Miscellaneous

How Girl Day Spotlights the Issue with Engineering

Yesterday, we celebrated Girl Day. The mission is to attract more females to the engineering and automation world. It is also important to note that Girl Day is not just a one-off event… it is meant to spark momentum and awareness about the importance of a continued effort to support this mission. So, while yesterday focused on the immediate need (introducing girls in your community to engineering careers), it also provided the knowledge and tools to continue to educate women of all ages about the profession in the future.

NPR reported that close to 40% of women with engineering degrees either never use their degree or leave the profession for reasons like the glass ceiling, a lack of self-confidence or a lack of mentors. The same report points to getting more women interested in engineering as the biggest problem the profession faces.

Girl Day represents the push happening in society to interest more women in engineering. This push is meant to balance out the playing field among men and women so that there will not only be more women actually using their engineering degree, but there will be more young women saying that they want to be an engineer when they grow up.

That is why Girl Day is so important; it gets us talking about this issue.

Social media is a key player expertly used to spread the word of this movement by creating awareness for both the issue that makes Girl Day necessary and the event itself. A whole campaign launched for this special day uses the hash tag #BringItOut to highlight the idea that there is a little engineer in every girl to be discovered. A series of YouTube videos made for this campaign feature females discussing qualities of the profession that might interest girls such as curiosity, problem solving, innovation and design.

In addition to YouTube videos, the sponsor for this campaign, DiscoverE, is using Twitter to get some bigger companies involved.

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By getting companies like GoldieBlox involved through social media, the #BringItOut campaign is able to gain more clout and extend the reach of the message.

 

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We think Girl Day nailed it with this one. What do you think?

Scent Marketing: A Familiar Smell

While not a new marketing concept (in fact, we wrote about it in 2009), the practice of using aromas to illicit an emotional connection remains an intriguing premise. Most recently, airlines are discussing the use of scent in brand marketing to help differentiate their flight experience. Delta is among a number of airlines that already use fragrance as a branding tool. Its signature scent, ‘Calm’, has been used in both the airplane cabins and the hot towels provided to premium class fliers for a few years. The Wall Street Journal reports that not all fliers are excited about this trend, though. Those with asthma or other sensitivities to scents and chemicals are apprehensive about possible reactions. In light of these concerns, some airlines have decided against going through with plans to utilize a unique fragrance for branding purposes.

Although some airlines deemed this tactic too risky, there are still many other brands that are using these fragrant practices, particularly hotels and casinos in Las Vegas. MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, the Bellagio, the Venetian, and many others on the Strip are using the sense of smell to help guests form unique bonds to their memories of these locations. Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando uses fragrance in a different way by distributing artificial sugar cookie and waffle cone aromas at the top of the stairs to lure visitors downstairs to the inconveniently located ice cream shop. This is a whole new take on scent marketing that proves it has more than just the potential to create new associations with a brand; it can also play to consumers’ already existing associations with a smell to advance a brand.  This tactic seems to be pretty simple for a company already heavily linked to a smell, but perhaps other brands would have a more challenging time executing it.  But think of this – the average consumer views tens of thousands of marketing messages daily. Doesn’t it make sense to connect with a potential customer through other means? We have four other senses waiting to be tapped.

For those companies that want to utilize all five senses in the branding process but have difficulty deciding how, companies like ScentAir can assist. ScentAir offers consulting on fragrance options and how to utilize them. The presence of companies like this demonstrates the increasing demand for scent as a marketing tool.  What are some creative ways you could envision scent playing a role in marketing programs?

Changing Times…Looking Ahead at 2013

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on Changing Times…Looking Ahead at 2013


How nostalgic is the time. Five years ago this week, I was at Countrywide Financial presenting our integrated marketing campaign. What a surprise that Bank of America would announce in mere days that they would acquire the infamous brand for $4.1 billion. Following a FBI investigation for fraud three months later… I suppose there’s no need to bring us all through the housing crisis again. Let’s instead fast forward to a Happy New Year.

Based on the best opening day in history, the famed “January Indicator” predicted a continuing upward trajectory for our markets in 2013. Shares of PulteGroup have nearly tripled since last year – making it the best performing stock on the S&P500, which itself now stands at a 5-year high.

