Weekly Recap - September 29, 2017

Ecobranding is the new black. Slight alterations to traditional logos can have HUGE ecological and economic impacts. 140 characters not enough for you? You can now double your tweet lengths in most languages. Watch the disruptors. Tiffany & Co. reveals what it learned from newcomers in the market. Mindset matters. When shoppable ads meet active consumers, purchases happen.

DETAILS, Please

One designer’s plan to make brand logos more eco-friendly. Ecobranding could be the future. Check out how one creative director cut ink use to make logos more environmentally and economically friendly.

Twitter finally tests a 280 characters limit. In a world where attention spans are decreasing, will longer tweets be beneficial or irrelevant for marketers? Twitter promises to keep us all posted about how users react to the doubled limit.

What Tiffany & Co. learned about mobile from watching its competitors. Scared to diminish its own merchandise, Tiffany was once reluctant to use a mobile platform. Now, the VP of marketing shares how mobile helps the brand connect with young shoppers.

Shoppable media is transforming how consumers find and buy products. Serve your ads at the right time. Consumers in the “active” stage are three times more likely to complete a purchase after seeing a shoppable ad.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

A clothing store with no clothes? Nordstrom Local reinvents retail. Retail is having a tough year. It’s no secret. While brick and mortar behemoths and multi-level department stores once dominated the market, there’s a new sheriff in town: online.

How to create an inspiring workplace and culture. Volunteerism is good for the workplace. It can boost morale, atmosphere and brand perception. It can make Millennial employees more proud, loyal and satisfied, and attract Gen Y talent.

THE Topic of conversation

Communicating with Visuals - Visual communication. Did you know that 93 percent of communication is visual? Amplify your marketing and discover how your brand can communicate visually. Download our latest free guide, "Communicating with Visuals."

SHARING is CARING

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How to create an inspiring workplace and culture.

How to create an inspiring workplace and culture.
Spot the Brogan & Partners team member among the volunteers at this year’s Muir Valley Trial Days in Kentucky.

My job recently took me to Slade, Kentucky, home of Muir Valley—a nonprofit nature preserve in the Red River Gorge.

The Valley is a rock climber’s paradise, featuring 360 acres and seven miles of Corbin Sandstone cliffs with traditional and sport climbs that run 20- to over 200-feet-tall. Climbers trek here from all over the U.S. to discover more than 400 routes amid classic crags like Bruise Brothers, Midnight Surf and Land Before Time.

Here it’s not just the destination. The journey is equally spectacular, lined with oak, hickory, sugar maple and hemlock trees. Mountain laurel, rhododendron and bigleaf magnolias stretch and hover thick across the valley floor. Trails twist and climb, presenting waterfalls, caves and mountain streams.

This is a marketer’s dream. The creative brief would practically write itself. The Brogan Team would have a field day promoting this place.

But I didn’t go to Muir Valley to pitch business. There would be no campaign. Brogan sent me here simply to do good.

Like many progressive companies, Brogan & Partners encourages employees to contribute back to the community. We’re paid for a volunteer day annually and rewarded for sharing our time and talents to serve on nonprofit boards and committees. The agency partners with several nonprofits throughout the year, providing significant pro bono work and raising money for organizations like Game on Cancer.

Why doing good leads to great.

My volunteer day brought me to Muir Valley because it’s given my family so much. It’s where my son, Nick, travels with his rock climbing team in the summer. It’s where my daughter, Sofia, reads in peace and finds inspiration for short stories. It’s where we road trip on long weekends, catching up on the six-hour trip along I-75 and winding down in the hills of Kentucky.

At the very least, we owed Muir Valley a day’s work.

We joined 100 other outdoor enthusiasts to groom trails, build benches and bridges, paint outhouses and secure routes and belay areas. We met lots of new people. People just like us who had come to Kentucky’s Red River Gorge from far flung places like Brooklyn, N.Y. and Muncie, Indiana. And people who call the Valley home and volunteer regularly to ensure its integrity for generations.

