Looney Featured in Forbes — In-House Transparency: 13 Pros And Cons Of Full Disclosure

We’re all aware of the importance of transparency in marketing, especially when targeting younger demographics. People want to align not only with your company’s brand, but also your ethos and mission. Lately, the conversation about transparency has turned inward, with some agencies giving their team members full disclosure of the company’s financial well-being, such as revenue, profit and loss, and so on.

We asked 13 members of Forbes Agency Council to share their own transparency experiences, including if they have taken the transparency approach and are still implementing it or if they implemented it and then chose to stop. Read on for the pros and cons of how in-house transparency impacted their business and culture below.

1. There’s No Reason To Hide Profit

“Transparency” is too often a buzzword agencies say, but don’t honor. We are an open book. Every budget we send to clients has a line that says “Agency Profit.” Not only does our team have full disclosure on what we make, but so do our clients. There isn’t a business in the world that doesn’t exist to make money, so why hide it from anyone? Our clients love it, and our employees love it. There’s nothing to hide. - Lucas MillerShop Marketing and Creative Group

2. Open Communication Informs Better Decisions

We have found it important to provide a certain level of transparency to our employees when it comes to our financial success. We set targets at the beginning of the year, communicate them broadly to the employee base and then provide updates on a quarterly basis. This helps get everyone focused on owning the year with us and making decisions in the business from an informed perspective. - Chris CavanaughFreeman

3. Careful Consideration Is Needed

We have yet to implement this, but we’re thinking about it. Younger professionals appreciate openness and function better knowing how they fit into the business model. If finances are tight, the concern is that it may cause panic among good employees to jump ship. However, if profit is strong then it is easier for employees to understand their value and how they fit into that success. - Katie Schibler ConnKSA Marketing + Partnerships

4. Share What The Team Will Benefit From Knowing

We have practiced pretty radical transparency with our finances at times in the past. The result is that team members, particularly younger ones with less work experience, totally freaked out. It added stress to their lives. I’m the business owner, so I’m expected to lose sleep sometimes, but not everyone needs to join me. Now I just let them know what they need to know so there are no surprises. - Scott BaradellIdea Grove

5. Transparency Fosters Trust

Prioritizing transparency and integrity internally leads to growth, both because customers see they can trust you to help grow their business, but also because it leads to more engaged, productive and effective employees. We share our financial goals and progress monthly so that our entire team can rally around them. When everyone is aware, involved and invested it leads to success. - Mary Ann O’BrienOBI Creative

6. Sharing Finances Means Sharing Impact

In 2018 we transitioned to greater financial transparency. We shared revenue and profitability goals at the company and team level. At the six-month update, people seemed gratified to witness the impact their work had made. After the meeting, a junior planner pulled me aside to tell me that seeing the numbers on the page really made her feel that her individual effort had made a big difference. - Joanne McKinneyBurns Group

7. Transparency Goes Two Ways

We subscribe to full transparency and commit to the highest level of trust with the entire team. Giving that level of trust results in getting that same level of trust and respect back. When that kind of trust is inherent to your culture, it’s amazing what you can accomplish. And you can more effectively deal with the challenges when everyone is aware and working together toward the common goal. - Lori PaikinNaviStone®

8. Employees Earn Their Way Inside

We incentivize employees with a 10% net bonus on any new business they personally secure. If they bring in an account they get to see all expenses related to running that business, so when we write them the big year-end bonus check they know the amount is legit. Writing a fat check to someone who deserves it is my favorite thing in this business. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

9. Profits Are Better When Everyone Shares In Them

We are a fully transparent company. I believe it’s one of the reasons we’ve grown so quickly. Our internal mission is to be the best-paying boutique agency for the information technology industry. When everyone knows the revenue and profit targets they can see that when they are hit, they get better pay and it gets us closer to achieving our internal mission. Profits and work quality have never been better. - Giovanni SanguilyTRIdigital Marketing

10. Complete Accountability Fosters Communication And Ownership

When companies make the change and open themselves to complete communication and accountability it changes the way that people communicate as well as the attention that they pay to their jobs. What it means is that there is a complete change in the way that companies relate to employees, and employees act like owners and not like those who simply work there. It is also a way to start a dialog. - Jon JamesIgnited Results

11. Sharing Gets You Rowing In The Same Direction

Sharing financials and company goals is important to ensure everyone is aligned and sets their sights on the same targets. If all don’t have access, you won’t be rowing in the same direction. - Jessica Hawthorne-CastroHAWTHORNE LLC

12. Sharing Opens A Channel To Address Concerns

The executive board hosts a companywide meeting at the beginning of every month to review numbers, goals, problems and successes. During this time of transparency, we talk through any questions or concerns our team may have, providing the response direct from the source and limiting any false speculation. This practice leads to a greater understanding of the business and minimal water cooler talk. - Jason KulpaUE.co

13. Tie Your Company’s Financial Goals To Employee Bonuses

About three years ago we started sharing our financial goals, our profits and our “numbers” as often as possible with our employees. That was a deliberate, and critical, shift. We tied our company’s financial goals to individual employees’ bonuses, so our goals are now their goals. When we win, they win. The result? We’re all moving in the same direction. - Matt MooreOH Partners

SOURCE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/01/31/in-house-transparency-13-pros-and-cons-of-full-disclosure/#4ab2d175438d

Looney Featured in Forbes — Planning A Publicity Campaign? Here Are Six Things To Consider First

How your business is perceived by the public has a major impact on sales and customer retention. A well-planned public relations campaign can rally brand supporters together and promote a positive public image. However, a poorly executed publicity stunt can destroy your business’ reputation.

