What to do with that last straw

Iced coffee season is upon us here at Jet Marketing, which means we have been talking a lot about single-use straws and how to avoid using them. Stories are circulating widely about how many straws are found on beaches and in the ocean, and the devastating effects floating straws have on sealife. One viral video about a turtle found with a straw in his nose had a particularly strong impact on consumers and large companies, alike.

The abundance of coverage about where straws end up has left an impact on us, we are all on board with keeping straws out of recycle bins and landfills if at all possible. To avoid using plastic straws, Boss Lady Jackie uses a glass straw for beverages ranging from her morning smoothie to that afternoon iced coffee. The rest of us have been more aware of our straw usage, working to avoid use at all costs. I have compiled a list of fun and practical things to do with plastic straws once your afternoon iced mocha is gone.

 

  1. Straw Rockets

This is my favorite craft idea yet. Straw rockets can be made using pieces of scrap paper and tape, the launcher is your plastic straw–just aim and blow. These are the perfect way to perk up a slow day at the office, get the attention of your coworker, or entertain children of all ages.

Straw Rockets on Simple Play Ideas: http://simpleplayideas.com/make-straw-rockets

A handful of straw rockets, just waiting to be put to good use.

 

  1. Prevent Necklace Tangles when Traveling

We have all had a favorite necklace that has become ridiculously tangled while traveling. Once way to prevent that from happening is to thread the necklace through one or two plastic straws, then clasp it before packing it in your bag. The straws keep the chain on the straight and narrow as you jet-set to your next adventure.

 

  1. Perk up Flowers

We love keeping fresh flowers around, though the summer heat can take a toll on the longevity of any bouquet. Placing the stem of a flower through a straw before placing it in a vase will give it an added lift, and help your flowers look fresh a bit longer.

 

  1. Straw Paper Airplanes

A different approach to building paper planes, this design is made with a straw and two paper loops as its uber-aerodynamic wings. Find directions at the link, and rest assured, the plane still flies if you use paper instead of card stock.

Handmade Charlotte: https://www.handmadecharlotte.com/diy-straw-paper-airplanes/

Straw airplanes, ready for action.

 

  1. Hull Strawberries

Plastic drinking straws are the perfect size for hulling strawberries. By pushing the straw up through the bottom of the strawberry, the center, leaves, and stem of the berry are easily removed.

 

There are so many other creative ideas out there–creating wreaths, using straws to make beads, and creating swirly noisemakers are just a few of the additional ideas I found. One interior design company catalogued several beautiful chandeliers made from straws of all shapes and sizes.

The possibilities are endless for upcycling drinking straws, it’s time to start collecting them and get to crafting!

 

Jenny Fischer, Project Manager & Designer

Jenny loves iced coffee season at Jet, since she is usually down for an afternoon jolt and happy to go on the office coffee run. She loves hot coffee season for the same reasons.



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.

 

 



5 Steps to Video Success

Video Success. You’ve heard the experts rave about video production, but how do you get started? What is the first step to creating your own engaging video and how can you share your video with the world?

If you’re not taking advantage of video and want to know where to start, here are five steps that will start you down the path to an effective video marketing campaign:

Step 1: Video Tactic

It is imperative to create a tactical plan for the video project.  What is it you are trying to accomplish? By having some sort of goal in place, this will allow you to measure the success of your campaign and help you form the main concept of your video. With a navigational plan in place, you will begin to execute your strategy.

The plan should be mindful of your:

  • Target market
  • Detailed strategy (what do you want your target audience to know, and what action do you want them to take?)
  • Distribution of the completed product
  • Budget and timeframe

Step 2: Assessment of Resources

Next, it is necessary to be aware of your restrictions and competencies. Ask yourself: Will you be creating these videos in-house or will you be hiring a firm? Do you have access to professional equipment and software or will you be improvising from your smartphone and iMovie? Whatever the case may be, knowing your equipment will help make the filming and editing process much easier.

