Thursday, March 26, 2015

Brand Awareness 201: Sight, Sound and Motion Sells. Corporate Sizzle Reels

Brand burnishing is about creating ‘sizzle’. If you don’t already know that, you’re about to be run over the bus that your competitors are sitting in. For New York City-based firms, your choices for corporate videographer services are nearly endless. but your choices for truly best-in-class [i.e. those who are uniquely intuitive and can translate your value proposition in a manner that resonates with your audience as well as your marketing budget] are arguably limited.

Connecting the Tag Line to the Bottom Line requires a combination of strategies that complement each other, and corporate video ‘sizzle reels’ are often the tools that tie all of your marketing/communication and branding schemes together. When clients of The JLC Group come to us for a solution, we often enlist Simba Productions. Below is their sizzle reel with illustrative examples of clients that include some of the smartest brands across multiple industries and practice areas.

Simba Productions Corporate Reel from Simba Productions on Vimeo.

Brand Awareness 201: Sight, Sound and Motion Sells. Corporate Sizzle Reels

Corporate Communications Best Practice: Rumor Management

Most folks figure that Corporate Communications is the practice area focused on ubiquitous tasks such as press releases, IR memos, the occasional crisis management event or framing a value proposition. That said, we submit that most folks are often misguided; in today’s social-centric ecosystem, rumors are necessarily a corporate communication Achilles heel, as unfounded jibber jabber is fast becoming the leading source of distraction for corporate managers, simply because they are so easily propagated. Whether confined to internal dialogue or spreading to customers, clients and/or constituents, if not handled properly, rumors can evolve to an Ebola-like ruination of corporate morale and critical business relationships. And when that happens, all bets are off.

Some “experts” contend that rumor control falls under the domain of ‘crisis management’, others argue that Rumor Management is a practice area in and of itself. In the spirit of JLC Group’s focus on guiding corporate executives in the course of their confronting and overcoming challenges, in many cases we encourage clients who ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’ to engage experts who are objective and proven to provide true thought leadership skills. With that, we’re happy to share the following courtesy of LeadershipIQ’s Mark Murphy, one of the most highly experienced experts in the field of leadership training.

Communication Strategies for Controlling Your Company’s Rumor Mill

When we hear company rumors that are dead wrong, we reflexively correct those rumors. It’s a natural response, but it’s wrong.

Let’s imagine that we get word of employees spreading rumors that our company is about to layoff 10% of the workforce. And let’s also imagine that we know those rumors are patently false. We’re probably going to convene a town hall meeting, or send a memo, and insist “The rumor about layoffs is false! We’re not doing layoffs! Stop spreading rumors about layoffs!”

Ironically, that earnest refutation only cements the rumor about layoffs in many employees’ minds. Here’s why:

First, people tend to evaluate information in a biased way; specifically, they absorb information that reinforces their existing views or values. So, if someone is inclined to believe that companies don’t care about employees, will conduct layoffs, sell the company, etc., they’re much more likely to embrace the rumor of impending layoffs.

Second, people will often harden their original views when presented with unwelcome information. This is called the “Backfire Effect.” If someone already believes that companies can’t be trusted when they say ‘we’re not doing layoffs’ and then the CEO challenges those beliefs (by saying ‘we’re not doing layoffs’) they’re likely to believe in impending layoffs even more strongly!

Now, lest you think all hope is lost, there are scientifically-proven ways to debunk false rumors.

For corporate execs who are focused on best practices within the context of communication strategies, The JLC Group suggests that you check out Mark Murphy’s upcoming webinar called COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES FOR CONTROLLING YOUR COMPANY’S RUMOR MILL.

Learn how to use the “basic law of rumor” that says the strength of a rumor is driven by how much your employees care about the issue multiplied by the ambiguity of the evidence for the rumor


Corporate Communications Best Practice: Rumor Management

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Lesson Learned: Morgan Stanley Should Keep To Finance, Not Comedy

Brand marketers can learn a lot from Morgan Stanley’s epic mistake that was revealed earlier this week thanks to InvestmentNews.

