Monthly Archives: November 2011

Modern Era Difficult for Baby Boomers

My name is Xiomara Carranza and I’m an intern at Carson Dunn Media, I handle publicity for our clients. Through the process of finding an internship I found out how important social media really is to our generation.

Social Media is a new term for older folk, but it is something my generation has grown up with. Part of my daily routine is to check my Facebook, twitter, and linked-in accounts followed by checking my 3 different e-mails and finally checking out the latest videos on YouTube.

Older generations find it absurd to place such importance to social media, but in today’s age it is the easiest way to find out the latest news, and the modern way of networking. I got my internship at Carson Dunn media through social networking. I posted my desire for an internship on Facebook and twitter and I quickly got responses to check on craigslist.com. When I logged onto craigslist.com I found numerous internships to choose from. I started sending e-mails and Bernard McNealy, president of Carson Dunn Media was quick to respond through e-mail.

As an intern here, I found out that prior to my interview Bernard had looked at my Facebook to see what insight he could get on me and he makes sure to look at the Facebook of prospective clients and employees. Social Media has formed its way into today’s society and it is crucial to know about it in order to stay afloat with technology.

Many older people although not liking the change have adapted to the internet era, but there are those that are reluctant and want to still use the post office to send a quick memo. It is ridiculous to fight it, social media makes it easier to stay in touch with people, find out the latest news, and it’s quick and easy.

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WEIGHING OPTIONS: Take a Deep Breath and Grow (Part 2)

Growth should never freak agency management out. The process should follow procedure. Ideally, one should set goals to gain a certain amount of clients by  a particular date – to increase revenue before that date comes about.  Even if one feels settled and comfortable, that clients are increasing and staff is solidly on board, there is trepidation. It is a feeling that courses the silent caverns within us.

When I hear the procession of footsteps heading to the door, I hope it’s a pizza run. People leaving an agency can make you feel deader than Mo Green. I’ve learned that personnel movement is common in agencies. Sometimes it’s because the worker feels that they are part of a rudderless ship, going in circles to nowhere. Often it’s for the chance to be more creative or make more money. It’s also an opportunity to grow for agency and staff.

I cannot fault, nor can any agency head blame whatever motive is present. Our job as creative heads is to develop and maintain the agency’s culture. The culture should be one where the chief achievement Is to exceed previous work – of course at the pleasure of the client.  There is great satisfaction in that.

Agency head has two responsibilities to the staff. One is to keep a flow of work of coming in. Salaries and careers ride on it. The other is to respond to the concerns and needs of the staff. In other words, be honest.  I tell my coworkers to be honest about where they believe they stand with CDM. In return I do the same.

I am proud of the fact that the only people I’ve fired occurred only after they came back for more rope to hang themselves. In the interim, I am offering counsel to get them back on course.  I would never willingly deprive a man or woman of a job – derail their career – albeit brief. That’s growth of the personal kind.

It boils down to the silliest thing.

If a coworker decides to leave, cut the lights off when you leave. Don’t burn the bridge because the saddest thing is when goodbye is final.

That’s also maturity – and growth.

 

Bernard A. McNealy, President

Giving Gratitude – It’s Thanksgiving

 

My avocation is writing novels.  We let us not debate the merit of my style, choice of prose, or genre.  Suffice to say it is what I do. Suffice to say it is part of who I am.  A novelist is an observer.  I watch everything, digest what I see and hopefully, my observations serve as catalyst to act and behave as is necessary.  Observing is also an opportunity to become reflective.

Here are my reflections.  We’re closing in on the end of the year. It’s Thanksgivings.

Americans have a lot to be thankful for.  We can disrespect our country by acting like unappreciative jackasses while criticizing our wonderful military that puts it on the line; or, blame former President Bush for acting from the heart.  Or, bash President Obama for being the anti-Christ, of fraud, a Manchurian Candidate, or worse — bi-racial.

