Back to Blog
Continuing with our current blog series, we are going to be discussing how to deal with spam and phishing in your inbox. Today's focus will be on how to spot these hazardous emails, how you can fight back, and how to protect yourself from any and all dangers lurking in your email!
Hello readers! Hello Summerville! Welcome to the Creative Consulting blog, coming to you from the heart of Summerville, SC just a little drive up from Charleston, SC! We hope that wherever you are that this blog finds you healthy and well! While we are still battling with the effects of a global pandemic, there is another difficult fight that many companies have to deal with daily; fighting spam and phishing comments, messages, and emails across their entire digital fingerprint. The scams and those behind them are becoming harder to recognize as spam, and they are becoming more intelligent and malicious every day. As we've been discussing through this blog series, it's something that everyone deals with, something that you can't give up fighting on, and something that sometimes is very hard not to fall into.
As we hinted in the first blog of this series, spam emails are starting to look more legitimate every day, becoming more tailored to their target audiences, and hard to recognize as spam. These emails can cause fear, frustration, lead to a virus destroying your personal or work computer, or expose sensitive information from your personal or professional life. We've seen it in the news multiple times as cybercrime has grown; a giant corporation will get hacked and millions will have their personal information exposed or personal information gets into the wrong hands. However, even more frightening is the fact that these scams can happen to anyone and any size company. These spammers and hackers don't discriminate, they just keep on working. How can you recognize spam emails and how can you protect yourself against them? That is what we will be discussing today!
How Do You Recognize Spam Emails?
Why put such a big focus on spam in email form? Why disguise them as big bank chains, Netflix, or Amazon? Email is a very cheap and costless platform that allows spammers and hackers to reach high volumes of individuals very quickly. Why the popular chains? It's the fact that almost everyone is connected to at least one if not all of these popular resources, making the scams look incredibly believable. According to westtek.com, more than 95% of emails sent throughout the world are more than likely spam. According to the Cisco Talos Intelligence Group, it has been found that 84% of world wide email traffic is unsolicited and malicious. With statistics like that, how can you fight against something so powerful? How can you recognize what is spam and what is not?
How Do You Protect Yourself From Spam Emails?
How Do You Report phishing or scamming?
Checking your email and text messages should never bring you worry or stress about spamming or phishing, but sadly it happens every day. We hope this guide helps you to combat this daily issue, that it helps give you peace of mind, and that it helps to keep you and your company safe! If you have any more questions or comments, please never hesitate to reach out to us! If there is a topic you would like to see as a future blog, don't hesitate to reach out and share that with us as well! Until next time, stay safe and caffeinated Summerville!
Back to Blog
This blog will be dedicated to our continued discussion about what it means to be ADA compliant and the best route to follow when pursuing that goal. More questions will hopefully be answered for you, and more advice will be provided on this difficult topic that has little legal ground and ruling to guide anyone through the process!
Hello, my dear and wonderful Summerville! How are you, dear readers? So glad you've made it to the Creative Consulting blog. We hope that where ever you might be, that you're happy and well! Also, if you're finding yourself reading one of your very first Creative Consulting blogs right now, please note that this blog is part three of an ongoing discussion about ADA compliance, and to fully get out of it what we feel is best, we encourage you to go back and read the first two blogs in this series!
How are you doing so far in your 2021? Are you still working towards your business goals? Have you been following the plans you created for yourself last year to find success this year? After how tumultuous 2020 was, outside of making some of the most necessary and important goals for yourself and your business, it might have been hard to see a bigger picture while walking into 2021! This blog is, of course, a safe space for all of our readers and fellow business owners. If you were struggling with your goals and resolutions for 2021, we have one that you can work towards, and we won't even tell anyone that you made this resolution after the ball dropped! Why not strive towards becoming as ADA compliant as possible in 2021?
Becoming ADA compliant, as we have been talking about through this blog series, is important ground to break for your company, while it is also very shaky ground at the same time. While it is something that is pressing for every website to have and heavily suggested to implement into your website by the WCAG (the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), we must remind all of our readers that there are still no official laws or rules about being ADA compliant. However, striving to make your virtual fingerprint enjoyable and accessible to anyone and everyone that visits your website is an incredibly powerful business move. Being inclusive in your web viewing audience is not only kind to humanity, but it can also help with your company's growth and sales. Being kind and growing exponentially at the same time? Sounds pretty perfect to us! However, while we have covered a lot of information on the topic, we wanted to finish out this blog series with just a little bit more about ADA compliance!
