2017 American Advertising Awards: Tribu Takes Home A Special Judges Award and Twelve Additional

The tribe enjoyed a stellar night at this year’s 2017 American Advertising Awards (Addys) held at The Aztec Center and hosted by The American Advertising Federation – San Antonio. We’re proud to be the recipient of thirteen (13!) awards this year in a wide set of category disciplines, including our personal favorite award, a Special Judges Awards for “Strongest Opening Act.”

The total take home of the night is listed below:

  • Tribu “Welcome to the Tribe” Gift – Tribu
  • Tribu “Welcome to the Tribe” Gift – Tribu
  • Tacos and Tequila Website – Tacos and Tequila
  • Silver Eagle Global Website – Silver Eagle Global
  • 2016 SAAS Snapchat Filter – San Antonio Auto Show
  • Blue Mesa Grill Website – Blue Mesa Grill
  • 20th Annual Hatch Chile Festival Campaign – Tacos and Tequila
  • 20th Annual Hatch Chile Festival Illustration – Tacos and Tequila
  • Travis Park Event Poster Series – City of San Antonio
  • Luciano Franchising Brochure – Luciano Restaurants
  • Tacos and Tequila Food Menu – Tacos and Tequila
  • Innovation Triangle Website – City of Bellevue, WA
  • Santikos Star Wars Rogue One Social Campaign – Santikos Entertainment
Experience the joy with us – scroll through the evening:


A post shared by The Tribe | Tribu (@wearetribu) on

Of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without the following shoutouts:

  • Congrats to all the agencies and winners of the 2017 American Advertising Awards – it’s an honor to share this industry with you.
  • And last but certainly not least, thank you to the amazing Tribe partners that believe in us to pursue and produce great work on their behalf. You unleash the power of ideas everytime you say “yes” and we couldn’t be more thankful for the journey we share with you.

With #TribeLove,

Sara S. Helmy

CEO of Tribu

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E-Commerce Marketing: Nifty Digital Marketing Tricks to Boost Your E-Commerce Sales

E-commerce marketing is one of those things that, simply put, has its quirks. To call E-commerce marketing “digital marketing” isn’t entirely accurate– it’s not just digital marketing, it’s different. It’s special. It’s deeper. (And it’s fun).

To me, an e-commerce campaign is one with special meaning – for one, it’s extraordinarily rewarding to see it work (and it’s easy to see it work – just watch the sales come in and the boxes full of product go out).

Some things you do with patience, like SEO, and other things you do with instant cleverness, like social media and e-mail marketing. The beauty of e-commerce marketing is that all the special tactics required for a campaign will eventually intersect and strengthen one another’s results – and then voila! You have sales (eureka!!!).

And then voila times two! Sales are people and any nifty e-commerce marketer knows that people are going to talk – especially in our hyper-social world and especially if you enable them!

So…what does a nifty e-commerce marketer do to generate those mega-awesome sales you crave? Well, we’re glad you asked.

E-mail Automate Like a Chubby Kid Loves Cake

Behavioral based triggers are essential in e-commerce marketing. Sally Jane visited the “gogo gizmo” page three times this week but hasn’t made a purchase? Send her a special 20% off with a special promo code just for her hesitation – come on, you can do it and you have the data that suggests she really wants that “gogo gizmo.”

Is that possible? Why yes. Yes it is. With the right tools and the right strategies behavioral based triggers are super possible. Automation means a powerful e-commerce sells product while you’re sleeping. That’s what we call “love at first sight” in business – nothing satisfies our sweet tooth more.

Don’t Just Post on Social, Strategically Target and Fork Some Ad Bucks Over to Your Most Active Platform (or Two)

Here’s my opinion – Ad dollars on social media are often cheaper and more effective than a traditional AdWords PPC campaign – so start there. You can target by gender, other interests, age, and more. You can A/B test your advertisements to eventually lower your CPM (which we recommend doing to optimize your ROI).

If you strategically leverage your social budget, you’ll enjoy a quick and easy way to get healthy website traffic to your e-commerce. This is great when you’re in the beginning stages of SEO and you need additional traffic to hit your sales goals.

