Coalesce Inc.’s Blog

marketing, design and office fun

Gourmet Bike Tour 2012

Posted by coalescemarketing on July 20, 2012

Here’s the logo Coalesce designed for this year’s event!

It’s that time of year again! Best Friends of Neenah-Menasha’s 26th Annual Gourmet Bike Tour is taking place on Sunday, July 29, 2012. Grab your bike and come join the fun!

The Gourmet Bike Tour takes participants on a scenic ride through the Fox Valley countryside. This event is great for riders of all ages and skill-levels. You have the option to do a guided tour following 25, 55, or 75 mile routes, or participate in the more family-friendly 4-12 mile routes. And, back by popular demand this year is the 100-mile Century route, first offered in 2011. No matter which route you choose, you’ll begin and end at St. Mary’s Central High School in Neenah, WI.

Not only do we love the bike ride, but we also love the food we’re treated to at all the rest stops and at the finish line. Everything from fresh fruits to baked goods to Gatorade will get you through whatever route you choose, and after racking up the miles, you can celebrate with a delicious gourmet picnic (it wouldn’t be the gourmet bike tour without one, would it?). This year, the picnic will be complete with soups, calzones, subs and wraps along with some more delicious baked goods. Bring. It. On.

Register today through Active.com. We hope to see you there!

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Out of the Office Fun

Posted by coalescemarketing on July 13, 2012

It’s been a busy week for the Coalesce team both in and out of the office. While we’re always bustling about, getting projects completed for clients and planning our next great marketing and design endeavor, after work, we’ve really embraced Summer as a time to get out and experience what the great state of Wisconsin has to offer.

Lisa recently volunteered as a driver for the LPGA event held at Blackwolf Run in Kohler.

Todd, his wife and their brood of five enjoyed a get-away at their family’s cottage in Spread Eagle.

Judy invested in a blow-up pool complete with a water slide, and took a family trip to Bay Beach in Green Bay.

Jason and his band, 5Man, performed last night at Rock U.S.A. in Oshkosh.

Dana went camping with family and a group of friends at Boulder Lake. Between all the families, there were 8 kids under the age of 4. In tents. Talk about relaxing!

Gina took a ride on the East Troy Electric Railroad to enjoy a picnic lunch with family at the Elegant Farmer in Mukwonago.

Leah’s family made their annual trek to Summit Lake and enjoyed the sunshine, winds and “modern” cottages.

Shauna has a three month old, so her summer activities have consisted of family gatherings in the backyard. A large blow-up kids pool might be involved.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this small window into what Team Orange does when they’re not hard at work in the office! What have you been up to this Summer? We’d love to hear about it! Have a happy Friday, everyone!

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How to Humanize your Brand’s Facebook Page

Posted by coalescemarketing on July 6, 2012

Facebook gives companies the opportunity to communicate in real-time with a large group of customers or clients. As a medium, Facebook allows for the mass dissemination of information and has quickly become fans’ go-to source for information about a company or organization that they’re interested in.

Many articles have been published and studies conducted about how to maximize one’s social media, particularly Facebook, reach. In other words, we’ve all seen the tips and tricks that the experts say will help us to get the return on investment we’re looking for when we engage with fans on Facebook.

Recently, I read a study which reminded Facebook brand managers to “humanize” our Facebook page. This isn’t a new concept. I’ve often heard it said that the personality of my brand should shine through on our Facebook page. With these “tips” in mind, I got to thinking of ways to humanize and make personal my brand’s Facebook page. I thought I’d share what I’ve come up with.

  1. Address fans by name – If a fan takes the time to comment on a post I make or ask a question on my page, the least I can do is give him or her a personalized response. To me, that means not only responding quickly and with the answer to the fan’s question, but also to tag him or her in the post so that they get a notification showing them that I’ve responded. It’s a simple trick, but the feedback is altogether positive.
  2. Be honest when you goof – Spell something wrong in a post? Write June 10th when an event is actually happening July 10th (and June 10th has long since passed)? Admit it on your page. Say you’re sorry. Laugh at yourself through the words you use to change the statement to include the right information. Everyone knows that making mistakes shows others that you’re human. Allowing fans to see that – to an extent – proves that there are people behind the company and the Facebook page isn’t being run by perfectionist robots.
  3. Share information about your people – Did something funny happen at the office? Do you have beautiful grounds where you work that are extra lovely in the summer months? Share a photo and allow fans the insight into, again, what’s going on behind the Facebook page. Show them where you work or that you like to have fun. Giving customers an “exclusive” look makes them feel special and like they “know” you, which if you’re doing it right, they should!

