While data-driven insights undeniably play a crucial role in marketing and communications, there are times when being led by data without considering its context and potential biases can lead to flawed decision-making. We explore when to listen to your gut over the numbers and how embracing your instincts can fuel innovation and success.Continue reading
By Julie Wright —President
Passion is an awesome thing. It gives you the drive needed to push past obstacles and embrace challenges. But passion alone isn’t enough.
To succeed as a strategic communicator, you need what the (W)right On Communications team calls contagious passion. Contagious passion is one of our core values. Why?
Because, if your passion for your client, pitch or charitable cause doesn’t infect others, you can’t advance it. With earned media, shared media and word of mouth driving more brand connections than paid strategies today, contagious passion is essential to your success as a communicator.
Any trending hashtag is a symptom of an outbreak of shared passion across the Twittersphere. It signifies that thousands of people are fired up about this Sunday’s game or the most recent national “holiday” celebrating chocolate eclairs or brandied fruit.
Similarly, a long string of comments on a Facebook post will raise a post’s visibility on the platform. In a way, the Facebook algorithm is fueled by contagious passion. But to achieve that kind of engagement you’ve got to develop content that contains an idea, concept or image people can connect to emotionally. Without that shared feeling, there’s no reason to care and without a reason to care, there’s no motivation to act. Which means failure.
I have a friend who has a contagious passion for slowing climate change. When she tells me about a book she encountered that examines the top 100 solutions for reversing global warming and what it taught her, it’s not long before I’m downloading my own copy of Project Drawdown and telling others about it. In a matter of 24 hours, I’ve infected three other people with this book’s intriguing research and ideas.
I’ve been thinking about our agency culture and the importance of our values, like contagious passion, because we added a new team member a few months ago. During the interview process and since joining the team, she has made it clear that she has a passion for communications, for her clients and for the work we do at (W)right On Communications.
Her client partners have quickly taken to her because they can see, and more importantly feel, that she cares about their organizations and achieving results for them. Her fast start has been remarkable but no accident. She brought the passion and infected others with it.
Think about the last time you were in a meeting where someone renewed your enthusiasm for a project or won you over to their vision or idea. I guarantee you that their contagious enthusiasm played a big part, and you probably applied yourself to the task with more gusto because you were inspired by it.
You can fake passion, but it’s hard to fake a contagious passion. If your words don’t align with your body language—animated gestures, leaning forward, maintaining eye contact—people won’t pick up on what you’re putting out. If your heart isn’t in it, then your passion won’t feel authentic to others or move them. Most importantly, it won’t fulfill you.
And that’s important. You should love what you do, care deeply about what you’re communicating and be invested in the success of your idea, client or team.
That passion motivates you to excel, to learn all that you can about your client or craft and to challenge yourself to grow and reach mastery.
We all encounter wet blankets in our work life. People who are genetic anomalies and immune to passion. They’re a bummer to work with or for, of course, and probably don’t understand why no one listens to their ideas or wants to go to lunch with them. Think Eeyore.
Those people are probably just in the wrong job or career. Or they’ve given up and lost their mojo.
For others who love what they do but struggle to muster a contagious passion, the cause can often be their own fear and insecurities. They’ve put a wall around their passion because they’re afraid to be wrong, to fail or to show that they don’t know something they should.
For your passion to be contagious, you need to get in touch with it. What excites you? What’s worth sticking your neck out for?
If you have a contagious passion for a hobby or a sports team, invest the same zeal into your client’s business or your employer’s industry to find the joy. It’s possible. Often, the more you invest yourself in a topic, the more exciting it becomes. It’s the difference between the college courses you had to take in your first year and those you chose to take in your senior year.
In the same way that smiling can make you feel better, choosing to find the joy can make you feel the passion. The cart doesn’t always have to follow the horse. The main point is to find it, feel it and spread it to others.
We spend a lot of time blogging here about communication strategies and tactics, but communication success starts with passion and the ability to make others care. What goes around comes around, and contagious passion is no exception. I hope you’ve felt mine and that this post leaves you a little more stoked to make the most of your work whatever it may be!
