Ice Bucket Challenge

I know…everyone’s doing it and I’m pretty sure the challenge is on its way to fizzling out.  I saw all the videos creep up on my facebook feed and probably only watched one during the two week stint…until I was challenged.  I wasn’t thrilled about the prospect, but when you’re challenged, you have to perform.  So I did.  I also looked online for an ALS charity that I wanted to support.  In my search, I came across a very interesting, and I think true, posting about the fact that a lot of other charities are potentially losing funds because the majority of recent donations are going to ALS.

I won’t bore you and paraphrase the posting, but I do think it is a good read so I encourage you to read “The Cold, hard truth about the ice bucket challenge.”

I ended up donating to the ALS family charity as well as Boston Children’s Hospital.

#icebucketchallenge donations made to alsfamily.org and boston children's hospital

I’ll see you all after Labor Day.  Momma is goin on vacation!

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Public Relations – What to Expect

I try to be knowledgeable enough in all marketing aspects so I that I can at least speak knowledgeably about the things I’m managing, but also so I can’t be bamboozled.  I’ve recently taken up looking into what kinds of expectations should be set when it comes to, among other things, PR.  I know the basics, or at least what I’ve been exposed to.  I also know that there is a lot more that can be done, if money is no object.

But I did come across a very interesting read that I want to share with all of you, if you’re interested, that goes over some of the basics of a good PR program and should allow you to either be impressed with what you’re current agency might be doing for you, or force you to ask some uncomfortable questions.

In either scenario, someone should always be wondering “what else can be done?” or “what can we do better?”  As to who should be asking those questions, you or the PR agency…I’ll let you decide.

Without further ado: here are the Straight Facts about Public Relations Fees, Service.

“We recommend and use what we call an intermedia mix because regardless of whether you’re using advertising, public relations or marketing/sales support, you’re communicating. And all of your communication has one ultimate objective…to sell something (the company, a product or service) to someone…

Too often public relations activities are thought of in terms of news releases and product announcements. Both of these activities are important to the company’s programs but are relatively minor in terms of the overall efforts and plans.

Public relations and publicity go far beyond the simple news release. If public relations activities are carried out efficiently and effectively for the company there can be some dramatic results.”

So there you have it.  But, don’t just rely on one source for your information.  Here are a couple others:

How Much Does Public Relations Cost? – by Axia Public Relations

What does a Public Relations Agency Do? – by Forbes

Lastly, an article about PR measurement:

Does PR Work? 7 Ways to Measure Its Impact

Setting a Marketing Strategy

Step 1: Visualize where you want to be, and what you want to achieve – more leads, more web traffic, more eyes on the brand

Step 2: Identify the steps you need to take to get there – SEO, PPC, PR, advertising, new collateral, tradeshows

It’s really that simple.  But if it was that simple, marketing professionals wouldn’t constantly be desperately trying to explain why marketing is worth it and why more can’t always be done with less.

 

Back in 2013 Greg Satell wrote an online article for Forbes that talked about the 4 key principles of marketing strategy.  He noted that marketers  are constantly trying to pull customers in.  It’s no longer a features & benefits story line, and who ever has the best features wins.  These days, with all of the information at everyone’s finger tips, it’s about who has the most bang to pull in the customer and make them believe that YOUR brand is the one that will fill their void.  But you have to start somewhere, and that somewhere is point number 1 below…

Here are Greg’s tips:
1. Clarify Business Objectives – the mark of a good marketing strategy is not how many gadgets and neologisms are crammed into it, but how effectively it achieves worthy goals. Therefore, how you define your intent will have a profound impact on whether you succeed or fail.

2. Use Innovation Teams to Identify, Evaluate and Activate Emerging Opportunities – it is essential to have a team dedicated to identifying emerging opportunities, meeting with start-ups and running test-and-learn programs to evaluate their true potential. That would certainly be a nice to have…

3. Decouple Strategy and Innovation –  Strategy is fundamentally different from innovation.  As noted above, a good strategy is one that achieves specific objectives.  Innovation, however, focuses on creating something completely new and new things, unfortunately, tend to not work as well as standard solutions (at least at first).

4. Build Open Assets in the Market Place – Successful brands are becoming platforms and need to do more than just drive consumers to a purchase, they have to inspire them to participate.  That means marketers have to think less in terms of USP’s, and GRP’s and more in terms of API’s and SDK’s.

