April 2019 Newsletter

How Businesses Can Prepare for The Summer Downtime

Whether you recently started a business, or you’re an entrepreneurial veteran, chances are you’ve heard about the dreaded summer downtime. This season can be the downfall of an unprepared business, in the chance that sales slow, engagement diminishes, and customers become busy with vacations and other interests.

Still, the summer months can be an extremely productive time for your business After all, how often do you get extra time to give to different areas of your business? This could be the ideal time to update your website, apply for additional financing, or invest in your employees, among other tasks!

With the summer months around the corner, rather than fret, why not plan activities that can help your business continue to grow? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Schedule A Summer Clean-Up

Over time, little tasks can build up. These might be small responsibilities that don’t need to be completed right away, but that will continue to accumulate until you take time to complete them.  Luckily, if business slows down during the summer, you’ll have plenty of time to catch up!

This can be anything from reviewing accounts, to reconnecting with former clients. Use this time to clear the backlog, so when the busier months draw near, you can approach them with a clutter-free calendar.

Update Your Content Calendar

Sales may be slower in the summer months, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon your audience. They’re still out there, and can still be inspired by your brand. Due to this, it’s vital to maintain your marketing efforts.

Naturally, at the heart of this is content creation. Plan your summer content and be sure to include a range of seasonal and evergreen content to keep your audience engaged throughout the summer. Not only will this help to build your audience’s familiarity with your business, but it will also help to increase your brand’s authority.

In the long run, these efforts will boost your business’s visibility, and improve the chance of customers purchasing your products or services. The more value you can offer, the more likely you are to be remembered by your audience, and sought out in the future!

Arrange Training and Development

Small business owners often struggle to invest in their employees’ personal development, as every team member is so critical to their individual roles. Yet while sales are at a low ebb, there should be time for your team develop new skills, and learn about other areas of the business.

In preparation for summer, speak to each employee about their career aspirations, and discuss how they can grow in their role at your company. This is the perfect opportunity to let team members try something new or undergo additional training.

The more skills you can add to your team’s repertoire, the more flexible, capable, and productive they’ll become. This means that as your business grows, your existing team will be prepared for extra responsibilities, and well-equipped for training new recruits as your staffing requirements increase.

Update Your Website

Slow months can give you the chance to update your website, and ensure that it’s meeting your customers’ needs. This is especially important if you’re planning a significant redesign, or the addition or removal of certain features.

Major website changes can be jarring for customers, and could serve as a deterrent. As such, making big changes during a busy time of year can be a costly decision. However, when business is slower, you can afford to make more drastic alterations, while simultaneously dedicating time to handling the queries of affected customers.

With your new and improved website, you’ll be in a better position to interact productively with your audience, drive greater sales volumes, and even make changes to the core functionality of your business. This is especially useful if you’re pursuing a new source of collaboration or funding, as it enables you to present a polished representation of what your business offers.

Consider giving your website a makeover, create an online store, or make another needed change. You’ll be surprised at how it’ll benefit your business once busier times come around!

Plan Some Personal Downtime

Since there should be fewer demands for your time during the summer, this is a great opportunity to set aside time for yourself. Whether you take a vacation, try a new hobby, or simply spend quality time with friends and family, it’s important to make time for yourself.

No matter how successful your business is, everyone needs some time off. Due to this, consider how you can make time for yourself, while still trying to improve your business.

Next Steps

The anticipation of a slow spell can often be disheartening. However, while the summer is often a difficult time for small businesses, there is plenty you can do to make the most of that empty time.

Devise a plan so that you can make the most of this period, and use your time wisely. After all, the more your business grows, the rarer these brief respites will be, so be productive with this down time while you have it.

There’s always more to do, and only you can decide on the course of action that will be most beneficial to the future of your business. With these tips, you can ensure that the summer downtime is just as valuable to you as any other season.

9 of Last Year’s Most Creative Marketing Ideas Can Help You Brainstorm

Every year companies, both big and small, launch marketing campaigns to the public — some are forgettable while others hit hard as intended and attract attention for the brand. There are campaigns that challenge our world-views, inspire us and make us laugh and smile.

Creativity can come from all different directions; from cutting-edge technology firms, to billion-dollar athletic brands and a pancake monopoly — several brands made a mark this year with campaigns that oozed creativity. Here are nine examples, across several industries, that you can use to help spark your creativity thinking as you plan campaigns for your own business.

1. IHOP — The International House of Burgers

When people heard that IHOP (The International House of Pancakes) changed their name to IHOB (The International House of Burgers), the internet went crazy.

In fact, the move may have been one of the biggest troll-jobs of 2018. Trolling aside, the campaign made a major impact and delivered exactly as they hoped. According to Food NewsFeed, the campaign produced more than 36 billion earned media impressions, influenced over 20,000 written stories and saw burger sales increase by 300 percent — which was the ultimate goal of the campaign.

2. Amazon — Alexa Lost Her Voice

Amazon took influencing to the next level with their star-studded Super Bowl commercial.

In case you missed in it, the commercial featured Gordon Ramsey, Cardi B and Anthony Hopkins. Influencer marketing has continued to grow in popularity, especially among millennial buyers.

It’s hard to imagine that the tech giant needed any assistance increasing its consumer base, but onboarding celebrity influencers never hurts — the YouTube video for this commercial has more than 50 million views.

