Listen, Learn, Engage: It’s the Root to Racial Healing in this Country

Neil Foote, President, Foote Communications & President, National Black Public Relations Society

Celebrating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a somber reminder of the work this country must do to address its truths, find ways to achieve racial healing and transform society. Yes, I’m borrowing from this framework from the W.W. Kellogg Foundation that is funding TRHT – truth, racial healing, and transformation programs around the country. Dr. King would have loved to know that his work, his sacrifices, and his faith is still living on. TRHT’s philosophy is so aligned with King’s in that it “seeks to unearth and jettison the deeply held, and often unconscious, beliefs created by racism – the main one being the belief in a ‘hierarchy of human value.’ 

MLK Would Want the Cycle of Hate to EndUnfortunately, there is a divisiveness in this country that accepts this ‘hierarchy’ when it is so far from the truth. What we know is that there are so many people – from all walks of life in this country – who are not letting the fears of the haters destroy King’s belief that it is about the character of a person not just the color of their skin. He constantly reminded us that we should “let no man pull us so low that we hate him.” What King would have reminded us that deep down most people want to get along with others. It is power of the majority who see the good of humanity who will combat the hate of the few. The not-so-veiled threats to our democracy over the past five years are stark reminders that we must not let the dark shadows of our nation’s past cloud our vision of promise and possibility.

To carry us forward, we must find the rays of hope that are quietly changing communities around us. In Dallas, over the past several years, the Communities Foundation of Texas has actively taken the lead in organizing conversations about the city’s tragic racial past. Just last week, a group of arts nonprofits in Fort Worth, Texas have decided to renovate a former KKK headquarters into a symbol of anti-racism. How ironic that Fort Worth is just 30 minutes away from Southlake, now nationally known as fueling the backlash against school districts teaching about slavery, race and cultural history in America. Yet another symbol of the paradoxical nature of America’s history.

During a visit to Cornell College in 1962, King demonstrated his sage wisdom and shared this painful truth that goes to the heart of how our communities and this nation can progress to symbolize how the world expects a democracy to function. “I am convinced that men hate each other because they fear each other,” King said. “They fear each other because they don’t know each other, and they don’t know each other because they don’t communicate with each other, and they don’t communicate with each other because they are separated from each other.”

Take time in 2022 to communicate with each other. Engage in active listening, learning and engagement to better understand how together we can exceed King’s ideals – and the many others who have fought for racial equity and justice in this country. 


Neil Foote - Bracing for Impact in 2020: What We Can Learn from MLK’s JourneyAbout the Author: Neil Foote is veteran journalist, public relations professional, author and principal lecturer at UNT’s Mayborn School of Journalism who was recently inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists’ Hall of Fame.




Keeping Consumers Engaged Through Data

Advice for the Data-centric Communicator

 

Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR

One of the most difficult things that marketers have to do is to keep customers engaged for a long enough time that they make a purchase. Although there are different factors involved with customers making a purchase, most of the time, when they don’t make one it’s because the company doesn’t have the right data. 

Web Form Conversion

One of the ways that companies can get consumers to be engaged for a long enough time is to optimize their web form conversion. The average conversion rate for web forms is about 2.5%, and one of the ways that companies can improve that rate is by shortening the number of fields that consumers are required to fill out on web forms. No one likes taking 20 minutes to fill out a form about themselves, because it wastes everyone’s time. Instead of using long forms, companies should opt to only capture the most valuable and relevant information about their consumers. That way, they’ll be able to reduce the number of form fields that consumers have to fill out, which will improve their web form conversion rates. 

Personalized Chats

As entrepreneur Marc Roberts of Miami notes, “Plenty of companies tend to avoid utilizing chat services for their customers because they believe that their target audience isn’t interested in that type of technology. However, research has shown different results, as many consumers find personalized chat experiences very valuable. This option is even more popular with consumers compared to social media interactions, emails, or phone calls from a business, as long as those chats are personalized.” 

Clean Data

At the core of consumer engagement  is data about those consumers.  However, if at any point the data becomes old and outdated, or even gets duplicated, it’s less valuable for companies. All data should be cleaned up enough so that it doesn’t skew any promotional efforts or results. There are  plenty of ways that the data that companies collect about their consumers can turn bad– from customers reaching out to a brand through two different channels, to giving outdated email addresses that are no longer in use. When data is cleaned up, it can help companies improve all personalization efforts for customers, as well as improve the overall experiences that customers get when engaging with a brand. 

Standardized Data

Another important point regarding data is implementing a standardization process once all data has been collected. Since every tool and employee tends to input campaign data in their own way, every company should have a process to standardize all the data, and should use those rules consistently. This will  ensure that data remains clean for a longer period of time. 

Data Verification

Finally, companies can’t expect that they’ll be able to connect with their consumers unless all data is verified. That means implementing a data verification process is another important step to clean up data and keep consumers engaged over a longer period of time. There are different types of verification that companies can utilize to make sure all consumer data is relevant– from checking emails to addresses. These verification methods  can help companies segment target audiences into different groups and further personalize their marketing efforts.


Social Transparency 2020- Ronn TorossianAbout the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading PR agency.




Five Useless Questions to Remove from Engagement Surveys

Five Useless Questions to Remove from Engagement Surveys

 

Remove the fluff with no clear path to action, and you’ll get higher response rates, better data and more robust answers. You’ll also build trust and waste less time.

Mark Murphy, CEO, Leadership IQ

The purpose of an employee engagement survey is to increase employee engagement.

The purpose is not to idly measure, satisfy executives’ curiosity or establish a baseline. If an employee engagement survey isn’t designed to help us increase engagement, we risk violating employees’ trust and actually decreasing their engagement.

Think of it like this: People take time out of their day to answer a survey. They do so with the expectation and an implied promise that something will improve. But if months go by with no significant action taken, they’ll feel like the company broke that implied promise.

[RELATED: Join us Nov. 15 for our Transforming Communications: Leaders Speak Out Webinar]

Most companies don’t start their survey with the intention of not taking action on the results. But that’s the typical outcome because the survey questions most companies ask are too vague or lack a specific path to action.

More than 10,000 HR executives have taken the online test “How Good Is Your Employee Engagement Survey?” One of the questions asks, “Do your survey questions have a clear path to action (i.e., if you get a low score on a question, you know exactly how to fix the issue).”