Listen, I choose not to occupy a Wall Street – my family deserves to be clarion and echelon.  I care about others less fortunate. I am helping my church to feed the homeless and find them shelter. I also give them job counseling and advice. With all of our problems, the recession, the great racial divides and cultures, we’re still Americans united by a set of ideals.  There is an American exceptionalness that is to be applauded.  In the end, if it’s a car, monkey wrench, a bridge, a computer, advertising or business, King Kong ain’t got nothing on us, baby.  There is no disgrace in our collective greatness.

So, I’m going to express gratitude and thank God for this past year.  My expression of gratitude will include my family, which I will speak of a little later, and for the people we have been part of the creative spirit a Carson Dunn Media.  Here goes.

“God in Heaven, thank you for enlarging my life and my humanity.  Thank you for the people who have walked the hallways at Carson Dunn Media and have shared parts of their days with me.  Bless them.  Enlarge their lives.  Touched each of them as I name them one by one, and speak to their qualities:

Nelida.  Her smile, humor and loyalty comforts and blesses everyone that come into her orbit…

Joy. Thank you for her clarity of thought, leadership, direction, and focus…

Kimberly.  Thank you for and letting her trust me. May everything she does have meaning…  

Patrick.  His ideas, enthusiasm and efficiency are a special gift. ..

Karla L.  Thank you God for sparing her life, and sharpening her insight…

Aaron. I thank you for his humor and zest for life.  Let his future be bright.

Walter A.  God I thank you for his steadiness, sterling character and incisiveness.

Rachel. Our time as a creative force was joyous.

Gary. Thank you for his willing ness to share ideas and his gift of wisdom…

Jackie V. Thank you for her desire to improve on everything…

Jennah.  Her desire to succeed while being kind is a Godsend. Thank you…

Sarah. For her wittiness, sense of self and confidence…

James. Thank you for his strength, insight and willingness to go the extra mile…

Karina. For her humor, kick-ass wisdom and loyalty…

Xiomara. Thank you for her intelligence, clarity of thoughts and helpfulness…

Jessica. She is truly an artist with grace and integrity

Cecilia. For keeping me and CDM on point. Thank you again for Cecilia’s intellectual gifts and taking us to the ‘next level.’

Thank you dear God for each of them and their families.”

It’s Thanksgiving. I am so grateful that each person that have been part of Carson Dunn Media have had dedication and loyalty. Our agency has endured the economic ugliness of the recession. Yes, we lost clients, but not our reputation for doing good work. We did not lose, but evolved. We are still standing because we are part of that American exceptionalness.

It’s Thanksgiving.  The greatest gift God has given me aside from life and good heath is  my wife, Joyce. She and I have been stewards over the lives of our girls (brash, assertive, smart and pretty): Agena, Makeda, Keana, and Desarae.

Each of them bring something different, but Joyce is the essence of life.  Keana has been gifted with a little boy, Asanii.  He is all of those qualities in parenthesis – but boldness must be added.  Observing the little man as he learns to walk, talk, interact and grow in every way, we realize that God has given us another generation to guide. Yeah, we should rest, but like CDM, we love our family because in both, we have much to be grateful for.

In closing, this holiday I pray each man and woman will begin to appreciate the breath of life. If you are down because of a foreclosure, job loss, poor heath, I truly understand. But, the breath of life is a promise from God. It will get better, my friends.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Bernard A. McNealy, President,

Carson Dunn Media Marketing

WEIGHING OPTONS: Doing Your Best

Having a small PR and advertising agency is a funny thing. You’re forced to find staff members who are versatile and competent. I know. Clients only expect competency out of its agency, but believe me it is paramount to hire people who combine acumen and passion.

Passion is a nice ingredient because people who have it do their best under all circumstances. In a small agency we are forced to pull together like family, each person shoring up the other guy. We are protective and feel obligated to do so. That sometimes offends outsiders, but without layers of bureaucracy, there is little bull-corn. I often tell potential clients that a small agency is to their  advantage — we have raw sincerity. Contrarily, big agencies has a healthy quotient of Politburo Kremlineuqe duplicity, combined with Washingtonian sewer carpet. Carson Dunn Media is the real deal.

