Good Impressions, 10.27.2011

CSR - Serial entrepreneur and former CEO of Tweezerman, Dal LaMagna, speaks to Scott James about “finally getting it right” using “responsible capitalism,” which LaMagna believes created happy employees, loyal customers, and satisfied vendors, not to mention capturing the community’s respect. - American companies that give back the most. Kroger was ranked number 1 by The Chronicle of Philanthropy and Forbes for “companies that are most generous in their cash donations as a percentage of pre-tax profits.”   read more »

Don’t Ignore the Elephant in the Room, 10.21.2011

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons User MG

  During a recent trip, I picked up the book “Switch” by authors Chip and Dan Heath. The book explains that each person has a strong emotional and analytical component. The authors refer to these facets as the elephant and the rider, respectively. According to the book, the elephant and rider must be in tandem to make a change on any level--individual, social, or corporate. I think this method of reflection is pertinent to the work of communications, marketing, and public relations professionals. The take home message for us isn’t necessarily how to make a change, but rather how we can develop compelling examples and materials to demonstrate why our clients are special, and why the public should view their work as such. The best way to represent a client is in a manner that evokes both analytical and emotional rationale when people see, experience, and read about their work. It's true that a strong elephant is quite weak without its rider, and vice versa. However, we should also recognize that an emotional connection (elephant) can be an extremely motivating factor for employees, colleagues, and audiences alike, and we should infuse this bond into our work and support it with research and numbers (rider). *Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Switch, Broadway Books: New York, 2010.  

Good Impressions, 10.20.2011

Courtesy freephotos.com user Jay

Social Media - Are you maximizing your efforts for social media optimization? Lauren Yontef provides these six tips for amping up your online content in Six @ Six: Basic Tips for Social Optimization. - Bennie Langenhoven of Tellumat Communication Solutions writes that “[s]ocial media has already become widely used in business, but its impact will be felt even more pervasively in the future, as unified communications and other applications find a natural home in a social setting.” Are social-UC apps the way of the future in business? read more »

Good Impressions, 10.13.2011

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons User Forest & Kim Starr.

CSR - Paul Klein, contributing writer to Forbes’ CSR Blog, writes that “taking corporate social responsibility to the next level means having the conviction to stand for a social purpose, even if that means walking away from conventional business thinking.” Is your business ready to put social purpose ahead of your company’s monetary profits? It’s certainly a commitment that is not for the faint of heart. - The article Overfed, But Undernourished: Generation Y’s Hunger for CSR on LeapCR’s Good Business Blog addresses Gen Y’s desire to “make a meaningful impact in the community” as part of the organization in which they are involved. Victoria Williams, Researcher at Leap, encourages businesses to “involve [Gen Yers] in your social purpose to keep them engaged and dedicated.” Putting CSR discussions into action will give Gen Yers—and surely others—motivation for doing social good. read more »

Put Your Best Foot Forward and the Right Steps Will Follow, 10.07.2011

Courtesy User Wrobell, Wikimedia Commons

A Malleable Mold The way I see it, your brand should be your best friend, but if it’s not closely managed it can become a pesky nemesis. Assessing your company’s values and committing to put your best foot forward as your business treads its walk of life is essential. If you find yourself reevaluating what your company means—internally and externally—frequently, it’s time to take a step back and clarify your company’s purpose and desired modes of progression. Those who understand a company’s vision and from there are able to see their brand as a malleable mold may find the most success. A mold identifies the parameters in which to operate and gives you the confidence to go about your everyday operations, and malleability will allow those boundaries to adapt when necessary. Just like a good employee, your brand must reflect the company’s vision, support the company’s everyday efforts, and become a dependable portrayal of what your company encompasses. You wouldn’t let an employee run free—don’t settle for less with your brand, either.  

