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.

 

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?)

Anna Curtis

The Top Ten Moments Of #MUISS

Laughlin Constable was proud to sponsor the 2014 Insight Summit Series Digital Advertising + Marketing Summit, held at Marquette University on 3.19.14. There were many moments that made this year’s event special, but here are our top ten favorites:

  1. LC Shines – Who can resist an opening keynote that includes Beyoncé, Elon Musk, and Flappy Bird? Or a UX presentation from a former punk rocker. Or workshops that unlock the secret to SEO success and how to get the most out of Google Analytics? Many thanks to Paul Brienza, Sean Barry, Trisha Krautkramer, Erin Ebert, and the rest of the LC team who made this year’s Digital Summit a success.
  2. Tweeting Up A Storm – The Digital Summit was a success, and attendees let everyone know via Twitter. Within hours, #MUISS was a trending topic in Milwaukee, generating 1.5 million potential impressions and @LaughlinOutLoud was mentioned hundreds of times – a  perfect representation of the digital world we live in.
  3. AOL Gets Programmatic – Michael Treon, VP Platform Solutions at AOL, discussed programmatic advertising and how it will shape the future of marketing, merging creatives and engineers to come up with time-saving solutions.
  4. Google Rewind – With the massive search engine changing almost every day, it was entertaining to walk down memory lane with Jen Keller, SEO Specialist, and see what Google looked like in the late 1990s, mid 2000s, and just last week.
  5.  #SketchNotes – Jennifer Torres (@jentorres) stole the #MUISS Twitter show with her creative and visually engaging SketchNotes
  6.  UX Drunk Test – Laughlin Constable’s User Experience Strategist, Brady Pierzchalski, highlighted how UX shouldn’t make users feel stupid by showing this video of a person using Windows 8 for the first time.
  7. Tell a Story – Closing speaker Susan Sachatello, from CUNA Mutual Group, encouraged brands to focus on what they stand for, and tell that story to your audience well. She also urged marketers to recognize who your audience is, but who they aspire to be and meet them there with your brand story.
  8. Embrace the Chaos – Taulbee Jackson from Raidious talked about real-time marketing and how advertisers must embrace the chaos. “You have a real time focus group happening all the time, whether you know it or not.”
  9. #SwipeRightForFun – Did you know? The dating app Tinder was originally going to be called Matchbox. And co-founder Jonathan Badeen has indeed been on a Tinder date.
  10. Sell out! – The Digital Advertising + Marketing Summit, including pre-summit workshops, sold out for the second year in a row. Don’t miss the next Insight Summit Series event.
Rick Daggett

Insight Summit Series: The 2014 Digital Summit

I’m excited to announce that for the second year in a row, Laughlin Constable is partnering with the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University to bring about the Digital Advertising + Marketing Summit.

Last year’s Digital Summit featured some of the industry’s top digital minds, including thought leaders from brands and organizations such as McDonald’s, Master Lock and the Obama Re-election campaign.

This year’s Digital Summit, held on Wednesday, March 19th, 2014, will carry that tradition forward by featuring speakers from Harley-Davidson Motor Company, AOL, Tinder, Rockwell Automation and Turner Broadcasting, just to name a few.

The Digital Advertising + Marketing Summit, part of the Insight Summit Series, is designed to cover the topics that are most relevant to marketers in the digital age: from strategy to user experience, content, e-commerce, SEO, mobile, integrated campaigns, online advertising, analytics, the “internet of things” and more.

Beyond providing a venue for professionals and practitioners to come together to share ideas and insights, the Digital Summit also seeks to support the next wave of digital practitioners. Proceeds from the Digital Summit benefit a scholarship fund for students at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication. In addition, the Eisner Creative Foundation is providing scholarships for students to attend the Digital Summit to learn firsthand about the latest trends and challenges in digital marketing.

For more information, and to register for the Summit, visit insightsummitseries.com/digital

Laughlin Constable’s Paul Brienza, EVP, Digital and Sean Barry, VP, Digital will kick things off the day of the Summit by taking the stage for the opening keynote address. Paul & Sean will speak to how digital practitioners can bridge the gap between marketing and technology.

In addition, LC’s Brady Pierchalski will lead a session speaking to how UX is your customer and consumer’s best friend (and therefore yours, as well.)

