Writing: An Endangered Skill?

Kim Whitehead | Blog

“The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.” –Lao Tzu 

I’ve always been very fond of this quote. (That’s right, I’m a quote collector.) It’s interesting, thinking back to a year ago and my first few months at Company B – realizing things I considered challenging at the time are now easy and integral parts of my day. It helps to put into perspective some of the formidable tasks with which I’m currently faced. With enough work, these too will become hurdles of the past.

One thing that’s never really been an issue for me is writing. I’m not going to pen the American novel here, but I’ve always had a good handle on the English language and can craft a mildly entertaining story. The ability to write well is essential. It makes every job easier and is an applicable talent to most careers, especially in this industry.

Majestic.

Majestic.

 

 

 

Yet writing well is a skill whose status is on par with the Sumatran Elephant – critically endangered.

 

 

 

 

Writing seems to be a less and less valued talent to my generation, we millennials. Bonnie recaps a recent incident in a recent published piece that exemplifies the problem.

“…a recent graduate of a large public university, sent me a form letter that said she was a “newly graduate with a degree in Public Relations” and ended with: ‘Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns!’

I have do have questions and am a little bit concerned. And I’m not going to call. A degree in public relations should include the lesson that to be successful, you excel at selling your ideas in writing.”

I’m lucky I had a parent that valued my writing, helping hone my skills early in life. I do my best to constantly improve – public relations is a field exploding with growth so I need to stay on top of my game. Setting yourself apart is a must, ladies and gentlemen. But poor grammar and lax writing are not the way to do it. Whether it’s personal responsibility or a problem tackled in the school system, the development of writing skills has to be an important part of job prep. Please please PLEASE, don’t leave home without it.

Becca’s Brand Breakdown

Bonnie Morris | Blog

Hi! I’m Becca, Company B’s newest intern. For the last month of high school, instead of dreary homework and rigorous tests, I’ve had the pleasure of working at Company B. For my first project as an intern I chose two brands to investigate on social media. I began by trying to find the brands that were most popular among my friends on Facebook. As I narrowed down my choices, I realized that similar brands had discordant numbers. One hundred and fourteen of my friends had liked YouTube, but only a measly 16 had liked Netflix. This sparked my curiosity. If my friends constitute the goal demographic, what are companies doing to appeal to a certain audience? And does success among my friends signify actual success? 

I focused on two of the most popular brands: Forever 21 and Starbucks. The Forever 21 Facebook page is a mash-up of trendy products, interactive experiences, and links to their blog, Instagram, and Twitter. It clearly works, because 95 of my friends had liked it, attracted to the bright photos, hashtags, and snappy captions. One fascinating image says, in hot pink writing, “Stay positive and good things will happen. Chill.” The karmic spirt, hip model, and use of teenage slang (“Chill.”) epitomizes Forever 21‘s philosophies. It embraces the carefree spirit of casually stylish girls, while remaining on-trend with both fashion and colloquialisms.

Forever 21 posts small photo albums, collections of 20-odd pieces along a certain theme, so as not to overwhelm. They also post pictures of one model wearing similar outfits. This strategy inspires followers to imagine themselves in the model’s place, and suggests versatility. In addition, followers are invited to events, such as music festivals, and offered style tips as a reward for their virtual support.

Facebook also serves as a link between the customer and Forever 21’s website and blog. The website sells Forever 21’s stock, organized by price, type, and color, while the blog offers links to contests, Instagram challenges, makeup tutorials, beauty products, and fashion music videos. Because the brand content connects to all different types of social media, and because Forever 21 incorporates videos, makeup and contests into their publicity, the company can reach more members of its target demographic.

Becca interviewed Bonnie during her internship.

Becca interviewed Bonnie during her internship.

So what sets the brand apart? Read the rest of this entry »

The New PR

Kim Whitehead | Blog

 

Coming off a big anniversary for Company B, (6 years!) it’s only natural that a sense of nostalgia is washing over HQ. For the same reason everyone loves a good #TBT, reflecting on past successes is one of our favorite things to do; as for set backs, a necessary one.

And so, throwing ourselves into the trend of constant documentation, Company B is announcing a new project – we’re going to spend the next year documenting the everyday goings on of our workplaces.  That’s right, workplaces, because as a modern and flexible company, we service our top tier clients from a myriad of locales, sometimes creating a functioning office in a very non-office setting.

Clients always ask what life is like at Company B, so we’re showcasing the glamorous lives we lead as we strike the ever-evolving balance between work and, well, everything else. Doing what we do best, we’re telling our story with our project, The New PR: Productivity Redefined. Each day will present a new snapshot-look at Company B’s numerous “offices.”

