling days, Hillary’s various suits, and rioters against each party. Enough already: why can’t social media get back to normal? The resounding and obvious response: it’s an election year.

Talent Zoo Wants YOUR Video Ideas!

Want to contribute to our funny, new WHAT NOT TO DO video series? To pitch us or learn more about this reader-submitted concept, email angel@talentzoo.com.

Maslow, Vinyl, and Doing What You Love

I was really bummed when I heard HBO’s Vinyl was cancelled. Richie Finestra was a man I related to: he had true divination for musical talent in every genre from jazz to grunge. He hung out with Elvis and Andy Warhol. And in one episode, he preached the virtue of Maslow’s theories. He was the first guy outside of the advertising industry I ever heard cite this.

Is Social Media, As a Whole, Brilliant or the End of Mankind as We Know It?

Mention the words “social media” in any kind of mixed group setting and watch it fragment along lines of age, education, class, gender, and income levels. It’s like you’ve suddenly found the secret means by which you can dice and slice, divide, and conquer and with it come all the clichés you can imagine.

Is Social Media, As a Whole, Brilliant or the End of Mankind as We Know It?

The End. But what is the end other than a way to start over? Mankind is a creature of adaptation. We’ve gone from painting on cave walls to reading the Wall Street Journal to watching “bubble-headed beach blondes” read a prompter to the multi-pixelated assault we call our phones. Each medium takes us away from who we are and onto the “who” we will become.

Now Recruiting: Writers for July Perspectives!

Interested in writing a perspectives piece for the Talent Zoo Editorial sites? Check out the proposed topics here, and email angel@talentzoo.com if you're interested in contributing a guest post on one or more of them. Remember, our sites are focused on advertising, marketing, PR, digital media, and career advice.

Now Recruiting: Writers for July Perspectives!

Interested in writing a perspectives piece for the Talent Zoo Editorial sites? Check out the proposed topics here, and email angel@talentzoo.com if you're interested in contributing a guest post on one or more of them. Remember, our sites are focused on advertising, marketing, PR, digital media, and career advice.

Six-Word Stories … Day Three

Candice Johnson: Brilliant budding writer seeking work desperately.

Book Review: 'Online Marketing for Busy Authors' by Fauzia Burke

As the author of two self-published books, I can attest: It’s easier than ever to publish a book, and harder than ever to get it noticed. No doubt, there are more things I can do to get my books out there (you can just go to Amazon to get them). Fauzia Burke gives a good overview of many things authors can do to promote their works in her new book, Online Marketing for Busy Authors.

Six-Word Stories … Day Two

Catherine Kaputa: Guess what? You are a brand!

Six-Word Stories … Day One

Dwayne Waite: Client wants what? By When? Yikes!

Focus on The Customer Journey

Creating brand awareness, preference, and demand leading to purchase is a matter of getting granular about your customers’ journey. Marketers must plot out, anticipate, and service each discrete step from need to brand selection and find appropriate ways to nurture the relationship. The process by which your customer accepts, internalizes, and aligns with your brand is both unique to each individual and common to many identifiable segments.

A True Story of Impulse, Tenacity, and Not Changing Clothes For Three Days…All To Meet Someone Important and Famous

This is an absolutely true, somewhat crazy story that happened just four days ago. I’m not going to reveal who the “Important Famous Person” was because if you really know me, you already know. And if you don’t really know me, then it doesn’t really matter. It’s a tale of following your wildest instincts and dreams, no matter what.

Wanna get real? Speak your mind? Cut through the bullsh!t?

Come write for us at Talent Zoo!

Share your thoughts and opinions on:
-- Today’s working world (Sites: Career Oxygen and Hire & Higher)
-- Marketing, advertising, PR, and digital media (Sites: Up Your Game and Guest Column)

It’s Also Important to Know What Customers Don’t Want

Agencies and clients spend a lot of time and money trying to figure out what their current and prospective customers want. However, it’s just as important to invest in determining what customers don’t want. That way, brands can best deliver products and services that are most relevant to their target audience. So how would you go about figuring out what consumers don’t want?

Book Review: 'Admen, Mad Men, and the Real World of Advertising' by Dave Marinaccio

When an ad agency veteran pens a book, they basically do it for two basic reasons: 1) To tell their own advertising “war” stories; 2) To dispense business advice gleaned from said war stories. And if you’re personally or professionally familiar with the author, then the book carries more significance — and it’s more fun to read.

5 Brands That Totally Get Tumblr

As of 2014, Tumblr featured nearly 164 million blogs and over 70 billion posts. However, Tumblr is quite different from Facebook and Twitter. Tumblr features content that can be based around text, photos, videos, GIFs, or links to websites. Because the platform is a bit different than some of the other social media microblogs, not everyone knows what to do to create a valid presence on Tumblr. However, some brands totally get Tumblr, like these five companies.

6 Steps for Restating Iconic Brands

Iconic brands often need to be refreshed. The recent announcement by Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is a great illustration of the marketing formula for reinvigorating a classic brand.

Surrender…and Succeed.

Let go and renew. Just for the afternoon. Or maybe for the evening, too. But please, before we go any further, don’t confuse my suggestion to surrender as “giving up.”

Guest Column is Looking for Talented Editorial Writers!

Have 101 thoughts and opinions on marketing, advertising, PR, and digital media? Are you an industry expert? An industry idiot savante? Or just someone who just loves one of these industries and is constantly researching, brainstorming, and talking the game? If so, email angel@talentzoo. Let's see if the world agrees with you by running your articles on UP YOUR GAME or GUEST COLUMN.

Up Your Game and Guest Column are Looking for Talented Editorial Writers!

Have 101 thoughts and opinions on marketing, advertising, PR, and digital media? Are you an industry expert? An industry idiot savante? Or just someone who just loves one of these industries and is constantly researching, brainstorming, and talking the game? If so, email angel@talentzoo. Let's see if the world agrees with you by running your articles on UP YOUR GAME or GUEST COLUMN.

Talent Zoo Seeks Talented Editorial Writers

Talent Zoo is now inviting one-time and regular contributors to submit editorial articles to our editorial sites. Our editorial posts are located at the top of our home page: http://www.talentzoo.com. Interested? Read on for details!

Next-Gen Employees: College on a Barista Salary

If you really think a kid can earn his way through college or live with $100,000 in college bills, guess again. Occasionally I talk with someone who tells me he earned his way through college, so his kids can too. That's not a surprise, since the percentage of parents willing to help their kids go to college stands at about 77%, and it continues in a downward plunge. But just how realistic is it that a kid can cover all college costs?

Prevent Revolutions with Soft Power

Today, are we standing before yet another decisive break comparable with these events from the past? I think so, as the brain power that determines the value of many companies in our knowledge-based society is drained off or the pressure builds like a storm to burn down these fortresses of latter-day feudalism. The all-powerful VPs and CEOs, the "Sun Kings" of today, are facing the threat of a sharp downfall.

SEO Case Study: How Effective is SEO as an Online Marketing Tool?

Search engines are taking the business empire by storm. Both small and multimillion-dollars companies want to increase their online presence, and SEO has been determined to be the ultimate solution. To enjoy the fruits of SEO, however, it is important to understand search engines like experts. That is why companies are hiring out SEO moguls to scale them through to higher pinnacles of success.

Chairman Mao and Change Management

If you are trying to change an organization’s culture, you cannot ignore the transformation of the People’s Republic of China under Mao Zedong. And while Chairman Mao and his successors’ philosophy, approach, and policies are abhorrent in so many ways, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) brought China into the modern world. How they did it offers lessons in change management that can be applied in more benign environments.

The Immeasurable Power of PR

With a rainbow assortment of metrics now available to public relations professionals with which to measure the reach and impact of publicity in every medium and social channel, there is still one outlying, yet highly valuable, dimension that is rarely stressed to clients and that defies attempts at quantitative measurement.

Big Data's Big Brother: Marketing Tools That Help Keep an Eye on Big Data

When it comes down to it, you really need the right tools to gather, analyze, and present your data in such a way that both your own team members and your clients can appreciate and understand it clearly and concisely. Fortunately, there are now several different, excellent tools for effectively manipulating your big data. Four of them are considered and compared here.

To Become Better at Your Work, Get on Tinder and OkCupid ASAP

There’s nothing quite like setting up a Tinder or OkCupid account to make you think about truth. To make you think about good writing. To make you think about good imagery. To make you think of a good, compelling, innovative strategy. To make you think about results and success.

Your Apps Are Spying On You

I’m not a privacy nut. But I was surprised to learn that the average app on my smartphone rats out my name, my email address, my current GPS coordinates, my age, my gender, and other data points to three different third-party sources without my conscious permission or real knowledge as part of their routine functions.

Perceived Marketing Misfires Reveal Case for Research

Our commentary here isn’t intended to argue for or against any of the campaigns that sparked recent and ongoing headlines. Instead, we have an argument to make that’s twofold: 1) dispelling the myth that strategic communication is not impactful or measurable, and 2) calling for higher standards in the methodologies used in publicly funded communications campaigns — namely, utilizing market research.

The Upside of Anger

Anger is usually viewed as a disrupting, destructive emotion, especially in business — unless, of course, you’re a well-placed executive without those limitations. The religious typically view anger as bad stuff, something we should set aside and, to quote St. Paul, never go to sleep with. But like most generalities, there are exceptions.

Three Pointers to Help You to Present Like a Pro

When it comes to presenting, I’m often asked the same question time and time again: “Isn’t it true that the really great presenters are just born with the ability to speak beautifully?” ​I’m sure you can guess my response.

Waiting for Wearables

Beyond the wrist, smart, connected apparel is the newest frontier in mobile wearables. A PwC survey of 1,000 Americans found a growing demand for wearables to help exercise better, eat better, and collect and track medical information. Recent technical innovations and the ability to connect garments to smartphones and ultimately to servers will accelerate the ability to meet this demand and will spike interest and adoption in what promises to be a monster fashion-fitness category.

Telling Epic Brand Stories in Video

Another kind of storytelling is gaining ground in the world of content creation and curation, and for good reason. Video is one of the most effective ways to tell a story. A high-quality video will stand out and may even go viral — but what constitutes quality? The same element that works for video is at the core of any good story: emotion.

Stop the Bullsh!t and Make Your Dreams a Reality

I actually remember one situation where a senior executive at another organization was required to provide a report to our company, and after several weeks of waiting and making multiple requests, FINALLY the report arrived. I dug into the report with great vigor for several days. However, every page was not relevant to our project. Eventually, I confronted the individual in an attempt to understand the content of the report. More time went by, and eventually she admitted to me that she simply pulled a random document from her files, changed the title, and sent it to me so I would stop bothering her about the deadline for the report.

In Search Of: Demand Generation Explained

Is your company in the process of considering, creating, improving, or growing a Demand Generation Center? Or are you wondering what it is that Demand Generation professionals do to bring in all those leads? You are not alone. This specialized, data-driven sales engine (typically residing in the marketing department) did not even exist 10 years ago.

When Strategy and Execution Are Incompatible, Magic Happens

Magic? Isn’t it more like mayhem? Have no doubt about it; a clash between individuals responsible for creative ideation and those concerned with strategic development can be debilitating to the brand-building process. But must it?

Congratulations — You’re A Content Curator!

Despite an attempted ban by a former colleague of mine (looking at you, Michael S.), “content curation” is a buzzword that’s out there and seemingly here to stay. Which got me thinking about who is actually doing content curation — and I came to the conclusion that it’s me. And you. And all of us.

The ‘Reverse’ Job Description: A Company's Responsibility to Employees

The way I see it, every open role should have not just a job description, clearly iterating what is expected of the new employee, but would also have a “reverse job description.” That is, what are the required tasks of the company to ensure the success of the new employee?

Facebook Wants to Be the Middleman for Your News Outlet

Facebook is working hard to improve how social media is consumed and keep users engaged, satisfied, and interacting. Since the beginning of August, Facebook has been making announcements left and right, talking about the new features they have in store for us. Yesterday they had newsrooms everywhere abuzz, including Business Insider (who broke the story) and The Hullabaloo, over some discoveries select users came upon Wednesday afternoon.

Following the Mannequins: Don't Just Pick Any Job

I was just a few years out of wearing nothing but Ramones T-shirts and dyeing my hair all manner of colors when I landed my first job writing at an ad agency. Not in New York or Chicago, mind you, but in Memphis. Yeah — the place better known for Elvis Presley Blvd than Madison Ave.

Don’t Send Another Resume Until You Read This

This isn’t a resume contents improvement article. Heaven knows you can find plenty of advice on that – all over the Web. For purposes of this cautionary advice, it doesn’t matter whether you have a professionally prepared resume or a standard one that you whipped up – because, as savvy job hunters know, employers use resumes mainly to screen you out, and not to find reasons to contact you for an invitation to an interview.

Content Marketing at 30 Minutes a Week

Yes, Virginia one can wage a successful B2B content marketing campaign while investing but 30 (OK maybe 45) minutes a week. Even at this minimal level of commitment, it appears that the majority of managers are too time-stressed to devote the time to support their marketing objectives.

A Great Way to Connect With Interns

Finding interns can be quite an extensive process, and most small businesses don’t have the time or manpower to give up when it comes to actually having to find interns — especially good interns. The benefits of employing interns are significant, but if it’s a pain for most businesses, is it really worth the trouble?

11 Books Every Leader — And Wannabe — Should Read

Inevitably, when I’m conversing with a friend or former client whom I haven’t seen for some time, I get asked what I’m reading. This is a list of books that have taught me much about people, careers, and organizations. Three don’t fit those categories, but they are exceptional: one on America’s role in the world, one on valuing popular music, and an absolutely delightful and hilarious book on mathematics.

To Inc or Not To Inc?

If you are a freelancer or a 1099 contractor, you can work under your own name and social security number, under a DBA, or you can choose a more official type of legal business entity to operate under. Since there are both legal and tax implications attached to each entity, it is best to get your lawyer, financial advisor, and/or accountant involved in the decision-making process.

Are You Selective When You Sell Yourself?

Be honest. Does every piece of work you've ever done really represent your very best? What you show the world should be a highly curated selection of your absolute finest accomplishments. There’s no room on your resume, on your website, or in your portfolio for work that's "meh."

Don't Let Your Day Job Ruin Your Health

Recent research suggests that, for the first time in history, Americans spend as much time sitting as we do sleeping, “an important milestone in human history.” If you add all the sitting and sleeping time together, it is no wonder that exercise alone can’t arrest all of the resulting health problems. We are a society that increasingly is replacing most of our active work with technological solutions.

Creatives: Understand Music Industry Royalties

Blogging, social media marketing, and e-commerce websites have made copyrighting a newsworthy topic on the Internet. Recently, the various changes in Facebook’s privacy rules have spurred a hoax-driven campaign alleging to protect posts from being used based on copyright law. Because of the sheer volume of websites, numbering in the 600-millions, and the ease of sharing files, the music industry has been hit hard with revenue losses due to royalty infringements.

Time to Call it a Career?

Whether it's due to retirement or other reasons, sometimes people need to leave their careers on hold without another one to take its place. What happens now? Perhaps your savings is okay, but what about health insurance?

Millennials: Connecting with Today’s Digital Natives

Today, Millennials make up one of the most influential generational cohorts, yet they remain a demographic much different than their Gen X or Boomer predecessors. To get a deeper understanding of Millennials, Influence Central embarked on a research study that looked at 1,100 American Millennial women born between 1979 and 1993. The study focused on Millennials as consumers, how their deep connections with friends and family impact the choices in their lives, and the effect of various types of media on their day-to-day decisions.

Job Postings, Translated

“Must be able and willing to defend the creatives against outside interference from account services, clients, traffic, agency principals, etc. Must approve and ‘sell’ the creative work to the account team and client. If the creative work isn’t sold properly to the account executive, it will not be sold properly to the client.” Yikes…I get it! Why would I want to work there?

Cast a Wide Social Networking Net to Keep Career Options Open

Job-seeking has taken on a whole new meaning thanks to the ever-growing world of social media. No only do you just send out resumes, but now job-seeking is also about connecting with people and businesses. Research tell us that more than 80 percent of small and medium-sized businesses use social media to grow their business.

We’ve Got to Get to Da Shoppa!

