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Media and Public Relations in the Digital Age

Media and Public Relations in the Digital Age

Why there’s still plenty of room for the personal touch in cyberspace.

If you caught our previous post on the power of communication, you know the importance of media and public relations isn’t lost on us. Making the right impression and building positive relationships are essential in every walk of life, and doubly so for business. In the digital age, the opportunities to excel at both are fantastic.

However, even amid the vast arena of cyberspace, there’s still a place for more traditional ways to connect. Read on for our insight into entering the spotlight, influencing people, and maybe even making some friends along the way.

Public relations and the art of blogging

The humble blog is one of the most powerful tools in the public relations toolbox. They’re an incredibly versatile way to package your thoughts, ideas, and identity in a personalized way. The world is estimated to contain a billion websites, with 350 million of those being blogs on the Tumblr platform alone. A further 12 million people blog in various capacities via other social media platforms like Facebook. For a business looking to promote themselves, the benefits of a blog are huge:

  • The average company with a blog receives 97% more inbound links
  • Websites that contain a blog have 434% more indexed pages
  • Blogs lead to 67% more views and leads
  • Blogs have been rated as the fifth most reliable source of information

That last fact (via blogging.org) is a very important one when it comes to media and public relations. It helps a business create a strong image of not only personality, but of professionalism and knowledge in their field. Blogs are also an ideal way to give to your readers. Whether it’s industry insight, free gifts like white papers, money-off codes, or just good old-fashioned entertainment, your blog can boost your reputation while being something people benefit from.

Don’t worry if you don’t feel you’re much of a writer. Putting a video on your blog not only gives people a face to match the name, you’ll be helping out almost 50% of the public who look for them before visiting a store.

TV is more powerful than ever

Television is everywhere! It’s on your cell phone, it’s on your laptop and tablet and, oh yes, it’s still on the wall. It’s true that traditional TV time among the 18-24 demographic is dropping, but that still adds up to over a hefty 12 hours a week of TV watching. As the age demographic increases, so does the amount of time spent viewing.

It really doesn’t matter which type of screen you’re being viewed on: when you’re a business, it just counts that you’re being seen. Niche/specialty shows are among the most popular on the air. If you’re able to get yourself some airtime on a show that specializes in your desired audience, you’ll be ahead out of the gate. The viewers will already be interested in what you can provide. All you have to do is share the very best of yourself to make a great impression.

We’ve learned this from personal experience: our appearances on Good Morning America, The Food Network, and QVC helped get our cakes and our brand in front of national audiences and continue to spur interest by consumers and companies alike.

Getting in front of influencers

Putting your business directly in the line of sight of the public can be a struggle. Getting attention from journalists, bloggers, and others capable of influencing media perception of you is a big help. You can find them by first studying who is influential in your field. The key to success here is that word again: niche.

Who does your own desired audience follow or trust? If you can manage to get yourself mentioned by these influential parties, your public and media profile will benefit by association. You can search out influencers using their social media profiles.

In our case, we’ve been fortunate enough to not only be featured in national magazines, but through our catering events and features at food festivals, we’ve reached a number of media influencers who’ve helped us continue to grow.

The human touch endures

You can send a text, email or video clip in the blink of an eye…so why would the old-world notion of a handwritten “thank you” note make any impression to a modern customer? The fact is, it makes a positive impact on your business relations that can hardly be overstated.

Consider the company who wrote 13,000 of them to their customers and went on to success as a result. Giants like Hallmark (who should know about handwritten things) rate such notes very highly. Business-savvy media like Entrepreneur praise the handwritten note for demanding focus and reinforcing fond tradition.

To take it one step further, if you have a product you can distribute to the press via media outreach, a tangible sample or gift can make a huge impression in this age of emails and digital press releases. We also encourage our corporate clients to use our cakes to cut through the clutter and reach influencers, media, and loyal customers to help spread the word about their business.

Conclusion

We’re living in the best of both worlds when it comes to cultivating media and public relations. You can be everywhere in cyberspace, at any time, for everyone. Traditional methods of reaching out are far from being redundant; they’ve only increased in value. When these approaches are combined with confidence in who you are and what you can give, your reputation and relationships are set to grow and grow.

At We Take The Cake, we understand the personal touch. For over twenty years, we’ve continued to craft each cake by hand using only the finest ingredients. We are proud to include among our customers nationally recognized caterers, party planners, private clubs, world-famous hotels, and exclusive resorts. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help your business make an impact, drop by our contact page and get in touch!

