Rush 2013

This has to be the best race car driving film I have ever seen. Based on the true story of the British James Hunt and the Austrian Niki Lauda, whose rivalry fed many a media story in the 1970s, Rush focuses on this very phase of their careers and lives.

 

Born to wealthy parents, both Hunt and Lauda went against their families to pursue their car racing careers, and through their own narrative voices, both men’s fears and motivations are unraveled through the film. They are as distinct from each other as an outgoing playboy can be from a reclusive geek, and the manner in which they pursue ultimate victory is also very different, but they are both driven by ambition and passion, qualities which unite them. And somewhere along the way, mistakes are made – mistakes, which cost them both heavily (although the price Lauda pays is far more obvious).

 

Hunt is played by Chris Hemsworth, who has never looked better and has most definitely never acted better. He slips into the character effortlessly and surprises in many a moment with priceless expressions and excellent delivery of dialogue. He is instantly likable as Hunt, which is exactly how it is supposed to be. Lauda is played by Daniel Brühl, an actor who has never disappointed me in any films of his that I have seen (from Good Bye, Lenin! and The Edukators a decade back to the more recent, and more American, Inglourious Basterds). Brühl makes Lauda a difficult one to like, but an easy one to respect. He grows on you through the film, as he must have grown on Hunt in real life. Watching them both on screen is a pleasure and every scene is perfectly acted, directed, edited and timed.

 

Peter Morgan‘s screenplay is very well-balanced – and offers just the right proportions of drama, comedy, style and above all, the rush of the races. The driving scenes are well-shot but are also at times interspersed with actual footage, to push the adrenaline just that much more. The film is ably directed by Ron Howard, who I have always considered a very hit (Apollo 13, Ransom, Frost/Nixon) and miss (Far and Away, The Da Vinci Code and even *gasp* A Beautiful Mind) filmmaker. Here, there isn’t a note out of place, a scene too long, an emotion too high-strung. Definitely one of the best films he’s been at the helm of.

 

I wouldn’t say that Rush is so good that it can not be missed – though in a year when film after film has disappointed me, this comes as a breath of fresh air – but I can say that it should not be missed. For pure entertainment and a lesson in sports history, I highly recommend it.

 

For more film reviews, visit Hollywood Insider.

 

Blades of Glory

Blades of Glory (2007) DreamWorks Distribution LLC

1 hr. 33 mins.

Starring: Will Ferrell, Jon Heder, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Jenna Fischer, Craig T. Nelson, Luke Wilson, William Fichtner, William Daniels, Nick Swardson, Romany Malco

Directed by: Josh Gordon and Will Speck

 

Pointless formulaic silly-minded comedies—they must be the rage these days because they keep popping up more than a stubborn zit on a high school computer geek’s forehead. As for the manic master of these moronic farces—Will Ferrell—he’s simply safeguarding his investment as he continues to strut around in these redundant throwaway laughers. Much like Ferrell’s fellow Saturday Night Live alum Adam Sandler, they both enjoyed a cult following on Lorne Michaels’s long-running and groundbreaking NBC sketch comedy. Of course, the popularity of these comics stuck with them as they headed for greener pastures on the big screen.

 

The riotous Ferrell has milked situational movie comedies with moderate success. In Anchorman, Ferrell found satire in pompous newsmen and local news television. Talladega Nights poked wicked fun at the NASCAR circuit and its rabid fans. Now Ferrell explores the competitive nature of figure ice-skating in the wacky laugher Blades of Glory. Predictably goofy-minded and off-centered, Blades is a desired guilty pleasure for Ferrell fans that want to park their funny bones at the nearest skating rink. Although relentlessly ridiculous in its twirling figure-8 foolishness, Blades of Glory is a frozen, freakish farce that constantly tickles the numbing noggin.

 

Co-directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck (along with co-screenwriters Jeff and Craig Cox) concoct a display of infantilism that strangely works on the scale of wayward hilarity. Blades of Glory doesn’t measure up on the “hearty hoot” charts in comparison to some of the other mindless free-spirited fare that Farrell and co-star Jon “Napoleon Dynamite” Heder have been involved with previously. Still, Ferrell and Heder give Blades the nonsensical and nutty allure to persist as an empty-minded vehicle for off-kilter gags. So if you don’t mind the inevitable scenario of watching “Ricky Bobby and Napoleon Dynamite lacing up their skates” then it’s suggested that you check your brain cells at the door.

