Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’
“What happened to Halloween and thanksgiving?” one commenter posted. “Stop with the Christmas commercials ALREADY!!” Another raged, “Why don’t you just start this on 1st each year! This is ridiculous and if I see an ad on TV I will never stop in your store!” Kmart’s “Non-Christmas” AdIn light of this, we are dedicating our latest blog, in a most-timely fashion, to Halloween in Charm City! Whether you’ve been on the prowl for a ghost sighting or it’s the candy that you crave, Baltimore has got you covered! From family-friendly scares to adults only events, below you’ll find a miscellany of local activities sure to amplify your Halloween’s fear factor. Relish in the cool crisp air of fall weather and take a stroll through one of Baltimore’s most widely contested haunted neighborhoods. The award winning Mount Vernon Ghost Tour allows thrill-seekers to appreciate the community’s historical architecture while guides, dressed in period-attire, escort you through the spirited neighborhood. If it’s another type of spirit that you’re after, check out the Fells Point Haunted Pub Crawl! Ghost-sightseers can sip on a pumpkin-ale while your tour guide accounts tales of spirits startling the local taverns workers and patrons. For a gravely different experience, visit the reportedly most haunted city in the state of Maryland and one of the most haunted cities in the United States, Frederick. This year, Candlelight tours will be extending a historic cemetery tour in addition to their nationally acclaimed ghost tours. Candy seekers can get their fill at the Maryland Zoo. October 24-26 marks the return of the Maryland Zoo’s Zoo-Boo event! Besides trick or treating, kids can enter in costume contests, participate in craft making, play carnival games, or visit their favorite animal. Food and live entertainment will be available. Now through November 2, Six Flags America will be hosting its annual Fright Fest! Here kids can enjoy a pre-Halloween trick or treat trail, Halloween-themed shows, haunted houses and all the usual thrill rides. Fright Fest isn’t just for kids though; check the schedule, as the park is closed to children several evenings for adults-only events, and several new attractions have been added for the 2014 season! For family friendly events that won’t put your children at risk for nightmares, Baltimore has several festivals that guarantee fun for all ages. The Harbor Harvest commences its Halloween inspired festivals on October 19. The 7th annual, two day, waterfront festival will be featuring a hay maze, petting zoo, pony rides, face-painting, live music, pumpkins patches and even pumpkin decorating! The event takes place between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and both admission and activities are free. Finally, the 15th annual Great Halloween Lantern Parade and Festival: Kaleidoscope in Baltimore is no ordinary costume parade. Creative Alliance will be hosting this true community art project where visitors are encouraged to build their own lanterns, learn to walk on stilts, and even participate in the parade as puppeteers! Live music, hay rides, food trucks, various workshops, and the parade of course will be taking place on October 25 between 3:30-9 p.m. Whatever ghoulish plans you may partake in, you can find comfort in knowing Officense is signing for your packages, screening your calls, and setting your appointments. Likewise, if you need an office to tie up some last minute business, we are conveniently located in the Inner Harbor for you to quickly return to your Halloween festivities!
A few days ago many travelers had never heard of WestJet Airlines. Then WestJet spent time, money and some marketing elbow grease to make themselves heard. They didn’t rent extraneous billboards. They didn’t advertise a huge promotion on social media. They didn’t even max out your spam folder limit with emails.
Travel weary passengers checking in for their flight were surprised by an invitation to say what they wanted for Christmas. These amused airway trekkers requested everything from tube socks to flat screen TV’s to tablets. Yet the last thing they expected was what awaited them in the baggage claim of their destination— wrapped, personalized gifts that exactly matched their wish list.
Some are skeptical of the gesture, cynical about the lengths companies will go to expand their marketing reach. However, during this season, the most important concept is the gift of giving and many are saying the WestJet embodied the spirit of Christmas by their decision to give back to their clients rather than asking for something from them, especially when there is no immediate gain for the company.
Yet even the toughest cynics would have to admit that in terms of holiday marketing standards WestJet hit the nail on the head. So let’s look at it from a consumer perspective. We remember commercials
From MasterCard’s “There Are Some Things in Life that Money Can’t Buy” campaign to the Campbell’s Soup “Snowman” commercial, sentimentality makes us connect and remember a company with a sense of fondness or at least familiarity. It’s something we discuss with our family and friends.
And people are definitely talking about WestJet. With an initial expectation of about 800,000 views of their YouTube video, “Christmas Miracle“, the company actually achieved a view count of over 19 Million international hits—and counting. This viral spread has in effect expanded the market reach of the company by this number.at make us identify with the company.
