Author Archives: HFM Editor

Customer Service – The forgotten business essential

In today’s challenging consumer marketplace, businesses constantly compete to provide value-added services, quality merchandise, and astonishing discounts that can earn them the lion’s share of the market. Though, it seems that amongst all the competition and cut-throat survival strategies, many companies have forgotten the importance of offering basic, supportive customer service.

Have you recently experienced a longer-than-usual wait time trying to service your phone, or maybe you can’t seem to get a “live” customer service person on the phone to check your credit card balance?

Can you barely understand the guy on the other end of the line that you are trying to order a pizza from?

How about not being able to find anyone to tell you if this pot was microwave-safe, or if no one is available to get you the right size to try on a pair of shoes?

It is a fact. The quality of customer service everywhere around the world is dwindling and companies are not doing anything about it. Businesses are constantly trying to better their bottom-line, and this has resulted in lower wages, less experienced workers, and poorer customer care for frustrated, agitated customers waiting in line.

To make matters worse, companies are constantly outsourcing customer service call centers offshore to countries such as India and the Philippines. These  call centers not only manage numerous clients using the same personnel, many of their workers have never even been to the country that their callers are from, hence not being able to understand the culture, mentality, or situation of callers and the issues they might be facing. Offshore call centers also tend to have their own native accent. While most of them are trained to speak in either British or American English, it is still difficult to understand them at times due to their underlying accents.

Local customer service personnel face a completely different problem altogether. Many companies hire untrained students or foreign labor to bring the cost of their customer service center down. With inadequate training and the inability to understand the customer, many in-person customer service representatives fail to effectively target the issue or address a customer’s need. Without proper training, representatives are unable to access situations or tend to customer demands efficiently. Some do not even compose themselves in a professional manner, bringing the reputation of the company down.

In such a competitive market, businesses cannot overlook this basic consumer need and still expect to stay ahead. Customers are becoming increasingly smarter and quicker to judge, leaving no room for error or poor service. It is important that small businesses and startups who want to set themselves apart begin training their staff from the very beginning. The small investment in customer service courses and workshops will prove beneficial and reap rewards to tremendous ways.


Posted in Business & Marketing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

An Accidental Marketing Success?


Abercrombie & Fitch 'ad ab-solutely by the book', had BCA okay


Abercrombie and Fitch will soon open its first flagship store in South East Asia, in the heart of the island of Singapore. The company  announced it with one of the country’s largest billboards on the side of the Orchard Road building facing the main street. This supersized billboard features the store’s trademark torso of what some may call a “more than half-naked man” yanking his underpants a little lower than what we’re normally used to.

Shortly after, the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) requested that the store take down the billboard, even though the initial permits for the billboard were granted and paid for by Abercrombie and Fitch. This has caused uproar & controversy on the standards of creativity and whether the ASAS were being just in making such a decision. Many residents have also written in to the local newspaper voicing their unhappiness about the decision to take the poster down, stating that this is the brand’s core image and that the country needs to move beyond its conservatism.

CNN also published an article titled “Abercrombie and Fitch is too sexy for Singapore.”

Technically the ASAS has no legal rights in deciding whether a company’s advertisements are indecent, sexually-explicit, or for that matter, partially nude and “exposing the naval line.” According to Today, “ASAS, which draws up the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice, relies on voluntary compliance from stakeholders in the industry, such as advertisers, to observe the regulations.”

This means that advertisers and businesses are to rely on their own judgment and self-regulation on displaying ads, as long as they do not cross the “nudity” boundaries as defined by the Singapore Code of Advertising Practices.

Whether or not the billboard is going to be taken down, Abercrombie and Fitch can rest assure that all the money the company has spent on getting that billboard up has paid off. Not only are consumers stopping by the billboard to see what all the hype is about, the company has also gained so much recognition that bloggers and independent reviewers around the world are talking about this. Now, everyone knows when the store is going to be opened and what the brand is all about.

We ask… is this a successful marketing blitz by the company garnered through what was intended as innocent advertising?–Fitch-advertisement

Posted in In The News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

ScenesHD ‘A Day in the Finnish Archipelago’ Blu-ray Released



ScenesHD ‘A Day in the Finnish Archipelago’ Blu-ray Released

(HELSINKI, FINLAND) – SEPTEMBER 27, 2011 – Ambient Productions Ltd. has announced the first release of its ScenesHD Blu-ray series, A Day in the Finnish Archipelago.

‘A Day in the Finnish Archipelago’ Blu-ray is shot in the Åland Islands, Turku Archipelago and the coast of the Gulf of Finland, the videos cover a summer day from dawn till dusk, and includes six 30 minute scenes from the most beautiful archipelago in the world in full HD video and surround soundtrack.

