Invective marketing: The good side of bad

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” This mantra of my childhood comes to mind anytime I post on social media. After all, I don’t want to be known only for complaining and writing […]


15 Jan
by Aspectus PR

Social-media-invective-marketing-pr“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” This mantra of my childhood comes to mind anytime I post on social media. After all, I don’t want to be known only for complaining and writing about things that irk me. Or do I?

Emerging as a wellspring of social media prominence, “invective marketing” is the expression of blunt – if not exaggerated – opinions that insult or offend others and spur controversy. It’s like one fish swimming upstream, disrupting uniformity and stealing attention in a vast cyber ocean.

It’s an opportunity open to anyone, but there are a few basic rules. As pointed out in a recent Forbes article, “invectivers” begin by being notable for something; even the most simple of reasons like writing a popular blog, a stint in broadcast media or a connection to someone famous. They must be careful with who comments are directed towards, along with what is conveyed and when. The recipient must be a public figure in the news, and the message should be egregious but also contain a discernible point.

It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it works. People react by sharing the post to either trumpet outrage or show their agreement. Either way, clicks are generated, media attention is sparked and an individual who might have only been mildly notable before moves into the limelight. Of course there’s an opportunity for financial gain, too.

Look at Katie Hopkins, for example. The notoriety she has gained from being outspoken far eclipses her reputation as a contestant on the third season of The Apprentice. Her remarks about judging children by their names ignited outrage on both sides of the Atlantic, not to mention her take on Ramadan, the shooting of Michael Brown, the perks of Ebola and just about everything else she’s ever tweeted or included in her column at The Sun. The result? 265,000 Twitter followers and untold amounts of money collected in media appearance fees.

Then there’s Russell Brand, who has become known for his comments just as much as his acting. No subject, person or group is safe from the opinions he espouses, spanning from theories about who was behind 9/11 to Britney Spears being a female Christ. “A school bully and prancing millionaire” was the viral response of one individual to Brand’s stunt at Royal Bank of Scotland’s London offices in December.

Alas, attention of the masses and social media can be gained, but what is lost? Caitlin Moran’s latest book – How to Build a Girl – arrives at the same question. Perhaps Hopkins will get more followers on Twitter and Brand will sell a few additional copies of his book, but is invective marketing – being intentionally erratic and offensive – worth embracing, either personally or professionally?

The profits brought by this trend in marketing are tangible (such as spikes in followers or book sales), but they’re temporary. In the long run, invective marketing cannot be a model for sustainable growth. The public eventually turns its attention elsewhere, and the individual is remembered only for ranting and being irrelevant.

The best pursuit – and one made possible by strategic PR – is to become famous for quality and expertise. This might require more time, but it yields greater rewards, future opportunities and a position of respected authority. And that’s something nice to talk about.


Aspectus’ UK Financial Services PR Top 14 in ‘14

A new year is a time for looking forwards, and as we step into 2015, the Aspectus UK Financial Services PR team are looking ahead to what the coming months have in store. A new year means new client wins, […]


09 Jan
by Aspectus PR

financial-services-pr-2014A new year is a time for looking forwards, and as we step into 2015, the Aspectus UK Financial Services PR team are looking ahead to what the coming months have in store. A new year means new client wins, new campaigns and a new approach to PR as we continue to hone our new Media-Content-Search model. However, before we dive headfirst into the hustle and bustle of the new year, it’s worth looking back and reminding ourselves of some our best moments of 2014.

Some of the below are coverage highlights, some are broader campaigns. All of them stand out for making a real impact for our clients in the past year.

So without further ado, allow us to present the Aspectus Financial Services PR Top 14 in ‘14!

1. eFront in Institutional Investor
eFront wanted to be known as more than just a technology vendor. Commenting and extrapolating on one of the biggest alternatives stories of the year in one of the best financial publications around did just the trick.

2. GIIN in FTfm
It’s hard to convince a high net worth audience of the merit of social impact investing. We secured a marquee placement in the UK’s top fund management publication to help do just that.

3. GoldenSource: The 12 days of BCBS 239 cartoon series
Does the Basel Committee’s risk data aggregation regulation turn you off? We brought it to life with the help of a 12-part visual blog series that led to a >200% uptick in website traffic and over 10 leads.

