Our New Year’s Resolutions

If a new year means a new you, you might relate to a few of our resolutions for 2016.  As we step further into the new year, these are a few things we want to keep top of mind!

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Photo credit: bit.ly/1Z8ylsj

Heather

My resolution is to stop watching viral videos involving dogs that I know will make me cry. You know the kind… videos of dogs greeting their owners who just got home from war or biped puppies using a modified wheelchair for the first time.

John

I have a few resolutions for 2016. I will be nicer to my pets and feed them using fine china. I resolve to drink less beer than last year. I will stop making fun of people who like to use Comic Sans. I will safeguard my Blistex so it doesn’t end up in the dryer. And finally, if I win the lottery, I will give half my winnings to good causes.

Shelly

My new year’s resolution is to give a well-crafted response to anyone that messages me through Facebook to sell me something. Normally, I just don’t respond. But, in 2016, I am going to nicely let them know that I don’t want to buy their body building formula, body wrap or cosmetics. It’s annoying and simply makes me more likely to not buy something. Also, I resolve to give my sweet tooth more exercise this year by eating more candy!

 

Photo credit: bit.ly/1Isv3OK

Photo credit: bit.ly/1Isv3OK

Steve

My new year’s resolution is to only post positive or funny comments on Facebook. While we’re being hopeful, I give myself 6 weeks, tops!

Rob

In 2016 I resolve to take up smoking and then to quit cold turkey. How hard can it be?

Whitney

My new year’s resolution is to keep a succulent alive. I am proud to say I found minor success with this in 2015 and hope by the end of this year, my thumb won’t be green with envy of the local plant supply store.

Erin

This year I resolve to treat mistakes like trees, you know, the Bob Ross kind of trees. If all mistakes are happy accidents, it’s easier to have a bright outlook on life.

Carol

My new year’s resolution is always to commit to not committing to making new year’s resolutions. Does that count as a resolution? Shoot.

Cheers to a new year with new opportunities to do great work with great people. They say sharing your resolutions can help hold you accountable. You can share your resolutions with us on Facebook or Twitter!

 

2015 in Review (From the Group’s Point of View)

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.” – Hal Borland

We’re excited to see what 2016 has in store for our clients, company, and our neighborhood. Here’s what we’ll always remember from 2015.

Heather

During this year’s frigid winter, good Samaritans tied scarves and knit hats to trees in cities with homeless populations. Anyone in need could take the items to keep warm. I like any story of altruism; people just helping others.

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All four of my kids, their three spouses, and my wife and granddaughter spent a week at the beach. It was awesome, particularly during a campfire in a full moon, making s’mores! It was awesome!!

Carol

Without question the most memorable event of 2015 for me personally was my 50th SURPRISE birthday party! My husband was planning it for at least 6 months and was in cahoots with Marbury folks to keep the deception going…even faking our company Christmas party to throw me off track! He booked a Beatles tribute band, cooked awesome food all by himself, made wine glass charms, designed the stage setup, coordinated with my out-of-town family to make sure those that could  would be there … and Whitney made amazing tickets and custom beer glass decals…  Every little detail was taken care of! I walked in to “All You Need is Love” playing with 90 of my friends waving little Union Jack flags, singing, and donning John Lennon’s signature round shades.  He even tried to get Sir Paul to send me a hand-written note. But the icing on the cake was the NEW CAR!!! I have to say I am one blessed lady with the most wonderful, loving husband in the world! God is Good!!

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Courtney

This Disney Parks Advertisement really stood out to me this year. I love seeing Disney characters so I know the joy kids of all ages having a down day would feel! This is uplifting in a world full of sad and hateful events.


Shelly

My favorite event this year was The Power of Pink for North Fulton Hospital. We had so much fun! It started with the girls going to Dry Bar to get their hair done and then having champagne while we got ready. Then we went to go support the cancer survivors, and help raise money for this wonderful cause through a casino night. It was very inspiring to meet these amazing women! We get so busy doing the materials and branding for our clients, it was great to be there and be a part of it. It’s also a good reminder on WHY we do what we do.

