Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008 / 1:00 PM (EST) / New Media & IMC – The Business of “Condensed Storytelling”.

To date, we have covered a number of innovative products, techniques and futuristic examples in the area of New Media and its application in Integrated Marketing Communications. There are so many tools available now for the IMC practitioner in the field of New Media including digital smart phones, Bluetooth, Podcasting, Blogs, Vlogs, Widgets, Web site design tips and many more informative discussions have been posted to this blog. While these new innovative technologies often create a tremendous amount of excitement for marketers, advertisers and communicators, we must not forget the lessons learned using traditional media and use this knowledge to skillfully integrate these experiences to the demands of new media.



Bruce Nelson, vice chairman of Omnicon Group, reminded IMC students that they are in the business of condensed story telling during his presentation at the fourth annual West Virginia University School of Journalism’s Integrated Marketing Communications Information Weekend held May 30-31 in Morgantown. According to Nelson, “Condensed story telling is at the core of what brings all of the disciplines together.” According to Todd Cohen, author of the article titled “Effective Marketing – Using New Media to Tell Your Story”, Cohen states “Your job as a communications officer is to get your organization’s story told… Doing your job today still requires building your connection to news people and using words and images to make your story sing. But it also requires that you study new media, embrace it and put it to work.”

Cohen goes on to state in his final message, “New media offer unprecedented opportunities to rethink how to tell your story. The challenge is to be resourceful and willing to communicate your news in new and innovative ways. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Study new media. Talk to people at other organizations like yours. And do some surfing, talking a look at how other organizations – nonprofit and for-profit alike – are using the web. Then think about your own communication goals and decide which new media best fit your strategy. Above all, in using new media, use common sense and keep it simple.”

Consider what Raquel Baldelomar, Managing Director for Quaintise Communications has to add to our discussion this week with her video titled “Intelligent Deployment of New Media”.




Once again, thanks for joining me this week and as always, I welcome your feedback or comments. Please feel free to visit me online at http://segment-specific-media.blogspot.com/

~Dan

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008 / 11:15 AM (EST) / From the side of a Sky-Scraper to the Hood of a Car – Turn Virtually any surface into a High-Resolution Vid

As most of you who read my blog on a regular basis know, I’m always searching for new innovative technologies to add in my IMC toolbox. In fact, remember the video I shared on July 5, 2008 on Microsoft Surface? If so, then you will enjoy today’s discussion on Obscura Digital. Since 2000, Obscura Digital has been developing technology-driven creative solutions for Fortune 500 companies and leading advertising agencies around the world. Obscura’s team of technologists, creatives and strategists are continually developing new forms or “experiential marketing” and, in the process, helping shape the future of advertising. With Obscura Digital’s proprietary software, they are able to turn virtually any surface, from the side of a skyscraper to the hood of a car into a stunning, high-resolution video display. Obscura’s exclusive patented hardware includes motion-triggered and multi-touch screens that allow people to interact and truly engaging ways. Obscura combines their technology and creative expertise to create large-scale immersive environments, holographic projections, laser graffiti, motion triggered billboards and much more. Obscura Digital’s vision statement states: “Our vision is to develop our technology into a whole new medium – one that’s not dependent upon a device such as a cell phone, television set, or computer, but allows people to tap into a vast cloud of digital information and interact with it in a new and meaningful ways from any surface, any place.” Obscura Digital understands how important creating truly unique, interactive experiences with customers are to business. According to Kara Tsuboi, reporter for CNET’s multimedia team, “Sure, I've played with Apple's iPhone and Microsoft's Surface, but not only is Obscura's touchscreen much, much larger, there's virtually no delay and there's a certain grace to the technology that just makes it enjoyable to play with and watch.” Check out CNET’s video on Obscura Digital titled “Taking the digital billboard to the next level” below – it’s totally cool!
video

So, what do you think? Does Obscura Digital have a jump on Microsoft Surface in terms of its application in IMC? Once again, thanks for joining me this week and as always, I welcome your feedback or comments. Please feel free to visit me online at http://segment-specific-media.blogspot.com/ ~Dan

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Social Media Power Widget

Thursday, July 17, 2008 / 11:15 PM (EST) / Widgets – A New Innovative Way to Promote Your Brand – USB Style.
• What are Widgets? How can Widgets benefit IMC practitioners? What about adding Widgets to my Blog? These questions and more are answered in a simple, easy-to-understand article presented by to techFAQ. According to techFAQ:
What are Widgets?
In the ever-increasing race to create a more user-friendly World Wide Web experience by expanding options for internet users, the opposite outcome can happen by isolating many users with complex internet functions, programs, and terminology. So it is nice to see that the internet user experience is getting easier and less complicated in some ways. One of these ways is with the implementation and use of widgets.

