Category ArchiveMarketing Communications



Business of PR &Marketing &Marketing Communications &Media &Technology PR Insights 25 Mar 2011 01:11 pm

Markers of Change: From Traditional to Interactive

In 2007, LG released their first television set with DVR installed allowing viewers to skip show advertisements entirely. The worst financial crises since the Great Depression shocked the nation in 2008, which called for innovation in the media industry. And in 2009 Google, controller of two-thirds of the search market, began using Behavioral Targeting advertising, changing the way the industry defined effective ad campaigns. All of these events precipitated a change in the public relations, media and advertising industry.

First, traditional media performance began to level as digital media took root. Marketers and PR professionals have been more reluctant to engage in digital campaigns because of their negligible reach in comparison to television. Still, Internet is showing alluring promise with its savvy capabilities. Furthermore, PR professionals are slowly coming to recognize the importance of fit of the message, over reach, which is where digital may have the upper hand.

Second, traditional media began to adapt to advances in technology and changes in consumer behaviors. The future of television’s 30-second spot is looking at changes toward interactive commercials, which encourages research on the analytics end about consumer preferences. With Behavioral Targeting, digital advertisers have also begun exploring the effectiveness of relevant ads, or ads that focus on fit, to an interested audience.

Still, these professionals may be stuck in the old frame of mind. Jeff Einstein, digital pioneer of the Brothers Einstein, claims advertisers are focused too much on ineffective reach and do not recognize the potential of message fit.

“In an on-demand media universe the right audience always qualifies and declares itself simply by showing up. But in advertising, getting the right audience to show up is the easy part. The hard part is delivering the brand message once they get there because no one ever goes anywhere for the ads.”

As digital marketing and advertising continues to popularize and industry leaders are looking to gain the edge over their competition, the industry may see a move toward campaigns that aim to appeal to their audience through fit, rather than simple through reaching as big an audience as possible. In the future of this industry, it could very well be the case that quality of fit better predicts campaign success than quantity of target reached.

Jackie VanSloten

Marketing &Marketing Communications &Social Media &Uncategorized 16 Aug 2010 11:41 am

Millennial Marketing

The Millennial Generation, aged 18 to 29, is a group that has grown up with technology instilled into their everyday routines. They are Internet junkies, multi-taskers, and demand personalized technology. They want to genuinely connect with others online.

Millennials are significantly different from their parents in the Baby Boomer generation in numerous ways. At cause of these lifestyle and fundamental distinctions, marketers are struggling to accommodate to millennial needs. However, Brand Amplitude, LLC, a market research firm, has launched Millennial Marketing, an online concept that provides a series of tools to understand Millennials and research to explain where the future of marketing lies.

Millennial Marketing pinpoints the generation. They are more diverse than the baby boomer generation and have a variety of needs in technology and communication areas. Due to multitasking, Millennials are consuming more media than ever, and they are more dependent on technology. Ninety three percent of American teens ages 12 to 17 go online; a Pew Research Study found that while using the Internet, 40 percent of US Youth ages 18 to 24 watch TV, 34 percent text, and 29 percent talk on the phone.

More Millennials than baby boomers have enrolled in higher education. Approximately one third of male and 40 percent of female Millennials have had some college education, compared with 25 percent and 23 percent of Baby Boomers, respectively. Yet a college education puts students in debt largely due to student loans.

The average millennial debt is $21,500, and 32 percent of Millennials feel they are “barely making ends meet.” Furthermore, there’s pressure to do well financially, but the recession has made it difficult to so. In fact, the recession has played a role in the millennial spending. Almost half of Millennials say they have changed their shopping habits somewhat, and others are questioning the need for an expensive college education.

It’s pretty clear: Millennials have different values than the Baby Boomers. They have been shaped by the recession and demand a higher degree of engagement pertaining to technology. As a result, marketers need to tailor their marketing campaigns to their different mindsets.

Millennials are price and value conscious, and they hold the products they spend their money on to high standards. They are highly skeptical of advertisements having been exposed to them their entire lives, and they use a discerning eye when it comes to purchases. Doing a quick internet search before making a selection is second nature to Millennials.

Without a doubt, the most significant shaper of the Millennials has been the internet. Something that can be both a blessing and curse for marketers is that the Millennial generation is always connected. Not only do they utilize the internet for product or service information, but as a broad communication platform as well. When a baby boomer has a bad experience with a business, they casually complain about it the next time they see their friends. On the other hand, when a Millennials has a bad experience, they share it with 800 of their closest Facebook friends. So how can brand managers channel insight into Millennial’s different lifestyle and values into a successful marketing campaign?

