Friday, December 20, 2013

Pantone’s Spring 2014 Color Report is Here!

Pantone has been the “color authority” since it was founded in 1963 by Lawrence Herbert. Herbert created the Pantone® Color Matching System book of standardized color to resolve the problem of accurate color production in graphic arts. Since then, Pantone has expanded to other color-intensive industries such as textiles, architecture, contract interior design, and paint manufacturing. 

Every year, the Pantone team, with the input of select industry influencers and designers, creates the spring and fall color reports. These hues become the foundation for the next Fashion Week or furniture market. Oftentimes, many designers and color-enthusiasts will incorporate the new seasons’ color trends in small ways, like home décor accessories, and on grand scales such as a blast of color to the exterior wall of an architecture firm’s latest design project. Below, we have listed Pantone’s 2014 Spring Color Report and provided a few examples, just to get your creative juices flowing. Enjoy!

Pantone® Fashion Color Report Spring 2014
Cayenne: Spicy, yet not intimidating, Cayenne will add a blast of courage to an otherwise neutrally comfortable space. 

Photo Credit – Better Homes & Gardens
Celosia Orange: Named after a stunningly unique flower, Celosia Orange’s vibrant and energetic color radiates warmth throughout this contemporary children’s bedroom.

Photo Credit - Haus Line
Dazzling Blue: While endearing and bold, Dazzling Blue can be used in small accessories or large furniture pieces. If you truly love this color, splash it on the walls, too! 

Photo Credit - Rue Magazine
Freesia: Also influenced by a flower, Freesia is sweet and optimistic; this color is great for the innovative workplace, in paint or plant form.

Photo Credit - The Flowers Avenue
Paloma: Paloma’s contemporary tone is reflected in this concrete building, and both are sleek and timeless. 

Chapel of St. Peter, Campos de Jordao, Brazil, 1987
Placid Blue: The serene nature of Placid Blue makes it a top choice for coastal living. Notice how this shade is used as an accent on the chairs and the bookcase. 

Photo Credit - Willey Desgin, LLC
Sand: With a name like ‘Sand’, one would typically think of the beach, but here we see how Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen’s rustic Los Angeles home utilizes this color’s versatility, inside and out. 

Photo Credit - Architectural Digest

Women’s and Men’s Specialty Colors

Hemlock + Comfrey: Hemlock is a much softer pastel and Comfrey is a bit deeper than the 2013 Color of the Year, Emerald. Both shades are meant to add the natural touch of green to round out the 2014 spring color palette appeal.

Green shades enliven indoor and outdoor spaces.
Radiant Orchid + Magenta Purple: Radiant Orchid’s bold, chic color is the 2014 Color of the Year; its rich-toned counterpart is just as worthy as it exudes a sense of regality.

These vibrant purples and an ethnic print
create a culturally chic home accent accessory.
Violet Tulip + Purple Haze: Violet Tulip evokes romance and wistful nostalgia. Purple Haze is a deeper, stronger version of Violet Tulip, but it still has its soft side. 

The blend of these soft violets with the dash of black
and Dazzling Blue make a whimsical piece of artwork.

Be on the lookout for the shades of the Pantone® 
Color Report Spring 2014 and let us know which are your favorites! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Not Just Office Space: How to Increase Workplace Effectiveness

The modern workspace has evolved from merely a place for employees to sit and work alone in unadorned, individual cubicles, to well-designed, engaging spaces for personnel to work and cooperate for a common goal. For business and building owners, the design of the workspace has gained value like never before. Location, amenities and service offerings are just a few elements seen as essential to effective working environments. The November / December 2013 issue of BOMA Magazine explores the transformation of the designed workplace.

"Designed to be Effective"
BOMA Magazine - November / December 2013
Commercial designers, here are a few tips stemming from the experts at BOMA Magazine for revamping a client’s office area to boost workers’ performance.

