Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

Regardless of your industry, a collective body of knowledge exists. These best practices help to identify how like organizations have faced similar challenges.

How to find best practices:

  • Identify the area(s) that you’re interested in exploring. Don’t limit yourself to simply your industry, but think about your target audience, your geographic reach or complementary products or services.
  • Talk to your trade association. Many trade associations have research databases that provide a wealth of information on industry trends.
  • For specific best practices related to public relations and marketing, industry resource sites such as MarketingProfs and Marketing Sherpa are terrific. If you’re a PRSA member, you can access the association’s knowledge base.

Best practices, however, shouldn’t stymie creativity or result in simply following the status quo, but provide inspiration and lessons learned.

January 6, 2008 at 3:54 am 1 comment

Keep Your Ear to the Ground

Safeguarding your reputation means listening not only to the “word on the street,” but to what’s being said online. Have you googled yourself lately?

A few tips for listening:

Set up Google alerts for, minimally, your name and your organization’s name. You can also add names of other prominent people in your organization (CEO, Executive Director, members of your Board of Directors).

Advanced Google alerts might include topics or issues that your organization is connected to. For example, a nonprofit organization that provides health care for low-income residents or those without insurance might include search terms like “universal health care” or “health insurance coverage.” This will allow you to track news, blogs and even video on these issues and keep up with the media.

Learn more about Google alerts here.

Other free options for monitoring include Technorati, Blogpulse and the download BuzzMonitor (which is from the World Bank, oddly enough).

There are also paid options, of course. And plenty of experts to help you navigate the options.

Photo: Corbis

December 14, 2007 at 12:48 am 1 comment

How Do Millennials Work?

Each generation works differently. Often older generations worked for the sake of working and and its intrinsic value. Millennials are a mystery to many supervisors.

This article by Claire Raines outlines some of the differences between working with Millennials and older generations.

For example, Raines believes that Millennials are characterized by the following:

Confidence
Hope
Goal and Achievement Oriented
Civic-mindedness
Inclusiveness

But she also maintains that Millennials need leaders, fun, and flexibility in the workplace – less than standard aspects of the average workplace.

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November 9, 2007 at 5:50 am Leave a comment

The Great Technological Divide

    images-1.jpgOne of the most easily spotted differences between Millennials and other generations is the way they use technology to make decisions.

    Millennials are the first generation to be weaned on computers. While Gen-Xers aren’t necessarily far behind, computer skills were something they acquired later in life.

    iMedia Connection’s Jim Meskauskas wrote that “What makes Gen Y people different is the way they are consuming media. Not only are teens spending more time with the Internet than TV, but that they also use the Internet as the hub of their media activity. The Internet is the medium from which all other media decisions get made, and that’s a powerful tool for marketers.”

    Growing up bombarded by media and messages nearly 24 hours a day has made Millennials wise to slick ads and commercial messages. Many companies are now approaching Millennials to make them part of an experience – not just sell them a product.

    Coca-Cola created a presence in SecondLife, a popular online community, where teens and other users can hang out, chat, and create customizable Coke vending machines. This encourages participation and allows users to have a voice in how the company markets its product to them.

    As today’s teens and young adults age, brands that are well-established with Baby Boomers will need to change how they communicate with customers in order to capture the next wave of potential clients.

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    November 5, 2007 at 7:24 pm Leave a comment

Millennials. Who are they?

images.jpgThere is a new generation of Americans emerging: they number more than two for every baby boomer (73 million at last count), spend $150 billion a year, influence another $50 billion in family purchases – making the total $200 billion, and they grew up on MTV and the internet.

    Millennials, or Generation Y, were born between 1977 and 1997. This generation is already a huge market force with a power that will only grow as today’s teenagers become adults.

    Why is this important?

    In order to communicate with Millennials, many of us will need to learn a new language.

    In the next few posts, we will explore some of the differences between Millennials and the generations before them. Including: differences in technology and values.

    Stay tuned.

November 2, 2007 at 2:10 am Leave a comment

Five Easy Ways To Connect With Employees

Employees should always be your first audience. Employees are your organization’s ambassadors, advocates and champions. Keeping them well-informed should be a top priority. Some simple tactics and tools will help you maintain and build quality relationships with employees:

1. Have regular employee meetings. And make those meetings productive.

Employees want to know how to succeed at their job. Whether a customer service rep, or marketing director, or CEO, Good meetings can go a long way to keeping employees informed. If you have a large, or dispersed, staff, make sure the line of communication with middle managers is clear and empower those managers to deliver company messages.

2 . Communicate regularly in multiple ways.

Employees, because they are people, respond differently to communication channels. Some may respond through electronic channels – so create a monthly email newsletter that highlights information employees need to know. As with all newsletters, consistency is key. If you’re planning to send a newsletter at all, plan to be consistent and send every month. Include regular columns and accurate, up-to-date information.

Other employees may prefer printed communication – so provide the same updates and bulletins in printed form as you do electronically. You might even consider an employee podcast or videocast.

3. Create a recognition program.

Recognizing successes helps motivate employees. Afterall, how will employees know the difference between ok, good and great performance? Recognition programs can vary as widely as what may motivate an individual employees. As it turns out money is not much of a motivator. So you’re going to have to be more creative.

4. Have one-on-one sessions.

Give employees a chance to meet with company owners, CEOs or other C-Suite managers. Employees appreciate the respect that a one-on-one meeting infers. It says that the company cares about their success and is interested in receiving feedback.

5. Establish clear organizational and department goals.

And make them known. No employee can help achieve the organization’s goals if those goals are unknown. Share them, measure them and ensure that everyone is working toward organizational and individual success.

What other tips do you have? What motivates you?

October 14, 2007 at 10:16 pm 1 comment

Creating Your Logo:

259906910_dc8b84eb6f_m.jpgOften, your logo is the first thing to make an impression on potential clients. This alone makes it a must to have an eye-catching and memorable design.

There are a few rules of logo design that many designers agree upon. David Airey, graphic designer, outlined the four major rules:

1. The logo must be memorable.
2. The logo must be describable.
3. The logo must be just as effective in black-and-white as it is in color.
4. The logo must be scalable down to a quarter-inch in size.

These rules ensure that potential clients will be able to remember (and describe) your logo after seeing it once and that your logo will work on any number of collateral or design projects of all shapes and sizes.

Take a look at some corporate logos that won the 2006 Best of the Best contest for logo design. Do these logos fit the four rules above? Or do some interpret the rules differently, and, if so, why do they still work?

September 10, 2007 at 11:50 pm Leave a comment

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