PivotPath

6 Actionable Steps to Keep Your Residents Engaged & Informed

Although it might seem like things are getting better, we are still amid a global pandemic. We’re all stuck with a little less socializing and a lot more anxiety about the world. Regardless, it is crucial to keep your residents safe, happy, and healthy. As such, reaching out to the public to keep them engaged and informed is perhaps the best way to ensure that your organization and your residents are on the same page. There are a plethora of benefits that community building and engagement could bring. Here are six actionable strategies that you can start implementing to keep your residents engaged and informed.

6 Actionable Steps to Keep Your Residents Engaged & Informed

1. Give Your Residents a Platform to Express Themselves

Firstly, a community is nothing without its residents, and unsurprisingly, your residents are a critical factor in your community, whether you work in a nonprofit organization or a municipality. In the public sector, you work to improve the lives of your residents, and giving them a platform to express their opinions, share their experiences, and talk about the things that matter to them is vital for a healthy dialogue that will earn their trust and satisfaction. The more your residents feel like they are being heard, listened to, and valued, the more likely they are to remain in your community and on your platform.

Strategies like employing user-generated content are a handy way to bolster your online presence. It is also a foolproof way to demonstrate to your community that you care about their ideas, ideals, and values. Send out an email newsletter encouraging residents to share photos or posts through Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook to win a prize. You can utilize Zoom or Skype to officiate a town hall meeting digitally, keeping the health of your residents in mind while also allowing your constituents to level with you with upcoming legislation or regulation. With your residents getting participation and engagement and your brand getting content, it’s one of the oldest tricks in the book and a win-win situation. Furthermore, this allows you to pinpoint your residents’ problems, annoyances, and worries, giving you the chance to identify and fix them.

2. Utilize Community Moderation

With any community, online or offline, the residents in that community will probably have varying opinions on any given issue. However, with the anonymous nature of the Internet, it’s essential to keep your community safe from offensive, inappropriate behavior. 

Moderating your community is vital in preserving a healthy outlook upon your community. While online, toxic behavior can spoil the atmosphere of your community and make your residents feel uncomfortable, as seen time and again through the many social media networks that have tried and failed to combat this behavior. Once a few bad apples are given free rein to post offensive comments under the guise of “free speech,” then it is almost inevitable that your residents will be affected negatively.

Therefore, to minimize the chance of that happening on a digital platform, it is best to have a hands-on approach to community moderation: be sure to plan a moderation policy. What language do you consider inappropriate? Should specific topics be off-limits? Be clear in your approach, with clear, understandable rules that use clear, understandable language, and enforce it. Perhaps you could even automate part of the moderation process, automatically detecting spam or setting specific keywords to delete or ban. Offline, however, is a bit different, as there is no automated system in an in-person meeting, for example. 

As such, if you’re moderating in-person events such as town hall meetings or panel discussions, you can ensure that the conversation goes smoothly by implementing these tips. Do thorough research on the topic(s) at hand. Meet the speakers before the panel. Manage time effectively by starting and finishing on time. Mix in audience questions throughout the discussion to ensure a conversational, more engaging dynamic. Most of all, don’t be afraid to cut the panelists off if they end up hogging the microphone.

3. Identify Your User Base for Community Development

Using community engagement strategies is not a one-size-fits-all process. Given the state of the world and your organization concerning it, it’s a safe bet to say that your user base is probably very diverse—a great thing, as it means that your reach is far and wide. However, as a previous article suggests, it can be challenging to approach a broad audience and ensure that everyone is receiving helpful information that matters to them. Therefore, identifying your main user base is one of the most important steps you can take when deciding how to keep your residents engaged.

It is crucial to operating as an organization rather than a business. Knowing your residents allows you to create a better service and increase awareness of your organization and its mission. You can do this easily by collecting data from focus groups and surveys and utilizing different media types such as radio and television to determine which reaches your core audience best.

4. Gamify

Gamification serves as one of the best, most engaging examples of resident engagement strategies that we have ever seen. As we grew up, gaming incentives hooked us throughout our lives, and that element often follows us into adulthood. Even in the short term, adding a gamified element to your marketing will encourage positive competitiveness. It will ensure the bonus of keeping your residents coming back for more. One of the main goals of gamification marketing is to increase user interaction. You can implement strategies like running contests or a loyalty reward program. These are all simple ways to “gamify” your marketing.

5. Talk With a Community Manager or Leader

Working with community leaders is a viable strategy to help engage the residents in your community by working with a person they trust. However, like most residents, you’ll want to start by identifying your community leaders by asking the following questions: 

  1.  Who do you already know? 
  2. Who does your staff, trustees, friends, or even foundation groups know? 
  3. Which organizations have you developed personal and professional relationships with?
  4. Who are the busiest and most visible residents in your community? 
  5. Who is already an advocate for your community? 
  6. Which organizations and people share the same values and mission as your organization? 

This is what we call “mapping out your community.”

After answering these questions, you can identify these community leaders and, more importantly, why the residents in your community elected them as a leader. After, you can evaluate how you want to contact these leaders—either through email, letter, or a personalized visit. You can even set up an interview with them to help gather information about the target community’s needs. From there on, you can build relationships and identify potential partners and collaborators to help you achieve your goals.

6. Welcome New Residents to Your Community

Welcoming newcomers isn’t exactly a new idea. Housewarming parties and neighborhood get-togethers had come up with it first. Regardless, welcoming new residents is an excellent way to make them feel valued. With this validation comes a much higher likelihood of engagement and involvement with your network. Something as simple as setting up a welcome email will do the trick. Your organization needs to acknowledge people for engaging and participating in your organization. You could also explain your organization’s mission and your community’s purpose. You could even give them ideas for their first piece of user-generated content. Simple, yet very effective.