The term "widget" can refer to any icon or graphical interface element that is manipulated by the computer or internet user to perform a desired function online or on their computer. For example, the icons located on a personal computer's desktop are considered widgets. By clicking or manipulating the widget in some way with the mouse or keyboard, the user is able to interact with the computer or website, essentially "telling" it to perform desired functions.

User-friendly websites are increasing their use of widgets to simplify and enhance the internet user's experience. Buttons, drop-down menus, and basically any other element located on a web page that is able to be manipulated by the user to perform a function is considered a widget. There are hundreds of thousands of people logging on to the World Wide Web for the first time each day. Almost none of them are going to be particularly "tech-savvy" on their first experience so simplifying websites' usability is imperative.

Some more examples of widgets:
• Stock tickers
• Media player buttons
• Web browser controls
• Email function controls
• Social-networking sites that enable information sharing
• RSS feed icons
• Interactive graphs, charts, and other statistical media

Widgets are typically pieces of programming code embedded in an image file. They can be set up to react to mouse clicks, mouse rollovers, and keyboard commands from the computer or internet user. Since users demand simplicity with increased functionality, it is important to note that the use of widgets is becoming more widespread and the term encompasses more functions as new methods of user-interface manipulation become available.

Widgets have been strongly embraced by webmasters, web companies, and internet users that champion the new Web 2.0 format of websites. As Web 2.0 websites grow in popularity, the trend for user experience simplicity and functionality will grow. Widgets will play an ever-increasing role in allowing users to share, store, and create information on the World Wide Web.


Based on the info above, let’s go to widgetbox.com and upload a widget called “Social Media Power”. It’s really quite simple, just select the widget of choice and select the “Blogger” logo, enter your identification and password info, then select the location you want the widget to appear – then save. It’s that simple. You will now notice “Social Media Power” on the right column of my blog – too cool!

Want to see the future of Widgets and IMC? Are you looking for a new, innovative way to promote your brand? Then check this video out!



Once again, thanks for joining me this week and as always, I welcome your feedback or comments. Please feel free to visit me online at http://segment-specific-media.blogspot.com/

~Dan

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008 / 6:15 PM (EST) / Eye-Catching Marketing Innovations from the Automotive Industry. Are they working?

Web advertising can easily be coordinated with other forms of IMC promotions due to its deliverability, flexibility and inexpensive cost. In fact, the very purpose of IMC is to tie in Web sites with other company promotional communications in a way that’s attractive, easy to navigate and functional (Perez, 2008). The automotive industry has been quick to react to this trend based on the increasing number of consumers going online to shop for vehicles.

Pete Batten, author of “Key innovations from the world of auto marketing” for Imedia Connection states, “As you would expect, today's biggest trends in the automotive industry all revolve around e-commerce. As more consumers head online to research and shop for vehicles, vehicle sellers and marketers have to provide the websites, electronic tools and online information consumers want and need. Yet, they are also challenged to attract and retain in-market auto shoppers to their online turf, especially during a weak – and therefore highly competitive – economy. This calls for innovation in areas such as campaigns, eye-catching visuals and clever SEO tactics” (Batten, 2008).

Batten outlines five innovative tactics using New Media too connect with customers. The first is Mobile Marketing where dealerships are using e-coupons delivered via text messaging through cell phones. The second innovative New Media tactics involves the creative use of deploying Internet videos to prime sales calls through MyDealerBroadcast. The third tactic involves Web services. According to Batten, “Web services allow companies to focus on core competency – how the application manipulates and enhances data for the best consumer experience – rather than structuring, warehousing and updating the source data.” The fourth technique utilizes SEO to generate leads for dealerships. Companies like eBizAutos and NowMarketPlace.com have been significant contributors in helping dealerships generate leads using this process. The final tactic involves Vertical ad networks. Batten describes this process using General Motors as an example. Batten states, “General Motors, for example, recently began offering its dealers a comprehensive digital marketing package for free. Designed to drive more in-market shoppers to GM dealership websites, the program will enable GM to better coordinate its national advertising message with its dealers' local advertising for consistent messaging that grabs casual shoppers, as well as sophisticated, brand-savvy shoppers.”

