Build Your Influence With Micro-Content

July 14, 2014 by

I finally joined the Twittersphere (@Julie_Long_)! In my short time on the platform, I have complained to a brand, participated in my first tweet session, and most importantly followed others. As I continue to learn and navigate the intricacies of tweeting, I am reminded by the fleeting nature of communication. With just 140 characters at your disposal you have to tweet succinctly. Less is truly more. What I have found to be both an opportunity and a curse is that Twitter forces you to think differently about how to construct a call to action. The idea of finite content is not a new idea by an means. The gray area surrounds the integration of content across channels. Everyone can tweet and tell a story, but only those who truly understand integration will be able to realize a return.

One person that seems to understand finite content is Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of Vaynermedia, who is a proponent of “micro-content.” The micro-content revolution might just be around the corner. Thankfully, I joined Twitter, which affords me the opportunity to “micro-blog.”  Being able to build campaigns around the “micro” and the “macro” point of view will help to make me a diversified IMC practitioner.

Not only do you need the writing and strategic mind to master the art of micro-content, but you also need the confidence. Fortunately, thanks to Twitter, I learned about a free webinar that will help you build your online confidence.

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Make sure that you sign up! Gary Vaynerchuk just happens to be one of the presenters and you will be a first hand witness to his dynamic presentation style!

Absolut Advertising.

July 7, 2014 by

Yet another book calls my coffee table home. Welcome to the family, Absolut Book.

Ever since Bill Oechsler mentioned the rich history behind the award-winning Absolut Vodka advertising campaign during his “Creative Strategist | Strategic Creative” session at Integrate 2014, I’ve been tempted to add the book to my Amazon cart.

I finally caved. And I’m glad I did.

Absolut Book. is a visual reminder of how well-executed, simple ideas can endure. The campaign’s nods to cities and film are just some of many creative Absolut applications. Cultural references communicated through an essentially three-formula ad consisting of bottle+Absolut+[other term] seem endless.

rome

I appreciate brands that consider their audiences smart enough to connect the dots in ads- i.e., a Vespa-disguised vodka bottle…

chicago

This one took a few seconds to grasp- something the Absolut Vodka creative team worried about when they designed the ad.

rosebud

Citizen Kane fans, rejoice.

 

Want a look at some of the ads that never hit print? This book has some of those “Absolut rejects,” too. As the author explains, there are a variety of reasons such ads haven’t received approval.*

When do campaigns reach the point when they become cultural fixtures in their own right? And does anyone else miss Integrate?!

-R

*I’ll let you discover those when you read the book!

On a World Stage

July 3, 2014 by

My siblings and I grew up playing soccer. For us, every weekend was packed with tournaments and practices.  I was probably the least athletically inclined one out of the three of us, but I always found immense joy watching or playing soccer.  For me, the 2014 FIFA World Cup is no different.

The FIFA World Cup is a totally unique experience, especially for Americans. First, the United States is an underdog, which provides a new perspective. Second, with the exception of the Olympics, where else can you find an event that caters to the world’s population? Soccer players leave their club teams behind and compete against team members to honor their country. It is simply an amazing event.

The 2014 World Cup has garnered a great deal of social media popularity, with CNN saying that it is becoming the biggest social media event in history.  So far, 90% of the world has been engaged in these social media conversations.  Soccer superstars have taken to Twitter to promote the event and garner media attention.  Cristiano Ronaldo, the second highest paid athlete in the world, comes in at number one in The Top 15 Social Networking Superstars of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. It doesn’t stop with just athletes.  Teams are creating hashtags for individual games so those that cannot watch the event live can be kept update on the action.  The United States Men’s National Team coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, wrote fans a “get out of work” note to show support for the USMNT, which has appeared on Facebook and other social sites.  (In my opinion it was well deserved after the comments he made about the team prior to their first game.)  The USMNT is taking a page from the marketing playbook and has gone to great lengths to unite the US fans by telling stores of all 23 USMNT players on their YouTube channel.  So far, the use of  social media has spread far and wide, but the strategies of each platform have (so far) been very thought out.  The graphics and storylines for each area fit the medium, but are always reinforcing the overall message of  “One Nation. One Team”.  I always find it disappointing when you see regurgitated information across multiple platforms that doesn’t fit the language or context of the platform.  So far, IMC plan for the 2014 FIFA World Cup has appeared effective and very well thought out.

