Holly Herrick’s Website Refresh Launched

Holly Herrick Cookbook Author  Food Blogger and Writer

Author launches new, fresh site

Over the last four years we’ve had the privilege of working with Charleston cookbook author, food writer and blogger Holly Herrick.

Holly has been extremely busy over the last years authoring a number of new cookbooks. In the past several months, she’s focused much of her writing on exploring Charleston with insider insights and things to see and do in our town.

Responsive site focuses on content

To support her expanded writings, Holly wanted a more contemporary, responsive site that was as fresh as her inventive recipes. Working in conjunction with Holly, we reviewed what she liked and didn’t like in websites, discussed her hopes for the new site and got busy designing a new look and feel, using her brand identity previously created by Jay Fletcher.

The new site provides a magazine format home page which allows users to jump into the site’s content based on their interests. It also updates Holly’s brand with a new sassy tagline and approach.

We thank Holly for allowing us to support her on her professional journey. We’re looking forward to more tasty adventures as Holly leads us on new explorations of Charleston and the Lowcountry.


If you would like to see your website updated with a new, responsive theme, give us a call. You’ll find our facelifts are far less uncomfortable than those from a plastic surgeon and a whole lot more fun!

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Updating A Website: Making a Website Plan

Planning your website will save you money.

They arrived full of hope

A group of open, smiling faces looked at me as I asked the question, “Has your website passed it’s sell by date?” We were gathered for a workshop sponsored by the Coastal Community Foundation in Charleston. Attendees were staff of non-profit organizations who were there to learn to plan or update their website so that it works well for their constituents and is true to the organization’s purpose.

All wanted better websites

Some in the group had crafted sites using free website builders like Wix and Google Sites. Some had outdated, legacy websites, created years ago by former staff or board members —built on platforms which shouted, “I’m from 1994.” Almost all of the sites had essential communications errors such as trying to cram too much onto a home page, or pages which lacked a purpose, or content that had not been updated in years.

Each one of these eager people were anxious to learn how they could take charge of their website so that the organization’s digital front door was welcoming and appealing. Each of them were working with limited budgets.

Planning time saves money

Over the course of our time together, everyone had “ah ha” moments about how they might improve their site. They all realized if they take the time to plan updates to their site, whether they work with website design / development professional or if they chose to go the DIY route, their planning will yield a lower cost, more user focused site that can support their organization’s goals.

As we worked together, I shared a presentation to help them work through some fundamental strategy questions and comprehend potholes, road blocks and missteps in planning, execution and design of a website.

Updating your website or planning a new site is not rocket science. All it requires is your focused time, comprehension of what your site visitors need and how you want to implement the site’s functionality. Your resulting strategy then yields insights that help you choose a template or theme or help a developer design your site. You just need to organize your thoughts and plan how each of your potential website visitors will use the site.

Start with:

  • Your website users
  • Figure out what each user needs or seeks that will prompt them to visit your site
  • Outline the functionality which will help each user get what they need

And then you plan your website content hierarchy so that every site visitor can navigate to what they need. Critical questions during your page content planning are three questions which address users’ needs:

  1. Where am I?
  2. What can I do here?
  3. Why should I care?

If each page addresses these questions, provides information and content designed to fulfill the specific requirements of that page’s audience and is true to your brand, you’ll have a winning site.

Download our tools to create a website plan:

If you find yourself stuck and not sure what to do to get a good website that works, give us a call.

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As a Leader, Brand Identity is Reflected in Your Presence

Mismatched shoes may not be a reflection of brand, just an embarrassment.

Mismatched shoes may not be a reflection of brand, just an embarrassment. By: Charlotte L

Your personal appearance is your brand identity

We’ve all had the experience — at the end of a long day discovering we’ve worn one black shoe and one blue shoe, or socks that don’t match or have worn our shirt inside out all day long…and no one noticed. When this has happened to me, I find myself wondering, “Why didn’t anybody tell me?” I also wonder who now thinks of me as sloppy, or someone who doesn’t attend to details.

For most of us, our personal appearance is important. We take care to groom ourselves to present a presence which reflects and reinforces our sense of self.

The ante is upped when you are a company delegate who speaks with the public or the media. You are an embodiment of the brand experience.

As a leader, you are the exemplar of your firm’s brand. You must check yourself in the mirror or ask your colleagues to review your clothing, appearance and presence to evaluate whether or not your appearance reflects the values of the brand.


quotation-Marks.jpgWhen you make a personal appearance representing your business, you ARE the brand.


Because of a shirt, for a moment, the world was inadvertently focused, not on the Rosetta Project’s success — as the Philae lander approached a comet — but on Rosetta Project scientist Matt Taylor’s shirt which was insensitively selected, given his position of leadership and need to appear on camera for interviews.

 

If the European Space Agency’s PR person had reviewed their team member’s appearance prior to interviews, perhaps all eyes would have been on mission success, not the shirt. With a bit more thought, the public relations team would not be defending the leader’s values and their congruence with the space agency’s, but would be talking more about the globally recognized accomplishment of getting a probe to land on a comet.

So, when is a shirt more than a shirt? Or a shoe more than a shoe? When worn by a leader.


 

Update: Taylor apologizes saying,

“I made a big mistake, and I offended many people,” Taylor said at Friday’s media briefing, his voice trembling, “and I’m very sorry about this.” Read more

 

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‘Tis the Seasonal Marketing Time of Year

Sesame Street Bert

Sesame Street Bert ponders the gigantic holiday season which seems to last as long as his unibrow.

