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  1. Strategy

    Four UPDATED Marketing Resolutions for 2021

    In January 2016, I wrote a blog titled “Four Marketing Resolutions for 2016.” I cited research identifying that “people who write down their specific resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t make specific resolutions.”[1] So I made my marketing resolutions public: Contribute to the growth and success of […]

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  2. Agency Life

    Hindsight Is 2020

    At 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2019, the ball started dropping and decided to make a year of it. Like everyone else, I wish I could close the lid to this dumpster fire, but there are some things even a trash fire can illuminate. And those are the things that I never want to lose […]

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  3. Research

    Five important college enrollment messages to send to high school students’ parents—right now!

    By David Brond, Elizabeth Cohen and Linda McAleer Multiple articles have been written about the important role parents play in their child’s college decision. Most higher education marketers and enrollment professionals agree that a parent’s powerful influence in guiding high school students throughout the college application and admission process is often unmatched by any other […]

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  4. Healthcare

    Now more than ever, people need to take care of their health. Are healthcare providers sending the right messages to them?

    Communicating that it is safe to get preventative care such as mammograms is essential to getting healthcare kick-started. With the advent of consumerism and the preponderance of healthcare information, we now have an “army” of informed healthcare consumers in our country. Where have they been during this pandemic? What happened to preventative medicine or annual […]

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  5. Strategy

    Navigating the Next Normal in Higher Education

    By David Brond and Kathleen Doyle The world as we knew it has changed. This is also true across the entire landscape of higher education. May 1 was National College Decision Day, the traditional deadline for high school seniors to pick their college or university. In 2020 unfortunately, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, this important […]

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  6. Healthcare

    Telemedicine Is Here to Stay

    It’s in the news every day. This pandemic is crippling some hospitals’ resources, while others are ready and waiting. But all hospitals have stopped elective procedures and are experiencing that impact on their revenue. Some have even been forced to furlough employees and staff. But what can we as marketers do to help? Many of […]

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  7. Healthcare

    Free thank-you ads from AB&C

    We’ve heard a lot about the importance of thanking essential workers during this pandemic. At AB&C, we’d like to make this a little easier for you. We have designed a series of posters/ads that we will customize for you to use as a print ad or as a poster displayed in your hospitals. We will […]

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  8. Healthcare

    A Brand Promise Isn’t Just for the Good Times: Living Your Brand Promise While Facing a Crisis

    Healthcare organizations have become pretty marketing savvy over the past several years. They tend to excel in having a strong brand promise, backed up by people-focused missions, visions and values. People entering the industry—especially those in direct clinical care roles—tend to be extremely mission-driven. They want to help and serve others. And that’s what they […]

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  9. Recruitment Marketing

    Refine Your Brand. Retain Your Talent.

    After 18 years, the unemployment scales have finally tipped, and we’re seeing more available jobs than unemployed individuals. According to the Wall Street Journal’s Eric Morath, “U.S. job openings rose to 6.7 million at the end of April [2018], compared with the 6.3 million Americans who were unemployed.” It’s the first time this has happened since […]

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  10. Healthcare

    Digital Marketing: So Many Lessons Learned

    While many healthcare providers have been late adopters of digital marketing (as compared to other industries), it is fair to say that, as of 2018 it is now a cornerstone of most healthcare marketing programs. And that prominence comes from success and lessons learned—some good, some not so good—about both general and digital marketing. Just […]

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  11. Healthcare

    Dashboards: More than Keeping Score

    Marketing dashboards are an essential deliverable for any marketing team. Senior leaders want to know what they are getting for their investment in marketing, and how marketing will advance their strategic plan. And for marketers, it is important to document how effective you were in achieving your stated goals. So, where to begin? In this […]

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  12. Strategy

    Building and Maintaining Great Agency Relationships

    Over the past four-plus decades, AB&C has worked with some of the most premier healthcare systems across this country—large and small—and we greatly value those relationships. But great agency-client relationships just don’t happen; they take true commitment by both parties to be successful. And over the years, we have learned what makes a great working […]

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  13. Healthcare

    Marketing that Made a Difference

    Every once in a while, a campaign comes along, and you know that it’s special. Maybe it’s a cause that you strongly believe in, a story that needs to be told or the creative is just really unique. I guess that’s how I felt from the very beginning about MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute’s “Living Donor” […]

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  14. Observations

    What Makes a Successful CMO?

