Posts Tagged ‘WVU’

Learning to be Flexible

September 20, 2016

 

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My name is Chris Fujimoto, and I’m currently enrolled in my second full semester in the IMC master’s program. My decision to attend West Virginia was an easy one to make. What I found to be difficult was planning when I would begin my journey at West Virginia. It was along that discovery process that I realized West Virginia’s IMC program was catering to my biggest need: flexibility.

When I started researching graduate programs I was looking for a program that would provide me a solid marketing base, while expanding my knowledge in different marketing and communications strategies. I was also looking for a program that would fit into my professional schedule. Most importantly, I was looking for a program that would allow me to apply the lessons from the classroom to the workplace in impactful and creative ways. After reading into West Virginia’s master’s degree in IMC, I knew they checked off all of the boxes I mentioned, and I knew it was the right fit for me.

There were, however, a few logistical problems that I needed to navigate. I knew that I wanted to take the GRE exams. West Virginia offers a GRE waiver (another point toward flexibility), but I wanted to keep options open and train my brain back into the academic mindset. Additionally, I hadn’t officially applied to the program at that point, and I felt a large sense of dread at the idea of managing both school and my professional workload. Maybe a graduate program wasn’t a realistic possibility for me at the moment? I was starting to doubt whether or not I would be making the right decision for my career by applying to the program.

It was at that point I decided to do some proactive research and planning. What I found was that starting in January of 2016 would be an easier transition for me than the fall of 2015. My professional workload would be slowing down a bit, giving me the perfect amount of time to ease in to the grad school workload. Starting in the spring also meant that I could take more time to study for the GRE exams, which gave me some practice in balancing my academic and professional workloads. The coursework that the IMC program offers is mirrored in the fall and spring, so I didn’t feel like I was behind any of my peers. When I laid all of the components out on the table, I knew that starting in the spring was the right decision for me. The structure of the IMC program helped relieve any uncertainty that had built from my initial thoughts.

For individuals who are considering the program I think the most important thing is to look at the IMC program and determine how it plays a part into your overall plan. The IMC program is built with flexibility to meet the needs of its students, and we are empowered on how we want to take advantage of what is being provided to us.


Chris Fujimoto is currently an IMC student and the marketing web administrator at Vanguard Charitable in Philadelphia. 

7 Tips to Succeed in an Online Learning Environment

September 13, 2016

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According to D. Frank Smith, 5.8 million Americans are enrolled in an online course—that’s one in four students!

For many, the thought of online classes is unnerving, yet virtual enrollment continues to grow. It can’t be that scary, right?—Right! Here are some tips we put together for succeeding in online classes.

  1. Print your syllabi

Keep a hard copy of any and all documents distributed by your professor, especially the syllabus. Printing these documents will help you to better understand and keep track of the course assignments, as well as remember your instructor’s expectations.

  1. Designate a workspace

Choose a space in which you feel you will be the most productive to complete your course work. Use this space only for class-related activities and, while you are there, turn off your cell phone to avoid all distractions.

  1. Remain organized

Keep a master schedule of when all of your assignments are due. To ensure you do not forget anything, write yourself daily to-do lists, complete with detailed instructions for each project.

  1. Communicate problems early

Communication is key! Whether it is a problem with your server or a question about an assignment, communicate issues are their onset, as they will then be much easier to resolve.

  1. Space it out

Work a little bit each day. Don’t procrastinate or try to complete all of your assignments in one sitting. This will do nothing but overwhelm you and put a damper on your creativity.

  1. Participate

Participate, participate, participate! Online classes allow you to learn as much from your classmates as you do from your instructor; however, the responsibility is yours. The amount of effort you put into a virtual course will reflect the amount of knowledge you gain.

  1. Reward yourself

Incentivize yourself with periodic rewards. After completing a large project or a difficult paper, treat yourself! You deserve it!

Online courses can take time to get used to; however, their benefits are undeniable. Online learning provides students with flexibility, lower costs and greater technological knowledge. So…don’t be nervous about online courses. If you keep in mind these seven tips, you are sure to succeed in any online learning environment.

 

5 Reasons Why You Need a Social Media Influencer on Your Payroll

September 6, 2016

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Everyday, more and more companies are integrating content creators into their emerging media efforts. From YouTube beauty gurus to Instagram celebrities, influencers have wiggled their way into becoming a major element in specialized content marketing efforts.

