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 Shae Geary — Senior Communications Strategist
Now that most of us are working virtually, video conferencing has become the new normal. But not all video conferencing software is created equal or suits every purpose. As communicators, we know that the vessel used to communicate is just as important as what we are communicating. In that spirit, we’ve taken a look at four video conferencing software solutions with our best advice for when and how to use them. Full disclosure: This is not a comprehensive list of video conferencing apps, rather those with which we’ve had some personal experience or knowledge.
FaceTime Takes the Place of the Office Drop In
Video conferencing software hardly gets easier than Apple’s FaceTime. Platforms like FaceTime are great for quick check-ins with co-workers or clients. However, they often have limited capabilities for anything other than chatting. In the case of FaceTime, all participants have to have an iPhone or Mac. Some people also find FaceTime’s group chat distracting since faces zoom in and out depending on who is speaking.
Alternatives: Alternatives do exist for Windows and Android users. Facebook Messenger has a video chat option and is easy to use with people in your follower network. Google’s Duo works across Android and iOS devices and allows you to chat with up to 12 people. Subscribers to Slack also have the option of video chats.
GoToMeeting is Ideal for Team Meetings and Smaller Group Presentations of 250 or Fewer
The team at (W)right On Communications has been using GoToMeeting video conferencing software on a fairly consistent basis. This is a paid platform, with a free 14-day trial, and has proven easy for our weekly company-wide team meetings and client partner meetings. Users have access to features such as screen share, text messaging with other participants and the option to highlight just the speaker on screen.
One feature especially useful is the choice of computer audio or audio via a dial-in phone conference line. In a household where several of us are using Wi-Fi bandwidth at the same time, the dial-in conference line allows you to continue to hear the conversation even when video may pause due to slow connection time. Another helpful feature is the personal join screen prompt. This provides you with the opportunity to adjust camera angle and background clutter before joining the call.
Alternatives: Skype has many of the same functionalities and is free for up to 50 people to meet and collaborate. Microsoft Teams, which has video conference capabilities with Skype integration, is another alternative for those who use the Microsoft Office suite of software. G Suite users have free access to Google Meet, which supports multiple users and doesn’t require separate software installation.
Zoom Supports Large Group Presentations and Gatherings
Zoom has quickly emerged as the most popular video conferencing software. Quick growth has not come without controversy including security concerns (hello Zoombombing!) and allegations of sharing private user data with Facebook. Challenges aside, basic Zoom features can be used free of charge with paid plans offering enhanced video conferencing features.
While Zoom can be used for just about any purpose and has all the functions that you’d expect—shared screen, appointment setting and ability to invite people to chat on the fly—it has quickly become a standout for meetings and presentations to larger audiences. The video conferencing software offers a number of handy features for larger group conferences. Examples include non-verbal feedback (such as hand raising), screen annotating for both presenter and viewers and ability to record a session direct to your computer. I particularly like the virtual background option, so people don’t have to see that you are actually calling in from your bedroom!
For instance, check out these beautiful vineyard backgrounds from our client partner, Visit Napa Valley.
Invite Your Co-Workers to Happy Hour with Houseparty
Let’s be honest, all work and no play are no fun. When it’s time to just socialize with your team, Houseparty is where it’s at. This video conferencing app alerts you when friends are “in the house” and allows users to jump in and out of chats as desired. There are also some fun features like games, including Heads Up!, Quick Draw and trivia, so you’ll feel like you are at the local pub for happy hour!
By Licia Walsworth — Communications Strategist
How businesses can adapt via the virtual world
Individuals and businesses alike are experiencing a profound shift in reality, with life feeling more and more like the plot of a novel or movie. Organizations have seen their entire workforces confined to their homes. Schools and universities stand vacant. Small business owners have no customers coming through their doors. Friends, colleagues, teammates, and extended family members suddenly find themselves isolated from one another.
But a remarkable thing happens when people are faced with a challenge: They become innovators, problem solvers, and out-of-the-box thinkers.
Physical Distancing – Not Social Distancing
Technology makes it possible to keep the economy moving. It enables us to remain connected in ways that would not have been conceivable just a decade ago. In a world where coworkers had typically been spending more time with one another on a weekly basis than with their own families, the virtual world is now providing people with a unique opportunity for valuable human interaction — on a personal level, as well as on a professional level. Companies are adapting to virtual team meetings and telecommuting on a grand scale. If carried out correctly, these shifts can result in a greater sense of engagement and self-worth on the part of employees.
Connecting online actually does more than keeping us connected. It is strengthening connections by creating more personal or intimate interactions than coworkers could ever have had before. On a video conference call, for instance, coworkers might glimpse one another’s kids, pets, and home-based work spaces. This levels the playing field in a new way; it makes everyone human and more than just a title or job description. This increases the emotional investment coworkers, managers and direct reports have in each other. The old adage stands true: You work harder for those you care about and those who you know care about you.
That quick knock on the door to ask a question or to chat briefly has been replaced by such platforms as Microsoft Teams or Slack. The ability to quickly bounce ideas back and forth without multiple emails or an extended meeting makes for more efficient communication and a valuable savings on time.
