Glue’s philosophy on positioning: start early before others do it for you!

You may have heard the marketing adage that if you don’t position your brand, somebody else will. Well that somebody else may be market forces or worse yet—another competitor.  In either case, we can say with absolute certainty that the result won’t be the one you’d wish for.

Choosing a positioning will very likely be the most important marketing decision you’ll ever make for your brand. And once you have the requisite information—which may not be every piece of information you’ll ever know—we believe it’s imperative to take the reins. In today’s complex marketplace, a simple, differentiating positioning is more important than ever. And you can’t start early enough.

In Glue’s experience, a successful positioning (and launch) depends upon three things:

  1. Understanding the unmet needs of the decision-makers who will buy and use the product.
  2. Demonstrating how your brand solves those needs better than the competitors do.
  3. An unwavering commitment to telling that story over and over again—the sooner, the better.

Your brand’s positioning should serve as a guidepost for early strategic decisions and ultimately, tactical choices. What’s communicated at every touchpoint should consistently support the one single-minded idea that will set your brand apart at launch. And before launch, those communications should seed the market for what’s to come.

The primary reason that it’s important to start early is that positioning is about perception, not reality. Al Ries and Jack Trout stress the importance of this principle in their book, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. They explain that “the minds of customers or prospects are very difficult to change, (because) with a modicum of experience, a consumer assumes that he or she is right.

A customer’s first exposure to a brand, which may occur before that brand reaches the market, can form an impression that may be impossible to change. At the very least, such an impression can be costly to overcome. 

One example of this can be found in the e-reader category, where Nook made an attempt to challenge Kindle. Nook had some better features, but Amazon killed it because it was second to market (not always a death knoll) and Nook never got out in front on the positioning conversation. While knowing what we know now about the marketing muscle of Amazon versus Barnes & Noble, it may seem that the difference was more about size and scale and maybe even price. But the problem started with poor launch preparation leading up to Nook’s introduction in 2009, long before Amazon was the amazon it is today.

The positioning process

The hierarchy of communication, shown below, is our useful construct for positioning development.  It begins with product facts and fundamentals and ladders up to higher-order ideas. This approach ensures that the product benefit, product positioning, and ultimately, brand character are ownable, believable, tightly integrated, and focused on the target audience.

Positioning workshops

Workshopping offers an ideal format for developing a brand’s positioning. By inviting the extended team to generate a range of potential approaches, workshops offer an opportunity to evaluate which positionings are working hardest, and then forge a consensus. Given the importance of unmet needs (as described above), at the outset of any workshop, it’s critical to indoctrinate participants on what is known about the mindset of your target audience. From there, the discussion can move on to product facts and fundamentals and an exercise to prioritize the same. Those that are both important and differentiating become the basis for positioning brainstorming.

And what’s the ideal output? Positioning options that are grounded in insight will by definition be relevant and compelling to your target audience. And because market research will be the immediate next step, they must also be testably different.

In another classic by Ries and Trout, Positioning, The Battle for your Mind, the authors reaffirm their philosophy, and Glue’s, that positioning is about molding perceptions, making it “not something that you do to the product, but something you do to the mind of the prospect.

And they cap the introduction to the book by tipping their hats to the adage we mentioned upfront–telling their readers that “if you don’t understand and use the principles of positioning, your competitors undoubtedly will.”

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Data overload leading to data avoidance? You’re not alone.

We commonly hear from clients that they have lots of data. However, more often than not, they characterize what exists as “overwhelming” and therefore, “impossible to use.” The result is that learnings that are there for the taking are not realized.

According to a Forbes Magazine article published April, 2016 ( the problem is exacerbated by the fact that a lot of data have a limited lifespan.  At some point in time, they become irrelevant, inaccurate, or outdated.  But often, the data are held onto anyway in the mistaken belief that at some point they might prove valuable.

As the availability of data grows and the speed with which we can accumulate them increases, these issues are only going to worsen. And yet, as budgets shrink, one of those perennial trends that we identified in another blog post (, the mandate to capitalize on what “we know” is only going to become more pressing.

