Sunday, May 15, 2011

Social Media is the Secret to Success

        Entering the Performing Arts Center on the first day of social media class, I never would have guessed the adventure I was about to face. Prior to this course, if you asked me about social media, I would have said it is a trend that will make way for another trend. I would have said Facebook is a tool for staying in touch with friends, Twitter is a confusing mess of status updates and bloggers do not know enough to consult them on their opinions or ideas.
          I have found that on all accounts I was wrong. Social media is not going anywhere; in fact, it will continue to make a difference in ways we cannot even imagine
. I would argue social media is the best thing that has ever happened to marketing and public relations. Social media helps those with creative ideas be successful; it is truly enabling the American dream. Unlike any other industry or medium, those with minimal cash can compete with those that have unlimited cash. At the end of the day, it is the most creative videos that go viral; it is the most interesting articles that are “dug”. 
        In this course, I did not only observe social networks. I was pushed past my comfort levels by being forced to express my thoughts and opinions to everyone that can search my name on the internet. Looking back, the experience was rewarding and I have a newfound respect for well-known blogs like Steve Rubel’s Micro Persuasion, Brian Solis’ Defining the convergence of media and influence, Business2Community and Mashable. These blogs are not afraid to express themselves and have attracted an enormous following in the process. By checking their RSS feed I can ensure that I am always up-to-date with the latest and greatest in my field. If something is groundbreaking it will be mentioned, innovative it will be explained. Social media is an easy way to stay on top of trends and maintain my college education.
        At school, we are taught that continuing our professional development outside college is imperative to our success. I am able to continue my education by following companies that are visionaries of their time and professionals that have accomplished what I hope to one day accomplish. Once you are pro-social media it is difficult to go back to a world where you have to seek out information or miss trends entirely. Social media is the secret to success. I am so happy to have immersed myself to the point where I am comfortable. I cannot wait to share this wonderful resource with my future employer. It is a skill that sets  me apart in many ways from other applicants

Monday, May 9, 2011

I Digg Beyonce

       While browsing the top selections on Digg.com this morning I found one article that was especially interesting. Singer Beyonce is partnering with the First Lady to proactively to help put a stop to childhood obesity. I did not know the First Lady put together an initiative called Lets Move!
        I like that they both are personally investing time and energy to a worthy cause. I was fortunate to grow up in a household that never eats fast food, has taught me healthier options and is very concerned with fitness. My dad is a little over 50 and still runs before work and plays tennis weekly. My mom attends fitness classes a few times a week and frequently walks with friends. My brother, sister, and my health have always been a top priority to my parents. Some kids are not as lucky and grow up with unhealthy habits that are incredibly difficult to outgrow. Not only does eating healthy make you feel better, it helps your mind stay sharp, and lessens your chance of conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and many more.
       Because I am interested in how Beyonce and the First Lady plan on helping kids understand healthy eating habits and stay in shape, I decided to research further into the Lets Move initiative. I clicked on a link labeled “Let’s Move Campaign” in the digg article. This site outlines five pillars of focus:

1. Creating a healthy start for children

2. Empowering parents and caregivers

3. Providing healthy food in schools

4. Improving access to healthy, affordable foods

5. Increasing physical activity

Beyonce is most closely related to pillar five. She recently released a music video that is a compilation of several energetic songs. In the video she is dancing at a school with a room full of students of all shapes and sizes. Sitting at my computer it made me want to get up and dance! I look forward to seeing the next steps in the Beyonce-First Lady partnership. For now, you can watch this lively video here.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Do Not Want to Be an “Interrupter.” Do You?

        I am very invested in both marketing and public relations; this is my chosen path of professionalism. David Meerman Scott, author of, “The New Rules of Marketing & PR,” discusses the difference between interrupting consumers and producing useful content for consumers when marketing to them. 
      The main problem is not knowing how to deliver useful content. Advertising is all about “pop” and “sparkle.’ This is understandable because companies have 30 seconds to convince you that #1 they are a credible company and #2 they have a product you cannot live without. The move from television to the internet is good news for companies that do not want to be an “interruption” to their publics any longer; instead of having to seek out consumers, they will come looking for you! The bad news is companies are having a difficult time making the transition from old (interruption) marketing to new (Content-Driven) marketing. I too struggle with what makes “great content.”
        Scott provides a great example of a Web site providing appropriate content to viewers. The site www.cervelo.com is awesome because it is clean, well-organized, and has information clearly labeled. The site is very personalized; the background is a slideshow picturing organization members. This is when “content” marketing clicked for me. It is not about looking the most professional, or boasting the most awards—it is about sharing your brand’s unique story. Little touches like photos and blogs add character and charm that can compete with even the largest of chains. Online everything is equal, everyone has equal space to explain what makes them better than the competition.
        Just as important as content is accessibility. If information is not easily accessible, site visitors will jump to the next link on their Google search. On www.cervelo.com information is clearly organized and you do not have to dig. The opening page is not jumbled and confusing; it directs traffic to exactly what viewers need. People expect the internet to be an instantaneous source of answers, if they have to work too hard to find answers; they look elsewhere.
        As Aggie (our Professor) says, you have to “give to get” in this world. Give relevant information and get a customer for life.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Senior Send-off

     Wednesday night I joined my senior classmates at Senior Send-off. This annual event is held by Ohio Northern University to celebrate with spring graduates. At 5:00 p.m. my friends and I piled onto university buses and were transported to the Lima Civic Center. It amazed me upon arrival how many seniors I have not met in my four year stint at ONU. At such a small school it sometimes feels like you know absolutely everyone, and that is not the case. After signing in, food was served. My expectations of the meal were not high, so I did not mind pizza, wings and veggies.
 
