As the economy slowly recovers, you need to adapt to the times when marketing your products and services. What worked in 2008 no longer applies in 2013. It’s a new game, and the few businesses doing it right are driving conversation, engagement and loyalty — and winning new business. It is not about abandoning what worked in the past but recognizing that the rules of engagement have changed and developing new strategy.
It is no different than adapting to the marketing challenges and changes that Internet technology brought in the 1990s.
The new social movement is a force to be reckoned with, and in 2013, you need to be ready to tackle this new communication trend. To ignore it will impair survival. It is not too late to get on board, but to do so will take a companywide commitment.
The new marketing paradigm
Sure, businesses are on Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn, and have blogs. But most businesses lack social strategy and an understanding of why they need those things. It’s time to understand how to become a social business, and shift the thinking of leadership and marketing to social conversation instead of the traditional push marketing.
The biggest shift is in pushing away from unwanted messaging filled with sales-centered value propositions to engaging in a way that mimics publishers — creating content that answers questions, adds value toward reaching objectives and encourages referral of your company as a credible reference. We need to feed the intense appetite for information by providing something great to talk about and share.
Creating a foundation
Being a social business takes a village. Engaging the entire organization is a cultural shift, and the directive for this level of change must come from the top. The CEO must lay the foundation for a social culture that encourages transparency and empowerment.
Communication used to be channeled through sales and marketing. Now we need everyone from the CEO to engineers and human resource teams contributing to the social conversation, each creating their personal brands and centers of influence.
The new game is peer-influenced community marketing. The challenge of marketing is to develop a social strategy, identifying social ambassadors within the organization at all levels, orchestrating the creation of great content companywide, educating ambassadors on the importance of their role and monitoring the conversation and results.
Mobility is a factor
According to business2community.com, 2013 will mark the first time online access is greater from mobile devices than desktop or laptop computers. An estimated 90 million consumers in the U.S. will own a tablet by 2014.
Mobility is changing the way we need to market. Communication needs to be mobile-friendly content. Companies need to shift to mobile sites and mobile advertising. Smartphone users expect to be able to do it all from their mobile device. If we cannot provide this experience, they become frustrated and disengaged.
It’s time to move forward
A 2012 Forrester survey of executives and IT decision makers indicated 49 percent expected to make investments in social networking solutions in 2012, and of those, 19 percent described their investment as “implemented, not expanding.”
The early adopters are in the game. The rest are asking, “How far behind are we?” That is the question you should be asking yourself.
Kelly Borth is CEO and chief strategy officer for Greencrest, a 22-year-old brand development, strategic marketing and digital media firm that turns market players into market leaders. Borth has received numerous honors for her business and community leadership. She serves on several local advisory boards and is one of 30 certified brand strategists in the United States. Reach her at (614) 885-7921, firstname.lastname@example.org, @brandpro or visit www.greencrest.com.
Pillar nonprofit board executive finalist
Mount Carmel Foundation
(614) 546-4500 | www.mountcarmelfoundation.org
When Brenda Stier-Anstine joined the Mount Carmel Foundation Board of Trustees in 2005, she quickly became involved with its communication initiatives and strategic planning process. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to funding the mission-driven health and education programs and services provided through the Mount Carmel Health System, which operates four hospitals in Central Ohio.
In September 2009, Stier-Anstine’s peers recognized her leadership and passion by voting her to the role of chairman, a role she’s embraced with gusto. She has led efforts to launch the capital campaign for Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Project GRACE, the largest expansion project in the history of Mount Carmel Health System.
As co-chair of the campaign, she led the way in helping Mount Carmel St. Ann’s, located in Westerville, Ohio, strengthen its community partnerships.
Through her leadership, she helped both the hospital and the foundation redefine their focus to build stronger, more personal philanthropic relationships with the community, as well as internal corporate board members and volunteers.
Stier-Anstine’s support makes the expansion of mission-critical programs and services possible. In fact, she helped Mount Carmel St. Ann’s earn the largest single philanthropic gift in the organization’s history.
Beyond leading the capital campaign, Stier-Anstine volunteers many hours to Mount Carmel. She regularly partakes in strategy sessions and meetings, providing marketing and communications expertise that has generated a positive cultural change for the organization. She supports the hospital both personally and professionally and continually introduces individuals to the foundation by hosting “meet-and-greets” and tours. She is also CEO of Marketing Works, a B2B strategic marketing communications firm.
Nonprofit Board Executive Pillar Finalist
Foundation board member and past president
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio
(614) 839-2447 | www.bbbscolumbus.org
Robert “Skip” Weiler Jr. has a long history of involvement with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio. In 1986, he became a big brother volunteer in the organization’s community-based program. Four years later, Weiler joined the organization’s board of directors, serving as board president in 1996 and 1997.
During Weiler’s tenure as president, the agency planned and initiated its first-ever capital campaign to raise funds for the building that now serves as its headquarters. Through his leadership, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio raised more than $4 million from a variety of sources, including Weiler’s family. After Weiler’s tenure on the board of directors, he became a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation, recently completing a two-year term as foundation president.
Weiler’s impact on the organization has been far-reaching. As a result of his involvement, many individuals and businesses have been introduced to Big Brothers Big Sisters and its mentoring program. Hundreds of individuals have been recruited as volunteers, resulting in significant program growth.
Under Weiler’s leadership, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio grew to be the largest in the country, outperforming Big Brothers Big Sisters organizations in communities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Today, the Central Ohio organization continues as the largest Big Brothers Big Sisters program in existence.
Weiler continues to serve on the board of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation and is a founding member of the organization’s Legacy Society. Weiler also continues to actively mentor and recruit volunteers.
Nonprofit Executive Director Award Finalist
Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council Inc.
(614) 487-8101 | www.gsoh.org
Adult volunteers of Girl Scouts of the USA provide an accepting and nurturing environment to 2.3 million girls nationwide for building character and skills for success in the real world.
Laura Warren has made great strides on behalf of this organization, successfully overseeing three councils through a two-year merger process in 2009 that created the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council Inc. In her eighth year as board chair, Warren’s efforts have helped bring about organizational efficiencies and alignment, positive culture change, and consistent quality programming to girls around the council’s 30-county jurisdiction.
The new council is now one of the strongest Girl Scout councils in the country, with one of the greatest percentages of members. While Girl Scout councils nationwide were losing membership, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council grew significantly — bringing total membership to 33,000 girls currently.
Warren has supported many successful changes in addition to the merger, including a 2010 Strategic Initiatives Concept. One initiative focused on diversity has led to an 11 percent increase in Latina volunteers, with the help of the Ohio Hispanic Coalition and Centro Esperanza.
Prior to her role as board chair, Warren served Girl Scouts in other capacities including treasurer, chair of the finance committee, chair of fund development and an executive committee member.
She also serves as a mentor and engages in various volunteer efforts outside of the Girl Scouts, including work for the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. She formerly chaired Choices Eliminating Domestic Violence.
Pillar nonprofit board executive finalist
St. Stephen’s Community House
(614) 294-6437 | www.saintstephensch.org
It didn’t take Brooke Billmaier long to be recognized as an emerging leader on the board of trustees for St. Stephen’s Community House. The decision was immediate, and as a vote of confidence, she was named co-chair of the organization’s largest and most important fundraiser, Bravo! For the Children.
Before her leadership, the event had never broken into six-figure net profit territory. As a result of her leadership, the first year she co-chaired the event, it raised $120,000 in net proceeds. Billmaier motivated the board development committee as well as the entire board to utilize their contacts in more effective and innovative ways to increase the net profit of the event. The 2012 Bravo! For the Children event raised nearly $200,000.
When a leadership retreat had to be canceled in 2008-09 because of financial challenges, Billmaier took the initiative and developed an alternative. She called upon her HR team at Victoria’s Secret, where she is vice president of merchandise planning, to help — and soon, the St. Stephen’s staff received training as openings occurred in the corporate training sessions.
Volunteers who serve in a board position or help with Christmas Care, the food pantry or child care are now tracked, thanks to a system established during Billmaier’s tenure as president. This has helped create a 45 percent increase in repeat volunteers.
Billmaier believes the mission of the agency is the promise made when a family enters St. Stephen’s doors for help — and, “We must do all we can to keep that promise,” she says.
Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award Finalist
Continental Office Environments
(614) 262-5010 | www.continentaloffice.com
Ira Sharfin helped pioneer the Project Mentor program, which is a collaboration between the Columbus City Schools and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio, in the Columbus area, and in its first year, he and his company, Continental Office Environments, enlisted 18 mentors in the program, which seeks to mentor students throughout the Columbus City School System.
That number reflects more than 20 percent of Sharfin’s in-office staff, which is one of the largest percentages of associate involvement in the program in the Columbus area — and additional staff members have joined the program in subsequent years.
In 2008, Continental Office Environments had the unique opportunity to host all of the company’s mentors and mentees from Mifflin International Middle School at the Ohio Governor’s Residence.
In addition to meeting then-Gov. Tom Strickland and his wife, the Continental team planned a special lunch that included educational activities and a tour of the residence grounds. Continental’s staff provided each child with a disposable camera to document the visit and take pictures with mentors and the governor.
After the event, Continental arranged for each student to receive a photo album with prints of his or her developed pictures, and a signature from the governor, as a keepsake.
This past year, Continental’s Project Mentor volunteer mentors saw the students in the inaugural class graduate from high school. It was a proud moment for Sharfin — who also serves as a mentor — and his staff, and it was a time to reflect on the tremendous relationships that have been created.
Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Pillar Award Finalist
president and CEO
Atlas Butler Heating & Cooling
(614) 294-8600 | www.atlasbutler.com
As he grew up, Atlas Butler Heating & Cooling President and CEO Mark Swepston learned about the importance of community service from his grandparents, who regularly supported their churches, and his father, who was involved in organizations such as Boy Scouts, the Tri-Village Lions Club, Pilot Dogs, Jaycees and the Chamber of Commerce.
