Fake News, Believe it or Not, Is Not New

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When Facebook initiated new features last year designed to make it easier for its users to keep up with the news and social media marketers a chance to promote content directly to Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and his crew failed to foresee the oncoming calamity of such an opportunity. Perhaps it was unpredictable that so many news generating outlets would respond so overwhelmingly to the invitation, particularly those who apparently failed the journalism integrity exam in grade school. In addition a number of Facebook managers responsible for monitoring the fairness code were charged with simply failing to recognize the truth from pure fiction. Pressure on Facebook managers to promote certain stories over others was reported and a liberal bias to the selection of news stories, true or not, became a perception.

With the Pew Research Center finding that nearly half of Americans click to social media outlets for their news, the tarnish to the reputation of Facebook, marketers and even reputable news outlets soon began to build like barnacles on the hull of a shiny new boat. Advertisers who are always careful not to associate their brand with distasteful and distrustful public debate began to apply pressure to turn back fake news stories. Facebook turned to algorithms in hopes to stem the charges of personal bias of their human monitors and ultimately declared the right to declare some organizations news offerings as fake.

This month, Facebook began flagging “disputed news stories” that it determines have no basis in fact. “The “disputed” tag is part of Facebook’s grand plan to crack down on fake news as the company tries to tamp down the controversy over its role in the spread of misinformation that sharpened political divisions and inflamed discourse during and after the presidential election.” The process is the first hint of a serious effort to wipe out the practice of made-up news which has become rather pervasive.

History reveals many instances of “yellow journalism” and ranting demagogues during the age of print and broadcast long before the magic of the digital era. Most readers and viewers back then were expected to take responsibility and personally filter printed and broadcast outlets news offerings with a healthy amount of “Don’t believe everything you hear or read” skepticism or “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” response.

As claims of censorship and barriers to free speech fly over the new flagging efforts, perhaps the best response to the new yellowing of the truth is to encourage the “clicker” to practice a healthy amount of due diligence in selecting their news and its providers. In the end, truth over time will begin to silence the fakes, or at least cast them aside as irrelevant in the grander scheme of reality.

 

Helping Architects Accept Change and Embrace the Modern Marketing Era

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For most purveyors of goods and services, the act of marketing can be traced back in history to the very beginning of commerce when conveying the benefits of ones products and services over a competitor’s was a practice of simple communication, using the very rudimentary of marketing tools and collateral. But practicing the science of modern marketing has its beginning with the Industrial Age when new mass production techniques and evolving production technologies and improved modes of transportation demanded better strategies for selling and delivering finished goods and services to an ever expanding marketplace and an increasingly more competitive business environment.

But for many in the personal services sector, even the most basic marketing efforts are a relatively unfamiliar, new-age endeavor. The first Principles of Practice adopted in 1909 by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) actually barred architects from marketing themselves and even now, in the relatively early stages of the newest century, many architectural firms remain relatively unpracticed in the art and science of modern marketing.

In an article entitled, “Inspire Change for Sustainable Growth” and published in the Atlanta Institute of Architects’ Annual Publication “Design Equilibrium”, the authors at Junction Creative Solutions (Junction), an award winning strategic agency committed to creating high impact solutions for SMBS and Fortune 500 companies, reviews why many architects are struggling to understand the language or the practice of modern marketing. The AIA seeks educate and inform the architecture communities by highlighting topics designed to start a conversation.

Junction discusses the importance of establishing well-defined strategic goals and objectives and developing a brand that differentiates a unique set of capabilities that will set a firm apart from the competition. Today’s architectural firms, regardless of size or position in the business life-cycle, must be willing to accept change and embrace the emerging marketing tools and approaches from this new technological era and elevate themselves in a crowded, multi-dimensional marketplace to create a more sustainable business.

“We are very excited to be included in the 2017 Annual Publication,” comments Julie Gareleck, CEO and Managing Partner, Junction. “It’s becoming increasingly more difficult for professional services companies to compete. We’ve built incredible results for our clients across various professional services industries.  With our knowledge of what has worked for others, we are confident in our ability to assist the Architectural community in developing unique strategies to grow their businesses.”

