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Article

Consumers Care About People, Not Products

August 29, 2019

Imagine for a second, you look at a tag or a label on a box and it tells a different kind of story. It’s not about what’s IN the box. It’s about HOW what’s in the box was created and by who.

Imagine a story that reveals the craftsmanship behind who made the product or how the service was delivered, how the company was fair to that worker, why it’s good for health and how the product was made in a sustainable way that created minimal, perhaps even positive, environmental impact. Is it a dream? It shouldn’t be, because these are the kinds of behaviors consumers expect of companies.

This year’s Authenticity Gap research finds that consumers care about people more than products.

WHEN PRODUCING PRODUCTS, THEY WANT TO KNOW HOW COMPANIES ARE:

  • Understanding their customers’ needs (55%)
    • People are looking for companies to understand their needs holistically, going beyond their specific transactional needs for the product. They expect companies to connect with their values and larger sense of purpose, while also delivering the product benefits they want.
  • Creating solutions to reduce their impact on climate change/environment (47%)
    • Today’s consumers are likely concerned about the environmental impacts of their consumption habits, and yet they still want and need those products in their lives. Many are asking about and paying attention to companies that take responsibility for environmental impacts throughout their product lifecycles so that individual consumption habits are less harmful to people and the planet.
  • Impacting consumers’ health and well-being (42%)
    • Generational trends tell us that consumers are becoming more health conscious, and now our Authenticity Gap data confirms those trends as expectations for brands. People want to know companies are taking individual and population health needs into consideration when creating their products, by addressing health concerns and generating health benefits.
  • Taking care of their employees (42%)
    • Consumers have a strong expectation that companies are looking out for the employees who are creating and manufacturing their products. Active conversations about pay equity, living wages and the importance of diversity and inclusion all weigh into their holistic expectations for the purchases they make, reflecting on their own brand and values.

Today’s consumers are looking beyond the benefits of “new and improved” and toward the thoughtful creation of goods and services that delight us, add joy and take away the guilt of consuming something. (Nod to Marie Kondo.)

Let’s broaden our understanding of product communications to go beyond just meeting these changing expectations. Let’s build new narratives that highlight HOW companies are thoughtfully approaching producing new products to benefit people. As some leaders might say, let’s commit to generating (and communicating!) benefits for all stakeholders.

Download FleishmanHillard’s Authenticity Gap Report from our dedicated report page here.

Article

3 Maybe Not-So-Hidden Communications Priorities in an IPO

August 28, 2019

During an initial public offering (IPO), there are bankers, lawyers, potential investors, sometimes-jittery management teams … and more bankers and lawyers to wrangle, inform and mollify. It’s a months-long process of the company and communications team navigating challenges. Leading up to key milestones, such as the IPO roadshow and list day celebrations, the lengthy to-do list causes countless companies to make a critical mistake: pushing three items aside until there is “more time” after the IPO. Don’t be tempted—the to-do list is equally long on the other side of list day. Prioritizing these items before your IPO will put your company and your communications team ahead of the game:

1. Your Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Platform: New public companies undergo a level of scrutiny from investors that they’ve never felt before, especially when it comes to ESG policies, programs and commitments. No longer a nice-to-have for investors, ESG considerations are now integral to corporate strategy, creating opportunities and mitigating risks. With the rise of socially responsible investing and Wall Street’s increased understanding of how ESG practices can have a material impact on your company’s bottom line, a well-defined ESG platform is now table stakes.

In FleishmanHillard’s 2019 Authenticity Gap study, we found top consumer concerns currently include access to affordable, quality healthcare (84 percent); access to affordable, quality education (79 percent); and protecting the environment (75 percent). This sentiment holds true for investors: winning the hearts and minds of the public requires knowing who you are and what you stand for.

During your IPO roadshow, investors likely will quiz the management team on your ESG platform and its impact on everything from sales to talent attraction, to carbon emissions and the long-term viability of your company. Media, too, may get in on the analysis leading up to list day. Simply paying lip service to ESG won’t stand up to scrutiny. Having a solid ESG platform and plan to communicate it before the IPO will save you from having to play catch-up defining and explaining your stance before, during and after the IPO.

