February 8th, 2016

Robin Donovan

What’s A Super Bowl Without Boring Ads?

I’m reading a lot of articles about how the advertisers in the Super Bowl were boring and the ads were weird or boring. These commentaries seem to presuppose that if all the boring ads and companies were not in the way, there would have been brilliance. Does that seem likely?

There has always been controversy surrounding Super Bowl ads and advertisers – often related to the extravagant costs. In past years, we have glimpsed commercial brilliance, as well as some fabulous flops.

We now have to wonder, if the prosaic police had blocked boring ads and advertisers, would we have been watching a lot of dead air?


January 25th, 2016


B2B Marketers: Is Sales Enablement in your 2016 Strategy?

It’s one of the rites of the New Year: seeing what industry forecasters anticipate for the upcoming year.

Sales Enablement is one the 2016 hot buttons.  It is cited in multiple 2016 B2B Marketing Trends articles, including posts by Knowledge Tree, Business2Community and The Drum.

The topic caught my attention, as way back in the early years of my career I worked for a consumer products division of Bristol-Myers Squibb in a department called “Sales Merchandising”.  The “merchandising” part of that name was a bit narrow.

While our department created and produced point-of-sale materials and very elaborate displays, our responsibilities were actually much more extensive in creating communications that translated marketing plans into sales-enabling content.  The creations of our department ranged from internal communications detailing marketing plans and associated sales strategies and goals to presentation materials for products and promotions, sales incentive programs, multi-media productions for national sales meetings and much more.

It was a Sales Enablement department in every sense of the word – back in the sunset of the last millennium.

And now in 2016, Sales Enablement is an often mentioned trend.  Why so?

Knowledge Tree is one of several sources describing the objective of Sales Enablement to be ensuring “every sales rep has the required knowledge, insights, and content to optimize each engagement with prospects and advance the deal.”

This certainly would have been our mission in that “Sales Merchandising” department I worked in so many years ago.

Taking the objective a bit further upstream, Business2Community elaborates that marketing has to become more focused on helping sales convert “leads into opportunities and opportunities into revenue.”  With this is a call for more collaboration between marketing and sales, with greater integration of the objectives of each department.

Business2Community observes that “marketing is an art, but technology turns it into a science”.  And that’s the cornerstone of the recent and growing interest on Sales Enablement.

Furthermore, according to Gartner Research, by 2020, 85 percent of customer relationships will be managed without customers and companies ever meeting in person. This calls for integration between marketing and sales to be as highly choreographed as a marching band in the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade.

Seriously, if your marketing plan, for all its media integration, never has included sales as an audience and has never addressed sales communications strategically, with the objective of insuring “every sales rep has the required knowledge, insight, and content to optimize each engagement with prospects and advance the deal”, the time to do this is now.

December 28th, 2015

Laura Spaulding

Bozell Wins Fifteen PRSA Nebraska Paper Anvil Industry Awards

Creative marketing communications firm Bozell received fifteen industry awards at the 2015 Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Nebraska Paper Anvil Awards Gala – more than any other agency. Read More

December 23rd, 2015

Laura Spaulding

Internship Applications Now Open

Bozell is now accepting applications for our summer, fall and spring internships. Applications are being accepted for account service, copywriting, design, media, interactive and public relations. To learn more visit our website:

December 4th, 2015

Robin Donovan

Social Media as a Tool of Destruction?

In the wake of this week’s San Bernadino shootings there are many remaining questions. Was this an act of interoffice violence, terrorism or both? Pundits seem to be all over the map on this one. Apparently the main shooter was attending the office Christmas party cum bloodbath and left, only to return with his wife and a small arsenal. The rest is history.

In and among discussions on this latest nightmare featured on the local news last night, there was a deduction made that caught me completely off guard and sidetracked the on-air discussion. The corollary introduced outlined how social media has enabled radicalism to grow and thrive within the United States in a way that was never possible before. They postured that prior to the advent of social media, terrorists had to be hand trained and nurtured in an environment that supported the bloody end game. Not any more. There is now a strong belief, even a certainty that access to social media has revolutionized the instruction and maintenance of “terrorists in training.”

I don’t know if these “experts” have it right. But I do know that my former belief that the greatest evil of social media was the potential to damage the reputation of organizations or persons undeservedly, enable potential stalkers to spook potential victims or just make folks face issues they would prefer to avoid, is seriously naive. And if there is a shred of truth to their hypothesis, we need to take a serious look at the tools we are providing to make the work of radicalists far easier and more productive.

And finally, can this barn door be closed if the horse is already out?


November 29th, 2015


“One Metric” – The Holy Grail?

The Advertising Age article, One Marketing Metric to Rule Them All? Group Believes It Has One is if not the latest, one of many recent pieces published about some of the wonders new technology and media can offer: increasingly precise and real-time measurements of the impact of marketing and advertising initiatives.

