Build Your Business Credit Report, Brand

DUNS Number Can Help, Hurt Business

Businesses of all sizes spend billions of dollars every year to build their brands and bottom lines. Meanwhile, millions of these businesses are oblivious to their business credit report at Dun & Bradstreet, which can deprive them of important opportunities.

Lenders, vendors, insurance companies and prospective clients often check these credit reports as part of their due diligence. They use the reports from Dun & Bradstreet to investigate companies that they are thinking about doing business with. They use these credit reports for both credibility and creditworthiness. These companies and government agencies go to Dun & Bradstreet to make sure that your company is legitimate, viable, stable, reliable and big enough to handle the job. In fact, your business can’t apply for government contracts and grants without a DUNS number (business credit report).

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Unfortunately, many small- and medium-sized businesses fail to create and manage their business credit reports, which can impact their brands and bottom lines in many ways. Such failures speak volumes about a business, while adding to the challenges in the marketplace.

Dun & Bradstreet has been the global leader in commercial credit reporting for more than 170 years. It holds credit reports for millions of companies around the world. If your company doesn’t have a credit report on file, you can apply for a DUNS number for free. D&B will host that file for the life of your business at no charge. The key is to make sure that your credit file is as accurate as possible and as influential as possible. This can help you separate your personal credit from your business credit, which will protect your FICO score and build your D&B scores and ratings.

Once your file has enough data, Dun & Bradstreet will generate scores and ratings for your business on nine different levels that measure the financial strength of your company. An organization’s business credit file is a collection of scores and ratings that allude to an organization’s ability to make good on contractual obligations. For example, the PayDex score indicates the timeliness that your company pays it bills.These scores and ratings can help or hurt a business in numerous ways:

  • a business can use these metrics when deciding to contract with a supplier;
  • a bank can use the information in a credit report when deciding to offer a loan; 
  • an insurance company might use your business credit report to decide whether or not to issue an insurance policy to your company and when calculating your premium; and
  • business owners can use the scores themselves in an attempt to improve their credibility.

Other businesses may be using your DUNS number to make critical decisions that could help or possibly hinder your business. Proactively managing your credit report pays dividends in many ways.

D&B can help you beef up your credit report, while helping you keep a sharp eye on the creditworthiness of others. The key to generating strong scores and ratings is to build in as much positive payment history as possible (operating expenses). Operating expenses are proof that your business pays its bills in full and on time. It requires a paid service from Dun & Bradstreet to build in your positive payment history because D&B will put boots on the ground to verify your trade references and to manually build them into your credit report. It’s an investment that will pay dividends for many years to come. Credit-building is an important part of due diligence, risk management and reputation management.

PR firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications is an international marketing and public affairs firm. We can help you influence public opinion, public policy and business decisions around the globe. We can help build your brand, your bottom line and a better world. Our headquarters are in Denver, Colorado. We’re opening a new office in Phoenix, Arizona.

Tips and Tools For Better Advocacy Campaigns

Public Opinion Can Shape Public Policy

Grassroots movements continue changing the world. It’s a dynamic that needs to gain momentum now more than ever. It’s up to citizens and nonprofit organizations to purge threats to democracy and people.

Colorado public school reform

Most nonprofit organizations could boost their impact with more aggressive advocacy campaigns. Much of the sector should shift from crisis response to problem prevention. They must build awareness, understanding and support from all stakeholder groups to build support for reform.

The power to share information and engage stakeholders has never been greater, but most organizations aren’t making the most of opportunities. These failures are costly. To help you avoid missed opportunities, here is a quick checklist of strategies and tactics that can help organize and optimize most campaigns.

Navajo protest uranium mines

Internal Communication 

All advocacy campaigns begin internally. Notify, educate, motivate and empower your support structure first. Members, customers, employees, allies and others will help you start the parade and they can serve as spokespeople, recruiters, donors, volunteers and more. They will play instrumental roles of disseminating information and opinions via social media. Segment out these groups as much as possible for tailored messages.

Advocacy and Lobbying

Lobbying is when an organization tries to influence the outcome for proposed legislation through communications with legislators and their staff. All lobbying is advocacy, but not all advocacy is lobbying. Nonprofits can hire lobbyists and use staff for lobbying, but it’s important to know the rules to protect your campaign and the policymakers from violating procedural rules.

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Legislator engagement and education can be different than lobbying, especially when the legislature is out of session. It’s important to build awareness, understanding and support for your issues outside of the legislative process. Be sure to target newly elected legislators, committee chairs, past allies, past foes and others who can hurt or help your cause. The pursuit of common ground can yield important alliances and neutralize the most challenging adversaries.

