Well the quarter is drawing to a close and graduation is days away something hit me today, I am almost done blogging! This simple fact was lost in my craziness of getting through final presentations and final paperwork.
I must say, I have had a bittersweet relationship with blogging over this past quarter. Part of internship I also recently completed required I blog for them as well. As you can imagine by this point in time I would expect to be sick of blogging. My internship was working on a book campaign and in part of I conducted a blogger outreach campaign on behalf of them. My duties included reaching out to a certain demographic of bloggers relating to the book, following their blogs, and frequently commenting on them (almost too frequently I might add). That combined with blogging for my class had me blog happy this quarter.
The odd thing, as much as I dreaded it in the beginning of the quarter, I actually find it quite relaxing now. I can read about issues I personally find interesting and report my thoughts on them. I used to write all the time and anyone would constantly find me writing stories, opinions, virtually anything. Then I came to Central and got overwhelmed by course loads and homework and clubs and writing took a back burner. At the beginning of this quarter it was hard to me to switch gears into my thoughts and my views. My internship was a non-partisan organization so my blogging on behalf of them was viewless. Then starting this blog, I realized my opinions did matter and even if nobody but Liz would read them, they were an outlet for me.
However, to put all this in a PR lens and get credit for this post, blogging got me excited and I began wanting to read company blogs and what topics my idols were blogging about. This in turn led me to realize that blogging has hit the PR world. Blogging is as much a part of the growing face of PR and advertising and consumer relations as anything. Virtually every large company has a blog and utilizes it. Shocking to me!
As a PR senior I considered myself to up to date with everything media and PR related, I seem to have dropped the ball on keeping up with blogs. Thankfully this class has given me an insight and has brought my writing girl back out.
Instagram is already taken over the consumer world but now has hit the business world as well! More and more businesses are turning to instagram as a new way of connecting with their consumers. While they can connect in the same ways as facebook and twitter, instagram offers a new way to do this.
Instagram offers businesses a way to virtually share their products via photos and hashtags and consumers are eating it up. Small boutiques are capitalizing in on this too and have proven very successful even in this small town.
The features that instagram offers is unparallelling and provides consumers a whole new way to connect. Obviously this is true by the large following and the way instagram hit the market with millions of users but it took a little longer for businesses to realize this.
Businesses are not only sharing their products and thoughts but connecting with the consumers through their pictures and their personal lives. The interaction between consumers and businesses is changing the face of brand image now more than ever and this is only adding to that fact.
The notorious sports extreme, energy drink company redbull recently released a new product line. Since the beginning of energy drink time redbull has been considered a leader in the energy drink world. It’s a little hard to believe since up until now they have only had two flavors, redbull original and original sugar free. While all it’s competitors have released various flavors and lines of many new products within their markets.
Finally redbull is kicking up the notch and releasing some new options for it’s consumers. The new line features blueberry, lime and cranberry redbull. Shocking from redbull and advertising efforts were just that. Redbull held dozens of events, got unparalleling media attention, and overall considered a successful release.
Memorial day weekend I started my new job at the Gorge amphitheater in George, Wa. I work the beer stands and sell various drinks and alcohol to the attendees of large scale events. This year the gorge paired with redbull to sell redbull exclusively and no other energy drinks. The interesting part was seeing the behind the scenes of redbull and what their strategy at these large events is.
Redbull gave every stand an official rebull cooler fridge to hold product in and had a specific arrangement they wanted. Redbull reps were walking the shows checking those coolers and ensuring all product was out and visible and in the exact order they wanted. They did this to give special notice to their new flavor line and highlight what they had to offer.
By the end of the four day weekend we had sold out of lime and blueberry venue wide and was close on the cranberry, yet plenty of original remained in the warehouse. Interesting play redbull. I’m curious to see how the other shows will play out.
Recently I posted A LOT on advertising commercials and campaigns in preparation for a final class project involving case studies of large scale campaigns. While I enjoy advertising I think I’ve tired that subject entirely and need to move on. But first I would like to give special mention to the customer service and PR of one particular local company, Winegars.