If you’re itching to make a PR move in the near future, consider these tips from Forbes Agency Council before you plan and launch your campaign.

1. Ask Yourself If It’s Worth The Risk

Start by asking yourself two questions. What is the overall intent of your publicity stunt? Awareness? Happiness? Shock and awe? This needs to be considered first and foremost. Second, if your “stunt” goes sideways and backfires, is it worth the risk? Not all press is good press, and in the age of social media, a “stunt gone bad” can spread and tarnish your reputation quickly. - Bernard MayNational Positions

2. Make Sure It’s Relevant To Your Brand

A publicity stunt can be costly and would have to fit the company’s budget. One thing to consider before planning a stunt is to plan well and make the stunt relevant to your brand—it has to make sense in context and not be completely misunderstood. - Cagan Sean YukselGRAFX CO.

3. Educate Your Client On What’s Involved

Stunts are live, so you have to prep even more. Most importantly, what’s the client’s appetite for risk? You have to factor in their brand tone and culture and look at all the possible outcomes. In addition to budget to pull off the event, they need proper funds to seed social and PR as well. An educated, vested client is the most important element for a successful publicity stunt or campaign. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

4. Consider All Possible Interpretations

Before embarking on any type of publicity stunt, stop and consider what people might think about it. Could it possibly offend a segment of society? Could it be taken out of context by the public? Bring in a variety of demographics from your company, regardless of title, and ask them what they think about it. They may see something that you don’t. - Rebecca KowalewiczClearbridge Branding Agency

5. Aim For A Solely Positive Outcome

If you want to be viral, it is quite possible. It is very important to ensure that your stunt, whatever it is, will trend and get the attention that you want without any negative connotations. You need to think about your industry and find what it is that you are going to be able to get attention with in a positive way. When you are working through this you will see there are all kinds of options. - Jon JamesIgnited Results

6. Think About The Long-Term Impact On Your Reputation

Make sure your campaign is something that won’t live in perpetuity as your top Google search if things go wrong. Keep your head down and just do good work—don’t get caught up in the noise or whirlwind. - Jessica Hawthorne-CastroHAWTHORNE LLC

SOURCE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/02/05/planning-a-publicity-campaign-here-are-six-things-to-consider-first/#302c6e931797

Looney Featured in Forbes — Working With Freelancers? Here Are Nine Tips For A Successful Partnership

If you’re searching for help or insight on your business but don’t have the resources to hire full-time staff members, contract employees are a great alternative. This type of work arrangement is on the rise today, and many professionals are even pursuing freelance gigs as their main source of income.

However, hiring contractors requires a bit of homework on your part. The members of Forbes Agency Council are familiar with managing workers in the gig economy and have a few important tips for ensuring a successful partnership. Based on their advice, here’s how you can make sure freelancers and contractors understand the goals of your agency and/or project.

1. Vet Them Thoroughly

Proper vetting is crucial. Ask potential freelancers about their processes, values and vision to ensure that they align with your own. This starts your working relationship off on the right foot. When you have found a close match, send them an example so they have a clear understanding of your goals and what you expect. - Bernard MayNational Positions

2. Show Them Your Passion And Guide Them

It’s all about passion. If the employee is passionate about what they do, they will do their best to try and understand the goals of your agency. The best tip is to truly show them your passion and guide them in the process. No one will completely understand your goal, but the best thing to do is to guide them. - Cagan Sean YukselGRAFX CO.

3. Offer Incentives For Outstanding Performance

Articulating the role, the project and the opportunity for future work and engagement is critical to reinforcement. Get to know your freelancer’s priorities as they perform for you and incentivize them when they exceed your expectations. - Matthew AbenantePorter, LeVay & Rose, Inc.

4. Give Them The Proper Background And Context

Freelancers are totally blind to the client’s preferred tone, goals and personality. We don’t like anyone operating at a deficit at our company. After they sign a non-disclosure agreement, we add as much color as we can to the brief so they understand the details and nuances of each project and brand path. In the end, we get much better work, waste less time and align each talented person more with the team. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

5. Involve Them Early And Frequently

My top tip for working with freelance or contract employees is to involve them early and involve them frequently. Keep the lines of communication open, and give these employees a chance to meet all of the principals of your firm and the client for whom they are working. Having a freelancer meet the client does a better job of vesting him or her in a project while they get to know the personalities. - April Joy RudinThe Rudin Group

6. Follow The Same Hiring Process You Use For Regular Employees

Put the same rigor around hiring freelancers as you would a full-time employee and aim to develop a relationship with them that goes beyond a one-project engagement. Treating them as a part of your team fosters trust and a commitment from them and a better understanding of your business and client needs, and it will yield efficiencies in communication with the rest of your team. - Keri WitmanCleriti

7. Set Clear Expectations

When working with freelancers, it’s important to give them as many details as possible about the project in the beginning. This will not only help set them up for success, but also reduce the back-and-forth, question-and-answer that may happen if it’s unclear what’s expected of them. - Matt BowmanThrive Internet Marketing Agency

