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What Colours Your 2014?

The rapidity of reproduction means that what we see on the fashion catwalks takes little time to filter into the home, generally starting with accessories and accent pieces before transitioning to larger-scale, higher investment items. But the use of colour is important to observe. While each colour body and/or manufacturer has at least one dominant neutral colour scheme within their 2014 trend palettes, colour definitely comes into play.

Martin Tustin-Fuchs, brand manager for Dulux paint, explains that with the 2014 palette, “we’ll see novel shades and unexpected combinations of colours in the year ahead in all areas of home decor – reds are more tangy, oranges are more expressive, greens are more jeweled, and blues are more tropical.”

Indeed, there has already been a shift to deeper, richer tones throughout fall 2013. Colours remain bright, bold and playful, which is a continuation – and furtherance – of current trends. Darker shades of gray are again (or still) being universally dubbed “the new black,” and gray undertones persist in influencing many of the most appealing shades, earthy hues and neutrals among them.

But 2014 also draws attention toward blues, purples and pinks. A few could be branded “pastels,” but more often than not, the tones are lively and bold. Consider some of the following descriptions from the Pantone View home and interiors 2014 trend palettes:

  • a melding of both vibrant and deep hues… intertwined in intriguingly inventive colour combinations
  • colours of power and energy counter-balanced by the… hues that express the necessity for introspection and calm
  • both svelte and voluptuous… attention to detail and the drama of high fashion… can be theatrical in nature
  • a sense of adventure, wit, experimentation and discovery… “tongue in cheek” in attitude and highly original in colour juxtapositioning and cleverly conceived in evocative combinations
  • a symphony of elevated and voluptuous color to… evoke an atmosphere full of vivid richness and blissful excess

Reds will deviate from the berry tones of recent years toward more energetic reds with orange undertones. Pair these emboldened hues with rich jewel tones, elegant darks, warm browns, spicy oranges or other bright hues.

Oranges move away from the more citrus-like tones of late to a more spicy, earthy palette. Though these new orange hues lack the pink undertones of prior seasons, they look fantastic with pastel pinks and grays, or can be tempered with more complementary dark blues and turquoise.

Yellows have returned in a big way with a resurgence in gold and brass tones. While just about anything will go, look for a greater dominance among softer, more delicate yellows, such as PPG’s 2014 colour of the year, Turning Oakleaf.

Greens made a strong comeback in 2013 with the strength of emerald and other jewel tones. With the prevalence of blues and grays, it should come as no surprise that greens will lean more toward the blue spectrum, embracing hybrids like teal. Watery palettes, combining multiples shades of greens and blues, will no doubt be a favorite. Based on early trend palettes for 2015, expect to see more green, both directly and as undertones for prominent blues and yellows as 2014 draws to a close.

Blues will favor the ocean, from tropical paradise to deepest sea. With all the agates and high-sheen finishes seen at High Point, expect blue to sparkle.

Violets are moving along two distinct pathways, as is evidenced by Pantone’s Radiant Orchid versus Sherwin-Williams’ Exclusive Plum. The red-purples are more daring and thought provoking, while the blue-purples are much softer, bringing with them a certain tranquility.

For those with a less vivid approach to colour, boldness and vibrancy are counter-balanced by sophistication and simple elegance. In cases such as this, colours are unassuming and are harmonized rather than fighting for centre stage.

There is more subtlety in the transition between tones within a particular scheme, presenting a more classic, timeless feel. Keep in mind that “timeless” does not necessarily equate to an abundance of typical neutral tones. There is plenty of room for experimentation; use it!

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Hiring Manager Tips for 2014

Last month, one would assume in honor of the new year, Mashable published “10 Hiring Tips for Your Small Business.” The notion that hiring for a small business is more integral than for large, established companies is spot-on, because we all know there is nothing like the right team to help a business grow.

The article also points out something that, as a hiring manager, you already know. The longer it takes you to find the right candidate, the more the hiring process costs. While the article advises us to take the price of a drawn-out candidate search into consideration, it doesn’t fail to mention the cost of employee replacement, which I argue is far more costly in the end than a drawn-out hiring process.

Getting the right candidate the first time around, someone who will do the job well and will stay in the position for at least a few years, always trumps making a quick decision to save costs on hiring.

As for making the right choice for a new hire, Mashable goes on to provide several tips, including:

Going to where the best candidates are for the job, and being constantly on the look out for talent.

They recommend being on the right job sites, and attending meet-ups and conferences. Not mentioned is a source that many recruiters fail to consider when hunting candidates – freelance sites. Freelance sites are an excellent place to find creative talent, because you can commission a project for a set rate and get a feel for how a person works before making a job offer.

Many freelancers would be happy to be scooped up to do what they do well for a steady paycheck.

Laying out all the demands of the job in a clear manner.

Mashable points out the problem from the employee side, how being clear prevents confusion about the job and frustration for the new hire. As a hiring manager, it is also important to think about how much time you will save in interviews by eliminating people who don’t have the skills for the job right away.

