Financial difficulties and economic uncertainty can prevent many families from taking their dream summer vacation. However, families can discover plenty of cheap vacation options through careful research. Local entertainment, free museums and service opportunities can contribute to an unforgettable family summer vacation that stays within budget.
Families can save big on recreation but still enjoy a relaxing, entertaining summer vacation by staying in their local area. Save the money you would have spent on hotels, travel expenses and food costs by staying home and discovering the attractions in your own backyard. Coordinate a “Staycation” with popular summer festivals—such as the Ann Arbor Summer Festival in Michigan—to enjoy free classes, shows and activities. Peruse the city newspaper for free summer concerts, low-cost film series and outdoor children’s theatre. Visit at least two of the area’s most popular tourist spots, such as aquariums, zoos, sporting events and museums. Plan one unique activity for a summer splurge, such as an afternoon of horseback riding or parasailing. Enjoy summer outdoor activities through hiking, fishing, canoeing and bicycling.
Families able to drive or snag a cheap flight to Washington, D.C., can enjoy many museums that have free admission. The Smithsonian Museums along the National Mall are some of the most-visited museums in the world. Discover the history of aviation at the National Air & Space Museum through hands-on exhibits and interactive flight simulators. Hours of entertainment await at the Museum of Natural History, where children will squeal in delight over dinosaur bones, mammal representations and famous artifacts (such as the 45.52-carat Hope Diamond). Other D.C. attractions include the newly reopened National Museum of American History; items on display include Kermit the Frog, Dorothy’s red sparkly shoes from “The Wizard of Oz” and Abraham Lincoln’s top hat. An added bonus in Washington, D.C.? The monuments are also free for viewing.
Consider serving others this summer with the family by your side. VolunTourism—a newly coined word that references vacations based around community service—provides the opportunity to make a summer trip meaningful. Head to the Big Easy and work with Hands On New Orleans. Visitors can receive free meals and housing while volunteering in the local community (check with the organization for age limitations). Save on vacation lodging and food expenses and fuel up on emotional fulfillment. Volunteer at St. Margaret’s and socialize with the residents, lend a hand with home-building in needy neighborhoods, plant trees in community gardens or change city lightbulbs to energy-efficient styles.
Are you a family of animal lovers? Spend a summer in toasty Utah at the Best Friends Sanctuary. Take care of more than 2,000 homeless pets—pigs, dogs, horses, birds, bunnies and cats—and help boost their chances of finding adoptive homes. Cheap cabin lodging is available nearby.
Sometimes even the most well known brands change their messaging. This is usually done during a re-branding process, implementing a makeover to redefine key messages to consumers, but sometimes a brand makes changes when they are missing a portion of their target market.
Every week, I go to my parents’ house to watch American Idol. One night a few weeks ago they were tuned in with my sister, and being the outcast of the family who doesn’t watch Idol, I sat on my laptop in the kitchen playing music through my headphones in an attempt to drown out the nauseating voices of the judges (it’s appalling to me that a certain female judge can be considered a reputable gauge of musical talent). Commercial breaks were used for their own judging sessions, while playing on their phones or in my mom’s case, reading a book. During one break, a catchy tune from the TV prompted a lengthy, uncommon silence from the peanut gallery.
The spot was a Nike ad unlike any I had seen before.
Instead of an intense pump up song, the tune sounded like it was straight out of an Apple ad. The short musical strays from Nike’s typical messaging, telling a non-sports related story that evokes love and humor, certainly not the emotions we are used to feeling from a Nike TV spot. The “RUN STRONGER” slogan is new. Even the action of closing the curtain is scandalous for a Nike ad, as its implications could ruffle some conservative feathers. Despite these differences, the ad has been well received. It’s received over 1.6 million views on YouTube in 4 weeks, and can also be found on the bottom of On-Demand for certain cable users.
For the most part, Nike devotes different campaigns and budgets to their various product lines, which they seem to have for every sport imaginable. Most of the TV spots for these various product lines are consistently creative and inspiring – yet all monotonous. Someone must have realized that the serious tonality in each of these campaigns was missing the target audience for Nike Running. The new, lighter campaign is an example of how a brand can stray from the norm and alter their messaging depending on what product line they are selling. A brand like Nike has the ability to do this because of their extensive product differentiation. A smaller brand that offers only a few products would likely encounter great difficulty if they tried sending various messages without confusing the consumer.
