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Grammar of Green Communications: Know your community

by Louise Mulherin on November 11th, 2011

Today more than ever, multiple voices share your story via paid, earned, owned and shared outlets. Everyone in your community has access to a variety of channels—social media, tradeshow booths, industry publications, and face-to-face meetings to name a few.

Do you know where your community finds information and do your stakeholders know where to seek more details? Is the representation accurate? Do the messages generate sales or achieve other business goals?

GEPR’s Nancy Rogers shares more about how to be sure your messaging is consistent to ensure your green communications objectives are achieved via ED+C Magazine’s blog.

A Twitpic DIY to Boost Tradeshow Visibility

by Reva Revis on September 14th, 2011

In perusing the plethora of social media platforms, I noticed that many companies and individuals are ramping up for the busy fall trade show season. In the pre-Twitter dark ages, we were forced to gear up for trade shows in isolation with individual email blasts and direct mail. Now, with Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms, we are able to build a mini-community specific to a trade show that allows us to connect with attendees and exhibitors in a more collaborative and democratic process before, during and after the event. My favorite social media tradeshow tools are Twitter and Twitpic.

Twitpic is free and easy to use. If you have a Twitter account, you can log into Twitpic by using your Twitter username and password. Twitpic lets you upload images via your computer or smartphone. Twitpic also provides a unique email address for each account (it is in the Twitpic account settings) so that you can upload an image via email with your corresponding tweet in the subject line. No matter which uploading method you choose, your image is then pushed out on Twitter.

In the weeks leading up to a trade show, I typically research which hashtags are emerging. For example, the NeoCon World’s Trade Fair changes each year: #NeoCon11, #NeoCon12, etc. Greenbuld, however, uses a combination of #Greenbuild and a hashtag that is specific to the show theme, such as #GBNEXT. Sometimes organizers will publish an “official” Twitter hashtag on the event website.

Next, I upload a product image via Twitpic with a tweet along the lines of:

#Greenbuild preview:  Product Name by @Manufacturer, booth number 123 #GBNEXT

The link for the Twitpic image will appear in the tweet. Then, I post the tweet inviting others to post to the gallery. For example:

#Greenbuild exhibitors upload product images to the @Twitpic gallery. Use hashtags #Greenbuild or #GBNEXT http://ow.ly/6qm8i or http://ow.ly/6qKfz

I’ve even posted invitations to events such as cocktails in a tradeshow booth – just save that invitation artwork as a jpeg and post! It’s a great tool for getting everyone on the same page, literally, well ahead of a tradeshow.

Written for Environmental Design + Construction: http://www.edcmag.com/blogs/14/post/a-twitpic-diy-to-boost-trade-show-visibility-

Tweet Me Green

by Leanne Newman on September 9th, 2011

Within the Green Earth PR Network, we each have our social media “favourites”, meaning the type of social networking we each like to do.  My personal preference is twitter.  I love hearing the 140 character snippets from interesting people across the world.  I love making a connection based on a common interest with someone in Auckland, England, Vancouver and New York City as easily as I can with someone down the street. And I love seeing cool pictures from perfect strangers of their trip to Marrakesh.  Yeah, I know.  Some people don’t get it, but there are millions of twitter users who do.

So when work and my fascination with twitter come together, it’s complete fun for me. I was asked to host a #kbtribechat twitter chat for kitchen and bath professionals next Wednesday, September 15th from 2:00 – 3:00 pm EST.   Since a large portion of my work deals with kitchens only, I asked Green Earth PR colleague and bath product expert Nora DePalma, to co-host with me.  The chat is a gathering of industry professionals with common knowledge and professions, sharing ideas, advice and experience all within 140 characters.  It’s fast paced and entertaining and it’s a personal challenge to keep up with the idea stream as well as contribute.

Nora and I are formulating five questions to pose to the group within the hour about green communications and claims in the kitchen and bath industry.   Once the questions are tweeted, we watch, learn and comment as the responses flow in.  Our topic is entitled, “Shades of Green: Determining what IS and ISN’T”.  Even if you’re not involved in the kitchen and bath industry we will be talking about manufacturer claims, materials, responsible practices and general green principles which apply to business as a whole.

Search the hashtag #kbtribechat on twitter and drop by to say hi. Find me @woodnewman and Nora @noradepalma.

Grammar of Green™ Communications – think before sharing

by Nancy Rogers on August 16th, 2011

Think before your speak. This childhood adage serves me well as a communications professional.

In films “Did I say that out loud?” may get a laugh. Not so much in the business world when the words are instantly blared via multiple channels—tweets, emails, images and posts. The consequences can be costly.

Starting smart, rather than losing time and dollars attempting to correct mistakes in the flood of information is worth the effort. Message mapping is a valuable exercise. Take the time to deliberately consider your objectives, audience, and language. What do you want to accomplish?

