One of the most common questions we have received during the last few months has been how to handle marketing and sales efforts during the pandemic. What is appropriate? Although there is no guidebook and instruction on the right answer to that question, there are countless examples of some really great ways to pivot your marketing efforts so you can continue reaching your target audiences appropriately and effectively. In our opinion, Coldspring, a valued client since 2006, has done an ama...
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Strategic Planning in a Virtual World

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The word Strategy came into use in the English language in the early 1800s. It was derived from another English word “Stratagem” that has been in use from late 15th century. The words trace their roots to the Greek, Stratos 'army' + agein 'to lead’.Strategic planning makes many people groan and roll their eyes even in the best of times. According to the Association for Strategic Planning, strategic planning is the process used to formul...
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In an effort to share crisis communications tips during this pandemic, AOE sat down with Whitney Belkowitz, President and CEO of Intelligent Concrete, LLC, to learn about their approach to communicating related to COVID-19.  Intelligent Concrete, LLC is an international company that provides research, development, testing and consulting services for the concrete and construction industry.  She shared that one of her passions is helping to bring new and emerging technologies to market.Q...
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A recent study by the Zeno Group indicates that one of the many things that has changed during the COVID-19 era is our values. Specifically, for the first time since the Great Depression era, Americans have shifted from materialism to frugality, and away from self-centered ambition toward duty. The research shows that the values rising most in importance today are those associated with family, interpersonal relationships, self-sufficiency, honesty, thrift and duty. This shift may not come a...
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Mindful or mind full?

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TIME magazine named 2014 the Year of Mindfulness. For a few years following this declaration, mindfulness, or Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), became a common key topic in business circles. Then the buzz moved on to other topics. Today, however, with the advent of COVID-19, MBSR is coming to the forefront again. Why the interest? Now more than ever before, business requires you to face a range of fast-paced and ever-changing challenges, as well as make decisions in a stressed and ...
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PR trends for 2020

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By Laura Merritt, AOE Special Projects Manager After having worked in the communications field for more than 20 years, I thought I had seen just about everything. No level of experience has prepared any of us for what we are currently facing with COVID-19. This includes our friends in the media.Considering just how much our world has changed over the last few months, Cision’s 2020 report on the State of the Media could not come at a better time.We cannot turn on network TV, check our ...
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As some states loosen restrictions related to COVID-19, many are preparing for the next phase of this pandemic. Although the scenarios range from opening businesses and offices again to phased or staggered operations, as well as a multitude of other scenarios, the one constant is the necessary role of good communications. It is key to pause at this time and prepare for the next wave of planned messages.In early to mid-March, everyone was thrown into communicating about their organization and COV...
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Because of shelter-in-place orders, in March, our team was tasked with moving the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Convention from an in-person event expected to be attended by more than 2,200 people in Rosemont, Ill., to a virtual format in a mere 17 days. (ACI is AOE’s parent organization).  Despite the short notice, we managed to hold 179 online meetings during the week-long event, which was attended by 1,474 unique people for a total of 344 hours of meeting time!  Whew&helli...
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Marketing in a challenging economy

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The following was authored by guest blogger Brian Gallagher, Vice President of Corporate Development for AOE client, Graycor.As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the economy, businesses in the construction industry face dynamic  challenges. Many firms are tightening their belts and cutting expenditures. During challenging economic times,  communicating with prospects and clients is more important than ever. While activity has slowed, companies still need  resources, s...
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While employers everywhere are reading blogs on the best ways to transform their teams with the new virtual environment, many tips are being shared on how to keep folks connected via video platforms, chatrooms and the like.  AOE has even written some of those blogs, offering tips on video meeting etiquette and staying connected with your team.  While these tips are needed as so many of us have quickly shifted to a work from home environment, the suggestions usually address productivity...
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