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August 2008
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October 2008

Meet Our Investment Banker...

Woman_investment_banker In light of all the financial issues floating around (you know the list) government bailouts, failed banks, insane executive "golden parachutes" and greed.  We thought is a perfect time to introduce you to our "Investment Banker".

It's not only a history lesson...it's also about marketing and public relations.

My mother (No, that is not her..you sick, sick person!) grew up during the Great Depression.  Mom was just nine years old when the markets crashed, people lost jobs, took their own lives and the country was in financial ruin.

That event, which lasted until the start of the Second World War, molded much of the financial habits of what has been called "The Greatest Generation".  Trust had to be earned.  Greed was bad.  Swift decisions were questioned. Cheating was worse.  But saving and self reliance were good.  But, because many could not, or would not, trust the financial institutions that had failed, they came up with a novel approach.

Money_mattress Mom would call it, "Mattress Money".  (In todays jaded world all kinds of things start to pop into your mind...go ahead, admit it.)

But, again, the focus was on self reliance.  If it was too good to be true, you didn't buy the story.  If the promises were amazing, you took a pass.  If the focus was on greed and not good.  The decision was pretty simple.

Now we find ourselves in a mess brought on, in part, by the "take no prisoners" approach to investments, government, banking and the "me first" attitude that is sinking the current "bailout" plan among the public.  Best guess is that roughly 80% of Americans are NOT impressed with the plan. 

We think there is a message in all of this for folks still willing to take products to market.

Tell the truth.  Always.  Explain the product or service and then be honest about the claims.

We think doing it the right way will give you a little more folding money to put in a safe place.  And also award you with market share.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we're sort of partial to our bankers...


"So, let me ask you a question."

Man_older_hat The phone conversation with a perspective new client was moving along well.  We had gotten past the, "Just what does an advertising agency do?" question and we were moving forward to some examples of what this organization might consider doing to increase sales and awareness.

Then my new friend asked me the following:

"So, if we hire you, what are you going to do for us that we can't do by ourselves?"

At first I thought it was a trick question.  After all, hadn't we just been through a dozen examples of what we think these folks might do to increase their brand and awareness?  How do I answer him and keep the conversation moving forward?

So, I gambled and said, "Everything and nothing at all."

"HUH?"

"There are just a small number of things we can do that you can't", I said. "However, if you want to correctly market your group and the services you offer and use the right tools to increase your market share and sales our bet is you'll spend years catching up to our skill level."

He's thinking about it.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we think that's a pretty valid answer.  You?


There Can Never Be Too Much Communication

Business_conversation It's been an amazing week.  Oh...not the "bail out program".  We've been focused for days on a meeting with one of our clients.

Over a week ago we began crafting a presentation to help a new company move into new markets.  We researched, read, learned and then pulled it all together for a two hour meeting that was held this morning.

And, thank God...it went very well.

But this isn't about our work as much as it is our opportunity to help a wonderful company realize their dream.  It's not easy diving into the consumer world.  There are lots of pitfalls, the market is huge and the message needs to be spot on.

But more than that the players making the product and those of us charged with the job of marketing that product need trust.  And, that trust comes through honest conversation.  Sharing ideas, dreams and direction.  And, in the end making it work.

We can't wait to spring this new family of products on the market place.  The excitement today was great and we're grateful we got to be a part of the conversation.

Thank you...again.


"And Now - A Word From Our Sponsors..."

Calcium_products_booth_005_v3 We get pretty excited when one of our clients do really well...  That's why when Craig Dick of Calcium Products, Inc. noted in a recent blog that the company is seeking to hire two new salespeople.  We celebrated.

It wasn't that long ago that hiring new folks was an option.  We're more than happy Calcium Products is doing well and expanding.  That's not the story we've heard from other companies out there.

So, congratulations Larry Moore! (Owner with spokesperson "Flo" above)  And for those of you seeking a change in your work...we can vouch for the folks at Calcium Products...a great company that continues to grow in sales and with new products!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications...where we've got a thing for our clients!


Feeling Better Already! You Focused?

Baby_happy Whew...that was close!  Now that I have sworn off talk radio in Des Moines (just a few hours ago) I'm doing much better.

Yeah, baby!

Headed to Mason City on my monthly effort with that congregation and looking forward to the adventure.

Somebody told me "BeaverFest" is this weekend.  I kid you not! (OK...it's really the Beaverdale Fall Festival...)

