Ceara Milligan

Find Your Purpose.

We were not designed to live a life of monotony. We have always been told that we should spend each day on earth to the fullest, but with the way most of our days seem to blend together with the same chores, meetings, errands, and responsibilities, this concept may seem easier said than done.

The best thing about our industry, workplace, and culture is that every day, we are encouraged to recreate ourselves, share our ideas, showcase our work, and be inventive. We all hold different roles within the agency — planners, strategists, creatives, writers, accountants, analysts, developers, administrators, managers, leaders (The list goes on…) — and have the notion that we’re all here for the same purpose: Work hard, make money, build our reputation, and please our customers. However, I think this might not be entirely true. We all have our own talents, skills, dreams, hopes, aspirations, and individual traits that allow us to stand apart from our colleagues. Each of us has a solitary value that contributes to one common goal as a business.

Now, you may be scratching your head and asking yourself, “What is my purpose?”

Well, here is the simple formula:

What you love to do + What the world needs = Your mission
What the world needs + What you are paid for = Your vocation
What you are paid for + What you are good at = Your profession
What you are good at + What you love to do = Your passion
Your mission + Your vocation + Your profession + Your passion = Your purpose

Your purpose should not be defined by the title on your business card. Your purpose is to foster positive change, no matter the part you play within the agency. If you have an idea, write it down, email it to your manager, collaborate with coworkers. An idea is just an idea until it becomes an action with results. There is an Irish proverb by which I try my best to abide each day: You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind. Seek inspiration from everything and everyone around you, but most importantly, learn to spark your own fire.

Do the math.

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Crystal Vining

Ignite Milwaukee

Five, twenty and fifteen. You are probably wondering what those numbers mean. No, they are not the number sequences from Lost or the SPF numbers on your sunscreen. They are, however, the numbers you need to learn if you want to give a presentation at Ignite. Ignite is an event where presenters can share what makes them tick. From graphic designers to English professors, people from all walks of life are coming together to educate the world on what they know best. Recent presenters spoke about how to be an expert witness, going global on a local scale and the three p’s of eLearning. With only five minutes, twenty slides and fifteen seconds to talk per slide, speakers are encouraged to enlighten but make it quick. Do you have what it takes? If interested in speaking, please email sdittloff@laughlin.com for more information. Want to be in the audience? Come out and see what you can burn into your mind or into others. Check out the details below! And click here for more info.

Who: There is an open call for presenters. Please email sdittloff@laughlin.com if you’re interested in speaking or attending.

When: August 22nd, 8pm

Where: The Alchemist Theatre, 2569 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53207

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Ilana R. Borzak

Making Trust Mobile

 

“Virtually every commercial transaction has within itself an element of trust,” wrote Nobel prize winner Kenneth Arrow. Arrow’s line describes why banks emphasize consistent and personalized interactions with their customers across all branches– to build trust. Back when an actual bank was central to all banking activity, personalizing customer interactions wasn’t too complex. Executives placed greeters at every bank entrance and favored tellers with the local accent who would address us by name. But as we’ve exchanged our interactions with bank employees for banking apps on our phones, banks have been challenged to adopt their familiar strategy of emphasizing human interactions to our screens.

The technology that enables personalization is consistently improving and I’ve noticed increased personalization in my banking apps. Today, my American Express app, for example, greets me with a message appropriate to my time of day. And my Chase app welcomes me with a background based on my location (as I write this post in the Chicago office, I am greeted with the Chicago skyline). In the words of Chase’s head of digital for consumer and community banking, these apps were built with the intention of “humanizing the [digital] experience” aka giving the customer a digital experience similar to the retail experience, a concept that technology has only recently been able to realize. While the app will never replicate human interaction, it has the potential to master personalized interactions on a scale that is impossible for a bank employee (who can easily forget information or get stressed on the job) to do.

As banks seek to regain our trust after the Recession (Gallup), their increasing ability to create a consistent brand experience across all mediums for their customers is great news. Not only do they signal a bank’s excitement to help us where we are – whether online or in the store – they also bring consistency to the bank’s brand experience, an important part of building brand trust and loyalty (Journal of Consumer Research). The banking industry’s ability to use mobile for building customer trust is certainly something we can expect other industries to replicate.

 

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Marko Knezic

Did You Just Purchase a Product or Buy Into an Idea?

A few days ago I was chatting with a few industry friends about whether the role of marketers was to “tell stories” or to “sell stuff.” I’ll spare you the drawn-out details of this philosophical chess match, mainly because a point-for-point retelling would have the same effect as chugging a large glass of warm milk. But I will discuss the main points, because given the seeming ubiquity of social media and the continued success of content marketing, there is a right answer to this question.

