Balance: Life, Work and Marketing

We are at the beginning of the summer months — school is out and it’s getting hot.  I’m finding the long days can be more productive; more time to work, more time to exercise, more time to swing in my hammock, more time to try and find balance.

The dictionary says balance is “a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.”  I like that, “correct proportions.”  Perhaps achieving balance is a different combination of things and in different proportions as you move through the seasons.

At Work:  Summer can be a challenge. With staff members taking turns being on week-long vacations, that means there is a gap that other team members need to fill.  Is your team ready?  Are they cross-trained so that your level of customer service doesn’t miss a beat?  If coverage doesn’t go well, what can be learned and implemented before the holidays are upon us?

At Home:  Days are long, but also hot.  It’s a great time to shift your workout to the cool mornings before work, rather than planning a workout in 90+ degree heat after work. I recently installed a hammock between two trees in my front lawn.  Now, that’s where I head to de-stress when it’s hot outside.  Just the back and forth motion, swinging between two strong trees, balances me.

What does this have to do with a blog from a Marketing company?

What applies to personal life often applies to professional life. Summer is a great time to consider a new combination of activities to set you up for the rest of the year, such as:

Marketing Photos:  Summer is a perfect time to get new photography of your facilities, staff and service lines.  Everything is green and there are leaves on the trees.  Take this opportunity to be prepared with new custom photography that can be used all year.

Marketing Audit:  When was the last time you walked around the outside of your facility, or the inside for that matter; being totally aware of your customers’ experience?  How easy is it to find main signage, directional signage, posters, collateral materials, etc.?  Make a list of improvements that are needed, do what you can now, then add the rest to your budgeting wish list.

Marketing Planning: What season could be better for having lunch on the patio with staff or with customers to talk about the fall and beyond?  We are at the mid-year point — have you accomplished what you set out to accomplish so far, or do you need to pivot?

Large Marketing Project:  Sometimes the largest projects get bypassed in a normal day, as smaller pieces are easier to tackle along with daily interruptions.  The summer months could be a good time to tackle one of those larger projects.  Perhaps there is some quiet time with team members on vacation, or it’s your culture to take your laptop or notepad outside and away from distractions.  Tackle one big project—you’ll be glad you did.

Events:  Attend those events that you’ve been meaning to attend, if not for pure pleasure, as an opportunity to see how other marketers approach a special event. What new ideas might you be able to adopt?

Balance is in the eye of the beholder, for sure.  I don’t have kids at home any longer, so I’m pretty much in charge of my own day. I’m working on finding balance and not only enjoying this time of year but making sure I’m ready for the next six months of 2018.  I might even finish reading a novel in my hammock!


Jackie O'Hara, Boss Lady of Jet Marketing

Jackie O’Hara, Owner/Account Executive/Strategist

As the “boss lady” at Jet Marketing, Jackie is usually struggling to find time for herself. But when she does, there is nothing like a glass of wine and immersing herself in the latest copy of Darling.



Protecting your Brand against the Unknown

Writing this blog was not on my “to-do” list until news of Hurricane Harvey. Current events spark conversation, so this seemed timely. It is not without sensitivity to those who have lost loved ones or who are dealing with loss of all unimaginable kinds.

The recent events in Houston invoke all types of emotions, by those directly and indirectly affected. For me, the current event was bone chilling because I spent the summer reading 5 Days at Memorial, by Pulitzer Prize author Sheri Fink.

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The book is a real-life account of the 5 days at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. The first half of the book paints the picture of a flooded basement that contained the emergency generator, a helipad that was in disrepair, a lack of electricity, plumbing, food and a lot of patients at various levels of health.

People died. Some on their own, some with the help of physician-directed medication. Healthcare professionals were saddled with a hopeless situation and delivered compassion in the form of dosages of lethal medication as they deemed necessary.

The second half of the book details the litigation that followed those difficult life-ending decisions. Everyone accused was eventually acquitted and the exercise prompted immunity laws that protect workers in an emergency situation today.

The epilogue was maybe the most powerful portion of the book. It reviewed not only disasters in third world countries when medical resources have to be rationed, but also situations like Hurricane Sandy and the Ebola patient at Texas Health in Dallas. It included discussion of ethics and the possible biases of having a limited resource distribution protocol in place. “Fifty patients, six outlets. How do you decide?” — was a quote from the book referring to a real-life situation when all fifty patients needed to be on ventilators.

A thought provoking read and history does, tragically, repeat itself.

What does this have to do with protecting your brand? Nobody can predict a natural disaster, but everyone can make an intentional effort to plan for the worst and practice their crisis plan. The lawyers in 5 Days at Memorial asked hospital executives for their crisis plan — a show of due diligence.

Your communications team needs to be part of the team crafting your crisis plan. Who will talk to the media? Where will press conferences be held? What is the message and talking points? Do you have press release templates and up-to-date media distribution lists?

What are smaller and more likely worst-case scenarios that might affect your business? Maybe it’s a theft, power outage, server failure or more snow than your employees can plow through.