    In my experience as a hospital chief marketing officer (CMO) and in working at AB&C with healthcare CMOs, I’ve found a number of attributes that serve a person well in this role. On Innovation Enterprise, which provides leading-edge ideas and information on a variety of key business channels, Rose Johnstone identifies a number of these […]

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  15. Healthcare

    Dashboards: If You Can Move It, You Can Measure It

    Healthcare organizations have always struggled with measuring return on marketing investment (ROMI), mostly because of multiple systems of data collection that don’t speak to one another. But with the advent of new “tools,” that challenge is getting easier — if you have the building blocks in place. Here are some examples of how leading organizations […]

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  16. Healthcare

    Marketing Medical Groups: Your Front Door for Patients

    Most health systems/hospitals have an affiliated and/or employed medical group. The exception is California, where the corporate practice of medicine prohibits employment of physicians by systems or hospitals. Some medical groups are faculty models, while others are the result of groups that have merged under one umbrella, and can have primary care and specialty services […]

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  17. Strategy

    How to Socialize Your Brand

    If you followed a systematic approach to build a new brand (or refreshed an existing one), you started with discovery research. You then developed a brand mantra to inform how your brand would be articulated to internal audiences and the outside world. Finally, you created or refined the outward expressions, such as the name, mark […]

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  18. Strategy

    The Writing Workshop: Basics of Punctuation

    In professional communications of any kind, proper punctuation is essential. But this is especially true for marketing communications, where the copy helps define a brand. Grammar and punctuation mistakes can result in a loss of credibility—for both the agency and its clients. Here are a few tips for avoiding common mistakes. The Comma The goal […]

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  19. Strategy

    The Essence of a Brand Mantra

    As branding experts, we have developed our own vocabulary for what we do and how we help organizations define and present themselves to consumers. We use terminology like “brand architecture,” “platform,” “positioning,” “promise,” “proof point,” “personality,” “identity” and “tag line” to describe how we create, communicate and control the attributes of a brand. An important […]

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  20. Healthcare

    Does My Hospital Need a Newsletter?

    Every healthcare marketing and communications (MarCom) leader has heard this question from a service line or physician leader. Somehow, a newsletter is going to put their program on the map, drive volume, attract new referring physicians and make them profitable. But isn’t this the same fantasy thinking that supports billboards as business drivers? At AB&C, we […]

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  21. Observations

    Key Takeaways for Women in Advertising

    By Maria Antonelli, Andrea Ferrino, Elizabeth Gluck, Jennifer Harris, Lauren Bentley, Amanda Kalbrosky and Elizabeth Howarth Earlier this month, the Philly Ad Club hosted its annual Women in Advertising event, where a panel of women in advertising and communications imparted their knowledge to a room of marketers (men and women). The panelists—each with a different […]

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  22. Strategy

    Brand New: The Power of Rebranding

    You’ve heard about it. You’ve seen the results. Maybe you’ve even been part of a rebranding effort. But do you really understand what branding means? Some people think a brand is a company’s logo and colors. Others say that it’s a vision statement and mission, or an advertising campaign. It’s actually all of these things—and […]

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  23. Strategy

    The Role of Theory in Behavior Change Marketing

    Behavior change marketing, also known as social marketing, is a term used by public health professionals to describe a marketing effort that aims to increase awareness of a social issue and change a behavior that is unhealthy. For example: Use sunscreen. Recycle. Be physically active. Wear a seat belt. Don’t smoke. But how exactly can […]

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  24. Observations

    The Art of an Adequate Thank-You

    The holidays always elicit a flashback to the one thing that wasn’t so “joyous” for me as a kid: the thank-you notes. Many of us had parents who made us write to everyone who gave us presents—and not just during the holidays either. For us kids, it was a chore. In retrospect, I now see […]

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  25. Strategy

    Secrets of Successful Networking

    As a managing director at AB&C, I often attend events on behalf of my firm, where I walk into a room and strike up a conversation with complete strangers, or give the opening remarks to a crowd of unfamiliar faces. Today, I get excited about these opportunities to promote our agency. But once upon a […]

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  26. Recruitment Marketing

    Need to Innovate? Diversify.

