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The Buzz Bin
This is one of my new, favorite go-to websites. I usually use the iPhone app for Pinterest and navigate to Explore : Design. It helps to provide some inspiration especially when I am on the go. As a busy soccer mom, I need to take advantage of those quiet moments when I can quickly go to Pinterest, look around, save pins and explore more at a later date . There is a lot of variety here ranging from corporate identity to printmaking to furniture design. It’s so refreshing to see all of the new pins that appear every day and the variety of design styles being represented. I am constantly pinning and repining new ideas to my boards. What I love about Pinterest is how easy it is to navigate back to some of my favorite pins for future reference. Creating themed boards in categories like color ideas, decor, design/infographics helps me find what I am looking for quickly so I can begin design for a new project without suffering from a creative block. Check out some of my boards.2. The Dieline
What I love about this site is that even though it focuses on package design and 3-dimensional design, it still provides am excellent resource for overall design inspiration and aesthetics. You can really get your creative juices flowing here. There are so many creative design projects on this site ranging from wine packaging, to beauty products, to pet food. The navigation is very simple and you get what you need very quickly and efficiently. You can sort projects by “Features,” “Industry” or “Substrate”. I like to browse through all of the categories since you never know what can catch your eye and inspire the next big idea.3. COLOURlovers
The best thing about this website is the “Trends” tab. When I am looking to develop a color palette for a project, I start here. There are so many great ideas and the navigation is very user-friendly because it allows you to select the type of project you are working on (Branding or Websites) and see a how a particular palette was applied. They also include the full palette with the thumbnail image to quickly see what the color scheme is. I also subscribe to their weekly enewsletter that gives great tips and ideas for color ideas and options.4. Design Instruct
is website for designers that features helpful tips, tutorials and articles related to design topics to keep you informed and inspired. They also have a “Freebies” section that allows you to download vector graphics, photos, editable Photoshop files and more. This site was actually a spin off site from the Six Revisions blog. I have visited this site regularly because of their focus on design as well as website development. They provide great articles and tutorials to help you stay ahead of the curve. Like designinstruct.com, they also have a “freebies” section that is great for downloads of graphics and patterns.5. Etsy
I love cool stuff and this website has a ton of it. Etsy is an online crafters community where people sell handmade or vintage items as well as art and supplies. There are so many categories to look at ranging from personalized jewelry to milk glass candy dishes. My favorite section of this site is the Printmaking section. Here is where artists showcase letterpress prints and unique decorative art that can inspire a lot of creativity. Sometimes I find that simple quotes or saying created into posters or notecards can inspire creativity.
The study showed that traditional print press releases had much higher appeal when fused with popular social media themes. Categories like baby animals, amateur dancing and babies ranked highest in the survey, followed by car crashes and lip-synching of Lady Gaga songs.
“What the study clearly shows is that savvy marketers who attach pictures of social media subjects to their press releases can increase earned media exposure by up to 37 percent,” said Patrice Raper, an analyst for the company. “In cases where the photo was embedded toward the middle of the release, we saw results as high as 43 percent,” Raper continued.
Media representatives appeared to confirm the results. “Have you ever gone through a stack of print press releases?” asked Armond Smyth of the New York Tribune. “It’s a tedious task, but when you see a little bunny, or a cute baby acting up, it cuts right through the clutter,” said Smyth.
CRT/tanaka officials say a white paper on the subject will be released as soon as they brand the phenomenon and prepare a PowerPoint presentation to share with trade groups.
Almost every day, I see an article or brand study talking about how corporations need to become more transparent. The sentiment is good, but the implication is that transparency is a choice, and that the alternative is to be opaque or shrouded in our actions. This really isn’t the case anymore.
We operate in a world where almost everyone has a phone equipped with a portable video studio capable of instantaneous global distribution. As distressing as it may seem, we are all being watched.
Whether we like it or not, every customer having a bad experience with your service department is starting to act like Mike Wallace on a sting. Remember when restaurants used to try to determine when the food critic was stopping in so they could put on their best show? Well today every customer is a food critic and reviews don’t last a day, they stay online forever!
Whether your employee is bad-mouthing a customer, your accountant is fudging the books or your CEO has more than a casual interest in the new intern, you’re secrets aren’t likely to stay secrets for long.
What can we do to cope with a world that has gone from a 24-hour news cycle to a newsroom with 300 million reporters? There’s only one choice facing organizations under these circumstances: Do the right thing.
Maybe I’m an idealist, but I think most organizations will have no options other than to tell the truth, treat the customer with courtesy, provide a nurturing habitat for employees and show respect for the opinions and lifestyles of others, because if they don’t, we’ll all be watching. And that’s a good thing.
Compared to other industries, healthcare has been slow to adopt social media to engage employees. For many, their focus has been to use social media to market services to consumers and to engage with the community. But when it comes to employees, social media is considered a “hands off” communication tool by managers who fear it will impede productivity and create a hard to manage channel for employees to complain or share sensitive information. More importantly, it’s seen as a resource drain. For most healthcare companies, social media is managed by an already strapped public relations and marketing department who are lucky if they have one staffer dedicated to pushing out Facebook posts and monitoring Twitter.
