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Many entrepreneurs shoot from the hip and hit the ground running. Some never stop to take a chance to evaluate their past performance or changes in the marketplace until one day there has been a shift in their business. Proper planning is the key to keep your staff, clients and finances on the right track. Let’s face it there are a ton of ways to invest a budget. On occasion, I will meet with a potential client who states their plan in “right here” as they point to their head. Lets face it, a plan that has not been put down on paper is a dream with little commitment. How can a owner or manager properly communicate with the team if the plan is not written down as a blueprint for next steps. How can it be properly assessed and tweaked as an ever changing plan in your head?
Here are a few small tips to help you get started on your next steps:
• Plan early before your staff arrives at the office. Being quite helps you focus and listen to your inner small voice.
• Create a vision board to where you want to be in 2014. Cut out words and images of where you want to be to communicate with your team your vision clearly. Paste them on a sheet of paper and post it in a visible place for all to see in your work area.
• Share with your team your vision and discuss what that would look like and how it will help them in their job roles. Discuss the impact on your customers.
Baker Creative can provide an outside assessment to provide the right next steps for your business. Get started today by calling 614.836.3845.
Though we can make a new start any day of the week, there is something especially appealing about starting fresh on January 1st. If you haven’t done so yet, now would be a great time to sit in silence, reflect on 2013, and create your 2014 business bucket list. What did you do well this year and how can you improve on it next year? What didn’t go quite as you had hoped this year? How will you make sure to correct it going forward?
What are your goals for next year?
Baker Creative, want to help you with your 2014 business bucket list. Over the next four weeks, we will explore topics that commonly appear on business owners’ bucket lists. Here are a few of the topics that we will be discussing:
Create Good Content
You’ve probably heard “Content is King” more than you care to recall. Creating original content by writing blogs, using strong images, and creating compelling copy is important for attracting (and retaining) customers and driving them to take “profitable action”. You know why creating good, original content is important but do you know how to successfully create content? We’ll offer some useful tips.
Increase Brand Recognition
Does your brand stand out in the mind of consumers? Would it be recognizable to customers if they were only to look at your logo or read your slogan? Brand recognition is what every business owner strives to achieve. Whether you have unlimited resources to achieve brand recognition or if you’re working on a shoestring budget, it is possible to increase your brand awareness without breaking the bank. We’ll give you a few pointers.
Drive More Traffic to Your Business
The holiday season is often a profitable time of year for many retailers and other businesses. Now that the holidays are almost over, we’ll offer information on putting plan in place to continue generating foot traffic into your bricks and mortar location during “off-peak” months.
Increase Your Social Media Traffic
Perhaps you took the plunge in 2013 and created several social media accounts. Hopefully your social media pages took off like gangbusters but if you’re starting to feel like it would be easier to win the lotto than to get people to “Like” your Facebook page. We can help with a few pro tips to help you build your online social media presence.
While creating your 2014 business bucket list may not involve hot air balloons or an exotic, safari trip to Kenya, it is still no less exciting. A new year, filled with new opportunities to make your business shine, is right around the corner. Are you ready?
Share what’s on your business bucket list in the comments section below.
As far as public relations goes, many people have mixed understandings about what a public relations professional really does and what it means to have PR for your company.
According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) public relations is “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” To sum it up, public relations is a communications process that fosters and creates relationships between a company, business or organization and the public they want to connect with.
In Sex and the City, Samantha Jones runs her own PR firm where she hosts elaborate parties and mingles with famous movie stars. Although, to a certain extend, that portrayal could be true if you live in Hollywood, most of the time it does not involve sequin dresses and cocktail parties.
We wanted to clear up some PR myths that can mislead organizations and future public relations professionals.
- We are not “playing” on Facebook and Twitter all day. A part of being a public relations person is monitoring social media platforms for organizations. This could be an internal or external position depending on the company. Not only are PR pros creating content that speaks for the company and to the audience, but also we monitor what other people are saying about the brand and communicate with fans and customers. If you follow Target on Twitter, you can safely assume that the person writing those tweets is not the CEO himself but a public relations or social media strategist. This person’s job is to inform customers about deals, new styles and updates on Target as they happen.
