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Join FL+G for a Branding Strategy Panel at Upcoming Denver Design Week

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Earlier this month, we brought you tips on building your personal brand. From identifying your strengths to publishing and sharing your own original content, there are a number of key components to establishing yourself as an expert in your niche. One way to continue building your own creative strategy is by connecting with top mentors in the branding space. This month, FL+G is proud to be creating an opportunity that will allow you to do just that at Denver Design Week this October 12th-19th. With FL+G’s own Brian Rogers on board, FL+G will be part of the panel “ More Than a Logo: How to Establish a Unique Brand in a Cookie Cutter World” on Thursday, October 18th. The focus of our discussion will be centered around how to set yourself and your brand apart from your competition, why your brand is more than your logo, and how to showcase your brand in the visual design world.

For this special event, FL+G is also bringing on industry expert Josh Taylor of SIXINCH® North America furniture. SIXINCH is not your average furniture company- their pieces are playful, unique, and whimsical while simultaneously having classic elements that keep them comfortable and functional. Their furniture has been featured in installations all over the world, and more recently, you might have even seen a piece like The Cliffy at a music festival! So how did SIXINCH brand themselves as a little more rock’n’roll than your average interior design choices? Josh will be sharing this with you, along with tips in his specialties of digital media, videography, design concepts, copywriting, brand awareness, and omni-channel marketing campaigns.

Along with Brian and Josh, the panel will also feature host Becky Mickletz (Remickz Marketing) and panelist Brandy Sachen (Sofar Sounds Denver). In the competitive marketing world, connecting with these mentors is exactly what you need to establish your own brand dominance.

Details for this Denver Design Week panel are below and you can snag $15 tickets here. Join our Facebook event for your chance to win two free tickets! Panelists are available for press and interviews; connect with us at publicrelations@flg.agency for requests. We can’t wait to see you October 18th!

Denver Design Week Panel details:

“More Than a Logo: How to Establish a Unique Brand in a Cookie Cutter World”

Thursday, October 18th 2018 at 1:30PM

The Yard at Denargo Market 2323 Delgany Street Denver, CO 80216

More About SIXINCH North America

Founded in Belgium in 2003 by Pieter Jamart and Michel Sels, SIXINCH was born from a passion for innovative materials and progressive design. In 2013, Peter and Michel partnered with U.S.-based Wieland Designs, a well-respected company in the furniture industry, and expanded the footprint for one of the most talked about furniture brands in the world. Their furniture has been featured in the international market at The Mondrian Hotel in Miami, The Centre Pompidou in Paris, Moscow’s Airport, and for commissioned installations in New York, Rotterdam, and Hamburg. With some of their more whimsical pieces, SIXINCH has even expanded their market into children’s hospitals, the aforementioned music festival space, and more. Earlier this year, SIXINCH North American opened their first showroom at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago during the NeoCon trade fair, the largest American trade fair for design professionals. One of the company’s most popular pieces, The Cliffy, has previously been the winner of a “Best of Neocon Editors’ Choice Award.”SIXINCH has a number of products newly available for 2018, from chic seated pieces like The Gnarly to the more fanciful and intriguing Tapa if you’re interested in browsing more.

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Personal Branding - What We Can Learn from Christiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo. The name likely rings a bell, considering his great soccer achievement as striker/center forward for Real Madrid. What he has also been able to “score”, though, is the interest of the public. Ronaldo has a composite 133 million Instagram followers, 74.4 million Twitter followers, and 120 million Facebook followers. These are beyond impressive numbers. Ronaldo’s thoroughly crafted social media presence helps build and keep his following. Due to this ever-growing popularity, Cristiano has been able to warp his soccer career into multiple sponsorships and job opportunities. Christiano is THE soccer superstar from Real Madrid. He is the attractive humanitarian admired by soccer fans and non-soccer fans alike and a stellar example of building your brand and the benefits of doing so.