Helpful tip! It’s not very helpful to pay to advertise someone else’s blog – even though you might share it with your audience. Make sure you’re boosting the 20% of your social media content that focuses on selling your product(s).

Just for kicks here’s some awesome news to give you a confidence boost – we once got a CPI on Facebook down to $0.02 with some A/B testing and some clever creative. Talk about economical. We definitely sold product for our client that day. 😉

Shopping Cart Abandonment – You Need It

Get it! Just FYI, shopping cart abandonment is a form of automation – it’s that neat little trick Amazon does when you put something in your cart but don’t actually buy it (ohhh, so that’s how they send you those e-mails that remind you to check out!).

Amazon is, in my opinion, one of the best e-commerce marketers the world has yet to see (and congrats Amazon, on prime day! – so brilliant!), but that doesn’t mean that Shopping Cart Abandonment only belongs to them – you can do it too.

Design Goes a Long Way – Optimize for Conversion

This one is simple, but it needs to be said – would you put your credit card information into a website that looks like it was made by Willy Wonka’s 15-year old 2nd cousin? Probably not. So you can’t expect anyone else to, no matter how epic the product really is.

E-commerce sites must be designed well if your plan is to sell anything. And “well” does not just mean “pretty.” In fact, “well” means that the design of the e-commerce takes the buyer journey into perspective – it guides the potential consumer to a sale in an intuitive and almost flawlessly-swift manner. It provides the right information, all the buttons are in the right place, and the check-out process is easy-peasy.

How is that possible? With data. And with a tribe of talented designers that know how to optimize for conversion, or in this case, sales.

Hey guess what? We’re that tribe! Want to kick-start your e-commerce marketing? 

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5 Digital Cross-Promotion Hacks that are too Easy to Forget but too Powerful to Ignore

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by how fast digital marketing has grown – trust us, we know. About 10 years ago all you needed was a website (it barely had to be designed well…such dark days those were). Then along came a thing called SEO and you needed that too. And then, bam! PPC and a zillion social spaces – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, Ello, Vine, Tumblr…and let’s not forget digital’s highest ROI producer today, e-mail marketing.

When you pause to look at what each brand must maintain to have a strong digital voice, you realize digital is no longer a full-time job, it’s a full-time tribe.

It’s also a big fat endless cycle of creativity and measurement (we’re quite addicted) and a mix of always trying something new (Snapchat anyone?), while making sure you consistently and simultaneously tick the basics.

We get it. It’s a lot, and in a world of “a lot” it’s easy to forget the simple things.

I’m personally a big fan of K.I.S.S. (Keep it Stupid Simple) and so for everyone who’s giving it their best in the digital space, here’s a friendly reminder of some basic digital cross-promotion hacks that are too easy to forget, but too powerful to ignore.

1) Your social audiences can play with each other every now and then (just not too much).

Anyone out there thinking, “Oh hey, I need an Instagram?”

It feels like every week a new social space is born and when you finally make the strategic decision to let your brand hop on the latest the first question becomes, “how do I get people to like / follow this thing?”

There’s not a single answer to that question, but there’s an easy hack that should certainly be executed (strategically, of course).

You’ve got Facebook fans, right? Tell them you’re new to Instagram! If you’ve got some youngin’ fans (Gen Z and Y), they’re probably already living it up on Instagram and would be happy to follow you there (provided, your content doesn’t stink).

NOTE: As with most things in digital, don’t forget to strike a natural balance. A post or two announcing your new social space is fine, but keep it at that. It should be no different than you naturally telling a couple of friends that you purchased a new tie or purse – You might mention it once, and maybe even twice if you’re super stoked, but you wouldn’t post it everyday, would you?

2) If you’re a local business (and especially if you’re retail or food) make sure that everywhere you place your address and phone number is accurate and presented in the exact same way, every time.

I can’t tell you how many times we hear “Yeah, we have a Yelp account somewhere but no one checks it and I have no idea how to log in.”

