Build Brand Devotees with Data Privacy Transparency

Brand loyalty and brand affinity are built on trust. How do you build trust? You deliver on your promises.

When you perform a transaction of any type with a customer, you are making a promise. A promise that you will keep their information safe. A promise that you’ll safeguard where they are vulnerable.

In sharing their information with you, it is assumed that you will protect it.

So, while data privacy might sound boring or intangible – little data packets floating out in cyberspace – data privacy is essential to building solid, long-lasting and devoted relationships with your customers.

This is especially true with members of Gen Z. As the first generation of digital natives, where information has always been quickly accessible and at their fingertips, they are not easily fooled. They are research enthusiasts. They diligently read and post reviews – and they make efforts to align themselves with brands that share their values – or “cancel” those that don’t!

According to GenZinsignts, “For brands who want to gain and keep Gen Z’s business, this means complete, total and genuine transparency about values and business practices.”

Transparency. This is everything to a very powerful consumer group – and honestly, just like DEI and ADA compliance, it’s just the right thing to do.

Proactive marketers that are transparent about how they handle their customers’ data grow trust with their customers – and this gives them a competitive edge. Transparency shows you have nothing to hide. It demonstrates that you care about getting your customer’s buy-in – and that you care about personalizing their experience with your brand – to their comfort level.

“The trust associated with data privacy has gained so much clout that it’s now a competitive differentiator for companies.” according to Tealium’s “Trust is Golden” report on data privacy.

Data privacy is one way where you can provide an exemplary customer experience and set your organization apart.

In any relationship, transactional or not, when trust breaks down, the relationship breaks down. There are few things more valuable than trust because relationships are built on trust. And relationships are foundational for everything meaningful in life.

While trust builds brand loyalty, when you give your customers a delightful customer experience (consistently) you have devotees.

In the report titled “Delight the Right Customers to Build a Successful Business” by Forrester, research showed that customers who had earned the moniker of “devotee” were willing to:

  • Spend more money with their favored brands
  • Keep their business with these brands
  • Forgive these brands
  • Pay a premium price for these brands
  • Go out of their way to work with these brands

For businesses that can deliver a customer experience that delights, the payoff is securiung a devoted customer – which in some cases can increase revenue per customer by more than 100%.

And, trust has never been more important. As Millennials and Gen Z continue to rock the marketplace, along with transparency, they demand personalization. Giving consumers a personalized online experience hinges around collecting the right kinds of data, and keeping the usage of that data in balance.

So, what should you do?

Aligning Data Privacy with Organizational Values

Consumers expect brands to be good stewards of their information. For that to be the case, your brand and your whole team must be aware of your data privacy manifesto. By definition, a manifesto is a public declaration. You need to first, know your intentions with the data you collect (and know what you are collecting and what’s being done with it) and then declare your intentions. Then, stick with it.

Do what you say you’ll do, and people will trust you.

As part of your efforts, crafting a company-wide plan to ensure consumer data protection keeps your whole team on the same page while also motivating support and advocacy of the initiative itself. Get your team’s buy in and you’ll have their support with enforcing the data privacy policies you publish.
Your current strategy, or lack thereof, is impacting your customer relationships. How your digital privacy strategy helps or hurts you will affect not only your brand reputation and your bottom line – but it could also hurt those that you hoped to care for as valued customers.

As the privacy landscape continues to shift, there is an opportunity for organizations to become privacy leaders in their industry – and not only gain a competitive advantage and grow tangible bottom line value but also grow their intrinsic value.

With that, much of the solution you work out could be founded on good old fashioned common sense. Ask yourself, “How would I like my data to be treated?” Is it okay with you if it is sold or shared? If not, plan to clearly define your stance on these issues in your organization’s data privacy policy in a way that aligns with your brand’s mission, vision and values.

In the spirit of transparency, use this as an opportunity to tell the story of how your brand is using data to create a relevant brand experience for your valued customers. Explain the why behind your need for their data. This will help build trust as well as pave the way for an
enhanced customer experience (the path to gaining devotees!).

What’s happening

Pressure is mounting to protect consumer privacy online in the form of data regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the E.U. and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), plus a patchwork of laws elsewhere. Google (Chrome), Apple (Safari), Microsoft (Bing), and Mozilla (Firefox) all have initiatives to protect user privacy. Google has stated it will eliminate third-party cookies in Q4 of 2023.

What do your customers think?

Consumer views on data collection and usage continue to evolve.

According to a report by Accenture, 85% of respondents would not forgive data abuses or leaks from a brand, even one that they previously trusted. And, half of consumers don’t feel well informed about how businesses are using their data.

While just one in 10 consumers have heard of CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) or GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), that doesn’t mean that brands are off the hook. It is the responsibility of businesses to educate consumers, manage and communicate data privacy practices and protect consumer data.

In a world where 80% of consumers believe personal information is being sold online, you have an opportunity to educate and protect your customer.

Public sentiment surrounding the collection and use of personal information is behind the move to regulations like the GDPR in the European Union and CCPA in the United States. These laws provide new rights to consumers and, in some cases, carry the risk of substantial penalties.

As Accenture’s report states, “Privacy isn’t just about avoiding financial repercussions, but also the arguably costlier impact of diminishing consumers’ trust and lifetime brand relationship.”

How will it affect me?

Informed data processing

If you rely on first-party cookies, you won’t be prevented from capturing what brought visitors to your website or recording visitor behavior on your website. The use of programmatic ad targeting will have the biggest impact on marketing.

Ad targeting

Consumer sentiment surrounding the collection and use of personal information is behind the move to regulation. In some cases, data privacy laws carry the risk of substantial penalties. You should know what data your Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy includes, and that all sources of collection are accounted for.

For this reason, Edge has chosen to partner with iubenda, a company built on both legal and technical expertise, that specializes in this sector. As iubenda Certified Partners, we have developed a simple and safe solution to your compliance needs.

Explore our quick explainer guide featuring a brief technical and legal overview of what’s at work in the data privacy discussion, plus a checklist of what to work on to be compliant with regulations.

Why you should care

“In the modern aspiration economy, people develop true brand affinity only when it gives them a sense of community.” Harvard Business Review

You should care about safeguarding data:

  • Because the people that your brand affects are important to you
  • Because you care about being morally and fiscally responsible
  • Because you care about your organizations reputation

Bottom line, it’s good for your customers and it’s good for business. Putting people first is always good for business.

Customers care about your values. How you protect their data demonstrates how you value your customer.

How to Get Prepared

Future-proof your organization with a well crafted data privacy policy – because more regulations are inevitable. And along with those regulations come enhanced consumer awareness as well as financial accountability for brands.

Edge has prepared a Guide to help you prepare. Learn what you must do for your:

  • Privacy Policy
  • Cookie Policy
  • Informed Consent Notification

Review our recommendations on how you can lean in to first-party data:

  • Uncover and investigate the data you own
  • Optimize your site analytics
  • Optimize conversions and cross-platform opportunities

Turn data into impactful engagement:

  • Segment audiences by persona and product
  • Align content with decision stages
  • Manage user journeys with marketing automation

Learn More

Build loyalty and trust – and even be a thought leader in your industry, by prioritizing your data privacy policy.

Let us help you comply with regulations now and in the future – and get your organization a privacy policy that meets your needs and is easy for your customers to understand.
Avoid overstepping trust and turn privacy into a competitive asset for your organization with Data Privacy Policy Solutions from Edge.

