A Tale of Two Coasts

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Green is the New Gold

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The Biggest Mothers Day is Earth Day

QuickHits Blog

We all love our mothers here at Allard PPC, but the mother we all love best is the one we’re standing on.

You read that right. Of course, we mean our Mother Earth, the magnificent blue marble, the drop of life in an ocean of space, our home.

If you didn’t already know it, today is Earth Day, and we want to remind you that there’s a lot going on that you can take part in today. You can check that out here: The Weirdest Ways That U.S. Cities Are Celebrating Earth Day. But if none of that suits you, simply search “Earth Day events” on Google.

We think it’s fitting that, this year, the Earth Day focus is on ocean plastics. It’s fitting that we focus on oceans because they make up most of our home planet. More importantly, life on land has never survived without life in the ocean. The reverse — ocean life without life on land — has been the case for most of the earth’s history.

So the oceans don’t need us, but we certainly need them, and we’ve tried to do our part to share what we’ve learned and inspire others to do whatever they can toward ocean conservation and sustainability in general.

Our most recent efforts to do this can be found here: #630CoastalYomper and here: #663CoastalYomper where we talk about efforts here in Florida and in our founder’s “hometown” area, England’s South West Coast that features the South West Coast Path.

Allard PPC has for decades worked to protect and preserve our ocean playground, and we hope you’ll join us — for yourself and for future generations.

If you ever have any questions about our efforts toward conservation and sustainability or you want to learn how we can help your business grow through our strategic marketing efforts, please contact us.

April 22nd, 2018

Ocean Conservation Begins at the Shore #630CoastalYomper

QuickHits Blog

We haven’t decided what to call ourselves at Allard PPC. We toyed with fish huggers, maybe “oceanophiles.” Whatever the name, we are a bunch of ocean conservationists, inspired by our founder Ross, whose lifelong love affair with the ocean is contagious.

We are continuously amazed at its beauty and a bit worried about its future, which is why we offer ideas on how all of us, individually and in groups, can protect and preserve our oceans. We’ve learned over the years from working with local governments and non-governmental organizations, NGOs, that there is a lot we can for the ocean, for ourselves and for future generations.

The oceans are vast, but most of the deep blue is like a dessert, considering how little life there is, at least compared to the shallows where oceans meet the land. There is where you’ll find some of the richest and most productive waters on earth, oftentimes consisting of seagrass meadows.

Along England’s South West Coast Path, a place of great interest to us when it comes to conservation, there are seagrass beds in the shallows (Look for our #630CoastalYomper tag for more stories about the 630-mile South West Coast Path and conservation and tourism news). These contribute massively to ocean productivity, providing important nursery habitat for shellfish and nearshore and open ocean fish. Seagrasses also anchor the seabed with their roots.

Sea grasses aren’t actually grass but flowering plants. Over many years, one seed can grow into meadows hundreds of yards wide.

Unfortunately, these places that are vital to ocean health are delicate ecosystems that don’t stand up well to human pressures. So we invite you to join us in committing to do what you can to protect and preserve these vital ecosystems that add so much richness to our lives.

Here are some helpful tips on how to interact with these meadows and leave them unscathed:

• Be Aware: If you live near the coast or along a river, be careful when applying fertilizers and pesticides to your lawn. Use only the amount of fertilizer required and consider using a slow-release fertilizer. Gutters and storm drains transport excess lawn chemicals to the water.

Read the Waters: Wear polarized sunglasses when boating to reduce the surface glare to help you see shallow areas and seagrass beds. Polarized sunglasses can also help you see and avoid manatees and underwater hazards.

• Know Your Boating Signs and Markers: Operate your boat in marked channels to prevent running aground and damaging your boat and seagrass beds. Know the correct side to stay on when approaching channel markers. Learn the shapes and markings of signs warning boaters of dangerous shallows and areas where boats are prohibited by law.

• Know Your Depth and Draft: When in doubt about the depth, slow down and idle. If you are leaving a muddy trail behind your boat, you are probably cutting seagrass. Tilt or stop your engine if necessary. If you run aground, pole or walk your boat to deeper water. Never try to motor your way out. This will cause extensive damage to seagrass and may harm your motor.

