Bike to Work

November 22 event: The New Economy Will Be Driven by a Millennial Mindset

Could your business do well by doing good?

Decades ago, the concept of The American Dream was to study, work hard get a job, buy a house, pay off your debt and build wealth. Not only would many agree that this was a lie,  a whole generation of our workforce just do not buy into it as their dream. “The Millennial Dream” is a feature length documentary that explores the values that may replace the cultural motif known as The American Dream.

As the Millennial generation becomes the most significant portion of the workforce, what will change about what we want from our education and jobs, what kinds of companies will succeed in the new economy? And with values and lifestyles shifting, what kinds of communities will be desired and what can cities and regions do to attract this new economy? The filmmaker’s interviews with experts such as best selling author Seth Godin and the personal reflections of young workers stir debate and encourage a dialogue around what might emerge as the Millennial Dream.

On November 22 BDC, Canada’s bank for entrepreneurs, will showcase The Millennial Dream documentary in Whistler followed by an empowering discussion on what kinds of companies will succeed in the new economy.

If the Millennial Dream is about doing well by doing good, how do business owners need to adapt?  

Some business owners may be struggling with the belief that Millennial workers are not as loyal as previous generations. But evidence shows they will work harder and be more committed if they believe in the higher purpose of the organization. In fact, according to a Deloitte survey of over 7,700 Millennials from 29 countries, Millennials are more likely to stick with an organization if they share its sense of purpose.

During an interview with filmmaker Greg Hemmings, he mentioned a focus on relevancy as the biggest opportunity for business to seize the Millennial dream. Traditional institutions stuck in their ways are being sideswiped by companies like Uber and airbnb that are crowdsourcing solutions to systemic problems, effectively disrupting entire categories in their industries. Further, these companies lead with their values, openly sharing stories about their impact in the world.

If the Millennial Dream is about doing well by doing good, how do business owners adapt? #BCorp Click To Tweet

At the film screening in Whistler, business owners can learn how they need to adapt and aim to do well by doing good. After the film, examples of how business can be used as a force for good will be shared through a panel discussion with Greg Hemmings from New Brunswick-based ‪Hemmings House, along with Whistler-based Leah Garrad-Cle from ‪Love Child Organics and Diana Mulvey from Seeds Consulting.  The evening will wrap up with a chance to continue the conversation while mixing and mingling with entrepreneurs and representatives from BDC.

The Millennial Dream Documentary Film Screening in Whistler

Tuesday, November 22, 2016
5:00 p.m. Networking, Appitizers, Drinks
5:50 p.m. Introduction
6:00 p.m. The Millennial Dream
6:45 p.m. Panel Discussion moderated by Carla Heim, Senior Advisor Social Entrepreneurship at BDC
7:15 p.m. Networking (cash bar)

       Click here to reserve your seat today!    

View the Trailer

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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, to serve public interest. 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 Me, PR is Dead 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 #consciousbiz 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.

Purpose wooden sign with a forest background

Harness the difference you want to make in the world

your purpose is the foundation for business growth

Much of the work I do with clients involves reviewing business goals, then mapping out a marketing strategy to help drive those goals forward. Before we get started, it surprises me if the leadership team can’t clearly express the company purpose, vision, and mission. Sometimes, founders bumble along for five minutes and insert explanations. Chances are, if the leadership can’t easily share these foundational concepts, it’s unlikely their employees can. How is company purpose tied to marketing and why should you care? There is growing evidence that it can be a competitive advantage and big reason why some companies thrive while others wilt.

My preferred definition of purpose, mission, and vision come from Conscious Capitalism, a book and a movement developed in collaboration with Whole Foods’ co-founder John Mackey:

“Purpose refers to the difference you’re trying to make in the world, mission is the core strategy that must be undertaken to fulfill that purpose, a vision is a vivid, imaginative conception or view of how the world will look once your purpose has been largely realized.”

