Starlux throws down gauntlet with impressive A321neo cabin

first_imgImage: Starlux Taiwanese full-service contender Starlux is pulling out all the stops as it gears up for launch early next year in the crowded Asian market.The carrier will launch January 23 using Airbus A321neo aircraft with plans to initially fly to Macau, Vietnam’s Da Nang and Malaysia’s Penang.The first of 10 A321neos will be delivered at the end of October and the airline expects to have three flying by the time it launches.READ: ANA asks passengers to vote on in-flight mealsBut it has aspirations beyond the region and in March signed a firm order for 12 A350-1000s and five A350-900s with plans to deploy the aircraft on services from Tapei to destinations in the Asia-pacific, Europe and North America.Founder and chairman K. W. Chang has said he wants the new airline to be one of the best in the world and initial indications are that the former EVA Air chairman is going to give it a good shot.Those indications came at a recent event to unveil the airline’s new uniform and cabin design. It is also adopting the olfactory strategy of Cathay Pacific by formulating its own fragrance for use in lounges and on aircraft.Starlux new TaiwanThe new uniforms.Called “Home in the Air” it is apparently designed to evoke the tranquillity of the home with “the expanse of the galaxy’’.The uniform collection for cabin and ground crews was designed by renowned Taiwan fashion designer Sean Yin, who said he wanted to combine a classical airline look with modern touches “to create chic but practical fashions”.The Starlux website says the uniforms “combine fashion elements from the 40s and 50s with space-age accents, employing natural gold and space silver tones to simultaneously evoke elegance and state-of-the-art appointments.”An interesting addition for pilots, engineering, ground handling and maintenance staff badges with the slogan “Safety is our attitude”.For those less concerned with galactic scents and what the cabin crew is wearing, there’s good news about seating.The cabin interior as well as the seating in the A321neos has been designed by BMW Group Designworks and features ultra-thin seatbacks in economy to boost legroom and lie-flat comfort in business.Starlux TaiwanThe economy seating.The airline says the economy class seating features bright and natural colors and every seat will be equipped with a high-quality leather headrest.“Passengers will be able to enjoy restful sleep without bringing their own neck pillows,’’ it promises.Each seat has a 10.1-inch 720p screen with  USB ports and single earphone ports to allow passengers to plug in their own cans.Starlux will be also providing free Wi-Fi with basic access.The airline describes business class as “comparatively more settled and tranquil, employing relatively dark and elegant colors to evoke the majesty of the galaxy.”This includes classical grey and rose gold cushions and privacy dividers combined BMW Cashmere Silver that adds “a futuristic, hi-tech touch to the back shells”Business passengers get a sharper screen with a 15.6-inch 1080p unit and the seat transforms into an 82-inch fully flatbed.StarluxBusiness classlast_img read more

