As the name suggests, startups are small companies that develop unique products or services. However, despite their size, they play a crucial role in the economic process. They create jobs, highlight innovation, and encourage competition.

For instance, Airbnb, Instagram, and Uber began their journey as startups, and look at how they transformed their respective industries.

If you’re interested in learning how these organizations work, it’s essential to understand that they fit into different categories, like stages and funding rounds. Two examples that fall under this category are early-stage startups and growth-stage companies.

If you’re looking to learn more about these, read on to learn their definitions and the core differences between them.

What Are Early-Stage Startups?

Early-stage startups are organizations that are still in the development phase. They are in the early stages and have their work cut out for them to succeed. Below are some of the components that define these companies.

They’re New to the Market

Early-stage startups are firms that have just entered the market. Their names seem brand new to their target consumers, so they need relevant marketing and advertising efforts to introduce themselves. Should their strategies work as planned, they can eventually increase their market share.

One of the top reasons that startups fail is not having enough demand for their products and services, which makes addressing their audience’s pain points one of the core components of these companies’ success.

They’re a Small Company

You won’t come across early-stage startups with thousands of employees and massive offices. Instead, these companies may have as few as ten people on their team. This means that they can operate in unconventional spaces like someone’s garage, much like Microsoft during their early days. Once these enterprises grow, you might see them hire more people and move into proper offices.

They Face Operational Challenges

Early-stage startups still have several kinks to work out in their operations. Some might face challenges regarding their production, marketing, or accounting efforts. After some time, they will gain enough experience to smooth out their practices.

They Aren’t Yet Profitable

In most cases, these organizations are still not profitable. They usually survive on investor funds in the beginning. Investors believe in their business concept and trust that they can make money out of their idea in time.

Companies should eventually begin to make more money and progress beyond series A funding to exit the early stage, but this process may take years.

What Are Growth-Stage Companies?

When early-stage startups move out of their unconventional workspaces and into spacious offices, they usually transform into growth-stage companies. By this time, these organizations are able to bring their vision to life.

They’ve discovered the products, services, and strategies that work for them and have achieved an impressive product-market fit. You will often find these organizations hiring additional team members as they expand.

Below are some factors that define such companies.

They Show Impressive Growth

Industry growth averages are good indicators of how well an organization is doing. In most cases, growth-stage companies outpace industry averages to achieve impressive growth figures.

They Have Bigger Teams

You won’t often find growth-stage companies in someone’s garage or coworking spaces, because they typically employ 50 to 100 people. They need more employees to address the demands of their growing market.

They’re Beyond Series A Growth Capital

Series A financing is a critical stage in a startup’s journey. It’s the second stage of startup funding and the first of venture capital financing. It proves that a company has sold enough shares and secured enough capital from investors.

Once a company grows beyond series A funding, it can join the other growth-stage companies on their way to the big leagues.

How Are They Different From Each Other?

Experts use the word “startup” as a generic term for growing companies. However, there are several factors that can be used to tell them apart. If you’re not sure which category your business falls under, here are a few considerations you can make to figure it out:

Their Product-Market Fit

Have you tested how the market will receive your new product or service? In most cases, early-stage startups have not. They’re still testing the waters to see if their idea has a profit potential.

Meanwhile, growth-stage companies have already validated their ideas and can prove their sustainability. In most cases, such organizations aim for growth and try to keep their sales from plateauing.

The Complexity of Their Work

Being an entrepreneur is not a walk in the park. However, running an early-stage startup is much simpler than overseeing a growth-stage company. The former deals with operational challenges, but also has fewer employees and smaller workspaces to handle.

On the other hand, growth-stage decision-makers need to constantly consider investor return on investment (ROI) and market demands. The pressure to succeed is greater for these organizations.

Their Risks

Every business faces risks daily, including early-stage startups and growth-stage companies. However, early-stage startups are far more flexible when it comes to risks. They often have ten or fewer people on their team and can take chances on ideas that have the chance to lead to massive payoffs. If they fail, investors can still bounce back because these brands typically haven’t grown enough to leave them bankrupt.

However, it’s a very different scenario for growth-stage companies. They usually have at least 50 employees and high-profile investors. Apart from a stricter approval process, they also have a lower tolerance for risk because they have more to lose than their smaller counterparts.

Grow Your Business Today

Can you now distinguish between early-stage startups and growth-stage companies? While these organizations have distinct differences, they also have similar goals. No matter the company type, investors and employees want to do their best to grow their businesses.