BrandAmplitude, LLC offers advice on how to connect with Millennials and their unique mindsets. First of all, a brand must be authentic. Millennials see right through false claims. Also, a brand must position itself as a necessity in order to appeal to Millennials. Due to the recession, this generation believes that they are strapped for cash and will be far more likely to purchase things they deem to be valuable necessities.

BrandAmplitude, LLC also recommends using social responsibility to appeal to Millennials. On average, Millennials are more socially conscious than previous generations, and they have been prone to use the presence or absence of corporate social responsibility as a tiebreaker during purchase decisions among similar brands. Millenials care that no animals were harmed in the production of a product or that a percentage of a company’s sales are donated to charity.

A brand that the Millennials can connect with needs to be shareable via social media. Due to the fact that Millennials spend a large portion of time on these sites, a relevant brand to them has what BrandAmplitude, LLC calls ‘Social Currency’. This means that a brand is social media compatible and can be exchanged on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Lastly, BrandAmplitude, LLC recommends portraying a brand as an experience. Millennials are more apt to spend their money on doing interesting things instead of having interesting things. They perceive experiences as a form of personal investment.

Even though the Millennials have strikingly different values and lifestyles than baby boomers, it is not difficult for marketers to reach this target market due to their dependency on technology. Marketers simply have to take the time to understand the Millennials and ensure that they are delivering a message that they will respond to.

Rachel Krasnow & Emily Rozanski

Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Business of PR &Electronic PR &Marketing &Marketing Communications &Public Relations Tools &Social Media 26 May 2010 09:14 am

Surprising New Uses of Social Media Found in Survey

The use of social media has revolutionized the public relations and marketing world. According to Facebook, its users spend 500 billion minutes per month on the site sharing more than 25 billion pieces of content. Other social media sites, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, have reported similar results. Re:NEW Michigan, a trademark of Eiler Communications, conducted a survey in April to further investigate the growing prevalence of social media sites among Michigan businesses.

The survey compared to a similar survey from December 2008. Not surprisingly, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn all saw dramatic increases in usage in the time period between surveys. The biggest leaps came from Facebook and Twitter. Facebook saw a 28.5% increase in usage, and Twitter saw a 30.3% jump.

A more unexpected and enlightening trend was revealed by the results. Michigan businesses reported heavily using social media websites in seeking news and information.

This is most likely due to news sites directly posting on social media sites or links exist between these social sites and news sites.

Whatever the reason, survey respondents admitted to using Facebook, Twitter and blogs just as often as they use more traditional news sites such as CNN, MSNBC and The New York Times when they seek news and information. Many even reported using social media websites as their primary source of information.

This information poses the question of what the future holds for this evolving issue, both social media and news information websites. No answers yet, but here are some observations.

The benefits of using social media websites for seeking news and information are obvious. They provide the instantaneous results demanded by people’s quest for instant gratification of information. The large amount of time spent on these sites and the great amount of traffic to these sites is favorable for spreading a story.

But are social media websites sufficient in providing a business with all the information it needs, or are they simply being used to find leads that require further investigation? Do social media websites have the potential to make news information sites obsolete? Re:NEW Michigan plans to address these questions and others involving social media websites in our next survey in October.

Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Clean Tech &Corporate Communications &Ecofriendly &Entrepreneurs &Environment &Marketing Communications &Sustainable Transportation &Technology PR Insights &Thinking Green 17 Jun 2009 10:02 am

Festival Season Goes Green

On June 12, 2009 Main Street played host to the 9th Annual Mayor’s Ann Arbor Green Fair. Underneath the lush green leafy canopy of Ann Arbor’s city center, local eco-friendly vendors and businesses gathered to discuss, exhibit, explain and sell all things Green. Booths lined both sides of downtown Main Street between Huron and William with companies both large and small, profit (Whole Foods) and non-profits (Friends of the Allen Creek Greenway) encouraging visitors to focus on environmental-sustainability for the future. BikeFest, with tutorials and ideas on bicycle transportation was also included in the festivities.

