Recent blog posts

Who remembers the Chevrolet Nova? Although it’s now past, it was one of the major marketing errors of the 20th century. In Spanish, the word “nova” doesn’t describe a type of star; rather, it means “it does not go” (no va). Had GM done their marketing research and consulted with even one Hispanic person, they never would have made such a faux pas.

The anecdote illustrates the importance of marketing with an eye on the fastest-growing buying market in the United States. Delaware’s Hispanic population grew from 15,820 in 1990 to 37,277 in 2000, an increase of 135.6 percent. Their numbers are so great that they’ve been compared to the Baby Boomers as a major driving force in the economy and culture.

For businesses, this population growth translates into increased revenues. Companies are scrambling to revamp products and marketing tools to reach what is now the nation’s fastest-growing consumer group.

Market studies indicate that Hispanics show stronger brand loyalty than do other population groups. This is particularly true when organizations show appreciation and respect for cultural identity as expressed through language. Even among highly-motivated professional Hispanics who are completely bilingual and operate in English, more bridges are formed and bonds strengthened when companies reach out to this demographic with well-translated communications in Spanish.


Building trust and mutual respect is crucial in business transactions. Consider a well-known example involving the Spanish translation of a major airline’s slogan, Rivera says. “The airline, touting its comfortable seats, urges you to ‘Fly in Leather’; however, the flawed translation of ‘Fly in Leather’ to the literal Spanish ‘Vuela en cuero,’ colloquially means ‘Fly Naked’.” Oops.

Yes, it’s funny. But humor aside, translators, editors and reviewers must be meticulous and attentive to detail in order to avoid these kinds of errors. You wouldn’t trust your computer technician to write your promotional marketing material just because he or she is fluent in English, would you? It follows then, that neither would you trust your company’s translations (and reputation) to someone in your office who speaks some Spanish.

The translation process is composed of hundreds of small tasks that translators must complete. They must assess the text for subtleties of meaning and accuracy of message. They must compose a compelling message that appeals to clients — just like we do in English, but with extra care, thought and work. By doing so, you will increase your client base in spite of a sluggish economy. And, your business plan won’t get lost in translation.

Tagged in: Content Marketing

Patricia Rivera

CTW Features

In a competitive market, a jobseeker’s experience is just part of the hiring equation. More employers now are alert to an applicant’s emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence involves the ability to identify, understand and manage the emotions of oneself, others and groups of people. Studies suggest that individuals with higher emotional intelligence may be more successful than people with lower emotional intelligence, even if their traditional IQs are average.

“People take their personal and social skills for granted, but they can help or hurt you,” says Lisa Caldas Kappesser, a Cincinnati career coach and author of “The Smart New Way to Get Hired” (Jist Works, 2010). “The interview is all about making the connection with the interviewer and communicating your value and benefit to the employer. This requires people skills, or what I call emotional intelligence skills.”

Interviewers expect applicants to be emotionally balanced. Since the interview is all about making a connection, both the interviewee and the interviewer need to be engaged in the conversation. But the applicant must be attentive to maintain that connection. Take time to listen, and let the interviewer do some of the talking. Read body language and facial expressions for signs that you are engaging your interviewer.

Self-awareness and self-management are key aspects to interviews, says Caldas Kappesser. It takes empathy – one aspect of emotional intelligence – to pick up on nonverbal cues from your interviewer and manage yourself accordingly. For example, consider the challenge of how to project confidence without giving the impression that you are cocky. Confidence reflects a sense of security about your skills and expertise. But if you start to come off as boastful in an interview, you risk appearing arrogant, and the interviewer is likely to begin disengaging with you.

“Shorten your answers if you suspect you are being too wordy or too focused on yourself,” Caldas Kappesser says.

Adele B. Lynn, a consultant in Belle Vernon, Penn., and author of several books on emotional intelligence, including “The EQ Interview” (AMACOM, 2008), says it’s crucial to stay positive during the job hunt and interviews. Never focus on negatives regarding your last job, company, boss or coworkers.

“Companies do not want to hire people who come across as complainers or critics. Even though you may think you have valid issues with your previous employer, the job interview is not the time or place to air them,” she says.

Lynn offers other tips for expressing with emotional intelligence during interviews

  • Use strong non-verbal cues that demonstrate emotional intelligence. These include smiling, making eye contact, listening attentively and showing respect to the hiring manager.
  • Use stories and data to describe yourself. Start by expressing your accomplishments in numbers and data. Then detail how you interact with others, anticipate their needs and build strong relationships with customers, peers and your boss. “You are proving your worth with the numbers and data, but you are enabling the interviewer to see that you value and can work with and serve others,” she says.
  • Be cautious of how you describe situations that didn’t go well. Take ownership for the lessons you learned from the experience. Then describe in detail how you responded, what you learned and what you have done differently since. We all make mistakes. Learning from them takes courage.
  • Avoid the seven common reflection errors. “More than likely, if you make one of these errors in your interview, you will not be hired. These include, Lynn says, blaming, justifying and rationalizing, psychoanalyzing, playing the victim, beating yourself up, getting angry or focusing only on your intentions and not the results of your behavior.
  • Keep the doors open. If you encounter rejection, be gracious. Express thanks for the opportunity. Other opportunities may arise that better suit your skills and experience. Begin to prepare yourself for a brighter future success by remaining positive and hopeful.

