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One key part of being a great marketer is understanding how people think and knowing why they act the way they do. 10 principals.
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Which Social Network Should You Advertise On? Social media advertising is a great tactic to use to supplement your print advertising.
Monday, 14 September 2020 15:09

Respond, Recover, Thrive...

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The essence of resilient leadership: Business recovery from COVID

Respond Recover Thrive

Resilient leaders shift organizational mindsets, navigate uncertainties, and invest in building trust in order to develop a recovery playbook that serves as a solid foundation for the post-COVID future.

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Whereas organizations used to describe agile change as “fixing the plane while it flies,” the COVID-19 pandemic has rewritten the rules of upheaval in modern times. Those of us leading any organization—from corporations to institutions to our own families—are not fixing the plane in midair, we’re building it. Times like these need leaders who are resilient in the face of such dramatic uncertainties.

The first article in this series described the essential foundations leaders need in order to effectively navigate through the crisis.1 Resilient leaders are defined first by five essential qualities of who they are, and then by what they do across three critical time frames: Respond, Recover, and Thrive.

As we progress into the Recover phase of the crisis, resilient leaders recognize and reinforce critical shifts from a “today” to a “tomorrow” mindset for their teams. They perceive how major COVID-19-related market and societal shifts have caused substantial uncertainties that need to be navigated—and seized as an opportunity to grow and change. Amid these uncertainties, resilient leadership requires even greater followership, which must be nurtured and catalyzed by building greater trust. And resilient leaders start by anticipating what success looks like at the end of recovery—how their business will thrive in the long term—and then guide their teams to develop an outcomes-based set of agile sprints to get there.

Resilience is not a destination; it is a way of being. A “resilient organization” is not one that is simply able to return to where it left off before the crisis. Rather, the truly resilient organization is one that has transformed, having built the attitudes, beliefs, agility, and structures into its DNA that enable it to not just recover to where it was, but catapult forward—quickly.  read on »

Source: Deloitte Insights / Written By: Bill Marquard

 

No one can do business with you if they don’t know you exist. In order for you to start making some traction in your business or to level up, you must invest in your personal branding, and work hard to get the word out...

Number One Marketing Problem

 

When Chic CEO was in its first year of business, I remember getting to a networking event after just leaving another and met a woman in the bar line - because #wine. We introduced ourselves and she said, “I see you everywhere.” It was the first time we had chatted, but she already knew Chic CEO. My business partner and I were on a mission, bound and determined to be seen.

Obscurity can be one of the biggest business killers to any venture. Here are some ways to step out and get known.

 

Niche Down, Down, Down And Find The “That’s me!” Response

Homing in on your target market is one of the very best things you can do for yourself and your business. When you can get super clear on who you work with, marketing becomes exponentially easier. I recently met a woman who is a hair stylist and she said she specializes in blonds with short hair. “That’s me!” I squeaked. Brilliant. I rarely hear of a stylist getting that specific when describing what they do. Cut, color, style, what else is there? Turns out, a lot. I didn’t realize that stylists niche down too, until that moment. She actually made me say, “that’s me!” and that’s marketing gold. The more specific you can get on who you serve, the easier it is to break out of obscurity and the internet noise.


Pick One Social Channel And Hit It Hard

Watering down your presence isn’t a smart strategy. Your audience might hang out in a few places, but chances are, the majority of them prefer one social platform over another. Focus your time in being ever present on that channel. Melyssa Griffin, a prominent blogger who teaches others to create profitable blogs, doubles down on Pinterest. Larry Kim, founder of Mobile Monkey, puts a lot of his effort into Medium. It’s not that they aren’t present on other social channels or platforms, but you can see they have found where their audience hangs out and they show up to that party. If you are working solo, your best bet is to stick to one social channel and hit it hard - so you can maximize effort with the little time you have.