 

Chazz Michael Michaels (Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Heder) are rival skaters that end up teaming together in the long run. First, both men are subjected to being banned from the men’s singles competition after their well-known personal conflicts escalate into public feuding. Resorting to menial jobs that involve skating on a low level the guys eventually get back into the ice-skating game on a technical loophole—they can actually compete in the pair’s division. The question remains this: will the overly aggressive pot-bellied Chazz—a former world champion figure skater—learn to co-exist with his effeminate blonde choreograph-loving partner Jimmy? Clearly, the two combatants play like The Odd Couple meet the Ice Capades.

 

In order to ensure that Chazz and Jimmy click in championship form they are being trained by Jimmy’s tough-as-nails former coach (Emmy-winning actor Craig T. Nelson). In fact, the Michaels-MacElroy connection must prevail if they are to face the music and challenge the presence of a fanatical championship-proven brother-sister act (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler). Can Chazz and Jimmy conquer their differences and concentrate on the ultimate prize at large? Will this one-joke premise of a movie rise to the climatic occasion? How will our troubled tandem hilariously take on the self-absorbed skating siblings?

 

For the sake of offering a lazy conclusion, Blades of Glory is what it is…meaningless mockery meant to impishly ridicule the conventional nature of figure ice-skating. This is yet another sports-oriented chuckler where the random high jinks are thrown in to see if anything sticks to the wall of blind wit. Invariably, Blades of Glory certainly has its fair share of arbitrary gay-induced jokes and the smirking ice-skating sight gags are frequently palatable. The reaction to Ferrell and Heder basically playing the familiar schtick is a mixed bag—on one hand, it is a welcomed slaphappy occurrence to behold. However, Ferrell and Heder also flirt with grating on the nerves, too. The movie can be cheap and insulting at times but also surprisingly inspired in its inane presentation.

 

Figure skating enthusiasts will probably get a kick out of the cameos of ice-loving icons such as Nancy Kerrigan, Scott Hamilton, Brian Boitano, Sacha Cohen as well as old school vets Dorothy Hamill and Peggy Fleming. The supporting players contribute to the loopy spirit as intended. Nelson is gleefully menacing as the demanding coach that is determined to whip the boorish Chazz and anal retentive Jimmy into shape. Jenna Fischer (from NBC-TV’s “The Office”) effectively sparkles as Jimmy’s love-interest-to-be. Current SNL cast member Poehler and Arnett are deviously fun-loving as the vile opponents. As for the leading lunatics in Ferrell and Heder they convincingly ham it up as they only know how to do in delightfully dimwitted, free-wheeling fashion.

 

This is not what one would call a high concept comedy. Nevertheless, Blades of Glory offers a big finish on the ice as the sideline judges (mainly the audience) will ultimately decide the scoring on the cards. Hey, one can never get enough of watching Ferrell parade around in his briefs while screeching the catchy tune “My Humps”, right? Curiously for some, this may even sweeten the pot more. Go figure, huh?

 

For more in-depth reviews on your favorite Hollywood movies and television, visit Hollywood Insider.

Movie Review: Transformers (2007)

A review of the 2007 live-action movie version of the popular 80s cartoon, Transformers. 3.5/5

Millennia ago, a battle waged on the planet, Cybertron – a planet of bio-organic robots. The heroic Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, battled the evil Decepticons, whose leader, Megatron, wanted to capture the Allspark, a cube that gives unlimited power to whoever possesses it. The Autobots managed to launch the Allspark into space, but Megatron chased after it. He tracked it to Earth but crashed into the Arctic Ocean, freezing his system into lockdown. He lied there under the ice until 1850 when Captain Witwicky came across Megatron’s body during an expedition. His crew dug it up and the U.S. government took possession of it all the following years.