Step 3: Script and Storyboard

In order to create your script, it is important to review your video tactic of your desires and ambitions. Once you know the type of video, you can begin your storyboard. A storyboard allows you to organize and visualize your scenes.

What should be integrated:

  • Key copy points
  • Visuals
  • Who can talk on camera, tell your story
  • Where will you shoot

Step 4: 

Production and Editing

Lights, camera, action! Make sure you have your equipment and team prepared for filming. Since you have developed your script and storyboard, everything should be smooth sailing from here.

A few helpful tips to save time during filming include:

  • Having your team prepared, they know the script well
  • Hold a pre-production meeting the day or hours prior to shooting
  • Identify any alternate locations due to unexpected weather or location challenges
  • Overshoot and don’t forget you can never have enough “B-Roll” (filler footage)
  • The storyboard guides your editing process 

Step 5: Uploading your video  

The final step is to share your video to social media or broadcast channels. There are a few different options with numerous benefits. You have the option of posting your video on your own website, YouTube, or Vimeo.

Let’s Fly Together

Jet Marketing can help you to navigate your way through video production. We will soar through the process by creating your personal flight pattern through the following:

  • Flight strategy
  • Research and development
  • Script and storyboard
  • Video production

Kathryn Kudra, Intern

On behalf of the Jet Marketing team, Kathryn would like to thank you for joining us on this Video Production trip. She looks forward to flying privately with you and your associates, and hopes you enjoyed this direct flight to success!



3 Marketing Strategies for Higher Education

With so many options when it comes to higher education, marketers need to get creative in attracting new students. While view books are still a hit with high school seniors and their parents who are exploring options, marketers in higher ed are embarking on more and more digital strategies to accommodate people of all ages who want quick answers and easy ways to navigate through options. Here are three options we offer our higher ed clients at Jet Marketing.

Get on Instagram

When it comes to providing quick information, social media is where it’s at and with the 35 and under crowd, Instagram is the place to be. Universities and colleges are jumping on Instagram to reach, attract and engage students. They use it to showcase their campus, highlight research and encourage student involvement—all the while providing calls to action with clever hashtags and incentives.

Several universities have Facebook pages for potential students where they post on exciting new programs and opportunities. The sky’s the limit when it comes to boosting enrollment through web, digital and social.

Boost class enrollment with email campaigns

When your college or university launches a new class, degree or program, it’s sometimes hard to get the word out. To boost enrollment, try an email campaign to students. An email marketing campaign involves sending a series of related emails within a set timeframe to current and potential students. They have grabby headlines, lots of graphics and infographics and an easy act now button for students to click on to instantly learn more.

Create a stunning view book or case statement that can also live on your website

College view books make an impact by telling student success stories, using infographics to highlight statistics, and relying heavily on large format pictures that pull the viewer in. Here at Jet, we are experts at making photos pop off the page and make an impact on readers. We are proud to have earned a Service Industry Advertising Award Best of Show on our Power Your Future campaign brochure for Gillette College Foundation.

Your view book can live on the web as a simple flip-able book, or crank it up by adding links to videos that go more in depth with student stories, research successes and faculty superstars.

Need more help? Get started with Jet – we’re experienced in creating digital and print marketing for colleges and universities. With clean design and a talented copywriter on staff, we can be as involved as you need us to be. To get started, reach out to Jackie today – we’re offering a discount on start-up costs for a limited time.


3Lynn Nichols, Content Director

Lynn understands the college search, having just gone through it with her youngest son, Evan. It’s tough having two kids in college at the same time!



What makes an effective healthcare newsletter?

At this point in the marketing game, we all know that content is king, especially when it comes to digital marketing. But healthcare is a unique industry. When you’re dealing with HIPAA and health subjects that can be touchy, how can you provide quality and relevant content to your patients to keep them informed and coming back to your healthcare organization?

Create a newsletter.

