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Using your brand to recruit

Fast Fact: Professionals under 40 are 61 percent more likely to associate employer brand with job consideration.

Your company brand matters as much to employees as it does to customers.
With all the talk of aging boomers retiring at a record clip, companies need to be hyper-aware of strategies that attract top young talent and replenish the tanks. This is why reviewing your brand has never been more important. Do you look the part? Great branding, well-defined positioning and clear aspirations are essential. You need to have swagger. Having the look of the Fortune 100 player is no longer a “nice to have.” It makes all the difference for companies who want sustainable innovation and growth that comes from attracting the best people from the talent pool.

Top 3 Spy tips for gauging how attractive your brand is to top, young talent

1. Take a good look at your lobby or reception area – pretend you’re coming in for an interview for the first time – is this someplace you’d want to work if you were interviewing?

2. Send out a hipness survey to your people – on a scale of 1 to 6 (yes, 1 to 6 – so people can’t cop out and use “3” and be in the middle of the road – plus 1 to 6 is hipper!) – ask questions about the “want to work” here factor of your company’s image and brand. Have an “Idea Wall” where employees can post the brands and companies they like and admire, along with the reason WHY.

3. Ask yourself, Yes or No? Does your company Facebook page have digital cobwebs? Have you done anything to it in the last 3 months? Is the last picture you posted feature an uncomfortable group photo that looks like it’s from the Island of Misfit Toys? And speaking of online presence, when you point people to your website, do you always include an apology along with the caveat that you are “in the process” of redoing it?

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Why every brand needs to pull a rabbit out of their hat once in a while

Back when I was a remarkably cute little girl, I remember going to my grandparents’ house and watching their vacation slide shows and loving it. Every photo was more stunning than the one before. A peek into another world. Thrilling for me, right down to shots from the airplane terminal. Back when the travel protocol meant dressing in your Sunday best – it was an event. My grandma dolled-up in heels and drenched in her finest jewelry, and grandpa smartly attired in a well-fit suit and sporting dashing Italian leather loafers.

Today, one frisk at the TSA and you know the flying experience has changed. Most travelers dress for comfort, not style. Comfort trumps decorum in coach. And even in first class. And why not? In the last 20+ years, the airline industry has become more of a bully than an elegant transportation option on the route to adventure. Paying $50 for a checked suitcase and a hoping for a snippet of an in-flight snack coupled with a sardine seating arrangement has sucked the romance right out it.

Well, one airline is paying attention. This week, I came across a video that tickled the once implausible idea that airlines are starting to get it. WestJet Airlines understands the opportunity that lies in negative industry perceptions. They set up a virtual Santa Claus in the Toronto and Hamilton International Airports. Passengers who were waiting to board flights to Calgary shared what they wanted for Christmas with the virtual Santa. After everybody boarded the plane, the WestJet “elves” set off on a shopping spree to fulfill their passengers’ wish lists. After landing, the passengers waited at the baggage claim for their suitcases and to their surprise, out came fully-wrapped presents addressed to each and every one of them.

Was the universal perception of the new normal of a cattle call airline experience solved? No. But it’s good to be first with PR-rich gestures like the one WestJet pulled. Like Mad Men’s Don Draper says, “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” Good brands know when to be the first to do just that.

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How to Create a Viral Video (or how #2 became number #1)

Adweek just came out with their list of the 20 most viral video ads of 2013, which includes everything from PooPourri’s “Girls Don’t Poop”video to Kmart’s “Ship My Pants” video. (Wait, is there a theme here?)

The truth is, if we had penny for every “viral video”  we’ve been asked to produce, we’d be millionaires. And if we’d created enough of them we’d be billionaires. But this is no exacting science, friends. By definition, a viral video becomes popular through a meteoric and often unpredictable online sharing event and unfortunately, if someone promises you that your video will become the next Geico “Hump Day”, we’ve got some land in the Arabian desert we’d like to sell you.

It’s tough to get viral traction. And more often than not, more about dumb luck. There’s 8 trillion videos vying for eye space, give or take a billion. Which begs the million view question: how do you create a surefire viral video anyway? Even poop humor is no guarantee of success.

Here’s what we can promise—we’ll do our research and understand your brand and your target market. We’ll deliver innovative and creative thinking that matches your business goals and objectives. We’ll create a dissemination plan that is backed by your target market research and the knowledge of best practices in the online space. And then devise an amazing poop joke. Or something remarkably  a) hilarious, (b) heartwarming, or (c) heartbreaking, depending on your goals for global market domination.

