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Delightful Communications Charts New Course with Prime 8 Consulting

As dawn breaks at the start of a second decade in Delightful’s history, Ashley and I have decided it is time to pass the helm of our business to new owners.

Starting from humble beginnings working out of Seattle coffee shops back in 2012, we have since built a 35-person organization with global reach. We help some of the world’s biggest technology brands and their leaders be more discoverable, shareable, and memorable.

After 10 years of adventures (tripling in size since March 2020), we started to think deeply about what was next for us and our business.

We have a successful formula helping our clients with integrated marketing, executive communications, and content creation, and the constant asks for more capacity meant we should think about scaling purposefully and sustainably.

As a people-first business driven by our Delightful principles, we also wanted to ensure our amazing team has plenty of room for learning and growth, as well as the stability provided by a larger business infrastructure.

Recognizing our own limitations, we started to seek advice on how to take our business to the next level and through pure serendipity were introduced to Drew and Nicolette Sharp, Co-Founders of Prime 8 Consulting.

Prime 8 is a Bellevue-based consulting firm that has 150 consultants working in various business roles across clients like Microsoft, Amazon, T-Mobile, and others. Over the past few years, our team has worked with many of their employees, partnering on successful projects for our mutual customers.

When we came together to discuss a potential union, it was evident their management team had the experience, drive, and passion to help integrate our services into Prime 8’s portfolio and provide our employees with a continuous passage of career opportunities.

After careful consideration, Ashley and I decided to sell Delightful and believe this is the best way forward for the company, our clients, and our employees.

Drew and Nicolette are keeping the Delightful brand, and Ashley and I are staying on for the foreseeable future to help with the integration. There is much work to do both on the client side and in assimilating our operational infrastructures to create the powerhouse we believe is possible.

There are a thousand stories we could share about our voyage to this time and place, but one conversation Ashley and I had stands out at this moment.

It was about the summer of 2017, and we’d just signed a big contract to help Microsoft with the IoT in Action global event series for which we won an award. We made a pact that our work with Delightful had to be more than just for the paycheck. We wanted to grow something with people at its core who would be part of a legacy we could all be proud of.

As we look across our team, many of whom have been with us for several years, we are so proud of the work they have done for the company, their clients, and themselves, and we are confident that as Drew and Nicolette take Delightful’s helm and chart a new course, they will continue to learn and grow.

There are so many people we need to thank for help and advice along the way and we will reach out over the coming weeks in appreciation.

For right now, though, it’s business as usual. We have live workstreams and trailblazing projects to maintain and grow, all while helping our clients and their leaders be even more discoverable, shareable, and memorable.

Onwards……

Mel Carson – Founder & CEO – Delightful Communications

Ashley Seffernick – Director of Operations – Delightful Communications

How executives drive business value through social media  

Taxes. Jury duty. Changing the batteries in the smoke alarm. All things you have to do. Does developing and keeping a social media presence fall in the same bucket for you? Or, it’s just “not your thing?” 

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Yes, it requires time. Yes, it takes brain space. But there is quantifiable value—both personal and professional—for executives who commit to a well-developed and executed social platform strategy. 

Your presence matters—a lot 

The days of thinking your social media activity doesn’t directly impact your business are long gone. Research shows that thinking went out with the flip phone. A 2022 Harris Poll reports your social presence improves relationships with clients and prospects (93%), improves brand perception (93%), and directly increases revenue (91%).  

Woman leading in team meeting.

The 2021 Edelman and LinkedIn thought leadership study points out that B2B decision-makers look to you as an influential resource for the latest thinking in your industry (71%) and future trends (68%). Your posts give you credibility that you understand their business challenges (63%).  

Still not convinced? Let’s look at the fierce competition for talent. A 2022 Brunswick report found, by a four-to-one ratio, employees prefer to work for a CEO who uses social media compared to one who does not. Nine out of ten employees say having a leader who communicates directly and transparently via social media is a factor for staying with an employer. As a research tool, 82% of potential employees use social media to scrutinize a CEO as part of their company research. 

