Archive for the ‘IMC Coursework’ Category

Top resources for IMC students

August 11, 2016

ally-resources

 

I asked IMC faculty what resources they recommend to IMC students, and this is what they had to say! I hope this list is useful to you. And, if you have any resources you’d like to add, let me know in the comments:).

Industry news:

All about social media:

Blogs:

All things digital, technology and trends:

 Research:

Dictionaries:

Advertising:

Marketing:

 


Ally Kennedy is the communications manager for WVU Reed College of Media’s Online Programs. She earned her master’s degree in communication from Duquesne University and her bachelor’s degree in English from Washington & Jefferson College.

Start With The End Game In Mind

May 23, 2016

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Retrieved from http://imc.wvu.edu/curriculum/curriculum-map

As Capstone drew near, one of the things I focused on was how can I leverage my other classes to help me deliver the best capstone project?

For Crisis Communication, I developed a plan for the CDC and in Audience Insights I tried to look at why people were or weren’t vaccinating. Both of these built on the campaign I had developed for PR Concepts & Strategy.

All of this pre-work really helped me get a head start on my campaign; don’t get me wrong, there was still a ton of heavy lifting and questions to answer. Having spent time researching vaccines and the CDC, I was acutely aware of new articles and research and filed them away into my capstone folder.

So what does this mean to you? As you lay out your course schedule, try to be conscious of the end game, developing an integrated marketing campaign. If you know your company already, which classes will help you get there? How can that company be represented in those classes? For example, in Brand Equity I selected Taco Bell, perhaps I should have picked the CDC or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (my campaign was focused in Michigan). Will your campaign require a big internal communication plan, then take that class? The bottom line, don’t take your schedule lightly, take the time to plan it out.

Here are few tips:

  • Decide when you will take 636 Campaigns. Campaigns is only offered in late fall, late spring and summer. Plan your schedule to hit one of those. Personally, I do not recommend taking a semester off before Capstone, I would have lost all motivation.
  • Check your electives first. Unlike the core courses, every elective isn’t offered every semester. If you want to take Global Brand Communication, you will have to plan for it.
  • Which teachers? Deciding if there are teachers you want to take is also important. Talk to other students. WVU IMC also awards the Alexis Vanides teaching award, you can see past winners here http://imc.wvu.edu/about/teaching_award
  • Put it on paper. Lay out your schedule (use this http://imc.wvu.edu/advising/course_schedule) with your wish list and your back-ups. Prior to registration, find the course numbers and copy them there. That way when registration opens, you’re just copying and pasting the numbers into the system, not searching.

Here’s to #owningit!

 

Why Do We Go To School?

April 27, 2016

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Why do we go to school? There are many answers to this question…. We go to better ourselves, to stay connected to trends, to make more money or to teach. Ultimately the answer should be… “we go to school to learn.” In the era of trophies for everyone, it seems we have lost sight of learning. Learning means you will not have a perfect score; you may not get an “A” and you will most definitely have to work hard, otherwise you are not really learning.

I must admit, in the throes of school there were moments when I was extremely frustrated when I did not receive a perfect score. There were a few classes where I racked my brain until I wanted to dump my laptop on its head and throw my books out the window. But the one thing that kept me going was the fact that I was growing. I was challenging myself to learn and do something different, something that did not always come easily.

Capstone was no different. In our weekly discussions, I completely missed the media objectives and did general objectives. I reviewed previous work and the objectives I had done were not focused on media, they were campaign or PR objectives. I was pretty hard on myself. It was the end of the program, how could I possibly get that wrong, after all I have learned? Then my professor said something, “I wish students weren’t so focused on the grades, but on the learning process.” I was suddenly reminded that even after two years, I am still learning.

Cheers to all of us for making this huge investment and a reminder that we all should strive to be learners even when we have reached the finish.

From the Campaign Battlefront

April 19, 2016

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Rest assured, I am not writing a post about the 2016 election (you’re welcome). Rather, I’m reporting on my own mêlée: the exhausting, empowering, sometimes petrifying, but mind-blowingly rewarding human experience that is IMC 636 Campaigns. These last seven weeks and beyond have challenged me in more ways than I could have imagined, but I am seven days away from sending off what has become my most prized piece of work and alas, I can [almost] see the light at the end of the grad school tunnel.

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Sneak peek!

