Close the Wage Gap; Change the World

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, May 19, 2020 @ 09:19 PM

When discussing gender equality, the wage gap between men and women nearly always becomes a part of the conversation. While most people know this gap exists, not as many realize the far-reaching and detrimental impacts of that inequality.

Why Does This Gap Exist?

Before diving into the consequences of wage inequality, it’s important to look at some of the reasons the gap exists. It’s a complicated issue involving many interconnected factors, but some of the most prominent reasons include:

  • Occupational segregation, wherein more men work in higher-paid industries
  • Vertical segregation, with more men in senior (and, therefore, higher-paid) positions
  • Nonexistent, poorly enforced, or ineffective legislation related to equal pay
  • Barriers to entering the labor market, including outright discrimination, access to education, and work-hindering issues related to child-rearing

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Real-World Consequences of the Gender Wage Gap

Closing the wage gap would, of course, be positive because it would be a step toward overall gender equality. However, there would be myriad other positive effects that should motivate people and businesses to make this issue a priority.

For example, gender wage inequality reduces overall economic output. While it’s certainly not the case for every woman, the wage disparity does make it more likely for females to be dependent on welfare or other social aid programs—a problem that becomes even more pronounced in old age. With less savings and fewer pensions, women are generally at a disadvantage in regard to retirement and more likely to face poverty after the age of 65. One study by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services, and Indigenous Affairs in Australia found that eliminating the 17 percent wage gap there would translate to approximately $93 billion in increased gross domestic product (GDP), or 8.5 percent of overall GDP.

Aptitude Research Partners also found that organizations that specifically prioritize gender equity perform better. They are 54 percent more likely to exceed industry average turnover numbers and 46 percent more likely to have higher year-over-year ratings on Glassdoor. With better retention rates and more engaged and motivated employees, companies are more likely to attract top talent, which then generally leads to improved customer satisfaction and higher-than-average financial returns.

In short, closing the wage gap would improve individual employee satisfaction and quality of life, improve a company’s bottom line, and positively impact an entire nation’s GDP and economic standing.

The March Toward Equality

According to the World Economic Forum, if progress continues at its current pace, it will take 108 years to close the global pay gap in the 106 countries covered in that report. This pace is a result of the slowness of global action on the topic and the sheer vastness of the gap itself.

While these numbers can seem disheartening, many individuals and companies are using them as motivation. Lauren Hasson founded DevelopHer, which is based in Dallas, Texas, United States. DevelopHer is an award-winning platform that bridges the gender wage gap, inspires, and empowers women to advocate for themselves to break glass ceilings.

The scalability and affordability offered through DevelopHer programs has allowed and empowered thousands of women to earn 26%, 43%, and 67% salary increases in just a single negotiation. Through DevelopHer, Lauren has created real change at a grassroots level. Women have also gained the confidence to secure better positions and move beyond glass ceilings, bridging the challenging opportunity gap.

Hasson just won the Gold Stevie Award for Entrepreneur of the Year - Consumer Services in The 2020 American Business Awards® as well as a Silver Stevie® Award in the category of Female Solo Entrepreneur of the Year, and Startup of the Year - Consumer Services Industries in the 2019 Stevie® Awards for Women in Business.

Interested in entering the Stevie Award for Women in Business?

Request Your Entry Kit

Hasson acknowledges not only the complexity of this global issue but the need to focus on local solutions.

“Pay disparity is an intractable issue that will not be solved overnight,” says Hasson, “but the DevelopHer mission is to foster engagement by businesses and individuals at a grassroots level to affect true change.”

Topics: American business awards, stevie awards for women in business, women awards, women in busines, womens awards, 2019 Stevie Awards for Women in Business, Women Future Conference 2020, pay gap, gender equality

Stevie® Winners Announced in 18th American Business Awards®

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Mon, May 18, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

The Stevie® Awards, organizers of the world’s premier business awards programs, today announced the Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie winners in The 18th Annual American Business Awards®.