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Steve

In 2015, Sweden shifted to a 6-hour work day.* To this I say: “Heck-to-the-yeah!”

John

The celebration of an anniversary is always a wonderful thing. This past year, Marbury Creative Group celebrated its 5-year anniversary at the Glenn Hotel in downtown Atlanta. There was crazy traffic that day causing some folks to not make it. It took my wife, Penny, two hours to get to the party! From the decorations: a giant number 5 with photos from the last five years with an identical giant 5 for folks to sign, glowing table decorations with talk bubble on sticks with awesome facts about our customers and employees, a looping video with some of our past projects and of course the video skit of the employees overdubbed with children’s voices. Awesome view, awesome food, great music and a room full of wonderful people. It was a highlight of the year! It was an awesome event and I did not want the evening to end.

Whitney

This past summer I milked a cow. While visiting my boyfriend’s family in Pennsylvania, I learned a little bit about farm life and even got to milk Sally!

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Erin

Thanks to NASA’s New Horizon spacecraft, 2015 was year that science re-confirmed that Pluto is, in fact, a planet. Pluto was always a planet in my heart but it helps to have scientific evidence in arguments.

Erin

 

 

What moments in history or personally from 2015 will stick with you? Share yours with us on Facebook.

*Steve is seeking work sponsorship in Sweden, if anyone is looking for help, please contact us.

 

Our Christmas Memories

Christmas is a special time of year for many people and our Group is no exception. We’d like to share a few of our favorite Christmas memories!

Carol

For me, wonderful Christmas memories always involved my grandmother, Laura Marcy Askren. I think one of my favorites was going downtown to Rich’s with her to ride the Pink Pig. At the time, it was an enclosed suspension train, and not a regular “mini-train.” Then after the ride, “Nana” as we called her, would take us to the cafe in the store for lunch. My grandmother was the epitome of what a grandmother should be. She loved us all (me and each of my 5 siblings) and was very much involved in our lives. She always enjoyed scheduling fun things for us to do. I also fondly recall my sister and I going to her house to make fancy Christmas cookies every year. My favorites were the “stained glass” cookies that used sugar cookie base and melted Life Savers for the colored “glass.” She was an amazing baker and an overall excellent cook. I will always treasure the memories she made with us, and I miss her very much.

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Shelly

Every Christmas morning, we get up REALLY early and head out to my parents to celebrate Christmas with the family. Once Santa stopped stuffing our stockings, my sister and I made our own tradition, where we stuffed each other’s stockings each year. So, before everyone else wakes up, Nikki and I open our stockings together. Once the whole family is there, we start the fire in the living room and enjoy mimosas and breakfast together before doing presents. It’s so cozy and one of my favorite parts of Christmas!

 

Heather

I asked for a hamster EVERY Christmas for like, 4 years. I’d write it multiple times on my Christmas list so my parents would know how much I wanted one: HAMSTER, Tamagotchi, Skip-it, HAMSTER, Polly Pocket, Furbie, Troll doll, HAMSTER…you get the idea. Then one Christmas, I didn’t get the hamster. I never got the hamster.

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Rob (Grab the tissues!)

We used to draw numbers to exchange gifts in elementary school. One year a friend of mine opened his, and stated, “A pair of socks?!? What kind of a stupid gift is this?”  Then the older boy who had been held back two times reluctantly piped up, “My mom made me bring those. She said she would be grateful if I got a new pair of socks.”  Even at age 8, it broke my heart. So, I told my Mom, and she got our church together, and on Christmas Eve, we took a carload of new clothes and toys to this boys’ home in the trailer park (back in the day you could ask the teacher for the address). I stayed in the car so that the kid would not be embarrassed, but I knew this is what God would want Christmas to be all about.

 

John

Our very first Christmas together as a married couple, living in a brand new home, we decided to get a B-and-B tree (balled and burlapped – a tree sold with their roots in soil wrapped in burlap and tied with twine or wire). We drove to North Carolina and purchased a tree that was about 4 feet tall. The day after Christmas, we planted the White Pine in our front yard. Today, 26 years later, the tree is a little too big for us to decorate as we did the first couple of years since it is now about 30 feet tall. It’s fun to tell visitors to our home that the tree was our very first Christmas tree.

