Strategic Communication

Beyonce, Puts the “B” in Brand—

“I can never be safe; I always try and go against the grain. As soon as I accomplish one thing, I just set a higher goal. That’s how I’ve gotten to where I am.” – Beyonce

Hey Guys!

We are really moving along, time is actually flying, and I can’t believe we are in our 7th week of classes. With every week we learn new interesting facts about emerging media and how it affects our daily lives.

Have you ever noticed the dozen of brands that are constantly being thrown in our direction? As of lately I have! I’m starting to notice much emphasis goes into branding by companies,organizations and public figures world-wide. Between competing technical companies and public-figures vying for the attention of consumers and audiences, Branding has become a fascinating way of interjecting the thoughts of their services, products and music onto their consumers.

For this post I wanted to focus on a specific artist who has been successful in creating a global recognized brand.

This artist is known as— Beyoncé.

Everyone is familiar with Beyoncé Giselle Knowles, and if you aren’t, my response would more so be “Have you lived under a rock for the last twelve years?”

Background

Destiny’s Child were formed in Houston, Texas, in 1990, when original members Beyoncé Knowles and LaTavia Roberson were just nine years old; in 1992 Kelly Rowland joined and was later followed by LeToya Lucket in 1993. in 1997 the group hit the scene with one of their break out songs “No,No,No” produced by the legendary Wyclef Jean. After numerous hits and years of working together, LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett were ultimately nixed from the group and later replaced by Michelle Williams.

With the change of group members, Destiny’s Child were under fire and was sued by the former members LaTavia Roberson and Letoya Luckett for undisclosed reasons; in the event of these legal issues, branding seems to be the top focus in the structure of Destiny’s Child. As apart of the legal agreement, both side were prohibited from negatively criticizing each other publicly. Months leading up and  following the legal battle, Destiny’s Child (with three members) went on to become the top-selling female group and capitalizing off of the successes that have followed them in their career.

Beyoncé built her brand— The steps she took

After captivating the world with her breakout stardom within Destiny Child, Beyoncé went to start her solo career and began to master the art of celebrity endorsements by establishing lucrative deals with Pepsi and L’Oreal and also launching various fragrances. According to Forbes magazine, Beyoncé has legitimately ranked in over 115 million as of June 2014, and among her monetary success, she is also ranked by Forbes as the 32nd most powerful women in the world!

Now, we all know hard work pays off, but what makes Beyoncé a legend within the music industry is undeniable talent and her Brand. In an article entitled “How you can use Beyonce’s Business Secrets to Grow your own Business Empire,”  author Allison Maslan, references Beyoncé’s successes by listing the actions she has taken to build a Brand that is known globally. These steps have catapulted her career to the next level, listed below are the key branding lessons:

  • Build an entourage of people who can help you execute your vision
    • When hiring people to help you execute your vision, find people who share the same drive as you. Beyoncé has always pride herself on being able to connect with her team and will often highlight their talents. She has been praised for her undesirable connection with her team and their loyalty to her and her vision.
  • Be Authentic and OWN the Company You Own.
    • Involve yourself in every aspect of your brand, do not allow outside influences alter the scope of your plan.
  • Connect with your customers and followers on a deep interpersonal basis.
    • Beyoncé’s engagement efforts and skills allows her fans to feel as if she is genuinely their friend. As a result she has created her own hype by garnering more loyal fans.
  • Be prepared to make painful decisions
  • Operate outside of the usual
    • Be different and create your own. On December 13, 2013 Beyoncé unexpectedly released her self-titled album exclusively on iTunes, without any marketing campaigns or prior warning. This was less the amazing. In the first three days it went on to sell over 600,000 copies. As a result of this success, Harvard Business will release a study in the next week, looking into the business and tough calls behind the visual album.

Beyonce Visual Album: No Promotion– Ingenius:

Out of each lesson, the one that is most empowering is “Connect with your customers and followers on a deep interpersonal basis.” This is the most important lesson any organization or company could follow, interact with your consumers, make them feel like they are apart of your “world.”

As a young professional, the steps listed above shows why Beyoncé will forever be a global brand. Her marketing and branding have become ingenious and timeless; she has broken down barriers and created a new trend that people will attempt to recreate.