 

It is now the present day and we find Spike Witwicky, the great-grandson of Captain Witwicky, in high school. His father helps him buy his first car from a scrupulous car dealer. Spike finds a beat-up sports car and buys it. The car later turns out to be the Autobot Bumblebee, who was sent to protect Spike and Captain Witwicky’s glasses, which have the coordinates to the Allspark imprinted on them. The Decepticons show up to get the glasses, Allspark, and free Megatron. Optimus Prime and the Autobots land on Earth to join Bumblebee and regain possession of the Allspark before the Decepticons do. Spike and a girl named Mikaela join forces with the Autobots to outrun the U.S. defense department without harming any humans, battle the Decepticons, capture the Allspark, and save Earth from enslavement.

 

Director Michael Bay brings Transformers once again to the big screen, but this time it is live-action! Fans from the 1980s cult classic cartoon series, with a line of toys that has never ceased production ever since have long-awaited the time when their beloved cartoon would be given the live-action treatment. It took twenty years for the technology to become advanced enough to give an adequate portrayal of the robots. It was well worth the wait!

 

Hardcore, old school fans of the 1980s show and toys were against some of the changes in the live-action movie. Many of these changes had to be made based on trademarks, corporate red tape, age of the voice actors, technology, and other logistics. While some of the changes will not sit well with some fans, none are that bad as to ruin the movie experience.

 

To get the most enjoyment out of this movie, it is best not to compare it to the original series. In addition, it is best that the movie is seen in the eyes of an alternate universe unto itself, where the story is separate from that seen in the 1980s show. If that can be done, the movie will be a more fun ride.

 

The story is simple enough to be thoroughly enjoyable, yet complex enough to have some depth. It offers a fair balance to entertain everyone. The sci-fi element is enhanced by the fact that this more of a “them versus us” theme, similar to “War of the Worlds.” It has a bit more depth than the show of the 1980s.

 

Since the main characters are giant robots, it makes sense that a considerable amount of the $147 million budget is mostly spent on the robot effects. A mix of CGI (by ILM) and ten close-up props (by KNB Effects) is used, including Optimus Prime’s head, Bumblebee’s robot mode, Megatron’s legs, and Blackout’s feet.

 

The robots do look very good. For the diehard fans, the new designs of the robots are vastly different from their original counterparts. While the 1980s robots looked blocky, the new robots have more organic and humanoid bodies and faces which creates more of a wiry, alien appearance. It might take some getting used to by some viewers. Overall, the robots do look more alien-like, which is a positive considering that they really are aliens. The vehicle forms are updated with modern vehicle alternate forms based on present-day civilian and military vehicles.

 

The voice actors are a serious point of contention with diehard fans. Producer Don Murphy listened to feedback from Transformers fans and set out to hire some of the original voice actors from the cartoon. What we got were just two of the original voice actors. The biggest positive is that Peter Cullen once again voices Optimus Prime! We also got Charles Adler to voice the Decepticon Starscream. He voiced the Autobot Silverbolt in the show.

 

The biggest negative is that Frank Welker was not chosen to reprise the voice of Megatron. He and Cullen were auditioned personally by director Michael Bay, who worried that their aged voices would be noticeable. Welker’s voice was deemed to have aged too much and did not suit Megatron’s new alien look. Hugo Weaving received the role. However, Welker does reprise his role as Megatron in “Transformers: The Game” (2007). Welker’s Megatron is greatly missed.

 

The rest of the voice cast gives an adequate performance but no one stands out.

 

The human cast boasts several big names. Shia LaBeouf is the starring actor who plays young Sam Witwicky. Megan Fox plays Mikaela Banes. Veteran actors Jon Voight plays Defense Secretary, John Keller, and John Turturro plays Agent Simmons. Bernie Mac plays Bobby Bolivia, the used car salesman. And Anthony Anderson plays Glen Whitmann, a computer hacker.

 

The cast gives a great performance without many negative comments to be made.

 

At over two hours and twenty minutes, this is a very long movie. About a quarter of it is used on two side stories. One is Sam’s romantic interest in Mikaela and the comedic goings on related to that. The other is the small side track of Glen Whitmann, a computer hacker. The movie would have run smoother and faster without these two side plots. Also, there are quite a few humorous parts tossed in that detract from the Transformers side of the movie, which should be its focus. The humor is not overdone, so it is not entirely unwelcome. After all, it is based on a toy! There is some sexual innuendo but it is very small in retrospect and no nudity. Very few curse words are used in the film. It maintains a PG-13 rating, in case the parents out there are concerned.