Elected officials respond best to messages from people they know well and from the people they represent, their constituents. While your top level (grass tops) advocates are talking with many different elected officials, support those efforts with you front line (grassroots) supporters should be mobilized and directed to the elected officials that represent their districts.

VA hospital scandal

Public Opinion

Public opinion still influences most public policy, but the battle for the hearts and minds of citizens, communities and leaders is fierce. Plus, people are being bombarded with issues at an accelerating rate, so gaining attention and keeping audiences engaged long enough to act is part of the challenge.

Every issue is different, which means that every public relations campaign is different. However, the assessment and planning process is fairly standard. The following checklist is a simple overview of our process at Crossbow.

Stakeholder Research and Segmentation. Start a list of all groups that share a stake in the issue and the outcome. Build and buy lists with current contact information. Make sure that you can segment that list based on a variety of factors to help you send custom messages to each group as appropriate. Learn as much as possible about each group and each contact.

Competitive Research. Who stands in your way and why? What can you do to overcome their objections? What can be done to neutralize their voice?

Identify & Recruit Existing Allies. Recruit the strongest supporters first. Use that momentum to keep recruiting other key individuals and organizations.

Coalition Development. Do you form a coalition or just have supporters, members and endorsements to represent your position? Coalitions can help the movement position itself and the adversary in a strategic light. The coalition name can serve as a statement itself. A coalition also can help deflect attention away from individual supporters or allies.

Campaign Strategy and Plan. establish a clear and measurable goal. Draw up the action plan that can reach that goal. Include a timeline and budget.

Message Development. Who needs to hear what? Can we segment our lists/mediums and customize messages accordingly? What are the top three points that we must convey? What objections must be overcome? What action do we want people to make?

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Community Engagement and Education. Who are the major stakeholder groups? Who are the local leaders and influencers? What are their goals and concerns?

Community engagement can broaden understanding of the issues and increase people’s willingness to give their time and money to support your cause. It also can activate clients that directly benefit from nonprofit services.

Channel Development and Management. Build your audiences and networks on social media. Build your email lists. Encourage people to subscribe to your RSS feed.

Earned Media. Earning media coverage is one of the most powerful tactics available.It’s credible, it’s influential and it can become viral. Pitch journalists and reporters to write features. Send out media releases to consumer and trade mediums. Offer expert lists and media kits, fact sheets, b-roll, photos and other resources necessary to tell the story from your perspective. Write letters to the editor and comment online in response to related news coverage. Use these opportunities to expand the conversation or focus it as appropriate.

Social Media. Have your advocates create and share videos telling why your issue is important to them. Upload it to YouTube, share it on social media, and embed it in your landing page or website. The organization’s leaders can do this as well for educational purposes. Start off by using social media to educate and expand your networks. As a bill moves through the legislature, for example, your social media should move from educating and organizing to mobilization with specific calls to action. Remind people to share and spread the message to friends and their networks.

Develop Spokespeople. Who are the most influential people in your organization and coalition? Recruit them to serve as official spokespeople. Train different leaders to help you reach specific target markets. Train them to deliver the key messages concisely. Empower them with tools that can help maximize their reach and their impact.

Develop Volunteers. Grassroots campaigns depend on volunteers. They can help with logistics, events, fundraising, social media and so much more.

Petitions. Some petitions are actionable and some are purely symbolic statements. Seek more than signatures during these outreach efforts. Make the action step easy to find and appealing to take. Keep these supporters informed and engaged.

Events and Rallies. Events can help accomplish many objectives. Use them to help build awareness, understanding and support for your cause. Use them to feature your most influential supporters. Use them to recruit new supporters and engage existing ones. Use them to educate citizens, the media and stakeholders at large. Use them to position your supporters as leaders and your opponents as losers. Use them to raise money and generate online buzz.

Web Strategy. Maximize your online visibility and influence. Have an online portal (a microsite specific to the cause) and drive traffic there for more information and engagement. Maximize search engine optimization to help stakeholders and media find you.

