Monthly Archives: March 2017

Here’s How You Build Brand Value to Reach More Customers

Building Brand ValueConsumers remain loyal, sometimes irrationally so, to brands because they offer more than just products or services; they have extra value. The perceived value is the motivation for a customer to keep buying a particular brand.

Conceptmrk.com, an advertising agency in Utah cites the following ways on how you can improve brand value.

Create a Perceived Link to a Tangible Advantage

One of the most tried and tested branding strategies that create value is to build a connection between your brand to a tangible benefit that a potential customer is looking for. The advantage can be a result or an experience that is meaningful to your audience. Provide this through the products or services you offer or any aspect of the marketing mix.

Frame a Mental Context

This is a concept that lets a customer link unrelated facts like your marketing activities by leading intent. An example of this would be stumbling upon a hotel such as the Hudson or Royalton, both promise comfort and memorable experiences; however, if you know you will stay in a boutique hotel, your experiences may be different. This creates a perceived difference between hotel types or rooms within the same place. This leads potential customers to look for the differences, make connections to your brand and frame their mental context.

Direct an Experience

Brands that use this employ the concept of the placebo effect; you create an expectation through marketing activities to produce an experience that is richer than what your products or services alone can offer.

Deliver a Message

This strategy creates a symbol that is recognizable; this allows a customer to make certain statements or express a distinct emotion. De Beers, a diamond brand, made their products as a means to show commitment, making the fact of the indestructibility of a diamond a metaphor for a long lasting marriage.

These approaches allow you to create lasting brand value and positive associations with your company’s products or services.

Understanding America’s Sky-High Incarceration Rates

Man's hand inside a prison cellAmerica incarcerates more people than any other country in the world. That’s a hard fact, and the statistics prove it. Only 5 percent of the global population lives in the United States. But a massive 25 percent of the worldwide prison population is in the same country. Despite crime rates being at historic lows, the incarceration rate is still much higher compared to 30 or 40 years ago.

If not for the likes of bail bonds in Raleigh, N.C. and elsewhere, the prison population might be much larger. Understanding America’s sky-high incarceration rates, however, escapes both commoners and even several criminal justice experts.

A Few Truths

Some people might think that crime in the U.S. is pretty rampant for the incarceration rate to be as high as it is. The truth isn’t exactly like that, but it’s easy to understand. The U.S. imprisons more types of criminal offenders, including non-violent ones, and keeps them locked up for longer periods of time. Also, there exist the concepts of ‘truth in sentencing’ and ‘mandatory minimum’ which limit discretion in sentencing and release.

Many analysts also point to the war on drugs. America is known to specifically target people for dealing and possession. As a result, prisons fill up due to drug-related sentences. This is notwithstanding the tendency of federal courts to levy impossibly harsh sentences on people convicted of even the most minor offenses. True enough, during the last 30 or 40 years, laws on tougher sentencing have been passed.

Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to former President Barrack Osama, reinforces these truths. She cites that courtrooms often put Americans in jail with sentences not commensurate to the nature of the transgressions. For instance, many troubled young people are tried as adults, when all they need is some form of intensive, constructive help. Often, people serve jail time merely for not being able to afford a fine or bail bond.

Experts believe that it’ll take as long as 90 years for the U.S. prison population to decrease to 1980 levels. Until drastic and much-needed changes in the criminal justice system are made, millions of Americans are in danger of living behind bars for even the most minor offenses.

Small Businesses and SEO: a Work in Progress

Increase Ranking Concept

Increase Ranking ConceptSearch engine optimization — or SEO — is a process used by marketers in order to raise your company website’s rankings in organic search results. The higher the rankings, the more likely your company website attracts more traffic. And with more traffic, the higher the chances you have for prospects to purchase your products or avail your services.

The description above may seem simple enough, but according to a survey by a marketing agency, many small businesses lack a deep understanding of SEO. 5 per cent responded having no clue about SEO and its benefits.

Survey Breakdown

Going in depth with the survey, 42 per cent of the SMEs surveyed thought SEO involved only the addition of keywords to their website. 18 per cent thought SEO is solely about climbing higher in Google rankings. 15 per cent thought SEO made their website Google-friendly. 12 per cent thought about SEO only in terms of content in their websites. And there is the 5 per cent who did not know about SEO.

