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Crisis Communication Planning: Why It’s Important

by Nikki Devereux, Director of Account Management

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, we have the perfect illustration of why it’s a good idea to have a crisis communication plan in place for your company—large or small. You probably have many stakeholders who are wondering what will happen as this crisis unfolds, from customers to vendors to employees. It’s best to be prepared with a strategy of how, when and what to communicate before a crisis occurs.

If you haven’t put a crisis communication plan in place, now is a good time to consider what steps are needed during times like this. Below is a list of things to consider.

  • What type of crisis is it? Here in Florida, many companies are prepared for hurricane emergencies, especially after Hurricane Irma gave us all a scare a couple years ago. But this COVID-19 pandemic shows that we need to prepare for other types of crises, as well.
  • Who are the audiences? Identify the audiences that you need to communicate with. You will need to create messages to communicate with each audience, and perhaps a general message for your website and social media.
  • When to communicate? You’ll need to decide a timeline for your communications ahead of time and keep a calendar of these to stay organized.
  • Where to communicate? Outline your communication channels to provide different messaging for different channels. Examples are social media, website, and email, but you may have several others to consider depending on your organization.
  • Who is on the team? Deciding who is part of the communication team well before a crisis occurs will help you mobilize to respond more quickly and effectively.
  • What is the message? Developing some sample messaging ahead of time will help you get started more quickly, as opposed to developing all messaging at the onset of the crisis.

You’ll notice that many companies have begun emailing you about the pandemic, placing COVID-19 messaging on their websites, and communicating through various channels about how this crisis is affecting their business and ability to serve you. These are good examples of crisis communication. Some companies are more organized than others and this can be very evident in the communications you receive. Make sure to prepare ahead of time!

Pinstripe Marketing has developed comprehensive crisis communication plans for companies large and small. Contact us if you need assistance with creating your crisis communication plan.

Pinstripe Answers: Do We Need a Bigger Trade Show Booth?

by Michael Premo, Content Specialist

This is one of those questions that’s bigger than it seems. Much of it depends on a range of factors that you’ll need to drill down and figure out what matters. Anything you can do to raise your visibility in a unique and engaging way will have a greater impact on your audience.

The guiding force behind any appearance at a trade show should be setting specific goals well in advance:

  • Visibility
  • Networking
  • Engagement
  • Sales Leads
  • Strengthen Relationships

These are only a few that will guide your decision on whether or not you’ll need a bigger booth.

 

Going with the Standard – Inline 10’ x 10’ Booth

It’s ubiquitous, cost-effective, and still has the ability to make a statement. You can invest the money you save elsewhere, such as premium giveaways that are memorable, or staffing that attracts and follows through on potential leads. You can also invest more in impactful graphics and furniture, electrical outlets, or other perks. Plus, a standard-sized booth is a much more portable option for multiple shows.

The downside is that trade shows are designed for fitting as many standard-size booths together as possible, which leaves your booth squeezed in among everyone else. The result is less visibility and poor locations. Premium locations cost more and are typically reserved for larger booths. At smaller, secondary shows with fewer exhibitors and attendees, the standard size can still have a big impact. But, you may need to rethink your strategy when appearing at the larger shows.

 

Inline 10’ x 20’ – Increased Visibility

As with any real estate deal, location matters. Larger booths are typically in better locations. If this fits your goals, then a bigger booth will be perfect.

People tend to gather in the aisles, which becomes a problem for smaller booths. A larger booth, plus its location, will overcome a lack of access and visibility in congested areas.

With the premium location and added space, you’ll have improved visibility, more personal interactions and qualify more leads. There’s more space for furniture, digital signage, and other highly attractive and inviting features. With all of these, you’ll have a greater impact on your audience and a higher return on your investment.

A 10′ x 20′ is a midsized booth, and they aren’t always in the best locations. If the one you’re looking at is not in a better location; for example, if it’s at the end of a row and away from the traffic, then your booth becomes a billboard, not a destination. Even if this is being offered at a discounted price, you should avoid it.

 

The Peninsula and The Island

The peninsula is an exhibit area that is at least 20’ x 20’ or larger and is open to aisles on three sides. Located at the end of an aisle, the peninsula improves visibility and accessibility. These also provide room for custom features that will make you stand out from the competition. That’s the point with this size of a booth—to show your company as a leader. Plus, it offers the space needed to exhibit new products and several areas for real-time and digital demonstrations. The peninsula exhibit booth is probably the second most popular booth next to the island.

trade show booth island style booth

This island booth demonstrates the major impact a booth of this size has. It’s basically a temporary storefront for this business. Photo courtesy of ADM Two Exhibits & Displays.

 

The island is exposed to an aisle on all four sides and is almost always 20′ x 20′ or larger.  The island booths typically have the least amount of restrictions, so graphics can be extended to the ceiling. Typical island height maximum is sixteen feet, and hanging displays are often allowed within these areas. This is the booth most attendees will want to see, and it’s the most costly.

 

Let’s Review

Here’s a quick and dirty list of advantages for all of the booth sizes we’ve discussed.

  • Inline 10’ x 10’ – Budget-conscious, yet can still yield a good return if designed with a professional backdrop and other unique features. Portable and reliable design that translates well with smaller shows.
  • Inline 10’ x 20’ – Better location and visibility for congested aisles. More room for premium features that make you stand out from the competition. Modular designs make this more portable and functional in smaller shows.
  • The Peninsula – Premium location and greater visibility. More opportunities to interact with the attendees and space for premium features within your booth. This booth means that you want to have a lasting impact on your audience.
  • The Island – Premium location and most possible visibility. Fewer restrictions on displays and signage. This is the best way to show that you’re a leader in your industry.

 

Pinstripe has helped local and nationally-based businesses with their trade show needs. We specialize in discovering their traits—their corporate character—and putting them on display. Our creative team consists of listeners and discoverers that have an innate ability to help you achieve your vision. Contact us to tell us more about your company and the trade show booth you envision.

Quick Tip: Posting Consistently to Social Media Does Matter

Posting Consistently to Social Media_featured

by Michael Premo, Content Specialist

Over the past 5 years, there have been countless articles regarding the “optimal frequency” for posting on social media. Unfortunately, many of these are flawed and misleading for B2B because they are solely based upon user activity. While this seems great for exposure and impressions, it does little for engagement that generates interest or leads for your business. It still matters when you post, but the focus should be on quality and consistency. Both will compensate for poor timing when you miss those optimal windows for posting.

 

The Magic Formula Doesn’t Exist

Before talking about frequency, we need to remember that what engages audiences matters. Knowing your audience will get more engagement, which leads to more exposure and impressions outside of your network. More clicks, more likes, more engagement equals greater exposure. It’s how the algorithms work.

This all happens organically, so you don’t need to “boost” those posts if you’re doing it right. So, focusing on what people want to see should be your main goal. There’s no magic formula for this. Some say social media should entertain. Others believe educating works better. A mix of both is always a good plan.

 

Consistency Matters – Not Frequency

Complex algorithms decide what the viewers should see. Not necessarily what they want to see, but it’s really close. Because of this, active profiles get more attention. When you think about it, it’s a way of rewarding the content generators for the platform. Without those posts, it would be boring. Posting during windows of opportunity will make you a regular feature in your clients’ news feeds. Being consistent means sending out the right message at the right time.

Posting too much actually has a negative effect on your audience. High frequency overwhelms the audience, causing disengagement and apathy. Here is a list of how frequent B2B companies should post:

  • Facebook = 1 per day
  • LinkedIn = 1 per day
  • Instagram = 1 or 2 times per day
  • Twitter = 3 to 5 times per day

There’s the frequency. Twitter’s tweets have a short lifespan, which requires frequent posts to get noticed. Now, let’s look at when you should post.

  • Facebook: The best time to post is 9 a.m. Or, you can also post between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. (based on EST). Why? Because your clients have Facebook open while working and will check it frequently throughout the day. To dig deeper into your audience’s unique footprint, look on your company’s Facebook page under Insights > Posts to see a graph of “When Your Fans Are Online.”
  • LinkedIn: Between 10 a.m. and noon. The best day to post is Wednesday.
  • Instagram: During lunch and at the end of the day, so around noon and 5 p.m.
  • Twitter: Spread your tweets out throughout the day, starting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. At a minimum, that’s every 4 hours. For maximum effect, you should post 5 tweets every two hours.

 

Adapting to a Changing Environment

Social media is always changing the way users get and see content. Plus, newer platforms, such as Tik Tok or Caffeine, provide innovative ways for users to consume content. Fortunately, social platforms haven’t changed much for B2B industries, but there have been some significant changes in the way people want to get their content.

Currently, video leads the pack because it’s easy to use, and you don’t have to watch the video to get the content you need. Anyone could listen to a video and get the same message. Video should definitely be part of your mix for content. Just remember that it has to be either entertaining or educational to attract attention.

We’ve noticed a trend in written content – people love bulleted lists, especially those with action items. Try to incorporate some lists into your content calendar to capture some attention. This content itself is usually helpful in work or life. Articles like “10 Productivity Hacks” or “Preparing for a Video Interview” contain a collection of actionable items that readers can follow to make their lives easier. Who doesn’t love time saving or insider tips?

Pinstripe has helped local and nationally-based businesses with their social media and video production needs. We specialize in discovering their traits—their corporate character—and putting them on display. Our creative team consists of listeners and discoverers that have an innate ability to help you achieve your vision. Contact us to tell us more about your company and the content you envision.

Pinstripe Answers: Is Sponsoring an Event a Good Investment?

sponsorship_featured

by Michael Premo, Content Specialist

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.

 

Kaitlyn Zeitler Wins 2019 Pinstripe Service Excellence Award

Kaitlyn Zeitler Pinstripe Excellence Award_featured

Ad 2 Tampa Bay’s immediate past president, Kaitlyn Zeitler, received the 2019 Pinstripe Service Excellence Award at the American Advertising Federation – Tampa Bay Chapter’s ADDY Awards held on February 20 at Tabella’s at Delaney Creek. 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.

 

Zeitler is the immediate past-president of Ad 2 Tampa Bay, and during her tenure, the organization went through several significant changes including modernizing its events, earning a government proclamation for the 2nd Annual Tampa Bay Advertising Week, completing a redesign of the website, reforming relationships with local universities, and connecting Ad 2 with agencies and companies that they had not worked with in the past. Kaitlyn also worked diligently to return Ad 2 Tampa Bay to the spotlight by earning 3rd place in the 2019 National Ad 2 Public Service Competition where she led the team as Strategic and Creative Director in addition to her duties as president.

“Kaitlyn’s work with Ad 2 not only continued the chapter’s legacy, but elevated it nationally,” said Ginger Reichl, president of Pinstripe Marketing and former Ad 2 president. “I believe public service is the most important thing the organization does and is often a young professional’s first exposure to the pro bono work for which our industry is known. Her leadership may have earned recognition at the national competition, but more significantly, it provided their client with the advertising assistance they desperately need.”

Zeitler is a copywriter at Ashley Furniture.

About Ad 2 Tampa Bay
Ad 2 Tampa Bay, Inc., an affiliate of the American Advertising Federation, is a non-profit organization of advertising professionals under the age of 32. As a 16-time National Ad 2 Club of the Year, the organization takes pride in providing both members and the community with quality educational programs, national award-winning public service campaigns, professional interaction, member employment services, fun-filled social events and much more. For more information, please visit www.ad2tampabay.org.