Continue reading here…




Is a Four-Day Workweek the Answer to Your Engagement Woes?

Is a four-day workweek the answer to your engagement woes

 

New Gallup research reveals that the issue’s not quite so simple. Read on for the pros and cons.

Robby Brumberg

You’ve likely heard much ado about the slow but steady rise of the four-day workweek.

More companies are giving it a whirl, and many more around the world are seriously considering the measure as a way to counter pandemic-fueled burnout. Some experts even predict it’ll become a centerpiece of creating a thriving future workplace. But is a four-day workweek all it’s cracked up to be?

[RELATED: Join us Nov. 18 for a free webinar: Digital Transformation for Internal Communication]

While getting an extra day off per week sounds like a dream come true—and an easy way to win over exhausted workers—new Gallup research offers a bit of fascinating food for thought.

Continue reading here…




Ready, Set, Re-Engage (ON-DEMAND VIDEO)

Free Virtual Event

ON-DEMAND VIDEO

 

 

Businesses are planning their corporate events for a post-pandemic world. Some business leaders expect corporate events to operate the way it was before. But that is no longer an option for all stakeholders to participate safely and productively. The year 2020 and the first half of 2021 proved that executing corporate events must always have a virtual component. Now that we are entering a new era for corporate events, how do you navigate management concerns, new work policies, rapidly changing virtual event technology, employee engagement, and meeting burnout?

In this webcast, you’ll learn:

  • How to obtain management buy-in for a full or partially virtual corporate event?
  • What tactics and messages are important to prepare employees for virtual corporate events?
  • How to enhance employee engagement and participation wherever, whenever?

PGi Moderator: Frank Paterno, VP of Global Sales Operations

Frank Paterno is responsible for aligning PGi’s global sales channel sales program to agents, resellers and carriers. Paterno joined PGi four years ago and previously held roles within the global carrier channel. Before joining PGI, he held several sales and marketing roles with Intelliverse.

  

 

 

Co-Presenter: Jeanne Weintraub, Leader, Global Event Management at Johnson & Johnson

Jeanne Weintraub is a member of the Employee Engagement & Supply Chain Communications Leadership Team. A 24-year veteran of the world’s largest and most broadly-based healthcare company, Jeanne oversees the Global Event Management Group and is responsible for the strategy – including creative and design, orchestration, and implementation of all Johnson & Johnson Executive Committee (C-Suite) and Board of Director events. What has become a center of excellence, Jeanne has direct oversight of and provides strategic counsel for the largest and most complex business critical meetings (both virtual and hybrid), and high-profile global events hosted by Johnson & Johnson. Each year, she is accountable for more than 75 events around the world, ranging in size from 10 to 7,000 participants. Professional engagements include sitting on the business advisory councils of several luxury hotel management companies including the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons hotels, as well as destination management advisory groups. Furthermore, Jeanne organizes and participates in annual industry ‘best practices’ meetings with Fortune 100 companies.


Co-Presenter: Andrew Bowins, SVP, Communications & Public Affairs at Entertainment Software Association

Andrew Bowins is a corporate communications veteran who is known for working with leading companies in the technology sector to drive awareness for new products and services while establishing brands as category leaders in areas like mobile, digital payments, interactive entertainment, and online services. Andrew has a proven track record in issues management and led teams through high profile crisis including the recent Samsung Note7 recalls (phones on fire), Samsung Home Appliance recall (exploding washing machines) and Supreme Court appeals (Apple vs Samsung) in 2016. He has worked with Fortune 100 companies including Amazon, Dell, Nokia, Samsung, MasterCard and now represents the interests of the interactive entertainment industry through his work with the Entertainment Software Association in Washington, DC.


Co-Presenter: Lesleigh Irish-Underwood, Chief Brand and External Relations Officer at MetroPlusHealth

A native New Yorker who has built her career on serving New York City’s most vulnerable and underserved communities, Lesleigh Irish-Underwood (LIU) brings executive-level experience and local-market insights to the MetroPlusHealth executive team. She comes to MetroPlusHealth from United Way of New York City (UWNYC), where, since 2014, as Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, she led all facets of the 80-year-old organization’s brand marketing and communications efforts. In her role, Lesleigh is responsible for the stewardship and execution of MetroPlusHealth’s brand strategy, including product marketing, strategic communications, media relations, community and government relations, member experience, special events, and data-driven marketing innovation. Prior to her transition to the nonprofit sector, Leslie was a 25-year veteran of the consumer publishing industry, where she held leadership roles at the Knopf Publishing Group of Random House, Pearson, and Kensington Publishing. Lesleigh is also a member of the CMO Council’s North America Advisory Board — comprised of prominent marketing executives and thought leaders from a diverse range of industries–and an alumna of the American Express Leadership Academy/Center for Creative Leadership. In 2018, she was named one of Network Journal’s 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business.

 

Co-Presenter: Geoff Livingston, SVP, Marketing & Communications at Evalueserve

A digital marketing pioneer, Geoff Livingston has advised numerous top brands including AT&T, Audi USA, Cox, eBay, Ford, General Dynamics, Google, PayPal, Pepsi Co., Procter and Gamble, SAIC, USPS, Verizon, and Yum! Brands on building their brands and marketing new innovations. Geoff authored three books on social media and marketing, including Welcome to the Fifth Estate. Geoff also currently serves as an adjunct professor, digital communications in George Washington University’s Strategic Public Relations Master’s Program.




CASE STUDY: Ford’s 12-Member Team Engages Staff with Multi-pronged Approach

Ford’s 12-Member Team Engages Staff with Multi-pronged Approach

 

The employee communications team at Ford reached out to hundreds of thousands of employees and retirees with a ‘hive’ approach.

John Cowan, Editor, Ragan Communications

The COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine fundamentally transformed how businesses communicate with employees.

Ford Motor Company’s 12-member employee communications team, responsible for all communications that reach Ford’s 187,000 employees globally, had to quickly pivot to address emerging employee and business needs resulting from the pandemic.

A hive approach
The team functions like a hive, holding regular communications, daily meetings, cross-functional planning and calls to ensure alignment around priorities.

