IMG_8324.jpg

News

Next Step News and Updates

See what we've been talking about, and follow us @NextStepComms!

Our Latest Blog: About a Blog

Happy May everyone, and I hope Spring has sprung wherever you are.  Our latest blog is about another blog just posted by our client, iD Additives on LinkedIn, check it out here:

Marketing 101 with Next Step Communications

Last October iD Additives was a finalist in the Plastics News ‘Marketing Campaign of the Year’ competition, and was honored at the PN Marketing Summit in Chicago, an event that Next Step has sponsored, exhibited at, and presented at since its inception in 2016.  Carolyn Sotos at iD Additives wanted to talk with us about our efforts in helping get them recognized; it turned into a Q&A on Next Step’s background, our thoughts on marketing communications, and more.


We’re now in our 23rd year of helping companies like iD Additives get the most out of their marketing programs.  Contact us anytime if you’d like to discuss how we can help your company do the same!

Greg Hannoosh
‘Tis the Season
image005-COLLAGE.jpg

The holidays are upon us once again.  How did you spend your Friday night, December 14?  Whatever you did, I’ll bet it doesn’t compare to Dave Preusse’s night in Winsted, CT.

Dave is President of Wittmann Battenfeld Inc. (Torrington, CT), the US division of The Wittmann Group (Vienna, Austria), one of the plastics industry’s leading suppliers of molding machines, robots and auxiliary equipment.  He lives in the small town of Winsted, CT, and on Friday night he went down to the Winsted Town Park with a few other town residents.  He, and they, spent the night sleeping out in the 30 degree cold to raise awareness of, and raise money for, the local homeless shelter operated by the Winsted YMCA.

The Winsted YMCA Emergency Homeless Shelter has six rooms, with a combined 17 available beds, and offers a short-term respite for families, couples and individuals suffering through difficult times.

“It’s nice to give back in ways we can,” said Dave. ““We’ve raised over $8,000 so far, $1,000 alone by Boy Scouts who slept out in the park that night too.”

“In the morning, I grabbed a coffee and breakfast with the Winsted Fire Chief and resumed my life of someone with a home, heat, food, and clothes.  Most of us take this for granted, but we need to remember a lot of people are not that fortunate.” 

Dave is reluctant to ‘blow his own horn’ and prefers the focus of this blog not be on him, but on the many acts of kindness his company’s employees conduct throughout the year to help those in need. 

Wittmann Battenfeld contributes to local charities in many ways. Many of its employees get Christmas gifts for local families. They give to a fundraiser for Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters, they give to several Cancer charities (including ‘Light the Night’ for the late PLASTICS President, Bill Carteaux, who just last week lost his battle with Leukemia), and so many more.   

 In this holiday season, the season of giving, I applaud Dave, and the many Wittmann Battenfeld employees who remember to reach out and help the less fortunate.   And I’m happy to say that most if not all of our other clients also provide their valuable time and resources to support charitable causes in their communities. 

As the old saying goes: it’s better to give than to receive.  Happy holidays everyone.

Greg Hannoosh
Next Step Helps Old Friends Promote Their New Venture
HumeTeamMontage_A.jpg

What do a new logo and branding, direct mail, literature, social media, a website, old friends and business colleagues, the holidays, and Southwest Florida have in common? 

Next Step Communications Inc. and The Hume Team, a husband-and-wife real estate firm serving Southwest Florida – specifically the communities of Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs and Naples!

First, some history:  I go way back with the Humes, starting in the 1980s when I worked with Bill at KONA Corporation (Gloucester, Mass.) and lived about a mile from Bill’s family’s Christmas Tree farm in West Newbury, Mass.   I even worked weekends for a couple winters back then helping out at the farm. 

After starting Next Step Communications Inc. in 1996, I continued providing marketing support to Bill when he served as President of Synventive Molding Solutions, and later as General Manager at Lydall Affinity.  Mitch and I also both worked with Bill’s wife Laurie for several years, supporting her in her role as General Manager at Vitronics Soltec.

Fast forward to 2018: Bill and Laurie decided to move on from their corporate life, so they sold their home in North Carolina and moved to Cape Coral, FL to enjoy the lifestyle and start a new real estate firm, appropriately named The Hume Team.   And who did they call to help get them started?  You guessed it.

I told Bill when he called that we had never really done any marketing for real estate firms, but we’d give it a shot.  We were happy to help Bill and Laurie, they’re great people and I have no doubt they’ll be very successful in their new venture.  In fact if anyone reading this is thinking of looking at real estate in Southwest Florida, I’d highly recommend you give the Hume Team a call. 