Whether it was through her music or her interviews, I have always been an avid fan of Beyoncé, it wasn’t until recently did I see the impact she has made among the marketing and branding industries. In many ways she has empowered me, and demonstrated to other young women that all it takes is hard work to create something so timeless and brilliant.

What do you think? Leave your comments below!

If you would to read further, click the link below to read more about Beyonce and her brand:

http://www.brandbuildsell.com/the-beyonce-effect-7-marketing-and-branding-tips/

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Strategic Communication

Comcast, Do Better— use effective crowdsourcing

“At its best, crowdsourcing is not about getting someone to do work for you, it is about offering your users the opportunity to participate in public memory.” —Trevor Owens

Hey Guys!

First, I would like to say thank you for reading my weekly post for emerging media! This is my sixth week writing for you all and it has been a pleasure expressing my thoughts and opinions in a way I never thought I would.

This week I will be discussing a topic that I never knew could be a great technique if used properly by journalist, companies and organizations; this technique is popularly called Crowdsourcing. In an article provided for our six week discussion, Aitamurto-Leiponen-Tee defines crowdsourcing in two elements: an open call and a crowd. Leiponen-Tee goes on to describe these two elements: 

The open call refers to the fact that, in crowdsourcing, there is no selection mechanism that identifies upfront who the “supplier” of the required content will be (which can be e.g. an idea, solution, prototype, or intellectual property). Participation is non-discriminatory and in principle anyone can answer the call. Given the usage of an open call, “the crowd” will usually be characterized by several features: a large number of participants; heterogeneity of participants (e.g. in terms of knowledge, geographical background etc.), and voluntary participation. The alternative to crowdsourcing, in this sense, is outsourcing a task to a specific agent (cf. Afuah and Tucci, 2011).

For some reason every week I always find myself in situations that always involve the topic that is to be discussed. Sometimes I wonder if this is a sign that I’m exactly where I need to be in my professional life, and other times I wonder if God really has a sense of humor. As I prepared to embark on my sixth week in my masters program, I have been completely inconvenienced by my internet service provider, Comcast. The burning question that I ask myself and numerous customer service representatives was “How hard is it for your company to have some accountability in the issues I’m experiencing on a daily basis?”  This question deemed to be a tough question for every representative I spoke to regarding my failing internet connection. 

Accountability, a strong word and characteristic that seems to be forgotten by big corporations. Amongst accountability most companies forget their main goals; in Comcast’s case it would be to exceed our customers’ expectations.

While watching a TED talk video, I was amazed that it only took me fifty-three seconds out of sixteen minutes to find what I have been looking for. Speaking as a journalist, Paul Lewis starts off his presentation by summing up exactly what crowdsourcing means to me by stating, “for journalists like me, accepting that you can’t know everything, and allowing other people through technology to be your eyes and your ears; and for people like you, for other members of the public, It can mean not just being the passive consumer of news, but also co-producing news, I believe this can be a really empowering process. It can enable ordinary people to hold powerful organizations to account.”

I’m sure you’re probably wondering how does this fit in with my story about Comcast?

In a little exercise before writing this post, I took Paul Lewis’ words and provided a “remix” that better sums up my thoughts about Comcast and crowdsourcing. Here it goes:

For consumers like me, accepting that you are a part of the foundation (paying customer) for this company, you are allowed to use technology to be their EYES and EARS. It can mean not just being a passive customer, but also oblige in producing better results from this company. This is an empowering process. I can (and will) be that ordinary person that holds this powerful organization accountable for providing lackluster service.

Whew!

With this in mind, I started to think of ways Comcast could enlist ordinary people to help solve issues regarding their products and new innovations. Aitamurto-Leiponen-Tee  seemingly agrees stating “when applied in the right circumstances, crowdsourcing can deliver considerable benefits to firms in terms of inputs into innovation.” Obviously, in my case crowdsourcing would be used to deliver feedback to Comcast about my issues regarding their services. Insanely enough I realized my bickering back and forth with customer representatives hasn’t helped with ending my problems (like it should), but I noticed that I’m not the only who has issues with Comcast service or lack thereof. So as a part of this week’s discussion, I searched the internet looking for articles featuring the terms “Crowdsourcing and Comcast.” Interestingly, I found articles that have detailed instances where consumers were the ones actually crowdsourcing for Comcast.

