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Keeping Social Media Simple – a Facebook Live Chat

An inpromptu social chat with Catherine and Heather from Keep It Simple Social Media

In this Facebook Live chat broadcast by BeLive.tv, I chat with social media mavens Catherine Aird and Heather Clifford from Keep it Simple Social Media.

We cover three main topics:

  • Engagement Strategy: how to design two-way communications and engagement with your core target customers and clients
  • Advice for small businesses or start-ups: how to choose the best marketing approaches for your business with a strapped budget and limited resources
  • The evolution of marketing over the last decade: how to navigate the ever-changing world of marketing and what has stood out the most for an old-school marketer like myself

Let me know what you think! Tools like Facebook Live are new and exciting ways to engage with  your target audience in an easy and affordable way.

Want to learn more about these and other tools to effectively engage on Social Media? Sign up for one of Keep It SImple Social Media‘s Whistler workshops coming June 26:

Social Media Workshops in Whistler: June 26

Get your business ready for the summer! Join us at the Aava Whistler Hotel for a fun day of learning everything there is to know to take your business to the next level with social media.  Join us for the morning or the afternoon workshop, or both!

Find on more on our NEW and improved website:
Facebook & Instagram 101 & 202 + Photo and Video

 

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PR may be dead, but it’s taking on a new life

Is THE PRACTICE OF Public Relations really A done Deal?

Guest blogger Sandra Nomoto of Vancouver-based Conscious PR weighs in…

In the last few years, people have been saying that the Public Relations practice is dying. In fact, Robert Phillips, author of Trust Me, PR is Dead, declared the practice “dead” after a career spanning 23 years, eight of them working as a President for the largest PR firm in the world, Edelman.

After I put off reading the book for a year, I finally took the plunge and was surprised to find myself agreeing with most points in the book. But before I go into all that, we should define what PR is and how it relates to Marketing.

#PR is the management of #relationships between a company and its public, through #communications,… Click To Tweet

PR AS THE NEW MARKETING

I have been saying for years that instead of PR dying, it’s become the “new Marketing.” With the exception of direct mail and sales promotions, every Marketing Communications touchpoint can now serve public interest and involve a customer responding directly to a company’s call to action.

Marketing teams can no longer just think about push campaigns, but rather what’s going to engage their audiences the most. When I participate in PR chats on Twitter, I’m surprised to see that peoples’ examples of “Best PR campaigns” are simply advertising campaigns that have a good message. Not necessarily PR, but Marketing campaigns integrating PR tactics into them. Many marketing practices are now blended together.

PR AS PART OF CSR

Now, onto the Corporate Social Responsibility part of my premise. In Trust Me, PR is Dead, Phillips iterates that PR will be replaced by open, honest, and explicit relationships between a company and its customers, a sort of “citizen capitalism” relationship. Leaders will earn trust through honesty, transparency, and accountability, and businesses will only be able to achieve success through social responsibility, becoming a “social movement corporation.”

@citizenrobert: Business can and should be an agent, a catalyst for societal change. – Trust… Click To Tweet

A big part of PR is the concept of Internal Relations and how employees engage with each other and the outside world. In the era of transparency and workers wanting more than just a place to earn a paycheque, what goes on inside a company is becoming just as important as the stories they share externally with their target customer. Enter CSR.

Last month, I presented on the concepts of CSR and Public and Media Relations, and my research on CSR reaffirmed what I’d read in Phillips’ book. Companies must not only have CSR policies or programs, they need to implement these through engaged employees. Otherwise the CSR plan is just a document, and disengaged employees could potentially breed bad stories for media (think Glass Door ratings).

In PR strategist and author James Hoggan’s latest book, I’m Right, You’re An Idiot, he talks about his observations and insights following his 30+ year PR career. Like Phillips, he argues that in this age of excessive messaging and ego, we should get back to basics and learn how to connect, engage with, and genuinely care for each other in order to practice good business and move the world forward.

This idea of human love before PR is pretty wild, but also foundational. Companies that have genuinely integrated CSR and take care of their workers will have employees that become ambassadors for their companies. Authentic stories are then amplified through the employee network. Related story

RE-LEARNING HOW TO FORM RELATIONSHIPS

Today, instead of clients asking us to help them with social media, they manage their channels in house, understanding that their own voice is the best one to represent their brand.

The Media Relations aspect of PR still remains a mystery to businesses.  I find that companies are aware that it takes relationships with media in order to get good story placement, and this is a big part of our client service. Unlike other companies: we don’t use news releases. We target messages to each person, make phone calls, and use Twitter or whichever means of communication they prefer.

Even if PR tasks get swallowed by other departments within companies, media relations is one of those practices that you just can’t just manage off the side of your desk or assign to an intern. It’s so much more than having a media list; it’s being able to pick up the phone and have a real conversation with a media person. Not leaving a message on voice mail. Relationships, baby.

While it’s easy to say that PR is already dead, without good relationships – the basis of good communication – it will be very hard to change the status quo and create a world where all will prosper.

