Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sabbatical Life Lessons

IMG_6790This summer, I had the amazing opportunity to take a four-week sabbatical following 10 years of employment at GroundFloor Media. For our part, team members are asked to take the time to regroup, recharge and reflect during their sabbaticals – with the ideal goal being that we come back refreshed and reenergized with insights to share with our team members that will ultimately help us all to live a more balanced, productive and abundant life.

It was, of course, amazing to have four weeks off – time to look up from my laptop and really be present in the world around me, spend treasured time with my family and friends, travel (to Hawaii!), and address long-ignored elements of my “other” jobs at home (stacks of mail, overflowing closets, etc.).

Read more after the jump…

3 Tips to Leverage SEO & UX to Rise to the Top of Search Results

SEO and User Experience Best Practices

Search engine optimization (SEO) has become more and more complex over the years. There are hundreds of factors that are taken into consideration within Google’s algorithms. Google is the 800-pound gorilla in the search space – and for good reason – it is the best at providing searchers with the most relevant content as quickly as possible.

At a very high-level, Google rewards those sites that provide searchers with a great user experience (UX) and relevant content. Below you will find tips on how to use the combined power of SEO and UX to rise to the top of the search engine results page (SERP) and compel your audience to complete your desired action(s).

1. Create substantial, valuable, accessible content

  • Target Audience: To dominate the search space within your respective industry, it is critical to understand your target audience’s needs and wants.
    • Content should answer the questions that they have in order to guide them through the buyer’s journey and ultimately complete your desired action(s).
  • Keyword research: Researching popular keywords is an important data-driven way to understand how your target audience is searching for things. Make sure to use this research to inform your content strategy.
    • This process will help create guide posts around the content creation process to ensure that content is centered on relevant topics in the vernacular that users are searching for and ultimately help people find your content.
  • User Experience (UX): It is important from a UX perspective, that key pieces of content along the user journey are easy to find and the layout of the page makes the content digestible and engaging.

Read more after the jump…

Why ‘Purpose’ is Crucial for CSR efforts in 2018

Holding the world in your hands; Photo credit: Ken Teegardin

Photo credit: Ken Teegardin

“Purpose is more than just a trend, it’s the new norm. Americans have expectations of companies to lead with Purpose by not just making money, but positively impacting society as well. Companies need to identify, communicate and live their Purpose to maintain relevance, trust and competitive advantage.”

~ 2018 Cone/Porter Novelli Purpose Study

Cone Communications has been studying corporate social responsibility (CSR) in America for 25 years. This year, they focused on the concept of a company’s Purpose. They examine this concept from a number of angles in their recently released 2018 Cone/Porter Novelli Purpose Study. I’d like to take a look at three specific points: Authenticity, Brand Loyalty, and the Intersection of Purpose & Social Justice.

Read more after the jump…

3 Social Media Strategies Nonprofits Can Learn From the Immigrant Family Border Crisis

In the last few weeks, attention and conversation has spiked around the topic of the separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border. If you’ve spent much time on Facebook you’ve likely seen calls for donations to organizations supporting these immigrant families. The fundraiser for RAICES came up in my feed again and again, so I decided to look into what they were doing to stay so prominent and what lessons nonprofits could take from their moment in the spotlight of this national crisis. Read more after the jump…

SXSW 2018: Knowing what makes people tick can get them to click

People are humans, and humans are unique and complex. It seems obvious, but it’s something marketers and businesses sometimes forget. There are many ways to slice and dice people into groups to target, but the closer you get to understanding what a unique individual likes, wants and feels, the closer you’ll get to motivating them to action. The challenge, as always, is how to do that at scale.

Brian Cugelman, a neuroscientist presenting at 2018 SXSW Interactive Conference, has developed a framework called SPEAR. Think Myers-Briggs, but reimagined using brain science. Using his framework he talked through how to design marketing materials for people based on their personality test results. Someone he classifies as an “Empat” would like community- or social-oriented communications. Basically, he boils it down to understanding what kinds of things were attractive, or repulsive, to different personalities.

Read more after the jump…

How do you elicit emotion in an on-camera interview? Embrace your own

3888834634_a5635cf162_o

Everyone knows the shot. And everyone wants it. We were on set at a video shoot with a client recently who really wanted it. And he didn’t mince words about what it was that he wanted as we spoke before the interview.

“You’ve got to make this guy cry, dude.”

I hope I was able to bury the cringe I felt building up inside — and that was the last emotion I wanted to bury that day.

“If I take that approach into this interview, there’s no way he’s going to cry, dude,” I replied.

That’s the one sure thing I know about trying to elicit an emotional response in an on-camera interview: If you’re trying to do it; if you’re employing calculated tactics in your effort to make it happen, it’s likely that you’ll personally extinguish all the emotion in the room.

That being said, there is one methodology that I have found particularly fruitful — and even personally therapeutic — in these moments: letting go of all the thoughts about how you want this interview to go, and taking the time to seek out a genuine, human connection with the person you’re interviewing.
Read more after the jump…

The Biggest PR Disasters of 2017 – Part 3

Over the last couple of weeks, I have shared Part 1 and Part 2 of my biggest PR disasters of 2017, which included United Airlines, Red Cross, Pepsi, Facebook, Papa John’s, the Oscars, Kathy Griffin, USA Gymnastics, Nikon and Cheerios. Here is the final look back at the year’s biggest PR debacles.

