Whitney Advertising has an idea
January 21, 2009
Robin Whitney, co-owner of Whitney Advertising and Design, Inc., likes designs from the 1950s. Fiberglass lampshades, vinyl couches and pictures of Elvis decorate her office painted in bright colors.
"The 1950s was an era of ideas. The atomic age ushered in a decade of optimism," she explained.
Few companies are able to visually express what they’re all about the way Robin and her husband Jim have in their small office in a tiny business park on the outskirts of town.
But they are marketing professionals, after all.
Marketing is really all about ideas, Robin said. One way an agency like hers can help a company is to start creating visual expressions of ideas.
Transferring ideas from words and emotions into graphics help bring out visions for the product and business that were always present but weren’t being expressed, she explained. It brings desires into sharper focus.
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Ideas are the way out of the current economic slump, Robin said.
When people panic, they try to work their way out of a slump. They also start reexamining their business execution and have lots of meetings with lawyers and accountants. The answer is to "think" our way out of the slump, she said.
Recessions are the best time to start reexamining product offerings.
The look on a person’s face when they greet a customer, the look of the storefront, even the way people answer the phones are part of product presentation. The professionals at Whitney Advertising can give objective advice on all those issues.
Jim said one of his goals is to give customers "60/40" service. That means when they meet with clients to show what they’ve come up with, 60 percent of their presentation is exactly what the client asked for, and 40 percent is additional ideas the firm came up with.
"Buy an ad with us, and get a bunch of ideas for free," Robin joked. "Good ideas are at the core of how to do business."
They said they’ll do whatever it takes to help a company put the best foot forward. They’ve helped redesign store interiors, write scripts for answering the telephone and helped write employee training manuals.
"To the degree that anyone will listen to us, we’ll pipe in with ideas," Jim said.
The time is now to be thinking about these things and asking oneself the tough questions. If we try to wait out the recession, we’ll be in trouble if it lasts awhile, he said.
Whitney Advertising does web design, long-format pieces, publicity, promotional products, even product design. Robin said they offer business solutions, not just ads.
They want to find the best way to address your problem whether that be a trade show-booth strategy to staffing problems, she said.
Their ability to analyze product promotion from any angle comes from their years of experience on both coasts working with the smallest companies to the country’s largest, she said.
The duo met in New York City in the 1980s while both were working at major ad agencies. After a few years, they decided to move to Los Angeles and worked on entertainment industry accounts.
Marketing on the West Coast comes more from the gut and is a more "Zen" way of thinking, she said.
They were contemplating moving closer to family, and after visiting Jim’s mother in Park City 14 years ago, they decided on the drive home that they’d pack up and move.
Many people start in small towns and strive to make it big in L.A. or New York. The Whitneys preferred the reverse. They feel comfortable handling national accounts, as well as helping small, local businesses, Jim said.
"To be our client you have to have a product you’re excited about," Robin said. "If it’s not fun, it won’t work.
One of the goals they set at their last staff meeting was to remember the mantra, "Money won’t bring you joy, but joy will bring you money."
Both clients and marketing experts have got to be "thrilled" about what they’ve come up with to be successful.
"You’ve got to want to mail it to your mother," she said. "If you’re not joyful about your marketing, who else will be?"
Greg Grip, senior vice president of Marker has worked with Whitney Advertising for 14 years on Marker’s national advertising campaign.
Based in New Hampshire, the company was so impressed with the Whitney’s that it decided to fire its New York agency and turn promotion of Volkl over to them as well.
"His creative content and ability to go from soup to nuts makes it worth it to have a guy in Utah do it. We’re very happy. You’ve got a little gem there in the Park City area," he said.
Angie Larson, vice president of sales and marketing for LiteTouch, Inc., a leading lighting control system manufacturing company based in Salt Lake City, said no other business partner has been more invested in LiteTouch’s success than Whitney Advertising over the past 10 years.
"Robin and Jim are among the most talented people I know," she said. "They care more about our company’s long term success than about winning awards for creative campaigns."
Whitney Advertising and Design, Inc.
6410 N. Business Park Loop Rd. Suite H