The Road Less Traveled: Agency Skills Forged by Opportunity
The last three lines in Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken,” has always resonated with me. Consciously or perhaps subconsciously, this poem has framed my life and especially our agency.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Our evolution and the ever-changing business landscape have sculpted us into the focused agency we are today; well, at least for today!
When we started, we were trying to be everything and anything to anyone that would listen. And, often to those that would not listen. When I was young, my father had a manufacturing company that made sample books for the wallpaper and fabric industry, which branched into sealing and screen printing three-ring binders. This family history may have influenced Felber PR and Marketing’s print-production focus during our first few years. My brother and business partner were well-versed in printing and we became very focused on printing laminated folders, boxes, kits, and loose-leaf binders.
The next step in our evolution came when our customers asked, “if you can print binders and folders, can you get us mugs, pens, shirts, etc.?” Tackling this question is how we established ourselves in the promotional products industry. I may be dating myself, but they were called advertising specialties back then.
Our first adventure with promotional products started with a question from our client Crain’s Plastics News. “Can you get us stuffed animal lions with an imprinted t-shirt?” Of course, our answer was yes. “Can you place them in a printed box with jungle graphics, some decorative packaging, and a printed literature card and mail them to our list?” Sure, we’re on it. “Oh, and by the way, we need 1,000 pieces.” Whoa, what did we agree to?
We made the graphics and learned how to handle the production graphics, and the logistics of assembly, packaging, and shipping. This was our breakthrough project, which pushed us down the road less traveled, beyond catalog orders and squarely into dimensional promotion. Our knowledge of packaging and shipping made all the difference in differentiating Felber from those that were middlemen in selling products. We became very proficient in design, copywriting, and countless print methods.
Here are a few of our early and most memorable dimensional promotions.
In 1994, Contracting Business Magazine was celebrating its 50th anniversary by looking forward 50 years in the mechanical systems industry. As an editorial promotion, we chose the iconic magic 8 ball to represent predicting what the next 50 years would hold for the industry.
“Many more years ago than I care to admit, I worked with Rob Felber on countless editorial promotions,” said Gwen Hostnik, former Contracting Business Magazine marketing manager and long-time friend of Rob Felber. “Rob’s creativity, professionalism and dedication to service were an incredible resource for me as marketing manager for several of Penton Publishing’s industrial publications.”
In order to encourage advertising about indoor air quality in Heating, Piping & Air Conditioning Magazine, in 1995 we designed this snow globe to overexaggerate a poor air quality environment. This promotion won a coveted gold pyramid award from The Promotional Products Association International.
Believe it or not, our entry into public relations came courtesy of Six Flags of Ohio. You don’t want to miss that story! Stay tuned for our next 30th Anniversary Series blog for more.
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