Category Archives: Business Brands

Stuff that is good to know about being true to your brand.

Are you CRAZY or CLEVER to you use an 18 year old to run your Facebook and Social Media strategy ?

crazy

Are you considering putting on someone to look after your social media ?
Are you wondering what type of person would be best to run your social media ?
Are you looking for advice on what type of person to hire ?

When I hear the following words come out of one of our clients’ mouths,

we have a great 18 year old who loves Facebook and said that she is very keen to run our Faceboook page”

………I shake in my ugh boots and hope that they have really thought seriously about this decision.

Being very aware of how to effectively run a company’s social media strategy, my immediate priority is to make sure that I am advising clients in the best possible way to ensure that they are positioned to highlight their brand in the social world in the smartest and most professional way whilst making sure that they eliminate any possible risks that may leave themselves open or liable for legal action or bad PR.

The decision on who should manage your social media channels is not actually ever about the age of the person, but what skills, experience and dedication they bring to the table. When saying ’18 year old’, I don’t mean the age, but really I am trying to make a point that so many people think that the younger the person, the more socially savvy they are. They may be socially savvy with their friends but are they socially and business savvy ???

With this in mind, we ask our clients the following questions about the person that they want to hire or appoint to look after their social media;

“Does this person have the experience and skill set that includes all of the following?
1. complete understanding of the legislation and regulations surrounding your business;
2. complete understanding of your business’s overall values and business strategy;
3. superior communications skills that are both mature and social so that they can reflect your brand;
4. depth of experience using higher level customer service skills and etiquette;
5. the ability to handle your business’s public relations and/or media relations in sticky situations;
6. the ability to manage a complaint so that it does not escalate, whilst ensuring that your brand stays true;
7. the ability to manage a crisis at any time whilst thinking on their feet;
8. a level of humour that can appeal to all followers without offending anyone;
9. the ability to understand and interpret the analytics and measurement tools that come with social media;
10. the ability to turn opportunities into business revenue;
11. the ability to turn prospects into customers;
12. the ability to work within and in line with a social media strategy;
13. the maturity to separate business from personal ‘Facebooking’;

We then ask “is this the person you would trust to stand up in front of the whole of Australia with cameras and microphones in front of them and let them talk about your business whilst being fired questions and complaints about your business with no notice at all ?”

If your social media person does not come with these skills you could be setting yourself up for a legal or a public relations nightmare.

It’s actually not about what age the person is at all. I just wanted to make a point that just because a person loves Facebook or says that they are great with Facebook, does not mean that they can represent your brand professionally on the world stage.

We have so many examples of sticky situations or possible PR nightmares that have arisen that had to be handled with the expertise of highly effective, aware and savvy marketing/customer service people. We have been able to save many businesses from disasters by assisting with social media strategy. Trust me, you need a person who can truly represent your brand professionally.

DO NOT HIRE SOMEONE JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE ACTIVE FACEBOOK USERS. Use the list above to see if your social media person has ALL of these skills !

You can call us at Social Media Now for advice any time if that helps on 0417 223 286.
Socially yours – Jenny (Social Media Now)
www.socialmedianow.com.au

Your Image at Work – Does it Matter?

Poor old (or is that young?) Gen Y, they are in trouble again for not understanding the rules and dress codes for the workplace and taking a too casual approach! Isn’t it okay to wear a t-shirt, Havianas and have the band of your undies showing, when you are meeting clients? Does it affect your ability to the job? Doesn’t Mark Zuckerberg (facebook founder) LIVE in a hoodie? And he’s a Billionaire!

Ettiquette and dress codes have definitely relaxed in recent years. Some of us can remember a dress code at work that included skirts, not pants for women, only black or navy suits for men and NO coloured shirts and women required to wear stockings all year round.

While it is great that some of those rules have relaxed, for many there is still the expectation you will present a certain way at work and after all, first impressions DO count. Plus, many bosses (and customers) are either Baby Boomers or Gen X with a different perception of what is the right dress code for work. Some companies have resorted to hiring Image Consultants to advise staff on the appropriate dress code. This was usually spelt out in the past when you were hired. If your workplace has a uniform much of this dilemma is solved, although ‘policing’ the wearing of the uniform, including name badges and appropriate makeup, hairstyles and jewelry/piercings may still be an issue!

