Archive for January, 2015

40 Capstone Campaign Tips

January 29, 2015


Research. Research. Archive.

The research process begins long before you start your campaign. During your time in the program, begin to build your own personal marketing and creative aesthetics.


1. Archive marketing campaigns that resonate with you to an Evernote notebook. 

2. Follow thought leaders in the marketing field.

3. Monitor industry trends.


Manage Your Time.

Start the campaign early. Have the branding for your agency established and ready to go before week one commences.


4. Do not procrastinate on any section of the campaign. 

5. Try the Pomodoro Technique to manage your time. 

6. Make goals and deadlines for yourself that you can easily check off. 

7. If you get stuck on one section, build time in your schedule to come back to it. 

8. Take breaks. 

Prepare to Write, Revise, Rationalize, and Design. 

How will you bring your campaign findings to life? Will you rely on writing, design, or a combination of both to engage the client?


9. Think visually. If you can get the point across with a graphic treatment, the client would be more inclined to easily recall the information you are trying to present. 

10. Place extra emphasis on the areas that would be of the utmost importance to the client. This would be areas that would show off your specific expertise. 

11. To help keep the reader engaged, introduce each of your campaign sections. 

12. Add external quotes from thought leaders to add relevancy and credibility to your work. 

13. Think of the needs of your audience. Have you taught them something new? Clients want to pay for cutting edge concepts. 

Plan Your Media.

If terms like programmatic buying, advertising impressions, advertorials, or CPM (i.e. cost per mile) are not part of your vocabulary, you should begin to brush up on the art of media buying.


14. Expand your professional network and befriend a Media Buyer. 

15. Follow the latest media buying trends.

Composition Is Important.

As you put together your campaign, the following elements are important to consider: typography, color, hierarchy, and placement of graphics.


16. A sans serif font (e.g. Arial) is better for body copy because it is more readable and legible. 

17. Limit your color palette (too many colors within a campaign is distracting) 

18. White space is your friend. Let your copy have room to breathe. 

19. Make graphic elements out of important statements. 

20. Use one font family and vary the weights to create hierarchy within your content.

21. Use display fonts sparingly. 

22. Break up large blocks of text with images, charts, or quotes.

23. Think of your entire composition as a grid filled with different elements. 

24.  Make sure everything is visually consistent from the cover page to back cover. 

Use Templates/Resources Wisely.

It is never too early to start to build your familiarity with all available design resources.


25. is a beautiful online survey and form builder.

26. has economically priced royalty free stock photos. 

27. is a creative marketplace for finding designers. The cost, to hire a designer, is only five dollars per execution.

28. Font has 100% free commercial use fonts. 

29. has a gallery of well-designed logos to help inspire you. 

30. Adobe Color CC generates color schemes. 

31. Small PDF  is a tool to reduce the size of your PDF. 

32.  Graphic River – Stock Graphic Files.

33. Grammarly – Free editing plugin for Chrome.

34. Hemingway Editor – Editor application for Mac and PC.

35. – is a search tool that identifies online key influencers and trending content.

Presentation Is Everything.

The last step, before printing out your final campaign, is to account for all of the print production nuances.


36. Paper Weight – Be sure to ask for a house paper that has enough weight for printing double sided. You do not want the graphics to oversaturate the paper. 

37. Binding Types – Perfect Bound, Wire-O Binding, and Comb Binding are the most universally used. 

38. Orientation – Will you be presenting your project horizontally or vertically? Can your printer accommodate a non-traditional size? 

39. Bleed – Most printers will not be able to account for graphics bleeding off the page. Build a white border around your pages so that the edges look consistent when printed. 

40. Back Cover – Will you include a blank page in your document after your references section? Will the back page match your cover? 


Graduates, please add any other helpful tips that you found useful to this list!


Congratulations to the Fall 2014 Capstone class on completing the WVU IMC program!  Best of luck to the Spring 2015 Capstone class! 








5 Reasons to Use Twitter Lists

January 28, 2015

What did I spend my Saturday night doing? Well, in between class readings and discussion posts I decided to re-organize my Twitter feed by updating my lists. I’ve used Twitter lists in the past, but my feed needed a mid-winter cleaning. I felt like I was seeing content from the same accounts all of the time and was missing great information.

If you’re new to Twitter, afraid of Twitter, or just need a reminder…Twitter Lists are a fun little feature that allow you to organize the people you follow. Twitter Lists make your life easier for a variety of reasons and my top 5 are listed below (in no particular order).

