Brand Identity CaseThe Supreme Court is considering a case about poop jokes: Jack Daniel’s vs VIP Products. The case is about whether VIP Products infringed upon the whiskey maker’s trademarked bottle shape and label when it sold a toy named “Bad Spaniels”. There is copy on the bottle about a dog dropping “the old No.2 on your Tennessee carpet.”

Sounds like a pretty silly case already!

“Jack Daniel’s loves dogs and appreciates a good joke as much as anyone. But Jack Daniel’s likes its customers even more and doesn’t want them confused or associating its fine whiskey with dog poop.”

The real question is how to balance the needs of the marketplace with the demands of free speech. Trademark law in our industry, which gives companies an exclusive right to use the imagery associated with their brand to market their products, necessarily limits free speech.

Federal trademark law sometimes permits companies to sell products that parody a famous trademark – you would think that this is the case here. Most consumers are smart enough to tell the difference between an authentic product and a joke seeking to mock or ridicule that product.

There was also a previous case Louis Vuitton v. Haute Diggity Dog, which involved dog toys make to look like handbags. But they didn’t associate their product with feces.

It will be interesting to see what happens, but it is unlikely that a judge will come up with a better way of protecting both companies’ interests. I certainly wouldn’t want a parody of MEDiAHEAD going around!

You can learn more about the case here.

Most employees decide within 10 days whether they’ll stay, and 33% of new employees quit within their first six months.

What are you doing to make your new employees feel welcome?

New Team Member AppreciationWe recently completed a project for a large company here in Kansas City. They wanted to congratulate their new hires who were graduating from college and make them feel excited prior to their first day at work.

We mailed kits in a branded box with their new business cards, personalized notepads, a customized pen and a yeti water bottle. There was also a customized Happy Graduation card personalized with their name and department signatures.

We’ve done welcome kits with candles, baby succulents (so cute), company t-shirts and gear. This is also something that can be added to one of our marketing portals, so HR or the department head can execute in minutes.

Communication is so important!

Communication helps ensure that new team members feel excited about starting their new career with your company.

New Team Member AppreciationYou should have the new hire paperwork completed prior to their first day. Be considerate and send important information for them to review in advance. Reading the company handbook, knowing their benefits and having information on their other team members is important. Even now more than ever, because so many of us are working from home and our only interaction is through Zoom.

You could even send out an email with their picture and a short bio to team members, so they can be welcomed with a smile during Zoom meetings. And you could ask the new employee to help you with their bio by including some fun, personal facts about them.

Retention is the new acquisition.

Make sure new employees know how much you appreciate them joining your company. And if you need any help, you know where to find us. 🙂

New Team Member Appreciation

Kathryn McDanielBy Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD

We do a lot of client gifting around here, but since the start of COVID we’ve witnessed a shift towards gifts being sent to employees. It’s a welcome change and really warms our hearts! We get so much feedback about how much they’ve enjoyed the packages. It makes employees happy that their employer showed them gratitude for hanging in there and rolling with the punches amidst all of the uncertainty these days.

The act of putting together these packages got me thinking about why sending thoughtful correspondence like this matters, and why care packages are a useful relationship maintenance tool.

All relationships require maintenance.

BBQ Utensils and moreThis is especially important for long-distance relationships and while we’re working remotely. Care packages can help maintain a relationship over long distances and start new ones for employees that are being onboarded during the pandemic. Research has shown the importance of maintaining relationships for our health and happiness, especially when we’re all feeling so isolated. Relationships that are well maintained are more satisfying – the people in them report higher commitment and like each other more.

Relationship maintenance takes many forms, including open communication and assurances or telling an employee that you care about them. The act of sending a package communicates not only caring, but that you were thinking of them and took time out of your busy life to send them something meaningful. Sending letters containing words of encouragement can communicate emotional support. Sending money or gift cards for restaurants your employee enjoys or stores you know your employee needs to buy things from is a form of tangible support. If you include a handwritten letter or card, sharing this way is engaging in open communication which can help you feel closer to those who are working remotely and can help build and deepen a relationship.

An Example from a Bank

The "staying grounded" care package.One large bank based in Kansas City sent out 2,200 packages to show “Our Heartfelt Appreciation.” They included a locally made personalized face mask to let their employees know “We’ve got you covered,” popcorn so they could “enjoy a virtual pop and popcorn with your team,” and a branded mug with The Roasterie coffee and tea to say “Thank you for staying grounded in our shared commitment to our core values.” I think it was so thoughtful that they also chose all local vendors to execute this project!