All organizations operating in the U.S.A. – large and small, public and private, for-profit and non-profit - are eligible to submit nominations to the ABAs in a wide range of categories, honoring achievement in every aspect of work life, from customer service and management to public relations and product development. More than 3,600 nominations were reviewed in the judging process this year by 230 professionals worldwide, whose average scores determined the winners.

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Winners of three or more Gold Stevie Awards include:

Cisco Systems (San Jose, CA), CitizenNet & Magnitude Digital (New York, NY), Comcast Business (Philadelphia, PA), Crocs (Niwot, CO), Fazoli's Italian Restaurants (Lexington, KY), George P Johnson Experiential Marketing (Auburn Hills, MI), Harman International (Stamford, CT), Hearts & Science (New York, NY), Hilton Grand Vacations (Orlando, FL), Humana (Louisville, KY), Jeunesse Global (Orlando, FL), John Hancock (Boston, MA), London Computer System (Cincinnati, OH), Mastercard (Purchase, NY), National Association of REALTORS® (Chicago, IL), Newberry Tanks and Equipment (West Memphis, AR), Nexxt Gen Corporation (Irving, TX), POWERHOME (Mooresville, NC), Red Hat (Raleigh, NC),  State Farm (Bloomington, IL), Toft Group (San Francisco, CA), and United Imaging (Houston, TX).

Among other winners, organizations with five or more Gold, Silver, or Bronze Stevie wins include:

Bank of America (Charlotte, NC), BMO Financial Group (Chicago, IL), Curion (Deerfield, IL), Fannie Mae (Washington, DC), LifeVantage (Sandy UT), Medical Marijuana, Inc. (San Diego, CA), Merkle (Columbia, MD), Metro Development Group (Tampa, FL), MONAT Global (Miami, FL), Pareto Intelligence (Chicago, IL), Passageways (Lafayette, IN), SoftPro (Raleigh, NC), TBI (Chicago, IL), Tek Leaders Inc (Plano, TX), Tinuiti (New York, NY), United Imaging (Houston, TX), and Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. (New York, NY).

For a complete list of the Stevie Award winners announced today, visit www.StevieAwards.com/ABA.

2020 Stevie winners will be celebrated and presented their awards during a virtual awards ceremony on Wednesday, August 5 at 2pm ET. Details of the event are available on the website.

The categories that recognize outstanding new products and services introduced in the USA are among the most heavily subscribed in the ABAs, and every new product or service nominated in The 2020 American Business Awards is included in voting for the People's Choice Stevie Awards for Favorite New Products, a worldwide public vote. Voting opened today at http://peopleschoice.stevieawards.com and will conclude on July 15. People’s Choice Stevie winners will be announced the week of July 20 and will be honored during the August 5 virtual presentations.


“Despite the toughest business conditions in memory, American organizations continue to demonstrate their commitment to innovation, creativity, and bottom-line results,” said Stevie Awards President Maggie Gallagher.  “This year’s Stevie-winning nominations are full of inspiring stories of persistence, ingenuity, resourcefulness, and compassion.  We celebrate all of their stories and look forward to showcasing them during our virtual awards ceremony on August 5.”

Topics: app awards, American business awards, new product awards, tech awards

American Business Awards Final Entry Deadline Further Extended to May 5

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Mar 26, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

The Stevie® Awards, organizer of The American Business Awards®, announced today that the final entry deadline for the 18th annual ABA competition has been further extended to May 5. The organizers said it is apparent that the original final deadline extension to April 14 will not be enough time for American organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to submit their nominations of achievement.

No additional late fees will be charged, and nominations submitted through May 5 will not be penalized in any way in the judging process. Organizers still hope to be able to stage the 18th ABA awards banquet at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City on Friday, June 12.

The American Business Awards are widely considered to be the premier business awards program in the U.S.A. All organizations operating in the U.S.A. are eligible to submit nominations— public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large, and small. The 2020 awards will honor achievements since the beginning of 2019. Entry details are available at http://www.StevieAwards.com/ABA.

