according to emily zager…

Posts Tagged ‘Public relations

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


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.






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.

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.

Check out a great article posted this morning about Facebook imposter scams. In this day and age, the usage of social media networking sites is increasing exponentially.  While it’s enjoyable and often beneficial to create Facebook profiles, engage in Twitter and write on a blog, it’s always a good thing to maintain a cautious mindframe.  It’s crucial and important for all users to be mindful of their activity, especially if or when it comes to posting personal information. 

As I’ve mentioned before, I can be found on Facebook and Twitter, and have accounts in several other social media sites as well.  People join all sorts of different social networking sites for all sorts of different reasons.  I’ve recently began looking into LinkedIn as well, for professional reasons.  Dr. David Kamerer, my PR & New Media professor at Loyola University Chicago always encourages our class to get our names out there in the digital realm,  and “to go where the people are.”  I fully heed his advice.  However, if one chooses to invest time and effort into these Internet activities and communities, I feel that they should be done with integrity, honesty, individuality – and caution.

One can never be too careful when connecting themselves with the digital space. The link posted about illustrates  a pretty extreme example of people who have had online run-ins with individuals who don’t share that same respectful, lawful mindframe.

Last week, my PR and New Media class discussed why and how understanding the search process is a relevant public relations skill.  Search matters to PR professionals and companies for several reasons.  To put this into a better perspective, I chose popular American airline Jet Blue to analyze in regards to their presence in digital space.  

Jet Blue’s home page is the first link to appear upon Googling the company.  A Wikipedia article, recent news result and a You Tube video appear on the same page of search results.  Their brand and web pages are search friendly.  A diverse array of links help paint a well-rounded picture of the company.  The company’s content helps to define their brand and present their services in an informative yet conversational tone.  This illustrates how Jet Blue’s professionals understand the search process.  On a tangent, Jet Blue currently has 1,243,035 followers, interacts with them on a regular basis, and offers full-on customer service via Twitter updates and links to their company’s Web pages. They are easily accessible and have a prominent place in the realm of social media.

To be relevant and findable on the Web, it’s important to utilize a lot of text and links.  It’s also important to distinguish on-the-page versus off-the-page elements when it comes to search process optimization.  On-the-page strategies include proper usage of titles, whereas off-the-page strategies focus on descriptions, alt-text, meta keywords and more.  In short, links allow instantaneous connectivity when it comes to good search results. Visibility is key to becoming relevant and directly accessible via the Web.

ALso, PR professionals need to know where and how to get more information when it comes to the search process.  The five ideas a professional needs to utilize in becoming more visible online are:

  1. Research
  2. Teamwork
  3. Planning
  4. Experimentation
  5. Benevolence

Overall, the search process encompasses a variety of important skills while working in the digital space. PR professionals working for big and small companies alike need to remember to go where the people are while keeping their message interesting, informative, and easily attainable.  Jet Blue performs solidly in search and maintains an active stance in its social media outlets.

Jet Blue Airlines

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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