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What to Do About Marketing During a Crisis

Who would have thought that we would all be working remotely for most of 2020? Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

For large organizations, moving quickly is not recommended, and in some instances, it’s nearly impossible to do. For this reason, it is important to have a Crisis Communications Plan in place before a crisis strikes. When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, many businesses were scrambling to understand what was going on and how they could continue to operate. We’ll use the COVID-19 pandemic as a case study for marketing during a crisis.

Businesses evolve to meet the demands of their markets. To do this, they have come to rely on mountains of data that inform each decision about how to evolve. In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, there was no data. There was no signal or indication of what to do next.

Companies with a strong digital presence held the advantage over their competition, while others struggled to evolve and implement a digital strategy quickly. Low-to-no contact policies exacerbated these struggles.

What we have learned about marketing during a crisis over the years and what COVID-19 reinforced:

  • Be Prepared in Advance
  • Frequent Communication
  • Strong Online Presence

 

Public Relations – Crisis Communications

In larger organizations, having protocols and policies in place helps determine the right set of actions that serve the business’s best interests. During catastrophic events like hurricanes and pandemics, a Crisis Communications Manual serves this purpose.

In March of 2020, businesses with a Crisis Communications Manual had enough direction to move quickly and adapt to the immediate shifts (or, in some cases, a complete loss) in the marketplace. Businesses that already operated digitally with a remote workforce, or ones that had operations set up to allow employees to do so even on occasion, were more poised to continue business as usual. Those without remote work policies, equipment, and plans had to scramble to get their employees back to work.

Communication has become one of the most essential tools for any business. It has a profound effect on professional relationships, as well as cash flow. During the COVID-19 pandemic, video conferencing became the mainstay of communication, and allowed many businesses to continue to operate almost as if nothing had ever happened. Businesses that stubbornly held on to outdated operations suffered.

Policies and Protocols: Creating a PR Manual

Public Relations is more than press releases and finding media exposure. There are a variety of key ideas that are included in a solid PR plan. One of the most important is crisis communications.

Typically, a Crisis Communications Manual will have all of the protocols for a business to follow during a variety of events. These are important because they indicate what needs to be done and by whom. This is a safety net for when panic sets in and people are more apt to make wrong decisions and make matters worse. These events can be anything from natural disasters like hurricanes to internal corporate scandal. Being prepared for the worst allows a business to pivot smoothly when an event strikes. Predicting these events is something a creative team does well.

Do you have a crisis communications manual in place? It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out document. Some are only ten pages long and detailed enough to cover every aspect of their business. We can help you build one.

Online Presence

During the pandemic, businesses probably learned quickly that having no digital presence is a fatal error. Any business that kept putting off updating their websites or growing their social media platform felt the pain of losing visibility. Many businesses scrambled to go digital or update outdated websites when the pandemic struck.

Over the years, many of our blog posts have discussed why you should update your website and build a social media presence. We gave dozens of reasons and the benefits of doing it, but still, we have seen many businesses continue to operate with outdated websites. Now, it’s all abundantly clear when one can no longer meet directly with someone or be discovered at a trade show – an updated, modern website is essential.

An important part of a modern website that is behind the scenes is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO has been more than just a buzzword for many years. It’s now a marketing necessity. A solid SEO plan will increase your online visibility with Google, sometimes more than you can imagine.

The best opportunity to succeed with SEO is to make some small tweaks to your website. Simple updates to your website can improve the user experience and generate valuable, qualified sales leads. If you don’t know what SEO means or how it works, we can help. We can also help you audit your site to find opportunities for growth.

How We Can Overcome a Crisis

First, be persistent. Don’t give up, no matter how daunting the challenges that lie ahead. Second, it’s time to dip into your resources. This could be a number of things from cash to your network. Finally, communicate with all of your stakeholders. Be open and honest with them to find solutions and hidden opportunities.

You can look for a template for a Crisis Communications Manual, but you won’t find one. The reason is that each business is unique. We have the experience and proven know-how to create a Crisis Communications Manual that is tailored to fit your exact needs.

Whether it’s to improve navigation or the overall user experience, Pinstripe can create videos, blogs, and optimize images for your website. We can also take professional photos and assist you in setting up a studio for recording vlogs. Contact us today to find out how we can help you bring your digital marketing up to speed.

Pinstripe Creative Team Wins Telly Award for Video Showcasing Shorecrest Preparatory School’s Experiential School of Tampa Bay

We were so excited to receive the silver Telly Award for our video work with Shorecrest Preparatory School! Our whole team attended the red carpet awards ceremony with panache, and the paparazzi kept snapping away as we carried our trophy down the aisle. Emma Stone was there and couldn’t help but check out our winning strut. Watch out, Hollywood, here we come!!

Pinstripe Marketing is pleased to announce that it’s video production team comprised of Nikki Bromley, John Jones, and client Rachel Barrett of Shorecrest Preparatory School received a Silver Telly Award for their production of “Environment at Shorecrest Preparatory School’s Experiential School of Tampa Bay.” The video was one of 12,000+ entries from all 50 states and 5 continents.

“Notable winners like Volkswagon and The Hershey Company in this year’s Telly Awards make this honor special,” says Pinstripe Marketing president, Ginger Reichl. “Being awarded alongside major household names like these demonstrates the standards we set for ourselves in our creative work. Every project is the next award-winner, we put that kind of energy into our work. That’s just how our team operates.”

This isn’t the first video Pinstripe Marketing and Shorecrest Preparatory School have co-created. Pinstripe Marketing has filmed beautiful, moving videos to showcase the school for years, each production bringing a new perspective and shedding light into the excellence of the Shorecrest Preparatory School education.

View “Environment at Shorecrest Preparatory School’s Experiential School of Tampa Bay.”

 

About Pinstripe Marketing

Pinstripe Marketing, Inc. is a full-service advertising, marketing and communications agency specializing in service-based organizations including law, healthcare, education, architecture, non-profits and more. Services include marketing plan development and implementation, advertising, collateral design, event planning, media buying, web design, video production and public relations. For details about Pinstripe, please visit www.pinstripemarketing.com.

 

About The Telly Awards

The Telly Awards is the premier award honoring video and television across all screens. Established in 1979, The Telly Awards receives over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and 5 continents. Entrants are judged by The Telly Awards Judging Council—an industry body of over 200 leading experts including advertising agencies, production companies, and major television networks, reflective of the multiscreen industry and includes executives from Dow Jones, Duplass Brothers Productions, Complex Networks, A&E Networks, Hearst Media, ESPN Films, RYOT, Vice+ and Vimeo.

 

About Shorecrest Preparatory School

Founded in 1923, Shorecrest is a coed, nonsectarian, PK-12 independent school in St. Petersburg,FL. In a safe, student-centered environment, Shorecrest educates a diverse community of students to become lifelong learners in the pursuit of personal and academic excellence, physical well-being, creative achievement and the development of a commitment to social responsibility. Shorecrest graduates empathetic, independent thinkers who succeed at the university level, pursue their passions, and lead purposeful lives. Learn more at www.shorecrest.org.

 

 

Simple Website Updates on a Budget

by Michael Premo, Content Specialist

Updates to your website are some of the simplest things you can do to increase traffic and conversion rates. The best updates come from a solid content strategy that improves the user experience.

Getting Started: Spreading the News

Here are three reasons to set up your website so it can quickly broadcast news about your community:

  • Brand Identity – Your brand encompasses more than a logo and tagline. It involves your employees, the services you provide, and how you help your community. All of these are great headlines for any news section, plus they define your brand and what it stands for. Over time, you could become a resource for others. Now that’s brand recognition!
  • Improved Client Experience – Making your clients aware of recent news about your industry helps them understand their own challenges. This improves trust and credibility—two emotions linked to decision making. When your clients trust you, they will turn to you first for answers.
  • Domain Authority – Where do you show up in a Google search? 1st page? 3rd page? Where you land on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) depends a great deal on your domain authority and what your competition is doing. Moz, a leader in SEO, states, “Domain authority is meant to approximate how competitive a given site is in Google search results.” One of the ways to influence your domain authority is to update the content on your website frequently.

Blogs, Vlogs, & News Tickers

Your blog is the most common area of your website that spreads news about your company. Blogs are necessary for SEO purposes, but vlogs will get more engagement. The right mix of both is important. Just remember to maintain a professional appearance and hire a good editor.

Have you ever thought of a news ticker for your home page? Just like a stock ticker showing real-time trades, it’s a simple addition that displays blurbs about your company and leads to other articles on the same subject.

 

Multimedia: Improve SEO and Brand Identity

Videos, animation, graphics and images make a website look great. People would rather watch a video than read long, text-heavy pages. Studies have shown that people tend to leave those text-heavy pages, so it’s best to break them up with graphics and images that fit the topic. The whole idea behind SEO is to meet each visitor’s expectations, enticing them to stay on the page longer.

Did you know that your multimedia may be working against your SEO efforts? Large files take longer to load, which leads to a terrible SERP ranking. Compressed images and embedded videos on a separate platform create a better user-experience (UX). People don’t have the patience to wait for a video to load or constantly pause while buffering.

 

39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load

 

Using stock photos is good, but it doesn’t necessarily improve the UX or your search rankings. A reason for this is that other websites often use those same images with the same tags, so you’re left with no distinctive identifiers. Unique images are better for SEO and your overall brand identity. Candid photos are great for a blog, but your home and about page should have professionally composed and edited images. Appearances do matter, and you have less than a second to make visitors feel welcome.

The best opportunity to succeed with SEO is to make some of those little tweaks to your website. If you can’t make them, then it’s time for a complete overhaul of your site. Simple updates to your website can improve the user experience and generate valuable, qualified sales leads. Whether it’s to improve navigation or the overall user experience, Pinstripe can create videos, blogs and optimize images for your website. We can also take professional photos and assist you in setting up a studio for recording vlogs.  Contact us today to find out how we can help you overcome the challenges associated with SEO.

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!

Case Study: Landis + Evans Logo Redesign

The choice to rebrand a company is a tough one. There are many factors to consider, including SEO on the current name, the company history, and recognition by existing clients and the industry. Even though it may seem like a monumental move, in our experience it has always worked out beautifully. Landis + Evans was no exception. With lots of planning and thoughtful consideration on their part and some sleek design on our part, the results were a modern, polished logo suite that brought.

Rebranding

After going through an internal renaming process, Landis + Evans’ marketing director asked us to help redesign their logo. The original was clearly outdated; even the colors were lackluster and needed refreshed. However, the new leadership wanted to keep certain elements of the old logo to maintain the legacy of the original company. This included the colors, so we had to work those in to the new color palette somehow.

This is the original logo. The client wanted to keep the blue and green, plus incorporate the “S” shape into the new logo.

Logo Redesign

Our designer started by toying with the “S” path-like shape in a variety of ways, incorporating some fresh new blues and greens to replace the loud, brash blue and green from the original logo. During the discovery meeting, we heard words like energy, professionalism, dependability, quality, stability, innovation, long-established, expertise, diverse experience, results, timeliness. The client also said, “we make our clients look good, give them trust and confidence, and we make their job easier.” It’s key phrases like these that we keep in mind during the logo design process.

We also keep in mind major competitors, current clients and projects, and the industry as a whole. After the discovery meeting, the resulting logo sketches went through a couple rounds of revisions to get to the final suite shown above.

Logo design is both an art and a science, so we must toe the line between the two in order to create marks that define companies and usher them into the future. This is why we have so many steps to the process. A good bit of discussion and research is involved in the initial phases (the science part), before we get to the sketching and color palette (the art part).

Pinstripe has worked with companies, large and small, to develop the perfect icon for their brands. Contact us if you are considering rebranding – we can help you with every step of the process.