Request the entry kit

With the announcement of the deadline extension organizers said they have waived all fees for nominations to the Startup of the Year and Tech Startup of the Year categories, for organizations that began operations since the beginning of 2018.

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The further extension of the final entry deadline has prompted the organizers to change several other dates in the 2020 ABA calendar:

  • May 10: Revised end of judging
  • May 15: Revised winners notification and announcement
  • May 15 - June 5: Revised window for public voting in the People's Choice Stevie Awards for Favorite New Products

The American Business Awards recognize achievement in every facet of the workplace. Categories include:

More than 200 executives on 13 juries will rate nominations to determine the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Award winners.

The list of past Stevie Award winners in The American Business Awards reads like a who’s who of innovation and business success in the U.S.A. Explore the list of last year’s winners.

Topics: The American Business Awards, American business awards, tech awards, deadline extension, startup awards

Award Entries Still Matter!

Posted by Susan Lewis on Tue, Mar 24, 2020 @ 10:50 AM

WE WILL EMERGE FROM COVID-19 AND YOUR BUSINESS CAN BE
FRONT AND CENTER

Susan Turkell of PAIRELATIONS, LLC won her first Stevie® Award for a client in the very first American Business Awards®, all the way back in 2003.  Since then she has researched and written hundreds of Stevie Award-winning nominations for scores of her corporate clients.

We asked Susan for her perspective on whether organizations should continue to pursue honors such as Stevie Awards during a crisis like the one we're all navigating right now.

We are all trying to navigate uncharted waters during these unprecedented times.

It’s scary, it’s unnerving, it’s uncertain.

What is certain is that at some point, we will emerge from this, and you will want your organization, its people and products to be at the forefront of the key audiences you serve so your business can hum once again. Using awards to highlight your business can help place it front and center.

Susan J. Turkell, Founder and CEO, PAIRELATIONS, LLCTo help your business establish or maintain brand awareness, consider highlighting your 2019 achievements by entering submissions in various 2020 Stevie Awards programs.

There are many programs and categories from which to choose, and even several that have absolutely NO entry fees. For example, the final entry deadlines for The American Business Awards will be further extended to May 5 without any additional late fees.

The categories in this program without entry fees include Startup of the Year and Tech Startup of the Year, for which the late fees have also been eliminated.

For The International Business Awards®, categories without entry fees include Company of the Year, which spans many industries.  The early-bird deadline for the 17th IBAs is April 8.

Right now is a perfect time to seize opportunities for showcasing your business. Leveraging award wins is an excellent way to demonstrate the success of your organization and validate its mission, people and products for years to come.

PAIRELATIONS, LLC has a proven track record for helping corporations earn recognition for the successes they are achieving throughout the business and across their operations. For more than two decades, PAIRELATIONS has helped its clients wins hundreds of awards in various Stevie programs and categories. Why not have a professional capture your successes and help you earn the recognition you deserve?

Due to the current global pandemic, we realize it may be hard for companies to devote time to this process. As a result, for a limited time, PAIRELATIONS will offer one complimentary hour of professional awards consulting services to companies that hire the firm to help them enter one or more categories of any Stevie Awards program. Mention code HUMAGAIN.  (Offer valid for new clients only.)

PAIRELATIONS stands ready to put its talents to work on your behalf so your business can soon hum again.

Susan Turkell, chief executive officer at PAIRELATIONS, LLC, has a proven track record that spans more than two decades for helping corporations earn recognition for the successes they are achieving throughout their organizations and across their operations.

Over the years, through PAIRELATIONS’ awards division, she has helped clients win hundreds upon hundreds of awards across myriad Stevie® Awards programs. This includes assisting them in earning recognition across a host of categories, ranging from products and people to management and materials. She is a three-time Grand Stevie® Award Winner, which is based on the number of points scored for all entries submitted. She earned this for multiple wins on behalf of a range of clients.