Not only are print publications still relevant, they are also an effective way to reach a patient base. But as with all content, it needs to be engaging, interesting, and relevant to your patients. To do that effectively, you’ll need a few elements

Tell a story

First and foremost, people want to read about people. Interviewing patients and getting the story about their health journey is essential to healthcare messaging. Their experiences with your providers and support staff, as well as their descriptions of the quality of their care, are all important to build your brand and instill trust in the readers of your newsletter. A patient story is proof that your claims about your organization are true – that your care is compassionate and effective.

Give a face to your providers

As the main face most patients will come in contact with at your organization, providers need to be approachable. The best way to do that is to humanize them with stories about them and photos of them with patients at work. Their approach to care will be important for patients interested in selecting a provider, and their personality can shine through a newsletter piece specifically about their specialty.

Educate about service lines

What services does your organization offer? Patients might not always be aware of what is available to them, which can lead them to choosing your competition instead. Let them know what you have and how it can benefit them. Specialized articles about particular serv

ices or new technologies shows off your expertise and lets patients know that your organization is up-to-date with the latest methods of care.

To round out the rest of your newsletter, it’s good to keep a few other things in mind:

Contact info – patients need to know where and when they can find you.

Events – what is going on with your organization?

Graphic elements/infographics – enhance your content with some eye catching graphics that are easily digestible and quick to read

Photography – the best kinds of photos are engaging photos with patients, providers, care being given, action. You want to capture your audience’s attention – photography is a great way to do that.

Keep it fresh – update the look every once in a while. Your care is cutting edge – your newsletter needs to reflect that.

With these elements, you can. Need more help? Get started with Jet – we’re experienced in creating healthcare newsletters for organizations of every size. With clean design and a talented copywriter on staff, we can be as involved as you need us to be. To get started, reach out to Jackie today – we’re offering a discount on start-up costs for a limited time.

View some other examples here, here, and here.


Kirsten Queen, Project Manager at Jet Marketing

Kirsten is a big reader, and used to sneak The Boxcar Children under her desk at school in 3rd grade to read during class.



Custom donor publications still relevant in digital age

You’ve probably been told that printed, custom newsletters or magazines targeted to your donors are old school.  Or maybe your governing board wants to save money and encourages the use of Facebook or e-newsletters as your mode of communication instead. After all, they’re free, so why not?

The first step before creating any marketing materials or custom publications is defining your audience. Who do you want to reach? What action do you want them to take after reading?  Depending on your target audience, Facebook or an e-newsletter might be an appropriate part of your mix but keep in mind that social media is often most popular among young audiences whose pockets might not yet be very deep. If that’s your target audience, go for it. Otherwise, you might want to consider a more traditional mode of delivery, like a donor publication.

The Value of Donor Publications

Donor publications are in fact not dead and if done right, they can provide an ongoing mechanism to:

  • Recognize donor gifts
  • Profile key donors and why they give
  • Recognize sponsors and special event participants
  • Announce upcoming events
  • Educate donors about your organization
  • Supplement your “ask” materials for new donor meetings
  • Tell stories of how donations make a difference in people’s lives
  • Introduce and recognize employees and staff
  • Provide a regular reminder or vehicle to encourage gifts
  • Recognize board members to help with retention and recruitment
  • Provide a sense of community among your donors

 

A current client of ours recently sent out an e-newsletter to thousands of donors. Nearly 75% went unopened. The same client sends out a quarterly custom publication and inevitably gets a good response with remittance envelopes. That’s not to say one is better than the other, but for this client, custom publications are their sweet spot. The downside may be the cost of the investment, but you might find that the return on investment is well worth it.

A past client explains it this way:

“Through our custom donor publication we are able to keep 10,000 of our supporters informed about critical advancements each month.  This continued outreach has recently resulted in a $300,000 gift from a former patient. While this is one of our larger gifts, each quarter many supporters contribute funds ranging from several dollars to thousands of dollars. This outreach effort has resulted in a better informed, more engaged and knowledgeable community, which in turn continually increases their financial support.”

