Posts Tagged ‘ agency ’

Strengths & Weaknesses of Magazine Advertising

There are thousands of magazines in which you can purchase advertising. They can be local, regional, national or even international. And though purchasing space in a magazine can be just right for your product or service, before you take that leap (hopefully with significant research to fall back on), you must still be aware of both the strengths and weaknesses associated with advertising in magazines.

· Highly targeted – Magazines are successful at reaching certain selected audiences such as women, parents, auto-enthusiasts, sports fans, etc. Also, many national magazines are capable of targeting to specific regions. So, for example, if your client only has locations in the southeast, you can still look at purchasing in a publication such as Sports Illustrated by buying only the southeast region.

· Allows for heavy copy messages – If you have a complicated message or want to call out specific features of your product in more detail, magazines allow for the space to do this. These are best for branding.

· Long shelf life – Most magazines will stay around a home for at least a week and some for more than a month. Many are also passed on to someone else. This allows for repeat exposure to the primary reader, as well as exposure to the pass-along reader.

· Receptive Audience – Readers subscribe to magazine so they will most likely be receptive to the message, as it will reflect their interests.

· Tangible – The reader can touch it and feel it and can spend as much time with it as they want, unlike television where the messages are only :05 – :60 in length.

· Trust – Consumers tend to trust what they see and read in magazines. Somewhat like a newspaper, it offers that third-party credibility that so many of us subconsciously desire.

· Not intrusive – There is no control as to how a person reads a magazine. They may flip by your ad without even seeing it.

· Lack of immediacy – Since a reader may not look at their magazine for days or even weeks after receiving it, it is best to have a branding message versus a message with a limited time offer or one that needs an immediate action.

· Early close dates – Many magazines require advertisers to have their ads to them 1-2 months prior to publication. This means that creative and marketing need to have complete campaigns well ahead of a publication date. As you can imagine, this may not work for all promotions/campaigns.

If you have any questions about whether magazine advertising, or even print advertising in general, is right for your product, feel free to contact evok at 407.302.4416.

Playground Rules in the Real World

There are many simple concepts, probably ones that you heard since you stepped foot in an educational system at the age of five, that really define basic principles in your everyday life. Oftentimes businesses overanalyze the key to a successful business relationship, but it really goes back to the playground basics we learned since day one. Keep it simple, thorough, and personal and you will find that you are a step ahead of the others trying to find that magic formula for success.

Here at evok, we’ve always been told that you can hear a smile through the phone. Even if you are not face to face with your customers, they can sense your attitude through your voice, your written words, and especially your actions. Stay positive. In customer service especially, an attitude can make or break a relationship. Being helpful, accountable, and available is essential to forging a bond with any customer, new or old.

Countless times we have witnessed people in customer service who guarantee something they cannot deliver. It’s simple; if you give your word then you need to do everything in your power to make your promise happen. If you cannot always remember what it is you are promising, find a way to keep track of
it. Write it down; make note of what you need to do. If your word is broken, even just once, you allow doubt to be a part of the relationship, which is not conducive to gaining additional business.

The more you listen the more you hear. In order to be able to give your customers what they want, you have to know what they want. In order to know, you must ask and listen. If you show a genuine interest in your customers, not only will it build a stronger relationship, but also give you the ability to satisfy their needs in a greater way.

We all procrastinate; it is a part of being human. But in business, procrastination can lead some customers to believe they are not your priority. Stay on top
of your game. Be one step ahead of your customer. If you know that every Wednesday they ask for a specific report, make sure it is waiting for them Tuesday night. It is amazing what a little bit of hard work will do for their appreciation of you.

Cliché, we know, but a happy customer is a loyal customer. You should never want to deliver anything less than your personal best. The quality of the product and service you are offering is paramount to the success you will have in your business relationship. Don’t get lazy. Even if you’ve had a loyal customer for ten years, they still deserve the top-notch attention and service you would offer to
a potential new client. Customers are the reason you have a job to begin with. Without them, we have nothing.

These are just a few adages that we have all heard time and time again. Go back to the basics. The real world is not as complicated as everyone tries to make it. Just by using these simple five steps, you have already started to improve and enhance your business relationships.

