Join the #AgencyBlueprint Virtual Book Discussion

April 20, 2015 by
Are you trying to disrupt and transform the marketing services industry?  If so, you need to join the #AgencyBlueprint virtual Skype book discussion on 4/28 at 8:30 p.m. EST. I will share key insights from The Marketing Agency Blueprint: The Handbook for Building Hybrid PR, SEO, Content, Advertising, and Web Firms by #Integrate15 speaker, Paul Roetzer (@paulroetzer), with attendees.

This event is part of an interactive series focused on empowering IMC professionals through thought leadership discussions, marketing technology analysis and creative collaboration.

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When: 4/28 at 8:30 – 9:30 PM EST
Where: Skype
Please join the #AgencyBlueprint Skype discussion!
Direct message me (@Julie_Long_) for complete login details.

Please note that early INTEGRATE full-conference registrants may receive Paul’s latest book The Marketing Performance Blueprint at the conference next month.

The Story Behind STORY

April 15, 2015 by

A Manhattan-based retailer is turning the page on brick-and-mortar expectations. STORY has a magazine POV, changes like a gallery, and sells things like a store. (It’s like a Pinterest board come to life.)

With its product as content, and its content changing completely monthly or bi-monthly as well as being for sale, STORY has embraced its retail media status. Past themes including Well Being, Design, Made in America, and Cool reflect how STORY has continued to reinvent its space and product stock while inspiring an audience. Experiential storytelling is the steady factor.

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There’s always something new inside STORY.

Brands both new and established have sought to become part of STORY’s themes. From General Electric to celebrity-status YouTubers, STORY has the ability to extend its content and reach beyond typical niche retail markets by partnering with a new set of brands every few weeks.

How has media inspired other brick-and-mortar retailers and brought together unlikely brands?

-R

 

 

How To Name A Marketing Agency

April 13, 2015 by

The first surprising thing I discovered in my IMC Capstone journey is that naming a marketing agency really tests your creative skill. Idea? Google it. Already taken. Better idea? Backspace and Google again. Also taken.

It’s a process I recommend starting before Week 1 if you can. I learned to prioritize the “how” of my then yet-to-be-named agency. How did I want my agency to approach a client’s project? That starting point inspired me to then relate my concept to less-literal names, finally leading me to a winner.

During this process, I stumbled upon a helpful agency name graphic I hope you’ll find just as useful.

While I mostly recognized the Founder names, the other categories offered the most inspirational ideas during my brainstorming process.

Because Capstone requires you to thread your agency’s unique approach throughout your integrated marketing proposal for the chosen client, take some time to build a strong foundation for your project. Having a clear agency identity makes writing other sections in your project easier to accomplish because you have a defined perspective to work from.

WVU IMC alum, current and future Capstoners: What advice/comments/questions do you have about naming a marketing agency?

-R

When a Brand Really ‘Gets’ You

April 8, 2015 by

Isn’t it refreshingly creepy when a brand really “gets” you? I’ve been a Real Simple reader for a decade, but recently I’ve not been that interested in the content. How many ways can one really use a lint roller? And how many more things can I clean with lemon juice and white vinegar? And no matter how hard I try, I’ll never fold a fitted sheet so that it is not recognizable as a fitted sheet.  In fact, why would I not want to know which one is a fitted sheet.  I want to know! Just as I was considering letting that subscription go, I reengaged with Real Simple via a spin-off Instagram account that resonates deeply with me. WomenIRL is “an account that features real images from women’s feeds that give a more realistic, unfiltered perspective of everyday life.” Sure, we love to dream about perfectly staged coffee tables and fresh flowers in every room of the house, but Real Simple just proved to me that they REALLY GET ME when WomenIRL launched.

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Women IRL 3

WomenIRL 2Now, throughout the day as I mindlessly check my Instagram feed between meetings or while waiting in the drop-off line, I get quick hits from a brand that say, “hey, I know how you feel.” And that puts Real Simple back on my mind in a very good way. No need for a multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad, just give me a few crowd-sourced ‘grams that show me that you know me and I’m totally yours again. Well done, Real Simple.

The IDEA FACTORY Lives on in Communications and Advocacy

April 2, 2015 by

Idea Factory - BLOG

This is a guest blog post by IMC 638 instructor, Mike Fulton.

Ideas are the lifeblood of our business.

