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Marketing

How to Note the Holidays Professionally

By | Marketing | No Comments

Happy holidays! I know it seems a tad early, but it’s the right time to get rolling on any plans you may have as a business, to celebrate the season. If you send out a card or purchase gifts for clients, there’s limited time to update your list and make sure all your names and addresses are correct.

Our favorite end-of-year mail comes from clients, vendors, and partners with a personalized touch. Cards that reflect the company’s brand are delightful. Handwritten notes are extra-special. Work with a design partner to get the look of your holiday message just right. While we like a whimsical approach, don’t stray too far from a professional look, or from your brand. The recipient should be able to recognize pretty quickly who has sent a holiday greeting!

Gifts can be expensive, so we get it if you skip the gift altogether. Some clients, however, certainly rate a gift of food or other thoughtful treat. Remember if you’re going the food route, there should be enough to spread around to all employees. (A client told me about the dozens of fruit baskets they receive from their various clients and vendors and invited me to make off with one when I visit in December. It’s worth noting: maybe fruit baskets are too often given. If you’re considering that this year, take a more creative approach.)

Do you have a typical plan for tackling the holidays? We hope you do.

Branding — a Client-Driven Brand Refresh for the REALTORS Association

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We are fortunate to have had a long-term relationship with our area REALTORS®  association. They don’t need us all the time, but sometimes there’s a project, or a training, or a one-time PR or communications need we can jump in and provide. We were excited when the CAAR team told us they were looking for an update to language about what the association offers, i.e. messaging, and a new brand identity to support that messaging. We pulled in graphic design partner Yellowfish to collaborate and exceed our client’s expectations.

The messaging that resonated with the group is:

CAAR is Your Gateway to More

  • Knowledge
  • Influence
  • Solutions

Knowledge builds more credibility, business, and revenue. Influence results from collaboration among REALTORS®, local government, and community.
Solutions and tools  keep you indispensable.

Once we gained consensus from a group of association leaders, we could move into the design phase, creating the logo, and other graphic representations to use in social media, in print, and on large banners.

Our client, Ali DiGuardo, CAAR’s director of marketing and communications had this to say: “We are extremely pleased with the logo and associated marketing pieces. We originally showcased the logo, value proposition, proof points, and imagery during our June General Membership Meeting, and have received great feedback from members. The new logo is a true representation of CAAR and how it supports its membership of over 1,000 REALTORS® and 400 support staff and affiliates.”

It was a fun project and a great collaborative effort. It’s great to see our work come to life in a popular local brand.

 

The Importance of Asking for What you Want

By | Marketing, Public Relations | No Comments

In 2010, after working remotely from Virginia for a firm in St. Louis for five years, I decided I just couldn’t do it anymore. The flights, often delayed, once a month back to Missouri, the isolation of being the only person on the team not in St. Louis, and the lack of control over the client work had taken a toll. I knew I could continue my local client work as an independent and began to consider opening my own firm.

There was one big problem. Like most people working for PR firms and agencies, I had signed a non-compete agreement stating that the clients belonged to the firm. Most such agreements require a one-year period in which the former employee steer clear of the firm’s clients. I was prepared to do this, if necessary, but hoped it wouldn’t be.

Since I moved to Charlottesville, every local client I’d gained had a relationship with just me. They knew other members of the firm a little bit, but I was the one who met with the clients regularly, who corresponded with them, and provided the bulk of the deliverables. If I left the firm, who would continue to take care of those clients?

I took a deep breath and I asked my boss to be released from my non-compete. I asked to take my clients with me, allowing me to start my own business. I promised to continue to serve other clients as a subcontractor to the firm and to ease transition.

It was a crazy thing to propose.

But she said yes. That client work gave Jaggers Communications a healthy start. Clients said they didn’t care to what account they wrote their checks, all they knew is they wanted to continue working with me.

Just ask.

Personal Branding and the Changing of a Name

By | Jaggers Communications News, Marketing | 4 Comments
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Gratuitous wedding photo

I got married in July of 2016 and because I feel strongly about such things, I changed my last name to be the same as my husband’s: Oldham.

When I named my business in 2010, I had a different last name, one I’d carried since 1989 and didn’t expect to change. Jaggers Communications is the name of my firm. I like it, I like the logo and the brand I’ve developed.

Because of all the work I’ve done leading up to the launch of the business at the beginning of 2011 and until the present day, there is a lot of good search engine optimization tied up in the Jaggers Communications brand and in my own, former name, Marijean Jaggers.

I thought a lot about re-naming the business. I even settled on a potential new name and embarked on the design of a logo. But I just couldn’t pull the trigger.

I’m going to stick with Jaggers Communications.

My challenge is to publish content with my new last name and earn the Google juice needed for Marijean Oldham, but that’s a challenge I welcome, and it will be fun to be able to track these fresh results.

 

Having and Being a Mentor

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I grant a lot of informational interviews. I have had interns as part of my team for most of my professional life. I teach. On the flip side, I’ve reached out to others with something to offer, guidance, experience, more confidence, and local knowledge.

I don’t have formal mentors — I’m pretty sure there’s no one walking around with a name tag that reads “Marijean’s Mentor” even though several people have qualified over the years. There are those who filled that role for just a lunch or a coffee and others with whom I’ve stayed in touch throughout my career who have contributed in some way.

Guess what? Very few have been in my field. Not all of those I’ve been a mentor to have ended up in PR or marketing. Hubspot says mentors are valuable at any stage in your career and I agree. It’s also wise to think outside of your field — what I’ve learned from attorneys, accountants, entrepreneurs, and clients continues to help me daily as my business grows.

Do you have a mentor? Are you a mentor to someone else?