    It’s one thing to claim a diverse workforce or patient population. It’s another thing to nurture a genuine culture of inclusion — one in which everyone feels welcomed and valued, one in which everyone can contribute to his or her fullest potential to achieve organizational objectives. This is where the rubber meets the road. Organizations […]

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  27. Observations

    Key Takeaways from the Pennsylvania Conference for Women

    By Megan Egan and Samantha Mueller There’s something uniquely empowering about sharing a room with 12,000 women (and a few brave men) at the largest annual gathering of women in the country. It was a day where the world’s most influential women—among them former First Lady Michelle Obama and writer, executive producer and creator of […]

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  28. PR

    Storytelling: From a Mere Nicety to a PR Necessity

    Gone are the days when the “newness” of a news item was ample motivation to get people interested and mobilized to support a cause, buy a product or develop brand loyalty. Think about it: When was the last time you saw a press conference—including those at the White House—that didn’t include at least one member […]

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  29. Observations

    The Art of Being a Great Client

    Recently, I was reacquainted with The Art of Client Service, a must-read for any aspiring account executive eager to set his or her agency (and the ad world) on fire. Flipping through the pages, I wondered why there was never a companion piece, The Art of Being a Great Client. Looking back on the countless […]

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  30. Observations

    How to Prevent the Agency Letdown

    So, your business needs a marketing communications agency. Where do you start? Common sense tells you to ask for recommendations, look up agencies that you’ve heard have a good reputation and do lots of internet research. Even if my intention for this blog was to offer you advice on starting an agency search, I couldn’t—not […]

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  31. Strategy

    Achieving Success Along the Customer Journey

    Ever since there’s been the practice of marketing communications, there’s been a concept inseparable from it: the customer journey. If you understood your target audience and could communicate effectively at each stage of their purchasing journey, you’d do OK in the marcom profession. Historically, that journey was the equivalent of a Sunday drive. The customer […]

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  32. Observations

    Lessons Learned from a New CEO

    After more than a decade of managing a marketing communications agency as a partner and chief creative director, making the step up to CEO shouldn’t be that big of a deal, right? I believed this as I prepared to step into the shoes of our retiring CEO, John Hawkins, the agency’s founder and my friend […]

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  33. Strategy

    Recruiting Savvy: When to Post Salary Information

    More and more, job boards are publishing salary information. Should you include accurate salary information in your job postings? As “candidate-friendly” websites like Glassdoor, Indeed, kununu, CareerBliss and Google publish salary estimates, companies are feeling the pressure to release competitive salary information. When a nurse searches for jobs, and finds results with five levels of […]

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  34. Observations

    Do You Know Your Net Promoter Score?

    One of the most important drivers of business for any organization — of any size — is referrals from satisfied customers. Meeting or exceeding customers’ expectations creates a long-term relationship and loyalty, which leads to referrals. And loyalty can pay off — loyal customers are worth up to 10 times their initial purchase value. Measuring satisfaction to […]

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  35. Creative

    8 Tips for Writing Catchy Headlines

    In a world full of noise, how do you get people to actually read what you write? It takes more than good content and design. The most important part of writing is the headline. My advice? Be bold. Be brief. Be relevant. Because without a great headline hook to pull people into your article or ad, they’ll […]

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  36. Strategy

    How to Create an Inbound Marketing Strategy

    If you’ve found that your outbound marketing efforts are becoming less effective over time, then read on. You may have noticed that your email blasts to purchased lists of unqualified prospects, cold-calls and direct mailers are no longer generating the quantity and quality of leads needed to fill the top of your sales funnel—leaving your […]