 

Overall, “Transformers” (2007) is a fun and entertaining ride that provides plenty of action, sci-fi, and thrills that are sure to please old school Transformers fans as well as the younger generation of future Transformers fans.

Have you watched Transformers? What did you think? Check out more of the best movie reviews and Hollywood entertainment news at Hollywood Insider.

Definition of Outsourcing Reinvented

Outsourcing definitions abound, but most of these definitions carry the same essence. Similarly, consulting a dictionary for the definition of outsourcing would almost always yield a definition describing outsourcing as an act, of an established company, of availing the services of another firm to handle critical and non-critical business tasks. However, a more sophisticated definition of outsourcing would add another clause – that the outsourced company be an expert of the required services by the outsourcing company. Simply put, outsourcing is the corporate method of delegating processes, services, and transactions to a third party firm. In turn, these processes are done by the third party firm on behalf of the outsourcing client. Meaning, the third party firm represents the client in carrying out these business processes.

 

The definition of outsourcing and this is in partial consideration of the people involved in the outsourcing industry, can be stated as such: Outsourcing is a type of contracting whereby the outsourcing client provides the specifications and requirements of the business process to be outsourced. Although the outsourced firm complies with the requirements of its client, the management of the operations and its people is done independently by the outsourced firm. Hence, there is no ownership of the outsourced firm by the outsourcing company, nor is there a direct employer and employee relationship between the outsourcing company and the employees of the outsourced firm.

 

Given the definition of outsourcing, one is compelled or more appropriately, led to think how this innovative business solution started. Outsourcing goes way back thousands of years ago with the manufacture and trade of various goods. With the formation of small communities and the emergence of a trading society, people with specialized skills began to exchange their respective services for goods such as foods and tools. From woodworking and blacksmithing, people would barter their products or sell them for other products of equivalent value. This ancient form of outsourcing also evolved along with the advancement of society – evolving into the modern factories where the raw materials are sourced from a supplier to be manufactured by a different company. But, far from being a need to fill a lack, modern-day outsourcing is driven by other reasons: cost savings, highly skilled manpower, increased productivity, and opportunity to allocate time and effort to more important aspects of the business.

 

If at all the current definition of outsourcing and modern outsourcing practices are to be considered, there is one common thread among them – dynamism. From freelancers specializing in various skills like writing, customer service, and decorating, outsourcing also crossed over to other disciplines like finance. Accounting and computation of taxes are done by a freelance accountant, lawyers are hired to defend for a client, and there are advertising agencies to market products and services. However, the definition of outsourcing also evolved on a much larger scale. Companies solely dedicated to performing commonly outsourced business tasks have emerged, giving a new dimension to the outsourcing processes. The dynamism of its definition and its processes make outsourcing the way of life for modern businesses.

 

To get more information about outsourcing and remote offshore staff leasing, visit Solvo Global.

 

Before You Fire Someone

One of the biggest drags on productivity is an employee who under-performs in their job. When someone’s not pulling their share of the load, you’re not getting your money’s worth from them, and probably not getting the job done.

 

Still, before even the most justified firing, most managers experience a slow, agonizing burn of their patience for a long time. Then one day, the pot boils over and in a fit of anger, the boss fires someone on the spot.

 

Big mistake!

 

To make firing a substandard performer as swift, clean, and painless for everyone involved, be sure to follow these ten steps.

 

Be clear about job performance expectations. Ideally, you have written guidelines for what work is to be done, and how it is to be done. You can’t hold someone accountable for unstated standards.

 

Provide timely, thorough and helpful feedback. Your primary goal is to help someone get up to speed, not build a case for dismissal.

 

Along with your coaching, document your observations. Keep a record of both progress and specific shortcomings.

 

Formally review performance in a scheduled face-to-face meeting. Explain to the employee that his or her performance is not acceptable and is not progressing as it must. Be specific. Cite examples.

 

After laying out your performance observations, give the employee an opportunity to provide you with information. Maybe the training was inadequate, the instructions confusing, the equipment deficient. Listen with an open mind. Be fair. And offer to be of help. Accept that you may need to play a very active role to help someone catch up to where they need to be.

