Posts Tagged ‘Integrated marketing communications’

Millennial Musings

December 2, 2014

I’m a millennial. That means I like to tweet my favorite brands, take selfies, and wait hours in line for the latest iPhone…

… At least, that’s how some marketers like categorize me.

Oh yeah- I’m a marketer, too. As a millennial marketer whose job requires me to market to millennials on a daily basis, what happens when the marketer “me” tries to understand the millennial consumer “me?”

hello-millennial-feature

Millennial marketers, does being a millennial help you market better to the generation?

Adweek recently posted an article about how digital advertising network Exponential has categorized millennials based on the group’s reaction to three things: the economy, globalization and social media.

While we are known to dislike generalizations about our generation, I found the 12 millennial subgroups fascinating- Personally, I identify most as a Millennial Martha.

 

Here’s the list:

  1. Boss Babes
  2. Brogrammers
  3. The Underemployed
  4. Shut Out
  5. Nostalgics
  6. Travel Enthusiasts
  7. Culinary Explorers
  8. The Exuberants
  9. The Collectors
  10. The Quarter-Life Crisis Millennial
  11. Millennial Marthas
  12. Millennial Moms

 

How will marketers categorize Gen Z into subgroups?

-R

Social Media Helps to Humanize Government

December 1, 2014

One of my goals in completing the IMC program is to catch up my digital knowledge to equal that of someone born in 1997. Although social media has been around for 10 years, I still consider it a new, fleeting subject, when in fact, it is very much here to stay. Social Media and Marketing is further changing my opinion of its usefulness in business. But social media has also opened up the formerly buttoned-up business of government.

Five years ago, state and federal government agencies were unsure how to be on social media without fear of losing control of the message. Today social media plays a starring role in communications strategies – especially with the 18-24 demographic. DigitalGov is a great resource for exploring how government agencies are embracing digital, including social media.

i voted

On Election Day, my Facebook and Twitter feeds were inundated with “I voted” posts. I voted too, but decided not to join the masses in declaring the deed. Maybe I should have. The USA.gov social media team launched a real-time campaign to answer voting questions and encourage people to vote. People could take #ElectionSelfies with the “I voted” sticker. The team then retweeted 70 of these selfies and thanked 100 random people for taking the time to vote according to Jessica Milcetich, Social Media and Digital Strategist on the USA.gov Outreach Team at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).

Two years ago, when Hurricane Sandy pummeled New York, emergency management personnel relied on social media to get information to people and in a sense comfort them said Emily Rahimi, the New York City Fire Department’s social media manager in a recent interview with Emergency Management magazine.

“The hurricane really got people to understand a little bit more, at least around here, how social media can be very important in terms of communications. They had been hesitant about it because if you’re not familiar with social media, you might focus on what could go wrong with it or how it can be used improperly. But I think that really opened people’s eyes as to how we can use social media as a great tool to communicate with the public, let them know what’s going on within the department as well as how to prepare for emergencies.”

Transparency is a huge buzzword in government. Social media has provided communicators a platform to be real with people. This infographic from MPADegree.org shows just how government uses social media.

Source: MPADegree.org

Essential Productivity Apps

November 25, 2014

I use technology every day at work in order to increase productivity in our office. Though it assists us everyday, we use it in conjunction with face-to-face communication – not instead of face-to-face communication. Technology has streamlined our processes and allowed us to spend more time focusing on brainstorming and creativity.

Our Graphics & Marketing office has gone through many changes over the last four years.  We’ve gone from not having a graphics request form to carbon copy forms, to paper forms, and now we’re digital.  We’ve increased the number of graphic request forms by 8% and the number of projects we created by 44% in the last fiscal year alone. These apps are not solely responsible for these increases in productivity, but they have been an instrumental component.  Here are just a few of the tools we are currently utilizing in our office to help with productivity.  I should mention that we are avid iPad users and lovers!

iAnnotate: As I mentioned, we’ve gone from paper graphics forms to digital forms.  We developed a .pdf check sheet for any graphics project requested from our office.  When a client needs a project, we sit down and fill out the request form on my iPad.   Using iAnnotate, we are able to mark up the .pdf with all of the customer specifications. We do require everyone in our organization to set up a meeting prior to filling out a graphic request form. This helps us establish buy-in and makes the department feel more invested in their marketing efforts.  (This is the only app we pay for)

Downside to iAnnotate: No spell check

 

Our Graphic Request Form

Our Graphic Request Form

Trello: (I absolutely LOVE this.)  After a client and I fill out the form, I take a screenshot and upload it from my iPad into our project management system, Trello.  Each student has their own “slot” in the program and we can add “cards” that contain all of the information needed to complete the project.  We can assign the project to multiple people, pass “cards” back and forth, and upload documents and revisions to Trello.  When students have a draft for me to view they can put the card (with the draft) in my “slot” and I can make comments and return it to them.  It saves an enormous amount of time, energy, and confusion for our students.