When we perform thorough brand evaluations with our clients, we recognize it’s important to pore through the brand’s equities, their target consumer, the environment in which they operate, and their vision for the future. Not every company can come close to the breadth of a Nike, but they can take a strategic look at their own messaging, and decide if a new angle is needed.
In Luxembourg, people often have large families. It is normal for them to raise in a city and to remain there for the rest of their lives. Therefore ties and obligations to other members of their families are very close. Parents play an important role in their children’s lives, often choosing the career and education their heirs will follow. Thus, one can say that there is a form of social hierarchy, which is quite obvious. Most of those living in Luxembourg are of Roman Catholic religion and most Catholic holidays are national holidays.
Luxembourg residents tend not to expose their lives in public. They are close to friends and family, but not to strangers. Very rarely you can see someone displaying emotions or other sides of behavior outside the house. They don’t usually ask personal questions because they respect others privacy. The line between business and personal life is extremely obvious. People are friends at work, but the business relations are separated from the social sphere.
As for the greetings, Luxembourgers tend to be formal and conservative, until the moment they develop a strong personal connection between them and their interlocutors. The common gesture of greeting is represented by a quick handshake. In the moment people start to know each other better, they start to kiss on the cheek (which only happens between women or between women and men but never between men). You must address people by their last name adding “Monsieur” for Mr. and “Madame” for the ladies.
If you’re invited to someone’s home in Luxembourg, it’s a nice gesture to bring some chocolates and flowers as a gift. Even if you’re invited only to tea, it’s still a good idea to bring a present. The flowers must be given by the husband, but avoid the number 13 and the chrysanthemums.
In the latest, and certainly not the last round of updates in the ever-growing battle for social supremacy among brand managers, both Facebook and Google+ announced updates – each designed to help brands and brand marketers to engage more with their fans and customers.
Facebook, the big dog on the social media block of course with its over 800 million member base and counting, announced the creation of what is essentially a direct message feature, to borrow a Twitter term. The new feature will allow consumers to send a private message to brand via the brand’s Facebook page. Heretofore this was not an option as if a consumer wanted to send their favorite a brand message via Facebook it would have to be posted for all the world to see.
The folks at The Next Web referred to this latest update as “a significant introduction that will allow businesses to interact more closely with customers on the service than ever before.” And they are right for this will indeed provide brands and businesses to engage on a much more personal level than previously able and having the ability to engage at an even greater detail is surely significant. In their article The Next Web also played up the fact that in their opinion, B2C brand marketers having even a greater interest in this new update…
“Consumer facing businesses will find the feature particularly useful as it enables more personal communication with individual customers, opening the possible of a greater level of customer service on Facebook.”
Now, when I read this last line I said to myself, ‘here we go again’ as in here’s another example of another person, in this case the writer of the article, failing to realize the obvious fact which is we are ALL consumers. This change to Facebook affects both B2C and B2B marketers alike. When the writer says Consumer facing businesses will find the feature particularly useful as it enables more personal communication with individual customers…” does he not realize that Even Though It’s Called B2B, There’s Still A “C” On The Other End?
That’s the title of a post written back in May and it’s still painfully clear that people simply lose sight of the fact that there are is a person on the other end of that line, a human being who wants to engage in a personal communication just like any other human being.
Sorry, didn’t mean to go off on a tangent there, let’s get back to the new Facebook feature.
While it’s great that brands can now engage in a personal, private conversation there are some caveats that brand marketers need to be aware of…
All private messages must be initiated by the consumer and eve though once a private conversation is initiated it is open to both parties, it’s not recommended to use the private message feature as another avenue to promote and sell.
One very real and negative effect of the new private messages is that the messages will in fact be private which could mean less organic growth for a brand. As The Next Web puts it “Facebook socializes each fan’s interactions with a page — sharing likes, shares, comments, and other interactions fans make there, with their friends — which can help raise a page’s visibility. So, more private messages may lead to less public comments, which could curtail this growth somewhat.”
As for Google+…
Google+, rights for Google+… Or as Mark Zuckerberg referred to it “Google’s little version of Facebook” they too released some updates one of which directly impacted brands and their business pages on Google+…
Here’s how they announced the changes on their official blog:
Improvements to Google+ Pages
Google+ Pages have already provided brands and businesses a new means of connecting to and deeply engaging with consumers. In the weeks since launching pages, we’ve been listening to your feedback and we’re pleased to make some of the most oft-requested features available.