  • Understand the functionality of the space. Designers need to understand that jobs are constantly progressing, thus altering the function of workspaces. Collaboration and spaces for optimal group work are becoming more necessary as, in the knowledge sector, a single person sometimes no longer has all the required skills and background to complete a job alone. In order to meet this need, a variety of collaborative spaces need to be provided. This affords employees flexibility for where they want to work as a group, which can lead to increased productivity.
  • Suggest an open layout. Moving towards visibility in the workplace can promote an accessible, cohesive environment and help develop office culture and values. Robert A. Peck, director of Consulting for the Southeast Region at the architectural firm Gensler, says, “If we’re sitting where we cannot see people, we tend to forget about them. In an open environment, it’s harder to forget. So we can facilitate collaboration without forcing it.”
  • Provide space for each type of worker. While collaborative space is critical, surveys have found that 54 percent of time spent by those in knowledge-sector businesses is spent in “focus” mode. Some employees thrive in distraction-free environments to focus, while others work better in ‘buzzing” surroundings. Commercial designers should have a mix of private and open spaces for their clients, so both types of people are catered to. 
  • Redesign or add social spaces into the office interior. By transforming social spaces like coffee bars or breaks rooms, employee satisfaction increases, including interaction, acceptance and encouragement. Often, conversations that start as social shift into business which advocates for connectivity.

Workspace design is being asked to lend to effectiveness, no longer surviving on location and conveniences. Making these changes will grant employees the tools they need to perform their best at their jobs.

Commercial architects and designers, are your workspace designs unlocking worker productivity? Please feel free to share your ideas and thoughts. To read more commercial design tips from the experts at BOMA Magazine, click on the photo below.

BOMA Magazine - November / December 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Why Bee Health Matters

To our horticultural industry readers, this week’s blog post is specifically for you. Some of you may have noticed a severe decline in the bee population in recent years. The November 2013 issue of Nursery Management delves deeper into the possible cause of the drop in bee mortality. 

"Why Bee Health Matters"
Nursery Management - November 2013
The domesticated honey bee population has declined nearly 50 percent in the last 50 years, and this year was one of the worst on record with some bee keepers losing 60 percent of their hives. This is disturbing news to many because bees account for one-third of the food we eat, including any vegetable, fruit or nut that grows from a flower. Examples of these are blueberries, almonds, squash, and tomatoes – all of which require pollination. The Pollinator Partnership says that pollinators add $217 billion to the global economy, while honey bees alone are responsible for $1.2 billion to $5.4 billion of agricultural productivity in the U.S. 

One of the possible causes is Colony Collapse Disorder – the phenomenon occurring when worker bees disappear, leaving behind a queen, food and a few nurse bees. Other causes that affect bee health are mites, viruses, bacteria, disease, poor nutrition, beekeeping practices, transportation of hives across country, habitat loss, genetically modified plants, lack of genetic diversity, weather, and pesticides. 

"Why Bee Health Matters"
Nursery Management - November 2013
Of all the pesticides bees can be exposed to, one class has been in the media and regulatory spotlight – neonicotinoids. A bill has been submitted to Congress for the suspension of four neonicotinoids until their EPA registration review in 2019 – dinotefuran, imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam. To help regulate the issue without putting companies out of business, the EPA announced label changes to “better protect bees and other pollinators” from the four specified neonicotinoids. The EPA intends to have the new language placed on “as many products as possible by the 2014 use season.”

Joe Bischoff, director of government relations at ANLA, says, “In general, the language used in the new EPA labels is flexible enough for the green industry to work within the new guidelines and still be able to use neonicotinoids…As an industry, we are stewards of these chemistries just as we are of the land. We must be responsible and use them for their intended purpose and for their benefit.”

To read more of Nursery Management’s coverage of bee health, click on the photo below.

Nursery Management - November 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

History of the Hashtag

What started off as a modest symbol for “number” on the keys of the telephone has risen in only six years to be one the strongest marketing tools of the 21st century, connecting hundreds of millions of people together. But what is it about this hashtag symbol that makes it so powerful for public relations, marketing and advertising firms?

Social media marketing has skyrocketed to become a necessary element in any business’ brand. Reaching your company’s target audience through a strong online presence has never been easier, yet strategy is still crucial. Hashtags make messages more searchable; similar to a mini search engine optimizer within just 140 characters. By using the symbol, keywords associated with your industry become more than just words, but turn into hyperlinks that millions of potential consumers can easily find. Thus, creating the opportunity for countless digital impressions.

The hashtag also crosses virtually every medium. It can be utilized on social media platforms such as its origin, Twitter, as well as Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and Flickr. The hashtag is also always making its way into non-interactive mediums like billboard messages and commercials. By using this symbol as a tool for brand awareness, business-to-business or business-to-consumer interaction is effectively elevated.

This infographic from Offerpop, sourced from PR Daily
documents the short but influential history of the hashtag.