Ummm…what?! Our reaction is a subtle version of this:

You know that people use Yelp to find local businesses right? And that you are a local business? And that they (your customers) say stuff about you on there? And that other people read that stuff? And that Search Engines read that stuff too? DID YOU KNOW?! (shaking with disbelief…)

So we finally get their Yelp page claimed and the address hasn’t been updated since three locations ago. We like data, but we can’t possibly measure how many customers they’ve missed out on when this happens.

Come on guys, this one is easy.

P.S. This also happens with Google Places (which most people use to GPS you), Facebook Pages, Foursquare Pages and all sorts of other digital shenanigans…

3) If you’re a social brand (and you should be), your e-mail marketing campaigns, and your website, should have social media links on them.

Another simple one – how easy would it be to input these links (and style them up!) into your e-mail blast signatures or on your website near the header?

This is a kindergarten hack that’s too often forgotten so here’s your friendly reminder!

Actively practice becoming a social brand. In fact, place small social calls-to-actions on every piece of marketing material you can.

4) On-site SEO. Do it.

I can’t tell you how many people I talk to that want ongoing SEO (Search Engine Optimization), but can’t provide access to their current website. In our humble opinions, the most important place SEO starts is on your actual website.

If you aren’t sure what on-site SEO is, research it and get to it (or call us, and we’ll get to it). Make sure you are using only “white-hat” tricks, or tactics that comply with Google terms of service.

If you are actively trying to market your website, but haven’t yet optimized it for search engine indexing, then you’ve taken what should be a rewarding and simple mission and turned it into a difficult effort in which you can’t gain the results you deserve.

5) Embrace a cross-promotional state of mind. Get excited when things can crisscross in a healthy and easy way, then take action.

So many easy digital cross promotion hacks can be discovered if you simply adopt the mindset of keeping your eyes open for them.

Can you use social media to gain more e-mail subscribers? Yes.

Can you send out an e-blast making sure your most loyal customers know that they can get the inside scoop on your Twitter? Yes.

Can you share your most interesting blog posts on your social media pages to gain additional website traffic? You bet.

Have some fun and start cross-promotion hacking away.

Of course, if it gets a little tricky, you can always call the tribe.

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5 Things to Consider When Hiring Your New Web Designer

Alright, so you’re debating between the guy that charges the same amount you paid for your car or your 18 year old nephew. How did you even get to a point in which you begin debating such things? Simply, because you need a new website and both of them say they can give you something phenomenal.

I’m not going to say we understand what you’re going through, because we build websites for a living so we completely do not understand. However, there are several things everyone shopping should consider..

Read on little web shoppers! It’s time to figure out if Jonny the nephew deserves your business or if it’s time to fork over some cash and the 5 things to consider listed below will surely help.

(P.S. we exaggerated a bit, most great websites are not as cheap as Jonny the nephew but, you shouldn’t be selling your car to get one either.)

#1 ) It’s 2013 folks, we use smart phones and iPads and all sorts of gidgity-gadgets – Make it responsive or go home.

So what is a responsive website? It’s a framework that literally works on every platform a site visitor would be coming from.

The site you’re on if you’re reading this blog is responsive. That means it works on a cell phone, an iPad, a desktop, a laptop – all of them. The images, content, and buttons on the website automatically resize themselves to become user friendly on your screen, whatever size it may be. Pretty cool, huh?

Pretty cool and pretty important.Responsive web design means your website should appear beautiful no matter what device the visitor chooses to visit from.

Just to put the importance of responsive web design into perspective, consider that from 2012 to 2013 internet usage from mobile devices rose a whopping 78% (check the fact here). Brands and businesses can no longer afford to offer internet experiences that aren’t compatible with these devices. To do so, would be to ignore your customer preferences by failing to serve them via their preferred communication methods.

So how much do responsive websites cost?

Here’s the good news – they shouldn’t cost a dime extra. You know why? Because whoever is offering you this brand-spankin new website better not offer anything less than a responsive framework. To do so, would be to gift you with a website that isn’t relative in today’s market place.

