4 Reasons #GivingTuesday Is Succeeding, And You Can Too!

November 27, 2012, the inaugural #GivingTuesday. It makes sense, really. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday dominate headlines, America has long been committed to giving, especially during the Holiday season. Finally, some generous minds came together and dedicated a day specifically to giving back, kicking off the giving season.

#GivingTuesday

Here’s four reasons why they’re succeeding, and how your company or brand can too…

  • Find support –> The minds behind #GivingTuesday knew this idea would be much more successful with others dedicated to its success too, so they reached out to a slew of like-minded organizations, groups and companies. Over 2,000 companies responded to officially become #GivingTuesday™ partners! Plus, even more companies and donors have stepped forward to match donations to specific charities and causes, making even more of a difference. When so many people, organizations and companies are committed to an idea’s success, it’s more likely to happen.
  • Be genuine –> #GivingTuesday is all about helping others. You can donate money, volunteer your time or skills or share the news about this effort with your social networks. The folks who got together to put this idea into motion want to help Americans (and those all over the world) give back, no matter what they have to give. This movement is about working together for the common cause of helping those in need. Be transparent in your motives: today’s digital world and social media landscape make it difficult to hide alternative agendas, which helps those who are real.

What will you give?

  • Spread the word –> While jumping on Twitter this morning, one of the first things I saw was a tweet from Bill Gates about #GivingTuesday. That certainly got my attention, and with 8,908,437 followers, a few others noticed it too. A few others, as in 6,812 retweets and 729 favorites. You don’t have to be Bill Gates though. #GivingTuesday makes it easy to become a social media ambassador, share its news and get involved. Remember, a great idea isn’t much good if nobody knows about it.
  • Make it easy to participate –> Point #3 delves directly into this… it doesn’t do much good to spread the word if you don’t make it easy for people to participate. At www.givingtuesday.org, you can easily locate a cause to support, utilize your social networks for good or take some course of action. Those on Twitter can search the #GivingTuesday hash tag to locate opportunities, and participating companies are encouraging employees to get involved. While you’re busy drumming up support, don’t lose momentum by making it difficult for people to participate. Remember, make it easy and people (businesses and customers) are more likely to jump in!

Learn from this wonderful and successful movement by noting the four keys above and applying them to your brand or business. Also, get involved and support a cause close to your heart! We can all make a difference no matter who you are or what you have.

Image credits: #GivingTuesday website, the gates notes (Bill Gates blog)

Happy #GivingTuesday!
Jaime

I’m grateful for… “I have an app for that.”

Save anywhere with Pocket

I recently read a blog post by Lifehacker asking readers what free apps they are most thankful for this year. That’s when I realized how much I utilize apps to make my life, both personal and professional, run smoothly. What are your favorite apps (paid or free)?

Here are 7 apps that have become a part of my regular routine (in alphabetical order):

  •  Dropbox — this awesome app allows me to access my files anywhere from any of my devices. Also, it’s an easy way to collaborate on projects due to its sharing capabilities. Dropbox was a life saver when I was working on a printing project with a customer in China earlier this year and working with large art files that needed several revisions.
  • Evernote — my favorite note-taking app! I use Evernote daily for work and play. From keeping a running shopping list to making note of possible gift ideas, this app is easy to use and share with others. In fact, it’s my app of choice for gathering quotes, successful case studies and ideas from events that I work for clients.

  • ING Direct — I love banking with ING, who was recently bought by Capital One and is becoming Capital One 360. I’m crossing my fingers that they, and their app, won’t change for the worse (which I’m sure it won’t). I love being able to check my account balances, pay bills, transfer money, find an ATM, cash checks and more from the convenience of my phone — anywhere at any time.
  • Mint.com — my financial snapshot at my fingertips. Plug in your accounts so you can easily keep an eye on your finances — loans, investments, checking and savings, mortgage, etc. If it affects your finances, it’s there. Budget, see where you spend your money and save for those goals, like that vacation on a tropical island.

mint.com app

  • MyFitnessPal — this app allows me to track calories, fat, sugar, sodium, etc. and view a snapshot for the day, week or month. Enter your exercise as well, so you can see your net calorie intake and stay on track fitness-wise. The database has thousands of foods already entered, or you can enter your own, like my legendary peanut butter cream pie. Remember, a sound body means a sound mind too.
  • Pocket — I’m always coming across interesting headlines or intriguing websites right as it’s my turn to check out, a lunch appointment shows up or the light turns green. No problem, I just save it to my Pocket. This handy app lets you save favorites for viewing later on any device and share easily to social networks or non-social friends as well (i.e. text messaging, email).

Save anywhere with Pocket

  • Pulse — It’s 2012 and my newspaper is now on the Web, customized to me. Stay up-to-date on the latest news anywhere via any one of your devices, and easily share what interests you to your social networks or save for reading later when you’re stuck in line. Create pages so you can flip through content similar to the sections in a physical newspaper; only now, you create the sections, specify the content and don’t have to recycle the paper later.

So if you run into me in the real world while I’m on my phone, I’m probably using one of these apps. They’re game changers, and they have improved my life for the better.

What apps have found a permanent place in your life? I’d love to hear your favorites! While you’re at it, remember to be thankful for some other things in your life too.

