according to emily zager…

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It seems like every time I read the news or peruse the digital sphere, Apple takes over the headlines with announcements or a glimpse of a new product. This time around, the press the company has been receiving is – gasp – leaning to the controversial and unexpected side. I came across this article via Computerworld this afternoon that puts it perfectly: buzzkill. Apple, are you leaving your customers and fans feeling a little sour today?

iWant or iCanWait?

For those of you who haven’t heard or stumbled upon the news yet, Apple is going ahead with the launch of the iPhone 4Gs, leaving many loyal consumers dissapointed. Talks of a potential iPhone 5 have been dominating the social sphere in the past few weeks – but the technology and product will not be taking shape, at least at this present time.

Author Gregg Keizer writes, “According to Bellevue, Wash.-based Visible Technologies, 69% of the comments it tracked on Twitter concerning the iPhone 4S were negative, a turn-around from what the company said were usually “rave” reviews for Apple and its product introductions.”

The majority of my technological products are Apple and I’m an avid follower and participant on Twitter. I have definitely noticed the sarcasm, rants and general disdain for this development, and can see where some individuals are coming from. I agree that it’s uncharacteristic to witness a harsher response from the community.

Sidenote: pleasant news for those who belong to the Sprint family. Consumers reap the ultimate rewards of this development with the ability to secure an unlimited data plan. I’m a loyal Verizon chick so I won’t be persuaded… yet. I guess I’ll hold out for hopes of the elusive Number 5… someday. It’ll come, people! All things in due time.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Apple’s announcement and the discussions over 4S will hinder the company’s success in this endeavor?

As a lifelong performer, it’s been interesting to observe how dance has become a driving force in popular culture. The movement continues to expand, flourish and grow.  A snapshot of today shows how mainstream media embraces the diversity and energy of dance styles in movies, reality television shows and other outlets.

The struggles, feats and successes of dance have been featured in movies such as  “Save The Last Dance,” “Center Stage,” and “Step Up.” Hollywood actress Jessica Alba portrayed an up-and-coming choreographer in “Honey.” Recently, the representation of drama and classical ballet earned dance thriller “Black Swan” Oscar nominations and awards while impacting audiences worldwide.

Seasoned artists and dance crews across the country compete and showcase their talents and personalities season by season on major networks such as Fox and MTV.  Popular and prominent companies like Apple are known for utilizing dance in memorable advertisements. Who doesn’t enjoy the AT&T flash mob commercial?

It’s exciting to see how outreach and marketing efforts are broadening audiences and enlightening people of all ages to a skillful, inviting and evolving art form.  Dance in movies and media has certainly come a long way since “American Bandstand,” “Fame” and “Soul Train,” and some of these beloved blasts from the past have been recreated (“Hairspray” and “Footloose”). Years later the premise is still the same: Style, attitude, confidence and a willingness to put it all on the line prevail.

However, a more competitive edge has been added to the mix – which only heightens the excitement and dynamics of dance in media. Today, audiences young and old have a say in the fates of performers on reality shows such as “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Dancing With The Stars,” and MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew.” A nation of observers deem who is worthy to compete and continue to fame and glory through phone calls, text messages and voting online.  Social networking communities unite to discuss and dissect episodes and results of shows.

The ratings are high for these shows, and today’s media allows for the exposure of an endless spectrum of dance styles ranging from contemporary jazz, salsa, the waltz and break dancing.  The humor, the talent, the tears, frustrations and triumphs – all displayed from contestants and hopeful individuals, front and center on your TV screen.

What aspects of dance and performance in media excite or inspire you the most?

So, I’m pretty excited about the event planning and PR I’ve been doing lately at one of Milwaukee’s coolest dance destinations, Wherehouse.  Check out our latest press release for July!

Wherehouse/Hot Water - Where Dance Lives

“Party Rock” Thursdays & Milwaukee Meltdown at Hot Water/Wherehouse Nightclub

[July7th- July 28th]

ATTN: Dance enthusiasts, performers, music aficionados and party rockers!

Hot Water/WHEREHOUSE invites you to participate in a fresh and energetic Thursday night entertainment experience! Beginning on July 7, Wherehouse Nightclub will be transforming the Thursday nightlife scene into the ultimate celebration of dance. Milwaukee Magazine affirms that “this large converted warehouse on the far east end of National Avenue overlooking the KK River will wow you” (http://www.milwaukeemagazine.com/currentissue/full_feature_story.asp?NewMessageID=26139).

Voted WISN’s Number One Dance Party in 2010, dancers and club enthusiasts have been attracted to the attractive, “industrial chic”  interior design of the 5,000 square-foot facility. The Walker’s Point destination also encompasses a 1,500 square-foot dance floor, modern lightning and an elevated VIP area.  Wherehouse offers lively performers, bright visualizations and a state-of-the-art sound system.