• Know the times for your low and high tides.

• Be On the Lookout: Docks, boathouses, and even boats can block sunlight from reaching the seagrass below. When building or repairing a dock, consider building the dock five feet above the water and using grating rather than planks. Extend the dock to deeper water so your boat does not shade seagrass.

• Study Your Charts: Use navigational charts, fishing maps, or local boating guides to become familiar with waterways. These nautical charts alert you to shallow areas so you don’t run aground and damage seagrass.

Know before you go.

Meanwhile back in Florida #663CoastalYomper, Florida Gov. Rick Scott moved to close off access to the “wet sand” beach that is promised as a public asset according to the Florida Constitution. This happens while places like the South West Coast path, where access is increasing not being taken away. We think one stands in stark contrast to the other.

As always, call us if you have any questions about this post or want more information on how Allard PPC can help your company or product reach its full potential.

April 12th, 2018

There is Always Something You Can Do To Help Florida’s Beaches #663

QuickHits Blog

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
— Margaret Mead

Ask anyone what their mental image is for Florida, and most will conjure a beach scene complete with palm trees and some gentle turquoise waves, despite relentless marketing by less nature-focused Florida attractions.

Florida has #663 miles (#663CoastalYomper) of coastline and would be called The Ocean State if Rhode Island hadn’t somehow managed to snap up that moniker. Still, when people think beaches, they think Florida, and with good reason: Florida’s 663 miles of world-class beaches welcome the sun on the east coast each morning and bid it farewell on the west — to applause. It’s 663 miles of opportunity for individuals and families to connect with the natural world and start a relationship with it.

We hope you’ll use the #663CoastalYomper as a reminder and an inspiration to do what you can whenever you can to help the environment in general and the oceans and shore in particular. The next opportunity to do that is April 22, Earth Day, when people come together to let their voices be heard. You can and will make a difference. No one was more surprised than us at our early successes trying to reach the masses and the policymakers. You can do that too.

Because we love Florida’s beaches, we aren’t in denial about the myriad threats they face. Nutrient runoff from development, agriculture, and even the guy down the street fertilizing his lawn threatens nearshore waters with red tide. And that’s just locally. On a continental scale, fertilizer runoff from farms from the continental divide and east empty into the Gulf of Mexico, causing a Dead Zone. The reduction in mangrove cover leaves the state more vulnerable to storm surge from hurricanes. Depleted fish stocks threaten ocean health globally, and humanity’s use of the oceans as a dumping ground can’t continue.

So we urge you to do what you can, including getting involved in Earth Day. Have a conversation with others about environmental sustainability. Clean up after yourself when outdoors. Work at the neighborhood level and with local and state officials to bring the policy changes that will make a difference. Whatever your ability, we’d ask that you make the effort for yourself and for future generations.

What we know is there are 663 reasons to get involved at whatever level you can. We encourage you to reach out to ocean and beach advocacy groups like Surfrider Foundation (LINK) or local groups like Sarasota Bay FoundationNEST and other local programs.

Look for our other Coastal Yomp #630CoastalYomper to look for even more inspiration to continually yomp the coastal miles from one coast to the — on either side of the Atlantic.


April 5th, 2018

We’re Empowering Citizens to Fight for Florida’s Coastal Health and Heritage

QuickHits Blog

Making a Difference for Florida Beaches

#663CoastalYomper #630CoastalYomper

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

— Margaret Mead

We’re all passionate about the ocean at Allard PPC and our sister company VRA Associates. We have ocean lovers of every stripe, and our founder, Ross Allard, a surfer since the age of four, is an ocean enthusiast who SUP surfs, kite surfs, windsurfs, wind foils and dives, among other water sports. A former mariner with the merchant marine, Ross inspires us all by being as much at home in the water as he is on land.

So you can understand why we all take ocean health very seriously. And despite some challenging news, we remain hopeful that citizens and voters will rise up and force legislators to make ocean health a top priority in Florida, the United States and around the world.

At times, it can seem like an uphill slog, like right now, when red tide again threatens our coast. At the same time, Ross suffered viral vertigo, likely brought on by swimming in polluted waters.