With that in mind, here is some food for thought that can counteract information overload and help you get what you need—and do that faster than you think:

  1. There are data and then there are actionable data. Discriminating between the two will make any analysis more manageable (sounds obvious, we know). However, the process for doing that isn’t always straightforward. Suppose brand sales are declining? How should you respond? Well, looking at trends in the aggregate can be alarming, but it doesn’t provide insights on where and how to act. What’s required is determining if there are merely pockets of weakness or if the downturn is systemic. Once that is known, we can analyze the reasons why.

 One way to get at the source of a slump is to develop hypotheses as to the underlying cause––or causes––and then look to support or refute them. Another option is to bring in professionals—we work with Proximo—who can conduct various kinds of analyses to quantitatively reveal and prioritize the data elements that correlate to the downturn in question.

  1. Avoid surprises. Isolating and monitoring leading indicators allows for early intervention and can even become a competitive advantage. Acting early can neutralize negative trends, but it can also capitalize on positive ones. To do this well, it is essential to know which metrics are the most revealing—the real harbingers of things to come—and then watch them very carefully. These trends may be different from brand to brand.

The actionable data analyses described above are the first place to start when there’s a need to uncover these leading indicators. But in an era when so much information can be found in social media, it can also be important to track positive and negative sentiment online by monitoring common platforms or conducting a thorough digital landscape analysis. And let’s not forget about the age-old practice of staying close to the 20% of customers who contribute 80% of your sales—by routinely soliciting their feedback on areas that matter most to them via the most personal means possible.

  1. Once the cause(s) of sales increases or decreases are understood, and leading indicators have been identified, converting them into measureable KPIs is the next step. Furthermore, making those KPIs specific and time-bound will allow them to be organized into an at-a-glance dashboard and updated according to the frequency with which meaningful changes are likely to occur. Dashboards can be populated automatically, pushed out routinely, and available on-demand as well. On the surface, this sounds optimal, ie, once we have improved selectivity and accessibility, insights gleaned from data will be applied more consistently. Well maybe or maybe not.

Sometimes a focused solution that’s easy to access and delivered regularly can result in an “I’ll-get-to-that-later” complacency. Dashboards can effectively combat the numbness that arises in response to data overload, but only if the people on the distribution list receiving their rich data and insights give them the timely attention that they deserve.  

Data can be an incredible asset, and as mentioned above, have the potential to become a source of competitive advantage. The challenge and opportunity, as with any precious resource, are to use them wisely.

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Is your brand prepared for the future? It can be with a competitive simulation workshop.

Companies can anticipate possible or likely competitive behaviors and environmental dynamics faster and better than they would otherwise with a competitive simulation workshop. Armed with the critical insights they yield, brands can adapt their plan to gain significant competitive advantage. That’s why they should be a core component of strategic brand development.

When executed properly, their output can help guide everything from positioning and messaging to branding, tactical planning, preemptive competitive counter-attacks, and ongoing lifecycle management. They should also be structured to ensure effective learning.

Getting started: The catalyst for a competitive simulation workshop is a comprehensive understanding of potential future-state scenarios. These scenarios are typically based on

  • Information available in the literature
  • Competitive intelligence provided by the client
  • Primary market research involving internal and external stakeholders, especially influencers.

Once this information is synthesized, the future scenarios should:

  • Be feasible and of high probability
  • Have significant impact on the brand’s ability to meet sales and market share objectives
  • Remain largely outside of client control
  • Take into account potential competitive action at the product or portfolio level
  • Be different enough from the other scenarios to be worthy of consideration

The workshop itself: Workshops are ideally 1.5 to 2 days in duration. On Day 1, scenarios are evaluated iteratively in small and large groups using tools and templates that assist in determining:

1) The probability that the scenario (all or in part) will occur

2) Product/portfolio winners and losers

3) Baseline and emergent unmet needs by target-audience type

4) The most significant opportunities and threats to brand success

5) A recommended set of prioritized actions that should be taken as a result, either proactively or reactively.

Ideally, Day 2 culminates in a live presentation to senior management that focuses on the critical steps the team will take in response to prevailing trends. In addition, the group determines what steps should be implemented once certain future-state scenario events occur. Whether or not such a presentation is feasible, these action steps are captured in a PowerPoint deck to serve as a guiding star for the extended team.