They regularly juggle several strategic goals:

  • Supporting the strategic objectives of the company.
  • Listening and responding to employee input through Q&As, online chats, pulse surveys and data
    analysis.
  • Addressing unexpected needs as they arise.
  • Evolving the overall employee experience working at Ford.
  • Building a coalition of brand ambassadors.

Continue reading here…




TikTok Challenges Rev Up Social Media Engagement Effort

TikTok Challenges Rev Up Social Media Engagement Effort

 

Cisco turned to the fast-paced platform to share #LoveWhereYouWork stories from intern ambassadors.

John Cowan, Editor, Ragan Communications

Cisco’s social media audience consists of two personas: current employees and potential candidates. It has a variety of social media strategies to engage both audiences, but wanted to activate its virtual summer interns to become content creators on TikTok in a pilot program. The goal was simple: to create #WeAreCisco advocates through motivating them to be a part of something new and exclusive, while allowing them to be creative.

Pilot program was first of its kind 

The pilot program—the first of its kind at Cisco—activated interns to share their #LoveWhereYouWork story through a variety of TikTok “challenges” that the #WeAreCisco team issued weekly throughout the summer. To reach the active TikTok audience, Cisco worked with its university recruiting team to identify interns who might be interested in participating, then created an initial group of intern ambassadors and employee ambassadors (to highlight how the intern experience was integrated into the employee experience) and introduced them to the program using Webex Teams technology.

Continue reading here…




Cascade Communications Method Builds Employee Engagement

Cascade Communications

 

Integrating frontline managers helps in disseminating and building awareness and buy-in for organizational policies.

Tony Silber, Editorial Director, Ragan Communications

The cascade messaging technique is an indispensable part of internal communications, especially in large organizations.

It seeks to employ frontline managers across the organization to pass along, explain, advocate and implement policies and announcements. It’s an invaluable channel, integrating leaders of small groups into the process and aligning them with objectives. But it’s challenging to do effectively and consistently.

[EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Communications Benchmark Report 2021]

That said, communicators who work with their departmental managers consistently report better employee engagement with communications messaging across a variety of topics, according to the 2021 Communications Benchmark Report, an exclusive study from Ragan’s Communications Leadership Council.

Naturally, larger organizations (78%) use the cascade method more than smaller ones do (47%), and it’s somewhat less of a priority for external communicators. And members of Ragan Communications Leadership Council are much more likely to use the cascade method (76%) than their non-Council counterparts (51%).

Continue reading here…




Looking at How Heifer International’s Digital Workplace Keeps Employees Engaged, Connected and Inspired

 

Robby Brumberg

Ending poverty and hunger around the world might seem like an impossible task.

But it starts with uniting like-minded heroes around the world through seamless, strategic communication.

Chelsey Louzeiro, internal communications officer and digital workplace manager for Heifer International, recently shared how her organization is overcoming substantial logistical hurdles to engage its 800 employees in 21 different countries in a session for Ragan Training.

Here are some of her key takeaways for building a digital workplace that establishes a thriving environment where employees feel connected and valued.

‘Corralling’ a global workforce

Geography presents significant communication challenges—not least of which is creating a genuine sense of belonging and teamwork when your workforce is widely dispersed, with employees steeped in different cultures. How can you create a culture that truly engages far-flung employees?

Continue reading here…




Boosting Attendance and Engagement at Virtual Meetings and Events

Lauren Weatherly, SVP of Marketing, PGi 

We can all agree that after a year of adjusting to the “New Normal,” virtual gatherings are a part of the meeting landscape and here to stay. Audiences have set the bar for a successful event higher than they did at the outset of the pandemic. 

While the number of virtual events grew significantly in 2020, and the number is likely to increase moving forward, in 2021, it’s no longer enough to try and take credit for simply staging a virtual event. 

They are now expected, so the incumbency is on organizers to plan these events in a way that makes them compelling and unique. In addition, amid the ongoing pandemic, our lives are as chaotic as ever, so any meeting or event that appears on the calendar must have purpose and add value. 

Even as the world claws out from more than a year of quarantines and lockdowns, virtual meetings and events will be with us for the foreseeable future. Here are three ways to make them more appealing to maximize attendance and audience engagement. 

1)  Allow the audience to participate. 

The most obvious potential downside to a virtual event is the lack of opportunity to build off the energy in the room. That goes for speakers and participants alike. 

Attendees can feel the energy at a successful event, but it’s not always as palpable online, so organizers must find a way to bring the audience into the event at every turn possible. Events cannot afford to be static affairs; they must be interactive. 

Interactions can be small. They could come in the form of roundtable discussions, breakout sessions with smaller groups, chat rooms or real-time polls and surveys to help steer the direction of an event. 

The more attendees feel like they are driving the discussion, the more they will engage with the content, and the more they will take away. They’ll also be more likely to continue to connect with the organization after an event wraps. 

2)  Speakers must be personable.

In this brave new world, it’s not just about finding the smartest – or even the best-known person – to speak at an event. Speakers must be engaging, someone with a compelling message that people want to hear. 

Some companies rely on celebrities for sales meetings or trade shows. If an organization engages a celebrity speaker to give a keynote, but they turn out to give a drab presentation, people will tune out. 

Often, it’s the lesser-known speaker, such as an “industry celebrity,” with a more compelling story who is the best option for an event. They have the power to motivate attendees and bring a company’s value proposition to life. 

3)  It must be professional from start to finish. 

Arguably more than ever before, events are an extension of a company, so every aspect of the gathering must look the part. As a result, content must match an organization’s overall objectives and deliver against attendees’ expectations. 

Given how many personal interactions have been diminished amid the pandemic, a virtual event provides one of the few touchpoints customers may have with an organization, and attendees will give an organization credit for gatherings they deem beneficial and valuable. Companies have continuing opportunities to re-envision every aspect of their meetings and events to ensure the highest possible attendance and engagement.


About the Author: Lauren Weatherly is the SVP of marketing at global virtual meetings and events company PGi, www.pgi.com, which is dedicated to making meetings and online events simple to join and secure to use so people connect wherever they are. She is responsible for developing and leading a results-focused global marketing strategy to drive growth and build brand recognition for the company.




