Careful What You Ask For

March 21, 2016

by Kim Stangle

Social media has given way to a new age of marketing where engagement is far more important than just pushing your message out.   Engagement is surely a great way to interact with your stakeholders, but doing so shouldn’t compromise the integrity of your brand or message.

Twitter has given us numerous examples of engagement-gone-wrong including two campaigns that started innocently enough: JP Morgan’s #AskJPM and SeaWorld’s #AskSeaWorld.

But, don’t be fooled.  Twitter isn’t the only way your attempts at interacting can go awry.  Some organizations are even bold enough to put their taglines or brand names in the hands of users.  What could possibly go wrong?

You could end up like the British Navy whose newest research ship is just votes away from being named RRS Boaty McBoatface.  Thanks to their brilliant “Name our Ship” campaign, the cheeky moniker leads all other user submissions.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t engage with your users, just be careful what you ask for.


Fool Me Once …

February 17, 2016

by Kim Stangle

Marketers use a number of tactics to increase the open rate on emails they send to customers—and, with good reason.  In 2015 alone, some 205 billion emails were sent per day.  With those numbers, it’s easy to understand why perfecting the subject line is as critical as the content of the email.

Most email platforms even offer tips and tricks to help along the way.  MailChimp gives step-by-step best practices; MyEmma has an interactive “split test showdown” to help users pick winning subject lines; and, companies like Mequoda offer great resources like this list to help perfect your copywriting skills.

With all of those resources, I’m left scratching my head about an email tactic that I’m quite certain is not a mistake.  I’ve opted in for emails from retailer West Elm and, generally speaking, they didn’t seem anymore offensive than any other.  But, then yesterday I received this:oops

At first, I was thinking, “Ooh, a discount code.”  But, then I remembered that email seemed vaguely familiar.  Sure enough, a quick search of my inbox yielded this:

oops2

And, you guessed it … no sign of that “old email.”

oops3.JPG

Business is built by building trust, not by cheap marketing ploys.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

 

 


Effective Advertising

February 10, 2016

by Kim Stangle

We’re all too familiar with the junk that floods our Facebook timelines.  I scroll almost subconsciously past anything that resembles advertising in search of something meaningful from a friend.  And, occasionally, something pops up that breaks through the clutter and stops me in my tracks.

This time that credit goes to the Surfrider Foundation, a grassroots nonprofit organization whose mission it is to protect the world’s oceans, waves and beaches, for an effective ad showcasing how plastic is destroying our waters. 400393_10150536150633305_285777870_n

It’s a simple, but clever image and an even simpler message that hit home.  Is your advertising breaking through the clutter?


On Managing a Crisis: Chipotle

February 8, 2016

by Vianka McConville

Is my Chipotle burrito safe to eat?

After many months, I’ve decided that, for me, the answer is yes.

Since August 2015, Chipotle has battled food safety concerns from outbreaks of norovirus, Salmonella and E. coli in numerous states.  I will admit I was one of those people who stayed away from the chain for the past six months due to a fear of getting sick.  However, I’ve changed my tune and can’t wait to devour a burrito in the near future.

Here’s why I’ve decided to give Chipotle another try:

Communication about the incidents has been transparent and readily available, information is thorough, and apologies feel heartfelt and honest.

The level of effort that Chipotle has put into communicating to me that the chain has taken every possible step to ensure my safety earned back my trust.

That’s good public relations.

The battle is far from over for the Mexican chain.  The good fight continues today with a company-wide meeting on food safety that shuts all restaurant doors until 3 p.m., but invites everyone in on the conversation by live-tweeting the event.  As a competing Mexican grill, Moe’s ran a full-page ad in USA Today touting its restaurants would be open all day.

There’s a long road ahead, but Chipotle has a great compass in hand.


Winning

January 12, 2016

by Roger Pynn

Throughout 2015 our team at Curley & Pynn took pride in celebrating our 30th anniversary.

That’s a long time considering that so many small businesses fail in their first year.  But we were blessed and we won.  Why?  Largely because our people are so committed to the concept that our job is to help our clients win.

And so at the end of our year of celebration, VP and Partner Kim Stangle set out on a mission to create a digital magazine in tribute to what we’ve learned over the past three decades.  And in a brainstorming session she asked, of course, “What should we call it?”

You can imagine that we played with all kinds of names relative to our 30-year history … “30,” “Thirty,” “Decades,” etc.  But when Associate Strategist Vianka McConville said “FTW,” everyone got it … the popular term that stands for “For The Win.”

So, here’s our magazine and a collection of thoughts from our entire team on what it takes to maintain a winning attitude.


Why Athletes Make Better Leaders

November 12, 2015

by Kim Stangle

I wasn’t much of an athlete growing up, but in the last 10 years, I’ve taken up two new sports:  tennis and rowing.  The two couldn’t be more different, but both have taught me valuable lessons that I carry with me every day.

To succeed in rowing, nothing is done individually.  In fact, even the individual mindset that you’re better than anyone in your crew is dangerous.  There is, of course, a leader … the coveted stroke seat.  But, beyond that, success comes from trusting your teammates and working together toward a single goal.  One of my favorite quotes from the book, “Boys in the Boat” illustrates perfectly what it means to work as a team:

“The challenges they had faced together had taught them humility—the need to subsume their individual egos for the sake of the boat as a whole—and humility was the common gateway through which they were able now to come together and begin to do what they had not been able to do before.”

That was the author, Daniel James Brown, talking about the nine Americans and their quest for a gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but it could’ve just as easily been a CEO reflecting on his/her staff.

On the other hand, tennis is a very individual sport.  Unless you’re playing doubles, you’re solely responsible for your successes and failures on the court.  So what’s the business case for playing?  To succeed at tennis, you have to be able to make split-second decisions.

In fact, there’s even a documented four-step process:

  1. Perception
  2. Decision
  3. Execution
  4. Feedback

You don’t need to be Einstein to see the correlation to leadership.

Having said that, next time you interview a potential job candidate, consider asking them about their sports background.  Playing sports creates accountability, builds competition, drive and the need for constant improvement.  You develop camaraderie that you are part of something bigger than yourself.  Can you think of better qualities for your company’s future leaders?


Aligning Actions with Company Values

October 27, 2015

by Kim Stangle

In a completely mind-blowing move, outdoor retailer REI is closing their stores on Black Friday and paying their 12,000 employees to spend time outside instead.

rei-logo

Forbes.com quotes their CEO as saying:

“For 76 years, our co-op has been dedicated to one thing and one thing only: a life outdoors. We believe that being outside makes our lives better. And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth. We’re a different kind of company—and while the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we’ll be spending our day a little differently. We’re choosing to opt outside, and want you to come with us.”

Can you think of a better way to communicate your company values to both internal and external audiences than making a move like this?

Words are great, but actions are better.


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