Word of Mouth – December 1, 2011 – Eye on Your Big Picture

December 1, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – December 1, 2011

Eye on Your Big Picture

Thanksgiving was last week in the United States (and in October for our Canadian friends). And though we’re the only two countries (that we know of) with official holidays that encourage reflection, many people around the world use the end of the calendar year to evaluate the year.
 
Which makes this the perfect time to reflect on what’s happened in the previous 11 months, and think about where you’re going in the next 12. And sometimes it takes a collaborative partner to figure out just what’s going on and what the future holds — someone who keeps the focus on the big picture. Someone who can help you figure out if you’re on the right path to realizing the dream for your business.
 
That’s where Hamptons Creative Group comes in. We strategize with clients by using co-creativeship. We hear their stories and help them communicate in ways that resonate with them AND their customers. There is nothing worse than feeling like your marketing doesn’t speak from the heart and soul – that it doesn’t represent who YOU are. No one wants a business that’s “work.” Why not aim for a joyful expression of your true essence and desire?
 
As we explore and identify opportunities, we then guide you through them step by step. This is co-creativeship. It’s beyond collaborative, beyond being partners. Nothing we do can be done without our clients’ feedback, ideas and desires.  It’s the culmination of understanding what makes your heart sing as an entrepreneur, and coupling it with the elements that make us shine: design, promotion and marketing.
 
So consider these four questions in this time of reflection:

  • What has your experience been marketing your business?
  • What would you change about your current business?
  • What are you doing to ensure your business grows in alignment with your goals?
  • How are you addressing your existing and future competition?

These are the questions we’re pondering as 2011 winds down. The most important question for you, of course, is: how can Hamptons Creative Group help you answer them? The answer: By joining us in co-creativeship.
 
Fill out our easy, no obligation enrollment form. Let’s begin our co-creativeship today, with access to and support from our planet-wide company of experts ready to sing along with you.


Read all this week’s blog posts:

Co-Creativeship Keeps You Moving
Sometimes It’s the Management
Facebook Proves Linda was Right

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Word of Mouth Daily – November 21, 2011 – Wolfgang’s Over-Branding

November 21, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth Daily – November 21, 2011

Wolfgang’s Over-Branding

On our multi-city tour last week, we got a chance to look at branding in a confined space: the airport. Once you’re past security, you’re trapped. Conversely, businesses in the terminals have to ferociously differentiate from each other.

We’re not going to belabor this issue (in this post at least) but instead look at a specific example. “Wolfgang Puck Express” is a breakout of chef Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant empire. The “express” part refers to the availability of wrapped sandwiches for purchase, along with apples, commercially available bottled juices, and bagged potato chips found at every 7-11. “Express” also refers to the short menu of fresh items that are prepared to order, such as pizzas, sandwiches, and breakfast combos.

Wolfgang Puck is a well-known brand. It comes with an understanding of “gourmet.” The Express franchise is aimed at those with a respectable palate but a Burger King budget. Notably, most of the franchises are located inside airports. But what makes the Wolfgang Puck Express in the Denver airport so over-branded is the images of the food hanging on the wall.

Large, professional photo prints in refined wood frames decorate the restaurant’s interior. What’s most interesting is that the pictures depict food that isn’t on the Express menu!

“I’ll have the grilled salmon, please.”
“Sorry, we don’t have that.”
“But it’s right there.”
“Yeah, it’s just a corporate decoration.”

This was an actual exchange between a patron and an employee. “Decoration” is a segment of branding. So, is it possible to over-brand? If it makes your business confusing or deceptive, it certainly is.

Looking to correctly brand your business? Just ask, and Hamptons Creative Group will be there for you.

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Word of Mouth Daily – November 7, 2011 – Age is Just a Number to Facebook Users

November 7, 2011 at 8:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth Daily – November 7, 2011

Age is Just a Number to Facebook Users

A July 2011 survey conducted by Forrester Research of nearly 60,000 adults in the US and Canada found no generational limits on Facebook. There was no significant difference in age between Facebook users. Those in the 18-22 age group were just as likely to have a Facebook account as those 67+ years old.

This contrasts the two trailing social networking sites, LinkedIn and Twitter. Among LinkedIn users, the bulk of users are in the 23-45 year old range. Twitter’s user population is heavily stacked with Generation Z and Y – those 18-22 and 23-31 years old, respectively. Twitter users older than that drop off steadily afterward.

Read Forrester’s own commentary for further insights and data here.

The survey was completed prior to the public launch of the Google+ social networking site.

The main takeaway from this report is that your business must have a mix of social options to reach the spectrum of potential consumers. Further, your message should match the audience on each platform. Need a hand with that? Just ask, and Hamptons Creative Group will help you explore your options.