        Next on the agenda was playing casino games. It was fun to socialize with everyone, but we wanted the raffles to begin. After a long 3-hour wait, names started to be called. I am sad to report there were not any winners at my table of ten. Except for the last drawing, prizes were not very impressive. Our school gave away a free trip for two to go to Las Vegas! The girl that won was thrilled, it was her lucky day.
       In close, I am very much looking forward to graduation, and it is finally feeling real. Events such as Senior Send-off, (and everything my sorority has done to say goodbye to seniors) have really made graduation seem believable. My four years at ONU went by fast; I am excited to see what the next few years have in store for me. As soon as I have a job lined up I will be able to breathe easy. I have been feeling the pressure lately; it is incredibly intimidating not knowing where I will be in the next few months. Hopefully I will not have to wait much longer! 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Can Using Social Media Win an Election?

          While I agree that social media would be a great asset to presidential elections, it is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of uses for social media. David Meerman Scott wrote about how President Obama utilized social media throughout his campaign in the book, “The New Rules of Marketing & PR.” During Obama’s election I had no idea he had such a strong presence online. Now I feel I have to state a similar disclaimer to the one Scott wrote in his book: whether or not you voted for or supported Obama, I am relaying this information today as purely good PR, politics aside. Scott lists statistics revolving around the social media Obama’s team developed,


“According to The Nation, 13 million people signed up for the Obama campaign email list, more than 5 million “friended” Obama on Facebook, 2 million joined MyBO (and online organizing site where people could sign up to support the campaign as a volunteer), and more than 1 million people subscribed to campaign text messages on mobile phones.”

         These numbers are an impressive display. Social media has really grown to be highly influential in both business and networking. It is a great way to define who you are, lists your interests, and display groups in which you belong. Social media also stands out as a great promoter because it is free in comparison to traditional marketing tactics politicians use.

          As a relevant side note, I need to add that I HATE traditional means of elections; including voice recorded messages and commercials bashing opponents. They interrupt my day and I find myself resenting the candidate behind the message, whether or not I agree with what they are saying. A constant flooding of campaign messaging can be irritating. Social media provides a wonderful feature; by allowing individuals to “opt in,” you are ensuring the receiver wants to be actively involved in your campaign information. It is a way of making people feel like they have access to “insider-knowledge.”

           Overall, the precedent has been set in my mind, politicians cannot forget about their online publics. This is what I have gathered from reading chapter 10 in The New Rules of Marketing and PR, what do you think? Does a politician’s presence online matter? What about a lack of presence?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Twitter Assignment


Hashtags

When I first heard our Social Media class would be doing a project with Twitter, I decided it was time to get one of my own. I found this social network difficult to grasp for awhile. Now, a few weeks later, I am finally starting to learn the ropes and see Twitter as a useful tool for staying up-to-date with industry professionals and companies. This platform is a highly customizable news feed that caters to your specific interests. I like that I can stay current on all my favorite people, places and news on one site. However, one feature still confuses me on Twitter, that feature is hashtagging. Here is how I have begun to classify hashtags. They are a way for societies and individuals with similar outlooks to assemble online. Some hashtags are incredibly odd, for example: #ileftyoubecause; this hashtag is self-explanatory. Those using this hashtag post things like: #Ileftyoubecause you talk too much, or #Ileftyoubecause I can do better. On the other hand, I saw useful hashtags. One example is a hashtag for the White House Correspondent’s Dinner: #whcd. This is a neat way for the public to follow this event if they are not invited. Members attending can post what is going on, who is in attendance and who is speaking. One post I read was talking about Donald Trump speaking at the dinner. After doing research on hashtags, I think the most interesting part is that anyone can start one, and if you are an influence on Twitter, you can hear what others have to say on the topic.

Companies on Twitter

There are two companies I am following for this assignment. The first is McNeely Pigott & Fox (MP&F) (http://twitter.com/#!/mpfpr), and the second is Fahlgren Mortine (http://twitter.com/#!/FahlgrenMortine). Something worth noting about these two feeds is the frequency in which these companies post. MP&F wins this battle, boasting 919 tweets, whereas Fahlgren has 467 total tweets. Next subject-matter will be compared and contrasted. MP&F uses Twitter as an internal dialogue; a lot of their posts have to do with employees, or office announcements. Interns are mentioned quite a bit, as well as hometown news stories. MP& F does occasionally engage external publics by posing questions, such as http://twitter.com/#!/mpfpr/status/57895122767060992. In comparison, Fahlgren acknowledges their internal publics in congratulations, but Fahlgren primarily uses Twitter as a resource. To expand on this inference, Fahlgren is constantly re-tweeting articles on social media tips, advice, trends, etc. This would be a great place to reference if you wanted to jump start your social media knowledge. They also make reference to their campaigns, and example is, http://twitter.com/#!/FahlgrenMortine/status/61134075171323904. I checked both Websites for hashtags since we have been referencing hashtags so often in class. McNeely Pigott & Fox mentions their hashtag for a podcasting program they are holding. Interested, I clicked on the hashtag to see what types of information was being shared. There was only one post. Fahlgren also uses hashtags: #IR2011 is one that was mentioned in two of the most recent posts. However, those using this hashtag speak another language. So while it has a lot of responses, I am not sure of the content.

