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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Sexist Ads Of The 50s

These days, keeping house isn’t just the function of the ‘little woman’. In these more enlightened times, men and women share the domestic duties, and the roles have become more equal. So when we look back at past eras such as the 50s and 60s – even up to the 80s – the attitudes seem frankly shocking now.

This is really obvious when looking at the world of advertising, which succinctly reflects the attitudes of days gone by. Here are four areas of advertising that will highlight the era perfectly.

The home – Like bangers and mash, gin and tonic and Abbot and Costello, there’s the wife in the kitchen. We know that times certainly have changed, and it’s not so common for the woman to be stuck at home, peering over her kitchen enamelware, cooking and cleaning for her man as much. Of course, there’s a double dose of sexism here. Hardee’s ad also implies that if you’re a man who doesn’t have a woman preparing food for you, you might as well go out for fast food because you can’t cook for yourself.

The office – The world of work was somewhere that was a male dominated environment in the 50s and 60s. Women were either secretaries or cleaners, and while there’s no shame in either role, the positions were perceived as subordinate and secondary to roles of men in business. So when Bell & Howell wanted to show off their “finest projection equipment”, it was Sabrina’s equipment that was used to sell it. I can guarantee that no one approached her on her opinion of how to use it.

Driving – Ah, the old staple joke of men being better drivers than women. No research in the world was going to stop husbands believing that his wife was a worse driver than him. As the breadwinner, Volkswagen were selling to him, not her. So if you’re going to buy a car, it really should be tough and able to handle a woman’s appalling driving skills. Oh, for the record, a researcher from Carnegie Mellon University in Michigan found that, based on miles driven, men were more 77% more likely to have a fatal car accident than women.

Air Travel – The world of air travel definitely wasn’t safe, as female cabin crew were one of the primary lures to get travelling business men to use particular airlines. I’m not sure what Czech Airlines is trying to get across here, but I can see nothing about the service or efficiency they provide, but their stewardesses are warm and welcoming in, and out, of uniform.

Citations:

TCH provides quality kitchen enamelware for the home.

 

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Offline Still Works in Marketing

Since the internet explosion, everyone is now “googling” and “facebooking” and buying online.  In the world of internet marketing, people tend to forget all about offline which helps to increase the brand awareness of a product or service.  There are lots of different elements of offline, print advertising, flyer promotion and business cards.

Print advertising

People still read newspapers and content off line. Not everyone uses a kindle or an iPad.  Print advertising promotes a company’s product and service. People take note especially if there is a certain offer or if there is a new store opening with a 15% discount to the first customers through the door. If you have a local business and you have just moved to a new area, it may be worth just targeting the smaller newspapers in your area.  This way you know the people in the local community will be see your ad.

Business cards

Business cards are fundamental in business especially if you network.  It contains all information about your company on just one small piece of card which you can easily carry around with you.  It is important that you have good quality business cards, one that is at least 300gsm and has a finish, either a matt laminated or a gloss finish which helps protect it against stains and wear and tear.  It is embarrassing to hand over a dog-earred business card where the white has faded into an off yellow because you have just gone for the cheapest ones.

Flyers

If your company is promoting a particular product or service, then promotional material in the form of flyers are a great way to gain exposure especially if distributed to the right people.  In shops where there are discounts offered on the flyers, people will be keen to accept the card and show it in store when they purchase a product. There are a number of different printing options for flyers and the one you choose will be dependant on your brand and product/service.

Posters

The amount of posters advertising products at bus stops, on the roadside, even in public toilets shows that offline is an important part of the marketing mix.  Posters have a wide audience but you can choose who will see your advert depending on it location. For example advertisements in toilets can be for a male or female audience.  Adverts at the airport in the arrivals section will have different promotions, perhaps new shops that are in the city, compare with adverts within the departure lounge that will be advertising duty free products.

There are a number of different printing companies in Australia that offer competitive rates. For all your printing in Perth services, check out the best prices and quotes at your local printing centre.

 

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Transport: A Dirty Business

So, you’ve turned your office into an eco-friendly haven, ensuring that you’ve taken all the necessary steps to become a more sustainable business, but it feels like there’s something you’ve forgotten… transport!

Business transport has a huge impact on the environment, the various types of shipping and transportation used by businesses increase greenhouse gases, CO2 emissions and oil pollution. Shipping aggregator, uShip, reported that, in Germany alone, 45.5 tonnes of Carbon and Greenhouse Gas emissions are produced by delivery vans and trucks.
What can we do as a business to offset this pollution?

