Friday, February 24, 2017

Back to Basics: does your website include this information?

By: Allison Barnes, Account Assistant, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

Websites can be frustrating in so many ways. Links that don’t work, out of date information, and impatiently waiting for content to load due to buffering. But one website pet peeve of mine is the lack of information some websites provide to viewers. Why have a website if it’s not up to date or does not show potential customers how to reach you or what your business stands for? Here are the basics I think every website should include: 
  • Contact information - A business website should make it clear where the business is located, mailing address or the best way to contact the company. Most websites include this information either on the top or bottom of a page or on a separate “Contact” page. Items like employees’ names, title, phone number and email address should also be easy to locate. For large businesses with hundreds of employees, don’t list every employee, but be sure to include key contacts, such as the President/CEO, department heads, and customer service reps. All contact information should be updated as soon as any of this information is changed.                            
  • Links to social media - If your business is on any social media platform, a link or username for each platform should be available for website visitors to find. Setting up social media accounts takes time, so show off your hard work! Social media accounts should also include up-to-date contact information like the company address, website url, phone number and a general email address for inquires, and general information about your business. Think of your social media page as a small website, explaining what your company does and how it got started. Get visitors interested in your business, so they want to learn more about it, your products or services.
  • Accurate information - Your business spends a lot of time perfecting your services, products and brand, so keep up with it by providing accurate information, such as products available, current job openings and event calendars. Don’t disappoint visitors with inaccurate information about who you are, a product that is no longer manufactured or a job posting that has been filled.
Provide visitors with the information they want and need to know about your business. They will appreciate your honesty and will hopefully make a purchase. What would you add to websites that typically isn’t included? I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Great marketing strategy or just plain wrong? - You be the judge

By: Cole Buergi, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

With the myriad of news stories and Facebook posts that have gone overboard on both sides of the political aisle in the past year, few things in the news or on social media surprise me anymore. That is, until yesterday when the USA Today ran a story that, for Valentine’s Day, Burger King locations in Israel are offering an adult meal, complete with a sex toy.

No, this is not fake news: The adult meal comes with one of three items, a feather duster, head massager or blindfold.

Now I don’t speak for everyone, but I have to believe that most people are thinking, “Really, who would come up such an idea? And, more importantly, why?”

If the idea was to get an attention-grabbing headline, well I would say mission accomplished. If it was for any other reason, then my response is eww! Imagine coming home to your significant other and saying, “Hi love, you’ll never guess what I got at Burger King.” Nothing in my mind could be less romantic. Not to mention your new blindfold smells like a Whopper or French fry grease. Add in that Burger King caters to all age groups and now parents will have to explain why there is a special meal package on the menu for adults only.

What are your thoughts? Is utilizing the “shock effect” the only way to get people’s attention in today’s extremely cluttered information world? Has Burger King entered an area of inappropriate marketing?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Communication lessons learned from a bold Super Bowl ad

By: Noelle Cutler, Account Assistant, Leonard & Finco Public Relations
Every year, over a hundred million viewers tune in to the Super Bowl. And every year, advertisers pay millions to grab the attention of those viewers; inevitably some commercials try bolder techniques than others in order to accomplish that. This year, one advertisement that garnered a lion’s share of attention was 84 Lumber and their story of a Mexican mother and daughter on a journey to emigrate to America. The storyline was a bold choice given the current political and national debate over immigration. This bold communication choice certainly attracted attention and got people talking. If you’re considering going bold in your own communication efforts, consider these three major caveats we learned from the results of 84 Lumber’s commercial. 

  1. Be bold…but only if you’re ready for backlash. A spokesperson for the ad agency that created the commercial said that about half of the feedback was positive and the other half was critical. The company was actually expecting that level of criticism, but were willing to accept that because they thought the issue was important enough. It’s also important to note that the company sells building supplies to mom-and-pop and midsize local contractors, and many of them are first generation immigrants to the United States. So, perhaps they were willing to deal with criticism from half of the viewers if the other half who reacted positively were actual potential customers. In your communications, always understand that the bolder and riskier you are, while you may gain very loyal customers, you’re also likely to alienate the people on the other side of the spectrum. 
  2. Be bold…but only if you’re prepared for the volume of feedback. Within minutes of the commercial airing, there were 600,000 hits to 84 Lumber’s website. A total of six million people tried to watch the full length commercial available exclusively on their website in the first hour after it aired. Their overwhelmed website crashed, leaving visitors (and potential customers) in the dust. They weren’t ready to handle the volume of people who were interested in their commercial. With bold communication choices, not only do you have to be ready to handle the nature of the feedback, you also have to be ready to handle the amount of feedback. 
  3. Be bold…but only if it doesn’t take away from your business. While the commercial itself was a memorable one, how many of the viewers remembered the company’s name? How many of those viewers remembered them in a positive light? And then how many of those viewers would actually buy their product or use their service? People were talking about the commercial, but the political message overshadowed their actual “product.” It’s worth noting that being bold can simultaneously draw attention towards your brand but away from your actual product.

Whether you watch the Super Bowl for the winning team or the winning commercials, there’s a lot to be gleaned from this year’s slew of advertisements. Consider these lessons from 84 Lumber before you risk being bold in your communication efforts.