All Posts By

Sheryl Doyle

Successful Brands – Timeless and Timely

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Recently, one of my children was suffering from a stomachache. Without a second thought, I went to the medicine cabinet and reached for the Pepto-Bismol. As part of the usual kid-versus-parent battle that ensued, I told that her that I had been taking this medicine since I was a little kid. That got me wondering: just how long has Pepto Bismol been around?

Turns out, much longer than I realized. This product was introduced in 1901 and branded Pepto-Bismol in 1919. The basic formula is sold under other names, but it’s the Pepto-Bismol brand that is firmly ingrained in consumers’ minds.

That made me curious. What other brands have been around so long that we don’t remember a time without them? Here is a short list:

Ford – Founded in 1903 and still the most successful American auto company. Ford has survived increased international competition and domestic economic recessions.

Coca-Cola – Started in 1886 and positioned as a medical elixir, this product is still hugely popular and sold in over 200 countries.

Hershey – Came into existence in 1894 and is the oldest and largest chocolate manufacturer in the U.S. While the company has introduced new products, the Hershey bar is still the most popular choice and has stayed basically the same over the years.

Kellogg’s – Began in 1906 and is the largest provider of cereals in the world.

Heineken – Introduced in the Netherlands in 1873, the company owns 119 different breweries and sells product in 65 countries. In spite of the brand’s age, it is often thought of as a “hip beer choice” here in the U.S.

Think about all the change the world has seen since these brands were developed – political, social, and economic. It is mind-boggling. And yet, not only have these brands survived, they’ve thrived. There is much conversation about which characteristics contribute to a brand’s success and longevity, but three that emerge frequently are passion, consistency, and company leadership.

What brands will our children take for granted as having been around forever – Apple, Nike, McDonalds? Time will tell.

To learn more about the branding process,  read our white paper:

Working From Home – Surprising Facts and Helpful Tips

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Here at d.trio, we are fortunate to have the ability to work remotely when necessary. We have an excellent array of technology tools that allow us to service our clients without skipping a beat. In fact, many of our clients work from home part-time or full-time.

The marketing services industry is not alone in this trend. According to a 2013 Forbes article, 30 million Americans work from home at least once a week and that number is expected to increase by 63% over the next five years. Working from home saves both employers and employees money. Employers report increased productivity and employees report increased job satisfaction.   For additional facts, check out the great infographic at the end of this post on The Benefits of Employee Telecommuting.

How do we ensure that we are contributing to those positive outcomes and working productively from our home office? Here are some simple tips suggested by Entrepreneur magazine:

  1. Set boundaries – avoid personal calls or household tasks during the workday.
  2. Take a lunch break – use this downtime to recharge and refocus.
  3. Dress for the job – wear work attire to provide a separation between work time and normal at home time.
  4. Have a routine – creating a work routine is important so that you stay on task.
  5. Remove distractions – keep the TV off and surround yourself with work-related things. If possible, dedicate a separate work area. Some experts further suggest listening to music without words and avoid sitting directly in front of a window.

Working from home is not for everyone. But if you enjoy it, give these tips a try.

benefits of employee telecommuting infographic
Via: BOLT Insurance

 

Forbes.com, February, 2103
Entrepreneur.com, April 2015

 

 

My first day – Sheryl – microblog

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In honor of d.trio’s 15th anniversary we’ve asked all of the current employees to write two microblogs. One about their very first day at d.trio, the other about where they were 15 years ago.

 

My first day was fairly typical – paperwork, office set up, welcome lunch etc. However, up until that point, I had only worked on PCs. I likely spent the first day learning how to use a Mac computer.

Are you nice?

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I recently read two separate business blogs on the subject of “being nice.” The first writer talked about the benefits of being nice and offered some suggestions of ways to do it. He quoted an advertising agency owner (reportedly a nice guy) who is often asked for advice from his employees. His life advice regarding relationships is simple: “Marry for nice. Nice never goes away.” This writer took that principle and is applying it to other aspects of his own life.

