Consider Audience or Risk Zombiefication

by KGBTexas Admin on July 29, 2015

I recently returned from a professional conference in Boston loaded with speeches and plenary sessions on transportation issues. Most of us have attended conferences where we’ve returned to work excited to leverage information gleaned from session speakers. In other cases, we regret we even registered.

zombie

If you’ve ever sat through a technical presentation, smiled and nodded at the appropriate times, but felt your brain was overwhelmed with gobbledygook, technical terms and unappealing charts, you’ve experienced the negative outcomes associated with failure to consider the makeup of the audience.

If there’s one thing that working on the multiple business lines of a client like The Claro Group will reinforce – as well as more than 20 years of work in media and public relations – is the importance of knowing not only the subject-matter interest of a reporter I’m targeting for a pitch, but also the media outlet’s audience. Are they already savvy on the subject matter, allowing me to craft a pitch that uses industry language? Are they mass general market readers, who might likely be confused by industry terminology and need more explanation of concepts?

In general, in almost everything I write or distribute for mass consumption, I remember that the average American reads at a middle-school grade level, according to data extrapolated from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. That said, I operate from the mantra: If it doesn’t make sense to me, it won’t make sense to the editor. So it’s important that I ask questions of my clients or do research to ensure I understand concepts fully. And sometimes, that takes time and courage.

In my teaching of marketing communications, we often referred to AIDA, the acronym for moving consumers from awareness to action with our ad or PR campaigns. The “A” refers to getting the attention of the consumer. “I” is the next step of securing their interest. “D” stands for desire, or helping consumers see the utility of the product or service that appeals to their needs. Ultimately, we want consumers to take action at the “A” step. We want them to buy our product, use our service or begin doing what we’re asking them to do.

Failing to take into account audience at the awareness stage can steer an entire campaign short of its action goals. So the next time you’re sitting in a workshop with glazed eyes, perhaps it’s just because you had a late night. But more often than not, it’s because the presenter didn’t develop materials with the audience in mind.

– Darryl Ewing

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Lucky Iron Fish: The Shape of Health

by Randy Lankford on July 28, 2015

Every month or so, a “thing” I see on social media rises above the stream and captures my attention. Currently, it’s The Lucky Iron Fish – a project I find both fascinating and inspiring. The Lucky Iron Fish concept was developed by Christopher Charles, Ph.D as a solution to the widespread anemia problem in Cambodia. Anemia, caused by a lack of iron in the blood, can be devastating.

Because iron pills and treatments are often not available and almost never affordable for residents of remote villages, Charles looked for alternative ways of delivering the life-saving element. He found cooking in a cast iron pot infuses iron into the food, which is ultimately absorbed into the body of the person who eats the food. But, because aluminum is cheaper and lighter, Cambodians almost never use iron pots. If cooking in an iron pot works, why not cooking in any pot, as long as iron is part of the process? Charles’ solution was to have Cambodian cooks put a piece of iron in their pots.

The solution was simple, but presented a big problem: Cambodians were hesitant to throw an ugly block of iron into their food. The villagers didn’t want to use a potentially lifesaving block of metal when cooking because it was unappealing and unattractive.

The original iron "fish"

The original “Iron Fish”

Charles needed to better understand the Cambodian culture. He had a solution, but lacked a way to appeal to his audience. He spoke with village elders and researched beliefs, sayings, and rituals. Eventually, he came across the fish, a symbol of luck in Cambodian culture.

And just like that, the ugly iron block became an iron fish embraced by all.

The Lucky Iron Fish

The “Lucky Iron Fish”

Anemia has been cut in half among groups using the Lucky Iron fish. Learn more about the project here.

I found the concept of making a practical solution appealing to be an interesting and highly relatable process. As PR professionals, we understand the importance of how an idea or a pitch is presented. If you pitch a boring, square, unattractive chunk of metal, what type of response do you expect? Charles proved how understanding the audience is essential to creating something relevant and intriguing.

How can you turn your boring piece of metal into a Lucky Iron Fish?

– Amy Verbout

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It’s About People

by KGBTexas Admin on July 22, 2015

Last year marked a great moment in my life; I was the best man in my brother’s wedding. The night before the wedding, my brother and I met with the other groomsmen and some of his friends to celebrate his coming nuptials.

While being introduced to his friends, one of them asked me, “So Daniel, what do you do?” When I told him  I worked in human resources he immediately responded, “Oh, so you enjoy ruining people’s lives?”

I’m no stranger to the perception many people have of human resources. They see HR as a barrier to what they want to do. They think people like me exist only to stop them from enacting new ideas or doing business the way they want. In fact, a colleague of mine told me not too long ago that after a few run-ins with some department managers, they hung a speed bump sign on the door of her office.

Speed-Bump-Ahead-Sign-K-6500

I get asked quite a bit why I chose a career in human resources, and my answer has always been the same: people. I’m not in this to ruin anyone’s life or to be a speed bump. I genuinely want to help people grow in their careers and get the most out of their experience at work. I want work to be a place  people want to come to because they enjoy what they do and enjoy the culture of their company. While most people’s impression of HR is something along the lines of the character Toby Flenderson from the TV show “The Office”, my goal is to change that idea and make HR something that empowers our team members, not holds them back.

toby Flenderson - The human sunshine ray.

 Toby Flenderson – The human beam of sunshine.

At KGBTexas, we are working to build that type of HR department. Not one that tells our team members what they can’t do, but one that empowers them to reach their highest potential. Like any goal you set for yourself, it’s a challenge and it takes time to achieve, but to me it’s more than worth it to see people succeed. That’s why, whenever I’m asked why I chose a career in HR the answer is easy, because it’s about people.

– Daniel Hall

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The Circus rolls into San Antonio

by KGBTexas Admin on July 20, 2015

I was driving to work on Monday morning and noticed a train passing overhead with red, vintage letters printed on each boxcar that read, “Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus”. The circus was rolling into town! ringling Over the decades many companies decide to rebrand their logo in order to keep up with current trends and designs. However, a unique story unfolds from companies whose logos remain untouched through the years. Logos represent what a company stands for and the colors they use leave lasting impressions of their brand. The circus’ retro logo tells a story of the company’s history  and makes the people who see it feel as though they stepped back in time to enjoy the acrobatic performance, known as “The Greatest Show on Earth”. ringling-brothers-logo The Psychology of Color in Logos: Blue is associated with brands that are dependable, honest and trustworthy. Green is associated with health and growth. Purple is a calming color and stimulates feelings of imagination, wisdom and mystery. Orange represents confidence, energy and aggression. Red brings forth feelings of excitement, energy, passion and danger. Yellow evokes feelings of optimism, clarity and creativity. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s eye-catching red, yellow and blue logo arouses feelings of boldness, excitement and creativity. There’s no question these colors match the personality of the circus company and its incredible and colorful performance.

– Amy Cantu

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My New Horizons

by KGBTexas Admin on July 16, 2015

History Lesson of the Day: On July 14th 1965, NASA’s Mariner 4 flew past Mars, becoming the first spacecraft to capture up-close looks of another planet. It is only fitting that 50 years later, July 14th, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons  became the first spacecraft to explore Pluto. Both spacecrafts have communicated new images and data of these unknown worlds back to Earth. NASA continues to outshine its past.

 The New Horizons spacecraft visits Pluto 50 years after Mariner 4 reached Mars. The New Horizons spacecraft visits Pluto 50 years after Mariner 4 reached Mars.

In a much smaller world, my world, I spend my day as a little speck in this giant realm of a universe. I find myself thinking only of myself and what is on my “to do” list that day. My mind is constantly striving to check off those items. As I look to finish up that email, or run my errands, or get a chance to work out, I lose sight of triumphs much bigger than mine being achieved.

For more than 50 years, technology has been evolving and utilized by NASA to achieve goals I can barely imagine. The difference  between NASA’s achievements and my own is more than just scale. Where NASA is exceeding its past, I am simply getting through another day. It’s starting to feel really tedious and not very rewarding. I am definitely not exceeding my own past.

Having lived this summer like a human checklist, I have one mid-year resolution for everybody: give your brain a break. Where setting and achieving goals is important to everyday life, we also need some distraction and relaxation.

Here are some ways to rest your noggin and better your own New Horizons.

1. Get outside at least 3-5 times a week
2. Change a routine
3. Learn  to meditate
4. Accept what is what
5. Set aside the phone

– Jordan McGinty

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