It doesn’t take Arnold’s muscles to reach today’s shoppers. It’s much more about brains than brawn (or budget). At home, most people avoid commercials by changing channels, fast-forwarding, checking their phones, or even leaving the room. Online, many of us have trained ourselves to ignore banner ads and pop-ups. And in the store, we’re usually ticking off items from our list, or just running in to grab a couple items and get out as quickly as possible. But hey, us semi-evil marketing types gotta move product. So how do we overcome all those obstacles? By stepping into the shopper’s shoes, utilizing a complete marketing team, and employing a multidisciplinary approach.

Reach Out, Rethink, Grow Rich

The old ways and the old days will not return. We live in a new global community fueled by a technology-driven economy and marketplace. The good news is that today, contrary to what you have been told by the negative and pessimistic voices competing for your attention, or what you think, there are unlimited opportunities.

Don’t Lie, But Tell Stories

At their heart, stories are fundamentally verbal theater. Like theater, they range from B-movies to classics. Stories pull the listener into the storyteller’s perspective. The power of story, like that of theater, is the experience it puts the listener through: what we call its rhetorical force. While less impactful and interesting, stories are also simply used to explain concepts.

Make Mistakes — On Purpose

​Here's an idea guaranteed to make you more valuable, respected, and happier. Or, to get you fired from your job or client in a hurry. If you're feeling a little nervous right now, take three, slow, deep breaths and later I'll explain the critical difference between "bravery" and courage."

Managing a Crisis Into a Better Career

In any crisis, there are casualties. Externally, there are the direct victims whose lives are impacted by a specific disaster. Then there are the organizational victims—

A Simple Love Experiment

Whats with all this "love" stuff? It's what everybody, I mean EVERYBODY, wants but, oh, I'm not supposed to talk about it here? In fact, if anyone knows a brand that is talking about love (and I don't mean as in "I love my car" or "this taco") but real, spiritual, true, ecstatic love, please post a link in the comments so we can all see.

Facebook Courts Direct Marketers

Facebook Exchange, FBX, the ads in the News Feed — the primo real estate on Facebook — is a year old and vying to become an indispensible partner to direct and CRM marketers. The pitch directly addresses the needs and anxieties of brands that want consumers to take action on social networks.

Awesome PR Stunts that Totally Went Viral

We could say that public relations dates back millennia — or at least the concept of informing and persuading the public and creating publicity does. If you think about it, the pyramids in Egypt were actually just a really large-scale publicity stunt. Pharaohs created these pyramids in order to promote their divine right to lead the state.

In the Age of Content Overload, Simplicity Stands Out

The average attention span of a goldfish is nine seconds. Pathetic, right? Well, according to a recent study by the Associated Press, the average American attention span in 2013 was eight seconds. Yeah, eight seconds! That’s down from 12 seconds in 2000 and a solid one second less than your friendly, flighty goldfish.

Right-Sizing Big Data

The ad business is driven by sound bytes and buzzwords. And I don’t have to tell you that one of the buzzes of the moment is “Big Data”. You can’t swing a cat without knocking into a half-dozen “experts” touting its intrinsic value and huge ROI potential. The run up in ad tech investment and VC funding in the area might be creating the next tech bubble. And marketers and agencies are all shouting, “Big Data is the answer!”

This Just In: Holiday Retailers Lose Their Minds

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results, then holiday retailers are raving mad. According to Reuters, “Heavy discounting took a toll on U.S. retail sales during the Thanksgiving weekend as shoppers spent almost 3 percent less than they did a year earlier...”

Are Advertising Agencies Cool Enough For Millennials?

One of the more enlightening sessions at September’s New York Advertising Week was the 4A’s panel discussion “Rising Stars: Engaging The Next Generation”, about the growing prominence of the millenial generation and how our agencies can work to grow and retain young professionals to build a brighter future for the advertising industry.

Three Common Mistakes That Can Kill Your Interview

Interviewing is both an art and a science. At times, it feels like there are over 100 moving parts that the candidate needs to synchronize perfectly in order to land that job. While many of them involve quick thinking, solid communication skills, and overall the right “fit” for the job, there are several that, when not properly executed, can essentially end the game before it has even really started.

Mom: The Ultimate Brand Strategist

I hear it now, in my head, like it was yesterday. An insightful piece of brand wisdom emanating from somewhere between the toaster and the silverware drawer, precisely at the moment I am opening the front door to go out with my friends: “You are defined by the company you keep,” my mom would wail, with high-pitched loving-kindness breaking through the clutter of canned laughter blaring from the TV.

Make Mistakes — On Purpose

Here's an idea guaranteed to make you more valuable, respected, and happier. Or, to get you fired from your job or client in a hurry. If you're feeling a little nervous right now, take three, slow, deep breaths and later I'll explain the critical difference between "bravery" and courage."

[Best of TZM] Tax Advice for Freelancers

The freedom of being a freelancer can be loads of fun. But when it comes to reporting taxes, that freedom means filing a bit more paperwork than required for the traditional employee.

Experimental Thoughts: Givers Get

When you want something, give and give and give.  This sets up an irresistible vibration in your world that will come back to you bigger than you can imagine. Wait. Hold on a moment. Because at this point, if you're thinking that this sounds like some "new age" claptrap, then feel free to click away from his page.

Four Partnership Tips for Business Partnerships

When Gary Reisman and I ran into each other at a Starbucks in 2004, it was several years after we both worked at The Lord Group, an ad agency whose clients included Kraft, IBM, and Bell Atlantic. Our conversation was “hey-what-are-you-up-to-these-days?” Shortly thereafter, we had a more formal meeting to discuss where we saw gaps in the brand and ad-marketing business and how we could address those by starting a new company.

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.

Why Do We Send Out Press Releases, Anyway?

I know what you’re all thinking (“We really need to discuss this?” and “Aren’t press releases dead?!”), but give me a moment to explain. Earlier this week, I had a newly formed non-profit client tell me that even though their website isn’t up and running yet (after six months), they still want to send out a press release, but (wait for it) NOT to the media, just for SEO purposes. Okay, you can all stop laughing now, because I laughed enough for all of us.

Influence 101: Analyzing Your Audience for Personal Success

The most entertaining part of Super Bowl Sunday was not the game, but its television advertisements. That’s not especially surprising when you consider that the average cost of a Super Bowl ad was $3.7 million. All that moolah, much of which was spent on analyzing their audience and trying to determine what will pique interests and sell products.

2013 Super Bowl Ads: And…?

Alas, even a nearly 40-minute blackout couldn’t take the attention from this year’s Super Bowl ads. We saw ads from everyone from advertising veterans to newbies. We saw several identity spots and product launches, and a ton of network-related spots. The NFL got in the mix too, perhaps trying to clean up its own image to the football faithful and their friends.

Four Ways to Find Top Digital Talent

The growth of digital, social, and mobile communications has sparked a frenzied search for players with digital chops even though there are no consensus job definitions and no simple or common ways to assess digital talent.

How to Set Goals You Can Achieve

Most of you might be familiar with the goal setting process SMART. Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. There are also many other interpretations for SMART. However, so many personal or project goals are still not met. According to Worldbank studies and my personal experience, more than 50% of all international projects fail. This means they suffer either from substantial cost overruns or delays and therefore do not meet their specific goals.

How To Write a Great Job Posting

Writing a great job posting shouldn't be difficult - use these tips to make yours shine and attract the top talent you're seeking.

Collective Intelligence...or Collective Stupidity?

Collective intelligence has been around for a long time — and in many different forms. For example, people from all over the world collectively created Wikipedia and Linux, high-quality intellectual products. But what makes for the best, the most trusted collective intelligence? Is it a lot of smart people, or perhaps more creative folk? It’s a highly significant question, because it speaks to the formation of teams and groups for gaining the most business impact.

How to Effectively Resolve Complex Conflicts in 5 Steps

Given the enormous cost and emotional stress triggered by unresolved conflicts, I have been developing a conflict resolution model called “SOLVE.” The model has been applied successfully in various intercultural conflict situations between Joint Venture partners, project teams, and stakeholders, which in turn resulted not only in avoiding the extra costs of unresolved conflicts but also an additional savings of up to 10%.

Why Big Data Won't Be 'Big' Forever

Big data is no big deal. Big data has been around for years and years, dominated by financial services firms, telecom providers, and sophisticated retailers. And while incremental advancements in computing speed and software design have enabled us to dice and slice data better and faster, don’t expect a groundswell of new activity. Here are three fundamental reasons why.

How to Become More Resilient

Very often, the lack of emotional resilience is one of the key reasons that people get involved in conflicts. While considering the enormous impact on the bottom line, I started primarily to work on enhancing the degree of emotional resilience of project managers so as to prevent conflicts or settle those in an amicable way, which in turn builds a more solid platform of collaboration.

Change is Good; Only You Can Make It

Autumn is my favorite season. I appreciate the progression of it all, the evolution that takes place: leaves turning, kids back to school, the excitement of holidays to come. This year, to top it all off, MEC has recently undergone a powerful and modern rebranding that has been inspiring to see and even better to be a part of. But change can be overwhelming. Most dread getting out of a comfort zone, entering the unknown, exerting the effort to think and explore.

Vote Talent Zoo in 2012!

A vote for Talent Zoo this November is a vote for job creation & more!

What's Your Excuse for Not Having More Impact and Influence?

There are two roadblocks most individuals experience that prevent them from taking their communication from good to influential. First is being aware of the excuses they make for why they communicate the way they do. Second, how to fix them: Just do it and take action today. Imagine what you could do if you put the energy you use to make excuses into taking action.

Principles for Building Trust

Daring to express joyfully my unique talents, principles, and values on a persistent and daily basis gained me enormous recognition, power, and trust. Suddenly I was able to tap an enormous power born out of authenticity, which nurtured the creation of really great things and ignited the fire inside other people.

One PR Firm's Recipe for a Great Intern Program

Running a successful intern program, while extremely advantageous for a company, can be hard work. First, you have to find and interview candidates. Once chosen, you must orient, educate, and meld them with the existing components of your company. Then, just when you are starting to accept their presence and value their contributions, they are gone: back to school or back on the job hunt.

Is It Time to Up Your EIQ?

There are tons of attributes synonymous with Leadership but there is one, however, that seems to be assumed and therefore tends to be overlooked. If an employee possesses it, she needs to work hard to maintain as well as teach it. And, if she doesn’t, it’s critical to find ways to behaviorally adjust in order to gain it. Plain and simple, it’s Emotional Intelligence.

The HR Function Won't Function Without You

Over seven years ago, I decided to reinvent my career and embark on a future in HR. I thought erroneously, “How much harder can this be than advertising?” As it happens, it can be pretty darn hard. One of the things I’ve learned is this: even though the focus of HR is on people and talent, oftentimes the biggest obstacle to the function’s effectiveness can be people themselves.

Creating Accountability Around Our Values

Does this sound familiar? Your company went through an exercise to draft a vision, mission, and a set of values that was to define its purpose and its culture. With plenty of fanfare, the statements were distributed to all employees and then posted in prominent places throughout the office and/or plant. Meanwhile, nothing has really changed.

5 Tips for Successfully Hiring Virtual Employees

Your small business is always looking to save, and hiring virtual employees is a great way to do that. However, whether you’re considering HR outsourcing or just a virtual assistant, sometimes recruiting software isn’t enough for hiring a virtual employee — you have to rethink your process.

Confident or Uncertain? Your Posture Says It All

Do you look like you know where you’re going or does your posture convey uncertainty and a lack of confidence? I was at a conference last week observing individuals walking into the room. The individuals who caught my attention walked into the room as if they were saying, “I’d rather be having a root canal right now than entering this room.”

Build Relationships by Breaking the Ice

Announce that you’re starting a meeting with an icebreaker and what do you get? Groans? Protests that icebreakers are a waste of time? People looking pointedly at their watches, or even worse, getting up to use the restroom? Sure, an icebreaker will take a few minutes out of your agenda, but I believe it’s time well spent.

How to Create an Incentive Plan That Works

In most companies the lack of communication, leadership, information sharing, and especially appreciation might be major reasons that employees leave the company. However, salary, perks, benefits, and non-financial schemes still matter — sometimes more than many might imagine.

Making Your Teleconferencing More Effective

With the Internet and technological advances, it’s becoming easier and easier to do business with people outside of the four walls you sit in every day. However, as business opportunities expand, so does the need for proper communication. Keeping everyone on the same page is integral to maintaining a successful working relationship. Teleconferencing is a great way to keep a steady flow of communication between everyone involved without investing in the expensive equipment needed for video conferencing.

The Fauxmotion: Best Intentions, Bad Outcomes

There are moments every manager dreads. In one, you’re short-staffed, your team is managing a heavy workload, and one of your employees is threatening to leave given the other offer he’s just received. He’ll stay if you give him the promotion he’s been demanding. You can’t afford to lose him. Reluctantly, desperately, you agree to promote him.

Communicate Effectively to Lead Effectively

The world of work has certainly changed many times over in the past few years. These changes are indicative of advancements in technology along with the demands of younger generations in the workforce. These advancements have created work-life balance, lessened travel time to and from work, and added a level of needed communication that presents a challenge for everyone with an extra burden on the leadership role.

Be a Great Leader: Motivate Your Staff

Cash will always be a major factor in motivating people, and a solid compensation plan might even be critical for attracting and keeping your key personnel. However, apart from bonus schemes and specific incentive plans, some other denominators play a crucial role.

3 Tools for Productive Teamwork

When your employees work in a team, they produce better work, brainstorm creative ideas, and have higher job satisfaction. The ever-popular acronym for TEAM, Together We Achieve More, says it all. Unfortunately, a team cannot be productive without the right tools.

4 Tips for Better Video Communication

As technology speeds forward, we are fortunate to have the ability to connect face-to-face with individuals miles away. It sounds like a simple tool — just look into the screen while you are talking — but many individuals take for granted how they are perceived by their listener based on how they use their device.

Cultural Alignment in Your Company

Have you ever interviewed an employee who you knew in your gut was not going to be a good fit, but you hired them anyway? Maybe they had the right skills or experience and you figured you could overlook their lack of cultural fit. Or maybe you thought you could get them to change. Most of us have made this mistake at some point in our careers and we’ve lived to regret it. As simple as it sounds, developing cultural alignment starts with choosing the right players.

10 Reasons to Start an Agency in This Economy

When my partners and I started our agency, KINGSDAY, last September, people close to us and in the ad industry declared us wildly out of touch with reality. We had comfortable positions at a wonderful agency network; one where we had grown up and where our futures looked bright. We had creative successes on the world’s biggest stages and festivals and worked for both European and Global clients.

Never Travel Without a (Career) Map

The world of work has changed forever. There are fewer traditional jobs, though work opportunities exist; you just have to be qualified and resourceful enough to find them. Whether just starting out on your job search, in career transition, or contemplating early retirement, you need directions before you can embark upon your career journey.

Organizational Restructuring to Nurture Creativity

There has always been pressure in the workplace to perform — but the quality and measure of that pressure seems to have increased significantly over the last few years. With greater emphasis on ideas and innovation, organizations find themselves wondering: How do we stay on the cutting edge? How do we encourage innovation?

Today's Trends in Digital Marketing

As a CEO for a Digital Marketing Agency, I have seen the marketing trends for 2012 based on our experience in this domain and the feedback from our customers. Here are my picks for the top marketing trends for 2012, all of which are based on a massive volume of structured and unstructured data.

Do We Really Need to Have a Vision, Mission, and Values?

If you peruse the websites of most companies today, you’ll likely see an elaborate description of their vision and mission, and perhaps even a listing of their core values. It will probably say something about “exceeding customer expectations,” “taking care of all our stakeholders,” and creating a culture that promotes “respect and dignity for all.” In my experience, most of these statements are usually meaningless drivel that have little to no relevance to how the company operates.

It’s a Matter of Employee Trust

There is an understandable perception that companies have forgotten that employees matter. Whether that’s true in your organization, can you blame your colleagues for thinking this way? Over the past several years, virtually every workplace has weathered layoffs and attrition.

Are We Measuring HR Success Correctly?

As they say, “What gets measured gets done.” It also gets our attention and guides our decision-making process. The question we need to ask ourselves, though, is: “Are we measuring the right things?”

The Benefits of Having a Coach

Our current marketplace is a glut of self-help, methodologies, and coaching gurus. Daily email is populated with (free:) content, podcasts, and invitations to webinars. Motivational speakers intone the airwaves, and daily tweets include a recycling of famous quotes and other inspirational tidbits.

