Gaining Experience in Emerging Media
IMC 619 – Emerging Media

Nov
30

Do it at Disney.  Nowadays anything can be accomplished from just about anywhere.  Case in point.  I arranged a vacation to occur over the Thanksgiving holiday this year.  It wasn’t any ordinary vacation, it was a special trip to Disney World and various theme parks with my 6 year old grandson, his father (my son) and my youngest son, in tow.  We had a whirlwind ten days planned.  Peppered at various times were the weekly assignments I had due.  The house we leased had ‘internet’ and I was certain I was ‘set’.  As Murphy’s Law would have it, the internet connection and my laptop (a PC) were incompatible and there was no wireless!  Imagine that–no wireless!!  I felt like I had been set out on a deserted island with no access to anything.

Internet Cafe.  So, the hunt was on.  We drove from location to location looking for a wifi zone so that I could turn in my assignments.  It took several stops, but finally we located a relatively new chain of healthy food alternatives, called Crispers.  I was so happy to have wifi, I’d have eaten just about any cuisine.  This was definitely a bonus.  As I sat in the booth laptop blazing and iPhone/tunes piped into my ears through my earbuds, I was able to finish last week’s discussion assignments.

Love the Rainy Day.   Someone nearby my rented house had wifi.  I could see their signal (which was unsecured, by the way) and on clear, sunny days was barely able to connect before being dropped for too poor of a connection.  Luckily, midweek it rained.  Because of the weather, the signal was stronger and I was able to piggy back onto their wifi and again, complete my work.

Thankful for the Holidays.   As I sit in Washington’s Dulles International Airport during my return flight layover, I marveled at the number of wifi connections I was able to find.  To my dismay, all were ‘paying’ connections.  A quick search down through the list found a Google-sponsored wifi link making internet browsing complimentary through the holidays.  Thanks Google.  I am now able to again complete my assignments.

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Nov
23

Promote that new product!  While researching information for this week’s class written assignment, I spent hours working through many Twitter accounts for the company I chose–Coca-Cola.  At first, I had difficulty locating what I wanted.  The landscape in Twitter is overly complicated to me, although it is supposed to be ‘simple’.  As I navigated from Coca-Cola’s main site (this was after searching to determine that it WAS the company’s site and not a pseudo-site) down thru attached sites for Coca-Cola bottlers, regional related distribution groups and the like I found an interesting contest that the Los Angeles division was supporting. 

Follow me to the Winner’s Circle.  Merely for following the Twitter account and reading tweets about the upcoming release of Coca-Cola’s aluminum bottle, followers are entered into a contest to win a ‘goodie bag’ of various prizes.  The posted pictures (background, really) on Coca-Cola_LA’s Twitter page  were very eye-appealing to the degree that I didn’t bother to read too many of the tweets, but just the same, it was a very interesting concept to get the word out.  Winners were selected randomly to the tune of about three to four winners per day.  Their Twitter names were posted in a tweet from Coca-Cola_LA’s tweet author.  I found myself interested in the goodie bag contents, given that the requirements didn’t mention I had to be a resident of any particular state.  That made me think about the positioning of this contest and the targets.  I’m completely across the country, but I could participate. 

Exclusive?  or Inclusive?  Or Mis-guided?  Promoting this new aluminum can is going on in other ways, also–don’t get me wrong.  I find the Twitter approach very interesting in that while the product is available only in a certain geographic area, Twitter makes it possible for the buzz to get out in advance of the product being introduced into the geography where the reader of the tweet might live (me who lives in West Virginia, presently located in Florida on vacation, as an example).  Effective buzz creation?  Yes, I’d say so.  Twitter doesn’t replace any existing marketing approach.  As I see it, it provides a platform where it can be seen as complimentary to other marketing approaches (both traditional and ‘social’).

