How to Transform a Limited Budget into a Brilliant Idea

How to Transform a Limited Budget into a Brilliant Idea

Here’s an interview conducted in March of this year by Geny Caloisi at Top Interactive Agencies with our very own President and Creative Director, Renee Miller. She discusses how she can transform brands, the future of digital marketing, and some of her favorite agencies in the business.

According to Renee Miller, President and Creative Director of The Miller Groupcreativity steeped in strategy is a winning combination; the trick is to find the right fit for the two.

Founded in 1990, The Miller Group is based in Los Angeles, USA. Renee says that she decided to found the company as a creative boutique to support clients who felt like they were being overlooked by their current agencies. “We started the agency with one client: TransAmerica Insurance and grew from there to include Wolf Range Company, Staar Surgical, French Luggage Company, The Gay Men’s Chorus and GE.”

Indeed The Miller Group counts amongst its clients, old and well-known brands such as TransAmerica Insurance – created in 1928, and innovative brands such as The Gay Men’s Chorus LA. The Chorus, for instance, needed a low budget solution. The Miller Group managed to help them have two sold-out concert seasons, just by using compelling headlines combined with an integrated ad campaign.

The Miller Group is very good at solving the branding conundrum of how to preserve a name and brand that is well known and loved by its historical customers, while at the same time making it desirable to new consumers. On the other hand they are able to see when a brand needs to be renovated.

The Miller Group’s achievements are being recognized by the industry. Just a week ago Clutch, a B2B research firm from Washington, DC, named the agency as one of the top 10 advertising and marketing agencies in Los Angeles. Agencies in Clutch’s research are evaluated based on over a dozen factors, including their focus in advertising, industry recognition, and client base. At the backbone of Clutch’s research is the client perspective, which Clutch infers through intensive client interviews. According to Clutch, a great partnership is one defined by the ability of the agency to understand the needs of the client. And this is exactly what Renee has set up its agency to do.

Can you describe your agency in three words?

Great creative solutions.

Does humor play a big part in your campaigns? Why?

Yes, very much. Everyone loves appropriate humor – the kind that hits home and makes people respond.

Can you tell us about a particular project you worked on that was especially successful?

Branding was irrelevant for one of the largest U.S. distributors of plastic bags. That is, until they acquired the North American rights to a new cooking bag designed to increase sales of perimeter items (vegetables, seafood, poultry) for groceries at incremental profit. The U.K. manufacturer called the cooking bags product “Thinking Cooking.

The name and existing materials were not working effectively for the U.S. distributor who contacted The Miller Group for branding and sales support. We renamed the product “Ready. Chef. Go!” And created a B2B program to sell into grocers, and later, a B2C program – direct to consumers.

The program included retail sales kits; web sites; e-mail marketing campaign to grocers; consumer facing, in-store materials; digital and tradition advertising, social media, video, original branded content, in-store events.

The brand has taken off in the U.S. and grocers across the country – independents and chains – are offering “Ready. Chef. Go!” cooking bags in their seafood departments free to customers. Some of these grocers include Sam’s Clubs, Winn Dixie, Whole Foods (regionally), and Stater Brothers – all of whom are realizing an increase in incremental sales, as consumers are purchasing more fish each week.

What specialties do you have in house?

Copywriters, art direction, strategy, and video production.

Name a challenge your team is currently facing.

Creating brilliant solutions on limited budgets.

In your opinion, what is a digital trend that is here to stay, at least for the time being?

Facebook is constantly growing and reinventing itself. Facebook Live is incredibly innovative.

Where do you see the future of the industry?

The move is toward video, which is great for us, because it’s a specialty of ours. Our senior producer comes out the feature film world and we’ve created and produced more than 300 videos over the past couple of years, as well as developing live, original shows.

What piece of advice would you give a recent grad looking to work in digital marketing?

Be persistent. Jobs are incredibly hard to find, especially on the agency side. Break through the clutter – do something different to grab attention.

Are there online publications, professionals, industry leaders you follow?

The following agencies are doing a stellar job. I’m always amazed at their creativity. Droga5, Wieden + Kennedy, BBH, Goodby Silverstein, Mother, 72 and Sunny, Deutsch, and at least a dozen others, including McCann Melbourne, who created “Dumb Ways To Die.”

Which cities outside where you live interest you creatively?

London, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Cannes, Berlin, Cape Town, Buenos Aires, Aukland, Singapore.

Please list a few of your favorite digital brands:

My personal favorite is YogaGlo. Love it and use it regularly.

What do you like doing in your free time?

I like traveling, cooking, reading, entertaining, live theatre, creative writing, practicing yoga and attending the Natural Foods Product Show (Expo West) in Anaheim every year.

Renee's Working Preferences

Read the article on Top Interactive Agencies here.

Interested in how The Miller Group can revitalize your brand or enhance it with new strategy, video, or email marketing campaigns? Contact me, at or call me at 310-442-0101.

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