The first step to making your business transportation climate neutral is working out how much CO2/Greenhouse gases your company produces through transportation. When you know how much carbon your business is responsible for producing you can look into options to offset this amount.
Many businesses are investing in climate-neutral projects to offset their usage, and many foundations that fund carbon-neutral projects crying out for sponsorship. Your investment will fund solar collectors, wind farms and other projects across the world.

Take a minute to think about your transportation options. What do you use? Have you ever thought about shipping via rail or water instead of by road? This small change could significantly reduce your emissions.

When shipping to local businesses, choose a local shipping company to reduce the amount of time delivery trucks will be on the road, subsequently reducing emissions.

Your employees can help too!
Suggest a car-pooling system and if you are using delivery trucks advise your drivers on the most environmentally friendly driving methods.

This post was written on behalf of the shipping aggregator, uShip. uShip recently announced that were offering 100% climate neutral transport across Germany, and Mainland Europe and also offer a ’man with a van’ service.

 

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5 Solutions for Surplus Inventory

When a business owner starts to realize that overflow merchandise is building up, he needs to take direct, positive action. There are several proven strategies to utilize to find solutions to this common problem.

Storage Unit

The benefits of obtaining a storage unit for the overflow products include knowing that they’re locked up, safe and secure, that they’ll remain in pristine condition if the contents are not packed or stuffed too tightly, and having easy and convenient, 24/7 access to it with either a key or digital combination code. There are storage units of all shapes, sizes and price points. They can be rented by the day, week, month or year. The size and time elements will best be determined by the size and amount of excess merchandise that the business owner wishes to put into locked storage.

Selling At A Discount

Another excellent strategy to rapidly diminish an overstock of merchandise is to hold closeout type sales by simply selling some or all of the excess merchandise at various discounts, anywhere between ten and seventy five percent off, depending on the exact type of merchandise and how much excess quantity of it is desired to be liquidated. Consumers flock to these special sales events, especially when they’re well advertised in print, online, on the radio, and if it’s affordable, on TV as well.

Expanding Current Premises

The physical size or square footage of an owner’s existing business may simply be too small for all the new merchandise he has acquired over time since he first opened his shop. So if local building codes allow it and there is enough extra space on the property surrounding the building then just hire a reputable and licensed local contractor to perform some construction expansion and remodeling on the premises to make extra storage space.

Opening A New Location

If a truly huge amount of extra space seems to be the only way to solve the merchandise overload problem, then one of the best ways to accomplish this is to simply open another location. If the owner has the funding to do so and he can find a great location with comparatively low overhead such as rent, insurance, utilities and labor costs as well, then stocking a new shop with all of the overflow merchandise can be an exceptionally wise idea and solution.

Utilizing these helpful storage solutions will definitely ease the stress and worry of shop owners with a lot of extra merchandise on hand.

Image by Jason OX4 and licensed through Creative Commons.

Paul Benjamin is a District Manager at EZ Storage, a company providing Eastpointe, MI Storage UnitsVisit Site to learn more.

 

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Marijuana Must Be Legalized

The opinion and story of a Colorado Attorney:  

It is 5:00 a.m. on a cold dark Colorado morning. Twenty-five SWAT team officers, clad in black helmets, body armor, wielding assault weapons, large clear shields, and heavy iron battering rams, surround a quiet residential home, shatter the front door, and throw flash-bang grenades and tear gas inside.

The team of 25 militarized cops stream into the house, screaming obscenities, shattering the terrified childrens’ sleep and jarring the scared parents awake. The SWAT team then literally destroys the home and the furniture within, slashing couches, overturning bookcases, throwing possessions all over the floor, carting the crying children off to Social Services or foster care, and throwing the parents to the ground at gunpoint, handcuffing them painfully before carting them off to the police station.

The SWAT team then locates its target: a couple dozen three-foot high cannabis plants in a modest indoor basement garden, and a pound or so of dried plant matter, some lights, some fertilizer, and a few books on how to grow marijuana.

This is not an extreme example. This scene literally happens every day in America, a nation that loudly professes that it is a “free” country, but that leads the globe in per capita incarceration of its own people, a rate that exceeds those of human rights leaders such as North Korea, China, and Iran, due mostly to the war on drugs.

