According the the 4As (American Association of Advertising Agencies), there are roughly 13,000 integrated marketing agencies in the U.S. Starmark is one of 1,000 or fewer who are Agile. Today, one of those agencies was featured in The Wall Street Journal. Hint: it’s Starmark.
Work & Family reporter for The Wall Street Journal, Sue Schellenbarger, interviewed Starmark President, Jacqui Hartnett, Chief Digital Officer, Brett Circe and Associate Creative Director, Jacob Edenfield, about the agency’s four-year journey embracing Agile. It’s a topic of interest for companies large and small looking for ways to build higher functioning teams and attract higher caliber talent.
Agile is about creating mutual understanding with clients
It has been four years since the agency moved from a traditional waterfall approach to following Agile Methodology.
This far along, Starmark still encounters many connections, prospects, clients and partner agencies who think Agile is a project management fad, a simple process change – or worst of all – an easy button that management can use to makes work quicker and cheaper, according to Brett Circe. “In reality, it’s just more efficient because we have a better shared plan with our clients, and that means we make better use of their time and marketing dollars. We cut out all the stressful, expensive rework that makes projects drag on at the end.”
"What every new client and new employee needs to understand is that there are real benefits to better up-front planning. Our roadmaps are built and informed by the group of experts who will actually do the work. As a client, you walk through what success looks like with the people who can get you there."
Brett Circe, Chief Digital Officer, Starmark
Agile workstreams have transformed the way the agency workS
Starmark is divided into two independent, multidisciplinary teams, called workstreams. Each of these workstreams is made up of a variety of experts – from front-end and back-end developers to art directors to copywriters – to serve the needs of a specific group of clients. It’s an obliteration of the department silos that are typical of a waterfall approach.
Clients benefit because they have open communication and contact with the experts doing the work throughout the process. As part of the article, The Wall Street Journal interviewed Starmark client, Brandon Hensler, from NSU about his experience with Starmark and Agile Methodology.
"Meetings at Starmark can be brutally honest. But that results in something better than our initial ideas – because Starmark has a whole team from different disciplines working with us."
Brandon Hensler, Executive Director, Public Relations and Marketing Communications at NSU
Instead of projects moving from a group of project management generalists to a creative department and on to production, all the while accumulating scope creep and rework, every project is now roadmapped by all the experts needed to ensure success – and then those experts walk through the plan with the client. Now work gets reviewed with clients during every two-week sprint, so the black-box mystique of the agency fades away, in favor of a more transparent, more experimental, more aligned approach that makes big, ambitious projects go much more smoothly.
Daily check-ins replace endless daily meetings
One of the most important aspects of Agile for advertising and marketing agencies is to start every day with a high-value team check-in meeting, says Jack Skeels, owner of Agency Agile, the company that consulted with Starmark throughout their transition. During the check-in, the team members share relevant accomplishments, schedule time to collaborate or review work in progress, discuss blockers and make a shared plan for the coming day. It’s one 15-minute meeting that eliminates the need for constant status update interruptions, stop-bys and chats about when to expect work or schedule a review.
“When a team meeting is done right, there are few things more inclusive and soothing."
Jack Skeels, Owner, AgencyAgile
It’s called the most important meeting of the day for a reason. With a set of shared commitments, the team is free to follow its plan for the day, working individually and in groups to accomplish the work they set out to do. This is called flow time, and at Starmark it runs from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This leaves time in the morning to align and time in the afternoon for updates. The majority of the day is unimpeded time designed to be free of unexpected interruptions. For clients, this means a greater focus on their work, more frequent work reviews and better visibility into how each story within the project is progressing.
Continuous improvement is part of the Agile package
Four years in, Starmark is still improving its approach with a retro at the end of every two-week sprint. It’s a time to share announcements, celebrate the work accomplished and an open forum for every member of the company to discuss ways to work better together in the future. This week’s Wall Street Journal article is sure to be a topic of conversation.
"Obviously, we’re incredibly excited to be featured in The Wall Street Journal. More than that, though, we’re using this as a reminder for ourselves and our clients to celebrate making this shift. Yes, we’re asking something of each and every client to come on this journey with us, but the results are better work and better working relationships. That’s what we’re celebrating today, most of all."
Jacqui Hartnett, President, Starmark
Read the article at The Wall Street Journal.
This content is republished from Starmark.com.
On Thursday night, a group of about 30 advertising and marketing professionals got together for the latest event in AAF's ongoing series, Change the Narrative. The event was hosted by New York-based diversity and inclusion advocates Reema Mitra and Bennett D. Bennett with the theme of equipping young people to exercise their voices and their influence to build an industry that better represents the public it serves.
