Ad Agency Finds Its Marketing Niche

By Kevin Bouffard
The Ledger, Lakeland, Fla.


When Lora Kellogg decided to revamp her Lakeland advertising agency, she considered every detail.

The result is a new name, Curious Jane, and a new office over the entire third floor of the Pilot Bank building at 439 S. Florida Ave. in Lakeland. Both were rolled out in August.

The new name reflects the agency’s new brand and focus:

–Curious about finding better ways to help its clients, mostly health and wellness companies, reach its prime audience, and

–Jane, as in Jane Doe, or every woman, the audience it wants to reach.

“It’s difficult to serve everybody,” Kellogg said of her agency’s rebranding effort. “We knew we were strong in marketing to women. We knew we were strong in health care. We decided to put a stake in the ground and focus on what we do best.”

Rene Tirado of Lakeland, a client for 15 years, said Kellogg has done well for his companies.

“Whether it’s design or content, they’ve really done a good job at getting the message to women,” said, Tirado, a franchise co-owner of five Plato’s Closet stores in Lakeland and Tampa and three Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spas in both cities.

“Every year they’ve been able to come up with cool things.”

Plato’s buys and sells gently worn clothing for women ages 12 to 24, he said. Both are demographics in Curious Jane’s wheelhouse.

In addition to advertising through radio, TV, billboards and other marketing venues, Kellogg has gone the extra mile, such as arranging to have Plato’s clothing featured in fashion shows on local daytime talk shows, Tirado said.

And it created “a phenomenal design” on the billboard for its Lakeland spa at 4750 S. Florida Ave., which Tirado credited for the store’s fast start since opening in December, he said.

Kellogg started her own ad agency in 2004 after working for 10 years as vice president of marketing at the Winter Haven-based Scotty’s hardware and building supplies chain. It went out of business the following year.

For the first few years, Kellogg Marketing & Advertising was a full-service national ad agency aimed at serving a variety of clients, Kellogg said. Reading a book set her on a new course.

That book is “Positioning for Professionals: How Professional Knowledge Firms Can Differentiate Their Way to Success” by Tim Williams, an influential author in marketing and advertising, she said. The book made such an impact, Kellogg hired Williams as a consultant in December to guide the agency through its rebranding effort.

“Kellogg Marketing, when I first met them, was facing the same challenges as many small to mid-size agencies in the U.S.,” said Williams in an email to The Ledger from Australia. “Because marketers are increasingly under pressure to demonstrate return on their marketing investment, they are increasingly seeking the help of best-in-class specialists, not local generalists. The Kellogg team was aware that to meet their growth goals, they would need a business strategy that could help them appeal to prospective clients not only in their region, but throughout the entire country.”

Kellogg and her executive team were already working on a five-year strategic plan for the agency, he added, and his job was to act as a catalyst for ideas they were working on, including the focus on marketing health and wellness to women.

“I enthusiastically supported the agency’s decision to go in this direction, not only because it takes advantage of their core strengths, but because there is such incredible potential in this space,” Williams said. “Besides the area of digital marketing, health care marketing is the fastest-growing category in advertising and marketing today.”

Despite the fact that women make 85 percent of consumer purchases and make 80 percent of a household’s health decisions, Kellogg said she thinks Curious Jane has seized on a market niche few other agencies are working.

“A lot of agencies today are in the trap of trying to be everything to everybody,” Kellogg said. “I think we’ll see more specializing in the coming years.” Williams agreed.

“There is in fact a fair amount of what I would ’emerging’ competition, but much of this category is still being defined and developed from a marketing standpoint,” he said. “Today the definition of health care extends to health and wellness in all of its dimensions, which is a much more holistic way to view the category. Those agencies that are proactive in this space stand to gain significant growth opportunities.”

Curious Jane has already realized considerable success in those fields, doubling its revenues in the past two years, said Kellogg, who declined to disclose specific figures.

Curious Jane has 22 employees serving more than 100 clients, most of them outside of Polk County, she said. The biggest sectors it serves are resorts and health spas; franchise businesses targeting women, such as Plato’s; and health care providers, such as Lakeland Regional Health, formerly Lakeland Regional Medical Center.

“Women want and seek brands that make them more healthy,” Kellogg said. “I think we offer a real opportunity for brands to speak to women in a different way.”

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