Bonnie Harris Tag

PRSA ICON is an appropriate name for what has become a truly iconic event in the world of communications. For the past four years, I’ve had the honor of presenting integrated marketing concepts at the conference. Each year, I’m amazed at how rapidly communicators are embracing integration and using it to their best advantage. This year’s presentation covers a bit of theory along with some pragmatic tips. In this post, I’ll cover some of the points I'll be making here in Austin today. Here's a link to the slideshare version of the presentation as well. Some people ask me why learn integration? Frankly, I think communicators need at least an awareness of integrated marketing concepts to remain relevant. Beyond that, using an integrated mindset creates more influence for the communications department within the organization while also providing a broader toolkit for the communicator themselves. Finally, making the jump (which really won’t be a jump soon once the silos start breaking down) into a marketing leadership position can’t be done without a strong knowledge of integrated marketing. Many of us aren’t working at a strategic level yet – so how do we introduce integration into our own work?  Basically, integration doesn’t happen without alignment. I think about alignment in three ways: the message, the method and the measurements. 

celebrity spokespersonI've worked with a fair number of famous people, from Ralph Nader to guys from Duck Dynasty. Although it's really not in my wheelhouse anymore I sometimes still get calls to find out how much it would cost for a celebrity to attend their event, endorse their product or contribute to their non-profit cause.   No matter how great your product , or how important your cause, stars generally don't do anything for free unless its for their own foundation (or for George Clooney). The good news is that almost any celebrity can  be booked if you have enough money. Here are a few tips for figuring out how to find someone, how much they cost and what the process might be like.
  • Find out who represents them. The easiest way is to buy a subscription to Who Represents an online listing of virtually every celebrity agent, publicist and manager.  Although some people like to go through managers first, I always call the agent. Agents are usually straightforward, no BS types who will give you prices and explain the ins and outs of back-end deals and endorsements.
  • Know your budget.

PRSA_RGB_234781Advising and empowering fellow professionals in the PR and marketing industry is an honor and passion of mine. It was fun develop an online course for  PRSA  to help position professional communicators to oversee integrated marketing communications (IMC) campaigns. This course gives professionals the tools to put together successful, integrated campaigns.
The following is a summary of the five in-depth lesson modules included in this e-learning course.
  • MODULE 1: Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC): Master the Key Components of Every Campaign Learn the definition of IMC, the building blocks of a successful IMC campaign and the starting motivations for developing one.
  • MODULE 2: Defining Key Audiences: Identify Audiences Within the Buying Cycle Review the historical evolution of audiences and the implications, how to define an audience, the buying cycle process and the motivation behind personas.
  • MODULE 3: Leveraging SWOT Analysis: Ensure Strategic Consistency Understand the purpose of a SWOT analysis and how to implement the findings, as well as the integrated strategy purpose.
  • MODULE 4: Syncing Tactics: Align Messaging Channels and Linked Tactics Go over messaging channels and media components and the purpose and execution of tactics used.
  • MODULE 5: Measuring Performance: Analyze Qualitative and Quantitative Data A cohesive look at measuring objectives, responses and performances of campaigns.

millennialsGeneralizations are never a good thing, but marketers are noticing some trends in how millennials find and consume products and services. Things are definitely changing, my friends. The term “millennials” is used to describe the 18 to 36-year-old demographic who have grown up in the digital age. Also referred to as Generation Y, they are known as the socially savvy generation that’s always connected to the Internet via multiple communication devices. Because of their short attention spans and demand for personalized services and goods, connecting with millennials can be a difficult task for many businesses. Each year, Generation Y grows in purchasing power, and they are on track to spend more than Baby Boomers by 2017, according to a study conducted by by Berglass + Associates and Women’s Wear Daily — so if you’re not developing a strategy to reach out, you could be left behind. By assembling a well-integrated and thought-out strategy, your company can tap into this demographic.

