Montage Honored as a Top 100 MBE®

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The Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council (CRMSDC) named Montage Marketing Group a 2017 Top 100 MBE® winner. The award recognizes owners of minority business enterprises in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia who have demonstrated exceptional entrepreneurial accomplishments, a high level of professionalism, and have made substantial contributions to their community. 

The Top 100 MBE Awards® began in 2007 and evolved through a need to recognize and celebrate the creativity and innovation of regional MBEs who are role models and inspirations to the entire community.

This is the first year Montage has received the award. A marketing solutions company, Montage provides government and commercial clients with the opportunity to achieve increased results, engage audiences and create passionate advocates through experiential marketing. Montage’s agile workforce offers marketing communications, events, training, program management, mobile event teams, and brand experience services.

"As a business and as individuals, the Montage team is driven to do more for our clients and our communities," said Montage founder and CEO, Mercedita Roxas-Murray. "Being recognized as a Top 100 MBE® honors that commitment and acknowledges our success. We’re thrilled to receive the award, and congratulate all our fellow MBEs."

Last year, Montage was nominated and recognized by CRMSDC as a finalist for Supplier of the Year Class 1 award.

The Top 100 MBE Awards® will be presented at the CRMSDC’s 36th Annual Leaders and Legends Awards Ceremony, on November 2nd at the MGM National Harbor.

Sharon R. Pinder, CRMSDC’s president and CEO, commended this year’s winners: “Our board of directors and our members congratulate the 2017 Top 100 MBEs® on their stellar accomplishments.”

CRMSDC is celebrating its 45th anniversary as a not-for-profit economic development organization supporting growth in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Northern Virginia through programs and services that help corporations enhance the diversity and innovation of their supply chains. CRMSDC connects corporate and government members to well established, certified minority-owned business enterprises.

This is accomplished through a rigorous process of certifying that MBE suppliers are at least 51% owned, controlled and operated by ethnic minorities; providing education and advice to certified businesses; and finally, creating strategic opportunities for corporate members and certified MBEs to connect for the purpose of doing business.

CRMSDC, established in 1972, is one of 23 regional affiliates of the National Minority Supplier Development Council, the only nationally recognized MBE certifying authority. CRMSDC is headquartered in Silver Spring Maryland.

Welcome, Liz!

Liz Ayala

Montage is thrilled to welcome Liz Ayala to our growing team.

Liz took the leap into experiential marketing following 10 years in the administrative field. Her honed ability to spot potential weaknesses and offer solutions made her a natural in the industry. When she crossed paths with Montage, we were eager to scoop her up. Liz is a team player –committed to modeling the passion, creativity, ambition and responsibility she hopes to instill in others.

Hailing from Peru, Liz’s parents gifted her with a love of travel starting at an early age. She’s visited 27 countries to date and is always on the lookout for her next adventure. Liz attributes her motivation to get up every morning to her kids. She also enjoys very filling breakfasts and Cuban espresso. You decide which is more compelling.

In her wildest dreams, Liz aspires to be a competitive powerlifter. Her favorite quote serves as inspiration: “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome."

Eight Essential Steps to Make Your Brand Experience a Success

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Have you ever seen a skyscraper under construction? Cranes balance heavy beams. Concrete fills the floors and walls. Panels of reflective glass rise skyward. But before any building begins, a solid foundation must be laid. The stability of the skyscraper depends on it.

So it is with brand experiences. Beneath all that meets the eye, audience research underpins a successful event. Skillful design then creates the frame. And testing completes the construction.

We’ve been in the experiential industry for over 30 years, and in that time, have honed eight foolproof steps for building engaging, effective and enjoyable live experiences from the ground up.

Audience Research

Your brand experience should revolve around your audience – not the other way around. Conducting early research on your prospective attendees will help you anticipate their reception of your program or event. What are the motivating factors when deciding about brands, products or services like yours? What are the rational reasons for those decisions? What are the emotional reasons?

Start with secondary research, gathering insights on audience demographics, interests and behaviors. Then dive in deeper. We often survey audiences, study people behaviors and customs, habits and differences, and/or conduct benchmark research, comparing one's business’ processes and performance to industry bests.