4. Dion on the front page of Singapore Business Times
Dion was looking for greater awareness of its brand across top tier Asian media. By commenting on the news that the Singapore Exchange remains on track for T+2, Dion secured front page coverage on the Singapore Business Times.

5. ITG in City A.M.
As owners of one of the market’s biggest and most trusted dark pools, ITG weren’t happy about the unbalanced kicking dark venues were receiving in the press following Michael Lewis’ Flash Boys. This piece in City AM put CEO Rob Boardman front and centre, calling for a more informed perspective.

6. ITRS set up shop in Malaga
On the back of sustained growth, ITRS are opening a new Research & Development centre in Malaga – one of the top European tech hubs – next year. We wrote and issued the announcement, which was then also translated and distributed in Spanish. Double-digit coverage brought a double-digit flood of job applications!

7. Eagle Alpha: Coverage soars in 2014
This year, Eagle Alpha featured in the business, broadcast and financial services media. One highlight was a three-minute slot on Fox Business, which generated 60 leads.

8. Cordium: AIFMD experts
Cordium, a global compliance consultancy, was keen to raise awareness of its expertise in AIFMD, and its Annex IV reporting solution. Aspectus was only too keen to help, and achieved 62 pieces of coverage across key titles in the hedge fund, private equity and alternative funds space.

9. Fidessa’s post-trade campaign
For Fidessa’s post-trade campaign, we secured more than 50 pieces of coverage, set up 27 media interviews and developed six pieces of media content. As a result, the white paper has been downloaded more than 500 times.

10. Nice Actimize in the news
We love to jump on a breaking news story at Aspectus. To pick just a couple, this year saw Nice Actimize in the Wall Street Journal when Luxembourg ended bank secrecy and a wealth of coverage on the year’s FX scandals, including Waters Technology, FS Tech and Euromoney.

11. Dion Global website
When Dion needed support on the design, content and SEO strategy for their new website, we were delighted to deliver. They have a broad product offering, and our keyword research saw us test more than 1000 keywords to find the best possible phrases to target.

12. GoldenSource in FTfm
GoldenSource asked us to get them in front of a buy-side audience. Within a few months we’d developed this article and placed it in FTfm.

13. Milestone Group: Oversight campaign
Oversight has been a key theme for Milestone Group over the last few years, and to keep the campaign fresh this year we supported them with a survey to deliver new data. The campaign has yielded more than 55 pieces of coverage across five countries, and directly supported lead generation.

14. Maitland
In June, global fund administrators Maitland Group launched a Luxembourg-based fund platform designed to offer non-EU funds a way into ‘Fortress Europe’. Needing to make a splash in an already crowded field, Aspectus helped Maitland to get the word out. 16 quality pieces in leading alternative investment titles later, the business leads started to pile up.


Tech meets the next generation – only inspiring things can happen

Written by Sophie Hodgson I confess up front that I am from a generation that had to learn about email and the internet. Only in college, but still, in my dim and distant memory, I recall a life before email […]


08 Jan
by Aspectus PR

education-technology-pr-BETT-showWritten by Sophie Hodgson

I confess up front that I am from a generation that had to learn about email and the internet. Only in college, but still, in my dim and distant memory, I recall a life before email and access to information that involved a three-hour book hunt in the library.

Was my education better or worse for this? I honestly have no idea. I guess its delivery was relevant to that time. Technology had yet to pervade our everyday lives and so my primitive understanding of email (gleamed largely to facilitate flirting with a boy I had a crush on) was neither here nor there.

Fast forward to now and clearly my tale is laughable. Children today use Skype, Google Apps and code their own websites before they are even ten. Kids as young as seven monitor for anonymous proxies as they are released in order to circumnavigate security controls and settings. They are surely the most intuitive, relentless and determined IT users you’re likely to meet. Not only are their expectations sky high, but they are formidable opponents for any IT manager or tech vendor.

How technology has changed education is nothing short of exhilarating, and that is why I am looking forward to this year’s BETT Show. Last year, the focus was all about the curriculum change that would come into effect, so what’s this year’s buzz going to be about? Could it be a look at the progress that’s been made to date? Will it be about the changes that the election could ring in? Or perhaps discussion will be about whether you can really ever create a child-friendly internet (*waves at Google*).