8. Over-Communicate

You can’t over-communicate timelines, expectations or needs with freelance and contract employees. Many times, freelance and contract employees are task- and tactics-oriented. Guidelines provide the structure and accountability they need to accomplish specific tasks for projects in which they aren’t responsible for producing the end results associated with overall strategy. - Evangeline SuttonRegenerative Marketing LLC

9. Keep Them Engaged

Often, agencies treat freelance resources as if they live behind a curtain, keeping them at arm’s length from both internal teams and clients. I’ve always taken the opposite approach, with full engagement during assignments and full transparency and involvement with clients. This has driven better work that is far more connected to the overall agency ideas and executions. - Scott ElserDigital Current

SOURCE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/02/04/working-with-freelancers-here-are-nine-tips-for-a-successful-partnership/#25caa6e156b9

Looney Featured in Forbes – How -- And Where -- To Maximize Your Advertising Dollars In 2019

Advertising usually takes up a large percentage of companies’ budgets each year. To stay relevant, businesses cannot solely rely on what they’ve done in the past; they must also utilize up-and-coming platforms and strategies or risk getting lost in the shuffle. This new year is sure to be no exception, with new advertising tools and platforms trending  throughout the year.

1. Utilize Digital Testing Technology For Higher ROI

We believe that advertising dollars in the coming year are best spent in the digital and social spaces. Google’s machine learning technology allows experts to test more ad variations much faster than ever before. Faster testing leads to faster optimization of ads and, therefore, higher positive return on investment. Social ads also continue to present a huge opportunity with fantastic targeting capabilities. - Bernard MayNational Positions

2. Understand And Adapt To Digital Outlets And Audiences

What we definitely know and understand is that digital and social outlets are not going anywhere anytime soon. At this point, these outlets are bridging the gap between all ages and will continue to dominate the game. Agencies need to understand these outlets and their audience more and adapt these techniques through social and digital media platforms in a more clear and creative way. - Cagan Sean YukselGRAFX CO.

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

3. Take A Holistic Approach

Online and offline need to continue to work together, not apart from each other. Offline still has the largest reach but pushes people to online or brick-and-mortar locations. The key is carefully watching the data and sales to pull the appropriate levers and drive the best consumer engagement and action. - Jessica Hawthorne-CastroHAWTHORNE LLC

4. Start Mapping The Customer Experience

The best investment this year is in tying all of your marketing efforts and measurements together to start mapping and measuring the customer experience (CX). Agencies can start by investing in journey mapping exercises and learning about CX measurement tools. - Greg KihlströmYes& Agency

5. Find And Target Your Relevant Audience

In 2019, I expect clients to continue to invest heavily in digital tactics, including targeted digital display with geotargeting, geofencing and lookalike audiences, as well paid and organic social media placements. Audio buying, including Pandora, i-Heart radio and Spotify, as well as over-the-top streaming video ads, will be hot as well, since they effectively deliver messages to relevant audiences. - Mary Ann O’BrienOBI Creative

6. Choose The Media That’s Best For Your Brand

No one medium is the silver bullet for all ad campaigns. A specialist will always tell you their specialty. Ultimately it depends on the target, strategy, competition and cultural trends. For John Lewis, TV is wildly effective. Nerf and Dude Perfect were great social media partners. We made smart viral reccos for Blue Man experiential. Each brand’s DNA and media choice should always be different. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/02/01/how-and-where-to-maximize-your-advertising-dollars-in-2019/#3f9890a02893

Looney Featured in Forbes – How Seven Agency Pros Will Apply The Lessons They Learned in 2018

You know the saying: “New year, new me.” While it might be an overused idiom, there’s some insight behind the phrase, especially when it comes to managing your business.

1. Focusing On The Details

Every year we learn something new and every year we try to improve our strategies within the work sphere. The main thing each agency should do is focus. Focusing on pitches, proposals and work is the key to success. Once the focus aspect drifts, the work will drift as well. - Cagan Sean YukselGRAFX CO.

2. Showing How We’re Different

Customers and clients care about your company culture now more than ever. Often, we talk about culture as being an internal practice, but moving into 2019, we aim to shine a light on the unique culture we’ve built. Showing how we’re different, strategically and culturally, will help us build even greater trust. Come on inside—we’re all family in here! - Bernard MayNational Positions

3. Saying ‘No’ More Often

We’re very polite with all prospects and try to help as many people as we can, but we are going to be more efficient in weeding out those not sophisticated enough to allocate marketing budgets early in the process, who are looking to poach ideas with no real intention of actually hiring a marketing partner, as well as small projects with no real creative potential. We just don’t have the time to waste. Ever. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

4. Staying Ahead Of The Marketing Curve

It is very important for all of the lessons that were learned in 2018 to be applied to marketing. What that means is that I want to make sure that I am staying ahead of the curve and learning all of the new applications as they come to market. I want to make sure that I am staying ahead of the curve and am always involved in learning new ways to be able to communicate with audiences. - Jon JamesIgnited Results

5. Investing In Ourselves

In 2019, we’re committing to investing in ourselves. Thinking it’s acceptable for the “cobbler’s children to have no shoes” only gets you so far. We write, publish, win awards and host events every day to achieve thought leadership for our clients, so a major goal for our firm this year will be to invest that same dedication in our own agency as well. - Leslie LicanoBeyond Fifteen Communications Inc.

6. Taking My Time

I relearned a valuable lesson in 2018, and that is that most decisions don’t have to be made in the moment. Taking a day or longer for many decisions improves the quality and outcome and gives me time to get advice. My natural tendency is to decide and keep moving. Sleeping on most decisions leads to better outcomes. - Don Neal360 Live Media, Inc.