Funny story… I got a call last week from a woman who demanded to know why MEDiAHEAD had sent her a box – she was really angry because she hadn’t ordered anything from us! I asked her if she was employed by this particular bank. When she said yes, I told her it was a good thing – her bosses had sent her a lovely “care” package.

The Element of Surprise

Smart Cookie care package.One of the reasons care packages are so satisfying is that they contain an element of surprise at both receiving the package and uncovering what is inside. Surprise for many is a key component of joy. Care packages also require planning and thoughtfulness. Sending one lets someone know you are thinking of them. I LOVE getting a surprise in the mail!

We recently worked with Sheri at Smart Cookies on a project for veterinarians – she baked 3,000 chocolate chip cookies for us in one week. I have to admit that we ate quite a few extras while we were packing, they were irresistible! ( is another great local vendor). The client wanted to convey “during these tough times, we wanted to reach out and say thank you for all you do for the patients in your care. Enjoy these treats, and know we’re always thinking about you.”

Not Just for Business

Personally, we can also cheer up a friend when they’re down or give them an ego-boost during these trying times. Supportive words like these can be included in a card inside of a care package that you curate for them. Send a friend a coffee shop gift card when you know they need the extra energy boost – care packages are tools for expressing nonverbal affection to complement verbal support you’ve given over the phone or video chat.

My absolute favorite care package last week included home deliveries.

Everyone loves donuts.We just finished a portal for a client and their CMO asked if I would frame the cover of their latest magazine for her team members and deliver it with cards she mailed to me, and coffee and donuts. We had worked on their portal remotely all through the pandemic – they wanted to surprise their sales team at their annual meeting a few weeks ago. It was so fun to see all the team members in person after all those emails and zooms.

While most people are thankful to be employed during a time when so many are out of work, they’re still facing their own unique challenges while working from home; juggling work deadlines, household responsibilities, and even having to attempt to simultaneously home school their children.

Employers know this is stressful and should show their support for how hard their teams are working.

Do you ever receive or send care packages? If yes, have they improved your relationship with the sender/receiver?
Leave a comment below and let me know!

By Michele Stillwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD

Have you ever been looking for that one file and it took you forever to find it? I recently experienced this problem. Picture this: You get art files from someone and rename them. Then you save the files somewhere… A month or two goes by, and guess what? You need that file again.

Searching and searching, you forgot the name of the file. And you forgot where you saved the file. After looking for an hour or so… you finally find it! Whew.

It’s especially frustrating now working from home. Using a remote connection to your company files can be frustrating in itself, let alone trying to find a file.

This is where a marketing collateral asset management tool comes to the rescue.

MEDiAHEAD: Marketing and Distribution PortalsWith an asset management tool, all your collateral is online in a central repository. You can log into your portal site and see your collateral in real-time. Even better, you have the ability to customize the collateral, edit content and download. All at your fingertips.

You can upload anything to the asset management tool: documents, videos, graphics, working files, photo libraries and even physical merchandise. You have the control; it makes finding things super easy.

With a collateral asset management tool, you can:

  • Upload documents quickly and easily
  • Manage version control
  • Archive files that are out of date
  • Allow individual users to edit & customize content while still controlling your branded elements
  • Easily search and find any documents or file by campaign, product targeted audience or any other attribute you choose
  • Order materials digitally or to be printed on-demand and shipped globally
  • Control security access each user receives – what they can view, edit and order, and payment options as well
  • Choose your payment options – including credit card payment, point programs, internal cost center allocations or purchase orders

Brand Control

One thing I learned when working for a large corporation is that brand control is extremely important. When you have an asset management tool, you have control of the continuity of your brand.

There are several other reasons to have such a tool for your sales and marketing team. One stop shopping for your team for client handouts, client gifts and more.

  • You can store your trade show booth and giveaways on your management tool, manage orders for multiple shows in your portal, print customized collateral on-demand for that specific show and ship directly to the location… all from your own desk.
  • Provide turn-key campaigns to channel partners, allowing them to co-brand materials, upload prospect lists and execute marketing or print campaigns all from your asset management tool.
  • Allow your Sales team to easily search and download marketing assets for prospects, and order materials to be shipped out to the field or directly to the client.

Michele StillwellThink about all the time you can save with the organization and efficiency you get in an online marketing portal! Give me a call. I will walk you through one of our portals and show you where you can save time and stay on brand.

For more information, check us out at








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?

By Michele Stilwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD

Window Clings Definition: Window cling decals are a popular material used for graphic displays. Window cling is made from a thin vinyl film that clings to various surfaces. Typically, they are displayed on glass windows and doors. However, they can also be displayed on smooth plastic or metal.