We worked alongside Mike, a volunteer search and rescue team member at Muir Valley and longtime climber. Under his supervision, we pick axed, shoveled, dug and scraped post holes for new benches in the training area.

This was unfamiliar work for my family. We hiked to the job site with tools and relay teamed the building materials to the site. We learned how to use a green bar to break up a rock bed and how to secure a post by compacting soil, layer by layer, with a sledge hammer. We learned how to be flexible when nature proved otherwise.

It was hard work. By the end of the day we were exhausted and achy. But we felt amazing.

Volunteering is good business.

Volunteerism is good for the workplace, according to Deloitte’s 2017 Volunteerism Survey. It can boost morale, atmosphere and brand perception. It can make Millennial employees more proud, loyal and satisfied, and attract Gen Y talent. Survey results found that nearly two-thirds of Gen Y employees surveyed prefer companies that let them volunteer their skills.

These benefits span all generational cohorts, per the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) research. According to CTI data, older generations feel it is important to give back to their community or wider world through their workplace. This is true for 91 percent of Gen X women and 76 percent of Gen X men, and 90 percent of female and 79 percent of male Baby Boomers.

At Brogan, volunteerism contributes directly to our agency mission: creating an inspiring workplace and culture. I may have built benches in Kentucky but I came back to Brogan with so much more. Mission accomplished.

Want to learn more about what makes Brogan & Partners unique? Learn more.

Why the worst disasters can bring out the best in brands.

Why the worst disasters can bring out the best in brands.
Photo credit: Rick Wilking, Reuters
A man and his dog wade through the Hurricane Harvey floodwaters in Houston.

After Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans, Tide’s Loads of Hope program rolled into town with a fleet of trucks filled with Whirlpool washers and dryers. The 2005 disaster left thousands homeless with little more than the clothes on their backs, but Tide provided relief and offered free laundry services for families in need.

Similarly, when residents of Flint, Michigan were unable to drink tap water for fear of lead poisoning, PUR sent scientists, faucet-mounted water purifiers and replacement cartridges to the city. "We are a company that is in a unique position to help because we have a product that does eliminate 99.0 percent of lead, and that's the PUR faucet mount system. And we thought this would be an opportunity to make sure we are able to help people in a way that only we can," said Sharon Robustell of PUR, in a prepared statement.

While southeastern Texas begins its long recovery from the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Harvey, Gallery Furniture is giving shelter to thousands of displaced residents. The Houston-based chain store has transformed two of its locations into temporary housing for victims of the historic tropical storm, offering food, beds and restrooms for anyone in need.

Brands big and small can excel in a crisis, adding depth to consumer relationships that may trump purchase barriers like price and convenience. This is particularly true when the brand cause aligns with the brand promise, product or service.

PetSmart, for example, is giving $1 million to help animal welfare agencies working to rescue, relocate and care for pets that have become homeless due to the storm. The company is also donating supplies and pet food. United Airlines is giving bonus miles to members who donate to disaster relief organizations providing aid to Texas, and FedEx has committed $1 million in cash and transportation support to deliver supplies and medical aid to victims.

Consumers expect more from brands than profitability.

Don’t wait for disaster to strike to find your brand’s corporate responsibility. Being socially responsible comes with the territory. In fact, today’s consumers expect it. 

According to a global study by Havas Worldwide and Market Probe International, 73 percent of consumers believe that brands have a responsibility to do more than just generate profits. Companies that do good may be more successful when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.

In a study by Morning Consult for Fortune Magazine that tested out this theory, nearly two-thirds of the 2,000 respondents (ages 18 to 34) were at least somewhat more likely to work for a company that gave to charity than one that did not. Older generations aren’t quite as corporate-philanthropy-disposed, with 59 percent of those between the ages of 35 and 44, and 47 percent of people between the ages of 45 and 64 reporting values that align with Millennials.

