Networking in Charleston: Hatch Tribe

This post is the fourth and final post in a blog series about some of the best networking and meetup groups in Charleston. Check out last week’s post to learn more about Lowcountry Local First.

Entering a networking event, you can feel the eyes of every attendee fix on you for a few brief seconds, like a pack of hungry wolves. They come up and shake your hand with a poisonously false enthusiasm, and as soon as they work through a quick calculation and conclude that you’re not “important” their eyes start flickering around the room, looking for their next meal.
— John Westenburg, themission.co

That quote is from a blog post entitled “Networking sucks. Because people don’t give a shit.” That’s a pretty harsh perspective, but most of us can relate. Yes, networking can indeed suck… But more often than not, the suckiness has more to do with bad networking habits than human nature itself.

Networking can be a phenomenal waste of time and an absolute joy-kill  if: A. you are networking within groups where people have little or nothing in common (professionally or personally), or B. you have a networking script/sales pitch that prevents you from connecting with others in an honest and meaningful way.

Fix A, and B tends to work itself out. Find a group that understands your struggles and shares your goals... Substantive conversation and meaningful connections are sure to follow.

Hatch Tribe has got this all figured out. And while the organization caters to female business owners, all professionals can learn a thing or two from their priorities (education and relationship building vs. promotion and prospecting).  

 
 

Emerge Summit photos by Abby Murphy Photography from @HatchTribe

Hatch Tribe is a private business that provides coaching and mentoring services. It is not a traditional membership-based networking group, but Hatch Tribe Founder Hillary Johnson hosts a variety of gatherings and small groups where women entrepreneurs can connect with (and ultimately learn from) one another. Events are facilitated in a way that limits promotion and encourages honest conversation...

We believe in women supporting women. We believe in collaboration over competition. We believe in real talk, encouragement, and inspiration.
— Hillary Johnson, Hatch Tribe Founder

In short, Hillary is creating a professional community that cares.

One of our favorite Hatch Tribe groups is the CEO Collective. It’s an intimate environment, where women business owners can connect with like-minded entrepreneurs, solicit advice and share experiences. These small groups (of no more than 7 women) are handpicked by Hillary to limit competition and promote “co-working.” Additionally, participants must meet a few requirements to ensure that they are a good fit.

While there are many examples of women-only networking groups, we find the execution of Hatch Tribe events to be top-notch and sincerely focused on what matters most—education and support. The organization offers realistic guidance that can be put to immediate and impactful use both in business and in life.  

Networking doesn't have to suck. Find a group that you truly care about, and it is likely that they will return the favor. We hope you've enjoyed reading about our favorite groups over the past few weeks. There are plenty of others deserving of praise, but the Charleston Metro Chamber, Sea Islands Chamber, LLF and Hatch Tribe are certainly moving and shaking the local networking scene. Have a favorite of your own worth sharing? We would love to hear about it! Email us with the details. Until then, happy networking!

Networking in Charleston: Lowcountry Local First

This post is the third in a blog series about some of our favorite networking and meetup groups. Check out last week’s post to learn more about the Sea Island’s Chamber of Commerce, and be sure to tune in again next week for our final feature.  

If you own a business in the Lowcountry, we highly recommend Lowcountry Local First membership. LLF is a nonprofit advocate for local economic development and an authentic voice for local, independent businesses. The organization has two primary initiatives, Good Business and Good Farming, which provide training and support to business owners and promote awareness among the general public.

We know that for every $100 spent at a chain store, an average of $14 is reinvested in the community. For every $100 spent at a local store, an average of $45 is reinvested in the community. That money maintains our schools, paves our roads, employs our friends and neighbors and makes the Lowcountry a wonderfully diverse and interesting place to live.
— Lowcountry Local First

Yes, other organizations in town advocate for local business, but LLF's advocacy is exclusively local. As such, membership is limited to independent, locally owned businesses that meet certain criteria

Benefits of membership include exposure through the LLF business directory, free admission to monthly Member Mixers and discounted access to other events. Several of LLF’s reasonably priced membership levels include additional perks such as sponsorship opportunities and the ability to bring guests to Member Mixers free of charge. Mixers are hosted by various business all over town, and the events are a great way to meet other locally-minded, well-connected professionals. Nonmembers can attend (usually $10 at the door), but RSVPs are required. And always RSVP early… Mixer events fill up fast!

