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May 2011
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Package Free Stores?

Yesterday I shared with you how impressed we are with the packagingMan Exclaim  done by La Creame'.  That was about consumer trends, high-end products and how they carried the brand across all channels.  Today...let's look at another consumer trend...Zero Packaging for Groceries.

in.gredients is a soon to open grocery store in Austin, Texas.  Their claim is that in this store there will be zero packaging.  None.  You bring in your own jars, bags, containers...weigh the products and pay.  Here is a neat video that tells the story:


So, what is the driver?  Clearly this isn't something that will go  But it is another hint at how deep consumers think about sustainable living.  So...our question to you and your business:  "What products/services can you create for a consumer base that demands...less?"

Thanks for coming by...and let's connect on Twitter @InsightADV (business) or @MichaelLibbie (business and personal) and our advertising agency Facebook Page is




But It's Just...

I love it when I can share stories like this with you.  A dose of reality helps bring things into focus.   Part of our craft here at Insight is to do packaging for our clients.  We're the folks that create "the look" of the stuff you buy.  Our goal is to design a look that explains what the product is, what it does and how you can use it. really is an art.

But The Packaging Is Only ONE Part

La Creme Creating eye catching packaging is only part of the overall marketing adventure.  There are so many others from point of purchase displays, traditional media advertising, social media marketing and, of course websites.  Here's the story:

When I was at my Urbandale Hy-Vee (It is mine you know...) my Bride pointed at this package and said... "WOW!". is. But,  It's just coffee creamer.  They could have put the stuff in a plastic bottle, slapped a name on it and...try to sell it.  And they would have but they, and we, know...the the package us just part of "the package".

Beyond The Package DesignLa creme label

From the colors to what is written on the container you can tell these folks spent some real dollars in creative.  They send a message with the tiny icon of the cow.  It's all...real.  But the really cool part of this product marketing...the website.

The web can be a wonderfully active marketing tool...when done right.  While we expected a nice site..we were not prepared for what we found.  Not only is the site...classy it's also full of tongue in cheek humor and some creative classic elements that make it come alive. Go ahead...we're braging it up...have a look!  We'll wait.

It's Just Coffee Creamer

So, what do you think?  Here we've got several elements going on.  The call to provide a "natural" product to a consumer group seeking something more healthy.  We've got classy upscale product packaging.  We've got a multi-layer website that is interactive.  Complete with the Mechanical Cow and a little icon that says, "Real Cows/Real Dairy - A Sign of Respect".  The on-line video and music...  It all fits.  Oh and they use Social Media - Facebook and YouTube...well.  

What About You?

Remember it's just coffee creamer.   One little product in a sea of products...but look at what they've done.  They have branded their coffee creamer apart from others.  There is a huge lesson here my friends.  It doesn't COST to build dynamic pays.  We'll watch the 

Thanks for coming by!  You can comment here if you like, send me an e-mail, connect on Twitter @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV or here's our agency Facebook Page.  Have a superior day! Michael


Sunday Morning Coffee - Moved

Good Sunday Morning Friends!!  We've moved Sunday Morning Coffee to aCoffee Cu ps  new location.  Today:  Gossip, Politics, News, Brides, Music, Roxi Copland, Max Wellman, Chubby Checker, Do It Yourself, Jobs and much more.  Come on by for a sip? 

Sunday Morning Coffee - Michael Libbie...danger:  Original Content Warning!


Marketing...You - A Quick Tip

Our agency works with clients from California to Germany soWoman Two Phones  communication along different days and times is critical.  Something we started years ago was taking thirty-seconds and updating our direct line out going voice mail message...daily.  And, it's more than just, "This is Tuesday the 21st day of June and I'm in the office..."  We'll throw in a quick marketing tip and a promise to call them back, "...before the close of business day".  No matter when THEIR business day ends.  We think it does a couple of things:

  • Let's our clients/customers know we actually listen to our voice mail;
  • Gives them a time certain when we'll get back to them;
  • Offers up a subtle marketing tip in just a couple of words...hey, it's our craft.

And, takes some dedication to the effort until it becomes a habit.  Finally, the comment we get back nearly each week, "What a great message thanks for being real."