It wasn’t long before Swepston became involved himself. As early as the age of 10, Swepston and his father would sell light bulbs door-to-door for the Tri-Village Lions Club.
By the time he was 22, Swepston had begun working at Atlas Butler and was taken to a Jaycees meeting by his brother Steve. Together, they created a variety of fundraising activities to support community causes — including a “rally in the alley,” held on the streets of downtown Columbus on Friday nights, working at a regatta on Griggs Reservoir and chairing the Ohio Hugh O’Brien Youth Foundation student leadership conference.
Swepston’s passion for community involvement has extended to his team members at Atlas Butler, who give of their time and resources each year, supporting a wide variety of community causes, including the Salvation Army, the American Cancer Society, the Mid-Ohio Food Bank and the Komen Race for the Cure, to benefit breast cancer research.
Sweptston’s team also volunteers as part of an annual “heat the town” effort, in which skilled HVAC technicians volunteer their time to inspect and service the heating equipment in homes of the disabled and disadvantaged.
Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award Finalist
www.donatos.com | (614) 416-7700
Jane Grote Abell was just a young girl when she started working in her father’s pizza shop, the first store in the company known today as Donatos Pizza. It was on Thurman Avenue, where Abell saw the way her family treated customers and learned to do the same.
It was the way she served people then, and it’s the way she serves and leads people today. Donatos provides a safe place for youngsters who are 14 or 15 years old to get a first experience in the working world. Abell ensures that it is also a great place to bring your family for pizza and a great place to call a part of your community.
“When we hire a 16-year-old, we want to make sure that that mom and dad feel good about the place that their teen is going to work,” Abell says.
It is with employees that she has the deepest interaction, and it is there where she can make the biggest impact on someone’s life. She takes the time to sit down with associates who are having a tough time outside of work and helps them work through the struggles.
Outside of the restaurant, Abell serves on numerous boards and works tirelessly to build and support programs that make a positive difference in the lives of her neighbors. It is through these efforts that she serves as a role model for girls, women and anyone who wants to be a positive influence in their community.
As Abell says, “Values aren’t the soft stuff.” They are the foundational element for everything Donatos does.
Pillar Nonprofit Executive Director Finalist
Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council Inc.
(614) 487-8101 | www.gsooh.org
Through a process that took two years to complete, one of the strongest Girl Scout councils in the country with one of the greatest percentages of girl members was formed — and Tammy Wharton was the force behind the creation.
It was shortly after she was hired that she faced the challenge of merging three Ohio councils into one — Heart of Ohio, centered in Zanesville, Heritage Trails, centered in Mansfield, and Seal of Ohio, with headquarters in Columbus.
While the structuring the council was a daunting job, Wharton recognized another challenging component: the cultural and emotional impact on staff, volunteers and girls along with resistance to the changes that would inevitably occur.
To meet this task, she kept her eye on the end goal and paid particular attention to the sensitive emotions of the organization’s stakeholders.
Since the merger nearly five years ago, Wharton has worked tirelessly to create one voice of Girl Scouting out of the 30-county district. Girl Scout participation grew by more than 3,000 girl members under her leadership, a remarkable showing among other mergers of Girl Scout councils in the U.S.
Wharton envisions a goal, commits to it, and then executes the plan while coaching staff and engaging thousands of volunteer workers to help girls see themselves as the leaders they aim to be. Her passion for the organization is contagious.
In addition, she gives back to the community through volunteer activities including the United Way, the Human Services Chamber of Franklin County, the American Red Cross and Central Ohio Diabetes Association Women’s Board.
Pillar Nonprofit Executive Director Finalist
president and CEO
National Church Residences
(614) 273-3504 | www.nationalchurchresidences.org
“No money, no mission.” That’s not just Tom Slemmer’s mantra; it’s the reason that National Church Residences has grown to become the nation’s largest not-for-profit owner and manager of affordable senior housing.
When Slemmer joined National Church Residences in 1975, the organization had just one senior residence and a handful of employees. Since taking the helm as president and CEO in 1988, Slemmer has directed the organization’s successful growth to more than 330 communities in 28 states and Puerto Rico, with 3,000 employees.
To meet the challenges of a difficult housing environment, cuts in public funding and changes in health care policy, Slemmer has helped National Church Residences institute the business best practices and management techniques to better drive its faith-based, mission-driven organization. This includes creating a five-year strategic plan, developing measurable goals and holding each of the organization’s departments accountable for its own bottom line.
By instilling both the philosophy and the infrastructure, he continues to help the organization fund its mission successfully and look for ways to enhance its services — for example, by investing in a National Church Residences University that trains housing and health care workers.
With an effective growth strategy, National Church Residences has been able to enhance many of its offerings for seniors. Today, the organization owns and operates six continuing care retirement communities and five supportive housing communities for the formerly homeless and disabled.
Slemmer also oversaw development of a robust health care program for seniors, which added services such as adult day health, assisted living, skilled nursing homes, rehabilitation, hospice and others. Today, National Church Residences Home & Community Services serves 450 clients and National Church Residences Center for Senior Health serves 560 clients.