Why we got rid of the snack table: A lesson in collaboration

What do snacks have to do with teamwork? It turns out when your entire company culture is centered on collaboration, your coworkers don’t need to be lured with tasty treats.

Back at KW2’s old location, the two-story former church with a garden view on Old Middleton Road, the Digital Department was burrowed away in the back corner known as the West Wing. We had a sneaky little entrance where we bikers could secure our ride, go straight to our desk and start working. Some mornings, I wouldn’t even say hello to the folks working up front until my first cup of coffee around 9:30AM. Not because I didn’t want to see them, but simply because I didn’t have any business in that part of the building.

Maybe it’s because our work was independent, or maybe it’s because we’re typically unkempt and quite strange, but we didn’t get many visitors from the front of the building in those days either.

One day, to encourage more smiling faces and interaction with the rest of the agency, we decided to develop and maintain a snack table. We loaded it with treats from dark chocolates to trail mix to Goldfish crackers, and saw our visitors increase sevenfold. Time in the West Wing increased by an average of 2:00 per visitor, and the number of unique interactions increased. However, our bounce rate remained high. People came for the snacks, stayed for a little conversation, then left. Word-of-mouth seemed to be our highest traffic source, especially on days when we had a new shipment of sea salt caramels.


Fast forward to today, in our new one-story space at 2010 Eastwood Drive (you should visit us sometime; the view is to die for). Our layout still has the Account Service team’s offices nearest to the front entrance, but the more open space encourages foot traffic between the Account, Digital and Creative departments. Big windows and wide hallways and standing tables all encourage us to stand and talk, sit and talk—just, talk. To keep up with tradition, we originally met to discuss where the snack table should live in our new space, and what our first treat offering should be. However, our move wasn’t the only change that happened last fall.

The entire company was also invigorated, excited, and ready to start a new journey—together. We were inspired to be a part of a more collaborative advertising agency. As a result, we found a new interest back and forth among the departments, a crossing over of expertise and knowledge. Folks started helping out on things we previously wouldn’t have touched, or even known about. It didn’t come from the new building’s layout alone, but it was primarily a factor of our new philosophy of growing together as an agency for good. We had made a new commitment to collaborate.

Suddenly, I didn’t need a reason to visit “up front” like coffee or to see some sunlight. And people stopped by my place, not for chocolates or the promise of an afternoon crunch, but for sincere, great discussions about each others’ clients and projects.

We got rid of the snack table because we, as an agency, don’t need a lure anymore to work together. We’ve realized that seamless integration of brand strategy, creative thinking and digital strategy is the key to our success. This kind of cross-discipline thinking helped us win Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, our biggest client yet, and it will only help us serve our clients better and better in the months and years to come. The result: everybody learns, and everybody gets better.


At KW2, doing Good for our clients means putting them first, giving them the best thinking, and producing the best work possible. We’ve realized that this kind of thinking comes only when we work together, naturally, using our combined talents, experience and abilities. So while we still bring in treats from time to time, they’re placed in the community kitchen where they belong. The creative and strategic thinking fills in all the spaces around that, in a colleague’s office or on the sunny patio, in the cozy workshop or the focus-friendly conference room. Collaboration is all around us now, and we think that’s a good thing.

What’s your office culture like? Do you have any tips on how to encourage collaboration? We’d love to hear from you.



Acing Email Marketing Data with Constant Contact Reports

We recently helped a client get up to speed with their reports and analytics system. Email marketing analytics have never been easier with Constant Contact and its dashboard of information. Why should you consider email marketing? Whether you’re sending new product information, a specific business unit’s newsletter, or company news, it’s important to know where your emails are being sent to, who is seeing them and what the response is. After all, how can you manage what you don’t measure? Analytics are a must for email marketing campaigns. Constant Contact Reports is a quick and convenient tool that should definitely be considered in your strategies. Here is what it can tell you:

Emails Report The Constant Contact Emails Report is a compiled list of the emails you have sent out in the past. The following information is provided in Constant Contact analytics. They’re worth knowing and tracking the next time you conduct email marketing:

  • Bounce – The number of emails not received by your contacts, which could be caused by a number of factors including full mailboxes, vacation auto-replies and spam filters, among others.
  • Spam Reports – The number of recipients who marked the email as spam.
  • Opt-outs – The number of recipients who unsubscribed from your email list.
  • Opens – The number of emails your recipients have received and opened.
  • Clicks – The number of recipients who clicked on a link within your email.
  • Forwards – The number of times the email was forwarded.