What else have you done to humanize your Facebook page? Tweet @CoalesceInc or comment here and let us know!

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Summer Strategies

Posted by coalescemarketing on June 29, 2012

As the second week of summer comes to a close, and with it, some extremely high temperatures, we’ve put our heads together to compile a short list of some of our strategies for a successful summer at work.

  1. Run a summer social media promotion. Take advantage of customers’/clients’ summer excitement and get them involved on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest.
  2. Be flexible. Use the time your client is on vacation or your boss is on vacation to re-group on current projects and get caught up.
  3. Be courteous. Give clients time to dig out after vacation before bombarding them with phone calls and emails.
  4. Take a vacation. Even if only for a day. Just plan ahead and communicate with your co-workers, boss, clients and anyone else who may depend on you.
  5. Have fun with your team. Plan a get-together after work. Bring a snack to share on a Friday. Go out to lunch. We tried Kangaroostaurant for the first time last week. Exceptional.

What are some of the things you do to make sure you’re getting good work done while also enjoying the summer months? Tweet @CoalesceInc or comment here and let us know!

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Transparency

Posted by coalescemarketing on June 15, 2012

I recently had an eye appointment. The doctor I visited could not have been more evasive in answering my questions. He told me I needed to come back for a procedure, but didn’t really explain why or what it would cost me out-of-pocket. I left feeling as if I was being completely taken advantage of. Needless to say, I didn’t go back. Instead, I sought out another opinion. The second eye doctor I saw clearly explained to me what needed to happen, why it needed to happen, how soon it could happen and exactly what it would cost me. Talk about opposite experiences!

These varying encounters got me thinking about something I’ve heard referred to in business as “transparency.” The term itself is often found on lists of buzz words categorized as “cliches.” I find the term “transparency” to be rather abstract, but if we unpack what is really meant when the term is used, I must admit that the sentiment makes sense.

I think what we really mean when we throw around the term “transparency” is honesty, straightforwardness and disclosure. Those are characteristics I can get behind. The second eye doctor showed me the respect I deserved as a client when he honestly explained what needed to happen and was upfront with me about how much it would cost. I knew what I was getting into, and I could make a decision based on all the facts.

This is what we owe our clients. Call it transparency. Call it honesty. Call it good business. To be fair to those we serve, we must be truthful with them about our skills, about our limitations and about how much it’s going to cost them. Doing so goes a long way in fostering lasting relationships and future business.

I’ll be going back to the (second) eye doctor.

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National ADDY Awards

Posted by coalescemarketing on June 6, 2012

We are thrilled to announce that at last night’s National Advertising Federation’s awards ceremony, Coalesce was the recipient of a Silver National Addy Award!

National ADDY Award

Our 2011 National ADDY Award

Isn’t it pretty??

We received the award for our entry in the Point of Purchase category. We entered a custom sampling kit designed to showcase Coalesce client, Verdi® Olives, and assist the brand’s sales team as it pitches the authentic, Italian-import product to various retail partners.

National finalists were invited to compete in the National ADDY Awards, including advertising agencies and other organizations from across the country. An esteemed panel of judges selected the winners, which were announced at an awards ceremony yesterday in Austin, Texas. Before winning at the national level, Coalesce’s work was previously recognized at both the local and district levels, allowing the entry to advance to the national competition.

Verdi Cutting Kit

Our Award Winning Entry

With more than 50,000 entries from across the country, the ADDY Awards, a three-tiered national contest, is the industry’s largest and highly respected competition for creative advertising and design.

Our fearless leader Lisa Piikkila said it best: “Our team is both honored and humbled for our work to be recognized among the best of the best in the advertising world. We could not enter these contests without our clients who put their confidence in our work; we share this honor with them.” So a huge “thank you” goes out to all our clients for putting their faith in what we do. We hope to continue to make you proud!

Lisa with our National ADDY Award!

Lisa accepted our National ADDY at last night’s award ceremony.

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Customer Relationships

Posted by coalescemarketing on June 1, 2012

I recently read an article on Inc.com titled 3 Ways to Win Customers for Life. I was interested immediately because of the phrase “for life” in the title. After working to earn a customer’s or a client’s business, it’s important to try to show them that they’re valued. In that way, you’re able to turn their new business into a long-standing partnership.

