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An Exceptional Man with an Inspirational Story

Here at White Now we are provided with opportunities to work with a range of amazing people and incredible businesses, including a large numberIMG_0835 of RSL Clubs.

After speaking with the exceptional, Geoff Evans (pictured here) who has served as a Commando in East Timor and Afghanistan, we couldn’t help but be moved by his own story and more significantly, what he is personally doing to make a difference.   So we asked Geoff if he would write an article for us as a ‘Guest Blogger’ in the lead up to Christmas as there is something that we can all do at this time of year to help those that protect us and our shores…….Lest We Forget.

(To read Geoff’s personal story, click on the image above, on his name or you can click here).

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Spare a thought for the thousands of Homeless Veterans sleeping rough this Christmas.  The Australian Defence Force has deployed 67,000 troops to various conflicts since the Vietnam War.

Homelessness was a significant issue for Vietnam veterans and their families, and sadly, is endemic among younger veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.  In the shadow of the centenary of the First World War, up to 3,000 diggers remain homeless on any given night.

This Christmas, what can you do to make a difference?

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In March of 2014, RSL LifeCare established the Contemporary Veterans Homelessness and Assistance Program (CVHAP) in Narrabeen, NSW.  Homelessness itself is a symptom of war caused mental illness, such as PTSD.  To the right of the spectrum is suicide, to the left: alcoholism, drug abuse, depression and other problems.

We currently have 24 veterans and two families enrolled in the program, but we have been reduced to accepting only the most severe cases.  This is not due to lack of accommodation, but rather through lack of funding to provide the necessary wrap around support services that make the program work.  These include everything from providing tooth paste and furniture, to transport, case management and a toy or two for the children.

Since publicising the existence of the program just a few weeks ago I have taken requests for help from right across Australia.  The common and sad refrain is that currently we can only provide housing at Narrabeen.  As younger veterans have children and other commitments they often cannot leave their locality, and so they remain living in cars and on the streets.  We have to do better.

We have also seen growth in our services to veterans and families who are at risk of homelessness.  This can occur when, for instance, a young veteran leaves the military without an illness or injury being accepted by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.  If they are unable to remain employed, as is often the case with mentally ill veterans, they lose their income.  Homelessness can quickly follow.  We are working to try and keep them in their homes.  Entire families are at risk, and its proving a growth industry for us, as a decade of war collides with an inadequate repatriation system.

For those of us working with these remarkable young veterans it is soul destroying toIMG_0820 watch them suffer for want of funding.  All veterans entering the program suffer from mental illness, most enter with an intense sense of shame as well.  They were our nations finest, help us help them.

If you can help, please visit the RSL Lifecare Page Here… (and scroll down).

Our Most Recent Resident: Case Study
Veteran X is 38 years old, and has served in Iraq and Afghanistan on multiple tours.  He entered the program in mid-November 2014 and is our 22nd resident.   Veteran X was still serving in the Australian military when he was admitted to hospital for treatment of PTSD and related alcohol abuse.   Whilst he was in the hospital, the Australian Defence Force medically discharged him from service.  This meant he was no longer entitled to a Defence house, and accordingly, his family was evicted while Veteran X was in hospital.

Tragically Veteran X’s relationship could not withstand the terrible strain of Veteran X’s condition and his circumstances.  Veteran X’s marriage ended and his wife and children moved into their grandmother’s house.  Sadly Veteran X no longer had access to his children.  Veteran X has described to me the sense of utter desolation and helplessness he felt.  “I just couldn’t believe this could happen to me” he said. “I devoted my entire life to serving the Nation, I was good at my job and I had a career”.  A few weeks after his marriage failed he attempted suicide.

Many months later, as Veteran X approached the date of his discharge from hospital, he literally had nowhere to go.  Like most of the young men and woman in our program he would have been living on the streets.  Fortunately he met one of the young veterans we’d previously placed in the PTSD program, who gave Veteran X our details.  Veteran X was initially quite a challenge, but we are a peer led program, and other veterans who have walked the same path took him under their wing.  He has come such a long way; he has joined our AA support group and will shortly start a training course.  A remarkable young man, like the rest, all he needed was a chance.  A testament to his hard work and the program’s success: Veteran X will have his children this Christmas Day.

Head Hunting Vs Advertising

head-hunterSo what are our thoughts at White Now on ‘Head Hunting’ for candidates versus Advertising your vacancy?