How to find the right cause for your brand. 

There are endless ways your brand can make a difference. But what makes sense for you? CEB Iconoculture suggests the following:

Focus on the cause. Consumers will follow. Patagonia values sustainability. To prove it, they launched a campaign on Black Friday to discourage consumers from buying a popular jacket on the busiest shopping day of the year. The “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign encouraged consumers to reconsider consumption and embrace sustainability. The brand proved its sincerity by illustrating its commitment to recycling and environmentally-conscious practices. Patagonia loyalists and wannabes understood.

Do what you can with what you have. Whirlpool is more than just a manufacturer of washers and dryers. The brand gives people confidence that they’re ready for work, school or play. That’s the essence of the Whirlpool Care Counts program. Kids are more likely to skip school when they don’t have clean clothes. So, the brand is helping keep at-risk kids in school by installing washers and dryers in underprivileged schools.

Want another example of a brand that’s discovered an ideal philanthropic match? Check out Consumers Energy Generation Genius.

4 tips for tackling negative online patient reviews.

4 tips for tackling negative online patient reviews.

We’ve all been upset while waiting a little longer than expected in a waiting room. We’ve all had a negative experience, or two, with an office manager or billing specialist who didn’t make things right. We all know someone who questioned that doctor (you know, the one with the freezing hands) for disagreeing with a Google diagnosis and Google is always right, right?

It’s experiences like these that cause patients to take their anger out on their healthcare provider through online reviews. As of March 31, 2017, Yelp has had over 127 million reviews with 6 percent of those (about 762,000) being health-related reviews. An apparently, they’re well read.

According to Healthgrades and the Health Management Academy research 60 percent of Americans are reading online reviews about physicians. Millennials (75 percent), parents (71 percent) and highly-educated consumers (73 percent) are even more likely to consult online reviews.

If you haven’t yet, search one of your practices or practitioners on either Yelp or Google. If nothing comes up, lucky you! You can get ahead of the pack by establishing your own Yelp page for your practice. If something does come up, maybe it’s great, but sometimes… ouch.

So what should a practice do when Negative Nancy spills her story online and threatens to damage your reputation? Here are a few tips:

  1. Take them seriously. If you have multiple patients all saying the same thing, do something about it. For example, if you encounter multiple negative reviews about the front desk representative along the lines of “Jan at the front desk was rude, inconsiderate, and ignored me for 10 minutes as I stood there waiting to sign-in,” have a conversation with Jan. Re-train her to have better customer service skills. Create a new check-in process that doesn’t involve relying on one person. Your reviews are telling you where problematic areas may be, so look at them as an opportunity to improve.
     
  2. Don’t let one Negative Nancy ruin your day. Let’s say you have a high rating on Yelp/Google and lots of positive reviews. According to Yelp 17 percent of consumers pay attention to the quantity of positive reviews you have versus the amount of negative commentary. If one Negative Nancy posts a poor review, message that person privately and apologize – even if it wasn’t your fault. Choosing to apologize to the dissatisfied patient and letting her know she has been heard and acknowledged might just solve your problem. She might even give you a second chance.
     
  3. Respond when appropriate. Online reviewers just want to be heard. If Positive Polly is showing you lots of love, thank her. It can only make her image of you more positive which might influence other users. Approximately 90 percent of users on Yelp say positive reviews are their main deciding factor to influence their buying decisions, or in this case, choosing your practice. If a Negative Nancy is referencing a time of day where you know your practice was super busy and short-staffed, apologize and explain how hard your employees were working to see everyone as efficiently as possible while providing the most compassionate care. If a positive or negative review clearly states the patient’s name either in their actual review or in their profile display name, respond privately. Responding publicly may violate HIPPA and no one wants that, or to be safe, consult a legal advisor to help you determine the most appropriate response.
     
