Monthly Archives: August 2014

Let the Light In – Perforated Graphic Films

Perforated Window Films by Graphic Impressions

3M ™ Scotchcal ™ Perforated Window Graphic Film IJ8171 - Copyright  3M Corp

3M ™ Scotchcal ™ Perforated Window Graphic Film IJ8171 – Copyright 3M Corporation

Our perforated window graphics let you capitalize on extra window space without sacrificing natural lighting or visibility. They are made using durable 3M films that are engineered to bring brilliance and sharpness to your custom graphics.

Advertisements, promotions, decorations, and branding posted on your storefront windows will give your company’s point of purchase promotions the brilliance and professionalism that your company deserves.

before and after illustration of window perforation.  copyright 3m corporation

Copyright 3M Corp.

Perforated window graphics are versatile and can be used on vehicles, storefronts, signs, and many other transparent surfaces.

To learn more about our perforated window graphics and Graphic Impressions’ full “design to installation” services, call us at 1-800-237-2171.

Pursue Your Passion: Invest In Yourself

Image courtesy of Alan Cleaver's photostream

Whether you’re an entrepreneur attempting your first startup or a tenured member of the workforce looking for something new, when will the timing be right to take a chance, invest in yourself and start striving towards your goal? The truth is it may never be. Sitting on your couch and putting your dreams on hold for something easier, more comfortable, is always the less exhaustive route to take. But in the end, where does that really get you? Yes, this is a rhetorical question but I think it gets the point across and is well stated in the quote below from Alltop founder, Guy Kawasaki -

“The hardest thing about getting started is getting started.”

Here are four takeaways to help realize your professional dreams:

  1. Stop talking and start doing: It’s easy to talk about all the great things you want to do. It’s even easier to never take action on your dreams, letting life pass you by. Find your action items and get started today. The longer you wait to take that first step, the farther you are from realizing your goals. Set goals, be accountable, be passionate and maybe most importantly, be realistic about the outcome. The more honest you are with yourself the more room you have to grow.
  2. Invest in yourself: It’s often thrown out in conversation that someone is investing in themselves. This kind of statement can seem fictitious, and very may well be. But don’t think for one second that great entrepreneurs like Larry Page, Mark Cuban or Jeff Bezos didn’t take a chance on themselves in time or money. Remember, not only is it important to have liquid assets when starting a new venture, but knowing the value of your time and recognizing that your time has worth is just as important when push comes to shove.
  3. 3.    Take the good with the bad: Undoubtedly there will be bumps along the way; financial woes, unpredictable clients and difficult employees. Be prepared for them all but don’t expect to have all the answers. There’s something to be said about learning along the way. Not only will it help build character, these experiences will help you develop an approach for future encounters with similar situations. These types of situations will also give you the confidence to ask for help. Find solace that you aren’t the first person to come across a difficulty in business or personal development. Let this be the catalyst to build a personal network of like-minded individuals to help you through the struggles.
  4. 4.    Pursue your passion: Whether your passion is brand communications, insurance or financial management, keep that passion as your driving force. Or maybe your passion is a lifestyle business where brand communications is a means to an end. That’s ok too but be cognizant of that fact. Be self-aware, be genuine and be accountable. But above all find what makes you happy and don’t be afraid to invest in yourself!

The Recipe for a “Good” Tweet

Image courtesy of C!...'s photostream

Image courtesy of C!…’s photostream

Chances are fairly good that unless you’ve found a way to live without any form of media in your life for a larger part of the past decade that you know what Twitter is. Chances are even more likely that you yourself own one of the reported 883 million Twitter accounts in existence today. Even if, to this point, you’ve defied the odds, I daresay you would be able to pick out a good, quality message over a less popular one? How about being able to determine which Tweet was shared more than the other? Three Cornell students claim they’ve made a computer algorithm that can outperform the average person. Give it a try here and stop back in here when you’re done.

How did you do? My first try found me correctly selecting the more popular tweet nearly 73% of the time… not bad, but the computer algorithm beat me by one solitary tweet at 75% correct. I found myself asking some interesting questions: Why was the computer able to outperform me, what criteria is it using to select the better message? Is it possible that there is, in fact, an algorithm that can guarantee your message is more popular than other, similar messages, 75% of the time?