So what do you think?  Is this do-able?  Of course it always comes down to bandwidth and the general situation within your marketing department and the tasks at hand.

My personal hope for 2015 is to have fewer large projects and tasks and make sure to hit the 5-10 heavy hitters for the entire year.  That…and partnering with strategic and forward thinking partners.

P.S. For some more recent news – read about how United’s new safety video is helping turn a page in airline marketing strategy.

Please Endorse Me

A friend recently posted the following on her Facebook page: “Do me a favor? Go to LinkedIn and endorse me for LinkedIn and Website Development under the skills section.  I need to get those higher in my list.  THANK YOU!!”

I thought that this was a very clever way to ask people, politely, to help some key skills float to the top.  I take every endorsement as a major kudos, but if people haven’t worked with you in a while want to endorse you, they’ll know what areas you’ve worked in recently and would like to be known as an expert in. What are your thoughts on the matter?

And to steal her idea, and if you’re feeling generous, I’d love more stars next to Brand Management, Marketing Management and Brand Marketing.  Or if you just want to know more about my background, check out my LinkedIn profile.  I always try to keep it as up to date as possible but I’d love your feedback on what you like or don’t like.

Thank you all as always, for checking out my blog!

Fundraising Ideas – Memorial Park Edition

This past weekend our little family headed to Memorial Park to watch my husband play tennis & to get our 1-year-old to run around the fields & play in the park.  Upon approaching the playground I noticed that there was a new sign I hadn’t noticed before, but, I didn’t have a chance to look at it as Markus was high tailing it away from me.  Luckily, another family of two kids and a dad came by and I got to chatting with the dad who informed me that there was a group trying to raise funds to update & upgrade the lovely playground we were playing on.  Turns out, that is what the sign was all about.

Long story…long, I got to thinking that this could be my attempt at getting involved in the community.  I’m currently trying to join a fundraising team, and or start one on my own.  But first, I can’t get my head from spinning from all the ideas I have for how to maybe raise funds.

Here are just a handful of ideas:

  • Put together a road race –> Apparently the smart moms who started the group are all over that one already! :)
  • Car Wash –>Have it be free, that way people are more likely to donate
  • Instead of just asking for money, break the park in to separate pieces & ask people to buy a swing, or a slide, or some other contraption.  That way they have invested in something specific, and feel like they’ve really helped
  • End of summer/beginning of summer bbq at the location –>burgers & dogs aren’t expensive.  If you’re worried about the cooking factor, go to BJ’s and buy cookies & ready made stuff & charge $5 for food & a water bottle.  This way you can put signs next to the aging playground features talking about how they’ll be improved
  • Morning Get Together –> get coffee/donuts/bagels/bananas at Dunkin Donuts or BJ’s/Costco & advertise around town that there will be a kids & parents breakfast outdoors at the playground.  The charge can be minimal of $1 for coffee & $2 for coffee & something to eat.  You’ll make back your money, make a profit, get people to come out, meet other parents in town and see what you’re fundraising for.

Lastly, if you’re feeling extra generous, please check out the Memorial Park website & donate.  Or, if you live in Mansfield, MA and you want to be part of my team, please write me a note.

B2B vs. B2C, is there really a “versus?”

I currently work in a B2B industrial environment which is a tough market to market for.  Granted, our products sell in to more than just the industrial manufacturing space which does allow for a bit more flair when it comes to some of our outreach.  The tough part has always been to break through the B2B mold & make people realize that at the end of the day, a building does not buy products, actual people buy products.

When I was managing all of our social media platforms, it was very hard to not get down on myself that we didn’t have a whole heck of a lot of interaction from our fans.  It did occur to me that although Facebook & Twitter were good brand building machines, where we needed to be was LinkedIn.  With the help of our PR agency, we created three separate LinkedIn groups that allowed our top thought leaders to talk about their knowledge on various markets.  They were talking to people…not buildings.

This thought that B2B is just a disguised B2C “person” was further confirmed when I read an article in AdAge magazine that talked about the fact that the lines have become so blurred that even the biggest B2C advertising magazine thought it worth while to buy up the biggest B2B magazine.

“The move reflects the growing overlap between b-to-b and consumer strategies as both grow more focused on targeting and engaging specific customer groups…While exceptions abound, the stereotype was always that b-to-b marketing was boring. B-to-b companies did little TV advertising and spent most of their media dollars on trade publications. You had industrial companies selling boring products to other boring companies. All that anyone cared about was price and product features.