You can email Susan at awards@pairelations.com, call her at 303-766-4343 or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Topics: American business awards, how to enter, reasons to enter

Enabling the Unbanked and Underbanked with Machine Learning

Posted by Daniel Ferguson on Tue, Mar 17, 2020 @ 11:34 AM

Stevie-winner Braviant Holdings is a financial technology company that uses machine-learning to assess borrowers' credit and help them achieve lower rates.

Over 24 million American households are underbanked, and another eight million are unbanked (FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, 2017). While the former have restricted access to financial services (primarily due to bad credit scores), the latter have little or no access at all. As one can imagine, this closes a lot of doors. Many of life’s necessities, such as getting a job or renting an apartment, call for a bank account and a good credit history.

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What makes this scenario even more unfortunate is that the unbanked and underbanked often land in these unfavorable financial conditions due to circumstances beyond their control. After all, not everyone with a low credit score is a habitual defaulter. For instance, many have low credit scores because of the 2008 financial crisis. Similarly, all those without bank accounts are not willfully refusing to get one. Many get their applications rejected because they have thin credit files or are migrants who don’t possess all the necessary documents.

Luckily, the fintech industry is now putting big data, machine learning (ML), and augmented analytics to work for these two neglected financial demographics, and the results are promising.

Banking the Unbanked

Online banking and lending services have made it convenient to access and maintain bank accounts, even for those in remote and rural areas. However, despite these advances, around 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked worldwide. Several fintech solutions are working toward making it easier for these individuals to create and to benefit from bank accounts of their own, though. The most notable among these is Onfido, an identity verification company based in London, United Kingdom.

Onfido does not follow the typical identity verification process. They pair highly advanced ML-based document checks with facial verification to compare user-furnished identity documents with their selfies. This makes it easier for individuals to prove their identities and open new bank accounts. This is particularly important for those with thin credit files whom banks are reluctant to trust and migrants who do not possess all the documents required for in-person verification..

Beyond Credit History and Scores

Fintech products are revolutionizing the way credit is assessed, and they are now paving the way for fairer access to financial services.

Zest AI, an artificial intelligence (AI) software platform for credit, based in Los Angeles, California, United States, helps lenders make faster and more accurate decisions on borrowers who are traditionally considered risky. It does so by using and analyzing thousands of data points to better assess predicted risk. Their clients have achieved, on average, a 15 percent increase in approval rates and reduced losses by almost 30 percent.

UltraFICO, a credit scoring system based on augmented analytics, was launched by FICO, a data analytics company based in San Jose, California, United States. It serves as yet another good example. While still in the works, it promises to be a huge step up from the antiquated FICO score system that prevents millions of people from receiving credit because of incomplete credit histories. UltraFICO will create more complete credit histories by using data from FICO, Experian, Finicity, different finance houses, and banks.

Braviant_holdings_logoStevie-winner Braviant Holdings, a fintech company based in Chicago, Illinois, United States, also offers financial solutions that help non-prime consumers graduate to lower rates as they work toward prime credit. They do so by building machine-learning decision models that look beyond a traditional credit score to more accurately assess the prospective borrower’s true ability and willingness to repay.

“Mainstream financial institutions cater to the needs of U.S. consumers with proven credit history, but more than 50 million adults labeled ‘underbanked’ are forced to look outside the traditional banking system to meet their needs,” says Stephanie Klein, CEO of Braviant Holdings. “Braviant offers tech-enabled credit products to help these deserving consumers access the credit they need today and work toward better rates in the future.”

Braviant Holdings recently won a Gold Stevie Award for Company of the Year in the Financial Services category at The 17th Annual American Business Awards®, 2019.

Interested in entering The American Business Awards?

Request the entry kit

Topics: The American Business Awards, American business awards, company of the year, financial awards

Stevie® Awards Extends 2020 American Business Awards Entry Deadline

Posted by Daniel Ferguson on Fri, Mar 13, 2020 @ 09:05 AM

Top Business Honors Will Accept Nominations Through April 14

The Stevie® Awards, organizer of The American Business Awards®, announced today that the final entry deadline for the 18th annual ABA competition has been extended to April 14. No additional late fees will be charged. Entries submitted through April 14 will not be penalized in any way in the judging process.

