Can You See Me Now?

Anyone who is experienced in traveling by air is well aware of the importance of following the status of their airline flight to keeping their schedule and travel plans on track. At best, traveling by air today has become an adventure fraught with delays, cancellations, upgrades, standbys, and just general status changes. Airlines are now utilizing a vast array of new-era communication devices to keep us all informed as to the status of our flights. It is almost as if they think we will be more understanding and patient with all the uncertainty if we have more information we could ever possibly need.

Most major carriers offer tracking websites, mobile apps and 800 numbers for travelers to stay in touch as to the basic schedules and status of flights, some offer online check-in, advanced boarding passes and automatic passenger notifications of changes and delays.

But United Airlines has taken the practice to new heights with their online flight tracking system. Not only can you get schedule information and ticket services, but the UA Flight Status System offers information so comprehensive that it borders on “more than we need to know.”

It is not necessary to have a ticket or be a booked passenger to gain access to all kinds of interesting stuff. Just a flight number, date of departure and an airport and an abundance of details will be laid out before you including; the usual flight time schedule, airport concourse, gate number, model of plane, in-flight amenities, seat map, seat assignments and the, not so usual, upgrade and standby lists, with the first initials and last names of the passengers. And as the flight becomes airborne, you can follow the airplanes in-flight progress in real time via satellite, all the way to its destination. So much for jetting around the country unnoticed.

This pervasive use of the new communication technologies may have a measurable marketing advantage for United over its competitors, but many are beginning to wonder what is an appropriate threshold for offering such detailed real-time information, unprotected and seemingly without user restriction.

How much is too much?

New Blog Look / Exciting Updates Coming

Have you noticed the new look of Strategy. Impact. Results.?
On the heels of a successful 4 years in business, we’ve decided it’s time for a brand refresh. The new design of the blog and our TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn pages is just a sneak peak.  Be sure to subscribe to our blog to receive updates on the upcoming launch of our new website!

Guardian Watch™ Launches Updated Platform Revolutionizing Public Safety Reporting and Response

Junction client Guardian Watch™ announces the launch of version 2.0 of its multi-platform application for public safety, intended to empower citizens during emergencies and create safer communities across America. The launch campaign is centered around Atlanta, GA, a rapidly growing major metropolitan area that the company hopes will serve as a model for the power of its ground-breaking technology.

The innovative application enables users to report and stream live video directly to emergency respondents and public safety organizations, arming them with valuable information that can help prevent crime and save lives during emergencies and disasters. The latest updates include an improved user experience, a new platform for video-streaming technology, and a system for Vicinity-Based Alert Notifications by text, email, or automated phone call.

Guardian Watch™ Founder and CEO Dr. Gordon Jones is confident that citizens equipped with the application will play a more active role in the protection of their community. In fact, early pilot programs have shown overwhelmingly positive results, earning recognition from local governments and industry organizations, including recognition by the National Sheriffs’ Association in the form of the 2012 Neighborhood Watch Excellence Award.

Junction has worked with Guardian Watch™ since March of 2012, managing the brand as well as providing technical project management leading up to the launch of the new online and mobile experiences. Junction has acted as the outsourced marketing and public relations department for Guardian Watch™, leveraging findings from a comprehensive strategy engagement to execute a marketing campaign designed to attract 1 million users locally and nationwide to the platform. Building an extensive network of active subscribers to crowdsource reports and carry the dialogue is critical to the success of Guardian Watch™.

“We believe in Gordon’s vision for Guardian Watch™ and are excited about our continued involvement with the growth of the business,” comments Julie Gareleck, CEO, Junction. “The impact of this revolutionary application and the overall strength of the brand speak highly to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in this project. It is our hope that Guardian Watch™ will become the new standard-bearer of a better future of public safety.”

Learn more about Guardian Watch™, sign up, and download the application at More information about Junction is available online at

Hollywood’s Big Night Bounces Back

Sunday night marked the biggest night in Hollywood, as first time host Seth MacFarlane sang and danced his way through an Academy Awards show that both entertained and put the soaring achievements of the film industry in 2012 on display. In recent years, the show received criticism, experiencing a decline from its former glory and incurring problems with ratings. Producers have scrambled to ‘fix’ the show in any way possible.

Last year’s Oscars used a slew of tactics intended to hook the viewers back in, but despite anticipation of an exciting show and a rejuvenated audience, the results were disappointing.  Ratings were slightly up from a year prior, measured in statistics like “tweets per second,” but the level of engagement simply wasn’t high as expected. This posed a serious problem not just for producers but also for the advertisers hoping to achieve maximum return on advertising dollars.

