There’s always something interesting going on around here. Here’s a taste of who we are, what we care about, and how we think.
This just out: Fast Company Magazine’s “Most Innovative Companies” issue for 2014. They call it their annual guide to “the businesses that matter most.”
It’s pretty awe-inspiring.
The companies selected cover a broad range of industries and types of innovation, from technology (Google, Dropbox, Netflix), to social innovation (Bloomberg Philanthropies, Donorschoose.org, Alta Bicycle Share), to events (SXSW) and manufacturing (Braskem). Even Advertising Agencies (Deutsch LA).
For every brand you’d expect, like Google, Apple, Nike and Amazon, there are dozens that I was surprised to see, like Levi Strauss and Johnnie Walker. It’s a global perspective, including brands from India, Israel, South America, and China.
Robert Safian, Fast Company’s Editor-in-Chief summed it up so well in a piece he titled “Twelve Innovation Lessons for 2014”:
“If you Google the phrase "faith-based businesses," the results point to companies that pursue a religious agenda. But there's another kind of faith in business: the belief that a product or service can radically remake an industry, change consumer habits, challenge economic assumptions. Proof for such innovative leaps is thin, payoffs are long in coming (if they come at all), and doubting Thomases abound. Today, pundits fret about an innovation bubble. Some overvalued companies and overhyped inventions will eventually tumble and money will be lost. Yet breakthrough progress often requires wide-eyed hope.”
Here’s the article in full. Get inspired. We sure did.
We are very different from the agency we were the last time we branded ourselves back in 1999. The people have changed, our direction and culture have evolved, and of course, the industry and marketing as a whole continues to undergo massive changes.
And so it came time that “Garfield Group” undergo a visual change to represent our new thinking, direction, and passion that’s been instilled in us over the past year.
As you can see we lost the “group.” It was redundant. We are one united team — Creative, Public Relations, Digital — all on a singular mission to better our clients and their businesses. We wanted to be sure our identity reflected this while still paying respect to the brand that got us here, so we created a mark that was representative of both the upper and lowercase “G” — giving us something unique, something to call our own.
It’s not the only thing new about us.
We’ve also added substantial firepower to our creative, public relations, and strategy teams. Our new Creative Director, Bryon Lomas, joined us in September from Red Tettemer + Partners. His vision and passion is leading our creative team to think bigger and better. We’ve also promoted Amy Valli to lead our growing PR team and recently brought on Matt Pfluger as our new VP of Digital Strategy. Amy has done an incredible job taking the reigns of our public relations team, shaping our offerings to meet changing client needs, adding new capabilities, and expanding our team. And Matt has hit the ground running — bringing his deep digital experience with brands like Microsoft, SAP, ING Direct, and Campbell Soup Company, and strategic mind to Garfield.
We’ve significantly broadened our services as well, beyond traditional branding, advertising and public relations. Strategy and innovation are a huge focus as we deepen our commitment to content marketing and responsive design. We’re driven to find new and exciting ways to talk to complex audiences, shape behaviors, evaluate performance and constantly optimize results.
Our client base has also expanded — beyond software, services and hardware — into areas where technology and innovation are changing entire industries: big data, speech recognition, scientific and clinical technology, healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and legal to name a few. We’re also working with nonprofit organizations that are breaking new ground in social innovation, fixing broken models in healthcare and education, and creating jobs through innovative micro-lending strategies.
So, as you can see this new little mark of ours actually stands for a lot. We’re a new Garfield in more ways than one. Bigger, badder (in a good way) and bolder. With new people and new passion, we’ve already hit the ground running. Check out our new website and see for yourself. If you like what you see, we invite you to give us a call to say hello, or just stop on by.
Introducing Matt Pfluger our new VP, Digital Strategy.
We just took our digital practice to a whole new level by adding Matt Pfluger to our team as VP, Digital Strategy.
“Matt is very well-known in this area and beyond as an extremely strong and trusted leader,” says Larry Garfield, President. “We were fortunate to bring someone with his depth of experience and track record to our team.”
Matt brings nearly 20 years of experience in digital marketing and advertising, including brand planning, website development, mobile marketing, social media, CRM, media strategy, paid & organic search, and analytics. This experience was acquired while working across a wide variety of B2B and B2C brands in Healthcare, Financial Services, Technology, CPG and Non-Profits, at agencies including Geometry Global, G2, Brownstein Group and TMP Worldwide.
