MaxInMotion® granted nearly 2,000 scholarships to deserving young athletes in first year

logo-maxinmotionOne year ago today, we joined our longtime family friends, the Shacknai family, in launching a not-for-profit foundation called MaxInMotion®.  The Foundation was created in memory of their six-year old son Max who was an exceptional boy, a remarkably talented athlete, admired teammate and friend of our youngest son.

In twelve short months, MaxInMotion’s accomplishments have been nothing short of amazing. MaxInMotion awarded nearly 2,000 scholarships to economically challenged youth, sponsored the first-ever wheelchair basketball and wheelchair powered soccer clinics and leagues in Arizona. The recipients of MaxInMotion sports scholarships came from across the state and participated in competitive soccer, basketball, and hockey.

Incredibly, MaxInMotion met the needs of each athlete who applied timely for financial assistance. As a result we expect significantly more applicants in this funding cycle than last year.  But, to again turn down no child we need your help.

Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution again this year or making a commitment to do so for the first time. You may donate on the Foundation’s website, MaxInMotion.org. Importantly, MaxInMotion grants 99.9% of its annual budget directly to supporting deserving young athletes. The Foundation has no paid staff or fundraising costs. Rather, we rely only on volunteers to support our effort.

Today would have been Max’s eighth birthday, and it gives his family and ours pride to know that we are helping young athletes, whether they are economically or physically challenged.

With much appreciation,

Tim & Mirja

Google Penguin 2.0 is LIVE! What Does it Mean for Your Site

Matt Cutts Google Penguin 2.0

Matt Cutts discusses Google Penguin 2.0

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam Team, announced the fourth iteration of Google Penguin, dubbed internally as “Google Penguin 2.0”. This update, which launched May 22, 2013, is a major effort in Google’s push to present the most-authoritative, least-spammy websites for search queries. This latest rollout will affect about 2.3% of English-US search queries and has also rolled out to all other worldwide markets. With the launch of Penguin 2.0, many gaming and adult entertainment sites have been heavily hit by the latest algorithm change. Penguin 2.0 is being noted by Mr. Cutts as one of the major changes to expect with Google’s ranking algorithm in the coming months.

In April 2012, Google Penguin was introduced to address website linking strategy (among a few other website quality indicators) that affected 3.5% of search queries. Sites that were impacted by the update had practiced old, “black hat” link schemes: focusing on quantity of links, rather than quality.

Before you think, “all is lost” if your website has a number of poor-quality links, there are a number of ways to address this problem going forward and fix past activity.

Resolving Low-Quality Links
If you’re worried that your website may be (or has been) impacted by Google Penguin, there are a few tools and practices to employ to resolve those past actions. Utilizing tools like MajesticSEO, SEOmoz Open Site Explorer or Ahrefs, webmasters can identify links that are low-credibility or not relevant to the website.

Upon identification of harmful, low-quality links, webmasters can turn to the Disavow tool in Google Webmaster Tools. Much like implementing canonical tags, this is a tool provided by Google that should not be undertaken lightly. Disavowing valuable links can negatively impact the website’s PageRank.

Build Link “Relationships”
Like any valuable relationship, solid link partnerships take time and effort. To gain a good, relevant link from an authoritative site in your industry, it is worthwhile to make connections and nurture those relationships.

Prior to reaching out for a link back to your website, consider addressing a blog post comment, retweeting or answering a tweet of the publisher, or engaging with the web publisher in another unrelated venue (at an industry forum, etc.). Once a connection is made, take time to review the website and be able to speak to the attributes of the site as you ask for a link. A few extra minutes and care when reaching out will save hours in wasted batched, “shotgun” link email blasts.

Create Link-Worthy Content
The most holistic and easiest way to establish a healthy link portfolio is by creating engaging content to which other sites and users will want to link. Depending on your website, often “fresh”, relevant content gets the most buzz and links. Additionally, content that can be used as a reference and provide valuable information is a strong draw for other linking sites. Finally, publicize “newsworthy” content. What is it that makes your company unique? Drawing traffic through news outlets often provides high-quality links as well as high referral traffic. Be interesting and you will be rewarded.

Going forward, it is important to practice good behaviors for the benefit of users. Look deeply into your site to identify problem areas and as you address them, search engines will only reward you.

To learn more about RIESTER SEO services, please contact RIESTER today.

Voskos Greek yogurt selects RIESTER as its national ad agency

Voskos and RIESTERWe are incredibly excited to announce that late yesterday afternoon, RIESTER received a signed contract from Voskos to become its new, national ad agency.

Voskos is truly an exceptional product with tremendous growth opportunity in the United States.  Currently Voskos is distributed nationally in Walmart, and regionally through grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Albertsons, Publix, Sprouts and Kroger. RIESTER will be supporting current and future distributions with enhanced in-store, digital and mass media marketing efforts.

We are extremely proud to work with the wonderful and visionary people of Voskos. Now, we’re enjoying the sweet taste of success with Voskos’ many delicious flavors such as peach, strawberry, blueberry, honey and fig.

