Responsible Business

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

Neutrogena Photo

I have had the privilege of working with companies that offer environmentally friendly products and services. I say privileged because these companies are changing the way we live and it is for the better. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?

This past year, I have been writing a lot of corporate documents and blogs about various types of environmental technologies. I have also been writing about the slow, but steady changes happening in the fashion industry to address waste and the unbelievable amount of energy use in the textile sector. It might sound cliché but there is something noble about fashion houses that are lowering their carbon footprint and producing clothes made of recycled materials. I am happy to say that recycled fashion is something more and more people are becoming aware of. However, there are forward-thinkers who want to do even more to protect future generations.

While I am not one to promote large brands, I want to use Neutrogena as an example. The average age of a melanoma sufferer is around 63. For years we have been told that skin cancer risk increases with age, but there are a lot of young people who are now getting this type of cancer. Neutrogena now has a UV-activated clothing prototype that changes colors when you are exposed to skin-damaging rays. The prototype is a dress that you might see on a twenty-something. At first glance, the dress is white, but when it is exposed to UV rays, even on cloudy days, it changes colors. The idea is to demonstrate to people that you can still get skin damage even when the sun is not out in full-force. Neutrogena officials say their research tells them that a lot of people still think that UV damage can only happen when they are outside in the direct sun.

While fashion experts aren’t suggesting we ditch the sunscreen, they do like the idea of our clothing becoming a constant reminder to be careful; not forget to apply sunscreen every single day, no matter what the weather conditions are.

I am not saying that this sundress should become all the rage, but the prototype could be on to something. What it really comes down to is that we need more of this – more creative, sustainable thinking businesses, willing to try something new and responsible.

 

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Writing Guide Available

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

 

Back in 2013, I published my first book; a collection of inspirational stories about women helping women through difficult periods in their lives. This was my way of saying thank-you to the many girlfriends who have supported me throughout my life. Fast forward to 2016 and I began gathering my thoughts to craft a book that focused more on my work. As a communication consultant, I have had the opportunity to work with companies in various sectors – helping them craft their message and reach their target audiences. Not everyone can afford to hire a professional writer and media expert to promote their products, services, or cause so I decided to share a few tips. While I don’t give away all the tools of my trade, I do try to provide small business operators and their staff with enough advice in ‘Essentials of Writing for Small Business’ to get started. I may have got distracted by work and other commitments along the way, but the guide is finally finished.

‘Essentials of Writing for Small Business’

Now available through Amazon.com


 

Storytelling in Business

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

 

 

Storytelling is a very important part of running a business today. Whether you are standing on a stage, writing a blog, or putting together a case study, you need to get your point across with good storytelling. So what is good storytelling in business?

There are really three elements you have to keep in mind when you are trying to get attention for your brand through storytelling. First you have to be clear in illustrating your point. State up front what your message or idea is. Most people feel like the world needs a lot of background information in order to understand yet in business the truth is that we need to get to the point right away. If we don’t get to the point quickly, we lose the audience.

Another important element is proof.  The best way to help a consumer, investor, or potential business partner understand your vision, concept, product, or service is to provide proof of its value. One way to do this is through case studies. Case studies are really just examples. Yes, they can be boring so some people present examples in the form of video or testimonials – and these can be effective too.

Lastly, it doesn’t hurt to give people simple, easy to follow instructions. This can demonstrate how easy it is for the audience to implement or use whatever it is you are selling.

Standing in front of an audience singing your company’s praises or writing a blog that touts how unique your product is will do little to impress people, but telling a story about how your product or service worked for someone else carries a lot more weight. Storytelling can be creative, entertaining, and even humorous depending on the product or service you provide and the audience you are catering to so before you formulate your story, make sure you know your audience well.

 

 

 

 

Books Coming to Screen in 2018

 

 

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

 

I know a lot of people who enjoy reading books before they become movies. The idea is to read first then watch the movie, compare and critique. Lately, I have had several readers ask me what 2018 books will be coming to a theatre near them. While I imagine I am missing some, here are the books know will be movies:

  • A Wrinkle in Time – if it sounds familiar it’s because it is the adaptation of L’Engle’s 1962 novel about good, evil, and time travel. Rumour has it that this Sci-Fi will star Reese Witherpoon, Chris Pine, and Oprah Winfrey.
  • All the Bright Places – is a novel about two teenagers helping each other through some very difficult times. Elle Fanning will be playing one of the lead roles in the movie version.
  • Ophelia – the story of Hamlet from the point of view of Ophelia, a book by Lisa Kline, will hit the big screen at some point in 2018. The cast will include Naomi Watts and Clive Owen.
  • Ready Player One – this book about an obsession with an online game leads to a massive treasure hunt in the online world. The movie version is expected to be thrilling, as well as humorous.
  • Let it Snow – is a novel by the same author who brought us “The Fault in Our Stars”. Does this mean you should bring a box of tissues to the theatre to see the movie version? Some insiders say, “Yes” the story of love just might bring you to tears.
  • Peter Rabbit – the classic tale of a rebellious rabbit comes to the screen in February 2018. It will star James Corden as Peter Rabbit, and Rose Byrne as Bea.

So if more than one of these sound appealing to you then, get reading. The year 2018 will be here before you know it.