  1. Looks out for the little guy – The median lifespan of a Tweet is approximately 18 minutes. It is absolutely unrealistic to read every Tweet that flitters across your stream. Lists help organize content so that you have an easier time seeing content from people who Tweet less than every 18 minutes.
  2. Helps you find good content – A great feature of Twitter lists is that you can subscribe to lists other people make. Subscribing to the lists that your trusted contacts create helps you find more valuable people to follow.  Here’s a great WVU IMC list by Thomas Armitage.
  3. Organizes the people you follow – If you’re like me, you’re constantly looking for Twitter accounts that share valuable information. I often see articles that featuring the top 50 people to follow for this reason or that reason, but after I follow them I forget why I did. Organizing the people you follow by content area allows you to easily remember why you’re following someone and what content they bring to the table.
  4. Bridges online and in-person relationships – You can also create Twitter lists for conferences that you’ve attended so that you can better manage how and where you meet people off-line. I have a list of Higher Education colleagues that I’ve meet through various conferences and events.
  5. Helps with Twitter chats – Twitter chats are a great way to build relationships online and learn more about a particular topic. Twitter lists can help organize contacts so that when you’re participating in Twitter chats it’s easier to filter information.  You’re never going to keep up with ALL the Tweets, but lists can help make the content more digestible and less overwhelming.

I will admit Twitter doesn’t necessarily make it easy to build lists. I had to go through all of the people I was following and add them to lists individually. You can do this by clicking on the gears icon and selecting add to/remove from lists. After a while, I had to take a break because I was repeatedly given error messages. The process is a bit time consuming if you’re trying to organize a large number of accounts. I highly recommend creating and adding to lists as you go.


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To view your lists, click on your icon in the top right corner of the screen.

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Twitter is a great resource and knowing how to manage it will help you get the most out of your Twitter experience.

What are some lists you’ve subscribed to?

Building Social Proof

January 27, 2015

Even after tragic loss, charity: water shows that it is possible to find hope. Raising more than $1.2 million dollars, charity: water continues to inspire individuals to act even years after Rachel started her initial campaign.

A true leader in using visual storytelling to engage consumers, charity: water’s remarkable success in social advocacy and online fundraising is largely built through real stories posted via sharable multimedia. With more than 1.3 million Twitter followers, and more than 210,000 Facebook likes, charity: water has truly mastered the art of getting people to form personal connections with their brand. And, by harnessing storytelling through social media – they have turned followers into activists.

How have they done it exactly? The brand has built a high level of “social proof.”

I can’t count the number of times, I’ve scrolled through my Facebook feed and bought something, or acted on something because of a friends post. Well… that’s it! Social proof is the positive influence that is created when people find out others are doing something – and now, suddenly, everyone else wants to do that same something.

This third-party validation can be a very powerful motivator. As consumers, the psychology of persuasion influences every day choices, from where to eat, to what clothes to wear, purchases to make, and causes to be part of. While the concept of social proof isn’t new, this style of impact has huge potential to grow virally given the way that consumers interact today on social media. According to recent research 70% of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends.

Tech Crunch offers that there are five different types of social proof. These range from Expert and Celebrity, which leverage the approval of these individuals to build digital influence to Wisdom of the Crowds, which highlights the popularity or large numbers of users who like a product, service or brand. While both of the above work in some instances, by and large, the most coveted type of social proof is the Wisdom of Friends, because every marketer knows that referrals from friends are the way that consumers now make choices. Friends referred by friends ultimately make better customers, activists and givers – hands down.

Social proof IS the new marketing.

So… how do we build it for our own brands, companies and causes?

One of the best ways to build social proof is by leveraging the power of personal stories. Real stories (yes, those from real consumers) resonate with people and can catch their interest or engage their emotions. Stories are persuasive and more trusted by consumers than statistics, because they are able to transport consumers into the situation – engaging them and making them want to share… and then share again and again. This makes sense on many levels given that storytelling is one of the oldest and most effective forms of communicating.

charity: water uses content to align people with thousands of other people. Their stories and photos are hyper-localized, deeply connecting consumers to the impact they are helping to make. So deeply, that they then encourage others to participate in making impact too – Momentum builds and one by one consumers join the cause because of other friends who are engaged, thus building a dedicated network of brand advocates… or for charity: water, activists and donors.

Any brand can engage social proof by being candid, authentic and letting testimonials speak for themselves. Through the sharing of compelling stories, brands can become equal partners, rather than corporate entities. It’s no longer enough to rely on pushed messages or advertising. Instead, marketers must incorporate the input that they get from their audiences to help build more robust and engaging campaigns. Through a continued commitment to storytelling and leveraging consumer content any brand can build loyalty and excitement about their brand.

If Steve Jobs Made Apple Juice

January 26, 2015

Steve Jobs helped bring to life the Apple iPod, iPhone and iPad, but he didn’t make Apple juice.

iJuice isn’t out of the question—well, in theory at least. Designer Peddy Mergui released a series of packaging designs transforming packaging what-if’s into reality using famous brands’ design language. Among his designs was iMilk.