There are so many issues that frankly who knows which one will take centre stage. That is why BETT, and the education tech market as a whole, is so exciting. Empowering and inspiring the next generation and shaping their thought processes and development isn’t something that can be taken lightly. Therefore, I personally (as the mother of a two year old) will be looking at how the ‘big boys’ – Microsoft et al – plan to live up to their duty of care.

And that’s the thing about entering and surviving in the education sector. Not only does your technology have to be pretty special, it also has to be able to stand up to speculation from a bevvy of stakeholders. From IT managers to parents and boards of governors; they might not have a direct say in signing the cheque but their unspoken power is significant.

Companies operating in this space want to be creative, but often wider political agenda items take the wind out of their sails. For me, visual content has a huge role to play over the coming year in helping technology vendors targeting the education space to simplify their messages and give them more impact. Agree or disagree, if you are attending BETT and fancy a coffee and a chat about PR, then give me a shout!


Fuelled by energy communications? Join Aspectus

New career opportunity: Account manager – energy practice We are looking for a fresh-thinking, talented account manager to join our busy central London office. As part of a small team within a rapidly-growing, ambitious agency, you’ll have a talent for executing […]


07 Jan
by Aspectus PR

New career opportunity: Account manager – energy practice

Aspectus PR - PR logoWe are looking for a fresh-thinking, talented account manager to join our busy central London office.

As part of a small team within a rapidly-growing, ambitious agency, you’ll have a talent for executing business enhancing campaigns and a desire to develop your strategic planning capabilities. You’ll be plugged into the changing marketing landscape and ready to use every channel at your disposal to enhance your client’s engagement with their target audience.

Our energy team is growing quickly and we are seeking a high calibre account manager who will ideally have an understanding of either the sustainable energy market, or the power generation and networks space. Account teams at Aspectus must hold expert knowledge that enables them to marry PR and marketing practice with industry challenges.

You will also be confident in your ability to line manage and motivate junior team members and be ready to step in and support the senior team when needed.

We are looking for someone who can bring both rigour of account management and creative talent to this role. It would also be advantageous if the candidate had some wider B2B technology experience. An excellent package and career opportunities are available for the right candidate.

This role is full-time (permanent) with an immediate start, although we’ll wait for the right candidate if you have a long notice period! To be considered for the role, please submit a CV and covering letter, referencing examples of your work to amy.redhead@aspectuspr.com


Working in PR: A note to myself for 2015

Written by Sophie Hodgson. I’m not really one for resolutions. Quite simply, I lack the willpower. I don’t think I have ever kept to one. I know I should eat less, run more, be clear of mind etc. etc. etc., […]


05 Jan
by Aspectus PR

Written by Sophie Hodgson.

aspectus-pr-2015I’m not really one for resolutions. Quite simply, I lack the willpower. I don’t think I have ever kept to one. I know I should eat less, run more, be clear of mind etc. etc. etc., but, well, it’s all such hard work isn’t it?

That said, in the last few months I’ve learnt a lot of valuable lessons. And so I think rather than setting myself unattainable ‘things to do’, I am going to take note of these learnings and look to apply them in 2015.

First up, never be afraid to challenge and hustle. We’ve all been in a position where we’ve received a brief, developed a campaign in line with that and then been told actually the company was looking for just the opposite. Sigh. It happens time and time again.

So, in 2015 I am going to ask more questions and stop accepting things at face value. The most successful pitches and conversations I’ve had this year have been where, to a large extent, I’ve ignored the brief and instead looked to tap into the emotional driver behind the brief.

I hadn’t realised I was even doing this until I was at a talk by Kevin Allen, during which he discussed the powerful human emotion behind each business decision. Kevin’s point was that you need to understand it and let that frame your strategic thinking. And he’s not wrong. I don’t buy shoes because they are functional, but because they are pretty. OK so comms services and shoes are definitely not the same thing, but the emotional driver behind the purchasing decision arguably is.

Second, and this is a cliché, but I was reminded on more than one occasion this year that you should never judge a book by its cover. It is easy to make assumptions based on LinkedIn profiles, shared emails or the word of someone else. But when it comes down to it, you should always make your own judgements. Instinct is an intangible thing, but there is no denying it has important role to play in guiding the decisions we make.