  4. Be proactive. Today’s healthcare consumers are shouldering much more of the costs associated with their care. Copays and high premiums have a way of making long waits and lack of urgency all the more excruciating. Take stock of your office operations with an eye on the patient experience. Are they being nurtured and cared for at the same level that you would demand for your own family? Work with your team to map out an efficient and thorough patient journey. Good reviews will certainly follow.

For more on managing user generated content, see Critical resource or just critical? Tips for docs to deal with Yelp’s fortified UGC.

Weekly Recap - August 19, 2016

Pinterest has finally launched promoted video pins. How Pinteresting? The social network ran alpha tests with 12 partners and found that promoted videos delivered “significant brand lift metrics.” But what kind of videos will have the most pull among consumers? According to crystal balls at Adweek, the future of video will be personalized. And who knows? It might not be blocked on Facebook anymore. Read here. 

DETAILS, please

Promoted video: video ads come to Pinterest. Promoted Video ads are video ads with the Pinterest touch, as they also contain featured pins, which are aimed at encouraging users to take action after watching the videos.

The future of video will not be televised, it will be personalized. A personalized video advertisement laser-focuses on a customer's interests with far greater precision than traditional video advertising.

Why Facebook is blocking ad blockers. Facebook last week began rolling out an update to their site’s code to nullify ad blockers like Adblock Plus, stressing that ads are how the site makes its money.

Meanwhile back at the RANCH

As a woman owned and operated business, we know a thing or two about empowering all women in the workplace (men too). Take a look.

Why your business should empower women in the workforce. Throughout the past two decades we have witnessed great advances for women in the workforce. But there’s still lots of room for improvement.

THE Topic of conversation

Women. Get research and tips on how women shop, and who they'll trust with their money. Download our free whitepaper "How women buy, and what it means for your marketing plan."

SHARING is CARING

Like what you see? Share the Brogan Recap.

Why your business should empower women in the workforce.

Why your business should empower women in the workforce.

By now, you should have seen or at least heard of the Always #LikeAGirl campaign. The campaign not only challenges stereotypes, but inspires a culture that accepts women without limiting them.  

But, good thing too, this isn’t new. Throughout the past two decades we have witnessed great advances for women in the workforce – the first female board of director to Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, and now the first female presidential nominee. But there’s still lots of room for improvement. Take a look:

  1. The percentage of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 dropped to four percent within the past year.

    Of the 29 companies added to the list this year, only one had a female CEO. Just one. While yes, some females retired last year. Some businesses merged, downsized or changed their structure so they no longer fall under the Fortune 500 category; the one female is incredibly surprising.

  1. Women need to reenter the workforce.

    Have you seen the Nancy Meyer’s movie The Intern, starring Anne Hathaway and Robert DeNiro? The film follows DeNiro’s character, a 70-something-year-old man who reenters the workforce as a senior intern at Anne Hathaway’s character’s digital fashion startup. If you haven’t seen the movie, Wunderlich Kaplan Communications has and has applied this program to their business model. According to Dara Kaplan, president and partner, “That movie was kind of an aha moment for us.” Posing the question, “How many times have we witnessed our friends, unable to dive back into the workforce after several years at home?”

    Although in the movie, the company hired all ages and all genders, Wunderlich Kaplan Communications’ program hires women over 40 that are looking to change careers, jump the corporate ship and reenter the workforce. Why only women? Wunderlich explains “It’s estimated that there are upwards of three million women with advanced college degrees trying to reenter the American workforce. It was clear this was who we needed to focus on.” How inspiring is that?

  1. It can be done.

    As a woman owned and operated business, we know a thing or two about empowering all women in the workplace (men too). Founded in 1984 by the fabulous and fearless female Marcie Brogan, and are now led by the dauntless and dedicated Ellyn Davidson, Brogan & Partners strives to create an empowering and inspiring workplace and culture.

