Marketing Tips from a Marketing Agency: Make the invisible visible

It would only stand to reason that a marketing & branding agency would be pretty good at branding and marketing itself.

So I thought it might be fun to explore some branding & marketing concepts using our own agency, McLellan Marketing Group, as the guinea pig.

Make the invisible visible

Let’s face it — there are many elements of business that are pretty ordinary.  Not only are they ordinary but 99% of businesses do them the same way. 

Think of all the communication elements that you pretty much ignore because everyone’s looks and behaves the same.  Posted hours of operation, fax cover sheets, privacy disclaimers, e-mail signatures.  And on and on the list goes.  We’re so used to them being ordinary that, as consumers, we don’t even notice them.

Which makes them invisible.

A smart marketer will use the element of surprise and make the invisible visible.  An agency friend of ours in Denver (AOR) sends out a quarterly newsletter.  At the bottom of the newsletter, just like everyone else, they have a privacy disclaimer.  But theirs reads something like:

We’ll never sell or give your e-mail address to anyone.  Because that wouldn’t be nice.

They turned the invisible visible and gave us a hint of what working with them might be like. 

At MMG, one of the invisible things we make visible is our titles.  Could I be CEO or President?  Sure.  But yawn.


But by being the Top Dog, suddenly we’re visible.  When was the last time someone looked at your business card and make a comment?  It happens to all of us at MMG every day.  Along with the Top Dog, some of the present and past MMG titles have been:

The Warden (are you going to risk not giving her your time sheets?)
Girl Wonder
Sgt. of Strategy
Chaos Curator
Go To Guy
Dr. Designo

Do our titles say much more about the agency, our work style and our attitude than CEO, CFO, Art Director, etc. would say?

What’s invisible in your world that you could make visible?

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7 comments on “Marketing Tips from a Marketing Agency: Make the invisible visible

  1. I had a graphic artist-vendor-friend who liked to call me “The DM Empress” .. I hadn’t thought about using as a title on my biz card where it has the mundane President/CEO instead.

    I do think, though, that we need to think about our targeted markets before we get too clever. In my B2B world, there’s not a lot of call for cute (maybe there should be, but, hey I’m not that brave.)

    I may go for the wry smile, perhaps. A big guffaw, and I may be sending the wrong message.

  2. David Reich says:

    Drew, if I made my title what my job really is, there’d be no room on the card for my name and address. I’m not only President, I’m also The Chief of do-everything- from-write-news-releases- to-contact-editors-to- unjam-the-copier-to-make-the-coffee-to-take-out-the-garbage. And that’s just the morning part of my job. I’d need another card for the noon to 6 portion.

  3. Mark True says:


    I can’t remember the last time I DIDN’T get a comment when handing out my card! Great post.

    Mark True
    brand warrior

  4. Roberta,

    I wasn’t suggesting that everyone change their titles. I agree with you, for many businesses that would be completely counter productive.

    I was just using our example as a way of pointing out that there are lots of “invisible” elements of doing business every day (like the fax cover sheet)that can be modified to be something special that translates your brand.

    But I am the first to agree that not everyone can be the Top Dog!


  5. David,

    I can see it now…the barrel-fold business card!


  6. Mark,

    I’m not surprised. Your cards are reflective of your brand, in terms of the title but even the colors and paper weight say something about your company.

    Which is as it should be.


  7. Donna,

    It looks like you got interrupted mid-sentence. I hope you come back and finish your thought!


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