This article shares three very thoughtful ways to develop lasting customer relationships. They are:

  1. Make customers a hero for a day – Call them out by name if they were the one to bring a problem or solution to your attention.
  2. Reward a dedicated customer with some sort of honor – The example Inc. gives describes a deli owner who named a sandwich after one devoted customer.
  3. Care about the community – Take an interest in the people, and get your people out working with your clients, doing something that matters.

We’ve also come up with several effective ways to show your customers that they matter. Here’s what we’d add to Inc.’s list:

  1. Be prompt in email responses – Customers appreciate knowing that they’ve not been ignored. Don’t we all? We’ve found that customers who hear back within 24 hours of posing a question via email are thrilled with what they deem to be superb customer service.
  2. Complete the circle of communication on social media platforms – Don’t leave a fan hanging. If he or she took the time to tweet at you, write on your Facebook wall or comment on a blog post, be sure to thank them, respond to their question and acknowledge you appreciate their feedback in some way.
  3. Take time to periodically ask current customers/clients what they like about the services they’re receiving and what can be improved – Surveys are a beautiful thing, and customers and clients like to feel like they are heard. So don’t just ask the questions, but follow up with a response showing what you’re doing with the data you collected.

Done with consistency, these actions go a long way in not only helping to “win” short term customers, but also in forging lasting relationships.

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Marketing Yourself

Posted by coalescemarketing on May 25, 2012

I found myself smiling this week as I read article after article describing college graduations. I saw Facebook status updates and pictures posted from younger friends who are now alumni of the same university I graduated from. I read tweets about how terrified and excited the newest wave of college graduates is to enter the real world.

I remember the transition from college senior to real-world worker like it was yesterday, and as any novice job-seeker, I tried to soak up as many tips and tricks of the trade as possible. Everyone posts lists of advice for the newly graduated. As I think back on those lists (and read some that have come out again this year), I can’t help but think how similar the characteristics helpful in marketing one’s self in job interviews are to those necessary to run a business or market a brand.

College graduate job-seekers are often told to be confident in their skills. The same goes for being a professional. It’s necessary to be able to talk about one’s strengths and successes, not only in initial interviews but also with clients and co-workers once in a permanent position.

At the same time, novice interviewees are often encouraged to remember that they don’t know it all. That’s important for the rest of us to remember, too! Being humble, admitting our mistakes and being able to talk about our weaknesses and how we’re working on them goes a long way in earning the trust of those we work with.

Finally, one of the most perpetual pieces of advice given to anxious new job-seekers is don’t get discouraged. We all could probably use this reminder on a daily basis. Everything will work out in the end, especially if we continually strive to put our best foot forward and (at the risk of mixing metaphors) to just keep swimming.

So, like college graduates, as marketing and business professionals, we too must be both confident and humble: championing our successes and willing to admit when we’ve made a mistake. As we seek out new clients and customers, we must continuously work to demonstrate our skill set and our ability to provide what they’re looking for.

Let’s all take this time to renew those efforts!

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Inspiration

Posted by coalescemarketing on May 18, 2012

As I sit here pondering what to write to make this blog post worthwhile, all I keep feeling is, “I really need some inspiration.” This, of course, has had me humming Chicago’s hit “You’re the Inspiration” for a good hour now. Since I can’t seem to get the song out of my head, I’ve decided to focus on its theme: inspiration.

The beauty of being inspired is that it can happen at any moment, and it can be a catalyst. If a co-worker is inspired to work diligently on and complete a project, his determination and drive inevitably rubs off on the rest of us. Inspiration is both incredibly personal, and at the same time it has the power to be very efficacious.

Intrigued by the idea of what inspires people, I set out to find where some of my co-workers draw their inspiration from, for both work and life. Here’s what I’ve gathered:

Coalesce’s Inspiration Board:

  1. Good music – piano solos when writing and FloRida on the last leg of a run
  2. Nature – to get energized, to get clam, to acquire a focus
  3. Clients’ energy – they “get my heart pumping and I find myself thinking of ideas and suggestions to share with them before I’ve even left the kickoff meeting.”
  4. My mom’s selfless love – “she raised us and did what was best by us, never putting her own interests before ours.”
  5. Children – the way they think, what they think, how they play for so long
  6. Art
  7. Color – monochromatic or great combinations
  8. Design – graphic, interior or any sort of good design
  9. Unusual combinations – food, clothing, textures, patterns, drinks
  10. Quotes by successful people
  11. People who exercise regularly

As one of my colleagues put it, “so many things are inspirational. We just have to be in the right frame of mind to acknowledge them.” I think there’s a lot of truth in that. What inspires you? Comment here or tweet @CoalesceInc.