So who is right? Well if the person making the decision about your pay rise, hiring or promotion is from the ‘Baby Boomers or Gen X’ generations, then you probably will need to dress to suit their expectations to get the pay rise, job or promotion, rightly or wrongly. One way to look at it is that the Company ‘pays you to present a certain image’ to the community/clients, so at work you dress the way they expect and leave the ‘self expression’ for your spare time. Another school of thought says ‘dress for the job you want, not the one you have’ and that will help you take the next step up.

If image doesn’t matter, why do organisations have uniforms? Qantas and other large corporations even go to the expense of employing Fashion Designers to design their uniforms. Imagine an Airline Steward in hoodie, baggy jeans and thongs giving the safety demonstration, how would you feel – safe, confident, sure they could do their job?

While the way we dress may not effect our ability to do the job (other than in the case of PPE and safety clothing) it can effect others’ perception of our ability and therefore whether or not we are hired, promoted or given the pay rise. So maybe image is worth thinking about.

Read and Recover is on Again!

White Now‘ in conjunction with Brad Sugars of ‘Action Coach’ is again running the ‘Read & Recover Program‘ in 2011 which will see us donate 1600 books to 100 hospitals across Australia!

The books have already arrived and now we need nominations for Hospitals and other Children’s organisations that will benefit from receiving these books.

This great initiative came about after ‘White Now‘  MD Jenny White spent some time in a children’s ward of a hospital with her son when he was ill and found that the only books available were few and in poor condition.  She decided she would like to help out by donating books to hospital children’s wards, so other parents and children could benefit.  Brad Sugars was calling for suggestions for his ‘Santa Brad’ project through Facebook, so Jenny told him her idea and he was happy to get on board and Read & Recover became a reality.  The initiative went from 100 books to 10 hospitals and rapidly moved to 1500 books to 100 hospitals.

So, now we have the books (and they are filling up our office) we call for nominations from the community for hospitals and children’s organisations they have either been involved with or know of, who would benefit from the donation of some books for the kids and families who the help.  We do this via Facebook and our newsletter (Click here to sign up for the newsletter) to our contacts at White Now and want to hear from YOU!

Later on we will also ask for volunteers to help us pack and deliver the books, so stay tuned!

I joined the ‘White Now’ team at the end of last year so this is my first experience of the ‘Read & Recover’ Program and I am already caught up in the excitement and can’t wait to be more involved.  It is great to receive your nominations and learn about the positive experiences people have had with our great hospitals and other organisations and know how these books will be of benefit and bring a smile!

Click here to read more about this great program and PLEASE contact us with your nominations through info@whitenow.com.au.

All the best
Sarah Watts

What to do When Attacked by ‘Aliens from Planet Hack!’

As many of you may know, www.whitenow.com.au was recently attacked, YES, attacked! – by ‘Aliens from Planet Hack.’  What this means, is the company that hosts our website and emails was externally and deliberately attacked and this effected our website and emails (along with lots of others) for about 6 days.  Not good for a web-based business!

Anyway, we are now back, the Aliens DID NOT win!

As with most experiences some good things did come out of it.  As an employee of White Now, I was really impressed with the response of those managing the company and our IT resources (Jenny White, Toby Kennett and Andrew Bassett-Smith).  There was no time wasted on ‘wringing hands’, feeling sorry for ourselves or laying blame.  Our management team was straight into ‘solution- finding’ mode and minimising the inconvenience for our clients and website users.  As soon as the problem was discovered, they were onto letting people know as best they could (via Facebook,LinkedIn and twitter initially) and setting up a temporary site so at least our current positions vacant could be seen.

It is really refreshing and inspiring to work for a company like White Now that concentrates on being positive, focused and professional and getting the ‘crisis’ resolved.

This is also a management team that regularly acknowledges the work of staff both publicly and privately – we always know we are appreciated, which makes a BIG difference!  So now its my turn to acknowledge them and say ‘you guys ROCK’ and are great to work for!