By Kat Beaulieu—HR Communications Strategist
There is a too common perception among donor-reliant nonprofits that targeting Millennials with fundraising efforts is a waste of time and resources. If the big donations tend to come from the bequests and corporations associated with older audiences, why put effort into trying to reach Millennials?
Engaging Millennials to support your nonprofit organization can have far-reaching benefits that positively impact your bottom line.
Here are four crucial reasons to reach out to them.
Millennials are now the nation’s largest living generation.
That alone should be enough incentive. What business plan ignores the largest living demographic? A short-sighted one, that’s what. Through their sheer numbers, Millennials can make social media posts go viral, providing a tremendous awareness boost to charitable giving campaigns. Just look at the reach of initiatives like #GivingTuesday. And as a direct result of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which took social media by storm, scientists discovered a new ALS gene.
Because there are so many of them, Millennials are in tough competition for jobs.
Those who want to get ahead understand the value of having volunteer experiences on their resumes. Talented and eager Millennials will work for your organization for free on labor intensive but meaningful activities like events, emails, and social media. This can save your organization time and money. Pair your Millennial volunteer with an experienced individual who will share all the intricacies and nuances of the role. Imagine the awesome results when your paid Volunteer Coordinator explains the complexity of volunteer scheduling and the Millennial researches and implements the latest scheduling software, shaving 10-hours off the Coordinator’s weekly workload.
Millennials want to be part of your boards–they just don’t know they’re invited.
Board appointments are another powerful reference Millennials would love to have on their resumes. Imagine the impact of replacing some of your retiree board members with Millennials. Instead of having people who have nothing to prove, you’d have people who have everything to prove. Again, you need to set them up for success. They’re new at this, so setting clear goals and expectations is key, and assigning a mentor is even better. But the time and cost-saving results of having an enthusiastic Millennial heading up or assisting on a board project can be remarkable.
For Millennials, there is a connection between volunteering and donation amounts.
In fact, by a margin of more than two-to-one, Millennials who volunteer for nonprofits are more likely to make donations. Also, Millennials who form long-term volunteer relationships tend to give larger gifts and encourage friends and family to give and volunteer as well. This means there’s an exponential effect to engaging Millennials in volunteer work. Not only will the volunteer work likely lead to donations, but the Millennials will pull their friends and family in too.
These are four good reasons why your nonprofit should be engaging Millennials, but perhaps the most powerful one is that you’ll be benefitting now while building a relationship with future bequestors and corporate decision-makers.
Now that you know the ‘why’ allow us to help you with the ‘how’ to attract and engage Millennials to your nonprofit organization. Get in touch and let’s get the conversation started!
By Ronda Williams—Marketing & Administrative Coordinator
Diversity is defined as…
(W)OC has a diverse team of experts in various fields including communications, social media, public relations, graphic design, videography, and more. Not only is our team diverse but the industries we cover are also; this makes for a complementary partnership. Who says you can’t be an expert in more than one field?
The Facts about Diversity:
According to the Harvard School of Law, “the presence of an industry expert independent director is associated with an increase of 4.6% in firm value.”
Whether it be a firm, agency, or business having an industry expert will add to the value of your company.
We all could learn a thing-or-two from the business strategies of the S&P 500 firms.
Diversity in a Contagious Atmosphere:
At (W)OC we have a positive atmosphere that makes for less stress and allows us to GSD (Get Stuff Done). Everyone here works together in the benefit of achieving the tasks at hand.
Having a team that is comprised of a diverse background makes for a winning team that can strategize together for the big win.
To put it simply, “a diverse team makes for a strong team!”
He goes on to say, “the roles of the individual board member, the outside person, is to pull the two sides together, to create a link and to bridge different opinions and different points of view.” Again, backing up the concept of,
A diverse team = A strong team!
At (W)OC we help strengthen each other with our expertise. We’re always lending advice and coming together for a team huddle to create winning strategies for our client partner’s. Having that one team member that is an expert in such industries can be helpful to bring together both sides of a vision.