On Thursday evenings, Wherehouse will be providing free dance lessons beginning at 10:00 PM, complete with a different style of choreography and a medley of drink specials each week.  Thursday nights will also showcase Chris Varakas, D-On, Glamour and a rotation of Milwaukee’s favorite Party Rock DJs. July 7th’s “Party Rock” will kick off MILWAUKEE MELTDOWN, a four-week competition for dance crews sponsored by Red Bull and in collaboration with Tru Skool, a youth arts education and community service program (http://www.trueskool.org). Competitions will be held each Thursday night at the club until one Milwaukee team is declared a victor.

Wherehouse will be celebrating the crowning of the champion on July 28 with a featured performance from Enigma Dance Kru, a popular dance group from Season One of MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew (www.myspace.com/enigmadancekru). The event will also feature energetic DJ Juiceboxxx (http://onmilwaukee.com/music/articles/Juiceboxxx.html), as well as special guest host “Mijo” of Motion Disorderz Dance Crew, the winner of the 2010 BC1 Red Bull Cypher One Breakdancing Championship.

WHEREHOUSE is a vibrant and engaging must-see for the dance community of Milwaukee.  Owner Paul Mueller, General Manager Adam Smith and his crew are ecstatic to offer a truly unique Thursday night experience at the destination Where Dance Lives!

For additional information, please refer to our website at http://www.hotwatermilwaukee.com.

Sincerely,
The Hot Water/Wherehouse Team
818 S. Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53204
Office Phone: (414) 383-7593

Connect with Wherehouse’s official page on Facebook at facebook.com/wherehouse1 and on Twitter at @Wherehouse1.

A couple of weeks ago I touched on the importance of branding and the marketing of an individual, product, service or business.  I’ve been impressed lately with the level of creativity or craftiness that companies have been displaying in attempts to stay ahead of the competition. It’s still a tough economy out there – that goes without saying – and tried-and-true PR methods and publicity stunts just aren’t making the cut anymore. The more interactive, attention-grabbing and zany the branding initiative, the better.

Now, I’ve never been a FarmVille disciple on Facebook (the most I’ve gotten involved in, apps-wise, involved an intense, monthlong Family Feud obsession). As far as publicity and connecting with a target market, I have to hand it to Lady Gaga.  She managed to tweak the FarmVille craze and make it her own, while integrating her new album.  The online game recently debuted and helped catapult her Born This Way album sales into platinum results.

GagaVille.

I came across an article today in the Wall Street Journal discussing popular hotel chain Marriott’s attemps to delve into a similar endeavor.  The article, written by Alexandra Berzon, states: “Unlike Zynga Inc.’s ‘Farmville,’ which was developed as a revenue-generating game, Marriott’s title is part of an emerging trend of using computer games for recruiting.”

The article also states that Marriott “has the challenge of attracting newcomers to around 50,000 hotel positions this year.” I’m intrigued by the development of this game since it revolves around an actual company and its motives are honest and upfront.  Marriott seems to be utilizing online gaming to get the word out about its organization while simulating what it’s like to actually participate in a section of the company.

I wonder if this will catch on with other companies, especially ones outside of the hospitality industry. It’s an interesting attempt to reach out to potential employees, but at the end of the day a game is only a game….

What are your thoughts about integrating branding & PR initiatives with online gaming? Do you think this an effective marketing scheme?

Marriott Hotels

My article of the week comes to us via PR Newswire. Kenneth C. Wisnefski, of WebiMax, discusses the “success of social media and the recent IPO of such firms.”

Which social media companies do you feel have the greatest potential of growth? Which branding efforts resonate most or are most memorable to you?

The values are rising...

The values are rising...

Hey readers. I thought I’d take this week to post something a little different. In today’s world, the right kind of branding is key, regardless of the size or location of your company, product or service.  Most importantly, that goes for you as an individual as well. So, as a budding professional, I’m going to take the opportunity to share my resume with you. Feel free to comment, add suggestions or offer any sort of feedback you like. I hope you can learn a little bit about me on a more personal level today. I’ll be back ASAP with a good PR post for you, promise. -E

EMILY R. ZAGER

emzager@gmail.com

EDUCATION

Loyola University Chicago – Chicago, IL

  • Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations, May 2010
  • Minor degrees in Spanish and Dance
  • Dean’s List (2009)

SIGNIFICANT PROJECTS

Public Service Communication – Fall 2009

  • Team Leader: Partnered with the Lincoln Park Community Shelter in Chicago, Illinois, to create and execute an original multifaceted PR campaign promoting the non-profit organization’s 25th Anniversary celebration
  • Created original press kit materials, including press releases, media alerts, pitches and media lists to generate awareness for the non-profit’s major gala event
  • Interacted and collaborated with board members over several months to inform the community of the non-profit organization