3. Space X — Roadster in Space

Elon Musk is known for being an innovator and thought-leader in the fields of space exploration, technology and renewable energy. He’s also known for doing some pretty outlandish stuff, and this year, Musk’s Space X company pulled off one of their biggest stunts to date.

The Space X team launched a Tesla Roadster into space at a speed of roughly 18,000 mph. The car was strapped onto Space X’s Falcon Heavy rocket and is currently in the Van Allen belt, a region of intense radiation surrounding the Earth.

4. Verma Media — OC’s Cannabis Campaign

Verma Media has made its mark in the cannabis space due to their publicized support for emerging tech and controversial industries. This year, the company launched a series of partnerships — one of the most notable was their partnership with Orthogonal.

Verma helped launch a marketing campaign advertising Orthogonal Collective’s incubation hub and expertise. The result attracted 30 companies in the cannabis space to enter the collective. Many perceive the cannabis industry as a risky space to have a stake in, but it’s a booming industry with endless opportunity. Even Entrepreneur has entered the space, launching Green Entrepreneur.

5. Consensus — Genesis Campaign

When Consensus decided they wanted to run an ICO and Mothership decided they wanted to create a platform to help companies raise money, the two companies realized synergy existed.

In 2018, the two companies teamed up to run the Genesis campaign — an initiative for the Genesis platform where Mothership handled promotional aspects of fundraising for the Consensus ICO — the very first project launched through Genesis.

As a result of the initiative, Consensus was able to raise over $10 million, and later in the year, launch their blockchain network.

6. Coca-Cola — BTS World Cup Partnership

In the past, Coca-Cola has had some great campaigns — some, for example, like the “Share a Coke” campaign, are re-launched every year.

This year, Coca-Cola took their influencer strategy international by teaming up with BTS, a Korean pop group, and one of the most popular bands in the world.

The company announced that the band would serve as their spokesmen for the FIFA World Cup in 2018. The partnership set the Korean pop world on fire and created a lot of international buzz — exactly what the company was after.

7. Nike — Dream Crazy

Since taking a knee several seasons ago, Colin Kaepernick has become a symbol of activism. In particular, opposition against the unfair treatment of minority communities. However, his movement has become the face of opposing upper management in the NFL.

That resulted in pure chaos when the controversial figure was made the face and voice of a Nike campaign. While the campaign received both praise and backlash, it has kept Nike on the tip of many consumer tongues — proof that controversy does indeed sell.

8. BoxUp — Oh, Cardboard Box

You don’t have to be an industry giant to let your creativity shine — and be effective. BoxUp, a two-year-old startup, saw major growth thanks to their marketing strategies, which focused on combining digital, retargeting and print.

The company leverage digital media channels to broadcast their message, which led to an increase in sales. In November, sales figures were double that of May’s. I’ve sourced box manufacturers for several consumer brands. Each time I have set out to find them. BoxUp’s campaign found me — and it’s that creative approach that got my attention.

This campaign is a great example of how you can take an industry or product that isn’t “sexy” and use creativity to get noticed.

9. Uber — Moving Forward

Uber has caught a lot of heat in the past few years — from sexual harassment charges to claims of a toxic culture and misconduct. That’s why in 2018, Uber launched the Moving Forward campaign.

The campaign was developed on three main premises — new leadership, better ride experience and an improved relationship with communities. Even when facing adversity, you can use creativity to help power your brand through difficult times.

Information Security Means Better Business

Information security, as a recognized business activity, has come a long way in the past decade. Various factors have caused the discipline to mature and it has now attained its “license to operate” within the corporate and public sector environments, becoming one of the core business and organizational enablers.

However, there is little room for error, as the consequences of insecure systems and information are almost always costly and distracting.

The challenge now for senior security specialists is to develop an ongoing dialogue with the board about the importance of information security in the context of organizational goals.

Information is the engine of global enterprise, and fit-for-purpose information security is fundamental to managing global enterprise risk. The regulatory environment, especially the requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley, has pushed security onto the board’s agenda.

Security standards and frameworks, such as the international standard ISO 17799, are increasingly being adopted by third parties and business partners as proof of security credentials.

Users are waking up to security rights and expectations, causing public-facing organizations to tighten privacy policies. And the commercial imperative for information security is gaining momentum as more companies outsource or offshore operations and demand full mobility of their staff.

Organizations that are the most effective at information security tend to demonstrate three characteristics.

First, they are driven by results rather than activity.

Second, they earn credibility by candidly educating company management about security risks and basing their security investment on realistic assessments of risk.

Third, they are committed to independent standards and to measuring their departments’ compliance with those standards.

Recognizing that security should form part of overall business risk management, many organizations are now structuring and managing information security as part of operational risk management.

In other cases, it is seen as part of corporate security management which deals not only with physical threats, but also problems such as brand fraud.

Information security should, of course, have in place a framework for responding to incidents and threats. But it must also be prepared to take longer-term action to proactively defend the business against future threats and enable it to take full advantage of changing business opportunities.

Ultimately, a company’s information security must be effectively integrated and aligned with the corporate strategy, objectives, business structure and style.

But to get that prize, security professionals must speak the business language and persuasively make the business case for the tan­gible and strategic dividends that strong security can undoubtedly provide in this global environment.