Posts Tagged ‘Indiana’

Scough if you will…

Female Surgeon with mask closeup


I subscribe to a newsletter from Springwise that highlights new and interesting ideas from around the globe.

In a recent issue, an item in particular caught my eye — the Scough. It’s a scarf with a carbon filter that can kill bacteria or filter out pollution before you breathe in the nasty stuff. This was the inventor’s answer to the alternative of wearing an unattractive, and generally uncomfortable, surgical mask. Scarf plus cough equals Scough … get it?

Did you know the typical office desk has 100 times more germs than the average kitchen table? That’s according to PayScale. Gross. Here are some other dirty statistics:

  • There are 21,000 germs per square inch on your mouse, keyboard and chair.
  • Only 20% of people clean their work space before they eat.
  • And then we touch our faces 16 times every hour.
  • Flu viruses can survive on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours.
  • One out of three people go to work when sick.

All the more reason for a Scough! They have some attractive designs for men and women, and it appears several are already sold out.

I started to wonder: What if Scough partnered with the NFL and produced Scoughs with your favorite NFL team logo?

I picture Lambeau Field on a blustery day filled with fans wearing green and yellow Scoughs emblazoned with the Green Bay Packers logo! What better way to show your team spirit and protect your health from the person next to you who is hacking and coughing? And no, he is not covering his mouth.

Pretty creative idea! And here at Coles Marketing we can help you come up with creative ideas to help grow your business too.


Prepare to Clear Up the Content


The average adult’s attention span is now just eight seconds … which is down from 12 seconds in 2000. An interesting twist? That’s less than the average attention span of a goldfish, which is nine seconds, according to Statistic Brain.


Tiffany Whisner

Tiffany Whisner

And while you may think you are multi-tasking, you probably really aren’t. As noted in Entrepreneur Magazine, “Psychology Today” reports only two percent of people are actually good at multi-tasking. The rest of us are just scanning and browsing.


That means we need to make the content we deliver to clients and consumers more scannable and easier to digest.


Making content snackable

So what is snackable content? Kevin Dugan says, “Content is snackable when it is designed for simple and flexible audience consumption.”


While valuable content is a must, there are other elements that make your audience more likely to consume your content, whether it’s a blog, news article or social media post.


  1. Tell a story worth sharing: Ensure useful, timely and engaging content is created for the target audience.
  2. Headline grabber: Best practices for headlines include a focus on lower word count, asking readers a question, using a colon in the headline and giving an odd-numbered list of tips on a topic.
  3. Visuals matter: We process visuals more quickly than text, and they help the content stand out, inviting more user engagement.
  4. Get a design: Bring your content to life, no matter the platform, by applying a mix of aesthetic and utility to attract readers and make it easy for them to browse.
  5. Make it flexible: Your content must be compatible and ready to be consumed across many platforms, including mobile and desktop devices.


Get your list ready

Whether you love them or hate them, list-format articles — listicles — seem here to stay. Rachel Edidin from Wired says while lists may be overused, they are really, really useful.


Do you know why? Here’s a list. Lists:

  • Curate. Lists give us focused tables of contents in a world with near-infinite information at hand.
  • Give us additional ways to interact with information. Lists let us process complicated information spatially and place digestible bites of information in the context of a larger whole.
  • Are jumping-on points. A list will skim the surface of a broader body of content, giving you a series of contact points from which to explore further in your own time.
  • Are ethically neutral. Lists are not rotting your brain or lowering the standards of journalism. They are just another tool in the toolbox.
  • Are not giving you ADHD. As Edidin says in her article, “Is ADHD just a word you throw around when you want to complain about how much better things were in the Grand Old Days?” While lists have been picked apart and attacked, they probably won’t go anywhere soon.


The basics are evolving

Sure, a compelling story with valuable content is still most important. But if your company or organization wants to continue to engage clients and customers, then you need to adapt to our modern world filled with information and distractions.


Want a fun and factual list for every second of the day? Check out BuzzFeed’s The ListiClock!


Then, contact the Coles team to take your content to the next level.


Using Social Media to Consume News


How often are you skimming through Facebook, Twitter or another social media platform and find a link to a news story you find interesting? How frequently do you click on it and consume that information?


