The MadAveGroup Blog
Scott Greggory, Chief Creative Officer
An integral member of our team since 1993, Scott is an award-winning copywriter with a talent for simplifying brand messages and developing humorous content. He’s also a skilled voiceover professional, as well as a video and audio producer / director.
Through the MadAveGroup blog, Scott reinforces our agency’s perspective and shares sound marketing and customer experience principles. When speaking to audiences, he focuses on branding, content creation, using humor in marketing content, and exploring the question “who cares?”
Scott has judged several ADDY Award competitions. He sits on the Telly Awards Judging Council and Bowling Green State University's Advertising Industry Advisory Board.
Forbes Agency Council
Scott is a member of the Forbes Agency Council, an invitation-only organization for senior-level executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies.
Forbes.com published his article, Highlight Your Humanity to Help Your Brand Stand Out, and he's contributed to these articles on the Forbes website:
- 12 Excellent Team-Building Activities for the Summer
- 14 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Creating a Press Release
- 13 Website Design Principles Any Business Should Keep in Mind
- Defining What Makes a Business Unique: The Secret Sauce of Successful Marketing
- 15 Tips to Help Businesses Create Engaging Videos
- 11 Tips for Responding to Negative Online Reviews
- 12 Simple Website Changes That Can Boost Your Brand Appeal
- 15 Ways to Ensure Your Agency's Creative Juices Keep Flowing
- 8 Tips for Creating a Non-Promotional Branded Podcast
- Turn Praise Into Power: How to Make the Most of Your Company's Accolades
- 15 Culture Perks to Boost Team Productivity During the Summer
- 15 Ways to Publicize Good Company News Without Being Boastful
- 13 Content Marketing Strategies to Differentiate Your Brand
- 16 Ways to Repurpose Your Content for Maximum Engagement
- 15 Best Practices for Your New Company Blog
- 13 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start Rebranding
- 8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Podcast
- The Write Stuff: 16 Agency Pros Share Their Best Piece of Writing Advice
- Ending Confusion: 15 Ways You Can Improve Internal Communications
- 12 Critical Attributes You Should Seek When Hiring
- 15 Things to Keep in Mind When Designing Your Marketing Plan for the Holidays
- How to Be Authentic and Turn Around Your Brand in the Face of Crisis
- 15 Underappreciated Skills To Look For In Young Hires
- Want to Use 360-Degree Photo and Video? 11 Things to Consider
Read Scott's insight in the article "3 Tips to Improve Internal Communications" published by Lousiana Technology Park.
Thoughts About Scott
"You're one of Forbes Agency Council's most prolific Expert Panel contributors." - Hannah Johnson, Community Manager / Forbes Councils
"Still enjoy your blog posts. Some of the best leadership [information] I have read. I am just glad I don't have to pay royalties every time I have used one of your thoughts in a meeting." - Mike Brice, Digital Marketer
“May I have your permission to send your blog post to a few of our top business customers? We are a small community bank in North Carolina and I would like to share your message with them. Thanks so much!” - KS Bank, Inc.
"Hi, Scott - I have absolutely loved reading your blog over the years and your always-upbeat, insightful messages. I have learned so much from your content and your writing style." - Ellen Pizza / Commerce Paper
“I am hard pressed to challenge any of [these ideas] based on your reputation and experience. I think it’s great.” - Joanna Hunter / Kingston Healthcare
“Thank you for your participation in our Networking Fair. I could listen to you speak all day.” - Denise Grupp-Verbon, Fine & Performing Arts / Owens Community College
“I really enjoy your blog posts. Good information.” - Sue Shepich, Marketing Director / Marshall Music
On June 13th, 2017, the 120-year-old Wachter Building next to our UpTown Toledo offices was destroyed by fire.
As news of the fire spread, people from neighboring buildings poured into an adjacent parking lot to watch firefighters attack the blaze.
And as many of those people pulled out their cell phones to capture images or video of the scene, I noticed something: they all stood in one spot - far from what was happening - and shot what had to be merely an “overview” of the action.