Times change. The b-to-b sector accounts for over 50% of the U.S. gross domestic product. As a category, b-to-b makes a huge contribution to the economy, job creation and innovation. Now marketers are just as likely to engage with business customers on personal channels like Facebook and blogs as we are to engage with them in trade publications.”

Here is one more article about bringing B2B marketers in to the social media world. “It would be easy for smaller to midsize B2B companies to ignore the success of the GEs and IBMs, since the pockets are deeper. But the fundamentals are the same — and the new channels to communicate are far more cost-effective today than ever before. To those B2B marketers who say social media isn’t relevant to them, how do you explain the thousands of “likes” for IBM’s Smarter Planet? It’s a matter of incorporating a variety of media into a marketing mix, understanding that people who buy toothpaste also buy industrial engines or technology solutions.”

What do you think? Is B2B merely a front to hide behind?  I’d like to take a deep sleep, pretend like there are no rules, and start fresh with a new mentality of P&S2P, products & services to people, or business to consumer.

Fashion & the Interview

I’ve shared my ideas and photos of what to wear to an interview, and have also written about the kind of nail polish  (look at the related post below), or accessory, to wear to an interview.  Here’s a rather lengthy list of do’s and dont’s.

I like that the article ends with some general tips for how to present yourself as a “go getter.”

MISTAKES:

1. Not having anything with you to take notes with. Not having copies of your resume.
2. Talking or texting on your way into the interview area — or worse yet, taking a call during the interview.
3. Wearing a hat or sunglasses in the building for your meeting.

What are your thoughts?

 

Get Ready for Your Interview

I recently saw a great synopsis of some tips for a great interview.

1. Research the company

Make sure you know as much as possible about the company before you go into any interview. Start with the company’s website and read their mission statement, goals, and values and think about how those apply to the position you’re applying for.

2. Research the job

Once you’ve got the interview, make absolutely sure you know everything you can about the position and what the job is all about.

3. Prepare answers that highlight your skills and experience

This question can have many forms, but being able to demonstrate with your answers and anecdotes that you understand the key skills, expertise and experience required for the job and that you possess them will go a very long way to a winning interview.

4. Prepare answers that show your enthusiasm and interest

Often, when recruiters are faced with choosing between equally qualified candidates, the candidate who exhibited the most enthusiasm and interest in the job will win out.

5. Prepare answers that show how you will fit in with the company culture

Because you did your research in step 1, you will understand something about the company culture and be able to demonstrate how you will fit in.

6. Plan your journey so you arrive stress free and on time

The stress of unexpected traffic, getting lost, and other delays can derail an otherwise promising interview, so take steps to ensure that you don’t have to stress.

Make sure to click above to read the full story!

Have a great, safe, and happy 4th of July!!!

Brand Refresh & Guidelines

I just wanted to share some quick things to keep in mind when you are planning a brand refresh/update.

Start with a Brand Analysis/Evaluation to understand where your brand stands in the eyes of your customers & distributors.  From there, you can go in to the Brand Refresh.  There are many things to keep in mind as your go through this whole process, such as:

  • Specific markets you sell in to
  • Different kinds of customers and their buying persona’s
  • Buying times and how long the buying process takes
  • What your product says about your brand!

Let’s dive in…here are some of the things you want to consider covering with your new brand guidelines.

Brand Evolution

  • Defining who we are
  • How we differentiate our brand(s)
  • Brand consistency in messages and graphics
  • Developing brand character with a clear voice

Brand Elements

  • Logos
  • Logo Placement & Positioning
  • Brand Colors
  • Correct & incorrect logo usage
  • Taglines
  • Correct & incorrect usage of imagery to depict products & solutions

Business Communication

  • Letterhead
  • Business Cards
  • Envelopes
  • Email Signatures
  • PowerPoint Presentations

Design Applications

  • Brochures & Catalogs
  • Flyers & Sales Sheets

Product Communication

  • Text Standards
  • Capitalization/Numbers/Bullets/Hyphens/Measurements/Abbreviations/Symbols/Captions/Descriptions

Visual Design Guidelines

  • Industrial Design Attributes
  • Product Badges
  • Color Specification

Future Brand Updates

  • Tradeshow Applications
  • Shirt Applications

Here are some samples of how some familiar brand logos have changed through the years.

 

Oh, and happy birthday to me :)