The Secret to a Successful Workplace: Communication

Teamwork makes the dream work! But only when communication is effective can the team collaborate better to manage the task at hand. You may be asking yourself why is an advertising agency giving advice on communication? That’s a great question and the answer is because we are communication professionals. Our team has experience partnering with the more important people in a business to execute strategic business plans, because of communication. 

Good communication can boost teamwork and workplace productivity tenfold. Motivation and engagement is born from communication. And truthfully, communication applies to literally every industry and is used daily. From verbal communication to written communication, there are so many ways to maintain effective communication between employees, contractors, vendors, customers and so on. Let’s discuss some good workplace communication tips and skills to have and how everyone in the workplace can communicate more effectively.

Communication Starts at the Top

No matter if your business is a Fortune 500 company or a 2 person show, communication efforts that start at the top and are understood as they trickle down to others is key. Communication is not only verbally speaking to others, but it is the words in which we use to communicate. In a business environment, using words that are understood by everyone is important to get a message across. Company taglines, slogans, themes, etc., should be translated into everyday communication company-wide so everyone is on the same page about your specific business terminology. 

Additionally, leaders should take the time to effectively communicate with their employees. While meetings can be daunting and time consuming, they are necessary to make sure everyone feels comfortable with each other and knows the task(s) they are to take on. Sometimes lines of communication can be crossed, or there are “too many cooks in the kitchen” giving orders of what to do, so the outcome for everyone is very stressful and ineffective. 

Tip: When a new project is created, make a communication flow chart plan so everyone knows who is the leader on the project, who needs to approve processes, who needs to be involved at what stages, and everyone’s job to complete the project on time. When a team knows everyone’s role and responsibilities, communication is smoother and projects get done in a more timely manner.

Communication Tools

Welcome to the current year where Zoom meetings are a norm! The workplace is currently in an evolving period where a lot more people are working from home rather than the office. This doesn’t mean they should miss out on team meetings and important communications. We have more communication tools available to us than ever before, so use them!

Tip: Require anyone who is on a video conference to have their camera on. Allowing everyone to see body language, facial expressions, eye contact and anything else that happens during a usual face-to-face meeting should also be happening during a video conference. Unfortunately, if the person video conferencing doesn’t want to turn their camera on, it can lead to poor communication and issues with the team morale.

Skill: There are just so many ways to communicate with co-workers. By utilizing one main messaging tool company-wide, you can limit the number of ways people can communicate, but also set the expectation of where workplace communication can take place. An employee shouldn’t have to look through 10 different communication avenues to find what they are looking for. A communication skill to work on, or to teach to your employees, is which way is best to communicate with each other. Workplace messaging apps can be used for quick responses to questions, email can be used to communicate with someone when an instant response isn’t needed, the phone is still alive and well, but now we can text message on it too – so use that properly and ONLY if necessary, especially if it is a personal phone number. And if necessary, document all phone calls to recap what was said so there is an understanding between both people.

Don’t Leave People Out

There is a fine line between telling everyone too much or letting them in on too little. Within the workplace, leaders need to be effective communicators. They also need to know who needs to know what. If your business works with outside vendors, make sure they are communicated to, just like they are employees. Make it a habit that when you send out a company wide communication, that is not private, it gets shared with those that help you with your business as well. 

Tip: A great example of making sure everyone knows important information is when there is a change in business hours. Maybe a snow storm is approaching and you decide to close your restaurant early. Not only should the management team tell the employees and hang signage on the door, but they also need to tell whoever runs their social media, website, email systems, etc., to alert customers to the change. There is nothing more frustrating than a potential customer wanting to eat at your restaurant, only to arrive and you are closed. We don’t live in a perfect world, but cross all of those T’s and dot all of those i’s to make sure you are communicating to everyone effectively and efficiently.

Make communication a top priority in the workplace. There is an ever-heightened need for more communication, clearer communication, and continuous communication now more than ever. Good communication can go a long way in empowering employees, driving productivity, innovation, and achievement. 

Is Change on the Horizon for Marketing?

