11 / 24 / 2015
Shepherds smell like sheep: Servant leadership in the workplace
10 / 01 / 2015
Today is my 30th anniversary at Borshoff. I’m celebrating the big 3-0 exactly one year after the agency turned 30. Yes, I started on the company’s first anniversary. Back when Ronald Reagan was president and Robert Orr was Indiana’s governor. My desk sported a second-hand IBM Selecric typewriter. And the agency didn’t yet offer health insurance.
Today, as they say, it’s a different world. The tools available to deliver communication strategies have multiplied. And the challenges are more complex. To me, the work is more exciting and rewarding than ever.
As communicators, we can be proud that the profession has grown along with a changing world. As an agency, Borshoff has certainly evolved.
We are more strategic today. We are smarter about research, and our clients are too. (Translation: As clients better understand the value of research, they’re more willing to invest in it.) Our plans are more focused and dynamic. (Why did we ever write 30-page treatises?) While our tactics are more varied, we always align them with a results-driven strategy. In so many ways, we’ve become more effective and more analytical. I believe we’re at a better place.
And yet for all the gigabytes and online monitoring, in spite of 6 a.m. emails and constant content generation, and with a smart phone that allows me to talk, text, email, tweet and post instantly – the core principles behind communications excellence have not changed since 1985.
Today, as we wisely meld public relations, brand development, internal communications and advertising, we remain true to these truths:
As Edward L. Bernays wrote back in 1928: “Modern business must have its finger continuously on the public pulse. It must understand the changes in the public mind and be prepared to interpret itself fairly and eloquently to changing opinion.”
True then. True in 1985. True today.The views expressed by this employee blogger are not necessarily the views of Borshoff, Inc.
4 / 24 / 2015
As Borshoff’s Digital Director, I look at trends specific to the digital world. Some of these are extensions of what we’ve seen happening during the last few years, and some are entirely new strategies being executed for the first time. Below are four trends that will be instrumental for brands seeking to maximize their digital presence in 2015.
With the growing number of consumers using mobile devices to access content from anywhere at any time, marketers will need to focus on mobile-optimized content and social strategies. Mobile ad revenue is expected to more than double to $24.5 billion by 2016. And, mobile ads perform 4-5 times better than online ads (iMedia Connection).
In addition, Google has reported they are placing additional emphasis on whether sites are mobile-optimized, and clarified that mobile usability is relevant for optimal search results. And, mobile searches will surpass desktop searches for the first time in 2015 (eMarketer).
With all this in mind, marketers will need to consider how mobile users are interacting and consuming information, and develop optimized content, mobile ads, and social strategies that are streamlined for viewing on a three inch screen.
Businesses are realizing that pushing ordinary or run-of-the-mill content does little to attract customers or increase search position. Creating quality content specific to the customer and their journey trumps creating a large quantity of posts they don’t relate to. Provide free articles, eBooks or white papers that offer true value to customers to increase engagement and subscribers. Creating valuable content across multiple channels will build trust, establish expertise and increase the likelihood customers will purchase your product or service.
In 2015, digital marketing personalization is becoming more necessary to rise above the growing content chatter. Innovative tools such as HubSpot, Marketo, and SimplyMeasured have emerged to support personalized digital marketing strategies. Personalization strategies attract customers with content they enjoy, while providing a wealth of data to adjust your strategy. By doing so, you will see an increase in location-targeting capabilities paired with retargeting (ads targeted to consumers who interact with certain brands) to create a more personalized digital marketing solution. A user’s digital footprint can be used in marketing automation to provide more customized, relevant, and valued content.
The use of photos and videos by marketers is shown to yield higher consumer engagement. This is supported by the rapid growth of image based social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine and SnapChat that have the ability to connect with people on an emotional level. Successful digital campaigns will incorporate image-based marketing strategies into multiple social channels. Not all audiences will be drawn to image centric advertising, such as boomers, so remember to dig into your audience data to make strategic decisions on the types of content that work best in each channel.The views expressed by this employee blogger are not necessarily the views of Borshoff, Inc.
2 / 17 / 2015
In this all-digital-all-the-time world, has the art of a hand-written, stamped and sent note been lost? I’d like to think not. I consider it ‘good mail.’ It waits there between the daily pile of bills and fliers, a fabulous envelope or postcard from a friend. Good mail brightens the day.
I recently had a year of exciting life events requiring a lot more correspondence with loved ones than usual, and while I chose email on occasion, everything else went out the old-fashioned way. I hand-picked fun stamps at the post office and found cool postcards to convey the invitation, the gratitude, the love and the cheer. The feedback I received signified that the effort was appreciated.
In this fast-paced communication age where everything seems to be abbreviated or rushed, I think a card or note to convey thanks still says a lot more than a thank you text. Sometimes a text is all that is needed, but if someone has gone out of their way for you, a nice note seems more on-par.
How do you connect with others outside of electronic communication when you want it to be more personal?The views expressed by this employee blogger are not necessarily the views of Borshoff, Inc.