These things are daunting, we admit, but we are firm in our belief that Margaret Mead’s “small group of thoughtful, committed citizens” are already at work changing the world.

We’ve seen them up close and personal, working on small scales, replanting the edges of neighborhood ponds, and on much larger scales, working to clean coastlines, acting responsibly, educating their fellow citizens about best practices for clean water.

We are proud to be part of the group that is working to defend our waters here in Florida. Ross has taken it a bit farther than that, having started his work in water protecting and conserving Florida waters in 2004 and recently expanding his efforts to raise awareness about threats to the coasts and estuaries of his native England as well.

“One Person can really make a difference,” Ross likes to say. More importantly, those of us who work with him are inspired to do as much as we can to protect and preserve our waters.

The most inspiring part of the work is seeing the results of our early steps.

“It makes me even more driven to achieve more,” Ross said. #ProtectingMYplayground

Our point?

Everything you do matters.

The smallest thing you do ripples far beyond what you can see and experience. We believe honest, hard work on behalf of the natural world can reach the highest levels of government and make the biggest difference.

We all know politicians will not ignore what’s important to their constituents.

So even if you can’t wade into a pond to plant greenery, even if you don’t have time to walk a coastline and pick up trash. If you can’t help push a stranded dolphin back to the Gulf of Mexico, you can do something much more important.

During a recent BBC interview, legendary wildlife documentary narrator David Attenborough expanded on that idea to include the greatest power any citizen has: to choose their leaders.

Attenborough said that people can “think of the consequences of what they do, of what they throw away, what they eat, how they organize their lives, and — in the end — who they vote for.”


March 15th, 2018

AllardPPCquickHits — EU Data Protection: Privacy by Design

QuickHits Blog

All multinational marketers will have to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which governs consumer data collection, storage and usage practices. Some are having a more difficult time than others due to the cross-border nature of their work.

As a company that is international in scope, we at Allard PPC understand our responsibility to our clients and to the countries where we do business to remain in compliance for such rules.

Learn more here: Many Companies Feel Unprepared for GDPR and All that It Requires

February 21st, 2018

A Tale of Two Coasts

QuickHits Blog

Adventure, Challenges and Comparisons on England’s
South West Coastal Path and Florida’s Coasts and Wetlands

Some people look at the current state of the environment in many places on the globe and see a disaster unfolding.

While there’s a lot to be concerned about, we have a different viewpoint. We look at the same slices of earth and see potential.

Potential to bring people together for a common goal. Potential to use the ignorance of the past as an object lesson to get it right in the future. Potential to return the natural world to something approaching health. Potential to grow businesses and create jobs in the travel and hospitality industries at the same time and based on a healthy environment.

If you’ve paid attention to our blogs for any length of time, you know our founder Ross Allard is a man obsessed with clean water and healthy oceans. So it’s no surprise that his passion for travel often bleeds over to his obsession for doing the right thing by the environment.

Hence his interest in bringing attention to the parallel plights of the coast of his birth country and the coast of his adopted one. Both are suffering from the impacts of climate change. Both also face recent neglect alongside renewed interest in setting things right.

And we believe people will get it right and the timing couldn’t be better. So, led by our founder, we are taking on the task of informing as many people as we can about what they can do to help.

In honor of our waters and oceans and out of a deep respect for our founder, we’re launching a campaign to reach even more people: #663 and #630.

The first is the number of miles of beach in Florida. The second is the length in miles of England’s South West Coastal Path that require help from humanity to survive the current state of the world.

So talk to us, share your thoughts about how you’d like the help the environment, and watch our blogs for news and information about what you can do.

It’s more than you might think.

January 31st, 2018

Allard Positions Company as Business for Good

QuickHits Blog

Seeking Solutions for Today’s Non-Profits

At Allard PPC and VRA Associates, we’ve always looked for ways to do good in the world while we’ve built our business and helped others build theirs.

In the process, we’ve seen shortcomings in the ways some non-profits advance their causes and in the ways businesses try to support them. It’s not for lack of caring. It’s just that this is a part of the business and non-profit world that could use a little help.

Over the years of watching this sometimes awkward dance, we’ve come to believe there’s a better way to do things that makes the best use of the strengths of non-profits and businesses that believe in corporate social responsibility.