Upside to Trello: FREE apps!

 

Our Trello Board

Our Trello Board

Evernote: I realize this has been around for a while however, I love how easy it is to use.  I no longer have to carry around notebooks or file information.  I can take notes, minutes, and photos and easily organize them in one area. You can also integrate PenUltimate with Evernote so you can write notes and incorporate them into your Evernote notebooks.

Easy Note: This is a great to-do list app.  I can write down all of the different things I need to get done and carry them with me all day.  You can setup different lists for personal, professional, departmental, etc.  It is very easy to use and keeps me very organized.

Dropbox: If you’re not using dropbox, sign up now!  It is so easy to use and allows for easy document storage and updating.  I can access files on my phone, computer, and through the website.  Plus, you get additional storage the more you share the program. We use Dropbox to pass large files back and forth between clients and our office to ensure no one is getting upset that their inbox is constantly full.

As I mentioned before, technology assists us in our daily tasks, but it doesn’t replace face-to-face communication. We still meet regularly as a staff to build relationships, brainstorm ideas, and discuss projects.  These apps are just tools to help keep us organized.  Nothing takes the place of good conversation and relationship building.

I hope you found some of these apps helpful! As I mentioned, we use a great number of apps in our office, but these are the ones that have been instrumental in our solving some of productivity and communication challenges. Feel free to share some of your favorites in the comments section!

Q&A with Dr. Larry Stultz.

November 13, 2014

I’ve been an IMC student for over a year now, yet the resumes of the program’s instructors still impress me. One of those who is impressive both as a professional and professor is Dr. Larry Stultz. If you haven’t already had Dr. Larry for IMC 615, I’ll let you learn more about his background here.

When I took his class, he provided me with motivating, constructive feedback that contributed to- what I believe- is one of my best projects in the program (a Quiznos campaign, for anyone wondering).

I thought it would be interesting to get Dr. Larry’s take on the direction of the ad industry and advice for students entering his class. Can you guess what his favorite ad slogan is? Read on to find out.

Q: How do you envision the decline of print and rise of digital influencing future advertising approaches?

A: The rise of digital marketing and social communications has changed advertising and public relations in very human ways. Print advertising was always about pushing products, services, and philosophies. Print designers knew how to make graphic matter yell out to us and demand attention.

Ten years ago, Joseph Jaffe urged us to “join the conversation,” and the conversation became social at first. Then, it spread into marketing platforms that we all find much more personal and satisfying than print ever was.

Digital marketing gives us affinity groups we can purposely join and/or identify with. We all feel better about pull strategies, even if we do not recognize them as purposeful, because we feel we are making our own decisions about our media consumption, as well as our goods and services consumption.

Q: In your Creative Strategy & Execution class, you ask students to select a brand that is in need of revitalization. If you were the student, what brand would you choose?

A: Were I to choose a brand for my revitalization efforts, I would first choose an industry category I am passionate about. More importantly, I would select a category that will need me in the future. Creative Strategy & Execution is all about portfolio building.

Big box stores won’t be needing me. Electronics megastores probably won’t need me, and the me-too shopping mall clothing outlets won’t either.

I would try and discover the near-future preferences a growing target market will be developing, probably an online brand or at least one with an online market. I would select one of the struggling start ups and brand them into super stardom. Then, my portfolio would serve me well upon graduation.

Q: Favorite iconic campaign slogan?

A: The most memorable campaign slogans come from my early days in the advertising business, when I think advertising tried harder.

avislogo

Hertz vs. Avis- Whose slogan wins?

I remember the early days of car rental companies. Hertz laid claim to being number one. They weren’t number one, but they said they were and we believed them. So, competitor Avis was the one that got it right. They said “We’re number two, so we have to try harder.” Their employees wore big white buttons with red type that read, “We try harder.”

Of course, the iconic Rolling Stone magazine campaign was emulated for years. How many iterations of “Perception. Reality” have we seen since the 1980s?

If we look at current advertising campaigns, my favorite has to be Southwest.com and their slogan, “If it matters to you, it matters to us.” Southwest.com has aligned itself completely with the Internet. It has a social media presence and an online reservation presence that is killing the competition, including the online travel sites. They have rebranded their planes, too, with a bold and bright new look featuring a red, yellow and blue heart. The name on the planes is not Southwest Airlines, it is Southwest.com.