For those of you who have achieved your MSIMC degree, perhaps you’re having flashbacks to those final days of scrambling, and for those who have yet to experience it, strap in. I know I’m making 636 sound like some untamable beast, but I assure you that this has been the most gratifying course of my college career. Today, between working full-time, building my IMC campaign, and teaching yoga on the side, I’ve somehow managed to find a free moment for reflection, and this is what I’ve realized:

The phrase, “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life” is a sham. I entered into this program because I love marketing communications, and I suspect that I share this passion with many of you, but I think that we can all agree that it will never not be work. This program, let alone this profession,  is undeniably challenging, and it requires large amounts of attention on a nearly daily basis. But what keeps us in the game is that feeling of pride after a job well done.

I have been eating, sleeping, and breathing IMC for the past month and a half, and not because I have to, but because I want to. Something shifts in you during the capstone course; the more effort you put into your campaign, the more effort you want to put into it. In the dwindling days between me and this due date, I genuinely look forward to sitting down at my computer to continue construction of my personal masterpiece. I’m reveling in the chaos, and that’s how I know I’m doing what I love. So, instead of aiming to never work a day in your life, aim to find something you love so much, you’re willing to work your ass off for it.

Have you considered INTEGRATE 2016 and IMC 621?

March 31, 2016

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Spoiler Alert…. This is my hard sell (I am not a spectacular sales person, so pun intended) for INTEGRATE 2016 and IMC 621 (the professor and curriculum are updated for 2016). I understand there are a lot of electives and we are in a digital program, however sometimes real-life connections and a class that was not on your agenda are worth the risk.

As many of you know, WVU is hosting INTEGRATE conferences in multiple locations. However, the flagship event is hosted in Morgantown and IMC 621 ‘Current Topics in IMC’ is centered around INTEGRATE 2016. Check out WVU’s 31 reasons to #attendINTEGRATE.

My journey to INTEGRATE started at DTW, continued through PIT and on to Morgantown:

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The conference is well organized, moves quickly and provides you with information that you will be able to draw upon in future classes. Personally speaking while attending, I was able to use information that Scott Cuppari shared regarding Coca-Cola’s age limit for advertising in IMC 619.The collaboration and participation across faculty, administration and students was amazing; #integrate15 even trended locally and shows the impact this group has in the social space.

Beyond just the conference agenda, for those of you curious around the expectations of Capstone, I highly recommend the overview that kicks off INTEGRATE. Those in 621 followed the Capstone prep with a class meeting. So why am I making a hard sell of INTEGRATE and IMC 621? INTEGRATE has a plethora of content that I would never have discovered before IMC 621; what grad student has time to watch that, unless it is part of your class?

Social and digital media are excellent, but real life connections still matter. Having the WVU IMC program online is probably the only way I would be able to complete my Master’s degree. But the ability to make real world connections with classmates, faculty and teachers was tremendously helpful.

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 Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204180806352286&set=t.659592071&type=3&theater

Talking and spending time with people can dramatically change your impression of them, particularly if the only other interactions you have had are through their written words. What’s not to love about attending a great conference, as part of a class where you learn and discover excellent integrated marketing messages from analytics, to direct marketing and everything in between?

Understanding their backgrounds, jobs and families outside of what you have seen or read online is an important component to interpersonal connections. In addition, most of my relationships with the Professors did not extend beyond our classes, so being able to spend time learning about their careers and the classes they teach is very impactful. Had I not been so far into the program, I probably would have changed some of my electives based on those discussions.

Real world connections are not just good for our brains, they are good for our health too. “When you share a smile or laugh with someone face to face, a discernible synchrony emerges between you, as your gestures and biochemistries, even your respective neural firings, come to mirror each other. It’s micro-moments like these, in which a wave of good feeling rolls through two brains and bodies at once, that build your capacity to empathize as well as to improve your health” (Matter, 2013).

Reference
Matter, G. (2013, March 23). Your Phone vs. Your Heart. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/24/opinion/sunday/your-phone-vs-your-heart.html?_r=1.

One Word Sums It Up!

February 29, 2016

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I’m currently enrolled in IMC637, Internal Communications. This is a class I highly recommend because it pertains to so many things we all deal with every day, not just at work, but with all of our relationships. This week is our final discussion question which asked us to choose a key factor or concept that we found from the class that intrigued us. We were also asked to explain how we would use it in either our personal or professional lives. While the thoughts below are just my opinion, I think the idea is something that every public relations person should always keep in the forefront of their minds when dealing with clients, customers or employees.

As for this week’s discussion topic, there are so many things that have peaked my interest. The one thing that absolutely intrigues me, however, are the organizations that feel making and keeping employees happy is the key to success. As we have discussed throughout class, good customer service comes from the interactions between the customer and employees.

