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“Branding tends to ‘git the cow’s attention.” ~ Cowboy Wisdom

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In Brainstorming

By Arengee

Rerouting Virginia Beach Oceanfront Trolleys won’t help Chic’s Beach much, if any.

On 17, Jun 2015 | No Comments | In Brainstorming, Branding | By Arengee

“We would highly recommend a very specific strategy to ensure Chic’s Beach and the entire Shore Drive corridor can prosper – concentrate on the locals..”

RE: Virginian-Pilot Article – “Trolleys from resort area could help Chic’s Beach lure tourists, group says”

There’s a reason tourists jam the beach between Rudee Inlet and 40th street and why the Trolley’s run this route only. It’s where the largest concentration of hotel and parking options. There are scant few accommodation options for out of town guests in the Chic’s Beach area.

If you add to the current route, a Trolley ride from the “Oceanfront” to Chic’s Beach could take about an hour or more, depending on the number of stops and where you catch a ride. On a hot day I’m pretty sure most would find this about as appealing as a sunburn in all the wrong places. Chic’s Beach is also not very pedestrian friendly. Heck, it’s barely bike and car friendly.

Sometimes clients forget to be honest with their customers or patrons, in this case the taxpayers of Virginia Beach. We would highly recommend a very specific strategy to ensure Chic’s Beach and the entire Shore Drive corridor can prosper – concentrate on the locals who, for the most part, stay clear of the Oceanfront between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Marketing themselves as the locals beach and local alternative would be a point of difference.

The tourists after all are here for a limited time. Residents are year round.

Interesting note in this article about the Trolley – they point to increased web traffic as a gauge that things are improving due to marketing efforts. The real gauge would be happy business owners with busy cash registers.

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In Cowboy Wisdom
Social Media

By Arengee

“The more we think we know the less we actually do” Why $25 billion in media money just went up for grabs.

On 01, Jun 2015 | No Comments | In Cowboy Wisdom, Social Media | By Arengee

Read the article here:

“I did a quick glance, and I want to read it more in depth later, but have a nagging suspicion that the more we think we know the less we actually do.

“This uber micro targeting we do has another impact too. It avoids communicating with heretofore unknown customers depriving ourselves from growing the brand.”

“Most good brands have as good people as the agency therefore the expertise gap is very narrow. I think the bottom line is with all the new technologies and social media, no one has been able to really break out and change the dynamics of the return on investment.”

Richard Gearhart
Arengee Media Guru

Photo credit:

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In Branding

By Arengee

TV spot for Portsmouth wins Bronze Telly

On 28, Apr 2015 | No Comments | In Branding | By Arengee

PORTSMOUTH, VA – The Telly Awards has named Portsmouth, Virginia and Arengee as a Bronze winner in the 35th Annual Telly Awards for their piece titled “The Right Side of the River”.  With nearly 12,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries, this is truly an honor.

The :60 TV spot opens with So here’s the deal, we’re Portsmouth Virginia. We’re not perfect. What City is? The spot goes on on to highlight welcoming Portsmouth faces and spaces. The spot ends with an invitation: So come take a look. Stay a while. Maybe you’ll decide to stay for good.

“We felt the best way to get everyone’s attention was to take the misperceptions within the community and surrounding area head on. We applaud the City Directors for having the courage to make this statement”, said Arengee President and Creative Sheriff, Jeffrey Ringer.

The spot was concepted, written and directed by Arengee and produced locally by Studio Center. “We brought the copy and concept to our favorite Editor at Studio Center, Steve Strickland, and he brought it to life”, said Jeff Ringer. “He’s a big part of what makes the spot successful.”

The Telly Awards was founded in 1979 and is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, the finest video and film productions, and online commercials, video and films.  Winners represent the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments in the world.

A prestigious judging panel of over 500 accomplished industry professionals, each a past winner of a Silver Telly and a member of The Silver Telly Council, judged the competition, upholding the historical standard of excellence that Telly represents.  The Silver Council evaluated entries to recognize distinction in creative work – entries do not compete against each other – rather entries are judged against a high standard of merit.  Less than 10% of entries are chosen as Winners of the Silver Telly, our highest honor.  Approximately 25% of entries are chosen as Winners of the Bronze Telly.

“The Department of Marketing, Entertainment & Tourism is very excited about having won the Bronze Telly for the Right Side of the River campaign presented by Travel & Tourism”, said Department Director LaVoris Pace. “Increasing awareness, image, and feet-on-the street in Portsmouth are not only strategic initiatives, but also critical success factors that served as the
impetus for the campaign. We have a sincere Passion for Portsmouth, and we are glad that passion resonated with the judges.”

To find out more about the Telly Awards visit their website at

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In Branding
Social Media

By Arengee

Latest example of how auto industry/dealer marketing is out of touch with its consumers. I traded this auto to dealer 4 years ago.

