It’s like Groundhog Day all over again!

Did you know that Punxsutawney Phil has been predicting the possibility of an early spring for over 130 years? How do you predict your brand’s success year after year? Are you content with “seeing what happens” as in “will he or will he not see his shadow?” Or are you finding ways, right now, to make sure you see an early “spring” in profits, consumer engagement, employee morale, brand recognition, market share, website conversions, and everything else that will make your brand successful in 2020?

It seems that too often brands react to what “the other guy” is doing rather than being “the other guy” that everyone is watching. Being your category leader isn’t all that hard. Really! You’d be surprised at how apathetic your competition is. While they are busy looking for signs from “the universe” you should be out there building your brand every day.

I see this a lot in banking. Think about the “push-back” you get from all of the overly conservative forces your department is up against every day, like shrinking marketing budgets, unadventurous presidents, BODs who do not like change, aging depositors who also do not like change, government regulations, expensive technology—will it work or not? The list goes on. Is it just better to “stay the course”? I guess only time and results will answer that. But, if you prefer a bit more excitement, I recommend you try something new this year. Get a tiny bit out of your comfort zone. Maybe it’s a new brand creative direction, messaging, look, color palette, logo evolution, tagline or internal process. Have you tried brand archetyping yet?

Being a leader is fun!

To keep it simple, I tell my clients to take a hard look at their competitors in the marketplace. What do they own? Are they positioning themselves as the “local” bank or credit union? If so, let em’ have it! Position your institution as the leading resource for something totally different—something you do better than anyone else—and go for it!  I’ll bet you could be viewed as the leader in one of these areas: technology, customer experience, product development, convenience, etc. Find your leading differentiator and run with it!

Don’t be the leader in “customer service”, everyone thinks they are.

You need something that can belong to you and only you. If you’re more “innovative” than your competition, prove it! If you’re more “convenient” than your competition, prove it! If you’re more of anything than your competition, you have to prove it at every touch point. People do not have the capacity to think of you as best at everything. Pick one and own it! Once you do, market that message constantly and consistently.

Don’t worry about what your competition is doing next, rather, make them worry about what you’re doing next! Great creative execution combined with a compelling offer or solution, is a tough act to beat. The most successful brands in the world understand this formula and excel by using it. As always, I recommend you seek professional help to get it right (not a groundhog).

Remember, Groundhog Day is just a hopeful reminder of brighter days ahead. Make every day brighter for your brand. Use today as a springboard for tomorrow’s success, and then repeat.

Contact Dan!

So, traditional advertising is dead, huh?

Maybe it’s time to re-think that. I’m not going to bash digital, so no #okboomer from you younger, far better-looking people wearing beanies and reading this blog on your cell phone. 😉

I’m here to say that nothing is more awesome than traditional advertising! Digital is a great avenue to include in the mix, but it does have its limitations. Let’s face it, there’s not a lot of room for creativity on tiny banner ads.

So, I propose that marketers stop looking for the next big, inexpensive thing, and get back to what actually works. What actually brings a return on investment. Get back to maximizing your dollar returns, not just your click-thru rates or website conversions. Hell, a billboard on the side of the road could be the cause of a ton of website “conversions.” As could the other 5,000+ messages we see, hear, smell and feel every day!

So let’s look at all the avenues that a brand should use to make money. That is the name of the game, right? Businesses (yup, including banks and credit unions) need to make money. Number one on the list. Sorry for being so blunt.

Let’s stick with financial institution marketing for now. What is a solid marketing mix for a community bank or credit union? Obviously, you’re limited by the marketing area and budget.  But even if you cannot be everywhere, at least you can “own” where you are being seen, heard and felt. Here’s a great list for a community bank or credit union with a limited budget:

  • TV (local network or cable)
  • Radio – terrestrial (on air or streaming) or targeted satellite
  • Newspaper (for your all-important aging depositors)
  • Outdoor and transit (depending on availability)
  • Paid media buys on social media (where most of your younger audience is)
  • Emails from custom audience lists that follow you on social
  • Google PPC to track your digital marketing efforts
  • Direct mail (yup, actual physical mailers)
  • Blogs on your website (to prove you know what the heck you’re talking about)
  • Merchandising in and around all branch offices
  • Web video archived on your site or on your YouTube Channel

Do you see how the above mix is all-inclusive? I guaranty that if you follow this list, you will make money for your organization. That’s why they hired you.

Don’t try this at home kids! I highly recommend hiring experts that do these activities everyday to assist you. The one thing they may be able to add here is real creativity. Customers, members and prospects respond to great creative and an excellent offer. They really like it—without pressing a little heart on the screen. They actually press your number on their phones and sign up for something you’re selling.

So, once again, not beating up on digital marketers out there. Just hoping to add some value to your job performance. Please don’t ever say traditional advertising is dead. That will never happen. Embrace its awesomeness!

Contact Dan!

Building a brand from the inside out.

On the surface, building a brand from the inside out is sort of a given, right? Treat your “team” well and they will be happy; a happy team then creates a stronger brand. It’s a nice thought and meme headline from a sales guru, but going a little deeper, it’s important to look at and closely study the psychological and sociological factors that actually go into building a brand from the inside out.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a professional psychologist or sociologist, but I am a guy that is successfully running a marketing company over the last 25 years. I cannot stress enough that in order to be successful in marketing, you must have a thorough understanding of people in general, and what makes them tick. Over the years I’ve learned what truly motivates people is truthfulness, the ability to listen, and providing an environment of complete respect and cooperation.

Ask any successful business owner of a strong brand what percentage of their job is managing personnel, either in-person or through a subordinate, (i.e. HR, senior manager, account executive, etc.), and what percentage of their job is actually doing their “job,” they will most likely say it’s about 50/50.  They’ll also say, “that is my job.”

It doesn’t really matter the size of the company either. One example I like to use is Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group. If you know of him, as I’m sure you do, can you imagine him not being extremely hands-on with his entire team? I wouldn’t be surprised if he knows each of his holding group’s 35,000 employees by first name! A content and empathetic team fosters a successful brand.

I certainly don’t have 35,000 employees, but over the years I have employed some wonderfully intelligent people. By design, my individual team members have always been way smarter than me (in my opinion) at what they do. But, if there was a general area I hope my management style has rubbed off on them over the years, it would be the importance of humanity, and with that, human psychology and sociology. You simply cannot have a successful brand without this.

Treating your people well is important, for sure, but that alone does not build a successful brand. Truly understanding your people is more of a feeling than a word or action. When you hear someone say “I feel you” in its contemporary meaning, it’s really getting very close to what I am talking about. A successful company or brand is one where everyone (from every level of authority) has a true desire to mindfully listen, learn, cooperate and “feel” each other to excel as a team.  That same desire will ultimately be extended to your clients, resulting in a very successful partnership.

So, if upon “brand soul-searching” you find that your company’s brand needs some work, start inside. Set aside times where you and various groups of your entire team can discuss your brand and determine ways to strengthen it. Get others involved. This is not just a marketing function. It’s a whole-company function. The more involved you make your team members, the more inclined they are to get excited about being a part of something important and noble. Once the internal vision is unified, you can enlist the assistance of a marketing company to bring your vision to life.

