4 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Now that the holidays are over, we’re all longing for the warmth of summertime. Unfortunately we’ve got quite a few cold, grey, snowy days ahead of us before the warm weather and sunshine come back out to play. The short days and cold nights can cause even the best of us to feel a little low. While many of us wish that we could hibernate until the winter has passed, that is simply not an option. Working in the Public Relations field, it is important to keep positive and cheerful at all times. So, to beat the blues we have some simple strategies that will help boost your mood and keep you feeling sunny.

1. Exercise

As if we needed another reason to get fit! Not only is exercise necessary for maintaining a healthy weight, it’s also excellent for relieving the stresses of our daily lives. Your brain releases mood-boosting endorphins (aka “feel-good hormones”) whenever you exert yourself through exercise. The mood enhancing effects of a good workout can last for several hours after you’ve hit the showers. A regular exercise routine will give you more energy throughout the day as well as boost your metabolism. As an excellent bonus to your improved mood and energy: by the time bathing suit season comes around you’ll be looking fantastic.

2. Make Plans

Winter seems endless! But making fun and exciting plans to look forward to is a sure fire way to elevate your mood. Plan an event that’s exciting to you; go on a weekend getaway, schedule a day at the spa, plan a party or special event, set aside an evening to go to a play or sporting event. Even on a budget, you can still find inexpensive ways to treat yourself! Have a game night with friends, host a potluck dinner party with a food theme (Italian, Indian, Thai etc.), or try taking advantage of the excellent deals that companies such as Groupon, Living Social and Deal of the Day are advertising in your city.

3. Brighten your Life

The weather might be grey, but your life doesn’t need to reflect it! Bring color into your home, clothing and corporate setting. Give an update to your wardrobe by adding bright and bold colors. Arrange a bouquet of fresh flowers in your home or workplace, paint a room with sunny, cheerful colors. Surround yourself with beauty and your spirits will be sure to lift!

4. Relax

You’re busy! Work, family, friends, events, and appointments—even those of us that enjoy the rush of a busy schedule could use some R&R at some point. Don’t be afraid to say “No” to extra opportunities. Try to dedicate a few minutes each day to yourself. Read a book or magazine, sleep in on the weekend, or take a warm bubble bath. You’ll notice that with more time dedicated to yourself you’ll alleviate stress and create a sense of calm.

 

These are four great ways to help improve your mood and well being during the Winter season. Do you have any other suggestions to share? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Holiday Open House Recap!

 

The holiday season has come and gone once again, but before we all start paying down those credit card bills and counting down the days until spring we just wanted to give everyone a quick recap on our holiday open house party. The event was a great way to celebrate the season and show our appreciation for all our clients and partner companies.

 

 

Now, there’s nothing we enjoy more than planning fun and creative events, especially during the holiday season. So, when it came time to begin planning our own holiday we had the bar set pretty high. Teaming up with the other two businesses in our building, Harry E. Cole and Son and the Law Office of Jeremy Taylor, we put together a holiday open house complete with festive decorations, specialty holiday cocktails, and a pizza truck!

 

 

We had a great turnout as each company hosted clients and friends from all around the state. I think it’s safe to say nobody went home with an empty stomach as all were able to indulge in the pizza stylings of the Chunky Tomato Pizza Truck which offered a variety of different pies, from traditional pepperoni to their unique “Irish Pizza” complete with potatoes, bacon, garlic and mozzarella. They even included dessert pizza (my favorite) made with sweet cheese, chocolate chips and peanut butter.

 

To wash down all that pizza, each company provided a unique holiday cocktail in their respective conference room. The drinks were named, St. Nick with a Kick, Holly-Day Cheers, and Naughty N’ Ice and were all a big hit as all three punch bowls were empty at the end of the night.

 

All in all the event was a huge success and we are already looking ahead for the next opportunity to have another office celebration.

 

I would like to wish you all a happy and prosperous 2012!

Visit our Facebook page for more event pictures!