Updating An Iconic Brand Through New Packaging

Are You Talking to Yourself?

Today and in the years to come, organizations will have to focus on winning employees back; building trust, respect, and teamwork between people; being receptive to and then acting on the best ideas; and once again instilling employees with pride in and commitment to the organization.

Jockeying for Space Among Political Ads

The media world sees an influx of proposition and candidate advertising each political year, which makes an already cluttered media environment much busier. Every paying advertiser has the political landscape top of mind, but not many advertisers really know how it will affect their advertising initiatives.

The 'M' In Team: Motivation

When you look around at your team, particularly at people’s level of drive and motivation, what do you see?

Death of the Salesmen – Fuller Files for Chapter 11

You have to be of a certain age to remember the actual door-to-door salesmen of joke and fable, because times have changed. That happens more quickly in the marketing universe than others.

Do You Really Want to Work Here?

Interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience, and you may forget to notice anything except walking straight in your new heels. However, the environment in which you work 40 hours a week can have a huge impact.

Why Analytics Matter: Measuring Talent

As protectors of our clients’ brands, we’d never recommend an integrated communications, marketing, or media campaign to any of our clients without well-thought-out ROI supporting it — or the “why” that justifies their investment and what project the brand lift they can expect to see as a result.

Tax Advice for Freelancers

The freedom of being a freelancer can be loads of fun. But, when it comes to reporting taxes, that freedom means filing a bit more paperwork than required for the traditional employee.

A New Tool for Content Marketers

Every successful entrepreneur learns quickly that marketing is the pulse of a profitable business, but writers as a group have notoriously not been savvy when it comes to marketing their work. Those marketing classes are traditionally taught on the other side of the campus in the B-school, not in the journalism programs.

Negotiating Tips for Indie Creatives

Today, purchasing agents are putting the same kind of cost-cutting pressure on $100k deals as they previously did on million-dollar deals. RFIs and RFPs are now the norm, and increasingly prospects demand creative work on spec. Instead of reminding the client that their work has the potential to add millions to their bottom line, creative services are being treated as a commodity; designers have fallen into the commodity trap, responding to demands for lower pricing, volume discounts, and 180-day payment policies.

Add Text Messaging to Your Marketing Mix

In light of a continuing dismal economy, many business owners and marketing execs are looking toward the New Year with renewed optimism. If you fall into this boat, you might be wondering what you are going to do differently this year to help get the economy back on track, starting with your own business.

10 Things That Won't Happen in 2012

Why Your Marketing Isn't Working

What Advertising Can Learn From...Well, Advertising

Corporate Culture — Does it Really Matter?

There’s a lot of talk these days about organizational culture, and more and more companies are beginning to describe their cultures as key differentiators. Is this just a passing fad, or is it really that important? Let me answer that for you from three perspectives — from leadership, from customers, and from workers.

Can Digital Advertising Spark Deeper Political Discourse In America?

New disruptions are underway. The candidates, action committees. and policies that acknowledge the new reality will be the ones that win. Looking back, the winners in 2012 that defy inertia to embrace digital and win the election may make the history books as the political innovators that ushered in the digital age of politics.

'True Integrated Marketing' Explained

In today’s world of marketing and advertising, there seems to be some confusion around the term “integration.” Most news outlets and trade publications are reporting that agencies (large and small) are working to find ways to merge their online and offline capabilities to better serve their clients’ needs.

True Talk LA: Traditional Marketing + Social Media

A diverse crowd socializes at a venue a few blocks from the Santa Monica beach while the latest songs play in the background at just the right volume. While some decide to walk around in order to “work the room,” others relax on the plush leather couches. No, this isn’t a Saturday night scene from a lounge in the laid-back beachfront city.

The Three-Screen Woman: Designing Online for Women

A new smartphone is flaunting its design; this one is pretty in plum. The HTC Rhyme isn’t 4G-compatible like other smartphones at the same price point, but never fear. A goddess-like spokesperson reassures that the smartphone is “All from one. All for you.” The “you” she refers to is women consumers.

Bring On the Media Trends: 2012

Halloween isn’t the fastest growing holiday without reason. From A for apocalypse to Z for zombies, dark humor and deeply dark drama — vampires, ghosts, hoarders, meth dealers, and Louis C.K. — take us where we want to go: into the Darkness. In a digital world, with fewer in-person contacts, dark programming makes us feel More. We want shrieking, pee-your-pants laughs; not sad little dramas, but dire, tragic tales of woe. To compensate we want spicier, darker, more intense entertainment.

Hiring Outside the Echo Chamber

The echo chamber does not happen overnight, but it takes time to evolve and form a life of its own. It manifests itself subtly. Members of the team get assimilated. You become the “Borg,” and all Trekkies know that resistance is futile. Your management team becomes a single-celled organism.

My 24-Hour Breakup with Facebook

Facebook was really getting on my nerves, so one day I shut it down. Just like that. I disappeared from its clutches. Then, as with any breakup, I thought about what had gone wrong. The final straw for me had been the roll out of the Timeline.

Using Video to Grow Your Business

In a time when companies need to be smarter with their marketing dollars, it can be difficult to determine the best way to really make an impression. When planned for and budgeted properly, business-to-business online marketing with videos is among the best promotional tools available because it puts a visual with words.

Channeling Steve Jobs

I think I know what Steve Jobs would say about all of this news coverage. “Write something different. Obituaries are for dead people.” When I write, I want to learn. I want readers to walk away with something they didn’t know, but how does a writer accomplish that when every news outlet on the planet is covering this story like the Messiah has died?

Steve Jobs: Now On iCloud

Steve Jobs made his very prominent mark in world history with his drive, innovation, passion, and foresight. He was an inspiration to all of us who are designers by trade. We should all be so fortunate to accomplish a fraction of what he did. I miss Steve Jobs.

Titanic Nightmare: Will Your Small Business Hit an Iceberg?

If you treat your customers right, offer good products and services, hire quality staff, and make them want to come to work each day, there is a good chance that you will set sail on a successful and enjoyable business career. Trust me; the alternative of going down with the ship is not a very pleasant thought.

Bonuses Are Back: The New Value of Experience

During the past two years, powerful executives have been accepting jobs that brought severe pay cuts and junior titles. The big question employers were asking was “What can we get him/her for?” Everyone was ready to pounce on a bargain.

Team-Building Tips for New Managers

In most organizations, the path to fame and fortune requires you to manage and succeed through the efforts of other people. In many cases, the people you will manage aren’t as fast, smart, well intentioned, or skilled as you are. So, from the get-go, you have to get over yourself and focus on them.

Branding and the Beast

New brands are created each day. Many will make it, many will not. And many will face unexpected challenges that result in brand breakdowns. With the right knowledge, tools, and preparation, you can better equip yourself to recover from that evil, intimidating beast — the unforeseen shakeup.

Millennials in America: How They Spent Their Summer

High school and college students are heading back to classes, but the past two months have consisted of a lot of time off with family, a fair amount of work, and a little bit of romance, according to surveys by Ypulse, a leading authority on youth.

10 Strategies to Reinvent Your Personal Brand

If branding strategies can be used for products and services, why not people? You also have features and benefits, certain skills, and special talents that other people value. In creating your own personal brand, you'll want to exhibit and use those skills and talents that are highly valued by your "customers" and those that you enjoy using.

Verify Your Intuition

In today’s highly competitive, fast-paced, volatile work world, employees are constantly being called upon to make decisions, often almost instantly. As a result, today’s workers rely heavily upon their intuition. There’s no doubt that intuitive thinking can be astonishingly effective for decision making. Intuition, in fact, is often described in almost mystical terms because of its contributions.

Lost Your Job? Here's Information You Need Now.

A lot of the work I do involves perfectly productive people who have been terminated by their employers. I continue to be surprised at their surprise when it happens. Even though rumors about lay-offs often swirl about them and, in some instances, have actually started, many of the white-collar professionals I know remain in a state of denial until the very last minute when it finally happens to them.

There's No Catch. There's No Art.

The Internet can be a “nickel-and-dime” factory and free alternatives are imperative in maintaining accessibility. It’s also just nice to encounter a resource that really is “no strings attached.” It’s simple enough to do, with the global web connecting one third of the world’s population and high-resolution cameras so accessible.

The Secret Sauce of Job Interviewing

Stories are the most primitive and consistently the most highly successful means for communicating. Analysis and statistics drive business thinking. They cut through myth, gossip, and speculation and excite the mind. Their strength is their objectivity, but that's also their weakness. They never offer a path to the heart. And that's where you need to go to motivate a recruiter or a manager to hire you.

Falling Into Social Media

Getting a job in social media, or clients in this field, means using it. It’s your portfolio, your trumpet to blow, your way of getting in front of the people who may need to outsource overflow work. For those potential clients that don’t have a clue, contacting them and showing your honed profiles on all the popular platforms is akin to passing them your business card.

The Key Element for Successful Sales Copy

There is one element that will always drive your hungry crowd into a frenzy of uncontrollable, impetuous, spontaneous buying, and…this is what’s missing from most sales copy. This missing element is often confused with hype, which is usually crass, over the top, unbelievable, unproven, grandiose, and often obnoxious shouting and chest thumping.

Entry-Level Digital Pros, UFOs, and Sasquatch

Despite incredibly high demand for skills like SEO, digital marketing and digital media, the reality is that colleges and universities haven’t kept up. The rate of change in the digital world has far exceeded the typical university’s ability to produce the digital skills employers need most.

13 Questions to Help You Reinvent Your Brand

In 1971, Hamburger Helper was introduced to the American marketplace. Does Hamburger Helper really help hamburgers? Maybe yes. Maybe no. But one thing we know for sure is that the Hamburger Helper case study can help you.

LinkedIn or Get Out

Facebook’s reach has such tremendous strength because of the central idea it’s based on — social networking. It provides a platform to form connections and relationships on a level not attainable in everyday life. It is not, however, the best social tool from a professional standpoint.

The Facebook Revolution is an Evolution

Greek philosopher Heraclitus was known for his timeless quote: “The only thing constant in life is change.” These same words perfectly sum up social media marketing’s rapid evolution centuries later. Once known as an exclusive platform for college students who wanted to stay in touch with high school friends and new college buddies just a few years ago, Facebook has transformed into a highly developed advertising platform that seems to be bigger than the Internet itself.

10 Good Reasons to Hire a Grown-Up

There's a whole generation of creative folks who are now over 40, and apparently all of them are commenting on a recent post by Steven James. They are justifiably ticked off about age bias. But all that effort is wildly unproductive and could be channeled in a much more effective way. How could folks so good at crafting messages and getting the word out about brands be so bad when it comes to marketing themselves?

Redefining Success: It's Not Just About the Money

Today, may I suggest that since the Web has forever changed PR (we can find out the "truth" about any company we want on our own) and the 30-second broadcast TV spot (I'm sure you know all the examples) a new formula for success is all around us? Have you noticed?

Making Facebook Pay (Off)

More and more businesses are recognizing that they can make Facebook pay by adding a Facebook shopping cart app to their Facebook business page. So, as they say, let’s watch this space.

On the Side: The Creative Gold Mine of Side Projects

The more side projects I’ve taken on in my career, the more I realize their importance. And I’m convinced one of the best ways managers and mentors can boost morale in an agency is to encourage side projects.

Which Weapon of Mass Creation Are You?

These people are good. They’re a cut above the rest. But what makes them good? What separates them from the mediocre majority in our creative business? I’ve narrowed it down to four personalities and traits that a Weapon of Mass Creation embodies.

Seven Ways to Pump Up Morale

Management has a great deal of control over what happens on a day-to-day basis, and the exercise of this control has a big impact on the morale of the employees under their direction. Here are seven action items for management that will help improve employee morale.

Geo Marketing: Simple Steps to Go There

Social media is a key marketing tool for any business hoping to expand their customer base and increase brand awareness. For small businesses in particular, learning how to master this medium is essential in order to make the most of your time and resources.

Fortune Favors the Brave

In an economy that has a lot of businesses basing their decisions on fear, it’s important that agencies turn up the volume on their brave stance…because no economic climate needs or rewards bravery more than one in crisis.

Can't Help Wanted Ads Be More Helpful?

Just what do companies that advertise for such beings want? What in the world does “hands-on” really mean? Does it describe a particularly lecherous manager? As for “results-oriented,” what manager with any drive doesn’t want to see the results of his or her labors?

Simple Strategies for Managing the Remote Hire Relationship

Finding, trusting, and working with a new remote hire is always a little nerve-wracking. You won’t always know the answers to all your concerns, but working with remote hires doesn't have to be scary if you focus on finding the right person and getting to know each other early.

Beware the Social Media 'Expert'

Saying you’re an “expert” is quite a lofty boast, when you get right down to it. It implies that you know just about everything there is to know about a topic. You’ve got it all figured out. You know all the roads on the map, and where they lead. But is that really possible?

In the Flesh: Effective Networking

Public relations is a skill that not only applies to the media; they also apply to networking events. If your networking skills are off, you might be doing just as much damage at these mixers as a hit-job in the National Enquirer. Here’s a quick rundown on how to apply public relations skills to any networking event.

HR's Questions for the Newly Hooked Up

According to dubious accounting, one in five relationships now begins online, and it’s fair to guesstimate that at least as many begin in the office. In cases of romance, there are some questions HR can ask the involved parties in order to determine the best way forward.

Instinct (Art) vs. Research (Science)

Intuition and gut instinct are the raw materials of creativity. They provide the new direction that is necessary for innovation. Intuitive innovation is like looking out through windshield and reacting to race conditions—new developments in real time versus looking through the rearview mirror or examining tape.

The Art and Science of 'Stratecution'

Strategy and execution need to go hand-in-hand. You need the insight-driven, business-focused, brand-inspired thinking of top-down strategy. You also must work bottom-up, recognizing the everyday realities and real-world complexities you’ll face, while also being nimble, improvisatory, and open to evolution along the way. It’s equal parts strategy and execution, or what I call “stratecution.”

UnGoogle Yourself

Negative articles, false information, and scandalous pictures and videos can be removed if you take the right strategic approach. Freedom of speech is protected under the Constitution, but that doesn’t mean someone has a right to spread malicious information that can destroy your character or business.

Finding Signal in the Noise of Social Media

Social media is an essential marketing tactic for most any business or organization. However, sorting through endless streams of comments and conversations can create a frustrating experience. Here are some tips and tactics for listening effectively on the social web for lead generation, mitigating PR conundrums, and amplifying your brand.

Living In Public

Today we live in a world where people sharing all the details of their lives is no longer called wild and experimental—it’s called Facebook. So, how might an employee’s digital transparency benefit an employer?

Talent Zoo is Looking for Amazing Editorial Writers

It's time to shake things up! Talent Zoo wants to know what YOU think.

4 Simple Things to Consider When Hiring a Web Designer

​The increase in the number of firms providing web design and development services has been attributed to the speedy growth of Internet technology. People from across the globe are waking up to the revelation that it is not possible to conduct business without a website nowadays. Or, put in a better way, it is hard to conduct a successful business if you do not have a website. So, does your business have a website? And a good one, for that matter?

Advertising Agencies: Kiss Your Creative Teams Goodbye

Best of 2010 continues. Happy New Year.

The reason the creative team no longer works is because the right combination of words and images alone will no longer yield bountiful sales for the client.

10 Tips For Using The C-Word

Best of 2010 continues. Happy Holidays to all.

Aaaaah, crowdsourcing. The 13-letter c-word that’s been tossed around a lot lately. And pontificated upon at length. But it’s a concept that’s so new, it’s like the wild west.

Five Working Resolutions for 2011 and Beyond

As the practice of branding becomes more challenging, clients more demanding, budgets less robust and timetables reduced, the following standards professionals should strive to uphold.

Get Active Everywhere Else...

You will have no semblance of community unless you are an active community member in the other spaces.

Hire Creatives Who Can Make a Great Print Ad

What I look for in a creative? I guess it comes down to this: I’m looking for great ideas, like everyone else, but I think I’d almost rather see a well-crafted print campaign right now than something like augmented reality or an iPhone app. Shocking? Old school? I know.

The Mentor Effect: Making a Home for Creatives

Most junior creatives follow an almost-clichéd trajectory: They get a job, work hard for a couple of years, start building their book, and move to a new shop.