Beyond Google & Facebook: 3 Ways Advertisers Can Engage New Audiences

Jeff Kupietzky, Chief Executive Officer, PowerInbox 

For years, advertisers have been running to the fire with a fire hose of spending as new online channels emerge, become the hot new property, and then fade, only to be replaced by the next big thing. We’ve seen this scenario play out across web, social, interactive sites like Twitch, streaming media platforms, and user-generated content platforms like YouTube.

The barrage of content has not only been costly, but it’s also become an annoyance to consumers, who have turned to ad blockers and paid subscriptions to avoid the onslaught. Now, as Facebook and Google continue to shift the way ads are delivered, and virtually all web browsers move to block third-party cookies, advertisers are struggling more than ever to find new ways to target and engage online audiences.

Throughout all of these shifts, one thing has remained consistent: the value of direct, one-to-one audience communication to provide consistent, reliable audience engagement. Publications that offer personalized, relevant content to their subscribers are a goldmine for advertisers. Not only do these outlets know their audience’s preferences, interests and needs because of their known interactions with their content, but they also offer something no other channel can: trust. Subscribers trust the publishers they subscribe to and this trust is proven to convey to the advertisers featured within them.

To rise above the noise and end dependence on cookies and walled gardens like Google and Facebook, here are three ways advertisers can engage this captive, trusting and precisely targetable audience:

  • Email newsletter advertising. Email has proven to be the most trusted channel for online audiences. This is especially true during the pandemic, as subscribers have turned to email to get reliable, trustworthy information about what is happening in their local communities.

Advertising within those emails puts your brand message directly in front of these captive audiences. And, it’s arguably the most precise targeting methodology available today. Publishers can track audience interests based on their known identity through their email address, so they know exactly what they want. This ability to target a specific individual with content you know they are interested in is unique—cookies, search and social targeting all make assumptions about user profiles and can’t easily track users across multiple devices, if at all. Email can.

And, even better, data shows that the Gmail and Mail apps are the most frequently used on every mobile device. Neither of those apps enable advertising within the app, but you can advertise in individual emails, thereby effectively putting your brand message inside the apps users most frequently use.

  • Push notification monetization. Similar to email, push notifications are becoming an increasingly valuable one-to-one communication channel between publishers and their subscribers. Leveraging the same trust dynamic, over 70% of users sign up to receive push notifications from publishers they depend on, creating an extremely valuable engagement opportunity for brands. And the best part is, users don’t even have to be on the publishers’ site to receive the push, which means subscribers are engageable wherever they browse.

Push offers the same precise targetability and relevancy as email, making this a valuable channel for brand advertisers. Push subscribers are highly engaged and want to receive those messages, making it a prime channel for brands to target known subscribers with precise, relevant content.

  • Join a multichannel ad network. Working with individual publishers to make buys into their email newsletters and push notifications can be a daunting task. One way to overcome the massive time and effort required is to partner with a multichannel ad network that automates these buys and placements.

Similar to a real-time bidding service, a multichannel ad network handles the process for you. You simply upload creative, set the parameters for audience targeting and budgeting, and the platform does the work, placing your ads in emails and push notifications as appropriate, optimizing and adjusting to deliver the right content to the right person over the right channel at the right time.

This allows advertisers to reach more publishers and more audiences, particularly those with a niche market that you may not otherwise be able to reach. By working with an established platform, you get better placements, higher quality traffic and more reliable deliverability with less hassle than working with hundreds of individual publishers directly.

With the constant shifting in the digital landscape, advertisers need proven methods for reaching captive, opt-in audiences. By investing in one-to-one channels with trusted publishers, like email and push notifications, advertisers can overcome many of the inherent pitfalls in other digital channels to drive higher engagement with more valuable audiences.


About the Author: Jeff serves as CEO of PowerInbox, an innovative technology company helping companies monetize their email newsletters through dynamic content.  Before joining PowerInbox, Jeff served as President and CEO at Oversee.net, managing worldwide operations and building Oversee’s owned and operated portfolio of domain names into one of the world’s largest, establishing the company as the leader in Internet real estate. Under his leadership, the company diversified into lead generation, building several high growth and high margin businesses. Before that, Kupietzky served in leadership positions with X1 Technologies, Digital Insight (Intuit), Siebel Systems (Oracle), and Loudcloud/Opsware (Hewlett-Packard). Jeff began his career as a consultant for McKinsey & Co., developing business strategies for software, insurance and banking clients. A frequent speaker at Digital Media conferences, he has also been featured on CNN, CNBC, and in many news and business magazines. Jeff earned an MBA with high distinction from Harvard Business School and graduated Summa Cum Laude with B.A. in Economics from Columbia University. 




The Importance of Digital Engagement for Healthcare Marketers

Rebecca Wong, Managing Director, Three Whiskey US

The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of digital engagement and virtual connection, especially for healthcare providers and companies. This year it will become increasingly important for healthcare marketers to leverage these digital channels in order to keep up with evolving customer needs and build brand trust. 

So, how can healthcare companies transform their digital experience? 

Providers are now shifting how they deliver care to virtual settings, whenever possible, while still focusing on quality patient care. Communication through digital channels such as email, social media, and messaging, will become increasingly important for customer updates as well as reminders of the company’s safety measures throughout the pandemic. 

Healthcare marketers will need to ensure these digital channels not only provide a good patient or customer experience but also that they’re equipped to handle an influx of online customer engagement, for example on social channels, for faster conversion. 

Additionally, providers and healthcare companies will need to shift their focus on analytics to properly track conversions and online behavior. Using analytics to demonstrate the value of these channels will become increasingly important.

Limited capabilities with in-person channels will lead to a focus on digital

With sales teams being limited in their reach during the pandemic, digital channels have proven their effectiveness and importance during this time. Going forward, customer engagement and brand awareness through digital channels will be a key focus for marketers. 

In addition to improving digital channels that impact the customer experience, healthcare marketers should also rely on digital like SEO, content marketing, and paid media to increase the brand’s online visibility and potential conversions. We have seen increased investment and focus on paid media channels with our clients since the beginning of the year. When integrated with analytics, digital marketing is a powerful way to demonstrate the effectiveness of healthcare marketers’ digital engagement strategy.  

