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Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Where Style Meets Expertise: Cristofoli Keeling, Inc.

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Cristofoli Keeling, Inc. was founded around the idea that style inspires all. A majority woman-owned marketing communications firm established in 1999, Cristofoli Keeling, Inc. was created when founder, Ann Keeling, paired her seasoned design background with a high level of strategic communications experience. For today’s agile business environment, being comfortable with innovation is a prerequisite. Never shying away from exploring new ways to optimize client marketing investments, Cristofoli Keeling, Inc. embodies the entrepreneurial spirit, while leveraging the expertise and professionalism of an established organization.

After years of working in design management for international brand design firm LPK, Ann Keeling was asked to add the management of marketing communications for the firm to her client service role.  She observed that the public relations agencies would consistently position experienced professionals in the pitch process, but after winning the business, the execution would be handled by those less experienced who lacked industry understanding.

After seeing this reality become an unfortunate pattern, Keeling recognized an opportunity in the market to do things better. Vowing to provide clients with not only innovative thinking, but a seasoned understanding of their industry and challenges, Keeling founded the firm and stepped into the role that she continues to maintain today.

As founder and President of Cristofoli Keeling, Inc., clients have described Keeling by saying, “She strikes just the right balance between no-nonsense professionalism and setting a relaxed tone in the work-place.” An advocate for both clients and colleagues alike, Keeling has expanded her marketing communications empire, without ever neglecting her original goal – to provide every client with expert guidance and strategic execution.

Offering clients expertise without ever sacrificing style, Keeling lives by the adage, “Do It Right…Do It Big…Do It with Style.”

Opting Out of Black Friday

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

Leaves have fallen and the air has become increasingly chilly. Children have abandoned their costumes for dreams of cookies, Santa and the latest tech gadgets and toys. Tis the season for family, friends and shopping, lots of shopping. Before the turkey has even landed on the table, advertisements have been scanned, coupons clipped and strategies contrived to navigate through hordes of aggressive shoppers on Black Friday.

A modern tradition, Black Friday has long symbolized the start of the holiday shopping season. Last year, 86.9 million Black Friday shoppers combatted crowds, dished out cash and waited in extensive lines – many even camp out days before to get the best deals. A goldmine for brands, most retailers wouldn’t dream of closing on the most profitable day of the year. However, for one retailer, that’s exactly what they’re doing.

Outdoor and fitness apparel and gear chain, REI, announced last week that it would in fact be closing all 143 of its stores on Black Friday, while still paying its employees to take the day off, too. In a campaign titled #OptOutside, REI encourages consumers to forgo the shopping madness to instead spend time outdoors.

“For 76 years, our co-op has been dedicated to one thing and one thing only: a life outdoors, we believe that being outside makes our lives better. And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth,” writes REI President and CEO, Jerry Stritzke.

The #OptOutside campaign features a video of chaotic and frenzied Black Friday news reports silenced by beautiful rolling mountains and spacious skies. On Friday, November 27, REI’s official website will “go black”, redirecting visitors to the #OptOutside campaign website; which provides guides to hiking trails and other outdoor activities around the U.S. Additionally, individuals are encouraged to share their time spent outdoors utilizing the campaign hashtag on social media.

In our on-all-the-time world, REI’s #OptOut campaign is refreshing and unique. Although it’s yet to be seen how this bold move will affect REI’s seasonal sales, it’s safe to assume, if successful, other retailers may follow their lead.

 

Ann Keeling says:

REI certainly is making a bold move and one that other retailers may or may not follow. Even more important though, is that REI is being true to its brand – and what a brilliant way to leverage its essential equity – what they’ll realize from this effort is massive brand awareness and likely the biggest season of profits ever. Let’s be on the lookout for their sales numbers in January.

Remember When Back-to-School Meant Pencils and Paper?

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

As the school year approaches, parents and students are racing to cross things off their back to school checklist. In the past, kids filled their backpacks with pencils, paper, rulers and notebooks to help them succeed in the classroom. With back-to-school shopping as the second largest shopping event of the year, retailers must ensure their marketing messages are appropriate and appealing to today’s parents and kids working to check the newly introduced essential items off their list. Technology is no longer seen as an option in kids’ backpacks, but as a necessity that contributes to their success inside and outside of the classroom.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) families plan to spend an average of $630.36 on electronics, apparel and other school needs this year. This number is down from the average $669.28 in 2014. Total spending for the back to school shopping season in 2015 is expected to reach $24.9 billion in the U.S. Parents are approaching this back to school shopping season with a frugal and focused mindset to determine exactly what their kids need for the school year. This economic shift is keeping retailers alert and marketers eager to aggressively promote offers for tablets, smart phones and the like.

Retailers looking to attract back to school traffic must act fast with a topnotch marketing plan if they want to come out ahead. Putting these dual markets (kids and their parents) at the center of marketing efforts for these tech products will secure a strong lead in the marketplace. Gaining the kids admiration of the product initially will contribute to the parent’s acceptance. According to Sandra Calvert, professor/chair of the Department of Psychology at Georgetown University, kids have a stronger influence on their parents’ purchases now than ever before.

If back-to-school shopping wasn’t already daunting enough, parents now have to carefully consider the large technology purchases on their kids’ checklists. With so many options and retailers attempting to sell technology merchandise, kids and parents can become overwhelmed with the options and overload of information. Retailers willing to help parents (and their kids) along the path to purchase by offering tailored recommendations and competitive pricing will see an increase in sales during this years back-to-school shopping season.