Culture: Common Currency for Marketers and Agencies

At its best, advertising has been and always will be a business powered by creative people, fueled by powerful ideas that are brought to life in an ever-changing array of media...

Criticism Sucks, or Does It? How to Manage It With Dignity

Life never dishes out something you can't handle.

Passionate People Build Passionate Brands That Attract Passionate Customers

Rather than “marketing to” or trying to influence behavior, the real opportunity is to inspire your customers.

If You’re Going to Steal, Choose a Nice Neighborhood

It’s something that is not simply relegated to the advertising business but in all creative ventures.

How I Build Online Connections Into Real-World Influence

How many of your “friends” or “connections” are really, truly part of your community?

An Irresistible Strategy for the 21st Century Brand

Unfortunately, being one of a kind and remarkable aren't enough to make a clear signal to stay above the noise in 2010.

The Critical Difference Between Urgency and Hype

In your own marketing, it's not something to "get over" or some "issue" to work through.

The Solution to the Social Media 'First Day of School' Syndrome

Although it may not seem like much, starting out with these baby steps will ease you into the fast-moving conversation and allow you to get your bearings.

Ten Rules for Creating Real and Lasting Influence

Traditional networking functions on a set of core beliefs that just don’t resonate with me or the way I do business.

The Five P's of Modern Marketing

If you want to paint the fullest picture possible for your audience, you need the five P’s of modern marketing.

When Publishing Is the Only Marketing That Matters

How do we get and keep attention as marketers today?

Overcoming the Obstacles to Making Your Ideas Happen

Why do most ideas never happen? The reason is our own creative tendencies get in the way.

Gross-Out Food Wars

Whether these offerings are appetizing to consumers, a market opportunity does not a brand success make.

A Lesson in the New Business Ethix

Lately, it seems like every Tom, Dick, and Jane looks to get a leg up on being underhanded.

Controlling the Disgruntled Employee Problem Today

Employees who act out against their employers, associates, or customers are relatively rare, especially those who do so in harmful ways.

How to Start an Occupational Peer Group

Open conversation about social media, iPhone development, Twitter adoption, and Facebook’s latest features or mishaps replaced our passive observation.

Can BP Survive as a Brand?

BP's bumbling management of its Gulf crisis, its seemingly endless decision-making process, not to mention post-crisis effects that will last decades, make this crisis unprecedented.

Ironically, It Was Smirnoff Who Was Actually 'Iced'

When creating an advertising or marketing plan, usually the idea is to promote a product so that it gains in popularity and awareness and sales continually rise for a long period of time.

Reasons to Embrace Being Sketchy

I believe all of us should sketch in our various media, in our thinking, and in our lives.

How to Rebuild Corporate Trust

People (customers, consumers, shareholders, and voters) are emotional animals, and emotion always trumps numbers.

It’s a Phone. It’s a Tablet. It’s a Tweener!

“Tweener" technology has come and gone before, but up until now the concept hasn’t been able to successfully embody consumer’s increased technology expectations and increased technology offerings in a one-size-fits-all device.

Why Social Media Alone Will Not Get You a Job

Using social media may make you look technologically up-to-date, but it doesn’t answer how you are going to specifically make or save an employer money.

Using 'Heart Marketing' to Drive Business

The best ads cause us to stop, to pay attention, and to act.

Imperfect Is the New Perfect in Packaging Trends

If nothing else, we learned from the recession that there is no such thing as perfect.

How Social Media Is Shaping "Post-1988" Females

For them to approve a product, it must reflect and expand these young women's sense of authenticity. Everything else is simply lost in translation.

Facebook Reminds Us to Put the Customer First

Nobody understands the social Web better than Facebook. With almost 500 million users, their ascent to the top of the digital media world is awe-inspiring.

How Should Companies Evaluate Brand Equity?

The gap between marketing and finance has never been greater, and this chasm will never get smaller unless valuing the intangible brand and putting it on the balance sheet becomes a reality.

Proof Positive: Social Media Increases Sales

I yearned to confront him with data to prove him wrong but needed stronger information -- something to show a direct link between social media and sales.

Why Emotional Marketing Sells

These ads make your pulse race and throat tighten, possibly keeping you up at night. Fear is instilled and can be calmed only when you act on it by buying their products to keep you from feeling the terror again.

Comparing Writing Rituals to Yoga

Finding your right time to write is the secret to writing your best. But how do you find it? Like all forms of yoga, you must practice before knowing what feels right.

Are You Listening to the Right Conversations?

No matter what the issue and no matter what the product, the blogosphere is gold to marketers. The key, however, is to make sure that you're listening to the right conversations.

How to Partner With Your Legal Department to Avoid Risk

For anyone who has developed community programs as part of a medium to large corporation, two words can send shivers down one's spine: legal department. In today’s business culture, the internal legal department has taken on a powerful role, and many marketing and community-building employees find themselves at odds with legal. Think about the purpose of an internal legal department -- their job is to reduce risk to zero.

Removing Fear to Build Your Brand

A recent neuroscience study shows that fear drives us more than we ever would admit. Hate it or love it. Fear of losing my job, fear of losing out on my school-fee payments for my kids, or fear of ending up in the gutter. Thoughts so scary for anyone to think about that we clock into panic mode.

Why Charitable Giving Matters to Your Business

The earthquake that hit Haiti on Jan. 12 was a wake-up call for charitable giving. The enormous outpouring of money and aid at every level to support the people of Haiti was unprecedented. The role of technology as a conduit and facilitator of that giving was particularly riveting. It promises to play a prominent role in future charitable giving efforts.

Will the New Marketing Revolution be Automated?

We have a love-hate relationship with technology. It’s quite possibly the largest boon we’ve ever had as marketers in terms of making our lives so much better, easier, faster, and even cheaper. Unfortunately, it’s the “easier” and “cheaper” parts that distract us to a fault.

Why Your Brand Doesn't Need a Social Media Expert

The central issue is not how social media can change marketing. The real issue is how social media has already changed the people we market to. I'm not just talking about the way our customers view technology or communication.

A Call to Unlearn

People often ask me what it takes to be or to hire a great connection planner. Does a candidate need to have a media background? Can yesterday’s brand planners morph into today’s connection planners? Is it more about creativity or strategic smarts?

Is Social Media Making Us Anti-Social?

Certain things you can never replace, and the value of an intimate face-to-face sit-down is one. The human connection can be replicated over social networks like Facebook or video conferencing services like Skype, but a facsimile is never the same as the real thing.

Pause for the Cause

Ad professionals are some of the most skilled communicators in the world. If you can spare the time, why not pick a cause you care about and help make the world a little better?

And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor

Marketers are immune because many of them just can’t quite figure out the difference between appropriate and effective and consumers have become immune because we simply can’t see, hear, or take in all of it all of it anymore.

Rights and Wrongs in Pitching New Business

As predicted, 2009 was not a year in which many reviews took place. 2010 is likely to be different. Now is a good time for a quick refresher course in the "do’s" and "don’ts" of pitching.

Getting Pay out of Play: How to Make It in Games

Despite the “new normal” and economic times, the game business is alive and well. It's building audiences that would make primetime programmers jealous.

Pay it Back, Pay it Forward – The Do’s for Helping in a Job Search

While it may be a generalization, so many of the “gainfully employed” are woefully ignorant of the nature of the job search and the incredible frustration endured by job seekers as they pursue the hunt. Sometimes it bears remembering that the shoe can be on the other foot.

What’s Holding Your Brand Together?

If it’s a strategy deck secured by a tagline and tied down with a logo, you’re gonna need some reinforcement.

A Matter of Life and Death –and a Grocery Bag

The Best of 2009 continues today. Happy Holidays.

Do you want to be remembered as a SEO expert? Do you want to be remembered as making soft-porn sales promotion posters? Do you want to be remembered for saving 1% off the media budget for the same reach and frequency?

Oh, Oh, Here Comes the Future

The Best of 2009 continues today. Happy Holidays.

In the early 80’s, a futurist group predicted that by 2000, we’d have to work a 32 hour week because with all our labor saving devices, there wouldn’t be enough work to keep all of us employed.

Are You in Advertising? No Worries!

This week we will be featuring some of the most popular articles from throughout 2009. Happy Holidays to all.

I don’t have any answers for you, no “6 Easy Ways To Keep Your Job” stuff. I’ve seen bad spells several times in my career and all I can say is like a rodeo cowboy, you just ride the beast as long as you can, get the tar whupped out of you, and hope it stops before you’re bucked off.

Advertising After The Real Digital Revolution

This week we will be featuring some of the most popular articles from throughout 2009. Happy Holidays to all.

I’ve written quite a bit about the effects of The Real Digital Revolution, that transition of the consumer decision cycle from Ad -> Purchase into Ad -> Google -> Purchase and how it permanently altered the role of advertising in our society. But that doesn’t mean advertising is going away. Just that it promises to look and feel very different.

Engaging Youth is About Creating a Movement

Today there are 1.6 billion people online, 4 billion mobile phones, 250 million Facebook users, and YouTube had over 5 billion video streams in just one month. In every case, the key audience participating with these vehicles is youth.

Evolving with the Marketplace: Do You Face Extinction?

We are living in an exciting time for consumers. Never before has it been so easy and empowering to shop and gather information. Instead of reading newspaper or magazines...

Learning and Leading from the Middle

Most of us will not reach the top. Many will rise to the middle. Others will yo-yo back and forth from the middle, and others, frankly, are there for a reason.

Beat the Press - How to Slow or Stop Negative News

Think back to high school. Whenever you heard a bad rumor you almost always assumed it was true unless someone came out and denied it. The laws of human behavior haven't changed much since then. If the source is credible, most people are going to believe the story...

Coupons: The Next Big Trend in Mobile Marketing?

Mobile coupons are everything their paper counterparts aren’t--incredibly convenient and uniquely spontaneous. Shoppers never have to worry about having them at the right time, because they always have their phones.

Naming and Branding Lessons from the Ivy League

With universities auctioning off the names of everything from courses to swimming lanes in order to raise money, we began to wonder. Given the long tradition of naming campus buildings, fellowships, chairs, and entire schools after donors, why do some of these names, particularly those of the Ivy League, carry such a weight of prestige?

The Fastest Way to Kill Good Advertising is With Bad Service

It’s now an advertising genre. A flustered customer calls up the company and gets a cool salesperson on the phone. Despite the customer’s negative attitude, the sales rep answers the hard questions with confidence and clarity and quickly transforms the doubting Tom into a brand evangelist. On radio, it takes all of 60 seconds. On TV, just thirty.

A Model for Meaningful Marketing

In boardrooms and multiagency brand summits around the world, "value" has risen to the top of marketers' concerns. Brands that are making the most gains through the economic crisis have closely tied sustainability between the product and marketing.

The 4 Cs of Social Media Marketing

To be effective in social media you must cut through the noise like a laser and say something that matters to people. You don’t have to be brilliant, but do convey insight, intelligence or, at minimum, the ability to cognate a complete thought.

Agency/Academy Symbiosis Needed to Prepare Undergrads for Industry

A lot of ad schools out there are doing a really poor job at preparing their students, especially in creative. There’s nothing sadder than the moment an undergrad realizes that they’re not ready for the career that they just spent the best years of their life training for.

What Work Would You be Willing to Get Fired Over?

Where might one draw the line if asked to advertise a certain type of product. For instance, would you work on a cigarette account, a military account or a liquor account? Would you work on a pharmaceutical account for a product with possible side effects that include death and blindness?

Don’t Give Clients What They Want...

Give Them What They Never Dreamed Possible. “Isn’t that why they hire us in the first place?” I remember it like it was yesterday. My first real mentor...

Hey Idea People, Got Any Idea How to Make Money?

Used to be that, for an idea person, there was a patented formula you’d use to get a better job: Book not good enough? Well then, do some spec or freelance campaigns that show off your creative abilities. Reel not good enough? Shoot a spec spot (just make sure people don’t detect that it’s spec). But nowadays...

Benefits of Public Relations

It’s no secret that both PR and advertising offer unique benefits when employed correctly. And, when working together, the two practices can build awareness, boost brand value and drive sales.

Meeting the New Media Challenge with ROI

One of the great profitability challenges facing today’s marketers is how to make optimal use of the vast array of new media vehicles that have recently appeared and continue to emerge. Should companies use Twitter...

Class of 2009

What do you tell art students coming fresh out of art schools? Those students who dream of becoming art directors, copywriters or graphic designers overnight? Those, who were told that they’d be shooting a commercial by the end of August?

Live Fresh. And Don't Die, Just Yet

Rather than offering another "how to ______ in these tough times", (helpful as that might continue to be) how about some suggestions that are relevant for all times, for every day of our lives?

Music Branding Gets All Grown Up

Artists partnering with brands and brands using music in their marketing is nothing new, but the neat thing about the ideas above is that they’re clear examples of where consumer brands are becoming business partners and revenue generators for artists (and vice versa) rather than just suppliers of exposure.

Let’s Redesign Advertising

We experience the digital world as timely, relevant, useful, and personable. I can find out exactly what my friends are doing as they do it via Twitter or Facebook. This is how technology (when it works), has fundamentally altered the way we behave, work, and live.

He’s Been in Starkfield Too Many Winters

A friend of mine runs an advertising agency with offices in New Jersey and NYC. He has about 60 employees and is involved in every decision of consequence...recently, we met at his Manhattan office...

Will I Stay or Will I Go?

In the era of financial meltdown, “staycations,” slashed budgets and cost-cutting on all sides of the marketing ecosystem, what is the value of business travel?

Where It's At

Although economic times are hard, now more than ever is the best time for small businesses to get into the Google Adwords game. Google is making a big push to bring local mom and pop shops into the world of paid marketing.

Your Marketing Is Broken. And That Is Good.

“I know half of my marketing is wasted, I just don’t know which half” was the famous quote from all those years ago. If only it were as easy to make such a claim over a three martini lunch, and still go on to hold your CMO job for 15-20 years. Fast forward a few decades, and if anything, the situation has gotten worse.

Same as It Never Was

We start with three observations virtually guaranteed to make the question marks in your morning bowl of Alpha-Bits float a little higher. First: like it or not, our shared profession is more than a long link or two from being at the top of the economic recovery food chain.

Corporate Culture in the Workplace

Once upon a time, getting a job generally meant you were there for the life of your career, or at best a good portion of it. This often meant starting at the bottom and working your way up the ladder. Well, in case you haven’t noticed, times have changed.

The Future Of Marketing

There is precious little conversation about the impact technology is having long-term on culture, and how this might challenge some of the assumptions we have built marketing programs on for the last few decades.

Creative Solution vs. Creative Production

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times in digital marketing. The banner is dead, long live the banner. Well, you get the idea. IAB head Rothenberg is decrying the state of online advertising creative, there are new standards and formats being set.

The World Needs More “Holy Jeez”!

No time to fool around these days. Let’s get right to the point: The world needs more “Holy Jeez.” To be more specific, it needs more Holy Jeezers.

How To Win More New Business In a Tough Environment

It has been said that fairly or unfairly new business prowess is the way the market assesses ad agencies. You win and you are a star even if you’re not. You lose and you are judged harshly even if you shouldn’t be. But today, winning new business is more than just managing an agency’s perception.

The Generation That Won’t Go Away Has One More Thing to Say

Even the most ambitious among us knows that net worth isn’t the same as personal worth. But a big pile of money makes every one smile, right? This recession is a face full of cold water that requires us to re-think the meaning of money in our lives for today and for the future.

How to Get Customers in this El Crappo Economy

You probably won’t find “el crappo” in Webster’s, but it does describe the current state of economic affairs. I run a creatively-driven, advertising and marketing consultancy geared toward small businesses...

Advertising Doesn't Work On Me Anymore

(So I'm Working On Advertising) Aspirational, image-based advertising (what most of you are doing these days no matter the media) is dead, buried, rotted and is now fine maggot dust. Why? Because it was and always is a mere mask between the truth of a product or service experience and all of us.

Your Duties as a Consultant

A colleague recently telephoned with a developing concern surrounding a consulting position she only just accepted. The client was facing possible restrictive challenges and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. She was concerned her reputation could be jeopardized if unable to fulfill her duties


Ali or Frazier? Microsoft or Apple? Republican or Democrat? All tough choices. But perhaps the toughest choice marketers are struggling with today is, SEO or PPC?

