Mindshare - MasterMind ideas from the strategists at Treacy Marketing Group

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Tom Kehoe
President, Kehoe Designs
www.kehoedesigns.com

‘Tis the perfect season to talk with nationally recognized Chicago event décor expert Tom Kehoe about shifts in celebrations, from company events to family holiday dinners. Tom, president of Kehoe Designs, shared with TMG his thoughts about significant agents of change in the event industry, transforming venues into experiences, and entertaining Andy Warhol.

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Susan Fredman

Susan Fredman
CEO, Susan Fredman
Design Group
Founder, Designs for Dignity

Experimentation with new materials has always been at the core of renowned Chicago interior designer Susan Fredman’s work. Susan is the award-winning CEO of Susan Fredman Design Group and founder of Designs for Dignity, a non-profit collective dedicated to transforming environments and the lives of those who inhabit them. An innovative and creative leader, Susan is pushing the design envelope with her newest venture, container homes. Made from recycled shipping containers, these ecologically sound structures are shifting traditional thinking about the concept of home. Susan spoke with TMG about working with this unlikely component and thinking outside, and inside, the box.
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Carol Schuster

Carol Schuster
CEO
Schuster Consulting Group

Carol Schuster is no stranger to the intricacies of introducing a consumer brand in newly emerging economies. As a global brand and marketing consultant, Carol leads high-impact teams that deliver regional, national, and international business strategies and integrated marketing programs to nascent markets in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, and Asia. Having held senior executive roles in the U.S. and abroad for Ogilvy & Mather and D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (where at age 29 she founded the agency’s Warsaw office), Carol is currently based in Shanghai and is spearheading global expansion for luxury women’s retailer Lafayette 148.

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Kevin Kuzemchak
Senior VP, Asset Management
Shorenstein Properties

As the commercial real estate industry emerges from the recession, location remains a driving force, while the definition of a good location has shifted. New real estate opportunities are emerging that will alter our cities and suburbs.

Evolution and change are inevitable. Over the course of time, every industry, company, and individual will arrive at an Inflection Point, that spot on the continuum where fundamental shifts become essential to realizing forward momentum. At issue is how an Inflection Point is addressed. It is not a place where a company, or person, can afford to remain static. Solutions require strategic and creative planning that will inform development and deployment of new approaches capable of shifting trajectory toward growth and success.

Senior Vice President, Asset Management, for San Francisco-based real estate investment firm Shorenstein Properties, Kevin Kuzemchak is well versed on the risks and shifts attendant to today’s real estate market. He talked with TMG about his industry’s response to its own Inflection Point, and the differences between pre- and post-recession landscapes in Chicago and across the nation.
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Dear CEO,

I’ve just come from an event where I was seated at the same table with Brochure and Website from your company. This pleased me as I’m in need of the services and products you offer and had just been referred to your firm by a colleague. I spoke at length with Brochure and Website (good looking, by the way) and learned much about features, benefits, and contact information. When I asked if I might speak with Brand, I was told there was no one at your company by that name. Curious. While Brochure and Website provided much data, without Brand, my experience of your firm was colorless. How is your company different from the others that approach me daily? I’ve spoken with Brochures and Websites from your competitors, and honestly, beyond the logos, one is almost indistinguishable from the next.

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1. The Issue

Once upon a time, there existed a BIG COMPANY, founded many years ago. Next door to BIG COMPANY, was a SMALL FIRM, founded about seven years ago by a group of entrepreneurial go-getters. Even though these two companies were in different industries and had very different cultures, goals, and business models, they had one BIG CHALLENGE in common: they were unable to effectively communicate to target markets and influencers who they were, what they did and why it mattered.

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How closely have you been paying attention to the marketing transformations that surround us? Keyboards ready!
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Shrinking budgets and mandates to grow revenues are not only making us all more resourceful, they’re making us wiser. Business leaders are awakening to a new marketing reality where generating a program of tactics as a first step has become a costly stumble.

Investment versus expenditure

As technology continues to revolutionize marketing communications, content and intent are emerging as critical factors separating one-off marketing expenses from long-term business investments that have the capacity to develop brand equity and support company goals. To successfully compete for mindshare today, marketing communications must be highly focused (with succinct outward facing messaging) and reflective of clear intent (linked to internal business goals). Although creating tactics is still important, it no longer works at the outset. People are bombarded with information from an unprecedented number of avenues. Reactively joining the cacophony has become an expensive and outdated model.

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Avocado shag carpet: so 70s. Shoulder pads: so 80s. Digital brochures: so web 1.0. Y2K: so, well, 2000. What does it take for a trend to develop staying power and transform from buzzword into the Next Big Idea?

TMG is keeping a close eye on ‘repurposing.’ Dictionary.com does not list the word, but offers this definition for purpose: the reason (sic) for which (sic) something exists or is done, made, used, etc. It seems only logical that repurposing can be defined as a modification of the original reason for which something exists or is done, made, or used in order provide renewed value.

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Change is an opportunity to make course corrections, update, and modify. It can invigorate and inspire. But what about changes so all-encompassing that the external industry landscape has shifted to the extent that nothing less than a fundamental revision of business strategy is necessary? If you’re in healthcare, federal mandates may be behind a transition of this magnitude, affecting delivery of clinical care as well as operational systems. Commodity driven price structures are challenging margins in manufacturing. Technology firms are struggling to differentiate in a crowded market.

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