    Whether we are energizing our employees on our Mystery Trips, pampering those who participate in manicure Wednesdays, or walking to (virtual) far away locations during our Fitbit challenges (or on Tracksuit Tuesday), Brogan & Partners is constantly creating an inspiring workplace and culture.

For more trends and insights, sign up for our Brogan Weekly Recap. And you’ll get what’s new and next in the world of advertising.

Brogan team straps on wearables for a little healthy competition.

I can’t sit still.

I’m looking for excuses to trek upstairs and parking further away from the office. Yesterday, I marched in place while blowing my hair dry. This morning I cha-cha’d at the stovetop while scrambling eggs. My husband smirks. My daughter rolls her eyes. The cat hides. I double-tap my Fitbit.

All this newfound energy is the direct result of a little healthy competition at work. Ellyn, our managing partner, recently threw down a four-week fitness challenge. Those who log 250,000 steps get a check towards the cost of a Fitbit or similar device. Rack up another 120,000 steps over the following two weeks, cha-ching. Another little bonus. There are also weekly incentives to get us moving to the tune of 70,000 steps a week.

Talk about happy feet.

Turns out, our little office competition is part of a big trend. Corporate services is one of Fitbit’s fastest-growing areas of business. Target, Adobe and BP are using the fitness trackers to help improve employee health and cut down on healthcare costs, according to CEB Iconoculture research.

In Arizona, the Local Government Employee Benefit Trust is banking that increased exercise could lessen their most expensive health issues, according to a story in Nogales International. Workers in six counties will receive Fitbits and meet with medical professionals to better their health.  

As part of its Team Member Wellness Initiative, Target in 2015 provided all U.S. employees with a free or discounted Fitbit and hosted activity challenges to create a healthier corporate community. One team competition rewarded the highest performing teams with a share of $1 million to benefit the local wellness nonprofit of their choice.

Competition doesn’t always bring out the best in people. Some creative Fitbit users are finding ways to rack up steps by attaching them to dogs, power tools and electric fans or even by giving the device a spin in the dryer, according to a recent article in Fortune.com. In some instances, cheaters are motivated by prizes. But in other cases it’s simply contestants’ competitive spirit run amuck.

So far, the Brogan Fitbit challenge has sparked a lot of healthy conversation and smart ideas. Like, how about we take this meeting for a walk?

Want to know more about wearables mean for the healthcare industry? Check out our blog “Everything marketers need to know about fitness apps and wearables.”

Weekly Recap - February 5, 2016

weekly recap

We know the Broncos and Panthers are ready for the big game this Sunday, but are brands? Adweek sat down with creative directors from across the country and identified five key trends to look out for during Super Bowl 50. Social media will also be on the field. Remember the Super Bowl blackout a few years ago? Twitter is prepared. They recently announced they will be bringing a new timeline to over 23 countries. Why? Because consumers are very trusting with social platforms. Even when it comes to financial advice. So if you want the extra point, stop treating this audience like acquisitions and try nurturing them instead, especially when it comes to email marketing. Ready? Hike.  

DETAILS, please
5 creative trends you’ll likely see when you tune into Super Bowl 50. Here, top creatives predict themes we're likely to see when football's biggest event celebrates its golden anniversary.

Bringing Tweets to more people around the world. Twitter is rolling out a home timeline to people across 23 countries who visit the twitter.com homepage on their mobile devices.

Nearly half of social media users trust Facebook friends for financial advice (Infographic). For all the cynicism surrounding digital security, financial institutions have ranked among the most trusted online. Millennials and digital natives are particularly drawn to online and mobile banking.

The nonprofit’s guide to email nurturing for membership retention. Many nonprofits fall victim to a common marketing trap: they pour efforts into acquisition, while ignoring existing members. What gives?

Meanwhile back at the RANCH
We’ve been busy tracking Barbie’s new look, tuning into Millennials, boosting SEO and creating an inspiring workplace. We were also curious about the popularity of financial apps. So we blogged about it.  

