Drum Corps Perform at Lucas Oil

This past Saturday, Indianapolis hosted my favorite event of the year, Drum Corps International’s (DCI) World Championship competition, and I spent the day downtown with my two sisters enjoying the amazing atmosphere.

We started the day, fairly early for a Saturday, at the DrumLine Battle on Georgia St. Fans, families and friends packed Georgia St. to watch the drumlines of 16 bands from around the world to compete for the championship title. All of the participating groups were great, and it was even fun to see the drumline for Center Grove High School compete and place second.

Later in the evening, we headed to join my mom and the group of Rushville Consolidated High School band members at Lucas Oil Stadium for the championship performances.

My mom and I were looking forward to watching the color guard of each corps, since we are both former members of color guards. However, my sisters were more interested in the band since one plays the mellophone and French horn and the other plays trumpet.

Of all 12 performances, one still sticks in my mind: Corps of Brothers – 75 Years of Survival, by the Madison Scouts. The Madison Scouts is an all-male group from Madison, Wis. and is one of the oldest continually operating drum corps. The show that the group did was a military theme that left audience members in awe and some in tears.

While the Madison Scouts were my favorite, they did not win. The winners were Carolina Crown from Fort Mill, S.C. with a show entitled E=MC².

If you did not have the opportunity to attend the DCI World Championships or the DrumLine Battle, I would suggest checking out some of the footage from the competitions. I would also highly suggest that you attend next year because it is a show that you will never forget.

A Look Back at my Summer with the Chamber

It’s hard to believe that my internship is coming to a close. The time that I have spent here at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce has provided me with great opportunities to learn more about what the Chamber does.

Writing articles for the BizVoice® magazine has been a challenge and a thrill. Many of the articles that I have written required at least one interview, and sometimes more than one. At first, the interviews were a challenge because I have not done any kind of formal interviews since my senior year of high school. I had to remember all the skills that my high school journalism teacher had taught me.

Interviews were also a thrill because I never knew what I was going to learn next. Every person I talked to had an interesting story to tell about what their business is doing and their path to getting where they are now. It was incredible to hear what they had to say.

Along with great experiences, I have also met many great people. Those that I have had the pleasure to work with have been amazing. They have been helpful and wonderful to work with. There have even been days when I have wanted to stay at the office later or come in on my off days because I enjoy everyone’s company.

As I prepare to head back to Milwaukee for my final year, I want to thank everyone who made my internship a success. I will never forget the experiences that I have had here at the Chamber, and I know that they will be invaluable in my future job search.

Connersville Celebrates 200 Years

I recently spent some time in Connersville for its bicentennial celebration. While driving around the town during the 10 days of the celebration beginning on June 28, I could see the excitement and pride that the small town has. I enjoyed seeing signs at businesses displaying, “Happy 200, Connersville” and other accolades.

The part of the celebration that was most intriguing to me was reunion day. I took the short trip to Connersville with my mom, grandpa and sister to catch up with family members and for my grandpa to see some old classmates at Roberts Park, where the day’s event was being held.

When we got to Roberts Park, there were 20 or more tents set up for the schools, classes and organizations in the Fayette County area. I couldn’t believe how many people were there, and they all seemed to be excited to see each other and catch up.

I originally went with my family for a family reunion, but before too long my grandpa had ventured off to see former classmates and long lost friends from the past. Watching him catch up with old friends brought a smile to my face.

We enjoyed some laughs about things in the “old days” and met some of my grandpa’s old friends. It was a great experience that left my mom and I wanting to know when Rushville’s (my hometown) bicentennial would be, so that we could share in a similar experience.

Happy 200th birthday Connersville, and congratulations on hosting a successful celebration! I know that it was an event that will be remembered for years to come. And all Hoosiers can rejoice together in 2016, when the state celebrates its bicentennial.

Social Media Appeal

Social media has become a daily habit or necessity for most people. We feel the need to be plugged into Facebook, Twitter or some other site 24/7 to stay connected with the world around us, but do you trust the social media sites that you use?

You probably answered "no" to that question. A recent study done by E-Score found that people are less likely to trust social media brands and are twice as likely to trust traditional media brands (broadcast, cable and print).

This survey also produced other interesting data, including insights into online dating sites. Two online dating sites, eHarmony and Match.com, were among the highest ranked social media sites in terms of awareness, but they had the lowest appeal. E-Score says that this indicates “consumers’ displeasure with the process of using social media to find a companion.”