ABA20_EXTFDL041420_Rotator

“We’ve received so many requests for individual deadline extensions that we’ve decided to extend the deadline for everyone,” said Stevie Awards president Michael Gallagher. The original final deadline was March 11.

Interested in entering The 2020 American Business Awards®?

Request the entry kit

The American Business Awards are widely considered to be the premier business awards program in the U.S.A. All organizations operating in the U.S.A. are eligible to submit nominations— public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large, and small. The 2020 awards will honor achievements since the beginning of 2019. Entry details are available at http://www.StevieAwards.com/ABA.

The American Business Awards recognize achievement in every facet of the workplace. Categories include:

The new Achievement categories  recognize singular achievements of various types of entire organizations (for-profit or non-profit, large medium or small, public or private) in nine categories. Among the category groups that feature one or more new categories are Information TechnologyNew Product & ServiceMobile Website & AppPublication, and Video.

More than 200 executives on 13 juries have already begun the process of rating nominations to determine the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Award winners.

Stevie winners will be announced on April 30, and the awards will be presented at a gala banquet on June 12 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Attendance is not required to win.

The list of past Stevie Award winners in The American Business Awards reads like a who’s who of innovation and business success in the U.S.A. Explore the list of last year’s winners.

Topics: The American Business Awards, ABA, American business awards

Why Property Management Is Going High Tech

Posted by Daniel Ferguson on Tue, Mar 10, 2020 @ 02:31 PM

London Computer Systems is a property management software company that seeks to help businesses operate efficiently using their integrated technologies. Their Stevie Award-winning product, Rent Manager, is proven to help companies manage all types of properties.

As the property technology world develops, real estate firms are devoting more attention to how technology can help their businesses. Technology impacts real estate agents to an ever-increasing degree, and tools for every aspect of a real estate company are currently being developed.

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When Communications Are Down, Technology Helps

New programs and apps help manage and streamline real estate processes for realtors—not just in the course of their everyday work but also when disasters strike. For example, in areas of the country that suffer from severe weather-related issues, property management can be extremely challenging for industry professionals and their clients. 

Software products recently released on the market, however, can help property managers connect with residents and track communications. With just a few clicks of a button, the software can ensure tenants get the help they need by using targeted text messages and phone calls. This greatly eases the stress on client and owner alike. 

Increasing Industry Use

More than half of commercial real estate agents are now using at least one form of property technology. Two common ways they’re using technology are to analyze performance and to manage accounts and properties on their lists. The goal of moving toward artificial intelligence (AI) in real estate is to give business owners the freedom to customize information technology to better fit the needs of their companies. 

LCS_logo_2At its heart, property technology makes the realtor or property manager's job easier and helps that person do a great job for his or her clients. In the past, the industry relied on time-consuming paper management systems, which didn’t allow for tracking communication between manager and tenant. Today, there are more innovative products on the market. Rent Manager makes the process much more straightforward and transparent. 

Next-Level Integration

The industry’s goal now is to progress to the next level of integration, wherein platforms connect seamlessly. This evolution will enable different software systems to work together, which will allow businesses to personalize their systems. Modern application programming interfaces (APIs) allow programmers to construct solutions that work perfectly for them and their customers. 

What Is the Future of Property Technology?

In the future, the property management industry is likely to dive deeper into the world of artificial business intelligence. The world, after all, works on electronic automation in nearly all sectors. You can book an appointment with your dentist from a website, use the self-checkout at the market, and buy a car online; to keep up, managing your rental property needs to move in the same direction.

Property management companies are likely to automate processes and to move the workforce into service-focused tasks. In that landscape, attention to detail and a focus on customer service will become the things that make a property management system stand out from the competition. 

The ability to stay on top of trends in the property management industry keeps businesses at the top of their game. In 2020 and beyond, these companies need to operate efficiently and stay connected to clients in order to build a reputation for top quality service. That involves not only relying on property management technology but employing dedicated people to use it. 