Good Impressions, 10.06.2011

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CSR - The 7-stage evolution of a socially responsible brand. Simon Mainwaring, contributing writer to Mashable and founder of social branding consultancy We First, writes that companies are beginning to “recognize the potential financial and reputational advantages they can gain by engaging with consumers around the shared ambition of building a better world.” Be sure to peruse Mainwaring’s seven stages to establish brand leadership. - A higher ambition for CSR: corporate social purpose. Forbes’ CSR Blog Contributor Paul Klein discusses a Harvard Business Review article by Nathan Foote, Russell Eisenstat, and Tobias Fredberg titled “The Higher Ambition Leader.” Specifically, Klein applauds the writers’ efforts to clarify the difference between CSR and corporate social purpose. Take a peek at the three-part approach to achieving “higher ambition” leadership success.   read more »

Strength in Others, 09.30.2011

 

Courtesy User:JackyR, wikipedia.en

Social Media - Is there a world where social media marketers can directly engage with consumers, and where users happily accept brand presence? Simon Esler, contributing writer to Social Media Explorer and Co-Founder and Managing Partner of ConvoNation, discusses this concept in his article “The Consumer Versus Brand Conflict in Social Media.” - By now you’ve probably heard about and/or experienced Facebook’s “frictionless sharing,” where users can approve a media partner app and their music, articles, or videos—depending on which app you install—are automatically uploaded to their timeline for all to see. How do you feel about sharing your activity? Do you consider some media sources more private than others? read more »

“Houston Remembers” and 10 Key Tips for Your Event Day, 09.28.2011

20K Group was honored to produce "Houston Remembers," an event commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9/11 at Discovery Green on September 9, 2011. Presented by Dignity Memorial, the event's focus was dedicated to those whose lives were lost in the attacks, their families, the survivors and the emergency responders who courageously tended to the relief efforts during the crisis and its aftermath.   The event went off without a hitch, and, more importantly, our client was thrilled. And now, we're divulging our top 10 event day secrets to you. We hope these tips will prove useful at your next event! We're always looking for new ideas and maximum efficiency, so please feel free to add yours to our comments section. 1. Create a Master Contact List. Instead of arranging your contact sheet in alphabetical order by last name, try sorting contacts by their organization and using different colors to identify each group. For the day-of, we also make pocketsize contact cards with VIP event contacts, like security and technical personnel, and laminate them for safe-keeping. 2. Functionality over Fashion. People might not remember what you wore during an event, but they’ll definitely remember if it was bad. By all means, look cute and professional, but f you’re a woman, we advise you to give the heels a break on event day and throw on a pair of flats. A recent addition we made to our wardrobes for “Houston Remembers” was the iPhone lanyard. Fashion-forward? Definitely not. But functionality wins out when you need to be in five different places at the same time and have calls and texts coming in at warp speed. You don't want to misplace or break that life force at any cost! read more »

Strength in Others, 09.23.2011

Communications Olio - Jazz up your reading materials with these 17 marketing blogs, courtesy of The Future Buzz's Adam Singer, that may not have the privilege of calling you a follower just yet.  Did you already know about some of these blogs?  Share your favorites with us in the comments section! - Harrison Kratz of Social Fresh shares some great pointers for setting up your own social good communications strategy. Kratz advises you to start from a core network of supporters who share your passion—friends, family, and acquaintances—and build out your campaign through targeted social outlets. The bullet that we find the most important is “own your identity.”  Define your cause through a carefully crafted mission for your initiative to be fully understood from the top down.  The manner in which you distribute this information depends on your online communication culture.  With clear goals and a united front, more will follow! read more »

Strength in Others, 09.16.2011

Corporate Social Responsibility - On the heels of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Deidre H. Campbell, head of financial communications for Burson-Marsteller and contributing writer to Forbes, reflects on the tough decade in her article America’s Reputation Is Every Company’s Responsibility. Campbell lists these three U.S. businesses as leaders in CSR: 1) Google.org, 2) charity: water, and 3) Clinton Global Initiative. Campbell’s advice? “Your organization can’t save the entire world, but you can bring about substantial change if you get specific.” - The 2008 financial collapse forced all companies to identify cost-saving measures, including the funds allocated for corporate social responsibility efforts. In this Philly.com article, writer Gordon Bajnai reminds companies to “be mindful of the wide circle of stakeholders in the community,” defining the ‘wide circle’ as “employees, the environment, and the state.” Can CSR help America avoid a double-dip recession? read more »