Posts Tagged ‘Indianapolis public relations’
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?
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Don’t overreact. It’s natural to feel emotional or defensive when attacked. If you can’t be objective, seek objective advice.
- 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.
- Use objective facts and figures. A convincing response usually involves statistics or objective facts and cites sources. Where possible, quote third parties.
- 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.
- 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.
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 IndyFREETaxPrep.com.
Find a site near you by calling 2-1-1 or checking the website. Also, “like” the Indy Free Tax Prep Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Indy-Free-Tax-Prep/568872853205588 and “follow” on Twitter at https://twitter.com/indyfreetaxprep.
When it comes to colors, I admit to being a stereotypical guy: I don’t really pay much attention.
Ask me to name the eye color of someone I interact with daily, and I’ll probably be stumped. When it comes to clothes, I dress from the ground up, picking from a small rotation of shoes, then selecting pants that match them, and finally a shirt that (I hope) goes with the rest.
But like a lot of people who don’t consciously spend a lot of brain power on color, we’re all subtly influenced by hue in most everything we see. And that includes marketing and advertising.
See it, feel it
The Logo Company has a terrific guide to how people react psychologically to color in logo design:
Yellow – Clarity and warmth (Brand examples: Best Buy, Subway)
Orange – Cheerful and confident (Fanta, Nickelodeon)
Red – Youthful and bold (Target, Nintendo)
Purple – Imaginative and wise (T-Mobile, Taco Bell)
Blue – Dependable and strong (Dell, Lowe’s)
Green – Growth and health (Whole Foods, Publix)
Gray – Calm (Apple, Hyundai)
As a result, it’s not surprising to find many medical/health companies utilizing blue in their marketing, while many oil and energy companies pick green to connote a sense of being friendly to the environment.
How to leverage the luminosity
Leo Widrich of Buffer has a good roundup on PR Daily about how best to leverage color in marketing. For example, if you’re pitching mainly to a female audience, favor purple and avoid gray, according to KISSmetrics. For men, try black and downplay purple. Both genders like blue and green, and both dislike brown and orange.
All this may sound like a bunch of hooey, but studies have proven the effect of color on marketing choices. HubSpot ran an experiment to see if the color of a button would affect conversion rates, and discovered that a red button got 21 percent more clicks than the same one in green.
Of course, color has less of an effect on certain people. Roughly eight percent of men have some degree of color blindness, and 0.5 percent of women. Mark Zuckerberg famously chose blue as the dominant shade for Facebook because that’s the color he sees best, being red-green colorblind.
Hue you gonna call?
At Coles Marketing, we have an experienced team of graphic and Web designers who know all about how color fits into brand strategy. Let us find the right shade for your marketing outreach!
Better Business Bureaus across the country, including Coles’ client BBB serving Central Indiana, are seeing a rash of the “One Ring Scam” on cell phones. Returning a missed call from an unknown phone number might be tempting, but it could cost you.
Here is how the scam works:
- Your phone rings once or twice and — with most phones having Caller ID — the number will show as “unknown” or a long distance area code you’re not familiar with on the screen.
- By the time you answer it, no one is on the other end of the phone and they will not leave a voicemail. So, you may try calling back, only to find no one is answering or there is only noise on the other end.
It’s called the “One Ring Scam,” and it is part of a practice called phone cramming.
Cell phone plans are billed through automation and usage on both incoming and outgoing calls. You are recognized if you answer the call, and a billing statement is passed through from the service provider on the other end of the line.
The scammers count on the fact that consumers don’t always look closely at their monthly statements, which may include a premium rate of $19.95 plus international fees. Or if they do review their statements, consumers might assume the charges are legitimate.
Several Better Business Bureaus are reporting this is happening to consumers, and the number shows up as unknown or an international phone number. Victims have reported calls originating from the Caribbean Islands, like Grenada, Antigua, Jamaica and the British Virgin Islands.
If you think you’re a victim of the scam, immediately notify your cell phone provider, and keep an eye on your phone bill. The earlier the fraud is documented, the better your chances are for having some or all of the charges removed.
To find out more about scams and to read up on the latest, check out BBB Scam Stopper.
Start with someone you can trust. Visit Better Business Bureau serving Central Indiana at indy.bbb.org.
