Marketing Genius from Maple Creative

Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A to Z of Marketing: D - Design

Design. In my opinion, design is one of the major drivers of great marketing. In fact, it separates the good from the great.

Ahhh, great design! We know it when we experience it! And conversely, when something is poorly designed, its flaws seem to scream at us.

Cheap! Who cares!
Made in a hurry!
Not concerned about quality! Who cares about customer satisfaction! Lacking talent or professionalism!

Design is the art of making things more pleasing and more effective. Design is beauty and creativity. Design subtly, but in its impossible to miss manner, says to us:
Greatness resides here! Passion too!
Customer focused!
Pride, caring and quality minded! Made from the heart!
Worthwhile ... and worth it!

Design is so essentially human. It cannot be automated. No computer can approximate good design. Yes, there are some templates on the Web that allow us to add colors, shapes and symbols; none of that comes close to truly great design.

Design is not just pretty pictures. No, it is way more than that. Design is a well crafted product. Design is what makes great service a great experience. Design is a tool that fits the hand just right. Design is not having to read the instruction manual. (Though when you do, a great cover, intuitive layout and easily found answers are products of great design, too.) And how many of you, if you're like me, derive joy from great packaging design?

I have the pleasure and privilege of working with four extremely talented designers. They inspire. They envision. They create. They are artists who add value (or create value) to our deliverables. Their touches are what make our work look like a million bucks!

Tom Peters, in his book Re-imagine!, calls design "The Soul of the New Enterprise. " He is absolutely right. Tom also explains in incredibly articulate fashion, "Design is the number one determinant of whether a product-service-experience stands out--or does not." Today, no business cannot afford not to stand out. Not you. Not me. Business is too competitive.

Recall the first law of marketing: perception is reality.

How your business will be perceived? Marketing geniuses do not have to wonder. They know the importance and the effectiveness of investing in design as part of their marketing program. Design is marketing. Marketing thrives on design.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Back on "The TOUR" - Posts from the Pete Dye Classic

Day 7: Saturday – Bonus Post

This is a bonus post from the National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic. It has nothing to do with golf but it does have a little something to do with marketing.

Today my wife and daughter joined me at the course. They got to enjoy the event and see daddy working – conducting radio broadcasts, press releases, coordinate interviews, etc. After the round was over we had dinner together and then went back to the course to fish at the pond in front of the clubhouse. All week I’ve watched golfers and their families, caddies, and sponsors fishing the pond. Today, I figured I’d give it a shot with my 5-year-old daughter and her Barbie fishing rod - her first time fishing.

The rod is about 36 inches long, and is pink and yellow.

Sure enough first cast, she gets a bite. The fish proceeds to take the bait (bread) clear across the pond. It takes nearly all the line out of the rod as my daughter and I continue to reel in the fish. As the fish is toying with us – taking a tour of the pond – I realize that her rod does have adjustable drag. I adjust it all the way and we finally realize how big this fish is. It is a monster catfish (in my daughter’s eyes) that is entirely too big for the Barbie rod.

As we get it closer, the rod now looks like an upside-down U; it was stretched to its limit –to the point my daughter was yelling at the fish not to break her rod. We finally landed the fish - it is just under 48 inches; longer than my daughter is tall.

She was thrilled that she’d caught her first fish. I was thrilled. It was a good daddy-daughter experience.

Here’s the connection to marketing. We landed the fish, but the Barbie rod was hardly the best tool to do so.

To all the marketing professionals out there, make sure you have the right tools for success. Don't get caught with the Barbie rod.

Back on "The TOUR" - Posts from the Pete Dye Classic

Day 7: Saturday

Round 3 is complete. And while nothing is ever certain on the golf course, it appears that Parker McLachlin has the National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic in the bag. The fat lady might not be singing, but from all appearances she should certainly start warming up.

As the day began Parker was 13-under. As the round progressed he built upon that lead and ended the day 17-under for the tournament. Each day as the rounds begin to come to a close the PGA TOUR Media Official and I discuss which golfers we’re going to bring to the media room for interviews for the Nationwide Tour, local, regional, national and international media (I get a call from Australia’s version of ESPN every day).

