10 things You can Learn from Mad Men

Anyone who knows me is aware of my obsession with Mad Men. Having worked in Advertising for many years, I totally relate to the “I am God” persona of Creative Director Don Draper and the “snooty” attitudes of Account Executives Roger Sterling and Pete Campbell. If you have a chance you should watch the show — here are a few things I learned from Mad Men:

1. The idea will come. It may not come at the moment you want it but it will come when you least expect.
2.  Having to be “creative” all the time can be draining.
3. The Secretary or the Production Manager is the one who runs the office.
4. Dressing well does help.
5. The one with the most power is the usually the weakest. Creative always wins, didn’t you know?
6. Having a scotch at 10 am never helps, wait till after 5 like everyone else.
7. There is always that one guy who thinks he knows everything and usually he doesn’t.
8. Advertising is a man’s world.
9. Never EVER sleep with your boss.Unless you speak French.(Those who watch the show will understand)
10. Realize you may never get a “thank you”. “That’s what the money is for!”.

Oh and realize if you work in Advertising you will have no life.


Using Social Media Wisely

Photo Courtesy of Plumbine Management


Social media is not a strategy. Anyone who tells you that doesn’t know what they are talking about. It is a means to reaching your ultimate goal.

Depending on your target audience, you may want to use different channels to spread your messages.  For example, if your target audience is the 45> age group, perhaps it might be better to use direct-mail or e-blasts, as many people in that age group are not actively online.


1. Use other ways to get your message across as social media will only attract a small percentage of your target audience.

2. Social media should support the over all message in your campaign

3. Interaction with your followers is the best way to gauge the success of the campaign

4. Target the Influencers, as these are the ones most likely to distribute the message to the non avid users of social media platforms

We are still developing this idea of social media, and the way we interact over the internet is rapidly changing. Facebook seems to have become an infrastructure in our lives, but many people will tell you that even though they have an account, they may not check it regularly – as they find it too intrusive.


To reach the masses face-to-face time is always better, if you don’t have the resources or the time for it, make sure that all your tactics support your key messages and ultimate goal you want to achieve.

How to Reinvent Yourself

After struggling as a graphic designer in a third world country, where design skills were not appreciated, I decided to move to the U.S. to re-invent myself.

Here’s how I did it:


These tips can help anyone else who is also struggling with changing their career or wanting to expand their capacity within their current field.

1. Determine where you want to go. When I started out, I wanted to remain in Advertising, but to switch roles to  Account Management, working on Strategy and dealing with clients’ needs, determining the best approach to expressing their key messages – my role is constantly evolving and as social media becomes a driving force in PR, I will stay in it.

2. Develop a Narrative. Explain your past and find a way to bring the story to the present. In my situation, Communications and Graphic Design are in a way still very much related, so bridging the gap was a very easy transition – my interest came from wanting to offer more services to my clients.

3. Reintroduce Yourself. My colleagues know me as a Graphic Designer because I have spent most of my working life as one. Even when I apply for jobs people still want to put me in the Design role because that is where I have the most experience.

Emailing everyone you know individually of your new path will help to redirect your goal. People will then remember your new title and recommend and refer you to new jobs and potential business ventures.

4. Show what you are made of. If you don’t show people what the new direction of your career is they will never know, which is why I started this blog.

5. Go to events and show them your business card . Become more acquainted with people in the industry. Make sure you introduce yourself with your new title. If no name cards are provided at the event, make sure to make one of your own and wear it. This will help people to see you and remember the title you have decided to acquire.

If you need any advice, tweet me @KesiAGardner

Mobile Apps to Tame the Social Media Monster

I am always on the run, working on several different projects at a time, and don’t always have the luxury of being at home, working from my computer — that’s why I use mobile apps on my smartphone.

People ask me all the time, what are the best apps to use when tackling the Social Media monster?
First all, I must say that the Social Media is not the devil, but a great way to generate new customers and exposure for your brand.
1.    Facebook: The Facebook app has certainly come a long way and it is a great tool in keeping up with the comments clients may make on your page. The downfall is if you own a page, getting to that page from the app isn’t an option, so in this case, using your mobile browser might be a better bet.
2.    UberSocial: I like using this app because it it the best way to RT, you can RT the original tweet seamlessly from your page. No more retweeting and having someone else’s avatar in your timeline creating havoc on your followers.
3.    Google Talk: When I am on the go and away from my computer, I still want to keep in touch with my clients, some of which are on my Gchat, having the Google Talk app means I am not far away from my desk.
4.    Pandora: The Pandora app keeps me in good spirits wherever I go, I can slip in my earphones and discreetly listen to music. (Ok so this doesn’t really tame the social media monster but at least, you can have fun while doing it).
5.    Instagram: This app is the reason, I have two phones. With over 2 million active users beating out Twitter for active daily use, this is a great way to reach a large target audience in a limited time.
6.    Bitly: My latest obsession, is a seamless way to track traffic to your website and it shrinks your links, so you don’t use up all your characters! You can also customize your links which helps to keep your messaging cohesive.
Thats it for now.

