Brainstorming - April 14th, 2014
This Blue Paper® explores the holistic practice of brainstorming. It will look at why it remains a popular method, despite its flaws. It will also provide detail on the common pitfalls and why some experts suggest it needs a renovation to overcome those challenges. It will provide modern-day tips for more effective brainstorming to make [...]
Memetics - March 13th, 2014
If you aren’t sure how to define a meme, then you probably aren’t aware of memetics, either. Memetics is the theory of mental content based on an analogy with Darwinian evolution. In simple terms, it’s the study of cultural information transfer. Accordingly, a meme is an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to [...]
Making Sense of Analytics - March 6th, 2014
Mention the words “online analytics” and some people immediately think of complex data and algorithms. It’s enough to make you want to run for the hills, or at the very least, hide under your desk. But keep reading, because this Blue Paper® is going to take online analytics to a different level, one that you [...]
Competitive Intelligence - February 25th, 2014
This Blue Paper® examines how companies can implement a competitive intelligence strategy to stay ahead of the competition. This paper explores the process and implementation of CI, as well as the role the Internet plays in helping organizations develop effective CI. It also discusses some of the challenges of CI and how to avoid them. [...]
Calculating ROI - February 6th, 2014
Let’s start with some good news. Although it can be difficult to calculate a return on investment for marketing efforts, it’s not impossible. Are you ready for the bad news? It’s a highly data-driven process and there are a lot of ways to do it. Each model and method claims to be the “perfect” solution, [...]
Technology Skills Gap - January 24th, 2014
The technology skills gap: Can you close it? Have you heard about the skills gap in the information technology (IT) field? If you haven’t, keep reading, because it’s a big deal, and one that could affect any company that needs to fill technology positions in the upcoming years. Specifically, we’re talking about the technology skills [...]
Search Engine Optimization Revisited - January 2nd, 2014
Time to revisit a topic; it’s an oldie but goodie, and it’s search engine optimization, or SEO. In brief, effective SEO makes sure users find your content when they use a search engine. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search [...]
Privacy and Security - January 1st, 2014
This Blue Paper® looks at the landscape of consumer privacy and security, particularly how it applies to U.S. corporations. The paper begins with a synopsis on consumer data and a review of the current landscape of privacy controls in the United States. The paper also highlights the directives from the Federal Trade Commission and the [...]
Sales Strategies - December 11th, 2013
Remember when someone would knock on your door, holding a briefcase, and try and sell consumer goods, like vacuums or cleaning products? Today, considering most homes are empty during the day, it’d be difficult to be successful with this approach. Not to mention that salespeople appearing during dinner or other inopportune times are often met [...]
Touchscreen Technology - November 22nd, 2013
What’s the invisible technology essential to smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices? The answer is touchscreen technology, and it transforms the world we live in with a swipe, a touch and a gesture. What makes the touchscreen concept so popular? Simply, touchscreen technology is instinctive and easy to learn, and it’s got a science fiction [...]
Marketing to Baby Boomers - October 25th, 2013
What do Civil Rights, the Women’s Movement, Vietnam and the first steps on the moon have in common? Baby Boomers—it’s the same generation that drove the growth of hula hoops, bell bottoms and personal computers. It’s the generation that witnessed and participated in some of the greatest social changes in the country’s history. Born during [...]
Employers of Choice - October 18th, 2013
Forget about the flu, employee dissatisfaction is a bigger epidemic infiltrating the workforce. In fact, some are calling it a crisis, since research shows that over half of U.S. workers hate their job. Put bluntly, that means if you ask half of the population if they like their work, there’s a 50 percent chance they’ll [...]
Predictive Analytics - September 18th, 2013
Wouldn’t it be great if your organization had a crystal ball to predict what your customers will buy and when they will buy it? Imagine the power you’d hold in your hands. Unfortunately, crystal balls exist only in fiction and fairy tales. However, predictive analytics (PA), when used effectively, is a darn close substitute. In [...]
Knowledge Management - September 12th, 2013
Imagine one of your most valued employees leaves the organization. Maybe he’s the one that fixed a key database for the past 10 years, or maybe it’s the employee that’s worked exclusively with a particular client for her entire career. When these key team members leave, they take valuable knowledge with them, the kind that [...]
Usability Testing - August 22nd, 2013
What is usability testing? More importantly, should you care? If you create products, tools or applications that are used by customers, then usability testing is something you should not only care about, but something you should consider. If you haven’t conducted usability testing before, consider this paper your introduction. Rest assured, however, there will not [...]
Project management practices - August 16th, 2013
What comes to mind when you think of project management? Do you think of long, boring meetings or endless checklists? Or maybe you think of Gantt charts and diagrams. Whatever it makes you think about, effective project management is critical to the success of any project. By following a few tips and leveraging some of [...]
3D Printing - August 2nd, 2013
It can’t be denied, 3D printing is legitimately remarkable. But if you think it’s merely about printing three dimensional products on paper or something you enjoy at the movie theater, think again. It’s much more than that; it’s about creating objects and tangible products that can potentially transform businesses and homes. This Blue Paper® examines [...]
Gamification - July 17th, 2013
Sometimes people need a little extra motivation to do things that don’t have immediate consequences or are stressful to contemplate. Things like buying life insurance, saving for retirement, eating well and exercising are easily set aside to make room for the fun things in life. This is where gamification enters the picture. Part of the [...]
Metrics and Measures - June 24th, 2013
There’s a reason why organizations implement measurement strategies, it’s because they work. They provide business and operational value, and can improve your bottom line. When done correctly, a measurement strategy can yield significant payoff and translate into serious cost savings. Whether your goal is to attract new customers, grow sales, or increase your ROI, metrics [...]
The Power of Pinterest® - June 20th, 2013
Pinterest is one of the fastest growing online social networks, lagging only behind Facebook® and Twitter®, which is pretty telling considering it is just three years old. Of all adults online, 15% are using Pinterest and that equates to 1.36 million people logging in each day. And, what’s more, 28% of users have a household [...]
