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How "Cool" Is Your Career?

Business_man_sign_blank Welcome to our Business Publication where we give you our insight on advertising, marketing, branding... things that can make a difference for your business.

Sunday morning on our Rural Lifestyle Radio Show - Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country we had a story about the "coolness quotient" of careers.  Do you know yours?  Do you want to?

The Harris Poll, taken late last summer, surveyed 1,010 US adults about career prestige.  Do you really want to know yours?  (By the way, we'll tie this into branding/marketing in just a minute.)

Six occupations were seen to hold high prestige among those questioned.  Here they are along with the percentage of folks who thought these jobs were "cool":

  • Firefighters - 61%
  • Scientists - 54%
  • Teachers - 54%
  • Doctors - 52%
  • Military Officers - 52%
  • Nurses - 50%

These were followed by:  Police Officers - 46%, Clergy - 42%, Farmers - 41%.

Business_loser Meanwhile, if you have one of the following careers or positions your "Coolness Factor" is under 20%.  (Just what you needed to learn on this bright Tuesday morning.)

  • Athletes - 16%
  • Business Executives - 14%
  • Journalists - 13%
  • Union Leaders - 13%
  • Stockbrokers - 12%

And the rest:  Entertainers - 12%, Accountants - 11%, Bankers - 10%, Actors - 9%, Real Estate Professionals - 5%.

FARMERS "out cool" Bankers by 31%! Why?  What is it about the upper level vs. the lower level careers that might just inflate how the career is perceived by the public?

We think two things and here is where branding careers comes in:

First take a look at the top end.  Each career has a sense of believability to them.  Second, how is each branded by the media, marketing, employees and pop culture?

The high percentage leaders all have an "US" quotient while the bottom end looks, to those who responded, as having their careers based on "ME".

Business_banker And is it any wonder?  But, the bigger question is how to reverse these numbers.  That, my friends, is the secret of a combination of advertising, marketing, public relations and internal other words:  Branding.  Doubtful???

Tomorrow:  An example:  Building the Banking capturing the values of the upper level "coolness quotient" and mixing them with the public perception of banking.  It's just an idea...

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we grow ideas...every day.

Davey, We Hardly Knew Ye!

Welcome to our Business Publication -Iowa_stars_dave Last week the Iowa Stars made if official.  They are outta here.  Headed to Austin, Texas.  Davey Allison and the gang have already cleaned out the lockers.  While I've been in mourning...

It was a good idea.

And it was also good timing.  The Iowa Stars had a good run for the first two years.  The bottom dropped out this year and we landed in last place in the division.

But...I don't write about hockey.  We do marketing and advertising and public relations.  The stuff that really matters.

And from all of those fronts this was a decision that had to be  Here's why:

Timing - We'll have another AHL hockey team in Des Moines but we're going to need time to name them and brand 'em.  If the decision were to have come much later 2008/2009 would have been a tough sell.  It may be that already.

Hockey_manBranding - Conventional wisdom says we should not tie ourselves too closely to another NHL team so the name should be "neutral"  I'm not that convinced.  The other thing the future team needs to consider if the negative brand left behind.  There were lots of "green and gold" sold (see the guy with the jacket?) that is just one negative.  The other?  The Iowa Barnstormers.  Last Saturday night there were 10,800 fans in "The Well".  We've got to come up with a way to bring more excitement to hockey and it's got to be done quickly.  Here are some other quick branding problems we've got to overcome:

  • High Prices - Season Tickets are $20 each.  There are 40 home games.  Do the math.  Two dozen french fries - $4.00.  A family of TWO can drop $100...easy.
  • Fair Food - I love the State Fair...but something has to change at "The Well".  Funnel Cakes and Roasted Nuts....we can do better.
  • Get Wild - Hockey is a full contact sport.  I've seen people ejected because they were "too loud".  Please.
  • Poor Cross Promotion - Imagine giving away food certificates to Prairie Meadows "good only during the evening of Saturday, January 23rd"  Which just so happened to be a home game night.  What are you thinking?
  • The "Out-of-Towner's" - The folks that make up the marketing and development arm of The Iowa Stars all came from "someplace else".  And you could spot that a mile away.  Want to win fans locally?  Get local.

Hockey_equipment In the end, this was a classic example of poor marketing and branding.  So, we need the time to build.  Will I be as solid behind another team?  Don't know...we've not yet started the process.  Besides, I'm a little grumpy these days.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we're just sore nobody listened to us three years ago.  See ya guys...


So, What Are You Doing For Mothers Day?