How do we know a campaign slogan is great? It must feel true and transparent. It must surprise us and make us smile or nod knowingly. It must not insult us. And it must make us wish we had created it ourself.

 

Thanks to Dr. Larry for answering my questions!

-R

Engaged Employees = Brand Success

November 12, 2014

Employee advocacy is a critical component to any brand’s success. Employees are not only the face of a company; they ARE the company… from internal culture to consumer engagement and brand image. By turning employees into trusted brand ambassadors, companies bring their strongest assets and their most vocal internal advocates into direct contact with their customer base. Internal employee communications strategies can have a direct impact on building consumer brand loyalty. When employees love their job, it shows, and the ripple effect of that honest and organic company adoration can be greater than any pre-planned marketing campaign.

There are more and more companies out there who are ditching the top-down internal communications approach and moving to a more employee-driven engagement model. Why? Because it works on many levels! Here are a few ideas of what successful brands are doing to engage employees:

Encourage employees to help build (and live) the brand mission and company culture. Create a sense of shared ownership in the goals of the company, and focus on using employee experiences and feedback to improve products/services and customer service. Seventh Generation, a green cleaning company, included employees in both setting goals and accountability for achieving them. In 2012, a group of Seventh Generation employees came together to help simplify the company mission into four aspirational principles: Nurturing Nature, Transforming Commerce, Enhancing Health and Building Communities. The principles help to provide year-to-year goals and business plans across all company units and is used as the road map for long term company planning. The Whole Foods “Declaration of Interdependence” is a sort of creed that works in conjunction with the company mission and values – Whole Foods believes the ideal that company success is dependent upon the collective energy and intelligence of all team members. By being empowered to fulfill the organization’s mission and values in every way they can, the company builds trust but also unleashes creativity and innovation. When employees are empowered to make decisions and problem solve, they feel appreciated and valued and thus work harder. Having employees who live and breathe the brand promise will result in better consumer experiences.

Seventh Generation Aspirational Principles

Seventh Generation Aspirational Principles Created by Employees

Cheer on Volunteerism. Corporate volunteer programs drive employee engagement, help recruit younger staff and increase visibility. There is a recent trend of companies offering volunteer opportunities and incorporating those opportunities into the company mission. LUSH, Seventh Generation and New Belgium Brewing Company are only a few examples of companies who have volunteerism baked into their corporate culture – offering benefits to those employees who volunteer their time within the local community. The outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia has also been successful in building a loyal employee base for not only the laid-back work environment of the company, but also the emphasis the company places on social and environmental causes. Through the Patagonia Employee Internship Program, employees can take paid leave for up to one month to intern with environmental organizations around the world. How cool!

Reward good work. LUSH, a fresh handmade cosmetics company in North America spearheaded a recognition program that builds on the company philosophy of employee interaction and volunteerism. Using a program called Kudos, LUSH encourages employees to reward each other for good work. Each staff member is given 50 points a month that they can use to reward each other with. In addition, LUSH team leaders have a larger pool of points to give out so that they can reward staff for positive things that they see each day. Employees can earn points by exemplifying LUSH values or for great customer feedback, leading by example, learning skills in new areas, perfect attendance, and random acts of kindness. Once received, the employee can exchange Kudos points for chocolate bars, movie tickets, gift cards, and even a big reward: a day off with pay. The goal of the program is to encourage staff to live in LUSH core values, participate in volunteer opportunities and find ways to thank each other each day. And, it isn’t just LUSH that’s doing it… even companies like Safeway has recently jumped on board!

Encourage social interaction. Be it through external social media or an effective and engaging Intranet, employees must have the opportunity to engage with one another to build friendships that go beyond the brick and mortar business walls.

Lead through Leadership. Leadership is more than just having a written mission statement. True leaders must have a genuine commitment to team members’ happiness, excellence and transparency. It is about leading by example, not just talking the talk, but being able to walk the walk. In order to foster a culture that adopts and truly believes in the mission, the leaders must set the bar themselves.

Empowered employees can be brand advocates and industry thought leaders who can help to increase a brands positive footprint both online and off. At the end of the day, an adoring employee base isn’t just great for word-of-mouth marketing, but it’s also good for the bottom line – impacting everything from brand awareness, to the recruitment of new employees. Simply put, engaged and motivated employees translate to happy customers. Helping employees to feel equipped and motivated to support the company may be one of the most important and effective elements in building market share. They are the front lines of any brand – don’t leave them out of the loop!