Partnering with Nonprofits - June 7th, 2013
Building an effective partnership with a nonprofit, one that helps you contribute to a cause you believe in while creating a real competitive advantage through authentic activism, intelligence, lead generation, etc., can help your business face the rising expectations of consumers, employees and shareholders alike. It gives you the opportunity to grow an impressive triple [...]
Adaptive Content - May 24th, 2013
Adaptive content, a fairly new concept that’s perfectly suited to get technology and content back on speaking terms. At the core it’s a fairly simple idea—start thinking about your content like Legos®. The future of effective content lies in building structure into the content itself and letting go of how it gets displayed. Your content [...]
Service Design - May 8th, 2013
At its heart, service design is about understanding customer behavior, and using that understanding to design new offerings, or change existing ones, to deliver a better experience for customers. In today’s hyper-competitive environment where products and services are quickly commoditized, service design provides a means of creating customized consumer experiences that drive unrealized value and [...]
Meditation at Work - April 17th, 2013
Taking just a few minutes to quiet the mind makes mental information management easier. At work, meditation is an effective way to enhance work productivity and performance because of its emphasis on focus, calm and clarity. Use this Blue Paper® to learn how to practice meditation and then use it as a guide to harness [...]
Effective Collaboration - April 10th, 2013
Real collaboration is about stepping outside of established roles and traditional institutional structures to focus on results. Real collaboration is messy, and it involves a lot of collisions. Roles overlap, information gets disseminated with little gatekeeping, and authority has a tendency to get usurped by the group as a whole. For many organizations, it pushes [...]
Polling 101 - March 27th, 2013
For businesses, polling is quick and easy to implement and provides relevant information about a particular customer base. For customers, polling represents an opportunity to be heard—and, well, people like to be listened to. Done right, there’s a small kind of joy that comes with poll participation.
Data Visualization - March 22nd, 2013
Generations of young writing students have had the “show, don’t tell” principle of composition drilled into their psyche. And generations of young math students have plotted graph points, created Venn diagrams and turned data into pie charts in order to illustrate information. Today, these two disciplines are being combined to make connections and “show” stories [...]
Team Spirit - March 11th, 2013
This Blue Paper® examines the different components of team spirit, how implementing a culture of team spirit makes for a more positive and prideful work environment, and uses case study research to demonstrate how happy and invested employees can become more productive and improve bottom line results.
Responsive Web Design - February 28th, 2013
It’s not just desktops anymore. With the variety of devices and screen sizes on the market today, it’s imperative to reach visitors regardless of the device they’re using. In fact, mobile Internet usage is expected to surpass desktop Internet usage this year. Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are the reason why responsive Web design [...]
Augmented Reality - February 25th, 2013
In simple terms, augmented reality (AR) is a live camera view of the physical environment augmented with computer-generated elements that provide additional information or experiences. Its application potential is vast: gaming and other forms of entertainment, medicine, translation, location/travel assistance and commerce, to name just a few. Probably the most familiar example of augmented reality, [...]
Boards: Why do they matter? - December 10th, 2012
Most nonprofit organizations and every publicly-owned for-profit corporation has a board of directors. The board of directors acts as the governing body of that business organization which, like a person, can own bank accounts and enter into contracts as its own legal entity. This Blue Paper® dives into board governance to answer these questions: Where [...]
Executive Coaching - November 19th, 2012
Welcome to “Outside the Box,” home of objective business guidance … also known as executive coaching. But what exactly is executive coaching? Think of it this way: Employees look to their managers and bosses and work colleagues for guidance and support, but who do the managers and bosses, the people in leadership positions, turn to [...]
Managing the virtual office - October 25th, 2012
More and more companies are realizing that the virtual office is not only advanced and very efficient, but good for business as well. Still not convinced? Take a look around to gauge the satisfaction of your employees. Think hard about their productivity. Are they performing well? Could they perform better? Would you be willing to [...]
A Guide to Managing Company Data - October 19th, 2012
Managing company data may not seem like a critical part of your day-to-day operations, but the day you lose it will certainly alter your perspective—and perhaps the very trajectory and success of your business. It doesn’t matter if your company is goods or service-oriented—information is the cornerstone of all that you do, no matter what [...]
Wellness at work - October 1st, 2012
Wellness is an all-encompassing concept. It’s about practicing preventative behaviors and adopting a healthy lifestyle over the long-term. There’s so much more to good health and wellness than choruses of “an apple a day … ” But, as always, less is more. In fact, it all comes down to some pretty simple rules, rules you, [...]
Angel Investors - September 27th, 2012
Have you got a new business concept? Are you looking for someone with the financial wherewithal to help you develop that concept into a fruitful business venture? Finding that person, known as an early stage venture capitalist, or angel investor, may take some match making, but a perfect pitch will certainly help!
Ideal Internships - September 20th, 2012
Internships are first and foremost learning opportunities and not just for the student intern—but for you, too! This Blue Paper® seeks to explain the importance of facilitating internships through your business or place of work by beginning with the basics and then providing tips and tricks for both new and veteran internship managers.
Superior Presentations - September 14th, 2012
Presentations carry the weight of responsibility, which can be paralyzing for some. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.” Although information on its own does not summon one to action, a charismatic personality coupled with an inspirational message is what creates power. From making abstract concepts [...]
Capital campaigns for nonprofit organizations - August 17th, 2012
Capital campaigns are oriented on construction or expansion of a building, which are called “bricks and mortar” campaigns, while others are called “once in a lifetime” campaigns because of their grandiose scale. These campaigns require tremendous leadership and dedication from start to finish, a time frame that could endure for years depending on the size [...]
LinkedIn - August 3rd, 2012
Let’s face it. In this economy, who can afford to ignore their professional network? The latest industry news? Potential sales prospects? Whether you are an individual looking to make connections that might lead to a new job opportunity, a business looking for new leads or to solidify a brand, or a professional who wants to [...]
The effectiveness of promotional products - July 27th, 2012
Marketing and promotions decision makers often face the difficult task of determining how to best spend their promotional dollars. The outlet or tactic that will give you the biggest bang for your buck is not only difficult to anticipate, but for many businesses, it seems a shot in the dark. The wealth of options can [...]
RFP’s - June 28th, 2012
Whether you are a business leader looking to outsource a specific project for the best value, or a product or service supplier who wants to write proposals that sell, navigating Requests for Proposals (RFPs) can be complicated, time-consuming and cause for stress. On the business procurement side, you want to ensure when you develop your [...]
Social Media Policy - June 10th, 2012
Employers and employees today face legal and ethical questions when they use social media for personal and professional purposes that would have been unimaginable even a few years ago. Most companies today engage in some level of social media marketing. And virtually all companies have at least some employees who use social media for personal [...]
Selecting the Right Agency - June 2nd, 2012
For most companies who want to grow their client base, promote a specific product, or perhaps even launch a new initiative, there often comes a moment of truth, and a daunting question to tackle, specifically, “How do we market ourselves?” If your company has a marketing department, you may already feel like you have a [...]
Social Commerce - May 25th, 2012
Most definitions place social commerce within the broader umbrella of e-commerce, the buying and selling of products and services online. Social commerce adds the layer of conversation and interaction among consumers and between businesses and their customers, and offers the opportunity for sales within those conversations. In this Blue Paper™ we’ll define social commerce and [...]
Personal productivity at work - May 11th, 2012
There is no one “right” way to overcome sloppy work habits and increase personal productivity. Some people can’t function without a to-do list; others find them overwhelming. For one person, a clear desk clears the mind; for another,if work is out of sight, it’s out of mind. You may prefer jotting notes in a personal [...]
Blogging for business - April 25th, 2012
When it comes to communicating about your business with your key audiences, chances are you’ve worked hard to brand your company. You’ve built a website that is engaging. You’ve developed collateral that is on message and on brand. And maybe you’ve even branched out into the world of social media, to tap the wealth of [...]
Event Planning - April 9th, 2012
Internal company gatherings—from companywide training and retreats to employee appreciation and holiday parties—are a necessary part of any business or organization, but they aren’t always a success. Well-planned events serve to educate, promote the company, build camaraderie and reward employees for a job well done. Poorly planned events are costly in terms of time, money [...]
Exit Interviews - April 4th, 2012
We don’t want our employees to leave. But if they must go, we want it to be on good terms. Better employee exits set the stage for continued relationships and create growth opportunities for both employee and employer.
The Culture of Candor - April 4th, 2012
A culture of candor means creating a safe work environment for employees to report ethics violations, legal issues and other inappropriate behavior. It means managers may need to offer honest job performance feedback, without tempering it so much that it loses its truth. And it means tearing down the walls that leadership builds to protect [...]
Social Network Analysis - March 6th, 2012
Though still in its relative infancy, social network analysis can hold great potential for marketers who wish to better target specific audiences with particular interests through marketing—both on- and off-line. But what is social network analysis? Simply put, social network analysis is the examination of relationships between people, their interests and any entities. Also known [...]
Employee Development Through Volunteerism - February 20th, 2012
Traditionally, organizations pursue employee development through in-house training programs, education reimbursement, external courses and on-the-job learning. Many of these training options focus on hard skills like technical aptitude, better writing, technology or finance. More rare are the training options that build soft skills—things like teambuilding, conflict resolution and creating consensus. That’s where employee volunteering can [...]
Product Placement - February 8th, 2012
Most consumers can easily recall a time when they journeyed to the store to get a single, necessary item and came home with a trunk-load of goods they hadn’t originally intended to buy. At first thought it’s something that just happens: We simply want to treat ourselves to something nice or new or we happen [...]
Flu Pandemic Preparedness - February 3rd, 2012
Bird flu, swine flu, what’s next flu? That’s the question many businesses are asking as they develop flu preparedness plans to respond to the next big epidemic. Even though flu hasn’t grabbed many headlines this year, a report from Harvard University’s School of Public Health says employers are still concerned about absenteeism from a possible [...]
Google+ - January 6th, 2012
Circles, hangouts, sparks and huddles—no, these aren’t terms for sports, video games or art. They’re actually different features within the Web’s newest social network: Google+®. Following in the footsteps of Facebook®, Twitter®, Linkedin™, Foursquare® and others, Google® launched its newest platform and social network to individuals this past summer to great fanfare and recently opened [...]
Career Mapping - January 6th, 2012
Business isn’t static. The talent we need today is often not the same we’ll need to lead us through tomorrow. As our business model changes, so will the roles required to support those operations. The challenge for an organization, then, is to develop internal talent that will still be relevant in that future business world. [...]
Personality assessment tools for business - December 7th, 2011
When it comes to personality, everyone has one, each with its own nuances and tendencies, celebrated differences and applauded gifts. Yet get a bunch of widely varied personalities in the same room, and in addition to experiencing the innovation and creative bump that only diversity can deliver, chances are you’ll encounter some bumps in the [...]
The Future of PR - November 1st, 2011
While the thought of fostering relationships with others in order to build trust and rapport seems to be an inherent quality to most human beings, public relations as a practice and a field didn’t formally come about until the early 1900s. That’s more than 100 years ago and yet shockingly little has really changed about [...]
The Art and Science of Referrals - October 14th, 2011
No one will refer a business that was inadequate and few will refer a company that merely met expectations. You need to create real value for your customers by being good at what you do, meeting (or exceeding) all commitments, and maybe—just maybe—going that extra mile to surprise and delight your customers. However, even if [...]
Onboarding - October 10th, 2011
Onboarding, also referred to as employee orientation, is a planned, systemic approach to welcoming and orienting new employees into an organization. Effective onboarding programs promote a number of benefits, including greater employee satisfaction, better job performance, greater commitment to the company, quicker time to productivity and increased retention. Think of onboarding as a necessary investment [...]
Packaging Design - September 21st, 2011
Mistaken identity. It can happen to anyone. Even in the grocery aisle—you go for that familiar blue, white and black package in an excited hurry to complete your grocery run and satisfy your sweet tooth. It’s not until you get home that you realize your brand-name Oreos® are actually generics dressed up in a clever [...]
Marketing to today’s youth - August 31st, 2011
Kids these days: From Bieber Fever to owling to Vamplets™ to learning how to Dougie, it’s hard for anyone to keep up on the trends and interests of American youth, let alone understand them. The thing is, though, if your brand is trying to reach them or cultivate their loyalty as they grow, you better [...]
Content Curation: The Other Side of Content Marketing - August 23rd, 2011
In the past few years, if the Web has taught us anything it’s that successful brands and marketers have to interact and engage. At the heart of engagement lies content—blog posts, videos, status updates, tweets, white papers, photos, websites and more. The thoughtful creation and distribution of this content in order to attract, acquire and [...]
Social Media Measurement - July 27th, 2011
In this Blue Paper™, we’ll touch on all facets of social media measurement, ultimately delivering an 11-step process that will help you move in the right direction. If you’re skeptical, read on: We want to make you a believer that social media measurement is not only important in proving your program’s success, but also in [...]
Succeeding at Failure - July 8th, 2011
Success and failure are funny, they often go hand in hand and one can’t be appreciated without the other. Failure is often what drives us to do better, to try harder, to compete and to overcome. Failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and in fact, it can be done well and result in great things. [...]
Going Global - June 30th, 2011
The Internet, mobile technology and an increasing international demand for goods and services is creating the perfect storm for small business to take the leap from mom and pop shop to global enterprise. After all, the potential of overseas markets – through exporting, importing or outsourcing – remains largely untapped. Moving your business to international [...]
Elevator speeches, sales pitches and cold calls - June 3rd, 2011
Elevator speeches, sales pitches and cold calls—the tenets of successful sales for centuries, these tactics are tried and true. Each one uses the power of conversation and storytelling to entice a prospective customer to connect and for you to make the sale. It seems, however, that these old school tactics are getting lost in the [...]
The Art of Storytelling - May 26th, 2011
Whether we realize it or not, stories and how we tell them are an integral part of business, public relations and marketing. Corporate culture is based upon the story of your company. Mission and vision statements are stories meant to portray your promise to stakeholders. Each piece of direct mail, the pictures in an advertisement, [...]
Planning Effective Meetings - May 13th, 2011
According to research conducted by Microsoft®, the average business person in the U.S. spends at minimum roughly 5.5 hours in meetings each week. This study also revealed that 71 percent of those attending these meetings found them to be utterly unproductive. To further crunch those numbers, there are more than 11 million meetings held each [...]
Virtual Events - April 25th, 2011
Conferences, trade shows, corporate meetings, sales and marketing meetings, training sessions, job fairs—practically any event that was once limited to board rooms and convention halls is moving online at an increasing rate. What’s more, businesses are incorporating virtual components at in-person events to save time and money while leveraging the latest in technology and social [...]
Web Redesign - March 31st, 2011
If your brand hopes to stay relevant to the Internet users of today, website redesigns are a must from time to time. The Internet isn’t static. It’s a moving, growing, changing organism and as such, a website needs to do the same. But how do you know when a site is ready for an update? [...]
Experiential Marketing - March 17th, 2011
Experiential marketing allows users to interact with a brand and its products or services firsthand, often in a controlled environment. This area of marketing aims to appeal to emotions, logic and the senses, and it provides an opportunity for customers to engage with a brand. This engagement aims to diminish the disconnect between what a [...]
Market Research - March 9th, 2011
The overall concept of market research has not changed much over the years, but the tools have. Research that was once reserved for big companies with deep pockets can be conducted on much smaller scales in shorter time frames, with equal rates of effectiveness. If your business or organization is looking to refine its marketing [...]
Anatomy of a brand - February 11th, 2011
Any business owner or marketer can attest to the blood, sweat and tears that goes into developing and maintaining a brand. Many businesses and organizations spend years researching and identifying target audiences and their motivations, discovering the personal and emotional embodiment of a service line and pinpointing the visual identity of an organization. It often [...]
Location, location, location - February 7th, 2011
Everyone likes “free.” We like it even more if the free product or service offered is a seriously good deal. Knowing this simple fact, international clothing retailer, Gap®, gave away 10,000 free pairs of jeans to its U.S. customers on Nov. 5, 2010. The catch? No catch, really: All one had to do was visit [...]
Corporate culture - January 31st, 2011
Corporate culture is hardly the culture of being corporate. Instead, it’s the total sum of the things that make a company unique. Corporate culture is the character of an organization. It embodies the vision and goals of a business and influences everything from a brand’s visual identity and communications, to ethical standards and customer service [...]
Negotiation - January 12th, 2011
From choosing a breakfast cereal or asking your son to take out the trash to buying a car or making an offer on a new home, negotiation is an important part of everyday life. The ability to negotiate—to deal or bargain with others—is also an absolute necessity in the world of business.
E-Book! The Secret to Achieving Brilliant Returns at Your Next Event: A Guide to Maximizing your ROI and ROO - January 7th, 2011
In the 217 page e-book, trade show expert Joyce McKee offers practical, common sense strategies and tactics to help you achieve success at your next trade show or event. Click the ‘Download PDF’ link below for the book.
Corporate Governance for Small Business - December 23rd, 2010
Talk of corporate governance is not exactly common in the small business setting. After all, the term “corporate governance” refers specifically to large, publicly owned and traded companies—companies that are required by law to manage and disclose how board members and executives make decisions. While most small businesses typically don’t have a board of directors, [...]
Time Management - December 3rd, 2010
Time is a finite resource. There is a limited amount of workable hours in each day and time cannot be made up. To add another obstacle to the equation of time, we are forced to balance these workable hours with livable hours—hours spent with friends, family or alone, hours that ultimately make work worth the [...]
Viral Marketing - November 10th, 2010
Viral marketing—having others tell and spread your story for you—is a lot like lightning: What appears to be a spontaneous event, occurring often out of nowhere, is actually a concentration of a whole lot of energy, resulting in a big flash and thundering sparks.
Blogging - November 5th, 2010
Once considered the golden child of social media, blogs have been seemingly nudged out of the picture in recent years with the growth of social networks. For consumers who have more communication tools at their fingertips than ever before, Facebook™ and Twitter™ often replace blogging as the go-to way to share. The truth is, however, [...]
The future of publishing and what it means for the marketers - October 26th, 2010
While there’s no denying the rapidly declining newspaper and magazine subscription levels, the increased prevalence of e-books or the rise of citizen journalism through social media, print is still very much alive. What’s changing is the ways print is consumed and how we as marketers and communications professionals are integrating print with other channels. Businesses [...]
Personal Branding - October 13th, 2010
With every brand we encounter, we have certain expectations. We base our opinions of brands on our past experiences with them, taking into account the logo, packaging and what we’ve heard others say about a brand or products and services. Subsequently, what we buy and how we use it is swayed by these brand expectations. [...]
Google® Analytics - September 3rd, 2010
Are my search engine marketing tactics working? How can I use my website to best leverage my marketing goals? What do I do with my web analytics, and what the heck is this graph with all these squiggly lines? How do I translate it all into news I can use? If these questions keep you [...]
Copyrights, trademarks and patents - August 24th, 2010
Products, services, logos, slogans, music, publications and inventions are known as intellectual property. Intellectual property law is the term for the multiple areas of law—copyright, trademark and patent—that governs the ownership and rights to these creations. In this Blue Paper, we discuss the basics of what these protections are, why they are important to business, [...]
Marketing Budgets Demystified - August 24th, 2010
Clearly, marketing isn’t what it used to be and neither is the budget; but what still holds true amid the evolution is that budgeting takes research, planning and measurement to be successful. What is your business doing with your budget to ensure success in this new landscape? Read on to learn the basics of successful [...]
Facebook™ Ad Campaigns - August 2nd, 2010
Effective advertising has much more to do with strategy development and targeted messaging, delivered via the media channels most likely to reach intended audiences. Luckily for businesses and organizations everywhere, technology trends and the socialization of the Internet have opened up a whole new world of advertising. Advertising through social networking sites such as Facebook [...]
Neuromarketing:When science and marketing collide - July 13th, 2010
Traditionally, marketers and advertisers have long utilized focus group-based research as a means of gauging responses to products and communications of a brand. But just like the change to a consumer-driven marketplace, how we gather consumer opinions and reactions is changing. It may sound futuristic, but there are now technologies that allow marketers to scientifically [...]
Corporate Social Responsibility - June 28th, 2010
In fundraising, there’s something called the “warm glow” theory that offers reason for why people give. While research has suggested that tax benefits, vested interest in causes and recognition all compel people to donate, it’s the warm glow—the feeling of doing good—that truly drives the act of giving. This theory has been extended to the [...]
Marketing and Web 3.0 - June 24th, 2010
Remember the Walkman™, that beat out the boom box, that turned into the Discman, that led the way for the MP3 player, that got eaten by the iPod™? It’s the perfect example of evolution. Just like the World Wide Web. The Web is constantly changing as people innovate, as the demand for information ebbs and [...]
Corporate Involvement in Schools - May 27th, 2010
Businesses and corporations have had an active role in public education for close to a century. What began as a means of providing funding and resources for schools and educators, corporate involvement in schools has grown to encompass so much more—mainly, educational partnerships, sponsorships, incentive programs, training opportunities and internship programs.
Lessons from the Recession - May 10th, 2010
If this recession has taught us anything, it has served to remind us that basic b-school tactics are also required to sustain a business, regardless of economic climate. The proof can be found in the handful of businesses that have not only walked away from the battlefield of the last two years relatively unscathed, but [...]
Workplace Privacy - May 6th, 2010
Psst … you, yes, you reading this Blue Paper. Don’t make any sudden movements … you’re being watched. No, you‘re not the subject of a CIA investigation. Instead, it’s more likely that monitoring and data collection is taking place as we speak, right here in corporate America—perhaps even your office—perhaps even by you.
Direct Mail Marketing - May 6th, 2010
Sometimes marketing can seem akin to throwing a fistful of darts at random moving targets in hopes of getting a single bull’s-eye. The savvy marketer, however, knows that to be effective, messages need to be targeted to the audiences most likely to be receptive, or in a way that is most likely to resonate.
What’s in an image? - March 26th, 2010
There’s no denying the power of the written or spoken word in marketing and communications but sometimes it’s the image that truly defines a message. Whether it’s a photograph online or an illustration in print, a carefully chosen image can reinforce messages or simply serve to convey feelings or emotions that words sometimes cannot.
Beyond the team: Crowdsourcing - March 26th, 2010
Although the term ‘crowdsourcing’ didn’t enter modern vernacular until coined by Wired magazine’s contributing editor, Jeff Howe in 2006, the general idea has been around forever. Crowdsourcing, at its most basic level, is about collaborative thinking towards a common goal. When you don’t have the answers or resources, you find someone who does or a [...]
A new way to clip – online couponing - March 26th, 2010
Coupons have long been used in marketing strategies to boost sales and promote products. With the advent of the Internet, coupons have now evolved into a tactic capable of so much more.
Mobile Marketing - March 10th, 2010
Since its modern debut in 1982, the mobile phone has changed the way in which we communicate. Now, with over 2 billion mobile subscribers worldwide, more and more marketers are realizing that the mobile phone can serve as a complementary medium to an overall marketing strategy. In essence, the mobile phone is a medium that [...]
Green marketing - March 5th, 2010
Green marketing is quickly making the shift from trendy marketing tactic to cultural movement as more and more consumers demand environmentally friendly products, made in a sustainable way. Green marketing is also about leveraging the green benefits of any product to appeal to the conscientious consumer. Get in on it now to do your part [...]
The Dawning of a New Workforce - February 15th, 2010
Generation Y’s infiltration into the world’s workplace is happening now, not a few years down the road. Rather than run for cover or use same-old communication and management techniques on this budding group of employees, it’s time to face their presence head on and foster a mutually beneficial relationship.
Harness the power of online video - February 15th, 2010
Whether you’re catching the latest episode of your favorite show on Hulu™, checking out the latest trending videos on YouTube or watching a series of how-to training videos, there’s one commonality: You’re contributing to the 160 million viewers that watch online videos each year. Although you may be accustomed to viewing online videos for personal [...]
Ergonomics in the Workplace - February 4th, 2010
Let’s face it: sometimes, work can be a pain in the neck. Or rather, the way in which work is preformed can cause a pain in the neck…or the back…or the wrists…or the knees…you get the idea. According to the U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics (BLS), in 2008 work-related musculoskeletal disorders—like nerve damage from [...]
Emergency Planning for Small Business - February 1st, 2010
Often when we think of emergencies, we think natural disasters, pandemics, accidents or terrorism and we rarely think of these events in the context of the office. But this is a grave mistake: The good news is that you can take actions today to prepare your small business for disaster tomorrow.
Fundraising Basics Part II - January 20th, 2010
Previously in Fundraising Basics: A Love Story, Part I, we discussed donor research and prospecting. Now that your organization has identified and courted likely prospects, it’s time to make “the ask.”
Fundraising Basics Part I - January 20th, 2010
The art of development is similar to a romantic affair. In order to appeal to donors and build lasting relationships, your organization must first find someone with similar interests, make a connection and then let the wooing begin.
An Introduction to Business Reading Groups - December 3rd, 2009
People who read at least seven business books a year earn a reported 2.3 times more than people who read only one. Whether that information is strictly reliable or not, executives and avid readers everywhere will attest to the value of professional reading—for personal development, leadership training, continuous learning and company innovation.
Becoming a Thought Leader - November 30th, 2009
For some people, the surest way to become a thought leader is to declare that you are one. These people are not true thought leaders. True thought leaders are those who strategically cultivate industry insight to build foresight. They go beyond being experts to become innovators and in doing so they influence organizational change, sustainability [...]
Mastering microblogging for business - November 11th, 2009
Twitter® has gone from a virtually unknown Web quirk to the buzz of the Internet in a short period of time. Since its 2006 debut, Twitter has garnered millions of users. As Twitter continues to gain momentum, more businesses are recognizing its value as a legitimate business tool.
What’s in the Breakroom: Employee Diet and Productivity - October 29th, 2009
Hold the donuts and the soda machine. Be careful with the fundraising candy bars. Research shows that what we eat impacts our performance at work. From mental clarity, to energy and stamina—food determines just how well our bodies function.
What Is Your Body Language Saying? - October 19th, 2009
In today’s competitive—and increasingly global—business culture, the value of effective and active communications seems obvious. Often times, however, so much thought is put into the verbal message that another key factor of successful communication can be overlooked: body language.
Professional Associations: Putting Them to Work For You - October 2nd, 2009
Today, there are hundreds of local, national and international professional associations serving professionals within varying industries. If you are seeking to expand your professional and personal networks, grow your skill set or knowledge base, or become accredited within your industry, membership in a professional association should not be overlooked.
Dollars and Sense: The Impact of Multi-Sensory Marketing - August 18th, 2009
Your brand may be associated with a sound experience. From our ambient surroundings to a product-produced noise, sound influences our ideas and judgments about the goods and services we buy.
Effective Event Planning - August 18th, 2009
Whether you are planning to throw an annual dinner and dance, a fundraiser, a company picnic, a conference, celebration or convention, event planning is not to be taken lightly. Company-wide events, no matter your industry or sector, can be well worth the effort, but require a great deal of planning and resources.
The Benefits and Methods of Continuing Employee Education - July 17th, 2009
In a worldwide economy with rapidly changing conditions, when competition for business is not only fierce, it can be deadly for organizations that enter the battlefield unprepared, it’s more important than ever to make certain your employees are ready. Many companies have encouraged their employees to stretch themselves mentally and hone their skills with continuing [...]
The Business Case for Stress Management & What Can Employers Do About It - July 17th, 2009
Job stress comes with a hefty price tag, costing American businesses more than $300 billion a year. Just how do all those dollars add up? Stress impacts our ability to perform, leads to workplace turnover, and is a direct contributor to medical and insurance costs.
The Best Job Candidate for the Job - June 30th, 2009
Companies looking to hire have an enormous field of candidates from which to choose, yet the market is flooded with job applicants, many of them desperate to get work doing something—anything—even if they aren’t remotely qualified.
Managing for Performance - June 30th, 2009
Maximizing performance should be every company’s top priority. But when it comes to performance, we must look beyond our daily to-do lists toward big picture results.
Customer Experience Management: Putting Customers in Charge - June 18th, 2009
From behind the profit numbers and marketing analysis, it’s easy to measure the level of your business success. From that vantage point, your customers seem happy. But as good as those numbers may look; permanent changes have come to the customer relationship landscape.
The Power of Recogntion - May 21st, 2009
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number one reason people leave their jobs is because they don’t feel appreciated. Shocking isn’t it? Or maybe it isn’t. We all want to feel valued—it’s part of human nature.
Building a Culture of Innovation - April 28th, 2009
With all of the business decisions that you face in a day, focus on the one element which serves as the lifeblood stage for business differentiation, growth and success.
Inventory Control and On-Demand Manufacturing - April 22nd, 2009
Once you eliminate the risks and carrying costs of inventory, gone are the days of stalling a product enhancement or pushing product on a client while you wait for inventory to draw down.
Getting Started with Word of Mouth Marketing - March 30th, 2009
Word of mouth marketing has been around forever, far before the advent of advertising. The goal is to get people talking about your business and, of course, saying good things.
Understanding Memory Training and the Benefits to Your Business - March 19th, 2009
If memory were a muscle, you”‘d enroll your employees in regular strength-training exercises. You might even lead morning calisthenics! After all, memory can help your sales staff seal the deal by forging stronger personal connections with clients.
The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Customer Service - February 18th, 2009
Customer service is a costly endeavor and getting more expensive but one bad experience is quickly reported to thousands of potential customers via blogs and online review sites.
Tips For Marketing Your Way Through A Recession - February 10th, 2009
Let”‘s start off strong and get that scary “R” word out of the way: Recession. Phew. There “- that”‘s out of the way. Now, let”‘s move on to what we all can do about it.
Going Virtual: The Telecommumuting Revolution - January 27th, 2009
What do more than half of Sun Microsystems”‘ employees have in common with nearly 40 percent of IBM”‘s workers? They all are telecommuters. Translation? Teleworking is the new flextime.
Passing the Torch and Keeping it Lit - January 7th, 2009
A Succession Planning Overview for Owner-Managed Companies
Cracking The Personality Code - January 6th, 2009
How workplace personalities affect individual, team and organizational success
Staking Your Claim and Choosing Your Customers - December 18th, 2008
The customer may always be right, but that doesn”‘t mean the customer is always right for you. Whether you”‘re big or small, a single customer can have a profound effect on your workload, your profits, and your sanity.
Color Choices Matter - November 13th, 2008
For centuries, color was considered an upper-class luxury. Yet, despite its wide accessibility, color can still be a mark of status-brand status that is.
Promotional Apparel - November 5th, 2008
Clothes. Everybody”‘s wearing something. Shirts and jackets, shorts and t-shirts – everyone has to have them. But it”‘s not just necessity that makes clothing a popular tool for marketers-it”‘s the capacity to influence opinions.
Operation: Communication - October 21st, 2008
When 30 Coca-Cola employees visited the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, they weren”‘t there to participate in the events. They were there with one mission, and one mission only: to blog their fingers off.
Blogger Outreach - October 1st, 2008
Marketing”‘s new holy grail, blogs, represent an affordable-yet oh so valuable-opportunity to promote your business. Get a positive product mention on a well-read blog, and you”‘ve successfully set off the viral buzz that is word-of-mouth marketing.
Get Wellness, Soon! - September 22nd, 2008
It’s no secret that an employee’s physical and mental wellness affects his or her performance at work. Chalked full of prevention, wellness packages are yielding positive results for both employee health and company pocketbooks.
Teamwork Matters - July 21st, 2008
Teamwork matters. Just ask researchers Francis Crick and James Watson. In 1953, the duo boldly announced they had “found the secret of life.” Crick and Watson, along with the assistance of a few other scientists, had discovered DNA.
The New Social Scene - July 21st, 2008
It”‘s a fact in today”‘s fast-paced, internet-savvy society: quick, convenient connections are king, and user-driven interactions are essential to heightened online involvement. That”‘s why it”‘s no surprise that one in four online consumers participates in a social network.
Make Your Product Launch Take Off - July 21st, 2008
Today”‘s market is saturated with products and services promising to satisfy all your potential customers”‘ desires. And thanks to the continued success of the World Wide Web, these customers literally have the world at their fingertips. So how on earth do you get them to buy yours?
Search Engine Optimization - July 21st, 2008
“If you build it, they will come.” It worked for Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, but it doesn”‘t work for Web sites. You can build a site, but if you don”‘t rank high on the search engine results… well, let”‘s just say you shouldn”‘t hold your breath waiting for any impromptu games of catch.
Survey Savvy - July 21st, 2008
Survey data can be manipulated, misquoted and just plain made up. No wonder people shy away from conducting market surveys. But when written well, applied to the right audience and-most importantly-when results are acted upon, a market survey is a “do or die” element of business.
Guerilla Marketing - June 1st, 2008
Low-cost buzz. At its heart, that”‘s what guerilla marketing is all about. Guerilla marketers are do-it-yourselfers who rely on creativity rather than expensive billboards or glossy magazine ads.
Generational Marketing - May 29th, 2008
Marketers face conflict when trying to reach divergent age groups. Understand these different groups, and you”‘ll have a better idea how to reach them with your marketing messages.
PR Crisis - May 21st, 2008
Speeding bullets are of little concern to superheroes like Superman and Wonder Woman. But for mere mortals who lack chests of steel and magic bracelets, metal projectiles can be crippling, if not deadly. And in the business world, these bullets don”‘t even have to be real to cause real harm.
Webinars - May 20th, 2008
Skip those cross-country sales trips and host an online event instead. Marketers find webinars save money and build new leads. Here, we review the benefits and give you a guide to getting started.
Press Kits - May 19th, 2008
What do double-platinum rock stars, top government space programs and world-famous doughnut chains all have in common? The answer is…they all have mastered the press kit and utilized it for their ultimate gain.
Mentoring - April 17th, 2008
Did you know that 71% of Fortune 500 companies rely on mentoring for employee development? Organizations such a General Mills, Microsoft, and Procter & Gamble have found that mentoring programs lead to greater employee engagement, improved retention, and greater productivity.
