Mood-boosters.

TJA CMS (Celebrity Meditation Service).

For April Fools, our team created a series of meditations guided by recognizable voices. While these aren’t part of our traditional offerings, we wanted to share some laughs and some zen with our community.   

Listen and share your favorite tracks with your friends.

Why having a marketing team in a time of crisis is crucial.

How companies can recover from an unexpected event.

No business is ever 100% ready when a crisis hits. While you’re reeling from a major event that impacts your day-to-day operations, it’s easy to feel like you’re falling behind. When time is of the essence and your company needs to think on its feet, you’ll be glad to have a marketing team behind you: they will deliver a quick and appropriate response to your audience, and you can focus on steering the ship.

The time for belabored, designed-by-committee strategy plans is gone. The agility of a specialized marketing team streamlines go-to-market initiatives, whether you’re in reaction or recovery mode. When the status quo is changing by the hour, decisive action is a priority, regardless of your industry.

Rapid response in an evolving environment. 

Publicize your actions and efforts without delay. Whether you’re fielding customer inquiries, putting out press releases, or posting digital content to keep your consumers informed and instructed, a dedicated marketing team can alleviate the pressure of saying the right thing in the right way. Maintaining an active online presence also conveys confidence to your customers and partners, providing a sense of security that your organization is prepared to weather the storm.

Importantly, if you have any pre-scheduled content that is supposed to go live, ensure your team evaluates and edits it for appropriateness. This isn’t the time for radio silence, but releasing tone-deaf or callous content is even worse.

Business as (un)usual.

Marketing helps drive commerce—yes, even during a crisis. While the messaging that accompanies a commerce strategy should be thoughtfully executed, carefully considered marketing encourages consumers to engage with your brand and the economy at large. Some of your business offerings may pivot to accommodate what the market requires under the circumstances. Lean on your marketers to promote these new services or products to the right audiences through defined targeting.

Go where the people are: individuals are likely to spend more time online and on social media during a crisis to stay informed, check up on friends and family, or take a mental break. Cater to this digital audience by communicating frequently and raising awareness about your brand in order to stay front-of-mind. Utilizing strategies like paid social media, paid search, email campaigns and more will put you in front of the right people as they spend even more time online.

This doesn’t apply to me.

If you’re operating in an industry that is less affected by the crisis, it’s still highly recommended that you take a moment to consider a long-term response with your marketing team. Think of the actions your company will need to take when this crisis comes to a conclusion; bring your decision-makers to the table and assess how your organization will adjust to changes in the economy at large; talk about how to modify campaigns and messaging to reflect the emotional state of your consumers.

Ethical marketing in a time of crisis.

Marketing with empathy and sensitivity will lead to positive associations with your brand. Fear mongering, misinformation, and preying on insecurities won’t go unpunished. Brand responses are monitored closely, and the public is not afraid to take down those who are tactless. Now more than ever, it’s critical to have a team of specialists who knows how to navigate the changing tides with sincerity and an in-depth understanding of your audience.

If your organization needs assistance with crisis communication, recovery strategies, digital presence or more, reach out to our team. We specialize in creative responses to novel situations, and can help you brainstorm ways to integrate new approaches. Whatever you need, we’re ready to support you.

Start the conversation

5 tips to help you calm the crazy during photo/video shoots

A big shoot is coming up, and you’re getting prepared for the fast-paced, rapid-fire action. If you haven’t read our blog on everything that comes before the shoot, go check it out now to make sure all your bases are covered. Shoot days are always sprinkled with a bit of mania since time is limited and there likely isn’t a second chance to get it right. This guide is here to help you make the most of your day, keep the cast and crew efficient, and minimize the guesswork involved when calling the shots.

Bring your bible.

You’ll live by your shotlist on the day of the shoot. It serves as the rough itinerary of your day, and has all the information that anyone involved with the shoot would need to know:

  • The contact information for the crew, client, talent and venue
  • Shoot schedule
  • Concept overview
  • Storyboard and moodboard
  • Keywords and messaging
  • Script
  • Model release forms.

Bring one for yourself, and bring a few extras for key members of the shoot.

The purpose of a shot list is to tell you precisely what you need to capture and how. It minimizes the time spent hemming and hawing over how to get the right angle, or whether you should do certain shots now or later. Of course, there will always be some in-the-moment decision making, and you’ll have to be flexible if the shot you planned isn’t executing the way you hoped. But the keywords here are “it minimizes time.” Often, you get one go-round at a big shoot. Do-overs are impractical and expensive, so pre-planning as much as possible helps you when you start rolling.

Scout. 

It’s a tale as old as catfishing: online pictures are not always faithful to the IRL experience. If you’ve only been able to see the shooting location online, make sure you take some time before cameras, cast and crew all show up to scope out the scene for yourself. Maybe things have moved, buildings aren’t as attractive as they once were or it’s much, much smaller than you had envisioned. Give yourself the chance to prepare for these new circumstances, or plan alternatives to make things easier. Doing this in advance saves some time. 

