Red Ribbon week is a campaign that is sponsored by the “National Family Partnership,” formerly known as the “National Federation of Parents” for the awareness of drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse in America. It was originally started by parents and youth that began wearing red satin ribbons as a symbol, to spread awareness for theContinue reading »
A competitive market demands a competitive social media marketing plan. The first mark of any successful business is the ability to fill a need – offering a service or product to people that will increase their happiness or well-being. Yet, in today’s extremely competitive market, it is no longer sufficient to simply offer goods that are superior to other companies to be successful. With the drastic increase in social media and web-based marketing, name or brand recognition is equally as important, if not more so, as the quality of your product. There are thousands of companies, many of which did in fact have something of value to offer, that are defunct today only because they did not extend their reach as far as they could have.
Strong Web Presence a Must in Today’s Market
In the modern era of the internet, the speed at which information is shared is mind boggling. Think about it – just a few decades ago, people would wake up to grab the morning paper while their coffee was brewing in order to read about events that happened a day or two before, sometimes even longer. Now, with the advent of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and the powerhouse of all search engines, Google, just a few keyboard strokes can keep you up to date on things that happened just moments ago on the other side of the planet.
But current events aren’t the only thing that the World Wide Web is good for. Studies over the past few years have shown over and over that consumers increasingly prefer to do their shopping online. They research companies and their products online. They can even get a package gift-wrapped and sent to a completely different state or country, and they can do it online. Now, more than ever, in a time where walking into a physical store is optional, a strong web presence is necessary for any business to thrive, no matter how exemplary their service or product may be.
In the rehabilitation industry, the product virtually sells itself – we offer a way for people to turn their lives around and leave behind their addictions that have caused so much pain and angst in their lives. So, how can I, as a service provider, set myself apart from the rest in order to maximize my company’s potential and impact the lives of others in a positive way?
One way is through community outreach – and this can be accomplished in several ways. Donating to a charitable cause, sponsoring an academic scholarship or athletic camp, or even acts of community service, like helping at a food pantry or animal shelter, are all excellent ways to get your company’s name in the minds of the public while supporting the community that supports you.
Secret Santa Event with Best Drug Rehab
For example, this past holiday season, representatives from Best Drug Rehabilitation, one of the recovery centers that I founded, took a trip to the local K-Mart Superstore in Manistee, MI, the town that our treatment facility calls home. A few staff members and patients, dressed as Santa and his Elves, handed out gift cards that would help unsuspecting shoppers in their efforts to share a little holiday cheer. This not only gave the patients the opportunity to find the happiness and personal reward of helping others, which is a big aspect of shedding the old selfish habits and ways of thinking that they become accustomed to in addiction, but it also showed our support for our local community and for those area residents that might have been struggling to keep the holiday spirit.
From a humanitarian standpoint, this charitable act is the physical representation of the spirit of the season – to bring joy into the lives of others and thereby enriching our own lives. From a business standpoint (and contrary to popular opinion, the two are not mutually exclusive), it is an opportunity to promote the very nature of my company’s mission, which is to provide a better quality of life to all that we come into contact with. The K-Mart trip was a success on both of those counts, to be sure, but it can’t end there.
This is where your media marketing team should spring into the action. Footage from the K-Mart excursion was combined with clips from interviews with some of the participants, and edited into a short video that highlights the day’s events. That video was, in turn, uploaded to the Best Drug Rehabilitation YouTube channel and shared across several social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, as well as linked to a blog entry on the BDR website. In today’s digital age, where a large segment of our population is wired into the Internet almost constantly, as smartphones get smarter and businesses get more tech-savvy, this is a critical step in any company’s effort to create significant brand recognition.
The goal behind producing and sharing web-based content like this video and its corresponding blog entry is not to give ourselves a pat on the back, or to say “Look at us, people, and look at all of the good deeds that we do”. Instead, it is a means of extending our reach and maximizing the potential of our company to be successful in the long run. It is useful in creating a positive image of our company and the service that we provide, and gives us an edge in our field. As a rising entrepreneur in the modern age of the Internet, you absolutely must have a solid social media marketing plan, with a skilled staff to execute it.
Businesses, especially small businesses or start-ups, have a lot of legwork to do in order to become successful for a sustained period of time. From the planning and financing stages to recruiting and hiring to advertising and brand building, not to mention the overwhelming amount of bureaucratic paperwork to be filled out and filed, the life of a beginning entrepreneur is a hectic whirlwind. This is to be expected, and is something that must be done if a business is to be successful.
