Huge List of National Holidays for Marketing and Easy Ways To Use Them

Today is a holiday!  And, it seems as if there are national holidays, a national day or national month for everything. In fact, there are over a thousand national holidays, national weeks and national months. Add bank holidays and major religious holidays, and you have one crowded calendar!

National days of observance have become trendy and popular in part because companies have learned to use them for marketing. Just look at social media. Judging from the hashtags for various food days, people days, pet days, medical condition days, military days or industry days — it seems like every single day is a national holiday or national day of observance on Twitter and Instagram.

If you’ve ever wondered, “what national holiday is today?” — we’ve got you covered. With thanks to Small Biz Trends for providing this information. Here is a link to their article: https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/09/list-of-national-holidays-marketing.html.

How to Use a List of National Holidays for Marketing in a Small Business

Are you in a pet related business, such as dog grooming or pet treats? If so, your customers may be interested in a special spa day you host on National Love Your Pet Day.

Own a coffee shop? Then National Coffee Day could be an awesome opportunity to run a sale on lattes or do a flash Facebook promotion to drive some foot traffic to your cafe.

Or perhaps you do financial planning or business succession planning. In that case you might want to highlight National Employee Ownership Month on your blog to get some attention for your thought leadership in that niche.

Some national observance days are more popular than others, of course. You’ve probably never heard of National Bicarbonate of Soda Day (December 30), and probably never will again. On the other hand, every business owner knows Valentine’s Day — especially florists and candy shop owners.

However, for small businesses, some of the lesser-known national holidays might be your best marketing opportunities. Here’s why.

  • On a smaller national day you’re less likely to have your marketing campaign overshadowed by Big Mega Corp’s humongous marketing budget.
  • Some funny national holidays just make people smile, like National Make Your Bed Day on September 11. The fun factor alone could get you mileage (particularly if you run a furniture or mattress store!).
  • And weird national holidays like National Handbag Day on October 10 grab attention through their sheer … weirdness. Yet a day like that is perfect for marketing in a boutique or fashion eCommerce shop.

Smart Ways to Use National Holidays for Marketing

Here are some idea starters for how to use national holidays for marketing:

Use National Holidays on Social Media and in Content Marketing:

  • Create content for your blog highlighting a national holiday, national week or national month relevant to your business. You can publish the content on the day in question, but if you’re looking for potential search engine traffic, publish a post ahead of time. People may be searching in search engines before the holiday arrives. Then post another when the national holiday starts, linking back to your first one.
  • Share that content on social media, using the relevant hashtag. Others may find it when they search the hashtag on social media.
  • Include an image in your social post. Use a tool like Canva or Picmonkey to superimpose the name of the national holiday, the date and any relevant hashtag on the image, too. People love to share images to visibly show their support of national holidays, so a properly labeled image can increase shares.

Use National Holidays As a Reason to Run Sales and Specials:

  • Put something on sale or offer a special deal in honor of the national day observance.
  • Publicize your sale, by putting signs in your physical location if you have one.
  • Distribute details about the special deal to your email list and social media channels in honor of the day, week or month being commemorated.

Use National Holidays As a Theme for Events:

  • Hold a celebration at your office or physical location in honor of the national holiday.
  • Invite customers to attend along with your team. It gets both groups more engaged with your business.
  • Take pictures celebrating the national day (or national week or national month).
  • Take the celebration online. Load pictures to social channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, using the related hashtag such as #FarmersMarketWeek.
  • Repurpose the pictures along with a bit of background text about the celebration and use in your next customer newsletter. Or use the pictures to create an engagement-building post for your company blog. Put a blurb and picture in your website’s About page, too, about your celebration and support.

The above quick and easy tips for using national holidays in marketing should get you started. Research Chase’s Calendar of Events or nationaldaycalendar.com for more ideas.

But you know you can also make your own!  Be creative, be fun and put your customer first, that works every single day!

 

Bennett’s Best – 10 tips for a NEW Year

Decide that this year – 2018 – you are going to try at least 10 new pathways to grow your business brand… feel free to add another 10 in your personal life!

1. Learn new things, about new subjects – Use alerts and e-newsletters to bring you opinions and topics you might not have tapped before – you can always unsubscribe later.  Pick things that intrigue you or you are seeing in the news or hearing about from friends, then commit to reading something about these new topics at least once a week.

2. Build a personal arsenal – start a personal Excel file of influencers, speakers at conferences you attended, friends, college alumni and professors … anyone you can turn to for advice or connections. The Excel file should have contact information and a notes column to remind you where you met them or why they are on this list.  Think of it as your future success list – sign up for their feeds, get alerts when they are quoted and link up on LinkedIn – you’ll be glad, I promise.

3. Embrace Artificial Intelligence – make it a priority to be the smart one about this subject.  Read something new every day of the work week – start by Googling ‘artificial intelligence’ and pick what interests you and take it from there.

4. Find your days – and use them to your advantage.www.daysoftheyear.com.  Sign up for free weekly email.

5. Tune into your instincts – does your heart, gut or brain say you should do something and you don’t.  My advice?  do it!  use chocolate cake for breakfast example….

6. Turn your thinking upside down – before you start any project ask yourself “what is the desired outcome?”  Write it on your to-do list to keep it the focus.

7. Security needs to be part of your everyday watch too.  It often lands at the feet of the PR and marketing pros to manage the aftermath of a crisis, disaster, public perception problem – and you should be way ahead and ready.  You have seconds to react, offer advice, move your team – so be ready. Tell your leadership, or be the leader and role model.  Be prepared.  The beginning of the year is a perfect time to have a ‘What If’ meeting and get the answers in writing.

New coined terms like ‘culturious’ (cultural immersion that satisfies your curiosity, according to Tauck who is using this term), “Keep it 100” means you are being true to yourself or a set of values, and “the emotional landscape” is full of acronyms and emoji’s – thanks to social media.

A local farmer writes a column about his life as a “foodpreneur” and calls himself a “farmacist”, his company name?  “The Farmacy” – says it all right?   Do you have a product or service that could create a new word?  Smarketing maybe?

8. Put it all together – differently – New coined terms like ‘culturious’ (Cultural immersion that satisfies your curiosity, according to Tauck who is using this term), “Keep it 100” means you are being true to yourself or a set of values, and “the emotional landscape” is full of acronyms and emoji’s – thanks to social media.  A local farmer writes a column about his life as a “foodpreneur” and calls himself a “Farmacists”, his company name?  “The Farmacy” – says it all right?   Do you have a product or service that could create a new word?  Smarketing maybe?

9. Get it in writing. No matter what you do, we’re being asked to sign agreements for more services.  To make sure that all those fees, surcharges, and taxes are disclosed up front, note  language along the lines of, “Neither Group nor its attendees are responsible for any fees or surcharges not enumerated in the contract (or signed off on at check in), or “good into perpituity in all mediums”.  Note language that is not clear and if you make a change initial the change and make copies.

10. See everything as an opportunity.  How many business cards have you given out lately?  Have you grown your LinkedIn, Facebook or other social media connections?  Set a goal to add 50 – 100 new contacts a month to your list, it’s easier than you might think!

Make 2018 the year you go for it, there will never be a better time.  Happy New Year!

Face to Face is #2 and E-mail is #1 – still all about two-way conversations

And the survey says… communication matters, and those two-way conversations whether by phone or via email are still the winners.  You can’t build a relationship, or tell a story, with one-way communications … so focus on the people you are trying to reach on the other end!

Email is holding its own in B2B sales despite minor slippage, according to State Of Inbound 2017, a global survey by HubSpot. Of 6,399 professionals surveyed in 141 countries, 86% prefer email for business communications — a loss of two percentage points from last year.

That drop doesn’t mean much when you consider the gap that follows, however: Face-to-face communication is a distant second, falling from 61% to 60% Phone communication comes in third, holding steady at 56%. And social media has fallen from 42% to 39%.

No wonder HubSpot concluded that “when it comes to communication channels, email is the clear winner.” It added that it had seen “slight decreases in people’s preference to communicate in nearly all channels.” The only one to grow was messenger apps — from 29% to 31%.

At the same time, email was rated the second-most effective channel for sales reps to connect with prospects, falling from 29% to 26%. The telephone, holding steady at 36%, was first. Facebook came in fourth, having risen from 9% to 12%. These results were consistent around the globe.

Communication methods depend on the person’s seniority. The telephone is the most popular way of reaching everyone from VP/director on down, with email second. For example, the phone was cited by 42% of respondents as the preferred way to reach managers, and email by 24%.

But email has parity at the C level — it was selected by 25%, compared to 26% who chose the phone.

The most daunting chore was getting a response from prospects (38%). That was followed by closing deals (35%), identifying good leads (30%) and engaging multiple decision makers at a company (27%). Connecting via phone was listed by 20%.

Of course, these findings are about tactical channel choices. Asked for their wider marketing priorities, 70% mentioned conversion of contacts and leads — nothing else even came close. Second was driving traffic to the Web site (53%), followed by increasing revenue from existing customers, at (43%).

Inbound practices produced the most high-quality leads, and outbound the least.

Overall, 61% of the respondents say their marketing is effective, while 39% say it isn’t. But it depends on the person’s rank. CEOs are most likely to feel that way (69%), and individuals/contributors are less so (55%). And while all regions are upbeat, North America is the most positive, while Asia is the least.

That said, these executives are moving into social media. Their marketing teams “will maintain or increase their presence on YouTube and Facebook video and focus on figuring out how to market on messaging apps such as WhatsApp,” HubSpot writes. “Snapchat is still a mystery for many businesses, and we see a dip in focus as marketers opt to spend their time on larger emerging channels.

Here are two more tidbits:

  • 44% claim that marketing and sales “are generally aligned.”
  • Salespeople are flummoxed when doing manual data entry – 23% say it’s their biggest hassle using their CRM tool.

What are these leaders’ sale priorities for the next 12 months? The answers were closing more deals (71%), improving the efficiency of the sale funnel (44%), social selling (29%), training the sales team (27%) and reducing the length of the sales cycle (26%).

But none of this will be easy. B2B marketers face these challenges:

  • Generating traffic and leads — 63%
  • Proving the ROI of our marketing activities — 40%
  • Securing enough budget — 28%
  • Identifying the right technologies — 26%
  • Managing our Web site — 26%
  • Targeting content for an international audience — 21%
  • Training our team — 19%
  • Hiring top talent — 16%
  • Finding an executive sponsor — 7%

Thanks, HubSpot. Let’s catch up again next year – originally published in Media Post, a commentary written by Ray Schultz, columnist.

The Ultimate Guide To Social Media – from the Ultimate Expert

If you ever get a chance to sit in on a presentation by Sree  Sreenivasan, you will see why he has a large following, including me.

Here is a link to a New York Times piece written by Sree and I encourage you to read and remember his words of advice.  He covers the top 5 social media platforms: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

My thanks to Sree for bringing common sense wisdom to social media.  You can follow him on Twitter:  @sree

https://www.nytimes.com/guides/business/social-media-for-career-and-business?utm_source=sharetools&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=website

 

 

 

Something to think about at Thanksgiving – The Science of Gratitude – More Important Than $$$

3 MINUTE READ – from FAST COMPANY

The Science Of Gratitude And Why It’s Important In Your Workplace

Lack of gratitude is a major factor driving job dissatisfaction, turnover, absenteeism, and often, burnout.

This is the time of year when we focus on giving thanks, with many of us sharing our gratitude with friends and family. But when is the last time you thanked your employees? Coworkers? Or boss? If you haven’t recognized the members of your work team lately, you need to repair the oversight before your holiday leftovers are history.

Gratitude is absolutely vital in the workplace, says UC Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons, author of The Little Book of Gratitude: Creating a Life of Happiness and Wellbeing by Giving Thanks, and a leading researcher on the subject. “Most of our waking hours are spent on the job, and gratitude, in all its forms, is a basic human requirement,” he says. “So when you put these factors together, it is essential to both give and receive thanks at work.”

Gratitude has been the subject of numerous studies, and the findings could be beneficial to your workplace:

GRATITUDE IMPROVES CORPORATE CULTURE

Lack of gratitude is a major factor driving job dissatisfaction, turnover, absenteeism, and often, burnout, says Emmons. “In many organizations the workplace culture is toxic,” he says. “Symptoms of this are exploitation, complaint, entitlement, gossip, negativity.”

Expressing thanks is a remedy against these symptoms, says Emmons. “Grateful individuals live in a way that leads to the kind of workplace environment that human beings long for,” he says.

Gratitude also reduces aggression, according to a study by the University of Kentucky. Participants who practiced gratitude were more sensitive toward others and less likely to seek revenge or retaliation when given negative feedback.

GRATITUDE STRENGTHENS TEAMS

Gratitude takes people outside of themselves and to a place that is part of a larger, more intricate network of sustaining relationships, says Emmons, relationships that are mutually reciprocal. “In this sense, it, like other social emotions, functions to help regulate relationships, solidifying and strengthening them,” he says.

Gratitude also leads to reciprocity. “It is not only a response to kindnesses received, but it is also a motivator of future benevolent actions on the part of the recipient,” says Emmons. “Serving these functions, gratitude enhances our own well-being in that we are built for relationships,” he points out. “Gratitude is the high-octane fuel that, without which, we’d be in relational ruin.”

IT’S A BETTER MOTIVATOR THAN MONEY

Researchers from the London School of Economics found that financial incentives can backfire when it comes to motivating employees. An analysis of 51 separate experiments found overwhelming evidence that “incentives may reduce an employee’s natural inclination to complete a task and derive pleasure from doing so.”

Appreciation is a much better motivator. A study by Glassdoor found that 80% of employees would be willing to work harder for an appreciative boss, and 70% said they’d feel better about themselves and their efforts if their boss thanked them more regularly.

A study done at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania underscores this point. Researchers divided participants into two groups, and asked them to make fundraising calls to solicit alumni donations. One group followed the traditional method of making calls while another group was given a speech by the director of annual giving, who expressed gratitude for their efforts. The group who received the pep talk made 50% more fundraising calls than those who did not.

HOW TO DO IT

There is no limit to the way in which gratitude is expressed, says Emmons. “We are hungry for genuine expressions of gratitude,” he says. “Everyone wants to feel appreciated, valued, recognized.”

Employee recognition programs are a common way gratitude is demonstrated in workplaces, but little micro-expressions of gratitude are easier and can be delivered more frequently. “Just saying ‘thank you,’ acknowledging a kindness, or engaging in a helpful act are all ways of expressing gratitude,” says Emmons.

Particularly important is sincerity, adds Emmons. “With something like gratitude in the workplace, we know that it works, but we also know you have to keep gratitude authentic,” he says. “If, for instance, a leader tries to offer gratitude for purely cynical or instrumental reasons, it’s unlikely to work.

“Gratitude is the ultimate performance-enhancing substance at work,” says Emmons. “Gratitude heals, energizes, and transforms lives in a myriad of ways consistent with the notion that virtue is both its own reward and produces other rewards.”

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, you are very much appreciated – Laura

Will You Be OUT OF OFFICE this Holiday Season?

Will you be “out of office” over the upcoming holidays?

While traveling recently with a large group of travel writers, the discussion turned to the importance of travel and maximizing your vacation time.  Which led to me to thinking about the best way to manage your “out of office” communications.

I have an attorney friend who constantly has the same message up when she travels for business, and she does that weekly it seems.

In my case, I rarely post an out of office message, because I answer my phone and email anytime and from anywhere.

Are we both missing an opportunity to continue building our brands?  Yes I think we are, and as of today I am changing my ways!

Are you looking to add some personality, humor and information to your response?  Here’s an excellent piece from the New York Times on how others are managing this opportunity.  Click here to be inspired.

And have a great vacation too!

Do you dream of being a spell binding speaker? Use this smart advice to make your speeches all you can be.  

WHAT MADE “I HAVE A DREAM” SUCH A PERFECT SPEECH?speech getting applause 2015

A CLOSER LOOK AT ONE OF THE GREATEST SPEECHES IN AMERICAN HISTORY OFFERS INSPIRATION FOR ANYONE TRYING TO MOTIVATE A CROWD.

Each year on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I make it a point to listen to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s great “I Have a Dream” speech. It’s electrifying every single time.

The content of Dr. King’s speech, his inspiring presence, and the moment in history all came together to make the iconic “I Have A Dream” speech the defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement. But there are several other reasons why this speech, delivered over 50 years ago, remains as an example of one of the best speeches in American history.

Since part of my job is to help people become better presenters, I’ve noticed several techniques that we can all learn from and be inspired by in this magnificent speech.

IT’S ANCHORED IN A POWERFUL RELATED LOCATION

In most cases, you can’t handpick the spot to give a presentation, as MLK did for supreme symbolic effect when he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and echoed the opening words of the Gettysburg Address (“Five score years ago…). But you absolutely can amplify your message by adapting it to your setting and location.

speech A Lincoln 2015Think about place, and how you can weave imagery, anecdote, and historical context into your presentation. Even if you’re presenting essentially the same material in Annapolis and Anaheim, it’s worth exploring what inspiration you can draw from each location to make your overall presentation more unique, more tailored, and more memorable. Abraham Lincoln also incorporated context in his iconic speech.

HE INCLUDED TOUCHSTONES THAT SPOKE TO BOTH THE HEAD AND THE HEART

In his opening paragraphs, Dr. King eloquently references the Gettysburg Address as well as the Emancipation Proclamation, the Constitution, and Declaration of Independence. These intellectual references give his words weight and credibility; they ground his speech in significant historical context.

In the latter part of the speech, Dr. King turns his attention to his listeners’ emotions as he quotes passages from the Bible, “My Country Tis of Thee,” and a stirring Negro spiritual. It’s the elegant balance between these two elements—the intellectual and the emotional; the head and the heart—that makes his speech so compelling and satisfying.

Great presenters connect with their audiences by weaving in well-chosen references and touchstones that will resonate.

IT USES VIVID AND METAPHORICAL LANGUAGE

Let’s face it: Many speeches are boring, even those about important topics that affect our lives. It’s easy to default to jargon and technical terms, or get lost in complex facts and statistics. But when you use evocative, vivid language, you create strong and memorable images.

Dr. King doesn’t just address gradualism, he warns us about the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. He paints a vivid picture of the plight of African-Americans, “living on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.” He talks about his faith, with which “we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”

For example, Dr. King weaves in an evocative extended metaphor, like a golden thematic thread, about cashing a check:

“In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”

Vivid imagery, evocative language, and on-point metaphors are mighty tools for making your message clear and memorable.

HE SHARPENED IDEAS THROUGH CONTRAST

Nothing brings an idea or a concept sharply into focus like demonstrating what it’s not. In a presentation, there are a number of compelling ways to employ contrast—problem/solution, past/present, present/future, us/them, ideal/reality. MLK makes use of many of these, to great effect. For example:

“With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.”

And:

“The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”

You might notice that Dr. King repeatedly contrasts what is against what could be. If you haven’t watched Nancy Duarte’s fascinating analysis of this method in “I Have a Dream,” be sure to take a few minutes to absorb her electrifying insights.

HE REINFORCED KEY POINTS THROUGH REPETITION

If there’s an important message you truly want your audience to remember and take away, saying it once is likely not enough.

Not only does repetition help your message stick, it can improve your presentation’s rhythm, structure, and flow, as in this gem of a passage:

“Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”

Dr. King’s crucial idea—that now is the time for action—seeps into your consciousness and gathers strength through the expressive repetition and emphasis.

Purposeful repetition, stripped down to its purest essence, can be potent and poetic, but it’s worth noting that being repetitive—rambling or including too much extraneous information, is a different thing altogether. Strive for the first to make sure your key points truly sink in, and avoid the second by stripping away anything that doesn’t directly support those key messages.

HIS CALL TO ACTION IS CLEAR AND COMPELLING

Your presentation should be designed to inspire action or effect change—if it’s not, argues Seth Godin in “Every Presentation Worth Doing Has Just One Purpose,” what’s the point of giving it at all?

Dr. King, of course, is the master, articulating in lucid detail not only the action that must be taken (and the dire consequences if action is not taken)…

“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment.”

…but how he wants his listeners to conduct themselves as they take action.

“In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

The sense of urgency is palpable, and his instructions are crystal clear. It’s a compelling call to action that can’t be ignored.

HE ENDS ON A HOPEFUL NOTE

Dr. King traverses intense emotional territory, from the “flames of withering injustice” to those “battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality.” But he closes by filling his listeners’ hearts with a hopeful, aspirational message. He paints a picture of how things can be:

“One day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

Another example of this is the lovely passage that came to characterize his entire speech:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

While most of us will never give a speech as rousing or historically important as Dr. King’s, we can all be inspired by his masterful craft and delivery, and try some of these techniques to make our words more stirring and our messages more powerful.Speech making BOOM 2015

Laura Bennett thanks the author —Catherine Carr is VP of Marketing and chief inspiration officer at Haiku Deck, a presentation tool based on visual storytelling. Her mission is to inspire entrepreneurs, marketers, thought leaders, educators, and creative communicators around the world to set their story free. 

Exceptional Role Models Make for Exceptional Careers

Christine Mau, named one of Ad Age’s “Women to Watch” and a former design director at Kimberly-Clark, says design must be brought into an organization’s full conversation, rather than considered an output.

American Marketing Association does an exceptional job of bringing us stories of people who we can learn from, emulate and follow.  A recent story in Marketing News gives insight into Christine Mau, read on!

Mau’s work has included the redesign of Kleenex boxes into oval and triangular formats, as well as the U by Kotex launch. The tampon brand presented its product in black and neon colors, a massive departure from the typical blue and white found in the feminine hygiene aisle.

This ability to talk about and design for what are sometimes considered taboo topics made her the prime candidate for co-creating the logo for No More, a movement for raising awareness and engagement around ending domestic violence and sexual assault.

The logo (pictured at right with Mau), which consists of a blue circle with a disappearing center—intended to evoke the concept of reducing the number of such experiences to zero—has been part of a global public service announcement effort that has received more than $2 billion in earned media.

https://www.ama.org/publications/eNewsletters/Marketing-News-Weekly/Pages/christine-mau-encourages-design-integration-in-marketing-process.aspx

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Starting From Scratch? Easy Steps To Establishing Your Brand On Social Media

One of the primary reasons that people buy products from a business is because they trust their name. If you’ve established credibility, then people easily see the value of your offerings.

Hence, building a successful brand name should be a priority. 

Social media has played a vital role in building this influence.

In fact, social media is an excellent starting point for most businesses to reach their target audience. It’s THE PLACE where consumers share their opinions about brands and interact with them.

And here is your motivator:  80% of consumers are more likely to evaluate solutions from the brands they follow on a social network.

So, in this article, I want to show you how to build an authentic and strong brand image on social media to amplify your media strategy efforts.

C8aiWXmU0AA2woaHere’s the right way to get started.

Create a social media brand persona guide and remain consistent across all channels

● Firstly, make all of your social media channels consistent.

● Start with having a professional profile picture that’s the same across channels.

● Funny, witty, casual, personal and conversational language all well on social media.

● You can also keep it formal and professional. Just try to embody your brand values and stay authentic in your communication.

● If you’re an individual your personal brand channels need to stay consistent. Also document your own brand persona. Here are four simple steps that you can follow for creating a guide.

1. Keep it short and sweet. Give just enough detail for people to feel like they have something to follow.

2. Make it pretty. You’ll want something that community and content managers, and even brand managers, will want to keep on their desks.

3. Designate a leader – and empower them. While many people should participate in the workshop, you’ll want a core team of 2 to 3 people who will lead the development of the voice and the output document.

4. Include examples.

Develop sample content that’s written within the new social tone of voice. Point out which personality traits were used and linguistic cues referenced for easy understanding.

Automate like a ninja. But, humanize your brand to deepen your relationship with your audience.

To get the most out of social media, stop pushing your content. Instead, show your human side, because social media users crave authenticity.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE:

● Social media is a two-way street. You can share your educating blog posts and updates. But, always ask for feedback and encourage discussions about your posts.

● Entertain your followers, by taking your audience behind the scenes and share a picture from your daily life.

● If you’re a company, then share pictures from your events. Or, simply share photos of your employees.

● Reply your audience comments. Make them believe you value and care them. 3. Decide the kind of content that you’ll share on different social media platforms

● Share exclusive content on all social media platforms where you hang out.

● If you don’t think a social media platform audience fits your brand and you don’t have the resources to handle content creation for the platform, then don’t use the platform.

●  (thank you Neil Patel, great job!)

http://neilpatel.com/blog/how-to-create-a-social-media-branding-strategy-from-scratch/?utm_content=buffere685f&utm_medium=buffer_social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=buffer_updates

KEEP IT GOING:   Create a content calendar and post frequently Here is social media calendar template by HubSpot and Buffer that you can use for planning your content.

For scheduling follow the below ways:

● Facebook: A couple of updates per day.

● Twitter: Three times per day (if you’ve got the resources, then you can even send 5+ tweets everyday) ● Instagram: Once per day.

● LinkedIn: Once per weekday.

Take care of the tactical aspects

Define your target audience: If you’re targeting entirely different kinds of people, than create multiple brand personas. Need help with defining your audience, read this article.

Assign tools and team: Use Buffer, HootSuite for scheduling updates on all of the major social media platforms. For writing updates, use excel spreadsheets. Have regular meetings with team members.

Learn more from this wonderful source:  www.neilpatel.com #socialsmarter

Why we click on news stories

For news organizations, clicks are tracked closely. They generate advertising revenue and help newsrooms to better understand audience interests. But what motivates news users to click?

great news headlineThe reasons are diverse and perhaps unexpected, according to a study forthcoming in the academic journal Journalism by Ph.D. candidate Tim Groot Kormelink and journalism studies professor Irene Costera Meijer at VU University Amsterdam. Kormelink and Meijer are part of the research consortium The New News Consumer.

Stories can garner clicks — or lose out on clicks — for many different reasons. To reach this conclusion, Kormelink and Meijer asked 56 different news users to “think aloud,” or share exactly what passed through their minds while browsing news on a site and device of their choosing. The 20- to 40-minute interviews were transcribed and then carefully analyzed to find themes.

Common reasons for clicking included the personal relevance or social utility of news. Stories that spoke to people’s lives and their need to be informed in social settings attracted interest.

“Common reasons for clicking included the personal relevance or social utility of news

Unsurprisingly, news about nearby locations and about unexpected events garnered more clicks. The important reminder from this research, however, is how much variability there is in what counts as “nearby,” and what counts as “unexpected.” For example, one participant saw an event happening 15 miles away as near, but another did not.

headlines for blog in 2017News about topics that seemed familiar, but that participants couldn’t quite recall, also generated clicks. Think of reading a headline about a name that sounds familiar, but you can’t quite remember who it is.

Site design and layout affected people’s decisions about what news to view. Prominently placed news and attention-grabbing visuals both motivated clicks, but a long perceived load time or presence of videos, however, deterred clicks in some instances. This was because participants wanted to conserve their time and data plans.

The emotional impact of a headline influenced clicking behavior. Headlines conveying disheartening news attracted attention up to a point — if the information seemed too disheartening, people avoided the story. Light-hearted news also resulted in clicks among those looking for stories would lift their spirits. Stories that actively irritated some of the participants, such as an article describing an anti-gay law in Uganda, yielded clicks.

Several expected reasons for clicking on news articles were surprisingly absent from the decisions described by the news browsers. The timeliness or recency of the article were rarely mentioned as reasons to click on a story. Further, few said that they chose articles because they agreed with the conclusions reached.

The timeliness or recency of the article were rarely mentioned as reasons to click on a story”

In addition to uncovering reasons for clicking on news, the authors also learned why people avoid clicking on news.

A number of the study participants said that they weren’t interested in news that seemed too obvious, or that seemed to replicate what they already knew. They also avoided stories that seemed to require background knowledge, or that appeared to provide the middle of an unfolding story.

headlines breaking news 3Headlines that conveyed most of the information about the story — even though the topic may have been of great interest — also did not earn clicks. And in some instances, people didn’t click on stories because of their schedule — longer news stories, for instance, didn’t make sense when people were checking the news briefly on the way to work.

The research provides ample evidence that there are many different reasons that people click on news — in particular, they are drawn to news that is relevant to personal interests or happened nearby, news that gives them something to talk about, and news that provokes emotional responses.

The most interesting takeaway from this research is the potential ideas about how to present news in ways that cater to why people click in the first place. For some, a set of short headlines is sufficient — this would support creating newsletters and quick summaries. Allowing people to save articles for later can help those who don’t have time to read longer stories during certain times of day. Finding ways to adopt a user-centered approach in news design could be the true answer to more clicks.

Research shows people click on stories that happened nearby or gives them something to talk about.

This article courtesy of American Press Institute, insights, tools and research to advance journalism.

Micro Moments = Newest Battleground for Marketers

Micro moments are the intersection of sending the right message at the right time and you reach the consumer just when they are ready to buy.   The good news is that consumers are actively look at ‘media’ on their cell phones and computers – nearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Remember when advertisers were sure no one was ‘listening’ on holidays or weekends?  Thanks to the mobile consumer there is a fundamental change and we now have thousands of these ‘moments’ available to us as marketers.connections-2

How best to find these micro moments?  Think With Google posted this story below and I had a micro-moment just reading it – hope you do too!

Consumer behavior has changed forever. Today’s battle for hearts, minds, and dollars is won (or lost) in micro-moments—intent-driven moments of decision-making and preference-shaping that occur throughout the entire consumer journey. Read more about this new mental model for marketing.

Every day your customers are checking the time, texting a spouse, chatting with friends on social media.

But then there are the other moments—the I want-to-know moments, I want-to-go moments, I want-to-do moments, and I want-to-buy moments—that really matter. We call these “micro-moments,” and they’re game changers for both consumers and brands.

Micro-Moments

Real-time, intent-driven micro-moments are the new battlegrounds for brands.

Consider these findings from some recent research we conducted:

• Of leisure travelers who are smartphone users, 69% search for travel ideas during spare moments, like when they’re standing in line or waiting for the subway. Nearly half of those travelers go on to book their choices through an entirely separate channel.

• Of smartphone users, 91% look up information on their smartphones while in the middle of a task.

• Of smartphone users, 82% consult their phones while they’re standing in a store deciding which product to buy. One in 10 of those end up buying a different product than they had planned.

• Of online consumers, 69% agree that the quality, timing, or relevance of a company’s message influences their perception of a brand.

The successful brands will be those that have a strategy for understanding and meeting consumers’ needs in these micro-moments.

What Benefits and Perks Are Being Offered to PR and Marketing Professionals? Here’s the list!

With thanks to Dennis Spring of Spring Associates, Inc. here is their ever-growing list of 91 benefits being offered to PR and marketing communications professionals.  To learn more about Spring Associates, specializing in executive recruiting in PR & corporate communications, here is their website:  Website: springassociates.com

                                  Bucket List of 91 Benefits and Perks
  • Assistance with continuing education courses
  • Assistance with student loan debt
  • Birthday off
  • **Biz class seat for 3 hour+ flight
  • Casual dress policy
  • **Charitable matching contribution
  • Childcare
  • *COBRA (need 20+ employees)
  • Clothing allowance
  • Commutation assistance
  • **Commuter card
  • Company credit card
  • Company smartphone or laptop
  • **Country club membership
  • Defined benefit pension plan
  • Defined contribution pension plan
  • Disability insurance
  • Employee assistance program
  • **Employee referral bonus
  • Employee stock purchase plan
  • **Employer funded annuity
  • Exceptional service bonus
  • Expense account
  • *Family and medical leave
  • Family (or pet) to work days
  • Flexible work schedule
  • Food discounts
  • Free admission to specified museums
  • **Free coffee
  • Free massages
  • Free parking
  • Golden parachute
  • Grooming allowance
  • Gym membership
  • Health insurance
  • *Health insurance for companies (with 50+employees)
  • Health savings acct (HSA, FSA, HRP & HRA)
  • Holiday parties
  • Hybrid car allowance
  • Jury duty supplemental payment
  • Lactation room
  • Liberal vacation policy
  • Life insurance
  • Matching charitable gift program
  • **Monthly car allowance contribution
  • **Monthly mobile contribution
  • New business commission
  • On-site amenities, e.g, haircut, spa, cafeteria, dental care
  • Paid association membership
  • Paid holidays
  • Paid internships
  • Paid family leave
  • Paid holidays off
  • Paid legal costs for H-1B visa
  • *Paid maternity leave
  • Paid maternity leave (less than 50 employees)
  • Paid or unpaid sabbatical
  • Paid time off for bereavement
  • Paid time off during summer
  • Paid time off to join protest rallies
  • Paid volunteer time off
  • Performance bonus
  • **Productivity contests
  • Profit sharing
  • Relaxation lounge
  • Relocation assistance
  • Retirement savings plan
  • Semi-annual performance review
  • Service recognition awards
  • Severance pay
  • Sick and personal days
  • Sign-on bonus
  • *Social security, Medicare & FICA
  • Sponsor approved college degree programs
  • Stand-up comedy training
  • Stock options
  • Summer hours
  • Team-building company retreats
  • Telecommuting options
  • **Tenured sabbatical
  • Tickets for sporting events
  • **Travel retreats
  • Tuition assistance
  • *Unemployment insurance
  • **Unlimited vacation days
  • Vision insurance
  • **Weekly happy hours
  • Wellness pay
  • Work remotely
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Yoga breaks
TOTAL = 91
* = government mandated
** = added since 08/03/17

A great list, helping employers better understand what they are up against as we compete for the best candidates!

8/2/1982 – 35 Years Ago … A Burning Desire

renderedWith a burning desire to open an agency and think big, do things differently, follow my instincts and have the freedom to make a difference, I took a leap of faith and my savings and opened Bennett & Company on the easy to remember date of 8/2/82.

I’ve never looked back and for the life it has given me, I could not be more grateful.

Thirty-five years ago I opened what is today Bennett & Company PR and Marketing. Miami was a new city for me and alive with possibilities. There was no better place on the planet to open this agency and thanks to that beginning it has thrived.  Together the wonderful people who have been part of Bennett & Company have evolved, prospered and made a difference for one another, for our clients and our community.

Also in 1982:  The smiley, the very first emoticon, was introduced

The Weather Channel premiered and so did USA Today

EPCOT opened at Walt Disney World

and the average purchase price of a home was $67,800

The second office in Orlando turned into the main office in the late 1990’s as the internet allowed the team and the clients to be connected from anywhere.  New professionals from as far away as Poland and Spain joined the team as clients had needs and we became a 24/7 operation with the freedom to be global.  Experiences have included working with a President and a Pope as well as start-up entrepreneurs,  some of the largest companies in the world and others who had big visions and allowed us to help them come to life.

For me there is no greater satisfaction than knowing as the world has changed, so did the agency, and so did I.  My mother often said “Let me get this straight, you are doing what you love and people pay you?”  Yes Mom that pretty much says it all and I wish you were here to celebrate with us.

Thank you to all those who have played a part in this ongoing journey.  

Thank you in advance for what’s to come.

Happy 35th Anniversary Bennett & Company!

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Do NOT Hire a Social Media Consultant Before You Ask These 10 Questions

What is a “Social Media Consultant”?  It could be anyone with a personal Facebook Page and a large number of Twitter followers wanting to sell you on their services.

I too often see someone touting this service (for far too high a cost) who have only a Twitter account or not much of a personal or business presence anywhere on the web.  And while these “consultants” might be available the question is are they right for you?  

You ONLY want someone who knows your industry 

and has the maturity to know what NOT to post too.

Once you make the decision to outsource, you’ll want to strongly vet potential consultants and/or agencies.

Here are 10 things Social Media Today recommends you ask or consider:

1. Can they demonstrate a proven track record?

Ask what brands the person or agency has worked with and is currently working with (to ensure they’re not working with a competing brand).

Don’t be shy about asking for references. Ask about a brand they worked with where something didn’t work out – how did they handle that? Were they able to quickly adapt and change course? Do they have the necessary experience in your industry to properly advance your business?

The more they know about your industry, the less of a learning curve there’ll be, and the more resources they’ll bring to your brand. What are their first steps when taking on new clients?

2. Where can I find current and past examples of your work?

Anyone with experience will be readily able to show you a portfolio of work as well as links to initiatives they’ve either run or been involved in creating.

Look for campaigns that have been repeated. You know things are working when you keep doing it.

Have the campaigns led to brand exposure? Sales leads? Will this experience help your market?

3. Who will be handling my account and what background does this person come from?

This is the biggest question – don’t buy into a sales pitch and then get a very junior person.

The background of each person working on behalf of your brand is important. If you’re looking for marketing, PR and/or social media help, you want people that have leveraged those skills working with prior companies.

Do these people have knowledge and experience with trends in these areas?

4. How will we track ROI?

We know that not everything has immediate return that’s trackable when it comes to social media. But you can track most things.

You want to know that this consultant or agency isn’t simply looking to add likes, followers or fans, but is actually able to analyze conversion rates.

Brands that hire an outside agency will want to know that the agency or consultant is consistently monitoring results, and is being held accountable. You’ll want to know there’s a standard monitoring and reporting process in place that works for both you and the agency or consultant.

5. What is their process for reporting?

How often will you meet with them? How often will you be provided status updates or check-ins?

If the agency doesn’t have a method to suggest immediately to you on how they’ll communicate, it might be a red flag that the agency isn’t as connected with their clients as you’ll want to be (or that they haven’t even thought of this yet).

6. What will you do if something goes wrong?

How would you handle a social media crisis? This is the question that will give you real insight into their value.

Marketing campaigns that look great on paper can go wrong in application, no matter how seasoned the consultant is.

How will they react? How do they respond to negative reviews? Tweets? Negative Facebook comments?

7. How do they come up with strategic plans?

How much does writing content figure into their experience and plan for your business? A good consultant will have a workflow that works for them and you.

They’ll know how to integrate social media with PR and traditional media.

They’ll want to talk to your sales team and find out what plans they have and will know how to integrate them into all they are doing.

8. How will content be developed?

And, will you have to approve all of the content written on behalf of your brand? Will it all have to be planned, or will you trust this person or agency to create on-the-fly content for you? Does this person have the experience necessary to understand the nuances of writing content specific for each platform?

Content developed for your brand needs to be likeable and shareable. A consultant or agency should be able to show you examples of previously created content for other clients, as well as their content calendar, or what their content creation process looks like.

9. What does success look like, and how will we measure it?

Brands that are investing in consultants and agencies must have clear goals in mind when starting this process. An agency should be able to help you achieve your KPIs. The consultant or agency you choose will help you establish these KPIs and will (with you) write strategies and tactics to hit those goals.

10. What will this cost?

Outside of the monthly retainer or fee you agree to with the consultant or agency, you want to know that your budget is being kept in mind in all they’re doing.

Thank you http://www.socialmediatoday.com – one of my favorite sources for all things social!

AI Is What’s Next – As Communicators We Are The Front Line

Do a quick Google search for AI and you get a new definition from WikiPedia:  Artificial intelligence is being defined as Intelligent Agents.  Let that sink in.

AI is becoming part of all businesses and part of nearly every part of our lives.  From the way your communications are answered to the way you get to work – everything is changing thanks to artificial intelligence.   Having just attended three different conferences for clients; one on real estate, one on travel and one on school nutrition – I can tell you all three had at least one seminar on how this technology is changing our world.  As one speaker said:  “Ten years ago we did not realize the impact of social media, AI is already here and moving into the marketplace at warp speed.”

As communicators we are the front line.  We need to embrace this technology, understand it deeply and be able to explain how it is impacting our companies and clients to others.

As machines become intelligent there will be great ethical debates and concerns – be ready as you will be needed to shape the conversation.

TED has an excellent playlist about AI – https://www.ted.com/topics/ai

         This New York Times piece offers a summary of where we are: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/14/magazine/the-great-ai-awakening.html

The post below came from AdAge, here is a direct link to the full article:  http://adage.com/article/agency-news/chief-ai-officer-big-title-media-agencies/309667/?ito=792

Any time an explosive new technology takes hold, agencies have to navigate how it fits into their business. While some may be waiting until it has taken a deeper hold, others, like New York-based Crossmedia, are bullish.

The independent media agency just hired a new executive director of cognitive solutions, who will head up the agency’s work in that area — covering everything from client projects that use AI like chatbots or Alexa skills to other areas of cognitive solutions. The field includes data-driven creative work that might change according to weather, stock fluctuations or time of day, and data science, which encompasses deep learning and pattern detection.

For Karim Sanjabi, who’s taking on the new role, it’s a step agencies are going to have to take. Sanjabi previously started Freestyle Interactive, which was acquired by Carat Interactive in 2003, and most recently was CEO of Robot Stampede, a creative tech company based in San Francisco.

“If agencies don’t make this kind of change right now, and really understand they have to really commit to it, we’re going to have an evolutionary separation,” he said. “We’re going to have two different species of agencies: One that evolved with AI and one that didn’t.”

He said snubbing AI would be akin to an agency turning its back on social media 10 years ago.

Though Sanjabi has taken the top seat at Crossmedia’s new cognitive consulting practice, he wants to handle it in a way where the work bleeds across the entire agency, instead of siloing AI off into a separate business unit. His mandate, he said, is to help the agency sift through the tech options and find ways to improve internal operations and client solutions using these new concepts.

“I want our existing media buyers and planners, I want everyone in the company to think in terms of cognitive solutions,” he said.

“I just want to be a resource to everyone in the agency to help empower them to come up with this kind of stuff. This isn’t a standalone, separate thing — this is the core of the agency. We’re changing the way everyone thinks about this.”

Champions over chiefs
As the possibilities of AI are becoming known, agencies are grappling with the best way to bring in that knowledge.

“The power of this stuff is such that it surpasses traditional agency shiny object syndrome,” said Dave Meeker, a VP who focuses on innovation at Dentsu Aegis Network-owned digital marketing agency Isobar. “We see really the capabilities of what a well-trained or well-designed AI is capable of.”

Isobar doesn’t have a head of AI, but does rely on employees’ expertise to understand how it can help the business until it’s more deeply ingrained. Meeker said employees work on the forefront of new technologies, and once it really catches on, the company starts more formalized training across all employees. The company has an “Isobar Academy,” an online curriculum available to its 6,000 employees.

“Right now, we’re in this age of understanding this stuff. You need people with really specific domain expertise,” he said. “In time, that expertise becomes cooked into a lot of the software and things that we’re doing, to where it’s not like you then have to have an AI person because all of us kind of have the tools at our disposal that do that.”

Whatever the approach, the key to success, say agency vets, is incorporating the new technology in ways that everyone across the agency can master it. Which in turn could ultimately render the need for a chief of AI obsolete.

Tom Kelshaw, director of innovation at GroupM shop Maxus, said agencies have a history of hiring executives to head up areas like data, digital or innovation. The risk there, he said, is that “it tends to become stale.” Kelshaw pointed out that transformational new ideas should be absorbed across all leadership once a topic is understood, instead of letting it live with a sole executive or business unit.

At Maxus, Kelshaw said when it comes to AI and innovation more generally, his company relies on employees to figure out where tools and techniques can deliver operational efficiencies and improve clients’ business.

“It’s about getting champions, rather than chiefs, into the business,” he said.

Too soon?
Some agencies may feel it’s on the early side to make big investments into this area. Though digital agency PMG does a fair amount of work using AI, the agency doesn’t have any defined titles relating to cognitive or machine learning or artificial intelligence.

“Advertisers and brands realize the need for artificial intelligence, but very few are at the point where they’re going to the board and saying, ‘We’re betting everything on artificial intelligence,’ said Dustin Engel, head of analytics and data activation at PMG. “They know the risk of not being part of AI, but they’re not quite willing to bet the farm on that risk.”

He said factors like data quality make some areas of AI still relatively immature. PMG does work with clients on data onboarding, cleansing and standardizing so it will one day be useful in AI applications. It also uses AI when it come to data science and data innovation.

Engel added that AI appears to be polarizing with advertisers.

“Some are excited about it but don’t have clear use cases. Some are skeptical of the hype of AI being the business disruption panacea. Some are cautiously optimistic — stressing cautiously. So it may be early for advertisers as opposed to the agencies,” he wrote in an email. “As for PMG, we not only see AI possibilities in our client media programs but also in managing the operational complexity of our fast-growing business.”

So what is your company name?? Tips for outdoor event success.

Expert tips for promoting your company at an outdoor event

Attending outdoor events is an exciting opportunity to get your name out there, attract new customers and create a buzz around your business. So, when it comes to designing your products – whether it’s signs, banners, posters or giveaways – it stands to reason that you’ll want to get them just right.
There is no more important place to have your name and logo everywhere … consider that you are not in context, the customer may have never heard of you and you only have a second to help them remember you for their next purchase.
Best tip:  Consider a fun stand-up sign that guests can pose in front of for Facebook or other social media channels – be sure it has your web address and a fun headline – and be certain when they stand in front of it your information is just above their heads.
One of my pet peeves – booths who only have their name on the front of their table.  The moment a customer steps up to your table you have to keep the name recognition going – on the top of the table, on the wall behind you – on your product and on you!  Keep it memorable:  Name, logo, website, physical location and telephone number!  You might suggest your customers take out their cell phone and take a photo of your signage.

These tips come from Vista Print – one of my go-to printers, with a great guarantee too.  

Picture the scene

A helpful first step is to get a feel for the event you’re planning to attend – what the space will be like and how other competing businesses are likely to present themselves. Try looking up images of the event if it’s run before, or if it’s a new event, pay a visit to the location and think about how you’ll need to stand out. Will you be on a street or in a more natural outdoor setting? How many other stands or stalls are there likely to be? The more you can picture the scene, the better prepared you’ll be to create the right presence for your business.

Simple tips for looking professional

  • Embrace space
    When you have space to play with, it can be tempting to fill it with text and images just because you can! But you could also do yourself a disservice. Remember that people have many distractions at events so you need to compete for their attention – the best way to do this is to give them clear, minimal information that’s easy to scan and take in.
  • Be hierarchical
    You’ll want to grab people’s attention and quickly get your message across. The way to achieve this through design is by creating a clear hierarchy of information, varying the size of your copy by importance so visitors know where to look. For example, key pieces of information such as your strapline, main offering and phone number should be more prominent. Also, be strict with yourself when deciding what details to include – focus on what customers want to know and make it easily scannable, using bullet lists where needed.
  • Use fewer fonts
    There are so many fonts and typefaces to choose from but when it comes to creating a professional look, less is definitely more. When attending an outdoor event, you’ll want to stand out and create a clean, consistent look. So, when it comes to fonts, stick to one or two maximum.
  • Limit your colors
    The same applies to your color palette. Sticking to just a few colors will help create a stronger sense of identity for your business. Choose the main color from your logo as the “lead”, with no more than one or two to complement it. Also, consider the space you’ll be in – will there be buildings or parkland in the background? If green is your main color but you’re going to be surrounded by trees, you might want to use a white background to create contrast so you’ll stand out.
  • Choose high resolution imagery
    If you’re going to include photos on any of your products – especially if you’re going to print them at a large size, it’s essential that they are 300 dpi (dots per inch) resolution. Don’t stretch or enlarge images to fill a space as this will make them appear pixelated, grainy and of poor quality – which isn’t the look you want for your business.
Give each product a ‘role’

Remember that when you attend an outdoor event, you’re putting your business on show – with you and your team playing the leading role. So, think about how the different products you take can be your supporting ‘cast’, acting as useful props to help you make the strongest impact, both on the day and later as prospects you meet turn into customers.

  • Banners for getting noticed
    Large banners should be clean and simple to have maximum impact. Treat them as flags rather than advertisements, making your presence known and confidently inviting people in. Your name and logo should suffice. Once people come closer, you can let your other products do the work.
  • Posters to draw people in
    Hopefully your booth will be buzzing with people – the challenge is being able to attend to every one of them. Posters can help entice and ‘warm up’ visitors while they’re waiting to speak to you or try products. Keep them simple with a clear message. Remember you’ll want people to read them from a few meters away, so keep this in mind when choosing your font sizes.
  • Flyers to create awareness
    Flyers are great for handing out to invite people to your booth or stall, or to visit your store on another day. You’ll probably want to include some details about your products and services – but again, don’t overload them with info as it’s important they stand out amongst the other flyers people are likely to pick up.
  • Imprinted shirts and hats for everyone working!
  • Business cards for keeping you in mind
    It goes without saying that you should take plenty of business cards to any event, both for handing to customers you speak to, as well as keeping on display for passersby. Make sure your business card design is up to date and matches with the other products you’ll have with you for a consistent, professional look.
Outdoor events offer so many opportunities for your business. With a little preparation in advance and by following these expert design tips, you’ll be all set to step out with confidence.
Make sure to put multiple outdoor events on your marketing calendar to be sure you are maximizing opportunities to meet new customers.

More Events To Build Your Brand? Yes Please!

New Study Shows Brands Expect to Invest More in Events

The research surveyed more than 1,000 marketing professionals across the globe for insights on budget, technology, and more.

Looking for a top notch dose of what’s new, cool and works?  subscribe to Biz Bash at bizbash.com and you will find event nirvana!  Photos in this post are from a global tourism summit recently produced by Bennett & Company.  From chocolate cake for breakfast to a live social media wall it was the kind of brand building experience that accelerates awareness and is worth every minute of planning.

Brand experiences—from trade shows and sponsorships to virtual- or augmented-reality experiences and pop-ups—are an essential part of the marketing mix, and one in three chief marketing officers expect to spend as much as 50 percent of their budget on such experiences, according to new research from Freeman.

The 2017 Freeman Global Brand Experience Study, which the company commissioned from research firm SSI, surveyed more than 1,000 marketing professionals from North America, Asia, and Western Europe. Released Tuesday, the research shares insights on how marketing professionals view events and experiences, budget, digital and technology integration, and more.

According to Freeman, the results show that “more than nine out of 10 of them agree that brand experiences deliver stronger face-to-face interactions and more compelling brand engagements.”

As a provider of brand experiences, Freeman’s business is built on creating these types of events, and the company believes in their effectiveness, but it commissioned the study because “we wanted to validate that externally,” said Chris Cavanaugh, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer at Freeman.

“Experiences, when integrated with the marketing mix, build brand affinity, bringing people into the tunnel and dimensionalizing the brands,” Cavanaugh said.

While marketing professionals value experiences and plan to invest more in them in the next three to five years, the research showed that they have yet to make the transition. The top three ways brands are connecting with their audiences are their website, social media, and email marketing.

As brands look to invest in experiences, Cavanaugh said they should plan “highly personal, in-real-life experiences.”

The survey also asked about technology. It found that brands involved in more events—20 or more a year—are more likely to integrate technology into their experiences. Among this group, nearly 30 percent use touch-screen technology, 21 percent use location-mapping or beacons, 16 percent use virtual reality, and 15 percent have added gamification elements to events.

“These are highly engaged people who want to lean into events,” Cavanaugh said.

Very Cool Agency Offices – Why Spending the $$ Is Worth It

A cool office is worth every penny, and can bring revelations to you too as your design is a reflection of not only who you are but what you aspire your agency to be!cool-office-image-for-blogPutting time and money into your office attracts employees who are right for your culture, spreads the word about the agency (you’d be surprised how many people the FedEx guy talks to in a day and others who come to your office) and all studies show your employees are just happier and more productive.

This was written by Karla Cook | @krla_cook and posted on http://www.hubspot.com, thanks for great information!

cool agency officesIf you’re spending over 40 hours a week in a single location, shouldn’t you at least be comfortable?

Our offices are often our homes away from home, and a good office environment can help employees stay engaged, productive, and happy throughout the day. In fact, a 2003 study from the California Energy Commission found that just giving employees access to a window in the office had a significant impact on their work performance.

If just providing a window can make a difference, imagine what intentionally designing an office space with employee comfort in mind can do.

To showcase how marketing and advertising agencies around the world are accommodating their teams, we’ve compiled a list of 15 amazing offices. Ranging from minimal and clean to downright kaleidoscopic, these agency work environments are sure to inspire some office feng shui (even if that just means getting a new desk plant).

15 Examples of Cool Agency Offices

1) Leo Burnett Moscow

In early 2016, global advertising agency Leo Burnett found an unexpected place to house their new Moscow digs: a former Bolshevik confectionery factory. They converted the historic factory — originally opened in 1885 — into a sleek, modern space for their Russian team.

“We envision our office space as а modern art gallery,” the folks at Leo Burnett wrote in a blog announcement. “We wanted to keep everything simple. Every design element is integrated naturally into the space.”

The new space is anchored by an enormous sculpture of Leo Burnett’s iconic glasses — an homage to their founder and namesake, the late Leo Burnett.

Image Credit: Leo Burnett

2) Mono Minneapolis

When Minneapolis-based advertising and marketing agency Mono grew too large for their old office, they converted a 20,320 square foot urban space into a stunning open-concept location for their entire team.

The new Mono office balances industrial elements with cozy, collaborative spaces, such as a design library and kitchen.

Image Credit: Office Snapshots

3) 22squared Tampa

22squared wanted their new office space to be reflective of Tampa, so they made a point of using as many Tampa-based services and supplies as possible during the design process.

“It was crucial that this was a Tampa-led, Tampa-inspired space,” 22squared’s chief administrative officer Mike Grindell said to Adweek. “All of 22squared’s design partners were local Tampa companies, other than national suppliers like Knoll.”

The end result is a beautiful space with lots of natural light and comforting, casual elements like hammocks, bean bags, and womb chairs.

Image Credit: Adweek

4) 360i London

Collaboration is key for creativity, and 360i’s London location was strategically designed to encourage cross-departmental interactions and the exchange of new ideas.

The agency’s 11,000 square foot space is set up without permanent desks for employees. Instead, team members are free to roam between the office’s modular work spaces, which include noise-cancelling felt booths and a community kitchen.

“It might sound obvious, but it makes our staff so much more mobile than before,” James Townsend, 360i London’s CEO, said to Digiday. “When you’re anchored to a desk, often you feel you can’t get up.”

Image Credit: Digiday

5) TBWA Los Angeles

This is about as far from a traditional office space as you can get. TBWA\Chiat\Day’s Los Angeles home is decked out in otherworldly details, such as a massive gargoyle sculpture, a 1,000 gallon fish tank on wheels, and a bar made entirely of surfboards.

The eclectic space isn’t just fun to look at — it also suits a wide variety of working styles. Employees can work everywhere from recycled shipping containers to an expansive atrium nicknamed “Central Park.”

The agency converted this former pharmaceutical manufacturing plant into an unconventional daydream with help from Clive Wilkinson Architects.

Image Credit: Where We Design

6) Bubble Prague

Bubble, a content agency, might be on the smaller side, but their Prague office makes a major statement. The open, 3,552 square foot space used to be a printing press before it was converted into Bubble’s offices in 2016.

They retained many of the original area’s industrial touches, such as exposed beams, recycled wood, and massive double-pane windows that allow for free-flowing natural light. Chalkboards suspended from the ceiling offer employees daily inspirational mantras.

Image Credit: Office Snapshots

7) M&C Saatchi Mobile New York

M&C Saatchi Mobile’s New York office may look spare compared to some of the other offices on this list, but it was designed with “brutal simplicity” in mind.

“It’s not about cluttering the space with more things but keeping it simple, and that’s reflected in our culture too,” Eric Mugnier, the senior vice president of M&C Saatchi Mobile North America told Digiday.

The 8,000 square foot open office space includes minimal furniture, neutral colors, and exposed brick walls.

Image Credit: The New York Egotist

8) TM Advertising Dallas

This Dallas-based agency needed a fresh, flexible work environment for their growing workforce, and the architects at Gensler and HKS Architects, Inc. certainly delivered.

The bright, sprawling, 46,000 square-foot space is lit mostly by natural light, and features open, collaborative spaces conducive to employees who are always on the go. Pops of unexpected color on staircases and furniture contribute to the office’s aura of “casual, creative professionalism”.

Image Credit: Work Design Magazine

9) BICOM Communications Montreal

When this Canadian PR agency needed a new look for their office, they turned to Montreal-based designer Jean de Lessard.

The unique space is populated with house-shaped work pods that provide employees with a wide variety of different work environments. The houses, according to de Lessard’s website, “were customized according to their specific function, and randomly positioned to break the monotony and encourage spontaneous interaction.”

Image Credit: Creative Bloq

10) Zion & Zion Arizona

Zion & Zion’s office creatively balances industrial elements like concrete floors and unfinished wood with playful touches, such as a chalkboard wall, florescent pink panels, and vivid, minimal decor.

“This was an amazing opportunity to collaborate with a diverse creative team to design an innovative and energetic space,” said Rachel Usher, the lead designer on the project.

Image Credit: Zion & Zion

11) RPA California

RPA’s Santa Monica, California office is chock full of quirky details intended to inspire their creative staff, including a hanging cloud sculpture that lights up whenever an RPA client is trending on social media.

“We’re a creative agency, so we looked at the redesign of our space as an opportunity to provide inspiration — even in often overlooked areas like hallways and meeting room walls,” RPA’s COO Pete Imwalle said to Adweek. “Our favorite parts are the small details that you sometimes don’t even notice right away.”

Image Credit: Adweek

12) CP+B London

This stunning office in the heart of London was designed to accommodate CP+B’s busy creative team, with plenty of space for communal work, a mezzanine cafe, and quiet lounges complete with cozy, whimsical furniture.

The cavernous King’s Cross location underwent a major redesign in 2014 by the talented workspace designers at Trifle Creative. They replaced the flooring, designed a new seating system, and refurnished the space to better suit the agency’s needs.

Image Credit: Office Snapshots

13) FoxP2 Johannesburg

A departure from the bright and minimal aesthetic becoming common among agencies, FoxP2’s Johannesburg office takes full advantage of the building’s spatial limitations and quirks. Narrow rooms were converted into areas for library-style desks and vintage lockers for employees to store their belongings. Ceilings were left with their original piping and outfitted with exposed-bulb fixtures.

The core design inspiration behind the space was Thomas Edison’s research and development laboratory.

Image Credit: Office Snapshots

14) Merkle / Periscopix London

Merkle / Periscopix wanted to create an environmentally friendly space that also impressed visitors, clients, and prospective employees. The new entryway features reclaimed timber paneling, poured concrete floors, and places for potted plants. The unfinished wood is incorporated throughout the office’s many communal spaces to continue the environmental motif.

Image Credit: Office Snapshots

15) Dentsu Aegis Network Shanghai

Walking into global communications group Dentsu Aegis Network’s Shanghai office is like stepping into a kaleidoscope. Every inch of the space is covered in bright, inviting color, from the boldly patterned floors to the vibrant hanging light fixtures.

To prevent the color from appearing gaudy, designers added plenty of neutral elements into the mix, including polished wood floors and walls covered in high oxygen-omitting plants.

Image Credit: Office Snapshots

VISUAL CONTENT MARKETING – When Words Are Secondary

Sometimes words are secondary …

Take a look at more visuals below which tell the story of Visual Content Marketing – and ask yourself if your video, photography and graphics budget might need an increase?

General Visual Content Stats

1) Researchers found that colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%.

2) When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.

3) 46% of marketers say photography is critical to their current marketing and storytelling strategies.

4) 34% of marketers selected visual assets as their most important content, behind blogging (45%) and before videos (19%).

5) 65% of senior marketing executives believe that visual assets (photos, video, illustrations and infographics) are core to how their brand story is communicated.

6) Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.

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Image Credit: QuickSprout

7) Only 27% of marketers have a process in place to aggregate, organize, and manage the visual assets being used across their marketing teams. Tweet this stat! (Source)

8) 39% of marketers believe that more of their budget should be allocated to the acquisition or creation of compelling visual assets. Tweet this stat! (Source)

9) 73% of content creators plan to prioritize creating more engaging content in 2016, and 55% plan to prioritize creating visual content. Tweet this stat!(Source)

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Image Credit: Content Marketing Institute

Video Stats

10) 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.

11) Shoppers who view video are 1.81X more likely to purchase than non-viewers.

12) Using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65% and reduces unsubscribes by 26%.

13) Midway through 2015, mobile video plays exceeded 44% — up 74% from 2014 and up a whopping 844% since 2012.

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Image Credit: Ooyala

14) Between April 2015 and November 2015, the amount of average daily video views on Facebook doubled from 4 billion video views per day to 8 billion.

15) In July 2015, Periscope users were watching 40 years’ worth of videos every day.

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Image Credit: FastCompany

16) In Q2 of 2015, mobile phones (34%) and tablets (15%) combined for 49% of video ad impressions — up from 38% in Q1 of 2015. Publishers saw PC impressions drop from 62% to 50% in the previous quarter. 

17) Syndacast predicts 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video.

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Image Credit: Syndacast

Big thanks for these 17 tips in 2017 to http://www.hubspot.com!

Today CCO’s and PR Professionals Focus on Cyber Threats and Employees As Much As Media Contacts

shutterstock_197903273Reputation management was a term I heard in one of my first public relations classes in college.  Whether the person handling an organization’s reputation is a PR professional or holds the title of CCO (Chief Communications Officer) this responsibility is critical and expanding as new threats impact how the consumer and Wall Street see your organization.

The study below shows what keeps those charged with the management of an organization’s reputation up at night.

AREAS OF CONCERN FACING CCOs

  • More than one out of two global CCOs (53 percent) have been impacted by shareholder activism. Of those who have been impacted by shareholder activism, 92 percent say their department was very or somewhat involved in addressing the event.
  • Nearly half of global CCOs (47 percent) spend a great deal or a lot of their time preparing for or dealing with cyber security, followed by understanding shifts in consumer spending behaviors (45 percent) and managing financial crises (44 percent).
  • 80 percent of global CCOs believe that marketing and communications departments are more collaborative than ever, and 54 percent expect the two functions to be fully integrated in the next few years.
  • When asked what would be the one thing global CCOs would most like to focus on in their role if they had the time, the top answer was reputation (28 percent). (This question was asked on an open-ended basis.)

“As seen in this study, reputation management is a prime responsibility of the corporate communications position today. Nearly every CCO, 93 percent, places this responsibility at the top of their lists, regardless of region,” said Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist at Weber Shandwick, in the release. “Clearly, global CCOs take their jobs as reputation guardians seriously and are ever-vigilant about protecting their company reputations from harm, whether it be cyber threats, crises of any kind, or the growing importance of employee engagement.”

Emerging marketing and communications trends have redefined the C-suite’s perspective on branding, and have also reshaped the roles of PR leaders. What are the top concerns for top comms execs in this evolving landscape? New research shows more than seven in 10 global chief communications officers (CCOs) reporting that digital communications ranks as their top priority for the next 18 months—and in North America, the highest priority for top CCOs is employee engagement, according to a new report from leadership consultancy Spencer Stuart and PR giant Weber Shandwick.

Additionally, more than half of global CCOs report that their companies have been impacted by shareholder activism, with an even higher percentage (58 percent) of CCOs in North America reporting impact, according to findings from The Rising CCO VI. Now in its sixth year, survey report explores how CCOs expect their responsibilities to evolve over time in a rapidly changing world.

“Effective and engaging employee communications is in great demand today as the communications function continues to touch all parts of a company’s business,” said George Jamison, who leads Spencer Stuart’s corp comms business, in a news release.

“CEOs are asking their top communications leaders to ensure that employees internalize strategy and company purpose. Our research shows that CCOs are working hard to drive employee advocacy and deepen their relationships with stakeholders both within and outside the company.”

 DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS NOW A STRATEGIC PARTNER, HIRING PRIORITY

Digital communications is reported as the top area of focus globally for the next 18 months and is a top hiring priority for the near future. In North America, digital communications is the second top area of focus for the next 18 months, behind employee advocacy/engagement.  Importantly, CCOs in every region also report that digital and social media would be their closest working partners in the future. This aligns with a related trend of using data analytics widely to evaluate corporate reputation, refine messaging, and identify company supporters and allies, according to the study.

FOCUSING ON EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATIONS AND ENGAGEMENT

The importance of employee communications as a top tier priority differs regionally among global CCOs. By very wide margins, North American CCOs (90 percent) report that employee communications is a top tier responsibility compared to 70 percent of EMEA CCOs. In line with North American CCOs’ strong focus on employee communications, these leading comms pros in North America are also more likely to report that employee advocacy and engagement will grow in importance in their portfolio of responsibilities over the next 12 to 18 months compared to EMEA CCOs (70 percent vs. 45 percent, respectively).

Global CCOs also plan to make hires in the employee engagement and internal communications field in the next 12-18 months. Specific positions cited include Global Head of Employee Engagement, Head of Enterprise Communications (Internal and Leadership) and Employee Engagement Specialist.

FOSTERING TIES TO HUMAN RESOURCES

As global CCOs focus on strengthening their connections with employees as part of their skill set today and in the near future, a large 83 percent report working closely with their human resources (HR) departments. Another 14 percent report that they do not currently work closely with HR, but their company would benefit from doing so. Global CCOs report that they work with their HR peers as often as they do with marketing (86 percent) and legal (83 percent) counterparts. Additionally, 79 percent of global CCOs expect to work more closely in the future with HR departments. These findings underscore the importance of internal alignment within organizations and the rising importance of employee advocacy and engagement in the years ahead.

By very wide margins, North American CCOs (93 percent) are more likely to count HR as close partners in how they do their jobs compared to 75 percent of CCOs from EMEA. When it comes to expectations about the next few years, North American and EMEA CCOs are in greater agreement that they will be working closely with their HR brethren (81 percent vs. 77 percent, respectively).

 

Shared from Bulldog Reporter one of the best sources for PR news.  www.bulldogreporter.com

Learn Something Good From United Airlines’ Very Bad Reaction

Another case of the big guy blaming someone else – and losing the opportunity to do something good.  Not only was the incident of the man being dragged off the plane horrific to see and hear, but the response from the president of United was nearly as bad.  Have these people learned nothing about kindness or corporate responsibility?

My social media is still full of reactions to this; none of them good.

United also did not apologize, did not take responsibility, and did not demonstrate empathy in either the leggings or the viral video case, as it did with the system outage. Further, the company used industry terms like “Contract of Carriage,” “overbooked,” and “re-accommodate” instead of talking like their passengers would talk.

These stories are a reminder to all brands that offline experiences can quickly come online, and if brands don’t get the offline experience right, they will suffer the consequences in social media. Everyone with a smartphone can snap a photo of their poor experience and post it to Facebook or Twitter in mere moments – and they’re doing so, at an alarming rate for brands.  When this happens, friends and followers are witnesses to the experience and often rally to support those who feel affronted.

Here is a link to an excellent review of this situation on Social Media Today… take a few minutes and let’s be the professionals who stand up for what is right.

http://www.socialmediatoday.com/smt-influencer/uniteds-social-media-nightmare-what-went-wrong

 

 

 

Let’s Get Visual — VISUAL!

A picture is worth a 1000 words – take a look here at how visuals impact your social media success – and why!

Infographic Stats

1) Eye-tracking studies show internet readers pay close attention to information-carrying images. In fact, when the images are relevant, readers spend more time looking at the images than they do reading text on the page.

2) Infographics are Liked and shared on social media 3X more than other any other type of content.