Christopher Lloyd

Christopher Lloyd

Go to socialize, stay to learn

The short answer for most people is: a lot. The average social media user, especially young adults, is encountering news in digital communities — even when they didn’t necessarily go there looking for it.


Whether stories are shared by one of your friends or those you are following, appear as a sponsored link or turn up in a comment thread, increasingly the serendipity of social media is leading people — especially younger folks in that ultra-desirable demographic — to become news consumers.


Numbers tell the tale

Consider these recent data points:

  • The Pew Research Center says Facebook users don’t go to the site looking for news, but often find it there anyway. About 78% encounter news links while visiting Facebook for other purposes. As a result, many adults 18 to 29 are seeing news they might not otherwise get.
  • Only a quarter of adults under age 30 say they enjoy following the news a lot — compared to 42% of those ages 39-49, 49% ages 50-64 and 58% of seniors 65 and up.
  • Millennials, often referred to as “digital natives,” cite social media as their largest source for news at 68%, according to Ypulse — higher than those who receive it through news websites (62%), TV (55%), radio (44%) or newspapers (33%).
  • Facebook is working harder to push news to its members, especially on mobile devices. In February, the company launched Paper, an iPhone app that makes it easy to review your news feed.
  • Facebook also added a trending section to the right side of the news feed. According to Justin Lafferty, users can click to see posts by friends, celebrities and public profiles on the trending topics.
  • Twitter is a smaller social network than Facebook, but it has a greater percentage of active news consumers. It has built a reputation as a service for breaking news. Amy-Mae Elliott notes in Mashable how many notable news stories have broken on Twitter.


Potential for customers

Needless to say, both traditional journalism outlets and smart companies look to these findings with tremendous interest.


Reporters and editors obviously want to draw eyeballs to consume the content they produce — usually selling advertising to pay for it, and/or putting the info you want behind a paywall.


For brands, it’s a trickier game. Many social media users get turned off by a brazen sell pitch. That’s part of the reason why more and more companies are turning to brand journalism to produce information that’s useful or interesting to their audience. They are finding out what customers are talking about and producing content to engage them.


Engagement + conversation

Looking to engage your social media visitors and then turn them into customers? The Coles team has the experience and tools to help you along the path from engagement to conversion!


MHS Sponsors Project Home Indy Mother’s Day Brunch


Kelly Krauskopf, president and general manager of the WNBA Indiana Fever, will be the keynote speaker at Project Home Indy’s Mother’s Day Brunch. It is presented by community partner Managed Health Services (MHS).


The third annual Boutiques and Brunch Benefit takes place Sunday, May 4 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at The Crane Bay, 551 West Merrill St. in Indianapolis.


This fundraising event is meant to honor and pamper those special women in our lives — moms, grandmas, sisters, aunts and friends who are both mentors and role models.


Krauskopf, the Indiana Fever’s chief operating officer since the franchise was founded in 1999, was named general manager in 2004 and then team president in 2012, when the team won the WNBA championship. She has been a member of the committee to select the women’s roster for the Olympics since 2000 and was in the forefront of the development of the league.


FeverLogoIF YOU GO:

  • Boutiques and Brunch Benefit
  • For Project Home Indy
  • Sunday, May 4
  • 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • The Crane Bay, 551 West Merrill St., Indianapolis
  • Browse boutique booths with jewelry, clothing, accessories, novelty candy treats and more. Each boutique will donate 20% of sales to Project Home Indy.
  • Individual tickets are $45. This includes brunch, access to the boutiques as well as hear Krauskopf’s inspiring story.
  • To register:


Project Home Indy serves homeless teen girls who are pregnant or parenting, focusing on education, life and job skills training and healthcare. This facility provides a safe, structured and supportive environment and helps residents learn to be self-sufficient heads of their own families.


MHS is a client for which the Coles team provides many services, including public relations, media relations and social media outreach. Coles also works with MHS on statewide advertising efforts, both traditional and digital, and develops a variety of creative projects, including branding and logo design, ad design and collateral print materials.


Stop Dissing and Dismissing Social Media


One day when I was working at a major metropolitan newspaper, the top editor caught me watching “The Simpsons” on company time.


Christopher Lloyd

Christopher Lloyd

No, I didn’t get fired for it, or even rebuked. Turns out I was researching a story on the then-nascent phenomenon of television networks posting entire episodes on their websites and how it and streaming services like Netflix were changing the way we watch TV.