In this search I ran across an entry from a Comcast customer on, Slashdot: News for Nerds, recounting issues while trying to access a website through his Comcast wireless internet. The website was set up by a friend of the blogger to donate to a cause and without hesitation; the customer proceeded to the website to make his donation. After numerous failed attempts, the customer gave up trying to access the website but didn’t stop trying to find the issue. Here is a short recount of Bennett Haselton’s experience:

A website that was temporarily inaccessible on my Comcast Internet connection (but accessible to my friends on other providers) led me to investigate further. Using a perl script, I found a sampling of websites that were inaccessible on Comcast (host names not resolving on DNS) but were working on other networks. Then I used Amazon Mechanical Turk to pay volunteers 25 cents apiece to check if they could access the website.

If you are unfamiliar with Amazon Mechanical Turk, (as Haselton explains) it “lets you create low-payment tasks and outsource them to a crowd of workers. Like any simple and powerful tool, it can be used for purposes that the original creators probably never imagined.” In this case, Amazon Mechanical Turk offered a way for Haselton to employ 20 people to fill out his survey regarding the inaccessible websites.

After 24 hours, the survey confirmed that others were experiencing the same issues while trying to access numerous websites. This piqued Haselton’s interest in this issue and finally he realized that because of Comcast size it could more than likely be harder for the issues involving millions of sites to be fixed, and will probably be a continuing issue. 

Of course, just like any other customer who experiences issues with their internet service, Haselton reported his issues and findings to Comcast tech support. He also insisted that these issues needed to be fixed and bought to the attention of the higher-ups. After further discussion, the rep adamantly stated “it was impossible for the member of the public to reach anybody higher up than the call center.”  Although Comcast’s tech representative’s response was a bit defeating, especially after Mr. Haselton’s hard work and efforts, this short write-up helped with my understanding of crowdsourcing and the role it has with generating feedback for a company. 

Just like a child learning and discovering new words and meanings, I was enlightened and amazed by the power of crowdsourcing. In the matter of 24 hours, Bennett Haselton, a regular everyday paying customer (just like me) was able to reach out to other consumers, find the issues and report it to Comcast (I think i’ll go outside and look at the phone line for myself!).  Talk about taking matters into your own hands.

Overall, after reading Mr. Haselton’s experience, I literally said “Thanks Bennett Haselton for your contribution in showing Comcast that we, the public, do pay attention.” Not only do we pay attention, but we understand that there techniques that we can utilize to make you, Comcast or any other company, a more efficient and effective company.

The only question that remains is “Comcast how often does your company utilize online crowdsourcing?”  And if this is a common technique used by your company (maybe online surveys) do you take the results and find ways to improve your customer satisfaction or service? If not, I implore you to do so. 

Listen up! Big corporations and even small businesses! The best advice I could give you is to take advantage of crowdsourcing, it is a great way to evaluate your consumers/audience needs, concerns and issues.

They know best. 

Share your thoughts on crowdsourcing 🙂

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Strategic Communication

Social Media Craze

I remember it like it was yesterday, it was 2006 and I was completing my last working day at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. It wasn’t like any other day, it was special; I had just received my college email and that could only mean one thing. Facebook account! Once I entered my name, email and set up my profile it was as if I had entered a new world. This new world was surrounded by people who I once walked my high school halls with, even elementary school friends who I lost contact with on my journey through high school. It was amazing how by one click of a button I could speak to an old friend. It was social interaction through Social networking sites.

According to Boyd & Ellison, social network sites (SNSs) are defined as web-based services that allow individuals to construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system. It also allows users to articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. By definition I think we all can agree that Boyd and Ellison were right with their description of social media, it completely sums up my activities on a daily basis. Update Profile. Find new friends and connect with them. Find mutual friends of my friends and connect with them. I honestly can’t count how many hours I spend on social media re-watching the same videos, seeing the same photos and reading the same statuses.