To read the full article, visit https://www.aiaatl.org/design-equilibrium-2017/ or contact the Atlanta Institute of Architects for their latest copy of Design Equilibrium. To learn more about how Junction Creative Solutions can help you create impact for your company, visit www.junction-creative.com.

How Messages Can Mold Your Credibility and Integrity

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Tom Brokaw, an American television journalist and author best known as the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, recently celebrated the fifty year anniversary of his journalistic career, joining the ranks of former great communicators like Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Morrow.  He is the only person to host all three major NBC News programs: The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and Meet the Press and is the author of the bestselling book, “The Greatest Generation” (1998). He is to be applauded for being engaged in reporting the news, not just the story, for half a century.

In a recent broadcast celebration of his career “The First Fifty Years”, the veteran anchor revealed his thoughts about the fundamental principles of journalism, the era of old school messaging meets the new media and the importance of accuracy of messaging within a context. Today, everyone including the media is seemingly in attack mode in era of confrontation, seeking to tap into a prevalent state of fear, uncertainty and anger. With so many emerging non-traditional sources of information, communicators must be careful not to underestimate the impact of messages that draw on these emotions. Brokaw’s advice to listeners when receiving their news, “make the same intellectual effort as you do when buying a car as you do when listening to the news – do your due diligence.”

So what parallels and lessons can journalists, marketing professionals, and even social media users draw from Brokaw’s experience?

“We need to be responsible as purveyors of content,” offers Julie Gareleck, Founder and CEO of Junction Creative Solutions (Junction). “We need to get back to research, learning from experience, understanding those who came before us, and making decisions based off of facts – not rhetoric.” As business strategists we can learn from Kellogg and Harvard Review some of the most brilliant ways to approach business strategy from a time not known for technology revolutions or this time of the internet of things (IoT). It is important to learn and adapt our thinking and our practices to meet the new reality that we face. “We must challenge the integrity of the messages by asking:  what are they selling; what is the motivation, and what is it that they are looking for from me?” says Gareleck. “Realize that there is always more to a bi-line.”

After a half century as America’s consummate communicator, Tom Brokaw has “confidence in the resilience of our country” but admits that he believes “we are lacking the tribe that is America.” Despite all the emotional slinging of suspicious rhetoric, the truth is our society has survived much more tumultuous periods of revolt and revolution. Whether our business is politics or business, we as communicators in this digital media revolution, must rededicate our efforts to base our message content on facts and less on hyperbole if we are to sustain our credibility.

“I remember Brokaw as a child, as a teenager, and as an adult.  As journalism majors, we were taught to report a story based on facts. We didn’t have Google, Wikipedia, or social media.  We had books, articles, newspapers, a microfilm to sift through to understand what it would take to be an influencer.  And now, technology is at our finger tips, constantly.  It’s noisy. It’s volatile at times. We must remember that we influence always.  It could be 40 characters or it could be a 500 word prose.  Let’s use our words wisely, “ comments Gareleck.

Will 2017 Be a Year of Dynamic Growth or Challenge for Businesses?

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2017 promises to be a time of real economic growth and expansion, yet riddled with a dynamically changing political environment. All of this during a time where technology is expected to advance five times as fast as it has in the last 2 decades.  All of this requires that businesses remain agile and open to adapting new strategies and processes to support a more sustainable approach to growth.

“Since 2009, Junction Creative Solutions (Junction) has worked with more than 240 brands, to include small to mid-size, growth stage, and Fortune 500 companies,” comments Julie Gareleck, CEO & Managing Partner, Junction.  “We’ve been on the front lines with our clients, redefining strategies that work in today’s changing environment.”

In 2016, Junction effectively grew its client base by nearly 30%, further expanding its reach and strengthening its competencies across a multitude of verticals.  As many companies turn to Junction, the conversation is not just a marketing discussion but rather a business growth discussion. Junction’s extensive experience working across verticals enables us to effectively meet the demands of our clients. While marketing is a significant component to sustainable growth, it’s just one part of the overall strategy for success in 2017.  Junction’s breadth of expertise in healthcare, financial, professional services, SaaS, eCommerce, technology, consumer packaged goods, retail, among others, brings a unique perspective to its clients.

