December Bonus Program Recap: Coffee, Cocoa, and Conversation

SMPS Research Triangle held its second annual “Coffee, Cocoa, and Conversation” gathering – a chance to voice opportunities and struggles within our day-to-day work with fellow industry peers. O’Brien Atkins Associates kindly hosted the event, providing a breakfast spread complete with Hot Cocoa, Freshly Brewed Coffee, and Bojangles Biscuits – yum! As we all fueled up on our coffee and cocoa, we made our rounds of introductions and jumped into discussion.

The first topic was Photography. How do we acquire photographers, what is the process, and what are alternative ways to get compelling photographs beyond the professional photographer? Below are some tips and main points that came out of the discussion.

  • It’s important to include people in your photography. It illustrates how the space is to be used and may call out certain features of the project that may not otherwise be conveyed.
  • Find alternative ways to get photographs, beyond a professional. Utilize internal staff who may have an interest in photography to take photographs while on the job – it can save you time and money.
  • Make sure all parties have a clear understanding of the photography contract before moving forward. Clear and constant communication is key when coordinating a photography shoot. Make sure all who are involved understand their role, what is to be provided, and what is to be expected from them. This will ensure a smooth process on all accounts.

Moving on, we got into the topic of year-end Strategic Planning. When there are several parties and offices involved, strategic planning can become quite the feat as we set goals for the upcoming year. Below are few take-aways that came out of the discussion.

  • It’s important that everyone understands the overall goal and their role in the strategic plan. When dealing with a variety of personalities and work-types it can be difficult to get everyone on the same page. Set expectations early-on and clearly define the responsibilities of those who are involved in the completion of the plan.
  • Seek outside resources for coaching and advice on team strategy and development. Danielle Gray, of DG Marketing Co., was mentioned as a potential resource when it comes to creating fluent work teams and working with a variety of personalities.

Our last main topic was about Marketing as an Overhead role and conveying its importance to the company. Often Overhead roles can get a “bad wrap” within a company, particularly those companies who do not have a clear definition of overhead roles and/or poor communication dissemination of how these roles are intrinsic to the success of the company. Below are a few points that came out of this discussion.

  • It’s important to have a C-Suite advocate for your role. Support for your role will be most successful when it comes from the top down. If senior staff do not believe and advocate for what you are doing, no one will.
  • Make sure ALL employees are aware of your firm’s mission – with a particular understanding that everyone plays a unique role in bringing your mission to fruition. Many times, there can be a disconnect among employees due to lack of day-to-day interaction, a siloed office culture, and/or multiple office locations – all of which can make it difficult for employees to truly understand one another’s specific contributions. Again, with a top-down influence, it’s important to ensure that employees are working as a team toward one goal.

We look forward to next year for more Coffee, Cocoa, and Conversation!

Blog Post Written by Kim Fowler, CPSM | Marketing Manager | Falcon Engineering

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