Comparative Metrics View your efforts to date on a larger landscape with Comparative Metrics, which presents the overall metrics as well as the metrics of the last three months. This can be particularly useful for viewing the success of your emails if you’ve recently changed your marketing tactics.

Email Statistics Graph Here is where things come together and you can really get a feel for your email campaign success. Remembering the previous definitions, this graph will display bar and line graphs to give you information at-a-glance. Convenient metrics presented in the graph are the Industry Open and Click Rates. These will show your email’s success compared to the industry’s average success with email marketing. While your organization should establish benchmarks unique to your goals and resources, these industry averages are a good place to start. constant contact


This is just one piece of the puzzle; the bare bones of the insights and information you can uncover with Reports. Now that you understand the basic overview of Constant Contact and its analytics reports, it will be easier to analyze past and current results and better plan for the future. Being aware of these metrics will allow you to better strategize your content to drive Forwards and ultimately, Clicks to your website. On the opposite side, through Opt-outs and Spam Reports, you can tailor your future emails to steer clear of particular topics or content that are not appealing to your audience.

From the start, making sure you integrate with other tools, such as Google Analytics, can further boost the potential of your email marketing campaign and Constant Contact Analytics. Enabling Google Analytics tracking into your email ensures that Google will pay attention to the traffic coming into your website, directly from your emails and what they’re doing, once they’re on your site. For other applications that integrate with Constant Contact, take a look at their Apps and Integrations page on their website here.

At KW2, we utilize MailChimp and Constant Contact, with Google Analytics integration. We pay close attention to the collection of data and analytics, but sometimes our clients prefer another platform that offers the best tools for their marketing goals. So we’d like to know: Does your company use Constant Contact or another platform? How do you interpret those analytics and data for better email marketing and site traffic?



Calling all burning digital questions

We’re on a quest to answer your web-related questions. Want to know how responsive design works? Need some help with email marketing? Want to know more about how Google AdWords can work for your business? Ask us a question in the comments section below or email us at

Our team will post the most common and the best-of-the-best to get you the marketing help you need.



Introducing the Intern Journal – Chapter 1

We’ve started a new tradition at KW2. We picked up a blank journal that we’ll leave with our ever evolving team of interns to communicate across time with one another. Each new intern will be encouraged to tell us their expectations. Through their time here, and most importantly, at the end, we’ll ask them to note the big takeaways from their experience.

Here’s what we got on our first try:

The Intern Journal Entry #1
By Taylor Laabs

3 Big Takeaways From My Internship

1. ASK
Asking questions is a big part of why I had such a great time here. Ask to be in meetings, ask to see new work, ask any questions you may have regarding advertising. Most importantly, ask and be proactive in looking for new work and projects. The projects I asked to be a part of were often the most fun and interesting for me.

Embrace the culture here, because it’s a great one. Try to attend as many Happy Hours, Beer:30’s and Good Music events as you can. Because during these events are when the best and most meaningful relationships form.

Try to form as many relationships with people here as you can. These people know their craft and have a lot of knowledge they’d love to share with you. Informational Interviews are also helpful. Plus, these people are connected to a wide array of contacts and industries that may prove useful to you later on.

Interns are important to us. We value our interns at KW2 and share everything we possibly can with them. They’re involved right away in the thick of things and bring valuable insight. Heck, we’ve even hired a few over the years. It’s amazing to see them go on to big agency jobs in Chicago, New York and LA. It’s wonderful when they come back to visit and tell us about their new adventures.

We thought of The Intern Journal as a tool to help new interns get comfortable and learn about KW2: who we are and what we do. But the good folks at KW2 will certainly learn from reading these words of intern wisdom.


Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection Announcement

KW2 Adds Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection to Client Roster

Today we announce an addition to our client roster: Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection (BHTP). Our strategy, planning, digital and creative teams aided the new brand, BHTP, in the launch of their revolutionary travel insurance product line with a comprehensive, strategic marketing and advertising rollout. The campaign launched on June 1.

“KW2 demonstrated exceptional experience and pulled together a dynamic team to help us launch our new brand,” said Brad Rutta, Director of Marketing for Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. “There was great chemistry between the two organizations from the beginning, and KW2 has managed to work under the difficult timelines necessary to execute our campaign.”

