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SILVER OAKS COMMUNICATIONS BLOG

Snapchat, Snap Map: Connecting or Stalking?
June 29, 2017
We’ve all heard about the “friendly ghost” of cinema, Casper. But are you familiar with the “friendly ghost” of social media? If not, let us introduce you to Snapchat. Snapchat is the little, yellow app with the white ghost that allows you to quite literally, “snap chat”. The entire social medium is about conversing using snaps of images. You can send these images to anyone you’re following. This could be friends, family, co-workers, B2B, B2C, and now….the world. You heard that right! Snapchat has just incorporated a new element into the application called “Snap Map”. For a better understanding of what it is, let’s hear it from the creators themselves... With the Snap Map, you can view Snaps of sporting events, celebrations, breaking news, and more from all across the world. If you and a friend follow one another, you can share your locations with each other so you can see where they are and what’s going on around them! Plus, meeting up can be a cinch. Only the people you choose can see your location — so if you’re friends with your boss, you can still keep your location on the down low during a sick day. We can all agree that the above statement pretty much sells us on the Snap Map, right? Unfortunately, that’s Snapchat’s job – to sell us on their product, while glossing over some of the negative effects it may have -- like allowing strangers to follow and have exact locations on other users. So how does it really work? And is it connecting or stalking? Below is an image of what your Snap Map will look like once you initially open the feature. It shows your friends who have opted-in to sharing their location, and “hot spots” (blue glowing areas) for snap stories. At this point, it is the user’s turn to take control and choose their adventure. Stay in your neighborhood, zoom out and head East across the Atlantic Ocean toward Europe and Africa, check out the stories in a city you’ve always wanted to visit - it’s your adventure! So there’s no doubt that technology and social whizzes are impressed with this new feature. Sure, it’s cool that you can literally Snap Map the world, but you can also see a person’s exact location. If you zoom in to a specific person, you can see the street they’re on and the building they’re in. You can even see them in motion as they are changing locations! With such changes and advances, comes the debate on whether this will positively or negatively influence its users. Does this connect users or does it cross the line of privacy? At Silver Oaks, we have views across the spectrum… “As someone that loves to travel and see the world, it’s pretty amazing that I’m able to experience what is going on first hand from someone that’s actually living in a different country. But to think that it can show the exact location of someone is a little creepy, to say the least. This is an amazing feature until someone chooses to abuse it.” -- Tracey “Users have the choice to opt-in to the maps, they are choosing to agree with the concept of it. If someone ever feels unsafe or discouraged, they can always go into “ghost mode” or opt-out. I think the positives of this feature outweigh the negatives.” --Dylan “Snapchat is an app that the younger generation uses, so as long as parents and other peers educate children/young adults to the risks, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. I think this feature is an amazing way to see the way the world works, in seconds. I’m interested to see how Facebook and Instagram react to this feature and how they incorporate it into their platform.” -- Anne What’s your opinion on Snap Map? Will you become a fan or a foe?  
Millennials: Don’t beat ’em, join ’em!
July 24, 2017
I’ve been reading a lot about Millennials in the workplace lately. It seems that everywhere I look, there’s another story about them and their latest trend towards...well, name a thing. Frankly, I’m exhausted by the dissection of this generation. What are their buying trends? What do they value? How do we appeal to them? How do we hire and keep them? Our mania goes on and on trying to figure them out. But are they really that different than the previous generations? One thing is certain. The older generation loves to criticize the younger. Twenty-five years ago, my Gen X label was “disenfranchised slacker.” Which honestly, cracks me up a little bit now that I’m middle-aged. Admittedly, it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do with my life when I was in my 20’s. Although, in the years following, I’ve balanced work and family life, started my own business, weathered a recession, and then re-entered corporate America to find it a much more flexible, family-friendly place. A slacker success story? Maybe. And maybe “slacker” was just a label for the then-younger generation that the older was trying to understand. They weren’t trying to cater to us, our interests or our buying power. Maybe that’s why grunge happened. But I digress. Here’s what we (non-millennials) need to remember as we get to know our new, younger co-workers: keep an open mind. This is a generation full of bright ideas that are not JUST tech related. They are politically and socially engaged, curious, confident and eager to make their mark. They’re optimistic. And there’s more to them than that cliched line about getting their participation trophies. In conclusion, keeping the conversation open with our younger colleagues is the key to avoiding the labels and the stereotypes we’ve all endured over time. The “everyone needs to pay their dues”  attitude is antiquated and negative thinking. I didn’t like it when I began working  in 1990, and I don’t like it now. However, that does not mean that our younger co-workers already know everything. They don’t. And that’s where communication comes in. Learning from each other will create internal work relationships that can only push businesses like Silver Oaks farther because the skill sets of all generations are represented. Maybe dropping these generational labels would be a good way to start. I’ve had mentors of every age who have taught me, inspired me and encouraged me to be more. So what makes companies great? People do. And that’s why working together is the only way to keep us successful at any age.
Context is king
Say Hello To Context!