For our discussion this week we discussed if it is important for educators and curriculum leaders to implement social media into their journalism and communication classes. Unsurprisingly we all had the same answer, yes, especially with the growing numbers of businesses and companies accepting social media and the benefits of having a strong presence. The lack of social media education would be a disservice to any student trying to succeed within their field. According to Business Insider, Americans spend more time on social media than any other major Internet activity, including email! With users constantly using Facebook and Twitter it is a no-brainer for companies to take advantage of this growing trend. I’m almost positive I have become a victim to one of my favorite stores advertising a cute outfit or electronic on Facebook and Twitter. Although social networking sites help with connecting with friends, distance family and former peers it most importantly generates awareness for companies using SNSs.

A business using social media to me is simply brilliant, we have moved into an era where a television advertisement just doesn’t cut it anymore. As a culture we understand that this is the new way of communicating and social media will more than likely progress beyond what we experience at this moment.

Let’s take a quick look into Twitter.

In an article written by Weiss and Arceneuax, during the onset of the Twitter craze there was constant criticism and skepticism, unscathed Twitter still attracted the attention of media outlets and businesses. As a result of its rise in popularity, Twitter inherently became a source for marketing, publicity, and customer service tasks for many companies and twittergovernment agencies worldwide. Interestingly enough Twitter understands its impact and provides different links to assist businesses, media and developers with creating engaging twitter interactions for users (see photo on right). They pride themselves on becoming a tool to help business target their audience efficiently and effectively.

Strategic Communicators and Polarization:

Besides these companies and business I believe that strategic communicators should also have a strong interest in utilizing social networking sites. In light of the culture of polarization, I think it is important that strategic communicators keep a close eye on their organizations audience through social media. Although most companies experience great support from their audience, there are many people who share different point of views. Yardi and Boyd perfectly described the issues surrounding polarization: “Cass Sunstein has claimed that contemporary media and the Internet have abetted a culture of Polarization, in which people primarily seek out points of view to which they already subscribe(Sunstein, 2001). Indeed, people’s opinions have been shown to become more extreme simply because their view has been corroborated, and because they grow more confident after learning of the shared views of others (Sunstein, 2008).”

On the up side of using social media is the amount of attention a company can receive if these platforms are used correctly. I’ve experienced so many different companies working hard trying to promote their products, but I do have to say Lay’s Potato chips have been the one of the front runners in strategically and creatively using social media to sell their products while involving their target audience. Even though I’m not a fan of any of their new flavors, the effectiveness of their social media campaign has garnered them over 7 million Facebook fans and 268k in twitter followers. Quite impressive if I say so myself. It is companies like Frit-o-Lay that will always see the successes behind a brilliant social media campaign and using their SNSs sites effectively.

With the amount of time spent navigating through Facebook, twitter and Instagram you can’t help but think about the time and money you have spent while prowling on SNSs.  I can admit that  this emerging media has been a great advantage for business owners and government organization who chose to take advantage of it. I can only imagine how many people like me spend more time on the internet looking for news, shopping and entertainment. This is just all the reason for weary companies to hop on the bandwagon.

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Uncategorized

Mobile Device you Hypnotize Me…

In the famous words of the late Notorious B.I.G, I can’t help but wonder if the invention of the Mobile phone has hypnotized me. It’s as if I can’t move, live or breathe without it. Sad? Yes, I know. Although sad, the mobile phone has taken over and became the norm, beating out the traditional and reliable land line/home phone and more than likely on the tail of the beloved big screen computer. 

This week we will focus on the mobile phone and the influences its existence has had on our lives. Though we have advanced with the technological changes in this generation, I honestly believe that one day humans will ultimately need to play catch up. During our reading this week it became strikingly obvious that more businesses are now trying to keep up with the fast growing mobile craze. In one particular article, “AND THE SURVEY SAYS… “Mobile First” Is A Dumb Strategy”, Henry Blodgett explains how more companies are now redesigning their organizations and business to focus more on a Mobile First strategy. If you are unaware of this steadily growing trend, pay attention! Let’s take a look at Blodgett’s explanation of the Mobile First, Mobile Only and Mobile too strategies:

  • Mobile Only: Designing or redesigning your company to fit the needs of smartphones,
  • Mobile First: Design everything for smartphones first and big screens as an afterthought.
  • Mobile Too: Focusing on designing everything for smartphones and big screens.