 

 

Kate Sirignano in Hartford Magazine

Four local entrepreneurs were recognized in the December 2011 issue of Hartford Magazine, including our very own . If you haven’t had an opportunity to pick up the latest issue, you can read a bit about those featured below.

Nick Unsworth, the 29-year-old founder of NUMedia 2.0, was born with a hard-working entrepreneurial spirit. Unsworth had his first paper route by the age of 6, was picking tobacco at 14, and was self-employed by 19. His West Hartford based company; NuMedia 2.0 provides social media content and training to improve brand marketing for companies. NUMedia has reached the half-million landmark in revenue and has over $1million in pending contracts.

Kate Sirignano founded Image Marketing Consultants, a marketing, communications, public relations, and event planning firm, when she was just 23. Currently the Plantsville-based firm boats a client list that includes William B. Meyer. Lex Products, Haier America, and Osh Kosh B’gosh as well as Standard & Poors. Sirgnano, now 27, jokes that sometimes prospective clients ask to speak to her boss. Her response is, “Sorry. You’re stuck with me. I’m the boss.”

Jolina Li is a 22-year-old entrepreneur with a recent degree from the University of Connecticut in Finance. Her Farmington-based company, Oh Capture This, is a digital photo booth company. The technology in Li’s photo booths allow for more than 300,000 different backgrounds that will provide partygoers with a unique picture to remember an event. While most recent graduates were looking for jobs Li was growing her own.

Caitlin Thayer is the founder of Barefoot Media, a social media marketing firm located in West Hartford. After managing the social media for the Mark Twain House calls began to pour in from more and more businesses asking for Thayer’s help with their own social media. Barefoot Media clients include the United way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, the Hartford Marathon Foundation, and the Hartford Public Library. The name of her company, Barefoot Media, comes from Thayer’s love of barefoot running.

Unsworth, Sirignano,  Li, and  Thayer have all taken the risk of starting their own businesses at a young age. Although it is hard for most start-up companies in their first few years these entrepreneurs show that it is ability, not age, which makes for a successful company.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The team at Image Marketing Consultants would like to wish all of our families, friends, clients, and co-workers a

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy some quality time with your loved ones and take a moment to reflect on all that you have to be thankful for.

(And don’t forget to indulge a bit. Thanksgiving food is by far the best!)

Save-A-Suit | Help a Career

Yesterday afternoon, Tim and I had the opportunity to represent Image Marketing Consultants at the Save-a-Suit event at the University of Bridgeport. If you have not yet heard of this organization, take a minute to read on! This amazing non-profit organization collects suits and accessories for college students who cannot afford to buy them, in hopes to boost their confidence and better prepare them for their job search.

At Image Marketing we’ve recently begun a college coaching program to help students develop their “brand” and prepare for the “real world” by offering advice, tips and insight from the perspective of the employer. Everything from resume building, interview preparation and skills, how to make a lasting first impression, maintaining and monitoring social media sites, how to dress, and so much more. Save-a-Suit provided us with an excellent opportunity to reach more students and better develop our own program.

We met a variety of students from different backgrounds, nationalities, and races; all of them shared with us their major concerns about preparing to enter the work force. The majority of students have the same fears and questions, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to lend a helping hand, and steer some of these students it the right direction.
I actually grew up with the Chief Information Officer of Save-a-Suit, Jessica Ewud, she is such a doll and I’m so glad I was able to catch up, and learn more about what she’s been doing for the organization.

Check her out on FOX CT yesterday morning:

Working with Save-a-Suit seemed like a natural fit for us, and we hope to continue to work with them in the future. For more pictures from the event, visit our Facebook page!

You can get involved and learn more about  Save-A-Suit on their website www.saveasuit.org, their Facebook page“Save-a-Suit”, and on Twitter @SaveASuit.

 

For the book worms: “The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR”

It’s always this time of the year when you want to snuggle up on the couch and read a good book. Yet, it seems so difficult lately to go out and find a good book to sink your teeth into! One book that I recently read is, “The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR”.