If you’re a startup owner looking for ways to propel your company’s growth, we want to talk to you. We have years of digital marketing and web development experience from working with early-stage startups and high-growth companies. Our work has resulted in companies achieving successful exits. In addition, we are highly focused on designing and implementing ROI centric campaigns to demonstrate positive returns to shareholders.

Entrepreneurs are important. They boost our economic development, create ideas and new jobs, and invent items and services that can hugely impact society. Yes, any person can come up with ideas. However, you will need the right strategies and ways to make your idea a complete success. That’s why if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you first need to have an entrepreneur mindset. With the mind of an entrepreneur, you will be able to think outside the box and create ways to develop ideas in the most creative, communicative, and motivating manner.

Entrepreneurs are not born. Their entrepreneurial mindset drives them to come up with such unique ideas. If you also want to have an entrepreneurial mindset, you will have to think like one. So, how do you do it? Let’s dig deeper.

What is an Entrepreneurial Mindset?

An entrepreneurial mindset is vital if you want to succeed. An entrepreneurial mindset enables individuals to overcome different challenges that they may face. It also helps entrepreneurs to be decisive and accept all the responsibilities that come with the results of their work. Entrepreneurs need to have a mindset where they always improve their skills and learn from their mistakes while coming up with new ways to make their idea work better.

Any person who is willing and determined to make their ideas work can develop the mind of an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurial Mind Characteristics

Entrepreneurs should cultivate traits to train their minds to think and act like real and successful entrepreneurs. To do this, you will have to set your mindset into having these traits:

Positive Mental Attitude

Your mindset will set the tone of your work and will likely influence the rest of your decisions. If you want positive results, you will need a positive outlook and attitude. Having a positive mindset doesn’t mean you will keep on reaching for your goals while ignoring all the other things that can happen along the road. Instead, it can help you set your mind to making ideas you can use to respond to the challenges you’re going to face.

Creative Mind

Creativity doesn’t only mean you have to be good in arts or music. Creativity can also mean coming up with novel ideas and inventions that can be used for the greater good. Creativity is the mother of invention. And if you have a creative mind, you will likely come up with different ideas and solutions based on the things you see or the words you hear. Creativity can also take you to many heights. All entrepreneurs need to be creative so they can create innovations and unique ideas to support their goals. And if you want your business to be successful, you will have to create different ideas and tactics to make your business grow bigger.

Strong Will

If you have a strong will and the ability to be work-driven, you will be better at achieving your goals. A strong will can help you ignore your past failures and instead learn from them to create new ideas. A strong will can help you avoid self-pity and doubting yourself. Simply put, having a strong will can help fight off negative thoughts in case some of your tactics don’t work like what you have intended.


Self-motivation is very important for all entrepreneurs. This just means that you are working for yourself to become better and your actions are all genuine. If you are self-motivated, you are likely to pour out your blood, sweat, and tears for your business so it can grow bigger and be more successful. There’s nothing purer than achieving all your goals through hard work and motivation.


All entrepreneurs should be good at persuading others in a good way. Your persuasiveness can help you negotiate with others easily, close a deal without any mistakes, and even smoothly grow your network. If you are persuasive, you will open more doors for investments and new sponsors. You will also have the power to attract and gain more customers to make your business bigger.


Another very important trait that entrepreneurs should have is being confident. If you want to be successful you will need to be confident. Confidence in yourself and your work doesn’t mean you are arrogant. In fact, being confident helps individuals to act positively. Also, being confident can help you speak in front of others, launch your product naturally, and attract people into investing in your company. If you are confident with yourself and with your product, you will likely attract and persuade others to try it out.


No one is born perfect. In fact, entrepreneurs face more mistakes than other people before they become what they are now. As an entrepreneur, you will need to be resilient and learn from your mistakes. Mistakes are part of growing up to become a better individual. It also helps you eliminate ways that can go wrong for your business and instead create opposite results.


If you are curious, you will open your mind to more ideas that you can use for your current project or future work. Being curious can also lead you to find answers to your questions. It can also help you create solutions through pure ideas and innovations. Curiosity is the engine of all achievements.


Being humble can help you free yourself from arrogance and pride. In fact, humbleness ties all other traits of an entrepreneur. If you are humble, you will easily win the hearts of the many. Not to mention that being humble also allows you to learn from others. You will have to remember that you can’t do all these things alone. That’s why you need to throw away your pride and welcome ideas from your peers, colleagues, and even your employees. If you think their ideas can positively impact the business, thank them and try them out.