 

LLF Member Mixer at the Cedar Room, Photos by Foxworthy Studios

 

Rooted ID has benefited significantly from connections formed at LLF events, and we recently took advantage of their Commercial Space Services. LLF members now have access to two new resources—the Locals Only Space Database and the Commercial Space Advisory Team. The database includes listings for unique commercial properties (retail, office, warehousing, storage and other single occupancy and shared commercial spaces) and the advisory team provides support to business owners who are new to the lease negotiation process. 

Want to learn more about Lowcountry Local First? RSVP to a Member Mixer, or visit LowcountryLocalFirst.org.

Networking in Charleston: Sea Islands Chamber of Commerce


This post is the second in a blog series about some of our favorite networking and meetup groups. Check out last week’s post to learn more about the Charleston Metro Chamber, and be sure to tune in again next week for yet another feature.  

If you are pursuing business opportunities on or around Folly Beach, James Island, Johns Island, Kiawah, Seabrook or Wadmalaw, we highly recommend membership in the Sea Islands Chamber of Commerce. This private, non-profit organization is working hard to inspire economic advancement on a micro level, and their small town approach to networking benefits Sea Islanders and “outsiders” alike.

After Hours Networking at Tatooed Moose. Photo by @seaislandschamber.

After Hours Networking at Tatooed Moose. Photo by @seaislandschamber.

Rooted ID has not placed membership with the Sea Islands Chamber, but we are seriously considering it. Membership is not limited to island businesses, and most Sea Islands Chamber events are open to non-members (a great way to test the waters). The chamber hosts monthly After Hours Networking events, Lunch & Learns and Networking Breakfasts. We attend the After Hours events on occasion and love the laid back, neighborly vibe. 

Sea Islands Chamber membership includes access to all events, a monthly newsletter, the marketing opportunities there-in and a listing in the chamber’s member directory. Members also receive the enthusiastic support of the chamber's Executive Director, Karen Thompson.

Karen is about as local as it gets. She was born and raised on James Island, and her family has been in the area since 1670. After having worked 20+ years for an advertising agency, Karen founded the Sea Islands Chamber in 2010 to put her marketing skills to work serving the community she loves. She's a valuable resource and has organized a series of popular community events,  such as the Annual Artwalk and Homegrown Holiday Bazaar, that bring area business owners and Sea Island residents together. 

Is Sea Islands Chamber membership right for you? Email Karen, join the chamber's mailing list, or attend an After Hours event to learn more!

 

 

Networking in Charleston: Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce

Networking plays a crucial role in our marketing strategy here at Rooted ID. We've attended events, joined a few organizations and have developed some favorites along the way. We will be sharing some of those throughout the month of May. Marketing advice is never one-size-fits-all, but knowledge is power! Hopefully our experiences will inspire you to do a little research of your own. This post is the first in our networking series. Be sure to tune in next week for another feature.

In the spring of 2015, The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce hosted a series of focus groups in which member organizations shared opinions regarding existing and future chamber offerings. These conversations were designed to address the specific needs of small business members (organizations with 50 employees or less). Prior to 2015, the chamber had been met with some criticism from small business owners who, despite accounting for 80% of chamber membership, felt that events and programming catered to larger organizations such as Boeing.

The Charleston Metro Chamber listened and responded posthaste.

Small Business Package 

A Small Business Package program was introduced in July of 2015, making chamber membership more advantageous to small businesses than ever before. The program delivers a wealth of services and support to propel business growth (such as Ask the Expert events and educational webinars). They also offer exposure through the chamber’s membership directory and various leadership roles. We were one of many businesses to place membership after the chamber renewed their focus on smaller organizations.

I genuinely enjoy meeting new people, and chamber events have been a great vehicle for that. While we have certainly gained business from our chamber membership, I most value the educational opportunities. I know more about local infrastructure than ever before… I am more engaged with my community and feel more ‘plugged in’ to the Charleston metro area as a whole.
— Jennifer Morrow, Rooted ID Founder

Chamber events have opened a lot of networking doors for us and may help you to expend your professional network too. Most events are open to non-members, and some (such as the Chamber Connect events) are completely free to attend.

Local Area Chambers 

The Charleston Metro Chamber has taken small business offerings a step further with an “enhanced delivery model.” Chamber events and programs are now segmented into Local Area Chambers (Central, East, North and West) so that members have convenient access to information that is most relevant to where they live and work.

This segmented approach isn’t just a model for chamber events; it has truly influenced how the Charleston Metro Chamber develops and disseminates programming. Their website reflects this effort. Large websites are notoriously difficult to navigate, but the chamber has added some useful ways to filter information. Search functions and color coded info helps users locate events and programs designed for their area without sacrificing the big picture view of what’s happening city-wide.       

Interested in chamber membership, but not quite ready to take the plunge? Try an event! Jennifer regularly attends BYIB and Connect West events. Email Jennifer@RootedID.com if you would like to meet up. 

Ribbon Cutting at The Schoolhouse

Wednesday, April 12th at 5:00pm

The Schoolhouse

720 Magnolia Road, Charleston

The Schoolhouse on Magnolia Road in West Ashley

The Schoolhouse is hosting a grand opening celebration this Wednesday April 12th. Mayor Tecklenburg will be present for a ribbon cutting ceremony (5:00pm) and this month's West Ashley Revitalization Committee meeting (5:15pm). Attendees are invited to tour the building after the meeting concludes (5:45pm). 

Visit Charleston-SC.gov for more information, or click here to access the meeting agenda. 

Representatives from Rooted ID will be in attendance, and our office (Suite 24) will be open to receive visitors after the meeting's conclusion (5:45-6:30pm). We look forward to seeing you there! 

Brand Evolution & Logo Updates

To update a logo, or not to update a logo... That is the question. If consistency is the key to brand recognition, why would someone ever dream of tweaking or changing a logo?

Services change. Products get reformulated. New competition emerges. And even if nothing changes about the way in which you do business, the world that influences your target customers certainly will. 

According to Cambridge Dictionary, brand evolution is “the continuing process of improving a brand as markets and fashions change.” Notice how that reads “improving a brand as markets and fashions change” and not “changing a brand as markets and fashions improve.” The difference is subtle and somewhat subjective, but an “evolving brand” and a “changing brand” are very different things. 

Examples are always fun, so let’s look at some logos!

There's a clear loser. Sorry, Gap. In case you've forgotten, Gap overhauled their logo back in 2010, and the change was a monumental disaster. The logo update was an attempt to "modernize" the brand, but it became a visual manifestation of an identity crisis. Gap lost touch with what consumers love most about the brand... classic, all-American style. The new logo may have been "modern" (even that's up for debate), but it certainly didn't speak to the company's core values. 

Gap reverted to their old logo within a week. A branding crisis was averted, but can you imagine how much money was spent on the planning, design, release and subsequent PR damage control?

Change is scary. Evolution is an entirely different feeling. It's exciting.

Spring is proving to be a season of change at Rooted ID. We've spent a great deal of effort improving processes and streamlining efficiencies over the last year. Our recent move has been the most obvious step in that journey, but even more exiting things are in the works... 

Our logo has been in play since 2010. It has served us well, but we’re exploring some fresh ways to represent what people enjoy most about Rooted ID. All brands develop a better understanding of themselves and their customers over time... It’s only natural that marketing messages would evolve to highlight what customers and company culture deem most important.
— Jennifer Morrow, Rooted ID Founder

Yes, you read that right. We are updating our logo! It will debut on a new Rooted ID website that we hope to launch later this season. 

A lot of soul searching has led us to this place, and we figure there are plenty of other business owners in a similar boat. If you are considering a logo update or new logo for your business, here are a few things to keep in mind...

