When we were first approached by Rogers & Hollands Jewelers to develop a new sub-brand for their engagement ring sales, we wanted to come up with something that would resonate with the target audience, but that wouldn’t be a typical wedding cliche. We brainstormed over 100 names and then held a focus group to narrow the choices down. We then took the top three and presented them to the client at their corporate headquarters in suburban Chicago. Happily, they selected the one we all felt was the best, CREATING FOREVER. We then went on to create all the deliverables, from billboards to store case cards, necessary to launch the new sub-brand in their five Milwaukee area stores. Now, almost two months into the CREATING FOREVER campaign, engagement ring sales are up, with hundreds of couples taking advantage of the free $500 gift package they receive with the purchase of any engagement ring of $1500 or more. This campaign is a great example of how clients and agencies can work together to cover all the bases, from great creative to compelling promotions, giving themselves the best chance for success.

Amtrak Hiawatha: There and Back Again

Winning the Amtrak Hiawatha Service Advertising Project contract in 2004 was one of the proudest days in Staples Marketing’s history.  The opportunity to develop a first-ever branding and marketing campaign for a major transportation service does not come along everyday.  That’s why we’re especially proud of the fact that over six years into the campaign, ridership has increased on the service by over 50%.  The Hiawatha’s success is one reason why it’s been in the news a lot lately.  Wisconsin was originally awarded the now infamous $800 million dollars to make the service high-speed and expand it to Madison (and then likely to the Twin Cities from there) because of how viable and successful it was.  Of course, that didn’t happen but today there was another huge article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about how the state is requesting $150 million from the federal government to convert the existing Milwaukee to Chicago service to high speed, buy some new trains and redo the train shed in Milwaukee.  I guess one thing we can count on is, just like the reliable service the train provides, this story will keeping coming and going, dependably, over and over again.  And we’ll keep doing what we can to make sure it’s packed with riders.

Account Service Excellence: COMMUNICATE!

When I used to be an advertising agent CLIENT before moving over to the other side, I was often surprised by the spotty account service I received.  Just like it’s frustrating not to get a prompt call back from your accountant during tax time, not hearing back from your account executive in the midst of planning a big a campaign was not a good thing.  In the 15 years I spent as a client for three different agencies, I was surprised to find a constant pattern of lackluster service.  That’s why when I came over to the agency side, I was determined to not have what I experienced happen to any of my clients.  With today’s communication tools; smart phones, email, texting, there’s really no excuse for not COMMUNICATING well!  Since advertising and marketing is, like all professional services, a relationship-based business, it’s vital to maintaining those relationships with timely, clear communications.  How many marriages would last if one spouse waited three days to return the other’s call, and was missing in action during the interim?  Exactly.