Trending from G/L: How the #NeverAgain Movement is Working Like an Agency

The Blog

Meg Strange
Senior Account Executive

Trending from G/L: How the #NeverAgain Movement is Working Like an Agency

Over the past year and a half, buzz words in media and marketing have revolved around one thing: “social.” Social media, social commentary, social movements… we like to talk about things. And given the number of momentous events that have transpired over that period of time – the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly – we’ve had plenty to talk about.

Brands and media outlets can draw criticism when they get involved with the discussion surrounding some of these heavy, sensitive topics. Whether it’s being ill-informed, or being accused of exploiting controversial subjects for personal gain, we’ve all seen PR disasters happen on social media. But when brands and media outlets really listen to what’s going on in the world, they can provide a megaphone to individuals who, up until this point, may have felt voiceless – an incredible success not only for the brands and media outlets, but for our community as a whole. Often, this megaphone manifests itself as social media.

The tragedy that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida stunned and saddened people all over the world. But somewhere in that tragedy, a group of teenagers found enough strength and determination to take charge of one of the most vexing and controversial debates in the United States. And they’re using social media to make it happen.

This movement, aptly titled #NeverAgain, has played an integral role in organizing possibly the largest single-day protest in the history of our nation’s capital, has core leadership that has amassed over 2 million followers on Twitter and has changed the gun conversation in America… and it’s made up of two dozen young adults ranging in age from 17 – 20 operating out of a Florida strip mall. Welcome to the 21st century.

According to an article by Vanity Fair, the atmosphere in the #NeverAgain headquarters is akin to the vibe of the Saturday Night Live writers’ room. It’s a social media think tank where a group of animated and highly driven high school (and some college) students gather to strategize the content, tone, messages and tactics that will continue the movement’s momentum that has amassed in the past few weeks.

The group is made up of individuals from a variety of backgrounds and talents, all collaborating to cultivate engaging and easily shareable social content that will continue to captivate and earn support from our country and, possibly, the world. They vet creative ideas, develop memes, write and shoot short-form video, draft event speeches and more. They constantly consider their key audiences and the best ways to attract and engage them. They brainstorm, concept, debate and create.

Wait a tick…that kind of sounds like…an agency. As I read this article, I was amazed at the knowledge, skills and level of thinking these kids seem to possess. The conversations they’re having, the questions they’re asking, the work they’re doing and the energy they’re creating is comparable to what professionals across our industry have spent years developing and perfecting. This group of adolescents is operating a content studio, PR firm, social media agency and non-profit organization all at once and all while still in school! As industry professionals, we are often quick to criticize the notion that anyone can become a designer, content creator, strategist—but these kids are challenging the status quo and proving that, with enough tenacity and grit, they can achieve anything.

So, is it just plain luck that they’ve formed the perfect team to carry this movement? Or, is their competence in capturing our attention just the reality of a generation who has been reared in the digital age? Or, is it simply a group of passionate young people who realize they have the power and the resources to create real change? Either way, whether or not you agree with their message or this movement, I believe we can all agree that what they are doing is equal parts impressive and inspirational.

The Trouble with Design Templates

The Blog

Ben Schwab
Art Director

The Trouble with Design Templates

Say you need a one-time solution that cuts down time and cost from production of your print and design pieces. That’s what standardized design templates are for, right? They’re easy to use and promise to alleviate the headache of managing external communication with an agency on a regular basis for every minute project. But sometimes, it’s possible the benefits are offset by some unexpected drawbacks.

Benefits of a Design Templates System

The number one supportive reasoning behind the desire for a template-based system is cost savings. The list below breaks down why, in theory, the use of a template could lead to this desired effect.

  1. Time – Now that a look and layout have been established, your internal art department should be able to easily plug-in copy and photography for production of quick-turn print and digital projects.
  2. Consistency – The use of a template clearly defines guidelines and graphic elements to carry across all artwork, leading to a consistent tone and feel for all of your projects.
  3. Internal – Provides you with the comfort of dealing with your own employees face to face. With proper use of the template, your own art department can handle all projects internally. 