Folder and File Naming Conventions – A Traffic Manager’s Dream

Working at an ad agency, we all have our hopes and dreams. Some may want to ride jet skis off the coast of Panama, win the World Series of Poker, maybe even backpack through Bali. And while spontaneous ventures are normal for those living the agency life, it’s also true that their work needs to have some structure, because it is the structure within your work endeavors that allows you the ability to break free on your down time.

So here at evok, as much as we play hard, we also work hard and one of the key elements of our workflow process is having sound file naming conventions. It may seem easy enough, but file name conventions can actually be tricky. If you don’t have a good file naming system, your files may be lost to you and your team, which will make things challenging on days when rush projects are piling up and your account service team is working hard to keep promises to their clients.

There isn’t one right way to name files. The best way will depend on the user’s or the company’s workflow structure. A good practice is to develop a company- wide naming system so that everyone is on the same page. The naming convention can be derived from a client name, job number or abbreviation of the job’s detail. In time, you’ll find that endless file searches and wasted time will be a thing of the past!

Some operating systems have rules or limitations on file naming which will only allow you to include a certain number of characters or select symbols within your file name. Also, many will only accept certain file extensions, so you must be familiar with your operating system and servers before deciding on a file naming convention.

When creating certain documents or creative materials, there may also be different versions of the same file that should be saved additionally and not written over. This is a good practice if you have enough storage space depending on your file size. A folder that contains copy, for example, may contain a naming convention such as V2, V3 and so on.

Every new project has a project number assigned to it before anyone can
begin working on it. Account Executives may have meeting notes kept within a common area for themselves, but when an estimate is approved and the project is ready to go into production (copy, creative, layout, photography etc…) it is a good practice to keep ALL assets for the project in one place, it’s Project Folder.

To help get you started, here’s a look into evok’s file naming conventions:

FOLDER NAMING: All of our work is saved under a project folder with the appropriate project number on it. Our project numbers are created using the current year, client abbreviation and a job number that is generated by our workflow management system. For example, when a new project is opened
for evok in the year 2011, a folder named 11_EVOK_0100 may be populated.
In February, we might see a folder labeled 11_EVOK_0150. This would be the 150th project created for evok. This naming convention is also very helpful when archiving or referring to existing or previous project alike.

SUB FOLDERS: Within each project folder, we also like to create additional folders. For example, if 11_EVOK_0155 is a new project, you may see:

COPY includes word docs of copy decks with version suffix. ex. 11_EVOK_5555_v2.doc
COMPS also contains a STOCK photo folder for spec stock. Numerous folders with rounds of revisions may be found here as well.
IMAGES any additional image which is not part of an image library and is usually specific to that project. This can include photoshop and illustrator files.
STOCK for purchased stock photography, and only if it pertains to this one-time usage.
SUPPLIED can be any files that have been supplied FROM the client that effect the project BUT not native to it. Ex. Previous brochure that we are modifying but NOT their logo.
PROOF contains low-res proofs. If proofs are archived, then naming scheme should be file name followed by underscore and version number.
PDF contains Hi-res.. ex. 11_EVOK_5555_HR.pdf.
OTS or COLLECT depends on client and final production.

CATEGORIZED BY MONTH: Let’s say this PR campaign lasted for 3 months – March, April and May and we wrote a different press release each month, but wanted to keep it in one project for the quarter. Within a Press Release folder we would create additional folders categorized by month. Instead of creating folders named March, April and May, we would want to create folders name 03 – March, 04 – April and 05 – May. You might notice that the 03 comes before March because March is the 3rd month of the year. This way, when you are scrolling through your files, you are looking at your months chronologically rather than alphabetically which is a great folder naming convention.

KEEP YOUR VERSIONS STRAIGHT!: Many of the creatives in our agency have had the pleasure of presenting work to clients. Sometimes a client, even if they love the idea, may want to see another concept with some revisions. Once you go into the file and change the ad, it’s important that you save it as a separate version. If the original layout version was called Bartender.indd, the new version should be called Bartender_v2.indd. The purpose is this – you ask? What if upon making the suggested change, they want to revert to the original layout. In this case you still have it and it is not written over. There are also plug-ins that may be used in your application programs that save these “layers” as such.

FINAL FILE NAMING: This really does depend on the final outcome of you project. It may be an ad that a publication is requesting and a certain file naming convention is required. It may have a HR.pdf naming convention signifying a High Resolution file. It may have the word FINAL in the name. It really depends on how you structure your system and consistent you are with it.