Cultural Review

In addition to audience research, you’ll need to anticipate potential attendees response to the experience. Are they likely to be receptive or skeptical of brand messages? Are they historically brand loyal or do they prioritize other attributes of a product or service, such as price? How might certain imagery, words and body language be interpreted? Consider the appropriateness of chosen colors as well as how you position elements within your brand experience. Allow potential sensitivities inform how your experience takes shape and how you frame messaging.

Awareness Assessment

Has the audience seen a product or service like yours before? We had to be especially mindful of awareness issues when working with our client NanoTouch Technologies. Their product, a self-cleaning surface, is as desirable as it gets. It’s also new, different and sounds too good to be true. Because awareness was low, we opted to market the NanoTouch product through trusted influencers who could demonstrate its effectiveness to consumers. Determine how you can overcome low awareness or differentiate your brand within a saturated market.

Topic Literacy Evaluation

Topic literacy is equally important. If participants have difficulty reading, writing or speaking about a specific topic area, opt to present information and instructions in a visual format. Infographics, videos and simulations can communicate messages that may otherwise be missed.

Language Testing

Follow up your topic literacy evaluation with this question: Are we addressing low literacy or a language barrier? In 2016, nearly 58 million Americans self-identified as Hispanic or Latino. That’s 18 percent of the population. While presenting all your information in English might be easiest, it’s not always the most effective – or the most inclusive. Develop your experience to speak the language(s) of your attendees, including translations, multilingual brand ambassadors and opportunities for engagement in their first language.

Engagement Review

An engagement review examines the points of interaction between the brand and the audience. The goal? To make sure both parties benefit.

Prioritize building long-term relationships with participants by extending the life of the experiences you create. Offer attendees an elevated experience in exchange for their email address. Introduce a hashtag to ignite social sharing. Encourage brand ambassadors to ask questions that yield customer feedback. Then, follow up. Who wouldn’t love to see their Facebook post shared by your brand? Or feel that their input influenced the development of a new product? Consumers who feel heard and valued are far more likely to stick with you. An engagement review will help ensure your experience leads to customer relationships.

Mock Events

Will your brand experience be a success? The time has come to find out.

Mock events invite real people to experience your program or event in real time. No controlled environments here – your mock event should allow participants to engage with your experience on their own terms and provide feedback on what they liked (and didn’t).

Before launching our ongoing All of Us mobile tour, we hosted 2 mock events: one with a healthcare provider and their patient community; the other at a community center. During the provider event, a large proportion of senior participants noted the high degree of technology involved in the experience. They suggested including further explanation in order to help their peers navigate the experience comfortably. At the community center, a high percentage of participants indicated a lack of email access. We therefore needed to identify alternative communication methods.

The feedback enabled us to make tweaks before the program launched, increasing our likelihood of success. Better trial and error than no trial and failure.

Accounting for the Intangible

There are some things you just can’t measure – animated conversation, laughter, a smile. Be sure to pay attention to these intangibles during your mock events, too. When your experience triggers emotions, attendees are more likely to remember your brand and engage in the future. Lacking a fun factor? Ask what's missing and adjust accordingly.

Takeaway

During our 30 years in the industry, we’ve seen a lot of awesome, impactful brand experiences achieve sky high results. We’ve also seen many fall flat. Now, our blueprint for success follows the eight essential steps detailed above. Dig deep in audience research. Lay the foundation of your engagement around the needs, abilities, emotions and prior experiences of your prospective attendees. Then, build upward and extend your activation through complementary touchpoints. And no matter how impressive your experience architecture, always put it to the test.

Interested in learning more about exceptional brand experiences? Contact us today.

Montage is Hiring

Do you see more than what is in front of you? Do more so you can give more to others? And keep going when the going gets tough? If so, we want to get to know you.

At Montage, we're as passionate about helping businesses reach their goals as we are about putting our talents, knowledge, interests and experience to work. And we're hiring!

View our current openings below and contact us at jobs@montagemarketinggroup.com.

Experiential Marketing Creative Director

Outreach and Engagement Manager

Experiential Marketing Producer

Experiential Mobile Tour Manager

Experiential Intern