Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

It’s Not Just Business; It’s Personal, Too.

December 15, 2014

What differentiates one company from another? Services, characteristics, location? One of the top distinguishing factors is the company’s brand image. It’s not just about what the company does and what they sell; it’s about how customers view them. Some companies have customers that are so loyal they tattoo the company logo on their bodies!

If branding is so important, why is a personal brand often forgotten?

Below is a favorite quote of mine that applies not only to a company’s brand, but also personal branding.

BrandingQuote

Just like a company’s brand image, a personal brand image is not built over night. You can’t stay up all night coding a new web site, designing business cards, and reworking your resume and think that you suddenly have a brand. Like Michael Eisner said…these things are built over time.

Your brand encompasses everything about you – your skills, characteristics, personality, resume, online presence, etc. If all of those things are communicating different personalities to viewers, what does that say about you?

The two most essential things to know when starting to look at your personal brand are:

  1. You already have a personal brand
  2. You don’t get to completely determine what your personal brand is

Your brand is what other people think of you, so it’s important to put your best foot forward and make every encounter and interaction you have consistent with who you say you are. In addition to keeping that in mind, below is information I’ve collected over the last few years to help people enhance their personal brand.

 

Step 1:

Determine how you want to be viewed. When people think of you, what do you want them to think? Ask yourself some foundation questions.

  • What do you do better than anyone else?
  • What are your values?
  • What do you get complemented for the most?
  • How do you do what you do? Is it different than other people who are doing the same thing?
  • What do you want to do? What are you most passionate about?

 

Step 2:

Structuring you brand

  • Research
    • Who else has your name? What are other people with your name doing online?
  • Register your web site
  • Develop Social media platforms
    • How much time do you have to dedicate to building your social media presence? It’s better to do fewer platforms well.
    • Try to keep your URLs and user names as consistent as possible
    • Use one or two photos across all platforms

 

Step 3:

Personal branding toolkit

  • Resume
  • Business Cards
  • Social Media
  • Portfolio
  • Blog
  • Wardrobe
  • Email Address

 

Common mistakes in personal branding

  • Thinking your social media posts are protected or having more than one account per social media site
  • Posting the same thing to all platforms at the same time
  • Not updating social media accounts regularly
  • Placing greater emphasis on logos and imaging and not who you are and what you want

 

Again, your personal brand encompasses all aspects of your skills, personality, digital presence, and attitude. When looking at everything from the way you dress to the Facebook profile photo you have, do you like what it’s saying about you?

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!

Do You Agree With the Judges?

October 29, 2014

DVRs, Hulu Plus, and HBO Go have all made tuning into our favorite TV shows on our own time and without commercial interruptions much easier. Our favorite half-hour sitcoms are now 20 minutes and we can watch a half-hour show and an hour long show in just 60 minutes. Why sit through commercials when you can get 10-20 minutes of your life back?

Is there anything that can be done to draw viewers back to watching their favorite shows in real time? It looks like there is. A guilty pleasure TV show of mine recently introduced live polling and voting during their 12th season. Project Runway utilized second-screen interactivity to urge fans to watch the show in real time and vote for their favorite designers, ask audience members if they agree with the judges, and determine who fans thought had the strongest or the weakest design.

Circle-Thumb-DownCircle-Thumb

Many shows, including Project Runway, have tapped into second-screen interactivity by encouraging viewers to use hashtags specifically for the show, vote for contests, and select activities or challenges that would be featured on the show. America’s Next Top Model has a (not very well defined) social media score from viewers that impacts a contest’s chance of winning the contest. Chopped has special episodes in which participants have to create dishes from basket ingredients selected by show viewers, and Bones has a fan of the week that is determined via social media.

What makes me wonder about the live polling is what impact it has on the show overall. Live polling allows the producers to see what people are thinking as they watch the show. Do they like a specific designer? What would happen to the viewership if the judgers sent a specific designer home? If you’re familiar with the show you know that host Tim Gunn has a “save” in which he can bring back an eliminated designer. Live polling is a great tool to use in attempting to make decisions based on audience reactions.

What do you think? Would you base scripting decisions off of audience feelings, or do you think you would move forward with the show as planned? What else would you do what that audience information?

WiFi Advertising

October 15, 2014

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?

Let it Go, Let it Go…

September 24, 2014

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

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?

Is being a verb a good thing?

July 28, 2014

Fifteen years ago you couldn’t “google” anything, you used facial tissue and lip balm, you photocopied your paperwork, you put a bandage on your boo boos, and you digitally altered photos to reduce red eye and crop out your exes.  You definitely didn’t use Kleenex and Chapstick, Xerox anything, wear a Band-Aid, and Photoshop your new headshot.

So, when did these products become (what some are calling) verbified or treated as common nouns and is it a good thing?

