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Success Strategies for Businesses and Employees

Tips, books and your questions answered. For businesses looking for help with their advertising to job seekers and freelancers wanting to enhance their career, this section is filled with success strategies just for you.
  1. Advertising Tips (180)
  2. Ask Paul (12)
  3. Before You Buy (3)
  4. Guides to Advertising / PR (10)

When Your Business Goes International
These days, it’s not at all difficult to reach a massive audience. The Internet has certainly made the world smaller, and competitively-priced technologies mean small businesses located in one part of the world can reach a global customer base. However, the ups of such massive reach also come with some interesting hurdles. And if you’re not careful, you could find yourself speaking to certain demographics in completely the wrong way. You may miss the mark, insult them, make them laugh (when they shouldn’t be laughing), or completely ruin your brand.

How Do You…? – Advertising Questions Asked and Answered
The Advertising channel has received a lot of questions over the past few months, and as always I try and answer the ones that I see recurring. The articles I have recently produced set out to put your mind at ease, or take away those nagging doubts. From advice on the inner workings of an agency, to getting a promotion and being inspired, here are some must-read articles for those of you looking for enlightenment.

Learn From the Skunk and the Bear
What do skunks and bears have to do with advertising, marketing and design? On the surface, not very much. Bit dig a little deeper, and you’ll see major relevance. We all know of the skunk, and the black bear, as separate animals. As they go, they’re very different creatures, but they do inhabit the same forest area. And while they have many similarities, including fur, four legs, mammalian, and omnivorous, the tale of the tape reveals two very different creatures.

Ridiculous Deadline? Sweating Bullets?
We’ve all been there, because the ad business is built on crazy deadlines and long nights in the agency. It will never, ever change either, because this is a service industry based around keeping the client happy. So, knowing that the inevitable crazy deadline will soon be upon you (or is as you read this…which begs the question, why aren’t you working on the brief?) what can you do to make sure the panic doesn’t take over?

The Toxicity Of Gossip.
One of the biggest agency problems is gossip. Chinwagging. Chit-chat. Tittle-tattle. Call it what you will, it’s really destructive. And yet it is the downfall of morale in every ad agency and in house department around the globe. You cannot eliminate it completely. That task is one even the most hardcore HR manager would have trouble doing. But you can help to reduce the impact of it greatly, if you know what to look for and how to deal with it.

What if Advertising Told The Whole Truth?
What if Ads Were 100% Honest? If we’re completely honest with ourselves, we know as either clients, account managers or creatives, we’d be setting ourselves an impossible task.

Hypothetical Advertising Questions
The About.com Advertising channel gets many, many questions every month. Some we can’t answer because it would take too long to respond to every one. Some we can’t answer because we’d be on shaky legal ground. Some, we just won’t answer and we’ll leave it at that. But, when we get similar questions on similar topics, we like to respond with articles that do a good job of fulfilling your ever-growing need for knowledge. Here then are a series of articles that start with a question, and hopefully give you all the answers you are looking for.

What Are Your Reasons for Using Social Media?
Social media is everywhere, and it’s prolific. Sadly, only the best advertisers, marketers and corporations are using it correctly. Almost everyone else is merely clogging the system with ill-conceived ads, pointless messages and ideas that have been blatantly crowbarred into this new format.

Advertising Events of 2013
Every year the calendar is filled with events that everyone in advertising, marketing and design should seriously consider attending. Some are bigger than others, some are broader, others quite niche. But what’s most important about these events, be they close to home or further afield, is the chance to let people in your agency broaden their...

Eight New Year’s Resolutions Advertiser’s Should Keep in 2013
The New Year is just around the corner. That means a brand new year filled with possibilities, and consumers who just cannot wait to be separated from their hard-earned cash. It also means advertisers will continue to shove the same tired promises down consumers’ throats, albeit dressed as shiny new ideas fresh for 2013. Well, enough is enough. It’s high time advertisers, and by that we include ad agencies, design firms and clients, make some genuine New Year’s resolutions that they actually stick to. Here’s the list.

How To Improve Department Morale
The workhorses in any creative department know who does the real work. They all know who the ideas people really are. They know the good art directors from the lazy ones. They know the talented copywriters from the hacks.

