For the past four months, I have been training for my second half-marathon. Through the wintry months when it felt like I was bordering frostbite to the warm weather this spring, I’ve been increasing my mileage week over week in order to build up my endurance and condition my body to run 13.1 miles. During each run, I try to envision myself crossing the finish line. I constantly try to keep the end result in mind and recognize that all these small runs will ultimately help me improve my stamina and accomplish my goal.
Good public relations professionals know the importance of keeping the end goal in mind. How do the hours spent finalizing a press release or crafting the perfect pitch ultimately help the client reach their goals and support their mission? It’s important to understand how each individual tactic will contribute to the client’s desired results. Following are some tips to keep in mind:
I am often asked by my legions of fans – ahem, interns – what I believe is the most important aspect of client service. My first thoughts are typically stamina or humility. However, once my momentary emotional tide passes, I always find myself repeating an elevator speech about the necessity to balance expectations – those of your internal team as well as the client. That belief is grounded by the following three points of wisdom:
Communication Is Key
A project manager acts as a liaison between what the Client wants and how the Creative team understands – and plans to achieve – the request. Before the wheels start turning (and hours start to rack up), it’s always a good idea to take a step back, recap the request at hand and make sure the Client is in agreement with the understood approach before the creative work begins. Not only will the Client appreciate the thoroughness of the follow-up, but you will have established an opportunity to set the expectations for both sides. Plus, you’ll be halfway done with your internal paperwork! Never underestimate the power of effective communication. It is the primary factor that can lead to a project’s success or failure.
Back in the days before smartphones and tablets and Twitter (oh my), I would depend on the good old fashioned printed newspaper for much of my daily dose of current events. One of the columns I used to frequently give a skim for a little entertainment was Dear Abby. For more than a half-century, she has been providing “uncommon common sense” advice. In reading Ms. Abigail’s posts, a somewhat common theme is that through a little better listening, relationships could be built a lot stronger.
The same holds true when it comes to the client/agency relationship. Long-term relationships in this industry seem quite rare; in fact, Forbes reports the average to be just 3 years, which is down from 8.5 years as experienced in the 1980s*. Relationships come to a close for a variety of reasons, but at the root is often an issue with listening and understanding between the two parties. From an agency perspective, the client is depending on you to serve as its voice to the target audience. And like a game of whisper down the lane at a rock concert, if the agency is unable to listen carefully to understand the client and the client’s core communication objectives, the message will not properly reach the final target. The same holds true if the client is unwilling to listen and trust in the agency’s expertise.
Congratulations! You’ve won a new account! Now comes the hard part – ensuring a successful onboarding process so that you make a good first impression and set the tone for a long and mutually beneficial relationship with your new client.
At Domus, the first step actually takes place before we are awarded an account. During the process when we are pitching a new account, we take every opportunity offered by the prospect to interact, so when we are fortunate enough to win a new account, the basis for a relationship has been started. By design, Domus is a collaborative company that believes in leveraging collective strengths in order to provide our clients with the very best solution and maximum return on investment.
In the good old days (and I’m really dating myself here), a full-color one-page print ad required a minimum of two weeks just for production – from typesetting to trimming with an X-acto™ knife to mounting and pasting onto a board to 4/c film separation with real film! This took much, much longer for a multi-page brochure. And God help us if we needed to make a change.
There has been an increase in the amount of attention given to employee engagement in a response to the continued uncertainty during these difficult economic times. Executive leaders and human resources (HR) practitioners are recognizing the importance of an engaged workforce and its potential to drive business results. Engaged employees are highly motivated and vested in the success of their organizations.
Research by Gallup and others shows that engaged employees are more productive. They are more profitable, more customer focused and more likely to withstand temptations to leave. The best-performing companies know that an employee engagement improvement strategy linked to the achievement of corporate goals has a direct effect on a company’s bottom line.
- Gallup’s recent analysis of 199 surveys found that business units scoring in the top half on employee engagement double their odds of delivering high performance compared to those in the bottom half. Those at the 99th percentile are nearly five times more likely to deliver high performance than those at the 1st percentile.
- Companies in the top 10 percent on employee engagement bested their competition by 72 percent in earnings per share. For companies that scored beneath the top quartile, earnings fell 9.4 percent below their competition.
- Gallup researchers, who base the Employee Engagement Index on a survey of nearly 42,000 randomly selected adults, estimate that disengaged workers cost U.S. businesses as much as $350 billion a year.
Companies are realizing that employees are their most important asset and the living embodiment of their brand. If employees are engaged and energized, they will bring the brand to life and deliver exceptional work and positive experiences that impact business performance. Today it is imperative that company leaders are committed to providing formal engagement opportunities with all of their employees. Employees need to be engaged in the corporate vision, mission, strategy and goals. One way to do this is to develop an employee brand message platform based on their business mission and communicate it consistently within all employee communication vehicles. Examples of employee communication vehicles include videos, push emails, employee surveys, employee games and recognition of employees who are demonstrating the corporate mission. Domus and its network of resources have the expertise to help companies develop and execute fully integrated employee engagement plans. Let us show you how we can help you drive your bottom line through greater employee engagement.