Using social media influencers in your marketing is the practice of building relationships with the people who can build relationships for you. Whether an influencer’s audience is small or large, an influencer can reach consumers via their blogs and social networks that your brand may not be able to.  – Group High

So let’s jump right into it! Here are 5 AMAZING reasons why you need to add a Social Media Influencer to your payroll.

1.) They are well known… 

Social Media famous people have branded themselves so well online that your consumers already know them and consider them the gatekeepers in their respective fields.

Just check out this clip of Tyler Oakley on The Ellen Show … and he is famous for social media alone.

2.) Their audience trusts them…

Consumers want authenticity from the brands they interact with. When marketers equip influencers with an entire experience to share about a brand or product the posts are more engaging.

Let’s be real, influencers have positioned themselves to be thought of as experts in everything from hear to politics, and consumers would much rather hear what they have say about a product as opposed to a employee for a company.

Nine times out of ten, if a consumers had questions about the quality of a product and asked both a employee for the company and a respected influencer what they thought of the product; they would probably allow the influencers’ words to outweigh the employee.

90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. Only 33% trust ads

Your employees are like a walking advertisement for your company. This alone makes it hard for consumers to believe that if your product really isn’t as good as you claim it is, your employee would actually tell the truth and admit that it isn’t.

But, with influencers, they see them as regular people, just like them, and often feel as though their opinions are more organic – making it more truthful in their eyes.

3.) They are trendsetters…

Their supporters  look to them for the latest trends and for guidance in incorporating them into their daily life. Now, more than ever, social media personalities are being considered the trend setters (and in some cases, enders). They are able to use their platforms to urge large groups of people into thinking that something is in, out… or going to be in.

A recent study from the Journal of Consumer Research has found that people who are active in social media are likely to be influenced by the opinions of those they follow on those social media channels. For marketers and business owners, this means that connecting with trend setters who have a large amount of followers is more important than ever.

To keep a long story short, you need them to say that your company or products are in!

4.) They have a pre-assembled target audience…

When executed correctly, influencer marketing has the ability to reach niche audiences and create a greater impact than traditional advertising methods.

Influencers have already developed a close knit relationship with their followers who are members of your target market. This means that hiring them will allow you to tap into it and convert their fans into your consumers.

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With social media influencers having audiences of sometimes more than a million people, it’s a win-win situation for both parties!

 

5.) They are flexible

Social influencers can provide a cost-effective way for startups and smaller businesses operating on a limited marketing budget to reach new customers.

If you aren’t ready to add them permanently  to your payroll, there are ways in which you can still work with them. You can draw up an endorsement deal or just pay for them to attend one of your events, post online about your products,  or you can even get them to review your product or give them a promo code to promote online.

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The best way to gain the trust and attention of the influencer’s audience is to have the influencer engage with your product and either create content around the brand or testify as to what the product has done for them.

The possibilities are endless, but it’s up to you to make sure that you take advantage of this new and happening buzz ed-about strategy to increase your stake in your target audience.

-Katra Cunningham


Katra Cunningham  is an IMC student currently in IMC 619 Emerging Media & the Market. This blog post originally appear on her blog: Emerging Media…as told by Katra. Check out her blog for more posts!

Facebook Finally Gave Its “LIKE” Button a New Makeover

August 30, 2016

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The “like” button on Facebook has now evolved. In the beginning of the year, Facebook decided to officially change its “like” button to a range of emotions.  A dislike button couldn’t be added due to Facebook understanding that there would be too much controversy among its users.  Instead, Facebook members can now react to their user’s statuses by choosing from a variety of six different reactions which include: “Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry”.

“Not every moment you want to share is happy,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “Sometimes you want to share something sad or frustrating. Our community has been asking for a dislike button for years, but not because people want to tell friends they don’t like their posts. People want to express empathy and make it comfortable to share a wider range of emotions.”

These reactions that were invented reflect upon the emojis that are used in text messages on most used touch screen cellular devices.

On a daily basis, news articles and videos that go viral are shared on Facebook users news feed.

I’m curious to know if this new makeover of integrating more than just a “like” button has effected the way businesses post on their Facebook profile page. Aren’t you curious?