Let's carry on the conversation here with a comment, on Twitter @InsightADV or @MichaelLibbie or our agency Facebook Page...  Thanks for reading! - Michael



Sunday Morning Coffee - A Change of Address

Hi friends...  We've moved Sunday Morning Coffee to it's own location.Coffee Cu ps   We're just keeping "opinion" and business follow just head to this link:  Sunday Morning Coffee and're on.

Today we've got a little politics, some great rumors, a little partly personal and a bunch.  Sunday Morning Coffee is always...HOT!

Thanks to our friends at the Des Moines Register for picking up the follow!


"How do you...."

My friend, Jack Mathews of Our Grinnell (A really neat Hyper-LocalMan Surprised  news/business site) sent me this e-mail: "How do you keep up with all of this?".  "All of this." means the many avenues of how we communicate using "new media" like Facebook, LinkedIn, our Business Blogs, Twitter....and the list goes on.  The answer is:

It's My Job...

My "job" is to expand our reach by sharing what we know about our craftOur craft is advertising, marketing and consumer trends.  Your craft might be building a community, making policy, creating products or services for existing or new customers.  That's not what we do.  We "build things" that help people find out, want, or engage you and your product or service.  While that seems simple enough, I'll be honest with you.  I could not do what you do...and, in truth, you couldn't, in a million years, do what we do.  It's a craft.  Let's break this down a bit:

The Business Blog

I author several.  Insight on Business News Hour with Michael LibbieInsight Advertising, Marketing & Communications (this one) and Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country.  They are some of the first things I do each day....before anything else.  Not just when I "have the time".  These are items are designed to expand our brand into several channels.  They are meant as a way to share with others the depth of our craft.  This isn't "extra work" or "something to pass the time".  They are serious attempts at giving voice to a brand.  

Those of you who see business blogging as a "sideline" or an extra "add on" or "something to do when "I don't have anything else going on" are missing a great opportunity to share your craft with the world.  Tell me where else you can engage the public with such power?  Sure you can spend millions on a campaign but that's just advertising.  This is communication.

Twitter Twitter_logo

I have several streams @MichaelLibbie @InsightADV @RuralLifeRadio all are designed to help me...learn.  You are reading that correctly.  Twitter is a vast knowledge base, a window into the minds of consumers.  Twitter can teach you much about what is going on in the world in your craft area.  (I manage all of them through Hootsuite.)  Those who use Twitter to "broadcast" are, again, missing the point.  Twitter is an engagement tool.  Not the local TV or Radio Station.  And, what's funny...most broadcast facilities think Twitter is for broadcasting.  Sad...but they can't help themselves.

Facebook Facebook-logo

We have several locations:  Michael P. Libbie and Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications.  On my personal Facebook page I write...stuff.  The goal is to communicate with those individuals I find fun, interesting, important and meaningful.  I always follow back and I learn more about what makes people tick...  On our company Facebook page it's all about sharing information with people who want to learn more about the world of advertising, marketing & communications.  Sometimes the line blurs...but we try to keep things separate.


We find this a great source of information about people with whom we wish to connect.  Because it's an "opt in" opportunity it can get selective.  But, I know if I want to communicate directly with the CEO of the "Phlegm Group" I can do so...using this tool.  Here I am...Michael Libbie on LinkedIn.

You Tube Youtube_logo

We have the Insight Advertising Channel where we've posted all kinds of content.  Some silly...some serious.  Again, all designed around the idea to push our brand and share our voice.  People come and go.  We'll upload items to our Blog like this:


The sharing our craft with you.

So, Jack, there is a reason we're engaged in all of this.  It's our job and it's also part of being a long time professional broadcaster, writer and advertising guy.  We (I) just can't help ourselves....  Did I mention that my Bride and co-worker also has several social media channels.  Runs in the family...

Thanks for coming by.  You want to carry on the conversation leave a comment or join us on any number of channels.  There all listed here.  Have a great day! - Michael


Pet Project Midwest - New Home?

