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Leaving the Mega Brokerage

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Why’d You do it?

Many of you know that Rick and I left Coldwell Banker in July of this year.  We get all kinds of questions from friends and colleagues, the main ones are “Why did you leave?” and “How did you do it?“. ( I apologize for the length of this article in advance….so unlike me.)

Before I explain, let me first say that Coldwell Banker was good to us, we learned a great deal the 4 plus years we were there, their corporate structure fit our business model and we would not have changed a single thing.  The decision to leave came about because of a shift in our business due to the fluctuating real estate market where Coldwell Banker was no longer meeting our needs and was not helping our goals.  We left doors open and were so glad that neither locks were changed nor ugly communications sent out as we had seen many times when colleagues left big brokerages.

Decision to Leave

With big corporations come rigid rules.  We joined a big brokerage for the big name and the corporate backing.  Rick and I both had corporate backgrounds and appreciated structure and set rules.   There were procedures for everything, had to follow a chain of command and  it was a relief not to be penny picked for signs, desk fees, copies, office assistance, open house ads, business cards …….(the list can go on forever with some brokerages).

But as the real estate market started to change and main-stream marketing was no longer effective, we had to work on our brand more than ever before and were making sales from our own Internet marketing, not so much from The Mega Brokerage National Marketing efforts.

After months of not getting leads from our brokerage, not seeing results from their marketing efforts, and starting to see resistance from our office with regards to our methods, we knew we had outgrown the Mega Brokerage.  Our business model had changed from right under our feet and Coldwell Banker was no longer a good match for us.

Where to go?

We started researching several local brokerages to see who would be the best fit.  Would it be a virtual office?  Could it be another Mega Broker with less rigid rules? or would we go with a boutique company that believed and would compliment our efforts?

The third one won.  Priding ourselves in customer service and having learned the importance of engaging people with blogging and social networking, we were impressed when the CEO of Majestic Properties took time from his day to meet with us and give us some F2F (that’s Face-to-face time for the text challenged ones).

It was not a hard decision, we then had to figure out how to make it happen without the move killing our bottom line.

How did we do it?

Rick and I are the most black and white people you will meet and everything we do has to be by the book.  We are not the sly people that can slither through situations but had a challenge before us.  We knew we could not take our listings if we left (about 18 of them at the time), and any pending transactions would be capped and loose a lot of money.  We also knew that if we announced our departure, there could be a possibility of being asked to leave on the spot and would not have a chance to breathe.

We decided to speak to all of our listing clients and tell them the truth; we had outgrown our mega brokerage and the listings did not belong to us, but CB.  We told them that although they were our clients, we were not allowed to solicit their business.  If they wanted to continue to work with us, they would have to wait until their listings expired.  We explained that our listings would be reassigned to another agent who would be thorough and would handle the sale of their property.  (We knew this from an agent that had left our office the previous year and we had been assigned as the “handling agents” in the interim).

I had to admit I felt good when a lot of our clients were outraged that they had hired us not the brokerage and felt cheated that another agent would be assigned to them.  We told them that we could not solicit their business and it would be up to them to make the request.

I am happy to say that all but one of our listings wanted to stay with us.  There is no price for Loyalty in our business and was so happy to hear our clients wanted us, not the brokerage.

Breaking the News

We broke the news to our manager the day we decided to leave.  We had grown very fond of everyone in the office and it was not an easy thing to do.   No locks were changed, doors remained open for us and our manager was sad to see us go.  She explained what would happen with the remaining listings and pending deals and asked us to reconsider.  We already knew the steps and there were no surprises, we had made the decision to make the change and live with the consequences.

Fast Forward 4 months

It was not easy and there was a lot of stress involved.  I think what made the move smooth was the fact that we knew what to expect and we did not try to fight it.  We followed protocol when it came to split changes and loss of commissions.  The fact that all but one client stayed with us was more than we would have expected.  Some of the clients that remained wrote letters to the broker and were released, others had to wait for the listing to expire.

We are so happy with our new brokerage and see such a different attitude when it comes to bending the rules and understanding that in a challenging market, flexibility is key.  In addition to all the red-tape we had to to through, we see camaraderie in our new office and people learning from each other instead of always being on the defensive.  The fact that we can now talk to our broker when we have an idea and don’t have to go through a chain of command and wait days for a response is huge for us.  We have grown in 4 short months and although we ask ourselves why we did not make the move sooner, we know that we had to wait for the perfect time

Plan ahead

I was waiting for things to cool down to tell this story in order to give you a more objective viewpoint of the process.  To make a move from a big brokerage you need to really plan and make sure you are making the right decision.