Post Content Where Your People Are Hanging Out

To piggy back off of the previous point, you may notice that there are more people hanging out on platforms like Medium, than they are on your blog. When you are posting non-stop to your own blog with little traction, start posting where people might actually see it. There are many media outlets that allow you to write for them, or places you can post your content. Start pushing your message, ideas and value to platforms that already have an audience, rather than your blog where only a handful of people might see it.


Create Strategic Partnerships

Linking up with another business who has the same audience but an ancillary product or service can only help the both of you. Get creative on how you can promote each other to gain more awareness and value for the customers and clients you serve. Related: How To Create Strategic Partnerships. Find ways to create cross promotions, team up on events, help each other achieve the peak end experience or simply do some email swaps. Leverage each other to bring more value to your customers and benefit from the awareness it brings.


Become The Local News Expert

One of the fastest ways to get seen is through press. Press can be tricky, but the key is to provide value. Always provide value. When you are someone that the local press knows can give great tips on how to keep the kids busy for summer, or the proper way to stretch before a marathon - they will call you first. Be their trusted expert in your subject matter and they’ll think of you when something comes up.

Source: Forbes / Written By: Stephanie Burns

 

Thursday, 03 September 2020 15:17

How To Solve The No. 1 Small Business Problem

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"Every company’s biggest problem is communication,” says Scott McGohan." Read on to discover some solutions.

Number One Problem

 

“It really doesn't matter how many times you do it,” says Scott. “If you do any of it, then you have a problem. If you do a lot of it, it's still going to be the number one problem.”

It’s a lesson he learned at an early age from his father, Pat McGohan, who started the business more than 45 years ago. “Growing up in the business and hearing from my father that the number one problem every business has is communication, I believed it,” says Scott. Over the years, he also saw it first-hand.

Here are 4 key ways to become more conscious and mindful about effective workplace communication.

1. Let employees do it on their time

Scott learned the most powerful way to communicate is to deliver content in a way that employees can consume it on their own time. “From a leadership standpoint, it's understanding that we have to recognize that our people aren't available to learn from us on our time. We have to figure out how to do that on their time,” he says.

Envision different channels you can use to deliver stories to employees in a way they will embrace.

For example, McGohan Brabender has a podcast they create in-house and they have a YouTube Channel. McGohan Brabender has learned that the podcasts are popular with employees since they can listen to it on-demand, whenever they have time.

“Some people like to see things, some people like to hear things, some people like to touch things,” says Scott. As a leader, your vision is to get people to feel things.

Right now, Scott focuses on trying to be short, simple, and sweet with content. “We’re embracing the fact that a lot of people today want to learn via their eyes and ears, in probably less than two minute snips. Any longer than that, we lose people's attention.”

2. Stick with it

McGohan Brabender has monthly meetings with all employees. “We look at: Where did we win? Where did we lose? Where are we at? How are we performing?” says Scott. It’s a meeting that encourages transparency and connection between employees.

They also have quarterly employee luncheons. “We'll invite the whole company in, and we'll have lunch. They can bring their kids, they can bring guests, and we've even had parents there.” Over lunch, they also talk about how the organization is doing, how they are performing, and where there is opportunity.

Another way Scott feels the pulse of the organization is through a weekly blog. He’s published the internal blog for more than 5 years.

Whatever a leader decides to do in terms of communication, the most important part is consistency. “If you say to your employees you are going to write a weekly blog, you have to it every week. You can’t miss. Our blog is five years in the running and it shoots out every week,” explains Scott. “Be consistent and be on time.”

3. Use affirmations

“Affirmation is probably the one thing that everybody desires,” says Scott. Scott’s learned to be intentional about how he uses affirmations to his people. In doing so, he’s able to energize and inspire his people.

“ As a leader, when you're telling stories about people in your organization, it affirms the great work they are doing.  The magic happens when it inspires other people to want to be a part of a story,” says Scott.

“They hear what others are doing, and they want to be a part of that story. They want to have a chapter written about them. There’s magic in that—that’s what storytelling does.”

4. Show vulnerability

As a leader, have the kind of self-awareness that allows you to show vulnerability through your communication.