Marketers who believe that the term “storyteller”  fundamentally describes their job have an advantage over those who more closely self-identify with terms like “salesperson.”

Storytellers understand people’s motivations and are able to make emotional connections that are both influential and long-lasting. Salespeople fill an immediate need, provide product information and then are likely forgotten – and we live in a world where success and longevity rule together, hand-in-hand.

(*Note: The point that the best salespeople actually sell relationships – not products – was brought to my attention. Exactly, and I would argue that those relationships were forged by emotional bonding via storytelling, not regurgitating product information.)

Evidence of people’s love for for a good narrative and its effect on their spending decisions can be seen every day. Consider Coca-Cola. Coke is a fixture at or near the top of Forbes list of the world’s most valuable brands, year in, year-out. They didn’t achieve this by simply creating advertisements featuring the product. They arrived and continue to reign over the top spots by emotionally resonating with multiple facets of people’s lives – and using the multiple channels that power our 24/7 connectivity –  via content marketing like AHH.com.

The point is that if you can use intriguing stories (content marketing) to sell people on an idea – why they should invest in your brand – you will have created a more personal, loyalty-generating bond than if you’re simply pushing a product because it’s your job to “sell stuff.”

So, now you’re saying, Philosophy is great but is there any factual evidence to put a definitive end this chess match? I’m glad you asked. A recent Ad Age survey revealed that 71 percent of marketers will increase their content marketing budgets in 2014.

Checkmate.

 

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Marko Knezic

Getting From Point-A to Point-A

Certain brands have mastered content marketing and are creating high-end content that fuses their brand story with a larger, emotional, human story. Red Bull, for example, has intertwined itself with extreme sports and the notion that human beings are capable of extraordinary things if we’re willing to let go of our own perceived limitations – and Red Bull gives you the wings to do so.

So, now that we’re on the same page, you’re saying, “I want in.” However, your brand doesn’t have the budget to send one of your employees on a free fall from space, so you’re wondering if there are any simpler things you can do to improve your content marketing.

Yup. Consistently creating things like blogs and podcasts that can connect with people on a personal level is a great place to start, and here are some tips to help you construct a narrative that will grab your audiences‘ attention.

  1. Think of Each Story as a Circle. And the goal of telling it is to take the reader on an adventure from Point-A to Point-AThink of any movie or book you’ve read. The formula is simply: “Balance. Disturbance. Return to balance.” This formula can be applied to all blogs and podcasts to ensure quality and consistency.  
  2. Establish Your Point-A Opening. What are you trying to say? This idea should be presented in the headline and will serve as the main thought or your blog/podcast. For this blog, it’s teaching why a 360 degree story structure is important.
  3. Establish Your Point-A Closing. Think of a line/thought/angle that’s going bridge your opening and closing lines. Get creative here. This is the chance to drive your point home –and make it memorable. (You’ll have to read the rest to see what I’m going with here.)
  4. Use Main Points to Bridge Opening and Closing. When your two point-A’s are set –the balance and return to balance – it’s time to list out the main points that will lead readers from thesis to conclusion.
  5. Make Your Supporting Arguments Equal Parts Fact and Fun. Now that you’ve cleared a path for the reader to follow, it’s important to use tools and techniques to make the trip as enjoyable as possible. Persuasion is about framing, and the goal with this content is to convince someone to agree with your point of view – this is best done by expanding on your main points with humor, logic, ethos, pathos and other techniques that entertain, elevating the reader’s view of your opinion to one they connect with on an emotional level.

This method may seem backwards if you’ve never tried it. Many people are used to working chronologically – from intro to body to conclusion – but if you don’t know where you’re going to end up, it’s tough to determine a logical way to get there. By thinking of your narrative as a journey from Point-A to Point-A, you’ll prevent yourself from talking in circles. (See what I did there?)

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Amanda Eggert

LC Brings Home 14 PRSA Paragon Awards + Prestigious Best in Show Award!

Congratulations to the Laughlin Constable public relations and social teams for another successful year at the Southeastern Wisconsin PRSA Paragon Awards, including Best of Show for the second consecutive year!

The Paragon Awards honor exceptional PR work by local professionals who implement effective, innovative and strategic communications for their clients. The LC PR team brought home 14 awards, including eight Awards of Excellence and six Awards of Merit. In addition, LC’s Travel Wisconsin PR team brought home the prestigious Best in Show award. This reinforces the fact that the LC Full Circle team includes an incredibly strong PR department.

