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Logo Design – IQuit

AHEC_IQ_Logo_RGB_650x650

Logo Design – Creating a Brand

USF Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is an administrative office that has two nonprofit community centers: Gulfcoast North AHEC (GNAHEC) Gulfcoast South AHEC (GSAHEC).

USF AHEC is funded by the Florida Department of Health to train future health professions students and current health professionals about how to work with tobacco-addicted patients. They are also funded to run cessation groups to help people stop smoking. USF AHEC has two different programs, which are both offered free of charge.  The first is called Quit Smoking Now (QSN).  QSN is a 6-session program―1 hour per week in a group setting. The second is called Tools To Quit (TTQ), and it is a 90-minute one-time session.  Both programs offer free patches, gum or lozenges to help with the nicotine withdrawal symptoms that occur when people quit using tobacco.

“WHAT!?! I don’t care, I just want to quit smoking!”

Creative Process

That’s what we thought too, so we went to work on creating a brand that people who want to quit tobacco could easily identify with. First, it is important to note that AHEC operates in conjunction with Tobacco Free Florida (TFF). Since TFF has well established brand we want to piggyback off their success by choosing a matching color scheme.  Next, we began to brain storm with little game of free association. We won’t bore you with the all the ideas that wound up in the trash can.

Here are the cliff notes on how our team came up with the “IQuit” brand:  We wanted the new logo to be culturally relavent, so we considered “iQuit” (Let’s face it, Apple knows marketing-the company has more revenues than Exxon Mobile). But we decided that “iQuit” was just too  trendy, and it had the potential to render itself obsolete in the near future.  So we scratched the “iQuit” and started playing around with IQ. We liked the “IQ” and intelligence aspect it brought to the forefront. We knew we were on to something here:  Everyone knows smoking is bad for you, right? But a high IQ is not enough to get people to quit tobacco. We all know intelligent people who are addicted to nicotine. Further, an IQ is not something that is identified with smoking cessation, so we played with our IQ’s.

no smoky

NO SMOKING ALLOWED!

 

We made the “I” look like a cigarette, and played with the  Q so it resembles a “not allowed” sign. We stilled needed a tagline to tie all the aspects of the design together.  Informed to Quit. Inspired to Quit. I Quit with AHEC.

The Brand, The Tagline, the Win!

IQ_HeaderPlaybook Public Public Relations, LLC is proud to announce the “IQuit” brand was so well received that it has recently been adopted across the entire Florida AHEC Network.  That means our “IQuit” brand will be used in all of Florida’s 67 counties!  Further, we ensured the successful launch of the “IQuit“brand by developing and redesigning www.ahectobacco.com, the Florida AHEC Network’s website (more about that in another post).

The Florida AHEC network agreed that Playbook Public Relations, LLC was able to grasp the irreplaceable value proposition that the “IQuit” programs offer to Floridians who wish to break free of nicotine addiction.   Over the course of this fiscal year, our firm’s marketing and PR initiatives helped USF AHEC reach its yearly program goals before the start of the 4th quarter.

An identifiable brand can increase your bottom line!   

Website Design & SEO Services- LCS Stone Care

L.C.S. Stone Care’s website needed an over haul.  Aesthetically, their old site looked good, but it had some serious design problems.  Most business owners do not know that flawed website design can be a factor in poor “Search” results on Google, Bing and Yahoo!  Playbook Public Relations, LLC (PBPR) understands that great Search Engine Optimization (SEO) begins with effective website design and website content.  How does website design and website content affect SEO negatively?  Well, one factor that negatively affected L.C.S. was that all of their website headers were built headers in Adobe Flash (Flash).  Google’s search engine cannot read Flash, so if Google can’t read who you are and what you do quickly, it will negatively affect your search ranking.  PBPR was able to take the website design elements they liked from their old site and recreate them in a “Search Engine Friendly” customized WordPress website.  L.C.S. had their new WordPress website up and running in three short weeks.  To the naked eye nothing had changed, but internally, everything had changed…for the better.