Final Thoughts

Having the mind of an entrepreneur can help you become more successful. Not just in your business or company but in life in general. All entrepreneurs need to have an entrepreneurial mindset for them to come up with solutions and ideas that can grow their business. It can also help them communicate and express their ideas to other people easily and naturally. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to have a positive mindset, be creative, strong-willed, motivated, persuasive, confident, resilient, curious, and humble.

If you have all these traits, you will likely become successful in whatever you do and whatever decisions you make. Just remember that entrepreneurs are not born. Instead, they are developed through having these traits and mindsets. Your mindset is everything. It sets your pace and your place in this highly advanced and competitive world.

Haddon Township, NJ – (March 21, 2022) Opical Group, a full-service digital marketing agency and web development firm based in New Jersey recently acquired the domain as part of a strategic plan to expand their digital home improvement footprint. The property will be held and operated under WIT portfolio, the firm’s trademarked Website Investment Trust.

Following a successful exit from operating a website in the business services and software sector this month, Orpical Group is looking to invest resources to build on company holdings. The decision to acquire the domain stemmed from the company’s recent growth in another niche in the home improvement space.

Stefan Schulz, COO, Orpical Group commented on the other factors that led to the decision: “Our team of analysts found the property available on an expired database. After evaluating its backlink profile, competitors in the space, and other market conditions, we were chomping at the bit. There were just a lot of similarities to other sites that we’ve grown via organic search. We’re confident that once we establish traffic, we can monetize through multiple methods including sponsorships and ad placements.”

Edward DuCoin, CEO, Orpical Group, expanded on the vision for the newly acquired property: “We’re always on the lookout for underdeveloped areas whether it be for internal development, or to service our existing clients. When done right acquiring existing domains can be a great, low-cost way to expedite marketing efforts. And that’s what we’re doing here. Our goal is to build on the existing domain authority and get to the point of a positive ROI as quickly as possible. We’ve already built the brand, crafted a story behind the site, and deployed a framework for rapid content publication to generate traffic. To go with the pool theme, we’re ready to make a big splash here.”

About Orpical Group

Orpical Group is a full-service business consulting firm and digital marketing agency based in New Jersey and Philadelphia. The agency specializes in branding, web design and development, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click management, and marketing automation.

About PV Pool Cleaner

PV Pool Cleaner, also known as the Personal Virtual Pool Cleaner, is a website owned and operated by Orpical Group. The website reviews the best pool cleaning products, including pool vacuum cleaners, filters, and pumps. As part of Orpical Group’s Website Investment Trust (WIT), PV Pool Cleaner is a digital asset built to diversify revenue streams outside of the agency’s core client service.

Orpical Group has been recognized by Great Place to Work® on Certification Nation Day, a National Celebration of Outstanding Workplaces

Haddon Township, New Jersey  — Orpical Group has been awarded a Great Place to Work® certification for outstanding company culture and employee job satisfaction.

The Great Place to Work Certification™ is recognized worldwide by employees and employers alike as a global benchmark for identifying outstanding employee experiences. The certification is awarded to businesses who score exceptionally high on the Great Place to Work® certification survey, provided to employees by Great Place to Work®.

Orpical Group’s survey results showed that one hundred percent of employees considered company management approachable, competent at running a business, clear in their expectations, and diligent in informing employees about changes to the company. The typical employee response to the quality of the company culture within U.S.-based companies is only fifty-nine percent.

“This certification validates a lot of the hard work we put into keeping our employees happy, healthy, and stable in the past year,” Edward DuCoin, CEO of Orpical Group, said. “So many agencies suffered cutbacks and layoffs because of the pandemic. We managed to actually grow our company while maintaining a workplace culture worthy of this certification. That is an accomplishment that gives me tremendous pride.”

Orpical Group’s COO, Stefan Schulz, cites the company’s devotion to growth as the biggest contributer to employee satisfaction.

“We are always looking for ways to help our employees grow,” Schulz said. “Whether that’s a skills workshop, an opportunity for a promotion, or taking a chance to champion a project they believe in. People can’t be happy if they feel stagnant. Our commitment to personal and professional growth has gone a long way with our team, and this award shows it.”

According to Great Place to Work research, job seekers are 4.5 times more likely to find a great boss at a Certified great workplace. Additionally, employees at Certified workplaces are 93% more likely to look forward to coming to work and are twice as likely to be paid fairly, earn a fair share of the company’s profits, and have a fair chance at promotion.