This simple hierarchy sets a solid foundation for a business, laying the groundwork before designing the business or marketing strategy. A clear purpose can be the glue that holds a company together and a draw to attract the right people – from employees to customers, suppliers and investors, to your big idea. Purpose gets everyone pointed in the same direction; while a well-designed strategy maps out HOW to get there.

Your company purpose is a competitive advantage. What is your Why? #consciousbiz Click To Tweet

So what is your WHY? According to Beyond the Brand, Why Business Decision Makers Buy Into Strong Cultures, 80% of over 500 executives surveyed around the globe felt that the biggest idea of a company is likely the one upon which the company was built. What exactly inspired your founders to start the company in the first place? Getting to the heart of a founding idea is a key differentiator for any business. It may be that untapped opportunity for a company to completely stand out from the competition.

According to 80% of respondents, the biggest idea of a company is often the one upon which the business was built. Beyond the Brand, Why Business Decision Makers Buy Into Strong Culture

If you’ve launched a business, gained momentum, hired new people, and taken a few turns, have you veered off track and lost sight of this? That same study noted above found that the penalty for losing your culture and sense of purpose may be losing your customers.

To better understand this reality, you need to look at human nature and how decisions are made. The rational side of our brain looks at analytical thought and language. The limbic brain however, looks at our feelings, such as trust and loyalty. It guides human behaviour and decision making, but not language. This side of the brain connects to that lingering feeling in your gut when you have to choose between a few options.

This science is the premise behind Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why. His big idea genuinely resonates with my clients when we talk about it in the context of purpose, branding and marketing:

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

The video of Sinek’s TED Talk, “How great leaders inspire action,” has received over 27 million views. Its popularity is a sign of the times, illustrating that more than ever, people seek to make a deeper connection with a business before buying.

Beyond the Brand also revealed some other notable insights: about two thirds of respondents that develop long-term relationships prefer to do business with companies that clearly define what they stand for. This is a huge message for brands in the B2B space. Further, while purpose may have previously been an idea reserved for rallying staff at annual retreats, companies are now more transparent about their big ideas, with 85% of executives now sharing their company purpose with a range of stakeholders.

85% of executives are sharing purpose with stakeholders, more than ever in last 5 years. Beyond the Brand, Why Business Decision Makers Buy Into Strong Culture

So before embarking on a strategic initiative in your business, how about starting with WHY? Reconnect to purpose, mission and vision. Dig deeper, ask Why? at least five times to get to the soul of why you do what you do. Remember what inspired this journey to begin with before hitting the road and taking a new direction.

When you’re ready to explore how to embed these ideas into the heart of your brand, don’t overlook how your purpose nourishes corporate culture. Contact Seeds Consulting for advice on how to get started. Learn more in a related post: A healthy company culture = stronger brand promise.

BrandLove

A healthy company culture = stronger brand promise

why a solid company culture bolsters your brand

I recently had breakfast with a young professional who decided to hang up a shingle and go out on her own as a writer and content marketer. A millennial with big career goals, she left behind a great job with a director-level position at a well-known brand. The reason: the company was not living up to its brand or the inspirational values it promoted, particularly in how it treated employees. Business owners who want to build a stronger brand that is known and respected with their target audience need to take note. The health of your company culture shows up in how your brand is viewed in the marketplace. If your employees are not buying into the brand promise, chances are your customers won’t either.

A company’s brand strengthens when it is consistently represented across all touchpoints, inside and outside of an organization. Marketing (what you do) is really what builds the brand (what you are), and your employees are a critical target market that are often overlooked. Ever design a marketing campaign aimed at informing employees or designed for recruiting new ones?

This is not just about sharing the business strategy or sending out an internal newsletter highlighting a new marketing initiative. It’s about finding ways to activate the brand in the workplace and convince employees of the brand’s power and promise that your customers have come to expect.

