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The News Chair

Make Monday your favorite day of the week #motivationalmonday

Happy Monday!

Keep at it, friends. You’re stronger than you think…



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Categories: Advertising, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Ever since I started working at Coles Marketing — almost a decade ago (yikes!) — my coworker, Chris Mercier, has been a wonderful mentor and friend.

dsc_0098And at the end of this month, she’s retiring. I can’t imagine the workplace without her, so I thought a spotlight on her for this blog seemed quite fitting.

Q&A with Chris Mercier (it rhymes!)

Q: How did you get started with Coles? Why have you stayed so many years?

A: I joined the company when it was known as Coles & Morrison. I met Candy Morrison first through a non-profit. Working part-time at the non-profit was my first job going back to work after staying home with my two children. In 1998, Candy introduced me to Barb, and I joined the company.

d20_1669Q: Describe Coles Marketing in one word.

A: Family

Q: How has the PR/marketing/communications industry changed over the years?

A: When I first joined the company, six of us shared one email account. We sent news releases through the mail (snail mail). Social media wasn’t even on the horizon. Advertising was limited to print or broadcast. Clients have many more opportunities today to tell their stories.

img_2037Q: What qualities do you think are required of a leader for success?

A: I think a leadership role requires you to think on your feet. Develop honest relationships. Listen to your client to formulate a strategy to help them accomplish their goals. I enjoy the critical thinking it takes to come up with workable strategies for each challenge.

Q: What kind of impression or impact do you hope to leave on Coles Marketing and its employees?

A: I hope people remember that I was a hard worker with a sense of humor.

Q: Offer a piece of advice for up-and-coming PR and marketing executives.

A: My advice to future execs is to be a supportive and contributing member to the team. Always stay one step ahead by staying organized. Don’t be afraid to take on more responsibility, and embrace change.

mercier_5inQ: What’s ahead for you?

A: My husband and I look forward to spending more time in Scottsdale with our daughter, two grandchildren, Jim’s mom and dad and extended family of close to 50. We will also be closer to our son in Portland and hope to travel the western U.S. in the next few years.


Chris, we will miss you. You can never be replaced, and we will always remember you as a hard worker with a sense of humor … and so much more!


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Take a small business image inventory

Whether in the smallest town or the largest city, as a small business owner, you are your business. EverytBarb photo largerhing you say and do impacts your image either positively or negatively. Therefore, everything about you – from your personal appearance, to your language, to the way you deal with your employees – is a billboard advertising your business. Perhaps it’s time to take an image details inventory. Note and evaluate the following details:

Awareness of your appearance when clients see you

Take a good look at yourself. Acquire a core wardrobe that suits your new endeavor and makes you appear successful. Don’t skimp on the details like a good haircut, appropriate jewelry and polished shoes. Your clothes should mean business.

Even if you do home repair work, gardening or carpentry, clean work clothes are a must for sales calls. If you consult, you’ll probably need conservative clothes. You may have to spend precious capital on new business outfits and accessories, but you will never be taken seriously if you make your first appearance a poor one.

Your business location and how it looks

Just as your personal appearance impacts your client’s perception of your business, so does the look of your office. Evaluate the style of the furnishings, the cleanliness and the neatness of your office. If it doesn’t look first rate, it’s not making a positive impression on your clientele.

If you work from home, does your working area present a professional image? If clients will have to walk over piles of laundry, or if you expect to have distractions on site (such as children or neighbors peeking in), it may be best to meet with your clients at a different location.

The quality of your business cards and other printed materials

In many cases your initial contact with customers will be by letter or direct mail, so you want that first impression to be impeccable. That first-class look can be achieved less expensively than you might think.

If the services of an offset printer are beyond your financial reach, try your local quick-print shops and full-service office supply stores. These vendors offer good quality business cards, letterhead and other materials at a reasonable price – often carrying large sample stock and print catalogs so you can choose different styles of letterhead, typefaces, layouts and colors to achieve a professional look.

The way you greet customers

Analyze everything that makes contact with your customer, from the tone of your voice on the telephone, to the firmness of your handshake. You want to present an image of competence and friendliness.

If you work from home and a dedicated business land or cell phone line isn’t financially feasible right now, always answer the phone appropriately for your business image. Your friends will understand an unusual salutation, but your clients will not likely forgive an inappropriate greeting. Take special care to minimize distractions and background noise (children, television, lawn mowing, etc.) during telephone conversations.

The service you offer after your product is sold.

In a world long on hype and short on quality, most people are willing, even eager, to share their discovery of good service. Therefore, take special pains to always deliver and maintain the quality that fulfills your claims. Sales will inevitably follow.

The way you interact with your clients or vendors

Think of the market you operate within as a little community, where vendors are potential clients, and visa-versa. In this climate, the way you run your business will be quickly observed. If you outsource work, free-lancers soon learn whether your pay is competitive. Once you buy services and goods, creditors know whether you pay bills on time. A sincere and timely note of thanks to vendors and clients can create a positive “buzz” that boosts your image and brings in repeat business. Meanwhile, any parties who are left to feel unrecognized or under-serviced can reduce your client lists in weeks.  Since these factions communicate among themselves, your every word and action in dealing with business matters must be consistent with the image and reputation you hope to develop.

Maintaining your good reputation is the most effective (and least costly) form of advertising available. The suggestions listed above will aid you in your quest to be your own best billboard -making all of your appearances count!





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