It’s amazing what most people can “feel” if they truthfully open their minds. Add this ability to their natural intelligence and capabilities, and, wow, they can do just about anything—including successfully working with others to build a brand from the inside out.

Contact Dan!


Branding vs Marketing. Do you know the difference?

You’d be surprised how often the two terms are used synonymously! So, if you need a quick refresh, here you go.

Have you ever been to a party or out for drinks with some professionals and heard one of them say “yeah, our company’s going through a rebranding?” What does this actually mean? Is it safe to assume you’ll be seeing all sorts of new creative TV spots, billboards, digital ads, bus kings, elevator posters, online radio spots, transit ads, minute videos, street art, some grassroots or guerilla tactics, news stories and on-site promotions to name a few? The answer is probably; but only if the branding (or in this case the rebranding) has a marketing rollout.

The “branding” aspect of the above company rebrand has more to do with discovering and developing what it is about your brand that is attractive to the desired customer segment, and what value it will bring to them. It’s establishing a firm understanding of the true characteristics, values and singular attributes that clarify and differentiate your brand from its competitors. After all the research and introspection is accomplished, the development of a new brand identity can begin to take shape (a name, a look, a feel and an overarching message) that will ultimately portray these characteristics in a positive way that will resonate with your defined target audience.

If branding was akin to dating and you had a very good understanding of who your brand is, what your core values are, and who to best target for a long relationship, your branding would start at the affection phase. The affection phase is that period of time when a lot is learned about the object of your desire (target audience) and what you need to do to get noticed and ultimately win them over.

Let’s face it, your brand may not be like a Brad Pitt or Scarlett Johansson on the dating scene. So, when you’ve learned everything there is to learn about your primary and secondary target audiences, and you finally put yourself out there, you may have to test a few things in the process. You’ll need to try a few new looks perhaps (brand identity), work on your game (messaging), and figure out what makes you different, special and totally attractive (unique selling proposition) to this particular group.

Once you clearly see the best way to win your target audiences’ hearts and minds, it’s time to put the word out there in hopes of building your dating pool (market share). This, my friend, is where “marketing” comes into play. Marketing is utilizing the important branding information you’ve learned about your brand and your target audience to develop tactical activities to mesh with like-minded consumers, encourage trial, inspire consumer loyalty and support ongoing sales success. Marketing is getting the word out there!

If you believe your brand is the perfect fit for your target audience, let them know—constantly! Just like the dating scenario, interest in your brand can be short-lived, because, well, people are busy, fickle and the competition is relentlessly, brazenly and unapologetically coming on to your desirable customer. It’s up to you, and your brand evangelists to use every marketing technique in the book to stay on their mind night and day!

So, in simplistic business terms, “branding” is creating potential relationships by identifying who your brand is, as well as who would benefit most by utilizing your brand’s core values and offerings. “Marketing” is creating the need for your brand by taking all of this information and connecting your brand with the target audience(s) who are most likely to value and use your brand.

The strongest and most successful marketing programs unite branding and marketing. You have a better chance of winning the hearts and minds of your market if you truly know what your brand stands for. Then, it’s all about making them fall in love—and stay in love with you!

Contact Dan!


Does your brand have a personality?

Of course!

Like all of us, your brand does indeed have a personality. And much like our own personality, your brand’s personality can evolve over time. It can become more refined, relevant, smarter and savvy. It can also become safer, overly practical, cynical, and downright boring. Let’s hope the latter never happens especially in these technologically exciting times. And if it does (or has), it’s time to shake things up!

When developing a brand positioning plan for our clients in all industries, one of our discussion items is a brand personality test. As part of this test, we ask our sample of employees, from every level of authority within the organization, a few questions about their brand.

Our first brand personality question is; “If your brand was a car, what kind of car is it today and why?” We follow that up with “What kind of car would you like your brand to be in 5 years and why?” What we’re hoping to gain from this exercise is an understanding of general internal perceptions regarding their brand’s attributes today and what they would like to be known for in the future.

As you know, a brand is built from the inside out. So, getting this information is ideal for marketers in many ways. If there is a general consensus (or close to one) marketers will know if the internal brand perception is one that requires an overhaul or simply a few tweaks. In either case, what are the implications and is senior management prepared to accept this information and take action?

Here’s an example. In a recent brand personality test we gave to a local bank; the consensus of the staff was that “we’re a 1978 Cadillac Eldorado. We’re roomy, comfortable, classic, we have an 8-track tape player with a John Denver cassette stuck in it, we get noticed because we’re a dying breed, you don’t see cars like us anymore.”

So, what kind of car would they like to be in the future? “We would like to be a late model Cadillac Escalade. Roomy and comfortable for all yet tech heavy, with every imaginable bell and whistle. We’d also like it if people wanted to know more about us,” and say “there’s something interesting there. Can I come along for the ride?”

You can easily see the attributes of their current brand’s personality and the aspirations the staff has about how they’d like to be viewed in the future. Interestingly, both cars are Cadillacs, not Ferraris, Lambos, or even Mercedes. Reading between the lines, the staff clearly wants to be that dependable, comfortable and reliable friend their customers know them as, but they also want to be seen as very intelligent, successful, tech-savvy and a bit mysterious and alluring.

If their bank already has the structure and willingness to evolve, it’s now just a perception issue. So, as marketers, if we update the branding message with the desired brand personality, the bank will have to back it up with every touch point. If they say they will but aren’t 100% committed to change, they will remain that classic 78 Caddy Eldorado with the 8-track tape player and watch their competition fly by them in the fast lane.

For this bank, as it is for most, everyone from the Board to the tellers knows they have to reach a younger demographic segment to survive even 5 years. Competition is already lightyears ahead of them with messaging and technology. They’ve figured out a way to attract younger customers while not upsetting their important older depositors. Think of it this way, even the aging account holder likes a big, roomy Escalade. They may take a nap in it, but that’s okay as long as they are happy and comfortable.

Here’s what you can do. As a simple exercise, bring a sample of staff members of every level of authority, one at a time, into the conference room. Shut the door, take 15 minutes and administer this brand personality test. Make sure they know that this is an anonymous test, and that you’re looking to see if there is a general consensus. They may not say exactly the same cars, but it’s more important for you to ascertain the brand’s current attributes, as perceived by your staff, and what they’d like the perception to be in the future.

After you’ve compiled all the answers, and drawn your conclusions, you should see your current brand personality clearly and where you need it to evolve to. This information is exactly the stuff senior management needs to hear for future growth, attracting Millennials, sales, cross-sales, relationship-building and employee satisfaction. If you need some help reading “between the lines”, I’m just a phone call away and I’d be happy to help.

Contact Dan!


How important is a tagline?

Hello. As usual, this is an opinion-based blog from a guy that’s been doing this for a while. I don’t use a lot of graphs and charts in my blogs because you can google that anytime you want. If you want my take on the subject, please read on.

In my opinion, your brand’s tagline is the single most important element of your brand. It’s that one little, memorable statement that encapsulates your entire brand promise. Because of that, everything you do to promote your brand has to support that tiny yet weighty phrase. An example I like to use is BMW. Whether you agree with BMW’s tagline or not, they own it in every way, shape and form. “The Ultimate Driving Machine®.”