Nov
23

Seriously.  Can we find another entry point to social media?  Can one more very intelligent person come up with another fantastic way to be connected?  It’s been a long weekend, and I’m trying to enjoy an eencie, weencie piece of time with my family while on vacation.  It’s been a long year this 2009.  I’m about ready to bid it adieu and get on with 2010.  I’d love to blog about it, but you wouldn’t believe me anyway.  Actually, maybe I should tweet about it.  No, never mind that–I’ll post it on my Facebook.  Nah, maybe on my MySpace page.  Wait!  I think I deactivated my MySpace, I’ll have to check.   So, maybe you get the picture.  I’m not the most social media saavy, AND I have at least four places where I could share my inner most thoughts about whatever I choose.  Imagine those folks who have plenty of time on their hands to post, blog, tweet or just plain type.  How many places could they push out there thoughts from? 

A little coordination, please.   So, perhaps this internal web of communication tools can be navigated so as not to cause more carpal tunnel (wrist or thumb) problems than already exist.  Is it Twitter?  Should thoughts be limited to 140 characters (sometimes I think those guys are onto something).  Should we link tweets into Facebook?  That capability just became reality last week according to the email push I received from linkedin.com .  Or is the webblog the best way to express ourselves so as to use all capable aspects and tools available to us?  We could tie our thoughts together here. 

A little separation, please.  Conversely, we could maintain aspects of separation by utilizing each social media outlet for a purpose.  Use Facebook for personal expression, create separate blogs for personal vs. business-related blogs.  (I myself pictured this blog as specifically related to this class.)  Yes, that suits me.  I’ll maintain separation and will cross over thoughts only where appropriate and valid.  Besides, photos of my grandson on vacation don’t relate to brand expansion via social media.

Nov
16

Social sites such as Facebook and Twitter are said to be key ingredients in any integrated campaign to build brand awareness.  According to Mark Walsh’s November 9, 2009 article in MediaPost.com, it’s the draw of the deal that is attracting users to social media as reported in a recent study conducted by Razorfish.  “That to me is a big ‘Aha!, said Garrick Schmitt, Razorfish group vice president of experience planning and editor of the study, in an interview. “What we’re finding is that with Facebook and Twitter, marketers are assuming some deeper dialogue, but what’s really going on is — people want deals.” (Walsh, 2009)

Of those who follow a brand on Twitter, for example, 44% said access to exclusive deals is the main reason. And on Facebook and MySpace, 37% cited special deals as the main reason they have “friended” a brand. The report points to companies such as Starbucks, which has amassed nearly 5 million fans and soared to the top of Facebook brand pages by offering coupons for free pastries and ice cream. (Walsh, 2009)

Razorfish identified customer service as the other key driver of consumer interaction in social media, with 33% friending a brand on Facebook and MySpace for that purpose, and 24% on Twitter. Companies such as Comcast, Zappos and Virgin have all gotten high marks for using the latter as a customer relations management (CRM) tool. (Walsh, 2009)

So, what are the social platforms best for?  Can that answer differ company by company and strategy by strategy?  I believe so.  I also believe that while marketing to social networkers appears to be a viable strategy overall, it also needs to be considered seriously as part of an overall approach (avoiding the use of the word ‘campaign’ here) with specific goals in mind.  Using Facebook to redeem the face value of Starbucks may be a flash in the pan.  For example, was the popularity of the free ice cream and pastries at Starbuck’s just a fluke?  Was it studied?  Those are questions (among others)  that support a solid approach to continually successful campaigns.

Walsh, M. Razorfish study: special offers drive engagement in social media.  November 9, 2009.  MediaPost Publications Online.   retrieved from  http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=117008 on November 16, 2009.

Nov
16

My day job revolves around groceries, mostly.  Either I’m helping a supplier of groceries to work to better supply their retailer, or I’m helping a retailer figure out how to maximize their shelf space with the right suppliers.  So, how does this concept of emerging media fit into the world of groceries?  The answer to that can be found in a couple of examples.