You can now delegate up to 50 named managers as administrators for a page.
A new notification flow will ensure that these managers stay in the loop on all the activity that takes place on a page, giving managers the ability to stay involved in page conversations.
We’ll now show an aggregated count of users that have engaged with your page, either by +1’ing it or by adding it to a circle. This way, both you and your page’s visitors can get an at-a-glance summary of who is interacting with your page.
It was quite surprising when Google+ Pages was first released there was only one admin allowed per page. That simply made no sense and the criticism and outcry was as expected. But now they’ve made the requisite change along with several others, Google+ is demonstrating that they are in fact listening to the people – the brand marketers and so on who manage a given brand’s Google+ Page.
Not sure why anyone would need 50 managers for a Page but be that is it may the new notification system will allow for all of them to stay up to date in real time just as they can in Facebook and Twitter on their particular brand Page and what they’re fans and customers are talking about.
So what do you think of all the changes and new features to Facebook and Google+?
How do you see the use of private messages helping you engage with your fans?
And for Google+ it is essentially the same question… How do the new changes to Google+ Pages help you interact with your fans?
And as for the B2C and B2B discussion… what type are you?
If you’re a B2B brand marketer do you use Facebook and Google+ and if so, how?
And if not, why?
When ICANN, (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) the organization that oversees the web name space, announced plans to offer new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), which will allow a company to own what are being called .brand domains, it opened the door for tremendous opportunity for marketers and advertisers alike. For the moment however not many CMOs are all that excited.
CMOs Need To Look At New Domains As An Opportunity, Not A Trademark Protection Nuisance
Marketers debate usefulness of ICANN’s new domain names
Those were headlines from two recent articles I came across regarding the apparent apprehension on the part of CMOs and marketers in general. Accordng to Forrester Research principal analyst Jeff Ernst not many CMOs are buying into what Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of the ICANN board said in regards to the new domain names. “Today’s decision will usher in a new Internet age. We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration.”
Enrst, in an article for Forbes on this topic, wrote “Many of the CMOs I’ve talked to over the past year either weren’t aware that this was coming or didn’t recognize what a company could do with a “.brand” TLD that they couldn’t already do with a .com.” And on his own Forrester blog he wrote “Many marketing leaders I’ve talked with look at this as a nuisance and are skeptical about whether Internet users will embrace [the new domain names].”
Now truth be told, there will be an application fee of $185,000 for any company wanting to register one of these new .brand domains but why wouldn’t a company like say Home Depot not want to pay the $185K for the rights to .homedepot? I agree completely with Ernst when he says “A .brand TLD gives marketers much greater control of their online identities. You can now promote your brand at the root of the Internet with shorter, less technical URLs. You can combine all your Web properties, including product sites, campaign microsites, and country-specific Web sites, under a single brand umbrella.”
Is it me or is this a no-brainer for brands/advertisers/marketers?
Yes, there is the $185,000 fee plus the cost to maintain the infrastructure but there is also the issue of fraud. As Jim Nichols recently pointed out in a column on Forbes.com, “The risk of an unscrupulous person trying to hijack your company’s identity will have a tougher time when official pages end with a .brand extension.”
So, what do you think of all this?
Is it much ado about nothing?
Should brands/advertisers/marketers not even worry about all this?
Or do you agree and think there is tremendous value in owning your own TLD?
Weddings can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars, and the average honeymoon can cost around a few thousand depending on where the couple decides to vacation. There are so many options for newlyweds when it comes to choosing a honeymoon location, but for those who are trying to honeymoon on a budget, finding the perfect destination can seem impossible. With some creativity and flexibility on timing of the honeymoon, newlyweds can save thousands of dollars and still have a fantastic honeymoon.
Steer clear of the Caribbean when the prices are at peak in the springtime. Instead, you may want to choose to take a tour of the cherry blossoms blooming in Washington, D.C., and visit the surrounding area. There are many charming boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts to stay in that are perfect for a romantic honeymoon in the Washington and Virginia area. Checkout the Inn at Dupont Circle for a couple nights stay. Visit their website for rotating specials.
The Dupont Collection
Bed and Breakfast Inn
1312 19th Street, NW
Washington, D.C 20036
Choose a tour of the Sonoma wine country to have both a romantic and affordable honeymoon in the summertime. In addition to the great weather in the Sonoma valley, you can find some great deals on winery tours and other activities popular in the area, like horseback riding or hiking. If you choose to tour Sonoma during the week, you can usually get a better bargain on your hotel stay. The Healdsburg Dry Creek Inn is only minutes away from more than 50 leading wineries and offers great deals on weekday reservations.