The 8 Per Cent

One important group in the survey is the 8 per cent who knew SEO meant all the other responses combined. It shows how many small businesses are able to harness the power and possibility of SEO. If you’re part of this group, then keep up the good work! On the other hand, if you belong to the 92 per cent who have minimal to no SEO knowledge, now is the time to learn.

Power of SEO

Today, SEO remains to be the primary driving force of web traffic. By adding SEO in your marketing, your company can generate more than half of your existing business leads.

You can learn how to integrate SEO to your business by yourself. My Search Ranking.com recommends, otherwise, working with a peer who is well adept with London’s SEO scene. Whatever strategy you may choose, SEO offers an opportunity to boost your revenue.

3 Tips to Ace Your Green Card through Marriage Application

Green Card

In 2015 alone, about 1.38 million individuals born outside of the U.S. moved to the country. This represented a 2 percent increase from figures in 2014.

More and more people are moving to the U.S., and some of them do so through marriage. If you’re moving to the U.S. soon, here are some of the things you should know about the marriage green card application in Utah.

Double-check Your Application Details

A single mistake in your Green Card through marriage application can result in massive delays and even in a denied application. You’ll be surprised to know that the most common mistake people make when filing for a Green Card is leaving it unsigned.

Make sure you review all the information you provided, including the spelling and dates, so you don’t risk any avoidable stressful delays. To protect your interests throughout this process and ensure that you are following state regulations, get in touch with a law firm specializing in marriage Green Card applications in Utah, such as Buhler Thomas Law, P.C.

Be Transparent with Police and Public Records

It is imperative for applicants to include all police and public records in their application. It is advisable that you disclose every single police encounter in the form, even simple things such as parking tickets or arrests that happen anywhere in the world.

Failure to do so can result in denials of services and even rejection. Be truthful. Do not attempt to conceal anything you think might keep you from getting your Green Card.

Prepare to Answer Personal Questions

During your interview, immigration officials may ask sensitive information about you and your spouse. This includes details about when, where and how you first met; where your spouse was living and with whom he or she was living with when you first met; how much is your spouse’s salary; what car does he or she drive, and so on.

You can look for sample interview questions on the internet and memorize the answers. You also need to be sure that both of your answers sync with each other.

Getting a Green Card through marriage can be a long and tedious process for some people. But with the right information and preparation, you can breeze through this application and settle into your new home faster.

Singapore Facts That Will Make You Appreciate It Even More

merlionSingapore is one of the most expensive countries in the world, yet it also enjoys the status of being one of the few developed nations in Asia – although you already know these facts. There are other great things about the city-state that will make you appreciate it more:

1. It Has Four Different Sources of Water

According to Singapore’s National Water Agency (PUB), the country gets its water from the local catchment, NEWater (reclaimed water), desalinated water and imported water. This imported water comes from Johor Bahru, Malaysia, which has two bilateral agreements with the island nation. The second one will expire in 2061.

Currently, Singapore is working hard to reduce its dependency on imported water. By the time the second agreement ends, the country’s desalination process and NEWater should be enough to meet 85 percent of the demand.

2. It Aims to Have a Diverse Armed Force

Singapore spares almost no cent in building a comprehensive armed force. In 2017, the budget for defence will go up by 6.4 percent. It also invests in modern technology as well as aircraft and personnel training and recruitment.

Speaking of recruitment, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is close to becoming one of the very few to have a diverse group of personnel as it plans to recruit more women. It plans to hire at least 500 women by 2018 and increase the number to 3,000 in the future.

These women can be career soldiers, but Singapore also runs a SAF volunteer corps program for women where permanent residents can apply. Because of the discipline, exposure to tech and strategic knowledge personnel can get in SAF, anyone who joins it can open plenty of opportunities whether in the armed forces or elsewhere.

3. It Is a City Within a Garden

Despite being one of the smallest nations in the world, greeneries make up almost 50 percent of its land area. The highest point, Bukit Timah Hill, has more tree species than any other state or country in North America.

Singapore isn’t a perfect country, and it does have its weak points, but its ability to continuously reinvent itself makes it deserving of applause.

