Archive for June, 2013

The Desert Road and the Stops Along the Way

June 14, 2013

Hello everyone! This introductory post may start off sounding like the cover letter to a job application, but please bear with me because I almost can’t resist. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. My name is Kris, and I’m excited to be a student blogger because I am passionate about Integrated Marketing Communications. Okay, got that out.

Actually, I AM having a great time in the IMC program and have mixed feelings about it coming to end after I complete the capstone this December. It’s like we’re driving down a desert road with all these fill-up stations, and the capstone is this large object in the approaching horizon (you decide if it’s a mountain or a molehill). I see the object, but I can’t see what’s on the other side of it. You might be wondering, “Well, why does it have to be a desert road?” Why? Because I live in Texas, and it’s HOT. It’s always hot. But you understand my point.

Desert Road

The journey toward our goals can sometimes feel like a lonely path.

I want to take this blogging opportunity to talk about the IMC program journey and hopefully connect it to entrepreneurial topics and balancing real-life responsibilities. While I’ve already launched and re-launched (and re-launched) my business, I still consider myself to be an aspiring entrepreneur. It truly is the road less traveled, but I hope to share my mistakes and ideas while connecting with other IMC professionals who may be on similar paths or have some insight for the journey.

Now for some quick personal history. Anyone who has spent more than five minutes with me knows that I have a big crush on New York City. About eight years ago, I decided to uproot my life in Florida, quit my job of 10 years, and move to the big city of…Houston. Houston? It was a shock to me, too. Long story short, within a few months of moving here, I met my future husband and married him just eight months later. We now have a 3-year-old son who’ll likely be managing our household and planning our social schedule in a few more years.

Lakewood Church

This is where we met. In a church this size, it was indeed a divine appointment!

Our wedding day

We danced to Sting’s “My One and Only Love.”

Please reach out to me if you have any questions about the program/courses or just want to vibe out about starting a business. The four electives I chose were Mobile Marketing, Visual Information Design, B2B Direct Marketing, and Digital Video Production. Yes, I already know that I probably should have taken Entrepreneurship in IMC, but I didn’t budget my electives. First tip: Be sure to budget your electives!

Goodbye for now!

June 5, 2013


One of my many vices is that I don’t delete emails. They’re like a scrapbook to me. At work this past winter, we were given a task to delete old emails to help with server space and I found myself reading through emails that made me laugh, re-discovering old meeting requests for interviews that brought new people into our department and often smiling because some correspondence was just too sweet. I just couldn’t let the emails go. In fact, I probably made our server even worse by not only saving my abundant number of emails, but forwarding them to people with the added line “Hey! Remember this?”
I guess that story might help you understand how much this blog has meant to me over the past two years. I find myself occasionally clicking through to my very first post and thinking how thrilled I was to receive an email asking if I was interested in blogging for the WVU IMC Program (which there is no doubt I still have). The blog is a scrapbook and I remember exactly what inspired me to write each piece.

If you’re reading this, you were along with me on this journey. I can’t tell you how lucky I am to have had the past two years to share my story with all of you. Any comment I received added a spring to my step and I often found myself visiting a new venue, taking more pictures than usual and reading interesting articles because they might develop into something to share.

As a new graduate of the WVU IMC Program, I know that I will keep in touch with those of you I’ve gotten to know and perhaps, will have an opportunity to connect with some new faces from IMC in the future. I have made so many wonderful friends during graduate school and I have learned much more than a textbook could ever hold.

We’re all in this program for different reasons – perhaps to better ourselves in the workplace, to gain confidence or simply, to cross something off a bucket list. You all helped me accomplish all three and I am forever grateful.

Links/Tools from INTEGRATE 2013

June 4, 2013

Below is a list of sites and tools mentioned during the conference. Feel free to add anything that I might have missed in the comment section below.