So, if you’re car shopping and someone recommends that you look at a BMW, your first reaction may be, “I can’t afford a Beemer!” That’s exactly the perception BMW wants you to have. They are a desirable, exclusive “club” that a lot of people would aspire to be a part of. BMW doesn’t have to prove the quality or the innovative features of their cars to you, their tagline and supporting marketing communications materials already take care of that. When you learn that you can actually buy the ultimate driving machine and be a part of that exclusive club all within your budget, the competition simply dissolves away regardless of their declared superior quality and the state-of-the-art “bells and whistles” they may offer.

The right tagline can make the difference between a successful brand and a failing one. A tagline shouldn’t need an explanation. It is exactly what the brand represents. So, let’s say you’re with a bank and you want to be perceived as innovative and millennial-friendly, you’re tagline shouldn’t be “Your community bank since 1889.” That ship sailed in the early 2000’s when the big banks were messing everything up for the entire FI sector. At that time, longevity and stability were more important than technology and convenience.

For banks and credit unions, this shouldn’t come as a surprise; your depositors are aging. You need to appeal to a younger demo to survive. I suggest you take a hard look at your tagline first. What simple statement would encourage trial by younger customers and/or members, but not offend your valued older account holders?

A tagline is a simple fix that will shape all of the future communications of your brand. A good example of this is John Deere, Nothing Runs like a Deere®. I’ve owned a John Deere lawn tractor and a Simplicity® as well as a Toro®. I thought they all did a comparable job, but I just felt better riding a Deere. My perception of John Deere was that it was a high-quality lawn mower. The best, I guess. The consistent brand messaging and onboarding materials I received only supported my perception. One last thing, I did pay a premium for my John Deere, but to me, it was just a personal investment in my own (supposed) peace of mind.

Can you update and/or change your tagline entirely? The answer is yes. With technology changing so fast, an older tagline may be just stating half of your new brand essence. Like I said, in the early to mid 2000’s “Your community bank since 1889” may have been right on the money! That’s not the case anymore. It screams “we haven’t changed since 1889!” Is that a viable market perception for growth in 2020 and beyond? (Rhetorical question folks.)

Take a look at your company’s tagline, does it feel a bit antiquated? Is it time for a tagline makeover? A new tagline symbolizes a new direction in your brand’s core messaging. There are very few things that can get your entire staff as excited and engaged as the promise of a new creative direction. New internal and external communications will give your people a renewed sense of pride to be a part of something big—all because of a tiny, little phrase.

If you think you might need a tagline makeover, let me know and we’ll put our heads together. Until then, be “the best a man can get” and ”Just do it”. Why? “Because you’re worth it”.

Contact Dan!


Why humor in brand advertising is so important.

What you’re about to read is the opinion of an ad guy (me) that’s been doing this for 25 years. I’m not going to barrage you with stats and graphs, but I will provide you with why (I think) humor works so well, particularly with branding.

You may or may not be aware that in any given day, thousands of marketing messages are flashed in front of our eyes, ears, noses and fingers. Every human sense is a target. What do we do? Well, most of us do our best to avoid the “noise.” We do this because most marketing messages are so futile that they actually deplete our intellect.

When we see a never-ending ad for some prescription drug that’s 30% (bad) acting and 70% legal (CYA) declaimer, we change the channel. When we hear a radio spot about how some car dealership offers the “best price first” so there’s “no negotiation necessary,” we yell “BS” and then change the station. Why is it that companies pay big bucks for advertising that people can’t stand or simply don’t believe? I suppose they have their reasons, but I still don’t get it.

Humor, in any medium, sets the advertiser apart. It creates “theater of the mind” for listeners, a 30-second smile for viewers, and can leave a really good “taste in the mouth” for your brand. People like to laugh and feel good. Right? People relate to a brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously, at least in public. There’s enough to be angry, serious and upset about out there. Why would you want your advertising to add fuel to that fire?

I think the reality is that humor is hard. It’s challenging. Just ask anyone who has tried stand-up comedy. When you kill it, you can drop the mic, but when you bomb, the only thing you should drop is your act—and a few resumes in the mail.

Humor that bombs in any medium is painful to your audience. The cringe factor is almost as bad as fingernails to a chalkboard. So why bother, right? You’re not funny, right? That’s why you should keep funny and smart people on your team. You may know everything there is to know about running your business, but humor just isn’t your strong suit. That’s fine, but I’ll bet you do know “funny” when you see it. Am I right?

Humor in advertising makes an emotional connection between your brand and your audience. All of a sudden you become relevant and memorable. You’re even attracting a new demographic audience–you know, the one everyone is going after. Humor creates a positive response in an otherwise negative media environment. Humor makes people happy, at least ephemerally, and leaves a lasting impression way back in the mind. If they see enough of your humorous messaging, aka a great campaign, that impression moves to the “top of mind.” That’s exactly where you want it! When they’re ready to buy, to switch or to try, your brand is the first thing that will come to mind.

Short and funny can last a long, long time. Believe it or not, there is humor in everything from circuit board manufacturing to banking. You just have to find it. Once you find it, by all means share it. We all love a good laugh. For more information on humor in brand advertising, and for a few chuckles, check out the McDougall + Duval on our YouTube Channel

Contact Dan!


Tales of a College Intern

As the summer comes to an end and I get ready to go back to college, I have been reflecting on my whole internship experience leading up to this point. Though it has been challenging at times, the internship process has been very influential and crucial to both my career development and my growth as a writer. I feel that it is important for both students and potential intern employers to know what the internship process is really like from someone who went through it at just 19-years-old.

My internship experience can be divided into two parts: the search and the internship. This fall, I will be returning to Endicott College for my sophomore year. I am a Marketing Communications major and an Events Management minor. Part of what makes Endicott so great is the internship program. Before we graduate, students are required to complete two 120-hour internships and one semester-long internship. We take classes to prepare us for the internship/job hunt. The class and the internship center at Endicott helped me style my resumè, but no class could prepare me for the hunt. With my extracurricular activities, volunteer hours, and 3.96 GPA in college, I thought that getting an internship would be a breeze. I was very wrong.

I would search the Internet for internship opportunities and advertising agencies where I would want to work. I contacted a few at a time, thinking that at least one of them would be happy for a winter or summer intern. Time after time, I would be either rejected or outright ignored. After all of the work I had put in, I wondered why no one wanted me as an intern. Talking to some older students who had gone through the process before, I learned that a lot of places did not want to hire an intern so young. I had no official experience in advertising despite my classes and retail sales background. All of my upperclassman friends shared that they also had trouble finding their freshman year internship.

Finding this internship at McDougall and Duval taught me a very important concept in any field: networking. I had been told my whole life how important networking was, but I did not realize how helpful it was until I used it. One of my senior friends competing in the National Student Advertising Competition with me noticed my struggle to find an internship and recommended that I try this agency. She had interned here and enjoyed the experience. When I reached out, I made sure to mention her name in the email. Dan Duval immediately got back to me, and by January I had my summer internship lined up. Thanks to our mutual connection, I ended up here and gaining a great experience in the field.