7. Practicing A Value-First Mentality

Companies cannot provide value without making a profit in return. True value is met when two entities exchange equally. Last year we served without carefully measuring our own returns. This year we are creating freedom by growing as much value into our agency as we give out. This isn’t a turn from our long-standing, value-first mentality, but rather a step toward sustainable future value trades. - Evangeline SuttonRegenerative Marketing LLC

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/02/01/how-seven-agency-pros-will-apply-the-lessons-they-learned-in-2018/#db3d3d04641b

Looney Featured in Forbes – 15 Challenges Marketers Faced In 2018 (And What They Learned)

The marketing landscape is ever-changing, and it can be difficult to keep up. Even if you’ve been in the industry for years, there are always new trends emerging and and methods evolving.

Those who continue learning and growing will never fall too far behind, but that doesn't mean they won’t face obstacles along the way. Below, 15 members of Forbes Agency Council share the biggest industry challenges they’ve faced this past year and how they plan to use that knowledge moving forward.

1. A Changing Corporate Climate

The biggest challenge as a marketing agency that has developed over the past year is watching as corporate positions fill up the digital marketing organization spaces that we dominated as agencies in the previous decade. We believe the opportunity that we’ve had in the past five years will be gone. Rather than fighting this change, we are positioning our firm to assist digital officers as a resource. - Evangeline SuttonRegenerative Marketing LLC

2. The Impact Of Influencers

We have worked with journalists who were bound by the ethics of journalism to tell both sides of a story for nearly 30 years. Now we are working with influencers with large audiences on social media. The problem in evaluating influencers is who they are being paid by, whether they expect to be paid by our clients and what the deliverables will be if they share our clients’ stories and photos. - Nancy MarshallMarshall Communications

3. Greater Demand For Personalization

The desire for brands to get more personal in communications continues to grow and presents new challenges. In our business, where email marketing is a big part of what we do, we plan to facilitate more personalization through partnerships with companies such as Conversica, which offers an AI attendant that assists in engaging, qualifying and converting more leads for our clients. - Paula ChiocchiOutward Media, Inc.

4. Maintaining Our Buying Power

We made many systematic changes in 2018 to welcome industry changes. In the planning stages, we updated our systems and training materials. We didn’t, however, fully prepare for the level of attention required to regulate our relationships with suppliers as we grow. When picking suppliers, we learned to check for cues that can help us identify those who can grow and meet our changing priorities. - Ahmad KarehTwistlab Marketing

5. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

GDPR was a big industry growing pain; however, having the operations and processes in place to adhere to this regulation make the California Consumer Privacy Act less daunting. It has also opened up a healthy dialog about data, privacy and useful customization across a variety of sectors. - Kieley TaylorGroupM

6. Standing Out From Our Competitors

Our industry is legal marketing and website design. In our area, we have seen lots of competition come into the market. We plan to face this challenge by producing more educational documents and continuing to set our firm out as industry thought leaders. - Peter BoydPaperStreet Web Design

7. Balancing Personalization With Data Privacy

Creating a truly personalized experience while adhering to data privacy and industry regulations proves to be a challenge, like trying to hit a moving target. As we go forward we will be leveraging journey orchestration technology to deliver more relevant customer experiences and a deeper level of personalization than ever before, treating privacy laws as an opportunity to build trust along the way. - Justin Grossmanmeltmedia

8. Facebook’s Sponsored Content Changes

At the start of 2018 Facebook once again changed their rules on sponsored content, dramatically shifting how we did business for our clients. We pivoted and ended up with a solution that is exceeding results from before the change. While we’re thrilled with this outcome, we know that we will need to continue to be agile when it comes to 2019, as major platform updates seem to be the new normal. - Danielle WileySway Group

9. Educating Clients On New Trends

Influencers have become our clients’ nirvana, even though they most often don’t understand how this new “species” works. We have been educating them and pondering their expectations so they know what they can get and how, and what the difference is between an editor, a blogger and an influencer. Parts of our request for proposal now will be dedicated to some education about it. - Sarah HamonS2H Communication

10. Addressing The Industry’s Fraud Issue

Transparency continues to be a critical need as the advertising industry recovers from digital ad fraud. We’re heading off potential distrust from clients by being up front about our commitment to fostering an ethical culture at our agency. After applying for and winning an Integrity award from the Better Business Bureau, we now have an independent third party confirming that commitment. - Mary Ann O’BrienOBI Creative

11. Keeping Up With Emerging Platforms

One of the biggest issues out there is making sure that we know about all of the most recent changes to platforms and to content that needs to be made and consumed. One of the most important things is finding the right content and the right platform. That means that it is very important to ensure that you are using the right platform for the right age group that you are working with. - Jon JamesIgnited Results

12. Casting A Wider Net

In 2018, we found that the long-term retainer model didn’t work well for certain smaller startup clients, so we developed a project-based program to allow younger brands to experience our services without committing to a long-term relationship. The program has proven a great success and has given companies the opportunity to achieve public relations and social media goals without an ongoing commitment. - Leslie LicanoBeyond Fifteen Communications Inc.

