Archive for August, 2011

A Legacy or a Legend

August 29, 2011

When I heard the news of Steve Jobs resignation and began reading the articles, posts and tweets speculating on the future of Apple I was immediately reminded of another iconic leader whose genius and imagination has affected the lives of generations.

Most of us, at one time or another, have been impacted by the life and legacy of Walt Disney. Walt was a man who wasn’t afraid to dream big and challenge convention in order to see those dreams become a reality. Because of his leadership, the creative legacy he left behind lives on in the Walt Disney Company, which is still entertaining millions of individuals around the globe years after his passing.

Although Steve will remain as Chairman of the Board and an employee of Apple time will tell whether those left to take the reigns of  the company will carry on the creativity and innovation that Steve Jobs instilled. It will take creative and courageous individuals to turn Steve’s creativity, insight and imagination into a legacy that will move Apple forward and not reduce it to a legend.

If you think about it, we wouldn’t have had the privilege of meeting Woody, Buzz, Andy and the rest of the Toy Story gang if it weren’t for Walt Disney AND Steve Jobs.

What kind of PR & Marketing challenges do you see Apple facing as a result of Steve’s resignation?

Happy First Week of Classes

August 25, 2011

Classes resumed this week for those of us in the IMC Program! I took the summer off, so I was anxious to see who my classmates would be and what type of work Week 1 would require. After all, I had the entire summer to relax and prepare for IMC 615, my sixth class in the master’s degree program. And let me just say, I am a more refreshed, focused Creative Strategy & Execution student than I ever could have been without the break!

I had the back-to-school jitters this weekend thinking “will taking the summer off put me behind?” or “will completing this week’s assignment slip my mind?” All of my fears rested Monday night when I logged into the eCampus website after work and began researching information for my discussion board post – it was truly like no time had passed.

And you know what? The past two evenings, I’ve gone out with friends and had relaxing, worry-free nights. Last night, I spent an hour at a Downtown Canton coffee shop and tonight, I supported ystark! by attending a guest bartending event. I’ve been able to get back into the swing of things while still keeping my personal commitments intact, which is truly the best of both worlds.

I don’t regret taking the summer off – I actually am proud I rewarded myself with a short break. Even though I wasn’t earning credit in the IMC program this summer, I educated myself in numerous ways. Through playing in a tennis league, volunteering, and traveling, I was able to learn and experience adventures that can’t be found in a textbook. Truly, this summer I learned that being out in one’s community is important to professional growth and I’m looking forward to utilizing the skills I’ve learned this summer in the classroom.

Me? An Integrated Marketing Communicator?

August 23, 2011

Hello! My name is Kevin Hart. I hope you had a great summer and are ready to dive into the new semester. I am really looking forward to reconnecting with my former classmates as well as meeting my new classmates and instructor. For those of you who are just starting the IMC program and might be a little nervous I want to assure you that if I can do it you can too.

When I Was a Rock Star

You see, I am one of those people who didn’t know what they wanted to be when they grew up so my educational and career path haven’t followed what you might call a “logical” progression. I’ve been a musician, typesetter, youth pastor and customer service representative just to name a few.

When I took my first class, Introduction to IMC, in the Fall of 2009 I was worried that having an Associates Degree in Graphics Communications and a Regents Bachelor of Arts Degree were going to leave me at a disadvantage in a program that was likely going to be filled with Journalism, PR, Advertising and Marketing professionals.

What made me think I’d fit in with “professional” marketing people?

Well, I am happy to report that I’m starting my fifth course, PR Concepts and Strategy this semester and I’ve never once felt like I didn’t belong. One of the things that has most impressed me about the IMC program is how often I feel like a colleague, instead of  a student, among my classmates and instructors. I learn just as much from my classmates as I do my instructors and I encourage you to reach out to your fellow students and instructors both in and outside of the “classroom”.

Here are a few things that have helped me.