McDougall and Duval hired me as an intern when no one else would. Why? I will admit that a huge part of it had to do with networking. However, this agency was willing to work with a 19-year-old college freshman because its team truly understands the purpose of an internship. It is not necessarily for a free employee. If a company hires an intern and expects a free employee, they are in for a rude awakening. An internship is meant to teach students and give them experience. They can produce great work for you, but they need to be taught how. That being said, the age of an intern should not be a huge factor in deciding whether or not to hire them. Who is to say that an 18-year-old will not be a better fit for your company than a 22-year-old, or even a 45-year-old? In addition, experience can be a factor in choosing an intern, but it should not cloud your judgement. After all, how can a student gain experience without someone giving them a chance? The best intern could be young and have little field experience, and sometimes it is beneficial to take a chance on him or her.

Once my internship began, I had a year’s worth of college experience and marketing communications classes with me. Since starting here, I have had the opportunity to work with many different clients and learn several skills. Here are my five greatest learning experiences from interning at McDougall and Duval.

    1. Blogs:

    This summer, I have become the resident Gen Z blogger. I have been researching and writing blogs about who Gen Z is and how to reach them. Not only did I learn about the generation and advertising through my research, but I also learned more about market research itself. I worked on finding credible sources about the market and interpreting my findings to create my blogs.

    Through and through, I have always been a writer. I entered my major with the intent on becoming a copywriter, and started to realize that public relations was my true calling. The best part about writing these blogs is that it is a style of writing that I had little experience with. It was nonfiction writing to be published, but I was given creative freedom to pursue any topic and angle that I wanted. I had to know my target market to be successful, but I had a lot of leeway in regards to my writing and research. These blogs are some of my best works ever because I was genuinely interested in the topics, and they were my own. I did not have a structure or rubric to hold me back, allowing my skill and talent to be used to its full potential.

    1. Meetings:

    I know it sounds odd to say I actually saw value in meetings, but the ones that I attended were surprisingly good learning tools. I sat in on several meetings on a variety of topics, from client meetings to brainstorming sessions. First of all, I learned a lot about meeting dynamics. It was interesting to find how one meeting was different from another depending on the setting and participants. A typical brainstorming meeting would be out on the deck (yes, our office has a deck) and very casual. A new client meeting would be a little more formal, being held in the conference room with the attire being business casual. Every meeting had a different dynamic to it, and I learned to quickly read the setting and act accordingly.

    Meetings also struck a chord with me because I participated. I, the 19-year-old college intern, participated in meetings. I did not just sit in the corner and watch like a lot of interns do. Endicott always stresses the importance of experiential learning, and what better way to learn than to participate? More importantly, my input was actually valued. I remember how excited I was when Dan and Mia liked my idea in a brainstorming session and actually pitched it to a client. As the internship went on, I was asked to sit in on client meetings and provide my input. Not only was this a major confidence booster for me, but it showed me that both the creative team and the clients were open to new ideas and fresh input. As I proved myself to be useful to the campaign, I was given more responsibility and more voice. My age and lack of experience did not matter. I knew what I was talking about, and both the agency and its clients could see that.

    1. New Business:

    New business is crucial to the success of any advertising agency. I spent a lot of time researching potential clients, working on mailers to send out, and completing follow-up calls. The key point that I learned is persistence. Despite being ignored or turned down, we never gave up looking for new clients to provide the next creative challenge for us to conquer. When we got responses, we did everything in our power to build a relationship with the client. That way, we would get and maintain the client. Building relationships is the most important thing to keeping and successfully working with clients.

    I was also interested to see the process of beginning a new campaign. Over my time here, I saw rebranding, seasonal campaigns, and even start-up companies. The approach to each campaign was very different depending on the client, what that company was looking for, and how established the brand was. Some campaigns would start with research, and others would jump right into creative brainstorming sessions. I was amazed at how different the process of creating campaigns was every time.

    1. Cultural Influence:

    I spent my first semester of college in two different classes discussing how media and culture influence each other. During my second semester, I took Public Relations. I knew that I would use what I learned in Public Relations, but I had no idea just how much I would need the information that I learned in Media and Culture 1 and 2. I mostly used it to detect possible PR mistakes before they happened in an advertisement. I also noticed how my understanding of the culture played a role in the media mix. For example, we were discussing how to reach a Gen X market, and a major portion of the digital budget was going to Facebook advertisements. Studying society and culture is important in advertising and public relations in order to better the brand image and reach the target market.

    1. Philosophy:

    Before this internship, I had interned at a credit union. Though I enjoyed the internship, it showed me that, at least for now, I did not really want to work for one company. I wanted to be in an agency setting with a variety of clients and plenty of unique creative challenges. I have pictured myself in a large public relations and/or advertising agency in Boston. However, I wanted to use Endicott’s internship program to explore different types of advertising and public relations employers. I was excited for the opportunity to work at a smaller agency. While I still see myself working for a larger agency for a while, I liked the philosophy here. They are very client relationship focused. They measure success by the client’s success, not by how much money they make. Every client gets 100% of the team’s efforts. I was happy to work at a place that, though smaller, cares so much about the clients. This philosophy is something that I will look for in future internships and jobs. I want to work somewhere that builds a relationship with their clients and stays true to its ideals. After all, life is about more than just money.

Contact Dan!

What We Do

Do you think that your patrons know exactly what it is that you do or offer? Chances are, they don’t. Even if you think it’s common knowledge, it’s not.

That’s why we’re unleashing a new series on “what we do.”

We’re an ad agency. You may be a bank or credit union or a manufacturer of powered sintered metal. The fact is, you have a lot to say about what it is that your business does that many people simply don’t know.

Today, video is one of the most important marketing avenues to help you sell your products and services. Here are the facts provided by Forbes and others:

  • 59% of business people prefer to engage with video content over simply reading text
  • 64% of consumers are more likely to buy a product online after viewing video content
  • 52% of marketers across the globe report that video offers their highest ROI against all other marketing tools
  • Marketers that use video grow revenue 49% faster than those who don’t

That’s why we’re promoting our own series of “what we do” videos, and we encourage you to do the same thing. It’s not very expensive and it educates your current and future clientele on why they should either stick with you or jump on your train.  McDougall + Duval would certainly be capable of assisting you with this important new media avenue, but if nothing else, it’s time for you to take video very seriously because your competition certainly will.

Look for more of “What does an ad agency do” videos in the near future from McDougall + Duval Advertising.

Thank you for watching!

Contact Dan!

Managing Facebook Privacy

A Gen Z Focus Group on Advertising to Us

Up to this point, I have talked to you about Gen Z, the generation after Millennials born as early as the late 90s all the way to now, and how to market to them. At the same time, I understand that research can only provide so much insight. What you really need is a real life scenario. Real Gen Zers giving you real advice on what draws them to an advertisement. Luckily, I took care of that for you!

As a Gen Z blogger, I thought I would provide some insight on what ads attracted me on different platforms. However, I know that I do not represent every Gen Zer in the world. That is why I asked for some help. I asked a few other Gen Zers to take notes on which ads they liked and why. Think of us as your digital focus group. The group of us are not very similar beyond our shared generation. We have very different likes and dislikes. Let me introduce you to your focus group!

Lex (me): I am a 19-year-old college student. I am an intern here and also work as a server. When I am not working, I love traveling, reading, working out, going to the movies, and playing with my dogs.

Chris: I’m 15 going on 16 shortly. I spend most of my online time on YouTube, Discord, and Instagram. I like video games, sports, and the outdoors.