“Some may think if you are vulnerable, you’re looked upon as weak,” says Scott. “Vulnerability is a sign of strength. It lets people know they are not alone.”

Find a channel or format of communication that allows you to authentically open up with your people. “For example, for a lot of people, there's an uncanny way for people to be vulnerable in writing versus face-to-face with people. It is an opportunity for leaders to talk about areas in their life where they're vulnerable, or maybe where they're afraid,” says Scott.

“And it lets other people know that you might just be human. You might be just like them.”

When you get vulnerable, your people will respond with trust and openness, too. The result is a culture where employees experiment, take risks, and drive innovation.

Source: Forbes / Written By: Aileron

 

Wednesday, 22 January 2020 14:11

Ten Trends You Need to Know About for 2020

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"...should we be concerned about the possibility of a downturn?"

2020 Trends

Avison Young - Trends You Need to Know About for 2020

#1 Lower for longer
How investors are dealing with a low inflation, low interest rate world – and
whether they should be concerned about the possibility of a downturn.

#2 Power to the people
Landlords, developers and occupiers need to pay increasing attention to local
political activism, as today’s street protests increasingly signal tomorrow’s
policy initiatives.

#3 (De)globalization
The pace of globalization is slowing, and in some areas is starting to reverse as
nearshoring and the localization of supply chains gathers momentum.

#4 Building resilience
Cities across the world are leading the charge in responding to climate change,
to ensure economic, social and environmental sustainability.

#5 (Place)making an impact
Placemaking creates great environments for people, organizations and
communities. It is becoming the focus of

#6 The rebirth of retail
Urban design initiatives, an explosion of technology-fuelled experiential retail
and the emergence of new omni-channel strategies give an insight into the
future of physical retail.

#7 Let’s talk about flex
Forget what you may have read in the newspapers, flexible offices are here to
stay and will remain one of real estate’s hottest growth areas in 2020.

#8 AI
Augmented intelligence? Your new best friend could be your cobot, a
collaborative robot who will make your life easier by helping you work
quicker – and smarter.

#9 Wishing well
Wellness is the new front in the war for talent, and buildings have a huge part
to play in supporting companies’ efforts to look after their staff.

#10 Heavy lifting
Logistics is currently a labor-intensive business, and the sector is facing the
twin challenges of staff shortages and a growing volume of e-commerce
product returns.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FULL ARTICLE

CLICK HERE TO ARRANGE A PRINT WITH INSIGHT CONSULTATION

Source: Avison Young / Written By: Nick Axford

"We have partnered with Dominion Blue for our trade show promotional needs and other printed matter."

Trade Show Displays

Scope of The Project / Aim & Outcome:

We worked with their project team to provide various displays and roll-ups to help them promote their brand at events and trade shows. All displays were portable and easy to set up.

Clients Response:

We have partnered with Dominion Blue for our trade show promotional needs and other printed matter. We’ve worked with your company on two major exhibition events recently – the NACS show in Atlanta and the Realtor Quest show in Toronto. The booth exhibits and graphics you produced for these important shows were really sharp and crisp, and faithfully represented our brand. They were also easy to transport and assemble. In addition, your team was responsive, professional, and went above and beyond to ensure our materials were shipped to the venues on time. When we had a question from the venue, we appreciated the rapid response. So – thanks to you and your team, and we look forward to sending you more requirements as we expand our presence further. Regards, Leigh

"...the interpretive signage up at Britannia. Thanks for all of your help with it – looks great!"

Britannia Display Signage

Scope of The Project / Aim & Outcome:

Improve the clarity and quality of the interpretive signage. We worked with the project leader to better understand their final objectives. With our UV in flatbed technology we were able to product a new level of quality and print directly on a durable media which offers longevity, while retaining impressive image quality. The client was please and in short order requested additional work which included.

