Hello from Knoxville, TN

October 23, 2014 by

I’ve introduced myself in 10 IMC courses so far, but it never comes easy. I’m excited to have signed on as a student blogger as I wrap up the program and practice my cap tossing for May 2015.

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Julie Link

I live in Knoxville, TN, where I work at Scripps Networks Interactive, more specifically HGTV and DIY Network, as the Director of Research and Consumer Insights. I’ve worked at SNI in various capacities for 13 years, but always in the Research Department. My group is responsible for daily reporting on network performance along with understanding and sharing audience, category and media insights. I’m also responsible for ongoing primary research studies that monitor the health of the networks.

SNI_V_STACK6_SMALL_BLUEAfter finishing my undergraduate degree at Indiana University in telecommunications and sociology, I moved to New York City and landed my first job — sales assistant at E! Network. With a couple of years of skyscrapers and subways out of my system, I retreated home to Knoxville.

While I’ve been in the workforce for nearly 15 years, my experience is limited to two companies so I decided to pursue IMC as a way of broadening my business perspective. At the end of the IMC program I hope that I look back to confirm that I know more than I thought, but I also hope I have a few of those light-bulb-over-the-head moments when something clicks and I’m able to put it seamlessly into action in my day job. My goal as a blogger is to let you in on some of those light bulb moments.

In real life I’m a mom to the two best kids in the world. My daughter Keaton, is a first grader and my son, Jay, is three years old. My husband, Rob, is the director of Community Relations for a national non-profit and he coaches youth hockey. Our Boston Terrier, Ruby Sue, is my IMC sidekick as she is my loyal foot-warmer and late-night companion. Any guesses as to the movie character who goes by the same name – Ruby Sue?

I like to sew and ride my bike (leisurely with the kids – not a serious cyclist) and I’m always on the lookout for really good BBQ. During our summer vacation I realized all four of us had our WVU gear packed so with ice cream and candy bribes in full effect, I convinced my family we needed a photo.

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The Link family attempts to take a photo wearing WVU gear on the last day of a beach vacation.

This was the best we got – Rob reminding me to take sunglasses off, Keaton’s hair blowing in the wind while she adjusts her flip flop and sand in Jay’s eyes. Picture perfect. We can be real here, right?

Let the Adventure Begin!

October 21, 2014 by

Hey Media and Marketing Mountaineers! My name is Sarah Shank and I’m really excited to be a new WVU IMC blogger because… I’m always up for a new adventure! And blogging is just like adventure racing or bobsledding or paragliding, right?

Me following the paddle leg of a run, mt. bike, paddle, swim adventure race.

Me following the paddle leg of a run, mt. bike, paddle, swim adventure race.

Myself, brother and boyfriend prior to plunging down the bobsled course at Lake Placid.

Myself, brother and boyfriend prior to plunging down the bobsled course at Lake Placid.

I joined the WVU IMC program in August 2013 and picked it because of the flexibility the program provides as well as the topic area. I really believe in the IMC approach and think it’s the future for our field as marketers and communicators. When we are able to effectively cross communications/marketing boundaries and take a more holistic approach to campaigns and business, we can more powerfully engage employees, consumers and stakeholders. Throughout my career, I’ve found that the more integrated that teams become, the more successful of an outcome a campaign or brand will be – by working together we can transform one-way messages and instead build robust dialogues. I’m currently a Senior Manager of Communications at a public health non-profit that is dedicated to tobacco prevention. My organization is best known for our work in building counter-marketing media and behavior-change campaigns, namely the truth® campaign – which just re-launched this summer. In my current work, I have been fortunate to empower young people at all levels to create social change.

I’m fascinated by cause-related marketing and social engagement and I pride myself on finding innovative ways to promote projects and initiatives via earned media, integrated tactics and collaborative partnerships. By doing so, I’ve been able to help elevate the topic of tobacco and health equity nationwide. By taking an IMC approach to educating and empowering audiences, we each have the ability to make an impact that will far outlast ourselves. I consider myself a passionate communicator and I’ve come to believe that trust, transparency and positivity are powerful tools that every IMC professional has at their fingertips and I’m honored to have a job which provides me with the unique opportunity to help shape the way that people see the world.

Communications girl by day, activity junkie by night. When I’m not at work or writing for school, you can find me in the CrossFit gym, playing adult floor hockey, seeking out a crazy escapade or enjoying as much time outside as possible – be it hiking through the trees, squishing my toes in the sand or taste-testing at a new restaurant patio. Photo proof:

mountain

emerald isle

Now nearly 9 years ago, my mom had a life-saving liver transplant – it was an experience that completely changed my perspective on the world. I visit my family often in my hometown of Rochester, NY and I try hard to make every moment matter. Needless to say, I have much love for my fam… and our bulldog Bentley – they totally crack me up and keep me sane.

Rochester!