And this scene embodies America’s war on marijuana. A government this large, this powerful, this intrusive, this belligerent, is necessary to fight this modern-day prohibition against a simple herb that approximately half of the American adult population has consumed at some point in their lives. There are so many reasons this must change:

1. Money

The war on marijuana costs us money. The direct costs to local, state, and federal governments are staggering and exceed a trillion dollars. Police, prosecutors, probation officers, judges, courts, jailers, prison guards, and defense lawyers form a massive prison-industrial complex that distracts limited resources away from our failing economy and other more important priorities. The indirect costs to the economy, though more difficult to quantify, are probably higher in the form of people removed from their families and their jobs, the opportunity costs of distracted police and jammed courts too busy to adjudicate important criminal and civil cases. We also lose out on the benefits of industrial hemp, which has no recreational effect but which could be an extremely useful crop for American farmers and industry.

And all of this money has been wasted — accomplishing, like so many other heavy-handed government programs, the precise opposite result of that which was intended. Even the U.S. government’s drug czar (it is appropriate that this government position is named after an imperial Russian tyrant), Gil Kerlikowski, admits that the 40-year experiment with drug prohibition has been an abject failure.

Decades of drug prohibition has not accomplished a single of its goals. Albert Einstein’s definitionof insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” As our governments at all levels pour more lawyers, guns, and money into this militarized marijuana prohibition, people still obtain it — easily — and supply and demand is totally uninterrupted on a macro scale; one dealer falls, another pops up. Under Einstein’s definition, our government is literally insane.

2. Freedom

The war on marijuana is alien to the principles of a free nation founded on the principles of limited government and personal responsibility. The negative impact of marijuana prohibition laws far outstrip the negative impact of the substance itself, which is one of the few things on Earth that has no practical lethal dose, it is basically harmless.

Humans in all cultures have used the cannabis plant since the dawn of history for medicinal, spiritual, industrial, and recreational purposes; only in the 20th century did it occur to any government to prohibit it. Thomas Jefferson and other founders grew cannabis on their plantations. The Declaration of Independence is written on hemp paper. Even Genesis 1:29confirms that God gave man every seed-bearing plant on the Earth. God giveth, government taketh.

The history of American marijuana prohibition and “reefer madness” shows that its practical and legal basis is a house of cards. An outgrowth of alcohol prohibition which arose in roughly the same era, marijuana prohibition was born out of racially-charged fears of Mexicans and blacks.

For the American government to prohibit the cannabis plant, that government must declare war on its own principles. Such a prohibition then contributes to overall erosion in the general population’s respect for the rule of law, because the aggressive enforcement of this law touches so many people and makes the law itself — not just marijuana laws, but all laws and law enforcement officials — a joke.

The body armor-clad government stormtroopers are necessary to prosecute the war on marijuana. That level of expensive and intrusive force is necessary if cannabis, widely used and widely accepted, is to be prohibited from our private homes and lives. But perhaps the best brief against prohibition is the fact that marijuana is widely available to prisoners in America’s prisons and jails. Prisons and jails are the most tightly regulated, highly government-controlled locations in the world. If the government cannot keep marijuana outside of these places, can anyone seriously argue prohibition is enforceable in the general population?

3. Safety

The war on marijuana, like alcohol prohibition before it, creates and fuels the criminal underclass, organized crime, and domestic and foreign drug cartels. It is basic Economics 101: where there is a demand, a supply will be created to meet it, period. Human demand for marijuana, like alcohol, has lasted thousands of years, and will never go away. Leading economists like Milton Friedman have long seen the drug war as an economically-bankrupt policy.

If marijuana were legalized and taxed, violent drug cartels would lose the principal source of their income. Marijuana ought to be treated like a more dangerous substance: alcohol, available at the corner liquor store, and taxed and regulated. How many Mexican drug cartels smuggle beer over the border? Ban it, and you would see many. Create a regulated legal market for it, and the drug cartels are not involved.

4. Children

It is literally easier for American schoolchildren to obtain marijuana than beer.

That is because the government has created the black market in marijuana, making it more accessible to children. There is no black market in beer. It is relatively cheap and easy to obtain, for adults, but difficult for children. Prohibition increases childrens’ attraction to marijuana; the “forbidden fruit” is always sweeter.

For all of these reasons and many more, Americans have now passed the critical 50 percentthreshold in support for legalization of marijuana. (These polls typically understate support, as many Americans are understandably reluctant to admit to using or supporting marijuana to an anonymous telephone surveyor.) Even conservative televangelist Pat Robertson recentlyacknowledged that marijuana ought to be legal.