Too Many Choices, Too Much Content

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Sometimes it’s just hard to keep up. In this technology-focused niche we all live in there are new applications, new initiatives, and new platforms that spring up every day, not to mention constantly breaking news that fills our RSS readers. Take a day off and you’re behind. Take an hour off and you just missed 300 more blog posts. In addition to the everyday struggles of information overload the average computer user deals with – like the overflowing inbox, for example – those in the internet/new media/technology space aren’t just overwhelmed with new content, but also with new applications and choices to manage that content. What’s a web-app loving person to do?Drowning in AwesomenessThe double-edged sword that comes with keeping abreast of all the latest developments in technology means that we’re always aware of the latest and greatest applications and services to try…but it also means that we’ve tried all of them. Unlike the average user, who doesn’t even bother creating a Facebook profile until several of their friends cajole them into doing so, technology early adopters are the first to sign up and create profiles on every service that launches. Sometimes these services have value; if so, they trickle down to the rest of the world over time. For example, social networks like MySpace and Facebook changed the way people interacted online. Flickr made photo sharing fun, easy, and social. YouTube let everyone be a star. However, sometimes they’re not so great after all, and they end up fading away into nothingness in that area we’ve affectionately dubbed the “deadpool.”These failures don’t seem to dampen our enthusiasm for trying the “next big thing,” though. Every day, the web is filled with posts about this new app or that great service. When you think about it, it’s really rather impressive that there are that many of them out there – enough to be written about in a seemingly nonstop fashion.For technology enthusiasts, it’s not enough to just “try” the new apps and services though. If they’re the next big thing (or so everyone says), we’re supposed to jump on board and use them, use them, use them. Scoble even recently threatened to expose some of the so-called “A-Listers” for not being active enough, saying:“I thought about embarrassing most of the A listers on FriendFeed, because very few of them actually read that many blogs (I can tell, they rarely comment on, or link to, or FriendFeed with other people’s blogs)”Right….because if they’re not on FriendFeed, they’re phonies, huh? So, no. Commentary is not enough. We’re supposed to live, breathe, eat, sleep, and dream this stuff. The problem is, while we’re busy experimenting with this new thing and that new thing, we might miss out on actually enjoying the services that are already there for us, working just fine, thank you very much. Too Many ChoicesHowever, there are certain areas we’ve noticed that seem to be the biggest sources of conflict as of late. In these areas, several companies are clamoring to be the winner of the space, releasing duplicate or similar products, constantly adding new features, and generally trying to one-up their competitors in an effort to come out on top. When there are several companies doing the same thing, it gets confusing for the average user and time-consuming for the early adopters who play with everything. In the end, the hope is that one great service would come out on top, but that’s hardly ever the case. We’re already on MySpace, Bebo, Facebook, and LinkedIn because there’s no one winner for social networks…are we going to have to use all these newcomers battling it out, too?The Battle to Be Open We never thought we would see the day that the big companies were actually fighting to see who can be the most open of the bunch, but that seems to be exactly what’s taking place now in the battle of the social graph APIs. You’ve got Google’s Friend Connect service vs. Facebook’s Connect service vs. MySpace’s Data Availability, each announced within days of each other. Instead of making it easy for users to understand what it means to be maximizing a social graph, the companies have just flooded the feeds with their separate announcements. As Marshall reported on Monday, the reason, at least according to Google is that “the beauty of open standards is that companies don’t have to talk. They can just meet up around interoperable technologies.” We would like to think that this battle for openness will lead to easier-to-use social networks as our friend graphs will get to follow us around, but something about the timing of these separate announcements smells like a battle brewing. The Battle of the Lifestreams There’s MyBlogLog’s lifestream, FriendFeed, Lifestream.fm and even Facebook’s attempt at lifestreaming, which involves integrating a handful of services into users’ Mini-Feeds and News Feeds. Too much? You betcha. Although FriendFeed is getting buzz, even it doesn’t offer a way to really filter the info it displays. Sure, the “filter by service” Greasemonkey script can help narrow down content and the Friends & Groups script can help sort your friends into groups of your own choosing, but we shouldn’t have to rely on a Firefox add-on to make our apps work for us. And while FriendFeed may be one service (besides Twitter, of course) that internet addicts can’t live without, it still has a way to go to cross over to the mainstream user, especially if Facebook starts offering similar integration. The Battle to Tweet on AIR It seemed that every time our favorite Twitter AIR app Twhirl was updated, Alert Thingy followed suit and vice versa. Both struggled to integrate FriendFeed into their stream while still providing the best Twitter-on-the-desktop experience, and neither really accomplished that. Alert Thingy integrated FriendFeed updates into its stream in one window while Twhirl went with a second window just for FriendFeed. Neither was a perfect solution. Alert Thingy lacks the Twitter-specific features of Twhirl and Twhirl’s two windows isn’t ideal for users concerned with desktop real estate, like laptop users. What’s worse is that in addition to Twhirl/Alert Thingy battle, we also had to contend with other also-rans which included both Twitter, FriendFeed, and combo apps like Snitter, Spaz, Feedalizr, bTT, and MySocial’s browser sidebarand AIR app.The Battle to Filter Your RSS It’s not just RSSmeme vs. ReadBurner – although that’s an obvious pairing. Both of those sites feature top shared items from Google Reader. RSSmeme recently launched an API, which means it now offers filtering, albeit the geeky sort involving the creation of custom URLs. ReadBurner, not to be outdone, announced NetVibes support shortly thereafter. However, Google saw that other services were springing up around their RSS reader, so in an effort to keep people in “Googleland” they added friends to your reader to allow for a more personalized filtering experience. Those friends can also now share items with notes, so you don’t even need to go elsewhere to comment on the items in the feeds. Unfortunately, the downside to the friends feature means that in addition to those feeds that you now subscribe to, you’re also reading suggestions from friends. Not that they’re not great and everything, but is it really so hard for Google Reader to go ahead and mark it as read in your feed list if your friend’s shared item is from a blog whose feed you already subscribe to? Apparently it is. Which means if it’s really good news, we’ll read it twice. Or even three times if someone else shares it later on. There might be a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to filtering Google Reader via AideRSS, but ranking by popularity is really only one way to find the best content. There’s something to be said for the hidden gems that get overlooked, too. But the battle of RSS filtering doesn’t end with Google Reader either. Perhaps not as apparent, but both Twitter and FriendFeed are slowly becoming people’s preferred method of getting news. Why read through hundreds of unread, unranked items just to stay on top of the news? If it’s any good, you’ll hear it on Twitter or see it shared on FriendFeed. Some users are even positioning themselves as “human information filters,” on these services, something our newest ReadWriteWeb contributor, Corvida, discussed not to long ago on her personal site. These highly active users (yes Scoble and Louis come to mind) are good friends to have on the service since they’ll constantly be posting and filtering the best stuff for you. Then there are the other memetrackers that exist to highlight the top stories of the day, too: Techmeme is at the top of the list, of course, but there are also newcomers/up-and-commers like LinkRiver, Techsted, SocialMedian, and community builder BlogRize. I’m just scratching the surface here and that’s already ten different ways to filter the news. The Battle of the Mobile Social Networks This one will really surprise those not following the mobile networking space closely. When researching mobile network up-and-comer Brightkite, I stumbled upon a slew of mobile networks already competing in the space. There’s MocoSpace, Friendstribe, Hobnobster, Dodgeball, Zyb, mig33, Mobiluck, MeetMoi, JuiceCaster, Loopnote, Rabble, Wadja, Treemo, groovr, flagr, Lime Juice, Loopt, and Next2Friends, to name just a few. There are, in fact, many, many more. Some focus on texting, some on sharing images, others on geo-tagging, and others on traditional social networking. They’re all acting like the mobile web is the wild west and if they can just get there first they might have a shot at winning.However, who wants to bet that the mobile networks everyone ends up using are the ones who aren’t pretending that the mobile web is some different web altogether? Even more likely winners are the mobile versions of MySpace and Facebook, where all your friends already exist.The Battle of the Social News Sites Of course there’s Digg. But Digg is opening up the space for competition once again now that they’re focused on going mainstream and featuring less technology news. Mixx seems to be doing well as a small, friendly tech social news site, but they’re not the only one looking to catch the Digg overflow. There’s also Yahoo Buzz, Propeller, Reddit, Digg-for-girls Kirtsy (formerly Sk*rt), Sphinn, roll-your-own Digg tool Pligg, please-don’t-link to us Hacker News, and “if-we-ran-Digg” clone Sift’d. While all these sites are great for getting a post noticed by a wider audience, they’re also multiplying the numbers of places you can read the exact same story you read hours ago in Google Reader, saw tweeted on Twitter, shared in FriendFeed, promoted on Techmeme, etc. What Can We Do?It’s hard to say. Early adopters are not going to stop playing with every new service, but it’s clear that we’re getting to a point where tools that centralize, aggregate, but most importantly filter our content are going to be the ones that win out. There are only so many hours in the day, and, as it stands right now, every single one of them could be filled just consuming and interacting with content, social media, and web services. There’s also this little thing called “going outside” that we would like to take part in, too. Hopefully we’ll see the killer web app to filter the noise someday soon to help us do so, but it’s definitely not here yet. sarah perez Tags:#Features#Trends#web last_img read more