Emma: I’m 16-years-old, and I love to play volleyball, read books, and watch plenty of movies. I’m often on Snapchat, Instagram, VSCO, and Twitter. I spend a lot of time on YouTube, too.

Rachel: I’m 19-years-old. The media that I use most are Snapchat and Instagram. I love sports, surfing, and shopping.

Maddie: I’m 16-year-old. I use VSCO, Snapchat, and Instagram. I like shopping and drawing.

Obviously, all of us are very different despite our generational similarities. We each represent an aspect of the diverse Gen Z audience. Together, we have created a resource for you to gain some insight into the mind of a Gen Zer. Below, I have asked our focus group to talk about the ads they have seen across different platforms, as well as their media viewing habits.


Lex:I go on YouTube almost daily. I usually listen to music/watch music videos. I also watch comedy stars and channels like Adam Ray, Alonzo Lerone, and Cinemasins. The ads that tend to attract me most are one of three things: funny, meaningful, or relevant to me. If an ad makes me laugh, I will pay attention to it and watch the whole thing. However, I have not seen an ad in a while that has actually made me laugh. Somewhat recently, Google used an ad to show some of the most searched topics of the year. A lot of these topics were current events, and showed people wondering how they could help others. I watched that whole commercial (and it was a long one) because it had a message. It was meaningful and impactful. As far as ads that are relevant are concerned, I am a 19-year-old woman. I am going to pay attention to a product that I have a need for, like the Schick Intuition Razor. It was marketing a product that was useful to me, and it peaked my interest.

One type of ad that I paid no attention to was banner/display ads. Growing up in the digital age, Gen Z has learned to see past regular digital ads. If you want to reach us, make a video. Make a video that I want to share on my social media pages. The more shares you get, the more reach you will have. It is a simple, digital age equation.

Chris: Most advertisements on YouTube are directly targeted towards an audience, and if you don’t like the product you won’t like the advertisement. The product will only be recognized as the “most annoying” item. The most effective ads for view time are the unskippable 15 second ads on YouTube. Other than that, the movie ads work the best because the suspense at the beginning keeps me around to view the rest of the ad.

Emma: I like to watch beauty, fashion, baking, and pretty much every other kind of video on YouTube. I usually don’t mind sponsorships that much unless I’m already in the middle of a video or game and it’s interrupting me. The ones that catch my eye revolve a lot around beauty and fashion/accessories like Sand Cloudand Pura Vida Bracelets. I think certain ads are great for me and my interests, and I don’t often mind them unless I’m not the intended audience for it.


Lex: I often watch shows on my DVR with my mom. Most of these shows are on Freeform, ABC, NBC, and the CW. With most of these shows being on DVR, I usually fast forward through them. For an ad to grab my attention, it has to be unusual. Recently, Freeform created a promotion for their network. It was unique, and made me curious to watch the rest in the first five seconds. It ultimately had a message that spoke to Gen Z. Watch it in the hyperlink and see what I mean. It is different and speaks of potential to change the world in the future.

Chris: I see a lot of similar ads on TV and on YouTube. The ads that I like the most are all funny. For example, the Axe Gold commercial had many funny moments, and the characters didn’t talk. All narration was peppy from the narrator. I also like the Directv Quit Cable commercials. They are funny when the ominous signs told the characters to quit cable. I got a hardy chuckle from this commercial. The Captain Obvious commercials are also funny and will retain my attention.

Rachel: I really like sports. When events like the World Cup is on, I see the ads that are played during that.

Maddie: I watch TV, but I don’t really pay attention to the ads. However, I do love the Share a Coke campaign commercials. They are pretty memorable.


Lex: I am mostly on Facebook for Tasty videos and updates on my favorite brands. What I ultimately pay the most attention to is sponsored content. If a Buzzfeed quiz pops up on my feed, I am likely to notice who it is sponsored by as I am taking the quiz. Also, check out this picture below.

This is directly from my Facebook feed. Upon closer inspection, I noticed there were three ads. However, when I was initially scrolling through my feed, I only noticed the Aladdin ad. Why? Because it was right in the middle of my feed. I had to see it in order to see the rest of my feed’s content. It also used the bright purple background, a color one does not usually see in ads. My eyes were instantly drawn to it in comparison to the dull colored ads next to it. Again, stagnant ads rarely gain a viewers attention.

Chris: I have a Facebook account, but I rarely use it.


Lex: I am pretty much on Instagram daily viewing my friend’s posts, fandoms, celebrities, and my favorite brands. All of the ads are sponsored content that just pop up in the middle of a user’s feed. A person has to see them to scroll by them. I always take notice of these ads, but few are memorable. I only remember them if, like on YouTube, they are selling something of interest to me. Usually, I pay most attention to the ones selling clothes. On Instagram, the best ads are the ones that have a sort of artsy aesthetic. On a social media that is all pictures, simply having a visual ad is not going to cut it. I get a lot of American Eagle ads, and the ones that I like best look artistic. I worked in fashion, so I am used to seeing a lot of clothing ads. The ones that stick out are more than just an outfit or a model. They are thought out. They look like a professional candid picture, or the outfit is styled with an artistic background.

Emma: I am on Instagram a lot, and see a lot of sponsored content.

Rachel: I’m on Instagram for at least two hours a day, but never consistently. The majority of the ads that I see and click on are on Instagram. The ads that really get my attention are clothing ads or sports ads. For clothing, I am interested in brands like Romwe and Shein because they are cheap and have decent clothing. I like sports ads because I really like sports. Like when the World Cup is on, I see ads for that, and when I see ads for surfing I usually click on those pages.

Maddie: I usually get ads for bathing suits and stuff that I shop for. I also see models on the promotions page a lot. If I see a cute outfit, I will click on it and look on the website.


Lex: I mostly use Snapchat to keep in touch with my friends, particularly my college friends. I views my friends’ stories, but I do not really look at the sponsored content. A lot of the ads that I see on Snapchat have a lot of words. When I am just looking through my friends’ Snapchat stories, I am not interested in seeing a lot of copy. I would respond more positively to an ad that is more visual. An ad that almost looked like a Snapchat story would make me pause to watch it. Recently, I saw a Snapchat ad for Mamma Mia 2. Unlike any other Snapchat ad, it grabbed my attention with the bright blue coloring of the background. When I really looked at the ad, I saw words on the bottom saying to click for an exclusive filter. I clicked on it, and received a Mamma Mia themed filter. I thought this was a clever marketing technique. It worked so well because it was very visually appealing and contained little copy.

Chris: I have Snapchat, but I don’t use it often.

Rachel: I probably use Snapchat at least eight hours a day, but I do not pay much attention to the ads.

Maddie: Snapchat ads come up as a story. I don’t really pay attention to them because they are so easy to skip and move on from.

In conclusion, every Gen Zer is different. But there are definitely some generalizations that can be made to target them. In my last blog, I discussed Gen Z’s YouTube tendencies. Everyone in our digital focus group spends a lot of time on YouTube. The consensus on YouTube advertising is that the we like ads that are relevant and in video form. We also like movie trailers. What can you do with this information? Make an ad that will grab this $600 billion audience’s attention!

