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 email@example.com, 202-404-4868.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-404-4868.
“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 email@example.com 203-404-4868.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-404-4868.
Nemo, the storm which hit the Northeast Corridor hard, was a crisis. And it’s before, during, and after a crisis that businesses can have breakthroughs in revenue, profits, branding, and relationships with employees, customers, the community, law enforcement, and more. We at Image Marketing Consultants noticed some best practices.
Having crisis plan/communications in place. All constituencies, be they customers or employees, knew what to expect and do, no matter what could go down in the weather event. The multi-dimensional message sent through comprehensive crisis planning was we care and we manage well.
Giving customers easy access to what they need. Right in the front of the store, a CVS along the shoreline had not only shovels but a variety of choices, clearly marked with affordable prices. This is one-stop shopping for whoever would have to dig out. No one had to go off to other stores to find an appropriate shovel and compare prices.
Figuring out the right incentives. One 24-hour call center had to be staffed, of course. If it wasn’t fully manned, customers would likely not contact it again. It provided attractive incentives, ranging from monetary to ritzy overnight accommodations, for employees to show up and stay as long as needed. One manager had suggested simply providing lots of free food. Fortunately she was ignored.
Thanking everyone in the loop. By time the storm ended early Saturday, businesses were using their social media networks, phones, and homemade signs expressing gratitude to those who had pitched in. A plumber who had braved the snow to fix the employee restroom in a 24-hour facility was celebrated as the Hero of Nemo 2013 on the intranet.
Crisis seems the new normal in 21st century. Those businesses which become skilled in navigating it will develop a unique kind of competitive edge.
The ratings for British import “Downton Abbey” have been higher than they have been for that American-made return to the 1960s series “Mad Men.” One reason is that we are learning important lessons from how the Crawley family is managing to balance tradition with change. Those are lessons we need every day in this second decade of the 21st century to operate our organizations, both profit and non-profit.
For example, in “Downton Abbey,” we witness how the family was determined to provide for the health and financial security of their loyal servants, despite financial threats. Likewise, through experimentation we are becoming adept at recognizing our employees’ accomplishments in ways not directly related to hefty raises and bonuses. Our core value of valuing employees remains the same. What has changed is the size of our financial resources.
So, instead of five-figure increments in compensation, we might be rewarding them with opportunities to develop additional skills. The receptionist may be released several hours a week from the desk to create and post content for the website. Or, we are rotating who attends the trade shows so that more employees can gain a deeper knowledge of the industry and develop contacts. There may be an internal mentoring system, with senior staff having the opportunity to pick up the latest in technology from Millennials. The latter, on the other hand, are being coached on how to converse in the language of business.
The reality is that human beings value their traditions. The challenge is to preserve what we can as we figure out what an ever-changing economy demands.
Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you, in this era of turbulence, to a complimentary consultation for marketing, public relations, partnerships, special events, and social media, email@example.com, 203-404-4868.