Two great agencies have become one! Henry Russell Bruce (HRB) and ME&V Advertising have merged to create a combined company of more than 50 people with offices in Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Quad Cities. The combined agency represents more than 200 clients across 10 states and offers branding, marketing, public relations, and advertising services in healthcare, higher education and banking, corporate communications and nonprofit fundraising. Take a look around →

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About Jill Mast:

Jill MastJill is a motivated, results-driven marketing professional with the ability to quickly establish rapport with her clients. Prior to joining HRB, Jill worked at two agencies in Kansas City, where she supported national accounts such as Cellular One and Abuelo’s Restaurants.

As an account supervisor, Jill asks great questions, helps clients determine their marketing needs and works in a collaborative environment to get each project done in a timely and budget conscious manner.

Jill holds a B.B.A. in Marketing from the University of Iowa.

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Jill Mast
Account Supervisor
800-728-2656, ext. 120

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Read Jill's Recent Articles:

Unexpected Advertising

January 30th, 2012 by Jill Mast

While watching TV last night, a commercial for JC Penney caught my attention. Even more importantly, its message and execution created enough intrigue that, being curious, I dutifully followed their instructions, went to my computer and pulled up their Facebook page. (Not an easy accomplishment for most advertisers.)

So what was different about this commercial? For starters, I found it very entertaining. The images of shoppers screaming in frustration as they are bombarded with oodles of coupons and signage announcing a dizzying array of deals and offers was something I could certainly relate to. Perhaps more significant was that it was totally unexpected from a retailer like JCP. Their advertising has usually been very expected promotions of its latest and greatest door busters, early bird specials, scratch off coupons, and limited time offers.

Guess what though? It didn’t tell me everything I wanted to know but it did have me intrigued … so when directed to the company’s Facebook page, I went. There I learned that “on 2.1.12 the madness ends. But until then, enjoy our biggest and best-ever crazy and exhausting and totally confusing sale ever.”  The Facebook page is interactive and asks consumers to join the “JCP Insanity.” What really surprised me was that it has more than 2 million likes, 15,000+ people talking about this and more than 100,000 visits to the page.

From a marketer’s perspective, I got an email from the American Advertising Federation this morning leading me to a New York Times article on JCP and their new branding strategies. I learned JCP has new management (executives formerly with Apple and Target) and their corporate strategy is changing to include a redesigned logo, simpler pricing of merchandise and stopping endless promotions, deals and sales.  The new plan calls for only twelve sales each year. In 2011, JCP had 590 promotions!

Only time will tell if the new strategy is successful. But in my mind, they have already achieved their goal – getting consumers like me to rethink a tired, undifferentiated and unappealing brand and creating something compelling enough to get me interested (and to blog about) and even eager to see what they will be rolling out on Feb. 1.

Of course, the ultimate test will be if the new shopping experience is compelling enough to make me want to come back. Stay tuned.

Jill Mast
Account Supervisor
800-728-2656, ext. 120

Jill Mast on LinkedIn Connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jill-mast/4/928/a06

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Marketing + Social Media Marketing + + +

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In the Customer’s Shoes

December 16th, 2011 by Jill Mast

Getting a Different Perspective

Getting a different perspective can provide additional insight into the matter. Photo credit: Roadtrip North of Salta: kaartje voor mn neefje by mansszat

Let’s face it. We’re all consumers. We interact with hundreds if not thousands of brands each day. Each interaction we have, whether it’s with a customer service rep, a website or a product we are using for the first time, shapes our perception of the brand, our feelings of affinity or dislike, and our likelihood that we’re going to use that brand again.

When we work with clients on building their brand, we start with customer research. Research is critically important because although a company can do many things to shape their brand, your brand is ultimately decided by your consumers. We work with many B to B clients so I often don’t get the opportunity to interact with a client’s brand from a customer viewpoint. However, I had just that opportunity recently.

I was able to tour a client’s facility and their major competitor’s facility as a potential customer. I took the tour, asked the same questions of both, and noted how I was greeted, what information was provided to me, knowledge of the employees, and overall feelings I was left with from each experience. What I found was enlightening. Our client’s brand is all about providing a personal, exceptional experience. However, staff didn’t smile or greet us. They were cordial, but not exceptional, which is what I expected from their brand promise. In contrast, their competitor made me feel more welcomed and valued. The competitor asked me questions about what I was interested in and then provided me with relevant information. They listened to me, made it more personal and all about me. I was surprised to find that I had a superior experience not with my client, but with the competitor.

