Gunning Daily News

Has Your Marketing Message Changed with the Times?

October 9, 2012 5:38 pm

People have changed in dramatic ways over the past five years, and businesses should take that into consideration this holiday season.

“As people’s values change, so do their shopping habits. To market effectively, businesses should be aware of how their prospective customers have changed,” says Marsha Friedman, CEO of EMSI Public Relations in Wesley Chapel, Fla.

Consumers are fussier, and while recessionary budget concerns are one reason for that, thrift is not the only value affecting consumer choices, Friedman says.

“Some stem from personal issues. Take me, for instance. As I grow older, I view many more material things as clutter. I want to get rid of the junk in my life and focus on important things,” she says.
Friedman is a baby boomer – a group that makes up 26 percent of the U.S. population.

“I’m sure I’m not the only person experiencing a change in how I view material goods, what’s ‘clutter’ and what’s meaningful,” she says.

Other changing values have arisen from global concerns, such as the world’s reliance on oil, growing environmental issues, and whether goods were manufactured here or abroad, she says.

Here are her tips for developing a new marketing approach that’s in sync with the times:
• Identify what makes your product appealing to customers’ values. If your homemade soaps are produced right here in the U.S.A., brag about it! In a recent poll, 90 percent of us rated “keeping jobs in America” as the No. 1 step the government can take to help us economically. Many shoppers have friends or family members who are unemployed or underemployed; that makes for a greater appreciation of businesses that create jobs here at home. Your “made in America” label is valuable!

Does your packaging use recycled materials – or is it recyclable? There are now 69 percent of us recycling, according to a National Geographic poll. Does your manufacturing process use a renewable energy source? More than half of us think it’s more important to develop alternative sources of energy than to find more oil.

• Become an expert. You can gain valuable media exposure for your company or product by positioning yourself (or your spokesman) as an industry expert with useful information to share. For instance, if you’re highlighting the fact that your product is made in America because you to help put Americans to work, offer them suggestions based on your experience. What are skills employers value? What are the biggest mistakes applicants make during interviews?

• Which channels will be best for getting your message out? Where does your audience get its news and entertainment? Are they using social media? Reading the newspaper? Listening to radio or watching TV? Or a mix of all four? On social media, you can share your expertise by offering useful information and links to resources, and engaging in conversations. Print is a great medium for providing consumer tips, as is TV, which is also perfect if your message has a visual component. Talk radio shows look for debate and information that solves problems. On social media, you can build a following of fans who help spread your message, while mentions in (or appearances on) traditional media will give you the implied endorsement of journalists and talk show hosts.

• Choose a messenger who’s accessible. If you’re the CEO and the person best qualified to be interviewed by journalists and show hosts, you may be the perfect spokesperson. But if you’re so busy you can’t drop what you’re doing to respond to interview requests, you will lose valuable media opportunities. Your messenger should be a person who is well-versed on the chosen area of expertise – and available at the drop of a hat.

If your message hasn’t changed with the times, Friedman says, now is a good time to think about your company or product in a new light.

“If you look at it from the shoppers’ perspective, you may just see something that appeals to consumers’ changing values,” she says. “Turn that into a message that resonates with potential customers and you may just have your best holiday ever.

Marsha Friedman is a 22-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations, a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms.

For more information, visit

Word of the Day

October 9, 2012 5:38 pm

Value. Market value or present worth. To have value, a property must have utility, scarcity, effective demand, and transferability.

Q: What Types of Foreclosures Are There?

October 9, 2012 5:38 pm

A: There are two types – judicial and non-judicial. A foreclosure that results from a court action is a judicial foreclosure. The mortgage deed or trust does not have a power of sale clause, therefore the lender, trustee or another lienholder must take the borrower to court to recover the unpaid balance of a delinquent debt. By contrast, a non-judicial foreclosure is one in which a foreclosure can be completed outside the court system. Real property can be sold under a power of sale in a mortgage deed or trust that is in default, but the lender is unable to obtain a deficiency judgment.

Stay Safe with Your Gas Fireplace

October 9, 2012 4:36 pm

With the newfound chill in the air, families all over the country are firing up their fireplaces and gathering around. However, it’s important to keep your family safe when there’s a fire burning, especially if you have a gas fireplace with a glass front, as nearly 11 million households do, according to the 2012 Hearth Consumer Survey. And more than half of those households currently are unaware of the risk of burns from touching the glass fronts.

"While gas fireplaces, stoves and inserts are a great asset to any home, the glass can become extremely hot during operation and stay hot long afterwards, creating a potential burn hazard," says Jack Goldman, president & CEO of HPBA. "In the past several years, there have been reports of burns involving young children and others who may not been aware of the potential risk of burns by touching the hot glass and surrounding panels on gas fireplaces, inserts and stoves. And, though we believe these incidents are few and rare, even one is too many."

Below are some general tips to keep safe around gas fireplaces, stoves and inserts that have glass fronts.

  • Always supervise children, the aged, infirm or pets near an operating gas fireplace, stove or insert – or one that has recently been turned off.
  • Keep the remote control out of the reach of children (if your appliance has one).
  • Install a switch lock to prevent children from turning on the appliance.
  • Make sure family members and guests are aware that the glass on a gas fireplace, stove or insert can be very hot.
  • Wait for the appliance and glass to cool down before allowing anyone to get near it, noting that the cool down can take a long time – an hour or more.
  • Be aware that metal surfaces, such as door frames and grilles, may also get hot.
  • Always read the owner's manual and follow instructions.
For more information, visit

7 Things Retailers Don’t Want You to Know

October 8, 2012 5:50 pm

There are no more secrets about how we shop – not with a growing number of retail researchers documenting every aspect of how we choose to buy and why – and retailers are responding with merchandising strategies designed to encourage more spending.

“There is nothing random about how a store is arranged,” noted retail researcher Paco Underhill” speaking to “The design is calculated to appeal to you in every possible way.”

But shoppers can resist the urge to spend too much by being more aware of how they are being tempted. The consumer website’s Naomi Mannino provides seven retail strategies shoppers need to stop and consider:

Display magic – A pile of the cheapest import T-shirts can be made to look more appealing when arranged tastefully under glamorous display graphics. Examine items you like for workmanship quality before you hand over your cash.
BOGO deals – Buy-one-get-one free deals and other bundled item promotions are not always what they seem. Don’t spend more to get more unless you know the retailer and the regular price of such items.
Don’t turn right – Because most people are right-handed, they tend to turn right when entering a store – so that is where the most expensive items are displayed. Staying focused on why you entered the store should help you stay on track.
Clearance placement – Ever notice that most clearance racks are in the back of the store? That’s so you will have to bypass more expensive displays before you find them.
Messy clearance tables – Also no surprise. Who wants to paw through a messy clearance display when more appealing displays are beckoning? Be patient.
Register appeal – Impulse items displayed at or near registers are there for a proven reason; temptation. Beware of jewelry, fragrances, magazines and other items you did not plan to buy – and think twice before you pull out your wallet.
Shopping with friends – Try to shop with your most conservative friends – and don’t be too quick to purchase an item just because your companion assures you it is “you.”

The Ins and Outs of Buying Travel Insurance

October 8, 2012 5:50 pm

It used to be that a passport, credit card, travel insurance, and a relaxed attitude were the only true holiday essentials.

But now, electronics and other valuables are traveling staples, from iPads to professional-quality digital camera. Not to mention the scores of honeymooners heading abroad with a small fortune on their fingers.

With the value of our personal belongings heading upwards, it’s even more important to ensure your travel insurance coverage is sufficient for the value of the items you plan to travel with.

Tough economic times meant theft was an unfortunate fact of life. Southern Cross Travel Insurance CEO Craig Morrison says his best advice for travelers is to simply leave valuables at home. However, if that’s not an option, he has the following tips:

Before you go:

Check your policy
to ensure coverage is adequate for the value of the item you plan to take away. Coverage for specified high-value items can be included under policies for an extra premium payment.
Ensure you have adequate proof of ownership in the event you need to claim. If not an original receipt, this could be something like a listing under a home and contents policy. Check with your insurer to see what they will accept.

While away:

Make use of your hotel safe, and only carry essential items and a small amount of cash when out sightseeing.
Flights: When flying, place valuables in carry-on luggage (not check-in).
Closely guard or secure your items at all times. Some policies don't provide coverage for items left unattended in a public place, in a vehicle overnight, in unlocked premises or an unlocked vehicle.
Notify the authorities. If theft of an item does occur, many policies request that authorities are notified within 24 hours of the discovery of the theft and an official report obtained. The original of this report must be kept for the insurance claim.

5 More Benefits of Exercise

October 8, 2012 5:50 pm

With more than a third of Americans classified as obese, everyone from first lady Michelle Obama to TV news anchor Katie Couric is advocating exercise to maintain a healthy weight.

That’s great, says Dr. Eudene Harry, author of “Live Younger in 8 Simple Steps,” but the benefits of exercise go far beyond fitting into those skinny jeans.