 

Give the employee who is not making progress the opportunity to transfer to someplace else in the company, especially if he or she acknowledges that the job isn’t going well, and probably won’t. A poor performance in one area does not make someone a poor performer. They may be toiling in frustration because they are in the wrong job for their talents, skills, and interests.

 

Following your performance conversation, provide the employee with a written record of your review. Put a copy in your files, and send one to the human resources department.

 

Give the employee a reasonable opportunity to right the wrong. Sometimes simply bringing the deficient performance to someone’s attention, and letting them know that it matters, is all that it takes to get a wayward employee on the right path. Or you can even take him to a motivational speech event with the team.

 

Monitor progress closely. If you don’t see sustained correction, again, formally review the performance and be clear that continued employment is predicated on working up to your published standard. Don’t be oblique. At this point, deliver a clear ultimatum: Do the job as prescribed or you won’t have it. Period.

 

If, after coaching, encouraging and fairly evaluating the performance still lags, pull the plug cleanly and without delay. Don’t let the wayward employee linger in their post. When it’s time to make the break, do it directly, quickly, and clearly. Thank the person for trying, wish them well in a position that is better suited for them. And then see to it that they depart for their new and inevitably better life.

One other thing. With new hires who quickly don’t look as good on the job as they did in the interview, correct sooner rather than later. And be prepared to fire in the same manner.

 

Quickly intervene the moment you detect that the new employee is off course. If, after providing ample feedback and support, you don’t see serious correction, act swiftly. No one is served by prolonging the prelude to the inevitable. The sooner you cut a subpar performer, the sooner you can devote your energies to getting someone better suited into the position and performing at full throttle.

 

If you have a probationary period, use it; don’t wait. Do everyone a favor and eliminate the misery sooner rather than later. That is always in everyone’s best interest.

 

Selecting a suitable Financial Adviser

A financial adviser assists you when you become weak with your investment and guide you to get back to the track.

Every person has some dreams and to fulfill them rightly, he tries many things. However, some make their dreams come true, whereas, some remain trying the life long. It is not like that their destiny doesn’t want them to make their dream a reality, but the fact is that their strength and will power to strive for something that they want to achieve lets them delete the difference between a dream and the reality. Believe me, if dreams would have not been there, all of us would have been walking in the world without any purpose in our life.

 

Some people dream to make more and more money either to enjoy luxury today or to secure their comforts for their future. Becoming rich and famous is the dream of many people and no one would get surprised if they escalate their money-making measures for this sake. Sometimes, this luxury and comfort arrive only with wealth, but it is highly essential to know the steps necessary to acquire increased wealth for commensurating the luxury one wants.

 

Now, thousands of books are available from numerous authors specifying you the ways through which, you can make millions from different investments. However, you know the way through which you can generate significant profits from the investments, but what will you do if you fall into a trouble. Definitely, you will need a person that can advise you to get out of the troubles and ride efficiently towards a smooth road of investment. You will require a financial adviser that could help you by giving advice for being a successful investor.

 

Financial advisers are the professionals assisting the investors with giving them valuable advice to drive them efficiently towards gaining enormous profits with their investments – to check a great company for this, click here. They advise how you could use your hard-earned income for a profitable achievement. Financial companies invest much of their money in their financial representatives and advisers. Now, it is your responsibility to choose a suitable financial adviser for you that can not only drive you out successfully from the problems you are facing, but also provide you successful measures to generate profits from the investments, tax minimization and wealth creation, etc.

 

Before selecting a suitable financial adviser, you must first try to decide about why you need advice.

If you are sure about the things on which you desire some advice, you can directly talk to your financial adviser  on the desired field like for asset protection, you need to talk to an insurance agent. On the other hand, if you desire advise on wealth growth, certified investment professionals can assist you with appropriate advice.

Try to achieve as much possible information as you can. However, never forget to look at the financial representative’s credibility which you are picking to take financial advice. Always make sure one thing that you should not make any payment in cash to your financial adviser, it should be done only with a money order or a check addressed only to the company to which you are making payment and not to the person with which you are dealing.