Once all the hoops have been jumped through, all of the red tape has been cut, and your business model has been established, the next trick is to build and maintain a solid reputation in your field and, along with it, a positive presence in your local area. What the reputation part is lacking in ease, it makes up for in straightforwardness – the esteem that people will hold your company name in is a direct result of the quality of service or product that you provide and the level of professionalism shown by your employees. A positive presence takes a little more effort on your part, but will also go a long way towards helping you to uphold that reputation.
Know Your Market
Researching your market is the most important part of this process. In my industry, which is helping people to recover from addiction, the base is as wide and diverse as the American population, and finding certain opportunities to increase company name recognition are plentiful. Depending on the service or product that your company provides, finding those kinds of opportunities may prove a little more challenging, but do not give up hope – they are out there. You just have to find them.
In the addiction rehabilitation field, one of the most vital aspects of what we offer at the treatment centers that I have founded is an environment that is designed to foster real, meaningful connections with other people that will form a solid framework for the strong support network that is necessary for long-term recovery. This is achieved through any combination of number of different approaches – group support meetings, peer interaction, and the simple knowledge that someone else is going through the exact same experience are just some of the ways that we encourage this emotional development.
How to Create a Positive Presence
Yet, that is within our halls, so how can this help our influence and create a positive presence in our community? The benefit of this goal in our recovery program is that this can be achieved literally anywhere. It isn’t restricted to our treatment facility grounds. For an example, some of the people from Serenity Recovery, a rehabilitation center that I founded in Western Michigan, headed to Grand Rapids for a day at the Ah-Nad-Awen Park where the 9th Annual Recovery Palooza was being held in observation of the 2015 National Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery Month.
On September 19th, 2015, dozens of treatment centers and recovery support groups came together to share inspiration, encouragement, and hope with each other. Our corporate sponsorship allowed our group, which included staff members like the Serenity Recovery Personnel Director Mike Wilkerson, to set up a booth where information was shared in print and through verbal interaction. There was plenty of opportunity for the patients to go around to other booths, speaking with other people in recovery and learning about different groups and events that will be helpful to them in maintaining sobriety after graduating from the Serenity Recovery center.
Focus on Networking in Your Field of Expertise
The biggest benefit to our patients was an added sense of camaraderie and the ability to strengthen the connections that they have already made with each other, and also to forge the beginnings of a new path in recovery. This is also advantageous to the success of the business, as our participation in the Recovery Palooza demonstrated our willingness to reach out to the community and sponsor events that bring positivity to the area and revenue to other local businesses. Networking at events that are centered on your field of expertise is always invaluable, but perhaps even more beneficial is the confidence and security that comes with having the support of the community in which you are operating.
Throughout the years that I have opened and run addiction treatment centers like Serenity Recovery, I have discovered that, where most industries’ bottom line is the shareholders’ returns, this is one field where profit is not at the forefront of daily operations. Profit is, of course, important in any business – without it, you literally have no business – but in some cases it has to take a back seat to your vision, the manner in which you fulfill a need in the world. Building a strong positive presence in your community will increase your business’s longevity and strengthen the influence that your company has in your area. Concentrate on these areas first, and profitability will be the last of your concerns.
In an endeavor to remain an effective authority in the battle against addiction, Best Drug Rehabilitation often seeks out opportunities to spread awareness of the issues surrounding substance abuse. They help provide options for those struggling with drugs or alcohol by engaging in discussion with others to reexamine the problems of addiction that face our society and the potential solutions. They focus on ways that they might be better able to combat this dangerous epidemic that has swept through our nation.
BDR found a recent opportunity to do just that in their sponsorship of the Taste of Nashville Tour. At one particular show, they were able to speak with some of the performers backstage, asking them to share their views on substance abuse and overcoming it.
One of those rising country stars was Brianna Lauren. We asked her how we, as a society, can help prevent drug addiction. “I know some people who that are struggling with it or are tempted by it,” she shared with us. “I think they need something to occupy them. One thing I was not very happy with is that they started take the arts out of schools. Finding a way that people can pursue their passions more, keep them from getting distracted and going down the wrong path.” She is probably more right than she knows. At BDR, many of our patients are extremely talented musicians, artists, athletes, and writers who simply did not have an appropriate outlet for their passions, finding false comfort in alcohol and drugs instead.
Another performer that spent a little time with us that day was Richie Fields. We asked him the same question as Brianna: “How can we help prevent drug addiction?” “You have to try to intervene and see if you can help,” he offered, “and be understanding about it, not just condemn them. They need the support of their parents, their family, their friends. The more we try to educate our children, talk to them, and keep the lines of communication open; that’s the biggest things that I know to help.” He truly hit the nail on the head- the most effective weapon we have in the fight against drugs and alcohol is teaching our teens and young adults about the dangers of substance abuse. At Best Drug Rehabilitation, we are committed to doing all that we can to help in this battle.