“We are very excited about our growth results from 2016,” comments Julie Gareleck, CEO & Managing Partner of Junction Creative, “But we understand from our experiences that as the business environment ahead becomes more dynamic, it’s critical to remain ahead of the trends in order to develop the most effective and comprehensive set of solutions to support our client’s sales and marketing initiatives. We look forward to driving even more results for our clients in 2017.”

If you are looking for a firm who will not only provide strategic insights but also assist in the effective implementation, contact us at 676-686-1125 or Julie@junction-creative.com.

Gettysburg Cancer Center Impacts Cancer Patients by Providing Comprehensive Care

Comprehensive Cancer Center

A Leader in Oncology Care Across the Region Since 1989

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Technology and connectivity continues to disrupt how we access information. Once limited to a one-or two line posting in the local telephone Yellow Pages (remember those?) medical practitioners of all disciplines felt little incentive to promote their services any way other than personal referrals from current patients and an occasional advertisement in the local papers.

As an aging population ignited an increased demand for specialty medical practitioners, the competition among medical services including hospital systems, urgent care networks, private practices, cancer treatment centers, telemedical service providers and others has intensified. Today there is a greater reliance on more sophisticated marketing strategies to bring patients to the medical providers. Choosing a doctor is no longer a random or arbitrary choice but one easily researched from among many providers from the comfort the patient’s home or mobile device. John Socratous, Wizmotions CEO, says, “One of the biggest consumer segments we see moving to aggressive advertising are doctors. Explainer videos, SEO and online reviews seemed secondary in the medical field for many years. Today, that is no longer the case.”

At the Gettysburg Cancer Center (GCC) in Historic Gettysburg PA, the doctors understand the importance of being accessible as patients embrace the technology in learning about their illness and the expanding science of treatment and care. Even with their all-encompassing oncology and hematology programs providing a complete range of diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up cancer care, Gettysburg Cancer Center has launched a new website that is designed to educate and inform its patients. Dedicated to providing insightful, compassionate care to all of their patients, GCC understands that every person is unique as they strive to ensure every patient the highest quality care and best possible outcome for their cancer treatment. Their new website and strategic marketing initiatives now reflect that elevated commitment to cancer care.

Junction Creative Solutions, an award winning strategic agency committed to creating high impact solutions, was uniquely qualified to design and execute a successful implementation of social and digital collateral to satisfy GCC’s commanding presence in the cancer treatment center marketplace. With many years of experience in the telemedical, pharmaceutical, hospital and consultative medical services sectors, Junction is perfectly positioned to answer the creative needs of GCC.

Julie Gareleck, Founder and CEO, said, “As the marketing landscape changes and consumer expectations evolve, it’s critical to remain ahead of the trend, particularly in the healthcare field where connecting patients with the best possible care providers can often have life or death implications. Junction believes that an effective content strategy adds significant value to a business, particularly in an era where patients have access to information – and a lot of it.  Healthcare companies must focus on communicating with patients where they are accessing information.”

For more than 25 years, Gettysburg Cancer Center has been committed to providing cancer care in a community-based setting close to their patient’s home. Their caring and educated staff is dedicated to providing a caring environment for patients and their families with individualized treatment, utilizing the best technical approach, and recognizing each patient’s psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs during their journey with their illness and healing.

To see more about how Junction’s creative team of marketing specialist is helping GCC successfully connect with their patients, visit www.gettysburgcancercenter.com.

Interesting and Challenging Times Ahead for Marketers

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At the coming of the end of each calendar year there comes a practice that appears to be an unavoidable part of our culture. It is understandable that at the end of something there certainly must be a beginning of something else, a sort of evolutionary ideology that mandates a certain continuity of things both past and present. Predicting outcomes of the future, whether by flight of fancy or scientific “guessimation”, has always had a certain risk of accuracy when measured in the hind-sight but it appears that the level of success has had little impact on stemming the seemingly unavoidable practice of prognostication as each old year ending approaches. So what’s coming ahead in the business of marketing in the New Year? How will it propose to be better or worse than from where we have just come?

