Know Your Role…the Account Role AND the Creative Role

The Account Man and Creative Man

First I wanted to title the post “Account Guy and Creative Guy”, but deeming it so would rightly offend the women out there doing their thing.

So I oblige.

We are in our second year, and if I say so myself, we are doing quite well for the environment we started in, and for the state of the marketing industry in Charlotte. Why have we done so well? Regardless of talent, networking and external forces, I think it narrows down to one thing: Chemistry.

Chemistry (n): “interaction between people working together; specifically : such interaction when harmonious or effective” <a team lacking chemistry>

In the agency world, there are people who can create something out of nothing (creatives), and there are those who make sure that the creating continues to happen (accounts). Although there are people who can do both, it was way more efficient to let the better person take charge of the specific role. And when that relationship is defined, it is then even more important to ensure that relationship is not changed unless explicitly agreed.

Account Folks: Leave the creativity to your creatives
Of course since this group brings in the business, they naturally have the inkling to suggest and even try to control the creative parts of the account.

Fight the urge! It’s not your job.

The account folks, however, are very important when it comes to the account. You are the ones that search and find the organizations that fit your creative strain. For example, our work would not fly in a conservative atmosphere, so I would never attempt reaching out to those people. But a client that is young, liberal and ready to change the status quo…now we’re talking!

Our job is to set our creative folks for the optimal chance of success. We need to know how our creative group works so we give them accounts they’ll put their hearts and minds toward.

Creatives: Let the Account Peeps Build the Business-
You all demand creative freedom, and that your work be judged not by how long it took, or what the client suggested, but how you feel the work encompasses what the message was created to bring out. Fair enough, deal.

But concentrate on that, and the account folks will keep your plate full.

There will be times that there will be a difficult account. If the account folks brought them in, there must be some symmetry of philosophy, or else the client wouldn’t be there. Like in all business, emotions can get caught up in work, and that’s okay. It’s awesome to take pride in your work. But focus on the work and don’t tell the client to leave because they didn’t like something you did. Let the account people mend the wound, direct (or re-direct) the thinking, and you’re back doing what love- doing golden creative.

Yet, Don’t Be Afraid to Mix
There will be times that combining both groups proves to be dynamite. Some clients/accounts need the power of both accounts and creative. Also, the individual skills both possess should never be overlooked. Though roles are defined, talent, in the marketing world, rules the conversation.

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I’m Not a Fan of the RNC, but I Respect the Brand

Let’s face it: The Republican National Committee beats the pants off the Democrats when it comes to messaging, consistency, and overall branding.

The Grand Ol’ Party knows it is for big business.

The Grand Ol’ Party knows it will continue to fight for lower taxes and tax cuts (even when the country can’t afford it).

And those who fall out of line will be punished severely.

Bravo RNC, Bravo.

Regardless of what I think about the GOP, they are a perfect example of how internal communications can help with external communications. Once you get everyone of a certain group in-line and on point, the group doesn’t care who it has in front of a microphone. And that’s exactly how it should be done. If you say you are part of a group, then your message should not deviate much from the general message.

Message delivery is important too; and the GOP performs stunningly well.

Even when the group is making this era the most partisan Congress in history, they stay on message without blinking an eye.

Without blinking.

Being communicators, we know that there must be a point for every message. Whether it is awareness, or a call to action (or inaction), the end result is key to the message. What are the GOP trying to accomplish?

Outrage?
No…if it was outrage, I would think it would backfire. The GOP alone stopped several legislative attempts on healthcare, support for troops, money for education and more. So it couldn’t be outrage.

Get more Republicans in Office?
It is an election year, so the rhetoric is hotter and more bloated than ever. Do they want control of both Houses? Of course. Will this messaging and total partisanship help their cause? I doubt it. What solutions have they thought of? Not except the whole “everyone-against-Obama” thing. Although they’ve done a fantastic job hiding everything Obama has done, I think it will be a modest victory for the Dems.

Class War?
As the richer get richer, and the middle class rapidly disappears, I wouldn’t be surprised if this came to fruition. I don’t think it’s their goal to have it out between the haves and the have-nots, but their stance upon a golden podium won’t be long if they force people to tip it over.

My point is, I am not sure what they are trying to convey. Which is troubling for the RNC, because then they’ll have a bunch of gun-wielding, Crusade-declaring morons making their own conclusions.

Not cool.

The RNC does a good job putting the message out. Whether it be a message of hate, ignorance, partisanship, illusion, confusion, and straight stupidity…The Grand Ol’ Party throws it down with flying colors.

Bravo RNC, Bravo.

And I Thought These Marketing Myths Died Already!

It is always the simple problems that give people the most difficulty. At least as a young entrepreneur, I am seeing that as a common problem amongst small and medium-sized businesses, and entrepreneurs.

JDW has had a fantastic time meeting with wonderful, bright-eyed people who are ready to make a difference.

