Tag Archives: communications

YMCA Happy Members come from Your Welcome Center

ATTENTION:  OUR BLOG MAY BE DOWN TOMORROW (FRIDAY) MORNING FOR SEVERAL HOURS.  Our Amazing Website Developers are Embedding our Blog into our NEW WEBSITE which may cause our Business at your Best Blog to be down.  Our New Website will be going live in the next several days and will have all the content you need!  We are Excited to introduce our new Website to YOU! Back to YMCA’s….

“The single most important thing to remember about any enterprise is that there are no results inside its walls. The result of a business is a satisfied customer.” -Peter Drucker

The employees that deal with your YMCA members the most frequent are the ones that get paid minimum wage, have high turnover, are younger in age, or are not always fully trained.  YOUR WELCOME CENTER.  They “have to” know everything going on in the organization because that is where all members are going to go for information.  That is where all questions are going from inbound phone calls.

Think about the complexity of your program structure and the constantly changing dynamics: Schedules, cancelled classes, pool closings, emergency announcements, and the list goes on.  All of this, the welcome center staff needs to be able to handle.  If the staff can not handle it, it will lead to member confusion, frustration, anger and eventually dissatisfaction with the organizations service.  Then your members leave the YMCA and join another provider.

If the welcome center staff does not know the details of the daily happenings at the YMCA then chaos and mutiny will pursue.  A communication system needs to be built and it must be able to communicate with your members and amongst your employees.

Too many times we have seen frustration and arguments with members and a staff person that “should have known about…”  Fill in the blank.  It is very difficult for staff to be the all-knowing wizards of the YMCA.  However, we can arm the staff with as much information, organized in a method that levels the playing field of communication.

Contact us for our communication and operating method for your YMCA Welcome Center:  info@theoctopussolution.com

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Have a Party!!!!

Events can be boring, formal, crap!  Throw a PARTY!

I do not like going to dull, formal, stuffy events just to meet other dull, boring, stuffy people.  I want to have fun on my time out of the office and meet exciting people that elevate my game and recharge my batteries.  You can build these amazing relationships for your company by hosting and attending events (good ones).  We have very busy schedules these days, so let’s make sure we are maximizing our time.

Currently, we are inundated with too much advertising, communications and marketing noise (like this blog!!! Run!) and it is hard for ads in traditional media to stick with someone anymore.  There is only so much space available in our brains and I have enough difficulty trying to remember to take out the trash on Mondays so my wife doesn’t yell at me, let alone remember all the emails and phone calls I have to return.  Stop, take a breath and slow life down to a pace that allows us to develop REAL IN-PERSON RELATIONSHIPS!!! Do you remember real relationship building, not on facebook or match.com or the thousands of other social sites?

Events are one huge way we can get directly in-front of customers. Many major marketing consulting firms are directing their clients to market to the “customer experience” as a means of building those in-person relationships. The customer experience is the active interaction between a potential customer and a company during an activity, event, or a time when people are socially interacting.  For example:  Every year the city of Boston hosts a festival/party on Earth Day and thousands of people show up to listen to music, hang out with friends and enjoy a great day…it is memorable.  Big name bands, free give-aways, a party atmosphere makes it something sponsoring companies want to be part of to take advantage of the experience the attendee’s are having.  This event develops a relationship with the attendees because of the fun, emotion and personal attachment to the special day.  People remember that they had a great time and wait for the event the following year. This emotional attachment is the customer experience.  Companies realize that there is an opportunity to be present or a sponsor of the event and have their company’s name associated with the emotions and fun happenings that people have during the day.  This creates brand association which is people relating the experience they have at the event with the vendors being represented at the event.

Since the average customer is probably not going to come knocking at your front door to see how the company has progressed in the last quarter, it is important to directly interact with your customer and the general public.

Be an active force within your industrial niche. Any sort of event where people gather with a common interest in relation to your company’s targeted demographic is the perfect marketing opportunity for your business to gain awareness.

For example, if you were to publicize the opening of a new retail store specializing in selling running shoes, attending a local foot race and passing out free drinks with a coupon or flyer advertising certain shoes in your store would be an ideal way to connect with a target audience that has a higher probability of need.

Stop with the boring social gatherings and start sexing life up and become BOLD!!! Think of what is most memorable in your life?  BOLD Things, Right?  Blockbuster movie, an amazing date, a huge deal closed, etc.  This is what we remember…the big stuff.  So get event marketing working for you.  It will build community, involvement, excitement, and memorable experienced attached to your business.

Tell us about the greatest event you have ever attended!

Results Come From…..

Teamwork & Organization!

Working with one of our clients on a marketing project revealed internal issues around lack of communication which has been effecting their marketing.  Communication breakdown revealed major issues around teamwork and organization within their business.  If you remember from our last blogs, the 2 reasons most small businesses fail is because of teamwork and organization.

How did we fix the problem?  Communication happens in 2 formates:  Written and Verbal.  Written can include things like email, memos, letters in mailboxes, etc.  Verbal can be done one-on-one, groups, in meetings, etc.  Written communication is preferred because it does not leave anything to forget.  There also needs to be an agreed upon hub of communication such as email, project management database, weekly scheduled meetings, etc.  As long as there is an agreed systems being USED CORRECTLY there will be significantly less issues.  When something as simple as an agreed system of communications is not the standard, then all employees will be trying to communicate on different levels.