Consider outsourcing for good results

Maybe you have the talent to create a publication in house, maybe not. Oftentimes, newsletters are tacked on to someone’s job. The boss says, “Hey, you’re pretty good with computers, why don’t you be in charge of newsletter?” The end result is often more amateur than professional. It’s not that the staff member has poor intentions; it’s that they already have a primary role in the organization.

Worse yet, if the newsletter looks unprofessional and disorganized, it projects that image of your organization to your donors. The last thing you want is for them to view you as not having things together. After all, they might think, “If they are disorganized and unprofessional, will they be able to handle my money well?”

Maybe your primary organization’s internal marketing or communications staff could help?  Yes, they certainly have the talent; but again, is it their priority to help the foundation’s mission? Usually their

first priority is the key organization and your work falls to the bottom of the list. The quality and timeliness of your publication is the first to be bumped when more important projects present themselves. Then you are back to where you started — a publication that is no longer timely or effective.

It is vital that your custom publication be interesting, relevant, professional, timely and in alignment with your organization’s brand.

To do it right, consider outsourcing to a marketing firm or syndicated publisher. While you could go with the latter to purchase a canned publication, where part of your contract is a customized cover and perhaps interior spread, you’ll sacrifice it feeling “custom” for your audience. For example, you might end up with photos of the Florida coastline when your organization resides in the mountains of Colorado.

A better route would be to hire a marketing firm that can create custom content, produce relevant images, and establish a consistent, professional look-and-feel for your publication on a set (and honored) schedule.  A firm like this is usually very motivated to keep you on task and will provide a turnkey product that has an impact with your donors.

If you’re intrigued, give us a call. Creating custom publications for foundations is something we do regularly, with good results.

 

3Lynn Nichols, Content Manager

Lynn enjoys the challenge of creating custom publications that create results and engage donors. 



5 Tips for Staying on Brand this Holiday Season

The holiday season is in full swing and you are most likely in the midst of hanging lights and drinking peppermint mochas, but is your brand holiday-ready? As tempting as it is to incorporate every reindeer and snowflake graphic that pops up on Pinterest, it’s important to still maintain your brand recognition. Here are a few guidelines that will help add some cheer while keeping your identity at the forefront:

Keep your logo intact and visible.

Now isn’t the time to replace your mark with a Christmas tree. Or to change your type to a scripty holiday font. Your logo should still be highly visible and unchanged. If you’re feeling really festive and want to incorporate your mark into a holiday theme in some way (i.e. your mark as a snowflake or an ornament on a tree), then go for it. But don’t forgo using your actual logo.

Keep your color palette.

Using all red and green when your colors are purple and gray isn’t going to make anyone recall your brand (unless you are a highly recognizable brand like Starbucks). If you want to add some holiday color, consider adding a luxurious, rich, warm accent color. Something that conjures feelings of warm fireplaces on snowy nights. Or going monochromatic, such as silver or gold, feels very elegant and merry, while being different but not too off-brand.

Tailor your messaging.

Tweaking your tagline or message is a good way to include the holiday spirit. Just make sure to keep it in the same voice as the rest of the year. If you typically have a serious and deliberate tone, now is not the time to be cutesy and humorous. And be sensitive to the fact that the holidays don’t mean “Christmas” for everyone. Keep your holiday marketing more general to the season so as not to alienate your audience.

Keep it fresh.

Consider updating your holiday approach each season. Using the same idea over and over each year can feel dated and tired. Take Starbucks for example. While they are known for their holiday cups, people eagerly await each year to see what the NEW design will be. If they were to parade out the same cup every year there definitely would not be the hype and anticipation that their holiday brand is now known for.

Don’t overdo the cheer.

