The Client and Agency Relationship

We all know that the key to successful relationships is effective, interactive communications. This is very true for marketing communications agencies and their clients.

Strive for this relationship. Photo by Orphan Jones, CC-BY-2.0

Strive for this relationship.
Photo by Orphan Jones, CC-BY-2.0

It’s like a marriage, or partnership, where the agency becomes an extension of the client’s marketing department and is viewed as part of their team as opposed to a vendor or supplier. In order for a relationship like this to develop, both parties need to share similar values and ethics while trusting and enjoying the interactions among the individuals from each organization. It is this type of chemistry that allows long-standing relationships to grow and flourish.

We can come up with creative ideas to generate results for your marketing communications programs but there are better ways to maximize the ROI in your agency. Getting high-level involvement from the CEO level down involved and actively participating in the long-term brand strategy provides your agency team the support and insight that informs successful programs. Creative ideas will come from your company and your agency and they need to be nurtured. This type of collaboration allows the agency to truly understand your company’s unique value so it is reflected in the agency’s creative ideas and program recommendations for a successful marketing communications program.

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Happy Birthday M/C/C

Wow-o-wow! It was Sept. 6, 1986, when I decided to start this full service marketing communications agency in Dallas. Our services at that time included advertising and creative, public relations, account planning, research, and media planning and buying.

MCC 27th Birthday

Advertising was predominantly print with a few radio and broadcast commercials included. There was a tremendous amount of sales promotion activity which incorporated impressive four- and five-color brochures that were as large as 12 pages, pocket folders, tons of data/product sheets as well as high-profile annual reports. Impressive direct mail pieces ranged from self-mailers to three-dimensional campaigns that included premium incentives. When we produced videos, they were very elaborate with a minimum time frame of four minutes or longer. Continue reading

Pulling back the Curtain: A Tour of the M/C/C Video Production Suite

 

Photo by Jurgen Appelo, CC-BY-2.0

Photo by Jurgen Appelo, CC-BY-2.0

Visit M/C/C for the first time, and there’s a better-than-average chance your touring party will make its way toward the “House That YouTube Built.” You will wander by the Think Tank, make your way down the west hallway and journey through a few more doorways before reaching the magical dead end, filled with lights, cameras and plenty of action. Welcome to the M/C/C Video Production Suite. What most video suite guests don’t realize is had they made that journey just three years earlier, they would be visiting an electronic burial ground where kids used to play. Yep, M/C/C video production has come a long way. It all started back in 2010…

You had to look past the pile of beige CRT monitors. Block out the two 1980s IBM printers. The baby crib. The empty filing cabinets. The stacks of boxes containing client brochures from previous decades. Like these obscure objects, Todd Brashear and Phillip Barnhard stood still in the forgotten wasteland, hidden deep within M/C/C. No agency tour would come within breathing distance of this hollow place.

In a previous life, the office space was used as a creative think tank and a nursery for children of employees. Over the last decade, the 425 square feet had matured into a dumping ground for old electronics and furniture. A cathedral of crap. As Todd and Phillip examined the area, they literally waded through the possibilities of such a space. You could put a window here. What if we knocked down this wall? Maybe some red curtains here. Can this door be removed? . You see, M/C/C had advertising, public relations, marketing, internet marketing and social media on lockdown, but to market its video production capabilities, the agency wanted something unique. It needed a showpiece.

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Lindsey’s Grab Bag of SXSWi Awesomeness

This year I was grateful to have my third visit to SXSW Interactive. As is always the case, my brain was bombarded with gobs of information and was inspired in the areas of Web design, development and beyond. Here are some highlights of my experience this year.

The first day started out with a presentation by the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee. That was a pretty great way to start out a conference built around the very thing for which this guy laid the foundation. It was fascinating to hear his vision for the future of Web, which amongst other things emphasizes that our democracy relies on the Internet being open.

Leap Motion is a start-up that came into the scene with a vengeance at SXSW this year.  The technology senses movement in your hands without the use of a mouse or a keyboard. This product is set to come out in May of 2013 and is surprisingly affordable at the price point of $79.99. Here I am playing around with a demo model:

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SXSWi 2013 In Seven Tweets

At M/C/C, we’re all about living the unexpected. For some of us that means taking a spring break road trip of sorts every March, caravanning southbound on I35 to meet up with a smallish number of people (roughly 30,000) in our state’s capital to watch films, listen to music and eat barbecue. Oh – and work! This is our job!