However, when it comes to marketing and communications, we seem to be running into the same misconceptions again and again.

I will take some time now to clarify a few things.

Marketing is NOT Sales.
Nor has it ever been sales. Marketing is defined as the activities that are associated with selling, promoting or distributing a product or service. Marketing is the “means” while sales is the “ends.” Marketing supports sales, that’s why many organizations have a sales department and a marketing department. Though other organizations combine the activities, those poor souls then do double the work.

Public Relations is not Promotions…And Neither of them are FREE.
Many people are confused with the term “public relations”. So much in fact, many people have started to use the phrases “strategic communications” and “earned media”, since those phrases obviously erase the vague cloud previously associated.

Right.

Even though your organization didn’t pay on be on the first page, you are paying the communicator to get you there. Even though your promotions campaign made you break even with a BoGo (buy one get one) activity, you got 2x as many in the door and now your visibility, which was the problem, is closed to being solved.

PR and promotions are about starting a conversation with all your publics. And getting the right folks that do it will not be free. But if the message is right, then the benefits outweigh the costs.

Social Media (when outsourced) is NOT Free.
This irks me alot. If you want a cheap social media campaign, do it yourself. Yes, a social media campaign can be much more cost-efficient than a traditional campaign, but there are costs still involved with it. If you want a dynamic Facebook page, a custom Twitter background, and a YouTube Channel with a high-quality video content, all those activities, unless you do it yourself or have a media-savvy, gullible intern, will cost you money. There is time, skill, and equipment involved that’s not free. Stop freaking out when you see a pricetag with a Facebook campaign. Or just do it yourself.

Cannot do Public Relations without Branding.
This is a biggie; which I understand. If an organization is unclear with public relations, there’s no way they’ll understand branding. To put it simply, you can’t introduce someone when they don’t know who they are. All organizations must have an identity now. People now, more than ever, relate themselves to certain brands. You need a brandentity now. Once that’s created, then a conversation can begin. Don’t get me wrong, a public relations campaign can help create a brand, but with that kind of campaign, one starts with the end in mind. There’s a plan created so by the end, a brand is created.

Every Business (Large and Small) Needs Marketing.
Very simple. If you are providing any kind of service or product, you need to do marketing to survive. Word of mouth only works so long. Organizations need to grow its customer base so it can survive the ups and downs of this volatile market. Keeping your message to a whisper will only do harm.

Okay. I feel better. At least I tried.

Open Letter to the Pittsburgh Pirates

Used-to-be-great Pirates

Ouch

Dear Pittsburgh Pirates:

I am one of the 30 fans remaining faithful to this weathered franchise.

The Pittsburgh Pirates used to be great.

The Pittsburgh Pirates used to be feared.

Hell, the Pittsburgh Pirates used to be a cringe-free spectacle.

And now, if the Pirates win a game (and apparently that’s a big “if”), the media and others wonder why the other team didn’t show up. Or, the opponents will rest their star players since, well, the star players are paid to perform, not practice.

What is it, 18 seasons now? Do you know there are several million teenagers/young adults in America that have never seen a winning Pirates season? I’m sure you guys have young bucks in your farm system that have never seen one either.

Since when did being pathetic become okay in Pittsburgh? Let’s not have any Cleveland traits rub off on us. We’re close…not that close.

You know what Robert Nutting (I’m guessing that you won’t), 18 losing seasons is pretty bad. I know you might put some blame on Mr. McClatchy, but you’ve been the head of this ship for almost four years. This is bad.

Am I in the right to call conspiracy? Are you trying to swipe from the memories of Pittsburghers the Seven time World Series Champions? Are you attempting to de-value the team to the point you can pay the players an hourly wage?

Something is going on here, Bobby, and I am not a fan. There were times (not saying there won’t be more) that I was angry enough to contemplate paying a visit to the Front Office and show the whole group of morons how a home-run swing with a Louisville Slugger looks like up close.

Don’t tempt me Nutting…I am wild pitch.  If you actually watch our games, you’ll understand the metaphor.

The players deserve more. To start a career by losing day in and day out is an incredible burden on these young guys’ psyches.

I don’t know what else to say. How dare you let the Pittsburgh Pirates continue this tumbling towards irrelevancy. Even ESPN and FSN Central are getting tired of reporting about how bad the Pirates are.

Do the owners of the Buccos even care? Yes Nutting, I’m still talking to you. How can you sleep at night knowing you’re the owner of the worst team in sports? And, you’re the CEO of Ogden Newspapers…you’re picking nothing but winning sides Bobby-Boy.

I don’t have any advice for you, all the advice you’ve received so far looks like it’s been put to good use. Plus, if I did give you advice, and you actually listened to me- and it worked- I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself.

We got new players, and this season is pretty much over, so I’ll give you all one more season.

But, Nutting, if we lose a 19th season…I’m starting a Pirates Fans for Mark Cuban group.