Define Business Benchmarks

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The beginning of a new year is an exciting time–it’s an opportunity to start fresh and set new goals. From increasing customer satisfaction to employee engagement, it’s a super smart idea to set some New Year’s benchmarks to measure how your business performs throughout the year.

What is benchmarking?

If you’re like many people at the beginning of the new year, your New Year’s resolution may look something like this: “I want to lose weight.” But how did you know you needed to lose weight? Maybe you felt like you weren’t in peak shape, but it probably hit home when you stepped on the scale:

“10 pounds more than last year?!”

Your old weight is a benchmark, and any measurement that deviates from that benchmark, good or bad, helps you measure your progress and set a goal.

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Consumers Still Trust Traditional Media Ads More Than Online Ads

chartoftheday_1473_Consumer_trust_in_advertising_nNewspaper ads are still the most trusted form of paid media in North America, according to a recent Nielsen survey.

More than half of respondents say they trust traditional advertising platforms such as newspaper, magazine, TV, radio and billboard. However, all new media platforms mentioned in the survey, including search, online video, social media, mobile display and online banners, received a less than 50% trust rating.

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10 reasons why more clients are hiring freelancers

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The PR industry has for some time incorporated many self-employed consultants, but the pressures on budgets of recent years combined with developments in technology and the growing allure of entrepreneurship have all contributed to a growing interest in independent consultants.
Here’s why:

1. Skills. Rather than being forced into freelancing by changes in circumstances, high-performing consultants with confidence in their skills are increasingly going independent in search of a higher income. This has opened up new opportunities for businesses requiring specialists’ skills and experience.

2. Clients and agencies are gravitating towards smaller teams. 
As well as cutting the cost of meetings and calls, many businesses are seeing value from having a smaller team that can be more focused on their client and develop greater expertise in their particular industry. Independent consultants quickly become the logical next step.

3. Independent consultants can be more nimble than agencies. Whereas an agency team might take anything up to a week to create a press release, an experienced independent consultant can pump one out in a couple of hours which barely needs changing. Speed of delivery can be a significant factor, particularly for high-growth, fast-paced businesses.

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E-Mail 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter

McKinsey Email more Effective

E-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined.

McKinsey’s iConsumer survey reported a 20 percent decline in e-mail usage between 2008 and 2012 as a share of time spent on communications, with the medium surrendering ground to social networks, instant messaging, and mobile-messaging apps. Investments in these new channels are absolutely necessary for marketers to make increasingly sophisticated use of social networks and other channels to engage with consumers and convert interest to sales.

However, marketers shouldn’t be too hasty in shifting budgets away from e-mail—they just need to take a few steps to harness the full power of the inbox.

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Style-conscious localization: Tips to ensure global branding success

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We’ve all heard that looks aren’t everything, right? Well, that’s just not the case when it comes to your brand and how it’s perceived by international audiences. When your global success depends on how well your customers respond to you, image is everything.

Because websites and mobile apps tend to be your customers’ first encounter with your brand, it’s important that you make the right impression.

Branding these tools for global audiences can be tricky. You want them to maintain your company look and feel but meet local user requirements as well. Each region you target has its own preferences and expectations—which requires a unique localization strategy.

Styled for success: Get to know your audience

Designing your website or mobile application without understanding your target demographic is risky at best. Though the website or app may be aesthetically beautiful, it may not be well received or serve its intended function in other countries.

To properly localize these platforms you must thoroughly research the cultural nuances for insight into what each locale prefers when it comes to design, color schemes, and even page layout on the screen. It is important to understand what each audience expects when they access a website or app.

People in some countries (such as Japan and Greece) typically prefer more images over text, while others (such as inhabitants of Scandinavian nations) generally prefer the opposite.

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Developing communications strategy one draft at a time

EURES ES 14 Jan 14 Madrid

Earlier this week, I was in Madrid at the national public employment service headquarters for a meeting with the EURES Spain working group on strategy and communication. It was our second meeting to develop a national communications strategy for the Spanish network, which is dealing with increased public and media interest as the impact of the economic crisis continues to hit Spanish jobseekers hard. The commitment of the group to responding to the needs of their clients through new and improved communications is refreshing and our collaborative way of working makes for a mutually beneficial, two-way learning experience.

The first session involved three hours of brainstorming. This resulted in an audit of the network’s current communications and served as a basis for the development of the new national strategy in terms of forming recommendations for consolidating and streamlining activities based on their contribution to organisational objectives and return on investment (ROI).

The follow-up session was much more focussed,  with intense discussion on the first draft of the strategy developed on the basis of our previous discussion. The strategy is divided into five parts and the first, Strategic Fundamentals, is the most important, providing the framework and the rationale for everything else. Taking into account the national and European political and economic contexts, and recent policy developments, the group debated the Vision, Objectives and Key Messages and defined and segmented Target Audiences using empathy mapping.

This consultancy support is funded by the European Commission as part of the EURES National Communications Project (ENCP) to deliver targeted communications advice and support to the 32-member EURES network. The project, which was piloted in 2012-2013, works with four Member States a year.

This year’s participants are Spain, Ireland, Croatia and Slovakia.