Archive for July, 2011

Shades of Green: Save Water — Save Money

Friday, July 29th, 2011

saving waterDid you know that most of the world gets by on only 2.5 gallons of water a day per person? Yet in the United States the average person uses 400 gallons a day! But we CAN save water!

We use far too much water in the house and business facilities for routine activities such as washing, using the toilet, bathing, etc. You can save water simply by changing habits. And, you can lower your water bill every month besides!

In the bathroom:

  • Here’s a simple way to save water: just turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth! While that toothbrush and toothpaste is doin’ its thing, running water accomplishes nothing other than wasting water. Just turn off the water while you brush, then turn it back on to rinse. Water companies suggest the savings from this simple action alone will amount to 7 gallons a minute!
  • Do the same while you are shaving, men. Turn off the water while slicing off that hair, then turn it on again to rinse. Another 7 gallons per minute!
  • Check your sink and toilet for leaks. A leaking toilet can use 90,000 gallons of water in just one month. Fix as necessary.
  • Check your faucet for drips. A dripping faucet can waste as much as 20 gallons a day! Fix as necessary. (more…)

Crisis Communication: Oil in the Water

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Crisis Communication and Exxon MobilEvery organization needs to be well prepared and practiced to handle crisis communication. It is not a matter of “if,” but a matter of “when.”

As if the staggering, unpredictable price of their gas at the pump wasn’t enough of a reason to get the public upset, recent financial reports delivered even more staggering news of unbelievably high quarterly profits for Exxon Mobil. That should have shaken the public relations tree at Exxon Mobil.

It didn’t.

How about a news conference and shareholder meeting to announce the good news and explain these billions in profit to those of us customers feeling more and more like hostages?

Not a chance.

But wait. There’s more. A few weeks ago Exxon Mobil and the rest of the world

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learn that a major pipeline of theirs breaks right under the pristine waters of the Yellowstone River in Montana, flowing tens of thousands of gallons of oil into the river, significantly endangering wildlife and human life.

Exxon Mobil issues a news release downplaying the amount of oil (it appears they understated the facts by 20%) and then they anger residents and the EPA by announcing they may burn it off.

Could it get any worse you ask? Sure. It can and it is. New investigations reveal previously unmentioned debris piles coated with crude, littering the banks of the river. The EPA is demanding that Exxon Mobil supplement their cleanup workforce on the ground by hundreds more. And do it NOW.

(more…)

Mobile Marketing for Small Businesses

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Mobile Marketing for Small business-Michael BookMobile Marketing: Being a small business owner, it is important that you stay ahead of the marketing curve.

Many years ago, I began to focus my efforts on social media marketing with my business. This style of marketing quickly began to consume my time, but at the same time I slowly began to see my numbers grow. The more creative social media marketing that I implemented, the larger the customer base grew.

Now, I am seeing a very similar trend occurring with mobile marketing. Based on the statistics of many of the sites, I have been seeing a significant increase in mobile traffic. In fact, 30% of the traffic of one of my sites has been from a mobile browser.

This tells me that the number of smart phones have increased substantially. In fact, I recently conducted a survey of previous customers and had over 700 responses to the survey. The results of the survey show that 66% of previous customers have a smart phone.

According to these numbers, a major transition appears to be occurring. The years of traditional browsing are declining in exchange for ease of browsing in the palm of your hand. I would speculate that many folks may even replace their personal computer or laptop entirely with a mobile device. Seeing this trend, I have started to dedicate a tremendous amount of my time to mobile marketing. Just as I have mastered social media marketing, I think that a very similar result will occur with mobile marketing. Being ahead of the curve will give you the competitive edge.

In order to capitalize on mobile marketing, it is important to understand that marketing on a mobile device must be creative. As you know, not all advertising and marketing can revolve around banner ads. While these ads certainly reinforce your brand, they by no means have the effectiveness of using mobile optimized Websites, QR code readers, texting, social media, applications and more. Do not limit yourself to a single facet of your marketing approach. It is important to make it as multi-faceted and as trackable as possible. Let’s face it; if you can’t track it then you have no idea what was effective and what could use more work.

Recently, our team changed a local retail store’s entire shopping experience by integrating QR codes and a showroom texting program.   We created a QR code that was coded specifically for a unique product video page and placed on each product shelf card. Using this capability, we were able to improve the shopping experience by adding a personal sales message/commercial for each product that was scanned and viewed by the customer in the store.  By coding it for a unique page, it allowed us to track which products were being scanned, which videos had more effective sales pitches, product placement analysis, price-point analysis, and much more!

In addition, we also used texting to give people special offers while in the store. The text worked as an auto-responder which provided a coupon code that could be used at the register and essentially replaced in-store coupons (decreasing printing costs and providing a greener environment). This gave us the ability to grab customer data, analyze the effectiveness of the texting coupon, and send out additional offers to customers at a later time. By using different keywords you can track which offers were more effective and you can then give customers deals on similar products that are tailored to their needs and wants.

Of course, this is just one of many creative ways you can integrate mobile marketing into your business. With so many options out there, the possibilities are endless!

by Michael Book

Also read:

The new world of mobile marketing

Mobile marketing in the palm of your hand

Mob marketing:The power of texting

Mobile marketing: QR code power

Facebook Places:  A revolution in mobile marketing

Delegation: Are you set up to succeed?

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

DelegationEffective delegation does not occur in a vacuum.

Your organization or household culture has a big influence on how effectively you can delegate.