Digital Buzz

Melissa Agnes

The Crisis Show


RR Donnelley


Brand Yourself




Integrate 2013 Day Two ptched (no that’s not a typo)

June 2, 2013

Here is a fantastic re-cap of day two of the Integrate 2013 conference created by Dr. Karen Freberg (who presented the break-out session Digital Storytelling in Crisis Communications). This was created using ptch – a visual storytelling app that was just introduced to me today by Dr. Freberg. Hope you enjoy as much as I did! 


Coca-Cola and brand love

June 1, 2013

Day two of Integrate 2013 opened with a key note session led by Scott Cuppari, Global Marketing Manager for Coca-Cola Freestyle, who also happens to be a WVU IMC program alum, discussing brand love. So what exactly is brand love and why is it important? Cuppari says that creating brand love is creating loyalty beyond reason. He named four principles of brand love:

                1. Love is a verb

                2. Love cuts across (the noise)

                3. Love comes from fusion

                4. Love is a journey

Brand love drives value. It protects the brand’s future, lowers the cost of programs and extensions, reduces sensitivity, and “breaks the tie”. When consumers are making purchase decisions brand love will make price point less of a deciding factor.

And what better example of a company who knows how to create brand love than Coke? Coke has been ranked the number one brand by Interbrand for 13 years running. It’s easy to see why when you take a look at some of their more recent marketing examples, which Cuppari shared with the group today.

Cuppari shared that Coke’s formula for success is creating content that’s “liquid and linked,” with three areas of focus: Stories, Spread and Value. Stories are the content, experiences, and conversations. Spread is the liquidity of the content; and Value refers to how the content should be linked to everything we do, or have value to us. Coke’s advertising and marketing focuses on telling stories and positioning the Coke brand as a key character in those stories, but not the only character. They are using real people and real situations and that’s what makes the content so relateable and engaging. I’ll even admit to getting a little verklempt watching a few of the clips Cuppari shared today.


Lastly, Coke is using multiple channels to share their content and stories, and they are going to the channels where the consumers are. Cuppari stressed the importance of leveraging mobile technology for storytelling by sharing these stats with us: 74% of people would give up alcohol before they’d give up their mobile phone. Fifty-five percent would forgo caffeine, and 33% would give up sex. Yep, that’s one-third folks!


To close, I have to share my favorite part of the morning, which actually happened on Twitter before and after the official presentation. As a life-long, die-hard Diet Coke consumer and fan, this just made my day:


Twitter conversation with @ScottCuppari just made my day.

If you attended Integrate today, what were your favorite take-aways from Cuppari’s session?

Jason Falls | Digital Marketing Success: Make Your Content Amazing

June 1, 2013

“Holy Smokes” is the philosophy behind how to make your content amazing! Social media according to Falls is not always about selling, it instead comes down to delivering brand experiences.

Falls advised the audience that it all comes down to crafting instant “Holy Smokes” moments.

Examples included:

Twitter: @Charmin

Pinterest: Readersheds


Print Ads: McDonalds and Colgate


PR: H&R Block | Million Mustache March – 2012

In order to craft “Holy Smokes” content, you need to leverage the following practical tips on how to be amazing:

  1. Assume the role of your audience or prospect
  2. Imagine what would make you say “Holy Smokes!”
  3. Imagine what would compel you at an emotional level to like, share, comment, convert or buy
  4. Build that in as the payoff or goal for every post, video, tweet, etc.
  5. Tweet/FB Post = Instant reaction, share
  6. Blog post = instigate response, share, think
  7. Video= Produce an emotional reaction (laugh)
  8.  White Paper = Discuss with colleagues; Incorporate in planning
  9. Webinar = Compel people to contact for more

Feel free to share other “Holy Smokes” moments below. My personal favorite has been K-Mart’s “Ship Your Pants.”

Preparing for Integrate Day Two…Are You Ready?