Madison Avenue Meets Fifth Avenue

One may ask what draws me into the stores, and in most cases, I can say an eblast. Why an eblast verses the beautiful glossy magazine ads or TV ads? Because I am not only a shopaholic but also a bargain hunter.

Sarah Palin, will you be my Valentine?

Okay, I will admit I used one of the most obvious ploys to get your attention. As Sarah would say…Gotcha! Don’t’ worry, this article has nothing to do with Sarah Palin or politics. It’s about “paying attention”...

How Can Media Build Advocacy?

It’s the question of the hour at our company. We all agree that building advocacy is the way to build top and bottom line sales. After all, who’s a better spokesperson than a brand advocate.

Hanging-On While Your Agency Is Laying-Off

Over the years I’ve observed a few key traits that can help position you as a rock star an agency can’t live without, versus someone who can be made available to the industry.

Flexible Staffing in a Difficult Economy

How can employers cut costs while maintaining current staffing levels in a down economy? Some employers have implemented cost reductions by asking employees...

Web Design Evolution: Use WordPress to Create, Build and Launch Your Own Blog

For us designers, “WordPress is a state-of-the-art publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability.” Nothing in that description about dreaded code or, worse...

New Creatives Beware: Salesmanship Isn't a Four-Letter Word. Seriously It's Twelve.

When I was just a kid in this business I worked for a few very nice creative directors who taught me how to stand in front of a room of strangers and walk a client through a storyboard or print campaign...

Creative Rock Star

Another best of 2008! This article by Steffan Postaer was one of the years' most popular pieces. Please enjoy this article again and have a safe holiday season.

Get Your Shiznit Together, There Will Be Blood

Unless you've been living under a rock (sometimes known as working on a shoot) for the past three months, you can't help but be wondering if you're going to lose your job in January.

Creative Medical Advertising—Oxymoron?

Okay, I have a confession to make: Despite having been a copywriter for fifteen years and a creative director for ten more—some readers of this column might say that I’ve never quite fully managed to actually get into advertising...

In Praise of Taking Your Eye Off the Ball

Coaches tell us when we are first playing sports to keep our eye on the ball. But when I was very young, my father, who spent most of his life either in or arguing about ...

Why Social Media is the Most Efficient Marketing Possible

The explosion in marketing and message conveyance opportunities is simply breathtaking. We've gone from 3 TV stations to 500+. Satellite radio. Hundreds of new magazines. Out-of-home advertising...

Trust Yourself and Enjoy the Pay Off

Let’s face it; times are tough for many people right now. With an uncertain economy and job security on the line, the one thing on the minds...

Of Froth and Five Dollar Lattes

Like a five year old who learns the hard way not to touch a hot oven, we usually learn from our mistakes. The exception to that rule would be the repeating series of financial follies...

Why Are Creatives Such Big Babies?

Because we’re “connecting to our inner fantastic.” I spent the evening at my children’s school, meeting their teachers, discussing the upcoming year. During this visit, I became aware of how “creative” so much of my girl’s curriculum really is.

Standing Out

With financial markets collapsing all around us, a real estate crisis of gargantuan proportions and an economic environment similar to – if not worse than - the Great Depression era, it is no surprise...

Is Originality Dead or Is It Too Risky?

When was the last time you saw a movie that was based on original content – where the basic premise was not a sequel, a remake, or based on a true story? Have we simply run out of original ideas?

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

It won’t come as much of a surprise to anyone long involved in the advertising industry – client or agency – that the game has really changed. Once, ad agencies were their clients’ marketing partners...

Thank You For Hiring Me…I Would Like to Give My Two Weeks Notice Now

Looking back now having had a successful career in an industry that afforded me everything I wished for – there are still key lessons on how to survive the turbulent and wonderful world of advertising.

How Being a Social Network Butterfly Can Help You Land a Job and Improve Your Career (Part Three)

If, like me, you find it difficult to focus on several disparate social networks, or find time to run or keep up with a blog, you may want consider microblogs.

How Being a Social Network Butterfly Can Help You Land a Job and Improve Your Career (Part Two)

You can get much more from social networks than just a chance to show your mettle. SoNets are a great source of education. Other users can help you solve problems...

The "Other Green" Marketing

I recently attended a retail marketing conference to stimulate the idea process, reconnect with peers and mingle with retail marketing executives. As in past years, it was an interesting conference.

How Being a Social Network Butterfly Can Help You Land a Job and Improve Your Career (Part One)

It's no secret that Social Networking is huge. It's also obvious that it is continuously changing. Friendster gave way to MySpace...

Content Marketing is What's Next

An ad is a great way to encapsulate information into a tiny bite. Think of it as a tiny cracker with a piece of cheese. It leaves us wanting more.

It’s the Empathy…Stupid!

Carville was so right in 1992 to focus on the single minded message of the economy. It was obviously not the only thing the Clinton campaign thought...

You Can't Handle the Truth!

We’re all taught to lie, aren’t we? When I say we, I don't mean just all of us in the PR business, I mean we as a society.

Why Athletes Are the Perfect Team Players in Media

The perfect team players in media are athletes. Being a former professional athlete myself, I know what I want and what I like and I know that my wants and likes influence others.

Getting Your Foot in the Door and Out of Your Mouth

After 15 years as an agency leader and business development executive and now three years as a consultant, I've learned a lot about new business blunders as well as blockbusters. I've surveyed dozens of clients about their attitudes towards agency new business activities.

How to Create Advertising Without Creating Lawsuits

Over twenty-five years of representing agencies and advertisers I’ve seen different clients suffer from the same recurring mistakes that could have been easily avoided.

Banner-based Conversations

How the lowly banner has the power to get folks emotionally attached to your brand.

Advertising is Subjective?

I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard that advertising is subjective.

The Last Generalization You Will Ever Need

Life is full of generalizations. Like that one, for instance. And nowhere are generalizations more rife than in the Advertising industry. They appear in our creative briefs, our pitches, our presentations, our conversations and emails. But I am happy to be able to present...

Truth to Power

The only question we have to ask ourselves is: Are we selfless enough and courageous enough to speak truth to power? Is it enough just to speak truth to power, or do you we have to actually be successful at it?

One Step At a Time

Last week I talked about the importance of doing and embracing the mediums, tools, and applications that our clients and brand’s audience’s are. This week I’ll give you some thoughts and concrete recommendations on how to do this.

You’ve Got to Keep On Learning

This time of year when I see kids walking to and from school, they all have that “it’s almost over” look on their face. Remember that feeling?

Why Advertising is the Best Job in Corporate America

Everyone loves to hate the advertising industry. The TV show “Mad Men” portrays the heyday of advertising as a men’s club of gin-swilling, secretary-exploiting, self-satisfied white men who live in Connecticut and work in a bubble surrounded by dim-witted, loyal clients.

Ideas. Your Best Shot at Immortality

Think about it. Every big decision in life or advancement for mankind starts with an idea. A man gets the idea to propose. A couple gets the idea to start a family. A 17 year-old Idaho farm boy had the idea of transmitting captured light.

Advertising, Now That's Low

Advertising is not a highly regarded profession. In fact, advertising ranks just a notch above used-car salesman. Some would argue that it should be the other way around. No one in the ad industry will be receiving the Nobel Peace Prize anytime soon.

The Value of the PMP® Credential

PMPs are Certified Project Managers, and the designation is earned after logging a set number of hours managing projects and passing a rigorous test, among other requirements. Recruiters, hiring officers and federal and state government procurement officers often look for the PMP credential when viewing online resumes...

The New Rules of Online Marketing

I was looking at some internet usage stats today that should make any marketer stop and think very hard. This data relates specifically to the way consumers use the web to research cars and trucks, but the broad take-away is relevant to pretty much anyone trying to sell stuff on the web.

"Put it in writing."The power of print & outdoor

In 1998, Altoids won the prestigious Kelly award for best print campaign in North America. The campaign has since won numerous prizes and all of them, save last year’s Gold at Cannes, have come from print or outdoor executions.

What Do You Know About the Second Fastest Growing Medium?

Quick – what’s the first word that comes to mind when you hear outdoor advertising? Billboards, isn’t it? Well… while there’s no correct answer, if the “B-word” is your go-to, you may be a bit behind the times.

It’s Not What You Spend, It’s How You Spend It

Show me a client who doesn’t care about results, and I’ll show you someone who’s looking for a job.

The Client Relationship Autopsy

The client relationship autopsy is a delicate process and not for the squeamish, but it may be one of the most valuable exercises you'll ever undertake as a communication professional.

How to Put Your Agency Into a Crisis (Or: 10 Steps on the Way to Committing Agency Suicide)

There is nothing in this article that you don’t already know about. There is plenty in this article that you aren’t doing anything about.

Why Good Creatives Leave – And Why They Stay

Ask anyone faced with building a team of terrific, committed creatives, and you’ll hear the same theme played back: Attracting top talent is hard enough. But keeping it? Next to impossible.

Leadership: The Pursuit of Continuous Improvement

The good news is that the ability to lead, motivate and foster collaboration is not tied to one’s age, tenure, title or discipline – it’s tied to one’s own practice in the pursuit of continuous improvement.

The Creative Athlete: Winning at Any Age

Last week my piece on ageism created a small furor in Ad Land. This week, I continue the topic with the “Creative Athlete.” A bit of an eye-roller, I know. But before the haters crawl out from under their Macs, here me out…

Your Career in Creative: ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray'

Growing old. It’s the one thing we ad folks dare not speak of. Yet the ‘circle of life’ is anything but gradual in the agency jungle.

Is Your Employer Investing in You?

There is a multi-billion dollar industry in the US that revolves around “Workforce Satisfaction.” Why?

Now, What's The Payoff?

The most unfortunate thing about marketing these days is that it works pretty well. Our analysis, working with IMI International (a very cool research firm), shows that only about 10% of marketing programs are true home runs.

Mobile Ads Offer One-Two Punch: Reach and Influence

Rather than peppering you with a list of the exciting opportunities presented by mobile advertising, thereby giving you the immediate desire to dismiss my comments, let’s simply look at the facts.

Reinventing the Media Agency

I’ve done a lot of conceptual work lately about innovation and creative work processes within the media agency. It brings to mind a distinction Aristotle made which seems to be forgotten. He divided the world into two parts:

TV vs. Internet Video: It's All About the User Experience

There are many distinct differences in the way consumers experience television versus Internet and mobile platforms. They do, however, have one clear common denominator. Kevan O’Brien, a solutions engineer for Adobe, acknowledges, “I have the same expectations of online video that I do of TV: Turn it on. It starts immediately.

Ads For Fun. Just Don't Do It.

I just heard a funny and disturbing story about a local advertising award show. Seems some young but very talented creatives went out and found a small client (in this case a small restaurant known for frying chicken).

Building a Successful Business as a Freelancer

Eleven years ago, I drove home on the New Jersey Turnpike in a shocking state of bewilderment. I had only just handed my then manager their gray, corporate-owned, incommodious desktop slash laptop slash docking-station in exchange for the unpredictable life of a freelancer.

Modernizing Your Resume for Today's Job Market

Employers now demand more out of job candidates, and having a resume that stands out can make the difference between getting the job and getting a form letter.

Thinking About Jumping Ship?

Anyone on the hiring end knows that our industry is currently experiencing a worsening talent drought. Some of you may be looking around – in fact, I’d bank on it since you are reading this on the Talent Zoo website.

Why do so Few MBA’s go into Advertising?

I often have people ask me if the MBA was necessary to be successful in marketing or advertising. My answer is always — it depends on what your goals are.

When it Comes to Talent, Don't Just Say it, Mean it

You’ve heard that a million times. (In fact, you’ve probably even heard yourself saying that a million times). While it’s easy to say, how often do you really feel it?

Chemistry is More Than Just an Attraction!

Chemistry is not simply about ‘love at first sight!’ It is a step-by-step process. It is a process of building trust and effective communication.

Analog Meet Digital, Digital Meet Analog

I love handshakes: the strong, the dainty, the forever “please let go now,” the missed palm-to-palm finger shake and even the clammy. It is the direct connection, the immediacy of the information transferred from hand to hand that I seek. You can find the same energy in the heart-touch after the hand-touch in the Arabic world...

Thank you Lürzer’s Archive

Thank you Lürzer’s Archive for showing us lately that advertising can still amuse. Thanks Archive for showing the art in communication arts.

Non-Traditional Advertising Needs a Shower, Bad...

This resultant, ever-increasing encroachment creates a deeper hardness, coldness, numbness and ennui in our fellow human beings to our work, ever-escalating the stakes to get attention, inform, educate, inspire and offer the sale.

How Diverse Should You Be?

On a recent speaking trip to South America, I listened to a colleague discuss how there is almost stock-market like volatility in on-line media, as some tactics do well, some don’t and on occasion you get an runaway hit.

Help Us Help You

Not a day goes by that we are not contacted by agencies asking: “What is the best way to get onto your radar screen?” Here are five easy tips for grooming Search Consultant relationships.

Brand Discipline for Job Seekers

Although we often think of resumes, networking and job interviews as part of the human resources discipline, they are, in fact, all marketing. Lucky for you, unlike an accountant or teacher, as a marketing professional you know how to do this.

Civilization comes to the “Wild West:” The Online Video Marketplace is Maturing

According to the latest Price Waterhouse Global Entertainment and Media Outlook, the Internet will remain the fastest-growing entertainment medium over the next five years posting an 18.3% combined annual growth rate (vs. 4.9% for filmed entertainment and 5.6% for television)...

Getting the Plumbing Right

Let’s face it, most people with even a limited involvement with interactive marketing get it by now - they understand the foundational concepts behind media and creative optimization for digital marketing.

The 4 Myths of Agency - Client Relationships

If you want stronger, more productive, more stable relationships with your clients, you need to examine your agency's beliefs and assumptions about clients.

Dressing for Success Means Wearing The Tattoo

As any savvy business owner will tell you, the way to get employees to perform their best is to get them to rally behind a cause. In advertising, that means building your client’s business. When an agency accomplishes this, it’s successful. It’s a company employees love to work for, and one they’re proud to be a part of.

Marketing to the Empowered Consumer – Are You Ready?

Until recently there was a clear line separating the channels and objectives of brand and direct. One focused on creating awareness and share-of-mind via television, radio and print, and the other on inspiring a specific action and share-of-wallet via mail, telemarketing and more recently – email.

It's More Than Digital: Why Paying Attention to Human Behavior Will Pay Off in a Digital World

If I knew then what I know now. I enjoy recounting my early days in the agency business. I was full of energy, curiosity, and was certainly more verbal than I was thoughtful...

Providing Opportunities, Finding Inspiration

We all seek inspiration. We all want a new perspective. We’re looking for that certain something that helps us start the day with fresh eyes, look at things differently and rekindle the fire we had when we first started out in this business.

The Power of Personal Brand

Following the CNN/YouTube Democratic debate in late June, I logged onto Hillary Clinton’s site to see how her team was spinning the victories and missteps from the evening before. Or at least, I tried to log on—it was before my morning coffee, and I clumsily lopped off one “l,” typing in hilaryclinton.com.

How to Successfully Pitch Yourself As a Speaker

Getting the opportunity to showcase your expertise as a speaker at a trade show, conference, local association meeting or a bookstore can generate interest, great PR and even new business leads for your company. Further, being a speaker underscores your value and credibility as an industry professional, increasing your image and worth in the market.

With all the talk about "branding," shouldn't we agree on what brands really are?

Nearly every time I read an article about marketing, sales, advertising or public relations, I am confronted with the word "brand" and its various parts of speech: brand, branded, branding. Often, the better word would be "product," "service," "advertising" or "marketing."

People Have the Power

In the promotional world, this is the age of the letter "P." It’s a time where profit has a purpose, and consumers and employees want to be treated as individual people—persons with a unique set of values, interests and tastes. Together, people and purpose have tremendous power in the marketplace.

Wise and Gentle Owl? Or Lying Corporate Shill!

37 years ago, The Tootsie Roll Corporation foisted one of the greatest fabrications in history on the American consumer. And this seemingly innocuous little owl was at the center of the deceit.

Getting Hitched: What's in a Name?

I got a call the other day from the managing partner (let’s call him “John”) of a law firm looking for some thoughts on a tricky problem: how to design a name for a firm deep in merger discussions that could be sold to the partners.

Why a Porn Site Might Be More Enjoyable Than This Column

A porn site says you need something. And here it is.