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Building a Company Brand and Culture

Company culture and company brand: what you need to know

Create a culture and build a company brand that work together.

The buzzwords of “culture” and “brand” seem to be everywhere today. And there’s a good reason for that. Successful businesses know that their company brand and culture go hand-in-hand to create the essence of a company that is reflected in everything they do. It’s walking the walk in every aspect of your business, internal and external, and that leads to better relationships with both customers and employees.

The key is consistency

Your business, brand, and culture need to be well-defined, and every piece of your business and your decisions should mesh with and reinforce each other. Your brand and culture, inside and out, should be based on your interests, strengths, and authenticity, as well as what your market wants and needs you to be.

Company culture

Company culture includes your physical work environment, how you live your company values, ethics, mission, your work and management style, and more. Different cultures might be right for different types of businesses, though it all comes back to defining what you want to be to both your staff and your customers. Regardless of what that culture looks like – from a traditional, formal workplace to a progressive, creative, and laid-back environment – when employees fit and embrace the culture, they are likely to be happier, and more productive because they believe in and identify with the company. You are one team working together.

Your company brand

Creating a company brand requires a lot of thought. As you develop your brand, ask yourself these questions.

  1. What are you selling? Have you done your market research? If not, you’ll miss the mark and the market. Consider this quote by Charles Revson, founder of Revlon. “In the factory, we make cosmetics, in the store we sell hope.” To successfully brand your product or service, you need to know what needs or wants your consumer has, and how your product fills them. Strategic company branding can result in the stronger brand value, and that creates a positive emotional or social connection with a consumer. Think about watches: they tell time, but for some people, they’re much more than that. They are crafted timepieces that connote lifestyle, wealth, and personality.
  2. Have you chosen a company name, brand name, and logo that’s distinctive, yet one that won’t become obsolete, confusing, or irrelevant as your business evolves? A recent article in Investor’s Business Daily explores why Burlington Coat Factory recently changed its name to Burlington Stores. “One of Burlington Coat Factory’s biggest obstacles in recent years might have been right there in the retailer’s name: coats. There was a bit too much emphasis on coats, many believed, and not enough on T-shirts, dresses, table linens, fragrances, makeup and other things that exist outside the business of cold winters — in essence, the sales opportunities for retailers in the other three seasons.”
  3. What is your brand story? What is your reason for being? At We Take The Cake, we believe cake isn’t just a dessert. It’s a symbol of celebration, happiness, friends, and family. That’s why we take so much care in creating the most splendid and delectable cakes and cupcakes… because we know what it means to our customers. Despite expanding our offerings and adding new treats over the years, we’ve insisted on sticking with the wholesome, handmade recipes we began with and providing exceptional service so that the experience is always joyous and easy. That’s our reason for being, and we infuse that into everything we do.

Whether you’re just starting a new business or have been around a long time and are looking to reinvent or invigorate your company brand and culture, it’s important to take a hard look at what you want your business to be for both your staff and your customers. Once you identify what that central essence is, it becomes easy to find ways to live it and share it every day and in every aspect of your company.

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Build Your Business by Building and Leveraging Your Network

Build your business by building and leveraging your network

“Networking” doesn’t have to be hard to do; you just have to be yourself.

Your network has great potential as a business-building tool. If your networking is not working as well as you think it could, maybe you’re trying too hard and not being your genuine self. Here are some steps to make your efforts more successful.

First of all, it’s attitude

You want people to want to help you, not because they feel pressured to or obligated to. If you approach networking opportunities with the overriding, continued hard-sell calculation of, “What’s in it for me?” it’s unlikely to be successful. If you come across too aggressively, if your contacts feel like they’re being used, they’re going to want to run away as quickly as possible.

While of course you are seeking to benefit from networking, the better question that will yield more positive results is, “What can I do to help you?” Make a connection that sets the right tone for how you could work together in the future.

Goals, target, and providing value

To make networking most successful, you need to know your goals. Is it to get a personal introduction to a few key people? Add hundreds of names to your mailing list? What’s your plan? Keep in mind, investing in a few meaningful relationships could be much better for business-building than indiscriminately passing out your business card to hundreds of strangers. Your goal is to connect.

As you network, think of how you can create value for others. How can you be a resource for someone, their go-to when they need help in the future? If you do offer to help them in some way and they accept the offer, keep to your commitment. Your reputation is on the line. Nothing could be much more detrimental to your networking efforts than to build up a contact’s hopes, have them thinking this could be the start of a positive relationship, and then for you not to follow through. Odds are they won’t be interested in connecting with you again, and if they express that sentiment to their network, it could hurt your business-building efforts many times over.