People on Twitter

There are two people I am following for this assignment. The first is Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com (http://twitter.com/#!/zappos). The second is Bill Balderaz, Webbed Marketing (http://twitter.com/#!/bbalderaz). I will begin my analysis of these two feeds by frequency in posting. These two individuals have posted at a very similar rate. Hsieh has posted 2,263 times in total and Balderaz has posted 2,180 times. Both post at a much higher frequency than the companies I followed this past week. Also significant to analyzing these two tweeters is the scope of their audience. Over 1.8 million people follow Tony Hsieh while 1,200 people follow Bill Balderaz. Next I will compare and contrast subject-matter. Balderaz is very personal with his posts, and tweets about trips he is taking, conferences he is attending, and the people he is meeting. He seems to be a humorous guy, especially when he says this: http://twitter.com/#!/bbalderaz/status/52818416117104640 In contrast, Tony Hsieh talks a lot about his research on happiness. Hsieh tweets about talking with celebrities, for example http://twitter.com/#!/zappos/status/52437085587640320, and tweets quotes and proverbs. I can understand why so many people follow him, because he is insightful and who isn’t searching for ultimate happiness? Hsieh is someone I will definitely continue to follow closely. As far as hashtagging, Hsieh has a hashtag for discussing his book: #DeliveringHappiness. Balderaz also makes reference to hashtags, and most are for events that he is attending.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Jayme Dee

         This past weekend, I was visiting my cousin Mollie in Michigan.  She attends Biola University in California.  Sometimes I hate her for being warm and on the beach when we still have to wear winter coats. For example: two days ago, April 28, 2011, I was wearing my winter jacket and almost blew away because the wind was so strong. 
          Anyways, my cousin has a new musical obsession, and I have now adopted the same obsession.  The singer's name is Jaymee Dee, she has a crisp, fresh sound and it is addicting (not to mention...she looks identical to my cousin, Mollie).  I had to share Jaymee's music with you all. So far, she is a mildly popular YouTube sensation, but my cousin seems to think she will be famous shortly.  What do you think? 

           Her original single: Love Whiplash
                An impressive cover: ET


Just so you can see the resemblance, here is a picture of my gorgeous cousin, Mollie :
Mollie is on the left!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Unbelievable

Last week my three roommates and I were huddled together in our bathroom with blankets.  For the first time in my four years at Ohio Northern University (ONU), a tornado alarm sounded.  The alarm is horrific, and went off from just after midnight until about 1in the morning.  Thankfully, our night ended peacefully back in our beds. A tornado did not rip through our Ohio campus...the same cannot be said for the states of Alabama or Mississippi. Both states suffered severe tornadoes, killing hundreds of innocent residents. 

     Below are pictures of the ruins, they are hard to believe.  The damage is both disturbing and sad.  Many lost loved ones, and even more lost their homes, possessions and sense of security.  My heart goes out to those affected. I know how I felt when I was huddled in my bathroom.  This had to be an absolute nightmare.
   
Alabama tornado picture: Birmingham-area home destroyed by tornado that made Alabama news headlines
Source: National Georgraphic

Souce: TIME Magazine
The aftermath of overnight tornadoes show destroyed ...
Source: Yahoo! News
The aftermath of overnight tornadoes that left ...
Source: Yahoo! News
   Click here to donate to Alabama Disaster Relief.  Storms are unpredictable, you never know when and where they will hit next.  On another note, I do not feel ONU adequately responded to tornado warnings last week.  Many apartment buildings do not have basements, and those on the second and third floors do not have anywhere to go. Students did not even receive an emergency text message. ONU protocol needs to change, and fast.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Should Employees be Trusted?

    This week in Social Media class we are reading portions of The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott. Scott presents an interesting debate in Chapter 5.  He discusses whether or not employers should allow their employees to blog.  Interestingly enough the same debate happened with email, this was before my years.  I do however agree with the strong comparisons  between these two mediums.  I have a feeling that just as not allowing employees to send emails seems silly now, not allowing employees to blog will seem silly later.  Scott brings up a great point that we have to look at the people communicating and not the technology.


 Building on this idea, if industry leaders in the fields of Marketing and PR are not allowed to blog, how are they expected to be an expert on the matter? What if these same executives were still not able to use email.  Imagine how far they would need to come to catch up with the rest of the world.  Until I began writing this blog, it was difficult for me to fully understand blogging ( I still have a lot to learn). Also, blogging is a way of sparking debate, and spreading knowledge.  Why would companies want to stifle this creative ground? Those participating in blogging communities can easily monitor what is being said.

   While I think employees should be allowed to blog. I also understand the possible repercussions corporations. So, as much as it is a right to be able to blog, it is a company's right to monitor employee posts and comments.  Blogs could definitely be abused and grounds for firing.  This should be made clear in orientations and employee handbooks.  Those that want to keep their job and are respectful should not have any issues.  Besides, it is much more difficult to convince people to stop doing something entirely than enact lose guidelines.

 These are a few of my opinions...What do you think?
  • Should employees be allowed to Blog? 
  • If so does it need to be in their free time, or can it take place at work
  • Should their be guidelines? How strict?
  • Does it depend on the type of company (public, private, non-profit)?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

       Today is Easter Sunday. I spent the last two days in Michigan, which is one of my absolute favorite ways to spend breaks. Why? My entire family lives in Michigan excluding my mom, dad, brother, sister and I. I feel fortunate we are all so close, although we do not see each other nearly as much as we did when we were younger. This makes me appreciate the time we have together. Today and yesterday consisted of goofing around, catching up, and lots of card games and great food. I am still stuffed from the turkey dinner my aunt prepared, and sleepy from the ride home. Overall I had a great weekend and it is bittersweet to head back to Ada tomorrow. Especially since it is the start of my last month at ONU...hard to believe.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Job Search Continued...

This past week, our Social Media class was told to complete an online resume. Since searching for a job has seemed like a full time job lately, I was open to new avenues. My attempt at an online resume is here. I found the website we used, Visual VC, to be relatively user-friendly. My only complaint is that unless you have a lot of work to link, Visual VC is very similar to Linkedin.  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My First Podcast

So after reading about making and listening to podcasts, I finally got the opportunity to make a podcast myself. My lovely co-host (Karlie Franco) and I spoke about professionalism on social networking sites.

Listen here : Emily and Karlie's Podcast

Below is the script we used while recording. Feel free to refer to it if you missed something!

