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

Keep Your Cool During The Summer
If we take proper precautions, enjoying the outdoors during the summer months can be a walk in the park!

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!

Safe Swimming Advice for Vacationing Families

Safe Swimming Advice for Vacationing Families
Water Safety Rules Make Vacations Truly Fun for Everyone

A vacation to an exotic beach destination is a dream getaway every family hopes for. What’s not to love about spending a few weeks at a sandy beach with calm and clear waters that’s safe for swimming? Sometimes the water is so clear one can see the pebbled bottom. But even though waters look calm and pretty, they still present dangers to young children. So while they are off relaxing, parents can never relax their vigilance.

According to professional lifeguards, kids should be supervised constantly. Watch them entering and leaving pools, watch them swimming, and watch how deeply they wade. Watch them playing on beaches where tides and undertows can change things in a flash. One lifeguard supervisor stresses that whenever possible, a parent should not only watch, but be right there next to his or her child.

Be Informed for Safer Swimming

Besides being observant, parents also need to aware – aware of their child’s swimming ability for starters. Knowing how to float, tread water, breathe and swim, are all essential to water safety. Parents can also build awareness with tips from sources like The Swim for Life Foundation, a national organization dedicated to drowning prevention, or Johnson & Johnson health programs.

Here are more swim safety tips every family should practice:

  • Stay in areas of a lake, ocean or pool where a lifeguard is present (if there is no guard, only swim with a qualified buddy)Swim safety tips - lifeguard
  • Read the depth markers on pools and check if the child’s feet can touch the bottom
  • Get swimming instruction from a Red Cross certified program (most gyms teach children to swim as early as eighteen months of age)
  • Learn about jellyfish and teach kids how to spot them and avoid stings ( as well as where to go and what to do should someone get stung)
  • Consult hotel staff or local news to learn the water temperature, and about possible natural/weather hazards
  • Never dive into shallow pool waters or from the shore of a lake
  • Differentiate a toy from a swim aid. Only use approved flotation devices when swimming and boating
  • Keep calm, composed, and confident. Panic only increases the possibility of drowning

These rules are good for families on vacation. When the family has a pool at home, many of the same rules apply. Families that own pools must also secure the pool area – with a fence, lock, cover and/or alarm.

call emergencyAnother way to keep water safety in mind is with the term Safer Three. Its three elements are Safer Water, Safer Kids and Safer Response. Safer Water is about observing and fencing in pools and water play areas, Safer Kids is about teaching kids safety rules and getting them swim instruction. Safer Response encompasses learning CPR and educating youngsters to contact 9-1-1 Emergency Services personnel.

Remember, packing gets a family ready for a vacation, but there are other ways to fully prepare for a trip. Make sure safe swimming rules are part of the family vacation plans. Then everyone can really relax and have a good time.

The Importance of Safety Training on a Construction Site

 

The Importance of Safety Training on a Construction Site - Preventing Accidents and Injuries

Construction, one of the most hazardous industries for an employee to work in, has very high death and injury rates globally. Workers are exposed to potential risks on a daily basis. This is the reason why staff at construction sites have to be regularly trained on how to identify and avoid workplace hazards.

The Law Concerning Workplace Safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Act 1970 was passed in the United States to place the responsibility on employers to ensure that all employees and staff have safe working environments. In construction, this requires taking action to remove or reduce the number and severity of hazards encountered on site, as well as providing adequate and ongoing training to ensure workers are able to identify and avoid any risks that they are exposed to.

In the UK, the Health and Safety at Work Act was passed in 1974, and serves the same function as the Occupational Safety and Health Act in the United States; to ensure that all workers retain the right to carry out roles and functions in a safe environment.

Hazards Found on a Construction SiteThe Importance of Safety Training on a Construction Site - Hazards Found on a Construction Site

Construction workers are exposed to a number of hazards while on site. Heavy machinery poses a risk of crushing, which can cause severe injuries or even death. For those working in the vicinity of electrical cables, the risk of electrocution can have similar consequences.

Those working at height run the risk of falls. Even those not involved with operating heavy machinery or working from height can be at risk of injuries or conditions, such as stepping on a nail or suffering temporary hearing loss from working in a noisy area.

The Importance of Safety Training on a Construction SiteThe Importance of Safety Training in Construction

All workers of a construction firm have to be updated on safety training. Without proper training, workers in the construction industry wouldn’t be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to spot potential safety risks given the dangerous work conditions. All employees must be trained to safely remove or minimize work hazards to prevent more harm and injury.  If workers feel that their health and safety is at great risk, they might feel neglected, affecting productivity levels and employee loyalty.