The evolution of the Barbie brand, from then until now. To help every girl feel like they could truly be a "Barbie girl," Mattel debuted 23 new dolls, representing eight different skin tones, 14 facial structures, 22 hairstyles, 23 hair colors and 18 eye colors. What does this mean for the brand?

Want to reach Millennials? Tune in to radio. Really. Some clients are dubious when we recommend radio these days—particularly when they’re targeting a young audience. Do Millennials even use the car radio? Do they listen to local stations? Yes and yes. Here’s why.

How to create an inspirational workplace and culture. What does it mean to inspire? To refresh, motivate and stimulate. What if your workplace was able to achieve all of these things?

5 reasons why consumers use financial mobile apps. It’s no secret that mobile is hot right now. But, what’s with all the financial buzz?

11 easy ways to boost your website’s SEO. In the digital age, search engine optimization (SEO) is a marketing technique on almost everyone’s mind, because almost everyone wants to appear on the first page of a search result. But only 10 can.

THE topic of conversation
Women. Get research and tips on how women shop and who they trust with their money. Download our free whitepaper “How women buy, and what it means for your marketing plan.

SHARING is CARING
Like what you see? Share the Brogan Recap.

How to create an inspirational workplace and culture.

inspiring

What does it mean to inspire? To refresh, motivate and stimulate.

What if your workplace was able to achieve all of these things? It may seem too far-fetched, but it's actually quite easy to implement. All it takes is integrity, amusement and a little cake to create a workplace where employees thrive.

Healthy, honest culture
Culture is crucial to an inspiring workplace. It shapes your work enjoyment, work relationships, as well as work processes. It represents who you are as a company, and it's evident in the individuals who make up your team. People equal culture. So hiring the right people who are passionate about their work, committed to the mission of the company and loyal to their fellow teammates is the best way ensure a healthy culture.

Honesty being the best policy, open-communication is quintessential for building a supportive environment. At Detroit-based mortgage lender Quicken Loans, all new hires attend ISM’s Day, an in-depth orientation that focuses on the company’s core values and what they stand for. It’s about immersing employees in Quicken’s culture and challenging them to rethink common ways of doing things by providing tools that one would need to sustain a positive, uplifting outlook inside the workplace, as well as outside.

Work hard, play hard

As important as it is to work together toward common goals in the office, group activities outside the office are not only fun, exciting and unique but are sure to boost company morale. When employee appreciation is shown in different and more creative ways, it’s easier to keep that positive energy and productivity flowing. At crowd-sourced marketing firm Crowdtap, employees are treated to monthly massages, group surf lessons and beach days as a way of saying thank you for their contributions.

CHG Healthcare Services, one of the largest healthcare staffing providers in the US, has implemented a Fun Room for employees. From throwing darts to arcade games, a foosball table and TVs, employees can take breaks together and enjoy downtime on-site in a lively and enjoyable environment. Happy employees equal happy clients!

CHG Healthcare fun room

Photo Credit: Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune

Make it personal

Remembering birthdays and work anniversaries are simple ways to show employees they are valued. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day routine and not personally interact for days on end. It’s nice to take a break and celebrate with your team by having everyone sing "Happy Birthday," or better yet, enjoying some cake and ice cream along with it. It really is the little things that cause the most enjoyment, isn’t it? Eloquest Healthcare prides itself on celebrating the big moments in their employees' lives. The company provides gift cards for employee's anniversaries and birthdays. In the event of a marriage or birth, the company provides a $100 gift card.

When it comes to creating an inspirational workplace, honesty, having fun and making it personal help to build a strong culture. Teammates help to motivate, playtime helps to stimulate and cake on your birthday is simply scrumptious.

 

To celebrate our creative director's birthday, we surrounded her with all of her favorite things: cupcakes, cosmos and Dr. Oz. Happy birthday week, Laurie!