Stop Concentrating on Advertising

I’ll admit, it’s not often you see an ad guy question the need for advertising. However, it just seems wise to question the need for oneself every once in a while. Plus, this really has more to do with the need for what most people would call “advertising.”

How to Play Client Golf

Competition in advertising is greater than it has ever been. With more and more people competing for fewer and fewer jobs, it is increasingly important that everybody on your creative team know how to play Client Golf.

Why Social Networks Need to Interconnect

As the marketing and communications world adapts to the potential of working with MySpace and Facebook, it should be noted that end-users will want to interconnect their various social networks. This desire will drive a battle between open and closed systems, which will culminate with vendors having to publicly declare how they think of their members—as entities to exploit or end-users to enable and empower.

Downloadable Media and Advertising

Consumers have been downloading audio and video content in large numbers since the advent of peer-to-peer networks. A 2005 study by CacheLogic found peer-to-peer traffic in 2004 was 60 percent of all Internet traffic and rising.

Using Podcasting to Create an Image

Podcasting is essentially the creation of an Internet radio or TV show. Historically, being the host of a radio or TV show created an air of authority in whatever topic you were talking about. Dr. Ruth, Dr. Phil and Bob Vila all are looked at as experts in what they talk about...

What I Look for in a Candidate

When I first started in this business almost 18 years ago, I remember we were coached to answer an interviewer's questions in a very particular way.

Vacation Anxiety

I just heard a report on the radio about how America’s workforce is filling with stress, even on vacation. Of course we are—so what? That was my initial reaction. Then I went back to following up to the countless emails that were sent between midnight and 5am: my 5 precious hours of being offline last night.

FOR SALE: Large Red Bridge

Consider the consumer advantages in entertainment technology. What used to require a radio, a TV, an MP3 player, a DVD player and a computer can now be accomplished on your mobile phone...

Building the New Media Marketing Capability

As new media opportunities increase and the ways to achieve true marketing leverage through them grows, the driving questions for marketing professionals—advertisers and agencies, alike—are clear...

Modern Day Mobile Technology

Cell phone technology is transforming consumer habits. Ninety-five percent of cell phone users take their cell phones wherever they go, and they are ready and eager to put them to use in new ways.

10 Ways to Retain Minority Employees

Recruiting and retaining minorities in the advertising industry has generated much interest over the last year. New York City’s Human Rights Commission has mandated the city’s advertising agencies to make a more concerted effort to hire more underrepresented ethnic groups, which could bring more minorities than ever into the industry.

Working and Hiring in a Virtual World

As the CEO of an unusual startup marketing agency, I have recently been struggling with some equally unusual recruiting and staffing challenges.

Tapping into the Goldmine

I just returned from a marketing field trip of sorts. It is our job to uncover great multicultural marketing opportunities to share with clients, and it is always a blast to uncover a great marketing opportunity in an unexpected place.

12 Secrets to Selling the Agency's Credentials

Here are some key ideas when branding and selling one’s agency to potential clients.

The Ol’ Zeigarnik Effect: in Defense of Long-Form Copy

The Zeigarnik Effect is said to be the most powerful tool of direct response marketing, advertising engineered to elicit an immediate response. Direct response techniques are employed in infomercials; bulk emails; letters sent to your home asking you to send a check right now...

If you're not on top of the list, you're not even on the list

If you think the arrival of the Internet age came quickly, you’ll be shocked how quickly it can leave you behind.

Editors-in-Chief of Customer Intimacy

It’s now old news that the “consumer’s in charge movement” got some serious advertising street cred early last month when several user-generated ads ran on Super Bowl XLI. Not only did the user-generated content (UGC) fit right in with the work created by professionals...

More and More, Marketing Means Marketing Directly

There are two kinds of advertising. Unlike mass advertising messages, where one size fits all, direct marketing is a way to make an offer that is tailored to customers’ needs, delivered to them directly, with the customers' responses measured quantitatively.

Our Diverse, Digital Universe

Media philosopher Marshall McLuhan wrote that “the medium is the message.” Apple continues to prove that McLuhan was right.

You Are Your Google Results

Ben McConnell is the author of the new book Citizen Marketers: When People are the Message, which examines the rise of social media. Talent Zoo asked him about the differences between citizen and corporate marketing, why anyone in her right mind would want to market a product or service for free, and why you are your Google search results.

Capturing the Mooninites

At the beginning of the week, I sat down to write this column with the goal of illustrating the value of compelling branded material in the user-generated content era.

And immediately following your Super Bowl Sunday will be...Monday

Used to be that, when you’d go to a party, you’d inevitably end up telling somebody that you’re in advertising; "what you do" is unavoidable conversation fodder.

Has the Tiger's Roar Been Silenced?

Thurl Ravenscroft died recently, but his voice will forever speak in our heads. Thurl was the voice of Tony the Tiger.

The Lies of PR: Is That Your Final Answer?

How did lying become so fashionable — again?! Lately it appears everyone has foregone lessons of our recent forefathers (Mr. WorldCom, Mr. Rigas, and MS Living) and straight back to “what can I get away with” time.

Marketing through the Rear View Mirror

The story goes that when Henry Ford was seeking financing to build the Model T, his banker asked him, “Mr. Ford, have you researched your market to see if they want this contraption?” Ford’s immediate reply was, “No! If I asked them what they want, I’d be asking you for money to raise faster horses.”

Too Much Is Not Enough

Marketing organizes and expresses brands to connect with an audience in meaningful ways and stand out from the crowd. But over the past few years, lots of major media opportunities have become numbingly overexposed.

Accountability vs. Experimentation: and how these two bitter rivals can become best friends forever

There is an incredible degree of schizophrenia in the world of marketing right now. And that’s a good thing. What I mean by this is that clients in many instances are appropriately demanding of accountability.

User-Generated Content — Are we really putting the Me back in media?

One of the buzz phrases bouncing around the marketing world over the last couple of years is “user-generated content.” The proliferation of web sites such as MySpace, Flickr, and YouTube that combine individual content and social networking, and the blogosphere in general, has created a tidal wave of online content created by individuals hoping to reach out to an audience much larger than their friends and neighbors. In fact, users are often reaching out to an anonymous mass audience because they don’t even know their neighbors.

When Metrics Lead to Bad Decisions

While metrics are valuable, sometimes ignoring them is your best strategy. The other night I witnessed a moment of pure brand evangelism the likes of which CMOs must dream about (when they aren't having nightmares about tenure shrinkage):

Are We Effectively Measuring Campaigns?

Measurement is a topic that consistently receives attention year after year in the communications industry. Although media metrics have progressed, the fact remains that very little has changed or evolved when it comes to providing real measurement programs for more comprehensive,

Blogging: The New Communications Frontier

They wanted to do a blog. “Great,” I said. “Um, what’s a blog?”

Sometimes the big idea is in the details

I don’t know about you, but I am sick of hearing about the proverbial "big idea." Or more specifically, what the "big idea" has come to mean to some people.

Optimize — Meet Your Average Twentysomething Professional

Politics and Public Relations

Public relations and politics have been two firmly entwined concepts since the beginning of recorded history. For evidence from ancient times, take a look at Aristotle and his schools of rhetoric that taught the art of persuasive communication.

The Message Is All That Matters

While political advertising is not altogether different from traditional advertising, it does follow a different set of rules.

The YouTube Boom

An explosion shook the world last week. And I’m not talking about North Korea. Nope, the big story for our business is that three twentysomethings sold their dorm room startup to what was once a garage startup for $1.65 billion.

Brandism; A New Religion?

We as marketers should look to other areas of people’s lives and study how, over time, their connection to “lifestyle brands” goes beyond what most corporate brands could ever hope to achieve — whether that’s religion, politics, a sports team, or their country.

Seven Types of Bad Writing

Everyone can write. But not everyone can write well. We all learn to write at school, but then society makes a distinction between “writers” and “the rest of us.”

Marketing: It Isn’t What You Think It Is

Marketing isn’t what you think it is. It’s no longer company-directed ads, billboards and brochures. Instead, it’s about the customer experience—authentic, compelling connections between a brand and the consumer. Experiences that engage, intrigue and satisfy.

Necessary New Orleanians

Too often the roar of paper tigers in our business. And still we cling to it as our best, last shot at accomplishing something that matters.

Complete Consumer Interaction

The Takeover Group work includes online and offline projects for MTV, Ford, and numerous bands and record labels. In addition, his company AMA Cartel Inc. (of which the owner of The Takeover Group, Scott Willemsen, is a partner) launched HHNlive.com, a portal for hip-hop news and content, for which Adam serves as Editor-In-Chief. In an age where young people are ever harder to find and reach via mass media outlets, The Takeover Group has a definite feel for a new generation of consumers.

Unleash your potential and land the ultimate opportunity

My story begins in 2002 when I launched an experiential marketing agency in New York City, called CEMENT. I worked to define creative strategies that connected with leading edge consumers to expand my clients’ press appeal and bottom lines.

A Whole New Mind

To compete in today’s workplace, Daniel Pink believes that jobseekers and corporations should place an emphasis on right-brain thinking. He’s the author of A Whole New Mind”: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. In this exclusive interview with TalentZoo.com, Pink talks about ways marketing and advertising professionals, and the companies they work for, can succeed in the global economy.

Keeping the (Creative) Romance Alive

The strongest agency-client relationships can be described in terms of a marriage. First there’s a courtship, then a commitment, then the creative sparks that help produce a healthy and thriving business. But how do you stoke a great creative partnership after a decade or more together?

America the Brand

I was thinking the other day about politics, and it occurred to me that all of it is nothing more than the marketing of people, ideas and policies. As we all know, America the brand is suffering right now.

Naked Creative

I was sitting at my desk this morning when my creative director walked in. I soon realized he was naked.

Be Prepared to Confront a Brave New Marketing World

Recently, I sat down for a wide-ranging discussion with consummate marketer, author, academic and futurist, Peter Sealey. An alumnus of marketing giant Procter & Gamble, as well as ex-marketing chief at The Coca-Cola Company and Columbia Pictures...

The 7 Habits of Truly Integrated Marketing Efforts

Nearly every marketing company and advertising agency is talking about 360 degree marketing these days. At Lowe Worldwide, we’ve been practicing integration, or as we call it activation, for years.

It’s Official! Trading Down is the New Cool

For the past decade, an analysis of retail data has shown a clear propensity on the part of America’s retail shoppers to cross-shop within general merchandise categories.

Weekdays at Bernies

I certainly don’t need to stress the importance of talent to the readers of Talent Zoo. No doubt you already know all the statistics about the dearth of talent in the ad business in general.

The Importance of Knowing Your Brand Personality

In our business, we spend most of our time and energy marketing our clients’ brands, but how many agencies really take the time to define and build their own agency brand? If you are part of a large agency network, you cannot depend on the agency’s brand name alone to attract the best talent.

Let’s All Give Up Right Now and Be Miserable (Special thanks to Abe)

Let’s imagine. Let’s imagine you’re traveling between two cities. Let’s imagine your starting point city is Las Vegas...

Getting Your Foot in the Door: a Modern Approach

I attended Syracuse University's School of Visual and Performing Arts. I was in a degree program called Art Media Studies, with a subsection called Computer Graphics.

Marketer, market thyself

What is a marketer? For that matter, what is marketing? Every year it seems it becomes more difficult to know the answer to either question...

Let’s See If My Metaphor Holds Up

Know what? You live longer and feel better eating full, balanced meals than snacking on crappy junk. I know. I used to love snacking more than anything.

Is PR becoming the new Advertising?

That suggestion was best posed by Al and Laura Ries in The Fall of Advertising & The Rise of PR. But really, it’s not that black and white.

Online Green…the New Black

Ever since the early days of the advertiser-supported variety shows, advertising and marketing in the traditional sense have heavily focused on the mass-reaching mediums of television, radio, and print.


A while back I was asked to write a radio campaign for one of our clients. I love radio, I really do. You can go places in radio that you just can't get to in any other medium. But if you ask me if I like writing it, I would probably say I like "having written."

8 Good Reasons to Work in Asia

When I left for Taiwan I remember someone at the agency remarking what a shame it was that I was going overseas where I’d be out of the loop and basically throwing away a promising career....

Your Book is Fine, It's Your Breath That's Bad.

The process of shopping your book and interviewing for your first job is exciting. It's exhilarating. It's like navigating your way through a booby-trapped mine field with one leg tied behind your back. Having a decent book is not enough. You've got to have mojo, good manners, and curb appeal.

Integrated Marketing: What Does It Really Mean?

When we first made the move into interactive marketing in the mid-1990s, the media mix and marketer-to-consumer dynamic was a lot easier. Defining integrated marketing was easy.

How to hire people when you don't understand what they do

There’s an old one-liner that goes: we wanted to start an anarchistic society, but no one would follow the rules. When we opened the doors of Ignited Minds in 1999, we had 15 people, covering all the traditional and non-traditional creative bases, plus Media.

Metrics: The Real Power Behind Email Campaigns

Savvy marketers realize that you can only achieve solid improvement on campaign elements that you actually take the time to measure. The great thing about email marketing is its ability to be evaluated quickly and effectively.

Beyond Obligation

Lately, I've been noticing how well advertising works. Not that we've answered age-old questions of consumers and message effectiveness and how to attain market share, but I do see this: there is more and more advertising that strives to make the world better.

Another way to measure PR value

One of the communicators I most respect on the planet, Jim Fetig, former head of PR at Raytheon, came to me with an interesting challenge. Some of the folks in his divisions were using Ad Value Equivalent (AVEs) to prove their worth and he wanted to make a standard AVE calculation available to everyone who reported to him.

Product Placement: a Marketing Phenomenon

It’s Christmas 1990, and Kevin’s mother (Catherine O’Hara) is trying to find a way back to Chicago where her son (Macaulay Culkin) is left “Home Alone." When she meets John Candy and his Polka Band at the Airport, they offer to take her to Chicago in the Budget truck he and his band were renting...

New business is like medieval dating

Consulting on new business success is a little bit about using better techniques, but mostly it’s about changing the corporate culture to approach new business differently. A few thoughts about how to do that:

Losing an Arm vs. Losing a Pinkie

For nearly two decades now we've been hearing communications professionals whine about how important it is to measure results, but they don't have the budget for it, or it got slashed from their budget. Enough already.

The Learning Curve

There was an article in a recent issue of the Sunday NY Times about Terry Semel and what he's done at Yahoo! during his first five years as CEO. He has completely changed the way they do business, and has done so with remarkable success.

What's so "scary" about ROI?

I find all this talk—at the ANA, the ARF and AAAA—about the "Scary Question" of measuring return on advertising communications investment to be puzzling and bordering on the ridiculous. In fact, it's remarkable that agencies that don't embrace this idea are still around in today's environment of accountability.

All I Can Offer You Is Blood, Sweat And Change Orders

On the bulletin board in my office is the internal phone list, a bunch of receipts skewered by a pushpin, several pictures of my wife and son, and the famous Karsh portrait of Winston Churchill.

What do Starbucks, al Quaida, Mickey Mouse and Las Vegas have in common? Part 2

Using the seven pieces of primal code, leaders can launch new ideas (whether new products or new politics) with confidence. Leaders can also retrofit or re-engineer existing brands and instill them with missing or more vibrant pieces of primal code.

What do Starbucks, al Quaida, Mickey Mouse and Las Vegas have in common? Part 1

More than they might think. Each of them sparkles with a construct that first entices us and then does its best to help make us a part of the community of people who believe in what they’re all about.

Account Leadership

Over beers one night down in Miami, Jim Patterson, then JWT's Creative Director; James Patterson, now best-selling author, pulled me up short and told me two things he wanted me to know: first, even though I was an account guy, he thought I could be a creative director somewhere, but not at JWT, because that was his job.

Viral marketing – Is it still viral if everyone is doing it?

It seems like you can’t open an email or article in the advertising world these days without reading about the new holy grail — viral marketing.

What I've Learned

If you're familiar with Esquire magazine, then you've no-doubt read one of its "What I've Learned" essays in which some old codger offers up some lessons learned. While this isn't Esquire, I have learned a lot in my career as copywriter, creative director, designer, and director of food, fashion, comedy, effects, kids and toy spots.

Agencies at the Tower of Babel

At one time the whole world spoke a single language and used the same words. 4 "Come," they said, "Let's build a great city with a tower that reaches to the skies--a monument to our greatness!" ...