  • know what protocol is for your current brokerage when someone leaves (where listings stay, if there is a change in commission structures, what happens to pending deals, what communication will be allowed with all parties once the change is finalized).
  • Do a little research and find out how others that have left have been treated and learn from their mistakes
  • Be honest – always keep in mind the Code of Ethics and make sure you don’t violate any laws or rules
  • Have realistic expectations
  • Be upfront and communicate the process to your clients
  • Have a solid plan and schedule

But the most important piece of advice I can give you is to really analyze the reasons you are looking for change and make sure you assess the consequences to make sure it is worth the trouble and aggravation.  I take a deep breath 4 months later when I look back at all the obstacles we had to go through – for us it was worth it and if I had a chance to do it differently, I would not change a thing.

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors Miamism.com, PrimeMiamiBeach.com, and MiamismPix.com and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Teresa Boardman

    October 27, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    I left coldwell banker 4 years ago. no regrets

  2. Ben Goheen

    October 27, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    We moved to our current broker about a year ago and couldn’t be happier. 99% of the people we talk to don’t care about the name on the sign in the front yard.

    Of course it’s much easier to move when you don’t have any listings at the time.

  3. Missy Caulk

    October 27, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Ines, good for you. I made a change, this past January. The hardest part was all the things on the internet that had to be changed. I’m still running across them. The systems (in office) were different, different forms the broker wanted etc…. I have not plans to change again, but if I ever did I would just start my own, with just me and my team.

    You are right, none of my business has come from the broker. Although I still get referrals from Remax agents that I had met being with them so long. I always would say, “I’m with KW now, not Remax.”

    That was not a problem for any of them.

  4. Sharon Simms

    October 27, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Ines – congratulations on moving forward with your career! We left Coldwell Banker 5 years ago (they purchased the company we were with, and we stayed for nearly a year to experience it). Yes, they’re a great company and were very good to us, but it was time to move on. We, too, were doing a lot of internet marketing and doing our own branding and advertising. Hope to get together with you soon!

  5. ines

    October 27, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    T – there’s a time and place for a big brokerage – for those that have figured out how to do it without them, it makes no sense.

    Ben – I was actually concerned about the move because Europeans usually look for the brand and big name. Our business is only getting better – the brand worked for us when we first started, now it’s a matter of assessing our business model and growing at our pace with no restrictions.

    Missy – of course the paper work takes a toll and is never fun, I still find profiles to this day with CB (think of all the networks we have joined just in the past year alone!) 😉 I also agree about the next move being our own. I also have to tell you that people have not even mentioned the change – we were “rick and ines” before the move and have always marketed as such – now the move is towards “Team Miamism”.

  6. ines

    October 27, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Hi Sharon – one thing I do have to say about Coldwell Banker is that their training when you are a new agent is fantastic, really recommend it for new agents. Hope to see you at NAR next week in Orlando.

  7. Steve Simon

    October 27, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    What worked in the mega agency will work in the Mom and Pop store, you will win.
    There is no way to accurately value doing it for yourself rather than under someone else’s banner. There is a feeling that sets in, Maslowe (1954) said it all in his writings on human needs. After a while the true feeling of success can only be found when you do for yourself, for your own reasons and in a manner of your own choosing.
    The needs of self-identification (belonging to the team) and self-esteem (standing out while a member of the team) are met and satisfied, leaving the need for self-actualiztion unmet. This need is only fed when you do things your own way for your own pleasure.
    You are traveling up Maslowe’s Pyramid:)

  8. Jay Thompson

    October 27, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Ines, I’m glad it’s working out for you and Rick. I know I’m *so* glad we opened up our own shop in February.

    I do think it’s kind of sad (and a testament to your old broker) that fear of being asked to leave early forced you to feel you could only give same-day notice. As a broker, I would want my agents to feel they could tell me anything, and I certainly wouldn’t screw them if they announced they were leaving, particularly with all the sound reasoning and thought you went through.

    “She explained what would happen with the remaining listings and pending deals and asked us to reconsider.” Personally, I think too many brokers hold agents hostage through listings and pending deals. I’d rather have agents that want to be in my brokerage, as opposed to agents that are there because they can’t afford to leave.

  9. monika

    October 27, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Ines,
    Jay and I left Century 21 to go to a larger more progressive Prudential agency in 2005 and since that time Prudential has changed or better yet maybe I should say has stood still and not changed with the market. I’m thinking smaller is better and a boutique type firm is very appealing.