Notable clients Matt has engaged include Microsoft, SAP, Siemens, SunGard, Merck, Eli Lilly, Campbell Soup Company, ARAMARK, ING Direct, ESPN, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and IKEA. Recently, Matt’s main focus has been on building a loyalty program and educational community for automotive professionals on behalf of Shell and the relaunch of the ARAMARK Refreshments website for improved lead generation and e-commerce opportunities.
“I was looking for a great team and client base I could contribute to,” adds Matt. “I can’t wait to dig in and help our clients maximize how digital can help them engage customers and prospects in the fresh and interesting ways that add value and strengthen relationships.”
Here’s a link to Matt’s full bio or check out some of his work below.
Introducing our new Creative Director, Bryon Lomas.
If you noticed, we look different and we want to introduce you to the driving force behind it. We recently welcomed a new Creative Director to our agency, Bryon Lomas, who brings a fresh creative perspective to our agency. He has notably made a huge impact on the work we deliver every day.
Bryon comes to us after spending 8 years as V.P., Creative Director at Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners in Philadelphia. There he lead creative for Comcast/NBC Universal, Planet Fitness, Dial for Men, Neat, SEPTA, Sprout, Century 21, and Reyka Vodka, launching a number of print, digital and broadcast campaigns, including spots in Super Bowl XVI and XVII for Century21. Prior to that, he worked at Quaker City Mercantile in Philadelphia and a few agencies in Los Angeles, working with brands such as Roxy, William Grant & Sons, Johnson & Johnson and Puma.
“We were looking to bring in creative leadership that could totally elevate our game,” says Larry Garfield, President. “Bryon is not only an extremely talented guy, he’s also a tremendous leader who makes everyone around him better. His passion and work ethic are infectious.”
Adds Bryon: “I’m passionate about creativity in all forms. I believe that hard work and play are equally important in life. I’m excited to help lead our team, and our clients, to express themselves in new ways.”
It’s always fun to get those around you in the holiday spirit—especially at work, where there is a mild dose of competitiveness — I mean encouragement. This year Larry and Les really outdid themselves. For our holiday gift, each of us received a FitBit Force, one of those wearable gadgets that measures your fitness throughout the day.
After the one-too-many holiday meals were finished and after each and every Christmas cookie disappeared, it was time to focus on our FitBits and the new year ahead of us!
Like any kid with a new toy, we couldn’t wait to start using our Fitbits. It was a new spark of conversation in the morning, “How many steps did you take?” “How do you have so many active minutes?” “I burned so many calories!”
We thought it would light a fire in everyone to improve their daily fitness, and it definitely did. After a week or so of messing around with numbers and figuring out our averages, we decided to log a few Garfielders’ FitBit progress over a week’s span. We were so impressed with what we saw, we had to share.
Donna, an avid shoveler with all of this snow, had a very active week. She took 66,244 steps, had 44 active minutes, and burned 13,034 calories.
Bryon, a busy dad trying to keep up with two tween girls, took 56,770 steps, had 81 active minutes, and burned 18,433 calories.
Steve, who is doing some renovations in prep for his big Super Bowl party, took 42,770 steps, had 24 active minutes, and burned 16,484 calories. Don’t worry, you’re all invited.
Will, whose Boston Terrier, Laszlo, was dragging him through the snow outside, took 49,310 steps, had 90 active minutes, and burned 18,198 calories.
And finally, in just one day, Christian, who was taking control on the tradeshow floor at CES, took 16,895 steps, had 59 active minutes, and burned 3,009 calories.
This proves that despite everyone’s overwhelming desire to keep warm inside by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate, we managed to keep active this past month, except for Christian, who was warm in Las Vegas. Stay tuned for next month’s totals and we’ll see if anyone has significantly improved. Ninety active minutes is a tough number to beat, Will!
BioClinica OnPoint CTMS (Clinical Trial Management System) connects the many moving parts of a global clinical trial, making sure critical data is accurate, current, and in sync. OnPoint, a solution built on Microsoft SharePoint, lets drug and medical device companies leverage the Microsoft Office tools they use everyday to access, update, and report on study data.
We created a video that successfully married the BioClinica and Microsoft stories — so successfully in fact that the video is now being shown in Microsoft tech centers around the world.
