Archive for the ‘REACH News’ Category

We Had the Time of Our Lives

In REACH News on December 22, 2010 at 7:02 pm
Below is one of those “It is with great sadness” letters from REACH President Ryan Sanders. Cue the Green Day…
For four years, REACH has made its clients look great with Madison Avenue services at Main Street prices. I am proud of the body of work we’ve created and the client service we’ve delivered. Last year was our best to date, and our people, processes and products are only getting better.

But even when business is good, there are some callings you can’t ignore. This month, I was offered the opportunity to work full time helping people find deeper relationships with God and with one another at the church where I have volunteered for more than a decade. There aren’t many opportunities that could have pulled me away from REACH, but this was one of them.

So on January 1, 2011, REACH will significantly downsize. What does that mean for our clients and vendors? Here are the Clif Notes:
  • REACH is still available for limited consulting, creative and campaign management services.
  • These services will be provided to a much smaller group of clients and delivered on a more relaxed timeline.

If your company needs a fully staffed agency with speed-of-business capabilities, REACH is no longer the agency for you. If, however, you have short-term projects or just need to discuss brand, marketing or ad strategies with someone, we’re here.

REACH started in December 2006 with a borrowed computer and a lot of spare time. Though most of the credit belongs to Providence, good friends, and a thriving business community in Irving, I’m proud of what REACH became. Looking forward, I’m equally excited though about a new chapter. Irving Bible Church has been a place where my family has found deep healing, lasting friendships, and meaningful work. It’s satisfying to see people helping people – feeding the hungry, healing the sick, restoring marriages, encouraging the overwhelmed. I couldn’t dream of a better mission to invest in for the rest of my career.

If you’ve ever been a client or worked with REACH in any way, here’s a big THANK YOU. You’ll still see me occasionally at Irving city and civic events, and you’re always welcome to check in at any time.

God bless and Merry Christmas!

REACH Furious Over Microsoft Over-REACH

In REACH News on September 14, 2010 at 5:51 pm
September 14, 2010
IRVING, TEXAS — Global advertising powerhouse REACH has issued a lawsuit and scathing rebuke of Microsoft and it’s gaming partner Bungie Studios for “clearly overREACHING its bounds.” Bungie, maker of the popular video game Halo has named its latest release Halo: Reach, illegally infringing on REACH’s identity, the agency asserts. Halo: Reach went on sale to the public today.
“This is identity theft on a galactic scale,” REACH President Ryan Sanders said at a very well-attended press conference this morning. “If our society has REACHed the point where a startup like Microsoft can steal a whole company’s identity, then the terrorists have already won.”
Flanked by a celebrity team of attorneys and intellectual property experts, Sanders demanded an apology from Bungie, a recall of any products with the word “Reach” on them, and a free XBOX. Held at REACH’s luxurious offices in Irving, Texas, the press conference was attended by many leading journalists who asked not to be named by name. Also, Sanders’ mom was there.
“Our agency will continue its global, pervasive, grassroots campaign to destroy the Elites of the gaming industry as long as they continue to needle us with Halo: Breach,” Sanders said, refusing to use the game’s official name.
The first step in the campaign against Microsoft / Bungie is Sanders’ promise to give away one copy of the game’s new release on September 24.
“This is an insurrection. We are calling on all Americans, even Sega players, to join us by following our Twitter feed and retweeting our offer. Anyone who does so will be entered to win a copy of the game.”

Of iPhones, Apple and Branding

In REACH News, Trends on July 2, 2010 at 10:01 pm

I held off as long as I could, but I had to to it. Here it finally is … THE iPHONE RANT!

I am among the millions of Americans who have invested large parts of their lives into the hunt for the ever-elusive iPhone 4. My journey toward wireless phone nirvana has been a long and treacherous one filled with clamshells and candy bars, Missing Sync and eternal contracts. Fully four years after the release of the first iPhone, I was finally in the perfect position to bag one. My Verizon contract expired in May; the new release was due in June. I was as giddy as a geek at WWDC. Little did I know my quest was far from over and I would have to endure retail travails not seen since Tickle Me Elmo before I could pierce the Apple veil and lay hold of the sacred circuitry.

I won’t detail all of those hardships because to do so would produce a tome worthy of Tolkien and probably crash WordPress servers. But I will mention that it would have been handy for Apple to let people know that Family Talk plans cannot be ordered via their website. And to the manager of the Southlake Apple store who sought to reassure all 200 of us by saying that his team had almost gotten the duration of each transaction down to seven minutes: Sorry man. You looked cool in your cargo manpris. But we were not reassured.