This year more than any year, it was a good thing the event was not just about the game.
So many revelers were done with the sport of it all by halftime (including the Denver Broncos). What kept tens of millions of viewers milling around during such a blowout? The entertainment of the halftime show and the advertisements, of course!
Second screens, first impressions
But it was also those second screens — the computers or mobile devices in viewers’ hands during the game — that carried the The Big Game’s mega-marketing machine. Turns out, the second screen makes it more than just a one-day event for marketers.
Of the social media brands, Twitter came out on top as the most-used platform during and after the game. Brands used hashtags on 57% of the prime-time ads, while their Web addresses only appeared in 43%.
What has become the biggest advertising bonanza on TV is also the biggest real-time advertising event of the year. Beyond the mentions on social media, the advertising has lingering effects.
A Forbes blogger shares the “7 Super Bowl XLVIII Commercials That Won The Internet” based on mentions during the game as measured by SAP Social Analytics by Netbase. By that standard, Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” won the most attention by far. The other six are Coca Cola, Microsoft, Doritos, Chrysler, Radio Shack and then Intuit QuickBooks. You can view the entire selection of TV ads here at AdAge.
But there are other ways to measure advertisers’ success. For one thing, nearly all the ads had pre-game play on the Internet. That’s when they enjoyed triple the sharing power than during the game itself.
Beyond The Big Game
There is also data about the lingering effects and continuing engagement with the ads after the game. That’s where Chevrolet achieved the greatest impact across all of its social communities between the Sunday game day and the following Tuesday, while Coca Cola added the most fans and followers to its already massive number of adoring consumers.
But if you are looking at lift in consumer purchase consideration, Chevrolet and Coke didn’t even make the list. The top five advertisers with a post-game increase in purchase consideration were M&M’s, Jeep, Audi, Hyundai and Doritos.
The second-screen action before, during and after the game is keeping brand awareness lit up. In fact, some of the biggest winners of social engagement didn’t advertise during the game.
Esurance waited until after the game to promote its $1.5 million giveaway, which was the money it saved by waiting to run its spot. People were required to tweet the #EsuranceSave30 hashtag to enter. Within a minute, 200,000 people had tweeted entries. Over the next 36 hours of the contest, 5.4 million tweets had been entered.
Advertising without advertising
Non-advertiser Newcastle Brown Ale received more than five million views of its YouTube Non-Commercial for The Big Game. And non-advertiser J.C. Penney was the second-most-tweeted brand during the game. J.C. Penney used a #TweetingWithMittens stunt that almost backfired as the retailer’s tweets appeared to be from a drunken writer. But some quick thinking to reveal the campaign hashtag salvaged the potential image damage and rewarded the brand with social success. (Unfortunately, that social media success wasn’t able to save the 33 stores scheduled to close.)
At the end of the game, there is no one measure of success. Sometimes there may even be better ways to engage your audience on the second screen than even the main screen, especially if the game is a blowout.
Inspired to delve into a new social media or advertising campaign? Give us a call at Coles Marketing for a digital-age, #IntegratedMarketing partner.
A strong, positive business image is essential to success but hard to build and often harder to maintain. Negative word of mouth can put your company into receivership through:
• Lost revenues that occur when unhappy clients decide to go elsewhere
• Increased advertising costs incurred in order to offset your negative image
• Costs inherent in replacing unsatisfied clients
• Missed opportunities to serve potential new clients who heard from the disgruntled former client (or someone they talked to first)
Given the immense impact of negative word of mouth on your image and your business success, evaluating your client interactions is a necessity. Are you or your staff committing any of the 11 Deadly Sins of Client Service?
Deadly Sin #1: I know-it-all.
Do you listen thoroughly or do you interrupt with a recommendation before you client is finished explaining the problem? Do you try to force a quick decision before clients have a chance to weigh the options? Do you give a client all the options available, or do you pre-select options for them? All of these tendencies leave clients feeling rushed and misunderstood.
Deadly Sin #2: You’re bothering me.
Do your staff’s conversations with their co-workers or personal phone calls take precedence over a client that’s waiting? Do your staff members make “inside jokes” in a client’s presence? Do your facial expressions reveal a negative attitude toward serving this client? Train your staff to attend to clients immediately and in a uniformly congenial manner.