INTRO

K: Hey listeners! I’m Karlie and I’m here with Emily for today’s podcast. Today we’ll be discussing professionalism and self-censoring on Twitter and Facebook. We’ve gotten the questions you’ve posted on our blog and we’ll do our best to make sure we answer them all.

So, after surfing around the Internet about this issue, I found one of the questions usually posed is whether or not having Twitter or Facebook is worth the time if companies are telling employees what they can or can’t post. What are your thoughts on this?

E: Most of the sources we found say it’s okay to be yourself but be careful what you post or tweet. Your employers are watching and listening. According to the 2009 Microsoft Study, 79% of recruiters search for candidates online prior to an interview, and 70% have rejected candidates based on what they found. In the end, just be smart about what you say online because it could cost you your job and your reputation.

K: I completely agree, within the last few months, comedian Gilbert Gottfried was fired from his job as the Aflac duck for Tweeting, “Japan is really advanced. They don't go to the beach. The beach comes to them." He also posted: "I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, 'They'll be another one floating by any minute now." This goes to showy no matter who you are, if you say something that puts a company’s reputation on the line, it’s OK, but you may be in need of a new career path.

E: Our goal today is to prevent this from happening to all of you. MSN Careers lists 8 ways to get fired because of social media. These are what not to do: “ Post off-color remarks, Post confidential details, Bad-mouth your clients, or disrespect your employer”

K: These may sound like common sense but you would be surprised at how often it happens. The last few suggestions MSN has are “ do not Post inappropriate photos, create animated videos of your co-workers, or talk trash about your boss.” Last, “Play hookey then post about it.”

E: Well I hope that answers the question for you, thanks again for writing in. Our next commenter asked, “ It’s difficult to self-censor yourself online, is it easier to just have a twitter account for work and one for personal use?”

K: While attending Ohio State’s Regional Activity for PRSSA, Speaker Brandi Hann who works in human resources at SBC Advertising says she personally does not feel separating is necessary but also feels that being wary of what you post during work days and at home is crucial. I agree with what she is saying because if you are a PR Professional who knows the proper way to use Twitter, there should be no question about the integrity of what you are posting.

E: This is so true, I would recommend using Facebook as more of a way to connect with friends and family, whereas Twitter and Linkedin might be better suited for developing professional relationships. So with that said, where do you draw the line between social and professional networking sites?

K: This question is probably best answered with an example from a Cisco Employee. Conner Riley interviewed for an IT position at Cisco Systems Inc. After being told she was hired, Conner went home and decided to mix her social and professional life by posting “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.” Unfortunately, Cisco made the decision for her and fired her within hours of her post. Tim Levad, a Channel Partner at Cisco: “Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”

E: For our and your entertainment we will share a few more infamous tweets gone wrong like the “Cisco Fatty” incident. James Andrews, the then Vice President of Ketchum was visiting Memphis and upon arrival tweeted, “True confession but I’m in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say I would die if I had to live here!” Needless to say, this did not go over well.

K: Likewise, Kenneth Cole, the fashion designer tried his best to promote himself in lighthearted manner during a very tense and violent situation. He Tweets: “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo -KC” Cole later apologized via Facebook.

E: The account director at Chrysler’s social media firm was stuck in traffic in the Motor City when he tweeted: “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to (expletive) drive.” He thought he tweeted that on his personal account, but he didn’t, he actually posted it to his client’s account. It cost him a job and his firm the account.

K: In closing, we will go over 5 Rules for Professional Social Networking.

E: Karlie and I found a handy blog post on one of our favorite sites, Mashable. The first rule Dan Klamm of Mashable lists is knowing your platforms. Each social media platform has its own environment, and rules of maneuvering. In order to use these websites to your advantage, it is best to know how each social network operates.

K: The next rule Klamm writes is customize everything. In his blog post, he says “It shows that you value your unique connection with the recipient it is easy to feel used when you send them a generic request or message.

E: Ask for something specific, always know your motives for connecting via social media. Professionals have limited time to spare, make it as easy as possible for them to help you by knowing what you want out of the interaction.

K: An important concept is to take it offline whenever possible. Interactions online are often missing key components such as eye contact, body language and tone of voice which contribute to building relationships. When meeting through social media, ask for the preferred method of contact. Some like email, others like phone calls, and still more like face-to-face interaction.

E: Lastly, always say thank you. Simple enough, but always appreciated.

E: That wraps up this week’s podcast, thanks for tuning in; Feel free to visit our blogs for all of your social media updates at emily0989.blogspot.com and kfranco.blogspot.com. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Distinguished Lecture Series on Ethics

       Hello Bloggers, tonight I attended the Distinguished Lecture Series in the Dicke Forum.  The presenter was Dominic Salomone, CFO of First Charities Network.  He is a graduate of Ohio Northern University, Class of 77'.Salomone stressed the importance of 10 principles when approaching an ethical life and career.  These principles are known as The Code of the West and were published by James Owen.  I will list these ten principles now:

1. Live each day with courage. 
2. Take pride in your work.
3. Always finish what you start.
4. Do what has to be done.
5. Be tough, but fair.
6. When you make a promise, keep it.
7. Ride for the brand.
8. Talk less and say more.
9. Remember that some things aren't for sale.
10. Know where to draw the line.


          For whatever reason these 10 principles really resonate with me, and I believe they will serve as a great code of personal ethics in my career.  This speaker was an inspiration because he started out at Ohio Northern University, and ended up taking the Banking Industry by storm.  These principles are a reminder to stay true to myself and take pride in my work. Thank you Dominic Salomone for a terrific speech tonight!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Loving that Toyota's Gone Viral !