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BEING ADA COMPLIANT?
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE RISKS OF NOT BEING ADA COMPLIANT?
While this topic is still an incredibly grey area, that doesn't mean taking the risk of not being ADA compliant is the way to go. There are still many risk factors that you could be facing. Remember, Creative Consulting can help you through the process and you must be very careful when approached by online poachers or online ambulance chasers. Their sole goal is to target websites and business owners unaware of ADA compliance and scaring them into paying huge sums of money for their so-called safety. Well, we guarantee that this is very false information. However, if you are choosing not to be ADA compliant and choosing not to make these adjustable steps, that's a different situation.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT NOW?
We are not downplaying the fact that ADA compliance hasn't been important since the use of the internet became widespread and used by millions every day. However, as the years go on and we all become more and more connected thanks to the overwhelming and impressive power of the internet, now might be more important than ever to be ADA compliant.
The big takeaway that we want to give each of our readers to have from this blog series is the fact that becoming ADA compliant is simple, necessary, but nothing you should be afraid of. Work with the correct individuals, like us, to help you reach this goal and you could potentially see your business grow exponentially. Honestly, there is also no question about it. It is a company's responsibility to every citizen to allow them access to their website. It's the right thing to do, it's our duty to humanity, and not being ADA compliant is discriminatory, which is beyond unacceptable in our books. As online designers, what is also unacceptable is big web design moguls using scare tactics to prey on unaware and uneducated business owners. It is our responsibility, as business owners, to help them, educate them, eradicate fear, and bring everyone smoothly and safely into the kind and generous world of ADA compliance! Until next time, stay safe and caffeinated Summerville!
To learn even more in-depth information and to stay up to date on ADA Compliance, please visit their website: https://www.ada.gov/pcatoolkit/chap5toolkit.htm
Back to Blog
In this follow up blog, we are going to be continuing our discussion on ADA compliance on your website and what you need to know right now.
Hello Summerville, and welcome back to the blog! There is just nothing like a new year in Summerville. The whole town seems to be buzzing with new exciting energy working towards this new year's goals, new projects, and resolutions. It's a wonderful energy, and we can all feel it in the office. It has helped each of us stay focused, get to work, and inspired us to keep up with our own goals and resolutions. Thank you, Summerville! Let's make the best out of 2021 together, and let's be kind to one another. Who knows what this year or any year might hold for all of us!
One of the very first blogs we've shared this year was all about being ADA compliant, what that means, the challenges small businesses are facing right now because of it, the fact that many issues are caused due to lack of official guidance, and how the officials are going about correcting websites to ADA complaint before a bully shows up to do it first. Today, we are going to be following up with part two of that blog with even more helpful and important information to make sure your business is safe and ready to handle the changes ADA online compliance might bring this year.
What are the best ways to make your website ADA compliant?
Remember, you can do many of these changes yourself if you want to. Do not, we repeat, do NOT let anyone bully you into believing that they are the only ones who can make your current website or build a website for you that is ADA compliant and that you must spend an obscene amount of money to do so. You can work with us at Creative Consulting to achieve an ADA-compliant website or any top-notch design company that won't force or bully you, and our rates will be reasonable. Remember, outside of following these loosely based guidelines that have started to appear about being ADA compliant online, being ADA compliant can help position your business for long-lasting success and help to expand your customer base. While rules and guidelines are still not black and white, the WCAG (the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) and other groups are paving the way. Until then, here is a list of suggestions and tips on how to make your website ADA compliant right now.
Well, readers, it looks like the topic of ways on how best to make your website ADA compliant needed its very own blog! Don't worry, we still have a lot more to talk about, and will continue to do so in our next few blogs. This topic is becoming more important every day, and we want to make sure you are prepared and informed. We appreciate you coming on this ride with us about ADA compliance. We hope that with each of these blogs, you are taking the correct steps to ensure that your website fits these guidelines. Please take this topic very seriously. While there are no official guidelines set in stone by law right now, that most certainly doesn't mean that it couldn't change soon. This is one of the main reasons why it is so important to get ahead on this topic, so once it is set in stone, you either will already be compliant with the law or you will just need to make a few adjustments! Until next time, stay safe and caffeinated Summerville!
Back to Blog
In this two-part blog, we will be discussing something pretty delicate in our world right now. It is one of our personal goals to strive to not only help our clients and fellow small business owners grow their businesses, but we also strive to educate others and tell the truth about what's happening in the world of business right now. Today, we are going to be discussing a very important hot topic, being ADA compliant!
Hello, Summerville, and hello 2021! How many times have you written the date wrong so far this year? I've done it an embarrassingly amount of times! Anyway, welcome back to the blog writer's desk, and while we are just a few weeks into the new year, it is still such an exciting time to own a business. While so many people hate the beginning of a new year as much as they hate Mondays, when we look at a new year we see the beginnings of something very special and exciting. We have the opportunity to grow and become the company we want to be, and to help our clients do the same. That, to us, is incredibly exciting and one of the many reasons why starting fresh in a new year is what we live for!
One of the ways we try to help all of our clients and fellow small business owners grow is to inspire them to look at every new year as a new opportunity. It's the perfect time to go after their goals and a perfect time to plan how to reach them. We also try to take the time in the first few months to continue educating our clients on what is happening now in our industry, and how that might impact their business on a day to day basis, and what to be cautious of. Currently, one of the hottest trends in the marketing world and the website design world is offering clients to help them become ADA compliant. It's a sad reality that many marketing companies will use scare tactics to force small companies into a website contract with them, claiming that they aren't ADA compliant which could land them in a huge lawsuit. This is such an unnecessary and cruel thing to do to small businesses, who are already struggling to make ends meet in the first place. We want to state that by law, there are actually no guidelines that state exactly what or how your website must be set up to be ADA compliant. At least there isn't anything yet. If you are being bothered or badgered by a company telling you otherwise, please brush them off or speak with us. They're being bullies, and we don't like bullies here at Creative Consulting. In this two-part blog, we are going to be talking about what ADA Compliance is, how your company needs to be approaching this term and its current guidelines, and why the threat of being in danger isn't anything close to what many companies will say that you are in. Yes, you need to be compliant, but there is wiggle room, which is what we will be talking about today.
Let's take a step back though before we get in over our heads or things get confusing. The ADA is the American With Disabilities Act that requires physical locations to provide fair access and accommodations for individuals with disabilities. Some of the most common examples of this are restaurants and public buildings must provide wheelchair accessibility and they must provide menus and other reading materials in Braille for customers who are visually impaired. Today, in our very media-heavy and driven world, ADA compliance has now spread out to the digital world and our digital devices. ADA compliance is now requiring all websites to provide accessibility for all on their webpages. This can include web content that can be used by those who are blind, for those who are deaf, help for those who must navigate by using their voices, and providing screen readers to help read and describe all content on the webpage for those who might not be able to see it. So yes, by law you must be ADA compliant and provide these options. Your website must also not prohibit the use of these tools that we've mentioned above that would prevent an individual with a disability to access your webpage as needed. However, here is the kicker! There are no clear ADA regulations that spell out how every website must be laid out and designed to provide accessibility to everyone with a disability. There is so much grey area, and so much unknown, which people are taking advantage of and trying to decide what it means for them, not for the digital world across the board. All it states by legal documentation is that all businesses that fall under Tier 1 or Tier 3 must provide internet content that gives at least "reasonable accessibility" to individuals with disabilities according to Business News Daily, but that is all that they say and no guidelines or examples have truly been supplied.
What businesses fall under these different tiers? That's when it begins to get a little tricky. Tier 1 Businesses are those that have at least 15 full-time employees and are open for business at least 20 weeks out of the year, and they somehow engage in an industry that adds to and affects commerce. However, if you have 14 or fewer employees (for example you are a self-employed company of one) and you work less than those 20 weeks a year, you don't have to comply as being Title 1. According to Findlaw.com any tax-exempt private membership clubs also do not count as being Tier 1 businesses. Businesses that are owned by a Native American Tribe are also exempt from being Title 1. However, Tier 3 gets a little more tricky because more businesses fall under its umbrella. Tier 3 businesses are businesses that are considered and live in the category of being public accommodations. Examples of this included and are not limited to:
ADA was passed in 1990, making sure that all public access locations had to provide accommodations for everyone, including those with disabilities. 20 years later in 2010, the Department of Justice passed the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design which mandated that all electronic information and devices had to be accessible to those with disabilities. However, because the law states that you only have to be ADA compliant if you fall under Tier 1 and Tier 3, it is still best to discuss with a lawyer what you should do for their website to not run into any issues. While there is no reason to prevent someone with disabilities from enjoying your website and content, for those who don't fall under those tiers, you shouldn't be badgered into building a website with a company you don't want to work with because they are saying your not ADA compliant, and the only way to avoid a lawsuit is to work with them. Remember, there are no clear rules about being ADA compliant, however, again, you need to be respectful of the ADA complaint ideals. What we are trying to explain here is that you can make these additions and adjustments yourself to your website. You can even make your website more accessible for those who use different tools to access and enjoy it, and to make sure they aren't turned away from it.