My suggestion is to make an ad appear like a movie trailer, or in a similar fashion. Clearly, movie trailers get Gen Z to pay attention. Making an ad with style will give them pause long enough for you to get your message across. However, why stop at a YouTube ad? Make a full length YouTube video on your own channel! SteelHouse COO Chris Innes discusses the power of YouTube videosin marketing. Powerful or funny YouTube videos get shared on other social media platforms. A good YouTube video can have more reach than any ad. I know this method works: I shared the Budweiser Lost Dog ad on my social media pages simply for the meaning and story. I cannot even use the product, but the ad gained more impressions because I shared it.

In addition, you have to sell your brand in a way that makes the audience feel that they need it. For example, if you are a financial institution, you cannot get Gen Z by discussing your different product options and branches. You have to tell them how you fit into their lives. Show them how you improve their lifestyles, how you make life a little easier for them, and what you can do for them in the long run. They can start an account with you, and you need to show them what that account will allow them to do in the future.

You also need to understand where your target audience is. Emma and I gave you some ideas on what videos you can find us viewing on YouTube: baking, music, fashion, and comedy. These are the videos that you should be focusing your ads on to reach us. However, as I stated earlier, we are all different, so do your homework!

Finally, this digital focus group has provided some insight into what media platforms we are on. YouTube and Instagram are our main digital media hotspots. Snapchat is not far behind, but few have created successful ads on it. Facebook and Twitter are starting to lose their popularity with Gen Z.

Despite the trend of video streaming services, many of us are still avid TV watchers (both Chris and I will attest to this). Lesser known and more targeted media platforms like VSCO and Discord are definitely growing as well.

Now that you have learned what we like from actual Gen Zers, it is time for you to act. We have given you the insights regarding how to reach us, and we hope that you use our advice. We would appreciate some tasteful advertising in the forms we connect with.

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Contact Dan!

Find Gen Z on YouTube

You know what one of the most popular platforms for Gen Z is? YouTube! When I first saw the statistics associated with Gen Z YouTube viewership, I was a little surprised… until I started thinking about my YouTube habits. I realized I am on YouTube every day. I turn to it for new music, empowering speeches, and entertainment (noting the unfathomable number of times I have watched Cinemasins, Adam Ray, or the same Bad Lip Reading video over the past few years). To reach Gen Z, it is important to know this effective platform and the best way to advertise on it.

Did you know that  95% of Gen Z uses YouTube? In a recent study, 50% said that they could not live without YouTube. Gen Z uses YouTube more than any other social media platform. Naturally, this is the best place to reach them. They mostly use YouTube for entertainment (51% of Gen Z respondents), news (23% of Gen Z respondents), shopping recommendations (24% of Gen Z respondents), and how-to information (66% of Gen Z respondents). In all of these categories except for news, YouTube is the number one response.

YouTube is also extremely important due to its influencers. Social media influencers are often trusted as much if not more than mainstream celebrities in matters of technology, beauty products, and clothing. Gen Z is also receptive to branded content. About 78% said that it was acceptable or sometimes acceptable for a celebrity to discuss a product or brand that they like. However, they prefer the celebrity to disclose that it is indeed branded content. In a different study, 54% of Gen Z respondents said that they would advertise their favorite brand via influencers. The next highest were TV commercials at 51% and pre-roll video ads at 43%.

Part of YouTube’s appeal is that it is essentially all visual. Gen Z is full of visual learners. They take in information best visually. A study by Fullscreen suggests that Gen Z views digital video and short form clips six times as much as written digital content. They would rather view something than read about it. That being said, the best way to reach them is visually. I am not saying there should be no copy in ads, but the visual content of the ad should be the main draw. Words are great, but you cannot rely on them alone. Whether your ad is a digital video clip or a banner ad, it should be less word focused and more eye-catching (insert the cheers of art director and graphic designers here).

When it comes to YouTube, there are an incredible number of advertising opportunities. Some advertisements are specific to different viewing platforms. For example, display ads and overlay ads are only viewable on desktops/laptops. This does not mean that these are poor options (plenty of Gen Z uses their laptops), but they will not reach every viewer that you may want. Below, I have listed the forms of advertising that I believe (with evidence to back up my claims) are the most effective to reach the Gen Z audience.

  1. Influencers:

If you read any of this blog post before this sentence, you have already read about the power that influencers can have. Though the ROI can be a little difficult to track in this relatively new marketing technique, it has been proven that the right influencer and the right market can work wonders for brand awareness and sales. The beauty product Benefit is one of the greatest success stories. They did not even have to start paying their influencers until this year because they made more personal connections. They were able to send the influencers free products and increase sales and brand awareness, particularly with major beauty bloggers like Zoella. In addition, they set up a portal for micro-influencers that gives exclusive access to new products and events. Influencers have proved effective for Benefit because they found the right influencers for the right market. For a smaller/regional company, it will likely be more beneficial and cost effective to use a micro-influencer. Micro-influencers have between 1,000 and 100,000 followers. Micro-influencers are in several different fields, and it would not be difficult to find one that reaches your target audience. To reach influencers, offer them payment and/or free products or services. In return, they will make your brand known to their Gen Z audience.

  1. Skippable Video Ads:

There are definitely pros and cons to this type of advertising. Skippable video ads appear before, during, or after a video and can be skipped after five seconds. Of course, the major disadvantage is that there is a high chance that a lot of the ad will be skipped. This means that you have to make the first 5 seconds of the ad grab the viewer’s attention enough to either make them want to continue watching or make a significant impression without the rest of the ad. However, a skippable ad gives you a lot more time than most of the other commercials on this list. You can essentially make your ad as long as you want. Another advantage is that it is the only one that is accessible on every viewing platform (desktop, mobile, TV, and game consoles).

  1. Non-skippable Video Ads:

The best part about non-skippable video ads is, well, viewers cannot skip them. They have to watch the whole ad before they can watch the desired video. You do not have to worry about viewers missing the message because they skip the ad. These ads can be viewed on both desktop and mobile devices, which is huge for the on-the-go, cellphone-loving audience. They are shown before, during, or after a video. However, these ads are limited to 15-20 seconds. You have to get your entire message across in a small amount of time. There is little room for copy, and therefore the ad should rely on visuals.

  1. Bumper Ads:

Bumper ads are non-skippable video ads up to six seconds long that are shown before the video can be played. The advantage of these ads is that they cannot be skipped. They can also be viewed on both desktop and mobile devices. However, they are only six seconds in length, an extremely short amount of time to get a message across. These shorter ads are very effective for Gen Z’s short attention span. The faster a message reaches them, the better. A short ad like this is difficult to effectively create, but it can be extremely effective if done right.

YouTube has become the most effective digital resource for reaching Gen Z. With strong viewership and several viewing platforms, it is the ideal location for your Gen Z targeted ad. A strong YouTube ad can get you far with this audience. If you have an ad that a viewer particularly likes, they might share the ad itself on their other social media pages, creating more publicity and brand awareness. Though there is still much to be explored in YouTube’s marketing potential, it is a strong resource to be used now and in the future for targeting Gen Z.

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Contact Dan!

How to Attract Gen Z to Banking

Who is Generation Z? Me.