Since Thursday I’ve met Parker at his finishing hole with the cart. We’re on a first name basis now. Yesterday when I picked him up he said, “I guess I’m still in the lead, Jim.” After three days of talking to him, I felt comfortable enough in my response, “The other guys are walking.” We both laughed.

Back in the media room Parker and all the other interviews all basically said the same thing when asked how they would prepare for the competition on the final round – they’re 'playing against the course.' It reminded me of a Sam Snead quote. “Forget your opponents; always play against par.”

It got me thinking about a follow up to yesterday’s post about a layered approach to marketing. While we certainly can’t forget our opponents (competition) we are to some extent playing against par. When Sam Snead said that he was talking about playing against the course – his environment week after week. In the world of marketing we’re playing against the environment, responding to a number of factors and developing the appropriate strategies for success in that environment.

In the world of golf the goal is under par; in the world of marketing we strive to be above par. In either case, no matter how you define it, success is determined by the how we respond to the environment.

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Back on "The TOUR" - Posts from the Pete Dye Classic

Day 6: Friday

Round 2 is over. The scores have been low and the temperatures high. Today it was 95 degrees with a heat index in triple digits. Today only 2 caddies needed medical attention – down from 5 in round 1.

Parker McLachlin continues to lead the tournament at 13-under. During his post-round interview he said, ‘It’s a game of momentum…the key is to keep that momentum going.”

I think the same can be said for marketing. Sometimes marketing is all about momentum. We keep that momentum going in a number of fashions. It is my opinion though that perhaps the best way to keep momentum going in marketing is to have a layered approach to marketing. We’ve all heard the expression “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” That’s the thought behind a layered approach to marketing.

In my experience the best marketing plans have been the ones that include elements of Marketing 101, advertising, media relations, public relations and other various elements. In my opinion if you rely only upon one tactic you’re letting your marketing environment control you. If you take a layered approach, you’re controlling the environment.

After all, marketing is creating an environment in which sales can flourish.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Back on "The TOUR" - Posts from the Pete Dye Classic

Day 5: Thursday

Round 1 is over…well, not quite. A 40-minute fog delay delayed the start this morning. At 8:06 p.m. play was suspended due to darkness. Fourteen players must finish their round Friday morning, take a short break and start on Round 2.

While the golf is certainly impressive at the National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic, what’s equally impressive is the event operations staff of the Nationwide Tour even in the face of the unexpected (fog, darkness, etc.). Every process is down to a science. They have to be when dealing with 156 competitors, international television, and 30,000 spectators.

What processes do we employ as marketing professionals? Why do we employ them?

Do our processes impact profitability, improve operations, or impact the overall success of our marketing campaigns or events?

If so they’re worth developing…and they’re certainly worth applying and enforcing. After all, in the words of the great Crash Davis in the movie Bull Durham (excuse the departure from golf for a moment), ‘Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains.”

The processes help you prepare for all three.

Not a long post today (It’s almost 10:00 p.m. and I’ve been here since 5:00 a.m.). Just something to think about.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Back on "The TOUR" - Posts from the Pete Dye Classic

Day 4: Wednesday

It’s finally here. Round 1 of the National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic Presented by Northrup Grumman. As I write this post it is still dark (it just turned 5:00 a.m.). I am not alone though. PGA TOUR officials, caddies and players are starting to roll in – some have already eaten and are going over strategy for the course. Others are fishing at the pond in an effort to relax one last time before their quest for a trophy, $108,000 and perhaps a ticket to the PGA TOUR.

It made me think about how we prepare as marketing professionals. What do we do to get our clients, our campaigns and ourselves to victory? What’s our game plan? How do we formulate our strategies?

These are very important questions. If you haven’t thought them through you’re doing yourself and your profession a disservice.

I’ve spoken with a number of golfers this week and they’ve all shared with me the keys to success - practice, patience and a little luck.

Luck. That’s an interesting concept. A coach of mine once said, “luck is nothing more than preparation meeting opportunity.” I guess to some extent that’s true. But in looking at how these golfers prepare I am starting to believe that opportunity is truly possible only with adequate preparation.

Think about it. Do you really have a chance to win on the Nationwide Tour if you haven’t practiced your swing, worked on your irons or got your putting down to a science?

Is a marketing opportunity really an opportunity if you aren’t prepared to take advantage of it?

