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

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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.

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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.

How to Use Your IMC Skills to Change the World, While Getting the Experience of a Lifetime

September 2, 2014 by

This is a guest blog post by IMC graduate, Angie McCrone.

After graduating from the IMC master’s program at WVU in December 2013, I was determined to embark on a new adventure. I had spent five years running a nonprofit that helps artists with developmental disabilities sell their work, and although my work was rewarding, I was ready to pursue something on a global scale. I wanted to make a difference in the world of global health.

My reasons for being passionate about global health are pretty intuitive; I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa and have several family members in the medical field there. My whole life, I heard people refer to my home as the lost cause of Africa, a place they refer to like it is a county, not a continent. They would explain that there were too many problems, and pouring US dollars into it wouldn’t help.

Fortunately, they were very wrong. The more you learn about global health the more you realize that calculated and researched strategies make big differences! Consider the eradication of polio in India or Botswana’s achievement of bringing HIV transfer from mother to child down to just 4%. These are incredible and measured results of global health initiatives that save millions of lives.

So it is obvious why I have a vested interest in global health, but I would argue that all marketing and communications professionals should care deeply about global health efforts. Communications professionals have the talent and know-how to change the world! More than any other profession, marketers have an incredible ability to change behavior. This is such an incredible skill that the global health field desperately needs. Think of your impact if your communications expertise were used to change risky sexual behavior or drug use in areas with a high HIV prevalence. These actions can be linked directly to lives saved.

Not sure you believe me? Consider the opportunity from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that offers marketers an opportunity to make a difference each year at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Their Cannes Chimera Initiative asks marketing and communications agencies (see the video below) to design campaigns that solve global problems.

After realizing my strong desire to be a change-maker, I applied for a Global Health Corps (GHC) fellowship. In April, I was offered an opportunity and adventure of a lifetime, working as a Global Health Corps fellow and Marketing and Development Associate at the Global Health Delivery Project at Harvard University.

GHC pairs young professionals with global health organizations that are looking for innovative solutions for solving some of the world’s most difficult health challenges. Our class of 128 fellows is placed in Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and the United States.

GHC fellows come from varied backgrounds and are placed in a wide range of positions and organizations. To help them navigate the new landscape, GHC partners local fellows with an international fellow. As communications professionals, we know how important having a local perspective is to developing genuine communications plans.

Global Health Corps fellows have an incredible opportunity to get valuable experience working in international markets. Since most of the organizations have limited resources, fellows also have a chance to take on large projects that they may not be able to do otherwise. It would be extremely difficult to get this level of real world training at most entry to mid-level positions.

Also, there is no need to have training or global health education to apply to GHC. The paid fellowship includes a two week global health training institute at Yale University, quarterly professional and personal development retreats, and a closing retreat in East Africa.  Fellows can also opt-in to have an advisor in their field of choice, and the GHC alumni and staff are dedicated to our current and future success.

Angie_Sudip_GHC (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Nepalese co-fellow, Sudip Bhandari (right) and me at a cocktail party for GHC supporters at Chelsea Piers in NYC

Do you want to contribute to a better world? Are you thinking of joining the movement toward global health equity?  Consider applying for a Global Health Corps fellowship, or working for a global health organization. Even if you’re not willing to dedicate your career to global health, communications volunteers are always needed at nonprofits, and pro-bono work from a marketing firm on a single communications campaign can save millions.

So go on, marketers! Go change the world. Isn’t it great to know you can?

About the author:

Angie McCrone is the Marketing and Development Associate for the Global Health Delivery Project at Harvard University and a 2014-2015 Global Health Corps fellow. Previously, she managed the marketing and sales of a nonprofit that promotes the creative work of artists with developmental disabilities. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of California: Santa Cruz, majoring in studio art and minoring in literature and received her master’s degree in integrated marketing communications at West Virginia University.

L: www.linkedin.com/in/angiemccrone/

T: https://twitter.com/AngKMc

Global Health Corps is building a community of change-makers who share the common belief that health is a human right. Their mission is to mobilize a global community of emerging leaders to build the movement for health equity.

