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Branding: Going Beyond Your Logo
Posted by Shannon Kelly on 20 April 2016 11:46 am

What is branding? A lot of folks mistakenly think that if you slap a logo on something, that you’ve branded yourself or your business. Throw up a website and dress in your company colors–BOOM! Branded! It couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Lunch at Swah-reyEvery day, right around noon, Leslie Ciccone owner of Swah-rey, St. Petersburg’s premier dessert bar, has lunch with her staff. She makes sure they sit down, even for a few minutes, to enjoy their meal. This small, inexpensive gesture has large impact, whether they’re aware of it or not.

Upon entering Swah-rey, you’re greeted by sweet smell, inviting seating, beautiful art and decor, dreamy lighting, and a warm smiling face behind the counter. Don’t get me started on the desserts and coffee (their actual claim to fame)… Leslie has donated her mini cupcakes countless times to local organizations, she attends events outside of her own shop, and graciously offers her space to those that need a community meeting place.

Okay, okay, she’s an angel… What does this have to do with branding? Your brand goes beyond you slapping your name on something. Your brand is your promise to your customers to go above and beyond your competitors. Your brand is your commitment to your employees–your BRAND ambassadors. Your brand is the look, feel, smell, and embrace you offer the public. It’s a full sensory experience.

You may have thought through your product, your price points, and your packaging, but what feeling are you offering? Swah-rey delivers a belly-warming experience from their cushy chairs, the first sip of caramel latte, the last bite of creme brulee, and finally to the no-pressure billing experience. Though customers order at the counter, Swah-rey staff will bring your food to your table and they don’t expect payment until you’ve finished dining. They check on you throughout your meal, as you would a guest in your own home.

Sure you can require your employees to do all of these things because it’s “their job,” but the fact that Leslie shows her staff the same hospitality she expects from them is priceless. She offers the same continuous attention to detail in her own community–beyond her front door. Culture can’t be forced, but it can be demonstrated from the top down. How do you live your brand?

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2016 New Year’s Resolutions
Posted by Shannon Kelly on 06 January 2016 10:52 am

5369076442At the beginning of every year we say to ourselves that we’re going to do better. We’re going to obtain more money, work on our health, and improve our relationships. In the business world, we usually only focus on the money part. Fortunately, these things are all connected in a personal and career sense. Below are our 2016 New Year’s Resolutions:

Lose Weight
Shed the bulk by reviewing print materials, website copy, and proposals. Is it information overload? Reduce and simplify to clearly communicate with your customers, staff, and prospects. In a world heavily concerned with SEO and online marketing, we tend to fluff fluff and fluff with keywords and phrases. However, you can lose your customer’s attention and purpose when overloading them with nonsense.

Get Organized
Create a marketing calendar for your social media posts, e-newsletters, expos and events. Canned responses can be a great time-saver to those frequently asked questions. Gmail has a lab under “settings” to create these messages. Some internal systems call them other names such as macros or auto-responses. Don’t forget to proofread before sending. Some canned messages need you to fill in client’s names and info. You don’t want to leave “Dear Mr. Client” in the intro.

In the spirit of organization, cutting corners is sometimes encouraged. Make an effort to go paperless and to keep all documents organized on your computer. Use the mentality of “if I were to get hit by a bus tomorrow, who could jump in and do my job?” (Sounds morbid, we know, but this makes one think about training, organizing, and setting procedures.) Here at Webtivity, we use a couple of shortcuts like the Stanza date clipper for Google Calendar that takes information from a web page and lets you add it to your calendar with a couple clicks, rather than copying and pasting over. Another great app is called RoboForm that stores logins for frequently visited sites and personal info for those annoying registration and checkout fields.

Improve Communication
Respond to all emails. If you scan over an email with intent on replying to it later, be sure to mark it as “unread” or flag it as a  follow-up. Leaving coworkers or clients on hold for weeks is just plain rude. If you don’t have an answer, simply respond that you’ll work on one and keep them updated on the project. Personally, when I send an email or response, I feel like I’ve done my part. It’s beyond annoying having to babysit to make sure someone else has done theirs. At that point, I feel like I’m doing two jobs. Remember to be consistent and transparent. Eliminating questions builds trust and respect within your team and clientele.

Give Back
If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. While being part of several organizations, chambers, and boards, we see a lot of talking with little action from surrounding businesses. Inspire your company and community to get their hands dirty and chip in where needed. We’re talking about orchestrating community cleanup days, assisting local charities and nonprofits, offering free workshops, or starting an internship program. Check with your local chambers and business associations to find opportunities to make a difference in your district.

Build and Maintain Morale
Teamwork makes the dream work. No really. It does. If you have a staff that is gossiping or throwing one another under the bus, your company will never have anything but turnover. (Oh and hint, hint, the example is set from the top-down.) If you find yourself throwing fits, lacking patience, coming in late/leaving early, and being stingy, don’t expect much more from your employees. Work on team goal-setting and be sure to praise your co-workers for your triumphs.  Keep your team up-to-speed on your intentions and progress. An organization that works toward a common goal will take pride in their company inside and outside of working hours.

Put Your Best Face Forward
Most of us are guilty (I know I am!) of rolling out of bed last minute and throwing ourselves together. After adding the extra holiday pounds and entertaining the in-laws, dolling myself up for work is usually my last priority. However, it’s the first thing my clients and support staff notice. Do yourself a favor, and take that couple of minutes to primp and polish in the morning. It shows respect for yourself and your position. (You also won’t hate yourself in tagged company photos!)