Drawbacks to a Template Design System

Clearly, there are great benefits to using design templates. However, in practice there is a list of drawbacks you should prepare yourself for, including but not limited to:

  1. Time – Having an internal production department handle creation of ads based on a template can take just as much time, if not more, as having the agency handle production of artwork. Since the agency is more familiar with the design, the turn-around on artwork may actually be more cost effective by leaving it in their hands.
  2. Compromised Design – Sacrifice of unique and eye-catching design can occasionally result from simplifying templates to be easier for internal production artists to replicate accurately and quickly.
  3. Longevity – Often changing opinions and direction can force a template to be scrapped after only a short time of use.

There’s no doubt the use of templates can prove beneficial. We have created them successfully for a multitude of clients and continue to do so. But whether the benefits outweigh the possible pitfalls is ultimately up to you and should be carefully considered. If you find yourself in a bind, feel free to lean on us. We’re your resource and are more than willing to help see your project through to completion.

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Geile/Leon Marketing Communications Wins New Business and Awards

The Blog

Mary Sawyer
Vice President of Public Relations

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications Wins New Business and Awards

The year 2016 has been busy for Geile/Leon Marketing Communications so far as we proudly work with our great long-term clients and welcome a pair of terrific new clients – LCN, an industry leader in door control and Upper Iowa University, a private institution of higher education.

LCN Products, of Carmel, Ind., is an international brand of door closers and hardware that specializes in safety and security challenges. For LCN, G/L is providing strategic planning, marketing, branding and new product introduction services.

For Upper Iowa University, located in Fayette, Iowa, G/L is developing a strategic positioning and branding program that will be the basis for the institution’s future marketing and communications.

“We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with our newest clients primarily because they’re great organizations to work with,” said Tim Leon, President and Lead Strategist at Geile/Leon Marketing Communications. “It’s our goal that every new client we bring on is the beginning of a long, productive partnership that will make both organizations stronger now and long into the future.”

And, while we don’t work for awards, it has been gratifying this year to be recognized for our efforts.

For instance, we are very pleased to have been named in the Small Business Monthly’s annual reader survey as one of the best businesses in the area. Readers named us as one of the Top 5 Marketing Firms in St. Louis.

The St. Louis Business Journal lists St. Louis advertising, marketing and public relations firms by number of employees. We’re in the Top 30 this year… not the biggest of the firms, but we’re proud of the capabilities we have to offer. Our clients know that we have most of the capabilities of much larger firms, but provide them unparalleled service, creativity and attention.

Have any questions about what we’re working on? Shoot us a note anytime:

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Winning Habits of B2B Brands

The Blog

Dave Geile
Creative Director Managing Partner

Winning Habits of B2B Brands

In B2B it isn’t always about price to your customers. You need more. In a Buyersphere Report I read recently, it cited several of the strongest attributes of B2B brands and suppliers that win business, and why customers bought from them. I cherry picked the ones we believe strongly in and apply to our own potential new business customers. Here are a few results from the study and my thoughts behind them.

Awareness

The biggest and strongest attribute was simply, “I heard of them.”  Two thirds of buyers polled said they had previous knowledge of the company selected. So get your company out there, and be seen in the right places and in front of the right people. For B2B brands, more than 75% of industrial buyers go to search engines or directly to supplier websites for information. Frankly, I found that number to be surprisingly low. But remember, not every communication you put out needs to sell something. Get people aware of your company philosophy, and tell them “why” you do what you do, not just what and how. Our company operates under a philosophy created by Simon Sinek. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” You need to give yourself some greater value-added.

Location

Don’t sweat it, nearly 50% of B2B buyers said location was not an issue in their decision to purchase. B2B products are not location dependent. But you be the judge. After pointing that out, it was interesting the study pointed out that nearly 20% of buyers ended up buying from a supplier within a distance of about thirty miles. This may be in support of my last point below, but we try to go see clients on a regular basis, no matter where they are. For me, our product is easy to ship anywhere. We are a brand driven strategic marketing firm. An “Idea Factory” if you will, and those ideas ship nicely in a handy little zip file. But don’t let location get in the way of personal contact.

