by Andrea Wiley
Some days simply resist being productive.
Everyone gets pummeled by life’s challenges: There are mornings when it’s hard to get out of bed and afternoons where you can’t seem to get a thing done. But no matter what level of strife pulls at us, it’s still possible to bring creativity and value to the job we were hired to do. Practicing methods that cultivate productivity routinely may actually help us perform at a higher level during times when it seems the hardest to do so.
It takes discipline, of course. And a lot of it. But it can be done.
Start each day with a plan and decide how you are going to work around previously scheduled meetings to accomplish your goals for the day. “Set aside time for responding to emails, but don’t let them determine what your day is going to look like,” says Peter Daisyme, co-founder of Palo-Alto based Hostt, on Inc.com. “Have a plan of attack at the start of the each day, and then do your best to stick to it.”
If your to-do list is a mash-up of mindless tasks that require nothing more than a little time, alongside major projects that require a lot of dedicated, focused time, then separate and approach them in different ways. A “short” list of tasks can eat up a whole morning. And the longer they are put off, the longer that short list gets, which becomes overwhelming. Set aside 30 minutes to tackle those annoying things that you have been procrastinating. But before you start checking things off your list, ask yourself if this is something that truly requires your time. Can this be delegated to someone else? Can it wait? Is it even necessary to be done at all? Decide, and then get it out of the way so you can get focused.
by Andrea Wiley
Today creative millennials want to be Downtown, where they can easily walk from home to work, get a coffee or a bite to eat, with access to the arts, live music and sporting events, and mix and mingle with multicultural peers who range in diverse mindsets.
Who can blame them? These desired environments encourage exploration and provide inspiration, which are key ingredients in creativity.
While this seems like a new idea to some, the creative firms in Memphis were early adopters to this notion, with several locating downtown in the 1990s or sooner, and they are still advocates today. Through branding and promoting our city’s most valued amenities and attractions, investment in real estate and talent acquisition, the advertising and marketing groups are supporting the development of downtown Memphis in a big way, and have been for a long time.
Archer Malmo, the largest independent agency in the Mid-South, advocates for being intentional in making Downtown attractive to the creative and technology talent necessary for the Memphis advertising industry to compete in today’s digital economy.
“We believe the best way for us to contribute to that strategy is to grow our own firm and create jobs,” says Archer Malmo CEO Russ Williams. “Since 2009, our Downtown Memphis staff has grown from 80 to 175, so we’ve created 95 new jobs in that time. We are also a long-term strategic partner of Start Co. and deeply committed to their efforts to build a strong community of entrepreneurs downtown.”
Nonprofits can be agents of change in a community
by Andrea Wiley
“People have a natural desire to be altruistic. When that desire is stimulated, we will give more money to urgent causes — possibly much more. When it is not, we will give more money to the consumer brands that do stimulate and create desires for private goods.”
— Dan Pallotta, Harvard Business Review
There’s no doubt about it, Memphians are altruistic, ranked one of the most charitable cities by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Memphis donated 5.1 percent of its 2012 income, with the total contribution coming in at $1,039,345,000. And Memphians across the board are charitable. Those making up to $25,000 a year donated 13 percent of their income and people making $200,000 a year or more donated 4 percent. Now those are statistics to be proud of.
Currently there are 4,483 501(c)(3)-designated nonprofits that are active and operating in good standing in the city of Memphis, according to Mia Madison, director of Community Information for the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis. That’s a lot of charitable organizations that depend on the altruism of our city, specifically in the form of funding.
by Andrea Wiley
“Advertising is a craft executed by people who aspire to be artists, but is assessed by those who aspire to be scientists. I cannot imagine any human relationship more perfectly designed to produce total mayhem.”
While this quote by John Ward of B&B Dorland is decades old, it is still relevant today.
Big creative ideas solve problems. They come from an insatiable sense of curiosity and the relentless pursuit of “What if.” They go beyond the boundaries of obvious and they make you uncomfortable. But when an advertising campaign is executed strategically, yielding desired results, big ideas can work for your business, no matter the size.
by Andrea Wiley
The tenth anniversary of Inside Memphis Business presents an opportunity to reflect on the year it all began, 2006, which was a big one for me personally. I purchased my first house and my first new car, the advertising agency I worked for underwent a sizable acquisition/merger, and I got married. Of those milestones the only thing that remains in my life today is the car. I love that car, but it’s probably time to trade her in. Things change and they change quickly. The same principle applies to advertising and the media from which we get our information.
In 2006, “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley was stuck in our heads due to its constant repetition on the radio. Many of us even had it playing on our MySpace pages. We couldn’t turn away from the nightly news and the trial of Mary Winkler, the soft-spoken mother of three girls who confessed to killing her preacher husband. And via tabloids in the checkout line and on entertainment television networks, we could not stop watching the train wreck that was Britney Spears. Her break-up with Kevin Federline via text message was a pivotal moment. He was quickly dubbed “Fed-Ex,” a nickname I’m sure was not appreciated by the corporate identity department of a certain global logistics firm headquartered in Memphis.
According to Advertising Age, just 10 years ago Internet advertising only accounted for 2.6 percent of all ad spending in the United States. It was 8th on the list behind direct mail at 19.8; newspaper, 17.7; broadcast television, 17.5; cable TV, 8.2; radio, 7.4; Yellow Pages, 5.3; and magazines, 4.6. Following Internet advertising on the list was out-of-home, 2.2; business pubs, 1.5; and all other media, 13.2.
Remember the Yellow Pages?