We have discussed several things that are necessary to create good customer service, but I found an article, that for me, sums it up entirely. “There is no shortage of advice, opinion, theory and technology around the practice of customer service. Some of it good, much of it not. But none of it — none of it — will result in a truly exceptional customer service environment if it isn’t built around one simple word: Empathy” (Hess, 2012).

th[9]Empathy is two-fold. It’s not just about the employees having empathy for the customers, but also the company having empathy for its employees. “In the workplace, empathy can show a deep respect for co-workers and show that you care, as opposed to just going by rules and regulations. An empathic leadership style can make everyone feel like a team and increase productivity, morale and loyalty. Empathy is a powerful tool in the leadership belt of a well-liked and respected executive” (Pressley, 2012).

This doesn’t mean that leaders should be push-overs. What it means is that an effective work environment begins with leaders that “like people, enjoy working with and helping others [and] value people as individuals” (Pressley, 2012). This management style produces a better work atmosphere as well as allowing the leadership to deal easier with difficult internal situations when they arise.

Even though we haven’t specifically discussed empathy, I believe we have been discussing it throughout the class. In order to be an effective manager, in order to create a strong crisis management plan, in order to communicate effectively with customers, empathy must be a part of the thought process that goes into all of those interactions.

Regarding how I plan to use this in my personal and professional life, I would like to think that when I’m dealing with anyone, including family, friends, colleagues or customers, I would keep this thought in mind before reacting. Sometimes we can get so caught up in our frustrations over having to deal with difficult people we forget that they may going through a rough time. They may have a legitimate reason for their concerns and while we aren’t necessarily the cause of their issue, we may be the first person in their line of sight.

The following questions are a good example of what we should keep in mind when we are providing customer service, creating crisis management plans or dealing with internal communication:

  • “How does the person I’m trying to help feel?
  • How would I feel if I were that person?
  • No matter the request or the “rules,” is there something I can/should do to help?
  • What would I expect to be done for me if the roles were reversed?
  • In the end, what would make this customer satisfied or (better yet) happy, and is there any reason I can’t do it or find someone who can?” (Hess, 2012).

These can have an impact on the outcome of any situation, whether I’m management, an employee or a customer.

Thanks!

Pam

 

Flex that Creative Muscle—Work out your Imagination!

September 15, 2015

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I’m a runner. More often than not, you’ll find me running countless laps around my neighborhood right after work. But, I didn’t always enjoy running. In fact, I used to be very bad at it. Back in high school, I would struggle to complete a mile in less than 15 minutes. However, after many years of conditioning and long runs, I have no problem running 5+ miles! Years of daily, hard aerobic workouts paid off, and now my mile time is around 8 minutes.

I believe it is also equally important to actively “work out” your mind. Depending on the type of mind exercises you do, you can improve your creativity and/or analytical thinking. As members of the marketing field, we need both creative and analytical thinking skill sets. So, why not set aside time to work out our minds so that we can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our creative and analytical thinking?

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Specifically, since I am currently in IMC 615 Creative Strategy, I want to focus on how to improve creativity. I wanted to share a few things that I personally do to exercise my mind. These “mind exercises” have helped me to become more creative and imaginative:

  1. Change your mindset. Switch from a “I can’t” way of thinking to a “what if?” mindset. This allows you to see a problem or a certain aspect of life from new and different angles.
  2. Daydream. There is no set way to daydream, but you should practice doing it. Personally when I daydream, I like to think of “what if’s” and turn them into detailed story plots. Therefore, daydreaming allows my mind to get better at creating stories and characters. In fact, storytelling has become very easy for me, because I daydream so much.
  3. Try something new. Break away from your routine. I like to take a Saturday trip once a month to visit a new place or State Park. Doing this opens my mind up to new experiences and new scenery.
  4. Immerse yourself in art—movies, paintings, music, sculptures, dances, theater, and novels. This allows you to see and experience other people’s perspectives and ways of thinking.
  5. Learn about other cultures and try to interact with people from those cultures. Many of us have narrow scopes and perceptions about the world; I know I did before I began traveling the U.S. and the world with the military. In fact, I once traveled to Africa for a month, and that experience opened my eyes to new ways of thinking and creativity. They had completely different lifestyles and artistic styles!

What about you? Do you have any specific “mind exercises” you do to improve your imagination and creativity? Please share!

Harnessing the Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

August 18, 2015

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Recently, I found myself on a trip for work that took me across the U.S. During the plane ride, I met an Army sergeant who was about to retire in a year and was working on his own small business. He told me that his business idea—a mobile phone app—was going to start out servicing his hometown area. He already had the programmers working on the app and he already had a target audience in mind, but he wanted to know more about how to market it during the product’s launch.

