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, March 31, 2008

Neuromarketing: Weird Science or Field of Dreams?

In an effort to get into the mind of their customers, now companies are doing just that. According an article in today’s New York Times, “The ardor of the ad business to adopt the technical tools of biometrics — measuring brain waves, galvanic skin response, eye movements, pulse rates and the like — is increasing as consumer spending, the engine of the American economy, slows.” See for yourself at

Saturday, March 29, 2008

We're Hiring

We are hiring at Maple Creative. We have two openings presently:

1- Office administrator
Organized, personable, keeps the place running. Great attitude required.

2- Client services professional
Good task/project manager, strong writing skills, likes working with people, creative mind for advertising concepts and copy. Experience a plus. Bachelor's degree required.

Let me know if you are interested ... or if you know of someone who is.


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Monday, March 24, 2008

Branding Historical Sites Can Be Tricky

You will enjoy this insightful and thought-provoking guest article from our good friend and colleague, Jason Keeling.

The former Weston Hospital (W.Va.) had capacity to provide for up to 2,000 mental health patients until it closed in 1994. This National Historic Landmark remained quiet until 2007, when a contractor purchased it for $1.5 million. The new owners recently decided to market the location by its pre-Civil War name, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.

That decision has drawn the ire of several disability rights groups who claim the terminology is derogatory and outdated. Ann McDaniel, executive director of the Statewide Independent Living Council told the Associated Press: "It's like turning back the clock to a time we don't want to go back to...I think they could still do what they want to do without being offensive."

The owners claim that reverting to the original name is a matter of historical preservation. Commentator Hoppy Kercheval points out that the old mental hospital in Williamsburg, Va. is known today as it was more than 200 years ago as “The Public Hospital for Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds.”

So Marketing Geniuses, do you believe using the Weston Hospital's old name is an appropriate branding strategy, or should a more politically correct title be selected?

Jason Keeling is a PR Consultant, a fellow blogger and an all-around smart dude. His contributions as a young business leader in West Virginia were recognized in 2006 by The State Journal, which named his as a member of its Generation Next: 40 under 40.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Tom Pick's Best Blog Post Ever!

Tom Pick, a very smart and tuned-in blogger friend, has outdone himself. He has posted his best blog commentary of all time ... and it involves Maple Creative and your Marketing Genius Blog. Does it get any better?

Can't stand the curiousity? Have a look--

Thanks, Tom. And keep up the great work!

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Starbucks: Charlie from Bridgeport, WV

Allow me to introduce you to Charlie (photographed with permission by yours truly). Charlie is a barrista.

Scratch that. Charlie is a coffee guru. He knows coffee and espresso. He's passionate. Truly enthusiastic about coffee. It is obvious to anyone that Charlie loves what he does.

Wednesday afternoon, we made it a point to visit Charlie's Starbucks in Bridgeport, West Virginia. We've been following this whole Starbucks turnaround, along with several other bloggers, with great interest.

And so, on this cold, damp, windy March Wednesday, we wondered: following last week's company wide three-hour training shutdown ...

Would there be any palpable difference?
Had things changed inside this one Starbucks store?
Would we be able to notice anything?
What would employees report about the training episode?

We could not help but get caught up in Charlie's enthusiasm about coffee, as we listened to him advise a patron on choice of beverage. Painting an elaborate and engaging word picture, Charlie built the customer a caramel macchiato ... layer by layer. Ingredient by ingredient. Step by step. At each juncture, Charlie explained how each process and each layer added to the taste, texture and feel of the drink.

After eavesdropping on aforementioned conversation, we talked with (interrupted, quite truthfully) Charlie about the training.

Did last week's three-hour training make a difference? "Yes. The company has traditionally relied on a lot of book learning for new-employee training and orientation," Charlie explained.

"This week's training was hands-on. It allowed our employees to see, touch, feel, smell and hear how to make great espresso. How to serve it. It's one thing to read about it. It's another thing to demonstrate and to try it out. They encouraged us to make some mistakes ... milk that has been oversteamed and such. And to study the goof-ups. We all learned some things. I think it was much needed and it was beneficial."

Charlie continued, "I am really excited about having Howard Schultz personally involved in the business again. That really helps."

The answers to all of our questions had become evident in the form of Charlie and his passion. Kudos to Charlie and everyone everywhere who loves what they do. And here's to marketing genius Howard Schultz: congratulations on building a great brand--and having the pride, commitment and courage to rebuild it.

Post Script - In the name of balance and full disclosure, the staff did not ask our names to assign to our orders, nor did they call us by name to announce our drinks were ready. That would have been a nice touch. But I certainly appreciated the young lady's suggestion of a Peppemint Mocha, and it tasted especially delicious this time. It was richer and I sort of nursed it for about 40 minutes, instead of chugging it.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Maple Honored with 2007 Best of Show Addy Award

The Mapleonian squadron is flying high today, following a fun-filled Friday night at the Addy Awards Banquet. We were honored and humbled to win "Best of Show" for the second consecutive year in the annual AAF-WV advertising competition. This wonderful designation, along with seven other awards, was bestowed upon us by a distinguished panel of AAF member-judges from Virginia and Tennessee. And to everyone who's part of the Marketing Genius community: congratulations to you too! Your support, feedback and questions have helped us sharpen and refine our skills.

Maple Creative Wins Seven ADDY® Awards
Highlights include “Best of Show” for the Second Straight Year

(Charleston, W.Va.)— Maple Creative was presented with one Silver and six Gold ADDY® awards at the regional gala held Friday evening at the Civic Center. Maple won “Best of Show” for the movie-themed “Kelley’s Presents” campaign for Kelley’s clothing store in Charleston. It is the second year in a row Maple has received “Best of Show” honors.

Maple also took home trophies for the company’s own Holiday CD and newly revamped Web site, as well as for client work on behalf of Edward Tucker Architects and Dixon Hughes. Each year three judges from outside the region are invited to Charleston to judge ADDY award entries. This year, there were 207 entries total and 20 second-place silver and 20 first-place gold awards were presented.

About the ADDY® Awards
With over 60,000 entries annually, the ADDY® Awards are the world's largest advertising competition. The American Advertising Federation, a not-for-profit industry association, conducts the ADDY® Awards through its 200 member advertising clubs and 15 districts. It is the only creative awards program administered by the advertising industry for the industry.