Focus on Customer Service

Millennials have a much different idea about how customer service should work, along with expectations on how to be helped as a consumer. According to Nielsen, 42 percent of millennials expect to receive customer service on social media within 12 hours of raising their issue. Instead of having a phone number to call, most young people expect to be able to find answers to their questions online or through an app, and may become frustrated if a solution to their problem requires a phone call. One way to boost your online customer service presence is to work with acloud-based contact management company, which can provide and maintain the online infrastructure for a streamlined customer service experience.

Let Others Market for You

According to socialchorus.com, 95 percent of millennials say their friends are the most credible source of product information. Over the last few decades, marketing has shifted from an overarching "push" strategy to a now more popular "pull" approach. In his book The Thank You Economy, Gary Varynerchuk lays out his philosophies on how to effectively market in contemporary culture and he emphasizes the importance of brands communicating directly with customers via social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Vine. He explains, “At its core, social media requires that business leaders start thinking like small shop owners." Because the social channels are open, Vaynerchuk urges companies to use these mediums not as faceless entities or corporate representatives of a brand, but as real people. He describes the impact this can make: "When faced with two equal choices, people often buy for no other reason than they associate one choice with someone they know."

Research compiled by Zephoria shows that 42 percent of marketers say using Facebook is critical or important to their business. Moreover, Facebook reported more than 30 million active small business pages in June of 2014. However, people soon learn that just setting up a page isn’t enough; pages need to be active to make a real difference. Faced with this challenge, many business owners choose to be more conservative with their posts, but in doing so, fail to engage and interact with their potential customers. As a business, connecting with an audience is not as difficult as it might seem. Mashable reports that approximately 70 percent of Facebook’s monthly active users in North America are connected to a local business on the site. To help you navigate the waters, here are a few tips for adding personality to your brand on Facebook; personality that consumers respond to.

Social Marketing

A common mistake is only publishing posts that serve as announcements about their company. But you should know that this form of ‘push’ marketing is ineffective and doesn’t use the social medium of Facebook to its full potential. Facebook is about interaction, so your posts need to be the catalyst for more engagement, rather than just churning out messages with no room for conversation.

[caption id="attachment_6387" align="alignright" width="300"] "Modi Run" mobile app[/caption] Welcome to the first in a series of monthly profiles I'll be posting to highlight great IMC campaigns, both recent and past. This month we profile one of my favorites - the IMC magic worked by the Bharatiya Janata Party of India. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was formed in 1951 as an "Integral Humanist" party, which basically means the BJP strives to create an economic model (indigenous to India) that places the human at the center of all concerns. BJP's presence in India is significant - it's the largest party represented in parliament and the second largest represented in individual states. In 2014 Nahendra Modi won by a landslide with an IMC camapaign that was modeled on an examination of Justin Bieber's rise to fame and the Gangnam Style video. There's even a slideshare of the proposed campaign, which is where I found this example initially. Why did BJP turn to integrated marketing communications? They realized IMC's power for increased reach and branding through messaging that appeals directly to their target audience. For example in a given election year, that audience includes a significant youth presence, as the BJP aims to motivate youth to vote.  

I've written about ways to determine whether you're truly doing integrated marketing communications, or IMC. Everyone says they're doing integrated marketing in some way or another. It's always a struggle, however, to determine where your priorities lie in terms of really diving into the practice. The IMC Report Card  is a tool I created to help my clients and others figure out how to prioritize their strategies and tactics. It's a simple way to objectively review where you stand regarding the components that make up the critical success factors for IMC.  Here's a quick primer to help you "grade" your brand or organization (or someone else's) on their IMC proficiency.
  • The first questions ask about messaging. You must have a consistent message, but it also needs to be translated for every messaging channel. Do you see a lot of disparate, beautifully worded messages? That means the team was more focused on wordsmithing than on conveying simple ideas of what the brand does, why it does it, and for whom it does it. Sometimes the message is written so beautifully it doesn't resonate with the target audience. If you're selling to moms, are you talking to moms in a way that appeals to them? Or are you talking like an industry insider? These are all the kinds of questions I think about when I'm reviewing a company's messaging.
  • Next, does it look like the company or brand understands how their customers buy? In other words, am I led down a path that clearly leads to a  commitment or conversion when I go to social media, or the website, or any earned or owned media for that matter? Am I directed at all by the messaging?