Sunday, March 9, 2008

Is there such thing as a business-casual email?

In a world that is becoming more casual, how far can you get without being considered unprofessional? Emails are taking over as a strong form of communication in the business world, instead of traditional letters, a past form of communication favored by businesses. However, many in the business world are viewing emails as a casual way to communicate, eliminating formality. Just because you are allowed to wear jeans to work, doesn’t mean you can forget to end sentences with a period, or use the phrase “LOL” in a business related email.

In the defense of myself (and I’m sure others in the business world), we have never been taught how to write a formal email. I remember numerous lessons on writing business letters in the course of my schooling, but often times the format can’t be applied to emails.

Brian Zafron at Freelance Switch has posted ways to strengthen the way you write an email. Highlighted are ways to draw the reader’s attention to the email and quickly engage them so they don’t skip over the email. Zafron goes over ways to improve content, style, form and technique to strengthen your emails.

Considering I am not yet involved in the business world, I found this post to be extremely helpful in preparing myself for future job endeavors. It is important to realize that although you may be allowed to wear jeans or flip-flops to work, you need to remember that you are in a professional setting.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

"They're Grrrrrreat!"

In my days of watching cartoons and kid’s channels such as Nickelodeon, I remember a large presence of commercials with Tony the Tiger and the Kool-aid man. Commercials didn’t only serve as advertisements to hypnotize young minds into asking parents to buy the sugar-filled powdered drinks, but they were also a part of pop culture. I remember kids in elementary school dressing as the Kool-aid man or the Hamburgler for Halloween.

As obesity among children becomes a larger issue in America, the government is in talks of cracking down on un-healthy food advertised on children’s networks. A post on Advertising Age dispelled the rumor that networks are being hurt by the decision to eliminate unhealthy food advertisements.

According to the article, companies are in the midst of changing ingredients in their brands to be relevant with last year’s new guidelines. Kellogg for example has decided not to advertise any product that has more than 200 calories per serving and has introduced new products such as Pop-Tarts made with whole grains and less sugar.

Will this new wave of advertising help with childhood obesity? Maybe. Changing advertisements is not going to cut down on the amount of TV children watch, which can lead to obesity. Also, children are not the ones that do the grocery shopping. Children can beg their parents as much as they like to buy them sugary treats, but parents are the ones who have the ultimate say in what they feed and buy their children. If we want to start improving the health of our children we should do it with exercise and proper nutrition, cartoon advertisements are not to blame in childhood obesity.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Does having Oprah on your side make you destined for success?

Oprah has a tremendous power of influence. She can turn unknown books into national best sellers, convince viewers that a $100 pair of jeans are an absolute necessity, but does she have the power to convince the nation who to vote for as our next president?

Laura Ries recently posted an entry on her blog entitled “The Oprah Factor” where she discusses the potential success an Oprah endorsement can have on Barack Obama.

Ries mentions that the fact that Oprah didn’t create Obama, but is helping can attribute to a possible success. She says the mere fact that Oprah is not overshadowing Obama by overly campaigning for him may make Obama a success because Oprah has turned him into a celebrity.

People trust Oprah’s opinion and not only are she generating publicity for the person she is endorsing, but she is also generating more publicity for herself, further promoting her name. With so much power and publicity, Oprah is able to transform anyone into a success. Her new reality show “Oprah’s Big Give” supplies average people with the means to help those in need. While any average person can help someone in need, Oprah provides contestants with the money and resources to do so, making them extremely successful in their mission.

Oprah is slowly becoming the backbone of America as she uses her power to help other succeed. She turned Dr. Phil from a special guest on her show to a regular household name and her power has the success to make a name out of anyone. Who knows, maybe Oprah will read my blog and turn me into the next Perez Hilton.