The key to developing a personal brand? It’s all about marketing an individual as the incredible product that they are. Consider the three V’s that come into play with personal branding: Value, Variation, and Velocity.

 

Value:

Value is exactly what it sounds like. If you want to build your personal brand, you want to be perceived as a person of value. In Ronaldo’s case, not only is he an incredible athlete, but he is also a charitable and well-traveled individual, devoted to his partner and family. Ronaldo received 19,000 retweets on a photo of him and his family enjoying each other’s company for a candid “Good Morning” tweet.

Defining what the public deems valuable means research; however, some things (charity work, for example) receive almost universally favorable feedback. Ronaldo’s photo on Instagram supporting “World Blood Donor Day” acquired over 3.3 million likes. His tweet about the Rohingya refugee situation highlighted not only his interest in “saving the children” but his involvement in world matters. This tweet received 21,000 retweets.

Variation:

Variation is vital in our increasingly attention-dwindling society. This means, along with your main identity (soccer in Ronaldo’s case), you also need to keep things fresh and well-rounded to display that YOU are fresh and well-rounded. Along with attractive posts and photos highlighting your primary skill/attribute, include various facets of your life. This can be family or anything else unique that contributes to who you are and why you’re “not like the other (athletes/entrepreneurs/artists)”. Ronaldo does a great job of this by including glimpses of his interest in exploring the world, fashion modeling, and being with his loved ones.

Velocity:

Velocity is arguably the most crucial component when it comes to building your brand. It is how you keep yourself in the forefront of the public’s mind. Photos, videos, tweets, and posts being uploaded at a high velocity means an enhanced social media presence.

Ronaldo Cristiano has a whopping 2,296 posts on Instagram (an ever-growing number) along with hundreds of Tweets/Facebook posts. This is a visual representation of how he provides the public with daily doses of his personal brand.

 

In addition to his great social media presence, Cristiano has also taken steps to be featured on various talk shows and even has his own film with the fitting name, “Ronaldo”. With each public appearance, the three V’s are utilized and he is lifted in popularity.

How is an individual to stay on top of all of this? That is where we come into play. FL+G is here to help you grow your following, develop a personal brand that resonates with the public, and open the door to new and lucrative opportunities. Contact us today for more information on our personal branding packages! 

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Business Resolution Revolution

A New Year’s resolution can be more stressful than empowering, especially when the resolution involves your business. In both personal and professional life, many of us start out our years with a vast, seemingly unreachable resolution. A new year brings high hopes, and we often lose sight of the attainable. While having large goals to strive towards is a great motivator, focusing solely on massive resolutions can be discouraging rather than motivating. Major, longterm goals are achieved by achieving a series of small resolutions. Your 2018 business resolution should act as a stepping stone towards your larger business resolution. It should play a role in your larger goals, but should also be attainable. Plus if you achieve your resolution ahead of time, you can always make another! To help you out, we have compiled some of the most popular and helpful business resolutions that you could adopt in 2018.

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New Year. New Quarter. New Strategy.

2018 is a new year, which means it’s time to figure out your first quarter marketing
strategy. Your ‘great product’ means nothing without great sales, and great sales are a result of
great marketing. Creating a solid marketing strategy from the get go will set you up for major
success in the following year.

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Social Media - The Importance of Providing Value, Distinguishing Yourself, and Creating A Virtual Community

Social media has taken the world by storm. We live in an age where having a social
media profile is no longer a choice. It’s a must. Online branding and personas are no longer
limited to large businesses and companies, rather every single representative - be it a
representative for oneself or a representative for a larger group - is required to have an online
presence.

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Choosing A Company Name: How 8 Agencies Picked Their Names

How does a company get its name? Is it through rigorous, consumer-based testing? Or conceived over a beer? Or by hiring an expert? If you are a start-up, you often don’t have the big budgets or time to conduct months of expensive research to identify the absolute best name. To better understand one of the earliest, and most important decisions entrepreneurs will make, the choice of the firm’s name, I sought insight from several agencies. Below are some of the inventive ways that companies arrived at their names.

