Welcome to G/L, Mary Sawyer!

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Welcome to G/L, Mary Sawyer!

January was a big month for Geile/Leon. Kathy Leonard, our VP of Public Relations, officially retired after 14 years with the company. We are sad to see her go, but hope that she’ll still pop in once in awhile for our Friday happy hour (when she’s not golfing or traveling, of course).

But, it’s true what they say, “When one door closes, another opens.” We’re excited to have Mary Sawyer as our new VP of Public Relations!


Mary brings more than 25 years of experience in marketing, media relations, corporate communications, employee communications, public relations counsel and issue management to G/L. She has worked private and publicly traded corporations, government agencies, higher education institutions and advertising agencies. Needless to say, with all of this experience we know Mary will be an integral part of the G/L team and the success of our clients.

Mary graduated from the University of Missouri with a journalism degree and from SLU with an MBA. She has three kids and lives in St. Louis County with her husband, Michael.

Welcome to the G/L team, Mary!

The College Experience: Marketing Education to Millennials

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

The College Experience: Marketing Education to Millennials

The senior year of a high school student can be viewed as the most tumultuous time in a young person’s life, and for good reason. Everything that a student has been building towards for the past eighteen years of their life comes to fruition in a few short steps across a stage and a single handshake. In one moment, years of routine are stripped away and questions as deeply probing as they are plentiful begin to take hold of the adolescent mind. Questions such as “Am I making the right choice?” ”Will I fit in with my peers?” ”Should I look into Greek life?” or simply “Can I do this?” all claw away at the mind without rest.

These questions and concerns cannot be answered with any number of campus tours or informational seminars; the answers may only come from experiential knowledge, from trial and error, from life. This is what makes the outset of the college experience so frightening for some – and believe me, I was among those concerned. It is with great satisfaction, however, that I can tell you that the experience in question was without a doubt one of the fondest memories I have collected in my 24 years of life. With that being said, I will try my best to erase any doubts and spare you from a few growing pains many college freshmen endure.

For marketers, understanding the mindset of the incoming student is imperative to finding success in driving admission. It’s graduation rate or the diversity of classes can no longer be solely relied upon to entice a student into enrolling at a college or university – but rather the implied experience that will come hand in hand with a residence hall and meal plan. An incoming student needs to be reassured that their school of choice will keep them fulfilled both in and out of the classroom, because that is truly what they are looking forward to. Put simply, a student expects to receive a great education – yet hopes to have a fun, rewarding experience. It is time for universities to acknowledge the aspects of their campus and culture that extend beyond the classroom and appeal to the more intricate facets of student personas.

What we have done here recently for Lindenwood University, is produce a TV spot that illustrates this very idea. An ad that utilizes the work and creativity of students from the University – both on and off campus, that captures the truest aspects of student life as seen by themselves. In doing so, you can see, as an incoming student, exactly what you will be getting yourself into. We really believe that an advertisement done in this manner allows inbound students a glimpse into what their next four years could be like.

The collegiate world needs to understand that millennial students desire more than a degree. They are looking for their time at college to be a culturing, life affirming, and romanticized realization of the past 18 years of their academic journey. Popular culture simply demands that it be as such. Understanding this is the key to winning the hearts of today’s students because so many things are taken for granted. They know they’ll go to college, they know they’ll graduate with a degree, but what they aren’t sure of is whether or not it will live up to their wildest expectations. I found my time in college to be everything that I had hoped for it to be and more – but I had to find it all out myself. If a University had the foresight to tell us the things we spend four years discovering and experiencing, before we step foot on campus… well, they wouldn’t have to spend very much on marketing after that.

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Seeing Things Differently

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Seeing Things Differently

Geile/Leon does a lot of work targeting millennials…we’re always talking about their social media habits, FOMO, brand interaction, decision making processes, etc. What we don’t always focus on is how this generation looks at things differently than their predecessors – especially when it comes to culture and race. Being a millennial myself, it’s honestly something I don’t even think about. So, when I saw this AdWeek article and MTV’s efforts to be “color brave” and start an open conversation, I thought it was pretty cool. MTV launched “The Talk” website featuring a series of PSA’s, information about hidden biases and stereotypes, how to combat racial/gender/LGBT biases and how to turn the conversation into something positive. Not only does this site look really cool, it offers some valuable information on how my generation looks at race/gender/sexuality and where we can make positive changes.

“Millennials believe strongly in fairness, but they can also find it difficult to talk openly about race—to be not simply ‘color blind’ but ‘color brave,'” said Stephen Friedman, president of MTV.  “Our audience is looking for a way to bring the national conversation on race into their homes, and this campaign will give them a forum to express true color bravery.”

So, to help celebrate MLK day, check out the site. It’s a good reminder that we’ve come a long way, but there’s still opportunity to challenge bias.

2015 Trend Sharing

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

2015 Trend Sharing

Every Monday after our weekly status meeting we have a trend update. G/Lers are encouraged to bring and share a trend with the group with the intention of starting some internal discussion and sparking an idea for a client. We share both macro and micro trends and people bring a variety of topics – design, technology, research, consumer behavior, digital, etc.

Just a refresher, a macro trend is large-scale shift in consumer interest and a micro trend is more influential than a fad, but usually impacts a smaller, more specific group of people. (For example, a macro trend is The Internet of Things (IoT) and a micro trend is wearing a fitness band.)

Because the start of the year brings on new resolutions and initiatives, I’ve decided to start sharing some of our discussions that happen on Mondays. Knowledge sharing never hurts and it may lend some inspiration.

CES Trends:

The Consumer Electronic Show wrapped up at the end of last week. Following the show, articles galore were published outlining the top trends to emerge from the the show. There was a lot of cool technology shared — Dish’s Sling TV, the 4K TV, self-driving cars, smartwatches that incorporate function and style, health wearables, virtual reality, etc. When looking at the lists of the top trends there’s one word that stands out: Connected. The age where everything is connected is here – cars, TVs, watches, fitness bands, phones, lights, refrigerators, a/c…the universe of Internet of Things is growing. What devices do you have? Have you jumped on the IoT bandwagon yet?

Apple Design Myths:

One of our interactive designers shared an interesting article with the group that gives a bit of insight into the design world of Apple through ex-employees. Apple is known for design and is believed to have some of the best designers in the world on staff. However, one of the company’s ex-designers unveiled that it’s not about having the best design team or the best process, they are successful because of the culture. Everybody there is thinking about UX and design, not just the designers. So, the process of design is fully supported from the CEO to the engineers to the marketing team.

OK Go Video

Now, this video was released toward the end of last year, but we’re currently working on a few video projects so one of our creatives thought he’d share OK Go’s “I Won’t Let You Down” video. OK Go is known for intricate videos and this one does not disappoint. The group rides around on electronic unicycles opening and closing umbrellas with about 1,000 extras. The result is visually jaw dropping and makes anyone on the production side think of the coordination involved in getting every shot in this video just right.

Forbes – 2015 Marketing Trends

You’ve probably read all of the trend predictions for 2015 that you can handle, but we thought this article provided a good snapshot of what’s to come in 2015 in marketing. Brand authenticity and real-time communication is still at the forefront. In addition, finding new ways to connect consumers to brands through emotion, storytelling and experiences will be key. Consumers are smart and expect a lot out of a brand and this year will prove that it’s time for all brands (not only the big ones) to respond.

Stay tuned for our next update and feel free to share any news/trends that you think will have an impact.