Life is Like a Box of Chicken Nuggets

November 6, 2014

Forrest Gump was on to something when he uttered a line that would become one of the most quotable movie lines, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

box of chocolates

image source

I may not be as profound or as original as Forrest’s mama, but if I could borrow a few of her words today, I’d say, “Life is like a box of chicken nuggets. You can only eat one bite at a time.” We don’t have the patience for the whole chicken these days. We’ve become a society that consumes and digests one bite at a time – both our fried chicken and our information. We crave the instant gratification of bite-sized nuggets.

chicken nugget boxMaybe it all started when Vh1’s Pop Up Videos were revived in 2011. Those pop-ups are officially called “info nuggets.” We get our pop culture fix in BuzzFeed’s countdown lists or in a single photo on Instagram. We are suckers for a good infographic. We get our news in bite-sized pieces from The Skimm. We constantly check our Twitter feeds, which is essentially an all-you-can-eat chicken nugget buffet.

One of my biggest challenges as a market researcher is communicating the findings in a compelling story. I’ve learned to tell stories one nugget at a time – sometimes it is a 6-pack and other times it is a 12-pack, but digesting one nugget at a time ensures that the audience will be satisfied at the end of the meal presentation, and still recall what they ate for lunch.

The next time you’re staring at a mile-high data set or hours of focus group videos, be inspired by your lunch. Tell your story one nugget at a time.

I Wanted an Upgrade

October 29, 2014

When I found the IMC program, I knew I wanted to be part of it. What really got my attention was the chance to learn today then apply the knowledge to my job tomorrow. This, combined with the overall relaxed-yet-professional feel of the program, sold it. I looked at other online programs, but they seemed full of themselves, steeped in theory and they were way more expensive.

My Journey to IMC

The decision to pursue a Master’s Degree, from just entertaining the idea to enrolling in IMC classes, took about three years. So why did it take me three years to decide? Life. I found out I was having a second baby, make that second and third baby (surprise). So I put grad school on the back burner.

The Lamphere family 2013. Kate, Sean, Livia, me and Violet.

The Lamphere family 2013. Kate, Sean, Livia, me and Violet.

I graduated from the University of North Texas in 1997 with a Business Journalism degree. Back then I wanted to win a Pulitzer Prize. Instead I landed in sleepy little towns working as a community journalist for 10 years. I loved the chance to engage and inform people. I learned that everyone has a story to tell and that story will change someone else’s life. My career took me from the suburbs of Dallas, Texas to Kitsap County, Washington state back to Austin, Texas. In 2007 I made the leap from reporter/editor to public relations writer. I also went from the private sector to the public sector. The Texas Comptroller’s office needed an Information Specialist, and I got the job. At first I wrote economic articles for the external newsletters and edited tax documents. Two years in, I got the chance to write marketing copy for the Texas Tuition Promise Fund and the Texas Unclaimed Property Program. Pretty soon I was the go-to person for ad copy.

I love taglines, headlines, playing with words and connecting people with information. But I knew my dusty J-school degree would not be enough in this digital world where more and more people were getting advanced degrees. So around 2010 I began my research. Then the girls came along and we went from a family of 3 with two incomes to a family of 5 with one income – mine. Now I really had to do something to boost my marketability and potential earning power.

IMC Experience

I applied to the IMC program and got accepted just weeks before the Early Fall 2013 term started. It was scary at first. I wasn’t sure if I would be up for the task. But it was one of the best decisions I have made. I have enjoyed most of the classes and the few that just weren’t my cup of tea, I ended up learning the most from. My favorite so far has been 637 Internal Communications and Branding because it applies to my current job as Internal Communications Specialist for the Texas Department of Transportation. A close second would be Creative Strategy & Execution. It was fun and really challenged my creative thinking skills. I am currently taking 641 Social Media & Marketing because I feel I am weak in that area. I am not a digital native and social media still seems like a fad in my reporter’s mind.

I have completed 6 courses, so I am aiming for a December 2015 graduation. I look forward to the two core courses, one specialty and the capstone I have to take. More than that, I look forward to interacting with fellow IMCers and learning as much as I can from the IMC experience. P.S. I’ll be rooting for the Mountaineers as they play the UT Longhorns on Nov. 8. For those of you in the Austin area, come to the open house  on Nov. 11 to see how great the IMC program really is. I will definitely be there.

Hello from Knoxville, TN

October 23, 2014

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.

Julie_Link_132150_KNOX_0001_cre_pp_8x10

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.

DSC_0623

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

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

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


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