The country’s largest wealth management firm created a parody to the “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” movie, with their own 10-minute movie, “Margin Games: Manager on Fire,” which they planned on showing during their branch managers meeting in February of 2014.

The parody, which can be viewed here, has sparked some outrage, an it is completely understandable. The parody reflects a cutthroat culture among wirehouse managers, pinning branch managers against each other.

InvestmentNews points out that in every joke, there is a grain of truth. In the parody, this couldn’t be more true. Per InvestmentNews, Some current and former Morgan Stanley executives who asked not to be identified said the fact that a video was even made that joked about people who were losing their jobs shows the detachment of executives from other employees. In fact, two months after the managers’ meeting, the firm began a reorganization. The firm cut the number of regions to eight from 12 and reduced the divisions from three to two. One of the divisional directors who was featured in the video, for example, left the firm after his position was eliminated. Four regional managers were moved to different roles.

There were also jokes that bordered on racial stereotypes including, having an Asian woman appear as the expert in martial arts who pulls knitting needles from her hair and throws them at a dartboard.

It is understandable why the firm decided to pull the video and hoped to have it locked away, never to be seen. Now that it has been found and seen by millions it is a lesson to be learned not just by Morgan Stanley but all brand marketers.

They say pictures are worth a thousand words, but videos are worth at least double that. As it is clear from Morgan Stanley’s mistake, brand marketers, especially those in regulated industries, need to compliant and sensible, not silly. So to all you brand marketers still considering silly ideas, “may the odds be ever in your favor.”

Lesson Learned: Morgan Stanley Should Keep To Finance, Not Comedy

Friday, January 30, 2015

#BrandMarketers and #CMOs take note: Companies using #Bae to Reach Millennials aren’t #sofleek

Companies like Taco Bell, Jimmy John’s, and IHOP have started using new tactics on Twitter to get in touch with the younger generations of customers. Is your company considering following into the same direction? Don’t.

Taco Bell, IHOP, and Jimmy John’s among others have been taking to social media using words that “the kids are using these days” like “bae”, “bruh”, and “fleek”.  Although companies believe that using these slang words are attracting a the millennial clients to your company, in reality it doesn’t.  In fact, recommend that companies don’t try to “act hip” because millennials simply find it assuming and look right through the tactic. The President of Dorm Co., a company directed at the millennial generation, said “ college students are very quick to sniffing out a phony.” A new Twitter account, @BrandsSayingBae aims at calling out these companies and making fun of them. Although the saying goes, any press is good press; but a Twitter account making fun of your company definitely is not good.

There are much better alternatives to reach the millennial generation then trying to “talk like the kids these days”. For example, several suggestions a couple include the following. First, get to the point fast, millennials lead busy lives and don’t enjoy messages that don’t have a clear point. Campaigns can be witty, sarcastic, and creative but should be concise as well. Second, win over the parents. Most millennials have college debt and are on a tight budget, by targeting the millennials’ and their parents, you max out your client base. Other sources suggest that companies should highlight the companies’ philanthropy. Not only does it appeal to all generations but the millennial generation is becoming known for their generosity and philanthropy, and appreciates businesses that are as well.

Most importantly, be personable. Not in a cheesy, hip way, but in a sincere way. Companies like Old Spice and Dollar Shave Club have especially done a good job connecting with millennials and building a deeper relationship because of the way they connect on a personal level. A simple reply or retweet to a user enhances that relationship so much more.   Your company will seem so much  more #fleek.

#BrandMarketers and #CMOs take note: Companies using #Bae to Reach Millennials aren’t #sofleek

Friday, January 23, 2015

Hedge Fund Marketers Bid On to Social Media Tactics For Brand Awareness

When it comes to branding, social media tactics are integral to leveraging a business strategy. When it comes to leverage, the hedge fund industry at large prides itself on disciplined use of strategies and risk management tools to enhance returns for investors. When it comes to brand awareness and leveraging social media tools to enhance their own brand recognition, most hedge funds (as well as other financial industry members) have remained cautious, simply because financial industry regulators and respective compliance officers are still unclear as to rules of the road.