We’ve all invested a year on an election and its fiscal cliff, that both achieved very little if anything. Yet we stand on the edge of what promises to be a much welcome sea of change. After all, we’re tired of the European meltdown, leadership change in China and civil war in Syria. We’re no longer worried about the fragility of the dollar or even our need for imported oil. Heck we’re awash in shale gas, oil sands and deep water drilling to the point of reaching the lowest levels of imported fuel since 1987. Treasury Secretary Geithner can now securely resign with our appreciation… those banks that were too big to fail, are even bigger now. Our mortgages which remain at historic low rates carry new rules that require lenders to actually consider whether a borrower can repay their loan. Nevermind that this may potentially hurt the rising tide of first-time homebuyers as rental rates continue to rise. There are mergers and acquisitions to consider – from Kleer Lumber by Tapco, to Viking Range by Middleby and Pergo by Mohawk. Home and building products are ready to get serious. After all, we’ve got the International Builder Show for which to look forward.

At the show this year, amid the myriad of brands vying for your attention, please consider those which have adopted a new paradigm for the new year. They have invested in research & development, advanced technology and innovation… when their competitors have played defense.

Consider the brands that have embraced the concept of “selective consumption”.  Brands that are structured to deliver the types of services that allow customers to find and drive buying decisions 24/7. Those that understand that customers now control when and where they will choose to interact. Yes, these brands may have lost control — yet they have gained a greater opportunity to maintain loyalty.

And seek out those brands that are executing within new success factors. In the past, marketing got by on meaningless metrics that didn’t necessarily affect the bottom line. Now home and building product brands have the ability — through the advances in technology — to better monitor the results of marketing efforts and connect to the end goal of driving sales: value and success which is measured in outcomes, not outputs. After all, “doing” is now the key to differentiation. And no doubt the victory lane will be reserved for those who refused to hesitate and faced in a direction that others feared.

Our industry is being redefined by brands that are more nimble, tech savvy, open and collaborative. Its leading brands will be strong and sustainable, based on their willingness to be in a perpetual state of change and their ability to execute and adapt faster than their competitors.

We hope to see all of our friends and partners in Las Vegas later this month. In preparation, I’ve listed a few recommended brands that are delivering better on this new paradigm for you all to place on your “must see” lists. Read our IBS 2013 Preview here.

The Un-Motivational Speech

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s The Un-Motivational Speech


Today, my mind is cluttered not with the nurture of the business – but with the nature of the beast. We all want to succeed. We need to be the best for ourselves, our clients, our bosses, and our egos. We strive to stand in the spotlight and sometimes (thankfully, it’s only sometimes) we forget that it’s not about us, or our bosses, or the market, or a host of other distractions. It’s about the customer (or client, or patient, or whatever term your business uses for people who pay for your goods or services). And as odd as it might seem, that’s easy to forget in the hectic and often frenzied pace of our lives.

Read more…

10 Best Practices in Blogging for Business

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on 10 Best Practices in Blogging for Business


Blogs have been around for more than a decade and have dramatically increased in numbers since their first appearance. They cover any topic imaginable and are run by both individuals and businesses. While we’re all familiar with blog basics, there are techniques for writing and sharing them that differ depending on the blog’s author and its audience. Building a successful blog can be tricky, so here we’ve compiled a list of 10 blogging best practices for businesses:

  • Set a Content Strategy: Lay out topics to blog about ahead of time so you avoid looking scatterbrained by posting random, irrelevant content. This keeps you and your bloggers on track and provides some stability to your readers. Try to include a variety of subjects and types like: Company press releases, Press conference videos, Video advertisements, Staff news, Product information and updates, New customers / affiliate relationships, Industry news, How-to’s, Webinars / tutorials on subjects relevant to your readership.
  • Blog Regularly: Simply, regularly blogging means that you’ve got more content. More content means that you’re more searchable, and people will be able to find you more easily. If you gain new readers, they’ll be able to go through your archives and catch up on your blogging threads.
  • Include Keywords and Phrases: Keywords help new readers find you through search engines and help you organize your blog topics. The bottom line is that keywords and phrases are necessary for blogging, but don’t go crazy. For every 100 words or so, stick in a keyword.
  • Be casual: Most blog readers don’t generally respond to a formal, authoritative tone. They want to know that they’re talking to a human being much like themselves, who happens to know a bit more about the subject than they do, or who shares their views on the subject. Try to write in a tone that’s natural, casual, and almost conversational.
  • Invite Guest Bloggers: Guest bloggers are a great trick to lure in more readers. It’ll immediately increase the prestige of your blog, especially if the guest blogger is a known quantity. As a result, your readers will take you more seriously. With guest bloggers, always include a bio, credentials and contact information, including their personal blog and social media sites. Try inviting your CEO, product developers, customers (for reviews) and industry experts.
  • Publicize Your Blog: Upload your new blogs to your Facebook and Twitter pages, include snippets in your marketing emails and advertise your fresh blogs on your website’s main page. Give your blog every opportunity to be read by as many people as possible.
  • Interact with Readers: It’s every blogger’s responsibility to field questions and comments from readers. For a business blog, these readers are or may become your customers. Consider your interaction with your readers as customer service on hyper drive. You’re connecting directly with them, reading what they have to say about what you wrote and learning more about what they’re interested in. Great bloggers always respectfully respond to comments because they recognize that they’re not standing on a soapbox, shouting from a bullhorn.
  • Create easy ways to enjoy your content: An organized blog is an easy blog to enjoy. Use categories and tags to make it simple for your readers to find the content they care about most. Create categories by making a list of your most important or often-used topics, and use tags to label more specific content on your posts. By implementing that simple bit of organization, your visitors will be able to click through both your categories and your tags to find more content that interests them.
  • Link or trackback to other blogs whenever possible: There are some important reason for this. First, it builds community across blogs, and expands the conversation. Second, it gets bloggers’ attention. Linking is what creates the blogosphere. Bloggers link to blogs they like and blog posts they like and want to comment on. Bloggers also check their site statistics for referrer links, to find out who’s linking to them. They tend to check out sites that link to their blogs or their posts, read them, and link back to them if they like them.
  • Use syndicating technologies:XML and RSS feeds are a technical ways of syndicating your blog to other blogs, a sort of personal AP Wire for your campaign. It is a standard feature of most blogs, but make sure your blog has it enabled, either through RSS (Really Simple Syndication) or Atom.