Best Western Dry Creek Inn
198 Dry Creek Road
Healdsburg, California 95448
Reservations: (800) 222-5784
Winter and Fall Honeymoons
Search for deals on a Florida honeymoon during the fall and winter months. With a few months’ notice, you can negotiate a better rate for your stay. Peak rates don’t start until mid-December, so try thinking about a budget honeymoon at the chic Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada. They frequently have promotions and specials for honeymooners during off-peak times. They even offer wedding packages if you want to get married on the beach.
Cheeca Lodge & Spa, Islamorada, Florida Keys
81801 Overseas Highway, Mile Marker 82
Islamorada, FL 33036
Reservations: (800) 327-2888
Are you going to renovate your home? Do you want to give it a modern look? If so, then you are at right place because we are going to discuss tapestry. There are different types of tapestries available in the market. Tapestries are playing a vital role in changing the appearance of the home. You may have an idea or not, but these tapestries are getting more popularity for many good reasons.
With the article, we are going to discuss the benefits of the decoration of home with tapestry. It is extremely important to know the benefits of tapestry. If you want to get the best option at a reasonable price, then you can consider about purple and grey tapestry for sale. No doubt, there are so many different options available in the market to choose from. It is a really great object that can change the look of your home.
Benefits of the tapestry for home decor
You will get the flexibility option with these tapestries. Here, we don’t mean that you can easily move or you can bend tapestry easily. By this, we mean by the flexibility is that you can rearrange these pieces. In other simple words, you can change the piece to giving a unique look to your home.
Another benefit of the tapestry is its durability. It is a really great object that you can use for a long time. Purple ad grey tapestry for sale is one of the most durable décor items that you can access for your home. Most of the people like to buy this kind of tapestry that you can have in your home.
No doubt, these tapestries can change the look of your home. It is a unique art that is completely woolen and tread based work. Such artwork is getting more popularity for its unique look and demand. These look like a painting that you can easily hang on your walls.
You can use this item of home décor any where you want to use. Because of the material and finish process, you can use them indoors or out. There is no doubt that the outdoor location can affect the artwork. Due to this, you will have to add a new clear coat every few years.
The artwork of tapestry is affordable compare than other options. There are many different types that you can get at a reasonable price. If you want to get the best option at a reasonable cost, then you should go for purple and grey tapestry for sale and choose the best option.
- Unique idea
It is a really amazing and unique idea to décor home with tapestry. It is completely tread and woolen based artwork that gives a unique look to the home. If you want to give a unique look to your room, then nothing is much better then tapestries to décor your home.
At last, you should choose the best option for the process of home décor,
Some things in life are predictable. Like the sun coming up every morning, you just know there’s going to be a public relations crisis sooner or later. Here’s my 10 PR crisis predictions for 2012 along with some helpful tips and Do’s and Don’ts.
These are only 10, there are obviously countless others but c’mon, you know there’s is going to be buzzing about…
- Another very religious politician getting tripped up in a sex scandal.
- One of 2011’s hottest new social media apps “jumping the shark” and becoming stale as old beer.
- What? A service charge for that !@#!
- A giant security breach occurring because an employee loses or misplaces a laptop.
- In a bold slap in the face to tax payers, government employees in X or Y major city abusing their parking and travel expense privileges.
- He’s a great athlete but a bad husband/dad/pet owner.
- A major toy maker/auto maker/appliance maker recalling products due to safety issues. Pundits insisting they should have known better.
- What? His bonus was that BIG even though the company lost money?
- Kanye, Lindsey, Charlie and/or Whitney in trouble again!
- What? She was so (uniformed/insensitive/inappropriate) to tweet THAT?
Obviously each of the above issue poses a different set of challenges to brand managers. If that politician referenced in #1 has nothing to do with your particular brand or company, what do you care?
But if that toy referenced in #7 is your best seller, well that of course is another story.
And in today’s digital, real-time, news-in-a-flash on any number of devices, hand-held-or-otherwise world we find ourselves in, companies and brands need to be at the ready to deal with a public relations crisis head on.
Engagement Is Key
The need to engage your customer, prospects and constituencies is even more paramount during a PR crisis because effective and transparent communications coupled with a solid plan can make all of the difference in terms of the positive or negative impact on a brand… be it a business, a celebrity or a politician.