June 1, 2013

Lots of great things are happening today, aren’t they? Whether you’re looking forward to a Breakout Session, excited to connect with new friends you made yesterday or counting down to the event featuring Keynote Speaker Jane Schachtel, Facebook’s Global Technology Lead, you’re going to arrive home with a new perspective for sure.

One of the Breakout Sessions I know will be beneficial for me is Keith Quesenberry‘s “Five Steps for Social Media Integration from Ad Age Insights.” I was able to attend a session he led last year and I learned a lot.

I found myself flipping through the Integrate Conference Book last night trying to choose which Breakout Sessions to attend.

I found myself flipping through the Integrate Conference Book last night trying to choose which Breakout Sessions to attend. Too many tough decisions!

Don’t forget to participate in the Social Media Challenge by using #integrate13 on Instagram and Twitter, checking into our venues on FourSquare and commenting on the blogposts. The prizes are really cool…

Tell me what part of today are you most excited about.

Return on Integrate: A Reunion of IMC Influencers

June 1, 2013

At last year’s Integrate 2012, Mark Schaefer spoke on the topic of finding, defining and pursuing your Return on Influence. A year later, here I am at Integrate 2013 continuing to define my return on influence in the field of IMC. As I made the drive to Morgantown, I had the opportunity to listen to the first chapter of an audio book I downloaded by Jon Acuff called “Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job.”


This book offered off-the cuff insights on why you don’t need to quit your day job to find and realize your return on influence. Acuff encourages listeners and readers of his book to use their job as the catalyst for what comes next.

Acuff states, “More often than not, finding out what you love doing most is about recovering an old love or an inescapable truth that has been silenced for years, even decades. When you come to your dream job, your thing, it is rarely a first encounter. It’s usually a reunion.”

Whether you define it as a reunion or a return, the Integrate 2013 Conference is a great way to take a step back and meet other like minded individuals that can help you to reawaken your passions that might be dormant inside of you.

I encourage everyone to soak up as much as you can tomorrow. The conference goes by so fast, be sure to make connections, ask questions and most importantly enjoy the reunion for what it is, an opportunity to move forward!

This year, instead of asking you to define your Return on Influence, I am going to ask you to think about defining your Return on Integrate. What have you found to be the best return so far during the 2013 conference? Has it been seeing your professors, meeting fellow students, or has it been listening to industry leaders speak about the future of marketing communications?

Looking forward to continuing the reunion tomorrow with everyone!

Integrate 2013: Awesome, awesome, awesome

June 1, 2013

This is my third trip to Morgantown for Integrate and I’m so thrilled to be here. This is truly a weekend I look forward to year round…it is really unbeatable!

I arrived to the Integrate Conference around 1:00 p.m. and I was, as always, greeted with numerous familiar faces. I spent today better understanding social media, brand management and professionalism which is beneficial on countless levels.

During “Emerging Media for Branding and Career Success” led by Professor Rachael Post and Dr. Dawn Edmiston, I learned so much about online platforms, digital publishing, Klout (which I first toyed around with during last year’s Integrate Conference) and the importance of “plugging into your tribe.” “Plugging into your tribe” is a way to connect with those who have similar interests and/or goals to yours and a way to improve your talents by learning from others who are passionate about the same topics.

In the beginning of the session, both Professor Post and Dr. Edmiston mentioned that they hoped to make their presentation “special and useful,” which they absolutely did!

Following the Afternoon Breakout Sessions, all were invited to a Networking Reception at the WVU Alumni Center…truly a night to remember! Not every day you can enjoy an outdoor patio packed with your fellow graduates, other classmates and your professors.

Beautiful setting and such wonderful people. These connections are what makes the IMC Program (and Integrate) so enjoyable!

Beautiful setting and such wonderful people. These connections are what make the IMC Program so rewarding!

I’m ecstatic about tomorrow’s schedule which kicks off with another WVU IMC Alum, Scott Cuppari, the Senior Global Marketing Manager for Coca-Cola Freestyle.

Were you in attendance today? If so, comment with your favorite part of this afternoon’s events!