  10. Jillayne Schlicke

    October 27, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Hi Ines,

    Thanks for sharing. I’ve often wondered about those rules. I’ve come to accept that we work in a transient industry. Mortgage, title real estate. Life goes on and you never know….you could end up working with those same folks again in the future.

  11. ines

    October 27, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Steve – loved the way you put that – thank you. What’s ironic in our industry is that we, as Realtors are constantly branding ourselves and our business – we pay for our marketing and when you look at the big picture, you start questioning why it is that you need the Mega Broker, or the small one at that.

    Real Estate is shifting and if the big dogs don’t see it, they will miss out.

    Jay – it is very sad and for us it was the hardest thing to do to wait to the last minute to announce it. We felt we were not being honest with our office and we were keeping a secret – too bad is has to happen that way. Truthfully, if there wouldn’t have been a “hostage situation”, we would have left earlier.

    Moni – and the way you and Jay run your business, you may also want to consider being on your own.

    Jillayne – you bring a very good point – as I said, we left in good terms and you never know where life may take you….the doors are certainly open.

  12. Ruthmarie Hicks

    October 28, 2008 at 12:02 am

    A lot of the big dogs don’t get it. They are clinging to the old ways. I interviewed with Coldwell in my area. They weren’t allowing IDX on any web sites. All you got with them was a web page. They were obviously trying to control the listing process which is not what I had in mind. There was no way I was going to build my brand in such a situation.

  13. Ted Mackel

    October 28, 2008 at 12:51 am

    I left C21 earlier this year. The only broker in my market area that will not release listings is Coldwell Banker. I opted to move to another brand for two reasons.

    First, I have owned and operated a business with 40 employees large overhead and open everyday of the year beside Christmas. I know what it costs to pay rent, have liability on a lease, pay for all the utilities and overhead, plus the on going headaches (liability) of a business. I have not even got into payroll and employees who don’t show up for work. I knew that going on my own to save money is a big myth in the real estate business.

    The company I am with now has a CAP on commissions and the low cost to hang my license at my current company could not be duplicated elsewhere. The profit sharing was a nice extra as well. The annual cost hang my license with Keller Williams is very far below what it would cost to go on my own.

    Second, Sales is a contact sport, isolating in a smaller environment just shields my listings from exposure. I have always reaped big benefits from being in a big company. I know of several listings and one I recently sold because I was constantly talking to other agents in the office about my listings. I am very active in my association but I know without a doubt, that I can attribute the sale of several properties I had a hard time selling by talking them up in the office.

    If you are not a broker, then you have to work under a broker…..IMHO, better that broker be big, but at the same time be capped on what they can take from you and not limit your ability to market yourself.

    If you are looking to a brand (be it national or regional) to be progressive…..Good Luck, that is a big myth they all try to portray.

    Realolgy – C21, CB, ERA, Sothebys and BHG = Dinosaurs

    Remax – Nothing progressive coming out of the agents from that franchise around here.

    Even the company I am with (Keller Williams) still teaches Cold Calling; for crying out loud!

    Those of us that have struck out on the tech side on our own are still the early adopters and will be for quite a while.

    I can’t reiterate enough. Get your best split possible. Get an annual cap on that split. E&O is a broker profit center and needs to be negotiated to a flat fee and not a per transaction fee. If you are paying a royalty on every transaction for the year….there are other companies that will cap that fee too.

  14. Jay Thompson

    October 28, 2008 at 1:27 am

    “E&O is a broker profit center”

    Not for every broker Ted. We’re not all the same….

    You can also open your own brokerage and not have rent and utilities and a lease liability.

    And no one will tell you to cold call unless you tell yourself.

  15. Ted Mackel

    October 28, 2008 at 1:49 am

    Jay,

    >>Having dealt directly with an E&O policy before joining the ranks of the big firms, that was the first laugh I had at C21.

    >>Sure I could work out of my house, but I’m just a little too gregarious to isolate that much. As much as my clients love me, a real office adds to professional credibility more than the room behind my Garage.

    >>No brokerage has required cold calling around here for years….the fact that it is still taught as a strategy is hysterical. Yep….even a blind squirrel can find a nut every once in a while.