A recent shot from my own personal instagram

A recent shot from my own personal Instagram

Each workday, we should say, because as much as we love a productive workweek, we take our weekends just as seriously.

In a year’s time, we plan to look back and once again reminisce about the great things we accomplished and the stories we told. After all, a picture is worth… well, you know.

 

Our very first post. Get ready!

Our very first post. Get ready!

Why Your Brand Should Have a Gift Guide

Bonnie Morris | Blog

 

Seth Godin just came out with his holiday gift guide. I trust his opinions, so I enjoyed clicking through his curated group of quirky products looking for ideas. My favorites? Brooklyn-built headphones and a Bob Dylan collection to match. I don’t have a giftee for either, but never mind, what I really loved was how well those products align with Seth’s brand. They’re insider-y and should make you feel smart and thoughtful when you give them. Like Seth.gift-giving

Any brand can create a gift guide, and it’s a worthy exercise, whether you choose to share your picks on a company blog, with the media, with your customers … or not. The exercise of building a curated lists of gifts your brand could give to someone you care about can help you tap into what you really want to mean to your customers.

Here’s why: gift giving is an art. And every gift tells a story (or it should!). The best gift-givers make the recipient feel special and appreciated by you. The best gift-givers also give gifts that are memorable. What brand doesn’t want their customers to feel that way about them?

Here are some questions to ask to get you started.

  • What are my brand’s core values? How do they translate into my brand’s personality? List them.
  • If my personality is accessible and friendly, for example, what categories of products can my brand legitimately recommend? Think broadly. A food brand can venture into style; a tech brand may legitimately recommend food.
  • If your brand is clever, make sure the gifts are, too. If you’re mainstream, stick with something that’s delightful but relatable. Useful? Twist it up and make it completely useless but fun. If your brand is hip, well, it goes without saying what you need to do. If it’s not hip and you, the gift-giver, are, think about something campy. You get the idea.
  • Play the Amazon game: If my customers like X (i.e., me) they might also like Y. This springs the doors wide open.
  • Most importantly, what do I want my customers to remember about me after receiving this gift?

Once you create your gift guide, there is so much you can do with it. You can make a Vine. (Stop motion animation of the gifts going into a big box). Share it on Facebook or your website. Write a blog post, like Seth, with links. Or, better, buy a bunch of the stuff and send it to your customers. If you’ve done your job right, they’ll remember the gift and, even better, remember your brand and what it stands for.

Okay. We’re putting our money where our mouths are here at Company B. Here is our gift guide:

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Moleskine Volant Journal, bright orange, naturally: We love our Macbook air, but still need to use paper every once it a while to tell our stories. This journal makes writing more delightful.

 

 

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Cassette Tape iPhone Case:  Surprising, fun and amusing, like a good story.

 

 

 

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Violet Preserve Terrarium Kit: Organic growth that you plant, nurture and then control? Plus, it’s pretty. We’re so giving that.

 

 

 

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Maple and Cherry Travel Mug: Elegant, simple and can be used everyday. Perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your brand gift guide story? Share it here.

Have a B-witching Halloween!

Bonnie Morris | Blog

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…from your FIENDS at Company B!

Promotions and Prospects – Coordinator at Company B

Kim Whitehead | Blog

I did it guys, I’m in.  You can call me, “Coordinator Kim.”  Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Yes that’s right, Company B has graciously hired me as a full time employee.  I am so excited to join this team in such an important capacity and everyone has welcomed me with open arms!  The bar has been raised for my responsibilities and I have to admit that, just like when I started as an intern, I’m also very nervous.

Today on the menu in the Company B cafeteria...

Today on the menu in the Company B cafeteria…

So I have to remind myself constantly that though my nerves are probably a good motivator for quality work, I should be more thankful than nervous.  This is a wonderful opportunity that I have been provided with, to work with this group of highly intelligent women that don’t seem to be too perturbed by the idea of helping me through my projects.

I’m lucky enough to have developed some very close friendships in my life, and as a lot of these friends have recently graduated like myself, I’ve gotten to see lots of different life paths unfold.  I have some friends with very lofty goals, some with unrealistic goals, and some with no goals at all.  But when someone close to me was offered a full time job with a lovely salary right after graduation, it put a lot of things into perspective for me.  When I took a look at the people in my life whom I held in high regard, they were the ones that had solid goals, determined mindsets, and were constantly working towards achieving the things they wanted.  Because I’ve surrounded myself with people who are so driven, I aspire to be just as motivated, and I think it has made me appreciate this job with Company B that much more.

The women at Company B are another such group that I am lucky to be surrounded by – workers that know what they need to accomplish and how to get it done in an efficient manner because they are experienced and focused.  They’re all great role models, and I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that I am supported every step of the way by people with such high accolades.