So this holiday season don’t forget the power of giving and connecting on a personal level with your clients. You may not have the resources to pull off a marketing effort like WestJet’s Christmas Miracle but you would be surprised how much your business can grow from simple giving. Many have found that volunteering at the soup kitchen or giving to holiday charities like Angel Tree can make a world of difference.
Opportunities like this may not build your business, according to some skeptics or they may not raise brand recognition; but it can always build the spirit of giving in your team and help them feel a kinship with each other. And sometimes giving is its own reward.
Need a helping hand to get all your business needs taken care of while you embrace the spirit of giving? Call Officense! We can provide office space, answering services, video conferencing or a professional business address. 410-814-7500
With today being one of the busiest online shopping days of the year, James Lyne, cyber security contributor to Forbes, offers very sound advice for your holiday online shopping excursion. Sales today are expected to yield a staggering $1.8 billion in sales. So be sure to shop smart and keep your finances protected when shopping for that PS4 or the Xbox One.
“Stores online are expected to be at their busiest this Monday with online shopping hitting a high for the year (it is a shame that Amazon Prime Air delivery drones aren’t quite in service yet). As with any noteworthy event on the Internet cyber criminals will be out to make the most of shoppers’ click happy fingers with all manor of fake products, discounts and phishing mails to distribute their own evil wares. Most of the cyber-crime that occurs on days like today tend to be due to people making basic mistakes rather than elaborate hacks that look like a scene from the movie WarGames. Whilst you are shopping you might want to take a look at these top tips to keep yourself and your friends safe – spread the word and remember friends don’t let friends hand over credit card details to cyber criminals.
1. Make sure your computer is patched and up to date. Your operating system (Windows or Mac OS X for example) should be updated to the latest version and you should make sure your web browser and major applications are fully up to date. This will help prevent malware being installed on your computer without your permission. You can find more information on how to check this here (or click check for updates in most applications).
2. Watch out for deals that seem too good to be true. If you receive an unsolicited e-mail from AmazingShopping.tld offering you 70% off an iPad it probably won’t go well for you. We all like a good deal, but be a little cynical and remember if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
3. People lie on the Internet. Really. If you receive an e-mail claiming to be from your bank or from a common provider like Amazon don’t use the link but rather go directly to the website by typing it in to your browser. If you are really unsure you can call the bank/provider but get their contact details directly from their site – don’t trust the ones in an e-mail.
4. Configure your web browser to help you stay safe. Whether you use Google Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer they each have features to detect scam sites and malicious code. For example, Internet Explorer information can be found here. Check these controls are enabled to prevent you visiting a nasty page. Some endpoint security suites also have browser protection capabilities.
5. Use a credit card, not debit. Whilst I’m not one to advocate debt, always use a credit card rather than debit. Credit cards have more insurance by default than debit cards so if a criminal does steal your details you are far more likely to get your money back. Double check the terms and conditions with your bank before taking advantage of those deals. You could also look at alternative providers like PayPal. Be aware that some secure payment schemes where you enter a pin or password when you buy have terms that waiver the responsibility in the event of fraud so you take the hit – double check and save yourself some money.
6. Use websites that support encryption. A website where you log in or share financial information should start with ‘https://’ and should have a padlock icon. If this is not present the information being sent is not encrypted and may be intercepted by third parties who steal your information. Be aware though, some cyber criminals also encrypt their websites so you need to both check for the ‘https://’ and be aware of the legitimacy of the brand you are dealing with.
7. Ask your friends and check with other Internet users. If you aren’t sure about the legitimacy of a website or a provider try searching for them on Google. Have others dealt with them successfully? Have your friends and family heard of them? There is safety in numbers when it comes to shopping online.
8. Run good endpoint security software including anti-virus. SophosLabs [Disclosure: I work for Sophos] sees over 250,000 new pieces of malicious code every day circulating on the Internet and decent security software can help filter out the majority of these before they get anywhere near your data.
9. Give a quick thought to password security. A number of these providers will store your financial information or passwords and whilst they mean well they might lose this information (or have it stolen from them). Make sure you use a different password on each website so that if one provider is hacked criminals can’t make it in to your entire digital life, just one part of it.
10. Backup. If it all goes wrong you will want to make sure you can recover your data and easily cancel your cards with the bank. Some malicious code once installed will hold your data to ransom and the damage can’t be undone. So why not just prepare in advance and press that little backup button just in case things go wrong.
With all of that said enjoy shopping on Cyber Monday… “
And have a happy holiday season.
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