If you’re curious to know the full breakdown of reactions for each post you put out their on Facebook then you can simply view your Facebook page’s Insights.

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I personally would try to convince my Facebook friends/fans to make use of the new reaction buttons.  These reactions are tools that are used for marketers to distinguish whether or not they posted something worth reading, engaging with, and/or talking about on Facebook.  If a marketer such as Nike receives an angry emotion “like” on one of their video promotions they share then they’re not going to take the post down.  Instead, they’re going to use that response as an initiative to improve their next video promotion.

I decided to see if marketers are actually receiving a variety of different reactions through their postings on Facebook.  I compared Nike and Adidas.  Both Nike and Adidas receive almost the same reactions. Facebook users are responding to their video promotion ads and/or images with either a “like”, “love”, “wow”, or “haha” reaction.  None of the users responded with the “sad” or “angry” emoji.

Many of us especially those who are Millennials or part of Generation Z are frequent users of social media. With that said, we’re growing rapidly through a world of change.  We’re emerging with so called “new makeovers” that are happening to our advancements in technology, and we’re accepting these changes.

So many of us want what we cannot afford, but most of us will do all we can to save up enough money to purchase or upgrade to a new Apple phone, because we see every one else getting one.  Many of us follow others, because we want to continue staying up to date with a specific trend we want to follow.

-Kayla Kesselman


Kayla Kesselman is an IMC student currently in IMC 619 Emerging Media & the Market. This blog post originally appear on her blog.  Check out her blog for more posts!

Top resources for IMC students

August 11, 2016

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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.

Twitter Hashtags Enhance Asher Media Placements and Amplify Reach of Key Client Messages

August 4, 2016

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The past two earned media assignments I led for clients were enhanced significantly by the use of Twitter hashtags.

As part of the media outreach strategy, Asher Agency recommended using a Twitter hashtag (one was in place and the other we created) to give all stakeholders and our agency’s staff a rallying cry to tweet, retweet, like and reply to others about the key messages and calls to action.

We started promoting the use of the hashtags early in the planning process, reminded allies throughout the media pitching phase and used it often in thanking reporters and publications/networks that ran our stories.  The hashtags also helped easily track media coverage and created a healthy dialogue that continued well after the issuance of the news releases.

My Asher colleague in both projects, Faith Van Gilder in our Fort Wayne, IN, office, tweeted photos and messages both during the media conferences and throughout the day. She also forwarded photos with suggested tweets to client stakeholders during the day for them to post on social media. Asher’s experienced digital team tracked the results online and supplied the analytics below as part of the project summary.

American College of Sports Medicine American Fitness Index – #FitCityIndex

At 12:01 a.m. May 18 the ninth annual American Fitness Index (AFI) was released by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc.  Washington, D.C., closely followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul and Denver, were the three fittest of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S.

The annual AFI data report — http://americanfitnessindex.org/report/– has proven to be a valuable assessment and evaluation tool to educate community leaders on the importance of key indicators of physical activity. Leaders can then focus on policy, systems and environmental change strategies that are evidence-based and create sustainability for the community.

Therefore, media coverage and community engagement using the annual AFI results has grown each year. USA Today, The Washington Post, the Today Show, all television networks, the Weather Channel, local newspapers and websites, broadcast networks, IHeart Radio, and dozens of health/fitness and business websites, academic institutions and others digest the AFI and report its diverse conclusions and recommendations.

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National Physical Activity Plan Alliance – #ActivityPlan2016

The new U.S. National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) was unveiled April 20 at the National Press Club, building upon the initial plan that the NPAP Alliance released in 2010 as a roadmap for actions supporting and encouraging physical activity among all Americans.

Russell Pate, Ph.D., chairman of the nonprofit NPAP Alliance, presented the plan, which was validated by speakers from the American College of Sports Medicine; American Heart Association; Tennessee Department of Health; President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition; Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute; and Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic gold medalist. All of these people and organizations enjoy a huge social media presence and followers.