Facebook’s Changes Could Break Some Of Your Favorite Apps Tomorrow

first_imgLast year, at Facebook’s F8 developers conference, the company introduced developer tools designed to crack down on apps that took liberties with users’ Facebook account data. Apps new to the Facebook fold had to support them immediately, while existing partners got a year to embrace the changes. Now, time’s up: On Thursday, the company will flip the switch on its Login and Graph APIs (see our API explainer), making support mandatory for everyone. That means all apps that tie into Facebook must allow users to pick and choose the data outside apps can read. The company also wants to prevent apps from making extraneous or unnecessary requests for Facebook information. “We want developers to make it clear to people how their [Facebook] information’s being used,” said Facebook product manager Simon Cross, at an intimate “whiteboard” press meeting Tuesday. “And we want people to have more control over apps.” Admirable goals. But the move could also cause a ripple effect that kicks up errors, bugs and crashes in apps—as well as even entire app removals, in some cases. How Facebook Is Clamping Down On Data RequestsThe old Facebook Login vs the new Facebook LoginAccording to Cross, Facebook released the APIs last year to give everyone plenty of time to work with them. At this point, the majority of apps that connect to Facebook today already support the updates. The most visible change appears when you launch an updated app, choose Facebook Login and see a new link on the authentication page: “Edit the info you provide.” Tapping the link conjures a list of options users can approve or nix, one by one. If an app doesn’t need your birthdate, you can uncheck that. No need for your “Likes” or “Friend List,” then go ahead and untick those options. (In some cases, you may have to go into your Facebook app settings, remove the app from the page, and then re-download the mobile app to see the link.) But there’s a caveat: Setting permissions now won’t alter the Facebook data that apps may have already collected about you. If you’ve already given up access to your birthday, address or other details, you must contact the app developers directly, if they want those bits removed from your account. The company wants to prevent third-party apps from gathering unnecessary information about Facebook users from the get-go, so it also instituted a new Login Review process. Apps that ask for basic data—like a public profile, e-mail address and friend list—can bypass it, but those trying to dig in deeper will have to go through a manual review by Facebook staff. The team makes its decision based on how reasonable the data requests are, assessing whether they’re really necessary for the app to function. The process can take roughly three to five days per app, Cross added, though the team aims for just a day or two. So far, he estimates that Facebook has reviewed more than 40,000 apps over the past year.The Graph API, version 2.0, adds another layer of protection. Essentially, the changes prevent apps from pulling in data from Facebook friends, just because the primary accountholder gave permission. That often comes into play when users grant access to their newsfeeds, which are essentially populated by other people’s posts and photos. A user can still connect their own images or updates to outside apps. What The Changes Mean For Developers And End UsersUltimately, the changes were designed to beat back the Facebook “creepiness factor”—that uneasy feeling when users suddenly saw third-party apps posting on their timelines, contacting their friends or pulling their shared photos. “We’ve gotten clear feedback that people wanted this experience,” said Cross, who explained that putting users at ease can help developers make more revenue. It makes for a compelling case. Since the company debuted the tools last year, it has seen 50% fewer permissions requested, and an 11% increase in the numbers of people logging in, at least according to Facebook’s numbers.  This screen shows what declined requests could look like within a third-party app. Those that haven’t supported the new APIs, however, might look buggy or even crash. Cross mentioned several times that the “majority” of partner apps already support the new APIs. However, he wouldn’t offer specific numbers or percentages, so there’s no telling how many apps actually made the transition. As many as 99.9% of Facebook partner apps may work, or nearly half may fail, which makes for a huge margin of uncertainty. “We’re not turning off the old system, so if you haven’t upgraded, it’s not like everything will break,” said Cross. “How the app behaves if you haven’t upgraded yourself will very much depend on how you coded the system. [But] there could be errors.” The issues could range from pop-up error alerts to app crashes, or even worse. One photo-sharing app that relies on Facebook will pull its app, pending support for Facebook’s APIs. (In this instance, a brand-new version will debut with support for Facebook’s changes.) Other apps, according to TechCrunch, plan to shut down completely in the face of the forced changes—like Job Fusion, which needs to know where friends work to display job openings with those employers. According to the site, CareerSonar, Jobs With Friends, and adzuna Connect will also join the ranks of the fallen. Major apps from marquee partners—such as Netflix, Pinterest and Hootsuite—have already transitioned, so they should continue working without interruption. As for indie apps, the future seems far less certain. Photos by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite Tags:#Facebook#Facebook Graph API#Facebook Login#mobile#social adriana lee A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro…center_img Related Posts The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verificationlast_img read more

