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"What's in it for me?" (Actually...what's in it for you?)

When I work on an ad, or any marketing or communications tool or project, I always ask, "What's in it for me?"  Not for me personally, but for the customer, client or end user. What's the benefit to make them take notice and the desired action?

Whether you are in the United States or in France, if your processing plant is not clean, people can get very sick and even die. These ads focused on the fact that this was a huge concern with the plant managers who would ultimately purchase this new test kit. Cleanliness is one of those things that keeps you up at night. With this new product, knowing for certain that your plant was clean and safe became much easier and food became much safer for consumers.

There is nothing that sells papers (or attracts an editor's attention) better than a great story. This one about a homeless veteran who turned his life around under our care made front page news.

How do you thank Major League Baseball Players for a $20,000 grant that built a first-class exercise room for homeless veterans? I told a powerful story with words and photographs that allowed the players to see their donation at work helping veterans fight he most important battle of their lives. Besides helping our veterans, the project was truly rewarding for the players and for me personally.

As health care transitioned into more control of benefits and costs, HMO Maine needed an image of a Maine company that offered excellent care and the choice to decide who provided that care.

We received a $50,000 grant from the National Recreation Foundation for a very special summer camp for at-risk Maine youth. To thank them and demonstrate the impact of their trust in us, we shared photographs I took that summer. They chose this photograph for the cover of their annual report because it told a powerful story about the lifetime memories they helped create.

The safety of the water we drink is only as good as the tests used to measure the nasty things that can find their way into it. Heavy rains...a burst sewer pipe...or any number of other things can create  invisible nightmares for municipal water districts. And, as with any organization, they are challenged to do more with less. We had the solution that quickly became the most popular choice for testing.

Without a doubt, the most difficult sale I ever made was convincing people to donate their blood for the first time. The incentive for this blood drive offered a parking space for a week right in front of the building for each new donor.  A total of 27 employees donated for the first time and "made Felix walk" from the regular parking lot. More than 100 employees donated during the drive and gave "the gift of life" to Mainers in need.

I had the opportunity to create the communications and program video for the first Women's Leadership Luncheon in Greater Portland. The event was chaired by First Lady Mary Herman and provided an opportunity for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maine to really stand out and shine in the community. The message for this fundraising event was aimed right at the heart because AIDS was impacting or could impact any of the more than 400 attendees and their families.

Imagine having a job that allowed you to take an incredible group of volunteer leaders from Maine high schools to Fenway Park for the day. This event was made possible by the Major League Baseball Players Association Trust and the Boston Red Sox. The program was called Action Teams and taught important leadership skills to the next generation of volunteer leaders.

I have volunteered for more than half of my life. Probably the most enjoyable program I chaired was call CIVIC (Corporate Involvement through Volunteerism in the Community). More than 500 employees particiated in the first year and were able to have first choice of the most popular volunteer opportunities in the state. This program establish us as a major corporate volunteer leader in the communities we served.

First Federal Savings is a local institution that has served Mid Coast Maine for many years. The first ad was we can pay you or you can pay the government. One letter does make a big difference The relationships between the staff and their customers is almost like being part of the family. As large banks from away began gobbling up smaller organizations, First Federal Savings had some fun and great success showing how they were different and why you should join with them and invest in our families and in our community.

I was at IDEXX at an amazing time...and they truly were a pioneer in veterinary,food and water testing. We used that to help attract the best talent. Since most much of the job searching is done at work...we added a "Boss Coming?" button which, when clicked, brought up a fake page about how to recognize your boss. Volunteers of America built affordable housing for low-income seniors on Peaks Island. This article explains the total investment in the future of this island community by residents and volunteers from the mainland. It was an amazing project.

IDEXX needed help bringing some of the brightest scientists and marketing experts to Maine. To support that effort, we portrayed a thriving city with enticing photographs and links to websites of some of the most famous attractions in the area. Above is a second HR home page which uses many of the key words that attract the best and brightest to IDEXX. Covering the globe at the bottom is a listing of job classifications that we were looking for such as "Visionaries and Leaders". The site was very successful and allowed employees to apply online for the first time.

It is impossible to thank your volunteers enough. I developed this campaign from my photographs taken during our annual cleaning day.

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