On 23, Mar 2015 | No Comments | In Branding, rant, Social Media | By Arengee

A simple tan envelope arrived in the mail today. My name and address are printed on the front with a faux handwritten font. No indication of the sender. There’s a small return address on the back flap (more on that later). Inside was a postcard from a local auto dealer, Starr Motors. Starr has been in business for more than 50 years selling and servicing new & certified pre-owned Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and RAM vehicles. According to their website they are one of the top dealerships in the Mid-Atlantic region. Located in Suffolk, it’s got a bit of a small-town charm, but the “sales game” is the same.

The following message was printed in the with same faux handwriting font from the envelope:

Jeffrey, I wanted to drop you a quick note about purchasing your 2008 Dodge Ram 3500. I need it now and frankly, I think you’ll be pleased with my aggressive offer. It’s easy and you don’t have to purchase anything! Call me by March 31st! Talk to you soon
(the faux handwriting even includes a smudge in place of a period)

– Ed White

Ed’s phone number is circled in the lower right corner with his extension (which is probably a way to track the postcard, the amount of numbers looks suspicious).

First off, I leased this 2008 vehicle from Starr Motors in 2008 and decided to turn it back in to them at the end of the lease in 2011. I decided to buy a 2011 Dodge Ram 3500 and got a much better deal closer to home from another dealer.

Clearly Starr Motors, and/or it’s marketing firm, has no record keeping capabilities. Now for the kicker.

Thanks to Google, I easily found the business belonging to the address I mentioned seeing on the back flap. Located at this address is a 9-time winner of the “Best Direct Mail Marketing Company” voted on by automotive dealers, according to one of two images on their website home page. It gets better. The company’s name is “Strategic Marketing”. The more I read about them, the harder I laughed. “Strategic Marketing really isn’t just a direct mail company that does data, they are a data company that implements direct mail.” They have a proprietary system to collect and interpret data that, in their words, “makes us experts in regard to Response Mechanisms.”

Based on what I see, I find it hard to believe this “strategic marketing” firm has their finger on the pulse of anything other than their clients’ wallets.

Being out of touch is not isolated to this dealership.

I have received several direct-mail pieces from the dealer where I purchased my current truck. Greenbrier Dodge in Chesapeake might possibly have the worst marketing in the area. Several months ago when I called to check up on the status of my vehicle for service, the online message announced, “come see the all new 2013 Dodge Ram Trucks” – this was in August of 2014.

And they continue to offer me special deals to trade my Ram 3500 in for a newer Ram 1500. If these car salespeople had a clue, they would know that anyone who owns a 3500 series truck would not be interested in trading down to a 1500. There’s a reason one purchases a 3500 series truck – mainly for hauling trailers. It’s not a grocery-getter.

With the technology available today, why don’t these guys simply pick up the phone and call me instead of sending an expensive, wasteful direct mail piece? It’s not like these guys have a lot to do all day at the dealership besides standing around waiting like vultures for someone to drop in.

The auto industry needs a fresh, new marketing perspective.

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In Branding

By Arengee

How Branding Can Get You Your Heart’s Desire

On 13, Feb 2015 | No Comments | In Branding | By Arengee

Arengee Valentines

  • Think of your brand as a person – from appearance to personality. Would you want to spend time with your brand?
  • Remember, your brand is a promise – and it’s more than tangible products or services, it includes feelings.
  • Help define perceptions – it’s your consumer’s perception that matters most.
  • Live up to expectations – and that applies to every interaction, not just the tangible product or service.
  • Dress appropriately – tangible elements such as your logo, social media posts, packaging, and so on, must work together to consistently communicate your promise, define perceptions, meet consumer expectations, and define your brand persona.

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Do what you love. Love what you do.

On 05, Jan 2015 | No Comments | In Branding, Inspiring, Social Media | By Arengee

It’s Blue Monday – called this because many people took a lot of time off during the holidays and bemoaned on Facebook, etc. going back to work.

Back in 2006 the partners of Arengee took the huge risk of starting a new business at a very turbulent time in the economy. To say the first year was tough would be a understatement. However, we never looked back with regret. We do what we love. And, for the most part, love what we do. Every day.

Why not find a way to look forward to Monday? And Tuesday. And Wednesday, etc.

  • What do you love about your job?
  • Don’t like your job? What could you change so you would?
  • If you need a new job, why not start looking today?
  • Is there an opportunity to start your own business?

Here’s an article we found with some good tips and wisdom.

“Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.”

~ Thomas Jefferson

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In Social Media

By Arengee

7 Reasons You Should NOT Create A Facebook Page For Your Event

On 31, Oct 2014 | No Comments | In Social Media | By Arengee

  1. There’s a great tool that already exists with your Business Page – Events
  2. You already have an audience – your current Business Page Likes
  3. A new page means you need extra effort I.E. time, money, etc. to help people find it and build and build a new audience
  4. Events allow people to indicate attending, or not
  5. Events has format for time, date, link to tickets and dedicated feed
  6. You can send invites from the Event page – you can’t with a Business or Personal page
  7. An event that happens once a year is NOT a business, person, band, charity cause, or personality

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In Branding

By Arengee

ACC “New Branding” Uninspiring, Amateurish, Weak

On 29, May 2014 | No Comments | In Branding | By Arengee

So the ACC – Atlantic Coast Conference – announced a “new branding that reflects our limitless potential”.