2. Your Governance Structure: Independent agencies rate how shareholder-friendly public companies’ practices are, so communicators need to be prepared to explain their company’s governance structure and any potential pitfalls that may affect their rating. Governance decisions include determining which state to incorporate in (each has different rules and protections for companies), whether to have an independent board chairman, and annually elect or stagger the board.

It’s perfectly normal for IPO companies to put protections in place that enable them to get a handle on being a new public company before opening themselves up to greater outside influence — largely from activist investors and hedge funds. But the less friendly those protections are to shareholders, the more likely independent agencies are to recommend — during your first annual meeting — votes against certain company proposals.

Communicators must be ready to share the “why” behind your current governance and the path to making it more shareholder-friendly over time as you execute your growth strategy. Doing so before the IPO can save you from a scramble ahead of the first annual meeting (which will happen sooner than you think!).

3. Depth of Change: Communicators know that an IPO comes with significant change, but most underestimate the massive importance of change management after going public. Throughout this process, you will need to lean on your change management consultants in a way you never imagined. Employees will be anxious about everything from benefits to retirement, expenses to discounts for big customers, and what they can and can’t tell people about the IPO.

If you’re being spun off from a parent company, employees will ask about transition service agreements (TSAs) — or what a TSA is — and how to do business under them, whether their IT help desk is changing and whether they can still get into the parking garage if you share an office with the former parent company.

Your readiness to communicate effectively and efficiently to employees about the many changes will be a determining factor in how smooth your transition from private to public is. Starting to address the change communications needs during — not after — the IPO process is the hallmark of a communications team that is ready for the public spotlight.

Article

Where the Future is Bright

August 26, 2019

We’re never too old or too young – or too anything – to reinvent ourselves or make an impact on the world.

Since day one at FleishmanHillard, I’ve felt encouraged to treat my work – for our clients, our teams and our business – as an open invitation to make something better, and to make a difference bigger than ourselves.

As professional problem solvers and creative makers, it’s second nature to always keep our heads up. Stay alert to trends and spot contradictions, injustices, needs and gaps in society. We don’t look away. Our instinct is to get involved. Figure out new ways to smooth the world’s wrinkles.

When it comes to women’s equality, for example, there’s been encouraging progress. Yet – no matter where in the world you sit – there’s still much work to be done.

After my sons reached school age, one issue I could no longer ignore is the need for greater diversity on boards.

The gender gap remains massive. And the pace of change, glacial. In Hong Kong, representation of women on boards of its leading listed companies rose only 0.1% to a mere 13.9% last year. Even less in Japan at 5.3%. Higher in the West – 27.5% in the UK, 22% in the US and 19.4% in Canada, for example – but the global average of 17.9% is still far from equal.

Lynne Anne Davis (center) with students at the Asian University for Women 2019 benefit.

The consequences?  According to the McKinsey Global Institute’s “The Power of Parity” report, if countries in Asia worked harder to further women’s equality and raise female participation in its workforce, $4.5 trillion would be added to its annual GDP in 2025, a 12 percent increase over the business-as-usual trajectory.

My first step was completing the Financial Times’ Board Director Program to fully understand the responsibilities and skills required to uphold strict corporate governance. It opened up a path for me to help address another gap too massive to ignore: access to tertiary education for women in Asia’s most marginalized communities.

In 2015, I became a founding member and board chair of the Hong Kong Support Foundation of the Asian University for Women (AUW) based in Bangladesh. AUW is an independent, liberal arts university providing top-quality education to students from 15 different countries across Asia and the Middle East, representing 35 ethnicities and five religions.

We raise AUW scholarship funds to educate high-potential women regardless of means and prepare them to lead positive change in their communities. They include displaced women from the Rohingya community in Cox’s Bazar, the factory floors of the garment manufacturers, rural mountain villages out of reach of health and other services, as well as conflict zones such as Yemen and Syria, for example.

They overcome enormous cultural barriers to go abroad for university when a large majority are the first in their family to attend university and child marriage and other repressive customs are so well rooted. These students spend their first year learning English. Go on to master the Socratic method for critical thinking in undergrad. Some go on to pursue master’s degrees at Cambridge and Stanford. Ultimately, they prove that talent and excellence is just as prevalent in underserved communities as in any other group.