With the growing pace of the mobile phone its easy to understand why businesses would be eager to use the mobile first strategy, in their minds people are now using their mobiles phone more than ever before. Although, this may be true, statistics given by Business Insider shows that over 80% of their audience use laptops/computer regularly, followed by smartphones which raked in just under 80%. Too close for comfort? I think not. 

With so many emerging media showing up, I think it’s disheartening that so many businesses are forgetting the roots of the o-so-glorious Smartphone, the computer. Furthermore, I believe that by businesses implementing a mobile first strategy they will create a new age digital divide among their audience. Does this sound crazy? Maybe… maybe not. 

As I work diligently through this course, I’m constantly enlightened by my fellow classmates’ experiences and lifestyles. As this week approached, I found that not all my classmates indulge in Smartphones and its wonderful capabilities. Interesting enough, it was mind blowing to me to because there are so many businesses that are completely engulfing themselves into designing their websites around mobile device. So I started to think, “what about the very few people who remain loyal to computers/laptops,” also “how frustrating can it be to navigate a site that is really meant for a Smartphone?” While these questions make sense to me, those who see the beauty in media evolution may think otherwise.

Although most business are more concerned with those who use big screens on a routinely basis, there are some websites who benefit greatly from implementing mobile applications. One of my favorite apps that uses the mobile first strategy is Instagram (IG). With the sharing of memorable moments, Instagram has become one of the top grossing mobile applications (besides Facebook) in the emerging media world.  This brings me to my next point, with the emerging media coming to the forefront; does this take the social out of… social media? 

“Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language,” A famous quote by Walt Disney simplifies what creators of Instagram were thinking from the first inception of IG.  This new way of sharing is becoming the new norm and completely taking over. Is social media and SMS becoming the new language of the people? The new way of communicating is through social media sites and SMS leaving the traditional land line phones drifting in the wind. It has become a chore to actually have phone conversations!

Are these different outlets showcasing a new era of communicating? I think so. Last night I had the opportunity to celebrate my co-workers birthday at a new hot spot here in Atlanta, Shout. Usually in a public setting such as a birthday party you communicate and engage with the people around you, which is the very reason why we throw these big extravaganzas. As I looked around, I became bothered by the amount of time everyone stood around and focused on their mobile devices. Group pictures turned into “selfies” and normal conversations became Facebook status updates. I thought about my role in this type of disturbance, did I also become a part of the problem? 

I know you are probably wondering why I would go as far to observe this type of behavior as disturbing, I mean it’s not as if the ring of a mobile phone could disturb twenty people in a club with blaring hip-hop music. What I found to be disturbing is the interruption of healthy dialogue among friends and colleagues. 

Boat House Row In Philadelphia. I caught this picture on my Samsung S5.

Along with the lack of social etiquette, mobile devices are also becoming a disturbance within public settings. In an article given to us by Dr. P, studies shows that almost two thirds of the respondents in a EURESCOM p903 project agreed with the statement that “The mobile telephone disturbs other people.” This is a common complaint that I always here from those who are not heavily involved with their mobile devices. I get it; some boundaries are being crossed with the mobile devices, conversations are no longer private and being recorded by complete strangers is becoming the norm.

Although I love my mobile device I honestly love working and looking at most websites on my laptop— sometimes I believe that I have became a slave to my Samsung S5. As emerging media starts to evolve, it becomes more convenient to lean on your mobile device for news updates and catching up with friends; but I honestly hope that all business will keep in mind how much the consumers love their “big screens.”

Please feel free to share your comments below 🙂 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Strategic Communication, Uncategorized

Greetings and Welcome!!

Welcome to Immersing Thoughts into Emerging Media! As a communication professional, I have had many opportunities to share my thoughts on the emerging media that has taken the world by storm.

After a five year hiatus from the educational world, I decided that my love for new media and public relations would be my driving point to start working towards my master’s degree. While this has been one of the hardest steps to take in my life, it has been an enjoyable experience.