Mommy Bloggers are a group of bloggers who are evidently being courted by large consumer packaged goods companies.  Companies such as Nestle and Frito Lay have reported flown groups of  “mommy bloggers” across the country to further educate them on the companies’ products so that the mommy blogger can spread the word about them.  (I neglected to mention one daddy blogger was also involved.)  Read more about this interesting way to influence ‘word of mouth’ advertising in this article in today’s LA Times Online.  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dailydish/2009/11/blogging-moms-wooed-by-food-firms.html

Grocery Retailer Blogs are becoming more and more popular.  Recently, an article in Supermarket News Online (6/11/2009) declared that Safeway’s blog had turned one year old.  Wow.  Imagine blogging about recipes, coupons and everyday issues focusing on groceries for an entire year.  Where do you go to find your coupons?  Have you ever checked online at a retailer’s website, looked for coupons or a blog and chosen to follow that blog?  Several remarks on Safeway’s blog indicate they have a faithful following.  How dedicated are you to finding that coupon?  And to what lengths will you go to find them?  Do you find yourself using coupons or searching retailer or manufacturer sites at any particular time of year?  I have a printed library of recipes I’ve used and want to keep.  I’ve searched cookbooks sites, retailer sites, manufacturer sites, but never thought to search through a blog.  I guess I have another resource now to find the ‘perfect pumpkin pie’ recipe to challenge the current winner.

Nov
09

Word of Mouth.  Think back to the last major purchase you made.  If you’re the research-before-you-buy type, how did you go about finding the pros and cons of the purchase you were considering?  Did you Google it?  Did you read about the product on the company’s website?  Did you ask around your circle of friends for their impression?  I’m willing to wager that you probably did all three.  Which of those is the most commonly utilized reference?  WORD OF MOUTH.  That WAS your answer–right?   We used to call that a ‘referral’.  People who were satisfied with their service, or a product would commonly refer the purveyor of that service or product to others.  That’s how products and service providers built their business reputation, by referrals or more specifically by instilling TRUST in their services or products.

Consumers & Businesses — the Ultimate Trust.  Consider the current mortgage crisis where lenders duped borrowers, foreclosures were all too common and consumers basically lost trust in businesses whose business was to lend money on the American Dream.  Where would you go as a new borrower to learn about a lender?  Have you ever been asked for a referral such as this?  One author proposes that consumers will emerge from the current recession more cautious and more demanding of business relationships with trust being held as the gold standard.   I agree with Russ Alman in his article “A Matter of Trust — Social Media: Alternative Marketing for the 21st Century” when he says “unlike its face-to-face roots, this new wave of personalized business marketing will contain a technological element: the Social Media.  Business will once again focus on networking, referrals, and trust.  As a complement to these time-honored marketing systems, businesses will also rely heavily on Social Media to directly communicate with their prospects and customers.”  (Alman, 2009)

I echo his comment, “I personally welcome this shift and am excited about what it holds for the future of commerce.  Thanks to the Social Media, for the first time, small businesses will be on an even playing field with large corporations.”  (Alman, 2009)  

Reference:  Alman, R.  A Matter of Trust — Social Media: Alternative Marketing for the 21st Century. July 1, 2009.  Biznik.com.  Retrieved on November 9, 2009 from

http://biznik.com/articles/a-matter-of-trust-social-media-alternative-marketing-for-the-21st-century

Slideshare presentation on social media, it’s differences with traditional media and specifically the trust factor differences between the two:

http://www.slideshare.net/catscrossing/new-media-trust-pr-presentation

Nov
09

Recent reading in one of my business briefs uncovered an article that posed the question, “Is social media equivalent to the Industrial Revolution?”  (To read the entire article, click here).  As I read through the article and the following comments posted by the online discussion, it was apparent that while the word “revolution” brings about obvious notions of drastic change, the advances in social media have not yet caused any notable differences to one facet of a ‘revolution’, namely the accumulation of wealth.  Other commentaries regard social media as the way to strengthen the brand or increase brand exposure.  Almost all noted the low or no cost entry to the medium involved with social outreach.

