Breaking business news and updates in and around Columbus
Women at the Table begins with Girls on the Run
Almost 500 girls will take over Columbus Commons next Saturday morning with their Running Buddies for the Girls on the Run Franklin County 5K. The "What's Your Dream" themed race marks the girls' completion of 10-week Girls on the Run / Girls on Track after-school programs aimed at developing emotional IQ, leadership skills, teamwork and physical strength in girls and young women.
Chasity Kuttrus will be her 9-year-old daughter's running buddy on May 30. Kuttrus, who coaches the Girls on the Run Program at her daughter's school, says the program imparts empowering messages which "you want an 8-year-old girl to hear and a 30-year old."
As an executive coach who focuses on the development and advancement of female leaders, Kuttrus sees value in beginning such coaching early. Kuttrus' firm, Executive Elements, hosts leadership retreats for Columbus' Fortune 500 companies and one-on-one coaching for female executives.
In one client testimonial, Flying Horse Farms CEO and president Cynthia Lazarus says Kuttrus "has served as a coach, mentor and sounding board for me throughout the typical ups and downs of someone in my position...She has a unique gift that enables her to look at challenges in a different way and helps you strategize the most effective and constructive manner of going about solving the issue."
Kuttrus also plays a central role on Women at the Table, an initiative started 5 years ago by Columbus leaders including Tanny Crane, Donna James and Elfi Di Bella. Women at the Table connects corporate boards with qualified female candidates. The Table database currently has 75 board-ready candidates which companies can access free of charge.
"Those board positions are out there," says Kuttrus. Increasing female representation requires "effort and being very deliberate."
Collaboration and being part of a solution to a problem facing many corporate CEOs is key to increasing female representation on local boards, she adds. "You never want to lead into a conversation creating a defensive audience. Tone matters a lot in these situations."
Kuttrus recommends WELD Ohio as a resource for women seeking to develop board-readiness. The city, she says, has an interesting
"cycle of support" among organizations and businesses with the shared goals of increasing female and minority involvement at the executive and board levels.
"Corporate clients need help being supportive of women and men" in their whole lives, not just their careers, says Kuttrus. "These things don't happen by chance."
COTA's team named grand champions
COTA bus operators and maintenance crews win 2015 International Bus "Roadeo"
Guest Blog: A Snapshot of Risk Management in 2015
Survey conducted by the Risk Institute at OSU's Fisher College of Business shows how businesses create value through risk management.
Ohio State Foundation receives largest total donation in Big Give
The 24-hour online giving event, launched in 2011 by The Columbus Foundation, brought in a total of $15 million for 587 nonprofits
Girl Scouts appoint 2015-16 board
Tomorrow, the Columbus Metro Club will host "Thriving or Surviving: The State of the Girl," a discussion between former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown, Theresa Pettis, executive director of Columbus Public Schools and Tammy Wharton, CEO of theGirl Scouts of Ohio's Heartland on the challenges facing Ohio's girls and what can be done to promote their advancement.
The Girls Scouts of Ohio's Heartland have announced their 2015-16 board appopintments. They are:
Secretary of the board of directors Nancy Pyon
Treasurer of the board of directors Gwen Von Holten
First Vice Chair of the board of directors Jennifer Reimer
Second Vice Chair of the board of directors Annette Whittemore
Chair of the board of directors Julie Holbein
Kathy Lowrey Gallowitz
J. Peter Olsen
E. Gayle Saunders
Jeni’s scoop shops to reopen by Memorial Day weekend (with a new flavor)
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams announced today that its scoop shops will be reopening in time for Memorial Day weekend
Thirty-One Gifts takes the charity car wash to next level
Thirty-One Gifts CEO Cindy Monroe invites Stanley Steemer to HQ for employee car detailing to benefit the Salvation Army
Guest Blog: Preparing for the growing demand of nursing professionals
Career technical programs provide continuing and college-track education options for in-demand nursing professions
Guest Blog: Velvet Ice Cream's 4th-gen leaders share the secrets of their longevity
Changing times call for planning, flexibility and frankness in family business, say the fourth-generation leaders of Velvet Ice Cream.
Guest Blog: Marketing Your Business (It’s Not About You)
By Keith Flint
Now that spring has arrived and we’re in a mindset for rebirth and renewal, take a fresh look at your content to ensure it speaks to your customer’s needs instead of your wants. And the best way to make that change is to understand that everyone will benefit from the shift.
The evidence is prolific. Late last year, articles on improved customer engagement appeared in what seemed to be a desperate, year-end push to alert marketers to their mistakes. Then, a high-profile Forrester report appeared that gave failing grades in customer engagement “effectiveness” to marketers of technology, software, investing, medical products, manufacturing, and services. It, combined with our own empirical observations, upholds one definitive observation: Companies talk too much about themselves, to the detriment of communication effectiveness.
You know what it’s like trying to sift through promotional content. There’s too much superfluous material – information that is of little value and no interest to a potential customer. It’s like being cornered at a party by the boor who insists on describing his recent surgery in excruciating detail. No one wants to hear that. But we do listen to what we care about most.