 

Taking advice from your financial adviser opens the door of financial success for you along with bringing you enormous wealth and reaching you towards financial success. The one thing becomes important and that is the selection of the best financial adviser for you. Choosing the right people for the right advice is the key to success in the investment market. With the assistance of a good and efficient financial adviser, you can make your dreams come true.

How Should You Describe Work Experience In Your Resume

In this article we will look at the experience section of your resume and provide key strategies to make it effective. The job experience section of your actual resume should include typically the following, such as company address, contact details, names amongst supervisors and so after.

The most critical thing to keep in their mind is to concentrate on your accomplishments. There are going to be many people who got held similar positions and they each would have other job responsibilities. What may help you get noticed is information regarding how well you practiced your responsibilities, or perhaps in other words such as what were your main accomplishments. I indicate 2-3 bullet variables (or a piece of 3-5 lines) to describe task responsibilities and 4-5 bullet points delivering details of these achievements.

A good way to communicate your achievements is through Action-Benefit statements. Action-Benefit statements use your individual accomplishments and experience to demonstrate the actual positive impact you bring to the companies – show how great you fit all of the job requirements. An incredible Action-Benefit statement is comprised of Action: Distinctive action that you have taken when experienced with a situation, problem or investment that enabled most people to achieve a suitable positive result.

Bring up the positive benefit for the organization, for example maximize in revenue, any reduction in costs, streamlined processes or it may be systems, or advanced morale. Start these statements with verbs such as  Managed, Spearheaded, Directed, Implemented, Executed, etc. and call the attention from the hr services workers. If you still don’t have a well established hr management department, there are companies online that offer this kind of services, such as Solvo Global, making it easier for you to check the options and make your decision. 

 

 

Case Studies for Innovative Branding: Fashion

In this article we’ll be taking a look at integrated sponsorships and how innovative marketers are using them to build their brands. This time out, we’ll look at Alloy Online’s recent partnership with Seventeen Online, and see how a smart, integrated sponsorship was created that truly marries the right brand with the right content environment.

By now, we’ve probably all heard the reports — over the next few years banners will decline as a percentage of overall web ad spending and sponsorships will rise dramatically. eMarketer’s just released report underscores the shift — its estimates show banners will shrink from 52 percent of all dollars to 26 percent, while sponsorships will increase from 40 percent to 58 percent in the same period.

Why is this happening?

More stats from eMarketer point out the obvious reasons why: 1) over 99 percent of banners don’t get clicked on; 2) almost half – 49 percent — of users don’t even look at banners; and 3) only 9 percent of web users even look at banners with any regularity.

Rich media holds the promise for a more intrusive and powerful branding message (and will certainly succeed when broadband becomes more widespread). But the question is still: What can you do for your brand or client that will produce an impactful, interactive strategy and/or campaign today?

The answer may lie in creating a highly integrated sponsorship to provide a more involved brand experience. Furthermore, working in partnership with a web publisher who clearly delivers your brand’s target both in demographics and psychographics, and who will work with you to create a sponsorship that uniquely meets the demand of your brand strategy, will produce winning results NOW.

The Alloy Online partnership is an example of this kind of deeply integrated sponsorship. And, the company further increased the odds for success by partnering with Seventeen Magazine Online, thus combining the power of two leading trans-media brands for teen girls.

The partners created a multi-faceted model that maximizes integration and ROI by: 1) driving user registration for Alloy, 2) branding Alloy through association with Seventeen, 3) creating excitement and buzz through unique promotions, and 4) building traffic on the Alloy site — all in a single sponsorship.

Alloy is a leading Internet destination providing community, content and commerce for teens. Alloy has as its primary goal the creation of Internet media partnerships designed to drive customer registration.

To meet this objective, Seventeen Online built a co-branded registration area housed within the Seventeen site. Each month a different promotion will run on Seventeen.com to drive registration — an example is the current “Perfect Prom Thingies” sweepstakes to win prom accessories. These promotions will run throughout the site via banners and fixed buttons in key content areas and on the home page. Online newsletters will also be incorporated into the mix with links back to the co-branded registration area.

In developing this part of their program, Alloy again utilizes a basic rule of web success: Bring your content, promotion, and/or message to where the customer is, instead of focusing 100 percent of your energy on the difficult (and often unsuccessful) task of diverting consumers to your site and away from the place they’ve chosen to be.