2013’s nominees included more exciting contenders than last year’s roster, which was criticized for lacking any real mainstream or ‘blockbuster’ appeal. In 2012, J.C. Penney took the biggest gamble on the show’s underdog lineup, buying more airtime than any other advertiser to launch a campaign supporting its new business model, which incidentally worked out even more poorly than the Oscars themselves. This year, prices for advertising were on the rise with the expected increase in viewership, and marketers showed renewed enthusiasm, buying up spots early. Samsung, Hyundai, and Apple put in their best performances, and JC Penney even re-entered the fray in an effort to atone for its prior missteps, looking to course-correct with a new strategy, just like the Oscars themselves.

As usual, there was just about an equal amount of buzz dedicated to celebrity fashion displayed on the red carpet before the show. Thankfully, for 2013’s show, the glitz and glamour didn’t stop there. There was plenty of conversation across social media sparked by some memorable moments in the evening, like Best Actress winner Jennifer Lawrence stumbling up to the stage to accept her award or the esteemed Meryl Streep not-so-subtly ‘adjusting’ her dress while walking out to present the award for Best Actor. Whereas the best acts are usually booked for the Grammies a week earlier, the Oscars’ musical performances (and we’re not talking about MacFarlane’s bit pieces) were exceptional, and were met with glowing praise from the media. But most importantly, thanks to the likes of spectacular works such as Lincoln, Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook, and Best Picture winner Argo capturing the hearts and minds of the American public and the Academy, this major industry event was able to take in a much-needed breath of new life.

The Oscars prove time and time again that great opportunities for success, both in terms of the show’s production and for its advertisers, are born only under the right circumstances. We should know the formula by now: better nominees and better content equals much better engagement. When the audience is energized, as it clearly was last night, the year’s biggest awards show offers brands a chance to captivate and capitalize. It’s a little bit of that old Hollywood magic.

A New Era in the Agency/Marketer Relationship

As businesses move forward in the new year, they are facing an environment that is fraught with change, significant economic uncertainty, and a vast array of new technologies in communications and marketing; a continually fragmented marketing economy.  It shouldn’t be surprising that marketers and their agencies are about to experience fundamental changes in their relationship.  Traditional time-tested marketing agency models are under notice that significant change in organizational structure, products and services, and marketers’ expectations are upon them.

To gain insight into what changes are on the horizon, one only needs to ask the marketers (clients) what they will be expecting from their agency in the coming year, a seemingly elementary approach and investigatory tool that has escaped routine practice in many marketer/agency relationships in the recent past. Marketers today are expecting their agency to be a jack-of-all-trades, but also expect them to stay true to their core expertise, conflicting expectations that will require a newly expanded relationship to be built on collaboration between marketer, agency, and industry partners who will provide services outside the scope of the agency. Finding an avenue to facilitate and manage this new approach becomes a critical piece to the “Team” puzzle.

Expectations from the client will continue to center on the quality of relationships that emphasize the team’s understanding of the business and taking pride in the work, fostering proactive leadership and insight, and a steady stream of creative ideas and executions. Marketers will command team stability, increased responsiveness, and consistent, predictable deliverables.

While the death of the traditional agency model has been approaching rapidly for some time, tighter budgets and increased competition have forced alternative business models into in the execution stage. McCann-Erickson’s incoming agency chief executive, Ben Lilley, has slashed middle and senior management roles, saying ”A clear delineation between suits, creative and production, is a very old-hat way of thinking about agencies,” he said. ”Technology has forced our industry to evolve, and obviously that means that agencies need to evolve as well.”

To continue to be successful, agencies will need to become better about listening and learning about their clients’ business. And as the new relationship matures, the model will need to continue to change and adjust to provide an ever-increasing level of value to the client.

Contributions from both sides will be necessary to establish mutual trust. Seek out and offer honest assessments of expectations and performance. Provide real answers and solutions. Encourage flexible approaches to challenges. Most importantly, share a commitment to achieving mutual marketer/agency goals and objectives.

Junction Client Saffire Vapor Achieves Notable Growth in Year 1

Saffire Vapor, an ecommerce seller and retailer of “high-powered” electronic cigarettes and accessories, achieves notable growth in 2012 and continues to hit growth milestones in Q1 2013. In less than one year, Saffire Vapor has built a successful eCommerce business and opened its first retail store in Murfreesboro, TN.

Saffire Vapor founder and CEO Robert Arnold recognized an opportunity to enter the premium electronic cigarette industry as consumers adopt the products over traditional or ‘analog’ cigarettes. “It’s very rare in business to enter a marketplace that isn’t completely saturated with competitors. Although there are other competitors, I have managed to differentiate my brand by providing the highest quality products and superior customer service.”

