The News Chair
  1. Looking Back, Moving Forward

    October 13, 2016 by Tiffany Whisner

    Ever since I started working at Coles Marketing — almost a decade ago (yikes!) — my coworker, Chris Mercier, has been a wonderful mentor and friend.

    dsc_0098And at the end of this month, she’s retiring. I can’t imagine the workplace without her, so I thought a spotlight on her for this blog seemed quite fitting.

    Q&A with Chris Mercier (it rhymes!)

    Q: How did you get started with Coles? Why have you stayed so many years?

    A: I joined the company when it was known as Coles & Morrison. I met Candy Morrison first through a non-profit. Working part-time at the non-profit was my first job going back to work after staying home with my two children. In 1998, Candy introduced me to Barb, and I joined the company.

    d20_1669Q: Describe Coles Marketing in one word.

    A: Family

    Q: How has the PR/marketing/communications industry changed over the years?

    A: When I first joined the company, six of us shared one email account. We sent news releases through the mail (snail mail). Social media wasn’t even on the horizon. Advertising was limited to print or broadcast. Clients have many more opportunities today to tell their stories.

    img_2037Q: What qualities do you think are required of a leader for success?

    A: I think a leadership role requires you to think on your feet. Develop honest relationships. Listen to your client to formulate a strategy to help them accomplish their goals. I enjoy the critical thinking it takes to come up with workable strategies for each challenge.

    Q: What kind of impression or impact do you hope to leave on Coles Marketing and its employees?

    A: I hope people remember that I was a hard worker with a sense of humor.

    Q: Offer a piece of advice for up-and-coming PR and marketing executives.

    A: My advice to future execs is to be a supportive and contributing member to the team. Always stay one step ahead by staying organized. Don’t be afraid to take on more responsibility, and embrace change.

    mercier_5inQ: What’s ahead for you?

    A: My husband and I look forward to spending more time in Scottsdale with our daughter, two grandchildren, Jim’s mom and dad and extended family of close to 50. We will also be closer to our son in Portland and hope to travel the western U.S. in the next few years.


    Chris, we will miss you. You can never be replaced, and we will always remember you as a hard worker with a sense of humor … and so much more!

  2. Youth and Advertising

    October 7, 2016 by Eric Young


    Type “the future of advertising” into your search engine. Somewhere around 150 million results will pop up. Amidst the pontification and speculation, pessimism seems to reign supreme. You’ll find the cynics say the industry is irreparably broken. I don’t buy it for one simple reason, the advertising industry appeals to young talent.

    On the creative side, advertising gives young artists and writers a chance to grow out of their parents’ basement. Cough. On the account side, advertising provides a career to talented young women and men who can bring in clients, make them happy and translate the madness of creative types. To boot, young filmmakers have the opportunity to gain experience in their craft through agency production teams and get paid for it.

    Social media’s rise to world domination has ad agencies scrambling to find the best way to reach a target audience. Facebook has approximately 1.7 billion users. Instagram has 500 million and Twitter has over 300 million monthly active users. Snapchat claims 100 million daily active users. Do you see my point? Social media is everywhere and guess which age demographic knows how to use it best.

    Young talent will thrive in an era of shortened attention spans, rapid fire doses of information and digital dominance. We were raised on it. Instead of complaining about being broken, lets focus on nurturing the young professionals who will take the advertising industry to new stomping grounds.

  3. Marketing vs. PR vs. Advertising

    September 2, 2016 by Christopher Lloyd

    In the days of yore, there was generally a fine line between advertising and public relations. Ad men — and they were almost entirely men, at least back in the “Mad Men” days — created advertising for print, TV and radio. Public relations, or PR, was an amorphous practice, which generally involved trying to get the media to cover your clients.

    Coles Marketing originally started as Coles PR and then evolved into a full-service outreach firm that includes copywriting (like yours truly), ad creation, graphic design, web design, photography and videography, social media outreach and targeted online advertising. It’s a whole new world, where you can see ads tailored to your personal interests, based on your web traffic.

    As the game has changed, though, it’s left many people confused about the difference between marketing, PR and advertising.

    The old saying in the biz was “You pay for advertising, you pray for publicity.” Despite all the changes in technology and new platform paradigms, that still basically holds true. With advertising, you have control over the message, which you pay to create and (usually) pay someone with a means of reaching the public to carry it — websites, billboards etc.

    With modern PR, you’re not necessarily dialing up a reporter or editor and asking them to consider writing/broadcasting about the client. That’s one of the biggest changes with the web, email and social media: brands can bypass the traditional lines of communication to reach the consumer directly, on their own terms.

    Then there are hybrid activities like content marketing, also known as brand journalism, where the brand becomes its own publisher, creating and distributing articles and information that is helpful or interesting to people. You’re not necessarily pitching products, just creating a sense of expertise that people will turn to when they need help.

    “Marketing” is the umbrella term that includes both PR and advertising, as well as the hybrid permutations that have arisen. It means all the efforts and resources you devote to convincing people to buy your product or service.

    Put it this way: Marketing refers to the overall strategic plan for outreach. Advertising, promotions, e-newsletters, publicity, content marketing — these are all just tactics employed to make that plan happen.

    So if your company is only talking about advertising, or restricts its outreach planning to just social media or PR, then you’re only using a portion of the tools available in the box.