 Making it memorable: According to Stanford physics and education professor and Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman, an effective active learning approach can improve understanding and retention of the material being discussed, while boosting the satisfaction of those taking part in the discussion as well.

Based upon these findings, Glue fosters active learning in our workshops. We consider them a success only if the learnings are remembered, and applied to strategy, positioning messaging, tactical planning, etc. by the full team.

To heighten attendee involvement and long-term impact, we recommend a range of creative and interactive exercises that are incredibly fun, and are able to pull even the most reserved participants out of their shells.

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How can we improve pharma marketing? By learning from CPG marketing.

Just last week, one of our clients volunteered over lunch that pharmaceutical marketing is looking a lot like consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) marketing. We couldn’t agree more, especially since we handle Rx, OTC, financial services, and food products––and routinely recommend and implement similar activities for all of them.

Factors for this trend, at a high level, include narrowing profit margins, increased pressure from payers, digital transformation, and a proliferation of OTC switches over the last 20 years. (The Glue team had the privilege of working on the Pepcid OTC switch, which was one of the earliest brands to convert.) To keep up, pharma has had to change.

With that as a backdrop to an intriguing phenomenon, let’s consider the specifics of what’s driving this trend and the potential upside: understanding and implementing even more CPG lessons will make pharma marketing efforts that much more successful.

  1. Cost and value have become central to decision-making. There was a time when price was never mentioned by consumers or prescribers as a factor, and manufacturers could raise the wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) of their brands every year with impunity. Today, as consumers are underwriting a larger share of the drugs they are prescribed, they and their physicians not only consider whether a treatment option is affordable, but whether its value is truly reflected in its cost.

To ensure that consumers believe there is value, pharma marketers need to clearly articulate what their products do in compelling sound bites––just as their CPG counterparts do. One way to achieve this objective is to design clinical studies so that they yield outcomes that can be communicated in easy-to-understand, lay language that consumers will embrace.

  1. Marketing dollars have been radically redeployed. With increasing pressure on margins, pharma companies have had to rethink their marketing spend. The traditional mainstay of brand promotion––the sales force––has been profoundly edited. A 1996 study calculated that the volume of sales reps had surpassed the capacity of all physicians who could possibly see them. As we know, much has changed in the last 20 years!

In the age of ever-expanding digital channels, many pharma brands are now completely and cost-effectively supported by a suite of on-line tactics that may include complementary, unbranded social media. Taking a page from CPG marketing, the opportunity here is to look at this non-personal promotion from the target audience’s point of view and ensure that the end-user experience is as customized, consistent, and cohesive as possible—across all touch-points.  

  1. In certain disease categories, Rxs are competing against OTCs. As an agency that is currently active in the allergy market, with a team that was also involved in the launch of Linzess, we have had to consider how to drive preference for an Rx when there are a myriad of options on the retail shelf. While a copay program that results in an equal or lower out-of-pocket cost to the consumer provides part of the answer, it’s even more important to make the case for superiority. (If the consumer believes an OTC is good enough, messages about the cost of an Rx alternative will be irrelevant to them.)

To do this well, CPG principles dictate that we take an insight-based approach to defining the unmet need, pervasively elevate awareness of this need, and then position the Rx as meeting this need better than an OTC option. In cases where the unmet need is not broadly recognized, but still held by a segment large enough, and loyal enough, to sustain the brand, precision targeting should be added to the mix.

The way to beat OTCs is to join them. Pharma needs to employ the same techniques that have proven so successful in the CPG marketers’ practice. Pharma just needs to execute them more effectively.  

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Business insights courtesy of my seat-mate

Sometimes you get great business insights from unexpected sources in unexpected places. That happened to me just last week.

I was flying home from Florida after visiting my dad for a few days. It had been so hot—yes, even hotter than in New York—that I was looking forward to a solid couple of hours in some good old-fashioned, freeze-you-to-the-bone air conditioning. And I expected to be sleeping.