Our goal is a seamless solution that works as an alternative to a non-profit and the headaches that go with raising money to support one. Our solution is a hybrid business that brings together those non-profit organizations that need help and those companies able to offer it.

For our part, we will only do events that relate to ocean conservation and coastal and wetland protection, which we already do with projects in the United States. We hope to expand our awareness campaign to conservation efforts for areas like England’s South West Coastal Path as well.

Under our method of hybridizing the relationship, the corporate sponsor would benefit from exposure to supporters of the non-profit. Through our cause sponsorship management, we would provide our marketing expertise, social postings etc., making an even bigger splash — and raising more money — for the non-profit.

This would create the hybridization we spoke of earlier and be a win win for everyone. We hope it will also be an evolutionary step in the way businesses help the non-profits that share their values.

We’re already seeing this kind of partnering in Europe, where consumers have made it clear they will be loyal to the companies with whom they share values of social responsibility.

We’re talking about companies such as Sporrong: Swedish purveyor of medals cufflinks tieholders emblems brandsign pins necklaces brooches buttons and more. They’ve made clear their dedication to corporate social responsibility and benefiting non-profits and at the same time grown and sustained their company thanks to the support of loyal customers who share their values.

Talk to us today about your non-profit or one that your company wants to support, and we’ll help you find a way to make that happen that benefits you and the non-profit you want to help.

December 31st, 2017

Millennials are Finding Solutions to Perplexing Problems

QuickHits Blog

Innovators Start News Rating Website

There’s no doubt there’s a lot of negativity circulating these days, and right alongside it is the feeling that things are getting worse not better on many fronts. But we’re perennial optimists at Allard PPC and VRA Associates, and we’ll tell you why.

Young people.

By young people, we mean those of a particular age as well as those of every age who are young at heart and embrace the change that will transform the world. We like to count ourselves in the latter category.

Millennials catch a lot of unjust criticism for being takers, for expecting someone else to do the work for them. You name it, and Millennials have been blamed for it or for making it worse if they weren’t around when it started. This is not new. The exasperated expression “kids today!” is grounded in a hardening of the creative arteries that afflicts every generation as it ages. It’s a worldview that discounts the contributions of younger generations for no logical reason.

But we firmly believe that these are the people who are going to save the world, one brilliant idea at a time.

“Millennials, they get it,” said Ross Allard, founder of Allard PPC and VRA Associates. “They will be the game changers.”

Case in point, Chase Palmieri.

It was doing Yelp campaigns for his family’s restaurant and looking at reviews for movies on Rotten Tomatoes and books on Amazon that Palmieri had an idea.

“I was looking around at all these other platforms where consumers had the power and industry was being held accountable,” he said.

He called college friends Jared Fesler and Austin Walter and pitched the idea of a website that holds media accountable in much the same way: with reviews.

From this Tribeworthy was born, its motto: “Online news is no longer a spectator sport.”

What Palmieri, Fesler and Walter mean is readers now have a say, via rating articles they read, in what constitutes unbiased, accurately reported news.

As the website clearly explains, “By simply reading and reviewing articles on Tribeworthy, you’re already contributing real-time feedback and information to help your news gathering community.”

The site’s sharing feature “makes it fun and simple to warn friends about unreliable news stories by simply sharing the Rating Page of any article, author, or news outlet.”

So not only can users actively comb the site, but they can also alert friends on social media, the epicenter of fake news and the fallout from it.

It’s a solution to a problem that has grave implications if it’s not resolved by the next election. No matter your political views, we believe that it’s essential for accurate news to reach the public.

“This is the future,” Allard said. “The future is now.”

December 20th, 2017

Common Sense is the Beginning of Good Cybersecurity

QuickHits Blog

Our Recommendations on Where to Begin

Just as good customer service is just a part of how we do what we do at VRA Associates and our sister company Allard PPC, so too is passing along useful information when that’s appropriate.

Today, the information involves cybersecurity.

We all know this is among the most important issues of our time, especially for businesses that engage in e-commerce.

We also know how sensitive this topic can be, but we want to stress that if you haven’t already talked to a cybersecurity expert about your company and its footing in this regard, you really should.

