When Was Your Company’s Last Checkup?

I recently saw a press release from the Ketchum agency launching a new product for their health and wellness clients. With it, they help clients determine how their brands are perceived by consumers. It struck me in a more literal sense. When was the last time you gave your company a brand checkup?

Done in full, this can be an expensive exercise that includes surveys, focus groups, online studies and customer interviews. If you’re a billion-dollar company, you probably already have a brand reputation program and team in place managing this for you. But if you’re a small business owner or just don’t have the internal staff to spare, for a quicker study of consumer sentiment regarding your brand, just go social.

There are numerous online social media tracking tools available that even little guys can use. Some free sites to check out include: www.thecadmus.com, www.cotweet.com and www.backtype.com. These sites provide free tools that monitor online conversations taking place about your company on Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds and blogs.

There are also companies like www.trackur.com who specialize in developing online dashboards monitoring consumer sentiment, industry trends and media mentions. They offer both free services and low-cost monthly tracking plans. An increasing number of social media tracking specialists such as Radian6, Scout Labs and Techrigy offer more comprehensive paid monitoring services as your company grows.

All these options can help track what people are saying about you and provide that ever-important brand checkup. Whether you want to quickly find out how your most recent marketing promotion is being received or if your customer service is perceived favorably, social media tracking helps you better understand your customers, industry and competition and all for the right price.

Let us know if you’ve used any social monitoring tools to track your brand’s reputation!

Posted in Branding, Healthcare Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Interactive, Marketing, Marketing Technology, Online marketing, Public Relations, Social Media | 2 Comments

Hospitals: Showcase Your Technology

It’s not enough for hospitals to acquire new technology — it’s also essential to promote those advances to patients and future healthcare professionals.

Putting new technology at the forefront of any marketing campaign lets you highlight what may not be visible from your facility’s exterior. “You may have an operating room that has the latest technology, but if you walk around the hospital and it looks old, nobody can tell,” said Jorge Mendia, M.D., at a Miami hospital.

Direct mail, website content and blog posts can showcase hospital electronic systems, equipment, digital technologies and other advances, and inform patients and staff that your hospital is on the leading edge.

For patients, the element of newness is a key consideration when choosing hospitals. In a recent Wax survey, patients were asked how important a hospital’s “newness” was when determining their thoughts and feeling about a “hospital’s overall quality.” Only 15 percent said it was of little importance or unimportant.

Bottom line: New technology attracts patients to your facility. While a hospital can’t choose to be new, it can choose to show off its new tools and expertise

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Miami Startup Weekend returns this month!

Attention, all entrepreneurs and creative professionals: Miami Startup Weekend is back! Startup Weekend is an intense 54-hour event that focuses on building a web or mobile application that could form the basis of a credible business. The weekend brings together people with different skill sets – primarily software developers, graphic designers and business people – to build applications and  develop a commercial case around them. This year’s event will take place November 19-21. To learn more, visit www.miamistartupweekend.org.


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The Social Side of Charitable Giving

More and more charities are reaping the benefits of using social media as their gateway to gaining awareness. One great example is Causes, which almost entirely relies upon social media applications and tools to interconnect charities from around the globe. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that one of its co-founders is former Facebook president Sean Parker.

Causes started as one of the very first applications on Facebook in 2007. It acts as an online broker between charities, helping them leverage contacts and foster relationships to find donors and philanthropists to support their causes. In articles such as this one in Bloomberg Businessweek, Parker has said that online networks, and Facebook specifically, are better than offline methods for “leveraging social capital between people to get things done in the world.” With over 26 million monthly users on Facebook alone, social media certainly brings the numbers.

Another great example is online gaming company, Zynga. Their self-stated mission is to “connect people through games” and they’ve been doing this as well as anyone since their launch in 2007. By connecting gamers to charitable efforts, they’ve helped raise nearly $3 million for Haiti since the January 12, 2010, earthquake. They’ve continued their efforts with their recent Haiti Sweet Beets and Backpacks campaign which ended just last month.

These types of online and social media-supported success stories are becoming more common. What I found to be extraordinary is that Americans donate $263 billion a year to charities but only 5.7 percent of that is given online, according to the Blackbaud Index of Online Giving. The opportunity for growth is limitless and can be applied to nearly any business venture. The twist is the role social media will play in all of this. As noted on their site, Causes “empowers anyone with a good idea or passion for change.”

In my opinion the social space can do this for all of us. How do you plan on harnessing its influence?

Posted in Integrated Marketing, Interactive, Marketing, Marketing Technology, Online marketing, Publishing, Social Media | Leave a comment