Good advertising is an exercise in empathy
At its most fundamental, marketing is an exercise in empathy – a company and a customer finding common ground through a problem, a product, a service or a cause.
So, what happens to good advertising and marketing when the industry loses touch? That's the question at the heart of AAF of Greater Fort Lauderdale and the Palm Beaches Change the Narrative event series.
The first event in the series, held in August 2018, focused on learning about – and from – six of the many female agency owners and leads in the South Florida area. As a region, we're fortunate to buck the trend of male-dominated agency culture that has inspired movements like #MeToo and the 3% Conference.
Thursday's intimate, Q&A-heavy event focused on helping young people, inarguably the backbone of marketing departments and advertising agencies everywhere, to understand the role they have in shaping our industry's more inclusive future.
What we learned
Helping yourself is an important part of helping others. As a person of color, LGBTQ+ individual or member of another under-represented group, it can feel like it's your burden to speak for and advocate for whole groups – often because you're the only one at the table. During the Q&A, both Bennett and Reema shared their experiences as accidental advocates in these situations, as well as their advice to not forget about your own career in the process. After all, creating more diverse board room tables requires those who are already there to stay there.
Savings are your escape hatch from a toxic environment. Have a financial safety net before you find yourself trapped in a toxic environment. Some places are beyond your ability to save. Some aren't worth saving. But you are. Having a rainy-day fuck-off fund provides both comfort and the ability to exit a bad situation while you calculate the next good move, rather than leaping into a new job without really looking.
Broward and Palm Beach counties have a lot going for them. The cultural diversity, LGBTQ+ friendliness and immigrant communities in both counties are advantages we often take for granted. Because we are so diverse, the real challenge comes down to finding ways to recruit and co-create with broader communities.
You have more power than you think. The most resounding note of the night was the recurring theme of not underestimating your power and influence. Oftentimes, it can feel lonely to be part of an underrepresented group. But being one of a few doesn't mean your voice matters less. Bringing a unique point of view is an asset at almost any company.
About the speakers
A firm believer that digital transformation creates business impact, Reema Mitra is passionate about using digital to make brands culturally relevant and change the way people interact with them. Outside of the office, Reema spends her time mentoring women from diverse backgrounds and advocates for positive changes in the advertising industry. She is most passionate about changing the ratio through giving women she hires and mentors the support to confidently become strong voices in the industry.
Bennett D. Bennett is a writer and futurist born, raised, and still based in NYC. Most recently, he was the US staff writer for global marketing trade The Drum, covering agencies, the media landscape, and special topics in creativity and innovation. Prior, he spent over three years at BBDO New York as a copywriter, working on roster of brands including FedEx, CVS Health, Bacardi, Visa and AT&T. Since his time as a MAIP Fellow in 2013, he’s been listed as one of the 4As 100 People Who Make Advertising Great, an ADWEEK Young Influential, and honored as a 2017 MAIPer to Watch. He’s also sat on advisory boards with the AAF, 4As and ADCOLOR and spoken at and moderated panels at Advertising Week and the 3% Conference.
We want your suggestions for speakers and topics for our next Change the Narrative event. Please send all recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're interested in getting involved in the diversity and inclusion activities of AAF, please contact the email address above.
Written by Jacob Edenfield
The barriers to entry for augmented reality and mixed reality are lower than they’ve ever been. To avoid getting scooped by your competitors, now’s the time to take these technologies seriously and start investigating how you can incorporate them into your content and marketing approach.
Let’s use a food metaphor. Everyone loves a good food metaphor.Augmented Reality (AR) is a digital layer that augments reality by laying on top of it. Think of it like the icing on top of a cake. The icing augments the cake by being on top of it. AR apps for your iPhone or iPad are good illustrations of this. Check out this delicious one called ARport that we produced recently.
Mixed Reality (MR) is digital material that can be mixed in and interact with physical objects in reality. Think of MR as icing in a multi-layer cake. You can find delicious icing surprises throughout the cake. And those icing layers stay stationary within the cake. They “know” that they’re sandwiched between layers of cake and that they should remain flat and in place. If a baker puts two layers of icing within the cake and walks away, those layers of icing remain there even if the baker walks away. MR is best embodied by the Microsoft Hololens, where digital objects can be placed within physical reality in a way that’s context aware. It can make a tiny dancer spin on top of a table because it understands that a table is a solid object.