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  37. Strategy

    Marketing’s Role in Connecting Organizations with Customers

    “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” This directive was identified by management consultant, educator and author Peter F. Drucker, whose writings contributed to the practical foundation of the modern business corporation. Today, marketing plays an ever-increasing role in creating and growing businesses and brands by connecting organizations with current and […]

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  38. PR

    Media Training—3 Tips for a Great Interview

    If you’re Skyping into a live TV interview from your home office, make sure you lock the door! Robert Kelly, a professor of political science at South Korea’s Pusan National University, learned this lesson the hard way after his two children stole the spotlight during his March 2017 BBC interview. Professor Kelly was discussing the […]

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  39. PR

    Top 3 Tips for Public Relations Planners

    This February, I represented PRSSA-UD at one of the Public Relations Student Society of America’s Delaware Chapter (PRSA-DE) networking events. As I sipped coffee and ate some of the provided refreshments, I listened to Dave Brond from Aloysius Butler & Clark (AB&C) and Cortney Klein from WSFS Bank discuss the elements of an effective strategic […]

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  40. Observations

    Mindful Approach to Marketing

    What Is Mindfulness? The word itself is straightforward. Mindfulness suggests that the mind is full with what is happening around us, inside our bodies or with the task at hand. Yet finding that intensely present and aware mind is hardly an easy task. It seems that when we are doing one thing, our mind is […]

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  41. Observations

    Key Takeaways for Women in Advertising

    By Megan Egan, Dayna Hawco, Elizabeth Howarth, Paige Miller and Caity Smith Earlier this month, the Philly Ad Club hosted its annual “Women in Advertising” event at the Courtyard Philadelphia Downtown. A panel composed of six successful women in advertising and communications imparted their knowledge to the female (and male) marketers in the room. The […]

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  42. Digital Media

    Podcasts—Back and Bigger Than Ever

    Let’s pretend it’s 2010. Your friend asks, “Have you been listening to this podcast?” Everyone stares blankly at said individual because they’re thinking podcasts are those weird audio recordings that loners produce in their parents’ basement when they’re not crushing the high score in DDR at the local arcade. Fast-forward to 2017. Podcasts like Serial, […]

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  43. Digital Media

    Is Digital Media the Next Political Battleground?

    By Erin Mulrooney, Ashley Shuey and Megan Egan No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, the 2016 presidential election has been entertaining, unconventional and thought-provoking, with much owed to online media—and social media in particular. And as we take a look at the election through the digital media lens, it begs the question: […]

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  44. Strategy

    The Forgotten Audience Segment

    As marketers, we’re pretty good at defining audience groups within our target market, identifying their pain points and developing messaging that addresses those points. On a good day, we even come up with unique messaging for each audience segment. But there’s one segment that most marketers forget, ignore or consider to be “not our problem”—existing […]

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  45. Strategy

    The Importance of Storytelling

    The 2016 Olympics are now history and for a short time this summer we were witness to amazing athletic feats demonstrating perseverance, competitiveness, national pride, raw talent, strength, agility, beauty and grace. Always a marketer, I will remember these Olympics for the athletic achievements of the individuals and teams that competed, and their stories, both […]

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  46. Strategy

    The Spatial Science of Marketing Segmentation

    During my undergraduate years as a geography and economics major, a professor shared his belief that everything in the world can be related to geography, because geography is the spatial science focused on where things are and why they occur there. Geographers seek to answer questions related to location, place, spatial pattern and interaction when […]

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  47. Strategy

    What Inspires You and Your Business?