For a detailed description of how the Mobile Messaging campaign works, Check this video from iDIGtxt Mobile Marketing Solutions.



Once again, thanks for joining me this week and as always, I welcome your feedback or comments. Please feel free to visit me online at http://segment-specific-media.blogspot.com/

~Dan

References:

Batten, P. (2008). Key innovations from the world of auto marketing” for imedia connection states – Imedia Connection retrieved July 13, 2008 from http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/19405.asp


Perez, H. (2008). Lesson 8: Creative Considerations in Emerging Media. IMC 619 New Media – West Virginia University retrieved July 6, 2008 from https://ecampus.wvu.edu/webct/urw/lc5116001.tp0/cobaltMainFrame.dowebct

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008 / 3:25 PM (EST) / Considering a New Web Site for Your Small Business? Here are some tips to help get you started in the right

To begin, IMC practitioners must be able to place themselves in the customer’s shoes when considering the structure and design of their new web site. According to Aaron Kahlow, a partner in Business Online and a leader of web site usability comments, “Most Marketing professionals are way too “close” to their offering, corporate vernacular and all things related to their industry. So things like nomenclature and content grouping often fall in line with their corporate focused thinking – not the users.” Kahlow highlights a key issue facing web designers today. IMC practitioners must take the time to get it right the first time because “You Never Get Another Chance To Make A Good First Impression”. This includes knowing the target audience better than your competitors and proving it by creating a web site that’s both relevant, informative, entertaining and organized (Perez, 2008).

An article written by Sharon Lee titled “Human-to-Human Design” helps support our discussion by focusing on the visitor or, end-user of a web site. In fact, Lee’s article fits well with Chen and Wells’ Attitude Toward the Site (AST) scale which uses three “Human” dimensions to evaluate corporate sites including entertainment, informativeness and organization (Perez, 2008). According to Lee, “A good website is built on two basic truths—that the internet is an interactive medium and that the end user is in fact human. In other words, it is meant to be an experience.” IMC is all about developing long-term relationships through positive brand/customer experiences that coordinate seamlessly through the company’s web site, catalogs, retail stores and products (Perez, 2008).

What are some techniques or design tips we can use to enhance the experience? According to Perez, the best web sites are attractive, easy to navigate (Consider the three-click rule), and functional plus, as stated above, web sites must tie-in with the rest of the company’s promotional communications. Probably the greatest feature offered by the Internet is simply based on the interactive nature of the web. Interactivity is also presumed to be an influential factor in improving the quality of a company’s web site. In the context of IMC, the potential for customer interaction facilitates relationship marketing and customer support to a greater degree than traditional media (Perez, 2008).

Remember, I’m suggesting tips for those considering a web site for their small business in the near future. These guidelines should help get you thinking in the right direction and provide you with more in-depth links to articles on content, color & graphics, etc. To get more detailed information on design tips from the pros, check out some of the articles available on “A List Apart”. Also, consider what these pros have to say about:

“Web Design Mistakes”



“Effective Web Site Design”




and why “Experience is the New Reality”.



Once again, thanks for joining me this week and as always, I welcome your feedback or comments. Please feel free to visit me online at http://segment-specific-media.blogspot.com/

~Dan

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Saturday, July 05, 2008 / 12:15 PM (EST)/ New Media Academic Summit 2008 – Proving Integrated Marketing Communications is Not Just an Industry BUZZ wo

Richard Edelman’s introduction to the 2008 New Media Academic Summit emphasizes that for Public Relations practitioners, “It’s just not about having a journalism degree anymore.” Consider Edelman’s introductory highlights from the state of the communication industry:

