Tuesday, June 22, 2010

AAF-Fort Worth Announces Ruth Ann Kearley as the 2010 Silver Medal Award Winner

We are proud to share some exciting news! The American Advertising Federation of Fort Worth has selected Ruth Ann Kearley as the recipient for the 2010 Silver Medal Award.

The club will honor Kearley with the Silver Medal at their monthly luncheon event on Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 11:45 a.m. at Joe T Garcia’s restaurant. The event is open to the public, and tickets can be purchased through adclubfw.org.

Kearley said she was both surprised and flattered by the honor.

“I am so thrilled about the Silver Medal award. It's something I've always thought was a wonderful testament to folks who have done so much for Fort Worth and for the local advertising community," Kearley said. “I never dreamed I would be included in such impressive company - it's truly an honor.”

About Ruth Ann

Kearley, an area native, is a former Miss Teen Fort Worth and a Paschal High School and Texas Christian University alumna. Recognized nationally as a leader in the Credit Union industry, she started one of the first marketing departments for a credit union in the state of Texas while she was working for Educational Employees Credit Union in Fort Worth during the early 1970s. She left EECU as vice president of marketing in 1981 to start Kearley & Company, Inc. She is currently serving as special advisor to the board for Kearley & Company, Inc.

Ruth Ann's Civic Involvements
In addition to her commitment to Kearley & Company, she is very involved in numerous civic organizations. Through the years, she has served as President of the Northside Chamber of Commerce, President of the Board for the Lighthouse for the Blind, Board member for Jubilee Theatre, and has been an active member of AAF-Fort Worth and the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. Currently, she serves on the Executive Board for the Lighthouse for the Blind. In 2007, the Business Press honored Kearley as one of Fort Worth’s Great Woman of Texas honorees. Kearley was also the 2008 honoree for her work at Jubilee Theatre

About the Silver Medal Award
The Silver Medal Award recognizes a man or woman who has made contributions to the advertising industry that have helped to raise industry standards of creative excellence and social responsibility. According to AAF—Fort Worth, Kearley was chosen based on her contributions to her company, the credit union industry, the advertising community, and Fort Worth.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Staying relevant with Gen Y & Gen Z

Businesses targeting their products and/or services towards youth are facing an ever-changing market. At the tail end of a recession, and in the middle of a generation-shift, how does a company stay relevant to the younger audience?

Because Generation Y (Gen Y) is getting older (now making up consumers roughly aged 18-30), marketers will begin focusing on the emerging Generation Z (Gen Z), as their buying power within the youth market will increase rapidly over the next several years.

Even so, a few things remain the same. As with Gen Y, the two biggest factors driving purchasing decisions are still:
• Can this product or service help me belong?
• And, can it help me be significant?

Social currency is what is most important, and successful marketing will be based in recognizing that it is not a product or service being sold, but what that product or service is doing for the consumer. Word of mouth is still the most powerful influence on youth. They are far more likely to trust products and brands if a friend uses or recommends them.

Graham Brown, founder of What Youth Think, has published a presentation to SlideShare.com that outlines research into the youth market and his projections for what to prepare for in the 2010 economy.

Brown suggests that companies commit 100 percent of their budget to consumers already sold on their product and provide them with tools and social currency to spread the word. “Grassroots” and “beachhead” marketing schemes that are focused in this way seem to win out, according to Brown, and he points to youth market kings Red Bull and Apple to prove it.

Today’s youth grew up bombarded with advertisements and other propaganda, so they are even more skeptical of traditional marketing campaigns than Gen Y. As a result, authenticity is now more important than ever. Rather then controlling the conversation, companies have to earn their right to participate in the conversation, and should be actively listening to what consumers are saying.

Marketing is no longer something you do to your audience, but with your audience. It seems the message moving forward is that successful marketing will engage in a two-way conversation with Gen Y and Gen Z – a prospect that scares some organizations.

My perspective is that two-way dialog is an opportunity to learn more about your potential consumers than marketers ever could before – and therefore offers the potential to be more laser-focused in your efforts to forward your brand. What do you think?