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Call Me Maybe

Posted by coalescemarketing on May 11, 2012

If you’re not big into pop music, take a moment to listen to Carley Rae Jespen’s recent hit, “Call Me Maybe.” It has taken the internet by storm and inspired several cover performances. We especially liked the Harvard Baseball Team’s and this Celebrity Remix starring Justin Bieber (we’re not sure why we always end up including him in our blog posts, it’s unintentional, we promise), Selena Gomez, Ashley Tisdale and others.

You’ll probably have this song stuck in your head all day. We apologize. We’ll get to the point.

Almost a year ago, we wrote a blog post titled “Nothing New” in which we pondered the argument that at this point in history, we’re all saturated with information from a young age. Therefore, it’s hard to completely separate one’s self from everything he or she knows in order to develop something completely new and different.

To an extent, “covers” of songs like the ones linked to above demonstrate this point, but they can also teach us something. The Harvard baseball team did not write their own song, nor did Justin Bieber and company. Instead, they used what was already out there and put their own spin on it. That’s what a “cover” performance is.

What can we learn from it? We don’t know about you, but we were entertained watching these and other cover videos. It’s always interesting to see an individual’s new take on something that’s been done before. In the case of the Harvard Baseball Team, it was unexpected and hilarious. In the case of the celebrity remix, we had to laugh and roll our eyes. The point is, though they didn’t create something entirely original, in a way, they made what already existed their own.

Look at American Idol. Season 11 will soon be coming to a close. We’ve watched as thousands upon thousands of contestants have tried to come in and sing songs (written and originally performed by other people, most of the time…although, we do still remember “Pants on the Ground” from a couple seasons back). The three remaining finalists have proven that they’ve done it the best. They’ve taken classic songs and sung amazing covers. They’ve made the songs their own in a way that’s inspired emotion and praise.

What can your business do to use the tools that have been established in your field and improve on them to make them your own? Yes. You’re on Facebook. Now what are you going to do to separate yourself from the rest of the small businesses vying for your customer’s attention? Okay. You’re going to Tradeshows. What’s your booth going to say about your company that proves that your organization thinks outside the box?

We don’t know exactly how we feel about the argument that “nothing new” will ever exist again. Someday, someone will probably prove that wrong. What we do know is that taking what exists and making it better, more efficient, more personal, or more useful is a surefire way to engage your consumers.

Looking for more ideas? Call us, maybe.

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Social Media Planning

Posted by coalescemarketing on May 4, 2012

What can I say? I’m a planner. I like to know what’s coming so that I can adequately prepare. When I don’t make the time to put a plan together, I feel anxious and less confident. Sometimes, I admit, I worry, to a fault, about having a plan. At the same time, I understand there is certainly a time and a place for flexibility; for going with the flow; and for taking things as they come.

Working with social media and successfully using platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr in our marketing mixes requires finding the right balance between working from a plan and rolling with the punches.

For example, when I sit down to make a Facebook post on a company’s brand page, a brilliant message doesn’t immediately fly from my brain to my finger tips and out into the ether. That would be nice, but for me, it doesn’t work like that. Crafting posts that matter and get results takes time, effort and forethought. I like to have a plan that includes notes about key dates and events for the next two months that I can be sure to highlight in the posts. That way, posts can reference what is current, what is coming up and how the company is connecting to these issues and ideas.

That being said, because social media exists in real time, brands can only be successful if they remain relevant. Though I may have a two-month plan, I have to be flexible when making posts on Facebook. If something major happens in the world or if our business is in the news, my fans are going to want to know about it. And in that case, I’m going to make a post regardless of whether or not it was in my plan.

So, I’ve determined that having a plan is necessary, but the ability and willingness to adapt one’s plan is just as critical. We’ve all heard the adage that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” I think it’s fair to add that if you fail to make adjustments to your plan, you’re also planning to fail.

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Our newest (and littlest!) team member!

Posted by coalescemarketing on April 25, 2012

The Coalesce family is thrilled to announce the birth of August Hoffman Joski, son of our wonderful Social Director, Shauna Joski.

Baby Gus was born on April 23, 2012 at 2:13pm. He weighed 7lbs 10.8oz and was 20.5 inches. Both mom and baby are doing great.

Welcome to the world, Gus!

Congratulations Shauna and Steve! August is adorable!

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