Las Vegas, a very appropriate place for western governors to discuss the drought

As an experienced advocate for Western issues such as energy, natural resources, public land use and water, R&R Partners was honored to attend the annual winter meeting of the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) in Las Vegas, Nevada, on December 4 and 5. Founded in 1984, WGA represents the governors of 19 Western states and guides them in developing and implementing policy decisions of major importance for the West.

Why are there specific associations that are dedicated to Western issues? With its abundance of natural resources, and the fact that over 90 percent of all federal land is located in the West, the region is one of the most highly regulated in the United States. This makes the West vastly different from the East, especially when it comes to controversial issues such as water and public land use. Nothing sums up water issues in the West better than the famous Mark Twain quote, “Whiskey is for drinking, but water is worth fighting over.”

WGA 3This year’s annual WGA meeting was attended by dozens of elected officials and political influencers, led by governors Matt Mead (Wyoming), Butch Otter (Idaho), Steve Bullock (Montana) and Brian Sandoval (Nevada). Important issues discussed that have serious implications on the West included drought, wildfires, endangered species, transportation and cybersecurity. The keynote address was delivered by the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, who spoke of the importance in collaborating with the governors of Western states on key federal actions impacting the West.

R&R Partners’ depth of experience in the West gives it an understanding of the unique pressures and public scrutiny that governments and companies operating in the area face, and their need to communicate clearly and strategically to their constituents, customers, shareholders and regulators. Having opened its doors in the West and the fact that eight of its nine offices are still located in the area, R&R will continue participating in the ongoing conversation about Western policies and help bring together important stakeholders.

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Digging deep for a brand

By Andrew Snow

When a group of us from R&R Partners went on a trip to Elko, Nevada, to create a video highlighting Barrick Gold Corp., it didn’t take long for us to realize the similarities.

On the surface, you wouldn’t think that an ad agency and one of the world’s leading mining companies would share much in common. But the deeper we got into this particular project, the more this symmetry became apparent.

After all, in this case, we were the ones doing all the digging – interviewing a range of Barrick employees, and in a sense, “mining” for information, personality, and anything else we could use to represent our client and help their brand.

Elko was the appropriate setting, too – a small rural town more than 400 miles from Las Vegas and nearly 300 away from Reno, the Silver State’s most populous cities.

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Our crew, which included myself, Videographer Jordan Oliver, Brand Manager Toni Niccoli and Government and Public Affairs Deputy Director Charlie Bradley, also discovered another welcome commonality we shared with Barrick staffers: Passion. These guys care deeply about what they do, and it was our job to make sure people know that.

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To enhance their stories, we conducted off-site interviews at local organizations in which Barrick is a contributor. We visited the Elko Boys & Girls Club, Elko Senior Center, and shot unique content all over town – from the Goldstrike Open Pit, to a mill, a lab, and more.

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At Cortez Underground, we even got to check out a real monster truck – a Leibherr. an off-highway, rigid-frame, two-axle highwayultra class, rigid frame, two-axle powertrain haul truck. This beast could eat Hummers like M&Ms.

Extracting both a locals’ perspective and a sense of community involvement and partnerships were key takeaways for us on this strategic mining excursion. Since Barrick’s existing videos touched more on the operational side of their business, we felt it was paramount to tell the stories of these miners and what makes them so passionate about their job and brand.

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The finished product will be visible on Barrick’s social channels in the coming months, and hopefully, we will have helped others to see Barrick in a whole new light.

 

Old-Fashioned, with a Twist

You shouldn’t drink and drive.

It’s hardly news. For the past 35 years, that’s the message Mothers Against Drunk Driving and law enforcement have championed nationwide. It’s also the message that the Department of Highway Safety hired R&R Partners to promote in Utah.

It seems like a simple assignment—advertising something that everybody already knows. However, that widespread knowledge is also the challenge: How does one take a decades-old message that nobody pays attention to anymore and resay it in a way that changes people’s behavior?