2 / 13 / 2015
It seems like we hear about a new cyberattack on a major company each week, including the latest attack on Anthem, which hits close to home as my insurance carrier and an Indianapolis-based company. USA Today reported in September of last year that, “a staggering 43 percent of companies have experienced a data breach in the past year,” including Target, Home Depot, Michaels and Neiman Marcus. That’s up 10 percent from the year before.
The article also pointed out that more than 80 percent of breached companies that the credit information company Experian works with, “had a root cause in employee negligence,” which could include someone giving out their password, losing a USB or inadvertently clicking on an email attachment from a hacker. According to Trend Micro (Nov. 2012), 91 percent of targeted cyberattacks started with a deceptive “phishing” email enticing an employee to click on a link or an attachment.
Why am I, a communications professional, talking about this? Because communications is an integral part of educating employees and supporting an organizational change management initiative to change employee behaviors – and hopefully prevent a cyberattack.
Check out this award-winning montage from a video series we created to help do just that. Too often, cyber security is seen as an IT issue. You can have the best firewall or strongest brick house in the world, but it can’t help you if someone opens the door to your network and lets the big bad wolf in.The views expressed by this employee blogger are not necessarily the views of Borshoff, Inc.
10 / 23 / 2014
Agency’s internship boot camp teaches minority college students how to stand out, succeed
INDIANAPOLIS – Borshoff’s Diversity Internship Boot Camp has been named “Best PR Firm Diversity Initiative” by The Council of Public Relations Firms and PRWeek.
The Diversity Distinction in PR Awards honor excellence in leadership and promoting ethnic diversity within the public relations sector. The awards were announced Oct. 22 at the Council of PR Firms annual dinner in New York City.
Borshoff launched its inaugural Diversity Internship Boot Camp in 2014. This half-day program for minority freshman and sophomore journalism, public relations and communications students included interactive sessions on standing out as internship candidates, how to build resumes and portfolios, and an overview of skills needed to work in PR/communications.
Diversity Internship Boot Camp also featured a diverse panel of local communicators who shared their internship experiences, professional journeys and career advice.
“We have a long-standing commitment to diversity, and our Diversity Internship Boot Camp is the most intentional representation of our goal to grow the pool of qualified minority internship candidates and ultimately to increase the number of minority employees on staff,” said Borshoff Managing Principal Susan Matthews.
The panel of judges for the awards was comprised of a diverse group of respected professionals working in the fields of communications and diversity and inclusion, chaired by the editor-in-chief of PRWeek. Other award categories were Best Community Initiative; Best In-House Diversity Initiative; and Diversity Champion.
Borshoff’s Diversity Internship Boot Camp is part of the company’s diversity program. This overall initiative helps the agency create and maintain a diverse workplace where individual differences including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, lifestyle, age, disability, religion and culture are embraced and valued.
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Borshoff is an Indianapolis-based advertising and public relations agency whose professionals deliver results through strategic, creative solutions. Founded in 1984, the agency’s 57 employees work with more than 70 clients in a variety of industries. Borshoff is a partner in IPREX, an international partnership of independent communications firms. In 2014, Borshoff was again named a Best Place to Work by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.The views expressed by this employee blogger are not necessarily the views of Borshoff, Inc.
9 / 29 / 2014
I recently read a book that made me realize I am not as weird as I originally thought. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, is a beautifully written and researched book that lays out the myths and realities about introverted personalities.
The first thing I learned was the true difference between being shy and being introverted. Shyness is about the fear of social judgment and humiliation. But introversion is a preference for environments that are not overstimulating. As Susan Cain describes it:
Introverts feel “just right” with less stimulation, as when they sip wine with a close friend, solve a crossword puzzle, or read a book. Extroverts enjoy the extra bang that comes from activities like meeting new people, skiing slippery slopes and cranking up the stereo.
Of course, humans are complex beings, so these characteristics rarely hold up 100% of the time. Introverts can and do enjoy a good party every now and then, and extroverts do, in fact, take time to read!
Unfortunately, however, American culture considers introversion to be a problem to overcome, and many of our key institutions – schools, corporations, government – are designed for extroverts.
We’ve all experienced the trend toward collaborative work spaces, an insistence on group brainstorming and self-help books that push us to “come out of our shell.” But the reality is that introverts bring richness and depth to the world that we ignore or push down at our own peril. Consider these findings from Cain’s research:
So what do we do with our newfound appreciation for introverts? Cain suggests two simple action steps that can help us strike the right balance.
First, we must stop the madness of constant group work. In my role as a communicator, I recognize and appreciate the value that my entire team brings to our client work. But I also know that no truly brilliant idea was ever formed by committee. People need time to think on their own, and collaboration should follow after that.
Second, we must go to the wilderness. All of us are overstimulated by technology, multitasking and constant chatter from every channel that surrounds us. For introverts, this barrage can be debilitating. We shouldn’t feel guilty for the time we take to reset, and our extroverted colleagues and friends could find the same benefit from a little down time.