The annual Mayor’s Ann Arbor Green Fair signifies the growth and opportunity the Green Industry represents in our current economic climate. The traditional preservation communities made their appearance at the Fair, but also notably present were industries that do not immediately suggest “environmentalist”. Examples of these include: The Bank of Ann Arbor, Amtrak and Ann Arbor division of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). As a casual onlooker and job seeker, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of activity towards Green initiatives. Also particularly interesting is the governmental support of eco-sustainability. In addition to the Mayor’s continued backing of the Fair (scheduled in the heart of Festival season by the way), Washtenaw County showed off their ecological commitment with exhibitions on weatherization, water resources and environmental health. More on Washtenaw County’ s Green initiatives can be found at their homepage.

“Going Green” is no longer just a fad, but a serious consideration for any business leader or those looking for business or jobs. The sophistication of green-centric organizations was on display at last week’s Fair. A list of companies and businesses that appeared at last week’s Fair can be found here. The city of Ann Arbor listing for the event can be found here. In order to take eco-friendly businesses to the next step in terms of impact and economic stability, I believe it is time for these businesses to enlist traditional marketing and public relations expertise. The audience is ready to listen. Attendance of the Green Fair was bustling and curious. Each booth attracted three to four visitors and musical acts entertained at each corner. The Green Fair even out-paced the turnout of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s First Night gathering just 5 blocks north. “Going Green” is no longer simply the way of the future, but as the Green Fair showed, the future.

Case Ernsting

Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Business and Economy &Electronic PR &Entrepreneurs &Marketing Communications &Media &mobile marketing 20 May 2009 10:10 am

How Are You Using Twitter?

If you’re at all into Social Media you know about Twitter; but do you know how you can use Twitter to effectively market your company?

One company using Twitter to their advantage is Kogi BBQ, they are a Korean-Style taco vendor that sells their food out of a lunch truck, and they are using Twitter to their advantage. Kogi “tweets” the location of their two lunch trucks throughout Los Angeles as well as extra items not mentioned on the menu. Kogi has only been around since November but is already one of the most recognizable names in the country. They have close to 24,000 followers.

Another company out in Los Angeles using Twitter is The Westin Bonaventure, a hotel in the heart of LA’s financial district. Recently they gave away rooms to twenty-five followers. This created such a buzz that media outlets such as USA Today and The Los Angeles Times picked up the story. Obviously, all their followers knew about it and around 100 of them retweeted the news as well. In an interview with the PR firm responsible, an estimated twenty million impressions were generated from this campaign. Twenty million impressions resulting from a single tweet, you can’t ask for anything better.

As you can see, Twitter can be very powerful. If used correctly, it’s a great way to reach the masses in expensively. Find a unique way to grab people’s attention, and the rest will follow. Twitter is free and easy to use, so if you and your company aren’t already using Twitter, it’s about time to start. Happy Tweeting.

Christian Bittner

Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Business of PR &Electronic PR &Marketing Communications &Social Media 19 May 2009 10:24 am

Skittles: Taste the Social Media

It’s hip, it’s fun, but most of all it’s entirely original; it’s Skittles new website. If you haven’t gotten the chance to check it out yet, here’s the link www.skittles.com. Skittles created a fresh new site that is nothing but their Social Media pages. Their Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Flickr, and Youtube pages make up the bulk of the website. This is a pretty daring move since they can’t very well control the information being shared. Skittles must have a strong belief in their brand because all it takes is one bad comment to start an avalanche of negativity. Looking at the comments left on their Twitter and Facebook pages this seems to be a success.

Skittles has done a great job appealing to the social media crowd, which, let’s face it, is pretty much everyone now. This website has generated all types of buzz over the website, surprisingly bloggers hate it. This is interesting because everyone posting on the site seems to love the idea.

Here’s a list of a few things I think Skittles could do to better the experience.
1. For it to truly be social media Skittles will need to step in and engage in conversation.
2. For the people who aren’t in to Social Media or just don’t understand it, there needs to be a out-out option that will bring you back to their old website. This way using an analytics site you can track the number of users on the new website versus the old which will tell Skittles when it’s time to switch back to the traditional style website.
3. The widget-like menu needs to be movable.

If they can change those three problems, then all that negative buzz over their website will begin to fade.

An over-whelming majority of blogs out there regarding this subject, seem to think it’s over the top or think that Skittles took the easy way out. Even so, Skittle’s new site has all the information that any other website would have but they did it unlike anyone else.

Kudos to Skittles for being bold and trying something never done before, but as great an idea as this is, I think it won’t last very long. This is a great way to temporarily boost interest in Skittles and learn about their customers; but in the end the hype will wear off and people will want the website back to the traditional style.

