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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Social Media, Friend or Foe?

Twitter me this friends: is social media our friend or foe? We’ve got Facebook, Linked-in, Plaxo, Event Peeps, Twitter and the list goes on and on. It’s hard to keep up, but social media is all the rage and you’ve got to be in it to win it. Many small business owners are looking for more and more ways to market their companies at either a low or no cost value. However……spending a lot time on social media can take away quite a chunk of your day if you are determined to get your name out there. Unfortunately it can also take away precious time we spend with our families. For me, I would say I can easily spend a good three hours at day on social media sites which by the way, doesn’t sit so well with my husband! I often receive an “are you ever going to get off the computer” comment. In this way, I say that social media can sometimes be our foe---we just have to remember to make time for family, but in so many other ways for our businesses, social media can be our friend.

These days Twitter seems to be one of the most popular of all the social media outlets and when it comes to Twitter, there is only one person I reach out to for questions about it---the lovely and talented Elizabeth Beskin, President of 5th Avenue Digital, specializing in event photography. She uses social media to increase her brand awareness and thus, bring in business. She will be guest blogging on how to use social media for your business.

Elizabeth writes:

Twitter is about marketing. It’s important to understand that it’s all about engaging with your community, not advertising to them. The twitter community is a very friendly place as long as you understand the basic rules of the community.

The first thing to do on twitter once you sign up is to listen, listen, listen

Look up people to follow:
*People in your industry
*Your mentors
*Your competitors
*Your name
*See what people are talking about
And read all articles addressed to “newbies”(all those who are new to twitter)

There’s a bit of a learning curve- but listening and asking questions will provide the needed comfort before you engage

Here are a few pearls of wisdom to remember before engaging in a social media campaign for your brand.

1) R.O.I. With Twitter (and most Social Media strategies) R.O.I. doesn’t mean Return On Investment, it means Return On Influence. Twitter helps you build influence in a particular community and this influence can in turn lead to more business. But it doesn’t happen overnight - Social Media is a long term relationship, not a one night stand!

It is very difficult to calculate what the traditional Return on Investment can be from Twitter (some tools, such as Twitalyzer, are getting close). But, if you are building influence by having conversations with new people, leading people to your blog, and sending visitors to your web site who may even buying your products or services - then something significant is indeed happening.

2) Indentify a Community Sometimes it’s hard for a business to identify the perfect community of people to engage on Twitter. But, if you find a community that’s compatible with your business you can really tap into it. For example, RubbermaidTM is tweeting about “organizing” and engaging people with their brand that way. They assume that talking about plastic containers isn’t going to get too many people excited, but by engaging people who are interested in staying organized, they have found a compatible community for their brand. Use Twitter as a way to connect with customers people, not just as customers.

3) Twitter is Not like a Billboard! Twitter is not a billboard for your brand. A billboard doesn’t talk to people, people do! Twitter is a two-way conversation.

4) Create More Value than you Take Away It’s important on Twitter to create more value then you get. A good ratio for success:, Listen, share your knowledge, offer information, and answer questions 80% of the time. And tweet about yourself or your brand 20% of the time. The most successful users tweet 10 to 15 times per day.

5) Have a Plan Businesses should have a social media plan that includes Twitter and an integral part of this is deciding if your brand will be doing the talking or if a person who happens to represent the brand will be doing the talking. Either way, make sure your message is always consistent and be transparent about who you are. Twitter users sense lack of authenticity a mile away!

6) Tweet Important Messages More than Once Very few of your followers will be on Twitter from morning to night but you don’t want any of them to miss your tweets, especially if you have something very important to say or want to direct them to your latest blog post. So, it’s OK to tweet the same message more than once in the same day, as long as you vary the tweet slightly. Twitter users can get annoyed if they see the same tweet over and over again.

7) Think Before you Tweet Remember, tweets are forever! See Jeff Pulver’s insightful blog post: twitter: For Legacy and Family

8 ) Speak the Language of your Community When re-tweeting or mentioning someone, it’s a good idea to include your own explanation that will speak to your community of followers in the language that they understand. If you are retweeting something that has already been retweeted, than give credit to the original tweet by using the term “via” (example: RT @bevisible….and end with via @photobiz).

