Monthly Archives: February 2014

New Beginnings: Dare To Be Great

Carson Dun Media Advertising stands on the cusp of dismantling its old line traditional business model in favor of becoming a re branded digital agency. I’m running into something a lot of small businesses run into: Stretching the dollar; hiring competent staff; finding people who want to be outstanding and not just employees. The process has been nothing short of interesting.

I revisited something that boosted my spirits. That is, no matter what we do and and how we operate, we must do so competently and with integrity. And from a cultural standpoint, we’re doing at least that. In other words these two things, competence and integrity are part of our brand. It is who we are and how we plan on navigating the agency to greatness.

Ever notice that most businesses, large and small have no distinctive brand stamp? It is far too true. And when someone decides to give the company identity, he or she runs it by a committee. A herd of cats have more uniformity that most committees — so when one relies that, nothing gets done.

Can this be as bad as the company owner that is afraid to establish an identity? After all, there is imitation of approach, selling and product line. So, they settle for hunkering down with the usual excuses. Here’s the thing. Your company, just like mine has to be distinct because there is about six thousand businesses opening every month in the USA. Surely, some appear to be, or are the same. That’s why its critical to brand — to give a face to who you are. We assist in this process, but we need to be clear, unless you listen — and pay us — you’ll fall back into that sea of sameness.

The challenge is to brand — the challenge is to dare to be great.

Check you later,

Bernard Alexander McNealy, President
Carson Dunn Media Advertising, Inc.

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New Beginnings: (Slamming the Secretary — Banging the Boss)

Its a slow day at the farm. My mind is drifting — probably venturing into the creepiness that men mask so shallowly. Come to think of it, women do the same thing.

I’m talking about the quickie in the office with either the alpha male or alpha woman. Everybody has had the thought — so don’t lie. How many times have you sat at your desk and been overcome by lust. Show of hands — mine is not the only one up. In fact, I’ll raise my feet, too.

There have been times when I really do get why the perpetually horny ‘Don Draper’ creeps around on those skinny-ass chicks he married. For me, the problem is that he creeps with women just as thin as the thin girl at home. My choice would be different — Joan Harris, or Doctor Fay. But, this column is really about horny thoughts not necessarily translating into action. It probably shouldn’t because there a lawsuit hiding in the sheets with you. I have a problem with that part of the male and female dynamic in the work place. Here are my thoughts.

I once went to inspect an office for a prospective lease. Coming immediately from the next over suite was loud yelling. This brought a smile to the dude showing me the office. Apparently, the next door tenant was worked up, hopping mad because his fax machine hadn’t arrived. He was letting his secretary have a verbal blast of insult.

“Bitch! You know I need that damn machine. The f#*king business will die without it!” He really got hysterical. “Yasfum–labo-slasum — #@F%&*?#!!!” approximated what came next out of his mouth.

“Oh…I’m so sorry. Oh…” Boo hoos came in waves. “Don’t get stressed.” More Boo hoos.

The guy showing me the office said: “Here it comes. Heheheee. Everyday. He whacks it. Here it comes,” He put his ear to the wall.

He didn’t have to. “F**k me! Go hard, boss. Ooo-o!” And all kinds of moans later, I hear the dude screaming at the girl, “I’m gonna ride you like a jokey.”

Apparently, from the noise and my host’s tattle-tell grin, the boss next door did just that. The girl said: “Argghh!God!!Oooo-tear my kitty up —Oooo!” Well. Her voice was a little muffled, but I’m sure you get gist.

Damn. They sounded like braying farm animals.

I went on the walkway and happened to notice blinds were open curtain was up. The man was uglier that a monkey’s ass. The girl had that pole dancing stripper look going for her. They were frantic like vampires going at it like they do on the show, “True Blood.” Fast vibrations.

I had been told not to do certain things where you work. Back at the office I was still in shock. When asked why, I told my secretary, describing the incident as vaguely as I could. Her smile was equally vague. She said: “If the stress level’s right, and you’re adult enough, a quick frolic beats a hot beer on a cold day.” Wink. Wink.

I won’t pass judgment one way or the other. A few days later, she called me out of a client meeting and asked me to stand in the hall. A guy we later nicknamed “Hump-in-stien,” short hairy little man he was, had a tall model type bent over a desk and she shrieking very loud. Furniture was moving around. Apparently, she was his secretary.