Christian Bittner

Blogging &Business of PR &Electronic PR &market positioning &Marketing &Marketing Communications &Media &Public Relations Tools &Social Media 18 Feb 2009 04:38 pm

What Does Twitter Do For My Business?

What Does Twitter Do For My Business?

According to the IDC (Premier Global Marketing Survey Company)Internet users spend an average of 32.7 hours online each week. That’s close to half the time they spend on any media (70.6 hours), twice the time they spend watching TV (16.4 hours) and close to eight times as much time as they spend reading magazines and newspapers (3.9 hours). The two fastest growing categories are video and social media (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Wikipedia, Blogs, YouTube, etc).

Clearly, attention is shifting on-line for all of our social and business needs.

Abrams Research recently asked over 200 social media leaders at the Social Media Week 2009 conference, what social media site would you recommend your business to pay for
(if they had to)? Twitter beat Facebook by more than two to one. Why? One of the most typical responses was, “ It is the quickest way I’ve seen to spread information virally to a wide scope of people attached in a lot of random ways.”

So, what is Twitter?

Twitter is a free social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time and is one of the fastest growing communities online. It allows people to send public or private messages in 140 characters or less via the web or mobile phone. Think of it as a Facebook status update on steroids. The idea is to sign up and find people that you want to follow. Once you follow them, you receive updates minute by minute on whatever they “tweet”. A “tweet” is a 140 character or less statement or link to information.

For instance, I follow people that are relevant to my business. By sharing quick bits of information, I can stay connected to them, know their interests and appeal to them for my professional or personal needs. The key is to “tweet” about relevant topics. No one cares if you are having coffee (unless of course you own a coffee business and are sharing your favorite brew). As a Twitter courtesy, if you follow someone they usually follow you back so, get out there and start following and watch your site grow! Think about this. If you send out one “tweet” that directs your followers to relevant news about your business, which directs them to you or your website- you can reach thousands of Twitter followers by the minute.

The key: No one likes a constant sales pitch. Twitter about relevant issues that pertain to your business or your interests. This will position you as an expert and drive traffic to your site.

Jennifer

Business and Economy &Business of PR &Ecofriendly &Environment &market positioning &Marketing Communications &Thinking Green 28 Jan 2009 10:58 am

Public Relations & the Choice to Go Green

Are you going green? Do you know how to go green? At the Micro level, you might walk to the corner store instead of driving…or perhaps you turn off the lights when you leave the room. But at the Macro level, many companies have gone green in a big way. Earlier Eiler blogs have highlighted the benefits of “Green-ifying” your company and working with green organizations. I will point out the crucial role public relations plays after your company goes green.

Companies that go green are preserving the environment, but also preserving their revenues. New television commercials (IBM, Wal-Mart, etc.) are highlighting the economics of going green, but what about the beneficial public perception that goes along with these actions? As Larry as been pointing out in recent blogs, the concept of branding is evolving, but the reasons to brand remain the same.

Companies and corporations need to differentiate themselves from competitors now more than ever, and the opportunity to go green appears to be the newest source of market differentiation and corporate social responsibility. For instance, Wal-Mart is trying to wash away its less than stellar public perception by instituting long-term green alternatives. McDonald’s, in the throes of a brand shift towards healthier meal options, promote a healthy, green relationship with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Additional globally-renowned brands going green can be found here.
The public knows the value of going green due to an increase in media attention. In today’s economy, that awareness and concern can be leveraged and turned into sales through savvy public relations practices.

So if I say, Coca-Cola is going green by focusing on energy protection…do you know what they’re actually doing? Inherently, we agree with this practice even if it’s not obvious what “energy protection” means. This is where your friendly Public Relations (PR) firm steps in. PR can bridge the gap between great ideas and the customer, especially now that the economy has stifled consumer spending. Companies are investing millions of dollars in creating new technologies and innovative ideas to protect the environment, but much of these success stories are not relayed to the public effectively With PR, brand messages are recognized instantly.

In an upcoming blog, I’ll look at how General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler are using forward-thinking green innovations to save their companies, as well as how the Big Three will benefit from involving knowledgeable PR methods.