Still, I’m sure in that moment I turned around to see him looking over my shoulder, both of us briefly thought he had encountered an employee engaged in an epic goof-off.


Unfortunately, that attitude seems to prevail in many businesses, where seeing the familiar blue highlights of Facebook on an employee’s computer screen has often been perceived as broadcasting to everyone that they’re not working — even if they’re in charge of the company’s social media presence.


Get serious about social media

A recent PR conference even featured a symposium titled, “Dispel your boss’s 3 biggest fears about workplace social media.”


If companies are ever going to get serious about using social media for outreach, then this attitude has to change. While you shouldn’t be exchanging baby photos with your sorority sisters on Instagram at work, Facebook, Twitter and similar platforms are increasingly the way people connect in our society … including how many companies acquire new clients.


Connecting with customers

As marketing professionals, we’re often tasked with monitoring a client’s social media pages or making posts to them. Because of Facebook’s page admin system, you log in via your own personal page and then switch over to various identities. However, alerts about all pages to which you have administration rights keep arriving no matter who you’re “facing” at any particular moment.


So despite the oft-heard admonishment that you “don’t do Facebook at work,” I’ve actually had days where I never turned it off, running it and other social media on tabbed Web browsers all day long!


Plenty of people also connect via professional networks and group pages on LinkedIn and other platforms. They can direct each other to a particular resource or even hash through a common shared problem.


Tips for social media success

Even seemingly boring, “non-sexy” brand names have found ways to be exciting to their audience on social media. Kevin Allen at PR Daily has a helpful infographic about how even ho-hum brands like Dockers (think “Dad pants”) can project coolness.


If your business is stuck in the Neanderthal stage of social media, Carrie Morgan of the Rock the Status Quo blog has a list of three five-minute tasks you can undertake to add value to your social media status or your client’s.


They include:

  • Share releases on LinkedIn
  • Share company newsletters on Facebook
  • Comment on noteworthy articles online


Need help with your social media presence? We’re here for you!


Give Audiences the News They Want


The word “newsroom” may give people the thought of a room of editors and reporters hustling and bustling to get the latest breaking news and convey a variety of stories to their viewers or readers via one publication or station.


Tiffany Whisner

Tiffany Whisner

When it comes to an online newsroom, however, your corporation or organization needs to make sure to focus on multiple audience interests.


It’s a one-stop-shop for ANYONE, not just the media, to learn everything they need to know about your business. So make sure all your different audiences get what they want.


Steps to building an effective newsroom

In his article, Jon Bernstein says, “Building an effective brand newsroom isn’t about creating the next big phenomenon. It’s about consistently giving an audience what it wants.”


Here are some ways to do so:

  1. Define your audience. Create a persona of your ideal customer. Every time you produce a piece of content, consider what angle best suits his or her needs.
  2. Establish an editorial proposition. Provide information that is useful and valuable to your target audience. Don’t just talk about your own brand.
  3. Find your tone of voice. Being relaxed, informal and direct works well, especially when working across multiple channels.
  4. Establish no-go areas. Define up front the subject areas you are willing to write about and those you should avoid.
  5. Be ready to react to breaking news. You must be able to publish and distribute content on the fly with skill, confidence and authority. You also must know which medium will work best.


How to design an online newsroom

Then, what are the basics that must be included in an effective online newsroom? Jackson Wightman shares some of the elements in his article for PR Daily.


  • Make media contact details obvious. There should be a person who is listed as the point of contact. This should be above the fold and highlighted.
  • Link to news releases and media coverage. This provides an out for journalists in a hurry who may not be able to speak with your company’s or client’s executives.
  • Include a media backgrounder. Have a least one backgrounder on the company and one on a new line, product or service you’re launching.
  • Include executive bios. Some press segments will want to know about the bosses. Be safe and include these.
  • Be social. Your newsroom should have clear social media links. Brands may also embed widgets to display the latest social status updates.
  • Multimedia content is a MUST! This can make or break your newsroom. Have hi- and Web-res photos, along with videos, audio recordings and logos.
  • Show off case studies. Why not show interested media how you’ve helped clients overcome their problems?
  • Display blog content on the homepage. Feature relevant, popular blogs on your newsroom homepage.
  • Make it all searchable. Media are time-crunched. They will abandon ship if they can’t find what they want.
  • Optimize around keywords. The online newsroom offers a chance to optimize content based on keywords.