This dedication to being at the forefront of property sector tech development, as well as a commitment to excellent customer service, helped London Computer Systems, a property management software company, earn recognition as a leader in their field. London Computer Systems is based in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States.

The Rent Manager Product Support Department was named the winner of a Bronze Stevie® Award in the Customer Service Department of the Year category in The 16th Annual American Business Awards® (2018). The Rent Manager User Conference was also named the winner of a Bronze Stevie Award in the Corporate & Community - Corporate Event category in The 17th Annual American Business Awards.

Interested in entering The American Business Awards?

Request the entry kit

Topics: The American Business Awards, American business awards, Customer Service

Retirement Is Changing, and Financial Services Groups Need to Keep Up

Posted by Daniel Ferguson on Wed, Feb 19, 2020 @ 10:40 AM

Financial wellness is a luxury that younger demographics seem to have a harder time achieving. Stevie-winner John Hancock is an insurance company refining its approach to develop financial solutions for the modern generation of consumers.

With the ongoing economic impacts of the Great Recession, astronomical student debt, rising housing costs, and myriad other financial factors, retirement looks a lot different today than it used to. Gone are the days of getting into a job, working for 40 years, and retiring with a handshake and a gold watch. Pensions and 401(k)s are increasingly hard to come by. Plus, with often insurmountably expensive real estate costs, fewer people are entering the realty market. As a result, many people don’t have valuable homes to supplement their retirement nest eggs.

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Given these kinds of factors, it’s little surprise that the concept of “retirement” has shifted. In this landscape, one thing is clear: If financial services groups want to continue to stay relevant, they will need to change their approaches, advice, and outlook to match what financial wellness means to millennials and members of Generation Z.

Rethinking Retirement Age

In a 2018 study by Bankrate.com, millennials responded that they think 61 is the ideal age to retire. Despite this aspiration of early retirement, however, approximately two-thirds of millennials have nothing saved for retirement.

Because of increased debt and decreased financial opportunities, more people than ever are being forced to reevaluate what’s realistic when it comes to retirement. For many, this means bumping out that expected age of retirement. Some don’t even expect to retire at all, instead considering part-time jobs, second careers, or other money-making opportunities as they get into the later years of their lives.

Increased longevity further complicates the issue. Across the globe, people are living longer than ever, which seriously skews issues related to realistic retirement age, health insurance, and life insurance.

Rethinking Financial Wellness

Companies that provide financial planning and other money-management services are often viewed as symbolic of a bygone era. After all, someone who has nothing saved for retirement, doesn’t own a home, and is working on paying down $50,000 in student debt can feel as if these companies aren’t relevant to their financial realities.

That doesn’t need to be the case, though. These companies can still help younger clientele reach their financial goals; they just have to shift how they think about accomplishing this endeavor. Stevie-winner John Hancock, which is based in Boston, Massachusetts, United States, is one such company successfully refining its approach. 

John_Hancock_logo-1The people at John Hancock understand it’s time to look beyond outdated concepts like ‘net assets’ and to build financial solutions that fit into customers’ whole lives—with easily accessible products that reflect their values, their approach to wellness, and their holistic well-being. That’s why they’re redefining retirement, insurance, and investing for the modern generation of consumers to address both their health and wealth.

To connect with this modern generation of consumers, one key is reframing the idea of financial wellness as the most important kind of wellness. Financial service providers are finding that the younger generation prizes a more holistic approach to well-being, and providing advice that resonates means tailoring to that mind-set.

John Hancock believes good health and financial wellness are essential ingredients to overall well-being, and they want to help motivate people to make healthier choices—for themselves and their future.

With this goal in mind, the organization has had success especially with one initiative: a partnership with the Vitality Group, which can serve as a template for similar companies looking to connect with younger investors.