Blogging for Dummies

So you don’t seem to be getting the traffic that you need to your website. It seems that all you have is static content that no one is interested in, right?
The best way to get people interested in your product is to highlight the benefits of having your product, by telling people about your product. Right?
But, the news sources don’t care about your product or service and Novia McDonald-Whyte, the Style Editor of The Jamaica Observer hung up on you because you couldn’t remember if she worked for the Gleaner or the Observer (true story by the way).
So what are you going to do?




That’s right! Start a blog! It’s the easiest thing to do. Blogger and WordPress make it so easy to create your own pages, and post them on the Internet.
Now you’re probably thinking, if I have a website, why do I need a blog? Well here is the thing, a lot of time the website’s information is static, meaning it can’t be changed and shared as organically as you would like it to be.
The people who may be interested in your product or service are not interested in static information. People want knowledge, information that is engaging, kind of like this blog.  (Just checking if you are paying attention)
The good thing about writing a blog for your company is that it’s simple to do; you are not tied to the CEO or Managing Director’s messages to write the blog entry. The benefit of having a blog, is that anyone from your company can write something, as it is more informal than a website page.



Another good thing about having a blog is that the content keeps changing, as you add more content, and more blog posts are for different target groups or different services your company has to offer, it will bring more traffic to your website and ultimately drive sales.
So what do people want to read? I think most of the time people are interested in reading about personal experiences, triumphs and the brand experience.

What Measurement of Success means Today in PR


“Our activities are trying to reach______ and encourage them to____. We will achieve this be influencing their_______, ________ and _______. We will connect to them through________, __________ and ________. We will work with _________, and _____to reach the audience. When activities have been implemented, the powers that be want to be able to say that this outreach has_________. ” @Carrie Schum – Planning & Research, Porter Novellli

This is a “fill in the blank” exercise,  Carrie Schum, Head of Planning & Research, Porter Novelli, proposes we use to implement our strategy. When you start filling out these blanks you are closer to finding the direction you need to be going – after listening to Carrie’s presentation at a recent meeting I was invited to, I was excited to see that not only was there a plug-in but, that “old skool” methods are still valuable when it comes to strategy.

We always think that the newest methods of measurement are the best but, at the end of the day, how do we measure our company’s PR image?

My answer to this question is engagement, engagement, engagement. When you start getting your audiences involved in a conversation that results in an action, then that optimizes success.

Strategy vs. “Just winging it”

Strategy vs. “Just winging it”

When I look at the likes of Seth Godin and Jeff Bullas, they are both in the small group of “marketing gurus”, but they are very very different.
Seth Godin may blog once a week and his posts are short — but very concise and consistent in driving his messages home to his readers.
Jeff Bullas on the other hand is very mainstream, but practical and makes us think of things that maybe we hadn’t thought of before.
Jeff probably blogs 3-4 times a week and as result we are always aware of him, while Seth may blog once a week but, his inspirational blog posts resonate with us for a long time.
So how do they stand out? Strategy. They both decided that they were going to be different by defining themselves in the large “marketing blogger” pool.
In an effort to be different, you have to set your value position, and that is in everything you do – service or product, what are you bringing to the table that may be different than someone else?
Set your standards high and be sure to hone in on the exceptional ability of your product or service. Once you know that you have your strategy- the “key ingredient” that will set you apart from your competitors.
Many people ask me how do I set myself apart from the rest? Well for me it is very easy- I am able to create a niche in the market, because I have several skills that make me stand out.
In my years in Advertising, I established myself as an exceptional designer and creative consultant. I have art directed, photographed and designed my own campaigns- with little or no budget, for well-established businesses. In the height of the last Olympics, I can recall assisting in the design and project management of many projects, surrounding Usain Bolt as their spokesperson, which included a 14 parish island-wide billboard campaign. At around that same time, I started my online t-shirt business in 2006, where I was able to use low cost methods to reach a large audience.
As a result, these achievements tied in with my strategic communication skills, have brought me to point where I am now able to navigate my clients’ businesses through many economic downturns, adjusting their expenditures to accommodate every state they are in- and still produce measurable results.

If you ever consider working without a strategy and just decide to “wing” it, be prepared to fail. If you can’t measure your results- through website clicks, engagement and ultimately ROI then your strategy has failed, and you need to go back to square one.