THE AGENCY MODEL: EVER EVOLVING AND STILL THE SAME

The most recent iMedia Agency Summit focused on the agency model of the future. This tends to be an ever evolving debate in an ever changing marketing universe. Do you specialize in one area? Be all things to all people? Partner with other shops or go it alone? With the rise of procurement departments at the same time as programmatic solutions that promise efficiencies, there seems no better time to have this conversation. 

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AGENCY ONLY DAY

This conference always kicks off with a special day dedicated solely to agency folks. Most everybody in the room is a Director or higher, from agency’s owned by holding companies down to 10 person independents. The basis of the day is to have an open and honest conversation about this great industry in regards to the conference topic. 

Once again this day did not disappoint, you could feel the passion among these agency leaders which lead to some spirited conversations and great learning. One area of concern in the ad community continues to be training for staff and finding the right talent. While a number of folks resorted to the usual comments such as, “we don’t have time” and “we run so thin, it’s sink or swim”, a handful of people had some great solutions. One that stood out was an agency’s no interview rule. They simply have a handful of people come in with each getting pared up with a mentor and begin working. Every 4 hours the mentor checks in with the department head and makes the decision to keep going or cut bait, eventually landing on one candidate. They are in a sense looking at two things, how does this person fit within our culture and what is their work product like?

Next up was a great conversation with Jon Raj from Cello Partners, discussing the agency search process and what brands are looking for and saying. Turns out it’s a little of everything. You have Best Buy and other brands moving away from the standard AOR model and going towards project work. You have more and more brands embracing independent agencies that display great thinking, along with a certain level of trustworthiness. Two things that can get lost at times. The bottom line: build trust, be transparent and collaborate internally to bring great ideas forward.

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EVOLVE OR DIE

The theme over the next two days focused mainly on evolving the agency model and the ways in which we target consumers. Lots of insight from the clients in attendance continued to focus on building trust, bringing good ideas forward and providing real insights, not just data. One quote in particular stood out, “the difference between agencies is declining, so it’s not what I require but more about how you can solve my business needs”.

In terms of building out your agency team with focus on specialty areas, some agency leaders found it hard to grow the knowledge while maintaining the current level of work. The solution in these cases centered on finding a niche agency, buying them and folding it into the current shop. The main concern in these cases was clashing cultures and how to mold together. The consensus was to include more people in the process and get them working together early, before a deal is even done to ensure a cohesive environment.

The other big discussion revolved around Millennials and Gen Z and how they will not only impact the marketing business but also from a consumer standpoint. Ann Mack, the Director of Global Content and Consumer Insights for Facebook was on hand to present a recent study on these two groups. The results were very telling of how the industry is, but still needs to shift in terms of thinking and engagement. The top three areas of focus for these two groups were Family, Friends and Music. It was also noted that online has surpassed the mall for places teens hangout. FOBO (Fear of Being Offline) is the new FOMO, and it’s a real thing that’s not going away, especially with the digital first world we now live in.

We as marketers need to evolve the way in which we operate our businesses and think more from a digital first mindset. We can’t simply apply old techniques to new technology. You must embrace digital, stop supporting silos and invest in vision. Those who do will continue to build trust and thrive.

Always Stay Live and Up to Trend for Social; What’s Next?

There is no question that Meerkat was the hottest topic of conversation during SXSW this year. Meerkat is the new app introduced during SXSW 2015 that allows you to live-stream content on Twitter.

Some of the critics raised their eyebrows about this new app when it comes down to the safety and privacy issue of social media.

… privacy can be an issue for people broadcasting video of anything other than themselves or willing participants ….” − Kia Kokalitcheva via Fortune Magazine

But you can’t deny this generation that ALWAYS wants their content here and now, 24/7, 365 days a year, LIVE.

“… people love it. Meerkat has become a darling of Product Hunt that’s signing up plenty of tech’s elite and scoring praise from users.” – Josh Constine via TechCrunch

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Image courtesy of NBC News

As you look back into the history of social media, you will notice that it’s been about real time. Facebooking your latest status with your friends, tweeting the live concert you are at this instance … real-time content seems like the purpose of social media all along.

“Today’s younger generation has a reputation of being glued to cellphones and tablets. It’s where they chat with their friends, find out the latest hot spots in town and, believe it or not, keep up with the world. In their own way, of course.” – Erica Quinn, CBS

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Courtesy of Ninth Decimal

But where does this lead us to in the future of social media?

Will live-streaming and real-time content change consumer behavior?

