Forbes Councils Give Lydia Vargo a Vetted Community of Peers with Whom She Can Share and Learn


ChicExecs VP of Global Strategic Accounts Lydia Vargo shares her story working with ChicExecs and becoming a regular contributor of content through Forbes Business Development Council on Forbes blog.

“The wonderful thing about Forbes Councils is that it’s very vetted,” she says. “These are like-minded people and we’re all eager to share, but we’re also really eager to learn.”

The content Vargo writes is crafted to share thought leadership and to give readers an understanding of ChicExecs’s brand identity.

“I really have loved being a part of Forbes Councils,” she says.

When Lydia Vargo first interviewed with ChicExecs co-founders Nikki Carlson and Kailynn Bowling seven years ago, she recalls that “they asked a lot of questions that I felt were assessing whether or not I was a good fit for the company.”

Rather than discussing her skills and her resume, which spoke for itself, her potential employers encouraged Vargo to talk about the elements of her career that got her most excited. For her part, Vargo was impressed with “their overall vision of what they wanted for their people. I loved their story and their journey.”

“The culture and belief system that Nikki and Kailynn have fostered is very much just empowering people to grow,” says Vargo. “And entrepreneurialism is very, very important.”

Vargo started out doing PR work for ChicExecs and was then asked to head a new retail strategy team.

“I started working with buyers and presenting our brands for retail, which was really exciting, and I loved it,” says Vargo.

As the company grew, she then moved into a leadership role on the sales team.

“I never considered myself a salesperson,” she says. “But I think that the best salespeople, their gift is not selling — it’s understanding people and recognizing what they need for their business and then presenting the right options. A good salesperson is willing to walk away if they’re offering a service that the brand doesn’t need.”

Read Lydia Vargo’s full Forbes blog to learn more about her history working at ChicExecs and her past professional experiences.



Why Your 2020 Marketing Strategy Should Include Influencers


Nikki Carlson, ChicExecs Marketing Agency’s Co-Founder/Co-President, shares why brands need influencer marketing in 2020 on Forbes blog.

Many marketers are saving a place for influencers in their marketing strategies this year. Influencer marketing helps brands tap niche content creators to promote certain products and services. Brands compensate influencers in exchange for promoting them to a targeted following.

Why? Because it works. Influencer marketing is a modern form of word-of-mouth marketing. Through influencers, your brand has the power to influence people’s purchasing decisions.

We all know 2019 was a big year for influencer marketing. So the question is: Is it on the decline in 2020? Should you invest your marketing dollars elsewhere? She explains that her vote is no.

“Influencer marketing is very relevant in 2020; it’s just upgraded in many ways for the new year. In a world where 80% of marketers say influencer marketing works, according to Mediakix, you have to create a smart strategy that boosts brand recognition for the best ROI possible.”

Brands Need Influencer Marketing in 2020 for Five Key Reasons

1. Be competitive. Statistically speaking, there’s a very good chance your competitors are already investing in influencer marketing.  If so, that means they have an entire marketing channel at their disposal that you aren’t using.

2. Build immediate trust. It takes months of hard work to build trust with your audience. With an influencer, you have an immediate in with an audience that is primed to trust your message — 63% of customers aged 18-34 trust influencers more than branded advertising.

3. Create better content. Influencers connect with people for a living. They know what content resonates with their audience. Instead of racking your brain to write a sponsored post, let the influencer handle the content side.

4. Amplify and engage. Influencers are motivated to get more results for your brand, which means they’re more than willing to amplify your reach beyond one platform.

5. Boost revenue.  Influencer marketing isn’t a “fluffy” marketing strategy. While 84% of marketers find that proving the ROI of influencer marketing is a challenge, some studies have found that the ROI is as much as $6.50 for every $1 spent.

While influencer marketing will remain powerful this year, it’s important to keep in mind that best practices can change on a dime, and that means what worked last year won’t necessarily work moving forward.

Read Nikki Carlson’s full Forbes blog for three helpful tips when implementing your 2020 influencer marketing strategy.

Budgeting for 2020? Don’t Forget About PR

Kailynn Bowling, ChicExecs Marketing Agency’s Co-Founder/Co-President shares the PR strategies to invest in this year on Forbes blog.

From ad creative to salaries, businesses are planning expenses for the year so they can stay profitable. However, many businesses fall into the trap of overextending resources to paid ad strategies and overlook public relations (PR). Instead of pumping more resources into paid ads, budget with PR in mind first. She explains that paid ads aren’t everything. In 2018, paid ad spending was over $10 billion, and retailers spent a whopping $23.5 billion. Although businesses are spending a ton of money and wishing for good traffic and high returns in this arena, PR actually has more success.

“According to a 2014 Nielsen study, PR is 88% more effective than paid ads when it comes to customer persuasion.”

Consumers typically trust earned media more than general advertising. They find paid ads to be way too self-promotional and product-focused as well as displaying a lack of ingenuity. Word of mouth, customer testimonials and editorial media can have a greater impact on your followers than paid ads. Although they should remain in your strategy, there needs to be a combination of your brand’s own awareness and outside sources talking about your brand. One bonus of budgeting for both: PR isn’t nearly as money-hungry as Facebook ads, in fact, you can implement some strategies for free!

2020 is the year to invest in PR and earned media is the best way to engage with new customers en masse. It’s about building real interest in your products and amplifying it with the right tactics. When you dedicate your budget to the right PR strategies, you can build trust with new customers that a paid ad cannot beat.

Read Kailynn Bowling’s full Forbes blog for the right PR strategies that build genuine interest in your brand.

ChicExecs PR Secures Pudus in Forbes

Our latest PR feature is for our client Pudus in Forbes!

The family-run brand has grown from acclaimed slipper socks to a lifestyle fashion brand. The collection now includes slippers, hats, mittens, ponchos, and scarves—one of which was featured in Forbes’ Valentine’s Day gift guide. Pudus ultra soft blanket scarves are the perfect wraps to keep you cozy and looking stylish when the temperature dips and the wind blows. Use it as a blanket, scarf or shawl. They’re as soft as cashmere but 100 percent vegan.

Check out Pudus for the blanket scarf that’s a fashionable multi-tasker.

Congrats Pudus!


ChicExecs PR Secures Life Giving Warmth in Forbes

Our latest PR feature is for our client Life Giving Warmth in Forbes!

The brand’s signature product The Cozee is the first 100 percent portable, battery-powered heating blanket. It has a micro-fleece interior for comfort and to hold in heat, with a durable, water resistant exterior to shield against wind, rain and snow. The included battery pack supplies five plus hours of continuous warmth not to mention you can charge your devices with it.

Check out The Cozee by Life Giving Warmth when it comes to the blankets you want to “cozy” up with this Valentine’s Day.

Congrats Life Giving Warmth!

5 Tips for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolution

ChicExecs VP of Public Relations and Digital Media, Kristen Wessel, discusses on Forbes blog how New Year’s resolutions are fun to make, but they’re hard to put into practice, especially in business.

“No matter what promises you made this year, it can be hard to make sure these resolutions become more than just wishful thinking. Instead of becoming a statistic, there are five tips you can follow to hold yourself accountable and take your business to the next level in 2020.”

Read Kristen Wessel’s full Forbes blog for five tips that make your business resolution stick.




Five Ways to Streamline the Relationship Between Sales and Marketing

ChicExecs Senior Director of Strategic Accounts Lydia Vargo shares how businesses can eliminate silos around their marketing and sales departments to boost their revenue with better strategy and communication on Forbes blog.

Although it makes sense that improving their processes can equate to huge revenue gains, it’s easier said than done. They’re different disciplines, and because of that, businesses often situate sales and marketing in separate departments. It can be hard to realign sales and marketing if you haven’t been doing it from the start, but it is possible. Lydia gives her five steps to start forging a seamless relationship between marketing and sales.

Read Lydia Vargo’s full Forbes blog for business relationship tips that streamline your sales and marketing departments.


5 Business Tips for 2020 Growth

Nikki Carlson, ChicExecs Marketing Agency’s Co-Founder/Co-President, shares business tips for the new year that stick on Forbes blog.

Not all resolutions are created equal. Let’s not forget the oft-cited statistic that 80% of all New Year’s resolutions fail. Follow these tips to create resolutions that will stick beyond February 1.

1. Be realistic.

Many people fail to achieve their resolutions because they’re too harsh or unrealistic. Do you really think it’s fair to say you’ll achieve 3X revenue this year? Or speak at 100 industry conferences?


2. Break it up.

If a goal like “Speak at 10 industry conferences” seems huge, that’s because it is. It’s a big goal, but it isn’t impossible. If you’ve set a big resolution and aren’t sure how to make it happen, break up your resolution into micro-goals.


3. Quantify everything.

There’s nothing wrong with a goal like “Be a better manager.” But how do you know you’re a better manager? What does that even mean? You have no idea unless you define the goal and add numbers to it.


4. Check in regularly.

We have to approach business resolutions with awareness. You can’t declare a resolution and forget about it after January 1 — that’s wishful thinking, not an actual resolution.


5. Build accountability.

Say what you will about peer pressure, but it does wonders for keeping us on the straight and narrow. Tell your employees, another manager or a mentor about your business resolution. When you tell someone what you’re doing, they’re going to check in on you. That accountability will light a fire beneath you so you continue working on your resolution, even when you feel like throwing in the towel.


Read Nikki Carlson’s full Forbes blog for business tips that will stick.

Capitalizing on the Holidays with Influencer Marketing

Kailynn Bowling, ChicExecs Marketing Agency’s Co-Founder/Co-President, shares how influencer marketing can be the answer to holiday marketing overwhelm.

But with everyone vying for their piece of the pie, that means you face more competition than usual, spending more budget dollars on impressions that may or may not move the needle. What’s a brand to do? “In my experience as the cofounder of a PR and retail strategy firm, I’ve found that influencer marketing can be the answer to holiday marketing overwhelm. Influencer marketing builds a great rapport with your audience, overcomes the annoying problems of competition and significantly boosts your reach.”

Read “Capitalizing On The Holidays With Influencer Campaigns” and follow her four steps to design a holiday influencer marketing campaign that’s both effective and profitable in the new year.

ChicExecs Secures atelierBOEMIA on Forbes

Our latest feature is for our client atelierBOEMIA on Forbes!

Featuring classic blue designs, Tapas Bowls from atelierBOEMIA were named in the holiday gift guide,”Best Kitchen Gifts in Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year.”

Check out atelierBOEMIA for the handmade bowls from Safi, Morocco that are perfect for everything from a dinner party to happy hour.

Congratulations atelierBOEMIA!

The ChicExecs Team