There also needs to be a flow of communication based on an organization board that allows for communication to flow up and down the chain of command smoothly and in a manner that all members of the organization are knowledgeable of.  The method of communication must be consistent and done in a process that all staff members are aware of.  The issue was that no one knew where to go for answers or information.  That causes big problems that will lead to angry employees, confused customers and negative energy.

Now you can start to effectively market when the channels of communication are corrected.  If you want more details on how to handle miscommunications in your business please email us at: info@theoctopussolution.com

What is your Brand saying?

So many people talk about branding, but what is it and who are you?

Branding – definition by the American Marketing Association:   A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.

Image– definition by the American Marketing Association: The consumer perception of a product, institution, brand, business, or person that may or may not corre-spond with “reality” or “actuality.” For marketing purposes the “image of what is” may be more important than “what actually is.”

With complete clarity, does your brand & image line up with your communications, customer perception and values?  Well let’s take the discussion back to how you form a relationship with someone.  We meet many people throughout our lives and starting a relationship (dating, friend, etc) is just about taking the initial steps to get to know someone to discover if you relate to them and wish to continue the relationship.  You may spend 6 months with a colleague at the office and at one point you have “really” got to know that person and you conclude that they are not who you thought they were when you first met.  Happens all the time.  The point is that when you start marketing you must communicate consistently.  So your image today can’t be drastically different then your image tomorrow.  In friendship we call that having “multiple personality disorder”.

So what if a business is having difficulty with who they are?  Maybe they have new management, recently acquired other companies, or what ever the case may be, it is critical to any marketing success that a business know who they are and what they deliver and to whom.  Without knowing who you are and what you want to be, there will be major disconnect with your brand and image in the eyes of the customer.  So back up and get the high level strategy worked out first before sporadically marketing an inconsistent business.  If you have confusion, your customers most likely do too.  Consistency in your communication builds the foundation of trust and security with customers.

If you are having trouble determining who you are, the people that can help you are your customers.  Survey them and get the real answers!

Breaking into your University

Do you connect with your schools alumni? Why not?  Universities across the country are trying to figure out how to interact with their alumni and add value after graduation.  We all get mail from our schools asking for donations or a newsletter, but that is it.  Why should I give back?  I love the schools I went to for graduate and under-graduate, but why do I want to give back?

This is the question many schools are trying to determine.  Many are starting to become more involved with the continued education of their alumni and growth in the networking.  Schools need to capture up-to-date information from alumni to be able to act as  a hub of communications for graduates and connect them with fellow alumni to solidify the bond and increase the equity of being an alumni.

Why go to Harvard?  Is the education significantly different from any other school or is it the reputation and network you leave the school with which ups the equity value of your stock?  If alumni truly take care of each other and help each other, facilitated by the school, then the power of that type of team work will lead to: higher paying jobs for alumni, more activity, more donations, more desire to attend the school knowing the care you receive after you graduate.  But remember the power of executing this is having the up-to-date information on the alumni to start to make these moves.  This is a 10 year plan and current students need to be made aware of these types of services once the foundation is laid.  There is great power in the combined forces of alumni and bring them together will increase the impact of a school!

It is time for a Fall Clean-Up

springfallcleanupWe have said many times that organization and teamwork are the two major contributors to a businesses downfall, so lets clean-up the mess and focus on organization.  Being organized has many meanings and we are going to cover a few right now.

Organize your organization board.  Every company we work with that has more that one employee requires up to start by creating what we call an executable organization board off the foundation of our Octopus Model.  Our model breaks a business out into 8 different divisions of a company and each of those divisions has a director, performance statistics, roles and responsibilities, and a clearly defined and communicated purpose.  We do this because many companies have never thought to look that in-depth into how their companies are aligned and we end up finding gaps, duplication, and employees that can handle more or don’t have the skills for the position.  This foundation also sets up the business for the next Fall Clean-Up step.

Communication!  How do the employee’s communicate in your business?  Years ago I was working for a large F500 bank and handling the commercial lending office in Boston, which could be considered the “sales division” of the bank.  Our marketing division was based on the west coast and our two divisions had very little communication.  Clients in Boston were receiving marketing materials and offers that the lending officers (sales team) in Boston did not know about.  When clients received the marketing offers and called their loan officers about the deal there was a real problem!  The bank employees did not know about the offer and could not speak intelligently about it which makes them lose credibility in the eyes of the customers.

Building a system of communication between the divisions of a company will prevent this from happening, but you can not set up a great communication system without a clear and workable organization board.

The next step to being productive and professional in the Fall Clean-Up is simple…Clean your office, it’s a mess!  Productively comes from being organized and clean.  If you are in an environment that is free of clutter and well kept, you will most likely find being in the office a more calming experience because you will not have the stress of a messy office lingering over you.

The weather is turning cool and it is time for the Fall Clean-Up; let’s get it done!