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Terminix Service unveiled the new official Guinness World Records’ largest ant farm on April 27, at Discovery Place Science, in celebration of the museum’s annual Arthropod Day.
The record-breaking ant farm, measuring 4-feet long by 3-feet high by 3-inches wide, will serve as a temporary educational exhibit, exploring the natural tunneling of ants and their behaviors.
“As a leader in pest management, we want to help people learn about insects and how they impact the world around us,” said Terminix Service Technical Director Kevin Hathorne. “We’re delighted to partner with Discovery Place on what promises to deliver a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.”
The exhibit was on display at Discovery Place Science through May 11. It featured the record-breaking formicarium along with an interactive “ant scale” that computes participants’ weight in ants. The ant farm included 300 western harvester ants in ant gel to maximize viewing and observation.
“This project has been a year and a half in the making and is a great opportunity for us to connect with the community, gain positive attention and ultimately lift up the education side of our industry,” said Trevor Knox, vice president of sales and marketing. “We are excited to showcase the wonderful world of ants and celebrate a world record be broken at the same time.”
In March, Nathan Hawkins, owner of Big Country Snake Removal, posted a viral Facebook video of him removing 45 snakes slithering under an Abilene, Texas, house. A Facebook post says the homeowner discovered a few of the snakes while attempting to fix a cable issue under the home. The video shows Hawkins using a long tool to pick up the snakes as they use their rattles, try to escape and bare their fangs. The largest snake removed from the premises was 5½ feet long, Hawkins said. He wasn’t fazed, however, writing: “This is nothing. We do this all the time.” Watch the video.
In the past, consumers primarily made decisions based on the product or service they received. To the typical customer, a company was merely the provider of a good or service. However, in today’s interconnected world, consumers have greater access to information about companies and their products and now place increasing emphasis and importance on your brand values — the ethics and ethos behind how your business operates. More than just a slogan, they define a company’s principles and overall mission, as well as guide the organization’s internal conduct and external relationships.
As you may well know, today’s digital communication avenues bring consumers and companies closer together than ever before via online interactions, effectively making businesses more personal and even relatable. Although most marketing efforts communicate a company’s who, what, when and where, modern businesses must now also share the why behind their organization.
The connection between brand values and the bottom line may not be entirely clear at first. Just look at the ongoing debate amongst consumers when it comes to two key iconic brands: Coke and Pepsi. Although both products are quite similar in taste, it is often the companies’ respective brand ideals that push consumers to either side of the hotly contested debate.
For years, Pepsi’s branding efforts primarily utilized music and humor to portray a youthful and energetic company that stood for creativity and excitement. More recently, the brand initiated a “Refresh Project” that provides donations to people making a difference in their communities, thereby promoting company notions of empowerment and local activism. On the other hand, Coke has opted for more emotionally driven marketing efforts and portrays itself as a family-focused company prioritizing diversity and inclusivity. By effectively communicating what they stand for and represent as a company, both Coke and Pepsi have established equally loyal and dependable customers.
WHY SO IMPORTANT? You need to give today’s consumers a reason to care about the services you offer, as well as justification for why they should choose you over a competitor. According to the Professional Pest Management Alliance’s recent Generational Pest Control Research, consumers across all generations prioritize industry experience and trustworthiness when choosing a pest control company.
For pest control companies in particular, establishing company beliefs based on aspects such as protecting public health or bettering the well-being of local residents can help drive consumer interest and loyalty. People who align with your company’s mission and core messages are more likely to do business again moving forward. According to Zimmer Radio & Marketing Group, 64 percent of consumers say that shared values are the main reason they trust and continue to work with a specific company. By sharing these positions through effective marketing, companies can better connect with the public and differentiate their business from the rest.
Aside from customer acquisition and retention, defining brand ethics also can inspire employees and attract new talent. When employees know what their company stands for, it can provide motivation and help them understand that their work is important and part of a larger goal. Recently, a Gallup poll discovered that only 41 percent of workers were aware of their company’s core values and understood what makes their company different from competitors. Additionally, establishing and sharing ethics can help attract the right employees to a company. In a world that is constantly changing, core standards can help keep your company grounded and on the right path, attracting like-minded and loyal customers and employees along the way.
