The Confluence

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TikTok, Is it a fad or here to stay?

February 20, 2020

Are you getting the question: “Should we be on TikTok?”. If so, here are a few things to consider. We’ll cover what TikTok is, who’s using it, the advertising opportunity, measurement limitations and how brands can get creative. First, what is TikTok? TikTok describes itself as, “the leading destination for short-form mobile video.” Its user
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Foundations for Success: Data Analytics Maturity Series, Episode 2

February 14, 2020

Data Analytics Maturity Series, presented by Brunner’s Data Science & Decision Analytics Team This series covers the elusive topic of data. How to gather it, develop it, and structure it so that you can hone in on valuable insights. Getting closer to your customers requires making the most of the data available to you and
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Enough About Peloton: Let Feel-Good Ads Prevail

January 9, 2020

Originally published in MediaPost.   Recently, one brand’s holiday ad was on everyone’s mind: Peloton. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the exercise equipment brand released a holiday campaign depicting a husband gifting his wife a Peloton bike for Christmas and her subsequent fitness journey over the following year. Not long after airing,
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UGC For You and For Me

December 17, 2019

In a world where brands are trying to mimic their follower’s content due to the increasing difficulty of the platforms algorithm as well as the authenticity of the brand’s content, UGC is more important than ever. User Generated Content, commonly referred to as UGC, is a phrase used to describe content that was created by
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The Myth of Media Relations

December 5, 2019

Media relations of old was a publicity tactic built solely upon relationships between PR practitioners and reporters. In its heyday, success meant well-written press releases and a surplus of media clips. But times have changed. Media relations is no longer just a marketing mechanism designed to gain awareness; it’s a brand strategy. At Brunner we
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Augmented Reality Ads: Tools to Help with Purchase Decision

December 3, 2019

As features that provide consumers with more control over their data and restrict advertising continue to roll out, it’s more important than ever for brands to provide a personalized and interactive experience that feels authentic and is useful. Looking ahead to 2020, here’s a trend that your brand should consider as part of next year’s
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No Leaky Buckets: Automated CRM Solutions for B2B

December 2, 2019

The B2B space is a specific beast when it comes to improving marketing and sales strategy. When it comes to B2B companies, the sales cycle is often longer, driven by contact-based communications, lengthy demos and a focus on rationalization rather than emotion. For this reason, B2B companies and organizations are beginning to rely heavily on
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For 2020 Planning, Be a G.R.I.N.C.H.

December 2, 2019

Originally published in MediaPost.   Everyone has heard “Don’t be a Grinch!” That’s a phrase that resurfaces every year — plastered on ugly Christmas sweaters and holiday party invites — referencing the iconic yet mean-spirited titular character in Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” If someone calls you a Grinch, they’re insinuating you’re a
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During the Season of Thanks, We’re Giving New Meaning to the 4Cs

November 27, 2019

In the office this week, the Brunner team started to think about what we’re grateful for this Thanksgiving season. For some folks it was healthy family and friends, for others it was good Spotify playlists and others even expressed gratitude for our associate creative director Kevin Corfield. Me? I’m grateful for the 4Cs. The 4Cs
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Swipe Up: How Social Commerce is Changing an Industry

November 22, 2019

‘Tis the season for frenzied holiday shoppers to storm the doors of their local malls after stuffing themselves silly during Thanksgiving Dinner. The National Retail Federation estimates holiday retail sales will grow between 3.8% and 4.2% this year, accounting for above-average-growth. Additionally, the NRF expects online and other non-store sales to climb between 11% and
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Instagram Testing Hiding Likes in the US – What Does it Mean?

