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Green Business Ideas

by Nikki Bromley, Director of Account Management

As we approach the new year and say goodbye to a year that has been a challenge for the entire world, to say the least, we’d like to consider our impact on the planet. Being green is an important consideration for business, not just as a way to attract more clientele, but as a true means to treating our planet better and leaving it a safe place for future generations. To that end, here is a list of things you can do as a business to be more environmentally friendly.

  • Go paperless – this one is easy! Stop printing emails, use an electronic filing system, use an app like Evernote as your notebook so even your to-do list is on your phone. Evernote also lets you share your notebooks on multiple devices so you can access them anywhere and everywhere. You can even share notebooks with other people for team projects.
  • Update shipping practices – if you ship items on a regular basis or even only occasionally, use greener shipping practices such as paper rather than plastic tape, paper packing rather than styrofoam peanuts or plastic, smaller containers, and recycled boxes.
  • Choose vendors who use sustainable practices. Vetting vendors for sustainability practices shouldn’t take too much time extra time. Let those who did not make the cut know that their sustainability practices are what lost them points – perhaps they will evaluate their practices and decide to implement more conscientious business habits.
  • Bike or walk to work. Better yet, have a couple office bikes that employees can ride home or out to lunch. Make it fun by running a contest – whoever logs the most miles each month wins a prize.
  • Turn the air conditioner to a warmer temperature to conserve energy. Close blinds to keep the heat or cold out.
  • Turn off lights when you leave a room, including the bathroom.
  • Eat vegan once a week. Vegan is better for the environment and bonus points – it’s healthy! We’re not saying give up meat cold turkey, but if you venture into the vegan world once a week you may be surprised at all of the delicious, satisfying options that are available now! Make it an office tradition to do vegan lunches together.
  • Carpool – encourage employees to carpool as often as possible to reduce emissions. Bonus – they save money on gas!
  • Client giveaways should be sustainable. Think reusable straws, metal water bottles. Items should be reusable, recyclable, recycled, and not made of plastic.
  • Plant trees on a regular basis. Make it a habit – perhaps once a quarter, take a Friday lunch break with the staff to go have a picnic lunch and plant a tree.
  • Participate in beach cleanups with the office as a team on a regular basis. Make it a contest – whichever team picks up the most trash gets a prize like 1/2 day off or lunch on the company.

As you can see, sustainable business practices can often also be healthy and lucrative practices, so asking employees to participate is beneficial to them in more ways than one. This makes it a lot easier to get buy-in from your team, particularly if there are those who do not see the value in sustainability itself. Try implementing one at a time to ease into the practice of being green!

Pinstripe Answers: Is Sponsoring an Event a Good Investment?


by Michael Premo, Senior Content Manager

Deciding to sponsor an event goes to the heart of building positive relationships. It shows that you’re supporting your community and want to make it a better place to live. But, what makes event sponsorship a good investment? How do you decide which events to sponsor and which to decline? Deciding what to sponsor can be tricky, so you’ll need to choose carefully.


Where Do I Start?

When considering event sponsorship, you need to understand how much time and money it’s going to take. The best way to begin is by answering these questions:

  • What are the levels of sponsorship?
  • How much paid or volunteer staff do I need?
  • Any travel, per diem, or food costs for staff?
  • Which marketing activities do I need to use to promote the event?
  • Will there be other expenses, such as design, tchotchkes and giveaways?

It’s clear that your costs for an event go beyond the sponsorship fee. All of these rolls into your event budget and define the total cost for the event.


You’ve Got the Budget, So What’s the Value?

You should find out if your sponsorship is exclusive or will your competition also be there. Not only is it helpful to know if they are going to be there, but you should also know how many other sponsors will be on the list. You don’t want your message to get lost in the crowd, therefore losing value in the end.

There are two ways that you can get the most value for your investment: marketing and mission. Let’s take a quick look at marketing first because this tends to be the most tangible and relevant, especially when you need to calculate a potential ROI.

Most of the time, the value of your sponsorship is explained by a quick sales pitch and brochure. If that’s the case, then it should give you details on the following:

  • Target market
  • Media exposure
  • Access to the audience

These should provide you with a snapshot of how much value you’ll be given through your particular level of sponsorship. So, you should have a good idea if it will help you achieve your marketing goals or not.

Events are a great way to make targeted interactions with the right people. Smaller, more intimate events build deeper connections. The same can be said for large-scale events, but these also build awareness. Any event that engages directly with your target market through multiple ways is a good investment. It fosters leads and builds your reputation within the market, separating you from the competition.

Events can also expand your reach to audiences that aren’t familiar with your brand. You may get the most value from your sponsorship through the ads that are placed in the newspaper, appear on billboards, or online. The bottom line is that you want to make sure that you wouldn’t be able to get the same exposure without the investment.