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Courtney

My favorite Christmas tradition is our yearly ornaments. When I was a baby, my babysitter made me a felt ornament with a picture of me that year and wrote the date on the back. My mom did this every year from then on and it is fun to pull them out every year and see how much I’ve changed. We are now doing this for my niece and I hope to continue this tradition!

 

Steve (Tearjerker alert!)

My daughter, Emma, then age 11, came to us and said she wanted to “adopt” a girl and her family for Christmas. She told us she didn’t want any gifts for Christmas, but instead wanted to spend the money that we would have spent on her, and allow her to go shopping for this family. How could you argue with that? So we went shopping and bought a bike, toys, clothes, diapers, and food gift cards — something for everyone in the family. We went as a family and presented everyone with our presents. They were extremely appreciative and had even cooked us an authentic Guatemalan dinner. But instead of us joining them around the table, they served us the meal as their special guests. They spoke very little English, but it was an amazing evening of fellowship. I was so proud of my daughter (how many kids would give up Christmas presents), and our family was so incredibly blessed by the experience.

 

Erin

One of my fondest Christmas memories was a very special gift from Santa. It was a goldfish that lived in a bubble gum machine-style tank. When you cranked the handle, the light turned on so I, er-the fish wouldn’t be afraid of the dark. In college, I tracked down another one of those tanks and proudly displayed it in my dorm room. 

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Whitney

When I was in elementary school my grandparents gave me a large chocolate-colored teddy bear for Christmas. I named him Brownie. I loved Brownie bear so much that his fur started getting very matted! The next summer I went to a weeklong sleep away camp and didn’t bring Brownie bear with me because he was too big. My mom mailed him to me so I was truly a happy camper!!

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We hope you and your family make your own special memories this Christmas and every year there after. Share your favorites with us on Facebook and keep spreading the Christmas spirit!

 

 

Psychology of Christmas Music

Do you hear what I hear? The familiar seasonal sounds of Christmas music… since October.

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Does music play a role in what you buy? There’s an obvious influx in shoppers during the holiday season, easily recognized by crowded parking lots and longer check out lines, but is music really to blame?

Let’s see what science has to say.

In 1982, a New York City grocery store did a study on the tempo of music and its effects on their customers’ shopping habits. The store played slower tempo music and found that customers spent significantly more time in the store than usual and bought on average 32% more, when compared to times when the store played faster tempo music. This is easily explained by our body’s reaction to fast versus slow music. When we hear faster music, we tend to pick up the pace.

The volume of music was similarly tested on another store’s customers. Would music played at a higher volume affect customers’ buying habits? In the 1960s, a field experiment was conducted. It determined that females exposed to loud music while shopping think less time has passed than actually has. Whether this lead to an increase in spending was not determined.

So, how would Christmas music affect seasonal spending? Would the presence of Christmas music playing in the background while you shop urge you to purchase more holiday-related items?

In general, Christmas music is nostalgic (at least until you’ve heard Jingle Bells for the umpteenth time). Nostalgia invigorates feelings of happiness, which can lead to budget bumps on the spot, something retailers don’t mind. And if you catch yourself singing along, the irritation associated with overplayed seasonal sounds suddenly disappears.

A very formal survey of the office revealed that 90% of the group believes that Christmas music does influence your holiday purchase decisions. The general theme: Christmas music offers a subtle cue of the season and it’s expectations (aka: shopping).

As Christmas rings closer, are you still excited to hear Christmas music? When do you think is too early to start playing Christmas music?

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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A Season of Giving Back (Not Returning an Ugly Sweater)

The holidays are generally a time of chaos between company parties, activities at school and shopping for gifts. Instead of waiting in line to buy something that might get returned or end up in the donate pile, we have a proposal. What if the center of the season was giving back, rather than giving gifts?

