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.

Goal Setting for 2018

Goal Setting for 2014

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”   Henry David Thoreau

John C Maxwell

John C Maxwell

In 1979, a study on Harvard MBA graduates revealed that 3% of Harvard MBAs financially gained ten times as much as the other 97% Harvard MBA’s combined. In that study, Harvard MBA graduates were asked, “Have you set clear written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” While 84% had no goals at all, and 13% had goals, but weren’t on paper, 3% had clear, written goals with absolute plans to accomplish them.(Source: from the book What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School, by Mark McCormack)

Writing down your goals is like creating a Playbook for success!

Goals are a progression and represent a desire for change. Goals are meant to be challenging and difficult. So when there is a goal set into place, it needs to be deeply decided and planned. Clearly, success can be measured by the amount of accountability you put onto paper.

Before goals are set in stone, there are a few things that should be considered.

1. Make realistic goals

Start with small achievable goals and write them down. Be patient and stay dedicated on the small goals. Then step outside of your comfort zone, and take a leap forward . Utlimately, the small successes will pave a road towards your ultimate goal.

2. Create steps for those goals

If you keep focusing on achieving the end goal, you’ll undoubtedly get overwhelmed. It’s better to focus on smaller goals each month. For instance, instead of striving to increase profits by 120% over the course of a year, you should focus on increasing profits by 10% every month.

 3. Stay dedicated

It can be easy to stray from your business goals because so many different tasks and issues can pop up unexpectedly, but it is imperative that business owners and their team members stay on track. Measuring success helps keep a team’s motivation high, and that is a key component to achieving  daily, weekly and monthly goals. Little wins add up to huge successes.

Always keep your goals in front of you. By writing them down on paper, you will begin to see growth in both your personal and professional life.

Content Marketing Firm

CONTENT Marketing – Content is King of the Cage

Friday, June 1st Fight Night Productions will put on a show at Tampa’s A La Carte Pavilion to showcase some of the Bay Area’s hottest prospects in boxing.  I grew up in the Tyson/Holyfield ear… I mean “era.”  And so I’ve always been into the sport.  But my love for boxing has been replaced by my fascination with the UFC.  And I’m not alone.  Though I wince just seeing someone get their finger pricked for a blood test and feel it in my own kidney watching a fighter get a heel kick to theirs (which, by the way, is now illegal under UFC rules), I find myself enthralled with this gut-wrenchingly violent sport and not enthralled in a watching a train-wreck sort of way.  My first (and only) live UFC event was in Vegas–Rashad Evans’ take down of Forrest Griffin in ‘08.  The pageantry and drama of the whole night is what wooed me.  But many fervent UFC fans have never even seen a live event.  When you think about that fact and you think about what the ultimate fighters have been up against―political opposition and state licensing issues―, it’s an amazing feat.  The main reason that mixed martial arts has become one of the fastest growing sports organizations on the planet has much to do with marketing, specifically content marketing.  For those who are less familiar with the term, content marketing involves the creation and distribution of relevant and valuable content to a specific target audience.

 

The UFC masters content marketing with a holistic attack.  “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show on Spike TV does wonders for the sport, allowing fans a transparent view of what it takes to make it as a fighter, and the show endears fans to up-and-comers.  Charismatic UFC President Dana White’s video blogs on the UFC’s web channel, which has over 370,000 subscribers, serve to fuel fans’ interest for upcoming events.  The UFC uses long-form content for the pre-fight programming―documentaries about the fighters that delve into their family backgrounds and what drives them to seek fighting championships.  And as far as social media content goes… Well, while most sports leagues are telling their athletes when not to Tweet, White gives his fighters incentives to use Twitter and labels Twitter as “the greatest marketing tool in the history of the world.”  What do we tell our clients about posting and tweeting?  Be inimitable.  Be provocative.  Be unforgettable.  Be authentic.  Yes, White is all of the above.  In fact, he’s authentically authentic.

 

As a business owner, you may say, “I don’t have the budget to create a reality television show.”  Maybe not, but believe it or not, many of the marketing content strategies used by the UFC can be employed without a TKO to your marketing budget.

The Importance of Blogging

The Importance of Blogging

sharing-contentAn effective business blog has the potential to result in companies gaining, on average, a 55% increase in traffic.  The more often you post, the more often Google indexes your site.

If you think of your website as your companies store front―windows for the would-be customer to look through to see what you offer―think of your blog as a window to your company’s soul…and personality.  It’s here where you can truly connect with your current and potential customers.  We don’t buy a product or service that we don’t understand or believe in.  How does it work? What does it do for me?  Without the answers to these questions, it’s difficult for a consumer to take action.

A blog gives us the know-how…and the access.  When was the last time you followed through with purchase based on something you read in a magazine?  Did you clip the article and carry it with you to the store?  Probably not.  Blogs are 63% more likely to influence purchase decisions than magazines.

