Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Make Culture Happen. blog part 2 of 2

Picking up where we left off last week…

At Shamrock, our unique corporate culture is borne from the intentional work that we do—and most importantly, the way in which we do that work. Our charge is to help individuals and companies perform at their highest levels. Here’s how we make that happen for each of our key stakeholders: 

Individual Employees.
What attitude do you bring to work every day? How does that affect the people around you? We encourage and celebrate the four key concepts in the book FISH:

1.    Play – Have fun! Take your job seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously
2.    Make Their Day – Find a way to make someone’s day, every day!
3.    Be Present – When talking to someone, give them your full attention
4.    Choose Your Attitude – Bring positive energy and enthusiasm to work every day

Implementing these principles is likely to make you better at your job and happier in your work.

The Company. We believe in nurturing a workplace environment where everyone works to make each other better. The book Gung Ho! provides some great guidance with three simple principles:
•    Worthwhile work – everyone’s work is worthwhile and important to the company’s success
•    Empower employees with the control to achieve the goal
•    Cheer each other on!

Work to reimagine your workplace: Create an office/warehouse/jobsite where people are free to ask questions and challenge the status quo. Celebrate teammates through continuous encouragement and positive feedback—this creates a cohesive sense of team comradery where everyone achieves more.

Community & Charity. We believe in giving back and helping others. And we do it together. Shamrock’s Culture Club keeps our team engaged with events like blood drives and kickball games, volunteering and charity fundraising. This provides quality time together away from work, and makes our employees feel better about themselves and the company they work for.

Our Clients. Satisfied clients are not enough; we want our clients to be Raving Fans! In his book, Ken Blanchard explains the three secrets of Raving Fans Customer Service:

Step 1: Decide what you want - Create a detailed vision of your future customer service model centered on your customers.
Step 2: Discover what the customer wants - Be prepared to alter your vision in response to your customer’s feedback and individual needs.
Step 3: Deliver your vision plus one percent - To create a raving fan you need to exceed on delivery of your customer service promise each time the customer deals with you, the customer needs to believe that they can count on you again and again. Consistency creates credibility!

Also consider that Raving Fan clients are less likely to leave, and more likely to offer additional opportunities and expand your business relationship.

Again, at Shamrock, we believe in being more than a company that provides great marketing related products and services. We believe in helping individuals and companies perform at their highest levels. We’ve created a culture where having a positive attitude and helping and cheering each other on is expected. We are proud of our commitment to giving back, and we celebrate when our clients send Raving Fan thank you notes because we’ve succeeded in exceeding their expectations.

We are a trustworthy, effective, and likeable company. Yes, culture matters!

If you’ve got questions about how to implement a corporate culture program like ours at your company, connect with me at

Good luck!

Bob De Garmo

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Culture Matters. blog part 1 of 2

Mission statements. Core values. These are the guiding principles that capture the essence of our businesses, articulating who we are, what we do, and why we do it. But these words on paper are only effective if they translate into everyday action.

That action is something we’re deliberate about at Shamrock: We work to align our actions—to not only do what we say we’re going to do, but to be thoughtful and deliberate about how we approach that work, and one another. In doing so, we’ve created a unique corporate culture.

By its definition, corporate culture is the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company's employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions. Every company has its own culture. Some good, some not so good. So, how do you create and nurture a dynamic and engaging corporate culture? I have a few thoughts:

Define your purpose. If you want your employees to be inspired, they need to feel like there is a bigger purpose to their work and that their contributions make a difference. To accomplish this, start by defining your values and beliefs and then actively communicate them to all employees. This will set the standard and guide all internal communications and decision making.

This quote from Simon Sinek sums up the value of working with purpose: “If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”

Share your vision. Clients care about your beliefs, as well. “People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” (Simon Sinek) So, be creative about including your clients in your work—invite them to be part of charitable events, use social media to share and engage them in your campaigns and encourage their participation. (On the flip side, offer to contribute and lend a hand in their efforts, as well!)

Get specific. At Shamrock, we believe in being much more than a company that provides great marketing-related products and services. We believe in helping individuals and companies perform at their highest levels.