Dondino_stage_4 Insight Advertising - Our Business Publication

Now THAT might be a loaded question but I've got a reason for asking especially if you live in Central Iowa.  This is special...

We've teamed up with The Embassy Club and Dondino to bring to Des Moines a great Mother's Day Event.  Something really, really different!

An Elegant Mother's Day Event for mothers of all ages.  (Maybe even a great "date night" for you and your wife!)  Here are the details (well ahead of general publicity) so you can make plans now.

Saturday Night - May 10th (the night before Mother's Day) there will be a Dinner and Las Vegas Style Show in The Grand Hall of The Temple for Performing Arts.   This will not be like anything you've experienced before.  It is a great meal, gifts for all the ladies and a fantastic full blown show...Vegas Style.

The meal, according to our friend, General Manager and Culinary Director, Michael LaValle will be something very special.  "The Embassy Club is known for excellent food and top notch service.  Our goal here is to extend our reach into the community and build a series of special events at the Temple.  It will be something truly unique."

Dondino_state_blog Headlining the evening will be the elegant, professional crooner Dondino.  An Italian native, raised in Brooklyn, Dondino spent years perfecting his show in Las Vegas.  Ten years ago Dondino moved to Des Moines where has been active in the Variety Club of Iowa.  While he continues to travel his home base is right here. "I love it in Des Moines", says Dondino.  "We've put our roots in one of the best cities in the nation and it's been very good for us."

Dondino will be doing the romantic standards of Sinatra, Martin, Davis along with his own compositions.

Make plans now for a very elegant Mother's Day Evening with the music of Dondino the fantastic food from The Embassy Club set in The Grand Hall of the Temple for Performing Arts.  Tickets can be purchased through the Embassy Club and major credit cards are honored.

  • Dinner & VIP Stage Seating for the show - $65 each
  • Dinner & Show - Tables of Ten - $50 each
  • Show Only - $25 each

Dust off the "fancy duds".  For reservations - 515-244-2582

Michael P. Libbie - Now doesn't this sound like fun?

Customer Service - Good Stuff!

Ok Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications - Our Business Publication.

Every once in a while we experience a positive customer service experience.  True, they are getting to be fewer in number, but when they do happen it is a major breath of fresh air.

Here are a couple of examples.

If you read this publication from time to time you've perhaps learned of our miserable DISH Network story.  After awhile it became a game of sorts.  But, nobody was winning.  My wife suggested that we call the local guy that had put the system in and quit trying to get service from DISH Network.   I called Phil Shaw at 9am and he was at the house by 1:30 that afternoon.

Satellite_dish_2Phil Shaw is the owner of City Satellite here in Des Moines.  It's a small, very small, business that got started because Phil saw so many bad customer service issues he decided to go out and make it happen on his own.

"I've been doing install work for a long time and I saw how some of these major companies just failed to follow up.  I honestly felt bad for their customers.  I knew I could do better."  Phil has been "on his own" for about 90 days.  We wish him well.  If you want to make contact, send him an e-mail.

Orbitcom The other recent experience was with April from Orbitcom.  Orbitcom is a telephone company out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  For years I've struggled with Quest trying to get them to reduce my rates, bundle services, etc.  Without any luck.

Orbitcom_service_area So, I was in the mood to switch when April called our office. The seamless sign up and ability to answer questions got my interest.  So, I did make the switch for our business.  Will they come through?  We'll let you know.  At this point it is a leap of faith.

But I can tell you, if the follow up customer service from Orbitcom is as good as the customer service representative.  You'll be hearing more from us.

Have any GOOD customer service stories?  Spread them around!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications...thanks for reading.

Customer Service? You've Got To Be Kidding

Man_two_angry Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications - Our Business Publication.

We're becoming an angry lot.

We now have automated check out for purchases.  We then get to bag the groceries and haul 'em to the vehicle.  Have costs come down?

We no longer have to walk into the bank to do business.  We can use the Internet or drive up service at the ATM.  Have the fees come down?

Gone too are the days of getting "free estimates" for work.  Recently we had a plumbing issue.  We called around to find out what it might cost to fix the problem.  "We'll come out and take a look and give you an estimate.  Oh, and we charge a $65 fee for a service call."  A "service call bill" to give us an estimate!  We fixed it ourselves for $55 and a little time.

Oh...and go ahead.  Try, just try to get your Dish Network system fixed.  LOL....oh my.

So, it is during those rare instances when we experience (I hate to even say it.) "old fashioned customer service" that we become shocked.  And sometimes, as this article from MSNBC, says, "consumers are fighting back".

