new year’s here – a time for renewal, focus and
The start of a new year is always energizing. We leave
last year behind after learning its lessons, and move forward
with a fresh slate. It’s a time when we look ahead
to the next twelve months, projecting and planning what
we hope will happen, professionally and personally. A sense
of renewal and the momentum derived from it are critical
to achieving success. So is a keen focus on our goals and
desires and what it will take to achieve them.
For corporate, nonprofit and association executives, now
is a great time to take a fresh look at key trends that
have emerged in the marketplace and make sure you incorporate
them in your strategic planning for this year.
1. Plan for problems. There is virtually
no ‘down time’ in breaking news anymore. The
‘golden hour’ once available for response planning
is gone. More and more news is reported as it happens via
text, video or call, and the world gets to watch it unfold
unedited, online and off. With social media in play, news
becomes viral in a heartbeat. And that news is not necessarily
accurate. It’s a costly proposition in too many ways
for companies to be unprepared for problems. Being prepared
calls for tactics like having a well-practiced emergency
communications plan in place, proactive monitoring of an
organization’s brand online and offline, and solid
relationships with key media. Just as importantly, companies
must have the ability to act quickly in case bad news strikes
- just as quickly as everyone else.
Social media has value.
Social media is no longer an unproven outcast or a solo
communications channel. It’s ‘official’
– it is an important part of reaching, building and
retaining customers and clients. It may not be sales-based,
but its ‘conversations’ are worth having. Without
the integration of social media in the marketing mix, today’s
company is like a boat trying to go upriver missing an oar.
It may reach its destination, but it may take longer, may
be off course, and the journey overall will be a lot harder
Mobile marketing is the new kid on the block.
The U.S. lags behind emerging nations in mobile marketing
use. It’s been a very successful tool globally, particularly
in the retail and public health arenas among others, and
has been shown to be particularly effective here with younger
groups and Latinos. Whether texting or using apps to convey
information or offer incentives, mobile marketing has a
huge potential and more marketers are taking a serious look
at it this year.
Corporate philanthropy helps build brand loyalty.
Studies done this year show that many consumers will favor
a company that ‘gives back’ to the community
in some way over a company that does not. Corporate responsibility,
coupled with good values such as integrity, gives an organization
substance and credibility plus an intangible ‘good
feeling’ factor that builds brand loyalty. More businesses
would do well to look at sponsorships, grants and other
types of affiliation with charitable causes. This type of
investment will yield big returns, especially if the cause
has traction with its target audiences.
5. Good reputation and trust matter. 2010
showed us that consumers do think about reputation and trust
in general, and certainly when making a purchasing decision.
We no longer take what authorities say to heart –
organizations must ‘walk the walk’ and earn
our trust. Companies that make an effort to be transparent
and have a culture of strong values and open, clear communication
are going to achieve a higher level of brand loyalty and
success than those that do not.
I hope you found this interesting and potentially of value
as you consider the year ahead. I wish you the best in 2011
and let me know if I can be of help at any point.