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At Marbury Creative Group, we want to focus less on the “stuff” portion of the holidays and instead give back. We believe a simple pay-it-forward, act of kindness mentality can go a long way. Selfless giving doesn’t require a lot of time or money but can be pretty impactful. Imagine what a difference could be made when each of us made just one act of kindness a month!

We’re not the only ones. Even big brands are hopping on the helping hand bandwagon.

  • Jimmy Dean launched a campaign early this month to turn Monday mornings around. Their message is simple: turn your Monday morning into time to do good. Buy someone’s coffee, hold a door open or volunteer with a local organization. They’re even organizing specified times for employees to take time to do good deeds. Now, we’re not saying every company has to give employees time off to volunteer but their message is doable. Big or small efforts alike are appreciated and that’s a message we can get behind. To learn more about their campaign, follow #MondaysforGood or read about it here.

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  • REI has announced that they will be closed the day after Thanksgiving, otherwise known as Black Friday, one of the largest shopping days of the year. Why? They want their employees and customers to spend time outside, not shopping. Maybe you’re not the outdoorsy-type, but what do you think about not shopping one day and instead spending time with family or giving back? Closing your store on the proverbial first day of the holiday shopping season is a bold move but we think their reasoning is admirable.

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  • Better World Books donates a book every time you buy one on their website. As of this summer, customers have helped them donate over 17 million books!
  • Twice as Warm is a made-in-America winter clothing retailer that gives new winter clothes to local shelters. With each purchase they give a new clothing item to someone in need, supporting their slogan “wear one, give one.”
  • Yoobi sells bright-colored school supplies that benefit kids. With each purchase, a Yoobi item is donated to a classroom in need. To date, the company has impacted the lives of 1 million children. If you knew your purchase was doing someone good, would you shop more with that company?

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So, how can you give back? Do you have a few extra minutes to help a neighbor carry in their groceries? Or help out in the school carpool lane? Do you have a few bucks to spot someone for their coffee on Monday morning?

Let us know how you’re going “stuff-less” and giving back instead this holiday season. Share your ideas with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Digital Data: How to Trick, er Treat the “Now What?” Syndrome

Last week, I was browsing target.com for a candy holder for our office. You know the kind, where a wicked witch hand cackles at you each time you try to sneak a Hershey kiss out of the bowl. It’s the perfect addition to our spooky seasonal office décor. Anyways, I got a call from a client, clicked out of my browser and went on with my day forgetting about that fun, festive candy bowl… Until she began haunting my browser.

I’m sure you’ve fallen victim to “retargeting,” whether it be a witch or another product. Let’s face it, it’s cool (but also a little creepy)! It brings me to today’s subject: using data to stay in front of your customer.

While most marketing budgets don’t have billions to spend on advertising each year, data is often inexpensive and easy to measure. Most of our clients are one step ahead because they know how important tracking and analyzing data is to their marketing campaigns but sometimes don’t know what to do with it. Let’s call this the “now what?” syndrome, if you will.

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To treat the “now what?” syndrome, we generally prescribe analytics programs that report on the big picture and capture a campaign’s full digital landscape. We’ll look at website analytics, social media, and results from monthly newsletters and analyze how each digital piece works to further our goals. Are our social media posts leading traffic to the website? Does our newsletter encourage engagement with our social networks? Is our website delivering on our primary goal?

These types of analytics helps us continually tweak and revise our ongoing social and newsletter campaigns (even if just an article) as well as make adjustments to the website. Remember, data is only valuable if you implement the changes it points to!

So now what? Are you “tracking” data or are you doing something with it?

Don’t let a lack of analysis haunt you! Give us a call at 678-735-5227 to find out if your retargeting efforts are working.

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How Facebook Says to Use Facebook to “Boost Your Business”

(and Debunking the “Pay-to-Play” Mentality)

Facebook has hosted a handful of conferences across the country called “Boost Your Business.” These conferences were geared towards small and medium-sized businesses interested in using Facebook advertising to promote and grow their business. Shelly and Erin took a trip to Nashville to learn about new offerings directly from the best at Facebook.