Awards included:

Best in Show and Excellence
2013 Wisconsin Department of Tourism PR Campaign

Awards of Excellence
What’s Happening at the BMO Harris Bradley Center?
Promoting Travel Wisconsin with Jordy Nelson on Social Media
Introducing a Game Changer – Hard Rock Kenosha (Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin)
Travel Wisconsin Goes Hollywood
Keeping Trees Safe from Emerald Ash Borer (Arborjet)
Lung Cancer Alliance USPSTF Campaign
Travel Wisconsin’s Email Newsletter Redesign

Awards of Merit
Airplane! the Commercial Poster
Holiday Surprises from McDonald’s
Travel Wisconsin’s “Sweaterize Yourself” Facebook App
Introduction of U.S. Cranberries to South Korea
Jordy Nelson Learns There’s No Place Like Wisconsin in the Fall
Travel Wisconsin’s 2013 Press Kit

While this is a Southeastern Wisconsin group, the competition is tough. Below is a sampling of some of the many positive comments from the Florida-based judges:

  • “This was simply and outstanding effort, work and results.”
  • “It is hard to find any areas to suggest for improvement. It was expertly thought out, planned, implemented and followed through.”
  • “The out of the box thinking with small investment lead to great results.”
  • “Incredibly creative tactic. No wonder Wisconsin has LC doing its PR.”

Kudos to the entire PR team for another year of hard work and great results, and thanks to the social folks for their award winning work as well!

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Marko Knezic

Evolution of Theory

I’ve noticed this photo making the rounds on my LinkedIn newsfeed.

I understand the message. I understand the channel and why it’s appropriate. But I also feel the need to hold up a yield sign when this photo is referred to as “the most brilliant photo I’ve ever seen” in the comment section.

I’d be willing to guess that most business-minded people would agree that agility and the ability to adapt are critical elements of any company’s success.

Case in point: Blockbuster Video.

But consider this: Just as important as the willingness to change is the willingness to be grounded in reality and not let philosophy and catchy – but at the end of the day empty – rhetoric dictate the direction of your company.

Change isn’t inherently good. Good is good.

Continuous improvement should always be an objective but it’s been my experience that change for the sake of change will seldom trump actionable strategies and quality process.

At the end of the day, while change and philosophy can inspire, they don’t necessarily yield tangible products or measurable results.

Sure, there’s often a need to use pathos in order to grab attention and make emotional connections with an audience – as is done in the picture above. But be careful not to let every clever phrase and trending philosophy replace the tried and true methods you’ve always used – unless the change is poised to result in a measurable improvement to process and/or final products.

The intent of this piece isn’t to dismiss change or high-level rhetoric.

Think of it more as a friendly suggestion to use those tools as a support piece to a foundation built on strategy and processes.

 

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Crystal Vining

Steve Laughlin Awarded Boys & Girls Club MVP

We are honored to announce that Steve Laughlin was awarded the 2014 MVP “Most Valuable Person” by the Boys & Girls Clubs on Monday, May 5 at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee. Boys & Girls Clubs offer programs and services to children in need to help build bright and engaging futures. They currently support four million children at four thousand clubs all around the United States.

Steve has been a trustee for the Boys & Girls Clubs for twenty-seven years and has been committed to enhancing the program through community involvement and outstanding leadership. He created and implemented the Decade of Hope campaign, which raised $50 million dollars to help fuel expansion, create new program offerings and add additional stability to the organization. Steve also serves on the strategic planning committee, the marketing committee, the board development committee and the executive committee to help support Boys & Girls Clubs nationally.

Congratulations Steve, we are so proud of you and your accomplishments.

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Ilana R. Borzak

Finding the Inner Shopper

Advertising is more than the copy and art on your favorite magazine’s inside cover. That ad is made by an industry that straddles the gap between Art’s and Science’s hands as they approach for a handshake. It’s an industry that uses a scientific approach to human behavior and psychology, in order to create art that effects behavioral change. The websites it develops, the commercials it produces and the press coverage it generates are based on research-heavy understandings of you, the wallet holder. What you see on your screen is often born from behavioral models that bridge the Art and Science gap.

Advertising’s formal advent into human behavioral science is traced back to 1898, when the first known model depicting the theoretical journey a customer takes before purchasing an item was recorded. The AIDA Model, which later evolved into the Purchase Funnel, posits that every customer who wants to buy something starts at the funnel’s wide top with a number of brand options. As need or interest increases, he or she follows the linear path towards the stem, removing brands from the consideration set until a single  brand remains, which is then purchased.

Marketers using this research-supported model followed the image’s suggestion and assumed their customers methodologically made purchasing decisions. They reasoned that awareness’s and interest’s position at the funnel’s top meant they must be achieved in order to survive the customer’s narrowing of the funnel. And their ads reflected this thinking. VW’s “Think Small” ad, considered one of the most memorable ad campaigns of the 20th century (Ad Age), is a prime example. When seen as a whole, the ad’s visual simplicity draws the eye to the advertisement’s only two images — the car and the logo — bringing attention, or awareness, to their existence as independent yet intertwined entities. The “Think Small” copy was meant to spark interest and ensure a position at the beginning of the funnel amongst baby boomers who were buying larger cars than ever before to fit their growing families (Bizjournal). VW’s awareness- and interest- focused ad guaranteed a spot in the funnel’s final stages.

