Holiday Communications for Your Business

Holiday graphics for Bright Partner Christmas holiday communications for Bright Partner

Bright-Partner-Christmas-holiday communications

For our client Bright Partner, we created a variety of holiday designs incorporating the firm’s logo with embellishments.

Holiday communications sent by your firm should reflect your brand as well as send greetings. At the close of the calendar year, people of various cultures celebrate a variety of holidays which move our focus from work to home and family. Often firms thank their clients and customers for their patronage in the previous year. Whether you celebrate Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Yule (Midwinter) or other festival time, you may wish to visually represent your celebrations in graphic terms that accompany your communications.

Use seasonal symbols

Every festival has it’s own symbols and colors: For Chanukah, you will frequently see blue, silver and white. For Christmas, red, green and gold, for Kwanzaa black, red and green. For Yule, red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, orange.


2014-All Seasons-Merry-Christmas-Eblast

For All Seasons Mulch holiday email to clients, we incorporated an illustration of ornaments selected for the use of al colors of the All Season’s logo.

Many businesses choose to create holiday greetings using menorahs, candelabras, garlands, shiny ornaments, trees, wreaths and stars, each a symbol of the holiday. Some send customized holiday greeting cards via the post, some may choose more contemporary digital messages, and some may send gifts.  We have also used digital messages to share a review of the year and promote our clients.

For Business Success Dynamics we created a customized greeting using the company’s logo colors.


Business Success Dynamics Shirlie Taylor Holiday Card Image

It’s simple to look online for customized holiday cards, but then your design is exactly like some other firms. I’ve worked at offices in the past where we received the same card from different firms, with only the signature being different. These days, you do so much to set your firm apart, would you agree that it is wise to do the same with your holiday greetings?

In 2012 we created this digital holiday card to share with our clients.

2011-Christmas-holiday communications to clients

Trying to figure out how to say thank you to your clients this holiday season? If you need holiday design assistance give us a call. We can customize a holiday greeting for digital or printed use.

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Shift Is: Assessing Brand Drift, Growth, Realignment

Shift is normal to every brand

Being known

Call to mind your dearest friend. What few words would you use to describe them? Now hold those thoughts.

We all want to be known. To be recognized. This is fundamental to being human. So it is with people and businesses. We each want our businesses to be known. To be respected and to have the patronage of customers who want and need our services.

Brand difference identified

The knowledge you have of your friend and the words you use to describe the quality of their personality is how you identify them. In the world of business this is the same as a brand difference.

Many of us have been in business for years. Frequently our days are consumed with our clients’ and customers’ needs, by personnel management, or accounting or any of the myriad aspects of the daily work of running a business.

Rarely do we actually consider the essential qualities identified with how we do our business, provide service, or select the actual products we offer. Sure you may have undertaken a branding exercise when you established your business. Perhaps you answered questions, probed the needs of your customers and asked yourself what you wanted this enterprise to be. Now that you’re years into it, do the essential qualities you identified when you started up your business still apply?

Drift means growth, not that you’ve gone off the rails

Most businesses shift. They grow. They morph. That’s innate. If we don’t shift and morph, we don’t grow. Therefore, it’s critical in business just as it is in personal life, from time to time, to reflect on where you started, how your got here and where and how the core identity of our firm may have adjusted along the way.

As you examine the previous years, you may have the realization that you’ve held pretty closely to your initial concept. If you’ve found that you’ve realigned on another course, you would be wise to consider how your new alignment may impact your core differences and values: Your brand identity.

You may recall that our brand is what our customers perceive of of us. And if you, as the leader of your enterprise realize that your alignment is different that it was earlier in your history, there is no doubt that your customers’ perceptions may also be different that you understood them to be in the past.

Shift is…your brand now

Upon discovering this shift, it’s wise to assess how your company identity is presented, taking that further than just a logo or letterhead and realizing that it applies to how customers are served, orders fulfilled and new products are announced. Sometimes a re-branding effort is called for. Perhaps you may simply need to tweak a few processes and procedures. Perhaps you may need a top to bottom remake.

Once you realize your brand has changed, don’t delay applying your awareness to every aspect of your business. The resulting congruence will bring all elements into alignment and continue to further your firm’s growth.

Need a survey to learn how customers perceive your brand? Want an assessment of how your vendors feel about your firm? Need a revised logo or new marketing collateral? Need your website freshened? Charleston PR & Design exists to help align all elements of doing business with the goal of allowing you to clearly communicate with all your public.Internal and external. Call us. Or Email.

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How Frequently Should You Get a Website Redesign?

Out of date fashions are frequently more appealing than out of date websites.
By: State Library of New South Wales

Is vintage ‘in’ when it comes to websites?

We all know when it comes to fashion that styles come and go.  But when it comes to your website should you follow fashion?  Should you change your style just because what you have is out of date?

Indicators that you need a website redesign

The short answer is you should change your website’s design whenever you feel that it’s out of date and not appealing, or when your bounce rate increases or time onsite declines.

Both of these are indications that visitors are not finding your site helpful or it easy to use.  More investigation will help you determine if this is related to content or if this is related to user interface.

Current website design trends

Current trends in web design are towards more simple sites that are easy to navigate on mobile devices.  Sites these days avoid images in carousels and gradients and backgrounds or buttons, elements which slow down a web site’s load time when accessed by phone or tablet.

