Crafting a Company Culture That Grows With You

Crafting a Company Culture That Grows With You

Company culture is one of those things you hear popping up almost everywhere these days, but what is it really? Head of Recruiting for Stifel John Pierce wrote in Forbes that “Company culture refers to employees’ shared norms and expectations. It’s the “how we do things” of your workplace”.

Building this is important in any company, but it’s even more important for companies looking to grow and hold on to the magic that got them going in the first place. Here’s a couple of ways to build an adaptable, unique culture that scales with your company.

Anatomy of a Speaking Opp

 
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Here at cred, we pride ourselves on securing the best speaking opportunities to meet the goals of our clients. To accomplish this with success, we’ve built an extensive process to make sure these goals are clearly defined, set, and reached.

The Planning

It all begins with the client kickoff. This is where we start our on-boarding process by diving into the company and speaker(s) to understand where speaking fits into their overall communication strategy. We've created our own process that asks the right questions to help us become successful.

Once we have an idea of the speaker’s high-level topics, we develop our speaking platform, which serves as the roadmap for our work.

The Day-to-Day

The bulk of our day-to-day work consists of content curation. We create numerous topics and speaking angles aligning our speaker’s expertise and background with key themes relevant to their industry and target audience.

Additionally, event research and outreach are the bread of butter of our speaker management. We’ve built a database of more than 10,000 events (and counting!) from scratch broken down by industry, deadline, past client feedback, and more, as one of our key research tools. It also helps us stay on top of any key deadlines, which we easily track on a weekly basis. We target high-value events that align with a client’s program goals, from conferences to webinars to meetups. We’ll even do opposition research to track where competitors or key partners are speaking.

Lastly, we’re constantly connecting with organizers early to understand what types of speakers they’re seeking, and fostering those relationships so we ensure we’re adding value to their agenda.

Our work isn’t only limited to engaging with our speakers and event organizers. We understand speaking is just one component of a company’s marketing/PR strategy, and are accustomed to collaborating with PR firms and marketing teams to ensure we maximize the impact of an opportunity. For highly competitive events, such as Cannes Lions and SXSW, we’ll work directly with our clients to develop a more curated session.

The Impact

Communication and planning are key. All event updates are updated in real time in our shared events trackers, so clients can see progress and a full picture of speaking activity.

Once a speaking opportunity is secured, we manage all event logistics—from confirming the session date, time, and topic, to managing prep calls, deadlines, and on-site details. We ensure speakers feel prepared and know what to expect before hitting the stage.

When an event is complete, we take feedback into consideration so we can iterate on future speaking opportunities. This allows us to refine and optimize future activity to build an impactful program. We’ll also gather feedback from the event organizer to help understand the audience’s take on our speaker’s session and how to make the next presentation stronger for future events.

Successful thought leadership comes from not one, but multiple successful speaking arrangements to target audiences, and we are passionate in helping speakers get to them.

Interested in working with us to help expand your speaking program? Connect with us at speak@credpr.com!

(Infographic: Gina King)

(Infographic: Gina King)

 

Staying on Top of It: 5 Helpful Tools to Stay Organized

 
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We all come from different professional backgrounds. We hold different positions, work in different industries, have different titles and responsibilities, but one thing is the same: we all strive to stay organized.

Staying organized is an art form many of us struggle with. To kickoff the New Year, getting organized is essential. There are hundreds of fantastic tools to help you meet your organizational needs. Not sure where to start? Here is a breakdown of our top five favorites.

1. MixMax: MixMax is here to make your email life easier. If you are like us here at cred, then you live in your inbox. This gmail extension has great features to enhance and customize your inbox, including setting reminders, scheduling emails, and creating templates. It helps us keep our constant client communications in order, so important tasks don’t slip through the cracks.

2. Quip: When your to-do list needs a makeover, try Quip. This list can be used as an app for your phone and/or desktop, and can also be used in your browser. You can collaborate with other colleagues by sharing lists or tagging them in tasks, and you can add trackers, calendars, and spreadsheets to keep you ahead of your long list of to-dos (if that is even possible). We use Quip for some of our personal to do lists and for our team meeting agendas.

3. Zoom: If you haven’t heard yet, we started an office down in Sacramento! A huge part of our everyday schedules is utilizing video-calling tools like Zoom to stay connected to our long-distance friends. We use Zoom during one-on-one, team, and company-wide meetings and even use it for having virtual coffee dates to better get to know each other outside of work.

4. Slack: Slack is a must-have in our office. Collaboration is a huge part of our values, and we are constantly working together and communicating within our office. Slack allows us to chat individually, or in groups. We also have different channels, or group chats, where we post updates depending on the topic of interest for that channel. We utilize this tool for many reasons, especially for asking quick questions to those in and out of the office, and for updating each other on industry or personal news.

5. Google Calendar: Don’t we all love Google applications? We take advantage of all things Google, but a personal favorite is Google Calendar. Calendars are meant to keep track of important dates, calls, meetings, events, etc., but that’s nothing new. The great thing about Google Calendar is being able to share co-worker’s calendars, so we are always on the same page. We are always moving and shaking, and having a calendar that we can sync with other coworkers is a must.

The best part about organizational tools is there are a bunch to try and see how they work for you. We’ve listed a few of our many favorites, now what are yours?

 

Storytelling Elements for Public Speaking

 
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Whether you are speaking to a small room of five people or an auditorium of 5,000, storytelling will make your presentation memorable. Studies show people are more likely to retain information when it is told through story. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:

1. Keep it simple.

Make sure the details you’re sharing are necessary to the story. Too much information can be overwhelming for the audience and make your story hard to remember. It’s easy to add fluff, but it’s hard to refine your thoughts to align with what matters.

  • Tip: Edit, edit, edit. Read through your story multiple times and take out unnecessary fluff.

2. Use emotion.

Make people care about what you’re saying. Yes, statistics and data can be helpful, but using a genuine, real world example that utilizes emotion has been proven to be more effective. It makes the information stick with your audience and has a lasting impact.

  • Tip: Use names! Giving a face to a story makes it more personable and memorable.

3. End strong.

Every good story has clear conflict resolution. This is where your message should be clearly defined without open ends. It should be obvious and leave the audience feeling inspired! Use wording that will resonate with your audience and remember to keep it short and sweet.

  • Tip: Try limiting your message to one sentence or just a few words. Setting a word limit can help center and focus your thoughts.

 

All About the Experience: Connecting Beyond the Digital World

 
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The live experience is not dead.

While we can listen to free music on Spotify, we jump at the chance to see our favorite bands in concert. While we can FaceTime family from across the country, we endure the pains of traveling to spend the holidays together. While we can go on YouTube to watch keynotes and presentations, we travel to different cities to  hear thought leaders share their ideas live.

Why? Technology allows for valuable connection, but in-person interactions create irreplaceable and authentic experiences outside of the digital world. An Eventbrite study found 78% of millennials  are fueling the “experience economy”—spending more money on experiences rather than materials.

Here are four reasons why it’s valuable and important to attend events in today’s digital era.:

1. Learning IRL Instead of URL

Listening to a speaker in person offers a rich opportunity to actively watch, listen, and receive information. According to a recent Forbes article, “like artists, the best speakers are original and relevant in the moment. You can’t get that online. The best reinforce a mission, catalyze an audience, even inspire action.” Face-to-face interactions help motivate and mobilize people, rather than just being another message on the other side of a screen.

2. Networking

Nothing beats gathering people in one place in real life. According to The Muse, “conferences are one of the single best ways to network.” Instead of having to come up with an icebreaker, a conference provides a common topic to chat about: the conference itself!

You may not only make new connections, but also could potentially make new friends. Thirty percent of millennials say they met someone at a live event that became a good friend. Who knows, the conversations you have at an event may be even more valuable than the content.

3. Ask Questions, Get Answers

When a session includes a quick Q&A, make sure to bring your questions! While you may already follow a speaker on Twitter or have their email address, make the effort to introduce yourself personally and ask a question directly. The answer they provide face-to-face may be more extensive than over a tweet or email. Conferences allow for direct access to experts and thought leaders seen on stage.

Events allow you not only to gain insight from speakers, but also from other industry professionals. Gather intel from fellow attendees on topics and ideas that are of interest to you. Translate those insights into actionable takeaways that you can implement at your company.