Arnold engaged Junction Creative Solutions (Junction), Atlanta-based strategic agency, to develop the brand and build an eCommerce website. Since then, Junction continues to partner with Arnold as he prepares for the next stages of company growth.

“Robert (Arnold) is a true entrepreneur with a clear vision of what success looks like for his company. He is the ideal client for Junction, as he understands the importance of strategy in order to support a more sustainable business model,” comments Julie Gareleck, CEO & Managing Partner, Junction. “We look forward to working with Robert as he takes Saffire Vapor to the next level, online and in his brick and mortar stores.”

Saffire Vapor has been nominated for industry awards recognizing innovation and integrated campaigns that have achieved KPIs and exceeded revenue expectations. To learn more about Saffire Vapor, visit

Atlanta Starts Up Bigger and Better

These days, big things are happening in the tech industry, and not just in the usual places; not in Seattle, not in San Francisco… not even Palo Alto.

Billed as the ‘Largest Gathering  of Startups in Georgia since 1895,” Startup Rally 2013 took over the Georgian Ballroom at midtown Atlanta’s historic Biltmore Hotel on Monday, February 18th. The event marked the official launch of Startup Georgia, as it joined Startup America Partnership, a national network of similar growing startup communities.

Thousands of business leaders, investors, students, and media attended the exposition to see the latest pioneering ideas coming out of the Southeast and share ideas and opportunities. One of Junction’s clients, Guardian Watch™ founder Dr. Gordon Jones was on hand not only to showcase his company’s revolutionary new multi-platform application supporting public safety, but also to talk about startup culture in his hometown of Augusta, GA, a growing satellite market to the hub of Atlanta.  Joining other influential Georgia startup founders and executives on stage, Jones highlighted the greater Atlanta area’s immense potential for cultivating successful new companies, and how the ‘Capital of the South’ is becoming a hotbed for innovative technology companies with its wealth of industry talent and diverse marketplace.

The presentations were headlined by a conversation with Grammy winning hip hop mogul and serial entrepreneur Jermaine Dupri, who is himself an engaged member of the Atlanta business community as CEO of So So Def Recordings and

The turnout and obvious enthusiasm for the day’s events was a clear indicator of the excitement surrounding the launch of Startup Georgia and the growth of industry in the region. The exhibitors, panelists, and presenters represent the men and women building the next great wave of ground-breaking companies, proving that Atlanta and the South are on the rise.

Crunch the Numbers

It is a phrase that has been seen in headlines of articles across industry publications, frequently heard in board rooms, and endlessly repeated on internet forums. Yes, ‘Big Data’ has been a hot-button topic and a dominant trend for some time now, but all evidence points to an army of executives, marketers, and other leaders that still don’t really have a clue what to do with all that juicy information.

In 2013, performance measurement data for business comes in two basic sizes – the ever popular “Big” and the far-less-often discussed “Small.”  Of course, not all businesses have access to glamorous Big Data – most companies don’t have tens of millions of visitors to their websites, or hundreds of thousands of impressions for online ads, nor do they have the resources to hire a full team of analysts to derive meaning out of the numbers. Of course, this isn’t an excuse to forego leveraging the data that is available to them to create better business processes. Small, meaningful data is itself highly useful in determining success factors, metrics, and benchmarks. In fact, having limited resources dedicated to this effort can help prioritize which information is the most important to understand.

On the other hand, companies choosing to engage in the business of Big Data need to undergo a basic shift in philosophy. Many marketers are just looking for the data to tell them things are improving, especially in more number-centric verticals, like financial marketing. There is a clear need to identify means of applying the data in a way that is not self-serving by nature. Available data can be parsed any way you like (‘It doesn’t matter that our revenue dipped by 10% this month, we got 40,000 more hits to the site!’), but it needs to be the driver in making smarter strategic decisions. It’s about applicability.

Another common mistake is the assumption that data only supports marketing-related initiatives. The truth is, sales teams, customer service departments, and other lines of business might be surprised to see what cold, hard numbers have to say about their process and efficiency. In reality, every piece of data collected should have an application somewhere across the business – the challenge lies in recognizing where it belongs and what fresh perspective it brings within that framework.

This immense body of data is only growing. As more and more information becomes available and the science of its analysis becomes more complicated, companies need responsible voices who can tell them what the data means, not just in general terms, but in the context of a specific business. What’s big is getting bigger – take smaller steps with a trusted partner to avoid getting lost in its shadow.