I could continue to ramble and give you example after example, but I hope you get the basic concept. It’s not a good idea to name your file NEW BROCHURE. indd or INTRO COPY.doc. You’ll get confused, waste time, and look foolish to a client when you give them the wrong proof. You can be as creative or as basic with your naming conventions as you wish, as long as everyone on your team is working the same way. Using a similar system above will serve to create a better working environment and a better workflow process.

What Type of Designer Are You: Solo, In-house, or Ad Agency?

Where designers work varies as much as the designers themselves. Some work in the corner of their studio in their pj’s while sipping their Starbucks coffee. Others work in the marketing department of a Fortune 500 company. Then there are those who design an array of work for diverse clients in an ad agency.

Being a designer who has worked in all three arenas, I thought I would provide some insight and go over some pros and cons for each. Every creative has his or her own unique preferences and needs. What may work for you, may not work for the next designer. However, rest assured that YOU do have a place in this crazy industry called design.

Solo (Freelance) Designer

Pros: A great majority of designers are their own boss. One reason for that is the freedom that comes from waking up when you want to and scheduling your work as it best suits you. Also you have the privilege to accept as many or as few projects as you want. Another great benefit is that you get to exhibit your true creative potential, which is something very important to keep the excitement of design alive. Usually this will increase as you begin building your reputation and can select the projects you want. Want to go on vacation – just ask yourself when and where and you’re off! Oh, and let’s not forget – set your own rate. Several designers have higher salaries as a freelancer than in-house because they can set the price they feel their services are worth.

Cons: Starting out, you may be overwhelmed. This can be especially difficult for designers who are just beginning their design career. It’s strongly recommended that you work for a company awhile before venturing out on your own. One common issue to deal with as a freelance designer is the absence of a steady paycheck. Your paycheck is really the sum of your projects, how you bill them, and how soon your client will pay you. If you’re not an organizer and saver by heart, this route will teach you by force. Another con is that no one will go and get the clients for you. This may be a positive challenge some look forward to, while for others it will make them cringe. Either way, you are solely responsible for attaining and retaining your clients, so be creative in your marketing.

In-House Designer

Pros: With the recent economy shift, many companies, both large and small have decided to keep their work in-house. The company itself benefits greatly in this arrangement; and so do the designers. One of the largest benefits is the stability. Since these companies want the assurance of having an “on-call” design department, you can be sure designers will be there for a number of years. Another positive is since you are an employee you have the same great benefits as the rest of your co-workers in other departments. They can include health insurance, paid time off including holidays and vacation, disability, 401k, and sometimes even tuition assistance. If you’re concerned about working long hours, then you’ve come to the right place. In-house departments typically have the same 8 hr shift as the rest of the company. So you will be home before it’s dark – lucky you.

Cons: Once you step foot in an in-house design department, remember there are rules to abide by that were put in place long before you came; unless you were one of the pioneers in starting the department. Branding guidelines are very strict and must be adhered to in every executed project. As a result, after time you may feel you’re designing the same old piece. You can attempt to do something fresh and innovative, but don’t take offense if it’s not received positively. Another con may be the manner in which you’re perceived within the company. Many non-designers think you press a magic button and their 20 page brochure will be done within the hour. One way to counteract this is through communication. Educate your manager and co-workers as to why it takes a certain amount of time, so they may be able to forward that key information to other departments and clients. After all, designers are not magicians – ok, maybe a little.

Ad Agency / Design Firm Designer

Pros: Can anyone say CREATE! One major pull ad agencies have over other creative environments is the plethora of great creative. Usually there is more time to focus on one or two campaigns at a time and so you get quite a bit of time to brainstorm and collaborate with your peers. If you’re lucky some of the campaigns you worked on that were executed can add sparkle to your portfolio. This is usually the case since the clients’ budgets are bigger and allow for custom photography, higher-end print finishes, illustration, etc. Another advantage is the people that surround you. In an ad agency, you get to hang out with your “creative peeps.” These may include, but are not limited to other designers, photographers, copywriters and creative directors. Since you feel comfortable collaborating and brainstorming in such a setting, it results in a more uplifting and inspiring attitude. Which leads me to another positive – the space. Ad agency higher-ups know that creatives need a fun place to work to get their juices flowing so many have eliminated the greige cubicles and replaced them with funky open areas so all can interact informally without restrictions because you never know when the greatest idea will arise.