Both certainly have merit and we would recommend using a combination of both.  You may know of some people in industry that seem to be perfect for your role and may very well be, but what about those you don’t know of?

‘Head Hunting’ usually involves ‘tapping’ potential applicants on the shoulder and asking them if they would be interested in the vacancy.  It may seem to be an easier and quicker option to fill your vacancy.  But what about all that talent out there you don’t know about?  By ONLY head hunting, you are missing out on a whole pool of potentially great candidates who may just be the perfect fit for your vacancy.

At White Now, we would suggest using both methods.  If you have some candidates in mind that you think would be great for the role, then they can certainly be approached to apply, along with opening the role up via advertising and therefore getting a wider range of suitable candidates.

Its the best of both worlds and give the opportunity to compare candidates and get the BEST possible pool of applicants!

Closing Dates on Position Vacant Ads – to Include or Not to Include?

closedA common question we are asked at White Now is whether or not to include a closing date on a Position Vacant ad and our recommendation, is not to.  The reason for this is to gain exposure to the widest possible pool of applicants and not limit your possible applicants.

The majority of applicants will apply within the first two weeks of placing and advertisement and will be actively looking for a new role.  But what about the applicant who is on holidays and not checking the Internet for those two weeks, who just might be the perfect applicant? You just missed out on them!  What about the applicant who is not necessarily looking for a new role, but casually keeps an eye on job boards to ‘see what’s out there’ every couple of weeks or so, they might be the perfect applicant, but they missed seeing your ad!

Not all applicants check job boards every day.  Not all applicants are actively looking, but might be inspired by the perfect job they just happen to see.  You want to have the best possible pool of applicants to chose from, so you need to give your position vacant the best exposure possible to reach ALL those possible applicants.  Ads can remain on www.whitenow.com.au for up to 30 days, with applications coming directly to your nominated email address.  You can start assessing applications before the ad expires and then add in any additional suitable applicants as they apply with little disruption to the recruitment process.  This ensures you have ‘spread the net’ wide and given your position the best chance of reaching the best pool of applicants.

It is always your choice to include a closing date, but remember, it may just eliminate the BEST candidate !

 

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

Can YOU Choose a Family That Really Deserves 5 FREE PASSES to enjoy a day with THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE ?

NOMINATE A FAMILY TO BE GIVEN A SPECIAL DAY OUT WITH THE KIDS

EVERYONE deserves a bit of fun and happiness, but unfortunately some families just don’t get enough of either! Trainworks, at Thirlmere have teamed up with White Now to provide an opportunity for TWO deserving families to enjoy a “Day Out with Thomas”. You choose who we send !

WHAT THE GIVEAWAY IS:

- FIVE (5) Tickets per Family for TWO (2) Families to attend “A Day Out with Thomas” on either Saturday 30th July OR Sunday 31st July 2011
- One (1) ‘Showbag’ of Thomas The Tank Engine Toys per Family

(Note: Trainworks is in Thirlemere NSW, near Picton. Families must be able to make their way to Thirlmere for the day)

HOW TO NOMINATE:

  1. Click on comments under this blog (bottom right hand corner under text)
  2. Complete the form (please note: name and email fields are mandatory so that we can contact you)
  3. In the text box, tell us about a family that deserves a ‘Day Out with Thomas’ at Trainworks and WHY you believe they should be considered. (You don’t need to name the family if you don’t feel that it is appropriate.)

Together, we can make a small difference to families in need by putting a smile on their faces for just a couple of hours!!!

So please, tell your story about your nominated family in a COMMENT BELOW NOW ….!!!!

If you would like to find out more about the day, click on the following link here: http://www.trainworks.com.au/event/event/a_day_out_with_thomas

On Friday, 15th July 2011 one representative from Trainworks and one from White Now ! will choose the two most fitting nominations. Contact will then be made with the individual that nominated them via email so that plans can be discussed regarding collection of tickets and the showbag for each family. Tickets are not transferable & may not be redeemed for cash. A total of ten tickets & two showbags will be donated. This is not a game of chance

Follow the WhiteNow Wizard on Facebook on www.facebook.com/wizwhitenow

Listening to Customers

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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!

Car Stickers!

  

Side View of One of the Social Media-machines!