Deadly Sin #3: I don’t know.
The primary reason for client dissatisfaction is staff ignorance. Clients expect a staff member at your business to know about your services or products. Of course, there are always questions that must be researched. When this occurs, don’t guess. Simply reply, “I’ll find out,” then do it – immediately – and get back to them when promised.
Deadly Sin #4: You don’t know.
Do you ever register annoyance with a client that asks numerous or (in your opinion) simple, silly questions? There are no dumb questions! Don’t make a client feel inferior because he is confused. Take the attitude: “If the client doesn’t understand my explanation, then I’m not explaining it very well.”
Deadly Sin #5: I don’t care.
Clients want you to positively reinforce their choice to do business with you. They want you to care about serving them. Do you or your staff members make comments in front of clients like “I hate working this shift”? Are there any signs on desks that read, “I’d rather be golfing”? When your staff’s attitude, conversation or appearance makes it clear that they’d rather be somewhere else, your clients feel unappreciated.
Deadly Sin #6: Hello. You must be the client from Hell.
No one enjoys an encounter with a hostile client but occasionally bad things happen to good clients, and it’s your job to lend your help – not mirror the client’s anger back to him or her. Get good training for your front line staff so that they know how to deal with a client’s anger in a positive way. This benefits your business, your clients and your staff.
Deadly Sin #7: So we messed up.
As much as we strive to be error-free, we aren’t. When the error is yours, phone or send an apology. Be sincere, personal and timely.
Deadly Sin #8: The other guy messed up.
Scapegoating is not classy, and it does not reflect well on you or your business. Of course, not everything that affects your client’s experience is within your control. When problems do occur, take the initiative to find out what your client needs now. Then help your client problem-solve (ie: Is there an alternative shipper? Do we have anything in stock that will work for now?) Out of this adversity will rise an opportunity for you to actually improve your reputation.
Deadly Sin #9: Sorry – a rule is a rule.
Of course you must follow company policy – but if a client has to wai any amount of time in your waiting room, and then asks to use your phone to tell the babysitter he’ll be late – it would be imprudent to say, “Sorry, that’s for internal use only.” Counsel your new hires and inexperienced staff members to ask for the advice of a supervisor when a client’s request pushes the boundaries of your company policy. If a request is truly unattainable, try to strike a compromise with the client or recommend an alternative.
Deadly Sin #10: You’re not welcome here.
It’s hard to imagine a businessperson actually saying that, but that meaning can be conveyed in many ways. Do your staff members pay equal attention to everyone who walks in the door regardless of size, shape, age, color, educational level, taste in clothing, etc.? If everyone who walks through your door is treated with equal vigor, courtesy and respect, he or she will walk out with a good impression (and a positive story to tell to others about your business).
Deadly Sin #11: We take your business for granted.
You must convey your sincere appreciation to your clients – because they had a choice to go elsewhere and didn’t. The most common occasions for thanking clients are:
• At the beginning and end of every transaction
• After they offer comments and suggestions
• When they try a new product or service
• After they recommend you to a friend
• When they are patient
Maintaining your good reputation with clients is the most effective (and least costly) form of advertising available. It’s cheaper to maintain current clients than to develop new ones. The suggestions listed above will aid you in your quest to keep the client satisfied and keep their stories about your business positive.
Americans spent approximately $1.1 billion on Valentine’s Day sweets this year, according to the National Confectioners Association, and 75 percent of it was chocolate.
In the spirit of interesting, candy-related trivia, my co-worker Shawn Sorrells asked me the question: “What’s been named the most influential candy bar?” I guessed Snickers. I was wrong. What do you think?
Can you believe the answer is Kit Kat? And this isn’t just a bunch of kids getting together and sampling all the candy bars. This information is coming straight from TIME Magazine!
According to TIME, “Beyond being the first candy bar to be marketed around sharing, which helped turn chocolate into a social snack, Kit Kat was also the first to gain a global following.”
WOW! So being active in the social world is even important in the candy market. In her article, Rachel Tepper noted that Kit Kat was in the works years before most of its modern competitors.