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Listening, Strategically.

In branding, advertising, and marketing it might be assumed that he who has the loudest voice, wins the most consumers. As the Greek philosopher Epictetus once remarked, however, “we have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak”. While understated, listening is an essential part of the branding and/or marketing process and a skill I’ve personally found value in honing. As I look back at my career, learning to listen has been a key to success, regardless of industry.

Agencies are Afflicted with the Busyness Disease

If you work at an agency, you’re pretty much 100 percent guaranteed to experience a variation of the following conversation in the next few months: “How’s it going?” “Busy.” “Well, a good problem to have.”

What you’re experiencing is a symptom of an affliction that plagues agencies across the boards: a “busy trap” mentality that prizes busywork over real productivity.

“It’s a huge problem within agencies,” said Matt Howell, global chief digital officer at Havas. “There is pride in having a meeting calendar that’s ‘back-to-backs.’”

Indeed, trying to get a meeting with an ad agency executive is often near impossible, with multiple assistants coordinating times and huge chunks of calendars that are just blocked out with meetings. Howell said that it’s also a machismo thing — and a self-perpetuating one at that: People that are “sought after” are often the ones that tend to keep their calendars full.

Vann Graves, chief creative officer at FL+G, said his entire career he has seen a lot of “busy time” with no productivity. To be sure, these calendars aren’t blocked because actual work is being done. It’s simply because of meetings — a scourge in the agency world that many rail against. Graves calls them phantom meetings — when people go to meetings followed by another meeting but there’s never any quiet time to actually execute or process what happened in those meetings. It’s also a problem beyond optics. Howell said that creative people who actually don’t perform well without quiet time suffer in a busy-trap culture because their time gets directed into meetings instead of actual work.

One big driver of the phenomenon may be that agencies traditionally bill on time. Even as fee methods change, executives that grew up in a world of hourly billings that looked at how time was spent feel the need to cram their days, said Graves. “It’s a residual effect on the industry because we were all raised in the billable-hour world.” The digital era also made being busy more possible: There’s always more Twitter to be checked and one more email to be sent. There’s also more work to be done, and less time to be doing it. 

That leads to a general feeling that if someone doesn’t have their calendars full, they’re slacking off. “We do a busy brag,” said Noah Mallin, head of social at MEC. And it works across agencies — Mallin said he has a friend at another agency and they regularly compare how busy they are. “It’s a measuring contest.”

It might be darker than that: One agency vp, who said he didn’t want to be named for this article, said that he finds he’s increasingly “busy” with absolutely meaningless tasks — not real work. And along with his peers, he wondered if the reason for it is to cover up the fact that he isn’t actually producing anything. “Lunches with clients are part of what I do, for example, and then I have meetings with my team about how those lunches went,” he said. “But I realized that if I didn’t have those meetings, I really would find myself at wit’s end. Maybe I’m busy because if I wasn’t, I’d realize I don’t really do anything that important after all.”

Of course, the idea of time poverty isn’t new. Back in 2011, a Gallup poll reported that the more successful, or cash-rich, Americans became, the less time they seemed to have. More eloquently, a professor at the University of Texas in Austin called the time stress complaint the “yuppie kvetch,” suggesting the more technologically progressive and successful people became, the likelier they were to complain about feeling time-crunched.

And yet, Howell said he hasn’t seen similar issues in other places that bill by time, like in the consultancy world, for example. “The problem isn’t quite pervasive there,” he said. “In our industry, we have this ‘being crazed is good’ phenomenon because it shows that there’s demand for you and what you’re doing.”

At Engine Digital, the company worked with agency consultancy Agency Agile to change how the company operated, setting predetermined blocks of time for meetings so people were free the rest of the day. At Grey Advertising, there’s long been a “no-meeting” rule for certain days of the week. Howell at Havas is experimenting with fewer meetings and more workshopping so things actually get done.

