Working in the fields of Marketing and Public Relations can prove to be very difficult for persons not up to the task. Difficulty could be encountered in the form of those whom we need...clients. While there are some who are a pleasure to work with, and take heed to your very helpful guidance, there are others whom will leave you wanting to pull your hair out. But, we must persevere pleasantly to ensure the perfect outcome-mutual business Success!
How often have we been told that the customer/client is always right? Too many times to count! Truth be told, they are NOT.
Let’s say a client comes to you to plan an event. They want to use two colors that look absolutely horrible together and expect you to make it work. What do you do?
I’ll tell you what not to do! Do not just nod and smile! Horrible décor will not only reflect badly on your client, it will also reflect badly on you! You were hired to make the magic happen, create a positively memorable event, therefore, whatever you produce will be branded as your work!
I would suggest presenting numerous color options that would better suit the occasion (it makes no sense to throw out an idea and not have an alternative). Also, explain to your client why you think the colors are a bad move, show them pictures of the stunning events you have done, remind them that they hired you for your expertise and that your only goal is to ensure their function is well choreographed.
Let’s try a different example. A client hires you for your graphic design services –
Client: I want a collage with my logo to the right Graphic artist: Ok! But the logo would probably look better in the middle … Client: No, I think it would look nice to the right. That’s how it has always been done and I want it to remain that way. Graphic artist sends work to client Client: My boss doesn’t like it.
In a case like this, I suggest sending two options. One that the client asked for and another with a few tweaks that you think (as an expert) would look better. Best case scenario, after actually seeing what you had in mind they will choose to go with your favoured design. However, this will not always be the case. Sometimes you have to make the best of a bad situation and work with whatever your clients want without presenting work that might lower your abilities in the eyes of your colleagues and future clients.
Things to Remember 1. You are the expert! Not your client 2. Your name is on the line just as much (if not more) as theirs 3. 8 out of 10 times, clients do not know what they want until you show them (even if they think they know) 4. Have patience with your clients.Very often they have a difficulty expressing their own vision. Remember as well that they too may be under as much pressure as you are to get the job done.
EMERGENCY! Somebody please help! My brand is failing and I don’t know why! Brands are usually considered to be failing for many reasons. Some of the most common ones include the inability of the product to get and maintain market share, and the inability to achieve expected profitability. A failing brand is the cry of many business owners. We have compiled 5 possible reasons why this might be happening.
You have a bad product/service – The hard truth is: not every idea is a good idea and not every good idea is a great idea! Many times what you consider to be a great product is not well received by consumers because they simply don’t like it nor see the need for it. If you think your brand is failing, go back to the drawing board. Consider modifying or changing the product or service you are offering.
Poor customer service – I don’t know about anyone else, but customer service can make me a fan or an enemy. It’s one of the first things I look out for when dealing with a business or organisation, and if it is not up to scratch I am 110% turned off. Persons never usually want to do business or associate themselves with brands that do not offer good customer service. So yes, you may have a great product or service, but you may also be repelling customers which is affecting your brand. Evaluate how you manage customer relations. Are they easily able to report issues? Do they receive timely responses to queries? Are they greeted with a friendly smile and courteous staff? How do you deal with disgruntled customers?
Treating your brand as a logo – Your brand IS NOT a logo! A brand is so much more than just a fancy image that you put on all your products. Business Dictionary defines a brand as “a unique design, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. Over time, the image becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality, and satisfaction in the consumer’s mind.” Your brand It is your business’ identity, it is the promise you make to your consumers regarding the quality of service and often times is the single factor that could initially attract or repel persons from conducting business with you. Usually, the way people perceive your brand is how they perceive you. Therefore, every effort should be made to develop a positive brand identity. This should convey the business’ values, purpose and passion among other things. Ensure that whatever you decide you want your brand identity to reflect, is what is perceived by your customers.
Failing to consider your target audience – It is always important to remember that one size does not fit all! It is ludicrous to expect everyone to be interested in what you are offering/selling. Take power for example, as an electricity provider you would think that everyone would be interested in your service right? Wrong! Some persons might prefer alternative sources including solar power, wind energy or hydroelectricity. To secure a favourable response to your product/service you need to know your target audience and craft messages specific to them. Doing this will ensure that your messages appeal to these persons and increase the possibility of persuasion to do business with you.
You are too comfortable – Do not fall asleep on the job! The moment you think you can cut back on your marketing and relax a bit, competitors quickly swoop in and jump at the chance of kicking your business aside to make room for their own. This could be why your brand is weakening. Get up! The work is never complete! With constant change in trends and consumer patterns, there is no room for rest and relaxation. To stay relevant your brand has to constantly grow and evolve. Avenues to explore could include exploring new distribution options (eg. online shopping), social media marketing, keeping abreast of changing consumer preferences by engaging in market research and being informed about the latest research findings regarding consumer preferences.
I need to plan an event but where do I start?? Relax. Take a breath! Planning an event doesn’t always have to be the stressful, eye-gouging, hair-pulling experience it is sometimes made to sound like. In fact, planning an event can be broken down into three simple steps:
Conceptualise: Before planning an event you need to have an idea of what you want the result to be. Take some time to brainstorm. Consider your target audience. Who are they? What do they like?
