according to emily zager…

Posts Tagged ‘marketing

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?

I found a great article posted yesterday on the Chicago Tribune website discussing the way older and well-established company executives are seeking the assistance of their younger employees and coworkers to discuss the facets of social media. My Facebook-addicted generation definitely has an upper hand in regards to acclimating to the constantly evolving realm of social networking sites and digitally complex media vehicles.

The article explores how workers at a local Chicago PR firm are equipping themselves with the knowledge necessary to conquer Web 2.0 – through the help of junior associates and 20-somethings who are already comfortable and ahead of the curve with the technology.  The individuals set to graduate within the next few years will have a great opportunity to connect with their fellow employees, teammates and departments towards a common goal – to utilize and value social media, instead of fearing it.  I personally can’t wait to get my feet wet when I begin my career while implementing the skill set I’ve been acquiring at Loyola.

Check out the article here, it’s an insightful read.

And here’s a fun little illustration that I’ll leave you with this evening:

Great cartoon.

As an advertising and PR major at Loyola University Chicago, I enjoy and have been trained to pay attention to the news of what companies are doing in relation to social media. However, I am not the biggest automobile enthusiast.  So how are these related? Well, Ford Motor’s recent activities has caught my attention.  David Kiley of Business Week wrote a great article yesterday (10/16) about the giant company and its recent endeavors involving marketing strategies and social media.

Vroom, vroom.

According to Kiley, “Ford Motor Co. this year will spend 25% of its marketing dollars on digital media, more than twice the amount spent by the industry.”  This program encompasses its Fiesta Movement. Kiley describes the “Fiesta Movement” as:

“a program that began in 2008, 18 months before the cars will actually arrive in dealerships. Ford gave 100 European Fiestas to people to drive and live with. The results of the blogging, Facebooking, Youtubing and Tweeting by those people, plus the echoing of those messages by the blogosphere, followers, etc. has been an eye opener.”

Kiley also explains:

“Ford isn’t saying what it’s cost on the program is. But it says that just the Fiesta Movement has created 11 million social networking impressions; five million engagements on social networks (people sharing and receiving); 11,000 videos have been posted; 15,000 Tweets (not including re-tweets), 13,000 photos. And the cars have been driven over one million real-world miles by the 100 participants.”

Let’s back up a bit. A quarter of its budget? In today’s bustling age of unfaltering innovation, technologies developing at warp speed and fading demand for print media, that acknowledgment puts a whole lot into a cohesive perspective, though I am not surprised.

The situation reminds me of an earlier post in which I blogged about large corporations and the digital age. In Ford’s case, the circumstances are one and the same – the power of social media can not be ignored; but when harnessed, tangible successes have an ability to arise.  This Ford Fiesta case does a great job showcasing a situation in which people want their voices heard – and the company makes it entirely possible. Ford took an active stance in the digital age by inviting people to the Fiesta Movement in 2008.  The company is hoping (and taking a risk) to see if their social media program experiment will lead to a harmonic reciprocity.

  • I discovered this clip from You Tube’s Fiestamovement page. The overview: “Ford built 100 Ford Fiestas in Germany for the 100 winners of the Ford Fiesta Movement. The 100 chosen drivers of the Fiesta Movement will be driving the car for 6 months with free gas, insurance and concierge.”  The video clip actually links to the site showcasing various hopefuls as well as the most viewed Fiesta Movement submissions on YouTube.
  • Ford Chief Engineer Steve Pintar illustrates the story of how the vehicle made its way into the United States:
  • This video was uploaded a couple of weeks ago but does a great job providing marketing insight for the Fiesta‘s hands-on social media campaign. The story’s summary is summarized around roughly the minute mark so this clip is short, sweet and to the point:

Side tidbit: I went onto Ford’s official Web site to explore. As of today, there are no direct mentions, pictures or clips of the Fiesta on its homepage. (Just a minor, interesting tidbit). Overall, I’m impressed at how hands-on this specific campaign has become.  Although Ford’s target audience lacks the “American Idol” ability to vote for their favorite contenders, this social media campaign puts a lot on the line but hopefully will receive the results its teams are aiming for. Ford is drawing its consumers in via social media network outlets, and definitely getting them talking in the process.

Check out the original Business Week article here.

Popular restaurant chain TGI Friday’s recent utilization of  social media and marketing skills caught my eye within the past few weeks.  The restaurant began launching viral videos on the Web and airing television commercials featuring “Woody,” an average Joe character offering a free burger coupon to the first 500,000 Facebookers to become a “fan” of him on the monster social networking site.

As an active member on Facebook, I became a “fan” of Woody before the 500,000 member mark was drawn. However, according to the article below, the restaurant chain has extended the opportunity to the first 1 million people due to a backlash of fans declaring the marketing scheme as false advertising and miscommunication.  Overall, I’m impressed with TGI Friday’s PR efforts – the attention received due to digital media, social networking sites, Twitter and YouTube demonstrates how forward-thinking their agency is, as well as how important it is to creatively distinguish one’s brand. Also, it shows how quick a company or agency needs to be on its feet when the target market speaks up.

I’m looking forward to my Jack Daniel’s burger. Hopefully the coupon comes through.

I began my day with my usual morning routine – breakfast, getting ready, even a dentist appointment (though 8 AM is a little brutal). As I began checking my emails and reading the news, I also paid a visit to some of my favorite business, PR and advertising sites. While interning with a major ad agency in Chicago earlier this year, one of my responsibilities included compiling an enewsletter to send out to my department each week. Even today, I still like to brush up on the latest developments and articles in the biz.

Earlier this week I posted about major corporations and the takeover of social media sites.  How ironic, then, that I found this article today courtesy of Adweek discusssing online consumer discussions between Target and Walmart. It’s a pretty quick read, but to reiterate my original post: Through the utilization of online disccusion forums and blogs, people are chatting, comparing, and judging brands and directly affecting major corporations in the process.

Check out the article.

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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