Next time you meet with your potential web design company, or your nephew, ask them if the website will be responsive. If they say no, run. Quickly.

#2) Ask your web designer to make sure your site is optimized. If they shoot back a confused stare, consider them a con-artist – SEO is uber important.

You’re paying for a new website, not for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – so should you care about SEO then?

Abso-fricking-lutely (AKA, yes).


Do you search the internet by typing in random URLs such as “INeedAWebsiteThatsPretty.COM”? No, you do not. You use the search engines. Admit it. Google or Bing or Yahoo or whatever little bar comes up on your homepage is one of your best friends.

It helps you find things and that’s why 97% of consumers use search (check fact here) and 89% of them are using search to make purchasing decisions (check fact here).

Well guess what? Everyone else is using that little white search bar to find things too, your website included. If you don’t make sure that whoever you hire to design your website knows a thing or two (or hopefully more than two things) about on-site SEO optimization then you can almost bet that those people searching for things will not be finding you.

Now, don’t be overwhelmed. You don’t need to know about on-site SEO, you just need to understand that it’s tremendously important and hire someone who does and is willing to explain it (but just incase you want to learn, you should subscribe to our fancy blog – because we’ll be writing about it on the regular).

#3) Functionality is top priority – but real functionality means looking mighty GOOD. We’re visual. Pay extra for good design.

In today’s world, everyone boasts and brags about their ability to build great websites, but very few people actually do. Not everyone is a user architecture expert, and not everyone knows the principles of good design – or how to achieve it.

A good design tribe will start by asking about your goals and will refuse to listen to you when you say something like, “My goal is to get a new website”. They’ll ask if you want more customers, more blog readers, to be a leading information source, etc. They want to figure out why you’re paying them for the good stuff, and for good reason.

Functionality starts with good design. High quality websites tend to have high quality conversion rates, and a lot of times that’s because of a great design.

According to an AdAge Article by Lara Ries (her father was world renown for his theory on brand positioning), “The best way into the mind is with visuals, not with words. Visuals play a more important role in marketing because they hold emotional power that sticks” She says it quite eloquently and we certainly agree – good design is not something that should be seen as a choice.

Consider good design a must, even if it means forking over a little extra.

#4) Make sure your web tribe knows what to do AFTER the website has been built.

You’re not finished just because the website is finished. You’re just getting started.

Let us tell you about a very sad reality – at Tribu we have met many of people who have spent over $20,000 on absolutely breathtaking websites and have never invested a penny in any form of online marketing. Why?!?!?! It makes absolutely no sense to pay that much money for a website no one will ever see.

It also doesn’t even matter that it’s absolutely breathtaking because nobody’s breath gets anywhere near it.

If you’re investing in a new website what you’re really investing in is the start of what will hopefully be a great online marketing campaign – in which you will perform some epic Social Media magic and send out lovely e-mail blasts that point to your extremely interesting blog or news section. The point is, you need to get people to visit your new website. It’s a valuable company asset – kind of like your greatest sales person, people need to meet it!

I like to call the best websites, “living and breathing sites”, because thats what they should be. They should change frequently – communicating to the world what amazing things your business is accomplishing or how much you love to help your customers by offering free and valuable information. Almost like a person would.

If you don’t know what online marketing activities you should be participating in ask the company that is building your website. If you’ve selected a good partner they should be familiar with these services (or in our case, offer them!) and be able to make custom recommendations for you to consider.

You know that they are super awesome when they don’t try to suck you dry and actually recommend various solutions that fit within your budget.

And although it’s not super awesome, you are probably still in decent hands if the partner you’ve selected admits that they don’t know enough to service online marketing for you but has a good business relationship with another company who does, and happily provides you a referral.

#5) You will be collaborating with whoever builds your new website quite frequently. Make sure you like them!

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? At Tribu we actually capitalize off the fact that so-and-so hired an unprofessional who took over a year to get halfway through their website and takes about 2 weeks to respond to every e-mail. Most of the times it was some cost saving stunt that the business owner decided to take and in the long-run it actually ends up costing them more.