This first step in executing a SEO strategy for L.C.S. was redesigning/recreating their old website.  Next, we rewrote their meta titles and much later their meta tags.  Google does not like too many changes too quickly, therefore, we held off on changing all the meta title and tag information at once.  We continue to write keyword focused blogs, and do back end submissions at a feverish pace.  The results?  In three months time, we have helped L.C.S. dominate the search terms for their industry on a local level.   As of this writing, we have them ranked as high as the 7th position on Google, nationally, for “terrazzo” related keywords.  Now old and new clients are able to find them near the top of Google’s, Bing’s, and Yahoo!’s search engines.  L.C.S. Stone Care is able to track their amazing progress with PBPR’s easy to read weekly Keyword Ranking Reports.

PBPR loves helping our clients achieve their marketing goals.  By the way, if you are looking for terrazzo restoration or marble or travertine polishing, you should have no problem finding L.C.S. on Google, Bing or Yahoo!

Importance of Website Design

Importance of a Website Design

There is little doubt that search engines have replaced the Yellow Pages. If consumers want to find a business, even just a business’ phone number, they are searching on the Internet.  Search engine usage is not limited to the computer savvy; consumers from 10 years old to 80 years old use the Internet on a daily basis.

Whereas, your business used to be one line in the phone book, now your business’ website is a visual presentation of your company’s vision, culture, and products and services.  Let’s face it, the marketplace demands instantaneous information, resulting in a less patient consumer.  Your website should immediately appeal to your potential customers.  A recent study conducted in Canada found that a business literally has milliseconds to grab a consumer’s attention before their minds forms an opinion*.  You should think of your website as a storefront.  What does your website say about your business?

Many businesses provide too much information that is lost on their potential client.  Information overload causes your “hook” or marketing message to become lost in a sea of information, resulting in your potential customer clicking off your site and looking at your competitor’s website.  Keep it simple! Don’t make your customer work to do business with you.  Your potential customers want easy to useful information about your business and an easy way to contact you.  Think of shopping at the mall.  It’s always a better experience when you find what you are looking for and when you have helpful sales person.  Your website’s design and content is a key to customer conversions.

Website design is also very important.  If you walked into the grocery store and found the milk with the dog food, how would you feel?  Customers like things to make sense.  There is an expectation that the milk will always be with other milk items and that the dog food will be found in the pet care aisle.  People expect the same kind of shopping/information gathering experience at your website. Organized website design results in consumers clicking through to multiple pages on your website, thus they stay on your site longer.

Obviously, your website design should convey the culture and vision of your company.  Your website design should be simple, clear, and represent your company.  Since the majority of consumers are finding your website with their smartphone or tablet, make sure your website is mobile ready.  Some studies suggest that over 55% of all searches are done on mobile devices.  Further, bounce rates are close to 60% when a business’ website is not mobile responsive.  Isn’t it annoying when you constantly have to enlarge and scroll a non-mobile ready website?

If you are not sure if your site is mobile ready, give us a call.  We are the experts in website design, from content creation to mobile readiness. If you are not using technology to maximum your business outreach, you are falling behind. Playbook Public Relations, LLC can help you stand out from the crowd and attract more business this year with great website design.

Playbook Public Relations, LLC

*BBC News Jan 16th, 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4616700.st

Website Design – Part-1 of 3

Website Design – First Impressions

Our three part Blog series will help you make the right first impression with great website design.

One of the meanings for the word impression is a “sensation”. Impressions have strong effect on our psyche, as they produce feelings on a sub-conscious and conscious level. Researchers from NYU found that we make eleven major decisions about one another within the first seven seconds of meeting. Our minds are quick to critique and judge whether we want to stay in this interaction or if we need an immediate exit strategy.

Part 1: How alluring is your homepage?

Your homepage has seven seconds to make either a positive or negative effect on your potential client. According to a recent study, 70% of people go online first to help them locate a business. Are you making the right impression?

Identify the goal of your website. Consumers want to know what sets you apart from your competitors. It is a good idea to convey your company’s mission statement and your brand’s philosophy. Make sure website design matches you company’s overall brand message.

Set the tone and image for your site. Think of your site as putting on clothes in the morning. Is your site saying shorts and flip-flops when a shirt and tie would make a better impression?