  16. Nicole Boynton

    October 28, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Thanks for sharing your story, Ines. I left CB several months ago for a boutique brokerage with a progressive Web 2.0 mindset and wish I had done it sooner! I had a history with CB that spanned over 18 years because my father has been an agent there since he became licensed so it was a tremendously emotional decision. Upon making the decision to leave I met with the President and she could not have been more supportive. She even said that if she were in my shoes she would be making the same choice! The door remains open and she even said she would help me if I ever needed any help or advice. Coldwell Banker is a solid firm with great brand recognition but they are a staunchly traditional, brick and mortar firm that refuses to acknowledge and evolve with the times. My current brokerage not only encourages learning and interaction but actually teaches us SEO, has a fantastic split, and offers a leads program with no referral fee! How long will it take before the traditional companies stand up and take notice that the world is changing and if they don’t change with it they will (and rapidly are) going to become totally irrelevant? Stories like ours will become more and more common as agents realize that the mega firms have too much politics, red tape, and too little flexibility. I commend you on taking a leap of faith and hope others will follow the lead.

  17. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    October 28, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Ruthmarie – I’m sorry to hear that – I did have my own page and IDX while with CB – I have to tell you that any company that restricts agents’ marketing efforts is only limiting their own bottom line…..crazy!

    Ted – I really like the KW business model, so much so that I joined a KW office before CB. The way the office is handled and controlled and the way that business model is followed by its brokers is huge…..needless to say, I was not happy w/ it and left 4 months later.

    The whole big office concept in order to talk and related to a team is definitely a myth. I can tell you that when I plan a brokers open, I call each local agent personally and invite them to come. I have great rapport w/ all of them, no matter the office and it has to do more with the way you engage your colleagues than the office you are in – thanks for you take btw.

    Jay – cold calling is not for everyone, and some agents still live by it…to each its own. E & O , well…..when it comes to getting actual representation, it doesn’t matter who you paid.

    Nicole, thanks for sharing your story as well and CONGRATULATIONS!! My biggest problem with the big brokerages was the whole “relocation and referral” issues. To think that if you referred a client to me I had to go through their relocation department and give away 40% is absolutely insane!

  18. Jennifer Klaussen

    October 28, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Hey Ines… congrats on your move. I also left a bb (big brokerage) just about 2 yrs ago and joined KW – progressive and my goodness, soul! yes, I said soul…

    Anyway, I have a friend moving to Miami next spring – I’ll surely send them your way!

    Have a terrific day!
    Jennifer

  19. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    October 28, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Hi Jennifer – thank you and congrats on yours. I think it’s important to point out that working with a “progressive” brokerage is not for everybody.

    Study your needs – look at your options – there are plenty of brokerage models out there – Mega Brokers don’t mean as much to many agents today.

  20. Matt Fagioli

    October 28, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Ah, my favorite subject!
    I love the conversation about big vs. small and old vs. new. All of it leads (as it should) to the question
    “what is each party bringing to the table”
    That’s what we all should always be asking. The reason that bb is dead or dying is that they forgot that they actually need to deliver value. They have been taking your money so long that they just think they deserve it I guess.

  21. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    October 28, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Matt – the question of “value” is very subjective and in my opinion a lot of the Mega Brokerages do offer value (they wouldn’t be as strong if they didn’t) – I can say from my own experience that I used every resource available to me while being in CB and have no regrets but as our business model changed, so did our needs.

    I do think that if a lot of these Mega Brokerages would change their rigid structures somewhat, they would have a lot more satisfied and producing agents – to me is a no brainer….but making them feel hostage and hearing all the horror stories from agents that have left, leaves a sour taste for many and a hint of “fear”.

  22. Eric- New Orleans Condos and Lofts

    November 2, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    I am not ready for a move but you always have to keep your options open. Knowing what the market has to offer is important. I see my company training, recruiting, and then watching most of the promised ones leave for better commission plans.

    If you are unhappy then get to a place you may like. Business will continue without you if you let it.

  23. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    November 2, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Hi Eric! Absolutely, options open and really look at the options, it’s not always about better commission plans….especially if you have no experience and need training.

  24. Jim Gatos

    November 5, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Gee….

    I know CB can be a little “stiff”, but overall I really like them, and I’ve been to other companies too… Here’s why I like them…

    1. They pay for the first couple of ads in the paper.

    2. They pay for Open House ads.

    3. They have a great location for an office.

    4. Even though I thought I was not too happy with having to refer my outgoing referrals to the corporate referral dept, in all honesty they do a great job.

    5. Best Mortgage company I’ve dealt with overall is NEMoves Mortgage (part of Coldwell Banker).

    6. I can do anything I want on the web in terms of having my own IDX and I pay for it with an outside vendor.

    7. Most of my calls from the internet go all to me.

    8. I can have my blog provided I have a disclaimer (and I do).

    9. Legal is free.

    10. Excellent support and training. Ongoing and also continuing education for maintaining my license.

    11. Very fair and competitive compensation plans.

    12. A great manager.

    The independents in my area, for the most part, are either with one leg in the grave, or they are generally arrogant and “backwards”.. Couple of good ones but they have hardly any recognition. Keller Williams? I’ve been there for 2 years in my area.. No comment, but I’m not there.

  25. ines

    November 5, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Jim – thanks for your opinion – I liked CB as well for everything you mentioned (except the office was horrible and I was embarrased to take clients there).

    The ads were on and off….not really a plus because each office had a quota and there were way too many agents.

    Free legal – awesome! definite plus – except the time the legal department cracked a joke about Rick and I making each other company in jail after we reported a mortgage fraud scam to them.

    Compensation plans were really bad IMHO

    Giving 40% of my commission to relocation eventhough I didn’t have to go through them was unacceptable

    Great manager – absolutely!! The couple of managers we had were A1 but the one we have now is top notch as well.

    To think that last week I was contacted by a local news station to do a Luxury REal Estate Market Piece and my broker was available to me on the spot and willing for me to show one of his Luxury Listings…..is priceless – I would have never had that support in CB.

    Again, what’s important here is for everyone to weigh the pros and cons and feel happy with what they are getting and for your business style to match that of the brokerages and for your expectations to be met.

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Business Marketing

TINA.org is helping the FTC crack down on Kardashian-esque influencers

(MARKETING NEWS) The Kardashians are just five of the seemingly endless amounts of influencers companies are using for marketing but TINA.org is over their tactics.

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A brand could find no better influencers than the Kardashians – the family who proved that you can get famous just for, well, being famous. Each Kardashian sister has an astronomical number of followers, making them obvious trendsetters.

That’s why brands pay the Kardashian sisters – Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, Kendall, and Kylie — tens of thousands of dollars a pop to post pictures of themselves on social media using their products.

Perhaps you find it hard to believe that the Kardashians stop by Popeye’s Chicken to grab a to-go meal before boarding their private jet. Regardless, the Kardashians, and the brands who pay them to pump their products, would prefer that you believe that these endorsements reflect the Kardashian’s actual preferences, rather than the paychecks they receive for posting them.

The Kardashians have been attempting to make their endorsements seem more “authentic” by totally disregarding Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules that require influencers to disclose when their posts are paid endorsements.

In August of 2016, Truth in Advertising (TINA.org) filed a complaint about the Kardashians to the FTC, saying that the (in)famous sisters had “failed to clearly and conspicuously disclose material connections to brands or the fact that the posts were paid ads, as required by federal law.”

After receiving a finger-wagging from the FTC, the Kardashian sisters corrected less than half of the posts, generally by adding #ad to the post. The remaining posts, according to a recent TINA.org follow-up investigation, either have not been edited at all, or contain “insufficient disclosures.”

For example, some posts now read #sp to indicated “sponsored” – as if anyone knows that reference. In another tactic that also got Warner Brothers and YouTube influencer PewDiePie in trouble with the FTC, the Kardashians are posting their disclosure information at the bottom of a long post so that users will only see it if they click “see more.”

The Kardashians have also been posting disclosures, but only days after the original post. Considering that the vast majority of viewers comment on or like posts within the first ten hours after it’s published, most of them will never see the disclosure when it’s tacked on days later.

Some of the “repeat offender” brands, who came up both in last year’s complaint and in the recent review, include Puma, Manuka Doctor, Jet Lux, Fit Tea, and Sugar Bear Hair. This time around, the Kardashians have also failed to disclose sponsorship on posts promoting Adidas, Lyft, Diff Eyewear, and Alexander Wang.

TINA.org found over 200 posts on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat where products are promoted without the Kardashians letting on that their raking in big bucks in exchange. The organization has notified the Kardashians, the brands they represent, and the FTC.

The FTC has recently been cracking down on deceptive influencer marketing, targeting not only the brands, but the influencers themselves.

In April, the FTC sent letters to 46 social media stars reminding them of their legal obligations to disclose, and followed up with 21 letters in September warning the influencers that they had until the end of the month to disclose sponsorships, or face legal consequences.

“The Kardashian/Jenner sisters are masterful marketers who are making millions of dollars from companies willing to turn a blind eye to the women’s misleading and deceptive social media marketing practices,” says TINA.org’s Executive Director Bonnie Patten. “It’s time the Kardashians were held accountable for their misdeeds.”