The other goal of this campaign is to drive traffic to Alloy Online. This is accomplished by running banners throughout Seventeen.com with messages like “Get Free stuff at Alloy” in order to incentivize Seventeen’s audience to visit the Alloy site. Additionally, Alloy’s popular “Virtual Makeover” content is integrated within the Style File fashion area on Seventeen.com with links back to Alloy.

Since Alloy and Seventeen share similar audiences, Alloy is able to link its brand with the Seventeen brand, and through this partnership ally itself with a premier fashion source for female teens. In doing so, it gains the rub-off power of the Seventeen brand, as well as capturing the Seventeen audience while they’re in a “fashion state of mind.”

Alloy’s VP of Business Development, Andrew Roberts, sums up the value of this partnership best. “As a leading Internet site for teens, we are very selective in how and where we spend our online ad dollars. With banners alone, it’s very difficult to create a strong emotional connection to our brand without completely partnering with a site. When advertising on other sites, we realize that our targeted user has self-selected that destination.

“Our goal is to find the best way to involve them with the Alloy brand on another site’s turf,” Roberts added. “We are always looking for innovative ways to integrate our brand’s message with the site’s content. Our partnership with Seventeen Online is a great example of how we are delivering our great contests and cool content to our targeted consumer in an environment that enhances the Alloy brand.”

Building Credibility: Your Good Name

Building Credibility - Your Good NameYes, it’s obvious, but if you don’t start here, there’s no sense in doing anything else. Doing your job well is obviously the single most important thing you can do to build a positive reputation for your small business or startup. Customer service is a close second. But let’s be honest. In today’s competitive marketplace, customers expect you to win. They presume you’re competent and they demand exceptional service. Today, building  your business’ reputation is about doing your job well and then going the extra mile—using your marketing muscle—to make sure that your customers and potential customers know that you’re accomplishing more than they expect.

Write Articles. Part of any plan to build your reputation should include getting published. First, you’ll need to find an editor. This is not as hard as it may seem. In fact, the growing number of print and Web-based publications with insatiable appetites for content means there are more opportunities than ever to find a home for your article. But you have to take the lead. Contact editors that might be interested in publishing your articles. A good place to start is with the publications you already receive, or those that are targeted toward the audience you want to reach.

Introduce yourself to an editor by sending an email about a story you’d like to write. Or, when a publication runs a feature that addresses your area of expertise, phone the editor directly. Volunteer to write an opposing viewpoint or provide timely information that adds a new twist to the topic for any follow-up stories that may be running.

If finding the time to write is an issue for you, there are several creative ways to share the workload. For example, you can join forces with a colleague or co-author an article with one of your clients. Collaborating on an article is a great way to deepen your working relationships. Moreover, your partner may have already established a relationship with an editor.

Another option is to hire a professional who can create a content marketing strategy for your startup. Some marketers charge by the hour and you’ll find reputable ones whose rates are reasonable. Also, you must remember to take time to provide your digital marketer with clear and specific direction. After all, it’s your reputation that’s on the line.

Give Speeches. Speaking engagements put you in front of a captive audience with a keen interest in the topic you’re addressing. If you fear public speaking, recognize that thousands of people— even famous individuals on the high-priced speaking circuits–feel the same way. Overcome your fear of public speaking by facing it head on and developing the skills you need to be successful in front of an audience. Take a presentation skills course each year or visit your local Toastmasters on a regular basis to practice giving presentations. But don’t pressure yourself. Start by addressing a small group of friends. Ask them to honestly critique your speaking skills and heed their comments. Gradually work your way up to larger audiences and you’ll soon find a comfort zone.

ccept speaking engagements

And, don’t get discouraged if finding a podium seems difficult at first. The competition for speaking opportunities is usually focused on exclusive, high profile events. There are hundreds of local and national industry organizations looking for speakers that are often overlooked by those seeking a podium. These venues are not only good practice arenas—they are great places to find clients.

Get Quoted. A study found that people that call you after learning about you in the media are substantially more likely to hire you than those that “cold call” you or that you call first. Needless to say, it behooves you to make connections with the media. Before making your first contact, however, remember that your interactions with the media are business transactions and nothing more. You’ve heard the warnings before: nothing is “off the record” — and stick your talking points.

Also, do your homework. Think about what sets you apart from others in your business and pay close attention to headlines in publications your customers regularly read. See who gets quoted and why. Review the editorial calendars and find reporters who are dedicated to issues that pertain to your practice niche. Read what they write and get familiar with what excites them. As you take these steps, you will begin to define the kind of an expert you want to be and you’ll start to see how you can dovetail your message with the hot issues of the day.

Get quoted

Once you’ve done that, you’ll be ready to acquaint yourself with local reporters. Find out who their audience is and how they select stories. Elaborate on your areas of expertise and provide leads for current stories. Ultimately, you want them to see you as a valuable resource and place your name on their list of experts in your area. Avoid jargon at all costs and practice using colorful language that clearly states your point of view. Great command of plain language will make you quotable. Keep at it and they’ll come around.

Most importantly, make it easy for the media to find you. Consider listing yourself in media directories such the Yearbook of Experts. These searchable databases will maximize your online exposure and make it easier for the right people to find you. And, remember to return calls QUICKLY! Reporters are always on deadline; they can’t wait four or five hours to hear from you. Another source is just a phone call away.

Make the Most of Each Activity. And speaking of deadlines, today, everyone is strapped for time. To build your reputation by writing articles, making speeches and getting quoted, you must find a way to optimize your efforts. The best way to conserve time is to use what we call the “Core and More” principle. Simply put, for every core reputation building activity that you perform, there should be at least 3-5 more ways for you to capitalize on that single effort. For example, for the suggested tips listed above, go for more by working with a firm whose expertise lie in digital  marketing.

Keep Your Cool During The Summer

When summer is in full swing, the heat is blistering at times, it makes sense to take the adequate measures to prevent heat illness, dehydration and the damaging effects they can bring. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that between 1979 and 2003, 8015 people succumbed from excessive heat exposure. That was more deaths during the same period in this country than from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined.

Heat related illness happens when the body cannot cool itself properly and the body becomes over-heated. Generally sweating cools the body but when it is not sufficient, damage to the brain and other internal organs can occur. Although everyone is susceptible to extreme heat, special attention should be paid to/by those who are dehydrated, older, obese, have a fever, have heart disease, are mentally ill, have poor circulation, are sunburned, use prescription drugs or alcohol.

Healthy and young people participating in strenuous activity should exercise caution as well. When temperatures are high remember to keep cool and follow these suggestions from the CDC:

hydration

Increase fluid intake during hot weather; drink 8 ounces. of fluid (not alcohol) every 15 minutes.

Replace salt and minerals lost during sweating by consuming a sports drink, most contain the minerals you’ll lose from sweating.

Limit outdoor activity to early morning or evening if possible; if not take breaks in the shade to allow your body’s thermostat to recover.

Pace yourself while performing outdoor activities, if you become faint, lightheaded, weak or confused get to a cool area or at least some shade and rest.

Stay cool indoors as well; if you don’t have air-conditioning go to a public place that does such as a mall or public library or call the health department to find the nearest cooling shelter.

Check on those who are more susceptible to extreme heat (infants and children, people older than 65, obese individuals, and the physically and mentally ill) at least twice a day. If they live alone, go by and check on them.

Gradually adjust to the environment: if it suddenly becomes hot take it easy, if you travel to a region with warmer weather than you’re accustomed to give yourself a few days to become acclimated to the heat.

Do not leave children or pets in the car unattended. Temperatures can rise very quickly in the first 10 minutes even with the windows down. Before leaving your car check to make sure everyone is out.

sun protection

Wear appropiate clothing and sunscreen when venturing outdoors: light-weight, light-colored loose fitting clothes are best. Also use a sunscreen (15 SPF or higher) to protect exposed skin. Wearing sunglasses and a wide brim hat can provide protection from the sun’s rays as well.

Use common sense; avoid hot and heavy meals that can increase the body temperature, replace fluids and minerals with appropriate fluids, dress infants in light weight, light colored clothing and remember to protect their heads from the sun as well. Make sure to give pets plenty of fresh water as well!