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The Benefits of Serving on a Board of Directors

joining a board

Being on a board is a major commitment, but incredibly rewarding both personally and professionally. Working side by side with colleagues across many different disciplines is a great way to learn more about other companies as well as share your story. A board is a great place to meet new friends, new clients, learn new skills, and in general build strong, lasting relationships.

When deciding whether or not to join a board, take the time to do some research. Do an internet search in your area for organizations that fit your interests. For example, if you are a marketing professional (like us!), you will find the Society for Marketing Professional Services Tampa Bay (for which our senior project manager, Nikki Devereux, serves as Director of Communications), American Advertising Federation Tampa Bay, the American Marketing Association Tampa Bay, and more. If you are an artist, a builder, an educator, or just about anything, there are several associations throughout Pinellas and Hillsborough County, so do some research and see what you find for your industry.

When you’ve found a couple organizations, check out their event schedules and attend a few events. Prepare by looking through the list of presenters and find out if any of them are people you’d like to meet personally – then make a point to do so at the event. At the event, see if you like the content of the program, mingle with other attendees, and perhaps introduce yourself to a board member or two. This exercise is not just a good way to do some research on the organization and its programs, but a good way to practice networking and hopefully meet some good people.

After you’ve decided on an organization that matches your career and interests, become a member and start attending events on a regular basis. Get to know the board members and find out if you can sit in on the board meetings to see how they operate. Take a board member out to lunch to build a relationship with them and to learn more about the board. Eventually, a position will open up, and since you’ve been proactive and are already attending board meetings, you may be a favored candidate.

networking

Society for Marketing Professional Services board members.

Once you’re on the board, it starts getting interesting. You may have signed up for a position that you’ve never had in your career before, so you’ll be learning on the job. You will be working closely with the rest of the board members, and planning events and monthly board meetings can be fun. It gets even more interesting when you start forming committees to take on special projects. For example, last year the Society for Marketing Professional Services Tampa Bay worked on an image campaign to rebrand the Tampa Bay Chapter into something more unique and thematic. The campaign brought a lot of the members closer as they were working in smaller groups and often meeting a couple times a month to work on the project. It was a super creative project, so it was a lot of fun for all involved and the results were amazing. Everyone on the board was proud of the final campaign.

In addition to learning a new position, you will find yourself spending a lot more time with these new people at meetings and events, and thus you become something of a family. You work together, you play together, you learn together. It’s a great way to build those long lasting business relationships and sometimes even friendships! Either way, it’s good for business as your fellow board members will learn to trust you as they work alongside you, and if they need your company’s products or services, they will more than likely turn to you. It’s a win-win situation.

Danielle Torres Wins 2017 Pinstripe Service Excellence Award

Danielle Torres Pinstripe Award 2017Danielle TorresAd 2 Tampa Bay’s immediate past president, Danielle Torres, received the 2016 Pinstripe Service Excellence Award at the American Advertising Federation – Tampa Bay Chapter’s ADDY Awards held on February 16, 2017 at Baystage Live. Presented annually by past recipients, the award recognizes the young professional who demonstrates the most outstanding contributions to Ad 2 Tampa Bay, the advertising industry, and the community. Jessica McDonald, who won the 2006 award, announced the winner at the show.

Danielle served as public service director, programs co-director, creative director and brand refresh lead, and ultimately president – winning National Ad 2 Club of the Year and President of the Year in 2016. Her peers recognized her contributions to the organization, including the development of a new diversity series titled UNDIVIDED, driving the new Ad 2 Tampa Bay brand, and cultivating partnerships with local companies and organizations.

“Danielle’s commitment to public service and the pro bono campaign is near to my heart and one of my favorite memories from Ad 2,” said Ginger Reichl, president of Pinstripe Marketing and former Ad 2 president. “One of her peers said that she was able to breathe new life into Ad 2, focusing not just on the members, but on the wonderful community we love. That’s something we all could use more of in our lives!”

Danielle is an interactive designer for Publix and is passionate about diversity, the design community, and volunteer work. Her artwork was recently featured in an exhibit at Et Cultura and she continues to help her previous public service client, Starting Right, Now (SRN), with marketing and brand communications, long after the Ad 2 campaign concluded.

 

ABOUT AD 2 TAMPA BAY

Ad 2 Tampa Bay, Inc., an affiliate of the American Advertising Federation, is a non-profit organization of advertising professionals under the age of 32.  As a eleven-time National Ad 2 Club of the Year, the organization takes pride in providing both members and the community with quality educational programs, national award-winning public service campaigns, professional interaction, member employment services, fun-filled social events and much more. For more information, please visit www.ad2tampabay.org.

Five Pitfalls to Avoid when Naming a Product or a Service

naming products branding From time to time, even small-to-midsize business owners may get the opportunity to name a new product or service. It could be a resalable white-label offering from a vendor, or something developed entirely in-house. Regardless of origins, entrepreneurs should invest considerable care in coming up with a worthy moniker, otherwise the new offering may never get a fair reception from potential consumers. There are a number of errors marketers sometimes make when naming the things they want to sell. Here are five whoppers to avoid, as demonstrated by companies that were big enough to know better:

Enamored of a concept. Consider a couple of naming failures from the haircare product manufacturer, Clairol, in the early 80s. First came, ‘Look of Buttermilk’ shampoo. Quite understandably, consumers didn’t know what buttermilk hair should look like, and weren’t willing to find out. Not to be deterred, three years later Clairol gave us ‘Touch of Yogurt’ shampoo with equally disastrous results. Fortunately, the company abandoned the sensory-appeal concept before potentially presenting the buying public with the ‘Smell of Cheese.’

Key takeaway – We’ve all been guilty of coming up with creative ideas that we love like children—expecting others to love them as well. Unfortunately, sometimes the baby is ugly, and when it comes to our creative concepts we may have to listen and accept the bitter truth.

Poorly represents the product – If you had told someone, “I just ordered Qwikster,” would he or she have clue what you meant? Probably not. Nor would it have helped had you said, “Netflix Qwikster,” especially since that name referred to the much, much slower DVD-by-mail movie-rental service rather than the company’s streaming video.

Key takeaway – While people expect a little exaggeration in marketing, they won’t tolerate outright lying, so be sure to avoid misleading or misrepresentative names.

Tiresomely ‘clever’ – Have you ever known someone who has a favorite joke, quip or pun … and they never miss an opportunity to throw it into a conversation? In reality, the half-life on “being clever” is pretty short. Consider, for example, Ralston-Purina’s Freakies cereal (1972 – 76). The commercials were chuckle-worthy (once), but would you want to admit actually eating the cereal … and how many times could you have stood hearing your kid sing the theme song at breakfast?

Ginger's favorite joke

Ginger’s favorite joke

Key takeaway – You want to give your offerings a name that will last a lifetime. So unless silliness is part of your brand identity, don’t sacrifice a descriptive or allusive title in favor of a novelty name that your customers can’t take seriously.

Ego-driven – A brand is about a company, but a product or service should be about promising to satisfy the consumer. Therefore, it’s generally best not to name it after the business owner or family member, as that comes across as a bit egotistical and provides no clue as to the product’s value proposition. For our example, look at (probably) the most famous product failure of all time: The Edsel. Named after Henry Ford’s son, this automobile had a lot of problems—starting with a high price and not particularly well-made—but such shortcomings have never been a problem for Italian sports cars. So instead, ask yourself, who would want to drive an Edsel?

Key takeaway –Names that are meaningful to you may carry no significance at all to your customers, and they may even be a bit put off ordering the ‘Bobby Jr. Special’ when they are with their own little Michael.

Clueless (What were they thinking!?!) – Back around 2001, Bosch Siemens Hausgeraete, a subsidiary of global conglomerate Siemens AG, filed applications with the US Patent & Trademark Office to use the name, Zyklon, across a range of home products, including gas ovens. If that name rings a bell, perhaps you recognize Zyklon B as the poison gas used on Holocaust victims in Nazi concentration camps. Making matters worse, Siemens is widely alleged to have taken advantage of slave labor supplied by the evil German regime during WWII. Siemens said they wanted the name in conjunction with their line of vacuum cleaners which uses cyclonic technology. (Zyklon is German for cyclone.) Honest mistake or not, the company wisely gave up the idea.

Key takeaway – Step outside your inner circle—whether that’s the people you work with or friends and family—and consult thoughtful, knowledgeable people at large about your potential naming ideas. Or at least do a Google search! Note that in terms of product quality, the aforementioned products weren’t especially terrible. And if the product is good enough, it may even survive a bad name. (For example, Nad’s for Men—a hair removal cream—has been around quite a while.) But why bring your new product or service into this world saddled with an inherent disadvantage? Remember, a rose by any other name may indeed smell as sweet. But if it’s called a farkenglart, chances are that no one will go near it to find out.

Of Taglines and Slogans

slogan-tagline-help_header
Practically everyone knows the word, ‘slogan.’ You may have also heard the term, ‘tagline.’ Even if you aren’t intimately acquainted with these words, you probably realize they have something to do with marketing. You can be forgiven, though, if you don’t quite understand the difference between the two words, as it’s not uncommon even for seasoned marketing professionals to occasionally slip up and wrongly use ‘slogan’ and ‘tagline’ interchangeably.

Both taglines and slogans are short phrases, issued forth from some business entity, that are meant to be easily remembered. However, taglines (should) spring from a company’s brand and evoke an understanding of what the business is about from a holistic perspective. As such, taglines may remain the same for years—possibly decades—and are sometimes presented in conjunction with the company’s logo. Slogan, on the other hand, comes from the Scottish word for ‘battle cry’ and will pretty much change with the advent of any new advertising campaign or from one of the company’s product lines to another.

The situation does gets a little muddy because not all companies have an official tagline (or if they do, they seem to keep it to themselves). Typically, they will come up with a slogan that they use for many years and then go on to something else. AT&T used “Rethink Possible” from 2010 until 2014, then the company went to “Mobilizing Your Life.” Coca Cola has changed to tagline many, many times over the past century. So often in fact, that you probably don’t even know what it is—which is why you shouldn’t change it that often. (Raise your hand if you thought it was still, “The Real Thing.”)

As for slogans, companies may not use them at all … letting imagery or various other elements of a campaign carry the attendant message without putting it into specific words. Or they may enlist the established tagline to do the work of a slogan as well. Publix’s “Where Shopping is a Pleasure” is a good example of a very active tagline contributing to ongoing marketing efforts.

But there are many companies that have clearly delineated the two types of marketing phrases. Here are a few better known company taglines as well as some notable campaign slogans.

popular-slogans-and-taglines-branding
World famous taglines aren’t vital to branding, and carefully crafted slogans aren’t critical to marketing campaigns. But when there are deployed, they should be short, memorable and make a promise to the customer, whether it’s about the company as a whole (tagline) or about a specific product, feature … or limited good (slogan). In the meantime, you can feel superior and annoy colleagues and errant marketing professionals by correcting anyone who uses either term incorrectly.

Check out the resources below to help you create memorable taglines and slogans:

Tips on How to Write a Killer Slogan

How to Craft a Powerful Tagline

How to Sell a ‘White Elephant’

whiteelephant_newsFrom time to time, we’ll find it necessary to sell something that might lead one to question the sanity of anyone who buys it. This could be a product, a service, or even an investment opportunity that’s missing readily apparent value. While a challenge, successfully unloading (or rather, locating a buyer), is often just a matter of looking at the offering a bit differently ourselves, and then getting a prospective customer to see it the same way.

We aren’t talking about putting ‘lipstick on a pig’ to cover flaws, or using euphemisms that confuse or mislead a potential buyer. Instead, we want to highlight commonly perceived weaknesses and make the case for desirability based on the offering being exactly what it is. We’re not fudging the truth. But we are manipulating the customer’s emotional and intellectual make-up so he will feel good about our offering. After all, an important goal in business transactions is making the customer happy—even if he doesn’t immediately think it possible. Consider these strategies:

Match the ‘product’ to the audience. Make no attempt to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. Be aware that when you have that special, one-of-a-kind deal, not everyone is going to have the ability to properly appreciate it. Consider, for instance, sky-diving. Not everybody sees the appeal of paying a stranger for the chance to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, but the right people will enjoy the experience.

Acknowledge and then embrace the negatives. Show no doubt, show no fear, and don’t hide anything. The unattractive aspect of whatever you are selling should be front and center in your sales pitch. (“Take a look at this fabulous sinkhole – 100 feet deep! And it comes with a house at the bottom of it!”) People are wary if they think you’re trying to hide something, but if everything is out in the open, your customer will be more willing to hear you out.

Appeal to ego. Remember how we matched the product to an audience? That’s a select group, right? Exclusivity! Not everyone has the background, good taste, or financial resources to make the most of any particular opportunity. Additionally, an appeal to someone’s adventurous spirit (sky-diving again, or bungee jumping) often works with customers because they want to feel young and daring. Or you might tap into their hidden conceits by mentioning what great things a person with their home-decorating style could do with a 15 x 20 abstract painting.

Point out that you’re offering a one-of-a-kind, limited-opportunity. Have you ever seen those TV commercials selling the gold-clad (e.g. an atom’s thickness of gold covering a cheaper metal) coins? They’re always limited editions because people like owning things that other people can’t get anywhere. Uniqueness sells. Sure, the three-wheeled Robin Reliant had a tendency to tip over… but it was a British automobile with three wheels! How cool is that?

Make a joke out of it. Back in the 70s, a product came on the market that will forever live in marketing fame. From a practical standpoint, it was completely useless and frankly, definitively idiotic. It was the Pet Rock and it made its originator a millionaire. Face it – when you think of reasons to own a pet, choosing a rock would be terrible. Yet people went wild buying them, solely to be in on the joke.

Maintain enthusiasm for the customer’s benefit as they enjoy their purchase. Take the time to make your customer feel happy about doing business with you. Follow-up with them after they’ve made their purchase to see how things are going. (If you did a good job of matching customer to product, they shouldn’t have much regret.) If they are less than enthusiastic with the feedback, express your genuine surprise and try to find out if the product failed to perform as promised. And if their complaint is a real problem, you have another bullet-point for your brochure!

The reality is that there are no perfect products. And there is no sales pitch that’s going to work with every potential customer. But an honest representation of your offering, a positive attitude, and a sense of humor will go a long way toward helping you sell just about anything – and enable you to have fun trying.

 

 

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