E-Score also found that the use of Twitter and Facebook seemed to be more out of habit or necessity since they are highly recognized and have a high number of monthly unique visitors, but have low appeal.

With people losing appeal for social media sites, could we be seeing the downfall of social media? Or will a new player come into the mix to keep social media from dying?

Time for a New Dining Experience in Evansville

Summer is a great time to try a new restaurant and a new experience. You can do both by attending Evansville’s first Dishcrawl on Tuesday, July 9.

Join other food lovers to sample specialties and meet owners and chefs at four restaurants on Franklin Street. Participating restaurants are a secret. Hints, however, are being given via Twitter @DishcrawlEvansv.

Beginning at 7:30 p.m., ticketholders will meet at the first location (provided 48 hours in advance via email) to start their dining experience. After sampling cuisine at the initial restaurant, they will then travel by foot to enjoy the fare at the three remaining locations.

Dishcrawl started in San Jose, but has grown to host events across the nation in cities such as San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C., and more. Its mission is to show food lovers the best dishes in local restaurants.

There are a limited number of tickets (regular price $45, with Chamber members and blog readers eligible for a 15% discount by using the code chamberfranklin for the Evansville event). Purchase online.  

Questions about the event can be directed to the Evansville Dishcrawl Ambassador Michael Armanno via email at [email protected].

Creating Great Customer Service

We’ve all had a terrible customer service experience, and we often dread having to contact that “voice” on the other end of the line when we have a problem. This attitude may soon change, thanks to research done by Indianapolis-based Interactive Intelligence.

The main purpose of the company’s annual survey was to find out what consumers want in a great customer service experience. Some of the findings include:

  • A knowledgeable representative and a timely response are the most valuable components of a great service experience
  • Hotels, online retailers and banks provide the best customer service experiences
  • Live agent remains the preferred interaction type, followed by email. There is a significant drop to web chat, etc.
  • Not being able to understand the agent is rated as the most frustrating part of an interaction
  • Customers are more willing to use social media to praise a good service experience versus complaining about a poor experience

Joe Staples, Interactive Intelligence chief marketing officer, commented on the survey and its results:

“As a provider of business communications software for contact centers and enterprises, we wanted to help our customers maximize the value of our solutions by giving them insight into what makes a great service experience for their customers. The results of the survey accomplished this by revealing a number of interesting findings ranging from preferences about agent behavior, to those about the technology used in a customer service interaction.”

Hopefully, these survey results will help to positively impact the way that companies handle customer service. I know that I would be happier if I knew that contacting customer service would be easy and painless every time.

Full survey results can be downloaded after a free registration.

Our New Intern Awaits Summer of Learning

Going into the final stretch of my junior year of college, I faced a slight glitch in my summer plans…no internship and no job. I did not have any plans for the summer. I knew that the internship I had during second semester of my junior year would soon be coming to a close, yet I had failed to make plans for what I would do this summer.

I knew that I wanted to spend the summer at home with my family, instead of with my friends in Milwaukee at Marquette University, so I went to Google, where I found Indiana INTERNet. I was able to easily search for internships in the Indianapolis area and in the field that I wanted to work in.

I started applying for anything that was still open, and eventually ended up applying for about a half dozen positions, and not even 24 hours after applying I heard back from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. I couldn’t believe that I was already starting the interviewing process, and that it might actually be easier than I thought to get an internship for the summer, even with a late start.

So, here I am, about a month later, sitting in the Indiana Chamber as a part-time communications intern, and I couldn’t be happier. I am only in the office two days a week, and I am learning valuable information that can be used as I pursue a future in public relations. What more could I ask for?

In the two days that I have been working, I already feel as though I have learned a lot by sitting in on meetings and interviews conducted by the BizVoice magazine writers. I have even written a couple of press releases, edited an article and put together fact sheets for an upcoming Chamber event.

I think the one thing that I will enjoy the most about this internship is that I am getting a taste of what it will be like after graduation next May. I work in a cubicle, and I have an hour and 15 minute commute. I am enjoying the “adult life.”

I am looking forward to an unforgettable summer of great experiences and learning at the Chamber. I may not have a summer of fun in the sun like some of my friends, but I am glad to be here — and most importantly, I can’t wait to see what else this internship has in store for me.