November 15, 2019

For months, Instagram has been testing an option of hiding likes on posts in select international markets. The test first occurred in Canada, and then expanded to Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand. Last week, they announced they would be running the same test across a number of user accounts in the United
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Emotional advertising can lift sales as much as 23%, but marketers are missing the mark

November 13, 2019

Originally published in Atlanta Business Chronicle. By Mary Johnson  – Contributor   After more than 40 years in marketing and advertising, Louis Sawyer, the chief strategy officer for ad agency Brunner, has come to believe that we are defined by the brands we choose to buy. To prove his point, Sawyer once asked a room full
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Own Your Data: Data Analytics Maturity Series, Episode 1

November 12, 2019

Getting closer to your customers requires making the most of the data available to you and understanding where you are in terms of data maturity. We’re here to help. Introducing our new series on Data Analytics Maturity, coming to you from our Data Science & Decision Analytics team. This series will cover the elusive topic of
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Brave brands wanted: Today’s consumers seek cultural relevance in brand messaging

November 12, 2019

Originally published in Atlanta Business Chronicle. By Mary Johnson  – Contributor   It was the Super Bowl commercial everyone was talking about back in 2017. At the time, 84 Lumber, a brand with little awareness outside the construction industry, was in the midst of a massive growth spurt. If the company was to capitalize on a
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A Perfect Path to Purchase? It Doesn’t Exist

November 1, 2019

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN MEDIAPOST.   Over the past several years, both marketers and agencies have smartly embraced the idea of “multitouch attribution,” or MTA. It’s the concept that many marketing channels work together to lead a prospect to purchase, and so credit must be divided up across channels in order to assure future decisions don’t damage
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Brunner PROfile – Scuff the Line

November 1, 2019

Let’s destroy the hierarchy of the art world for a moment and scuff the line between commercial and fine art. If it’s OK to love a TV show, it’s OK to love an ad, a 30-second film, a PSA, or even a bus wrap. I’m dismayed that overall, ads are unfairly thrown into a lumpy
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Many Atlanta marketers ignore full-funnel, data-driven approach, study reveals

October 31, 2019

Originally published in Atlanta Business Chronicle. By Mary Johnson  – Contributor   Most businesses pay a lot of attention to what happens right before a customer makes a purchase. But there’s so much more to the transaction. The ubiquity of data makes that easier than it has ever been, said Zak Cochran, an account director at
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Brunner PROfile – The Physics of Marketing

October 28, 2019

What do physics and marketing have in common? If your answer is “nothing” I have news for you! Physicists are the ultimate problem solvers. Isaac Newton and his Laws of Motion, Michael Faraday and work in electromagnetism, Albert Einstein and his Theory of Relativity, Edwin Hubble and the expanding universe… the list goes on. But
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Make Your CMO Happy: Enhance Digital Marketing With Earned Media

October 3, 2019

Originally published in MediaPost.   Imagine this: you hear of a brand for the first time and immediately want to learn more. What’s the first thing you do? Everybody say it with me now: “Google it!” Sure, the brand’s website may appear as the top search ranking (thanks to its digital performance marketing team), but
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Influencer Marketing: What it Is and Why Your Brand Should Consider It

October 3, 2019

When it comes to social media advertising, influencer marketing isn’t a new concept—especially for the Millennial and Generation Z consumer. Influencer posts created by celebrities, athletes and dedicated enthusiasts are easy to spot on Instagram feeds and the buzz they’ve created in the media can’t be ignored.  Wondering about the power of influencer marketing? Let’s
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How Content Strategy, Automation Go Hand in Hand

September 4, 2019

Originally published in MediaPost.   Every meaningful journey begins with a map and a plan. Today’s accessibility to Google Maps allows us to choose the most efficient routes, suggests stops along the way, and seamlessly adjusts if we veer off course. Customer journey mapping should be the same: educational, flexible, adaptable. In the dawn of
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Are AI and Machine Learning Leading your Brand Astray?

August 22, 2019

Search for ‘AI and customer acquisition’ on Google and you will get over 30 Million results. Clearly, there is much hype surrounding AI, machine learning and other emerging technologies as they relate to improving customer acquisition efforts – and rightfully so. By leveraging real-time data analytics through machine learning, companies are able to become much
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Brunner PROfile: Create Synergy Between Legacy and Agency

August 22, 2019

Over the ten weeks I spent interning at Brunner, I found myself being both challenged and amazed. I’ve learned more about myself than I could have possibly imagined and met amazing people who have provided me with invaluable advice to further my career in the advertising industry. Among them are 12 tips and takeaways for
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Customer Acquisition: Turbulent Times Ahead?

