Posted by thecastlegroup on March 18, 2011
Spring isn’t officially here yet, but we’re impatient. Here in the beautiful Charlestown Navy Yard, it’s been a blustery, slippery, tough-to-navigate winter. So we’re thinking ahead to the springtime, and along with all the good things that implies, it also brings spring cleaning to mind.
Getting rid of old, stale, unused junk; sprucing up a somewhat tired area; turning a fresh eye to something that’s been sitting around. We’re not just talking about our work areas or homes — we’re talking about communications.
Here are 10 communications tools you can refresh with some spring cleaning:
- Crisis communications plan: Do you know where it is? Do you even have one? This is a good reminder to pull out your plan and do a refresh. If your plan was built even a couple of years ago, it’s likely out of date due to the fast-moving world of social and digital media. Contacts have probably changed. In fact, the world has changed, and your plan must change with it.
- LinkedIn profile: When did you first create your profile? Chances are your business description, job, professional affiliations (even your head shot) have changed at least slightly. Help your important contacts receive the right messages by putting the right information in there. And LinkedIn is constantly adding and evolving, so take a look at how you’re posting content, participating in groups, using your network to your advantage.
- Desk: Well, of course you need to unclutter your work area. Today, when so many of us are working from smart phones, iPads and virtual offices, your “home base” work area can get a bit neglected. We guarantee that if you dig through those papers on your desk, you will rediscover a great idea you put aside, or a business card that you meant to add to your database.
- Unscheduled meetings: We all have them — the appointments we keep meaning to schedule that somehow get postponed and then fall off the radar. Think about the handful of people you meant to have a lunch or coffee with. There was a good reason you wanted to connect. You still can. And should.
- Contracts: Our events clients, in particular, contract with numerous properties and vendors, and we negotiate on their behalf. We’ve seen contracts that they have used for years, and found ways to better leverage those contracts. Worth blowing off the dust and taking another look.
- Grammar: “Me” vs. “I.” That’s the one that really gets our goat. In honor of Strunk and White, we can all teach our teams, interns — even our kids — to clean up that grammar.
- Boilerplate: You use it all the time, in every news release. But do you ever look at it to make sure it reflects who you are today? Does it have links in it? Look it over and clean up that boilerplate.
- Website: We know as well as anybody, it is a LOT of work. Our new website is ALMOST done, and cleaning up a website (or in our case building a new one) is a massive task. But times have probably changed since you last took a good, hard look. There are more reasons to update your website than we can list here. But the best one: it is the first place your customers and clients will look, and it should reflect who you are.
- Facebook page: Facebook is constantly changing — maybe a little too much — but its latest refresh presents a very different page layout that will impact your organization’s page. To start, take a look at the photo strip that now sits atop your page and clean it up to reflect your brand.
- Email lists: You send out email blasts and receive those “undeliverable” notices. Take a few moments to scrub your contact lists. And be sure to add new prospects and clients to keep your database up-to-date and fresh.
Now once that’s all done, go home and start cleaning out the garage.
Posted in fun stuff and more, Marketing | Tagged: Business and Economy, Facebook, iPad, spring clean | Leave a Comment »
Posted by thecastlegroup on October 28, 2010
Todd Defren recently wrote about millenials and how that generation views employment and loyalty, and how we as employers can deal with generational differences.
Here are my thoughts on how not to become a jaded employer and start thinking every employee is a temporary one.
-People will leave. It’s the nature of the employee and the challenge of the employer.
-Finding and training new staff is hard.
-Keeping good staff is great.
-Generational differences exist, though they are not universal — some staff will live by the new rules, others will resemble a more traditional pre-millenial employee.
-Sometimes it’s good to have turnover to re-energize a team and introduce new thinking.
-Often, those who leave were not cut out for the job, as much as we convince ourselves we are super smart about hiring.
-If you love something, set it free… I’ve had talented staff leave and generally have seen two results. 1) They keep the entrepreneurial spirit we helped them develop and have become leaders in new organizations or started their own ventures, or 2) I keep an eye on them, watch them grow and bring them back when it makes sense for them and us.
Posted in Marketing | Tagged: Generation X, Generation Y, HR, Human resources, millenial | Leave a Comment »
Posted by thecastlegroup on October 20, 2010
Castle co-founder Sandy Lish draws a line from customer service to brand values in this Two-Way Street blog post.