They end up paying both their unprofessional slacker and us.

Pick someone you like. Price shopping is great, but if you’re going to buy something to last your business several years and serve as an accurate explanation and first-impression of who you truly are, then price is not the only thing that matters.

Pick a tribe you like and enjoy. Pick someone who values what your organization is trying to accomplish. Pick someone who is patient and willing to learn about you and your industry before they start discussing widgets.

It will be worth it, and that’s the only way that you have a chance of enjoying the beautifully functional site you really deserve.

Key Takeaways from this Post:

  • Don’t purchase a new web design if it isn’t going to be responsive. A website that works on smart phones, tablets, and desktops simultaneously is a must in today’s new landscape.
  • Consider the search engines when shopping for a redesign. 97% of consumers surf the internet through search engines and 89% of consumers use search engines to make purchasing decisions. Nobody can afford to ignore on-site SEO and search engine friendly platforms.
  • Strong and beautiful visual designs help fuel your site’s conversion rate. In the long run, a good design means more money for you, so pay extra if you have to in order to ensure that your websites beauty matches the quality of your organization.
  • Building your website is the start, not the finish. Have a plan in place for some continued online marketing to promote your website and acquire site visitors. Having a magnificent website is absolutely pointless if nobody ever sees it.
  • Work with someone you like. Price should not be the sole determining factor of your new website. You are trusting someone to accurately reflect what you stand for and broadcast your business through the world wide web – pick a web design partner who is passionate and cares to learn about you. Make sure you get along!

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Love for Our Partners & What We Do

Today, after revealing a new brochure…

We received an e-mail from one of our valued partners that I’m quoting for it’s awesome-ness.

Again – the work ya’ll have done is so right on it! Just made me want to cry it is so awesome!!! Ya’ll are the best ever!!!

Hearing that is like crack to us & we’re so privileged to be working with such awesome individuals. And i’m not posting this in a bragging way (not at all, we hope to always be a humble quality provider), I’m posting this in a “what an awesome thing to hear” kind of way. In a – please, let me have the privilege of sharing our happiness with you, kind of way.

We hope to always be a quality provider that’s grounded in our roots & remembers where we came from. We hope to always stay true to strategic & functional creativity. We hope to be bold, and we hope to stay human. And I’ve just stated this so that somebody can call us out if we ever stray, keep us on our game, and make sure that we’re grounded in our beliefs.

We’re certainly transparent enough to admit that this month, while not a bad one, has certainly not been our greatest. We’re eager for new business & to further concrete a lot of the relationships we’ve begun building (we hope we always stay that way). But one thing is for sure, good or bad month, our roots stay the same & our thankfulness for our partners & those awesome individuals who have given us a the opportunity to perform great work will always be so valuable to us that there isn’t a metric large enough to measure it.

Everyday here is a privilege. Getting to serve awesome businesses in their pursuit of growth & consumer loyalty is an exceptionally valued experience to us. We love it, love it.

Last Saturday Carlos posted this pic to our twitter feed:

The caption read, “It’s a great day to be doing what you love”. And he’s right – it is. It totally is.

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Partner Oriented Agencies Create Customer Loyalty

Outsourcing marketing is not an abdication of authority. The association maintains control and must be an active partner not a passive acceptor of services provided.

-Rebecca Rolfes, Imagination Founder

As you’d probably expect, I spend most of my free time sifting through iPad publications on the marketing & advertising industry. So when I found the following quote last night in an Orange publication I couldn’t help but be surprised that I’m not the only marketer who believes in this. Of course, the opinion is everywhere…but I’ve never heard it so perfectly stated.

Many agencies talk-the-talk of “partner oriented”, but very few actually live it. It’s not an easy thing to do from an agency perspective. It means being patient when it comes to collecting checks, it means sifting through opportunities & cautiously landing the account you know will allow you to freely express your talent & strategical insight. It means being far-sighted 99% of the time and understanding that short-term profiting will end your ultimate goal quicker than your favorite ring disappears down the drain when you drop it. It basically means finding the select few out there that are willing to invest the time it takes to understand why the “partner” orientation of your agency will benefit them much more than in-housing or  becoming some random organizations “client” and spending the majority of your time as a sticker-label on the name of some random folder stashed away in some unknown place in some gigantic & factory-like agency. phew (talk about run-on sentences).

For the organization, a “partner oriented” agency relationship means trust & time & pushing yourself to think outside the box. The misconception is that partnering with an agency requires giving up control and placing your assets & equity in the hands of another….totally not the case. It means treating your agency as if they are your best friend and inviting them through your doors to see how things are made, people get managed, and products reach the shelf.

It’s about letting your partner agency actually see what your trying to improve. It means your investing more than just your dollar to get the job done, it means investing your time into the care taking of a relationship so that you can assure the job gets done right (welcome to the business world, where every second counts right?). By no means does it mean losing control, I’d actually argue that partnering with an agency is a great way to take control.

Anyways….Time. Time. Time & Trust. Trust. Trust. That’s what it costs the organization.

So whats the pay-off?

More than you can imagine. Surprise ROI is probably most common in partner agency relationships. Not being some random agency’s “client” means stronger collaboration. Stronger collaboration leads to more powerful ideas. More powerful ideas sell items and services everywhere, and most importantly, they create belief. Belief that drives consumer’s to feel passionate about your organizations brand, mission, values, you name it. In our world, loyalty ain’t cheap. It takes time (and in the business world…sometimes money), it takes hard work, it takes investment. That’s what the partner orientation offers. Loyalty.

Loyalty three ways.

The agency, a creative enterprise, is loyal to you.

You, a golden entrepreneur, are loyal to the agency.

And as a result…..

You create & produce together to bring the ultimate loyalty pounding on your front door….customer loyalty.

Customer Loyalty…..now that’s priceless.

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We Live by this @ Tribu!

We stumbled upon this on the internet today & just had to include it. This philosophy is how we got here, it’s what gave Tribu a name.

We live by this and we encourage our partners to always do the same!


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Get the Most Out of Your Ad Agency // Bloomberg Businessweek

Instead of thinking of your advertising team as an outside vendor, treat it as a partner, argues columnist and advertising veteran Steve McKee.

by Steve McKee

Few relationships in the business world are as rewarding, or as rocky, as those between advertisers and advertising agencies. There are many reasons, from the inherent subjectivity of the business, to the stereotypes portrayed in shows such as Thirtysomething and Mad Men, to the generational gaps that often exist between clients and their ad firms. But one thing is certain—when the relationship goes awry, making a change can be an expensive proposition.

bloombergs-business-week-get-the-most-out-of-your-advertising-agencyIt’s far better to make the marriage work. And just like real marriage, it’s less important to find the right partner than it is to be the right partner. Over the course of more than two decades in the ad business I’ve observed a handful of client characteristics that seem to result in the best work and the happiest client-agency partnerships. I humbly offer a handful below.


To do great work, an advertising agency must be informed. It must know everything it can about a client’s business, from sales and margins to strategies and plans. It’s important to treat an agency as a strategic partner—an extension of your marketing department—and not just a vendor. This includes sharing results—nothing is more demoralizing than working hard on a project and not knowing how it turns out.

But sharing information is only half of the trust equation. The other half is having faith that your agency knows what it’s doing. You no doubt hired your agency because you were impressed with its good work for other clients. If you want the same you have to give it room to ply its craft.


If your company was facing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that could forever alter its ability to operate profitably, you’d make time for the lawyers. An ad campaign isn’t a lawsuit, but the stakes are the same in terms of potential impact. Don’t just hire an agency and expect it to perform magic. Be willing to do the heavy lifting from your end to ensure it’s informed, prepared, and set up for success. Be open and honest with your agency, communicating your needs and goals clearly. Make time for the agency, answer all of its questions, and allow it to immerse itself in your business.


For advertising to be attention-getting, it has to be different. And anything different is risky. In every other avenue of your business you know reward is associated with some level of measured risk. If you want advertising that looks like your competitors’, you don’t even need an ad agency. But if you want to lead the category, you’re going to have to do something that, at least from the outside, appears risky.

