Hollister Creative President Kim Landry engaged in a live Q&A about marketing communications and social impact at a recent Main Line Chamber of Commerce “Network at Noon” event. The interviewer was her Hollister colleague Georgette Klotz, Vice President for Creative Services.
Kim, you started Hollister Creative in 1990. What has changed in marketing communications over 28 years?
Everything and nothing. Everything in terms of technology and the array of tactics available. Nothing in terms of the core functions of marketing communications.
How have you kept up with technology?
Knowledge has always been part of our culture, which means we continue to educate ourselves and gain relevant skills.
Can a small agency like Hollister Creative really master all of the different marketing skills and technologies?
No — even the very largest agencies outsource to specialists. Our model is partnership. We partner with other small agencies that specialize in skills and technologies we don’t have.
How is partnership different from outsourcing?
Outsourcing is a prime-to-sub transaction: a one-way street. Partners collaborate. A partner relationship can be informal. But two years ago I co-founded the MarCom Alliance to create a formal strategic partnership among 10-20 marketing specialty companies.
You said nothing has changed about the core functions of marketing communications. What are those core functions?
Our job is to help our clients develop a positive relationship with a target audience of prospects.
The relationship has 3 stages: Know, Like and Trust.
Tell us about those 3 stages.
First, your prospect has to know about your company. Awareness turns a stranger into an acquaintance.
Second, your prospect has to like your company. Affinity turns an acquaintance into a friend.
Finally, your prospect has to trust your company. A prospect won’t become a customer until he or she believes you company can and will deliver on its promises.
That’s a lot! What do you actually do to help clients create and nurture positive relationships with prospects?
If our client’s branding and messaging are weak, we start there.
If our client has strong branding and messaging, but its website is not as good as competitor websites, we start there.
When those fundamentals are strong, we move on to proven tactics. Depending on the client and the target audience, tactics might include content marketing through blogging and social media, email marketing, brochures, videos, events, trade shows, the list goes on…
You call Hollister Creative a “social impact” marketing agency. What does that mean?
It means we choose to work with organizations that are making their little corner of the world a better place.
So, you work with nonprofits and schools?
We do. We like to help nonprofits and schools. But most of our clients are for-profit businesses.
We believe that business can be a force for good.
Every company is already having an impact – positive, negative or neutral – on its customers, its employees, the community and the environment.
Company leaders can choose to have a more positive impact. Leaders who make that choice will make their companies stronger and more competitive.
Where does Hollister come in?
We use our skills in marketing strategy, writing and design to help those companies grow in size, influence and impact. We also donate 3% of our revenue from for-profit businesses to the United Way Impact Fund.
Social impact sounds a lot like Corporate Social Responsibility. Are they the same thing?
They are similar. CSR is more focused on companies donating to nonprofits and employees volunteering. Impact takes a more holistic view. It includes the way a company is doing business: its policies, operations, HR practices, vendors and supply chain.
Did you know that the Main Line Chamber holds an event called the Summit on Business Leadership and Corporate Volunteerism?
I did know that! I go every year. It is a great way to learn about the different ways that businesses are addressing community needs. And the Chamber announces its Main Line Gives Back Award winners at the event. The awards recognize companies of all sizes that are being philanthropic and volunteering.