Lessons from the CEOs: Making the Connection to Success

In this series, we explore some less-frequently discussed ideas about running a successful business utilizing the experiences of real CEOs.

Skip Prichard is an accomplished CEO, turnaround business leader, and keynote speaker. He is known for his track record of successfully revitalizing companies and dramatically improving results. Most recently, he was President & CEO of Ingram Content Group, Inc., one of the largest behind-the-scenes companies in the book business. During that time, he had great success repositioning the company to improve results and grow key parts of business significantly.

“Professionally, I’ve enjoyed running companies,” says Skip. “My particular specialty is corporate turnarounds and transformations. That means I enjoy the challenge of taking companies that are losing money and help them back to profitability and then growth.” To achieve his past successes, Skip relied on his “Five C’s of a Turnaround”; Control, Cash, Customer, Culture, and Connection. In our first installment of this series, we focused on the importance Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, placed on Culture in creating happiness in employees and customers. In this installment we explore the art of making the connection.

Jill Geisler, Senior Faculty, Leadership and Management, at Poynter, recently authored, Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know, a book detailing the path to creating happy workplaces to help managers and leaders achieve their goals and meet success. It is a book leaders at any level can turn to for answers and advice they can put to work immediately. It is a “workshop-in-a-book,” designed to improve work, workplaces, and those who lead them, and Skip Prichard seems to have taken an important page, albeit in advance, from the text.

Significant turnarounds in the fortunes of troubled organizations require leaders with creativity, energy, insight and vision but success is realized only when leadership makes a connection with employees, customers and partners. Effective communication is vital for leaders to accomplishing their goals and filing the vacuum of information that often is a basis for organizational failure. Our options and vehicles to advance effective communication are more diverse today, with email, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or a blog, leaders can send forth their message to employees and customers more effectively than ever before. But impactful communication is not limited to the modern tools of digital electronics, sometimes reaching into the tool box of the past and creating a hand written note or letter can have significant impact in making a point.

Skip Prichard asks, “What do you get for someone who has everything?” Answer, how about a hand written note or letter? Skip goes on to say “I would argue that there is nothing as powerful as tangible words on the page. I’ve appreciated and saved emails, but inevitably they are deleted. Contrast that with handwritten notes. I have kept almost all that I’ve received. It’s a fading art. In a growing digital universe, it’s rare to receive a scripted letter anymore and for marketers or for anyone who craves differentiation, it’s a great way to stand out.”

With his demonstrated successes, it is clear that Skip Prichard has made the connection.

Branding Change in a Traditional Holiday Market

The history of Valentine’s Day, and the story of its patron saint, is shrouded in mystery and some controversy. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.

While also celebrated in Canada, Mexico, England, France and Australia, it is Americans who will spend more than $17 billion dollars this year on the holiday, mostly on candy, flowers, special dinners and romantic cards. But a recent survey indicate that what people really want is less sweets and gooey, sentiments and more electronics, but giving a sweetheart a gift of a new Gameboy, smartphone, or even the best and latest “Pad”(which is devoid of the traditional expressions of romance) may not meet the expectations of the heart. Some caution may be in order, to spite all the scientific study about what is an appropriate gift, there are some theories we should consider very carefully before testing in practice. After all, the very origins of Valentine’s Day are deeply rooted emotion and tradition.

Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. In addition to flowers and card giving, more than 30 percent of Americans will purchase something sweet to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the traditional heart-shaped box of chocolates, pink and red M&M’s and the iconic heart shaped message conversation hearts displaying messages of love.

All have their position in the holidays celebration, but Hershey’s wins out as the top brand candy buyers intend to purchase this year, followed by Russell Stover and Godiva. But whether gifting flowers, cards, candy or electronics, brand association is vital to establishing an effective strategy for businesses to capture a respectable share of the Valentine’s Day gift giving market.

Manufacturers don’t have to produce chocolate, flowers or jewelry to take advantage of the great marketing opportunity surrounding Valentine’s Day. As consumers seek out the perfect gift for their special someone, they’re looking for items that are unique, humorous memorable or special. A fresh label may be just what shoppers need to understand the value of a product. “Like Cupid’s arrow to the heart, an eye-catching, revamped label can capture consumers’ attention and affection,” said Anne Marie Campbell, Lightning Labels Business Development Manager. “This Valentine’s Day, companies that stand out are those investing in packaging that embraces the festive quality of their brand in a unique, fun way.

Whether appealing to the deeply entrenched, traditional gift giver or the new electronics crazed consumer, making in-roads into the Valentine’s Day market will require some creativity, flair, and exploration to develop a successful brand that works effectively with continually changing consumer tastes and a fragmented market economy.