Thirdly, accept that you won’t always be everyone’s cup of tea. And that is OK. Because we are not all the same and if we were then the world would be a very boring place. At Aspectus, we celebrate individual personalities and appreciate how they fuel our strength of thinking and creativity. That means we think differently and our clients reap the benefits of that on a daily basis.

And lastly, when things are going crazy around you, it can be hard not to get caught up in the madness. Earlier this year, a friend quoted the following words to me by Reinhold Niebuhr: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” When clarity and calm is needed, I feel these words will be crucial to retaining perspective of the bigger picture.

I think that’s it. Now, where did I put that form for the gym?


Science versus storylines? Motivating change in the renewables sector and beyond

In a recent article for the Guardian, Adam Corner of Climate Outreach argues that it is stories, rather than science, that will eventually win over the climate-sceptics. It’s a well thought out and interesting piece, and it raises important questions […]


23 Dec
by Aspectus PR

newspapersIn a recent article for the Guardian, Adam Corner of Climate Outreach argues that it is stories, rather than science, that will eventually win over the climate-sceptics.

It’s a well thought out and interesting piece, and it raises important questions about the relationship between communications and science. Is it really one or the other though? Must we pit science against storylines, measurement versus myth, truth versus tales?

In short, the two shouldn’t necessarily be contradictory, but are sadly often seen to be. Mr. Corner’s piece looks at a positive example where the power of storytelling can be more potent in driving change than dry facts, but there are negative examples too.

Take, for example, the terrible fallout of the MMR-jab/Autism debate. The science was flawed from the start but the narrative was powerful, and the story took on a momentum all of its own. Ultimately, for many parents, the strength of the story outweighed the science, and incidences of measles and mumps soared in the UK, causing illness and fatalities and meaning that many children to this day will be at risk from diseases they needn’t be. As such, though Andrew Wakefield was struck from the medical register and barred from practising medicine, the damage was and still is being done.

However, Mr.Corner’s example is an altogether more positive one. Importantly, the stories he encourages are in support of the changes that the scientific consensus endorses. Responding to and attempting to avert climate change is very much the scientific recommendation. However, in terms of a motivating factor, storytelling seems to occupy a space opposite the test-tubes and lab coats.

It makes sense. In the ideal world (depending on your view), we’d all be rational human beings, swayed only by logic and evidence. But as field after field has found – economics, psychology, sociology – we rarely are. PR is in the relatively unique position of taking as its starting point the knowledge that human beings are slightly more complicated beasts than that.

So is PR to be defined in opposition to science? The answer is emphatically no. To place each in opposition to the the other is a category error – science is a method of discovering knowledge, PR is a method of communication.

It’s an important point to remember – that PR isn’t the shady attempt to conceal truth that some would claim it is. PR is essentially a tool – and like all tools it can be used for good or ill effect and is itself neutral. Pieces like Mr. Corner’s remind us of the power of effective communication in delivering change – however true something might be, it’s an impotent truth if it goes unheard.

Tags: Renewables, storylines,

Posted In: Blog, Renewables

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Using apps in the workplace: It’s whatever you find most app-ropriate

With 1.2 billion apps available, consumers are spending more time using apps than ever before. But are we making the most of them professionally? Certainly, the world of apps can be exciting: who wouldn’t revel in efficiently locating the nearest […]


19 Dec
by Aspectus PR

best-apps-productivity-pr-iphone

With 1.2 billion apps available, consumers are spending more time using apps than ever before. But are we making the most of them professionally?

Certainly, the world of apps can be exciting: who wouldn’t revel in efficiently locating the nearest petrol station or restaurant? These are the kind of apps I tend to think will be life-changing, until I realise there is a restaurant on every corner and I don’t plan to eat out every night. Nevertheless, I tell everyone about them.

In the world of work however, apps can be more useful, and are often overlooked. Here are some ideas that may help in PR:

Tape-a-talk: Instead of searching high and low for a dictaphone in the office, use this simple app (it also means one less thing to carry). You could also use it instead of making notes in a meeting, to ensure that you don’t miss anything key.

Instapaper: Save important articles for when you have time to read them. You can also access them offline, which can be a real time-saver if used on the commute home.