Business-to-client interactions have seen a dramatic change, too. Marketing messages are more mindful, taking on a human element over sales-driven campaigns, as businesses of all kinds recognize that everyone is living in a new state of reality. Communicating to your target audience may mean pulling back from your business-as-usual marketing, but it does not mean sacrificing your brand. As client and customer priorities change amid crisis, companies must take the time to coach them through this next phase — whether that means making sure a client’s business keeps running or reassuring a customer that you will be there for them through the thick and thin. Interactions in this new reality matter; relationships strengthened in a time of need will continue to prosper moving forward.
From Karate to Cake-Making
Communicating in new ways is forcing innovation everywhere. Karate instructors are using Zoom to hold virtual classes. Schoolteachers and principals are using Twitter to stream book read-alouds or to recite the Pledge of Allegiance first thing in the morning. Grandparents are sharing cake-baking lessons with their grandchildren via Google Duo. Maintaining that level of interaction with students, loved ones, and your community during this time is crucial.
Business owners at all levels can find similar ways of engaging their customer base, strengthening connections in the virtual world, in order to continue moving their work forward and ensure they remain financially stable. That does not mean that you need to push your products or take advantage of your customers during a difficult time; it means staying true to your brand and what you can do for your audience. Consider distance learning education companies that are sharing strategies and tools for free not only with teachers, but also with parents who now find themselves homeschooling. Airlines and hotels that are waiving change and cancellation fees for travelers. Keep your loyal customers and be an example of goodwill during a time of crisis.
This is the time for strengthening connections to push a heightened sense of community and trust, to serve as a resource to your clients, and be an example in the virtual age to your team.
By Natalia Xibille —Communications Coordinator
At the beginning of last year, I completed the most physically challenging act I’ve ever experienced: summiting Mount Kilimanjaro. As you can imagine, reaching the top of the highest free-standing mountain in the world required a lot of determination.
Training for months on end, enduring cold, wet nights, blistering winds, and random bouts of altitude sickness were only some of the things I encountered. It wasn’t easy, but when I reached the summit and saw the sun rising over Africa I forgot about my pain and struggle and was filled with an intense sense of accomplishment.
I walked away from this experience with a newfound confidence and drive, which are two traits that will help me deliver wins for clients in my new role as Communications Coordinator for (W)right On Communications.
I graduated from San Diego State University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with an emphasis on public relations, a minor in Spanish, a Hootsuite platform certification and a Certification in the Principles of Public Relations from the Unified Board of Accreditation. Committed to the field of public relations, I’ve acquired extensive experience in a number of industries including hospitality, nonprofit, government, entertainment, B2B and consumer goods.
Within these industries I’ve:
- Successfully planned and executed a regional conference that attracted attendance from key geographic markets
- Coordinated more than 130 members of the media for one of San Diego’s most elite events: Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack
- Managed multi-platform social media strategies for various brands and used data analytics to optimize those strategies based on results
I’m excited to begin this new chapter alongside the extremely skilled communications pros at (W)right On Communications and am honored to apply my expertise to secure wins for the agency’s client partners with the same enthusiasm and determination that helped me conquer Kili.
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 and Administrative Coordinator
Agency life at (W)right On Communications is fun, positive, and fast-paced. We are constantly challenged and live by the motto GSD: Get Stuff Done. If your work place is anything like ours, you will find yourself taking breaks throughout the day to give your body a moment to relax. Whether you’re working in an office, a hospital, or from home, remember to listen to what your body is communicating.
Here are 5 exercises that I use daily when my body starts talking to me!
- Shoulder and Neck Tension Exercises
Slight movements of tilting your head side-to-side, up and down, and around will increase the communication throughout your neck and shoulders. Your head is the main part of the body’s communication system. With that said, “stretching enhances nerve impulse velocity” (the time it takes an impulse to travel to the brain and back to the muscle).
- Wrist Extensions
Bending of the wrist up and down helps open the joints to release any air or muscle tension that may be developing from prolong typing movements. This will help boost your creative writing skills and make typing more comfortable.
- Foot Exercises
Flexing your feet up and down as well as circular rotations help keep your joints flexible and also stretches the muscles in your lower leg and ankle.
- Breathing Exercises
Not only will your entire body’s communication system benefit from this exercise, but by doing this your stress levels will decrease allowing you to get more done. If you can simply do 3 deep breaths, I assure you that your body and mind will feel tons better!
- Leg Extensions
Extending your legs straight out while you are sitting can help reduce blood clots and promote circulation throughout your bodies communication system. An insider tip for you ladies, this exercise will also help reduce varicose (spider) veins in your legs.
This is the time in life where you should abide by the rule, “Use it, or lose it!”
An article published by The Business Times says, “Employees who take a walk, stretch or engage in other exercises during breaks could experience a more positive outlook and increased vigor while also experiencing decreased exhaustion and discomfort.”
Listening to your body is key! So take a minute – stand up and stretch or take a walk to the refrigerator for that beer – and remember,
“A healthy line of communication in every part of your body will increase your bodies performance!”
If you want to share your exercises or questions I encourage you to drop me a line below or via Twitter!