The second business writer had a slightly different take on the subject of being nice, particularly as it pertains to the work place. This individual suggests that being nice is not how you want to be perceived. People who are “nice” may get extra work dumped on them, may not get their problems resolved or their voices heard, and may not get as good of a performance review. This writer suggests that we should be “likeable” instead of nice. Likeable people are able to push back and protect their own interests while still getting things done.

Who is right? Check out these short articles and decide for yourself. Share your thoughts on the d.trio blog or facebook page.

http://turkeltalks.com/nice

http://cuberules.com/2010/01/15/why-you-need-to-be-likable-at-work-but-not-nice/

The Health Hazards of Sitting too Much and 5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Them

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Last week I got a stand-up desk. My new desk attachment allows me to raise my computer and keyboard and stand up while I am working. If I don’t want to stand, I can lower it back down and work from a normal seated position at my desk. Why, you ask, would I want this? After all, it is a little clunky, takes up space and requires adjustments throughout the day. Here’s why.

Most of us are aware that sitting all day long is not good for us. Back and neck pain and weight gain are what usually comes to mind. However, I was shocked to find out just how bad sitting for prolonged periods really is for us. Following is a list of health risks associated with sitting for eight hours a day: heart disease, over productive pancreas, colon cancer, muscle degeneration (weak abs and tight hips), foggy brain, strained neck, shoulder and back issues (inflexible spine and disk damage), obesity, leg disorders (poor circulation and soft bones) and increased risk of death from any cause.

Wow. As someone who works at a desk job and spends about an hour and a half in the car daily, I was concerned. I had heard of stand-up desks or treadmill desks, but didn’t know much about them. Then my husband had one installed in his office and loved it. That’s all it took, I knew I had to have one.

It has only been a week, but I am getting used to the new configuration. I find that I am definitely standing more than sitting and am happy overall with the arrangement. But what if you can’t have one of these installed in your workspace? Here are five simple things you can do to minimize your health risks:

  1. Take regular breaks. Stand up and walk every half hour.
  2. Sit on something that forces your core muscles to work. This could be an exercise ball or a backless stool.
  3. Alternate between sitting and standing. For example, stand up while talking on the phone, eating lunch or attending a meeting.
  4. Stretch your hip flexors daily for 3 minutes on each side
  5. Try yoga poses to improve extension and flexibility

If you are able to get a stand-up workstation – go for it. If not, follow the tips listed above to stay healthy.

sherylblog

 

 

Sources:
Mayoclinic.com, James A. Levine, M.D., Ph. D.
Washingtonpost.com, Bonnie Berkowitz and Patterson Clark, January 2014

LinkedIn – 17 Must-Have Features for your Profile

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Some time ago I decided to take a break from social media on a personal level.  As a non-digital native who gets plenty of screen time all day long, I was finding it increasingly harder to get engaged on my social networks during my down time.   What started as a short respite, soon turned into an extended leave of absence.  Let me apologize now for overlooked friend requests, dormant invitations to connect, missed party invitations, unacknowledged birthdays, and general lack of participation.

Don’t get me wrong. As a marketer, I understand the power and potential associated with social media on both a personal and business level.  Therefore, I pulled myself back into the loop.  As part of my renewed commitment, I decided to conduct some research to find the latest best practices for LinkedIn.  I found a good article on Entrepeneur.com that lists 17 must-have features for your LinkedIn profile in an easy to follow infographic.

I hope you will find this information helpful too, (click on the graphic to view larger):

1393271821-17-must-have-features-linkedin-profile-infographic

5 Simple Tips for Business Travel

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Visiting out of town clients or pitching to a prospective client is extremely valuable in strengthening relationships and building new ones. Plus, it is fun to see people in person. Here are my personal tips to make your business travel as stress-free as possible:

1. Minimize clothes wrinkling and the need for ironing later by layering your clothes in plastic. The plastic that dry cleaners use works particularly well.

2. Carry a travel wallet. Swap out your regular wallet for an old one or purchase an inexpensive new one and include only the essentials. You will minimize your exposure if your wallet is lost or stolen. In addition, with a clean wallet, all your business receipts will be organized and easy to find later.

3. Use a backpack style computer bag or carry-on with padded shoulder straps. The dual straps will distribute the weight equally, help prevent back and neck strain and will keep your hands free while you trek through the airport and wait in lines.