Have you ever wondered or wanted to print some cool window clings? Well, they’ve come a long way since the clings that the minute the sun hit it, it would peel or curl or worse… simply fall off. You can print all kinds of window clings now. Some can cling on the inside surfaces of your building, and some are super resilient to weather and can adhere to the outside of a window. Yes, they can survive outside in the storms, heat, snow and wind.

The other great part of using a window cling is you can reuse it, because it does not have any adhesive glue. It is just a cling.

The particular window clings in the picture below were printed on a dusted vinyl material that allows for some light to come through, but still offers some privacy.    This gives you a kind of etched or frosted glass look. You can do lettering and special shapes or full panels.

Window Cling Sample 1 Window Cling Sample 2

MEDiAHEAD would love to help you print your next window clings!

Soon you will see a display of window clings on all of our windows at 3525 Roanoke, Kansas City, MO 64111.

So stop by and chat with us… or contact us through our website.

Kat 600x450Post written by Kat McDaniel, Chief Innovator at MEDiAHEAD | Marketing Portal Guru | Variable Data Promoter | Analytics Advocate | Explorer

We are seeing 1:1 printing or “print personalization” more and more places these days.

Direct mail.

Follow-up marketing collateral.

Information kits.

What’s the real deal with these applications? Do they really live up to the hype? Or is personalization just a gimmick to get marketers to buy more print?

Consider the way you’re being marketed to:

When you shop online, cookies follow your every move so that page views can be customized to your preferences and purchase patterns.

At the grocery store, your receipt is printed with coupons based on the items you put into your bag.

When you receive mail from your investment broker, it contains information only on those funds you have invested in or that are relevant to you.

Personalization has become so ingrained in our consumer experience that we barely realize it anymore.

printingIt’s not a gimmick. It’s what customers expect.

What about cost? Isn’t personalization a high-cost luxury?

On the contrary, when handled properly, the opposite is true.

1:1 printing optimizes your marketing investment by not mailing irrelevant information to the wrong people. It makes every record count.

Properly tracked, 1:1 printing provides provable ROI, so you can compare its value against other marketing methods and justify your spending based on real numbers.

By focusing on specific customer segments and generating higher response rates and per-order values from those customers, you can spend less on print and bring in more revenue.

More relevant communications (newsletters, bills and other correspondence) increase customer retention and provide a benefit difficult to quantify yet with real bottom-line benefits.

From this perspective, 1:1 printing seems less like a luxury and more like a business necessity!

Kat 600x450Post written by Kat McDaniel, Chief Innovator at MEDiAHEAD | Marketing Portal Guru | Variable Data Promoter | Analytics Advocate | Explorer

Quick! Name a soft drink.

Chances are you thought of Coke or Pepsi. These beverage giants have spent millions in advertising. Why?

Because they have a goal of being top of mind among consumers from age five to ninety-five. And they’ve been very successful at doing it.

Top-of-mind-awareness (or TOMA) is a traditional measure of marketing effectiveness. It strongly correlates to brand preference, which correlates to increased market share.

Here are five ways to achieve “top of mind” awareness in your product marketplace:

1. Find your unique selling proposition.
Consider what makes your company special. Is it market niche? Exceptional service? Highly targeted products and services? Clearly articulate this to your prospects. Make this value proposition simple and easy to remember.

2. Be proactive.
While a one-time advertising blitz can get your message out quickly to a large number of prospects, TOMA requires a drip marketing approach — a consistent delivery of messaging over time. Keep it coming.

top of mind3. Use consistent branding.
Everything from your customer literature to your e-newsletters should have consistent messaging and similar look and feel. One brand, one message.

4. Use multiple touches and multiple channels.
Stay in front of your audience using multiple channels over time. Awareness is based on repetition.

5. Be useful.
Frequency doesn’t have to mean being annoying. You want your customers to perceive you as a provider of useful information rather than an intrusive pest. Communicate frequently, but give your audience genuine value each time.

Never before have consumers had so many choices. TOMA should be a top goal of your marketing efforts.

It will help customers notice you in a noisy marketplace, all while increasing customer retention and response rates.

MEDiAHEAD: Hire a Content Expert for your BrandLet’s face it. In the world of marketing, quality matters. There is nothing that will tarnish or hurt your brand worse than being sloppy and careless with your content marketing strategy and execution. Have you ever visited assembly lines or production plants? All of these shops and products ultimately head to one place: final testing and quality control. Shouldn’t your content marketing endure a similar process?