The answer to that question recently resulted in news stories across America. Again. R&R Partners’ drunk driving prevention campaign in Utah regularly generates national headlines. The latest buzz was about R&R turning Salt Lake City bar bathrooms into jail cells, letting patrons see what a DUI looks like moments before deciding whether to drive home or call a cab. In one day, a marketing investment of less than $10,000 turned into more than $100,000 worth of local media attention and millions of dollars in news coverage, nationwide.

Drunk people make bad decisions.

Yes, it’s another obvious observation, but it’s also the key to R&R’s drunk driving prevention success. If people get so drunk they can’t remember their names, how can somebody expect them to remember a TV commercial they saw last week telling them not to drink and drive? Instead, R&R Partners has pushed advertising as close as possible to the point of decision—that moment between when people finish their last beer and pull out their car keys.

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The results have been bar tables replaced with prison visiting booths reading, “No designated driver? Get used to this view,” complete with working telephones on both sides of the security glass. Kiddie car rides retrofitted to support adults up to 300 pounds and painted like cop cars, along with the message, “Drive drunk and ride in the real thing.” Toll-free numbers to dial and practice your one phone call from jail with a virtual irate mom, girlfriend, lawyer and others. Billiard balls that simulate drunk driving accidents, coin-op photo booths that produce mug shots, toilet stickers with type so small, it’s only legible if your head is buried in the bowl, (“If you can read this, call a cab.”), and dozens more marketing experiences at football tailgate parties, ski resort lodges, state liquor stores, and pretty much anywhere else people might have a few drinks before driving home.

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In addition, billboards near clubs, restaurants, stadiums and bars remind people leaving the parking lots that DUIs result in mandatory arrest, and radio ads (usually heard while driving) run prior to key holiday weekends when drunk driving spikes, like New Year’s Eve and Halloween, letting people know that police will be out in full force, cracking down on DUIs.

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Everyone’s buzzing.

The result of all this point of decision marketing has been surprising. Drunk driving arrests and deaths in Utah have steadily declined since the campaign launched, but that was expected. What nobody knew would happen, however, is that by not running drunk driving television ads and reallocating those funds to more nontraditional marketing executions, the Department of Highway Safety actually increased their presence on TV. By partnering with local businesses, community leaders and sports teams to create innovative DUI prevention messages, R&R Partners also created a steady stream of news coverage that far outweighed what could have been purchased in paid advertising, with approximately $4 in earned media coverage for every dollar spent on the campaign, including agency fees.

For a message that hasn’t been news in decades, you shouldn’t drink and drive, that’s pretty good.

From Vegas to Africa—R&R Delivers

From Latin America to Europe to the Middle East, R&R is a serious player in international affairs. We’ve helped build country profiles in both diplomacy and tourism. One area of the globe that particularly fascinates us is Africa. Why? Six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies are in sub-Saharan Africa. Although the African market may not be on the radar screen of the majority of American businesses, it is on ours!

Recently, our Denver office, which has represented African nations during times of civil and tribal warfare, as well African presidential candidates, hosted an event that attracted the city’s top African leaders. The African Leadership Group works to advance the community’s political and economic goals while uniting the community to speak with a more unified voice. Knowing the importance of this community and the potential for Colorado to do more business in Africa, Colorado’s elected officials were quick to RSVP to this event. We proudly hosted:

  • Colorado Congressman Ken Buck
  • Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman
  • Former Colorado Speaker of the House Frank McNulty
  • Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams
  • Colorado 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler
  • Colorado House of Representatives Assistant Minority Leader Polly Lawrence
  • Colorado Chief Deputy Attorney General David Blake

R&R provided an environment where key members of the African business community could learn about the political process and understand the ins and outs of running for public office in the United States or in Africa. Many of the individuals we hosted have aspirations to run for political office, even president, in their country of origin. Once again, R&R proves that we not only represent global brands, but also international leaders who influence the world in which we live.

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President and Founder of the African Leadership Group Papa Dia addresses attendees at R&R Partners. Photos by Paul Doktor M.D.