Quality

The study said that 65% agreed that their chosen supplier simply had the best product or service. Pricing was less of an issue, with nearly 50% agreeing their selected supplier did offer the lowest price. But my marketing experience of the past tells me, you don’t want to be the lowest price. If customers are always shopping you on cost alone, you are just a commodity. You need to have added value, a unique selling proposition, a strong brand and employees who deliver on the brand. Then you can offer the highest value, not the lowest price.

Understanding

This was the fourth most cited reason for awarding business. The study said nearly 60% of buyers said the final selection of the winning supplier was because they understood their needs, and their business, better than the others. So do your homework. Go in with a full grasp and understanding of what your potential customers “pain” is, then take a look at what you have in your portfolio that will fix the problem for them. We have worked in many distribution channels of all types, done new product naming and launching, corporate images and market brand positioning. We have made huge efforts to go deep into B2B brands to find their “why” and their unique selling position.  But even after all this, we will never know our clients business as well as they do, so we don’t act like it. But we do know marketing and brand positioning, and these basic principles apply to most any B2B business.

The human touch

Don’t underestimate it. In a world of digital communication, it can make all the difference. The Buyersphere Study asked respondents about what their most memorable communication during the buying process was. For 88% that communication came from the winning supplier, and most mentioned personal contact even if it was by phone.

Want to help your B2B brands get to the next level? Contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

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Trending from G/L: Are Facebook’s Office Perks the Height of Company Culture?

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: Are Facebook’s Office Perks the Height of Company Culture?

Out in Silicon Valley, average annual salaries are about $195,000, and even interns tend to pocket $6000 per month. In an arena where money is hardly an object, what’s a company to do to entice sharp minds to join their team?

One word: Perks. And lots of them.

Just take a look at what Facebook has done to create the ideal work environment for their employees:

Let’s whet your appetite with a little food talk, shall we? Gourmet food courts and private chefs can be found across campus, catering to any craving or diet needs imaginable. It’s a feast of kings within your grasp every day, absolutely free.

Of course, what responsible company would offer such variety of delicious flavors without a way to burn off the extra calories? At Facebook, a fully loaded gym and rock-climbing wall provide an outlet to keep employees happy and healthy, complete with an array of fitness and rock-climbing classes. Even the commute across campus allows for a little exercise with a fleet of bikes available for any Facebook employee to pick up and ride on.

For those times when employees hit a mental roadblock, or just need a break from the daily grind, Facebook has artistic outlets to keep those creative juices flowing. Their analogue research lab art studio is available for anyone to pop in and create their own works of art. A music room, complete with guitar amps and a grand piano, is open for anyone looking for a midday jam session. And according to Facebook employees, taking this chance to tune out other distractions can be a huge boon in figuring out challenges in their work lives.

But in today’s highly connected digital age, there may be no greater perk at Facebook than not receiving any flak for being on Facebook all day. It’s all part of the job, keeping a finger on the pulse of this social media empire they’ve created.

Facebook realizes that for their business to succeed, they need to prioritize a company culture of taking care of their own, making Facebook an exciting place to come to work at every morning and grow a lasting career. Obviously, not every company out there can afford such luxuries for their employees. But even stocking the fridge for a beer thirty with the crew or throwing a company-wide luau once in a while can really help rally the troops together, and keep your employees motivated to excel. After all, inspired work flows from inspired individuals.

Drop us a line and tell us what you’re doing to keep that spark going in your company’s culture and keeps your employees coming back for more.

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Find Your Why: No One Rallies Around Mission Statements, So Discover Your Purpose

The Blog

Randy Micheletti
VP, Director of Brand Strategy

Find Your Why: No One Rallies Around Mission Statements, So Discover Your Purpose

B2B

Think about your liquor cabinet. Now think about that tired, dusty bottle of “Old Crow” that’s sitting on the bottom shelf. Something you glance over every once in a while but never dream of opening it or bringing it out of the shadows and into the light of day.