If you have not seen Toyota's latest viral video, watch it now by clicking on this link: 
The viral video "Swagger Wagon" has gotten over 8,000,000 views and is used as a tool by Toyota to promote the 2011 Sienna Minivan.  I had to share this video because I found it to by hysterical! With all the negative press Toyota has gotten in the last year or so, this is exactly what they need. Toyota is doing a fantastic job coasting through negative press by putting a smile on consumer's faces.  Through product defects and other mishaps, it is impressive that Toyota can be light-hearted and continue to do business as usual.  Hopefully Toyota's reputation will make a quick recovery following this campaign. I am always rooting for a good comeback!

Monday, April 11, 2011

8 Year Business Simulator

       This quarter in my Advanced Marketing Class, my group members and I are competing under the alias "Team Digby".  We are competing against five other groups selling sensors on an online simulator called CapSim Management Solutions.  The program has been neat thus far because group members are responsible for collaborating each week on budgets, products, market segments, R&D, and production.   Involved in this program are also financing your business through issuing stocks or bonds. The simulator produces results each week, just in time for the next week's projections to be submitted.  

       As much as i dreaded this project, it is much less intimidating now that we are entering our fourth round of projections.  The game has definite strategies to it, and I have enjoyed competing against classmates.  This post's purpose is to acknowledge a fine tuned teaching tool, and share a positive review with the blogging community.  CapSim does a great job simulating a real-life company, and gives all students a taste of every aspect of running a business. As a marketing major, we do not just focus on promotions and sales.  I am also responsible for estimating capacity in our manufacturing plant, and forecasting inventory on hand for each product.  

        So far "Team Digby" started out strong.  We were in first place in terms of stock price and market share in year 1.  Year 2 we continued to have success, and year 3 we dropped to third place. However, I am especially excited to view  results for Year 4 (later today!) because we launched a new product and hope to come out on top once more.

GO DIGBY!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Who is in Control of a Company's Brand?

       Tomorrow is the first exam of the quarter in my Social Media Class. While reviewing, I stumbled upon this quote in the book Groundswell by Josh Bernoff:


     The value of a brand belongs to the market, and not to the company. The company in this sense is a tool to create value for the brand...Brand in this sense--it lives outside the company, not in the company. When I say that the management is not prepared for dealing with the brand, it is because in their mind-set they are managing a closed structure that is the company. The brand is an open structure--they don't know how to manage an open structure.

      My interpretation of this argument is that the public contributes a great deal to a company's brand. I do not think this is necessarily the case. While people have the opportunity to interact with company websites, and forums, at the end of the day a brand concept is created by the company itself. Feel free to disagree, that is why I am re-posting this quote, to spark discussion!

      The term brand can be defined several ways. My personal definition of a brand is in the details. For example, a retailer's brand begins with the way customers are greeted when they enter stores. It is then reinforced through tangibles such as lighting, store design, logos, bags, pricing and displays. A brand is the complete embodiment of an organization. To me, a brand is ideals on paper brought to life by hand-picked designers and a thoughtfully crafted web-persona. I feel social media can be used as a great extension of a brand, but the brand does not begin and end online. Social media may also serve as an indicator of how well a brand reads to its customers. If the brand is negatively received it is a lot easier to spot using online forums and comments. In conclusion, while a brand can be expanded upon online using social media tools, I believe the majority of a brand is still in each company's control.

Eager as always to hear your thoughts!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Lessons Learned in Chicago

While in Chicago this week on a PRSSA agency tour, I was able to visit four impressive PR agencies.  The lessons I learned are arranged below according to agency.

Ruder Finn
  • In an interview, a good question to ask is whether or not the company has professional development programs for employees.
  • A great method of networking is conducting informational interviews with industry professionals.
  • Correct AP style is an indicator of professionalism on resumes.
  • As an intern, have an open mind to a wide variety of tasks. Remember:  as an intern, you are proving you are worth hiring.
  • Online portfolios are becoming an industry standard to showcase an applicant’s work. 
Ketchum
  • Internships are typical starting points at PR agencies. It is highly unusual for a PR agency to hire an employee without him or her being an intern first.
  • Always be sure to "court" contacts; do not just ask for favors. Contacts will be more willing to help a friend than a stranger.
  • Do not be afraid to email or call an employer several times.  Emails are commonly buried beneath more time-sensitive material.
GolinHarris
  • Big agencies can feel small.
  • Focus on the environment/corporate culture of an organization before accepting a position. 
  • Include numbers in your resume, and tailor a cover letter to compliment the posted job qualifications.
Weber Shandwick
  • Public relations professionals have made a career out of telling and selling stories.
  • Large agencies allow for creativity because they have less limited budgets, and their contacts are more widespread.
  • If you showcase your specific skill sets while interning, full time positions may be created to support your expertise.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Preparing for the GMAT

In addition to working as a waitress and being a full-time student, I have been preparing for the GMAT the past few months.  This test will be here before I know it, which has been a dark cloud looming in my life.  While I am not planning on going directly into a graduate program, I would eventually like to go back to school.  The GMAT can make this dream a reality.  The website mba.com says, "leading business schools and management education programs worldwide recognize the GMAT as the most effective predictor of success." Scores can be used for up to five years when applying to masters programs.  Recently I stumbled on a helpful blog called  GMAT Hacks, for anyone else taking the GMAT I highly recommend subscribing to this blog.  Articles discuss test-taking tactics and the site has over 1800 past test questions.  Jeff Sackmann is a test prep tutor that has written this blog for the past ten years. After looking over his advice on taking the math sections (my weakness), I already feel more confident in my abilities. Consider this blog a shout-out to Jeff Sackmann, I plan on reading this site every day until T-day (test day!).

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Would you buy an Ipod for a Penny?


(This is not a trick question…of course you would!)   

