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?”


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:

Strategic Communication

Citizen Journalism– Our Opinion matters.

“For the nation’s rise and fall every citizen has a responsibility.” –Unknown

Hello my fellow citizens!

Take a moment out of your day to sit back and think about how you impact the world that we live in. Have you ever wondered if you can change the outcome of an event or even insert a valuable opinion about the happenings in America? I have— constantly. It wasn’t until recently when I realized that ordinary people often redefine media and journalism;this new meaning of journalism has made an impact in the way communities view everyday events happening in their own backyards. While decades ago an everyday “Joe Schmo” would walk by a routine arrest or interaction between people, nowadays it is unusual for someone to not have their cell phone in their hands recording or taking pictures. This display of new age “nosiness” has made for an interesting discussion this week.  For the past week we have tackled a major phenomenon that has taken over the online universe and simply gives journalists a run for their money, civil journalism.

In light of the recent events that have occurred around the world, it is no wonder that more people are willing to record videos, take pictures and voice their opinions regarding everyday occurrences. As a result of major events, the interest in mobile phones and blogs has many people looking for outlets to show their journalism skills. As Citizen journalism seems to be the up and coming way of having normal everyday people speak on issues by means of blogs and introducing video recordings of breaking news, we come to find that this kind of reporting peaks our interest more.  Instead of completely going into the terms surrounding citizen journalism, I would like to briefly write about examples of citizen journalism at its greatest display.

ferguson men cell phones

Citizen Journalism in Ferguson, MO.

Citizen Journalism by definition is the act of using the online universe to post and report, in particular blogs and wikis, to publish and promote independent news-related content.  On many occasions while networking with friends on Facebook and Instagram, I often come across stories with videos showing breaking news of stories across the world. One in particular video caught my eyes as I scrolled through an acquaintance personal page. The video was a clear indication of a shooting in process; unbeknownst to me this would be the second shooting of an unarmed African American man, Kajieme Powell. I mean we did just dive head first into the shooting of Michael Brown weeks ago in Ferguson, Missouri.

While the attention remained steadily focused on the horrific crime scene photos (thanks to Citizen Journalism) of Michael Brown, I became more fixated on the shooting caught on camera by a bystander. I just couldn’t wrap my head around seeing the video and feeling as if I was actually there!

Wow, the power of citizen journalism….

As moments passed I thought about the importance of social media and mobile devices, it had the power to show the world through other my fellow counterparts eyes. That’s when I realized that Citizen Journalism is the epitome of what I witness while avidly scrolling through the timeline of a childhood acquaintances; a great example of citizens taking news reporting into their own hands. I mean think about it, in the era we live in now, more and more people are becoming more infatuated with catching every moment on camera and speaking up about injustices that happen all over the world.

As days and weeks passed, the shooting of both African American men by police officers became worldwide news; it started a media fire and made all communities spring into action. The sharing of videos made a community issue into a worldwide problem, and this is ultimately because citizen journalism became the forefront of these tragedies. Instead of being able to turn a blind eye to the incidents that occurred, there was now footage and pictures that showed the injustice that were shown in these videos. Between video footage and pictures of the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting and the actual shooting of Kajieme Powell, Americans saw the power that citizen journalism held.

I can only imagine how citizen journalism will change the outcome of these similar cases; blogs became the information gateway to the happenings before and after the incidents. Writing stories about celebrity gossip became went to the back burner. As bloggers rushed to find ways to bring more attention to the injustice happening before our eyes, almost simultaneously everyday people became the camera men for these devastating new stories.

In a sense these blogs became a comforting occurrence during the uprising in a community, the need to speak on the issues in all communities became the talk in blogosphere. This type of relief often comes from those expressing their thought, feelings and beliefs; it gives many people a sense of accomplishment. In a Ted talk assigned for this week’s discussion, Mena Trott describes the euphoric feelings of sharing thoughts and feelings through blogs:

“That this woman is in England, and she lives — she lived a life where she was talking about what she was doing. But the big thing that really influenced us was, her sister wrote to me, and she said, you know, and she wrote on this blog, that — writing her blog during the last couple of months of her life was probably the best thing that had happened to her, and being able to talk to people, being able to share what was going on, and being able to write and receive comments. And that was amazing — to be able to know that we had empowered that, and that blogging was something that she felt comfortable doing, and that the idea that blogging doesn’t have to be scary, that we don’t always have to be attack of the blogs, that we can be people who are open, and wanting to help and talk to people. That was an amazing thing. “

To be empowered is to know that in some way you have brought new meaning to a subject in which we haven’t put much energy into understanding. To me this is the core values when I think of the many people who use their time to speak on an issue that is plaguing their communities and those surrounding it. This is the type of citizen journalism that really matters.

All in all, journalist should just embrace citizen journalism because it’s not going anywhere. Just like emerging media; you either get with it or get left behind.

If you are unfamiliar with Kajieme Powell or Michael Brown, take a moment to read the article and watch the video of Kajieme’s fatal shooting.

Share your thoughts!

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.


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 🙂