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Word of Mouth – October 27, 2011 – Part II: Guest Blogger Sharon Wolf

October 27, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – October 27, 2011

Part II: Guest Blogger Sharon Wolf

 

Last month, guest blogger Sharon Wolf, Managing Director of QualiData Research, Inc., started sharing valuable advice we knew would take two posts to cover! Read Part I here.

Here’s Part Two of her generous contribution.


Seven Tips for Marketing on a Shoestring Budget – Part II
 

4. Join association committees and become part of your industry’s leadership. Being an attendee at conferences and seminars is important for networking and professional development, but brand-building for your company typically happens more intensely at the leadership level.

5. Set aside some time each week to touch base via email or phone with your most valued customers and high potential prospects with the goal of reinforcing a trusting and congenial relationship. For service providers such as attorneys, consultants or medical practices, establishing and maintaining trusting relationships with clients and prospects is critical because customers of services buy largely on the basis of trust with the service provider.

6. Categorize your clients and prospects by strength of relationship with your company. Focus your follow-up efforts among those with the most potential.

7. Step back every six months or so and evaluate the results of your marketing activities. Eliminate the tactics that failed to produce any new business. Moving forward, focus on those brand-building and marketing activities that yielded the best results.

Go for it!
Shoestring marketing can be as effective as more elaborate and expensive advertising and marketing communications campaigns – as long as you are in control of your company’s brand image and are willing and able to invest the time and effort to continually reach out to your customers and prospects.


Sharon Wolf, M.A., M.S. is a brand and product innovation consultant at QualiData Research Inc., a consultancy that provides growing companies with business-building advice grounded in marketing research findings. Sharon and her partner, Hy Mariampolski, Ph.D., operate QualiData from East Hampton, San Francisco and Park Slope. QualiData and Hamptons Creative Group often collaborate on behalf of mutual clients.

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Word of Mouth – October 20, 2011 – Preparation

October 20, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – October 20, 2011

Preparation

Last week, we talked about Linda’s trip to San Francisco for a spiritual marketing seminar. That seminar was another milestone in a fall season filled with exciting happenings in store for Hamptons Creative Group (and you). As we look back at that the plans we made, we begin to marvel at how everything we’ve planned is coming together.
 
It hasn’t been without effort. In fact, we’ve augmented our already terrific team in order to make new elements coalesce, and prepare ourselves to meet our clients’ needs as we grow and as they grow.

Meet Judi Cogen, our newest Social Media Strategist who works with us virtually (as several ofJudi Cogen, Social Media Strategist our team members do). She’s helping us provide top-level service to our clients on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more. Some businesses relied on their summer interns to handle their social media marketing efforts. Once those interns transitioned back to school, business were stuck asking now what?

Because we have pr ofessionals on our team focused on helping your business grow (not on getting college credit) Hamptons Creative Group helps take what you might have thought of as a time-drain and turn it into a business booster. Donna Amos, our Inspirer of Possibilities, identified Judi as just the right person to help our clients. 

When we explore bringing new people in, we first identify the role we want them to play, and the unique expertise they need to do the job right. That’s part of the preparation to ensure they are successful, so that we can be successful as a team.
 
What are you doing to prepare for your next big happening? Are you adding staff for an event or promotion? Bringing in experts for a quick consult? When you spend time planning, your rewards are that much sweeter because you’ve laid the groundwork for success.
 
If your next big thing is still floating around your head, talk with us. We’re prepared to help you with things like custom Facebook and LinkedIn pages, marketing plans, and in-depth relationships through our Marketing Partnership

Don’t let the opportunity to prepare for success pass you by.
 

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Word of Mouth – October 13, 2011 – San Francisco

October 13, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – October 13, 2011

San Francisco

As you read this, Linda’s in San Francisco for a spiritual marketing seminar. No, she’s not learning how to market to ghosts – although that would fit our October theme of trick or tweeting, Suzanne Falter-Barns and Jeffrey Van Dyk. Image © Siddiqi Ray, LLC.wouldn’t it?

Rather, she’s on a spiritual marketing quest, led by the esteemed Suzanne Falter-Barns and Jeffrey Van Dyk.

These soul-guided entrepreneurs ask participants to surrender more deeply to their innate gifts, wherever they are at in their business. It’s like a spa visit for your soul!

Special thanks to Marie Guthrie for the invitation. Linda met Marie at a mastermind event a few years ago, and she has been part of the Hamptons Creative Group extended family ever since. Marie’s a Career & Life Change Strategist who brings clarity to the goals of her own clients, just like Hamptons Creative Group brings clarity to the goals of our customers.

One thing Linda’s never been afraid of is delving deep into her own marketing mission to discover how to better serve those who need our help.

