With the “big” bicycle races winding down, I hope that Richmond will get back to normal next week. And by normal, I mean occupied with actual people, actually working and actually dining out at local establishments. This week in the heart of downtown, Richmond looked like a ghost town. The 500,000 race fans that were projected to descend upon us this week — clogging roadways and spending copious amounts of €uros — never really materialized. Great debates stirred within social media and local media. When some business owners asked “where are the crowds?” they were vilified, and called out as being “anti-RVA.”
Don’t get me wrong. I believe that Bold Brands Win, and hosting this international cycling competition was a bold decision by the city’s leadership and took bold vision from the people who brought it here. However, I think a rational debate about the merits and mistakes needs to be held in the next few months, so we can learn lessons and move forward with doing big, bold things in RVA in the future.
Monday, September 21st – We resisted the hype and didn’t change our hours or cancel operations this week. Good thing too, as I shaved 10 minutes off my commute, since the Downtown Expressway was practically empty. We had a very productive meeting on Monday with the M+M team and kicked several projects into high gear and announced two new clients. We are very pleased to welcome Swift Creek Mill Theatre as our newest client and also thrilled that the Virginia Association of Community Banks has also hired us to do both a branding and video project.
And for those of you who read the Weekly Report on a regular basis, I am happy to report that I am up to page 46 in Adult Piano Adventures, Book 1 and can now play Beethoven‘s Ode to Joy with both hands. #everygoodboydoesfine
Tuesday, September 22nd – On Tuesday I caught some ribbing at B because our M+M 10th Anniversary coincides with the Magnificent Midlothian Food Festival, but I assured fellow members that I would be working to set up and buy my obligated amount of tickets. By the way, anyone want free tickets to the food festival?
After working on concepts & copy for TV ads in the morning, our new Business Development Manager, Tara Snodgrass, and I met with the team at Alliance Group. It was good to see Rob, Andy and Jan and we are looking forward to working on another project together. Alliance Group has been a valued partner of Madison+Main for a number of years. The firm specializes in public affairs work at the local and state level. You can check them out here.
In the afternoon, we had a productive meeting with the team at Advanced Wellness Centre. AWC provides a wide variety of health and wellness services and they have some of the most talented massage therapists in all of RVA. Call 673-WELL (673-9355), and ask about their two 60-minute massage special for only $99. #relax
Wednesday, September 23rd – On Wednesday morning I dropped by to see my friend Leslie Haley at Cafe Caturra in Midlothian (what is a “caturra” anyway? I Googled it and still can’t figure it out.) Leslie and I served together on the board of the Chesterfield County Council of PTAs and I have known her to be an intelligent and effective leader. I know she will do an excellent job when she is elected in November to the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors. If you live in the Midlothian district, please support Leslie.
On Wednesday Carolyn, Kaity, Matt, Lindsey and I worked on some new direct mail and invitations for our clients at Dragas Companies. Hampton Roads’ version of Homearama is very different than Richmond’s Homearama, with the event spread out over three weekends. If you’re in the Tidewater area, check out Homearama by clicking here. The festivities start October 15th and one of the first events is hosted in Chesapeake at King’s Pointe, one of Dragas’ newest communities.
After a long day of work, there is nothing like kicking back, relaxing and watching football, even if it is peewee football. Jack “opted out” of football this year, but I was pressed into service as the Sharks’ PA announcer. Along with my sidekick Mike “Lunchbag” Lapara, we called all three Wednesday night games. I am happy to report the Shark Minors and Shark Juniors won but I cannot tell you who won the Flag game because they don’t keep score.
Thursday September 24th – It dawned on me Thursday morning that almost half of our staff are engaged to be married. Graphic Designer Kaity Byrum is getting hitched this weekend in the beautiful city of Suffolk. Marketing Admin Abby Spence will be wed a year from now and Senior Graphic Designer Colleen Festa ties the knot in July of 2016. All these weddings coming up and I have not been invited to any of the bachelorette parties.
I dropped by BES Studios for a working lunch, and brought two large Mellow Mushroom pies with me. It’s not good to work on an empty stomach, right? We worked in the editing booth on two different TV spots and I’m looking forward to showing both of them to you next week.
The afternoon was filled with copywriting and copyediting… the usual stuff. Website copy, direct mailers, video and a couple of web ads. By the end of the day I was feeling quite accomplished.
Friday, September 25th – The threat of rain and the threat of crowds have created another empty feeling at the corner of 1st & Cary. With three staffers out, it’s unusually quiet at the office today. But that’s given me time to work on a new brand & marketing report for FACES of Virginia Families. FACES is a non-profit membership organization whose mission is to provide a voice for foster, adoptive and kinship families. They do an amazing job and we are pleased to support their efforts. If you are a foster, adoptive or kinship parent, you can join FACES for free by clicking here.
Marketing Tip of the Week: Marketing an event is much different than marketing a business or product and requires a very different strategy. Retail marketing is a sustained effort, whereas marketing an event needs to be planned ahead of time. We subscribe to an event marketing strategy called 3/3/3/3, meaning that we break down marketing 3 months, 3 weeks, 3 days and 3 hours before an event, because human beings tend to procrastinate and will wait until the last minute for almost everything. Another good event marketing tip is making sure you are marketing to sufficient audiences. If you want 10 people to come to your event, invite 30. If you want 500,000 people to come to your event, you might want to market outside your city, which only has a population of 200,000.
There’s no shortage of things to do in Richmond this weekend. If you like bike racing, you know where to go. If you like pig racing, check out the State Fair of Virginia at The Meadow. Since Abby informed me yesterday about butt fries, I have changed my plans for the weekend.
“Bicycle races are coming your way,
so forget all your duties, oh yeah!”
–Queen, Bicycle Race 1978