Regardless of where you fall on the introvert/extrovert spectrum, recognize your own tendencies and appreciate those in your life who are different from you. As Cain put it,
“Today we make room for a remarkably narrow range of personality styles. We’re told that to be great is to be bold, to be happy is to be sociable. We see ourselves as a nation of extroverts – which means that we’ve lost sight of who we really are. Depending on which study you consult, one third to one half of all Americans are introverts.”The views expressed by this employee blogger are not necessarily the views of Borshoff, Inc.
3 / 03 / 2014
Boot Camp. Though the name sounds a little intimidating, our Diversity Internship Boot Camp was such a treat to the students and to us, as hosts. The Boot Camp was part of Borshoff’s diversity initiative, which helps our agency create and maintain a diverse workplace where we embrace each other’s differences including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, lifestyle, age, disability, religion and culture. We believe everyone is important and brings value to the agency.
The purpose of Boot Camp was to teach students about internship opportunities at Borshoff, equip them with the knowledge they need to develop as standout interns, and grow our pool of qualified minority internship candidates. We had the privilege of hosting students – mostly freshmen and sophomores – from Butler University, Franklin College, Indiana University, IUPUI and UIndy. Thirteen students committed half of their Saturday to talk about public relations, communications and design. Several members of the Borshoff team shared advice on how to be standout interns, and the students responded with enthusiasm and insightful questions as we explored effective writing, resume and portfolio tips, social media pitfalls, career paths and other topics.
To help students get the most out of Boot Camp, we enlisted outside help as well. A few of the community’s brightest and most talented communicators – Gene Ford, IU Health; Danielle Neveles, Eli Lilly and Company; Jae Park, Interface; and Gene Rodriguez, WellPoint – shared their internship experiences, professional journeys and career advice. The students’ wide eyes, rapid-fire questions and “ah-ha” expressions were indicators that our panelists hit the mark! And when the panel discussion was over, the students lined up to keep the conversation going.
It was so inspiring to watch the students eagerly soak up information that could one day shape their futures. It made me feel great to play a small role in their journey. And I look forward to doing it again next year!The views expressed by this employee blogger are not necessarily the views of Borshoff, Inc.
2 / 27 / 2014
There have been all sorts of articles over the years about obstacles to change and the difference between change leadership and change management. Major organizational change can fail for a number of reasons if the change isn’t planned or executed effectively.
And while communicating organizational change is only a part of what makes major change successful, it’s a critical part that requires strategy, creativity and intentional effort.
Here are four elements to consider as you communicate major change in your organization:
In the end, change is only successful if it makes sense and people embrace it. They can’t embrace it if you don’t clearly communicate it to them in a way that compels them to join you. If the change is poorly designed, no amount of clever communication will make it successful. Remember, actions always speak louder than words.The views expressed by this employee blogger are not necessarily the views of Borshoff, Inc.
8 / 19 / 2013
“Do you have a second?” I’m asked this question a lot throughout the day. Granted, the person asking never really needs a “second” because what can really be accomplished in that amount of time? Not much, right? But in doing some research recently, my theory was proven wrong.
In our digital world, a lot of information is being shared fast, really fast. In fact, here are some statistics that show just how much is happening every second:
Every second! These numbers are daunting to me, as I try to understand the digital revolution. But then I think about my own habits, what I do digitally every day (every second of the day), and it all starts to make a little more sense. Whether I’m discussing a rich media ad campaign with coworkers or uploading my son’s first day of school photos to Facebook, I’m now asking the question, “What am I doing today that isn’t digital?”
When you send your next Tweet or post a photo to Instagram, keep these stats in mind, realizing you too are part of this communications revolution.
2013 digital statistics from MistMedia, Dublin, Ireland: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Slb5x5fixk4The views expressed by this employee blogger are not necessarily the views of Borshoff, Inc.
6 / 14 / 2013
It hasn’t been a good month for the NSA. With all of the back and forth, miscommunication and anger, the directors have hopefully learned that a clear, well-communicated message is better than reactively scrambling and hoping for the best. Even if they haven’t, we can learn a few things by how they’ve handled the situation.
Put Lipstick on the Pig
One approach to clear communication is to include visuals that accompany your message. The NSA released an “informative” PowerPoint presentation that was, well…not very informative.
All we learned from the presentation is that lots of logos on a slide combined with excessive amounts of text and diagrammed bubbles will only lead to confusion and ridicule. Of course, good design can go a long way to making visual communications effective.
The Medium is the Message
If you want to convince people that you aren’t spying on them, it’s probably best to avoid looking like you’ve been spying on them. For example: a senator called out a journalist for a tweet that was sent during a hearing that was still in session. That was probably a bad idea. “No, we’re not spying on you! Especially not you person who tweeted a thing!”
Stick. To. Your. Story.
The best way to ensure that your audience doesn’t hear your message is to keep changing it.
“We weren’t spying!”
“Spying isn’t bad!”
“What we did isn’t unconstitutional!”
“It was for your safety!”
No matter where the truth may lie, continuing to change your message can make it more difficult to educate your audience and will send another message: it’s possible that we messed up big.
So whether you’re preparing your next advertising campaign or responding to your own crisis (let’s hope it’s not domestic spying), remember to have a message and a strategy prepared before you start talking.The views expressed by this employee blogger are not necessarily the views of Borshoff, Inc.