gratitude practices

Get an Attitude of Gratitude

Of course, we’re in the season of giving thanks. We’ve even got a holiday named after it. But embracing gratitude is more than just being grateful for all the pie we’re going to stuff in our gob this season.

All the world's major religions speak to the value of gratitude, and science agrees.

Psychologists Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough conducted research where they asked participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.

One group wrote about things for which they were grateful. Group two wrote about daily irritations and annoyances, and the third group wrote about events that had affected them, with no emphasis on the positive or negative. After ten weeks, the gratitude expressers were more optimistic and felt better about their lives, exercised more, and had fewer visits to the doctor than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

And while correlation is not necessarily causation, this study bears out the premise that gratitude can help make one healthier and happier.

Gratitude in Practice

Want to be healthier and happier? Here are a few ways to exercise your gratitude muscle.

Write thank-you notes. You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you note or email, expressing your appreciation of that person's gift, thoughtfulness, service, or impact on your life. Set a goal each month of sending a few each month, both to your personal circles as well as your business colleagues.

Keep a gratitude journal. Get into the habit of writing down people and things for which you are grateful. You’ll be surprised how much this little exercise can impact your outlook.

Count your blessings. Incorporate the exercise of going through the day's events in your head and noting all that happened for which you are thankful. This is a perfect activity to incorporate as you lie in bed at night before you fall asleep.

Meditate or pray. Set aside a time each day to focus on why you should be grateful, as well as ways you can show others that you're grateful for them.

Social media policy

Better Know Your Turkey. It Will Taste Better.

Behold the turkey, descended from the fearsome Velociraptor dinosaur, and treat it with respect. They may have pea-sized brains, but that doesn't mean that they can't do some things better than us humans.

For example, the t-bird has flattened corneas, and wild turkeys have superb daytime vision in color. Their eyesight is three times better than humans, and they can track you with their monocular 270-degree vision because their eyes are stuck on the sides of their heads. No wonder it's so hard to get the drop on them in the kitchen. Especially since Turkeys can run at speeds up to 25 mph and fly short distances at 55 mph. Yes, it's good that they come frozen.

Turkey lineage. Turkeys may seem tame, but their ancestors, the Velociraptors, most certainly were not. These out-of-control turkey ancestors, made famous by the epic dino movie, "Jurassic Park," wouldn't sit on a plate waiting for a gravy shower. They would have you for dinner.

Put tryptophan on the list of lies our parents told us right up there with Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, and Cinderella. Tryptophan is not the source of our post-meal comas. It's an amino acid, a serotonin precursor, associated with sleep and happy thoughts. The presence of other amino acids, which your turkey is loaded with, mutes their effect. It doesn't contain any more tryptophan than other meats, and some cheeses outperform it in the sleepy time department. The real reason we nod off isn't very sexy. We pound down too much turkey, mashed potatoes, rolls, and sweet potato pie.

Turkey vulnerabilities. They're not the smartest bird on the block. Compared to a turkey, a possum looks like Einstein, but they're not the dumbest animal on earth. They don't have many taste buds, and some could use a hearing aid. And that's why we eat them. Anybody hungry?

Content ideas for medical devices

The Care and Feeding of Photographers

We’re always attuned to what clients need from photography. But intrinsic to awe-inspiring images is a collaboration between you and the shooter. So, we decided to find out what photographers need on their side of the equation. We had two Cincinnati photogs, Garry Kessler and Mark Lindsey, offer some tips.

Share your budget upfront. “It makes everything else easier to discuss,” says Kessler. There are always reasonable ways to trim budgets and, on the high end, you can always fly to Cancun and handle your product shoot on the beach.

Most photographers create budgets based on how long a shoot will take, a half day or a full day. That doesn’t mean a wrap at 3 o’clock the next morning. So, if you value quality and a good relationship with a photographer, don’t try to rush through a shoot in six locations. As hackneyed as it sounds, you get what you pay for.

Understand copyright and usage of your images, explains Kessler. “Owning all the images is not a good way to have a realistic conversation with a photographer.” Instead, pick the best of the lot with the photographer’s input and expect to pay more if you want want multiple images. Set expectations in pre-production to avoid any uncomfortable surprises the day of the shoot.

Unless you want to handle the legwork yourself, allow ample time before the shoot to source props and find locations. And afterwards, leave time for post-production, like optimizing images for the web or Photoshop touch-up work.

And lastly, pay your invoice on receipt. Most photographers are small businesses that incur expenses like grips and stylists that they must pay out-of-pocket. Most photographers are creative beings, but they still need to eat.

You prepare for surprises but the fewer the better, says Lindsey. This allows more energy to be put into the creative aspects of your project. The ride is smoother on a paved road rather than one made of gravel.”

Follow these tips and you’ll cultivate a relationship that’s invested in you and your brand.

avoiding content decline

Twitter RIP? Know Your Options.

Twitter is a dumpster fire. We've said it before, and we'll say it again. But now it's a dumpster fire in the middle of a tire fire. Sure, Twitter has its value. It's a great place for breaking news. Sports fans love to tweet in real-time while watching an event, which can add another element to the game. You can often reach out to journalists on Twitter with success. Oh, and Wendy’s sick burns are hilarious.

But holy moly, you must wade through the rage, the angst, and the downright meanness that some people employ on the platform. There’s a reason why Jimmy Kimmel has a popular segment called Mean Tweets, where celebrities read mean tweets about themselves that some jerk from somewhere like Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, feels obligated to make. (Okay, this is a funny segment, but still.)

And now former envelope-pusher, present-day-political instigator Elon Musk has bought the platform and seems dedicated to either morphing Twitter into his vision or killing it in the process.

