By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

Buying Local is better for the environmentHere comes my yearly reminder before Black Friday hits next week. Where you decide to shop this holiday season has a major impact on both our local economy and the environment.

Many studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned business, most of the money is then used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms.

By buying local, you are strengthening the economic base of our whole community. Enriching your neighbors, by supporting their endeavors fosters the great community we have here in Kansas City.

Buying from a small local manufacturer or maker is also good for the planet. Less transportation, shipping boxes and plastic, habitat loss and pollution.

Our maker community in Kansas City is so unique.

Buying Local

There are SO many cool one-of-a-kind businesses that are an integral part of our community compared to a chain store that looks the same anywhere else. And local businesses hire people that know the products they are selling and take more time to get to know their customers. For example, this series of holiday maker’s markets being hosted at the Roasterie on December 7th, 14th and 21st.

So many of our local businesses also donate more per sales dollar to local non-profits, events and teams compared to any of the national chains.

Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally, and provide the most jobs to our community.

And most important, local businesses mean a stronger tax base and better use of public services compared to the national chains. This means better public services like schools, transportation and emergency services for you and your family.

As a small business owner that works with many small business owners, I feel passionately that small businesses are vital to the success of a community. So when making your purchasing decisions for the holidays, please consider giving your business to local businesses in Kansas City when possible!

By Michele Stilwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD.

Attention Span is Gone

For a long time, we’ve been told that our attention spans are diminishing. There is so much information, so many devices and channels vying for our attention, that we can’t possibly focus on one thing for very long. Combine that with the economic pressures, financial expectations, and the race to keep up in the digital world, and you get something called short-termism.


Short-TermismShort-termism is fueled by your fixation on metrics, and concentration on quick wins to move the needle. It suggests an immediate, attention-grabbing impact over strategically driven, brand-building initiatives that have a higher long-term ROI. Shorterm-ism is Myopic.

By moving the needle – whether in sales, marketing or social media analytics, the pressure to demonstrate an uptick in growth is relentless. While you may signal towards growth in the short-term, this strategy erodes the underlying brand equity and robs you of a chance at something sustainable.

Build The Brand

If long-term brand building is much more conducive to growth, why do so many people fall in the trap of short-termism? Because brand building is difficult.

We truly demand everything from brands. Consider this quote from Barbara E. Kahn’s book Global Brand Power:

“A brand must be elastic enough to allow for reasonable category and product-line extensions, flexible enough to change with dynamic market conditions, consistent enough so that consumers who travel physically or virtually won’t be confused, and focused enough to provide clear differentiation from the competition. Strong brands are more than globally recognizable; they are critical assets that can make a significant contribution to your company’s bottom line.”

That’s a huge order, but it’s a necessary one if you truly want to grow and focus on long-term brand building.

Angela Richards, KFC’s Group Marketing Director, discussed the importance of creating a lasting emotional connections, even when the immediate goal might be a shot-term tactial one.

“We have a really big innovation funnel and a really strong retail calendar, but for us more recently, that functional retail calendar has morphed so the brand directs the retail calendar – and the brand’s job is to create that emotional connection,” she said.  “It’s okay now to say we are less reliant on new product development to drive those sales, because that emotional connnection of the brand leading the retail calendar is driving core sales and core growth.”

Whether it’s a rush to keep pace with the digital era, the lure of immediate ROI or the importance of brand building, many companies are sacrificing long-term marketing strategy for quick wins.

A balance in today’s world is essential if you want to grow your business.

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

I can’t even begin to count the number of prospective clients and strangers that ask me if I am veggiebellie‘s mom.

veggiebellie on Instagram

My daughter, Amy McDaniel has 5,580 followers on Instagram. In a very loving way, I’m frequently portrayed as the wacky human that doesn’t understand technology or how to properly operate my iPhone. She also documented my cancer journey and most recently my wedding.

If you follow her, you probably know that my husband is now featured in the fun (or being made fun of). Last Friday, there were many funny clips of us playing Trivial Pursuit… and Rieger Whiskey was involved.

Recently, I was pitching a large account when one of the attendees raised her hand and asked if I was veggiebellie’s Mom. At the Kemper Museum Gala I had no less than four people approach me and ask the same question. And this morning, at one of The Enterprise University Classes with Willoughby, I was approached while getting a cup of coffee. We both laughed and I said, “Yes. I’m the infamous Mom of Amy.”

The Power of Human Connection

I’m using this example to show the power and reach of social media through human connection.

Most brands need to get personal and funny to keep their clients engaged. No one wants to see an infomercial on what your company does.

Wendy’s is a perfect example – the secret to their social media success is confidence and culture. Their playful approach allows them to make their points in a likeable way, like trolling McDonald’s on National Frozen Food Day with tweets poking fun that their beef is frozen. More than three million people follow the brand for their saucy tweets and good natured burns.

Izzy head shotIt’s Not About Selling Product

Social media should not be about selling your product, it should be about people getting to know your brand and your core values.

A good brand should live in the hearts and minds of the people who you’re trying to engage.

At MEDiAHEAD, we show people our brand and core values through the stories we tell. Whether it’s another blog written by our mascot Izzy, or a story about our unique and fun referral gifts… giving people a window into our company and culture is important.

Are you sharing your stories?