HPV-Related Oral Cancer is on the Rise in American Men

Hand with an "Oral Cancer" message
Oral cancer is an increasingly growing health concern in America. Studies reveal that human papillomavirus (HPV) infection has something to do with it.

HPV and Oral Cancer

This year, the American Cancer Society predicts that there will be more than 49,000 cases of cancer of the pharynx and oral cavity in men. An expected 7,000 men will be casualties of these diseases.

In a report from 2016, it showed that insurance claims for the condition jumped 61% from 2011 to 2015. The increase was evident and dramatic in throat cancer and tongue cancer, with the data showing these were three times more common in men than women: 74% to 26%, respectively.

Oral cancer is an umbrella term that includes cancers of the pharynx, tongue, cheeks, lips, hard and soft palate, and the floor of the mouth.

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates explains that any change in the appearance of the mucosa (the skin inside your mouth) can signal oral cancer. Signs include unexplained bleeding and the development of white or red patches in the mouth, numbness, tenderness in, or the growth of persistent sores on any area of the mouth, neck or face.

Prevention is Key

A person can get HPV through skin-to-skin contact; HPV16 is the type linked to cancer. The risk for HPV infection grows with smoking and heavy drinking. Although this type of infection is becoming more common, especially for younger people, it’s not the only reason behind oral cancer.

Other risk factors are poor nutrition with a low diet in fruits and vegetables, weak immune system, genetic disorders, and graft-versus-host disease, which is a condition that could develop post stem cell transplant.

Apart from getting oral cancer screenings, you can also prevent it by changing your lifestyle, especially your diet. Eat more berries, cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, kale, and cauliflower), figs, grapes, and citrus fruits. You can also exercise more and avoid smoking.

Oral cancer is a growing problem in America. Whether it’s HPV-related or not, screenings and awareness of the condition may prevent the condition.

Aluminum Fences: Security and Style You Need

aluminum fenceOrnamental fencing has been a design staple for many decades. It not only adds to the overall aesthetic appeal of the home or office property, but it also gives it an individuality that distinguishes it from the rest of the concrete jungle. You can also customize the designs according to your preference. In order to make all this possible, a fence’s material needs to be durable, weather resistant, low cost, and maintenance free.

Why Aluminum?

Aluminum is a metal that is strong, lightweight, rust free and therefore the right choice for those designs you have in mind. Ornamental aluminum fences come in varied designs and are easy to install. Moreover, if you can install the DIY aluminum fences, you don’t even need to call the professionals.

Aluminum fences could also be shaped to have the wrought iron look. This has made it extremely popular and has almost replaced the traditional iron fences. Though they look highly similar to heavy iron fences, they are lightweight and cost around half as much. Furthermore, aluminum fences are maintenance free.

Why choose ornamental fences?

Though the primary goal of installing fences is to ward off trespassers, an ornamental decorative fence can give you so much more. It can add to your property’s aesthetic value as well as curb appeal. If you have pets and children and want to keep out of the pool area, ornamental aluminum fences are the best, because they give you the security you need but also enhance your pool area’s appearance.

Ornamental aluminum fences can give a property not only security, but a boost in its curb appeal. If you’re looking for these two things for your home or business property, aluminum fencing is your best choice.

Ensuring Freshness When Buying Seafood

A Plate of Cooked Seafood

A Plate of Cooked SeafoodBuying seafood is one of the trickier parts of grocery shopping. Ensuring their freshness will not only impact the quality of your dish but will also prevent food poisoning. While you can treat most food poisoning cases at home, there are certain cases that require a doctor’s appointment.

Restaurants require a food safety supervisor (FSS) to oversee safety factors, such as food safety risks, and identify food hazards, but here are some helpful tips you can follow next time you go to the supermarket for seafood:

Variety of Fishes

Fresh whole fish should have bright, clear and protruding eyes, with pink or bright red gills. A fresh fish should be shiny with scales.

When it comes to fish fillets, they should have a moist appearance with a firm but elastic flesh. Avoid buying pre-packaged fillets stored in liquid since they deteriorate quickly. Fresh fish fillet should be almost translucent, with no browning around the edges.