4. A Change of Scenery

How often do you actually set aside time to learn something new relating to your field or industry? Conferences and events offer the opportunity to embrace a posture of learning. Take advantage of listening, asking questions, and participating in discussions at events. Embrace the change of scenery and extract all that you can from the experience.

People appreciate live experiences, even with an abundance of online content available. Watching videos from behind a screen is not the same as watching a speaker live from the audience. People truly value the event experience: learning from speakers in live settings, networking with other attendees, and implementing relevant takeaways.  

Interested in attending more events? See where we’re speaking next and subscribe to our monthly newsletter today!

 
 
 

How to Leverage Social Media for Your Business

 
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With nearly two-thirds of the population checking social media daily, there has never been a better time to utilize online platforms as a business tool. In fact, last June Instagram, reached a whopping one billion monthly active users, making customer engagement just one click away for most businesses.

For some people, social media may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. When executed correctly, social media is an incredibly effective marketing tool. It serves to boost brand exposure, encourages two-way communication, and humanizes your brand. No matter your experience with the various social media platforms available today, we’ve compiled eight  cred-approved strategies below to help you drastically improve your online presence.

  • Establish a clear goal
    No matter what your goal is, make it SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Once you have established your one clear goal, you and your team can collaborate on how to achieve it. Remember, it needs to be realistic. You won’t get 1,000 followers overnight.

  • Commit to your brand
    In order for your company to be distinguishable from competitors, it’s important to establish one style for your brand. Every post, retweet, and Instagram story should be in line with your brand. This includes keeping everything consistent, from voice to aesthetics.

    • Pro tip: People are drawn to authentic brands so don’t be afraid to show personality, but always keep it professional. For more tips on developing your personal brand, check out this post.

  • Stay on top of trends
    Channel your inner Austin Kleon and steal like an artist. When you notice new trends on social media, leverage it to your advantage by improving or expanding upon it. Things are popular for a reason. If you see a creative Instagram story or an engaging tweet, save it and then improve it later to make it your own.

    • Pro tip: Tag your location using Instagram Stories to broaden your reach and then organize your stories into highlights.

  • Use the right hashtags
    Make it a daily habit to search trending hashtags on Twitter and Instagram to see what people are talking about. By consistently #hashtagging related content on your posts, your account will gain more traction and followers.

  • Make customer engagement a priority
    Social media has opened the floodgates to instant gratification. In a matter of minutes, you can comment on a post and receive a response, and this makes customers feel important. By interacting with users daily, your company will be on its way to boosting followers and building credibility.

  • Track your analytics
    Create a business account to learn more about your audience’s behavior and demographics. With Instagram Business Tools you can track your impressions, outreach, profile views, website clicks, and more. With Twitter Analytics, you can measure and boost your impact on Twitter by viewing your impressions. These insights will help you gauge what days and times are best for you to post your content, this way you can provide more timely and relevant content for your followers.

  • Create a content calendar
    Using business accounts, find out the best times to post on your feed, then plan out your content for the month. By using a calendar, you can keep yourself organized and have your content scheduled ahead of time. This way, you’re never missing a day or struggling to find content to post.

    • Pro tip: Create content ahead of time and save them in your drafts. When the day comes around, all you have to do is press send.

  • Make a commitment
    Last, but certainly not least: staying on top of mind should be your number one priority. In order to make an impression, you first need to make a commitment. Set reminders to post daily on social media so you never miss a beat.

By making time to post consistent, relevant, and relatable content on social media, you will be able to expand your reach, boost your brand exposure, and engage more frequently with your audience. By using these tips, you will be well on your way to improving your online presence and increasing your brand’s credibility.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

 

Inspiration On-The-Go

 
 
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Here at cred, we work with a list of clients who have turned inklings of ideas and moments of inspiration into influential businesses. While collaborating with these founders and funders, one of the biggest lessons I’ve taken away is that inspiration can be found in the most everyday experiences, and you can inject creativity into even the most routine projects. 