Today, Twitter just announced its partnership with Rhapsody on the new feature, which allows music service subscribers to share full-length tracks on Twitter that anyone can listen to, even if they don’t have a subscription themselves. Also, Twitch announced its live-streaming service with Ultra Music Festival for those music fans who couldn’t be at the event in person. Now fans can watch online in real time. Even more, Game of Thrones’ Meerkat (now it’s a verb, just like tweet) the red carpet moments during the Season 5 premiere without any commercial interruptions.

Will people soon enough not need to spend big bucks on concerts and events like SXSW or Coachella since they can just watch everything with a click? Will any exclusive materials and experiences that become more easily accessible to everyone lose their unique charisma from a content-marketing perspective?

From my observations and experience, my answers will be no.

Social media is a way of life, but it’s also about another main focus: INTERACTION.

Brands want to know the general perception from the audiences and users, and they want their fans to engage on the social channels. Brands feed content continuously in order for people to keep the conversation alive and to keep their brand image fun and refreshing.

Keep the conversations going is a main reason why social is still king in the digital space. Good content will drop on the ground and die without any further interaction and buzz in the community.

What if we have live-streaming options and can also interact with people at the same time? Augmented reality seems so overdone. How can we refresh this concept into actual successful executions?

With the rapid technology developing day by day, I am very much looking forward to the inventions we see on sci-fi films very soon.

 

 

Is your brand on the path to irrelevancy?

Can you recall the last time you heard anyone speak of his unmentionable BVDs? How about the last time anyone asked for a Nuprin? How about Xerox? Has anyone xerox’ed paper lately? It was a very common function at one point.

Remember the good old days when Oldsmobiles, Plymouths and Mercurys traversed the country’s roads? How about when Nolan Ryan took Nuprin for his aches? Or when smokers and coffee drinkers knew exactly which toothpaste to use to maintain their pearly whites. Do you remember that premium coffee was available in a can?

There are many factors that contribute to the demise or irrelevancy of a brand. This is not about listing those factors — ultimately, bad brand management kills a brand. Rather, this is about another huge factor that is at the marketer’s doorstep and in due course will be the death of additional brands − demographic shifts in population.

You might know of demographic shifts. But do you know about the effect on your brand?

According to Census data, the percentage of foreign-born population is the highest in more than a hundred years. At almost 13 percent, it is the highest since the mass European immigrations at the end of the 19th century.

Now think of how we acquire brands. How does the relationship begin and how are we introduced to them? When young adults leave the nest and begin their acquisition stage, they don’t do it with a blank slate − the brands used at home are already embedded in their lives; the relationship with brands, not necessarily the use of them, is old. And who introduced the brand relationship? The parents. And if the parents lack a relationship with a brand that was introduced to the American public decades ago, then not only are they lacking a relationship with the brand, they are lacking awareness and understanding of the brand.

Let’s look at the Hispanic consumer segment as it relates to this topic. While 60 percent of all U.S. Hispanics were born in the U.S., the family history in the country is rather short. The generational relationship to American iconic brands is not well developed or is nonexistent.

Think of iconic brands developed 40 years ago in the U.S. How many of the death or dying brands mentioned at the beginning of this article fall into that category? Does Brooke Shields remind you of wearing your Calvin Klein jeans commando? Does the Pillsbury doughboy elicit the same emotional response with Hispanic consumers? What about Mr. Clean? Is Wonder Bread building strong bodies? All the efforts conducted in the past lack a reference and emotion; they are irrelevant.

Moreover, immigrants bring in the brands from their home countries, and these days, they are also found in the local grocers’ aisles. Hostess brands compete with the portfolio of Mexico’s Bimbo snack cakes. Mexico’s Picot brand is the go-to effervescent indigestion brand over Alka Seltzer − and it outsells Alka Seltzer in Walmart.

It’s OK then. Native-born Hispanics will speak English and know my brand, right?

Native born Hispanics will speak English because they are and will be educated in the U.S.; however, they will be unfamiliar with your brands. Branding is not about language. It’s about creating relevancy, about acquiring real estate in the consumer’s mind. And if the brand ignores the consumer, the consumer will also dismiss the brand.

It gets worse. Hispanic consumers are drastically changing the definition of mainstream consumers. Food items and customs previously thought of as Hispanic are now part of the mainstream. Think about that during your next Dia de los Muertos party as you dip into your guacamole, or the next time you indulge in your churros at Disneyland, or get ready to eat serrano-topped sushi rolls.