Funding The Web With Ads: This Outdated Model Has To Go

first_imgI hate ads. I hate them so much that I’ve banished them from my life. It’s always a shock to see ads when I borrow someone else’s browser, as Adblock Plus long ago gifted me an ad-free online life. Striking back, companies like Hulu are determined to force us to watch insipid, often irrelevant ads just to watch old Saturday Night Live skits (“I’ve gotta have more cowbell!“). Other sites blow incredible stores of time, talent and energy—resources that could go toward product or feature development—on trying to get more traffic and ad clicks. For years, online advertising has been the primary way to finance the Web, and that remains true, even for newer Web companies. That’s a shame, because they’re jumping on a bandwagon that’s old and broken.  A Waste Of Brain PowerFar too many of today’s biggest, most richly funded Web entrepreneurs are obsessed with advertising. Pinterest? Advertising. Ditto everyone else you can think of, including Snapchat—no matter how it attempts to style itself differently. A recent Businessweek cover story on Snapchat reported CEO Evan Spiegel’s “incredibly secretive” business plan, declaring it a “major turning point” for his company. Two sentences later, readers feasted their eyes on the big reveal: After starting to run select video ads earlier this year, Snapchat is about to begin soliciting other big advertisers with some new numbers that assert its audience is bigger, younger, and more obsessive than anything on television.Who would have guessed? Advertising. But not just any advertising. Spiegel’s approach is different (he believes). Instead of “creepy” ads that follow a user around the Web, or other targeted ads, Snapchat will lead with—wait for it!—full-screen video ads. “In its sales document to advertisers,” the article reports, “Snapchat claims its users are nine times more likely to watch an entire ad because they don’t have to rotate their phone.” Ads may be good for Snapchat’s bottom line, as well as those of Google, Facebook, and other online services that provide cool services for free, or the pretense of free. But just because advertising lines the tech industry’s pockets, that doesn’t mean it’s actually good for business. Former Facebook and current Cloudera executive Jeff Hammerbacher once declared, “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads. That sucks.” He was right, but perhaps even he didn’t appreciate just how stuck we’d become in this model. When Things Don’t ClickSome (like 37signal’s David Heinemeier Hansson) argue that ad-based business models, often focused more on generating eyeballs than cash, can’t sustain a real business. Responding to an article that bemoaned social platform company Ning’s inability to match sustainable business with traffic growth, DHH ridicules the notion: Are you kidding me? The company has blown through $120MM of VC funding over six years, built up massive traffic, yet just had to slash and burn, and you’re saying that “traffic growth is no longer good enough”. How the hell was it ever good enough? Ning’s problem is not a lack of eyeballs but its inability to turn them into cash money to pay the bills. Getting more of something that’s a net-negative is not going to make up for it.But the bigger issue may actually dovetail with financial success. While Google’s intent-based search meshes well with advertising, most business models don’t. Consider Facebook. In theory, the social giant learns about us through our interactions with each other on its network, so it can display appropriate updates or ads. In practice, its algorithms were designed to serve us things that they think will keep us clicking. In other words, we get the optimal experience—for Facebook, that is. But not necessarily for us. The company says it’s all for our own good, as we’d be overwhelmed by information if we got a straight list of friends’ posts dumped on our feeds. But I’ve missed my family’s posts too often, frequently in favor of shared links from acquaintances, to believe that. As for Facebook’s stabs at advertising, those can be pretty hit or miss. Since Facebook doesn’t charge me for its services, I am, in fact, the product. I know that. But fortunately, unlike most users, I’m not a “paying” product, thanks to Adblock Plus. Maybe A Digital Trade War’s Just What We NeedAs it becomes easier to install ad-blocking software like Adblock Plus, we may see its global users grow significantly above the estimated 200 million users today. On the one hand, this could create short-term pain for users, as The Economist writes:If lots of mobile subscribers did switch [ad-blocking] on, it would give European carriers what they have long sought: some way of charging giant American online firms for the strain those firms put on their mobile networks. Google and Facebook, say, might have to pay the likes of Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica to get on to their whitelists. If that happened, the online firms would surely fight back. If an operator were, say, to block the ads on Google’s search service, Google could retaliate by trying to stop that operator’s subscribers from accessing their Gmail accounts. Such a tit-for-tat is not as far-fetched as it may seem: Google closed its news-aggregation service in Spain after a new law required it to pay for using excerpts of publishers’ content. If the mobile firms are not careful, they could start the world’s first digital trade war.But that might not be a bad thing. Maybe, just maybe, if enough people start blocking intrusive ads, the Web would figure out new ways to fund itself. Already Google is experimenting with a Contributor program, which lets users contribute cash in lieu of gaping at ads. Baked into the cost of Internet service, something like this could work. Those who don’t want to pay $10 per month can continue to field advertisements. Meanwhile, I (and I suspect others) would gladly pay for an ad-free existence. Absolutely. Or maybe we’d find other ways to earn our keep. The problem is that the old advertising model so consumes us, we don’t even try to innovate and find alternatives. Given enough ad-blocking, however, we just might realize that there’s life after advertising. Lead photo courtesy of Shutterstock Related Posts Tags:#digital advertising#Google#online advertising#Snapchat Matt Asay A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more

Castillejo ‘out for 10 days’

first_imgMilan winger Samu Castillejo may not be back until after the international break due to a fresh hamstring injury. The Spaniard limped off during Rossoneri’s 2-1 home defeat to Lazio yesterday. Now, MilanNews.it reports tests came back with a thigh strain, which will keep him out for “10 days”, ruling him out of the trip to Juventus this weekend. With the international break fast approaching, the 24-year-old should be fit to face Napoli in three weeks’ time. Castillejo, who joined Milan from Villarreal in the summer of 2018, has found playing time hard to come by this season, managing just five appearances so far. Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/last_img read more

How to Finish Your Monthly Marketing Deck in 10 Minutes

first_img Marketing Reporting These three rules help me keep my monthly marketing reports down to under 10 slides, while at the same time delivering a data-dense review of the past month. Then they ask me about my reports, and get pretty emotional when I tell them I finished on the first day of the month – because my deck only takes a minute per slide to pull together. Here’s my secrets to a short, yet awesomely powerful, slide deck for marketing analytics. Its the beginning of the month, and what that means for all my marketer friends is that they’re busing spending the next week (or longer) pulling together statistics and data from all the various marketing systems they have implemented to try and give their boss(es) an idea of how the last month went. It just takes that question – Why? – to start really getting some insights. Your boss wants to know these things, but also what you plan on doing to make them better for the next month (or longer). And don’t worry if these slides get taken out before being presented to the executive team or the board – the information that is passed up the chain is certainly worth it. No matter how much you drag your heels, your boss will want to see the 3 Vs, so if you do find yourself giving in and showing Views, Visits, and Visitors, by all means try and talk in the language of the business – and show the conversion from visitors-to-leads and customers. If you’re analytics package is tied to your landing pages and CRM, this should be super easy to show. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: This is my secret weapon – not only can I show off parts of the 3 Vs, I can do it in a manner that makes business sense. In one screen, I can quickly show which efforts are driving BUSINESS RESULTS, not just anonymous traffic. As HubSpot’s Resident Social Media Scientist, Dan Zarrella, loves saying, “If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense”. Look for “interesting” or “that’s not right”, and drill down If your boss wasn’t asking for this before, they will be now. I’ll let you in on the secret – this is how your boss can justify why the entire marketing department exists, why they should have more headcount, and why budget should be increased instead of decreased. I call these “The 3 Vs”, and in a perfect world, no one would ever ask you for these metrics. On their own, they’re fairly useless. I’ve never seen anyone make a profound or insightful change to their upcoming programs because visits were up 1% from last month, or unique visitors were down 1% from last year.  Try to avoid “views”, “visits”, and “visitors”. Originally published Mar 2, 2011 1:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 If you must use “views”, “visits”, and “visitors”, tie them as closely to the sales process as possible, showing conversion to leads and customers Did we have more leads coming from Organic Search? Well, what terms got them here?Less leads from our Paid Search efforts? Hmm…where were we doing well last month and before – what’s off? What did we do differently, or what changed? After a few months of watching your traffic, you’ll notice some general trends that are unique to your company. But when you see a deviation from those trends, that’s the time to dive down and investigate.last_img read more