At Edge, we take a first-step approach–helping our client-partners understand where they are at and what’s possible. We are a strategic, full-service marketing agency that takes complex problems and leads our clients to solutions that are not only forward thinking but tangible. Learn more about how we can help you with your data privacy policies and user consent management.

Remember, at the end of every Data Packet is a PERSON.

So, what’s in your data privacy policy?

Proactive marketers that are authentic and transparent regarding data privacy grow trust with their customers and gain a competitive Edge. Turn privacy into a competitive asset for your organization with Data Privacy Policy Solutions from Edge.

Learn More

4 Strategies to help justify an increased marketing budget

Whether it’s smoothing out your marketing budget approval process, building trust with your key budget-approving stakeholders, or pushing back on budget cuts, here are four approaches that will help you justify an increased marketing budget – and likewise meet or exceed your performance goals. Depending on your unique needs and situation, choose just one or layer on all four.

1. Get involved in the marketing budget process early.

We only have so much time. Working against the clock is no way to make good decisions. Collaborate with others or pave the way to leverage your data. Here are a few tips to help prepare busy marketers for budget season (early):

Track as you go – all year long.  

Don’t wait until it’s time to ask for money to start collecting data on your marketing budget. Set yourself up for an easy win and collect data as you go. 

Create a simple spreadsheet that includes the following on a monthly basis:

  • Actual budget invested
  • Organizational Assets (or Profit) 
  • Percentage of Assets (or Profit) to Marketing Budget to Profit
  • KPI Goal(s)
  • KPI Actual(s)
  • Percentage of KPI Target Hit

This tool will help you use data to tell the story of your year as you plan for what comes next. Likewise, it will also be helpful when it comes to setting realistic goals and accountability with your staff and key stakeholders.

Know your data.

There are three key data points that you should have a handle on. Knowing these will help you make smart decisions and evaluate your current spending, while also planning for your future marketing budget. 

 The key data points you should know are:

  1. Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) – how much does it cost you to meet your goal? For example, does it cost you $200 in advertising to get a new customer? 
  2. Lifetime Value of Acquisition (for example, if you are selling loans, the value of a new car loan might be $500 over the life of the loan)
  3. Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) – how much money did you make from the money that you spent?

If you don’t know these key data points, get with your digital team or agency to help you figure them out. Make sure you’ve got Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics set up correctly to help you track values.

At Edge, we compile a Data Warehouse each month for our digital marketing clients. This hugely valuable information helps us see trends and costs, and to look back as we look forward.

Review changes in costs. 

Are you focusing on a few keywords in digital search advertising? How has the cost for those keywords changed since the beginning of the year? Keeping tabs on costs like these will help you know where to look to get data quickly when you need it. 

If it’s costing you more to retain your marketing team, facilitate events and promotions, pay for advertising hard costs and consulting, etc., those costs should be factored into your request to increase your budget. 

Spend the money.

Lastly, spend the budget you’ve been given! If you don’t, it will be assumed that you don’t need it to accomplish your goals. Going backwards to justify lost budget is much more work than actually spending what you’ve been allocated. So spend it! 

2. Leverage the knowledge of your marketing partners. 

If your marketing partners are worth their salt, they will have a wealth of useful information at the ready for you to dig into and build your case for an increased marketing budget. Don’t be shy about tapping into their knowledge, data, and insights to support your ask. 

These partners can be your traditional or digital media outlets, your digital or ad agency, a consultant, or any combination of the above. 

Questions to ask your marketing partners

If you have an agency, they can compile this information and save you the legwork:

  • Historical spending – how much have your competitors spent historically? 
  • Spending trends – are clients spending more on average, less or about the same as previous?
  • Creative examples (ideas for your organization as well as historical creative that competitors have run)
  • Blind data – how do you stack up next to competitors in your field? Your partners may not be able to share names, but they could provide a total spend number and what your percentage of that number is. For example, if you are selling new cars, how much money is being spent by car dealerships? How do you stack up? 
  • Competitor activity – how many of your competitors are active with your advertising partners? If you’re the only one, then you have 100% share of voice, but why aren’t your competitors competing in that medium? Might be time to look at strategy.

Things you can ask your digital marketing agency for:

  • What is my cost per acquisition? How is that CPA trending?
  • How does that compare to the previous year?
  • What keywords or keyword phrases are we targeting?
  • What keywords or phrases are trending up or down?
  • What target demographics are performing well for me? 
  • What target demographics are increasing versus decreasing? (Example: You might want to grow your impact with a younger demographic, but seeing that your marketing really resonates with adults 50+ will tell you that your strategy needs to be adjusted.) 
  • Are there any lifestyle factors that stand out? (Example: The agency has noticed an audience affinity for boat owners, which could lead you to include boats in your creative, or create a product that appeals to people who own boats.)
  • What is my return-on-ad-spend (ROAS)? 
  • What’s new? It’s important to remember that everything was new once. Digital ads were new, video ads were new, connected TV was new. So ask, “What’s new?” “What tactic should we be positioning ourselves to try in the future?”

Compiling the data from these sources will paint a telling picture of where you’ve been – and where you’re at – and then help you forecast where you want to go.

3. Retrofit your marketing budget KPIs with the cost to reach them. 

Being asked to grow a specific metric by a specific amount is a great approach to prove your marketing budget request is not only valid but absolutely necessary.

Let’s use the example of growing membership at a credit union. If the goal is to add 450 net members in the course of a year, what will it take to acquire that number? (The net membership number allows for attrition.)

If the example credit union has been doing digital marketing for at least a year and has Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager set up to help track results, they can use this data to determine how much it will typically cost to acquire a new member. 

Comparing digital metrics and marketing budget

If you know what it costs to acquire a new member/customer, and your net membership goal for the year is 450 members, what will you need to spend to get there, accounting for attrition?

Here is a simple formula you can follow:

Target net new members + Typical annual attrition = Total actual members needed

Total actual members needed x Cost per acquisition (CPA) = Total budget needed

Let’s put some real numbers in here to help demonstrate this formula.

450 (Target goal) + 120 (Typical Annual Attrition) = 570 Total actual members needed

570 (Total actual members needed) x $150 CPA = $85,500 (Total digital budget needed)

In this scenario, to achieve the goal of adding 450 new members, it will likely cost $85,500 in digital advertising focused on acquiring members. Similarly, other goals in play (like adding loans or other products) would require an additional marketing budget, following a similar formula to the above. 

What if I don’t have digital metrics?

If you’ve never done digital advertising, you can still take these steps. What did it cost in advertising and promotions to grow the membership you did in the past membership cycle? If you don’t have digital data to lean on, it would make sense to average the past three years so that you can avoid any anomalies. 

That formula would look like this:

Target net new members + Average annual attrition = Total actual members needed

Average annual cost over past 36 months ÷ Average number of new members acquired over same period = Average cost per acquisition (CPA)

Total actual members needed x Average cost per acquisition (CPA) = Total budget needed

With this data in hand, you can compare your budget expenditures against your KPIs and determine what it will take to meet your goals for the next cycle.

4. Keep your Key Stakeholders Updated, and Keep it Simple. 

Marketing can be a mystery to many. To those who love data, marketing can seem fluffy and fun. That’s why it’s important to have your data organized and be able to speak to your boss and/or your board in a way that they will understand. 