How do I learn if my brand will be affected by demographic changes?

Learn if the category is developed with the Hispanic consumer segment. Is your brand history seeded in the post-WWII baby boom? Is your brand steeped in 1950s Americana? Are you using Catskills humor to position your brand with consumers who think Catskills is the YouTube piano-playing cat? Are you tapping the emergent consumer markets not familiar with your brand? If you are, is the message relevant or simply a translation?

Think about your personal experience: Remember traveling in the old station wagon and spending the night at the Holiday Inn? Remember the familiar shag carpeting and Astro-Turf by the pool? The fun time you had while stretching your legs by the pool, the horseplay and the cannonballs? That’s a memory − a brand perception not shared by more than 30 percent of the U.S. population.

SXSW 2015: Meerkats, Beacons & Bacon

R&R Partners’ Corporate Director of Measurement and Insight Justin Gilbert co-authored this article.

In case you have been amidst a social media cleanse, SXSW just wrapped up in Austin. It is a weeklong tech, music and film festival that takes place every March, and attendees discuss the future of technology, eat great barbecue and listen to emerging artists. The interactive portion was attended by 32,798 people this year, and we stood in line with the best of them − we even got into a few sessions and saw some pretty cool stuff along the way.

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Tech Trends

The buzz this year was all about Meerkat, a two-week-old, live-streaming app that generated 100,000 users at launch and came close to Twitter’s breakthrough presence at SXSW in 2007. While the app lost access to Twitter’s network on the first day of the interactive festival and was then snubbed by Twitter in its acquisition of competitor app Periscope, it continues to see rapid user growth and press within the last week. Teleparty and Stre.am also aim to provide live-streaming services, leading to one of the key takeaways from this year, being that video is the name of the game in 2015. Tech and media companies alike are clambering at the opportunity to capitalize on the channel to connect with users in real time.

Similar to what we saw this year at CES, wearables are extending beyond the fitness industry into medical to enhance the user’s daily activities. The fashion world is beginning to use 3-D printing technology combined with smart textiles that can read and adapt to the wearer’s heart rate, including a material that transitions from opaque to sheer as the heart beats faster. Robots were also on full display, designed for a wide array of uses, including psychological counseling, journalism and teaching programming.

More than 1,000 beacons were deployed around SXSW, primarily for the purpose of helping attendees network. GE also used beacons to measure people’s brain activity while eating various types of BBQ to determine optimal temp and smoke levels. Proximity targeting and micro-location targeting are now allowing advertisers to interject themselves into “smart networking” around events or within retail locations, augmenting the RFID targeting that we’ve seen over the last few years.

Good Social & Social Good

Tinder created a fake profile for the main character in the film Ex Machina and had a bot carry on conversations with eager SXSW attendees, eventually directing them to an Instagram account with a video promoting the film. Also similar to CES, self-driving technology and connected cars were reviewed in various panels, events and discussions. Data analytics from connected cars are being leveraged to identify traffic patterns, optimize auto safety and as behavioral targeting segments for advertisers.

Social good was an integral part of the programming at SXSW, in addition to the companies showcased. Related to the robotics trend, several panels focused on the use of bionics and drone technology to assist in disaster/war areas, viral outbreaks and social issues. The United Nations hosted a session that discussed “Project 8,” an online research platform that helps the organization better anticipate and prepare for the needs of the global population, essentially leveraging social listening and data mining from a global perspective to identify changes in sentiment, communication trends and human needs. Mophie partnered with the St. Bernard Foundation to bring smartphone battery cases to people at SXSW with drained phones, while driving adoption awareness for the foundation.

Internet of Things

More than 70 sessions at SXSW mentioned the term “Internet of Things” or “IoT.” This latest buzz phrase defines a world of users connected by intelligent devices that offer a new convenience and functionality to day-to-day life. This lofty phrase intends to enhance life, not only on the individual level, but also on a global scale, leading to improvements in farming, medicine, clean water and smart cities.

So what does this mean to an already fragmented and saturated media landscape?

The proliferation of cloud integrated and smart consumer products is producing large amounts of real-time data that can be leveraged for future consumer product development and within ad-level targeting. This new digitally interwoven IoT ecosystem can better inform the marketer’s perspective of consumer habits, preferences and media consumption.