In 2015, John Hancock started a new chapter in their 155-year history when they partnered with the Vitality Group to help clients live longer, healthier lives. As the first life insurance company in the United States to offer a wellness-based rewards program, John Hancock life insurance with Vitality gives customers the financial protection they need while also helping them earn savings on their premiums, shopping gift cards, and travel discounts for their everyday healthy habits, such as going for a walk, eating well, and getting a regular health check.

John Hancock was honored with seven Stevie® Awards at The 2019 American Business Awards®, earning the company a Grand Stevie® Award. This designation is reserved for the top 10 most-recognized organizations at the event. The company’s honors included four Gold awards (in the categories of Mobile Site and App, Innovation of the Year, and two in Achievement in Management), two Silver awards (in the categories of Woman of the Year and Financial Services), and two Bronze awards (in the categories of Information Technology Team of the Year and Customer Service Team of the Year).

Interested in entering the next American Business Awards?

Request the entry kit here.

Topics: The American Business Awards, American business awards, Innovation, management awards

Marketing in the Age of AI

Posted by Daniel Ferguson on Wed, Feb 12, 2020 @ 11:05 AM

In an age where AI is changing the business landscape, agencies like Digital Resource are stepping up to help organizations gain online traction. Adopting AI can mean creating personal connections between businesses and clients.

Hollywood’s dire predictions of artificial intelligence (AI) taking over the world might not be coming true any time soon, but there’s no denying that AI’s capabilities are revolutionizing many industries. With newfound access to big data, machine learning, and in-depth insight into consumer behavior, the marketing industry, for one, is undergoing a complete overhaul.

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Most businesses today have the wrong idea about online marketing. It is not so much about the tools and platforms you use as it is about understanding human behavior and motivation. The deeper your knowledge of your target audience, the more impactful your marketing efforts will be. To that end, AI is a powerful ally for marketers who are willing to accept and to adapt to its capabilities.

AI for Your Marketing Team

Businesses across the world are using AI and machine learning insights to sharpen their marketing focus and to increase personalization. For instance, AI can help create ads that convert better by enabling deeper keyword searches, social profiling, and exhaustive online data research—all of which are not scalable efforts when done manually.

Intelligent analysis of search patterns, conversational chatbots to increase retention, individual-level user analytics, and several other marketing use cases of AI are all emerging globally.

“Marketing initially scared me because you couldn’t measure it,” said Susan Johnson, CMO of SunTrust Bank, in a conversation on AI with John Koetsier of Inc.

“I never thought we'd be here, where technology and marketing are completely intertwined,” said Johnson, who trained as an engineer and worked at Apple before making the shift to marketing. “Now, with technology, we have some degree of certainty about what is happening and why.”

This sentiment echoes the thoughts of savvy marketers everywhere.

AI Adoption and Marketing Impact in Numbers

Recent research and survey reports reveal the pace at which AI is changing the marketing landscape. For example, according to the Digital Intelligence Briefing, 2018 by Adobe, top-performing companies are more than twice as likely to be using AI for marketing (28 percent versus 12 percent) and Marketers' adoption of AI has grown at a rate of 44 percent since 2017 from the State of Marketing, 5th Edition, Salesforce Research.

Change Is Good

Digital_Resource_logoStevie-winner Digital Resource, which is based in West Palm Beach, Florida, United States, is a full-service Internet marketing agency that works with businesses looking to gain online traction. Started in 2014 by Shay Berman, who was twenty-two at the time, the agency aims to go beyond vanity metrics and to give businesses unfiltered, measurable results. With that goal in mind, they have been quick to explore and to implement AI in their marketing campaigns for clients.

“We're very interested in the introduction of artificial intelligence. While many are afraid AI will take jobs, we're exploring ways we can use it to complement and to optimize our employees,” says Emily Crieghton, a multimedia specialist at Digital Resource. “We're going to see a big uptick in the use of AI. On the flip side, though, we're also going to see companies striving to create more personal connections between businesses, influencers, and online users. So, we'll be working to find a balance between the two.”