It is long past time for politicians at all levels to end this bankrupt policy of Prohibition, and stop breaking down the doors of Americans who only want to possess a harmless plant in the comfort of their own homes.

 

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Avoid Unhappy Clients with a Few Simple Steps

1. Avoid unhappy clients with a few simple steps

  • Give realistic expectations and deadlines. I know it is hard to tell a customer something will take a month when they think it should be done in a matter of days and that even after it’s done it may be months before they see any results. But, if you don’t give yourself enough time to complete their project properly, you’ll be stressed, the project will suffer and you’ll probably miss the deadline anyway and then they will be unhappy early in the project. If you give a deadline that is reasonable and then beat it, they will be ecstatic and will have a better attitude as they wait for results. You also have to give the client deadlines for information or materials they need to give you in order for you to meet your deadlines. Make sure they understand if they don’t meet those deadlines, your deadlines will be extended by the same amount of time they are late. Starting off on the right foot always makes for a happier customer and smoother project.
  • Educate your customer on what you are doing. You don’t have to go into major detail that they won’t understand. But, you should be able to explain what you are doing in simple enough terms that they will feel they have learned something and are more invested in the project. Just like a mechanic who explains (in terms you understand) what is wrong with your car instead of just saying your flibberdy jibbet needs a new flugelbinder. If the client feels like they understand what you are doing, they will question and doubt you less because they will trust you and won’t feel like you are taking advantage of them.
  • Over-communicate. I can’t stress this enough. The worst thing for a customer is not hearing from you as the project progresses. If they don’t hear from you, they will assume you aren’t doing anything. If they think you are ignoring them or not making progress, they will look for things that are “wrong” and get themselves all worked up. The worst thing that can happen is for a client to have to call you to find out what is going on. Send them regular updates and use a tool such as Basecamp to record your deadlines and theirs. Trying to do everything through email can become confusing and cumbersome when working on anything but the smallest project.

2. What to do if your client is unhappy

  • Set up a meeting for a time when they will have your undivided attention for as long as they need. Tell them you are ready to listen to their concerns and want them to explain everything they are concerned about while you just listen and take notes. Let them talk until they wear themselves out or feel they have expressed all of their concerns. Don’t interrupt or try to argue any point while they are venting. Just take notes and let them talk. Once they are finished, say “I want to make sure I understand your concerns. I have noted that your concerns are ____”. Repeat back the major points of concern. (Sidebar – this is also a great tactic to use when you are fighting with your wife or girlfriend.) Once they agree that those are their issues, take the list one issue at a time and either explain why the item is the way it is or work to find a compromise or solution that they will be happy with. End the meeting with a review of the solutions and deadlines for when they will be complete.
  • Never point fingers or get angry yourself. If you point fingers or get angry, you give the client license to do the same. You can say the client missed a deadline without sounding accusatory. Instead of saying “Well you missed your deadline by 5 days so we were 5 days late too” you can say “I see there was a 5 day delay in our receipt of the product list which pushed our deadline by 5 days”. You are saying the same thing but without sounding accusatory. Their response will be much different to a statement that simply sounds factual than one that sounds like blame.

3. What to do if your client is still unhappy

  • If you have tried to resolve the issue with the client and have had no luck, you should have someone that you can bring in as back up. Regardless of who the person is, you should introduce them as someone who is an expert or who has authority. This will make the client feel like their issue has been escalated to someone higher in the food chain, even if it really hasn’t. It many cases it also helps if this person is of the opposite sex as you because it will change the dynamic of the conversation. It also helps to have an attractive female on staff (but only if they are knowledgeable too).
  • If all else fails, be prepared to fire the client. Even if they are a high dollar client, if they are generating 25% of your revenue but taking up 65% of your time, it doesn’t make sense to keep the client. If you just can’t resolve their issues and have done everything possible, you need to be prepared to refund a portion of their money (or maybe all of it) and have an amicable break up. You may even refer them to someone else that can handle their project. You don’t want to get in a downward spiral where you are offering free services to make up for issues they perceive or may have even caused. They will most likely never be completely happy with your services and therefore won’t refer new business. Also, if they know you will give them something for free if they complain, they will always find something to complain about.

Jon Clark is an SEO Specialist and founder of PPC For Hire – an Internet Marketing Company catering to small and medium sized businesses in San Diego, CA.

 

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