August 6, 2019

Customer acquisition via personalized marketing allows you to find prospects and transition them from not engaged, to actively engaged in a personally identifiable and human-like way. Any marketing organization knows that transition process is activated through smart audience targeting, and hyper-targeted personalization. Viable prospects are those with desirable characteristics, namely: Responsive: have a likelihood to
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Are You Hanging a CLOSED Sign On Your Door When Customers Are Knocking?

August 2, 2019

Originally published in MediaPost.   If a potential customer knocked on your door to purchase a product or service, would you answer? It’s often the marketer’s job to disrupt prospects from their daily life with an ad that will win them over with an enticing value proposition. Search engine marketing (SEM), on the other hand,
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Can Algorithms Feel? Use Emotion To Elevate Search Engine Marketing

July 29, 2019

Originally published in MediaPost.   Emotional resonance is essential in marketing. But how do you connect emotionally when writing keyword-targeted copy? To the uninitiated, copywriting for search engine optimization (SEO) may seem prescriptive, awkward and clunky, written for robot crawlers rather than human beings. No one even reads those SEO copy blocks, right? The reality
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Leveraging More Personal Experiences on Facebook

July 2, 2019

And, no, we don’t mean just sharing the intimate details of your life. Over the past year, Facebook has undergone a lot of changes largely due to data security breaches and consumer concern about the platform’s handling of their information. With new limitations in place for brands, and yet, new opportunities to engage customers in
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Most consumer insights aren’t all that insightful

July 2, 2019

It’s the key slide in the presentation. The one that precedes the creative. The one that sets up the creative. The one that will make the creative that follows a slam dunk. The heading on the slide says: Key Consumer Insight. And then, drumroll please, an insight is revealed that is not revealing. Nor inspiring.
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Writing Taglines: Just Do It? Or Don’t?

June 24, 2019

Woo-hoo! I get to write a tagline that’ll define a brand for years to come. Eek gads! I’m supposed to write a tagline that’ll define a brand for years to come. Writing a tagline is an opportunity. And yes, writing a new tagline can also feel like you’ve been tasked with finding a brand’s holy
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What the #*&! is a Hybrid Creative? Advertising mumbo jumbo.

June 18, 2019

Google “advertising hybrid creative” and you’ll find shiny phrases like “rare breed,” “next-generation,” “shaking things up,” “the future.”  New! Exciting! Scary. Scary? Not too long ago people talked about “hybrids” the way they talk about mutants in X-Men. But more disdainfully, as if we lacked focus: Mixed-up. Uncommitted. Dilettantes. “Pick one thing and be great
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Pairing Community Management with Paid Social Media

June 12, 2019

You’ve done all the work. You’ve created amazing, mobile first content. You’ve developed your messaging strategy, measurement framework and brought your brand to life. Now, it’s time to launch a Paid Social Media campaign to elevate the experience and start driving opportunities for your business! But wait, because there’s one thing many businesses forget about
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Companies that last through recessions share this marketing tactic

May 31, 2019

Originally published in Atlanta Business Chronicle.   The Great Recession doesn’t feel that long ago, and yet experts are saying we might once again be on the brink of an economic slump. Two-thirds of U.S. economists predict another recession is due by the end of 2020, according to a survey from the National Association for
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4 ways to foster an entrepreneurial spirit in your business

May 31, 2019

Originally published in Atlanta Business Chronicle.   Modern business culture feels a bit like the age of the entrepreneur. And in many ways, it is. There are movies and television series made about entrepreneurs. Startups Facebook and Google (now part of Alphabet) are now Fortune 100 companies, ranked #76 and #22, respectively. And entrepreneurs such
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Why B2B Marketers Were More Innovative 10 Years Ago

May 29, 2019

Originally published in MediaPost.   Occasionally I’ll take a look back at interviews I’ve done and articles I’ve written. During a recent perusal through the archives, I noticed that in the B2B space, we were talking about, and doing, some very forward-looking things a decade ago — long before “digital transformation” came into vogue. Around
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Brunner PROfile – Developing the Next Generation of Talent: Career Advice for Young Professionals

May 16, 2019

Millennial. A term often used to describe who I am and categorize me into a societal box. And although I’m considered a true millennial (no matter what generational cutoff point you use), there’s one label frequently overlooked that I prefer to define where I’m at: young professional. Similar to “millennial,” the term “young professional” often
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Internship PROfile – Kimberly Watterson