All of this has got me thinking (and now writing) about Apple, iPhone, Steve Jobs and Just Bieber. And I’ve come to the following conclusions about the (now) most valuable technology company in the world.

1. Apple: if they weren’t so dang good, they’d be bad.

Apple is on the verge of making a classic branding blunder and the only thing, in my opinion, keeping them from shooting themselves in the PR foot is that they’re so good at what they do. The problem is, they’re losing sight of what they do.

Five years ago, if you had asked any random man on the street (henceforth to be referred to as “Streetman“) what Apple does, he would have said, “Oh, they make iPods.”

Ten years ago, Streetman would have said, “Apple? You mean like IIe? Yeah, we had those in school. I dunno.”

Twenty years ago, Streetman would have said, “They make computers.”

Today, Streetman might say, “They make and sell gadgets.”

The devilish detail Streetman has given us is not in the ever-shifting Apple product line. It’s in the subtle insertion of the words “and sell.”

(Thank you Streetman. You may put your unmistakable white earphones back in now and continue on your way.)

I understand the reasons Apple decided to get into the retail business a few years ago. Namely, no one wanted to sell their stuff and no one who did sell their stuff could answer questions about it. But now that Apple has seemed to clear those hurdles, I think staying in the retail business only hurts them. After all, what can you do at an Apple store that you can’t do at other stores? (Save for getting ideas for where to get your next body piercing.)

We spoke in the last post about a company’s heart. Apple is not a retail company at heart. At heart, they are a technology company. By launching into the retail marketplace, and then Bogarting product launches to the point of overwhelming themselves, they are moving dangerously close to messing up the heart of their business.

Apple makes the best consumer electronics in the world. They should stick with that. They don’t make the best retail machine in the world. Wal-Mart has that one cornered.

Now, I am not one to just point out problems without offering solutions. Here’s my solution: Apple would be wise to seek out the best retail partner to help them with sales and delivery. A big one. One with a stellar logistics machine. One that can handle product launches with 1.7 million sales the first weekend. After all, the best of both worlds would be to purchase the best product in its class (iPhone) from the best store in its class (Best Buy?).

2. Steve Jobs: has just taken a bite of hot chili

My high school ag teacher (yes, I went to a school with an “ag” class) used to say that certain mistakes were like taking a bite of hot chili: whatever you do next is wrong. Jobs has backed himself into a similar corner. Based on the blundered release of iPhone 4 (not to mention the “just don’t hold it that way” issue), I see only three possibilities:

  1. Stevo and his friends are enormously humble. “Oh, we had no idea so many people would like what we make. I mean, we just do it for the love of the game. We weren’t really expecting people to line up like that to buy this stuff. We’re humbled and thankful.”
  2. Steve and company are enormously short-sighted. Maybe they rushed the launch? Maybe they had production delays they didn’t want to make public? For whatever reason, they might have just decided, “Meh, we’re going to sell out and make people wait, but who cares? We’ll be alright.”
  3. They are incompetent at retail. A friend of mine tried gamely to come to Apple’s defense in this iPhone4 bungle by saying, “Can you imagine what would happen if millions of people started lining up at Office Depot to buy toner? They’d sell out too.” I think a lot of Apple defenders take this view. But the effective rebuttal is obvious. If Office Depot had four years to figure out their toner supply chain, I guarantee they would figure out a way to stock enough, sell enough, and deliver enough so that people weren’t asked to order online and wait three weeks for shipping. The difference, of course, is that Office Depot has to compete with other stores who carry toner. Apple can afford to be laissez faire about sales because no one can compete with their product. And by hoarding the launch for a week, they ensured that no one was allowed to compete with their stores.

I guess the bottom line is that they flubbed up, but they can afford to. I and millions like me are sticking with them because for all of the headache involved in the delivery of their product, I’d rather endure the headache to get a phone and then enjoy it than get a phone easily with a BOGO coupon and then spend the next two years screaming at it. That’s why I paid more for the Mac I’m using to write this. It’s why I’ll wait two weeks for an iPhone.

If you’re waiting with me for you online order to arrive in seven to 10 business days, may the force be with you.