It’s fun to get in the holiday spirit, but that doesn’t mean it should overtake your brand. Acknowledging the holidays and spreading some joy is absolutely acceptable but make sure that your brand doesn’t get buried in the eggnog and sleigh bells. Keep your message on point and make sure it’s still meeting your business objectives.

The goal is finding the connection between the joy of the season and your own brand. It’s a fleeting time of year that luckily, we get to do all over again next year!


ER headshot Erin Rogers, Creative Director at Jet Marketing

Erin is busy this holiday season trying to help her 3 year old resist the urge to cover every square inch of the house in holiday trinkets. Let’s not even talk about the outside decorations.



Wrangling your reputation when things go awry 

You’ve likely heard of reputation management, or its virtual cousin, online reputation management or ORM. Reputation management aims to limit the amount of damage caused by an unfortunate incident by taking active steps to avoid a foreseeable problem. Or, to cool a situation down once it occurs. The hope, of course, is that your reputation will not sustain lasting damage. And it won’t, if you do it right.

How a business or organization responds to controversy tells a lot about their brand. Think about your business as a person. If you get it wrong, are criticized, or make a public error, do you get defensive and deny it or ignore that it’s happening? Or do you show your human side, and:

  1. Own it
  2. Apologize for it
  3. Tell why it won’t happen again

At Jet, we believe in taking the human approach to rep management. While people might still be upset, they’ll appreciate that you took the high road and owned your mistake and are willing to change, thereby keeping your integrity—and your reputation—intact.

Here’s a real live example of this playing out. Jackie, our beloved leader, recently ordered a dress for a special occasion from Nordstrom Rack. While usually prompt, this time things went wrong. Here’s the email she received. They followed Jet’s 3 rep management steps to a T:

I am truly sorry, Jackie. Why you are seeing what you are seeing is that we are experiencing some delays in our shipping. (1. Own it) I fully understand your pain and frustration with the delay, this was a very embarrassing situation for us to be in. (2. Apologize for it) Because of this embarrassment, we are directing all of our resources to repair the current backlog, as well as make sure that we are planning better for the future. We want to make sure that you will never have to worry about our ability to ship your orders in a timely fashion again. (3. Tell why it won’t happen again)

Our 3 steps apply mostly to errors and problems, so we employ other rep management techniques—such as being up front, honest and inclusive, responding quickly, and softening the blow with good prep work—in other situations.

At Jet, we help our clients with rep management on an ongoing basis. We’ve helped troubleshoot data breaches, cool down public outcry on dollars spent, unify employees around new names and logos, instill confidence after past errors, and prepare neighbors for new development projects.

Here are three examples:

New look, simplified

One of our clients had the same logo and look & feel since they opened in the 80s. Leaders were hesitant to make a change for fear the public or employees of this small town wouldn’t like it or see it as necessary. We helped them succeed by including employees in planning the public open house that unveiled the new look, and by holding a pre-event for employees—with special gifts bearing the new logo—before the public open house began. At the employee event, we included a FAQ on why the new look was needed, how it better reflected who they were today, and how it was paid for out of the general budget. We also included a talking points sheet for employees to use with the public to explain the change. This meant the message would be consistent. By being upfront about the need for the change and softening the blow by including employees in the process, the transition was not only smooth, but fun. Giving out teddy bears to the first 100 kids who came didn’t hurt, either.

Videos pave the way

One of our larger hospitals is located in an area where the economy is down. With many people out of work, it seemed a bad time for the hospital to spend money on renovations, but

they were sorely needed. The patient rooms had not been updated for 30 years and were small, outdated and ill-equipped. At the same time, hospital leaders were receiving feedback from surveys that the hospital spent money unnecessarily. To shift that reputation, and to bring home the need for the renovations, the hospital included patients and employees in the design of the new rooms. We proposed creating videos to run on their website, at events, and also as clips on social media sites that showed employees and patients explaining the need. Doing so created buy in by showing the human side of the project—hearing friends and neighbors tell how the renovations improved care and comfort for patients.

