About Todd Brashear

Todd Brashear

Todd's primary responsibility is to continually elevate the creative product of the agency. In the current media environment, that not only includes developing "the big idea" but also exploring unconventional, new opportunities to engage our clients' audiences experientially and digitally.

Todd joined M/C/C in 2000 and has since worked to ensure that the creative department manifests the agency's strong strategic insights into thoughtful, unexpected communications. At M/C/C, Todd's client experience includes, among others, Market Street supermarkets, Texas Instruments, Samsung, Fujitsu, Raytheon, Alienware, Big Thought and Professional Bank.

Specializing in brand strategies, concept development and copywriting, Todd previously worked on a range of B2B and B2C accounts, including Armstrong Floors, ASKO appliances, Motel 6 and Bally Total Fitness. His work has appeared in national television and international print campaigns, and he has won multiple ADDY, Creativity, MarCom, Davey, Stevie and Telly Awards. However, his favorite award is the Nobel.

He holds a bachelor's degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of Arkansas. Todd enjoys adventure travel, hiking, kayaking and mountain biking.

The Big Lie of Web Development

For some time now, people have been spreading an ugly lie about website development. You’ve probably heard it as many times as I have, although maybe you didn’t know that it’s untrue. They say, “Content is king.” Don’t believe them. While content is important – it keeps people engaged with your brand and helps them learn more about you, your products and your services – it simply should not be the ultimate brass ring of your website efforts. In fact, content is only a means to an end.

The true king of all is conversions.

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Five Signs That You Need to Kill Your Website

For this month’s blog, I was asked to list my top reasons for updating your site. But that topic is a red herring. You need only one reason to “update” your site – because you can. That’s the beauty of websites, versus TV commercials, brochures and other kinds of marketing communications. You can and should refine, create and delete content, functionality, design elements and images in order to improve your visitors’ experiences. These updates should be an ongoing point of focus. They should be based on analytics, and the changes should come monthly, weekly or even daily, depending on the traffic your site receives.

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So the real question isn’t whether you need to update your site. It’s whether you need to replace it. At M/C/C, we’re big advocates of something called iterative web design and development. In essence, that means your website should evolve over time in response to user actions. If you practice iterative design and development correctly (and luck breaks your way), you may never need to build a new website again. Instead of launching a new site every couple of years, your site could just fluidly become something else over time through an ongoing series of small improvements. Having just written that, I will admit that sometimes even the best-laid plans go astray when luck doesn’t break your way.

Here are five instances when you need to put your website out of its misery:

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Election Day

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Now that November 8 has passed, and one of recent history’s ugliest campaign seasons is behind us, we can all let out a “yuge” sigh of relief. That’s what we all wanted, right? No more politics in our daily lives?

Wrong. As much as we all bellyache about the campaign cycle, political ads and robocalls, we apparently can’t get enough. Voter turnout for both parties was higher than ever. Television ratings for the presidential debates broke records left and right. And political contributions continue their upward trajectory. Politics is the American tradition that we all hate to love.

Even the advertising industry was not immune to the political bug this year. Normally, we and the brands we serve try to steer clear of politics at all costs. We’re supposed to put brands in their best light without risk of alienating consumers on any side. After all, it’s a tricky thing to tiptoe through the mud slinging and come out clean, which is why most marketers attach themselves to less divisive current events or just connect more broadly to a political look and feel.

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Not Just Another Pretty Average Face

Competing for new customers is tough these days. To stand out in your market, you need to create a unique advantage in virtually every facet of your marketing mix – in your products, your distribution, your pricing structure and, not the least, in your promotion. Simply doing the same as your competitors just won’t cut it.

Businessman Computer Planning Marketing Brand Concept

Oftentimes, clients ask us about the value of marketing or, more specifically, the value of unexpected communications. In my former life as a copywriter, I’d make the case that every brand needs to create a unique look and voice that stands above the crowd. But as a creative director, I understand now that when clients talk about value, they’re mostly concerned about the bottom line. What’s THAT value? How much will our mind-blowing idea for a website or online banner increase their sales?