Getting In Our Facebook

In REACH News on June 3, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Nine months ago, when I was asked to speak on social media at a local business luncheon, one of the first pieces of news I brought to that crowd was this: there are no rules. It’s still true. When it comes to promoting your business via online networks like Facebook and Twitter, there is a mountain of potential and no trail maps. No proven methodologies. No best practices. None of the “click here to get started” pathways we’ve become accustomed to. It really is the Wild West out there. We really are making this up as we go. Therefore, every “policy” on social media is formed mostly on the basis of what makes sense at the time – what “seems like it should work.” Today, I’m announcing such a policy for REACH.

Many in our network may not notice or care how we approach Facebook, but we at REACH are firm believers in having a plan. The plan can be malleable, but it needs to exist. Plus, we work hard to be on the front lines of new media, tools, trends, etc. in marketing and communications. If anyone is writing company policies for social media – for themselves or clients – we want it to be us.

So with that background, here’s the announcement: REACH will not have a Facebook account. Here are the deets:

Actually, I have TWO Facebook accounts (don’t tell Facebook.) I have one attached to my personal email that I use often for updates on everything I’m involved with from my kids’ soccer games to church outings to REACH projects. That is as it should be. This is the account I created long ago when I first got sucked into the swirling vortex of time wasting that is Facebook.

But as social media continued to grow as a tool for sales, marketing and organizing customers, REACH began to offer more assistance to its clients in that area. At that time, I opened a second Facebook account – this one attached my my company email address. I did this because I needed an account to name as administrator of our clients’ fan pages and while I don’t mind confluence of my personal and professional life on my own wall, there’s no place for that in our clients’ updates. I needed to keep those separate. I don’t use this REACH account to connect with anyone personally or professionally. I only use it as an empty account from which to administer our clients’ Facebook ads, status updates, fan pages, contests, etc.

So that brought me to a crisis of organization: wouldn’t it make sense to separate my personal account from all things REACH and use the work account to only offer company news and updates? Wouldn’t it make sense for me to continually maintain two Facebook accounts and never cross their streams?

I asked friends about this. I asked colleagues in marketing. I even posted the question on my wall to see what my friends themselves thought. The results of that polling were not helpful. About a third of the people thought I should separate the two. A third thought I shouldn’t. And a third told me to get a life. But regardless of which course they recommended or how they expressed it, all of them gave ascent to one theme: it’s about people.

People don’t use Facebook to connect with companies – at least not primarily. People long to connect with other people. We are social creatures; relational to the core. That’s what made Facebook so successful in the first place. And for all their recent foibles, it’s something that Facebook has understood and protected pretty well. They sell ads on the side (literally). They allow fan pages and causes (created by people). But their primary function is to connect people.

So a company Facebook account that never gave my friends any news other than the company’s latest win or award would ultimately be a waste of time. On the other hand, my work is a big part of my life and stripping out any references to business or creative work would be leaving a hole in my Wall for those who really are interested in knowing and keeping up with me.

So until there’s a logical and relational reason to change our policy, REACH will not keep a company account separate from our personal accounts. We might tinker with a fan page eventually, but if you’re really interested ing getting to know REACH, then I suggest getting to know me, Jeremy, Mark and Amyjo. We’re fun people. I think you’d like us.

An Introduction

In REACH News on October 6, 2009 at 12:39 am

Here’s a replay of a conversation I have at least twice a week, except not with a hot British chick…

Screen shot 2009-10-05 at 7.37.19 PM


In REACH News on September 28, 2009 at 7:30 pm
Ryan Sanders speaks at Breakfast of Champions

Ryan Sanders speaks at Breakfast of Champions

REACH was named a “Small Business Champion” at the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce Breakfast of Champions event September 10 at the Westin DFW Airport North. More than 200 small business leaders from Irving, Arlington and Coppell attended the event. REACH Founder Ryan Sanders served on a panel in a breakout session on “Marketing Your Business for Success”. Videos from the workshops should be available to attendees soon via the REACH website.

One For the Ladies

In REACH News, Tips, Trends on September 23, 2009 at 7:32 pm

Spoke to about 60 lovely ladies at the Irving Chamber Women’s Alliance Luncheon today about social media. Great crowd and fun topic. As usual, the most common question is some version of this: “Is social media worth all the trouble?” My answer: “Not if you’re asking that question. Do it if you enjoy it and you see value in thought leadership. If you don’t, go do direct mail or pay-per-click.”

Here’s one of my slides with some social media tips:

Social Media Slides.015

A Big Win!