5 Methods for Connecting Online and Offline Marketing

first_img http://facebook.com/hubspot is awesome, but let’s be honest: many marketers are still doing a mix of inbound and outbound marketing. The challenge in using both online and offline marketing tactics is integrating them in an effort to generate even better results than just one tactic would have experienced on its own. http://twitter.com/hubspot 5 Methods for Connecting Online and Offline Marketing . When using offline tactics like print advertising or outdoor advertising, be sure to use unique tracking URLS for the URLs you add within each separate advertisement and placement. These URLs will serve as redirects that your web analytics would track, but send the visitors all to one core page with your central offer. This method allows you to understand which segment of your conversions are from your offline tactics. – Do you include URLs for your social media accounts in your offline marketing materials? You should. When working to build online reach, including your account information in offline materials can help inform potential social media connections who may have never known about your online content. The next time you are printing brochures or designing an ad, make sure to include your social media profile URLS (e.g. Read more about what you should know about QR codes in a recent article – The web is great for 2. Social Media Driving Offline Traffic – Do you exhibit at tradeshows? How do you get traffic to your booth? Sure, giveaways and spending lots of money is one way, but why not supplement that with some online promotion using social media and your corporate blog to promote your presence at the tradeshow? Use your online reach to educate people why they should stop by and connect with your team in an offline situation. Consider offering something exclusive to social media followers who stop by your booth. Topics: we published. Marketing Strategy – Unfortunately, buying leads and cold calling still happens. If you are still purchasing leads for your sales team, at least help them improve their close rate by teaching them or providing them with online data and background information about the lead. Even if it’s just teaching your sales team how to do search on LinkedIn to identify the lead’s background and interests, these details can be instrumental in helping to build trust with new prospects. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Jun 24, 2011 6:39:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 At first, this idea might seem contradictory. How do online and offline marketing work together? One key factor is analytics, among others. Check this list for some of the best ways to connect online and offline marketing. – Mobile technology is huge. One aspect of mobile that is gaining traction with marketers is QR codes. These 2 dimensional barcodes allow someone in an offline situation to use their mobile phone to scan a code that automatically performs a specific action such as taking them to a website, showing them a video, sending them a text message, etc. QR codes can be a powerful tool to link offline and online efforts. 5. Social Media Lead Intelligence 3. QR Codes What methods have you used for successfully connecting your offline and online marketing? ) to encourage people who find you offline to follow you online, too. Avoid simply including logos for Twitter and Facebook without providing your URLs. This doesn’t help your business; rather, it’s free advertising for those social networks. analytics Inbound marketing 1. Tracking URLs or 4. Offline Reach Buildinglast_img read more