I want you to think, as a marketer, do you want your company name to become a verb or common noun?  Some think that is the highest honor bestowed on a brand.  Why wouldn’t they? Your company name is so integrated into the social culture that it is synonymous with the product you are selling.  Millions of people say your company name everyday.  Great marketing, right?  Well…it might not be everything it’s cracked up to be.  For example, it pushes a company to be a bit more strategic with their efforts.  Imagine your company is synonymous with a certain product and then you want to expand your product offerings.  You must now decide if you would like to utilize the current brand image of the products you’ve been selling in order to push the new product, or create a new product line under a different name.  When Clorox picked up Hidden Valley they didn’t want their company associated with ranch dressing, so they kept the name Hidden Valley.  Can you imagine the public reaction with an ad campaign selling “New Ranch Dressing by Clorox.” Yikes.

When product names become common nouns or verbs it leads to genericide, which is a nightmare for the legal department.  Essentially, it puts your product name into a position where it no longer has any legal or trademark protection.  Now, the product concept, imaging, and name that you’ve worked so hard to develop has no legal standing.  Trademark expert at Georgetown University, Rebecca Tushnet, said the risk of genericide is so low, the benefits outweigh the risk.  Is that a risk that you are willing to take?

Perhaps one of the most apparent verbified companies is Google.  How do they feel about it?  They might not be in love with the idea of Google becoming synonymous with searching the internet.  According to the New York Times, they have created wording on their policy page that says “Google” is not to be used as a noun or verb, only as a adjective.  They prefer you say “Google Search Engine.”  However, dictionary.com defines Google as “searching the internet for information.” So you can google without using Google.

What do you think?  Is it in a company’s best interest to become a common noun or become verbified?  Is it the highest honor, or a detriment to a company’s brand image?

On a World Stage

July 3, 2014

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?

INTEGRATE2014 Recap: Lee Odden

May 31, 2014

Digital Convergence: The Integrated Marketing & PR Imperative was a knock out session. Lee Odden’s dynamic presentation style captivated the audience and gave us great tips and reminders to incorporate into our IMC worlds.

After engaging in the session, I think my blog title is a bit misleading.  There is no way a blog post would even make a dent in recapping Lee’s session or capturing the amazing information and presentation style shared with us this morning.

So, if you weren’t at the session (or even if you were) I challenge you to think of the word “optimizing” very differently.  It seems as though every time I mention the word “optimize” people automatically think of it in terms of digital media or graphic design.  The biggest take away from the session today was optimizing content for your audience.  Lee encouraged us to start the marketing process with empathy.  As marketers we need to think of what are customers need and how we can help them get it.  How can we optimize our content to help our clients get where they need to go?   How can we make their jobs and their lives easier so that they will want to communicate with us?  He mentioned journalists as a prime example.  Years ago journalists were not thought of as a target market, but Lee saw them as a target market and changed the way he provided information to them.  Instead of simple press releases the information was rich and included materials journalists need, but don’t have the time to track down.  Starting with empathy lead to significant changes in the way the information was presented. You need to make sure that when a customer is looking for answers, your information is there to help them.

Lee also empowered the audience to think a bit differently (Not surprising).  He reiterated that we can change the game in regards to content marketing.  As he says, “If you want to be in the media, become the media.”

I”ll leave you with Lee’s 3 Key Takeaways and highly encourage you to speak with him at the conference, or see him present in the near future.  If talking to people isn’t your thing, you can read his blog or check out his book, Optimize.

  • If you want to be in the media – become the media
  • Build amplification into the content design process – be the best answer wherever customers are looking
  • Keep content accountable across channels – attract, engage, convert

image

If you attended Lee’s session or have read his book, Optimize, what were your favorite parts? What got you the most excited?

INTEGRATE2014 Recap: Capstone Prep

May 30, 2014

The Capstone Prep Session was a great way to start the conference! I left the session with so many great ideas and I’m very excited to take the capstone class. (I’m actually a little disappointed I won’t be taking it until next fall!)

“Creativity is intelligence having fun” – Einstein

20140530-123134-45094615.jpg

In case you missed it or forgot to take notes, here are some tips shared at the session this morning!

Tips
-Budget your time
-Talk to people in your network
-Keep your focus
-Bring your insights
-Bring your ideas
-Bring your best game — it’s about you and how you present yourself to the world. It’s how you see yourself
-Preparation begins now – start research before you start class
-CREATIVE IDEAS ARE ESSENTIAL and required
-Strategy is not a tagline
-Don’t think like a student – think like a CEO. You must be a full IMC agency for nine weeks
-Clients don’t want to hear what they already know. It has to be different.

IMC Creativity
– Get to the core – ICSS
– Find the novel approach – something new
– Take risks – but stay on strategy

If you want an A you have to B(e) -
-Strategic
-Resourceful
-Surprising
-Interesting
-Efficient
-Effective
-Thorough
-Organized
-Creative

Research Tips
1 – Do basics really well
2 – Go a step beyond – trade journals
3 – Get your own insights – look for gaps in existing research

I hope you find this list helpful! For those of you who have taken the class, anything you’d like to add?


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