Archive for the ‘Public Relations’ Category
By Tarah Heupel | May 13, 2010
Last week, as Rapid City was pounded with rain, snow, and blistering winds (in early May, no less), our fearless leader ventured south to attend the Alliance of Marketing Communications Agencies conference in West Palm Beach.
Lady Gaga recycles...and uses genius product placement.
While Robert didn’t bring back sunshine or “I swam with dolphins” t-shirts for the worker bees, he did gift us with some conference nuggets that we’d love to share.
Takeaway #1: kids are smart.
Today’s tweens have grown up in the world of 24/7 advertising, where everything from their underpants to their morning cereal is a blatant advertisement for a movie superhero, cartoon character, or up-and-coming pop star. Tweens are exposed to so many messages in any given day that they’ve learned to tune out the noise, skipping commercials and ignoring movie previews altogether. So what’s a marketer to do? …Read more »
By Tarah Heupel | March 23, 2010
For the month of March, Topeka doesn’t exist. The town of 120,000 is now officially named Google, KS. The big question, of course, is why?
Earlier this month Google announced a contest to bring Google Fiber (ultra-high-speed broadband Internet) to one or more trial communities around the country. A Topeka Facebook group urging locals to support the project spread like wildfire, and culminated with the mayor’s proclamation to change the city’s name.
Topeka’s stunt kicked off a marketing feeding frenzy …Read more »
By Kyle McCabe | January 26, 2010
In an economic drought, good customer service is digging for water. You have to work at it and be smart about it, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are a few things you can do right now to improve your customer service.
1. Listen to your customers
Listen to their complaints. Listen to their problems and their solutions. Listen to their successes and failures, their goals and plans, hopes and dreams; their boring and crazy stories. But don’t just be passive. Ask your customers to talk!
These are the people you need, and who need you. They are the lifeblood of your business, and they are your community. Get to know them, build relationships. Build trust. It starts with listening. Share their excitement, but be quick to root out and squash the causes of their frustrations. …Read more »
By Kyle McCabe | December 1, 2009
Tools without strategy: poorly built house; dilapidated, isolated. More of a shack, really. A bad marketing shack.
I’ve had the opportunity to speak at a few events about social media. I’ve also spoken to clients, prospects, colleagues, friends, family, and a few pets about social media. One of the most common questions asked of me, and that I see asked of others, is “how do you use social media for business?”
For these presentations, I usually begin by explaining what social media is conceptually, then move into how it can be integrated into the marketing effort – beginning with objectives and strategy. Almost unfailingly, however, I receive feedback to the effect of “I still don’t know how to *USE* this stuff.” I think I know what the problem is (clearly I need to fix my presentation, but that’s beside the point).
Tools without a plan
Imagine I walked up to you and asked, “How do I use a hammer?” How would you respond? …Read more »
By Kyle McCabe | October 20, 2009
Is full transparency really a good idea?
Almost every “how-to” or list of tips on using social media includes some kind of advice on being authentic or transparent. I’m not convinced we all agree on what things like transparency and authenticity mean in this context.
No one is really serious about full transparency. Full transparency would entail communication of every detail of your life. I don’t know about you, but I’m not too keen on the idea I should tell you when I use the bathroom or what my email password is. If I update a social app with the fact that I’ve left work, I don’t think I’m obligated to tell you where I’m going. Or who I’m meeting. Or what kind of drugs I’m buying. What?
Yes, the truth is there’s stuff I don’t want you to know about. Stuff you *shouldn’t* know. Not drugs, exactly – I’ve been clean for at least a few weeks. The point is “transparency” is sort of a misnomer – no one really means it. Translucent? The reality is probably more opaque. …Read more »
By Kyle McCabe | October 13, 2009
Everyone has goals.
If you own, manage or work in a business, you’re a marketer. Marketing may not be your specialty – that is, you may not be the one calling the shots when it comes to marketing plans and decisions, but you are still an integral part of that activity. You are a marketer, like it or not.
Don’t think so? Think clear back to a time when (generally) a “market” meant a place in town where booths, shops and carts were set up to sell meats, produce, and other goods. That’s marketing at its most basic: a presence in the marketplace.
Bear with me, now, as I try to connect some dots.
Humans, by their very nature, are goal-seeking. We can’t escape it. Since we have goals, we also have strategies. Without thinking we form strategies and implement tactics to achieve objectives. From our perspective it seems like we’re just washing dishes or running errands, but the processes behind these actions relate to our goals. It’s automatic. It’s human nature. …Read more »
By Kyle McCabe | August 20, 2009
Most of us who are active in social web spaces (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, etc.) do it privately – that is to say, we’re engaging online with friends and family. But what if you’re doing it for a business? How should you present yourself?
It can be difficult to know where to draw the line between the personal and professional when dealing with brands, vendors, clients, customers, etc. After all, you are YOU, and though you may represent your organization, you’re still a person. And people engage with other people.