So, what does that look like? How do we provide the support to drive that performance?

We focus our work on four areas (or audiences) in order to accomplish our mission, all of which shape our culture by validating what’s most important to us as a company. We’ve identified these as our primary pillars:
  1. Individual employees
  2. Our Company and how we work together
  3. The communities and charities that we support
  4. Our clients and how we serve them
In next week’s blog, I’ll break down each of these important groups and identify the programs we’ve implemented to support them. 

All the Best,

Bob De Garmo

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

7 Steps to Getting Brand Trust Right

At Shamrock, we’re all about sharing the wealth—so we’re reposting this article from Content Marketing Institute that offers valuable tips about how to build trust in your brand. Here’s the article in its entirety:

There’s a crisis in consumer trust. At least that’s the word in the research.

The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed that only 48% of the U.S. population trusts business as an institution (a 10-point drop from 2017).

Yet, brand trust is one of the biggest factors in consumers’ purchasing decisions.

According to PwC’s Consumer Insights Survey (2018), 14% of respondents put trust as their No. 1 reason for choosing a retailer. “Trust in brand” was the second most frequently cited reason for purchase decision-making.

But while 72% of CMOs feel pressure to secure brand trust, it’s not always clear how to take ownership of it. This guide can help.

Step 1: Know your brand-trust goals (and how to measure them)

Do you want your customers to be raving about your company on review sites? Do you want them to recommend your products or services to friends and family? Do you want loyal customers who patronize your business?

Define what brand trust means to your organization. Detail what success looks like and how you will measure it.

To monitor how your brand is talked about online, set up Google Alerts for your brand keywords. When they appear online, you’ll receive an email from Google.

You can also monitor how well your audience trusts your brand by checking out relevant review sites – Google My Business, Yelp, Trustpilot, or industry-specific destinations. You can track mentions and conversations on social media with social media management tools like Hootsuite.

You can ask your customers directly for their opinions on your brand through online tools such as Survey Monkey, which provides templates you can customize. You can conduct an online survey to find your Net Promoter Score (how likely they would be to recommend your business to a friend or colleague) or assess customer satisfaction.

Step 2: Appoint a brand trust lead

Although this step isn’t mandatory, consider it if you’re keen to get your brand trust right.

Your brand trust lead is responsible for ensuring that your brand’s goals and vision are well detailed – how you want to be perceived and how you go about achieving trust. The lead can develop blueprints and protocols for how to achieve trust in your content, across your marketing activity, and in your customer service.

This person also can be responsible for monitoring and evaluating perceived trust of your brand, and for leading changes to continually improve your brand trust.

Step 3: Be authentic through brand storytelling

Authenticity is proven to be at the heart of trustworthiness. Consumers today are not interested in the sales pitch, the marketing lingo, or the “key benefits.” They want to know who your brand is.

Achieving authenticity comes down to your company’s DNA – your values, your goals unrelated to profit, your culture, etc. Out of this comes your brand’s unique and authentic voice.

Be authentic by being present – respond to negative feedback, address complaints, engage with your customers online (failure to respond to customers on social media can increase churn by 15%). And when you make a mistake, own it.

Be authentic by telling stories, which can better engage your customers and help develop a relationship, and, therefore, build trust.

Getting your storytelling right means developing a brand narrative. Nike tells its brand story not by promoting its products or even its brand. It tells the story of Rory McIlroy as a child looking up to his hero Tiger Woods and then finally meeting him. Only toward the end does the viewer see the trademark swoosh and the slogan “Just Do It.”

TIP: Invite your customers to tell their stories. Share these on your social media platforms and use a relevant hashtag to attract other customers to tell their stories too.

Step 4: Offer consistent customer experience

Customer service, while critical to any business, is somewhat limiting in its ability to develop a trusting relationship. It’s transactional – answering a question, helping pick out the right product, or troubleshooting problems.

Customer experience goes further, looking at the person’s journey through your brand. If done well, it provides your customers with a personalized, unique, and consistently high-quality experience that demonstrates that you understand them and their needs.