So when you get set to develop your next marketing campaign think of the golfers on the Nationwide Tour. It’s all about patience, practice and yes, a little luck. Luck that you’ve made possible by preparing yourself for the journey ahead.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A to Z of Marketing - C: Clarity

Harry Beckwith says the #1 problem with marketing today is a complete lack of clarity.

Hear! Hear!

I see it all the time – businesses that sacrifice being clear for being clever. And it’s a money loser in marketing if ever there was one.

I should know.

In a former life, I was the headline writer for a lifestyle magazine in South Carolina. Sometimes, I would proudly submit what I considered to be a brilliant ad - and then sink as no one got it. Example: I had a restaurant client who wanted to advertise their new Jazz Night. So I spent hours writing an ad that read like a Ginsberg-esque beatnik poem.

I loved it. The client loved it. So we ran with it.

Well - the ad didn’t work and Jazz Night died. Meanwhile, another restaurant client was raking in customers with an ad that read like this:

½ Price Appetizers
Monday – Friday

Clear. To the point. And everything my ad wasn’t. So as you’re creating marketing materials for your business, try this experiment:

Picture your target customer. Remember that he has no idea what your business is or what it does (even if you think he knows – pretend he doesn’t). Now picture him walking down a crowded street with a cup of coffee in one hand and a screaming kid in the other. He sees your ad for a fleeting second as he passes by.

Did he get your pitch? Did he catch your name?If not, go back to the drawing board and keep trying until he does.

Author’s note: This post first appeared on 5/26/06.

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Back on "The TOUR" - Posts from the Pete Dye Classic

Maple Creative is again leading the marketing, advertising, public and media relations for the National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic Presented by Northrup Grumman.

So we're "Back on The TOUR" and ready to tee off with some golf-related posts.

Day 3: Tuesday

After 4.5 inches of rain, an early arrival to the course, and countless media requests, I again led the junior golf clinic at the National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic. The event is attended by young children (who all want to be Tiger Woods) and their parents (who all want to be Tiger Woods) seeking to learn a tip or two from the pros.

So what's the focus of the post on this day? Presentation skills. Yeah, yeah, I know. I did talk about this last year but it's certainly worth repeating - so read it again.

I've never really been afraid of public speaking, but leading a youth clinic with professional athletes, PGA TOUR officials, parents and kids all better golfers than me is a bit of a challenge.

Though a topic I'm certainly no expert at, I remembered the ’93-7’rule. It is estimated that when you speak only 7% of your message is actually the words you say. The remaining 93% is body language, tone(including cadence and volume), and other non-verbal items.

If you’re ever in this spot, remember the ’93-7’rule and the following:

-Be prepared
-Create an outline
-Be calm
-Use hands and arms to effectively convey message
-Be brief. Be brilliant. Be gone.

But perhaps most importantly, know your audience and relate with them. That’s what helps me through the experience (which I enjoyed much more this year). I worked the crowd, shook hands with players, the kids, parents, everybody. The audience and I were comfortable with each other long before I ever said a word.

Hope that helps. Now, as for golf, you’re on your own.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A to Z of Marketing - B: Benefits

If A is for "Ask," then undoubtedly B is for "Benefits."

Understanding and articulating the benefit (or benefits) that your product or service provides for your customer are essential to successful marketing. This often requires a hearty measure of analysis and immersion. Put yourself in the customer's shoes: how will this benefit me?

Ninety-percent of what I see is clumsy, wordy marketing communications filled with these three losing propositions:

1- discussion of features (too vaugue, too much jargon, unclear)
2- unsubstantiated claims (oh yeah ... how so? prove it!)
3- qualifiers, weasel words and half-claims (may provide, may improve, works better than)

Avoid the aforementioned marketing pitfalls. Instead, focus your thinking, your copy and your overall presentation on the deep-rooted benefits. Will this product or service ...
  • Save me time?
  • Save me money?
  • Make me healthier?
  • Cause me to become more well-liked by my family and friends?
To get the marketing right ... and to get the message right, you have to distill your thinking and refine your analysis down to the benefit level. Remember that it is a noisy, crowded, cluttered, interruption filled world. Your marketing message must resonate, cutting through all of this junk, with clearly presented benefit statements.