Joanne Michael is an Executive Vice President at Domus, Inc., a marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, visit http://www.domusinc.com. For new business inquiries, please contact CEO and founder of Domus, Inc. Betty Tuppeny at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-772-2805.
Today’s rapidly shifting marketing and media landscape means that client and agency professionals must be more integrated than ever before. We can no longer think of ourselves as marketing managers, account managers, media planners, art directors, copywriters or research managers. We are all buyers, sellers and enablers of media and must work together to achieve a successful campaign.
Here is what I have recently witnessed within the industry. The lines between public relations and social media are blurring. Account managers need to be well-versed in analyzing technical data, interpreting those results and translating those results into strategic recommendations. Media professionals need to understand the brand strategy and all of the media options available today including social, online and mobile campaigns as well as established channels like broadcast and print. Likewise, creative and production teams are learning new technology and software programs in order to keep pace as well as how to translate TV or print concepts to online and mobile. And everyone needs to have in-depth expertise within a client’s business.
In the era of Facebook and Twitter, has “engagement” with consumers been redefined as simply social media contact? Communicating effectively in a one-on-one manner with existing customers and the new generation of customers has become even more important in light of the bombardment of digital and traditional advertising messages.
Experiential marketing, especially one-on-one interaction with customers, can create a branded and memorable experience to help strengthen your marketing campaign. This experiential marketing has the ability to appeal to all five senses, giving customers the opportunity to engage personally with your products and your brand. According to a recent online survey of 2,574 consumers ages 13-65, in the top 25 U.S. markets, the results confirm that this increasingly important marketing medium resonates strongly across demographics and product categories. In fact, 72% of 18- to 23-year-old consumers say experiential marketing would make them more receptive to the brand/product advertising; 59% say it would lead to a quicker purchase.
This study also indicated that live marketing experiences were shown to be a valuable way to increase marketing ROI: 75% of consumers say that participating in a live marketing experience would make them more receptive to the product/brand’s advertising; 75% of consumers said they would be extremely likely to tell others after participating in a live marketing event, extending impact through word-of-mouth.
Domus has had great success with live marketing experiences for the Pennsylvania Lottery to help launch its new instant ticket games. Each event utilized a creative overlay that reinforced the traditional advertising program of television, radio, print and outdoor. The theme was brought to life through a state-wide bus tour including live activities with audience participation, street teams, signage and ticket giveaways. Each tour garnered pre- and post-event press coverage as well as a multitude of attendees. The results? Another record-breaking year of ticket sales for the Pennsylvania Lottery!
Joanne Michael is an Executive Vice President at Domus, Inc., a marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, visit http://www.domusinc.com. For new business inquiries, please contact CEO and founder of Domus, Inc. Betty Tuppeny at email@example.com or 215-772-2805
We work in a fast-paced environment that thrives on creativity and inspiration. At times, it may seem easier and more efficient to bypass established systems in order to get a project completed for a client. However, the core competency of advertising agencies and other creative outlets is not simply the production of creative work. It’s the efficient management of that project which requires the ability to carefully control, document and communicate workflow to deliver the best results. If this cannot be done, even the most creatively successful agency might find itself in a state of chaos. By establishing and adhering to well-established workflow and communication processes, agencies will actually save time in the long run, deliver a better product and satisfy their clients.
Since each client is unique, Domus develops the most appropriate reporting and communications systems to meet their needs. This can include any or all of the following: creative briefs, decision reports, weekly hot lists, weekly status reports, monthly client meetings, quarterly and annual results analysis as well as other customized reports requested by the client. Many of the above reports we are now converting to a digital dashboard that allows our clients easy access to this information at the touch of a button.
Nothing sells a product or a service better than a satisfied customer. A president or CEO can say their company is the best in the industry, but without third-party credibility, it’s just lip service. That is why services such as Yelp.com, which strictly focuses on user reviews, can make or break a company. These reviews act like mini case studies and can be amplified when they are linked to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Companies can take the customer review process one step further by including testimonial videos on sites such as YouTube. Domus incorporated this tactic with OKI Data Americas’ customers during the ISTE 2011 Conference in Philadelphia. OKI customers were given a platform to present their story and increase their Internet celebrity through the process. This strategy gives consumers a voice and also puts a face to the name, which lends additional credibility to the testimonial. The reach of these videos can be increased when distributed through social media networks as well. An example of the OKI customer testimonial video can be accessed through the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxHIxhVSFuI.
Not only do these videos provide beneficial information to prospective customers, but they also increase the company’s interaction with current clients, helping to build that existing relationship.
Greg Smore is a Senior Account Manager at Domus, Inc., a marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, visit http://www.domusinc.com. For new business inquiries, please contact CEO and founder of Domus, Inc. Betty Tuppeny at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-772-2805.