There is a definite lesson for ‘What to do When attacked by Aliens from Planet Hack’ or any other ‘crisis’ that befalls your business (or life for that matter), stay positive, focused and look for solutions.  That way you retain your power over the situation and leave the blame laying alone,  get on with the job.

Listening to Customers

listening

I recently purchased the NEW Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Toothpaste that has been advertised widely.  Having sensitive teeth, the ad totally hooked me and the next time I was looking for toothpaste I decided to give it a go!

When I first went to use the product I was unable to open the ‘tamper-proof’ cap, so went to my husband for help.  In the end, we had to take to it with a knife and cut the secure cap off!  Rather extreme for toothpaste!

I thought that this was so dangerous and ridiculous that I decided to contact Colgate and let them know.  If we had this much trouble, how would someone like my 84 year old mother in law, with arthritic hands and living on her own, ever get the cap off?!  I went onto their website and found the ‘contact us’ section and sent them a polite email describing the problems I experienced.  I quickly received back an equally polite email that essentially ‘fobbed’ me off. Oh well, I thought, I won’t be buying that product again, regardless how good the toothpaste maybe, it’s just too hard to get to.

I forgot all about it and returned to another brand of toothpaste with any easy-access cap.  This week I received a parcel in the post from Colgate.  Seems I must not have been the only one to comment on the cap and they have redesigned it and sent me a tube to trial plus a questionnaire to answer.

Well today I tried the new cap which is still ‘tamper-proof’ but I am pleased to say VERY easy to open and access the toothpaste inside!

All of this really impressed on me how important it is to listen AND respond to customers.  I felt great that my comments had been heard and acted on and my further opinion was then sought.  I am sure I was one of many people who made comments about the cap, but if no one had said anything and had just never bought the product again, Colgate would have been left wondering what the problem was – the toothpaste?  the taste? packaging – WHAT?!  By receiving and acting on the feedback they have been able to make a small change and thererfore, hopefully retain customers and gain new customers, when they spread the word.

So, the moral of the story is to firstly let companies/organisations know if you find a problem with their product or service so they can take action – its then up to them.  Secondly, if you are that company/organisation receiving that comment, WELCOME it with open arms and see at as the opportunity that it is to make your service or product even better!  I will now continue to buy Sensitive Pro-Relief Colgate!

Many people have their ‘Social Media’ blinkers on. Are they just anxious ?

Social Media can cause some serious anxiety. We know this because at Social Media Now, we’ve had so many debates with Managers, Directors and other decision makers who simply see no benefit at all in using Social Media to assist their business growth. The behaviours they demonstrate span from a mix of anxiety to a lack of understanding right through to a dogmatic denial that social media is in fact a part of the future of business.

So, can Social Media really help your business? You bet! Check out our ‘Embracing Social Media Now’ story in the February 2011 edition of Club Life. CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE….. thanks to our team’s fabulous Brand & Imagination Manager, Tania Paccanaro for her wisdom with this …… Call us NOW if you need help with your social media strategy.

SOCIAL MEDIA NOW….. helping you expose YOUR business through Social Media.
Ph: 02 9705 2300 E: info@socialmedianow.com.au W: www.socialmedianow.com.au

Exposing Your Business - SOCIAL MEDIA NOW

Are you TOO LATE with your Social Media Strategy ?

socialmedianow.com.auSometimes visuals speak louder than any words EVER can.  If you are not on top of Social Media and being smart about it, then you WILL be behind your competitors.  This video will make you think !

For HELP, ADVICE and to LEARN about Social Media, contact Social Media Now (SMN) through www.socialmedianow.com.au or follow SMN on www.facebook.com/smnow or www.twitter.com/smnow

Fired up then wired up from a GREAT service experience

great serviceI had an ENLIGHTENING experience recently.  I’m NOT ashamed to blatantly praise a company through this blog as they simply deserve it.  In turn I’m not going to ‘name and shame’ those who have no idea what good service means.

 Recently we were looking for a person or company who could help us her e at The Now Bunch with systemizing and organizing our computers, wiring and cables in our offices.  We were about to receive new desks in 3.5 weeks and needed to get this sorted prior to their arrival.  This seemed enough lead up time to secure someone to help us for a couple of hours !