For more on benefits - check out this post from our archives (one of the most popular of all time)

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A to Z of Marketing – A: Ask the Right Questions

Wait – before you rush into an expensive marketing program – take a few moments to ask yourself the following:

1.) WHO is my customer? Conduct a mini-research campaign to find out the demographics of your target market and - most importantly - what motivates them to buy. I’m always amazed at the number of clients that want to begin marketing their business without a careful analysis of this fundamental question.

2.) WHAT is my differentiating factor? This is the unifying thread that should run through all of your marketing, and it usually comes in answer to the question “What (client) problem does my business solve?”

3.) IS my product/service as good as it can be? All the marketing in the world can’t save a bad product – it will just let people know it’s bad faster.

Author’s Note: This is number 1 in a 26-part series on marketing essentials. Be sure to check back often for new updates and insights.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Leveraging the Bus Driver - A Case of Marketing Genius

Seen recently, along a rural stretch of I-95 in the Carolinas, the following billboard message:


Burger King - 5 miles ahead

Bus drivers eat free!

I would bet that many otherwise undecided bus drivers have enjoyed many a free meal at that Burger King. I'll also bet that the decision of where to stop and eat often falls to the bus driver, no? What a clever concept and compelling offer!

The right message in the right place at the right time ... is a powerful combination. Kudos to the marketing genius who conceptualized and implemented this billboard offer.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What’s the difference between an “agency” and a marketing firm?

An agency simply places ads.
An agency is reactionary.
An agency says “yes” because they don’t know enough about your company, your services, and your benefits to say no.

By contrast, a marketing firm is your business partner.
They understand your problems.
Your market share.
Your customers.
Even your competitors.
A marketing firm is at the table in your strategic planning sessions with meaningful input and ideas. They don’t care about fancy creative unless it sells.
A marketing firm is involved in your organization enough to understand, get detached enough to remain objective. Even innovative.

If you’re still getting “agency” service…. it’s time to fire your agency.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Weasel Words: Half-Hearted Claims

Watching TV with my five-year-old daughter last night, we saw an ad for Yoplait yogurt. It's the one with the cynical bridesmaids. Perhaps you've seen it. The spot opens with two bridesmaids, relaxing and grubbing down on some yogurt after the wedding.

"This yogurt is not-catching-the-bridal-bouquet good."
"It's burning this ugly bridesmaid dress good."
It's getting out of these uncomfortable shoes good."

And so it goes. Not the best I've seen. Not the worst, by any means. At the end, it goes to a white screen with text and narration: "Yoplait may improve digestion."

Immediately, my daughter says, "Daddy that was stupid. They should know whether it improves digestion or not. That's their job to figure that out. Why would they say, 'may improve'?"

Good catch, Chloe! She identified a half-hearted claim. Her ear caught the weasel words. Children do not accept weasel words. Why do we, as adults, let them slide by in our world of communications?

Marketing geniuses know to avoid weasel words, such as might, may, can, if and perhaps; focus instead on certain terms. Say what your product or service will do, not what it might.

PS - Check your proposals and sales literature, also, for weasel words.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Sticky - Are Marketers Obsessed?

Friend, blogger and fellow marketing genius, Jennifer Wood pointed me to this thought-provoking commentary over on the Fast Company Web site:

The sticky-wars have arrived. Yesterday AdAge's Matthew Creamer introduced Duncan Watts, a Columbia University sociology professor from down under who's challenging The Tipping Point's Malcolm Gladwell to a battle at the mic.

Armed with a mathematical and computer modeling arsenal instead of anecdotes, Watts debunks Gladwell's "influencer" theory. Writes Creamer: "The crux of Mr. Watts' argument is that even if influentials are several times as influential as a normal person, they have little impact beyond their own immediate neighborhood -- not good when you're trying to create a cascade through a large network of people, as most big brands do. In those cases, he argues, it's best to skip the idea of targeting that treasured select group of plugged-in folks and instead think about that group's polar opposite: a large number of easily influenced people. He calls this big-seed marketing. Sounds a lot like mass marketing, doesn't it?"

Oy veh. In the high brow stratosphere of marketing theory, one day it's all about the niche ("long tail"), the next it's all about the mass ("big seed"). Between Gladwell and Watts (who in 2003 penned the book, Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age, to much less fanfare), and Fast Company's very own Made to Stick columnists, Dan and Chip Heath, it seems an entire academic generation has emerged around the study of: how to get our ideas, products and brands to stick. You could argue it's the obsession of 21st century marketers.