You might also like: 50 Things I’m Grateful For…

Image credits: Evernote, Mint.com, Pocket

Be Thankful,
Jaime

Social Media Savvy: It’s All About the Brand

Twitter bird icon

UPDATED: It’s Still All About the Brand

Whether you’re a social media superstar or a company touting your social savvy, it’s all about the brand. The social media platforms’ brands, that is. Are you brand compliant?

Facebook logo          Google+ branding          Twitter bird icon          Pinterest logo          LinkedIn logo

In July, Twitter switched its iconic identity from its well-known “t” logo to the bird. I still see “t’s” dotting the digital landscape everywhere I go.

Facebook prefers the “f” logo and generally does not allow use of the full Facebook logo.

Google+ offers a configuration tool for use of its logo online, but does not approve of the use of its +1 icon in online ads.

Pinterest offers use of both its full name and “p” logos and gives examples of successful brands utilizing its platform.

The LinkedIn name (not logo) should always be accompanied by the ® or ™ symbol, and its logo should always be used in color for online use (and offline, if practical).

For your convenience, I’ve included links below to current branding guidelines for these networks:

Remember, you can still get social while being brand compliant!

Are you using outdated branding guidelines to promote your social media usage? Have you never even given social media branding a second thought? I’d love to hear your take on this topic along with any other suggestions you have to shine on the social media stage.

While you’re at it, connect with me! Below are links to my presences on these social networks. I’d love to hear from you via these networks or in the comments below.

Enjoy the day,
Jaime

Facebook logo  Google+ branding  Twitter bird icon  Pinterest logo  LinkedIn logo

Image credits:
Facebook Brand Permissions Center *** Google+ Brand Guidelines *** Twitter Trademark and Content Display Policy *** Pinterest Goodies *** LinkedIn Branding Guidelines

Rage Against The Political Machine — 5 Takeaways for Your Marketing Efforts

I’m not a political junkie, but I do consider myself a well-informed voter. I vote for each candidate individually, not strictly along party lines, and actually put some time and thought into my decisions. Throw in the fact that I’m an advertising major, and you probably figure I can’t get enough of the campaign season. Right?

Nixon campaigns

Wrong. When I cast my ballot today, I not only felt a sense of pride about participating in the electoral process, but also a sense of relief that the annoying attack ads, endless array of (bad) direct mail pieces and make-my-head-explode robo calls would be coming to a halt. I love America, but sometimes I swear political campaigns are the least effective advertising anywhere.

Surprisingly, there are actually some good strategies to follow coming out of political advertising, and of course, there are other strategies going on that you should run away from as fast as you can. Below are five takeaways — good and bad — from the political advertising machine.

1) DO Brand Yourself –> OK, you don’t have to stick with yard signs and bumper stickers. There are thousands upon thousands of promotional items that you can brand with your logo and/or message. Why promotional products? Because they work. The statistics abound but consider this:

82.6% of people can recall the company and brand on their promotional product and 50% have a favorable impression of the advertiser. To take it further, 83% of people like promotional products and 58% keep them for one year or longer. How’s that for effective?

2) DO Collaborate/Partner –> Find companies with similar audiences to spread the love, cut costs and increase exposure. For example, the Akron Public Schools (APS) had a new levy on the ballot, which they desperately needed passed. They worked with a popular local race (the Project Homeless Connect 10k & 5k) to further promote their cause. An eye-catching direct mail piece that explained exactly how the levy would benefit students was included in each runner’s swag bag (no mailing costs), and the race director spoke favorably of the levy during the awards presentation. In addition to attaching itself to a great cause, the APS touched hundreds of members of its target audience at one time with only a small expense (printing costs).

3) DON’T Spam –> For some of the races, I did some additional research before figuring out who I was voting for. When I received direct mail pieces from these candidates, I kept them to look over later. When I dug them out the night before the election, I couldn’t believe how many duplicates I had received of the exact same pieces. Not only is this not at all cost effective, it doesn’t impress many people. If you’re going to really utilize one form of advertising, at least mix it up. One judge in particular stood out because her pieces were all different, including letters of recommendation from others, examples of her past success and highlighting different reasons why she was worthy of your vote (instead of cramming everything onto one piece like an encyclopedia). Go figure, I ended up voting for her.

4) DON’T Attack –> One other note about the judge I mentioned in the previous example… She only spoke about herself – how she was positively impacting the community, past decisions on cases, etc. She never attacked the other candidate even though the other candidate (or excuse me, her party) attacked her. (The other candidate claimed complete ignorance of the attack ads. Yeah right.) Like most people, I want to hear why I should vote for you (or buy your product), not why your competitor’s lacking. If you’re talking about your competitor, then I’m assuming that you have nothing positive to tell me about yourself (or your company).

5) DO Be True to Yourself –> Once you develop your brand’s voice, tell its story. Don’t embellish, misrepresent facts or flat out lie to make your brand sound better. If you feel like you have to do that, then something is missing. As I was discussing all of the blatantly false political ads with another woman in the voting line, she made a great point.

“I don’t lie,” she said. “When you lie, you have to remember what you said so that you can tell the same lie down the road. Just tell the truth; it’s so much easier.” That’s one thing we should all agree on.

So I hope everyone voted today to make your voice heard. Go ahead and take some key points from the political advertising machine to market your company or brand better while lowering costs and collaborating more effectively. If you remember only one thing, don’t use robo calls. EVER.

Happy Election Day!
Jaime

p.s. For more information on promotional products, visit http://www.promotionalproductswork.org/ or contact me.

Let’s chat (about political advertising, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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