mackenzieyelvington


Gratitude

I’m sure my degree in public relations from University of North Texas will take me far. I have learned so much from each one of my professors, and have decided to highlight a few in my final blog for my final class. 

 

  • Professor Nikhil Morrow, who taught my first journalism writing class, helped me understand how to approach the world with a journalistic mind set. His “little golden nuggets of wisdom” remind me that if something is happening, I should always ask why. He taught me to withhold my own judgments and to be inquisitive and see things objectively.
  • Professor Strutton, who teaches marketing, taught me that in marketing it is all about value. Any message that a marketer, journalist, advertiser or PR practitioner creates must contain value in order to be received by the intended audience. As message senders it is up to us to figure out what our desired audience places the most value in. If we can find it and somehow relate our product to it, the audience will be much more receptive to our product or message. When I learned this, I had no idea how much it would be a part of the rest of my PR degree.
  • Professor Bill Ford taught me many things that I will take into my future. In addition to all of the computer programs that he taught me to manipulate, he also taught me the importance of proximity and white space. Although I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed design, Ford taught me the importance of a critical eye and proximal objects. I don’t believe before him I appreciated just how much a teensy-weensy-little-micro-milimeter move can improve a design.
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  • Professor Kathy Hinnen is a wonderful woman! At first I think I thought “geez this woman is trying to kill us,” but now I understand that she was simply conveying the importance of proper grammar. Anytime I’m talking about her class I say that although I knew the how to make the grammar correct, in Hinnen’s class, I learned why it is correct. I don’t think I would be half of the proof-reader I am today had it not been for professor Hinnen’s awesomeness.
  • My final PR class is the one for which I have started writing my blog again. I was so scared at the beginning of the semester because I had heard how tough Professor Bufkins was, but I can say now that those who complained must have just not gotten it. Everything I have learned from Buf has been awesome, but one of the most important things she taught me is that every single message sent should been crafted and sent strategically.
  • A message, especially one on behalf of a brand or company, has so much impact that it must be made very carefully. Most anything written in this digital age can spread like wildfire if it contains the right components. A mistaken Tweet or Facebook post, for instance, could make the broadcast news if sent by the right person at the right time. That is only a negative reason messages should be crafted carefully, the positive list of reasons why is a whole other blog post. 

I just want to thank these professors for all of their dedication, enthusiasm and knowledge. Everything they have taught me and every interaction we have shared has helped me on this path to graduation and will impact my life for years to come.

 

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Positive Interaction

With so much focus on social media, many companies want to integrate social media into the marketing mix. Unfortunately, some of the companies participating in social media don’t truly understand the benefit of the two-way conversation that it can provide if used correctly.

Below is an example from the Patagonia Facebook page that highlights how the benefits of social media can help a company spread the word of its greatness. The conversation started with Patagonia posting pictures from and event they held in store during the Austin, Texas SXSW show. The event supported a locally owned restaurant and hosted local musicians; very sustainable.

pattweet

One of the most obvious ways to spark a conversation on social media is to ask a question of your viewers. It should be relevant enough to prompt an answer from them. However, be mindful of asking questions that might spark debate amongst your target audience. A healthy debate is usually beneficial, but your company’s Facebook page may not be the best place for it.

Brands that speak about their sustainable actions openly may ask questions such as

  • We do “X” to save 100 million gallons of water in clothing production annually, How do you do your part to conserve water?
  • What is your favorite way to re-use an item that otherwise would have been sent to the landfill?
  • What actions do you take that make you the most proud? We are really proud to say that …”

People enjoy the chance to brag about their lives on social media, it sometimes seems to be the main reason for usage. Supplying a chance to brag is an excellent way to encourage social media conversation.

Another way to encourage conversation is to share empowering, positive or educational things that you find helpful. More than likely your audience will appreciate what you have shared. A post such as this could look like:

                This short video clip always reminds me that there are smart and inspired people everywhere.  YouTube.xlyh4jg.com  What is your take away from it?

The most important thing to remember when posting content to social media is that people will appreciate messages which contain value, and will be annoyed by meaningless fluff. If a person on Facebook likes your brand, then your content will often show up in their feed. A company should keep that in mind and remember if they post invaluable, meaningless stuff; it is a surefire way to be “UNFRIENDED”…Gasp.


Strategic Storytelling

A strong component of sustainability messaging is the ability to tell a story. Story telling allows the company to connect with the consumer’s emotions, experience or logic. It can turn almost abstract sounding facts to tangible, relatable experiences.

There are multiple kinds of stories to tell and countless ways to tell them, and a company should strategically decide which kind and method is best for each story and each target audience. Some stories may be best told with a video clip for YouTube or a commercial, while others may be number heavy and best convey through info-graphics and shared on a company blog and social media platforms.

As mentioned above, each story and target audience will need to be considered when a company decides to tell its story. The Coca-Cola Company executes sustainable story telling by putting the right information in the right places. For Example, the Stories page on Coke’s website includes a Coca-Cola by the Numbers info-graphic that displays quick but impactful numbers of Coke’s success thus far.

cokefacts

It is an effective way to quickly convey pretty impressive information.

Coca-Cola also has a recycling campaign, you may have seen if you have been to the State Fair of Texas or a recent NASCAR race. The large footprint consists of a live DJ who talks about Coke’s recycling efforts and tells consumers how to participate; a large recycling truck, where consumers can trade their recyclables for coke merchandise and with brand ambassadors on hand, equipped with information about Coke’s recycling efforts.

In the above video, produced by the Coca-Cola Company, the campaign is shown and its successes thus far are highlighted. The video conveys the information in a clear and concise way that is devoid of jargon or facts that contain too much information. The content is interesting and attention-grabbing with clearly organized information and pictures to accompany it.

Coke’s sustainable story telling goes beyond traditional channels one may think of when considering storytelling. Consumers will notice a change from November to February in the iconic Coke can as Coke highlight its work with the Arctic Home project by coloring the cans white. The color was chosen to showcase the plight of the polar bear, a character Coke has used often in messaging.

As Coca-Cola exemplifies, storytelling can be a powerful way to convey a story and call consumers to action. A relevant story told the right way can connect to a consumer on a personal level. The marketer should consider how the target market gets its information and how to best tell a story using their desired channel. Creativity should be implored and new methods and channels considered. Remember, your story should sound genuine- as if told by a person. Try to avoid jargon and speak to the consumer’s higher self.

 

— This is 30 minutes too late to count as a weekly blog post, but better late than never I suppose.


Sustainable messaging should tell a story of your brand and the benefits the consumer stands to gain by choosing it over another.

In searching through the many companies that successfully highlight its sustainability initiatives, I found Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. As a long time fan, I was pleased to find that the value I gained as a consumer went beyond the bold and often delicious flavor combinations.

 Shel Horowitz, green/ethical marketing expert and author of Guerilla Marketing Goes Green, said B&J’s is one of the two companies that occupy up to 85% of the premium ice cream market, and is so largely because of their ability to consistently integrate their message, market and marketing.

Not only does B&J operate as cleanly as possible, it explains how and what that cleanliness equates to in clear and concise messaging. However, as I have said before, sustainability is comprised of economic, social and environmental approaches— B&J’s  considers all three components when incorporating sustainable actions into its business practices and conveying those actions through messaging.

MisSiON

B&J’s mission statement has three-parts: a social aspect, to recognize that business plays a role in society and should build it up; a product aspect, an all natural ice cream made by Earth and environment respecting business practices and a economic aspect, to sustainably grow, increase value for stakeholders and expand opportunities for its employees.

EcOnOmiC Efforts

The B&J website consists of three economic platforms:

  • The Occupy Movement states B&J’s support of the Occupy Wall St. movement and articulates what it believes to be the important issues raised by the movement.
  • The Get the Dough Out campaign states B&J’s stance on corporate corruption in politics and includes a call to action that allows consumers to get involved.
  • Tthe B&J Foundation, which has operated since 1985, grants $1.8 million annually to causes decided on by non-management employees.

SoCiAL Efforts

Along with B&J’s commitment to fair trade, its work with Greyson Bakery (a company leading in social consciousness) and its work with local farms and businesses, B&J’s has three main social programs:

  • Partnershops are stores that are independently owned by nonprofit organizations for which B&J’s waives the franchise fees to allow for community growth.
  • B&J’s is committed to providing employees a Livable Wage and recalculate that wage annually. In 2012 the wage was %15.97, and has been up to two times the current minimum wage.
  • The Community Action program creates a culture of caring within the company by providing an opportunity for employees to participate in large-scale community service projects.

The completeness of Ben and Jerry’s sustainability efforts is complimented by its ability to talk openly and with pride about them. The company’s website delivers messages in an engaging and concise manner, the packaging and design boldly states its ideals, and the social media plan is well executed (a topic I will undoubtedly cover later this month, so heads up).


Ben & Jerry’s is so FAIR!

Sustainable messaging should tell a story of your brand and the benefits the consumer stands to gain by choosing it over another.

In searching through the many companies that successfully highlight its sustainability initiatives, I found Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. As a long time fan, I was pleased to find that the value I gained as a consumer went beyond the bold and often delicious flavor combinations.

 Shel Horowitz, green/ethical marketing expert and author of Guerilla Marketing Goes Green, said B&J’s is one of the two companies that occupy up to 85% of the premium ice cream market, and is so largely because of their ability to consistently integrate their message, market and marketing.

Not only does B&J operate as cleanly as possible, it explains how and what that cleanliness equates to in clear and concise messaging. However, as I have said before, sustainability is comprised of economic, social and environmental approaches— B&J’s  considers all three components when incorporating sustainable actions into its business practices and conveying those actions through messaging.

MisSiON

B&J’s mission statement has three-parts: a social aspect, to recognize that business plays a role in society and should build it up; a product aspect, an all natural ice cream made by Earth and environment respecting business practices and a economic aspect, to sustainably grow, increase value for stakeholders and expand opportunities for its employees.

EcOnOmiC Efforts

The B&J website consists of three economic platforms:

  • The Occupy Movement states B&J’s support of the Occupy Wall St. movement and articulates what it believes to be the important issues raised by the movement.
  • The Get the Dough Out campaign states B&J’s stance on corporate corruption in politics and includes a call to action that allows consumers to get involved.
  • Tthe B&J Foundation, which has operated since 1985, grants $1.8 million annually to causes decided on by non-management employees.

SoCiAL Efforts

Along with B&J’s commitment to fair trade, its work with Greyston Bakery (a company leading in social consciousness) and its work with local farms and businesses, B&J’s has three main social programs:

  • Partnershops are stores that are independently owned by nonprofit organizations for which B&J’s waives the franchise fees to allow for community growth.
  • B&J’s is committed to providing employees a Livable Wage and recalculate that wage annually. In 2012 the wage was %15.97, and has been up to two times the current minimum wage.
  • The Community Action program creates a culture of caring within the company by providing an opportunity for employees to participate in large-scale community service projects.

The completeness of Ben and Jerry’s sustainability efforts is complimented by its ability to talk openly and with pride about them. The company’s website delivers messages in an engaging and concise manner, the packaging and design boldly states its ideals, and the social media plan is well executed (a topic I will undoubtedly cover later this month, so heads up).