- We do not rub elbows and party with celebrities or rock bands. Yes, these famous people do have a PR team but I can almost guarantee that they are not right next to them at every fancy event. Public relations people do have some responsibility to plan events and make sure their clients are where they are supposed to be but that is mostly the end of their glamour. If they are attending the event it is only to work and it is important to be working or you might loose that client.
- Public relations is not free or easy. This is actually someone’s career. Most companies will not hire you as a PR professional if you do not have a public relations or communications degree. Some companies even want you to have years of experience. There are some cases where people “act” like a public relations specialist, but more times than none, those companies do not succeed as well as they would if they hired a person who studied the profession.
- PR is still suggested even if nothing bad happened to your company. Media and press can sometimes create a bad name for brands if they mess up. This is where PR would come in. But if your company has nothing bad against them, it could still be a good idea to hire a PR specialist. PR people are good about getting your brand out there to create more customers and promote the brand. We make it our goal to help you build your brand to its best potential.
If you have any questions about these myths or would like to talk to Baker Creative about public relations assistance, please comment below or contact us at baker-creative.com
Many companies have little issues with crisis. They have great customers and their product is a success. What happens when the quality of service decreases? Or you decide to add to your product and people do not like the change. Customers are the most important value to your company and if they are not happy, it could cause negative outcomes.
- The review sites aren’t buzzing with good vibes. Smart business plans include knowing where you stand on the review sites. Believe it or not people and customers will get on popular review sites to review you or read about you. If a customer has a bad experience and the issue is not solved, they will be more likely to tell their story on a review site rather than social media. Now if you only have one or two bad reviews, that is normal and people will have their opinions. If bad reviews are coming every other month, that is something to look in to.
- Complaints within the company are becoming more frequent. A good example of this would be a restaurant owner talking to customers because their experience was poor. The complaints could be about service, atmosphere or the product. When the complaints become regular that is when the business owner should evaluate their establishment.
- People are getting offended with the company’s social media. When companies decide to utilize social networking in the business plan, it is important to do research and figure out how you want to portray yourself online. Even though you may be into politics and have strong personal beliefs, this would not be the place to express that. Your customers could range from all types of people and insulting someone by talking about religion does not look good on your business. It sends a message that your customer’s feelings are not important. A good example of this is when a representative from Chick-Fil-A said negative comments against homosexuals. Again, people have the right to their opinion but when it reflects a company that serves all types of customers, these comments can have a negative view on the company.
If your company recognizes these problems, it may be in your best interest to hire a PR professional to strategize a plan and help you through whatever your crisis may be.
Life can be unpredictable—personally or professionally. Planning for the unknown could help relieve some of the headache should the unthinkable occur.
Recently, a client came across a personal issue that became a public relations nightmare. The business enjoyed a solid reputation as a staple for families in the community. Overnight a situation arose that rocked the foundation of their brand they spent decades refining. As an active supporter of the community with a strong following, the brand had a lot to worry about.
Like many businesses, prior to the crisis, no one within their organization had foreseen the possibility of such events. Lack of planning left them vulnerable to the elements of the media and public opinion.
Here are some wonderful tips on crisis planning from Lauren Barton’s “Crisis in Organizations II”.
1. Prepare contingency plans in advance.
2. Immediately and clearly announce internally that the only persons to speak about the crisis to the outside world are members of the crisis team.
3. Move quickly. The first hours after the crisis breaks are extremely important. Reporters often build upon the information in the first hours.
4. Use crisis management consultants (advice by objectivity of PR consultants is important, bring in specialist corporate image expertise.)
5. Give accurate and correct information. Manipulating information will backfire internally and externally.
6. When deciding upon actions, consider not only the short-term losses, but also focus on the short-term effects.
Colors evoke feelings. As children in art class, we learned to use reds, yellows and oranges to depict the warmed landscape in a sunny, beach day painting. Blues, greens and purples provided cool, refreshing tones of the water where children play.