May 3, 2019

This past January marked two years since I was an intern here at Brunner. I graduated from Duquesne University just a few months prior and always dreamed of working at Brunner. But, there weren’t any immediate job openings. However, after completing a job shadow I learned Brunner was gearing up to open their 2017 Internship
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How to take your marketing efforts to a new level through performance marketing

April 30, 2019

Originally published in Atlanta Business Chronicle.   Working in advertising, Ivan Tafur said he gets one question more than any other: How can you prove what you’re doing is working? Tafur, group media director at Brunner, an ad agency with offices in Atlanta and Pittsburgh, works in tandem with the agency’s performance marketing team that
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To reach Gen Z, your brand must stand with them

April 30, 2019

Originally published in Atlanta Business Chronicle.   When Louis Sawyer was growing up, Cadillac was the brand to beat. The car company was considered the gold standard — so much so the brand became the descriptor for anything of high quality: “That’s the Cadillac of ovens, right there.” “Check out the Cadillac of lawnmowers.” “Have
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Adding emotion to your marketing a necessity in 2019

April 30, 2019

Originally published in Atlanta Business Chronicle.   When you ask Kristen Taggert, vice president of brand engagement at Brunner, an ad agency with offices in Atlanta and Pittsburgh, why emotion matters in marketing, she’ll tell you: it’s all about creating repeat customers, not fleeting purchasers. Whether it’s pictures of your niece’s birthday party, a post
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Do you know the two ingredients essential to a winning digital experience?

April 30, 2019

Originally published in Atlanta Business Chronicle.   Trish Duffy starts every conversation about the digital experience with a few key questions to accomplish one very specific goal. “Before you even begin, you need to home in on the audiences you’re trying to reach. But what if you have that? Then you need to consider why
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B2B or B2C? It Doesn’t Matter, We’re All Human

April 30, 2019

Originally published in MediaPost.   In marketing, you’ll often hear people talk about B2B — business to business — or B2C — business to consumer. But rarely will you hear marketers talk about connecting with humans. Yet that’s what we all are. At the core of every marketing, advertising or communications campaign is the same,
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Brand Awareness and Marketing ROI: The Long-Term Investment

April 25, 2019

Brand awareness and marketing ROI.  The yin and yang of marketing?  When discussing these important concepts, there’s almost a “code switch” that occurs in the minds of marketing professionals: “Yes, we need marketing ROI (sales/costs), but we need to fill the funnel at the top. We need to invest in building  brand awareness before we
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Lasting Brand Awareness A Matter Of F.A.C.T.

March 29, 2019

Originally published in MediaPost.   Have you ever wondered why so many brands spend a fortune to build visibility, only to then fall short of the results they desire? That question has been on my mind, too. That’s why I took some time recently to research what makes a brand great and makes awareness stick.
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PR – The Love Affair Between Storytelling and Discretion

March 12, 2019

Originally published in PRSA Pittsburgh.   Storytelling & Discretion – A Love Story Romeo and Juliet. Catherine and Heathcliff. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. They all have one thing in common in the world of fiction: they’re epic romances. The equivalent in the PR realm? The star-crossed love of storytelling and discretion. As PR professionals
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Digital Metrics: Take Results With Healthy Dose Of Skepticism

February 20, 2019

Originally published in MediaPost.   As marketing evolves, so, too, do the ways in which we analyze, measure and optimize. With a customer journey that is always on and multifunctional across channels and devices, finding ways to accurately report on the impact of marketing is crucial. It’s a great feeling when you know you’ve multiplied
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Recalibrating Entitlement into Something Meaningful

February 8, 2019

Originally published in CIOReview.   For many companies, corporate risk is identified as attrition, business loss or regulatory infractions. But perhaps the most underrated risk of them all is entitlement. Yep, I said it. It’s entitlement. It’s not a forecasted business risk, it’s the shift in attitude making finding great talent harder and more competitive
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Small Shop. Big Ideas.

February 1, 2019

Originally published in ADWEEK.