“You can’t be special, distinctive, and compelling in the marketplace unless you create something special, distinctive, and compelling in the workplace. How does your brand shape your culture? How does your culture bring your brand to life?”  William C. Taylor, cofounder of Fast Company

A brand often becomes fragmented when employees sense that the leadership team are not living the company values. For example, if the front line does not trust the brand, it’s unlikely your customers will have great experiences. If operational staff aren’t aligned with company culture, they may cut corners, which shows up in product or service quality.

A brand often becomes fragmented when the leadership team are not living the company values. Click To Tweet

So how can you improve company culture to help build a compelling brand promise? Start with sharing a lofty purpose: What’s the difference you want to make in the world? Go back to why the company was built in the first place and revisit what motivated its founders to start the business.

six measures of a strong company culture

Once you’re clear on the big WHY?, consider these six components of a strong company culture noted by John Coleman in a Harvard Business Review article on organizational culture:

Vision

A foundation for the corporate culture. Imagine your company purpose (the why?) has been realized. What’s the vivid, aspirational view of the world when this happens?

Values

These are guidelines on behaviours and mindsets. Choose up to five and consider writing them as verbs so they are active and alive in the organization.

Practices

Your policies need to support certain behaviours and values. Ensure your team is empowered to enforce the desired outcomes.

People

Hiring people who share and want to exemplify the core values. Do you recruit and attract new hires with a focus on higher purpose and values? Are they truly on board?

Narrative

History, folklore and easy-to share anecdotes about the company. What’s your organization’s unique story and who can share it? Make sure your are passing along wisdom and insight from company founders.

Place

Aesthetics, architecture, virtual and in-person gatherings. Does the place you do business reflect your values? Let’s say your company values include ‘open communication’ but employees are constantly closed up with office doors shut, perhaps the work environment could use an overhaul.

Take the time to audit company culture across these six areas and see where there may be gaps. Better yet, ask a millennial on staff where they think culture is broken. Like my friend noted above, these young employees really care about the company’s foundation, and they’re the new ‘culture police’ you can enroll to keep the purpose and company culture at the forefront. Review each component of company culture and pull these ideas together into a story that can be shared within your organization. When your internal ‘customers’ believe the company culture is alive, it will resonate with your target audience.

“By weaving the brand messages into employees’ everyday experiences, managers can ensure that on-brand behavior becomes instinctive.” Selling the Brand Inside, Harvard Business Review

Linking company culture to the brand’s essence is imperative to creating a brand your customers and employees will love and respect. Their loyalty and positive word of mouth referrals are priceless and can help a company reach its wildest goals to grow and thrive.

Need help auditing your brand and igniting it within your company? Contact Seeds Consulting and get started today! We love working with purpose-driven brands.

B the Change

A B C’s of becoming a B Corporation

Certifying businesses that take on social and environmental problems

More and more entrepreneurs are going into business and growing their enterprises with a broader focus than building shareholder returns. Instead, these purpose-driven leaders see the potential for a much broader impact, one that includes society and the environment.

Increasingly there are businesses that want to create value for all their stakeholders, not just their shareholders. These companies are competing not just to be best in the world, but best for the world.” B Lab Founder Andrew Kassoy

Certified B Corporations are leading a global movement to redefine success in business. Companies that achieve B Corp certification have agreed to voluntarily meet higher standards of transparency, accountability, and performance. They know that they can stand out in a cluttered marketplace through their higher purpose and a shared vision that businesses can create benefits for all stakeholders; not just shareholders.

What’s driving business owners to invest in the certification process? There is growing acceptance of brands doing well by doing good. Across the globe, 75% of consumers believe it is acceptable for brands to support causes and make money at the same time (up 33% since 2008). A full 80% of consumers feel it is important for companies to share their efforts to address societal issues. Edelman goodpurpose Study

“These companies are competing not just to be best in the world, but best for the world.” B Lab Founder Andrew Kassoy Click To Tweet

How do companies earn B Corp certification

Starting with an online impact assessment, business owners can complete a questionnaire that summarizes their business as it relates to four categories: Workers, Governance, Community and the Environment.

