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.

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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.

Public Affairs Strategy

Modern Strategists Blend Government Relations, Public Relations and Marketing

Public affairs is another term for stakeholder relations among individuals and groups with common and competing agendas. It’s typically found at the crossroads of public opinion and public policy. Stakeholders often include politicians, civil servants, influencers, customers, communities, clients, shareholders, trade associations, think tanks, business groups, charities, unions, the media and more.

Public affairs practitioners engage stakeholders to educate, motivate and deescalate. It’s essentially a specialized form of marketing, where the product is an outcome that usually impacts people, planet and profits. Public affairs professionals help shape the debate with strategy and messaging. Not all lobbyists are registered. Most work behind the scenes with research, strategy, writing and coalition-building.

government corruption

Public affairs work combines government relations, media relations, issue management, stakeholder relations, corporate and social responsibility, and strategic communications advice. Practitioners aim to influence public opinion and public policy by building on common ground with stakeholders. Unfortunately, propaganda and misinformation has long been part of the equation.

Political chaos is the norm and public affairs professionals must anticipate, plan and respond without missing a beat. Strategists are reevaluating the best practices of opportunism and risk management.

While stocks soar, trust in corporate America and elected officials in Washington, D.C., continues to drop. America’s discontent with politics and business is not party-specific. A new survey conducted by the Public Affairs Council, in conjunction with Morning Consult, finds that Clinton and Trump voters have more in common than you might think: neither group trusts Washington politicians nor America’s CEOs.

The online survey polled 2,201 adults on their attitudes and expectations for major companies and elected officials. The surprising findings show bipartisan agreement on sentiment.

● Clinton and Trump voters agree that Washington can’t be trusted. 58 percent of Trump voters, 59 percent of Clinton voters and 63 percent of conservatives say elected officials in Washington have low honesty and ethical standards, despite Republican control of Congress and the White House; and

● Only 47 percent of Americans trust major companies to behave ethically, and only nine percent of Trump voters and eight percent of Clinton voters give CEOs high scores for honesty.

“Businesses are worried about core issues like trade and tax reform, and they’re also jumping into public debates on immigration, racism, LGBT rights and climate change,” said Doug Pinkham, president of the Public Affairs Council. “But with all the political turmoil in Washington, their world feels riskier. Many firms are having a difficult time finding their footing at the intersection of business and modern American politics.”

According to the study, there’s a correlation between the most untrusted industries and perceived underregulation. When compared to other industries, technology companies are considered the most trustworthy and least in need of new regulations. Conversely, pharmaceutical and health insurance firms are considered the least trustworthy and the most under-regulated.

Read The Full Story About Public Affairs Today

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Crossbow is an award-winning and record-setting strategic communications firm that has influenced public opinion and public policy around the globe. We have worked with some of the most influential organizations, corporations and journalists in the world. We have offices in Denver and Phoenix.

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?

public relations strategy

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

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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.

The Private Battle Over Public Property, Democracy

Corrupt Public Servants Helping Corporations Pillage, Bankrupt Nations

Five years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Citizens United v. FEC decision, which opened the door to corporate donations in federal elections. In a 5-to-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people, with the same right to influence politics as voters.

Unfortunately, corporations can’t vote with a ballot, so they vote with cash, influence and obstruction, which blurs the lines of corruption and fascism. In many cases, the corruption eliminates competition, while promoting favoritism. Of course, such deceit undermines and erodes capitalism. It’s my perspective that any assault on democracy or free-market capitalism is terrorism, not citizenship.

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Meanwhile, many of these same neo-corporations have moved their headquarters to small tiny islands to avoid additional regulations and corporate taxes. They want access and influence, even subsidies, without any of those messy responsibilities associated with citizenship.

“We must achieve a free sort of election campaign, not financed,” the Pope told an Argentine magazine this week. “Because many interests come into play in financing of an election campaign and then they ask you to pay back. So, the election campaign should be independent from anyone who may finance it. Perhaps public financing would allow for me, the citizen, to know that I’m financing each candidate with a given amount of money.”

The Pope’s remarks come in the midst of corruption scandals in his native Argentina. Global advocates of campaign finance reform embraced his message.

“We have just gained a great new ally with a worldwide voice for public financing campaigns,” said Fred Wertheimer, founder of Democracy 21. “We greatly appreciate his words and wisdom on this subject.”

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi endorsed the Pope’s “call for an end to the contaminating influence of money in our democracy.”

Shock doctrine and disaster capitalism

Compounding the problem is the fact that the assault on entitlements and public services in many countries goes unchecked as corporate welfare takes nations closer and closer to the verge of bankruptcy. Unfortunately, down is the new up in the world of neo-capitalism.

Crisis capitalism is nothing new. The United States helped pioneer this freak form of economics thanks to Milton Friedman and his disciples at the University of Chicago. Friedman’s handlers within the U.S. government found that with enough pain, people will turn over everything that they own, including their nation, to corporate pillagers. I urge you to explore this background for yourself in a must-read book, The Shock Doctrine, by Naomi Klein. Hopefully, you have read this powerful expose’. If not, it serves as a blueprint for the constant crises that dominate national agendas.

U.S. debt rising

As Klein reveals, the U.S. and corporate interests around the world have helped overthrow many functioning democracies with the use of debt. Shots are rarely fired. This philosophy is coming to a nation near you now. The chart above shows the U.S. debt as an example. If the U.S. defaults, the constitution could be suspended. A so-called bailout might emerge. It will look more like a looting of public and personal property. Take a look at some of the privatization taking place in Detroit as part of its bailout. In the U.S., the postal service and the VA hospitals also are prized takeovers. Look at any bailout of a public entity over the past 150 years and you will see that the pattern is time tested. Chile is a great example. There are many more. In the process, competition is not part of the process. The end game is to create unchecked monopolies around utilities, while pillaging pensions and other assets. I have no problem with privatization in many cases, but competition must remain part of the equation. Otherwise, it’s pure extortion.

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Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to give away public land and land-use permits for pennies to the right corporations. It subsidizes multiple industries. It’s gutting public schools and exploiting public lands for the benefit of private interests. It’s stalling progress on environmental protection and climate change for private profit. Make no mistake about it–the tail is wagging the dog. Citizens are being betrayed. Patriotism is being tested by all sides of the equation in every nation around the world right now. We all have a duty to tune in, stand up and speak out. Demand a return to citizen democracy.

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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.

Tobacco Products Killing Thousands Of People

The Formula For Tobacco Addiction

Although most people know that smoking is not a healthy habit, they don’t fully understand why. Although most smokers know it’s difficult to quit, they rarely understand why it’s virtually impossible. Although tobacco products are legal, most people don’t understand why. This book will address many of these questions and conflicts of interest.

Did you know that almost ninety percent of all smokers started their addictive habit before their 18th birthday? Tobacco companies know that they need to hook a smoker before they leave high school or they will likely lose the prospective customer forever.

teen smoking addiction

Did you know that:

  • Nicotine is more addictive than heroin.
  • Seventy percent of all smokers try to quit smoking every year, but only 10 percent succeed.
  • Four million children under the age of 18 are regular smokers in the U.S.
  • More than 80,000 young people around the world begin smoking every day.
  • The average age of first tobacco use in the United States is 13.
  • Eight people die every minute because of tobacco-related diseases.
  • Alcohol and tobacco account for 80 percent of the healthcare costs in America.
  • In the 1950s, Kent cigarettes and others had filters made of asbestos.
  • Most cigarettes contain ammonia-based compounds to enhance the nicotine released from the tobacco leaf. In the world of illicit drugs, this is called free-basing.
  • Even though the number of people who are smoking is going down, the per capita cigarette consumption is going up in most countries. This is a result of an emergence of a “core smoker,” or someone who smokes way more than the average amount per day.
  • In addition to nicotine, tobacco smoke contains some 4,000 different gases and particles, including “tar,” a conglomeration of many chemicals, which is especially harmful to the lungs. Among the harmful gases in tobacco smoke are nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and cyanide. More than 40 carcinogens—chemicals capable of causing cancer— have been identified in tobacco smoke, and one of these, benzo(a)pyrene, is being studied as a possible direct link to cancer.
  • Governments around the world collect 500 times more money in tobacco taxes each year than they spend on anti-tobacco efforts.
  • More than 303 billion cigarettes were sold in the U.S. alone in 2010.

smoking and disease

That’s what this book is all about. Getting the facts about tobacco and nicotine addiction on the table so that you can make informed decisions about tobacco products and make informed decisions and recommendations to your friends and family members.

For more information about tobacco, nicotine addiction, teen smoking and lung cancer, please visit: http://tobaccotruth.org/lung-cancer-death/

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Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. Smoking cessation and prevention is one of our top issues. Please contact Gary Chandler to join our coalition for reform gary@crossbow1.com.