The Marketer’s Ultimate Guide to Link Bait

first_img Link Building Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Can we please come up with some better terminology for the concept of ‘link bait,’ already? It just sounds so … slimy. For me, it conjures up thoughts of those evil bait-and-switch advertising schemes.But I’m going to say it loud and proud — “Not all link bait is bad!” So while it may get a bad rap as low-quality, lazy, or misleading content, I’ll admit that I support the creation of an awesome, white-hat link bait post from time to time. And heck … so does Google’s own Matt Cutts himself ! What Is Link Bait? According to Matt Cutts, you can simply think of link bait as “something interesting enough to catch people’s attention…And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing,” he adds.Now, if Matt Cutts’ endorsement isn’t enough to convince you that you don’t have to feel like a sleaze ball to create some link bait, I’m not sure what will. Maybe Brian Clark of Copyblogger can sway you with his stance on the topic ? He believes that link bait is “just a sexy term for high-quality content that benefits the reader,” even if he does admit that the term is pretty darn “inelegant.” And I’m sure most experts would agree. Sure, the concept of link bait is a little bit subjective, and marketers should consider link bait as any piece of content that generates significantly more links and traffic than the average piece of content they publish. But more on that later.The term seems to have originated from the SEO world, referring to content that is effective for attracting inbound links to your website, thus boosting your off-page SEO. But we’re not really here to debate the negative connotations or the history of the term ‘link bait.’ If you want a brief history lesson, check out Clark’s article . Instead, let’s use this article to talk about why link bait is so effective, how it can benefit your marketing, and how you can approach creating top-notch link bait content that your readers love … and value. Why We’re Sold on Link Bait at HubSpot At HubSpot, we’ve known for a while — anecdotally — that link bait content is extremely beneficial to our business blogging efforts. But we never really looked at the numbers. So I decided to dig into HubSpot’s Blog Analytics and do a quick and simple analysis on the success of what we can consider to be the ‘link bait’ content we’ve published on this very blog. HubSpot’s Link Bait Analysis I looked at all articles we’ve published to this blog during the span of 1 year — from July 2011 through June 2012. For the purposes of my analysis, I defined ‘link bait’ as any post that has generated at least 50 inbound links since it was originally published, but it’s important to note that you might define link bait differently depending on how much traction your blog typically gets. For example, if the average article on your blog typically gets 2 inbound links, maybe 15 inbound links would be your benchmark for link bait success.Once I sorted the articles by the number of inbound links they’ve generated, I averaged the number of page views each category of articles (those with at least 50 inbound links compared to those with fewer than 50 inbound links) generated. What I learned was, articles that have accumulated at least 50 inbound links average 500% more views than articles that have attracted fewer than 50 inbound links. Not too shabby, huh? Why Link Bait Rocks As is evident from our internal analysis, link bait content can be extremely beneficial to your marketing. Here are 3 powerful reasons why: 1) Increased Search Rankings Because link bait content is so interesting, it’s usually very effective for generating inbound links (remember, it’s called link bait for a reason). After all, people are way more likely to link back to something if they find it interesting. As a result, link bait content is extremely powerful for boosting your website’s off-page SEO , which we know is the most influential way to increase your organic search rankings. So as you’re creating content you predict will make great link bait, be sure you’re optimizing it using the keywords you want to rank for in search. This will help you leverage your link bait content to boost your rankings for the keywords you want to get found for in search. 2) Tons of (Sustainable) Traffic … & Conversion Opportunities! Because link bait content is interesting, there’s usually a level of virality to it, since people will naturally want to share it with their connections. As a result, link bait content is also usually a major traffic driver, as is evident from our internal analysis of HubSpot’s own link bait content. And the more traffic you generate to your blog, the more visitors you have the opportunity to convert into leads and customers! Just be sure your blog is optimized for conversion: use calls-to-action for your top marketing offers on every blog post as well as in your blog’s top/sidebar(s). As a bonus, because link bait content has the tendency to rank well in search, the traffic it generates is usually very sustainable , since searchers will continue to stumble upon your link bait content long after it was originally published. HubSpot’s blog, for example, still generates regular traffic and leads from link-bait articles we originally published several years ago. Talk about a return on investment! 3) Exposure to New Audiences Remember how we talked about how link-bait content is usually very sharable? Because this is so, link bait has a lot of potential to expose your business and your content to entirely new audiences you might not have reached otherwise. Thus, it helps you grow the top of your funnel, expanding your reach and attracting new blog readers. And even if these new readers will never buy from you, increasing your reach and growing your following definitely has its benefits .    Link Bait: What Works? As we mentioned earlier, what any given marketer considers to be link bait is going to vary from business to business, industry to industry, and audience to audience. The key is to experiment with ideas you suspect will be successful for your particular blog, regularly conduct analyses like the one I did above, and learn from what tends to work as link bait for you. And just like setting out to create something that will definitely absolutely “go viral” is unrealistic, setting out to create link bait is never a given. The best you can do is emulate the qualities of content that have typically led to tons of inbound links and traffic for you in the past … and cross your fingers. Only after your article has been published will you know if it was truly successful as link bait.So if you’re just starting to figure out what has historically made successful link bait content for marketers, here are some ideas to get you going, each accompanied by a successful link bait example from the HubSpot blog: 1) Original, Striking Data Publishing original data is not only a great tactic for earning media coverage — it can also make great link bait fodder. If you’re a business that has access to original data that you can analyze to expose, add to, or refute an industry topic or trend, take advantage of it! If not, maybe there’s an opportunity to partner with a research firm instead. HubSpot Example: LinkedIn 277% More Effective for Lead Generation Than Facebook & Twitter [New Data] (41K views, 239 inbound links) 2) Controversial Content Who doesn’t love a little heated debate? Controversial content usually garners a lot of attention, so if you have an opinion on a controversial issue, you might have some link bait fodder on your hands. Your content doesn’t even have to be centered around a radical opinion to leverage the power of controversy, either; it could just present a bit of data that refutes a common assumption your audience might have.Just don’t go overboard with the controversy (you do still want to be likeable, right?), and don’t be controversial just for the sake of being controversial. Make sure you’re passionate about the stance you’re taking, and always try to lean on data to back up your claims, like the post below does. HubSpot Example: 63% of B2B Companies Don’t Generate Leads From Social Media [New Data] (5K views, 53 inbound links) 3) Being the Most Comprehensive (Or First) Resource on a Popular Topic Taking a topic you know performs well on your blog and publishing the most comprehensive post about it on the web (or at least attempting to) can make for a great link bait win. Is there a popular topic in your industry that few have written about (or written about well) where you see an opportunity? Jump on it! Even better if you can be one of the first to produce comprehensive content on a trending topic, as we did in our Pinterest example below, just as Pinterest was gaining traction as a marketing tool. HubSpot Examples: The Ultimate Facebook Marketing Cheat Sheet (51K views, 4K inbound links); The Ultimate Guide to Mastering Pinterest for Marketing (36K views, 248 inbound links) 4) Visual Content Visual content is all the rage in marketing these days, especially when it comes to social media marketing. So it’s no wonder it makes excellent link bait content. Just take infographics, for instance. When looking at the same set of HubSpot blog articles I analyzed in the beginning of this post, I also took a look at the performance of blog posts containing infographics compared to all other posts.What I found was, blog articles that included infographics generated an average of 178% more inbound links and 72% more views than all other posts. And many of those posts contained third-party infographics that we simply shared on our blog because we thought our audience would find them interesting — in other words, they weren’t necessarily HubSpot-original infographics. And visual content doesn’t have to take the form of infographics to be link bait-friendly, either. Sometimes posts that consist of a curation of awesome visual examples (like the example we share below) can work out just as well. Other types of visual, link-bait content you can create include cartoons or content/concept visualizations . HubSpot Example: 17 Examples of Creative Facebook Page Cover Photos (19K views, 56 inbound links) 5) Content That’s Creative, Entertaining, or Fun This content goes far because it’s usually easy to consume, great fodder for sharing, quick to scan, requires little thought (on your readers’ end), and well … it’s FUN! Think music videos or just content that leverages pop culture references or emerging, mainstreamed trends, like our example below. HubSpot Example: Memejacking: The Complete Guide to Creating Memes for Marketing (5K page views, 237 inbound links) 6) A Title People Simply Can’t Help Themselves From Clicking (Accompanied by Awesome Content) Don’t gloss over the text within those parentheses. The important thing to remember about this one is, you can have a really intriguing title that people just can’t help but to click, but if the content within doesn’t live up to that title, it won’t achieve link bait status. If your title is overly sensational and hyperbolic, yet the content it alludes to is barely average, you’ll undermine your credibility and lose readers’ interest in your content altogether. HubSpot Example: 15 Things People Absolutely Hate About Your Website (28K views, 92 inbound links) Remember: Quality, Value, and Balance Should Still Matter By now, you should be pretty convinced that link bait isn’t always some evil, black-hat marketing tactic you need to avoid like the plague. But that doesn’t mean all link bait is high quality , or that you can’t abuse it. After all, link bait had to get its bad rap from somewhere, right?Before you set off to create a piece of content you think will make great link bait, make sure your answer to the question, “Will my audience still find this valuable?” is “Absolutely!” And remember, there is such thing as ‘entertainment value,’ too.Furthermore, think of your blog like a well-balanced diet. If you feed your blog readers the same diet of lean meat, hearty grains, and nutricious vegetables all the time and deny them of any sort of dessert (or variety), even though it might be good for them, they might also start looking for a new chef. So go ahead — give your readers some candy every once in a while. Just don’t give them too much, or their teeth will rot. Are you incorporating link bait into your business blog ‘s content mix? What results have you seen? Originally published Jul 18, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics:last_img read more

10 Things to Double-Check Before You Begin Your Next Campaign Analysis

first_img Topics: Originally published Jul 6, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack I’ve made my fair share of analytics mistakes in the past. In fact, I even wrote an article about it so that you don’t have to learn them the hard way too. And while I knew it would be helpful to address the mistakes people commonly make during their analysis, I realized that list left out the things that you can mess up before your analysis even begins. I’m not talking about how you analyze your information, but rather how your marketing software gathers the data in the first place.In order to properly collect data, there are certain things that you need to set up a certain way. Some of these considerations are specific to your company, and can skew your data if you forget to do them (or do them wrong). Others involve how you set up your software to gather data in the first place, and can have equally as frustrating consequences if done incorrectly. Check these things off your list, and you are home free. Forget to do them, and you’re stuck with incorrect data (and a headache). To help you avoid a big miss, I’ve compiled a list of little things to look for before you dive into your next analysis.10 Things to Double-Check Before You Begin Your Next Campaign Analysis1) Do you have the right domain selected?You may have multiple domains that you need to track throughout the month. Maybe you have one for your main website, one for your blog, and another for your landing pages. No matter how your domains are set up, it is important to make sure that you are reporting on the right one.If you are an international company, you may have domains for different countries or languages. When you do your reporting, it can be difficult to keep track of which domain has which goal. To make sure your goals and results are aligning, pay close attention to which domain you select each time. 2) Do you have the right time period selected?After you have the right domain selected, you should also make sure the right time period is selected. While it’s a natural instinct just to report on what appears on the dashboard without checking the time, that could easily lead to careless mistakes.For example, many of us do end of the month reporting on the first day of the next month. At that point your reports have probably shifted from the previous month to the current month. With that said, you’ll want to make sure that you adjust the time range to reflect the previous month that you want to report on. (This rule applies to end of the week reporting too.)Additionally, if you are comparing this month’s progress to the previous month, make sure that the accurate month is reflected before you begin your analysis. 3) Do you need to exclude certain sources?If you own a specific channel of marketing — such as paid or email marketing — you may only want to report on one source instead of all of your sources as a whole. (At HubSpot, the different marketing channels we use to execute our marketing campaigns are known as Sources.) When sources are all presented one page, it can be easy to mistake the numbers from one channel with the numbers from another. To avoid any confusion, I suggest filtering your sources to hone in on one specific channel at a time. 4) Have you excluded your company’s IP?It’s considered a best practice to regularly monitor how much traffic you get to the pages on your site. And while you certainly want this number to be high, you don’t want it to reflect the page views that come from your colleagues and employees, as this will skew your data.For example, imagine that you have 10 employees at your business, and each of them looks at different pages on your website an average of five times a day. That means that they are contributing an additional 50 views a day, 350 views a week, and up to 1,500 views a month. That data can completely change your progress toward your monthly goals. To avoid this, your website should be able to exclude your company’s IP. If you are a HubSpot customer, here are some instructions on how to do it.5) Are you tracking visitors who aren’t in your target geography?Not every business can market to every country in the world. This means that you need to pay close attention to the visitors who are in your target geography.Let’s say your target geography is North America, and you are getting 1,000 visits a month to your website from North America. However, you also find that you are getting another 1,000 visits a month to your website from Europe. If you are reporting your visits as 2,000 instead of 1,000, you are going to skew your data because you can only work with and nurture the people from North America.To ensure that you’re reporting on the right audience, take a close look at the IP of all people coming to your website. You can then start to segment based on people who are in your target geography to avoid spending time and resources on those who are not. 6) Are you using UTM parameters to tag certain promotions?When you run any marketing campaign, it is important to track how every single person is interacting with your marketing — even if the interaction occurs outside of your website. For example, let’s say that you are running a promotion on Facebook and Twitter to drive traffic to your website. Some tools may automatically bucket that as social media, leaving you with no indication of which social platform generated more traffic. Enter UTM parameters.In this situation, UTM parameters would serve as tags that allow you to differentiate the traffic generated between the two sources.If you are a HubSpot customer, you can use the Tracking URL Builder to achieve this. The Tracking URL Builder will walk you through exactly what information you need in your UTM parameters to ensure you are not making a mistake when creating yours. It will also let you know where your information will be bucketed in the Sources Report.If you are not a HubSpot customer, Google offers a similar tool that you can use. 7) Did you forget to put necessary tracking code on your site?Before you start placing links to your website anywhere, you need to make sure you have the proper tracking code installed on your website. This will ensure that you are tracking traffic coming to your site, gathering proper lead intelligence about visitors coming to your website, and turning up insight to help you improve the amount of traffic you get to your website.Depending on where you host your site, you may not have to worry about this step. For example, if your website is hosted on the HubSpot Marketing Platform, you will automatically have the proper tracking code on all of your pages. However, if your website is hosted elsewhere, you will need to put tracking code on your pages. Here is more information on how to install tracking code.If you have been working on marketing campaigns that drive traffic to your site and do not see an increase in traffic, that may be a good indication that you do not have your tracking code set up properly. Without this information, it will be really hard — if not impossible — to segment your database to deliver more personalized marketing experiences. 8) Do you have a plan for tracking an offline campaign?It may seem hard to track an offline campaign — how are you supposed to know how many people came to your trade show booth?As a result, we sometimes just bucket this into the “other” campaign and think very little about how to track it. However, without knowing how many leads and customers we generate from these offline campaigns, it becomes difficult to allocate resources appropriately. The next time you are about to do a trade show, consider making a plan for how you can track people coming to your website. This can be as simple as putting a tracking URL on all of the resources you hand out instead of just using your regular homepage URL. That way whenever anyone visits your site, it will be attributed to the trade show. (For more on how to do this, refer back to #6 on this list.) 9) Do you have a clear understanding of what your metrics mean?Before you even begin to do your analysis, you need to decide which metrics you want to report on. Furthermore, you need to decide what the metrics actually mean and how to interpret them. Many times we report on metrics that we think represent success, however it’s possible that they might mean something entirely different. For example, Google Analytics will report on the time someone spends on your website. And while we often equate a long visit to an interested visitor, this isn’t always the case. Although you’d like to believe that someone who has clicked around on several of your pages is liking what they’re seeing, it could also mean that they are struggling to find what they are looking for. As you analyze your metrics, dig deeper to understand what they mean. It may not always be what it seems at first glance.10) Did you attach tracking code to all the proper assets? One of the hardest things for marketers to remember is to put your tracking assets in place before your marketing campaign launches. This may include — but is not limited to — creating tracking URLs, putting them across the different platforms, or tagging your pieces of content.If these tasks aren’t done ahead of time, you could lose some of your analytics forever. For example, if you plan on using a tracking URL on your Facebook post but forget, you will miss out on all the clicks that your visitors took to get from Facebook to your site. If you edit the post and add it in, you will be able to get some of that back, but you will still not have everyone.Moral of the story?Before you publish all of your assets, check (and double-check) to make sure you have everything in place.What else do you need to remember to avoid an analytics mistake? Let us know your best tips in the comment section below. Marketing Reportinglast_img read more