The better the experience your customers have, the more likely they are to trust you as a brand. According to PwC, 73% of consumers cite customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions, yet only 49% say companies deliver.

TIP: Review your customer journey and list the touchpoints between your customer and your brand. Identify the opportunities where the relationship can be enhanced through, for example, heightened personalization.

Step 5: Focus more on relationships than conversions

Businesses understandably tend to fixate on conversions, sales, and revenue. However, those that focus on customer relationships first will be paid dividends in the long run.

According to Wunderman Thompson, 56% of consumers feel more loyal to brands that “get them” – that have a deep understanding of their priorities and preference. These brands have taken time to understand their customers and made efforts to build relationships.

TIP: Treat your first-time customers like VIPs, set a high benchmark for your relationship from the beginning.

Step 6: Embrace transparency

Transparency about your business is a crucial factor in eliciting trust. According to research by Reach Solutions, 58% of consumers don’t trust a brand until they’ve seen “real-world proof” that it’s kept its promises.

Transparency is showing your customers the truth about your brand, your products, services, etc., so they can determine for themselves if you’re worth buying from. Don’t expect them to take your word for it.

How you prove your transparency depends on your business. Transparency, for example, could be publishing third-party research about your products, divulging ingredients for your products, or responding openly and honestly to queries on social media.

Step 7: Build social proof

According to a Nielsen study, 92% of global online consumers trust word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family above any other form of advertising (up 18% since 2007). While this illustrates consumers’ growing distrust of advertising, it also shows that peer reviews and social proof are more important than ever.

BrightLocal’s research also backs this up. In 2017 and 2018, reading a positive review made survey respondents more likely to use a business. Only a small proportion (15%) said they didn’t let reviews influence their decision.

TIP: Interact regularly on industry-related review sites with customers who are talking positively and negatively about your business. (Sign up through a tool like Mention to alert you of online mentions so you can respond in real time.)

Ready to trust?

Brand trust is a big deal for marketers in 2019. It’s time to be proactive about it.

Your brand trust relies on what you say to your customers, how you say it, and how you prioritize their needs. It is communicated in your transparency – how you own your mistakes and inject your personality – and how you prioritize relationships over sales.

Building trust with your customers isn’t easy, but leaving it to chance won’t cut it anymore. If you take steps to own it, consumers will choose you above your competitors and, if you maintain their trust, stay with you for the long haul.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Use AI to Improve Marketing Outcomes.

Some people argue that digital technology has dulled our minds. (Even our text messages are auto-corrected!) But the truth is, technology makes us smarter marketers.

It used to be that we manually analyzed mounds of consumer data in hopes of aligning our marketing programs for greater ROI. But Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology changes all that. AI automates the process of refining big data which we can use to better target our customers, serving them the right message, at the right time, using the right channels.

A recent article in Entrepreneur by Albizu Garcia outlines the benefits of using AI to drive marketing automation and make valuable brand connections. Here’s a quick summary:

Reach more qualified customers.
AI uses customer data to efficiently engage new customers who match existing customer profiles. It allows you to target customer leads based on personal interests, buying habits, geographic activity, and past interactions—these can then be combined to create a list of likely targets.

Based on this customer-profile data, you can send highly-targeted (and even better: personalized) content using email marketing, social media marketing, targeted ads, direct mail, etc. to engage them at every stage of the sales funnel.

Boost customer retention.
After you find new customers, keep them loyal to your brand by continuously providing value and relevant content. AI is a great tool to make that happen by serving up tailored content and personalized recommendations or by offering assistance via chatbots.

Drive operational efficiency. “Chatbots are a vital tool in increasing efficiency while decreasing overhead costs. A chatbot can use personalized information for each customer it speaks to, allowing it to provide real-time, valuable assistance or service in a targeted and friendly manner.”

Read the full article here.

Improve brand consistency. Most of us use multiple digital devices throughout our day. AI allows you to create a seamless experience between devices and across multiple channels so that customers are engaged—and opportunities are not missed.

As AI technology continues to evolve, we’ll see it used more in marketing automation as a tool to simplify processes.

Are you using AI in your marketing program? If you’re interested in learning more about it, connect with me directly at

Tim Connor