The Four-Day Work Week: Lessons Learned From Taking Fridays Off
Written by Rebecca Ryan
In January 2010, we at my company, Next Generation Consulting, shrank our work week from five days to four, giving everyone Fridays off. The idea was born of economic necessity; Fridays off seemed like a way to give something back to our teammates in exchange for the salary sacrifices they were willing to make. Our teammates loved it! On Fridays they sleep late, have lunch with friends, start long weekends with their loved ones, and pursue their hobbies. It’s been a win-win; NGC has saved money, and our teammates have been happy about it.
Since I own the business, I thought Fridays off didn’t apply to me. Even though I know better.
"Dear Wendy, I recently saw a job posting in which the hiring manager is a former boss of mine. It has been several years since we worked together, and so, this person will see how my career has progressed since then.
The position asks for a cover letter; I thought it was best to write it as if I was writing to any other employer I've never met. The former boss and I have been on good terms since my work experience and we still keep in touch occasionally.
I don't expect to be 'fast-tracked' or get special treatment. But I wonder: how does a prior working relationship with the hiring manager help (or hurt) my chances in landing the position?"
The insights and tools that come standard as part of most re-branding engagements are great. They make new systems easy to explain and easy to implement consistently. What they don’t—and can’t—do is turn brand principles into creative practice. That’s the hard part. And, not surprisingly, it’s where most brands fall. Hard.
The simple truth is that brands can do everything technically right and still get their communications horribly wrong. It happens all the time: Internal teams and external agencies use paint-by-numbers templates to help make sure their work is brand-compliant. And as far as colors, logos, typefaces and taglines go, it just may be. The creative as a whole, though, is frequently uninspired. Unmotivating. In the words of no less than the great Orson Welles, unrewarding.
Corporate Responsibility Boosts The "Triple Bottom Line"
Written by Kathryne Auerback
Corporate responsibility, corporate citizenship, corporate social responsibility, sustainability… Even among sustainability professionals, there is little agreement on the name, let alone the definition. Perhaps a simpler approach then is to discuss what is does.
Corporate responsibility efforts minimize an organization’s negative environmental impact and optimize its positive social and economic impacts. A strategic approach to CR means assessing an organization’s operations to identify opportunities for improvements in environmental, social, and financial results (the triple bottom line) and, significantly, building a program to communicate those results whether good or not so good.
Holding the attention of global youth today is more difficult than ever. A recent study found that 62% of teens are apathetic about marketing and advertising, meaning they aren’t anti-brand but you have to work very hard to get them to care. After all, a brand is not just competing with other brands in the same category – they are also competing with experiences like Xbox Live, Facebook and Guitar Hero, where youth connect and challenge friends and strangers around the world.
Today there are 1.6 billion people online, 4 billion mobile phones, 250 million Facebook users, and YouTube had over 5 billion video streams in just one month. In every case, the key audience participating with these vehicles is youth. They are a valuable and massive demo, currently impacting over $600 billion in consumer spending. At its peak, this generation will exceed the number of baby boomers in the US and globally.
This generation is creative, social and connected. They are changing the way we interact with brands and content by creating an environment for marketers that is much more interactive and connected.
To successfully engage this group, you can’t advertise to them – you have to invite them to participate in something bigger than advertising. Marketers need to give young people ready access to the content they create and enable them to participate with it, create their own and share it. They need to inspire and engage youth and then reward them for participating. For youth, public recognition has become the modern day merit badge. If done right, your marketing efforts will gain momentum and feel more like a movement than a campaign.