Just recently we had all of the company cars decked out with our company branding!  The White Now-mobiles got a purple and yellow wizard, whilst the Social Media-machines received the purple and turquoise Social Wizs, along with web addresses etc, etc! 

I personally live in a busy street in the Inner West of Sydney, one that people wander up and down each morning and evening, to/from Victoria Road, to/from bus.  The day after my car had been done, it was parked in the driveway as I diligently worked from home (at least that what I told the MD I was doing) and yet it managed to earn the business some money!  

You see, a lady wandering past my driveway on her way to her part time job in the city noticed my car and something about the little bare-bottomed Wizard (oh, I forgot to mention – Social Wiz and Wiz have dropped their cloaks in the name of promotion) drew her attention to the message plastered ALL OVER my car!  She then proceeded to look us up on the web once she got to work and made contact with us through our “enquiries” email.  The rest, as they say, is history……….she has signed up as a client and we are working hard on designing, developing and delivering a social media strategy and presence for her business. 

I have always been an advocate for NOT plastering a car with stickers (more from an obsessive-compulsive stand point when it comes to my cars), but since Social Wiz and I have started ‘driving around’ town together, he and I have started to gain quite a lot of attention and not due to my poor driving, I might add.  

So, if you happen to see one of the White Now-mobiles or Social Media-machines out and about, give us a wave or let us know where you saw us.  And if you are ever thinking about getting your car covered in naked bottoms or just stickers in general……..I can tell you from experience that it works!!!

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

STOP & THINK. Its all the Action Plan – Make DREAMS a REALITY

Formulating a dynamic Action plan to translate dreams to reality

“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today”

The first step in developing an Action plan is to stop and think! Before taking any action, it is vital to understand the purpose for the action, and ensure that the steps you take are aligned with your core values and visions. It sounds like stating the obvious, yet there are many people whose daily actions are actually moving them further away from their deepest desires! The clearer you are about what is important to you, the more dynamic your action plan, and the more likely you are to be energised to take action.

There are countless ways to devise an Action plan, and here is a framework for you to adapt to suit your specific situation. Turn off your phone, put on some relaxing music, take some paper and coloured pens, and answer the following questions:

What is my current reality?

Where am I now? What decisions and habits have brought me to where I am today? What resources do I have available? What are my existing skills and strengths? What gives me energy? Which parts of my day do I truly look forward to? What support do I need right now?

Where do I want to be?

What is the main vision for my Action Plan? What do I want to achieve? What will I see, hear and feel to know that I have been successful in achieving the goal / vision? Is this vision an expression of one or more of my core values?

What perceived constraints do I have, eg time, money, or other resources?

What habits do I have that may get in the way of achieving my goal? What are my limiting beliefs about being / doing / having the desired result?  What if the opposite was true? What support do I need to release these constraints?

What are my gifts, talents and strengths?

When have I been successful at achieving something I desired? What qualities do I have that will benefit me for the future? When was I truly energised and excited about what I was doing? What was present? Is my current vision aligned with my strengths and talents?

Write my desired outcome using the SMART method – old, but good!  Make it Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Time-framed. Write it in the present tense as if it is happening NOW!

How do I get there?

Think of all the possible things you could do to take you closer to achieving your goal, no matter how small. Write down all actions you may need to take to achieve your goal. At this step, focus on generating and writing as many different options and ideas as possible. Take a sheet of paper and write more and more ideas, just as they come to your mind. While you are doing this, it is important not to judge or analyse. This is a brainstorm, choosing the most appropriate steps will follow!

What is the very next step I must take towards achieving this goal / vision?

Arrange the steps in a logical, chronological order and put a date by which you will start each step. Try to set yourself weekly goals: what research you will do into jobs, what skills you will concentrate on learning etc. It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of planning a timetable each evening listing your steps for the next day or two.

Each action step should include the following information:

  • What actions or changes will occur;
  • Who will carry out these changes;
  • By when they will take place, and for how long;
  • What resources (i.e., support, skills) are needed to carry out these changes;
  • Which core value is being expressed by taking this action

Create a collage or metaphor of your vision, and keep it in front of you every day. It is a powerful reminder when the going gets tough.

Celebrate the milestones! Remember to acknowledge yourself and others as you accomplish each step along the way.

 “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant” –Robert Louis Stevenson

This AMAZING piece was written by our AMAZING guest blogger Karynne Courts from Values Connection.  Ph +61 2 9983 0755