Add teasers to your homepage. Adding articles to keep your users informed is very important in order to keep users coming back to your website. Post updated related articles only displaying a portion for the viewer to read. If they more they can click “read more.”

Check back next Wednesday as we share Part 2 of our series, “First Impressions are Strong: Make Yours Rock”.

Website Design – Part 3 of 3

Part 3: Website Design – Connecting

So you have their attention, but are you making a connection? People like to feel like they are a part of something big. Having a compelling statement will draw your visitor in and entice them to take action further within your website.

Develop a connection. Visitors to your site should feel like they are part of your family (your brand). Ask your first time users to sign-up for an account, subscribe to newsletters, or share your site with others. Have the links available to do this directly on the homepage so you won’t risk losing visitors as they navigate throughout your website.

Be social! Blogging will help you connect with your customers. Blogs reinforce your company’s brand and your expertise in your industry. Update your events, new products, or any other relevant information religiously and encourage your visitors to stay connected through your company’s social media sites.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the most effective way to drive traffic to your website. Websites are ranked by design usability, the amount of relevant content, and social media activity. Every ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on social networks will help increase your search engine ranking. Your website design structure and the proper placement of high value keywords will help optimize your homepage and increase your search engine ranking. The goal is to keep visitors on your website, therefore, strategic website design is imperative. All good relationships are built on trust, so make sure visitors to your website can find the essential information they are looking for with quick, readily accessible, and functional hot-links.

Remember, people buy from companies they like and trust. Website design can strength or weaken your brand, make sure your website is an asset and not a liability.

We hope you have enjoyed our three part series on great elements of website design.

You Became Submissive and Looked What Happened

Building Healthy Business Relationships

Business is built on relationships. Thus, the terms B2B and B2C are referring to a symbiotic relationship.  Healthy and strong relationships take nurturing, neglect breeds apathy, apathy destroys relationships.

Think about your own business relationships for a minute.  Do you have good relationships with your co-workers and with your customers?  How do you think your customers and co-workers view your management style?  Here are five tips that may help you maintain and develop good relationships:

1.     Become submissive.

If you are drinking coffee right now, you probably just choked.  Culturally, we often associate negative connotations to the word “submissive.” Here submissive means to back off and actively listen, become open to different possibilities. Some of the most creative ideas emerge when we let our guard down and just listen to others.

2.     Set boundaries.

When clear internal and external boundaries are set, everyone knows what is expected of them. It is much easier to thrive when there are easy reference points of expectations for all parties involved in the relationship.

3.     Remember you are not alone.

The African proverb, “It takes a village”, is modern and relevant to all of us. Stronger business ties are established when strengths and weaknesses are assessed.  Not good at marketing? Designate this task to someone who can really shine in this area. In this way, your internal strengths are maximized. It’s not about you! It’s about creating a winning plan for success.

4.     Make your partner happy.

Weather your relationship is with your consumer or someone within your company; all parties need to feel contented. Think of your business relationship as a circle. When you have a positive effect on the person in your relationship, it circles back to you. Everybody becomes more vested when there is a sense of the relationship meeting their needs.

5.     Don’t be afraid to let an unhealthy relationship go.

There isn’t a relationship out there that doesn’t have some rocky times. When you communicate effectively and have tried to implement all the tips above, you will intuitively know which relationships are worth riding out for the long haul.  Often fear keeps us in toxic or unhealthy relationships. Unhealthy relationships are time and energy suckers, and keep you from focusing on what you are good at.

If you have a strong business model and the intent to nurture positive relationships, new relationships will continually flourish that offer abundance and satisfaction for all involved

Google+ For Business

google_plusPlaybook Public Relations, LLC receives numerous inquiries from our clients about why Google+. They ask us, “Why is it important for my business?” Playbook Public Relations has comprised a list of the top ten reasons why your business needs to be a part of the Google+ community:

[list type=”check”]