9) Twitter Killers? Most Twitter aficionados agree that the only thing that could kill Twitter is aggressive marketing and spam.

10) Twitter is Fun! Twitter is awesome fun and there are a lot of really smart people in the “Twittersphere” to meet and learn from. Watch and learn about how some of the big brands are using Twitter. WholeFoods (@wholefoods), Zappos (@zappos), and Dunkin Donuts (@dunkindonuts) are three companies who have embraced Twitter and are using it successfully and with full disclosure. I love what Marla Erwin from WholeFoods is doing and Tony Hsieh, Zappos’ CEO, wants his company to be loved for its customer service, not just for their shoes and he uses Twitter to facilitate that goal.”

You can follow Elizabeth on Twitter @photobiz and I highly recommend you check out some of her other blogs on Twitter Basics and on social media at http://www.fifthavenuedigital.com/photography-blog/

You can follow me on Twitter @BrowerPower but admittedly I’m only on it about once every couple of weeks. Guilty as charged! I’m a Facebook junkie at heart (you can find us on Facebook at C. Brower & Co Creative Events and become a fan!) but after learning so much about Twitter from Elizabeth, I may be headed over to the other side really soon!

So with all this great tips on how to use Twitter to market your brand, I ask you again to Twitter me this friends: Social Media, Friend or Foe? You decide.

Until next time---see you on the social media blitz!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

C. Brower & Co Nominated for ISES NY Metro Big Apple Award!

Hi friends! It’s been a busy first half of the year for C. Brower & Co Creative Events. We were recently nominated for Best Overall Event Design & Decor at the International Special Events Society New York Metro Chapter Big Apple Gala Awards! Check out the beautiful designs we created for our corporate client.

This corporate holiday extravaganza, hosted for the 1200 employees of one of New York’s leading construction company’s, was not your typical everyday holiday design. The client wanted a night club theme with a hip and chic atmosphere for their event incorporating the colors of red, black and white and Cipriani Wall Street was turned into just that!

To help transform the space, C. Brower & Co Creative Events used beautifully detailed metal white and black filigree candleholders and cocktail centerpieces of red cymbidium orchids submerged in water in glass cylinders with floating candles. The linens were decadent black shag and garnet crushed shimmer.

The main focus was the Manzanita trees adorned with satiny deep red rose balls. The creation was stunning and produced an impact. Your eyes were immediately drawn to the magnificent arrangements as you entered the room. Additionally, hundreds of red, black and white votives were dispersed throughout the event from the upstairs VIP area to the cocktail tables. A mix of illuminated, contemporary and Louis XIV black & white furniture chosen by the event producer completed this dazzling atmosphere.

C. Brower & Co Creative Events sends a very SPECIAL THANKS to:

Executive Event Producer Michael Cerbelli & Team Cerbelli of Total Entertainment for making us a part of this amazing event!

The Brower Power Decor Team: Christine, Jessica, Helen, Rachael, Karissa, Ariadne, Angela, and Annie for bringing the vision to life!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

And the Winner is……….

C. Brower & Co Creative Events rocked it out at the New Jersey North Chapter of the International Special Events Society at their 6th annual Tabletop Design Competition at the Olde Mill Inn in Basking Ridge, taking home TWO awards for our tabletop designs!

With 22 designers competing, C. Brower & Co Creative Events earned bragging rights after being awarded the People’s Choice Award and the Rising Star Award for our table “Bling is the New Black!,” an opulent and chic design oozing bling! Take a look at some photos of our designs below.

Our designs included a beautiful pink crushed satin fabric table linen with silver sparkling chargers and chinaware. Pink satin napkins were set with rhinestone napkin holders. Our florals were tight roses in miniature glass cylinders. Each rose had a sparkling rhinestone inserted in its center. Dazzling crystal candelabras housed a gorgeous floral arrangement of lavender, hydrangea and roses, each with a little touch of bling in every flower.

The final detail was our black chivari ballroom chairs wrapped with a pink satin sash sealed with a sparkling pink and silver rhinestone clasp. This delicate detail pulled all the elements of the entire table setting together.