What we do know is all viral videos have to start with that basic foundation and include a reason to get passed around. And hey, whenever you can throw in a poop joke or two, that may help too. But if you know of a foolproof plan, please let us know immediately. We’ve got a sh*tload of viral videos to create. So the sooner the better.

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To co-brand or not to co-brand? Recent trends indicate a semi-seismic shift.

J.Crew recently released their first foray into broadcast advertising with a new TV spot that’s high on holiday sentiment with a clever co-branding twist. The spot shows a lovely little all-American family making the all-important decision about what their annual family holiday card portrait will be (albeit, in a far more glamorous way than I ever remember as a kid). You can (and should) watch the painfully heartfelt spot here. Fair warning though: be prepared to feel bad about any holiday card you have ever been in. Ever.

What’s interesting, and in true Jenna Lyons form, is that the ad doesn’t actually plug J.Crew until the very end, and it’s positioned as more of a spot for MasterCard – a J.Crew partner procured to help simplify the buying process this holiday season. Looks like we know who paid the bulk of this production bill. No doubt this seems to be an emerging trend in retail marketing – big brands are getting even bigger by finding the right complimentary products to pair with their offerings. Any recent retail partnership can attest to that — Duluth Pack + Faribault Woolen MillsH&M + any high-end designerNike + bluesign. Every one of these partnerships not only opens up a new audience for both brands, but also increases the value of their products to consumers as they ride each other’s coattails into the hearts and minds of consumers. Brands are looking outward and hunting down the right partners to propel themselves forward. Are you?

The trick is doing your due diligence and soundly determining who should be your date. Think hard and think fast. And if you like it, put a ring on it. Might be a marriage made in heaven. No pre-nup.

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Target’s Simplicity Challenge

Simplicity. It’s the key to the success of almost any consumer product. Healthcare should be no different, yet in this particular realm, touting yourself as “simple” and “user-friendly” is a task much more easily said than done. 75% of health care professionals — you know, the people selling this stuff — don’t even understand their own health care plans! Alarming.

Enter Target’s Simplicity Challenge, a campaign that uses the bright idea of crowd sourcing to find the next healthcare innovation. They simply posed the question – what would you do to simplify healthcare? The general public certainly made their ideas known, with submissions ranging from mobile app ideas and outreach programs, to TV spots and experiential gimmicks to help bring health care to the every-man’s level. Judging will be done by 11 industry experts procured by Target, representing the  best and brightest from organizations like Medtronic, United Health Group, IDEO and Target, of course.
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Carpe Blogem

“The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.”
– David Ogilvy

I know what you’re thinking. Easier said than done – especially if you’ve read virtually any other business blog. You know it’s true. Most business brilliance being foisted online is boring and more regurgitated than breakfast for 10 from a mother Blue-Footed Booby. That’s a bird listed early in a Wikipedia article about regurgitation.

Being original isn’t easy. Let alone interesting. A blog about business, even a business as fast-paced, smart, sassy and sexy as the world of advertising, gets boring fast. You’re probably ready to quit reading this now. Hang on. All I’m saying is, making this blog worth a damn and not the typical advertising blog like the one’s you’ll find on (list omitted to protect almost everyone) will take a lot of Google linking, clever cookies—and a heck of lot more than a few cans of Coke, a couple bags of Doritos or shots of Patron. It’s going to take clever content and some damn good insights that you have yet to come across. Mind-blowing stuff. Revolutionary ideas. Einstein, rocket science, South Park, New England Journal of Medicine type of thing. Breakthroughs and solid thinking. Stuff that anyone who pulls their pants on one leg at a time and makes other people fabulously successful would think of on topics like branding and creative, social media and mobile, customer engagement, B2B, digital marketing. Anyway. Trust me. We’re working on it. We think we know a guy. Great sense of humor. But kind of a loose cannon.


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IVEY Awards 2013

Spyglass developed the big idea for the 2013 IVEY Awards.
Article from the Pioneer Press on the IVEY campaign kick-off

We’re encouraging everyone to get their superhero on for Minnesota theater’s most prestigious red carpet evening, September 23 at the Historic State Theater.

We’ll be there. Will you?