Got iMilk?

Whether you find Tiffany & Co. yogurt, Nike oranges, and Prada flour laughable or ingenious, they beg the question: Would consumers buy them?

Jobs is famous for defining design as how something works, not just how it looks or feels. I wonder what he would have thought about Mergui’s collection.

Not every brand extension works. Zippo perfume, Bic underwear, and Ben-Gay aspirin all come to mind. Of course, these extensions were inspired more by brand name than design.

Would you buy Apple juice?


Taking Marketing Beyond the Marketing Department: Market Research

January 15, 2015

If you’re in a position similar to mine, you’re lucky enough to be part of the marketing department, but people don’t always understand or buy into what you’re trying to accomplish.  I still struggle to share the significance of marketing with our entire organization.  I strive to make marketing something that is seen as an overall asset to our organization – instead of a department I supervise.    IMC and branding are the keys to success for the entire organization.   As members of the WVU IMC program we know the importance of market research, but how do we get the ‘higher-ups’ on board with it?  I want to share with you my ideas and experiences on how to share the value and importance of marketing, specifically market research, with your colleagues and I hope you’ll join in the discussion, too!

One of the areas this has been essential to our organization was in our employee engagement area.  Over the past three years, we’ve been able to get every department on board with creating IMC campaigns.  (My IMC binder is the proud owner of 10 marketing plans.) This year we decided that we wanted to create a section of our target audience analysis specifically dedicated to achieving a better understanding of our student employees.  One of our organizational IMC goals is to increase brand awareness in our student employees.  We have approximately 100 students employees and they tend to graduate on a regular basis.  They’re an essential target audience of ours and we didn’t have the best understanding of who they were.

In order to remedy to this situation we conducted a survey of our student employees and learned a great deal of information that helps us not only better market to them, but also schedule events that better meet their other obligations. Our HR department was concerned with the attendance at their events. The information from the survey showed that 88% of our student employees are otherwise engaged on campus (student organization, other campus positions, or both). Knowing how busy these students are helps the department better gauge a realistic attendance number for their events. It also provides the marketing department with essential tactics that improve our internal communication.

In addition to marketing and program benefits, market research can improve the value of products in the lives of consumers. Market research helped to improve the Ford Escapes by developing the kick-activated liftgate. The commercial explains that the engineer on the project grew up on two continents and noticed that people always had their hands full. So, they created a kick-activated liftgate that made loading the vehicle easier. This essential information changed the features of the vehicle to make it more appealing to their target audience. Innovations such as this helps c-level executives see how, what is traditionally viewed as “marketing information”, can be beneficial for the entire company.

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As marketers, it’s essential for us to showcase the value of marketing throughout the organization and its impact on products, services, and ideas. What have you done to help show the overall company benefit of market research?  Any advice you would like to share?

If Taylor Swift Was a WVU IMC Student…

January 8, 2015

If Taylor Swift was a WVU IMC student, she would probably nail each course. There are so many articles like this one, this one or this one about Taylor’s social media savvy, but I detect she even knows a little about Integrated Marketing Communications, too.

As if she’s ticking off completion of each WVU IMC’s course offerings, the 1989 campaign demonstrates that Taylor is an excellent marketer – make that, integrated marketing strategist.

Swift report card 2

Taylor Swift’s [Faux] IMC Report Card

Proof is in the pudding: Taylor’s 1989 sold 1.287 million copies in its launch week earning the largest sales week for an album since 2002. Details from Billboard on that here.

It is a good thing I have a seven-year-old daughter to blame for my Taylor Swift sing-a-longs. By all social considerations I am far too old to claim to Swiftie status, but I’m not too proud to take note of her expert IMC prowess and her keen ability to evolve her personal brand with millions watching her every move.

6 Trade Secrets for Navigating the IMC Program

January 6, 2015

For some reason my red Lululemon leggings make me feel invincible – like a sort of super girl. I’m not really sure why… but they exude some air of confidence, an unexplainable energy.

Me and my red lulu super-woman pants!

Me and my red lulu super-woman pants!

Since starting graduate school, I’ve moved. I’ve bought a house. I’ve worked a full time job with long hours… for which, I’ve also traveled often. I’ve tried to maintain some semblance of my weekend warrior routine, squeezing in Crossfit or yoga wherever possible and playing hockey one night a week and on the weekends.

Lesson Learned: Time is a hot commodity.