 

Ann Keeling says:

Back-to-school shopping continues to be an annual event but technology imperatives have certainly changed the investment parents will make. With many schools requiring tablets as a point of entry, brand marketers and retailers are competing for school dollars more than ever before. Research shows that parents may have made up their mind before they get to shelf, but that oftentimes kids influence at shelf can change minds. This scenario necessitates that retailers have effective and informational p.o.p. to help parents and kids in the selection process.

Jared and Subway: The latest story of fallibility.

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

For 15 years Americans “ate fresh” and celebrated the beloved five-dollar-foot-long in light of Jared’s tremendous weight loss success. Hundreds of subs, first class flights and millions of dollars later, Jared Fogle’s Subway partnership swiftly ended following a federal raid on his home. Meanwhile, Subway execs and spokesmen buried their heads in their hands wondering, “Why Jared, WHY?”

Subway is among a long list of companies whose credibility has been endangered/damaged by an individual endorser or representative. In 2009 AT&T and Gatorade said goodbye to Tiger after Woods admitted to adulterous relations with several women; in 2012 Nike ditched Tour de France champion, Lance Armstrong, following doping allegations. So why do companies continue to employ walking billboards – aka potential ticking time bombs?

In many cases, utilizing an individual or celebrity to symbolize a brand or company can be very lucrative. Consumers are more likely to purchase and support a brand or company whose credibility has been endorsed by a real person and with whom they can relate to in some way.

Perhaps one of the most famous and successful company-individual partnerships is that between Nike and NBA legend, Michael Jordan. Despite a minor hiccup, Jordan has managed to avoid major controversy and remain a powerhouse for the Nike brand. In 2013 Forbes cited data indicating Jordan, despite being retired for several years, continues to outsell current athletes like LeBron James, in shoes.

So success can be had; however, it is imperative that companies and marketing strategists remain realistic in the realm of individual endorsement/brand identity. Humans after all, are… well… human. It is impossible to predict the future actions or behaviors of an individual and unrealistic to expect a perfect outcome. It is imperative that companies with individual endorsers create a strategic (crisis communications) plan in the event that controversy arises.

In the case of Jared Fogle, Subway took the appropriate actions given the circumstances (they immediately published a statement recognizing the issue, but not condemning him or ending their relationship). In the long run, Subway most likely won’t suffer… and if they are looking to replace Jared, perhaps they should look toward creating or borrowing an animated persona. It’s pretty safe to assume that Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse aren’t going to cheat on their wives or get a DUI.

 

Ann Keeling says:

It’s a gamble anytime a brand brings on a celebrity or pseudo celebrity spokesperson. It can pay off big-time for brands in terms of visibility, relevance to their audience and in sales. Subway definitely did the right thing with their statement – simply recognizing the situation and not casting aspersions. If at some point Jared is found to have not done anything illegal, there’s a good chance that Subway can resume their relationship with him and build on his brand equity from the past.

Lux is a must.

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada… oh my! In our often competitive and materialistically focused world, high-end accessories, beauty products and fashion are highly sought after. Many of us dream of designer duds and luxury goods, but as middle class consumers we worry that our presence in high-end luxury stores will be met with judgmental stares or outright dismissal.

Marketing efforts for luxury brands are specifically targeted towards affluent consumers–classified as households with an income of $250,000 or greater. These consumers certainly have an abundance of discretionary funds, however, new studies indicate that middle class as well as HENRY (High-Earners-Not-Rich-Yet) consumers are actively dishing out the dough to land the brands they desire.

According to CNBC, “Experts said they have begun to see the return of the ‘aspirational’ shopper­–someone whose income isn’t high enough to make them a true luxury buyer but still has an appetite for designer goods.”

Although middle class and HENRY consumers do not purchase luxury brands as frequently as affluent buyers, they are spending an equivalent dollar amount on individual purchases. In a survey conducted by MediaPost, the highest percentage of affluent consumers and the highest percentage of middle class consumers both spent $3,000 or more on a recent luxury purchase.

“Luxury brands lose 50% of their top consumers annually because they routinely misidentify their demographic and economic profile while also failing to create a personalized sales experience for them,” asserts Steve McClellan in his article, Luxury Brands Often Misidentify Their Target Consumers.

Despite the power in their pockets, affluent consumers only make up 1% of the market. By neglecting to engage with middle class and HENRY buyers, luxury brands are alienating a significant consumer base. It seems in order for luxury brands to survive and thrive they need to begin tending to a wider market. After all, everyone deserves to enjoy a touch of fabulousness and splendor once in awhile, right?

 

Ann Keeling says:

High-end luxury goods are sought after not only for the cache they can bring to the owner, but for other very important reasons – quality, durability and exclusivity. For example, while an LV bag is a significant investment – it will far outlast that Asian-made Dooney & Burke bag, not only with classic style, but with the highest quality materials and craftsmanship. For many buyers, it’s more about the way things are made and from what materials, as well as the legacy of the fashion house vs. the brand’s popularity. What would you rather have a closet full of Pay-Less shoes & H&M clothes that you throw away after one or two seasons, or a pair of classic Manolo’s and an Armani jacket that you can wear season after season, decade after decade?