Orpical Group is open to job applications from honest, respectful, and hard-working professionals from all backgrounds. If you are interested in a career at Orpical Group, please send your resume to

About Orpical Group

Orpical Group is a full-service digital marketing agency and business consulting firm based in New Jersey and Philadelphia. We specialize in business development, branding, web design and development, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click management, and marketing automation.






Have you ever taken a Rorschach test?

You know, one of these:


Also called an inkblot test, you’ve probably seen one of these in your lifetime. They’re pretty common in pop culture. In short, the goal of the test is to show you a seemingly random splattering of ink on a page and to ask you what you see.

Your answer is supposed to suggest some form of inherent perspective that you have. Since the ink is not “supposed” to be anything, whatever you see is what your mind is “looking for,” in a certain way.

In short, they reveal how you look at things. Sometimes something that is ‘designed’ to look like nothing, or perhaps even something completely different, can be interpreted in an entirely different way. As we recently learned, it’s a concept marketing professionals should keep in mind.  

Our Happy Little Accident

Our internal discussion about perception came up after we ran into what Bob Ross would call a “happy accident” on a website we were working on. Here’s what happened…

Take a look at this stock image:



Harmless, right? We thought so too.

Our plan was to have text overlaid on this image on a website we were working on. So, to make the text pop more, we blurred it out, like this:



Still not seeing it? You shouldn’t really, it’s just a harmless blurry picture. Or so we thought.

The final step was to resize the image to fit within the page design. So we cropped it a bit, enlarge it to scale, add our text, bada bing bada boom, and voila:




Oh no.

If you still aren’t seeing it, don’t worry, we didn’t at first either. But lean back in your chair, maybe take a step back from the desk and unfocus your eyes. Kind of like you would if you were, I don’t know, aimlessly scrolling through a web page. See it now?

The troubling visual — which was lost on us until a brave soul in a focus group was bold enough to share their thoughts  — is the general shape of a naked man on top of a shirtless woman.

It took us by surprise too. But once we saw it, we couldn’t unsee it. We’ve since swapped out the picture, and with the help of multiple focus groups, confirmed there is no more accidental porn on the website. All in a day’s work.

After we texted our friends about the mistake, we realized there were a few takeaways worth noting from this incident.

  1. QA test your products like they’re movies. If you want to make a G-rated website, put on your X-rated goggles and comb through the content carefully.
  2. Perspective is subjective. Don’t fight that, just remember it, adapt to it, and use it.

The second takeaway sounds obvious, but it’s not 100% clear what to actually do about it. It’s a t-shirt away from being merchandise at a networking event.

But marketers who actually use this advice are better for it. Here’s how.

Embrace The “Porn” Of It All

Here’s one of the best pieces of advice I ever received: just because your opinion is an educated one, doesn’t mean it’s a good opinion.

“What you suggest can be based on research, white papers, reports, and data, and it should be. But it isn’t a good marketing opinion until the market proves that it works.”

That is the bottom line with marketing: the only good suggestions are ones proven by the market. If it doesn’t end up leading to more profit, in the long run, it’s not a good suggestion.

Our “happy accident” is an example of what we thought was a good idea proven wrong by the market (in this case, users). In our case, we were actually lucky that the error was so glaringly inappropriate. The fact that it was pseudo-scandalous was actually a blessing: it was an error we could not justify, so we replaced it.

But that’s not always the case.

Too many marketing professionals rigidly adhere to their own plans even after the market tells them they don’t like what they’re seeing. They may try to explain away why their strategy isn’t working; it’s advertising’s fault, we aren’t spending enough money, they just don’t understand the messaging, yadda yadda yadda. But if the market’s perspective isn’t seeing the same thing you want them to see, you can’t change how they see it.

It’s not the market’s job to see it how the marketer sees it. It’s our job to show them. So in these instances, we need to do our jobs better.

When we say “embrace the porn of it all,” we simply mean that a different perspective is not your enemy. In fact, it’s a benefit. You get feedback on what you’re doing and can adjust accordingly to create what the target audience wants. Isn’t that what we’re trying to figure out in the first place?

Different preferences and perspectives are half the reason marketers do so many of the things that we do. A/B testing, focus groups, demographic data — all of it is because we have a desire to account for the things outside our assumptions.

Good marketers account for different perspectives, adjust, and use it to better their campaigns.