All kinds of marketing really had to make a shift in the past 18 months. People were staying closer to home, were online more than ever, and were sitting on the couch in front of the television more than anyone would care to admit. Shopping closer to home was happening more, and the mom and pop small businesses were reaping some benefits. There are some key opportunities and challenges for businesses when it comes to marketing lurking in the upcoming year. Below we will discuss some marketing trends that should be considered for 2022. If any of these seem challenging, let’s tackle them together!

Double Down on Digital

Digital advertising is predicted to boom in 2022. This really shouldn’t surprise anyone though. According to GroupM, the amount spent on advertising to support ecommerce will increase 66% in 2022, while Zenith predicts digital channels will amount to more than 60% of global ad spend for the first time next year. 

The Internet is just going to keep growing. Digital communication is never going away. Online networks are where people spend their free time. The Internet is where people shop. It is where people communicate and it is where people research. Use the Internet and digital communications to their fullest potential in 2022.

Keep Going With Short Videos

Short videos are still going strong on social media and are predicted to continue this route in 2022. Instagram reels and TikTok are just two examples of where short videos come from. These short videos take no time to view and are widely shared. If there is a way to utilize a short video format for a product, business, promotion or spotlight, do it! Video is so powerful!

But don’t skim on the longer length, feature feel videos. IGTV and any YouTube content is still wonderful. Video overall is just great!

Customer Retention Matters

We talked previously about generational groupings for the purpose of marketing and how it may or may not help when it comes to getting to know your target audience. Beyond just figuring out who the target audience is and how to sell to them/acquire their business, businesses will need to rethink their ways of retaining customers. Competition in the digital market is likely going to become fiercer, only making it hard for a business to grab any attention. This is why the thinking around the customer needs to do a 180. 

Educating customers on why they need your product or service should always be top priority. Think of it in terms of someone who couldn’t possibly live their life without this product. Educate them on why this product is vital to own or use and why your product is better than the competition. Make it all about the customer’s feelings instead of the business. 

The hard sell is going by the wayside. People are just over it. They don’t want to be bothered by gimmicks or “tricks of the trade” anymore. There is not enough time in the day for that. People either know what they want, who they want to buy it from and just make the purchase. Or they research, usually online, but also through friends and family, and take the time to seek out which business should earn their loyalty. Redirect typical hard selling strategies to making sure current customers stay customers for the long run.

Own Your Customers

Ok, no, you don’t really own them, but you need to own how you can contact them. While social media has so many benefits, those networks could go down at any moment. That could mean losing a HUGE database of potential customers, current customers and past customers. Converting those people to your own database takes time and effort but it is worth it. Doing so allows you to be able to ensure the message you want to get to them can (think email marketing and newsletters). Additionally, you will be able to shine outside of where all of the competitors also live. Don’t get lost in the newsfeeds. 

Ask For Help

If there is one thing that always reigns true in this industry, it is that change is always happening. We are used to it and stay on top of it as best we can. But that is our job. And that is why it is important to ask our True Fit Marketing team for help with your marketing strategy for 2022. It isn’t too late to rethink what you’ve been doing and analyze what did and did not work. And it is great to make changes. Ask for help with your marketing efforts because it is important that you focus on other aspects of your business as well.

True Fit Marketing has been recognized as a 2021 Top 30 Best Branding Agency in Pennsylvania by DesignRush.

True Fit Marketing has been recognized as a 2021 Top 30 Best Branding Agency in Pennsylvania by DesignRush. 

DesignRush is a B2B marketplace that connects brands with professional full-service agencies, web design companies, digital marketing firms, and top technology companies.

Their platform lists over 9,300 agencies from over 50 different countries and is consulted by thousands of decision-makers looking to start a project.

“We are so excited to be honored with this award,” said Owner Arlea Hoffman. “Our goal is to build a brand that lasts as long as a business. We will always be a partner with our clients, so this award is for them as well. We work together to meet desires, wants and needs in an industry that is ever changing. Branding is a top priority for a business so it is important that we are on top of our game with knowing what is happening in the branding world. Special thanks to DesignRush for bringing together agency professionals and leaders to learn and collaborate with.”

True Fit Marketing is a full-service marketing advocacy firm powered by technology and grounded with foundational marketing. The agency has grown immensely over the past two years. From clients to staff, they are proud of their growth and the growth in the region. 