What are your objectives?

Fuzzy objectives do not lead anywhere useful or build the foundation for a compelling story. Consider the purpose.

Inform the audience?

Launch a new service or product?

Demonstrate thought leadership?

Differentiate your offering from the competition?

Challenge the status quo?

Inspire action?

Increase sales?

Build loyalty?

Recognize achievement?

What do you know about your audience?

The more you understand your audience, the more effective message development and channel selection will be. Professional organizations, third party partnerships, industry events and trade publications are good resources for B2B outreach. Aligning channels and audience ensures that format and language support objectives.

What are credible sources of information on this subject for the target group?

What channels are most effective?

What holds the attention of the audience?

What motivates them to act?

Are the benefits clearly and simply stated?

Is your story relevant?

Do you open a conversation that respects the audience?

Does your language align the objective, audience and selected channels?

Word choice and arrangement form a potent pair. A message developed to build visibility may not generate sales. A pithy tweet may lead to a very technical white paper.

Is the message memorable?

Are the words chosen the best for this story?

Is the language familiar to the audience? Is the syntax correctly applied?

Do the words distinguish the products or services from competitors?

Do the visuals complement the language?

Have you tested the message on impartial ears and eyes?

The fall trade show season and 2012 communications plans are around the corner. To stand out from the crowd, rely on clarity, consistency, and transparency when delivering green messages. Please share examples that work or fail from your reading, online journeys and industry adventures.

Published:  http://www.edcmag.com/blogs/14/post/grammar-of-green-communications-think-before-you-speak and http://www.sustainablefacility.com/articles/87443-sustainable-facility-blog-2011-08-15-grammar-of-green-communications-think-before-you-speak

The Real Deal: A tribute to Ray Anderson

by Lisa Lilienthal on August 9th, 2011

I love my work, which sometimes consists of entire days – weeks even – stringing words together to help someone else tell their story. It is gratifying to have the trust and confidence of my clients, to be sure, but some days, there just aren’t any words left for me to tell my own story. Today, I needed to save a few for myself.

Ray Anderson died yesterday. We worked together for nearly 16 years, and as I often assured a skeptical journalist, he was the real deal. A brilliant intellect with a natural gift for communication, he was a publicist’s dream client: articulate, passionate, sincere, so adept at staying on message that he taught me a thing or two about it. As his success would suggest, he was not only visionary, but he was competitive and tenacious, while at the same time a superb collaborator.

When I first began working with Interface, it was on a small project — a corporate open house. The marketing director and I hit it off and stayed on as a consultant. It was mid-1995, almost a year after Ray had made what would become a legendary speech to an internal task force, turning business-as-usual on its head. A small band of believers within the company were charting out the course, the “seven fronts of sustainability” were being developed, and the image that would become iconic, Mount Sustainability, emerged. I suggested to Ray that we should talk about what the company was doing.

“If the press is interested in what we’re doing, they’ll find us,” he demurred. I persisted, and one day in a conversation about how the company would define the term “restorative,” I had my opening. Wouldn’t one dimension of restorative be the power of influence; Interface leading by example and helping other companies find their way along the path the company would travel? Ray was converted, though always cautioned: “Don’t let the talk get ahead of the walk.”

Over the next 15 years, we’d work and write together, strategizing on two books and more than 1,500 speeches and interviews. Everywhere he went, Ray got a standing ovation, and I think that — the burst of applause that would fill the room, bouncing off the ceiling as the audience stood, enduring long past the point of a polite clap — became a sort of validation that he was really getting through, making a connection, making you think.  It never failed to thrill him, to humble him, to spur him on.  And while I know that his passing yesterday was peaceful, I’m counting on the fact that it was meet with the standing-ovation-to-end-all-standing-ovations on the other side.

The rest, as they say, is history — as it should be. For my part in it, I will be forever grateful to Ray and to Interface – for giving me meaningful and important work that has changed my own life and that of so many others. Of course, there will never be another Ray but his legacy will endure. And as for the man who is committed to keeping Ray’s vision alive? Yep, Dan Hendrix is the real deal, too.

Communicating Green, Trade Show Participation Part II

by Louise Mulherin on July 13th, 2011

It’s time to start thinking about your company’s Greenbuild presence, check this blog post from ED+C magazine for tips on how to walk the green talk. What is your company doing to tell your green story at Greenbuild?

Communicating Green, Trade Show Participation Part II 2011-07-13

And don’t forget, with Greenbuild in Toronto this year, US residents will need a valid passport to attend, be sure yours is up to date.

Next Gen Green

by Leanne Newman on June 24th, 2011

You know those little plaques you can get with your baby’s footprints? Or the paintings that kindergarten kids do with handprints that get slapped on the fridge until you realize that the hands aren’t quite so small anymore? What about those shadow portraits of their profile in silhouette? All great keepsakes that parents treasure forever – or at least until you realize that you’re overcome with keepsakes and start recycling. As parents, we love seeing the imprints of their little lives and how they grow.