This immediately reminded me of the final paper I wrote for IMC 612 (Audience Insight).  For that paper, I chose to write about the power of electronic word-of-mouth marketing (e-WOMM) and how to use it to launch new products.

As many of us know, a significant number of new products fail. This could be due to a variety of factors such as a poorly designed product or a poorly designed marketing program.  However, if a product is designed well, meets the needs of the target audience, and is in demand, then a business needs to effectively break through the clutter and communicate the product/brand information to the target audience.

As I discovered when writing that final paper, word-of-mouth (WOM) is an effective tool to communicate this product information to the target audience. WOM involves consumers sharing information amongst each other whenever they are happy or dissatisfied with a product. Typically, traditional WOM refers to consumers physically talking to each other to share the information. e-WOM specifically involves consumers sharing this same information via the Internet through e-mail and social media. Businesses can benefit from this WOM because:

  1. Consumers perceive this WOM information as more credible when it comes from other consumers (as opposed to advertising which comes from the business)
  2. WOM (especially e-WOM) incurs very little monetary expense
  3. WOM leads to effective targeting because consumers will more likely share the product information with friends, family, and other acquaintances who have similar interests
  4. Through e-WOM specifically, information can be quickly spread to a large group of people

After discussing these points with the man on the plane, I told him how he could generate and manage e-WOM. First, I told him to become very familiar with the social media platforms that his target audience uses. Each social media platform is capable of different things, and each platform attracts a different crowd. Next, I told him to use these social media platforms (and other internet tools):

  1. To give his consumers something to talk about (i.e. good content)
  2. To create communities within his target audience and to connect them
  3. To work with influential groups/people that would interest his target audience
  4. To create advocate programs
  5. To study consumer feedback
  6. To engage consumers in open conversation
  7. To involve consumers in marketing projects

Then, after pointing out how to generate and manage e-WOMM, I talked about when the best time was to use WOMM tactics. When I was putting together that final paper for IMC 612, I discovered that using e-WOMM prior to the launch of a product was much more effective at enhancing product awareness and increasing the adoption of new products than using e-WOMM after the launch of a product or not using it at all.

Prior to the connectivity and speed of the Internet, conducting WOMM before a product launch was not as feasible. In fact, traditionally what would happen was that a product would be released, consumers would purchase it, and then consumers would talk about it. Now, however, the Internet has allowed businesses to efficiently share information about the product prior to its release and consumers can start having conversations with each other about it. In fact, consumers don’t even have to be on the same continent anymore to have these conversations!

Finally, I pointed out to the man on the plane that WOMM should not be the only marketing communications tool utilized for his product launch. It is very effective, but it should be incorporated with other marketing tools.

A Few Final Tips for the WVU IMC Program

July 15, 2015

kat shanahan wvu imc reed college of media

 

I feel like I’m forgetting something. I keep reaching for my computer thinking that I have copy to write, an ad to design, or a budget to adjust. The reality is that I’m not missing anything. My final IMC campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is uploaded and in the mail.

I’d be lying if I told you submitting the campaign was all sunshine and puppies. I needed a reality check after I submitted it because I was worried that someone was going to steal the mailbox…yes…the entire mailbox. Putting everything you have into a campaign for roughly nine weeks takes a toll on you. I’m still working on processing the fact that I’m actually done, but as I reflect on my 3 years (90 weeks of class) in the program I wanted to share what I learned.