A few weeks ago, I ordered a replacement part for my GPS. This was a relatively simple online transaction, from a brand that is synonymous with the GPS industry. A week went by, then two, and I realized that my item hadn’t arrived. Checked my bank account, and sure enough, the account had been charged the day after I placed my order. So I called the company, which required some heavy digging online as the phone number was somewhat buried. The customer service person looked up my order, looked at the shipping information in her record, and let me know that she had no idea where my item was, although it had been shipped two weeks ago. I asked her to look a little harder and figure out what was going on. The best she could tell me was that it was somewhere en route, and to check back in a few days if it still had not arrived.
As this was not the highest priority in my life, I decided to just give it a couple of days. Then it struck me: there’s significant irony in the fact that I bought a GPS item that the GPS company itself cannot even find. In a conversation a few days later with a client, we were talking about online shopping and I relayed this story. She immediately said, “They’re not delivering on their brand promise!”
Branding, as we know, is about much more than images and marketing materials. It carries through to the customer experience, which in this case completely contradicted the company’s brand promise. If your message is about positioning and tracking, it is unacceptable to ship a package you cannot locate.
A few phone calls and days later, I received a link to track my package, which said it should arrive three-to-five business days after leaving the warehouse (which it had done more than two weeks earlier). That ship had sailed. It had literally been in my town two weeks prior, then left and traveled to a variety of states, where it evidently kept being “missent.”
By the way, the package finally came over the weekend. My husband laughingly pointed out the sticker on the outside: “Fast Ship.”
I will never buy another item from this company. The brand itself may be spiffy, the product may be highly rated by consumers, but if they can’t deliver—literally or figuratively—they’ve lost me.
Posted in Marketing | Tagged: brand promise, branding, GPS | Leave a Comment »
Posted by thecastlegroup on July 2, 2010
I’m a Connector for Boston World Partnerships (BWP). Read below for more detail on this great organization and how your company can get involved — and why it should.
The cities that succeed in the years ahead are the ones that redefine how they think about essential infrastructure – the same is true for businesses. Learn how BWP is redefining the power of human networks and helping companies stay on the leading edge of their industry.
Posted in Marketing | Tagged: Boston World Partnerships, BWP | Leave a Comment »
Posted by thecastlegroup on June 15, 2010
Companies are embracing the age of online video. A product or service described with mere text and images might give the consumer an idea of what you’re offering, but it leaves much to the imagination. Words in text can be misunderstood, still images of products can be stale, and, frankly, the combination tends to be unexciting.
Consumers are turning to online videos as the more effective (and interesting!) method of learning about potential products. In fact, research has found a 40 percent increase in product video viewership.*
This potential often transforms into purchasing behavior, as products featured in web videos result in a 46 percent higher conversion rate than products featured with only text and images, according to a recent Treepodia study. One reason is that consumers view products in web videos as higher-quality items.**
This creates a perceived level of confidence in the product, and by extension, a similar confidence in the consumer. Pete Bell, co-founder of MK3 client Endeca, states that “Visitors to our website who watch a video fill out registration forms at five times the rate of non-viewers.”
Leave all the text and pictures for a magazine. Take advantage of internet capabilities, and show customers what they want and why. Learn exactly what it takes to make these videos such a profitable tool. View specific case studies of online video success.
*eMarketer survey ’07-’08
Posted in Marketing | Tagged: MK3, video, web video | Leave a Comment »
Posted by thecastlegroup on May 26, 2010
The new digital billboards are taking the medium out of marketing’s dark ages by acting as a source of information and entertainment in line with today’s electronic age.
There are two digital billboards I pass on my way to and from work. While sitting in traffic, they are a minimal form of entertainment, with idle drivers waiting to see what’s next.
The boards are being used in two different ways. One is a steady rotation of ads for local businesses, interspersed with messages about local charities. It provides a way to get information on a wide range of topics in a short period – the fundraising walk is next weekend, the Beacon Grille is serving brunch on Mother’s Day, etc.
The other currently acts as a brand channel for Coke – messages about new products, deals, contests and cause marketing campaigns provide a mix of messages and show the broad scope of the company’s products and its CSR commitments. Here’s a snack bundle deal at a retailer, here are the new Coke mini cans, here’s how we’re supporting a charity.
Nicely designed, the Coke channel is engaging, has personality and adds another dimension to the marketing of one our most ubiquitous brands.
What applications will digital billboards have in the future? News headlines, live video feeds from breaking stories, stock quotes, weather updates, maybe even Twitter streams. What do you think?
Posted in Marketing | Tagged: billboards, marketing | 3 Comments »