DEFINING BRAND VALUES. Before you can weave brand values into your marketing efforts, take time to define the company’s missions and goals. Brand values that resonate with both consumers and employees are typically those that are meaningful, actionable, memorable, timeless, unique and well-defined. To get started, here are a few steps to help develop a meaningful mantra for your company:
INTEGRATING BRAND VALUES. Once core ideals have been defined, it’s time to integrate them into marketing efforts and day-to-day operations. The more they are incorporated, the more customers and employees alike will start to recognize them, creating increased brand loyalty and consumer interest, as well as employee motivation. In general, when sharing corporate beliefs with consumers, companies should direct more focus towards their people rather than their products. For example, if a core value has to do with protecting public health, talk about employee training programs and their commitment to the company’s mission, as well as how they help protect customers and their families. By doing so, companies can appear more “human” and connect with consumers on more than just a transactional level. Digital marketing that incorporates a company’s core concepts can take the form of an employee spotlight, community event on social media or perhaps a website blog post or video documenting an example of brand values in action.
Communication of company beliefs, both internally and externally, is key to integration. Make sure employees understand the company’s mission and principles, as well as how they impact and drive their day-to-day work. In particular, employees who are conducting inspections and interacting face-to-face with customers should embody these ideals and have the proper tools and resources to communicate them to consumers. Additionally, digital properties such as the company website should feature a section listing the core values and explaining how they impact and guide the company.
Modern day consumers expect more from companies than just a service or product. The increasing use of and dependence on digital communication has allowed brands to become a bigger part of people’s lives than ever before. As a result, consumers feel more connected to companies and possess a unique affinity and loyalty toward the ones they do business with. Brand standards allow customers to distinguish between competitors and feel a certain sense of pride when they engage with a company whose mission and values they agree with or support. Companies that fail to take the time and effort to define these concepts and integrate them into their business will risk getting lost in the crowd. Those that develop and effectively communicate meaningful and memorable corporate ideals stand to gain long-lasting consumer loyalty as well as valuable employee retention and on-the-job enjoyment.
Cindy Mannes is executive director of the Professional Pest Management Alliance and vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association. She can be reached at email@example.com. For more information about PPMA, visit www.npmapestworld.org/ppma.
The Pesticide Applicators Professional Association (PAPA) Sacramento, Calif., nominated James Rodriguez of J.T. Eaton as president of the educational organization for a two-year term beginning January 2019. Rodriguez has been on the board of directors for more than five years and has experience with several of the organization’s committees.
The North Carolina Pest Management Association (NCPMA) announced the winners of its 2018 Technician of the Year Awards. The association honored Kevin Kimrey of Greensboro, N.C., with the Technician of the Year Award in pest management, and Ernie Riddle of Brevard, N.C., with the award for Technician of the Year for wood-destroying insects.
Central Life Sciences welcomed Timothy Bennett and Kelly Deutsch to the sales team for its Vector division and Walker Mobley to the sales team for its Zoëcon Professional Products division. They all join as regional sales managers.
Environmental Pest Service of Tampa, Fla., hired Robert A. “Bob” Wilgus Jr. as director of marketing. He brings more than 25 years of experience delivering business-to-business and business-to-consumer new client acquisition strategy development and implementation across a wide range of industries. In his new role, Wilgus will plan and execute a marketing strategy focused on lead generation and new customer acquisition to help grow the company organically.
It is estimated that in the U.S., about 40 percent of all food produced is wasted. It makes both environmental and economic sense to find alternative uses for our food wastes to reduce this high percentage. For commercial food facilities, this can include repurposing of certain types of food. Food that is repurposed may not meet criteria for human consumption or sale. It may go to animal feed or composting. Less-than-perfect food items, like blemished fruit or vegetables, may be repurposed for humans by offering these products at a reduced price, donating or incorporating into juices or other processed foods.
How a facility handles food repurposing can bear on pest pressures. If not done properly, it can increase the facility’s risk of flies, birds, stored product pests, rodents and other pests. In addition, and on a broader scale, it can impact pest problems in the community.
As pest management professionals, it is important that we inspect for potential pest risks associated with our client’s waste handling programs and help educate them regarding the bearing these may have on pests. Below are some of the key areas of concern as food and food containers destined for repurposing make their way through the disposal process.
After the products have left the facility, it is important to know where those trailers and dumpster are shipped and what programs are in place for cleaning them after they are emptied. If the trailers or totes go directly to a hog farm they are at a higher risk of returning with pests. Recycling centers are not exempt from pests and can be pest hot spots. Waste containers should be inspected for signs of pests and general cleanliness upon return to the facility for reloading.
Pat Hottel is technical director at McCloud Services.
Copesan is an alliance of pest management companies with locations throughout North America. To learn more, visit www.copesan.com.