Public Relations and New Media – Fall 2009

  • Successfully developed and implemented a unique social digital strategy and campaign for Loyola University Chicago’s School of Communication
  • Reached out to prospective students and the Chicago community while enhancing the university’s professional reputation on Twitter

WORK EXPERIENCE

Danceworks – Milwaukee, WI (February 2011 – Present)

  • Assistant dance instructor with the company’s Performance Outreach Program (“Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap”)
  • Company ambassador, promoting the brand, values and mission of the company as a community-centered organization while helping area 6th grade students to cultivate an appreciation of dance

The Walt Disney Company: College Program – Orlando, FL (June 2010 – January 2011)

  • Gained understanding of the Disney brand promoting teamwork, diversity and quality service in all areas.
  • Expanded communication and guest relations skills as a Character Performer participating in parades, productions, and media events.
  • Selected to perform and prominently featured in Disney’s 2010 Christmas Day Parade (nationally televised on ABC). Featured dancer in Mariah Carey’s closing production performance.

Starcom MediaVest – Chicago, IL (January 2009 – April 2009)

  • Advertising intern with the Local Activation department and Center of Excellence Group
  • Contributed a weekly e-newsletter to media associates discussing up-to-date advertising articles and issues
  • Expanded knowledge of the media buying field by analyzing research and identifying rep firm coverage across Nielsen’s top 25 national markets
  • Gained knowledge of strategic planning by conducting an analysis of Super Bowl and Olympic media packages and market benchmarks for current and future buyer references and negotiations

Milwaukee County Parks – Milwaukee, WI (June 2008 – August 2009, Seasonal)

  • Park Worker III with experience in park and lakefront beautification
  • Demonstrated effective leadership and communication while supervising small groups.

Sentry – Hales Corners, WI and Franklin, WI (February 2006 – December 2008)

  • Demonstrated diligent listening skills and provided prompt accurate service to customers as a Deli Clerk

Abercrombie – Wauwatosa, WI and Chicago, IL (May 2006 – May 2008)

  • Brand Rep and Impact Team Member with seasonal experience in brand promotions, customer sales and retail
  • Excellent work ethic and ability to work independently with minimal supervision

Bluemel’s – Greenfield, WI (June 2007 – August 2007)

  • Proactively established relationships with customers by scheduling orders as a Cashier & Floral Shop Assistant

Loyola Annual Phonathon – Chicago, IL (January 2007 – May 2007)

  • Connected with alumni, parents and potential donors as a Student Caller to fund-raise for the University

SOFTWARE PROFICIENCY & DIGITAL MEDIA SKILLS

  • Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint) and data entry (SQAD, Tapscan and Brandguard software programs)
  • Google Analytics, WordPress, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook

ACTIVITIES

Loyola Tap Dance Team – Chicago, IL (April 2009 – May 2010)

  • Advertising and Public Relations Chair and Official Team Logo Designer

“Dance Chance” – Chicago, IL (May 2010)

  • Crafted and performed an original dance work as a featured choreographer for Danceworks Chicago

Loyola Dance Team – Chicago, IL (September 2006 – May 2007)

I came across a fun article yesterday in the Wall Street Journal discussing how a heightened presence in the social media realm has specifically impacted a bakery in New York. There’s something sweet in hearing how small businesses are becoming even more in tune with their consumers, eagerly willing to engage them in fresh and inviting ways.

I’m all about small businesses opening up communication to consumers and clients through the digital sphere. This article focuses on Spot Dessert Bar‘s recent social media campaign that, through strategic planning and the utilization of innovative ideas, has led to successful results. According to the article, “the shop has seen a 15% to 20% increase in sales since it started the social-media blitz” (Rex Ree, Spot Dessert Bar’s general manager). The local bakery succeeds in allowing its personality to shine while generating awareness through great branding and accessibility. I visited their Facebook page and the site offers a myriad of links, images of their products as well as news about discounts. It’s a well executed formula.

You have 1 Friend Request...

Check out the article here. What local restaurants, businesses or shops utilize social media platforms successfully? What companies and services do you connect with via Facebook or Twitter?


Emily received her BA in Advertising & Public Relations from Loyola University Chicago in May 2010. She is inquisitive by nature and loves to surround herself with new situations, people and the world around her.

Emily is a lifelong dancer, a current ballroom dance instructor, and lover of all things social media. She's currently searching for a new career opportunity in PR, event planning or advertising. Take a peek at her musings about media, branding & the PR indsutry.

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