Once we forgot about being family and pulling together. I will offer my experience as a cautionary tale to other small agencies.  The failure of teamwork brought us to a ruinous crisis because we had an account rep with an agenda. His agenda was stealing clients  and giving them to his friends.  Friends — it turns out operated an agency that he was part owner. This guy spoke the right words, projected a nice guy persona and a wealth of knowledge about the advertising industry. Clients only committed to our ideas after  first consulting him. The funny thing is that I was his boss.

This guy was a character. He even went so far as to try to recruit my creatives for his secret company. We locked his email, froze his passwords and changed our operating manual and policies right after that. It didn’t stop him from trying to find out how our new policies might help him. I suspect that an account rep. I hired two months later was a mole associated with him.  I’m not airing dirty laundry; although when one talks about the inner workings of anything they run that risk.

Small agency owners should be more aware of the tricks the duplicitous engages in. If we are to survive fighting for our share of business, we must be watchful, and diligent.

How do you know when you have such a villain in your midst?  Sadly, you don’t  always know. A small agency should do is a big boys do: First of all, don’t be afraid to consider the account rep. as an independent contractor.  Allow the person to set their own hours, develop their own sales routes pursuant to a contract.

Secondly. You protect yourself by having them sign nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements.  Keep compensation on a commission only basis because it forces a degree of  honesty.  An account representative is typical salesman – and remuneration is based on commission. Since accounts are usually big, there should be little complaining about this.

Lastly, it is my belief that smaller agencies should flourish as a balancing act to neutralize the bigger ad agencies that overcharge and give the honest agency a bad name. In the meantime, when the work comes in, your  agency has an obligation to make sure you are doing your best.

Bernard A. McNealy, President

WEIGHING OPTIONS: The Great Disconnect

I’m sure I’m not the only agency head that’s faced the problem of recruiting and keeping  account representatives. It has made some hair turn gray and bald spots look like alien crop circles.

What I’ve noticed is a disconnect because most of the candidates come in and immediately place themselves into one of two camps: The one that proclaims: “I’m more than a salesperson – I can be a creative, too!; Or, the one that listens patiently to the terms and conditions of the job, then says, “Well that’s all good and well, but I hope the company car I’ll be driving is a Buick.”

(I’m tempted to say, ‘Sure. Only if you were driving one when you showed up’.)

The latter demands a salary that not only exceed what you’re offering, but wages in excess of what you’re paying yourself. By the way, the former candidate also makes some comment about how they will be an excellent art director and departmental supervisor.  This is done with a straight face.

I wonder if these people understand that there is a serious recession out there shutting them out of most industries; and the fact is, an account representative is a career with the promise of permanence. I explain that our agency will make opportunities available as they arise.  The account representative is the engine that drives the business. They don’t listen.

It can’t be the water, but it could have something to do with generational factors. College students have a different understanding to what a job entails, requires of them, and salary compensation methods in the advertising industry. Face it, life experience makes a difference. Perhaps agency heads like me have forgotten that.

We can blame the out of step account rep, but it’s our job as agency heads to establish parameters of the job and performance standards.

This may sound simplistic, but an account representative is an ambassador. He or she is the liaison between the client and the agency.  This job requires several things.

  • Keep in step with the clients, know their needs and inform the agency;
  • Have basic knowledge of the clients, services and products;
  • Initiates, ideas and suggestions rather than just take orders;
  • Be assertive when right;
  • Don’t be a doormat because it makes the agency look weak;
  • Anticipate problems;
  • At agency client meetings listen first, talk later;
  • Work with creatives and the creative director to service the account.

To sum it up, the agency and client must have a mutual understanding of what services are required, and what can be delivered. To our detriment, a former account rep made off-the-cuff, or out the ass promises to a client, but never told a creative staff about them. Needless to say, this created an uproar or nastiness and loss of the business.

We often fail to understand the sensitivity and fear the client has over spending large sums of money. It’s our obligation to be thoughtfully creative in the delivery of our work, and go one step beyond what we feel our capabilities might be. If everyone in the agency understands this, holding on to a client is very likely.

The lack of communication is a product of disconnect, just like the account representative candidate that comes to an interview with a wrong understanding of what the job involves.

Bernard A. McNealy, President