To learn more about the diverse industries that we cover please visit, www.WrightOnComm.com or give us a call at (858) 755-5411 and let us help bring your visions to life!
By Ronda Williams Marketing & Administrative Coordinator’
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything” -Plato
Here at (W)right On Communications we are encouraged to turn up our music and jam out as we work. When you enter our office you might hear Julie Wright “fist pumping” to some EDM as she finishes up a report or Grant Wright “deep in focus” with some smooth jazz while he draws up a proposal. Then there is Keely Smith singing to Adele or Chance Shay listening to his “brotha-from-another-mother,” the artist formerly known as Kanye West. No matter what time of the day, we’re all listening to music as we work.
It’s good for repetitive work!
“Various studies have indicated that, in general, people who listened to music while they worked on repetitive tasks performed faster and made fewer errors.”
How music affects the brain…
According to examinedexistence.com,
“The meter, timber, rhythm and pitch of music are managed in areas of the brain that deal with emotions and mood.”
So listening to music while you work should not only increase your productivity but also put you in a better mood. This article goes on to say,
Having a relaxed mind and muscles can also help prevent prolonged work injuries to your arms and wrists.
Crew.com quoted neuroscientist and musician, Jamshed Bharucha, as saying:
“Creative domains, like music, allow humans to connect in a synchronized way, helping us develop a group identity and makes us more likely to work together – which was an immensely important advantage for keeping the human species alive.”
Not only will listening to music while you work put you in a better mood but it will increase team morale in the workplace.
Just remember that you are in control of your mood and stress levels at work. Tomorrow is a brand new day so try something new and listen to some music while you’re getting stuff done.
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By Chance Shay─ Director B2B and Infrastructure Development
“Why aren’t sales through the roof? We’re the best in our industry.”
If I had a dollar for every executive that’s thought this to his or herself (or said it out loud), I’d be able to retire. They eventually come to the conclusion that it’s simply because the people who should be buying their product or service just haven’t heard about them. To a great degree, they’re right. The obvious solution to this, of course, is to tell these people about their brand and everything the company does.
The solution to attracting, closing and retaining new customers isn’t to tell people about the product or service, it’s to show that the product or service solves their problem better, faster, cheaper and with less headache than anything else out there. This is even more important for B2B brands, whose customers are naturally more discerning. In fact, 60 percent of all companies choose B2B vendors after actively trying to solve a problem and researching solutions. For B2B brands, this means the more difficult question becomes: how do we show our customers that we’re the best solution for them?
Because there are so many factors to account for- the industry, competitors, market conditions, decision makers, etc.- there is no short answer to this. Truth is that audiences are more fragmented than ever. So to help decide where to stack your chips, here are five marketing pitfalls to ditch and five fresh techniques B2B brands should incorporate into their PR and marketing strategy.
Don’t: Focus exclusively on content marketing
- One dimensional marketing hasn’t been effective since salesmen walked door to door in the 60s. Don’t get me wrong, content marketing is a great way to increase the odds of your brand being discovered by those actively looking for a solution like yours. A brand just can’t put all its eggs in one basket.
Do: Utilize a comprehensive and diversified communications strategy
- Ever heard of the PESO Model? It’s an acronym that represents the four types of communication channels: Paid (channels you have to pay for), Earned (like media), Shared (essentially social platforms) and Owned (channels a brand controls). It’s a model that works well for B2B brands because it provides an easy to follow framework. Content marketing falls under the Owned channel, meaning that a brand only doing content marketing is missing 75% of the communication opportunity. Even as a true PR evangelist I will tell you that it’s unrealistic to think that earned media is all you need to reach your growth goals. Competing for attention is harder than ever because of where stakeholders get information (and thus how they’re influenced) is fragmented. B2B brands need to strategically integrate all of their communication channels in order to holistically cultivate prospects and beat the competition.
Don’t: Get press coverage and let that be that.