13. Collecting And Analyzing Data

The amount of data continues to expand exponentially. Programming technology and analytics with a machine learning/artificial intelligence component is and will continue to be key because it will become too much for humans to process in a timely or cost-effective way. - Jessica Hawthorne-CastroHAWTHORNE LLC

14. Ensuring Consumer Data Safety And Privacy

Changes in privacy regulations such as GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act are impacting how marketing is done. Consumers expect to know what data is collected and to be able to choose what solutions can and can’t collect their data. Marketers must now be diligent at ensuring safety and giving customers the privacy they deserve while delivering meaningful and optimal customer experience. - Alex YastrebenetskyInfoTrust

15. Finding The Right Media Tracking Tools

Our media team did a complete analysis of all optimization and tracking tools on the market to confirm best-in-category practices and results. It was an important, but time-consuming, process. We found some brand-new assets in some niche pockets that will help our clients even more. We now need to tell that story in the year ahead in a simple way without giving away the store up front. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

SOURCE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/01/28/15-challenges-marketers-faced-in-2018-and-what-they-learned/#7d1891bb6252

Looney Featured in Forbes - 13 Things To Consider When Investing In A Digital Media Platform

Bloomberg recently reported that Snapchat is experiencing a steady decline in daily users, and its situation isn’t expected to improve any time soon. While Snapchat is certainly far from “dead” – there are still 186 million active daily users, according to Statista — many brands may opt to wait and see if engagement stabilizes before spending precious advertising dollars on the platform.

Snapchat’s downward trend may well prompt second thoughts for many brands that were considering marketing on a digital mediaplatform, including whether to move forward and, if they do, what the best strategy will be. Below, 13 members of Forbes Agency Council share their thoughts on investing in a digital media platform.

1. Positive Return On Investment (ROI) Should Happen Within Two Weeks

Determine your reach and frequency first. How many consumers are you really reaching via Snapchat? Then calculate your ROI on your ad spend. If you are not seeing a positive ROI within one to two weeks, remove the media and allocate the past spend to a testing budget, but do not continue on the medium. - Jessica Hawthorne-CastroHAWTHORNE LLC

2. Timing Is Critical

The unsuccessful Facebook purchase of Snapchat was the pivot point. The acquisition was the preferred but not the only means for Facebook to provide the same or better offer, and it has the user data to edge out the competition with better personalization options. Snapchat made some investors money who saw that writing on the wall and got out quickly, so it is as much a matter of when to invest as in what. - Elizabeth Jean PostonHelios Interactive, A Freeman Company

3. Consider The Platform’s Unique Audience

Snapchat offers a very addressable audience and, in some cases, an audience that is relatively tough to find in other places. What is most important for you to consider is if your target audience has sufficient scale and delivers performance above a point of diminishing returns. - Kieley TaylorGroupM

4. Take A Holistic View Of Customer Trends

Just because the overall Snapchat user base is changing does not mean that their core users have migrated to another channel. As a brand, it is crucial to have an always-on understanding of customers, including their device and social preferences. When brands invest in a customer data platform, it gives them a holistic view of their customers’ actions, which can enable data-driven investment. - Preethy VaidyanathanTapad

5. What Matters Is Where Your Brand’s Audience Is

Before worrying about a platform that feels like a media “ought to,” brands should first step back and determine if their target is even engaging there. Snapchat may have been a trend darling, but if a brand’s consumers aren’t interacting there, there’s no point in chasing it in the first place. If they are spending time on the platform, the dip in numbers doesn’t matter anyway. - Mimi LettunichTwenty Four 7

6. Think Long-Term, Not Short-Term, Viability

When there is a decrease in revenue in a tool and an application like Snapchat, it is very important to make sure that all of the long-term viability assessments of the tool have been looked at. What that means is that before you are putting your money into an application, you want to know that it is going to make a recovery. - Jon JamesIgnited Results

7. If It’s Working For You, Stick With It

An “investment” really has nothing to do with the number of daily users, it has to do with the change in key performance indicators for your brand. While growing and massive social media platforms provide a wide audience, they also add the challenge of competition and cost. If Snapchat continues to build awareness, engagement, growth and a return on investment, by all means, continue to use it! - Douglas KarrDK New Media

8. The Audience Is Waiting — Build A Smart Package

Snap reported 191 million users earlier this year. Instagram has hit 1 billion. There’s no need to wait on either platform. The eyeballs are there. You just have to get a pulse on the best way to engage on each, then develop smart creative and negotiate the best package. There’s a certain amount of parity between both, but one group is way more ad-friendly. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

9. Ignore Industry Panic

Snapchat has gone through waves of popularity and waves of decline. Although ROI should be your chief metric, be sure that you’re not jumping too fast in the natural cycles of popular social media platforms. If Snapchat comes out with a new feature or method of organization that brings users back in droves relatively quickly, you might feel silly for panicking too early. - Brandon StapperNonstop Signs

10. There Is No Silver Bullet

Many people believe that marketers know the silver bullet. In actuality, the best marketers seek to understand their audience well and fire 10 arrows all in the same direction, knowing only a couple will hit the target. Channels come and go. Facebook is already losing its golden-child status. Don’t be surprised, do what good marketers do: Seek to understand your audience and be flexible. - Jesse MarbleMagneti

11. It Might Be A Great Opportunity To Reach Young Consumers

There is still a strong user base on Snapchat that is desirable (Gen Z and younger millennials). You might be able to get a better deal and reach your ideal, hard-to-reach young consumers. - Tom LaVecchia, MBAX Factor Media