The full lineup of speakers is impressive. Check out the schedule for the Digital Summit and be sure to register today. Last year’s event sold-out, so don’t wait. Make it happen. Be a part of a full day’s worth of insights, strategies, best practices and networking with some of the folks leading the charge in today’s digital world.

We hope to see you there.

Michael Jeary

Where have all the silos gone?

Not long ago the advertising business was characterized by a landscape of fiefdoms populated by silos. It was a place where marketing disciplines such as: public relations and promotion, direct marketing and strategic planning, creative ideation and media, were each housed in separate companies and, if not, were certainly grouped in discrete divisions within an agency. Each discipline was isolated from the other; focused on perfecting its own response to a client’s business challenge and motivated by garnering a larger share of a client’s budget.

Today, compelled by shrinking revenues/margins, pushed by consumer-empowering technologies and demanded by impatient CMO’s, those fiefdoms have morphed into sandboxes and the silos have given way to open floor plans where interdisciplinary teamwork is the culture and a fully integrated strategic plan is the common goal.

At Laughlin Constable, we consider ourselves lucky to have forecasted early the impact of these prevailing winds. Today, LC is an independent, fully integrated, mid-size agency. We work with clients of all sizes; across many sectors and disciplines. Our defined and repeatable processes are employed on every client engagement. They are designed to identify the ideal “organizing concept” which is then translated into every element of the integrated marketing plan. Our objective is consistent messaging that connects with the consumer at every step along his or her decision journey.

 

What this means for our clients is a unique agency partnership, where we team seamlessly and efficiently between and among brand strategy, creative, PR, social, digital, media and tracking analytics to develop and consistently execute integrated marketing program in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.

 

Jenny Futrell

3 Facts About Email in 2014

2013 was quite the year for email. It seems that more emails than ever are being sent. (16 million to be exact for the LC Email Marketing team — one of its busiest years on record.) Additionally, more emails are being opened on mobile devices, quickly making email the number one activity performed on mobile devices and the second influence on mobile shopping.

Looking ahead in 2014, marketers should anticipate how this effective channel will continue to grow and change in the New Year.

47 percent of emails are opened on a mobile or tablet device, according to Litmus, with mobile opens predicted to reach 50 percent by early 2014. How can marketers capitalize on this trend? Two words: responsive design. Two of my favorite emails that embrace a mobile-first approach include the:

  • Wisconsin Traveler email: See the completely responsive email, re-designed by the LC team, as you move the corners of your browser in and out and watch the design move and change to best fit the size of your screen.
  • ESPN Fantasy Football email: This weekly email’ outdated template was updated to utilize mobile-friendly design techniques, such as large call to action buttons and a single column layout. View the before and after and be wowed at the difference these design elements make.

Testing can make a difference, in millions. Through more and more testing, emails will continue to be improved and optimized in 2014 — improving the experience for subscribers and the results for marketers. Continue A/B testing different elements of your campaign, such as offers, send days and times, subject lines, call to action placement, and other design elements to maximize your results. Just how big of a difference can testing make?  According to this Business Week article, A/B subject line testing by the Obama email team brought in an additional $2.1 million — for one email.

It’s email, not e-mail. You’re going to be seeing more email and less e-mail in 2014. It was just announced that the New York Times has updated its stylebook and joined other hyphen-less supporters like the Oxford English Dictionary and the Associated Press. Merriam-Webster, however, still supports the hyphen. While less business-oriented than my first two facts, it’s one that hyphen haters (like me) can appreciate.

Ceara Milligan

Get Connected. Your Customers Expect It.

Meet Taylor. Her fancy for high fashion has had her seeking online retail therapy for the majority of her 23 years. Dying to don the latest trend-setting little black dress, Taylor clicks – impulsively adding this stunner to her favorite online retailer’s shopping cart. Her mind starts to fill with visions of her flaunting the piece at her best friend’s New Year’s Eve party when she suddenly remembers she’s low on cash until her next payday.

Like most her age, Taylor goes about her day driving through the digital space. At each turn she is reminded of this fabulous frock; Facebook retargeting, delightful email reminders, banner ads. Payday arrives and the LBD is finally hers. After completing a survey and becoming a Facebook “Like,” Taylor now receives frequent discounts and engaging content focused on her fashion-forward lifestyle. Let the loyalty games begin!