For example, some organizations praise managers for empowering their employees and encourage them to reward and recognize initiative – an environment that is ripe for delegating. Yet some organizations encourage micromanagement and martyrdom among their leaders, creating an environment that screams: “If you want it done right, do it yourself.”

But also look beyond the management mentality in your organization and to that of the rank-and-file employees. Are employees motivated and driven to take initiative? Or is your organization dominated by a bargaining unit, such as a union, that discourages employees from doing anything beyond their immediate job description.

For you to fully bring delegation to your work, you have to be in a workplace that will allow you to succeed. If employees are

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discouraged from stretching and growing beyond their current capabilities, or if your management does not trust the workforce, it will be difficult to practice the more ideal techniques of delegation.

But even if your company’s culture is less than optimal for delegating, practicing even some degree of delegation is better than none at all.

What You Should Do: Know your organization’s culture so you can determine how you will need to approach delegation as a whole.

High-performance work cultures are prime for delegation. But even if yours is less than ideal, some degree of delegation will still make you more effective than not delegating at all.

By Stephanie McFarland, APR, mcfarlandpr@gmail.com and Robert Dittmer, APR, bdittmer@bc-group.net

151 Quick Ideas for Delegating and Decision Making

 

Heat got you down? Don’t come to our hospital.

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Public Relations in CrisisA young man of 18 recently died in Louisville of heat-related symptoms after allegedly being denied care at one of the city’s largest hospital “Immediate Care Centers.”

Both sides of this painfully sad story need to be told before any

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judgment is forthcoming. And the truth must take precedence over perception and finger-pointing.

The young man became disoriented after working outdoors all day in mid-90’s heat and high humidity. His father and care-center employees have differing accounts of the incident. But the bottom line is the young man is dead.

This is huge in terms of public relations and image damage to a premier healthcare facility, known worldwide for its exceptional hospital and its notable specialty – cancer care.

The hospital’s chief medical officer, when confronted by inquiring media, said that their care-center employees did nothing inappropriate. Reluctant to talk initially, the young, deceased man’s Father responded with a very different account of the incident.

From a public relations perspective, the hospital is now acting and rightly perceived as defensive. And perception is reality. This grand, exceptional, world-renowned healthcare facility is suddenly experiencing negative public sentiment. Not because of what they did or didn’t do, but because they are the “institution” and the sentiment flows to the perceived, wronged individual.

Five lessons this hospital CEO might learn from this still blossoming crisis:

1. Create a media response plan. It should be part of any complete public relations plan for any organization. A crisis shouldn’t be the environment for creating a plan or reacting to media.

2. Make certain your chiefs know that statements made to media during a crisis can and will be held against you.

3. Have regularly scheduled meetings with all key division managers to discuss “what ifs.”

4. Rehearse how you’ll respond to an uncomfortable question.

5. Be pro-active in your public relations and media relations activities.

Sixth and last — rehearse again.

Neil Kuvin

People Skills: Creating and Maintaining Relationships

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
People SkillsHaving effective — and affective — people skills involves your relationships with others.
The best way to build and maintain a relationship is to apply both the Golden Rule and the Platinum Rule.The first encourages you to treat others as you want to be treated, and the second requires that you treat others as they want to be treated.

And generally both fall into two basic categories: Respect and trust.

If you treat others with respect, a basic tent of all relationships, they will trust you. And you need to maintain that trust to retain their respect. That means you have to do a lot of things right in every interaction. You have to maintain people’s confidences, you have to allow them to save face, you have to hear them, and let them be heard. The list is long, and it’s focused and tedious work some days, and every day with some people.

But if you want to build solid relationships that last, you have to behave in ways that secure them.

What You Should Do: Look more closely at your work and business relationships. What do you want

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from each. Now, what do you need to do to build and secure those relationships now and over time?

Building and maintaining relationships with people means you have to treat them in ways that clearly demonstrate trust and respect with every interaction. Learning how to create and maintain relationships is the critical step in developing effective people skills.

By Stephanie McFarland, APR, mcfarlandpr@gmail.com, and Robert Dittmer, APR, bdittmer@bc-group.net

151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills

Your Social Media Page Under Attack? Here’s what to do!

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Social MediaThe use of social media as a marketing, advertising and public relations platform is an exceptional way for a company to directly deliver its key messages to its target market.

It is also the new ‘public forum’ for disgruntled customers and organizations to voice their discontent and organize an ‘attack’ upon a company. Attacks can come at any time over many different issues, some public and some merely private beefs.

Watch for them. Monitor your social media sites and learn the things you can do if attacked.

There are approaches a company can utilize to diffuse the situation.

  1. Acknowledge the issue causing the negative postings.
  2. Post a “thank you” for calling the issue to the company’s attention.
  3. Be direct in stating the company is taking the issue very seriously.
  4. State that the company is being proactive in addressing the situation.
  5. Keep the lines of communication open.
  6. Announce the proactive steps the company is taking to remedy the situation.
  7. Remain professional in the response.
  8. Never let the response take on a negative personal tone by being defensive or sarcastic.
  9. If necessary and appropriate, take the discussion offline and work withe the person directly. But remember, everyone is watching, so if you have a positive response or outcome, let it play out for all to see.

Of course, there may be an argumentative person who is being completely unreasonable and using the platform only to ‘stir the pot’ who does not respond positively to a company’s overtures to correct a situation. In that event, strongly consider deleting the person’s posting and block that person from the site.

Check for ‘shadow sites.’ These are sites set up by individuals or organizations on social media pages intended to directly impact a company in a negative way. Monitor these sites and if one does directly damage the company, don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel.

By Peg McRoy Glover