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Kweku Boafo, Director of International Affairs at R&R Partners listens to Patrick Ssebikejje from African Leadership Group. Photos by Paul Doktor M.D.

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Attendees from the Colorado African Leadership Group gather together for a smile. Photos by Paul Doktor M.D.

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Congressman Mike Coffman smiles for a photo with members of Colorado’s African Leadership Group. Photos by Paul Doktor M.D.

 

The Creative Sole Search Is ON

R&R is currently looking for a creative director to run the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority account. In the past, we have used recruiters, ads, LinkedIn, etc. This time, we wanted to try something different. The traditional route just wasn’t as fun anymore. We want to kick over some rocks and really get candidates to interact with us with some passion.

So we’re having a contest of sorts and asking candidates to send in their idea for the next stage of What happens here, stays here® with sneakers as the vehicle. Why sneakers? Well, I happen to love sneakers. They are my passion. I have over 150 pairs. They’re kind of in my DNA. I’ve been here 20 years, so in this case, at least – I consider my personal brand to be an R&R truth as well. And I think that good taste in sneakers is a sign that you may have good taste in other things − like ideas.

We put the contest out there with large stickers on the ground outside agencies in LA and Chicago, trade publications, two videos, a poster, Instagram, and a mailer featuring a 3-D-printed sole inside some plain white Converse All-Stars.

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Check out the video here on the site.

www.creativesolesearch.com

The effort is getting R&R some great play PR-wise with stories in Adland, Digiday and AdAge.

http://adland.tv/adnews/rr-partners-seeks-soul-mate-creative-teams-sneaky-sneaker-attack/1587591312

http://digiday.com/agencies/6-agencies-reinventing-recruiting/

http://adage.com/article/agency-news/horizon-innocean-campaign-recruit-hyundai-shop/301415/?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social

We have more than 50 candidates who have signed the agreement to send us entries. Now, we’re just waiting for the fun to begin. The mix of traditional candidates and sheer creatives is already peaking our interest as to what we will get. It’s a very exciting way to start the new chapter of work for our biggest client.

Watch for more as shoes or virtual shoes make their way to our shores.

Building on a strong 2015

Strengthening our client partnerships while expanding our unique service offering and driving overall agency growth have always been a priority for R&R Partners. Over the last year, we have renewed our long-standing partnerships with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Utah Transit Authority (UTA), NV Energy and Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA), and diversified our relationship with MGM Resorts International. Additionally, we have welcomed to our roster MGM National Harbor, M life Rewards, Falken Tires, Small Town Brewery, La Brea Bakery, Allegiant Air, AAA Texas Auto Insurance and Avnet, just to name a few. In Mexico, CMV/R&R has welcomed Posadas, Kimberly Clark Pétalo, Coca-Cola FEMSA, and the Yucatan Office of Congress and Conventions. It’s been an incredibly productive year and we look forward to supporting our clients’ continued successes and expanding our roster in 2016.

’TIS THE SEASON TO GO BOWLING!

It’s that time of the year again – a special time that happens every December … but only in Las Vegas. (I bet you thought I was talking about Christmas!) I DEFINITELY don’t want to diminish the importance or the joy of Christmas, but December is also the time for our annual college football bowl game, the Las Vegas Bowl.

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl pregame activities at Sam Boyd Stadium on December 20, 2014. (Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl)
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl pregame activities at Sam Boyd Stadium on December 20, 2014. (Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl)

This year will celebrate the 24th year of the game. I worked on the inaugural game as a student assistant in the UNLV Athletic Department. Now, 24 years later, I am still involved as a member of the Las Vegas Bowl Executive Committee and fulfilling the dedicated sponsorship for the LVCVA.