Nikesh Arora, SVP and Chief Business Officer at Google, recently stated, “There is reasonable probability that in the next five years, half of all advertising will occur online.” It is also projected that over the next five years, CMOs will be involved in IT more than CIOs. Online shopping is becoming the preferred method for many consumers across generations, whether it is on desktop browsers, mobile browsers, or app-based storefronts and thus, digital marketing budgets are expected to continue to grow considerably in 2014. Today, they are already averaging 30% of overall media spend.

The challenge? Not all marketing executives, media planners, analytics experts, or IT managers have the tools and actionable data they need to make informed decisions about how to utilize their budgets. More importantly, marketers get why tying these marketing channels together in real-time is valuable, but making it happen seems like an insurmountable and very expensive proposition. Companies need to focus on being omnipresent; in other words, the brand should appear in all the right channels at all the right moments throughout the customer decision journey. Customer engagement isn’t just a “nice-to-have” in today’s ever-changing world. Customer engagement is a “must-have.” Customers expect their voices to be heard anywhere at any time, and then receive an accurate, personal, pleasing response as quickly as possible.

The good news for our industry is that it is continually on the rise. Laughlin Constable has worked with hundreds of brands throughout the decades, guiding them through these challenges. Our agency has helped our clients create smarter strategies and enable real-time, omnichannel marketing that is already leading to improved engagement, conversion and loyalty. More great products, solutions and case studies are on the way; so stay tuned, or should we say, stay connected!

Casey Flanagan

Where To Start With What To Say

Our available attention is being stretched. And yet we all seem to have more to say. As a result, lines can be crossed. Meanings can be missed. And it’s not likely to get better any time soon.

Tom Peters has an important rule for communications at a time when success can seem harder than ever: If there is a miscommunication, it’s your fault.

Think about that for a moment. Please, because I don’t want any potential misunderstanding of it to be my fault.

How would this change what you say? How would it change how you say it? As a person? As a professional? As a brand?

One simple change that most communicators could stand to make immediately is where they start.

My favorite definition of communication is: It isn’t what you say. It’s what your audience hears. The illustration below isn’t complicated. But it is often forgotten. And it is a big cause of many miscommunications.

Where to start with what to say? Not with what should be said. But with what should be heard.

Interested in more stuff I find interesting? Follow me @casey_flanagan on Twitter.

Where to Start Communicating

Casey Flanagan

Benjamin Franklin, Project Manager

Charles Darwin, business consultant. Albert Einstein, account planner. Pablo Picasso, creative director. Benjamin Franklin… project manager.

ON MINDSET
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

ON SCHEDULES
“You may delay, but time will not.”

ON 99% BEING PERSPIRATION
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

ON THE DELIVERABLE
“Well done is better than well said.”

ON THE END OF THE DAY
“Lost time is never found again.”

Interested in more stuff I find interesting? Follow me @casey_flanagan on Twitter.

Casey Flanagan

The Evolution Of The Fox

Twelve years ago, Jim Collins’ book Good To Great was a breakthrough best seller. One of its most memorable anecdotes was in praise of the hedgehog:

An ancient Greek parable distinguishes between foxes, which know many small things, and hedgehogs, which know one big thing. All good-to-great leaders, it turns out, are hedgehogs. They know how to simplify a complex world into a single, organizing idea—the kind of basic principle that unifies, organizes, and guides all decisions.

Nate Silver’s breakthrough best seller from last year, The Signal And The Noise – written about making predictions in the world of increasing clutter – values the other animal in the parable duo. And it’s a good example of changing sensibilities in the Digital Age:

Hedgehogs, Silver says, are those who believe “in governing principles about the world that behave as though they were physical laws.” Foxes, by contrast, “are scrappy creatures who believe in a plethora of little ideas and in taking a multitude of approaches toward a problem.”

The fox has come a long way in the last dozen years. Foxes see complexity, acknowledge nuance and aren’t afraid to test new ways. They adjust as necessary. And account for all the information available – even if it doesn’t fit their preexisting framework. As a result, they consider more. Have a broader perspective. And, Silver argues, make better predictions.

Being able to simplify the complex has always been important. But has never been more so. The ability to consider more from more sources has earned the fox not just a seat at the conference room table – but an increasingly important voice.

Interested in more stuff I find interesting? Follow me @casey_flanagan on Twitter.