Whether a nonprofit, a municipality, or a traditional marketing group, your organization must engage, retain, and inform your residents. Either way, it’s crucial for your group’s success. That’s why you should contact PivotPath today to see the latest tips, tricks, and guides to bolster community engagement and more.

Cultural Competency: Tips and Tricks on Communicating a Shared Message to a Multi-Cultured Audience

‘When in Rome, live as the Romans do; when elsewhere, live as they live elsewhere.’

The idea of conformity might be appealing to some, but it’s not that simple in the diverse, multicultural environment.

Part of the wonders of effective communication is maintaining a diverse audience. Even so, it’s essential to understand and confront our own biases, experiences, and values that shape the lens through which we view our reality. With the aid of cultural competency, you will be able to communicate to your multi-cultured audience with ease.

Cultural Competency: Tips and Tricks on Communicating a Shared Message to a Multi-Cultured Audience

What is Cultural Competency, and Why is it Important?

According to the American Psychological Association, cultural competency allows us to understand and respect values, attitudes, beliefs, and most importantly, to interact with people from cultures or belief systems that differ from our own—and is perhaps the most helpful tool in business and marketing that you can have at your disposal. Having been a key aspect of psychological thinking and in practice for some 50 years, it’s even become listed as one of psychology’s core competencies. In most aspects of life, but especially with marketing and politics, cultural competence in communication could be comparable to the “hitch” that holds you and your target audience together.

Most importantly, when you have an audience of several different cultural backgrounds, handling your cultural competency can differentiate between a well-communicated message and a poorly-communicated one. To have a good sense of multicultural competence, it’s important to have the following competencies:

  • Basic knowledge of your own culture, worldview, and values.
  • A willingness to learn about the cultural practices, worldviews, and values of others.
  • A positive attitude toward cultural differences and a readiness to accept and respect said differences.

In a globalized, increasingly diverse world, with diverse people—refugees, migrants, immigrants, citizens, and so on—anyone can be your audience, and you can gain valuable insight in interacting with a worldly audience. But, how do you communicate with everyone across the board in a leveled, realistic way?

1. Focus on Structure

When it comes to structuring—through presentations, social media, videos, blog posts, or whichever medium you choose—we recommend that you ensure that the message of your medium is understandable and easy to digest. Make it easy for your audience to understand and follow along. Logically structured messages also make it easier for you to relay your message.

When communicating your message, start with the most crucial aspect of it first. Background and detail aren’t as necessary as you would think. Rather than building up to it, order your thoughts by decreasing importance. Readers will have an easier time parsing your message, and you won’t have to waste time to deliver the point. Use bullet points to your advantage whenever there are three or more points you want to make. Use bold print sparingly: it draws your readers’ attention, but too much of it renders the attention moot. Be sure that the bold text is self-contained so that your readers can find it easily.

A consistent, coherent, and light format—consistent fonts, font sizes, spacing, and numbering—keeps the message’s readers’ attention. If you consider capitalizing words or sentences to get your reader’s attention, don’t. Writing in all uppercase hurts more than it helps as it is obnoxious, and your message will be remembered for the wrong reason.

2. Leave the Idioms Out

In marketing, humor and idioms can help get your message across, primarily effective if you and your audience share the same culture, humor, and language. However, if your audience shares varying cultures, leaving the humor out of the picture is most advisable. What is funny in one culture may prove to be confusing, or even offensive, in another, and you don’t want to risk a misfire. 

Avoid jargon and fancy words to help save the reader time and effort. Otherwise, you risk making your audience stop and think about what’s being said to them, breaking the piece’s flow. Writing shorter sentences is an excellent way to ensure that communication between your brand and your audience is easily digestible. Best of all, you won’t have to worry about them possibly missing the point. Because your audience is multicultural—quite broad, generally speaking—the message has a chance of being lost in translation with long, complex sentences. As such, writing at a 10th-grade level is recommended. This isn’t meant to disparage or insult the readers of your text, but instead, this is to help ensure that the message is received with little margin of error.

3. Research, Research, Research

An essential step in this article, research, allows you to do many things: from defining and understanding your audience and their issues to letting you know how best to get the message across. To connect to your audience, you need to understand why your topic is important to them, and in turn, why their attention is vital to you. Why should they care? Why does your topic matter to them? What motivates your audience as a whole?

However, when it comes to research in the vein of cultural competency, you should give as much attention to your audience’s culture as possible, too. These include linguistic preferences, cognition, ethnocentricity, values, and communication styles. Researching the cross-cultural differences of your target audiences is essential, and, whatever you do, don’t put them into one marketing box. Cultural norms and values influence how people think, act, and feel, and the people who identify with them often share both. Once you gain an understanding, implement these cultural standards and values into your messages. Similar to nonverbal signs and their meanings, we need to know and recognize different cultural tendencies. As an example, some cultures use “she” as their primary preferred pronoun. It could be the opposite in other cultures.

Knowing such intricacies could help you have an advantage over other business marketing firms with a multicultural audience. More importantly, though, research can help keep your multicultural audience and minimize linguistic and cultural fumbles.

4. Ask Questions and Rephrase Comments

While this part is a bit on the shorter side, it is nonetheless important. Checking in with audiences is a good habit to form. Better yet, asking questions and rephrasing comments is particularly useful with a diverse audience, as it could give you a chance to go over your message to anyone who might have missed it. Rephrasing a question also allows your audience to get clarification, and it can also help you gain clarification from your audience.