Patients are seeking information online

Patients have been increasingly taking healthcare into their own hands and seeking information online to ensure they have quality healthcare. With the pandemic, virtual appointments are increasing as in-person engagements are limited. Providers need to focus on offering a superior digital experience in order to keep up with evolving patient behaviors. 

Improving SEO to ensure your provider website is visible in search and information is easily accessible to your customers will be a major focus. Expert health information will position your company as a trusted resource.

Providers and healthcare marketers will also need to focus on digital, especially social channels, to inform patients of updates, current research and healthcare trends, and the latest technology available. Social channels can increase engagement and customer relationships by sharing trusted expert advice. 

Healthcare marketers have greater digital capabilities than ever before, and these should be leveraged in order to provide the best consumer experience possible. 

Demonstrating success will be important for newer channels

In 2021, healthcare marketing requires a more integrated approach in terms of measurement and delivery across systems. Some digital channels may not have been fully utilized in the past but with an increased focus on these channels, demonstrating ROI will be important. To ensure you’re tracking the right metrics at the correct touchpoints, it’s essential to set up a measurement framework during your initial planning stage.

Healthcare marketers need to begin by identifying the objectives of the provider’s digital channels. From there, you can determine the type of data that should be tracked for successful conversions. For example, in hospitals, this could be appointments made, whereas, for pharmaceutical companies, this could be scripts written or actual product sales. 

Sometimes new products, such as advanced technology or hospital equipment, have long sales cycles. The FDA approval process is also lengthy, but customers may be interested before approval. Tracking customer requests for information is a key area in which healthcare marketers can demonstrate the success of their digital channels. By tracking each step of the cycle, from inquiry to purchase, healthcare marketers can gain deeper insight into the buyer’s journey and apply that to future marketing strategies. 

Conclusion

With an increase in virtual patient care and customers seeking information online, digital channels will become increasingly important for healthcare marketers. Demonstrating ROI in these channels will be imperative as companies continue on their digital transformation journeys. This shift towards digital allows marketers to engage with customers better and will continue in 2021. 

 

 




Taking Lessons from Celebrities About New Ways to Engage with Virtual or In-person Event Attendees

Mark RobertsCMO, TPx  

Ask anyone who knows me, and they’d probably say I’m the last person they’d expect to look to a celebrity for inspiration. But the business world can learn a thing or two from this group when it comes to increasing our engagement with audiences in the new-look virtual world. 

Take online and virtual events, for example, something I do know a bit about. 

Almost everyone is using them or has tried one, so the novelty has faded. Plus, we’ve all attended one by this point and know some are better than others. 

To keep audiences engaged, organizers are looking for new ways to make the mundane exciting. Engaging with virtual audiences is powerful and possible for companies of any size, but it requires some advanced planning, a captivating story, and someone to properly tell it. 

In-person events are likely to return in the months ahead, albeit slowly, but employing virtual or hybrid events alongside traditional in-person events offers considerable upside. 

It’s all about personality 

Companies will often turn to celebrities to draw people to their particular show or conference. However, one doesn’t need to have blockbuster films on their resume to be considered a “celebrity.” 

Entrepreneurs and noteworthy industry figures can draw attendees. Consider talent sources waiting for their moment in the spotlight – a team member, a partner or a customer. 

Finding the right talent requires finding someone who aligns with the company’s image to deliver the message. 

Inspiration for the moment 

While all want to know when the world will return to “normal,” we’ll likely move into a “Next Normal” and take with us the lessons we learned during the pandemic and apply them to the challenges ahead. 

Good movies have a story arc; there may be moments of drama before the happy ending. People want to know the drama the world now faces will result in a satisfactory conclusion. 

Months into the pandemic, people need some motivation and inspiration, and they want to know the circumstances will improve. Even amid COVID and a trying year, companies pulled off exciting initiatives and found success. 

What lessons can audiences learn? Compelling stories provide attendees with the inspiration they need to try new things within their companies. 

More than “one and done” 

Audiences interact with companies differently because of the pandemic, and the opportunity is to build a relationship that remains ongoing as the world transitions into the “Next Normal.” People have grown much more comfortable joining online meetings and are expecting to do so regularly for some time to come. 

If you look at an in-person event that happens annually, attendees may not expect to hear from the organizers until the next event is approaching. But that is a missed opportunity.  

Consider how celebrities interact with fans on their social media channels. Many companies use social media to broadcast their message to as large an audience as possible, but if they’re not using the platform outside of events to grow relationships with their followers, they should amend their approach and deliver inspirational content that keeps audiences returning. 

A conference should never be “one and done.” It should be the first step into a much larger world. Build and execute a plan or ongoing outreach and marketing and identify everything you need to run it.


About the Author: Mark Roberts serves as TPx’s CMO responsible for all marketing operations worldwide, driving growth opportunities and building brand recognition for the company within the communications market.




It’s High Noon for Employee Engagement

It’s High Noon for Employee Engagement

Tara Lilien, Chief Talent Officer, Peppercomm

When the COVID-19 crisis hit and it became clear we’d need to vacate our New York, San Francisco and London offices, Peppercomm’s senior management team quickly gathered for what would be our last in-person meeting. 

We discussed how we could stay connected with everyone knowing they’d be leaving the office and heading to their various sheltering sites.

An idea was quickly born. We decided to meet virtually every workday at noon and spend 12 minutes connecting with one another via Teams. We christened our “new normal” staff meetings the 12@12. We figured it would be a short-term stopgap plan to carry us through what we thought would be a two-week hiatus from the workplace. 

Now, 18 weeks later, our 12@12s have become a precious part of our agency’s culture. Our CEO commented that he has never felt more connected to our team, and our employees have asked that we continue these meetings when we return to the office.