 

The ad was a success and set a new standard for advertising strategies at the time. In the nearly sixty years between its appearance and today, human behavior, analytic understanding of behavior, and advertising’s artistic creations to reach customers have evolved. The internet, arguably a prominent catalyst behind much of the change, created whole new venues for consumers to explore and discover and gave advertisers a completely new environment to communicate both to and with customers. It dated the AIDA Model and spurred McKinsey to create the Consumer Decision Journey, a new model that stands out for its theories as well as its fairly wide acceptance (1).

 

The now-spherical model no longer depicts the customer as a purely rational and methodological purchaser. Rather the changes, as McKinsey argues, incorporates the internet-using customer’s non-linear behavior and expectations. These customers who use sites like Amazon tend to add rather than subtract options as they get closer to purchase, negating the funnel’s linearity as well as distinct stages and a cohesive path to purchase (McKinsey). Behavioral targeting and recommendations, an advertising reaction to – as well as catalyst of – the changes are emblematic of the ad industry’s understanding of the digitally savvy. How many times have you gone to Amazon with a single brand in mind and then found yourself with more than 5 recommendation-fueled tabs on your browser with brands or products you never knew existed?

The parallel evolution from Purchase Funnel and “Think Small” to where we stand today reflects both the change in purchase behavior as well as advertising’s understanding of how people buy. What was once thought to be structured and linear is now circular and vague, a sentiment echoed by today’s most renowned decision-making researchers and advertisers (2). The funnel’s creator could never have conceived an advertiser’s ability to enter a customer’s life with a message that appropriately addresses where he or she is in the purchase process. Nor could he in the late-19th century have guessed that most consumers would willingly add products to their consideration set.

As ideas and technology evolve at an ever-faster pace, advertisers will have brought their version of art-and-science to a new place in the not-so-distant future, where theoretically you and your desire to buy will be. After all, the process that you take before you reach into your pocket for your wallet is our fuel for creation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOOTNOTES

(1) Numerous models have been suggested over the years but the Consumer Decision Journey stands out as both a widely accepted and wildly divergent model from the original AIDA model. For a more thorough history of the models, see Thomas E. Barry’s 1987 article “The Development of the Hierarchy of Effects: A Historical Perspective” published in the Current Issues and Research in Advertising journal.

(2) Daniel Kahneman’s dual process theory, for instance, supports the idea that people aren’t always rational consumers. For more information, see his book Thinking, Fast and Slow.

 

 

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Alex Olcott

The Ever-Changing World of Google

From a small logo tweak on the homepage to a new sweet treat named version of the Android operating system, Google embraces change. For those of us who use Google’s services, this can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand we could be familiar with an old version of a Google product, but are now faced with a new version that we have to learn or adapt to; or a new modification could add valuable features or increase the reliability of a product which is beneficial, but requires valuable time to reacquaint oneself with the product. Here at LC we use many different Google products, and on the Analytics Team we use Google Analytics extensively.

Since we use Google Analytics on a daily basis, we quickly notice any change or modification that Google makes, and sometimes these changes can have substantial impacts. One of the most significant changes that Google Analytics has implemented recently is the reduction and eventual elimination of organic keyword information, these are the non-paid keywords that bring up your site in Google’s search results. According to (Not Provided) Count, Google is currently no longer providing over 80% of the data in Google Analytics for organic keywords and will eventually hit 100%. This was a valuable source of information that we frequently included in reports, which we no longer have access to. Luckily Google has blogs for most of its services, including Analytics, that notify you of upcoming changes or modifications. Due to this, the Analytics Team was able to prepare for the change, notifying clients and updating reports to acquire data from organic landing and exit pages, the pages that users from organic search traffic land on and exit from, as well as information from Google Webmaster Tools to compensate for the removal of organic keyword information in Google Analytics.

What many would see as a huge inconvenience can actually be a blessing in disguise. Although Google took away a key metric that we utilized, it forced us to get creative and think of solutions to the problem. It also resulted in our team adopting another one of Google’s products, Google Webmaster Tools, which allowed us to provide our clients with additional valuable information.

Ultimately, change is not a bad thing; it keeps us on our toes, compels us to learn more, and doesn’t let us get too set in our ways. So the next time you’re dealing with change, don’t think about the inconvenience, think about how the change could possibly benefit you and your team.

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