5. Craft Sensitive, Culturally-Relevant Messages

To ensure that your multicultural audience stays as your audience, you have to respect the people who comprise it. Crafting a campaign that respects and reflects their values and beliefs can be the most effective way to earn your audience’s trust. As such, basing your campaign on stereotypes and assumptions is the quickest way to lose said audience. Furthermore, it can damage your organization’s reputation, credibility, and you can lose your audience’s trust in one fell swoop.

Therefore, there are several things you must consider when crafting your content. If there is a demographic shift in your audience, research it and quickly identify their needs. Rather than merely announcing that you “want” to reach your audience, find out who they are through research, as said in an earlier point. If you want to create dedicated communities, you must develop content specific to those targeting groups. A good example of this is creating an online community that allows an organization to understand consumers’ experiences and hear their stories in their own words and culture. This way, they can trust that your organization reflects their values.

5. Be Prepared for Feedback

An often overlooked aspect of communicating with multicultural communities, preparing for your audience’s feedback helps you just as much as it helps them. Audience feedback allows you to avoid costly mistakes, helping generate goodwill in combination with the earlier points in this article. Whether on social media or paper, through surveys, polls, or focus groups, knowing what your audience is saying about your company is crucial for your results. Are they happy with your interaction? Do you engage with them?

Listen to your audience’s mentions. Host focus groups. Hire native speakers of your target market. You can even partner with a reputable translation service with native linguists. Precise expertise, who are best-equipped, can help you in any of the following. They can impart valuable advice for your product or service. They can also help you implement a cultural sensitivity strategy within your broader marketing objectives.

Multiculturalism, however broad it is, is one of the world’s greatest assets and accomplishments. It can fuel innovation and growth. It can foster friendships, business relationships, and more when people are exposed to different cultures. Here at PivotPath, we think this is incredibly valuable for this ever-changing world.

Do you have a multicultural audience, but you just don’t know how to address them? Are you a non-profit organization or agency looking to branch out to stakeholders and residents alike? Contact PivotPath today for a free consultation!

Why Direct Mail is Essential in your Nonprofit End of Year Appeal

As the end of the year rolls in, campaigns to fund programming start to fill donors and supporters inboxes and mailboxes. Looking for a few tips to stand out as well as connect enough to maximize your fundraising efforts? Try direct mail!

There is a strategic link between direct mail and non-profit organizations. Furthermore, direct mail is the glue that holds together nonprofits and their donors.

Direct mail’s role in non-profit organizations

First, to incentivize donors and supporters, direct mail marketing strategies are essential. These strategic campaigns aim to remind stakeholders and supporters of the importance and uniqueness of their participation and donations. Examples of this are a sweet reminder to your partner of how much you care about them. However, to be effective, a direct mail campaign must include the following key elements. 

Personalization is key

postcard

Most of the time, emails are never opened by recipients. Due to the hyper-digital season of the pandemic, we live in an era where drawing someone’s attention using Emotional Intelligence. Therefore, it is important to send personalized handwritten messages by taking advantage of demographic information. Non-Profit Source’s statistics prove the effectiveness of individual and personalized moves. Contacting a customer one-on-one increases the likelihood of response up to 50 percent or more. Personalization increases the response rate by up to 500 percent. 

Handwritten cards

A paper alternative to persuasive emails is visual postcards. Although they can be time-consuming, personally handwritten cards can make the recipient feel extra special. Comparatively, this can also deepen the relationship and loyalty they will have with your organization. If the thought makes your hand cramp, check out companies like Handwrite.

Personality and gifts galore

An additional strategy to awaken and engage your donors and supporters is by sending them gifts. Who doesn’t love gifts? And it does not have to be elaborate or expensive. The important thing is making them feel good, as well as feel special. Correspondingly, every time they see that gift they think of the cause they are contributing to and the reason to continue doing so. 

                                        

The power of storytelling

Moreover, Emotional Intelligence is the magic formula that is crucial for any direct mail strategy. This concept focuses on being aware of feelings and adjusting your messaging to connect with them. As a non-profit, storytelling is perhaps the most effective way to attract and engage supporters. In turn, this may be enough to kick-start them into active involvement. Of course, this can be through volunteering time or supporting your organization monetarily.

Providing a personal story about how a donation improved someone’s quality of life can impact your audience in a personal way. An example: Robel, age 7, now has the opportunity to go to school) And another tactic is to share the implications of programs and services lacking contributions and the impacts on those served. An example: Young girls aged 12-16 in Warner Robins, Georgia currently have limited access to [blank] facilities; here’s how you can help. 

A direct mail case study: Fondazione Grigioni  

Fondazione Grigioni is an Italian non-profit organization whose mission is to provide funding for Parkinson’s Syndrome research. It is a perfect case study to understand and recognize a well-thought direct mail strategy.

For the organization’s end-of-year annual campaign, staff sends a grateful message thanking donors and supporters for all of their support. Subsequently, this message is then supplemented with a bag of aromatic plant seeds. As a result, served as a symbol of the seeds planted into the organization and its stakeholders. As the plant grows, it blooms. And this is symbolic of their monetary and time donations. Every day, seeing your plant, you are reminded of your effort, which allows society to grow.

 In conclusion, we can say that these strategies are the engine of nonprofit development. This is an essential tool for the success of the cause they believe in. Given direct mail’s pivotal role, communication skills are a must. PivotPath is an optimal solution for the creation of the techniques and certainty to its success.