Creamer goes on to interview a couple marketers who have discovered that Gladwell's "tipping point" theory (which, as I wrote about in my January 2005 profile on Gladwell, has become fully operationalized at companies like Pepsi and Coke's VitaminWater), is a hell of a lot more difficult to recreate, than it is to admire from a far. (Please, why is anyone surprised by this? Didn't you learn by second grade that doing is always harder than pontificating?)

But my favorite line from Creamer's piece is this: "An irony of our age is that, though everyone acknowledges consumers are in control, marketers still believe they're running the show, right down to trying to plan for virality as any creative told to "just go make a viral video" will lament. Virality is an outcome, not a channel to be planned." It's similar to a point I made in "Down the Rabbit Hole," a November 2006 story that deconstructs the labyrinth campaigns the Blair Witch Project's stunt-men architected for Audi and Sega. Creating a tipping point phenomenon is not just some algorithm on Google or a magic widget you can click--it requires tireless hard work and attention, relentless strategy and creativity, and a deep respect for your audience so you can give them want they want, or better yet, what they don't even know they want.

Where do you stand in the Gladwell vs. Watts smackdown?

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Goodbye, Maple

Summer interns. What would you do without them? Thirsty for nothing but experience and wondering what they are going to do with their life, they can actually turn out to be a part of your team.

I’ve had the pleasure and opportunity to work with Maple as a summer intern for the last eight weeks and from a soon-to-be college senior, I can tell you this: Treat your interns like they are a part of your marketing team. Maple tossed me into the mix and gave me more experience than I could have ever asked for.

Before taking on the internship with Maple, I was very skeptical about my future. From a family full of lawyers, it always seems that law school would be the way to go. I didn’t need to work with a law firm all summer to see how it works. I see it day in and day out. I wanted more. As a Public Relations major at WVU, I needed to see exactly what I would do in the ‘real world’. In my interview I explained that I just wanted to learn and gain experience this summer. I wanted to know what happened in a firm day in and day out and I wanted to see if it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

And so, they did. I learned everything from press conferences to media kits to thank you letters to pitching a story to the news. I also got to see how all of the different aspects of Maple’s team work together with the marketing, advertising, public relations and the graphic design team. Maple has a top-notch team full of talent that is sure to continue to grow and do more great things in the future. They taught me so much this summer and the knowledge is irreplaceable. I have taken a step in the right direction for a successful future this summer, that’s for sure.

So, I’m sad to leave Maple Creative. You would be, too. Every single person here counts and it’s an amazing atmosphere. With such wonderful people, it’s easy to see how they produce such outstanding work. To have an internship at such a fantastic firm for the summer was one thing, but to learn as much as I did and make the friends I have, it made this summer a true experience that I will never forget. Thanks again, and I'll miss you all!

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Charleston Leading the Way with eBay

Scarborough Research, the leading consumer research firm measuring the lifestyle and shopping patterns, media behaviors and demographics of American consumers, released an analysis which finds that the South reigns for eBay Visitors.

Charleston, WV, is the number one local U.S. market for eBay Visitors. Forty-four percent of adults in Charleston, WV who accessed the Internet during the past month are eBay Visitors. Nationally, almost one-third (31 percent) of Internet users are eBay Visitors.

Scarborough’s local markets are based on DMAs, or Designated Market Areas, which include a city plus its surrounding counties. “Many of the market areas where eBay ranks highly include more rural counties, so Internet shopping may provide a convenient way for consumers who live in more outlying areas to satisfy their retail needs,” said Gary Meo, senior vice president, Internet services, Scarborough Research. “Utilizing the Internet – a global medium – to target and engage consumers locally is considered a top priority among leading Internet companies.
Local information that clues in to the unique lifestyles, demographics, retail patterns and media habits of Internet users is useful to any brand seeking to expand its business online through local targeting.”

Accroding to the report, eBay Visitors are among the Internet’s top spenders, and they are more likely than other Internet users to be young and male. eBay Visitors are 37 percent more likely than the average Internet user to have spent $2,500 or more online during the past year. They are 16 percent more likely to be ages of 18-24, and 12 percent more likely to be male.

