Three Ways to Follow the Olympics from the Comfort of Your Desk

The Summer Olympics come but once every four years, and social media has evolved fast since 2008′s games. Facebook had only just cracked 200 million active users, overtaking MySpace for the first time. Twitter was also really beginning to grow with six million users, and many of us often spent hours staring at the infamous ‘Fail Whale’ wondering how the heck this service was going to make money. YouTube, though well established, had only just begun to make a name for itself as a source of Olympic coverage as people who had never used the service began passing links to the outstanding opening ceremony at Beijing.

And now, in 2012, most of these services have matured. Social media is the number one activity on the internet, and the International Olympic Committee has decided to release (some very strict) guidelines on social media to its athletes. But despite the muzzle, there are still a few great ways for you to get your Olympic fix, even from your work desk. Continue reading

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Donations Without Borders

December, thanks to its proximity to a wide array of religious holidays, has sort of become the unofficial month of giving. Come Christmas/Hannukah/Festivus/Saturnalia, living rooms across the world will be filled with crumpled wrapping paper, discarded boxes, and happy faces. We absolutely love the Holiday Season because of the level of generosity that seems to radiate from everyone.

Of course, that generosity doesn’t stop at families and friends. Charities typically register record levels of donations during December, and many have events throughout the month specifically to gather as many donations as possible during the “month of giving.” Businesses typically love to do their part as well, holding their own events to try and help sponsor charities. But an all too frequent problem with this has once again been seen, though it was in a place only possible in our highly connected, social media driven world. Continue reading

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The Five Worst Freebies and Promotions

Promotions can be a great boost to business and sales if done properly. However, nearly every company tries to hold some sort of promotion, and not all of them can be winners. One of the most controversial promotions to come up recently is from a RadioShack in Montana offering a free gun (the customer’s choice of a Hi Point 380 pistol or 20 gauge) to anyone who both buys a Dish Network contract and passes a background check. While it apparently has increased his subscribers, the blowback against Radio Shack, and Montana, has been quite noticeable. In the end, it is always up to the business owner as to whether they choose to assume the risk in the hopes of a great reward by the promotion’s end. But business owners can, and should, educate themselves, so here are our five worst promotional items and why we think marketing should think twice before incorporating them into any campaign.

Another present to put in your closet and never ever see again.

1. Restaurants and Promotional Food

Going to a restaurant to take advantage of a deal makes sense, and will increase a restaurant’s customer base, but two things suffer during these promotions; the restaurant’s reputation and the employee’s satisfaction. A lot of restaurants make the mistake of offering too many coupons far too often. What ends up happening is customers simply wait with the e-mail inbox open as they end up expecting some sort of deal and won’t even think about going to that restaurant without one. The second biggest problem with these promotions is the toll it takes on the employee. One anonymous Red Lobster employee posted quite the riveting explanation as to why Red Lobster servers, chefs and dishwashers all dread the Free Shrimp festival. According to them, all this promotion means is two months of soul crushing torture as they run shrimp back and forth all while enduring lower table turnover, and thus less tips. So when laying out a plan for your promotion, remember to ask yourself two questions; what will this do for repeat customers, and how will my employees handle it? A few days or a week of extra exertion on your employees is one thing, two months may be more than they want to handle. Continue reading

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