Many companies today, since it is such a grey area topic with no real definition, will take advantage of the fact that this world has no clear-cut definition and will attack smaller companies that don't fit in any tier. They will bully and scare them into buying a website from them, and in our books that is a bad business tool. In the second half of this blog, we are going to be continuing our discussion about being ADA compliant, its current battle, and how to keep your company compliant while not being bullied by others to conform to their incorrect definition of being ADA compliant. This is a touchy topic and one that we need to talk about more. If you feel that you might be going against ADA compliance or in some trouble because of not following what ADA guidelines there are, please contact us and we will work through it together! Until next time Summerville, stay safe and stay caffeinated!
Back to Blog
In one of our very last blogs for 2020, we are wrapping up this blog series about the best things you can do for your business now to make the new 2021 the best year yet!
Hello, Summerville! Welcome back to the blog writer's desk! The year is slowly picking itself up and putting itself away, and boy was it one for the books. We are happy to see it go, and we are happy and excited to see what this new year will be bringing us. As all of us at Creative Consulting have been gathering for our last in-person meetings of 2020, it's been interesting to sit back and see what this year has taught us. First and foremost it has taught us how resilient our town is. Nothing can stop Summerville! In fact, through all of the challenges we have been through as a community, it has been incredible to see just how much we have supported one another and continued to grow together and for one another. We have seen compassion, hope, and the dedication each of you have to your families, community, and your passions.
We have also experienced so much support and an outpouring of love from all of you supporting small businesses of all kinds right here in town. You decided to shop small, give big, and give back to your community. You took more time to be proud of the movers, makers, and shakers right here in town, Thanks to that you now own beautiful pieces of artwork and homemade products made by your incredibly talented neighbors, and you have tried some of the best new dishes and desserts made from your neighbors that you might not have known about unless the pandemic had happened, a tough silver lining, but one just the same. We have also seen resilience in our industry that we are so thankful for. We are honored to support and care for your businesses, and to help build and support them to help reach all of your goals and more. It has been an honor working with each of you, and we look forward to ringing in 2021 with you and stepping into new beginnings.
In part one of this blog, we spent time talking about all of the financial things you can do right now to help save on your 2020 taxes. While many of those decisions, purchases, and money moves might seem like a little bit of strain on your business accounts at the end of a very difficult year, we promise that they are still good decisions. While you might feel every penny this time of year, you will appreciate the time you dedicated to following the list in our previous blog and spending a little more money now. Come April 15th, your tax expenses will not be as challenging to cover, painful, or a surprise. In this blog, we are focusing more on the business aspects of closing out a year. What can you be focusing on and working on now that can help you create the best business plan for 2021? How can you make your goals become realities? How can you uplift and support your team? Let's talk about it!
Year-End Count Down
Before we all wrap up our work for the new year and settle into our holiday parties with our coworkers, there is still so much left to do. This is our busiest time of the year, so we understand that sometimes things can get lost in the shuffle. Don't let that happen this year! Use this end of the year checklist to wrap up 2020 and get your head in the game for 2021! We know the pandemic has been devastating to so many of you, and many companies are still trying to recover from its reverberations. Keep strong, keep going, you've got this!
From all of us at Creative Consulting, thank you for an incredible year! We deeply appreciate your support and friendship and couldn't do what we do without all of you and the incredible town of Summerville. We are so appreciative to our clients who have been with us for years, our new 2020 clients, and all of our future clients. We wish you all a very exciting and wonderful 2021!
Back to Blog
Having the strongest tools in your online marketing toolbox should be one of your top priorities for your business. Having a strong, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to use website should be one of those incredibly sharp tools!
Hello, Summerville! Welcome back to the blog writers desk and welcome to December! How excited are you to drive and walk around our cute little town and see it decorated to the holiday nines? Don't forget to shop local and shop small this year. 2020 has been a hard year for all of our local businesses, and right now more than ever they need your love and support. Our incredible town has something for everyone on your holiday shopping list this year. Personalized and unique gifts, gift cards to your favorite restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries, and fun (socially distanced and safe) activities, and much more can all be found right here in the sweet tea capital of the world! Don't forget, shopping locally and supporting local small businesses help support our neighbors and our local economy. Investing in it is an investment back for you! Also, if you don't feel safe shopping or ordering in person from all of your favorite local businesses, many of them are selling their products, gift cards, and services on their websites! Many local artists are also selling their goods on Etsy, on their websites, off of their social media pages, and more! If you need any recommendations on where to shop this year, please reach out to us, visit your favorite local Summerville websites, and ask around! Make this holiday a very special one, regardless of how difficult it has been for all of us!