For starters, I’d say it’s impossible to try to ascribe revenue to one particular piece of marketing communications. For instance, launching a revolutionary e-commerce site would likely impact a client’s sales revenue, but attributing all success to that site would be shortsighted. What about the email campaign that likely supported the launch of the site? Or any pay-per-click campaign that drove traffic to the site? Or inside salespeople referring customers to the site? Or every piece of communications the company ever produced that created an impression in the market? The real value of marketing communications must be accounted for holistically, not just in one project or even in one campaign.

That disclaimer aside, there are a number of ways that we can demonstrate how our creative communications create real, financial value for our clients. I’ll cover three of them briefly, just to share some real-world client experiences. So the next time you’re in budget talks, fighting for a fair share for marketing or the subject of an employee review needing to demonstrate what you accomplished last year, be sure to keep these in mind. The math around marketing communications is not nearly as fuzzy as it used to be. It has real value – in dollars and cents that you and your agency can maximize together.

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‘Mad Men’ Finale Eulogizes Golden Age of Advertising

Television GraveyardWhen I talk to creatives at other agencies or watch Super Bowl ads each year or read industry news, I can’t help but admit a very difficult truth. In many respects, the advertising industry is in a sorry state right now. In our rush to generate the most opens for emails, the most clicks on websites or the most likes on social media, the era of “the big idea” is perilously close to taking a dirt nap. The forever kind. And that’s not good for business.

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The 2-ton Mobile Device

iOS In-Car Dash System

Lately, when it’s come to mobile communications, size matters. On one end of the spectrum, wearables are pushing the envelope smaller and smaller. And on the other end, ever since Samsung launched the Galaxy Note, some devices have been getting larger and larger. Even Apple, which stubbornly resisted anything approaching a “phablet” gave in and introduced not only a large iPhone but an XL version, too. So what’s the next big thing in mobile?

Apparently, it could be parked in your driveway. That’s right, your car.

Rumor has it that Apple is at least tinkering with the idea of its own car. Some say the company has its mind set on building a car from the ground up. At least one report claimed the company wants to acquire Tesla. So far, it’s all just speculation, something that sounds like a fairy tale to be honest, but the mere mention of an Apple car was enough fodder for The Onion to crank out some comedy gold.

Setting aside the rumors, one bit of Apple automotive news is a fact. In 2014, Apple collaborated with nearly every major vehicle manufacturer available in the United States to integrate its CarPlay functionality as an option on some new models. Basically, CarPlay allows the driver to use the car’s built-in touchscreen, knobs, voice commands and other controls to operate their iOS device hands-free. Certain iOS apps have been optimized for CarPlay. For instance, in the case of Apple Maps, the map displays on the car’s in-dash, heads-up display. For the most part, CarPlay is still in its infancy and seems only a baby step improvement from simple Wi-Fi streaming to the car.

Likewise, Google is developing Android Auto to help your Android device and its apps communicate more seamlessly with your car in ways that are optimized for the driver’s convenience.

All pretty cool for that driver, but what’s important for you to start thinking about is what kinds of opportunities this technology will create for you, the advertiser. Let me play out just two scenarios in the not-so-distant future that build on a blog article written by Sherie Wigder last month.

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Looks Aren’t Everything When It Comes To Hot Web Design

By now, you’ve probably seen the TV spot for Squarespace, which promises “Better websites for all.” Or maybe you’ve heard of Wix, which claims to “make it simple for everyone to create a beautiful, professional Web presence.” No doubt you know WordPress, which, for years, has been the go-to blogging platform-turned-world-leading content management system (CMS). These Web-building tools and others like them have really come into their own over the past couple of years, giving all people the ability to create powerful, advanced and aesthetically awesome websites without a lot of design or development experience. A few years ago, I might’ve turned my nose up at these template-based, semi-customizable websites, but not any longer.

