Your Customers Want Good News, Explains Image Marketing Consultants

Even though here along the Northeast Corridor the weather for Easter probably will be chilly, those we at Image Marketing Consultants talk with plan to do something special outdoors.  Yes, it has been a harsh fall and winter, Sandy followed by Nemo.

Your customers or, if you are a professional services firm, your clients want a fresh start.  This is an opportunity for you to resonate with them emotionally by highlighting messaging, providing promotions, and sponsoring special events that assure them that the world is a good place to be and full of joy and opportunity.

The most simple way to do that, of course, is through your decorations.  The impact of that could be profound if you invite the community to participate through volunteer work for fundraising or a contest.  For example, a bakery in Central Connecticut can donate its window for those in the neighborhood to showcase their renditions of renewal and those enjoying the display can make contributions to the United Way.

More complex is to design promotions which help clients not only save on their fee with you but also improve their business operations.  For example, the graphics firm will not only create a logo with a spring discount but also give a complimentary tutorial on the most effective designs for communicating your unique branding.

This season also aligns with your passing on your own good news.  Send out a press release on how much your boutique has grown since the recession ended or the 10 new products you have launched.  Create a video of a walk-through of your facility, explaining what the equipment does.  Then you can place that in your Media Center on your website, Facebook, and as a link on your blog and Twitter account.

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.

 

Leaning In, Not Leaning In – Leverage Topical in Your PR, Hammers Image Marketing Consultants

Public relations, at least the successful kind, operates by brainstorming for the angle which is likely to get attention and then experimenting with tactics to communicate that message.  Now that search engine optimization (SEO) is so important, the angle which has the most potential is the one which leverages what’s topical.  That includes using the names and issues associated with it as keywords, for SEO purposes.

An example of that is how much public relations outreach piggybacks on Sheryl Sandberg’s message about leaning in.  Here is a video of a panel discussion by TechCrunch female employees associated with the guilt which often accompanies “having it all.”

After you frame your message with these Leaning In keywords, the next step is to create a compelling narrative with text and graphics.  For example, if your business is women’s fashion, then you show how your for-the-office attire gives professional women the look and confidence edge.

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

Special Events – Make Yours Interactive, Hammers Image Marketing Consultants

Thanks to social media, be it Facebook or Google+, people around the world are used to being interactive.  Therefore, when they come to your special event, it’s not wise to have them just sitting there.  Instead, provide opportunities to involve them in ways that communicate the messages embedded in this special event.

Logistics firm William B. Meyer needed to develop its value statement with employees so it requested Image Marketing Consultants set up a special event for brainstorming and sharing ideas.  Image Marketing Consultants had those attending on their feet, as SPECIAL MEETINGS reports, preparing desserts which symbolized values like creativity or integrity.  That experience, especially the team work, made concrete the messages William B. Meyer needed employees to embody.

Another example of an interactive special event took place at the New Haven Zen Center on March 16th in its “Introduction to Zen” all-day retreat.  The afternoon schedule had those attending divided into work crews.  One team polished the wood in that Victorian building.  Another cleaned the windows.  One did yard work.  And another cleaned up after the shared meal, served monastic-style.  The objective was reinforcing the zen principle of seamless living, not separating oneself from the direct experience of being in the now.

People learn by doing and they bond, both with each other and the organization, in the process.

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

Social Media – Call To Action a Must-Do, Hammers Image Marketing Consultants

Social media is a powerful commercial tool for marketing, advocacy, fundraising, sponsoring special events,  and selling.  However, too often it doesn’t generate the expected outcomes.

One major reason is that the content, be it the landing page on the website or the text on a video for YouTube, has no call to action. You present your message but you do not follow that with what the audience should do next.  That’s why even the most well-done content in social media isn’t converting to results.

That call of action could be to click or pick up the phone for a complimentary consultation.  It could be to place an order for gold-plated earrings for which there is free shipping.  It could be to scroll through the contact information to find your government representatives and then create your own email to tell them how you feel about a certain piece of legislation.  It could be to donate $10 to the victims of a natural disaster.

When you don’t have a clear call to action, you leave your target markets hanging.  They have no direction as to what to do next.  And you have wasted this opportunity.

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.

“Passion” – Image Marketing Consultants Urges Caution about Using Term

“Passion.”  That’s exactly what a growing number of young women and men have for animals.

Therefore, as THE NEW YORK TIMES reports, they work very hard to prepare for veterinary school, which is difficult to get into.  Those who are admitted take on six-figure student loan debt.  At the end of three years not many are the lucky ones to be hired for the few jobs out there.  And, most of those few jobs hardly pay enough to justify the loan debt.

Professional tragedies like that one as well as those happening among the passionate in journalism and law schools have more and more people considering what “passion” means.  Could it simply denote love of something and that’s about all?  Passion doesn’t necessarily translate into professional career success.

More importantly, what does “passion” indicate about the professional?  Would you dare have your wedding dress produced by someone who ad reads “Passionate About Your Special Day” or the one whose ad reads “Produced 200 wedding dresses for Brides Whose Testimonials Are Framed In Our Shop?”

