Today is Radio Commercials Day, and while some may consider radio ads to be annoyances, they have been part of the entertainment industry for nearly a century. According to Daysoftheyear.com, "Radio Commercials Day commemorates the day when the first radio commercial was broadcast on New York radio station WEAF on August 28, 1922. The commercial promoted an American real estate agent, Queensboro Realty." Fast forward 100 years, and advertising and marketing continue to touch - and impact - our lives.
To quote Matthew Kobach (@mkobach), "Twitter is a key that unlocks thousands of doors, some of which you never even knew existed." As a member of the Twitterverse for almost 13 years, I always enjoy meeting new people and learning from them. I recently connected with Andrea TheoJohn and invited her to appear here on my Blog in a Q&A format. Highlights of our conversation follow a brief introduction.
Andrea TheoJohn, MBA is a marketing and branding professional with 15 years of global and corporate experience. She's managed over 70 brand professionals in 17 different countries, handled the branding and communications efforts for 160M Euro M&A ventures and now brings that savoire faire to her small and medium-sized business clients with The ADS Agency. Her firm helps brands figure out how to move through this world.
QUESTION: What first attracted you to marketing and branding?
ANDREA THEOJOHN: I was in grad school, believe it or not, when I was first ever formally introduced to the disciplines. Before then, no one in my life (that I knew of) was in this space. It was like the proverbial wool being lifted from my eyes, and all of a sudden, the world looked completely new! Everything I looked at, I started to view as being touched by a marketer. This laptop I’m typing on, the lamp on my desk, the phone by my hand. Nearly every single thing in our lives was touched by a marketer. It was amazing to consider! And I have been hooked ever since.
QUESTION: What brands do you think are doing a good job with their advertising and marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis?
ANDREA THEOJOHN: When Burger King made a pitch for people to order from McDonald's in response to the restaurant industry's taking a huge hit with staff during the pandemic – I thought that was positively brilliant. That was real empathy and a moment where industry became bigger than the competition.
And of course, there was Dove's “Courage is beautiful” mask campaigns – a salute to the daily N95 wearers in the medical industry and how their faces garnered the lasting imprint of the mask but also how their hearts also bore the imprint of the daily struggle, attempting to champion and beat back the virus on the front lines. I think that one was widely applauded.
Even more interesting and more relevant now than the pandemic are the Ukraine-focused ads. I was thoroughly impressed by St. Jude’s Ukraine ad about being there for Ukrainian children with cancer. Just AB-solutely heart-wrenching, real-time ad work that was masterfully done with massive empathy interwoven. Truly brilliant.
QUESTION: During a recent TweetChat hosted by Nathalie Gregg (@NathalieGregg on Twitter), you wrote, "One takeaway for me tonight: I think of how YOU (your brand) could change someone's life. Even if in a seemingly small way. Sometimes what's small to us is so BIG to others. It will come back to you in real/intangible/tangible ways. And it just feels so good. #LeadLoudly." What's your favorite part of Twitter?
ANDREA THEOJOHN: My favorite part of Twitter is the ability to connect with people known and unknown through these chats (both regular Twitter Chats and now TwitterSpaces – Twitter’s answer to Clubhouse). It’s just a unique way to connect.
With Twitter, you don’t necessarily have to answer right away, but with something like a Twitter Chat, it’s cool when you do because that part’s meant to be real-time. So as with any other platform, you can choose to engage when you like, Twitter just does it in a way that can be segmented based on your interests. Choose the chat you want to be involved in – show up every week, or as your schedule allows. You’ll get to know people who also show up on a regular basis and it’s just another way to breed familiarity, establish thought leadership and also just make good friends in your industry and elsewhere.
QUESTION: What's your favorite brand, and what makes it stand out?
ANDREA THEOJOHN: I don’t really have a favorite of anything – it’s too hard to choose – but if forced to pick, in this moment I choose two (lol). Kendra Scott Texas-bred jewelry and Spanx. Two women-led stories of powerful female entrepreneurs that I personally connect with.
I’d heard of Spanx before, of course, but I never cared about them until I heard Sara Blakeley’s story – her unwavering belief that a chick who used to basically sell the equivalent of Xerox machines went from an idea inspired by hosiery to a billion dollar business after years of trying to get people to believe and believe in it, creating point of sale display areas for it in department stores when she probably didn’t have the permission to and manufacturer after manufacturer (men) telling her it couldn’t be done. I was impressed with her Red Backpack program for female entrepreneurs she created – even though I never could figure out when the applications would ever open for that thing again, but it was still awesome. The other day at a conference I saw a red backpack on the floor and I felt like a kid who just realized Santa must be real.
And Kendra Scott randomly started making jewelry for fun, just because as a kid, her fashionable aunt had fun jewelry she liked to break apart and try to put back together just to see how it was made. Kendra peddled her jewelry from boutique to boutique, failed at retail before that trying to sell hats, then turned around and opened retail stores during the downturn of the ’08 era, successfully pitched her business all by herself to brands like Nordstrom and made all of that into a successful nationwide and beyond business. The retail shops invite you to come in, try things on, look, touch – all things you don’t normally get to do with higher-end jewelry brands – and you can even sit there and drink champagne while a jeweler customizes a piece of jewelry for you. That’s swimming RIGHT when everyone else is swimming LEFT.
Not only do these two ladies have successful, stand-out brands with gorgeous, clean, approachable imagery (Kendra) and fun, tongue-in-cheek swankiness (Sara), but they both have made their own unique impact in the world. For me, those are two awesome personal brands that have spawned amazing business brands along the way.
QUESTION: What is your favorite marketing quote, and why?
ANDREA THEOJOHN: Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Your actions speak so loudly I cannot hear what you say.” In my world, marketing is what you SAY. Branding is what you DO. Marketing is just one part of the bigger picture of branding, which ultimately is our reputation and the way we’re perceived at the end of the day. More than all of marketing can accomplish, nothing is more powerful (for better or for worse) than your actions. It is what people remember. It is ultimately who you are as a brand. And branding is affected by a number of areas: operations, sales, finance, HR, supply chain, and more. It’s the total package. It’s every touch point and the way it culminates into an overall view of you as a company (or personal brand). I have very few favorite things, but this one is my absolute fave marketing quote. Because it puts marketing itself into perspective.
TWEET THIS: Marketing is what you SAY. Branding is what you DO. ~@AndreaTheoJohn #BrandExperience #DebbieLaskeysBlog
My thanks to Andrea for sharing her marketing insights and for appearing here on my Blog.
Check out some of my fave branding quotes:
Visit Andrea's links:
The ADS Agency: www.theADSagency.co
Twitter: @AndreaTheoJohn and @theadsagency
Image Credit: Happydays365.org.