Those who have spent more than 15 minutes in and around the world of finance (as this writer has) might find this state of affairs ironic when considering that many hedge funds (including the most-respected) are the same folks pouring billions into social media-centric start-ups at valuations that jump off the page, notwithstanding most of these companies are barely out of the start-up gate and are still entrenched in the no-profit stage.

But, when it comes to hedge fund industry brand strategies, it is clear that the social media tide is turning. As noted in a JLC Group December 23 post, there is an unmistakable trend change taking place. We know this first hand consequent to engagements that our firm has been enlisted for by financial industry firms, including initiatives on behalf of a hedge fund industry service provider (who has 1000+ leading finance industry professionals following his Twitter feed) and who was recently nominated as a candidate for Institutional Investor’s 2015 Hedge Fund Industry “Rising Star”award.

The increasing use of social media ‘story’ seems to be resonating, as evidenced by yesterday’s ‘main stream media’ article by financial industry outlet “Investment News.” Because we were so inspired that an industry publication is advancing discussion of this trend, we decided to extract elements from their article “Hedge fund managers testing the social media waters…Lifted advertising ban and pressure from liquid alts drive secretive managers into the open..”

Here’s the extract (link to the full story is below):

Hedge funds, long known for restricting investor access to complex and secretive strategies, are ever so slowly coming out of the shadows and embracing social media.

It’s still a far cry from your favorite celebrities tweeting out what they had for breakfast, but it shows that the alternative investing universe is starting to tap into the Internet for basic marketing and communication purposes.

“If you go to hedge fund conferences now, you’ll see people tweeting out the information, which is something that would have been unheard of a few years ago,” said Thomas Walek, president of capital markets and financial services at Peppercomm, a public relations and market research firm.

According to a study released earlier this week from Peppercomm, 91% of the 100 largest global hedge funds now have websites, a concept that was virtually unheard of just a few years ago.

In terms of proactive social media activity, the study found that 66% of hedge funds have LinkedIn accounts, with an average of 2,300 online connections.

Twitter, which is considered to be more social than LinkedIn, has been embraced by about 10% of hedge funds, the study found. Those hedge funds average 15,000 followers each.

The primary tipping point for the hedge fund industry, according to Mr. Walek, has been the JOBS Act, which went into effect in September 2013 and lifted many of the marketing and advertising restrictions on private investment products.

To continue reading, please visit


Hedge Fund Marketers Bid On to Social Media Tactics For Brand Awareness

Monday, January 19, 2015

Best Practice Tip For Internal Corporate Communication-CEO Email Guide

Executive leadership within the context of CEO best practices and approaches that are intended keep employees fully-informed as to on-going outbound initiatives (and perhaps strategies still in the pipeline and planning stages) is obviously the subject of countless articles, white papers, books and pontification from tens of dozens corporate leadership genies.

For those who embrace the notion of full-transparency, leading experts offer a menu of strategies and mediums that lead to higher employee morale, and in turn, contributions from employees that can prove integral to the decision-making and project implementation process.. From town-hall meetings to use of Twitter (for employees only and with safeguards that make those CEO tweets non-retweetable!), the topic of internal corporate email is typically the top medium that CEOs are most prone to deploy.

Putting aside for a moment the calamity that resulted from the hacking of Sony’s corporate email platform, one can’t emphasize enough the need on the part of employees to be connected and informed, the communication culture is arguably driven directly from the c-suite cubicle of any company’s Chief Executive office.

With that in mind, we noticed a compelling comment expressed by NewBrand Analytics CEO Kristin Muhlner, who was profiled in the Jan 18 edition of the New York Times Business section.  Mulhner’s approach is simple and straight forward:

“..I’ve started sending out an email once a week called ‘Where’s Waldo?’  The email is just to say where people are, such as who [company] our VP of sales is meeting with this week, as well as provide updates on other initiatives. Its amazing the reaction that it [email update] gets from people, because they feel like ‘wow’, cool stuff’s happening, and now I know why he’s not responding to my email today. It helps.”