Bad marketers blame the market.

It All Comes Back To The Client

At the end of the day, marketing teams have one real goal. Make their clients more money, and keep them happy. If those aren’t being accomplished, then there’s no point in our work.

If the marketing team is too prideful to adapt to the market, then they simply aren’t going to be able to deliver on that promise for their client. This is not the industry to have an ego. Marketing success is 100% based around how well a marketer can embrace their missteps and turn them into better results down the line.

The god of search engines has spoken: by the end of the year, the old Google AdWords editor will be phased out. Pay-per-click managers everywhere are sharing their condolences.

Sorry Google, we mean no disrespect (we kind of need you to make our living). It’s just that change can be difficult, and for a lot of Google AdWords campaign managers, the new Google Ads interface is, well…difficult, sometimes. There’s a lot that’s been switched around, and we’re going through growing pains.

As reported here on Search Engine Land, Google will be fully disposing of the currently named “previous AdWords editor,” which at the moment is in limited access.

The change comes as a big part of the newly branded “Google Ads” platform, which is taking over the role of Google AdWords as their targeted search engine ad delivery system.

Why Did They Change Google AdWords To Google Ads?

In short, the old Google AdWords editor was dated and the data was harder to quickly understand.

It’s an attempt to modernize with a new Google aesthetic (you may have noticed Gmail changed their font). For all the preference that the old AdWords interface may receive, it’s hard to argue that it definitely felt dated, especially by Google’s “premier internet brand” standards.

The new interface has been designed with a major shift away from numerical data and toward visualized data. Most prominently noted on the Overview section of the new interface, users are now greeted with charts, graphs, and graphics which more cleanly and quickly convey the information.

The change came, in large part, due to customer feedback which requested more easily digestible information. In the old Google AdWords editor, charts were few and far between. Most of the data was shown through charts and tables. While this became fairly popular in the PPC community, the layout isn’t the most welcoming to new users.

Google’s priority has and will likely always be about making the user experience as easy and immediately rewarding as possible. As part of that mindset, they’ve determined that the old Google AdWords editor needed to go.

Can I Get The Old Google AdWords Editor Back?

Sorry, you cannot. For any new accounts going forward, the “new” editor is now the only editor.

PPC managers can only access the older interface if they are editing a campaign which was launched earlier than sometime around late spring of 2018. The exact date is unconfirmed, but new accounts which have been created after that general time period don’t have the familiar “return to previous AdWords” button that managers have come to love.

Here’s what it used to look like before the phase-out:

Here’s what all the new campaigns are seeing when they click on the Tools icon:


Just like that, it’s gone. It came as a rude awakening for PPC managers who had been relying on the old product for so long.

According to Google — as they will tell you if you call their customer service and ask — the old Google AdWords editor has a “depreciating value.” Which is to say that Google is going to be allocating less and less of their resources to it as the year moves on.

The removal of this button is one of the bigger steps toward completing this phase-out process. Users who have been using it for older campaigns can continue to use it until the end of the year, but after that point, everyone will be pushed on the same interface.

The new Google Ads editor is the way of the future, and PPC managers will simply have to adjust to the new Google Ads interface.

So…What Now?

For PPC managers, all that is left to do is adapt and use the new Google Ads to the best of your abilities. The new interface isn’t necessarily worse, but it is definitely different, and there will be some changes you’ll likely want to make to the settings before you feel just as at home with this UI as you did with the last one.

Take advantage of the change as best as you can. New features like promotion extensions, call bid adjustments, and the Audience Manager all have their part to play in your Google Adwor — I mean, Google Ads campaigns.

There’s a lot to be offered in the new system, and while it’s not exactly what it used to be, that doesn’t mean it’s any less valuable.

It’s that time of year again.

They’re looming.

Ready to pounce on our checkbooks like ravenous pumas.

The Girl Scouts.

AKA Mini Marketing and Sales Masterminds.

Shopping malls, supermarkets, fitness centers—everywhere you look—Girl Scouts are locked and loaded with stacks of Thin Mints and Peanut Butter Patties as high as the Burj Khalifa.

Add the power of the Internet and Digital Cookies to an already prolific foot coverage zone, do we even stand a chance?

The answer is no. We can’t beat them. And that’s precisely why we should join them. Not as Girl Scouts literally, but as smart, organized, hyper-focused sales assassins. After all, it’s going to take some serious cash to support that bad case of the sweet tooth (and the later trips to the dentist).