You may have seen us blogging about this annual phenomenon before; but in case you haven’t, we’re talking about SXSW Interactive, one portion of Austin’s SXSW festival that has grown so widely attended and globally known that each time I hopped in an R&R Shuttle between sessions and the evening’s activities, I was always joined by a handful of international attendees, if I could even find an open shuttle because there are just so many people…

Austin Convention Center During SXSW

You get the picture! The other two parts of the SXSW festival, film and music, are easy to figure out what’s gone on at even if you weren’t able to attend. But with so many special skills falling under the interactive umbrella, most mainstream media outlets covering news such as which app was used most by the trendsetting techies (must download of 2013: Vine and Uber) and Grumpy Cat holding court, it can be hard for a marketer to latch on to some of the best, most inspirational ideas about their specific discipline that came out of the conference.

And, we missed you guys. That’s why, this year, we decided to make it easy. Without further adieu, welcome to SXSWi 2013, brought to you in the bold technicolor and limited character (because we know your time is precious) goodness of seven tweets.

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Kudos to M/C/C, Finalist in PR News’ Social Media Icon Award

We are all super excited around the office at M/C/C because we have been chosen as a finalist in the PR News’ Social Media Icon Awards competition!

PR News is a renowned publication in the public relations industry providing strategic resources and training tools to communication professionals.  It presents awards for various categories including best social media team, corporate blog, Facebook, infographic, LinkedIn, Pinterest, technology, YouTube video, and many more.

Our team created the video “Gluten-free the Right Way” for Chuck E. Cheese’s family-entertainment restaurants. We are one out of four finalists for the category YouTube: Individual video or channel. The three other finalists include top brands like Proactiv, Hilton, and Progressive.

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What to Ask in an RFP

There are many approaches companies choose when selecting a new marketing communications agency. Most will send out a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) form to an assorted list of agencies as part of their selection process.

Judging by the types of RFPs we have been receiving lately, most companies don’t know what questions to ask when they are looking for any agency. Recently, we received an RFP that wanted information that would have been the size of a small book (without the pictures). Another RFP asked for “spec work” (free creative concepts). And, another company had three pages of RFP questions with a request to respond in 48 hours from receipt. Continue reading

Road Map for 2013 Industry Events – Oh the Places You Should Go!

January tends to be a month that is characterized by making changes and plans. In addition to New Year’s resolutions that aim for improvement, a sense of urgency to get organized lest we fall behind hangs in the air. It’s always a good idea to outline the steps you’ll need to take to actually achieve those changes or goals and then create a plan, To-Do list or road map for getting there. For example, I have a friend who lives in Connecticut and creates a yearly bucket list as opposed to resolutions. One of her bucket list items for 2013 is to hike all the trails and visit all the vineyards in the state. As one of my goals for the year is to travel more frequently and leisurely. I’m hoping to meet her in the northeast and help her take two more steps towards reaching these goals!

But fun aside, applying this type of planning towards achieving your professional business goals for the year is also a best practice. Rebecca recently blogged about the New Year’s resolutions and goals we’ve set for ourselves as an agency, one of which happens to be attending more industry events. She sums up our reasoning behind this resolution perfectly by saying,

“Industry and business events typically provide a perfect platform for a number of beneficial practices. Networking, obtaining new ideas, collaborating with colleagues, meeting new clients and staying on top of trends – are just a few. Sometimes the best ideas come from taking the time to leave the office and interact with the community.”

Whether your role in marketing lies within an agency or on an internal client-side marketing team, continued education in our field of practice is of great importance. I’ve outlined of few of what we think are the must-attend events for marketers across various specialties and industries.

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Looking Ahead to 2013: How M/C/C is Approaching New Year’s Resolutions and Goals

It’s that time of year again…  Everywhere you look people are pursuing resolutions for 2013. Gyms are packed, junk food is traded for salads – all in an effort to erase the woes of the previous year and to rewire ourselves to be better people in the new year.

Fast forward–it appears that the reality of being disciplined has set in and these new “habits” have disappeared. Don’t worry; they’ll reappear in early 2014 when people attempt to once again change their lives.

Do we sound cynical? It’s hard not to be when surrounded by people who have the best intentions but seem to fail, annually.

As we dive into another new year, we’ve determined that it is a good idea to step back and set goals – but instead to approach them differently.

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An Open Letter from Former Employee Peter Nutovsky

Dear M/C/C,

I’m writing to express the hurt and frustration caused by your actions. First we “mutually agree” to end my employment at the agency. Then you maliciously release a video that shows security personnel removing me from the premises? And now you’re bragging about how many viewers enjoyed the show? An infographic, really?!

Forget you guys, I don’t need you. You need me.

 

You’ll be hearing from my people,

Peter Nutovsky
Former Director of Online Content
M/C/C

P.S. In case you’re interested, I’m playing the bus station at First and Main every Saturday night. Doors at 8. Show at 9.

Peter Nutovsky Infographic