 

This isn’t your typical novel because the book is a non-fiction story that gives real life examples of companies such as: Coca Cola, Altoids, Nike, and Heinz. Each company is given a brief background of where they started, and how they used PR to succeed, or failed by using just advertising. What I like is the book isn’t biased either, it does show examples of when PR failed, or when advertising succeeded in creating a company, but these cases are rare.

The book gets straight into the subject, “You can’t launch a new brand with advertising because advertising has no credibility. It’s the self-serving voice of a company anxious to make a sale. You can launch new brands only with publicity or public relations (PR). PR allows you to tell your story indirectly through third-party outlets, primarily the media. PR has credibility. Advertising does not. PR provides the positive perceptions that an advertising campaign, if properly directed, can exploit” (Ries & Ries, XI). There are five parts to this book, the first titled ‘The Fall of Advertising’ where it talks about how there is an overload of ads, with no credibility behind them. You could see an ad saying that a new car is the best on the road, but would everyone truly believe this car’s claim to be the best? A lot of advertising companies choose to use ads for entertainment purposes these days; this isn’t what advertising should be used for. Companies are making ads just to win awards, and not using it to connect brands with a concrete message about the product/service. Part two of the book is titled ‘The Rise of PR’ and shows readers how PR is a third party way to get a brand’s message across, which can be less biased than the company putting out their own ad. Of course they believe their product is the best and want their consumers to believe that too. Part three is about the new use for advertising: Brand maintenance. This is when a company has report, and is able to use ads to keep their company relevant in the consumer’s minds. Part four and five then further discuss the differences between advertising and PR.

This book was great insight into new techniques that can be useful in helping our clients. However, this read wasn’t just for professionals, it is so engaging that almost anyone would label it as a ‘good read’.

We want to know, what did you think of the book? Write a comment below with your own review!

 

The New Age of Public Relations

The world of public relations is an ever changing business and staying aware of new trends and technology is essential to stay on top. Currently, one of the fastest emerging trends in PR is the use of social media. It’s almost to the point where things like blogging, tweeting and Facebook posting are essential in a public relations campaign. Here, at Image Marketing Consultants we’ve taken this movement in stride and always stress the importance of social media on our clients.

Now, Facebook is not a new trend by any means, as it has become one of the most recognized brands in the marketplace, if you say the word “Facebook” people know exactly what you’re talking about. However, Facebook and various other social media outlets like Twitter, Youtube and LinkedIn have now become valuable tools for business, especially in the realm of public relations and marketing.

 

Blogging is another emerging trend, and one that is also important in the creation of a public relations campaign. Blogs offer PR professionals another outlet to pitch stories to. As more and more people look to blogs for news and information, this outlet becomes increasingly valuable.

Much like any other tool in public relations, the effective use of social media outlets and blogs is a learned skill. Sure, you can create a Twitter account for your business or write a blog, but you’re not maximizing your PR potential unless you’re interacting with the right people and posting the right things. The emergence of social media and blogging in the business world has given us an extremely valuable public relations tool, one that if used correctly can open doors that would be otherwise jammed shut.

 

Contact us today to find out how we have adapted to the new age of public relat

5 Tips to Make Your Annual Corporate Holiday Party the Best Yet!

At Image Marketing Consultants we’ve been busy planning, and managing upcoming holiday events, parties, and promotions for a number of different clients, as well as for ourselves. We wanted to take the time to share some of our tips for a fabulous 2011 corporate holiday party!

Long gone are the days where a corporate holiday party consists of frumpy co-workers huddling around a punch bowl counting down the minutes until an appropriate time to scoot on out. Companies are becoming more creative in their party planning efforts to ensure that their annual holiday bash is more of an event to look forward to than it is an uncomfortably anticipated one.

Read on for our Top 5 tips to consider for your company holiday party:

1)   Choose a unique location- away from the office! Consider mixing things up, it may be cold outside, but use that as inspiration. We proposed an outdoor event in December for a client. A heated, glass, clear or windowed tent is so gorgeous in the snow and will add a naturally beautiful element to the evening!

2)   Consider a theme! Whether you opt to partner with a charitable organization, or throw a masquerade ball- it is fun to engage guests in something other than another typical holiday themed event.

