Much to blog about.

Nonprofit Workshop

Free Nonprofit Resources on Partner Relations, Crowdfunding and Social Media

October 16, 2014 | by Bohlsen Group

On October 8, a group of Indianapolis fundraising and nonprofit professionals joined Bohlsen Group and Louisville-based Menish Auctions at Broad Ripple’s Speak Easy for the Fundraise Outside the Box workshop.

As a group, we discussed past successful events, what could have been done to make events more successful and what could be done in advance of the event to increase visibility. Some of the big takeaways related to integrating quality video into any media pitching to demonstrate valuable visuals. We also discussed out-of-the-box media opportunities to get local media directly involved in your event or cause and the importance of a specific event hashtag in connecting with influencers.

Fundraise Outside the Box was the first of four workshops in the Nonprofit Power Plays series, an insider’s guide to nonprofit public relations and fundraising.

Mark your calendar for the following dates for the remainder of the series. Check back to or the Bohlsen Group website closer to the events to learn times and locations for the winter, spring, and summer workshops.

Winter Workshop: Harnessing Partner Relations for Powerful Outreach

January 15, 2015

Kick off the New Year with a toolbox of tactics to recruit new community partners and maximize existing ones. From networking to sponsorships, Bohlsen Group experts and local guests will share tried-and-true tips and case studies of successful community partnerships that benefit both parties and generate real exposure.

Spring Workshop: A Nonprofit Guide to Crowdfunding

April 16, 2015

From Kickstarter to Indiegogo, crowdfunding platforms are everywhere online. The temptation for nonprofits is to either shy away altogether or jump too quickly into a campaign without proper planning. Bohlsen Group public relations specialists and guest panelists will present popular platforms and the “how” behind crowdfunding along with the right communications approach needed to make your campaign sing.

Summer Workshop: So Long, Social Media Mediocrity

July 16, 2015

You know the basics, you’re following a checklist of social media musts—but so is everyone else. Bohlsen Group and friends have compiled rarely heard tips, tools, and resources for you to engage your followers and stand out among the social media noise.

We look forward to seeing you there!


Rebranding Part I: Six Signs It’s Time to Rebrand

October 9, 2014 | by Mandy Bray

Most companies would say that branding is essential for success, but when pressed, would have trouble defining what a brand is.

A logo, some would say. Others would cite a reputation, a mission statement, or a slogan.

They’re all correct. These are all parts that make up a whole, a value proposition for a consumer that manifests itself through words, images, and narrative working together.

“It’s the multiplication, not just the sum, of all of these elements,” explains Terry Million, Creative Art Director at Bohlsen Group. “Branding is a combination of graphic elements, messaging, and user experience that make up a promise and a value proposition to consumers.”

But what happens when that promise isn’t kept, or isn’t clear? If your brand identity is faltering, then it may be time to consider a rebrand.

Here are six signs that it’s time to make a change:

Your brand name is frequently misspelt or mispronounced.

Perhaps your company name came from a founder with a long, unpronounceable name, or your “clever” brand name actually causes more confusion than kudos. Either way, sometimes simplicity is best.

You’ve undergone a merger or acquisition

When multiple brands come under one roof, they need to learn how to play together well and consolidate messaging to eliminate any confusion for customers. Either a complete rebrand or a modification of the stronger brand name to encompass both will be needed to keep your customers’ loyalty.

Your business or industry has changed

Did your company used to be a video-rental store or travel agency? If your company changes its core business offerings, it might need a new name and new branding to reflect that. Conversely, did you know that Hewlett-Packard was in business for decades before the computer was invented? They’re a classic example of a company that kept its name while changing other elements of its branding and adapting to changing market conditions.

Even in its most recent spin-off, the company is keeping its iconic “HP” or “Hewlett-Packard” name.

Your logo doesn’t match your product/service

Art and visual elements evoke feelings and emotions. When your visuals don’t match your intended emotions (eg. a logo with sharp, harsh edges and bold colors for a spa), it might be time to rethink your look. Consider hiring an agency to do a brand assessment if you have doubts.