 

Copyright © CTW Features

 

 

Tagged in: Career Management

delaware web design – news releases

Pick up any newspaper and you’re bound to see them. Sometimes you see just a few, and sometimes dozens of them – news from local businesses about their services, products or employees.

Press releases, when written well and targeted to the right audience, can promote any business effectively. They work for large multi-national firms and your local family-owned landscaping company. They make you more visible in print and on the Web.

delaware web design – hispanics

Organizations that want to strengthen their client base in this sluggish economy
could reap the benefits of developing material en español.

The 45.5 million Hispanics in the United States control more disposable personal income than any other U.S. minority group. They’re purchasing products and services in person and online. According to Marketresearch.com, Hispanic consumers accounted for 15.6 percent of the overall increase in spending for goods and services over the last five years.

Tagged in: Content Marketing

delaware web design – ego

The most important thing to remember when developing a marketing plan is to always keep your customer at the forefront. All the time and effort put into creating a solid blueprint won’t mean a thing if you have the wrong subject in mind ― in other words, check your ego at the door!

Worry less about what’s good for your company and more about what’s good for your customer. Chances are, the former will take care of itself when more attention is paid to the latter.

delaware web design – budget cut

Though your marketing budget may be smaller this year, you should use new and better marketing strategies that draw in customers and grow your business.

Newt Barrett, founder of the marketing consulting firm Succeeding Today, is a lead thinker in this new way of communicating with customers.

Tagged in: Content Marketing

By Patricia Rivera

CTW Features

Get off the wheel for a few and develop a mission statement. Yes, these also exist for individuals and they do wonders in providing direction on a daily basis for work and life. Finding the right words to express your direction can help guide a job search or clarify a career direction.

“Think about when you are building a house. You invest in a blueprint because you want to be clear about the type of house you want to have,” says Debra S. Lund, director of corporate public relations for Franklin Covey, the Utah company that provides leadership training. “In the same way, mission statements define what you want to accomplish.”

Tagged in: Career Management

delaware web design – journalistMarketing guru David Meerman Scott, bestselling author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR, say journalists are best suited for developing great content. As experienced journalists, we couldn’t agree with him more! Read what he posted on his blog, www.webinknow.com.

Attention Marketers: Hire a Journalist!

On the speaking circuit when I talk about The New Rules of Marketing & PR (including thought leadership based marketing) and when I show examples from innovative organizations, nearly everyone in the audience enthusiastically embraces the ideas. Many people see the potential that thoughtful content has for their business and understand how different this approach is from the same old stuff they are doing (trying to convince the media to write about their widgets and buying expensive “on message” advertising).

Tagged in: Content Marketing

delaware web design – conversation

Where do you fall on the marketing divide?

Here’s the old approach: “No one can beat our price on the Hot Trend cell phone! It’s the latest! It’s the greatest! And it will make your life so much easier. But hurry! These prices won’t last. And the phones are selling fast.”

How does that compare to: “The Hot Trend—an easy-to-use, multifunctional cell phone—is packed with the latest technology. The remarkable battery can hold a charge for one month—even with continuous use. And it’s rechargeable, which saves you time and money.”

Tagged in: Content Marketing

delaware web design – storytelling in marketingOne of the foremost experts in the field of storytelling when applied to marketing is Jim Signorelli, author of the new book “StoryBranding: Creating Stand-Out Brands Through The Power of Story.”  Signorelli share some very clear ideas behind why storytelling is such an effective marketing tool in this day and age.

We’re valuing creativity more than in the past

Firstly, Signorelli argues that in an age of technology, the qualities which we value in people are changing. The left-hand side of the brain, associated with mathematical calculations and organization, are the functions which are increasingly being taken over by computers and other machinery. Consequently, right-hand brain functions, such as creativity and interpersonal skills, are becoming more valued because they don’t require computer use. Storytelling is one of those skills. The rise of popularity of sites like Twitter and Facebook are, in effect, places where people can tell stories to one another. Uploading pictures allows users to illustrate their stories, and their friends are able to comment on the narrative and add to the overall story.

