Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Help Create a More Equal Workplace with your Holiday Shopping

It’s still a couple of weeks until Thanksgiving, but I went to the mall this past weekend and was hit with shiny red, green and silver decorations in stores. Yes, the holidays are here. Even before I ventured into stores, my emails were a tip-off. The pre-Black Friday deals have begun to hit my inbox.

Holiday shopping can be hectic. In my experience I’ve found people either love it or hate it. I can see why many feel the latter. While Christmas and Hanukkah are primary reasons many people shop during the holidays, commercialism of the season has been an underlying effect for some time now. Consumers are focused on price, getting the best deal and want their perks like free-shipping. When you’re trying to purchase a limited-edition item and the deal is “while supplies last” it’s no wonder the universal message of caring and helping others may fall of the radar.

However, it doesn’t have to. Holiday giving can also be a time when your gift to a family member, friend, co-worker, or stranger makes an impact. There are many good causes to support this holiday season. This year workplace equality is top of mind for me and thanks to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Holiday Buying Workplace Equality Guide I know what retail businesses prohibit payment discrimination and offer equal healthcare and partnership benefits to LGBT employees and their families.

The guide is easy to use. Here’s how their color code system works (Site to complete guide):

  • Green: Businesses/brands, which have the highest marks for supporting LGBT equality in the workplace
  • Yellow: Businesses/brands , which have taken steps toward a fair-minded workplace, but still have room for improvement
  • Red: Businesses/brands that have to do a lot more to further equality 

Barnes and Noble
Burlington Coat Factory
Bed, Bath and Beyond
CVS Health
Enterprise Rent a Car
BJ’s Wholesale Club
JC Penny
KB Home            
The Walt Disney Company
Whole Foods

This holiday season let your buying power have an impact and be sure to share this blog post and the HRC guide with friends and families. Together we can influence change!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

My Three Ps from 2015 #CMWorld: People, Passion and Purpose

Content marketers and their brands know that, "Content is king," but that doesn't make the job of marketing content easy. Now more than ever there's a fight to get your attention. Twenty years ago marketers had 60 seconds to hook you, about five years ago that was reduced to 20 seconds and for now it looks like the folks at Vine have it right with about 6 seconds. There's way more content. We're getting hit with approximately 5,000 ads a day, this is up from around 3,000 about five years ago. We can thank the Internet, social media and mobile devices for the plus 2k messages were now bombarded with daily. Yes, I said daily.

So what's a content marketer and customer to do? The answer is not to stick your head in the ground like an ostrich. Although, that may seem like a viable option as we approach an election season here in the United States. In search of the answer to this question and many others regarding content marketing I attended the 2015 Content Marketing World

A week ago today I was immersed in sessions that delved into content strategy, management and SEO. Everything was aimed at helping conference attendees to think creatively in order to produce effective content for their audiences. If I'm honest, I'm still processing lessons learned, but I have three key takeaways I'mg going to share. They're my three ps: People, Passion and Purpose. 

Whether you're B2B, B2C, or a social media novice just getting into this game, if you're not focused on the three ps, you're probably not connecting with your audience aka customers or followers in an authentic and purposeful way. Another takeaway from the conference is that customers can sniff the phony out of your content. It's best to avoid this because when audiences aren't feeling your brand they have a tendency to spread the word. In a world where social media has become a disruptor, the game of telephone is off and running in a social nano second, but you probably already know that. 

Back to the three ps. Here's some content food for thought as it relates to your brand, company or organization:

  • People - should be at the center of what you do. If you're not connecting with them then you're not relevant to what they need and want. Start with why. Is a a marketing campaign the best way to connect with your audience? It may not be. Find out and build your strategy around what they want, not what you think they want.
  • Passion - this is for the content marketers. Are you just slapping out blog and vlog posts looking to see what hits and connects with your audience? Are you passionate about your products and services, if not you better find it. People don't like to be sold, they want an emotional connection and are looking for it in the content you create.
  • Purpose - this goes back to the why question? What's the point? Why does it matter? How will it help me? Audiences want to know the purpose. Plain and simple. If you can't answer these question how to you expect to to connect with people in an authentic way?
Content may be king but it's only as good as the value you bring to it. Keep these three ps in mind in your work. Onward and upward!