Give ‘Em What They Want
The best communicators are excellent listeners. They hear what their audiences say. They listen before responding. Then they deliver value that is based on—fueled by—what they’ve heard and what they’ve learned from it.
Your highest-value customers are busy, just like you. They need solutions, but it’s difficult for them to allocate the time needed to thoroughly research options. Customers often become frustrated and discouraged when they feel the available content is self-serving. It diminishes effectiveness, reduces sales, and can erode customer confidence in your brand. Instead, be sure to present content your prospects are keen to consume. Remove every barrier that stands between them and the help they need. They’ll appreciate that you’ve taken the time and put forth the effort to offer them something of value. A solution to their challenge. An answer to their question. An idea that resolves a key issue. Make it easy for them—even when it’s not easy for you. Do the work so they don’t have to. And they’ll reward you with their business.
Make Sure You’re Getting it Right
Follow these steps:
- Listen carefully. These are your customers. Get to know them by digging into all the information you can collect about them and their business. Understand their challenges. Empathize. Your sales force can be a great resource for this.
- Create real-world solutions. Address their challenges, problems, or questions. Keep it relevant. If you must talk about yourself, keep that relevant, too. Position yourself not just as a thought leader, but also as a “do leader.” Clarify the benefit you offer and the value you provide.
- Be honest about the competitive landscape—it’s rare that any product is perfect by every measure. Consumers are smart and understand this, so meet their challenges head-on, and speak to what you can and cannot do, and you’ll gain immense respect for it.
- Follow up. Confirm your prospect received what was needed. Make them as much a priority after the sale as before. They’ll remember that you made the effort to ensure their satisfaction. This is a rare step, so it makes a lasting impact. Engage a phone team, or at least send follow-up emails. Make the effort—it won’t go unnoticed.
Keith Flint (614-942-0914; Keith@simarketing.net) is Strategy Director of Sudden Impact Marketing, a marketing firm that has utilized phone, direct, traditional, and interactive marketing to serve high-tech B-to-B clients since 1997.
Gay Street Collaborative hosting Moonlight Market
Downtown merchants host Moonlight Market: Gay Street's small businesses invite local merchants to street festival and marketplace on Saturday, May .
Guest blog: Developing a video-marketing plan
By Doug Dibert
Video marketing is a powerful pillar in holding up a robust marketing plan. Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s head of business and content operations, said earlier this year that online video is on the cusp of a growth spurt, much like cable television 30 years ago. How does your organization create a video marketing plan that fits your goals and connects with the audience you’re wanting to reach? These 4 steps should help you lay a great foundation that can benefit your company for years to come.
1.) What target(s) are you wanting to hit? Do you want to tell your company’s brand story? Are you wanting to create a series of FAQ videos about a product or service you offer? Are you using it for an email marketing campaign? Get with your team and talk about what you want the end results to be, define that end goal clearly.
2.) How many videos do you need to create and how long do they need to be? Some may need only one video, others may need a series of videos. For time length, a general rule of thumb is keep your videos under 2 minutes, although in some applications it can be longer. If you decide to hire a professional video production company they will need to know how many videos you want to create and how long they need to be in order to give you a cost.
3.) DIY or professional video producing company? These days, everybody wants to DIY. It’s ok for some applications, and some it’s not. That something you and your team are going to have to figure out. Do you have someone in house that knows how to create videos? If so, give them a shot and see what the end results is. You never know, you may have a Steven Spielberg on your hands. If Mr. Spielberg isn’t on staff then you need to hire a professional company to create your video content. The reason why you want your video to look professional is your video content will reflect your brand. A good cost estimate to create your content is around $1,000 per finished minute, give or take. Go with a company that connects really well to your project, is passionate about what you want to create, and gives you lots of ideas.
4.) What Video Marketing Platforms do I use? You have your obvious of putting your video embedded on your website, but there is also email marketing, YouTube channel, Facebook Video Ads and Twitter videos and much more. Knowing your core audience will help you determine which platform will work well for you to distribute to your eager audience.
These four steps will help you craft a pretty solid foundation for your video marketing plan. Don’t wait another day and miss the video marketing boat. Build your boat, lift up the sails, and catch that wind to a new world!
Doug Dibert is owner of Crossing River Studios, a Columbus-based video producing and marketing company. He may be reached at 419-346-7979 or Doug@CrossingRiverStudios.com.
Ohio Film Group & CCAD partner to grow Columbus film industry
Post-production studio coming to CCAD MindMarket, new film scholarships announced
Already a solid year for Columbus tourism
Data from the Experience Columbus Q1 visitor industry report shows Columbus tourism benefits up year over year.
New Longaberger CEO cites divine providence in accepting leadership roles
Tami Longaberger resigns, CVSL vice chair John Rochon Jr. appointed president, chair & CEO
Guest Blog: Hispanic population promising for business marketers
Guest Blog: Hispanic population promising for business marketers
Jeni's Gets Some Love from Fans in Short North
Local businesses are among those showing support for Jeni's during recall.
