Monday, August 31, 2009

A prime opportunity – marketing in a tough economy

Stop – and think about everyone else in your category. Are they playing it safe? Have they dialed back their marketing communications efforts completely? Have they stopped softening the beaches for their salespeople?

In other words, are they giving YOU a huge opportunity, wrapped up all nice and pretty, with a bow? Why yes, yes they are.

So you've identified this opportunity. And this, in combination with the cautiously optimistic idea that the economy is crawling back (evvvvvvverrrrrr so slowly) means that NOW is not the time to chicken out. NOW is not the time to dial it all back. NOW is not the time to resist the opportunity for greatness.

NOW is the time to push it a bit more than your competition. NOW is the time to get creative. NOW is the time to get the word out.

One of the biggest mistakes brands make is to be cautious-to-a-fault during tough economic periods. So they disappear from the public discourse, from the playing field, from the marketplace. They lose ground. They wither away only to have to mount a resurgence in brand equity later (unfortunately, this happens all too often). And hitting the restart button is expensive in branding. We all know that.

Instead, maintain your presence in the marketplace even during tough times. NOW is the time to demonstrate that your brand is healthy, a player and part of the dialogue. You brand diagnosis, following a pretty brutal recession, will be all the better for it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Slight Turn (or Wings Flapping on a Fruit Fly)

Ok. So something feels a bit different. More folks seem to be a tad optimistic. You hear on the streets a buzz (oh, it's not much more than the flapping of a fruit fly's wings...but it's there). New business appointments are starting to pick up. Some clients are increasing their spending. And some clients' clients are increasing their spending. Folks are collaborating and innovating. Things may be looking up a bit.

As one of the leading indicators in the inevitable economic roller coaster, the marketing communications firm has an obligation. An obligation to help, not hinder, as we experience this slight turn in the right direction. Words of encouragement? Yes. Our clients need to hear those. But to be blindly optimistic or to stoke the coals of false hope? Well, come on, that's just downright counterproductive.

Now, more than ever, we owe it to our customers to be transparent. And to take measured steps based on the economic environment in which we now all play. With the understanding that many companies have been through the ringer (a ringer that includes the worst economic downfall since the Great Depression), we will come forth with thoughtful, necessary, effective and appropriate programs. Does that mean that these programs should not and cannot be aggressive? No, absolutely not. In fact, appropriate may very well mean aggressive. Aggressive enough to beat the competition to the punch perhaps? Maybe aggressive enough to allow for a faster category recovery. Or aggressive enough to provide a head-start. But knee-jerk? No, we will not go there. At this turning point, we will skip any temptation for the short term gain. The bigger picture AND the longer term demand this.

I'll end with one related thought – let's keep this little fruit fly buzz going. In fact, let's enhance that buzz. Remember what Mom used to say about the contagious nature of a good attitude. Well, it is so true. We all have a stake in this, the American economy. We, at Pilot Light, as communications experts, will use our gifts to get the good word out. What can it hurt? Hmm...just saying that felt good.

Yes indeed, something it starting to feel a bit different.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pilot Light World Wide Headquarters

The move has been made. Pilot Light has its new digs.

Great location. Great view. Inspirational surroundings. I mean heck, Ed has palm trees just out his window (and if you've seen Ed's island shirt collection, you know how much he appreciates the palm tree). On top of that, the friendly McKinney Street Trolley even slowly rumbles past our window throughout the day. This is a pretty cool little place.

We think that all of this matters because as an agency, we will be able to collaborate, strategize and create in a space that was destined for big ideas. It means we now have an ideal environment to meet with our clients (over a cold adult beverage, if they prefer).

The space reflects our culture and our brand. It isn't particularly flashy, but it has character and an atmosphere conducive to hard work.
As we look out our windows at Ed's new found palm trees and the downtown Dallas skyline, we can't help but think, this agency is steppin' it up.

So please, come visit. The location is 2531 B McKinney Street in Uptown...Dallas, Texas...75201.

"World Wide Headquarters"? Well maybe not. But my friends, Pilot Light has its new digs.

P.S.: A sincere thanks to Group Bolton for allowing us to share their space for the past 2 years.

The Authentic Dialogue

The Authentic Dialogue
Striking up a real conversation with your customer can be tough.