[Video] Top Three Reasons to Use Video Marketing

Video marketing has many great marketing benefits, but what grabs the attention of your audience? We spend the majority of our time on our phones, the internet, or watching television. Gifs and videos are all around us, on TikTok and Instagram stories, capturing our attention and shortening our attention spans. It is hard to escape the virtual world we live in, so might as well let it help your business.

Here are the Top Three Reasons to Use Video Marketing in 2021:

Growing Revenue with Extra Exposure

Companies put a focus on revenue within their company to determine their goals for the business. If they see a decrease in revenue, then they will make changes in their marketing style. Marketing teams have seen a growth in revenue with video marketing due to the access of videos within our society. People spend their time on social media platforms, with videos popping up on their feeds throughout the day, and often share interesting videos with their circles of influence. Studies show that 48% of people said they’d be most likely to share video content with their friends.

In addition, social media algorithms now recognize and acknowledge videos (like Instagram Reels) much more than standard posts, which can increase your brand’s visibility and reach. Unfortunately but fortunately, the more videos you have, the more likely social media channels are going to direct people to your page(s).

Increased Traffic to Your Website

Tailing off of the first reason, the main reason companies put a focus on marketing is to increase traffic to their website and business. Companies can do this in several ways, such as newsletters, blog posts, social media, and more.

However, According to WordStream, viewers retain 95% of a video message compared to 10% in text. Organizations need to take a look into what type of marketing tactics they want to use to attract their targeted audience(s). The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video. Customers may not read the newsletters or emails, but they could retain most of the information from the video. 

Increasing Traffic

Search Engines for Videos vs. Posts

When companies plan their marketing, they want their company to be the first name that pops up on the search engine rather than their competitor. Studies show that Google owns YouTube–they love ranking their own site in number one slots. Videos tend to be the first links to pop up rather than a blog post due to the rankings. According to Mollica Films, You’re 53 times more likely to show up first on Google if you have a video embedded on your website. The best way to do this is with gifs and video marketing.  You can pair a blog post with a video for a better marketing strategy (like we’ve done).

Search Engine Benfits

Video Marketing is not a new strategy but definitely one that every company needs to try. Need help with your video production but don’t know where to start? Contact us at PivotPath for assistance from start to final product.

Check out some of our video productions over the years:

European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone

CDC Federal Credit Union

 

 

 

PivotPath partners with the European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone for Agro-Technology Initiatives

European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone

The mission of PivotPath, in partnership with the European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone, was to ensure maximum exposure of agro-technology initiatives in Sierra Leone through the successful receipt of the Delegation’s Call for Proposals.

Summary:

Under its Jobs & Growth Programme, the European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone launched a call for proposals for agro-technology development.

The purpose was to increase private sector investment in technology and innovations in the country. This is a uniquely competitive opportunity for Sierra Leonean organizations and SMEs seeking to develop and/or expand sustainable agro-processing and agribusiness innovation and technology. 

About the Client: 

The Delegation of the European Union in Freetown is one of 139 European Union Delegations around the world, serving the European Union interests as a whole, in so far as they are concerned with:

  • presenting, explaining and implementing the European Union policies;
  • analysing and reporting on the policies and developments of the countries to which they are accredited;
  • and conducting negotiations in accordance with a given mandate.

Delegations are also involved in the conduct of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP), providing regular political analysis, conducting evaluations jointly with Member State embassies and contributing to the policy-making process.

In Sierra Leone, the European Union cooperation programme covers a range of target areas such as infrastructure, governance, macro-economic support and rural development. The EU cooperation programme in Sierra Leone is presented in the Country Strategy Paper for Sierra Leone which has been developed with the national authorities. The European Union Delegation in Freetown manages cooperation projects developed in the framework of the Country Strategy Paper

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The Challenge:

The European Union Delegation (EUD) to Sierra Leone wanted to promote its Call for Proposals to fund Small Business Enterprises aiming to develop or grow agro-tech initiatives within the country. The EUD contracted PivotPath to provide communications and awareness of the Jobs and Growth Programme funding opportunity, and highlight existing projects within the agro-tech space.

The Agro-Tech call for proposals was designed based on the positive experience gained under the Agro-business Development from Organic Resources (ADORE). This is an initiative funded by the European Union and jointly implemented by the Welthungerhilfe organisation, Moawoma cooperative, Lizard-Earth and Door to Europe companies. In collaboration, the group aimed to support production and processing of organic cacao into chocolate bars made in Sierra Leone. 

The ADORE project will stimulate the sustainable growth of the Sierra Leonean agri-business sector, particularly in Kenema and Kailahun. The project aims to build inclusive partnerships between value chain stakeholders at all levels by linking farmers with the national and international markets.

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The Solution

PivotPath team members traveled to Sierra Leone to conduct interviews and desk research as a basis to better understand the landscape and current communications. The team then crafted a strategy, formulated it into a strategic communications plan and oversaw and conducted the implementation as follows:

  • 4 Video productions featuring Ambassador Vens announcing the call for proposals.
    • A virtual information session that was attended by over 210 interested applicants, and highlights from the EU funded ADORE project. 
  • 11 Newspapers and specialized magazine coverage, social media coverage throughout the campaign initiative, with over 33 publications. 
  • A series of articles written and approved on agriculture innovation and technology development in the world.
    • This included a specific case study in neighbouring countries and in Sierra Leone to illustrate the relevance of the initiative shared across 12 newspapers and magazines.
  • 4 Radio jingles in rotation across 13 radio stations in the country. Jingles in English, Krio, Temne and Mende.

The Results

Due to the following deliverables, the Jobs and Growth Programme had over 8,000 impressions with two months and reached over 224 small business enterprises within the country.

