How Consistent Branding Elevates Customer Experiences

Ray Sheehan

We had the opportunity to sit down with Ray Sheehan, the head of business development at Old City Media, who shared his motivational journey, discussed about how investing in marketing initiatives can help a business grow and realize its full potential, how companies can provide customers with memorable experiences that are consistent with their brand, reputation, and products, and the role of social media in promoting experiential marketing initiatives and expanding reach.

Ray Sheehan is the Managing Partner of, a North American event production and marketing company. He has a background in strategic planning, marketing, event management, and advertising and has helped the company expand from one city to over twenty states. Before this role, Ray owned and operated, a production and news company in Philadelphia and South Jersey. He oversaw all aspects of the business and produced a nationally syndicated television show. In 2020, he launched the G.I.F.T Program as part of Old City Media. Ray is recognized as a leader in the special events industry and an innovative thinker in the Philadelphia community and beyond.

What are your responsibilities as the owner of Old City Media, Inc.?

As the owner of Old City Media, Inc., I am responsible for all aspects of the business, including strategy, finance, marketing, sales, and customer service. While I have overseen various areas over the years, my primary focus has been business development. Currently, our main goal is to expand our business on a national level. I have collaborated with brands and retail locations to host our strategic partners to achieve this.

In addition to my business development efforts, I also oversee the GIFT program, which aims to bridge the gap between our most loyal partners and their desired customers. Through the GIFT program, we have hosted over 25,000 events and distributed millions of dollars in partner payouts. This program provides a straightforward, flexible solution to keep our field marketing and sales teams active.

And how has your journey been as the owner of, being recognized as a beacon of the special events industry and an idea innovator in the Philadelphia community?

It’s been a fantastic journey.  I love bringing people together by way of events.  This was always part of my DNA, dating back to my college days.  We just had the benefit of launching right when social media was becoming a thing.  We were essentially a social network for people looking to go out –  where two go, what to do.  So, the timing was perfect.  It was the perfect storm.  Beer and liquor companies were shifting their marketing budgets from print to radio.  Those early investments from Anheuser-Busch, Miller Lite, Coors Light, Absolut Vodka, etc., helped us grow and impact many people positively, not only in Philadelphia but also nationwide. 

How, in your opinion, can spending money on marketing initiatives help a firm expand and reach its full potential?

I hate using those catchphrases, but it’s really true in this case.  You need to spend money to make money.  However, you need to develop a strategy first.  You need to have a plan.  You need to clearly communicate your story or your brand message. That’s very critical before going to market.

Maximizing revenue through data-driven decision-making is a strategy that retailers are increasingly using to increase sales and foot traffic in their properties. By leveraging customer analytics, retailers can gain a deeper understanding of their customer’s behavior, preferences, and purchase patterns. 

How can businesses give their customers distinctive, memorable experiences that are consistent with their name, reputation, and offerings?

It really depends on the business segment.  However, there are simple things that could be done that are universal.  Starting with customer service.  Something so simple as good customer can win over a customer.  I come from the special event space, so attention to detail is always respected and noticed.  One thing I’ve always seen success in implementing is loyalty or rewards.  Make your customers become an ambassador for your brand.  One area that’s been lost over the years is accountability.  If something is not correct, own it.  You would be surprised by the reaction when you humanize something.  Finally, all brands should try and discover what their CSR mission is.  This could be something very small / done on a local level.  Or larger brands might have a larger impact on the global economy.

As social media is used almost by every business these days, how do these platforms help in promoting experiential marketing efforts and reaching a wider audience?

It’s a great tool to tie in the online and offline worlds.  Now those offline experiences/interactions have a longer shelf life online.  This gives your brand some personality.  This allows you to connect with your target audience and find new customers. 

What are some successful business partnership tactics that can help them grow their client base and reach new markets?

Successful business partnerships can be a game changer for any brand. One of the key factors in creating a successful partnership is identifying potential partners that align with your brand’s mission. This requires extensive research and understanding of the market, customer needs, and the competitive landscape. Once you have identified potential partners, creating a strategy ensures a successful partnership is essential. This includes developing a clear understanding of each partner’s goals, establishing mutual trust, setting clear objectives, and developing a shared vision for success. Negotiating partnership agreements is also a critical element of successful partnerships. This involves determining the scope of the partnership, identifying key performance indicators, and outlining the terms and conditions of the agreement. Finally, leveraging partnerships to increase brand visibility is essential to the success of any partnership. This involves cross-promotion, co-branding, and joint marketing efforts to increase exposure to new audiences and build brand loyalty.

What expert advice would you like to give to companies that intend to use experiential marketing to expand their businesses?

The most important part is the planning stage.  You need to make sure you are working with an agency (or professional) that is asking you all the important questions before even heading out into the field. We’ve all heard the saying that people don’t plan to fail – they fail to plan.  So, my advice would be to sit down with a team and develop a strategy.  What are your goals?  What are your objectives? KPI’s?  Who is your target audience?  Or who do you think your target audience is?  What is your budget?  There are many more questions to ask, but you get the point.  If someone is just pitching you experiential marketing, run.  You need someone who can fully understand your needs and develop a plan based on that insight. 

About Old City Media

Old City Media is a digital marketing agency based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that specializes in helping small businesses and startups grow their online presence and reach their target audience through a variety of marketing strategies, including search engine optimization, social media marketing, and content marketing.

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