Lynne Anne Davis (left) with a student at the Asian University for Women 2019 benefit.

The transformative power of education is undeniable. I’ve seen how these AUW students emerge confident, articulate, highly capable women ready to fiercely challenge norms and lead from the front in places where they will be the first to do so. Places where women are far from considered equal. Where they do not have the same rights.

Change in these corners of our region must be hard fought. Even the smallest degrees of progress are hard won. It requires unwavering courage.

AUW graduates return home to tackle many of the toughest, most daunting social issues facing the world today, equipped to make a difference.

Albert Einstein put it best: “we can’t solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Today’s problems demand new answers and fresh points of view. Having more women in positions of authority to lead change where it is needed most will make all the difference in the world.

It makes me proud that through FH4Inclusion our firm actively advances the missions of transformative organizations like AUW by generously donating our expertise and resources to shape more tolerant, diverse communities where we operate. With our clients we’re also making great strides in improving society and creating shared value.

Too many questions need new answers. Our opportunity to do the most meaningful work of our lives is rooted in enlisting the full strength of our influence and resources to move progress faster and keep aiming as far as forever – where the future is bright.

Article

Consumer Expectations Are Ramping Up, but Companies Need to Know When to Step Up

We live and work in a world where a single tweet can trigger significant reputational damage — to people and to brands. That’s partly because social media and other technology help information and ideas spread around the world faster now than at any other time in human history. The benefit of increasing the reach and speed of our interconnectivity is also resulting in an increasingly polarized and unforgiving landscape where media and public opinion are deeply divided by political extremes and social intolerance.

For businesses, today’s complex issues landscape creates challenges. But it also presents opportunities.

Companies are feeling pressure to take a stand on a wide range of divisive issues. Taking a stand can pose risks to business continuity, share price and corporate reputation. However, our research found that consumers don’t expect companies to act on and fix everything, but more specifically those issues most under their control. Three out of four consumers globally expect CEOs in particular to take a stand on issues that have an impact on the company’s customers (74%), products and services (72%), and employees (71%).

Companies that engage authentically on issues that are aligned with their business objectives can enhance their financial performance, strengthen their connections to consumers and make themselves more attractive to top talent. To get to that point — where corporate values and purpose guide policy and practice — takes time, careful thought and a fully integrated approach.

If silence is no longer golden and brands are expected to be part of the conversation and part of the solution: What issue(s) should you focus on? When and how should you respond? How do you decide?

Our approach is grounded in four principles that are essential to managing reputation today: 1) staying socially attuned, 2) being transparent and accountable, 3) ensuring alignment across relevant business and communications functions and 4) preparing for potential negative impacts. This leads to informed decisions and positions that are true to a company’s values.

Download FleishmanHillard’s Authenticity Gap Report from our dedicated report page here.

Article

FleishmanHillard Named to Holmes Report’s 2019 Asia Pacific Consultancies of the Year Shortlist

August 20, 2019

ST. LOUIS, Aug. 20, 2019 — FleishmanHillard earned three spots on the Asia Pacific Consultancies of the Year shortlist, presented by The Holmes Report. The global PR and marketing agency was named a finalist in the Regional Consultancy of the Year (Large) category. The firm was recognized for its significant growth in the region, leadership retention and notable client campaigns.

Additionally, the firm was shortlisted in the Greater China Consultancy of the Year and Healthcare Consultancy of the Year categories.

These awards honor outstanding communications firms across the APAC region. Winners will be announced at the Asia Pacific SABRE Awards in Singapore on September 12, 2019.

  • FleishmanHillard (Asia-Pacific Regional Consultancies of the Year (Large))
  • FleishmanHillard (Geographic, Greater China Consultancies of the Year)
  • FleishmanHillard (Specialist, Healthcare Consultancies of the Year)

View the complete list of finalists on The Holmes Report.

Article

Five Retail Trends Making the Grade for Back-to-School Shopping

August 19, 2019

Retailers are expecting record spending at the start of the 2019 school year given the nation’s growing economy. The National Retail Federation reports that total spending between K-12 and college shoppers is predicted to reach $80.7 billion. So, who is buying what?