With the successful promotion of the Agro-Tech Development initiative, agriculture can play a vital role in boosting the country’s economic growth. These initiatives can provide sustainable and climate-smart agro-development. In turn, this can improve agriculture efficiency and promote economic self-sufficiency for young (and seasoned) agri-preneurs, particularly women and young adults.

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5 Tips to Increase Stakeholder Engagement For Your Nonprofit

Nonprofit organizations are like complex machines: they involve many moving parts that all rely on each other for the success of the whole. While each element is essential, one key element of a nonprofit’s success is its stakeholders and stakeholder engagement. Without effective stakeholder engagement, a nonprofit risks the loss of funding, support, and development. To ensure that your organization does not risk those losses, refer to these 5 tips to increase stakeholder engagement for your nonprofit. 

#1 Communicate early and often.

Communicating with stakeholders is a basic component of the organization-stakeholder relationship. However, for communication to be effective, it must be early and consistent. Your stakeholders are an essential part of your organization, so make them feel that way by including them early on. When you communicate with your stakeholders early on, they feel important, which leads to more trust and engagement. Make a list of current and potential stakeholders that you need to communicate with at the beginning of projects or events and reach out to them as soon as possible.

In addition to reaching out early, your organization must provide consistent communication to its stakeholders. Continued communication is key in maintaining a trustworthy and supportive relationship. Regularly provide updates on projects and events and ask for feedback throughout the process to ensure that you maintain your relationships with your stakeholders.

#2 Understand the influence of social media.

Many stakeholders rely on social media for information regarding their favorite organizations and potential investments. So, the content your organization puts on social media is not just for your customers or volunteers. To engage stakeholders, create a balanced mix of content that is targeted toward stakeholders and other groups in your audience. Show your current and potential stakeholders that you notice their involvement on social media and that you care about their engagement with your organization. This will allow them to enter the conversation about your organization in a new way. It could also help your organization reach more stakeholders to invest in your work.

#3 Provide a variety of ways for stakeholders to give input.

As mentioned above, involving stakeholders in the conversation and asking for feedback can provide many benefits. People want to provide their input and feel heard, especially when they are investing in your organization. So, make the feedback process effortless for your stakeholders. When sending out updates to stakeholders about projects, attach a survey for them to provide feedback. In addition to this, ask for feedback via social media and in-person interactions. By providing your stakeholders with a variety of ways to share their input, you will strengthen stakeholder relationships, increase continued engagement, and help your organization further develop.

#4 Plan events to attract a diverse group of stakeholders.

Planning special events for stakeholders will do wonders for your stakeholder engagement. These exclusive events will show your stakeholders how much your organization values them. And, will provide opportunities for in-person communications and networking. Events can bring in funds, strengthen stakeholder relationships, promote your organization and mission, and much more. And, if your organization holds a variety of events throughout the year, you can reach more diverse groups of stakeholders. For example, a picnic would be an event that is accessible to all kinds of stakeholders. Other events like sit-down dinners and galas would bring in a different group of stakeholders, including local leaders and politicians. Planning a mix of events is essential for reaching a diverse group of stakeholders while encouraging engagement.

#5 Don’t just inform your stakeholders, involve them. 

A common theme among these tips is that stakeholders should be involved, not just informed. If your stakeholders feel left out of your organization and its efforts, they will lose interest and stop engaging. Your organization can protect against major problems, like an abrupt loss of financial support, by involving stakeholders in your planning and projects instead of only informing. 

When involving stakeholders, work with your organization to find a happy medium of involvement. An appropriate amount of stakeholder involvement will allow for stakeholders to collaborate when desired, but will not rely on their collaboration to complete a project or achieve a goal. Allowing stakeholders the opportunity to create and collaborate with your organization will increase their engagement, strengthen your stakeholder-organization relationships, and benefit your organization in the long run. 

Stakeholder engagement is one of the many important elements that go into running a nonprofit. Refer to these tips for stakeholder engagement, and do not hesitate to reach out for help if all the elements become overwhelming. PivotPath is here to support your organization with our top-notch marketing services and team of talented creatives. Let us take on some of the other work while you put more into what matters: creating lasting relationships with those that support the continuation of your organization and its mission. 

How to ensure that your branding efforts are successful

Branding is a strategic art. It communicates who or what your business is and can define its success. To promote a long-lasting presence, it’s important that your branding efforts are helping your brand advance. Keep reading to find out how to ensure that your branding efforts are successful.  

Persuade consumers to choose your brand over others.

Branding requires ethical persuasion. Rhetorical appeals, like pathos, ethos, and logos, are strategies that shape a communicator’s appeal to an audience. Your brand is the communicator to its specific audience. To maintain a presence in a competitive market place, it’s important to exercise rhetorical appeals.

Are your branding efforts meaningful?

Pathos is a rhetorical communication technique that involves appealing to the emotions of an audience. When pathos isn’t achieved, your brand lacks meaning. Essentially, the goal is to create meaning by appealing to your audience’s hopes and ideas and addressing their fears and worries. 

Maintaining two-way communication is a sure way to gauge your audience’s emotions. What do they want? Like? Need? Encourage your audience to engage with your brand to get a good understanding of their emotions. Your job is to understand your audience to create the right emotional environment for communication. Frontiers in Psychology shows that audiences are more likely to commit to a brand when it sparks an emotional response. You must create a correlation between your brand and trust, value, and meaning to broaden the impact of emotions.

Are your branding efforts credible?