Data breach, bettered

Another client experienced a data breach which became public. We got the call after hours, but we were able to talk through our 3 steps, and provided language to use in response to social media posts—recommending they respond to each and every email received. We also recommended a temporary hotline for people to call and ask questions and talk through concerns.

Hopefully you won’t find yourself in need for rep management anytime soon, but if you do, apply Jet’s 3 steps or give us a call for help.

 

 


3Lynn Nichols, Copywriter, Publication Specialist

Lynn once sent her ‘out of office’ message to everyone on her email list by mistake. She managed this error with a red face, a follow-up apology, a sleepless night and a vow to never set an ‘out of office’ message again.



Brand Personality — Pumpkin-Spiced

 

Every year as summer begins to soften into fall, there are a couple of things I look forward to. The sweater weather, the changing leaves, football season and…Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice latte.

Not only do I love the taste of it, I love the special voice that their marketing team gives the PSL on social media.

Everything from beer, to cereal, to chips and salsa can be pumpkin-flavored, and we can give the credit for pumpkin spiced passion to Starbucks. The PSL was first created in 2003, and has started a pumpkin spice boom every fall season since. From the beginning of September to the end of October (or Pumpkin Spice Season), @TheRealPSL is active on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr with cleverly curated posts. The PSL has been on social media since 2014. Aside from the Frappucino, The PSL is the only drink on Starbucks’ menu that has its own social media account.

Ultimately, the PSL social media is all about creating and sustaining hype for the drink. The PSL accounts are only active in the fall — first, to announce the imminent arrival of the PSL, and thereafter to remind people they can still get it.

As a major part of Starbucks’ sales, the PSL and its social media are essential.

So what makes the PSL social media strategy so effective? Four vital attributes–audience, scarcity, brand personality and creative content.

Audience

Starbucks knows their audience well. PSL customers tend to be somewhat affluent, health-conscious millennials. Reaching their audience effectively means that Starbucks has been able to gain a lot of followers (37k on Instagram, 17.4k on Twitter). Not only do they have a significant number of followers, the PSL generates significant engagement on their posts as well. PSL posts receive 493% more likes per photo than Starbucks’ regular posts.

By using a mixture of photos, videos, and GIFs, the PSL is able to diversify their social media feed and keep it interesting. And @TheRealPSL adds the bonus of responding personally to its followers.

Now you see where I got the good looks & bad eyesight. #FBF

A post shared by Pumpkin Spice Latte (@therealpsl) on

Scarcity

The PSL only comes around once a year for a short amount of time. Starbucks takes the cue of the changing leaves to start creating hype. By using clever, sporadic posts for the PSL social media, Starbucks drives excitement for the PSL and thus the purchase of the beverage.

Brand Personality

Unlike the other social media accounts for Starbucks, The PSL is very much a brand character or persona. The posts are put into PSL’s first person voice. The more PSL posts, the more the audience learns about the character. Even though it’s a product and it’s not around most of the year, the audience is invested in the PSL story, and they grow to love the PSL character. And because the brand has a well-defined, fun personality the content they produce is top-notch.

Creative Content

To go along with brand personality, the PSL social team has created posts that are eye-catching, entertaining, and fun. We learn the PSL goes backpacking, has a pumpkin-cat named Ginger, and other fun details. And the brand is responsive — engaging with fans that want to interact with the beverage on social.

For another example of a company using a branding character, check out New Belgium Brewing Company’s Voodoo Ranger. He’s a relatively new marketing tool for New Belgium, but he’s already the face of four of their beers.

Utilize the PSL social media strategy for your own marketing goals. But be sure to be original — we all know that the copycats aren’t the same as the real thing! Now, who’s thirsty for a PSL?


Kirsten Queen, Project Manager at Jet Marketing

Kirsten once dressed up as a PSL for Halloween and it’s still her favorite costume to date.



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.

Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 11.48.48 AM

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.