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We brought home a lot of great information that we are implementing in our clients’ social media planning and strategy.

Here’s the tip of the ice-Zuckerberg:

  • Facebook Advertising Targeting Options. As Facebook veterans, we know how to create and manage ads using Facebook’s Ad Manager, but the site and its offerings are constantly changing. New advanced targeting features like “look-a-like audiences” can find even more of your target customers! Through Facebook advertising, you can now connect with your customers based on their offline behaviors such as traveling and device usage, website visits and people who are similar or look like your target customers. We’ll be using these advanced targeting options and tools to reach more of our clients’ customers through Facebook advertising.
  • Tools for Businesses. Facebook offers a plethora of resources online for small and medium-sized businesses to use and advertise their business on Facebook. Story Packs for Businesses are one of those useful tools for beginners. Facebook says, “effective advertising on Facebook is just about telling good, compelling stories to your customers,” and that’s something we agree with completely! So how do you tell that compelling story on Facebook with your fans?  Story Packs give Page admins ideas on where to start when writing and sharing content to their business Page. Another cool tool: Creative Tips for Businesses help Page admins write copy, choose a picture and post to their Page.
  • Instagram for Business. Although Instagram for Business still has some serious growing up to do, Facebook has made a few improvements since they purchased the photo-sharing social network in 2012. In their Business Strategy Guide, they provide best practices for creating content, sharing videos and improving general presence. Each day, Instagram grows in popularity, paving the way for more opportunities for businesses to reach their customers on the social network. Check it out and see what you can do with Instagram for your business.
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Shelly and Erin met with Facebook guru, Mari Smith, to talk shop.

Overall, we were impressed by how much Facebook cares about growing small and medium-sized businesses. They have made a clear commitment through their staff and tools to help all types of businesses. That “pay-to-play” mentality we hear floating around just isn’t the case. Of course, they’re making money off your advertising dollars, but only 2 million of the 40 million small and medium-sized businesses are using Facebook to market their businesses. In addition, there are very few places to advertise with the targeting and tracking capabilities that Facebook offers.

We manage social advertising budgets for our clients ranging from a few hundred dollars to thousands, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money to see how it can work for your business.

Have a question or want to learn more about Facebook advertising or just using Facebook to market your business? Let us know. We’re on Facebook and Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

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Is Your Website From Another Decade?

Have you looked at your website with an outside perspective? Most of the new websites we’ve designed and developed have come about as a company leader has looked at their site and thought, “Wow…it’s been 5 years since we did anything new on our site…and it’s looking a little dated…and acting a little antiquated.”  So, how do you know if your website is the equivalent of a flip phone, vs. a smart phone? How do you know if your site looks and acts like it’s from a different decade?

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Here are a few things to check your site against, that might help indicate if, “it’s time for a change.”

Is your website responsive?  As of last fall, Pew Research shows 64% of American adults own a smart phone that they’re pretty fond of. Many of us check our phones or tablets whether or not we hear a ping. You’re likely using it to check your e-mail, Fantasy football and surf the web too. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it could be turning off some of your customers. In addition, Google’s new algorithm is penalizing non-mobile sites whose customers are searching for them from a mobile device.

Is your website easy to navigate?  It’s important to have a strong architecture with your audience in mind. Your website should be easy-to-use and navigate without causing users frustration. Your website is a reflection of your organization and should share the same professional image you do in the office. Think of it as your lobby! More people are likely see your website than your front door.

How is your page ranking in search engine results?  Redesigning your website will bring you into the 21st century and will help boost your search engine results! A site built with new best practices can help your page rank. In addition, it will implement new web functionalities, like blogs and videos, that will also benefit your search engine results.

Is your website copyright from 2015?  Every website has a copyright at the bottom — what’s yours?©2009?  ©2001?  Savvy folks will notice that your site is likely untouched since the date of that copyright. That’s probably not a good impression.

