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Photo Shoot...Stella's Blue Sky Diner

We've got a client, Calcium Products, who has used a "Flo" character as a "spokesperson"CP_6x10LowRes over the past several years.  It's an image that has worked and people remember, perhaps because it is so different.  That's "Flo" in a typical ad piece.

We needed to do some new images so I made a phone call to Stella's Blue Sky Diner of Urbandale and visited for a bit with Carrie...the owner.

During the conversation, asking permission to come in and do a shoot, I also asked about business, "It's OK", said Carrie.  "The economy hasn't helped much but we're doing OK."  I asked her about social media.  She said she had a "MySpace" account, "The kids set it up and we do some other advertising."

She may or may not know about the power of Twitter or Blogs...but when we go in to do the shoot, I'll spend some time sharing the message and perhaps help set her up.  Hey, it's what we do...and because Stella's Blue Sky Diner is so cool...they deserve it.

I think I have a new project...





Are YOU Being Eaten Alive?

It happens every day.  During my discussions with clients and perspective clients the words,Zombie Girl "Social Media" come up.  Just the other day I was visiting with a perspective client that is getting "eaten alive" by the giant franchise and losing 20% of every dollar she makes PLUS having customers "think" that just because the item appears on the "franchise website" it is available locally.  We'll fix this with her own locally controlled site.

Then, we talked about Social Media and how to tell the story of her business and stand apart from the others.  She said, "I don't know, we don't want this to turn into a bitch session."  Huh? 

It is amazing how people perceive what and how social media works.  Maybe this will help:

Found this NEAT GRAPHIC by Lindy Dreyer from Social Fish that explains very well what happens when you take what some call the social media "risk" and turn it into an "opportunity". Have a look at what can happen to your message when you open the gates.

Thanks for reading...and learning.





Three Trade Show Requirements

Last week I was asked what are the top three things a company should focus on during WNLA pots their display experience at a trade show.  If you have listened to our radio show, Insight on Business, you've heard me talk about planning and follow up for a trade show experience.  All good info...but let's take a stab at this one.

In order of importance we believe you should focus on:

  1. Data - Collecting data at an open or closed trade show is king.  Why?  Because you can, with this data, expand the trade show experience into a customer experience by using some thoughtful marketing.  But...if you don't have the data on the consumer, good luck.  Collect as much data in as creative a way as possible.  For some industries there is an offer of an electronic program where the attendee swipes a card containing his/her information.  If offered...take it.  Remember, data is king.
  2. Distribution - Coming back to the office, plant or store with loads of left over marketing pieces isn't productive.  FIND a way to get your media into the hands of the attendees.  Let's say 5% look at the media.  You give away 1,000 pieces and you'll have 50 folks look at the data.  But, give away 5,000 pieces you up your numbers to 250.  Get the media in the hands of the creative.
  3. Listen - Far too often folks who "person" a trade who talk too much.  They are so "into" the sale they can't simply shut up and listen.  Listen to what the consumer "thinks" of your product or service.  Listen to why they would buy it.  Listen to why they would not buy it.  Then gather that data and make adjustments to your pitch or your product. 

OK...there you go.  Three things you should focus on at the next trade show.  Need help?  We're here.




Blah Products = More Advertising?

It came to me during my daily radio show, Insight on Business, today.  I had read anMan Bored article about why people advertise products and services.  And wondered, out loud, if the reason some folks have to advertise like crazy is because their product and service is...well...blah.

Think of it for a moment.  IF each time a customer came into contact with your product or service and his/her expectations were met or truly exceeded. Would you really have to advertise or would the word of mouth spread so fast that you wouldn't have to?

And this coming from an advertising agency guy.

Think about it...  Here in the Midwest we have a department store called Von Maur.  They rarely advertise.  Oh sure from time to time they will be in traditional media but not like other department stores.  Could it be the result of superior customer service and products?  Neither is boring...

So, what is the message?  If you have a commodity (boring) product or service that is just getting by you will have to increase your advertising buy.  However if your product or service always meets and exceeds your customer expectations...maybe you won't?