As a Strategic Communication graduate student, I’m always answering questions regarding how important communications is within our everyday lives. At first I would always try to explain how important open communication can be in any relationship, but as time goes on, my knowledge of communication aspects have grown and matured. My answers no longer scratches the surface of communication; I now have more knowledge of this broad and endless topic. With the new emerging media not only are we faced with daily changes in the emerging media world, our lives are completely affected by social media in ways traditional media first affected us years ago.

While the world is engaging in social media and doing away with traditional media, some of us still remain laggards in our everyday lives. The interest that peaks on a continuous basis is why are we so consumed with the emerging new media? To the point that It becomes so consuming, that the fascination with recording everyday occurrences and once in a lifetime moments become viral moments not only for you but your followers and friends. The most astounding fact still remains that with this new technology we forget some of the most important basic necessities that were once important in our daily lives.  

In so many of my conversations I’ve been asked the question “Why is emerging media such a hot topic?” With this blog, I will break down and explain the fascination and hurdles we constantly face with new and emerging media.

On a weekly basis, I will continuously update ITEM (Immersing Thoughts into Emerging Media) with thoughts and opinions about the direction of emerging media and ways to approach how to communicate effectively using these different platforms. Although we live in a generation of instant gratification, there are some who do not understand the impact that communication and technology has on our everyday lives. Hopefully, my opinions and postings will help with understanding and grasping the great ideas behind emerging media.

Please be sure to share your opinions on the topics you find interesting! Also, if you are interested in reading future blogs or adding ITEM to your favorites, here is my blog address:

torialeasebrown.wordpress.com

Here is our topic for the week: Are traditional media dying?

Of course most of us understand that traditional media comes in the form of television, magazines, newspapers and radio. These outlets have served for many years as the gateway for information for the public, giving them updated information regarding any topic of their interest. However, since the emergence of new media, traditional media has almost become “A thing of the past”.

Think about it, when we look for news we go online to our local new stations and find updates on their perspective websites, giving us all details up until the very moment of breaking news. Mobile phones have completely taken over as the new computer, newspaper, radio and television. Using mobile devices gives the public constant access to the internet world and most importantly mobile applications to assist in finding information almost instantaneously. 

This decrease in interest of radio and newspapers are steady climbing, while the increase in interest in online browsing is becoming the new “it” factor. In a study conducted by Pew’s biennial study of news consumption habits, more Americans are now getting more news online than newspapers and radio. So could it be true that traditional media is dying?

Yes, traditional media is dying rather slowly…. Perhaps to slowly for some, especially for my fellow “asset-lighters.”

After graduating with my undergraduate degree from Slippery Rock University with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, I took on so many jobs within the communication field. The most intriguing and influential experience was my job with Radio One, Incorporated. While working there I saw how much the radio industry thrives off of advertisements and sponsorship’s. With the increase of interest in mobile phones, digital news is surpassing newspapers and radio, leaving more investors uninterested in buying radio and newspaper advertisements. 

An article given to us for our first week, Newsosaur discusses how the new digital natives are now more concerned with reading news on their devices rather than investing their time into reading a newspaper. In a recent study surrounding the Washington Post, researchers found that the problem wasn’t the actual newspaper itself rather that people are starting to view print newspapers as clutter and prefer their digital devices.

As a 26 year-old communication professional, I realize the digital advancement is becoming a sore spot for traditional media, but in some ways, I believe a lot of the print-newspapers can revitalize and save their business by moving more towards digital device. While some may be weary with the thought of trying something new, I think it is important for them to see the benefits of going digital. I foresee that most print media will go digital, but there are some Americans who still sees no need in reading from their digital devices. Instead of completely removing traditional media out of their lives, they still remain to subscribe to magazines and newspapers. Nothing wrong with that! Right?

As these nine weeks fly by, I will be sure to mainly touch base on my thoughts as a communication professional, hopefully opening more dialogue discussing the amazing emergence of new media and the decline of interest in traditional media. Furthermore, what are some ways to help traditional businesses who are weary when trying new media outlets, such as Facebook, online newspapers, blogs and twitter?

Please feel free to leave comments below sharing your thoughts 🙂

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