Yearly Archives2013

Branding that captures the real thing is timeless standard

If you’d like to sell the world a whatever, take a tip from Coke: The fundamental things apply, across time and distance. The beverage brand is reintroducing itself in Myanmar, an Asian country formerly named Burma, where a six-decade import ban ended last year. That marketing hurdle turns out to be higher than for a new product, NPR correspondent Robert Smith explains in a recent report. Consumers saw Coke as an elite, costly luxury. That’s because during Western economic sanctions against Myanmar’s military dictatorship, high-priced, bootleg Coke cans from Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore were sold at hotels and swanky cafes. “The imagery they had of Coke was that it was for the extremely rich and well-to-do people,” says Shakir Moin, Coke’s ...

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SMZ welcomes more summer interns. standard

From left to right: Phillip Fattore is a recent Michigan graduate. He is a sportswriter/journalist and is interning with the copywriting team this summer. Natasha Guimond joins the creative team this summer. She is a senior at the College for Creative Studies and an aspiring Creative Director and wannabe filmmaker. Bekka Bartnick is working with the social media team. She starts her senior year this fall at State, majoring in Advertising with a concentration in management and media. Kayla Cox is an aspiring Art Director. She is a senior at Ferris State this fall.

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Don’t let email control your day. standard

The recent arrival of one of Randall Dean’s (The Email Sanity Expert) Timely Tips was perfect timing.  His tip on how best to use or not use “Reply All” arrived shortly after reading a long chain of Reply All emails.  The majority of replies didn’t involve me, but I took the time to sort through and determine if I needed to take action.  Mostly the responses just clogged my email and took valuable time to read. Randall provided some very simple and efficient ways to deal with the issue. His main point was to think before hitting that Reply All button.  At SMZ, we do like to think.  In fact, we like to listen first, then think, then do.  Before ...

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Marketing starts in the womb standard

Ok, maybe that’s up for debate but the impact on my own children clearly began at an early age.  The shift from spoon-fed pureed spinach to craving … no, demanding chicken nuggets at McDonalds was a quick one and it wasn’t because their parents always ate there.  Was it because their friends got to go, they saw the advertising, the Playplace, Ronald or the food itself?  It was most likely a combination of several factors, including advertising. It’s easy to write another story about the perceived impact and influence of advertising on children, especially within the alcohol and tobacco categories, so let’s look at this from a different angle. For those of us in the marketing and advertising business who ...

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Is Big Data driven by small nuisances? standard

Marketers today are obsessed with Big Data. We love talking about the analytic horsepower needed to crunch all of the data. But how much of the data is horse@#$%? In the past two weeks, I have received seven surveys to assess my “experience” with various brands. The issue is each survey takes LONGER to complete than my actual interaction with the brand. Example #1: I called a service that provides non-terrestrial radio (the one named after a beloved Harry Potter character) to ask a single billing question. That particular call lasted no more than two minutes. Then I received an email with the survey about my call handling. It went on for pages and I had to answer questions that ...

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Jobs thoughts from a PC guy standard

  By Steve Klein, IT manager Though I consider myself a Microsoft person at heart, my job also requires me to support a large number of iMacs, MacBook Pros and a Mac server.  On top of those you can throw in a handful of BYOD iPads and iPhones.  That means I have respect for both platforms—and need to keep up to date on both.  And that led me to dig a little deeper into the life and mind of Steve Jobs … Some time ago I read Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.  I won’t add to the mound of reviews—for that you can look at the 2,300+ on Amazon.  Suffice to say I enjoyed the book.  I was already familiar ...

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Working and Playing in the D standard

– John Gielow, Vice President Director of Digital Strategy By day, SMZ lives and breathes Detroit. Whether working on Detroit gems like the Tigers, Red Wings, Fisher Theatre or the Detroit Goodfellows, we’re all in.  As we participate in what we all believe to be a great comeback story, many of us embrace and support the city outside the walls of SMZ as well. As an avid cyclist for 25 years, I’ve experienced a lot on the roads after 100,000 miles.  I ride with the O2/Cadieux Bike Club and as the name suggests, this club’s roots are in Detroit, founded at the Cadieux Café in Detroit in 1965. Today most of our club rides are based in Metro Detroit, yet ...

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Two mighty, unforgettable words: thank you standard

By Trish Cowan, copy writer We interview prospective interns pretty regularly. And most—though not all—understand the significance of this simple but important action: sending a thank you. Be it delivered via old-fashioned snail mail or as an email, everyone likes to know they’re appreciated. And that begins with two words: thank you. Especially after an interview. It’s a great business strategy too. Studies show saying thank you actually gets people to spend more money and tell their friends about you, your services and products. And that of course, increases your profits. It’s also something employees like to hear, increasing their productivity and it prompts vendors to go the extra mile. Even simple gifts for a business connection when say, they ...

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10 commandments of social media for brands standard

By Trish Cowan, copywriter While it might be a place we can let our personal hair down, brands should always be polite and professional in their social media presence. To make and get the most of their social media persona, here are 10 rules to follow. Thou shalt be patient and considerate. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Nor is a brand. Thou shalt not be indifferent to the voice of thy customer. Good, bad or ugly, these are public conversations. It’s not the time to be defensive or critical. But rather, diplomatic and even apologetic if need be. Thou shalt be true to thyself. You’ve worked hard to get where you are. Stick with the values that got you ...

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