Website Management Responsibilities

Should large companies with dozens of departments, divisions or units allow employees within those separate entities to be in charge of their own sections of the corporate internet or intranet? It’s actually one of the tougher questions, only because there are legitimate pros and cons on both sides of the issue.

Pro: No one knows a department as well as the people who live inside that department.

Pro: Departmental employees know better than anyone else when important changes need to be made to their particular web page.

Pro: If a department has a certain ‘personality’ that makes it special and different, who better to communicate that than the people who give it that personality?

Con: Not every department, division or unit has a writer skilled enough to write appropriate web copy. Every page of every corporate site must be concise, effective and error-free.

Con: Departmental employees may just be too busy to take the time necessary to make web page changes and modifications. That’s not in their job descriptions—and they may even come to resent the responsibility.

Con: Just because a department has a personality, it doesn’t mean that personality should be part of the corporate site. There is often much more value in a corporate site having a singular, professional voice.

Of course, many large companies have a professional copywriter on board who is skilled at maximizing every department’s web page while maintaining cohesion on the overall corporate site. Other companies hire a full-service marketing communications firm that has expert writers, designers and project managers on staff to do it for them. After all, the larger the company, the more pros and cons need to be weighed.

Effective Website Management

Almost every company has a website today. In fact, if a company doesn’t have a website, many potential customers wonder why it is so behind the times and may even consider passing them up in favor of a more contemporary firm—one that realizes we’re living in the Twenty-First century.

And then, of course, there are those companies that have a website simply because they have to have a website—but do very little to maintain or update it. Okay, so they’re in the Twenty-First Century—but wish they weren’t. As much as they may like to, they can’t have it both ways.

Sometimes the problem is that these leaders don’t know the first thing about websites and don’t want to spend the funds necessary to have someone on staff who does. Other times it’s because they haven’t taken the time to read up on the value of effective website marketing.

What company leaders need to realize is that this new century is populated by many marketing communications firms that know exactly what to do when a website isn’t doing its job. And you know what? That way, these same leaders can have it both ways.

When do you know you need a new website or need to completely update the one you’ve got?

  • When you can’t remember the last time anyone worked on it.
  • When you look at it and realize that it no longer accurately reflects your brand.
  • When you check with your customers and discover that your site long ago stopped being useful to them.
  • When no one knows it exists!

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to complimentary consultation on your marketing, public relations, partnership, special events, and social media needs kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

Social Media Management

Based on what’s going on out there, many companies are deciding to use social media to promote their businesses. They take a giant leap to get a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms—and then, inexplicably, forget about it. They don’t take the time to add new posts and news to their pages. Many experts say that it’s better to have no social media business page at all if you’re going to end up having one that’s essentially empty.

If you’re going to make the move to social media marketing, before you start:

  • Discuss with your team whether or not you’ll have enough content and ideas to update it at least every few days.
  • Study some of the business sites out there analogous to yours and see what attracts the most attention (likes, comments, etc.)
  • Determine who in your organization can adequately devote several hours a week to the effort, or, in lieu of that, commit to hiring a social media expert or marketing firm to do it for you.
  • Don’t let up. Keep it going. It’s still a relatively new marketing method with a lot of unknowns—but what is known is that inactivity leads to disinterest.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to complimentary consultation on your marketing, public relations, partnership, special events, and social media needs kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

 

Image Marketing Shares Their Blogging Tips

Our blog is always about image marketing and marketing communications — not necessarily about blogs themselves. But since many companies now use blogs as part of their marketing efforts (like we do), a blog about blogs isn’t totally out of the question.

Many blogs aren’t nearly as successful as they should be for one of three reasons—and often all three at the same time.

  • They’re too wordy
  • They’re not well written
  • They’re unfocused (or have more than one focus)

Pick one topic to write about. Stick to it. Get to the point right away. State your objective or share your observations in as few words as possible.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have an aside or two or stick in a quip or two. But remember that most people are stressed to the max and have little time or patience for too many asides or quips that don’t help them in one way or another right off the bat.

Speaking of ‘right off the bat,’ avoid clichés whenever possible. Of course, clichés become clichés because they are expressive and meaningful. So go ahead and use a few if you’d like. Just don’t use so many in one blog that it seems like they’re raining down like cats and dogs.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to complimentary consultation on your marketing, public relations, partnership, special events, and social media needs kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

The Importance of Effective Writing

The Importance of Effective Writing

The promotional merit of good, effective writing should never be underestimated. Whatever is written on behalf of products, services and projects can end up as archival material that represents a company for years to come. That includes websites, brochures, e-newsletters, advertorials, even letters, memos and emails. In today’s digital world, anything can show up anywhere and last almost forever. If a prospective customer sees something that’s terribly written, it doesn’t help when you say, “Oh, we were so busy that day that we had to ask someone in Accounting to write it.”

Rambling, boring, ostentations or grammatically challenged writing can easily come back to haunt businesses. Good writing from the start pays off. Here are some tips:

  • Reread everything several times before deeming it final—at least once for the sole purpose of eliminating as many words as possible.
  • Simple words and phrases are always better than those that try to impress.
  • Know your audience. Realize they are as stressed as you and will find it easy to dismiss what they read if it doesn’t grab them right away.
  • Seek out people in the company with a proven facility for good writing. They may appreciate being asked to help (part of your employee recognition efforts). Consider compensating them for their efforts.
  • Hire a professional. There are plenty of marketing communications firms that, at cost-effective pricing, can make the difference between writing that works and writing that can hurt.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to complimentary consultation on your marketing, public relations, partnership, special events, and social media needs kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

Seek Experts to Fill Difficult Positions – Image Marketing Consultants Explains

In some ways one of the most difficult corporate positions to fill is that of the head of corporate communications. Why? Because at those firms that also do public relations and employee communications in house, the person who runs that department has to wear several hats. He or she must know what makes products and services attractive to consumers; what makes great marketing copy; where to look for opportunities in social responsibility and social media; how to promote internal initiatives (like employee recognition programs) and much more.