Satellite Radio—Another Threat to Advertising?

Some subscribers describe it as a “music lover’s paradise.” Like TiVo users in the TV arena, those few million people who have picked up satellite radio over the last three years are genuine enthusiasts.

Lost in Translation: Why so much multicultural advertising is still so bad

Tom Burrell, founder of Burrell Communications once famously quipped that Black people are not simply "white people with black skins." What he meant was that clients cannot take white creative or concepts developed for white consumers, slap some black faces on it and expect to effectively build long-term relationships with black consumers.

Slaying the Dinosaur

There is a dinosaur alive and well in today's advanced world of advertising and marketing. The dinosaur is...call it what you will, image advertising, general advertising, brand advertising.

Differentiating Your Agency with Intelligence

This document addresses the age-old question asked by agencies worldwide, "How do we differentiate ourselves from our competition?"


A few weeks ago, my wife and I went to Santa Fe to take in the museums and galleries. We stopped in a bookstore where she found a book of recipes from the New York City restaurant Serendipity...

A Scary Question

At the ARF senior executive workshop in Chicago last week, Steve Levitt, author of Freakonomics, turned the tables (as he is known to do) and asked the attendees a question during his Q&A.

Immersion Branding—Laser Targeting Means More Bang for Your Marketing Buck

What if you could spend a fraction of what a national company spent on its marketing campaign, yet still create as much exposure to your target market? It's possible with a method called Immersion Branding.

A New Media World

We're halfway through the decade and what have we learned? That consumers have more control now than ever before and that trend is no longer a trend but is our new reality.

How Did We End Up Here?

Most of us know what it takes to make an agency a success. You have to have good clients. You have to do great work. And, of course, you have to make money. So, if it is that easy, why is it so damn hard? Well, I don't know the answer to that question, and if I did, do you think I'd share it with all of you?

Advertisers and Clients Have Woken Up to Viral, but Old Ideas Won't Stand Up in This New Discipline

This article assumes a certain amount of knowledge about viral. If you're a newcomer to the field, I refer you to Debbie Scoppechio's excellent guest column of 08/31/2005.

Are You Really A 'Brand'? A New Brand Continuum for the 21st Century

Today everybody from clothing designers to celebrities claims to be a "brand." Seems it's the latest cool thing. Announcements of new "brands" fill time on shows like Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight, but ultimately the products and services must face the realities of the marketplace...

The Revolt of the Galley Slaves

When I was a kid, the Saturday matinee at the local theater cost fourteen cents. For that you got to see some non-descript, low-budget, class-C movie.

In Today's Marketing World, "Close" Doesn't Cut It

Once upon a time, marketing was a bit like horseshoes: close was good enough. If you advertised and came anywhere near your target, you were in good shape. Most strategies and tactics focused on simply selling more with little regard for what customers really wanted, as long as it was "close enough."

Hurricane Katrina Hits Home

Beware of "Katrina Scams" Officials nationwide are warning people to beware of opportunistic scams in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Toxic Culture USA

Back in 1989 we dubbed Adbusters "the journal of the mental environment," and ever since then we've explored this cerebral terrain and tried to give it the respectability and prominence it deserves.

Maybe the Judge was Right: the Advertising Industry Does Need a New Ethics Code After All

Many people in the advertising industry were taken aback by the unusual sentence levied against Shona Seifert, the former Ogilvy & Mather executive convicted of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government in a recent case involving inflated time sheets and the filing of false claims.

What’s Wrong With Advertising Today?

All too often companies announce new products or services with a multi-million dollar media blitz and forget to plan for a critically important by-product of their efforts. They forget that advertising and all other "awareness tactics" drive people to do one thing…

SHARPENING THE POINT Because Good Enough is Never Good Enough

In a previous article, I discussed Small Army's "On Point" approach to effective marketing communications. That approach lies at the foundation of all of the work we do at Small Army.

The Brand and the Brain: What science is telling us about consumer behavior

Recently a team at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas studied the brain scans of 67 individuals who were asked to do blind taste tests of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Participants were split virtually 50/50 over which soft drink tasted better.

Presenting in the 21st Century

Presentation skills training. Oh, how this conjures up being trained in “eye contact," “voice modulation," and "gestures"—great phone and PDF file presentation applications are they not?

Defending the Company Culture

This is a true story. Recently, I was having drinks with a chief operating officer (I’ll call him Biff) and a creative director (Bob, for our purpose). Both worked for successful national agencies.

"Robert, They Can't Eat You!" My Rules For Success

Prior to speaking at a breakfast meeting hosted by a Phoenix magazine, I received an advance question from a participant: "What advice do you have for someone who is starting a business?"

Bravery in Advertising

Given the seismic shifts that have occurred within the advertising industry over the past several years, we are all feeling more acutely than ever the need to “adapt or die.” Advertising has never been a profession for timid wallflowers.

Pop-Up Stores: the New Marketing Trend of Temporary Brand Environments

When it comes to “What’s Hot?”, marketers are always seeking the next “big” thing. The trend du jour seems to be the temporary brand environment better known as the “pop-up.”

Does Size Matter?

The last generation that took jobs based more on providing for their families than finding personal fulfillment was the Greatest Generation. You know? The one Tom Brokaw keeps writing books about? (They’re always prominently displayed in airport gift shops as you run by to catch a plane.)

Advertising with Roots

That house has good bones. That guitar has soul. That ad has roots. What is that intangible quality about certain things that makes them enduring, valued and relevant after years of evolving culture?

Profiling Tomorrow's Media Leaders

Within a sector of the marketing industry that—some would say—is shaping the advertising models of tomorrow, Starcom has always been a media agency that prides itself on looking forward.

The TiVo Revolution: Are You Ready?

Are digital video recorders (DVRs) all hype? Or are they changing the way people view TV? We believe there is a revolution happening in our industry and it is being led by TiVo, the most prolific DVR in the marketplace today.

Want a Career Marked by "Bottom Line" Creativity? Try Direct Response Television.

The advertising industry has long thrived on the notion that some ads serve to build brands (the high-concept creative spots that make us laugh or cry) while other advertisements drive sales (the long-form “infomercials” that keep us company in the wee hours)—and never the twain shall meet.

Creating Great Media People: A Matter of Training and Inherent Skills

The days of arming junior level media people with a basic knowledge of media math and some media kits are over. In today’s world, fragmentation of media and the evolving role of the media planner mean two things

Who Wants to Kick a Millionaire's Ass??? (Part 2 of 2)

More on How I Got Over Biggism and Learned To Love Challengers.

Who Wants to Kick a Millionaire's Ass??? (Part 1 of 2)

Or, How I Got Over My Biggism And Learned To Love Challengers.

GETTING ON POINT An approach to making the most of your marketing dollars

Over the last several years, we have all witnessed decreases in marketing budgets. At the same time, the market(s) in which those organizations compete continues to change. So, as organizations become more optimistic about the future, they need to be prepared to effectively market their brands in a new environment.

Sins of Omission: Tough Decisions Agency Executives Hate to Make

“What new business strategy makes the most sense? How can we create an agency culture that fosters creativity? How can we improve the performance of our people? What do we have to offer that is uniquely ours?”

Branding to Your Most Important Client

You are one of the top managers in your company. You’re on the phone with your boss talking about how well your department is doing when there's a knock at your door.

What Makes Yours a Good Book? And How to Judge Someone Else's

As we all know, the only Good Book is The Bible. But when looking for a job in Advertising, we each have to carry our own version.

The Other Side of ROI

Is marketing driving incremental volume, or is it protecting the health of the entire franchise?

The Young & The Desperate: Agencies Who Cheap Out and the Creatives Who Let Them

I don’t remember a whole lot about my first job in advertising, just that I spent most my time writing ads for injection molding machines, that my office got really cold in the winter, and that I made $15,000 a year.

A New Home for Account Management?

We’ve all read about the balance of power shifting from creative agencies to media agencies; that clients are increasingly turning to media agencies for strategic leadership and guidance on how to best reach the elusive consumer. So what does this mean for those of us in account management?

How to Hire an Award-Winning Creative Staff

When I was asked by DDB many years ago to help create the best creative department in the industry, I had a distinct advantage over my fellow recruiters: I actually sat on the other side of the desk. I first worked as a copywriter at small, medium and large-size agencies and then later as an acting creative director with big-brand responsibility.

Curator Economy

We’re overwhelmed. There’s simply too much choice and access to information to manage on our own. And, the oppressive amount of complexity grows each day. To cope, we rely on influencers, retailers, friends, bloggers, style mavens, critics, publishers, TV networks, and trusted brands to help guide our personal choices.

Why Talent Moves Every Two Years

After 20 years in the industry representing both agencies and talent (plus eight years of parenthood), I've found that life is a series of negotiations, the outcome of which usually depends on someone's leverage and their willingness to use it. So when agencies ask why key employees depart after short tenures, I know the answer: money

Why Advertising

Inspired by watching Darin Stevens on Bewitched, I entered what I thought was the magical business of advertising.

Could Ghandi Have Helped Kerry?

If John Kerry's camp could have changed the behavior of a few million people last month, his world and possibly ours, would be a different place today. Changing behavior, our own and that of others, is perhaps one of life's greatest challenges. Yet by choosing to live and work in the field of advertising, we attempt it every day.

Aching for Innovation

As a newly minted MBA, I find myself falling into the same trap that lures every other newly minted MBA—trying to introduce everything we learned in business school to our new agencies.

Automobile Advertising,­ Street Drugs and Secret Cults

It’s confirmed. I must be seeing things from a different planet. And relax. This is not going to be a simplistic car-bashing essay from a committed bicycle rider, pedestrian and mass transit user. So let us begin.

Where does advertising come from? It could be coming from you.

The flip answer is likely, "The Creator." However, one thing is clear despite what the industry bible, Advertising Age might suggest: advertising comes from lots of places but mostly not from advertising agencies.

Su Voto Es Su Voz (Your Vote is Your Voice)

I was at a voter registration rally last week at a local television station in Los Angeles. It was sponsored by Chevrolet, whose current Spanish tagline is "Subete con Chevrolet" (Step Up with Chevrolet).

What Sets Great from Good?

Picasso was one of the great artists of the 20th century. He was enormously talented and amazingly prolific—and his massive presence was matched by his massive ego.

Grandmas and Mustaches

"What's Hispanic about them?" The first time I heard that phrase was eleven years ago, while working on Hispanic market efforts for an automobile account.

Client Relations: The Star Trek Model

Ad agency execs turn to myriad different resources to refocus their minds on the keys to business success. Mentors. Consultants. Case studies. Great books.

Weblogs Benefit Ad Agency Business

By now, everyone has heard of weblogs. If you haven't, welcome, you are reading one right now. For various reasons, many people and companies can benefit from blogging.

Creativity in the Age of Procurement

One of the main paradoxes of our time is the conflict between the growing economic value society places on intellectual property (a lawyerly way of saying "creativity") and the relentless drive towards ruthlessly efficient procurement systems and the commoditization of human talent.

Can Ad People Find Happiness?

I once saw Bill Bernbach speak. He was 71. I was 24. He laughed and joked about his career. He seemed really happy. I wish I had asked him why he was so happy.

Internship Programs: A Benefit To Both Parties

Each summer, college students across the country anticipate the end of the semester and the beginning of summer break. However, summer break has recently taken on a new meaning.

Justifying Your Livelihood - Part 2 of 2

Last week we started surrounding the question: how do you defend a livelihood making ads that, even if they're good, are interrupting football games, sitcoms or reality divorce shows? Go to Part 1.

Justifying Your Livelihood - Part 1 of 2

You make ads for a living. It can be rewarding and fun, but it is a job. It's often hard work. The hours are long. There's little job security. Clients are frequently thankless, occasionally downright abusive.

Cultivating Culture in an Advertising Agency

I have been pleasantly surprised by how frequently we have been requested to talk about our culture, as well as our vision and our mission, in new business pitches. It is a sign that clients are recognizing how important cultural compatibility is in establishing a long-term partnership.

There Are No Magic Bullets

My first jobs after college were in radio/television news departments, and that was the first time I ever heard of consultants. When things weren't working the wisdom was "let's bring in a consultant" to fix what's wrong.

Unlocking the Mysteries of Good Integration Five Building Blocks for Success

The landscape of advertising continues to change dramatically. The solution? Advertising and marketing budget reallocation across multiple disciplines.

Is Long-Term Relationship an Oxymoron?

The client/agency relationship is a complicated one. It is a partnership of buyers and sellers. This is almost unheard of in any other industry or any other facet of life involving more than two people.

How to Get the Best Client

As an advertising lawyer who structures employment agreements for top management and key talent, I have seen how successful agencies hire, motivate, and retain key talent. Here are three strategies to land that star (or soon-to-be star) employee:

How to Involve Procurement in Managing the Advertising Budget, Part 2 of 2

In part 1 of the article, we outlined the opportunity and detailed steps clients can take to make this work for both sides. Part 2 describes the detailed steps that both sides can take together.

How to Include Procurement in Managing the Advertising Budget, Part 1 of 2

Say the word procurement to an advertising agency and most will cringe thinking their fees are about to be skinned once again. Agencies will claim that procurement doesn't apply to their business because their product is creative and hard-to-measure. Yet agencies want to be compensated for the impact they can have on a client's business.

If Ads Shouldn't Look Like Ads, Agencies Shouldn't Look Like Agencies

The Cannes Ad festival is this week. It has been an uphill struggle to get here. We're going to see a lot of great work. So what are we going to do next year to help us do even better work? The first step is to see what we can do to eliminate the problems that caused bad work. So what needed to be removed?

An Open Apology to David Lubars or a Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Fired

First and foremost, I hope this letter finds you well. From what I hear, it appears you've landed at some shop in New York. I don't know what unfortunate circumstances forced you to live amongst so many Godless Yankee fans, but if I know you, you'll be making lemonade out of those lemons in no time.

Too Much Information Can Be a Good Thing

Each month, the employees of archer>malmo gather together for an agency update, an event we affectionately call the “Stairwell Chat” (appropriate, since it’s held in the stairwell between 5 and 6). Besides the usual updates on financials, new business, existing clients and employee news...

The Mini-Books Are Coming! The Mini-Books Are Coming!

If you’re a recent grad, you’re probably reading this in hopes of finding some insight that will cause a bidding war for your services. Sorry, that won’t happen. All I can do is offer the advice of one CD at one growing mid-sized shop in Austin, Texas.

The Fall of Advertising

If you’re keeping up with your reading, you know that advertising is a profession with no future. Sergio Zyman, the former chief marketing officer at Coca-Cola, recently published a book titled The End of Advertising as We Know It. Perhaps you remember the name Al Ries.

Background Checks on Background Checks

Ad industry employment has trended downward since the Internet bubble burst a few years ago; layoffs, hiring freezes and other cost-saving steps were the keys to protecting profitability during the downturn.

Branding a Sense of Belonging

Cults and cult brands. Everyone has an opinion. Few know much about them. But as marketing professionals we should become experts in excessive commitment. Cults have become a modern definer of absolute devotion at the same time that brands are seeing their loyalty slip away.

The Relevance of Being Relevant

Whenever someone finds out I work at an agency that’s been around a hundred years, and that a good number of our clients have been with us for decades, some since the 1930s, they’re always amazed…and curious. In fact, they ask me to share Doremus’ secret.

I Beg To Differ: Freedom Is Most Certainly Free

I just realized after many, many re-writes, that I'm about to challenge you, perhaps to the very core of your self-image as an advertising, marketing or businessperson.

Branding Big When You’re Small

Not the ‘B’ word again I can hear you all moan… what’s new to say here? Nothing. That’s right… it’s all been thought of, said, done before. So why are we always seeking more?

Safe Hiring: Get Applicant Consent Before Checking References

The old joke is that the assets of the agency go up and down in the elevator every day. In other words, people (along with clients and reputation) are an agency's most important asset, and hiring and keeping key talent has never been more important.

Buh-Bye to the Ad Business

Considering the masters of strategy, positioning and creativity that we profess to be, it’s shameful that we’ve allowed our work to still be categorized as the “advertising business.”

2004: What Kind of Advertising Recovery?

After the last three years, it was really nice to hear predictions about a big turnaround in advertising spending in 2004.

Leading from the Heart

The collective mindset of the advertising industry is often mired in insecurity and a sense of being superfluous to the real issues of the day. It’s a rare occasion when advertising is recognized for anything other than fueling the consumption engine of the free market economy.