Pretty similar to your company’s mission statement? You felt like you had to put one together but haven’t looked at it for years. You probably can’t even quote the first sentence of it.

Well, you’re not alone. Many companies feel the need to deliver a mission statement and most do. The problem is they lose focus, make the statement way too long for any of their employees to remember, and once it’s done, house it on their web site or in a company document without ever referring to it.

If it’s not part of your daily routine and clear to your employees, then what good is it? That’s why we believe in Simon Sinek’s model – we believe that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Your why should be concise, simple and straight to the point. It has to answer several questions, most importantly, why do you get out of bed every morning and do what you do and why does your company exist? With all the competition in many categories you have to make your brand stand out. Your why can help do just that.

So, find your why, communicate it both internally and externally and see how your culture and your business changes.

I know our why – “We believe every company has a deeper purpose, and it’s our job to find out what that is.” If you’d like us to help you figure out your why, just reach out. It’s what we do – and we’re good at it.

WIN A FREE WHY BOOK

Plus, if you fill out the form below, you’ll be entered to win a copy of Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

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Find Your Why: Why Do You Do What You Do?

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Find Your Why: Why Do You Do What You Do?

What makes a company successful?

That is a question that start-ups and longstanding businesses alike find themselves asking when times get tough.

This complex question has a very simple answer. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

In 2009, Simon Sinek released “Start With Why,” a book outlining exactly what makes companies who are concrete in their purpose so prosperous.

“Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. When I say WHY, I don’t mean to make money—that’s a result. By WHY I mean what is your purpose, cause or belief? WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?”

These questions are not something that many companies have truly thought about. There are so many different brands fighting for the top spot in the same industry; to stand out seems nearly impossible. It takes an organization that has a clear vision for what they are trying to achieve, and that vision needs to be valued from the company president all the way to the office intern.

Once an organization has established their core belief – one that defines everything that they are doing everyday – it is time to share the message. Consumers are going to choose the brand that they can believe in. When they can relate to and understand a company’s “why,” there is a certain level of trust established – in quality and service. The customer is going to remember that brand and become loyal to it.

When you find your why, success is simple: believe in your business and others will do the same.

Are you looking to inspire people to believe in what you are doing, but can’t quite define your “why”? We’re always here to help out.

WIN A FREE WHY BOOK

Plus, if you fill out the form below, you’ll be entered to win a copy of Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

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Trending from G/L: What Makes Mobile Marketing Matter?

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: What Makes Mobile Marketing Matter?

The mobile platform is advertising’s newest puzzle and it’s making creatives question their storytelling tactics. With high traffic and low engagement, mobile marketing is established enough to have brands knocking at its door, but most are questioning if anyone’s even home. Mountain Dew, BBDO NY, OMD Worldwide, and Google’s Art, Copy & Code team joined forces to figure out how video advertising needs to evolve in order to be effective in a mobile setting—Unskippable Labs was born.

The collaborators took an existing television advertisement (Mountain Dew Kickstart’s “Come Alive”) and created three versions, each varying in length and content. Using YouTube TrueView (it gives viewers the option to skip ads), they monitored the viewership of each cut in an effort to understand what catches the attention of mobile viewers.

The three cuts included:

“The Original”—a traditional 30-second TV spot with a clear beginning, middle, and end.

“The Big Punch”—a 31-second mobile ad that presents the brand before the viewer has a chance to skip.

“Pure Fun”—a 93-second cut that drops viewers into the middle of the action. Here, there’s no real story arc and the brand is subtly featured throughout.

Viewers had no clear preference when viewing the three ads from desktop computers—view-through rates were nearly equal; however, on mobile, “Pure Fun” boasted a 26% higher view-through rate than the other two cuts.

Viewers watched “Pure Fun” more frequently and for longer periods of time—an average of 1 minute 9 seconds. Despite elevated viewership, brand recall (Mountain Dew) was more or less equal to the other cuts and specific product recall (Kickstart) even plummeted.

Were viewers perplexed by the randomness? Intrigued by the uncertainty of direction? Who knows? What we can conclude is that brevity isn’t a necessary component for mobile marketing as we once thought.