Today, instead of talking about Internet advertising, we refer to digital media, which includes desktop, mobile and native advertising, search engine and content marketing, video, social media, and many other categories developed and adopted daily. However, in 2006 there were significantly fewer online advertising options. In fact, Google had just launched its mobile advertising platform in the summer of that same year. The iPhone did not even release until 2007, and that changed everything.
According to eMarketer, digital advertising is expected to surpass TV in 2017, which will mark a major milestone for advertising. And in the digital category, mobile advertising will grow 38 percent in this year alone.
Because it is 2016, I am going to assume your company has an online presence. But I will not assume that it is strategically on brand, proactively interacting with your customers and potential customers with current content being updated daily and pushed out via multiple channels. Whether it is an in-house department or a third-party firm, if you don’t have a dedicated team handling your website, search engine marketing, email marketing, and social media, you are being left behind.
The stats above, however, do not indicate that your brand should only be online. While ad spending trends are pointing to digital as the top dog, it doesn’t mean you can abandon the other mixed breeds. Marketing always has been and always will be about the media mix. So get a good grasp on how your customers’ media habits have changed over the years, where they are today, and adapt accordingly.
There is still a place for magazine and newspaper, outdoor, broadcast and cable advertising, as well as direct mail and guerilla marketing. But you have to know where you are trying to go, what you want your customers to do, and what is going on in the world so your brand resonates with them on an emotional level.
Whether you realize it or not, pop culture affects advertising and advertising affects pop culture. Good ads created with a sense of timeliness and relevancy that make an emotional connection without blatantly telling the customer what to do or how to feel are the ones audiences relate to.
You don’t want your brand to be like Blockbuster in 2006, announcing “No late fees” in all its advertising, not realizing that Netflix had already appealed to their customers before they got off the couch by providing an easier, no-fuss option that fit into their busy lives.
So I guess it’s true: The more we change, the more we stay the same. IMB is celebrating 10 years because readers find valuable insights within its pages. Don’t let another decade pass by before your brand messaging is culturally relevant in your advertising, appealing to your customers in a thoughtful, emotional way via the right media mix, whatever it may become.
Andrea Wiley is director of account management at DCA, an advertising adjunct professor at the University of Memphis, and is president emeritus of the American Advertising Federation, Memphis.
by Andrea Wiley
I hope you are lying beachside as you read this, but something tells me you are wishing the same thing as you sit at your desk scarfing down a so-so sandwich between meetings.
We are busier than ever, taking less and less time for ourselves, let alone our brand. Distractions pop up everywhere and divert our attention from where it really needs to be focused.
Remember that young Millennial, fresh out of college, you interviewed 18 months ago that you didn’t hire, but who recommended you could use an updated logo and website, and by the way, she had a hard time Googling you? You were annoyed, maybe even slightly offended, but ultimately you knew she was right. Then you did nothing about it. Your problem grew, but you continue to ignore it because there are so many other things that seem more pressing.
Is it still a problem if it is out-of-sight, out-of-mind? Yes. It is. And it is getting bigger every day. Your brand is more than just a logo. Your brand is made up of many things: the interior design aesthetic of your office, your fashion sense, the kinds of cars in your parking lot or bikes in your hallway, the holiday gift you gave (or didn’t give) your clients last year, even how the receptionist greets visitors when they walk in the front door. Some of this probably sounds pretty superficial, but let’s face it, first impressions are everything.
But before you can even make a good impression, you must identify whom you are trying to impress. Understand where they are — physically, emotionally, socially, financially — what their daily online activity looks like, what their story is, and how your brand can fit in organically (or seemingly so).
Should you snap it, tweet it, post it, gram it, pin it, video it, email it, text it, print it? Just as easy as it is to fall into the trap of doing something “because that’s the way we’ve always done it,” it can be equally misguided to do something because it is the new cool thing to do. But whether it is the hottest trend or the old standby, it doesn’t mean that’s the best way to engage your target audience.
Today, all the lines are blurred: the separation of church and state, the difference between politics and pop culture — what the heck is a Labradoodle anyway? Marketing, advertising, and public relations are no different thanks to the daily evolution of technology. When I was in journalism school, there were rules. Not so much anymore, and no one seems to mind. The delivery mechanisms appear to be endless; you don’t know where to start, so you are paralyzed into doing nothing. Bad idea. Because your competitor isn’t doing nothing, and they are about to knock you out.
I’m a believer in keeping it simple. And at this complicated time that is the hardest thing to do. Which is why you need to rely on expert marketers to guide you in the right direction. You already have all the answers; you just need a third party to eliminate the daily distractions to reveal what matters most.
Be confident in your area of expertise and recognize that if it isn’t in a creative field, you need to find some super smart folks to get in your corner so you can start throwing some punches at your competition.
Memphis has over 40 firms and countless freelancers that specialize in marketing, branding, advertising, public relations, web development, creative consulting, and so on. It just depends on your needs, your budget, and frankly, who fits you best.
Don’t default to getting your nephew on the case even though he’s a Millennial who has taken a few design classes. You wouldn’t hire him to take out your appendix if he had taken a few courses in medical school. Your brand is delicate and deserves the best care that only experts can provide.
Be bold. Do something great. Partner with a talented and experienced marketing team that not only understands where your brand is today, but also can help you visualize where it needs to go.
Andrea Wiley is an adjunct professor of advertising in the University of Memphis Journalism Department and the 2015-2016 president of the American Advertising Federation (Memphis Chapter).
The latest articles from the print version of Inside Memphis Business — plus excerpts from our weeklyTip Sheet.
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