It’s time to change this thinking. Within each organization, there’s a PR army of ambassadors who are ready to share the good news about your brand. Likely, they are already doing so on their own social media properties. Why not leverage the power of this group to forward the company’s messages? Here are four steps to get you started:
- Give management a reason to believe
The notion that social media impedes productivity is flawed. There are many distractions through the work day that impact employee focus – email for one. Plus many employees have smart phones they are using to check text messages from kids and co-workers. Productivity is a management problem, not a social media problem. In fact, a study published by The McKinsey Global Institute, shows that companies that improve communication and collaboration through social technologies could actually raise employee productivity by 20 to 25 percent.
- Give employees rules to follow
Healthcare is a highly regulated industry. It only makes sense that social media policies be in line with all other compliance rules. But the approach to creating social media guidelines does not have to be heavy handed, just thoughtful. Begin by involving the key oversight sectors: public relations and marketing, IT and legal/risk management. Mike Langford, a social compliance strategist and financial industry veteran, says in a Harvard Business Review article that the best policies are a collaborative effort. They should empower employees to engage, not impede them.
- Train Social Media Ambassadors
Social media does not have to be opened up to all employees at once. Start small with a group of trusted employees who are already engaged in social media. Create a Social Media Ambassadors group and focus on one social media property first, such as Facebook. Have each member of the group begin by “Liking” the organization’s Facebook page and sharing content by commenting on the page or reposting information from the page at least 3 times per week. Have the team participate in a Social Media Ambassadors Facebook Group to learn about guidelines for posting appropriate and useful information and to share ideas and thoughts about how to engage other employees and the community.
- Provide Sharable Content
Employees will help a company tell its story if they have good information to share. Content is considered “sharable” if it is topical, relevant, informative and fun. Some of the most sharable content comes in the form of videos, photos and infographics. Create content that employees want to share and host it in the community they’re most active, depending on your group of Ambassadors this may be a Facebook group or an employee microsite. Engage your ambassadors with interesting, stimulating and fun content that inspires them to go out and pioneer your brand.
Have you opened social media to your employees? If so, what’s been successful for your brand? What other tips would you add?
I’m a craft beer enthusiast, home brewer and at one time the beer buyer at Richmond’s local food market. I’ve been enjoying great beer for the last 10 years and I’ve seen a market that was once reserved for a handful of elitists evolve to a state where just about every bar, restaurant and dicey corner store has some sort of craft beer available.
I’m constantly trying new beers and I’m always interested in what new style breweries are throwing out there. In recent years I’ve noticed more easy drinking craft beers hitting the store shelves and tap handles. Beers like Founders All Day IPA and 21st Amendment’s Bitter American have quickly become a few of my favorite summertime session ales.
Creating a session friendly craft ale is interesting as you typically don’t associate “easy drinking” and “quantity” with craft beer. Typically, this mindset has been reserved for American Macro’s as they are marketed as light, smooth refreshing beers that you can consume in abundance. With the majority of Americans still in that mindset and with the craft beer market continuing to grow, a session ale seems like a logical place where the two markets could meet.
I don’t see a lot of breweries pushing their lighter beers as session beers. A few do but I think more can and will begin pursuing this term as more consumers become educated about beer. I feel that no matter what the style of beer, if it’s under 5%, the beer’s packaging should adorn the session ale term as it gives an instant snapshot of what the beer’s purpose and alcohol content is all about. Beyond the stated marketing and packaging opportunities, here are a few reasons why brewers and distributors should consider pursuing the session ale.Lower Alcohol & Lower Calories
Most craft ales are in the 6+ ABV realm and with more alcohol comes more calories as more malt (sugar) is needed to obtain a higher ABV. I love a great IPA but maybe I don’t want to get wasted off a handful of them or wind up consuming 2,000 calories worth of beer during a cookout. Not that session ales should be marketed as “light” beer, but quality beer under 5% ABV should be explored as we may not need the extra alcohol or calories typically found with craft beer.Approachable & Flavorful
I used to always carry Victory All Malt Lager and North Coast Scrimshaw when I worked in the industry. These were great gateway beers as I would always recommend them to Macro drinkers or people not too familiar with quality beer. These beers are great lagers but it’s nice to see Founder’s and 21st creating some nice flavorful ales instead of lagers. Even Flying Dog’s Pearl Necklace is very session friendly stout (even though its 5.5% ABV). I see opportunity with beers like these as they are great introductory ales for beginners and interesting enough for seasoned craft beer drinkers.Highlight the Brewmaster’s Skill
Lastly, if you want to highlight the skill and craft of brewing, try making a light beer. It’s tough. The lighter more delicate ales and lagers can easily showcase any off flavors, poor ingredients or brewing mistakes. A solid brewmaster should be able to create a flawless beer no matter the style. A clean American IPA, a stout from Flying Dog or a Berliner Weiss from Bell’s – these are all perfect examples of quality driven beers that took skill to create and a product that the brewery and brewmaster should take pride in.
I love my high ABV stouts, double IPAs and barleywines but those aren’t necessarily cookout- or boat-friendly beers. For the reasons I mentioned above, I think that every brewery should be brewing and marketing a session-friendly beer.