2014 New Year’s Resolutions: It’s Not Personal…It’s Business!

The New Year is now here and many of us are embarking on the journey to achieve personal resolutions that will overall enhance our quality of life. Much like our desires to accomplish our own individual goals, large and small businesses also jump on the resolution train to help improve operations and increase productivity.

In the ever-changing world of public relations, it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest innovations and trends of our industry. PR News is one, among many, go-to sources for public relations professionals to learn about industry happenings, strategies and tactics. To lay the foundation for a productive and successful 2014, Susan Howe, president of global consumer marketing at Weber Shandwick, shares her expert tips in an article titled “PR Insider: Planning, Engaging and Improving for 2014,” which recently published on PR News’ website. Below, we have taken her helpful insights and applied them to the industries in which our firm represents.

Measure, adjust and be honest with yourself about last year

Before planning for the future, we must evaluate the past. By analyzing the data outcomes of programs or promotions or the value of certain services or products, a company can determine what was successful, what needs to change and what can be removed. The analytics process should not be about simply looking back, but to gain insights into what consumers care about and what products and services will engage them moving forward. Two good examples of thorough data analysis are Furniture Today’s 2013 Consumer Report and the 2014 Construction Market Trends, details for both can be found in previous blog posts our team completed. The analysis of this data allows companies to appropriately plan for the future.

Click the links above to view the blogs.

Get closer to the consumer

Howe says, “Engaging people means knowing their wants, likes, needs, hopes, and fears…using those insights to incite action.” To increase consumer engagement, a business must be in-tune with these desires. Once accurate data is acquired, marketing and sales teams will be able to create concepts that fuel a change in thinking and drive toward action.

Customer surveys with good incentives are excellent tools for gathering data directly from the source. For example, home furnishings and garden center retailers could provide brief questions for in-store customers or a short online survey, and in exchange for their feedback, they would be eligible to receive a discount on their next purchase. As a result, over time, the customer data collected would be invaluable information for developing new practices, programs and products.

Click the photo to view Today’s Garden Center’s
2014 Revolutionary 100 Garden Center Survey
Look around the corner for trends

As we stated earlier, it is critical to stay ahead of what’s current and look for what is next. Regularly researching industry news can help a company create a plan that will be successful across various platforms.

Blogs and newsletters from industry associations or publications are essential resources for staying informed. A prime example is our latest ECPR blog post featuring the Pantone® Color Report Spring 2014. Interior designers creating spaces and textile manufacturers incorporating these colors in spring collections are setting their companies and clients up for market sales success, in style! Even greater success could come in taking risks in design and daring to be a tad bit more avante garde in fashion.

Consider the plan in beta

Your 2014 marketing plan is new and in development stages, so it is important to make it adaptable to changes or opportunities, in real time. “What it means is being present for the always-on consumer and sharing a brand story in a relevant way in a relevant moment.” The most successful plans have strategic elements that allow a company to seize advantage of an unforeseen opportunity. A combination of research and a system for quick, active product production and distribution will only increase a company’s ability to react in these moments.

Click the photo to view the full PR News article.

Live collaboratively

A company’s entire team will determine its success in 2014, which includes staff, client and agency partners. Strong leadership and clearly defined roles will help overall strength and competency, while supporting the best ideas will boost morale. At ECPR, we hold weekly company meetings where everyone, from our CEO to our interns, shares their creative ideas on various tasks and client projects. You never know where the next great, innovative idea may come from, so we are always open-minded and attentive to team creativity.

New year, new beginnings. Take these tips, apply them and jumpstart your business’ growth in 2014! Happy New Year!

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Don Eberly

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