Manufacturing a Conversation

March 27, 2009

 How to message to more than one target audience

From one of our resident geniuses, Michelle Edelman: President @ NYCA

Most good marketers stayed awake during the class which discussed that “targeting” meant what it sounded like: not being all things to all people, but finding one part of a buying population that you could own and driving a single message toward that group.

And then they graduated, only to discover that many brands have more than one target. In fact, many brands have more than one target to accomplish a single sale.

Take business-to-business purchasing, for example. The guy who holds the purse _01independent-projects_03speech-bubbles_bubblestrings is typically different than the guy who has to use the product, and those guys are different from the guy who performs the side-by-side evaluation of the options. Sometimes none of these guys knows each other particularly well, nor do they work together. There are more “no” opportunities in this sales cycle than “yes” ones.

Typically, multi-constituent decision processes are not impulse purchases. They are longer timeline, considered purchases. When working on a multi-constituent marketing plan, the key points to keep in mind are:

Know the roles of the target within the sales cycle. Map out the distinct phases of the sales cycle, flowchart style. Think about how decisions get made in each phase. Who is involved in each part of the cycle? What is their role? Where are the points of interaction between the parties?

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A Junior Copywriter on her First Year in the Ad Business

March 24, 2009

From the talented mind of Kassie Johnson, Copywriter @ NYCA.

I still consider myself pretty green. Actually, it’s more a light, baby blue. Pantone NYCA, in fact. But only because I know there’s still so much to learn within the walls of kassiethis place tucked so secretly behind the most beautiful ocean cliffs you’ve ever seen. Luckily for me, small agency life has also taught me an invaluable amount in my first year. I’ve learned small things. And big things. Goose-bump, hair-raising, biting your nails from the possible risk of it all sorts of things.

I’ve learned that I’m not above re-filling the spoons and forks in the kitchen, and that I’m a “weird” creative for having my second cup of coffee in the morning before most people have their first. Creatives are not morning people and prefer to work late. They are supposed to show up to work at 9am (or a little after), not 8:30am. EVEN if the official NYCA rulebook tells me 8:30. I’ve learned that creatives don’t have rules.

I’ve learned that deadlines are always looming, there’s an endless amount of post-it notes in the supply closet for this very reason, and that there’s no continuous current in advertising workload–you’re either super busy or painfully slow. I’ve learned that the business management folks get a heck of a lot more emails than I do, and that if you want to get people to a meeting over their lunch hour AND be productive, all you have to do is send out an email with two simple words-free pizza.

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Authenticity and Sports Illustrated

March 20, 2009

From Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO at NYCA.


They came to me naked. One, then another, each young and pretty, some undeniably beautiful, painted, pouting, all undeniably naked.

It was repulsive.

Even pages 95 and 114-115 left me removed and longing for baseball stats.

These were nude supermodels. I’m a paunchy middle age man. I should be in the basement with a flashlight, magnifying glass and a back up set of batteries.

2009-sports-illustrated-swimsuit-issue-bar-refaeliThe Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Issue was here in my hands and my mind was wandering to the economic stimulus package.

It all was too fake. Not the body parts but the whole idea.

Yes it always had been, only this time I couldn’t fool myself. I couldn’t get away from this was a sports pub! And these girls were selling themselves to me so I would buy next years’ subscription to football, basketball, hockey and Rick Riley.

Even the fantasy of 7 countries, 33 models 83 bikinis couldn’t withstand the harsh context of now.

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Talent plus Intention turns Doubt into Action

March 18, 2009
From Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO at NYCA

I am a mad crazy lover of talent. I twitch when the gifted are in the vicinity. And truly, if we broke down the job – because who knows what CEOs do anyway? – I am really the chief talent officer and promise maker at NYCA. So here’s what it takes to get and keep a job at NYCA.

And if you’ve got the stuff, come and share it, please.nyca-awning

Everyone who comes for an interview, at our Encinitas world headquarters, gets soulfully x-rayed by at least seven people. Some get radiation-blasted by as many as 12 NYCAers! A gauntlet of sharing and truth-seeking, laughter, green tea, power-points, theory proving, seed planting – and then they get me. Oh, I am a Pooh Bear in the sight of true talent. I will do stupid human tricks for the insatiably curious, mind-wanderers, the way-past-passionate craftspeople who do it better and do it fast and do it on budget, and the open-hearted, future-seeing, daring-to-be-mocked visionaries (they have the best jokes, too!).

Because these people make it happen every day and night.

Because they are the ones who will leap the walls of convention and breathlessly deliver the goods. Again and again.


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What is creative anyway?

March 12, 2009

By Dave Huerta,

Vice President, Associate Creative Director @ NYCA


Well, very simply, it’s whatever causes a consumer to think,

feel or act in a positive way toward your brand, product or service.


But great creative is that which connects on a much deeper subconscious,

involuntary level and causes change. Like when you put your hand in 300px-incandescent_light_bulbfreezing water or over a flame or when you have an itch.


Remember the last great movie you saw? Most likely you don’t remember scenelighting or camera moves or that you were sitting in a theater watching actors deliver lines.


What you remember is the story or message – the movie’s essence.


When this happened, you were changed.


Every brand or product has an essence too.


What we do is find it, or if it already exists, we brush it off, and tell its story in a meaningful way to your consumers.



When we do that, they’re changed.

And when they’re changed, that’s creative.

Just because you’re old and a leader don’t make you Moses

March 5, 2009
From Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO at NYCA

I make more mistakes than anyone at NYCA. Probably why I wrote in the “Seeds” booklet that it’s not only okay but it’s mandatory to make Big mistakes. I figured that was a liberating sentiment, show I wasn’t a tyrant and it would double as my oft-needed loophole.

Well, that was another mistake.

“Seeds,” I should tell you, is a booklet I wrote, which each employee gets when they seedsbook_01become an official NYCAer. It’s 64 tidbits on how to excel, how to grow! Common sense like “spend the clients’ money as if it were your own” and ‘Do as you say, integrity is better than pie.” (We do like our pie at NYCA). Short, pithy – nothing heavy, based on the Ten Commandments but with a bit of contemporary sass. The mistake-oriented one went like this:

“Fail every day. Make mistakes. Big ones. Just learn from each one. If you didn’t make a mistake today, you either didn’t recognize it or you didn’t try something new. Better luck at failing tomorrow.”

Catchy, I thought.

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