October 6, 2017
If you’re involved in marketing, you’ve heard the saying “content is king”. Even Bill Gates agreed with that statement -- back in 1996.  But the saying you’ve been using, reading and sharing is in fact, false. Take a deep breath! Yep, it’s hard to wrap your head around it -- but the reality is that content isn’t the all-mighty we once believed it to be. So, if content isn’t king, what is? Context.   First, consider its definition: [kon-tekst] – Noun – the parts of a written or spoken statement that precede a specific word or passage, usually influencing its meaning or effect. If we take the definition for its literal meaning, it is the who, how, why or strategy of content. Making content the what or the tactic of context. When it comes to a successful marketing plan, the strategy is the ruler, while tactics are the building blocks to support that strategy. If we follow this process of thought, it would make context king and content the supporting role, right? So how did the switch come about? Content first became king of marketing because the goal was to have consistent, seemingly endless amounts of information available to consumers. As digital started to transform and grow in popularity, EVERYONE began to adapt this “content” idea. The amount of information became increasingly competitive for businesses and brands alike. So how do you beat your competition? Better content.   And what makes better content? Context.   As stated above, context is the why and the strategy. It takes every element of importance and gives reason to the content being used. In order for us to better understand this new concept of thinking, let’s observe an example we can all relate to: this blog post. Let’s say the message (content) of this post is exactly the same, but we switch up our context. The way you’re reading it now is Silver Oaks branded, it’s professionally organized and well-written, it’s easy to access and it’s coming from people with experience. If I changed the context to a handwritten, crumpled up piece of paper without any attribution to a thought-leading creative agency, the overall success of the message would drastically change.   When you have thought-provoking and strategic context, it adds value and strength to your content. So, the new rule of the land: Context is king and content is the crown.
work from home
Buh-Bye 8 to 5 Work!
April 2, 2018
Why this Gen Xer loves a Millennial work schedule It’s Friday afternoon and I’ve left work around 3:30 to pick up my son. He’s not a grade schooler anymore and daycare is far behind us. He's in high school and is leaving for a band trip in the wee hours of the next morning. We’re behind the eight ball with dirty clothes to be washed and a bag to pack before a jam-packed evening. The next time I see him, we’ll be in the car well past midnight. My work for the week is done, so I feel good about leaving a little early. But if it wasn’t -- done that is – I would be working from home over the weekend to finish or start a project, e-mail a colleague, or look over information for a Monday a.m. meeting. And that would be fine with my boss and my co-workers. Granted, working from home is not a new phenomenon. However, leaving early, coming in late or working the hours that YOU decide, definitely is. But not for long. An article in The Muse sited a new study by Bentley University , saying that 77% of Millennials want flexible work hours, mentioning that “it would make the workplace more productive for people their age.” But let’s face it, with some getting used to, it feels pretty good to people my age as well. Before you naysayers jump to the conclusion that employees are taking advantage, not earning their keep, etc., etc., consider that institutions like Stanford are doing research on the subject – and recent data shows that productivity, overall work hours and employee satisfaction, actually improves with workplace flexibility. And I have to agree. Don’t we all feel better when the pressure of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. sharp is gone? For Millennials that may mean leaving early, then working from home late at night when “their brains are sharper” – for me that may mean getting up early and working in my pajamas for a couple hours. With coffee. Of course, technology keeps us in constant contact. Even 10 years ago, I would not have had access to my co-workers’ personal cell phones, or would have texted them about work issues. Today, it happens almost daily. Some would call that an annoyance, but most of us would call it a necessity. And for a flexible schedule to work, communication is key and so is accountability. Being present for in-person meetings, and being reachable throughout the day (and beyond) HAS to happen. Nick Scott, president of Silver Oaks, and a Millennial, says, “as the workforce changes again, we want to make sure we’re changing with it. Millennials and Gen Y want more flexibility – and technology coupled with changing business philosophies is helping to make that happen. With that comes a sense of personal responsibility and professionalism.  But in the end, it’s all about happy, productive employees who want to stay.”
Get The Most Out Of Your Partnership With Silver Oaks
July 9, 2018
How do you maximize your advertising dollars and build brand loyalty? When you hire a creative agency, solidifying strategy is the first step. To maximize your return on investment you must have these three things ready to share with our team to ensure success. A Deep Understanding of Your Customers Who are your customers? Do you have a buyer’s matrix developed? If you are selling B to B, what are the positions and titles of your buyers? What are their roles and responsibilities? What challenges do they face? What is their status quo, and what are the change drivers? Having this data will help guide the messaging and the tools that need to be developed to deliver messaging to your customers. Your Current Marketing Plan Share with us all aspects of your marketing plan and the goals that you hope to meet. Having the big picture and an understanding of your approach will allow us to identify holes and explore key areas for improvement. Analytics Share any and all of your company’s analytics with our team. We want to understand how your website is converting traffic into leads or sales. We need to know if your digital strategy is successful, and what the return on investment is. How are sales leads generated? Are they coming from landing pages, Facebook, outbound calls, tradeshows, TV, or radio? Having this data will help us understand your revenue, customer acquisition, lead and engagement goals. When you partner with Silver Oaks, our team will be with you from start to finish to bring your ideas to life. By combining strategy, data, and a team of creative professionals, we’ll help you build your brand from the ground up.
Branded Environments Help Boost Employee Productivity
July 18, 2018
Is your workplace inspiring? Have you considered how strategic and creative interior graphic design of your office space can help with employee productivity? Without a question it can! Research and workplace analysis shows that an employee’s physical environment can enhance overall productivity. It can affect how they are motivated, how they feel about their job, company and day-to-day work experience. An inspiring, branded environment can help your company communicate brand loyalty, goals and history, as well as bolster employee appreciation that will resonate throughout your staff. An inspiring office space is the first step to having motivated employees. And a motivated office makes a successful business! Create a workspace that has life, color, and meaning. Consider the look of your wall spaces, windows, floors, ceilings and everything in between. Showcase your successes. Highlight your people. Accentuate the core of your business. Silver Oaks specializes in graphic design. Our team of designers create pieces that make you feel inspired, innovative, motivated, and proud. Interior graphic design projects at Silver Oaks have been some of our favorite to complete, and have won rave reviews from our clients. It’s time to analyze your workspace from top to bottom. How can you turn your workspace into a place that sparks creativity and builds a better business from the inside out?         Check out an example of a branded environment that Silver Oaks created.    

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