From a design/development perspective, most templates are actually really good these days, and some are outright stunning. Not long ago, templates were created by less talented designers and built by developers with limited skills. But today’s Web-building tools help average Joes launch clean and sophisticated websites with large-format imagery. They’re coded in HTML5 for some of the most advanced functionality available, and many are responsive so they display and function beautifully on devices of all sizes. What’s not to like?

{Enter the wet blanket}

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Six Tips to Improve Your Landing Page Performance Today

If your company uses a landing page or landing pages in its marketing, it’s one of the first things customers see when they interact with your brand online. If they like what they see and read, you’ll move them further down the sales channel. If not, they’ll often bail from the sales process altogether. With so much on the line, it’s critical that you build your landing pages to help convert prospects into customers and then to optimize those pages for maximum conversions.

Here are six tips to help you do exactly that.

Be clear
Make sure the copy on your landing page, and the headline in particular, is relevant, concise and meaningful. A lot of advertisers sacrifice clarity for the sake of being clever. Creativity is good, but remember you’re not selling jokes or poetry. You need to communicate exactly what you want your prospect to know about you, your campaign and/or your promotional offer. If you can do it in an imaginative way? Great! If not, just get to the point.

For example, your headline should NOT say:

Measuring the ROI of Customer Success Solutions

It SHOULD say:

Increase your profitability like hundreds of our customers have done!

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Experts Discover New Human Organ, Key to Better Marketing

When it comes to how human’s make decisions, modern science has it all wrong. Textbooks will have you believe that decision-making happens in a small part of the brain known as the lateral habenula, which they claim performs a cost-benefit analysis on all of life’s everyday events. In fact, we at M/C/C have learned that decisions are made in an entirely different part of the human anatomy. This organ is called the breart.

The breart is one-half heart and one-half brain, fused together as one. At M/C/C, our specialists in human decision-making identified the breart a few years ago in a study to determine the best way to market our clients’ products to their customers. Essentially, what we’ve learned is that the breart is best affected by a combination of rational, thoughtful information and entertaining, compelling stories. Since discovering this organ and its role in consumer behavior, we’ve influenced the brearts of our audiences like never before, using informative content to stimulate the brain and creative stories to move the heart.

Because the physiological workings of the breart can be dry and complex and entirely fictional to some people, we’ve produced a simple video to help introduce this new scientific principle. We’re confident that, once you open your mind to the breart, you’ll discover entirely new ways to influence your customers, too.

Modern Marketing – Talk with, not at, your customers

“Good morning, Mr./Ms. Marketer. This is your wake-up call. While you were sleeping, the marketing world moved on without you and your company’s brand. We hope you enjoy your stay at Ye Olde Fashioned Advertising Inn. Goodbye.”

Modern marketing rarely gives you such clear notice. That’s why this blog is here. Gone are the days when your company only needed to run clever ads in the paper or on TV, telling customers why they should spend their hard-earned money on your product. Instead, technology has opened up new channels of two-way communication, and a growing number of techno-friendly customers expect your company to use these channels to engage with them on a deeper, richer basis than ever before.

Of course, there’s social media – that’s a no-brainer. Any brand worth its social salt should actively engage its audience with content they’ll find interesting and useful, not just sales messages. In fact, some of the most effective brands go further, using social media as a customer service resource, responding to customers individually in real-time whenever they report an issue via Facebook or Twitter. But social media is just one channel. The real opportunity awaits the brands that go beyond social media – to use every medium at their disposal not to talk AT their customers but to drive conversations WITH them. You can see what I mean by revisiting a legendary marketing campaign from the past.

If you were at least 10 years old in the 1980s, you might remember when Chrysler nearly went bankrupt the first time. To help turn its financial tide, the company revamped its product line and hired a new CEO. Little known to the average American when he took over Chrysler, Lee Iacocca became a household name as the star of the automaker’s TV campaign. In his commercials, he was frank and likeable and tough, and he had a patriotic swagger that America yearned for in the middle of a difficult recession.

The campaign was wildly successful, and Chrysler rebounded. But from a marketing perspective, Chrysler and Iacocca could’ve connected with America even more effectively using today’s technology.

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