Winegars is a local coffee and ice cream company in Ellensburg that is simply delicous. Aside from having great products, they have great PR. The company utilizes all forms of social media and well at that. They regularly post on facebook and twitter, hold contests, and post photos. But what they do the best is simply engaging.
They respond to their followers, they repost topics relating to them and even ones that don’t but highlight people doing really great things. This is something more businesses need to take lead on. Winegars relationships are something that every company should parallel, especially the local ones. Winegars even takes things a step further then social media through email.
Winegars has a pretty sweet rewards program that offers points and free things and all that jazz but it also serves as loyalty program. If you don’t stop in to Winegar’s for a said amount of time they will shoot you an email saying literally, “where did you go?” and offer a free item up to $5 to get you back into the store. Talk about smart.
Winegars takes such drastic efforts because of the local competition here. Yet the thing is, the competition doesn’t even began to match the efforts Winegars makes towards its customers. Kudos Winegars, kudos.
Recently I celebrated my 23rd birthday. While the days leading up to I was trying to figure out plans with my family and friends and how I wanted to celebrate, those are the only people I was thinking of.
I have traditions with my little sister to go out to dinner each year and celebrate with her then later comes the ‘adult celebrations’ with the bars or alcohol of some sort and the friend celebrations. Through all these plans I got more and more excited and the actual day of with everyone wishing me a happy birthday I was on top of the moon.
However the people I never expected to wish me a Happy Birthday was businesses. This year more than ever I received so many business ‘Happy Birthdays’ and giveaways from companies that I subscribe and receive newsletters from to restaurants I have rewards cards with.
It was a shock at first but the more I thought about it, the more genius it became. Companies give themselves fantastic PR and positive company image by doing things like reaching out to customers but they take it to a whole new level when they personalize them to your birthday. Brand image is such a major factor in company success and it really is the little things that create customer loyalty. Consumers like to feel appreciated and sending a personal birthday greeting makes them feel like they really are apart of the company.
Local companies that celebrated with me included Winegars, Roadhouse, Wing Central, D&M, and Pasta Co. Other statewide and even national chains also sent me greetings! More companies should take this approach.
Amanda Knox writes a book. Wait, what?
It’s true. The infamous Amanda Knox has decided to capitalize in on her “fame” by writing an autobiography about her time spent in the Italian jail. If by case you haven’t heard who Amanda Knox is or her story I’ll give a brief background…
Amanda Knox was an exchange student from the University of Washington who traveled to Italy for what was supposed to be a semester. She traveled there, met a boy, was having the time of her life until, her roommate, Meridith was found dead in their flat. During the investigation evidence supposedly linked Amanda and her boyfriend to the murder. Amanda swears by her innocence and after a lengthy period of time spent in oversea jail was finally released on an evidence technicality.
Currently the Italian courts are trying to bring Amanda back in a retrial and prove her guilt.
So in the middle of this, Amanda releases a very private book about her time in Italy both in and out of jail. Why would she do this at this exact timing one might ask? The obvious answer is the money. It’s no secret her parents paid out bucko bucks for attorneys and other fees during this crisis so releasing a book that she could capitilize on would allow her family some of the financial burden taken off. The other side to the coin is why release such personal details about the crisis during a time when Italy is building a case against you for murder.
During some of Amanda’s first interviews with the Italian police her story often changed and changed again. So with her background publishing a book releasing hard facts might not be such a smart move. When you give such definite details behind a major scandal like this one, you create a hard story for yourself. Not that she is in any way lying or altering details but attorneys can be ruthless. The Italian courts are looking to bring her down and are going to take the details she releases in this book to use against her. So she better make sure each and every detail matches the story she told the police or girl is going to have issues.
I’m looking forward to reading this book and seeing the outcome of the details of retrial as they come.
Recently I took on the crazy role of social media for my work, Carl’s Jr. Since this location in Ellensburg opened only last March they have yet to utilize any sort of social media from a local standpoint.