Speaking of online shopping, social media pages, and websites we wanted to focus on sharpening one of the many important tools you need to have in your small business toolbox this time of year, and all year round. We need to start the conversation about having an excellent website. After making it through all of your online holiday marketing planning these last few months and putting all of that into action, it's time to get ready for the upcoming new year. We know how busy this time of year is for you, but we also know you understand that work for a small business never stops. All of us at Creative are constantly pushing ourselves and working towards how we can better ourselves to help our clients, and how we can help our clients grow to their next level of business. One of the many steps we help our clients grow and prosper in, what one of our tops services is, and what we promote very often our on social media pages is having a strong, functional, and beautiful website. As the 2018 and 2019 winners of the Readers Choice and Berkeley County Best Web Design Firm, we wanted to dedicate one of our very last blogs of 2020 to the many reasons why having an excellent website is so important.
In today's world where almost all first introductions and interactions individuals make with a new company, restaurant, or service start with a Google search, having an excellent website is a must. This will be your introduction to most of your new clients, supporters, and consumers. It is more likely for a curious individual to turn to their web browser to look for what they need or ask for an opinion through their social media network than any other forms of search. Having a welcoming, easy to navigate, and beautiful website serves as that first handshake in these situations, and automatically gives you credibility to these new hopeful potential clients without you having to lift a finger. Google helps with these introductions too, especially if your SEO is top-notch.
However, if you don't even have a website, that can be a fatal blow to your company and a huge loss in clients and sales. The amount of organic traffic your company will receive by having a website is incredibly important and can be stronger than print, radio, or TV advertisement in many cases. However, if you are only using print, TV, and radio advertisement and don't have a website, this will automatically cause you to lose credibility too. It will seem strange in today's world that you wouldn't have a website. Potential customers want to learn more about your services, your prices, and how to contact you without having to go digging to find it. If this isn't readily available through a website, it is highly unlikely that they would choose your business over someone who does have a website with all of this information. Having a website is one step closer to knowing and trusting the company behind the website before even choosing to work with someone.
That being said, if you do have a website but it's not pleasing to the eye, difficult to navigate, lacking information, and lacking contact information, this will also repel your potential customers. No one wants to spend extra time nor do they want to get frustrated by having to dig for information, get confused on how to interact with your website, or not finding any of the information they are looking for. You want a design that's pleasing to look at, explains exactly what your company does and what it offers, who customers can talk to, all while staying true to your unique brand.
[Sense of Easy, not Urgency]
You have a strong, beautifully crafted, and easy to navigate website - now what? In 2020, the pandemic has kept many people out of brick and mortar stores, and kept them to window shopping on their phones and computers from the safety and comfort of their couches. This trend has been powerful and popular even before the pandemic hit. Physical window shopping is slowly becoming a thing of the past while the power of scrolling and Google search shopping is slowly starting to take its place. It's easier, faster, and a gateway to finding new products and services at the click of a button. It's also a huge time saver and potentially a huge moneymaker for your business. Where does this all start? With a strong website.
While many new clients might find out about your products and services thanks to your social media pages on Instagram and Facebook, they will still be lead to your website landing page to decide if they're going to buy from you and what they're going to buy. Having a website can also expand your customer base. You or your brick and mortar shop might be located on the west coast, but having a website could allow you to sell your goods across the country or even globally. You are opening the market to anyone in the world, or where you personally choose to ship to, by having a website.
In this day and in this year, where the pandemic has made it hard to hold onto a brick and mortar location, a website can free you up from the responsibilities that come with it and the rent you have to pay to keep it. If you have a strong website backed up by an incredibly active social media and SEO presence, and you can ship your goods and products anywhere, you don't need that brick and mortar store unless you want it. On the other hand, if your company offers a service and you prefer to operate mobile out of a car or company vehicle, a well-crafted website can continue to promote your services while also avoiding a brick and mortar location.
[A Conversation Worth Having]
We've talked about the importance of communication in many of our blogs. Responding to comments or messages on social media in a very timely manner, responding to emails as quickly as possible, and giving your customers a place to start a conversation are some of the most important practices a business needs to have and provide. Having a website allows this communication to happen with ease and allows it to be organized for you and instant for your customers. It provides the information needed to contact you with any questions, problems, and concerns right away. Adding a chatbox can provide quick and 24/7 customer support instantly, too. This also allows, subconsciously, for your clients to connect with you and trust you with ease and without causing a headache.
Don't forget that a website not only makes the process easy for your clients, but it also makes your job easier too. That's the dream right there, isn't it? Once you create your stunning website and keep up with its maintenance throughout your company's lifetime, you're set to go. At this point, you'll have nowhere to go but up. A website will also be a godsend for your marketing team, who need all your love this time of year. Once you've established an excellent website, planning for sales, holidays, and new products will be so much easier for them. They have a landing page to display these changes, the ease to direct new and returning clients on where they can buy your goods and services, and an established brand to base all of their marketing off of! What a relief!
We understand the hesitations in hiring a company like ours to build, create, and manage a website. We've heard and understood all of them. However, if you want your company to continue to grow, have credibility, if you want people to know who you are and what your company does, continue to make money, and make a good first impression, a well-designed website is the way to go. We are here to chat with you about any questions and concerns you might have about building or redesigning your website and to help get you started. Creating beautiful websites is one of our many passions and something we hope you're getting excited about! Let's get started taking your business to the next level with the website of your dreams, contact us today! Until next time, stay safe and caffeinated Summerville!
Back to Blog
Get to know the hilarious, hard-working, and creative individuals that make up the Creative Consulting family one blog at a time.
Hello, Summerville! It's that time again where we introduce you to another incredible member of the Creative Consulting team! So grab your favorite fall beverage (have you seen Cuppa Manna's fall menu?! If not - go check it out NOW!) and get settled in for another wonderful read!
I know, as the blog writer, that you hear a lot of things from my perspective - but it's all I have, right? It's been so fun getting to know my coworkers a little better every time I sit down in my favorite writing chair and get to work on these profiles. We all create our own work schedules, so often through the week, we are like ships passing in the night. We see one another on Mondays and during other weekly meetings, but sometimes we might go a whole week without seeing one another. The freedom we have to create, work, and make CC possible is something that I consider a huge gift. Life, right now, has been so strange that creating a workflow for myself (and how everyone on our team has been doing) is a blessing. So, when I sit down to write these, it's like my teammate is sitting right next to me and we are sharing a laugh over an inside office joke. Nothing like work making you smile, right?
This woman was one of the very first team members that was hired after I was brought on. I came into the office during a huge transition, and for a while there our little family only had 5 members in it. It became apparent that we needed to grow and we needed some incredible talent to help Creative continue its upward climb. That is where Ms. Lizzy Smith came into the picture! Again, Meg and Stephan have an incredible way of hiring people who just fit together. Lizzy fit right in without a second hesitation. She jumped right into work and has kept creating incredible designs and websites since the day she began. Always positive, always quick to laugh, and excited about the work at hand - it has been wonderful to work with Lizzy. I constantly learn something new about the design world from her, and about social media at large. Also, another fun fact, we both got engaged a few weeks apart. There MUST have been something in the water, don't you think? I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did. It is my pleasure to officially introduce you to Lizzy Smith!
After reading all of that, aren't you inspired to do an all day marathon of the Harry Potter moves while eating a pile of popcorn and starting a new Pinterest board full of DIY and design ideas? No? Just me? Well, that sounds like a perfect day for Lizzy and me then! Again, it's always so fun to read through these. Even as the writer of the blog and the individual who came up with these questions, it's funny how often these particular questions don't come up during the workday. You spend so much time talking about work (of course) and other random topics of the day, and you might not even know your coworker's favorite food! Now that I know Lizzy and I love popcorn so much, I finally have an excuse to buy those giant popcorn tins around the holidays full of flavored popcorn! Which, I will of course, be bringing into the office. Maybe. There you have it, Summerville! You now know one more member of the Creative Consulting team! I hope you've enjoyed this blog - and I look forward to introducing you to the last four members of our team in the upcoming weeks! Until next time, make sure to look for the positives in any challenge you might be facing this week, and treat yourself to something from your favorite local shop, bakery, coffee shop, or restaurant this week!
Back to Blog
We are finishing up our blog series on the best ways to handle negative social media comments. We know it's a difficult situation to deal with, but with enough preparation, you can be ready to handle anything!