In REACH News on September 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm


DFW FASTSIGNS Taps REACH for 2010 Marketing

Twenty-two North Texas FASTSIGNS franchises have engaged REACH to direct marketing and advertising efforts for their stores next year. The cooperative of 18 store owners voted unanimously to hire REACH after reviewing proposals and qualifications from three local agencies as well as FASTSIGNS’ corporate marketing department.

“We are very optimistic about working with REACH,” Co-op President and Irving franchisee Jeff Youngblood said. “We’re looking for a way to take our marketing to the next level and after considering three agencies, we’re convinced that REACH is the one to help us get there.”

REACH President Ryan Sanders said his agency’s approach to promoting FASTSIGNS in DFW will focus on direct marketing to business, property and construction managers who make decisions about signage vendors. Long considered a retail shop for banners and other vinyl signs, FASTSIGNS also produces high-quality dimensional and architectural signage.

“It didn’t take much market research to learn that the vinyl market is saturated,” Sanders said. “Part of our job will be to educate our target markets about FASTSIGNS capabilities beyond banners.”

Breakfast of Champions

In REACH News on August 26, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Wheaties100REACH founder Ryan Sanders will be a panelist at an upcoming business seminar hosted by the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by  Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. The first ever Breakfast of Champions chamber event will take place September 10 at 8 a.m. at the Westin DFW North Hotel at 4545 W. John Carpenter Freeway in Irving.

Ryan will be featured in a breakout session called Marketing Your Business for Success along with corporate identity artist David Fiegenschue and online marketing guru Wael Salama. The breakout is an encore of the same panel featured at the April 2009 Coffee Break networking event. The marketing session is one of nine breakouts at the event designed to help small business owners improve their companies.

REACH was also involved in planning the event and designed invitations and some of the table decor. REACH will also provide video services allowing the chamber to post discussions online after the event for those who take part.

The event will feature a keynote address by Mary Scott Nabers, former Texas Railroad Commisisoner and CEO of Strategic Partners, Inc. who will speak on “Success In Selling to the Trillion Dollar Government Marketplace”

Other breakout sessions will cover the following topics.

  • Public Relations 101 – Learn how to get your story in the media for free and how to respond to the media when a crisis happens. Panelists: Denisha Stephens and Gail Cooksey
  • Social Networking for Business – Understand how to use Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to generate business. Panelist: Dirk Spencer
  • Generating Business Using the Dallas Business Journal – Gain insights into how to use this regional business publication to maximize lead generation. Panelist: Roxanne Clary
  • Show Me the Money – Explore financing sources for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Panelists: Billy Medina, Mike Mora and Adelia Cantu
  • Developing A Blue Ribbon Small Business – Hear from several U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Blue Ribbon Award winners about their secrets of success and how to participate in this great recognition program. Panelists; Brian Smith, JoAnn Goin, Rick Stephenson, and Tim Proctor
  • Creditworthiness – Your Business Lifeline – Gain an understanding of what composes your credit score and its impact on obtaining credit from your banker. Panelists: Todd Mark, Richard Shook and Kern Grant
  • Education Entities – A Strategic Resource – Learn how local education entities can be a resource for your success. Panelists; Carlene Ross, Thelma Cantu, Dr. Stan Kroder
  • Using Wireless Technology for Business and Balance – Make your small business virtual for greater success while providing balance for relaxation and family. Panelists: Brett Femrite, Robert and Tamara Fulcher

Announcing Rupees for Referrals!

In Kindness, REACH News on August 3, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Rupees4WebGo to dinner on us.
Start a business for a needy family.
Don’t spend a dime.

We at REACH have been spouting off a lot lately about “getting creative” in the recession and “investing in marketing now” to reap returns when the recession is over. Well, it’s time we put our money where our mouth is. REACH is announcing Rupees for Referrals – a unique program to ignite business and help people in need. Here’s how it works:

1. We’re inviting all of our current clients, partners and business associates to pass along information about our top-notch creative services to anyone they know who is interested in hiring us.

2. Those businesses referred by our network call us to discuss their marketing needs.

3. For every such referral produced, we’ll reward the referring individual (not their company) in two ways: with a $50 check made out to them, and with a $50 donation to the Dalit Freedom Network business development program in their honor. Dalit Freedom Network is a human rights organization that advocates for India’s “untouchable” class – one of the most oppressed people groups in the world.

That’s it. Go stumping for REACH and get $50 back, plus a good feeling from helping someone who could really use it. Everyone wins!
(We should definitely go into politics.)

About DFN: Dalit Freedom Network partners with the Dalits in their quest for religious freedom, social justice, and human rights by mobilizing human, informational, and financial resources.