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Be a Graphic Designer in 4 Short Weeks…NOT! (i.e. the value of a true graphic designer)

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“Learn Graphic Design in 4 Short Weeks!” …has anyone else seen this Facebook ad?

I have now seen it several times. As a professional graphic designer with formal training and more than 30 years of experience, the fact that the ad was targeted to me did, perhaps, color my perception of it right from the start.

The comments from other Facebook viewers were not what I expected. They questioned what programs are required and whether it was really 4 weeks of free training. The best response by the company that posted the ad was, “Actually it is an eight-week course, and the first 4 weeks are free.” Really? Bait and switch at play and yet people were still interested in the offering.

You cannot learn graphic design in 4 weeks or 8 weeks…at least not enough to become proficient and knowledgeable enough to do it for a career.

Over the years, I have fixed the “design” files of many people who claimed to be graphic designers, having taken a short course or purchased a self-taught program or two. The fact is: anybody can use the software but not everyone has the skills required to do it well without proper instruction. Sure, you can open a blank document in InDesign with guidelines set for your text and your photos. Place the photos, maybe make a few bigger than others, but is that design?

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“I See Your True Colors”…or Do I?

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“What difference does it make what color I use? I’m just going to use what I think looks good,” said many a graphic design intern I have mentored over the years.

There is a logical reason for every color choice, but first, start with black and white.

Begin your design process in simple black and white (and greys), because color plays a very important role in how we view everything we look at. In the design world, whether it is a brochure, a sign, a game box or an ever-important logo, color affects perception and preference.

I once created several variations of a logo using different colors. Upon presenting in front of a committee for feedback, I was overwhelmed with a variety of opinions. Adding color to them distracted the viewers from the actual look of the logo, and many were analyzing them with color in mind. Upon recreating them in black and white, a mutual agreement was easier to be reached based on the design alone. If you start your design process with color first before basic design, you limit creativity based on color first, NOT the design.

The next important rule of design with color? Consider your target audience. In my many years of designing packaging, products, promotional material and logos for a game and toy company, I discovered the need to start with the age demographic. It will jumpstart the design process and incorporating color.

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I Can See Three Dinosaurs

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Ever see those jumbled up paintings?

You know the kind where there are always at least three people standing around staring at it with one saying, “I don’t see anything. You’re both nuts.”

And another responding, “What do you mean you don’t see it? They’re right there! Three dinosaurs! Just stare at it for a while, you’ll see it.”

And the third person loses countless hours staring…and staring…and staring…

Well, that is art. I was once asked in art school, “What is art?” Some students had answers, others looked either scared to respond or hoped they wouldn’t be called on. The professor answered, “Art is what you want it to be. It is what the eye perceives. I can hold up this pencil and call it art because I say it is.”

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First KMK Staffer Gets "The Shot"

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It was believed to start in China. A strange virus able to spread quickly to the immune system of any one of us. It has no favorites and seems to most seriously affect the elderly and those with low immune systems. It soon spread throughout our country. Many thought they were invincible and refused wearing masks or taking precautions. They were bitter and angry when restaurants closed down and stores denied them entrance without masks.

Jobs were furloughed and employers encouraged people to look for other employment. Some began to lose their jobs, once thinking they were crucial to the company’s success. Thousands and thousands flooded LinkedIn, Indeed, and Zip Recruiter looking for employment within a scarce number of available jobs, and many people are still searching for employment.

Schools changed the way they teach. Children taught themselves to learn remotely, parents worked at home, Zoom became a word as popular as Kleenex. The year 2020 changed the way we lived and how to survive. Surviving the loss of a job, the double duty of working at home and spending more time with children, longing to return to the “old normal” of no masks and not hearing the daily COVID death count while hoping for a cure.