Rochester!

I’ve stayed in Washington, DC since attending undergrad at American University and finally I can call myself a true Washingtonian. My boyfriend and I bought our first place last August and have perfected the art of teamwork through home improvement the past 12 months. If you can live together while renovating a one bedroom/one bath and working full time and doing grad school, I’m pretty sure you can accomplish anything. I can now add floor tiling, toilet installation and paint nearly everything to my resume.

house sold

For those students who I have not met in class, I look forward to it. IMC students who are ever visiting DC, please give me a shout – I love meeting people and sharing a list of favorite spots!

Sarah

Analogies.

October 16, 2014 by

So I write. A lot.

At work, it’s ad copy, press releases, website content, tweets, Facebook posts, marketing plans and other collateral. For school, any IMC student will tell you their weeknights and weekends are busy writing discussion board posts, responding to classmates, and typing many, many papers. In my free time- well, you’re reading this now so blogging shouldn’t come as a surprise.

I spend so much time with words, yet I can forget to appreciate the power of language.

This recent article about the historical relevance of analogies reminded me that language has played an important role in innovation. Henry Ford, Steve Jobs- these innovators made the unfamiliar familiar through either implicit or explicit analogies to the butchering assembly line and desk organization.

desktop

Analogies can help consumers welcome the unfamiliar… like a virtual desktop. (Photo Credit: http://www.amandatotorodesign.com)

Today, whenever I hear the word “desktop,” the first thing that comes to mind is virtual, not physical. That’s how powerful language can be, that the analogized object can become the prime reference.

Initially, consumers were more likely to welcome the computer desktop interface because they understood how to approach it based on approaches to organize a real desk. Today, Apple continues to introduce the new by referencing the old.

What untapped analogies will innovators use next?

-R

WiFi Advertising

October 15, 2014 by

During a recent vacation we encountered an unwanted interruption in the McDonald’s drive-through. Our navigation was interrupted by a McDonald’s ad. Luckily we were at the drive-through and we were not at risk of getting lost, but this wasn’t the first time this has happened. My friend said that he often has troubles with his phone automatically connecting to business WiFi and prompting ads that interrupt the use of his phone even after he set his phone to not automatically connect to WiFi.  Simplying driving by business downtown has interrupted his navigation and displayed annoying ads for different products and services.

With the phones settings aside, is it acceptable to automatically disrupt what the user is doing in order to display ads from a business that supplies free WiFi?  The business is paying for the use of WiFi, so why not? When you check into a hotel, you have to visit a page on the hotel web site in order to agree to terms and conditions before logging onto the internet.  Is this different? I would argue yes, because driving by a location that offers free WiFi is enough to prompt an ad.  With cell phones, navigation, and other distractions, drivers need to focus on paying attention and not backing out of ads from local business while they’re worrying about where to turn.

So, how do you entice people to visit your business and take advantage of the WiFi (and other wonderful products and services)? Oddly enough, McDonald’s also had a very interesting way to solve this problem.

McDonld’s has also used WiFi to entice nearby wireless users to stop by and use their WiFi. Brilliant Ads shared the photo below on Twitter. The difference here being that the customer was seeking out the use of WiFi and were encouraged to visit as they tried to connect.

 

I think the second ad campaign is an interesting and unique way to advertise the fact that McDonald’s offers free WiFi and the campaign encourages customers to visit a McDonald’s.  I think it also matches the image McDonald’s is trying to create.  I remember walking into our local McDonald’s a few years ago and seeing a rage of newspapers offered, updating seating and colors, TV screens showing news stations, and a cozy fireplace instead of outdated booths and ketchup stains.  I’m not sure the new restaurant image fits with their food image, but that’s a discussion for another day.

The second tactic brings people into the store who are seeking out their services. If driving by and connecting to WiFi is all it takes to disrupt navigation or other cell phone function, shouldn’t businesses be more conscientiousness about this? In my opinion, it only makes the user more irritated and potentially less likely to use their services in the future.

What do you think? Have you found these ads to ever be useful? Are there differences between opt-in and auto-generated ads?

Would You Type Like Tom Hanks?

October 2, 2014 by

type1

Tom Hanks is bringing typewriters to the 21st century. Inspired by his love of typewriters, the actor developed an app called Hanx Writer, where modern technology meets classic typewriter sounds.

You might think app users would detest the feature that doesn’t allow for deleting lines at a time as it makes writing and editing a slower process. However, consumers seem charmed by the app’s nostalgia as Hanx Writer was recently named the top downloaded iTunes app.

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I’m constantly fascinated by retro revivals with a modern twist. Instagram filters that make high-quality photos look old. Redesigned Polaroid cameras that remind us how satisfying it can be to wait for a printed photo to come into focus. A typewriter app that embodies all of the technology’s features except for its physical form. The pull between new and old creates an entirely new experience in itself. Whether that experience is better or worse than is up to the user.

Do you think the writing process benefits from slower technology?

-R

Let it Go, Let it Go…

September 24, 2014 by

Not one sentence into this post and you’re already finishing the lyrics to the catchy and, admittedly, sometimes annoying song from Disney’s animated movie Frozen. Less than a year old, the phenomenon is already Disney’s highest-grossing animated film of all time.

frozen1

The longevity of movie’s popularity registered with me recently while I was shopping at Target and a young girl carrying a Frozen toy a few aisles over had the sound effect on repeat. As the phrase “Let it go, let it go” played continuously for at least five minutes, I could hear her sing along.

Is it the music, unique storyline, or endless marketing that has kept the movie a cultural phenomenon? Considering ABC fairytale show Once Upon a Time features Frozen’s Queen Elsa in the new Fall 2014 season, the movie is likely to garner even more attention.

Frozen 2

What do you think has been Disney’s secret to success in not only maintaining, but growing a “Frozen” brand following?

-R

 

The Ballpark Pup

September 22, 2014 by

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a Milwaukee Brewers game at Miller Park.  I was thrilled to be back and a little sad that it could possibly be my last game of the season. (I only made it to two games this year, but grad classes will do that!)  As I finished up the tailgate and headed for the stadium, I noticed a white furry creature had joined the parade of Famous Racing Sausages headed through the parking lot.  I was surprised to see Hank, The Ballpark Pup, marching alongside Chorizo through a field of tailgaters.

MillerPark

The Ballpark Pup

In case you’ve missed it, the Milwaukee Brewers have added another mascot to their mix.  Hank, The Ballpark Pup, first entered the lives of the Milwaukee Brewers at Spring Training this past year.  Hank was a stray dog who wandered onto the field and befriended the team while they were in Arizona.  Now Hank is a fully signed member of the Milwaukee Brewers, complete with the first Majestic Athletic authentic canine jersey.

There is no question that fans and Wisconsinites love Hank.  He has overwhelmingly won hearts all over Milwaukee including the Milwaukee Brewers players and coaching staff.  He does live with a family, but “belongs to the city of Milwaukee.”

Hank_in_his_new_mobile_Dog_House_2014-04-26_08-27

Mixing It Up

The Milwaukee Brewers have no shortage of mascots running around Miller Park.  There are five racing sausages (occasionally mini-sausages as well), Bernie the Brewer (his lady-friend stops by from time-to-time), and now Hank.  The marketing and PR challenge of managing that can be exhausting.  Not only do you manage the appearance schedules for the players, you have to add seven mascots to the mix as well.  Merchandising and appearances have been very lucrative for the Milwaukee Brewers, but is it possible to do too much?  Marketing and PR professionals for sports teams need to be concerned with players lives on and off the field (The NFL has learned that the hard way this week), the storyline of the team and mascots, and the overall fan experience.

There are not many organizations that can say their loyal customers tattoo logos and team symbols on their bodies.  With that loyalty comes great responsibility to the fan base.  Adding a new mascot to a mix that has been with the Milwaukee Brewers since the early 90’s has advantages and disadvantages.  While a shiny new mascot brings in a new crowd (especially animal lovers) and freshens up the stadium experience, it can leave die-hard fans feeling like adding another mascot is a cheap trick to increase attendance.

 

Sausages_Race_April_2012

Why Hank Works

I believe the benefits of sharing the Hank story outweigh the disadvantages.  The story of Hank has resonated with people all over the country and the Brewers are doing great things with that attention.

Hank now has his own bobble-head, promotional products, mascot suit, children’s book, t-shirts, and more.  Twenty percent of these sales benefit the Wisconsin Humane Society.  In a pre-game ceremony on Sept. 13, the Wisconsin Humane Society was presented a check for $130,000 from the Brewers Community Foundation from merchandise sales and other donations.  Yes, it’s advantageous for the Brewers because in only the first three months of the baseball season the team sold more than 12,500 K-9 jerseys. (How do you think baseball stars Ryan Braun and Johnathan Lucroy feel about being outsold by a pup?)  But, this partnership is also great because it raises awareness for homeless animals in addition to the Wisconsin Humane Society.

The Milwaukee Brewers have paid close attention to Hank’s endorsements and appearances.  They want to focus his engagements on events that benefit a charitable cause or the fans.  The Brewers executives want to make sure he’s not exploited and put his health and well-being before appearances.  While some could argue that having a dog endorse anything involving baseball could be exploitation, this amazing story happened to the Brewers and Hank’s life is better because of it.  Sure, he won’t be around forever and they may eventually retire his mascot suit, but it will forever go down in Brewers history as a significant and life-changing event for all parties involved.

What are your thoughts? How many is too many mascots? Have the Brewers added one too many?

#ShowUcare: Create Ripples of Conversations on Social Media That Will Change the World

September 18, 2014 by

Earlier this summer, in my cubicle over 1,000 miles away from the Orlando, FL stage, I watched the Social Fresh East Conference live stream. As the event unfolded on Twitter, one handle, @iSocialFanz, specifically caught my attention with the volume and breadth of visually engaging live tweets. The man behind the handle was Brian Fanzo, Chief Digital Strategist and Partner at BroadSuite | Leading Digital & Social Business Change @iSocialFanz.

The Economist Intelligence Unit @TheEIU along with @IBM included Brian on their list of 25 Social Business Leaders thanks to his direction and leadership in the social media field.

Brian grabs industry attention because he believes “We as a social community create conversations, that create ripples that will change the world!” The hashtag he uses to exemplify his mantra is #ShowUcare.

As Integrated Marketing Communications graduate students, we must remember to create content that shows we care. Brian was gracious enough to create a video that answers the following questions:

  1. Can you describe your role as Technology Community Evangelist at iSocialFanz?
  2. #ShowUcare is your professional philosophy. What examples can you provide that best exemplify your approach?
  3. How do you approach curating content?
  4. You are very well connected on social media! How many platforms do you utilize to produce your content?
  5. What best practices can you offer for hosting and participating in Twitter chats?
  6. If you could only follow ten thought leaders on Twitter who would make your list?
  7. Which conferences do you view as being the ones every practitioner should attend?
  8. How has content marketing and storytelling changed the social media field?
  9. For students starting to build their professional social media presence, what advice can you offer?
  10. What change do you want to see happen for businesses currently utilizing social media?

 

 

Show Notes

Platforms: 

Scoop.it

Meddle it

 

Key Points:

  • Learn how to social listen
  • Find social communities
  • Treat your digital impression like your first impression
  • Unfollow the haters
  • Upcycle Content
  • Find your voice and be yourself
  • Focus on 1:1 communication

 

Twitter Thought Leader List:

@ValaAfshar

@TedRubin

@BryanKramer

@TaMcdonald

@DanielNewmanUV

@MillennialCEO

@KimGarst

@RebekahRadice 

@GaryVee

@JayBaer

@CKburgress

@SimonSinek

 

A special WVU IMC thank you goes out to Brian Fanzo for taking the time to participate in this post!

Make sure to follow Brian on social media and be sure to tag worthy content with the #ShowUcare hashtag.

The Tireless ‘Share a Coke’ Name Search.

September 17, 2014 by

I can’t help it. Every time I wait in the checkout line, my eyes scan the nearest cooler or “Shake a Coke” display for a drink featuring my name. I still haven’t found it on a Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, or Coke Zero- all of which are part of the “Share a Coke” campaign.

share a coke

Luckily, however, the company allows you to add your name to a virtual bottle and share it through social media, suggesting that the act of sharing is more important than the drink itself. I have to admit, it’s pretty satisfying seeing my name on the virtual bottle, even if that’s all it is- virtual.

Of course I wanted to share a Coke with all of you as well! Unfortunately, this is the response I received when I typed WVU IMC:

WVU IMC share a coke

Sorry, everyone…

Another interesting component of the campaign involves its tour stops where you can personalize a mini Coke and immediately have the label printed on your drink.

What do you think about the “Share a Coke” campaign and how it fits with the brand’s identity? Have you visited a tour stop to personalize a drink?

-R

Visualize the Results

September 3, 2014 by

In my last post I talked about a few changes we’ve made to our IMC plans in order to help with staff buy-in and evaluation.  One of the things we’ve recently finalized was an infograph showing the results of our marketing plans.  As I mentioned in that post, we stopped calling the goals “marketing goals” because we wanted to reinforce that this was a combined effort between the departments and the marketing department.  We learned that “marketing” was the responsibility of the marketing department, and we wanted a way to better illustrate how these are business goals that marketing helps accomplish.

We used the infograph below as a tool to showcase everything we achieved as an organization.  It was a great way to quickly and visually show the hard work that went into creating, maintaining, and finalizing our integrated marketing communications plans.  The finalization of these plans was a result of a combined effort of students and professional staff.  You’ll notice that, again, we tried to take the emphasis off of marketing, but still have people understand and realize that these goals were achieved as a result of marketing.

The staff appreciated seeing the goals illustrated.  Often, we are so focused internally in our department that we forget the importance of looking at what other departments are doing.  After viewing the infograph, the staff had a much greater understanding of all of the different areas that were were focusing on within our organization.  Again, it was a great way for everyone to easily see all we had accomplished and get departments excited to implement their new plans.

As we continue or efforts this fiscal year we will look at how we can use this as a tool and expand upon it for future use.  Have you tried a similar approach?  What has worked well and what suggestions or recommendations do you have? Care to share an infograph you created?

 

 

Infograph design by Haley Cox.


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