Don't Touch That Dial: Drive Time Is Prime Time for Radio

Maybe instead of telling you what an expert I am it might be more appropriate for you to tell me why you aren't using Radio as your primary vehicle for your advertising campaign.

Looking Back at Success and Failure

Starting at General Electric and winding through hundreds of companies in the United States and all over the globe, I've had the rare opportunity to understand what makes up success or failure in business.

Brand is Dead. Now What?

The Post Post World. Post modern. Post literate. Post digital. Post ironic. Post 9/11. Post Enron. Post Andersen. Post brand

The Death of Account Service Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

You've heard it all. The gurus say that the agency account service function is no longer needed. It should be eliminated. It's not relevant any more.

Value Pricing: Vicious to Virtuous Circle

During Van Gogh's lifetime, the monetary value of his paintings was as close to the recent value of a Cordiant share as makes no difference. Yet, but a few years ago, the Bates component of the deceased Cordiant alone was bought by the Saatchis for around $800M.

Old Ad Problems Never Die...They Don't Even Fade Away

One of my favorite forms of entertainment is to watch classic movies or television broadcasts. It is enjoyable to me to predict the memorable dialogue and look for new details in the plot or character development, or laugh once again at the same jokes, even though the ending is well-known.

The Art and Science of Winning New Business

Winning is pretty much everything in advertising these days. If you win, people believe in you and thus you win more.

Haute Culture: Bringing the Concept of Culture into the Agency Trenches

The only meaningful difference between agencies today is their culture. That’s it. That’s my line in the sand.

Objection Prevention: A New Way to Enjoy Safe Sales

Your price is too high." Rats. Don't you hate when you hear that? It's the number ONE objection in the world of sales. Why do salespeople continue to listen to it? Beats me.

Advertising That Makes a Difference

A business professor at Emory University once said, “PSAs create a better person. Not a buying person.” Anyone who has spent time working in the advertising industry has seen the power of ads to tap into the psyche of consumers and influence their purchasing behavior

Now, Here's the Only Time a Search Consultant Will Give You a Straight Answer

I recently moderated a panel on the subject at the AAAA's New Business Summit in New York. One thing I'm sure of: the way agencies approach a pitch and the ways clients view the finalists are 180 degrees different.

Positioning Is Alive and Well

Today, the best-selling advertising book at Amazon.com was Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by my father, Al Ries and Jack Trout, a book first published 22 years ago.

The Few. The Proud. The Great Radio Writers.

I'm a graphic designer by training, so naturally, the thing I most want to talk about here is radio.

Information Not So Overloaded

The folks who churned out all those books and articles about information overload must have thought they were pretty funny. But they knew the public would bite: we are, after all, a society that loses sleep over the possibility of developing chronic anxiety syndrome.

Emotions Are a Matter of Affect

Emotions are a matter of uncertainty, both figuratively and literally. We act but claim that we have done so without emotion. We chastise others for being too emotional and we celebrate the iconoclast who we believe isolates him or herself from the dregs of emotion.

Getting Your Message Heard in a Noisy World

These days, getting people to notice you isn't easy. The Information Age has morphed into Information Overload. Messages are everywhere: At the bottom of golf cups on the putting green, flashing on ATM screens, even posted over urinals (an excellent product placement for Budweiser).

Fresh Talent: The Importance of Keeping Your Agency Eternally Young

I truly believe that advertising thrives on the infusion of fresh blood into agencies. I love the drive, the relentlessness and the insatiable enthusiasm of young creatives. To them, there's always a better, bolder, fresher, more ingenious answer.

How to Win the Relationship Game

While you are constantly trying to expand your business (offense) you must constantly try to grow and maintain your existing business (defense). How do you achieve that balance in order to sustain long-standing agency/client relationships? How do you win the relationship game?

What Do Clients Really Want?

About a year ago, Ken Kaess, CEO of DDB, in a now-famous critique, urged the advertising industry to address the burning issues of what advertisers really want and where agencies are failing to meet their clients' expectations.

Fishing in Troubled Waters—New Business in Tough Times

A recent B-to-B Magazine headline shouted, "Desperate ad agencies scramble for business." There is no disputing that the current climate is the most challenging our industry has experienced in memory.

What Clients Are Saying About Agencies

Today, corporate CEOs and other members of the 'C-Suite' are subject to greater accountability than ever before. A downsized corporate America is looking for agencies whose informed objectivity can provide support and directional input in making decisions, which affect the corporation's very survival.

Brand Yourself

Today, organizations of all kinds are looking for strategic ways to establish trust and credibility, to build powerful and enduring "brands." If these branding strategies can be used for products and services, why not people?

Advertising or Diversity: Is What We're Doing Working?

It's no secret that the advertising industry doesn't look like America. It never has. When David Ogilvy famously said in 1971 "The consumer isn't a moron. She's your wife," he obviously wasn't talking to bullpens full of women.

Is There A Future For The Small To Mid-Sized Agency?

This is a question that keeps surfacing. Advertisers ask it. Managers of small- to mid-sized agencies ask it. And our industry press asks it.

The Game Behind the Game

Once upon a time, I heard a line about Hollywood attributed to F. Scott Fitzgerald. It sort of went like this: "When people look at Hollywood, they're like an audience watching a ventriloquist act—everyone is fascinated by the dummy."

Everything I Need To Know About Advertising I Learned From Star Wars

For unexplainable reasons, one night, my friend Tug and I decided to get a case of beer and watch the Star Wars movies in chronological order back to back to back to back to back.

Marketing Communications without Borders

I still hear advertising people use the term "below-the-line" marketing and not always in a flattering way. This well-worn phrase evokes a marketing communications caste system that, I believe, is counterproductive to executing the marketing most companies need today.

The Tinkerbell Phenomenon

Several years ago I was asked by BrandWeek magazine, a trade publication, to be a guest columnist. So, naturally, when Talent Zoo asked me to do the same thing, part of my research was a re-read of my earlier work.

Sure-Fire Ways to Fire Up Your Agency Before You Decide to Fire Them

Helping clients select and manage their resources for optimum ROI is what we are all about. And while we enjoy a reputation as one of the country's leading search consultancies, few companies realize that a good part of our work is focused on helping clients revitalize and enhance their existing client/agency relationships.

Advertising Industry Manifesto #1: Fear & Creativity

There is something that has always been true about the advertising agency business, and is its greatest asset, at this moment.

Rejuvenate Thyself

"Don't go crying stinkin' fish in your own backyard." That's what my friend Greg always said. About a year and a half ago, after 20 years of mostly fond memories and experiences enjoyed in the ad agency biz, there was a "Big Bang Theory" like explosion in my life.

10 Guaranteed Ways to Lose a Pitch

The AAAA recently held, in New York, its first New Business Summit. It was attended by over 450 senior people from across the country. Speakers included virtually all the major agency consultants as well as marquee names on both the client and agency sides.

Agency Management: An Oxymoron?

Advertising agencies, like many other professional firms, tend to be very well administered but poorly managed. Administrative topics, such as financial controls, cash flow management, target utilizations and the like, are in place almost everywhere, and deployed to great effect.

Why Creatives Hate Account People and Vice-Versa

Superman and Lex Luthor. Churchill and Lady Astor. Hillary and Rush. Just a few folks who despise each other about as much as creatives and account executives. Show me an agency and I'll show you an AE and a creative who want to beat the living #$%@ out of each other.

Reality TV and the Changing Face of American Culture

It's impossible to understand fully the popularity of reality TV without considering the profound ways American culture has changed in recent years. Thanks to the Information Revolution, we have grown accustomed to regarding ourselves as de facto experts in everything from medicine to world affairs.

Turning 55 Years Old and the Suddenly Irrelevant Demographic Doctrines

I recently celebrated my 55th birthday. I use the word 'celebrated' advisedly. This is the first birthday that has mentally challenged me. Twenty-five was a positive milestone. Thirty, Forty and Fifty were all acceptable because, being in the media business...

Where Have All The Headlines Gone?

So, the other day I'm sitting in my tastefully cluttered office, flipping through an old CA, admiring headlines I wish I had written, when I get a call from our receptionist. I had made an appointment with an ad school graduate who wanted to show me his book.

Oh No, Not Another "Building Brands" Article

Brands are taking over our lives more and more. That's because people like buying better products and believe it or not, famous brands usually make the best ones.

The End of Advertising As We Know It

Advertising, as you know it today, is dead.

The Liz Account

You'll never hear Luke Sullivan promote his latest update to his book "Hey Whipple, Squeeze This!" with a trite slogan like, "NEW and IMPROVED, now with 20% more paper!" Luke knows better, and teaches better.

Where have you gone Joe Dimaggio?

We are a nation of heroes. Fans of those who triumph on the ballfield, the battlefield and elsewhere in life. Their accomplishments inspire us and push us to try harder. For that, we should all be thankful.

The Ideal Client

Advertising guru David Ogilvy once wrote, "Most agencies run scared, most of the time. Frightened people are powerless to produce good advertising. If I were a client, I would do everything in my power to emancipate my agencies from fear, even to the extent of giving them long-term contracts."

Baby, You're Money And You Just Don't Know It

So why the pale skin? Clinched fists? Blood dripping from your puffy eyes? Gum in your hair? It must be award show season, a time when hopes run high and self doubt cuddles up next to us by a roaring fire.

The Big Picture

So say some creative directors about what they see in portfolios of recent graduates. "Not like portfolios of the past that demonstrated great sensitivity for typographic form. Today's graduates grind out print ads in a predictable format: no headlines, no body copy, perhaps only a tag line of four to six words.

Saving Planning and Planners

I don't know what caused the body blow to account planning. It might have been the slump in economic growth, the slump in business spending, the advertising recession slump, or the slump that followed the Internet expansion, a slump that perversely punished all of us for the gerbils-shot-from-cannons of a few. Choose your slump.

New Technology Leads Outdoor Industry Astray From What It Was Designed to Do

When Cable TV opened their doors in 1980, the advertising industry saw the Big 4: ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC scramble to compete on Cable TV's next level. What is meant by Cable TV's next level?

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

Happy New Year! Now, what are you going to do with it? How will you use those 8,736 hours?

How many consultants does it take?

How many consultants does it take to do the job that advertising agencies did alone 15 years ago? Hold on -- I'll have to check with my consultant.

10 Ways To Turn Your 2003 Goals Into Success

Notice how crowded it is at the gym these January weeks? But as gym rats know, come March attendance will fall back to normal. How can you make sure your resolutions for 2003 are more than memories in March?

The Top 10 Things You Need to Know If You Want to Spend Some Serious Time in Advertising

For those of you considering getting into the advertising/communication business, here is some very straightforward "advice," although that may be a bit over complimentary. It's based on my three decades in the agency business, plus a few more in broadcast. Please keep the following in mind:

How to Swallow Your Pride and Get Your Soul Back

So one day I was sitting in my perfectly nice ad agency in Atlanta, surrounded by perfectly nice people and a good, comfortable life, when I decided that being good and nice wasn't enough.

Why Are Ads More Like "Jackass" Than "Bowling for Columbine?"

Imagine a group of friends in a sports bar. A commercial for a local bank comes on. The TV spot actually serves up a debate over Western materialism. Imagine the friends talking about where they spend their paychecks, and what they'd give up if they had to --

Wall Street Ate Madison Avenue. Now What?

So, how many whiney columns like this does it take to reinvent an industry? Well, maybe this will be the last. Or possibly the first in a whole new series of whiney columns.

The Rules are Dead. All Hail the New Rules.

Why have our greatest successes as an agency come when we've ignored or rejected what over the last 40 years have become the written-in-stone rules of brand building? This is the very question we set out to answer.

Hungry Anyone?

As a small agency located in Orlando, we don't exactly have the multimillion dollar budgets everyone dreams of. Heck, if we get a budget that has seven digits in it we get all giddy. TV shoots for less the 50K? Oh yeah, we've done them.

Losing My Virginity

It's been sixteen months since I lost my virginity. Sixteen months, yet it seems like a lifetime. It's hard to even remember what it was like before. I thought I knew what it would be like when it happened.

Sticking to Your Guns

So many times in this business we are asked to do something very personal. Something people in most other "normal" lines of work don't have to do. Something that is as completely common and normal a practice as concepting or producing the work we create.

A Letter to Talent, That You Should Discover Your Place in the Zoo

Dear Talent, You bitch. You unfair, undiscerning, promiscuous, teasing, capricious asshole. You are like the God of Job, doling out extravagant fortune and appalling catastrophe based on the inscrutable logic of some cosmic inside joke.

Why the Future of Branding is Local

The events of the last 12 months have had a considerable impact on brands. Many analysts have commented about the consumer impact of hunkering down or how inappropriate humor in advertising is now out.

Winning New Business and the Art of Convincing

A few weeks ago, Joanne Davis wrote a well-articulated guest column for Talent Zoo in which she clearly laid out the dos and don'ts of contacting prospective clients. Her findings are true and her advice is priceless.

The Challenge of Voiceover Readings

I called a plumber to my house the other day because my outside hot water tank was leaking. He walked into the house lugging his impressive array of tools, announced that he was a plumber and instantly-without a word from me-began checking the water pipes beneath the kitchen sink. I told him that wasn't the problem.

Things I Know

There's a little ritual I go through every month. No sooner does my subscription of O magazine get to my mailbox, than I immediately jump straight to the back. You know, the part where Oprah shares some wisdom. Maybe it's some insight she's gained through the years.

Some friends of mine are selling their home. It's a warm, comfortable dwelling with four bedrooms, a big fenced in yard and even a Jacuzzi. Everyone who sees the place raves about it. Over the past few weeks countless people have stopped by for a tour, and most of them have said they loved it. But there's one caveat --

What Creative Slump?

There's been a lot of talk lately about an industry-wide creative slump. It certainly seems like there ought to be one. The stock market is plummeting, corporate America is collapsing...

Okay, Someone Just Has to Come Right Out and Say It

I'm about to say some things that are politically incorrect. Things that aren't normally said in a public forum because they can seem a little harsh. And the last thing I want to be is harsh.

Killed Concepts - Learning to Let Go

For those not in the know, this summer's hot color is tangerine. I know this because we read a lot of magazines at work. GQ, Glamour, Maxim, FHM, Detour, Cosmo Girl (don't laugh, there are free stickers in that one).

Hi, my name is Tommy Abercrombie. Who are you?

In the old days, out west on the Great Plains, Native Americans would paint their marks on their horses. You know. Hand prints. Lightning bolts. That sort of thing. "Me and my horse" the hand prints and icons would say.

Talent is Overrated

There it is. My attention grabbing headline. I was told by a college professor once that was the primary job of a headline. Actually, someone else from class told me. I overslept.

Win/Win in Agency Compensation

I've been putting client/agency compensation agreements together for about 23 years. That's probably why I have no hair on the top of my head. Creating agency/client compensation agreements that are fair and "relationship building" ...

Thank You for Ruining My Favorite Song with Your Bad Commercial

Let's face it. Using the hits of yesterday to push a new product has always been a popular route to take in advertising. Low budget? Impossible deadline? Sixth round of concepting?

Diversity in the Advertising Industry

As a first generation Puerto Rican in New York City, I never ever imagine that someday I would be working for the Fire Department and later at an advertising agency. But for the last five years...

The State of Advertising

After reading this, you will know everything there is to know about the state of advertising, and you will walk away from your computer fully confident in your assumption that my opinions mean absolutely nothing.

6 Myths About Good Names

A good name is golden. As a Kraft Foods executive says, "Kraft has thousands of trademarks and they are among our most treasured assets. To the outside world, they represent who we are and what we do."

Your First Week in Advertising

Welcome. Thanks for reading this far. While many of you have jobs in advertising, there are almost certainly a few of you out there who are just starting your careers. Perhaps as soon as next week. So it is for you folks that I'd like to give a brief overview of what to expect during your first week on the job.

The Lure of Everywhere Else

In the ad world, there’s Boston. Minneapolis. San Francisco. And then there’s Everywhere Else. The first three (and you might argue that Richmond, New York and others deserve to be on that list) seem to be charmed...

Research Explains Glass Ceiling for Female Creatives

More women than ever are being employed in creative positions at advertising agencies. Although this is an encouraging trend, most women inevitably face a "glass ceiling" at the highest levels.

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