Posted by Brogan & Partners on Thursday, January 21, 2016

 

When people are smiling, feel encouraged and are genuinely appreciated for what they contribute, the productivity possibilities are endless. And that is something truly inspirational.

How is your workplace inspiring? Tell us in the comments below. Meanwhile, catch up on how you can be a rock star at work, with this blog here

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3 tips to get back into work mode post holiday.

Holidays are great. Family. Friends. Food. A little time away from work to recharge. It’s all good. But all that revelry can make it difficult to get back into the swing of things at the office.

Feeling refreshed is important when returning after an extended break (however short it may have felt). Besides the obvious turning in early and getting a good night’s sleep, try these three tips to get you back in a joyful 9-5 frame of mind.

1.  Readjust and resume… one task at a time.

Just like your parents always told you, don’t overfill your plate. The same goes for your schedule and obligations. Pace yourself on your first few days back. Remember, all 125 emails don’t need to be answered immediately. Prioritize by importance and nature and try not to feel overwhelmed by the quantity. Cut yourself some slack and take your time.

2.  Regulate and remedy… taking little breaks.

To stay motivated and positive, try splitting the workday into smaller parts. Throughout the day, I take short strolls by a lake that’s within walking distance of my office building, where I see families of deer, turtles and birds. A brisk walk in the fresh air helps to get your blood flowing and creative juices pumping. If you simply can’t leave the office, try walking around your office building to get an energy lift almost as satisfying as a cup of coffee.

3.  Reconstruct and rejuvenate… setting goals.

Goals help keep us focused and fulfilled. Goals are how we turn values and dreams into reality. They are motivational and give us something to look forward to with optimism and determination. Knowing the direction you want to go gives you clarity on what you ultimately want.

What do you want to accomplish in the New Year? What is your strategy and how do you plan to put it into action?

Ready to take your performance up to the next level? Check out "4 tips to being a rock start at work" with bonus tunes to get you motivated.
 

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GE mocks its brainy workforce to recruit talent and build brand.

I say General Electric, you say…

Dishwashers. Well, at least that’s what I would say. Consumers are self-centered like that. Sure, I’m aware that GE is deeper than household appliances. If pressed, I might say energy solutions or something equally ambiguous like financial services. Lightbulbs. Definitely lightbulbs.  

Such is the challenge for a global conglomerate with businesses focused on everything building and curing to moving and powering.  How does one brand such a diversified behemoth?

For more than two decades, the company operated under the campaign: “We bring good things to life.”  (Dare you not to hum the jingle.) Thanks to a considerable media budget and strategic placement, Good Things helped elevate GE to household name status, with brand awareness in the ballpark of Coca-Cola and IBM.

The creative was emotional and often patriotic, highlighting the everyday and aspirational benefits of GE products and services. GE was cast as the hero, powering late night baseball games, microwave popcorn and home videos. To do this, they used lots and lots of thematic product shots—planes, trains, machinery, equipment, appliances, technology—impressive, loud proof points. 

In 2003, the company replaced the slogan with “Imagination at work.” Didn’t notice the switcheroo? Me neither. That is, until I met “Owen” earlier this month while streaming the Daily Show on Comedy Central.

Owen is the new face of GE. And what an about-face he is.

In the commercial series “What’s the matter with Owen,” Owen struggles to explain his new world-changing job as a programmer at GE to his confused, condescending friends and family. In the “Zazzies” spot, Owen shares his good news with friends over chips and salsa, only to be upstaged by an app developer who crowns pets and people with fruit. “I’m going to transform the way the world works,” Owen gently interjects. To which his buddy retorts: “I programmed that hat and I can do casaba melons.”

In “Hammer,” Owen’s parents present him with his grandfather’s hammer to celebrate his new industrial job at GE. When Owen explains that he won’t need a hammer to write code for GE, his parents just don’t get it and dad reacts defensively. “You can’t pick it up, can you? Go ahead. You can’t lift the hammer.”  Mom faintly comes to Owen’s aid, placating more than supporting her son. “It’s okay though, you’re going to change the world.”