The website offering the full 2016 National Physical Activity Plan — http://www.physicalactivityplan.org/index.html — lists the #ActivityPlan2016 hashtag that continues to be utilized in discussions about the plan, its elements and utilization. We webcast the Press Club release event, so that triggered questions from the media and general public using our hashtag.  It greatly enhanced our media coverage from the new release and our pitching the story. Our partnering organizational partners and representatives from nine societal sectors – business and industry; community recreation, fitness and parks; education; faith-based settings; health care; mass media; public health; sport; and transportation, land use and community design — all leveraged the hashtag to share their participation in the new U.S. physical activity plan. The hashtag usage ramped up again as we organized a standing-room-only Congressional briefing to share the new U.S. plan and promote Members of Congress committing to employ physical activity policies on Capitol Hill.

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For all of these reasons, we strongly encourage the use of Twitter hashtags as an essential component of promoting news announcements, communications and advocacy campaigns and events. #ashernewsandblog

————————————————————————–Mike Fulton directs the Washington, D.C. office of the Asher Agency (www.asheragency.com) and teaches a master’s level course in Public Affairs for West Virginia University’s Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program. Connect with Mike at mikef@asheragency.com,@hillrat1156 or on LinkedIn.

Unexpected, Difficult, Rewarding

July 12, 2016

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In three words I can describe my Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC 610) experience: unexpected, difficult and rewarding.

Unexpected

I never imagined myself enrolled in an online graduate program. I am a personable and engaged student that loves face-to-face interaction with my professors and colleagues, and I did not think an online program could provide me with a satisfying experience. IMC 610 showed me that I was wrong.

My IMC 610 class was extremely responsive; students created insightful posts, challenged their classmates with intriguing replies and provided diverse perspectives on questions posed. In an odd way, through my classmates’ posts, I got to know each of them on a deeper level by understanding their points of view, interests and prior experiences. Honestly, by the end of the course, it felt as though I got to know my classmates better than I would have in a traditional setting.

Difficult

IMC 610 challenged me in ways that I have never been challenged before. Not only did I have to learn to manage my time effectively in order to complete my discussion posts, responses, papers and readings, but I also had to learn how to “think for myself.” I know that sounds stupid, but here is what I mean…

In this class, I learned how to interpret materials, develop opinions on them and reinforce my opinions with supplementary materials, validating my arguments. This required a lot of introspective thought, something with which I was not extremely familiar. Although this was difficult at times, it helped me learn more about both integrated marketing communications and myself as a communicator.

Rewarding

I have to say, the rewarding feeling that accompanied submitting my final project and completing IMC 610 was phenomenal, but this was not the only time during the term in which I felt fulfilled.

After each assignment, my professor offered constructive criticism. It was really great to hear that I was understanding the week’s material and applying it in a productive way, but it was even better to hear her suggestions and apply them to better my campaign. By the end of the course, I had completed an entire integrated marketing plan; something I never thought I would be able to do, and something I never would have been able to do without the help of my instructor.

Overall, my first graduate-level class was fulfilling, surprising and difficult to say the least. The quality of learning was insurmountable and the “classroom” interaction was superb. I can honestly say that I cannot wait to see what adventures future courses hold; keeping in mind that WVU’s IMC program is not for the faint of heart.

Navigating today’s KIND of media environment

June 16, 2016

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Today’s media environment is rapidly changing. At the rate that technology is advancing, today’s channel of choice could be tomorrow’s old news. This is both exciting and nerve-wrecking for marketing communications professionals.

Opportunities to reach target audience members are growing; however, if we are not prepared to navigate a continually adapting media environment, our efforts will most likely fall flat. Joe Cohen, Senior vice president of Communications for KIND Healthy Snacks addressed this topic, as well as many others, in his session at #INTEGRATE16.

During his session, Cohen discussed six points in relation to today’s media environment.

  1. Increased segmentation and competition: As more media channels emerge, each must become more specialized in order to retain an audience. This also means there is more competition among media for consumers’ attention.
  2. News in real time, all of the time: Social media, social media, social media. Social media makes news instantaneous. As marketing communications professionals, we must embrace and utilize this to the best of our abilities.
  3. Clickbait headlines: Marketing communications professionals must “fight” for the attention of consumers. One way to win over consumer attention is through eye-catching, intriguing headlines.
  4. Decline of print media: Consumers are now relying more on digital media, instead of print media, as sources of information. We must adapt to this change in order to continue reaching our audiences.
  5. Citizen journalism: Today, anyone can be a journalist; anyone can be considered an “expert.” No degree or prior experience is needed.
  6. The rise of the influencers: As a continuation of the previous point, marketing professionals must realize that everyday individuals are not only becoming the world’s journalists and “experts,” but they are becoming some of the most powerful influencers. These influencers can make or break products and brands.