Stories make an impression in the heart and mind

When applied to marketing, telling an effective story can enhance a brand’s perception. When customers choose one brand over another, they do so because the chosen brand reflects their key values in some way. Many people are even happy to advertise the brands which are important to them on their clothing or by fixing a sticker onto their car. Signorelli explains that story branding is about using stories to help these truths resonate more strongly with consumers, in the way in which companies such as Disney, Apple or Southwest Airlines have done with their marketing strategies.

Story branding or marketing by storytelling should not be confused, however, with pure advertising. The technique of advertising through telling a story has been around for a while. Story branding is more about learning how stories are created and formed – devising creative hooks, of course –and then developing a strategy that truly elevates the brand.

Trying to pack more tasks into a set amount of time? Not life coach Joan Friedlander, who sees that perspective as “so ‘90s” in a culture in which more people work harder and longer than is humanly sustainable.

“We are living with undue stress and an unwarranted sense of personal failure. Burnout is the norm,” said Friedlander, owner of Lifework Business Partners in suburban Washington, D.C. (http://www.lifeworkpartners.com).

Even though technology can lighten the load by providing more freedom and productivity, expectations in the workplace can be high, leading to long-term stress for employees. Friedlander said it’s up to individuals to draw boundaries and dare to work less. “By doing so, you take charge of your productivity, increase your effectiveness and reduce stress caused by trying to keep up with unreasonable expectations,” she said.

Instead of asking how you can get more done in less time, determine what you can do in the time available. Reposition your thinking so that you don't have to work days, nights and weekends to succeed at work, she said. Think about the end result: “The harder and longer you work, the more you risk your happiness, health and productive capacity.”

Following are Friedlander's strategies for putting yourself first. She suggests selecting two or three to start.

·Fully disengage from business or work for a minimum of 24 sequential hours every week.

·Unsubscribe from every mailing list and publication that doesn't directly matter to you or your business.

·Schedule energetically similar activities into blocks of time.

·Spend one to two hours each morning on a high-priority project before checking email.

·Select email settings and notifications so that you only receive new email when you "ask" for it.

·Get real about your personal capacity. Assume an average of six to seven productive hours a day. More than that, and the law of diminishing returns comes into play.

·Nix the endless to-do list and take a “can-do” approach to setting priorities. Focus on no more than three "power tasks" that you know you can do in one day.

Copyright © CTW Features

delaware web design – storiesStorytelling, a universal art that has been around for centuries, is one of the most valuable and effective ways of developing a positive relationship between a customer and a business. The concept of storytelling is quite alien to many marketers. That is why we wanted to come up with pointers to get you to start thinking about your company’s story.

1. Some of the best brands have been created from a story about why the brand exists. The story of Apple, for example, was about a creative business trying to take on the much larger corporations such as IBM and Microsoft. Identify what the core story is which represents your company, its brands, history and vision, and then use this as the building block for all stories.

2. Many of a company’s staff and customers will have some great stories to tell about a company and the brands. Most companies don’t take time to listen to what customers are saying about them, but this can be the best way of finding out what people are saying and translating this into a marketing campaign. People are happy to tell you their stories, if you let them. This can be done through blogs, speaking to staff or asking customers to email you with experiences and comments. Using this method to source stories is also very cost effective

3. Telling stories effectively can make a difference to the company’s bottom line. A good story is one which triggers the emotions and makes the customer eager to buy from the company. The main triggers for this buying behavior are emotion, egocentricity, contrast and the power of beginnings.

4. Storytelling can be powerful, but it’s not just about words. Using storytelling as part of the brand strategy means that all aspects of the business have to reflect that story and emotion that is being conveyed. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that everything in the company is telling the same story. That means everything from the company’s headed notepaper to the packaging the product comes in, and everything in between. All of the staff employed by the company should also be up to speed with what the key USP and selling point of the business is, and their behavior should also reflect these core values and story of the company.

5. Honest companies tell the best stories. Consumers have become wise to many marketing techniques which previously proved effective, and will not be taken in by a story which is quickly constructed, has little basis in fact and seems too incredible to believe. Therefore, it is essential that stories created by the company are true and that the people telling the stories can deliver them in a convincing manner.

delaware web design – web traffic

The days of brochure websites are long gone. Nowadays you need a vibrant website with rich content that drives leads and sales. Even small businesses have to stay up to speed with the demands of the public. At the very least you should incorporate these 8 must-have elements into your website:

1. Search engine optimization: You should be optimizing each page so that it reflects a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Think about what words your prospects may use or should use when they search for your company. You want to establish a list of keywords typed into search engines for each of your pages. Make sure to include those keywords, which will help improve the visibility of your website, on your headline, subheads, content, image tags and links.

2. Strong brand storytelling: By developing a story line around your products or services, you connect with your website visitor on an emotional level. Brand storytelling is most effective when it targets a group of customers who identify strongly with the message being communicated, and pass the story along to their friends. In order to identify what stories they should be telling and in what manner, strengthen your company’s USP (Unique Selling Point). By being clear about what it is that the company is trying to achieve, and ensuring that the story is built around this point, you will get your message out efficiently and effectively.

