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Employees Are Also Brand Ambassadors, Not Just the Executives

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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?

Volunteering Builds New Skills

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For many years, Pinstripe has been committed to causes that are close to our hearts. Our own personal and professional growth can be tied directly to the many organizations that provide valuable services for our community. And, because of this, we have gained so much.

Leadership

Each opportunity with a nonprofit organization places us in a new environment. These organizations are short on resources, so you have to really know how to get the most from people you know, especially within your business network. Getting others involved in a nonprofit shows leadership and drive.

It’s through volunteering that you may get the opportunity to lead others, especially when there are limited opportunities in the office. Volunteering has taught us new leadership skills, such as:

  • Maximizing a limited amount of resources
  • Application of expertise in new ways
  • Using innovative ways to reach people
  • Leading a group of individuals with one common goal

More importantly, the relationships you build while volunteering can last a lifetime. These relationships will expand your personal and professional network, helping you to realize your goals.

Soft Skills

For recent graduates, soft skills have become more prized than technical knowledge. Business owners can teach them how to perform their job, but not how to interact well with others. If you have these skills, then practicing them is just as important as developing them. Volunteering is a good way to both learn and continue to practice soft skills.

What are soft skills? They include the following:

  • Communication skills
  • Time management
  • Problem-solving
  • Creativity
  • Being a good team player
  • Empathy and compassion

Developing these soft skills can have a big impact on your career. For millennials, this type of experience can boost credibility and give them the edge in a tight marketplace. Over time, volunteering teaches how perseverance and tenacity can overcome roadblocks and changes in the economic landscape.

Personal and Professional Growth

With all of the changes in technology and the way we do business, we need to be able to react swiftly and with confidence. We can vouch for the fact that volunteering helps us face new challenges without fear. Volunteering is as much about personal growth as it is about helping others. It allows us to engage with people in our community, listen to them and try to help. This gives us a deeper understanding of what the community needs and also experience in addressing those needs. Volunteering may start small, but who knows, over time this can change to even bigger roles. That’s up to you and how far you want to take it.

Connor Storch Wins Ad 2’s 2017 Pinstripe Service Excellence Award

Connor Storch Wins Pinstripe Service Excellence Award
Ad 2 Tampa Bay’s immediate past president, Connor Storch, received the 2017 Pinstripe Service Excellence Award at the American Advertising Federation – Tampa Bay Chapter’s ADDY Awards held on February 15 at Nova 535. Presented annually by past recipients, the award recognizes the young professional who demonstrates the most outstanding contributions to Ad 2 Tampa Bay, the advertising industry, and the community.

Ad 2 Tampa Bay Pinstripe Service Excellence Award Alumni 2017

During his tenure, the organization experienced one of the most rapid and energizing periods of growth, including increasing membership 334%. Known for his positive energy, he led the charge to reenergize club committees, recruit more volunteers, and to keep the organization in good health with fundraising. He also revived the Ad 2 Liaison position in the 4th District to help bridge the gap between Ad 2 and AAF so both organizations can work more harmoniously toward their shared goals. His leadership was recognized by AAF in 2017 when he earned District Club and President of the Year, and National Club and President of the Year honors.

“Connor’s enthusiasm and passion for Ad 2 were the common thread in each of his nominations,” said Ginger Reichl, president of Pinstripe Marketing and former Ad 2 president. “He is clearly a connector and his desire to make the organization diverse and inclusive are what drove the remarkable membership growth last year.”

Connor is a marketing communications specialist at Triad Retail Media in St. Petersburg.

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