Interested in learning more about hashtags as well as the benefits of social media marketing? Please feel free to post your questions and comments below, or contact the ECPR team at

Friday, November 22, 2013

Julia Molloy Enlightens Atlanta Designers with 7 Secrets of Top Luxury Interior Design Firms

On November 13, the ECPR team partnered with the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC) to help reveal the 7 Secrets of Top Luxury Interior Design Firms, presented by our good friend and the design industry’s leading business expert Julia Molloy, president and CEO of Molloy Management Group. As the premier operations and luxury branding specialist in the design industry, Julia works with design company CEOs and owners to increase their efficiencies, develop business plans, boost profits, and connect with a more affluent clientele. Her company, Molloy Management Group, Inc., specializes in advising design professionals how to develop luxury brands and build celebrity statuses.

With many years of experience in the field, she has determined seven distinct patterns, or traits, among her most successful, high-end designer clients. With the opportunity to present at ADAC and share her proficient knowledge with interior designers and showroom managers based in the South, Julia presented one of the most engaging and applicable sessions we have ever had the pleasure of attending. The audience members widely seconded this sentiment, with rave reviews following the event.

For those who work in the design world and were unable to attend, we have highlighted a few key points of relevant interest, stemming from Julia’s presentation, 7 Secrets of the Top Luxury Interior Design Firms.

Julia Molloy presenting the
“7 Secrets of Top Luxury Interior Design Firms.”
What is Luxury?

It all begins with the question, “what is luxury?” Julia defined luxury as the ability to “satisfy every need and go beyond the ordinary into the realm of the extraordinary. It is about elevating the mind, body and spirit.” Luxury must be developed inside an organization before it can start providing luxury as a service and viable reference to clients. The seven secrets provide the necessary elements to becoming luxury internally, and then servicing with luxury externally.

Luxury Starts from Within

In terms of internal business operations, a design company’s brand vision sets the foundation of what it stands for and provides. Brand Vision should be instilled in a firm’s staff as well. As soon as employees are hired, the company structure must be set to evoke brand-aligned staff members and a true sense of internal organization.

Clear roles and accountabilities must be established for each teammate, with centralized and easily accessible information that requires limited presence of the principal designer when needed, allowing for a streamlined approach. There must be short-term tasking and team meetings where everyone can discuss their completed, current and upcoming tasks. From there, documentation of regular company practices and forms should occur, whether internally or in the field. This will help uphold the standards of quality and efficiency for the company.

“Designers and showroom managers visit ADAC
for Julia Molloy’s presentation.”
Branding and Public Relations are Essential

Once the brand vision, company structure, and documentation processes are solidified, then brand development can start to take shape. Branding should authentically reflect a design firm’s key characteristics. The key characteristics are a firm’s “navigational compass,” which directs the decision making process and, ultimately, aligns all actions to the brand vision.

Top luxury interior design firms place public relations and press as high priorities. A publicist can help a designer become an active and renowned figure in their community, which will help them gain popularity and publicity. Design firms and their public relations teams should develop a list of targeted publications, websites and blogs for submitting the designer’s well-planned media kit and build relationships with all of the publications’ editors and writers. If an interior design firm desires the most return on investment, it will work with a reputable public relations firm who specializes in the industry.

Luxury Has the Potential to Grow and Evolve

A brand and business development team such as Molloy Management Group, and an industry-experienced, full-service public relations firm like our own Eberly & Collard Public Relations, can help take a firm from its “start-up” phase to celebrity standing.

Active public relations and press coverage help design firms remain present, known, seen, heard, and available.

According to Julia, when an interior designer’s clients see his or her name published, it makes them feel good and say, “That’s my designer!” This equates to an elevated position and feeling for the client. As a result, the client acknowledges the luxury of the design firm, even after the project has been completed. In turn, this can generate customer loyalty and referrals. Coming full circle, the purpose of public relations for a designer involves positioning the designer as a “go-to” expert resource for creating both beautiful and useful living spaces, but also to provide the client a truly luxurious experience.

These are only a few of the tips provided by Julia Molloy. Her knowledge is impressive and vast; to learn more, visit the Molloy Management Group website at To view other events at the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center, visit For more information about Eberly & Collard Public Relations, visit our website at

Our most sincere thanks to Julia for enlightening the Atlanta design industry, and our appreciation to the highly talented and devoted staff at ADAC for hosting the event.

Members of the ECPR team with Julia Molloy of Molloy Management Group
and Amy Musarra of ADAC.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Object Lesson in Architectural Record

The November 2013 issue of Architectural Record features six noteworthy buildings set on university campuses across the country. The article titled “Object Lesson” is about the University of Arkansas’ Fay Jones School of Architecture built by one of its own, while combining the campus’ historical elements with modern flare.