The Kit Kat bar’s origins go back to 1911, long before Snickers (1930), Butterfinger (1923), 3 Musketeers (1932), Baby Ruth (1921), 5th Avenue (1936) and Milky Way (1923). (It was, however, beat out by the Hershey Bar, which hit the market in 1900.)
Kit Kat’s marketing to a global audience has kept it popular decades after its debut. In January, Tokyo welcomed the world’s first all-Kit Kat store, featuring some ‘different’ flavors like edamame soy bean, purple sweet potato and wasabi.
Check out “The 13 Most Influential Candy Bars of All Time.” Does your favorite yummy treat make the list?
13. Wonka Bar
12. Milky Way
11. Baby Ruth
10. Nestlé Crunch
9. Cadbury Milk Chocolate
8. Scharffen Berger
7. Grenada Chocolate
6. Chicken Dinner
4. Nestlé Milk Chocolate
2. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate
1. Kit Kat
Pay attention to your social sharing … and your social snacking!
Give two green thumbs up for the Indianapolis Home Show with a special discount on tickets!
Go here and get $2 off the adult ticket price of $13. And if you enter the promotion code “Coles,” you’ll get $4 off! Get your tickets TODAY!
The Indianapolis Home Show opens this Friday and is paying tribute to our area heroes! On Hero Day, Friday, Jan. 24, come honor all our local heroes and thank them for their service and sacrifice.
All active and retired military, police and fire personnel get free admission to the Home Show for the day. Just bring a valid ID, and enjoy the Home Show on opening day.
Major General R. Martin Umbarger will take part in the opening day ribbon cutting ceremony along with military veterans.
Major General Umbarger was appointed as The Adjutant General of Indiana in 2004, reappointed by Gov. Mitch Daniels, and then reappointed by Gov. Mike Pence on Dec. 13, 2012. As The Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Umbarger’s primary focus is to lead the Indiana Army and Air National Guard, the Indiana Guard Reserve and state employees, all totaling more than 15,500 personnel.
The Indianapolis Home Show runs Friday, Jan. 24 through Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014.
The Indianapolis Home Show is the nation’s oldest and the Midwest’s largest home-focused extravaganza with more than 900 exhibits. Now in its 92nd year, the Home Show offers thousands of products as well as decorating, construction and remodeling ideas for visitors to gather and compare.
And inside Exposition Hall at the Indiana State Fairgrounds will be the Centerpiece Home, designed and fully constructed by the Fischer Homes team! Always a popular attraction at the show, the Centerpiece Home is a look at the hottest new lifestyle and home building trends.
Check out this time lapse video of the building in progress, courtesy of Fischer Homes! Watch the Fischer Homes team work together to build and craft all the details of this spectacular home in less than a month.
Then, come check out the Centerpiece Home in person at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The 2014 Indianapolis Home Show runs Friday, January 24 through Sunday, February 2, 2014!
How many words are in the English language? Well, that’s a bit difficult to answer. Do you count noun and verb versions of the word? Do you count slang or abbreviations?
According to Oxford Dictionaries, the Second Edition of the 20-volume “Oxford English Dictionary” has full entries for 171,476 words in current use, plus 47,156 obsolete words. There’s also 9,500 derivative words … gulp. That’s, at the very least, a quarter of a million distinct English words.
No wonder there are so many different rules … or exceptions to those rules … for language usage!
Word danger ahead
Here are a few commonly misunderstood words that may trip you up, according to Laura Hale Brockway on Ragan.com:
1. Capital, capitol: Capital is the city where the seat of government is located; also money, equipment, or property. Capitol refers to the building in which a legislative body meets.
2. Disc, disk: Use disc for terms related to recordings, such as Blu-ray disc or disc jockey. Also, disc brakes. Use disk for computer-related and medical references, such as hard disk and slipped disk.
3. Flier, flyer: According to the AP Stylebook, flier is the preferred term for a handbill or leaflet. Flyer is the proper name of some trains or buses.
4. Lectern, podium: A lectern is a stand that serves as a support for the notes or books of a speaker. A podium is an elevated platform to stand on when speaking.
5. Premier, premiere: Premier means first in importance; principal or chief. Premiere means a first performance.
6. Rack, wrack: The verb form of rack means to arrange on a rack, to torture, or torment. The noun form of wrack means ruins or destruction.