12. Move Around Media Dollars To Find What’s Effective

It’s not about whether a platform is in growth or decline, but whether it provides the best opportunities for your brand to reach your audience. You may leverage that platform while it’s trending, but decide if it’s the most effective medium. Because you can easily move your strategy with media dollars, brands aren’t committed to platforms long term and have the freedom to move to new channels. - Danny FritzSBX Group

13. Favor Steady Engagement Over Swift Monetary Return

As long as you’re seeing engagement and a strong following that’s not disassembling your budget, then it’s always worth it to keep investing in a platform. It’s important to remember that with digital media platforms, your monetary return takes time to establish. - Jordan EdelsonAppetizer Mobile LLC

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/01/04/13-things-to-consider-when-investing-in-a-digital-media-platform/#42b5b04749fb

Looney Featured in Forbes - 13 Effective Methods To Help You Keep Customer Loyalty While Rebranding

Modern technologies have enabled companies to get to know their target audience better than ever before. As such, many businesses choose to use customer data to evolve in order to suit their customers’ needs. Rebranding is an effort to better a company’s connection with their audience, but it can leave intended consumers unsure.

So, what is the best way for companies to shift their brand in order to better speak to today’s customers, while also minimizing a divided reception? Below, members of Forbes Agency Council share their most effective methods for shifting their branding, while retaining new and old customers alike.

1. Involve Your Audience In The Journey

Consumers no longer live at the end of the funnel. They are influential brand citizens, expect to have a voice and often have a lot to say about a brand and its positioning. If you enroll them as advocates and partners in the process, rather than springing dramatic shifts on them, they'll be more loyal and prone to defend the new branding or positioning among their peers and external audiences. - Daryl McCullough, Citizen Relations

2. Maintain Functionality

After a brand reconstruction, your app and website should retain similar functionality so consumers don’t get confused. Changes to your copy may deter divided customers, so be sure to refrain from overhauling your layout or design. Additionally, sending out a mass email to your users explaining any changes or shifts in your product will keep consumers updated and aware. - Timothy Nichols,ExactDrive, Inc

3. Don't Depart From Your Main Message

People are often resistant to change, but you can minimize drama by shifting in a direction that is new but not unfamiliar to your base. Do this by highlighting aspects of your values or mission statement that are more aligned with the direction you're going in. If the message is different but still familiar, you have less chance of hard resistance. - Brandon Stapper, Nonstop Signs

4. Pick Your Creative And Strategy Team Wisely

When looking to shift your brand to speak to a new generation, those are the consumers who should be directly involved in the strategy and brainstorming leading up to the shift. A creative team comprised exclusively of the target consumers will allow the organization to capture vital messaging, brand reactions and create a brand that truly speaks to its demographic. - Danielle SabrinaTribe Builder Media

5. Prepare Your Audience For The Change

Most people don’t like change. Period. Brands need to keep in mind who they are trying to attract and whether or not a rebrand is worth losing a percentage of their existing customers in order to gain a new client base. Brands should also launch “something new is coming” campaigns to prepare the public, priming them for the upcoming rebrand. Launch the campaign and start listening! - Bernard May,National Positions

6. Focus On Making It Easier

Data today provides a vast variety of options. But many consumers are overwhelmed by too many choices, causing them to be less satisfied and abandon a brand. Regardless of the shift, companies succeed as they build valuable relationships with customers and make the user experience more comfortable and more robust for them to buy and consume what they truly desire. - Cagan Sean Yuksel,GRAFX CO.

7. Communicate Why You're Rebranding

Companies that want to rebrand for a modern audience need to own the shift and transparently communicate why they’re rebranding, who they’re speaking to and what they’re doing differently to be better. Transparency on key learnings, research and development and future goals will ensure a seamless transition, especially if a comprehensive customer service protocol is accessible and responsive to Q&As. -Scott Kellner, GPJ Experience Marketing

8. Lose The Meek And Weak Marketing

You can't make everyone happy -- and that shouldn't be the goal. As long as you stay authentic and don't try to be something you're not, then be bold. You may polarize consumers, but at least they are talking about you. While some people didn't like that IHOP converted to IHOB, everyone understood that their menu was broader than just pancakes, perhaps for the first time. Mission accomplished. - Sean Looney, Looney Advertising & Branding

9. Do The Math

Deciding on a dramatic rebrand for a long-established brand requires a very calculated assessment to weigh the potential gain from new consumers against the potential loss of established and loyal customers. If that proves out, the next step is to map out a plan that includes strategies for engaging the at-risk brand loyalists in the rebranding process. - Keri Witman, Cleriti

10. Focus On Appealing To Your Core Market

It’s hard to avoid a divided reception during a rebranding. Companies seeking to rebrand should analyze their key markets and gauge their reaction. A perfect example is Nike’s Colin Kaepernick campaign. Though it seemed like a gamble, it’s clear Nike ran the numbers and determined that their core market would approve. The outliers were inconsequential against the support of their key consumers. - Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

11. Keep Early Adopters In Mind

Maybe people really are more divided than ever. But if there's one trait most people share, it's resistance to change. Whether you're looking to expand your market or remain relevant to your existing customers, don't leave your early adopters behind in the dust. Keep in mind the core products and promises that led your most fiercely loyal customers to become loyal in the first place. - Kristopher Jones,LSEO.com

12. Be True To What You Believe In

Authenticity is at the heart of any successful rebrand. If your brand promise and value proposition align with the redefined brand, you will have a better opportunity to succeed. If the rebrand is seen as a superficial shift to chase a trend in the market, it has less of a chance to be accepted. - Chris Cavanaugh, Freeman