This was hardly an everyday occurrence: a three-alarm fire was engulfing an historic structure. There were a dozen fire trucks and 70 firefighters onsite; motion; intensity; the sound of sirens in the air; thick, black smoke everywhere; a collapsing building.
And all most people saw - and recorded - was one perspective.
As a contrast, take a look at the video above. It was shot from every side of the burning building. Long, cover shots mixed with tighter views. Pans and tilts, cuts and crossfades. Quick visual side stories of the people fighting the fire, their trucks and equipment.
Your company’s story is not one-sided. To tell a more interesting version of that story, you have to be willing to look at it from all possible angles. The big picture and the details. The obvious and the unexpected.
Separating your company or product begins with your curiosity about what else is possible. So poke around. Ask questions. And then, tell your brand’s story by compiling insightful “shots” one at a time, giving your customers a unique look into your world.
Remember - from the parking lot, everyone’s view of the fire was the same.
The photo on the left was taken in 1939 and appeared in Life Magazine.
I saw it in June of 2015, and it has stuck with me ever since.
The online caption read, "After realizing that poor women were using flour sacks to make clothing for their children, some flour mills started using flowered fabric for their sacks."
Man, I love that.
So simple, yet so powerful.
It’s an example of a company relating to their customers’ needs - needs, by the way, that had nothing to do with the flour mills’ actual product - and then making an adjustment to help.
It’s a sweet story of people getting creative to make life a little better for others.
We’ve covered that idea several times in this blog:
- The hotel that joined with a local animal shelter to encourage pet adoptions.
- The barber who gives away free haircuts to kids if they read a book while in his chair.
- The artist who turned weeds into sidewalk art.
- The high school track team that took shelter dogs for a run and set off a nice chain of events.
If you want to differentiate your brand, stop thinking about it as differentiating your brand - for at least the time being - and start doing something extra that matters to your customers, your community, you and your team.
Make it real. Make it human and heartfelt. Make that adjustment, and then make a difference.
I went to my son’s high school graduation yesterday. It was a ceremony filled with many moving moments, and, as I reflect on it today, a few marketing lessons.
1) Be an inspiration. Just like a great commencement speaker, your marketing and advertising should inspire your audience.
That might mean providing them with reasons to follow and engage with your brand, or showing how you’re leading by example to improve your corner of the world. Paint a vivid picture of what’s possible with your products, services, philosophy or team.
2) Share stories. Graduation season is a time for reflection. That often means revisiting memories and telling stories about teachers, friends and all the good times.
The stories you share in your marketing content will give your audience a better feel for your company’s personality and what it’s like to work with you. Stories are also easier to remember and relate to than cold, hard facts. Check out a few of our stories here, here and here.
3) Celebrate. Sure, give your team a big shout-out on your website or social media for their latest award or accomplishment. Just make sure to tie the message back to your audience.
Why should they care about your good news? How can they apply the details to their own needs? How does the information make the decision to buy from you easier?
4) Be yourself. Graduates wear long, shiny robes, along with oddly shaped hats, cords, sashes and medals. In other words, stuff they’d never be caught dead in normally.
That's all part of the pomp and tradition of graduation, but ask yourself if your marketing accurately presents your culture and who you are, or are you “dressing it up” for the public?
5) Dream. New graduates often dream about the future: their next steps, pursuing their goals and passions, making a difference.
When’s the last time you put your feet up on the desk and dreamed about what you could be doing with your marketing? How much more effective - and fun - could it be? What are some of the other metrics you’d like to pursue? What will your marketing legacy be?
Let us know if you’d like any help making those dreams come true.
If you want to improve the impression that your company leaves on callers, you may want to consider this: BusinessVoice, our Caller Experience Marketing agency, won the highest honor in the On Hold Marketing industry for the second time in three years at the 2017 MARCE Awards.
The MARCEs are presented each year to acknowledge marketing and creative excellence in On Hold Marketing entries from around the world.
“The Girls at Notre Dame” earned two awards: Best Branding and Best of Show. We crafted the production for our client Notre Dame Academy, a Catholic girls school in our hometown of Toledo, Ohio.