In short, what message are you sending when you use the term “passion?”  Not a clear one. Therefore, businesses and nonprofits might rethink leveraging “passion” in marketing communications and public relations.  In addition to not really meaning much as a message about your product or service, it is overused.

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

The Sharing Economy – It’s a Mindset, Explains Image Marketing Consultants

Technology has made The Sharing Economy Possible.  For example, smartphones facilitate finding out about a room to rent for two nights in an apartment in Stamford, Connecticut.  However, at its core and where businesses can profit and nonprofits can enhance their brandnames and fundraising, The Sharing Economy is a mindset.

In its cover story on The Sharing Economy, THE ECONOMIST  (subscription required) hammers that this way of conducting transactions gives access to just about everything to just about everyone.  On a commercial level, Zipcar brought that maintream in college towns.  Students had access to cars to run errands or take day trips without the resources or responsibility of owning a car.  More recently Airbnb gives tourists access to great lodging at a much cheaper rate than traditional hotels do.

How can you leverage the sharing mindset to generate better outcomes for your enterprise or nonprofit? Here are three tips:

Collaborate. You have down cold how students get admitted to elite educational institutions.  The neighbor’s public relations firm has the resources to prepare the application materials and coach the interview process.  Put that together and you both can be more successful, without having to “own” any additional lines of business.  The additional payoff is the partnership can expand the brand identities of both.

Be more opportunistic than strategic.  You might not have planned to lease the back of your hair salon to the psychic whose space flooded.  But you do.  Soon enough you’re passing on customers to each other.  The local paper covers this match.  Eventually, you both need more square footage.

Parachute in and help.  Networks often are built on the pooling of different assets.  At the top of the list are information, skills, and contacts.  The new solo lawyer can’t attract clients.  You tutor her on how to market, re-do her website for organic search (SEO), and bring in your friend who was busted for a DUI as her first case.  As her practice flourishes, she refers business to you and others on your network.

How much you can gain and give through The Sharing Economy depends on how much of a shift you can make from the status quo to out of the box ways of approaching individual and organizational success.

Kate Sirignano invites you to a complimentary consultation for your “Sharing Economy” inititiaves, partnerships, marketing, public relations, special events, and social media.  Please contact kate@imagemarkingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

Businesses Have to Place Smaller Bets, Hammers Image Marketing Consultants

 “How could we have ‘bet the ranch’ on a marketing campaign we didn’t test enough?”

That kind of regret is typical of businesspeople who find that they have made a major mistake.  They are shocked that it happened.  Their confidence has taken a hit.  And they want some bulletproof guidance on how they can avoid such errors in the future.

The reality is that businesses always made mistakes, sometimes big ones like when Coca-Cola introduced “New Coke” and Ford manufacturerd the Edsel.  What is different now is that businesses have less of a margin for error so the resources that mistake consumed are highly visible on the balance sheet.  Also, competition is more fierce, eager to take advantage of a stumble.  In addition, there is the fear of not being able to bounce back.

Because of the severe consequences of mistakes for businesses, hands-on managment experts such as Reid Hoffman, cofounder of social network for professionals LinkedIn, recommend placing small bets, not investing too much in any one initiative.  In his new book “The Start-up of You,” Hoffman confirms the uncertainty of the marketplace of the 21st century.  There are more unknowns than knowns out there. Businesses, at best, are handed lots of pieces of the puzzle.  It will take time, a lot of false starts, and a lot of course correction to put the pieces together.  Therefore, it is downright reckless to assume that any one venture will pan out.

Smart businesspeople, shows Hoffman, currently test out their hunches in launching a new company, determining pricing, configuring marketing approaches, and training the sales force in relatively small steps.  Frequently, they simultaneously have several of those small initiatives, for example in marketing, going at once.  They will select the ones which work and toss the rest.  The expense can be peanuts.

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

Marissa Mayer’s on the Money about Power of Being Eyeball to Eyeball, Explains Image Marketing Consultants

Marissa Mayer, Chief Executive Officer at Yahoo, has created a global controversy by her ban on telecommuting.  She contends that innovation mandates people collaborate in person, eyeball to eyeball, not via digital devices.  Research backs up that, yes, working alone in one’s home office does boost productivity but it is a constraint on the bubbling up of new ideas.  We at Image Marketing Consultants agree in the power of human beings joining together in person. One of our special areas of expertise is special events.

What we find, special event after special event, is that human beings need to get together, in the flesh, where they can interact with each other, cell by cell.  The power of that kind of interaction has been confirmed by researchers in the field of mirror neurons.  We influence each other directly.  The professional who’s a type of Idea Factory will set in play the creative thinking of all the others there.  The professional who’s known as The Implementer will start the ball rolling on how to test out the ideas.  The professional who’s The Connector will get members of the group to sign up for tasks.

Mayer’s decree will continue to be controversial.  But there’s no question that there is a surge in demand of people finding ways to get together.  Here at Image Marketing Consultants we are receiving increasing requests to plan and oversee special events.