Hello, Summerville! Welcome back to part two of our blog about handing negative social media comments. We hope that part one of this blog gave you a good basis for how to move forward if you are faced with this issue. As we mentioned before, this is not something we would wish on anyone. Sadly, it is very possible. Hopping on the internet and telling everyone exactly how you feel has become a trend since the dawning of Facebook, if not sooner, and has continued to grow stronger in the years following. As a business, you prepare for the inevitable with insurance, a strong plan, a good financial team, and a good workforce. Why not be prepared for everything you might face? Keep a watchful eye on all of your online networks, and be ready to handle everything and everyone you come across with an attitude of being calm, cool, and collected.
It might be incredibly hard, but take a moment to see the issue from the client's point of view. There will be people who will be angry just to be angry. If the product or service your company offers is broken, doesn't deliver as promised, or arrives extremely late, apologizing and owning up to your mistakes will help. Offering a discount, refund, voucher, or replacement can also help calm the tension at hand.
Make sure you are aware of the comments you're receiving. Keep notifications on and connect them to a phone or email that will be checked and monitored frequently. Also, make sure to follow up with any complaints and follow through with what you promise to offer your client. Make sure you understand what the problem is and discuss how it can be fixed. Once these terms have been agreed on, follow through with them and check back in with your client to make sure they're happy and satisfied with the situation. This shows that you really care, and you didn't just fix the problem and forget about them.
Sometimes you will run into a situation where an issue is out of your control. A system error could be beyond your knowledge to repair, your suppliers that help create your goods and services could be doing something to harm the quality of your product, and sometimes you are in a situation where you don't have the answers or a way to fix it yourself. That's okay - you're human. This doesn't mean you just toss it away and brush the problem off, you still have to fix it. What you can do is outsource someone who can help you. Recruit a good IT company, find a new supplier, and find the best of the best in what you're having issues with. This can cause a hike in price than just refunding your customer, but this can be a priceless decision to help keep your customer and continue bringing in others. It is never wrong to ask for help with something you don't know! Not only can this help relations between you and your customer, but it can be a learning opportunity for you and your team as well!
According to Forbes, 84% of people who go looking into a company online say they trust the reviews they see. Sometimes you can't help how people will respond or react, their anger could be something completely out of your hands. If you can, try to get ahead of any potential problems so negativity can be avoided. Listen to your customers before things get difficult. Have you been hearing similar small complaints? Have you been hearing the same suggestion over and over again? Have people been supporting you for a significant amount of time, but have been asking for a revamp of your goods and services? Listen to them! They are giving you excellent free advice, why not take it? If you can get ahead of the curve, this can help avoid negative situations.
Negative comments are bound to happen. It's how you deal with them that will make all the difference. Everyone is allowed to have their opinion, but make sure your voice as a company isn't quiet. Don't be afraid to connect with these unhappy people, human to human. Remember too, one bad comment does not reflect your company as a whole. Take it in stride, and keep doing what you do best! If you need help or would like to learn more, please contact us! We look forward to talking to you soon!
Back to Blog
Creating a strong brand identity can make or break your company's success. Here is why it is so important, along with a few tips and suggestions to make yourself stand out!
Hello, Summerville! We hope you're doing well. The smell of pumpkin spice abounds, all of our favorite stores here in the square are starting to put out decorations. We also might be a tad embarrassed about the number of baked fall goods from Swank that we've already sampled. To say the least, we are pretty excited about fall! Celebrating Summerville, supporting our fellow local businesses, and creating exactly what our clients want is a part of our brand. The bright orange color we use in our logo is a part of who we are. We are quirky, hardworking, and usually a little over-caffeinated. This is who we are and what makes us unique as a company. All of these are traits that we are proud of and what we want our current and future clients to know about us.
All of these elements are a part of our branding. It's the part of our company that you see online, what you see when you drive by our office, and what you hear about us when you ask about us around town. Brand identity is the unique fingerprint that people will see and look into before they meet the people behind the business. This is why having a strong branding identity is so important.
More Than Just A Logo
Granted, yes. Your company needs a logo, a color scheme, and fonts that you'll use consistently. There is something very special in seeing your signage, window decals, business cards, website, social media, and stationary all decked out in your logo, colors, and fonts. All of these tools are necessary because you'll use them to catch the eye of your future clients. When it comes to the whole of your brand identity, this is a very small part of the whole story. Your brand identity is so much more than your meticulously created logo. It is your reputation, how you want people to perceive you, your unique and individual voice, and what you want to be known for. It needs to stand up to the challenge, support your business, and get your message across.
What It Does For You
Now that you've established what brand identity is what can it turn around and do for you?