Media and social media presence around the World Cup has been amazing, but the World Cup provides unique challenges for marketers.  The first issue lies with the very thing that makes the World Cup so successful.  The World Cup is a world event, which makes advertising space much for valuable.  Additionally, there are no commercial breaks during the halves.  Each half is 45 minutes of continual play, which means there is only ad time before the event, after the event, and during half time.  With the events in Brazil this year, there have been water breaks added to games at the discretion of the referee when it is warmer than 86 degrees F.  The trouble with banking on ad space during this time is that it is not guaranteed.  So, much of the advertising time is eaten up by official sponsors and companies with a budget large enough to get in the game.

Even with limited ad space in the World Cup and a small advertising budget, Puma has figured out how to get attention without sacrificing their entire ad budget.  If you’ve watched the World Cup you may have seen several players with mismatched, surprisingly colored shoes.  Puma has released Tricks – a pair of one pink and one blue shoe.  They’re very noticeable on the feet of several world-level athletes such as Mario Balotelli and Yaya Touré.  The shoes have many advantages, but the largest one being the media attention they’re getting during the World Cup without paying for the ad space.  Viewers can look at the shoes for a minimum of 90 minutes and Puma’s ad budget is saved for advertising after the World Cup, closer to the back-to-school time frame.

The infographic below was released in early June, but provides a great starting point for an analytic look at the World Cup so far.

Offerpop’s World Cup Infographic:

World Cup Infographic

A sporting event at this level has many advantages and disadvantages for marketers.  The world attention placed on the games have provided viewers with a rich and diverse social media and advertising experience without sacrificing the integrity of the sport.  Even if you’re a marketer, but not a soccer fan you can appreciate the experience.

What have been some of your favorite 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament moments on or off the field?

There’s Adobe in my Instagram.

June 30, 2014 by

adobe

I never realize the boundaries we set for technology until they are crossed.

Adobe’s new mobile devices software development kit allowing for third-party developers to embed select Adobe technologies into their iOS apps could translate to popular creative apps like Instagram.

As Adobe has not yet announced who it is partnering with to develop these apps, expect even more surprises from the company.

What Adobe-platform partnerships would you most like to see?

-R

A Little Advice from Scott Stratten

June 30, 2014 by
One of my first blog posts for the IMC program at WVU was a gentle demand that you listen to the UnPodcast.  Hosts Scott Stratten and Alison Kramer provided a no holds barred approach to marketing.  Having been a fan of their work for a while, I was ecstatic that I would have the opportunity to meet them at ImComm (a marketing conference for the UW System) at which Scott was speaking.  I was thrilled the committee booked him because I felt this audience could really benefit from his message delivered in a very honest and blunt way…and I was right.  As usual, the content had the audience laughing out loud and questioning their marketing tactics in minutes.

ScottStratten

Scott was nice enough to answer a few questions after the presentation.  I racked my brain for days to try to come up with something to ask him.  So, with the knowledge that we are dedicating our lives to IMC and trying to sell it to our employers, I asked the same question I’ve asked 100 times to every IMC professional I’ve ever met.  I asked, “What does it take to get buy-in?”  Scott communicated the importance of finding what motivates people and connecting your selling points to what is important to them. There are no shortage of personality and character tests that are quick to put us into boxes and provide us with a precise bullet point list of tactics for working with each other.  “Personality type Q will best respond to charts, graphs, and 100 page documents outlining all possible solutions.”  Each test has their place, but are we really invested in finding out how to build relationships with our coworkers?  Knowing that many of my friends and coworkers had tried this tactic before I finally asked, “what it if it still doesn’t work?”  To which I received the very honest answer of “get out”….run.