  • Your customers and potential customers are using Google+. Google+ has over 100 million users and is predicted to grow to 400 million by the end of 2012.
  • It’s a great way to improve your search engine ranking. Let’s face it. Google is the king of search and using their interfaces increases your company’s search ranking.
  • Google+ makes virtual collaboration easy. Google+ supports fast and easy sharing of documents or images. That results in greater productivity at a fraction of the price of conventional in-person meetings or videoconferencing.
  • Get your message to the right audience with a click. With Google+, you can put customers into different groups or “circles” (by geography, by age, by interest) and then easily communicate with each circle separately, or with multiple circles at the same time.
  • Google+ allows free video chats. One of the best features on Google+ is Google Hangouts, Google’s video chat tool. Google Hangouts works well for video conferencing with members in your circles.
  • Google+ provides free focus groups. Why pay for focus groups when you can use Google+ to get answers to questions, e.g., pertaining to how your brand is received in the marketplace. Google+ focus groups are a great way to elicit customer feedback.
  • This platform facilitates B2B marketing. If you are looking to connect with other businesses, Google+ Your Business is designed to help. Your circles can include other businesses or industries that you wish to target.
  • Google+ is a plus for PR. With Google+ circles, businesses can target the public and make desired media relations contacts. When your business delivers a message through Google+, it is going to be picked up by users who are more likely to respond, including key industry personalities and publishers.
  • This platform promotes brand awareness. Because of the emergence of social media, it is essential for brands to build their reputation and brand message online.
  • Google+ is another avenue for you to advertise promotions on. With Google+, it’s easy to offer promotions to your target audience within your circles.

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Playbook Public Relations’ team members are experts in digital marketing. Call us to today for a consultation and we will develop a powerful tool for your business―a Playbook!

Strategic Marketing

Strategic Marketing for Educational Institutions

Recently, Playbook Public Relations, LLC’s (PBPR) client the Center for Neurosomatic Studies (CSN), an educational institute that provides an 18-month curriculum in Neurosomatic Therapy (NST) asked us to create a strategic marketing plan (aka a playbook) to ensure a successful launch of their inaugural class.

CNS needed a marketing and public relations (PR) strategy to attract qualified students for the fall semester 2012.  CNS has a unique value proposition.  While their patients testimonials are inspirational and newsworthy, unless you have gone to the St. John-Clark Pain Treatment Center for treatments then you have probably never heard of Neurosomatic Therapy.

Neurosomatic Therapy (NST) is no ordinary massage. Physicians, patients, and therapists agree that Neurosomatic Therapy (NST) succeeds where traditional forms of therapeutic pain management fail.  NST treats pain through manual therapy, not by prescribing pills. There has been an increasing demand for training in areas of manual therapy that require an advanced knowledge of human physiology and kinesiology in order to address specific imbalances often presenting as chronic pain. In response to this increasing demand and due to the lack of qualified therapists to treat patients, Randall Clark and Kevin Wade established the Center for Neurosomatic Studies (CNS).

Playbook Public Relations, LLC’s challenge:  To market an educational institution that that teaches a skill that the general population has no knowledge of.    Give our love of competition, we embraced the endeavor, rolled up our sleeves and got to work.  Task one, reinvent the marketing message, Randy and Kevin’s technical knowledge is mind blowing.  We had to chisel down their knowledge to four main bullets points.  We had to tailor the message to attract qualified students.  Task two; carry the message and the brand to the Tampa Bay community.  While CNS and Playbook Public Relations envision eventually attracting students from all over the country, there is tremendous talent in the Tampa Bay area and we want to capitalize on the local talent pool.  We arranged for Randy and Kevin to appear on CSB’s Studio 10 morning show.  Click here to watch the video: www.youtube.com/CNStudies.com.  This segment gave Randy and Kevin seven minutes to educate and brand CNS.  Task three; create a social media strategy for CNS.  Social media is a complete waste of time for businesses unless there is a strategy.  We revamped their Facebook page, created a Twitter account, a Pintrest account, a Google + and YouTube account.  Task four, grass root efforts.  Roxanne and I hit the pavement and targeted yoga studios throughout the bay area to attract potential students.   We held information sessions at the school and packed the classroom.  We called Rotary Clubs to schedule Randy and Kevin as guest speakers.  The result?  From zero applicants a month ago to an inaugural class for CNS will starting on Monday September 10th.