Just the exercise of tackling 174 questions in the four categories above is time well spent by any organization. As a business grows, questions like these below can shape the future of the company:

  • What percent of non-executive, full-time employees participated in the company’s bonus plan in the last fiscal year?
  • What practices apply when evaluating the social and environmental performance of your suppliers?
  • Has your company gone through an environmental review or audit in the last 12 months?
  • Are there key performance indicators or metrics that your company tracks on at least an annual basis to determine if you are meeting or social or environmental objectives?

Some organizations may not be able to achieve the minimum 80 points required to earn the certification, but the impact assessment tool is an ideal way to focus resources toward next steps. Learn more about my journey toward certification.

A growing NETWORK with many benefits

Companies aiming for a passing grade have done the math for the business case and understand the ABCs of joining this fast-growing group of certified companies:

A – Affiliation: A B Corporation will join a community of like-minded businesses that want to change the status quo. Fellow businesses in related or complementary industries have a network of entrepreneurs they can rely on to help manage business challenges.

B – Baseline: Rather than re-inventing the framework, the impact assessment can shape a company’s commitment towards: Workers, Governance, Community and the Environment. There are ample opportunities to learn form other B Corporations on how they raised the bar in each category.

C – Credibility: Since the assessments are conducted by a third party, this helps ensure there’s no greenwashing or trying to look good with slick marketing. It is unbiased and based on a consistent approach that helps owners measure what matters and ultimately, build a better business.

About 150 businesses in Canada are currently certified, along with over 1,600 companies in 48 countries. BC-based Persephone, Salt Spring Coffee, Lunapads and Fairware are in good company with global brands like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s and Method. This movement is growing fast and Certified BCorps achieve brand lift from their affiliation, which also helps to attract employees, earn publicity an gain competitive advantages in their sector.

Ready to measure what matters and understand your company’s impact in the world? We work with conscious brands that are ready to “B the change”. Let’s talk about how to build and share your stories.

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Doing Good Through Business

Social entrepreneurs create impact beyond the bottom line

Sharing economy, food security, social impact, community building, climate resilience – these are topics that I’ve seen trending in my network and into daily conversations. I learned from a visionary, risk-taking entrepreneur that when he heard people talk about a trend at least three times, he had to act on it. Are you an aspiring entrepreneur based in the Sea to Sky who is looking for a way to seize a trend and turn it into a business opportunity? Then attend the 2016 Social Venture Challenge kick off event in Whistler: Doing Good Through Business on Friday, March 18.

The essence of the Whistler Centre for Sustainability’s Social Venture Challenge is to get business ideas off the ground, particularly those that provide solutions to social and environmental challenges unique to the Sea to Sky corridor. The Canadian Social Entrepreneurship Foundation describes what sets these ventures apart: “Whereas a business entrepreneur typically measures performance in profit and return, a social entrepreneur focuses on creating social capital. Thus, the main aim of social entrepreneurship is to further social and environmental goals.”

Why are a growing number of entrepreneurs looking to create social ventures? There is plenty of evidence toward the shift in attitudes toward traditional, pure-capitalism based reasons for starting businesses. In the 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, the most comprehensive snapshot of how Millennials engage with Corporate Social Responsibility efforts in the U.S., revealed more than nine-in-10 Millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause (91% vs. 85% U.S. average). The research also showed that 80% of young workers want to work for a company that cares about how it impacts and contributes to society. They also are willing to take less compensation in exchange for greater meaning in their work.

Investments for start-ups and supporting growing businesses to scale up is also shifting. With a huge spike in the amount of crowdfunding capital in North America, along with new hybrid capital organizations and social impact bonds, this trend is likely to change the playing field in favour of social ventures over the three to five years, according to social finance experts writing for the Harvard Business Review.

