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Would you like fries (a website) with that?

fry mountain

McDonald’s has not made their fortune only from their hamburgers. While hamburgers are the basic item they sell to everyone that walks in the door,  the real money comes in the form of add-ons: fries, shakes, and extra large sodas. These happen to also be the same items that we often regret ordering. Sure, fries sound good at the time, but we regret it later when we’re popping the Tums and watching our weight creep up on the scale. The technology world is facing a similar problem: in an effort to increase their profits, many companies are now offering websites as an add-on to their services. But are these really helping clients, or just expanding their technology waistline?

Architects of Design

It’s almost impossible to over-emphasize how important a company’s website is in today’s world – they are the face of your brand and reputation in a global market. A website is the storefront that reaches more customers than any brick-and-mortar building ever could.  With the abundance of out-of-work developers and designers, and free templates online, any company can add websites to their offerings for customers. Newspapers, print designers, and accounting software designers are among the trades delving into the web design trade. However, when you put your website in the hands of someone who’s best skills are not in website design, you line yourself up for a less-than-stellar product. You wouldn’t trust your brick-and-mortar storefront design to an accounting software company, so why trust them with your website?

Creators of Content

When a company decides to start or re-design their website, they need to be sure to commission the right architect. At integritive, we specialize in designing websites and developing online marketing strategies. One of the reasons we’ve been in business for 12 years and have outgrown our competition is that we use our defined skills to help our clients grow business and achieve a stated result. Websites aren’t an afterthought for us – they are the primary goal, and it shows in results.

image via Flickr

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David Kelly: How to build your creative confidence

Creativity is often seen as an inherent skill: you either have it or you don’t. David Kelly tells us in this video that simply isn’t true. Anyone can be creative, and more importantly, everyone should be creative. Creativity is how we solve problems and come up with innovations; there is no job so technical or precise that it couldn’t benefit from a little out-of-the box thinking. Whether you consider yourself a “creative” person or not, this is a video you absolutely must see.

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What Not to Do With Social Media

A recent survey on Mashable.com found that 50% of consumers trust a company’s Facebook page more than their website. This means that in today’s world it’s nearly impossible for a brand to exist without one, which can be a good thing – Facebook allows companies to interact directly with their consumers, offer deals or promotions, and craft their overall brand image. However, it isn’t all fun and games on these social sites. Whether you’re posting on Facebook or Twitter, be sure to follow a few guidelines:

Don’t Ignore Negative Comments.

If you get a positive review on your page, let them know that you’re happy to have been of service. Promote those good reviews to the high heavens, you earned them! But, don’t neglect those that aren’t so happy. If a customer leaves a comment about a negative experience, respond with just as much enthusiasm. Apologize, suggest a solution or ask for their input on how to make things better. This is the reaction of a company that cares about its customers, and that kind of attention and concern will be noticed by anyone that visits your page.

Don’t Beg for “Likes”

Remember that guy in high school who wouldn’t leave you alone, and no matter how many times you said “NO” just wouldn’t take the hint? Well, he didn’t get more attractive by begging you to go on a date, and companies don’t seem cooler when they beg people to like their posts. If your posts are interesting and resonate with your fans, they’ll “like” them on their own.  And if they don’t, use that silence as a learning tool to figure out what needs to change, instead of an excuse to start sounding desperate.

Don’t Use Every World Event for Your Advantage.

2011-02-03-kennethcole2When tragic events happen in the world, many brands struggle with how to comment on them. When in doubt – don’t. Above all else, DO NOT use a tragedy to sell your products. The only possible outcome is to seem like a greedy capitalist with money instead of a heart. Just ask Kenneth Cole, who came under fire for this insensitive tweet during the protests in Cairo: “Millions are in an uproar in #Cairo. Rumor has it they heard our new spring collection is now available online.”

Look, if you can’t find something meaningful to say, post about other content or allow your page to go silent for a day.

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Integritive’s Summer Reading List

At integritive, we know that in order to be at our best we must constantly be learning and growing. We asked our team to pick out some of their favorite and most inspirational books and would like to pass them on to our readers. If you’re looking for some summer reading, skip over the pop fiction and give one of these a try!

The Carolina Way

The Carolina Way

Dean Smith

Dean Smith was the University of North Carolina’s basketball coach for forty years. During this time he won more games (875) than any other coach in college-basketball history. In this book he discusses his coaching philosophy and how it can be applied to leadership in readers’ everyday lives. Using a wry sense of humor and real-life stories, he explores teamwork, winning, losing, planning for the future, building confidence and setting goals. Whether it’s on or off the basketball court, this book offers plenty of insight for leading any team to success.

Tough Times Never Last

Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do!

Robert H. Schuller

This book shows you how to build a postive self-image, no matter what your issues are. Whether it’s unemployment, poor health, loneliness, fear or anything else standing in your way, Dr. Schuller will show you how to turn your negatives into positives and help you get through any tough time.

Feel the Fear

Feel the Fear…and Do It Anyway

Susan Jeffers

Using her own personal life, Susan Jeffers explains the crippling effects of fear and how she formulated a course of action to conquer it. She states that fear is the uncertainty of change and the lack of positive self image, and that our choices are not opportunities to make mistakes, but paths to growth. This book will help you grab ahold of your fears and move forward in your life. Read the rest of this entry »

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Julian Treasure: 5 Ways to Listen Better

How many times have you walked out of a business meeting and realized that you can only recall less than half of what was said? How often have you walked away from a conversation and wished you could remember what they had just told you? Have you ever had a debate with a co-worker over whether or not something was explicitly explained? These common workplace occurrences are the result of our declining listening skills. Now that information is so often conveyed through a written email or text, and answers can be looked up at any moment via the internet app of a phone, our listening skills are hitting a decline. But listening is still critically important tool in our everyday lives.

In his talk, Julian Treasure states, “I believe that every human being needs to listen consciously in order to live fully.” Without strong listening skills, we have miscommunications, we are forced to repeat information over and over and miss out on critical subtleties in exchanges. Listening connects us to the here and now; it roots us to the world around us. Take a moment and listen carefully to his reasoning of why we need to listen more, and how we can take steps to do it better.