Gotomeeting: As well as being web-based, Gotomeeting is available as an app, making it even more accessible. Whilst it probably can’t beat face-to-face communication, if you’re really struggling with coming up with an agreeable time and place for your meeting, then this app could help. It can involve up to 25 people for audio or video conferencing.

Teuxdeux: Create clear to-do lists that can include recurring tasks for each day. Download this app before January to tackle the pile of the New Year’s jobs.

Flipboard: Choose from up to 30,000 news topics to follow, effectively creating a personal magazine for each day; great for sourcing stories in particular sectors.

Of course, there are also the classics such as Twitter, Viber, and Skype. Not forgetting of course, Google Maps – who knows where we would be without that (literally)?

Using social media as an essential tool for B2B communication is enhanced by remembering that as they all exist as apps, they are therefore on-hand 24/7.

If using apps can help to organise your workload, then it is highly recommended. However, if you try them out and realise you miss your traditional ‘pen and paper’ to-do list, then stick to what you enjoy. The trick is to choose your apps carefully; they should enhance what you already need to do, not merely clutter your phone and create new distractions.

Having a few practical apps can save time and stress. The only thing I definitely wouldn’t recommend is using Candy Crush Saga at work; it will never go down well.


Pinterest: The social network PR shouldn’t forget

Social media is a major part of PR today with companies constantly finding new ways to engage their target audience on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to name but a few. But while these social networks are some of the most […]


15 Dec
by Aspectus PR

pinterest-logoSocial media is a major part of PR today with companies constantly finding new ways to engage their target audience on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to name but a few. But while these social networks are some of the most popular, there are many others that tend to be overlooked – including Pinterest. Pinterest currently has 70 million monthly users who pin more than 54 million images per day. Those statistics alone should convince anyone to pay attention and start pinning!

Many people think of Pinterest as the go-to social network for do-it-yourself projects, wedding ideas, recipes and more. Essentially, Pinterest is a social bookmarking platform. See something you like but don’t have time to look at it now? Just pin it for later, where you will be redirected to another webpage. Users can create and manage items based on categories they have created called ‘pinboards’.

While I am guilty of using Pinterest to look up recipes and inspiration for my next haircut, Pinterest has such potential to be a huge part of the B2B PR world. At Aspectus, we approach social media as an essential tool for any B2B communications plan. Pinterest is a very visual site, which might seem problematic for B2B companies that can’t visually show what they are selling or the service they offer. However, it is our responsibility to help our clients think outside the box to find images that best represent their message.

The following points explain why businesses in the financial, technology and energy industries should have an active presence on Pinterest:

  • It’s an easy way to increase online traffic. The great thing about Pinterest is that if it has a link, it can become a pin. B2B companies aren’t going to be showing off their latest do-it-yourself project or new Fall line of clothing like a B2C company would, but they can showcase the products and services they offer. For instance, they can create boards that link back to information on their company website. Pinterest can easily be linked to other social media accounts, alerting followers on those sites about activity. Regardless of how the client message is presented, it can link back to their website.
  • People love visuals. Images are such a powerful tool in any industry. It’s no secret that people are naturally drawn to images over stand-alone text. Blog posts with images get more hits. If the image is visually appealing, other users will be drawn to re-pin and eventually read that blog. But be sure to pin an image that best reflects the message of the written content! You can also link to videos. If a firm has presented at an event recently, you can create a board filled with pins to videos so that their clients and prospects can see what they did.
  • It encourages an open form of communication. Building relationships with other people in our clients’ industries is such an important part of our job. Consider creating a user-generated pinboard that enables other users to contribute their own pins to your pinboard. This is a great opportunity to involve other users in the industry to share ideas and start conversations.

Next time you’re looking on Pinterest for a recipe for your next dinner party, take a look and see how Aspectus is using Pinterest!


Communications can help marine renewables ride new wave of investment

The principal issues surrounding technology innovation and development in the marine energy sector came to the fore at the Renewable UK conference held recently in Manchester. Certainly, there is huge potential for wave and tidal energy in the UK, but […]


10 Dec
by Aspectus PR

marine-energy-2The principal issues surrounding technology innovation and development in the marine energy sector came to the fore at the Renewable UK conference held recently in Manchester. Certainly, there is huge potential for wave and tidal energy in the UK, but attracting enough investment to progress the technologies is the most pressing matter.