Clients Response:

Wanted to send you a photo of the interpretive signage up at Britannia. Thanks for all of your help with it – looks great! Rebecca

Thursday, 24 October 2019 14:40

Casting a Niche Net | Getting Personal

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As author and entrepreneur Seth Godin puts it: “Personalization wasn’t supposed to be a cleverly veiled way to chase prospects around the web, showing them the same spammy ad for the same lame stuff as everyone else sees. No, it is a chance to differentiate at a human scale, to use behaviour as the most important clue about what people want and more important, what they need.”

Casting A Niche Net

Welcome to the Fourth Industrial Revolution:

Trends in customer trust by Salesforce Research reinforces the notion that brands can win more business by creating personalized customer experiences — a message we’ve heard for some time now. Based on a survey polling over 6,700 individuals from more than a dozen countries including Canada, the 2018 report finds consumers are demanding greater personalization and will often disclose the kind of personal information needed to create more personalized experiences if they feel the business is being transparent about how the data is used.

“Welcome to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, an era defined by continuous technological innovations that are transforming customer expectations. As lines between digital and physical worlds blur, today’s customers demand deeply relevant, personalized experiences across devices, channels and interactions,” according to the report. “In fact, the average customer uses 10 different channels to communicate with companies. Despite this, today’s customers expect tailored engagement across all channels.”

Fifty-four percent of respondents say the marketing messages they receive aren’t as relevant as they would like them to be – suggesting that some companies drastically need to improve their personalization capabilities – while 84 percent say “being treated like a person, not a number” is very important to winning repeat business and maintaining brand loyalty. “Customers expect businesses to understand not only what they are purchasing, but why, as well as how they use products and services, and they expect it fast,” the report reads.

The majority of survey respondents say they are willing to share personal information if it is used to deliver more personalized engagements, and expect that personalization to be coupled with transparency. What’s more, 51 percent of respondents across all age groups say they are comfortable with companies “applying relevant information about me in exchange for personalized engagement,” as compared to 64 percent of millennials and Gen Zers.  

What’s interesting is 86 percent of total respondents – and 91 percent of millennials and Gen Zers – say they are more likely to trust companies with their personal information when they explain how it is being used to deliver a better experience for them, suggesting that strict security and privacy protocols alone may not be enough to dispel fears of data misuse and breaches.

“As time goes on, businesses will contend with a more savvy customer base that expects greater personalization, along with respect for the data they swap for it,” the report concludes.

Source: PrintAction / Written By: Alyssa Dalton

 

Friday, 27 September 2019 09:10

Nail Your Story - 5 Tips for Business Storytelling

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At Dominion Blue, our story started in 1912 with an ad featured in the city directory. It was one of eight companies involved in blueprints. We were located in the Bank of Hamilton Building at 432 Hamilton Street. Our focus was simple, offer what architects, engineers, contractors, the government and businesses wanted; preeminent quality large format Maps, Blueprints, Brown Line, and Blue Line Prints.

It was not a splashy opening, but it was honest. Our "can-do," "just-works" and our clients soon realized that we were ultimately providing print solutions that helped them to succeed. By hearing our story and knowing why we do what we do, they quickly discovered that we understood their needs.

A lot has changed since then. Of course, our state-of-the-art digital printing equipment and the breadth of our product and services offer is immense in comparison. But one thing has not changed; we've been building trust with our clients ever since that day and won't stop until we either meet or exceed each one’s expectations.

Knowing how to tell your business story needs to be a crucial part of your operations. A brand story has a strategic purpose aimed towards drawing people in. To perfect your story, try the following tips, and when you're ready give us a call because print can help bring it alive in many ways.

Five Essential Tips for Business Storytelling

To perfect your story, try the following tips:

#1: Set The Parameters

Your business story should be engaging. But if it doesn’t have a clear focus, you’ll quickly lose the attention of consumers. Establish context right off the bat.

To start your brand story, answer the following questions:

  • Who is telling the story?
  • Why is the story being told?
  • When and where is the story taking place?
  • Who are the people in the story?
  • What are the people trying to achieve?
  • What challenges are faced?

Parameters will help you develop an engaging story that makes sense to your audience. Set the scene so that consumers know exactly what you’re talking about. Most importantly, establish why you’re telling them this story. This will guide the audience through the narrative and hook them all the way to the end.