Trust is forever fragile and attempts at control futile. Robert Philips #transparency… Click To Tweet

If building relationships with media interests you, register for Conscious Public Relations’ Be Your Own PR Star in 90 Days online course and use the code SEEDS10 for 10% off.

A fellow B Corporation, Conscious Public Relations Inc.’s mission is to positively change what we see in the media and online by passionately embodying Positive Relations in all aspects of our work and lives.

If you’d like to learn more about James Hoggan’s approach to PR, join Diana from Seeds Consulting at the Whistler Chamber’s Power Lunch on October 27.

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Writing Rock Star Marketing Content That’s Authentic To Your Brand

After hitting a legendary music festival this summer, you might be inspired to sing in your car or round up your friends for a night of karaoke so thought I’d refresh this story in time for the festival season.

Find your brand’s voice

Content marketing strategies are on everyone’s to-do list these days. It’s with good reason, since developing dynamic, unique content is an effective way to reach out to target audiences and promote your organization’s expertise. To build stronger recognition for your brand, a consistent voice, tone and language should be used across all marketing and communications touch points. As a company grows, extends its reach and impact, all brand extensions should share the voice and tone to capture your brand’s unique personality.

Once the strategy has been set, it can seem daunting to shape the ideas into stories, but these tips: lessons learned from karaoke sessions, will help to create rock star content.

Singing in the wrong key and out of your range

Stepping up to the microphone? Then pick a song you can actually sing! Technically, can you hit those notes that push against your range? In content marketing, if you venture beyond a comfortable range, the words come across to the reader as off key or ‘pitchy’ like they say on the Idol shows. Avoid straining: stick to a comfortable range and content that you really know. Create a powerful and unified voice for your team and stay current – you may love those moldy oldies, but the tech savvy generation z will tune out immediately. Here’s a related story that explains further – Tone and Voice: Showing Your Users That You Care.

Picking a song that’s way too long

There’s a short window to keep everyone entertained at the karaoke bar, and it’s no different when writing online content. Remember that poor soul who picked the six-minute song, only to lose the crowd’s attention after the first guitar solo a quarter of the way in? Painful!  Stick to a shorter word count and run a few tests to see what will be read and understood by your readers. Break up longer concepts into a series that keeps them coming back for the encore.

Inviting others who can’t sing up to the mike

When building a content team, make sure all contributors understand the strategy and have an editor critique their work. Companies that share ideas with other audiences as guest contributors may even get in front of entirely new audiences. Guest writer’s stories need a review to ensure the content fits. Much like inviting tone deaf friends up to the mike, one bad song can lose the audience, so keep control of the process and only host contributors who complement the marketing strategy.

Bringing down the house with a sappy or diva song

Time and time again, the person who chooses the song with the sad story or crazy vocals brings down the energy in the room. The whole point of going to the show is to be entertained and feel like you’re part of a community. When someone thinks they can play the big diva at the mike, they exclude everyone else from their pedestal on the stage. So consider the audience when writing content and understand their motivations for reading the stories. Do they want some drawn out sad story that has no positive solution, or do they want to to be drowned in detail about how great your company is? Probably not.

Getting on a roll once you’ve warmed up your voice

The first person to grab the microphone is pretty brave, so they deserve a round of applause even if their voice was a bit weak or crackly. As with singing, writing warms up with each new story that’s pumped out. Get momentum going and ensure each story builds on the other while cross-referencing and linking to key learnings. What’s the ‘liquid courage’ that will keep the stories coming?

Like any legendary rock star knows, there is a way to stand out from the crowd and build a loyal following. Find your authentic voice, tweak the messages and keep extending to a broader audience as you find your groove and hit the right notes. Need a coach or producer to help you find your voice?  We’ve designed Voice and Tone Guides for clients to make it easy.  Contact Seeds Consulting today.

Confident Communications Tools

Confidence-Building Tools that Move Ideas into Action

Game-changing communications skills

Brands created with purpose have inspiring stories to tell. Beyond selling a product or service, these types of brands may have a purpose focused on improving society, making lives easier and healthier, or tackling an environmental problem. Often, it’s easy to frame an elevator pitch around what you do, but this misses the chance to connect with people at an emotional level. Strategic marketer Simon Sinek’s research shows how companies that ‘start with why’ instead of ‘what’ are more likely to succeed and build strong, trusted brands. With the right confidence-building tools, business leaders can reframe how they communicate purpose, moving their ideas forward into action.

“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”  Simon Sinek, Start With Why

Sharing brand purpose confidently helps attract and connect with the ideal target audience. Once they learn about the brand’s purpose and connect with it, consumers are more likely to engage and trust these brands. Effective communication skills and the ability to speak with confidence are also essential for business success. Communicating confidently can build loyalty, strengthen reputation, gain exposure, and attract the right partners to increase profit.

How would your business change if you could confidently share your brand purpose during meetings, one-on-ones, sales presentations, or even informal conversations?

On February 24, join Communications Trainer and Professional Coach Lucas Mattiello at the Whistler Open Forum Event for a presentation and hands-on workshop to learn:

  • What causes fear around public speaking + how to remove it
  • How to think less + connect more
  • Top 3 mistakes speakers make that destroy trust + how to avoid them
  • Self-awareness triggers to manage nervous feelings + negative thoughts
  • What you MUST focus on to address your client’s pain points

Event Details – SOLD OUT!