       Digg.com brought to my attention a trendy new way of finding deals online. Many people would jump at the opportunity to purchase laptops and flat screen televisions inexpensively.  This thought process is the basis for Quibids, which is a penny auction website that begins bidding at $0.00. This online auction is comparable to eBay, except each bid placed costs 60 cents. (To recap, if you place a bid, it raises the price by a penny, but costs 60 cents.) In my opinion, the site is genius, because it is highly profitable.  Although, I'll admit, my first instinct was to question the integrity of the site, because it seems too good to be true. Here is a video describing how Quibids works.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-0UCMJRZSGbk/TZeXUrtL9WI/AAAAAAAAABc/5Y-fPy43xrE/s320/347-LogoOriginal.jpg

        In theory, this is an incredible opportunity to purchase high end goods at an affordable price.  Taking a chance, I decided to sign up for an account.  Here is where I found the first red flag. In order to place a bid, you must purchase bids in a bundle.  The minimum sale for first-time users is $60.00.  Unfortunately, I think this price tag is a bit steep for a trial, so I have not bid on any items just yet.  On the other hand, I have spent time watching auctions. 
        Many blogs have begun to expose Quibids auction site. Some People claim there are robots placing automatic bids on big ticket items, while others say they win items within the first few days and then rarely win again.  Others blame losses on bad strategy, and claim to have received immense savings. 
        I decided to investigate into what others are saying about this site.  Social media can serve as a wonderful tool, because social media allows people to connect to those that have had experience directly.

 Here is feedback I found on Reviewopedia.com regarding Quibids:


Mike says:
     March 7th, 2011 at 11:08 pm -I 100% disagree with BigPicture. Think of it as gambling at a casino. You win some and you lose some. You do not want to spend money on this website, thinking that you will automatically win. Thats just stupid!!!I won an apple Ipad retailed for $499.99 for $5.56 + $15.99 s&h + 30 bids. If you do the math 30bids * $.60 cents a bid = $18.00 so for a grand total of $39.55, i bought an ipad. Yes the people that lost the auction lost their bids, but isnt that what gambling is all about? You would not try to get a casino shut down just because you lost a bet! think of this site as a virtual casino, not a scam.
 Winner says:
      January 4th, 2011 at 1:44 pm -It amazes me how the majority of these comments are all negative. I signed up on Quibids today and won 3 auctions in less than a hour and those are with the initial 100 bids I paid $60 for. A Minolta 35 mm camera (list for $525)that i paid 3.78 with 10 bids, a 32 inch Viao TV, for 11.21 with 6 bids and a $100 Lowe's gift card for 11 cents! Its all about timing and waiting out the suckers. It is no different then playing the stock market. You will win some and you will lose some. TIMING PEOPLE!! TIMING!!! If you don't understand the stock market you will never understand penny auctions. they are not a scam. It just takes intelligence to understand it
Mark C. says:
     February 23rd, 2011 at 7:13 pm -I personally believe this company needs to be investigated. On at least two auctions, I've watched a 'person' bid so many $.60 bids alone they could have bought the item twice at retail price. Either they are the dumbest person on the face of the planet, or this is a bot simply running to drive the price up and keep others bidding on the item. The 'person' that was doing this had the nick 'annalovell'. If anyone else notices this, please post...
Sicofit says:
      January 27th, 2011 at 2:51 pm- I've never fallen into the penny auction trap but am still blown away by how these sites are allowed to advertise their business. Showing a winning bid by dollar amount is completely misleading and shouldn't be allowed. Example: Advertising an iPad having been won for $22.67 actually means 2267 bids at$.60/bid were placed. This means Quibids receives $1360.20 for an item that retails for $699.00. I'm not saying that there aren't any deals to be found on these auctions, but promoting 95% savings is just untrue. I'm glad to see the high number of posts that recognize this and I'm tired of seeing these advertisements on my computer. And those people who boast about winning items for $12.00, what did they really spend and how about the auctions they don't finish?
       
       If this site matches the positive comments above, it is a gold mine.  I find the positive comments about difficult to believe though.  If anyone else is daring enough (and has money to wager) I would love to hear about your experience with this program.  I’ll come right out and admit it, I am too chicken.  Before I paid the $60.00 required to register, I am glad I consulted the reviewopedia forum.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Insider Trading for the Masses?

      Every day in the Wall Street Journal there seems to be another incidence of insider trading.  Just yesterday, March 30, 2011,  there was a story titled "FDA Chemist Charged as 'Insider'."  Cheng Yi Liang, an employee of the FDA, has had access to password protected information on major drug approvals.  Over the last decade, this has allowed him to profit 3.6 million from the stock market.  Liang was able to deceive his peers by using seven different brokerage accounts that were not in his name.  (For the full article, follow this link:  FDA Chemist Charged as 'Insider'. )
      Now you might be asking yourself, what does insider trading have to do with social media? Well, I connect the two with accessibility of information.  Reading Chapters 4 and 5 in Brian Solis's book Engage got me thinking about the amount of information available to consumers on the internet today.
         Consumers are now better informed than ever, and can make decisions based on company sponsored wikis, podcasts, blogs and consumer reviews. Social media helps eliminate the guessing game that used to be consumerism. You no longer have to be a top executive to receive inside scoop on  new product lines or upcoming mergers. The information can inexpensively become public knowledge.  Consumers can create dialogue with one another or directly with experts in the field.
         Companies have greater transparency and are leveling the field of knowledge among consumers, staff members and investors. I think it is neat that you no longer have to know the right people, or hold the right position to be fiscally or emotionally investedin a company.  My only concern is relevant to insider trading,  when is the amount of information available too much? Will there be companies be held accountable for the credibility of information shared on informal media channels such as podcasts, blogs or other social media sites? Will it become more difficult to prove insider trading with more information publicly available?