Social Venture Challenge 2016

In British Columbia’s Sea to Sky corridor, the Social Venture Challenge is an opportunity for social entrepreneurs to encourage, support and grow new social ventures in the region. This Friday’s session will feature talk from Vancity’s Community Foundation, the Tofino Ucluelet Culinary Guild, Clean Start and Gibson-based Persephone Brewing Co., a Certified B-Corporation. The full day includes an Ideas Jam, Angel Den case study (where I’ll be part of a panel to help social ventures grow), plus lunch + beer tasting, and more. Tickets are still available but going fast.

Following the full-day session, budding social entrepreneurs can submit a one-page application by March 31 to participate in the 2016 Social Venture Challenge. The shortlisted entrepreneurs will learn how to flush out business ideas, get mentorship from experts in their field and receive coaching on how to pitch their venture idea to potential investors.

The final pitch in the Social Venture Challenge will be organized as a fun, fast-paced Dragons’ Den style event where participants will pitch their burgeoning business ideas to a panel of judges who will be award the winning social venture with $5,000 start up cash, courtesy of Squamish Savings. Learn more at www.whistlercentre.ca

The entrepreneur’s journey is never an easy one. Embedding a social or environmental problem in the business model is even more challenging. Being able to tell the story of that journey and how the business can make a difference in the world is often the best way to market the brand and build your tribe. Need some help packaging that story to share with the world? Contact me to get started. I love working with purpose-driven brands that are ready to build a movement.

SeedsConsulting_MarketingPlanOnPage

A year’s worth of planning on one page

How to summarize your marketing vision into a tool you will use

Having a great product or innovative service will help to stand out in a crowded space. Growing your business and becoming an industry leader is the next step. Entrepreneurs often get caught up in the busy-ness of running their business instead of setting time aside to set goals and plan ahead. Marketing might get pushed to the side of the desk or even worse, happen in a haphazard way – dabbling here, spending a bit of time there, not understanding what is generating the best value for their time. This reactive pattern continues, then at year-end, all they have is anecdotal evidence or someone’s gut ideas as to what marketing has achieved for the business that year. Sound familiar? What if you could boil down an entire marketing plan for the year onto one single page? Would you make time for this?

What if you could boil down an entire marketing plan for the year onto one single page? Would you make time for this?

Much like planning and managing inventory levels, hiring, training and scheduling staff or evaluating an optimal product mix, business owners need to invest time to identify and plan for their marketing needs. Setting aside at least a few days per year can make help to make solid marketing decisions that will drive business goals and contribute to the bottom line.

What’s the best way to build a marketing plan? Start with the end in mind. Stephen Covey had the right idea when he coined this management principal. Looking out 12 months from now, ask yourself what your business will look like – what’s an ideal evolution over the year?

Questions for a marketing strategy

Invest some time in answering these types of questions and conducting some simple research on the market. This information can then be pulled together into a basic framework that fits on one page.

  • What is the playing field like and how is it evolving? What is the competition up to?
  • Who is an ideal customer and how what are the best ways to reach them?
  • What is the optimal product or service mix? Which ones make you money and which ones drain resources?
  • What is the best way to describe your unique value proposition and what voice and tone should be used on all marketing channels?
  • Does your brand show up consistently on all touch points? How well known is it known and how is it perceived in the market?

Marketing Plan on a Page

At the top of your page, outline 3 to 5 marketing objectives for the year. Objectives are aspirational, broad-based and are aligned with the organization’s overall business goals. These are attainable, but will require a bit of a stretch to achieve success. Example: Overall brand awareness and recognition for product x and y are strengthened by year end.

Next, create strategies that are outline how to reach the marketing objectives. Group these into a few themes so that they can be easily remembered and understood. Strategies are designed to become a set of guiding principals that help staff manage resources and make appropriate decisions to move the business forward. Example: Strengthen, build templates and ensure consistent use of voice, language, visual brand elements for each touch point.