#2: Be Authentic

Authentic storytelling is key to gaining consumer trust. Don’t try to fool your audience with an over-the-top tale. Customers know when you try to pull a fast one on them, and they don’t appreciate it.

Your business’s story doesn’t need to be elaborate. In fact, if your business doesn’t have an earth-shattering history, your story shouldn’t try to create one. A genuine narrative is more likely to connect with consumers than one without a shred of truth.

Transparency celebrates your uniqueness and acknowledges the human aspect of your brand. Recognize that things are not always easy by showing your own challenges and failures. This creates an emotional connection, as well as reveals admiral characteristics, like innovation and resilience.

You might want to take an “open book” approach to communicating with customers. Explain how things are made/done at your business. For example, you might use all local ingredients at your restaurant. Use these details to create an interesting story.

#3: Have A Clear Outcome

A great business story leaves your audience with something. What lesson was learned in the story, and what should consumers learn from hearing it?

Business stories should have a clear outcome. Provide a hopeful, thought-provoking message with actionable points that compel your audience to connect with your brand.

Here’s another story for you: In the late eighties, my partner and I wanted to write software, but we were not sure about the niche we should pursue. After doing tons of research in the phonebook and at the library (there was no internet back then), we learned that employment agencies had a desperate need for a recruiting network solution. Over thirty years after launching our startup, Top Echelon’s recruiting network has hundreds of recruiting firms and millions of candidates, which helps hiring professionals make more placements.

The story gives an idea of who we are and where we come from. The outcome sparks confidence in our offerings and values. You can use your business’s real-life outcomes to convey a message to your customers.

#4: Be Consistent

A disorganized brand story leaves customers confused and uninterested. Make sure your brand is consistent across all communication channels. Use the same colors, logo, and slogan for digital and print marketing materials. The repetition of images and verbiage associated with your business creates brand awareness.

You need to be consistent when speaking about your brand. Business storytelling takes practice. Know the story inside and out before presenting it to customers. This will help you tell the story naturally.

#5: Get Customers Involved

Use business storytelling to strike an emotional connection with customers. Talk about how an event related to your business affected you and what you learned. This creates an immediate response that makes your story memorable and shareable.

People like to be a part of stories. Your customers can be characters in your brand. Come up with ways to get your audience involved.

For example, Patriot Software reached out to some of our customers to hear their startup stories. Black Sheep Boutique and Lamplighter Brewing Co. were among several companies featured in business storytelling examples on our blog. Showcasing these businesses directly linked our customers to a part of our story.

Telling the story of your brand is an ongoing process. Each day, your business grows, shifts, and adds new chapters to its story. Make business storytelling an essential part of your operations to attract and retain customers.

Source: Forbes / Written By: Mike Kappel

Marketing often gets thrown on the back burner because it feels like time away from your business.

You’re happiest when you’re talking to your audience directly.

You’re telling them all about a product, service, or cause that you care about — and there’s a level of connection there that marketing can’t touch.

Or so you think.

It’s true — there’s plenty of yawn-inducing marketing material out there that makes you wonder if the writer herself was asleep at the keyboard.

But your business can do better than that. You can share something with your audience that awakens their attention, evokes emotion, and fosters ironclad loyalty..

Make Storytelling Your Competitive Advantage

Can storytelling really do all that?

Stories are the seeds of connection. They have staying power — think back to all the stories you can still remember from your early childhood.

And they’re more important than ever as a way to stand out from your competition.