Case Ernsting

Business of PR &Electronic PR &Leadership &market positioning &Marketing &Marketing Communications &Media &Public Relations Tools &Social Media 11 Nov 2008 10:11 am

Social Media Marketing and the success of Barack Obama

More than ever political candidates nowadays are seeing the huge advantages of market positioning and high tech PR via social media. Once in a while a candidate comes along and is a breath of fresh air. There was no better time for Barack Obama than now. With the 2008 election finally over, to the relief of many, we can sit back and assess the impact this positioning and PR had on candidates and nominees.
We are a society of pop culture and instant downloads where information is accessed at astonishing rates. News an hour ago is not news anymore and we are constantly searching for updates.
President-elect Barack Obama is an incredibly charismatic individual and plays well into this culture. Here is my thinking: I don’t think that policy and issue play as large a role as it should have and did in previous presidential elections. Although unfortunate, I feel image is a larger determining factor for the voting population.
Using these ideas, media relations and market positioning are just a couple of ways to build a fan base that can promote a candidates influence in multiple venues. Examples of this type of social marketing would include viral videos on YouTube, vlogs, internet forums, podcasts, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Flickr, just to name a few. Videos seen on YouTube of campaign rallies were free PR on a national scale. In fact on his home website, there is a link to “Obama Everywhere”, which lists all the above and a handful more of places where you can learn and discuss Obama. His campaign took advantage of this social market positioning and used it in their strategic plan for success. He reached out to the numerous constituents and gained their attention and respect by understanding that technology is continuous and evolving.
It was in this sense that Obama was able to fundraise from micro donors (and in return allowed him to disclaim lobbyist influences in government). Furthermore, according to a CNN.com exit poll, 66% of all 18-29 year-olds and 52% of 30-44 year-olds voted for Obama. These are the same typical demographics that are familiar with and use social media as both an outlet for discussion and information seeking; the so-called “internet generation”.
The reason this is relevant in politics today is because you will not find a single candidate out there who does not have a website and/or numerous spin off sites. For example, Obama teamed up with Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes to create My.BarackObama.com, in which users could join an online community that boasted over a million members. Using these high tech venues one can find local events, contact undecided voters near you, and share stories via blogs. The thinking is this: candidates, especially at the presidential level, can be, and oftentimes are, impersonal. My.BarackObama.com removes that a little bit and makes him and his campaign feel more about you.
Obama positioned himself as a beacon for change. He spoke with an intelligence that articulated respect. He symbolized a new beginning or at the very least a fresh start from the turmoil of the last 8 years. Obama had a strong grasp of the power public relations and high tech devices to campaign in new ways. From my viewpoint, someone who understands the way people think and seems to have a direction definitely gets my vote.

Christian

About Eiler Communications &Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Blogging &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Corporate Communications &Marketing &Marketing Communications &Michigan Public Relations Firm &PR Firm for Economic Development &Public Relations Tools &Social Media 07 Oct 2008 09:42 am

Why is Public Relations Important?

Public relations is the art and science of establishing relationships between an organization and its key audiences. In today’s business world and economy who doesn’t need to establish long lasting loyal relationships?

It is always amazing to me that in times of hardship in a company or small business the first thing to get “cut” is public relations and marketing. When business is slow, isn’t the objective to attract more business? The pieces don’t seem to fit in the logic of cutting what drives consumers to your business.

There are many different forms of marketing to reach your audience, but the first thing that should come to mind is positioning your company. Marketing positioning strategy is when marketers try to create an image or identity in the minds of their target market for its product, brand, or organization. In other words, try to say something that is so profound or shocking (but true) that you clear enough space in the brain of your consumer to make them forget about all of the other competition.
Sounds pretty simple right?

In most cases, it is not that simple.

That is why it is so important to use a mix of marketing methods, one of them being public relations. PR reaches your audience in a much different way because it is not a paid advertisement. It also helps you to reach an audience that you might not have been able to reach or afford to reach with traditional marketing methods. Public relations also uses diverse techniques such as opinion polling and focus groups to evaluate public opinion, combined with a variety of high-tech techniques for distributing information on behalf of their clients to the target audience.

What if you wanted to reach the audience that reads the Wall Street Journal, but your marketing budget wouldn’t allow you to spend 40k on a small black and white ad? PR will help you to reach an editor at the WSJ with a compelling story and get it published. Wouldn’t you be much more likely to read an article written by a third party rather than a paid advertisement and find more value in that?

Think about the different forms of social media these days! Blogging, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook! If you are not staying with the changes in technology then you will be left behind. All of these groups of social media are forms of PR and a good way to reach your audience or at the very least, hear what they are saying about your product directly.

Here is one more thing to think about. What if you had a major public relations crisis in your company and no one on your staff knew how to talk to the media? Wouldn’t you regret not having a PR firm?

Jenny

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