Marketers Can Learn A Lot From In-House Agency Debate

January 18, 2019

Originally featured in MediaPost. I come from IT. I never thought I’d ever work for an advertising agency, let alone spend the last 20 years at one. Back in the early ’90s, the firm I was with played the role of a hired gun, brought in by IT organizations to help with specific business problems.
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Don’t Innovate for Innovation’s Sake

October 16, 2018

Originally published in CIOReview.   If my memory serves me correctly, my first computer was an IBM XT with a 10Mb hard drive, twin floppy drives and 64K of RAM! And while it felt like the ultimate in technology innovation at the time, I now recognize perhaps its best feature was that booting from floppy
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Engaging Talent in an Era of Innovation

August 16, 2018

Originally published in CIOReview. The challenge It’s hard to keep a high-value, technical team motivated, polarized on the job and happy with their employer. Everything companies do is to leverage the latest and greatest: the newest technology, the latest challenges and innovating entire business structures. But, the latest and greatest doesn’t stop turnover single handedly. Instead,
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An Open Letter to Grey and to Putting 100% into the Creative Process

July 5, 2018

Originally published in The Drum. Earlier this year, Grey New York announced they’re dedicating 75% of their resources to creative. As a creative, I applaud that decision. It’s about time we all did something like that. But to me it also begs the question, why stop at 75%? Just the other day my account team
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Brands Leading the Way Through the Retail Firestorm

June 10, 2018

Originally published in Atlanta Business Chronicle. The so-called “Retail Apocalypse” is upon us. The winds keep shifting and wildfires rage while retailers scramble to remain relevant and adapt to fast-changing consumer expectations. As retailers are slipping away in the charred wasteland of their own making, brands are now beginning to embrace their role in the re-invention
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10 Questions to Your Data Scientist to Pass the Sniff Test

June 1, 2018

In marketing, we don’t want to evoke je ne sais quoi. Specificity is currency. Be it the audience, be it the message, or the emotional reaction to our campaigns. In the age of data analytics as the backbone of marketing decisions, this relevance becomes more and more attainable. To say data science is a lot
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Deliver No Evil

May 25, 2018

As marketers, we love having it. We try to consider every input to deliver the most personal and closest to one-to-one message possible. All in hopes that this personalization will result in deeper connections with our customers and ultimately more sales. Dealing with the realities of GDPR. As consumers, we facilitate this. We ignore the
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When Rocket Scientists And Marketers Say “I Do”: Despite The News, The Marriage Of Data And Marketing Remains Strong

May 15, 2018

Talking about the weather forecast might mean you’re wondering aloud if family picnic plans are a viable entertainment choice on Saturday. And, if you’re a data analyst, like Brunner’s Matt Walentosky, a trained physicist who studied in Alaska and had portions of his thesis work published in the Astrophysical Journal about dwarf galaxy simulations, you
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Challenger Brands Don’t Climb the Mountaintop. They Transform, Then Own It.

May 10, 2018

There are big dogs and underdogs. There are champions and there are challengers. For every Goliath there is a David (or a Dana) waiting in the wings to slay him. For every established mega-brand there is a start-up getting off the ground in some home office or shared office cubicle. In fact, there are start-ups
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PR And Marketing May Be Converging, But They’re Not The Same

May 7, 2018

Originally published in MediaPost.   Whether it’s PR agencies hiring chief creative officers or advertising agencies creating award-winning PR campaigns, media convergence has resulted in a lot of changes to the traditional agency structure. Omnichannel marketing has become the default expectation of today’s consumer, and that means everything from PR to advertising to marketing often
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Five Basic Tenets for Employee Social Media Advocacy Programs

May 1, 2018

Originally published in Atlanta Business Chronicle.   Across our clients, average organic reach on Facebook for brand content ranges between 4% and 2%. Organic reach on other social media platforms is also waning. On the paid social media front, Facebook’s average CPM and CPC rose 171% and 136% respectively in 2017 according to a study
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The Value of PR Cannot Be Measured in a Vacuum

April 30, 2018

Originally published in Atlanta Business Chronicle.   “This campaign delivered a total of 687M earned impressions and more than $75B in media value.” Marketing and PR professionals have all read these kinds of statements in case studies, award write-ups and presentations, but how many have actually considered how these numbers were developed? If you did
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Defanging The Data Monster For Good