I learned in my first year at an emerging Washington, D.C. public and government relations shop that ideas generated from credible, insightful information and translated into creative, measureable strategy separated the pretenders from the ladder climbers. That is still the case!

I was fortunate 25 years ago when I made the transition from Capitol Hill public servant to communications and lobbying. My first boss, Dan McGinn, president of what was then Ryan-McGinn, Inc. in Arlington, VA — set the tone at our firm and was masterful at conceptualizing tangible, strategic tactics to advance our clients’ diverse priorities. I wanted not only to be like him, but also to continually impress him with my ideas for our clients and new business pursuits.

One day our hard-working chief handed out T-shirts at an energizing company retreat with the words “The Idea Factory” emblazoned on the front. Below the title was a graphic featuring a large golden light bulb being pulled out of a factory by many smaller light bulbs, excited by their collaboration. Our company logo was featured on the large light bulb.

Thank goodness, in all of those years and several agencies later, I continue to strive to offer my clients and new business prospects the “big idea” that will help catapult their organizations forward. Every consultant – from the CEO to junior account executives – should be constantly focused on connecting the dots for their clients and generating ideas that inspire, persuade and build lasting relationships.

Key Tenets of Generating and Sharing Ideas

    • Know your client, their people, culture and industry as well as or better than they do themselves.
    • Follow multiple sources that impact their industry and business, particularly in the areas of emphasis of your policy, media, events, marketing, advertising or fundraising scope of work.
    • Meet with or talk to experts and key influencers in your clients’ field(s).
    • Visit the clients’ offices, business locations and meet with as many people as you possibly can.
    • Listen more initially and resist the urge to offer off-the-cuff feedback on client issues. Clients love when consultants listen well and act when they are informed and certain. Do not take copious notes when handling crisis scenarios; your notes may not initially be protected by attorney-client privilege.
    • Do not always wait for regularly scheduled client meetings or conference calls to share “breaking information” that could assist them or change current strategy.
    • Always be thinking of other services or products in which you could interest your clients. Do not wait until contracts are completed to pitch your ideas or share meaningful information.
    • Offer context on your information and ideas as well as the timeline, responsibilities and estimated costs required. Stress win-win partnerships and resource sharing.
    • Try to anticipate how your ideas or information will be received by the client and be prepared to leap into action (more research and/or actual implementation).
    • Make proactive information gathering and idea generation a part of your personal and corporate culture.

Scenarios when the “big idea,” strategic thinking or research made a difference

When the pressure was on: A global corporate client with multiple, complex products and solutions needed it to be boiled down to a simple every-day concept that anyone could understand. A brainstorming session on a federal holiday led to the winning theme, which landed our agency a $7 million annual account.

When extra time was spent researching contents of a report: A $10 million project was identified in one of the 13 federal appropriations bills. We had a client that wanted a similar project and had a need for a PET scanning center, so we pitched it with a key Senator who made it happen.

When a tactic revealed more than we were counting on: A national survey was conducted as a means for offering a transportation center client “news” to announce at an upcoming event, and responses to some of the other questions posed convinced the client to broaden its membership and goals.

When listening paid dividends: We pitched a statewide community college system for a comprehensive marketing campaign and, because we listened carefully, we heard the chancellor begging for help on a smaller but more important communications and fundraising priority. Doing a great job on that project got us closer to winning the statewide campaign.

When partnerships were forged: Leveraging a Congressionally-authorized Veterans History Project and bringing in college journalism and oral history students to assist, we created an award-winning “Take a Veteran to School Day” campaign for the cable industry that we also replicated in another state. Partnerships can amplify a campaign, and building on existing successful programs can build instant credibility.

Following these key principles and adding your brand value to them may help you retain some clients beyond the original contract, gain repeat business from decision-makers, and maintain trusted relationships for decades. I continue to
work with some people I first met while working in Congress three decades ago.

I can truly say that my first job after Capitol Hill was working at the IDEA FACTORY, and I am glad I did!
———————————————————————————————————————————
C. Michael Fulton is director of public affairs and advocacy for the Washington, D.C. office of the Asher Agency. Mike teaches public affairs in the WVU Reed College of Media’s Integrated Marketing Communications program. He is active in both the Association of Government Relations Professionals and Public Relations Society of America. He can be reached at mikef@asheragency.com, LinkedIn or @hillrat1156.

What’s In Your Pocket?

