Best Billboards

Here are two of the best Pittsburgh billboards I’ve seen lately. One’s silly and one’s clever.

This billboard for Fodi Jewelers cracks me up every time I drive by it.  It’s not the use of the word ‘chicks’ that got me, it’s the fact that they put baby chicks on the billboard.

Too many puns!

Yes, we get the pun that studs is either diamond studs or studly men. And both of those meanings of the word “stud” make sense in this context. I’m just glad they didn’t put some pieces of lumber on the billboard, too. I have to say the image of the baby chickens is just silly and makes me laugh every day.

 

Awesome play on words

This billboard created by Marcus Thomas for just the Pittsburgh market makes perfect wordplay sense. It’s the 40th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception and Pittsburghers will totally get this reference. Makes me wanna buy some chips right now!

Zagat Rates Pittsburgh Food?

Zagat will be rating Pittsburgh restaurants in 2013. According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, “Currently, the only reviews for the Pittsburgh-area on Zagat.com are for chain restaurants that were taken from their recent National Chain Restaurant Survey.”

Why is Zagat so popular? I think it’s because people like to hear what others think is good, go try it themselves, and get in a big huff when they don’t agree.

People have a lot of opinions. And people have a lot of opinions about food.

A close friend of mine recently shared how he was having lunch at a popular new spot and the chef asked his group how they enjoyed a new menu item. Even though these people had no experience owning or running a restaurant, everyone felt they were qualified to give an opinion.

Restaurants are businesses that serve people and thrive on loyal customers. Want to build a loyal customer base that loves your services? Listen to the opinions of your customers, your audience. Show them you respect their input. You don’t have to promise to deliver everything they ask you for, but you have to at least give some time to listen.

That’s why I created My Food Notebook for my most important “business” – my family. I don’t run a restaurant, I’m not even that great in the kitchen, but I know how to build strong relationships! My Food Notebook lets my kids to give feedback on the food we prepare and serve. It helps me learn what they like so I can offer a variety of foods that are similar to their favorites. They get the comfort of familiarity and I help them learn how to tackle new things in life.

I’m launching My Food Notebook at Marty’s Market on December 8, 2012 at 12 Noon. All are welcome! We’ll be encouraging kids and adults to try some new foods and give their opinions. We’ll have some prizes, too!

Try it in your own life. No one like to have their opinions ignored. What might be easier in your life if you simply gave people a chance to express themselves?

 

Gilda’s Club Name Change?

How do you feel about the imminent change starting in the Madison Gilda’s Club organization to the Cancer Support Community? To me, it feels a little like someone not interested in explaining their brand and instead choosing a name that is more SEO-friendly. But I could be wrong.

Language and word choice is very important to the folks at Gilda’s. I worked with them for many wonderful years when I was a full-time non-profit professional and remember when they shared with me the document that explained the very specific terminology they used in all Gilda’s Clubs programs. One big difference from my employer’s terminology was that folks at Gilda’s Club staff and volunteers avoided the phrase “battling cancer.” They didn’t like that phrase because a battle implied that someone might lose.

The official explanation is that young people don’t know who Gilda Radner was and they want as many people with cancer to find them and utilize their support services.

Here’s a comment from Lannia Stenz, Executive Director:

Like many of you, I have been a fan of Gilda and SNL throughout my life. However, Gilda’s Club Madison is part of a larger organization, the Cancer Support Community. After a great deal of discussion and deliberation our local board of directors chose to make the change for a number of key reasons:

1. In 2013 we are beginning the outreach process to offer education and support programs to outlying areas. Our service area is a 14-county region in SW Wisconsin. Our new name incorporates the entire region.
2. Our parent organization, Cancer Support Community is now the parent agency of all Gilda’s Clubs and Wellness Communities. As of this year, all of the Wellness Communities have changed their name to Cancer Support Community. Gilda’s Clubs across the county are beginning to follow their example.
3. There will be no new Gilda’s Clubs created in coming years because Gilda’s Club Worldwide is now Cancer Support Community.
4. By incorporating what we do into our name we are eliminating confusion and will be able to more effectively raise awareness about our programs.

Finally, although the name is changing, our mission remains the same. The spirit of Gilda’s Club will stay alive in the clubhouse. We have one goal: to ensure that all people affected by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.

It is my sincere hope that our community will continue to support our work through this challenging change and cheer on our efforts to provide emotional support, cancer education and hope to men, women and children who are impacted by cancer. As an organization we have a great deal to celebrate and we hope you will join us as we move forward.

Regards,
Lannia Stenz
Executive Director

Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/local/health_med_fit/gilda-s-club-changing-name-as-fewer-know-namesake/article_0893171c-53c8-50bd-900f-6381aee41f71.html#ixzz2DZKDZ7Ii

 

 

Can You State Your Business Goals?

Start today. Thanks to Runkeeper.com for helping me track my progress towards my running goals!

Early in conversations with potential clients, I ask them to state their goals for me. If they can’t state a measurable goal, I encourage them to work it out and then come back and continue the conversation with me.

It’s not that I don’t want the business. I just don’t want a dissatisfied customer. And if my customer can’t state their goals – in an objective way so it’s obvious whether we’ve reached them or not – how can they ever be satisfied?

You’ve probably heard of “SMART” goals before. If not, here’s a little tutorial from Stanford University:

A SMART goal is:

Specific (and strategic):  Linked to position summary, departmental goals/mission, and/or overall School of Medicine goals and strategic plans.  Answers the question—Who? and What?

Measurable:  The success toward meeting the goal can be measured.  Answers the question—How?

Attainable:  Goals are realistic and can be achieved in a specific amount of time and are reasonable.