Those who are in the thick of marketing everyday know how complex it can be. So, keep it simple and provide analogies that resonate with your target audience: your boss and your board! For example, put your marketing skills to work to help communicate what you are doing, how you are doing it and what it will take to meet the goals that are put before you. 

Simple things to share with key stakeholders

  • Changing marketing costs
  • Field of competition (What are your competitors spending? Where are they spending?)
  • Changes in competition (new to market, exiting market)
  • Market changes (population adjustments, shifts in demographics, psychographics, etc.)

Here’s an example of how to present the data:

The cost to compete for the keyword phrase “mortgage loans” has increased by 50%. Additionally, three of our competitors are advertising aggressively with outdoor ads on billboards. On top of that, a new loan provider has moved into the market and built a fancy branch. And, we’re seeing a dramatic increase in the younger affluent side of our target audience. This may have something to do with the expansion of high-tech employers coming to the area.

With each of these market shifts, you can put a few bullet points together to help substantiate what you need to accomplish the goals set before.

Last, but certainly not least, leaning on other sources of authority always helps to solidify your point. Use market resources like industry publications, Google Trends, and general market data (like inflation numbers or cost of goods) to underpin your marketing budget story and ask.

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Roundtable Leadership: Building Character into your Organization

Building character into your organization is a key touchstone of The Roundtable Leadership Philosophy. To have character, you need to know what you stand for. To know what you stand for, you need a clear Mission, Vision, and Values statement. The most important part of that is mentioned last: Values.

What do you value? Determining this first will guide you in what your mission is as an organization, and then your vision to achieve that mission while maintaining your values along the way. Your Mission, Vision, and Values statement is essentially the map and the key to your organization. It will guide the roundtable discussions you have as a team.

Notice I didn’t say “employees” or “direct reports” or “subordinates.” This important distinction will affect a mental shift in how you view the people you work with. Right now, you may view them as the people who work for you.

The Roundtable Leadership Philosophy will flip that perspective on its head. It will change how you treat people, resulting in a positive uptick in retention, performance, collaboration, and overall job satisfaction for everyone, including you.

The Roundtable Leadership Philosophy

Roundtable Leadership puts people first and leads with empathy. It takes the time and makes the effort to explain the “whys” behind the directives, empowering the team to learn, grow, and have ownership in the process. This transparency effectively invites the team to the table and opens the door for constructive pushback, fresh ideas, and valuable insights based on each person’s unique life experience, skill set, and individual perspective.

Roundtable Leadership provides a safe space to share ideas and insights with mutual respect and openness, where everyone involved can submit to each other’s strengths, no matter their position in the organization. A space where accountability includes everyone.

With Roundtable Leadership, you submit to your team’s strengths while also leading them along the way. As a leader you have clear authority, but you don’t sit at the head of the table because you don’t need to. Your authority is firmly established. It doesn’t need to be proven. Your team respects you and you wear your authority lightly because of it. And, while you exercise your influence as a leader on a regular basis, you do it in a way that gets buy-in from your team, shows your regard for them as individuals, and most of all demonstrates empathy.

Roundtable Leadership puts personal pride aside while also not allowing others to trample the boss. It takes the power that comes with the position and does not flex it. There is no need to because a leader who leads this way doesn’t have to constantly prove that they are in charge. They just are.

This nontraditional form of leadership resonates with today’s workers, or teammates, as we prefer to call our employees. Who wouldn’t choose to work at a company where everyone is valued and their insight is sought after? Where there is no “head of the conference table”, no “corner office”, and no “brass” to rub elbows with. Where the company has character and does more than just turn a profit. Where going to work can become going to a place where you can thrive.

Stephanie works at a table with Edge teammates.

To lead from a round table, you must know what you stand for. You must have your values firmly in hand. It is these values that will inform the character of your organization. They provide guide rails for your decisions and create demand from talent to be part of the mission and contribute to the vision. That is exciting, challenging and rewarding work!

Take the long view to build character

Building Character into your organization takes years because it needs to be demonstrated and proven over time. Reputation, on the other hand, can be built (and dismantled) in a short time.

Character is a reflection of your distinctive qualities – who you are internally, and what your core values are. While your character can build and maintain your reputation as you live and work, reputation is the general opinion of others and how you are seen externally by society.

Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden encouraged his players to focus on their character, not on their reputation. He coached the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton (a former Portland Trailblazer) and won 10 national championships in 12 years. Coach Wooden was also the first person to be inducted into the hall of fame both as a player and as coach. He was famous, and he led others that became very famous, yet he focused on character, not reputation.

These same values can be applied to an organization. What are the distinctive qualities of the organization? Who are they internally? What are their core values?

To lead an organization with a Roundtable Leadership philosophy, we must:

  • Have a firm grip on the authentic core values of the organization.
  • Keep your core values front and center, and easy to refer to when you feel a little lost.
  • Recognize that your mission, vision, and values statements need to be updated as the world continues to change, your business evolves over time, and both you and your team gain experience, wisdom, and maturity.
  • Get buy-in from your team as you develop and refine your mission, vision, and values statements. Invite their input and ownership in the process.
  • Continue to check, refine, train, develop, and grow your team with these values front of mind.
  • Be transparent with your team, share your big picture vision with them individually, and how they fit in.
  • Put people first – before products, processes, and productivity. If you put people first and empower your team to do the same, everything else will fall in line organically.
  • Be prepared to be uncomfortable.

Your mission, vision, and values statements (MVV) are the beginning of building character in your organization, but really – it starts with YOU. Who are you? What are you about? What do you care about? Ultimately, your strengths, passions, and personal goals will help define the MVV of your organization.

Maintaining through change

In the same way that people grow and become refined over time, your organization will change. You’ll find out what you’re really good at. You’ll test the market and see where you shine. You’ll see needs and develop solutions that could end up defining your business. You’ll discover the types of organizations or customers that you really love serving or partnering with. And we can’t forget that outside forces will affect the trajectory of your organization in sometimes unpredictable and very heartbreaking ways.

For example, our company didn’t build websites or perform digital marketing services as a core capability until the Great Recession in 2008, when all of our clients cancelled their paid traditional media spends. We decided to put our skills to use in the area of digital, which was in its infancy at the time. Now, this is the core of our company and has led to exciting developments in new products and marketing technology.

As life and business happen and your organization matures, revisit your MVV statement along the way and keep it within view. It’s a map that is written as you partner with each unique client, as you countersign each scope of work, as you raise up managers within your business, as you take a chance and hire someone with no real experience, but has a special spark that you recognize.

Attracting birds of a feather

To attract people to your brand and build loyalty in your organization, you must focus on the unique character and intrinsic values of your organization with the goal of reflecting that authentically in your marketing and communications messaging: Live it out! When you do that right and commit to honesty and a healthy level of transparency, “reputation management” becomes a much easier job. So does recruitment and retention, even in a tough market.

Through the Covid-19 pandemic and the “Great Resignation,” our company not only maintained our team of seasoned professionals, we grew by almost 40 percent. But without defined values, you basically venture out into the wild with no guide and no guardrails.

One of the incredible benefits of running your organization with Roundtable Leadership is attracting employees who align with your values. This gains momentum. You may find that your team self-checks and holds each other accountable in areas of integrity and leadership. This reflects the business decisions you make, the products you develop and market, and the way you treat employees and customers alike. And, when you end up with a team member that does not align with these values, they tend to stand out like a bad seed. It may begin to feel like your organization is self-editing.