Wielding your personal brand 

Your online presence starts with a clear personal brand—or as we like to say, your leadership brand. Your brand is more than your resume. It encapsulates your purpose, your aspirations, your deeply held leadership values. It looks at the ideas that get you up every morning and why you bring your best self to work. It establishes your credibility and amplifies your leadership impact. It makes you relatable–approachable. 

Done well, it shows you are a trusted advisor and are on top of current and future trends. It demonstrates you are someone who has something to say. 

How do you break through the noise? 

Unfortunately, there are a lot of executives who have something to say. A hefty number of respondents in the Edelman/LinkedIn study (71%) said that less than 50% of the thought leadership they consume gives them valuable insights. Harris poll respondents were a bit more pointed in their assessment of the noise: 78% of respondents agree that organizations check the box on thought leadership but DO NOT push the envelope on thought leadership.  

Ouch. Just showing up is not enough. 

Your online presence is a business strategy so put together the best team to help you push the envelope. Delightful Communications have been helping executives hone their brands with our executive communications services for over 10 years. We help develop an authentic voice with clear messaging pillars based on your vision, missions, and goals.  

We do a thorough analysis and identify gaps. We lay out a clear strategic and tactical plan that prioritizes moments and platforms for connecting with your online community.​ We look for synergies with other executives that allow for greater amplification of voice and leadership. 

Measuring effectiveness 

Science needs to validate the art of creating an effective brand. Are you increasing followers? What topics generate comments? Short posts, long-form content, videos, personal stories, technology solutions, acknowledging colleagues’ milestones? What engages your network? The data is there to show what’s working and what’s not.​  

It’s quantifiable and actionable. 

Sophisticated—some say demented—algorithms surface or sink social posts. Our strategists understand the algorithms. We continually monitor trends which in turn inform tactics. This goes deeper than determining the best time to post and the optimum number of hashtags. It’s about knowing how to make your voice stand out when every other executive in the organization is sharing the same corporate earnings report. It’s about understanding the power of employees amplifying your messages and going a step further by providing appropriate ways to post. It’s about knowing what to do if an executive goes off script and the impact (and amplification) isn’t what they expected.        

Learn more about partnering with us 

We can’t help you with your taxes or change the batteries in your smoke alarm. However, we can partner with you to shape and amplify your leadership brand. There is a huge opportunity to create content that pushes the envelope. Let’s talk about how we can help you reach your full potential as a thought leader.  

You can keep up on the latest news by  joining us on LinkedIn

Mel Carson, CEO and Founder, and Bettijean Collins, Content Specialist

Delightful Wins Drum Social Media Award for Microsoft Excel

Winning an award for your hard work is always a pleasure, but to receive recognition towards the end of the year, just short of the holidays, has added extra bang to our festive crackers.

Last week we became the proud recipients of The Drum Social Media Award for Best Use of User-Generated Content for our work with Microsoft and the Excel Creator program.

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I have outlined the entry below, but really this post is a shout-out to our incredible team who have worked so hard on this project:

  • Bianca Hu and Amber Martin for guidance and strategic oversight
  • Wayne Pua for splendid all-up leadership of the program
  • Guillermo Garcia for meticulous research and analytics
  • Hunter Hill for creative video and design materials
  • Eric Fetters-Walp for engaging copywriting
  • Chelsea Slocum for writing the winning award entry

Huge thanks too to Cuong Pham from Microsoft for believing in our team and the program and for being such a delightful client and partner on this project!

The Winning Entry – Public

Microsoft Excel has been a mainstay in the business application world since 1987, and its engineers are releasing new product features, hacks, and innovative ways to use Excel all the time. Delightful Communications was asked to position Excel as a fun, productive solution while reaching new, relevant audiences and driving amplified awareness across social media platforms. We did this by building an Excel Creator community of global experts who were already leveraging Excel as a tentpole in their own social strategy. These individuals were releasing content about Excel and making it incredibly easy to digest and engaging for a young, global audience, and we wanted to help them take it to the next level. To do this, we developed a symbiotic relationship with Excel Creators that promoted innovative ideas, highlighted product features, and helped them continue to create that emotional response that Excel can be fun. To date, we are working with 31 Excel Creators representing 16 countries and 6 languages. Excel Creators work with us to hear information live that’s fresh and relevant, and to be on the cutting edge. Reciprocally, we have an opportunity to highlight key features that are targeted based on what Microsoft wants people to know about. The end result is amazing, original user-generated content published by a robust community of global Excel Creators that are invested in learning about the latest Excel product innovations and driving awareness throughout their own user bases

Well done to all the award winners and those nominated. We thought the fine folks at The Drum did a great job with these awards and we look forward to sharing our great work with them next year.

