Posts filed under ‘Industry Trends’


 Our objective: write a smart, compelling plan to promote family dining at casual  restaurants.  If we succeeded, our plan would be selected and we’d win a sizable piece of  business.

 After just deplaning from a long day with another client, I stared at the draft my colleagues  had started, but knew instantly it wasn’t anywhere close to client worthy.  We were all  stretched with lots going on, but this was a significant opportunity to expand on our recent  success with this client.  It should have been prioritized, but wasn’t.

 When I took the plan out of my bag the next morning, I knew there was only one thing to do — lock myself in my office and crank it out.  It was now 7 a.m. and the client presentation was at 1 p.m.  This was not an ideal planning process for sure.

 At 11:30 a.m., I emerged from my office to share my draft with a colleague.  Her response? — “I don’t get it.”   Ouch!  There’s nothing like those four tiny words to send chills down your spine. “Whad’ya mean you don’t get it!  Isn’t it obvious?  Don’t you see how this clever little event adds tons of dimension to the overall plan?”

 After much shouting and table pounding, I resigned myself to this:  If you have to explain it, it doesn’t work. 

 Back to the drawing board.

 I continued to tweak the document until the presentation.  One o’clock came, we presented. In a follow up call from the client, there were many questions and even more rambling answers about how the disparate parts of the plan worked together.  When it was over, I didn’t think we’d sufficiently convinced them that our plan was smart and compelling. 

 In less than an hour, the client called back.  They chose our plan and awarded us the business.

 What led to our success?  Honestly, I think it was less about the plan, and more about the relationship, trust and an afterglow from our recent success with this client. As David Maister suggests in his classic “How Clients Choose,” too many professionals get overly focused on technical matters, and lose sight of the essential nature of professional relationships.  This doesn’t mean that technical skills are irrelevant – of course, they are critical.  But having technical skills is only a necessary condition for success — not a sufficient one. 

 Above all else, what clients look for is that rare professional who has both technical skill and a sincere desire to work with both me and my problem.  The key is empathy- the ability to enter another’s world and see it through their eyes. 

 On the agency side, the key talent is being good at getting prospects to reveal their problems, needs, wants and concerns.  If they’re doing the talking and you’re doing the listening, you’re ahead.  If you’re doing all the talking, you’re losing.  Professionals talk too much.  Ask good questions and listen.   

 Pete Brace is director of communications and influencer marketing for The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo.  Prior to joining PepsiCo, he led the food and nutrition practice areas for two of the three global public relations agencies for which he has worked: Burson-Marsteller, MS&L, and Ogilvy Public Relations.


November 1, 2010 at 12:39 am 1 comment

Digital Out of Home (DOOH)

Tim Dorgan: President, COO;

Advertisers and their agencies are searching for new, interactive ways to target sizable audiences in a world where “old media” just isn’t cutting it. A world where media ADD is a way of life, where “on-the-go” doesn’t do justice to the scale of our mobility, and where media audiences are fragmented beyond the degree anyone thought possible.

 Enter Digital Out-Of-Home (DOOH).

 Whether in movie theaters, elevators, coffee shops, malls or bars (where is focused), digital video screens are appearing in large numbers wherever a flat surface exits…and where significant numbers of people are there to see them. DOOH ads can be targeted simply by the type of locations in which individual networks are deployed. Want business people? We can give you the Wall Street Network and Captivate. Want exercise enthusiasts? We can give you Club Com and the Health Club Media Network. Want young adults? We’ve got or TargetCast. And so on and so forth.

 And, because all these networks have Internet connectivity, messaging can be addressed down to the individual venue level, which provides an even higher degree of targetability.

 So…with all of this going for it, why has this medium not yet “taken off.”  Lack of scale was the initial reason, but DOOH networks are now rivaling or exceeding large cable networks. Every DOOH network worth its salt now has a Nielsen study, which provides some measure of credibility.

 I believe another factor contributing to advertiser hesitancy has been in the perceived “quality of the DOOH ad impression.”  While the medium looks and feels like TV, advertisers aren’t convinced that the DOOH ad experience and impact are the same. Some of this is justified. Seeing a tiny screen in an elevator or in a noisy bar is not the same as the idyllic vision of mom, dad and the kids sitting on the couch watching prime time television. This of course doesn’t factor in the DVR’ing, channel changing, multi-tasking, talking/texting/emailing-while-you’re-watching reality of today’s TV viewing. Nonetheless, this perception seems to be the standard against which out-of-home viewing has been compared.

 So you have the compelling characteristics of this new medium being weighed against the uncertainties of the advertising viewing experience. The only way to break this logjam is truly “old school.” It requires that early adopters conspire with media providers to do the quantitative research necessary to demonstrate the power of DOOH. As scale has been achieved, major advertisers have begun to work with DOOH networks to quantify DOOH as a direct response medium and an equity-messaging platform. Kudos to these organizations who have gone beyond the basic Nielsen study to see how the medium works for their individual brands.

 These studies will spawn others and will, I believe, move DOOH from its standing as “promising” to that of “must consider” for anyone trying to reach the many hard-to-reach consumers out there. It’s starting to happen already.

October 4, 2010 at 2:01 am 1 comment


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