April 17, 2018

Originally published in MediaPost.   While Facebook and other global behemoths have long understood the power of data, the recent breaches and unlawful use of personal information have reminded them (and us) that their understanding is incomplete. Nonprofits are just discovering the power of data, and because they are not immune to troubles, they must
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Designing Women: Brunner’s Digital Duo Takes UX Development to New Levels

April 15, 2018

Originally published in PGHTECH FUSE.   Both come from the same small town in the southwestern Pennsylvania countryside. Both formerly worked as graphic designers. And both have married the art of design and technology as UX pros to produce globally award-winning work. UX Designer Trish Duffy and Visual Developer Amy DePalma didn’t meet until they
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Tips on How Companies Can Use Branding Videos to Generate Business Leads

April 1, 2018

Originally published in Atlanta Business Chronicle.   You know you need video content for your brand. But do you know how to use that content to actually generate leads or track the success of your content in terms of conversions? Let’s talk about “email gates.” You’ve probably seen these in action, but you may not
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Social Media Provides a Wealth of Insight on Consumers’ Home Improvement Activity

March 30, 2018

People actually do talk about more than politics on social media, believe it or not. In fact, converstions about home improvement are one of the most popular topics across channels. And for builders and brands that service these needs, it’s a great place to source business intel. An Ongoing analysis of social listening data on
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Brunner PROfile: Katie Collins, Social Media Strategist

March 15, 2018

Facebook is the largest and most sophisticated social media platform in the world. Marketers know it is a critically important communication medium. However, with all of its algorithm changes, budding ad formats and evolving user experience, brand marketers may find it intimidating and confusing. But wrangling the platform for the good of her clients is
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Analytics are the ticket out of “Valley of Crushed Dreams”

March 1, 2018

Originally published in Atlanta Business Chronicle.   We know that understanding the customer journey through analytics is key to driving relevancy and performance for digital marketing efforts. This helps marketers predict where we think people are going to go, where they want to go, and what will help inform and ultimately make their decision. If
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Five Simple Steps To Start Your Innovation Effort

February 28, 2018

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN PGHTECH FUSE.   The notion of a defined R&D or innovation initiative is not new. But these days it seems that just about every company is using some form of the word “innovation” in their positioning or value proposition. And with good reason. Simply put, innovation is the way that companies create new
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Don’t Send Customers Packing, Start Anticipating Wanderlust

February 15, 2018

Originally published in MediaPost.   People have high expectations of the customer experience. To say UX and content must be attuned to our every whim is an understatement. So why do so many brands get it wrong? Well, they’re not anticipating the needs of the consumer. Take, for example, mainstream travel sites. These brands are responsible
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Brunner PROfile: Anthony Monahan, Interactive Creative Director

February 1, 2018

Maybe it’s because he’s traversed disparate hubs of creative energy, working in Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Washington, DC and New York before returning to his wife’s hometown of Pittsburgh. Or, it can be traced to his childhood in Virginia Beach, where he spent days in a high school for the arts and afternoons designing epic
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Data Science and the Customer Experience Revolution Hits Home

January 30, 2018

Widespread digital disruption has compelled companies in the home improvement category to think critically about their future and the competitive advantages that will propel them to success. Increasingly, that advantage is delivered through the customer experience. Leading brands have mastered it: Amazon knows its shoppers, Facebook its users, Netflix its bingers and Home Depot its
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Social Listening: An Ear in the Conversation

January 15, 2018

For our home enrichment practice, we track monthly social media listening data on 10 home improvement categories. Figures include the volume, net sentiment, and passion intensity of conversations as well as a host of other metrics. In addition, we compare these monthly metrics to an 18-month benchmark report. Here’s a snap shot of conversations from
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Thinking Inside the (Subscription) Box

January 1, 2018

Orignally published in HBSDealer. Home brands fit nicely inside the subscription box concept. So what’s the hold up? Subscription-only brands, such as Stitch Fix, have taken advantage of the boom in boxes. For home brands, one of the greatest struggles is how to get products in the hands of new customers. Big-box competition is fierce, the
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When Real Things And The Internet Of Things Collide

January 1, 2018

Originally published in MediaPost.   Anyone over a certain age will recall AT&T’s 1987 “Reach out and touch someone” campaign. Ah, yes, back in the days when phones were connected to land, and our innocence didn’t allow a phrase like that to be an instant PR threat for companies of all sizes. It’s one thing to
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Agencies Should Start Thinking More Like Consultants

December 28, 2017

Originally published in MediaPost.   For the last five years, my account managers have called me Mr. Scopecreep. I’ve never been able to see a problem and not try to fix it, even if it’s outside my lane or scope of work. As a result, I tend to get involved in conversations or meetings I
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The Power Of Holiday Advertising: The Gift Of What If?

