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posted by Stephanie Owens Aug 16,2017 @ 11:27AM

Shoestring Budget? Challenge Accepted.

Over the weekend, I attended the District 3 Leadership Conference with my fellow AAF of the Midlands board members. And while I was eager to learn how we could improve our organization and take advantage of bonding as a board, I was most excited to hear Rich Stoddart, CEO of Leo Burnett Worldwide give the keynote at Friday’s dinner.

He didn’t disappoint.

However, amidst laughter at Allstate’s Mayhem campaign and the entire room’s battle against tears when watching Always’ #LikeAGirl viral video, I felt that familiar feeling of dissatisfaction. That awful little voice we all know too well when we see mega-agency creative, whispering these crushing words: “most brands don’t have that kind of budget.”

I mean, come on! An ostrich flying to an Elton John song while wearing Samsung VR goggles! The music royalties alone would give most of us a heart attack.

Then Rich crushed that little voice.

Take two minutes to see how:


How much did it cost, you ask? Around $37,000!

The results? “Van Gogh’s Bedroom” sold out immediately, generating massive PR and a 250% increase in online ticket sales—the highest attendance of any exhibit in 15 years.

So, what is your excuse? What is mine? With so many low-cost digital options available at our fingertips, it is up to us to figure out a way to engage our audience no matter how big or small the client’s budget.

posted by Courtney Fleming May 18,2017 @ 11:13AM

Down the Digital Highway

The minute you think yourself an expert, you're falling behind. There's always something more to learn or test. This is especially true for those who specialize in digital aspects of the business (thanks algorithms). Regardless, it’s essential to remain curious.

At Riggs Partners, we resist the myth of expertise and believe that the perennial beginner always has more to gain. Sometimes putting that into action means subscribing to an industry publication. Sometimes it’s watching a webinar. And sometimes it’s renting a minivan and going on a road trip.

Come Monday, myself and several coworkers will be caravanning to Digital Summit Atlanta. Here we will listen and learn from some of the brightest minds in marketing and communications. The sessions will cover all facets of the business today: content marketing, design, email marketing, emerging trends, analytics and data, UX, video, social media, mobile, search and strategy among many others.

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If you’d like to follow along, check out the conference Twitter page and its hashtags: @DigitalSummit_#DSATL, #DigitalSummit

We'll be reporting back with some of the things we learn in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

posted by Kevin Smith Apr 19,2017 @ 04:19PM

The Greed Trap

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The most revolutionary products fulfill a previously unmet need. I recall my first iPod. I never considered that every cassette, album and CD I had ever owned might fit in my pocket. With the iPod came the end of a lifelong search for the ideal music storage vehicle. 

Once they breakthrough, great products work to maintain their established beachhead. That means refining or evolving their products or services to continue to solve people's problems. In the best instances, these are problems people didn't even know they had.

In my case, now that I had all my music in my pocket, why not add my calendar, address book and phone to the mix. This kind of focus endears brands to us and forms tribes of loyalists. This is the path to category leadership, and with it comes imitators.

Next comes a crucial intersection:

  1. Take the difficult route: Continue to solve different but related problems. Limit profits by budgeting for major investments in top talent, research and development and the launch of new product lines.
  2. Go mass: Sacrifice the affinity of your base by making your product or service more affordable, thereby growing your audience.
  3. Take advantage of new revenue streams: Allow your product or service to become a means to other passive income. This typically involves taking advantage of your customers' needs or weaknesses instead of continuing problem solve for them.

Very few companies choose option A. It's not just because it is difficult; the allure of ever expanding profits is just too great. Businesses become so obsessed with growth that they cause their own undoing. I call this the greed trap.

The proliferation of social networks, constant texts and email notifications has tethered us to our cell phones. Data plans, streaming content and constant communications have lead to an "always-on" lifestyle. Adults and children alike have a growing compulsion for screen time. Being away from our phones causes separation anxiety. We are addicted – and the resulting behavior is pretty ugly.

In the 1950s and 60s people walked around smoking. There were ashtrays everywhere: on elevators, in cars, in hotel lobbies, bars and restaurants. Instead of smoking, what do you see people doing in these same places today? The smartphone industry isn't solving problems anymore; it's creating them.

The greed trap is a failure to think strategically and act responsibly. It happens when companies and their leaders stop thinking about their clients and focus on themselves. Eventually, the result is backlash. We're just beginning to see this with cell phones, and I predict a serious increase of it in the future.

Here are three questions you might consider when planning for your organization:

  1. What problem does our company solve for its clients?
  2. How would our customers be impacted if your organization closed its doors?
  3. What common customer issues in our space remain unsolved?

Asking yourself, your colleagues and your customers questions like these are the key to sustainable growth and customer retention. Take the time to answer them and your next step will be profitable for both you and your customer.

posted by Will Weatherly Mar 22,2017 @ 02:16PM

Think Slow

I own a copy of a New York Times Bestseller by a Winner Of The Nobel Prize in Economics (sounds impressive, huh?). “It’s fantastic!” That’s what all the reviews and podcasters say. I wouldn’t know yet. It’s been on my desk and my “next” list for a while now.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

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The title alone got me to buy it, because it is the idea of fast-vs-slow thinking that’s been on my mind when it comes to making great marketing.