Don’t Become a Workaholic
This sounds counter-intuitive to a list heavily geared toward business goals, but work needs to be turned off. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating properly, and enjoying yourself. If you’re in workmode 24/7, you burn yourself out and push away those you care about. Take time to meditate and have hobbies. This clear-headed thinking will rejuvenate your job and you’ll find 5 o’clock comes sooner than it used to.

Finish What You Started
Goal-setting doesn’t mean diddly if you don’t follow through. Set dates, mark your calendars, and have accountability partners. Display your goals visibly for everyone to see daily. This keeps you and your team honest with each other. It’s okay to ask for help and to offer it when you notice someone is behind. Celebrate your victories and recognize your milestones!

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Holiday Marketing Tips
Posted by Shannon Kelly on 08 December 2015 03:16 pm

logo-holidayIf you missed The Grand Central District‘s Holiday Mixer, below are the tips we presented to help market your business during the holiday season:


Light Up the District!

We’re encouraging all businesses to keep their lights on through the month of December.

  • This helps unify district by displaying all of the storefronts.
  • Promotes your business and it’s offerings when you’re closed.
  • Keeping your business lit, deters sketchy activity and makes any mischief visible.


Holiday Open House

If you haven’t already, schedule a holiday open-house at your business.

  • Retailers, if budget permits, offer finger food and wine.
    • If budget doesn’t permit, try co-opping with local bars and restaurants.
    • Get rid of unwanted merch by offering grab bags with surprise goodies.
    • Hide a couple “big deal” presents like store gift cards in the grab bags.
    • Bundle items into a gift set for a special promotion.
  • Restaurants, promote your space as a holiday party venue.
    • Offer a private area of the restaurant or bar, or again, pair up with local retailers that might be hosting their own event.
    • Offer samplings of your house wine and pass out coupons to lure them back to your space.


  • Put your customers in the mood to buy!
    • Decorate your store or office window.
    • Remind your clients that anything can be a gift!
    • Put bows on larger items.
    • Make gift cards for your services.


  • Remember to utilize your social media.
    • Dress up your cover photo on Facebook.
    • “Holidize” your logo by putting jingle bells around it or a santa hat on it.
    • Boost your posts and remind customers you’re there!
    • Set out a guestbook and email your customers special offers or holiday tips and tricks.


If you’d like a free consultation on how to better market your business during the holidays, please contact us at Webtivity Marketing & Design.

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Supporting Small Business Saturday
Posted by Shannon Kelly on 23 November 2015 10:48 am
Record Store

Customers Dig Through Albums at Planet Retro Records in St. Petersburg, FL

While many people are divided on the concept of Black Friday shopping and how it takes over Thanksgiving mindset, many can agree that Small Business Saturday is a day worth supporting.

Small Business Saturday is  a movement dedicated to the mom and pop shops- the brick and mortars that make up 27 million businesses in our economy. These locally owned and operated establishments also employ more Americans than their large corporation counterparts.

So, how can you support the movement? Take a stroll down your town’s main street or downtown on Saturday, November 28. Notice the small boutiques and cafes that line the neighborhood- whose owners most likely live a stone’s throw from you.

These shops carry the gems of gifts- locally made soaps, hand crafted jewelry, up-and-coming artists’ work, and the like. You can guarantee your gifts will be one-of-a-kind (and you won’t show up with the same bath and body set as your sister-in-law!)

Beyond small retailers, be sure to remember your boutique design, accounting, and law firms right in your backyard. These folks are invested in your community, because they also live and operate there. The money you spend here at home, recycles back into our sidewalks, schools, and public safety.

If you’re a small business looking to promote your own Small Business Saturday, be sure to promote any sales on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. (There’s a respected audience on each platform.) Invite friends and family to a “Holiday Open House” featuring your best offerings bundled, discounted, or with free gift-wrapping.

Make the shopping experience stupid-simple for your clientele. Gift wrapping doesn’t have to be complicated. You can achieve this with cute gift bags and tissue paper. Ask your customers if they’ve completed their holiday shopping, and if there’s anything special you can help them find. We can’t emphasize social media enough! Ask customers to check-in, hashtag, or share your events for a small in-store incentive. (Think free samples, small discounts, or coupons for their next visit.)


Here at Webtivity, we wish you and yours a safe and Happy Holiday!

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Junior Leadership Manatee 2015-2016 Accepting Applications Now
Posted by Troy Newport on 28 April 2015 08:23 am

Attention all high school sophomores!!  The Junior Leadership Manatee program is now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 class.  Applications must be postmarked by May 30, 2015 to be considered.
Junior Leadership is designed for teens interested in becoming future leaders by enhancing their knowledge of community resources, current issues and other factors influencing the direction of Manatee County’s future.  Throughout the program participants gain special access to local business, government, agricultural and media staples in our community and learn what career and employment opportunities are available in our county.

The cost to participate is $150 for those students who meet eligibility requirements.  Some financial assistance is available based on economic need.   Junior Leadership is a unique and invaluable experience students can include on their resume or college application.

junior-leadership-logoFor eligibility requirements and more information on the Junior Leadership Manatee program please visit the official website:

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