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

Your Narratives May Be Holding You Back, Warns Image Marketing Consultants

There was a business which positioned itself as the best friend of the frugal.  Its mission statement described how it pulled out all stops to supply the budget-conscious with the best quality at the best price.  The enterprise did well.

Then a relative who had studied design introduced into the chain upscale merchandise ranging from Coach-like pocketbooks to hand-crafted earrings.  Those sold like hotcakes at premium prices.  Yet, the business considered stopping the line because it conflicted with the mission statement.  In short, what the business said about itself or its narrative was getting in the way of more revenue and profit, with not a lot of heavy lifting.

As the economy keeps changing and organizations find themselves with new challenges and opportunities, their narratives can be holding them back.  They might have adopted a risk-averse stance, for example, in hard times.  Now that times are better for them those narratives about staying the course are constraints on growth.  A bakery whose story is about total indulgence is hesitating in introducing heathy desserts.  A writing firm which has been serving small business and promotes that in all its marketing material feels it cannot bid on larger accounts.

In short, your organization’s story about itself or its narrative can have more negative impacts than any competitor might.  Here are four tips on how to break the hold of the past on your present:

Identify your narrative and determine if it still is accurate. Remember that everything changes.  You organization is continually reconfiguring itself and you might not have realigned your marketing materials, including the mission statement, to what is really happening now.

Calculate the risk of adding or deleting elements from your story. You might be considering adding “luxury you can afford” to your identity as an ecommerce company providing the best bargains of the web.  The risk could be reduced if you phase in the phrase, along with the merchandise, “Including some luxury items you can afford.”  Consumers are more apt to accept change that is introduced in small bites.  Ask for feedback on the addition or deletion. Consumers love to express their opinion.

Conduct small experiements. Even a mom-and-pop business can do test marketing.  All that takes is to conduct small experiments which do not disrupt the rest of the business.  For instance, the bakery can restrict one shelf to healthy desserts and promote them in a muted way. If that turns out to be too quiet a launch, then the counter person can offer complimentary samples to customers and an employee dressed like a vegetable or fruit can distribute flyers about the introduction in the neighborhood.

Host a special event, all the better with partners. Stage celebrations to include consumers in what’s new which stays. Special events are becoming increasingly in demand because Americans, after so many tragedies and disappointments in the 21st century, want to come together and enjoy being with each other.  Also, they are weary of digital connecting.  The bakery which is grossing one-third of revenues through healthy desserts can orchestrate a celebration in the neighborhood.  The theme can be taking care of ourselves.  That can be done in partnership with other healthy players such as the yoga studio, gym, farmers’ market, and chain drug store.

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

Scandal! – 5 Tips from Image Marketing Consultants on Managing Crisis

There is the old saying in media: If it bleeds, it becomes the lede.

Media have always highlighted the ugly underbelly of a society.  With such brutal competition in that 24/7 space, no one should be shocked that the shocking dominates even more.  What might have been a simple embarrassment to an organization several years ago now could be framed as a front-page scandal.  So, yes, expect that the media will grab hold and run with when a person in or associated with your organization “gets into trouble.”

That might be a key executive who is arrested for driving with intoxicants.  Your celebrity spokesperson is accused of domestic violence.  The head of the partnership you put together has been charged with embezzlement.  Here are tips from Image Marketing Consultants on how to manage these incidents.

Realize that this happens all the time.  Being under the media spotlight has become the “new normal.”  Because it happens all the time, you must have a crisis management and communications plan which provides details about what to do and what not to do. This must contain input from legal counsel.  America is the land of lawsuits.

Don’t be premature.  Before the organization does or says anything the facts must be in and must be double-checked.  Was the celebrity spokesperson actually arrested or were the authorities merely called to the house?  Once the facts are verified, then you proceed cautiously in developing your position, releasing information, and then providing ongoing updates.

Filter all release of information through one contact. There are many constituencies to provide information to.  They range from employees and investors to media and local authorities.  Those communications must be approved and released through one central contact.  That keeps your response consistent and avoids worsening the situation by rumors.  It also protects you legally if there are to be lawsuits. Legal action can keep the alleged incident on the front page for years.

Apologize or provide appropriate verbal gestures.  Standard communications procedure is to provide an “I’m sorry” if one is at fault in any way or has created a situation in which there has been a misunderstanding.

However, that is not the only communications ritual that has become part of good public relations. For example, if someone has died and, even though the organization is not liable, offer a sincere expression of sadness.  Empathy is mandated.  Organizations are supposed to act human.  In the court of public opinion, organizations are now “people.”

Get on with business.  Scandals are disruptive because they can distract organizations from doing what they should be doing, be that selling pizza or delivering social services.  After you take care of what you should be taking care of during this crisis, move the organization back on task.  Remember leadership and good management are often noticed during crisis.  Although the situation is stressful, how it’s handled can enhance the brand, convert to added revenues and funds raised, and provide boosts to careers.

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

 

Page 10 of 22« First...5...91011...1520...Last »

Recent Posts