Category Archives: Thought Leadership

10 Ideas on How to Connect with Your Employees during Covid

We all know that Covid has changed the way so many people do business.  One thing that hasn’t changed is that the most important part of your company’s success are your employees. Everyone likes to be appreciated and acknowledged.  With our inability to connect in person sending a creative and fun gift can give them those warm fuzzies.   

The gift shows that you are thinking of them and even though you are all working remote they are a part of the team.  The gifts that seem to have the most impact are the ones that are creative and not just the same ol’ t-shirt and pen.  

One emerging trend during Covid has been the use of “kitting”.  Instead of purchasing a single corporate branded item, companies are finding success in sending employees and clients an entire kit of offerings.

Employee based kits might include:

  1. Zoom Call Packages: a ring light (so you look good on those calls!), wireless earbuds, Bombas socks and a corporate hoodie.
  2. Back to the Office Essentials: Custom logo’d face masks, logo’d thermometer, hand sanitizer and Yeti cup
  3. Employee Welcome Kits: It’s strange starting a new job during Covid, especially remotely.  Welcome your new employees with a kit that might contain a custom notebook, a phone sanitizer, a Yeti coffee mug and a mini Sonos.
  4. Food gifts: This is a great way to not only show appreciation to the employee but it’s something the entire family can enjoy.  Send a box of those office snacks they so dearly miss!
  5. Workout from Home Gifts: A logo’d water bottle, branded dri fit apparel, yoga mat and some complimentary online fitness classes.
  6. Wellness Kits: Send a custom candle, succulent, eye mask, bath salts.
  7. Happy Hour Cocktail Kit – A digital experience with a mixologist on zoom, a fresh ingredient kit, the spirit of choice, a custom cocktail shaker and a recipe book.
  8. Keep the Kids Busy Kit: Send a baking fun box that includes pre-mixed cookie dough ingredients, oven mitts, spatula and whisk and kids aprons.
  9. Summer Fun Kit: Kit might include a custom beach towel with your logo, an insulated Yeti cooler and a beach umbrella.
  10. Family Game Night Kit: Send a box of card games packed with customized bowls and their favorite snacks.

As we all adapt to our “new-new” we need to always keep top of mind that thoughtfulness and appreciation go a long way with our clients and employees. 

The great thing about all of the items mentioned above is that they are available at various budgets and can be customized with your logo or theme.  It’s a wonderful way to stay connected and create a sense of community and belonging.  

Need ideas or help with your custom kit?  Drop me a line

Author: Michelle Augustyn: For over 20 years, Michelle has been helping clients elevate their brand awareness through the use of advertising specialties, POS and collateral materials. As Production Manager, Michelle’s responsibility is to provide seamless delivery of client expectations. From product research, vendor relations, to negotiations and communications, Michelle utilizes her industry experience to leverage exceptional results.

Thumbs up 👍🏽 , There’s a New Influencer on the Front Line

On the 3249th day of quarantine, I found myself once again thumbing aggressively through my Instagram account in search of social interactions in order to stimulate my brain. Most of the stimulation comes from viewing the “traditional” influencer, if there is such a category, posting some new beauty advice, such as: how to cut my own hair during quarantine or a vibrating belt that will magically give me 6 pack abs without having to do one sit up (ya right). Being that my profession is in the field of experiential marketing, I am always in search of something new, a shift that is compelling and worth a second look, a reason to stop thumbing and take note.

Well, today was that day!

Who would have thought that the dreaded quarantine would have revealed something so significant? That is besides the fact that we are all addicted to Netflix, horrible cooks, and trying to work out at home using watermelons and wine bottles (guilty as charged). Today, something compelling appeared on my feed. Nope, it was not a TikToker, a pet iguana, or even a wellness guru who has the secret to lifelong happiness if we never leave the house again.

Out of all the people who made me stop was my friend, Tina Bijlani, a current resident at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC. Usually, I tend to just look at her Instagram posts for the latest happenings around NYC. But her post had a “Thank You” sticker, and a tag that led me to a review two companies (Asics via Sneakers for Heroes) that donated sneakers to her hospital that she was passionate about supporting, followed by a little story and link to the brand website.

This made me think, our healthcare workers are our touchpoint to consumerism in this moment of time. From a marketing perspective, they have the ability to influence in a way we haven’t seen before. They are passionately connecting people to good causes, non-profits, and other companies that are single-handedly supporting essential workers.

Therefore, I want to give a thumbs up to the new influencers on the front line who are spending long days fighting for us every day. Many of whom have decided not to go home at all, sleeping in hotels or their cars to avoid potentially infecting loved ones. This notion has most brands quickly pivoting their strategies to provide the “essentials” to healthcare workers to not only express their gratitude and create moments of goodness but help keep them afloat during this difficult time.