As the media landscape is becoming more saturated, SXSW Interactive’s panel conversations reiterated that while content is still king … it does not comprise a brand strategy on its own. Distribution of the content is key. Taking advantage of the efficient scale and frequency of interactive channels, combined with niche targeting capabilities, indicates that brands and agencies should be thinking digital first. Writers should not just write for broadcast − they should think of how a viewer consumes broadcast content simultaneously with social media and how both impact their subsequent Web-browsing behavior across all connected devices.

Data Empathy

This mass influx in consumer and device profiles also inevitably leads to data privacy issues and consumer distrust, making this one of the hottest topics at SXSW Interactive. Consumers fear how their information is collected, shared and used; they are becoming more aware of the profitably behind their information, while companies are struggling to maintain control over transactional data with third parties. Restoring consumer trust, coined as “data empathy,” and identifying ways to balance the respect for privacy and commercial use of data, is going to be one of the most important topics in the interactive industry for years to come. This topic within SXSW challenges us, as leaders in the industry, to consistently ask ourselves if what we are designing uses data to be consumer centric, granting ease of use and being adaptive to personal preferences, or if it is merely interruptive for the sake of cutting through the clutter.

To view the presentation shared at SXSW Interactive, visit its SlideShare.

Mobilegeddon? Google’s latest algorithm update

The end of search as we know it?

Well, not quite, unless you haven’t adapted your website to shift with the ever-growing mobile consumption rate. Beginning on April 21, 2015, Google will begin including mobile friendliness as a ranking signal within its search algorithm. Word on the street is that this new ranking algorithm will have more impact on Google’s search results than the previous Panda and Penguin updates ever had. Pages that are not mobile-friendly may experience a loss in rankings and subsequent traffic. Alternatively, websites that are created for mobile, via WAP, or adaptive or responsive designs will potentially benefit from the update based on their priority in Google’s results and the updated sort order of their competitors.

Is this a surprise?

Not at all. Not only has mobile search been on the incline since 2007, it’s also forecasted to surpass desktop search this year in both volume and ad spend this year. Google has also reported that more than 50 percent of searches are done on mobile devices, thus they want to create the best user experience for searchers. Search marketers have forecasted this change for a while, since Google announced that the “mobile-friendly” label and weighting had been integrated into mobile search last November.

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What’s next?

Essentially, you need to think like your consumer because what is good for the searcher is often good for improving SEO. This update will impact Google’s mobile searches, specific to smartphones and will now be separate from Google’s desktop searches. You will not see a sitewide ranking improvement or drop, as rankings will be applied on a page-by-page basis. This provides the opportunity for you to provide a mobile alternative for users without having to redesign your entire website to be mobile friendly. The update will actually take several days to a week before it completely takes affect. This is a great time to adapt your website accordingly, while also gaining an advantage over competitors that may not have mobile-friendly versions of sites. You may also potentially lower your mobile SEM costs since your overall quality score and ranking will naturally exceed others that have not prepared for this change. In summary, be mobile forward; consumers continue to be a driving force of its growth and the customer is always right.

Your cellphone is ringing

Imagine a negative attack has been launched against your company by a well-organized and vocal collection of critics who are determined to inflict as much damage as possible on your company, your brand and CEO. The attack has gone viral and now the mainstream media is picking up the story – a firestorm has begun and your cellphone rings. It’s an investigative journalist with a history of going after companies like yours. Are you ready for that phone call?

For far too many companies, the answer to that question is no. They are not ready and the result will be corporate leadership resignations, a hit to your stock price, congressional investigations, prolonged litigation, and a barrage of bad media that will take years to repair. It’s often a situation that should have been handled better and, in retrospect, was entirely preventable. As Warren Buffet once famously said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” In today’s world of instant communications, dropping the ball on a high-profile event can undo decades of work. Fortunately, there is a way to be prepared in the event a crisis strikes.

There are a million excuses for not having a quality crisis communications plan in place. Some corporate executives view them as an unnecessary expense that will likely never be used. Others think they have one when in reality all they really have is an outdated plan and an internal communications team ill-equipped to modernize it and put it into action. Still others think they can just invent one on the fly should a crisis break out. These are examples of mindsets that lead to PR disasters and cost corporate executives their careers.

 

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So what are the elements of a good crisis communications plan? For starters, have one. A good crisis plan should contain the following items:

  • A good crisis consultant with experience developing and executing crisis plans
  • An internal leadership team in place that makes crisis planning a priority
  • Previous crisis communications practice/simulations
  • Reliable and current spokespeople
  • An internal company protocol for handling crisis media inquires
  • Existing media relationships with priority press
  • A draft holding statement
  • Anticipated Qs & As
  • A reputation rebuilding plan post-crisis

Every crisis is unique (that’s what often makes it a crisis), but by having a plan in place and anticipating and practicing problems and solutions, your leadership team can rest easier at night knowing they are prepared for whatever comes their way, whether it’s an attack on your company from determined activists, a data breach, an employee scandal, a product malfunction or a fatality (hopefully not).