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3) Infographics were the B2B content marketing tactic with the biggest increase from 2014 to 2015, up from 51% to 62%.

4) People following directions with text and illustrations do 323% better than people following directions without illustrations.

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Image Credit: NeoMam

5) 60% of marketers predict the use of infographics will increase.

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Image Credit: CMO Council

Social Media Stats

6) Visual content is more than 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.

7) Articles with an image once every 75-100 words got double the number of social shares than articles with fewer images.

8) 71% of online marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing.

9) And a whopping 40% of B2C marketers say visual content is the most important type of content.

 10) Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images.

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Image Credit: BuzzSumo

11) Buffer reported that for its user base, tweets with images received 150% more retweets than tweets without images. Tweet this stat! (Source)

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Image Credit: QuickSprout

12) The Instagram community has grown to more than 400 million as of September 2015.

13) On Instagram, photos showing faces get 38% more Likes than photos not showing faces. Tweet this stat! (Source)

14) Organic engagement on Facebook more than doubled in 2015, while organic engagement on Instagram almost halved. Tweet this stat! (Source)

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Image Credit: Forrester Research

15) 52% of teens use Instagram, and nearly as many (41%) use Snapchat. Tweet this stat! (Source)

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Image Credit: Pew Research Center

16) Snapchat has 100 million daily users, 65% of whom upload photos using the app. Tweet this stat! (Source)

17) Women continue to dominate Pinterest: 44% of online women use Pinterest compared with 16% of online men. Tweet this stat! (Source)

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Image Credit: Pew Research Centerpinterest-purchasing-power.jpg

18) Shopify users referred by Pinterest spend an average of $80 compared to the Facebook referral average of $40. Tweet this stat! (Source)

19) Pins on Pinterest have viral potential: Over 80% of pins are re-pins compared to 1.4% of tweets retweeted. Tweet this stat! (Source)

20) 88% of consumers have purchased a product they pinned, and 49% have purchased 5 or more products they’ve pinned. Tweet this stat! (Source)

Image Credit: J

Thanks to HubSpot for this amazing information and graphics – you caught my attention!  Another great resource I recommend to readers of my blog.  Take a look at http://www.hubspot.com.   Laura

YOUR posts are being viewed just like TV or print news – Are you a trusted source?

‘Who shared it?’: How Americans decide what news to trust on social media

This research was conducted by the Media Insight Project — an initiative of the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research

Introduction

When Americans encounter news on social media, how much they trust the content is determined less by who creates the news than by who shares it, according to a new experimental study from the Media Insight Project, a collaboration between the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Whether readers trust the sharer, indeed, matters more than who produces the article —or even whether the article is produced by a real news organization or a fictional one, the study finds.

A trusted sharer results in more trust for the article

People who see a social media post from someone they trust evaluate the article more positively

 As social platforms such as Facebook or Twitter become major thoroughfares for news, the news organization that does the original reporting still matters. But the study demonstrates that who shares an article on a social media site like Facebook has an even bigger influence on whether people trust what they see.

The experimental results show that people who see an article from a trusted sharer, but one written by an unknown media source, have much more trust in the information than people who see the same article from a reputable media source shared by a person they do not trust.

The identity of the sharer even has an impact on consumers’ impressions of the news brand. The study demonstrates that when people see a post from a trusted person rather than an untrusted person, they feel more likely to recommend the news source to friends, follow the source on social media, and sign up for news alerts from the source.

All of this suggests that a news organization’s credibility both as a brand and for individual stories is significantly affected by what kinds of people are sharing it on social media sites such as Facebook. The sharers act as unofficial ambassadors for the brand, and the sharers’ credibility can influence readers’ opinions about the reporting source.

This new research by the Media Insight Project is part of an effort to study the elements of trust in news at a time of turbulence in the media. The results offer important new insights to publishers whose digital content increasingly is reaching people outside the domain of their own websites and apps. Indeed, the findings suggest that publishers increasingly need to think of their consumers as ambassadors for their brand. The findings also carry implications for people concerned about so-called fake news and for advocates of “news literacy,” the spread of consumer critical thinking skills. The findings also have implications for social networks that might be able to alter the presentation of content to give consumers more information about the source of the news.

A news organization’s credibility both as a brand and for individual stories is significantly affected by what kinds of people are sharing it on social media.

The new findings come from an experiment involving 1,489 Americans and their trust in news on social media.

The Next Generation of Consumers Cares About Charitable Ties

millenials

The new target demographic is Gen Z or iGen, those born between the mid-1990s and 2009.

They are a unique bunch, with unique tastes and habits that brand managers and marketers should get up to speed on.

Some marketers are already rolling; others have to play catchup. Here are some of Gen Z’s principal characteristics and how brands can reach them:

First, they have more available funds.

Members of Gen Z are in their late teens or early 20s. About half support themselves; the other half rely on their parents for financial support. This duel dependent/independent status makes them influential in household purchases, and some are consumers themselves.

Millennials are the most weighted down by student loan debt; Gen Z’ers aren’t quite there yet. Of those with student loan debt, three-fourths have not yet begun paying it off, so they have disposable income for purchases.

Second, Gen Z is an idealistic bunch.

They want to help make the world a better place and are more concerned with doing so than they are with making money. Don’t ignore this generation’s desire to sync up with “brands on a mission,” such as Toms Shoes, which implements a “one-for-one” giving model. For those who grew up in a time of instant gratification, the immediacy of giving back while making a purchase is very satisfying.

Add a charitable incentive or movement to your efforts. Make your plans to give back clear, and—equally important—make it easy for the buyers to give back. They want to change the world but don’t want that to be a complex process.

Last, they are online all the time.

Gen Z doesn’t know life without social media, smartphones and instant access to just about everything online. Unlike millennials, they don’t remember a time when being offline was a thing.

When targeting this cohort, marketers must make campaigns that worked for millennials must more persistent and technologically sophisticated. Go beyond Facebook and Twitter—your brand should have a Snapchat presence and a robust YouTube channel.

McDonald’s beefed up its Snapchat marketing efforts, and who followed? Gen Z. Filters enable the user to interact directly with a brand. Brand managers should tap into the platform’s geo-tagging filter opportunities.

Also, enlist a more relatable spokesperson or brand ambassador. Consider a YouTube star or Vine personality rather than a traditional celebrity. Most of us may not have heard of MagCon or know who Lele Pons is, but Gen Z knows who they are. They may not be “mainstream famous,” but members of Gen Z value their opinions and follow them online.

Phil Ahad is a senior vice president at Toluna QuickSurveys. A version of this post first appeared oniMediaConnection.

They’re Here – Gen Z Is Entering The Workforce NOW

Here’s What To Expect From Generation Z in the Workplace

Very competitive, accepting of others, a focus on quality over quantitygen-z-in-workforce

Given their focus on financial security, it’s not surprising that generation Z is poised to be cutthroat when it comes to getting jobs and establishing careers.

Jonah Stillman, a 17-year old from Minneapolis who, with his father David, wrote GenZ@Work, a book about how his generation will fare as members of the workforce. The pair conducted two national studies of 4,000 teens about workplace attitudes and preferences. They’ve discovered that these young people are in “survival mode” and believe they will have to fight for what they want. They would feel lucky to get a job, which contrasts with the common perception of millennials as feeling entitled to a job. Sixty-six percent of gen-Zers say their number one concern is drowning in college debt, and 75% say there are ways of getting a good education besides going to college.

generation-z-largest-generation-living-in-us-1024x568 “Generation Z is a very independent and competitive generation, having been taught by our parents that there are definitely winners and losers at life.”

“Millennials are the most collaborative generation, launching applications like Facebook and sharing everything with everybody,” Stillman says. “But Gen Z is completely different: They are a very independent and competitive generation, having been taught by our parents that there are definitely winners and losers at life. Millennials, on the other hand, were told that if you work together, everybody can be a winner.”

But even though they see the workplace as a battlefield, they are inclusive and tolerant of difference.

They grew up with a black man as the leader of the free world, with women in positions of power in the workplace, and with openly gay celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Anderson Cooper, and Neil Patrick Harris. “As a whole, gen Z is a very accepting generation,” Stillman says.

 

TOP 5 Trends We’ll See in the 2017 Workplace

This was a “remarkable” year for hiring, according to Glassdoor’s chief economist, Andrew Chamberlain. He says that the U.S. added an average 180,000 new jobs per month, well above the “break even” pace of job growth of 50,000 to 110,000 economists estimate the economy needs to keep Americans fully employed.2017-in-orange

Nontraditional offerings don’t boost employee satisfaction as much as health insurance, 401(k) matches, and paid time off. Pay is also on the rise. Median base pay for U.S. workers was up 3.1% from 2015, the fastest pace in three years. Can we top all that in 2017?

According to Glassdoor’s newest report on job trends, there are also a record number of unfilled jobs—5.85 million as of April—which represents the most since the BLS started tracking job openings in 2000. That’s compounded with the fact that every employer is hiring for tech roles, Chamberlain observes, and there are just so many talented candidates out there.

2017 JOB TREND #1: HR WILL TRANSFORM ITSELF

Which is why he’s predicting that 2017 is going to be the year human resources transforms itself into “people science.”

Chamberlain argues that the rise of big data has infiltrated and transformed everything from product design to finance. As businesses generate more data from their employees and customers, good analysis of that data can lead to smarter decisions, shorter project time lines, and happier consumers.

Unfortunately, HR and recruiting have been largely absent from this evolution, says Chamberlain. Data scientists, one of the most in-demand positions for the past two years, haven’t been much of a presence in HR-related tasks. But as Chamberlain points out, “Using data science in HR to make even small improvements in recruiting, hiring, and engagement has the potential for huge benefits to organizations.”

A good place for HR to start is by tapping into workforce analytics that can track every stage of an employee’s progression through a company from on-boarding, through training and promotions. These are available at low cost through a number of third party providers.

Another solution is to use a sentiment tracker to gather feedback in real time. Amanda Moskowitz, founder of the startup leadership sharing resource Stacklist, told Fast Company in a interview[/url] that founders of companies that don’t have formal HR departments are using tools like Glint and Small Improvements. Other available tools include platforms for A/B testing to experiment with different methods of workforce management. Chamberlain points out “there are many low-hanging fruit today for better data science in HR” and they don’t cost much.

2017 JOB TREND #2: MANY THINGS GET AUTOMATED BUT WE DON’T LOSE OUR JOBS

There’s a lot of talk about automation and how much its advancement will make human workers obsolete. Chamberlain cites research from the Journal of Economic Perspectives that indicate mass layoffs due to automation are unlikely. This correlates with findings from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) on the potential for automation across 54 countries and more than 2,000 work activities. The report found that the number of jobs that can be fully automated by adapting currently demonstrated technology is less than 5%. That number could go as high as 20% in some middle skill categories.

Says Chamberlain: “The jobs that will be most affected by automation are routine jobs that need to be done the same way and that don’t require much flexibility or much creative judgment.” As such MGI found that about 60% of all jobs have a least a third of activities that could be automated based on current technology such as answering email or scheduling meetings. “Workers increasingly need to build skills that are complementary to technology—learning to run the machine, not doing the same work the machine automates,” Chamberlain observes.

2017 JOB TREND #3: NONTRADITIONAL BENEFITS WILL BECOME LESS POPULAR

From assistance with paying back student loans to unlimited food and beverages, the benefits packages at many companies have altered the standard health insurance and 401(k) matches. However, Chamberlain sees a move away from the more exotic perks and benefits.

That’s because Glassdoor’s research revealed that perks such as gym memberships, charitable giving, and other nontraditional offerings don’t boost employee satisfaction as much as health insurance, 401(k) matches, and paid time off. If the goal of the compensation package (including both pay and benefits), says Chamberlain, is to “serve as a targeted investment, delivering great employee engagement, and keeping talent on board long term,” then companies should be rethinking their offerings in 2017.

2017 JOB TREND #4: WE’LL MAKE PROGRESS NARROWING THE WAGE GAP

Chamberlain believes this is the year the gap will narrow because we’re at a tipping point. More data is available than ever, transparency is a core value for many companies, and business leaders are recognizing that equal pay isn’t just a compliance issue, it’s a necessity to retain talent.

Sixty seven percent of U.S. employees said they were not likely to apply for a job at a company where men and women were paid unequally for the same work, according to Glassdoor’s research. Expect to see wider adoption of building analysis into companies’ pay practices in the coming year, says Chamberlain.

2017 JOB TREND #5: THE GIG ECONOMY WILL SLOW DOWN

Chamberlain expects the growth in the gig economy will taper off in 2017. He offers three reasons for the slowdown.

Despite the visibility of Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Task Rabbit and others, their impact is still quite small. A J.P. Morgan Chase Institute study found only about 4.3% of U.S. adults had ever earned income from an online “gig” platform as of June 2016, a figure that’s been declining over the last three years. Another study from the EPI made a similar discovery, that the freelance economy isn’t growing as much as we think. Gig work is inherently based on demand, and in times of less demand, those gigs dry up, further gutting potential growth.

Another limit to growth is that gigs by nature have to be simple and discrete projects or transactions. As Chamberlain notes,

“The fastest growing jobs today are ones that require human creativity, flexibility, judgment, and ‘soft skills.’ That list includes health care professionals, data scientists, sales leaders, strategy consultants, and product managers. Those are exactly the kind of jobs least likely to function well in a gig economy platform.”

Therefore he says, it’s not likely that you’ll be able to get legal, financial, medical, engineering, or other services through a gig platform in 2017 and beyond.

It’s a great time for both employers and workers to set themselves up to take advantage of the opportunities represented by these trends, says Chamberlain, so “Invest in skills and technology now while times are good.”

Start From A Winning Place – Right Here Right Now

When we try to lead change from a reactive mindset, we perceive problems as threats and fear of failure drives us toward a quick fix, as evident in our annual penchant for making (and breaking) New Year’s resolutions to “fix” bad behaviors. This vicious cycle yields low results.shutterstock_380256889

In contrast, a creative mindset sees problems as opportunities and seeks solutions via vision, action, and passion. The Creative mindset, or “operating system,” plays to win; the Reactive mindset, or OS, plays not to lose.

How can we transcend the reactive and opt for the creative approach to leading change?

Over the years, we’ve witnessed thousands of people receive multi-rater 360 feedback using The Leadership Circle assessment. For many, it’s a gut-wrenching experience, one that can be either a catalyst for growth or impetus for inertia. Negative feedback challenges our sense of self or core belief. It’s challenging to reframe that belief, change it and move on. We all wrestle with reactive responses daily as we face fear, doubt, criticism or inner conflict.

Having run our own company, we know how easy it is for leaders to be reactive. When we are managing all the time, we struggle to see our patterns of thought and feel at risk when we are challenged. However, when we interrupt the reactive response and start seeing deeply into our inner operating system, we start seeing our pattern. We realize that we don’t have to continue along that track any more — we can be free from it and move on. But every time we meet a new edge, that fear resurfaces again as strong as ever. We can gain perspective on it by noticing it sooner and managing it, not taking it so seriously, but that doesn’t mean we’re not scared. When we’re caught in reactive mode, it has us. We sense that everything’s at stake here.

When we operate in a creative mode, we see that our fear is unfounded. We show up differently, more effectively, when we recognize the pattern to be reactive and choose to be creative. Our impact and influence on others and the organization increases.

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Without this awareness, the more leaders rise in position and the more complexity they face, the higher their fear level grows — even to the terror level. Awareness of the fear is critical to move through the reactive stage or operate well in it. Since most leaders aren’t aware of how much fear is inside them, when they face challenge or change, their old self and old way of operating are threatened.

As leaders, we tend to define our life on other people’s expectations of high performance, or technical wizardry and genius, and never stop to ask ourselves what we really want — the heart of the creative operating system. Self-authored vision is the central organizing principle: “This is what matters to me.” “This is where I stand.” “Here’s the organization I believe in and want to build.”

 

In creative mode, we stop chasing short-term results long enough to ask, “What would you do if you could?” In creative mode, we play to create the future we want or believe in versus trying to move forward by playing not to lose — it’s a very different approach to life and leadership.

To boot up our leadership capabilities and operate consistently in creative mode, we need to run on a self-authoring mindset. Making that shift is challenging, and it’s where many people get stuck in sort of the schizophrenia between the inside self-definition versus the outside definition, and the fear that might be attached to declaring that inside-out definition.

When we move to creative mode, we face uncertainty — everything seems questionable and up for grabs. Old definitions simply don’t work, and new ones may not have arrived yet. So, uncertainty and fear are prevalent in the early creative stage.

If we’re not accustomed to that open space or lack access to a coach who knows that terrain, we find it easy to fall back or slip back into a more reactive, less effective way of leading.

It takes courage and resilience to stay in creative mode and advance. If the questions — “What do you want?” “What would you do if you could” — continue to haunt you, you’ll stay in the game and proceed; but if you lose sight of those questions, you will likely give into the fear and caution and revert back.

Your organization is likely designed for and supports the reactive style. When you move into creative mode, you become an alien, without the old support community.

shutterstock_380256889As we coach leaders who are in transition from reactive to creative stage, we find that they all experience two major shifts:

  1. Optimizing the tension between purpose and safety
  2. Shifting identity from the outside-in to the inside-out

As we orient on what we most want, we face what we most fear. Always, our purpose and passion await our commitment. Always, fear lurks inside, cautioning us not to move toward — it seems too risky. But if we do not live at the edge of our creativity and passion, we become toxic to those around us and to ourselves. Our biggest wants are met with our biggest fears. We either move through the fear toward our passion, or we slowly and inexorably die.

Most of us are looking for a safe path through — a safe place to be great. There isn’t one. There is no safe way to be great, and, there is no great way to be safe. The safe paths have all been taken. The paths left to us require risk. Leadership is inherently risky because leadership is the act of creating outcomes that matter most.

If we orient our lives on safety, we remain constantly insecure. If we orient on that which seems to want to have its way with our lives, we live into the futures we were born to create. And that brings with it its own security.

In leadership positions, more people get fired for their caution than for their courage. If we play for purpose, we accept the inherent risk of leading, of living full-out, and that brings with it a sense of security that is not rooted in powers outside ourselves, upon which our future seems to depend, but in our capacity to create the future to which we aspire.

If we orient primarily on safety, we live and lead reactively. If we orient on the pull of purpose and vision and accept the inherent risks, we evolve the Creative Mind. The core of the creative operating system is a play-on-purpose game based on faith and love. In this game we orient on what we love enough to risk for. It is designed to create the future to which we aspire.

Outside-in leadership is focused not on vision, but on removing, fixing, or reducing problems and threats. It is run by fear, motivated to reduce the internal conflict generated by the problem. Behavior is a reaction to this internal conflict, and the focus of behavior is to get rid of the problem.

Reactive Leadership is like a balancing loop that creates an oscillating pattern of results around a set point to maintain equilibrium or homeostasis. We set goals and then act in ways contrary to our commitments because we have competing commitments, which are often run by internal beliefs that drive behavior designed to maintain current equilibrium. Beneath our pattern of results are powerful unseen beliefs, operating on autopilot and structured from the outside in (how other see us defines us). We are the effect of the assumptions we adopt earlier in life — because they made sense at that time.

Since these assumptions may not match the complexities of our life, they become the structural limit to what is possible for us. They seek to maintain a state of equilibrium and often drive behaviors that compete with our vision and commitments.

With thanks to SmartBrief for sharing this insight from the Lead Change Group.

Six Digital Trends in 2017 That Will Redefine Influence for Marketers

In 2016, we’ve seen mobile completely redefine how people interact with one another as well as with brands. And while social and mobile have had an indisputable impact on marketing, communications and business, in 2017, we’re going to see old dogs with new tricks in areas such as content mixed with new dogs who want to change the game all together.  With thanks to Kevin King, global practice chair of Edelman Digital, in AdWeek, December 2016.

Here are a few areas identified as part of Edelman Digital’s annual trends predictions for 2017.

Conversational experiences
Messaging apps are becoming the new second home screen. Why now? There’s a chatbot revolution going on, and it’s primarily being fueled by the adoption of chatbots by major social and messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, Google, Microsoft Skype, Salesforce, Slack, Twitter DM, WeChat, Kik and Line. Now that there are billions of daily users of messaging platforms who are accustomed to engaging with brands in the feeds, the platforms hope they will enable marketers with the ability to scale creative 1-to-1 engagement opportunities called “conversational experiences.” These conversational experiences will bring together past revolutions in ecommerce and text services while highlighting the potential of artificial intelligence.

Immersive content
2017 is going to mark a turning point in the way audiences interact with and consume video content. Through the releases of the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PSVR and Niantic Labs’ Pokemon Go on Unity, virtual reality and augmented reality became important technological breakthroughs in 2016. In 2017, we anticipate significant improvements in immersive devices as well as software. Also, look for efforts from brands with skin in the game to make using a headset culturally acceptable.

Influencer marketing
According to eMarketer, 2017 is predicted to mark a major milestone for digital advertising—for the first time, digital spending will surpass that of TV. So where will those dollars go? Considering the challenges marketers face with bot fraud, ad blocking, social algorithms and general skepticism, influencer marketing will play a renewed and central role in the marketing mix for 2017. Influencer marketing isn’t new, but it will mature in 2017 as we see brands not only partnering with digital savvy Snapchatters and YouTubers but co-creating original content that can’t be found anywhere else.

Blockchain
What Uber did for on-demand auto transformation Blockchain promises to do for financial transactions. And with $1.4 billion in venture-capital money in the past three years, 24 countries investing in Blockchain technology for government services, 90-plus central banks engaged in related discussions, and 10 percent of global GDP to be traded via Blockchain technology by 2025-2027, it is important that marketers understand the potential implications for their business. We believe Blockchain technology will be a part of The Next Great Flattening and removal of middle-layer institutions.

B2B
Under increasing pressure to demonstrate tangible ROI on marketing and communications investments, business-to-business brands continue to adopt techniques including account based marketing, or ABM, marketing automation and advanced targeting. In 2017, we see B2B marketers aggressively moving away from basic awareness metrics toward identity-based KPIs that attribute high funnel marketing activities to downstream sales engagements and revenue generation. While some B2B brands will continue to experiment with emerging consumer-oriented technologies and platforms, we believe ROI pressure will lead marketers to seize ownership of the overall customer experience and create strategic alignment across marketing, communications, sales and IT.

Sizzle meets steak: balancing what works today with what will work tomorrow
There will be no shortage of steak or sizzle in 2017. As influencer marketing for example matures, brands will measure it with the same rigor applied to traditional, or “tradigital,” media. Content that has largely become a commodity for brands and consumers will strive to dazzle us in multiple dimensions, seeking to stand apart from the crowd.

For marketers and brand managers, our remit is clear—we must master both the shiny and the substantial as part of our everyday roles and responsibilities. 2017 will be a year when we are tested on both fronts: being able to execute what we know works today with what we believe will work tomorrow.

During The Holidays The Consumer Is At Your Fingertips – Be Fun, Be Colorful, Be Interesting

Reach out and touch your holiday shopper!  Increases in Content Sharing, e-Shopping Help Brands Reach More Buyersshutterstock_339813557

Because of consumers’ increased online shopping, media consumption and social sharing, marketers and communicators have one of their best opportunities yet to reach more potential buyers during the 2016 holiday season, according to new research from data-driven marketing tech firm RadiumOne. The company recently released the results of its Holiday Consumer Behavior Data Report, highlighting how retailers can capitalize on online consumer behaviors during the holiday season.

In fact, the report found that connected devices play an important role in holiday research and shopping, with more than a third of gift givers researching or buying presents online. It also revealed that media consumption increases significantly during the holidays, as most consumers will spend more time online, watch more TV and go to the movies more often. Additionally, one in three consumers will share more content during the holidays than the rest of the year, with 82 percent of all online holiday sharing activity coming from dark social channels such as email, instant messaging and text messaging.

“Consumers are spending a significant portion of their time online, which has created billions of data points that help marketers identify and predict interest and intent,” said Bill Lonergan, CEO at RadiumOne, in a news release. “Because consumers spend an increased amount of time online during the holiday season, retailers can increase the likelihood of acquiring new customers by aligning their strategy to what consumers are doing. By engaging consumers through all channels, marketers can maximize their holiday shopping campaigns, allowing their dollars to go further.”

SHOPPING HABITS

The report dove into consumers’ shopping habits during the holiday season and revealed that 38 percent of consumers will research and purchase presents online, with only 8 percent of consumers reporting that they will research and shop exclusively in-store. However, 28 percent of gift givers wait until the final month to start planning for holiday gifts, with 5 percent waiting until the final week.

The study also found that 29 percent of online shoppers will use multiple devices for shopping and research. Desktop was the most common device used (37 percent), followed by tablet (15 percent) and mobile (12 percent).

MEDIA CONSUMPTION HABITS

Findings from this report discovered almost half of consumers will spend more time online during the holiday season. Where consumers increase their time on devices the most television (59 percent) tablets (53 percent) and smartphones (53 percent).

SOCIAL SHARING HABITS

The research found 72 percent of consumers share content online during the holidays.

The research found 72 percent of consumers share content online during the holidays. The most commonly shared content includes festive pictures (65 percent), festive videos (49 percent) and gift ideas (45 percent). The majority of sharing happens through dark social, compared to only 8 percent on Facebook, 3 percent on Twitter and 7 percent on other channels.

Not surprisingly, sharing activity on Black Friday and Cyber Monday is twice as high as the average for the rest of the holiday season.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Through its findings, RadiumOne identified three primary methods for marketers to maximize their marketing promotions during this busy time of year:

  • Understand consumers’ holiday shopping behaviors: Know the importance that smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops play in both researching and purchasing holiday gifts
  • Increase promotions across all screens: While TV advertising is certainly effective during the holidays, marketers cannot ignore the increased media consumption on smartphones, tablets and other devices
  • Deliver holiday content that consumers will want to share: Make it easy for consumers to share pictures, videos, gift ideas and other festive content

The report looked at the online activities of 1,000 consumers who celebrate the holidays.

Source: PR Newswire; edited by Richard Carufel

GENERATION Z – A New Generation And A New Marketing Approach

In 1996 the first member of what is called Generation Z came into our world.  And in the very near future they will become a big part of the world of marketers.Image result for generation z

Numbering 23 million, there are 1 million more members of Generation Z (born between 1992 and 2011) then the Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000)

gen-z-2Here’s how to get ready for a generation just now entering their peak buying years and very different from Millennials and Boomers – but a lot like those born between 1925 and 1942 – the parents of the Boomer generation and known as the Silent Generation who saw a series of major world wars in their lifetimes.

Generation Z doesn’t just stand out in terms of how they relate to brands; they’re also spending their money differently and will take this into their adult years.

A survey by Lincoln Financial Group of 400 members of generation Z aged 15 to 19 found that they are saving far earlier than than older generations: 60% of them already have savings accounts and 71% say they are focused on saving for the future.

Their top three priorities are getting a job, finishing college, and safeguarding money for the years to come.

They rate these goals above spending time with friends and family, working out, or traveling. Jamie Ohl, president of retirement plan services at Lincoln Financial, says that we’re seeing similarities between this young generation and the one that emerged in the years following the Great Depression. “When I think about the ‘greatest generation’ having gone through the Depression and how they taught their children, the boomers, to save, that’s what this generation of parents is teaching generation Z,” she says.

But while generation Z is realistic about the challenges ahead, 89% of them remain optimistic about their futures, which is higher than any other generation on record.

For the past several years, the media has been obsessed with millennials, the most studied group ever. But as Generation Z grows up and gets ready to enter the workforce, corporations are paying more attention to this crop of young people born between 1996 and 2011. At 60 million strong in the United States, they outnumber millennials by 1 million. It would be easy to assume that they are just an exaggerated version of the generation that came before them, spending even more of their lives on social media, doing even more of their shopping online, and demonstrating an ever greater collaborative nicer nature.

But generation Z grew up in a starkly different historical context than millennials, which has given them a distinct outlook on the world.

Millennials were internet pioneers. They invented Facebook, shopped from their smartphones, and smoothly transitioned from satellite TV to Hulu and Netflix. Generation Z, meanwhile, doesn’t remember life without these basics of 21st century life. Millennials helped elect a black president and legalize gay marriage; many generation Zers see these milestones as the norm. Millennials came of age during a time of economic expansion and were shocked to find a diminished, unwelcoming job market after college; generation Z has been shaped by the recession and is prepared to fight hard to create a stable future for themselves.

They sure sound like a great generation in their own rite and as marketers we should be making changes right now to accommodate their outlook, wants and needs.

 

Look Like You Mean It and Other Research On How To Apologize! … Two Recent Studies Tell What It Takes (Take Note Presidential Candidates)

In this political year, we have an excellent opportunity to watch public figures as they move through high roads, low blows and the need to apologize – all priceless lessons for corporate PR and marketing professionals.

What to never do?  No smiling, no laughing and never a joke

What works?  Looking sad, sounding like you mean it.animal with apologetic face

Where?  Do not be behind a desk, peeking around a door or anywhere that looks like a resort.

How?  Apologize on all platforms – in front of the person you hurt, on TV if possible, via social media, respond to all media inquiries and say the same message and mean it every time.

Most important?  Acknowledge the mistake, take responsibility, apologize, explain and fix.

Best tip?  Don’t wait, apologize immediately.

With thanks to Sarah Green Carmichael, a senior associate editor at Harvard Business Review, for article below and for passing on lessons from two new research studies on what makes for an effective apology.

“Straight up, we made some mistakes,” Whole Foods co-CEOs John Mackey and Walter Robb said earlier this year in response to an overcharging scandal.

“We weren’t prepared for the crisis and we dropped the ball,” wrote AirBnB CEO Brian Chesky in 2011, after a guest trashed a host’s home.

“This should never have happened. It is simply unacceptable,” said Mary Barra, CEO of GM, in one of several public apologies in the wake of safety scandals at the automaker.

The corporate apology, once a relative rarity, has become a normal part of business discourse. Stuff happens, and then we say we’re sorry for it. But just because corporate apologies have become commonplace doesn’t mean they’re all created equal.

First, Leanne ten Brinke of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and Gabrielle S. Adams of the London Business School examine how expressions of emotion affect corporate apologies. Publishing in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, they present the findings of two studies.

In the first study, they looked at how investors reacted to real apologies from executives. They examined 29 online videos of apologies made between 2007 and 2011. Using an established system for distinguishing facial expressions (the Facial Action Coding System, or FACS), their researchers watched each video second by second, without sound, and tracked the expressions that flitted across the executives’ faces. Were they frowning? Smiling? Looking sad? Then Brinke and Adams looked at what happened after the apology to the company’s stock price. They found that for those leaders who had apologized with a smile, the stock dropped—perhaps because the leader seemed insincere delivering his apology, or even seemed to be enjoying the suffering his company had caused. The more the person smiled, the worse his company performed.

For the leaders who appeared genuinely contrite, at first it seemed like there was no impact on stock price—the company neither performed worse, nor performed better. “Normative emotions simply allow the company to move forward,” they write.

But then the researchers took a closer look at CEO apologies, specifically—16 out of the 29 cases. They found that when an apology was delivered by a CEO who looked sad, the company’s stock price actually rose post-apology. “A good apology can build investor confidence,” especially in the long term.

To investigate this further, Brinke and Adams conducted an experiment in which they hired an actor to portray an airline CEO apologizing for a computer malfunction that canceled 140 flights, stranding thousands of passengers—a scenario based on a real Alaksa Airlines snafu. They made sure his fictional apology contained all the verbal elements of a good apology—the components previous research has identified as being central to repairing relationships (see sidebar). They then recruited subjects to watch this fictional CEO apologize—either happily, sadly, or neutrally. When the CEO appeared sad, participants rated him as more sincere and were more likely to want to reconcile with him. When the CEO delivered his apology with a smile on his face—or, interestingly, a neutral expression—the study participants were less likely to trust him, and the apology even seemed to exacerbate their negative feelings.

The 5 Elements of a Complete Apology

An effective apology includes up to five elements, according to psychology researchers.

An explicit “I’m sorry.” Linguists call this an “Illocutionary Force Indicating Device.”

An offer of repair. This is where you offer to make it up to the person, eg, “I’m so sorry I spilled on your suit, can I pay for the dry cleaning?”

An explanation. Here’s where you explain how the mistake happened. But, it’s important to note that a complete apology also includes…

Taking responsibility. Without this, an explanation just sounds like an excuse.

A promise of forbearance, eg, “I promise it won’t happen again.”

Even seasoned leaders are likely to find delivering an apology to be an uncomfortable experience, and when we feel uncomfortable, a normal reaction is to grimace, laugh awkwardly, or even try to break the tension with a joke. Leaders (especially Americans) may also feel they can’t show too much sadness or anguish but instead must present a positive front at all times. The research by Brinke and Adams reminds us how these understandable impulses can backfire.

Another paper appearing in the Journal of Corporate Financeadds an interesting wrinkle to this subject. Researchers Don Chance, James Cicon, and Stephen P. Ferris examined 150 press releases from 1993 to 2009 to examine how companies fared when they blamed themselves for poor performance as opposed to blaming external factors. They found that while companies are twice as likely to blame external factors when things go wrong, passing the buck results in continued financial decline. Conversely, companies that take responsibility for their missed earnings stabilize and eventually see an uptick in financial performance. (Interestingly, both groups were about equally likely to fire their CEOs.)

Why? After eliminating numerous factors, the researchers conclude that being honest and specific about the source of the problem—both characteristics of self-blaming statements—not only cheers up investors, it likely helps the company turn around the issue more quickly. Conversely, the companies who blamed external factors were often vague (blaming “economic forces” for instance) and seen as less honest (since many of their wounds had actually been self-inflicted).

The message is loud and clear: when you mess up, admit it. And look appropriately sad about it.

 

It’s Spooky – But True! Halloween Is The Latest “IT” Holiday For Marketers

shutterstock_154500236Huge Halloween Brand Opportunities: Holiday Spending to Reach $8.4 Billion, Highest in NRF Survey History – Pets and People Go Big For This Fun Holiday

Is Your Brand On Pinterest?  It’s the Top Influencer for All Things Halloween

Americans are looking forward to splurging on their favorite candy and costumes this Halloween season, and brand PR and marketers are poised to take advantage of the biggest black-and-orange holiday opportunities on record—according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, total spending for Halloween is expected to reach $8.4 billion, an all-time high in the survey’s history.

U.S. consumers are expected to spend an average of $82.93, up from last year’s $74.34, with more than 171 million Americans planning to partake in Halloween festivities this year.

“After a long summer, families are excited to welcome the fall season celebrating Halloween,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay, in a news release. “Retailers are preparing for the day by offering a wide variety of options in costumes, decorations and candy, while being aggressive with their promotions to capture the most out of this shopping event.”

According to the survey, consumers plan to spend $3.1 billion on costumes (purchased by 67 percent of Halloween shoppers), $2.5 billion on candy (94.3 percent), $2.4 billion on decorations (70 percent) and $390 million on greeting cards (35.4 percent).

When it comes to preparation, 71 percent of consumers plan to hand out candy, decorate their home or yard (49 percent), dress in costume (47 percent), carve a pumpkin (46 percent), throw or attend a party (34 percent), take their children trick-or-treating (30 percent), visit a haunted house (21 percent) or dress their pet(s) in costume (16 percent).

Searching for the perfect costume inspiration will lead consumers to sources such as online (35 percent) and in-store (29 percent). Social media is the fastest-growing influencer for the perfect costume, particularly Pinterest(17 percent), which has seen 133 percent growth since 2012. Some other places for inspiration include friends/family (19 percent), Facebook (17 percent), pop culture (16 percent) and print media (14 percent).

“Consumers are eager to celebrate Halloween, especially given that eight in 10 Americans will shop by mid-October. That is the highest we have seen in the survey history,” said Prosper Insights principal analyst Pam Goodfellow, in the release. “Americans will enjoy taking advantage of early-bird promotions both online and in-store as they kick off the fall season.”

When it comes to where consumers will shop for the season, 47 percent of shoppers will visit discount stores to buy their Halloween-related items this year and 36 percent will visit a specialty Halloween/costume store, up from 33 percent last year. In addition, 26 percent of customers will visit grocery stores/supermarkets, 23 percent will visit department stores and 22 percent will shop online.

The survey asked 6,791 consumers about Halloween shopping plans. It was conducted September 6-13 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

Source: Business Wire; edited by Richard Carufel

ORANGE is the color of action! Buy, Sell and Let’s Show Some Orange Enthusiasm!

What color is the logo of the organization you represent?  Do you share qualities with other brands of the same color?

According to Fast Company. “The implications of color’s effect on people’s emotions are far reaching, and understanding your customers’ connections to certain colors could increase the effectiveness of your company’s branding methods.

Heading into Fall and the harvest, ORANGE is this month’s color to explore.

Pumpkins, the color of the harvest moon and one of the colors of the University of Florida Gators!

logo color 2015 ORANGE

Research complied by web design and marketing company WebPageFX, people make a subconscious judgment about a product in less than 90 seconds of viewing, and a majority of these people base that assessment on color alone. In fact, almost 85% of consumers cite color as the primary reason they buy a particular product, and 80% of people believe color increases brand recognition.”

What can be learned here?  I’d love to hear what you think!

With thanks to Fast Company for this great article –infographic from WebPageFX, written by Rachel Gillett.

Here is a beautiful Fall image with orange as the dominant color.shutterstock_1945459

Easy-Breezy Way to Know What is Trending RIGHT THIS MINUTE

Our job as marketers is to be in the know – all the time on all subjects.

If only there was an easy way to do that!  ah-ha – now there is:

trends 3Trends can be measured by decades, years, months, even a flavor of the week. Now with Google Trends you can identify google trends logowhat people are interested in as that very something is searched for using Google’s browser.

Right now you have the ability to see what’s trending right now.

What does this mean for your PR and marketing communications?  A lot!

Google Trends can now be used to tailor information in a way that matches the interests of your news consuming audience. With Google Trends you can now find out what topics are hot in relation to your industry and integrate those issues in your next news release or blog post. Striking the iron while it’s hot will increase visibility and raise brand awareness of your content. The update to the trends tool just ushered in an age of foresight that will help bridge communications supply and news consumer demand.trends 4

And this tool is available to everyone, for free! According to Nieman Lab, journalists and other media professionals can comb through Google Trends to “gauge where readers are headed.” Just like today’s communicators, reporters can use the trends tool to identify what content would be of interest to the news consuming public and write articles that are in demand. Competition for readers is at an all-time high, so access to this kind of tool gives news makers a much-needed edge.

How does this new feature aid modern communicators? By having access to top current searched words and phrases, PR pros can craft messaging to line up with what people are currently interested in. It’s the equivalent of baiting a hook with exactly what fish are craving. Your announcement falls right into what’s trending and amplifies your message. Increased visibility and an engaged audience are cornerstones of maximizing the ROI of a news release.

What are some examples of topics you will find – so go see what’s trending on Google right now!  You will find news angles and data to make your communications mainstream, right now!

  • Sports
  • People
  • Business news
  • Election 2016
  • Tech
  • Music
  • many many more categories

What’s trending on Google as you’re reading this post? Why not check and see?  You can access Google Trends here.

Sincere thanks to BusinessWire for this informative piece, I highly recommend BusinessWire for your news dissemination.  Laura

Are Your Signs Impacting Sales?

Not long ago while driving down a tourist corridor I saw a large building with a sign that just said “Sports” and I wondered why would you have such a beautiful building with so little explanation of what it was?  Turns out it was an independent sports retailer but his signage had lost me in translation.

Recent studies show that replacing any static sign with a digital replacement can be a major traffic generator.

Been to Times Square lately?  Even schools, churches and car dealers have learned that dynamic digital signs help communications and sales.  1_times_square_night_2013

According to industry experts – even the word ‘sign’ is outdated, the new phrase is “urban experiential displays”. 

No longer are you relegated to a limited amount of space to send your sales message.  Imagine the “Sports” facility promoting they had a sale on canoes, were offering boating lessons, had brand new golf equipment or whatever was going on inside their facility I just might have entered their parking lot!

Some retailers are running into city zoning ordinances about signage sizes, colors and even the speed of the digital messages.  If your area has those issues, approach your governing body now because every day you don’t maximize your signage, you are losing dollars.

Digital signs allow the following:

  • One day and flash sale messages
  • Build awareness of your website, Twitter or other social media accounts
  • Hold contests
  • Seasonal and holiday messages
  • Promote hours of operation
  • Community support messages
  • Public service or promotions for nonprofit groups
  • Messages in multiple languages
  • Messages for different customer segments, kids, families etc.

exterior signs 2

When a retailer’s sales go up it elevates the success of the employees, adjacent businesses and the municipality too – take a new look at your signage and see how you can improve sales by just one upgrade.

Many systems can be tied to your social media so one message meets multiple communication platforms

Staying current just might mean it’s time to redesign your space too

NEOCON 2016 blog July 19 2016
I am a big fan of NEOCON, and share here with you some of their ideas on what is trending… love that hot pink chair!  p.s. take a special read of the very last line of this blog …

NEOCON 2016: Interior Design Trends

June 23rd, 2016 / Technology & Industry /

Many of the top residential trends seen at this year’s High Point Market are crossing over into the commercial interior world. It’s no secret that employees are spending more and more time in the office, so employers are working to blur those lines between work and home. Workspaces are becoming more inviting places to be as they gain a welcoming and more residential touch. Here are the top trends we saw this year at NEOCON 2016.

Neutral Colors: Black & White

Black and white have been trending in recent years but instead of white dominated environments with black details as we’ve seen in previous years were beginning to see black dominated environments with white details. This spin is adding interest and drama to interior spaces. As well as black and white, pastels are all the rage as can be seen with the colors of the year. Bringing softness that is comforting and calming.

Rose Quartz & Serenity – 2016 Color of the Year

Pantone’s Color of the year for 2016 has been spotted up all over NEOCON 2016. What makes this trend notable is that this traditionally associated feminine color is making a strong appearance in office furniture manufacturer material lineups. From lighting at Humanscale, to workspace stations in Herman Miller, rose quartz is making a strong appearance in office furniture design. This speaks to the changing influence of women in the workplace and their say in workspace outfitting.

Steelcase Showroom at Neocon 2016

 

Organic Materials

Natural textures from organic materials like fur, wood grains, stone, metal are growing in popularity. Also woven textiles and animal hides are appearing everywhere in decor and accents. Many manufacturers have begun incorporating these natural texture veneer into their office furniture material lineup.

Nature Themes

One of the more notable trends seen in 2016 is the emphasis on plants in our living and working environments. From Herman Miller to Vitra one couldn’t miss the literally hundreds of plants that filled showrooms and even the Merchandise Mart atrium and open spaces. These is also extending into space accents like prints and artwork and decor.

Metallics

The use of metallics in a variety of finishes has been growing in popularity. With Brass, silver, rose gold, copper, and gold being used in everything from finishes to lighting and accessories.

Illustration Art

Manufacturers like Momentum Textiles, Keilhauer, and Herman Miller have been partnering with artists to bring their illustrative lifestyle aesthetic to their textile patterns and marketing materials.

NEOCON 2016: Interior Design Trends

 

Clicking Heels Not Required – Are you thinking from all sides?

Sometimes it’s the small things that make a big difference.  In this case – a few ideas for using the ceiling and floor to promote your brand.ruby red heels

This week I saw an eye-catching printed floor mat that told me how to get where I was going, and then later in the same mall in California, saw another printed floor mat that encouraged me to head to the food court – advice I happily took.  Talk about bringing traffic!

Custom floor signageToday came an email from a vendor selling these custom printed mats and I thought WOW – I should share this.  According to the Post Up website they come in small, medium and large sizes and their turnaround is 48 hours for beautiful four color mats.

My hairdresser also has signage in under-utilized places, in this case on the ceiling above the shampoo areas.  Why not?  My dentist has a mobile over his chair with information from a vendor.

Are you thinking from all sides?

Maybe add your Twitter handle and web address to the design?  Great for selfies!

Consider the floors and ceiling and unusual places – might be innovative and impact business on the spot.  Clicking heels not required!

Surprising Words That Trip the E-mail Spam Alarm – Don’t Get Caught in the Trap

trap goes with spam trap blog 2015

Did you know the words “invoice”, “quote” or “urgent” can put you in spam traps?  

Since we know how hard it is to get out of these traps, here is a list of words and phrases to know now and avoid traps later.

Most words and phrases that get the spam alarm bells ringing are obvious: income, urgent, Viagra; as well as congratulations, discount, make money. Those are among the many in categories such as retail, personal, and pharmaceutical that legitimate marketers should avoid, according to research by MailJet.Trap chart of spam words June 2015

And some spam-tripping words and phrases may be surprising. For example, FedEx, Paypal, and Visa/Mastercard—certainly to the chagrin of those companies—can trip the spam alarm. Potentially challenging for universities that have gone beyond the traditional classroom is “online degree” as a phrase that may lead an email to be trapped as spam.

For those companies that sell to marketers, there are obvious losers, such as “email harvest” and “increase sales.” But, interestingly, there are also unlikely spam-alarm trippers, including “direct mail,” “lead generation,” and “search engine optimization.” Even “Internet marketing” and “marketing solutions” can sound the spam alarm.

“In sending over 12 billion emails…we’ve seen good senders land in the spam folder when accidentally using words heavily used by spammers,” says Anthony Marnell, Mailjet’s VP, North America. “We compiled a sample of words from these findings to help senders improve deliverability when crafting email copy.”

So, before you tell prospective customers that they can “sign up free today” for a “month trial offer” to test a “marketing solution” that will “increase traffic” or “increase sales,” or offer “congratulations” or a “discount” to customers, be sure to consider the likelihood that spam bells may ring.

This article, image and chart comes with thanks, from Ginger Conlon, Editor-in-Chief Direct Marketing News.  DMNews.com is a great resource for marketers and I highly recommend you take a look at what they offer.

Thank you Ginger for bringing us this cautionary warning!

 

90 Seconds Is All Consumers Give You – Make Them Remember Your Colors

You get just 90 seconds to make an impression – a statistic we all know.

But were you aware that of that 90 seconds more than 62 seconds of that revolves around what colors you use?

Wow!  Holy marketing!  If ever there was one sentence to justify why a marketing expert should be involved from logo, to website, packaging and everything in between that visually represents a company – this is it.  It all boils down to seconds.logo color 2015 ALL COLORS

Over the last year I have written blogs that demonstrated what each color represents in the psychology of color and how other corporations are utilizing each color.  If you missed them just look back at earlier blogs about purple, red, green, yellow, blue and orange too.

What color is the logo of the organization you represent?  Do you share qualities with other brands of the same color?

According to Fast Company. “The implications of color’s effect on people’s emotions are far reaching, and understanding your customers’ connections to certain colors could increase the effectiveness of your company’s branding methods.

Research complied by web design and marketing company WebPageFX, people make a subconscious judgment about a product in less than 90 seconds of viewing, and a majority of these people base that assessment on color alone. In fact, almost 85% of consumers cite color as the primary reason they buy a particular product, and 80% of people believe color increases brand recognition.”

What can be learned here?  I’d love to hear what you think!

With thanks to Fast Company for this great article –infographic from WebPageFX, written by Rachel Gillett.

Have you heard the one about the publicist and the airline pilot?

 

Years ago I heard a great line… “What is the difference between an airline pilot and a publicist?”  Answer:  Pilots experience long periods of calm and short periods of panic.  Life for a publicist is the reverse.   So true!  Today I found this great article by Kim Green in Fast Company that takes this analogy to a much more helpful place … 3 lessons from a pilot about crisis management.Airline pilot

3 THINGS PILOTS KNOW ABOUT CRISIS MANAGEMENT

WHEN IT’S JUST YOU AND YOUR CRAFT AT 5,000 FEET, WHAT MATTERS MOST IS EXPERIENCE.

The day I passed the flight test and earned my private pilot’s license more than 20 years ago, I was a safe and competent aviator, but not yet a good one. That would come a few years later, after I became a flight instructor and logged a few thousand hours teaching rookie flyers how to land in stiff crosswinds, navigate by instruments in dismal weather, and prepare for in-flight emergencies.

Watching my students struggle and learn, I came to appreciate how much talent and hard work matter. But when it’s just you and your craft at 5,000 feet, what matters most is experience, especially when the weather turns inclement or the engine goes quiet. You can be a whiz at aerodynamics and know your equipment like an engineer, but it’s how you react when everything goes wrong that shows what kind of pilot you really are.

Business leaders face down everything from PR headaches to financial crises, and sometimes even threats to health and human life within their organizations. You can bring your A game to the boardroom and know your industry inside and out, but if you’ve never handled a major emergency, it’s hard to know how well you’ll fare when your first one hits.

That’s why pilots are trained in crisis management. We’re taught to think through a range of potential mishaps, memorize checklists, and plot courses of action in advance. Executives can do the same. You can never foresee every crisis, but if you plan for the worst, you’ll be ready for action—and you won’t be stuck winging it.

airline blog 31. EMERGENCY CHECKLISTS MATTER WHEN IT COUNTS

As I descended toward the runway in my instructor Volker’s twin Apache one night, I noticed something troubling: The green nose-wheel light wasn’t illuminating.

Seated beside me, Volker didn’t panic. For the next hour, he calmly proceeded with the flight lesson. We reviewed gear-failure procedures and tried to force the nose wheel to lock down. When that failed, we turned toward Nashville’s international airport and declared an emergency.

The final moments of that flight were strangely lovely—the flash of fire truck lights, sparks shooting by as we touched down and the nose cone ground a line down the runway centerline.

My instructor had performed a masterful emergency landing. We slid down the wing, not even a scratch. I was in awe of him. Throughout the “lesson,” I’d followed his lead. He appeared confident and unruffled, so I concluded that this situation called for deliberate action, not for fear. And because we had practiced the procedures for a gear failure emergency so many times, we knew just what to do when it actually happened.

Most organizations don’t like to dwell on negative eventualities. But imagine the alternative: Your VP’s thoughtless tweet goes viral; there’s a hostile takeover on the horizon; or far worse, the firm’s container ship sinks—and you have no idea what to do next.

As a company leader, people look to you in a crisis. It’s your responsibility to keep calm and lead, but that’s never entirely a matter of gut instinct. It takes rational forethought. Think through possible emergency situations and make a checklist for the first few steps you’d take. Those first steps can quiet your mind enough to get it busy solving the problem. If you have a plan, you’ll know what to do. And knowing what to do keeps fear and paralysis at bay.

2. “FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT” DOESN’T MEAN WHAT YOU THINK

Several years later, I had my turn at the helm during an emergency. As my student flew us back to our home airport one afternoon, my Cessna 172’s engine went down about 12 miles out. We’d thrown a valve and were running on partial power. My heart rate accelerated to match the irregular churn of the wounded engine, but my mind stayed quiet. “I’ve got the plane,” I told my student. We declared an emergency and turned toward the nearest airport.

The engine carried us there, unhurt and—at least in my student’s case—unruffled. He told me later he hadn’t felt afraid. “You had control of the situation,” he said.

He’d been watching me for cues. Because I didn’t seem frightened, he’d felt safe. Of course I was on edge, and for good reason. But I had a checklist to turn to and two people’s safety to look out for. There was no time for panic.

To most people, “fake it till you make it” means feigning competence until you’ve actually gained it. But overconfidence is almost never useful, especially in an emergency. Instead, confidence should equal ability. Pretending to know what you’re doing to fool your colleagues and employees into thinking you’ve got it under control won’t help you manage the problem. But if you do know what you’re doing, pretending you aren’t afraid can help see you it through with a steady hand.

3. YOU CAN ELIMINATE SOME SURPRISES AND PLAN AHEAD FOR OTHERS

I once took a two-day spin-training course with a well-known aerobatics instructor. The first time we stalled and spun his little Cessna 152, my stomach lurched. As the sky disappeared and farm fields rotated in the windshield, my brain went into chaos mode. But by the end of the course, I could calmly count the number of turns as we spun, and I’d even started to enjoy the ride.

I’m neither an especially calm person nor a thrill-seeker. But what helped me keep my cool as the altimeter spiraled down was the knowledge of what was coming. The instructor had prepared me for how we would enter the spin, what the instruments would read while we spun, and how we’d recover. After a few practice runs, I actually felt more curious than queasy.

It’s not that pilots are born preternaturally calm in the face of danger; it’s that we review emergency procedures so many times that they come to seem almost routine. Pilots don’t like surprises, but we learn to be ready for them.

Most of the time, flying isn’t nearly as exciting as people think. That’s why, during the routine, blue-sky moments when the engine thrums with health, a good pilot is busy planning what might happen within the next hundred miles or before reaching the destination—and imagining what she’d do, just in case something goes wrong.

Fade to calm …. 

Deliberate. Obsessive. Focused. A winning formula, you’ll ‘see’!

As I write this morning’s blog – I am wearing Warby Parker reading glasses.  eyeglasses red Warby ParkerWhen I put these glasses on (normally not a glasses wearer except when I will be at my computer for a long period) I feel like they are full of creativity and give me the energy to get going!  Sounds a little nuts, but I am wondering if these glasses are so empowering because their company is innovative and ‘focused’ too?

Fast Company just chose Warby Parker as the Most Innovative Company of 2015 – as a long time fan I want you to read about their “deliberate, obsessive focus on what it takes to win today”.

3041334-poster-p-1-most-innovative-companies-2015-warby-parkerHere is a direct link to the Fast Company article and I encourage you to read the entire article.  But until you have that opportunity, read below for excerpts that will give you a marketing point of view.

http://www.fastcompany.com/3041334/most-innovative-companies-2015/warby-parker-sees-the-future-of-retail

What looks effortless is actually labored; what looks off the cuff is deeply considered. Italians call this concept sprezzatura, and it’s the key to understanding what has made Blumenthal and Gilboa (in photo) so successful. (David Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal are Warby Parker’s cofounders. The two men, both 34, share the same title, co–CEO.

“Neil and Dave are more disciplined about brand than any other entrepreneurs I’ve ever invested in,” says Ben Lerer, a managing director of Lerer Hippeau Ventures, the New York venture-capital firm. Lerer compares the two men to hospitality savants like Standard founder André Balazs. “They sweat every detail and every touch point.”

All new hires are issued a copy of Jack Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums (a nod to the fact that Warby Parker’s name is an amalgamation of two early Kerouac characters) and, more important, a neatly bound “Style Guide” that includes suggestions about usage and grammar but also encourages everyone, when they communicate with customers, to “write like Warby Parker is the person you’d want to be next to you at a dinner party.”

“The Warby Parker voice is witty, intelligent, informative, playful, delightful. We are not trite, pretentious, sarcastic, long-winded,” she says. “Every time we create a piece of copy, every time we create something new for marketing—every time it’s either in our office or externally projected—we do it with these filters.”

This carefully cultivated persona is at least in part Blumenthal himself, who still reads (and rereads) every written word that his company puts out into the world. “This is five years in, a 400-person company, and the CEO is approving every marketing message the company puts out,” Lerer says with awe. “Every CEO does that in the early days. You do it with 10 people, and if you’re good you do it with 25 people. You don’t do that when you have 400 people. Neil still does it.”

Blumenthal and Gilboa conjure a perfect portrait of millennial insouciance—among the interview questions they always ask prospective job candidates is, “When was the last time you wore a costume?”—but they’re surprisingly hardheaded as managers. Every week, every Warby Parker employee must complete a “15Five” report explaining what they accomplished in the past week and what they plan to achieve in the following one. They must also rate their happiness and proffer an “innovation idea,” no matter how small. Twice a year, in addition to the typical semi-annual performance review, all Warby Parker employees must also rate the performance of his or her manager and of several coworkers on a 1-to-10 scale.

Did I mention that when they sell a pair of glasses, they donate another pair to someone in need?  Wow these glasses do have power, the power to make a difference too.

What Does Your Logo Color Say To Your Customer? Let’s Explore…YELLOW!

What color is the logo of the organization you represent?  Do you share qualities with other brands of the same color?

logo color 2015 YELLOW

Take a look at the companies that utilize yellow in their logo … this is the least readable color (unless against a black or very dark background) and must be used smartly.

McDonald’s has long known that red and yellow are colors that stimulate hunger, note how many others use yellow in their restaurant logo — Denny’s, Sonic, Subway among others.

According to Fast Company. “The implications of color’s effect on people’s emotions are far reaching, and understanding your customers’ connections to certain colors could increase the effectiveness of your company’s branding methods.

Research complied by web design and marketing company WebPageFX, people make a subconscious judgment about a product in less than 90 seconds of viewing, and a majority of these people base that assessment on color alone. In fact, almost 85% of consumers cite color as the primary reason they buy a particular product, and 80% of people believe color increases brand recognition.”

What can be learned here?  I’d love to hear what you think!

With thanks to Fast Company for this great article –infographic from WebPageFX, written by Rachel Gillett.

Sports Marketing – How It Impacts Tourism and Us

Last week I moderated a panel of some of the sharpest sports marketing minds in the business, what a blast.

The event was held in the beautifully redone Citrus Bowl in Orlando as it was being readied for the Florida State University (FSU) Spring Game.  This was the first time FSU had ever held this game off-campus, and was doing so because their own stadium was being renovated.  But guess what?  FSU only expected the usual 25,000 or so, and by yesterday they had already sold nearly 40,000 tickets.  Best of all the City of Orlando was a big winner too.

This was the perfect message to open the panel discussion yesterday, in front of a large crowd of tourism industry leaders and students from the Hospitality program at the University of Central Florida.

Titled:  What Is The Value of Destination-Specific Sports Marketing?  the panel explored not only the value, but the huge impact this kind of marketing is making in tourism dollars, and it’s growing.

Panelists included: (left to right:  Poole, Kelley, Robicheaux, Dowdy and Hogan)

IMG_2588IMG_2592 Citrus Bowl Apr 2016

 

 

Faron Kelley, ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World who gave us great insight into how sports is part of the overall mix to bring groups to Walt Disney World, especially in slow and shoulder periods.  Kelley said the Disney focus on customer experience is as relevant in sports as it is in the parks.

Courtney Robicheaux who is with the Orange County Convention Center said groups like the AAU and even Wrestlemania fill the convention center with energy and support the hotels, restaurants and other businesses in Orlando by assuring the Convention Center is fully maximized year around.

John Poole is with the Kissimmee Sports Commission and his area, in Osceola County is expanding the use of current sporting facilities, upgrading others and looking to build more.  John says his sports marketing efforts filled more than 40,000 hotel room nights last week – that is more than some small cities!

Megan Dowdy is the founder of The AutoNation Cure Bowl, held in the Citrus Bowl, this event gives Orlando’s Citrus Bowl the title of the only city with 3 annual bowl games.  Megan spoke of her journey as a young professional and a woman, maneuvering for this game in the business side of football.  The event supports finding a cure for cancer.  Megan says there is no better feeling than handing a check to a nonprofit working to find a cure.

Steve Hogan is the CEO of Florida Citrus Sports, the management company that produces the bowl games in Orlando, and other events including our annual parade.  John talked passionately about how his organization, and others, are giving back to the established neighborhoods around the Citrus Bowl to improve their levels of education, housing, safety and jobs.

Sports marketing is flying high and making a big difference for our communities and our lives.  Next time you travel to see your favorite team, know that a whole team of smart minds made your trip a pleasure and they hope you come back again soon!

 

 

 

What Does Your Logo Color Say To Your Customer? Let’s Explore…PURPLE!

 

What color is the logo of the organization you represent?  Do you share qualities with other brands of the same color?

My logo is purple with a copper accent – so in this multi-part blog – I’ll start with purple and over the next few months when a holiday or the season is tied to a color (think red for Valentine’s Day) … you’ll find information about other colors too.

Logo color 2015 purple

According to Fast Company,  “The implications of color’s effect on people’s emotions are far reaching, and understanding your customers’ connections to certain colors could increase the effectiveness of your company’s branding methods.

Research complied by web design and marketing company WebPageFX, people make a subconscious judgment about a product in less than 90 seconds of viewing, and a majority of these people base that assessment on color alone. In fact, almost 85% of consumers cite color as the primary reason they buy a particular product, and 80% of people believe color increases brand recognition.”

What can be learned here?  I’d love to hear what you think!

With thanks to Fast Company for this great article –infographic from WebPageFX, written by Rachel Gillett.

Would you like a free and cool looking very colorful calendar for 2016?

Click here: http://www.calendarpedia.com/download/2016-calendar-landscape-in-color.pdf.

Enjoy!

Digital Fatigue? Craving the promise of high-tech high-touch?

high tech high touch for 2016 blogSometimes it is just nice to NOT have to read a Tweet, keep up with Facebook posts or endlessly check in for new email.  Whew we all know those communication vehicles are not only relentless but the tip of the iceberg on our to-do list!

Digital fatigue?  Yep it’s rampant.  How are you feeling?

As grateful as we all are for the technology that allows us such widespread connections and speed of information – as human we also crave the human touch.

Retailers get it and are expanding their footprint to reach out and touch the consumer – or rather to have the consumer touch what’s being sold.

Furniture, home goods, lighting, plumbing, flooring and others in the home improvement category are “romancing” the consumer with sensual colors and inspirational room settings.  “Touch, turn and tinker” is what the head of a national kitchen retailer calls it.

tasting high touch example for blog 2016Smells are coming on strong too not just in bakeries where they have always known the power of the aroma of freshly baking bread, but fast food places are pumping out smells too – have you driven by a Burger King lately just before the lunch hour?  Or been in the Bloomingdale baby department where you would swear there is baby powder somewhere?

The store inside a store trend gives big box retailers, and malls for that matter, a smart way to “touch” a customer with something new and designed for interaction. A differentiated shopping experience is memorable and memorable impacts sales.

Are you offering your consumer a different way to experience your brand?  Try slowing down on the digital outreach and increasing the in-person interaction that leads to powerful, long term connections.  Consider tactile or sensory mailings or in-store promotions or cross branding or special events or anywhere your customer is, live and in-person!

John Naisbitt’s pre-internet prediction was that we were entering a world of high-tech high-touch and thank goodness that is coming true!

 

Money? Nature? Green M&M’s? What Does GREEN Say To Your Customer?

What color is the logo of the organization you represent?  Do you share qualities with other brands of the same color?logo color 2015 GREEN

This month’s color to explore is GREEN.  

Note that green denotes both nature and money – and is the color chosen by many new tech companies and petroleum conglomerates too.

In this multi-part blog – let’s take a look at this color of environmentalists as well as investment bankers and to denote fertility.

Did you know green was once the preferred color for wedding dresses?  

Over the next few months when a holiday or the season is tied to a color (think yellow for Spring flowers and sunshine).

 

According to Fast Company. “The implications of color’s effect on people’s emotions are far reaching, and understanding your customers’ connections to certain colors could increase the effectiveness of your company’s branding methods.

Research complied by web design and marketing company WebPageFX, people make a subconscious judgment about a product in less than 90 seconds of viewing, and a majority of these people base that assessment on color alone. In fact, almost 85% of consumers cite color as the primary reason they buy a particular product, and 80% of people believe color increases brand recognition.”

What can be learned here?  I’d love to hear what you think!

With thanks to Fast Company for this great article –infographic from WebPageFX, written by Rachel Gillett.

4 Things That Matter Most To Customers

What Really Drives Brand Loyalty?

Research Identifies Four Key Customer Experiences that Foster Long-Term Loyalty 

When it comes to shopping behavior, price is always a key motivator. However, to sustain a customer’s loyalty over the long term, retailers often find it valuable to focus on the customer experience, according to consumer financial services firm Synchrony Financial’s 2015 Customer Experience and Impact Study. Examining 27 elements of the shopping experience, Synchrony identified the top four experiences that are most valued by customers and translate into greater spend and loyalty for retailers.

4 big trendsMore than half of shoppers say they would pay a higher price for the customer experiences they value most, and 77% of shoppers would be more loyal to stores that provide their personal top three customer experiences. Of the 27 retail elements studied, four emerged as most valuable to consumers and indicate the importance of simplifying and easing the shopping experience. The top four elements include:

  • Pick your own sale items ranked highest in the survey, with 42% of customers finding this a valuable shopping feature.

  • Hassle-free returns was noted by 41% of respondents as important, with favorite benefits such as no time limit, no need for a receipt and free postage on returns.

  • No coupons needed to always get the sale price is key for 40% of participants who automatically want the lowest price without having to clip or find discounts.

  • Earn points to redeem for extra savings is ranked by 33% of shoppers as an important benefit and may lead them to spend more with the retailer when rewards are easy to accumulate and redeem.

“Retailers that build lasting loyalty know their customer’s preferences and integrate these elements into the shopping experience,” said Toni White, chief marketing officer at Synchrony Financial, in a news release. “This study reinforces the finding that purchase decisions are driven by positive, practical and personalized experiences, in addition to a compelling price/value equation.”

Retail Category Differences

In addition to the four elements that matter most to survey respondents, aspects that contribute to the “best in-store experience” as described by shoppers in each retail category include:

  • Apparel stores: 73% willshop more often as a result of helpful, attentive associates; clothes they like and a variety of merchandise; and good value and prices.
  • Department stores: 62% of shoppers will visit more if there are helpful, courteous associates; value, affordability and good sales; and clothes they like in their size.
  • Mass merchants: 57% of customers want a one-stop shopping experience and good discounts, deals and prices; the merchandise they want; and to make one trip with products that are easy to find.

Shopper Segment Preferences

Certain experiences matter more than others to different shopper segments. The vast majority of millennials (89%) indicate they would be more loyal to retailers offering the benefits they want most. Millennials (69%) and Gen Xers (55%) are also more likely to pay more for the experiences they value.

A study sponsored by Synchrony in May 2015 gathered shopper input on the most and least important elements of their experience, as well as factors that influence purchase decisions and loyalty. The study focused on apparel, department store and mass merchant retailers. Study participants included more than 1,000 consumers nationwide who make household financial decisions, have a credit card, and shopped at one of 35 retailers in the past 12 months.

– from PR Biz Update September 21, 2015  with thanks!

 

Want A Strong Reaction? Hungry Customers? Use RED In Your Logo and Marketing Materials!

What color is the logo of the organization you represent?  Do you share qualities with other brands of the same color?

This month’s color to explore is RED.  

The color dominating the logos of some of the most powerful corporations in the world.  So in this multi-part blog – let’s take a look at this color of love.  Over the next few months when a holiday or the season is tied to a color (think green for St. Paddy’s Day) … I’ll be posting information about other colors too.

logo colors 2015 REDAccording to Fast Company. “The implications of color’s effect on people’s emotions are far reaching, and understanding your customers’ connections to certain colors could increase the effectiveness of your company’s branding methods.

Research complied by web design and marketing company WebPageFX, people make a subconscious judgment about a product in less than 90 seconds of viewing, and a majority of these people base that assessment on color alone. In fact, almost 85% of consumers cite color as the primary reason they buy a particular product, and 80% of people believe color increases brand recognition.”

What can be learned here?  I’d love to hear what you think!

With thanks to Fast Company for this great article –infographic from WebPageFX, written by Rachel Gillett.