Showing posts from 2017

Start small


If you don't know where the goal is...

This is our third post as part of our strategy series. You can find the first, Strategy vs Tactics here and the second on Audiences here.

Lewis Carroll said, "if you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there." Where "there" is would be anyone's guess. This might be fun, if you're up for an adventure, but if you're trying to run a successful business or organization, it's a recipe for chasing down a lot of dead ends - or running off the road entirely.
That's why knowing what you want to achieve is so important.

A goal is a long-term proposition. It's a step in achieving your vision - that aspirational dream of success. Examples of vision are:

Microsoft: A computer on every desk and in every home. Wikipedia: A world in which every single person is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge.Oxfam: A world without poverty.Habitat for Humanity: A…

The general public, you say?

In the last blog post, I talked about "audience" as being one of the critical factors in figuring out your business/organizational strategy. Understanding your audience is so important that it's worth spending time on the difference between primary and secondary (or tertiary, etc.) audiences.

 To begin, can we agree to get rid of the term "general public?" It's a lazy short form that we often use when we think we want market to everyone, hoping that it will resonate with someone.

The problem with this approach is that when we think of the general public, we're really thinking about a faceless blur of people. What we're really saying is that we don't know our produce or service well enough to know who can benefit from it. We're really saying that we haven't done our homework.

Let's consider an example, pretending for a moment that we run a daycare service and have space for a few more children. (A silly example. Who's ever heard o…

Strategy vs tactics

How often have you walked into a meeting to discuss strategy only to find your team debating the value of brochures over radio ads or pop-up displays and website content?

The team whips together products that they believe will achieve their (usually unarticulated) goals only to deplete the budget without getting results.

"Is this really what strategy is all about?" you might well ask.

We're going to spend a few weeks talking about strategy in a way that we hope will help you get really comfortable staying away from tactics and helping your team members grasp big-picture thinking.

Let's start with defining what strategy is -- and what it isn't.

First, from the Oxford Dictionary, strategy is a plan to achieve a long-term goal. It is not the detail, which would be set out later in an operational plan. It is high-level. It is the "how" or approach you'll take to achieve that goal or goals. It's figuring out whether you're travelling by air, pub…

Dressing for the camera

One of the most common questions I am asked is how to dress for on-camera interviews. With these tips, your attire is one less thing for you to worry about. 
It's good to remember that your goal is to dress in a way that doesn't distract from the information you are sharing. 
 With that, here are a few tips. Dress appropriately for the situation. If the interview is happening in the field, you'll look silly in a suit.Avoid hot colours. This includes red, hot pink or orange. The colours will reflect up to your face and may you look warm.Avoid white. The lights will reflect and wash out your face.A small bit of any of these colours under a sweater or blazer is fine.Blue works on all skin tones.Avoid shiny, sparkly fabrics unless you really want to look like a Christmas tree.Avoid strong geometric patterned clothes. If you've ever seen clothes that seem to be moving on screen, it's because strong patterns create a moire effect and seem to dance before your eyes. Other…

Do your communication efforts need help?

Do your employees know what they're working toward? Do they know how to contribute ideas?

Are you giving your customers the best experience they can have? Do they love your business?

If your answer is "no," we can help!

Contact us for a free, one-hour consultation.


Dry Stone Festival 2017

We love our clients.

Our most entertaining project this month is for the Frontenac Heritage Foundation, sponsors of this year's Dry Stone Festival.

Each year, Dry Stone Canada finds a location to restore or build walls, bridges or other structures using the dry stone technique. If you've seen photographs of rural Ireland, you've seen dry stone walls stretching for miles. These walls are build with stone only -- no mortar -- and last for hundreds of years.

It's an ancient art that visitors to the festival can observe or actually participate in and learn when they register for a workshop. There's even a free kid's workshop where they too can learn and practice their new dry stone skills.

This year's event is being held at St. Mark's Anglican Church in Barriefield Village, Kingston, Ontario on September 30 and October 1. Barriefield residents are taking part by offering other activities as well. There will be walking tours, scheduled tours of St. Mark'…

Public engagement and senior-level support: Why do you need it & how do you get it?

According to studies from various countries, senior-level support of public participation activities is critical to having the results of that engagement have any impact on final decision-making.

Here's a white paper we wrote for the International Association of Public Participation Canada - better known as IAP2 - outlining these findings as well as a case study of one municipality that is successfully engaging both elected and administrative decision-makers in taking public feedback into account.

Tell us your experiences with public engagement.


Down with death-by-powerpoint!

For many good reasons slide presentations have gotten a bad wrap. You've likely suffered through a presenter reading text-heavy slides or glazed over when a presentation is filled with technical terms that you aren't familiar with.

Now I know that YOU would never do either of these things, but you might like to ramp-up the impact of the presentations you make.

We know that the more senses you engage, the more information your audience members will remember.

Here are a few tips to help you do just that.

Use lots of relevant visuals. Visuals have more of an emotional impact than words so take advantage of this. You don't have to have words on every page. Sometimes an image is all you need to make your point.Remember that your slide isn't a stand-alone product. You are going to be there to speak to the information. With this in mind, use as few words as possible to make each of your points. If one word will do as a cue, that's all you need.Use more slides. That's …