- That’s like qualifying for the New York City marathon but then not running another day before the race. Landing coverage in an outlet with a readership of 250,000 does not mean a quarter million people saw your article. It means there was an opportunity that 250,000 readers could read about your post. Don’t let the value from all the hard work that went into identifying, securing and coordinating the piece end once it’s published.
Do: Promote your press
- This is where having an integrated communication plan kicks in. Anybody in sales will tell you that they make contact with prospective customers at different cycles of the sales cycle. Make their job easier by showcasing press that both differentiates and helps (soon to be) leads evaluate your product. Showcase your press on social channels, your blog, newsletters and trade show materials. You can even include it in your email signature and in presentations by (including screen shots of headlines and any awesome comments the article received).
Don’t: Only write white papers to show thought leadership
- White papers and articles for peer reviewed journals require a lot of effort, but they’re great tools to showcase how talented a team a brand has. However, often times the paper is read by other smart people working in a similar fashion as the writer, not the target audience. Luckily, there are new ways to demonstrate to potential customers that a brand has a team of experts.
Do: Be a conversation starter
- While white papers are great at providing information, conversations help develop relationships, build trust and can be information. If you know your audience, you know what they’re interested in, where they get information and what strikes a chord in them. Show that you know this by heading to a forum (likely LinkedIn groups) and start a conversation around topics relevant to your audience. Write a headline you think will make your audience’s eyes bulge. Pose a provocative question or offer an opinion that is against the grain. Choose a topic you know the audience will want to opine about. Remember, the goal is to first get them talking and then you can jump in with expert input. Don’t be promotional or salesy. React to and opine, not promote and push. I feel like this goes without saying but you can visit any LinkedIn group and see a number of smart people breaking this cardinal rule.
Don’t: Wait to be invited to speak
- Every brand and person operates within their own bubble. Things that are a big deal in one bubble aren’t even noticeable in others. Some brands make the mistake of thinking they (or their leaders) are such a big deal that phones will be ringing with requests to present and speak. Even if a brand does get invites to share thoughts at certain events, they could be missing out on an opportunity to parlay that into additional exposure.
- Sometimes doing great work is enough to get noticed, but often times you have to be like Ron Burgundy and tell people to come look at how good looking you are. Use great press coverage and presenting on past panels to secure new speaking opportunities. One idea is to use an article as the center piece of a pitch to present on a similar theme or trend. This shows that you are indeed an expert and gives you credibility. If you’ve been included as an expert on a certain topic or have a published by-lined article forecasting a trend that materialized, you’re a great pick to speak about that topic at a conference or trade-show. For people whose job is to select panelists and presenters, their goal is for attendees to say, “that presenter blew me away.” Help them help you.
Don’t: Think you have “an audience”
- Even if you think you have a “target audience” you’re wrong. Truth is that for most brands (with the exception of the most narrowly niche companies out there) there are many segmented audiences that make up your collective stakeholders and customers. Brands must avoid the mistake of thinking the similarities between various customers is enough to consider them one group.
Do: Segment your audience
- A very savvy PR expert named Ben Veal said, “The key to successful B2B PR is accurately identifying your audience and their drivers, and then developing tailored content that is specifically designed to engage and resonate. This content needs to be released at the right time, and in the right format, to ensure that the decision-makers you are targeting are reached and understand the message.” There are a number of ways to segment your audience- by title, industry, demographics, psychographics, geography, etc. What all these characteristics speak to is the difference in how they are influenced and make purchase decisions. For example, if your customers are retailers there could be young, hip retailers with one store in Brooklyn who love what they hear through Buzzfeed and their customers’ experience is the most important thing to them and then there could be retailers who have been in business for 40 years with franchises across the southwest U.S. that read industry magazines and are focused on keeping costs down. They’re both retailers, but what their pain points are and how you show them that your product is the best solution for that pain point can be drastically different.
Any way you slice it, there are more opportunities to communicate than there is budget to do so (I’m still searching for the unicorn that is the unlimited budget). Every brand will need to get a precise understanding of their customers and make smart decision on where to focus their efforts. The good news is that by knowing these five tips brands can be more effective executing their plan no matter what shape it takes.