“Everything is moving fast, so if you’re not busy, you’re probably doing something wrong,” said Graves. “I’ve got a lot of busy to take care of. Busy is built into the system.”

By Shareen Pathak - published - Digiday - June 28th 2016

 

The Inventor of Customer Satisfaction Surveys Is Sick of Them, Too

Fourteen years ago, an executive at Bain & Co had a suggestion -- create a short consumer survey to test brand loyalty. The idea took off, so much so that the executive, Fred Reichheld, has watched it morph into a Frankenstein: the endless loop of “brief” satisfaction surveys following a dental appointment, car rental or salad at a corner restaurant. 

Not only are the requests inescapable, but employees increasingly pressure, even bribe, customers to offer only the highest marks, raising real questions about the results.

Reichheld came face to face with the monster he unwittingly helped spawn when he recently entered a hotel lobby where a sign read, “If there’s any reason you can’t give us a 10, stop by the front desk. We’ll make it worth your while.” 

 

That hotel is no outlier. An Allstate insurance agency in Westchester, New York, sends customers frequent notes pushing them to give it a flawless score on an e-mailed survey by saying the customers will benefit: “Each time we obtain a ‘Perfect 10’ on the survey, our agency is given additional resources from Allstate that will allow us to provide our clients with an even higher level of service.” 

Trump University

Trump University students who have sued for false promises have testified that they were pressured to give high marks to professors. Uber riders are familiar with the not-so-gentle demand from drivers for five stars out of five. 

The explosive growth in instant customer surveys results from a confluence of forces, scholars say: the growing thirst for client feedback to improve products and services; the increasing focus on data; the ease of reaching customers via e-mail and text; and the growing conviction that by rating a product, customers gain a stake in it, that they become members of that product’s “community.”

“There was a time in marketing where the consumer was on the sidelines,” said Vann Graves, chief executive officer of FL+G, an advertising and marketing company. “Now this idea of participatory marketing helps to engage people. It’s like, ‘I’m affecting the brand by participating.’"

Those under 35 have grown used to this approach and consult many online reviews before making a purchase, according to Nora Ganim Barnes, professor of marketing at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

But the tsunami of surveys -- more than two-thirds of Fortune 1000 companies use the Net Promoter System started by Reichheld, according to Bain -- is making them far less useful, Graves said, and change seems inevitable.

Foot Cream on Twitter

There was a time, he noted by way of example, when every brand thought it necessary to have a Facebook page or Twitter handle. “Do I really care if Pepto-Bismol has a Facebook page?” he asked. “Do I really want to follow my foot cream on Twitter?”

“We’re just in the middle of everybody doing it,” he said. “It works for a lot of service oriented things, but I’m not going to rate my toilet paper online.”

Context is clearly important. TripAdvisor Inc. doesn’t face survey fatigue, according to Brian Payea, head of industry relations, because people want others to learn of their travel experiences. 

“It’s the thing you want to share, whereas the fertilizer I bought and the deck-paint I bought that I got requests to review, it’s like, ‘Hmm, not that passionate about it,”’ he said.

Problems with surveys are two-fold, researchers said. First, too many surveys with too many questions turn off consumers. Second, results that are tied to employee bonuses -- or jobs -- prove inaccurate. Combined, these problems are turning a useful method of interacting with customers into a headache.

People are losing patience. Pew Research telephone poll respondents fell from 36 percent in 1997 to 9 percent in 2012, according to a company report. The number is likely even lower today.

Survey Fatigue

Those who do respond often do not make it through the whole survey, especially if it’s longer than a couple of questions. Each minute, 2 to 4 percent of respondents abandon the cause, according to a 2015 retail industry study by Medallia Inc., a consumer experience research company.