R&R Partners offers a range of services for managing crisis and high-profile events. Our team has a proven track record of helping clients weather the storm of a bad situation while protecting their brand. We can help you develop a plan and prepare for that day when your cellphone rings.

Your cellphone is ringing – are you ready?

How to channel your reach to today’s “TV” viewer

You can still reach the people who watch popular television shows. Just don’t use television to do it.

Many people are saying that we are in another Golden Age of Television. I can’t argue. It’s difficult to remember when there has been as much good, and varied, episodic programming available at any given time.

I’m even watching. I’ve just finished the most recent seasons of two great shows and right now I’m neck deep in two others. Just finished season 4 of Showtime’s Homeland and season 3 of Netflix’s House of Cards. I’m currently in the middle of AMC’s first season of Better Call Saul and HBO’s amazing six-part documentary, The Jinx. The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.

I know. There’s nothing terribly notable about any of that. They’re all very popular shows, watched by many. But for me, the interesting thing is how I’m watching them. I saw downloads of Homeland on my laptop, mostly on airplanes. House of Cards came via Netflix and my Roku. I’m catching up with Better Call Saul using my cable company’s On Demand service after AMC has actually broadcast the episodes. And I’m seeing The Jinx on HBO GO, HBO’s anytime streaming service.

So, the final count is one via laptop, two using Roku and one from On Demand. Four series, and I haven’t watched a single episode of any of them on “traditional television” as we know it. And I’m 60 years old. Not exactly a “digital early adopter.”

Does that mean that − outside of live sports, news and special events − there’s no way for a marketer to reach someone like me using popular episodic television programming? Well, yes and no. Or maybe the answer is maybe. Traditional TV ads certainly won’t work. Netflix, Showtime and HBO don’t even offer them, and the ads on my On Demand replays of Better Call Saul get the “fast-forward” treatment every time (sorry Capital One and CarMax).

But I believe there are other routes to a television viewer’s mind. Because in today’s world of binge-watching, digital-streaming, on-demand television, many viewers don’t stop at passively watching the episodes. They like to read about them, talk about them and argue about them. Online. With the thousands of others who share their passion for the latest dastardly deeds of Francis and Claire Underwood, the infuriating loose-cannon behavior of CIA Station Chief Carrie Mathieson, or the true meaning of Rust Cole’s latest monologue (I’m wide open to any help I can get on that one).

But that’s just the beginning. Twitter is always filled with discussions after episodes of popular shows have aired. And I can’t even imagine how many subreddit threads are devoted to Game of Thrones. In fact, if all of the sites, discussion boards, threads and digital space devoted just to Game of Thrones were amalgamated in one place, it would constitute a “Westeros Internet” unto itself.

There are reviews, discussions, updates and news about television all over the Web. I know one of the first things I want to do after an episode of Better Call Saul or Homeland is go to The AV Club for the latest review and discussion of said episode. So if a marketer wants to find me and other Homeland fans, that’s where we’ll be – again and again. And that’s where you can market to us, if you do it right.

Which means not just throwing mindless banner ads or annoying pre-rolls at us. Understand why we’re there and tap into it. Use our interest in and devotion to Sons of Anarchy or Mad Men or True Detective or whatever else it is we’re there to talk about and engage us. Odds are good we’ll pay attention.

The point is, today’s popular episodic television constitutes a culturewide shared experience as much as it ever has. But instead of gathering around the water cooler to talk about last night’s installment of Twin Peaks or Hill Street Blues, we’re sitting at our keyboards or grabbing our smartphones to discuss the hilarious white linen “Matlock” suit Jimmy McGill (aka Saul Goodman) wore at the assisted living facility last Monday night.

Shared experience can also be shared passion. Which can be an open door for marketers who understand who’s watching what. And why.

A Grand Opening with Heart

The R&R Phoenix office hosted an open house to celebrate its recent move to Phoenix’s historic Warehouse District and to unveil its newly renovated home. What ended up happening was much more than a typical ribbon-cutting with an open bar.

At the heart of the celebration was 92-year-old Henry Ong Jr., whose father originally owned the warehouse in 1926 in what was then known as Phoenix’s Chinatown.