“ScenesHD Ambient Nature Video content gives you an intense feeling of the place and the opportunity to observe subtle changes in the environment and surroundings. The rich surround nature soundtrack adds to this ambient experience.” says Antti Hemmilä, founder and CEO of Ambient Productions. “It is really unlike anything else available in the market and we strongly believe there is a demand for such content. We are starting out with Blu-ray, but our extensive library of Ambient Nature Video content is ideal for digital delivery in VOD services and hospitality industry entertainment systems.”

ScenesHD videos feature the most beautiful locations in pristine video, complete with full, vivid nature sounds, uninterrupted and unnarrated. ScenesHD videos can help you sit back and relax, provide you a perfect background setting for other activities, such as reading, exercising or family gatherings or just the opportunity to turn your HD television into your window to nature.

 ’A Day in the Finnish Archipelago’ Blu-ray is available from, and 

About Ambient Productions Ltd.

Ambient Productions Ltd. is a Finnish media company specializing in the production, distribution and licensing of ScenesHD™ Ambient Nature Video content. Ambient Productions team has been working on nature videography and audio recording techniques since 2005.

ScenesHD can be found at



Contact Information:


Rebecca Binny-Hallmark
Hot Fry Media

Antti Hemmilä
Ambient Productions Ltd.

Posted in In The News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Offline and Online Marketing: Why You Need Both

When it comes to your online business, you can never get enough attention, so marketing has to be a high priority. It does not matter if your business offers the best services, the best products, and the best price. If no one knows about your business it will fail. Both online and offline marketing campaigns have something positive to offer your business, so using an integrated approach to promotion is the key to your businesses success.

Online Marketing

Your online marketing campaign has to begin with an SEO friendly site that is recognized by the major search engines. The majority of your traffic will derive from the search engine results, but there are other methods to drive traffic to your site.

  • Link To Other Websites
    This method is used to help drive traffic to your site from other websites that offer like-minded services or products. Do not use link exchange programs that will link you to any other site. Be sure that you have the ability to choose what sites you will be linked to.
  • E-mail Campaigns
    E-mail campaigns can be sent out cold, but it is best to have an e-mail list of potential clients to save time and money. You can create a company newsletter or even have a request for e-mail addresses on your site.
  • Blogs or Discussion Groups
    Create a blog or a discussion group on your site. This is a great way to get others talking. Keep content fresh and new on your site and also a place where you can insert promotions, ads, campaigns, and other special offers.
  • Submit To Article Directories
    Submit articles to directories. These are usually high ranking sites that get a lot of attention in the search engine results. You can leave a link to your site at the end of the article in the about the author box and gain the traffic from your targeted audience.

Offline Marketing

Offline marketing consists of a variety of campaigns but should start with a company logo, letterheads, business cards, and flyers for special offers or promotions. Offline marketing is usually more expensive than online marketing, but it can generate a great deal of leads and sales for your business. Other methods of offline marketing include:

  • Radio Advertisement
  • Television Advertisements
  • Billboards
  • Newspaper Advertisements
  • Telemarketing
Posted in Business & Marketing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Your Website Says About Your Company

When you are planning on taking your business to the World Wide Web, a website is the first step to your success. With more than a billion websites on the internet, your web design has to be innovative, professional, and properly marketed to be able to compete. One of the first mistakes internet businesses make is creating a website that does not properly represent their business. Don’t take any short cuts when it comes to your businesses success. Do it right and the results will be rewarding.

Always Be Professional

Your website is for your business, so keep it professional. This does not mean that you cannot have fun. It means, the first impression that visitors get from your site should be professional with a clear message as to what type of business you conduct. If you are planning on creating a website on your own, and know little about web design, that will show through and might lead people to believe you know little about the business you are running. Unless, you have extensive knowledge of how to create a professional and functioning website, leave the design to the professionals.

Be Clear About Your Business

When visitors first enter your website, they should know exactly who you are and what you do. There are some anticipating tactics that will help drive visitors to your site, so they can find out exactly what you are all about. If you make the message too difficult to retrieve, most will leave without ever finding out what that message is.

Include an “about us” page that explains more about the company, and always make your front page clear about what your business is offering.  Don’t overload your page with irrelevant links, jokes, pictures, or text. This will create a red flag for Google and your ranking will suffer dramatically. Google, and the other major search engines love websites that are properly represented, so keep this in mind when planning out your marketing strategy.

Posted in Business & Marketing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment