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Is ‘Proper’ English Obsolete?

  
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Some argue that the average reader is completely indifferent toward grammatical accuracy. An opportunity to contribute to a virtual conversation, some observe, can cause a linguistically deranged frenzy that knows no bounds. Recently, while idly scrolling through my Instagram feed, it was hard to ignore the total and complete grammatical anarchy on some of those longer threads. It occurred to me that the art of conversation has inarguably gone from a physical experience to a virtual one; it’s only natural that the formality of writing has entered a new phase. So the question becomes: are the once widely accepted rules of ‘proper’ English a thing of the past?

There are conversations being had amongst those hip scholars on TED that report that the casual written speech of texting, blogging, tweeting, et cetera, is a  “miraculous...energetic…emerging complexity.” Texting, linguist John McWhorter argues further, is not writing at all. It’s…talking!

While “sharing ideas at the speed of talking” has become the new norm, and no doubt has had a critical impact on the way news spreads in modern society, writing still ought to remain a conscious process. From a marketing standpoint, writing well is intimately linked with reaching target audiences well. When we lose this consciousness, it can mean the difference between Rachel Ray finding inspiration in cooking, her family, and her dog and cooking her family and her dog. It is the difference between inviting our grandfather to sit down and graze at a family meal (“Let’s eat, Grandpa!”) and serving him up as the main course (“Let’s eat Grandpa!”).

Has proper grammar joined the lost arts of handwritten letters and cursive handwriting, or will it become the ultimate differentiator between "good" and "great" marketing?

Bringing Your Inner Child to Work May Be Invaluable

  
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I remember sitting in a tent made of bearskin (well actually, under the shade of a curiously aromatic old sheet) on a boiling summer evening. Ignoring the heat, or perhaps relishing it, my hunting partner (my 10-year-old playmate) and I tore into the carcass of a deer we had just taken down (a piece of London broil her mother had given us as a snack) with remarkable expertise. The blood (ketchup) stained our hands as we proudly licked our fingers.

I’m all grown up now, and yet here I sit, gazing back in the other direction. Sometimes I wonder what happened to the formidable creative streak that was as much a part of me as my sweat or my heartbeat. As we age, advance in our careers, and take on a great number of responsibilities, we forget one very important thing: how to play. In the world of psychology, it’s widely accepted that children possess a purity and energy that unlock the creative process. We are now in an age of some of the most innovative companies the world has ever seen, and these companies are changing the culture of business by embracing this very notion—that the kids have it right.

Think of it this way: a child’s mind easily conceives of a thousand ways to fill the hours of a sluggish afternoon, so couldn’t an adult whose joy and spontaneity has been nurtured conceive of a number of productive ways to launch a company into infamy? Google knows it! The company’s whole philosophy stems from the fact that stressful and uninspiring work environments don’t produce collaborative innovation.

As a result, Google’s employees are happy, productive, and enthusiastically contribute to the success of the company. In businesses across the world, let us not only embrace our inner-child, but invite her to come to work with us.

MKD Breaks Down Instagram for Business in 60 Seconds or Less

  
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When utilized correctly, social media has proven to be a powerful marketing tool for connecting businesses with their target audiences. But now, with the (over) abundance of social media platforms available to businesses and consumers alike, it's important to be able to decide which ones are worth your time.

Instagram, an online mobile networking service based on photo and video shares, is one such trend that has amassed a tremendous following. However, is it right for YOUR business? We'll let you decide that. Our goal with this savvy infographic is to give you a quick summary of what Instagram could do for your business in 60 seconds or less.

Why Print Media Is Still Relevant In The Digital Age

  
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Over the last 10 years print media has lost ground in the digital media boom, facing competition from smart phones, iPad, internet, social media and many other digital media. The recent annoucement of four large daily newspapers, including the New Orleans Times-Picayune, cutting back to less-than-daily frequency while boosting digital efforts, is yet another of many examples.

Although print has declined, there is still a need for print in marketing and advertising. cmyk Print media is tangible, portable and moldable, it can be carried with a person without the need of technology. A person can feel the texture of the paper, turn the pages of a magazine, see the brilliant colors shine on the page of a high-gloss photography book. Paper can be any size, shape or color, it can enhance an idea and become a work of art. In advertising print can become larger than life in the form of billboards that can drive traffic to a website or inform you of discounts at the closest hotel. It can be the smallest printed teaser card to generate buzz of a new restaurant opening. A print piece can engage a person, interact with a person in ways the web cannot. Print has the diversity of being able to stand alone or work with other media to create dynamic and effective multimedia marketing campaigns.

The use of QR codes can drive traffic to websites in a quick and effective way. Statistics show that campaigns that combine printed direct mail pieces with internet advertising yield up to a 25% higher response rate than using internet alone, according to the Direct Marketing Association. typeface Print has a credibility that the internet is lacking. There is an ease with print that you don’t get with onscreen text, a sense of being more trustworthy. In fact many studies have shown that print is still considered more credible than online material. This is because print is more permanent, it has to stand up over time, while the web is fluid, it changes, information can be rewritten very easily or even deleted.

So while many may think print is a thing of the past, there are many practical uses for print media in today’s digital world. Print has been around for thousands of years in one form or another and print will continue to be an important part of society for years to come.

Summer Interns Take Over Times Square

  

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Alyssa Gorman and Janai Rau, two Fauquier County natives who were hand-picked from a competitive pool of applicants, have started eight-week internships at our MKD headquarters in Warrenton, Virginia. Both interns have taken up residence in “Times Square” at our office.

Alyssa GormanGorman, a rising senior at George Mason University, is a Warrenton native with a passion for television production. She is currently working towards a degree in film and video studies with a concentration in business. Gorman, who worked on the set of the locally produced “Be Better at Business TV” series, will utilize her collegiate and field experience to assist several McKinsey Development productions this summer.

Janai Rau

Rau is also a Fauquier County native. Studying at Virginia Tech, Rau is working towards a degree in graphic design. Enthusiastic about digital design, Rau would like to channel her skills through advertising. 

We received a record number of summer internship applications this year. Gorman and Rau were selected based on an overarching standard demanding an enthusiasm for learning, willingness to be challenged and collegiate track record of success. Offering a full workload of dynamic projects, our two interns will have the opportunity to work side-by-side with firm leadership on specifically assigned account projects.

Our internship program seeks to demonstrate to its interns, through immersion, the significance of all aspects of integrated marketing communications—and the importance of these aspects working together effectively.

Our firm's CEO and founder, Crystal McKinsey, is a firm believer in the formative power of internships. “Initiative is the number one quality I look for in any applicant,” shared McKinsey. “You can teach strategy, best practices and integration…you can’t teach initiative. Gorman and Rau were standouts during the selection process and our team is looking forward to both teaching and learning from these talented young professionals."

Amazon + Twitter join forces, but how does this affect you?

  
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News is spreading fast about the new partnership between e-commerce champion Amazon and social media guru Twitter. This month, Amazon launched the new “#Amazoncart” concept, which enables you to sync your Twitter and Amazon accounts. You can add products found on Twitter to your Amazon shopping cart without having to switch between apps.

Here is how the new partnership works: When you see a product you like via Twitter feed you can hit reply and respond with “#Amazoncart,” and, instantaneously, that product will automatically save to your Amazon cart.

How does this affect you and your business? You will now have to consider marketing your product to Twitter as a new e –commerce site. Twitter is no longer a pure social site, it is now an economic business that will develop new pressures to buy products. You will have your friends tweeting you products that you should add to your cart, or ideas for gifts.

How will you start market Tweeting your products? Should you market Tweet? Can you service Tweet? If you’re a service based company are there creative ways to Tweet coupons for your companies services industry? Either way you feel about the new partnership, it is going to affect your business and ultimately affect you personally as well.

The question is how should you approach this new e-commerce platform and is product tweeting right for you.

LinkedIn Throws Company Pages a Curveball

  
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Just in time for baseball season LinkedIn throws users another curveball. On April 14, 2014 the Products & Services page was removed from all LinkedIn Company Pages. Early this year, LinkedIn brought in a new lineup with ten major changes ranging from their new MVP player the Showcase pages to the elimination of personal updates, all creating a stir in the online community.

What to expect with the new changes:

  • The new Showcase page allows you to expand your company information across many LinkedIn users narrowing in on specific brand awareness.

  • Company Updates lets you have long-term relationship building with your followers, giving you the chance to share per conversation what your company has to offer.

  • The real-time nature of updates is perfect for sharing news about company offers, making content feel relevant and timely.  

The digital game is changing all the time, and like many season ticket holders, not everyone will be happy about it, however the season goes on, and each company will learn new ways to market themselves. The question we must all ask is, “Are you ready to play ball?” 

New Twitter Recipe for Success

  
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The new Twitter profile design, which was initially offered to only a select few users, is now available to everyone with just the click of a button.

Here are the four things you need to know:

Huge cover photos. The new size for the Twitter header image, 1500 by 500 pixels, offers immediate visual connection to your brand.  Think of your new cover image as your business or brands personal billboard. Use this space to tell your brand’s story!

Pinned Tweets. Pin a Tweet of your choice, making it the first Tweet a user will see when landing on your profile. To pin a Tweet, click on the ··· icon below the tweet. You’ll see “pin to your profile page.” The pinned tweet will stay at the top of your page until you pin a new one or unpin it (via the ··· icon).       

Capture the essence of your brand or business with these kinds of Tweets:

  • An upcoming event.

  • A big announcement.

  • A tweet that drives emotion.

  • A tweet that summarizes your brand/mission.

Most Tweetable. Tweets that have received the most engagement (retweets, responses or favorites) will appear slightly larger, so your best content is easy to find.

Filtered Tweets. Now you can choose which timeline to view when checking out other profiles. You are able to select from these options: Tweets, Tweets with photos/videos or Tweets with replies.

Those are the four things you need to know about the latest update to Twitter in a nutshell. Your new Tweet recipe is: 1) Tweet engaging content 2) Include call-to-action 3) Pin those Tweets to the top of your profile.

What do you think of the new Twitter profile design? Tweet us and let us know! @McKinseyIMC

What You Need to Know About the Latest Page

  
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Surprise…Facebook has a new update for Pages--again. Almost a year after the previous Page design update, Facebook announced this month that the new “streamline” look will start to roll out in the next few weeks.

#1 Sleek Single-Column Layout 

Single-Column Layout: You can finally say goodbye to the cluttered two-column news feed on your Page. The newsleek single-column design is very similar to your personal Facebook profile, displaying all Page posts in a single column on the right side of your Page. The left side will include business information including: hours, contact information, photos and videos. Below, is a snapshot that Facebook included in their announcement of the new Page design.  

Like Button and Apps: Like me, you’re probably wondering where in the world the tab buttons went! The apps (custom tabs) will be located on the left side of your Page, as well as under the “More” drop-down menu at the top of your Page. The Like button will also move to the bottom right corner of your cover photo.  Something you may want to keep in mind with this update is your cover photo. If your cover photo has too much going on it might be hard for the user to locate your Like button.  

Wider Page Posts: With this new single-column layout, your posts will appear better visually to the user, with larger images.

#2 New Admin Features 

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Admins will have access to a snapshot of their Page’s activity from anywhere on their Page. This snapshot includes: current ads you’re running, new Page likes, notifications, messages and Page reach.

Pages to Watch 

One of the most interesting changes I found was the “Pages to Watch” feature, which allows admins to monitor what their competitors are doing. This feature is located in the “Overview” tab of Page Insights. Now you can create a list of competitors and compare their performance to your Page’s performance.  

If you haven’t already seen this prompt, here it is. Facebook is giving admins the option to add their Page to a waiting list for the new design. However, before you do that there are a few things you may want to update to prepare for the changes.          

How to Prepare Your Page:

  • Check your cover photo. Be aware of how the Like button will look in the bottom right corner of your cover photo. Is your cover photo busy? Should you consider adding a design element to point users to the new position of the Like button?

  • If you use tabs (or apps) to draw visitors to a website, contest, or something else, you will want to start advertising those things through News Feed posts. It is important to note that these are not going away, just simply moving directly above your News Feed. 

Purposeful Growth

  
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My favorite thing about New Year’s Eve (besides extra-special champagne) is reflection. 

I am an avid believer in the power of mindfulness and reflection. And while I often reflect on daily actions and interactions, I’ve come to learn that these reflections combined over time present resounding themes at different points in our lives. I think of these themes as being lessons we are ready to learn. Here’s one that took hold personally and professionally this year:

Purposeful Growth.

Earlier this year I asked a client what her primary reason was for wanting to move into a new neighboring market. She had a good deal of market share left unturned in her own geographic region and breaking into this new, highly competitive market was going to be costly, with a long tail return on investment (ROI). I expected she’d acknowledge the challenges, answer long term ROI and we’d move on with a shared understanding of the objective.

Instead, she appeared genuinely surprised and contemplative. She took a deep breath and sat quietly. “Wow,” she finally responded, “I don’t have a good answer for you. I want to expand because I can? Because I shouldEgo maybe? Those are not great reasons to keep growing though. Let’s regroup later on this.”

The conversation struck a deep chord with me as I later reflected on the state of my own company. We’d gone through a major growth spurt at the top of 2013 and growing for the sake of growing seemed to be the prevailing company theme. At the time, I was defining growth in terms of year-over-year revenue, number of employees and number of accounts. But if someone had asked me at the top of 2013 why I wanted to continue to expand, I too would have paused and confessed to growth for growth’s sake.

This conversation, coupled with a number of other timely mitigating factors jolted me into re-evaluating the speed of McKinsey Development’s growth. Ultimately, it jolted me into evaluating something much more important—the definition and purpose of growth.

I challenged our team to go back to our roots of service, ingenuity and creativity. It was a revitalizing discovery. Growth at McKinsey Development is defined as strengthened client relationships, increased philanthropic leadership and milestones in team member work/life flow. 

Our clear purpose as an organization is servant leadership. We help businesses succeed by sharing our time, talents and resources. We grow, add additional markets, products and service lines when there is a clear opportunity to serve.

In the end we’re up 32% over last year’s revenue. That's notable. But that’s not what made this year a true success in my eyes. The lesson of purposeful growth is priceless.

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