So, which is it?  Wanna share????


Sunday Morning Coffee - October 25

Sunday morning, time to grab a cup of coffee and talk over the events of the past week and look forward a bit to the coming seven days.   Not much advertising and marketing news today...just a visit.

Iowa Wins!  Now THE University of Iowa is 8 - 0 first time in school history.  An exciting final two seconds.  Whew............

Friday I attended an event called Highlight Midwest.  135 business start-ups,Highlight Midwest entrepreneurs and "tech-geeks" registered for this gathering held at the Des Moines Social Club.  The presenters did their work in small groups with up to four presentations going at the same time.  It was...interesting, grungy, and hopeful.  I went to watch and learn and see what it would be like to be the oldest guy in the room.  And, I was until Senator Chuck Grassley strolled in.  Senator Grassley isn't a stranger to these type Silicon News of events.  (Twitter in hand he is admired by this group of 30-somethings and I think the feeling is mutual.)  Look for more of these events as young, very bright, people attempt to build technology businesses from...ideas.  One such start-up is Silicon Prairie News - something for the "creative class".

Last week I "went off" on Governor Chet Culver's office.  Here is that story.  This weekend I got to thinking about Michigan. Governor Jennifer Granholm presides over a state with 17% unemployment and a budget train wreck.  It's much worse than Iowa.  Yet, Granholm is "out there" talking to the folks in Michigan and using technology @GovGranholm to reach voters. While her approval rating is hovering around 40% we're thinking her communication efforts keep her from dipping lower.  We'll see, but our wish is that the staff in Governor Culver's office step aside and quit filtering his message.  (Gov. Granholm is not running due to term limits.  I erred in saying she could be re-elected during the radio show on Friday.)

It's all your fault!  Or so hints Electrolux.  The Swedish company is closing two Iowa plantsMexican Flag and cutting 850 jobs over the next year.  It seems that YOU are not buying enough washers and dryers so they are closing shop in Iowa and taking the manufacturing to Mexico.   Ahhhh...let's in Mexico they will be making fewer washers and dryers or cheaper washers and dryers?  Won't matter to the 1,850 Iowans who have lost Electrolux jobs since 2006.  Maybe if Iowa workers were paid $10 a day they might stay?  Adios is the story from the Des Moines Register.

I'm feeling a bit "snarky" this morning...

Is saying, "illegal aliens" hate speech?  That seems to be the notion among many.  "They" tell me we should be saying, "undocumented workers".   But the question remains, "Is the person here legally or illegally?"  Are they "working" or "not working"?  Are they native to this country or "alien" to this country?  I'm no "Rush" fan...but can somebody explain this to me?  Honest...I'd like to try to understand.

Tax groceries?  In Iowa there is no tax on groceries.  Some have suggested a 1% tax on food would, in a matter of months, correct the state's budget deficit.  Others have suggested Iowa should bring back "touch play" gambling, something the state pulled the plug on two years ago after the machines were placed nearly everywhere other than high school hallways.  Of the two...we'd opt for groceries.  But, it is an election year so expect more inaction than action.

Gotta leave on a positive note... 

This coming week a flurry of activity prior to heading to Atlanta for the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association Fall Meeting.  During a new session we'll be there to help members understand, sign up and start to use social media.  Should be fun.

Speaking of social media you can keep up with us by using Twitter - @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV for those of you in the rural world we also monitor @RuralLifeRadio.  A quick reminder of our daily business radio show, Insight on Business part of Des Moines Local...LIVE and on the air Monday - Friday starting at 12:30PM Central.

Thanks for reading...let's' stay in touch?











Branding, Talk Radio, Government

Hi.  Just before the weekend hits thought we'd share with you the radio show from today.  Monday - Friday starting at 12:30PM Central we do a show called, Insight on Business.  Now with over 30,000 listeners/viewers each day, Des Moines Local...LIVE is becoming something really special.

Today on the show we talked about branding, marketing the Midwest, how staff can get in the way of a brand and tradeshows with @TheBrandWarrior, Mark True.  Here's the show, enjoy!