Three Business Apps We Love

Our team went to lunch together a couple of weeks ago and were discussing different apps that we use, personally and for business, that we can’t live without. A couple were big conversation topics on the business level so we thought we would share the pros and cons of them with everyone to see how they could or could not be used in the business world.

WhatsApp

This specific app came up in conversation because it was a platform that was a part of the Facebook social media family of apps that shutdown in October, 2021. WhatsApp is a messaging platform that connects people for free* (always an asterisk because, of course, there are upgrades/paid plans and changes). There is the one-on-one text feature, the Group Chat feature where you can share messages, pictures and videos with up to 256 people, WhatsApp voice and video calls, and document sharing abilities. 

According to DigitalTrends.com, “WhatsApp Messenger is now the leading mobile messaging app in 169 countries — although perhaps surprisingly, it wasn’t as popular in the U.S., where Messenger was more frequently used. This seems to be changing now, as recent data shows WhatsApp tops the current list of the most popular global mobile messaging apps in 2021. Currently, more than 100 billion messages are sent each day on WhatsApp, making it the most active messaging app in the world.” Some members of our team have used it, others have not. Have you used it? 

Business Pro: A True Fit Marketing team member said that her friends used WhatsApp when they were traveling in a different country as a means to communicate with their friends and family back here in the United States. People can literally work from anywhere in today’s world. This could be a free*/inexpensive way to stay connected with associates and business connections. 

Business Pro: With the document sharing feature, PDFs, spreadsheets, slideshows and more can be sent through the app without email. Just need some Wi-fi or internet and you are set to go! 

Business Con: It may not be the most professional platform, but we assume that is why the WhatsApp Business App was created. It has its advantages! We aren’t sure Fortune 500 companies should use this app as a business tool, but it most certainly could work for small businesses. It is a great way to connect with customers, show off products/services, and a way to answer questions during someone’s shopping experience. 

Canva App

We had a good laugh when we started to discuss the Canva app. Our “artistically challenged” teammates were like it makes me look like a real artist when I use it. Canva is one of the most user-friendly design and publishing tools. Now that it is an app, work can literally be done anywhere!

Business Pro: From small business to Fortune 500 companies, Canva can be invaluable to both. There’s a pricing tier from free to Pro to Enterprise. If you are working as a team, teammates can work together on designs in real time, hence why we think the app is awesome. Additionally, there are endless photos and videos available for use. No more worrying about copyright issues. These resources are ready to be used and literally at your fingertips.

Business Pro: Canva is used by more than just our graphic designers. Beautiful charts can be created within the app to provide clients with awesome visuals. Social media managers can use the app to create designs for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and so on. Even with zero experience with Photoshop, Canva makes it super simple to bring ideas to life. 

Business Pro: If you are using this as a team, you can have client folders that can house logos, specific client images and designs, brand colors/fonts, and so much more that is 100% specific to that client. No more digging around in different places to get what is needed. It is all housed in Canva.

Business Con: It can get expensive. But in our eyes, it is invaluable. We also don’t love the publishing feature as we like to schedule a lot of our posts. And this can be a personal issue, but sometimes people just prefer to do designing on a big screen versus the little screens of where an app is typically housed. One last thing, some users feel that the photo and video options are lacking, but we like them!

QuickBooks App

QuickBooks has been around for what seems like forever. Our team isn’t even that old and we can remember seeing it on the shelves in stores. Today it can just be downloaded from their website and used on any computer or used straight from the cloud with no download. Initially QuickBooks was created for small businesses, but now it is one of the most popular accounting softwares on the market. QuickBooks offers so many tools for business owners and clients, but did you know there’s an app too?

Business Pro: The app allows you to take credit/debit card payments! QuickBooks GoPayment (previously called Intuit GoPayment), is a mobile payment solution. People usually think about Square or PayPal as the card reader processing solutions, but did you know that you can literally take a payment within QuickBooks and it will be right there in your accounting books? You won’t have to take the extra step of moving payments from another app to QuickBooks.

Business Pro: QuickBooks does so much more than figure out business taxes (because that is what some of our teammates just thought it did). There are hundreds of app integrations available through this software. There’s an app for timesheets, payroll, job costing, billing, invoicing, managing customer accounts, financial reports, keeping track of mileage, and so much more. Some of the apps have a fee associated with them, others don’t. 