In 2020, a vaccine was created. The essentials were first to receive it…doctors, nurses, medics, emergency providers, teachers, etc. We put our names on a list hoping to be next. It is not 100% effective, but in my opinion, if I am 90% safer and protected from getting the disease, then the vaccine is definitely worthwhile. I will be the “human guinea pig” as some vaccine non-believers call me. It’s us human guinea pigs that helped find the cure for Smallpox, Measles, Chicken Pox, Polio and so many others that killed thousands of people in the early 1900s.

So, I became the first of the KMK staff to receive the vaccine. Does this mean I can whip off the mask and act like Superman….indestructible to everything? Everything that is, but Kryptonite, the one thing that could make the invincible superhero weak and vulnerable. The vaccine is my hopeful cure to the “old normal” and the virus is the Kryptonite, needing to be destroyed.

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How Facebook Has Changed During COVID-19

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For better or for worse, this year’s slew of postponed and cancelled events has given people much more free time. If you’re one of Facebook’s nearly 3 billion users, you’ve likely spent more time scrolling through your newsfeed as a result. During that endless scrolling, you may have noticed some changes to the user experience that have been introduced over the last several months.

Updated InterfaceRemember when our biggest worry about Facebook was when we would have to switch over to the dreaded timeline? The most recent Facebook design that we’ve all become familiar with was removed in September, replaced by a plainer interface meant to highlight Facebook’s newer features like Watch and Facebook Gaming. However, the plainness and reorganization of icons and buttons has brought its fair share of criticism. COVID wasn’t the catalyst for Facebook’s overhaul (it was announced in April 2019), but the update still came at a time where users, living in a world that has changed virtually every day this year, may have appreciated some familiarity.

More AdvertisementsFacebook spending increased 19% in the first six months of 2020 and the influx of Facebook usage has caused desktop users to see nearly 25% more ads since the beginning of March according to Ad Age. It may seem odd that more advertising money was being spent during an economic downturn, but these advertisements have been promoting hot ticket items like branded masks, virtual entertainment, and at-home activities more so than typical COVID-less goods and have become a staple of the Facebook experience.

No Political AdvertisementsSince this is a newer change, you may have not yet noticed that Facebook stopped running new political ads starting October 27 and banned them entirely after polls closed to limit the spread of misinformation this election season. The change is not expected to be permanent, but there is no timetable for when they will be reinstated.

What This All MeansIf you only use Facebook for personal reasons, nothing here has likely created any major challenges. It may take some time to adjust to the new interface and the surge of ads might be annoying, but you shouldn’t be affected otherwise. For people like myself who run multiple Facebook pages, create advertisements, and track analytics, this has created some difficulties.

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Irr-Reese’s-tible: Do Favorite Candies Top the Temptation of Advertisements?

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The best candy will forever be a topic of debate. Fruity vs. chocolatey. Chewy vs. crunchy. Sweet vs. sour. Americans spend egregious amounts of money specifically on Halloween candy each year. In 2019, Americans spent $2.6 billion on Halloween candy, a number that’s rising in 2020 according to the National Confectioners Association. To celebrate the approaching holiday season, candystore.com released its annual list of the nation’s top 10 Halloween candies which are:

1. Skittles2. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups3. Starburst4. M&M’S5. Hot Tamales6. Candy Corn7. Snickers8. Sour Patch Kids9. Hershey Kisses10. Jolly Ranchers

Americans clearly have their favorite candies and are willing to spend big on them, whether it be for themselves or someone else. This got me thinking: Since virtually everyone has a favorite candy, does advertising these specific candies do much? If everyone in the country knows what they look like, taste like, and already has a favorite, is it worth it?

To answer this question, I compiled a graph with television advertising statistics I found on ispot.tv. I focused on television ads because it was the easiest to find data on. Unfortunately, there was no data available for Hot Tamales, Jolly Ranchers, and the too general candy corn. The candy with available data appears on the graph in order of popularity.

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Insult Your Customers on Social Media? These Businesses Do It Successfully Every Day.

