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November 7th, 2011

Real Original

By Brokaw copywriter, Trish DiFranco Original ideas are like unicorns. Hard to come by and easy to spot a fake. It happened again. Another big agency stole a big idea from a not-so-big establishment to make big bucks. Chevrolet recently came out with this ad to celebrate their centennial. Which is strikingly similar to this blog, Dear Photograph—a Tumblr that collects nostalgic photos Read More…

March 29th, 2011

Before you blame the advertising.

How would you describe Burger King’s advertising? Creepy? Yes. Funny? The target would say, “heck yeah.” Viral? Absolutely. Effective? According to B.K., umm, no. Which is why they fired their longtime agency partner after six consecutive quarters of declining sales. All because of the advertising, right? Not exactly. Let’s consider a few variables in the purchase decision: price, packaging, perceived Read More…

March 10th, 2011

Find your voice.

Do all of your tweets, ads, newsletters, point-of-sale materials, internal docs., etc. sound like they’re coming from the same company? Does your brand speak with one voice? Better question: do you have a voice? What is it? For instance, the voice we use for vitaminwater might be described as your “witty, enlightened b.f.f.” For University Hospitals, it’s more like “nationally-recognized Read More…

March 5th, 2011

Trust us . . . great relationships = great work

Why is there so much dismissively average work in the world today? Because it’s easier, faster, cheaper, and safer. Let’s face it, great work entails risk. And most of us want to avoid risk. So, how do we get our clients to take a leap of faith and do the kind of work that helps turn a local rustbelt dinosaur into Read More…

March 1st, 2011

It’s wrong to be right.

By Paul Arden,”It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be.” Being right is based upon knowledge and experience and is often provable. Knowledge comes from the past, so it’s safe. It is also out of date, and lazy. It’s the opposite of originality. Experience is built from solutions to old situations and problems. The old Read More…

January 14th, 2011

The value of email, video, and a golden voice.

Why do we relentlessly send e-newsletters every week packed with semi-interesting insights and mildly entertaining videos? According to a recent survey by the Direct Marketing Association, email is not only the most cost-effective way to increase your brand awareness, but it also generates an ROI greater than any other marketing channel—$43.62 for every dollar spent. Not to mention, adding video Read More…

October 17th, 2010

How to choose an agency. (Or “Why you shouldn’t always take your talents to South Beach.”)

Okay, we admit, sometimes we feel the need to defend our unsexy, un-Madison/Michigan Ave. headquarters to national and international clients. (Like catching a river on fire isn’t impressive or something.) And yes, we often try to build a case for the value of being a small, nimble, 30-person, underdog agency. Or build an argument for why we rarely do spec Read More…

August 11th, 2010

Not your typical blah blah.

Blah Blah Brand Truth #21: Telling consumers “we’re not your typical company” makes you sound like your typical company. Google the words “not your typical bank” and what pops up? A slew of your typical banks drowning in a sea of your typical marketing strategies that set off your typical consumers’ B.S. radar. So, how do you rise above it? Read More…

January 1st, 2010

Being the compass

How to build and sustain a vision and direction for your company By Erik Cassano Smart Business | January 2010 Developing a long-term vision for your company and sustaining that vision are two different jobs that require two different skill sets. Tim Brokaw, who shares managing partner duties with brother Gregg at 26-employee advertising agency Brokaw Inc.,knows all about it. Crafting a vision Read More…