For many companies out there it's time to start the budget process for the next year.  If you're one of the companies who use an agency now is the time to huddle up with your people and make solid plans for 2009. 

We think the economy in agriculture will continue to be strong and that will touch other sectors as well.  But, word...buying smart now will help you in the future.  Lots of unsold radio and television inventory during the first quarter AND...no matter what they tell you there are still deals to be had in print.  IF you ask for them early.

So, why do we think so?  Fourth quarter, in our opinion, will be soft as consumers look at the rising cost of everything other than their pay checks.  Retail will cut costs but advertise big trying to lure folks out of their safety zone.  That should mean a decent fourth quarter for advertising media outlets...but we think it will slow down a bunch in January and February.   Already slow months, we think you should be able to buy advertising at deep discountsIF not...let 'em sit with the unsold inventory.  We've got other inventive ways to get noticed in your market.

Got questions or comments...let's get together!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications...focus...focus...focus.


I'm Done With The Wacky Fringe...

Thumb_sucking Over the past several years our company has spent a few bucks with powerhouse radio station WHO.  (1040 AM)  I'm not sure how much...but it's enough to know that we've recommended them to our clients on many occasions.

But...I'm done with the fringe element.

At least until after the election.

I've become increasingly troubled by their programing direction and tone.  Outside of the farm broadcasting WHO Radio has failed to impress with any real ability other than to spout the "party line".  We often refer to the station as K-GOP.  Unless you listen in the afternoon when it becomes K-GOD.  (We're waiting for management to request a tax exempt status as a church...should be any day.)

Thumbs_down So...what got me sucked in the debate?  (And I really hate doing this!)  Yesterday on the heels of the economic fall out and during the mid-morning radio show the host gets a call from an "informed listener" who spouts off about how Obama has used as, "his top economic adviser" one Franklin Raines who was the former honcho of Fannie Mae.  The host, in lock step, repeated the story and gave it creditably.  No doubt because it pleased his personal political agenda.

Trouble is...it's false.  And, it's just one example of a daily head-butting from the fringe element.

Meanwhile the afternoon host has spent much of his time being the champion of the "anti-public school" crowd.  Full of himself and his cause he ended up on the wrong side of a recent Des Moines Public School Board Vote...he and his friends lost...badly.

When he is not carping about public schools he's busy Bible Thumping.  And while there is nothing wrong with that it's the way he marginalizes the folks who disagree.  Fringe...

To be fair, we don't have the "Kooky LEFT" to kick around in this market.  (If we did...we'd be on them too.  I hear they are just as wacky.  And if you look...we've hit the Des Moines Register a couple of times.) 

The two talk radio stations, WHO and 98.3 WOW-FM, both spend seventeen hours a day feasting on red meat and bashing anybody that is on the other side of their joint agendas.

The reason?  It sells radio time and radio time sales fuel the engine of being...fringe.

So, we're done for awhile.  As much as we love to recommend radio...we've just got to take a rest from the wackos...

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Feeling better already - Silence is Golden.


The Best Job In The World?

Casa_di_vino_outside_2 This past week I spent a couple of hours at my favorite wine shop, Casa di Vino owned by my friend Howard Bernstein.

I've been bugging Howard to get into the world of blogging and start sharing his knowledge with the rest of the world.  And, for folks like me that don't know "vintage wine" from "vintage photos"...we could use some help.  That's why I was so excited to get the e-mail saying Howard was ready to jump in.

I've been amazed at how few brick and mortar wine merchants are blogging.  I'm not sure if they don't know about it or if the "mystery" of wine is too valuable to share.  But, I'm happy my friend is doing this.  Go ahead, have a look...I can wait.

Casa_di_vino_use_3 So, Howard...welcome to this great way to interact with so many people.  You'll find folks friendly and really interested in what you do.

Speaking of what Howard does...like go to corporate wine tastings and doing 65 to 100 different wines in a day.  You might think he has the best job in the world.  But, nope.  I do.  Every day I get to visit with great people that have wonderful stories and even better products or services.  So, I'm not trading...but if he ever needs anybody to hang out and pull corks.

By the way...I only started him on this project.  I've suggested to Howard that he visit with Mike Sansone the "Iowa Godfather of Social Networking".  Mike you listening?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we like wine, honest! 


Breaking The....Ahhhh Hmmm....Brand?

Montana_gov_use_first Oh Oh...the Democrats have their own brand breaker. 

Meet the Governor of Montana: Brian Schweitzer.  This past Sunday afternoon at the 31st Annual Tom Harkin Steak Fry (by the way, they do not fry the steaks) he was introduced as, "The pick-up drivin', gun totin', full bore huntin', God fearin', one-woman lovin' farm and ranchin' (GULP) Democrat!"

Ahhhh...Exhibit "A" - Brian Schweitzer and his wife Nancy...and First Dog - Jag.

Montana_gov_sitting For longer than I can remember folks that are NOT Democrats have attempted to paint Democrats as wacko, wimpy, weirdos belonging to some effeminate club that gets together to hand money out to PETA.

Talk about breaking the brand.  But, where did this "brand" come from?

I remember stories about my Grandfather who was a union organizer in the 1930's.  More than a dozen times, my Grandmother has said, he came home with a broken nose or a bloodied shirt as he literally fought for worker rights.  That was no "girlie-man".  That was a warrior.

I fondly remember my Father working the streets of Detroit on behalf of Lyndon Johnson because he thought Barry Goldwater was, in his words, "A nut case and bad for labor."  He once pushed a guy against the wall because the other guy "took issue" with the fact my father had befriended a family of black folks that moved to our mostly white suburb. 

Wimpy?  Hardly...

Montana_gov So, what's the marketing and advertising story here?  Simple.  Don't let somebody else "brand" your business or service.  The Democrats have allowed this and they'll get what they sow.  In the meantime, be smarter, tougher and right but most of all, if you've got a brand that resonates with the consumer...hold on to it.  There are more folks out there that would rather tear down...than build up.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications and YES we would go to a Republican event...but nobody has ever asked.


And Now For Something Really New...

Sparks_web Doing media work for the new musical drama, The Sparks Fly Upward has been a wonderful experience in expanding our abilities.  And, we're grateful.

For those of you who don't yet know about this wonderful musical drama we invite you to visit The Sparks Website and learn more.

In a nutshell, this is the story of three families, two Jewish and one Christian, as they come to realize their "normal" world has been ripped from them and how they cope with their fears, their faith and their hope. 

While set in Nazi Germany the musical does much more than tell the story of that time.  It is also a call to action to confront bigotry, hate and genocide in our time.

Joeg The World Premiere will take place here in Des Moines at Hoyt Sherman on November 8th which is the 70th Anniversary of Krystalnacht.  (Go ahead click and read.)  It will be conducted by Des Moines Symphony Maestro, Joseph Giunta, directed by Timothy X. Troy and will feature the Des Moines Choral Society and a cast of nearly twenty people.

The piece was written by Cathy Lesser Mansfield of Des Moines.  Whom we thank for the opportunity to work on the project.

In the weeks ahead we'll be doing loads of public relations efforts in the Des Moines and the Midwest.  If you have a group that would like a presentation, a guest appearance or further information send me an e-mail or give us a call.  We'll make it work for you.

Hope to see you and your family at Hoyt Sherman on the evening of November 8.  And, yes, tickets are now available from Hoyt Sherman or Ticketmaster.

Micheal P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we're really excited about this opportunity...can you tell?


A Lesson In "Something from Nothing"

Meals_from_heartland_stuff Last week over 12,000 volunteers turned out 4,000,000 meals as "Meals From The Heartland" took over Hy-Vee Hall to package food for hungry folks in at least seven nations.  Here is the story from the Des Moines Register.

I had never heard of "Meals From The Heartland" until last week when we were contacted and asked to help.  "Be at Hy-Vee Hall about noon with seven others and we'll put you to work."  That was it.

It was an amazing story about how something so big can come from...nowhere.

Meals_from_heartland_finished_prod We tend to call this kind of thing "grassroots".  There wasn't a lot of fanfare, no fancy ads in magazines or newspapers and no big "media partner".  I asked one of the organizers about all the material, food, products, tables, tape, and even Hy-Vee Hall (Global Spectrum).  She said, "All donated...everything!" 

And people showed up...by the thousands.  There were stories and some social networking but there was another "power" at work:  The power of "doing good".and being "other centered".

So, what's the lesson for those of us wanting to take a product or service to market?  We think three things:

  • Truth - Explain the benefit honestly.  No hype.
  • Engage - Buying or using this product or service has a value beyond your individual consumption.
  • Organize - Doing the advance legwork to understand the target market and acceptance is critical.

We hope to have the folks from "Meals From The Heartland" on our radio show in the near future.  We were told that they'll be back.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications