Your Business Reputation

Everyone is familiar with that age old saying in real estate is location, location, location. Well, I am in a unique position as a real estate developer and owner of an advertising agency. In the agency business, I like to relate that critical component to reputation, reputation, reputation. Your reputation relies on some key things: trust, integrity, experience and value. Every person in your organization is a reflection of that reputation—what they say, how they say it, what they do and how they do it are all guiding factors. Understanding that reputation carries emotion is so important, which is the reason I value EQ in my staff as much as IQ. Every business, regardless of industry, should focus less on the sale and more on doing great work. Clients and customers remember experiences. So, ask yourself some key questions:

Did you guide them through a process productively?
Did you listen to their needs and deliver value?
Did you communicate clearly, transparently, respectfully, and authentically?

If you cannot say yes to these questions every time on behalf of you or your employees, your reputation is at risk. We all know Ben Franklin’s saying, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” I believe that making others successful, clients or partners, should be a number one priority. We have to go beyond the lines and do what it takes to reach their goals and always remember their success is your success. Reputation. Reputation. Reputation.


Kara Demirjian Huss

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5 Quick Video Creation Tips

Video content is a powerful marketing tool that more businesses are utilizing to connect with their audiences. Here are 5 quick tips to create great video content for your business.

  1. Understand your options

It is important to be aware of the different types of videos your business can create before you begin filming.

  • Brand Videos ⁠— Build brand awareness and understand what your goals are. Understanding your audience is crucial in creating a compelling brand story in your brand voice.
  • Video Interviews ⁠— This content showcases interview sessions with thought leaders and influencers within your industry to create brand loyalty as a trusted source of current industry news and insight.
  • How-To/Educational Videos ⁠— Creating instructional videos through a step-by-step process. Creating how-to or educational videos help teach and engage your audience. This style of video can position your brand as a voice of authority in your niche—as your business becomes known for delivering quality content. You can become a go-to reference for your audience, building brand awareness and trust.
  • Product Demonstrations ⁠— Product-focused videos that walk the audience through an unboxing, the “ins and outs”, and actual performance testing. These videos are developed from a customer facing perspective with the product playing a key role.
  • Customer Testimonials ⁠— Videos that highlight other satisfied and loyal customers. Their experiences with your brand/product/service provide valuable insight for your potential customers.
  • Live Videos ⁠— Videos that provide an inside-look to your company/business or events/tradeshows. Live streams encourage audience participation with comments and engagement.
  1. Know your audience  

Understanding your audience is the core of creating your video marketing strategy. Doing your research and creating a customer persona for your brand/product will help you effectively target your demographic. Monitoring audiences engagements and comments to current  content strategies will give you a better understanding of what messages resonate and appeal to them.

Learn how to identify your audience.

  1. Craft your narrative

Begin by first settling on the main overall message. It is important to be able to clearly describe the core moral of the video into a simple statement. Great storytelling finds a way to relate to the audience through experiences, lessons learned, and anecdotes.

  1. Recognizing multiple platforms

Digital media can now be delivered to your audiences via multiple sources, and it is important to understand which video platforms will be the most beneficial to your business. Every social network requires your video content to be optimized for different distribution channels. While traditional platforms such as TV and YouTube require videos to be filmed in horizontal wide screen mode, other platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram prefer a full picture mode instead.  It is, also, important to recognize that individual social platforms are now creating their own native video functionality in order to allow for easier video integration within their platform. “Live videos” are becoming a new content delivery channel among certain platforms and audiences.

  1. Know your hardware

As the landscape of different delivery platforms continue to change, it is inherent for businesses to look at how capturing video content is achieved. Traditional delivery methods of TV, YouTube, and a company website can still require the use of professional video recording equipment when creating video content. With technological advancements in personal mobile devices however, filming high-quality footage for social video content is becoming the standard. It is becoming easier to create quality content with the tools that are already available at your fingertips.

Tips for taking video with your phone.

10 Quick Business Etiquette Tips

For Business Etiquette Week, I would like to share these 10 quick and easy business etiquette tips. Whether you are meeting with a client, collaborating on a project, or interacting within the workplace, your daily interactions can have a large impact—making proper business etiquette essential for success.

Listen intently—Lean into the conversation and make sure you are displaying active listening.

Reiterate what you hear—Recap and summarize what you are hearing.

Ask intelligent questions—Do your homework before a meeting and be prepared to ask intelligent questions. Follow up a conversation with a thoughtful questions that clearly indicates you understand what they are saying. Make sure you leave a meeting understanding the “why” and “what”.

Be in-tune with their perspective—Always think about things as if you were in the other person’s shoes. Make sure you are seeing their perspective and point of view.

Send a note—It is a lost art these days. If you are meeting someone for the first time, if someone opened a door or referral, or if you’re invited to their business, their home, breakfast, lunch or dinner; I strongly encourage you to take the time to send a hand-written note that thanks them for their time. If you are at a conference, write down from what you have heard something that has made a valuable impression on you, and then, send a note acknowledging the impact. Make sure your note is sincere—without any other intent or expectation.

Take notes and send a recap—Be prepared and take good notes. Do not write down just what they say. Think about the meaning behind their words and how that reflects what their goals are. Within 48 hours maximum, you should send a complete recap from your meeting.

Communicate—Silence is not good. You may know you are on-top of things, but if you do not communicate, no one else does. This applies for internal communication with co-workers, external communication with clients, and even communication in your personal life. Let others know what you are working on—give them updates and keep them informed. Trust me, this is an important part of etiquette that will allow you to be fully appreciated and valued in your business endeavors.

Be respectful of time—Everyone is busy. Make sure your meetings have a clear agenda, you are aware of your time, the project at hand is productively moving forward, and that you can recap the next steps. Most productive meetings can be done within an hour. If your meetings generally run longer, ask yourself why and what you can do differently the next time.

Greet each other appropriately—Although we are in a new era of COVID-19 and social distancing, the importance of a firm handshake will never change in my mind.

Make eye contact, be authentic, and smile—All relationships (professional or personal) start with trust. You can immediately tell when someone is not genuine. Treat those you meet with respect and acknowledge the teams working around you. Continually work on improving your EQ (emotional intelligence) not just your IQ.


Kara Demirjian Huss

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Corporate Census Day

Join us for Corporate Census Day on Friday, April 3, 2020. We encourage you to have employees take 10-15 minutes out of their workday to complete the census. The census form contains only nine questions and can be filled out online or over the phone. It is a quick and easy way to make a major impact for all of us in Illinois!

A complete and accurate U.S. 2020 Census count is critical for our state and local communities to receive billions of dollars in federal funding for programs and infrastructure you value most. From healthcare centers to nutrition assistance, school funding, libraries, roads, EMS services, and more—our communities benefit when every person is counted. As we face the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for human health services and educational programs has become even clearer. For each person not counted, our community stands to lose $1,400 a year in funding for programs that support our state and local communities. That’s why it’s critical to #CareAbouttheCount.

Simple Steps:

  1. Employees should refer to their census letter received by mail for their unique code. If they do not have the letter, they can still complete the census.
  2. Go to 2020Census.gov and click Respond.
  3. You can complete the census for everyone in your family. Everyone counts including newborn babies born on or before April 1, 2020.
  4. The census form contains nine questions and only takes about 10–15 minutes to complete.
  5. Once completed, we encourage employees to share their participation using the Facebook frame “I’m counted.” as their profile picture by searching #careaboutthecount.
  6. Download social assets to post on your corporate page (Click To Download Assets).

Thank you for helping every person be counted!


Kara Demirjian Huss

Connect with Kara

Becoming A Women-Owned Business Enterprise

Well I did it. I finally bit the bullet and became a certified Women Business Enterprise!

When I started DCC Marketing 20 years ago, it was because I saw a gap in the marketing agency sector. As the global marketing head for a manufacturing organization, I found that the marketing agencies I had hired were not interested in taking the time to understand my business. They consistently failed to provide me a brand strategy or go-to-market plan. The reason? They were not asking the right business questions. How can you market without integrating and measuring sales?

For my entire career and still today, I have worn multiple hats on the corporate marketing side of business while simultaneously running an advertising agency. This dual perspective is unique, and I believe it is the key component to our success. Rolling up your sleeves, learning the products and services, understanding the customers, knowing how and where revenues and margins are generated, analyzing market sectors and growth opportunities, building a database by identifying and segmenting audiences; all of these pieces are what great marketing strategies and brands are built on. This was why I started my own marketing business, and it remains a part of DCC Marketing’s core principals to this day.

Diversity and culture has always been inherent in our business philosophy with or without a certification stamp. So why become certified now after 20 years? For the first five years, I never really contemplated certification—even though 100% of our staff was female and minority. As the business grew, there were several milestones that I crossed and considered certification, but it was not until recently that I realized what an impact this can make—not just for our business—but for our employees, our clients, and our partners. After a little more research, guidance from a few of my YPO colleagues, and a really awesome attorney and state liaison (Yes, I said it. They were really helpful.), I went for it. DCC Marketing’s work with government contracts continues to grow in the education and healthcare arena. Certification has opened new opportunities for training, education, and networking within our corporation as well. It has solidified our commitment to unique and diverse cultures, while providing a network of connectivity—for me personally—to help other businesses thrive and inspire diversity in leadership. While our values and philosophies have not changed, I’m proud to finally say that DCC Marketing is officially WBE certified.


Kara Demirjian Huss

Connect with Kara

Inspire Your Heart With Art

As Creative Director at DCC, I lead our creative team and provide guidance to ensure that our messaging strategies and creative concepts exceed the goals and needs of our clients. My role is to also push the team to constantly educate themselves on the emerging technologies, trends and capabilities so that we can always be delivering the most strategic and innovative options for our clients.

My love for art and design began when I was a young child. I fell in love with the colorful and unique packaging art on cardbacks and boxes from all the toys during that time. All the great character designs and backstories for these toys made for an easy transition into comic books and videogames. The art and storytelling nature from these mediums drove my passion and creativity within my own art. I strove to develop my skills in illustration, sculpture, painting, concept art development and storytelling. I wanted to pursue a career that embraced my love for the arts and used my talents. I’m very fortunate to be involved in a career that challenges my creative thinking process, allows me to use my skillset and provides me the opportunity to expand my talents into new and different mediums.

Art/Design gives us a way to communicate and express our needs and desires to those around us. Great design can connect individuals around the globe through its visuals and storytelling. Art/design, paired with a complete understanding of the behaviors and motives of the target demographic, can be used to great effect in influencing and engaging your audience to reach certain goals. It is also important to understand how different mediums of art and integration with technology can drastically affect how a messaging strategy reaches the intended audience. Businesses constantly looking for ways to engage with their audiences often underestimate how art/design can connect them—at a more meaningful level—with their audience to help build brand equity and brand loyalty.

I believe it is crucial for businesses to have a complete understanding of their brand. It is important for them to realize that a brand goes beyond a logo or graphic mark. A brand is made up of multiple components—image, messaging strategy, company core values and company personality. All of these elements work together to make one cohesive unit. Captivating and relevant storytelling of the brand message—when told with a deep understanding of these components—is what brings the target audience to you, rather than constantly adjusting your brand position to find the right audience.

Why Real Estate Agencies Should be Using LinkedIn

According to the National Association of Realtors, social media beat out MLS websites as the best tool for generating high-quality leads. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are obvious choices, but when it comes to building brand credibility, making connections and establishing your company as industry experts, LinkedIn is where you should focus your social strategy. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Company Page

Start by making sure your company page is completed and up to date. This is your opportunity to show off experience and expertise in niche markets. Your page is the first interaction many LinkedIn users have with your company, so you want to make sure your brand look and messaging are consistent throughout.

  • You need images. Update your profile picture to your company logo.
  • Don’t neglect the header image. Use this space to show off your brand personality.
  • Make sure they are sized correctly! Profile should be 400 x 400 pixels and header should be 1536 x 768 pixels.

Showcase Pages

LinkedIn offers Showcase Pages as a way for you to highlight all aspects of your brand. If your business offers commercial real estate, property management and leasing, you can build out showcase pages with information for each segment. Think of it as a built-in landing page to help generate leads.

Join Groups

Once you’ve established your company page, joining groups and engaging in the online real estate community will help build brand awareness and business ethos. Whether it is your real estate association or professional networking groups, every contribution gets your name in front of a captured audience.

Share Informative Content

Sharing relevant industry content and original thought leadership will go far in establishing your LinkedIn presence. LinkedIn and Edelman’s research on thought leadership in the B2B space proves it.

  • More than half of decision makers (55%) cite thought leadership as an important way to vet organizations.
  • 57% of decision makers say a brand’s thought leadership directly led to awarding business.

If you are sharing informative, thought-provoking content you’ll be representing new clients before you know it.

Real Estate in a Digital Age. (2019, August 22). Retrieved December 10, 2019, from https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/real-estate-in-a-digital-age.

