Category Archives: Business

Simply Brilliant: theSkimm

With so much information flying around, it pays to communicate clearly and simply—whatever your forum. For my money, nobody does it better than theSkimm.

Founded by NBC staffers Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, theSkimm is a daily e-digest of the world’s most important news stories, offered in bite-size, easy-to-digest chunks. The subscription base is largely “busy women who want to keep up on current events and cocktail party conversation but who are short on time,” although I suspect a broad male readership exists.

Here is how theSkimm covered the situation in Ukraine today:

Sign up for theSkimm here. Or at a minimum, let theSkimm’s straightforward writing style inspire your next piece of communication.

Your customers will thank you.

Why Marketing? In one sentence.

Friends ask me. Businesses ask me. Pastors ask me. Aspiring undergrads ask me. And certainly, I’ve asked myself — why marketing?

In response, I used to spill out an unconvincing variety of half-baked sentiments which regularly required too many compound sentences, too much industry speak, and far too many occurrences of the word “brand.” Looking back now, I assume this was mostly just missing forest for trees.

Luckily, earlier this year, The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman afforded me a new, holistic framework for my thoughts in the form of a keep-it-simple definition for business. According to Josh, a business is a repeatable process that:

1) Creates something of value

2) That other people want or need

3) At a price they’re willing to pay

4) And delivers it in a way that satisfies expectations

5) While generating enough profit to make repeating the process worthwhile

Upon reading this, I recognized that all my scattered ideas of marketing, which had previously floated about unintelligibly, were settling quickly and comfortably into the space between elements 1 and 2.

What’s more, as my newfound marketing clarity emerged, I noticed it held together nicely when applied to the context of non-profit, personal, or any other type of marketing.

So, why marketing? (Here it comes…)

Marketing creates a connection between things of great value and the entities that will value them greatly. 

Riggs Partners’ work published in Print magazine

We’re pleased to have work selected for Print magazine’s 2013 Regional Design Annual. The annual is the only comprehensive survey of outstanding design throughout the United States. Now in its 32nd year, Print’s Regional Design Annual is seen by tens of thousands of creative professionals, among the largest such audience in the country.

The work featured is the 2011 Annual Report for Palmetto GBA, a subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. Palmetto GBA provides technical, administrative and contact center services to the federal government (Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services). The book has a blind embossed short cover, colorful infographics and custom die cuts and illustrations for the fold-out case studies.

Turning Oh No! to Oh Yes!

Caravan is an online store that brings its customers very swell digital artwork downloads at very reasonable prices. It’s the brainchild of Alma and Mike Loveland, and Melanie Burke, art director/designer types who get great joy from making (and sharing) beautiful things. And it shows.

They’re also very smart marketers. Take this morning’s email, for instance.

 

 

Caravan turned a tough couple of days into serious customer goodwill with this fabulous giveaway targeted to the very customers who experienced the frustration of technical issues. They no doubt recovered some purchases that were long gone, and they offered a wonderful promotion to subscribers who may not have even been aware of the server overload in the first place.

What a great lesson in recovery marketing. Bravo to them.

NOTE: Don’t you want this fun Draw Together Thanksgiving set for your family table? There is so much to love at Caravan!

Own Your Contradictions: How to make the most of confusion around the work you do

Brand strategy is nothing more than the truth. Like great strategy, the truth is simple. That doesn’t mean it is easy.

What makes the truth difficult is the uncomfortable debate, the idiosyncratic exception or the inherent contradiction. And therein lies the opportunity.

Rick Ridgeway, VP of Environmental Affairs at Patagonia, recently penned an essay, “The Elephant in the Room.” Ridgeway acknowledges that while Patagonia has enjoyed growth, continued growth is ecologically unsustainable. He admits Patagonia’s “uneasy relationship with growth,” and continues a dialogue began on Black Friday of 2011 with Patagonia’s “Don’t Buy This Jacket” ad in the New York Times, something I blogged about in 2011.

Likewise, there is discussion at Riggs Partners regarding our own growth and profit relative to our emphasis on pro bono, love of nonprofit work and embrace of the cause du jour. Let the “what abouts” continue, as business is nothing but the commerce of constant course correction.

Business complexities shouldn’t cause confusion; they should prompt candor and clarity through conversation.