  1. Gen Z is spending more of their own money on back-to-school shopping. Rather than leaving it to mom or dad, teens and pre-teens are making product decisions, mostly on clothing and accessories, and are willing to spend their own cash. Each teen will spend an average of $36.71 and each pre-teen $26.40.
  2. College students want to show their spirit! Spending on college-branded items has increased 17% year over year. College goers will spend an average of $66.22 each on collegiate gear. However, the college shoppers will spend the most on electronics, followed by clothing and accessories, dorm and apartment furnishings and food items.
  3. Fundamentals matter. Deloitte’s 2019 back-to-school survey showed that (regardless of shopping age) consumers are crystal clear on their top three purchase motivations: 1) price 2) product and 3) convenience. Most start shopping four to six weeks before school starts, but they are willing to wait for the highest discount.
  4. Brick-and-mortar stores are still winning. Among back-to-school shoppers, 88% plan to visit brick-and-mortar mass-market retailers. Rounding out the other top four retailers are online, dollar stores, specialty retailers and off-price.
  5. Going back to school also means giving back. Thirty-one percent of consumers plan to donate school supplies and other needed items while they are doing their own back-to-school shopping — in fact, around $51 per family.

Article

Consumers Increasingly Expect Business to Step Up in a World Where the Stakes Have Ramped Up

August 18, 2019

Research in Six Global Markets Across More Than 30 Industries Reveals Where There are Opportunities for Companies to be More Authentic

ST. LOUIS, August 19, 2019 – Against the backdrop of immigration, trade wars and polarized governments, FleishmanHillard’s 2019 Authenticity Gap study explores what role consumers believe business should take in addressing societal, political and business challenges in different parts of the world.

Consumers expect companies to take a stand on those issues that companies either create, impact directly or control. In particular:

  • Improved data security and privacy topped more than 20 issues consumers ranked as being important to see companies more actively address. There’s an expectation for companies to do the right thing and self-police – 73% of consumers want to see protection practices that go beyond regulatory mandates.
  • 69% of consumers globally say, to be more credible than competitors, a company must talk about its behavior and impact on society and the environment, not just the customer product benefits it offers.
  • Perhaps in response to a growing tide of automation and AI, 77% of consumers globally said it was most important that their employer help further develop their skills and career opportunities.
  • Consumers don’t care about CEOs’ personal beliefs, rather they want them to stick with issues that have an impact on the business’ customers (74%), products and services (72%) and employees (71%). Consumers know companies can’t fix everything, but they expect them to be active on those issues most under their control.

“By identifying what their consumers care about most and where they’re expected to take a stand, businesses can plan ahead, developing an authentic position,” said Marjorie Benzkofer, chief strategy officer and global managing director of the Reputation Management practice, FleishmanHillard. “Our research found that more than half of what shapes consumers’ perceptions and beliefs about a company comes from how its management behaves and how the organization impacts society. Companies that are willing to stand up for their values on issues important to their stakeholders can unlock opportunities and position themselves for success.”

The Authenticity Gap study analyzes insights from engaged consumers in six countries, examining their expectations and experiences with more than 300 companies in nearly 30 industries. The study provides organizations across industries actionable data they can use to shape their brands and business initiatives — uncovering where they’re meeting or falling short of audience expectations in the areas of society, management behavior and customer benefits.

“Our expectations of what companies and organizations should be undertaking is more expansive than ever before. We want companies to be stepping up and speaking up in new ways. In this new environment, it’s too easy for an organization’s brand promise to fall flat, or worse, badly misstep. Smart insights can save companies money and avoid market-share-eroding crises down the road, ensuring they understand the very different, and sometimes conflicting, expectations within each unique audience group,” Benzkofer said.