If not the best way that the NYT reporter could have framed the insight from Muhlner, the point should be evident: transparency, whether in form of email or other communication is critical to leadership best practices, and the culture of communication should be appropriate,  well-defined and consistent.


Best Practice Tip For Internal Corporate Communication-CEO Email Guide

Saturday, January 03, 2015

The Top 2015 New Year’s Resolution: Brand Enhancement. Hello to Halo Effect

Welcome to 2015. If only because “Top New Year’s Resolutions” inevitably includes a focus on improvement, (yes, we know that “weight loss” is traditionally the top goal for most), whether you are a C-suite exec, a mid-level manager, or a fast-moving entrepreneur, burnishing your corporate brand image as well as your personal brand image is likely on the top of your “to-do” list as this new year unfolds.

The folks at The JLC Group contend that the good news is that the process for creating and/or enhancing brand recognition aka brand awareness often entails the same steps, and begins by first embracing the tenants of the Halo Effect , which is the “cognitive bias in which an observer’s overall impression of a person, company, brand, or product influences the observer’s feelings and thoughts about that entity’s character or properties.”

In an ‘evergreen’ post courtesy of B2B Marketing and submitted by a fellow named Cliff Findlay, there are 10 simple keys to unlocking the code towards better brand recognition; our favorite 4 includes: (i) First Impressions Are Paramount (ii) Define The Emotions You Are Selling (iii) (Re-) Establish Your Brand Values (iv) Stay On Message

Before you click on the above link for more details, we encourage you to consider extracts below from a Jan 2 WSJ column by Joann Lublin, which reminds business executives as to recommended steps for improving your professional brand:

Quick: how would a professional acquaintance describe you to others? Savvy project manager? Collaborative leader? Digital whiz?

That answer is your reputation—or, in the parlance of social media, your personal brand. Career success highly depends on that snap description, says Paul Winum, a senior partner at RHR International LLP, a leadership-development firm.

With the rosy outlook for hiring and promotions in 2015, now’s a good time to refresh your reputation. Maybe you’re known for using sharp elbows to get things done fast. Hone your diplomacy skills—and request some feedback on those efforts.

“Our brand has to evolve,” Dr. Winum says. The management psychologist counsels executives on burnishing their reputations. Edited excerpts of his advice for the rest of us:

WSJ: How do successful executives refresh their reputations?

Dr. Winum: Do an inventory. On one side, you say, ‘This is what I want to be known for.’ On this other side, ask, ‘How do other people see me?’ Determine if there is a gap between brand aspiration and reality.

Continuously invest in personal improvement. [Executives also] figure how to revise their brands when they carry negative attributes. Once you identify how you are being perceived, become a voracious student of what you want to master.

Many people have high IQs but low emotional intelligence. To develop that, someone needs to become a student of manners [and] active listening, paying attention to other people’s feelings and communicating more effectively.

For the full column by WSJ’s Joann Lublin, please click here.

The Top 2015 New Year’s Resolution: Brand Enhancement. Hello to Halo Effect

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

PR Firm Predicted Sony Release of The Interview via Internet

Excuse us for back-patting, and maybe it didn’t take a rocket scientist to predict within hours of Sony’s PR spinners announcing Sony was pulling the The Interview from distribution that Sony would do a walk back before Christmas and announce the film would be immediately available via the Internet.

But we were the rocket scientists who called it first..on Dec 17…leading to more than 4000 visits to this section of The JLC Group’s website within the hours that followed.

The North Korea Crisis That Never Was..other than in the minds of Hollywood publicity genie’s did serve as a great “gotcha” moment. Not Ashton Kutcher-style, but in the category of Orson Welles, whose top ranking  for historic stunts has now been taken over by  none other than Seth Rogen and his masters from Sony…

Here’s the take-away: those who guide corporate brands during times of perceived crisis, and more important, the CEOs who supposedly make the final decisions in times of turmoil should think longer and harder before pressing the send button on a global message they will likely retract within a matter of days. Unless of course the entire series of events was planned with stealth precision in the first place.

