Thanks for visiting our new gen 2 website and corporate blog site.  You are reading my first official DRS Jot and I can tell you that my team and I are excited about the launch of our new site. Many hours of hard work and creativity went into the creation and execution of this project. Web sites are a continuous work in progress so I can’t say that we are finished – but we certainly are ready to put it to work for us and our clients.

The concept behind Jots is simple and quite casual, if you will.  We wanted to create a blog area where we could share our thoughts, ideas, and just about anything marketing and branding.  We might even slip in a few impromptu comments, antidotes or stories that might seem off the wall… but that’s what makes it fun.  To me “Jots” are quick little blurts of information that come to mind…. Like jotting down a note… or thinking of an out of this world idea… or speaking out about what’s on your mind.  For those of you who know me well, understand that I can go off in many tangents and directions during a conversation in my quirky way, but we always end up back on point.  Well think of our Jots blogsite as a place that we all can be granted permission to go in many directions and share a bit more of our personality.  Feel free to send us your comments and feedback about anything you like and it just might end up as a posted Jot too.

The gen 2 website story: It starts like this; I wake up in a cold sweat at 3:23AM nine months ago (I am sure you’ve had one of those “what keeps me up at night” experiences) and I am kind of in a panic state, mind racing, imagining the future of social networking and how the web will be utilized to engage luxury consumers and what we should be doing in a bigger way as a marketing agency. I know what you are thinking… this guy does not get out much if that’s what he’s dreaming about.

Well our agency was already ahead of the curve in so many ways years prior to this with our on-line initiatives and with proven results for our clients. Yet I really realized that we were not doing enough and we needed to take serious steps to really propel our business into in-bound and social media marketing. I also realized that we had the opportunity to provide our clients with more enhanced services within our own shop. It had been on my list of things to do in our business for the past couple of years and we had been tinkering with outsourcing services and making referrals for different services – but we were never satisfied with this process.  It was probably 4:00AM at this point… and I yelled, “OK, Do it now!”  Nat did not appreciate that of course because she was still fast asleep and who knows what she thought I was dreaming about.

That morning I made the decision that we would commit to adding a serious inbound and online marketing division within six months.  And that would include redoing our DRS corporate website to incorporate the latest in software engineering for findability and content distribution.

Within two months we had brought onboard a full time SEO and web marketing expert, David D. to head up this division and we have already been working with several clients who have quickly learned the value of our services. And that lead us to the launch of our new site.

The marketing insight:  There have been ongoing debates about the importance of luxury brands really getting into the whole social networking arena. I have been in several conversations with colleagues and clients who raise the questions, “Do affluent consumers or designers and architect who are looking for high-end products really care about (or even use) the web and social networking platforms when selecting products and services?”  “Do manufactures really need to be bloging, Twittering, etc….” (and usually they add, “I don’t do that stuff and don’t even get it!”) “What do I care about all these things that my kids do on a constant basis?”  You get the idea of what I have heard.

Ok so I admit that two years back I was not as worried about having our clients try and use social networking as a way to engage affluent consumers. (when I say “try” – I mean “invest”)  After all, was a designer or homeowner shopping for a $6000 lav faucet really going to be chatting about it or searching for articles and testimonials?  There are exceptions of course, but because we are not selling electronics, autos, or even collectible jewelry…. we are selling architectural products, I was skeptical to make my own investment.

The answer is clearly, “YES” we know these types of consumers are really out there and the web is an important part of branding and marketing anything as part of all strategic campaigns.

The signs have been out there for DRS and we’ve seen and experienced the rules of marketing and PR changing:  (a) Our web based media PR coverage has increased during the last four years by a rate of 20% to 25% per year.  (b) Luxury products appear and are talked about on hundreds of blog sites developed specifically for Architects, designers and consumers seeking these types of luxury products and services. (c) the web is the best way to obtain information about anything. Consumers are looking for authentic facts and content without a hard-sell approach. It brings credibility and most of the time someone else is doing it for you. (d) Most design firms and trade professionals rely on the internet as their primary resource for all products and specification data. (e) social networking online is the most efficient way to group and categorize people with common interests, needs, requirements, etc..

There are so many more reasons I can state as well as get into the technical side of web marketing (please see David D’s post on PR, Branding and Internet Marketing) or (Online Tracking & Reporting) to learn more about the benefits of what I am writing about, but I want to tell you that there is an even bigger reason that I jumped into action after my 5:23AM wake up call.

Something clicked in my thick head that had not occurred to me while I was pondering and worrying whether or not we needed to move slow or fast taking luxury brands into the whole on-line social arena. And that was because I was thinking about TODAY and not the future.  It’s very simple. If we look at the up-and-coming generation of consumers and business professionals (the society in general, I guess), kids, our children (well, someone’s children – not mine) and we see that the main way that this generation socializes, networks, researches, plays, studies, ENGAGES in life… is through the internet or some sort of new media….  We better learn quickly how to communicate with these monsters – I mean this generation. (by the way, I am not saying that it’s a good thing for our next generation to have their faces planted to small little digital devices or flat screens and that social skills amongst children is on a decline…. That’s another blog for another day).  After all, these young consumers are the future luxury brand consumers of our society and we need to be able to reach them to buy our products and services. We need them to understand and respect our brands. We need to practice this starting today.  And while we are at, we really will realize that hundreds of thousands of folks from our generation are progressive and ahead of the curve and are actively participating and benefiting from these new mediums.

It’s 2:13AM, I better get back to sleep.  Remember to follow me on Twitter and pleasant dreams!