Take some intentional time and brainstorm with your team. Make a list:

  • What could happen?
  • How would we respond to an event?
  • What can we do proactively now to minimize the effects of an event?
  • What is our chain of communication?
  • What/When/How do we inform our customers?

Read about other crisis situations, learn from their successes and failure. Remember Tylenol? Uber? Samsung? Wells Fargo? There are many examples of how the actions of others or actions of your internal staff can damage your brand.

My rule of thumb for a crisis response:

  1. Accept responsibility (not applicable in a natural disaster) — State what happened, clearly and honestly
  2. Apologize — We are very sorry for . . .
  3. Explain how it won’t happen again — new training, education or new processes in place — and set those changes in motion

Brands are an investment, and a good brand reputation can be quickly lost whether it’s the fault of something in your control or not. Nothing brings that home more profoundly than a tragic event. With Harvey on our minds, now is as good a time as any to be prepared.

Sending our prayers for those in Houston.

Every relationship needs an audit.

I recently got out my old bike. It’s a Schwinn, cruiser type, with an old basket and a cute bell.



I expected it to perform like it had every other time I got it out of the garage. Without giving much thought to it, I assumed the tires were full of air, that the brakes would be functional and that the old bell on the handlebars would announce me as I cruised down the trail.

You know how this is going to end.

Without all the details: Tires . . . flat. Valve stem. . .cracked and leaking. Brakes . . . very little. Bell . . . well that was the only bright spot. These discovered defects were over two bike rides on two hot days – of course all my husband’s fault, so now he’s in trouble too.

Was it naïve of me to think that a bike I bought in 2000 for $99 would still be a trusted and reliable friend in 2017? I’ve never had it looked at by a professional. I have added some air to the tires . . . because heck, I don’t ride more than a few times a summer, what could go wrong?

These series of events got me thinking about how not only personal relationships need attention, tune-ups, some love and understanding, but also companies and businesses that use marketing tactics to drive business through the door, to educate, and to create top-of-mind awareness.

Like my bike, you can’t just buy it and let it sit. You can’t put up a website and wipe your hands and say it’s done. Social media and branding need constant attention. Decisions about marketing campaigns, updating the look of your company and even reinventing what it is you do and how you do it – happens over time as a result of constant listening, research and time spent contemplating “what if.”

I’ve been married 35 years. I still have to be reminded to make that extra effort, to be thoughtful, or to suggest a new restaurant.

It would be easier to (buy a bike, create a logo, sign the wedding license) once and be done. But like my bike — a painless audit at the beginning of my bike riding season would save a lot of back and forth to the bike shop, money and blame. I’m not a marriage counselor, but if you need a marketing audit, I can help you there – as long as I can fly or drive to visit with you about it.

A Publication to Love

They say people don’t read anymore. We all have shortened attention spans, and we want more graphics and video– not text.

While I don’t disagree with these basic trends, I would encourage you (especially women) to pick up the most recent copy of Darling and reconsider the values you place on reading.


Targeted to women of all ages and walks of life, this magazine is like no other that I’ve seen. You’ll need a $20 bill, but if you don’t enjoy the format, the variety of stories, the photography, illustrations, graphic treatments and even the paper it’s printed on, I’ll reimburse you!

I so appreciate wandering through this publication that my husband started picking up for me each quarter. With just a few artful advertisements in the opening pages, this publication does not have any other advertising.

Each story is well crafted and synchronized with effective type treatments and rich, often monochromatic photography. There is nothing “stock” about this perfectly bound and perfectly done publication. In fact, editors at Darling embrace the raw, and real, non-photo shopped approach.

It’s artful and it makes me stop to spend a little time to feel the texture of the pages and listen to new perspectives or inspirations found within the covers. It’s an exercise in mindfulness really. This magazine doesn’t go out in my recycling pile, like most of my other magazines. I keep them. I treasure them. I share them with others.

IMG_3388At Jet Marketing, our approach to many of our marketing campaigns employs strategies of less text and more graphics. But we also create original newspaper article content, community newsletters and donor publications that get noticed. While our publications are different than Darling, they are relevant, professional and they speak to a target audience with specific education or awareness goals. Seem old-school? Well maybe, but sometimes what is old is new.

I believe that people still do read — however, Darling reinforces the fact that a high-quality piece that is relevant and attractive helps your marketing or publication rise to the top and increases the likelihood of perceived value.

What’s your favorite item to read and why? We’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, pick up a copy of Darling, or stop by the office and I’m happy to share a back copy with you.

@darling on Instagram


Jackie O’Hara, Owner/Account Executive/Strategist

As the “boss lady” at Jet Marketing, Jackie is usually struggling to find time for herself. But when she does, there is nothing like a glass of wine and immersing herself in the latest copy of Darling.


The Power of the Personal Story (and how to secure your own stories to highlight your brand)

I admit it – I’m a fan of The Voice and a few other mindless talent shows on television. Sometimes I find myself choked up, all because of the heart wrenching stories told about the lives of the contestants. Logically I know why they pick the most dramatic story lines — but emotionally, I’m hooked.