The Do’s and the Don’ts
Here are the three things you MUST do in a crisis situation …
- Be proactive and assertive. Gather all of the facts, agree to a communications strategy along with key messages and then take control of the presentation of these message as much as possible.
- Set up a communications chain of command. Agree to who will be delivering the message and get everyone involved to follow this protocol.
- Continuously access the effectiveness and appropriateness of messaging based on new information, reactions of key audiences, feedback from direct and on-line channels.
Here are three things you should NOT do …
- Hide or bury the truth. It always comes out — particularly now in the 24/7 on-line news world where traditional and citizen journalists, citizen journalists, bloggers and pundits are all “reporting.”
- Try to fake it, guess or speculate. Analyze the crisis issue, develop your response and stick to key messages and facts.
- Belabor the issue. The goal of effective crisis communications is to get your position across in a fast, effective and direct manner so that the world and the public hopefully moves on to other concerns.
Among all Interactive Marketing platforms, Mobile Marketing is expected to grow 38% over the next five years with an estimated $8.2 billion being allocated to it by the year 2016.
I am surely no rocket scientist nor Al Einstein (he said to me once, ‘You can call me, Al’ – it’s a long story) but anyone with half a brain or perhaps even less than that could foresee the future and see that is paved with mobile phones. I mean, who doesn’t have a cell phone these days?
“The number of advertisers using mobile advertising has doubled in just two years and accordingly mCommerce is growing right along with it. Marketers need to grow along with it.” That was something I wrote back in June titled The Rapid Rise Of Mobile Advertising And mCommerce. About a month later I scribed Another Reason Why Marketers Need To Be Mobile where I told of the fact that the “total value of mobile payments for digital and physical goods, money transfers and NFC (Near Field Communications) transactions is expected to hit $670 billion by 2015 – nearly three times as much as will be seen this year, $240 billion.”
And today I bring you the findings from a Forrester report the “U.S. Interactive Marketing Forecast, 2011 to 2016” which states that among all interactive marketing platforms, the one with the highest increase in terms of spending will be mobile marketing.
Now as you’ll see from the chart below, in terms of actual dollars, Search Engine Marketing will still lead the way but will in fact lose some of its interactive spending pie, falling from 55% to 44% from 2011 to 2016. Forrester analyst Shar VanBoskirk attributes the drop in dollars being allocated to Search Engine Marketing to the rise of biddable display media, the growth of mobile and investment in social networks and alternative search networks such as Facebook, YouTube and ratings and reviews sites such as Yelp.
Another not surprising, at least to me, takeaway from this report is the fact that Social Media Marketing will have the second highest growth rate (26%) after mobile marketing. Don’t worry, I’m not going to overload you with the latest Facebook, Twitter and Social Media in general stats, you know and have heard them all by now.
But… What’s perhaps most amazing, most incredible, most… ok, you get my point, but what truly caught my eye, is the fact that spending on Interactive Marketing as a whole will increase 85% from 2011 – 2016. Yes, 85%, with spending on Interactive Marketing accounting for 35% of all spending by the year 2016, up from 19% in 2011. Another way to look at it is by 2016, the amount spent on Interactive Marketing is expected to reach $76.6 billion, which is what is spent on TV advertising right now.
Obviously, at least I think it’s obvious, spending on television (AKA a non-Interactive platform) will increase as well over the next five years. Sorry to all those who have predicted and will continue to predict the demise of television and television advertising, and you know who you are, but television advertising is not going anywhere. It will continue to play a role in any integrated marketing campaign of offline and online strategies.
So, spending on Interactive Marketing is increasing 85% from 2011 to 2016, at least according to Forrester.
Where do you fall in all this?
Are you a marketer who currently allocates a portion of your budget to Interactive?
Do you plan on increasing your spend on Interactive over the next five years?
If so, which platform(s) do you plan on using more?
Steroids are frowned upon in certain places and even by other bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. Unfortunately, not everyone could keep to their schedule without a little help from steroids; like those that want to try or are used to adding steroids in their fitness regimen. It’s a good thing that Crazy Bulk entered the market, because they are steroids made of natural ingredients thus earning the title of legal steroids; Crazy Bulk basically give the benefits of steroids without the typical negative effects. The Crazy Bulk coupon codes that you’re likely to use are listed below.
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