I’m not sure what’s worse, the poorly executed “custom-designed font” or the bull s#@t justifications in their press release.

“The new, contemporary look modernizes and energizes the ACC mark, and, at the same time, still reflects the league’s history and rich tradition.

Similar to primary logos of previous years, ‘ACC’ lettering serves as the new mark’s centerpiece. Set in a custom-designed font created specifically for the league, the logo leans forward toward the conference’s ever-present goal of excellence. The lettering is accentuated by a bold, silver underline that symbolizes the ACC’s journey toward a bright future.

First off, neither the original lettering nor this expected emulation of a futuristic font symbolizes anything, least of all a college sports conference.

The custom-font is amateurish at best. The letter weights are inconsistent. The “forward leaning” angles are inconsistent. There seems to be no consideration give to the overall spacing – between each of the letters nor the between the letters and the rule below. The illustration below helps illustrate what I’m referring to.


I’m sure while in college I might have started writing lines such as “the logo leans forward to symbolize excellence” to justify a design to a client. And then my teacher would have wadded up the sheet of paper and told me to start over.

I especially like the line about the “bold, silver underline symbolizing the journey toward a bright future.” Please. It’s a rule. A gray one at that. With two different angles at each end.

This “branding” example leaves me with many perplexing thoughts including:

  1. Was the client difficult to work with?
  2. Were they vague with their objectives and goals?
  3. Were they cheap?
  4. Did they dictate design?
  5. Did each of the 15 teams have a vote on the final logo?
  6. Did their significant others get to chime it?
  7. Was the agency busy with bigger projects and pushed this off to a junior team?
  8. Was the press release writer also on his or her first assignment?

Re: The Shortlist Gets Longer For Major Creative Reviews – An Efficient Solution

On 14, Apr 2014 | No Comments | In Branding, Cowboy Wisdom, Social Media | By Arengee

Dear Potential Clients,

“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” ~ Cowboy Wisdom

The Agency Review Process is completely flawed. It wastes your time, your money, the time and money of potential agencies and rarely, if ever, provides creative that will ever see the light of day.

Senior Editor (Agencies) for Adweek, Andrew McMains, writes “that as long as agencies outnumber marketers, marketers will have the leverage to ask for more.”

The fact clients are sitting out there thinking they can get things for free just because there are more agencies than clients points to a bigger problem plaguing our business for years – lack of respect.

None of these clients would treat other professionals they hire the way they treat Ad Agencies. Have any of these companies used this process to find their Lawyer? Their Financial Advisor? Would any of these Marketing Directors use this process to find their own personal Doctor or Dentist?


What’s worse, Andrew’s article points out people who used to be on the “agency side” feel this is a perfectly acceptable process. I’d bet you dollars to doughnuts if you asked them about this process while they were working for the agency they’d be singing a much different tune.

Here’s a much more efficient process if you truly want to know how an agency thinks and works – hire them for a project. Give five or six companies the same project with the same budget and pay them. Maybe do it over a period of five or six months. Meet their staff members. Break bread and maybe even crack a few cold one’s. See how they deal with deadlines, questions, feedback. Get a real idea how they would solve your marketing challenge.

I guarantee this would be a much more enjoyable experience for all involved. And you’ll get better results.

Bottom line, the current Agency Review Process needs to go the way of the dinosaur.

PS: Who do you think ultimately foots the bill for these Agency Reviews? It would be the clients the agency currently has I.E. you, if you hire them.

Agencies are like any other business – they are in business to make money. You have a problem with that?



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In Branding
Just launched

By Arengee

Simple, powerful TV spots are par for the course at Arengee.

On 25, Feb 2014 | No Comments | In Branding, Just launched | By Arengee

Bide-A-Wee Golf Course is one of the many Portsmouth, Virginia Highlights. Dreamed up by a PGA regular in the 50s and re-energized in 1999 as a Signature Curtis Strange Course. The narrow approaches, strategically placed bunkers and water features have brought accolades from the golf world, and the ire of those looking to master it.

In recent years the management did little to promote the venue. The City turned to us to reverse the trend of declining golf rounds.

With a budget as tight as the course, we developed a multi-media branding campaign, a fresh new website, and engaging collateral.

We felt we needed to be on TV to reach as many golfers as possible. By cutting the TV production to the bare minimum we were able to maximized the reach of the media buy, purchasing as many targeted spots as the budget would allow.

Our creative team is always up for a challenge.

We brainstormed this spot in the car during a trip to a client meeting. Richard, the guy who says he’s not creative, came up with the idea that sparked visuals in Jeff’s mind. We presented the idea to the client without storyboards or a typed script.

The client loved it.

So we hired our friends at Studio Center Total Production and turned them loose with our vision.

The result is a simple, powerful spot capturing the true essence of Bide-A-Wee.

We invite you to take a look (turn up your speakers and click the “play” arrow below).

Oh, and contact Richard if you want him to treat you to a round while discussing your marketing challenges.


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