What’s the expression? You can never be too thin or too rich…or have eyelashes that are too long? Add “you can’t have too much content” to the list. Give me more.  If your business has 40+ different landing pages, you’ll generate ten times more leads than the slackers with less than six pages.  And once you get that blog post tally up above 200, you’ll generate three and a half times more leads than those who have less than 21 posts. 200 may seem like a daunting number, but start today and it will be here before you know it.

If Blog CONTENT IS KING, then social media users make up its vast Kingdom.

According to a Forrester report, “Twitterers are the connected of the connected…Twitterers are three times more likely to be Creators (people who create and share content via blog posts and YouTube) as the general US population.”

And what are folks flocking to social media for?  When Twitterers were surveyed about why they follow certain brands, “Interesting Content” came in at number three.

According to Tom Pick at JeffBullas.com, “63% of companies said they had improved their marketing effectiveness, simply by posting blog content on social media channels.”

What are you waiting for?  Curious about QUALITY content marketing?  Contact Playbook Public Relations, LLC today.

 

PR & SEO – A Happy Marriage

PR & SEO – A Happy Marriage

clip art

PR & SEO – A Happy Marriage

First and foremost, PR has changed. Many business owners have a misconception that Public Relations (PR) is only a strategy for large companies, who can afford to spend big money to manage their brand. However, in reality, almost every kind of business needs a PR strategy. Today most of us do online research before we make a purchase. Search engines have leveled the playing field for small and medium size businesses to compete with large companies on a local level. Suddenly small businesses are visible on search engines and engaging with large audiences via their social media sites. The way your brand is represented on-line is modern day PR.

Effective PR strategies have these three components:

1) Brand Alliance – Your online presence represents your business in a way that matches your company’s mission and values.

2) Happy Customer Social Engagement: People are satisfied with their experience with your company and are sharing that message. Are you actively monitoring your social media sites to see how your customers really feel about your brand? This is called Online Reputation Management (ORM).

3) And perhaps most importantly, a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. Can consumers find you when they search online? If they can’t find you, they WILL find your competition! According to a poll by MarketShareHitsLink.com, over 61% of people use the Internet to research products before their purchase, and 75% of them won’t scroll past the first page of search results.1

So how does a PR campaign help your SEO efforts? Here are 4 reasons PR & SEO have a happy marriage:

1) Press Releases – Share your press release with a wire service and on your social media sites. This kind of sharing will increase traffic to your website and boost your site’s search engine ranking.

2) Blogging and Guest Blogging – Blogs are important because they allow you to share your expertise and become a trusted source of information and because they will help your SEO efforts. It is important to write a keyword-targeted blog on a frequent basis. If you are not a good writer, hire a company like Playbook who can take your ideas and formulate them in a meaningful way. We will also help you develop relationships with other bloggers and key social influencers, which give you the ability to share and expand voice.

3) Social Media Content – An effective social media strategy that produces quality content will help your SEO efforts.

4) Add a Press Section to Your Website – Keep a section on your site that you keep updating with all your press links, and everywhere you have been featured. These links will increase your SEO efforts. Google alert will help you keep track of all your press.

With over 131 billion searches per month on the web2, it is vital you get your company seen on-line. PR & SEO are cost-effective, long-term strategy to increase your visibility online and in the marketplace.

1 Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance, 2012
2 Comscore, January 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from Playbook Public Relations, LLC

Happy Thanksgiving for Playbook Public Relations, LLC!  As small business owners, we’re thankful to have survived our first year in business with minor scrapes and bruises and many more successes than gripes. At Playbook Public Relations, LLC, we’re particularly thankful for our clients, many of whom are also small business owners. We’re thankful for their business and thankful for the valuable services they provide to the community.

For example, as a licensed psychiatric social worker, Robin Leigh Maier helps her clients better their lives by finding emotional health and happiness. Every Wednesday, Robin shares her wisdom in her weekly blog, discussing topics such as managing A.D.D. and handling the Holiday Blues.

Randy Clark and Kevin Wade are instructing students so they can launch new careers in the health care field.  These bright students at the Center for Neurosomatic Studies (CNS) will in turn, will help their patients live pain-free lives through the practice of Neurosomatic Therapy. You can learn more about CNS at their Open House on Sunday, December 9th.

The team at Florida Property Title Services is facilitating an important part of the American dream, home ownership. We helped them launch their new mobile ready website.  Please check their website at www.FlaPropertyTitle.com.

Of all small business owners, only 10% earn revenues greater than a million dollars annually.  We understand that owning a small business doesn’t always equate to big earnings.  It does, however, always require long hours and hard work.  It’s a labor of love.  But that’s part of the American dream that we love being a part of.  At Playbook Public Relations we are thankful to live in the United States, a country built on entrepreneurial spirit and determined work ethic, which is still found in American business today.

We are thankful for all of our clients, big and small.  Please share with us what you are thankful for!

 

Sally Dee-Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame

Sally DeeWe are proud to announce that Playbook Public Relations, LLC’s Director, Sally Dee, was inducted into the Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame’s class of 2012 in October of 2012.  Sally’s pre-Playbook Public Relations career was as a professional golfer on the LPGA Tour.  She’s attended Westhill High School and was a star on the links and on the basketball court.  Scoring 1,688 career points and leading her team to the NYS Girl’s Basketball Championship, where she was named the tournament MVP.  Sally also won the NYS Girls Golf State Championship earlier that year.