For starters, Next Step produced a Hume Team logo, and then a series of direct mail postcards that were bulk-mailed to thousands of Southwest Florida residents and shared on social media.  This helped spread the word that there was a new real estate team in town.  The postcards were fun, featuring some custom cartoon illustrations with a ‘Snowbird’ couple anxiously looking to relocate to Southwest Florida.  After a few mailings these images are already recognizable and will be synonymous with Hume Team branding going forward.

Next came a combined pocket folder/brochure that will be used for presenting proposals.  And finally, a new website, www.humeteam.com, produced on the Squarespace platform, was launched in early December.

Humeteam.com was our second website, and our first was our own, www.next-step.com, which we launched this past summer. Take a look and let us know what you think.  We don’t consider ourselves experts in website development or creation, but we are very comfortable with the Squarespace platform – comfortable enough that we’ve now added website creation as a service we can now provide in-house.  If you’re looking for an attractive, informational, and functional website without too many bells and whistles, contact us, we can probably help you out. 

Meanwhile, while the December temperatures in Kittery Point, Maine are in the 20’s, the Hume Team basks in the 80-degree heat in Cape Coral, FL, and ramps up for the busy winter season in Florida. 

“We are really happy with all the work Next Step has produced for us,” said Bill Hume.  “When Laurie and I made the move and decided to start up this new business, we both knew who to call to help us get our name out there.” 

Mitch Hannoosh
Manufacturing: Alive and Well in America
IMG_9591-COLLAGE.jpg

It wasn’t that long ago that manufacturing was pronounced dead in our country.  Really dead – as in ‘nobody makes stuff here anymore.’  Low-cost manufacturing was outsourced to China, India, Vietnam, and other low-cost labor markets around the world. 

Guess what?  If you haven’t been paying attention, manufacturing is back – and it’s hot.  I recently attended my first IMTS show in Chicago on behalf of a client, Tormach Inc. ( more on them later).  And what I saw in my brief time there left no doubt – manufacturing is alive and well in America.

mHUB Chicago

 I’ve got to say, I didn’t expect to see what I saw in Chicago.  On the eve of IMTS, I was privileged to attend an event at mHUB Chicago.  mHUB is a fantastic place, a ‘maker space’ with donated machinery and equipment from some of the best suppliers in the world, dedicated to making manufacturing accessible and understandable to anyone who wants to take part. 

The Sunday night event, co-sponsored by YouTube sensation John Saunders of Saunders Machine Works and NYC CNC, was promoted as a ‘Manufacturing Entrepreneurship Summit’ and ‘day of workshops and tours, with guest speakers’. 

Ho-hum, right?  Ahh – no. 

How about close to 500 enthusiastic, mostly young people packed into an old warehouse in Chicago that’s been converted to a state-of-the-art manufacturing space (a space packed with the latest machines and tools including a brand new 1100M CNC mill from Tormach), listening to talks on CNC machining, talking about their ideas, projects and start-up businesses? 

How about throngs of people clamoring around mHUB’s shop, crowding around to watch demos of live machining on CNC mills, lathes, and 3D printing machines? 

How about the event running until 8 p.m. on a Sunday night, with nobody leaving, until mHUB had to shut down and the crowd went out to afterparties?

An eye opener, to say the least – and then there was IMTS

IMTS 2018

I’ve been to many trade shows over the years, but this was truly impressive.  I only attended the first day, but the show ran all week and brought in a record number of visitors – 130,000 visitors – to see the latest and greatest the machine tool industry had to offer.  Companies from all over the world descended on Chicago’s McCormick Place for a one-week lovefest of all things manufacturing.  Our client, Tormach, showed their newest CNC mill, the 1100MX in a 10’ x 20’ booth shared with partner AB Tools Inc. – and the interest was off the charts. 

At a time when factories in our country face a serious labor shortage, especially when it comes to machine operators, it was great to see the enthusiasm on display at IMTS – and make no mistake, our young people are very much on board.  The industry seems to be succeeding in getting its message through to Gen X’ers that manufacturing jobs are plentiful and a good option for a career.  Not to mention, they’re cool – all you need to do is search YouTube to see what’s going on – the stuff being made, the ‘how-to’ videos, and the explosion of information available to the next generation workforce. 

Reports of manufacturing’s demise were not greatly exaggerated – it really was dead, or at least on life support, for a while.  But good news, people – as we approach 2019, make no mistake - manufacturing is back in America.  Here’s hoping that this time, it’s back to stay. 

Greg Hannoosh
Labor Day Sunrise
LABORDAYSUNRISE.JPG

Beautiful shot of the sunrise over the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Cable Head West, PEI, Canada - Labor Day morning, 2018.  Hoping everyone out there enjoys this day by taking the time to relax and refresh before moving forward into the Fall and Winter seasons.  

Mitch Hannoosh