This year, we were proud to participate in the Grand Rapids “Walk Like MADD” event. Participants donated their time by signing up as walkers, team captains, volunteers, virtual walkers, or by making a donation to another walker or team. Thousands of people from over 60 cities across the US participated in this 5k event in their area to help eliminate drunk driving on our nations roadways.
More Information on the Grand Rapids Walk Like MADD can be found here:
Pamela Anderson, Executive Director at A Forever Recovery talks about our 7th annual reunion picnic. Since opening in August 2008, we have provided this opportunity for former patients to participate in an open mic forum where they can talk about being an inpatient at our facility and going on to enjoy a sober lifestyle. Some of them have been coming back to the reunions for years and are proud to share their news of having gotten married, had children, or bought a new home. This is an uplifting experience for current patients when they can witness, first hand, how A Forever Recovery helps people reclaim their lives.
Honoring those who have overcome the darkness and found a brighter path.
September is recognized each year as National Recovery Month, a time where we acknowledge and applaud the efforts and advancements that have been made in the treatment of addiction and in raising awareness about substance abuse. During Recovery Month, we celebrate the progress that countless people have made in overcoming their compulsive behaviors, the millions of lives that have been saved, and the overall betterment of our society in building a healthier and more positive place for all of us to live. From the stories that we share of emerging victorious over substance abuse, we are able to draw strength and support, encouragement and optimism. As the 2015 National Recovery Month draws to a close, it is important to remember that fighting the battle against addiction to drugs and alcohol is a year-round occupation.
Having battled my own substance abuse issues, which spanned over a decade, and finally overcoming them after finding a treatment program that actually worked for me, I have an understanding of the obstacles that face those travelling the same path that I did – the kind of understanding that only another person who has battled addiction can have. From the downward spiral to hitting rock bottom to clawing my way back out of that deep and dark hole, I understand exactly what the patients at my recovery centers, and, indeed, anybody who may find themselves fighting that battle, are experiencing. It is no easy task, and remaining drug-free after treatment can sometimes be even more difficult. That is why the recognition and celebration of overcoming those struggles, such as we see during National Recovery Month, is so important. By giving credit where credit is due, we can help to keep the positive energy flowing in the lives of those who have made it through to the other side.
Millions of Americans have undergone a lifestyle transformation as a result of recovery from addiction. That doesn’t just include those who have struggled with drug abuse or alcoholism. That also includes their friends and family, the loved ones close to them who were also affected by the choices made by a person whose life had been taken over by chemical dependency. Recovery Month aims to honor those transformations and to raise awareness about the continuing battle that our society faces, just as we honor other advancements and the progress that lies before us with other periods of observation, such as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), Autism Awareness Month (April), Mental Health Awareness Month (May), and the many other dedications to creating a better overall society.
It is equally as important to realize that, while there are millions of people whose lives have found a more positive path in overcoming addiction, there are still millions more out there who need our help. By honoring the successes that we see in effective treatment programs at professional substance abuse recovery centers, we are able to offer a ray of hope to those who might find themselves in a hopeless situation. We are able to show them that, even though they feel hopeless, there is always time to turn back. That they, too, can find a brighter path. That nobody, not even them, is too far gone to make a change for the better. As long as they still have a breath to breathe, they can turn it around and find a better way of life.
During the 26th observance of National Recovery Month, I am inclined to step back and reflect on the progress that we have made in the treatment of substance abuse. For example, the recent changes in legislation, which have resulted in affordable health insurance becoming more readily available for those who previously had no coverage, have made effective treatment programs more accessible for those who need them. As more and more research is being done on substance abuse treatment options, we have found many different ways to address the issues surrounding addiction and recovery. And, through and ever-expanding foundation of people enjoying long-term recovery from drug abuse and alcoholism, the stigmas that are attached to admitting that there is a problem in one’s life with substance abuse have been lessened and turning to someone to ask for help is no longer embarrassing or socially unacceptable. Yes, we certainly have come a long way.
But we still have quite a way to go. In America today, we have over 20 million people who are on some form of drugs, whether it is alcohol, street drugs, or prescription medication. Of those people, we have approximately 7 million that need to go into a residential treatment facility, yet we can only bed 3 million. As this year’s National Recovery Month sees its last few days, I urge each of you to push a little more and to try a little harder. Show support for those people that you may know who are in recovery. If you are in recovery yourself, reach out to those who are just starting out on that path which you have already been traversing, showing them the different methods that you have found useful in coping with the daily struggles of life without resorting to using drugs or alcohol, and offering them strength and a shoulder to lean on. Get involved in local groups or organizations that promote a substance-free lifestyle or that strive to rid our neighborhoods and communities of the menace of drugs and alcohol. Inspire those around you to take action, helping to expand awareness about these issues and to encourage progress in the extensive accessibility of effective prevention education, treatment programs and recovery centers.