Previous mobile efforts prioritized engaging viewers directly with outcries of, “Hey! You there!” within the 5-second grace period before viewers have the ability to skip. Perhaps this study will spawn a new wave of mobile marketing, ultimately ditching ad norms and turning to riffs on absurdity and unpredictability.

This goes back to the idea of making consumers care and making it mean something to them. If you have concerns about getting your target audience to take notice of your brand, contact us anytime.

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Find Your Why: How company culture goes beyond the workplace

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Find Your Why: How company culture goes beyond the workplace

When we think about work culture and environment, we allude to a spectrum of physical spaces ranging from fluorescent-lit cubicle containers to spacey, renovated warehouses with concrete floors and ill-placed lamps. But office aesthetics are but a crumb of the entire company culture cake.

Most of us spend the majority of our lives at the office. Sometimes we seem to forget that. There, we succeed gloriously and fail miserably—bask in contentment and writhe in resentment. Whether we love or loathe our jobs, workplace culture plays a major role.

In fact, the best employers in the U.S. say their greatest tool is culture. The attached article from Fortune notes three major trends.

First, because the “best employer” surveyors have used the same methodology and judging criteria for twenty some odd years, they determined that the best workplaces are getting even better—which sounds super arbitrary, but bear with me. The average amount of training for managers and professionals has increased 80% from 1998. Additionally, data from the surveyors’ Trust Index (which is exactly what it sounds like) indicates that the “happiest employees” are happier and more loyal than ever.

Second, business leaders use culture as a competitive tool in order to mutually benefit the company and its employees. So happier employees make a company more lucrative? Who woulda thunk it? It certainly makes sense. If an employee feels that he or she is under appreciated, merely spinning wheels, or worse, both—he or she may produce work of lower quality.

Third, the best workplaces have leaders who listen to their employees and implement distinctive programs that are relevant to the modern business world. Certain programs alone can instill a sense of culture. Whether it’s an intricate workshop or a simple office ritual like, oh, I don’t know, having a beer or two together at the end of each week. That’s what we do here at G/L, and let me tell you, I’m feeling the culture.

Sometimes it’s as simple as sharing an understanding of the basis of work done in the office. Why do you do what you do? What’s the purpose of your work? These questions are often overlooked in the corporate world. Routine slays passion, and without passion, brands become stale.

We’ve quoted Simon Sinek countless times: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Want to hear more about how we maintain our workplace culture? Give us a call—or better yet, stop by Friday around 4pm. We’ll tell you all about it.

WIN A FREE WHY BOOK

Regardless, if you fill out the form below, you’ll be entered to win a copy of Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

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Trending from G/L: Hiring an Advertising Agency the Right Way

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: Hiring an Advertising Agency the Right Way

The processes that companies use to find an advertising agency have evolved dramatically over the past few decades. The standard requests for proposals (RFP) are sill around, but with some brands working with multiple agencies, as well as freelancers and internal marketers, the landscape has become infinitely more complicated. Agencies of record still matter, but project work is everywhere.

Despite all of this, a strong agency partnership fosters trust and paves a path for high-quality strategic, creative work to emerge. That path can start with the agency selection process. While that process can be arduous, making it as streamlined and conducive to finding the right fit is worth it.

Argentum Strategy Group recently published a case study for choosing the right creative agency and we were fortunate enough to be indirectly mentioned.

In the case study, a business-to-business technology brand was searching for an agency to help differentiate their message and grow their local awareness. They took a number of critical steps to determine a budget, vet selected agencies based on selected criteria, and rate each agency in an unbiased manner. In this case, the client XIOLINK chose Geile/Leon as their agency.

Working with Susan Silver and the team at Argentum gave us the opportunity to meet with, and eventually, work with the client on an ongoing basis. They do a fantastic job of bringing together the right clients and the right agencies to find a strategic fit. And from an agency perspective, we found the search process valuable and inclusive.

Our approach to new business in general has evolved for the better over the course of more than 25 years in business. But our commitment to helping brands grow is still at the heart of everything we do. If you have a marketing challenge, let us help you solve it. We’re up for it.

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