The world of advertising is changing daily with agencies trying to help brands reach their core demographics in new creative ways and trying to connect with their audiences by using various social media platforms. I had an opportunity to I attended an event called the Step Forward presents Digital Advertisers roundtable host by Derrick Webster ( public speaker and business coach, leveraging his rich entrepreneurial experiences to educate and support nearly 3000 aspiring entrepreneurs) and one of those guest speakers was Ms. Kay Lucas who is the CEO and Managing Director of Media Sense, a company that specializes in designing and executing integrated marketing solutions for small, medium and large businesses.

Kay has over 20 years of advertising and marketing experience and was named one of the Top 50 Advertising & Marketing Executive by Black Enterprise Magazine in 2011.Kay+Lucas

Her expertise lies in bringing together diverse traditional and cutting edge marketing elements in order to create extraordinary results for her clients. She has also worked closely with select media business start-ups to help them successfully develop a solid business vision and strategy in the new media environment – the foundation for growth and profitability. Below is my interview with her about how she got started and how small business entrepreneurs can learn how to build their brands using insights from an advertising executive's point of view.

Roger : How did you get started in the advertising industry?

Kay: I found the advertising industry through watching a special on PBS about advertising back in the '70's. My father was encouraging me to go into medicine and made sure that I was enrolled in a solid pre-med curriculum at Berkeley where I attended my Freshman year at college. I was fortunate to have a roommate at Berkeley, whose father was Murray Roffis, former Media Director for SSCB and whose mother was Adele Roffis, a well know Network TV salesperson for ABC. She quickly gave me the insights to move forward with interviews in New York as soon as I graduated that landed me a job at Grey Advertising and allowed me to follow the career of my dreams.

Roger : Why did you decided to start your own ad agency?

Kay: After 20 years in the business, I decided to start my own agency because I saw the industry start to change in the midst of the digital revolution. I wanted to be a position to be more nimble and flexible when it came to servicing an emerging set of new client needs that are an outgrowth of these changes. I saw an opportunity to get into the middle of the gap and be able to provide client solutions that embraced a new innovative way of thinking.

Roger : What advice would you give small business about creating a buzz for their brands?

Kay: The best advice I can offer a new agency start of for creating buzz, is to diligently network in person, via social media and through coverage in trade press. This is still a people oriented business and the face to face contact is the most important and offers the highest ROI.

Roger : Why would small business or upcoming brands need to work with an ad agency vs. trying to do it themselves?

Kay Now that we are in the digital age, a lot of start-ups feel that they can manage their branding and advertising on their own. However the secrets to developing a highly successful marketing, advertising or even digital campaign, are still based on an age old principles combined with new technology. Often the experience that a company like MediaSense can offer can help new companies avoid the profit loss that occurs when a trial and error approach is taken.

Roger: What make your company so unique?

Kay: My company, Media Sense is unique because we combine almost 30 years of media and agency experience with a totally open attitude and approach to the new innovation marketplace. That is why our tagline is "Innovation Communication". It would be rare to find this amount of experience, creativity and openness to innovation in one place.

Roger: Name some ads that you saw that had the greatest impact to you and why they worked?

Kay: Some of the greatest ads that I have ever experienced were fun, stayed with you, and still conveyed the brand message in an elegant way. My favourites included VW's Drivers Wanted, Wendy's "Where's the Beef", and Verizon's "Can You Hear Me Now?"

Roger: What are the top 5 things that brands & companies need to think about when it comes to their return on investment?

Kay: The top five things to keep in mind when it comes to return on investment are:

a. Maintaining a clear idea of what success looks like

b. Making wise decisions down to the smallest detail

c. Conducting effective negotiations

d. Ongoing stewardship to ensure you are getting what you pay for

e. Being able to adjust quickly when new information emerges that suggests you change course.

Roger Maloney is the VP of Vanguarde Consulting Group and company that prepare small business for the digital age. Roger can be reached at rogermaloney@hotmail.com.

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