This is a revolutionary travel insurance offering. Consumer research confirms that there is confusion and distrust around travel insurance. People often indicate the insurance is too expensive for common trips, and that making claims is a complicated process. BHTP launched their entire campaign around one basic requirement: simplicity. The AirCare product costs only $25 and can be purchased up to one hour before a flight. The benefits are aimed entirely at flight protection and include: paying travelers $1,000 when they encounter travel problems like tarmac delays and lost baggage, $500 for missed connections and baggage delays, and $50 for a two-hour flight delay. Real-time trip tracking allows BHTP to see travel issues before they occur, and they can process payments directly to the traveler’s account.

KW2 assisted with the brand development, product naming, and website design (, and we created all creative assets for the digital campaign including online banner ads, mobile ads, digital audio, video and pre-roll commercials. The advertising campaign launched in conjunction with Hayworth Marketing and Media, targeted at consumers and travel professionals.

Andy Wallman, President of KW2, said, “We couldn’t be more excited to add BHTP to our client roster. We’re thrilled to help them revolutionize travel insurance with the innovative ways they’re putting the customer first. Berkshire Hathaway is one of the premier financial brands in the world, and we’re committed to helping them grow their brand in the specialty travel insurance business. Every member of the team here at KW2 is 100% committed to their success.”

For more information, go to and check out our Featured Work.



Experiential Marketing: Letting Your Customer Taste, Touch and Feel Your Brand

In my previous life, I managed a team of experiential marketers for Miller Lite to promote and sell featured products to consumers. In its basic form, these efforts involved playing games, giving out free marketing collateral and even free samples. In these few minutes of sampling, playing brand-themed iPad games and discussion, we were able to draw the consumer away from their current habits, immerse them in the brand and topic of discussion, and reinforce the benefits of our product. I’ll never forget one consumer I approached and he said, “I never really tried Miller Lite, until you and the Miller team gave me a free beer a few weeks back and talked with me about taste comparison to competitors. I’ve been drinking Miller since.”


What is experiential marketing? It is one of the fastest-growing and “hottest categories in the ad industry,” (Chicago Business Journal) which focuses on providing the ultimate consumer experience through events and activities that connect consumers with brands. The key to experiential marketing is immersing your target in all that your brand has to offer. This is where passive vs. active marketing really comes into play.


Here are a few famous examples:

-Gillette promoted their razors by setting up a barber event set in select cities. Male consumers were invited to get a free shave  with the Gillette products.

-Ikea furnished hotels with tables, sofas, beds, chairs and even utensils for guests to enjoy during their stay.

-Keeping with their campaign to spread happiness, Coca-Cola implemented a vending machine, dubbed the Hug Machine, at  the National University of Singapore that gave students a free can when students would physically hug the machine.

In each situation, these brands tapped into the features and benefits of their products and let consumers experience it. For a brief moment, the brand completely encapsulated the public’s mind and left a lasting impression with each participant, in a way that didn’t feel like advertising or relationship marketing, but actually was.


I once saw a presentation from a designer whose theory is to create the perfect design via multisensory experiences. Isn’t that fantastic? If you can create something that allows consumers to tap into sight, sound, smell, touch and taste, it creates emotions and memories. Isn’t that what we, as marketers, strive for? We want our brand to be the first thought when prompted by a particular topic, word or idea. How can you, in B2C, B2B or social marketing, create experiences that get you closer to your customer?


The Art of Listening

If you listen, they will talk – Hear what your customers have to say

We’ve heard the command since we were old enough to talk. “Listen up!” said our parents, teachers, coaches, and instructors. It’s easy to become numb to the idea of listening, or at least fall into the habit of listening poorly. However, the value of hearing what clients, and their customers, have to say can’t be overstated. That’s a key element of what we do here at KW2: we put our customers first.

Listening can help improve the efficiency of your business, streamline your practices, and bolster your relationships with customers, co-workers, and personal contacts. Here are 5 easy strategies to consider:

1.   Listen without distraction. Put down the phone. We’re all multitaskers in theory, but science tells us that we actually are just shifting focus between tasks momentarily and with great speed. That means you miss details if your attention is divided, even slightly.

2.   Actually listen. If you’re talking, you’re not hearing what is being spoken to you. There will be times where you need to speak up, but allowing your mind to absorb what is said helps YOU in turn develop better ideas and retain information.

3.   Ask clarifying questions. This helps avoid confusion and mistakes down the line since you’re ensuring you have complete and accurate information. It also helps the speaker feel that you value and understand what they say.