3. Engaging and fresh content: Frequent updates are important to any vibrant and growing website. These updates present value to returning visitors and allow outdated information to be replaced by current news, views and media. A website that receives frequent updates encourages repeat visits and ranks higher in search engine results. Strong content also helps tell your story. Instead of pushing your products and services, write fresh content that places you as an expert in your field – and make sure it supports your SEO strategy.

4. A blog: Setting up and maintaining a blog is affordable, and the return is well worth the investment. A blog is a must because it appears in search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo! Search engines are a tremendous source of Internet traffic and they enable potential clients and customers to discover your blog without any additional work on your part. Having a blog harnesses the power of the Internet and attracts visitors you may not have reached otherwise.

5. Effective call-to-action lines: You need to know what you want customers to do in as many pages as possible. Should they call to ask about a special offer? Should they fill out a contact form? Should they “like” you on Facebook? Invite them to take action with elements that stand out, whether they’re images or bold links. Make them attractive.

6. Share and connect widgets: If you have a Facebook or Twitter page, you want to make it easy for prospects to connect with you. Make sure to include all social media links for your organization in addition to sharing widgets and plugins. These will allow prospects to share content that they like on your site with all their social networks.

7. Easy-to-find contact info: There needs to be an easy way that website visitors can share information, praise, suggestions and even corrections if necessary. A lack of contact information serves to alienate visitors. A strong website gives its visitors the opportunity to interact and feel valued. You also want to include forms that make it easier for prospects to request more information or download a special offer.

8. Multiple content mediums: A combination of photos, videos and articles engages a variety of different readers and makes the overall appearance of a website more pleasing to the eye. A page filled with nothing but text can cause eyestrain while a page showcasing nothing but photos and videos lacks information. That's why a perfect blend of these three media is ideal.

If you’d like to brainstorm ways to strengthen your websites, or if you are interested in an affordable website re-design, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Is your Facebook welcome mat out?

Posted by on in Uncategorized

Many business owners legitimately ask whether the expense of maintaining a social media presence can be justified by a decent return on investment. After all, they already have websites with blogs and contact forms. Isn't Facebook just another layer of social interaction to manage without significant advantage? In short, no. Facebook offers considerable advantages when compared to other methods of marketing, and the primary way it does this is by enabling a company to create a landing page (also known as a welcome page) to better engage new and loyal users.

Facebook has over half a billion users, a number which grows by the day. The chances are that a large proportion of the people a company wants to reach will have a Facebook account and use it as a major part of their social interaction. They will expect a business to have a Facebook presence, and if they don't and their competitors do, then a chance for generating a lead is lost.

Social networks allow marketers to target their message in a much more segmented fashion. The users who "like" your page on Facebook have already demonstrated an interest in the products or services that a company offers. Messages can be targeted very precisely, reducing marketing overhead by increasing the likelihood of conversions.

In the era of social networking, consumers expect that there will be an easy way to contact a company. They won't be impressed by a pointer to the help-line. They want to feel that there is immediate way to voice their opinion, whether positive or negative, and although this is a bit of a public relations nightmare on occasion, allowing customers to address grievances, and letting other customers see that, creates a sense of confidence and connection between a company and its customers. It allows customers to feel there is a two-way relationship, which increases customer loyalty.

An engaging Facebook landing page also provides an excellent platform for content marketing. Companies tend to produce a wide range of different media and marketing material. A Facebook page allows them to push all this content into one stream, and have it fed to interested consumers. It helps create a sense of community and brand awareness. Facebook landing pages have the advantage of being a long-term presence in the life of customers.

Rather than just the big marketing extravaganza at product launch, companies can gradually create a consistent and integrated brand image.Those without a Facebook landing page, in the era when social media is where it's at, are going to be gradually left behind, in favor of competitors who are more aggressive with their new media strategy.

You ready for an engaging Facebook welcome page? Ask about our discounted rates, 302.858.5055.

A Blog About Reeling In Clients

Hype doesn't work anymore. To capture the attention of increasingly sophisticated consumers, you need to hook them with valuable information that empowers them to make informed decisions about your industry and your offerings. This blog is dedicated to chatting about the most effective ways to develop rich and engaging content. Join the conversation!

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The Story Behind Hook PR Group

 Hook PR Group employs brand storytelling techniques and innovative content marketing strategies to help small businesses catch the attention of their current and future clients. Simply put, we help you ignite interest in your company's personality and promise by combining a great story with sound marketing techniques. Together, we’ll determine which tactics – blogs, press releases, e-newsletters, social networking sites, etc. – will help you make your brand a trusted source of information in your industry. Not reeling in as many clients as you'd like in these difficult times? Maybe you just don't have the right bait.Call us for a free brainstorming session.