Stephanie laughs while relaxing with Edge teammates.

Another way your organization will self-edit as you live out your values is in the clients that you work with. When a client does not align with your values, they tend to adversely affect the culture of your organization. Target client partnerships that mirror your values. Not doing this can put you in the dangerous position of walking a line of compromise that can damage both your character and your reputation, as well as the people you work with.

Identifying the unique core values of your organization and reflecting them authentically in your external marketing and communications strategies will attract people to your brand. Living out your unique core values each day at work and reflecting them in your internal recruitment strategies will attract people to your organization and help retain top talent. This internal and external proving of your values will build loyalty to your organization, both inside and out.

Walk the walk of Roundtable Leadership every day

We are people and we are ever-changing. So is the world around us. The target continues to move, so we must be nimble and move with it. Preferably a little bit ahead of it! As a business leader, make sure you have your mission, vision and values acknowledged, aligned, and active within your organization. Drill it into the core of who you are and live it out each day.

This will make all the difference between being an organization built on a reputation that can be blown like sand, to one that is built on the solid foundation of true, authentic, strong character.

Published with permission and adapted from the upcoming book Roundtable Leadership: Revolutionize Your Company Culture by Stephanie Chadwick

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5 Tips for Selecting Voice-Over Talent: How to Collaborate & Succeed with Brand-Boosting Artists

You may not have the budget to shell out millions for talent the likes of Samuel L. Jackson and Jennifer Garner, but there are key takeaways you can learn from a company with a blockbuster budget when it comes to selecting voice-over talent to represent your brand.

Both aforementioned actors are spokespeople for Capital One credit cards, with the now easily recalled “What’s in your wallet?” tagline. Samuel L. Jackson promotes the Quicksilver Card and Jennifer Garner promotes the Venture Card.

Two very different personas, one brand

We’ll dive more into some of what we learn from this below, but note – Sam and Jen (I think I can call her that since she is the embodiment of the girl next door) represent two very different personas for the same brand. 

Notably, Samuel L. Jackson has played everything from a hitman in Pulp Fiction to Nick Fury in the Marvel Universe to a Jedi Master in Star Wars. Capital One advertises the Quicksilver Card as trouble-free and dependable, so it makes sense that if Sam tells you it is trouble-free and dependable, with his straightforward, direct and iconic delivery – you will believe him (or else!).

Now, with Jennifer Garner – she’s a mom and she’s no pushover (she’s a kick-butt spy in Alias but also the laughable gal in 13 going on 30). Jen embodies strength and approachableness. She’s believable and family friendly. Why would Jen steer us wrong? She’s encouraging you to go have adventures and she’s at the perfect phase of life to promote this. 

Same company – very different approaches to the VO talent they’ve selected to represent them, with two different audiences to reach – but when it comes down to it, both voices of the same brand are promoting a credit card in a very crowded field.

Here are five important guidelines to consider when it comes to selecting voice-over talent (which can also apply to working with a spokesperson). These are budget-friendly tips for the everyday advertiser that will help you gain more traction with your brand messaging.

1) Hire a professional voice-over artist

Refrain from voicing the ad yourself, or letting Chris the Sales Guy do it inhouse. Hire professional voice-over talent. There are many, many online resources with voice-over actor demos available to listen to (we’ve provided a list at the bottom of this post). 

You can always ask the voice artist to do a test read of part of your spot so that you can hear if they’re a good fit for the copy and the brand. 

Going the cheap/fast/easy route and having your local radio station announcer read your copy is a mistake if you want your brand to stand out and have an audible identity of its own. 

When a radio station announcer reads your copy, it is highly likely your ad will run up against another ad that the same person voiced, which can diminish brand distinction and recall. 

Don’t miss out on the goal of building your brand by skimping when selecting your voice-over talent. Instead choose a professional that best represents and distinguishes your message in your target market. 

Keep in mind developing a relationship with your voice-over actors will help them partner with you even better. As they get to know you and your brand that affinity will come through in their vocal performance. 

2) Select voice-over talent that represents your brand

Since audio production is so much more affordable than video don’t be afraid to invest in a voice-over actor who’s timbre and tone uniquely embodies your brand. 

When you find that special voice actor who captures the essence of your brand, use them consistently within your audio and video creatives. A memorable voice artist is well worth their price tag. 

When listeners hear that voice, it should lay the groundwork for your brand. The more frequency of play your VO has, the easier your brand will be recalled. 

When listeners hear that voice, it should lay the groundwork for your brand. The more frequency of play your VO has, the easier your brand will be recalled. 

6 Key Brand Voice Considerations:


Think about what emotion your brand conveys (or the emotions you WANT your brand to convey) and make a list. Most voice-over artists can provide several different reads of the same copy, portraying different emotions.


What is your brand’s persona? This will help you guide tone. Your brand’s tone and persona should be part of your brand guidelines. As marketers, you’re (hopefully) developing personas for your target market. Don’t forget to develop one for your brand! 

Think of your voice-over talent as being literally the voice of your brand. Is your brand personality warm and welcoming? Or is your brand fun and edgy? 

Making a list in advance of listening to any voice-over demos will help you narrow down your options and direct your talent.

Your voice-over talent will define your brand for your listeners. Make sure they fit your brand’s culture and image (persona!).


Will your brand benefit from a more authoritative read (eh-hem, Sam?) or a nurturing read (a-la-Jen?)? Consider if a male or female voice will better deliver the tone you are going for. 

Research has shown authority is associated with male voices while nurturing is associated with female voices. This is not to say one quality can’t be found in the other, but mainly to remind you to think about how well the actor’s voice will fit the desired tone of your messaging.


You should assume that you’ll direct your voiceover talent, providing sample reads (you can even record your own voice on most smartphones). 

Some artists have ways for you to call into the recording so that you can hear them read it as it’s happening and give feedback in real time. 

Don’t expect your VO talent to get it right the first time or assume because they are a professional that they will be instantly successful at portraying your brand (or reading your mind). Remember…they read copy, not minds.


Will you ever use the talent as a spokesperson in a video ad? If not, don’t worry about appearances, just listen. How does the voice make you feel? It’s best to ignore any visuals associated with the voice-over talent and just listen, unless you plan to use this person as a spokesperson. 


You found your favorite voice! Only to find out they work a full-time job and only do voice work on the weekends – or they live in Australia and are only available when you are in REM sleep. 

Identifying the availability of your preferred voice-over talent in advance will help you with setting expectations and know that your voice actor will work for your organization logistically. Audio and video production are hard enough to schedule as it is. Make sure you’re selecting voice-over talent that will be there when you need them.

Female voice artist laughing as she listens to her performance.
When listeners hear that voice, it should lay the groundwork for your brand. The more frequency of play your VO has, the easier your brand will be recalled. 

It may take a few tries to get it right

We’re not saying always reject the first offer, but you’ll likely need to try a few voices on before you really lock in the one that really makes your brand sing.

So it’s good to know that most voice-over talent will typically read a few lines of your copy at no charge and supply a few different takes so you can get an good feel for their style and range before committing. 

Don’t be afraid to move on if it’s not working. Not all voice-over talent live up to their demos. 

They may have been highly produced by another person and not replicable. Demos can sometimes be like a dating site – with a potential match portrayed one way online, and then when you meet that person in real life, you realize how many filters they were using!