Does Staff Get In The Way?

Staff are an important part of any business.  They are the "water carriers" of business.Water bottle   They are the men and women who carry the corporate brand.  They are the warriors in the trenches and they can do more harm than good...if they don't understand the brand or the company.  (We don't do politics...but this one was too good to pass by.)

Case in point - The State of Iowa and the Governor of Iowa.  Governor Chet Culver last week told the citizens that he was going to take a 10% pay cut, reducing his pay from $130,000 by $13,000.  It was, he said, his way of showing that he too was not above the budget woes the state is going through.

Almost before his words hit the paper staff members were "correcting" what the "governor meant".  That, really, it was not fair to cut salary "retroactively" so rather than a 10% cut the governor was really going to cut his own salary by 5.8%.

HUH?  (Here is the Des Moines Register story from today.)

Note to Phil Roeder, John Frew and others.  Shut up.   Let the Governor of the State of Iowa tell us.  For months you guys continue to bobble, shuck and jive and you  make "The Big Lug" seem like he doesn't have a clue.  Note to Governor Culver:  You might start saving money by asking those in your office who continue to screw up to leave.  We can understand what you say, when you say it.  Talk to us...and not through them.  K? just makes me crazy.  Doesn't matter, business or politics:  If the staff doesn't "get it" the brand takes a hit.

Thanks for reading...

Michael P. Libbbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can keep up with us on Twitter - @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV






NAMA & Renze of Omaha

Yesterday I spent the day with our client, Calcium Products. (More on that in a futureDoug Buchanan Renze post about agency/client relations.)  While most of the day was spent talking ideas,  future marketing plans and making site visits to customers, Craig Dick and I took a side trip to Omaha and attended a NAMA(National Agri-Marketing Association) meeting in Omaha at Renze Display. (Doug Buchanan - right)


Our host, Doug Buchanan, took us through the Renze facility where we had the opportunity to examine new trade show display designs, learn about new technology that allows printing on just about any surface and see what is new and changing in the trade show industry.

Oh the possibilities...

Renze Display We saw displays that rival many of our clients total annual marketing budgets and we saw new display ideas that make it look like we've spent the entire budget, at just a fraction of the cost.  (Like larger than life products from a one time display from last year...that's a 6' fall Redi Whip container!) There was no lack of new ideas.  In the end, Doug handed out a booklet with suggestions and reprints from Exhibitor Magazine.  In it are many of the same thoughts we've written and spoken about during our business radio show, Insight on Business.  Here is an example from last year, "Four Seconds To Impact!"

In the was a great show and a wonderful eye opening adventure.  Now...if only folks will listen...

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can follow us on Twitter - @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV - One more thing...we found it interesting that a national marketing group is having to give lessons on social media to it's members.  What's up with that?  Oh my...welcome to new technology and new communication.






It's Spooky Out There...

In the advertising and marketing business we get lots of messages about some wonderful "new" way to make not working.

We've never found the "magic bullet".  That is not to say that some have not found a way to make piles of money by not working.  But, sadly it's these people who are making their money on the backs of unsuspecting people.  The scam artists...

The other day I got a Tweet from a person telling me that Google is hiring "everybody who has a computer and an internet connection!"  The link was a classic scam, "As seen on TV, thousands can now work from home for Google.  Just have a computer and..."

In these times of economic troubles thousands fall prey to scams like this.  The money side?  In the "come on" it tells you to sign up and send in just $2.  However in the fine print the "mark" has just agreed to have the scam artist remove up to $80 a month from their bank account.  That these scams are rife on social media sites doesn't mean that social media is a bad choice.  It simply means that dishonest people lurk "everywhere".

Which begs the original question, "When was the last time you had to pay somebody to hire you?"

Be careful out there...

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can keep up with us on Twitter - @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV - Thanks for reading!


Sunday Morning Coffee - October 18

Sunday Morning...the perfect time to sit back and visit about the past week and look forward toCoffee Cu ps the next.  Not a bunch of advertising and marketing news...we'll get back to that tomorrow.  Grab a cup...and let's share some thoughts during Sunday Morning Coffee.

