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!

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.

 

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.

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.

 

 

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.

Samantha Smith

“Who You Know” Isn’t Enough

In business they say, “It’s all about who you know.” While making the acquaintance of certain people is an advantage, I’d argue that it’s all about something a little more specific – who you learn from.

It’s one thing to know someone – to be connected on LinkedIn or to exchange the occasional email with a pro, but it’s much more valuable to find someone in the industry with whom you can have a more substantial relationship. I’m talking about someone you can learn from – who can show you the ropes and root for your success. A mentor.

I’ve worked with multiple mentors over the past few years and I’ve found those relationships to be incredibly rewarding.

The mentee benefits from:

  • Learning from the mentor’s experiences (and mistakes).
  • Bouncing ideas off of a pro. (If you find a good mentor, he or she will help you to uncover and polish your own ideas – without spelling the answer out for you.)
  • Being held accountable. (Setting goals with a mentor gives that extra push to work toward achieving them.)
  • Increased confidence. (It’s comforting to have a pro in your corner willing to review your resume, cover letter, project, etc. before you submit it.)
  • Connections. (Odds are, your mentor will introduce you to others who can help with your progress. And if all goes well, they’ll put in a good word for you, too.)

But the bright-eyed, advice-seeking mentee isn’t the only one who can find value in a mentorship.

The mentor benefits from:

  • The opportunity to practice leadership skills. (Your mentee already views you as a leader. Here’s your chance to act like one.)
  • Cultivating a strong team. (You can turn a go-getter into a rock star that could some day join your team – if he or she hasn’t already.)
  • Gaining insight and a fresh perspective. (Your mentee may have a few things to teach you, too.)
  • Reflecting on past experiences. (While sharing a story from your past with your mentee, you might just find it contains the answer to a current business problem you’re facing.)

One perk of working at LC is the opportunity to take part in the agency’s mentorship program, which pairs VP+ level employees with employees of all levels, from all departments and offices. But less formal mentorships can offer just as much value to everyone involved. The important thing is to find someone you respect in the industry and convince that person you’ll make most of the time that he or she is willing to put toward helping you grow.

Have you benefited from a mentor-mentee relationship? Share your story in a comment below.

Mark Carlson

Help Me Highlight You

While scanning through a pile of resumes recently, I was surprised to see how few really stood out from the crowd.  How few were formatted in an approachable way.  How few made me want to take the next step to meet the person behind the sheet of paper.

I am not a HR professional; I don’t claim to understand all the nuance of searching and finding great people. And I know that resumes are passé; in today’s world, your website, or your blog, or your book all tell a story about you that is more personal and insightful than words on a piece of paper.  But here’s the catch – for me, your resume is the gatekeeper to all of that rich content.  If you don’t catch me at the resume stage, I may not take the next step to find out more about you in any of those more creative constructs.

So, at the risk of stating the obvious, here are a couple of pointers for helping us (those who are doing the screening) find you (those who want to make it to the “yes” pile.)

  1. Format matters.  Your resume is my first measure of your communication skill.  I assume that how you present yourself to me is the same way that you might craft a presentation to one of our clients.  Take a look at your resume in “whole page” view.  It should be pleasing to the eye – it should invite me in, rather than make me feel I have some work ahead of me.  Is there any breathing room or white space?  Are the sections clearly broken out and easily identifiable?  Think of it as an artful presentation rather than a data sheet, and you’re likely to have more of the content consumed and appreciated.
  2. Edit, then edit some more.  Understand the description of the job that you’re seeking and use that as a guide to make your resume sing.  What are the two or three things that you really want me to take away from your experiences?  Help me find them – don’t make me hunt for the nuggets among the mundane.  Show me that you have the experience to merit consideration, but don’t belabor projects and experiences that blend in at the expense of those that should stand out. I’m going to read your resume with a highlighter in hand.  (That’s right, I’m actually going to print it out.)  Help me quickly find those things that you think I should mark in bright yellow.
  3. Find a way to inject some personality.  There are many ways to do this, and some are better than others – but I need to get a sense of you the person, beyond titles, dates and degrees.  Don’t get too cute here, but once again, give my highlighter something to grab onto.  Give me something to attach to your name – “Oh yeah, she’s the one who ran away with the circus.” (Don’t use that one, unless you know, you actually were a circus runaway…)
  4. Details matter.  It’s really hard to imagine, but I saw typos, grammatical errors, and formatting problems.  Proof your work – there is no excuse for not being meticulous here.  One bad typo, and you could end up in the “maybe” pile.  And do not rely on spell check alone, have a friend read it over with a critical eye.  Save it as a .pdf – you do realize that not all computers have the same font libraries don’t you?  When I open your resume with Word or Pages my computer might just do some auto-formatting, and all of your hard work perfecting the look could be out the window.

Some final points:

  • One page is an ideal length, but two pages are acceptable if your work history merits the second page.  Once again, this should be an exercise in sacrifice and editing, but if you’ve been in the workforce for 15 years, then a second page is understandable.  Do not include a second page to tell me about your paper route, or your role as social chairman of the fraternity.
  • And finally, please realize that cover letters are most often used when a resume is physically mailed to a HR department.  In most cases these days, a resume is attached to an email.  Therefore, your email IS your cover letter – treat it accordingly.

I wish you all the best in your search and career.  I know that there is a fascinating person behind this piece of paper.  So please make it easy for me to place your resume in the “yes” pile.

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.
Ceara Milligan

Creativity: Unplugged

Once upon a time, human beings existed without spending an average of 8-10 hours a day staring at screens. Behaviorists are learning that clutter is the enemy of cleverness. Sometimes our brains just need a bit of quiet time to sort things out. That’s why our “Aha!” moments usually occur when we’re not in front of a glowing rectangle. That very well might explain the cliché that it’s between rinsing and repeating when the big idea hits. So, I’m thinking, why not take a brief “tech timeout” and explore more opportunities to stay creative sans pixels?

Here’s my baker’s dozen to get started, but feel free to make your own:

  1. Write. With pen and paper. Buy the most durable notebook and longest lasting pen you can find. Bring them with you wherever you go. Jot down ideas, dreams, stories, or things you need to remember.
  2. Get up. Take a small walk around the office every hour or so. Better yet, venture outside. The fresh air and natural surroundings will reenergize your mind and body.
  3. Attend concerts. Fewer things are more invigorating than seeing a live show.
  4. Exercise. No excuses. Just do it.
  5. Drink. Lots. Of. H2O. Coffee is a miraculous pick-me-up, but water is the best thing you can feed your body.
  6. Take a 15-minute power nap to boost your memory, cognitive skills, and energy level.
  7. Strike up a conversation with a stranger: your cab driver, a tenant in the elevator, the person walking next to you on the sidewalk. You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn.
  8. Travel. Expanding our knowledge of foreign places and cultures is one of the best ways to gain respect for the world in which we live.
  9. Wake up and smell the roses, literally. Our sense of smell can bring on a flood of memories, influence our mood, and even affect our work performance.
  10. Read a book. A wise man once said, “Reading is good. Can we start the story now?”
  11. Meditate. We all can feel overwhelmed by the stressors life throws our way every single day. Allow yourself to regain a sense of tranquility no matter what is happening around you.
  12. Dig through old artwork, projects, and photographs. Taking a walk down Memory Lane lets you to realize how far you’ve come over the years.
  13. Surround yourself with creative people. Hint: Look around.

When your brain switches gears, even just for a few minutes, it will feel refreshed as you return to the task at hand, and you will feel more productive, more inspired, and, yes, more creative. In the end, it seems the best app for that is no app at all.

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.