Once you find “The Voice”, be consistent with your investment. Every time your audio ad plays with that voice, you’re training your audience. The more they hear it and identify your brand with that voice, the more impactful your messaging will be. 

For Capital One, they have a clear advantage with budget, but people do actually google “Jennifer Garner credit card” to find them online now. 

So, now that you’ve…

  • Identified your brand persona and tone
  • Figured out what emotion your brand should convey
  • Decided who you’re talking to with your brand voice
  • Selected your voice-over talent

…it’s time to dive into more of the logistics of working with a voice-over artist in our final two tips.

4) Pronunciation and Regional Accents: MOZZ-dah vs MAZZ-dah

Make sure your voice-over talent can pronounce your brand name accurately. Believe it or not, there have been times when the actor just can’t say the name of the company correctly, which will come across as confusing to the audience, damaging trust with the listener.

Additionally, make sure that your VO actor doesn’t have a distinct accent that could conflict with your brand. 

For example, if you are a Pacific Northwest-based company and your voice-over talent has a midwestern accent it could hurt your brand’s local appeal as well as your authenticity and credibility.

There are of course exceptions to be made…

For example, if you want to show inclusiveness in your marketing messaging and demonstrate how your brand values diversity, consider hiring a voice actor who is obviously not an English-first speaker. 

This will likely still capture your English as a first language audience very effectively, while also achieving the goal of having a memorable voice actor. Plus, anyone who speaks the same language as your voice actor will pick up on the effort to show inclusiveness in your marketing messaging immediately. 

We did this recently at Edge for a multilingual campaign we produced and ran in the Portland DMA for a local credit union client.

Video still from Unitus Community Credit Union Familia campaign of young Hispanic family walking down a sunny Portland street.
Video still from Unitus Community Credit Union’s ‘Familia’ campaign. Watch the full 30-second spot

Don’t underestimate the power of the right voice

There are times where it might make sense to use someone with an accent that is outside of your region. For example, a spa might use a female with a british accent to portray luxury.

Take a listen (or watch) this ad So, God Made a Farmer Dodge Truck commercial made for the SuperBowl in 2013. 

Video still from the Dodge Ram God Made a Farmer campaign of black Dodge Ram in front of farm buildings.
Video still from Dodge Ram’s ‘God Made a Farmer’ campaign. Watch the full video

It is considered by some to be the best SuperBowl commercial of all time and it’s become an iconic example of the power of a voiceover, a well written script and simple visuals. Note, there is no moving video in this spot – it’s all about the voice.

The voiceover makes you think of a prairie preacher from the dust bowl. He’s Paul Harvey, the most iconic radio broadcaster of all time, known as the “Apostle of Main Street” and the “Voice of Middle America”.

Review the comments on YouTube and you’ll see that tough farmers cried when this commercial aired and entire bars became silent once they heard Paul Harvey’s voice. Do not underestimate the power of the right voice with the right message targeted to the right audience.

5) Expediting the creative process

Spell out exactly what you need said

It can help to mimic out loud what you want it to sound like and then describe the sounds in your copy direction. 

For example, in your copywriting:

  • Use “dot” instead of a period: best buy dot com, not 
  • Use “dash” instead of a dash: kingston dash charcoal dot com, not
  • Spell words if necessary: that’s R-E-V-I-V-E spa dot com, not 

Give your voiceover talent specific direction

For example:

  • Spoken softly and with mystery
  • Spoken confidently, with authority
  • End this sentence with your voice inflecting up like it’s a question
  • Talk like a valley girl
  • Mimic a monster truck announcer

Many professional voiceover actors have in-home studios and use a system (phone patch) where you can call in and listen to them do their reads and ensure that the tracks you are sent will fit what you are looking for.

You can provide direction and feedback during the session to help expedite the creative process and minimize frustration on all sides.

Communicate how you want the audio delivered

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Do you expect your voice-over talent to deliver more than one read? If so, let them know. For example, please provide at least three reads and a few variations of how you say our website tag at the end. 
  • Share your expectations regarding if you need their breaths removed and the read edited down to fit your format length. 
  • Share the format you need the file delivered in, as well as any technical specs. 

Don’t assume the voice talent is as good at recording as they are at reading copy 

We’ve been delivered everything from tightly edited reads that fit our time allowance perfectly, with breaths removed – to reads that have to be heavily edited and have multiple reads of the same sentence perhaps right in the middle of the read so that the editor can select the version they like best and edit the final deliverable together. 

Ask good questions up front, like: what format do you typically deliver your voiceover in? Do you edit it to fit the length? Can you remove any breaths? If there are alternate reads of any sentences or tags, can you add them at the end after an appropriate amount of space? 

Ask about their recording space. What equipment are they using? Do they travel to a studio to record or do they have a home setup? Most professional VOs have a home setup, just make sure they can deliver the professionalism and quality you require for your brand.

“You aren’t just selecting a voice to read a script. You’re aligning your brand with an idea, an image, a feeling, an emotion, a lifestyle, a value system.”

Summary and Resources

Remember that when it comes to selecting voice-over talent to represent your brand, you have an opportunity to leverage that talent into helping you meet your brand’s goals. 

And, you aren’t just selecting a voice to read a script. You’re aligning your brand with an idea, an image, a feeling, an emotion, a lifestyle, a value system…to convey important messaging around your organization.

You can always work with your ad agency or a local talent agency to help you select the perfect voice for your brand. 

If that is out of reach, here are some websites for sourcing voice-over talent, as well as a few for selecting music.

Voice-Over Talent


Need help producing and placing brand-boosting digital audio and video content? That’s where we come in.

Find Your Edge

How to Write a Goal-Driven Audio Ad Script and CTA that Really Move the Needle [Examples Included]

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”

Bill Copeland, American Historian, Poet, and Author

Knowing the goal of your audio ad script will help you shape the structure with purpose; prioritizing copy that sticks with your audience and drives action.

Let’s jump right in and take a look at two audio advertising examples, starting with the goal in mind, and unpack some effective approaches for both.

Example #1: The Beer Festival

Goal: Sell Tickets to a Time-Sensitive Event

Tactics: Grab Attention, Use Repetition & Be Specific

Grab attention right away in this script and create a sense of urgency to sell tickets. Be repetitive and specific to push listeners to act immediately and secure tickets. Sell the experience of the event with the remainder of the ad copy. 

Consider using text messaging to track what ad placements are most successful at generating sales and adjust ad creative or ad placements as needed leading up to the event. The voiceover should be strong and talk a bit fast.

Audio Ad Example Copy:

Beer, beer and more beer! This weekend only, don’t miss the craft beer festival happening on the waterfront from 12 noon to 10pm. That’s THIS WEEKEND. Get your tickets online at craft beer fest dot com. That’s craft beer fest dot com OR text BEER to 5678 that’s BEER to 5678 for a link to buy your tickets. You don’t want to miss it – beer will be flowing from all of your favorite local breweries, plus enjoy yummy food and live music. Get your tickets at craft beer fest dot com OR text BEER to 5678. See you there!

Example #2: The Luxury Spa

Goal: Grow Name/Brand Awareness; Increase Appointments

Tactics: Repetition & Tone

Make it sticky. Repeat the name of the brand as much as possible, while also selling the brand experience in the audio ad via your voiceover selection, delivery and services offered. 