I am not sure people realize how important the game is to Las Vegas, which is why Rossi Ralenkotter, LVCVA president and CEO, and Rob Dondero, R&R Partners executive vice president, chased the game back in 1991. What motivates travel more than loyal college football fans the week before Christmas? Since the inaugural game in 1992 to last year’s game, the Las Vegas Bowl has generated an estimated $252,201,800 of non-gaming economic impact (that is food/lodging/entertainment) to Las Vegas during a time that’s typically a weaker travel period due to the holiday season. The Las Vegas Bowl has claimed seven sellouts in nine years between 2005 and 2013. Also, this will mark the third year in a row that the Las Vegas Bowl will be broadcast on ABC, showcasing Las Vegas to millions of viewers.

Sponsor signs at the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium on December 21, 2013. (Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl)
Sponsor signs at the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium on December 21, 2013. (Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl)

Some “Las Vegas Bowl firsts” that I think will be a surprise to most people: In 1995, Toledo and Nevada played in what was the first ever overtime bowl game in the Division 1 FBS level. The Las Vegas Bowl has claim to the FIRST WOMAN to play in an FBS-level game when Katie Hnida of the University of New Mexico entered the game to attempt an extra point. Sadly, it was blocked. In 2013, the game featured three scoring plays of 98 yards or longer and was the first bowl game in history that included a kickoff return to start each half.

And, you might just recognize a few of these names − he’s now known for being in Beast Mode and loving his Skittles, but Seattle Seahawks superstar running back Marshawn Lynch first gained fame in college when he was named MVP of the 2005 Las Vegas Bowl after rushing for three touchdowns and 199 yards for the Cal Bears. He won the Heisman Trophy the year AFTER playing in the 2001 Las Vegas Bowl: Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer led his USC Trojans in the 2001 game against Utah. The world knows him as “Gronk,” but before Rob Gronkowski became a three-time Pro Bowl tight end, the future Super Bowl champion played right here in the Las Vegas Bowl as he helped his Arizona Wildcats earn a win over BYU in the 2008 edition. Before he became a 1,000-yard rusher in the NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin played right here in the Las Vegas Bowl, piling up 301 all-purpose yards and two scores while helping his Boise State Broncos defeat Arizona State in 2011.

So, while you deck the halls and trim the tree, don’t forget to make the Las Vegas Bowl a part of your December tradition!! This year’s game will be Saturday, Dec. 19, at 12:30 p.m. PT (3:30 p.m. ET) at Sam Boyd Stadium. The 24th Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl will be televised nationally on ABC, featuring BYU against Utah — and with that matchup comes two more Las Vegas Bowl firsts — it marks both the first time “The Holy War” has been contested in the postseason, and the first time the Cougars and Utes have battled on a neutral site.

Monthly trends & insights: December 2015

Being current with available media opportunities, market trends and consumer trends can play a major role in a marketing strategy. This month’s Trends & Insights will focus on a new media opportunity at the Fashion Show mall in Las Vegas, Pandora enhancing their application, green messaging in relation to a brand, markets with heaviest vehicle traffic, TUBI TV introduction and gambling habits of Millennials.

LAS VEGAS MEDIA PARTNER UPDATES

Fashion Show South Entry Plaza Digital

Fashion Show Mall

Fashion Show mall has unveiled a new media opportunity via the south entry above the main door and the south column. These will also be available at the north entrance as well. The plaza digital will have full-motion video and audio. There will also be additional formats available that are to be announced.

NATIONAL MEDIA PARTNER UPDATE

Pandora Will Be Acquiring Ticketfly and Big Sound

By acquiring Ticketfly, Pandora will be able to add event discovery to their arsenal. Nearly 80 million people nationwide use Pandora and it is the single most used app in the world. It anticipates this merger will enable promoters to sell out more shows.

“With its ability to identify and target specific fans, Pandora sold out 55,000 tickets for the recent Rolling Stones tour in 24 hours. The ability to sell tickets for lesser known acts is equally impressive. A Pandora pre-sale for ODESZA (an up-and-coming EDM act) blew through 25,000 tickets, including Ticketfly venues such as the 9:30 Club and Union Transfer, in minutes. Safe to say, Pandora is about to become a major player in ticketing.”