For one, it will give you younger looking, more blemish-free skin.

“The increase in circulation and perspiration that occurs with exercise delivers more nutrients to your skin while allowing impurities and waste to be removed,” says Harry, who combines years of emergency-room experience with holistic medicine in her private practice. “The result? A healthier complexion!”

She adds four more hidden benefits of a good workout:
• Natural “feel-good” chemicals: Exercise releases endorphins, the brain chemicals that boost your mood and make you feel happy, as well as relieve stress, and enhance your self-esteem and self-confidence. Exercise has also been shown to increase neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which gives us a natural high and allows us to sleep better.
• Constipation prevention: Exercise increases the contractions of the wall of the intestine, helping to move things along through the intestinal tract more easily, and decreasing the time it takes to pass through the large intestine. But wait an hour or two after eating before exerting yourself: Exercising too soon after a meal can divert blood flow away from the gut and toward the muscles, weakening peristaltic contractions (and slowing down the digestion process).
• Prevents brittle bones: Walking, jogging, dancing, weight training and yoga are all weight-bearing exercises that help strengthen bones. Swimming and bicycling are exercises that are considered non-weight bearing. During weight-bearing exercises, bones adapt to the impact of the weight and the pull of muscles by building more bone cells, increasing strength and density and decreasing the risk of fractures, osteopenia and osteoporosis.
• Enhanced immunity: Physical exertion increases the rate at which antibodies flow through the blood stream, resulting in better immunity against sickness. The increased temperature generated during moderate exercise makes it difficult for certain infectious organisms to survive.

Don’t overdo your exercise, or you won’t see all of these benefits, Harry says.

“Check with a physician who can advise you on the right activities and intensity level for your individual needs,” she says.

“For all the benefits of exercise, there are down sides if you go at it too vigorously for your physical condition. For instance, you can actually increase stress hormones, which can make you more vulnerable to illness, rather than building your immunity.”

Dr. Eudene Harry holds a bachelor’s in biology from New York University and completed both her medical degree and residency training at Thomas Jefferson University.

Word of the Day

October 8, 2012 5:50 pm

Valuation. Estimated or determined value; synonymous with appraising.

Q: What are the disadvantages of buying foreclosures?

October 8, 2012 5:50 pm

A: Buying directly at a legal foreclosure sale is risky. Among the disadvantages:

There is no financing. You need cash and lots of it.

The title needs to be checked before the purchase. If not, you risk assuming a seriously deficient title.
It may not be possible to inspect the property’s interior before the sale. So you have no idea of the property’s condition.

Foreclosures are routinely purchased “as is,” which means you cannot go back to the seller for repairs.
Also, estate and foreclosure sales are the only property sales that are exempt from some state disclosure laws. In both instances, the law protects the seller – usually the heir or financial institution – who has recently acquired the property through adverse circumstances and may have little or no direct information about it.

Hey! U-Factor – Check Out These Window Tips

October 4, 2012 5:24 pm

I recently had a crash course in replacement windows courtesy of the Better Business Bureau and the folks from Connecticut-based Windowland, which was voted two years running to the Qualified Remodeler Top 500 program.

The BBB advises consumers to balance cost effectiveness with energy efficiency, inasmuch as more efficient windows, doors and skylights can result in significant long-term energy savings.

Start by looking for products that carry the Energy Performance Ratings label from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). The label can help determine how well a product will perform its key functions - keeping your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, while keeping out wind and resisting condensation.

If you are looking for a well-insulated room, look for the following information about the windows you are considering:

Check the window’s “U-Factor.” During the cold winter months, you’ll want to make sure your windows are trapping heat. U-Factor ratings generally fall between 0.20 and 1.20. The lower the U-value, the greater a window's resistance to heat flow and the better its insulating value.

Another rating to study is the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) - how much solar radiation is admitted through the window. SHGC is expressed as a number between 0 and 1, and the lower a window's solar heat gain coefficient, the less solar heat it transmits in the house.

Consider the Visible Transmittance (VT) is an optical property that indicates the amount of visible light transmitted through the window. VT is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. The higher the VT, the more that light gets transmitted.

And since heat loss and gain occur by Air Leakage (AL) through cracks in the window assembly. The lowest AL rating, means the least air will pass through cracks in the window assembly.

The higher the Condensation Resistance (CR) rating, the better a product is at resisting formation of condensation. CR is expressed as a number between 1 and 100.

For more information on the Energy Performance Ratings label, visit