The digital era will continue to dominate marketing efforts across the spectrum of business sectors. Consumers are dictating to marketers how they want to consume information. Users are no longer using 1 or 2 devices so mobile expansions for marketers is critical. This trend is likely to strengthen in the coming year as the technology continues to improve in scope and ease of use. In 2017, if you haven’t already, embrace mobile!

Content and marketers focused on providing quality content to audiences will continue to dominate the mainstream marketing environment. We have come a long way from the early efforts to first imagine the potential impact of social media marketing and then to follow through on its promises by mastering effective and more conversational and interactive content messaging. The conversation will continue to project the brands promise to seemingly individualized consumers while finding that efficiency sweet spot. The keyword in content will become “personalization”, which doesn’t fit in 40 characters or less.

The Influencer factor will continue to motivate consumers’ as confidence and trust rise in those who will be viewed as thought leaders. Selecting the appropriate influencer will be critical in establishing brand credibility.

Purpose Driven Marketing continues to extend marketing efforts beyond the sale and promotes a feel-good impression with customers. Look to see more brands form charity partnerships with non-profits in 2017.

Social media channels will continue to grow in quality and selection as yet unproven technology like livestreaming, virtual and augmented reality arrive to satisfy the appetite of 2.5 billion active social media users worldwide. Marketers will be challenged to identify and utilize those channels that work best for achieving their goals. Messaging apps will begin to find their utilization. Chad Martin, North American Director, Social and Emerging Media at VML, states that, “The idea of being able to engage with a customer in a one on one way is huge. The hurdle will be figuring out how to develop relevant content to so many.”

Given the surprises in the geopolitical world in 2016, we cannot underestimate the likelihood of something unforeseen and unpredictable in 2017, whether it’s new technology or yet undetected swings in consumer tastes. The unexpected can certainly arise. Whatever the reality of marketing trend predictions, it promises to be a very interesting and challenging time ahead.

What’s Your American Dream?

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The phrase “The American Dream” is rooted in the United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence and propagates that “each person’s desire to pursue happiness was not just self-indulgence, but a part of what drives ambition and creativity.” Defined by James Truslow Adams in 1931, the idea is a fundamental component of our democracy, our inalienable rights, freedom and collective liberty. Adams stated, “The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” He went on to say, “… not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”

Such high, revolutionary acclamations  prevailed from the very beginning of our Country and found universal appeal among people from all around the world, motivating tens of millions to brave uncertainty and death in order to immigrate to this new promising world. With each new generation the promise was expanded to include many who had previously been excluded, either by race, creed or religion and the definition redefined to include an ever expanding number of social and individualized personal issues. Throughout our history, the Dream implied an opportunity for Americans to achieve prosperity and realize their dreams through hard work, personal sacrifice and service to the defense of the Nation and to others of us less capable. Today, the Dream is often expressed as an entitlement, paid for by the energies of some, confiscated in part by government, and decreed to others.

For decades, American elections and our politicians have divided the populace by race, national origin and economic position in an effort to acquire and maintain power. Such infractions created divisions in our Nation’s community, separated by wide breaches of commonality on issues both social and economic. The current political campaign brought unprecedented hostilities to the forefront from both camps. The harsh rhetoric and broad disparity of positions has left scars on our people and has served to tarnish the image and the very promise of the American Dream. For many, the dream seems destined to be an ethos past, for others thought to be out of reach.

It is time for this period of great turmoil and division to end. We are one in democracy, served by multiple opinions but united in a single purpose of providing to all of us the benefits of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For those of us who live and have lived their dreams, we must temper our appreciation with the realization that for many others the opportunity remains just a vision or a hope. Let us rededicate ourselves to building our companies on creating tangible products and services that celebrate the skills, talents and work ethic of our people and less on elevating our fortunes by crunching the numbers based on rationing and exclusion of our Country’s most capable and valuable resource.