As both Pandora and Ticketfly are deeply data-driven, their recommendations will be improved for fans.

With the acquisition of Next Big Sound, Pandora’s data analytics will be enhanced. The music industry utilizes Next Big Sound to:

  • Quantify the relationship between social media and revenue.
  • Understand the impact of marketing and promotional events such as TV appearances, press interviews and new releases.
  • Drive marketing decisions for artists, managers, agents, publishers, promoters, labels and brands across the global music industry.
  • Deploy prediction algorithms to help identify high-potential artists at the earliest possible stage.

“Next Big Sound gathers social, sales and streaming data into one central platform. Sources include Facebook and Twitter, Wikipedia, artist websites, Spotify, YouTube and iTunes. To put this information into context, event data such as concerts, release dates, television appearances and press mentions are incorporated, as well as the rich demographic data that helps artists become better acquainted with their fan base.”

NATIONAL INDUSTRY UPDATES

H&M Promotes Sustainable Fashion Via Recycled Clothes

H&M is promoting “Together We Can Close The Loop,” a campaign message stating that any unwanted garments can be left in any of its 3,300 stores and be recycled into new clothes. This has opened the door for H&M to publically display its contribution to being socially responsible as well as being green. The company specifically details that recycling one T-shirt can save 2,100 liters of water. By providing one simple fact on its contribution to the enviornment, H&M has engaged messaging to the socially responsible consumer.

Worst Traffic in Cities = Best Out-of-Home Locations

The longer a message is displayed, the greater the chance a message can be received as one moves beyond it. Dwell time is the potential time a passerby may see a message. The average dwell time, according to multiple studies, is seven seconds, but that time will certainly be higher in markets with congested traffic.

The following are the largest markets with the highest annual delays per commuter:

  • Washington, D.C., comes in first with annual delay per auto commuter at 82 hours.
    • While there are no billboards along I-95, I-495 and I-66, there’s plenty of signage to be seen as traffic becomes congested.
  • Los Angeles is infamous for its traffic delays and comes in second at 80 hours yearly delay for commuters.
  • San Francisco/Oakland area comes in at 78 hours yearly delay for commuters.
  • New York is at 74 hours yearly delay for commuters.
    • The city is developing technology that will allow traffic signals to communicate with each other to make traffic more efficient.
  • Boston comes in fifth with 64 hours.
    • The roads are congested for nearly five hours per day.

Other large markets with long delays per commuter include:

  • San Jose at 67 hours annual delay per auto commuter
  • Riverside/San Bernadino at 59 hours annual delay per auto commuter
  • Austin at 52 hours annual delay per auto commuter
    • The city rolled out a $6.5 million project that will allow continuous flow intersections eliminating the light cycles that drivers sit through. Local officials anticipate 30 to 50 percent reduction in travel time.
  • Portland is at 52 hours annual delay per auto commuter
  • Denver annual delay per auto commuter
    • Its traffic is worst on the I-25 and I-70 in the morning and evening. Denver spent more than 91 million hours in rush hour traffic in 2014.

TUBI TV

TUBI TV is a free video application on connected TV devices, mobile and the Web (includes Samsung, Roku, Apple store, Google play, XBOX ONE, Amazon fireTV). TUBI TV will have an expansive TV show and movie selection. This app will be coming to Apple TV in the near future.

It currently has 5.1 million monthly unique users, 57 million monthly streams and 20 million total app installations.

TUBI TV will have standard advertising (pre-roll and mid-roll/skippable) online ads. It will also has “Limited Commercial Interruptions Sponsored by” (sponsored tag opening billboard) options and “First Look” (postion A pod position in each commercial break).

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Exclusive options will include long-form opt-in ads, survey ads and branded canvas ads.

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TUBI TV will also have expansive tracking capabilities.

TUBI TV live is an upcoming feature that will allow sponsorships to be available across the entire platform or within verticals.

Millennials Adopting New Gaming Habits in Casinos

Gambling habits are changing across generations. Millennials are looking to have more exotic electronic games like the ones available to them via mobile devices.