The good news is that our client is open to this feedback and already has plans in place to improve their process and the customer experience. Don’t ever underestimate the power of your customers and the value you can find by experiencing your brand from their perspective.

Jill Mast
Account Supervisor
800-728-2656, ext. 120

Jill Mast on LinkedIn Connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jill-mast/4/928/a06

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Branding + Marketing + Public Relations + + +

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Being Part of Something Meaningful

November 14th, 2011 by Jill Mast

My mom died of cancer when I was three years old. I didn’t understand the full magnitude of it until I became an adult and realized just how young 28 is to die. I probably still don’t fully understand, but as I grow in age and experience, I’m beginning to fully understand how precious each day of life is.

Cancer is one of the most profound, devastating and pervasive diseases in the U.S. I don’t know anybody that hasn’t been touched by it in some way.  Cancer numbers are growing, but so are survival rates as new and better detection methods and treatments are developed. I get to work with Mercy Medical Center, which is in the process of building the Hall-Perrine Cancer Center – an amazing new facility that will provide world-class cancer care to Eastern Iowans. Equipped with the latest technology, dedicated staff, and amenities based on what patients and their families have said is critical to the treatment and recovery process, it will be an invaluable resource to current and future cancer patients.

Over the past 6 months, HRB has collaborated with Mercy to develop a marketing campaign to launch the center and promote the unique benefits it will provide.  This campaign was built from the ground up, just like the center. We gathered input from Mercy and from patients and potential patients and developed concepts and themes around what they told us was important. The various creative executions were tested in focus groups and one rose to the top. “Expectations Met” is the name of our campaign and provides a promise of what the center will deliver: world-class, personalized cancer care.

Over the summer, we worked with a talented production crew out of Minneapolis to bring the campaign to life. We shot the TV spots over four days in locations all over town.  We developed radio, print ads, outdoor boards, building signage and Internet marketing campaigns designed to drive patients and potential patients to a new, focused Hall-Perrine Cancer Center website.  The campaign launched the last week in September, just in time for breast cancer awareness month.

I’m in advertising. My job is to create preference for brands and motivate customers to buy from my clients. This is extremely important; however, I’ve never been involved with something as personal to me as this. Having the opportunity to be a part of something that is truly meaningful to so many is incredibly fulfilling and an experience I will never forget.

Jill Mast
Account Supervisor
800-728-2656, ext. 120

Jill Mast on LinkedIn Connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jill-mast/4/928/a06

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Media Buying + Public Relations + + + +

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Staying Focused

June 22nd, 2011 by Jill Mast

De-clutter Mindmap

Via mindmapinspiration.com

There is a word that has been coming up frequently in recent conversations here … that word is “focus.”

It’s a simple word, and one that has become my personal mantra. Dictionary.com defines focus as: a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity. As the world of marketing has become more fragmented and communication venues continue to explode, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of options.

Learning how to focus on your central points of attraction, attention and activity, is crucial to your success.

Points of attraction: I like to think of these as your core competencies. What does your company do well? What is it that your customers count on you for? These core competencies are what drives customer loyalty. Determine what makes you irreplaceable to your customers and then deliver it! Living up to and constantly working to improve what your brand promises is critical.

Not sure what your customers want from you? There’s an easy fix … ask them! A simple satisfaction study can provide the insights your company needs to redefine and reemphasize your core competencies.

Points of attention: I recently had a prospect show me a newspaper ad he’d created. It was a small, 1/8 page ad, containing no less than eleven separate messages. Eleven! My brain couldn’t even begin to decipher what he was trying to communicate or what his value proposition was to the reader. Filling an ad with such multiple messaging is like telling your audience “I have no idea what’s really important to you so I’ll throw everything in.” It has a poor chance of being read and is an equally poor use of money.

Points of activity: Now that you know who you are, what you do and what you offer that’s relevant to your customers, what’s next? Developing a clearly defined strategic marketing communications plan. Then remaining focused on executing it. Because guess what? Markets will continue to fragment and the number of communication venues will only increase.

So staying focused and “on point” will be both more difficult … and more essential.

Jill Mast
Account Supervisor
800-728-2656, ext. 120

Jill Mast on LinkedIn Connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jill-mast/4/928/a06

Follow Henry Russell Bruce on Twitter Follow HRB on Twitter

Become an HRB fan on Facebook Become an HRB fan on Facebook

Branding + Marketing + Public Relations + + + + + + +

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