Fay Jones School of Architecture - University of Arkansas
When the university was granted $10 million to update the School of Architecture, it came with a very tight schedule, requiring initial plans to be submitted within weeks. With the limited amount of time available, school leaders turned to its own architectural department.

A combination of old and new
Marlon Blackwell has been a professor at the University of Arkansas for over twenty years and serves as the current chair of the architectural department, all while owning his own private firm. His firm, Marlon Blackwell Architects, created a minimalist design for the Jones building and added a four-story 35,000-square-foot attachment to the current library.

Click here to view the building's blueprints.
By fusing the old structure with the new wing, the distinct architectural languages and building methods are made clear. The building has new studio, classroom, and administrative spaces, and also features a 200-seat auditorium, model shops, a gallery, and a rooftop terrace. In addition to the architecture department, the building houses the landscape and interior design departments. Completed in August 2013, the overall project was 90,955 square feet and cost $32.4 million.

Learn more about the Fay Jones School of Architecture.
Below are companies also involved in the development and construction of the Fay Jones School of Architecture. To see blueprints and learn more about this project or the other six university educational facilities featured in Architectural Record’s November issue, click the photo below.

Click here to learn more about the six university buildings.

Architect: Marlon Blackwell Architect
Associate Architect: Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects
Engineers: Kenneth Jones & Associates; TME; Development Consultants
Consultants: Crafton Tull Sparks; Clarkson Consulting
General Contractor: Baldwin & Shell Construction Company


Roofing: Johns Manville Roofing
Green Roof: LiveRoof
Fritted Glass: Viracon
Glass Doors: Oldcastle Building Envelope

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Furniture Today’s 2013 Consumer Buying Trends

Furniture Today is a leading news source for furniture industry market analysis, product trends, and retailer and manufacturing news. Recently, the magazine released its “2013 Consumer Buying Trends,” stocked with statistics varying by region, buyer demographics, amount spent, and specific populations. For furniture manufacturers and retailers, this informative information is crucial for business advancement and potential new product development. Stemming from the report, below we have dissected some key points for observation in the upcoming quarters as well as provided marketing tactics for each trend.

2013 Consumer Buying Trends
Master Sales for Master Bedrooms

The master bedroom is the inner sanctuary of the home and it is evident that homeowners are not skimping on the expense of their serenity. In 2012, U.S. households bought $8.8 billion-worth of master bedroom furniture, where all the buyers spent a median of $599. Midwest households spent the most with a $999 average, while Northeastern households spent the least with an average of $525.

Baby Boomers comprised two-fifths of all buyers in 2012. Younger Boomers (ages 49-57) spent a median of $849 and Older Boomers (ages 58-67) spent the most, a median of $1,549.

In 2013, 5.5 million households plan to buy master bedroom furniture. Adult Millennials, currently ages 18 through 32, are 65 million strong and are excellent master bedroom prospects for 2013 because many are in the process of designing their own homes and personal spaces. Comfortable luxury is the desire of most Millennials. Strategic marketing catered towards these interests can boost a company’s revenue significantly.

Master Bedroom Trends
Casual Dining for Millennials

Millennials love to eat out, but it appears that many more are opting for dining in the comfort of their own backyards. This year, 4.1 million consumer households plan to buy casual dining furniture, with Millennials and Young Boomers purchasing at considerable rates. In 2012, on average, Millennials spent $199 and Young Boomers spent $349. The highest amount of buyers came from the middle class, with incomes between $50,000 and $99,999.

When creating a marketing strategy, it is important to not only consider the consumers’ age and income, but also the location of the buyer and the purpose of the product. The South spent the most on casual dining furniture with a $299 median, while the West spent the least with only a $99 median. Targeting a specific region can help cover a large demographic efficiently. 

Casual Dining Trends
Millennial Entertainment

The commonplace of flat-screen TV’s and household gaming equipment caused the peak of entertainment furniture sales in 2004 and 2006. In 2012, the top-selling case goods product and the fourth-most popular furniture product overall was entertainment furniture, with 5.2 million U.S. households investing an estimated $5.5 billion in retail. By generation, Millennials (ages 18-32) and Generation X (ages 33-48) are the best prospects for buying entertainment furniture in 2013.

Last year, Millennials spent an average of $199 on entertainment furniture and Generation X spent $225. As many retailers and manufacturers are aware, casual dining and entertainment furniture go hand-in-hand for providing comfortable luxury items for the home. Marketing products to specific age groups allows the consumer to purchase products that are well-suited for their own lifestyles. Once that vision is seen and accepted, then a sale can be made.