Spatial Computing (SC) is digital material that can interact with and appear to modify physical reality in complex ways. Think of Spatial Computing (like what Magic Leap One offers) like you’re a baker whose cake picked up a slicing knife off the stainless steel prep table and is now battling its evil twin to the death.
With spatial computing, an immersive, character-driven experience is possible within your physical environment. The cakes understand that they are on a table top. They understand that they are made of sponge material and icing. They can interact with other digital objects as well as physical objects in a way that seems sensible and physical.
Enough about cake. What do I do with these realities?AR is widely available through iOS and Android devices, so if you’re looking to put an enhanced experience in the hands of millions of people, then an augmented experience is a way to have your cake and eat it too. (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.)
Now, if you want to create a richer, more customized experience in an expo, trade show or event environment, now you’re able to take advantage of the more complex MR or spatial computing possibilities that require specialized hardware devices. Because of the hardware requirements, these realities aren’t as ubiquitous as AR. But they pack a big punch because they are novel. If you’re looking to make an impact and be remembered, MR and spatial computing are great options that deliver above and beyond VR or 360 video.
Get cookingAs we mentioned at the top of the article, the time is right to jump into AR, MR and SC before someone else in your market beats you to it. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our article on How to sell your first AR, VR or MR project to your boss and get promoted.
Augmented reality and virtual reality have been around for years. And new hardware advances have also brought new technologies like spatial computing, mixed reality and 360 video into the fold, as well. If some of those terms are new to you, check out our infographic: Which reality is right for you?
The quality of your reviews is one of the most significant factors determining the placement of your listing on Amazon. Products with excellent reviews receive higher prioritization with Amazon’s A9 algorithm, and those with poor feedback get pushed to the bottom. Ensuring you have chosen a stellar product while providing exceptional customer service are two factors that are crucial to your success and will protect your brand reputation on Amazon.
Like the foam off a freshly tapped keg, craft beer was exploding in Greater Fort Lauderdale, with nano-breweries, micro-breweries and taprooms popping up all over. The challenge for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau was that visitors – and even many locals – had no clue.
While you would expect more campaigns around awareness for diversity and inclusion this time of year – with February being Black History Month and March being Women's History Month – the prevalence of campaigns point to a larger movement.
But how brands and their agencies have taken action differs: Some are direct, while others are more subtle. Let's look at some of the latest D&I campaigns.
In January, Coca-Cola’s A Coke is a Coke, created with Wieden+Kennedy Portland, was launched. Later, at the Oscars, Nike, with another from Widen+Kennedy Portland, gave us a women’s empowerment ad voiced by Serena Williams and encouraged women to “Dream Crazier.”
Just recently, Visit Columbus teamed with BVK and announced a campaign focused on LGBTQ travelers to attract that more of that demographic to its city. Read more
On October 4, 2018, Starmark celebrated another record-setting year with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (GFLCVB) at the destination’s annual industry luncheon. Starmark and Finn Partners assisted GFLCVB’s President & CEO Stacy Ritter in unveiling the destination’s 2019 Marketing Plan at the Broward County Convention Center. Tourism industry professionals, local government officials and Broward County council members were among the 600 guests in attendance. Read more
When I read about the heavy fines for noncompliance that the European Union’s newly revised General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) could levy on any company anywhere in the world, I was at first distressed. Then, I thought: “Perfect. Fear of noncompliance is the exact reaction intended.” That thought was followed by: “The European Union may have just done the world a big favor.” And then: “Not only individuals, but businesses, can benefit from the protection of data privacy.”
Have you ever heard founders and entrepreneurs describe their startups as their “babies?”
I totally get it. They work day and night to nurture their big ideas. Everything else falls by the wayside so they can give their fullest attention to their startups.
These are the ventures of their lifetime. They want nothing more than for their companies to succeed. Or, even become a legend… a unicorn.
They go through the emotional rollercoaster. They endure the pain, the hard work, and the 24/7 grind. Many compare starting a new company to giving birth — which for some part is true.
However, thinking about your startup as a baby could derail your progress.
The Greater Fort Lauderdale Advertising Federation was established in 1957 as a local arm of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) to serve the interests of all disciplines and career levels in advertising. Now in 2016, we have joined forces with the advertising federation of the palm beaches to form AAF Greater Fort Lauderdale & The Palm Beaches. Whether you're new to the fast-paced world of advertising or a seasoned professional, AAF Greater Fort Lauderdale & the palm beaches is for you. We're here to help you advance your career, build your connections and celebrate this ever-changing, amazing industry we work in.