But if you’re afraid to take the first step into the sometimes scary work of social media, try our free Guide to Twitter for Marketing Managers and Small Businesses. You’ll learn to apply some simple rules you already know (really, you do!) to your Twitter marketing.

So click on the link and get started on your own marketing quest!

 

 

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Word of Mouth – October 6, 2011 – Trick or Tweet Guide to Twitter

October 6, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – October 6, 2011

Trick or Tweet Guide to Twitter

 
Trick or Tweet! No, we’re not suffering from a writing impediment. We’re excited that it’s October and the time for vanquishing our scary monsters. As defined in marketing terms, that is.
 
Scary marketing monster #1: Branding. Are you wearing the appropriate costume to ensure treats? Or is your image frightening your customers away?
 
Scary marketing monster #2: Silence. Do your clients shiver with delight at your magic words and messages? Or are you playing a nasty trick by saying nothing to them at all?
 
Scary marketing monster #3: Same house, same candy. Some marketing tools are like candy to portions of your customer base, and like poison to others. Are you up to date on the benefits and drawbacks of each of the marketing tools at your disposal? Are you afraid of a simple, quick and exciting option like Twitter?
 
Hamptons Creative Group is here to tell you that you don’t have to be afraid of using Twitter (or any marketing tool) for your business. And if you’d like to know how to apply the rules of Trick or Tweeting to your own marketing, there’s no better time or place than now because we’ve got a guide that shows you what to do quickly, simply and easily.
 

Now click here to fill in your information and your free Guide to Twitter for Marketing Managers and Small Businesses will land in your inbox like the sweetest Halloween treat of all!

And be sure to follow Hamptons Creative Group on Twitter @HamptonsCG

 

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Word of Mouth – September 29, 2011 – Guest Blogger Sharon Wolf

September 29, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – September 29, 2011

Guest Blogger Sharon Wolf

 

This month’s guest blogger is Sharon Wolf, Managing Director of QualiData Research, Inc. Sharon has shared so much valuable advice that it’s going to take two posts to cover it all!

Here’s Part One of her generous contribution.


Seven Tips for Marketing on a Shoestring Budget – Part 1
 

Getting Started
It is a mistake to invest any time or money in marketing before you have created a strong brand image that separates your products and/or services from your competition. Your brand image combines all of these elements:

  • Your product or services offering – its features and benefits
  • The company’s unique selling proposition
  • The firm’s logo design and all print and online marketing materials
  • Customer experiences with every aspect of your product or service – from product performance, to solving customers’ problems, to billing procedures, to follow-up customer communications, etc

Marketing on a Shoestring Budget
Once you have clearly defined and created a written description of the brand image you want customers to think of when they see your logo, marketing materials and when they visit your website, for example, you are ready to plan marketing activities.

Here are the first three low-cost but high impact ideas:

1. Write articles for a trade press and volunteer for speaking engagements at professional conferences and seminars. These activities position you and your company or firm as experts and leaders in your profession or industry. The only cost is the time you’ll need to invest in preparing articles and conference presentations. If you publish articles, post them for downloading on your website, send them to clients and prospects and also post these publications on your business’ Facebook page. (see #3)

2. Review all of your marketing materials to be sure that they all communicate a consistent and strong brand image for your company. Invite a graphic designer to evaluate your existing logo, business cards, website, brochures and all other marketing materials against your brand positioning statement. Under the guidance of a professional graphic designer, revise and update marketing materials and graphics, as needed. For advice about graphic designers, contact Hampton Creative Group’s Mission Controller Matthew Iscoe.

This is the only step of the seven steps described here that is likely to involve a financial investment. This investment, however, is critical to the updating of your brand image and is one that typically offers a great deal of value-added to your marketing efforts.

3. Consider setting-up a business Facebook page so that you can invite your customers and important prospects to become “friends” of your company. One caveat – don’t waste your time setting up a Facebook page unless you have the time and people resources to post useful content on a consistent basis or work with a company that can do it for you.

Meaningful Facebook content can include postings of such information as:

  • Industry trend tidbits
  • Brief case studies about ways you helped customers or clients
  • “How-to” advice of interest to your customers – for example, restaurateurs can post recipes, attorneys can discuss popular legal issues, physicians can offer health advice, etc.

The goal of a Facebook presence is to keep your customers and prospects involved with your brand and your company – it’s a relationship-building and relationship maintenance strategy. The same rules for meaningful content apply to the use of Twitter for brand-building.
 


Look for Part Two of Sharon’s Tips for Marketing on a Shoestring Budget in next month’s Word Of Mouth Guest Blog post.