“Survey fatigue is a real (and growing) problem facing anyone who wants to collect data,” wrote Andrea Fryrear, in a SurveyGizmo blog post Feb. 25. “If we want to be able to continue to get information from an audience, we have to design survey projects that are respectful of their time.”

For Michelle Henry, co-founder and president of the Akron, Ohio-based Center for Marketing and Opinion Research LLC, the solution to the problem of consumer turnoff is giving more thoughtful surveys just once or twice a year aimed specifically at helping improve products.

The wrong way is tying surveys to compensation or benefits and having the employees give them, she said, like some restaurants where waiters ask customers to fill out a survey and put in a good word for them.

Customer Ill Will

In a letter to the editor of Automotive News in 2013, Ronald Russo, executive manager at Vaden Automotive Group in Savannah, Georgia, complained that survey fatigue was leading to customer ill will and harsh responses.

“If our dealership gets poor survey ratings because customers state they are tired of receiving surveys, the manufacturers will count that against us,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Reichheld said, bloated ratings defeat the purpose. Coaching responses can drive scores up, yet higher scores indicate nothing about whether the customer will return or recommend.

“The instant we have a technology to minimize surveys, I’m the first one on that bandwagon,” Reichheld said.

By Jennifer Kaplan Published - Bloomberg - May 4, 2016

 

How to Fix the Agency Model

Four Reasons Why a Production Structure Will Help Agencies Succeed

The idea that the agency model is "broken" is something that's been kicked around the advertising world for a while now, with few concrete ideas to suggest what might replace it -- until recently. During a spirited speech at the Association of National Advertisers' Masters of Marketing conference this October, PepsiCo president Brad Jakeman called out ad holding companies' lack of interest in acquiring content studios and the apparent reluctance of advertising veterans to move away from traditional platforms like TV.

While I'm not on board with the argument that the advertising world hasn't caught up to our digital reality, I can't disagree that the agency model is overdue for a full overhaul. It goes without saying that the days of producing a TV spot with some print and digital work to back it up are over, yet this is the workflow many agencies are still structured for. Brands are now expected to produce thousands of pieces of content in an endless cycle, on a fraction of the budget they might have had for a campaign 20 years ago. This is a state of affairs that most agencies completely understand, but are not set up to accomplish in the most effective, efficient way.

It's time for a better, smarter way of doing business. Today's client needs call for a model that grafts the creative assets of the traditional agency onto the structure and technical capabilities of a production company. Where planning was once integral to the usefulness of an agency, these days things move so quickly that the ability to be flexible and react instantly is often a more valuable and useful skill. This is what the production structure and mindset allows for. Here's what else it brings to agencies:

1. A production model allows agencies to bring content to market quickly. There's no waiting for back-and-forth with third-party production companies. There's no drawn-out approval process, no time spent briefing someone else's creatives, no worry that your team won't mesh with someone else's. You control the creative process and the production schedule, from start to finish.

2. It enhances the creative process by allowing for experimentation. Just as startups innovate through rapid prototyping and endless testing, agencies with production capabilities built in can keep pushing their ideas forward, and discard what doesn't work, without paying a third party for the project.

3. The agency production model allows you to produce a huge variety and volume of content across platforms. Delivering beyond the brief and showing your client that you're capable of iterating and pushing your creative in many different directions is hugely valuable.

4. It allows agencies to react to what's happening in the news and in culture in real time. It's not enough to just create content for your clients -- it needs to be relevant. This is crucial for brands trying to gain earned media and have a voice in the larger cultural conversation.

The agencies that are well placed in this era are those that were born from production companies in the first place, and later evolved into creative agencies. They have built their creative process off a production foundation and now are finding that they are well-suited to the current climate. But that's not to say that traditional agencies can't catch up. In fact, some larger agencies are wisely beefing up their production capabilities by building studios and hiring in-house production teams. In the coming years, those that don't or can't do the same will likely find themselves left behind.

By  Vann GravesPublished - AdAge - November 04, 2015.