December 20, 2017

Originally published in MediaPost.   Ever imagine the surprise of finding out you have relatives you never knew you had? Cynics say to be careful what you wish for, lest everyone from hillbillies to Hollywood moguls show up on your doorstep. But the way advertisers portray tempting the fates makes buying a key to unlock
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Importance of Being There: Micro Moments for the Home Brand

December 15, 2017

Like the process of remodeling a home, it starts with emotion and never ends. Maybe it’s the tired, sweaty man push-mowing his vast, hilly lawn who cannot take another sneeze or muscle ache. He’s had it, so he realizes it’s time to invest in a riding mower and reaches for the phone in his back
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Nobody Leaves Baby, Er, Gen X in the Corner

December 5, 2017

Originally published in MediaPost.   “Gen X was a generation that grew up cynical, angry and profoundly insecure—or so goes the common perception. Why would any brand marketer want to target such a group?” – Adweek  I’ll tell you why. We may be the smallest generation, with about 60 million sandwiched in between 77 million
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Omnichannel Marketing is the First Step, Not the End Game

December 5, 2017

Originally published in MediaPost.   Congratulations on your integrated marketing plan, your omnichannel marketing strategy, your paid-earned-shared-owned media strategy — you’ve now completed the bare minimum of what customers expect. Just because marketers have finally started to consistently create integrated cross-channel plans doesn’t mean we should toot our horns too much. After all, we’re the
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Is your brand online-ready?

October 26, 2017

Originally published in HBSDealer.   According to The NPD Group, the volume of home improvement products sold online is swiftly approaching $11 billion, a growth of 41% compared to last year. Both Home Depot and Lowe’s are seeing double-digit, year-over-year growth in online sales. With emerging competitors in the category like Amazon, retailers are placing
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Leaders still need people skills

September 12, 2017

Originally published in HBSDealer. In a not-so-futuristic world where robots and algorithms take over tasks and jobs once accomplished by human workers, it’s antithetical to say “people skills” would be the No. 1 ability future leaders need. But, it’s true. Everywhere you look, another headline addresses how artificial intelligence, machine learning and robots are transforming
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Machine Learning And AI – Don’t Buy Hype, Buy Solutions

August 17, 2017

Originally published in MediaPost.   To say machine learning is over-hyped is an understatement. And it would be wise for marketers to not get too dazzled by this shiny new tool. Here’s why in one sentence: new advances in machine learning are often unnecessary and undesirable if the objective is to gain business advantage from
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Deep Personalization: The Next Step In CRM Effectiveness

July 21, 2017

Originally published in MediaPost.   Companies are striving to personalize their marketing. Personalizing the content, the timing, the channels, the contacts, the journeys and so forth. It’s effective and, indeed, necessary in a marketing environment increasingly dominated by always on digital channels. In fact, a quick Google search will produce lots of advice about “getting
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The B2B Millennial Buyer: The New Decision-Makers in the Workplace…on Their Terms

June 27, 2017

Originally published in Atlanta Business Chronicle.   Earlier this year, I asked a national sales manager from a leading consumer brand to share his biggest challenge in 2017.  His response – The buyers are getting younger. They’re all millennials and an older sales team has trouble relating to them. In 2015, millennials became the largest generation
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The Importance Of Quality Assurance

June 22, 2017

Originally published in MediaPost.   The era of digital transformation is here and with that comes the opportunity to rethink how things are done. “Things” is a pretty broad term, but a definitive process to work alongside the changing tech landscape can be equally as ubiquitous. Technology transforms how we work, but the constant challenge
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Is ‘Made in America’ Made for Millennials?