“We're always thinking about how to elevate the caller experience,” said Chief Creative Officer Scott Greggory. “The Notre Dame production is a great example of introducing first-person stories and sincere emotion to paint a vivid picture in callers' minds.”
Andrea Poteet wrote the voiceover copy, Don Binkley was the recording engineer, and Amy Jeffries provided the voiceover. Hanson Inc. provided the students' voiceovers.
The MARCE Awards judges shared many nice comments about the piece, including these:
“Great concept. The testimonial / word-of-mouth feel is strong and believable. And the spectrum of information shared is tremendous.”
“The music bed was current, the VO delivery was very solid, and the [stories] left a great impression. Well done, guys.”
BusinessVoice has earned 14 MARCE Awards. That's more than any other On Hold Marketing provider in the world. The competition began in 2005.
Brad Timofeev, our Director of Digital Marketing, is getting married to Lauren this Saturday (May 27th).
“Earlier today,” he wrote to me, “I had an unbelievable experience with Amazon.”
There’s a 90% chance that Brad and Lauren’s outdoor wedding is going to include rain. Lots and lots of rain.
With no real indoor option, “Lauren was in pure breakdown mode this morning. It looks like everything she had envisioned for her wedding isn’t going to happen. She’s never broken down like this before.”
Brad told me the rest of the story.
“I felt awful for her, and I tried scrambling for churches, but after about two hours, we decided to embrace the day for what it’s going to be: wet.
"So I needed to find 30 or 40 clear umbrellas in a few hours and get them here in two days. My first thought was Amazon because I know their shipping times are always reliable.
"After I ordered the umbrellas, I immediately called Amazon to confirm that the order was accurate and that the shipment would arrive by Friday.
"First off, the hold time was only about 10 seconds, which was a huge shock because, of course, Amazon is one of the biggest companies in the world.
"Then, John answered the phone. He said all the umbrellas were in stock and that he’d make sure they got out the door today for delivery by Thursday afternoon - a full day sooner than I expected. I ended up getting emotional on the phone because I was so thankful to him. After the craziness of the morning and seeing how distraught Lauren was, I just couldn’t keep my feelings bottled up any longer.
"The fact that someone cared that much about a complete stranger and understood our situation was so nice. It felt like everything was going wrong, especially for Lauren. But John’s help and his reassurance reminded me that people still care. It was an unbelievably positive experience that I didn’t expect.”
Brad’s story is a good reminder that your customers may come to you with important needs, urgency, and a complete lack of time, all with plenty of emotional trauma mixed in.
When you handle those situations with care and compassion, you not only make life easier for your customers, you can make customers for life.
Congratulations Brad and Lauren. We love you.
Many years ago, my wife Amy began her own tradition: she started sending cards to her friends and relatives just before Thanksgiving.
These are not early Christmas cards. In fact, the cards she buys never depict any type of holiday image or include a pre-written message.
Instead, she uses blank cards and writes a personal note to each of her loved ones, reinforcing how much they mean to her and how thankful she is to have them in her life.
A few days after the cards are sent, the phone starts ringing. Friends and family from around the country call to thank her for her thoughts and kind words.
These are people with kids and jobs and big holiday dinners to prepare, and yet, they stop what they’re doing to reply to a simple card with a 30-minute phone call.
Neither Amy nor I can recall a single response to the hundreds of Christmas cards we’ve sent over the years, so why do so many people respond to her “Thanksgiving” cards?
First, the timing. The cards are unexpected. They’re sent a good couple of weeks before the Christmas season really kicks in, so the recipients aren’t actively looking for a card the way they might on December 20th. In other words, her card is a nice surprise.
Secondly, everyone sends cards for Christmas, but because hers arrive so much earlier, they’re not “competing” for the recipient’s attention; their timing helps them stand out and contributes to their special quality.
Finally, it’s the nature of her cards. They’re not stamped with her signature. They’re not mass produced. Each one is hand-written. Personal. Genuine. They’re the kind of cards people save. And in sending them, she’s not looking for something in return. She’s simply reaching out to strengthen her relationships with the people who are important to her. Not hundreds of people. Just a few dozen.