Below each strategy, add a brief description of promotional campaigns and and related tactical priorities. Tactics are specific actions designed to keep focus on moving the strategies forward. Tactics are intended to drive results within a set timeframe with measurable results. Example: Refine visual brand identity and build a toolkit with images and design standards.

Outline the resources that might be required to implement tactics and get things done. Need design support? Thought about hiring a PR expert or content marketing manager? Are your digital tools getting stale? Think ahead and find out what it will take to be successful.

Lastly, choose unique metrics for each strategy. At the end of the year, how will improvements be measured to quantify return on investment? Metrics should highlight what worked and what did not so that actions can be adjusted for next year.

Companies that develop a strategic approach to marketing will see the benefits not only in their day-to-day operations but also in the long term. Having a plan with ways to measure return on investment can save precious marketing dollars and ensure the biggest bang for your buck. Start planning today and use my free template to get started. Fill out this form to receive your marketing plan on a page.

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.

B Corporation Community

Why Become A Certified B Corporation?

Building a global economy that uses business as a force for good

In 2015, Seeds Consulting became a Certified B Corporation. A growing network of businesses across the globe, ‘B Corps’ are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. It’s a standard that will not only guide the company forward as it grows, it is a beacon that pulls like-minded businesses together and sends a signal to target customers that we’re serious about using business as a force for good.

‘Whistler-based Seeds Consulting is now a Certified B Corporation, joining 150 Canadian brands Click To Tweet

As a curious kid who asked lots of questions, my aunt thought I would become a lawyer as I had a deep sense of what was just and fair. At my first job, I learned that business was not always what it appeared. The delicious aromas from this bakery masked a stink from behind the scenes: the immigrant bakers, refugees from Cambodia, were told to log their extra hours on two punch cards so the owner could avoid paying them overtime. They knew it was wrong, but did not want to risk losing their jobs so they kept quiet.

As a young professional, I went to grad school to study an MBA. I continued to ask lots of questions since many of our case studies included businesses that put profits before people and the planet, though there was no good reason for trade-offs. Many of my classmates thought the course on Business Ethics was fruitless. In hindsight, it was likely added to the curriculum ahead of its time, taught as a required course pre-Enron, pre-mortgage crisis, and pre-VW scandal.

As my career advanced, I took on some challenging roles as a marketing director for some global brands. The shift toward more transparent business practices became a big part of my job, whether it was implementing new accounting standards to protect shareholders (Sarbanes Oxley), introducing new reporting tools to inform communities and stakeholders (corporate sustainability reports), or creating company values and codes of conduct to guide business practices. I am still learning to navigate the unexpected shift in power from business to the consumer, who are now using social media as a very public forum to get their questions answered.

For Conscious Businesses that want to stand out

As my consulting business grew and I was looking for a way to stand out, the B Corp Certification made a lot of sense for Seeds Consulting. Our mission is to plant ideas for positive change. We do this by advising purpose-driven leaders how to grow their business consciously. By voluntarily meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability, and performance, Certified B Corps are distinguishing themselves in a cluttered marketplace by offering a positive vision of a better way to do business.

B Corp Declaration of Interdependence

Together, companies that are B Corp Certified take on a Declaration of Interdependence with the following shared beliefs:
  • That we must be the change we seek in the world.
  • That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
  • That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
  • To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.

Small actions that create a ripple effect

What are some of the things that set Seeds Consulting apart to get certified?
  • We choose two wheels instead of four… except when the snow flies.
  • We’ve chosen to operate out of Whistler’s greenest community and work virtually with clients whenever possible to reduce our footprint.
  • We give back to environmental causes through our commitment to 1% for the Planet.
  • If we print, it’s on paper made of straw instead of virgin forests.
  • We volunteer in our community.
  • We aim to create value for society, not just shareholders.
  • We work with clients that aren’t afraid to take on environmental and social challenges.
Interested in joining the B Corporation movement? Connect with Seeds Consulting and learn how you can design marketing and communications strategies to grow your organization. Read our ideas, share what conscious growth means to you.