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Six Essential Tips for Online Events That Boost Your Brand

Company meetings and events are taking place online more than ever. And why not? They’re a smart way to rally the troops when face-to-face meetings aren’t an option. Whether it’s a small group or a super symposium with 800+ attendees, you need a plan if you want to get your message across and understood. Using my experience hosting virtual events around the world, here are my top six tips for hosting an online meeting that puts butts in the seats and eyes on the prize.

Think-through the tenor and tone. First and foremost, strategize how to get attendees engaged with the event. How are you going to keep their attention? What’s the theme? How can you make it interactive? And, even if it’s a serious topic, how can you use a little humor or personality? It doesn’t have to be overly clever, but it needs to make a connection with your audience and give them not just a reason to attend, but a reason to WANT to attend.

Create an invite communication plan. Nothing too fancy, but it needs to be done. One invitation is not enough. A “Save-the-Date” is the perfect opportunity to set the tone and pique interest; and then send a second invitation that contains more meeting info and what’s in it for them and why they should care. Then, plan on a date for the final reminder (I like to use virtual hosts, film clips or animation because they are fun and can have personality). Sending a “day-of-the-meeting” missive is also a good idea.

Let your host do the most.  The presenter needs to be onscreen at all times in some way—even if it’s in the corner of screen. If you are serious about getting a message across, it’s the best way to keep your audience engaged and all eyes on screen—and away from buzzing smartphone emails and alerts. Also consider using that “virtual host” for introductions and segues from speaker to speaker or topic to topic. It might sound weird, but it works. Using things like iPhone’s Siri or text-to-speech software to augment your presentation and cue specific “chapters” can really help.

Know thy virtual event technology platform. The quickest way to send a virtual event south in a hurry is technical difficulties right off the bat. Prep a little. Talk to your online event host to see which file formats work best and won’t interfere with pace or continuity. Do a dry run. Understand and overcome technical difficulties before they happen.

Don’t let them walk away without an action in mind. You need to think how you want the event to affect attendees IMMEDIATELY and what actionable idea they should leave with. What should they do or how should they think differently when they log out of the meeting and “get back to their desk”? What’s their role in making the vision you’ve presented come to life?

Follow up. Conduct a quick survey for immediate feedback. Then post video of the event and send an email to tell attendees where to find it. Keep polishing your presentation protocol and keep the communication going. You’ll be a pro in no time. And keep the momentum going!


Molly Rice is the co-founder and CEO of Minneapolis-based brand consulting firm Spyglass Creative. Rice and the Spyglass team work with companies who need to redefine, reposition or relaunch themselves in the marketplace. The agency’s proven process allows it to assess, develop and deliver a brand strategy and full complement of brand-building tools quickly, effectively and affordably.

Read the entire article on Minnesota Meetings + Events, and check out the video from the 2012 Spyglass holiday party.

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Six ways to rally your company during a rebrand (and how your agency can help)

Marketers know a rebrand is more than a shiny new logo or ad campaign. It requires a compelling vision (including your positioning) that can be understood and articulated by all—starting with your company’s leadership and employees.

Whatever the reason for the rebrand—entering a new market, targeting a new audience—your agency should help you sell the rebrand inside your company’s walls. Your most potent brand advocates are your colleagues. After all, if they haven’t bought into the rebrand and the philosophy behind it, why in the world would anyone else?

Having helped hundreds of companies go through the branding and rebranding processes, I have identified six steps to making sure your company is ready from the inside out.

To learn more about the 6 steps read the article at Marketing Profs

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4 steps to avoid brand decay

Updating your brand doesn’t have to be a daunting process. Here are the steps to make sure your brand is fresh, focused, and poised for the future.

You change your car’s oil every 3,000 miles, see your doctor every year, and visit the dentist every six months. But when was the last time you brought your brand in for a tune-up?

Taking your brand off the shelf, dusting it off, and giving it a buff and polish every five years is ideal. And 10 years is the bare minimum. Whether it’s front-and-center or simmering in the background, your business has experienced change over the last decade. Sometimes it’s a massive shift, like surviving a merger or acquisition or entering a new market, and sometimes it’s more subtle — achieving incremental growth or reacting to ongoing turmoil in your industry. Regardless, if you haven’t taken a hard look at your brand since George W. Bush was sworn into office, it’s time.

Updating your brand doesn’t have to be a daunting process. These four tips make it easy to give your brand a tune-up that’ll keep it running smoothly:

Find out the 4 tips at iMedia

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