December was an eventful month for us. Aside from the normal festivities and end-of-year shenanigans, we were hard at work preparing our 2013 Holiday campaign. This year’s month-long effort focused on helping A Woman’s Place, a nonprofit organization in the Bucks County area that provides shelter, aid and comfort to victims of domestic abuse.
Women and children who turn to A Woman’s Place usually have no other options left—and with over 4,100 families counting on them for support, we knew we had to help. We conducted a month-long charity drive—collecting gift cards, clothing and many other necessities. After all was said and done, we ended up collecting 6 car-loads of donations.
Then, on December, 20th, our month of planning was finally put into action during our on-site day of service. We set out early with one collective goal: making a difference. Our team split up into groups and took the shelter by storm. Some of us focused on stocking pantries and storage areas with new donations, while others were tasked with cleaning, organizing, and painting rooms of the home to make it a proper place to spend the holidays.
All of our hard work was most definitely worth it. Seeing how grateful and touched the residents and staff were by our contribution was more reward than we could ever ask for. When all was said and done, everyone left with smiles on their faces and warmth in their hearts—capping off yet another successful Garfield holiday charity campaign.
If you’re interested in contributing to A Woman’s Place or learning more about their organization, we encourage you to visit awomansplace.org.
Just how honest should advertising be? Where do you draw the line between emphasizing your strengths and hyping them? Is there more to gain by being completely transparent with your customers?
Today, the most successful brands make trust a cornerstone of their relationship with customers. It just makes sense. First of all, earned trust leads to brand preference and loyalty. Second, there are just too many ways that customers and prospects can find out who you really are, and what your products and services can really do — consumers can expose the truth through a simple Google search. In other words, a lack of honesty can do irreparable harm to your brand.
So how can brands earn more trust — and use a new, higher level of transparency to their advantage?
We think there's an opportunity to go farther — to take customers behind the curtain, and reveal more than ever before. In other words, super-honesty.
Here's a recent example from McDonald's in Canada. They created a three-minute mini-documentary which explains why their burgers look better in ads than in real life. They flatter viewers by telling them that they're smart enough to go backstage, and still have the opportunity to show off some gorgeous photos of their hamburgers.
Is this advertising? Absolutely. But it's positioned as the answer to a customer question, "Why does your food look different in the advertising than what is in the store?" In the end, it's a truthful look behind the scenes posing as an ad that has been viewed so far by 8.5 million people. In this case, super-honesty resulted in some highly effective marketing.
In our neck of the woods, with technology and B2B marketing, providing a look behind the scenes — if it's interesting or entertaining — is a tremendous way to engage audiences and build trust. Consider putting a spotlight on your own internal experts. The way you solve client problems. How your team discovered a "breakthrough" that resulted in a competitive advantage for your brand. Your team and a client talking about how you worked together to overcome an obstacle.
Then consider ways you can share this look behind the scenes to the world. A YouTube video like McDonald's. A Slideshare presentation. An eBook. A TED talk.
Don't be afraid to tell it like it is. Your customers probably know more about you than you think.
It seems like everywhere we turn there is more and more emphasis on “content marketing.” According to the Content Marketing Institute: “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience - with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
The consensus is that content marketing is the next digital battleground as more companies turn to content as a way to reach and engage customers, strengthen credibility, and build a passionate community of brand advocates. As consumers’ dependency on search and social media for information discovery increases, leading marketers recognize that providing quality content at the right time and in the right place will allow brands to cut through the noise and make lasting connections.
As we partner with our clients on new campaign architectures, we wanted to ask a question: does this fly in the face of the ‘big idea’ — the unifying concept behind a brand or campaign? Do we still need big ideas? Or is content creation enough?
In our opinion, the best approach is to combine their superpowers.
Content is nothing new. In a way, it’s the same longer-form marketing support that’s been needed in the past to sell any complex B2B product or service. It’s the third-party credibility (case studies, eBooks, white papers) needed to educate the market and gain trust. It’s an extension of the idea that a well-informed prospect is much more likely to turn into a customer. The difference is that the focus of modern content marketing isn’t always pitching the product, only in a later conversation (somewhere down the funnel) do we begin comparing product features, differentiators, and reasons-to-believe. The initial hook is a softer sell, focused on providing real and tangible value for the customer, without the hassle of a product pitch.