Safety training is also a great way for employers to prevent legal complications. By ensuring that they have provided their employees with the necessary training to prevent injuries and accidents, the construction company can prove that they have taken steps to maintain health and safety in the workplace.

The Consequences of Being Negligent when Providing Training

Any company that is found to be negligent in providing employees with a safe working environment is at risk of employees suffering serious injuries or even fatalities on construction sites. This leaves the company vulnerable to compensation claims, which can be financially damaging, or even crippling for smaller businesses.

The reputation of a company will also be severely affected, resulting in unhappy workers who may seek employment elsewhere. Clients who are not confident in a company’s ability to manage a safe site may take business to a competitor with a better safety record.

Safety is of paramount importance in any company; but some industries find themselves more exposed to risk than others. Managing this risk is a vitally important part of business, and can avoid complications and problems in the future.

How Employers Can Help Relieve Workplace Stress

How Employers Can Help Relieve Workplace Stress

Workplace stress is contagious. Whatever fine filaments, which connect individuals, transmit stress most effectively from one person to another. Whether it be a grimace covered by a smile or a tendency to talk quickly, humans are very good at picking up on threat. It’s a survival mechanism. If one individual in the herd perceives a threat, its probably a good idea for everyone to take note. If its the boss, its even more important and this top-down transmission can damage a workplace. Unmanaged and unacknowledged stress has to go somewhere, but the degree of separation and inadequate communication in stressful times makes it difficult for subordinates to fix a problem, which didn’t originate with them.

Acknowledging Stress in the Workplace

Managing stress in the workplace is clearly as important for managers and employers as the other roles they perform and managing their own stress by acknowledging it to subordinates is a very good place to start. Culturally, there is a tendency to view personal stress in the workplace as a weakness, but the fight-flight response indicates that stress is a life-saving and natural part of life. Managing excessive stress and supporting stressed employees in an open manner really is part of the job.

According to The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions’ year 2000 survey, which periodically gathers data on the European Union’s working population, there appears to be a high correlation between stress, musculo-skeletal disorders and features of work organisation, such as repetitive work and work pace. Therefore, it can be said that carrying unacknowledged stress in the workplace is leading to physical health problems and the culture of a business plays into the stress levels of employees. There may be some truth in the saying that when it comes to stress, “People don’t leave bad jobs; they leave bad managers.”

Moreover, Australian experts in this field of workplace support say that workplace stress should be addressed immediately to avoid a decline in employee productivity. When employees suffer from unresolved stress, performance and job satisfaction are affected.

Employer-Initated Stress Management Programs

How Employers Can Help Relieve Workplace Stress - Employer-initiated Stress Management Programs

Some suggestions for de-stressing the workplace:

  • Recognise stress as a serious issue for individuals and business as a whole.To engender team support, celebrate periods of intense productivity as a group to show appreciation.
  • No matter how intense the workload, keep communications channels open. The more stress, the more communication needed.
  • Legitimise anti-stress techniques, such as massage and meditation.
  • Share methods of stress reduction openly.
  • Consider time-out as a viable antidote to a very stressed employee.
  • Encourage laughter (those email jokes are not such a bad idea).
  • Listen to ideas posed by employees. Inspiration deposes stress.
  • Recognise that personal issues influence work performance because everyone is human.
  • As a boss or management figure, apologise when personal stress leads to irritability.

How Employers Can Help Relieve Workplace Stress - Executive Stress Leads to Employee StressExecutive Stress Leads to Employee Stress

 

While there are many stress reduction programs available to employees, one of the best ways to manage stress in the workplace is for employers and managers to learn and implement strategies to manage their own and then pass these techniques on to employees. Leading by example cannot be underestimated in an business environment where productivity and personal success depend on group behaviour.

Common Office Accidents and How to Prevent Them

Common Office Accidents and How to Prevent Them

Incidents and injuries in the workplace are preventable. Unfortunately, accidents and incidents are common in an office, although it may seem a safe environment. A number of ailments and problems can arise as a result of being seated for long periods of time; additionally, there are a number of other injuries that can be sustained when in an office environment.

Slips, Trips and Falls

The most common form of accident and source of injury in an office is caused by slips, trips and falls. Trips are most likely to arise within an office environment as a result of tripping over exposed electrical wiring, or an open drawer; perhaps falling off an unstable chair when bending, slipping on wet floors, or using a chair as a platform to stand on if an object is out of reach.