Owen’s friends surprise him in “Big News” with a cake and balloons to celebrate his new job as a developer. When Owen says he’ll be working for GE, his friends look baffled, even disappointed.  Owen explains. “Guys, I’ll be writing a new language for machines so planes, trains and hospitals can work better.” Cue champagne, pan over cake that reads “App Tastic News.” Clueless, scruffy-faced friend asks timidly: “So, you’re going to work on a train?”

 

 

In this campaign, GE’s talent is the hero. It’s the genius behind in the machines, technology and innovation. Owen carries the brand with Millennial gravity and sincerity, framed by a single pair of Warby Parker glasses. It’s Owen that is powering GE. Not its planes, trains and turbines. The campaign succeeds because it celebrates the human capital—the humanity—behind a great brand.

GE produced the campaign to recruit talent—the 25-34 year old variety. The call to action is “Get yourself a world-changing job.”  But it goes so much deeper than filling seats on a bus. It creates a much needed bridge for consumers to better comprehend the totality of GE’s vast and diverse empire without feeling overwhelmed. Or worse, apathetic.

It’s a simple and effective strategy for a brand that packs a big impression on the world. It illustrates that you can tell a big brand story with a single, human story.

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You know you work in advertising when...

If you work in the advertising industry, you might think no one else understands what you do every day. Does anyone spend hours scrolling through stock photography sites or social media channels as a part of their job description? Are there others who celebrate the same things as you—like engagement, clicks, views and listens? Do people outside of the industry refer to their groups of friends as "Young Millennials" and "Gen Xers?"

Ad men and women: Here are six things only you can relate to.

1. The only thing you want for your birthday is for creative to get final, final, final client approval.

2. You celebrate because your engagement rate exceeds the industry standard.

3. You spend hours looking for a stock photo of a bearded, bald man over 60, mountain climbing with his cat.

4. You’re paid overtime in Pad Thai.

5. You ask your web developer a question and the response comes back in HTML.

6. You’re ecstatic that you finally finished putting together the 348-page client deck.

Have something else to add to the list? Tell us in the comments below.

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Client Hurrahs

  • Brogan & Partners has worked on a wide variety of health issues for us over the years. They have not only consistently provided innovative ideas and award winning campaigns, but they continue to help us work towards our overall goal of improving the health of Michigan residents.  Their creativity, expertise, and enthusiasm makes them an invaluable partner in our... More

  • Hiring Brogan & Partners to help Michigan Women’s Foundation create the brand and messaging around the campaign to raise millions of dollars to solve the backlog of untested rape kits in Detroit was a slam dunk!  With a well-deserved reputation for getting to the heart of complex and highly-charged issues with clear, action-driven communications, the Brogan team... More

  • A well-oiled machine operates at full performance, fluid and unyielding. At Frankenmuth Insurance we have often referred to Brogan & Partners as a well-oiled machine. Our experience with Brogan has been very strong and successful from the start. We view our partners at Brogan as an extension of our own staff. They are readily available to us at any time and deliver... More

  • When launching a startup, resources are very constrained and a startup has to pick its partners very carefully and with deliberation. There were many services that we have had to forego in the early stages of our company, Memloom. One crucial need, however, was identifying and aligning with a strong marketing partner who could help us with our brand, positioning and... More

  • We have been working with the Brogan team for the past 18 months. The Brogan team has truly been our marketing partner. They guided us through development our brand and messaging. They lead our our website redesign and deployment. And they provide excellent counsel on business development and market entry strategies. More

  • From the very first meeting we had with Brogan & Partners, it was clear that they had done their research on PREZIO Health, our competitors and the industry.  It has been  a very positive experience working with the Brogan & Partners team to re-design all of our service and product sheets as well as the total re-design of our website.  Their creativity is top-... More

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