A good early indicator of which way the economy is trending may be found in marketing budgets. And many early indicators point to a growth trajectory, according to Dan OÂ’donnell, president of Odonnell visit us.o. His visit us.hapel Street marketing firm is growing at what he calls Â“a good speedÂ” right now and he reports a solid 2011.
Pictured: Barneys' 'Gaga Workshop' microsite, created with a major assist from New Haven's Digital Surgeons.
Â“Marketing tends to be an early economy indicator Â— the first budget companies cut in a downturn, and one of the first things that companies start spending on when the economy starts to recover,Â” he buy valium online no prescription.Â Â“Our growth is likely an early indication that the economy is starting to recover.Â” Odonnell has found growth in a very specific click here. The company works with leading corporate and public-benefit clients throughout the Northeast promoting their clientsÂ’ products and services. For the past few years, Odonnell tramadol generic. has been charged with promoting transportation alternatives in Washington, D.visit us., the metropolitan area that boasts the dubious distinction of having the nationÂ’s worst traffic congestion.
In September, Odonnell’s marketing efforts led to a record level of involvement in Washington D.C.'s 2011 Car-Free Day, exceeding the previous year’s pledges by nearly 70 percent. In addition to the significant increase in pledges, this year’s event enjoyed an increase in the amount and type of media coverage and leveraged new and existing partnerships to encourage participation.
Combined success in each of these areas helped drive residents to car-free and “car-lite” transportation options and raise awareness of Commuter Connections, a regional network of transportation organizations coordinated through the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), a sponsor of the event.
Serving as the marketing agency for Commuter Connections, Odonnell Co. crafted a well-orchestrated campaign on many fronts: the engagement of Commuter Connections’ network members to drive participation in their local jurisdictions, a mass marketing campaign to raise awareness of Car-Free Day, outreach to past Car-Free Day and Bike-to-Work Day participants through e-mail, a rolling earned media campaign to keep the buzz going complemented by a strong and engaged social-media profile, and the generous support of a number of sponsors who bolstered the effort with donations of prizes and giveaways.
Efforts at Odonnell Co. are now turned to creating a new campaign for Washington, D.C.’s 2012 Bike-to-Work Day, an event expected to generate more than 11,000 people pedaling to work on May 18.
Woodbridge Firm Took Write Approach
While Odonnell took its business to the nation’s capital, a small Woodbridge firm achieved success this year through supporting a neighbor. When Janet Leslie Productions took on the Write Approach’s Facebook posts, the shop for invitations, stationery and distinctive gifts was doing minimal advertising or social media.
Leslie began to connect the shop with its vendors online and posting about new arrivals in the store.
“Not only did we post on their own Facebook page but we also connected them to everyone we thought fit their customer's interests,” says Liza Adelberg, who oversees client projects and social media for Janet Leslie. “Any opportunity to share the Write Approach's own business personality was taken advantage of.”
“On one occasion, we connected them to a vendor, Juliska, to talk about great ideas for bridal registry. With the increased activity in the social media world and talking about a topic that was hot on the minds of the New York International Gift Fair, the Write Approach was asked to participate in creating an online profile for their website,” explains Adelberg. Shop owners Gail Greenberg and Pearl-Ellen Shure and they were invited to an exclusive industry award dinner in New York City that was honoring Michael Aram, a creator of gifts fabricated from metal.
The exposure, according to Adelberg, led to them feeling like a major player in their industry despite being a small business in sleepy Woodbridge, Connecticut.
“The Write Approach has taken baby steps when it comes to big, splashy marketing/advertising campaigns,” says Adelberg. But what they do, they do well and their social media presence has made a big impact.”
Lady Gaga, Meet Barneys
For New Haven’s Digital Surgeons, 2011 was the year for splashy. And who says splashy (or flashy) better than Lady Gaga?
In late November, after what Digital Surgeons’ President David Salinas called months of hard work and late nights, the firm completed production on the microsite for Barneys’ Gaga’s Workshop, a holiday promotion between Lady Gaga and Barneys that Digital Surgeons had a part in designing.
Gaga’s Workshop has taken over a floor of Barneys’ flagship Madison Avenue location with a whimsical wonderland of Gaga-inspired merchandise. The site made the Favourite Website Awards’ Public Shortlist in November within days of its launch.
Barneys will donate 25 percent of sales from all items featured in Gaga’s Workshop to the Born This Way Foundation, which focuses on youth empowerment and equality.