So, are your 25 or 50 best clients worth a little more personal attention?
Is their long-term loyalty to you worth the time it takes to dream up new and valuable ways you can impact their lives and jobs? And not for what that may mean to you, but what it can do for them?
Do they deserve more face-to-face visits?
How are you letting them know that you're thinking about them and their needs throughout the year?
Are your sales and marketing efforts born of a genuine interest in helping your clients?
Just a few questions to ponder as you consider your company’s marketing efforts.
Terry Lesniewicz has been creating memorable images and effective work for brands since the early 1970s.
And as the creative leader of d2i - our brand, design and advertising agency - Terry is still makin’ it happen today, as both an impactful designer and a mentor to the next generation.
On April 19th, 2017, Terry and a few other area designers were featured in an informal retrospective called The Poster Show. Check out the images of Terry's work below.
We’re very proud of the influence that Terry has had on advertising and design, and we’re very excited that he shares his talent, perspective and vast experience with our team and clients every day.
"It's been a pleasure working with the up-and-coming designers here at d2i, including Greg Stawicki. He was instrumental in the work for the Mad Ave Collective poster" (middle row left below).
Usually, advertising takes.
Pre-roll videos, radio and TV spots, print ads: they all interrupt or delay what people want to see or hear. So, by their very nature, those types of advertising take.
They take the audience's time. They take their attention. They can even take the momentum and enjoyment out of the entertainment experience.
But what if advertising were used to give?
Here’s an example.
About 97% of people are not in the market for a new vehicle at any given time. And because Americans own their cars for an average of 6.5 years, most drivers won't be looking for new wheels anytime soon.
Yet, radio and TV commercial breaks are filled with car dealer spots, sometimes back-to-back. And so often, the “take-oriented” message in those commercials is about price or specific vehicles - information that will no longer apply when the majority of the audience is actively shopping for a new car.
So, what if a car dealer were to use his advertising to provide unbiased advice on purchasing a new vehicle?
Or tips on how to keep your current vehicle running its best?
Or the six steps to maintaining your car’s paint job?
Or a few facts that would help you choose the right engine oil?
Or suggestions for cool weekend road trips?
Or specific examples of how buying an American-made model benefits you and your community?
Or stories of how the dealership has gone above and beyond to care for their customers over the years?
Oh, and, by the way, “please think of us when you need a new car.”
What if that car dealer used his air time and ad space to focus on you, rather than himself and his products? To give you valuable information? To prove to you over and over again that his company is worthy of your trust? To build - in a way - a relationship with you?
Not only would you come away from that advertising a smarter consumer, you might develop a fondness for the company responsible for it.
As a marketer, you can't change the interruptive nature of certain channels, but you can change your content - from self-focused to audience-focused; from taking to giving, with the goal of creating a valuable, long-term role in the lives of your audience.
On April 9th, 2017, security officers representing United Airlines dragged a screaming 69-year-old passenger out of his seat and off a United plane, creating an indelible image of customer abuse and a public relations nightmare that could haunt the brand for years.
But four United employees needed those seats more than a few paying customers.
But the screaming passenger is a convicted felon.
But the fine print on the ticket gives the airline the right to remove anyone from the plane.
We live in a time in which everyone has instant access to a video camera and potentially a worldwide audience. Regardless of how those involved try to rationalize their actions, manhandling a customer should have never even been close to a solution.
On the United website, the company's Customer Commitment states that their goal “is to make every flight a positive experience” for their customers, that they provide “a high level of performance,” and that they're dedicated to delivering the type of service that makes them “a leader in the airline industry.”
United employs nearly 88,000 people around the world, so maybe it's unfair to expect that every one of their employees would live up to that portion of their brand promise. But how many people work for your company? Do they all know what you promise your customers, whether it's online or implied?
Are they empowered to make decisions that serve your customers and protect your brand image?
Do you remind them that the world is watching, even if your “world” is just a few hundred customers?
Make sure your employees know what your brand stands for, what's expected of them, and what will never be tolerated.