But few people have a big enough head for all those hats.  Many companies, therefore, have to choose an executive with just one or two strengths and require that they appreciate the others and delegate them appropriately.

In fact, some communications executives all but admit that they don’t know how to write, or that they are terrible public speakers, or that that don’t know the first thing about social media. Certainly not everyone can know everything, but it’s disconcerting when a corporate communications director doesn’t know how to communicate.

That’s why experts are important—whether inside the company or from an outside marketing communications firm. You wouldn’t want a model airplane kit that’s missing a few parts, would you? For a business to succeed internally and externally, having just a few communications skills just won’t do. You need them all for effective marketing to fly.

 

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to complimentary consultation on your marketing, public relations, partnership, special events, and social media needs kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

Hyundai – Image Marketing Consultants Explains How To Prevent Branding Mistakes

Hyundai – Image Marketing Consultants Explains How To Prevent Branding Mistakes

The powers-that-be at Hyundai assumed they had a homerun in their provocative commercial in the UK.  As the media have reported, it depicted a man, despair etched on his face, who has an abortive suicide attempt locking himself in the gargage and turning on the car.  That’s because the Hyundai technology has an advanced feature that won’t allow it.  The commercial pans with the man flipping on the gargage lights and walking sadly back to the house.

Long story short, the commercial triggered a global backlash to Brand Hyundai.  It will take a while before the company will regain the momentum it has gained in climbing out the discount-car hole to standing toe-to-toe with players like Ford and GM.

The issue here is how you can avoid such brand mistakes.  Here are 3 recommendations from Image Marketing Consultants.

Consider line between provocative and good taste.  Humor site THE ONION can violate good taste and get away with it.  But its core business is humor.  Hyundai’s core business has a lot to do with human safety and satisfaction.

Take into account national/global mood. These have been times of despair in many developed countries.  For example, people have been leaping from their property in Spain when the bank forecloses.

Err on side of caution.  Niche brands and startups can take on more risk than established brands like Hyundai.  WIth creativity you can stay within the lines.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation for your marketing, public relations, partnerships, social media, and special events needs kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com

Brand Rehab: 3 Tips from Image Marketing Consultants

Just like people, brands get lost and have to spend some time in “rehab.”  Both, fortunately, are resilient and can bounce back from whatever.  Image Marketing Consultants has 3 tips for restoring your brand.

Admit the problem.  JC Penney had to first recognize, in public, that its turnaround strategy under Ron Johnson wasn’t panning out.  That gave the signal to all key constituencies from security analysts to shoppers that they could now expect something different.  The brand was, in a sense, saying: Give us a second chance.

Provide incentive for returning.  The business media have hammered Carnival Cruise Lines as a troubled brand. It has had some severe operational problems.  However, strong brands like Carnival have been bouncing back since Procter & Gamble invented the concept of brand management in the 1930s.  With the right incentives people will be willing to return, if only to take another look.  One incentive could be provided through contests which offer free cruises for two in exchange for the best ideas on how to improve the cruise experience.  Another could be steep discounts on popular cruise distinations.

Try humor. Now that The Great Recession is over and good weather is here, people are ready to laugh again. Humor, especially directed at your own brand’s stumbles, could shift attention from the past to the future.  That might lead to forgiveness.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to complimentary consultation on your marketing, public relations, partnership, special events, and social media needs kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

Social Entrepreneurs: Image Marketing Consultants Talks About Doing Good To Do Well

More businesses may be writing into their mission statement how they plan to change the world.  This is becoming the era of the social entrepreneur.

Doing good to do well has become so recognized as a winning approach that THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE featured the thinking of Wharton professor Adam Grant on how giving gets you ahead. The incentive is clearly there for you to frame your vision in terms of making the world a little bit better place.  The new missionary forces are business people who leverage their know-how to do good.

One way to become a social entrepreneur is to create a program for hiring youth this summer.  Likely they are not looking for the money as much as for the experience.  So, you don’t have to pay them a king’s ransom, only pay attention that they are learning.  You might be their first mentor for the world of work.

Another way is to partner with a non-profit with a niche mission related to your business.  Maybe that non-profit provides pro bono coaching in financial literacy and you are a financial-planning group.  You can donate the time of a few of your planners.

A third way is to invent an app for the smartphone which empowers Everyman and Everywoman to accomplish something in their lives which they couldn’t.  An example would be how to resist overeating.

Doing good means investing in hope for the human race.  That resonates after the tragedies of Newtown, Connecticut and the Boston Marathon.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation for your marketing, public relations, partnership, special events, and social media needs kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 202-404-4868.

Niche Marketing – Image Marketing Consultants Explains How To Hedge

There are trends and there are fads.  In your business you have to hedge your bets that your popular product or service will turn out to be a mere fad, like $4.50 gourmet cupcakes, and not a trend like nonfat milk.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL reports that the bubble has burst on cupcakes, with Crumbs Bake Shop stock sinking from $13 per share to about $1.70.  Not only is the Crumbs chain but also bakeries across the nation are experiencing significantly depressed demand.

That’s why Image Marketing Consultants warns about the risks involved in niche marketing.  Sure, specializing in a one product or service has been profitable and a tactic to establish a strong brand identity.  However, given the rapid changes in the marketplace, especially consumer preferences, businesses shouldn’t bet the ranch.  They can introduce complimentary products and services, as has PepsiCo.  They can also, under another brand, diversify, keeping the brands separate, as has News Corp.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation for your marketing, public relations, partnership, special events, and social media needs kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.