I was seated in 1D, which required some extra effort in hoisting a heavy carry-on into the overhead so that the aisle in front of me would be clear for take-off. In another row, I would have just placed the bag at my feet. But then, I wouldn’t have met my seat-mate. It was my struggle that caused the man seated next to me to jump up and help. And because he extended himself, we got to talking.

At first, it was the usual airline banter, as our flight had been very delayed due to weather. Then we segued to aging parents and his relief that he and his wife had moved to Florida in recent years, which allowed them to spend time with his mother and father before he lost them to illnesses.

After about an hour, we started discussing our careers. I was especially interested in what he did, since I had already learned, as part of our airline conversation, that he flew all over the world for his job and back and forth between Florida and New York on a weekly basis.

Turns out, he was a very senior information technology officer at a major bank in New York. This piqued my interest as my younger son is also in the computer science field. Since Jed has set his sights on one day becoming a Chief Technology Officer and has been asking me about the merits of an MBA in supporting his aspirations, I posed that question to this open and engaging man.

He never answered it, at least not directly. In retrospect, he answered the question that I should have asked on behalf of Jed, and maybe even, on behalf of myself.

His guidance was that the way to grow your career and get to where you want to be is to become the expert in your field. You need to be the person who others seek out when they need to know what you know, and you should be the first person who comes to mind.

I found this such a simple, but compelling thought, that I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss any of the underling nuances. So I asked him what he had done to get there.

He said that for him, incessant curiosity about technology was the key. Since he loved the subject matter, he explained that keeping up with computer science through reading was something he would do anyway. As a result, his knowledge was always fresh and cutting edge without his even really trying. This had elevated his stature and made it so that he could effectively mentor and lead, giving him the added benefit of learning from those who reported to him and the ability to always hire the very best.

Even though I hadn’t thought about career growth, my progression, or Jed’s in that way, everything he said made so much sense. As a marketing person, I often find that the insights that we land on are just like that. They make so much sense, yet they haven’t been articulated clearly and compellingly by another brand, so we leverage them for the benefit of the one that we are working on.

I gave these insights to Jed and I’m giving them to you to leverage on behalf of your personal brand. I’m certainly planning to put them to work for mine.

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Branded house or house of brands—which is right for your company?

When it’s time for reputation-building at the corporate level, the first question to be asked and answered is “What should the underlying strategy be?”

Should the company dedicate its resources to promoting individual brands and benefit from their successes—as in the house-of-brands strategy popularized by P&G and commonly applied in consumer packaged goods. Or should it focus on its corporate image, with the idea that positives created there will accrue to all its products equally—as with the branded-house approach practiced by Federal Express and many other service companies.

And what about a hybrid model, where product offerings have separate identities, but align with the parent (or master brand) in some fashion? Think Courtyard by Marriott or Crewcuts.

The answer, as you probably guessed—is it all depends. But sometimes, it’s not obvious which way to go. The mandate may be to get senior leaders in a room to flesh out which brand architecture to adopt, since the decision is not an insignificant one.

Here are a just a few, far from complete set of considerations, which will help you get started in determining the best model for your company.

1. Are your products targeting the same audience?

When products are similar from an offering and image perspective, or at least have the same consumers in common, it is easier and always more economical to organize them under a branded-house structure. In this case, the marketing budget is deployed in a focused, cohesive way, which is a positive. The downside is that individual product attributes are given less weight than they would be in a house of brands. In a very noisy marketplace, especially one where competitors are loudly touting their differentiators, this construct may put your brands at a disadvantage.

2. Are there any risks in marketing your products together?

When brands are inextricably linked, as in a branded house strategy, their fortunes tend to rise and fall collectively, and they are more likely to directly benefit or be damaged by company and/or portfolio activities. When risks are high, for whatever reason, it is better to diversify—an investment principle that applies here as well. As far as brand architecture goes, this translates to putting each brand in charge of its own destiny with a house-of- brands approach.

3. Where do brand equities within the company currently reside?

Brand equities are built over time. This means that a historical preference for one structure over another usually means that when it comes to brand architecture, the past dictates the future. Acquisitions or divestitures challenge this notion, since brand power, corporate versus products, is thrown into a state of flux. Recently, we worked in a situation where the corporate brand had been dominant, but new assets, added through an acquisition, had such strong, independent equities that we and the client agreed to a hybrid model to preserve them.

As with most strategic decisions, this one requires careful consideration of the trade-offs that result from going in one direction or another. Since course correction can be difficult, costly, and potentially even ineffective, it’s best to get it right the first time.

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2017 Trends As Seen Through the Glue Lens

There are lots of lists out there about the marketing and advertising trends of 2017. As we hit the mid-point of the year, or at least the All-Star break, here are the trends that we, at Glue, have seen so far:

  1. Mobile-on-the-go: We’ve all heard about mobile-first, and by now, every client and agency person understands that anything digital has to be readily viewable on a smartphone. But mobile-on-the-go takes ease of scrolling, scanning, and sharing to the next level. Given today’s viewing habits, we believe that every site, digital ad, e-mail, and post should be validated from a user experience point-of-view that recognizes that the target customer is likely to be in motion.
  2. E-commerce as a key component of the marketing plan: For many of our consumer-packaged-goods clients, point-of-sale is more often an online than an offline destination. This requires agencies to create a gold standard, brand-specific e-commerce site that is continually optimized based on learnings about traffic, viewing, and conversion, and clients to partner with third-party e-commerce sites well-matched to their desired audience. As part and parcel of that, customer segmentation is at the forefront of marketing plans once again—it is just being applied in a different way.
  3. Continued blurring of the lines between PR and advertising: Digital, social media, and employee engagement are core to brand-building for almost every product and corporate effort that we are a part of. Do the tactics that go with them fall under advertising or public relations? That differs from company to company. But as shaping customer experience becomes the over-riding goal, that question matters less and less, since elimination of marketing siloes matters more and more.
  4. The need to do even more with less: This is a trend that is a perennial favorite, which is one of the reasons that we built Glue with a flat hierarchical structure—for lower overhead and greater efficiency. On the client side, this means smaller teams that are stretched thin and in need of an agency like ours that has the capabilities to be a true strategic partner. Doing more with less requires a combination of insight-based creative campaigns, which are inherently more relevant and motivating, and utterly precise tactical delivery, which leverages research and in-market learnings to find and focus on targets with the greatest potential to become loyalists.
  5. A recognition that strategic development is the wrong place to cut corners: At the beginning of our careers, at an ad agency long before Glue, when asked how they knew which campaign to recommend and which tactics to implement, the senior partners answered—“advertising is not about creating pretty pictures or developing a marketing plan that allows us to execute a lot of stuff; it’s about campaigns designed to stimulate desired actions delivered within a marketing mix built to pay out.” And over the years, it’s been demonstrated to us over and over again that without adequate time and money spent on strategic development, it’s impossible to know which campaign and set of tactics are able to meet those performance standards. So the Glue perspective—it’s better not to try.

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Happy Glue Year from a Top 20 Ad Agency

