Sunday, August 11, 2013

Missing Gallery

One would think with a many pictures I take - there might just be a few here!

  • Two trips to Europe in the last two years averaging 1400 photos each.  
  • Summers at the house in New Hampshire - numbering in hundreds of photos each year
  • Photos taken as part of my employment duties
  • Every occasion outside of the above and then some.

I even bought a nice new camera before the last euro trip - a nice SONY NEX-6 with a few choice lenses.  Looking back on my camera purchases in the last 15-20 years, I believe I might just be the Imelda Marcos of the photo world.

All these images are spread across, iPhoto, Aperture, Lightroom, the iPhone and Foap.  One would think as organized as I am that there would be an album online - somewhere.   Nope!

With that I make a promise to build an album or two and try not to bore anyone too much.  Until that happens I invite you to check out my European Road Trip series (a series of two so far) on Blurb.

Preview albums on Blurb

If you come by the house in Miami or New Hampshire - ask to see the final product (printed album).

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What's Missing From Your Website?

I was asked if I would be interested in a last minute freelance project to take a technical PowerPoint presentation for a consumer company’s business plan and turn it into an employee presentation. I was to report to the company's advertising agency and possibly begin work that afternoon. Knowing this was last minute with a short deadline I began research on the company in order to be better prepared for the project while waiting for a final approval call.

The company in this case was a smaller, but apparently well capitalized local firm that had been acquired by a European company 100 times its size in 2007. I looked at the entire website, paying particular attention to the About Us and Careers pages. Being this was an employee presentation, I wanted to see (if possible) how they already communicated to their employees, the Careers section might offer some insight.

There was a list of job openings with descriptions – very good, and better than many companies their size. However, other than a paragraph about training the only other information were links to the ADA act, Affirmative Action policies and the family and medical leave act, etc. (stuff that’s required to be posted by the government in the employee break area). There was nothing that would compel a candidate to seek a job with this company over a competitor. Nothing about the workplace culture, how employees are empowered or community involvement.

The austere Careers page was striking because the About Us page included, along with the mission statement, a section on “Our Commitment” to: “empowered employees and providing a meaningful work environment”, “personalized service that exceeds our customers expectations” and “the communities we serve.” This may well be, but there is nothing about any of the commitment anywhere else on the website. What wasn’t there says much about “Our Commitment.”

If I could not find out what the company was saying to its employees then what was the company saying to its customers? Usually these are not far apart. What does the company convey about itself. Back to the About Us. The first line about what the bank “strives for” is not reflected in the mission statement. Both were good – they just need to be combined. Then a paragraph about the size, the footprint, services and relationship to its European ownership. Pretty good so far but then: “For current news see our Press Section” Ah ha! Now I will get to see what the firm likes to say about itself. Sadly the last update was mid year 2007, mostly covering its acquisition by the European company.

The firm’s website was a bit revealing if unhelpful to my endeavor - I was not going to be as prepared as I hoped. However, I never got the call – it was handled “in-house”.

A good mission statement and commitment needs to be reflected in more than the statement. It needs to be such a strong part of the corporate culture (almost interchangeable) that it is reflected in communications – including the website. What is missing from your website is as important as what's on it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Online Reputation Management

Business Reputation Management as a Marketing Tool? Your business depends on two key items; Product and Marketing. A business must have both. How you manage your reputation is a key element in how you market your business. How you communicate with your customer/potential client is important to your reputation. Without spamming, more communication is almost always better to the client relationship and your reputation.

Marketing is Communications. Business marketing (to the client/perspective customer) goes far beyond advertising your product. Some communications you control: Advertising, and some you do not: word of mouth. How you present your company from word of mouth to how you answer the phone or where you place your ad communicates to the customer much about your business and reputation. 

Marketing Communications Have Evolved. Your ability to market your product to a larger audience (larger client/potential customer base) has grown tremendously. It has also become significantly more complex and fractured. Gone are the traditional forms where a single newspaper ad or direct mail piece would bring in customers. At one time newspaper advertising, radio and TV were the only way a potential customer was informed about your business. Today's consumer mostly ignores the ads, and if they do they frequently turn to the Internet for more information. If they are looking for a product (service or item) they look on the Internet. They see more than just your product – they find information about your business – your reputation. 

A Website is NOT Enough Anymore. If they come looking - you must be there, but its deeper than that. A website today is akin to hanging a sign on your building, it says little more about your business. Sure you want to drive potential customers to your website, and it must be content rich to keep them, but no longer is a website alone enough. They will visit your website and others in search of or to research your product. They will also visit your competitors. Consumers are savvy that in addition to researching your product, they will research you and your business. They have become accustomed to having more information available on both and not just from your site, but from independent sources. They will compare you to your competitors. They will read reviews. Your reputation counts online as much as ever. 

Online Reputation Management. If your customers are researching your business online, then it would be wise to know what they are seeing. Assuming your website is in order, where are they getting information about you? Its different for every business category, from professional associations to Amazon reviews to competitors website to personal blogs. You must thoroughly research your business online, research your competitors and assess what you find. 

Key to Online Reputation Management: COMMUNICATE Little or no information? Inaccurate information? The good news is you can control most of it and influence the rest. Without going into Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to raise your Google ranking, the best way to fight little, bad or inaccurate information is with more, good and accurate information. You can do this through your website, but also through other resources. For example Wikipedia. Why not start a Wikipedia page about your business? You can't control Wikipedia, but you can influence the information. There are tangible benefits too - search results on your product and your business. How about a blog? Its a good way to communicate information about your business in an informal way, address issues you may not on your website AND again you will likely result in more search hits. Make or correct listings on professional association websites. Join professional networking sites like LinkedIn and consider (based on appropriateness for your business) social networking websites like Facebook. And if relevant – ask your customers for an online review at an independent site.

Communicate And They Will Come.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Afternoon Sky.

Shot from the front yard this afternoon.

Why a blog?

Finally - I am starting a blog.

Finally... because I have been thinking about it for years, but never felt I had much content for one. That was quite a stupid conclusion because - even though I'm easy going - I have opinions on almost everything, and enough on other subjects to be dangerous.

The transition to creating a blog is much like drinking wine. Most start with sweeter wines, then perhaps whites and eventually rich and robust reds. Here blogging started with social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook with small posts, always holding back and restricting mostly to status updates.

Now like drinking red wine, I transition to something more rich and robust - Blogging. I hope you enjoy it, and thank you for reading.