3 Business Success Trends for 2014

take the plungeWelcome to 2014. This year will be more competitive. This year, the marketing din is going to get a lot louder. This year is also going to be the year you get savvy about marketing your small or medium size business. To help you do so, here are three trends that will affect the business landscape, and your own bottom lines.

Social Media Is Not Optional. The days of just dipping your toe in the social media waters are long gone (circa 2011). You’re either engaged in social media marketing or you’re not, and – trust me on this one – you have to be engaged. No modern, effective marketing plan is complete without a social media component. Get expert advice on how to start. Pick your platforms with care. Develop a content strategy that is authentic to your brand and develop protocols and best practices for conversing with your followers. When all of that is done, then you can jump into the social media pool. (Remember, no toe dipping. This year calls for a full on, no hesitation cannon ball into the deep end – but you have to plan it out first.)

The Value of Public Relations Is Growing. While publishers may be consolidating media outlets, the ironic twist is the demand for quality content is disproportionately expanding. What this means for your brand is opportunity; opportunity to develop meaningful content and, more importantly, content people want to share. One caveat – that content must rarely be brand-centric. While the content should be relevant to your space, it cannot put your brand front-and-center if you want it to be seen as authoritative, authentic and of innate value to the public. PR is increasingly going to require a mix of earned and owned media, but that owned media – if executed well – can pay significant dividends. This content marketing (or brand journalism) trend is growing rapidly, and your public relations advisor or team needs to be leading the charge.

Smartphones Are Windows to the World. As mobile access continues to become part of everyone’s new normal, brands need to consider how to engage their consumer audiences via this medium. A responsive designed website is just the start of ensuring your brand and/or products are accessible on any mobile device. You’ll also want to track your website’s analytics to monitor your level of mobile web traffic and adjust your marketing efforts accordingly. Additionally, opt-in SMS text messaging campaigns and branded Apps are two mobile marketing tools we’ll be seeing more of in the year ahead.

These and other tactics are the new business as usual tools. More and more, companies will need to adapt to the latest technologies if they want to engage with their audiences. Meanwhile, the New Year offers new challenges and ample opportunity. On behalf of everyone at Kimball Communications, may your businesses find success in overcoming the former and excel at leveraging the latter.

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Health Care Council of the Lehigh Valley Awarded $276,000

Grant from Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust Funds Effort to Measure, Improve Community Health

ALLENTOWN, Pa., Dec. 16, 2013 – The Health Care Council of the Lehigh Valley (HCCLV) today announced it received a grant of $276,000 from The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust. The 18-month grant will provide funding through May 2015 to support the HCCLV’s charge to assess and measurably improve the health of the Lehigh Valley’s citizens.

The HCCLV membership is comprised of the Allentown Health Bureau, Bethlehem Health Bureau, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, KidsPeace Mental Health Network, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Sacred Heart Healthcare System, St. Luke’s University Health Network and The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust.

“By bringing together the expertise and resources of the region’s health care systems in a common cause under the HCCLV umbrella, we intend to create a demonstrable, sustained and positive impact on the health of the residents of the Lehigh Valley,” said Ronald C. Dendas, Program Officer for the Pool Trust.

In 2013, the HCCLV completed a Community Health Needs Assessment for the Lehigh Valley, as required by the U.S. Affordable Care Act. As part of that assessment, HCCLV identified the leading causes of death and illness in the community that can be improved by better access to care, promoting healthy lifestyles and behaviors, addressing social causes of health and health disparities and enhancing the collection and dissemination of health information.

The grant will be used by HCCLV to fund a Youth Risk Behavior Assessment, engage with communities and their leaders, and hire a project manager who will coordinate services and resources of its member organizations. The project manager will also oversee several planned community-based participatory research projects and assessments, including developing the framework for the 2016 Community Health Assessment. In addition, the HCCLV will seek community communications assistance to aid in maximizing community engagement and sharing the group’s progress with the greater Lehigh Valley.

ABOUT HCCLV
The Health Care Council of the Lehigh Valley (HCCLV) was formed to assess the health of the citizens of the Lehigh Valley as well as to create a plan for broadly improving the health of those within the community. HCCLV coordinates the efforts of member health care organizations that include Allentown Health Bureau, Bethlehem Health Bureau, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, KidsPeace Mental Health Network, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Sacred Heart Healthcare System, St. Luke’s University Health Network and The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust.

4 Social Media Mistakes Brands Make

Social media can enhance brands, but sometimes brands make social media errors that could potentially hurt its reputation. Let’s face it, not all brand are flawless when it comes to social media. Brands large and small have all made a mistake at one point or another, but you don’t want your brand to lose credibility due to social media mistakes.

Social media platforms should be a priority. After all, posts are there for everyone to see. Below are 4 common social media mistakes brands make.

fireflythegreat / Foter.com / CC BY

Don’t Make These Mistakes

  • Incorrect links. Nothing is worse than coming across an article with a link that leads to the wrong website or does not work. Always double check links!
  • Long links. The never ending link is hard on the eyes and it can appear spammy. Please use a link shortener.
  • Generic posts or irrelevant posts. Posting generic posts or completely irrelevant can make your followers stray. Be original and creative.
  • Little or no Engagement. Being a ghost on social media platforms may be the worst mistake a brand can make. Let other know you’re listening. Make a point to interact with your followers.

Those are just a few mistakes brands make. Which mistake makes you cringe the most?  Comment below.

Photo credit: fireflythegreat / Foter.com / CC BY

Glatfelter Expands Private and Charter School Program

York, Pa. – December 3, 2013 – Glatfelter Public Practice (GPP) today announced the expansion of its private and charter school insurance program with specialized coverage for private schools, charter schools and select religious schools. The program is now available in 38 states for eligible private and religious schools and in 27 states for eligible charter schools.

Written through Zurich, rated “A+” (Superior) by A.M. Best, the program has no minimum premium and is specifically designed for private and charter schools typically smaller than other educational institutions written through GPP. It includes coverage for schools that have dormitories for student housing.

“Glatfelter has underwritten educational institutions for more than 30 years, and the number of charter schools is growing as a result of educational reform and parents’ demand for options and private schools typically represent a fairly stable market niche,” said Mark McCrary, president of Glatfelter Public Practice. “Our program is differentiated not only by our experienced and dedicated educational underwriting team, but also by the fast, easy application process and enhanced commission for agents and brokers.”

The program features property, inland marine, equipment breakdown, crime, general liability, educators’ legal liability including employment practices liability, fiduciary liability, and umbrella. Student accident, environmental impairment liability and cyber liability may also be included. It has 25 property enhancements, 12 general liability enhancements and 16 automobile enhancements specially designed for educational institutions.

Please visit the GPP website for eligible states.

Agents and brokers seeking more information should call 888-855-4782 or visit www.GlatfelterPublicPractice.com.

About Glatfelter Program Managers (GPM)
GPM (www.glatfelters.com/specialty_insurance_programs.asp) is a strategic business unit dedicated to Glatfelter Insurance Group’s program business. Based in York, Pa., GPM is one of the premier managers and recognized specialists of niche markets in the country. GPM manages and markets several specialty programs, including Glatfelter Public Practice for educational institutions, municipalities, independent school bus contractors and water/sewer entities; VFIS for fire departments, ambulance and rescue squads, and 911 centers; Glatfelter Healthcare Practice for skilled care, assisted living, independent living, continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), personal care and group homes, hospice, home health care agencies and other private homecare agencies; and Glatfelter Religious Practice for churches, synagogues and other religious institutions.