Being Flexible

Flexibility in work schedules and workspaces keep employees happy, Mashable argues.

What the article neglects to mention is the money it can save on company expenses. Setting up remote work arrangements with talent means you won’t need a place to put them on-site, and it provides the employees all the flexibility they could possibly want in their work environments.

While the Mashable article provides many more great tips, like impressing quality candidates instead of expecting them to impress you, and making them feel like part of the team right away, one area it fails to hit on at all is one of the greatest advantages hiring managers have these days – the apps and technology that make the job easier.

If you are always on the lookout for employees, a business card app, like Cam Card, provides a means of quickly collecting job candidate contact information for sorting later.

Applican Tracking Systems, which can be either web- or machine-based applications, work with both manual entries and automated data-gathering from job listings, referrals from employees, and incoming data from other external sources. With sorting options, it provides an easy means of elevating the right candidates so that the job of weeding out those candidates to call in for interviews practically does itself.

While the Mashable article is on the side of seeking out qualified candidates in advance, it also doesn’t recommend something that many hiring managers for start-ups have come to realize. When one stumbles upon a candidate with a lot to offer, it is often worthwhile to make room in the budget to hire that person even if there is no currently open positions. A growing company will need new employees soon enough, and the best candidates don’t stay on the market long.

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Insider Look: Social Media Marketing Trends for 2014

With any type of marketing, it is important to know where it is headed. This is especially important for social media marketing trends where there seems to be new social media platforms every few months. New comers such as Snap chat and Vine have already garnered interest from the public and allows people to communicate in a new way. It is also important for companies to know where to invest their time and resources so that they can get the most bang out of their buck. Should they wait for a new social media platform or should they invest in what is already out there? Should you wait for the next Facebook?

Some important trends for 2014 to watch out for:

Image and video focused social media sites will grow

More and more people are increasingly turning toward sites such as Pinterest, Tumblr, Snap chat, Vine and more to express their ideas. Visual content, both image and video, may become a critical component of any future social media strategy. The above sites are opening up the opportunities for companies to interact with their consumers in new and interesting ways. Like other social media sites, to gain an audience your content both video and image will need to be shareable. It will still have to be interesting and relevant to what you are talking about. For example, if you are a restaurant you will post pictures of your establishment and your menu. You would probably not be personal pictures of your vacation to Peru.

Google+ will become more important

Google+ has recently made changes to how people will be able to comment on YouTube. In addition, Google+ can do wonders to your SEO and the importance of Google authorship. Google authorship will basically allow writers to claim their own content and if they are popular then more of their articles will also rise to the top of the search engine. Many companies that may be starting out may view Google+ as their go to social network in the future simply because of its many different benefits. Google+ profiles will not be seen as boring compared to Facebook but may actually be used by people and companies to improve their social media reach.

Investment in social media marketing will become a requirement

In the past, it was all about how you should have a social media website but some people chose not to pursue social media because of time constraints. In the near future, it will switch from “should have” to “must have”, in that you must have a social media presence if you want to engage your audience and develop relationships. People are spending lots of time online and it is guaranteed that your customers may be amongst those people. Consumers are on social media sites and if you do not have a presence there then they may follow your competitors who may have a social media presence. Social media will help with online company branding, increasing awareness and increasing customer loyalty through well established relationships. There will need to be an integration of social media and overall marketing strategy to be successful in generating traffic to your website and more importantly revenue.

LinkedIn will continue to be popular in B2B markets

Not all customers are your typical household consumers. Some consumers are other businesses and their needs are completely different from those of your average consumer. The marketing efforts are different, the way decisions are made are different and how to interact with them will also be different.

For example, if Bob goes to the store he can make the decision to buy any food he desires. If Acme Inc. wants to buy something then there are various departments and management that needs to be consulted to make the action happen. Establishing a presence on sites such as LinkedIn will allow you to connect with people in those management positions and thus develop good relationships for the future.

Also with LinkedIn’s influencer program, LinkedIn will allow you to follow thought leaders who can share their own professional insights and knowledge. Interacting with these thought leaders can really help people recognize who you are and what you do thus increasing your personal brand awareness.

MySpace will grow

You probably heard of MySpace. It used to be the top social media networking site from the period 2005 to early 2008. But as Facebook gained more popularity people started switching over and MySpace kept losing users. If you visit MySpace today you will notice that it looks completely different than it used to in the past. It has rebranded itself by becoming a site where people can listen to their favourite music and bands. The rebranding was probably influenced by Justin Timberlake who along with Specific Media group purchased MySpace in 2011. In addition, it also offers an iPhone app that allows users to interact with each other by posting updates of your music to your stream, sharing photos and listening to radio stations. If your business is all about music then MySpace is definitely a social media website that you should check out.

These are some important trends for 2014 that I feel will have an impact in the near future and which people should know about.

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