13. Shift Your Brand Gradually And Consistently

Truth: As you read this, your brand is becoming outdated. The best way to shift your brand is to do it gradually and consistently all the time. Have you ever looked at an old picture of yourself after gaining weight? You might not have noticed before, but it's glaringly apparent now. Avoid a similar effect on your brand by listening to the market and making small changes to adapt it every year. - Benjamin Collins,Laughing Samurai

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/11/26/13-effective-methods-to-help-you-keep-customer-loyalty-while-rebranding/#47a2185ae439

Looney Featured in Forbes - Turn Praise Into Power: How To Make The Most Of Your Company's Accolades

Company and personal accolades provide great opportunities for promoting your brand. Not only do the accolades shine a spotlight on what you or your company is doing right, but they are perfect for social media sharing. Whatever form the praise is in can be translated across myriad platforms, sharing the good news and getting loyal customers hyped about the company’s success while drawing interest from new audiences.

But the key is in how the information is utilized. So, what are the best ways to make the most of a company or personal accolade? Below, 13 members of the Forbes Agency Council share insider tips on effectively utilizing accolades.

1. Translate The Accolade Into Sales

A great way to do this is to flip the accolade into something that would be of value to potential clients. For example, if your business won an award for delivering an outstanding campaign, then you could take that and use it as the open for a case study. Then, you could drive traffic to that via social media. It essentially validates your business and personal brand. - Darryl Mascarenhas, LivelyGroup

2. Go Smaller

Often, the intent of a press release is to reach as broad an audience as possible. But you can also take a more focused approach, looking for opportunities to share your good news and its value with a targeted audience. For instance, you might produce personalized videos for your top five prospects, showing how your accolade is proof that your company is a better fit for each of them. - Scott Greggory, MadAveGroup

3. Get Punchy And Creative

Having come from the media world, press releases only go so far. Get punchy and creative. Write a short pitch idea. Pull out the hook and send it to a few targeted contacts and personalize it. And get even more creative on social media. Create a graphic or artwork to promote yourself, post it and tag everyone associated with it. This is a formula that works. -Michelle Mekky, Mekky Media Relations, Inc.

4. Leverage Social Media

Use social-media-sponsored posts to get the most of company or personal accolades. We recommend creating a blog post on your website with details and information on your accolade. You can then share this page on all relevant social media channels. Sponsored advertising can be a cost-effective tactic to gain additional exposure for your accolade to a targeted audience. - Jody Resnick, Trighton Interactive

5. Create A Dedicated Page On Your Site

If you're proud of your recognition by multiple organizations, why not create a page solely dedicated to listing all of your achievements and partnerships? This can present your team as industry leaders. An "Awards and Recognition" page can also become an important factor for leads in a sales funnel to convert into customers. - Arya Bina, Kobe Digital

6. Share It With Existing Cheerleaders

Sharing accolades with people who are proven to be positive cheerleaders for your brand has many long-term benefits. We often implement a multilevel communication strategy that mixes personal phone calls, a newsletter, emails, a blog post and social media messages to reach the right supporters. We contact people we know are excited to hear the news and eager to share with their network of supporters. - Timothy Nichols,ExactDrive, Inc

7. Let Employees Announce It For You

Create a shareable piece of content that every one of your employees can post in their own social media channels. It will not only get the word out to all of their friends and colleagues who may not have otherwise heard the news, but will also convey a collective pride in the company and its accomplishments. - Jess Cook, TMV Group

8. Leverage Custom Audiences And Retargeting

When you have good news to share, pay the bucks to put it in front of your most important audiences. Custom audiences and retargeting are two great ways to ensure those you want to know find out, even if they don’t click to read more. - Dan Golden, Be Found Online

9. Pitch The Media

Identify the top 10 media outlets and contacts that you think would be most interested in your news. Then, personally pitch them not only the accolade but the backstory about your or your company’s journey to accomplishing that significant goal. - Drew Gerber, Wasabi Publicity, Inc.

10. Promote Across Multiple Channels

Promote it across other channels. Announce it on your social platforms, paste the award badge on your website homepage, create a button in your signature and package it up in your monthly newsletter. As with most announcements or accomplishments nowadays, you should always be thinking about the multiple ways to repurpose and distribute content. -Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications

11. Run Facebook Ads To It

Target your ideal customer on Facebook and run ads to an article talking about it. You can upload your existing customer list as a custom audience, show it to them directly and use that to create a lookalike audience of others you want to reach. Chances are they will not know they're being targeted directly and this will give your company more credibility and increased client retention. - Bryan Citrin, Chiropractic Advertising

12. Leverage For In-Depth Profiles

A press release is just the start. We like to take the release and parlay it into a larger pitch/story idea for an in-depth profile piece. Very often, colleges/universities will put together an alumni profile after winning an award or other accolade. After celebrating within the office, we also like to take the imagery and videos from the office celebration and share on socials for added reach. - Durée Ross, Durée & Company, Inc.