How do you balance everything and still remember to breath? Here are a few of my “trade secrets” for successfully surviving IMC:

Perspective Dictates Performance: It’s simple, we each have the opportunity to choose our own outlook and outcome and what we work through now will ultimately lead to something bigger and better and brighter. Self-construction is positive, be it in the classroom, or the office or in a gym. Believe in yourself. Trust. Act. Work through one day at a time with a smile and a can-do attitude and you’ll shine.

Plan for the Unexpected: Some might call me crazy, but at the top of each semester, I print hard copies of the readings and put them into a three ring binder. I also copy and paste all of the discussion questions and paper topics into an organized folder of nicely labeled word documents on a thumb drive. Having everything saved allows me to work on assignments even when I’m traveling, disconnected, or have even just five minutes to jot down ideas. Blackboard goes down? No problem. Spotty WiFi on the train? I’m still good to go!

“Success” is about what you learn, and how far you’ve come: The journey shouldn’t always be easy, I believe that Jimmy Dugan or Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own says it best:

It’s easy to get frustrated or upset at criticism or a “tough” class, but that quote is one to remember. Sometimes working through the most difficult problems is what offers us the greatest reward. I have personally experienced that in IMC! I like to view my classmates and professors as a sort of brain trust. It’s amazing how much we can learn from one another. Never underestimate the power of discussion posts, readings and feedback. Take it in stride and then reference them down the road for school or work or life. Each of us will get out of this program what we put into it as well as what we take away from it. Which brings me to my next point…

Save Everything! This may seem like a no-brainer, but when I say everything, I mean everything! Do this from day one! And… if you use a thumb drive like I do, back it up somewhere. It’s a sad day when that baby goes missing or gets grumpy and refuses to open. Over the course of the program, I’ve found huge value in saving my own discussion posts, but also those of some of my classmates. The discussion board is rich with topic ideas, relevant industry links, cool new companies, fresh perspectives and campaign fodder.

Opt for Brands you Love: Back to those red pants… yes, I love my lulu! While the option isn’t always available, when you can… pick a brand that you love or admire or want to learn about. For me it has made semesters fly. And as an added bonus, you never know what you might be able to use a paper, plan or even insight for later in life.

Tightly Budget Time: Many of us IMC students are cut from the same cloth. Working within the media industry makes us effective jugglers! We balance numerous tasks or clients or agendas or to-do lists. We wear different hats ranging from marketer to writer to researcher to community leader. We each have our own recipe for organization be that old school post-it notes or a brightly color coded Google calendar.

Budgeting time as effectively as possible has been the number one way for me to work, live and go to Grad school… all at the same time.

It must be the pants!

It must be the pants!

Although I’ll never underestimate the power of the pants!

Cheers to the beginning of another semester! Look forward to gleaning advice from fellow classmates on their methods for success!


For Vloggers, It Pays To Be Honest

January 5, 2015

The term “vlogging” no longer elicits the confused looks it once did. Today, more people are aware of video blogging as a legitimate, not to mention profitable, career path.

For YouTube’s most popular content creators, joining the vlogging community early has led to a loyal online following. Beyond channel subscribers and ad revenue sustaining their livelihood, vloggers are finding more opportunities to extend their brands outside of YouTube. Zoe Sugg (known as Zoella) even broke the record for fastest selling debut novel with her book Girl Online.

To put that in perspective, J.K. Rowling was the previous record holder.

Surpassing J.K. Rowling’s fastest selling debut novel record, Zoe Sugg is now a powerful force in the publishing industry in addition to being one of the most popular vloggers on YouTube. Photo Credit:

Sugg owes many of those sales to her almost 7 million subscribers with whom she has built trust and credibility through her channel. While ads playing before video content is nothing new on YouTube, more companies have taken notice of the strong vlogger-viewer relationship fostered by those like Sugg and now shift ad dollars to sponsor vlogs rather than preview them.

Sponsored content ranges from vloggers making grocery store visits to Asda, talking about smartphone apps like Skype Qik, and featuring home products from retailer B&Q. As vloggers promote brands in ways that don’t communicate like traditional ads, the lines between paid and non-paid-for material have blurred.


Zoella’s brother and fellow vlogger, Joe Sugg (ThatcherJoe) recently posted a video labeled as an ad featuring the Skype Qik video messaging app.

The Advertising Standards Authority, the UK’s independent advertising regulator, recently created stricter guidelines for vloggers paid to promote a product. The change came after UK vloggers paid to promote Oreos via a “Lick Race Challenge” did not clearly label their videos as ads, bringing in to question whether sponsored videos are deceptive. Now, vloggers must include the word “ad” in the titles or thumbnails of their videos.

From the perspective of a viewing audience, the ASA explained if paid-for content appears “in a format that we’d normally expect to be non-promotional, we should be told up front about whether it’s an ad so that we can decide whether we want to continue viewing. In simple terms, it’s not fair to falsely promote a product.”