What you should do is periodically keep in touch with contacts by showing them you’re thinking about them and their business. Share a relevant news article, provide an introduction to someone with whom they can connect, or send a holiday card (or cake!). Once you’ve shown a sincere interest in them and their business, you’re more likely to get a positive response when you ask them to help you out in some way.

Leveraging your network

Depending on your type of business, you can leverage your network of existing customers by incenting referrals. These customers already know and like your business, and would probably be happy to act as your sales ambassadors knowing there’s something in it for them such as a discount, an upgrade, or a free good or service.

Follow up and thank you

If someone in your network goes out of their way for you, first thank them for their contact and suggestion, and once you have followed up on their recommendation, thank them again, and let them know the outcome. Everyone likes to be acknowledged and thanked. Unfortunately, these seemingly peripheral pleasantries often go by the wayside. An email or text thank you is okay, but a handwritten snail-mail note is even more impactful. Make your thank-you meaningful, and you’ll stand out as someone who’s appreciative, thoughtful, and someone they’d be more likely to help again in the future.

If something more than a thank you note is in order, make your expression of appreciation unique and memorable. We encourage our customers to do this with cake, and not just because we sell cakes! To us, cake isn’t just a dessert. It’s a symbol of celebration, happiness, friends, and family. So when you say ‘thanks’ with a cake, you’re creating a deeper bond with that recipient. And that’s what networking – and genuine relationships – are ultimately about.

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International Sensations in Food

  2018’s Tastiest International Food Trends

International Taste Sensations Trending in 2018

At We Take The Cake, our specialty is baking and decorating hand-crafted cakes using only the finest all-natural ingredients. Our wholesome homemade recipes have stood the test of time. But as foodies, we’re always open to new taste adventures!

The world is getting smaller due to the digital revolution and social media. The world is now our playground, and the United States is becoming more diverse. Our curiosity is piqued by new people, new places, new sounds and tastes. So, we thought we’d share the latest international food sensations and 2018 trends, coming to a coffee shop, restaurant, or supermarket near you!

1.Coffee and tea with something extra

• Coffee Plus: We don’t mean milk or a flavored syrup. Cinnamon, cardamom, and other herbs and spices are the new coffee mates. Café de olla is a traditional Mexican coffee with cinnamon and panela, an unrefined, nutty flavored sugar. And in Yemen, coffee might have cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, fennel, or anise. “It’s almost like coffee’s chai. Chai uses tea as a base to add different herb and spice blends. Coffee is going to pop in that way, too,” according to Food Business News.

• Tea: Matcha will continue to make its mark. A special Japanese green tea, it’s a more potent source of nutrients and antioxidants than regular green tea because the whole leaves are ingested.

2. Umami meals for breakfast

Consumers are starting to want a non-sweet start to the day, with savory flavors from China like jianbing becoming more popular. The dish, which is made of a breakfast crepe, hoisin and chili sauce, egg, pickled vegetables, and herbs, can also be accompanied by other Asian favorites like barbecue pork, drunken chicken, Peking duck, and kimchi.

3. More from the Middle East

According to Whole Foods, “things like hummus, pita and falafel were tasty entry points, but now consumers are ready to explore the deep traditions, regional nuances and classic ingredients of Middle Eastern cultures, with Persian, Israeli, Moroccan, Syrian and Lebanese influences rising to the top.”

4. Moringa

There is a lot of hype around moringa as the next superfood. It has a dried spinach flavor and comes from the dried leaves of a plant found in African and Asia. It’s full of protein, fiber, potassium, calcium, and Vitamin A, and you might start seeing it in packaged foods and beverages.

5. Slow dough

Probiotics continue to be a big trend, and in 2018, less-processed, easier-to-digest foods will remain center stage, including the Roman pinsa, which is a flour blend with a long fermentation time. Similarly, sourdough’s popularity will be on the rise.

6. Sweet stuff: ice cream

• Macaron ice cream sandwiches: As if the French macarons weren’t enough, the trend is now to put ice cream between two large macarons, a new iteration of the ever-popular ice cream sandwich.

• Rolled ice cream sandwiches: A Thai treat, rolled ice cream is smashed into a thin layer and then rolled and piled with toppings.

• Matcha ice cream: As with many flavors, once it catches on in one product, innovators quickly introduce it in new products. This year it will be ice cream.

With so many new tastes and flavors to explore in 2018, now’s the time to feed your adventurous side and indulge in some new treats that will expand your taste horizon. Bon appétit!