My youngest son Carter (and forgotten middle child as he likes to call himself) graduated from Grade 8 last night. He is moving on from the school he has attended since the age of four when he entered Junior Kindergarten. Yes, I have the footprints, the handprints and the silhouette, but this kid did one better.

For at least the past five years, Carter said he would be Prime Minister of his school. He is pretty goal oriented this one, and sure enough, ran for “office” last fall and successfully became the big man on student’s council. As he was writing his speech, I told him to think about what he would like to accomplish in the year and work backwards from there.

He said he wanted the school to be more environmentally friendly, and it became one of his platforms in his campaign. He wanted to “green” the school.

He investigated a program called Ontario ecoSchools (http://www.ontarioecoschools.org/) found a willing teacher to help him take on the task, formed the committee and took it from there.

On Wednesday, June 29th (appropriately my birthday) he will be accepting the “Silver” designation from Ontario ecoSchools. His school is the first elementary school in our district to reach this level in a first attempt. Last night at graduation, he was presented the Environment Award for initiating and successfully achieving this designation.

Proud? Um, yeah. Incredibly so. Have my green views rubbed off on my kids? I think I’d like to take a little credit but I will hold on to his handprints and let him enjoy his incredible accomplishment of reducing a school community’s footprint.

Communicating Green: Trade Show Participation Part I | 2011-06-09 | ED+C Magazine

by Lisa Lilienthal on June 10th, 2011

Green Earth PR Network’s own Louise Mulherin has contributed a blog post to ED&C magazine‘s site, just in time for summer trade show season and the big daddy of the commercial interiors world, Neocon.  Here are her tips for thoughtful trade show participation and attendance:

Communicating Green: Trade Show Participation Part I | 2011-06-09 | ED+C Magazine.

And, don’t forget that Green Earth PR offers CONNECT, a web-based subscription database of the best events in the B2B green/sustainability/corporate social responsibility space!

Grammar of Green Communications: Conversation Tip – Know Your Audience

by Nancy Rogers on May 20th, 2011

We take for granted that our modern business world operates 24/7. Personal and work-related calls intersect on cell phones along with texts, tweets, emails and more.

While caller ID can be a life saver, we occasionally ignore technology only to receive a gentle reproach from friends or family expecting a more personal greeting. This predictable exchange is a reminder of a basic tenet of all communications and especially green conversations—know your audience.

Most of you reading this post spend a portion of each day reading updates and exchanging ideas around environmental, social and economic issues. It can be a shock to realize that we have co-workers and neighbors who have never heard the phrase Triple Bottom Line or greenwashing. Seriously, and they are not hermits.

Although it seems elementary, remember talking above or down to your audience will not serve your message or produce the desired call to action. The value of your knowledge and expertise is multiplied when you have the capacity to share information effectively. Even within the green community, designers have concerns that vary from facility managers. A healthcare industry group may offer questions on a different path from hospitality or higher education.

If you want to motivate or educate your readers, listeners, family, friends or followers, here are five tips for green communicators:

  • Convey points in a manner that has value for the audience. What do they expect from you?
  • Offer facts that they can use in a way that they will remember. When appropriate, use humor and personal experiences. For example, what was the first item you recycled?
  • Determine in advance whether the conversation will operate in the same or similar shades of green. Where is your audience on the path to sustainability? The metrics may be determined by passion, experience or shared goals. What is the key take-away and have you presented it effectively?
  • Use simple clean language to reduce confusion. We all use jargon. If in doubt, test your draft for a fresh perspective. Recognize that their baseline may be misinformation.
  • Be authentic and transparent.

Do you have green communication examples that would end tree planting on the low end or create a forest on the high end? Please share.

First posted on http://www.edcmag.com/blogs/14/post/grammar-of-green-conversation-tip-know-your-audience.

When It Pays to Spend on Trade Shows – BusinessWeek

by Lisa Lilienthal on May 3rd, 2011

Networking, product launches, expert positioning, competitive analysis — all are great reasons to think about attending a trade show.  But when does it pay to exhibit?  Here’s a great piece from BusinessWeek Small Biz.  The ideas really apply to any size company.

CONNECT, the event management tool from Green Earth PR Network, provides a great overview of the sustainability and green business space, and is an intuitive and easy-to-use tool that helps you evaluate and develop your trade show/event calendar.  We’re offering a one-year subscription for $595.  Contact us for an online demo!

From the article, “Although webinars and virtual online trade shows have become popular in recent years, and serve a marketing purpose, they are not replacements for face-to-face events … “

When It Pays to Spend on Trade Shows – BusinessWeek.