For this type of brand (luxury spa), the voiceover should be slower and more relaxed. Don’t be afraid to spell out a harder word to ensure the listener goes to the right place. 

Include your brand’s tagline when appropriate. In the example ad copy below, a version of the brand name is repeated a total of 8 times, making the brand name more sticky.

Audio Ad Example Copy:

Now open, your home for relaxation awaits at Revive Luxury Spa. Revive your body, mind and spirit with a shiatsu massage, pedicure, CBD facial and more. Enjoy complimentary beverages, a steam room and valet parking. Melt your stress away and revive at Revive Luxury Spa. Now open in Northwest Portland. Visit revive spa dot com, that’s R-E-V-I-V-E Spa dot com and take advantage of our grand opening offers. That’s Revive Spa dot com. Revive Luxury Spa. Unwind. Renew. Revive

Include a call to action or special offer (if it exists)

A call to action, or CTA, is the one thing you hope the listener will do upon hearing your ad. There might be several actions you hope your audience takes, but in your audio commercial script it’s best to highlight just one call to action. Only consider adding a secondary CTA option if you have time and it fits the vibe of the brand or event.

Audio Ad CTA Examples:

  • Call a phone number
  • Text a number
  • Visit a website or landing page
  • Fill out a form
  • Go to a location at a specific time

Keep your CTAs simple and singular

It’s imperative in the limited amount of time you have available in your audio advertising spot that you don’t clutter the airwaves with too many ideas and actions that could cause the listener confusion. 

Remember, audio ads, like digital display, are a disruptive medium. You are interrupting the listener’s moment, their podcast, their music, with something they didn’t ask for or maybe know existed until just then. Keep the CTA straightforward and be ready on your end to make it as simple as possible for them to respond. 

Make responding to the audio ad easy 

Ask the listener to click on a companion asset (like a banner ad) or text a code or phrase to a number, or visit a landing page. These actions are trackable, so you can also remarket to them for a period of time if they don’t convert right away. 

Think of it as offering an opportunity for them to bookmark the ad for themselves so they can check it out at a time that is more convenient for them.

Remember, audio is an intrusive form of advertising. We don’t mean this in a bad way, but audio advertisements break into the listener’s programming (and fund it), so make it easy for them to respond when they are ready. 

Have a special offer in your ad? Make sure it’s clear.

Special offers, or promotions, are a great way to drive more immediate action, however they often necessitate the addition of a disclaimer or disclosure somewhere in the creative.

One way to handle this is to incorporate the required discloser language within the promo, like in these two examples:

“Check out our special rates online at website dot com. That’s website dot com. Special rates available only through the end of this month.”

“When [your team] scores 100 points or more, stop by [Pet Shop Brand Name] the next day and get a free toy for your favorite cat or dog in your life with an eligible purchase.”

In order to end strong, start with your goal

Audio advertising is a viable medium to reach your target market and achieve provable ROI – IF you have a clear goal in mind before you get started. 

Put yourself in the shoes of your listener and practice empathy when writing copy for audio ads. Visualize your target market during their busy day – what are they doing? Are they in a minivan full of kids? Are they working on their laptop in a busy coffee shop? Are they walking around the block listening to a podcast after work? How would you receive your own message if you were in their place? 

Asking yourself these questions and having an empathetic mindset will help your next audio ad script connect with your target audience and achieve your desired goals – instead of just running up and down the field. 

Wanna make sure your next digital audio campaign really sings?

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How to Identify Your Target Audience, Create Personas and Write ROI-Boosting Ad Copy

Identify your target audience so you can matter to them

We don’t all take our coffee the same way – and some of us don’t even drink coffee. To assume your whole audience first, drinks coffee, and second, wants a nonfat vanilla latte, would be a mistake. Some people prefer green tea with a splash of oat milk.

So before you write your next set of ads, think about who you hope will be on the receiving end of your copy by identifying your target audience. If you don’t, it’s very likely they won’t get the message – or worse, it will be received in a misconstrued and unintended way, potentially damaging your brand.

In order to achieve the goal of engaging your target audience while they are moving through life in a world constantly competing for their attention, you must first identify your target audience.

And, once you know your target audience, it is important to demonstrate your connection to them by creating personalized experiences that show empathy for who they are, where they’re at and what matters to them.

What is a persona?

Different people have different needs, concerns and expectations. Creating a persona can help your marketing team step outside of their own natural biases and brand blinders and thus craft copy that will appeal to the people who will be using the product or service you are marketing. This is marketing with empathy.

A persona is a character sketch of your target audience. This is not a real person. A persona is a written representation of your ideal user that reflects the characteristics and represents the needs and desires of a larger group of people. In short, a persona is a representative of your target audience.

Creating a persona

The goal is to identify to whom you are trying to convey your message. Imagine your target audience and then focus your message in a way that will best reach them. To do this effectively, it is helpful to go through the exercise of creating your persona, or personas. Let’s take a look at some of the key elements that make up a persona.

For example, if you are trying to reach existing credit union members or potential new credit union members, jot down:

  • Age range of your target audience
  • Lifestyle choices or habits
  • Stage of life
  • Typical family makeup
  • Preferred language
  • Cultural background(s)
  • Personality and disposition
  • What motivates them
  • Goals and frustrations
  • Brand affinities
  • Media consumption habits and trends 

Ensure your ad copy appeals to your target audience by placing yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer – your target persona. Then ask yourself, “Do I like what I hear?” “Does this ad make me want to take the action I want my target audience to take?”

If you find yourself at a loss, put yourself in an environment that attracts the archetypical consumer you want to target and then take some notes. This might mean attending an MLS soccer game, going to a mall food court, or sitting in the parking lot of a credit union. 

Take that real-life experience and couple it with the data your marketing team already has, and then tap into a tool like xtensio to help you flesh out your persona.

There is a lot to consider, this is why an effective marketing strategy often doesn’t have just one creative message in the mix. If you talk to a single, 25 year old woman like she’s a married 45 year old, it could be counterproductive and hurt your brand. 

It’s important to meet your listeners where they are at and show empathy. 

Spaghetti duct taped to wall, creative way to think outside the norm
Identifying your target audience and creating personas can get your team out of the habit of throwing creative spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. Instead you’ll be able to create messaging that sticks specifically for people who prefer wall spaghetti over the plate kind.

Applying creative to distinct personas

This exercise may help you identify the need for multiple creative sets to effectively target more than one persona. In this example, we’ll be looking at three distinct personas that are being marketed the same product.

Let’s say a credit union wants to grow membership by offering products that appeal to their key personas. The same product may be marketed in several different ways.

For example, if the credit union wants to grow deposits (i.e. cash in the bank via savings or money market accounts) they could consider marketing a Certificate of Deposit to these three distinct personas in three distinct ways:

1) The 28 year old single man persona

A young adult age 24-30 getting established in life, unmarried, college graduate, career focused, active socially and always on the go. Listens to podcasts, rents an apartment, leases a newer model car, goes to concerts and restaurants regularly.

Copy approach:

Focus on what your product will deliver to this persona – paint an attractive picture in their mind of how they can put the results to use. For example, do the math for them and demonstrate how their earnings will pay for a weekend getaway with friends and help provide them with a memorable experience.