Ongoing Email and CRM. Keep stakeholders and supporters informed and engaged. Aggregate all the actions that have happened on your legislative landing page and email it directly to legislators prior to their vote. Send it also to your supporters and let them know that you have sent their actions on to their legislators.  Everyone wants to know the results of their actions and stay informed.

public relations strategy

Good luck with your campaign. Please contact us for more firepower.

public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow is a full-service advertising agency and public relations firm in Denver, Colorado and Phoenix, Arizona. The firm specializes in issue management and public affairs, with an emphasis on healthcare and natural resources. Crossbow has helped influence public opinion and public policy around the world. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Web Strategy Vital To Online Visibility

Digital Success Demands Strategy

Small advocacy organizations and large corporations alike should maximize their online profile and influence. Those who understand the art and science of blogging, social media, and search are much more productive than those who don’t. Those who are disciplined enough to put their plans in writing, stick to the plan, and stay on message are following branding best practices and positioning themselves as leaders in their industries. Those who don’t are flirting with disaster.

media relations and public relations

“We still encounter too many organizations of all sizes who think that a web presence is a web strategy,” said Gary Chandler, president of Crossbow Communications, a public relations firm in Phoenix, Arizona. “Web strategy is still one of the most neglected planning documents in corporations, SMEs and nonprofits alike. Even where they exist, web strategies are rarely implemented with optimum coordination and participation from the top level down to the customer and client levels. We all have room for improvement.”

The planning process should yield different results for every organization. Your web strategy outlines goals, budgets, and deadlines. It’s an obvious extension of your marketing plan. It determines how the business should position itself online, what messages to reinforce, what elements to borrow from the core brand and which ones to create specially for digital media. The web strategy defines what online channels to use, the tone, the messengers, what services and products to provide online, and what supporting infrastructure is required. It’s actionable and measurable.

Digital Planning Tips

  1. Audit Your Current Website Now To Establish Baseline Metrics. How many websites do you have? How much traffic is generated daily? Which pages and posts are the most popular? Where is the traffic coming from? How much time do visitors spend on the site and do they bounce to new pages or leave? Do visits convert to action? What are the traffic trends over the past two years?
  2. Audit Your Social Media Metrics. Do you have personal and corporate social accounts and pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn? How active are the accounts? How many followers, friends and connections? How often do you post? What do you post?
  3. Audit Your Competition. What are they doing right and what are they doing wrong? This is ongoing market research. Follow them on Twitter under an anonymous account.
  4. Establish Your Online Budget and Goals. Clearly define whether the outcome is sales, donations, votes, volunteers, etc.
  5. Verify Branding, Positioning and Messaging Strategy. The online strategy is a critical extension of overall marketing strategy. All leaders must demonstrate leadership online, including social media. Failure to do so is a critical branding and positioning mistake. You must defend your market share and mindshare like a leader in your industry.
  6. Personalize Your Site For Top Market Segments. As with all advertisements, clearly define your online prospects and speak to them. Do you have translation available? Targeting also includes the graphics, words, and functionality. If our target market is senior citizens, for example, it’s advisable to avoid small type (just like the old-school rule).
  7. Search Engine Optimization and Page Optimization. Make sure that prospective customers who are looking for your solutions can find you through generic searches on Google, Bing, Yahoo and other top search engines. It takes focus and commitment to get your business to come up on page one of search results for key words and phrases. If your website does not have a section for a blog, you are missing a critical opportunity to build your brand, relationships and heightened visibility. Adding a blog to your website can improve its rankings within search engines.
  8. Develop Social Goals, Strategy and Teams. Who says what, where and when? Social media takes consistent work and a dynamic web presence that involves top brass, employees and various stakeholders. Our goal is measured initially with reach, frequency, and relationships. Revenue is rarely the first step on social media. However, foolish mistakes can prove very costly.
  9. Measure, Analyze and Adjust. We built a baseline in step one. We tightened up the web strategy and turbocharged our social media tactics. What is working the best and what needs refinement? It’s critical to have analytics available to dissect your web activity daily. Where is the traffic coming from? What information brought them to the site–search, promotions, social media activity? Are we gaining connections and interactions on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social platforms? What posts are the most popular?

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Are you earning your share of the conversation on social media? Are you generating your share of prospects who are actively searching for a business or organization similar to yours? Can you gain even more traction online based on the above checklist? If so, we would like to help you raise your online profile and influence as part of an overall marketing and outreach strategy. We can help clients anywhere in the world. Please contact Gary Chandler gary@crossbow1.com

public relations firm USA

Crossbow Communications is a full-service advertising agency and public relations firm based in Denver, Colorado. The company also has offices in Phoenix, Arizona and New York, New York. The firm specializes in issue management and public affairs.

Search Engine Optimization Is An Art, Science

Search-Engine Marketing Strategy

SEO matters more than ever. Would you like to capture more business from the Internet? Is your business highly ranked by Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other local business directories? If not, you are giving away eager customers to your competitors every day.