Pinstripe Sponsorship Example

We support our community in many ways, and sponsorship is one of them. For the second year, Pinstripe is sponsoring Kart 4 Kids, a non-profit organization established to raise money for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Now in its 9th year, the Pro-Am kart race was started in 2012 to honor the memory of IndyCar driver and St. Petersburg resident Dan Wheldon, who had tragically perished in a racing accident.

We love that the race supports Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital because Pinstripe, as an agency, has dedicated time and money to many causes that support children. Other child-related sponsorships include SailFuture, an innovative foster care program based in St. Petersburg,  volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pinellas County, and support of other children’s organizations such as the YWCA, Great Explorations Children’s Museum, Guardian ad Litem Foundation, and Girls, Inc. Supporting these organizations aligns with our mission to help our community raise the next generations of St. Petersburg leaders.

Does It Fit Your Mission?

The mission and vision for the company guide everything we do. Every event that you sponsor should align with both of them. If it doesn’t or appears a bit odd, then your reputation may be at stake. Another thing to think about is if the event doesn’t entirely align with your mission, then it becomes business as usual. Your interactions with attendees may fall short of expectations. That’s not what you want. You need the positive energy that sponsoring an event can give you. That’s why you should definitely use your mission and vision for the company as a beacon when picking the perfect events to sponsor.

At Pinstripe, we’ve helped businesses prepare and present their best at local, regional and national events. We specialize in enhancing your brand identity and corporate character, so you can look professional and attract more attention. Our creative team consists of listeners and discoverers that have an innate ability to help you achieve your vision. Contact us to learn how we can help strengthen your reputation.


Employees Are Also Brand Ambassadors, Not Just the Executives

brand ambassador_news

Pinstripe has seen, all too often, the mistakes people make when posting on social media. Everyone makes mistakes. We get it. Some mistakes are minor, like the usual typos and a forgotten word or two, while others take on a whole other dimension that can cause a firestorm of negative feedback. Then, even worse, it goes viral.

For the most part, these mistakes are somewhat ridiculous. However in some circumstances, they can have negative consequences for nearly everyone connected. Unfortunately, the individual’s employer could be attached to their profile, and in turn cause customer backlash.

Employee handbooks have whole sections devoted to these issues. Plus, more companies are adopting them. So, why don’t companies turn something that’s perceived as negative into a positive? Encouraging employees to post the great things about the company can have a huge advantage in the social media race.

In the Past…

Bad things said about a company or it’s employees were talked about among family and friends and were rarely found in the papers, which only had a regional effect. However, because of technology, the word-of-mouth systems of old have taken on a whole new meaning. So has the phrase “spreads like wildfire.” Anything posted on social media has the potential to do this. There are so many social media outlets today that monitoring them in order to defend a company’s reputation has turned into a growing industry.

Education and Training

The trick isn’t monitoring, it’s educating. This goes beyond company policies on proper etiquette. Think about creating a brand ambassador program to educate and train employees on how to accentuate the company’s marketing efforts. Instead of having a neutral social media policy with do’s and do not’s, you are creating a positive force of brand ambassadors.

Below are some very basic steps to setting up your employees as brand ambassadors. The possibility of a substantial return on this investment could exceed your expectations.

Communicate the Plan

Informing employees about expectations and repercussions will let them know exactly what the company’s vision is and how social media can highlight the company in positive ways. GE’s brand ambassador plan is a great example of how a company can increase customer engagement through employee engagement.

Provide Guidelines

Your employee handbook should already have social media policies against inappropriate posts. So, they need to know what they should post. Examples are an easy way to answer questions about content before they’re asked.

Permission and Content

You’ll need to reassure them that there are no repercussions for posting positive info and pictures. A little trust will go a long way. To help them along, you can have hashtags available and URLs for quick access on a company page.

Maintaining a Positive Reputation

When employees post good things about their workplace and services, people will take notice. This is especially true when bad things happen and the company goes into crisis management mode. If an overwhelming amount of positive information is out there, then that leaves very little for negativity to thrive on. A positive reputation is easier to uphold in the social arena, and employees as brand ambassadors are a great way to achieve and maintain it.

Preparing for Vacation: A Checklist for When You’re Away

vacation communication_news

This is our favorite time of year. You can feel it in the air every morning when you walk outside. Pretty soon, school bus traffic will slow to a trickle after the kids are let out for summer vacation. Summertime is upon us. It’s time for a much needed vacation. Maybe a trip to the mountains this year or a cruise. You’re ready for one.

Planning for Your Absence

It’s been months since an official day off and nearly half a year since the holidays. You’ve made your reservations, coordinated pet care, shopped for the essentials. Now, it’s time to plan for your absence at work.

One of the best ways to have a great vacation is to feel reassured that everything back at the office has been taken care of, because you don’t want to be thinking about work while on vacation. You need some well-deserved rest and relaxation. That’s why we have compiled a checklist for you to follow, just to help you stay organized and ready for adventure.

Vacation Checklist

☐ Prioritize your workload. This may seem like a no brainer, but low priority projects have a way of creeping in and taking too much of your time. Plus, make sure to write it all down.

☐ Take a look ahead. Planning your return is as important as stepping away. Adjust your calendar and be strategic with your scheduling.

☐ Schedule a buffer. Try to leave a couple hours open before you leave and keep a couple open when you return.

☐ Let your colleagues know. If you give everyone notice far enough in advance, then they can adjust their calendar, too. This is even more helpful when working on teams or in committees.

☐ Contact high-priority clients a week before you leave. Reach out and let them know where you’ll be and who they can get in touch with if they need anything.

☐ Prepare a return agenda. Your head will be fuzzy, but in a good way. You’ll have vacation on your brain. We’ve all been there. Plan ahead and be ready or else you’ll get overwhelmed.

☐ Let everyone know your availability. Work continues even while you’re on vacation. Taking a work-related call can be a necessary, minor disruption. Make sure your colleagues have a number to reach you and let them know days and times when you’ll be available. Also, let them know when you’ll be disconnected.

☐ Set up your Backup. Who’s covering for you while you’re gone? Make sure they are aware of your projects, how to handle emergencies, and when they should contact you.

☐ A list of tips. Providing your backup with a list of tips can save them time and reduce frustration.

☐ Put in a little extra time. Adding an hour or two a day can tie up loose ends and save you a lot of headaches after your return.

☐ Clean up. A cluttered desk will make it harder for your backup to help you. Organize your files and tidy up around your office. Don’t forget to water the plants.

☐ Archive and back up files. Make sure all of your files and emails are backed up and available.

☐ Out of office. Set up your out of office messages. Customize your auto-reply and voicemail to reflect the dates you’ll be away and your backup’s name and contact information.

☐ Brain dump. You may want to quickly type out a list of notes before you leave. This will help you get back into the swing of things when you return.

☐ Say good-bye to everyone!

Planning to Have Fun

It’s always important to work with your colleagues prior to leaving the office. You may need to delegate tasks while you’re away. Also, having an emergency plan in place is needed most when you’re out of the country, sippin’ cocktails on that cruise of a lifetime, where there’s no internet or phone service. We hope you have a great vacation!

Passion – The Road to Success

company culture of passion_news

We expect to see passion in entrepreneurs, small business owners, and freelancers – these people are following their dreams to own their own business doing what they love most. Passion is what drives them morning, noon, and night to work hard, talk about their business often, and go out of their way to make their business successful. But what if we saw passion in employees of larger companies and even enterprise corporations?

The Brand Ambassador

We recently scheduled a series of photo shoots to begin building a media library for one of our larger clients – a Fortune 500 behemoth with locations in Tampa, throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. At each location there has been one thing that we’ve noticed – every person we’ve encountered has been incredibly helpful, knowledgeable about their company, and passionate. They not only helped us by guiding us through their processes, explaining many of the inner workings of their organization so we gain a better understanding of what images and video we need to create and informing us of shots we may have never realized we needed, but they did it with a visible pride. Their hospitality has been incredible – we expected to be greeted and then left to our own devices, but what we received from each person who assisted us was a personal tour guide and brand ambassador. We are impressed.

Passion – A Part of Company Culture

What we began to notice is that each person in this company exceeded our expectations – in essence, they were acting like business owners rather than employees by demonstrating the same passion an entrepreneur would. This is something that we have always believed in theory, but never has it been so thoroughly supported by direct empirical evidence. What it boils down to is employee empowerment. Empowering your employees instills in them the same passion for the business as the business owner, and it is a direct result of the culture that you create within your organization.

How to Instill Passion in Company Culture

There are many ways to create a culture of passion and ownership. Here are just a few:

  • Transparency. Give people visibility into the decision-making process
  • Collaboration. Provide spaces that facilitate collaboration and make sure managers are collaborative with their employees
  • Autonomy. Autonomy is an important part of ownership – make sure people have autonomy in as many aspects of their work and even their schedule as possible
  • Community. Establish a tight-knit community within your organization, bringing people together to get to know each other, make them feel at home, make sure that executives mingle often with the rest of the organization’s employees, make sure people have fun in addition to working hard
  • Training and education. Offer thorough education about the industry, organization, its history, clients, etc, and commit to updating that education frequently. Offer courses so employees have opportunities to learn more about their jobs and build upon their job skills and offer resources for further education
  • Hiring. If you keep in mind company culture during the hiring process, you will ensure to bring on employees that share a passion for your business, will thrive in your company, and take advantage of the education and training that you offer
  • Loyalty. Be loyal to your employees – they will reward you with the same

These are just a few ways to introduce people and programs that will create a culture of passion. They are easily applicable to smaller organizations, but employing them on a larger scale may prove more difficult. We know it is possible and have seen it in action, but it requires company-wide participation. It won’t be successful if everyone is not on board.

Here are a few articles that offer advice on creating a positive culture within your organization:

3 Ways I Created a Culture of Passion

8 Rules Creating Passionate Work Culture

Building a Culture of Passion and Excellence

What methods do you employ to build a company culture of ownership and passion?