“State revenue from taxing gambling – from casinos, lotteries and racing – has been largely flat since the Great Recession, when adjusted for inflation, according to the Rockefeller Institute, which studies tax revenue.”

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The research shows that casino gamblers are mainly of the elderly population. Millennials are looking for more of a social experience shared with friends and gambling doesn’t resonate as a fun leisure activity. Younger generations are making investments more toward non-gaming amenities compared to their predecessors.

“Only 51 percent said slot machines and video poker were their preferred form of gambling compared to 61 percent of all casino-goers.” When compared to the total population, younger clientele tend to favor crowd-friendly table games, which contribute less revenue than slots. The younger generations are trending to prefer games that have more direction and more choices at decision points.

Fantasy Football entities such as Draft Kings and FanDuel are extremely popular with the younger male audience and allow the wagering of real money. These types of games require decision-making and you have a chance to gain or lose your wagers over the course of the day.

Casinos are beginning to make hybrid games of chance and skill. Gregg Giuffria, CEO of G2 Game Design and former co-owner of Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, reported that his firm had solved the problem of melding a game of chance and skill.

With new hybrid games on the rise, new regulations are passed for these newly developed technologies.

“As the gaming industry seeks to roll out the new hybrid games, states are faced with drafting new regulations to govern them. Nevada passed a law earlier this year calling on the state’s Gaming Commission to develop regulations for hybrid games in casinos. New Jersey approved fantasy sports betting in casinos in 2013.”

Allen Godfrey, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, stated that any trend away from slots would ultimately hurt the state’s revenue from casinos. He said the commission is waiting for the industry to bring examples of the types of hybrid games innovators are talking about before setting any new regulations.

Giuffria noted that casinos around the country will have to integrate the hybrid games, otherwise revenue will continue to decline along with the income states receive that depend on that revenue.

Whether it’s being aware of local media opportunities, understanding the enhancement of an application, boosting your brand’s image or knowing consumer behavior, vigilance is the key.

 

Denver Startup Week: Pitch & Presentation Tips

After getting a glimpse into the impressive world of Techstars at their Demo Day on September 9, we were intrigued to hear what their feedback would be when eleven CEOs at Denver Startup Week pitched to them. Denver Startup Week is the largest free entrepreneurial event of its kind in North America, meant to showcase downtown Denver’s thriving culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. The fourth annual Denver Startup Week had over 10,000 attendees across 235 programs aimed at helping people succeed in starting and growing a business in Denver. 

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The R&R Partners team was lucky enough to register early and get there early for good seats to watch two week old businesses to well-established startups present in front of Techstars, an accelerator program notorious for producing successful startups. The eleven performances were honed through vigorous, candid, and extremely valuable “pitch practice.” The insightful feedback provided is recapped below and can be applied to any industry, any position, and for any public speaking event. 

  • Have a strong intro that captures everyone’s attention and curiosity
  • Simplify what you’re saying but don’t use vague words
  • Simplify technical language or give real life/relatable examples if your audience isn’t on the same technical level
  • Make sure to state your key differentiator(s) in 2-3 sentences
  • Research the audience in advance to help predict the questions they might have so you can answer along the way
  • Even if you’re a comfortable presenter, practice it 25x
  • Story telling helps people who are not close to the product/industry relate to or understand in easier terms
  • Make sure the story line has structure and isn’t jumping around; don’t go off on a tangent
  • Speak to the whole room vs. the few decision makers
  • Notes – don’t make a scene trying to find where you should be in your notes or swiping/flipping through and don’t read directly from notes
  • Don’t keep the most important facts/statements until the end incase key people need to leave early or you meet your time limit
  • Have “crisp” answers to questions that show you know your industry and understood the question vs. over explaining

Assistant Media Planner/Buyer Katie Fischer co-authored this article. 