HERDEZ® brand celebrates an authentic Cinco de Mayo

RIESTER Herdez(R) team at the Cino de Mayo product shoot

RIESTER’s HERDEZ team at the Cino de Mayo product shoot

Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner, and our client HERDEZ ® brand wants to help you celebrate it right with giveaways, recipes and even a Pandora playlist prefect for your Cinco de Mayo party.

Many people think Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day, but it is actually the anniversary of the Mexican army’s victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla. HERDEZ® brand salsa looks to authenticity and tradition when creating its products, making it the ideal company to help consumers celebrate Cinco de Mayo in a genuine way.  RIESTER and the makers of HERDEZ® brand created a social media campaign that educates fans on tradition, while giving them useful tools for their Cinco de Mayo events.

HERDEZ® Cinco de Mayo Sweepstakes Promotion
At the heart of the campaign is the HERDEZ® Cinco de Mayo Sweepstakes. Fans have the opportunity to win a grand prize and weekly prize packages.  In keeping with the theme of authenticity, prize packages include a Mexican candy gift pack, a tamale making kit, a Mexican cooking utensil deluxe gift set, and a hand-blown glass set from Mexico.  To create continuous excitement, RIESTER developed a progressive grand prize that grows as more people register.  The sweepstakes has allowed HERDEZ® brand to bring the true story of Cinco de Mayo to U.S. consumers – including 20,000 new Facebook fans thus far.

Authentic Cinco de Mayo Recipes
RIESTER also lead the development of a series of recipes that were inspired by the city of Puebla. Traditional dishes included Puebla-style chalupas, a simple chicken mole and for dessert; tres leches cake with Rompope, an egg-nog like drink that is said to have been invented in the convents of Puebla.  All of these recipes and more can be found on the HERDEZ® brand Facebook page.

Traditional Mexican Music
Last, but certainly not least, RIESTER developed a fun Cinco de Mayo party playlist in partnership with Pandora. The playlist includes traditional and festive songs such as, “Amor a la Mexicana” by Thalia and classics from Mariachi Vargas.  The playlist will available indefinitely on Pandora.

We hope, HERDEZ® brand has helped inspire you to throw a Cinco de Mayo celebration that plays tribute to this festive holiday’s roots.

 

Three Reasons Why Your Company’s Website Needs to be Responsive

A quarter of web views come via a mobile device

A quarter of web views come via mobile devices

Today, there are more cell phones in the United States than people. We increasingly use our phones to access websites and social networks, and for many Americans, smartphones are their only access to the internet. It’s not surprising then that mobile traffic to websites rises each year, now accounting for a quarter of all views. But if your website is not designed to be viewed from a mobile device, you can expect six out of 10 of those mobile viewers to leave your site before completing a call to action.

The solution to this challenge is a responsively designed website. Responsive sites adapt to the device the viewing the website, allowing for a more user-friendly experience. Web pundits are calling 2013 “the year of Responsive Design.” RIESTER has been developing sites with a responsive, mobile first, philosophy since 2011. Since then, we have helped clients develop a number of award-winning responsive web design websites.

Here’s the top three reasons why your website should use this design philosophy:

1. Better User Experience

According to Google, users are 67 percent more likely to buy on sites when they have a positive mobile experience. It is easy to see why, optimized, responsive sites are more enjoyable and easier to navigate than the pinch-and-zoom method of non-responsive websites on a smartphone or tablet.

2. Responsive Web Design Improves SEO

Google and Bing favor websites that create a positive, engaging user experience more than ever. When curating search results, they will place more credit to websites that address user needs in the context for the visitors. At the heart of it, search engines also have technical preferences to websites that are responsive.

3. Your Website Will Be More “Social Friendly”

In 2012, 60 percent of Social Media visitors came from mobile devices. A brand’s responsive designed website that is referenced in social media posts will perpetuate a “mobile friendly” experience for the end user. This positive, interesting experience will also set the stage for the sharing of information socially through brand advocates.

The Responsive Web Design Bottom Line

As we move into this new, post-PC era it is imperative that brands address the mobile needs of their customers and partners by creating an experience that fluidly conforms to smartphones and tablets. Not only will this convey thought-leadership, but improve usability that will lead to increased conversions and engagement.

Contact RIESTER to learn more about responsive web design

Responding to tragedy on social media

Epicurious boston tweets The horrific Boston Marathon bombing prompted many people and brands to get on social media to offer their condolences and, in some cases, assistance to those impacted by the atrocity. While most comments were sincere and thoughtful, one brand, Epicurious, sparked outrage with its tweets suggesting recipes to help Bostonians get through the trauma. The company quickly deleted the offending messages and apologized, but the damage to the brand was done.

Epicurious is not the first brand to fall into this trap. Famously, Kenneth Cole used the #Cairo hashtag during the Egyptian uprising to plug their new spring collection on Twitter. During Hurricane Sandy, American Apparel struck a nerve when it offered a special online discount for people in affected areas with the prompt “In case you’re bored during the storm.”