I’m not going to lie, I actually found myself getting “annoyed” this year by the local Girl Scouts pushing their scrumptious snack sales via public pitch. I know I sound like Grumpy Gramps, but I’ve been battling the woes of an intense diet since the New Year. So give me a break, I’ve been dodging Girl Scout Cookies like Neo in The Matrix.

But after giving it some more thought, putting personal vendettas aside, and tuning in to a more rational channel—I got to give The Girl Scouts props. They helped me realize some things that a lot of business owners and executives overlook.

Find your purpose

Girl Scouts of the USA have been selling cookie for two centuries. You don’t stick around that long without some pretty solid production or a perpetual goal.

Over 1 million Girl Scouts participate in the cookie program each year. Hence why it seems like they’re everywhere you look. With this giant army, Girl Scouts bring in close to $800 million in total sales over the course of a cookie season.

However, what’s perhaps the most interesting part about the Girl Scout model is that 100 percent of the net revenue from cookie sales stays within a Girl Scout council’s local area to benefit girls and their council. The cookie program is what fuels young girls to think big and take action in their communities.

As put in their mission statement: Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

This type of purpose is what truly builds and sustains sales.

Former Girl Scout Cookie extraordinaire, now rocket scientist Sylvia Acevedo summed it up best: “A Girl Scout Cookie purchase is more than just a delicious treat—it’s an investment in girl entrepreneurs who will grow up to be the female business leaders of the future.”

Provide purpose and meaning to your product and service and watch yourself convert more sales. The difference lies in making a difference.

Be in the right place at the right time more often

Have you ever heard someone say they just happened to be in the right place at the right time? Maybe they found twenty bucks on the side of the road. Or maybe they met the love of their life at a bar on a Friday night whim.

Life is often a matter of circumstance and timing. Sales is no exception to this rule.

You know that it’s unrealistic to obtain a sales conversion rate of 100%. You’re not going to find that twenty bucks on the side of the road, just because you went out for one fifteen-minute stroll in your neighborhood.

But if you assign twenty different routes to your family and friends, and explore the many streets and sights in your town, then your chance of tripping over a green-faced Andrew Jackson increases exponentially.

The Girl Scouts adopt this concept well. They know their power is in numbers and sheer persistence. They know that different approaches breed different results.

Going out and tabling might not work well on Monday morning, but maybe having Dad take an order sheet to the office will. The point is that you never know when, where, and what will work.

One of the best things you can do to increase your sales conversion rate is to simply find ways to be in multiple places at the same time. Whether it be through online advertising, marketing automation, or by scaling your team to promote your brand—the more places you can be, the more likely it’ll be the right time.

Be loud, proud, and if all else fails—simply smile

We were all kids once.

Yet, for many of us, the course of time has led to long work hours, keeping up with bills, and having to buy our own clothes, shelter and food. How tragic!

When you’re simply going through the motions, it can sometimes become a bit of a challenge to maintain a consistent positive attitude and joyous appreciation for life. Even harder? Bringing this type of fire to the daily grind. But if you really want to increase your sales conversion rate, expressing positive energy in your demeanor and messaging is crucial.

The Girl Scouts represent a tradition that’s been in place for well over 100 years. Those that do really well embrace their identity with time and vigor. They make sure Grumpy Gramps can hear them as he passes by fake texting. And those that do really-really well say, “Thank you, mister, for your time!”

If passion and pride don’t wow your prospect—kill them with kindness.

It’s been proven that showing off your pearly whites has many psychological advantages, both internally and externally. In fact, internal and external advantages work hand in hand.

Essentially, if you smile, you start to feel good about yourself. If you feel good about yourself, then other people will start to feel good about you. And here’s the tie-in. When people feel good about you, they’re more likely to do business with you.

So smile. Even at Grumpy Gramps. He might not be having a good day, but he’s got a sweet side too, and his diet could be different next year.

Dear fans of the NBC’s drama ‘This Is Us’: this article contains the lightest touch of spoilers that we could sprinkle in.

We will be discussing (as vaguely as we can) events that occur near the end of Season 2, and how a real-world company has handled some surprising fan reactions. These events relate to an ongoing plot that has been at play for most of the show’s run. We won’t say which plot, or which characters, but we will have to say a little about the company at the center of it all.

So if you aren’t caught up and have a zero-tolerance policy for information about how the Pearsons are doing, just go watch the show.


Go watch it.