Children born between the years of the mid 1990s through the early 2000s, otherwise known as Generation Z, is the generation that should be the next target for banks, credit unions, and businesses alike. Not only is this generation the largest in history, at about 82 million, but they are just starting out in the workforce which is great news for financial institutions.

Whether that be as a part time worker in high school, or fitting work into their college schedule, this generation is starting to really focus on their money. It’s not just the money of the individuals in this generation that’s important though, it’s also their families. According to CMO.com, Gen Z influences $600 billion in family spending. Parents are spending more money on their kids than ever before. Financial Institutions and businesses alike need to update their marketing strategies to take advantage of the influence this Gen Z has.

They are Different from Millennials.

Generation Z are quite different from Millennials. While millenials are most definitely one of the more tech savvy generations, Generation Z grew up in a world where smartphones, Internet, and social media were already a reality, and it was something they learned as they were also learning to walk and talk. It’s a normal part of their world.

This is why the most important factor when it comes to marketing to this generation is to utilize digital marketing. This generation is spending over 7 hours a day on average viewing media online, in many different formats. This means if you want to get their attention, you’re going to have to place your brand and your message right on to their phone screens to get your message across. Make sure your brand is accessible on mobile devices, whether that be through an App (most ideal) or having an easy to use mobile website.

This is key.

The next step would be to make sure your financial institution has an account on social media channels that this generation is using multiple times per hour.This means having an Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even a YouTube channel. All of this will increase your brand’s awareness to this generation.

Utilizing Social Media.

Just having your financial institution own and manage social media channels isn’t enough. With the amount of competitors and other companies having their businesses involved with social media, you are going to have to stand out and be attractive to this generation. How?

The key is to be relatable, and involve this target audience.

Show me (a proud member of Gen Z) that you are aware of our lifestyle, our worries and our interests. Getting a college education is very important for this generation for example, so demonstrate how your financial institution understands the stress of saving or preparing for school and beyond. Connect with local high schools or colleges and get your brand in the talk around campus. Sponsoring sporting or school events will build familiarity and brand loyalty. Not only should you make an effort to get involved in the school community on campus, but online as well. On social media, make sure you are connecting with the students by cheering on local sports teams, talking about things that are happening in the community, and communicating with community members.

Make Your Financial Institution Attractive.

Other methods of relating to Gen Z and making your company more attractive to us is implementing aspects of our lifestyle into marketing campaigns, and on to these social channels. By providing images and video in campaigns of things that we can relate to, we will feel more comfortable about giving our business and our future business to you. For example, using images relating to school, college life, getting coffee out with friends, enjoying concerts, etc. All things that will get my generation to see aspects of ourselves in your brand.

Make sure to take full advantage of student accounts. This means allowing students that are attending school to have an account where there is the ability to transfer money easily, no minimum balances, free savings account along with checking, and higher interest on the money that’s kept in savings. Let Gen Z know that you are there for us as we continue on our journey.

Utilize the tools that social media can provide you, in order to stand out from all of the other accounts we follow that continuously fill our timelines. Use social media as a tool for YOU to communicate directly to my generation, and build a better relationship with us.

Twitter offers a ‘Poll’ feature, in which you can ask a question to your followers, have multiple poll answer options, and allow it to be open for answers for 24 hours. That’s 24 hours of free availability to get answers directly from Gen Z. You can ask anything, from “What are you saving up for this year?” to “What’s the first thing you do when you get direct deposit on payday?”.

Twitter also has a feature where you can post GIF images along with your post. This is a great tool to not only capture the attention of a user as they are scrolling through their timeline, but also to get their attention to the information you are trying to communicate in the post.  Have fun with it. The more interested people in Gen Z are in your financial institution, the more likely they will want to work with you.


Going back to the previous point about connecting to the community in which Gen Z is highly involved with, you want to make sure this is a part of your marketing strategy. Gen Z is one of the most socially and environmentally aware generations. My generation is filled with kids who want to use their time and energy to truly make the world a better place. Use it to your advantage! Get connected to local charities and raise awareness of problems going on in the community through your institution’s own channels, so your brand is associated with all the effort to help the world and our community be a better place.

Being a community financial institution, you are probably aware of the locations near you where Gen Z’s frequent. Bringing flyers and sponsoring fundraisers at these locations like coffee shops, cafes, school libraries, and campus events, will create a lot of buzz about your brand. Make sure to advertise your social media account information on flyers and other collateral pieces, and display how YOUR financial institution is perfect for students (like me) just getting into banking.


Contact Dan!

Generation Z: Your Next Advertising Obsession

Take a look at your past campaigns. What audience were you trying to reach? Your answer may vary, but it likely revolves around three generations: Baby Boomers, Gen X, and the famously hard-to-reach Millennial generation. With Millennials having the power they do now, they have been the target audience for the majority of companies. With so much marketing thrown in their faces, however, the Millennials have tapped out. While marketers have struggled to find new ways to reach this audience, there has been a virtually untapped growing market: Generation Z.

There is some debate as to where the Millennial generation ends and where Gen Z begins. Some say it starts as early as being born in 1995. Others say that Gen Z does not begin until the 2002 babies. In this case, let’s say that Gen Z was those born as early as 2000 (give or take a few years). That being said, this generation is coming to an age in which their buying power is greater than ever before. They range from the toddlers gaining new interests (with the help of their parents’ purchasing power) to the teenagers that are entering and graduating high school. The common factor is that they are reaching major milestones in their lives, and they need companies that will help them get there. Whether it is a bank to help navigate student loans or a coffee shop to help get them through the school day, Gen Z is looking to build brand loyalty. Here are just a few of the reasons why you should be marketing to Gen Z now instead of waiting for them to be on everyone’s radar.

  1. Size:

Part of the appeal of Gen Z is just how vast they are. Though the oldest are only fresh out of high school, Gen Z represents about 25% of the US population. That equals about 60 million people, outnumbering Millennials by nearly 1 million. Mere size alone makes them a desirable market. If you want a large generation to be loyal to your brand, young and impressionable Gen Z is the way to go. Their size also gives them incredible buying power, contributing $44 billionto the American economy despite their young age. They seem to be aware of their power, and there is nothing that annoys them more than being cast aside or characterized as Millennials. Giving them the same attention that Millennials get will create an affinity to your brand.

  1. Kidfluence:

Gen Z is more than just their size. They are mostly parented by Gen X. Due to their age, the majority of them still live with their parents. Therefore, they have a major influence on their parents’ buying decisions. Kidfluence is the act of parents turning to their children for advice on brands and products. Most commonly seen with technology, parents ask their children for advice on which phone, laptop, or apps to get. However, kidfluence spreads beyond technology, particularly when brand loyalty is involved. For example, a local credit union could help a young Gen Z person set up a bank account and build their credit. This builds brand loyalty. When this person’s parents are frustrated with their bank and looking for a new one, he or she will recommend the institution that helped to organize his or her money and prepare for the future. Reaching the Gen Z market will not only provide you access to the largest living generation, but also open the door for new Gen X customers.

Gen Z is clearly a crucial market to reach. The next logical step is to figure out how to market to them. And who better to tell you than our Gen Z intern (that would be me)? Here are some tips that will get you far with this market.

  1. Know Who We Are!

One thing is for sure: we are not Millennials. Gen Z is often ignored or mushed together with Millennials in a social media campaign that often barely applies to us. We are very different from Millennials, and therefore must be marketed to differently. Gen Z grew up in the age of technology, many of us not knowing a time before social media. We were also raised through some of the most difficult times in American history. While Millennials were raised in a time of peace and prosperity, Gen Z children grew up in a post-9/11 world. We saw our parents’ struggle through the Great Recession. We were exposed to the harsh realities of the world much earlier than Millennials. Therefore, Gen Z tends to be more realistic. We also tend to be more careful and cautious, learning from both the world and the mistakes of Millennials. These are just some of the many differences between Millennials and Gen Z.

Despite the major differences in time, the generation that Gen Z is most similar to is the Silent Generation. This generation spanned the late 20’s to the early 40’s, and were similarly cautious, private, and focused on sensible careers. They also grew up through rough times, like the Great Depression. Gen Z is also very entrepreneurial. If we follow the trends of the Silent Generation the way that we have been, Gen Z is likely to be one of the richest generations of all time.

  1. Technology:

Everyone knows Millennials and Gen Z for technology. Unlike Millennials, who received technology, Gen Z grew up with technology. It has always been a part of their lives in a greater way than any other generation. That being said, Gen Z has certainly developed their own technological habits and left some behind with the Millennials. Gen Z has learned from Millennials’ online mistakes. We are more private about their lives on social media, knowing very well that a bad post on Facebook or Twitter can haunt them for the rest of their lives. That is part of the reason why so many in Gen Z are drawn to Snapchat. The content is out in the world for no longer than 24 hours and can be kept much more private than messages on other forms of social media. Though Facebook’s Instagram still holds a large Gen Z audience, Snapchat has far more Gen Z users. According to eMarketer, Instagram is predicted to gain 1.6 millionusers under 24 in 2018. Snapchat, however, is poised to gain 1.9 million in the same age range.

To reach Gen Z, the most effective advertisements are on Instagram and Snapchat. On Instagram, the ads appear right in the middle of the user’s content. Though it can be scrolled past quickly, it cannot be missed. Similarly, Snapchat advertising appears among the content, appearing before and after a user views their friends’ “stories.” However, a simpler and more effective way to target Snapchat users in your area is with filters and geotags. These allow users to enhance their Snapchats by adding graphics to their original picture. A creative filter can go a long way, entertaining the Gen Z audience while making memorable impressions.

One of the most difficult tasks is creating the right ad for these social media platforms. This is the generation of multi-taskers, short attention spans, and quick information processing. Because of this, an ad needs to grab a person’s attention quickly and effectively through social media platforms. Essentially, advertisers havesix seconds, five words, and an eye-catching graphic or videoto break through to this audience. Snapchat and Instagram introduced brand new platforms for marketing, but the major problem marketers have faced is how to summarize their whole campaign in six seconds. Think of it this way: If you had to say the message in a sentence, what would it be? That sentence is now your only copy. Let the image say the rest.

  1. Shopping Habits

To understand how to market to Gen Z, it is helpful to understand how we shop. As expected, Gen Z prefers to shop online. However, a major insight noted by Criteo is that we enjoy the retail experience. We like to go to stores and look around, but make most of our purchases online. When we do buy in store, 34% have researchedthe product online first. In addition, retail apps and websites are major influences. Over 50% of Gen Zsaid that these apps and websites were more impactful on purchasing decisions than search, online banner ads, and TV ads. Social media also heavily influences buying decisions. As far as ads are concerned, 62%of those surveyed say that they like ads that are useful and personalized to them. We are more inclined to buy the product if we see an ad that is purposeful to them.

  1. Sell the Experience

Gen Z does not want your product. We want the experience that is associated with your product. Gen Z greatly valuesexperienceover material possessions. This is rooted from their childhood during the Great Recession. We grew up in time where material possessions may have been limited for a few years. We learned to make the most out of life without materials. If you are a bank, you are not selling the credit card. You are selling the freedom of driving the car you helped us finance. If you are a hotel, you are not selling the room. You are selling the fun adventures we can have while staying there. Your product or service is just a thing to Gen Z, but the experience associated with it is a memory that will last a lifetime.

  1. Cause Marketing

Gen Z is one of the earliest generations to be living in a world of new social norms. Subjects that were previously met with controversy are simply social rights and norms for this generation. We watched historical actions, such as same sex marriage legalization, unfold during our childhoods. We are quick to support human rights issues and fight for the causes that we are passionate about, as proven by the March for Our Lives movement. To gain our loyalty for your brand, support a cause that we care about. It puts your company in a positive light from a public relations point of view. Gen Z is much more likely to buy a product if it supports a cause that we care about. We remain loyal to brands that have the same views and values as we do.

Gen Z is the next big thing. We are coming of age and filled with buying power. With our size and influence, getting an early start will benefit your company both today and in your future.

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Sorry not sorry.

Thank you Demi Lovato for a great premise for my next blog!

For a hundred years businesses (banks, credit unions, ad agencies, law firms, etc.) have taken a mild stance when it comes to talking (down) about their competitors. It’s not “politically correct,” I guess, to come out and say, “Hey, we’re WAY better than those guys” leaving it up to the consumer to hopefully figure that out for themselves, and then miraculously find your business card in a drawer a year or so down the road, and actually pick up the phone to call you? Yeah, good luck with that!

No. It’s time to get your swagger on, be aggressive and say, “Hey, we’re not only better than those guys, we’re 10 MILLION times better than those other financial institutions, and here’s why:”

Do you think Elon Musk kowtowed to Ford, a national institution that’s been in business for over 115 years? No way! The Tesla brand today is becoming one of the most exciting things to “hit the road” in a long time! In fact, Consumer Reports named Tesla as the top American car brand, and ranked it 8th among global carmakers. FYI, Tesla just opened its doors in 2003!

Or how about Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon? Do you think he cared about established brands like Sears or JC Penny in his business model? Nope! It’s 2018 people, not 1918.

Or how about Tory Burch? Do you know how many fashion designers there are out there? Do you think that stopped her from doing something different? I don’t think so (said while snapping fingers in a z formation). After starting out modestly in public relations and advertising for Vera Wang and Polo Ralph Lauren, Forbes Magazine now lists Tory Burch as the 73rd most powerful woman in the world!

Your financial institution may or may not be over 100 years old. Who cares? Today is today! You cannot rest on your laurels in this fluid environment. Your depositors may be as old as Sears, Ford and JC Penny, but lets face it, they won’t be around forever—and you know it!

How does your financial institution get its “break out” moment like Tesla, Amazon, Tory Burch and countless other moneymaking machines in 2018? Here’s how:

You cannot do it alone. If you’re not pleased with your marketing, or the results you’re getting, and all the Board sees is sluggish deposit growth, high attrition rates and average (at best) loan growth, etc. it’s time to look within. It’s time to look at your agency relationship. You know, the stale one.

I have clients that have stayed with me for ten to fifteen years (Thank you guys!) I understand relationships. But if it’s not producing Tesla-like results, in this day and age, it’s time for a serious change.

Our economy is on a roll. It’s our time to shine! Right now! This second! Tick tock. We need to (collectively) take advantage of it.

2018 should be your “break out” year!

PS: If your current ad agency is reading this…

…sorry not sorry.

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