March 31, 2015 by

Picture this: You’re perusing Twitter and find a great article. You open the link and think to yourself that you’ll read it on your lunch break. Your lunch break finally comes and something else requires your attention. The next thing you know it’s the end of the day you never got around to reading your article, but you shut down your computer and lost the link. Sound familiar? This happened to me nearly every day…until I got Pocket.

Pocket  is a great little app that you can put on your smartphone, tablet, and your browser to keep track of the articles that catch your attention, but you don’t have time to read. When you come across great content that requires further investigation simply click on the Pocket icon on your browser and tag the content for easy sorting and categorizing.

PocketSmallPhoto

After that you can view the content on any of your devices when it’s convenient for you. I find Pocket extremely useful at conferences and during Twitter chats. These fast-paced learning opportunities can be further enhanced by categorizing content in Pocket.

The other feature of Pocket that I really like is the tagging feature. I can easily organize content by a variety of tools. I find Pocket to be a great way to organize articles that professors and students share in class so I can go back and revisit them later.

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You can also integrate Pocket with more than 500 other apps including Flipboard, Zite, and Evernote and log in on any of your devices to read the content later. It’s a great way to stay organized and up-to-date on great content. If that sounds like a process that would work for you, check out Jamie Todd Rubin’s processRead the rest of this entry »

INTEGRATE 2015: Speaker Profile – Steve Radick

March 23, 2015 by

“Integrated marketing can’t be a mandate. It has to be a mindset.”
– Steve Radick VP, Director of Public Relations at Brunner in Pittsburgh 

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The tweet-worthy quote Steve shared with me in the interview below highlights the quality of thought leadership content that will be shared with attendees at the INTEGRATE conference.

Registration is still open. However, early bird rates end on March 31st.

@Julie_Long_: On your blog you stated, “Integrated marketing involves a lot more than simply bringing the SEO guy to the meeting.” How do you define IMC and who should be attending meetings?

@sradick: There’s this misperception in the industry that integrated marketing means having a bunch of boxes on an org chart. Just because you have a Director of Search, and a VP of Media, a Director of PR, a Senior Social Media Strategist, and a User Experience Czar doesn’t mean that you’ve got an integrated marketing agency. You’re actually more likely to have an old-fashioned game of Hungry Hungry Hippos on your hands – everyone’s scratching and clawing to get more money and power for their respective discipline. Integrated marketing is about more than giving each department a seat at the table – it’s about making sure the people in those seats are more concerned with the business than themselves.

If you focus only on involving people because of where they are on the org chart, you’ll get people who build from the bottom up. That is, the social media guy thinks social media will solve everything. The paid media guy wants a paid media solution. And so on and so on. You end up with a bunch of strategies and tactics that someone then has to cobble together into a single, coherent strategy. Shouldn’t we instead strive to build strategies from the top down? Get the people in the room who are focused on meeting the business objectives first, not his or her line of business. Integrated marketing can’t be a mandate. It has to be a mindset.

@Julie_Long_: At INTEGRATE 2015, your presentation will be focusing on the arms race currently taking place in content marketing. Can you tease us with any of the topic areas that will be discussed?

@sradick: Just like the hammer in search of a nail, marketers are spending more and more of their time and energy reducing every conversation, article, and photo to a piece of data, all in an effort to maximize their ROI and deliver the most eyeballs at the lowest price. There was a time wayyyy back when, in 2010, when content marketing best practices were to write a blog post and post to Facebook 3-4 times a week. As more content was created, it became harder and harder to stand out though. Marketers took this as a challenge and figured that the best way to solve this problem was to pump out even more content. The more you post, the more chances there are of people seeing it right? Instead of a world where brands created content that solved problems, added value, or created deeper relationships with customers, we created a world where more simply equals better. That’s why there’s so much spam and so many banner ads. It’s easier to spam a million people in the hopes that 1% of them will click rather than creating something valuable for 50,000 people where 20% will click. Where does it stop?

Content marketing gives us the opportunity to rethink how brands market themselves for the better – if we can stop ourselves from trying to game the system and instead think about how to best optimize our relationships with our customers.

@Julie_Long_: Students/Alums: Submit one career advancement question for Steve and the winning question will be personally answered by him at INTEGRATE.

Post your question in the comments section below.

 

A special thank you goes out to Steve for taking the time to provide his thoughtful contributions to this article.