Mr. Ong spoke emotionally about his father’s legacy and what the revitalization of the warehouse meant to him and his family.

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Henry Ong Jr. takes the stage to speak to the history of the warehouse.

The audience was not only left teary-eyed, but also left with a greater respect for the rich history that the Warehouse District holds.

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R&R Partners CEO and Principal Billy Vassiliadis (far right), CFO and Principal Jim King (fourth from right) and Vice President and Managing Director Matt Silverman (fifth from left) welcome the Ong family and show them the Ong wall, a dedication to the Ong family’s legacy.

 

Sharing the stage with Mr. Ong, R&R Partners CEO and Principal Billy Vassiliadis and Vice President and Managing Director Matt Silverman discussed the impact the project is making to help breathe new life into Phoenix’s Warehouse District.

The party was a full house with more than 300 attendees, including elected officials, clients and community members invested in the preservation of the neighborhood. Executives from across all R&R offices flew in to join the festivities and celebrate the past, present and future of R&R’s new space and the Warehouse District.

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All nine R&R offices were represented at the Phoenix unveiling event. From left to right: Steven Horsford (DCA), Morgan Baumgartner (RNO), Matt Silverman (PHX), John Wells (LAX), Suzanne Hofmann Erickson (AUS), Sean Tonner (DEN), Cathie DeNaughel (SLC), Fletcher Whitwell (LAS) and Diego Velasquez (MEX).

 

The majority of the party took place in the warehouse parking lot, which was transformed into an upscale block-party atmosphere.

 

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A local Fox Concepts food truck served pizza straight out of the oven, while guests enjoyed music by a local rock band, played ping-pong and captured memories in a photo booth.

 

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The Rocket, a 700-degree, wood-burning pizza oven on wheels.

Inside the warehouse, guests were able to take a self-guided tour that highlighted the most interesting and historic features inside the 25,000-square-foot building.

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In true R&R spirit, the Phoenix office has fully immersed itself into the community it lives in, and will continue to be a leading player in breathing new life into Downtown Phoenix.

 

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There isn’t a photo booth the R&R Phoenix family doesn’t love.

Former Congressman Steven Horsford Enters Partnership with R&R Partners in Washington, D.C.

Office will serve as full-service agency, with emphasis on diversity marketing

Increasing diversity marketing reach through authentic and empowering voices isn’t just a win for R&R Partners. It’s an essential and exponentially beneficial victory for the people who matter most – our clients and their customers.

When we launched CMV/R&R Partners in Mexico City, it was more than a move into an international marketplace. It also marked the beginning of an agencywide focus to become an authority on diversity marketing.

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To do that, we need some of those key voices. The exciting addition of former Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford to our Washington, D.C., office is another leap forward in the diversity space, giving R&R Partners a unique position in Washington, and indeed, in the national communications marketplace.

R&R Partners and Horsford’s company, Resources+, have joined forces to establish a full-service agency with integrated services, specializing in diversity marketing, media training and corporate communications, workforce and vendor/supplier engagement and international affairs. Horsford will serve as senior vice president of strategic integration and partnerships for R&R’s nine offices throughout the United States and Mexico City. He will also serve as managing director of our Washington office.

“Steven started his career with R&R, and in the many years since his departure, he has gained incredible experience in business and through public service,” said Billy Vassiliadis, CEO of R&R Partners. “The changing demographics of the U.S. coupled with today’s global interconnectivity make it essential that marketers speak to their customers in a voice that is credible. Our recent opening of a Mexico City office, combined with Steven’s strengths in diversity marketing, places us at the forefront of this new space in marketing communications, and will place our clients at the forefront of the diversified consumer and employee base.”

Steven will also chair the board of directors for Nevada Partners, Inc., a nonprofit workforce training, youth development and housing assistance agency. He served as president/executive director of Nevada Partners from 2001 to 2008, and was the CEO of the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas, its sister agency, from 2001 to 2012.

Digital Content Developer Sal DeFilippo contributed to this article.

R&R Partners Foundation shines in 2014

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2014 was a banner year for the R&R Partners Foundation. Across our nine offices, the Foundation helped more than 20 pro bono clients, each selected based on the passion and interests of our employees.

We volunteered our time. We donated money. We even altered our own appearances, whether it was by cutting hair (Pat Carrigan shed his signature mullet for charity and raised $10,000), or growing it (Movember mustaches netted more than $1,600).

In other words, we did what we do best: Give. Help. Love. It’s what we do.