So tell us, is your company piling on "service fees", taking away human interaction and still charging more?

Laughing Don't...there will be a time of reckoning. Better to do a 180 from everybody else and give excellent service.  Folks will talk about it. example of Superior Customer Service from two very different sources.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications...thanks for reading.

Building A Brand Within A Brand

Fastsigns_logo Welcome to our business publication where we share our opinion about the power of branding, marketing and public relations.

Those of you who come by here on a regular basis know how passionate we are about treating customers and clients with respect.  From time to time we hold up examples of folks who are doing great things to grow their business. 

This is one of those times.

Steve_smith_fastsigns Meet Steve Smith.  Steve owns the Fastsigns franchise near our office and we've used his printing services for well over four years.   It's not about him being's about the passion and responsiveness of his staff.  These are the folks that have created a "brand within a brand".  Here's more:

Fastsigns is a corporation with now over 500 franchise locations across the country.  A couple of months ago Steve's business took home three awards.  The first two:

  • Million Dollar Award - Exceeded One Million in sales for the year.
  • Business Operator of the Year.  It's given to the owner who, "...exemplifies the Fastsign goal of making the buying experience seamless..."  One award per year.

Nice job!

Jennifer_wiggins Meet Jennifer Wiggins who manages the local Fastsigns.  Jennifer is often the first face we see and her help and patience with our clients (and us) has been remarkable.  At the same event Jennifer was awarded the Manager Recognition Award given to only to the top 10% of all Fastsign location managers.  Well deserved. 


So why are we tooting THEIR horn?  Because they "get it".  They understand how important it is to:

  • Advertise their business on a consistent basis;
  • Be involved in community projects;
  • Be as helpful as they can to their clients, in every way;
  • Go out of their way to finish the job on time and make it right if something goes south.

Fastsigns_clive Here's the kicker:   Our company, Insight Advertising, has clients all over the country.  No doubt many of our clients have a sign company in their own city.  Maybe even a Fastsign franchise.  But, each time we need something we let our clients know we'll be using our local printer because we trust their work, know it will be done right and we can help manage the process to make the experience as seamless as possible...for our clients.

Our thanks to our Fastsign "partners" here in Des Moines.  But, more than that...congratulations on a job done well and for receiving the recognition of doing well.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we really appreciate the good works of others and glad to tell you the story.

Iowa Bicycle Coalition - On Tonight

Bicycle_solo Welcome to our Business Publication for Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications.

Some of you who read this know we do two radio shows here in the Des Moines, Iowa market.  The station is 98.3 WOW-FM and if you live outside of the area you can listen live using your PC.  Just click here and log in.. 

Tonight (Monday 4/21) is The Iowa Sportsman Radio Hour sponsored by our client, The Iowa Sportsman Magazine.  I know many of you enjoy bicycle riding just as much as you do hunting and fishing.  Tonight we've got a guest that might be of interest to you because what their group does impacts bicycling in Iowa.

Mark_wyatt_use We'll be visiting with Mark Wyatt the executive director of The Iowa Bicycle Coalition.  Over the past year or so we've featured all kinds of outdoor recreation topics and as the weather warms up lots of folks will be taking to the streets on their bicycle.

We'll talk about it and some of the benefits of using your bicycle.  We'll ask some questions about fees and licenses, the increase of deaths from bike/vehicle accidents, and what some folks are doing to try to limit bicycle use.  Should be interesting and if you've got a comment or question, remember it is a live call in show.

We'll also visit with Matt Bangson from Frontier Outfitting.  He'll be on to discuss the early turkey season reports and let us know what their customers are telling them.

Hope to have you listening tonight - The Iowa Sportsman Radio Hour - only on 98.3 WOW-FM

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications thanks for reading and perhaps for listening.

What Do Women Want?

Women_wine Insight Advertising, Marketing  & Communications - Our Business Publication

It's a good question and one that many in the rural lifestyle market and agriculture struggle with.

Traditionally farm and acreage decisions have been made by the male member of the household.  Women were often asked to take care of the children, the house and maybe the chickens.  At least it was that way in our family and, if we're honest, it was the same in many others.

Today there is a major gender shift going on "out there" and sadly many marketers for traditional agricultural products and services are missing the boat.

Woman_horses The most recent numbers available is the 2002 USDA Census of Agriculture.  (We're in the middle of gathering new census data now.) Between 1997 and 2002 the number of female farmers rose by 13% or one of every ten farms in the United States were run by women.  We expect the data for the new census to exceed that increase for a number of reasons including passing farming operations to survivors, the growth in organic and natural products and the huge increase in the number of small farms and acreages that are active in actual production agriculture.