Once you’ve decided on who the event will target, think about what will attract or appeal to them. When you’ve done that you can start thinking about themes, colour schemes, venues, menus etc. Conceptualising also means making a list of everything you think you might need. Creating a Checklist makes it easier when it comes to trying to remember all the things you will need.
Plan: Now that you’ve conceptualised your event and you have an idea of what you want, the first thing I would suggest is setting objectives and timelines. Objectives act as a guide to measure how well you followed with your plan and will help BIG TIME in evaluating the event’s success
TIP: Make your objectives S.M.A.R.T - Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-sensitive. Eg. To determine and finalize the logistics, set-up and decor of the event by October 12, 2016
Now that you have created your SMART Objectives you will need to develop an action plan detailing how you intend to achieve those objectives.
Questions you would need to ask yourself are:
Will I need a team?
How many persons would I need to work with?
Who are the best suppliers of the particular service at the best costs?
How will I go about securing the venue?
Is there adequate parking?
Is a shuttle service necessary?
What kind of security will be needed?
Do I need to secure any permits?
Do I require advertising?
This is also where you need to create a budget. A budget will provide you with knowledge of the event size and type you can afford. A budget additionally decreases the chances of overspending due to hidden or unexpected expenses. Make sure your budget includes line item, ‘contingency’, using a ballpark of 10% of subtotal. When preparing your budget ensure that you ‘shop-around’ for the best prices. Request at least 3 quotes for each area needed and Pro Forma invoices for potential workers, rentals, catering, lighting, music, decor, clean-up crew, security, entertainment, other.
Execute: There needs to be at least 2 site visits prior the event, one of which must include all suppliers/the full team. Now it’s time to put all your planning into action!
Give all suppliers an earlier time to be on site, this guarantees that everyone is in place well before the event begins.. The first thing you need to do is ensure that you get there before everyone, overseeing in case anything goes wrong or needs fixing or adjusting. Your presence also helps to ensure that things run smoothly and hopefully, seamlessly. Give everyone a specific time when EVERYTHING MUST be ready and in place. Your MC must have a complete script at least 3 days prior the event. All team members should have copies of the running order, so that everyone is in sync with his/her role. Finally, enjoy. Watch your event unfold before your eyes. There is nothing as satisfying or exciting as watching something bloom from an idea into a reality.
The MC&A Team works hard but we also remember to share and play as a family. Our annual pixie celebrations was filled with fun and laughter as we reflected on a year well done and a bright 2016 to come.
The Re-Birth Project was proud beneficiaries of the Sagicor Foundation's "45 Ways to Give Back" Campaign. Melody Cammock-Gayle proudly accepted the cheque which will go towards the expenses for Phase 3 which is scheduled to commence in January 2016.
This Team is a Dream. MC&Associates' core. It even amazes me how much we 3 accomplish for our clients. You would believe that we were about 30 persons. Yes we are a well-oiled integrated marketing boutique consultancy. We pray, play, work together and watch each other's back. Love & Light.
Beverly Douglas (seated left) – Deputy General Manager (Remittance), Lasco Financial services Limited (LFSL) and Maria Morrison (seated right), COO, First Heritage Co-operative Credit Union (FHC), sign on the dotted line to seal the partnership between First Heritage Co-operative Credit Union and Lasco Financial Services Limited (LFSL)-MoneyGram while Nicolene Worthy-Donaldson (standing left), Marketing Manager and Maxien Davis (standing right), General Manager – Customer Service & Sales, FHC look on with anticipation. The partnership agreement was recently signed at the FHC head office and forms a part of both entities mandate to continue to provide excellent customer service and convenience for their members/customers. With over 160,000 FHC members and 11 FHC’s branches where the MoneyGram service is now available, this will add to LFSL’s over 120 locations island wide, to widen the reach and offerings to the needs of customers,embers and shareholders.
Maria Morrison (centre), COO, First Heritage Co-operative Credit Union (FHC) is delighted to greet Peter Thomas, long time FHC member after he uses the MoneyGram service in the credit union for the first time whilst Beverly Douglas (right) – Deputy General Manager (Remittance), Lasco Financial Services Limited (LFSL) looks on approvingly. Lasco Financial Services Limited and First Heritage Co-operative Credit Union recently partnered to offer the MoneyGram service in select FHC branches islandwide. This partnership will offer to members and the general public the flexibility and convenience to conduct money transfer services throughout 11 of FHC’s branches islandwide.
Attorney-at-Law and Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has identified independent power producer Jamaica Energy Partners (JEP) as a company to watch as Jamaica charts a new course in sustainable energy production.
Mr. Patterson was Keynote speaker at JEP’s 20th anniversary celebration at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge in Kingston, recently. The event also served as an awards ceremony for 11 staff members who have devoted 20 years of loyal commitment to the company, having been with JEP since its inception.
The company which started operations in 1995 now provides more than 20 per cent of the island’s power needs as supplier to the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited. JEP has more than doubled capacity over its 20-year existence. Collectively, along with sister company West Kingston Power Partners, it provides 190MW to the grid. CEO Wayne Mckenzie, said at the event that the company is looking forward to participating in the push towards adding renewable capacity to local power supply and commended the company’s Jamaican staff who participated in the organisation’s transformation.