Advice On Surviving Two Classes Per Term

March 19, 2015 by

Books

The beauty of the WVU IMC program is that you can select a plan that best fits your needs. For me, that was taking three classes a year – one in the spring, one in the fall, and one in the summer. Sure, I had weeks of downtime in between that meant it would take me fours years to complete the program, but that was the best route for me with tuition reimbursement and work schedules. I was pretty happy with my plan and things were going smoothly. Then, I got an email from WVU saying they were changing the course requirements and I could graduate sooner. I was very excited, but it meant taking the capstone in late fall, which would be extremely challenging with work and other commitments. So, I made the decision to take two classes in early spring so I could take the capstone in the summer. It was a difficult decision, but it was the right one.

Taking two classes for the first time can be very difficult. So, I wanted to share a few tips that worked for me and some wise words from our classmates. If you’re taking two classes this term, I wish you all the best and hope that you’ll find these tips helpful. For those of you that are digging in and taking two classes every term – you’re amazing and I’d love to see how you do it, so leave a comment!

Wise Words From Classmates

  • “I have doubled up twice now, and the biggest tip I can offer is time management! Be prepared that you will probably have to work on your classes everyday (or almost everyday). Thus, it is important that you plan ahead and schedule your time wisely, so you don’t get overwhelmed or burnt out. It often looks very overwhelming when your classes first start, but I just take it one day at a time, and do a little bit of work on classes each day. It makes things much more manageable and less overwhelming!” – Jamie Huggins
  • “I’ve doubled up 3 out of my 4 semesters (I don’t take summer classes). Tips: be sure to set aside time for each class during the week. I found I’d write my discussion post for one class on Monday and the other class on Tuesday to keep them separate. I would write down whom I had responded to in each class to ensure I was responding to the correct number of DPs weekly. I also utilized other IMC members to figure out which classes to take together so that I wasn’t completely overloaded. I generally write my papers on Sunday, which makes for a really crappy weekend, but it means Monday I can start fresh on the next week’s assignments. I hope these help others!” – Ashley Noland
  • “ I doubled twice. Time management is key. Alternate during the week and focus on one class per day. Otherwise you can get confused by the discussion post topics. Don’t stress if you can’t read every single class discussion post. Double check your assignment submissions. But if you accidentally upload the wrong assignment to the wrong class, immediately contact your professor. They are usually pretty good about it.” – Kristi Hansen  ( I can attest to this.  I was trying very hard to avoid doing this, but inevitably it happened.  My professor completely understood.)

 My  Schedule

I agree with everything these wise ladies have said. It took me a while to get in a groove with how to balance both classes, but in the end here’s what my schedule looked like:

  • Monday: Write discussion board posts for both classes
  • Tuesday: Start Class 1’s assignment
  • Wednesday: Respond to all discussion board posts for each class
  • Thursday: Start Class 2’s assignment
  • Friday: Finish any discussion posts that weren’t done or work on assignments (In the rare event that there were no assignments that week, this was a treasured night off)
  • Saturday: Class 1’s readings for next week and assignment
  • Sunday: Class 2’s readings for next week and assignment

 

One key element for me was to take a break on Monday and Wednesday nights between working on materials for each class. That would allow me to clear my head so I didn’t get confused. I started the term using Kristi’s method of working on one class each day, but I wanted to keep up with my classmate’s posting on the discussion boards. Doing both discussions on Monday helped me participate more in the conversation. It will be different for every class, but I had some very interactive discussion boards this term! For the assignments and readings I found it very beneficial to work on one class per day, so I didn’t get confused.

If you have more tips on surviving two classes per term I would love to hear them! Also, feel free to check out this previous post on organizing files in case you need a little inspiration for the upcoming term. Good luck with classes this term!

 

Quarter-Life Crisis? Origins Understands.

March 18, 2015 by

Being a twenty-something is tough… on your skin. At least, that’s the connection Origins is making in an effort to reach women in their 20s with its #QuarterLifeCrisis campaign.

 

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Origins is pushing a new skin renewal serum to twenty-somethings through its Quarter-Life Crisis social media campaign.

 

The skincare company has embraced the “tongue-in-cheek quandaries” used by the target market on platforms like Twitter to guide its witty approach to the campaign that is designed to promote the launch of the brand’s Original Skincare Renewal serum.

 

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#QuarterLifeCrisis

 

Scroll through Origins’ Twitterfeed and you’ll find quirky, relatable content with humor that is worthy of a retweet.

Does this campaign have longevity, or will it grow old quickly with millennials?

-R


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