With my first week behind me and my life in front of me, I have a lot to look forward to and a lot to learn.  I’ll write again soon about my new responsibilities and projects – once I get them all down!

The Perks of Event Prep

Kim Whitehead | Blog

For a while now we’ve been prepping for a big event for a Company B client.  It’s been a lot of work and running around and sometimes a little stressful as we come down to the wire this week.  But I’m happy to report on a day at HQ that was got to spend doing some seriously fun prepping -  SMOOTHIE MAKING!

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And prep we did!

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Bonnie came up with a bunch of her own recipes, and we spent time testing and tweaking them.  Some were good, some were not go great, but I’m pretty happy with the end results!

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This purple one was a success!  I won’t tell you what’s in it though, until we get to make them at the event.

 

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Frankly, I think smoothies taste a lot better than they look.

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Avocados were a big feature in one of our tasty treats!

 

 

Still hungry for some Company B Smoothie Day?  You can check out this lovely vine I did.

 

 

 

It was so much fun to get off the computer and do some taste testing for work.  Still in preparation mode, we put together some gift baskets for our highly anticipated guests.

I absolutely love a diversified work day.  It’s great to be able to use all of your skills to accomplish different tasks, so out of the ordinary days like this one are always welcomed, and are one of the many benefits of working at a hands-on company like Company B!

 

 

Join the Celebration

Kim Whitehead | Blog

 

BOY, has it been a busy month at Company B!  And with Independence Day celebrations upon us, it’s staying busy as ever.

Let me confess that I’ve started to nerd out with all this new-found knowledge of marketing and branding.  My friends have commented on how conversations with me often lead to talk of new social media features, online marketing campaigns I’m fascinated with, the dissonance between a large Twitter following and a loyal customer base.  I can’t help it, I’m still exploring this wide world of branding.  Also, I’m inherently a nerd.

So this Fourth of July, I just want to talk real quick about my favorite campaign that our freedom as Americans has apparently inspired.

I love Target.  From the dollar section that gave me a great Father’s Day gift, (a beer flight set for $7?  I’m in.) to completely furnishing my college dorm room every single year, I’m hooked.  Target is my one-stop shop for clothing, groceries, beauty products, just about anything.  And this holiday they are offering not just great products, but great opportunities as well.

Target has teamed up with FEED, an organization that sells bags, clothes and other accessories that provides meals for impoverished peoples all over the world.  FEED USA, the partnership project with Target’s exclusive collection that came out this Tuesday not only supports a great cause, but it’s also pretty fabulous.  Org founder, former model Lauren Bush, describes the line, “I wanted it to reflect a modern Americana. It’s really fun, summery back-to-school essentials, done in a way that’s not overly designed.”  And every product has a number printed on it, signifying exactly how many meals for hungry Americans your purchase generated.

FEED Love With Love Pillows

Feed Love With Love Pillows

There’s clothing, candles and canisters, alongside bicycles, bags, button downs and bakeware, and they all have that USA flavor.  If you can’t make up your mind, Target put together a series of “Looks,” FEED outfits you can buy all in one shot.  Which is great, but as I have an obsession with home furnishings, my purchase will be either the Feed Love With Love Decorative Pillow or the Fabric Storage Bins.  Kinda also really want a tote bag…. I digress.

FEED Fabric Bins.

Feed Fabric Bins

The thing that gets me is their choices of social media exposure.  FEED USA has a great video about their project and goals, including raising awareness of hunger in America.  A lovely video, I’d say.  Target’s In The Community Pinterest board has a few good pins about FEED.  But Target Corporation has a huge social media following; 14k subscribers on YouTube, 21 million likes on Facebook, 707k followers on Twitter, 43k on Instagram, and even 15k on Vine, the newest of the new!  Those are some numbers!  But none of those five platforms have made any move to seriously promote this huge campaign, which is the first thing you see on Target’s homepage.  In fact, it looks like someone was on vacation this past week, as there was a four day total hiatus of tweets from Target.

It’s been said by wiser women than myself, there is no reason to jump onto a social media platform if there’s no place for you there.  That being said, if you’ve made your way onto a site already, you better commit.  I get bombarded by coupons and campaigns all year long from brands I don’t care about and will not buy from.

This is one of my favorite brands, and this is by far my favorite partnership of theirs since I’ve become a loyal customer with spending power.  Which is why I want to send a text to my friends at Target that says, “Hey girl, can I get your Twitter password?  I’m just gonna let all your other friends know what’s going on this weekend.”

Because this is a great July Fourth party!  I’m just sad that some people aren’t gonna show.