 

If that last line scares you….good.  I always hoped that would never be an option, but for some companies it is never going to happen – and you can’t waste your time and energy.  The uphill battle to sell all of the right people on IMC might not be successful in your organization.  There are some people that will never buy in.  If that’s not something you can live with, you may need to get out. It’s tough to identify the companies that are receptive to IMC, but thanks to great advice by Elliott Nix, we at least have a place to start.

 

I also asked Scott what was important for us as IMC students to know.  He said, “Never stop asking why.  The reason we can’t do things the way they’ve always been done is because we’re dealing with things we haven’t had to deal with before.”  For me, this was an enormous take away from the conference.  We’ve all run head first into the “this is the way it’s always been done” road block, but Scott is right – the issues and challenges we are facing today are different than issues we’ve faced in the past. (Another great conference quote from a different speaker was, “You don’t have time to plan because you’re not planning,” which I thought was perfectly stated.)

 

IMC is not an easy thing to initiate at any company.  It is frustrating and, at least for me, can make you feel crazy at times.  The conference reminded me that we can make a difference, it just takes strategy and patience.  There will be times where the company culture and IMC just don’t mix and we have to move on.  That’s not to say it will never work for that company, but maybe just not right now.  It’s ok for IMC professionals to pick a different battle.  I’ve made it my personal goal to try to ask “why” at least once a day.

 

Are you asking why? What great “why” stories do you have to share?

Pay When You Hit Play.

June 23, 2014 by

YouTube has become much more than the land of viral cat cuteness and cringeworthy-yet-catchy music  videos. Today, both content creators and subscribers have different relationships with the platform. YouTubers like beauty guru Zoella and gamer PewDiePie earn a living from their content thanks to the millions of viewers who watch their channels every day.

But what if you had to pay a fee to access YouTube?

youtube

Would you pay to watch YouTube videos?

As Google recently confirmed plans to introduce an ad-free subscription music service for the platform, things are moving in that direction. The fee-based service will be limited to music for now, but it could eventually apply to other popular categories like beauty and gaming. If so, YouTube uniquely challenges Netflix and Hulu for paid content subscribers by being a medium for creators of any skill level to publish content. Netflix and Hulu libraries feature movie and television shows, but YouTube is all about, well, you.

It will be interesting to see how Google, content creators, subscribers, and competing subscription services handle the shift.

Will YouTube successfully evolve its brand or is the move destined for failure due to established consumer expectations of the platform?

-R

Digital Tales From Two Days at INTEGRATE 2014

June 16, 2014 by

- Written by Julie Long and Kat Shanahan with artwork by Julie Long

integrate

Pride.  After searching my vocabulary for the word that best described how it felt to be at WVU for the INTEGRATE2014 conference, that’s what I’ve come up with.  Being on campus for the first time and networking with fellow students, professors, and speakers all gave me an overwhelming sense of pride and reaffirmed my decision to get my IMC degree from WVU.  Walking through the gates and into Milan Puskar Stadium for the keynote dinner you almost felt like a celebrity walking the red carpet but instead of an entourage consisting of George Clooney and Meryl Streep, I was in the presence of presenter and Alexia Vanides Teaching Award winner, Joe Barnes, and fellow blogger and conference guru Julie Long (that’s my kind of entourage). –KS

It is rare to find a group of individuals – let alone an academic program – that pushes you to become your best self. I have spent the better part of my career looking for a mentor. It turns out that I all I needed to do was join the WVU IMC program. As a result of becoming a student, I now have an entire community of mentors. Even though the mentors in my community are remote and spread out geographically, I would call upon their advice before reaching out to individuals in my face-to-face network. The main difference between the two groups comes down to the understanding and passion that everyone affiliated with the program has for the IMC field. I never would have thought that an online program would be all this and more…

The “and more…” is in large part attributed to the annual INTEGRATE conference. Unlike other marketing communication conferences where attendees pass like ships in the night, I view the INTEGRATE conference as “the event” that anchors my year. It is not everyday that you are surrounded by the caliber of talent that congregates in Morgantown year after year. It was truly inspiring to meet new faces this year, including Kat, who epitomizes and exemplifies a passionate and dedicated IMC student.