Date/Time:  Wednesday, February 24 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. (Check-in from 5:30 p.m., speaker starts at 6 p.m.)
Location:  Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, Whistler, BC
Tickets: $35 + GST, includes: inspiring speaker, fun networking opportunities, tasty appetizers, fabulous door prizes, cash bar and more!
Event Hosts: Lighthouse Visionary Strategies, Local Whistler, Seeds Consulting.

Check back for the next Whistler Forum Event. Date TBD

Game-changing communications skills

More about Lucas

Lucas is a Vancouver-based Communications Trainer and Certified Professional Coach who educates business professionals on techniques and strategies to become confident communicators. Using his personal experiences of living with anxiety and panic disorder, Lucas has empowered clients and corporations with proven self-management tools that eliminate stress, build confidence and elevate your message. He has been featured in Forbes Magazine and numerous news shows, is a best selling author, and his corporate clients include Vancouver Coastal Health, the City of Burnaby and others.

http://optoutside.rei.com

Build Authentic Holiday Experiences

How to live your brand this holiday season

On the busiest day in the American retail calendar, over a million of REI’s most loyal brand advocates are choosing to #optoutside and play in the outdoors instead of shopping on Black Friday. The outdoor retailer has closed every one of its 143 stores on Friday, so that the co-op’s employees can have a paid day off to head outside. This move may cost them millions in lost revenue for the short term, but members will take notice that it put purpose before profit, and that will really resonate with REI’s core customer. While tweaking seasonal campaigns to grab a piece of the holiday spirit, how about adding a dash of your brand’s authentic purpose and personality? What will make the giving season a little warmer and fuzzier, while creating a buzz with your target audience?

Share Authentic Stories

When people put conscious thought into their gift giving, they love to share stories. Does your company have products that are Fair Trade, made by women-owned co-ops or produced by a local artisan? Is there a deep green angle or tree-saving feature to your product line? Selling a special-edition or seasonal item that is locally made? When your company takes time to carefully source products with meaning, make it easy for customers to help tell the story. Think of using point of purchase displays, stickers, holiday packaging, gift receipts, bag inserts, online pop-ups or images on social media to share this unique information. The story behind the gift will also be appreciated by the lucky person getting the present!

Create Community

Imagine the dreaded weekend run to the big box store to get that last item on your list… Is that how you would want to spend your precious holiday time? Instead, think of ways to build a community haven that is a festive, fun and efficient experience for your customers. Partner with the corner grocery store to serve healthy treats at the cash, serve hot cups of tea on the blustery days, invite a local musician to play in store. Online and through social media channels: ask your community to share photos of their special moments over the holiday season. Invite customers to comment and share their ideas of how to create calm through the holidays. Commit to surprising and delighting all customers to create a memorable and easy shopping experience.

Reduce Waste

The holidays create a mountain of waste from excessive packaging and gift wrapping. If your organization tries to tread lightly with a small footprint, make it easy for your customers to do the same. Ask vendors to send holiday shipments in reusable boxes and crates – chances are, it won’t be stored for long! Find packaging that does double-duty and does not need to be pitched. Share creative ways to wrap and reuse gifts, and ask customers for their crafty ideas. Could scraps and remnants be upcycled as one-of-a-kind gift tags or ornaments? Offer a discount to customers who don’t need a bag for their purchase. Invite customers to invest in special-edition packaging that becomes a keepsake for the lucky recipient.

Spread the Love

Already giving back through employee volunteerism or corporate donations? Why not invite customers to join in? Create a feature offer where a dollar amount for each purchase is donated to the charity of choice. Take it a step further by welcoming the charity to set up a retail or online store display. Cross-promote the charity on social channels to build awareness. Encourage partners and vendors to join staff on their volunteer days at the food bank or the toy drive. Build relationships between employees, customers, vendors and charities to spread the giving far and wide.

Acknowledge Employees

While everyone works hard to serve customers during the busiest time of year, don’t forget the employees who make it all happen. Promote staff picks for seasonal merchandise to help customers choose the right gift. Empower employees to make spot decisions and keep client satisfaction a top priority. Find ways to publicly acknowledge these rock stars who go above and beyond to keep things together and keep a stash of small rewards on hand for spontaneous thank you’s. A happy front line always means better service and satisfaction for customers while an efficient back office will make everyone else look good.

The holiday season is a great time to let customers get to know your organization, its purpose and values. It is also a golden opportunity to reach new customers and deepen customer relationships. Don’t forget… these customers may come to you to find something unique to give to the special people in their lives. The impact will be exponentially larger if it’s an authentic and memorable experience.

Seeds Consulting has designed marketing and communications strategies for some of Canada’s best known brands, including that fast-growing retailer that’s now a $7 billion dollar global brand. Contact us today to know more about our approach and our track record.

Image: http://optoutside.rei.com Photo © 2015, VisitTheUSA.com