Hurricane Heroes vs. Scammers

Writer: Teresa Madaleno 

 

Hurricane Harvey took at least 70 lives that we know of at this point. That’s too many. One life is too much. However, as authorities work through what is expected to be a very long recovery process, they say they are “surprised” that that death toll was not higher.

The fact that weather forecasters were following and reporting storm activity as it made its way toward land and people heeded the warnings, made a huge difference in lives saved. If you have been watching or listening to news over the last few days, you have likely heard the stories about near-drownings and dangerous rescues. You have also likely heard about the real heroes. For example, the veteran Houston police officer who died on a flooded highway while trying to report for duty so he could help during the crisis. Of course, there were also the two volunteer rescue workers who drowned carrying families to safety. The people of Houston are broken, but they are proud – proud of their resilience and proud of their efforts to help their fellow man.

What is very hard to hear about amid all the tragedy and sadness is that this horrible weather event has stirred up much more than your typical storm debris; it has awakened the scammers. Sadly, there are people who take advantage is cases of tragedy. The Washington Post reports that scammers are using robo-calls to try to “fleece” hurricane Harvey survivors. Here’s an example: the scammer dials the phone and when the homeowner answers, they hear that their premiums are past due and they must send money “now” or have their flood insurance cancelled. How awful! These disaster parasites are in a class of their own, called “the lowest class”.

If you know anyone in Houston and Florida who is recovering from Hurricane Harvey or Irma, please talk to him or her about these parasites. One of the biggest scams experienced by storm survivors in recent years has involved dishonest contractors. They get survivors to sign a contract for repair work on a digital tablet; however, when they print out the work sheet, the bid is thousands of dollars higher than what the person originally signed. In some situations, survivors unknowingly assign FEMA disaster aid over to the scammer.

While we would all like to focus on the heroes, it seems it is the constant barrage of parasites that we have to keep watching for. They should be severely prosecuted.

A side note to anyone reading this – give generously to hurricane recovery efforts. There are different ways you can donate, including through the Red Cross and the United Way, as well as other organizations listed below.

http://www.redcross.ca/about-us/red-cross-stories/2017/red-cross-responds-to-devastation-caused-by-hurricane-harvey

https://www.unitedwayhouston.org/flood

https://secure.americares.org/site/Donation2?df_id=22188&mfc_pref=T&22188.donation=form1&_ga=2.27797372.1946876975.1503855566-771809081.1503855566

http://texasagriculture.gov

https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/feeding-texas

 

 

Reversing Brain Trauma

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

 

If you are familiar with competitive sports then you know that TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) is real. TBI ranges from a mild concussion after colliding with a teammate to something severe, such as a blow to the head when you are slammed into something with great force. These jolts to the cranium can lead to permanent brain injury and even death. Now, there is hope for traumatic brain injury patients.

As the mother of an avid hockey player, I have witnessed multiple head traumas at the rink so I was pleased when I heard about the recent discovery by scientists at the University of California in San Francisco. If you haven’t already heard the news, a team of researchers found that a new experimental drug could restore normal brain function in mice following two types of TBI’s.

Until now, medical experts thought there was no way to reverse cognitive decline and memory loss for those with traumatic brain injury. As for surgery, well that has to be carried out within hours of an injury to be effective. However, the University of California research team gave mice a compound and those mice developed memory capabilities similar to mice that never had brain injuries.

The drug that was administered during the study is called ISRIB and is pronounced, “iz-rib”. It was actually discovered back in 2013 by a biochemistry professor at UCSF. Doctor Peter Walter calls the findings with the mice “extraordinary”. He recently stated the following: “We think that ISRIB may uncover an untapped reservoir in the brain that allows damaged memory circuits to be repaired.”

What is particularly remarkable about the discovery is that in one phase of the study, the researchers waited until several weeks after the mice sustained the injury before administering the drug. Co-author of the study, Susanna Rosi indicated that animals with these types of brain injuries normally never learn well again, yet the drug ISRIB could restore ability to form memories even when giving the drug was delayed for four weeks after the injury; something that was considered impossible before.

While more research is needed before human studies can be conducted, the researchers have publicly stated that they have “high hopes” that the drug ISRIB can one day help those who have suffered brain injuries.

According to the U.S National Library of Medicine concussions account for up to 14 percent of hockey injuries at all levels of the sport. While prevention should be the name of the game, we all know that every season there will be players of various ages that will experience head trauma, which means we must support the advancement of research, like the work being done at the University of California in San Francisco.

Why Write Case Studies?

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

Everyone loves a good story right? Case studies are an effective, yet underutilized way to tell stories. As a business owner or sales director you might worry that case studies are too long and boring – that no one will read them. The truth is, if positioned well, case studies can paint pictures, evoke emotions, and lead to action.

Generally case studies start with a problem, outline various solutions and then offer proven results that showcase your product or service as the best solution for the problem.

So why should you consider writing a case study for your business?

  • They can position you as an authority
  • They can explain how to solve a problem
  • They can provide social proof
  • They can lead to spinoff content like blogs, newsletters, and videos.
  • They can generate sales

Case studies take time to develop. If done right, this means weeks or months. Of course, once the writing is done, you have to market the case study or should I say, maximize your case study conversions. You see that it is well worth the effort when your studies lead to interest in your products or services. Few people can become expert case study writers overnight, but I try to help get you started with my writing guide, which is coming out this fall so stayed tuned and I will let you know how you can get a copy.