2) 45 year old married working mom persona

A busy mom in her mid-40’s with 2+ children. Married, both she and her partner work full time, homeowner, actively saving for her kids’ college and for retirement. She rarely watches TV (no time). Doesn’t listen to anything when driving alone (that’s the only time she has enough quiet to think). Avid reader, gets recipes online via blogs. Pursues home design, gardening and fashion. Broadway season ticket holder.

Copy approach:

Showcase your product’s flexibility (no fees for early withdrawal?) and your products ease to sign up (this person has very little time!). Things for this demographic can change dramatically (job loss, divorce, unexpected medical bills, aging parents, etc) but this group still wants to be diligent and active when it comes to protecting their resources and having a smart safety net that is going to work for them and at last resort can be available if it’s needed.

3) 65 year old married, active retired couple with grandchildren

Married couple age 60+. Both are retired and living off of their investments and their grown children have produced a handful of grandchildren. They enjoy gardening, watching cable news, traveling in their RV and taking their grandkids on trips. They are active in their local community, giving of their time and volunteering.

Copy approach:

Focus on the rate of your product as this audience has been known to take the time to shop around. Features and benefits of your product that help you stand out from the competition will help them keep their money with you OR move their money from another institution over to yours. 

Additionally, consider how this product could benefit the listeners’ grandchildren and market it in that way instead (open a certificate of deposit for your grandchild this holiday season and watch it grow while you watch them grow!)

The work is worth it

The effectiveness of your marketing dollars will be demonstrated by how well you know your target audience, and thus how well you can effectively engage them. This means that you know how to speak to them and where to reach them.

There are a lot of ways this can work out, depending on your success in getting the right message tailored to the right audience on the right media platforms. 

  • Right Message + Target Audience + Right Media = Positive ROI and Brand Experience 
  • Right Message + General Audience + Wrong Media  = Depleted Results and Confusion
  • Wrong Message + General Audience + Right Media = Brand Damage
  • Wrong Message + General Audience + Wrong Media = Wasted Budget

Message. Audience. Media.

Getting any of these three things wrong can be anywhere from costly to detrimental. The work is worth it. 

An audience-centric approach minimizes waste and improves performance

In 2021, $296.4 Billion was spent on advertising in the United States alone. In 2020, McDonalds alone spent approximately $1.8 Million per day on advertising. That’s a lot of potentially undercooked marketing cheeseburgers, if brands like these don’t invest in target audience research. 

According to AdWeek, not putting the energy into researching and personalizing ads comes across as lazy to consumers. That’s bad for the brand and for your ROI – and marketers are feeling the failure, with only 12% saying that they feel their strategies are performing well. 

Imagine the waste of advertising dollars happening across the board because the work isn’t done on the front end to identify the target audience, develop a buyer persona and tailor the message to the medium being used. Now, imagine you are one of the few putting the work into researching and personalizing ads to fit your target audience and buyer persona! 

Creating a buyer persona seems like a lot of work – but stats clearly demonstrate the work is indeed worth it. For example, MarketingSherpa found that using personas increased:

  • Website traffic by 210%
  • Website generated leads by 97%
  • Website generated sales by 124%
  • Organic search traffic by 55%

Revisit, revise, re-release

It’s key to revisit your messaging and media placements as consumption habits and trends change over time. For example, Podcasts did not exist until late 2004 (fun piece of trivia for you – the New Oxford American Dictionary declared the word Podcast as the “word of the year” in 2005) and now 28% of the U.S. population over 12 years old listens to podcasts on a weekly basis. 80% of marketers who leverage audio content and podcasts plan to invest the same amount or more budget in 2022. 

Imagine if marketers had just set their marketing on cruise control for the past 10 years and just kept running traditional radio spots… 

Fast forward to 2021 and there’s another new thing – the recently emerged social audio chat rooms like Clubhouse which has in turn spurred the development of more social apps. Already 16% of marketers say they’ve invested in audio chat rooms like Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces. 

And don’t get me started on streaming services and traditional TV media consumption. As a marketer, it is imperative to revisit your marketing strategy, revise it and re-release your creative to fit what is happening now and not rely on dated tactics to get the job done.

Key Takeaways: don’t leave it at one and done

  • Know your target audience
  • Develop & document your buyer persona
  • More than one persona? Consider more than one approach to your creative
  • Get the advertising medium right – consider customizing your creative even further to maximize each platform 
  • Lots to say? Consider unpacking your story in multiple ads
  • Revisit, revise, re-release


In this article, we’ve covered the importance of identifying your target audience and creating personas so you can write advertising copy that reflects empathy, builds brand loyalty and meets your ROI goals. While it can be a hefty undertaking, the end result is worth it – a happy customer, engaged with your brand.

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One Mom’s Flexible Approach To Working from Home with Kids

Make More Room For The Life Part of Your Work-Life Balance

At Edge, we put family first. We have incredible flexibility and are so grateful for the opportunity to approach work-life balance in this way.

What this means to me in the day-to-day of working from home is that we’ve had to develop a more flexible or fluid approach to our work-life balance.

One of the primary reasons we started Edge was so that we could work from home and have a lifestyle that supported family.

Changing pace to make room for real life

In my previous career, I saw my stressed-out friends trying to pass their sick kids through to daycare so that they didn’t miss work at their office.

For one newly-minted dad on parental leave, I saw my boss dramatically exclaim, “Is he EVER coming back to work?!”

We had yet to start a family, but I saw a pretty clear picture of what life would be like with a one-hour commute each way and the pressure mounting to not put family first.

What is a flexible work-life approach?

A flexible work-life approach might mean I start the workday earlier and end it later, often putting a few hours in before kids are awake in the morning and after the kids are asleep at night.

This allows for the normal “disruptions” I encounter everyday with kid-related interruptions, errands, refereeing and the like.

This is just one approach and it might not be for every family, but for ours it has kept this work-from-home family going strong for 20 years.

8 Tips for building more flexibility into your work life

1) Get an early and consistent start

Get up at the same time every day. At our house, we call this hour: Early-Dark-30, but you might call it 6am.

2) Their Nap Time Is Your Work Time

If you have young children, take advantage of their nap time to work. Save the tasks that require more concentrated brain power for this time.

But…have a back up plan because, as every parent knows, nap time is not guaranteed.

3) Take Meaningful Breaks

Give yourself permission to take meaningful breaks and engage with your kids in short spurts, because losing productivity and creative focus to guilt is real.

15-30 minutes of intentional time is better than the 15-30 minutes you’ll waste telling them to stop interrupting you. They will be more content and you will be more productive.

4) Make “Sign Off” or “Start Up” Notes

Have a clear picture of where you’re going to start the next day before “signing off” for the night.

Leave a “start up” note or an ordered task list on your desk.

I find that 15 minutes of prep before I shut my laptop for the day helps me jump in quicker the next day.

It can also help you rest at night. Now you can clear your mind as your fall asleep rather than run through a restless checklist.

5) Hold Walking Meetings

I would do this with my husband every day at 10:30 a.m. We’d walk a mile with our dog and talk business.

Now, I can walk on the treadmill and do a conference call or watch a training video while also getting some exercise. So many good ideas and solutions come when I take my mind off a problem and instead take it for a walk.

I know one team member uses exercise as a sort of punctuation. Between tasks he’ll do push ups, jumping jacks or just walk around his property a few times.

Take advantage of the fact that your co-workers can’t see you doing crunches to celebrate that epic email campaign you just launched.