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As a marketing professional, I see this as an opportunity for brands to not only invest more of their influencer marketing dollars towards health care professionals but to create future product lines that cater specifically to this demographic. In return, they can use their influence to make the world a better place and extend their reach to audiences post-Covid- 19. Their authentic personal stories of how a specific product helped them overcome their long hours while on the job are exactly what consumers are looking for during these tough times. It allows the audience to connect with real people on a personal and emotional level. This is a shift in our culture that possibly hasn’t existed before and it is my job to embrace this shift and support the very influencers who are working so hard to keep us safe and healthy.

Example: Exhausted doctors and nurses can give a thumbs up or down review on how a concealer brand or a herbal face mask helped conceal or heal their bruised faces wearing PPE. 

Take it from these brands who have been leading by example:

  • Nike– Donated over 30,000 Nike Air Zoom Pulse shoes, which was their first shoe designed for the healthcare athlete, an everyday hero.
  • Sephora– Launched their Project Care’ program, that will deliver beauty products to 65,000-plus frontline health care workers and those dealing with domestic violence in our communities across the U.S.
  • Dove – Put a new face on “Real Beauty; in salute to healthcare workers through their “Courage Is Beautiful” campaign.
  • Hershey’s: Launched a new Super Hero Milk Chocolate bar in partnership with DC Comics to highlight the real superheroes during the pandemic.

Heck, even some TikTok videos have gone viral for practicing safe handwashing while promoting their products.

As a true fitness and beauty product aficionado, I can’t wait to see where influencer marketing is headed to next.

As marketers, we are on the front lines of inspiring our clients, while bridging the gap between the healthcare superheroes and brands, both on and offline. Whether it’s strategically consulting on projects and initiatives, creating influencer and experiential marketing strategies, or providing out of the box thinking and pivoting during these challenging times. Thumbs up, we got you covered!

If you or a brand want to collaborate, drop me a line!

Author: Priya Shah

How Super Women Survive Quarantine

As self-described Super Women, we get it. We are constantly multitasking in each aspect of our lives, even more so now in quarantine. It is all a blurred line between work and personal time. It isn’t enough to inhale 1,2,3,4 and exhale 1,2,3,4 to calm our anxiety. Right now, as working moms, we are in survival mode and dealing with feelings of guilt, stress and tremendous uncertainty.

Where we use to relish that one day a week working from home, we now have multitasking challenges. Zoom calls? Yes, we can see you. Math homework via e-learning; are you smarter than your 5th grader? Lunch, dinner, cleaning, working out, checking in on sick parents and taking the dog for a walk, all while being quarantined to your home. Yikes. That is quite the task list. Don’t forget to add feelings of anxiety, sleep deprivation and overall sadness.

As women, we typically shoulder the majority of the responsibility and struggle to remember the basics: there is a me, you are doing great and you are enough. The United States is the leader in single-parent households. Today, the phrase “the buck stops here” takes on even greater meaning.

Figuring out what works for you and how you are going to strategically tackle quarantine life is the most important lesson in helping maintain a level of sanity.

  • Inspire: Start your day with a simple saying that makes you feel good or inspires you. I start my day by saying “Thank You” followed by what I am thankful for….
  • Maintain: Try your best to maintain a schedule during the week. Keep a digital or even a wall calendar for all to see.
  • Space: Create a work area for yourself and set times that you are available to your kids. No guilt over iPad, phone or gaming time. You may be nurturing the next Bill Gates.
  • Support: Call upon your village, your squad. Ask for help from your friends during times that you are working and do the same for them.
  • Cook: Cook two meals and share one with a friend to give them a night off and vice versa.
  • Tech: Rely on technology. There are great resources available for adults and kids of all levels and interests. Khan Academy for academics, Facebook groups for parenting, Cosmic Kids for kid’s yoga and wellness to name a few.
  • Time: Carve out breaks for you. Meditate, work out, listen to music, read a book. Something for you with no interruptions.
  • Boundaries: Schedule time in your calendar for family. Just like you would schedule an important meeting, you don’t take calls during that meeting.
  • Grateful: Remember to smile, laugh and be grateful for you. You are the boss of you.
  • Calm: All joking aside, make sure to breathe and get outdoors for a walk around your neighborhood to clear your head and give you a fresh perspective.

You may not be thriving currently, but during this time it is all about surviving. Above all, you are resilient, you are fierce and you will be back. Cheers to all the Super Women out there!

Author: Kristina Schneider is a self-described Wonder Woman, work wife, mother to two beautiful teenage daughters, caretaker to her 86- year old mother, volunteer, weekend warrior, and partner at ADROC Productions South, Inc, a brand experience marketing agency founded in 1996.​