The process was quite fun in retrospect. I first scheduled a meeting with the owner of my location and explained the importance of social media and what it could do for his business. After convincing him I set up accounts for twitter and facebook and a seperate email to operate them on. I sat him down and showed him the ropes and we got it up and rolling!
Next came the troubles. Apparently another account was created for Carl’s Jr when we first opened but was not properly updated or used. The location was wrong, the address wrong, no posts were created, yet the cover photo was our new promo breakfast item that was just recently released? Weird.
The interesting part behind all this was I had never created a business facebook page. I’ve upkept them and posted on behalf of them, but never actually created one. It was interesting to see the behind the scenes and actually have that leadership role.
It makes me consider how large scale companies and business deal with crisis on the social media front and what steps they take. My mini crisis of figuring out how to delete a page that is used by our name yet not ours and trying a plan to direct people to the correct page was crisis enough for me.
In a world where consumers control the market more than ever, it’s appalling some of the customer service that exists out there.
This past week while preparing for graduation I got to the fun part, outfit shopping. I searched everywhere from Ellensburg to Yakima looking for the perfect dress to celebrate in. Finally I found one at the Maurices in Union Gap and things started to fall into place. I found a dress and matching shoes and couldn’t have been more esthetic.
When I returned home and tried on the whole outfit together to model for my roommates I quickly discovered a problem; one of the shoes was a size 7 (the size I needed) and the other was a size 10.
I called the Ellensburg maurice’s, since I live in Ellensburg, and explained the situation. The sales associate could not have cared less, literally. She was uninterested, unresponsive, did nothing to help the situation and made me feel silly for even having the problem. Um, excuse me. This was your company that made the error.
I then called the Yakima store and explained the story and how I was just in there and live in Ellensburg and etc. etc. Complete turnaround. The associates at that store could not have been more helpful. She was apologetic, helpful and wanted to fix the situation.
The issue is when you have multiple branches of companies, you need to have the same focus and the same goal company wide. Customers depend on stability when they shop from branch to branch and they should feel comfortable going to any of them and expect the same service. It’s like Starbucks, you want to know you can go to any Starbucks and get the same drink and have it taste the same.
Customer service is key. I am more opt now to drive to Yakima just to shop where they’re friendly then go to the Ellensburg store.
Best Buy “Future Innovators”-This ad for new technology and what you can do with it is so inspiring to watch.
It shows average looking people, just like most viewing the commercial, going out and doing amazing things with new technology and laptops they purchased at Best Buy. It has the persuasive factor because of how empowering it is. You watch the ad and think to yourself, “wow I could do something like that”.
Even if you know you probably can’t it’s the feeling you get when you see other people doing great things. Like after you watch some crazy movie, fast and the furious for example, everybody wants to go out and drive crazy, drift corners, and etc. This commercial makes me think I need a new laptop so I can try and create something amazing.
The commercial shows various people using various products Best Buy sells and at the end states how you can even trade in your old technology to upgrade to new stuff. The catch phrase they have, “when the technology is right, anything can happen” just adds to the thought that you yourself could do these things which is what people want to envision when making purchases. They want to picture themselves actually using the product and this ad does just that.
Pucker Vodka-For there being so many different brands of each alcohol, companies really have to make themselves stand out from the others. I think this commercial really does it.
The ad is bright, innovative, attention capturing, and has a catchy tune to it. The way they designed it to be so modern is exactly what’s needed for their market and target audience. Typically vodka companies want to express fun and bright, youthful, ideas because the main audience is just that, people who like to have fun.
This commercial does exactly that. Going further it adds exploding lemons which is perfect to express the lemonade flavor and make the point that this vodka has flavor to it. People often associate lemons with a tart taste and psychically seeing the lemons on screen, and exploding at that, gets my taste buds going. Once I see them it instantly takes me to that tart sweet taste and my mouth starts watering. For being a commercial about food or drink, that’s exactly what’s needed; the taste in your mouth that you can’t seem to get rid of until you drink or eat said food.
For Pucker introducing this new lemonade vodka, they did a nice job of portraying it out to really make me go out and try the new stuff.