See, in a few weeks, a team of us from Riggs will be visiting the DIGSOUTH conference in Charleston. The digital wave is advancing our field faster than ever, and change is the status quo. Waves are scary, but they're also exhilerating. We’re pumped. 

Looking over the conference topics, it hits me just how much is happening all around us right now:

  • Virtual Reality
  • Augmented Reality
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Predictive Data Analytics
  • Internet of Things
  • Geo-Mobile
  • 24/7 Live Steaming
  • Digital Automation

 And all of this forces a lot of fast twitch thinking for marketers:

  • What’s new?
  • What’s now?
  • What’s next?
  • Do this?
  • Do that?
  • Click.
  • Post.
  • Share.
  • Like.

Confession? It can get a bit frenetic and pretty overwhelming.

Now, alongside all this, the very same week DIGSOUTH is tackling all that’s new and next, there’s another event going on in Atlanta. It’s a customer experience (“CX”) journey mapping workshop by Strativity’s Journey Management Academy.

If “journey mapping” isn’t on your radar yet, that’s okay. CX is still an emerging though rapidly growing field. Here’s a definition from Harvard Business Review:

“A customer journey map is a very simple idea: a diagram that illustrates the steps your customer(s) go through in engaging with your company, whether it be a product, an online experience, retail experience, or a service, or any combination.” - https://hbr.org/2010/11/using-customer-journey-maps-to

In essence, journey mapping is taking inventory. In our omnichannel world, it’s becoming all the more relevant. This process of auditing every customer touchpoint can take days; require input from all corners of an organization; and involve hundreds if not thousands of Post-it notes.

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It’s slow. It’s methodical. It’s disciplined. It’s full and deep and complex.

Sound painful? Consider this...

Digital innovation is rapidly increasing the number of customer touchpoints. This exponentially increases the need for strong, creatively differentiating brand experiences. There’s never been a greater need for marketers to slow down before going fast. To get clarity before getting creative. 

The best fast thinking is built on a foundation of slow thinking.

So, have you set aside time and resources for slow thinking? Your business' trajectory, your company culture, and your brand marketing – they all depend on it. And there's no time to wait.  

posted by Cathy Monetti Mar 15,2017 @ 04:45PM

Connectivity. And Uber.

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I RECENTLY TOOK my first Uber ride.

I know, I know, this is an embarassing admission. But there it is, and here is why I mention it at all.

I am fascinated by the Uber experience and the statement the phenomenon makes, not just about our culture, but about connectivity.

 ~~~

IT WAS OUR FIRST NIGHT in San Diego and we had just made dinner reservations. The weather was awful (yes, we brought rain to Southern California), so even though the restaurant was not more than a mile away, walking was out. That's when my daughter suggested we consider Uber. We had a rental car, so it took a little convincing to decide to leave it parked in front of the house and to summon "a local" to drive us up the hill to Bull & Grain. But that's just what we did.

The car arrived in mere moments, and the three of us climbed in. Eliza quickly struck up the conversation that was repeated with every subsequent Uber driver: How long have you been driving? What made you decide to do it? How do you like the work? I was fascinated by each and every one of these exchanges. They were personal (albeit short) commentaries about life and its twists and turns: It was the first night with Uber for one admittedly anxious woman, a school teacher with young children at home. Another was a longtime driver who happened to be a jazz musician with great artist recommendations (Anita O'Day) and a strong suggestion we rearrange our intenerary to include a visit to Cabrillo (we did) and the museums at Balboa Park (we didn't but wish we had).

 ~~~

UBER IS HOT, there's no doubt about that, with some experts putting the private company's value in the $60 billion range. (Billion.) While this evaluation is a rather hotly debated topic, there's no denying "mobile moment" appeal on which the concept is based. Hailing a ride requires the push of a button. Cars are (generally) close by. Fares are established up front, and because the bill is paid automatically and electronically, no cash changes hands. That means there's no worry over being ripped off by a circuitous route driver, and there's no fretting over a tip. (I can't overly state the value of this part of the model.)

And there is the fact your driver is not a distant, impersonal professional but a "regular" person who has a particular set of circumstances that brings him/her to Uber driving in the first place. The whole experience feels more pedestrian, somehow, like these people are your neighbors--human beings with complicated lives and jobs and families, challenges and charms, flaws, dreams and failures. You might be strangers in a car, but there is also between you a sweet window for connection, somehow, a quiet understanding you are just people going about life and doing it the best you can.

 ~~~

THIS CONNECTIVITY is a very real part of Uber's appeal, that's what I think, and it's the point I want to make. It's an acknowledgement, however understated, that we are all in this together, that whether you're the one giving the lift or the one paying the fare, both sides of the Uber equation are actually doing something good, something that helps a brother out.

It's a pretty compelling business benefit, I have to say, even if it's a quiet one.

 

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By the numbers

youtube is 2nd largest search engine