Here are some alternatives if Twitter bites the big one

Mastodon is the social network that seems to be the go-to alternative in the wake of the Musk Twitter takeover. It has the most “Twitter-Esque” experience in terms of interface. Mastodon is decentralized, made up of multiple servers, so it can’t be controlled by a single entity. So you'll have to choose a specific server, or you can create your own.

Tumblr. Wait, is Tumblr still around? Created in 2007, Tumblr has been chugging along and is a good place for those wanting to engage in posts that are longer than tweets. (Especially in the early days of Twitter, when you were limited to 140 characters--the good ol' days.) In place of tweets, there are short blog-style posts of text, images, audio, video, chats, or quotations--Lots of interesting ways to communicate. Tumblr also has search and tag features to help you find the content you want to see, plus you can control the visibility of your posts to other users.

Reddit is quite different from Twitter that delivers running commentaries on breaking news and places to discuss popular culture. It’s split up into subreddits that cover every topic imaginable. Think old-school forums and bulletin boards from the early days of the Internet.

CounterSocial says it’s the “next-gen social network," whatever that means. It looks like Twitter with several of the same features and functions. A major difference? Zero tolerance policy toward trolls, bots, and fake news. That sounds pretty good to us. Also, CounterSocial embraces VR so that you can cruise social media in virtual reality. We haven't tried this yet, but it sounds…interesting.

Facebook and Instagram. Not the same as Twitter, you say. We know, but they are alternatives to Twitter, so we had to stick ‘em in here.

TikTok. When you just gotta dance.

LinkedIn's problem with links

Enable More Sales with These Tools


Prodding prospects to consider your product can be an arduous and time-consuming endeavor.

So once a prospect is in the consideration phase, comparing your offerings to those of your competitors, it's time to grease the skids with sales enablement tools that can ultimately lead to a sale.

Gartner, the pooh-bah research company, defines sales enablement as "the process of providing the sales organization with the information, content, sales training and tools that help salespeople close deals."

Marketing versus sales. We've all had that discussion, which sometimes degrades into an all-out food fight. In our model, though, the two are co-equal but pursue a common goal for the company. Good marketing delivers prospects to the top of the funnel. Then, sales employs enablement tactics to drive the customer to the sale.

Help customers with decision making

During the consideration phase (middle of the sales funnel), customers are often confused by the barrage of information they receive from you and your competition. Overwhelmed customers find it hard to make informed trade-offs and are 153% less likely to make a high-quality, low-regret purchase. You can help with strategic sales enablement!

The sales enablement toolkit

Blogs and articles provide customers with in-depth information as they approach decision-making. These pieces should target the needs of the consumer and answer critical questions and concerns. Make them linkable so they can be promoted in sales emails or be inserted in a personalized message to a customer's question or objection.

Case studies outline a problem a customer has experienced and details about how your product or service saved the day.

Customer testimonials build your credibility and the consumer's confidence. Don't make these up or pay for them. Otherwise, they won't pass the sniff test from your prospects.

Interactive content and microsites help target audience segments with different information needs. For example, a product that serves both the optometry and ophthalmology markets will need to be recast for each. This type of personalization drives more engagement and time spent with your site.

Email is your friend. It can be personalized to a segment or an individual. Integral to each specific phase of the sales funnel journey. Targeted email campaigns can be the clincher in securing a sale. Email pushes prospects to closing and as a post-sale message for customer retention.

Infographics can outline your process or concisely distill large amounts of information that differentiate your product or product line. Use them in your emails, presentations, website, and in-person meetings.

Brochures and one-sheets, printed or digital, should be concise and benefit-driven. A quick scan should provide the critical information the prospect needs.

Battle cards are designed to give the salesperson an elevator speech describing your company, key product features and benefits, solutions, customer pain points, and tips on engagement.

Timing is everything

To be effective, the timing of sales enablement must correlate with where the customer is in the sales funnel. Even if they're digesting top-drawer information, a massive info dump at one time can be overwhelming.

Track your success

Sale enablement is well suited to performance tracking. KPIs include:

  • Topline sales data
  • Lead-to-customer conversion
  • Average purchase price
  • Competitive win-loss ratio
  • Sales cycle length

Enablement tools can shorten the time to sale, justify a higher purchase price, bump up your win-loss ratio, and keep marketing and sales on brand.

American Flag

Build a Great Media Kit to Boost PR

If you don’t have a media kit, you need one. And if you have one, make sure it’s a good one.

What is it?

A media kit is a public relations tool that shows who your company or brand is and what you do. It can be a document, slideshow, or webpage. It can live on a flash drive, in Dropbox, or on your website. And it's often the first place journalists, potential customers, or other companies go when they want to find out about you. It should contain all the information your collaborators might be looking for.

What to include.

Introduction. Every good relationship starts with an introduction, so introduce yourself. Think of it as the homepage of your website—a snapshot of your brand. And use your brand guidelines when writing it. The introduction should have your brand's look and feel.

Products and services. If you’re a medical device manufacturer, here’s where you can list your product lines. Give the short list of specs but don’t drone on and on. Include quality images and make them available for download at high resolution.

Case Studies or white papers. Have a detailed story to tell? Your media kit is an excellent place for any complex, long-form pieces you've developed. Include a synopsis for those short on time or attention span.

Contacts. Include relevant names and numbers of the right people to contact. Keep it updated.

Good design. Make sure you use your brand's visual guidelines when designing your kit and incorporate compelling imagery. Your media kit will be making the rounds and will often be the first impression someone gets of your company, so make sure it’s on brand.