3)   Serve a signature cocktail! Get your employees involved in the planning for this- select 3-5 different specialty drinks and send a mass e-mail through the office with a poll that allows everyone to vote for their favorite drink! It’s nice when others feel like they have a say- and everyone will be excited to see which drink is the office fave!

4)   Avoid extra costs and awkward seating charts by opting out of a sit down dinner. Instead, have stationary and passed hors d’œuvres making their rounds all night (most of the time guests enjoy the hors d’œuvres more than the meals anyway)! Have a great dessert table; chocolate fountains, ice cream or gelato bars and candy bars are on a whole new level! These typically childish treats have re-entered the adult world to incorporate a fun, interactive, and delicious treat to serve at events! Consider having servers pass milk and cookies at the very end of the night as well.

5)   Book a photo booth or photographer to document the night. Everyone loves to see photos after an event they’ve attended. Use them on your blog, monthly newsletter, or Facebook page. Your employees are all professionals, but should a neck tie end up around the forehead of the director of marketing…consider keeping those images under wraps 😉

And a bonus tip: just have fun! Take this opportunity to engage with your co-workers, and their families. Make the most your night out. Social events are a great opportunity to interact with co-workers in a different atmosphere where they can relax, let loose a little bit and build new relationships that will only enhance the atmosphere in the office and increase overall moral.

While it is late in the season to begin planning holiday events, Image Marketing Consultants does have staff available to help you or your company with the planning, preparation, or coordination of your holiday party this season!

 

Happy Halloween…Snow in October?

On behalf of Image Marketing Consultants I would like to wish everyone a happy and safe Halloween! However, make sure to pay attention to the weather this weekend. It is predicted that there will be a significant winter storm in Connecticut on Saturday starting mid-day. The storm has the potential for 6 to 12 inches of snow accumulation in the Hartford area with 3 to 6 inches in New Haven.

According to NBC Connecticut the greatest October snow storm in the Hartford area in October was 1.7 inches on Oct 10, 1979. If the storm is as big as predicted it will be rewriting the record books!

Put-down the rakes and pick-up the shovels!

Halloween Party Tips

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and the perfect time to indulge in some creative, out of the ordinary, entertaining! While everyone is preparing for their frightful festivities this weekend we wanted to share some tricks and treats that will surely wow your guests and ensure a memorable event.

Nothing gets a party going like a tasty adult beverage! When playing host/hostess you want to spend as much time with your guests as possible- pre-mixing a large bowl of punch is the easiest way to ensure that you won’t be playing bartender all night. This punch recipe is super easy, and perfect for any Halloween bash!

2 gallons orange-flavored drink

2 (46 fluid ounce) cans fruit punch

4 quarts pink lemonade

4 quarts pineapple and orange juice blend

4 (750 milliliter) bottles vodka

2 (750 milliliter) bottles white rum

Mix all ingredients together, pour into a large punch bowl and add some fun and spooky ice cubes…

Consider adding dry ice for special effect! (See video below on how to properly use)

With a delicious glass of punch in hand, your guests will be ready to eat! The number of Halloween inspired treats is endless, when choosing what to make, be sure to build a well rounded selection of appetizers and hors d’oeuvres. I’ve come across so many  cute and creepy, but still easy to make Halloween snacks- check them out below!

Parmesan Breadstick Broomsticks

Chocolate Covered Maraschino Mice

Pumpkin Patch Puffs

Mini-Mummy Hot-Dogs

Bat Bites

One of the most important aspects to consider when planning a themed event is the atmosphere. I believe it is truly impossible to over-decorate for Halloween; the spookier the better! Cobwebs, pumpkins, and skeletons should all be on site; try to avoid turning on any overhead lights, surround the room with dozens of candles. Check out these easy to make bloody candles!

A successful party is all about good food, good friends, and good fun! Halloween is the one night of the year where anything goes! Show up in an outrageous costume, consume ridiculous amounts of chocolate and be sure to celebrate with all of your favorite people.

Be safe & have fun- Happy Halloween everyone!