Content on its own, however, doesn’t connect all of the possible brand touch points that make up a customer ecosystem. You still need a “big idea” to grab attention, break through the clutter, and memorably communicate your brand’s message. It’s great to be known for providing valuable content, but if you’re not using that content to create a connected brand experience, you’ve missed an opportunity.
Let’s look at two of the brands that have applied this technique. One that’s more traditional, and one not so traditional for comparison’s sake.
Marketo and Pardot, both leading providers of Marketing Automation platforms, are shining stars in the realm of content marketing. Combining whitepapers, reports, eBooks, webinars and product marketing, they engage their audiences with specific (and extremely valuable) content related to multiple pain points and triggers.
Top of the funnel engagement topics range from best practices and marketing reports to tips, tricks, and tools on hot-topic conversations like mobile, social, and relationship marketing.
Top of the funnel activity follows a soft-sell approach, barely mentioning product information. They then follow the funnel, producing content related to vendor selection, platform usage, budgeting, implementation, etc. — all clearly focused on providing value to the customer and differentiating the product offering.
A host of additional content supports the customer journey, from initial prospect customers to those in the final stages of purchasing.
The underlying big idea remains as the consistent element (the glue) connecting all marketing activity to the higher-level brand value proposition.
GE’s Imagination at Work campaign (http://www.ge.com) has done an amazing job of describing the future - according to GE. It’s a thought-leadership meets sci-fi way of extending on their decades old promise of “bringing good things to life.” Recently, they created a TV commercial that features Hugo Weaving, the actor who played Agent Smith in the Matrix movie trilogy. The big idea: that GE is an “agent of good” who reduces patient waiting time and reduces healthcare costs through the use of innovative smart machines.
The idea drives the TV commercial, which acts as the lead. Then, online content is built out around it supporting the core idea with deeper content. The big idea connects viscerally, getting you into the conversation, and more detailed content deepens the conversation and provides additional information needed to form an opinion (ultimately leading to a decision). The Agent of Good story has been watched 1.6 million times online, referring viewers to additional GE videos and content; including two case studies featuring real world examples of the change they’re making.
In this brave new world of content marketing, big ideas still serve a very important role. It’s time for agencies and marketing teams alike to master both.
In a combined effort to raise money for the American Cancer Society and National Brain Tumor Society, the men of Garfield celebrated their masculinity with 31 glorious days of facial hair. During the month of October, we proudly braved our beards for the good of mankind—looking great while successfully reaching our target mark of over $500 raised for the charities.
With an office full of beards, the only way to end our month of service was to bring in a professional barber to express creative freedom on some fresh canvases. The women of the office got into the mix by choosing custom styles for each of the guys and made donations of their own. Classic ‘staches from around the world made appearances, from the Cop-stache and the Handlebar to the lesser known (but much appreciated) frisky cat whiskers and Amish neck strap.
We couldn’t be more proud of our employees for toughing it out and being great sports throughout the month, and a huge thank you to all involved!
On April 27, 2011, a massive tornado outbreak struck the Southern, Midwestern, and Northeastern United States, leaving catastrophic destruction in its wake. One of the hardest hit areas was Tuscaloosa Alabama, home of the Children’s Hospital of Alabama, the only Level One pediatric trauma center in the state.
We created a video that told the heroic story of the doctors and nurses who dealt with hundreds of broken bones, lacerations and head injuries, and the flawless performance of the Siemens CT scanners used through the night.
It was fantastic being among over 1,200 people who are so passionate about—and dedicated to—aligning capital with justice. Here are a few highlights.
Larry Garfield spoke about an important new wave of CDFI marketing. Here’s a link to view his presentation “Content Marketing: the Next Digital Battleground”.
We helped launch a new OFN brand and website. OFN.org is a bold, new responsive website that brings the new Opportunity Finance Network brand to life across all desktop and mobile devices.
We helped introduce the “go-to” news source for the industry. CDFIconnect.org is the first news source for the CDFI industry; optimized for smartphones and tablets to allow them to get the latest updates any time, any place.
We also met with dozens of friends and colleagues. We swapped stories and introduced conference attendees to a sacred Philadelphia tradition—soft pretzels (which just so happened to be made in the shape of our new logo).