More than just the sense of touch, colors elicit emotion as well. Red can make you feel excitement, energetic and passionate. Green reminds of us good luck, nature, and renewal. Blue stands for peace, trust and confidence amongst others. Yellow is reminiscent of joy, happiness, betrayal and optimism.
When crafting your online image, be conscious of the colors you choose in design. Do not select your favorite color just because you like it. Ensure it evokes the image and feelings you want your personal brand to portray to the world.
Web sites, portfolios, blogs and social networking sites are integral portals of your brand. Each platform should create the same look and feel if possible. (Some social networking sites do not allow for design modifications.) Your site starts the communication process with design before a single word is read. Conflicting color usage confuses the viewer. As in all good relationships, clear communication is key—even visually. Keep your messages consistent and future clients will thank you.
Many people are confused about what is public relations. Even the editors of Wikipedia (which could be anyone) seem to have a narrow perspective. Below is the website’s definition of the practice:
“Public Relations (or PR) is a field concerned with maintaining public image for high-profile people, commercial businesses and organizations, non-profit associations or programs…”
The definition posted by Wikipedia implies that PR is only concerned with high-profile people or businesses.
Today, anyone with social media profile is practicing public relations on some level. Users are sending forth the message, “Hello cyber-world. I’m here!” with every tweet…post…update…whatever you want to call them depending on the platform like mini press releases informing their “target publics” about their activities. No matter what kinds of information people disclose about themselves, they are conducting a public relations campaign—good or bad. (A crisis communication plan may need to be implemented later, but that is a topic for another blog post.)
More and more PR professionals contact traditional journalists and influential bloggers through social media to generate buzz for their organization. Someone tweeting about their involvement in a project or interest may alert the media just as easily.
The difference between public relations professionals and the average person is that hopefully the professional has learned how to effectively manage relationships with the target audience in a positive manner. Not all truths may be perceived as good initially, but hopefully with the guidance of the skillful professional the outcome will be rosier than the starting point.
It’s not schmoozing. It’s not creating spin. A good PR pro will consult their client on the best possible way to conduct their communications regardless of the scenario.
Organizations need to be clear about what public relations is for the sake of their reputations. A name is hard to repair once damaged. It’s always easier to prevent a mess than clean it up.
For more information on what public relations is NOT, please check out this video: YOUTUBE URL.
Do we ever really learn from others mistakes or do we really have to live through it? We all have thought we were invincible at some point in our lives. Even a small part of us still thinks we are. On occasion the sobering idea of actually being human nudges us into reality. Sometimes it’s a higher power letting us know or even our bodies don’t cooperate the way we planned. Young children have that unwavering confidence who really have little experience to shield them from their consequences. I look at Lindsey Lohan and see that child. defiant, scared and lost. There can be great insight to being lost as long as you don’t intend to live there as your permanent address. The high of fame balanced by depression and prescription drugs is a hard pill to swallow. I hope she can gain insight to her motivations and get a hold ow where she wants to go. She lost focus on the things that matter by letting her emotions run her. We are all fall into that trap. After all we are human.
On The Today Show today, there was a piece about women finally ruling the world. There are more women going to college and are currently in power positions. If we were ruling the world why does the boys club still exist? Many think of that of yesteryear like there isn’t prejudice in America anymore. Just because it’s been discussed in the media doesn’t mean it automatically vanished. Women may be making strides but, I do believe there are many industries the boys’ club are thriving. Women have been talking about it for generations around lunch tables and in coffee shops. I think the war has made an impact on how many men have been in college like in many wars of the past. Historically women ran the world until the men return from war. I will be curious if this trend returns.
I think it’s great women have excelled in business. Will it reflect our salaries, change the structure of business to be more accommodating to our hectic family and work schedules? So if we really are in charge, what changes can we make to make a lasting impact in the long run?