Don’t Miss Your Target. In the digital age, traditional advertising, direct mail, and public relations campaigns are not as cost-effective as a highly ranked listing on Google and other Local Search engines. The top five listings capture 90 percent of your prospective customers who are actively searching for help.

media relations and public relations

With Search-Engine Marketing, we can build your bottom line in multiple ways:

  • Increase your market share with higher local search rankings.
  • Build your revenues with motivated new clients who are missing you today.
  • Stop wasting time and money on shotgun marketing tactics.

 Aim Higher & Earn More. Search for your business as a prospective, first-time customer searches for help. The map generated that pinpoints businesses and ranks them with a corresponding listing is Google+ Local (formerly Google Places). Until you’re ranked on that first page of search results, Google and other search engines are working against you—and working for your competitors who are listed on page one.

public relations strategy

Don’t Waste Another Day or Another Dollar. Crossbow recommends Search-Engine Marketing (SEM) for most businesses as a critical first step. SEM is extremely cost-effective and measurable. You can’t afford to miss the people who are actively searching the Internet for your help. Start your SEO campaign today.

public relations firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications is a full-service advertising agency and public relations firm in Denver, Colorado and Phoenix, Arizona. The firm specializes in issue management and public affairs. Crossbow has helped influence public opinion and public policy around the world. It has won state and national awards, while setting state and national records for our clients. Government relations. Media relations. Stakeholder relations. Build your bottom line and a better world with Crossbow.

Online Commerce and Consulting Experts

SEO Strategists Tapped By International PR Firm

MentorNet, LLC has been hired by Crossbow Communications for additional in-house and client work. The online commerce and internet consulting pioneers are on a roll as they have added several new clients in multiple industries over the past year.

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“This is a great alliance for us,” said Rich Benvin, MentorNet president and CEO. “We have worked with Crossbow on several innovative projects that are blossoming now. We’re thrilled to formalize the relationship for the long term, especially as it relates to some of the company’s global sustainability projects.”

MentorNet also added several other clients this year, including ShaynaB Jewelry, ProWorld Tennis, BodyLogic Laser and Skin Solutions, Skin Care Plus, Double Diamond Group, Fiber Care Dallas, 3D Printing Channel, 3D Printing Ventures, Brandon Marinoff, Earth News, Sacred Seedlings, Greener Cities, Indonesian Travel Network, Alzheimer’s Network and more.

“We have shared values and visions with our clients, so that just adds to the synergy,” Benvin said. “We don’t work for clients that we don’t believe in and I’m not sure of any other business in this industry that can say that. Integrity matters more than ever.”

Crossbow is a global public affairs and issue management company that specializes in health, environment and sustainability issues.

For more information, please visit http://mentornet.com/marketing-strategist-says-traditional-news-still-matters/

public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications is a full-service advertising agency and public relations firm in Denver, Colorado and Phoenix, Arizona. The firm specializes in issue management and public affairs. Crossbow has helped influence public opinion and public policy around the world. It has won state and national awards, while setting state and national records for our clients. Government relations. Media relations.

Public Relations Consultant Speaking Out For Sustainability

Climate Change, Biodiversity, Sustainability

The future isn’t what it used to be. That’s why Crossbow Communications is digging in to defend endangered species and an endangered planet. The lives of future generations are counting on more sustainable practices and policies.

Save Kilimanjaro

Chandler has spent most of his career defending the underdogs of the world–from abandoned kids to abandoned pets and endangered species.

Today, he’s putting most of his effort into sustainability issues, including climate change, deforestation, reforestation, wildlife poaching, sustainable cities and prion disease.

deforestation and endangered species

Chandler is a veteran communications strategist with more than 30 years of experience in marketing, public affairs and issue management. He is a record-setting marketing strategist and an award-winning public affairs professional. In his spare time, he writes books about sustainability, natural resources and wildlife conservation.

Gary R. Chandler

He is the author and co-author of 10 books, including Environmental Heroes and the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Prior to forming Crossbow in 1992, Chandler worked for Tracy-Locke/BBDO Advertising & Public Relations, the National Cattlemen’s Association and several public affairs and public relations firms in Denver, Colorado. He works from both Denver and Phoenix as necessary.

public relations strategy

public relations firm USA

Crossbow Communications is a full-service advertising agency and public relations firm in Denver, Colorado and Phoenix, Arizona. The firm specializes in issue management and public affairs. Crossbow has helped influence public opinion and public policy around the world. It has won state and national awards, while setting state and national records for our clients. Government relations. Media relations. Write gary@crossbow1.com