Cons: When you work in-house your employer is your client, so they’re unlikely to go anywhere. However, clients in an ad agency can come and go. If a huge account is lost, you may lose your job along with it, which may explain why you see designers jumping from agency to agency through no fault of their own. If you have children and other commitments outside of work, you may want to think carefully if this is the place for you, as long hours extending into the late nights are the norm. Every account is considered important and every deadline is set, so multiply that by three and you could easily be working 50-70 hrs a week. Of course this leads to another disadvantage; burnout. Working those long hours churning out great work can leave you “juiceless” after a couple of years, remember to set your priorities accordingly and give yourself time to relax and re-energize.

Links and Resources

For Solo (Freelance) Designers:

For In-House Designers:

For Ad Agency / Design Firm Designers:

For All Designers:

So now that you’ve seen a small glimpse into the good and bad of these three creative environments, which one best fits you? Tell us your experiences – we’d love to hear from you.

Media Terms & Definitions

It is important for everyone in an agency to understand media terminology to improve communication both within the agency as well as with clients. This
is especially important for newcomers to the agency business or business owners who don’t deal with media everyday.

Here are some common media terms and definitions.

DEMOGRAPHIC: Specific groups within the universe that one is targeting, usually broken down by age and gender but could also include income, buying characteristic, lifestyle etc.

RATING: A percent of the population or universe exposed to an advertising medium.

RATING POINT: A value equal to one percent (one rating) of a population or universe.

GRP/TRP: The sum of all the ratings delivered by a given list of media properties. Specifically, they mean gross rating point and target rating point. They essentially mean the same thing.

IMPRESSION: This is the number of contacts (eyeballs) that are exposed to a message. It does include duplication and is usually expressed in thousands.

REACH: The percent of different people or households exposed to a specific media schedule within a given period of time, expressed as a percentage. It is unduplicated and can be used to refer to a single media property or a media schedule.

FREQUENCY: The average number of times a target audience or household is reached by a media schedule.

CPM: Cost per thousand. It is the cost to expose 1,000 people or households to your advertising.

CPP: Cost per point. It represents the cost of purchasing one rating point.

PRE-EMPTION: The substitution of one advertiser’s ad by another advertiser paying a higher rate for the same time and program.

MAKE-GOOD: Comparable unit or units of advertising offered when the original spot ordered either did not run or ran incorrectly.

NET COST: Advertising rates that do not include agency commission.

GROSS COST: Advertising rates that include agency commission.

SHARE: A percentage of the audience tuned to a particular program at a given time.

BILLBOARD: Typically, an outdoor advertising display unit. It also can be a :05 or :10 announcement indicating sponsorship of a program or feature such as traffic or news.

POSTER PANEL: A standard outdoor advertising display unit.

SHOWING: A group of outdoor boards, which provide certain percentage coverage of a market, usually purchased as #25 showing or #50 showing.

AVAILS: Availability – it is the unsold units of time available to
sell to advertisers. It can also be a station’s submission of programs, rates and ratings for planning and buying.

DAYPART: One of the time segments the day is divided by for broadcast media. It is determined by programming.

DRIVE TIME: Dayparts used in radio that have the highest amount of listeners in cars, usually while people are driving to and from work. It is generally from M-F 6a-10a and M-F 3p-7p.

ROS: Run of Schedule – where specific times and programs have not been requested by the advertiser.

DMA: Designated Market Area – Nielsen’s term for geographical areas made up of exclusive counties based on which home market stations receive the predominate share of viewing.

CIRCULATION: Total number of copies of a publication distributed at a specific time.

COLUMN INCH: A unit of newspaper space that is one column wide and one inch deep.

P4C: Abbreviation for page 4-color ad.

PBW: Abbreviation for page black & white ad.

DEC: Daily Effective Circulation – it is the average number of persons, in cars or other vehicles, passing and potentially exposed to an advertising display for either 12, 18 or 24 hours.

EOIs: Eyes On Impressions – the average number of persons who are likely to notice an ad on an out of home
display for either 12 hours (un-illuminated) or 18 hours (illuminated). Unless specified as In-Market, EOIs include all persons who notice the unit, regardless of the origin of their trips. EOIs are reported in weekly increments.

Although these definitions account for some of the everyday terms, we encourage you to continue your quest for media knowledge and know-how. Please see the following for more terms and definitions: