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A Broad Abroad Talks Traveling Solo

Paula Froelich, our favorite travel pro, came to Nashville to speak at our Red Letter Day and we couldn’t be more happy. Because she is the real thing – an adventure traveler, a storyteller, a speaker and an expert in travel marketing to women. In fact, she created a whole new travel category for women who travel solo – and enjoy it.

Overall, solo travelers comprise about 23% of all leisure travelers, according to the U.S. Travel Association and other research says nearly 40% of travelers say they would take a vacation by themselves if given the opportunity. Some 65% of women are taking vacations without a partner.

American women top the list in solo travel. Nine million American women traveled overseas alone last year. Reasons for solo leisure trips are different than business. The solo trips allow women to escape from everyday life, experience new cultures, travel at their own pace, and be free to make decisions and be themselves.

Couples like to take separate trips, especially when it comes to passions like adventure trips, interest-specific trips and taking up new activities.

Some might think that solo travel is for the 18-30 age group, but research suggests that the average solo traveler is 54.

Women often encounter special challenges in traveling solo such as getting the best rates when they travel solo. Dining solo or single rooms can still offer less than desirable options in some resorts. Travel companies are beginning to use less “romantic language” when marketing to solo travelers, understanding that not all solo travelers are single or looking to hook up.

Paula can help us navigate the travel space with ease. She was named one of Folio’s Top Women in Media in 2015 and is now Editor-at-Large at Yahoo. She spends her time traveling, writing, building partnerships and expanding her blog and video series “A Broad Abroad”across multiple platforms. In four short months as Editor in Chief of Yahoo Travel, Yahoo Travel became the largest travel content portal in the world, winning awards and consistently ranked #1 in the travel category under her leadership. Paula also launched several shows, including “A Broad Abroad,” the first female-hosted, travel adventure series of its kind.

Her adventures have taken her from Mexico to Egypt, from the ski slopes of Afghanistan to swimming with giant manta rays in Hawaii.

Do You Watch Brand Videos with the Sound Off? Most People Do.

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Okay, I admit some of my favorite videos on Facebook are things like dogs smiling, recipe videos, Dr. Jane Goodall releasing a gorilla back to nature, and a salsa dancing golden retriever.

And guess what? I watch all of them with the sound off. To marketers, that is autoplay video with sound. As much as 85% of video views on Facebook happen with the sound off, according to multiple publishers. Most of us have news feeds full of short videos that feature text or captions narrating what is being seen on screen. The videos usually have narration, music and sound effects, but marketers make sure the videos can be understand without sound.

The new rules seem to be that you have to catch someone’s attention in three seconds and without sound. According to MEC North America, their branded videos average 85-9o% silent video views. Silent doesn’t mean consumers are less engaged. Internal studies conducted by the agency showed that KPIs like brand lift and intent to purchase were not affected by whether the viewer watched the video with the sound on or off.

So here’s the new rules for Facebook video, make sure your content can be understood without sound by adding readable captions, easy-to-understand visuals and an engaging start to capture their attention.

Considering a Text Campaign? Know the Facts.

photo-1434123700504-d8cfba6a12c8Texting is the number one activity on our smartphones and is one of the most efficient marketing vehicles.  Brands invest in SMS campaigns because 90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes of receipt and almost 100% of all phone devices are SMS enabled.

Americans are addicted to texting on their smartphones. Pew Research discovered that text messaging (97%) is the most popular feature, followed by voice/video calls (92%), internet (89%) and email (88%).  Two-thirds of Millennials text more than 5 times a day.

But what do consumers think about text message marketing?  In a recent Direct Marketing Association survey, 70% of the sample revealed that they had responded to a marketing text message. To put this in perspective, the DMA adds that only 30% of those surveyed responded to a marketing email.

Another survey by SAP found the following:

64% of consumers think that businesses should converse with customers more often using SMS.

76% report that they are more likely to read a message sooner if it is an SMS/text message than if it is an email

70% feel using an SMS/text message is a good way for an organization to get their attention

64% think that organizations should use SMS/text messages more than they currently do

Texting is here to stay and brands need to find how it fits into their marketing.

 

8 Tips on Text Message Campaigns

iphone-for-texting-survey1Text campaigns can be used in multiple ways.  We have used it as a way to interact with healthcare workers who do not have time to access their office email frequently and for extremely loyal fans who want immediate, actionable interactions. Here are some things you should know about text campaigns.

1.  Create an Opt-in Campaign.  To develop a database, you will need to recruit participants through other channels.  In our instance, we used social media, direct mail and internal communications within hospitals – posters, digital media, flyer and table tents.  It is important to create a compelling reason for individuals to give up their privacy and allow your messages in.  We developed a giveaway for those who participated.  We also gave them clear communication on what to expect and why we were requesting their information.

2.  Have a clear call to action.  SMS campaigns are driven by 2 factors – the keyword and a short code. The keyword should be easy to remember for the brand.

3.  Make the offer easy to obtain.   Give them a promotional code in the message to use when they appear in your store/restaurant/site.  Make the landing page relevant to the SMS message if you send a link. Since some 50% of your subscribers will be responding via phone, make sure your page is responsive and clearly relates to the message you sent.

4.  Pay attention to frequency.  Ideally 2-4 texts per month is enough.  In fact, it is good to include your frequency in the “auto reply” to your keywords with something like “receive up to 4 text messages per month.”

5.  Respect your audience.  Realize that the persons who respond are really loyal to your brand.  Your text campaigns need to provide more than just selling messages.  Not all of the communication needs to be transaction-based.  You can provide helpful information to them, provide services not available to other consumers, send reminders, or invite them to events.

6.  Leverage the immediacy of texting.  A reminder of an event the day before, a news alert of a special need or weather closings are examples of the type of immediacy involved in text campaigns.

7.  Provide consistent communications.  Using the media consistently is important.  If you go months without connecting via SMS is likely going to cause a high unsubscribe rate with every send.  High profile brands typically send one text a week.  Every brand should develop their own optimized frequency.

8.  Measurement of campaigns.  Here are some types of metrics that can be used to measure your campaign – Subscriber Growth, Subscriber Churn, Keyword Engagement (using different keywords for different media to identify performance), Redemption Rate, and Cost per Redeeming Subscriber.

Mobile texting campaigns are a very private way to communicate with your consumers. And texting campaigns are a way to create stronger loyalty and engagement.  Go ahead and try it out.

Joanne Pulles on Making a Difference with the HCA Hope Fund

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As president of the HCA Hope Fund and the HCA Foundation, Joanne Pulles oversees activities that help and uplift thousands of HCA employees. We took the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the HCA Hope Fund to talk to Joanne about the Power of Hope. HCA Hope Fund has assisted more than 18,000 HCA employees and their families, but it is a marketing challenge to reach the more than 220,000 employees with the message of the Hope Fund.  Many healthcare employees are in clinical settings throughout the day without access to conventional methods.  Delivering  messages to them must take different forms like social media, texting, place-based media and direct mail.

1.  How did the HCA Hope Fund get started?

The HCA Hope Fund was born out of a desire from our employees to help their co-workers who had suffered loss after prominent natural disasters as well as individual losses from cancer, death, car accidents and more.  The out-pouring from employees in 2004 after Hurricane Charlie was the catalyst that launched our exploration to set up a fund as a public charity to help our 200,000 employees in times of crisis.  We had completed our application with the IRS for charitable status in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated our employees and facilities in the Gulf Coast.  With an emergency ruling from the IRS in-hand, we quickly went into operation assisting hundreds of our employees who had lost homes in the storm.

2.  What makes the HCA Hope Fund unique?  

It’s prominence in our culture.  We share stories with our employees every month on the what the fund has meant to their colleagues during their personal crisis.  Personal stories are also told locally in our hospitals from employees who want to their co-workers to know how they have been helped when they needed it the most.

Our leadership support is outstanding – from our executives at corporate and from our hospital leadership across the country.  Not only do they give generously from their personal resources, they lend their voice in staff meetings and employee communications to signal the fund’s importance as part of our wonderful culture at HCA.

3. Who are other companies like HCA who have instituted Employee Emergency Assistance Fund?

Many, many companies have employee relief funds. Some do it through a fund at a community foundation, which is an easier entry point, especially if you just want a fund set up for disasters. Other companies do it like we do at HCA – establish their fund as a public charity and invite employees to support each other in a true “employees helping employees” model that helps workers in a multitude of situations beyond their control such as a serious illness or injury, death in the family, disasters and more.

We are part of a growing group of companies who hold a conference each year and have quarterly phone calls to share best practices. This group includes Home Depot, Levi Strauss, Dollar General, Asurion, Macy’s, Cracker Barrel, PetSmart, and many others.

4. How do you promote the fund? What type of messaging resonates with donors?

We use multiple channels to promote the fund: company email and print communications, at-home mailers, social media like Twitter and Facebook, and even posters still get the attention of our employees who work in busy clinical settings. We have a compelling value proposition for employees when we ask them to contribute financially:

1. It is something they care deeply about – their co-workers in a crisis

2. Thanks to HCA, we are able to offer employees the chance to double their impact through company matching funds, which is a strong motivator for donors and

3. HCA also pays for the staff time that is allocated to the fund so that we have the ability to let employee donors know that none of their contribution goes toward administrative expenses – 100% goes directly to an employee in need. Donors love the value they get from contributing to this fund.

5. What makes the Hope Fund an important choice for employees among other non-profits they might support?

We see giving to the community through other charities as equally important as supporting our own employees through the Hope Fund.  We support more than 1,000 charities with millions of dollars annually through our employee giving campaign, corporate sponsorships and The HCA Foundation.  We offer the same match opportunity to an employee’s charity of choice as we offer for own employee relief fund.  We promote the idea that employees should make at least two gifts – one to our employees in need through the Hope Fund and another to their charity of choice.

6. What are some new ways you are working to reach employees?

It is a challenge to reach our employees in the course of their very important work saving lives and providing critical care in our hospitals and surgery centers. Last year, we can began new experiments with social media to provide other popular channels to connect with employees. We also conducted our first text message campaign. We are now exploring the effectiveness of sending more mail to employees’ homes. This is important for us because, when you are trying to reach your own employees for charitable giving, you tend to over-rely on the cheap and easy methods like company email. But raising funds through direct mail is still the most important tool for most charities and continues to show a positive ROI. Given the clinical nature of our business, this channel may need to become a bigger part of our approach.

7. What are the metrics you use to determine how successful your donor campaigns are?

We measure dollars (in total and by business units) like every other charity because, at the end of the day, this is what it takes to help our employees when they need it most. But our primary message and focus is not dollars – we do not set or impose dollar goals on any campaign leader in a business unit. What we want is engagement. We ask employees to just join our movement for as little as $1 per pay period. We believe the thousands of inspiring stories from our employees who have been helped will motivate donors to give at an appropriate amount that fits their individual capacity. This has worked well for us thus far and we have thousands of donors who give at “Leadership Circle” levels, which for us means gifts of at least $500 annually.

8. What continues to excite you about the Hope Fund?

For me, it is the feedback we receive routinely from employees who have been helped. As I sit here responding to your question, I am thinking about the letter I read this morning from a married couple (both employees) who were in a serious car accident last year. She took three pages to re-count her accident that almost claimed her life. She never expected to need the help of a fund like ours, but now she wants to remind us all that life can literally change in a split second. Unexpected bills began to pile up while she recovered for a period of months and was not able to work. It was the gift from her fellow co-workers that gave her hope during the most difficult battle of her life.

 

Our Favorite Business Productivity Tools for 2016

Screening-Trends-and-Predictions-for-2016We all need an array of productivity tools to help us work, share and survive our hectic marketing life.

What’s on our list?  19 Things we can’t live without!

1.  Buffer.  Okay, refer to our story on Buffer.  Buffer allows us to post content to multiple social media platforms in one easy click.  There’s even a handy browser tool that allows you to post while you are reading.  Link all your social profiles and share immediately or schedule posts for later.  Also Buffer has a beautiful social media image creation tool called Pablo.

2.  Socialoomph.com.  Our secret tool.  Socialoomph also allows us to post and schedule content as far in the future as we want, and as often as we want.  When friends say, “I see you on social media all the time; I don’t know how you do it,” I just smile and say thank you!

3.  Latergramme.me. This tool allows you to schedule your Instagram posts in advance.  Once your posts are scheduled, you only need to publish from your phone.

4.  Feedly is a news reading app that delivers news from RSS feeds.  I am still missing Google Reader but this is a good way to harness quick access to articles.

5.  WordPress is the blog platform I use for both LipstickEconomy.com and our website.  We have used WordPress for six years and often use it as the platform for websites we are building.  You can’t beat its open source platform and easy-to-use content management system.

6.  Google Analytics.  There are great new demographic and behavioral features in reporting now.

7.  FreeConferenceCall.com.  Yep, it’s free.  Conference calls for up to 100 people for six hours, although who would want to be on a call with that many people.  You can also record calls with MP3 playback.  Recording is helpful when you do interviews or don’t want to take notes.  We also use UberConference which has similar features and document sharing, also free.

8.  DropBox  and HighTail.  Dropbox is used for storing and sharing files and photos with clients and partners.  HighTail is great for storing and sharing large files easily.  We use HighTail for transferring large graphic files quickly and easily.

9.  Google Drive.  I use Google Drive for several organizations and clients where we need to easily share documents and files.  And you know, it’s free and awesome.

10.  Timetrade.com or ScheduleOnce are great tools for setting appointments online.  Excellent tools when you are scheduling interviews for groups of people.

11.  Grammarly or Hemingway.  Great tools for checking your grammar, your verbosity and your penchant for run-on sentences.

12.  Basecamp.  We use Basecamp for managing large projects with our clients.  Basecamp is considered the most popular project management software.

13. Emma and MailChimp for Email.  Why two?  Well, they offer different things for different clients.  Emma is changing constantly with great new features.  One of the things they offer is beautiful templates and custom creative.  Emma’s reporting is easy-to-read and they work well with franchise organizations.  Besides, they are a Nashville company!  Mailchimp is free for lists up to 2,000, good reporting, easy-to-build templates and cute illustrations of chimps.

14.  Canva and Pablo 2.0.  Both build amazing graphics for social media.  We love and use them both.  Powtoon is also a great resource for quick little videos with  templates ready for customization.

15.  SurveyMonkey.  Research is important for all businesses.  SurveyMonkey is good for informal research,  formal research and even collecting contact information.

16.  LinkedIn is both social media and a contact resource.  Download your connections to start your contact or newsletter list.

17.  Evernote.  Free note-taking app that is perfect for someone who saves everything.

18.  My iPhone.  My phone, my camera, my lifeline.  What else can I say?  Also a portable charger for traveling.

19.  Hubspot, Salesforce or Contactually.  CRMs for the real world based on the size of your business and pocketbook.

 

Sharon Brawner puts the Fame in the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum

Sharon Brawner 2015_headshot 2_DM_2_23A8432Sharon Burns Brawner is Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum where she has day-to-day oversight of the museum’s traditional revenue-producing areas including ticket sales, restaurant/catering, and retail.  Oh, and there’s the fabulous Hatch Show Print and Historic RCA Studio B.  Over the course of 13+ years at the museum, she has made a significant impact on many fronts. Under her direction, ticket sales revenues have increased over 111% since 2003. From 2003 to 2014, revenue for special events have increased from over $677,400 to upwards of $11.7 million. From 2006 to 2014, Brawner has overseen a 102% increase in retail sales and has grown their retail presence in the museum from one store to three, in addition to an art gallery.

1.  How has marketing for the Country Music Hall of Fame changed over the years?

I have been with Country Music Hall of Fame  for 14 years, starting as the director of sales for group sales and events.  We have exploded in all the earned income of ticket sales, retail, special events and licensing and product development.  We now have 17 different businesses under one roof.   In 2003, we started a rotating exhibition program that started with one and now is up to a dozen in a year.  Repeat visitation has not risen to a big number but we are appealing to a much larger, diversified overall audience.  We now have a marketing team of 23 folks divided into four teams – PR, Digital, Creative and Marketing Services.

2.  Has the newfound popularity of Nashville contributed to the popularity of the Country Music Hall of Fame?

I thank the good Lord everyday for the blessings that have happened to our wonderful city.  In 1991, I came from Dallas, Texas and it has been wonderful to see the growth.  A lot of credit goes to our mayors, governors, and convention and visitors.  The museum has been positioned as part of Nashville’s Triple Crown – the Ryman, Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame.  We have partnered with the Ryman and the Opry.  They were leading the pack at the time and now we are seen as a trio.  We also work a lot with the Frist and the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.  We work hard to be viewed as a community asset. The new Music City Center campus has done so much to make us a great convention destination.   So much of the new convention space is new event space bringing more social events, more weddings, more fundraisers.

3. What is the typical target audience for the Country Music Hall of Fame?  Are women a significant part of your target audience?  Are you seeing many of the bachelorette groups coming to Nashville?

Yes, women are very important.  About 65-70% of our target audience is female.  The majority of the women are the decision makers of what the groups of visitors are going to do.  The bachelorette groups come to Nashville for the party scene, but weddings are part of our business.  Weddings have grown because of the beautiful spaces we have for ceremonies and receptions.

On the business side, there is something I do appreciate about the museum.  In our Senior leadership, we have 3 senior vice presidents that are women.

 4.  We understand Rosanne Cash is the current Artist-in-Residence.  How do strong women like Rosanne and Emmy Lou contribute to the country music landscape?

Rosanne is so great, so humble.  She is only the second woman accepted as Artist-in-Residence.  It is a very high honor given to an artist that has a canon of work very deep and broad.  Rosanne followed Connie Smith.  She asked her friend Emmy Lou and Lucinda Williams to make guest appearances.  They were  magical and commanded the room.  She is well revered and a great and brilliant songwriter and performer.

 5.  What are some of the challenges you face in marketing next year?

Kyle Young , our Director and Chief Executive Officer, has talked about it.  The city of Nashville has to be very careful not to lose our authenticity. We appreciate and respect every tourist. We can’t let the brand get so big so fast that we forget why the tourists came here.   We need to take advantage of  serving our new guests but as we build, we need to keep our roots.  All music has a home here and that’s why we call it Music City.  We don’t want to lose site of  our values.  At the Country Music Hall of Fame, we have to keep waving the flag of our history.  We think we are an anchor to staying authentic.

 6.  What has been your favorite moment at Country Music Hall of Fame?  

I am a huge fan of this music.  It is why I came here.  One of my favorite moments was being there when George Strait was inducted into the Hall of Fame.  I have a dual role as both a fan and a professional woman now working with country music.  I started watching him in college and now it is part of my job to keep his legacy alive.

 7.  What’s going on for the holidays this year? 

Every year we do Deck the Hall.  We have a treelighting in the lobby.  It’s the day after Thanksgiving and it’s the first in the city.  We also have a free concert.  Last year it was Brenda Lee.

 

 

Don’t Just Wear a Designer Brand, Be One

Google's Marissa Mayer Named Yahoo CEOWomen have been slow to recognize the importance of personal branding.  But not Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo.  The 40-year-old executive was the 20th employee of Google and the first female engineer.   She quickly became known as the woman who made Google successful.  Not everyone has worked as hard to develop their brand.

According to a Forbes survey, only 15% of employees have truly defined their brand, and only 5% are living their brand every day at the workplace.

Why is that important, you might ask?  Well, having a personal brand has become essential for most people today because of new trends in the workforce.  The average tenure of a U. S. employee is 4.6 years and for those aged 25-34, it is only three years.  And now one out of three U. S. workers are now freelancers. 

A more flexible workforce has been created out of the recession with companies seeking to lower their employee costs.  Additionally the online marketplace created by companies like TaskRabbit and Get A Guru and the rise of shared economy employers like Uber and AirBnB have allowed workers more flexibility for employment.   Added on top of these trends, mobile technology now allows more people to work when and where they choose.

These factors set up an environment where we are constantly preparing for our next role, whether in our current company, at our next employer or possibly as a freelancer or an entrepreneur.  And we need a personal brand.

A personal brand allows us to stand out from the crowd and to create mindshare for ourselves.  Some of the benefits of a personal brand include new business introductions, rewarding partnerships, leadership opportunities, recognition, added credibility and a higher perceived value.

Is building a personal brand shameless self-promotion?  It isn’t but some women may feel challenged in creating a personal brand.  Psychologists say men are encouraged from childhood to talk about their accomplishments, while women learn self-deprecation.  However, true personal branding is about authenticity and values.  Women with positive brands are giving value, sharing knowledge, acknowledging others, nurturing relationships, showering praise and expressing gratitude.  There are even professionals today helping women learn to talk about themselves.  One leadership coach hosts “Brag Parties” where women practice talking about themselves.

It’s not to late to start working on your brand.  Start working on your differentiation and elevator speech today.

 

 

A Conference to Teach Agencies How to Brand Themselves?

Michael-Gass-Portrait-325x400Fuel Lines New Business Conference, a new business conference for advertising, digital, media and PR agencies is coming to Nashville October 8-9. The conference will shake up some pre-conceived notions about agencies in today’s world.  Most agencies sell brand positioning to their clients but have none themselves.  Michael Gass, leading new business consultant, has put together some great thinkers on the subject.  We will be speaking there and we even have a discount for you.

New business has historically been a problem for agencies.

Most small to midsize agencies have no positioning and no point of differentiation. They look and sound the same.
They are often treated as vendors because they lack a positioning of expertise.
Most don’t have a target audience thus, no focus for business development efforts.
They are their own worst clients, the cobbler’s children with no shoes.
No appeal beyond their local market.
Forced to use interruption tactics to build awareness.
But, with all of these problems, new business is now much more difficult. It’s made worse by the paradigm shift in business development due to The Great Recession and the empowerment of prospects through social media. Interruptive type tactics such as cold calls, email blasts and direct mail have become ineffective and inefficient. Rainmakers who were good at new business in the past are struggling today.The Fuel Lines New Business Conference will provide 20 top-notch sessions, with inspiring insights from the best and brightest new business thought leaders, who will provide their expertise on the new drivers of business development.  To find out more, click here.  If you are interested in a early bird discount for Brand Wise friends, email us at Jamie@JamieDunham.com.