The battle against drug abuse and alcoholism never ends, even as National Recovery Month comes to an end, until next year. Standing firm together, united as a society, and giving it our all, we truly can make a difference. We truly can be a stronger force in this fight. We truly can beat this thing that we call addiction.
The people who help you to share your message with the world are just as important as the message itself.
Having a positive message to share with the world is important to the success of any company. Without positivity, including results that show progress and growth, any business or organization will lack support, and is doomed to failure. For some businesses, this might just mean reorganizing and trying again with a different plan. For fields of work like mine – helping people overcome addiction – failure can literally be a matter of life and death.
A positive message is, however, only part of the equation. A positive message has to be shared in a positive way, and the people who help your business to share its message are just as important to your success as the message you are sharing. Employees that interact with clients or customers give the first and last impression of what you and your company stands for, and it is important that your employees feel valued and appreciated for their efforts. Your clientele will only be as happy as your employees are.
In the substance abuse treatment field, one of the most effective ways to get our message of leading a healthier and more productive lifestyle across to as many people as possible is found in participating in various events through corporate sponsorship. Operating several addiction recovery centers gives me plenty of opportunities to do this, and, sometimes, this can be as much fun as it is work.
Sharing a Positive Message With Others
Of the many examples that I can give from my own personal experiences, the sponsorship of Peckfest 2015, a two-day country-rock music festival in Point Pleasant, VA, through Best Drug Rehabilitation was perhaps one of the most fun events we have done. Named for Gary Peck, the owner of the Kanawha River Campground where the festival was held, Peckfest was one of the stops for the “Taste of Nashville” Tour, a showcase of many of the music scene’s rising stars and established names. The event saw hundreds of attendees over the weekend of September 4th-5th. We were able to share our positive message in a positive way, and everybody had a great time, creating lasting memories, and lasting company name recognition.
Our sponsorship of Peckfest also allowed us exclusive access to speak with many of the performing artists. They graciously agreed to tell us about their views and experiences with substance abuse, which there certainly is no shortage of in the music industry. Among those who spoke with us were Jeff Dane, Tom Dixon, songwriting duo Double Barrel, Mike Short Jr., and many others. Here are just a few examples of what they had to say about addiction in their industry, and in our nation as a whole:
“Even if you’ve had a problem (with addiction) at some point in your life, it doesn’t mean it’s over. You have an opportunity to change that and you have to want to do that.” – Tom Dixon
“Go be addicted to something positive. If you want to make nutcrackers for a living, be the best at it. If you want to be a musician, be the best musician you can be. Make that your drug.” – Jared Elledge of Double Barrel
“I think a lot of it is to distance yourself from the people that influence those bad decisions. It’s not always easy. But, at the end of the day, the only one that matters is you.” – Mike Short Jr.
In addition, the fact that a substance abuse treatment center can support an event like Peckfest reinforces an idea that is central to the field – that life is still enjoyable without drugs or alcohol. One of the biggest fears that the intake coordinators at Best Drug Rehabilitation hear from the people that we see at our recovery center is that they just don’t believe that they will ever be able to have fun or enjoy life again. They seem to have lost the simple innocence of enjoying the little things in life and in finding the beauty that our world offers to us every single day. Sponsoring Peckfest helps us to show them that this simply isn’t true by demonstrating that it is not only possible to have fun without drugs or alcohol, but that it is even preferable. As an added bonus, there is no risk of waking up hung over or wondering what happened the night before.
Raising Awareness and Saving Lives
Having performing artists, or civic activists, opinion leaders, athletes, or any high-profile celebrities sharing your message is a great way to reach out to new audiences. When raising awareness about the need that you are trying to fulfill, or the problem that you are working towards solving, having this kind of support is truly invaluable to your company’s vision.
Using positive influence to achieve positive results is vital to the success of any company, no matter what your field of expertise might be. Popular musicians, athletes, civic leaders, and anybody that holds any sort of influence over people’s opinions and ideas can be extremely beneficial you and your company. With the positive results from this practice, we can become even more capable of making our world a better place for everyone. We can continue to fulfill the need that we have seen in the world on an even greater scale. For me, this means that we are able to save thousands more lives from the deadly consequences of addiction.