My questions led me to a discussion the Cornell students had regarding what criteria the computer was given to select the better message. What I found were seven items, among others, that the computer was trained to look for:

1.    Know what topics trend on Twitter – A recent study broke down tweets from the second quarter of this year by category and found that tweets under the topics of sports, science & technology, politics, art & entertainment, and business finance performed better on Twitter than on either Facebook or Pinterest while tweets discussing family issues, health & fitness, and shopping were poorly received on this medium compared to the others.

2.    Use an image or a video – Simple enough; you only get to use 140 characters on Twitter… so why not share something that’s worth at least 1,000 words?

3.    Post any links about 25% of the way through your message – Twitter is geared toward those who want information NOW. If they have to wait til the end of your message to get a link, they may have already clicked on to the next message; don’t give them the chance.

4.     Track and Learn – One advantage the computer algorithm has over us is that it’s got five years’ worth of analytical tools at its disposal instantly. If you want a true barometer for what does and doesn’t work for your site, consider working with analytical tools to fine-tune your online presence.

5.    Preview with stats, quotes, and takeaways – Tweets that contain quotes receive 53% more retweets than your average post. Curiosity killed the cat, so draw in your viewers with a small taste of what your content truly has to offer.

6.    Use your social media to inform your content – It’s the age-old marketing concept to know your audience, and it still holds true today. Chances are pretty good that if you’re talking about the things that are popular in your industry right now, you’ll get noticed a lot more than if you’re simply taking shots in the dark with your posts.

7.    Sharing is caring – Not immediately (necessarily), and never something you want to consistently do (to avoid annoying others), but GOOD content, content that gives you an “AHA!” moment, content has opened your eyes to something new (perhaps something you’ve found on the Proforma Blog?) should be shared. If the message or content within was enough to make some kind of an impact on you, it’s a good bet that there are others out there that would similarly benefit from seeing the same message.

It won’t happen overnight, and you won’t always find success, but if you spend enough time working at these seven items, not only will you find yourself beating the algorithm (which I wound up doing 80%-74%) but, and more importantly, you’ll find yourself to be considered a thought-leader in your industry and the following you begin to gain can do wonders for expanding your business.

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Don’t Miss This Chance to Make a Great First Impression

Image courtesy of Zach Taylor's photostream

Image courtesy of Zach Taylor’s photostream

I once started a new job, on a Friday, at 2:30 p.m. Mind you, this was a typical Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job. There was no explanation given on the somewhat odd start day and time. When I showed up, no one seemed to remember I was coming in. My desk was dusty, did not have any supplies and there was no plan for an orientation. I was walked around the building for about an hour and told that I could leave.

That should have set off red flags about the type of employer and the value that was placed on employees, especially during the on-boarding phase. True to that first impression, the company had a do as I say, not as I do approach that resonated from the top levels down to the front line. It is no surprise that turnover was extremely high and departments did not work well together.

Here are five tips to create a great first impression for any new hires.

1.    Schedule the person to start two hours after you plan to arrive: This will give you time to get settled and put out any fires so you can devote your time and attention to the new employee when he or she arrives.

2.    Provide a new hire FAQ, before the first day: Be sure to cover if you will be providing lunch or if lunch should be brought, dress code, parking and smoking policies. Nothing makes people feel more uncomfortable than if they do not fit in on the first day, simply because they didn’t know.

3.    Ensure a welcoming environment: Alert the receptionist that a new hire is arriving or be visible when he or she is due to arrive. Make sure a work space is cleaned and stocked with standard supplies. Post a welcome sign, including his or her name. Introduce the person to the team. And be sure to point out things like the coat rack, closest restroom, employee break room, copy machines, etc. Also, plan ahead so an email address is setup and any other necessary logins and passwords are ready.

4.    Have downtime activities planned: In most environments, new hires will need direction and guidance for most of their tasks. Have other things planned for the employee to do when he or she gets “stuck” and you are not immediately available to provide guidance. This may include industry publications to become familiar with, training manuals, websites to review and depending on the role, it may even be appropriate to include filing or other non-urgent but important tasks.

5.    Consider asking for their help: If employee onboarding has not been a focus in the past, consider asking the employee to help in documenting procedures, checklists and manuals for future new hires. Use a fresh eyes approach to help you prepare for the future.

Showing all your new hires that they are valued and appreciated from their very first day will create the right environment for them to be a trusted ally for you and the company as a whole.