One or two … who knows?
- The one-word form is usually an adjective or adverb.
- The two-word form is usually a two-word phrase not modifying anything.
- When in doubt, say the expression out loud.
The following are some less clear-cut word pairs.
1. Already/all ready:
We don’t want to confuse them any more than we already have.
(In this case, already is used as an adverb.)
Are you all ready for the writing test?
(All ready is a phrase meaning thoroughly prepared.)
2. Altogether/all together:
She is altogether the worst writer I have ever seen.
(Altogether is an adjective meaning entirely.)
We were all together for the CEO’s announcement.
(All together is a phrase meaning all there.)
3. Anyone/any one:
Anyone can make that mistake.
(Anyone is a pronoun, meaning anybody.)
Any one of you might be next.
(Any one is a phrase. Any serves as an adjective and one serves as a noun.)
4. Anytime/any time:
You are welcome to consult the style guide anytime.
(Anytime is an adjective and can be replaced with whenever.)
Do you have any time to edit this article?
(Any time is another two-word adjective-noun form.)
5. Backup/back up:
There was a backup on the toll road this morning.
(The one word form means a stoppage or overflow.)
The police officer told the driver to back up.
(The two-word phrase means to go in reverse.)
6. Maybe/may be:
Maybe you should quit while you’re ahead.
(Maybe is an adverb meaning perhaps.)
It may be that the style guide was wrong.
(May be functions as a verb.)
These are just a handful of examples that you may come across in your daily reading and writing. Cheers to 2014 and a year of learning lessons in language!
While trends can sometimes be passing fads, watching where things are headed can be useful in planning your marketing initiatives for the year. And since most companies are playing catch-up in a fast-moving marketing landscape, what hasn’t changed might be even more useful than what is changing.
Content is cliché
One trend that is definitely here to stay; content is still king. It’s a cliché for a reason.
A content strategy is essential in your marketing efforts. If you don’t have one, 2014 is the year to get onboard. While only 50% of companies have such a plan, according to Social Media Today, you’ll be on the rapidly-shrinking half of that statistic if you’re not creating and curating fresh information for your various audiences.
A video’s worth a thousand pictures
Visual content, especially video, is rapidly on the rise. That should be no surprise, and here’s a video about it from digital marketing hub Uberflip.
Video is exponentially more engaging than photos and text. Smartphone and tablet devices are ever more prevalent, offering more opportunity to deliver valuable video content. How important is video in 2014 for marketers? Well, the number two search engine in the world, after Google, is not Bing or Yahoo! — it’s YouTube (here are some stats about that). With its share capabilities, YouTube is both a search engine and a social channel.
Adding to the power of video, a slew of new apps and social media integrations came about in 2013. Especially noteworthy: those six-second Vines on Twitter and 15-second Instagram videos on Facebook. Surging Pinterest, which is all about visual content sharing, is seeing a growing number of video pins. LinkedIn, Google+ and Tumblr, acquired by Yahoo! last year, are also important considerations for your video strategy.
Why? Mobile video is predicted to increase 25-fold between 2011 and 2016, ultimately accounting for more than 70% of mobile traffic. It’s not new news, but definitely something to have in your marketing mix in 2014.
Integrated marketing is the real king
There really are no surprises in any of the many guru-authored articles like the top 7 online marketing trends for 2014 by Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers.
Putting content marketing at the heart of your digital strategy is not a new thing … it’s the essential thing. Strategic planning to have integrated campaigns possessing clear calls-to-action and measurable results have always been the end-goal. It’s about awareness and sales: building audience and ringing the cash register. Digital media simply give us more tools to respond more quickly to customers, and then measure the results of those actions.
To be redundant in making the point, founder of the Content Marketing Institute Joe Pulizzi says, “Content marketing is a marketing and business process of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience — with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
What should you do in 2014?
So what will you do to ensure you have a robust marketing effort that delivers results, with valuable content that works in multiple channels? Here are 14 trends that could be actionable items for your consideration, found on CommProBiz.
So, you see, it’s true that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Good marketing strategy isn’t trendy; it’s simply defining a clear, consistent message and delivering it through the best tactics to achieve the greatest results.
If you’re looking for counsel in that regard, give us a call at Coles Marketing.