While this year’s study shows remarkable differences by country, global insights across industries include:

Protecting data and privacy is vital

  • Consumers are hesitant to share their data even when it benefits them – only 41% of consumers reported being willing to have their data collected for greater convenience
  • Consumers are becoming increasingly wary of companies’ use of their personal data, with 63% saying they’re less likely to support companies that use data for their own benefit

What makes a great place to work is evolving

  • Three-fourths of respondents noted the importance of both having a work environment that is inclusive and equal, and a robust benefits program that meets healthcare needs
  • 73% are interested in a workplace that institutes practices that protect the environment
  • 71% want their employer to provide opportunities to use new technologies and innovations
  • Coming toward the bottom of the list of importance was a place with work practices that accommodate a flexible lifestyle, though 65% still say it’s important

Just because it’s important to a consumer, doesn’t mean they expect a business to act

  • Consumers care about affordable, quality healthcare, violence against women and access to affordable quality education, but do not have high expectations for companies to take a stand on those issues
  • Consumers most often expect companies to take a stand on issues like protecting the environment, income and wage gaps, and the minimum wage

FleishmanHillard has developed new strategies to help businesses navigate the current environment, ranging from communicating around new expectations of corporate purpose, addressing emerging trends in talent and transformation as well as dynamic approaches to issues management. To learn more, download the Authenticity Gap Global Report, Authenticity in Action.

The Authenticity Gap study was conducted by FleishmanHillard’s TRUE Global Intelligence™ practice. The survey included a total of 7,364 engaged consumers in Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, UK and the US, 18 years of age and older. Engaged consumers represent on average 29% of the population of adults. The survey was fielded online between April 19 and May 22, 2019.

About FleishmanHillard
FleishmanHillard specializes in public relations, reputation management, public affairs, brand marketing, digital strategy, social engagement and content strategy. FleishmanHillard was named Agency of the Year at the 2017 and 2018 North American Excellence Awards; 2017 and 2018 ICCO Network of the Year for the Americas; 2019 PRWeek U.S. Outstanding Large Agency; 2019 Holmes Report North America Large Agency of the Year; 2018 Large Consultancy of the Year by PRWeek UK; PR News’ Best Places to Work in PR 2016-2018; Human Rights Campaign Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality for 2018 and 2019; PR Awards Asia 2017 Greater China Agency of the Year; and NAFE’s “Top Companies for Executive Women” for 2010-2019. The firm’s award-winning work is widely heralded, including at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity. FleishmanHillard is part of Omnicom Public Relations Group, and has more than 80 offices in 30 countries, plus affiliates in 43 countries.​

About Omnicom Public Relations Group

Omnicom Public Relations Group is a global collective of three of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and specialist agencies in areas including public affairs, marketing to women, global health strategy and corporate social responsibility. It encompasses more than 6,300 public relations professionals in more than 370 offices worldwide who provide their expertise to companies, government agencies, NGOs and non-profits across a wide range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group delivers for clients through a relentless focus on talent, continuous pursuit of innovation and a culture steeped in collaboration. Omnicom Public Relations Group is part of the DAS Group of Companies, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) that includes more than 200 companies in a wide range of marketing disciplines including advertising, public relations, healthcare, customer relationship management, events, promotional marketing, branding and research.

Article

The Authenticity Gap

Think about the last decision you made about something you knew would impact your organization’s reputation. Was it based on years of experience and good instincts?

If so, you likely missed the mark.

For years, we have forged our craft and our careers with the lessons we learned through hard-won experience. But that collection of experiences is singular to us as individuals.

Today, the best in our industry don’t make decisions based on experience and gut instinct. They counsel with data and insights. None of us has the breadth of experiences to fully prepare an executive, or an entire company, for how to behave in these very polarized times.

It’s against that backdrop that we introduce this year’s Authenticity Gap Study, which explores consumers’ views on today’s most discussed topics and trends from six points around the globe (China, Germany, UK, Brazil, Canada and the U.S.). We also unpack consumers’ expectations and their experiences with more than 300 companies in nearly 30 industries.

With an established track record of doing this study, I thought I had pretty good instincts for what we’d find. Once again, there is no substitution for real data to better understand the world around us. Included here are just a few of the headlines we’ve found interesting.

WHERE AND WHEN TO TAKE A STAND:
There has been much written this past year about how and when companies are taking a stand on societal issues. Turns out, the issues consumers most care about (and it varies quite a bit by country) isn’t exactly the same list as the issues where consumers expect companies to speak out. Driven by a sense of realism, consumers know companies can’t fix everything, but they expect them to be most active on those issues most under their control.

WHO’S A GREAT EMPLOYER?:
Engaged consumers care about a company’s employees. How businesses treat their workers has skyrocketed up the list of consumers’ concerns. When it comes to employers being a great place to work, offering experiences to develop skills and pursue new career opportunities skyrockets upward as engaged consumers put it at the top of their list. In fact, employees may have turned the expectations of how companies treat their employees on their head, as having flexibility for greater work/life balance now comes in last.

HOW TO PLAY IN A NEW SPACE:
Today, when companies expand into new industry segments, they are asking what it takes to win the hearts and minds of consumers in a space where they don’t have a track record. The answer from consumers: Demonstrate a greater positive impact on society than the incumbent companies when launching a new product or service. Consumers believe that for a company to be more credible than competitors, it must talk about how its leaders behave and how the company impacts society and the environment, not just the product benefits it offers.

CEOS, DON’T MAKE IT PERSONAL:
We see a growing tide in companies engaging more in societal issues and more notoriety around the personality of CEOs. But consumers don’t want CEOs to mingle the two. They don’t care about the personal views of the CEO, but rather how he or she is activating the company to show what the company does and doesn’t value.

TELL THE COMPLETE STORY:
While most companies want to spend most of their time and resources talking about what they sell, consumers say less than half of their perceptions of a company are shaped by its products and services. The other half is shaped by information on how leadership behaves and how the company is having an impact on society. People, not products, are what consumers care about. They want to know how companies are:

  • Understanding customers’ unique needs
  • Reducing their impact on climate change/environment
  • Impacting consumers’ health and well-being
  • Taking care of their employees

It can be easy to think that conducting a little bit of research is a luxury only suited for large initiatives. But smart insights can save you money and avoid market-share-eroding crises down the road, by ensuring you understand the very different expectations of your very different audiences. So, the question becomes, are you willing to stake your company and your own reputation on your gut instinct?

Download FleishmanHillard’s Authenticity Gap Report from our dedicated report page here.

Article

A Little Financial Literacy Can Go a Long Way on the Road to Retirement

August 13, 2019

We’ve all seen or heard the stats about how unprepared Americans are for retirement, and frankly, they are scary. It’s no secret that there’s a growing problem with Americans’ retirement funds and savings overall, but solutions require more than simply telling people to save more. Each generation experiences its own set of issues and challenges – including large sums of credit card debt, massive student loan balances, stagnant wages, underemployment and rising housing costs in many urban areas.

Additionally, the long-term effects of the Great Recession are still with us, both in terms of personal financial outcomes, as well as emotional scars – much like the lasting effects that the generation that lived through the Great Depression experienced. However, as we’ve seen through the work of many of our banking clients, with a little financial literacy and the courage to take small steps to address these challenges, we can all eventually become better at saving, and in turn, have more stable financial futures.

A look at the problem

A recent study by Northwestern Mutual found that 21% of Americans have nothing saved for retirement and another 10% have less than $5,000 in savings. Equally alarming is that one-third of Baby Boomers currently in or approaching retirement age have between $0 and $25,000 set aside.

Figures from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) are even more daunting. The numbers were even worse for Millennials, with more than two-thirds having no retirement savings at all.

These numbers are a big reason why the financial services industry runs awareness campaigns encouraging people to save more. These firms collectively spend millions of dollars on financial literacy programs to help educate people about the problem, make them feel more secure in their financial decision-making and inspire them to act. Granted, it is also in these companies’ best interest for people to save and use their accounts, services and mutual funds to help manage their assets and generate fees, but they are also trying to be part of the solution to a growing problem.

Small solutions lead to big rewards

So, how do we tackle this problem when many financial advisors believe that the average 65-year-old should have between $1 million and $1.5 million saved for retirement to maintain a reasonable standard of living? To many that seems like a huge number that is completely out of reach. Many experts in behavioral finance will tell you when a financial goal seems out of reach, that instead of trying, many give up and don’t make the sustained effort it takes to move the needle – even when it is in their own best interest.

Below are a few things to keep in mind that demonstrate incremental steps can make a big difference over time:

1. The Power of Compounding: Saving $1 million can seem like an impossible task. However, if you put just $3,000 a year into an IRA and invest it in a S&P 500 index fund, and that fund generates just an 8% annual return (which the index has averaged since 1988, even factoring in the Great Recession) you will have $1,069,000 at age 65. So, it is possible, but if you wait until age 32 to start saving the same $3,000 a year, you’ll only have $473,000 at age 65. Starting early can turn a molehill into a mountain … of cash.