Are your social media links integrated?  Social media marketing is a growing effort for businesses and brands of all sizes. If you’re using social media marketing, make sure your website reflects that. Did you know that social media link integration can help improve your ranking in search results? It also makes your brand or business more visible to your customers as those buttons are universally recognizable.

And last but not least, if your visible hit counter is showing, your website might be from the 1990s!

But don’t worry. If you’re not feeling good about your site, contact us, and we’ll be happy to provide you with some thoughts on what to prioritize, so you can get it up to date.

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When one of our client’s products boasts grilling moister meats with the wood-fired taste you crave, we couldn’t wait try it!

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Introducing the Kamado Joe ceramic grill. It features a flexible Divide & Conquer cooking system so you can grill more (of everything) at once. Their competitors are “green with envy” as each Joe comes with all the accessories you need to grill, smoke and sear. We’re not kidding, every Joe comes with a rolling stand, exterior shelves for extra space and a slide out ash drawer! An added bonus to the already impressive list of “Joe-isms” is its ability to cook just about anything.

They say, “Nobody likes a piece of meat that resembles a hockey puck,” and we have to agree. Nothing beats a juicy burger with all the fixins’ on a summer afternoon. To test out our new grill-friend, we threw on some burgers & brats, buns and kabobs. Team members each brought their favorite summer side dish to complete our spread.

Here are a few of our team’s winning recipes:
• Even Better the Second Time Around: Hillbilly Baked Beans
• Tastes Like Summer: Petite Midori Cakes
• Gone in the Flip of a Spatula: Corn Casserole
• Can’t Beet This Vegetarian Option: Fruit & Veggie Kabobs 
• Most Pinterest-ing: Mac & Cheese

We’re believers. We enjoyed the experience of using the Kamado Joe grill. The act of lighting the charcoal and tasting the woodsy flavor of flame-grilled burgers and brats was utopia… “Joetopia” even. It was easy to clean and perfect for cooking for a dozen people at once. Let’s just say, this isn’t your average Joe kind of grill. If you’re looking for a better grilling experience, we highly recommend Kamado Joe.

A big thank you to our Grill Master, Steve, for feeding the troops!

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We, We, We All the Way Home

Have you ever noticed how often advertisers talk about themselves? Rather than focusing on what they can do for their prospective customers, it seems to be a common practice to toot your own horn (all the way home).

 

I recently heard a radio commercial for a local hospital and counted the word “we” 16 times. That’s right, 16 times in a 60-second commercial! I noticed that never once, not once, did they mention their audience, “you.” It was a very self-motivated commercial and I’m not really surprised. Oftentimes in healthcare promotions, the hospitals are shown talking about themselves and their accomplishments, not the lives of their patients. Let’s think about this. Is it really all that bad to boast about your accreditations or high customer satisfaction ratings? No. As consumers, we need to know what businesses are selling and what makes them better than their competitors. But there’s a better way to tell that story so your customer stops to listen to it.

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As an example of shifting focus to the consumer, I’ll use two hospitals.  We rebranded North Fulton Hospital under the tagline, “We Specialize in You.”  It shifts the focus immediately from what the hospital does, to the beneficiary — the patient. It’s very customer-centric, and it allows the staff at the hospital to keep their focus on the patient as they “live the brand.”

 

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When we rebranded Spalding Regional Hospital in Griffin, the focus on improvements that the hospital had made internally was part of their new brand. The teaser campaign was “We’re Not Your County Hospital Anymore” but it was quickly followed up with the tagline, “Change for the Better,” which was a call-to-action for the community to “change” as well as a notice that the hospital itself had “changed for the better.” Note it didn’t say, “We have Changed for the Better.”

 

Next time you’re listening to a commercial or looking at a print ad, pay attention to what the advertiser is saying. If they have a bad case of the “we-wes,” then they’re probably not interested in connecting with you.

 

At Marbury Creative Group, we fill in the gap between companies and all the great things they have to talk about; and their customer—who has no time to listen to great things and just wants to know, “how can you help me?” We want to help you turn those we-wes into me-mes.

 

Have you heard any we-ally good commercials lately? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter.

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