Shoestring Marketing - March 26th, 2008
It’s a tough reality, with direct implications on the marketing budget. What’s a business owner to do when the economy stumbles? Ideally, the same as when confidence is booming: get to know your customers and give `em some love!
Customer Service - March 26th, 2008
The customer is always right. Ah, the fateful adage drilled into the heads of every new employee when crossing the threshold into new career territory. But, you may be surprised to hear the truth: the customer isn’t always right, but he or she always comes first.
Podcasting - February 20th, 2008
Video may have killed the radio star in the 1980s, but podcasting has brought the medium back to the masses. Podcasting is sort of like radio for the Internet. Instead of creating Web pages, podcasters deliver content via audio or video.
Slides Are Not Handouts - February 17th, 2008
Okay, hold on tight. This might rock your world a bit. You know those conference handouts that are really just miniatures of the speaker’s PowerPoint presentation? (Yeah, you know. You’ve done it. We’ve all done it.) Well, that is just so old school.
Email and Productivity - February 17th, 2008
Feel as though you don’t have time for anything but e-mail? Worried that e-mail is cutting into-rather than increasing-office productivity? Find out what other companies are doing to reduce and improve e-communication.
Dealing with Media - February 17th, 2008
“Free ink” is journalistic jargon for generally positive articles about your business-stories that you did not pay anyone to write. People have a love-hate relationship with the media; businesses are no different. We love the media (newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, Internet) that inform and, let’s face it, entertain. We hate the media that confuse or [...]
Commitment - November 15th, 2007
Psychiatrist Ari Kiev wrote, “Commitment enables you to be fearless in the face of obstacles so that you can turn obstacles into opportunities. When you commit to a vision, you become the cause rather than the effect of your life.”
Write to the Point. Writing - November 13th, 2007
Cut through the bull that permeates corporate writing, and enact a company-wide policy that demands all writing from e-mails to annual reports to be correct, concise and interesting.
Integration 101: A crash course in comprehensive marketing - October 18th, 2007
It’s a normal Saturday at home. You wake up and put on a pot of coffee. You flip on the morning news and watch it out the corner of your eye as you simultaneously check your e-mail and do a little Web surfing.
What’s the Big Idea? Brainstorming and Innovation - October 18th, 2007
Another day, another dollar. Everyone in business knows we must attend to day-to-day functions to keep our operations running. But that’s only good for the short-term. Successful business-types know that innovation, the what-if wonderings and creative out-of-box thinking, is what keeps our businesses viable and thriving into the future.
Go Green - August 26th, 2007
Light green. It’s a term coined by Heather Stephenson and Jennifer Boulden, co-founders of Ideal Bite, an online community that helps readers find new, simple ways to lighten their ecological footprint. The green movement is gaining significant momentum in the U.S., and more and more people are altering small daily habits in accordance.
Clean up your Act - August 26th, 2007
Getting organized is just plain good business. Have you ever felt beleaguered and oppressed by papers and incoming mail, email, and messages. Is your inbox overflowing? Do you step around piles of work on your way to your desk? A clean desk does create an empty mind-one with room for creativity and focus.
Open House - June 13th, 2007
People have a natural curiosity about how their favorite products get made. For some brand loyalists, a factory tour is akin to a pilgrimage. For others, it’s an entertaining way to spend an afternoon or beef up the educational value of their vacations. Either way, you get an attentive audience, asking (and in some cases [...]
Stretching the Envelope - May 15th, 2007
Gatekeeper got you down? You’re convinced your service has value to the CEO, but you can?t get past his/her assistant. Or maybe your direct mail is on a direct flight to the recycling bin. You have your closing routine down pat, if only you could get through. Sound familiar? Then it’s time to get creative [...]
Themes for Trade Shows - January 30th, 2007
Trade shows are an inexpensive way to meet many potential customers in a brief period of time. They are the ultimate in efficient networking.
Employee Recognition - January 30th, 2007
In How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie writes about one of the greatest human desires: a feeling of importance. It’s his “big secret” for dealing with people. Fulfill that desire and people will gravitate toward you.
Logo and Printing Primer - October 15th, 2006
Vectors and rasters and CMYK, oh my! Creating a logo can seem overwhelming. Having the right tools and know-how makes all the difference. We’ve asked logo design experts to share their best ideas to help you get up-to-speed quickly on the technical side of logo design.
6 Steps to Effectively Launch a New Brand - October 15th, 2006
You’re all set to go. But is your brand REALLY ready for primetime? If you’re planning to launch a new brand, check out our 6-step ‘Brand Launch’ checklist. Our real life examples will help you see the essential elements for a brand boost and the avoidable attributes that lead to brand bust.
Employees as Brand Stewards - October 15th, 2006
Who’s really in charge of your brand? Your front-line team. They’re the ones interacting with customers and clients. Turn them into company evangelists and watch your brand build. We’ve pulled together clever ideas for making that happen.
Maintaining Your Brand - October 15th, 2006
Getting to the top is one thing. Staying there is a whole different animal. Brand loyalists – your customers who recommend you to collegues, friends and falily – are worth their weight in gold. Learn how to use their impact
Impact - October 1st, 2006
There’s an old adage that everyone loves free stuff. If that’s the approach you’ve been taking when you select your promotional products, you’re missing some big opportunities to make big impressions. Promotional products-those clever little marketing tools that bear a company’s name and logo-can be powerful branding tools. When chosen correctly and used creatively, they [...]
Humor - June 29th, 2006
In today’s commodity-filled world differentiating your product or company from the competition is easier said than done. This 4imprint Blue Paper discusses the many forms differentiation can take and provides real world examples of how some major companies, as well as one small business, have succeeded at this task.
Developing a Logo - June 11th, 2006
Creating a new logo or considering a ‘refresh’ on your current one? This 4imprint Blue Paper outlines key points for you to consider. Includes a case study showing a ‘before and after’ makeover.