By Allegra Demerjian on May 27th, 2015 | Comment on this post

It is nearly impossible to be taken seriously as a brand without establishing a social media presence. This holds true in the food and beverage arena — brands are expected to communicate and connect with their consumers online through social media in order to stay relevant. According to Razorfish, 64% of consumers have made a first purchase from a brand because of a digital experience, and more than half of consumers use the internet before making a purchase in shops.

One St. Helena, Calif.-based winery, Whitehall Lane, understands the value and necessity of doing social media effectively. Katie Leonardini, vice president of retail sales for Whitehall Lane, created social media pages in 2008 and saw immediate benefits in the way these accounts allowed the brand to connect directly with its audience. She decided social media was worth the effort, and began a working relationship with The Abbi Agency to manage Whitehall Lane’s social media content.…

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By on May 27th, 2015 | Comment on this post

Every education conference features sessions about schools using technology to support teaching and learning in creative, interesting ways. But are schools and districts really nurturing innovative thought and practices? We polled SmartBrief on EdTech readers this month to take a pulse on whether or not innovation is a primary concern for their schools and districts.

As it turns out, schools are split down the middle on this issue. When asked if their schools encourage them to think of out-the-box ways they can use technology, 50% of readers responded “yes” and 50% responded “no.” Different barriers stand in the way of ed-tech innovation. Topping the list are tight budgets at 47%. Other obstacles include lack of time, tedious approval processes, limited tech-savvy educators and poor leadership support.

But educators do want to know how their peers are pulling off these projects. When asked what kinds of information they’re interested in, 56% of readers said they want details on the how – the nuts and bolts of the plans – from idea to deployment.…

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By Narin Nara on May 27th, 2015 | Comment on this post

This post is sponsored by Infocomm.

InfoComm 2015 has it all: the lights, the sounds and certainly the action. Most of that flashy stuff happens in prime time — exhibition days on the show floor. So you may be asking yourself, “What is there to do before then?”

Decent question. The answer is pretty straightforward – plenty!

From education sessions to networking events, there are many things you can do prior to the opening of the exhibit hall. A great way to spend pre-exhibition time in Orlando (other than enjoying the warm Florida sun) is to learn, learn and learn, and with InfoComm University, you can take the next step in becoming a better AV pro. Learn things that you will find useful in your everyday job or fortify your foundation. According to industry professionals, nearly every student who has taken a class with us found that the training was useful and was handy in real world application.…

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By on May 26th, 2015 | Comment on this post

It was another late night returning home from a business trip this week. Spring weather in Denver has been rainy for a week straight. We need the moisture (not as badly as other parts of the country), so no complaints.

The overcast was heavy with a light sprinkle as I left the airport on the hour’s drive to our mountain neighborhood. There was little traffic at midnight. When I got within 2 miles of our home, a heavy fog stopped me cold.

Visibility was less than 10 feet (!). I could barely see the center line, much less the outer edges of our paved two-lane highway. The rest of my drive home was at less than 5 mph, sometimes dead stopped, creeping along to ensure I was on the road, not heading off of it!

It was an unsettling end to an otherwise boring drive home. I simply couldn’t see. The fog caused me to slow way down, to discount my years of experience (driving on this road), and to increase my frustration and anxiety.…

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By on May 26th, 2015 | Comment on this post

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

How well do you push your own thinking before involving others?

  • Very well — I advance ideas as much as possible before relying on others: 59.4%
  • Well — I could stand to do a little more thinking though: 36.32%
  • Not well — I’m overly reliant on others to advance the thinking: 3.42%
  • Poorly — I rarely advance the thinking before involving others: .85%

Think Then Think Some More. Investing time thinking through your ideas is worth the effort. It increases efficiency as you’re not wasting a stakeholder’s time by having them think through something you can figure out. It builds your skills in terms of creativity and anticipation. It also improves your reputation as a more strategic thinker. So the next time you’re about to involve a stakeholder in your thoughts, pause and ask yourself if you’ve thought about the issue as much as you can.…

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