according to emily zager…

Archive for the ‘Facebook’ Category

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.


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


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.

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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?

Hi, readers! Sorry about my recent hiatus from the blogworld the past few weeks; I’ve been in the midst of graduating from college (I’m an official Loyola University Chicago alumnus – AHH!) and beginning my entrance into the real world! But have no fear, I’ve made my return.
I came across a pretty relevant and interesting article via CNN – “workplace rants on social media are headache for companies.” Of course, the headline catches my eye because this is a pretty big concern these days, especially as every day I read something new about Facebook privacy features (or lack thereof) and peoples’ status updates get more and more… candid and discernable, let’s say.  On top of it, employees within the workplace are seemingly becoming more lenient with their attitudes and actions towards social media policies.
It’s fun to communicate and put it all out there in Web. 2.0, isn’t it? Well, imagine this: you’re having a discussion face-to-face with your trusty best friend, and are enjoying a particularly good gossip session – discussing love lives, family drama and office rumors. You can both vouch with your life that the information you swap will stay between you two over your cup of midday coffee at the cafe.
Now, let’s switch up the setting. Scene: Facebook or Twitter.  You post a harmless little status or Tweet about the questionable Cosmo collection belonging to the guy in the cubicle next to you, or express your annoyance at Company X’s recent employee-bonding endeavors.
In person? This may end with a passing snicker from your BFF. On social media sites? 1) It’s there and its presence stored forever, whether you delete it or not, and 2) congratulations, you’ve invited chaos to possibly ensue, your manager to go berserk, the image of your company to be at risk and YOUR job to be put in jeopardy.  Employment + Social Media… lots to consider, readers.
For example – can you recall the recent Domino’s – YouTube fiasco? Not so pretty, right? Hardly. It’s a PR professional’s nightmare.
In the recent article, author Stephanie Chen discusses how posting information/escapades/opinions can turn “public — and problematic” when visibly released over the Internet through social media vehicles.  As employment attorney John Anthony once expressed, “don’t post anything you don’t want to send to your boss in an e-mail.”
[Update: 5/17/10, 2:00 PM] CHECK THIS OUT – I’m browsing the Chicago Tribune website  and, as an even better and more tangible example, check out what just happened to a waitress in North Carolina who turned to Facebook to dish out some anger. Case and point.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Even better, what social media policies are enforced in or for your workplace?

Stuart Elliott of the New York Times posted an interesting article yesterday discussing yet another marketing scheme via Denny’s.  The popular restaurant chain, known for their Grand Slams and other assorted All-American breakfasts, currently faces a little bit wrath due to a new promotional endeavor.  I’m all for innovative and unique reasons and methods to promote products and corporations, but when it comes to utilizing the anniversary of Ireland’s historical FAMINE?

Re-read that a few times.  Confused? I am.

I admit, though I’ve been exposed to Denny’s TV and radio advertisements, I haven’t bought in to them or made an appearance at a restaurant in a very long time.  As in… probably more than a decade or so… but I digress.  Denny’s is now popularly known for their publicity stunts promoting free breakfasts – remember the Super Bowl ad? Tempting, tempting.

Denny's Breakfast Promotions

The ads are often humorous, eye-catching and worthy of taking notice; I definitely had more than a share of friends taking part in the free-food adventure.  Although I don’t have a Denny’s in my vicinity to snatch up some free eggs and pancakes, this new pitch has rubbed me the wrong way like many of my fellow consumers.

Elliott writes that the spot’s purpose is ” to recognize the 150th anniversary of the end of the Irish famine, Denny’s would serve French fries and pancakes in all-you-can-eat portions.”

Yum, but… come again? Put the bacon down and get back to the drawing board.

Like the majority of well-known corporations, businesses and chains today, Denny’s facilitated Web 2.0 the best way they know how by infiltrating Facebook and other social media embassies to spread the word about this new promotional stunt. I’m not a fan of the restaurant chain on Facebook, but as a pretty active presence on Twitter, I looked into see if anybody was buzzing about the endeavor:

Twitter results image

Results for "Denny's" search via Twitter, 3/6/10

Side thought: funny this is occurring as St. Patty’s day looms right around the corner. Sorry, Denny’s, whether or not that was a purposeful decision, this is just all executed in bad taste. I’m  glad the chain has attempted to apologize (check out the article for more information)… but let this serve as a lesson for companies out there that encouraging a wee bit more of research and tact before putting something like this into motion doesn’t hurt anybody.

Thoughts? Complaints? Anybody hungry?

Irish Countryside

In the near future, social media technologies, platforms and programs will advance and thrive as a major facet of contemporary culture and communication. Technology will continue to open up more opportunities for individuals and companies to connect with others, share and collect information, initiate dialogue as well as craft online identities.  This outlook calls for a change of approach in social media services as well as a willingness to commit to such progress.

Advancing technologies are challenging developers to create social media platforms and programs that continually promote cutting-edge points of engagement.  Worldwide, social connectivity is revolutionizing the way every industry connects to its stakeholders and supporting communities.

With this in mind, fresh possibilities and developments in social media will occur inside of the “golden triangle.” The Golden Triangle offers a visual metaphor of trends and characteristics that fuses together aspects of social media applications, devices, networks and relationships, regarding mobile, social, and real-time segments. This illustrative example encourages agencies and businesses to take a more active approach towards their respective target audiences and clients.

Check out more regarding the Golden Triangle in a great article by Brian Solis.