Celebrating our independence

I recently attended the Worldwide Partners Inc. (WPI) annual North America conference in Chicago. WPI is a network of independent agencies that have come together to leverage the thinking and resources of 70+ top independent agencies from across the globe. Besides R&R Partners, the network includes fine agencies like BSSP, Mering Carsen, Shipyard, Juice Pharma, Bailey Laurerman, just to name a few. In fact, collectively, WPI ranks No. 10 in terms of billings when compared to other large holding companies.

The conference really shed light on why being independent is really special and unique.

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Our clients’ success is paramount – we are all-in for our clients. Creativity is at our core – typically with smaller budgets, we have to find efficient, yet effective and breakthrough solutions for our clients. We are also nimble and quick – structure and process exists, but isn’t a barrier to moving quickly in a fast-paced environment. We invest for our clients – we aren’t beholden to any holding company, so we do what’s right for our clients, not what’s in the best interest of our bottom line. And when needed, WPI agencies come together to scale up to meet the clients’ needs, whether it be geographical, resources or specialty areas.

Independence is at the core of R&R Partners. Our unique experiences and culture, coupled with our candor and empathy, deliver results for our clients. Clients that have been around 20+ years in most cases.

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The WPI conference theme was Catalyst, and the diverse programming and content really stimulated some great thinking and new ideas. What follows are 12 things I learned this week:

  1. Programmatic buying is a great way for publishers and clients to take advantage of real-time bidding and traffic spikes due to timely and topical events. But the key to programmatic buying is being transparent to clients, both delivery and cost.
  2. Tongal, a creative, on-demand production studio, not only does great cost-efficient work, but a partner like Tongal could also serve as an alternative to freelancers or help supplement your social content program.
  3. “Your vision is your creativity … but change requires gut and grit … you are the catalyst …” – Jen Spencer, the Humanity of Creativity.
  4. Michael Farmer, author of Madison Avenue Manslaughter, shared with us that consultants have greater value than agencies, thanks most in part to holding company agencies who have squeezed margins so low. Consultants are keen on a desire for client results and shareholder value; meanwhile, holding company agencies are about their own bottom line. He believes big agency brands are becoming more and more irrelevant, and this is good for independent agencies who are similar to the consultant philosophy above.
  5. Doug Wood of Reed Smith law firm has a site called legalbytes.com with interesting information on issues facing marketers today – bot fraud, patent trolls, native advertising, programmatic, etc. – all too technical for me to further expand upon.
  6. Vertical networks, particularly in the B2B, but also in some B2C categories, make a lot of sense for clients and marketers. Spiceworks is the top network in IT; Doximity for doctors; Edmodo for educators; Showcase for marketing; just to name a few.
  7. Forbes has put forward the road map for managing, systematizing and optimizing the marketing content supply chain: Own -> Reorganize -> Systemize -> Operationalize.
  8. Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871, the incubator space in the Merchandise Mart, knows his stuff! He believes search is out, and answers are in … and data and accessibility is driving this phenomenon. He also says context is more important than what you’re saying; ritual and regular is more important than frequency; reach, resonance, reaction. Raise is a really cool gift card app where you can buy unused gift cards at really low prices and retailers aren’t balking as they would rather get some revenue versus rebating the unused gift cards based on recent regulations.
  9. Mintel talked about the iGeneration, 5−14-year-olds, since we’re all tired of talking about Millennials. Interesting statistics that prove our country truly is a minority-majority: 5−14-yea-olds are 40 percent diverse today, 25 percent Hispanic, 10 percent African-American and 5 percent Asian. We, as marketers, need to wake up to this; or should have woken up to this a while ago.
  10. rFactor showed us some interesting social trends and success stories: social connect to CRM, segment based on sales criteria, and align key sales and marketing stakeholders.
  11. One large consultancy company measures success in terms of its clients’ financial results. An interesting approach that should be considered for clients who are open to innovative compensation structures.
  12. I terribly missed my kids, Hudson and Sawyer. It was a powerfully packed two-day agenda, which I don’t regret being a part of at the very least, but I was glad to do the redeye in and out in order to limit my time away from my kids.

#WPINAR15