I've got some friends looking for a new home and maybe you can help.  For almost two years The Pet Project Midwest has been in space owned by Christopher's Jewlery.  The gold buying business must be greatPet Project Logo  because Chris is expanding his store and that means our friends from the Pet Project Midwest...are looking for a place to go. Some motivational facts:

They Pay Their Bills - The Pet Project Midwest isn't looking for a "handout".  They are a non-profit but they pay their rent, utilities and other costs.  Of course they are looking for a deal...and if you know somebody, who knows somebody.  They are good folks.

They Do Good Work - Over the years Pet Project Midwest has helped hundreds of families keep their pets.  With the economic conditions as they've been, some families have been forced to make a decision of who to feed.  The "pet kids" often get the short end.  Pet Project Midwest helps families with food and other pet items.  In addition the Iowa Pet Alert is part of their mission.  They have helped find and re-connect an astonishing number of pets and people who love them.

They Are Nice Neighbors - They don't make noise, don't house pets People Movingon property...they simply warehouse food and pet supplies for folks in need.

It'll Make You Feel Good - Helping people who help critters and families brings on a warm, fuzzy...and these folks will help you get it.

So, if you know somebody...who knows somebody and has at least 1,500 square feet of space to house shelving, a couple of desks, a central location that will also allow trucks (donors supply lots of food) to off-load that would be fantastic!  If you is a quick video featuring our friend Courtney Tompkins talking about their work. 


Thanks, in advance!



Sweating The Small Stuff - Copywriting

We write lots of copy for the marketing efforts of our clients.  TelevisionMan Typewriter  scripts, radio, web, print.  Sometimes we get it "spot on"...other times it takes several revisions.  That's where collaboration with the client comes in.  A couple of tips:

The Media Plan 

Usually it starts out with the Media Plan (what we're going to be doing when much).  If you click on the link I've got a video with five tips....for your Media Plan. A media plan has also been vetted to make sure the target audience matches the message.  So, we've got a pretty good idea of who is going to view the message, how it's being delivered and where it's going.

Images & Writing

We tend to be visual.  Give us an image and we write around what we see.  Why?   One of the greatest mistakes advertisers make is too much copy when an image and a clear explanation goes much further.  Even if you have lots of information your first goal is to get somebody to notice your message and then give them another way to access the finer details on your website.

You Are Not Always...Right 

On our projects we run several revisions past our clients.  Often they have another set of words they would like to use.  In the early days...thirty years ago...I'd get a little "put out" if a client suggested an entirely different rendition.  I've mellowed and realize that while advertising/marketing is my craft, the client might have a different take and with a little work that revision works well.

Avoid "Code Words"

YOU might know what the word means...but will the consumer?    Here's an example:  Sulfur.  For most people sulfur is a nasty smelling substance that you can put in smoke bombs for the 4th of July.  However, sulfur is a necessary plant nutrient.  Once abundant, in a natural state, the amount of sulfur in the atmosphere has been reduced through cleaning up the environment which means plants get less. To just say, "Contains Sulfur" might not be a good way to message the product.

Turn Offs...

G Gutter Cleaning2 Oct 2010 This week I saw an ad from a company that does those covers for gutters.  You know, the add-on that keep stuff out of your gutters so you're not climbing on the roof cleaning them out.  The headline was "25% Off The Price!".  You have to call and set up a "Free Estimate" before June 30th.  But then, "Discount applies only on the day of the on-site visit."  In other words..."Buy NOW or lose the deal."  We didn't call.

Lots of little things to remember...  Thanks for coming by.  If you want to continue the conversation, feel free to leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, join us on Twitter @InsightADV or @MichaelLibbie or here's our agency Facebook Page.  Have a great day!


Five Tips for Media Planning - Video

For much of the past month we've been working on media plans for two of our clients.  They are on fiscal years not calendar and they both need their plans done prior to June 1.  Doing this work got me to thinking about all the companies out there that have  It's like trying to get to One Horse Gap without a map.  Not sure it's on any GPS...  So, here you go:  FIVE quick tips about Media Plans:


Thanks for coming by.  As always, I'm interested in your comments/suggestions.  It's social media ya know...    We monitor Twitter @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV or if you want to get "rural" it's @RuralLifeRadio.