Pomp and Circumstance: Who is the Class of 2012?

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest onPomp and Circumstance: Who is the Class of 2012?


A recent Ad Age article discussed the newest generation of employees and outlined a few distinguishing characteristics of the class of 2012. As these graduates prepare to walk across the commencement stage and into the workforce, I’d like to take the opportunity to reflect and elaborate on some of the key points raised by Beth Ann Kaminkow.

The Great Recession has plagued the majority of these graduates’ college careers. As they were entering college, the economy took a nose dive and since then, they have studied and seen firsthand how the recession has affected economies of every scale. Each year students watched the upperclassman ahead of them struggle to find jobs, only to remain unemployed long after graduation.  College career centers have subsequently responded by preparing students for the tough job market. These young adults know that jobs are hard to find, and they’ve been preparing for it. They’ve been refining their knowledge, gaining experience wherever they can, polishing their resumes and interview skills, and starting the job search early. The class of 2012 knows they need to make themselves stand out from the crowd, and many of them will.

They’re also ready for a career… not a job. Future graduates want job security and they’re willing to be loyal if employers give them a reason to be. Employers need to recognize this and give these bright-eyed graduates a reason to stay with their company for many years to come. Remember that many of these young folks idolize Google, with its modern campus, collaborative work environment, and benefits galore, as the best place to work.

While they don’t expect every employer to be just like Google, we can all learn from its model. Employees like benefits, they like flexibility, and most of all, they like to be treated well.

And speaking of Google, we cannot forget that this is the generation who has grown up with technology. Most of these students have had computers in their classrooms since first grade and a computer (or two or three) in the home has always been the norm. They like technology and they’re good at using it. Information has always traveled a little faster for this generation with its prolific use of the internet, smart phones, and portable devices. These young adults like information on demand and consequently have lower patience levels for slow-moving processes and people. Employers should embrace this need for information. They need to encourage young employees to continue to seek new information and bring new ideas to the table. But they also need to address the inevitable tensions between young employees and other generations who are used to a slower-moving, less technology-driven environment. Bringing different generations together in the work place is always a challenge, but is incredibly rewarding when done correctly.

Congratulations to the class of 2012! We look forward to working with you and seeing the amazing things you will accomplish in your careers.

Navigating the World of Mobile Commerce

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on Navigating the World of Mobile Commerce


The Wall Street Journal reported recently on the buying habits of tablet owners – namely that consumers who own tablets have higher conversion rates for online sales than consumers shopping from their PCs. While online shoppers on PCs have an average conversion rate of 3%, tablet owners bought online at a rate between 4 – 5%. Tablet owners also reportedly spend 10 – 20% more on each online purchase they make.

Because tablet owners generally have more disposable income than the average consumer and they purchase more online, retailers are (as they should be) making it easier for those consumers to browse and shop on their mobile devices. These consumers with higher income levels are an ideal audience for home product companies, and tablets provide an ideal avenue to reach them.