When this week’s episode ended, fans were hot with emotion. In typical ‘This Is Us’ fashion, the episode’s cliffhanger left many fans flustered, sad, angry, and confused about what to do next. For many fans, they took it out on the scapegoat in their kitchen: the Crock-Pot.

The brand saw itself on the receiving end of social media’s fury last week for the small part their slow-cooker product played in the episode. Fans seeking some form of catharsis unleashed their emotions onto their own slow cookers, as the trending tab of Twitter turned into an abusive slideshow of Crock-Pot insults.

Not used to being the center of anything besides a potluck, Crock-Pot quickly took to social media to try and defend their brand. A new Twitter account was created, and the company’s social media team began making amends.

‘This Is Us’ writer Dan Fogelman took to Twitter to defend the company as well.

Their Facebook also has a lengthy response for fans of the show (WARNING: that post contains spoilers). We won’t post it here, but check it out if you’re feeling distraught.

The situation brings up an interesting conundrum. How do businesses react to uncontrollable brand damage? There was no way of Crock-Pot knowing how bad the backlash would be, and no real way for NBC to expect — and subsequently warn Crock-Pot of — that kind of a response. So what is the right approach?

Be Prepared For Anything

The most important distinction to be made in Crock-Pot’s reaction is that it is aggressively reactionary. The company created a new Twitter account to interact with fans tweeting how angry they are with the device, but the Crock-Pot brand didn’t have a Twitter account before this incident. You may not think a company like Crock-Pot needs a Twitter, but for modern companies, it is nothing less than a liability to not be in touch with your audience.

If we had asked at the beginning of the week what your opinion of the “Crock-Pot” brand was, what would you say?

For most people, the only words that would come to mind would be some variation of “good,” “useful,” and “reliable.” Now here comes a primetime, Emmy-award winning show to indirectly tarnish the company’s reputation — the primary thing still getting people to buy Crock-Pots.

Seriously, what other product out there has a more stable brand identity? Elmer’s glue? Morton’s salt?

While this situation obviously can’t be anticipated, it’s important for businesses to at least have the tools and internal architecture needed to respond to something like this.

This case is a testament that every company, no matter the product, market, or brand strength, should have a dedicated social media, PR, and digital marketing team on standby.  You never know when you’ll be blindsided by the wrath of Twitter.

Pick The Right Angle

On top of having the right kind of hose to put out the PR fire, companies need to be savvy about how they put out the fire. The Crock-Pot strategy? Direct responses.

As noted above, Crock-Pot decided the best course of action was to reply directly to people who were showing unwarranted frustration with their product. They created a new account, pinned a post on Facebook, and have been effectively shouting from the rooftops that their product does not deserve the hate it is receiving.

This strategy may, in fact, be the right one for Crock-Pot; most people associate the brand’s with warm, home-cooked meals and a sense of familial togetherness. So it’s on-brand to respond with sincerity, compassion, and personalized assurances. Crock-Pot may not be the kind of brand that wants to utilize this buzz to their advantage with a spin tactic. They’ve stayed fairly vanilla in how they’ve handled things, and maybe that’s a good thing.

This isn’t the only way to go about it though. Social media has proven that any brand can have a unique voice and use it to their advantage, regardless of the situation. Take the notorious Moon Pie Twitter account. The company sells packaged pastry snacks, but their Twitter account has expanded their audience by having a fun personality.

Furthermore, Crock-Pot is in desperate need of new business guidance. Reports coming out just before the episode showed the parent company, Newell, had already seen stock prices drop 49% since their record mark last June. Since the episode aired, the Crock-Pot product’s stock prices have also plummetted, dropping 24%. While the attention from the episode has been negative, the one benefit has been the Crock-Pot brand is now in the forefront of pop culture for a brief period of time. For a company in desperate need of some magic, it doesn’t appear as though they are utilizing their moment in the spotlight as the opportunity it is.

Lessons From Dr. K

Are there other social media/marketing strategies which could have been implemented to turn this into a win for Crock-Pot and Newell? Could this have been spun to their advantage? Possibly, but it’s difficult to expect anything better from the company when they didn’t prepare themselves beforehand.

Pop culture blows such as this are often short-lived. People, businesses, brands, they’ve all come back from worse blows — blows that they themselves might have caused — and turned out fine on the other side. But it’s still disappointing to see such an opportunity being handled in the most bare-bones fashion.

For all the negativity this episode brought, what was provided was attention, something that is as critical to harness as it is difficult to obtain. When businesses get a shot like this, it’s in their best interest to do more than damage control.