The Global Health Delivery Project at Harvard University is an interdisciplinary collaboration between Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Business School. Launched in 2007 under the guidance of Dr. Jim Y. Kim, Dr. Paul Farmer, and Professor Michael Porter, GHD is a response to the knowledge gap that occurs between medical discovery and clinical application in low resource settings. Their mission is to build a network of professionals dedicated to improving the delivery of value-based health care globally. To join one of their professional virtual communities visit: ghdonline.org

Breaking Down the Tao of Social Media Marketing with Mark Schaefer

August 20, 2014 by

Two years ago, I was a first year graduate student looking to find a sense of professional purpose. With four classes completed, I decided to make the journey to Morgantown, WV to attend the annual INTEGRATE conference. Any obstacles that stood out in my mind to get there were outweighed by the knowledge I gained when I departed. One presentation, in particular, still stands out in my mind as being a pivotal moment in my journey to finding my professional return on influence.

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WVU Alum, Mark Schaefer took to the stage at INTEGRATE on June 2, 2012  to present key points from his book Return On Influence. With a Klout score of 75, Mark knows more than a thing or two about social media, blogging, and marketing. In addition to his successful Businesses Grow blog, Mark is an accomplished author. His widely popular book The Tao of Twitter has received high praise as being a  #1 Best Selling Book On Twitter.  In the past two years since the book was first released Twitter has drastically changed so much so that Mark revised and expanded The Tao of Twitter. 

If you have not seen Mark’s presentation, I highly suggest watching it before reading the questions and answers presented below.

Mark was gracious enough to answer a few questions I had in regards to what has changed in the Twitterverse, best practices for live tweeting along with the realities of social media marketing.

Return On Influence: The New Realities of Power and Marketing on the Internet

Long: At the WVU INTEGRATE 2012 conference, you highlighted key points from your book Return On Influence. Two years later, have the realities of power and marketing on the internet changed, or have they stayed the same?

Schaefer: I would say that everything I talked about indeed has come true, perhaps even more rapidly than I could have imagined. Big agencies and small are creating influence marketing departments. Being an influencer is becoming increasingly lucrative (even I am starting to make some money in this area!). And new measurement platforms are emerging.

I think the dynamics of acquiring power that I talked about in my book and my speech are the same. Yes. I called that one correctly! : )

Long: For graduate students starting to provide social media consultation services, what advice can you offer?

Schaefer: The biggest mistake I see is the people enter this space without any real marketing experience. Before you go out on your own, get a marketing job and learn about the broad spectrum of activities before focusing on social media. If you are a social media “hammer” and everything is a nail, you would be doing a disservice to both youself and your customers.

I also think an exposure to statistics is a must. You don’t have to be an expert, but increasingly, marketing insight is coming from big data and math. You need to know enough about it to ask the right questions.

If you are going to go out on your own, be prepared to be broke for two years. Build your personal brand through blogging, videos and public speaking.

Long: With the rise of live event tweeting, what best practices should both presenters and attendees be putting into practice?
Schaefer: For presenters, be sure to include your Twitter handle and the event hashtag on all your slides. Embed tweetable moments [– short key points — on slides to make it easy for the reporters. Don’t go too fast and make your slides available after the event.

For reporters, don’t get so involved in the tweeting that you miss the presentation. Proof read everything before you tweet. Remember that a tweet has the same legal weight as a blog post or other online article so you need to be fair and accurate. If the speaker says something controversial or inflammatory, remember that you might be held legally accountable as the person sending out the tweet.

Long: If you could only follow ten people on Twitter who would make it onto your feed?

Schaefer: If I could only follow 10 people, they would all be my customers. Twitter is an amazing opportunity for marketing insight, and I would not want to miss a thing!

Long: You recently revised your widely popular book The Tao of Twitter. How has Twitter changed in the 2 years since the book was first released? 

Schaefer: So much has changed in the Twitterverse since I wrote the first edition. In fact, I really had to consider whether Twitter is still the hub of human connection it was when I fell in love with it many years ago. Does Twitter still have a heart or is it just another broadcast channel?

Specifically, there have been four powerful new developments driving Twitter:

• Twitter has experienced explosive growth, finding new audiences among younger and older users as well as new fans globally and corporations. Twitter is being used in so many creative new ways we could not have imagined just a few years ago.

• It has matured into a public company with a responsibility to shareholders. This has altered its strategy and how it relates to its customers and fans.

• Twitter has developed innovative advertising programs that are accessible to businesses with nearly any budget. But many businesses don’t understand the unique features of these programs.

• Twitter has become the de facto “second screen” for television, providing the channel of interactivity for live programming. This is a role that is now driving many of its strategies. It has also driven the hashtag (#) into our everyday culture!

Make sure to follow Mark to keep up with his latest endeavors in the social media field.

Blog
Linked In
Twitter

If you have read one of his books, let me know what was the biggest lesson that you were able to realize out in the social media field?

 


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