  • Find and friend your classmates and instructors on Facebook.
  • Follow your classmates and instructors on Twitter.
  • Attend next years Integrate conference. There’s nothing like meeting your classmates and instructors face-to-face.

You can find me on most of the major social networks. I look forward to getting to know you.

How science, a bathroom stall and brown shoes led me to the IMC program

August 23, 2011

Hello to all the IMC students and those searching for a master’s program. My name is Amy Clausen and I’m going to be sharing my experiences with you over the next few months. I thought I would start with a bit of background and what led me to the IMC program.

hazmatI graduated with a B.S. degree in molecular biology back in 1993. I remember how excited I was to get my first job in a lab, only to realize that it was a whole lot of repetitive tasks such as hours upon hours of being donned in a getup that was just shy of a hazmat suit while I sat in a sterile room pouring cell culture media. Half a year later and a couple of crazy co-workers, I found myself in another lab doing endless pipetting day after day. I was only a year into my career and wanted to find a new one (sidenote: I have tremendous appreciation for those who can do research all day as its a critical part of our advancement in medicine and science – its just not me).

The bathroom scene:

In the public bathroom at the lab I was working at, I was talking to another one of my co-workers about how bored I was of the job. I thought all the stalls were empty but the was mortified when I heard a flush. I glanced over to notice a pair of brown shoes. I quickly washed my hands and headed out for some more mindless pipetting. Later that afternoon as I was sitting at my cubicle entering the data into an excel spreadsheet, I happened to notice those same brown shoes walking by. I looked up to realize that those brown shoes were attached to the feet of my current boss (sigh). Yep, we made eye contact and we both knew that the conversation was heard. But instead of making my life miserable, she did me the greatest favor of all time.

Making the move to marketing:

My current boss in the lab happened to be friends with the marketing director at the biotech company I was working for. The marketing director was looking for an assistant and how lucky for me, my boss figured I was perfect for the job, knowing that I was bored to death of being in the lab. And that’s how it all began. Ever since making the move into marketing back in 1995, I had been self-educating and reading just about every book I could relating to marketing. I was fortunate to work my way up and transfer to another biotech company that I am currently working for now. It was the best move I could have ever made and have loved being able to use my science degree in a non-lab position.

So why the IMC program or better yet, why the IMC program after being on the job for 16 years?

Several reasons:

  1. Focused and relevant program.
    The days of spray and pray marketing are over (you know – spray your message to the masses and pray that it sticks to someone). When I started in marketing in 1995, the internet was just starting to make its debut. To be accurate, it was called the world wide web and all our marketing materials specifically said “visit us on the world wide web at”. Can you imagine? When’s the last time you called it the world wide web (or included the www for that matter) or had to tell people what that meant? Mass advertising was the common approach. That’s all changed now. With the rise of social media channels, interactivity online, smartphones, tablets/ereaders etc., consumers control what they want to read, when they want to read it and how they want to access it. It’s no longer the marketers decision as to what to put out there and how (unless you of course want to be ignored). I wanted a program that would emphasize the newest platforms/approaches/channels/tactics etc. You can’t get a better program than the courses offered in the IMC at WVU that gives you 13 solid classes covering every topic from PR to consumer promotions to cause marketing to creative strategy to emerging media to marketing research to web analytics to mobile marketing and on and on and on. I didn’t want an MBA that focused all on business and gave me 4 high-level overview classes of marketing. If you’re up against the MBA in the next marketing interview, who do you think will be more competitive considering the marketing environment today?
  2. Flexibility.
    I am a full-time working mom of 3 kids. My job requires me to travel at times with client visits and conferences. The last thing I wanted was to be tied to a classroom. The IMC program allows me to sit on the sidelines of the soccer field while I watch out of one eye and type my posts on my iphone at the same time. Sure, it means I multi-task, but that’s a whole lot better than missing the games because I am sitting in a classroom. I’ve completed posts on an airplane and sitting aside the Mediteranean Sea in Israel for business. It goes where you go and you do it on your own time (which sometimes means at 1 am – but I choose when it works for me, not the other way around).
  3. Diversity and credibility. 
    I would be as bold to say you won’t find a program with as diverse a student base covering all corners of the country, all levels of the workforce with an incredible cross-section of backgrounds. The professors aren’t by-the-book kinds that are only in the classroom every day. They are out there in the thick of it with you. They have an enormous amount of experience of things that work and don’t work. The program is also attached to a physical brick and mortar school that is accredited. That was important to me in a time where online and virtual places are popping up all over. I didn’t want to find out that my degree was purchased from some guy in a garage somewhere.