How to Avoid the Social Tragedy Trap

First, take the marketing hat off. Using tragedy as an opportunity to push products or sales is rarely a good idea. Unless you are giving away snow shovels during a blizzard and want to communicate to people how to take advantage- step out of the marketing mindset and be sincere, human and offer an authentic response to the events. We do not believe the saying “there is no such thing as bad press.” Consumers remember social media mishaps like this for a very long time, and it may impact whether someone buys from you or your competition in the future.

How Should Brands Respond to Tragedy on Social Media

Another question we have clients ask us is if they should post about a tragic event and at what point a tragedy becomes post worthy. First, consider your brand. If you have a brand that focuses on being fun and light hearted, then you may not want to draw attention to tragedy. Second, ask what you have to offer to the conversation. If your brand does business in the impacted community, then you have a connection that you can discuss on social media. Or, if your customers are in the impacted community you may want to let them know that you are thinking about them. If you are not connected but feel your brand’s voice is caring and compassionate, then posting is still appropriate when done without putting marketing first.

When one of our clients debated about posting something on Boston, we considered their voice. We determined that it was fitting within the brand to offer condolences. The post performed similarly to their other content, showing that fans were just as likely to engage with the condolences post as they were with the brand-centered content.

Have a Plan Before You Post

As in all social media crisis situations, it’s best to have this discussion before the next tragedy to ensure that you can easily answer if and how you will respond to a tragedy. Being prepared now can prevent an Epicurious mistake in the future.

 

Congratulations to Fred DuVal- Arizona’s Next Governor!

Fred announcing his candidacy in Phoenix

Fred announcing his candidacy in Phoenix

Our friend Fred DuVal announced today that he is running for Governor of Arizona. We were proud to be with him  at the Squash Blossom in Phoenix and Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea in Tucson as he told media, family, friends and supporters how he plans to restore focus on jobs, opportunity and education as Arizona’s Governor.

RIESTER has been honored to be a part of Fred’s campaign from the beginning, having a pivotal role in developing the campaign’s website and social media platforms. I encourage you to learn more about what Fred will bring to Arizona as Governor. Together, we’ll move #AZForward.

An Earth Day RIESTER Foundation Report: Hope is growing in Costa Rica.

IMG_5847It is estimated that more than one billion people will take part in the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day. RIESTER Foundation is celebrating by announcing an exciting new effort to help fight global warming, while working to restore habitat on and around the RIESTER Reserve near Islita, Costa Rica.

This new project is the RIESTER Reserve Native Plant Nursery.

Located on the Reserve, the nursery will grow native plants and trees as money-making crops for local Costa Ricans, as well as possible sales to residents wanting to landscape their homes. As an experimental nursery, six separate areas will be explored: fruit trees; medicinal plants; flowering trees; ornamental plants; and palms, aromatic trees and hardwood trees. Among these different categories, the plants will include cashew, limon, papaya, breadfruit, Guanacaste, cacao and Ylang Ylang.

This new project is the RIESTER Reserve Native Plant Nursery.

This new project is the RIESTER Reserve Native Plant Nursery.

The RIESTER Reserve caretaker, Norman Quiros, will oversee all aspects of the nursery. Norman grew up in Islita, and learned about native plants from his father.

Please join RIESTER Foundation in celebrating the health and well being of our planet. And we invite you to learn more about RIESTER Foundation.

RIESTER wins Telly Award for PacifiCorp “Trees Have Dreams” video.

"Trees Have Dreams" team: Creative Director and Writer Jeff Bagley, Associate Director of Integration Laura Carlson, Associate Creative Director Mike Ross.

“Trees Have Dreams” team: Creative Director and Writer Jeff Bagley, Associate Director of Integration Laura Carlson, Associate Creative Director Mike Ross.

Good communication is an art and it’s rewarding to receive recognition for a job well done.

RIESTER won a Silver Telly Award for a video titled “Trees Have Dreams.” Silver is the highest honor awarded in the Telly contest.

Thank you PacifiCorp for entrusting us with the honor of doing this work.

The video encourages customers to take advantage of the convenience of paperless billing and shows how a tree can serve many other noble purposes rather than ending up as a bill. We think you’ll enjoy it:

Korea Looks to Arizona in quest to create first-ever trauma system in the Country

 

Left to right: Mr. Oh Jae Sae; Governor Jan Brewer; CEO of Maricopa Integrated Health System and President, Betsey Bayless; and Founder of the Ramsey Social Justice Foundation, Bob Ramsey.

Left to right: Congressman National Assembly, Mr. Oh Jae Sae; Governor Jan Brewer; CEO of Maricopa Integrated Health System and President, Betsey Bayless; and Founder of the Ramsey Social Justice Foundation, Bob Ramsey.

Our client and friend President and Founder of the Ramsey Social Justice Foundation, Bob Ramsey, helped mark a significant milestone today toward the establishment of a national trauma system in Korea. He in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Health Services Director of the Bureau of EMS and Trauma System, Bentley Bobrow, M.D. and many other government, medical and health care experts initiated the Korea-Arizona Trauma Summit today. A Korean delegation comprised of physicians, public health officials and government officials will participate in this meaningful three-day event which includes presentations by local experts and tours of major medical facilities in Phoenix and Tucson.