4. Prepare for unexpected delays or downtime by including the following items in your carry-on bag:

• Books/magazines/cross words etc – a good old-fashioned hard copy eliminates the need for Internet access.
• Empty water bottle – your favorite reusable water bottle can go through security and get filled afterwards.
• Light snacks –packing a few snacks will tide you over until you can get a meal.
• Comfortable walking shoes – sneak in a little exercise or just provide relief after a long day in business footwear.

5. Arrive early as opposed to on time. Nothing adds more stress than getting caught in a traffic jam, a full parking ramp, or some other unexpected delay that puts you behind schedule. By planning to be early, not only will you will have a buffer, but also time to relax.

Gen Z – Not the Youth of the Past

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by Sheryl Doyle

My interest in Generation Z runs deep as I have three of them living under my roof and wanted to see if the experts’ assessments agreed with my own first hand experience.

Generation Z was born in the early to mid 1990’s through 2010. Although there are many fascinating traits associated with this group, their most defining characteristic is that they are digital natives. This group has never known a time before the Internet. They are the most tech-savvy, digitally connected, and smartest of all generational groups who preceded them. Generation Z are typically the children of Generation X.

With the oldest of Generation Z barely out of high school and the youngest still toddlers, why should we as marketers care about understanding this group? Here are a few reasons that might convince you:

  • Tweens have $43 B in spending power and influence an additional $600 B of family spending.
  • Kids now influence more than 70% of family food choices and 80-90% of products bought for them.
  • Nearly two-thirds of parents say that their children have influenced vehicle purchasing decisions.
  • Children are now able to recognize brands from the age of 18 months.

Do you know what makes this group tick? You see them attached to an electronic device at all times – playing video games, listening to or downloading music, watching online videos and shopping online, texting and interacting with social media, usually while watching TV or doing homework. These behaviors are just the natural result of the technology-laden environment they are growing up in. Here’s what might surprise you.

Generation Z embraces traditional beliefs and values the family unit. They are smarter at a younger age, self-controlled, flexible and more responsible. They have liberal social values, are tolerant of diverse cultures, are environmentally conscious and value authenticity. Peer acceptance and the need to belong are very important to this group. They are excellent problem solvers, likely due to their early gaming experience. Due to global terrorism and economic uncertainty, they highly value security. They are confident and optimistic, ready to take on challenges and feel they can make an impact on the world.

What does that mean for marketers? Here are 10 ways you can best market to Generation Z:

  1. Develop high value-for-money products that are multi-functional and simple. Generation Z is not as brand loyal as their peers in the past. They judge each product based on its own merit.
  2. Adopt technology-based marketing and sales channels such as SMS, mobile Internet, social networking portals etc.
  3. Do not focus on email, as it is not an effective channel for Generation Z.
  4. Enhance virtual world presence with online product information and online purchasing.
  5. This group researches before making purchasing decisions and they share results. Don’t try to control conversation about your product or service, encourage it.
  6. Don’t underestimate the maturity of the Generation Z customer. The most effective marketing will be calculated and practical.
  7. Do be environmentally conscious in the products you develop and the way you manage your business.
  8. Generation Z likes to help others and has a strong sense of right and wrong so include messaging that is civic minded.
  9. Focus on visuals in your creative messaging and offer interactive elements. This group prefers visual learning.
  10. Be ready to adapt and change your marketing strategy to keep pace with this demanding segment.

At the end of the day, as I prepare to say good night to my own personal Generation Z focus group, I will shut off televisions, pick up iPads, power down computers, unplug abandoned chargers and gently remove head phones from young ears. But most of all, I will be thankful that the future is in good hands.

References Used
“Marketing to the Generations,” Journal of Behavioral Studies in Business, April 2011
“Consumers of Tomorrow, Insights and Observations About Generation Z,” Grail Research, November 2011
“Tapping Into Generation Z,” published in the Charlotte Observer, February 2012
“Three Ways Companies Can Reach Generation Z,” Mashable, April 2011
“Digital Youth,” Adweek, April 2012
“What You Need to Know about Generation Z,” iMedia Connection, August 2012