In order to avoid this, employees should ensure that they remain vigilant when traveling around the office, reporting any trip hazards to the Health & Safety officer for rectification. A stepladder should be used to obtain an object which is out of reach. If anything is spilt, then it should be cleaned up immediately to avoid slips.

Injuries Sustained From Improper Lifting

Incorrect lifting of items, even light objects, can cause injury. The most common injuries are back and shoulder strain, which can persist for weeks if not properly treated.

If a bulky or particularly heavy item needs to be lifted, an employee should ask one of his or her colleagues to help. To lift objects safely from the floor, workers should squat, hold the item securely and then straighten using their legs, not their back – which should be kept straight at all times. The same process is carried out in reverse when setting something down.

The video below demonstrates proper lifting techniques.

Bumps and Bruises

Many workers are also injured through bumping into objects, being struck by objects that have been thrown, or trapping fingers in places such as drawers or cupboards. Falling objects can cause injury if dropped on feet, and loose clothing or jewellery can become caught in office machinery.

These kinds of accidents can be avoided by staying alert and maintaining concentration on the task at hand. Potentially dangerous objects should be safely stored in locked cupboards when not being used, and guidance on how to use office equipment should be given to all employees.

Non-Ergonomic Workstations

Workstations that are not ergonomically friendly can cause lasting injuries and conditions, such as musculoskeletal problems, eyestrain and headaches. It is essential that workstations are designed so that the user can work comfortably, without risk of awkward stretching or limb movement.

To prevent these kinds of problems, it is important that the worker takes regular breaks, changing position and walking around to promote good circulation and reduce the risk of eyestrain. There are a number of basic checks that can be carried out to prevent the risk of injury.

  • Feet should be able to rest flat on the floor–a footrest can be used if needed;
  • Elbows should be able to rest on the desk at a 90-degree angle;
  • The top of the computer monitor should be at eye level;
  • Cushioned wrist supports can be used to prevent wrist strain.

Every office should have one or more Health & Safety officers, who are fully trained in the latest first aid procedures and treatments. These employees will be responsible for the treatment of any minor injuries, as well as the completion and maintenance of an accident log book.

These representatives will also be able to provide advice and guidance on how the business can improve, in order to reduce the occurrences of any accidents or incidents within the workplace. A First Aid kit should be kept on the premises at all times.

Alcohol Screenings in the Workplace

Drugs and alcohol in the workplace is a major issue many organizations face. Specifically, alcohol is even more prevalent in the workplace than drugs are. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reveals that, compared to illicit drug users, there are over three times as many binge or heavy drinkers employed. In fact, over 80 percent of problem drinkers are full-time employees.

Problems Alcoholism Causes in the Workplace

Problem drinkers instigate billions in productivity losses, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This figure takes into account impaired workplace and domestic productivity, as well as alcohol-related premature death and work time lost by victims of alcohol-related incidents and those incarcerated for alcohol-related crimes.

Alcohol abuse also leads to augmented hospital costs and workers’ compensation and disability claims, as well as higher job turnover. Alcohol problems do not only affect the drinker, but also other employees. One-fifth of workers have been injured by, have had to increase their workload, or have had to cover for a problem drinker.

Alcohol Screenings Versus Drug Tests

Despite the fact that alcohol appears to be a larger problem in the workplace, more companies administer drug rather than alcohol tests. Pre-employment drug tests are twice as common as pre-employment alcohol screenings. Fifty-four percent of companies administer drug tests to their current employees, compared to the 36 percent who test for alcohol. One reason for this disparity is that alcohol testing is more inconsistent and problematical. This is because alcohol is dispelled from the body much more quickly than illicit drugs.

Alcohol Screenings

However, alcohol screenings may prompt some employees to lessen their drinking or to obtain treatment. One alcohol screening instrument is the ten question Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT). This survey asks in-depth questions about frequency and quality of alcohol consumption, harmful consequences, and addictive symptoms. Screenings such as this one could be offered at company wellness programs and health fairs. Online resources may also supply other valid screening tests and provide recommendations and additional information about local treatment centers for those seeking assistance.

Employee Assistance Programs

Employee Assistance

In addition to alcohol screenings, another way employers can help those suffering from alcoholism is by utilizing Employee Assistance Programs. The majority of American organizations offer Employee Assistance Programs, which are meant to help workers who having personal problems that may be negatively impacting their job performance; originally EAP’s focused on alcoholism.

Alcoholism in the workplace is a serious problem for some organizations, and it is imperative that managers and supervisors find ways to deal with this issue.