  • What do my most loyal customers enjoy about my brand?
  • What makes my business different from existing or emerging competitors?
  • Is there a simpler or clearer way to communicate my unique strengths? 
  • Would a new or updated logo affect other marketing materials?
  • If so, would new marketing materials (website, print collateral, etc.) enhance my sales efforts

Ready to explore some options? Contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation, and be sure to stay tuned for our big reveal. 

Our New Digs

For those of you who missed last week's post, we're in the midst of an exciting move! Our furniture safely migrated to 720 Magnolia Road (a.k.a The Schoolhouse) over the weekend, and the new office is now fully operational.

We are located in Suite 24, which will be easier to find when our sign gets installed (more on that in the coming weeks). We will maintain a private conference room and entrance for client convenience, and our door can be accessed from the rear parking lot on Sycamore Avenue.

We hope to share our fully decorated space with you soon! Until then, feast your eyes on our freshly painted walls and the adorable community garden next door...

We're Moving!

Exciting news, folks! Today was our last full day working out of 711 St. Andrews Blvd. Tomorrow our team will be working remotely while our office gets boxed up for moving day (Saturday, March 18th). 

Our new home will be The Schoolhouse. Once a school (Albermarle Elementary) and then an assisted living facility, the building has been abandoned for nearly a decade... maybe longer. Lucky for us, it has been renovated into office suites, and we will be among the inaugural freshmen class. 

The move will be a short one... The Schoolhouse is located at the corner of Magnolia and Sycamore in the Avondale area of West Ashley. Seems like an appropriate place to Put Down Some Roots... Am I right?

The new office was a great find, and we have our friends at Lowcountry Local First to thank. LLF provides a great platform for local entrepreneurs, and they've put a lot of energy into connecting businesses with opportunities and resources. If you need help finding a space for your business, consider joining LLF and taking advantage of their Commercial Space Services

We look forward to hosting friends in our new space very soon and plan to share tons of photos with you next week. Until then, here's one last look at 711... We'll miss you, giant sign, but we won't miss turning  onto St. Andrews Blvd. in rush hour traffic!

Super Bowl LI: Marketing with Good Humor

Anyone else underwhelmed by this year’s Super Bowl ads? Perhaps our perspective has been marred by defeat, but the commercials (according to office chatter on Monday) left lackluster impressions. Some were downright obscure. I think most people dig the idea of gender equality, but it’s a hard subject to tackle in 60 seconds.

There has been a significant decline in funny Super Bowl ads, and there’s plenty of speculation as to why. But humor still works when it’s done well. 

Finding the Sweet Spot

Humor is a dynamic balancing act.  A joke that is completely benign (without victim or criticism) isn’t funny. A joke that is completely offensive isn’t funny either. But if you can transform a perceived negative into something silly…. Eureka! That’s humor.

A writer for The Atlantic, Olga Khazan, describes humor as a “juxtaposition of injury and cheer” that helps us “deal with life’s injustices.” I highly recommend reading Olga’s article (The Dark Psychology of Being a Good Comedian)… It’s from 2014 but still a great read for marketers and comedy buffs alike. 

Marketing with Humor

Humor isn’t right for every brand, and just because it can work, doesn’t mean that it will. Let’s take a look at two examples from Sunday’s game…

“Romance the Rainbow; Taste the Rainbow” is silly, but it is it truly funny? Will you remember it? Will you discuss it with friends, coworkers or family members? Probably not, because the ad lacks depth. Skittles isn’t speaking to a specific audience, and they certainly aren’t transforming a perceived negative into a positive. 

The Mr. Clean ad strikes an equally silly tone, but it is far more likely to make a lasting impression. Anecdotally speaking, I was tempted to put down my beer and throw my husband a mop after watching this one, and my Facebook and Twitter feeds immediately erupted with positive commentary. Articles have dubbed this spot as Super Bowl LI’s most memorable commercial. But why? The ad was a well-executed commentary on household responsibilities and relationship dynamics. At risk of being sexist, Mr. Clean appeals to women who could use a little help around the house. It transforms a specific pain point into something we can all laugh about. 

The ad alone is marketing genius, but it turns out Mr.Clean’s social media game is equally strong. Visit @RealMrClean to read a series of hilarious live tweets from Super Bowl LI. Don’t you just love it when offline and online marketing methods work together for maximum exposure!

If you’re eager to develop clever or funny messaging for your brand, here are a few simple guidelines…

  • Understand your target audience.
  • Identify perceived negatives. 
  • Craft a concise message that addresses specific pain points and transforms perceived negatives into positives.  
  • When in doubt, keep it simple. Never sacrifice message clarity for cleverness. 

Effective marketing starts with a clear understanding of your target customers and a concise definition of your brand identity. That’s why we’ve developed a process (PLANT. FEED. GROW.) that puts crucial branding exercises (PLANT) ahead of all creative work and marketing strategy. Need help defining your brand identity? Schedule a complimentary call to learn more about PLANT. 

Super Bowl LI: May the Best Website Builder Win

Kaelyn is a Georgia girl. Jennifer began her marketing career in Atlanta and lived there for five years. And while I may be a Carolina Panthers fan, I think we can all agree that we’d like to see the Falcons win this Sunday. They’ve got one heck-of-a team, and Super Bowl variety is the spice of life. Patriots fans need not email me with your “it’s lonely at the top” spiel. We get it. We still want your team to lose. 

Now, onto more important matters. The true winner of Sunday’s game will be an advertiser. First in our hearts is Squarespace. This all-in-one content management system, website builder and blogging platform is returning to the Super Bowl to compete for market share, and we hope they pull off a well-deserved win! Squarespace users got a special sneak peek of the company’s second ever Super Bowl ad yesterday, and it’s pretty funny…

And the award for best website builder goes to… 

A super-sized television advertising budget does not a great company make, but Squarespace has garnered a lot of positive press over the last year too. Curiosity surrounding the company may be thanks, in large part, to their 2016 Super Bowl ad.

Prior to their 2016 Super Bowl debut, Squarespace was named #8 on the Cloud 100 list by Forbes. The Cloud 100 recognizes web-based companies that are growing and delivering unprecedented customer satisfaction. Since that time, Squarespace has been described as a preferred website platform (in terms of site aesthetic and function) all over the internet…

Steve Jobs often told a story about how his father— a carpenter— would care as much about the back of a cabinet as the front. Jobs said this where he learned the importance of craftsmanship and attention to detail. This story reminds me of Squarespace. Everything in Squarespace is polished. Nothing ever feels half-baked. Simply put: Squarespace crafts the back of cabinets.
— Steve Benjamins, sitebuilderreport.com
While there are many different options to fit different needs, expertise and time, we believe that Squarespace has built the best website builder solution on the market.
— .BIO
They don’t just look great, though; they also perform incredibly well on mobile; we didn’t experience a single issue viewing or navigating a site on a smartphone or tablet during our entire test. In fact, it’s the only site builder we’d give a “10 out of 10” for responsive design.
— reviews.com/website-builder

And if you’re still on the fence, here’s a summary of our favorite Squarespace features…

•    Affordable hosting starts at $12/mo.
•    Responsive web design optimizes website display on mobile devices.
•    Intuitive content management makes text edits and blogging a breeze.
•    Templates are created by Squarespace developers to ensure site functionality.
•    Squarespace support stands by their templates to ensure site functionality.
•    Open source flexibility (ability to add CSS and HTML) delivers a highly custom look.
•    SSL certificates are built right in.  

Is a Squarespace website right for your business? 

Squarespace Website Design

The Squarespace platform is intuitive enough that a DIY designer can create a clean looking site. All you need is some good photography, compelling content, time and an eagerness to learn the technology. DIY design works best for aspiring artists, photographers, solopreneurs and small businesses with an extremely limited marketing budget. 

Squarespace sites can also be customized by designers, like ours, who are HTML and CSS proficient. This approach is a better fit for business owners who are seeking a high quality website without the custom developer price tag. 

Replacing an old site, updating a Squarespace site or looking to build something brand spanking new? We'd love to hear all about it (even if you do like Tom Brady). Email Kendall@RootedID.com to schedule a complimentary consultation.