If you build it, they will come

According to the 2013 newsroom report, “How the World’s Top 100 Brands Are Using Online Newsrooms to Tell Their Stories,” noted in this article by Lisa Buyer, 98 percent of brands report they have an online newsroom. But 35 percent fail to keep news up to date.


The online newsroom is a great opportunity to tap into all the quality content that can add value to media as well as potential customers and clients. And we have a team to make your online newsroom the best it can be!


Walk with Olivia Newton-John and Colts’ Chuck Pagano!



You’re the one that I want! Star of the movie musical “Grease,” Grammy award winner Olivia Newton-John is getting her walking shoes ready for a special event taking place in downtown Indianapolis.


Newton-John will join Indianapolis Head Coach Chuck Pagano and his wife Tina to lead the Pink and Blue for Two “walk within the Mini-Marathon” on May 3.


They will take part in the Finish Line 500 Festival 5K and walk to raise awareness for Pink and Blue for Two. The Coles team is helping promote the event and the cause with Newton-John’s nephew, Emerson, a race car driver.


Pink and Blue for Two’s mission is threefold:

  • Raise awareness of both breast and prostate cancers and their similarities
  • Urge couples and family members to remind one another of annual screenings
  • Educate people on the importance of overall mind, body and spirit wellness


Coach Pagano was forced to take a leave of absence from the Indianapolis Colts after being diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow cells. He beat cancer after treatment and grueling rounds of chemotherapy.


“When I was approached to take part in the Pink and Blue for Two Walk in Indy, I was honored,” Pagano said. “With the support of my family, the team and fans everywhere, I beat cancer. The Pink and Blue for Two campaign embraces that spirit.”


“I am thrilled to have Coach Chuck and his wife Tina leading the Pink and Blue for Two Walk,” Newton-John said. “We cannot think of a better Indy-based couple to lead this walk with us representing Pink and Blue. We hope the city and its loyal NFL fans embrace Pink and Blue for Two and will stand with us together to bring the desperately-needed attention to the ‘blue’ (prostate) side of the campaign.”


Want to take part in the walk and join Olivia and Chuck to raise awareness? Sign up today for the Pink and Blue for Two Walk here!


Like Pink and Blue for Two on Facebook and follow on Twitter. For more information on the organization, visit


Step out and join the cause on May 3, 2014. Screen Together. Live Together!




INDATA Project Shares Disability Awareness Message



The INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads is a Coles client and provides information and access to assistive technology, at no charge, for Hoosiers with disabilities.


Assistive technology is any item, piece of equipment or product system that is used to increase, maintain or improve the capabilities of people with disabilities.


With March as Disability Awareness Month, INDATA continues to share its message with individuals with disabilities and their families throughout the state of Indiana.


INDATA’s core services include:

  • Information and referrals
  • Funding assistance
  • Public awareness and education
  • Device demonstration
  • Device loans
  • Device reutilization


“Ensuring individuals with disabilities and their families are aware of the full array of resources available to increase their independence is critically important,” said INDATA Director Wade Wingler. “The INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads is committed to participating in disability awareness activities throughout the month of March. We want to share our message of how assistive technology tools can make an enormous difference in the lives of people with disabilities of all ages.”


INDATA also provides low-interest, extended rate financial loans to qualified individuals through the Alternative Financing Program (AFP).


The loans are used to purchase assistive technology devices such as:

  • Wheelchairs
  • Motorized scooters
  • Hearing aids
  • Augmentative communication devices
  • Braille equipment
  • Computers
  • Motor vehicle/home modifications


How can you learn more about INDATA? Visit Each Monday, INDATA produces a new assistive technology video on its YouTube Channel.


INDATA produces two weekly podcasts — Assistive Technology Update and Accessibility Minute. Check them out!


They also operate a 24/7 resource for assistive technology information on Assistive Technology Radio. Listen now!



How to Navigate Social Negativity



It’s something most of us have dealt with at one time or another — negative coverage about you and your business. But how do you respond, particularly when it relates to social media? Or do you respond at all?


Tiffany Whisner

Tiffany Whisner

How you and your company handle negative posts and comments on social media can determine the future of your business and its reputation.