Ethos is a rhetorical communication technique that involves appealing to the credibility of an audience. You’ve probably heard it before, but it bears repeating: Mutually beneficial relationships are built on trust. A lack of credibility compromises the trust of your audience and therefore the success of your brand.

The best way to guarantee that your brand is credible is to be consistent in your branding efforts and seek feedback from your audience. Reviews on Yelp and Google are a good place to start, but consider other ways to secure feedback. For example, email questionnaires and social media polls are a great way to gather feedback from your audience. You’ll be sure to hit two birds with one stone by showing your audience that you’re interested in its feedback. Moreover, listening to your audience’s feedback will not only strengthen your brand’s credibility but also appeal to the emotions of your audience. 

Are your branding efforts meeting expectations?

Logos is a rhetorical communication technique that involves appealing to the logic of an audience. More importantly, logos works to strengthen ethos, as it provides logical evidence for credibility.

Your brand’s credibility largely shapes its reputation, trustworthiness, and the confidence of its audience. Clear and concise messaging is a great way to instill trust, but put your money where your mouth is and give your audience a logical reason to trust your brand. Ask yourself: Is your brand delivering the products and/or services that its messages communicate? Your job is to instill confidence in your audience. 

We can help you apply these strategies.

In conclusion, rhetorical appeals have played an important role in persuasion efforts since Ancient Greece. Your branding efforts will inevitably provoke some sort of response. Ask yourself the questions above to ensure that those responses are positive. 

Don’t fret if you find yourself at a crossroads on how to apply these strategies. PivotPath specializes in strategic brand planning. Contact us today for a free consultation to ensure that your branding efforts are successful. 

[Video] A Survival Guide for Municipalities During COVID-19

The past year has welcomed several unprecedented challenges. Towns and cities are among some of the most vulnerable victims to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite these challenges, there are things you can do to help your community thrive. Continue reading this survival guide to ensure that your municipality is doing everything it can to survive these times.

Survival Tip #1: Be communicative.

Two-way communication involves active engagement and responsiveness. To communicate effectively, it’s essential that you listen to each of your stakeholders. Stakeholders act as various operators, including, but not limited to, residents, tourists, local government officials, local law enforcement, and public safety officials. 

Your stakeholders, and the relationships you build with them, are the backbone of your community. Mutually beneficial relationships are built on trust. When you fail to communicate effectively, you promote dishonesty and inauthenticity, which can destroy the trust of your stakeholders. Therefore, it’s important for your community to effectively communicate with each of its stakeholders to build and maintain trustworthy relationships.

Survival Tip #2: Avoid homogeneity. 

Homogeneity is the belief that everyone is the same. It’s common for individuals to resort to homogeneity when assessing their audience. Your communication efforts are sure to fail when you misinterpret all areas of your audience as one and the same. This mistake is heightened for those who operate communities, as they tend to believe that a shared location means shared values and beliefs.

Demographic information isn’t isolated to geographic location but also includes race, gender, sexual orientation, class, and political identity. You can understand your audience on a larger, more in-depth level by assessing all components of demographic information. By avoiding homogeneity, you can shape your communication efforts to include and gain support from all members of your audience. Your audience’s support can help your community withstand the test of time.

Conduct a S.W.O.T. analysis.

A S.W.O.T. analysis assesses the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of an entity. Many mistakenly believe that this kind of analysis is only applicable to businesses, but a S.W.O.T. analysis is beneficial for anyone looking to develop a plan or strategy, including communities. Conducting a S.W.O.T. analysis can help your community grow in ways that it hasn’t considered before.

Strengths and weaknesses are internal, things that you have some control over and can change. If you follow the two previously mentioned tips, you’re sure to have audience communication as a strength. However, it’s important to understand that the presence of strengths doesn’t make your weaknesses disappear.

Opportunities and threats are external. Typically, there’s little to no control of these factors. You can take advantage of opportunities and protect against threats, but you can’t change them. The COVID-19 pandemic is surely a threat for businesses, non-profit organizations, and communities around the world. However, sometimes threats can present us with opportunities. For example, your community can take this time to strengthen its internal operations by addressing other needs that it’s brushed off. 

Reach out for help.

Survival is difficult as is, but when a force as powerful as COVID-19 is acting against you, it can be difficult to even see survival as an option. Don’t let this scare you! By following this survival guide, you can ensure that your municipality is doing everything it can to thrive during these times. PivotPath understands that implementing change isn’t always easy. Contact us for a free consultation today. Our team of innovative creatives can help your community carry out this survival guide.

5 Signs Your Agency Needs a New Logo ASAP

A logo largely defines how consumers will perceive a brand. In other words, it can make or break a brand’s success. Here are five signs that your agency needs a new logo ASAP.

It doesn’t reflect who you are.

Branding is the representation of your agency as a personality. An effective logo design must communicate who you are.   

  • What is your mission?
  • What are your values?
  • Who do you serve?
  • What makes you different?

Imagine your brand as a person. What does that person look like? What does that person sound like? Develop your design with consideration for how you want your brand to be perceived. 

It doesn’t consider all aspects of visual communication.

A brand’s logo is easily the largest component of its visual communication. 

Visual communication involves using visual elements to tell a story. For instance, the color, shape, form, place, proximity, and typography of your design should readably illustrate your agency’s identity. Is the shape distracting? Is the font readable? Ask yourself these questions. Ineffective visual communication can cause potential consumers to deter.

Its colors don’t communicate.

Color influences perception. Color theory recognizes that each color communicates a different meaning. Once you understand who your brand is and what it looks like, your logo should include colors that reflect that identity. 