Glue has just been recognized as one of the top 20 best advertising agencies in New York. That’s 20 out of a starting field of 1,949 contenders! Yes, there are a lot of agencies for clients to choose from, especially here in the big city.
The #1 reason we were selected is a “history of delighted customers and outstanding service”. Ironically, we had our noses to the grindstone so much to meet client needs that we almost missed it. Friends in our network shared the good news with us.
In less than 3 years, Glue has met many, but not all of the goals we set from the start. Indeed, getting to where we are today has not come without a few scrapes and bruises. Despite our deep, shared experience as leaders at some of the industry’s largest shops, there were a few gaps in our expertise. For example:
  • We needed to become digital and social media experts at lightning speed. At the big shops we were never asked to work in areas outside of our sweet spots. Silos be damned: our clients needed us to be experts in every channel. We had to grow unused parts of our brains quickly to truly become a full-service agency offering research, strategy, branding, messaging, media, and creative across all print, broadcast, and digital channels.
  • Not everyone who is successful in a large agency can adjust to a model where projects are owned from end to end. We’ve had some ups and downs as we learned that lesson. Over time, we’ve had to refine our hiring and training practices.
  • Operations! We have new appreciation for the work that HR, finance, and office services departments perform at the big shops. As we are committed to keeping Glue lean, these are perhaps our greatest areas of growth! Glue leadership and staff have had an opportunity to stretch and grow by taking on a myriad of these responsibilities.
Glue has always been a different kind of agency; we really do believe that different is better. With leadership that comes from the big conglomerate agency and Fortune 100 corporate worlds, we’ve created a streamlined model that keeps what works and eliminates what doesn’t. To that end, we’ve left behind some big-agency tropes such as bloated teams, rounds of rework, strategic disconnects, and cost over-runs. 
Hallmarks of Glue are an entrepreneurial spirit, 24/7 responsiveness, and a passion for greatness, both strategically and creatively. We like that the #1 criteria for this honor is delighted customers, because just ‘happy clients’ is not enough for us. We want those who partner with us to believe that no other agency experience could compare to working with Glue.
Our secret sauce is talent that’s hand-picked by hands-on founding partners who make sure our people are not only the best in the industry, but continue to grow with us. And that at least one of us contributes to every strategic recommendation and tactical deliverable–before it goes out the door. 
We started our journey with our existing life sciences network, serving the needs of professional and managed markets clients. But given our deep consumer roots (both of us got our start in the consumer world) we have spread our wings into the CPG space, as well as some areas we never dreamed of working in.
We are truly excited by this recognition. It confirms that we are doing many of the right things, and that we should build on this momentum. For those whom we service, there is no other option. Glue is Glue because those who work here love what they do. And because we love advertising, building brands, and giving clients our all every day. That is who we are. Thank you for this recognition that Glue standards are not the norm. 
But wait. There’s more! If you haven’t seen it, please take a moment to click through to our first animation of the year. It’s our way of inviting you to join us in 2017. (If you haven’t already.)
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Online Lead Generation

k11528571Generating consumer awareness, demand and trial are fundamental to the viability of any business model, and the growth of any brand. In the old days – which was not so long ago at all – marketers achieved these objectives by choosing between mass or direct response advertising, or in some cases, integrating a combination of the two. With the analytics now available, lead generation using on-line tools is another option worthy of consideration. At Glue, we’re seeing a lot of early success with this approach because, in our opinion, it offers real advantages over what might be called “the tried and true.”

  1. Cost effectiveness: Instead of spending tens of millions of dollars to find and educate consumers about your product or service via TV and print, you can accomplish the same objectives via online lead generation for $5-10K a month. Besides being far more cost-effective than mass advertising, it’s also easier to measure ROI, since changes in behavior can be directly linked to the stimuli that produced them.
  2. Readiness to buy: Perhaps the most salient reason to consider online lead generation is that it delivers highly qualified leads more consistently than any other channel. Through sophisticated “listening techniques”, marketers can identify consumers who express an immediate need for their products or services. And online segmentation analytics can be used to reveal consumers predisposed to using a brand through behavior, specifically their use of “like products,”; brands that appeal to audiences with the same attitudinal or behavioral characteristics.
  3. Competitive advantage: Finally, when consumers publicly express dissatisfaction with a competitive product, marketers can present their product as a solution that resolves those complaints, customized according to how the specific need raised.

As awareness of these types of interventions grows, along with their highly attractive cost-benefit ratios, you have to wonder what marketer can afford to sit on the sidelines when it comes to making online lead generation part of the marketing mix.

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Surviving (and Even Thriving) without a Paycheck

