Coloring Outside the Lines

Our final post for class is suppose to be about how social media fits into advertising. I think the better question is how does social media fit into integrated marketing communications (IMC). If I learned anything this semester it is that everything a company does is a combined (or should be) a combined effort to further develop the brand among its publics with the lines of PR, advertising, and marketing being blurred. I also learned this, there really are no strict rules. In some ways it reminds me of coloring. There are certain ways that are more organized than others, but there really is no right or wrong and the end goal is to make a picture. Or a “brand”. Okay maybe that metaphor is a little far out and maybe I have been thinking a little too abstractly with finals just around the corner, but it makes sense to me tonight. 

Communicators today are so fortunate to have social media as a tool. It puts customer information at their fingertips, literally, and allows them to communicate nearly instantaneously with their target markets. You know how you can color too much and completely ruin the picture so you can hardly even tell what it is? (and yes I am back on the color analogy) That can happen in social media too. It is better to do your research and pick the colors (or sm tools) that best suit your needs and consumers rather than being all over the place on every sm network known to man. You don’t want to dilute your brand.

This advice of course is humble and could be the thoughts of a frazzled grad student exhausted by job applications and research papers. This post actually concludes my class, but I do intend to keep blogging. Perhaps in the near future I will unload some of my thoughts about the packaging industry and product placement. Oh and of course, my summer reading picks! Stay tuned.

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Comm 580 CentraCare Social Media Presentation

Hello again! The semester is coming to an end. Check out one of our final projects!

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My Favorite Blogs

For our social media class we read an article about corporate blogging and how social media is changing public relations. It really got me thinking about some of my favorite blogs to read and why. Do I read them for news? To keep up with friends? To find jobs? Below you will find some of my favorites. Enjoy!

1. Style Worth Shouting (@kshoutz ): Keegan’s blogs are entertaining to say the least. He was a classmate of mine as an undergrad and has since moved on in the PR world. His insights about PR and his recent fashion endeavors are fresh and hip and definitely make my top 10.

2. The Snyder 5: The Snyder 5 is about a marketing wonder mom who blogs both about her work and her kids. I have been a nanny for years and can really appreciate the honesty and humor in her posts.

3. MNPR Blog: This is an absolute must-read for anyone interested in marketing/advertising/PR. Ryan May blogs about what is happening in MN PR including agency/corporate happenings, PRSSA updates, and the best part of all, job openings. Definitely one of my most valuable resources in the job search process.

4. Wheeler Blogs (@eric_wheeler): Eric is a current classmate of mine in the grad program and apparently I don’t get enough of his insight in class so I read it in his blog! But seriously, his posts provide interesting perspective on PR/Ad topics.

5. PostSecret: I have my old roommate to thank for this read. I check PostSecret every Sunday for new secrets! I still have yet to send one in myself…

As you can see from my list, my interests are a mix of industry and entertainment and this list is by no means complete! Perhaps I will highlight more of my favorites next week.

Until then,

Rachael

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1-800 Wrong Number

It is so important for companies to make sure the contact information it provides to the public is correct. There is nothing more frustrating than calling a number that has been disconnected or going to a web address that is no longer the address you need. It not only hurts your credibility, it can result in extremely disgruntled customers and lost business. As a consumer you have the right to take your business elsewhere if you are dissatisfied with the service, but what if that organization is the only one that provides that service? Then what?

Last night I was trying to get a hold of the US Passport Services. There is a number to call and you can schedule appointments 24/7 for emergency passport situations. (No I am not in an emergency, but my friend needs a passport by Friday for an impromptu spring break excursion) So I am sitting in my kitchen and give the number a call. All of a sudden I hear this voice say, ” if you are looking for exciting young girls dial blah blah blah” and then disconnect. I called multiple times getting the same lady. I tried to find a different number, but couldn’t. There was no alternate form of contact. I tried searching for a US Passport Facebook, Twitter, nothing came up. An hour later, I tried again and got through. Can you explain that one? Was the government temporarily taken over by a prostitution ring?

Fortunately for US Passport Services, they were my only option. Otherwise, my business would have been going elsewhere.

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The Fame Game

We are still reading Shirky’s, “Here Comes Everybody” for my Comm 580 Social Media class. (An update for any new potential readers) Shirky talks about in an earlier chapter, how famous people are different from us because they cannot return or even acknowledge all of the attention they get, and technology can’t change that. I somewhat agree with that statement and I say somewhat because I think that technology, social media in particular, can create the feeling of interacting with a celebrity, even if it isn’t quality interaction. Yes this is coming from the girl who tweeted @JohnMayer 3 times after his concert in hopes of getting a tweet back. Most importantly though, how did I get the idea in my head that John Mayer would tweet me back? Because he does tweet at some of his fans. I’ve read them myself. I have also heard of different instances of celebs interacting with those who reach out to them, but like Shirky says, it doesn’t even come close to the amount of how many people attempt interaction with them. Then there are those rare cases who reach out and become famous. A.k.a. Justin Bieber. Never say Never. Sorry I couldn’t resist. I may have a case of the Bieber fever myself.

Besides reading and doing homework, I am hitting the job search hard. Despite it being intimidating, rewarding, and yet slightly depressing all at the same time, I have one piece of advice. Keep an open mind. I know I have talked about this before in earlier posts, but seriously, it is so true. Especially for those of us who are in communications/PR. I am finding that we are very marketable! Happy hunting to my fellow job search colleagues.

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The Power to Choose

While I was reading this past week, I kept thinking of all my past group experiences and some of the most memorable, for better or for worse, were class group projects. When it comes to group projects, my experiences have pretty much covered the spectrum, but I have had some awful ones. In those situations, I was doing all the work, but did I let it get that way? We all have the power to choose our roles in the group setting and I chose to do all the work. Or is that not how it works? Did my group members make a conscience decision to not work? Understanding group dynamics is difficult and perhaps a little encouragement on my end would have made a difference? I have also had group experiences that were phenomenal. (All of which have happened in grad school I might add) What made those groups so successful? Communication and everyone taking responsibility for their part of the project. What it boils down to is, we all have the ability to choose what type of group member we’ll be. So… what role will you play in your next assignment?

Speaking of group projects, my current group project is making a video for the mass communications graduate program. Shooting video is always easier than it looks, but thankfully so far, we have completed our first interview with great footage. Please let us know of any suggestions or anything you would like to see in our video!

Until next week,

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Here Comes Shirky

We are now on our second book called, “Here Comes Everybody, The Power of Organizing Without Organizations” by Clay Shirky. The book opens with a story about a girl who lost her cell phone in a cab. No need to rehash it since the majority of people reading this blog will be my classmates… but I wanted to weigh in on the story myself. Maybe it is the Aristotelian in me, but I would have hoped for more of a “golden mean” alternative to the hostile, NYPD, stolen property version. Couldn’t Sasha have just given the phone back in the first place to save all that trouble?

I also found it interesting to really think about how much energy/time an organization puts in to management and ways to alleviate it. It makes me think back to my experiences with student organizations. I have been involved in management, free enterprise, public relations, and creative writing student orgs. I even held board positions in a few and in all my experiences; the students needed management and incentive. Of course there were some of the go-getters who didn’t, but the majority needed some coaching. I’m looking forward to reading more of this book!

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