Roll Out The Welcome Mat

 

Memorable onboarding for managers has benefits for the whole team.

New employees who are not in a position of leadership are often surrounded by a support system during their onboarding process—a system that includes at least one immediate supervisor and likely an HR staff member as well. Between meetings with coworkers and thorough training, good onboarding can lead to long-term employee satisfaction.

But when new leaders come to the company, shouldn’t they get the same red-carpet treatment? Yes, according to the Society for Human Resources Management. Providing a thorough onboarding process for managers can ensure a smooth, positive integration that trickles down to the manager’s team. If it’s time for your company to spruce up your onboarding process, begin with these guidelines from Loubna Noureddin, an organizational development leader and executive coach based in South Florida.

1. Connect
Establish a connection with new managers ahead of and throughout the first 90 days of employment. Maintaining this connection relieves some of the stress associated with getting to know a new role at a new company.

2. Align
Assign a mentor to the new manager to support them throughout the onboarding process. Mentors should be trained to provide support and help managers acclimate to the company culture, as well as to recognize and demonstrate emotional intelligence, influence and trust building.

3. Manage
Connect daily with new managers, sharing values and expectations for the role, as well as your vision for how those values and expectations will be realized. Work with managers to design a personalized development plan and assign an internal or external coach to ensure smooth integration.

4. Plan
Set weekly milestones for the new manager and his or mentor. Schedule meetings and shadowing appointments with stakeholders, and encourage strategic discussions as well as conversations about career development and growth.

5. Streamline
Track managers’ weekly milestones and development plan progress. Incorporate team lunches, a mentor-shadowing day, and a meet-and-greet with senior management or executive team members.

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The Power Of Passion

Let brand loyalists do your marketing for you.

Is it possible to grow a business without engendering some loyalty? Ninfa Laurenzo, famed Texas restaurateur and founder of Ninfa’s Mexican Restaurant, will tell you no. From a small café on the east side of Houston to a statewide institution, Ninfa’s grew in popularity on the good word of loyal patrons who discovered Mama Ninfa’s delicious take on a regional staple.

Encourage this same word-of-mouth growth by asking customers to share their positive experiences on your site and social media pages, as well as on their own accounts. 

Tolga Tanriseven, co-founder and CEO of the digital community GirlsAskGuys, tells Forbes that websites and their host brands benefit most from focusing on the community first when designing customer experiences. “People with passion are micro-influencers—people who are knowledgeable and eager to share information about a niche,” Tanriseven says.

Giving loyalists a place to discuss their experiences with your brand allows for ongoing interaction—and well-placed questions from brand managers can stimulate organic conversations within communities that magnify a brand’s search engine optimization; in other words, if a prospect poses a specific question through a Google search, the odds of your community’s responses popping up in the results become much greater.

By opening up a space for brand loyalists to engage, and by planting seeds within that space for loyalists to germinate, your brand finds itself in a better position to attract new followers whose needs are supported by your passionate influencers.

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 FIVE MINUTES WITH Julia Rasmus, Keller Williams Realty

In Praise Of Customer Service

Realtor Julia Rasmus appreciates a personal touch when selecting promotional products for her business.

Over the next few months, “Five Minutes With” will feature Q&As with industry buyers, to learn how they use promotional products and why. This month’s Q&A is with Julia Rasmus of Keller Williams Realty in Winter Haven, Florida, who has worked with Chris Stumpf, MAS, CEO and managing partner of Stumpies Marketing Group (PPAI 654377) in Winter Haven.

PPB  What were your impressions of promotional products before you began working with your promotional consultant?
Rasmus  Having attended many trade shows over the past 25-plus years, I’ve picked up a lot of promotional products, some of which I still have today. When I told Chris what I was looking for, in the beginning I was overwhelmed by the options available and the quick turnaround time to get those items. 

PPB What have you learned about the impact of branded items in delivering your message?
Rasmus In the real estate industry I have to set myself apart from everyone else, so I was looking for ways to do that. Referral business is very important to me, so I need to be memorable and I need my branded goods to be as well. If it’s useful and innovative they will hold onto it and, in turn, see my name every time they use it. It amazes me how the [promotional products] industry has excelled at bringing so many new and innovative products to the list of branded items.