The difference is that eBay Visitors are more likely than the average Internet user to buy online, particularly in big-ticket categories. For example, eBay Visitors are 71 percent more likely than the average Internet user to have bought a vehicle online during the past year. In fact, more than half (53 percent) of all online vehicle buyers are eBay Visitors. Additionally, they are 71 percent more likely to buy consumer electronics online, and account for 53 percent of all online purchasers in this category.

On a local level, eBay shoppers also have distinct online buying habits. In Charleston, for example, the top online buying categories for eBay Visitors are clothing/accessories (32 percent of Charleston eBay Visitors bought clothing/accessories online during the past year); books (32 percent); CDs/tapes/music (19 percent); computer hardware/software (14 percent); and toys/games (14 percent). Charleston’s eBay Visitors account for a whopping 62 percent of all of the city’s online consumer electronics buyers, and 60 percent of Charleston’s online computer hardware/software buyers.
[The above information was excerpted from a press release from Scarborough Reseach Corp., July 31, 2007]

What does this mean for Charleston businesses? One does not have to be a marketing genius to see that any legitimate business better have a Web presence. In addition, it means that e-commerce is very real, even in smaller, more rural markets like ours. I believe that it also indicates a potential opportunity for Charleston merchants, especially those selling electronics, software, clothing, books and music. What if local merchants could capture some of this market, offering local service and presence on top of immediate availability! The means and the tools to do this exist. We can utilize well-placed Internet ads and paid-search phrase mechanisms like Google Ad Words to get in front of these Charleston online shoppers.

If you are looking for valuable insights like these for your West Virginia business, talk to Maple Creative. We are the state's only licensed Scarborough/Arbitron partner among advertising and PR firms. We'll help you take the guesswork out of understanding your audience and their habits.

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Cultivating Connectedness among Creatives

Our team has had the pleasure of working with the Creative Communities Team of Vision Shared, under the leadership of Jeff James and Elizabeth Damewood Gaucher. Our goal has been to help Jeff and his team create a place on the Web for creative folks in West Virginia to link up, share big ideas and to engage in conversations. We hope that their newly launched Web site helps those creative folks do just that. We're using some really cool new Web tools, like Google maps (via the Community Walk app), Two Brains (shared learning), an online merchandise mart (via Cafe Press) and a companion blog. We're working on integrating a Facebook group, as well. Have a look - check it out!

Jeff has created a companion blog to support CreateWV. In his usual inclusive and generous fashion, he mentioned us and recognized our work on this great project.

We are happy to announce the updated web site, full of useful links for anyone interested in learning about or developing the Creative Community in West Virginia. Thanks again to Maple Creative for their hard work on this site.

Here are a few things you'll find:

Big Ideas - A listing of existing suggestions on how West Virginia can break through to become one of the most innovative, prosperous states in the U.S. - and a form for you to submit your own ideas.

Action Resources - A long list of interesting organizations and resources that can help inform and empower you locally to drive improvement in education, technology, arts and culture and more.

Create WV gear - You knew the bumper sticker was coming, didn't you? Stickers, shirts and more with the Create WV logo available for purchase. All proceeds go towards the Create WV Conference and local workshop expenses.

Featured Creatives and Places - This list will grow, but we love telling the stories of innovative people and places in West Virginia.

Don't forget we still have the statewide CommunityWalk map that needs your input! Please add any interesting New Economy or Creative Community location in your community - anything from small business development centers to museums to wireless hot spots. To add your locations, just click on the "Build This Map" link near the top of the page.

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Dollar Value of a Brand – Part II

Yesterday, media titan Rupert Murdoch took control of Dow Jones and its flagship publication, The Wall Street Journal. He paid $5 billion, which is about double the organization’s stock value. In an age where advertisers are shrinking and publication costs are rising, newspapers are no longer the cash cows of decades past. In fact, The Journal has been posting only marginal returns for years.

So what’s the draw? The answer, of course, is the brand.

Despite it’s financial woes, The Wall Street Journal is still considered “the” trusted name in business news. Murdoch (who is often painted as journalism’s Dick Cheney) is probably hoping that some of The Journal’s perceived integrity will not only improve his own beleaguered image, but allow him to launch a host of other business ventures as well.

Only time will tell if the return is worth the investment, but if you’re looking for proof of the inherent value of a brand, here are 2.5 billion reasons.