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Standish Executive Search Works with Howes Lubricator to Select New Vice President of Marketing

The Howes Family Welcomes Phil Colacchio to the Leadership Role;

Plans Growth of Product Line


Providence, Rhode Island – North Kingstown-based Howes Lubricator worked with Business Succession & Growth Expert Standish Executive Search in Providence to select a new Vice President of Marketing.  A broad national search was conducted over the last several months to identify the ideal candidate for this executive role leading to the hiring of Phil Colacchio of BarringtonColacchio will lead product and marketing strategies for the 98 year old company.

“Standish Executive Search worked with Howes Lubricator to find the candidate that would have a similar customer-focused approach, combined with the ability to obtain results in moving the company toward its sales and growth objectives,” said Kelley Small, Principal of Standish Executive Search.  “We recommended Phil Colacchio to Howes Lubricator based on his strong track record in both sales and marketing coupled with his hands-on approach.”

Colacchio is a strategist with fifteen years of experience in marketing, most recently as Director of Global Marketing for Titleist Golf Gear.  His strategic planning abilities are complemented by a strong consideration and understanding of consumer value creation and entrepreneurial spirit. Prior work includes companies such as Newell Rubermaid and ACCO Brands among others. He is a graduate of the University of Vermont.

“We are thrilled to have Phil Colacchio join our team, and we believe his track record of success speaks to his ability to bring about measurable results for Howes Lubricator,” said Erika Howes, Vice President of Business Development at Howes Lubricator.  “As a 98-year old company, we are constantly striving to find new ways to serve our customers, and Standish really understood that we were looking for someone who would fit into our culture while also helping us to grow our revenue and profitability.  We are confident Standish has found the right person to help us grow our business.”

Founded in 1920 by Wendell V.C. Howes, Howes Lubricator is a fifth-generation family business that produces a specialized line of preventive maintenance products formulated for diesel engine owners and operators.  The company’s state-of-the-art oil additives, fuel additives and multi-use lubricants are used worldwide.


About Standish Executive Search:

Standish Executive Search is a New England-based firm that builds every search to meet each client’s unique culture, operations and strategy objectives.  The firm counsels and advises companies seeking accelerated growth, change or succession, employing Standish’s unique Standish Model© to identify, attract and retain the right leaders. More information can be found at


How to Fail Better on Social

To succeed on social, you have to do three things:

  • Test constantly and fearlessly
  • Be prepared to fail
  • Iterate and optimized quickly

Here’s how to fail better on social for your brand.

1. Exercise Lean Research Tactics

Consumer research looks very different than it did ten years ago.

Where expensive, time-consuming, qualitative methods like in-person focus groups used to be the only way to gather real human feedback, social media now provides the fastest, most honest consumer feedback loops for a fraction of the cost.

Easily run keyword and hashtag analysis with Simply Measured Social Listening.

By using leaner tactics and an iterative approach to content creation, marketers can easily incorporate research into their weekly schedule and reduce costs by identifying which content  will and will not resonate with their audiences.

Here’s an example of a lean research process. Learn more here.

  1. Kick-off time. Get key stakeholders in the room, share your plan, and set objectives.
  2. Examine initial data. Present your social analytics and consumer feedback.
  3. Analyze the user experience. What’s it like for a consumer to experience your brand on social? What’s it like to be a user of your service? Use a listening solution for empathy mapping, customer journey mapping, and even to identify audience members for one-on-one interviews.
  4. Form an initial hypothesis. This is an inferred insight about your product, service or feature from your initial research that you believe to be true.
  5. Deliver actionable insights. This is your recommendation for what you believe will improve the situation or create a new opportunity.

2. Embrace Rapid Experimentation

It may not necessarily be realistic or efficient for you to design and build out fully finished, high-fidelity concepts to test, especially since you’ll need to iterate a few times before reaching a final version.

Instead think outside of the box about what the smallest ways of testing ideas could be, and focus on the highest priority that will satisfy your consumers.

Simply Measured Listening
Which topics does your audience actually care about?

The CMO of Hipages, Tracy Richardson recommends rapid experimentation over traditional channel marketing. According to Richardson, this approach takes advantage of low-cost alternatives in social media, guerilla and viral marketing, targeted advertising, SEO and online community management.” Hipages was able to grow during their early stages by leveraging performance channels like SEO, SEM and EDM.

By experimenting with low-fidelity concepts and testing with rapid prototypes, you can learn quickly and iterate toward a final solution that meets your market needs. This process is often thought to be a cyclic pattern:Think. Make. Check.

3. Remove Subjectivity

Creative content is completely subjective and there’s no one right way to design it. But when marketers push an idea forward without a proof of concept, they often find themselves implementing a strategy that does not meet market needs.

Take the subjectivity out of your social game with Simply Measured Cross-Channel Social Analytics.

One of the greatest benefits of incorporating research throughout your process is that tangible market evidence helps remove personal bias.

Gone are the conversations about whether or not a marketing campaign, headline or visual are “good.” Now what matters – and can actually be measured –  is whether it’s effective.

One surefire way to avoid failures as much as possible on social? Understand your audience inside and out. For help with this daunting enterprise, download the guide below.

For Maximum Influencer Impact, Think Small

By: Lizz Kannenberg

Influencer marketing. What was a disruptive buzzword a couple of years ago is marketing table stakes for most consumer brands today.

There are a number of reasons for this, but chief among them: The nature of social leveled the playing field, making it easier than ever for influential personalities to establish large audiences and easily publish content.

So how can today’s agencies stay one step ahead of the lackluster #spon crowd? By remembering what makes social a special medium: Diversity and relevance.

How Macro-influence Killed Authenticity

The high visibility of social performance data has always made it easy to equate reach with success.

Agencies and clients alike got sucked in by the vanity metrics and the relative affordability of leveraging an influencer’s audience over buying more traditional media exposure. Many a successful social personality sacrificed what made them compelling—their voice, their visual style, their approachability, their uniqueness—in the service of brand dollars.

Most knew that these “partnerships” didn’t make sense for their personal brands, but they looked at the fee as a means to support the content they did want to create—you know, the content that drew their audiences to them in the first place.

This combination of clients willing to co-opt influencers as an alternative to digital media and influencers willing to sell their reach was lethal to authenticity because it failed to acknowledge the ability of the audience to smell a particularly stinky rat: Irrelevance.

Relevance to the Rescue

Smart agencies are starting to realize that all of the reach generated by macro-influencers doesn’t necessarily translate into measurable business gains. That’s because research has shown time and time again that the closer the influencer or referrer is to the audience, the more powerful the recommendation.

Even if you don’t personally know someone, the degree to which it appears their life connects to yours seems to determine how influential you find them to be.

That’s why many are shifting their considerable influencer investments—expected to top $10 billion by 2020—to niche content creators who have smaller audiences but significantly more influence with them.

These so-called micro-influencers are often authoritative in a specific area and have “real lives” that feel more connected to those of their audiences. From beer brewing to camping and motherhood to motorcycle maintenance, smaller but highly engaged audiences are drawn to influencers who seem to know what they’re doing in an area that is of interest to your client’s target consumer.

And because these influencers are still living lives that resemble those of their audiences, there is room alongside their personal brands for the kinds of brand partnerships that make sense to them.

Relinquish Control, It’s OK

Let’s be blunt: Doing influencer marketing well means giving up creative control of the messaging. Micro-influencers are highly protective of their personal brands, and it’s unlikely that your off-the-shelf brand content will fit the style, tone and appeal of the content on which they built their influence in the first place.

This means being open to content co-creation and, yes, to potential criticism or the dissolution of partnerships if the influencer doesn’t feel like he or she can authentically endorse your client’s products.

But in the end this is a good thing. If an influencer is not authentically feeling the brand or product, the content they create on your behalf will fall flat. Know when to walk away as confidently as they do.

Don’t Forget the OG Micro-influencers

The greater news for those agencies who choose to believe in the power of micro-influence: Your target audience’s peers are the most influential referrers of all. And you don’t have to do all of the legwork—82% of consumers proactively seek out recommendations from people they know before making a purchase.

All you have to do is make it easy for the people who already love your client’s brand to recommend it. Referral bonuses and codes are a low-risk, low-investment place to start.

Keep in mind, some of the most valuable micro-influencers are closer than you think. Your client’s employees are sometimes the brand’s biggest fans. Similar to the difference in how consumers interact with micro-influencers versus macro-influencers, employee advocates are widely considered twice as trustworthy as even CEOs or brand spokespeople.

Employee advocacy tools arm the people who are passionately engaged with the brands they represent with a simple way to amplify the message. It’s more effective in every aspect—cost, reach, sincerity and even clout—because your client’s brand has real, informed, believable people behind it.

So remember: Reach is nothing if you don’t make an impact. Rather than investing in the high-priced, low-relevance exposure offered by celebs and macro-influencers, consider investing your influencer spend on the focused authenticity offered by people closer to your client’s target audience.

Niche content creators, peer recommenders and even your client’s own employees can form a powerful network of informed, enthusiastic and authoritative advocates that has the potential to affect brand perception, recall and your client’s bottom line.

*A version of this article was originally published on Adweek on April 10, 2018

Why Facebook’s Struggles are Good for Brands Using Social Media

By: Ryan Holmes


Facebook now reports that as many as 87 million Facebook users may have had their data exposed as part of the Cambridge Analytica situation. The company’s stock price has dipped more than 10%. #DeleteFacebook campaigns are making the rounds. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s own COO, has acknowledged that advertisers have curtailed spending.

So where does this leave the millions of brands that rely on Facebook to share their message with customers and with the world?

The short—and possibly surprising—answer: in a good position. The chaos of the last few weeks belies a critical fact. The events at Facebook have accelerated an important shift—one already in progress—toward restoring faith and trust among social media users. And we all stand to benefit.

In the span of a decade, social media has gone from dorm rooms to the global stage, with networks now counting more than 3 billion users worldwide. The accompanying cultural and technological changes have been profound, to say the least—and not always easy to anticipate. Networks built on authenticity and real human connection saw their efforts undermined by malicious bots and bad actors.

Facebook is now spearheading the charge to restore exactly that kind of trust and connection. They’re reining in the ways third parties can access data, cracking down on foreign operatives, recalibrating algorithms to surface more meaningful content, clarifying privacy settings, offering users a bird’s-eye view of their data, complying with General Data Protection Regulation rules (increasingly, the gold standard globally), and updating terms of service to spell out more clearly what data their services collect.

Behind all of this is a recognition that transparency and trust have always been what makes social media special—its greatest virtue and greatest vulnerability. Facebook’s commitment to restoring this sense of trust is earnest and its vision is long-term. They know that their future, in no uncertain terms, depends on it. There’s no doubt that the Cambridge Analytica situation has set off shockwaves. But it’s proved also proved a critical wake-up call.

Let there be no doubt. Users will increasingly demand more from their networks. Social platforms, across the board, will up their game—weeding out malicious bots, safeguarding privacy and prioritizing meaningful connection over short-term gain. In fact, we can see these changes already afoot in Twitter’s efforts to reduce duplicate posts and Instagram’s follow limits. As trust is restored, we’ll see more and more of the infectious energy and immediacy that drew people to social media in the first place.

What does this mean for brands? To be clear, Facebook isn’t going anywhere. It’s a plumbing of the Internet and a crucial component of how we live our lives and do business today. The present may be trying. But as these needed changes unfold, brands that engage with transparency and creativity—i.e. the right way—will find a more receptive and bought-in audience than ever on Facebook and other platforms. Spammers, trolls and manipulators, however, will be increasingly out of luck.

It’s about time.

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