June 20, 2017

Originally published in HBSDealer.   For millennials, “Made in America” remains a key product attribute, but only if it conveys a sense of quality. Millennials aren’t necessarily buying American products to be patriotic or to support the American worker, but because the “Made in America” badge can serve as a mental shortcut for quality products.
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Pervasiveness Of Video In The New Media Landscape

May 26, 2017

Originally published in MediaPost.   Reach into your pocket. Chances are you have a video camera in there built into the smartphone you use every day. This freedom means just about anyone can create and publish videos these days. So then why do some videos seem to work really well while others fall flat? What’s
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Virtual Reality: Still Swimming With Sharks

April 25, 2017

Originally published in MediaPost.   “I want to live in there,” squealed a friend’s 7-year-old daughter. She had just taken a virtual swim with sharks through Google Cardboard. But, alas, kids bore quickly. Even in shark-infested waters. With “VR … revenue … forecasted to reach $4.6B in 2017”, according to Marketo’s “Virtual Reality is Now
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Ad Blocking Is An Opportunity, Not An Obstacle

March 31, 2017

Originally published in MediaPost.   Ad blocking is a hot topic. While many argue it’s still in its infancy stage, it’s not to be ignored. Fun fact: “One in five smartphone users, or almost 420 million people worldwide, block advertising when browsing the web on cellphones. Still, only 4.3 million Americans, or 2.2 percent of smartphone
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Analysis: Smart Home Tech Adoption

March 10, 2017

Originally published in HBSDealer.   Would you pay $229 to replace your front door deadbolt lock with Smart Lock? How about $200 to trade out your garage door opener for one that you can open and close with your phone? More often than not, homeowners just aren’t ready to get rid of their perfectly functioning
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The Service Soul: Service-orientation And The Human Connection

February 27, 2017

Originally published in MediaPost.   In this day and age, what does “service” really mean? Does it still have a place in business? Are we forgoing the importance of a heart-to-heart human connection for the convenience of technology? In the past, people were quick to pick up the phone and talk. Not only did this
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Why Brands That Are Direct Are Powerful

December 5, 2016

Originally published in MediaPost.   I recently returned from my honeymoon to France, Italy and Great Britain. In several of the cities we visited, I noticed United Colors of Benetton had “clothes for humans” splashed across their windows. The message was inclusive and inviting, a welcome change at a time when we are seemingly becoming
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Forget Training; Empower Digital Entrepreneurs

October 26, 2016

Originally published in MediaPost.   If we take a look at the multitude of digital consultants, “boot camps” and agency training programs initiated every year, we might assume the path to digital transformation bliss is paved by training. A January 2016 Forrester survey of top U.S. and European companies indicates 62% of them plan on
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FaceTime & Millennials: The Future Of Parenting And, Well, Marketing

September 26, 2016

Originally published in MediaPost.   Parents of Gen Xers used to let youngsters run outside and play the day away unsupervised. Then you had helicopter parents rigorously scheduling their kids’ free time and shadowing them through it all. Now, Millennials are becoming parents. And while they want to provide their kids more unstructured playtime than
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Pokemon Go Highlights Shifts In Augmented Reality

July 26, 2016

Originally published in MediaPost.   The Pokémon Go app is perhaps, as many breathless commentators have noted, a key breakthrough in consumer awareness and adoption of an augmented reality (AR) use. Since its launch, the app has 7+ million downloads with “60% … using it daily,” says A “killer app,” as they say. Or
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DIY vs. DIFM – 2nd in a Series of How Consumers Approach Home Improvement Projects

July 15, 2016

Painting an interior room is a fairly “doable” first DIY project for most new homeowners. Worst case scenario? You have to paint it again.  But what about something more complex, like changing out a sink vanity or cabinet in the bathroom? Worst case scenario? You’ve flooded your new home and have to use a neighbor’s
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DIY vs. DIFM – 1st in a Series of How Consumers Approach Home Improvement Projects

June 30, 2016

Nike tells us to “Just Do It;” The Home Depot advocates “more doing.” And today’s homeowners are…just not always by themselves. Do It Yourself (DIY)? Or Do It For Me (DIFM)? Or Do It With Me (DIWM)? Or all of the above?   What we’re finding is that that the type of “do it” depends on a number
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