Des Moines, Iowa was the "Center of the World" this week with the World Food Prize events.  An exciting week filled with speeches and hope that the one-billion people who go to bed hungry...will, through technology and the realization of human dignity, diminish.  Iowan's can be proud and hopeful.  Our current Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey (a Republican) had great things to say about the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack (a Democrat) during our radio show last week.  See...there is hope.

Brooke Talking about the radio show, Insight on Business, I'm out of the chair Monday and Tuesday of this week.  However, we've now got a seasoned marketing and media person to take those days when I'm traveling or with clients.  Brooke Benschoter will be in the "hot seat".  We introduced you to her last week.  I'm grateful she has accepted this role and I know you will be in good hands.  Thanks Brooke!

Wizard I've been asked to lead a Social Media Session next month at the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association (FEMA) annual meeting to be held in Atlanta.  Looking forward to helping shortline equipment manufacturers learn more about connecting with folks who are their current...and future customers.  We'll show them how they can, with little more than an investment in time, become more than what they are today.  We'll explain the power and then help them set up their own accounts.  Explain how to use social media and still stay sane. Thanks for the invite....there will be sorcery afoot in "Hot-Lanta".  More to come.Terry Branstad

Former Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, announced his "retirement" from Des Moines University on Friday moving one step closer to formally entering the gubernatorial race already filled with Republican names.  Is Governor Chet Culver worried?  He said this week there are 400 days until the election and, "any number of things can happen."  But running against a (4 term) 16 year, popular former governor?  At the same time the Democrats can't wait to get at the Branstad record.  One can't govern that long without making some serious enemies.  400 days...

Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield sent out over 90,000 postcards to senior citizens this week apologizing for a brochure that went out earlier asking seniors to call at 800 number that, by mistake, was a sex chat line.  We shared that story with you on Wednesday and  received a copy of the postcard wording from Wellmark corporate in an e-mail.   It seems the phone number may have been a "rented" number...that over the course of time was rented to the porn site.  At least that is the story we're hearing.  Still...  But at least they owned up to the error.  Yikes, what a costly mistake to the brand.  But remember, 

If you are in Des Moines and you love pets the 10th Annual Great Iowa Pet Expo is atSpotGone_LOGO_Feb_25-lores the Iowa State Fairgrounds today.  It's a great time for kids and adults.  And, while you're there visit with the guys from SpotGone! they can tell you how you can get off the "chemical express" when it comes to your lawn.  The company is NatraTurf and SpotGone! is just one of several natural, organic products designed to treat the soil...first.  Do your part for the environment...starting with your lawn.  And cities and towns....what do you think about truly becoming "green"?  It can happen...with NatraTurf.

Somebody pinch me...the Iowa Hawkeyes are 7 and 0.  IF they win in East Lansing this Saturday and go to 8 and 0 it will be the first time the team has done that...ever.  At least since they have been keeping stats...which was back in the late 1800's!Hockey Man

Staying on sports for a moment...  Des Moines is STILL without professional hockey.  No Iowa Stars, No Iowa Chops...and many of us are in a very, very deep funk.  My whole mood is poor.  My winter days must now be fueled by...what?  I look anger issues... Yikes!!   My friend, HA Gross from Plaza Printers who is a HUGE Detroit Red Wings fan, suggests that we simply move.   But, really want to go to Detroit??????  Not sure I could head back there...  I'm sure it's changed...yikes!

Plaza PrintersCUDOS to Mr. Gross and Plaza Printers for saving our butts!  I went to pick up a banner a client of ours ordered.  It was to have been done on Friday.  However it wasn't and worse the company said they had shut down production for the 3:15PM.  I called HA and within two hours I was holding a beautiful four-color 9' x 3' banner, fresh off the press.  You rock gang!

OK...enough...thank for reading and give us a comment or two?  Have a great Sunday and let's meet up again on Monday for some real advertising and marketing information.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Keep up with us on Twitter - @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV or @RuralLifeRadio