13. Tell Your Mom

Outside of the obvious PR, there are dozens of ways to tie back to an achievement. Put it in your email signature or bio with a link, your business card and website. Include it in a content-based email blast or old fashioned direct mail promo. Also, don't forget to tell your mom. She'll brag about you and spread some serious word of mouth. Plus, she deserves to be updated on her ROI. - Sean Looney, Looney Advertising & Branding


Looney Featured in Forbes - 12 Important Storytelling Lessons That Came From Unexpected Places

One of the most important lessons a marketer can learn is how to tell a compelling story. It's a critical job skill if they want to effectively connect with and influence their audience; however, this skill isn't necessarily gained in the workplace. Sometimes, the most profound lessons about how to tell your story originate in the most unlikely of places.

We asked a panel of Forbes Agency Council members to share their top storytelling lessons learned from unexpected sources. From a high school orchestra to an equestrian workshop, here's what these seemingly unrelated experiences taught our experts.

Members of the Forbes Agency Council share their storytelling lessons.PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.

1. Success Doesn't Happen Without Failure 
One of the best work-related lessons occurred when I was in San Francisco on a business trip. I had a few hours to spare and decided to go to The Walt Disney Family Museum. While there, I learned Walt Disney faced multiple failures, even after he was considered a genius. It made me realize that success doesn’t happen without failure. It was an important reminder to take risks and to keep swimming. - Ginger E. JonesWebPunch

2. Emotion Makes For Better Stories 
I was once telling someone the story of picking up our yellow lab from the breeder. When I finished the story, she said, "Wow, Ben, that's a good story. But next time you tell it, talk more about how it made you feel. That would make it a great story." Her advice was spot on. Now, we use that in our digital marketing to create great user experiences via stories that evoke emotion. - Ben LeDonniCreativeMMS

3. Recognition Is A Powerful Motivator 
When younger, I co-chaired several large civic events that involved managing hundreds of volunteers. Since these people were not employees, I had to learn how to motivate people without recourse to tangible rewards. I learned that people naturally enjoy having something expected of them as long as you don't micromanage them, and that recognition alone is a powerful motivator. - Jeff Bradfordthe Bradford Group

4. Strive To Be Present 
We were at a family dinner, and I was on my phone when my mom yelled, "Put that stupid phone down! It can wait an hour." At first, I thought that she just doesn't get it. I need to be on top of it! Then, I figured she might be on to something. Since then, I schedule my email checking/replying, so it doesn't dictate what I do and when I do it. It has almost doubled my performance. Go, mom! - Rafael RomisWeberous Web Design

5. Keep Your Ego In Check
After winning a competition against others who I knew were far more skilled than I was, I had to remind myself that was just one day. The same is true in business and marketing. You may have skill and you may completely crush it that day, week or year. But there is always competition close by, ready to take you down. Stay focused and keep your ego in check. - Bernard MayNational Positions

6. Use Only What You Need 
My nana was a single parent who worked two jobs to support four daughters. One day, I saw her ripping paper towels in half. When I asked her why, she simply stated it was all she needed. A lifetime of making ends meet defined in one moment. Whenever we produce work, we are super efficient. I just think of this petite woman, her strong forearms and a powerful lesson defined by a single paper towel. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

7. Understand Your Communication Process
Wyatt Webb is the founder of the Equine Experience at Miraval Resort in Tucson, Arizona. I participated in a workshop there that provides insight into relationship communication. Working with horses, guests begin to see patterns of learned behavior that may be working against them. Understanding your communication process helps improve personal and professional relationships. - Timothy NicholsExactDrive, Inc

8. Success Requires Detail, Precision And Cooperation 
To understand attention to detail, to apply specific skills at just the right moment and to cooperate across a group to achieve a common goal, I can think of few lessons more valuable than performing as part of an orchestra. In fact, I recently attended the memorial service for my high school orchestra director and thanked his wife for the valuable life skills her husband had offered to me. - Dave WendlandHamacher Resource Group

9. Resourcefulness Is Your Greatest Asset 
I lost both of my parents when I was 20 years old. With the choice to earn money or starve, I realized everything is a resource. As long as I am resourceful, I can achieve anything. After moving to the United States, I was unable to do the only skill I knew. This meant I had to be resourceful by learning new skills and creating a new network to build my ideal business and life that I love. - Imran TariqWebMetrix Group LLC

10. Always Aim For A 'Home Run' 
When I played baseball, a coach told me a story of Mickey Mantle being asked by a reporter if he goes up to the plate with the intention of hitting a home run. The Mick looked him in the eye and said, "Every damn time." That resonated with me for the rest of my life; you have to go to the plate with the intention of playing long ball. Otherwise, success will be limited. - Paul E BenninghovePhalanx Digital Inc.

11. Get Back Up And Keep Trying 
I learned the most valuable lesson watching one kid after another completely wipe out trying to clear hurdles. I asked myself, "Why would kids choose to hurdle?" Then, I saw a young, short boy fall on nearly every hurdle, yet he continued to get up and keep going. He triumphantly kicked the final hurdle out of the way to end his race. Falling down is not a failure as long as you get back up. - Katie HarrisSpot On Solutions

12. Convey Complex Ideas In Their Simplest Form 
A great storyteller is someone who can explain their vision, get people excited and inspire them to take that visionary ride. When I have a great story to tell, I find my 10-year-old son and if he can follow along and get excited, then I'm on to something. A good storyteller takes a complex scenario and illustrates it in its simplest form. If my 10-year-old gets it, then everyone else will. - Julie VelozIPG Mediabrands

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only organization for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Find out if you qualify at forbesagencycouncil.com/qualify.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/08/30/12-important-storytelling-lessons-that-came-from-unexpected-places/#96258ef70677