Read More

October 28th, 2015

Kim Mickelsen

The Future of Computers is Wearable

Wearable usage will grow by nearly 60% this year. That’s an impressive number considering that just a couple short years ago the term “wearable” was an overhyped buzzword with little practical applications outside of the Fitbit products. Google glasses were downright weird (personal opinion) and few of us had the interest (or guts) to walk around in them. Read More

October 26th, 2015


What’s the Newest in Marketing to Emotions?

It’s interesting to me that the words “emotion”, “marketing” and “customers” are finding themselves together in what seems to be increased frequency over the past few months.

Since August, just a few of the publications that speak of emotions as a powerful force for binding brands and customers/consumers include Entrepreneur (8/7/15), iMedia Connection (8/27/15) and Harvard Business Review (November 2015).*

This is just a sampling of publications recently featuring articles on the topic of marketing to emotion(s).

Do you wonder why this is a topic that seems to be building in popularity – AGAIN?

Developing marketing communications that engage the target audience emotionally is not new.  Actually, wasn’t that the point of the very earliest of advertising?

Arguably, we could go back even before that very bright star in the East that lit the way for Kings and Shepherds alike.

The emotion: HOPE.  I can be saved!

With rapidly growing mass media in the 20th Century, marketers angled at the emotional level.

For example, Coca Cola promised “exhilaration” and the Winton Motor Carriage Company dangled more carefree transportation, enabling buyers to dispense with the anxiety of caring for a horse….

Coke-First-Adauto ad


And if there ever was a marketer who nailed it on emotions, what about Hallmark?  Who rivals Hallmark’s ability to deliver movies that send emotions into overdrive?

Hallmark even published a book in 2001, Emotion Marketing – the HALLMARK Way of Winning Customers for Life.

So in 2015, how do emotions and marketing come together again in such great frequency?  Is it the exponential growth of new media options – ways to connect with your audience faster, and more individually and personally, than ever before?

And, by the way, this question is not only for the consumer market.  What relationship exists between marketing and emotions in the B2B world?  What are the opportunities?

As the HBR article urges – “given the enormous opportunity to create new value, companies should pursue emotional connections as a science—and a strategy.”

Indeed, and I might add: foster emotional connections with authenticity.

*The articles mentioned can be accessed through these links:

September 10th, 2015

Robin Donovan

Jared Fogle, You Didn’t Just Let Subway Down

Subway was very smart. When they realized that a kind of nerdy, overweight college kid used their food to lose weight, they made him their brand ambassador. Jared Fogle spoke for the people, to the people; and he made Subway into a healthy alternative.

It doesn’t get better than that for a brand. A real-life, testimonial that elevated their brand and made millions for them – and they didn’t really have to try.

We were all excited and encouraged by Jared’s success. If he could do it – so could we! He was a shining example to many.

Jared’s recent imprisonment for sexually-related criminal behavior of various kinds was a bit of a black eye on the clean-cut Subway spokesperson, and indirectly on the Subway brand. Wow, no one saw that coming! From recent accounts, Subway’s not handling it all that well. Although Jared’s behavior is clearly not a direct reflection on the brand, a little more concern from Subway execs – who seem to be brushing it off like yesterday’s lint – might be in order.

The really sad thing here – aside from the poor families victimized by Fogle – is the damage done to all the other brand ambassadors. Will any of them ever really be trusted from this time forward? I think you know I’m talking to you, Jake, from State Farm!

September 8th, 2015


Building Brand Loyalty – No Longer about “Keeping up with the Joneses”

Are the Joneses feeling overlooked these days?


The 2nd-quarter issue of our newsletter, THINKING, leads off with this article: Great Expectations – Understanding the Consumer’s Mindset in Order to Generate Brand Loyalty.


I’ve been in the industry longer than I care to admit and long enough to appreciate a shift in who drives the brand relationship. Taking a moment to reflect on the past has two purposes:

  • For the sake of comparison.
  • To dislodge a 1980-something concept of building brand loyalty, if any still try to rely on it.

And speaking of twos, these lines from the article in particular leapt out at me:

  • “Where marketing was previously about mass media channels, we must now think of everything as a channel.”
  • “More important than ever-changing channels and mediums is the mindset of the consumer.”

Recalling efforts to build brand loyalty earlier in my career, marketing was about mass media channels and much more.  Positioning reigned, and mass media was kind of all there was. We worked diligently to develop affinity for brands that would enable consumers to “fit in” with people they admired. The effort was probably more about creating loyalty to brands that actually had our consumers feeling a few steps ahead of the Joneses, rather than just keeping up.

MarketingProfs issued an article earlier this year that said it succinctly: “The segmentation methods of yesteryear (demographic, geographic and psychographic) created a language about customers that was rooted in brand value—not personal value.”

Where building brand loyalty could be achieved in the past by enabling consumers to feel part of THE crowd, it’s now engagement at a much more personal level. This takes understanding and connecting with consumers at the “mindset” level.

Read Great Expectations for insight on “Six Integrated Mindsets”.  I hope these ideas are helpful starting points as you approach loyalty building strategies in the months ahead.