Cheers, Mel Carson – Founder & CEO at Delightful Communications

Delightful Wins Microsoft Supplier Award for Trailblazing Innovation and Creativity

Just a quick note sharing a photo of the BEAUTIFUL award our team won at the Microsoft Supplier Prestige Awards Ceremony in the Trailblazer: Innovation and Creativity category.

We were thrilled to be shortlisted for our work across Microsoft helping various teams and priorities be more discoverable, shareable, and memorable through the influencer marketing and creator programs we have established over the years.

Microsoft recognized us (40 employees) and PWC (300K employees) as joint winners for the prize about which they said:

This award recognizes thought leaders who are driving next-generation concepts through discovery, Big Ideas, and innovative solutions – those who lead others to think deeper, push further, and embrace disruption. 

The Microsoft events team did an awesome job on the virtual ceremony and we especially loved the suspense Mitra Azizirad created when handing out the award to TWO recipients.

Huge kudos to the cast of many Delightful employees who worked on the programs over the past year, and looking forward to doing more of the same in Microsoft’s next fiscal year FY23!

Onwards and upwards!

Mel Carson – Founder and CEO at Delightful Communications

Delightful Creative Studios – Newly Launched to Bring Your Project to Life

Crafting and reinforcing high-quality, custom B2B marketing messages—whether in words or via visuals—requires insight, experience, and that sometimes elusive quality called creativity.

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our Creative Studios to enhance what we’re already doing for our clients: creating persuasive and detail-oriented text and eye-catching, innovative graphics and digital content in a variety of formats.

It’s just another way in which we’re striving to help your message stand out, connect, and endure.

Leadership Branding: Strategies and Tactics for Executives on Social Media

When I started Delightful Communications back in 2012, one of the niche services we offered executives was called personal branding. At the time, there was a lot of talk about TRUST in business, and I felt strongly that big companies were missing the mark by not having their leaders more visible at a personal level, building trust and engagement through their own personal brands that also benefited the corporate brands they represented.

Team Delightful Celebrates International Women’s Day

Graphic international women's day image

Monday March 8th marks International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women–as well as a call to action for accelerating gender parity. The day is celebrated differently around the nation and the world, but we at Delightful are using today to raise awareness and support our favorite women-owned businesses, organizations, as well as non-profits who provide crucial services to women and children.

Marketing Metrics that Matter: How to Plan, Measure, and Interpret Campaign Impact

What’s a story without an outcome? What if Cinderella ended when she ran out at the stroke of midnight? Or Jack never climbed the beanstalk?

In today’s world of thought leadership and storytelling—where we focus on landing impactful narratives and building consistent brands—we are telling an incomplete story for our business if we don’t tie it to purposeful marketing metrics.

Yes, it’s amazing if we create and deliver a truly impactful brand campaign with a story that moves people to act. But if we can’t show this effort impacted the business in a meaningful way: did it even happen?

And how will you get leadership buy-in and budget for the next big idea if you’re unable to demonstrate business value now?

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile Experience in 7 Steps

LinkedIn has become one of the most important tools you can use to help yourself grow professionally. As a thriving, interactive community of more than 700 million professionals worldwide, it’s become a crucial place to set out your professional stall and make a great impression.

Whether you’re on the hunt for your next career play, boosting your business growth, or looking to increase visibility and reach in your industry, crafting a well-done profile experiences section can go a long way to demonstrate your value and build credibility.

By following these 7 steps, your LinkedIn experiences can deliver impact, provide context, and help build your personal or leadership brand. Here’s how to take it beyond the standard resume, helping you stand out from the competition.

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