• Sales of newspapers and news weekly magazines are in a decline compared to last year
• Ad sales of weekly magazines are in a “terminal” decline
• Advertisers are going directly to the passionate consumers and moving away from traditional media (i.e., using user-generated media)
• Companies are moving toward creating social network eco-systems (example being the Obama campaign which has a strong online presence through a variety of networks: Twitter, MySpace and Web.) The Obama campaign is creating a “surround sound” effect for voters, which guarantees that people see his content and reinforces the notions of his speeches and campaigns and allows users to easily share content
• Global Revolution in sharing messages (i.e. China). Changing the messages to being a shortened form, with the voice of new coming from a “average person”
• Changing nature of the big corporation
• Wal-Mart is changing the conversation about them toward its sustainability and commitment to “green” products. An example of companies realizing and exhibiting their power in the market place and not being a passive recipient of government action
Do any of these issues sound familiar to IMC practitioners? In fact, I’m somewhat amazed that some “old school” PR professionals are just now realizing that maybe they should stop thinking of themselves as “preachers of the Clinton spin room.” In fact, listen to the advice Edelman provides his audience:

“PR is moving toward a new way of communication where they share an “informed view” with their consumers and constantly update their messages and engage in a conversation with them rather than dictate the conversation. PR professionals have to listen, learn and adapt to the way they communicate with their audience and with their messages. And PR professionals have to earn their consumers trust by yielding control and allowing the messages they have to share to be communicated from representatives from all levels of the company and be communicated from the bottom up.”

Integrated Marketing Communications means combining the synergies of New Media, Public Relations, Marketing and other related disciplines (Market Research, Consumer Behavior, Sales Promotion, Brand Management, etc.) into one process for planning, executing, and monitoring messages that create long-term, customer relationships. I commend Edelman for suggesting that current PR students “must be comfortable cross platform”. Maybe next year, Edelman will acknowledge the power of IMC and universities like West Virginia University and NorthWestern University who are ahead of the curve in preparing students for challenges and expectations the industry has for the professional marketer/communicator.

To watch Richard Edelman’s introduction on video, click on the following link (http://www.edelman.com/Summit08/Videos/NMAS_2008_RWE_Intro.html).

Also, although not related to the subject above, Check out some new exciting New Media opportunities Microsoft has developed (Microsoft Surface – The Possibilities):




Once again, thanks for joining me this week and as always, I welcome your feedback or comments. Please feel free to visit me online at http://segment-specific-media.blogspot.com/

~Dan

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wednesday, July 2, 2008 / 7:45 PM (EST)/ New Media providing Police Departments across the Nation with Innovative Crime Stopping Technology.

Police Departments across the nation now have a new crime fighting tool in their arsenal that allows tipsters to not only remain anonymous, but to remain silent while reporting vital information on criminal activity. The technology is called “Texting” and it can be done anywhere, anytime and most importantly, essentially unnoticed in most situations. Today’s mobile technology including “Qwerty” keyboards in newer cell phone models allow for quick and easy texting, especially among the already experienced texters of the younger generations.




In a story released July 2, 2008 from Associated Press titled “Police wnt u to fight crime w/txt msgs” by Mitch Stacy, “Police hope the idea helps recruit teens and 20-somethings who wouldn't normally dial a Crime Stoppers hot line to share information with authorities” (Stacy, 2008). Law enforcement agencies have always encouraged citizens to step forward a report crimes for many years. Organizations across America, like Crime Stoppers and the Neighborhood Watch Program have originated from the desire to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe. In fact, part of Crime Stoppers goals includes:
• Helping Crime Stoppers be the most cost effective crime solving tool for law enforcement.
• Building a strong communications network among US Crime Stoppers programs, law enforcement, and the general public.

From an IMC perspective, texting can be a great tool for creating and maintaining long-term customer relationships. In fact, IMC is about synergy and creativity, integration and communication (Duncan, 2005). Take a look Crime Stoppers video on TipSoft Software – Anonymous TIPS Creator:



Once again, thanks for joining me this week and as always, I welcome your feedback or comments. Please feel free to visit me online at http://segment-specific-media.blogspot.com/
~Dan
Reference:

Duncan, T.R. (2005). Advertising & IMC, (2nd Ed.). McGraw-Hill Irwin, New York, N.Y.