The Lesser Evil
Elements Design had 2011 in the bag. The Branford graphic design and marketing communications shop had an interesting project fall into its lap as a referral from an existing client. Lesser Evil Brand Snack Co. was recently purchased by another company.
Product sales had been flat for several years before the new company purchased Lesser Evil with hopes of relaunching the brand and the product.
According to Amy Graver, Elements’ president and creative director, “When we were approached, our client had no name for their kettle corn products. One of our challenges was that the client needed to fulfill orders and did not want to reprint the old bags, which he was nearly out of, so we had an extremely tight turnaround.”
Graver continues: “Another challenge was that our client came to us — like so many clients do — without a clear vision. He had mentioned something about using a ‘cartoon beaver a la Disney-style,’ were his words. Luckily, the client/designer trust was there and it was easy to move away from that confusing, disjointed direction.”
Graver’s team began with research that quickly led to sketches and several brainstorming sessions to generate a possible product name, agreeing on “Fields Good.”
“After we e-mailed concepts to our client, his response was, ‘You nailed it,’” Graver reports. “It was a whirlwind of design from there. [Elements Senior Designer] Ben Jura worked tirelessly around the clock to create some really sweet artwork for the bags’ design. The client was very excited about everything we presented and the project moved very quickly into production,” says Graver, who calls “satisfying” the process to create a brand from the ground up and being involved in not only the design, but the brand’s personality, voice and positioning in the marketplace.
“When you have the opportunity to name a product and design everything surrounding it — including the copy — you have the gratification to see your vision come to life,” she says.
Two Firms: Two Dozen Awards
Bethany-based Mason Inc. earned 13 Mercury Awards including both “Best in Show” honors during the statewide public relations ceremony in 2011. The firm received the most awards of all entrants, taking home seven awards in the tactical categories and four in the campaigns category.
In strategic campaigns categories, Mason was awarded four gold awards; two for a United Illuminating Co. campaign for special events and observances with Earth Day and for marketing energy efficiency, one for crisis communications for Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut, and another for Connex Credit Union’s integrated communications program for its “Vice President of Unbanking” campaign. That integrated communications program also won Mason a Best in Show award in the campaigns category.
Mason received six gold awards and one silver award in the tactical categories. The firm received both silver and gold awards in the editorials/op-ed category for its work with United Illuminating. In the brochures category, Mason earned a gold award for “Art to Healing” for Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH). Mason also won a gold award in the website category for its work with the Hospital for Special Care and received three gold awards for its work with Connex Credit Union: one in the nontraditional communications category for Connex’s Holiday Special, one in the creative tactics category for the “Vice President of Unbanking” campaign and one in the research/evaluation category for Connex Credit Union Research, which went on to win the Best in Show award in the tactics category.
The Mercury Awards recognize outstanding work in public relations, communications and marketing professions throughout Connecticut and are sponsored by the Connecticut Valley, southern Connecticut and Westchester/Fairfield chapters of the Public Relations Society of America.
Mason also was awarded a Silver Telly, the highest honor at the Telly Awards in the commercial category for its work with YNHH’s Smilow Cancer Hospital. The awards recognize outstanding local, regional and cable television commercials and programs, as well as the best video and film productions, Web commercials, videos and films.
Mason’s winning commercial was part of the “Closer to Free” ad campaign developed for Smilow. It was the uplifting and positive tone that distinguished the 60-second spot from other hospital campaigns by displaying people living their lives with the empowering message that this life is “Yours — not cancer’s.”
Also in 2011, Worx Branding & Advertising of Prospect earned 11 American Graphic Design Awards in the national juried competition by Graphic Design USA magazine. With the new awards, Worx maintains the distinction of having won more American Graphic Design Awards since 2005 than any other agency in the country — 64 citations in 12 categories.
The Graphic Design USA competition is the most inclusive — and among the most discerning — in the marketing industry. On average, less than ten percent of the 10,000 entries are recognized each year by a third-party jury of marketing experts. Entrants include the largest agencies in the world, all the way down to individual freelancers.
While accepting the awards, Worx President and Chief Creative Officer Grant Copeland said it had been an incredible run to have won this many awards over multiple years in such a rigorous competition.Worx won national awards for clients including Barnum Financial, Crystal Rock, ESPN, Ski Sundown, Special Olympics, Team Epic, United Way, Winter Antiques Show and YMCA. The 11 awards set a new high mark for Worx; the shop had won ten awards twice, in 2006 and 2009.
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