Stress. Sexy secretaries. Overheated martinet bosses. I’m sensing a theme here, something not on the resume or job description.

There are times, though I wonder if conduct is weighed for the long term consequences. The Don Draper in me says, I’m an ad man — I’m stressed — I need inspiration — send that semi-cute Peggy in here. But, the common sense married man that I am, says: “Don’t even try. I’ll probably have a dream tonight and there will be a girl sliding up and down the flag pole. That pile of clothes she just took off ain’t a bra — its a lawsuit — and a divorce!”

Check you later,

Bernard A. McNealy

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New Beginnings: A Man Walks Into An Ad Agency…

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Ever notice how our lives are centered around or driven by cliches? It is true. Late last year a former associate in and I began to work towards re-branding Carson Dunn Media Advertising, Inc. Right now, I stand on the verge of launching a digital agency that we named CDM Digital. It’s not the same thing, and the changes are significant.

However, where things are the same this that my former associate remains a former associate – apparently not coming along for the ride. I miss her. I realize that people are replaceable, but some talents belong solely to them and you cannot replace what they have.

The task of re-branding is daunting enough. It’s made easier when you have someone who knows your nuances and how the business should function. As it is, we are going to be basing our work product around being the most organized growing digital that there is. So, I imagine it will be a lot of talking to myself situations.

What’s also different is the pursuit for new business. Before, we sat back and waited. Quite honestly, we neglected it to train account executives that knew how to pursue and retain business. The position was usually relegated to the newbies — interns. I understand interns organized themselves, and if you do not pay them, or compensate them in some way, they will become the mob from Les Miserables, seeking to dangle me at the end of a rope. No thanks. Most likely we will have interns, but they’ll be compensated.

Another change is the relationship between client and agency. Once, clients remained with agencies for decades. But, agencies were headed by greats like David Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, Jerry Dela Ferma, Mary Wells and William Burrell. Ambitions are the same, but the terrain is different. That doesn’t mean that client expectation has changed – they expect quality services for the money.

Maybe it’s on the agency with our emphasis of procuring clients, seeing companies as interchangeable, adopting a next man up mentality. Still, we have to have clients. We are a business, too. Pursuing new business is expensive. It may involve materials to develop videos and spec advertisements, or an investment of time alone. From the company and brand standpoint, there is no diminished role for the agency. They see it as an absence of the designation of agency record. Whatever, they want to get things done faster. They aren’t here to placate our egos, just move the bar of revenue.

My preference is to be a lead agency. I would like to return to having clients that are completely loyal and rely on us for marketing, advertising and things within our expertise. But then, Ogilvy, Burnett and the Olympians Of Madison Avenue are gone or retired. What’s left are holding companies that could care less, and passionless, non- creative agencies.

Catch you later,

Bernard Alexander McNealy

New Beginnings: Agencies Are Brand, Too

We can lose sight of who we are. CDM Digital is one of thousands of creative agencies, but we are totally unique. Distinction keeps one from being mediocre. That came across during a few recent pitches for new business. Each time we went in thinking our specialness was apparent, but it wasn’t. We lost. It wasn’t that our presentations were bad, at best, we were tepid.

The pitfalls of indistinctness came up again in correspondence exchanged with someone whom I admire in advertising. He’s a specialist in new business for a Madison Avenue ad agency. One of the pearls of wisdom he shared was that as Carson Dunn Media Advertising transitions to CDM Digital and pitches for new business, we must allow the distinctness of our brand to be on display – that we stand for something — something good, admirable and formidable.

Re-branding the agency has been arduous. So, the past three months I’ve pitched six large companies for business — and not landing one, forcing me to go back study pitches. The essence of the pitch is telling the client you get them, not extolling your own virtues. On this reminder, in tenure, content of my pitches changed to reflect that CDM is singular. I write pitches with formality, throwing in a dash of humor, however, maintaining a serious posture.

These companies are introduced to the ‘CDM Way.’ That’s like the ‘Patriot Way,’ where we establish our integrity, and maintain it, in the pursuit of excellence. Our skills are put on full display. When you try for major accounts, you find out clients have standards. So do we. Our pitches contain small ads within PDF files. No one else does this. As my esteemed colleague suggested, make my work memorable, and be mindful of our brand. That’s the “CDM Way.”

Catch you later,

Bernard Alexander McNealy

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