Why do we encourage you to seek advice from companies besides ours? After all, our bailiwick is marketing and promotional products, not security. But, if the situation were reversed, we’d want to hear this recommendation from you.

Because it’s exactly how we’d want to be treated if the situation were reversed. Doing so is in keeping with our rule to treat others as we’d like to be treated. It’s a question that makes it easy to decide how we treat anyone is any situation. It’s also one that has garnered us the respect and loyalty of our customers over years of doing business with them.

So while we can’t tell you how to safeguard data your data, we can tell you how important it is that you do, that you begin by protecting data with common sense.

This is the first level approach to security recommended by top cybersecurity experts as a starting point for a proactive cybersecurity stance. And please note that this blog piece is not a substitute for engaging one of those experts yourself:

· Collect only the information you need.
· Control who has access to the information based on their “need to know.”
· Require the use of strong passwords by users and have lock out systems in place to limit attempts by wouldbe hackers.
· Store sensitive information securely and protect it during transmission.
· Segment your network and only allow access to areas with information by those who need it.
· Secure remote access at entry points to your network.
· Require your service providers to maintain best practices for cybersecurity.
· Remain current with potential threats and treat all of them seriously.
· Secure paper data and devices that have access to your network or its information.

Additionally, we recommend you review this piece by the BBC about protecting your digital life.

As we said above, this is the beginning of good security, and we strongly recommend that our customers take their cybersecurity seriously to protect themselves and their clients.

At VRA Associates and Allard PPC, we never forget that you chose us, and we seek always to exceed your expectations and delight you with the products we produce and the work we do for you.

Please call us LINK any time to discuss how we can help your company reach new heights through carefully planned, meticulously executed and methodically tracked marketing campaigns.

November 7th, 2017

Green is the New Gold

QuickHits Blog

Environmental Sustainability is a Top Priority for a Growing Number of Consumers

People often look at a rising superstar and say it’s a case of “overnight success.” But anyone who pays attention to these things knows that almost always there are years, sometimes decades, of work that go into the “overnight.”

It’s just that no one was watching during that time.

At Allard PPC and VRA Associates we are seeing this happen in the form of a global environmental stewardship ethic that is gaining ground at an astounding rate.

But anyone who was paying attention could see this coming.

The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970 — almost a half century ago. People were fighting for change back then and even before that (consider that Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” was published almost a decade earlier).

But, because so many people and organizations were committed to creating a seismic shift in human thinking, we have this rapidly growing global movement of today.

We are proud to say that we at Allard PPC and VRA Associates are among that group. Both companies have been members of Sarasota County’s Green Business Partnership for more than a decade.

But we are not alone in these efforts. Working as well toward a more sustainable future are many of our clients, collaborators and friends — organizations such as ECHO, the environmental and poverty fighting powerhouse just a few miles south of us. So too is 3 Boys Farm, Dakin Dairy and previous client Hyatt, a company that is taking on a changing hospitality workplace in innovative and thoughtful ways.

While we strongly believe that doing good is its own reward, there’s no denying that those rewards are compounded by the strongly positive public image that naturally follows. We all know that a positive public image creates customer loyalty. And the bias for consumers is to buy from companies they like — even to the point where they’ll pay more when they have such feelings for a company.

This is not news, but we want to share the stats to back it up. In 2015, the Nielsen Company, in a global survey, found that almost 70 percent of consumers say they are willing to pay more for sustainable brands. That’s up 55 percent from the previous year. Additionally, 84 percent of consumers seek out responsible products whenever possible and even switch to brands associated with a good cause when price and quality are similar. LINK

Consider as well that this type of consumer behavior is so common that there’s an app for it. Buycott touts itself as a way to “Vote with your wallet.” Consumers can scan a UPC or QR code and find out the ethics of a company or product they are considering.

So it boils down to this: People want to do good. And they want the companies they do business with to embrace those values. We like that, but it’s not why we strive to do the right thing at all times. We selfishly believe that doing the right thing makes the world better for us and the people we love.

Talk to us today about our ethics as a company about how we conduct ourselves in the marketing arena and how we can help you take your company to the next level in a way that is sustainable and likely to have the greatest impact on your success while making the world a better place for everyone.

October 30th, 2017

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