Whatever the eventual specifics of AI’s incorporation into business marketing strategies, one thing is clear. Artificial intelligence has arrived, and marketers need to adapt quickly and to harness its potential in order to meet customer expectations and to drive business growth.

This year, Berman won the Silver Stevie® Award in the Entrepreneur of the Year - Advertising, Marketing, & Public Relations category at The seventeenth annual American Business Awards®.

Interested in entering the next American Business Awards?

Request the entry kit here.

Topics: The American Business Awards, American business awards, artificial intelligence

Changing Workplace Behaviors, One Story at a Time

Posted by Daniel Ferguson on Wed, Feb 05, 2020 @ 01:18 PM

Workplace cultures and behaviors play a big part in determining employee motivation and performance. Media Partners is a production company committed to helping clients build strong, productive work environments through their engaging training films on challenging topics.

No one likes working with uncivil or downright toxic people, but even the best and happiest organizations have their share of them. Toxic workplace behavior lowers overall productivity and performance, affects loyalty and motivation, and opens up the organization to lawsuits and public defamation. To actually change employee behavior for the better, companies should consider investing in training people skills.

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A recent Harvard Business School study of more than 60,000 employees clearly demonstrated this need for workplace behavior training. It revealed that uncivil behavior in work environments can cost companies millions. Nearly half the employees subjected to incivility “decreased their work effort” and deliberately spent less time at work. Another 38 percent “intentionally decreased” the quality of their work, a quarter admitted to taking their frustrations out on customers, and over 10 percent resigned from jobs due to uncivil treatment.

Unfortunately, most corporate behavior training programs are too dry and fail to address or to engage employees in a meaningful way.

“Most corporate training is truly bad,” says Karen Edwards, vice-president of marketing for Stevie-winner Media Partners, a learning and development organization based in Bellevue, Washington, United States.

Media Partners_logoMedia Partners produces story-based, cinematic-quality, engaging training films to address challenging topics, such as sexual harassment, bullying, and workplace violence.

“Most people are surprised to know there really is good, engaging training on some of the toughest topics. With our programs, employees don’t yawn, roll their eyes, or fall asleep,” says Edwards.

Media Partners is one of a handful of learning organizations that are leveraging the power of storytelling to create more high-performing, respectful workplaces.

Why Use Storytelling?

Neuroscientist Paul Zak and his team work extensively on the physiological and behavioral effects of storytelling. Through a recent experiment, they concluded that the more a story resonates with a person, the more likely it is to modify behavior.

While the power of storytelling is only being scientifically proven now, it has been used traditionally and culturally as a behavioral modification tool for centuries. Most people grow up on a healthy diet of stories, which consciously or subconsciously shapes the way they interact with others.

“Nature shaped us to be ultra-social, and hence to be sharply attentive to character and plot. We are adapted to physiologically interact with stories,” writes Jay Bhalla in a Scientific American article titled “It Is in Our Nature to Need Stories.”

It makes perfect sense, therefore, that organizations should utilize storytelling to create positive behavioral changes in employees.

Show, Don’t Tell

Learning and development organizations typically deliver training programs either textually or orally. This means employees either have to read through tomes of textual material or to sit through presentations and lectures, many of which they’d rather not attend.

It’s not too difficult, therefore, to see why companies like Media Partners are veering toward video as the training medium of choice. Videos are one of the most compelling ways to engage people, and they are being consumed on a massive scale. Mobile video consumption is rising 100 percent every year, over 50 percent of people watch videos online every day, and almost 60 percent of senior executives say that, if there are both text and video options about a topic on one page, they prefer to watch the video (Forbes).

Media Partners has leveraged video-based storytelling to deliver over 150 original, high-quality training videos that creatively address workplace behavioral issues.

Their unique approach to workplace training led to a Silver Stevie win in the Training Video category at the 17th Annual American Business Awards®, 2019, for their training video titled “Once & for All: Stopping Sexual Harassment at Work.”

Interested in entering The American Business Awards this year? The entry deadline is February 12, 2020. 

Request the entry kit here.

Topics: The American Business Awards, video awards, American business awards