Archive | February 2016

Tough Love: Who To Partner With

shutterstock_175108400As a business, and even personally, it can be difficult to determine which charitable and non-profit organizations to direct your time and money. Of course we would love to have millions of dollars to donate to our organizations of choice, but unfortunately, most of us don’t have that kind of money available.

So how do you determine who to donate to or partner with?

From a marketing standpoint, you should be looking at the audience pool of potential organizations you want to work with, and aligning with those that complement your business the best.

This audience may or may not be the ones that actually benefit from those funds or donations. For example, let’s take a look at the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Although men can get breast cancer, the majority of breast cancer patients are women. Women represent the majority of people attending the events and serve as the audience for their message.

If your company’s target audience is women, then this is a great organization to partner with and support, as you will be creating brand awareness among your target audience while supporting a great cause.

If your company’s target audience is primarily men, then you might want to consider aligning with the Movember Foundation that focuses on men’s health.

Ask yourself these questions when considering with whom to partner or support:

  1. Who benefits from our donations and support? Are they in our target audience?
  2. Who else in the community supports this organization? Are these other supporters people that we would like to connect with and organizations in which we would like to gain visibility?
  3. How many organizations/donations can we support? Do we have enough resources to impact one organization or a couple? Do we want to only focus on one and alternate each year?

Take into consideration that you do not need to support the same organizations year over year. You can plan to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation one year and March of Dimes the next. It just depends on where you want your visibility, which organization you think will complement your company, and which organizations you have the most passion for.

You can also consider engaging your employees and having them vote or select an organization that they feel strongly about.

Key Takeaway: Focus on aligning with non-profit organizations that complement your business so you can leverage their audience while supporting a good cause.

Do you currently support organizations that complement your company?

Communication as a Process

Do you ever wonder why some companies seem to be great communicators that engage their employees while others always seem to be keeping secrets, perpetuating the water cooler “rumor” conversations? It sounds something like this:

shutterstock_103683287_webMatt: Sally said she heard Bob and Janice talking about how the company is down 25% in revenue. Do you think there will be layoffs?

Renee: Well, I heard Kathy and Tim saying our largest client called yesterday and is pulling back on their orders.

Matt: Do you remember Acme Company? They were down in revenue last year and they ended up firing half their staff. They are barely making it now.

Renee: Yeah, I can’t afford to lose my job.

Two weeks later:

Matt says to his Boss: Boss, I’ve decided to take a position with T Company.

Boss: What? I thought you were happy here.

Matt: I was, but with the upcoming layoffs, I want to make sure I can provide for my family.

Boss: What upcoming layoffs?

Matt: Haven’t you heard? The whole company knows about the upcoming layoffs.

Boss: I don’t know what you are talking about Matt. I was just at our corporate meeting yesterday and there is no talk of layoffs.

Matt: Oh. Well, I have two weeks until I start my new job.

What just happened? Because Matt’s company wasn’t transparent and didn’t communicate the problem and enlist the help of the team, Matt drew his own conclusions about the company and decided it was time to jump ship. Simply communicating the situation may have avoided Matt leaving.

The communication process involves how we communicate, why we communicate, and when we communicate. Just like any process, this should be documented.

Key Takeaway: If you create a well-documented communication process, then any time a need to communicate arises, you can just follow the process. This is true for day-to-day communication or crisis communication.

How do you communicate in your company?


The Power of Words (and Placement)

Written By: Kathleen Riessen

As a mother of three boys, I thought I wouldn’t have to handle emotional roller coasters. Imagine my surprise when my middle son learned that the words, “I hate you” could immediately send my oldest into a raging river of tears. Of course he doesn’t hate him, but he figured out an effective way to terrorize his brother using key words. If only all of us could use words so effectively!

Unfortunately, many businesses forget the power of words. A little over a year ago, I was in Indiana with my family attending a funeral. As we were driving, we noticed the below two signs. Three blocks later my husband and I looked at each other and both said, “Did that sign really just say that?” It took us three blocks to process two separate yard signs placed next to each other. Both appropriately represented their businesses. If these signs stood alone, there would have been no cause for a double take.

Can you see why we took a double take?


Curl-Up & Dye (a Salon) next to (Fred Lamb) a pain management and rehabilitation center. Awkward.

A few weeks ago, I drove by a local vet clinic and another sign caught my eye.

Vet Clinic Pic

Effective or not? That decision rests in the eye of the beholder and how the message is interpreted.

Key takeaway: Creative yard signs do garner attention. The question to ask is if it is positive or negative attention?

What do you think?

No, Everyone is NOT Your Target Audience!

AudienceIf we had a dollar for every time we asked someone who their target audience is and they replied with, “everyone”, we would probably be able to retire now. Fortunately we love what we do, so we’re not planning to retire anytime soon!

The point we’re trying to make though is that many companies truly believe that “everyone” is their audience. While this would be awesome and much simpler from a marketing perspective, it just isn’t true.

You may think that giant corporations such as Target and Walmart who sell anything from eyeliner and diapers to wind shield wipers (and everything in between), would consider “everyone” their audience, but they don’t.

True, they may have multiple target audiences that cover quite a bit of the general population, but they still have defined target audiences based on research and data.

So why is this important to know? It affects the bottom line and your marketing initiatives.

Let’s look at the following scenario:

You have a specific marketing budget for a designated area – say $10,000.

Everyone is your audience, so you decide to blanket the market and send your message and promotional materials to everyone. This is probably a mix of print, digital, maybe some PR, etc. That $10,000 goes fast (and may not even cover everyone) and you only see a minimal amount of interest.

Based on research you know who your target audience is, what type of media they prefer to receive messaging from, and what type of messaging works. You also know they are the individuals who are most likely to act or want your product/service. You build your marketing plan around this knowledge and your dollars not only go further, but your ROI increases because you’re targeting those who are most likely to purchase.

In simpler terms, knowing your target audience allows you to be more strategic; with your messaging and your placement, and will give you a higher ROI because you will be targeting people that want or need your product or service. Think of it as the shotgun vs. sniper approach.

So we leave you with these key takeaways: Do you know who your target audience is? Do you have one or multiple audiences? Are you marketing with a shotgun approach or are you honing in like a sniper?

Need help determining who your target audience is? Contact us to learn more.