Many companies have responded to this growing trend by creating mobile apps for consumers to download. But retailers are seeing that more sales are coming from their websites accessed via mobile devices than their apps. While this does not discount the value of dedicated applications, it does emphasize the importance of good web design and a content strategy focused on accessibility. As many people know, most mobile devices do not support Flash, which is all too often used to create visually attractive websites (Flash can also hurt your SEO, but that is another conversation entirely). Mobile devices also have smaller screens than PCs, and tablet users interact with and navigate websites differently than they would with a keyboard and mouse.

Brands looking to make their websites accessible via multiple devices should not think the only way to achieve this worthy goal is to shell out the money to develop an app. Having a separate mobile website has been a popular solution for many companies looking to go mobile, and in many cases it works beautifully, but mobile websites can create a lot of work for the web department in ensuring content is updated on two sites and maintaining compatibility with the hundreds of mobile devices available. Creating a website using responsive design (i.e. the site uses media queries to detect the type of device being used and display a layout that is optimized for that device) can save much headache and out-of-pocket expense. It also ensures that consumers are viewing the same content regardless of their device. Because the layout of the page is focused on displaying the content in the best way possible, consumers do not have to deal with the hassle of navigating site structures not suited for their screen or system.

Of course, one solution does not fit every company. Some companies have appropriate uses for an app that goes beyond the scope of their website. Other companies need a separate mobile site that displays drastically different content from their main website. Most brands just need to make their sites accessible to consumers on the go. Regardless of your company’s position, your mobile strategy should always start with a consideration of what information needs to be conveyed. Picking the best mobile route to go from that point should be a question of how best to display that content to turn a user into a customer.

Have you seen a company with a stand-out mobile presence? I’d like to hear about it!

Is print making a comeback?

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Is print making a comeback?. Here’s the latest.


In the last few years, magazines, newspapers and even books have slowly made their way into the digital space. As more people look for their information online, print is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Some publications have increased their online presence, while others haven’t been so lucky with a number of publications calling it quits and newspapers announcing a decrease in circulation. The lifestyle industry has been hit the hardest with several notable magazines like Domino, ReadyMade and Gourmet closing because of the poor economy. This steady decrease in once successful magazines has many questioning the future of print publications.

Although print publications will never cease completely, pushing content digitally is less expensive and much easier. Look at the success of big-time blogs like Design*Sponge and Oh Joy! – bothof which got their start online. The digitally-savvy chicks behind these popular websites are bringing print back by going outside of their digital medium and publishing print editions of their work:

  • Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge is releasing her first book this month. Design*Sponge at Home is being called the “décor bible” by many and includes home tours, DIY projects and more. Bonney also published a free summer newspaper that was distributed in various cities throughout the US.
  • Oh Joy! Is a compilation of founder Joy Deangdeelert Cho’s favorite things with a focus on design, fashion and food. As a freelance graphic designer, Cho has taken her expertise in starting a small business online to print by creating a series of books with friend Meg Mateo IIasco called Creative Inc. Cho also helps with quarterly lifestyle magazine, Anthology.

 

With much success online, why did these women attempt print? They share an appreciation for the medium and simply can’t accept that people no longer want to hold something tangible in their hands. With these types of projects popping up all over, it may be safe to say that print is waking up from a deep sleep.

Home, Sweet, Movie Set

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on (Home, Sweet, Movie Set


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in your favorite movie? Maybe you want to travel through space in the Starship Enterprise or sail the seas on the Black Pearl. Some movie fans have made their dreams come true by turning their homes into things straight from a movie set. Here are a few unusual home designs from some very popular movies.

This house in Utah is an exact replica of the home in Up. Even the mailbox and interior murals are exactly like the movie.

House that looks like the home in Up

This “House of Stone” in Portugal was built between four large boulders and looks like The Flintstone’s house.

House that looks like home in the Flintstones

If fantasy films are more your style, consider this self-sustainable home. Modeled after Bilbo Baggins’ house from The Lord of the Rings, this house was hand made from all natural materials like straw and tree trunks.

House that looks like hobit house in lord of the rings

You might recognize this home from the horror classic Halloween. This North Carolina home is an exact replica of the Myer’s home in the movie.

House that looks like home in Halloween

What movie house would you want to live in?

Update: My 2 Scents on Home Branding (Plus One)

stack of New York Times newspapers

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on My 2 Scents on Home Branding (Plus One)


Last year I shared with you my thoughts on using scents to brand the home. Most people choose scents for their home like fresh air, clean linen, coffee, or apple pie. But now there is one more scent in a long line of unusual fragrances that can make your home smell like The New York Times. Maybe you have fond memories of thumbing through the comics section on Saturday mornings or your parents reading The Times every evening. If so, there is finally a candle that can evoke those fond memories in your own home.

Is there any other unusual scents you have seen or would like to see sold as a home fragrance?