harvard_club_logo September 22, 2015 nhf_leadershipWhen talking about business success, people often say that “it’s all about who you know.” I would change that to — “it’s all about the friendships you make.” For me, this slightly revised version of an old expression, which sounds inherently personal, is personal. But it applies to business too. During these past two years of entrepreneurship, there are many times I have needed help, advice or simply to bounce an idea off of someone whose opinion I value. When I was given the opportunity to speak at the Harvard Club on the topic of entrepreneurship, I decided that even better than hearing from me would be for the audience to hear from some of my trusted advisors. Putting this panel together is based on my belief that the way you survive (and even thrive) without a paycheck is by having a network of people willing to take the time to invest in your success, just because they care about whether you succeed. So on October 26, I’m giving an audience the opportunity to ask questions of three people who have given me so many thoughtful answers over so many years. Cindy Machles Cindy Machles is CEO and co-founder of Glue, a boutique advertising agency in the Chelsea section of New York City. Leveraging her 25 years of experience running and starting companies for WPP, she, along with her business partner Alan Rothenberg, streamlined the agency model, incorporating what works from the big conglomerate world and eliminating what doesn’t. As a result, Glue clients get a hands-on, resource-rich experience that is strong on strategy, innovation and creativity, without the churn and waste that increase costs. Cindy began her career on the client side in packaged goods at Clorox and continued it at Johnson & Johnson, giving her the solid foundation in marketing fundamentals that benefits Glue clients today. She also launched and supported products in Europe, Asia, Canada and Latin America, which enables her to bring a very important global perspective to the table. Cindy has always had P&L responsibility. When she became an entrepreneur, she quickly learned that managing cash flow was the even bigger challenge. Cindy has an MBA in marketing and finance from University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and a B.S. summa cum laude in journalism and economics from Boston University’s School of Public Communications. She is also an active member of the NHF Business Council. Gerald Mosely Gerald Mosely, PhD, is the Principal and Founder of CP&P Development, a leadership development and strategy firm that assists corporate leaders and teams in achieving their business objectives. Gerald and CP&P focus on the people-oriented aspects of commercial success, with a particular emphasis on organizational health. Before founding CP&P, Gerald rose through the ranks of Corporate America. His career at SmithKlineBeecham, which became GlaxoSmithKline, took him from the lab to sales to US and Global Marketing positions to Country Manager of Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei. When he returned to the US, he assumed the role of one of two National Sales Vice Presidents, which gave him responsibility for delivering against sales goals in the Western half of the country. Gerald then followed one of his mentors to become General Manager of Global Anesthesia for Baxter. By the time he opted for entrepreneurship, he had led organizations of more than 2,000 people. Gerald’s people skills, charisma and inherent ability to develop others were the basis for a chapter in executive coach Karol Wasylyshyn’s book, ‘Destined to Lead’. Relevant to the panel is that – using a pseudonym – Karol writes about the courage behind Gerald’s decision to strike out on his own. Gerald has a B.S. in Biology from Loma Linda University and a PhD in pathology and tumor immunology from the University of Washington. Tracy Schefler Tracy Schefler and her staff serve as carve-out accountants to companies and as business managers for high net worth individuals. Tracy’s business model gives her clients access to premiere bookkeeping, CFO services and everything in between, as often as and exactly when they need them. Tracy often calls herself “the accidental entrepreneur”. After a career that took her from Big 4 Public Accounting to the controllership of New Line Cinema, she decided to leave the corporate world so that she could dedicate herself to her family. When she re-entered the workforce as a company founder, she sourced her first client from Craigslist. Since that time, through networking and referrals, she has built an enviable and eclectic roster that includes advertising agencies, law firms, an organic farm, fashion designers and some of New York’s wealthiest families. Tracy continually confronts the high-class entrepreneurial problem of how to grow in response to demand without sacrificing quality. Tracy is a QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor and a CPA, who earned her accounting degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Mark Sladkus Mark Sladkus is the Founder and President of Red Lighthouse Investment Management, a fee-only registered investment advisory firm in New York City. Red Lighthouse focuses on asset allocation and provides structured portfolio management to its clients. Prior to Red Lighthouse, Mark served as the head of Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI). In this capacity, Mark created the world’s first invest-able emerging market index and led the effort to create the first global style indices, which partitioned the world’s developed and emerging markets into “value” and “growth” indices. At MSCI, he acted as the chair of the index committee, the group responsible for selecting which securities enter and exit the MSCI family of indices (including the well-known EAFE, EM, and ACWI Indices.) Mark’s unique expertise in creating and maintaining indices provided the inspiration for his firm and continue to be the principles upon which it is based. Mark is a recognized speaker at investment conferences around the world and was the 2008 recipient of the William F. Sharpe Lifetime Indexing Achievement Award. Mark has an MBA in finance from University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and a B.S. in economics from Cornell University.

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