Crock-Pot, so far, has been doing an OK job, all things considered. And for a company that didn’t have a Twitter account before this week, that could be considered a win. But how many executives are ever satisfied with an OK job?

There’s always a way out for a company’s PR nightmares. But if you aren’t prepared, you limit your options.

In the words of Dr. K:

“Find a way to take the sourest lemons that life has to offer, and turn it into something resembling lemonade.”

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What you need and what you can afford: two vastly different circumstances.

Some of my favorite meetings have been with entrepreneurs and startups. And some of my least favorite meetings have been spent staring at spreadsheet columns and data until my eyes bleed.

My most productive meetings? They follow a simple recipe: a forward-thinking “what can be” attitude grounded by a “what is realistic today” rationale.

When I first engage with a client, I admittedly buy into the vision, whatever that may be. Product, campaign, culture—I’m on board. Earned trust starts with shared excitement.

Once that initial trust has been established, we can move forward and start to set the table. How can our marketing agency and business consulting firm help you reach your goals, or fulfill that excitement?

And so it begins—market research, brand identity, captivating content, beautiful web designs, public relations, digital ads, organic reach—and so it never ends!

In the marketing and advertising world, “what do you need” is a dangerous open-ended question. After all, businesses inevitably need a whole lot of things to effectively enter a market, attract customers, and sustain growth.

Anyone can get behind a whiteboard and dream of a place where they want to be. Few, however, can illustrate the path on how to get there. And even fewer can visualize what it will take in time and resources.

Would I have liked an open floor concept when I bought my first home? Of course. Could I benefit from a real library and office instead of a makeshift spare bedroom bunker? You betcha. Does my fiancé casually drop reminders that four bedrooms, his and her sinks, walk-in closets, and a wraparound porch are all must-haves? I think you see where I’m headed.

My dream home is much like an entrepreneur’s dream business. It’s something to strive for, but to build or obtain it overnight is simply out of the question. That doesn’t mean that we can’t get there.

All you need is a refined plan built around real resources. Keep your refined plan to around 90 days. This will give ample time to get things done, without putting things so far into the future that they seem unattainable.

When you sign up for a gym membership, you don’t expect to leave after 30-minutes looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. You know that you need to have set workouts, consistent dieting, and dedicated time to build good habits and results over time. Whether you want to lose 15 pounds of fat, or put on 15 pounds of muscle, having a reachable goal will give you something to strive for. And at the same time, it will narrow your focus so that you avoid overextending yourself.

After 90 days, re-evaluate your resources. Have they depleted? Or have they expanded? Depending on your strategy and execution, you’ll have three major outcomes: stay the course, do-it-yourself, or move out.

In all likelihood, staying the course means you were smart about what you had in terms of time, money, and manpower. You should have sufficient tools to keep the ship steady.

Do-it-yourself, in my experience, means that you didn’t budget appropriately. I’ve seen this countless times with startups that build a $5000 website, but at launch wonder why they aren’t getting any traffic or sales. Hello, have you heard of marketing?

Moving out could be positive or negative. Upgrade or downgrade. Depending on a wide array of circumstances you may need to go back to Mom with your tail between your legs. Or you could put the house up on the market, hire a realtor, and begin your quest for the wraparound porch. Do those even exist outside of movies based in the South?

Nothing in life comes easy. And money doesn’t solve all problems. But having some money, control mechanisms, and the awareness of what your needs will demand in terms of costs, will make obtaining all of those little necessities a lot easier.

That’s business, that’s life, that’s reality—deal with it accordingly.

Business motivation is everywhere.

Sometimes it’s where we least expect. And other times, it’s in plain sight.

Last week’s gym sessions at Future Fitness in Medford, New Jersey reminded our web design and creative team that physical lessons have duality in other aspects of life.

The value of a marketing agency is multi-faceted, but delivered creativity might be one of the most important returns on your investment. And creativity is just as much a disciplined eye as it is a wild mind. Picking up on the subtleties of surroundings, media, culture, and other walks of life, and then incorporating them into a strategic outreach is what separates a great marketing agency from a good one.

Inspiration is a lot like and idea: it’s useless unless used.

Don’t hire a creative agency to simply create for you.

More than likely, you already have a ton of great ideas. You don’t need a creative agency to be creative. Hire a creative agency to get your creative ideas from Point A to Point B, so your market can realize your true value.