You may have also observed that many sites have motion which is activated upon scroll of the page or upon touch or hover.  These animations replace long outdated Flash web sites.  However, you need to take care when choosing to use animations on a web site.  They must make sense, and reveal content in a pace and style that fits the user’s needs.  Creating animations just for effect may be cute, but not necessarily suited for your website visitor.  For every web site your guiding question must always be:

quotation-Marks.jpg“Who is visiting my site and what do they want to do here?”

So what if you spent a great deal of money five years ago to create a web site and now you find that it is no longer up to date –what should she do?

What are your options?

If you have a content managed platform web site, you may be able to change your site’s theme thus giving your site a new look and feel.  If you have a static site you may have to have your entire site rewritten.

Bottom line you must budget for a new site every three years or so in order to make sure that your site is fulfilling your business goals and meeting your customers’ needs.

Need a new design for your site? Or need your website completely redone? Contact us at 843.628.6434 to discuss how to go from outdated to current with your website.

PS—Charleston PR is getting a new website design in the coming weeks…we’re a bit like the cobbler’s children who are the last to get new shoes!

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Charleston’s YWCA 44th Martin Luther King Celebration Planning Begun


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C.

In January of 2016, citizens of the three county area surrounding Charleston will celebrate the vision, leadership and compelling messages of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The YWCA of Greater Charleston has organized these celebrations for 43 years. Celebrations include worship services taking place in sanctuaries across the Lowcountry, a Tri-County ecumenical service, a panel discussion and the very popular MLK Day Parade. The YWCA also assists with the organization of Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr.’s Business and Professional Breakfast which is attended by more than 700 people.

I am happy to be working as a member of theYWCA’s PR team in association with Michael Whack, lead PR consultant to the YWCA, to support the Y’s initiatives and organization of the 2016 celebrations.

In the coming months, I’ll share more about the plans and events which will take place. In the meantime, you may also visit the YWCA’s website and monitor that for additional information.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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Crisis Preparation: A checklist of advance planning steps

Crisis preparation checklist

How can an organization prepare in advance for a crisis?

In all of life we know that advance preparation makes reality far easier. No one would ever contemplate singing the National Anthem in front of thousands without practicing it. Over and over. And getting coaching.

Crisis survival and your business or organization’s future depend upon your work in advance of a disaster.

Our steps for crisis preparation.

  1. Audit for most probable crisis situations and vulnerabilities: from accidental business interruptions to product recalls to tragedy or HR issues in the workplace.
  2. Create a crisis communications plan: Make certain that your plan takes into consideration and lays out strategies and tactics covering the following critical items.
    1. Who will manage the crisis?
    2. How will the team respond?
    3. What will they communicate?
    4. When will they communicate it?
    5. Why will they communicate?
    6. Who will be the communicator?
    7. When will subject matter experts be used?
    8. When will outside auditors be used?
  3. Draft basic responses (and keep on the ‘shelf’) for each of the crisis situations. In every business or industry there are some highly likely situations. Make sure your plan considers and contemplates responses to those most common.
    1. Daycare example: Staff member abusing a child
    2. Restaurant: Food poisoning
    3. Data breach
  4. Establish a crisis communications team. There is no time in a crisis to figure out who is part of the team. Choose your team and make sure everyone is up to date with contact information for each member. Clarify where you’ll meet: online, in-person, at an ops center.
    1. Identify members and make sure they are aware they are part of the team
    2. Compile team contact information and make certain that all team members have this on hand and readily available
      1. Keep this updated (at least every 3 months)
    3. Establish a manner of communication; in person / face to face or remote (conference call and shared online document creation)
    4. Establish a location of gathering and ensuring all communications tools are present (from wifi to laptops, tablets, or if remote team members, creating permission based network accessible documents, ensuring conference calling / networking capacities are up to date and available)
    5. Outline roles for each member
    6. Make sure crisis communications team has bios/backgrounders on all company leaders and specifics
  5. Identify Subject Matter Experts who will assist the crisis communications team
  6. Drill. Firemen, police and EMTs drill. So should your firm. If you don’t practice, how will you know if your team is ready to manage a situation? How will you know if your carefully planned procedures will work? Don’t take this part for granted. Test it with a drill.
  7. Proactively provide information via the firm’s website about issues likely to be of concern in a crisis. Evidence makes the difference in the courtroom and in the courtroom of public opinion. If you have compliance requirements, demonstrate before a crisis situation that your firm had done all in it’s power to be in compliance and remain there. Having this information publically visible on your website helps develop trust and transparency. As examples:
    1. Daycare: Publish credentials and compliance information
    2. Restaurant: Publish inspection reports and staff who have completed Servsafe courses for example.
  8. Establish social media accounts on appropriate social media channels and monitor across all social media for firm, CEOs, and brand mentions
    1. Create Twitter / media lists and follow local / beat media likely to report on your industry
  9. Get to know (in person if appropriate) media most likely to report on a crisis in your industry. The media are doing their jobs. Not trying to trap you. If they know you and your firm in advance, they will not be strangers to you. Though don’t confuse getting to know them with trying to sway them. There is a huge difference. Understand that they have readers and viewers who want facts. And if they can’t get the facts, they will publish what people are talking about. And we all know that when people don’t have information they talk trash. Don’t let the media publish rumors and trash. Get them the facts when they ask.
  10. Have Google Alerts (real time) for your brand/leaders. Don’t let a crisis sneak up on you. Believe me, the media are monitoring media for stories and grumbles. If they are listening, you better be.

Does this feel like too much to do in advance of a crisis? If it does, call us. 843.628.6434. We can guide you through every step and allow you to sleep better knowing you’ve done your due diligence to prepare for a crisis situation.


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