Content marketing checks and balances are often shrugged off. Yet, other industries have a system to ensure that the quality of their product will be the absolute best in a competitive market. There isn’t a single car manufacturer that installs brake panels and sends them off to the dealership hoping they work. Your content should be treated with the same quality assurance and attention before it reaches your readers.

In a rapid-fire Internet age where a story breaks and media companies are constantly cranking out new content to gain likes and clicks, there’s still a considerable amount of content being generated, and with a plethora of embarrassing typos and grammatical mistakes. Though we are mainly referring to those simple articles about celebrity break-ups, we’ve also noted an uptick of print and digital ad mistakes that have been approved by several pairs of eyes, and are still slapped on the side of I35 with a typo regardless. Not only does this cost the company precious dollars in damage control and having to re-do these campaigns, it also costs the company their reputation, which is the ultimate price to pay and often difficult to rebuild once it’s dismembered.

PLEASE, PLEASE Don’t Rely on Spell Check

MEDiAHEAD: Chick-fil-a Billboard

Spell check will fix everything, right? Not exactly – particularly in those instances where the word itself is spelled right but it’s not used correctly. Consumers have seen this time and time again with the misuse of “their” and “they’re” or “your” and “you’re” in ad copy. (Our biggest pet peeve!) Though these types of mistakes are frustrating, more severe cases of misuse show a clear disregard for attention to detail. In turn, your consumers may begin to wonder if your negligence is reflected in the quality of your products. Does your merchandise also miss the mark? Read and re-read before you hit “print” or “send,” particularly if it’s a nationwide campaign or is going to be worn by somebody, especially a public figure.

Copy and Paste – how about, not

MEDiAHEAD: Make America Grate Again

While copy-pasting may seem like a no-brainer time-saver, it actually causes more errors and leaves more work for you to fix. This is especially true when you’re creating content calendars or working within spreadsheets (or pasting a caption on Instagram). Although it’s tempting to copy-paste work or utilize a template from a previous project, you’re actually increasing the chances of even one slide accidentally making it into the final presentation. Can you imagine presenting a project about architecture only to accidentally find a slide from your previous pitch deck about a cosmetic company? It will look both confusing and sloppy, and certainly won’t gain new business or make your current clients feel confident in your work. Begin fresh with new ideas on blank pages. If you must re-use a pitch deck for formatting, be sure to go through and thoroughly delete any pre-existing copy before you begin writing.

Revisit Your Copy Later

Once you’ve finished a piece of writing, tuck it away for at least ten minutes or more before posting it or sending it on. Of course, it isn’t always feasible to pause projects in the fast-paced industry of digital media and advertising, but if you’re ahead of schedule on your writing, it’s always best to come back and view it once more with a fresh set of eyes before sending it off. Short on time? Step away from the computer, take a beat and go back and fix mistakes that may not have notice beforehand. This is important when one is setting out to write about the country they plan on running. This is also important for everyday use, such as when you’re writing an email to a client or even a friend.

Enlist a Colleague to help out

You may be the most brilliant mind at your company, but you’re still human. You’re going to make mistakes, which is why it’s wonderful to be surrounded by colleagues and friends who’d be happy to take a look at your work. Think about it this way: you’d never send a save-the-date without having someone glance at it first, right? Maybe you send it to your mom or your fiancé or your sister, but somebody else sees that invite before it is sent to your entire address book, correct? Why would your work be any different? This is particularly true when you’re working in an agency. Though marketing managers and account directors are often busy, their goal is the same as your goal: to create the best product for your client. Therefore, if you don’t have a copy editor on staff, it’s necessary to ask them to look over your work and ensure that there are no accidental double words or spelling errors that will take away from the overall message.

Writing is only part of content marketing. Editing and ensuring that your copy is flawless will uphold credibility with your readers. If you’re a writer, don’t rely on your copy editor to salvage any mistakes that you may make. Treat each piece of writing with meticulous care and attention to detail and edit it as though you’re the final set of eyes. If you’re a copy editor, know that you’re integral to the process and have an important task. If you’re a brand considering whether or not you need a copy professional, the answer is always “yes.” In the same way that car manufacturers rarely have a defect, just one minor flaw could potentially wreak havoc on your brand and consumer’s trust. Be sure to have the proper checks and balances in place for your business and your business’s content.

Need help getting your message out? MEDiAHEAD has recently partnered with Woodsmall Marketing Group to offer everything you need to fully communicate and measure the impact of your message over print, online, and other new media outlets. Contact MEDiAHEAD today for more information about creating a memorable, cost-efficient marketing campaign!