You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2009.

internal communicationsNature abhors a vacuum.  It always fills the void. 

In your company, if you’re not filling the void – all those formal and informal channels – with timely, accurate and honest information, someone else will.  Chances are, the information will not be helpful and could actually hurt your business.

What’s your most valuable asset?  Your employees, right?  As business owners, we say that all the time.  But, do we live it? 

Do we invest the same resources (time, money, etc.) into establishing and maintaining relationships with employees as we do with customers, suppliers, bankers, etc.?  In many cases, the answer is “no”.

An interesting study was released recently by Quantum Workplace, a market research company that surveys employee engagement.

Here’s the logic tree:

  • Employees are core assets of any business;
  • Engaged employees are more willing to bust their tails for the benefit of the company;
  • Employees “engage” when they feel informed, valued and trusted;
  • Employees who feel informed, valued and trusted feel as if the company cares about them as individuals; and,
  • A company’s commitment to timely, open and honest communication is the best way to ensure employees are engaged.

Back to the Quantum Workforce study.  In a press release dated June 25, 2009, Quantum concluded that  employee engagement is capable of predicting movements in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) four months in advance.

They measured employee engagement levels for 24 months at more than 6,100 companies to reach this conclusion.

Pretty interesting stuff.  From the perspective of a professional communicator, another good data point for why companies should commit themselves to aggressive employee communications, especially in these uncertain times.

Post by Nick Vehr – 6.29.09

Social NetworkingFor communications professionals, I wanted to share this really succinct and strategically focused blog post with a great “how to” list for those considering getting involved in social media.

The blog is Blonde 2.0: Socializing Brands, written by Ayleta Noff, a social media expert.  Be sure to check out the details, but here is her 10 point list:

1. Choose Your Networks Wisely

2. Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

3. Give Character to your Profiles

4. Be Consistent

5. Birds of a Feather Flock Together

6. Put Your Heart in It

7. Be Active Regularly

8. Submit Quality Content

9. Nobody Likes a Spammer

10. Don’t Stress Yourself Out!

Just this past month, Vehr Communications (yes, our company and, sorry, this is a bit self-promotional!) published an Insights article on the same topic titled, “To Blog or Not To Blog.”  Check it out.

Post by Nick Vehr – 6.19.09

Thanks to Kevin Dugan for forwarding the Blonde 2.0 blog post and to Curtis Rogers for the picture (taken from the Blonde 2.0 post).

civil rights gameI’m a professional communicator and this blog is typically on topics of interest to others like me.  In additon to being a husband and father, I am also a Cincinnatian to the core. 

As we head into the weekend, when Cincinnati will host Major League Baseball’s “Civil Rights Game 2009,” I can’t help but share a few thoughts on outstanding and proud progress for Cincinnati.

Hank Aaron will receive MLB's Beacon of Light Award in CIncinnati

Hank Aaron will receive MLB's Beacon of Light Award in CIncinnati

This weekend, Bill Cosby, Hank Aaron and Muhammad Ali will be honored.  They will receive MLB’s Beacon Award.  Quite an impressive line-up; three folks with scorecards few others can match.  President Bill Clinton will be here and President Obama has been invited to throw out the first pitch on Saturday night (Reds v. White Sox).

Just this past summer, Cincinnati played host the the NAACP Annual Convention and the Progressive National Baptist Convention, two of the largest, primarily African American conventions in the world. 

Cincinnati was just selected as host for the Gospel Music Workshop annual convention, also a very large event, also of great interest and pride for people of color.

Remarkable progress for a city that, like many American cities, struggles with race relations but, unlike many other cities, has been recognized (perhaps a bit unfairly) equally for how it does that well and not so well. 

While there will always be more to do, and more to do better, I think most Cincinnatians are feeling like our collective glass is more than half full when it comes to race relations.

Competitors in the 2008 World Choir Games (Graz, Austria)

Competitors in the 2008 World Choir Games (Graz, Austria)

Tomorrow, Cincinnati will be formally announced as the host for the 2012 World Choir Games, the largest gathering of choral musicians in the world with more than 20,000 competitors from as many as 90 countries and up to 250,000 attendees.  Cincinnati is the first American city to ever host this prestigious event.

Just yesterday I met with a young woman – a job seeker. She isn’t originally from Cincinnati, or even Ohio, but she went to school in Ohio.  She shared that she wanted to move to Cincinnati because, of all the Ohio cities and other cities in our broader region, Cincinnati had teh best reputation for being a welcoming and fun place for young professionals.

She then said that she knew she could never afford to live in New York City or Chicago, so Cincinnati was her choice and she was hitting the pavement pretty hard.

So, fellow Cincinnatians, puff your chests out a little bit.  We’re making progress.  We’re getting noticed.  We may just be the next “it” place for young professionals, and our growing reputation for self-awareness and acceptance and global significance may be some of the reasons why.

But, don’t puff your chests out too far.  There is still plenty of work to be done.

Post by Nick Vehr – 6.17.09

toolsComes an article in today’s (6.4.09) NYT titled, “Small Businesses Are Taking Tenative Steps Toward Online Networking” (by Mickey Meece), discussing broader acceptance by small businesses of social networking as a marketing tool.

Lots of good stuff here for professional communicators.  The eye-catcher for me was a comment attributed (kind of) to the president of the International Council for Small Business, Charles H. Matthews, regarding social networking sites … “the key was to view the sites as tools, not toys.”

Pardon the self-promotion, but we just published (6.1.09) our monthly newsletter, March Forth, and the topic was “Social Media Strategies … Managing Business Relationships.”  “Tools, not Toys” would have been a perfect title.

Basically, the NYT article and our newsletter say the same thing.   Here’s what we said (in part):

One Size Does Not Fit All

Chances are you don’t need it all – every online gadget or gimmick that some friend is using.  What works for some businesses might not suit yours.  What works now might not work in the future.  This is not a time to play, “keep up with the Joneses.” 

Your social media strategy should be tailored towards the business goals of your company.  If integrated with your traditional marketing activities, social networking can support and enhance your efforts to achieve important business objectives.

It sure feels as if the applications for social networking, initially considered super hot for direct-to-consumer business activities, may be evolving for small businesses and, particularly, for business-to-business use.

Makes sense that this evolution would occur.  Finding the right application for your business is worth the effort.

Post by Nick Vehr – 6.4.09