So that’s the story that led me here today. What were some of the reasons that brought you to the IMC program? Or if you are still looking for a masters program,  what is it that you are looking for?

Can we call it the Barry Bowl?

August 17, 2011

The first Mountaineers football game of 2011 is less than four weeks away and the NFL season will be underway just days after that. But, I’m already looking forward to September 2012, because it was just recently announced that the Mountaineers will be taking on the Dukes of James Madison Univ. at FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins.

Now, you ask, what the heck WVU is doing playing a I-AA team in a stadium that’s 200 miles away and why are you telling me about it on the IMC blog? Well, I can’t answer the first question, but check this out: JMU is my undergrad alma mater, WVU will be my graduate alma mater by year’s end, and I grew up in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC! The coincidences are almost too much to believe.

Now, I understand that the decision to hold this game is pretty controversial in Morgantown, but can you understand how excited I am that it’s happening? I may not know whom I’ll be rooting for yet (hey, I’m just being honest here), but I definitely know it’ll be worth the plane ticket from Seattle in order to be there in person!

Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival

August 17, 2011

Canton, Ohio is home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and well, me! Along with the Hall of Fame, comes an annual Enshrinement Festival complete with two weeks of fireworks, concerts, competitions, parades, and other events. Don’t be fooled by the football aspect of the Enshrinement Festival – you don’t have to know the game to love it. In fact, my favorite activity is a launch of hot air balloons. Really, whether you love football or hate it, this festival is one the entire county looks forward to each year.

I had posted previously that I enjoy volunteering in my community and hoped to be a part of the festival in one shape or form (fun fact – I got introduced to volunteering for the festival during my internship, when the radio station I represented, sponsored it). And this year, I did volunteer quite a bit – setting up for the Ribs Burn-Off and serving drinks a few days later at the same event. I even entered a number of photos in the Annual Photo Contest the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce sponsored. Overall, I had a lot of fun.

Some photos I took of the Balloon Launch!

For those of you who follow the NFL know that the lock-out caused a bit of trouble this year’s festivities. A big draw to the festival is the Hall of Fame Football Game, bringing fans from across the country to Canton. This year, the football game was canceled.

Since I’m not that big into football, this wasn’t a blow to me. I’m perfectly happy enjoying hot air balloons, but to the die-hard football fans across the country, this was heartbreaking. Many local businesses count on the extra consumers that come to visit for the game.

But you know what? People still came to the festival. Some stayed for the full two weeks and locals like me appreciated the event just as much as previous years. Men and women traveled to Canton to watch football players they’ve idolized earn a major achievement, and like all the years prior, they stood behind the Hall of Fame’s mission and appreciated each and every minute.

Game or no game, this was a year I’ll remember!

The perfect fit (and it’s adjustable)

August 15, 2011

A sunny weekend, August 2009 – I was sitting in my living room beginning to research Masters degree programs in marketing and/or business. Now, on this cloudy day in August 2011, I’m back in my living room blogging as a student ambassador for the IMC at WVU program. Two years have passed, a lot has changed, and now I’m just two classes away from earning my degree. If you’re where I was in 2009, then this post is for you.

One reason I jumped at the opportunity to be a student ambassador is that I know what it’s like to complete IMC coursework under a variety of circumstances:

  • Working full time (and traveling 40% of that time) and taking one IMC class per term
  • Taking IMC classes “full time” (two per term) while consulting part-time
  • Gaining “new dad” status while keeping up with two classes at a time

That last one is a recipe for sleep deprivation, but that’s not to say I’m the anywhere near the busiest IMC student (parents with a job and two classes per term, here’s looking at you). My point is, the IMC program looked like a good fit when I first learned about it two years ago and it’s continued to be a good fit even as my life has changed around it. If you’re considering the program, but not sure how it fits into your life, your career, your goals, etc, don’t hesitate to post a comment below. You can also contact Ainsley, Nicole, or me directly through the Student Ambassador page.

Making IMC Work for Me

August 5, 2011

With many changes in my life coming in the next few months, I have been figuring out how what I have learned in my IMC courses can help me in this process. These changes include moving back to the Baltimore area, buying mine and my husbands first house, going through the interview process to find a

Is this how the workforce is now?

job that will help me flourish in my career, and graduating with my IMC Master’s degree. All of these changes are very exciting and will be a time to remember in my life but it can be kind of intimidating not really knowing how your future will look. This is life though and something that everyone experiences in their life. Now that I am going back out there into the interviewing process, I need to think about how different it is as to when I first went out there after my Bachelors degree.

As my resume is getting out there to potential employers, I begin to think about how my IMC classes will help me through these interviews. Through all of the topics that I have explored in my 10 classes in the program, there is one that seems to stick out in my mind. Branding and brand equity. Essentially what I am doing in applying for jobs and interviewing is creating a brand of myself and trying to market myself to those I interact with. To market yourself is very important and something that will be important throughout my life. We had learned a little bit about the whole concept of marketing ourselves in a breakout session at the INTEGRATE conference in June from Dawn Edmiston.

The beach house we are staying in Ocean City, MD.

Now that I am preparing to build my personal brand equity and branding myself in the best ways, I am looking to those that have been in my position before. Getting advice from those individuals and talking to people in the IMC program has been a huge benefit for me. The program has really allowed me to meet so many different people and connect with them through various social networking platforms. As summer is winding down and the fall semester is starting in a few weeks, I plan on enjoying the rest of my time with family and friends because life is going to be changing real soon! For now, going to Ocean City with my husband and friends is on my mind and I can’t wait! After that, back to hitting the books, looking for houses to move into, and a job to give my all to.

Until next time!


Google Plus: A new trend or here to stay?

August 1, 2011

I’m always hesitant to buy into new trends. Although at the moment, you probably wouldn’t believe that since I’m rocking some serious hair flair, OPI Shatter nail polish, and just joined Google Plus, which made its debut on the web at the end of June. Soon, my funky hair flair and wild nail polish will go out of style, but is Google Plus here to stay?

If you’re new to the idea of Google Plus, it is similar to Facebook, but categories called circles help control your presence on your friends’ news streams. Putting each connection into a circle allows you to post information in a controlled fashion.

Here are some benefits to the circles:

I do a lot of social networking for my job and personally, I enjoy tweeting, Facebooking, and of course, blogging for WVU, so I thought Google Plus would be up my alley. I had a co-worker of mine invite me because I was excited to experience this new social networking trend. But as of right now, I’m not really that into it. Of course, I only have 4 connections, so that could easily be my downfall. And really, no matter who you are or how often you’re logging into this new web gem, we’re all new to Google Plus!

Google has gotten their feet wet into social networking and has created a way to build buzz, while keeping people intrigued. In fact, Mashable recently stated that Google Plus is perfect for job-searchers. And they’ve even made sure its users are exactly who they say they are, by deleting profiles with obviously phony names. Although I’m not a full fledged Google Plus fanatic (yet!), I’m excited to see where this new trend goes and hopefully, one day say that I was a part of it from the beginning.