All these divine details and elements are available through C. Brower & Co Creative Events. Call us for a consultation at 917-667-3207 and let us design your next event! It is sure to be a spectacular success with our award winning designs.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

ISES NY Metro Twin Chapter Program Fundraiser for the SEARCH Foundation

Although I visited London for the ISES UK REC this past March, London came to New York in April. After months of hard work, planning, and pitching, Crossing Channels: Next Stop London became a reality. A collaborative effort of the “Twin Chapter” committees of both the ISES NY Metro Chapter and the ISES UK Chapter, this semi-simultaneous fundraiser benefited the SEARCH Foundation while showcasing exciting digital connectivity linking members from each side of "The Pond."


Both Chapters decked their venues out in red, white and blue, used video and social networking outlets such as Twitter, YouTube and Skype to turn two chapter events into one continuous experience. On the afternoon of the New York event, London attendees connected to New York via Skype and Will Broome, ISES UK President sent well wishes to New York for a successful event. During the evening our UK friends were on standby calling in to pass the torch to New York to begin our part of the fundraiser.

As guests entered the venue at the chic Hudson Terrace, they were greeted by London Bobby's along with life size London Guards created out of balloons. Throughout the evening guests were delighted by fabulous entertainment , while dining on delectable tea sandwiches and hors d'ouevres.



A unique element of technology was used in the event, a digital silent auction. Wireless keypad technology provided guests with a digital bidder card to use throughout the evening to both bid on auction items and make personal donations directly to the SEARCH Foundation. Silent auction items and bids were displayed throughout the evening on multiple plasma screens.

Aside from heading the Twin Chapter Committee, my company, C. Brower & Co Creative Events, sponsored the authentic London decor elements—purchased while I was there for the UK REC! A Twin Chapter ice sculpture added to the hip London club atmosphere. To carry on the theme, Twin Chapter Committee members wore Mind the Gap and Union Jack Flag t-shirts, also collected while I was on holiday in London!

A special thanks to the evening host, Michael Cerbelli, Immediate Past Chairman of the SEARCH Foundation and to our special guest Larry Green, current Chairman of the SEARCH Foundation. As our DJ spun some London tunes to close the evening, the perfect end to a perfect night was Larry Green purchasing the winning key to unlock the box to win a diamond. As guests departed the event they were treated to a dazzling party favor from Swingbox gift box which included custom branded ISES NY Metro and ISES UK M&M's by My M&M's.

Here I am pictured with Michael, Alex Virvo from Swingbox, and Altair Rasco, a Twin Chapter Program Committee Member who is also part of my freelance team and a tremendously hard worker. Behind the scenes, she and I spent hours putting the program together. Up through her Stage Managing on the night of the event, she quickly became my right hand and was truly instrumental in making this program happen.


I have to say, the event would not have been possible without the help of my amazing team, some of whom are pictured below. It was such an honor and a pleasure to have worked with them. The event brought a lot of awareness in both the UK and the US about the Twin Chapter Program.


Collectively the Twin Chapters, ISES NY Metro and ISES UK, raised $8000 for the SEARCH Foundation! The event made ISES history as our first transatlantic event of its kind. I am so proud of what we were able to accomplish, that we had the turn out that we did, and that the event was so incredibly successful! Cheers!

All of the photos in this blog are from our fabulous sponsor, Christopher Duggan. To view all of the official photos from the Twin Chapter Event by Christopher Duggan of Threshold Visions Photography, click here. (Password: ISES)

To view the YouTube messages sent to the UK filmed and edited by My Tech Guy and Hi! Hello!, click here.

To read the UK article about the event featured in Events Magazine, click here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bling Bling!

Hello folks! Yes, I know.....delinquent once again but for good reason. It's been quite busy since my Valentine's Day wedding event and this is a good thing! I promised pictures from the event and I'm finally delivering. Though there was no time for "how-to" bridal bouquet pictures (there never is---such is the life of the event designer), we have some wonderful photos courtesy of my husband Ken, photographer extraordinaire, to give you the idea of some of the things we spoke about on our last blog. This is a picture of the lovely bride, Lisa, and her "bling" bouquet. This bouquet contained almost four dozen roses, each studded with crystals. This was an absolutely gorgeous bouquet—it sparkled like diamonds from across the room.