I’m a believer in the use of hard measurements to support what we intuitively are experiencing.  In this article, Ryan notes these facts:

  • One out of eight couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media;
  • Years to reach 50 million users:  radio (38 years), TV (13 years), internet (four years), iPod (three years);
  • Facebook added 100 million users in less than nine months, iPod application downloads reached 1 billion in nine months;
  • If Facebook were a country, it would be the fourth largest after China, India and the U.S;
  • Eighty percent of companies are using LinkedIn as their primary tool to find employees;
  • Ashton Kutcher and Ellen DeGeneres have more Twitter followers than the entire population of Ireland, Norway and Panama;
  • Studies show Wikipedia is more accurate than Encyclopedia Brittanica;
  • Seventy-eight percent of consumers trust peer recommendations, only 14 percent trust advertisements.

The last bullet is what caught my attention.  Ryan notes that a recent convention speaker made the comment that his own children don’t answer e-mails or cell phones, but “if you text them, they’ll text you back in a second.”   I, too find that to be the case in my immediate circle of electronically-capable family members.  In my next blog, I’ll explore the trusted source question.

Oct
31

Love my iPhone.  No, I’m not a reseller of Apple products, but I will say you will have to pry my iPhone out of my cold, dead fingers.  Right after I figured out how to get my blog setup at wordpress.com, I checked the App (application) Store  www.apple.com/iphone      to see if there was also an iPhone app for wordpress.  Well, of course there is!  So, my second learning task is to unravel the unique aspects of the mobile WordPress app so that I can blog from any location. 

Since this forum and the class focuses on emerging or new media, and new media has primarily been focusing on the actual software applications that power new media (Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, etc.) what type of part does the ‘hardware’ play to enable  the public to access these wonderful new social media?  While ways to access the internet (who ‘really’ invented the internet?) has expanded drastically in the past few decades, so also have the mechanisms or technology we use. 

In their pocket.  In a recent post by a classmate, mention was made regarding how seemingly underpriviledged persons were found to have possesion of a cell phone.  I find that mere sentence very exposing to the global nature of technology and the ways emerging media have and will continue to impact so much more than whether one can update their daily status on Facebook.  Should we look at the description of emerging media more seriously as “social media” and work to uncover ways that this fantastic medium can impact the social issues at hand?  Or rather in pocket?

Oct
31

Old Dog, New Trick.    Who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks?  This blog is a creation as a requirement for a graduate level course (IMC-619) in the Integrated Marketing Communication program at West Virginia Univerity (WVU).  As a grad student in this program, and particularly in this course, the focus is on “Emerging Media”.

While I fancy myself as a quick learner (in most categories), I was slightly dismayed at the effort it took for me to figure out how to set up this blog!  But, this old dog finally learned a new trick.  However, I “taught” myself.  Clicking through the site multiple times to gain an understanding the settings and comparing my selections to what actually occured and became visible online.   It was quite an adventure.  I was so excited to have made my selections only to find that the theme I chose wasn’t working properly.  My first thought was “user error” (of course), but after several comparisons to other themes (I have software QA experience) I discovered it was indeed not my problem.  And it goes without saying that I Googled “how to blog”–coming up with the following wordpress.com blog (of course) to help me out!   http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2005/08/29/learning-about-blogging-and-how-to-blog/

So, this effort made me consider how one learns about how to interact with these types of emerging or social media?  I’d like to know what YOU think.  Where did you learn to manage the technical requirements to engage in such interactive media outlets?  Who taught you to Twitter, forced you to Facebook or encouraged you to instant message?  Which one of those were easiest for you to get acquianted with and why?  For myself, my first interaction was AOL’s Instant Messenger.  I have maintained the same screenname for over 10 years now.  It was a simple procedure to activate my account and the information I share through this medium is particularly to a single recipient.  As this course progresses, I’ll share learning experiences I’ve had as I joined other social media sites.  I’ll look for your feedback, too!

Oct
27

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

I’m leaving this introductory page active to remind myself how long it took me (Tuesday to Saturday) to master the blog setup (well, I wouldn’t say mastered, yet…let’s just leave it at ‘get it started’.  🙂