Think before you tweet

Maybe you posted a comment on your social media profile without really thinking how offensive it was. Take former PR executive Justine Sacco for example. Her thoughtless tweet about AIDS in Africa cost Sacco her job.


As stated in a CNN article, “The incident was a glaring reminder that every word uttered on the Internet can be heard by seemingly everyone on the Internet, sometimes with serious consequences.”


Maybe you had really … REALLY … bad timing. After the tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon, cooking site Epicurious promoted some recipes on Twitter. “In honor of Boston and New England, may we suggest: whole-grain cranberry scones!” Needless to say, the line was crossed.


Then there’s just bad planning. Home Depot posted a tweet to promote College GameDay. It didn’t take long for the Twitterverse to note the extremely offensive — and racist — tweet, which said, “Which drummer is not like the others?” “Ignorant oversight or not,” said a Digiday article, “brands should know by now that they should avoid ever tweeting anything that has even the slightest chance of being interpreted as racist.”


Handling the negativity

Justine Sacco apologized in a written statement and deleted her Twitter account. Epicurious removed the offensive tweet but then went days without tweeting. Home Depot deleted the tweet, called it “stupid” and apologized.


How should your business respond without letting the negative situation get out of control? Here are tips from Dorothy Crenshaw at PR Daily:

  1. Do respond. Often, a lack of response is seen as a validation of the criticisms or, at best, an information vacuum. The sooner the response, the easier it will be to control the situation.
  2. Don’t dignify baseless rumors. One exception to the above is the case of an unsubstantiated rumor, where you risk calling more attention to it by responding.
  3. Let your advocates defend you. If you have trusted clients or customers willing to comment in your defense, let them. The essence of reputation is what others say about you in public.
  4. Don’t overreact. It’s natural to feel emotional or defensive when attacked. If you can’t be objective, seek objective advice.
  5. Ask for equal time. Most legitimate websites or news sources will give you the opportunity to respond to a questionable story or comment. Where details are wrong, your smartest approach is to calmly insist on your right to set the record straight.
  6. Use objective facts and figures. A convincing response usually involves statistics or objective facts and cites sources. Where possible, quote third parties.
  7. If you’re at fault, apologize. If your company made a mistake, admit it and offer a prompt, sincere apology. Take responsibility. Then, take steps to fix the situation or make amends.
  8. Look for the opportunities. Public criticism can be a gift in disguise. Think about whether it could be an opportunity to remedy a problem or improve your business.


Accentuate the positive
“Negative reviews can function as a modern-day comment box and provide you with valuable information and insight on how you can improve,” said Matthew Peneycad of RGB Social.


And leaving negative comments, instead of deleting them, shows your company’s willingness to be transparent with consumers. This will lead to increased trust, a more legitimate brand and a more loyal following in the future.



Get FREE Tax Prep Services!


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began accepting tax returns on January 31 — the 2014 tax season has officially begun.


It’s a season of heartache and headache for many people. And the process can become only more painful if you delay filing your taxes until the last minute.


So do you qualify for FREE tax preparation services? If you made $58,000 or less in 2013, you just may!


Indy Free Tax Prep wants to help prepare your taxes. Indy Free Tax Prep is a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) IRS program. In 2013, more than 6,000 tax returns were prepared for Indianapolis residents at no cost through this effort, resulting in more than $7.2M in tax refunds.


In order to qualify for free tax prep services, you must be able to provide all of the following information:

  • Valid picture ID
  • Social Security cards or ITIN cards for all persons on return
  • Copy of last year’s tax return (not required, but helpful)
  • W-2 forms for all employment during 2013
  • Interest and dividend statements
  • All 1099 forms received, including 1099 SSA from the Social Security Administration and unemployment statements
  • Education expense receipts and 1098 form
  • Child care receipts, along with provider’s address and Social Security number/employer identification number
  • Real estate property tax receipts
  • Landlord name and address
  • Bank routing number and account number for direct deposit


Taxpayers receive 100% of their refunds with no fees or interest charged.


Since 2009, Coles Marketing has been helping to promote the VITA program in Indianapolis. For more information, visit


Find a site near you by calling 2-1-1 or checking the website. Also, “like” the Indy Free Tax Prep Facebook page at and “follow” on Twitter at