Effective communications is now more essential than ever for marine developers. Not only is building investor trust dependant on clearly communicating project risk and structure, support for the sector overall is also reliant on promoting the potential rewards.

So how can marine energy developers acquire the support needed to push this emerging market to full capacity? First and foremost, project visibility is crucial to securing financial backing. Risk reflection and realistic development times must be disseminated to potential investors in order to build trust in the marine renewables sector.

It’s also vital to communicate the importance of prioritising technology’s progression over its initial costs. Concentrating efforts on achieving technology efficiency and availability before cost reduction will actually save investors money in the long run.

But as wave and tidal energy developers are facing intense pressure around the end cost to consumers, potential investors need to be educated on why price is not the primary concern, and how returns will be achieved in the longer-term. Achieving technology maturity before reducing the cost of the equipment will reduce cost uncertainty overall by limiting contingency expenditure – and there needs to be more emphasis placed on this.

Moreover, focusing investment on the manufacture of robust machinery from the outset will reduce concern around the performance of marine technologies and prove their viability, raising investor confidence as a result.

Wave and tidal energy could benefit the UK economy considerably as forecasts suggest a constant reduction in energy costs. Implementing a robust media campaign will ensure stronger financial support to help keep the UK’s technology leaders in the marine energy sector moving forward. At the same time, it will enable new levels of cost competiveness that deliver sustainable returns for investors willing to take the plunge.


Turkey with a side of good business advice

The fourth Thursday of November is one of the best days of the year in America. From the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that snakes through the streets of Manhattan in the morning, to the NFL games that fill the afternoon, […]


02 Dec
by Aspectus PR

Thanksgiving-turkey-pr-communicationsThe fourth Thursday of November is one of the best days of the year in America. From the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that snakes through the streets of Manhattan in the morning, to the NFL games that fill the afternoon, cheer and excitement sweep across the US like an autumn wind.

The most iconic – and my favourite – Thanksgiving tradition is a table covered in food and surrounded by family and friends. Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, baked yams, green beans, cornbread dressing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. The list goes on and on. Often soldiers or international visitors who are far from home will be included, even if they’re complete strangers to the host. Never does one feel fuller of food and a greater sense of belonging than the moment plates are cleared away and everyone sits back with a sigh of satisfaction.

But it was a sigh of relief that permeated the first Thanksgiving in 1621, along with a shadow of sadness. Following a two-month voyage, the Pilgrims arrived on the shores of the New World in November 1620. Winter came quickly, and the colonists were plagued by sickness, lack of shelter and shortage of food. By March 1621, almost half of the Pilgrims were dead, and forging a new path in the world seemed too great a challenge.

The venture might have ended in failure, had it not been for Squanto, a Native American who had once been kidnapped and taken to Europe as a slave. Having returned to his homeland, he observed the Pilgrims’ hardships and decided to use his thorough knowledge of agriculture and fluent English to give them guidance. Thanks to this alliance, a cornucopian harvest was reaped the following autumn, and a feast was shared between the Pilgrims and natives to symbolise gratitude that help was near and another winter of death was at bay.

Whilst enjoying my turkey (made from scratch and with all the trimmings), it occurred to me there are several relevant lessons that very much apply in the world of business, where communication has become so important. The first is that the success of new endeavours hinges on having the right expert advisors. Whether the launch of a product, expansion of operations or planting of a life-saving crop, a good PR team can point businesses in the best direction and provide insight on how to reach the right audiences.

Secondly, a company’s internal and external relationships are made exponentially stronger when success is celebrated while looking around to those who made it possible. It’s easy to say “Many thanks!” and move on, but making an effort to demonstrate sincere gratitude for invaluable contributions results in an indelible impact and sets a higher standard. Had the Pilgrims just said “Great job, Squanto”, and then gone on with daily life, it certainly wouldn’t have resulted in a holiday celebrated nearly four centuries later.

Thanksgiving really is one of the best days for Americans, but quality advice and gratitude will lead to the best years for a business and its employees. And that’s something even more satisfying than turkey and pumpkin pie.