Entertainment Furniture Buying Trends
Trend spotting is meant to raise awareness and inspire action. Targeted strategic marketing can help address these new findings. We hope this revealing information sparked our furniture retailer and manufacturer followers’ interest and drives toward exponential business growth.

Monday, October 28, 2013

History Flourishes at The Royal Horticultural Society's Garden Wisley

At Eberly & Collard Public Relations, our team is frequently astounded by the complexity of garden design, both old and new. As in any field of design, landscape architects and horticultural specialists must look to the past for the future of their work. For inspiration, sometimes it’s necessary to slow down and take a stroll through history. Our team recently discovered the remarkable quality and celebrated beauty of The Royal Horticultural Society’s Garden Wisley; we cannot escape the time-honored inspiration these gardens provide, nor the contemporary designs they embrace.

[Photo Credit.] 
Generously presented to England’s Royal Horticultural Society in 1903 by Sir Thomas Hanbury, The Royal Horticultural Society’s Garden Wisley have become a beloved national treasure. The second most visited gardens in the United Kingdom, Wisley Gardens (as they are often called) are carefully tended by the Royal Horticultural Society and have grown considerably since their original gifting. The gardens now include a wild garden, vegetable garden, model ‘home’ gardens, pinetum, canal with water lilies, fruit field, and an alpine meadow. Recent years have seen the educational additions of a laboratory, the Clore Learning Center and the stunning bicentenary Glasshouse.

[Photo Credit:]
The Glasshouse is a design marvel in and of itself. Built to mimic the feel of a cathedral, the Glasshouse was designed as a one-of-a-kind plant showcase structure and stands 40 feet tall. The Royal Horticultural Society’s immense tender plant collection, comprised of more than 5,000 taxa, is housed in this immense tri-roof structure. Each ‘roof’ represents a climactic habitat: tropical, moist temperate and dry temperate. Designed to overlook the garden lake, the Wisley Glasshouse enchants visitors and provides a center of education for the gardens.

[Photo Credit: The Telegraph]
Another recent addition to Wisley Gardens is the Czech-designed Centenary Crevice Garden. This celebratory addition to the rock garden was crafted by alpine specialist, Zdenek Zvolanek. While preserving the integrity of the original Wisley rock garden, designed in 1911, this installation honors the history of alpine growers and includes hundreds of miniature, high-elevation plants from all over the world. With special attention to seasonality, this garden currently overflows with autumn cyclamen crocus and colchicum, soon to be replaced by winter oxalis and lachenalia.

[Photo Credit:] 
The breadth and depth of history to be discovered at The Royal Horticultural Society’s Garden Wisley serves to remind landscape architects and horticultural specialists of the foundations for their expertise. Just as Wisley Gardens abounds with vibrant greenery, this garden also overflows with historic inspiration. Wisley Gardens’ seamlessly-executed integration of old and new provides a challenge for modern designers, as this garden maintains a long-standing paradigm of design grandeur. In our work within the fields of horticulture and design, the ECPR team has seen a number of gardens, but an exclusive handful that have historically maintained this level of excellence and elegance. From the Glasshouse to the alpine meadows, history flourishes and artistry abounds at The Royal Horticultural Society’s Garden Wisley.

Friday, October 25, 2013

2014 Construction Market Trends

We are approaching the end of the year, and companies are preparing for 2014 business decisions. has researched exciting and encouraging trend forecasts for the upcoming year in the commercial and residential construction industry. 

Several industry associations and consulting firms are indicating 2014 will be a good year for construction industry growth. Below we have listed a few of the most recently announced trends.

The Portland Cement Association’s chief economist Ed Sullivan reports that all fundamentals are predicted to show 9.7% increases in consumption.

Commercial and Residential Projects

The construction management consulting firm FMI believes construction-put-in-place (CPIP) will show a growth of 7% in both commercial and residential fields next year.

Green Building

In the green building and sustainability construction sectors, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) indicates half of all institutional and commercial construction will be green-certified by 2016.

Top Truck Ratings

In recent trucking Consumer Reports tests, the 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 was rated the top half-ton truck. Some truck testers believed the 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 performed better. However, after further comparisons, the Silverado proved more capable, while the Ram did achieve top ride and comfort ratings.