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Have you ever scrolled through Facebook and seen someone post a complaint about a product or customer service on a company’s post? The typical response is something along the lines of:

“Hi, so-and-so. We are sorry to hear you had a bad experience and we would like to make things right. Please call us at xxx-xxx-xxxx so we can resolve the issue.”

Sure, it’s a standard cookie cutter response, but it’s how customer service on social media has always been run. Work with customers and make them happy so they’ll keep buying your product or service. But what if there’s another way to respond to customer complaints? What if the social media team fights back?

 

 

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The World of Reddit Marketing

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If you’re unfamiliar with Reddit, it’s a 15-year-old website that has thousands of different groups or “subreddits” that users can join (picture Facebook groups, except that’s the entirety of the website). Each user-created subreddit (whose name is preceded by r/) is based around a topic that ranges from something general and popular like r/movies, r/cars, or r/photography which boast millions of members, to extremely niche groups like r/ShaqHoldingThings, a subreddit dedicated to pictures of legendary NBA big man Shaquille O’Neal holding everyday objects that dwarf in comparison to him. Whatever the topic may be, Reddit is a diverse social media platform, and advertisers have tried to take advantage of users’ wide array of interests.

How It WorksReddit’s advertising system is similar to that of Instagram. Ads are placed in a user’s newsfeed which they see as they scroll through the website. The problem with this system, however, is that users don’t pay attention to something they can scroll right past. They don’t grab the attention of the user and they are quickly dismissed with the swipe of a thumb. However, individuals have discovered how to market themselves on Reddit through their own personal profiles.

Celebrity Self-PromotionReddit is known as a platform where it’s simple to reach out and have a conversation with other users. A popular subreddit is r/IAmA, where celebrities will create a personal profile and answer questions that fans comment over a few hours. This interaction, also known as an “Ask Me Anything” or “AMA,” has led to a hugely positive Reddit reputation for Rick Astley and Arnold Schwarzenegger, both of whom frequently post old photos and participate in AMAs with fans. Both post updates about their lives, projects they’ve been working on, and reply to fan comments which always garner plenty of attention. For a major figure, Reddit can be beneficial marketing tool because a profile is free to make and posting is a simple process, but that simplicity doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone.

When Reddit Marketing Goes WrongThe most famous Reddit PR blunder came courtesy of video game giant Electronic Arts. EA has their own profile on Reddit to interact with customers of their many major titles such as FIFA, Madden, The Sims, and the Battlefield series. While EA produces some of the world’s most popular video games, they are maligned for their “pay-to-play” system where users must pay extra to unlock special content in many of their games.

In 2018, one Reddit user posted on r/StarWarsBattlefront (a then new game from the corporation) that they were upset because they paid $60 for the video game, but several of Star Wars’ most famous figures were locked as playable characters. The only way to unlock every character was to either play the game for 4,500 hours or pay $2,100 worth of in-game transactions. For comparison, a typical video game takes somewhere around 20 hours to complete. Obviously, most people can’t afford to sink over $2,000 into a video game which left extreme amounts of gameplay as the only option to unlock several characters.

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Rockford's Hottest Brands

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I recently read an article about “America’s Hottest Brands” in Ad Age magazine. The article covered the companies, products, and people that thrived during quarantine. Everyone remembers how the Tiger King and Michael Jordan were on every television in America. And who could forget how Zoom engulfed our everyday lives? Even on a local level, there were brands that exploded in popularity over the past few months. Here’s a quick list of some of Rockford’s hottest brands during quarantine.

Rockford Art DeliAs one of the earliest COVID marketing campaigns, the Rockford Art Deli’s “Here for Good” collection took the 815 by storm and never let up. Local businesses submitted shirt designs that were made-to-order through the Art Deli’s website and received $10 from each shirt sold to help support the business during quarantine. The campaign ran from late March until June 1 and collected $100,000 distributed to 400 local businesses. The Art Deli printed an astounding 10,000 shirts by hand and needed months to fulfill all the orders. They were undoubtedly Rockford’s hottest brand during the stay-at-home order.

Lino’sOne of the local businesses that had a “Here For Good” shirt also was one of the most successful restaurants during the stay-at-home order. Many families (including mine) ordered takeout from local restaurants to give us something to do. One of the first restaurants that we ordered from was Lino’s because of their updated carryout menu and efficient drive-thru system that fulfilled orders while keeping everyone safe. This streamlined process and quick thinking was a big reason why Lino’s thrived. Their drive-thru became so popular that their Mother’s Day prime rib special caused cars to be backed up onto East State Street waiting to get their orders.

Rockford Area Convention & Visitors BureauThe RACVB made the most out of a bad situation and kept an uplifting attitude during a tough time for everyone. They started the “Clean Hands, Open Doors Pledge” to encourage local businesses to follow COVID-19 CDC guidelines and protect their staff and customers. Since it began, over 200 local businesses have taken the pledge. The RACVB also started a “LunchChat” webinar series. Each webinar featured conversations about current information, ideas, and inspirations for local businesses during the pandemic. Even recently, the RACVB installed a new public art piece in Davis Park. They have been encouraging people to take pictures in front of the piece and post them on social media for their #HereInRockford contest. One random winner will receive a one-night stay at the new Embassy Suites downtown as well as a gift certificate to its rooftop restaurant. Not only is this a fun marketing campaign for the city and the Embassy Suites, it also encourages residents to visit downtown and support the nearby local business.

Sinnissippi GardensOne of the only things we have been able to do in recent months (besides eating and watching Miles Nielsen on his “Quaranstreams” online) is go outside. As a result, Sinnissippi Gardens became a favorite for my family and many others. The free outdoor gardens have drawn people looking to get out of the house while remaining socially distanced. Thankfully, the gardens are large enough to accommodate the sudden influx of people. With a bike path, river, lagoon, and flowers as far as the eye can see, Sinnissippi has become the go-to place for families. I drive past the Nicholas Conservatory parking lot every morning on the way to work, and it is busy at every time of day.

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Note to Schools: Write Home and Write Often

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As a parent, my kids are looking forward to returning to school in person on September 2nd. I think all parents and students are eagerly anticipating the start of school and some sort of routine, no matter if it’s in person or remote learning.

I’ve tried not to fan the flame of social media fires with explosive complaints, pleas for more information or questions about changes to the school day structure. I know the answers will come – eventually.

I also know most districts are completely retooling their business model in the course of several weeks, even making substantial changes on a daily basis within days of school starting due to changes in COVID positivity rates, teacher and family concerns and a host of other issues.

As a marketing professional who works with many schools—both public and private--in our region, I’m hopeful that once the dust settles on carving out solid plans schools will turn their sights to communication with families and never lose that focus in the weeks and months ahead.

Even in optimal school years, the most conscientious kids often don’t remember to communicate information home from schools. My expectation as a communication professional and as a parent is this year will pose an even bigger communication struggle for families. Students have too many worries right now, too many unusual protocols to get used to, atypical schedules, emotional rollercoasters and unknown health outcomes.

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Let There Be Rock: How the Live Music Industry is Navigating the Summer of COVID

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In early August, concert promotion and ticketing company Live Nation Entertainment reported a 98% drop in second quarter revenue compared to last year. Because of this year’s COVID-compromised concert season, there have been thousands of refunded tickets and postponed concerts (including my postponed Judas Priest tickets you see here), causing Live Nation to report a loss of $86 million in ticketing for the quarter. While pop stars and concert arenas can most likely survive financially until their next show, small artists and venues are still scrambling to come up with innovative marketing ideas to keep their instruments in hand and their doors open.

At first, drive-thru and socially-distanced concerts seemed like a solution. It reduced the likelihood of infection and still retained some of the feeling of a live show. However, their popularity quickly declined once venues realized they were losing money even with reduced crowds and that not many concertgoers wanted to sit in their cars to see their favorite artists. Some artists just ignored the virus and played shows as if life was normal. While that is definitely not the right solution, there have been plenty of successful marketing ideas that are keeping fans, artists, and venues satisfied while they anxiously await their rescheduled dates.

BANDCAMP FEE WAIVERBandcamp, a website that allows independent artists to sell their own music and merchandise, has been waiving fees on the first Friday of every month since the pandemic started. With no fees being taken from an artist’s sale, Bandcamp is ensuring that all fan-produced revenue is going directly to the artist. This has become a popular marketing message point on social media. When the first Friday of the month is near, my Facebook newsfeed is filled with small artists advertising the fee waiver and asking for fans’ support. It’s working too. On March 20, the first day when fees were waived, fans spent a total of $4.3 million on the website, 15 times more than a normal Friday.

VIRTUAL CONCERTSWhile no one expected virtual concerts to be a replacement for in-person concert experiences, they have been popular options for artists big and small. Utilizing Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, artists have been playing livestreamed sets for fans to enjoy from the comfort of their homes. For 21 weeks, Rockford favorite Miles Nielsen and his wife Kelly Steward have been performing what they’ve dubbed “Quaranstreams,” 60 to 90-minute-long sets livestreamed on Nielsen’s Facebook page for over 3,000 fans. While streaming, similar to other virtual concerts, Nielsen and Steward promote their merchandise and share links to their PayPal and Venmo accounts for anyone interested in giving a tip. Based on the happy comments and high viewership, it’s safe to say that the “Quaranstreams” are successful while also maintaining aspects of the live music experience like tips and merchandise.

COVID MERCHANDISESpeaking of merchandise, artists have gotten creative with new COVID-inspired products to sell to fans. Just about every major artist has their own branded facemask now, but there are some other products that stand out from the crowd. KISS, the undisputed kings of artist branding, created a Stay At Home Tour shirt, the proceeds of which are donated to the Global Relief Fund For Live Music Crews. Wu-Tang Clan quickly sold out of their “Protect Ya Hands” hand sanitizer to benefit the homeless. For each bottle sold, the group donated a bottle to the Ottawa Mission Foundation and donated additional profits to other homeless shelters in Canada. However, the title for “Best COVID Band Merch” goes to Devo and their energy dome face shield. When a problem comes along, the face shield will protect you in case someone has to sneeze and whips it your way. All lyrical puns aside, creative marketing like this is the best way for bands to make a living with no shows on the horizon. According to Dell Furano, CEO of Live Nation Merchandise, touring artists typically earn between 10 and 35 percent of their revenue through merch sales.

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How to Become a Media Expert? Develop a Good “RAP!”

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So, you want to be a media expert? It’s great exposure for you and your organization; it makes you appear knowledgeable, and it lets you delve into the broadcast world just enough to get a flavor of the fun without tumbling into the sometimes crazy abyss.You might think “experts” who are frequently called on by reporters for interviews are more educated, more accomplished and more skilled than their counterparts and, therefore, more qualified to give media interviews.Nope. That’s typically not the story.Often, the reason the same people get called on by reporters for interviews again and again is because they have a good “RAP.”RAP stands for Responsive, Approachable, and Prepared. Let’s break it down...Be responsive. When a reporter calls, he or she is usually chasing more than one story, more than one interview and balancing breaking news with broken gear plus a lack of adequate staffing with a lack of time. The “do more with less” mentality has been alive and kicking in newsrooms across the country for years already; the rest of corporate American is still catching up. The more responsive you are, the more likely you are to snag the interview and receive the first call next time.Be approachable. Share your cell phone and email address with the reporter. If you haven’t worked with the reporter previously, make small talk and find some common ground in sports teams, hometowns or mutual love for hot weather. Above all, be kind, patient and helpful. Reporters are people, too, and fostering a good relationship can be mutually beneficial.Be prepared. You don’t need to have complete knowledge of the subject to be able to give an interview. You do need to know why the reporter is covering the story and what he or she hopes to gain from your interview. You can ask those questions when setting up the interview to help you prepare. Then, jot down three main points you want to get across during the interview and stick to those key messages. If the reporter strays into unfamiliar territory with his or her questions, come back to your three main points or simply respond that you don’t know the answer but will follow-up.Feel like you flopped your interview? It’s okay. For most reporters, having one source is better than having no source, no matter how good. Also, it’s a sound bite—not a speech. Remember that for all your verbal stumbling, there is probably at least one :10-:20 sound bite that is usable and will work for the reporter’s needs.Follow the above tips and you’ll be well on your way to developing a good “RAP” with reporters and gaining traction on your media mentions!

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Play Ball: The COVID Curveball to Fan and Stadium Marketing

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Baseball and basketball fans across the globe are anxiously awaiting the return of their favorite teams. Both the MLB and NBA are slated to resume play shortly with COVID-related restrictions. One of the biggest changes is fans aren’t allowed to attend games for the remainder of the season. While this is obviously disappointing, current conditions have led to some creative PR and marketing to keep fans happy.

One of the first brilliant marketing ideas I’ve seen so far is courtesy of the Oakland Athletics. Their idea (which has now been replicated by other MLB teams) allows fans to submit a photo of themselves to be made into a cardboard cutout and placed into the stands at their home stadium. The team offers different price points. The most expensive at $149 lands your cutout in the new ALS CURE Project Foul Ball Zone. In exchange, you get two tickets to a 2021 home game, receive an autographed photo from A’s outfielder Stephen Piscotty, and if a foul ball lands at your cutout, he will provide them with a signed baseball. In addition, proceeds from cutouts purchased in this section will be donated to the Piscotty Family Foundation to find a cure from ALS. Piscotty’s mother died from ALS in 2018.

The NBA has a more complex situation than the MLB. Select NBA teams (based on their record before the COVID shutdown) are currently residing at Walt Disney World Resorts to finish their season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando -- without fans. Since the remainder of games will be played at one location, every NBA arena is vacant. To utilize this empty space for fans and community members, teams like the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings are converting their arenas into socially distanced voting centers for the upcoming fall elections. The teams are also providing free parking, staff, and even ad campaigns within their respective cities to encourage citizens to vote.

To identify with fans and promote NBA players’ ideals, the NBA is also allowing players to replace the last name on their jersey with a social justice message for the remainder of the season. The idea appears to be a huge hit among players. As of July 8, 285 of 350 eligible players had chosen a message to display on their jerseys, the most popular of which is ‘EQUALITY.’ These messages, along with the arena conversions, should prove to be a successful way for players and teams to support their local communities and connect with fans.

While it’s yet unknown how successful a COVID-affected sports season will be, the MLB and NBA have put all their efforts into creating a safe and enjoyable environment for players and fans alike. Let’s play ball!

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Mother's Day Mayhem

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Mother’s Day proved some businesses have been more adept than others at adjusting to accommodate COVID-19 online ordering, curbside pick-up and delivery. Red Lobster had a lot of clean-up to do after the recent holiday, proving now more than ever, it’s important when things don’t go according to plan that businesses protect their brand with good PR and customer service!

Red Lobster CEO Apologizes for Mother’s Day Mayhem

Public relations crisis management counsels that brands should own their mistakes promptly, apologize when there are victims and communicate how they are making things right. Red Lobster’s CEO Kim Lopdrup did that yesterday.

For many Americans, the tradition on Mother’s Day is to give mom a day off from cooking. As a result, it’s a big day for restaurants. It was this year, too, though nearly all orders were take-out, of course. Unfortunately, Mother’s Day 2020 became a problem for some restaurants and several Red Lobster locations in particular.

Some restaurants, including Red Lobster, ran specials for Mother's Day, but failed to anticipate how much demand there would be during the pandemic. For Red Lobster, Sunday was its biggest online day ever. As it turned out, the restaurant's online systems accepted orders that staff ultimately was unable to fulfill. With all orders online, demand projection should have been doable. That was not the case.

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It was the Best of Times and the Worst of Times. Day 762 of Working at Home.

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Okay, so it’s not day 762 but some days it feels like it. The KMK team is still fully employed, fully engaged with its clients on a daily basis and, dare we say, busy.

Like many businesses, KMK employees could work at home in the past due to sick children, a home repair scheduled or bad weather conditions.

COVID-19 has pushed all of us into a 100% work at home schedule. KMK decided to poll its team members, see how they’re doing, and ask what’s the best and worst thing about working at home. Here’s what we found out:

WORST: Working at home with young children – from e-learning to boredom and always going to mom, NOT dad!BEST: Working at home with my dog.WORST: Not having face-to-face client meetings.BEST: Saving money on hair and makeup—haha!WORST: Realizing how much non-KMK work needs to get done (laundry, cleaning, etc.).BEST: Getting more sleep with no lunches to pack, commute to the office or prepping for work.WORST: Not having in-person brainstorming meetings with other KMK staff.BEST: Being able to work with little interruption and beer in the fridge at the end of the day!

In addition to our Zoom staff meetings to keep connected and enjoy one another’s creative vibe, the KMK team is keeping a sense of humor.

One employee responded, “The toughest thing about working from home is the lack of human contact. I find myself talking to myself a lot and the worst is when I pick a fight with myself and lose.”

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Working Together, Apart: How to Survive Working from Home

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Working remotely can present challenges and obstacles if you’re not used to it... especially when you’re a part of a creative team like KMK. We’ve taken the last 4 weeks of quarantine to hone in on the tips and tricks that work for our team!

Lots of Virtual MeetingsEvery Monday, KMK staff members hop on a virtual staff meeting to go over the past week, provide updates on projects and get a look at the week ahead. While this is the only company-wide meeting we have each week, team members are breaking off in individual virtual meetings to chat about projects as well.Be Available and Respond QuicklyWhen you’re in the office, it’s easy to run to your neighbor’s office to see if they had a chance to look at your email... working from home makes that a little more difficult. Make sure you’re available to answer phone calls and emails in a timely manner. Our rule of thumb at KMK is 30 minutes!Stick to a RoutineIs your favorite part of the workday popping a k-cup into the Keurig to brew your morning cup of coffee? Used to eating lunch at noon? Keep it up! Just because you’re working from home now doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your favorite parts of the day.Don’t be Afraid to Pick Up the PhoneIf you feel like it would be easier to talk through a project, task, or just have a question you feel can’t be conveyed properly through email, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to call your coworker... they’re on the clock, too!Set Goals and Crush Them!Staying on task while working from home is, understandably, harder for some. An easy way to keep projects moving along is to set project goals, big or small! Set reminders in Outlook or a common project space like Basecamp or Slack.Bring Your Pet (or Kid) to Work!Just because we’re working from home doesn’t mean that life stops from 9-5... We have kids and pets and, dangit, they want attention just as much as our clients do! If your coworker’s dog decides the 9 am conference call is the best time to sing the song of its people, use it as an opportunity to connect with your coworker instead of criticizing.Check Your Internet SpeedIf your internet seems slower than usual, check your routers! KMK Communications Specialist Sarah Mitchell thought it was her provider, but after further investigation, found out her router needed replaced! Now she’s up to speed (get it... internet speed)!
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To Buy or Not To Buy…Your Customer Service Could be Key

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Do you happen to have...

Ticketmaster tickets to a postponed concert?Amazon order question that requires a phone call?Netflix issue where you need to talk to a human being?

Well, too bad. You’ll have to wait. A long time. Like until this Coronavirus thing is over.

All three companies have implemented extremely poor new customer service guidelines of nixing phone call support.

On Monday, I was trying to order something on Bed Bath & Beyond’s website using an unexpired coupon. The coupon wasn’t working. It was 6 p.m. Typically, I should have been able to call customer service, but the company is no longer staffing phone lines at that hour. I couldn’t send an email or chat with anyone either. So, I waited.

The next day I initiated an online chat with an approximate wait time of 35 minutes. I missed my chat as I was busy working. I tried again and periodically checked to see if the chat was active and caught it just in time. I got the issue resolved.

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22 Political Campaigns and Counting…With this one in Rockford unlike the rest.

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Twenty-two.

By my best calculations, that’s the number of political campaigns KMK Media Group has worked on in the 21 years we’ve been in business. City, village, county, township, state and referendum campaigns. Roughly one a year, but it never seems to work out quite that evenly.

The landscape of this primary election, however, is different from the rest...at least from a local advertising standpoint. We’re seeing record ad spending at the national level which is squeezing local campaigns’ pocketbooks and airtime.

Kantar/CMAG, a nonpartisan political advertising research company, estimates ad spending in the presidential race will be $6.5 billion by the time it’s all said and done in November. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has spent more than half of the $626 million in national political advertising spent so far, with Trump forking out only $18 million in his uncontested primary.

As I write this, one of Bloomberg’s ads just aired on a local evening newscast. “Attacking, distorting, dividing,” Bloomberg’s voice booms, using the ad to attack Trump. It’s just one of 39 different creative spots Bloomberg’s team has made to date, with 64% attacking Trump and primarily running on network TV.

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Searching for a Little Google Algorithm Know-How

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At least one time every month, KMK hears this question from a prospective client, “Why isn’t my website ranking higher in the search engines?”

A loaded question, for sure.

Our firm’s solution is to ask more questions like: What keywords and services are you searching for? Do you know if your customers are using those same terms? What SEO and online marketing are you currently doing? How often are you updating your website? And the list goes on...

The most important factor, however, in Google rankings is Google itself. Each year, Google makes hundreds of changes to its search feature. Some years, those changes number in the thousands. Many of them are minor but occasionally they are major algorithmic changes that significantly affect search results.

Click here to discover the major Google algorithm changes that have had the biggest recent impact on search results.The morale of the story? SEO is an ongoing process. It doesn’t happen overnight and if you stop doing it, your SEO tactics will eventually not work because Google has changed its algorithms enough to affect your site’s rankings.

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What do Avocados, Trump and Toyota Have in Common?

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Have an extra $5.6 million in your pocket? President Trump doesn’t.

Well, President Trump probably DOES have an extra $5.6 million in his pocket, and then some. But he has $5.6 million less than he did after his campaign purchased a :30 TV commercial in the February 2 Fox-aired Superbowl. That’s one day before the Iowa Democratic caucus.

By the end of November, 2019, all 77 spots available in this year’s big game had been sold at a record $5.6 million each. Advertisers running multiple spots got a bit of a discount, but not much. The February 2 event is the most watched TV time slot of the year, even though the 2019 Superbowl delivered fewer than 100 million viewers for the first time in 11 years.

I love avocados and Mexico so can’t wait for that pairing this year. Word has it there will be at least five automobile commercials including Toyota and Kia. Anheuser-Busch, Weathertech and Snickers jumped on the Superbowl ad bandwagon, too, along with newcomer, Pop-Tarts.

The NFL and Fox agreed this year to fewer commercial breaks. That means we’ll see the same number of commercials run during fewer commercial breaks, allowing us ample time to use the facilities, grab more munchies or just relax and evaluate more TV commercials at one time.

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Who We Are?

KMK Media Group is a full-service communications firm focused on helping businesses succeed through consistent creative, message and tone.

What We Do

Our services include award-winning design, web development, social media management, video production, public relations, ad campaigns and more!

Where to find us?

Address
716 North Church Street
Rockford, Illinois 61103
Phone Number
815-399-2805
Email Address
info@kmkmedia.com