Here are a few things storytelling can do for your business:

  • Draw people in: Stories pull us in like moths to a flame. Think about your favorite TV show or the last book you couldn’t put down. Don’t worry — your brand’s story doesn’t have to be a murder mystery to get people’s attention. Just think about the basic elements of any story (characters, plot, conflict, dialogue) and how they fit into your business.
  • Open their eyes to the people behind the business: How does your audience view your business or organization? If you’re good at what you do, there’s a good chance they think of you positively. But what if you could really show them what your business means to you? Make your product, service, or mission come alive by sharing how it motivates and inspires you each day.
  • Be unique and unforgettable: There will always be businesses with new techniques and fresh approaches that claim to do something better than you. Don’t fall for the trap of trying to do what they do better — focus on doing what you do better. Think about you business’s story and figure out what makes you different. Make this a theme in the marketing materials you create and share.
  • Provide value (to your audience and yourself): Stories deliver both entertainment and education. If you write a blog post sharing how you got involved in urban sustainability you’re educating readers and also reflecting on your personal story. Putting ideas into words helps you solidify your thoughts and gain confidence. This can come in handy the next time you decide to push yourself further and speak at an upcoming industry conference.

How can you start incorporating storytelling in your business?

Once you start to see the benefits of storytelling for your business, you’ll start wondering how you can start using it right away.

Luckily, you have plenty of outlets at your disposal. Your website, your signage, brochures, and printed communications, email and direct mail, your blog, social channels, presentation centres, and so much more.

When you're ready to start planning it all out give us a call and through our Print with Insight Program you'll be turning heads your way in no time.

 

Source: Constant Contact / Written By: Miranda Paquet

"Building a skyscraper? Forget about steel and concrete, says architect Michael Green, and build it out of ... wood. As he details in this intriguing talk, it's not only possible to build safe wooden structures up to 30 stories tall (and, he hopes, higher), it's necessary."

Michael Green Tall Wood Buildings

Vancouver’s Michael Green Architecture, a firm specializing in timber buildings, has been acquired by Silicon Valley startup Katerra.

Timber is trending. Earlier this year, Azure wrote about the proliferation of plyscrapers around the world: thanks to the possibilities of cross-laminated timber, which is fire-resistant and as strong as concrete, wood construction is being considered for 70-storey buildings in Japan, 80-storey residential projects in London and mid-rise college campuses in Toronto. And one of the most prominent champions of timber construction is Vancouver-based Michael Green, whose firm has been pushing wood buildings – and indeed wood cities – since 2012.

Green, who authored The Case for Tall Wood Buildings and won a 2017 AZ Award for Environmental Leadership for his T3 Minneapolis office building, promotes timber as an environmentally friendly alternative to concrete. Earlier this week, Michael Green Architecture (MGA) was acquired by Katerra, a Silicon Valley construction startup that received $865 million from Japanese venture capital giant Softbank Vision Fund. Reportedy valued at over $3 billion, Katerra is run by former Tesla interim CEO Michael Marks; it lists itself as a tech company, though it aims to disrupt the construction industry.

Green says that, after the acquisition, he will remain the president and CEO of his firm – it will be called Michael Green Architecture, a Katerra company. In an email, Green says that its parent company will help “advance our agenda on design, quality, sustainability and affordability.” MGA and its two dozen employees will remain in Vancouver.

Katerra, Architectural Record notes, wants to vertically integrate all aspects of construction, from design to subcontracting. Founded three years ago, it, like Green, focuses on affordability through efficiency: Katerra has created market-rate multi-family housing and student and senior housing, with projects focused on mass-timber construction. The acquisition of MGA, it seems, is a step towards making its architecture division more environmentally friendly – and could provide Green with wider resources, both human and financial, to achieve his wood-built ambitions.

The terms of MGA’s acquisition by Katerra were not disclosed.

Green said the acquisition allows him to make a bigger impact on the North American market – though his reach already extends beyond his Gastown office. MGA’s recent projects include the OSU College of Forestry building at Oregon State University, a proposal for the world’s tallest timber tower in Paris, and Riverfront Square, a 2,000-unit residential project in New Jersey.

Though the acquisition is a victory for Green, it’s also a promising step for the future of timber construction. Silicon Valley’s embrace – and investment – in architecture, green design and wood construction could have a lasting impact on the built environment. For a glimpse of what the future may have in store, watch Green’s influential TEDxTalk above.

Source: AZURE / Written By: Mark Teo

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