  1. Plan, but don’t over plan. I LOVE to plan.  I’m the kind of person that enjoys planning their free time. When I started the program I went through and planned out my entire schedule. I picked and scheduled all of my classes including my electives. While planning my academic future was beneficial, as I moved through the program my areas of interest changed. As I learned more about different areas of IMC I wished I could go back and change some of my electives. I will say it’s a good idea take your electives when they’re offered (because they’re not offered every term), but keep in mind that your interests may change over the course of the program.
  2. Remember why you’re doing this. Prior to enrolling in the WVU IMC program I told a friend of mine that I would never get a master’s degree. As I started to change my mind I looked at the WVU IMC curriculum and my mouth started watering. I fell in love with the content and immediately made connections between what I was doing at work and what was being offered in classes. I started this program because I wanted to grow as a professional. I didn’t start the program to earn As in all of my classes. It can be easy to get wrapped up in grades and making sure you get a 10/10 on discussion posts, but that’s not why we are here. Think back to your undergraduate days. Do you remember every single assignment in which you didn’t earn the grade you wanted? You’ll forget about grades, but you won’t forget about putting in the work and getting everything you can out of your time in the program.
  3. Get to know your professors: When I met Prof. Sader for the first time at INTEGRATE 2015 he told me that I worried too much. He was 100% correct. He also told me that he was there to be a mentor for me and not just give me a grade. He encouraged me to reach out with questions or problems. Professors actually want to help you grow as a professional. I didn’t take advantage of that enough while I was in the program. They want to get to know you and help you learn everything you can. Take advantage of that because you may not be able to find those resources elsewhere.
  4. Go to INTEGRATE! This is a big one. My entire graduate experience changed when I went to INTEGRATE. The second I stepped on campus I felt like a Mountaineer. You can’t get that feeling unless you visit campus. INTEGRATE is a fantastic conference. You get to meet classmates, build relationships, and talk to professors and program administrators, while hearing from amazing industry professionals. The first year I went I traveled by myself and knew no one in the program. Now, I’m in a book club with WVU IMC alumni and get to talk marketing with them every month. You never know who you’ll get to meet and connect with, so take advantage of it!
  5. Fill out course evaluations. I know this sounds like a plug on behalf of the program, but I promise you it’s not. My life motto is that I can’t complain about things I have the power to change but decide not to. So I either stop complaining or step up and do something about it. We have the power to implement positive change in the program, but change cannot happen if we don’t use the right channels.
  6. Develop your voice and personal brand. I’ve already shared my thoughts on personal branding, so I won’t bore you with that again. But, I will say that this is the time to experiment with your voice and your style. Use this as an opportunity show your style in a professional way.
  7. Develop and trust your process. In the program you’ll write roughly 99 discussion posts, 400 responses, 70 papers and 1 enormous campaign. Start to develop and trust your writing process. This took me a long time to develop and I’m still working on it. But here’s what I know
    1. I need to spit out a first draft before doing anything else (The Ugly First Draft if you’re an Ann Handley fan, which you should be.)
    2. I need to re-read things the next day
    3. Most of the time, I get a second opinion
    4. I need to cut myself off – If allowed, I will read and read and read until the absolute last minute. At some point, I need to stop overanalyzing and hit submit

I’m sure if I sat here long enough I could come up with 100 more things to keep in mind, but that I think it’s time to wrap things up.  If you’ve made it this far I want to say thank you. Thank you for reading my thoughts over the past few years and thank you for sharing yours. To all of you in the program – best of luck. You can absolutely do this and you will be a stronger marketer for it. Reach out to alumni if you need anything, we are nerdy marketers who love to connect with students in the program.

All the best,

Kat

Hello from the City that Never Sleeps

July 2, 2015

Hello everyone!

Hope everyone is having an amazing week so far. We are a few weeks away from the end of the first summer session, the 4th of July holiday is coming up and overall summer is officially upon us. Time for some good R&R, and vacation time with family and friends. I personally am looking forward to spending the 4th of July weekend with friends in Lake Tahoe. I hear its really beautiful down there, and this would be my first time in San Francisco so I’m looking forward to the experience.

Before I go any further, let me introduce myself. My name is Yvonne Unubun, I live in New York and work in digital marketing at an ad agency called Razorfish, as an account manager. I have a Bachelor’s in Communications from City University of New York’s City College with a concentration in advertising and public relations. In my downtime, which is scarce these days with school, you can find me catching up on some of my favorite TV shows – Nashville, HTGAWM, Grey’s Anatomy, or exploring New York City and the many attractions and fun things it has to offer all year around.

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Top – bottom: US Open, Walking the Brooklyn Bridge on a sunny summer day.

I am currently in my third class of the IMC program and so far I’ve taken Introduction to IMC, Brand Equity Management and right now I’m taking market research and analysis. To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I began the program in January of this year. I had originally taken one class at a different IMC program here in New York, but seeing as the program was in a 100% classroom setting it was really tough having to leave work early to commute to class, and then begin the journey back home. Three classes in I have to say although convenient in the sense of not having to physically be in a classroom, online learning is serious business. Between the weekly readings recommended by the professors, reading chapters from the assigned text, weekly discussion posts/responses, and weekly assignments there’s a lot to keep you on your toes throughout the week. However with time you are able to figure out a routine that works for you and your schedule.

As a student ambassador, I look forward to sharing my experiences throughout the program with you all. Also, I’ll be sharing interesting articles, industry news, outstanding marketing campaigns or fun facts about brands, and companies. Feel free to reach out with any questions or suggestions of what you would like for me to blog about.

You can reach me at Yvonne.Unubun@gmail.com.


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