How To Get Customers, And Retain Them
The first is acquisition. Everything done to bring a customer to the fold, be it a new product or service, or even a free trial, is done under the acquisition umbrella. From the little samples you hand out in grocery stores, to full-blown billboards and multi-million dollar TV campaigns, this is where you spend money get a customer. The other side of the coin is retention. This is the marketing and advertising you do to keep customers. It can be freebies, events, mailing packs, phone calls or simply letting them skip a month on their mortgage or car payment

‘Tis The Season
Which holidays, you may ask? Well, let’s start with Halloween and Thanksgiving. They're the ones we just endured (or enjoyed). But you’ll find plenty of other good fodder in here to keep your advertising holiday cravings satisfied. Enjoy.

Advertising And Women
As a man, in advertising, I am writing this knowing that in the past I have created ads that are guilty of this objectification. As a man who consumes advertising, I can also say I have been affected by them in some way.

Seven Words Overused in Advertising
Words are as crucial to an advertising campaign as visuals, despite the recent trend for visual puns without headlines or copy. At the end of the day, people are not going to buy anything without reading something about it first. It’s just common sense. But, the English language has been used and abused over the last 50 or so years, and some words have certainly felt the effects of advertising. Outrageous claims, unsubstantiated facts and overly-salesy verbiage have created cynical consumers who don't trust advertisers as far as their asthmatic poodle could throw them.

Everything Is Branding
It’s amusing to see companies put out requests for branding campaigns. It’s also confusing, because clearly a lot of smart, well-educated, savvy businessmen and women don’t know what branding is. If they did, they wouldn't ask for a branding campaign. And the reason is simple – everything you do is branding.

Great Execution Is Not A Great Idea
It is not uncommon for lazy creative teams to seek out the cool execution first, and then back the product into that idea. And it happens all the time. In fact, if you look at Ads Of The world, it won’t take long to sift out those ideas that were made to fit the execution.

It’s OK to Do Nothing
If you see art directors and copywriters talking about movies, or shows, or sports, or a recipe for chili, you may think they're not working. In all instances, you are probably wrong. The fact of the matter is this; great creative ideas come from the subconscious mind. And the best way to let it work is to leave it alone.

Time is Your Most Precious Resource
If your agency is not paying attention to timelines, and things that can affect those timelines (poor briefs, bad information, improper preparation) then it will be wasting time redoing work, sometimes with rounds going into multiple digits. Time is to an agency what leather is to a shoemaker. It cannot function without an adequate supply of it, and if it wastes it, it goes out of business. Read on.

Learn To Share
From the largest advertising agencies in the world, to small shops with just a dozen or more employees, they all share one common thread – they all do work that needs to be seen. Usually, that means the work is seen by consumers or other such customers, be they b2b or b2c. But what’s staggering is how often agencies skip the step of sharing the work with each other, either during its creation, it’s deployment, or after the fact. And when employees of the company see the fruits of its labor after it as gone public, everyone misses out. You do not want an agency that is simply a sweatshop, pumping out work without ever sharing it and commenting.

Use Research Appropriately
When you want to find out about the product or service you are about to advertise, research is very helpful. As any good advertising creative will tell you, the more you know about what you're selling, the better your advertising will be.

Advertising Focus Group – The Definition of a Major Research Tool
A group of people, from different backgrounds, assembled to participate in a moderated discussion about a particular product, service or advertising campaign. It will either be used to gain insights before work has started, or used to judge and guide the work being done.

Give Everyone Great Opportunities
In advertising, especially in bigger agencies, there are great rewards that come with very hard work. Those rewards include travel to places all over the world, experiencing new products and services first hand, and meetings some very cool, rich, and often famous, people. However, while some agencies will try to share these opportunities as...

10 Articles To Help Your Advertising Agency Succeed
To combat the complacency, here are 10 articles to help your agency succeed. From improving feedback and presentations, to knowing some basic advertising methods, there’s a lot to sink your teeth into here.

Great Advertising Needs Great Clients – Part TWO
How Do You Get Great Clients? It’s not as easy as you might think. In fact, the relationship between agency and client is not unlike relationships between couples. There are clients and agencies that are a natural fit, and there are also clients and agencies that will always knock heads.

Truth In Advertising
IN advertising, a clever image is all well and good, but what’s it saying? Lots of copy is fine, but how do you get people to read it? And continue reading? Sure, celebrity endorsements work, but what message will they communicate? There’s only one answer to all of those questions, and it’s something that is at the heart and soul of every...

Get To Know, and Use, AIDA:
AIDA is one of the founding principles of most modern-day marketing and advertising. In fact, it's often said that if your marketing or advertising is missing just one of the four AIDA steps, it will fail. While that's not strictly true (a branding or awareness campaign does not necessarily need the Action step) you need to know about AIDA, and...