We have over 1400 friends through our different Social Media channels so we thought we would go to them and ask for referrals from them so that they could continue to build relationships as well.  We posted a simple call out “Who knows of a good electrician or data cabling person or company who can help us sort our office out ?”. 

We received many replies back which equated to 7 names/companies for us to contact.  Being as diligent as we are and respecting the advice from our ‘friends’ we contacted each of the 7 suppliers.  It is important to note that with everyone we talked to, we let them know that they had been recommended by a current client of theirs.  Here is the outcome from each;

Suppliers 1 & 2: We left a message on the voicemail of 2 suppliers and neither called back.

Supplier 3:  This guy said he was busy for two weeks but would call in a week to book us in – he never called back.

Supplier 4: They took down all our details (the wife of the sparkie was on the end of the phone) and she promised that her husband would call back either that night or in the morning.  He never called back.

Supplier 5: We called him and he did not have a pen, so I said that I would text him my name and number and also email him with our details, which we did. He was very happy with that, but …. You guessed it, he never called us back.

Supplier 6: We called this company who said that they would send someone on Friday at 10am.  We waited. No-one showed and no-one called. We never heard from them again.

Supplier 7:  this company promised that they would drop in the next day on their way back from a job but they did not show.  I called them again and they apologised and said that they would call me on the next Monday.  They never called.  I spoke to them again and they promised that they would call the next day to organise a time, they never called. 

I was over it and it was now only a week until our desks arrived.  I just wanted to give someone money to do some work !! With cap in hand and frustration oozing, I went to Toby, our CEO and asked if he knew anybody.  He said that he had used a guy when he was at Tradies who owned a company called WED Group.  The guys name was Matt Worthington.  Toby said that he always did what he promised he would do.  Toby gave Matt a call.  Here is how the journey with the WED Group went ….. 

  • Matt promised Toby that he would call me the next day before 10am.  Matt called me at 9.30am.
  • Matt said that he would send someone out the next day to have a look and see what our needs were, and if one of his team could not, then he would come himself.  He said he would be at our office at 10am.  At 9.30am we received a call from Matt to confirm that he would arrive at 10am.  He was there on time and in person !
  • Matt let us know what was needed, the time frame it would take, the approximate costs and what we needed to do prior to his team returning.  Matt then sat down at the computer and logged into his online appointment system and locked us in for a suitable time which was only 3 days later.  Perfect – it would be complete before our desks arrived.  Matt confirmed that he would be at our office at 7.30am on the Friday.
  • The day before our appointment, Matt called to reconfirm his visit the next morning.  The next morning, we received a call at 7am from Matt explaining that he was caught in traffic and would be about 30 minutes late.  He arrived at 8am as promised.
  • Matt wasted no time in completing the job
  • Matt and his team presented well (in uniform) and were polite and thoughtful to our business needs.
  • When Matt was leaving, he noticed that there was a problem with an electrical source that may cause a problem in the future (yep – a fire).  Matt fixed that at no further charge !

Basically, we were blown away that this company, who I had never heard of before, did everything that they said they would.  That is all that I asked for ! How can I give back to a company that simply did the right thing by us and demonstrated exceptional service?   Firstly I bought the team Vietnamese pork rolls for lunch whilst they were in the office (every blokes favourite lunch I think), I then drafted a banner for them to advertise their services with us and now I am writing to tell the world about them.  This is what great service does to others.  People like me want to put others on a pedestal when they go beyond the call of duty.  Don’t you want to tell everyone about truly exceptional service?  Congratulations Matt Worthington and your team.  You blew us away !  It is a pleasure to have met you.

You can find Matt at http://wedgroup.com.au  – say that that White Now recommended them  – because we DO!

Tigers are on the prowl – The TRUE champions !

Tigers!
Farewell Balmain Tigers

After 52 years in Rozelle, Balmain Tigers is now officially closed for redevelopment.  The Club has in the mean time, opened two smaller sites at Flemington Markets and Five Dock.  With this closure came the redundancy of 30 or so staff.  It is a tough decision when a Club has to inform its often, long term and loyal staff of their future redundancy.  Some of the staff that had been made redundant had been with Tigers for over 20 years.  Sunday 28th March 2010 was a sad day – the closing of Tigers, mixed with the feeling of a positive future with a new and exciting redevelopment already started. 