         I leave you all with this question: Do you foresee the vast accessibility of information to be entirely good, or are there looming dangers involved?  These are all things I am looking forward to seeing play out in the future, and I am looking forward to hearing your feedback as well.
                    
      

Sunday, March 27, 2011

O Canada

       Yesterday morning I began my trip to Windsor, Canada for Sigma Phi Epsilon's formal dinner. Each spring, this fraternity celebrates another year as a brotherhood. 
       I would like to provide the inside scoop to everyone that wonders what exactly goes on at such an event.  After passing through grouchy Border Patrol Officers, fraternity boys and their dates check in to the Holiday Inn on Ouellette Street.  This hotel is literally .2 miles from the Detroit Winsor Tunnel, which always seems to be a faster route to Canada than the bridge, (although far less scenic). 
      Once checking in, the fun begins with a banquet style dinner and awards ceremony.  Brothers are recognized for various reasons including four president's awards, which goes to a brother from each grade who goes above and beyond in their fraternity position held. Other awards are less serious such as "night-owl" and "strike-out of the year." My favorite award of the night was the "Rico Suave," jokingly this award is given to the brother with the best pick-up lines.
     Next is where I come in, last year I was named Sweetheart of Sigma Phi Epsilon. At dinner I presented a paddle (pictured below) to the brothers. 


Emily Bunka and Mike Davis
     Once I presented the paddle, the 2011-2012 Sweetheart was announced to be Kelsey Finch. She was thrilled to be chosen, and I cannot think of anyone better for the job.  Kelsey and I have been friends for a very long time, and she is one of the kindest people I know.  Congrats Kelsey! After dinner, Windsor has a lot to offer those looking for fun. Night clubs line the streets, as well as Caesar's casino and Karaoke Bars. Unfortunately no one from our group had a big win gambling, but we are holding out for next time! Personally I stayed close to quarter slots after discovering penny slot machines require a minimum bet of 30 cents.  Who would have thought that would be the case?
Emily Bunka and Kelsey Finch
     This weekend was a success.  Great friends, awesome food and incredible memories.  A short 2 1/2 hours from Ada is a whole other world.  Get out there and explore, if you ever have a chance to go to Canada, or anywhere else I urge you to take the chance! 


     Thats not all, after experiencing the wrath of customs, I am curious to hear about your experiences.  Please share!

Friday, March 25, 2011

You Digg?

     
     The book Groundswell has inspired me to explore unconventional social media sites. Lately, I have been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of news stories I come in contact with throughout the day.  There are talk shows, news programs, newspapers, peer groups and internet sites all trying to win my attention.  As a college student, it is difficult to find time to search through the bulk of news in order to find a few articles that are relevant to my life.  
    Groundswell suggests Digg.com as a great social media tool. This site is similar to the "like it" button on Facebook.  It expresses approval, and more approvals lead to higher  ratings.  Stories on Digg are essentially ranked by popularity. 
     Digg.com seems ideal for a girl like me, so here goes nothing.  Today I joined the Digg World. My first impression of this site is very positive.  The fact that articles are grouped by category makes maneuvering around the site incredibly easy.  The Business section and Lifestyles sections are most relevant to my life. In the next few weeks I look forward to reading top rated stores from these categories.  At first glance, I  also enjoy the section denoted "Hot Stories on Dig." Under this particular heading, I found an article called, "The Safest Countries in the World." After Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti and the Tsunami in Japan, I am curious which places are the most prone to disaster, and which are least prone.  "The Safest Countries in the World," lists Storrs, Connecticut as the safest state in the United States.  Overall, this site names Estoni,a Qatar, Bahrain the United Arab Emirates and Andorra the safest place to live.  Ratings are based on disasters in the past century. All of the countries listed have not experienced any monumental disasters in over 100 years. I found this article to be fascinating.  Hopefully the rest of my experiences with this site are as fruitful.  
    My question to my readers is this: Do you Digg? If not, is there a site that you prefer for discovering top news stories? Keep reading my blog because for the next week I will be checking Digg daily and make sure I report back with my satisfaction level. Thank you all for taking this social media journey with me. My hopes are to eventually master alternate media outlets in order to compete in the field of Marketing.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The New Influencers: Success Story

     In the book The New Influencers by Paul Gillin, there are many blogging success stories. My favorite thus far is the blog named HackingNetflix by Mike Kaltschnee. I am interested in this particular success story for several reasons:
     The first reason: Mike Kaltschnee was tasteful in his blogging and the company he wrote about. Netflix has been supportive of his blog and even decided to put him on the press list.
     The second reason: Kaltschnee has been supporting his family financially through blogging. Who knew you could make a living by expressing your views online.
     The third reason: I always thought blogging was complex, Mike took a very simple idea and focused in on a very specific audience. I always thought you would want variety to attract people's interests, instead Mike found a topic that very little had been said about and had over 2 million visitors in 2006.
     Blogging is a more capable tool than I ever realized! I cannot wait to learn more about attracting an audience's attention. This is my 6th blog post and believe me, I appreciate now more than ever the social influencers among all of us. Attracting unique browsers daily must take passion and hard work.
     Paul Gillin points out that Mike is a non-traditional journalist. With people trusting in the media less and less, I wonder if blogs will surpass traditional sources of news in terms of message credibility. What do you think?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Video Contest Entry


In class, I posted my first ever YouTube video. While the task seemed daunting, I was surprised at how user-friendly imovie was to make a video.  Enjoy!



Saturday, March 19, 2011

Yet Another YouTube Video!

This quarter, for Publicity, Media, and Campaigns, our objectives are educating the 18-25 year old public on national energy issues using non-traditional marketing. While on YouTube earlier today, I found a very helpful video for those of you in my class.  However, even if you are not in Campaigns, take a moment to check out Post Carbon Institute's YouTube video. The video is 5 minutes long and incredibly easy to follow.  I am interested to hear your feedback on whether or not this non-traditional marketing method is effective in your eyes.  