4.   Doodle. Yes, draw things while you listen. It engages the visual parts of your brain, and it helps you avoid other, more involved distractions. Fast Company’s article, “How to Turn Your Mindless Doodles into Productivity Enhancers” suggests what your doodles say about you and how you can turn them into productive tools.

5.   Don’t agree with everything, but be prepared to change your mind. Inspire true dialogue by challenging assumptions and the status quo. Take a moment to think. What were we trying to accomplish? What was said? What underlying meaning was there in the conversation we just had? Then DO. Innovate and explore as many ideas as possible to arrive at the best one.

Better listening leads to informed, more efficient decision-making. Engaging your customers, your staff, your peers by truly listening to them ensures that you miss the mark less. Ideas come from everywhere … are you willing to hear them?


digital marketing training events 2014

Top 23 Digital Marketing Conferences for 2014

As 2014 kicks into high gear, it’s time to assess your marketing goals for the year. Part of that assessment should include a look at what digital trends and tools your marketing team should be paying attention to. We’re all too busy to plan for these events, right? Knowing this, we’ve gathered a Poster of 2014 Top Marketing Training Events that we know will help make your team even smarter in digital marketing.

Maybe you need help understanding your analytics so that marketing and sales can work as a more unified team. Or perhaps you need to know the latest ways to measure ROI on a social media campaign. Maybe you’ve got a question on the trendy topic of responsive design for websites. Searching for all of the different marketing conferences that can help you learn these things can be time consuming. So, the good folks at KW2 have done some of the legwork for you. Click here to download an infographic of the top marketing conferences in 2014. This reference guide can help you plan your training calendar around the events you want to go to. To help you get an easy view of the events that might interest you, the poster lists the location, date and  hot link to each of the event websites. Some folks from KW2 will be at Confab in Minneapolis in May. We’ll also be attending BOLO in Scottsdale in the fall. Got any good training events you think should be added to our list? Let us know and we’ll update it and re-post to our blog. Happy conferencing!

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4 Takeaways from the Big Game – Super Bowl XLVIII Marketing Trends

The biggest ads on the biggest stage of the year, the Super Bowl has been the marketing mecca since its inception. Even if you don’t have beaucoup bucks to throw at a coveted 30-second spot, there is still value in watching how other companies and brands reach millions of captive viewers.

Here are the top four things we learned from Super Bowl XLVIII:

  1. Wow-factor is important, but so is doing good. This year we saw an overarching theme of companies inspired by humanitarian efforts. Intuit QuickBooks gave its spotlight to GoldieBlox, a small business who makes toys designed to empower young girls. Microsoft featured Steve Gleason, an ALS patient who can communicate with his child through his Surface tablet. Chevy advocated for celebrating life though World Cancer Day on February 4. These companies seized an opportunity to spread good will by advertising more than just their product.
  2. More than ever, the importance of social media is undeniable. It’s not just about the ad anymore; integration with digital spaces is key. The big game saw a record number of tweets. Ads featuring hashtags (now ubiquitous on Twitter, Vine, Pinterest and Facebook) rose from 50% to 58%. At the close of the fourth quarter, Esurance announced a $1.5M giveaway contest that went viral within seconds with the hashtag #EsuranceSave30. If your company or brand has a social media presence, invite your followers to engage in conversation.
  3. Real-time marketing. Who had this year’s “Oreo Moment”? Real-time marketing, or #RTM, is not reactive—it’s proactive. It takes strategic thinking to know which moments to be prepared for, to develop intuitive and insightful ideas to contribute. It also takes a fair amount of great ideas on the spot, and trusting intuition in moments you couldn’t prepare for. Companies like Tide and Priceline responded to big plays and big commercials as they aired using clever Vine videos on Twitter. Some of this content was posted live, while other content appeared to been planned out beforehand. Regardless, be ready for the moments when your customers are ready to engage.
  4. A look in the mirror. Super Bowl ads grab your attention like no others. But aren’t they also a reflection of what society values? Consider how many “reality commercials” were featured during the Super Bowl this year. Doritos’ fan-submitted commercials have been hits for years. This year we saw promote a fledgling business as an engineer quit her job on live TV. Bud Light showed what it’s like when you’re “Up for Whatever.” A look into what advertisers brought to the Super Bowl this year suggests that we as an audience long for nostalgia, adventure and a more homegrown take on advertising.


We’d love to hear what you thought of this year’s ads. Did anything miss the mark? What moved you most?