Next, we have photos of our centerpieces: crystal-studded red rose balls in cylinder vases wrapped with tie leaves. Incorporating the elements into every last detail, even the frames holding the table names had miniature Swarovski crystals added to them to offer that last little touch of bling.

Lastly, here is a photo of the Swingbox, which I was telling you is my favorite new product. The Swingbox was tied with Swarovski crystal encrusted burgundy ribbon, matching the bridesmaids’ dresses. Once opened, it held a thank you note to each of the guests, Red Hot Heart Candies, which was the special ingredient in the signature drink recipe I created for the couple, the Valentini Martini. As you can see from the photo, the recipe for this drink was also included in the Swingbox as part of the favor.

C. Brower & Co Creative Events won a Big Apple Gala Award for a former signature drink creation. Will the Valentini Martini be the next award winning drink? Stay tuned to find out!

If you have an upcoming event or wedding and would like to have a signature drink created for your event, please email us at events@cbrowerandco.com or email me directly at christine@cbrowerandco.com.

We'd love to work with you on your next event!

Keep an eye out for our next blog—we have pictures from an amazing event the team worked on!

Warm regards,


Monday, February 9, 2009

Guilty As Charged

OK--I know, I know. I am a totally delinquent blogger. Apologies to all my fans out there but life has been very busy since last I've blogged but hopefully I'm back on track for the New Year.

Hear that Christian! (Christian is my web designer who always tells me to blog away. See...I'm blogging!) While we are on the subject of Christian, I have received so many compliments on my website, I've decided to share with you all, Christian's contact info since he is such an amazing web designer. His company is Diseno Lopez www.disenolopez.com and he can be reached at (201) 575-6421. OK Christian--I want a commission for all the jobs you get from this. (Just kidding.)

Lots and lots of exciting things going on in the world of C. Brower & Co Creative Events since last we've spoke. I've got plenty of new pictures from events to post, so be on the look out for them on my photo pages and maybe I'll throw in a few here on the blog real soon. I'm still playing catch up from all the events during the holidays so the photos are coming--I promise! December was the busy season and also my favorite time of year. I love designing holiday events.

Anyway, the latest fun is I just got back from The Special Event Conference in beautiful, sunny San Diego, California. What a conference! For those in the events industry--this is the conference to beat all. Jam packed with top notch educational seminars, events and hundreds of vendors at the trade show booths. I've made some great connections and found some new products. I spent time working on the Hands on Hundred Program where I volunteered time to help at The Wedding Gallery event. I got to work with a phenomenal floral designer, Rene van Remes, who is well renowned in California. What a treat that was! For any designer out there, you know what a thrill it is to get to work with some of the masters.

Adding to the fun, I got to work with my favorite team at Total Entertainment, Michael Cerbelli, Julie Estes and Jaclyn Ownes at Michael's course "Hot Event & Entertainment Ideas for 2009 (tm)." This class is where Michael shares all his resources for the hottest new ideas and products in the events industry.

While my husband got to sit in the audience and enjoy the class, somehow I managed to get recruited to work with Team Cerbelli (hmmmm......how did that happen.....but oh what fun it always is!) I worked backstage helping Jaclyn and Julie with entertainment management. As much as I love to design, it always fascinates me what goes on behind the scenes. I love to be a part of it. It's like seeing how the mechanics of a clock works. So...for those new to the industry....a small piece of advice...if you want to be in the forefront, you first have to learn how the back end of the events industry works.

So what's next for C. Brower & Co Creative Events? This weekend we've got a Valentine's Day wedding coming up! Hundreds of red roses and tons of bling. I've got miniature Swarovski Crystals that are going to be attached to the red ribbons on the party favors (totally GORGEOUS!) and lots of bling in the bridal bouquet. I'll post some images and maybe some "how to's" so you all can see how to dress up an otherwise plain bouquet. By the way, the party favors are a great new product courtesy of my friend Alex Virvo of Swingbox. They are the coolest product in the way of party favors--check them out at www.swingbox.com

At the end of the month we've got a Mardi Gras 50th Birthday, but more on that next time. It's been lovely chatting but I'm off to go design another spectacular event!