Relevant (results oriented):  The goals are aligned with current tasks and projects and focus in one defined area; include the expected result.

Time framed:  Goals have a clearly defined time-frame including a target or deadline date.

This is the perfect time of year to take a good chunk of time – not a fleeting moment – and state your business goals. And if you need a writer or social media coach to help achieve some of these goals, just ask!

Get Your Social Media Team into Shape

You have to use the right tools for your goals

You have to use the right tools for your goals

PRDaily recently ran my blog “6 Reasons Why An Athlete Should Run Your Social Media.” It should be obvious by now that I firmly believe running inspires me personally and professionally. But I’m not the only one. Here’s what folks on Twitter have been saying:

Those are just a few of the replies. I used Storify to collect many more responses to this post and can help you learn how to use Storify to capture responses to your campaigns, too!

Recipe for Success: Simple Social Media Growth

 

Social media isn’t rocket science!

Debi Gilboa, MD, of AskDoctorG, is a rising name and national parenting expert and author of “Teach Resilience:Raising Kids Who Can Launch.” Over the past year, her social media engagement has increased significantly and she’s more than doubled her weekly newsletter following. She didn’t hire a massive marketing agency, she found the recipe for success herself.

What were 3 things you did that increased your followers?

  • I followed folks that were on the lists that other people put me on. Convoluted I know, but go to your own profile page, click lists, then switch to member of (from subscribed). This will show all the places you’ve been listed. I switch to “people” from “tweets” and follow other like-minded folks.
  • I follow a little indiscriminately but then use twit cleaner to clean up my follows about once a month – stop following those without good content or real interaction.
  • I never RT or tweet out anything I don’t actually read and agree with.

How much time did you invest?

I invest on average 30 minutes a day to social media, sometimes lots more but often a fair amount less. And I take one day completely off a week.

What’s your favorite channel?

Favorite is Twitter, but Facebook is close behind and learning to love Pinterest!

 

Adults like stories, too

 

The Bumpy, Grumpy Road

Take your readers on a journey!

In 2012 I published my first children’s book, The Bumpy Grumpy Road. It’s a metaphor intended to help children understand that they are in charge of their emotions, actions and reactions.

As parents bought the book for their kids, I heard more than one time “This book helps me, too.”

And when you read the story behind the creation of this book, you’ll understand why I’m not surprised. The metaphor was easy for my preschooler to understand and to remind me when I was driving down my own bumpy, grumpy road.

Adult readers don’t need fancy multisyllabic words to engage them. Adults need a strong message with a compelling storyline that gives them something useful for their daily challenges. Next time you’re writing for your co-workers, your manager, your current customers and your potential customers, make sure you’ve told a good story.

How can knitting improve your writing?

Knitting, yarn

The more you practice, the better you get.

Knitting is an obvious metaphor for writing. Using your own two hands, you hold the needles and weave together a lovely fabric. You choose the yarn, you choose the pattern and you choose the end product.

Along the way, you encounter problems. You miss a stitch. Holes appear. Something goes wrong.

You have choices in knitting – you can back up and correct the problem or you can plow ahead and accept the finished product with all it’s flaws. When you choose to go back the awful feeling that you might never finish the project looms over your shoulder. Plowing ahead means you might feel embarassed to show your imperfect work to others.

Luckily, writing isn’t exactly like knitting. When you write, you can lay words to paper, plow ahead and then go back and make the edits and corrections you need. But even the best of writers needs an experienced editor to look over their work.

Have you recently completed an incredible piece of writing? Do you need a skillful editor to find the holes, the places where you left a stitch unworked? Give me a call and give you work the attention it deserves, so you can be proud to show off your finished product!

Word Choice is Key

If you don't know what this means, better ask a local.

The language and words we choose show if we’re locals or tourists – and if we know what we’re talking about.

When you visit New York City, you want to go to “the Hi Line” not “Hi Line Park.” And if you’re looking for good Cuban food you ask the taxi driver to take you to Broadway and Houston- but you pronounce it “How-ston.” Then you’re speaking like a local.

When you visit Pittsburgh, don’t be offended if you someone mentions that you’re not a Yinzer but do be offended if someone in Cork, Ireland calls you a langer.

When you’re looking for someone to write your copy – whether it’s for the web, ads, brochures or a simple customer letter – make sure you’re using a writer who knows how to speak the vernacular. Give me a call and let’s talk about the language your customers will understand best.

Do You Need a Lemonade Stand Approach with Customers?

It’s never to early to learn how to talk to customers.

Lemonade Stand Proving Ground

My kids are learning to do this at ages 7, 5 and 2 thanks to their very first lemonade stand. We live near a park and have a relatively constant flow of potentially thirsty neighbors walking past our house. So my boys decided they could earn extra cash and my husband and I supported their entrepreneurial spirit.

One of the first things they had to master was not making lemonade (they are old hats at that) but building a relationship with their customers. Each of my children have different areas of skill here:

  • One is more articulate and can enunciate clearly.
  • One is more willing to engage strangers in their interests.
  • One is more aggressive about making the ask.

Working together, they are a flawless team. But when one loses interest or has to run inside to use the bathroom, their sales process slows.

As I oversee their efforts from my C-Suite (a lawn chair on the porch) I realize what a delicate dance it is to engage customers online and try to channel each of the three heads of Cerberus (not a bad name for their lemonade business…) equally.

Since our lemonade stand opened, I’ve become very aware of this when I’m writing sales copy, web copy, customer letters or social media content. I check to see if I’ve allowed one approach to dominate the others. When it does, I just call for a potty break.

Who is monitoring the balance in your content?