White Now were honoured to have been called in to assist with the Outplacement Program for a number of redundant staff.  With this Program was the offer of interview training, resume and career direction training, skills audits and ongoing mentoring.  Our wonderful Toby delivered a fantastic session to a group of soon-to-be redundant staff on preparing a powerful resume and winning at interview.  Through this experience, the White Now team saw a bunch of dedicated, positive and enthusiastic people who looked at their redundancy as a chance to do great things, look at their lives as a whole and actually CREATE their own futures.  There were people who wanted to change direction totally, some wanted to find exactly the same role in another club, others wanted to search overseas for a role and some wanted to follow their dream of working part time.  What WAS refreshing though was that everyone was positive.  It is a credit to each and every person at Tigers for adopting the right attitude and being positive.  Thanks to you all for simply being great !

It was an absolute pleasure for White Now to be involved in the Outplacement and Redeployment of the Tigers team and we wish those CHAMPIONS all the best with the next stage of their lives.  – Think like a champion and you will become a champion !

AMAZING Marketing for Cougar matchmaking service!

Cougar
Grrrrrrr

 I was driving to see a client in Mosman in Sydney a couple of days ago and was struck by some seriously GREAT MARKETING.  I passed a prominent Pub on the way and some posters jumped out in front of me.  They were so effective that I remembered the script on each, which is amazing in itself as I was literally at the set of lights outside  the pub for no more than a couple of minutes. 

Here are two of the messages on the large, poster collateral on the balcony of the pub;

  • “Age knows no barriers.”
  • “Who said scratch marks are out of the question?” 

Immediately this grabbed my attention as the instinctual thought was “what has this got to do with a pub ?”. Another glance along a few metres gave me the answer.  The next 2 posters  said;

  • “Adopt a Cougar”
  • “Cougar Kingdom”. 

 For those that do not know what the message means or indeed what a Cougar is, I will endeavour to explain………..

The dictionary says that a Cougar is “a large tawny cat;….. now greatly reduced in number and endangered in some areas”.   But, I don’t think that this pub had THAT meaning in mind.  A cougar is actually a woman over the age of 40 (generally) who exclusively pursues young men.   The woman could be already in a relationship or single. The young man could be the age of the woman’s sons. 

With this in mind, the thoughts that went through my mind played havoc with my morals whilst igniting my passion for smart marketing.  The questions I asked were; Is this right ?; Is this pushing the boundaries ?; Is this taking advantage of a gap in the market ?; Is this morally right or wrong ?; Will it be successful?;  How many will they get attending on their first night ?;  How do they get both Cougars and younger men to be plentiful enough ?; Is this smart of simply taking advantage of a trend ?; Will this be a success?; ….. and more…….. 

I’m sure that these questions run through the minds of many people that pass this pub.  The point of this is, can YOU bring to mind a marketing strategy that has provoked such thoughts or taken your mind away from what you were doing.  Or in your business, can you find a marketing campaign that gets people thinking like this ?  The fact of the matter is that if you fitted into the profile of a Cougar or a younger man and you were interested in such an event, then you WOULD DEFINITELY find out more about it, wouldn’t you ?  Now THAT Is GREAT marketing.  Congratulations to the Pub and their marketing team for such an amazing campaign ! 

There is however a downside to this story, which could make the campaign fall flat on its face.  For the purpose of telling you guys about this (as I am happily married and definitely not Cougar material!! – and there are no other White Now team members in this category – as far as I know !), I went to the pub’s website to see what the event was really about and all I found was one banner saying “Cougar Kingdom Coming Soon”.  There was no link to any further information and all the great marketing that was on display at the pub was not to be seen on the website.  They did not follow through and think about where their future customers may go to find out more. 

 Does YOUR company market well in one area and fall down in another ? Have you got all areas of your market segments covered ? Remember this story when you review your marketing campaigns.  The lesson is priceless.