Crabs and Lobsters

When buying live crabs and lobsters, look for leg movement to ensure they’re alive. Inspect a lobster to see if its tail curls underneath the body instead of hanging down.

Cooked crabs and lobsters still in the shell should have a bright red colour with no foul smell.

Shellfish

If you’re buying fresh oysters, clams or mussels, look for ones that are moist and tightly closed. You can buy shells that are slightly gaping, granted that they close when tapped. Plump oysters have a well-cupped bottom shell.

Freshly-shucked shellfish should be plump. Their liquid should be lightly milky without any strong odour.

Shrimps

Firm meat and a mild odour are indicators of a raw shrimp’s freshness. The shrimp shells should have no sign of blackened edges or black spots.

Since they are highly perishable, seafood should be fresh and of high quality when you buy them.

Protect Your Business By Hiring The Right People

Person Doing a Background CheckOne of the jobs of a business owner or personnel manager in small and big companies is going through stacks of application letters and determining who among the applicants can pass the initial screening.

A thriving business needs to hire additional personnel to help in performing different tasks. With 5.9 percent unemployment rate in Australia as of February 2017, posting a job vacancy ad would definitely flood your office with application letters. This simply means you do not know these applicants personally. You would want to know about their backgrounds and criminal records. What will you do? Read on to find out.

Hire Them Anyway

This is a risky option because hiring someone you do not know is wanted by the authorities can potentially make you disobey the law without knowing it. Authorities may charge you for coddling a wanted felon or other similar charges, which could affect your reputation, or worst put you behind bars.

Go To Your Local Police

Drive all the way to your local police station to request for information about your selected applicants. Whilst this may be a good option for some, you have to understand that police stations always have their hands full. In addition, you may need to fill out a lot of paperwork so you may be furnished, if at all, with the information you need. It may take several days or even weeks to accomplish. By that time, you may have already found someone you really know who can fill that job vacancy.

Search Online

Advances in Internet technologies gave birth to various online services that made some previously tedious tasks easier. Among these innovative services is the online criminal background check. This system allows business owners and individuals to check whether job applicants have previous criminal records or is wanted by authorities. Fast Police Checks stresses the importance of a background check in the hiring process.

A Linked System

Since the system is linked to the national police database, you can be sure that the search results could be accurate. The database allows you to check millions of records in just a few minutes. With this system, you can make informed decisions for your business.

Achieving business success starts with hiring the right people. Get as much information as possible and choose wisely.

 

The Most Notorious Pests That Could Haunt Your Dream House

Exterminator at WorkThe natural world is full of fantastic creatures that are amazing to behold. When magnified through the lens of a camera, they provide people with a first-hand account of what an insect, for example, looks like, and how it interacts with the rest of the creatures in the ecosystem.

However, there are times when these “creatures” become the sources of one’s woes and frustration. At this juncture, they no longer are fascinating insects. Instead, they become pests. Calling pest control experts in Salt Lake City is always a good idea.

Still, a bit of information won’t hurt. Knowing the most notorious pests that could infest your residence is always the first step towards getting rid of these unwelcome visitors.

The Worst Pests That You Would Meet

Locusts. They pose a huge problem if you have a sprawling garden. As a matter of fact, they are considered the worst insect plague ever.

Termites. These pests like wood, so they likely invade homes with lots of wooden beams and panels. They come in colonies, which also means they are capable of destroying your home and inflicting irreparable damages.

Roaches. It’s a good thing that cats hate them. If you have a feline pet, then expect to see a dead cockroach the next morning. Cockroaches mostly roam around in the kitchens, where the food is. While you can kill them with insecticides, roaches survive even without food or water. They are also able to withstand frigid temperatures.

Emerald Ash Borers. They destroy trees and plants, mostly.

Bedbugs. These pests like to stay under the – guess what – bed! They are so minute that you would have a hard time seeing them with your naked eye. They bite people and leave itchy patches on your skin.

Mosquitoes. Not only do these mosquitoes bite, but they also spread nasty and potentially fatal diseases such as dengue and Zika fevers.

Rats. These mangy creatures spread disease as well and could cause serious health problems if they come into contact with your food.

Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer if some of these pests are present in your home. Pest control experts provide immediate help to anyone who is in dire need of exterminator services.