Turns out there is nothing like a good story.

A recent Forbes article titled The Power of Story explains, “. . .we are wired for interpersonal connections and put more stock in ideas that result from personal contact than from hard data. Essentially, we internalize stories much better than we do facts.”*

In marketing, when others say good things about your products and services the message has much more credibility and longevity than mere description. It takes work to procure real stories, but it’s worth it!

Always be Mining for Stories

Encourage friends, neighbors, family and staff members to share stories that reflect your organization or product in a good light. Remind them often, especially staff members. Follow up with unsolicited notes of thanks and social media posts to see if there is a lead and a willing storytelling participant.

Give People Something tScreen Shot 2016-08-01 at 9.44.50 AMo Talk About

Create a community event that encourages storytelling. For one of our hospital clients, we created a community birthday party. We invited all 10,000 babies that had been born in the community over the past 60+ years to come and be recognized. Lots of photos were taken, both pre- and post-event, and the community conversation about how the town has changed was robust. It was a very positive image booster for the hospital and we shared photos in their community newsletter, social media outlets and print.

Another fantastic example is Heathrow Airport in London. They are using their 70th birthday to gather stories, encouraging anyone to share memories of time spent at the airport over those 70 years. If you get a chance, it’s a GREAT read.

These types of campaigns encourage people to connect to a brand and to reflect on the ways that brand has impacted and influence their lives. By invoking nostalgia and encouraging people to reflect on their own memories connected to that brand, the outcome is positive feelings towards that brand.

Photos are Key!

We are all drawn to photos — especially ones with faces in them. Professional or candid, make sure you have a photo to go along with the story. Like they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words.

Be Transparent about Your Intentions

Don’t overplay or underplay what your intentions are. If you have a story and a photo, be clear about the types of media you plan to use. Don’t tell the storyteller it will only be a print ad and then later they see themselves on a billboard. Keep the storyteller involved and make sure to give them the opportunity to approve materials. Then stick to your word, otherwise the positive engagement could turn into a negative one.

I hear all the time that people don’t read anymore, and while I think that’s true to a certain extent, I do believe that we still like to read, hear and listen to a good human story.

The Power of the Story, published on


Jackie O’Hara, Owner/Account Executive/Strategist

This summer, Jackie has enjoyed listening to friends tell stories around the campfire, working on home and yard remodeling projects, and sneaking in a few rounds of golf with her husband (the real storyteller of the family).

Value of the Face-to-Face Meeting

A certain commercial has stuck with me for more than 25 years. Here’s the plot: a boss gathers all of his sales reps to let them know that a long-time customer had fired them earlier that day. Their boss informs them that the client said, “he didn’t know us anymore,” and was tired of just getting a fax. The boss proceeded to hand out airline tickets to every member of the sales force and announced a new plan to hold a face-to-face meeting with every one of their customers.

The message of that commercial is powerful. Fast forward to 2016. It’s no longer a fax, it’s email, Skype, GoToMeeting, texts, tweets and posts. Turns out it is even easier than before to think you are connected to your customers and to avoid (probably unintentionally) the face-to-face.

Having been in business in some fashion or another for 34 years, I know the value and importance of building relationships with customers beyond the virtual world we so often live in. At Jet, many of our clients aren’t found across town, but across the state and beyond. So while we need and use all the modern conveniences of email and FedEx, we also make intentional efforts to build relationships which might require the occasional road trip and plane ride.

Jet ensures that our customers know who we are through site visits. There’s no better way to get a sense of the organization you work with than to meet with people face-to-face. This month I’ll be visiting some of our very valuable clients. I’ll gas up the car, make a few hotel reservations and get out the suitcase (which upsets my dog more than my husband), and hit the road.

On these trips, I like to meet with multiple groups at an organization — to hear the CEO’s perspective, to meet with the communications team and talk about specific projects, and to meet with the heads of other departments and hear their point of view. Then depending, I take whomever is available to lunch, dinner, drinks, whatever.

It’s an opportunity to simply say “thank you” – but it’s also a great opportunity to talk about the health of the organization and see how we might help in new ways. The average amount of time a client stays with an agency is 3 years. I like beating those odds, and I think the best way to do that is to connect on personal stuff first, business stuff second.

These site visits are also a great way to get a sense of what is going on locally. There is no replacement for seeing first hand what is happening in a local market. I try to catch the local radio stations, check out the billboards and pick up the local publications. Sometimes I check out the local competition or visit with residents in line at the local coffee shop. It’s important knowledge that you can’t just get online. It’s being involved in and part of your clients’ community.

Granted when the weather is nice, it’s more enjoyable. But like the post office says, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” (source: “National Postal Museum: FAQs”. National Postal Museum. 2011)

In the same way, Jet Marketing is committed to our client partners, no matter where they are.

Jackie O’Hara is the owner and co-founder of Jet Marketing.