2. The Power of Tiny Behavior Changes: Many people are strapped and can’t think of where they would come up with $3,000 a year to put into an IRA. Start with tracking your spending. Find out where you are spending your money today and the changes you can make to reach your objective. Say, for example, you spend $2 a day on a morning coffee and $10 on lunch on work days. If you can brew your morning coffee at home and bring a lunch you would save roughly $10 a day or $50 a week. Over the course of a year that would be about $2,500 – you have now nearly reached your goal and haven’t really had to make too drastic a change. Imagine where else you could turn wasteful spending into savings if you kept track.

3. The Power of Financial Apps: There are tools aplenty, and many are free. A quick visit to the App Store and a search of financial tools produces a treasure trove of online financial assistance. There are apps for budgeting, banking, education and investing. Investing through several online apps can put the power of buying stocks, bonds or mutual funds in your hands with real-time quotes and instant trade execution. In addition, the fees and account minimums for online trading are approaching zero, with some firms already using that approach. It has never been easier for an investor with a relatively small amount of capital to participate in building long-term wealth.

Two famous quotes taken together really sum this up. Ben Franklin is oft-quoted that “a penny saved is a penny earned.” Albert Einstein, by varying accounts, either called compound interest “the most powerful force in the world,” or “the eighth wonder of the world.” It can be pretty amazing to see how quickly those saved pennies can turn into dollars that can multiply themselves – and with enough time create a meaningful nest egg for you and your loved ones. The good news is that today there are more resources than ever to help you on your journey of financial literacy.

Article

Brands Are Couch Surfing Their Way Into The Screens Of Consumers – Here’s Why

August 9, 2019

Tomorrow, many consumers will be taking advantage of National Lazy Day. Couches will be surfed and screens – this includes phones, tablets and TVs – will be lit up. For brands, this means more opportunities for exposure, higher engagement and awareness in consumers’ homes, as more and more individuals opt for In Your Home (IYH) experiences over In Real Life (IRL) ones.

Here, FleishmanHillard’s Brand and Consumer Marketing experts dive into the ways brands can win over consumers this National Lazy Day – IYH vs. IRL.

From Sidelines to Screens: Staying Relevant in the Streaming Era

In this era, where consumers are binge-watching or cheering on their favorite teams from the comfort of their own couches, brands are having to find unique and tailored ways to get in front of their audiences on the platform of choice.

Streaming and subscription-based services have skyrocketed during the past few years and have quickly become the solution to Millennial (and neighboring generations) desires for quality content, cost and –  the big one – convenience.

With streaming increasingly becoming the cultural norm, the reality is that for modern-day consumers, some of the biggest events in entertainment now take place in their homes and on their couches. And can you blame them? Accounting for expensive tickets, transportation and food, not to mention the long lines and cramped seats, it’s no wonder they’re gathering their squad at home for unlimited chips, dips and viewing options. The champions of the IRL roar of a stadium, the laughter in a theater or the chest-rattling bass of your favorite band are dwindling as live streaming creates more tailored options for the at-home viewer – 45% of whom said they would pay for live, exclusive or on-demand video from a favorite team, speaker or performer.

With no escaping the influence that streaming now has, brands need to identify broadcasted moments that fit their values, generate relevant, attention-getting content, and seek out audiences that see eye-to-eye.

Our on-demand lifestyles are now, more than ever, defined by what we can access. But how does a seemingly endless library of curated content impact what we choose to watch, listen to and experience IRL? As we explore this new cultural norm – the duality of experiencing entertainment IRL vs. IYH – it’s important to look at the human truths and brand implications associated with this shift.

Sports, movies, shows, music – these are all forms of streamable at-home experiences that have joined the cultural shift. As consumers increasingly take advantage of their “lazy days,” we’ll continue to see brands form creative partnerships, sponsor activations, encourage live social sharing and promote on-screen engagements in order to stay relevant with these two co-existing forms of entertainment – IRL and IYH.

Madison Wood, a member of the Brand Marketing practice in our Dallas office, also contributed to this piece.