Uber Logo UpdatedUBER … When the hashtag #DeleteUber becomes your company’s most impactful marketing campaign, you know what kind of year it has been. You can pick which issue was the worst: privacy and tracking concerns, erratic behavior from its CEO, a plot to evade regulators through a complex program named “Project Grayball,” allegations of systemic sexual assault, being banned in the London – the choices go on and on. Former CEO and still-current board member Travis Kalanick added to the miserable year by feuding with his fellow board members, threatening a potentially lucrative IPO.

Equifax Logo.svgEQUIFAX … There are only about 320 million Americans, so it takes a special kind of incompetence to let hackers steal the personal data (names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses and driver’s license numbers) of more than 145 million of them. But the good folks at Equifax rose to the challenge. Particularly frustrating is that there is little to nothing that average consumers can do to punish the company. Fortunately, Equifax’s corporate clients have also grown leery of the company. And to date, it has spent nearly $90 million in legal fees and other expenses to respond to the incident.

Subway LogoSUBWAY … Subway has been on my annual lists of biggest PR disasters for so many years it should win a lifetime achievement award. In years past, the disasters have been much worse (think convicted pedophile/spokesperson Jared Fogle), but this year the ubiquitous sandwich chain made the list for a research study that found that the “chicken” it serves was only 50 percent chicken. Panicked Subwayophiles were relieved to learn that the other 50 percent was soy rather than something more sinister, but the sensational headlines were everywhere. In the end, it may not hurt Subway as much as it could. The decision-making hierarchy for eating at Subway starts with price, moves to taste and eventually lands at quality. Hybrid soy-chicken is still cheap and salty.

Nivea LogoNIVEA … Every year, a company wins the award for “Needs a more diverse set of employees.” This year, that company was Nivea. In February, the cosmetics company launched a “White is Purity” ad campaign that targeted consumers in Middle East countries. The campaign quickly went viral, and earned it the support of a white supremacist group that posted on Nivea’s Facebook page: “We enthusiastically support this new direction your company is taking. I’m glad we can all agree that #WhiteIsPurity.”

Adidas LogoADIDAS … Context is king in public relations, and Adidas blew it this year. The Boston Marathon has become an almost-sacred event in the wake of the terrorist bombings that killed three and injured hundreds of others in 2013. This year, Adidas launched an email promotional campaign to marathon participants congratulating them for “surviving the Boston Marathon!” The company quickly apologized and is unlikely to suffer any long-term damage. But, it was an extraordinary gaffe from a global company that doesn’t often blunder.

Read the entire series of 2017’s biggest PR disasters:

Part 1: Includes United Airlines, Facebook and Papa John’s Pizza
Part 2: Includes Kathy Griffin, the Oscars and Men
Part 3: Includes Uber, Equifax and Nivea

The Biggest PR Disasters of 2017 – Part 1

As 2017 comes to a close, we take time to reflect on the year’s biggest PR disasters:

United_Airlines_Logo.svgUNITED AIRLINES … The only good news for United Airlines is that its string of PR disasters occurred early in the year when they could be overshadowed by newer debacles over time. But what a year it was. The airline took the worst hit when it literally dragged a passenger off an overbooked plane, breaking his nose and knocking out teeth in the process. While that incident took the lion’s share of the headlines, the airline also managed to make additional waves when it banned two girls from flying because they were wearing leggings and forced a mom to hold a toddler in her lap for a full flight because it gave away the toddler’s paid-for seat to a standby passenger. United apologized for all the incidents, but the airline’s brand was harmed and its stock price remains down nearly 17 percent since the first incident.

Red_Cross_Logo.svg

RED CROSS … NPR and ProPublica have been a thorn in the side of the American Red Cross since the media outlets examined the nonprofit’s spending following Superstorm Sandy in 2014. They found, for example, that seven months after the storm, the Red Cross still had not spent $100 million of the $300 million it had raised. Unfortunately for the Red Cross, NPR revisited the questions about the Red Cross’ efficacy just as Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and the Red Cross was frantically trying to raise money for relief efforts. The Red Cross promised more transparency, but a generation of Millennials who like to invest locally have been finding smaller nonprofits on the ground in affected areas to support. The long-term implications of this PR disaster for the Red Cross have to be scary. Read more after the jump…

Creativity: Put in the Time

"Let's make a music video..."

“Let’s make a music video…”

Our CenterTable video team brought home a Silver Leaf Award from the Colorado Healthcare Communicators last week for our “Hand Hygiene: 1-2-3” music video with our clients at Good Samaritan Medical Center.

Sure, I want you to click on the case study and check it out – but as I was thinking about how this project came together it occurred to me that the success of this video campaign was largely dependent on the creative thinking and execution of our video team.

Read more after the jump…

We Trended on Twitter, and This is How We Did It

Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 12.31.33 PM
We’ve all been there: Your client wants his or her message, product or event to trend on Twitter, the account they’re using doesn’t have a lot of followers and you don’t have immediate access to Justin Bieber to lend your hashtag a hand.

So what do you do?

We were faced with this scenario earlier this year working for our hard-nosed clients at Colorado Succeeds. Tell this scrappy education nonprofit they can’t accomplish X, and they’ll have accomplished X, Y and Z in the time it takes you to lay out the case as to why they’ll never accomplish X.

So naturally, it was a goal for them to gain trending status for their inaugural Succeeds Prize, a first-of-its-kind live awards show for teachers set to be broadcast live from the University of Denver by KUSA, Denver’s NBC affiliate and market leader.

So where did we start? First, we went straight to the source to find out how Twitter defines trending. This is what we found word-for-word, as put forth by the platform in 2010:
Read more after the jump…