Hot tips: 

  • Google street view. It’s not like being there in person, but if you only have architecture shots from five years ago to go off of, the street view gives a more faithful day-to-day representation for outdoor settings. 
  • FaceTime. If you have someone on the ground you can call, have them give you a quick, virtual walkabout. 
  • Have a plan B. Even before you go scouting, do a little research on what other nearby areas could serve the same purpose if you need to make a last-minute switcheroo.

Get there early. 

We cannot emphasize this enough. Whatever you think is early, show up half an hour earlier than that. Murphy’s Law seems to apply in double doses for shoot days. Having a little extra time at the beginning to get your mind right, smooth the rough edges, make sure everyone is adequately caffeinated, relocate people who are sitting in a spot you have to set up, help crew with any questions, run over your shot list, etc. etc. etc. will help the whole process. 

What to do when people don’t show. 

Welp. It was bound to happen sooner or later. But now’s no time to panic: you brought those extra model release forms, right? Okay, great. Look around you. Are there people walking by who would be able to fill those roles? Approach them politely and ask them if they want to be in a movie. We’re entirely serious. This is one of those times where you just gotta roll with the punches and do the best you can with what you got, and sometimes who you’ve got is a kind stranger off the street.

Keep an open mind.

Having a flexible approach is your biggest strength. Be ready for anything (and we mean anything) and stay light enough on your feet to make quick decisions. If you see the potential for a better shot than the one you had planned, be willing to take that calculated risk. This is a creative activity, after all. Trust your crew and talent to do what they do best. Know when you’re needed to manage a situation, and otherwise, take a step back and let it flow.

So you installed Google Analytics. Now what?

Five easy(-ish) things to do to get better, useable data from Google Analytics.

It is not enough to simply put Google Analytics on your website and check that box saying you are tracking how users are interacting with the site. You have to think about why your site exists: are you a restaurant and want people to view your menu and make reservations, or are you an e-commerce site and want people to make a purchase? Or maybe you run an educational site and want users to use it for information—like reading blogs and watching videos. Keeping the overall goal of your website in mind helps you customize Google Analytics to give you the information that will help you make better business decisions. Here are five metrics you should pay attention to when tracking user behavior on your site.

Views

Views give you the ability to start segmenting out your data. Although Google will allow you to have up to 50 different views, here at TJA we have four standard views that we set up for all new accounts:

  1. All Website Data + Filters – Think of this as your official consumer view. This view would exclude any internal traffic (like, for example, your office IP address), have any goals you wish to track (more about those below) and any filters (like making all page paths lowercase).
  2. Internal Website Data – Your employees (or agency) will 100% interact differently with your site then your target audience, so make a view that measures only their traffic. This view will help immensely when checking how pages are registering in GA.
  3. Testing – This view exists to play with or test any filters or goals. You would never report on numbers in this view. Since this view is for testing, it is not necessary to set up any initial filters to exclude different user segments.
  4. All Website Data – This is the default view that is created when first setting up your account. There are NO filters on this view (duh!).

Goals

Within Google Analytics you can set up four different types of goals to make sure users are getting the intended value out of your website.

  1. Destination: a specific page/location is reached. Example: thank you page for registration.
  2. Duration: users stay on the site for a specific length of time.. For example, sessions that last longer than 10 minutes
  3. Pages/Visits: a user views a specific number of pages per session. Example: your website exists to be a resource tool, so you might want to track if users are visiting at least three pages as a way to gauge the usefulness of your content.
  4. Event: in Google Analytics you can set up event tracking for things that do not necessarily require a new webpage to load, things like start and pause on a video, or download on a white paper. Once you set these up as events, you can add them to goal tracking.

Things to know about goals:

  1. You can have a max of 20 goals per view. Have more than 20 goals? Then you would need to set up an additional view (with the same filters) to track the additional goals.
  2. Goals cannot be deleted. You can turn them off so that they stop recording, but once they are set up, they have one of 20 seats for life.
  3. Goals will only work AFTER you set them up; they are not retroactive.

Turn on demo tracking

Within Google Analytics you can turn on a feature to track the gender and ages of your website visitors. In order to do this, you must have the proper privacy disclaimer in place on your website. Understanding how men or women, or people that fall within different age cells interact with your website can be a gold mine! It can help influence decisions like how to utilize media dollars to get more customers.

Learn more about turning this feature on here.

Annotations

Do you have post-its all over your desk f of scribbled reminders? Annotations are like post-its to Google Analytics. Get a pick-up on a press release? Annotate it. Start a paid media campaign? Annotate it. Make major website changes? You guessed it, annotate it.  

One of the fun features with annotations is the ability to make it private or shared, meaning your annotation can exist solely under your login or you can share it with anyone else who has access to the account.

Custom Alerts

So you don’t have time to be in GA every day? Well, this is the tool for you: within Google Analytics you can set up custom alerts so if your traffic suddenly spikes (or dips) you’ll get an email.

Because the things that keep you up at night will change, Custom Alerts can be edited or even deleted when they are no longer serving their purpose.

Click here for a how-to on creating and managing custom alerts.

And there you have it: five steps that will net you actionable data from your website. Getting Google Analytics is an important first step, but getting it set up correctly can be game-changing! If you understand the necessity of a proper Google Analytics strategy but aren’t quite sure where to start, let’s have a conversation. We can help you make the most of your data.

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