Equipment Rental Market

CEO of CAT-Caterpillar Rentals Doug Oberhelman states that companies are not yet ready to make the hefty investments in large machinery, therefore, the equipment rental market has continued to grow as a result. In 2013, equipment rentals amounted to $32 billion and are positioned to reach $36 billion in 2014.

For more information and to watch the construction industry report, visit by clicking any of the photos.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Positive Benefits of Metal Roofing for Schools

The October 2013 issue of Commercial Building Products magazine features an article on the increased popularity of metal-roofing systems among educational institutions. Facility managers of both new and existing buildings are considering the short- and long-term benefits of these systems. It is difficult to overlook the efficient performance, cost-saving traits, and the environmental attributes that allow for green certifications and energy-code compliance.

Commercial Building Products - October 2013 Cover

Butler Manufacturing Co. of Kansas City, Mo. teamed up with Fryeburg Academy in Fryeburg, Me. to install an MR-24 metal-roofing system for the school’s field house and arts center in less than one year. Using this project as an example, below, we divulge the top four benefits of installing metal-roofing systems on school buildings and university campuses.
Commercial Building Products - October 2013
Going Green

Steel is the most recycled material on earth and can achieve a thermal efficiency rating of R-40 or higher. Cool-roofing systems use highly reflective paint to reduce roof temperatures and lower the amount of energy needed to cool a school building. A metal-roofing system can benefit schools and universities by helping meet sustainability goals and LEED, Energy Star and Cool Roof Rating Council standards.

Longevity and Durability

When marketing to schools and universities considering the switch to metal roofs, builders and developers should note the added value of reduced repair needs. These weather-tight, low-maintenance roofing systems ensure proper alignment, accurate installation and leak protection, which lowers building operation expenses over time.

Cost Savings

Metal-roofing systems can most likely lower maintenance and energy bills for educational facilities, allowing money to be spent elsewhere. One of the largest concerns when considering a metal-roofing system is the initial expense, but after a life-cycle cost-savings analysis, a public or private school will potentially see firsthand how valuable the investment is. Once the energy savings, performance and durability are considered, the original expenditure concerns dwindle.
Commercial Building Products - October 2013 issue

Daylighting, similar to an over-sized skylight, is growing in popularity alongside the metal-roofing systems in educational facilities. In large areas of schools and universities, such as open corridors, gymnasiums, cafeterias, and auditoriums, daylighting systems can be installed. This alternative lighting solution uses natural light to illuminate large areas instead of using costly electricity. Daylighting reduces electrical lighting consumption by as much as 70%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, Washington.

For more information about this project and the benefits of metal-roofing systems, commercial builders and designers can order a copy of Commercial Building Products’ October issue online at Or, click each photo above to read the full article.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Game Changer – How SEO Has Turned Digital Marketing Upside-Down and How It Can Change the Game for Your Business

[Photo Credit:
As marketing and branding ever-increasingly focuses on online techniques, search engine optimization (SEO), has taken its place as king of the digital platform. From businesses run by a handful of people, to the largest, multi-national and global corporations, everyone wants to crack the SEO code. When executed with intention and precision, SEO best practices can change the trajectory of a company’s success in a way that will provide far-reaching benefits and results.

We recently discovered “The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors,” a chart designed by Search Engine Land, to help marketers and business owners decipher the SEO code and streamline their digital efforts. After studying and analyzing this incredibly helpful chart, our team has highlighted the nine important areas of SEO focus that can take a company’s digital marketing efforts to the next level.

[Photo Credit: Search Engine Land]
First, a company needs to recognize there are two main categories of SEO factors, on-the-page factors and off-the-page-factors. We begin by pinpointing the four most significant on-the-page factors, elements that marketers and businesses can directly affect:

Quality – Is your web copy of the highest caliber? Are company pages well-written? Is your social media communication precise and attention-grabbing?
Research – Do you understand the keywords that searchers may use to locate your company/product/service?

Titles – Have you made sure that your HTML title tags are utilizing your industry’s keywords?

Crawl – Can search engines effectively and easily “crawl” your site? Are there layers to your site that may pose as a blockade for search engines?

After a company has refined these four significant on-the-page-factors, it is time to move to a parallel component of SEO effectiveness and deal with the five most heavily weighted off-the-page factors, or elements influenced by outside sources:

Quality – Are the links on your website and social media from respected and valuable sources?

Authority – Do links, shares and other media contribute to your company’s reputation as a trustworthy source and industry authority?

Country – In what country is a viewer of your digital media located?

Locality – In which city or local area is a viewer of your digital media located?