While this is going on, the traditional infrastructure continues to be male dominated from feed stores to agricultural equipment dealers.

That fact alone causes a problem in perception as to HOW to market goods and services to the ever increasing number of female farmers.  A couple of things to consider:

  • Know your target market and its demographics;
  • Include female models in print advertising pieces;
  • Be attentive to color designs;
  • Depending on the product or service look at alternative media;
  • Don't be afraid.

For many agricultural manufacturers this issue is not even on the radar screen. 

So, what are you doing to attract female farm operators?  Do you know your demographic?  Or is this way off base?

If you need some answers...give us a call.

Barnstormers - Winners/Losers

Barnstormers_cheer Welcome to the Business Publication for our Advertising Agency...thanks for reading.

(The Storm Chasers - Dance Team for the Iowa Barnstormers and some fans:  Ron, Rick, me, Michael...yes, there was a football game too.)

They say that all politics is local.  If that is the case I'd submit to you that all marketing is local too.

Monday night the Iowa Barnstormers came back to life as an Arena Football League - 2 (AFL2) team.  The team had been idle since 2001.  The advertising and marketing leading up to this event was impressive.

The crowd at the Wells Fargo Arena (The Well) approached 10,000 people.  It was a great crowd, lots of energy...  The Barnstormers lost to the Lexington Horsemen 41/43 but there were other winners and losers.  And much of it has to do with the other side of advertising - MARKETING.

The Winners:

Barnstormers_crowd The Fans - They got what they paid for: 2.5 hours of hard hitting arena football, lots of excitement, a great tailgating party before the game and many saw The Well for the first time and were impressed at what is one of the finest arenas in the Midwest.

Jeff Lamberti - One of the owners of the club Jeff has worked in front of and behind the scenes to bring this to the people of Iowa.  And on Monday night he was there mixing with the fans.  He was working the crowd at the tailgate, went up and down the steps shaking hands and talking to fans and asking, "So, what do you think?" 

Barnstormers_team The Players - They were treated well and enjoyed opportunity to show off.  For some of them it's been a long time since they put on a football uniform.  Some of these guys have been out of college ball for a couple of years.  It was a chance to "come back" to something they love.  And, at $200 a game and a $50 bonus if they win...nobody wearing the uniform is getting rich.

The Losers:

Global Spectrum - These are the "out of town managers" of The Well and, Barnstormers_line as usual, they let the fans down...again.  The service inside The Well is one of the major downfalls of the operation.  Long lines of people, equipment that doesn't work and volunteers who are not organized.  Add this together and you get those long lines and some very frustrated fans that missed most of a quarter of play...waiting for the next problem at The Well. 

The Food - The food here is really, really bad.  The issue here is Ovation the food service group. I've been a Iowa Stars Hockey season ticket holder for three years so this is not a new issue.  Not long ago several of us traveled to the Quad Cities to see the Stars play the Quad City Flames.  The arena was not as nice but the food choices were remarkable.  Matt Holcombe of Global Spectrum told Jeff Lamberti he has never had a complaint.  OK,'s one.

How are you treating your "Marketing Opportunities"?  Are you listening to your customers?  Making what changes you can to insure they have a positive experience?  How you treat these marketing opportunities make all the difference.

People will buy a poor product that has great advertising...once.  In this case people paid to see a pretty average football team.  Will they come back?  Maybe...but only if the supporting players measure up to the expectation.

So, your business or service:  How many marketing opportunities do you miss, mis-read and what are you going to do about it?

Michael P. Libbie - Thanks for reading..

Being Candid With Consumers?

Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications - Our Business Publication

Wachovia_logo_2 In case you missed it Wachovia, the nations fourth largest lender, made some changes in the way they will award home mortgages.  Except they are not going to tell you the facts.

At first we thought the short news piece placed in the business section of the Des Moines Register was a mistake.  So we went further and picked up the story from The Charlotte Observer, home town for Wachovia.

Friday Wachovia made public they will now base their home mortgage decisions on your FICO Score.  The higher the score the better your chances are of landing a mortgage.

Except they won't tell you their base line or what number is acceptable.


Maybe they figure it would cut down on their application rate if they disclosed the target score.  Maybe there are many other factors included in the decision process like, "Do your socks match?".  We found it just odd.

What hidden expectations do you have when dealing with your customer?  And, what do you make of this kind of thing?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Thanks for reading.