Business Con: If accounting isn’t in your wheelhouse, there can be quite the learning curve to get QuickBooks to work for you. However, once you get it all set up and to your liking, it is super simple and user-friendly. It can also be expensive, especially for new business owners. There are competitor apps out there that may be cheaper, but we still think QuickBooks is the best one out there today.

What Other Apps Do You Use?

We are curious to know what other apps you love to use for your business. Is there something that you think our team would love? Do we have any app creators out there? We would love to talk to you about the business apps that you created! Check us out on our Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn and let’s chat! Keep the conversation going there.

What Content Dominates on Social Media?

2020 can be viewed as either a wonderful year for social media or a terrible year for social media depending on how you look at it. 2021 is following a similar experience, but things are hopefully on the upswing for those who thought last year was horrible. When looking back at 2020 and how social media played an important role in all of our lives, we have learned many important lessons from a business perspective. We have now rolled those lessons into 2021 and are watching what content dominates more on social media now because of people being at home and online more than ever before. So what content has been working best and how can you use it with your business?

Remixing Content

This is content that is not new, but just remixed, or re-created, in your own way. A trendy thing for when people were stuck inside was to give someone else’s video a try and share it with their friends. From social media challenges, to workout trends, remixing any video gives the user the ability to put their own spin on already existing content. You don’t always have to invent the wheel. Just reinvent it!

Businesses can join in on hot social media trends. Restaurants can add their spin to trending food posts, create their own remix of the recipe. DIY trends are also big and can be popular with any kind of business that deals with the home. From trendy fixer upper projects to upcycling, using your own products to showcase the remix is a way to get your brand out there more.

Nostalgia Marketing

Just like it says, it is looking back at a past time to reminisce about “the good ol’ days.” Hashtags like #TBT, #ThrowBackThursday, and #FlashBackFriday are still popular and bring in big numbers when searching it. When posting a nostalgic memory of something, it can bring back powerful emotions. This ties in nicely with brands, especially those who have been around for many years. Take a walk through the past with your brand and showcase old items, things that are old but still used to this day, things that your brand doesn’t have anymore, images of your location from back in the day, and so on. There are so many ideas that can come out of this trend because it allows people to just forget about the now.

Reveal the Human Side of Your Brand

If anything positive came out of the past year+, it is that consumers realized more about the people behind a brand. Everyone was affected differently by the situation at hand, but we all knew what was going on. Big businesses closed, little businesses closed, and brands struggled to survive. When brands struggle to survive, that means jobs are struggling to survive. 

Revealing the human side of your business allows for brands to build better, more open and caring relationships with their customers. Connecting through conversational posts, engaging in social issues, and personalizing communication efforts helps to remind consumers that hey, there really are real people who work for your brand and they matter too.

Get more of your brand’s human side on social media to highlight your team. Showcase who they are, what they do, and so on. This may even help on the hiring front too when people realize that these people are happy doing what they do, potentially wanting others to feel the same way at your company.

What is Old Might Be New Again

Life was very busy for many prior to the sudden halt of everything. The slow down allowed people to really figure out what marketing efforts they appreciated most. Before, consumers may not have had time to read a newsletter, but now they do. Or they didn’t have time to listen to a podcast, but now they do. 

As a business, now is a great time to see what is really working for you and what hasn’t worked in a long time and decide where to make changes or increase attention. Social media can help make these decisions, especially if you are connected to your audience. If your consumers are those who listen to podcasts more now than ever, it might be time to seek out advertising options on podcasts that resonate with your target audience. Share podcasts that you make or ones that inspire your brand on your channels. Or if they are reading your newsletters more, put more focus and effort into those, encouraging followers to sign up for them. If they don’t know you have one, you can’t blame them for not signing up. If something isn’t working, it is OK to let it go. It might be something that you come back to later and see if it will work at a better time.

Give New Things a Try

Social media is ever changing. It can be wonderful or terrible for brands, depending on the situation. Use social media to your benefit as much as you can and do your best to connect with your users, customers, and potential clients on a level that they haven’t connected with yet. Just because something works for one brand doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. Trial and error is the best method, as long as you give it your all.