“As a child, I can remember much discussion about the American Dream as we learned about the history of our great Nation. I grew up in Gettysburg, PA, where soldiers fought a pivotal battle in the Civil War to secure the freedom of slaves.  I was raised to believe that I had the power to create that which I could dream of and work hard to attain,” comments Julie Gareleck, CEO & Managing Partner, Junction Creative.  “I still believe in the same notion. The path has never been easy or without challenge.  I recommit myself each day to forging ahead with the next goal in mind.  I encourage you to put down the smart phones and smart devices. Turn down the rhetoric and take a break from social media. Let’s be quiet more often, listen more often, be passionate, yet be compassionate. Let’s focus on contributing to the idea that the “The American Dream” remains a defining element of our great society for all, now and in all of our futures.”

We’d love to hear about your American Dream!

Prime Meridian Consulting Expands Its Reach in Healthcare Industry

November 23, 2016 – ATLANTA, GA:

Prime Meridian Consulting (Prime Meridian), a boutique consulting firm with more than 25 years of experience in serving the needs of leading organizations in the healthcare and pharmaceutical services environment, continues to gain market share, expanding the number of healthcare and pharmaceutical companies it serves.

“The healthcare and pharmaceutical industry faces many challenges to educate and train its salesforce to effectively represent the company and the products it offers. As the marketplace becomes more competitive and regulations increase, Prime Meridian has been able to provide unique solutions to drive value,” Regina Donohue Senior Manager, Prime Meridian. “We recently rebranded our company which is now better aligned with our presence and growth in the space.”

Prime Meridian selected Junction Creative Solutions (Junction), a strategic agency committed to creating high impact solutions for SMBS and Fortune 500 companies, to assist with the brand redesign and marketing strategy to grow its business.

Julie Gareleck, Junction CEO and founder says,” As the marketing landscape in the healthcare space continues to change dramatically, it’s critical for companies like Prime Meridian to establish a brand that is indicative of the value it provides to its clients. We are confident that the new brand accurately reflects Prime Meridian as it grows its footprint in an increasingly competitive environment.”

The new updated website features an insightful design that highlights Prime Meridian offerings in Advisory Board Solutions, Educational Training, Sales Force Training and e-Learning Solutions. Prime Meridian has developed and executed comprehensive solutions that deliver impactful results for its clients. To learn more about how Prime Meridian provides innovative solutions for Healthcare and Pharmaceutical companies visit http://primemeridianconsulting.net/.

“We believe that our brand has been strengthen and we are able to attract and retain clients because of our relationship with Junction Creative. Collaborating with Junction was seamless. Our organization’s vision was truly captured in the work.”

About Prime Meridian

Prime Meridian Consulting (Prime Meridian) is a boutique consulting firm with more than 25 years of experience in serving the needs of many leading organizations in the healthcare industry. In an era of constant change for the industry, Prime Meridian offers clients unique solutions to healthcare and pharmaceutical companies to include Advisory Board Solutions, Educational Training, Sales Force Training and e-Learning Solutions.

About Junction Creative Solutions

Junction Creative Solutions (Junction) combines the intellectual capital of a consulting firm with the creative execution of an advertising agency to create effective and measurable strategies and solutions. The solutions align with specific business goals and objectives, and provide consistency from strategic planning through execution. As a result, our clients are able to maximize opportunities to react, adapt, and thrive — ultimately creating more sustainable and competitive businesses. Junction’s award winning portfolio boasts successful strategies and agency solutions for SMBs and Fortune 500 companies.

Feedback: An Opportunity to Initiate Growth

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It was one of those moments we have all experienced in some form or at some time in our daily lives. The moment when we realize that our world, that space in which we conduct the veritable business of life, is occupied by others; and those “others” have an opinion on how we are conducting our life’s business. Critical analysis is everywhere and, welcomed or not, it often arrives without a bow of constructive flavor, wrapped in a pretty box of sensitivity or an abundance of concern for our self-esteem. Like it or not most feedback, constructive or not, is rooted in the truth as to how “others” in our world perceives our actions. It is the moment that most of us are shocked into the realization that not everyone in our world sees things as we do. The moment comes just before the surprised, self-discovery that none of us are always right.