Has the intent and design of the 12@12 evolved since those early days? Absolutely. What initially began as a way to touch base and share any urgent updates has now become a vehicle to reinforce many aspects of the employee experience during these 12 minutes each day. These include:

  • Shining the spotlight on employees – We created “PepSpotlight” to encourage each employee to answer a series of questions ranging from what five people would they most like to be sheltering with to what they’ve been binge-watching or reading and where their first vacation destination will be when the all clear is finally given. The intent was to learn more about our colleagues and what makes them tick.
  • Sharing updates on our business – Transparency and honesty have been critical during this period. We’ve shown our team our financials, shared business losses and wins, discussed reboarding and shared how we could collectively cover for colleagues as some weathered COVID-19 during this time. This authenticity led 100% of our employees to say they had confidence in our response to the pandemic and our business decisions, according to a recent pulse survey we conducted.
  • Launching new, of-the-moment, employee programs – Our new “Gone Fishing” benefit was born and launched in 12 minutes one Monday during the pandemic. We now set aside 90 minutes each week for employees to focus on their personal self. There are zero questions asked, and we created a new billing code to input time.  
  • Driving health and wellness – We’ve had gratitude sessions with each of us sharing what we are most grateful for during this period. One employee told me after feeling so isolated, this was exactly what she needed. We also offer “Stay Well with Kel” sessions – 12 minutes of virtual exercises led by our IT director who is also a krav maga instructor!
  • Giving accolades – Shoutouts were formerly reserved for email or our Teams channel. Now we’ve brought them offline and into our 12@12 meetings to highlight and celebrate our people going above and beyond each week. Success breeds success, and people seem to really enjoy hearing about each other’s weekly wins.
  • Bringing the outside in – We’ve offered our team the opportunity to hear from outside speakers addressing best practices for new business networking during the pandemic, media relations challenges in the political space. We’re also holding Q&A sessions with our clients to learn more about what business challenges have been keeping them up at night during the pandemic.

Overall, we’ve kept an agile approach to the 12@12s as the weeks of remote work have turned into months. We’ve cancelled them on Summer Fridays so we don’t have too many employees miss any announcements or content. In other instances, we’ve extended the 12@12s to an hour to offer training sessions to employees. We’ve also held “out to lunch” days as a break from the 12@12s to virtually meet for lunch (or breakfast or happy hour depending on an employee’s location) with a senior executive or peers. There’s no formal agenda, and Peppercomm pays for each person’s lunch that day.

Importantly, the 12@12 is not solely an HR initiative or a CEO dictate; it’s something each of us at Peppercomm owns. We’ve never made it mandatory, yet we almost always get perfect attendance. We’ve had employees step forward to lead a 12@12 who wouldn’t have otherwise been a “host” of a meeting with the entire staff. We cheered and clapped when one of our leaders popped up on video after a two-week battle with COVID-19. We’ve learned a lot about each other and found common interests.

It has also been a great motivator to get dressed every day (which is often cited as a best practice to ensure remote work success) and be ready to “see” each other for our daily connect!

In one of our employee pulse survey, we were pleased to find that 95% of our staff have felt engaged during the pandemic. Based on what I’ve learned the past four-plus months, I encourage every senior HR and communications professional to overcommunicate with employees during these difficult times. Unfortunately, this is not happening as often as it should. A recent study we conducted with the Institute for Public Relations (www.instituteforpr.org) revealed that 27% of HR and internal comms leaders were not using any metrics or monitoring tools and, believe it or not, only 28% had even surveyed their employees.

Alternatively, we’re convinced that our special 12 minutes a day have made the past 18-plus weeks easier for everyone in our organization.


About the Author:  Tara leads all things people for Peppercomm, with responsibility for talent management, development, engagement and acquisition for the agency. This includes creating an employee experience that addresses the needs of both our business and team members with the goal of being a sought-after place to work where people can build and grow their careers. Tara is also a member of the executive team, which sets the overall business strategy at the agency.

Prior to Peppercomm, Tara was the U.S. Human Resources lead at Cohn & Wolfe, a WPP agency.  There, she drove talent initiatives for the agency across five offices and successfully attracted strong talent in the industry to the firm. Earlier in her career, she spent 15 years at MSLGROUP, a Publicis agency, working across the North America region. Tara’s focus there was to consistently drive HR and business through workforce planning, HR strategy development, employee policy and programs, mobility, diversity and inclusion and employee relations. Tara began her career as an employee programs specialist at Conde Nast.

Tara is proud to be a born and bred New Yorker (now residing in New Jersey) and a graduate of American University in Washington, DC where she received a BA in Public Relations.




MyUnlimitedWP Empowers Non-profit Organizations to Reconnect With and Engage Their Communities

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Across America, non-profit organizations have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these organizations operate on razor-thin margins and do not possess the level of funding and investors that large businesses have, resulting in minimal wiggle-room when it comes to revenue shortages. Thankfully, companies such as MyUnlimitedWP offer critical error-mitigation services, WordPress website management services, and unlimited content updates that present non-profit organizations with life-saving benefits.

Building client trust compels them to continue making purchases, but such results are contingent on the sort of message non-profit organizations are directing toward the public. Online messaging is one of the most effective forms of communication at present; it allows a website that is frequently updated and engaging to be rendered as essential. Moreover, SEO allows potential clients to learn about the company by directing them to the website. This website redirection is especially important for non-profit organizations due to the competitive local market.

MyUnlimitedWP provides a solution that meets these specific online needs while saving non-profit organizations time by handling and managing the work. The company corrects errors that can subvert an organization’s success if left unaddressed, thus ensuring that customers experience optimum satisfaction when interacting with the organization. Basic WordPress management keeps an organization’s website active so it can fulfill its ROI-generating potential while routine content updates keep website visitors engaged and responsive.

One of the best advantages of the vital website services MyUnlimitedWP provides is how affordable the plans are. They are suitable for any budget a non-profit organization may have. Organizations pay one low and reasonable monthly fee that avoids complicated pricing arrangements, stressful quote bartering, and outrageous additional fees. Non-profit organizations can choose from packages that offer varying levels of services at different costs and with no hidden fees. This arrangement contrasts the typical exorbitant hourly fees that the majority of website maintenance companies charge.

MyUnlimitedWP is helping non-profit organizations save even more money by offering a 20 percent discount on their services. Non-profit organizations can redeem the discount by using the coupon code: NONPROFIT2020.

“We understand that this is a very challenging time for non-profit organizations. We wanted to do our part to help them not just stay afloat, but also flourish well beyond the pandemic. The critical website management services and affordable packages MyUnlimitedWP offers gives non-profit organizations the resources they need to achieve long-term success,” said Joseph Kibler, CEO of MyUnlimitedWP.