PR Firm Predicted Sony Release of The Interview via Internet

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hedge Fund Marketers Now Leverage Social Media Brand Burnishing Strategies

Social Media. Social Media holds the key to bringing your hedge fund to the next level and into the 21st Century. The key to branding your hedge fund is appropriately using social media tools to promote your company. New data has been released that supports the use of social media by hedge funds. Below is some of the data released provided by HedgeCo.Net:

Monthly hedge fund mentions on Twitter recently reached a high of 80,000 Tweets, and have not fallen below 40,000 in the last two years, Thomas Walek, President of Peppercomm said of the $3 trillion hedge fund industry in a Q&A with AIMA.

    • 66% of 2014’s largest 292 hedge funds are on LinkedIn, and 10% are on Twitter. Of these, six hedge funds post on LinkedIn at least once a month and seven hedge funds Tweet at least 10 times a month.

    • Among the largest 285 global hedge funds in 2013, 14% launched websites in 2014.

    • Among the 185 global hedge funds with $1 billion–$5 billion in assets, 23% had websites in 2013. By June of 2014, an additional 39 funds launched websites and 11 more moved from a closed site to a more open site.

“Reputation is built on a careful calculus of transparency, engagement and honesty. That’s happening now as hedge funds open up and take a few steps in that direction. It’s healthy and it’s good for the future of the industry.” Walek said. Media mentions of hedge funds are projected to reach record levels above 100,000 in 2014, up nearly five-fold over the last decade.

Many hedge funds have been apprehensive about using social media for many different reasons but employing a company such as the JLC Group to run your social media should relieve all tension surrounding the use of social media. JLC Group offers to the universe hedge funds who know what they know, but that doesn’t necessarily include best ways to burnish their brands, whether it be through website design or ongoing brand promotion. All of the JLC Groups consulting ensures that your hedge funds use of social media and websites are proper and compliant. If you are still apprehensive check out one of the many success stories on found on our website and start using social media for your own hedge fund today.


Hedge Fund Marketers Now Leverage Social Media Brand Burnishing Strategies

Monday, December 22, 2014

Corporate Marketing Advertising Buyers: Beware...You’re Not Making Impressions

For marcom gurus who also oversee digital ad buying to promote your corporate brand across the ethernet, there’s bad news for you courtesy of barking from the consortium of advertising firms that you likely pay lots of money to. As a side bar note, The JLC Group has long eschewed the notion of impression-based digital ad schemes. We go to great lengths to urge clients who insist on running banner ad campaigns on 3rd party content sites to stick solely with PPC (pay per click) ad campaigns. The take-away from the below excerpt underscores the advice we’ve been providing to JLC Group clients for years.

As noted in a Dec 22 piece in the CMO Today edition of the Wall Street Journal by Suzanne Vranica, “..The American Association of Advertising Agencies sent a letter to some of its members on Friday saying it will “not endorse” the online advertising guidelines put out by the Interactive Advertising Bureau last week….

The guidelines suggested that online ad industry should aim to have their campaigns achieve a “70% viewability threshold” in 2015. That means when an advertiser runs a campaign online, 70% of the ads meet the viewability standard set earlier this year. For a display ad to be deemed viewable at least half of each ad must be visible on a person’s computer screen for a minimum of one second. For an online video ad to be deemed viewed, half of the ad should be on a users’s screen for at least two seconds.

Viewability, the ability for an online ad to be seen, has become a hot topic this year as advertisers bemoan the fact that they are paying for ads that are not being seen because the ads appear on part of a Web page that is never looked at by a human eye.

Google recently released data that showed over half of the display ads impressions in its research weren’t visible.

The IAB said in an open letter on Tuesday said that 100% viewability measurement is “not yet possible” because of the all the different types of ad units, vendors and measurement methodologies and that the industry should aim to have their campaigns meet 70% viewability. If a campaign does not meet that threshold, make goods—additional ads—should be given to the advertisers to make up for the shortfall, the IAB said.

The full article from the WSJ is here


Corporate Marketing Advertising Buyers: Beware...You’re Not Making Impressions