PPB What are some of your favorite products to receive, and why?
Rasmus Because smartphones are so important to daily life, I love the products designed to be put on phones. For me, receiving a business card holder for the back of the phone is invaluable, and a lot of people love the pop-up stand/holder as well. And, a pen is probably another favorite—I might not still have your business card, but I probably still have and use your pen. My bank has had these odd-shaped pens for years. They are my favorite pens to “steal” when I go in because I love the way they write. The other great thing about a pen is if you leave it behind somewhere, someone else is going to pick it up and use it. 

PPB What kinds of items do you like to give to your clients?
Rasmus I like my items to be memorable and useful, and I always get great feedback when I’m handing them out. Also, when I close a sale I like to give a branded gift such as a cutting board, knife set, etc., that they will use often and hopefully be reminded to refer their friends and family to me. 

PPB What advice would you give to another organization or business that’s considering working with a consultant?
Rasmus I have ordered from online companies, and their service is fine as long as you are certain of the quality of the product you are ordering or already have your logo set to print. However, if you want to touch and feel some of the items, working one-on-one with someone—going to your local promo products consultant—is the way to go. I work with people every day, and when I am the client I want to work with people who are caring and knowledgeable about their products and their customers. In this digital world we live in, if I need help, support or have a problem with my order I want to go directly to the source … that source is my consultant. I know him, I’ve been to his shop and I’ve worked with him. He’s going to always take better care of me than a person on the other end of a phone in a
call center.

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Snap To It

Ready to try Snapchat’s ad platform? Here’s what you should know.

If you’re looking to add younger demographics to your customer base (think ages 18 to 34) to drive new business, Snapchat’s main users may be your next target market. The app’s new advertising platform can bring you a new roster of young, brand-loving clients—if you learn how to use it effectively.

1. Keep it short and scrappy.
Snapchat users spend roughly 30 minutes a day on the app, so limiting the length of ads is crucial—10 seconds or shorter is ideal, though challenging, says Jessica Taylor, marketing director at Keepsafe Software and a member of Forbes Councils. Additionally, glossy pro ads that scream “agency” aren’t going
to capture as much attention as ads that are created to mimic user snaps, she says. Consider filming your spot on a phone and using Snap filter options for creative after-effects.

2. Set campaign goals and stick to them.
Advertisers always want the biggest bang for the buck. Snapchat advertisers can see how much they spend each day, and depending on how the ad is received, the cost can vary widely, Taylor says. This daily account is actually a boon to advertisers with hard-and-fast budgets, because they can stop serving ads once the limit is hit, maintaining positive revenue.

3. Create your own audience.
Snapchat provides predefined audiences for advertisers to target, but Taylor says if you want to further refine your chosen demographic using data gleaned from your current customers, you can combine
it with Snap’s data to create your own “lookalike” audience.

Still not sure if your company would benefit from Snap Ads? Check out business success stories at forbusiness.snapchat.com/inspiration.

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Beauty Is On The Inside

Avocado distributor launches campaign to market ‘less than perfect’ fruits to consumers

Avocados have made a name for themselves as the most desired fruit of the Millennial population, taking on starring roles in avocado toast and avocado-based vegan chocolate pudding. The dark bumpy skin hides a bright, smooth green interior, and avocado purveyors Mission Produce are hoping to get some of that love for its seasonal crops of less-than-perfect looking avocados.

Dubbed “Emeralds in the Rough,” Mission’s campaign is designed to sell grade 2 avocados to individual consumers, in hopes that they’ll see past the unattractive exteriors that have often relegated this grade to being sold in bulk to food distributors and industrial users.

To attract consumers’ attention, Mission is wrapping the avocados in bright packaging printed with a clever story. Sales Director Patrick Cortes adds that Emeralds in the Rough will be marketed as a promotional item, which alleviates the pressure to sell only to food service customers at times when grade 2 fruits are abundant. 

“This product has a lot of things going for it; rising consumption of imperfect fruit, a propensity for sustainable products, smart design and average lower cost,” he says.

Denise Junqueiro, Mission Produce’s marketing director, says promoting imperfect produce that is still fresh and tasty is a movement that is good for the industry. “This is agriculture, and not every piece of fruit is picture perfect,” she says. “We created Emeralds in the Rough to showcase how beautiful and tasty every avocado is, even when it’s blemished.” 

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Jen Alexander is associate editor of PPB.

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