I had to share, hope you all enjoy!

300 Years of Fossil Fuels in 300 seconds

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Clever.

        For 12 years Susan G. Komen has been benefiting from Yoplait's Save Lids to Save Lives Campaign. Ten cents is still donated for each mailed lid. I am not sure if it is because of this campaign, or not, but I have developed a habit of looking at all yogurt lids for similar campaigns. 
       For instance, this morning I was eating Dannon's Lite and Fit yogurt. I absent-mindedly checked the lid and found myself being a dorky business/PR major. I got excited because there was a health tip on the inside of the lid, it read "get inspired and stretch or do crunches on commercial breaks". with a link to discover more health tips on their facebook page.  
       Somewhere in the last decade or so the inside of a yogurt lid became a platform for communicating with consumers.  Dannon is benefiting from an already conditioned public. We have been trained to check the lids, Dannon was just smart enough to use this outlet to communicate.
       Not sure if they planned this or not, but I thought this tactic was very clever.  I for one was reached by the message, and although I did not friend them on facebook... they made me stop and think.  Honestly that is half the battle. I am inspired by their creativity in discovering a voice through their packaging. 






Monday, March 14, 2011

The First Step towards my Engagement with Social Media

         Prior to taking this class (and reading chapter one of Engage by Brian Solis), I do not think I realized the science that is social media today.  The first few pages labeled me a social media follower.  Right away I wanted to change this label; Engage has inspired me. Then it set me backwards once more when it said:  


"This is something so much deeper than anything I could cover "for dummies." It is a matter of taking the easy route versus immersion.Success and Maturation is tied to the latter." 
(Solis xviii)


         Part of me thought there was an easy way, and that by sitting through class I would learn everything I needed to know.  This is not the case, in order to truly engage in social media, I cannot just sit back and absorb information.   There is not an easy way to master the art that is social media.  I am prepared do delve into social media and really try my best to understand it. 
         This book has also made me think...in a world where jobs are hard to come across, social media may be the tool our generation needs to secure success.  It makes perfect sense that older workers will be looking to new graduates to understand social media at a very high level.  It is our job to be prepared to meet their expectations.  


My first step: Committing.



Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ruby Affairs

         Last night I attended my third drag show. All thanks to Ohio Northern University.  As much as I try to be open to new things, I am a very conservative person by nature. Let me provide a little background.
         Annually Open Doors, an Ohio Northern organization, hosts The Ruby Girls to perform. The Ruby Girls are men that have come together to perform as women. Their main purpose is to have fun with students and raise money for Aids research and awareness. 
        In order to involve students, individuals are asked to participate in the drag show and perform a song dressed as the opposite sex. The show is a competition between student organizations measured by which team raises the most money.
       As nervous as I was to attend the first, second,...and third time, I have not regretted attending. Seeing friends dressed up and prancing (or strutting) on stage is hysterical. This year's winning group was close to my heart.  My Delta Zeta sorority sisters performed alongside our Sigma Phi Epsilon sweetheart and came in first place. The group raised over $170 for the cause. 
I respect my sorority sisters for taking a risk and enjoying themselves.  Dressing up like a man and dancing on stage is not something I think I could ever bring myself to do.


      For all you out there that are conservative like me, learn this lesson from my experience. Different is not always bad, and life is too short to be serious all the time. Bye for now, be sure to look at the picture of the winning team below.  It is just BEGGING for compliments :)



Saturday, March 12, 2011

Yes You Can!

My boyfriend showed a moving YouTube video this week. Ever since, I cannot resist sharing this video with others.  I hope it affects you the same way it has affected me. Social media dominates the public agenda these days, and I believe society could use more positive news stories like the one posted below. With all the tragedies, war and bullying in today’s news, the American public could use some encouragement.  PR professionals could utilize this outlet to build relationships with the public.
         The video below documents an extraordinary journey of two men, known as Team Hoyt, which has taken place over the past 40 years.  Team Hoyt consists of a father and son who have competed in 68 Marathons, 238 Triathlons and even 6 Iron Man Competitions. An Iron Man Competition, according to the official Iron Man Website, consists of 2.4 miles swimming, 112 mile biking, and 26 miles running. This is an impressive accomplishment alone, but here is the kicker:  
        Dick Hoyt finished each of these races while pushing his paralyzed son Rick in his wheelchair. Ever since Rick was young, he wanted to be able to run, and the first time he and his father ran together he claimed, “It felt like I wasn’t paralyzed.” His father took it upon himself to live out his son’s dream.  Today they still run every week and give speeches all over the country.  Dick Hoyt is now 65 years old, and when he began running with his son he could barely run a 5K. What a distance he has come! In a world of depressing and negative news stories, I found this story to be inspirational and highly refreshing.
         Many people have never attempted, let alone completed, these challenges on their own. Dick has competed in over 1000 races while pushing the weight of his 110 pound son.  I was so inspired to hear this father and son story; it is unbelievable.  The physical strength and endurance Rick displays is remarkable.  
        My favorite part of this story is that even though Rick has been told he can set a world record (35 minutes away from the world record at The Boston Marathon in 1992),  he refuses to run without his son.  This is an unlikely love story; but one that will try to always remember, so I will not take my life or family for granted. The attitudes of Team Hoyt are so positive, even though they both have had so many setbacks in their lives. 
        In today’s society I propose more stories like this one, and less negativity in the press.  Now I pose these questions: do you feel the same way? Do you feel there is an imbalance between positive and negative news stories in our media channels?


This video, and the thousands that have watched, give me hope that good news is just as appealing as bad news (cough Charlie Sheen) in social media today. 


For more information go to teamhoyt.com or watch their video here