The Elevator Pitch
If you have an idea to sell and you meet a potential buyer, you need to jump on that opportunity and pitch it to that person quickly, and with confidence. A good elevator pitch can do wonders for your business or ad campaign.

QR Codes - The What, Why, How and When.
You may have noticed those small, checkered boxes gracing magazines, posters, billboards and even product packaging these days. They are called QR codes (the QR stands for Quick Response) and they're a type of barcode that allows someone with a mobile device to scan it, and be directed to a website or some other form of data. But where did QR...

The Greatest Risk Is Not Taking One
How many times have you rejected work because it was too risky? How many times have you played the safe bet? The problem is, every time you play safe, you take a bigger risk than going with the "dangerous" campaign. And your business is suffering as a consequence.

How To Create a Great Super Bowl Ad
What does a good Super Bowl spot have, and what is a bad Super Bowl spot lacking? Here’s some advice for agencies creating the work, and clients ready to buy it.

Don’t Forget Why You Got Into Advertising
Are we becoming a bunch of empty suits and hipsters finding more and more ways to justify our salaries? And if so, what can we do about it?

The Problems Of Advertising Sweatshops
Working long hours, weekends and holidays is considered the norm in the advertising industry. And it's all unpaid. But what affect does this have on the agency? It's quite possible that it could be destroyed, all for a few extra bucks.

Great Advertising Is Also About How You Conduct Your Business
It's no good spending big money on advertising campaigns if your business is failing to meet its own standards. Make sure you're doing what you can to make your business live up to its own hype.

FIVE Big Mistakes To Avoid In An Ad Agency Interview
Anyone in the advertising industry will go through dozens of interviews during their career. Many will keep making the same mistakes. Here are the five big ones, and how to avoid them.

How To Give A Good Creative Presentation
A bad presentation can kill a great campaign before it ever gets the chance to live. A good presentation can change the course of an agency, and the client, forever. Make sure you know how to rock your next creative presentation.

Don’t Contribute To The 89% Of Ads That Go Unnoticed
Did you know that almost every ad created, 9 out of 10 in fact, never gets noticed. That's shameful. But it can be avoided, if you know why it happens.

Why Creatives Should Always Present Their Own Work
Why are creatives often left out of creative presentations? We outline the reasons for and against their presence in the meeting room.

Loss Leader – Definition Of The Term “Loss Leader”
What is a loss leader? What are the advantages of using a loss leader strategy, and what are the downfalls? All is explained here.

Avoid the Puppets, Deal with the String Pullers
A long-needed solution to the problems of bad advertising and poor processes with advertising, marketing and design agencies.

Consumers Love New, Even When It’s Old
Why consumers will continue to buy new products and services, even when they are just a simple refresh of something old.

10 Advertising Books You Absolutely Must Read
A list of the best 10 books anyone in advertising should read

How To Make a Successful Viral Video
If you want to make a video that goes viral, here's what you need to know to get started.

Outdoor Advertising
The term outdoor advertising, also know as out-of-home (OOH) is a broad one that covers billboards, posters, transit wraps and much more. Learn what's involved, including the costs.

Is It a Good Strategy To Call Out Your Competitors?
Small companies have nothing to fear from their larger competitors. They may not have the money, but they do have the ability to play David to their Goliath. And it's usually a successful strategy. Find out why.

10 Things You Can Do To Help Your Ad Agency Do Better Work. PART TWO
In part one of this two-part special, we looked at five ways a client can work more effectively with their agency of record. To recap, those five ways were: 1 – Remember Who The Professional Advertisers Are. 2 – Know EXACTLY What Your Objective Is Before You Meet Your Agency. 3 – Agree On a Strategy Before Pencil is put to Paper 4 – Don’t Expect Miracles. Great Work Is Not Done Overnight. 5 – Information is Currency. Now, we will complete the list. And we continue with a point that will have every creative person nodding in agreement.

10 Things You Can Do To Help Your Ad Agency Do Better Work.
If you’re a client that regularly deals with an advertising agency, here are 10 tips you should follow to make sure you get the best out of your chosen firm. Remember, you are both in it for the same reason…to make money. You will make more if they do effective work, and they will make more by attracting other clients who saw the effective work they did for you.


Look at 12 ways you can help your clients think a little differently about their brand, their products and services, and their ad campaigns


Get your client to stand out from the crowd. Show them the bravery, and different ideas, can lead to great success.

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