‘Tis the unibrow of seasonal marketing

Ahhh, the holidays.  They’re here.  And by holidays I mean the Q4 period from Halloween through the New Year. The last quarter of the year in the Western world has come to be known as one massive Hallowthankshanuchrisnewyear celebration when every business owner is engaged in seasonal marketing and promotions.

In my opinion, this season is rather smashed into a unibrow of a holiday season.

Chris Rock hosted Saturday Night Live and offered his take on the holidays and the over commercialization of Christmas. Agree or not, his send up of Christmas was wonderful. So, just as you’re getting ready to offer your holiday promotions, watch this for a laugh as we enter this frantic sales time when customers’ demands increase and their and our patience wears thin.

No bling on Jesus says Chris Rock

You can try to push back against the torrent by refusing to open on Thanksgiving and by letting your employees and staff have time to enjoy the holidays with their families.

Satisfying demand

Whether you like it are not buyers have learned to think of seasonal shopping and respond positively to it.

Plan some reward for your customers who have been loyal over the course of the year. Not every customer is seeking a discount. You can provide added value and extra service during the holidays to set your business apart.

Honor customers

Whether a drop-in with libations or contributions in their honor, or holiday hams or Hanukah gelt, there is a way you can thank and reward your loyal supporters and opt out of the mass market crazy holiday promotions.

Charleston Organization Lowcountry Local FirstIn the greater Charleston market, we hope when you shop, you’ll spend your dollars locally and support small businesses like ours which are the bedrock of our community. Lowcountry Local First sponsors an annual campaign aligned with the holiday season which encourages you to shop locally and buy locally. For more about the observance, visit  Buy Local.

So, while every season comes with a set of expectations, you don’t have to bend to the crowd to satisfy your buyers or be distinct.

*Photo credit: Bert from Muppet Wikia

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Blue Sky Thinking and Innovation

Blue-Sky-Thinking

blue-sky thinking: noun .  1. creative ideas that are not limited by current thinking or beliefs[1]

At the beginning of the great housing apocalypse I suggested to several home builder clients that they offer an opportunity for people to experience life in one the builder’s homes by allowing potential buyers to spend a night in a model home. I called it “sleep with a model.” When I suggested this — to a person —every one of the home builders said, “We can’t do this.” or “Our insurance will allow it.” and even “They’ll tear up the house!”

I also recommended to a Realtor client that she develop an alliance with home renovations contractors so she could provide buyers with immediate access to trusted vendors. I also advocated to the same client that she arrange value loss insurance, soothing buyers’ greatest fears: losing money. Such innovations would distinguish the Realtor’s brand in the crowded market and set her apart for the customer-focused benefits she could provide.

In both situations, there was extreme resistance and objections about why these things could not be done. Not one person stopped to consider how these things could be done.

Innovation is rare

True innovation comes along very rarely. And in (almost) every instance, real innovation is met with extreme resistance. Everyone thinks of all the reasons why something cannot be done. Given the amount of resistance when it comes to innovation, you would think that innovation is against the natural order.

Companies that prosper are those which give power to customers, — providing consumers with their most desired choices and options. Think things that make it easy on the customer. And therefore help you gain more business.

Technology related firms generally make the greatest leaps these days providing people the innovations they want to smooth daily life.

Taco Bell New App

In recent news, innovation is coming from the food and beverage sector. USA Today reports,

“Taco Bell will unveil an advanced mobile app that lets folks order and pay on their smartphones and then walk or drive in and pick up their food.”

The new app is being spotlighted by taking the entire Taco Bell website dark October 28, 2014. How much resistance do you think was heard around the office when this was proposed? You can imagine the conversations: “What if they pay and we don’t get their order?” “How will we deal with incorrect orders?” And on and on. But clearly somebody overcame those issues and designed the new smartphone app.

Also reported by USA Today, another sacred cow, the wait line at Outback, is being conquered by new tech with the launch of their mobile app allowing diners to see real-time estimated waiting times and to add their names to the wait list.

“It’s more important than rolling out a new steak,” says John Schaufelberger, chief marketing officer, in a phone interview.

Nurturing blue sky thinking

Innovation comes from blue sky thinking. Unhindered, unfettered consideration of ground-breaking options which lead to new procedures, new products and ease of use.

When was the last time you did some of your own blue sky thinking? Did you censor yourself? OR did you just let the ideas flow? Is your culture one of encouraging innovation? Do you listen to employees who have ideas of how to streamline production? In a classic model, U.S. auto producers changed production lines in the 1970s to complete with Japanese automakers, with a great many of their ideas arising from those who actually worked on production lines.

Censoring your creativity and wild ideas will keep you exactly where you are. Want to grow? Want to be talked about? Be different.

Blue sky thinking cultivation:

  1. Talk to your customers. Ask them what is their most difficult issue or problem. Ask them what they most need. Then figure out how to do it.
  2. Keep a notebook. Whether digital, or hand-written, capture arcane ideas or transient thoughts. This is why writers and engineers keep notebooks at their bedside so they awaken from dreams to record their nocturnal imaginings.
  3. Observe. Watch people. Watch your customers. Note how they actually do things, not how you’d like them to do things.
  4. Have a blue sky session. Include everyone. Customers. Owners. Stakeholders. Don’t censor. Record. Process later.
  5. Examine common problems. Apple’s iPad evolved from a desire to provide portable, lightweight, powerful devices with multiple capacities. The tablet computer they created revolutionized the market and created a new category.

How have you created innovation in your firm? Tell us how you’ve encouraged blue sky thinking and innovation.


[1] blue-sky thinking. Dictionary.com. Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/blue-sky thinking (accessed: October 28, 2014).

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