It takes work to create your brand identity. Creating your logo didn't happen overnight, and your brand identity won't provide these amazing benefits to you overnight either. The steps to creating a strong brand identity aren't overwhelming, they're actually very straight forward. The challenge is implementing them into your workflow and your company's everyday life.
How To Get Started
As we said, strong brand identity doesn't happen instantly. It takes time, research, and doing all of those necessary tedious things that arent the glamorous side of owning a business.
The list goes on with the many ways you can create, strengthen, and grow your brand identity. This blog is just a peek into everything that is available to you. We did mention that this took time, right? Every company and business is different. You need to find what works for you. We just wanted to provide a little foundation for you to build on. The long and short of it is that brand identity is important and it's worth your time. If you need help or would like to learn more, please contact us! We look forward to talking to you soon!
Back to Blog
Get to know the hilarious, hard-working, and creative individuals that make up the Creative Consulting family one blog at a time.
Welcome back to another team member spotlight, Summerville! We hope you've been doing well, and are slowly getting settled into the school year. Even though this school year does look different for many of our friends and family members, there are still a lot of things happening that make this time of year special. Pumpkin and apple-flavored goodies are showing up in all of our favorite Summerville businesses, the smell of fresh school supplies greets us where ever we go, and the chill of 80 degrees is a wonderful reminder that fall is right around the corner!
This week we will be featuring our second Creative Consulting team member, Stephen Slappey. I've had the pleasure of working with Stephen for over a year now, and I am thrilled to share his interview with you. As a creative being who has lead a very different career path than many of my 9-5 friends, coming into a business like Creative Consulting was an interesting transition for me. As an independent contractor, musical theater actor and singer (spoiler for my spotlight!), and writer, I haven't had the greatest luck when it comes to a normal 9-5 schedule or experience. I have waited tables, catered, and paid my dues in retail. Working with a company that does work on a 9-5 schedule was a big change for me, and even though I still work on my own schedule, it's taught me quite a bit.
A lot of this education is thanks to Stephen. I've not met someone so passionate about learning more about the people he's talking to, even if he will only have one conversation with that individual. I've not met someone so inspired to learn more about his industry and to apply it right away. I have personally watched him single handily turn a meeting from a difficult situation into an atmosphere of joy in a matter of minutes. He always puts others first and is dedicated to the growth of his company and to his friends, family, and co-workers. Also, his excitement over learning new things, the latest update in his favorite videogames, and life, in general, is refreshing. He can be a goofball and strictly professional in one sentence, and I still don't know how he does it.
He was also very kind to take the time to sit down with me and answer these questions so that you can get to know the other half of the Creative Consulting founding team and owners. Meg and he make an amazing team. Working for them has been the easiest thing I've ever done. It's rewarding, it continues to teach me, and pushes me in all the right ways. I'm proud to be a part of their team, and I'm thrilled for you to learn more about Stephen!
How long have you been working at CC:
Around six years.
How did you hear about the positions:
I invented it.
What do you do for CC:
Marketing, planning, management, customer relations, pricing, and sales.
What is your favorite part about working for CC:
The ability to help set people on the right path.
What have you learned since you worked at CC:
Too many things to count.
What is your favorite part of your workday at CC:
Teaching our clients.
Favorite memory at CC so far:
When I was able to help one of our long-standing clients avoid a $10,000 scam.
Favorite Summerville Small Business (besides CC):
What is your education background:
Marketing, Graphic Design, and Computer Science.
What are your hobbies:
Board games and games in general, reading, learning, spending time with people, deep conversations.
What is your favorite book, color, song, movie:
Book: Marvels Civil War
Song: Too many to count
Movie: Marvel Avengers
CC is just the beginning. There is so much coming for everyone to see.
Favorite Restaurant in Charleston/Summerville:
One specific one doesn't come to mind. Anywhere I can make a memory with the people I'm with.
Favorite things to do in Charleston/Summerville:
Be with the people I love
Make sure you are following Creative Consulting on all of our social media platforms. Stephen has recently started a new vlog series discussing everything you want to know about business, social media, and more. If there is something more you want to know, reach out and tell him! His love for learning more about the industry is equally matched with his love of teaching. So make sure to give Stephen a shout out on his new videos and to watch all of them. I guarantee that you'll learn at least three new things every time you watch! Until next time Summerville, stay safe and be well. Take a moment to enjoy the things that make fall in the Lowcountry special. Things might be tough, but you and your coffee are strong enough to take on anything!