    Inspiration is defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary as “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” Motivation, stimulation and encouragement are powerful forces for human beings. Together they lead to inspiration, which spurs creativity, inventiveness and brilliance. In my opinion, inspiration can motivate individuals to […]

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  48. Strategy

    Why Content Marketing Is a Good Tactic for Healthcare Marketers

    By David Brond and Samantha Oscar Content marketing—the business process focused on creating and distributing relevant and valuable information to attract and engage target audiences with the objective of driving action—is one of today’s business-growth strategies getting a lot of attention from marketers in many organizations, including those in healthcare. And with good reason. According […]

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  49. Strategy

    Marketing Is Alive and Well

    June 1 marks the 119th anniversary of Mark Twain’s well-known quote: “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” It seems an appropriate time then to report that any rumor suggesting that marketing is dead (and branding is meaningless) is also an exaggeration. Last month, SSRS, a full-service market and survey research firm (, completed […]

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  50. Strategy

    How to Build Your Personal Brand

    “We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” —Tom Peters The term “personal branding” was first coined in 1997 by leading business-management thinker Tom Peters. A personal brand is formed by an individual’s professional reputation […]

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  51. Research

    Using Research to Guide Branding Efforts

    Congratulations. Your organization’s leaders have decided to establish a new positioning statement, brand platform, externally facing mission statement and even a new slogan. And they want you to come up with concepts and copy to get the message out. Now what? Before you jump in head first, put together a work plan to collect marketplace […]

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  52. Strategy

    The Benefits of Co-branding

    Let’s say you run a successful organization, and you’re asked to co-brand your business with another business. There are several good reasons for doing this, and a few things to consider to ensure you do it right. Co-branding makes sense when the two brands can promote a unified message to achieve the following goals: Responding […]

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  53. Social Media

    Twitter Helps Brands Cut through the Clutter

    Companies use social media as a way to receive feedback, engage with consumers, and market new products or ideas. But they share a common challenge when communicating on such a content-rich platform: It’s hard to stand out. Until now. Twitter has introduced a new way to view your timeline by showing you tweets you’re “most […]

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  54. Strategy

    How to Make a Strong Marketing Plan for 2016

    I’m here to say, it’s 2016 and marketing has changed. A lot. Marketing is no longer centered around your product, but your customer. Now’s a good time to update your marketing plan (you have a marketing plan, right?). Make it your road map for this year’s marketing initiatives. Use it to set goals that you […]

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  55. Observations

    The Benefits of Selecting an Agency of Record

    In the end, designating an advertising Agency of Record (AOR) for your organization should be a decision based on the strategic, long-term marketing and communication needs of your stakeholders in your marketplace. I know what you’re thinking. My conclusion may sound biased, since I am employed by a full-service ad agency, I can also offer […]

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  56. Observations

    4 Marketing Resolutions for 2016

    The New Year gives us a clean slate and an opportunity to make resolutions to improve our lives. Typical goals and resolutions include losing weight, exercising more, improving finances, getting a new job or procrastinating less. Which, I’m sure we’ll all fully accomplish this year. Yeah, right. According to recent research published in the University […]

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  57. PR

    Why Justin Bieber could work in PR

    As a public relations professional working in the 21st century, I am reminded every day about the importance of combining traditional tactics with (the ever-growing in popularity) practices from the wonderful world of technology. Social media, search engine optimization and big data analysis—to name a few—are not going away any time soon, but many of […]

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  58. Strategy

    Organizing media buying efforts after reorganization

    Reorganization. If your organization is going through it, you’re also going to have to deal with reorganizing a very important marketing function: media buying. You have three approaches to choose from, each with merits and disadvantages: centralized, decentralized or a hybrid. With the centralized approach, you consolidate all media buying for each division and service […]

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  59. PR

    PR Pros with Hearts? No Way!

    PR professionals have gotten a bad rap, stereotyped as cutthroat, competitive communicators who are constantly stressing out, skating around the truth and drinking excessive amounts of coffee (well, we do drink a lot of coffee). But despite the generalization, PR pros can actually do good. Did I say that loud enough? We can do good. Recently, […]

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  60. Strategy

    Marketers Need to be Good Writers

    I’m no writer. Which might become evident as you make your way through this. When I was in college, nobody told me how important writing would be once I landed a marketing job. Maybe they didn’t think it was important because of how fast everything in marketing and advertising changes. But I’ve come to accept […]