Source: NGO Wire




If Not You, Who? How to Crack the Code of Employee Disengagement

Jill Christensen

Employee Engagement is all the rage.  Why?  Let’s start with the fact that per Gallup, only 34 percent of U.S. workers are engaged.  This means the vast majority of employees are sleepwalking though their day, giving companies little discretionary effort. 

Engagement occurs when workers trust leaders and feel an emotional connection to your company – the same way they did their first day on the job.  And the payoff is enormous.  Companies in the top tier of employee engagement outperform their peers by 147 percent in earnings per share.  Additionally, engaged workers provide better customer service, stay longer, make fewer mistakes, are more creative and productive, and are great brand ambassadors. 

What should an employee engagement strategy include?  To engage or re-engage employees, develop a list of action items that your managers (not Human Resources – HR) execute on consistently, which fulfill employee’s basic human needs. 

Culture is defined as how we do things here.  So in order to change your culture, your managers need to do things here differently tomorrow than they are doing here today.  And, we know where managers need to focus, as these areas are proven to impact engagement:

  • The Right Person in Every Chair:  Employees want to work for a company whose values align with their individual values, as it causes them to feel more emotionally connected.  Therefore, hire for a values match as well as a job skills match.  In addition, if you have toxic employees, develop or remove them from your organization.  Why?  Because toxic employees spread negativity and incompetence, impacting the people around them. 
  • Goal Alignment:  Employees want to know that what they do every day has meaning and adds value, so ensure that every person’s goals are aligned with the CEO’s goals.  Why?  When an employee’s goals are aligned with the CEO’s goals, he/she can see that the work they are doing is making a difference.  They are adding value, and positively impacting the company’s future and success.
  • Two-Way Communication Culture:  Employees want their voice to be heard, so build a two-way communication culture where people can express their ideas, opinions, feelings, hopes, dreams and wishes. Why?  When an employee thinks their voice matters, they feel validated and important.  In addition, if you have the right person in every chair, you have smart people working for you.  These people are closest to the customer and have amazing insights about what’s working, what’s not, and what could be improved.  Tap into it.
  • Recognition:  Employees want to feel acknowledged and appreciated for a job well done, so create a recognition program based on thanking people for their great work.  Why?  When you give an employee a company-branded water bottle, you’ve done nothing to let them know specifically what they did that is recognition-worthy.  Put away the bottle and replace it with the words, “Thank you for…”.  These words will inspire employees to give you discretionary effort.

As you embark on a journey to improve employee engagement, remember that it is just that – a journey.  Employee engagement is not a program or an initiative led by HR – it is a strategy.  Successful employee engagement strategies are championed by senior leaders, executed on by managers, and results are measured via an Employee Engagement Survey.  Make the shift today and you can begin realizing benefits tomorrow.  


About the Author: Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. A Top 101 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, Jill authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who?, and holds a Six Sigma Green Belt. Jill can be reached at +1.303.999.9224 or jill@jillchristensenintl.com or http://www.jillchristensenintl.com.




Successful Social Engagement

Your Social Media Posts-5 Things Recruiters Look For

 

Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR

How does one define successful social media engagement? Social Media Today offers six definitions. The first is probably obvious and it’s financial. The rest are emotional/positive, number of followers, measurable in terms of social ROI, repeatable, and enjoyable. Most CMOs agree on financial but many also concur that the remaining definitions are also important for a well-rounded strategy.

There’s no doubt about the power of social media. Sprout Social surveyed more than a thousand consumers just before the pandemic and learned that 77% purchase from brands they follow on social media. The social analytics firm also talked with 1,000 social marketers with nearly half (47%) acknowledging that drafting a social media strategy that addresses and supports their brand is a challenge.

Achieving Success

Achieving success in social media and digital PR requires a lot more digging than simply keeping track of likes and impressions even though 70% of social marketers told Social Media that increasing brand awareness was their key goal. Success in social engagement is a lot more than generating awareness. It takes a well-rounded campaign based on discovery, analysis, planning and execution.

Some brands’ posts reside all over social media, from Facebook to Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok and others. The task begins with determining where a brand’s most successful posts are, which are successful and why. Discovering where the most successful posts are is easy.

On Facebook, it’s just a matter of employing Facebook’s Page Insights and seeing which had the most engagement over a certain period of time. Twitter Analytics displays a brand’s top tweet and metrics while Instagram Business Profile reveals the most popular photos and allows filtering with different metrics. Using LinkedIn Page Admin, marketers can not only access data with the “show stats” tab of a post but also generate a list of updates, impressions and clicks.

Like Facebook, Pinterest delivers daily analysis of content performance along with individual post metrics. And since March, Tiki Tok’s Pro account holders have had access to a detailed dashboard revealing engagement metrics within their content tab.

Next Steps

Gathering all the data and information is but the first step. The next is analyzing. Initially, it would probably be best to begin by organizing and then putting into writing details of the most successful content. Doing so is also helpful in reporting to senior staff and colleagues.

In assembling all the information, one thing to also keep in mind is whether there are any common threads or themes across the most popular posts. Some may include determining if the format was text, video or picture or if there was a similarity in the calls for action. Another consideration would be whether the most successful captions were longer or shorter and which landing pages visitors are directed to. All this data and analyses arms marketers with valuable insights on refining their content strategy with proven success points.

As with any strategic plan, goals and timelines need to be set and reviewed on a regular basis. This is where close monitoring and analysis of many of the above suggestions are valuable so that changes or adjustments in the plan can be made as needed.


Is the NFL Ready for Kaepernick’s Return? - Ronn TorossianAbout the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading digital PR agency.

 




Engage People Selects Caliber Corporate Advisers as Agency of Record

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Engage People, a global technology provider that redefines the way customers spend loyalty reward points, has selected Caliber Corporate Advisers, a strategic marketing communications firm specializing in financial services and technology (FinTech, InsurTech, PropTech), as its agency of record. As part of this partnership, Caliber will work with Engage People to increase overall awareness around the value of technology that seamlessly converts loyalty points to fiat currency, allowing consumers to pay with points as easily as they’d pay with a debit or credit card during the online checkout process.