Can Company Policy Make Your Team More Creative? Here’s How 4 Companies Are Experimenting

first_img Topics: Originally published Jul 26, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Creativity This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to Agency Post.Nowadays, you don’t hear the phrase “office culture” without someone bringing up the open office concept. Cubicle farms have gotten a bad rap over the past decade or so, replaced with more innovative workplace setups that supposedly help breed creativity and collaboration. (Whether or not they actually do is up for debate.)But open office plans aren’t the only way to spark employees’ creativity and innovation. According to the New York Times, “Studies of innovation come to the same conclusion: You can’t engineer innovation, but you can increase the odds of it occurring.”So how are companies trying to improve the odds?We’ve found four companies with a different approach to investing in employee creativity. While the effectiveness of these programs can be hard to measure given their inherent subjectivity, it’s interesting to see what companies are doing to help cultivate an innovative and inspirational work culture.1) Sagmeister & Walsh: Flexible Vacation PoliciesThe concept of flexible vacation policies has been the talk of the town for the past few years. At HubSpot, we’ve found that an unlimited vacation policy means employees are more engaged and more productive when they are at work. They can spend less time worrying about plans and timing and more time thinking about how to do their jobs well.But unlimited vacation is just one iteration of flexible vacation policies. In fact, 25% of the employers on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For offer paid sabbaticals to their employees. While employee retention is one of the main draws of offering these long breaks to employees, another big benefit is letting them explore new ways of thinking.Design agency Sagmeister & Walsh — which designed the album cover for The Rolling Stones’ “Bridges to Babylon,” among many other famous projects — actually shuts its doors and gives its employees an entire year-long sabbatical every seven years. The first time co-founder Stefan Sagmeister did this, it was because he realized the work coming out of the agency had started to look the same. So he decided to do something drastic: He completely shut down the firm for a year so he and his team could refresh their creative outlook.”That’s clearly enjoyable for myself, but probably even more important is that the work that comes out of these years flows back into the company and in the society at large rather than just benefiting a grandchild or two,” said Sagmeister in his TED talk, “The Power of Time Off.”2) Pixar: Small Incubation TeamsIf you’ve ever seen one of Pixar’s animated films, from the Toy Story trilogy to Finding Nemo to Ratatouille, you can begin to imagine how many creative minds it takes to produce a feature-length film. It’s not like a team of 10 people in a room came up with all those clever ideas — it takes every member of a 200-to-250-person production group to pull together a film.”People tend to think of creativity as a mysterious solo act,” wrote Ed Catmull, president of both Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios. But in reality, each movie contains “literally tens of thousands of ideas.”And during the creative process, not all of them are gold. So how do you sift through a wave of ideas to extract the very best ones? Pixar had a process.”While I’m not foolish enough to predict that we will never have a flop, I don’t think our success is largely luck,” Catmull wrote. “Rather, I believe our adherence to a set of principles and practices for managing creative talent and risk is responsible.”After Toy Story 2 came out in 1999, Pixar decided to change the mission of its development department. Instead of managing the birth and development of ideas all on its own, as they had in the past and as is traditionally done at other studios, the development department now helps directors put together small incubation teams to help directors refine their own ideas. The challenge is building a team that’ll work effectively together.Then, once the team’s assembled, members go to work at hacking through the rough ideas and refining them. Great team dynamics are essential here. “Nobody pulls any punches to be polite,” Catmull wrote. “This works because all the participants have come to trust and respect one another. They know it’s far better to learn about problems from colleagues when there’s still time to fix them than from the audience after it’s too late.”In the end, the philosophy rests on getting creative people together, giving them a lot of autonomy and support, and providing them with an environment for honest feedback. 3) Google: Rewarding Risk-TakingMost managers would probably claim they encourage their employees to “be more creative” or “be more entrepreneurial.” Fail hard, fail fast … and so on and so forth. But what are they actually doing other than verbalizing it?It’s one thing to say it’s OK to take risks and learn from failure, and it’s another thing entirely to mandate it. Google’s experimenting with the latter. You may have heard of the company’s famous 20% time policy, which requires employees dedicate 20% of their time (roughly one day per week) developing their own side projects. Products that’ve come out of 20% time include Google News, Gmail, and AdSense.While the effectiveness of the program has been widely critiqued, its implementation is a testimony to how important the folks at Google believe individual innovation is. Being given ample time to go beyond your comfort zone can not only open the door to new challenges and opportunities, but it also allows people to exercise their natural problem-solving skills. “Once you have become accustomed to taking risks, you break free from the average way of living and thinking,” wrote Stacia Pierce in The Huffington Post.4) Colgate: Flexible Working HoursWhether employees have kids, doctor’s appointments, or simply work better in the early mornings or late at night, many companies have gotten good results from empowering them to work during hours that suit their lifestyle. Structure can hinder innovation, while allowing employees to focus on work when they’re working. Plus, working during their own high productivity hours can help bolster creative thinking. At the same time, high-autonomy ethos can also strengthen trust and increase retention rates. “The start-ups of Silicon Valley have reaped the rewards of giving employees a long leash,” wrote Claire Hodgson for The Guardian.Flexible scheduling has become more and more common across a variety of industries, and Colgate-Palmolive’s only one of thousands of companies adjusting their policies to allow employees more work-life balance. But, as a 209-year-old company with an employee base of more than 35,000, its adoption of flexible working hours is particularly impressive. In fact, the company tops job search engine Indeed.com’s list of the 25 biggest companies that go “the extra mile” to help their employees have more of a work-life balance.The key to success when it comes to flexible working hours? Efficiency and professionalism.”Past and present employees comment on the Colgate-Palmolive employer review page [on Indeed.com] noting that management sets realistic expectations for employees, promotes time management skills, and clearly communicates,” said Mike Steinerd, Indeed.com’s director of recruiting. “Colgate-Palmolive offers some great benefits, such as flexible work hours, telecommute options, and nearby back-up childcare centers, which is a nice perk for work-at-home parents. As a result, Colgate-Palmolive has a high rate of employee retention, which is a testament to their culture.”How effective are these innovation policies? Unfortunately, any metrics you’d use to measure them are a little hairy. There are plenty of folks out there who are skeptical about whether implementing programs like brainstorming sessions, science fairs, and so on actually make an impact on the bottom line. What seems to be the trend here is that, at the very least, employees like having these policies around — and that can help you retain and attract smart people.What innovation policies do you find interesting? Share with us in the comment section. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more