Even though the weekend is jam packed with networking and breakout sessions, the event culminates and hits a crescendo during the reception. — JL

At the reception, the excitement began building as we recapped a great conference and prepared to hear closing remarks from WVU administration and Head of Media Solutions – Tech for Google and WVU IMC professor, Elliott Nix.  It was at this time that  I was able to finally meet all of the fellow students in my current class, connect with speaker Lee Odden, and take just one minute to bask in the final moments of the conference.  Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better we were seated for dinner. –KS

Three years ago, I was a wide-eyed Freshman attending the big event. I knew very few , if any, of the faces or names of anyone sitting around my dinner table. This year, I knew all but two individuals at my table.

With each passing year, I have begun to judge my professional IMC accomplishments against the calendar year of the INTEGRATE conference.  After year one, I forged face-to-face connections with faculty and fellow students and I even started an IMC Pinterest board. After year two, I became a blogger for the program and continued to forge even deeper relationships with fellow IMC’ers. After year three, I became an author for Steamfeed.com, connected with IMC bloggers Kat & Rebecca, joined Twitter, tried out Google Glass, and was accepted into the WVU IMC Classmates Facebook Page (The conference continues throughout the year on social media!) All of these accomplishments, including meeting the large majority of my e-connections, would not have come to fruition if I did not attend INTEGRATE.

The reception affords me time to reflect back and look ahead at my uncharted path. Looking around the room this year, I could not help but soak up the energy emanating from within the walls of the stadium. Sitting down at the table I was able to see first hand how the IMC field is directly being shaped by the program. The momentum of the evening hits a crescendo when the keynote speaker takes the stage. The impending speech is a pivotal turning point in renewing my sense of pride for the program, and my passion for the field of IMC. –JL

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The keynote presentation by Elliott Nix was nothing short of inspiring.  Elliott talked about the importance of tying innovation to business strategy and asking oneself, “Does this solve a problem?”  Having a great idea is one thing, but using that to solve a problem is where you find real innovation.  Elliott said, “Technology isn’t about making things easier, it’s about making lives better.”  Sounds great, right?  But how do you do that?  According to Elliott, you must build a culture of failure and challenge your preconceived notions of what’s popular.  Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

After Elliott’s keynote we sat down with him to ask just a few more questions about innovation.  Elliott said the key to overcoming blocks in innovation is to ask yourself, “What’s the immediate answer, and then what’s the exact opposite?”  What’s the answer that is going to get you fired?  You take the second idea and do what you can to poke holes in it.  If you can’t…that’s the one you should go with.  Elliott also challenged us to think about the problem in a different industry and find out how you can apply that to your industry.

We also asked Elliott what’s in store for those in the IMC program. He said that we should “think bigger,” find new ways of looking at a business/client, and show how you can tackle the narratives of traditional and digital marketing together.  We all know that trying to show the value of IMC and finding companies that support that way of thinking can be challenging.  Elliott recommended finding companies that are “on stage” and have a media presence in the mobile, video, and analytic areas.  Those are the companies that will be more forward thinking.  As you can see, Elliott left us with no shortage of important topics to think about.  Our challenge now is how to use it.  Where are you going to start? –KS

 

We would like to say a monumental thank you to the IMC team and executive team Nicole, Chad, Shelly, Judy, Briana, Rick, Michael, Aaron, Rachel Mort, and Rachel Angry for everything you did to bring INTEGRATE 2014 to fruition.

 

Riders Up!

June 5, 2014 by

We are a couple days away from the final leg of the Tripe Crown, with the race at Belmont Park scheduled for June 7th. California Chrome, who will be allowed to wear his nasal strips, will attempt to become only the 12th horse in history to win at the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont.

 

I’m excited.

 

California Chrome (photo from Sports Illustrated)!