Headquartered in Toronto, Engage People serves as a conduit between banks, retailers and their customers, allowing consumers to pay for items or experiences using loyalty points. For financial institutions, Engage People helps them maximize the value of their loyalty programs by driving member engagement and enhancing the member experience. For retailers, the company provides them with an opportunity to take advantage of almost $1 billion worth of currency based on current integrations and growing.

“We’re thrilled to add Engage People to our growing roster of fintech clients, and we’re excited to share their story with our network of reporters,” said Grace Keith Rodriguez, President at Caliber. “Engage’s capabilities fit squarely in our team’s wheelhouse, and we’re excited to see how the company continues to evolve to help banks and retailers attract and retain customers.”

“As we continue expanding in the U.S. and growing our presence among top-tier and tier-two financial institutions and retailers, we are looking to select partners that understand our mission and align with our objectives to support customers’ current and future needs,” said Len Covello, CTO of Engage People. “Based on our in-depth conversations, it became clear early on that the team at Caliber really understands the banking and payments space, as well as how our company is taking a leading approach to demonstrating the value of loyalty points as currency. They know what we’re trying to do, and they believe in the value of technology that’s driving the pay with points trend forward.”

Caliber Corporate Advisers has experienced significant growth over the past few years across clients in its New York City and Austin offices. In 2019, Caliber was named to the prestigious Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States, as well as O’Dwyer’s 2019 top 20 financial PR firms list. Last year, Caliber also announced a strategic partnership and investment from partner firm, Vested.




PR Masters Series Podcast, Episode #21 – Sheryl Y. Battles, Vice President, Global Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement, Pitney Bowes Inc.

Overview

The Stevens Group is pleased to present the podcast series that salutes the masters of public relations and revels in their observations, insights and advice to PR professionals.  This series is part of the ongoing partnership between The Stevens Group and CommPRO to bring to PR, digital/interactive and marketing communications agencies the wisdom of those who have reached the top of the PR profession. Today’s guest is Sheryl Y. Battles, Vice President, Global Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement, Pitney Bowes, Inc.

 

 

About Our Guest

Sheryl Y. Battles
Vice President, Global Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement
Pitney Bowes Inc.

Sheryl Y. Battles is currently Vice President, Global Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement for Pitney Bowes Inc.  In this role, she combines her extensive communications expertise, her deep understanding of the company’s strategy, and her passion for leveraging the intersection of diversity, inclusion and engagement to help drive business results and individual growth.   She leads the company’s strategies; communications and storytelling related to these areas and provides strategic counsel to the CHRO and the senior team.

Sheryl is a seasoned professional that has held a range of increasing responsibilities within corporate communications at the Company including speech writing for 3 previous CEOs, investor communications, media relations, internal publishing and community relations/strategic investments.  In her immediate past position as VP, Communications and Diversity Strategy Sheryl provided strategic communications counsel to the COO, the CFO and other senior executives and led financial communications, corporate thought leadership, and crisis communications as well as the company’s global diversity and inclusion strategy.  Pitney Bowes has recognized her exceptional contributions with several awards, including the company’s highest employee honor – the Walter H. Wheeler, Jr. Award.  She is a three-time winner of the Pitney Bowes One Standard Excellence Award for outstanding team accomplishments.

Sheryl graduated from Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA with a degree in Human Biology.

In 2018, Sheryl received the Public Relations Society of America’s national D. Parke Gibson award, which is its highest individual honor in diversity to recognize her work within the public relations industry and in her organization.  She is also one of the professionals featured in the book “Diverse Voices: Profiles in Leadership” designed to help communications leaders and professionals better understand the challenges faced by minorities in the field.

 

 




4 Ways to Boost Employee Engagement in the Summer

Stefanie Lightman, Head of Limeade Communications

Summer is here. And that means warm, long days paired with more time spent outside and plenty of summertime activities. With flexible schedules and a lot of out of office auto-replies, it’s also the easiest season for productivity and engagement to slip. If you find your employees watching the clock and their hearts and minds are elsewhere, it’s time to heat up the office with summer initiatives that will keep your team motivated.

As a leader, here are four ways to keep your organization productive and engaged during the summer:

1)  Go mobile

Flexible hours and summer scheduling can take people out of the office, but that doesn’t mean they have to disappear or disconnect. Mobile is the best way to reach people, particularly during the summer when they are out and about. If you don’t have one already, think about investing in a mobile app. Communicating summer hours, activities and events through a mobile communications app instead of email will increase productivity. Not only is it extremely valuable to reach people where they are, but offering relevant benefits updates and HR services, along with opportunities for interaction and engagement, will set you up for success.

2)  Share summer-related hobbies

Communication that demonstrates organizational care inspires employees to connect and engage with each other — and further fosters trust, engagement, inclusion, performance and organizational effectiveness. On top of that, a LinkedIn @Work study found that 47% of global workers said discussing success with colleagues motivates them. Use your internal communications channels to share moments with colleagues enjoying the outdoors — think family days, team hikes or a mindful moment watching the sunset. It’s also a great opportunity to promote the human side of leadership.

3)  Take it outside

Summer is all about the outdoors, and just because you work in an office doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, most healthy adults should get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (such as brisk walking or swimming) or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running). With an eight-hour workday and commitments at home, this can be tough to achieve. But physical activity can directly impact stress levels. Managers must reinforce your organization’s commitment to well-being by not only allowing but encouraging physical activity during work hours. Take work outside with walking meetings, active lunch breaks or a mid-day break with a team offsite or hiking trip.

4)  Encourage real vacations

According to the State of American Vacation 2018 report, more than half of Americans leave vacation time on the table. Summer is the perfect time to send folks vacation balance alerts. While more employers are beginning to encourage employees to take their paid time off, employees continue to respond to email or feel the need to “check-in” while on vacation. As leaders, it’s beneficial for your team to take breaks and have real, unplugged vacation time. It can reduce burnout, relieve stress and even boost productivity and innovation. This all starts though with you leading by example.

Keeping employees engaged and productive during the summer can be challenging. But with the right strategies in place and manager support, your employees will stay motivated all summer long.


Stefanie Lightman, Head of Limeade CommunicationsAbout the Author: As a longtime communicator, Stefanie understands how crucial reaching every employee can be to create a fully engaged organization. As Head of Limeade Communications, Stefanie is responsible for accelerating the adoption and growth of the employee experience platform.