According to Cohen, understanding and remembering these six points will help you navigate today’s media environment. I believe that it will also help you prepare for the changes to come.

Yesterday it was newspapers, today its social media. What’s next? Although we have our suspicions, no one can ever be sure; however, if we keep an open mind and embrace media adaptations as they occur, marketing communications will continue to be an integral and influential part of today’s world.

Consumer Insights and Content Creation

June 15, 2016

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Whether or not you admit your HGTV, Food Network or Travel Channel obsession, Julie Link and Greg Stroud know exactly why you’re hooked: they’re the ones gathering consumer insights in order to make marketing decisions and create content. Their job is certainly no easy task.

At HGTV and DIY Network, Greg is the Former Vice-President of Programming Integration and Julie is the Director of Research and Consumer Insights. As they found out, when you’re company is not hitting its mark, sometimes a complete rebranding is necessary to fix the problem.

How do you go about rebranding? Simple – by watching trends, commercials and, most importantly, the target audience you are trying to reach.

In order to really connect with your consumers, Julie and Greg suggest “learning in the moment” and immersing yourself. By going “all in” among the audience you wish to reach, you’ll not only know your customers/viewers, but you will:

  • know their style,
  • give them a reason to participate and
  • have a story to tell.

Once you know your consumers and have developed a creative way to reach them, you must pitch your idea to your team. By getting your hands dirty so to speak, you will be able to develop materials that help your team better understand what your idea is all about. It will also allow you to present information in an innovative and engaging way that allows your team to actively participate in the creative process.

Julie and Greg suggest presenting information to your team as if you are presenting it to an external client. By making your target audience the driving force behind the campaign, and introducing an element of fun into the mix, your ideas will resonate with the team and satisfy your target audience.

Building the right kind of audience to attract national advertisers is also crucial, because a lot of companies make a majority of their money from advertising sales. This means watching trends and noticing consumer characteristics and patterns that correlate with these trends.

The question then becomes whether people are buying products in response to trends or are trends emerging in response to influencers in the market? As Julie and Greg point out, a trend is often not a material object but a popular idea that it represents. People become attached to brands/companies/products because of the ideals and experiences they represent.

Thus, perhaps the best consumer insights come from when you become part of the target audience you’re trying to reach.

Keeping Consumers “Lovin’ It!”

June 15, 2016

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I have seen the McDonald’s menu grow and change dozens of times. When I visit McDonald’s while traveling, there are always differences in the restaurants’ menus. I never really understood these changes and differences until attending #INTEGRATE16.

While at #INTEGRATE16, I attended a session featuring Mel Windley, James Nice and Jeff Monfort. Windley is the Executive Vice President of Fahlgren Mortine, working primarily on accounts for the McDonald’s Corporation. Nice is a Marketing Manager for the McDonald’s Corporation in the Ohio Region, and finally, Monfort is a McDonald’s franchisee who owns six restaurants in the Ohio Region. Together, these men discussed McDonald’s successes, attributing its victories to teamwork and audience insight.

The success of any business depends on its ability to serve its customers. McDonald’s uses audience insights from local, regional, national and global markets to ensure consumer satisfaction. The #INTEGRATE16 trio explained that in order to satisfy as many customers as possible, McDonald’s must consider what is right for the brand and the consumer in a particular marketplace; that’s why campaigns like “Nocturnivore,” and “#Macithappen,” are only seen by subsets of the company’s global market.

In order for regional campaigns to prosper, and McDonald’s restaurants to flourish, teamwork is essential. Windley, Nice and Monfort describe it as the “three-legged stool,” through which the brand, the operators and the suppliers/partners (the legs) must support the consumers (the seat). Without proper teamwork, and each leg polishing it’s part of the company’s iconic golden arches, the consumer would be dissatisfied.

Based on its consumers’ desires, McDonald’s now offers breakfast all day. It has developed new menu items and enhanced its current offerings. It has even implemented different menus in different locations. But, what’s next?—That is up to you, the consumer.