Warm colors like red and yellow evoke action and urgency, whereas cool colors like blue and green communicate peace and calm. When using more than one color in a design, it’s important to understand that some colors work together, while others do not. 

It’s not consistent. 

Your logo must be consistent across all channels. 

All of your branding materials must have your logo on them, from your website, to your social media, and even your letterhead. A brand compromises its credibility and the trust of its audience when it fails to consistently display its visual identity.  

It doesn’t motivate.

An effective logo will add value to a brand and influence its audience to engage with the brand. 

Your design should communicate the emotion and personality of your brand in efforts to persuade. Your brand’s image can motivate your audience to act. Audiences are more motivated to act when they identify with a brand. Motivating action will bring more business, and more business will bring consumer loyalty, which is crucial for a long-lasting presence.

Restructuring your logo doesn’t have to be difficult.

Branding involves creating an image that markets. A logo motivates consumers to recognize and engage with a brand. 

If you’ve read this far, the odds are that your agency needs a new design. It may sound overwhelming, but restructuring your logo doesn’t have to be difficult. Contact PivotPath for a free consultation today, our team of innovative creatives can help your agency develop a logo that is sure to entice your audience and promote growth.

What Makes a Brand Future-Proof?

Advancements in technology, coupled with shifts in consumer trends, can threaten a brand’s sustainability. The future is inevitable. However, there are ways to embrace the changes that accompany it. Keep reading to find out how to make a brand future-proof. 

Be relevant.

An audience analysis is an examination of a brand’s consumers. A thorough analysis will consider the age, race, gender, class status, and location of a brand’s audience. By gathering this information, your brand can assess the likes and dislikes of its audience. This will help it deliver products and/or services that are relevant to its consumers

A brand should frequently conduct an audience analysis to align with changes in consumer trends. This can help a brand withstand the test of time. 

Be unique. 

Make your brand future-proof by defining what sets it apart from other brands.

Your brand may offer the same products and/or services as other brands. It is essential to create and identify the je ne sais quoi that distinguishes your brand from others. Your brand’s unique quality should consider of its audiences. A unique identity can spark consumer interest, increase consumer commitment, and drive employee motivation.

Be consistent. 

A brand is more than just a name and logo. A brand is an identity. Your brand’s identity must be consistent to leave a long-lasting impression. 

What does your brand look like? Visual identity refers to the visual elements that define a brand. For instance, the color, shape, form, and font make up your brand’s visual identity. 

What is your brand’s voice? Consider how you want your brand to be perceived. Then, make that voice heard across all channels (social media content, website, interactions with customers, etc.)

Every service, caption, visual, and email should communicate your brand’s identity. Consistency helps build consumer commitment to a brand. Once consumers commit to a brand, it must meet consumer expectations to maintain long-lasting relationships. 

Tomorrow is not guaranteed. 

Unfortunatley, success doesn’t make your brand invincible. A brand that is successful today can easily weaken overnight.

Your brand’s presence and performance promote its longevity. However, it can be difficult for a brand to maintain a relevant, unique, and consistent presence without assistance. This is where we come in. Schedule a consultation with PivotPath today. Our team of innovative creators can help you ensure that your brand withstands the test of time.

A Guide to Spring Marketing

When developing a spring marketing plan, you may notice that there is not a lot going on during this time of the year. With the passing of several major winter holidays and events, it may seem difficult to create clever and relevant marketing strategies for the spring. But, do not fear, this is where we come in! PivotPath is here to provide you with a detailed guide to marketing during the spring. Continue reading to uncover helpful tips and strategies when marketing this season.

Pick a relevant spring theme for your marketing campaign:

Springtime is associated with many things: growth, renewal, blooming flowers, spring cleaning, longer days, and rain. So, capitalize off of these associations, and make your marketing campaign spring-themed. Using a spring theme can help give direction to your content, and create a more cohesive and appealing campaign. For example, a non-profit food bank that is focusing on the theme of “spring cleaning” could have content that looks like this:

“Jump into spring cleaning by cleaning out your pantry! And when your pantry is organized and cleaned out, give back to your community by donating the food to us!”

Using spring colors, fonts, and photos will also help to create a cohesive marketing campaign. Bright, pastel colors like pinks, yellows, greens, and teals, are very popular in the spring! Use these colors along with floral graphics to create eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing content.

Incorporate contests/giveaways in your campaign:

Many businesses see spring as a lull in their marketing plan, but one way to rejuvenate a marketing plan is to incorporate contests and giveaways. Contests and giveaways, which are typically run on social media, can be a great way to engage and grow your audience.

A contest or giveaway usually incorporates rules, qualifications, and a prize/reward. Rules outline exactly what the viewer must do to enter. Including rules such as “tag a friend,” “comment and tag a friend,” or “share this post” help expand your brand’s reach and audience. Other rules like “follow our page” and “like this post” will boost your brand’s following and engagement. Most importantly, choose rules and qualifications that are the best for your business and the goals you hope to achieve.

When choosing a prize or reward, it is important to choose one that is desirable and relevant. Your prize should always reflect the effort required to win it. For example, if you ask viewers to fill out a long survey, enter personal information, and follow your social media accounts, you must choose a high-value prize to incentivize people to put in the effort. The prize or reward should also be relevant to your business. This will encourage continued interaction with your business and your products/services.