Good luck to all the students at CNS.  We admire the courage and dedication that change requires.  I know from first hand experience that Neurosomatic Therapists help patients live pain free lives.

At Playbook Public Relations, LLC we only win when our clients are successful.  We are here to serve our clients needs and provide solutions to their problems.  We are honored to earn the trust of our clients.  Call Playbook Public Relations, LLC and allow us to create a custom “Playbook” for your business.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility Means Good Business

alpnrock_logo_highres-e1367522531592[1]Playbook Public Relations client, Alp-n-Rock (ANR), a unique luxury clothing company, founded its business with a cornerstone of corporate social responsibility. Their idea was to give a percentage of the company’s profits to the non-profit organization Room to Read. ANR’s founder, Suzanne Reich, is passionate about educating girls on a global scale, as she understands educated women help break the poverty cycle in one generation, so she started the clothing line as a way to give back. What a powerful message this sends to the consumer!

“You can actually make a lot of money and do a lot of good in the world,” says Peter Henry, Dean of NYU’s Stern School of Business. According to Dr. Henry, students who are enrolling in the prestigious business school are not just looking to be financially successful; they also want to impact the world in a positive way. As our economies become more global and we seethe interconnectedness of our world, this line of thinking is moving to the forefront.

Let’s take a look at Tom’s Shoes, another company benefiting from corporate social responsibility at its cornerstone. For every pair of shoes purchased, a pair is donated. The consumer naturally wants to support this mission. It feels good to them to be able to reach out and help in a way they may not be able to do on their own. And it also generates a lot of revenue for Tom’s. Would this company be as successful if they didn’t have such a strong corporate ethic to make a difference? Probably not.

The way consumers shop has evolved dramatically over the past decade. No longer do you have just one hardware store in town or only one strip of local shops to get goods from. Consumers have thousands of options. Adding corporate social responsibility to your business plan may be just what your business needs to get your employees and consumers excited about the products or services you offer.

For a growing number of consumers, big corporations are seen as villainous. Public and media awareness is laser focused on issues like:  corporate greed, off-shore out-sourcing, and golden parachutes for corporate executives. Now when a business violates safe environmental and work-site policies, it is front page news.

Recently, Walmart was in the news for leaving their mulch in the parking lot too long causing the possibility of pesticides moving into a local water source, the Catawba River in North Carolina. A lawyer for Walmart said, “Annually, our stores give back millions of dollars within their local communities specifically for environmental issues.” And is correct.

Walmart has been the target of bad press (well-deserved) for years, but now the company is taking a leadership role in sustainable initiatives corporate social responsibility. Walmart demands that all of their vendors comply to EPA regulations, regardless of locality. This means that the vendor who supplies red folder you buy for your children’s school supplies, has to ensure every piece of their supply chain is practicing sustainable business practices, i.e. no toxic red dye and human rights violations from off-shore suppliers. Walmart is also committed to reducing packaging and waste to landfills by over 5% by the year 2013. Walmart’s initiative to reduce waste associated with packaging is unprecedented. They also have led the way utilizing innovative energy saving initiatives such as using renewable resources and LED lighting. Walmart knows helping our planet also helps their bottom line. It also keeps the customers coming in.

If you had a choice, shop at Superman’s store or Lex Luther’s, what would it be? Take it even deeper: who would you rather have a conversation with? Because that’s what marketing essentially is – a conversation.

Business owners need to consider implementing a “corporate social responsibility” into their business models. Being authentic is essential, pick a cause that you and your employees feel strongly about. Small to medium sized companies like ANR to giant corporations like Target can rally behind the same cause.  Both companies feel strongly about supporting education. Let’s emphasize those key words, “FEEL STRONGLY.” Authenticity is imperative otherwise your consumers will feel, and the positive impact will be lost.

Social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn provide an outlet for your business to engage in conversation with your customers in a way that was not possible before. It is a great and free venue for sharing your companies green initiatives and corporate social responsibility policies.  Start sharing all the ways your company positively contributes to your employees and the communities it serves. Start marketing that good feeling and inspire others to do the same. The days of a rather hip slogan are passé.

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