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posted by Julie Turner Apr 24,2013 @ 09:51AM


I’d never heard of Stefan Mumaw before last week, but in the span of about an hour he crystallized what marketing has become and what it has the potential to be.

An ad agency creative director, Stefan is the author of a book called, Chasing the Monster Idea. His presentation focused on the seven characteristics of monster ideas. So just exactly what is a monster idea? Here’s his definition:

“The truly monster idea is more than just good; it transcends the boundaries of the problem to solve it so simply and so powerfully that it almost sells itself. It’s the campaign idea that grows on its own, powered by those evangelists who first discover its true value, and it forces everyone else to catch up with it—if they can.”

I’m not going to share his seven characteristics — he shares them in his book. You can download the first chapter free here or get the whole schmere here. Instead, I’ll share my biggest takeaway from his presentation.

In the past, marketers have tended to throw everything inside the kitchen sink and then throw it at a consumer hoping something — anything — might stick. Now we weren’t always quite that ham-fisted. Sometimes we presented them with one unique selling proposition in the form of a creative execution or campaign. Regardless, we told them what we wanted them to know. The goal was to sell them on something.

While we were busy deciding what we wanted them to know, consumers were being rewired. The Product no longer holds weight with them. What does is the other stuff: how that product makes someone feel or the problems it solves. They are not being sold to; they are buyers. Most important of all is the acknowledgement that the marketing universe has shifted into new territory: consumers recognize and often filter out push-style messages.

Stefan’s answer to reach this new breed of consumers is to pique their curiosity and then reward their effort with a good experience.

Marketing with the goal of making people curious? That itself is a monster idea.

posted by Kevin Smith Apr 22,2013 @ 02:08PM

Body oil is the new ring around the collar.

There is absolutely always a way to connect.

posted by Apprentices Apr 17,2013 @ 08:50AM

Hands-On Experience

There’s something fitting about my first week as a writing apprentice at Riggs falling just days away from April 20, 2013, the sixth anniversary of Record Store Day. While the event, which encourages music lovers to support their local, independently owned music stores, has become an international phenomenon, it has also garnered the beleaguered music industry’s attention by reviving a corner of the market once believed to be barely standing on its last leg. Vinyl record sales have gradually increased since 2008, and in 2012 they reached a 15-year high.

While the numbers reflect only a small drop in the larger industry’s bucket, for me, this growing (and they are growing) niche of consumers says a lot about how consumer culture, in general, is changing. Instant gratification and tech-driven convenience isn’t the selling point it used to be. The Great Recession seems to have spawned a desire to have something to show for one’s hard earned dollar. A new generation is falling in love with their record collections.

From the careful removal of the disc from its cover and jacket, to the equally cautious placement of the needle and the satisfying hiss as it moves into the silent grooves between each song, a preference for vinyl is as much about the owner’s tangible experience as it is about the warm, robust tone only a record can produce. Vinyl seems to imprint its grooves upon our memories in a way digital music has yet to achieve. My dad has a story for every album he's ever bought. Now I can say the same about many of my friends. More importantly, you can’t carry a record around in a pocket-sized device. We invite vinyl into our homes, allow it to take up space, and return to our favorite albums again and again. It's a long-term, committed relationship.

And it's this thought that brings me back to my first few days as an apprentice at Riggs. Earlier today, I enthusiastically updated the work section of my Facebook. Jokingly I listed my position as "Wannabe Peggy Olson," in tribute to Mad Men's plucky copywriter. But as I thought about Record Day, with its own hints of nostalgia filtered through a modern lens, I was reminded that we now live in a world where a snappy slogan touting the features of a well designed product isn't enough to ensure market success. These days, with so many options and dollars stretched thin, brands that aspire to greatness must first inspire consumer engagement above anything else. Advertising tells people what they should buy. A strong brand strategy guarantees they will never forget why they made that decision. It paves the way for that tangible experience and ignites the initial spark for an enduring relationship. That's why I wanted to apprentice with Riggs. Anyone can write "effective copy." Here we strive to write love stories.

posted by Julie Turner Apr 08,2013 @ 10:29AM

The Pick of Spring

Buckets of goodness from Cottle Strawberry Farm in Hopkins, SC

There’s something ultra delicious about picking fresh strawberries in the warm spring sun. They are redder, plumper and oh so very sweeter. My family visits the local farm almost every weekend they’re in season. My four year old, who takes such great care to find the best ones, sneaks a strawberry or two as we carefully pick our way through the rows. They are that irresistible.

As I wander through the field each year, I can’t help but think about this game — the one where mankind and all of his advanced technology cannot outsmart this beautiful recipe of nature, time and weather. Throughout the fall and winter, you can see and taste failure in hard, half-green strawberries forced to ripen as they are shipped across the country (or globe). Strawberries that don’t smell at all like sunshine and sweetness. Imposters.

There was once a time when strawberries could not be found in the off-season and it’s easy to see why. So, more and more, I find myself waiting for the real strawberries. For the next few months, I’ll eat, drink and blend local fresh strawberries into every meal and beverage I can think of.

There’s a short window for one of nature's greatest gifts. It’s open now at Cottle Strawberry Farm.




By the numbers

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