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  61. Strategy

    Employment Branding = Consumer Branding

    Almost 400 people took the Business and Labor Resources Employment Branding Survey this past June. The results highlight the importance of marketing and human resources professionals working together to build and maintain an employment brand. Slightly more than one quarter (26.6%) of survey respondents said their organization has an employment brand program—i.e., “a program directed […]

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  62. Observations

    Branding Comes Naturally

    If you scour our website and blog, you’ll see the words “brand” and “branding” popping up all over the place. It’s at the very core of what we do, so naturally we like to talk about it. What makes our jobs more fun is when our clients adopt that same love and appreciation for branding […]

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  63. Digital Media

    HTML 5: Death to Flash

      by: Kathleen Doyle and Michael English While we’ve heard rumblings in the industry about the demise of Flash for some time, it has become a reality only recently. Here’s a quick history of the rocky relationship between the Internet and Flash. Back in 2007, Apple chose not to allow a Flash player plugin on […]

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  64. Strategy

    How Long Does It Take to Establish a Brand that Works?

    In my career I have built, enhanced and even created numerous brands for multiple organizations in healthcare, higher education, and other industries. And people always ask me, “How long does it take to establish a brand?” My answer: five years. In the first phase, you’ll develop your brand. This requires qualitative and quantitative marketplace, stakeholder […]

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  65. Show your True Colors: Diversity for the Win.

    The term “diversity” is popping up more and more in in the news and within our organizations. Why? Diversity is great for business—it’s a key driver of innovation, and it’s crucial for companies that want to attract top talent. Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is no longer just “training” that your employer requires you to complete—it’s […]

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  66. Observations

    Are you an Agent of Change?

    While business owners keep the doors open, change agents do that and more. They constantly challenge the status quo and find new ways to achieve greater success—and then work tirelessly to ensure that success. These driven people share four traits: They invest in good people. Success hinges upon the people you surround yourself with. Change […]

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  67. Observations

    Why is Inbound Marketing so Important?

    Whether you have separate teams dedicated to marketing and new business development, or you have one person responsible for both, you need to start an inbound marketing program. What makes inbound so important? Let’s start with something everyone (especially our b2b clients) realizes: The buyer’s journey has changed. There’s now this Zero Moment of Truth—the moment […]

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  68. Social Media

    The Future of Mobile Ads

    The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is stirring up conversations and sparking new ideas in the minds of advertising and business professionals. A breeding ground for networking opportunities and business partnerships, the weeklong advertising festival can be seen as “the SXSW for the international set,” complete with celebrity appearances and musical performances. According to […]

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  69. Creative

    Color Schemes Set the Tone

    What is a color scheme? As defines it: an arrangement or pattern of colors or colored objects conceived of as forming an integrated whole As designers, we are trained to seek out color schemes to communicate an idea and to justify its use in our work, whether it’s a graphic logo, a painting or […]

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  70. PR

    Is it Time for Media Training?

    If you’re asking the question, the answer is probably yes. If you’re in a position to speak on behalf of your company or organization in front of the “fourth estate,” you should have some understanding of how the media operates and how to get your messages across effectively. Good media training can get you there. […]

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  71. Strategy

    How the Message Specialists Can Help

    I would be wealthy if I had a nickel for every time a member of the faculty, staff, administration or board said, “I didn’t realize you could help with that.” Far too often, the marcom (marketing/communications) and public relations office is brought into a situation requiring communication to internal and external stakeholders late in the […]

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  72. Observations

    New Style of Partnership Brings New Set of Problems.

    “TheSkimm,” a free email newsletter skimming three to five top stories in the world geared toward female millennials, recently announced it would start pairing up with other companies to bring in advertising revenue. It will do this through strategic “partnerships” rather than typical ads. Approaching its third anniversary, theSkimm has grown exponentially in popularity and […]

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  73. Agency Life

    No Mad Man

    Many have heard me talk about how lucky I was to “fall into” the advertising business. Not sure it was pure luck—my dad owned an advertising/PR shop for many years that was located, coincidentally, about two blocks from my office today. My entry into this business was pretty much accidental. I had given notice at […]

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