When confronted with negative feedback from the boss, coworker, friend or foe, the first response is usually an emotional event punctuated by denial and explained away by rational. Too often our reaction is to push the purveyor away and shun their comments. But allowing the hurt feelings to pass and permitting a period of reflection can lead to an opportunity for learning and growth. While the vast majority of feedback comes from those interested in helping, even the negative and unfounded criticisms can promote understanding as to how others see the world differently from us. “We all need people who give us feedback. That’s how we improve”, says Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft and technology icon.

When Sheryl Sandberg, formerly from Facebook and Google, was asked, “What’s the number one thing you look for in someone who can scale with a company?” her answer was immediate and to the point. “Someone who takes feedback well. Because people who can take feedback well are people who can learn and grow quickly.” Whether delivered from boss, customer or confidant, it is important that feedback not be dismissed out of hand. Accept it, evaluate it and initiate positive change in response to it. Assume it comes with good intentions and think of it as a time for positive self-reflection and improvement.

“In our line of work, we often find ourselves providing insights and/or feedback to our clients with regards to their business,” comments Julie Gareleck, CEO, Junction Creative Solutions. “If our clients are open to change, they are able to realize growth or take initiative to resolve a problem. If they are not ready for change, we find ourselves on the receiving end of constructive criticism. While a delicate balance, we’ve seen the results of Sandberg’s theory.”

Are You Preparing a Business Strategy to Weather Any Storm in 2017?

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As we approach the year-end, tradition demands that business leaders begin to focus on the trends in the economy and set-forth economic predictions for the coming year and propose strategies to enable businesses to respond effectively to those proposed challenges. While many of the “the sky is falling” predictions may be overstated, the accepted consensus of thought among leading economists is gravitating toward a likely recession sometime in 2017.

Some more extreme predictions promote an impending economic downturn greater than that experienced in 2008. “I think the end of 2017 or the start of 2018 is quite possible for a recession,” says Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial. “All the indicators seem to be lining up for that time frame.” Hopes that a change in presidential leadership will defer such a down turn hold little promise. “Our expectation is the economy will be relatively weak. The next president is going to need a plan right out of the gate,” says John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable, the group that has spoken with both Clinton’s and Trump’s campaigns about ideas to spur growth. Coming out of the “Great Recession” of 2008 many business leaders expected a recovery typical of past economic declines but was surprised to experience a persistent, lagging time span and the overall weakness of the recovery. “We’re kind of stuck in a funk,” says economist David Beckworth of Western Kentucky University. “This is the new normal.” Whether we are to believe these pessimistic forecasts or not, now is the time for organizational leaders to formulate a business strategy for survival and growth in 2017.

The process of formulating an effective strategy begins with evaluating the current state of your business, syncing with who your best customers are and what solutions are most vital to them.  Remember, a plan is the road map to a future reality. A projected journey to protect a position and hold the line against the competition is not a plan for sustainability or growth in the marketplace.

No matter the pedigree or the validity of an economic forecast, a legitimate strategic plan requires the ability to monitor measure and respond to changes in original assumptions. An ongoing focus on the metrics of the plans progress will permit you to evolve your tactics to address a dynamic environment that may threaten a plans original projected outcome.

A responsible allocation of resources to any endeavor is critical to the success of any outcome. The results of any process can be linked back to the amount of resources directed at the effort. “Pie-in-the-Sky” goals and objectives in any economy is a certain detriment to a successful outcome. Reasonable, realistic and responsible projections set the foundation for a sound strategy.

Not all organizations are structured to develop, execute and manage a comprehensive strategic process. Forming a partnership with an experienced and skilled provider who is in the position to focus the necessary skills on the process can be essential to success.

Founder and CEO of Junction Creative Solutions (Junction) says, “We have already started the strategic planning process with many of our clients before the end of the year. We are assisting our clients with developing strategies such that we can respond in real-time to this volatile political environment and rapidly changing marketplace. Our team is constantly monitoring market trends to better inform our clients of how it might impact a specific market segment or target consumer. ”

Now is the time to prioritize, identified and develop a phased strategically smart approach to weathering the coming economic storm whatever its intensity.