You’ve expanded internationally

Better to find out now that your product name means #*&$ in Chinese.

Your reputation is irreparably damaged

Some have speculated that Malaysia Airlines may re-brand in the wake of nightmarish 2014 in the same way that ValuJet made a comeback as AirTran. In the worst scenarios of crisis communications, complete redirection might be the best option.

If you find that you fit one or more of the above categories, take a deep breath. Rebranding is a monumental step, but there are professionals and agencies like Bohlsen Group to help you through it so your company can come out stronger on the other side.

Stay tuned for Rebranding Part II, where we’ll discuss the two paths companies can take in re-branding, and which may work best for you.


Team Captain Pro Tips: Make Your Next Company Event a Success

October 2, 2014 | by Andrea Hawman

What could be better than company camaraderie, community involvement and a little friendly competition? This year Bohlsen Group participated in the Indiana Sports Corp (ISC)’s Corporate Challenge, a two-day competition that involves more than 150 participating companies in Indianapolis. Companies are placed in one of four divisions based on company size (total number of employees in Indiana) and compete in running events, “good sport” events and some more low-key events like bowling and corn hole.

Aside from a couple of injuries (what can we say, we took it seriously), our first year was a success. It was a great chance to spend some quality time with coworkers, contribute to a cause in the community and network with people from other Indianapolis companies.

This highly-organized annual event taught me a lot about planning a company-wide event, especially one that requires participation on TWO different Saturdays. A great deal of the success in organizing our company team was due to the ISC. They had every detail mapped out ahead of time for the Corporate Challenge 2014, down to tips for team captains, what information to share with teams when and deadlines for turning things in. Nevertheless, I have collected some event planning do’s and don’ts during my time as team captain leading up to the Corporate Challenge 2014.

Say yes to the checklist. Creating a checklist is a great way to get organized, set deadlines and focus on one thing at a time. Especially when the event is several months away, creating a checklist will help you know what to focus on now and what can wait until a later date. If you are like me, this is crucial for not feeling overwhelmed, or conversely, for not feeling like you are forgetting to do something. Caveat: put together your checklist knowing it will change over time as things come up. And you know they will.

Communicate early and often. First things first, set aside the notion that you are going to bother people with your communication about the event. Especially when the event is first introduced, people are going to have a lot of questions, so the more information the better. The key is to provide relevant information without overloading everyone’s inbox. Getting organized with what information people need to know now and what is better left for closer to the event will alleviate the chance of over communication. Also, thoughtfully crafting your outreach to make sure nothing is missing the first time eliminates the need to send follow-up emails.

Identify internal advocates. Some aspects of events are difficult to guarantee, no matter how much planning goes in. Getting people excited about participating in a company event that takes place over two weekends is one of them. How to get around it? Think small groups. Once we had solidified a couple of teams, chatter started to spread on its own as people began talking more about their individual events. Some even discussed training outside of office hours. Pay attention to people who are more vocal in the early stages of planning the event, they may become your advocates. Lean on them to help spread the message and keep the excitement going.

Be ready to adapt. Probably the most important thing to remember when planning an event: plan for those things you can’t plan ahead for. Schedules will change at the last second, things will come up that you thought were set in stone, pieces of the plan will inevitably fall through. Have a backup plan in place and roll with the punches. And don’t be afraid to ask for help when plans change. It’s all part of the fun!

Be present. If you expect people to participate in the event, be the first one there and the last one to leave. If you expect people to show enthusiasm leading up to and during the event, be a leader and show you are having fun first. You are the face of the event as the organizer/planner. Lead the way and people will follow.

What are some upcoming events your company is planning? Do you have any tips you can share?

Nonprofit Power Plays Indianapolis

Fundraise Outside the Box: A Free Nonprofit Workshop in Indianapolis

September 29, 2014 | by Mandy Bray

It’s already planning time for 2015! If you’ve started working on your marketing or fundraising plans for next year, have you noticed that your tactics look eerily similar to 2014 and 2013?

While sticking to what’s worked in the past is good, it’s rarely outstanding. Your audience is changing, and they expect to be impressed with new components to an event that they attend year after year. Better yet, find ways to attract new attendees so that it’s not the same group attending each year—and donating the same amount.

You’re invited to a free workshop to learn practical ways to overhaul your fundraising events, hosted by Bohlsen Group and Menish Auctions. Certified Benefits Auction Specialist Bill Menish joins Bohlsen Group to share out-of-the-box ideas compiled over years of conducting multi-million-dollar fundraising events. Don’t miss Bohlsen Group’s Popcorn Publicity Panel, where media relations experts give publicity tips live for real-world fundraising events.

Date: October 8, 2014, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Details: Speak Easy, 5255 N. Winthrop Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46220. Drinks and light refreshments provided.

Use the link below to register now. Seating is limited.

This workshop is the first in a four-part series for nonprofit organization called Nonprofit Power Plays. Stay tuned for the announcement of the winter, spring, and summer workshops!



Exploring the pros and cons of Facebook advertising

September 25, 2014 | by Jordan Overton

The days of using Facebook as a free marketing tool may be long gone. Organic reach continues to drop and paid reach has become Facebook’s preferred method. Today, marketers are being encouraged to include Facebook advertising costs in their advertising budgets. Naturally, when you begin charging for something that used to be free, people are hesitant to respond.

We can’t cover everything about Facebook in just one post, but hopefully after reading this you’ll be able to make an informed decision on whether or not Facebook advertising is right for you.

Pro: Affordability

Inexperienced marketers may balk at the fact that they now have to pay for something that used to be free. But when compared to more traditional forms of advertising, Facebook ads turn out to be extremely cheap. Keep in mind, Facebook ads amount to only one percent of the average cost of a television ad. Facebook ads also have the lowest cost per 1,000 impressions of any medium in the history of advertising. For as little as a quarter, you can get 1,000 impressions. You may have to pay for your content to be seen, but you won’t have to pay very much.

Pro: Targeting a specific group

Facebook knows a lot about its users. Think of Facebook as the Big Brother of social media. Marketers can leverage its vast amount of information to target ads to a specific group. Facebook’s various targeting options help break down an audience by basic choices such as location and gender, or more advanced options such as workplace and relationship status. For example, if you’re promoting a business book to college students in Indianapolis between the ages of 19 and 22, you’ll be able to create an ad that targets by interest, age, education and location. This will narrow your audience to people who may be interested in purchasing the book. Knowing your audience and understanding what they want will save you both time and money, commodities that are very limited.

Con: Pay for play

Yes. We told you Facebook is cheap. But ads still cost money. That’s money small companies and/or nonprofits may not have. At Bohlsen, we’ve had to implement new strategies to get our Facebook posts seen by the right people. Coming up with compelling content and monitoring analytics will help certain posts reach more viewers. But to guarantee your posts will be seen, you must advertise.

Con: Organic views have plummeted

The average organic reach of a brand page has fallen to nearly 6 percent and it’s becoming more challenging to reach the people who matter. Fact is, people like more pages now than they ever have in the past. This causes an increase in the number of posts a person can see every time they access Facebook. If someone has a large amount of Facebook friends, the number of posts they’re offered increases even more. Facebook took this information and designed its most recent algorithm to show users the most important content. This helped cut through some of the clutter, but since the algorithm isn’t perfect, it sometimes causes posts to be missed altogether. Many Facebook users wish they’d be shown every post in their news feed, but this would actually cause organic reach to decrease dramatically. People want to see everything, but if they were offered everything, they’d miss a lot.

Purchasing Facebook ads seems like a pretty simple solution. Throw a little bit of money at the problem and it goes away, right? It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. What works for one brand, may not work for another. Each marketer must carefully consider Facebook ads on a case-by-case basis.

Have you implemented a Facebook ad campaign? How has it helped your business grow? Or has it negatively impacted your bottom line? We’d love to hear about your experience. Tweet at @jordantoverton and @BohlsenGroup to continue the conversation.