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Business Marketing

Dove dropped the olive branch with new ad campaign

(MARKETING NEWS) With any ad campaign there will be misses but take a note from Dove’s playbook and learn how to not repeat mistakes.

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Dove’s latest Facebook ad really hit the mark for whitewashing in advertising. The ad, since removed, essentially implied their soap could turn a black woman into a clean white woman.

In a three-second video on the company’s Facebook page, three women transformed into the next when they removed their shirts. The first transition caused an uproar: a woman of color lifting a brown top over her head to reveal a different woman, who is very, very white.

Although the white woman then lifts her shirt to reveal another woman with darker hair and a darker skin tone, the initial transformation is problematic in its implications of whiteness as cleanliness.

Dove has since removed the ad and issued an apology, stating in a tweet “In an image we posted this week, we missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color and we deeply regret the offense that it has caused. The feedback that has been shared is important to us and we’ll use it to guide us in the future.”

Wait, haven’t we been here before? At this point you’d think skin care companies would have realized a little more delicacy is required when rolling out ad campaigns. Remember Nivea’s disastrous, short-lived “White is Purity” mishap? How about Dove’s other blunder in their 2011 VisibleCare ad?

These featured another series of three women standing in front of close-ups of skin, with the darker skinned woman in front of the “before” label, and the woman with the lightest skin by the “after” picture. Although Dove didn’t intend to imply white skin is cleaner, oops, that’s what happened anyways.

While Dove has gotten many things right in terms of inclusivity and featuring models of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, there have also been several instances of intentional racist missteps. Let’s use this as a teachable moment for handling marketing mishaps.

Whenever an ad campaign offends people, the company’s response can make or break the business. If you find yourself in the midst of a marketing crisis, you can take some mindful steps to manage the situation and begin repairing your public image.

First, acknowledge the problem and issue a genuine apology that gets to the core of what your audience is saying. Dove recognized they upset people, and instead of taking a defensive “sorry you felt offended” stance, took responsibility for their actions. Once an apology is issued, explain the original intent to provide context for the situation.

Dove meant to create an inclusive campaign featuring a diverse cast of women. Lola Ogunyemi, the first model featured in the now controversial shirt ad, has even defended the ad. She stated, “I can see how the snapshots that are circulating the web have been misinterpreted, considering the fact that Dove has faced a backlash in the past for the exact same issue. There is a lack of trust here, and I feel the public was justified in their initial outrage.”

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Business Marketing

Aori helps you pack a punch with AdWords

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Aori is the newest tool designed to help anyone using AdWords to kick more butt.

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Search ad campaign managers constantly wrestle with the best way to organize their keywords into campaigns. Most of these decisions strive to balance the time needed to manage the campaign with efficiency of campaign expenditures.

Take the SKAGs strategy, for example. The SKAGs (Single Keyword Ad Group) system is setup to trigger a unique ad for every single keyword by placing each keyword in its own group.

There’s lots of literature touting the benefits of the SKAG system. Generally, the hyper-specific match between ads and keywords improves click-through rates.

This leads to higher quality scores, which leads to lower costs for click, which leads to lower costs per conversion. The tradeoff with this system is the setup. You could be looking at hundreds of keyword groups to set up and maintain, and that’s a lot of work for a small business or startup.

This is where Aori comes in.

Their system helps to automate the process of setting up a SKAG system for your AdWords campaigns.

According to the website, the tool’s primary function is to automate keyword generation. Users enter a set of “root keywords” and common keyword extensions, and Aori will automatically generate all possible combinations of those keywords for your campaigns.

Additionally, through Aori, users can create ad templates using a “dynamic keyword insertion tool,” to enable you to utilize the strongest ad copy across multiple phrases.

In what is the least clear value point of the whole pitch, Aori also uses what they call a “unique bid-optimization algorithm.”

There is almost no detail to be found on how the algorithm works. If the tool handles all bid management for you, this could be a handy tool for PPC novices who are less familiar with the process and lack the time to learn it.

Aori appears to run cheaper than the others we know of, but that may be due to the level of automation available. For example, Aori requires the user to feed it keyword inputs, both root and extension words.

It’s also important to understand where a SKAG system can and can’t work. It is likely a better system for smaller campaigns where ad testing wouldn’t yield statistically meaningful results.

Because every keyword group targets one phrase, you can’t readily say that improvements in ad copy will translate to other campaigns.

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