Look, I “tweet” personal stuff all the time. Granted, I’m not the principle of the organization, or even a high-level operative (so to speak). So although I do represent my company to a degree, I’m safe from being seen as “the company voice.” Not so, for others. Being seen as the representative of the organization can put you in a tight spot where the line between personal and professional gets a little blurry. …Read more »
By Allan Emerson | July 14, 2009
People trust people, not the shirts they wear
I recently tripped over a former high school classmate on Twitter. His user name looked really familiar so I checked his profile to see if it was, in fact, the person I was thinking of. After following his profile to his personal website, I found the proof I was looking for: a photo confirming my suspicions.
Cool! It’s always neat to run into tweeps you actually know outside of the twittersphere.
So after poking around his site, I find he’s also running a little side business with its own website. Being the curious cat (see: nosey) that I am, I checked out this side project. What I found was a one looooooooong page of a website making all sorts of extravagant claims and looking like an all around scam.
Since I knew this person from a number of years ago, I found myself thinking, “Yeah, this might be something I would actually buy.” Full stop. What’s going on here? I’m presented with a totally unprofessional site that just screams “Nigerian email scam”, yet I am seriously considering opening up the wallet. Wow.
How much more do you believe the statement you’re reading when you trust (or in my case, vaguely know) the source? How much value does the source inherently bring to the table?
Your grandma makes her cookies from scratch. If Big Box Corporate Cookie Manufacturing Co. advertises their cookies are made from scratch, just like your grandma’s, would you believe them? Note: if your grandma is lead chef at Big Box Corporate Cookie Manufacturing Co., then my analogy fails. Oh well, I guess that’s how the cookie crumbles! (Oh come on, the joke wasn’t that bad…)
Moving right along: customer reviews and peer testimonials are immensely powerful forces in the purchasing process. Similar to the situation with my acquaintance and I, people will trust another person, even if a complete stranger, more readily than advertising (though advertising does have its place).
Think back to the last time you bought something online. Go ahead, I’ll wait. OK, did you read customer reviews before buying the item? Or did you at least Google it before buying? How much did your research sway your final decision? I’d be willing to bet it factored in quite a bit.
What people say about your brand experience is not easily ignored by others, and should be highly valued (pssst: you need to be paying attention to what your customers are saying, because they’re saying it whether you’re listening or not). It’s up to you to listen, interact or even facilitate the conversation on your own website by offering a rating or comment system for your product.
“But what if a customer posts something negative on my site? Won’t that diminish my product?” Not necessarily. Instead of seeing this as a liability, see it as an opportunity to interact and ultimately provide great customer service. If other users see you reply to a specific concern and address the issue head on (“I know you are, but what am I?” is not a valid response), it only increases your value to the customer and you gain a little bit more of their trust. Conversely, if you ignore the problem or, even worse, censor it, what message will you be sending? I’ll give you a hint: it starts with “B” and ends with “ad”.
By Vincent Tyson | July 8, 2009
- *It is far easier to ensure good customer service than to repair the damages of bad service – like trying to repair a broken window. (Photo credit: Shoes on Wires)
Why are any of us in business? I think that’s a question more people should ask themselves. Sometimes, I don’t know why some businesses bother to go on.
Lately service, or rather a lack of it, has really got to me. I recently ordered some replacement glass for my new house from a local (nameless) company. One of the windows was cracked when I moved in. It was delivered after two weeks which is when the trouble started. Not only was the glass too big, but I also had to pay a Glazier for a window that wasn’t fitted.
The glass company happily took the window back, admitting that it had measured it wrong (good so far). They said that they’d let me know when the new glass was ready. Fast forward six weeks; one more incorrectly measured pane of glass, and I am now fuming. For some time they weren’t even answering my calls; even the shop was closed when I went to visit. Eventually after several phone calls – and a call to the owner’s personal residence – I have a new piece of glass that is supposed to be going in this weekend (I’ll keep you posted). What really annoyed me was the lack of contact and severe delays with no explanation or apology. Rest assured I won’t be going back!
If I contrast this with another story of poor service, it illustrates how things can start out bad, but turn out for the best… …Read more »
By Kyle McCabe | June 17, 2009
Designer's rendering of the playground
The Vickie Powers Memorial Park Playground Project gets underway today. It’s an exciting event – 5 days of building by hundreds of volunteers, and in the end the community will have a brand new playground in the park.
What’s cool about this playground is that it was designed with the help of children, so you know they’re going to love it. As part of a “community design, community build” concept, Rapid City’s Parks & Recreation Department teamed up with Leather’s & Associates, out of New York, to make this project happen.
The concept of this park’s “community design, community build” is classic and essential. Whether it be by getting involved in social media, encouraging higher levels of customer and community service, relationship building, or by hosting/contributing to community events, the community theme has been a common thread for many of our clients lately. Sort of as a way to get back to the basics. Back to the human connection. Working together toward a common goal.
It’s encouraging to see so many people give so much to such a cause as this park, even in the midst of a recession. This generosity, this sense of community, is now more important than ever. I hope this playground and park will benefit the community by/for which it was built, and perhaps serve as a way to grow our sense of community in the days ahead.