6) Beds Are For Two Things

I’ll let you imagine what those two things are, but working isn’t one of them. Don’t steal your rest and confuse your body by treating your bed as a lay-to-sit desk.

Instead, as stated above, set your office times and have a designated space where you can concentrate and signal to yourself and everyone else in your home that it’s (quite literally) business time.

7) Make Your Home Office Smarter

Make your home smart and have it do some work for you. Our home has smart switches, lights, Alexa and security cameras in key areas so that we can monitor what’s going on from our desks.

We set up routines with these smart home features to help our kids stay on track during key tipping points: wake up, nap and bedtime.

We can also drop in on our kids’ rooms or make household announcements intercom-style.

8) Let Your Kids Lead

Get your kids engaged in activities that don’t involve you leading them.

We used educational TV programs and apps such as MEL Science, KiwiCrates and Let’s Make Art subscriptions (depending on age).

For older kids, have them make their own daily schedules. This way they can’t blame you if they get bored.

9) Play Parental Tag

Coordinate with your partner when you have an important meeting that takes you out of your home office – or a conference call that requires quiet and concentration.

Don’t be afraid to conduct important calls from the quietest room in your home, even if it’s the master bedroom closet or, as I rebranded mine, the Executive TeleCloset.

When both parents work from home, you can toss the “main parental control” back and forth as needed.

Scheduling work and family – a real life example

There is no doubt that having young children (4 and under) at home is difficult if you’re also trying to work from home and do not have childcare available.

For two working adults, dividing time between the two of you and stretching your 8-hour workday over 12 hours (or more) has worked for our family. Having a laptop is essential.

Here’s an example multi-tasking schedule that’s worked for us:

6 – 8 a.m.Work2 hours worked
8 – 10 a.m.Get kids up, fed and engaged in an activity (during this time, laptop is out and you’re multitasking with emails and research)45 minutes worked
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.Active playtime, inside or out for the kids. Work from your laptop while you supervise them. Then transition to an educational TV program for the kids.1 hour worked
12 – 2 p.m.Prep lunch, serve, clean up – send the kids to their rooms for quiet activities before naptime – or reading/rest time.1 hour worked
3 – 4:30 p.m.Reading/rest time ends, time for 90 minutes of fun TV and a snack – this is a great time to put on a movie and get yourself back to more focused work1 hour 30 minutes worked
4:30 – 6 p.m.Get the kids doing some chores and start your own early dinner prep – multitask while fixing dinner – answer or draft a few emails.30 minutes worked
6 – 8 p.m.Eat dinner and enjoy some family time and playtime. Avoid TV, prep for the next day (dishes, clean up, baths, etc). We typically do not watch TV during the workweek because our kids get enough screen time during the day when we are working.
8 – 9:30 p.m.All our kids are in their rooms. Youngest watch a short PBS show for 20 minutes with lights out at 8:30, older kids read in their rooms with lights out at 9. This is an opportunity to do one last hour or so at work.1 hour 15 minutes worked

There’s your 8-hour flex family work day spread across 15 and a half hours.

During times of peak projects and deadlines, those evening hours can stretch on to midnight.

Not saying it’s always easy, but doable: yes. Worth it? For sure.

And remember, building in more meaningful breaks can help incorporate rest into your day to help you go the distance…even if you never step out the door.

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Edge Team to Speak at Credit Union Marketers Conference


We are honored to be invited to speak at the 2017 Northwest Credit Union Association Marketers Conference this year. This conference will be the face to face, thought leadership opportunity for Northwest credit unions’ marketing, business development and community outreach professionals – with folks joining us from all over Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Edge’s Senior Digital and Creative Strategist, Zack Stack will be featured as the Keynote Speaker, discussing how Credit Unions can define, focus and multiply their efforts to stay current and leverage limited resources in the ever-changing world of digital. Over the past five years, Zack has developed a knack for helping credit unions empower and extend the capabilities of their marketing teams by identifying and prioritizing business development opportunities in the digital realm.

Edge’s Managing Partner, Stephanie Chadwick and Account Manager Trenton Platt will be teaming up for a break out session to dive deeper into leveraging the digital platforms DoubleClick and Google AdWords for Credit Unions. They’ll share more about helping clients understand and implement successful, first-time digital search and display marketing strategies and nurturing them into core business drivers.

We’re excited to share more with this wonderful group of Credit Union marketers and look forward to sharing more insights after the conference.

ALS #IceBucketChallenge: A Marketer’s Perspective As She Takes The Plunge


Just a simple task – fill a bucket full of ice and water, turn your iPhone on “selfie” mode, upload a video to your social media sites, and then challenge a few of your closest friends.

Seems like an odd way to help make a difference, but it is working! According to, as of August 20, 2014 the ALS association has received over $31.5 million in donations compared to the $1.9 million that came in during the same time period last year. And what can the organization attribute this year’s success to – the Internet phenomenon known as the #IceBucketChallenge.

In case you’ve been out of the loop for the past month, the Ice Bucket Challenge was started as a way to get donations for the ALS Association by asking for donations of $100 or creating an opt-out that involves filming yourself dumping a bucket of ice-cold water over your head and then requesting three of your friends to follow suit. It’s social media peer pressure at its most noble and philanthropic.

It’s like the old saying “no publicity is bad publicity” – the number one goal among campaigns such as these is to create awareness.

MTV has posted a list of the challenge rules on their website, here you’ll notice that, yes, although you may forego paying $100 by accepting the Ice Bucket Challenge, you still have to donate money to the ALS Association. So not only is EVERY participant donating but they are also keeping the trend alive by nominating three more people and having those three people nominate their own three and so on.

It’s pure genius if you ask me, what does this generation like more than taking photos & videos of themselves, perusing social media sites, and forcing their friends to do silly stunts?

According to there are four main things that every successful viral campaign needs to include:

  • Grabbing People’s Attention
  • Inspiration to a Higher Call
  • A Simple Call-to-Action
  • Some Measure of Controversy

The Ice Bucket Challenge has definitely succeeded in getting our attention; I haven’t gone one-day this past month without seeing a challenge video on my feed.

A majority of recent fads have had no real message behind them other than to entertain. For example, in 2011 it was planking, then in 2012 came the Gangnam Style music video parodies, and in 2013 it was the Harlem Shake. When these trends swept the nation they provided nothing but a great deal of entertainment. The current ALS challenge trend provides entertainment as well as raising a huge amount of money for a good cause; this makes it really hard NOT to participate.

The CTA here couldn’t be much easier. All you need is a bucket, some water, and a smart phone. This challenge can be done either alone or with the help of friends, the video doesn’t need to be high quality, and there is very little organization or planning involved.

It’s like the old saying “no publicity is bad publicity” – the number one goal among campaigns such as these is to create awareness. At the end of the day, if people are talking about your brand then you have successfully done your job. I’d find it hard to imagine that anyone with access to the internet is not now aware of the ALS association – especially after we see our favorite celebrities and public figures take on the challenge.

If you take anything away from this recent fad it should be that no marketing campaign is too ludicrous for consideration; even the craziest of ideas can lend themselves success. And if this doesn’t apply to you then at least enjoy some cheap amusement…including my very own Ice Bucket Challenge video below (note: the ice in my bucket did exist, but it all melted before I started).


EdgeMM Project Manager Molly Smith accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Pop over to Edge’s Facebook Page to see more Edgers who have taken to dousing themselves for the cause, or better yet visit and learn more about what you can do.