History – Has a visitor regularly been to your site or digitally favored your media?

Our team is confident that a company’s accessibility and marketing route will experience dynamic change if these SEO fundamentals are executed with care and accuracy. The dominant presence of digital marketing in today’s branding culture demands the consideration of businesses, as we see every industry and sector experiencing the eminent take-over of tech-savvy companies.

Those corporations who have embraced the benefits and connectivity available by means of SEO are continually pushing to create formulas that will funnel greater and greater numbers of consumers through their websites and social media. In response, companies are creating search engines that are even more sensitive and complex. The latest digital search masterpiece to leave marketers reeling is Google’s algorithm, Hummingbird.

[Photo features Amit Singhal, a Google vice president. Photo Credit: / Stephen Lam/Reuters]
Hummingbird is an algorithm that has been designed to focus on the meaning and intent of a search, rather than the individual terms found within the search. This technology adds a completely new dimension to digital search capabilities and creates a whole new level of significance for SEO. For example, if a user searched “best ways to brand your company,” rather than searching for “best,” “ways,” “brand,” and “company,” Hummingbird would gather web hits that include subject matter about how to begin branding a company, then potentially top companies with the best branding. The algorithm might then discover different ways to brand a company in your industry and present you with photos of branding in similar fields; the list goes on and on.

A development like Hummingbird has the potential to leave companies who are lacking SEO strategy far behind those who understand SEO best practices and embrace this new building block of the marketing mix. However, the Eberly & Collard Public Relations team believes that all businesses and companies are capable of grasping the basics of SEO. Following the nine, top-ranked SEO factors of success, we feel that businesses, no matter the size or resources available to them, can execute effective digital marketing strategy. When this is done well, SEO can truly be a game-changer for your business.

To learn more about Search Engine Land’s ‘The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors’ chart, click this link: 

To read more on Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm, check out this Forbes article:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hospitality Bathrooms Go Green In 2013

When travelers look for lodging while on a trip, they want their room to be a retreat for relaxation. Some consumers prefer a country-style bed and breakfast while others gravitate towards contemporary designs. One feature that not many will argue about is green sustainability.

Hotels are embracing eco-friendly products to decrease impact on the earth and reduce operation bills, while maintaining comfortable luxury for guests. How are they doing this? By targeting the space where the most waste takes place – the bathroom. Below, we highlight five sustainable products that have caught our attention for hotel and resort bathroom spaces.

The Organic 2 Handle Single-Hole Faucet

Starck Organic 2 Handle
Single-Hole Faucet
Designed by Philippe Starck, this faucet contains a third less brass than traditional fixtures. The handle at the top controls water temperature with an adjustable temperature restriction, and the distinctive rotating spout controls volume, creating an easier method of controlling water flow.

The Versacork Series

Sustainable Flooring Versacork Premium™
The Sustainable Flooring Company strives to provide flooring, wall, and millwork options of high quality, while maintaining its personal commitment to not adversely impact the environment for company benefit. All of the company’s products are made from reclaimed or recycled wood, bamboo or cork. In addition, various combinations of the three materials can be used to create the best possible match for clients’ needs. The Versacork Premium™ series is a suitable application for showers, pool surrounds, back splashes, and bar tops, while offering remarkable slip-resistance when wet or dry. It is soft to the touch and absorbs body heat for a warm floor.

Vetrazzo® Recycled Glass Countertops

Vetrazzo® Countertop in 'Chivalry Blue'
The variety of color options Vetrazzo® provides is simply astounding. The countertops are comprised of 100% recycled glass, including architectural or art glass, beer bottles and jars. The end result creates a unique look and feel for the hotel’s style. Once a Vetrazzo® countertop is installed, it truly becomes a functional work of art within the bathroom.

Algiers Vanity Light

AFX Algiers Vanity Light
AFX has re-innovated the decorative light fixture category by using the latest LED technology with fluorescent lamping, modern ballasts and top-quality design engineering. The versatile Algiers Vanity features a contemporary design with metal end covers and satin nickel finish. Moreover, it can be mounted vertically or horizontally to the wall or ceiling.

American Standard Tropic Showerhead

American Standard Tropic Showerhead
Hotels, resorts, and other businesses or facilities can potentially save thousands of dollars annually by making an investment in low-flow bathroom appliances. As an example, New York’s LaGuardia Airport saved over $160,000 in one year, after spending $90,000 to convert its restrooms. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a full list of products that adhere to the WaterSense® conservation standards. One manufacturer leading the effort is American Standard. The company has a number of products listed, including the Tropic showerhead. Tropic uses 1.5 gallons per minute, compared to the standard flow of 2.2 gallons per minute, without sacrificing performance.