Research unique national or international holidays:

Spring can seem spiritless when compared to the busy winter holiday season. Use this opportunity to give your audience a reason to celebrate! Amidst the better known holidays in spring:

St. Patrick’s Day: March 17th
April Fools Day: April 1st
Easter: April 4th
Earth Day: April 22nd
Cinco de Mayo: May 5th
Mother’s Day: May 9th
Memorial Day: May 31st

…there are many unique holidays that your business can also mention when marketing! Conduct research on national or international holidays for each month, and choose which holidays are most applicable to your business. For example, here are some unique holidays in March:

Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day: March 1st
I Want You to be Happy Day: March 3rd
Employee Appreciation Day: March 5th
National Frozen Food Day: March 6th
International (Working) Women’s Day: March 8th
International Day of Awesomeness: March 10th
Plant a Flower Day: March 12th
National Pi Day: March 14th
Everything You Do is Right Day: March 16th
Awkward Moments Day: March 18th
International Day of Happiness: March 20th
National Goof Off Day: March 22nd
National Puppy Day: March 23rd
Make Up Your Own Holiday Day: March 26th
Something on a Stick Day: March 28th
National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day: March 29th

Your business can incorporate these holidays when crafting content, planning promotions, and creating contests. Implementing unique holidays into your marketing strategy will help you stand out, create excitement and celebration, and engage your audience.

Focus on your community and give back:

Because springtime is seen as a time for growth and renewal, many people associate the season with community events and giving back. When looking for marking opportunities, search on community groups and pages to get your business involved, visible, and to give back to your community.

Getting involved in community events can offer your brand an opportunity to interact directly with potential customers and heighten your brand awareness. Set up tables full of relevant swag, like branded fans on a hot day, to encourage people to get to know you, your business, and your products/services.

Another marketing strategy to increase visibility in your community is to give back. Consider devoting a day for your business to volunteer at a local charity. This will benefit your community and benefit your business by making your brand more recognizable and positively received.

When preparing for your spring marking plan, do not hesitate to reach out for help. PivotPath offers a wide range of services to help your business spring into the season. Contact us for a consultation today!

Using Instagram/Facebook/LinkedIn as Marketing Tools

A brand’s social media presence influences 73% of those that engage with the brand. When used efficiently, social media platforms are proven to be effective marketing tools. However, many brands misinterpret their functions, which often results in ineffective marketing.

You don’t always need an account on every social media platform. In fact, this can produce adverse effects. When using Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn for marketing purposes, it’s important to understand that each platform delivers information in a unique way. Here are some insights on how to effectively optimize these social media platforms as marketing tools for your brand.

Instagram is an image-driven platform.

Instagram’s character limit is relatively large, but that doesn’t mean that your text should be. To maximize Instagram as a marketing tool, limit your brand’s bio and captions to two sentences. Including a call of action in your text will prompt your audience to participate in authentic engagement. Hashtags are also a great way to encourage audience participation while simultaneously increasing your brand’s visibility.  

Visual elements are meant to replace text. Use Instagram’s function as an image-driven platform to complement the message you aim to communicate with your post. Images and text should be clear, compelling, and consistent with your brand’s image.   

Instagram also has a story feature that allows your brand to post content that is visible to viewers for 24 hours. Stories offer the ability to directly engage with your audience through question forums, polls, and more. Instagram stories are a great way to enable audience participation and further your brand’s engagement. 

Instagram Reels is Instagram’s newest feature and closely resembles the social media platform TikTok. Its algorithm is currently driving more traffic than any other Instagram feature. Instagram Reels is helpful for those looking to increase brand visibility.

Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world.

Facebook has more users than any other social media platform. This poses both an opportunity and a threat: Your brand’s range of communication is highest on Facebook, but this places a great deal of power in your audience’s hands. 

Due to the platform’s considerable audience, it’s difficult to get traffic and engagement without paid Facebook advertising. With paid social, you will expand your reach and impressions while targeting specific audiences to ensure you attract those you seek to engage with the most. Bear in mind that the process to create Facebook Ads changes periodically, so be sure to review the guidelines within the Facebook Ads Manager

Facebook allows its users to post text, images, and videos. When utilizing such a wide range of features, it’s crucial to understand that the text of a Facebook post shapes the success of its visual elements. Keep your text brief and informational. Consider the who, what, when, where, and why of your message. An unclear text will confuse your audience and may cause them to deter.

Facebook was the first social media platform to introduce the “like” function. The platform has since developed by offering additional reactions to posts. This tool is especially useful when assessing your audience’s likes, dislikes, beliefs, and values. Use this information to your advantage when crafting future posts. The share feature allows users to share posts with their Facebook friends, which offers a promising avenue for increasing your brand’s visibility.

LinkedIn is the professional network.

LinkedIn operates as a professional social network. It allows users to disseminate and engage with information that advances their professional prospects. LinkedIn remains an invaluable platform for increasing brand awareness and establishing relationships with businesses and consumers alike. 

LinkedIn’s professional nature requires careful attention to credibility and expertise. Therefore, your brand’s content must evoke professionalism. This is best achieved through using both visual and textual elements together. Your text should be concise yet informative and grammatical to complement clean and compelling visuals.

The use of blog posts and articles on LinkedIn allows for even greater use of the platform in that users can highlight their expertise while increasing their reach. Make sure your content illustrates your brand’s capabilities to expand your audience, strengthen your brand’s identity, and encourage consumer and business partnerships.

Maximize your brand’s potential.

Social media has changed the way we operate both personally and professionally by providing individuals and institutions with the ability to communicate to large audiences.

When using social media platforms as marketing tools, it’s crucial to acknowledge that your content is a representation of your brand. Through understanding the functions of each platform, you can help your brand nurture audience relationships, maximize its reach, and achieve its goals. Contact PivotPath’s team of innovative creatives to help your brand maximize its potential.