Sharon Wolf, M.A., M.S. is a brand and product innovation consultant at QualiData Research Inc., a consultancy that provides growing companies with business-building advice grounded in marketing research findings. Sharon and her partner, Hy Mariampolski, Ph.D., operate QualiData from East Hampton, San Francisco and Park Slope. QualiData and Hamptons Creative Group often collaborate on behalf of mutual clients.

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Drastic Facebook Changes You Must Know About – Special Tuesday Word of Mouth – September 27, 2011

September 27, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Special Tuesday Word of Mouth – September 27, 2011

Drastic Facebook Changes You Must Know About

Phew! The recent changes to Facebook came fast and furious. This might be the most radical overhaul of the social site since it expanded beyond the Harvard campus community.

While many in the marketing field knew changes like this were scheduled, no one outside of Facebook would have predicted such a monumental shift all at once.

In fact, the biggest change is scheduled to start appearing for some on Thursday, September 29th, with the rollout of Facebook’s new “Timeline” now in beta. In addition to the new “Ticker,” Wall feed, verb options, 3rd party application protocols, and privacy setting options, Facebook has adjusted the rules on Business Page interactions. If there was ever a better time to have a professional provider manage your business and brand on Facebook it’s not coming to mind.

The new changes will force businesses to interact, target, and service people who may not even “Like” you on Facebook. Businesses and brands will have to be more diligent about monitoring for spam, negative comments, requests for customer service, and feedback – even the positive stuff! Furthermore, the new Facebook changes will enable more outside content to be consumed through (aka inside) the Facebook interface, making it difficult for businesses and brands to standout or drive visitors to other sites such as squeeze pages, online shopping carts, and company web sites.

It’s important to mention that these changes have been made with two intentions: 1) return Facebook to a “profile” driven site opposed to a constantly updating wall stream, and 2)encourage more 3rd party applications, which will increase the amount of data Facebook can collect from users about behaviors, trends, location, and more.

This brings about a slew of privacy concerns, but it’s nothing new. Facebook has tried to get ahead of this issue (finally) by adding more upfront sharing controls. However, these do not prevent Facebook from tracking your movement and activity on the site. The reason Facebook has made so many changes is to attempt to thwart off the growth of Google+, which is another new social media site now available to the public.

However, with less the 50 million Google+ users, Facebook is still king. The fraction of defectors away from Facebook (and there are some) is pithy compared to its remaining 700 million strong. (You may not like the government, but you haven’t left the country. Same applies to Facebook, where the cost to uproot and seek new beginnings – while abandoning your followers – is much too high.)

In summary, the Facebook changes are going to affect your business and brand whether you are a Facebook novice, elite user, or not even a member. Because so much of what goes on online happens in the space of Facebook (80% of web use in the US is for social media and blogs) it’s impossible to escape it.

The best move now is to accept its value in doing business, and in lieu of becoming an expert on the ins and outs of how it works, trust a professional to navigate your business through the Facebook landscape. You’d want a plumber to fix your pipes, a carpenter to build your deck, and a mechanic to tune your car’s motor.

Why would you want fate to manage your business on Facebook?

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Word of Mouth – September 22, 2011 – Intentions

September 21, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – September 22, 2011

Intentions

We all get up every morning with the best of intentions. Earlier this week, we had the intention of greeting a full day of client consultations, in office marketing magic, and networking fun. To keep us on track and on time, we even set the alarm on our phone to ring minutes before we had to leave for the next event on the schedule.
 
But you know what they say about good intentions, right? Man makes plans and the universe laughs. We’d created a strategy for ourselves and Murphy’s law took over. One of our cell phone screens smashed, another alarm failed, a meeting ran long, and people who normally would be in a certain place and at a certain time just didn’t happen to be that day.
 
As a result, we arrived at a new client meeting just as the town church bells were ringing us tardy. Our preparation was for naught because we missed the meeting. We’re human, and we messed up.
 
So we learn, right? We create back up plans for the back up plans. We now carry a watch and a phone alarm. We brainstorm strategies to ensure we meet our client expectations and our own, too. We’re present in the moment while keeping an eye on the future and remaining flexible enough to seize opportunities when they arise.
 
Take, for example, the recent changes to Facebook. How will you approach the service now that it has changed? One thing is for sure: the new changes will mean more businesses will need help making Facebook an effective marketing tool.
 

Because, when it comes down to it, we only have the present to think about our business and set our intentions. It’s the plans we make now that influence the future months and years. But with all the hype (Christmas displays in September, anyone?) that has us always thinking 3 to 4 months ahead, it’s sometimes hard to focus now to plan for those future months.
 
That’s where our Marketing Makeover Ultimate comes in. It helps you focus NOW, on where you’d like to be in the months and year ahead. It sets your intentions NOW, and gives you concrete action steps to implement NOW that will take you into future.

So don’t let the universe laugh at your good intentions – make them real. Here’s how


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