Customer relationship management is an effective tool for businesses to manage their interaction with their customers and compile customer data to drive sales growth.
I received an ARC copy of this novel, pre-release, from the author, which I freely chose to review. This has in no way affected my opinion.
I have never read any of the author’s previous books, but I’ve read many positive reviews, and I couldn’t let the opportunity of reading this novel pass me by, especially because of the setting of the story in the American South, as I’m a fan of Southern literature.
The story centres on Celia Wakefield from old Southern Mississippi stock whose family has a cotton farm (no longer called cotton plantations) although now they spend most of their time in the city, Memphis. She is the narrator of the story (in the first person), and a phone call from one of her best friends (Renny, Ava and her became friends in college and have remained in touch through the years, even though now they all live far away and don’t see each other as much as they’d like) sets the action in motion. The three friends reunite to help Ava, who is facing a family crisis. At Renny’s lake house, in Arkansas, they renew their friendship, talk about life, and can’t help but remember the past. As a consequence, the chapters alternate, some set in the present and others in the 1980s when Celia was a young girl. We learn about Little Tea, Celia’s friend, the daughter of an African-American family who’d always lived in the Wakefield’s farm and worked there. She is determined, a great runner, and one of Celia’s brothers becomes her trainer and encourages her to explore her opportunities. But this is the Deep South, and old social rules and mores still apply, especially when it comes to race. The story builds up slowly, and the present struggles Ava is going through in her relationship highlight not only the different approaches and personalities of the three women, but also how the past influences our decisions and our take on life.
The novel deals with many themes: friendship (and the relationship between the three women feels genuine. There are the shared jokes, the strong bonds, the understanding without saying a word, and also the willingness to leave everything and do an intervention to help a friend in need, even if the other women might not agree with her behaviour), first love, family relationships, memory and the past (can we truly run away from it?), identity and family tradition (how much should we sacrifice to keep the family’s reputation intact? Can we choose who we are and break complete free from our family roots?), race relations, tragedy and mourning among others. Although we see all of this through Celia’s eyes and reflections, the separate timelines and her own hindsight allows us to read between the lines and to perceive things than young Celia wasn’t aware of (or tried not to see). This is achieved in very subtle ways, and although the sphere of the story feels quite intimate and domestic, some the themes it discusses are neither lightweight not easy.
Fullerton creates a varied palette of characters, and I think most readers are likely to identify with one of the three friends (personally, I think I’d get on with Renny best of all, the determined and practical one), who fit in well together because they are quite different but compatible. Little Tea and her family (to a lesser extent) are wonderful characters, and Celia’s family is made up of a variety of personalities and individuals, some likeable and some not, some larger than life, and others quite nasty, but they all are fully achieved and, like them or not, come to life in the story. There are others (Tate, Mark, and some of the other young men in the story, relatives…), and although we learn less about them, we still get to see them from Celia’s perspective, and they play their part, both in the past and in the present. I kept thinking about Tennessee Williams and some of his more memorable characters as I read this novel. His mastery at depicting Southern family life and stripping it back to the bone in his plays is something Fullerton also excels at, although her approach is a more understated.
I know some readers don’t appreciate stories written in the first-person, and I seem to be reading plenty of these at the moment, but the writing is beautiful, lyrical, and it makes readers experience everything, from the heat to the excitement of the first love, and from the smell of the food to the disappointment and pain when life takes an unexpected and cruel turn. The story is preciously observed and told, and it will not suit impatient readers who prefer matter-of-fact writing, with only the most basic descriptions strictly necessary to help move the story forward and short sentences that rarely meander along. There are also plenty of airy and fun moments, especially when the friends are joking and having fun, and those allow readers to have a bit of a break from the most intense and soul-searching parts of the story. The author also uses Southern expressions and vernacular to good effect and this adds to the atmosphere of the novel. I have highlighted plenty of the text, and it’s difficult to choose a sample, but I’ll try (remember that I had access to an ARC copy and the final text might have undergone some minor changes):
Nostalgia has selective memory; it softens the heart and strips the details to leave you with what should have been instead of what was.
Combined, we were a girl complete. Separately, we were inchoate and in need of each other, like solitary pieces of a clock that were useless until assembled, but once assembled, kept perfect time.
Happiness seemed to me to be little more than intermittent highlights that faded to memory like the light of a burned-out star. And what’s more, in the times I thought I had happiness by the handle, I discovered that, all along, there were subterranean forces plotting to tell the rest of the story.
I don’t want to discuss the ending in detail, because I want to avoid spoilers, although there is a big twist at the end. I saw it coming, and I wasn’t particularly convinced by it (in my opinion it would have worked fine for a short story but not so much here), but many readers have liked it and it does not detract from the rest of the novel.
In summary, this is a novel beautifully written and observed, and I’d recommend it to readers who are looking for stories with complex female characters, especially those who love stories set in the South, and to fans of Southern writers such as William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams, although Fullerton has a lightness of touch that is all her own. A great author to follow, and one I hope to read again in the future.
According to Jesse Levine Norristown, 91 percent of consumers research a business online before making a purchase or availing a business. 70 percent of businesses read at least four reviews before making a purchase. What does this mean? If the reviews are negative, you probably won’t buy a product or visit a restaurant.
The internet is giving consumers power. We live in a world where consumers already form their opinions about your brand without ever meeting you. That is, they trust what the internet says about you or your brand. It’s important to make it a good and this is where online reputation management comes in. To know how your online reputation can impact your digital marketing, here is a business expert with good and successful reputation, Jesse Levine from Norristown, to explore more on the role of ORM in digital marketing.
Online reputation management is the act of controlling and influencing individual’s or brands reputation online. It determines how people perceive your brand when they google it or come across it on other platforms. ORM plays an important role in digital marketing. No matter the amount of time invested or effort put into your digital marketing. if prospects don’t trust your brand, or you have a lot of negative reviews, they are likely not going to patronize you. Here are how it impact digital marketing:
With the keen competitive landscape, maintaining goodwill and a positive image is a must. Businesses can make use of ORM services to distinguish their brand from competitors and grow their specific niche. Hence, having a positive reputation with good products and services will give a competitive advantage as customers can also decide based on your reputation to choose your brand over others. A good example is Apple, well renowned for its quality. This help Apple boost sales and gain entry into new markets.
Positive online comments and reviews play a crucial role in SEO. This means it impacts the search results as ORM determines what makes the top page of the search results. This means online reputation management tends to push down the negative ones to the bottom while pushing the good ones up in the search rankings.
SEO and ORM, two terms that are often grouped together, often confused yet carries different meanings. While ORM aims at influencing and controlling individuals’ or brands’ reputation, SEO is on the useful tools for achieving this goal.
The point is 9 out of 10 people are using the internet to search for you or your business.
Does your name or brand appear on the top results? (SEO)
When your name is being googled, does it bring relevant content or page? (SEO and ORM) Are there any negative mentions or reviews, or vague contents about your business? (ORM) Still, confused about the difference? Journey with Jesse Levine Norristown, a renowned businessman with a successful and extensive track record, as he walks you through the difference between SEO and ORM. read on!
SEO means search engine optimization. It is the process of increasing the visibility of a website or web page to users of the search engines. This means when a product, an article, or services is being searched, SEO is bringing the right result to the right audience or users when contents are being searched for.
For instance, “tips on how to manage a business” is being searched for on search engine. Google brings relevant results to its users. David stumbles on the content of a business consultant that appears on the first page and he loves the content or blog. He read the author bio( business consultant), peruse the website and take the leap to google his name to find out more.
Hence, traffic is being directed to the page. Awareness is being made, trust and credibility is being founded with a positive user experience. This is what SEO does. Optimizing content to be discovered through a search engine that helps boost brand visibility. A must-have tool in every brand reputation toolkit.
ORM means online reputation management. Online reputation is broader and goes beyond SEO. ORM is the practice of shaping and influencing the public perception of an individual or brand. This is done through strategic marketing, SEO auditing, content management, review management, web analytics, social media strategies, online public relations and everything else in between.
For instance, imagine when David later google the business consultant online. Some of the results are positive, some are vague while some are quite irrelevant to the profession. David is left confused. Few more clicks and he discovered a 3-star rating on Yelp by someone who had OK experience working with the consultant. He saw another 2-star rating by an unhappy employee. His twitter profile is not helping either as it contains less information.
Here is where ORM kicked in. ORM determines if David will avail of the service or not. Hence, It influences the decision-making process. Therefore, ORM focuses on improving a brand image and building a positive brand repuation online. It makes use of everything available to promote a positive brand image and alter people’s perception of your brand. Higher trust is built, you have the best reputation and your consumer feels confident to avail of your services or buy our products. Unlike SEO, ORM is not limited to only one website, but it uses other search engines, brand’s websites, social profiles, forums while aiming to put a brand digital foot forward. The bottom line is, when a company, brand, or individual is being searched online, the results have to be good and relevant.
SEO vs ORM: what are the differences
Read More: Jesse Levine Norristown
Unless you wish to live under a cave, it is close to impossible to stay away from the influence of social media. It has become an inseparable part of our life. You never know when 'Oh let me see the twitter updates for 5 minutes' changes to 'how on earth did I waste 2 hours stalking people and scrolling their accounts?' Every hour spent on social media can break your confidence a little every time.
No doubt, social media keeps you connected with the rest of the world and keeps you updated with the current trends happening around you. Still, it isn't very easy to differentiate between its positive and negative aspects. Social media can bring upon us anxiety, loneliness, and even depression when you see others doing way better in life as compared to you. To have a happy life while using social media, it is necessary to maintain a balance between its good and bad qualities. Here are some ways that will help you do so.
Every person has some aspirations or goals that they wish to achieve. Just because someone has accomplished them before you, it should not demotivate you. If looking at some people’s accounts brings insecurity and you begin comparing yourself with them, then unfollow those accounts immediately.
Do not spend more than 2 hours per day on social media. A long time spent browsing accounts means that you are overindulging yourself. Phones now allow you to keep a tab on the time spent on each of the sites. Monitor your timings and set limits for yourself. When you call it a night, keep your phone on sleep mode as well.
Online conversations can never take the place of offline conversations. Try to maintain a balance between both.
When you are having dinner with your family or having a heartfelt conversation with your friend, keep your phones aside. At that moment it is not at all necessary to know what your friends or colleagues are posting!
Rather than scrolling aimlessly and stalking celebrities, participate in discussions of your interest. When you participate and share meaningful content you actively connect with people.
Apart from connecting with friends, there are other constructive uses of social media as well. Some accounts help you gain knowledge in particular fields like cooking or crafting. Following such accounts will motivate you to pursue your hobbies. Also, following some pages will bring a smile to your face like happy babies or dogs. They are also the most searched for videos on social media platforms.
Whenever you feel you are overdoing the use of social media, gather all your efforts and will power to keep the phone away. You could plan to have a dedicated day in a month when you keep yourself away from the pressure of social media. Every now and then you could also plan a retreat where no digital devices are allowed.