In my opinion, the leading player of the mobile trend is the iPhone, due to its presently dominant influence and positive trajectory.  The iPhone, one of Apple’s signature and most recognizable products, crafted a reputation for its multimedia capabilities, touch-screen functions and sleek interface.  This smartphone provides the standard voice and text features of a phone while inviting users to update their Twitter and Facebook accounts, research and access breaking news as well as the download the latest up-and-coming official and third-party applications.

With its 3G and upcoming 4G networks which enable fast connection, the device parallels the role of the computer in the palm of one’s hand.  Despite lacking “Smartphone” capabilities of the official iPhone, the iTouch enables wireless Internet and digital connectivity with the similar ease of its touch screen and hand-held size.  In fact, these devices seemingly will eliminate need for the laptop computer.

In the future, Apple’s iPhone will work diligently with location-based social networks, especially with the dawn of location-based tools and platforms.  Today, users are beginning to describe their favorite local destinations on Foursquare.  However, this may be just the tip of the iceberg, as the iPhone may initiate an influx of not only mobile gaming and networking, but mobile commerce as well.

The leading player of the Golden Triangle’s social angle is Facebook.  Since its launch in 2004, Facebook has been a major contender in the realm of digital communication and social media. With over 350 million users worldwide, the social networking site is a powerhouse program that aims to increase the flow of information between people and promotes connectivity on a personal level.  The recent launch of Facebook’s chat enables instant, real-time communication messaging with users, and its surge of users has surpassed the popularity of its rival, MySpace.

With the program’s ever-growing collection of tools, games and other features, Facebook may need to utilize brand advertising. Companies seeking to gain attention or interaction with their target audiences need to adjust their focus towards crafting a presence on the social networking site.  In the future, companies and businesses who utilize Facebook will do so to strengthen – not create – their brand focuses, and to actively reach out to others in a similar sense with Twitter.  Facebook could also benefit from forming trustworthy alliances with other key digital media programs in order to maintain professionalism and profit.

The major trend associate with the forefront of the Golden Triangle’s real-time segment is Twitter.   An important leader in social media web technology and communication, the messaging service promotes immediacy in user presence as well as conversation on a global level.  Twitter’s current influence is reflected not only in a time-sense, but in the way the microblogging service has expanded over generations and purposes.  Users who “tweet” are accessible via Google and social search engines.

In the near future, more companies will utilize the free service to research consumers, build brands and provide real-time insight to users.  The service will continue supplementing other Internet services as it expands with larger encompassing programs, such as TweetDeck.  The microblogging site would benefit by creating, executing and organizing a “home page’ of sorts, which would segment main features of the site.

This could include a more accessible search engine to seek out news-based Twitter accounts, individual Tweeters, official company accounts as well as social media Tweeters.  There’s also a lot of multimedia to monitor, including television and radio content that is increasingly easy to find online. Both Twitter and Facebook may encompass these abilities.

Although communication has always been at the pinnacle of successful business, the advancement of social media will force companies to repurpose and restructure their methods of conversation.  Companies need tangible as well as digital connections to their target audiences in order to develop long-term loyalty. Since all forms of new media are currently at a changing point, companies will need to be realistic in embracing the social media movement.  In fact, in order to maintain a presence ahead of the movement, people need to remember to not only be “business savvy” but “social savvy” as well.

I came across a great article today via AbelineBiz talking about how major retails are currently utilizing social media to increase their sales around the holidays.  Well, readers, the holiday season is officially upon us.  Author Jackie Crosby of the Minneapolis Star Tribune discusses how the iPhone as well as popular social media tools are revoluntionizing retailers, especially when December looms on the horizon.

Crosby writes:

“Social media has become the newest holiday strategy for some retailers, who are hoping the technology can bring some luster to their efforts to reach customers who are holding tight to their money this year.”

Let’s take this to a personal level.  I’m a college kid, currently enrolled in a PR and Social Media class at Loyola Chicago.  It’s now a part of my education to learn about these technologies and devices (if you’ve stumbled upon my blog earlier, this is old news).  Now, one step further – I use Twitter and various iPhone apps such as Yelp and various iPhone apps to discover deals and the latest news from my favorite stores.

However, though I feel that some companies and stores seem to use these programs and tools to the point that their efforts become a little too Spammy for my taste (ahem, take a peek at Twitter), I do appreciate how retailers are actively engaging in social media.  I’m a big fan of J.Crew, and receive notifications via email for great deals such as free shipping and holiday specials curtailed specifically for their online followers.

Here’s some interesting news:

According to Crosby, “About 47 percent of retailers surveyed last month by the National Retail Federation planned to increase their use of Facebook, Twitter and other online social networks this holiday season. As for shoppers, three out of five say they’re planning to use social media to look for discounts, coupons and sales, according to Deloitte Research.”

I can’t say that I’m surprised, but I am impressed. I’m also one of those 3 out of the 5 individuals who participate.  I feel like I have constant access to the latest news and deals, regardless if I’m near my computer or on the go. My mother enjoys shopping and has recently signed up for Facebook, and even she is now a part of this crowd.  If I’m with her, she asks me if I know of any news or holiday deals for some of our favorite places to shop – and I can access this information immediately.  I may not necessarily make purchases when I visit these places in person, but the awareness garnered by the usage of social media adds to my appreciation of the companies and stores.

What are your thoughts on your holiday shopping outlook and the app trend?

Check out the article here.






One of these things is not like the other…

According to a recent online article from Abiline Biz, “Still think social media is a fad? Consider this fact: Facebook now has more than 250 million users worldwide. To put that in perspective, if Facebook were a country it would be the fourth-largest nation in the world.”

Fourth largest?

Check out the article here. Author Dave Hogan does a great job explaining how small business owners should not fear the giant social media vehicle.

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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my calendar…

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