What’s one everyday experience most of us share? The commute to work. Whether you’re on a train, catching a bus, walking to work, or sitting in traffic on the highway, you’re probably wearing headphones, scrolling through the news on your phone, or reading a book. For me, this is a time for catching up on news or listening to music, but I find that the entertainment I use to drown out BART noise often shows itself in my work. 

Below are a few of the things I’m enjoying on my way into work, then incorporating into my work day: 

What I’m Listening To (Podcast Edition):  ZigZag

While listening to a recent episode of 99pi, I heard a preview of a new show called ZigZag— ”mini-stories about entrepreneurship, deciding how to align your values with your ambitions, and building strong partnerships”—and immediately subscribed. At cred, we work with many clients on both sides of these partnerships, both founders and investors; and while we know their stories—the successes, the challenges, the roadblocks—it’s a completely different experience to listen live as the hosts, Manoush and Jen, allow listeners to sit in on a meeting with a potential investor, or be a fly on the wall during their conversation weighing the pros and cons of building a business with venture funding. I’ll be tuning in over the next few weeks, to follow their progress and get an up-close and personal look into the life of an entrepreneur.

What I’m Listening to (Playlist Edition): Hit Parade’s “Feat. Don’t Fail Me Now” Playlist

Can you tell that the backup vocals in Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” are Mick Jagger? Or that the high pitched voice in David Bowie’s “Fame” is John Lennon? You wouldn’t know from the way the songs are credited. A recent episode of Hit Parade explored how the music industry went decades without crediting featured artists, and they made this playlist of songs featuring uncredited artists—a lot of them music industry royalty. How has this fit into my work day? In the cred office, almost every project we work on is a group effort, and listening to this playlist has been a low-key reminder to collaborate whenever possible, ask for ideas, always give a shout out to people who helped push a project toward the finish line. (Bonus: This playlist functions as a great lineup of classic hits, for when you need to throw on your headphones and focus).

What I’m Watching: Explained

If you’re someone who prefers to watch a quick episode of TV on your train ride, Explained may be the show for you. After many, many coworkers recommended this show, I had to check it out (at home, not in transit), and it’s the episode on cryptocurrency that really stuck with me. We work with leaders at the forefront of the blockchain space—a huge sphere of innovation to learn the basics on—and this quick lesson was the perfect primer on currency exchanges. If you’re more inclined to written word than ledgers, the episode on the exclamation point is another great choice.

Do you have a favorite podcast, book, movie, or song that’s inspiring your work? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

The Power of Why

 

What is it that separates our favorite companies (looking at you Southwest Airlines) and leaders (hello Sheryl Sandberg) from the rest? Simon Sinek believes the answer lies in cultivating a strong sense of “Why.” These leaders, companies, and products have a clearly defined purpose.

Simon, an unshakable optimist, leadership guru, and visionary founder—is the author behind the best-selling book Start with Why and the influential TED talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” Guided by his principles of inspiration and mission-driven living, cred spent the last month exploring our own Why. Here’s what we learned!

1. Start with a Map: Seeking the Why behind personal and professional actions is an extremely daunting task. To alleviate confusion, Simon introduces a clear framework for organization called the Golden Circle. The Golden Circle is a schematic that helps visualize the What, How, and Why behind a person or product. Here’s the breakdown:

  • WHAT: These are products or services.

    • If we take cred for example, the WHAT is securing speaking opportunities for clients.

  • HOW: These illustrate the action behind a company or individual’s What.

    • For cred, our Hows are writing pitches, contacting event organizers, and building positive industry relationships.

  • WHY: The core purpose, cause, or belief!

    • cred’s Why is to connect speakers to engaged audiences so that they build thought leadership and create environments that inspire.

2. Craft your Purpose Statement: Once you’ve defined the What, How, and Why, it’s time to reflect on its relevance in your own life. This can take shape in many ways, but we found it helpful to create sentences with a handy template: To___ so that ___.

The first blank represents contribution—the thing you or your company does to bring about results—and the second blank represents the impact of that contribution. Plug in the blanks and - Voila! - you’ve got a purpose. While it’s never as easy as that, finding purpose is possible and an extremely rewarding journey!

3. Share: Success goes where energy flows! Once you’ve built a purpose statement, share it in the comments below. We’d love to celebrate your mission!