Each of these companies has various eco-friendly products that will fit into any style of bathroom. Joining the sustainable hospitality industry is not only a profitable economic decision, but also a wise environmental decision.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The New Business of Agribusiness, Part II: Skylight Farm on Tending the Land and Community

[Photo Credit: Justen Clay Photography]
Last week, friends and followers of Eberly & Collard Public Relations were introduced to Justin Aiello and Skylight Farm. Our team was given the opportunity to share Skylight Farm’s integrative and relational marketing methodology, which has propelled Aiello into the spotlight as an innovative, new face for organic agribusiness. This week, our team is excited to delve more deeply into the in’s-and-out’s of organic growing and how Skylight Farm’s unique practices affect the Georgia growing community.

Why farm? Justin Aiello, the young owner and operator of Skylight Farm, could provide a long list of reasons why he chose to quit his previous job and pursue farming, but they all point to caring for the land and his community. The 27-year-old farmer, motivated by a desire to contribute to the local, sustainable food-culture in Atlanta, has spent the past year learning and researching the effects of farming on the local environment. His comprehensive study of biointensive growing methods, as well as the opportunity to be schooled in southern growing culture by seasoned veterans, has provided the farmer with a unique outlook on agribusiness. Skylight Farm is a blending of old methods and new practices with an innovative and fresh outlook on agribusiness.

[Photo Credit: Justen Clay Photography]

Aiello’s growing methods range from those that have been passed down through generations of Georgia farmers, to the employment of the most modern agricultural technology. Everything done on the farm is put to practice with great care and sustainability in mind. Skylight Farm employs a number of different growing methods that enable Aiello to produce as much as possible, while caring for the land in the best way possible. 

From SPIN, or small plot intensive farming, to conservation tillage methods, Aiello’s approach to growing is both pioneering and conscientious. Skylight Farm does intensive crop rotations and cover cropping, to keep the soil nutrient-rich as well as helping to prevent pest and disease problems. The farm also composts, harnesses integrative pest management practices and as Aiello emphasizes, makes use of “good, old-fashioned hard work.” 

[Photo Credit: Justen Clay Photography]
Since Skylight Farm sits on only a few acres, the farmer has embraced one growing method in particular, SPIN farming. Aiello explains, “SPIN farming allows you to grow very productively on a small space, only a few acres. In order to achieve the highest variety and most production out of a small space, you must plant smaller sections of crops and plant more often.” This means that a field could produce as many as 15 different crops at any given time. So, Skylight Farm plants row-by-row, alternating the rows in which different crops will be grown. Aiello illustrates that a 100 foot row of carrots might be completely harvested over the course of two weeks, so he plants a new bed of carrots, in a different place, every two weeks. He elaborates on the benefits of this method, sharing that, “SPIN farming allows us to have a steady supply of vegetables while maintaining a high variety in our crop rotation as well as making sure we don’t over-use the soil with just one crop.” The farm currently serves as a model for this method of farming and Aiello hopes to educate future growers on the environmental benefits to be found in this approach to production.

With education and preservation in mind, Skylight Farm utilizes integrative marketing to develop relationship with its local community in the hopes of sharing its engaging and unique approach to agribusiness. Those who interact with the farm, whether it’s digitally or at the Piedmont Park Green Market, learn something new about farming with each interaction. When Aiello shares photos documenting the step-by-step process of growing kale or posts an article about food seasonality, Skylight Farm bridges a gap in the connection between producers and community. Each time a customer asks Aiello about his business at the farmers market and he shares tidbits about organic farming, the purpose of Skylight Farm comes full circle. 

[Photo Credit: Justen Clay Photography]
As ECPR seeks to connect consumers with what they are consuming, our team gets excited about sharing innovative businesses, like Skylight Farm, who are creating fresh connections. In tending the land, Justin Aiello and Skylight Farm are investing in the health of Atlanta. As Aiello emphasizes, “Building relationships with a farm is not only a way to support your local economy, but also a way to support sustainable, healthy living. Know your farmer, know your food.”

To get to know Skylight Farm, click the link to visit their Facebook page:

You can also visit with Justin and the rest of the Skylight Farm team or pick up some veggies at the Piedmont Park Green Market every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click the link for more information: 

[Photo Credit: Brittany Price]