Franklin County allocated $19 mil. economic development in 2015
First-ever Franklin County Commissioners' State of the County Report cites joint development initiatives through Columbus 2020, ECDI and Rev1 Ventures.
Melt owner a contender for National Small Business Person of the Year
US SBA names Matt Fish Ohio's 2015 Small Business Person of the Year; CEO of HMB named winner in Columbus District
Update: Jeni's Recall to Cost an Estimated $2.5 Million
The company will destroy more than 535,00 pounds (265 tons) of ice cream.
CEO Health Focus: Raising Parkinson’s Awareness
April is national Parkinson's Awareness month, to be followed by an Ohio Theatre appearance by Michael J. Fox in May.
Columbus Startup Week: A who's who of the Columbus startup scene
CMH Startup Week: Five days with the city's brightest founders, developers and investors.
Guest Blog: The Garden of Leading
As part of Columbus CEO's ongoing executive coaching focus for April/May, executive coach and CEO of Synergy Consultants, Mary Ann Singer, on how leaders can grow and nurture their teams.
Breaking: Jeni's Closes Shops, Recalls All Ice Cream
The company announced a voluntary recall today because of a possible listeria contamination
AEP Ohio & Columbia Gas of Ohio win national EPA award
Congratulations to Columbus-based AEP Ohio and Columbia Gas of Ohio. The partners' EfficiencyCrafted new homes program has been awarded the 2015 Energy Star Partner of the Year award by the U.S. EPA. The full details of the award and the program follow in today's announcement from AEP (photo courtesy of AEP Ohio):
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized AEP Ohio and Columbia Gas of Ohio with a prestigious 2015 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year - Sustained Excellence Award and a Market Leader Award for their continued leadership in protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency.
Through their cobranded program EfficiencyCrafted, AEP Ohio and Columbia Gas of Ohio collaborate in their territories to assist homebuilders in incorporating energy upgrades that exceed current code and provide greater energy savings and built-in value. The program also recognizes builders who attain the highest level of the program—EfficiencyCrafted and ENERGY STAR Certified.
“Through their sustained participation with ENERGY STAR, AEP Ohio and Columbia Gas of Ohio are helping Americans save money, save energy, and do their part to reduce our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
“I applaud these two utilities for earning EPA’s highest ENERGY STAR award, the 2015 Partner of the Year - Sustained Excellence Award, demonstrating a strong commitment to energy efficiency and to preserving a healthy planet for future generations.”
The two utilities’ accomplishments were recognized in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2015. This is the fourth consecutive year that AEP Ohio and Columbia Gas of Ohio have received ENERGY STAR’s Partner of the Year Award, which also earns them the distinction of Sustained Excellence.
Since the EfficiencyCrafted new homes program was introduced in 2010, over 110 builders have been enrolled in the program and more than 7,500 homes have been built. Over half of these have also earned the ENERGY STAR Certified Homes label, which requires builders to incorporate a number of additional building and energy performance features.
“We are honored to receive this award from the EPA for EfficiencyCrafted homes that collectively have saved nearly 2.3 million CCF of natural gas and over 19.9 million kilowatt hours of electricity,” said Dan Creekmur, president of Columbia Gas of Ohio.
AEP Ohio President and Chief Operating Officer Pablo Vegas further explained, “The environmental impact is significant as each year these savings reduce energy costs for homeowners and are equivalent to the carbon sequestered by more than 21,000 acres of U.S. forests.”
The EPA gives the 2015 Partner of the Year - Sustained Excellence Awards to recognize organizations’ contributions in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through superior energy efficiency. These winners have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by setting and achieving aggressive goals and employing innovative energy efficiency approaches. These awards recognize ongoing leadership across the ENERGY STAR program, including energy-efficient products, services, new homes, and buildings in the commercial, industrial, and public sectors. The EPA selects award winners from the 16,000 organizations that participate in the ENERGY STAR program.
The EPA also recognized AEP Ohio and Columbia Gas of Ohio with the 2015 ENERGY STAR Certified Market Leader Award. Each year, ENERGY STAR New Homes presents Market Leader Awards to outstanding partners who have made important contributions to energy–efficient construction and environmental protection by building or verifying an outstanding number of ENERGY STAR certified homes, or by sponsoring a local program that supports these activities during the previous year. In 2014, participating homebuilders completed 2,487 EfficiencyCrafted homes. While all of the homes were built to perform 15 percent to 30 percent better than Ohio’s energy code, 1,056 of the 2,487 homes were also certified as ENERGY STAR, which means they meet even more stringent requirements.
Manta expanding services
News from the Columbus-based small business directory and service provider
Seven executive women leading the way
A roundtable discussion between Columbus public, private and nonprofit executive leaders touches on their work, their advice for young professionals and their perceptions of gender relations in the C-suite.