Monday, December 29, 2014

New Year’s Resolutions

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

Do you make resolutions every year? Most of us do, they tend to serve as reminders to us that there is always room for improvement. I asked some of the folks in our office what their resolutions are for the coming year. Here are a few of the responses:

Charlie Leonard: I resolve to be a better person in 2015. (Amen to that!)

Steve Scaffidi (who also happens to be the mayor of Oak Creek, WI; a suburb of Milwaukee):
“We're celebrating our 60th year as a city, and to honor that my resolution is to perform 60 acts of kindness throughout the year.”

Cole Buergi: I resolve to exercise more and create more opportunities for quality time with my family.

Kristen Paquet: To live in the moment. Everything seems to happen so quickly these days – and kids grow up so fast - I need to remind myself to enjoy life as it is happening.

Deanna Johnson: To relax and feel the difference by routinely scheduling time for myself. Maybe I can then read the latest book that is collecting dust, get an overdue pedicure or just have a leisurely dinner with a good friend.

As for me, I’m joining Kristen in trying to live more in the moment. I’d also like to increase the number of times a week I exercise from two to four times a week. I actually think the exercise thing will be easier to achieve than the living in the moment concept. (I’m always thinking ten steps ahead). But, that’s what resolutions are for; a jump start on improvement. Personally, I love making resolutions…it’s keeping them that could use some improvement! So what are your resolutions for 2015?

Friday, December 19, 2014

No better time than the holiday season to reconnect with your clients!

By: Steve Scaffidi, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

Right around the middle of December conversations at work slowly begin to shift from work to family, as the approaching holidays announce the end of another calendar year. For clients and employees, the holiday season can also mean wrapping up some of the projects you’ve worked on all year. Budgets are reviewed, tasks are completed, and for many of us, the end of the year also means time off. But before you take off to spend time with your family during the holidays, it might be a good opportunity to reach out to your clients and reestablish those important connections, building a solid foundation for next year.

It used to be common practice to send a client a gift basket or a token of appreciation for their business just before the holidays. That's still acceptable, and there are certainly a ton of fun options to pick from now. And of course, who doesn't like to get a present, especially at this time of year? 

But it can be just as important to make a simple phone call to wish your client a happy holiday season, thanking them for their business and doing a quick review of the successes and wins you've had over the past year. Keep it simple and short, because at this point most folks are thinking less about work and more about the time off. Leave them with a quick comment on what's ahead, and offer a nugget of a new idea or suggestion for next year, planting the seed for a great future conversation.

Once you've made that call, take a look at what you've accomplished for your client. Did you meet their expectations? Did you find new opportunities to tell their story? As the year winds down, take the time to review publication editorial calendars for potential pitches, and look for industry topics that match up with your client's business. As the work slows down in December, planning for next year can fill in the gaps when matching workload to client budgets.
The end of the year will always be a time for family, and getting away from the stresses and challenges of work. But take the time just before that break to "recharge the batteries" for your client. Lay out a plan for next year, research what's working in the industry and what's not. As you celebrate with family and friends, toast the New Year and make a resolution that your best work is ahead.

What are your best end of the year strategies? Do you have a tried and true method for transitioning your client through the holidays?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Smile for the Camera means more today than ever, and so does social media!

By: Cole Buergi, VP of Business Development, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

If a photo is truly worth a thousand words, then I can only imagine how many words Instagram is worth. That’s because the photo sharing social media platform, founded in 2010, has reached a new milestone. It now has more than 300 million active monthly users, sharing 70 million photos daily. That’s up from 200 million active users just nine short months ago according to a news story in the USA Today. It also tops Twitter’s (Founded in 2006) 285 million current active users.
To put that in perspective, the population of the United States is roughly 323 million.
Of course Facebook still dominates the social media world with 1.23 billion active monthly users and there are countless numbers of other social media platforms.

Why are these numbers important you may ask? The answer is simple. The earth’s population is about 7.2 billion. Facebook alone reaches 1/7 the population of the planet. Add in all the other social media platforms and the number of people that can be reached using any one or a combination of several of these platforms is mind boggling.

Yet, there are many businesses still not leveraging social media to build their brand or connect with current and potential customers. Worse yet, there are many businesses that have delved into social media but are not approaching it in a meaningful way to build their brand or be relevant in their industry. In many cases, poorly managed social media sites have damaged a company’s reputation.
So where does that leave your business?

Entering the social media world is both easy yet complex. It’s easy from the standpoint of the cost is minimal. All you need is a computer, an Internet connection and voilĂ , you can be off and running as most social media sites are free for users.

The complexity enters the picture as you decide what social media platform would work best for your business, what your strategy will be, and how will it complement/define my brand.

That takes a well thought out plan. It also takes time for someone to set up the social media page, monitor and update it frequently. Equally important is consistently responding to comments and engaging your followers. That person should also be monitoring the industry as a whole to determine when new opportunities arise.

If you are not using social media to build and promote your brand, then you’re truly missing out on a great opportunity. Speak to an expert who can help provide insight and help guide your path to social media success.

Do you have a social media success story you can share? Let’s hear it. Perhaps it will inspire others to enter the world of social media.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cure for a Technology Hangover

By: Kristen Paquet, Sr. Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

I enjoy technology. Things like social media, email and texting makes life convenient, faster and pretty much easier. But even the best of things can get stale after a while. Instead of being an effective communicator, you start feeling like you’re going through the motions instead of being present throughout your day. If this ever happens to you, perhaps a short reprieve from technology is in order.

But, that doesn’t mean you fall off the map. After all, you have work to get done. Try to engage in a little less technology and a bit more of these old standby’s until you recover from your technology hangover:

Hand write a note. Writing notes is a lost art, really. Before texting and cell phones, the way I used to communicate with friends during the school day was to write a note during math class and give it to them as you passed each other in the hall. I’m not saying you need to get that involved, but a quick thank you note to a co-worker or a note of appreciation to a client is certainly within your capabilities.

Pick up the phone. No, that’s not a paper weight on your desk. It’s actually a useful tool. Maybe it’s a quick project update, confirming a meeting or just following up on a request. Picking up the phone can sometimes even be easier and quicker than composing an email and waiting for a response.

Hold a meeting. When I meet face-to-face with people, I find out more relevant information than if I were to ask them the same question via email. With email, you ask a question and you get a response to that question. There really is no back and forth to propel the conversation forward. Having some one-on-one time is also a great way to reconnect with people you may not see that often.

So when you are ready, ease yourself back into sending emails, responding to those text messages and toggling the “like” button on someone’s status. But also try to incorporate these older, but still very useful, ways to communicate in your everyday life. Doing so will most likely keep any future technology hangovers at bay.

What do you think? Are we relying too much on email, direct messaging and texting to communicate? Do you just need a break at times?