A horse threatening to complete this feat must be music to the ears of NBC, marketing affiliates and anyone who will be collecting bets or doing race related business on June 7th. People are excited to see California Chrome attempt to make history and last month it was reported that ticket prices were up 48% since California Chrome had won the Preakness Stakes. This isn’t too dissimilar to the lesson I learned back in March, when I watched the price of Sweet 16 and Elite 8 tickets to Madison Square Garden climb sharply as my UCONN Huskies advanced (by the way, the price of admission to see the boys in blue take down MSU was worth every penny). Similarly, you’ll probably recall that leading up to the Super Bowl, the expert’s discussed how the different teams that could potentially advance would impact the cost of tickets on the secondary market. There is no doubt in my mind that while we cheer on our favorite teams, athlete, or horse, for the love of the game, there are a number of business men and women who are simply hoping for the outcome that will provide the greatest exposure for their brands, excitement and potential for revenue.

We have no control over the outcome of sporting events, or other current events for that matter, but when moments like this come along, marketers should be prepared to take advantage of the situation. I know that I heard and saw local Connecticut businesses leveraging the excitement in our state in their marketing and communications during and after the NCAA tournament. I am sure those in horse racing are thinking of ways to leverage a Triple Crown winner, should they be provided one.

Who hasn’t seen this? Quick, smart and effective!

Sporting events are unpredictable – but those brands that are prepared to quickly react to the unexpected, and any and all potential outcomes, will be well served. Social media has changed the game, requiring those reactions to be even more rapid (who can forget Oreo’s show-stealing stunt that went viral on Twitter during the 2013 Super Bowl?). I’m excited to see what happens on social media on race day, especially if the stars align for California Chrome. I’m sure a handful of brands have already mocked up some images to be shared on social media, depending on the outcome.

Panasonic is an example of one brand that must be interested in the results – they installed the world’s largest 4K video board at Churchill Downs for this years Kentucky Derby, showing off their technical prowess and demonstrating new technology. This move has already resulted in ample earned media for the brand, but wouldn’t you expect Panasonic to be rooting for a Triple Crown winner? This result may mean more interest in horse racing in 2015, a larger television audience for next years Kentucky Derby, and more exposure for their technology.

Panasonic’s Giant Monitor @ Churchill Downs

 

Will you be watching the Belmont Stakes on Saturday? What are your predictions? Who will the big winners be, both on the track and on social media?

INTEGRATE2014: Nice to meet you.

May 31, 2014 by

Raise your hand if you’ve met former professors, fellow classmates, and new friends at INTEGRATE2014. *raises hand*

Earlier today I had the opportunity to meet Jessica while I was waiting for the afternoon breakout session, “Creative Strategist| Strategic Creative- Which One Are You Becoming?”

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Jessica and I were in the same Brand Equity Management class.

I’m also excited that I met Dr. Freberg, who is teaching my current PR Concepts and Strategy class. Plus, spending time with fellow IMC bloggers Kat and Julie has been so much fun! And let’s not forget our session speakers. Yesterday I had lunch with NASCAR’s David Higdon. It’s very inspiring to be surrounded by so many people who are passionate about integrated marketing communications.

What has been your favorite networking aspect of INTEGRATE? How many fellow classmates have you met?

INTEGRATE2014: Lessons learned from Bill Oechsler

May 31, 2014 by

The last session of the conference was a little bittersweet. The conference has been absolutely fantastic and even though it’s not quite over, the information I’ve learned has made my mind race and my reading list double. I am very excited to apply all of this phenomenal information to projects in my IMC world.

The last breakout session I attended was Bill Oechsler’s, and it was fantastic. Just like with Lee Odden’s session, a recap of the information is not possible in such a small space.

One of the most beneficial parts for me was the insight provided by Bill on the Absolut campaign. For me, I’ve enjoyed watching the campaign grow because I’m a photography fan. The way that Absolut captured viewers through strong photography and simplistic ads is a great reminder that simple isn’t a bad thing. Much like the presentation from Joe Barns told us, give customers options, but not too many. We don’t want to overwhelm our customers. Simple, well executed ideas can go far.

The beauty of the campaign is also that it has legs. The product and packaging are the hero of the story. The ads focus entirely on Absolut and it has been marketed in a simplistic, authentic way.

Bill shared great examples from Absolute, Apple, and more with the emphasis of simplicity and creating campaigns that move. Simple and authentic make a great pair.

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What are your favorite simple campaigns? What sticks with you?


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