Good agencies aren’t reckless. They have a sense of what risks are appropriate and how to mitigate them. But they can only do it for clients who value the benefits of a little calculated risk-taking. Of course, the risks you and your agency take won’t pay off every time. If your agency knows as long as it’s acting in your best interests it’s O.K. to make a mistake, it will treat the responsibility you give it with great care.

Keep your eye on the big picture, not the small print. Some ads will be better than others, and others may downright flop. But if your focus remains on the overall trajectory of your brand you’ll learn that for every “one step back” there will be two or three steps forward. If your agency knows you’re committed to it and you’re in this together, it’ll do anything to make those risks pay off.


Remember what you thought the first time you saw a Ford (F) Taurus? I thought it was the ugliest thing I’d ever seen. Its time has now come and gone, yet for several years it was America’s best-selling car. Sometimes ideas and designs that will one day be widely accepted are at first glance a shock. Reserving judgment may be the hardest part of the creative development process.

If you see something you like, say so. But if you see something you don’t like, pause for a moment and think about it. Take a step or two back, ask questions, and really consider how what you’re seeing may be a breakthrough. If every idea was adopted immediately, there would be no such thing as early adopters. Sleep on the idea and try to look at it from a different angle. Keep in mind that creative, intelligent people who have your best interests at heart believe it’s going to work. Let them help you see it through their eyes. You can always say no tomorrow.


disruptive-bloomberg-business-weekThe business of creating ideas is hard. Not every concept makes it, but every one leaves the nest with the hopes and dreams of its creator. When those ideas crash (for whatever reason), so do the egos of your partners at the agency. When you have to say no (and there will be times when you will), say it with kindness.

And don’t assume good work is its own reward, either. Thanking your agency for their efforts can do wonders for morale and creativity. People want to give their best to those who appreciate it the most.


After weeks and months of hard work and collaboration, tough calls and usually some tension, a campaign is finally ready to launch. Then someone in your organization who doesn’t understand the context or objectives catches a glimpse of it and says, “I don’t get it.” Or after the launch of a ground-breaking campaign, a consumer with an axe to grind calls and complains about the work.

The first time this happens, it can be nerve-wracking. But those of us who work at agencies have been through it often. Most of the time it’s a function of well-intentioned people making unreasonable rushes to judgment, and the biggest mistake you could make is reacting out of fear.


Better yet, seize the moment and take the campaign to your internal audiences, providing them the background and rationale for the campaign and raising their confidence that you (and your agency) know what you’re doing. Then stand by the work, responding to, but not reacting to, consumer complaints. If you’ve done your job right on the front end, the complaints will pass (see “reserve judgment”, above).


If great ideas were easy to come up with, everybody would come up with great ideas. Good advertising takes time and effort. And time and effort take money. Agencies have a (sometimes deserved) reputation for nickel-and-diming their clients, but the reverse can be true as well.

Pay your agency fairly and educate yourself about how much things cost. Remind yourself you get what you pay for. When your agency makes a mistake, it should pay for it—but it shouldn’t pay for mistakes, delays, or changes in direction that are out of its control.

The days of agencies making a killing on commissions are long gone, and the work they’re called on to perform—creating standout ideas that reach an increasingly sophisticated and cynical marketplace—is getting more difficult every day. No one gets into advertising for the money, but many talented agencies have folded for lack of it.

You’re the one writing the checks, and your agency should never forget that. But if you’re open to it, I encourage you to share this article with your agency team. Ask them to grade your performance, and do your best not to punish them for being honest. Clients that operate according to the above principles not only receive better work, they generate the kind of loyalty from their agency that makes it walk through fire.


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Psychology & Advertising

I found this to be a fairly sensible breakdown of how advertising & psychology collaborate to persuade consumers. It’s basic, but quite interesting and thoroughly explained. If you’ve got a spare 5 minutes give it a watch – consider it your daily dose of new lessons learned! Enjoy.