Rynne, A. (2019, November 13). Creating a Thought Leadership Marketing Plan. Retrieved December 10, 2019, from https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/blog/linkedin-b2b-marketing/2019/creating-a-thought-leadership-marketing-plan.

Laying the Foundation for Successful Community Development

Across the board, developers think big. That big thinking is what drives success in businesses and communities, but not without the help of well-executed brand strategy.

For years, municipalities have used financial incentives as the primary tool for business development and economic growth. But where the growth actually comes from is residents, developers and business owners that believe a community brand is worth investing in. What defines your area and makes it unique is your opportunity to build a brand strategy that attracts developers and consumers who share that same vision.

Brand strategy is the new economic development and imperative for community development initiatives. Over the last decade, there has been a shift in what we ask from the places we live and work. We are asking for more than just nice neighborhoods and good schools. More than ever, residents consider the principles and promise of a community and how they fit into the story.

Real and perceived identity are built through a successful brand strategy that capitalizes on the strengths of the community. Here are some guiding words of wisdom:

  • Don’t change your community. Redefine it. Tell your story so that it resonates with those who share your same vision and attracts businesses and residents that reinforce your brand.
  • Listen and engage. Don’t look for solutions in a vacuum—do your research. Evaluate and identify always comes before create and assess (See our Playbook process).
  • Build on your strengths. Creating your story has to start with honest introspection. What sets your community apart? Authenticity is important when building a brand.

Why Distribution Is Queen

“Content is King, but distribution is Queen and she wears the pants,” is a quote taken from Jonathan Perelman, a previous VP at Buzzfeed. This quote represents the idea that, while the quality or the amount of content produced by a business is important, the way in which the consumer receives or interacts with the content is equally essential (if not more so). For example, any business can sell a cup of coffee, but there is more to building a loyal following than the product itself. A quality product may keep customers coming back for more, but it is the marketing of that product through channels such as social media, user-generated content, and public relations that keep the brand and product at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Content should be placed strategically, and with advances in technology, there are more opportunities for delivering your brand and products to your consumer in more meaningful ways than ever before.

What’s Out There

Distribution Channels:

  • Physical Locations
  • Transportation/Logistics
  • Radio/News
  • Websites
  • Social Media
  • Influencers/Spokespersons
  • Mobile Devices
  • Digital Advertising

Your channels of distribution determine who sees your brand and how that audience engages with your brand. You need to choose the distribution channels that best represent your business or products. Consider the demographics of your audience and how you can interact with them. A B2B company may require a much different approach than a company that is B2C.

How To Use Distribution Channels

  • Represent Your Brand – What is the voice of your brand or business? Your company’s voice determines the content you produce or how you respond to your customers at different channels or touchpoints.
  • Know Your Competition – Who are you competing with? How do you stand out? The internet is full of content, with many businesses struggling to make their mark. Being aware of your competition and what kind of content has proven successful in your industry is one way to stay ahead of the curb.
  • Develop Multiple Touchpoints – Creating multiple touchpoints where a customer can see and engage with your business is essential for bringing your brand to the forefront of your consumers’ minds. With the digital age, nearly 50% of consumers require at least four touchpoints in order to make an informed purchase decision.
  • Nurture Your Consumers – Your channels of distribution are where you interact with your brand’s audience. Whether this interaction occurs at a brick-and-mortar location or by engaging with a post on social media, it is important that you build positive experiences and meet the customer’s expectations.

Making Customer Connections

Making consumer connections is the number one goal of any distribution channel, but how does audience reach convert into sales and revenue for a business? User-generated and personalized content help bridge the gap and increase the likelihood of purchase.

  • User-Generated Content – Recommendations from family and friends have a large impact when it comes to introducing a consumer to a new brand or product. User-generated content allows for your current customers to tell others about their experience with your business. Personal recommendations can come at no cost and truly help establish the authenticity and quality of your products.
  • Personalization – Part of creating an omni-channel marketing experience is being able to provide your customer with relevant information and content regarding their purchase decisions. For example, a cat owner would be more likely to click on an ad or to open an e-mailer regarding cat care. Businesses can provide more personalized content by knowing the customer’s interests and behavior.

Content may be King, but where and how you share your content as a brand matters. To truly make an impact with the consumer, your distribution strategy is key, and you can bet your bottom dollar that the key is nestled safely in the pocket of the Queen.

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