Collegiately she was a three-time academic All-American at the University of South Florida (USF), and was USF’s Student-Athlete of the Year and two-time Outstanding Scholar-Athlete of the Year.  A cum laude graduate in 1993, Sally was an NCAA Athlete-of-the-Year finalist her senior year.

Among very few Central New York women to become professional tour golfers, Sally played on the LPGA Tour from 1998-2002.  While on the Tour, she competed in the women’s US Open, British Open, and Canadian Open plus the LPGA Championship – all majors.  She had two top 5 finishes, and five top 10’s during her time on tour.  She also won the ReMax World Long Drive crown in 2004 and was a contestant on the Big Break X in 2008.

A graduate assistant women’s golf coach at USF from 2009-2011, Sally earned her MBA last year…and oh yes, the Syracusan-turned-Floridian was summa cum laude.

The eight-member inductees include Sally Dee, along with Pat Donnelly, Dick Easterly, John Johnstone, Bob Kallfelz, Brad Kotz, Beezie Madden, and Royce Newell.  You can read more about the other inductees here.

http://blog.syracuse.com/sports/2012/06/greater_syracuse_sports_hall_o_1.html

This brings the total number of GSS Hall of Fame members to 198.  The first ceremony was held in 1987.

Congrats, Sally!  What an honor.  We are so proud to have you as part of Playbook’s Team!

 

Digital Marketing Firm

Playbook Public Relations, LLC – The Premier Digital Marketing Firm

It’s been a wild ride this week for Facebook (FB).   The company’s IPO had Wall Street and investors buzzing.  On May 15th (two days before the before IPO) General Motors (GM) the largest auto manufacturer in the world, announced that it would no longer spend advertising dollars on Facebook’s paid advertising.  The reason?  GM’s marketing department believes that Facebook advertising does not work.   Last year GM’s marketing team spent $10 million dollars on Facebook’s paid advertising.  Was this an ominous foreboding for Facebook?  Since the initial IPO on May 18th FB shares have plummeted by 19%.

However, it should be noted that marketing industry insiders question the timing of GM’s announcement.  Apparently, a few months ago Facebook representatives criticized GM’s marketing department for allowing multiple marketing firms to manage their Facebook advertising.   This suggests that GM’s marketing department intentionally withheld its decision to announce its departure from Facebook’s paid advertising.

GM still believes in digital advertising, and it will remain a part of GM’s overall marketing strategy.  In fact, GM’s marketing department spent $300 million on digital advertising in 2011.  GM will continue to promote its brands on the company’s various Facebook Fan pages.  The $10 million spent on Facebook paid ads is a drop in the bucket for GM but a blow to the effectiveness of Facebook’s paid advertising reputation.

Facebook’s paid ads appear on the right side of the page.  Every time a user navigates to a new page different two things can happen:  one, different ads appear or two, the same ads follows the end user.  Facebook ads are targeted based on the demographic information provided by user’s profile.

Team Playbook combines decades of advertising experience  with the latest trends in new media marketing and digital solutions. See why our people make the difference.

We look forward to creating a Playbook for your business!

 



Our Friend Charlie Hounchell

This past Sunday the Tampa Bay Community lost one of the good ones…make that one of the great ones. Charlie Hounchell was a renaissance man: he was a fashion model, a singer, a linguist (he spoke 3 languages fluently), a UF Law graduate, a MBA graduate from the world renowned Thunderbird School of Global Management, a Realtor, an entrepreneur, a community activist and one hell of a fun and happy guy.

Charlie was my friend and mentor. Although, I think if you asked Charlie he would have just said he was my friend. His beautiful smile and the twinkle in his eye always made my day or evening, as was often the case. Charlie had a way of making the people around him (including me) feel happy, confident and inspired.

I can’t recall if I ever shared with him just how big of an influence he had on my on my life recently, but I hope I did. About a year ago, sitting on one of the beds after Casa Nova’s annual Christmas party, he advised me (in a way that only Charlie could) to, “Go work for yourself and start your own thing! What the hell are you doing looking for a job? You got the talent Sal, and now, you got the credentials. Go do it, and don’t look back.” It was exactly what I needed to hear from someone I trusted and admired, in a way that made me feel empowered. He was so right. I have never been happier in my career, save a couple of 65’s I shot on the LPGA Tour, which were very few and far between.

Fast-forward about 6 or 7 months, and true to his earlier endorsement, Charlie hired me to design a website for his newest business venture: Florida Property Title, LLC, and then hired me again to help re-brand Florida Property Law, LLC and redesign the website. I am honored that I had the opportunity to work for Charlie in the last few months of his life, a life that, in my opinion, was cut far too short.

I guess I can smile because I know that Charlie will never age in my mind, or in the minds of any of his friends. I think he would have like that (the not aging part), and then he would have thrown his back and laughed, at the irony of it all. I love you Charlie and miss you already.

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