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Be Back Soon!

I know I’ve been MIA for a while, but fear not! I’m almost done with all the large projects this quarter has presented me at DePaul and I plan to continue writing stories in the near future. Well back to work on this book review for my Comm Law class. Wish me luck! More PR, Advertising, and Social media news coming soon!

Personally I’m already annoyed and sick of all the 3D movies that are being released. I believe that there are certain movies that can completely benefit from the special effects that 3D movies offer but in all reality not EVERY movie needs to be 3D.  Kids movies are a great place to do 3D just for the novelty and the ease of being able to catch a child’s attention, however I really don’t think James Cameron needs to re-release the, now second, top-grossing film in 3D. Titanic is set to sail the sea again in “glorious” 3D in an effort to remember the 100th Anniversary of the “unsinkable” ships first and last deployment.

I have been actually avoiding a few movies simply out of my annoyance with the film industries need to over use this 3D gimmick in everything lately. However there was one movie that I did cave in and just HAD to go see when it was released a couple weekends ago and of course that would be Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Let me say that was a phenomenal movie but even after seeing it I can honestly say it’d be just as amazing (and I am hoping to confirm this sometime this week) in standard 2D glory.

I wonder how long will this gimmick last? It’s not the first time producers have used 3D as a way to drive ticket sales at box offices, but seriously how long will that work once the hype of the return to 3D wears off, or worse when 3D HDTVs finally make it into homes and people have the full capability of properly watching a 3D movie comfortably from their couch. Here I even continue to question the strength of the capability, will that be a failed attempt at bringing this gimmicky technique into homes, who is really going to want to waste money on a new tv just so they can watch the handful of new movies that were in 3D? I definitely don’t plan on jumping on the train and I am usually one of the geeky guys that always needs to have new technologies. I’m starting to question tech development in general though now but that would be another topic completely, (see my reaction to the iPad).

What it comes down to is will people continue to fall for the fun nature of 3D films or will they eventually wise up and realize that what makes a GREAT film are the same things that always have, fascinating story, with a sound plot, good character development and quality settings. The basics are what make a movie good not cheap marketing gimmicks that are used to drive people to the box office because that is the only place (as of now) you can easily see these films in their full form. I believe everything will always come back to the basics, even marketing in the social media world (read more about my feelings on that here). I guess we’ll just have to see if this FAD fades away as I hope it will. What are your feelings on the 3D marketing gimmick? Shout it out in the comments!

AT&T She-Mail

Ok this is going to be a very short blog and I’ll be writing another that will actually be used for Allan’s PR class during lunch, but honestly who the hell approved of this advertisement spotted in an AT&T store? I mean I understand they are trying to create a cool little combination of the words but really “I she-mail”? Schedule doesn’t even sound like she when said. Perhaps this was done intentionally to get attention but honestly I must ask how do things like this get approved. I am struggling to see how this can be a positive reinforcement of a brand. AT&T shame on you for branding this poor guy as a she-male! Sometimes I really question how people get their jobs in this industry when they make stupid decisions like this one. So now I ask what is your opinion of this ridiculous attempt to create a hermapha-phone? (yes I just made that up, hopefully its not too politically incorrect) Anyways share your thought in the comments.

With the emergence of Social Media as a platform for marketing, advertising, and providing a fantastic means of Public Relations the world is becoming overwhelmed in finding ways to manage the plethora of social media platforms available to monitor.  There are so many outlets available from viral videos, blogs, video blogs, forums/boards, to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, as well as the new Google Buzz, and Facebook fan pages, and even mainstream news sites. There are so many platforms now to monitor, interact with and constantly maintain. Doing everything individually is extremely inefficient seeing as having multiple browser windows open can be very tedious, so what kind of solutions are out there?

As it turns out there are actually quite a few startups that have created platforms that allow for multiple social media outlet monitoring all within one single application, but we are not here to talk about Scout Labs, Viral Heat, HootSuite or any of the other ones… NO, today we are discussing the newest entrant that is aiming to streamline the entire process in an excellent package created on the Adobe AIR client, and that would be Radian6’s Engagement Console.

Radian6 aims to create a simple application that will allow you to access all workflow from within the client, providing access to a customizable tracking unit of various social media sites by breaking conversations out into broad spectrum topics, specific topics, customers lists,  create user assignments, or even separate the stacks out by media type.

Radian6’s workflow manager enable you to delegate posts to fellow team members, track the status of those assignments. Essentially it allows you to take social media info and direct it to the correct member of a team to process and handle. Conversations are recorded, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or with co-workers. You’re able to do most of the typical stuff that can be done within the original social media platforms but now everything is organized into one simple to use client and with methods that allow monitoring and management.

Radian6 also allows for analytical monitoring of everything from within the console for post volume, engagement stats, it creates a simple method for measuring activity across the various media platforms.

Currently Radian6 is not yet available for public use as it is in private beta until April, I have contacted the company in an effort to obtain a private beta invite hopefully I’ll have more information soon as this seems like the most amazing tool yet. I may check out these other platforms but this one seems like the one to keep an eye on as it really focuses on the ability to monitor, manage, and measure social media interactions, which I feel is something that was probably needed a year ago even though the explosion has really begun over this past year a definitive monitoring tool is long overdue and I cannot wait to get my hands on this. Hopefully it’ll enable social media to reach the next level by providing more concrete information about how people and companies are working together through social media.

I can’t wait to try Radian6, will you be willing to give it a test run? Well here’s a video to hold you over.

With the explosion of social media comes another question to ponder.  Are we getting overloaded with just too much? Have we forgotten the basics and how they have influenced marketing over the years? Have we forgotten the importance they still hold even in this evolving world that seems to think Social Media is creating a whole new world when really it is just altering it in a method that simplifies tactics marketers have been using already.

Pete Blackshaw suggests we need to go back to boring, but I think his word choice is slightly poor and maybe this is just because of my youth but I do not believe we have to be boring to be effective. There are many things we do have to remember but I look at those more as standard guidelines more so than being boring and practicing boring.

I do believe that we have to be sure to remember many of these guidelines because what is happening is we’re being provided new platforms for distribution but that does not mean what we are distributing should be handled any differently, we still want to focus on provoking emotion with a consumer, we always want to make sure to develop trust, all these things are more or less common sense at this stage though, things we all have been taught but cannot forget just because of the BOOM of new distribution mediums and platforms.

We are working with a lot of the same just a new system of how its delivered.  We still receive feedback with social media just now we’re likely to receive more timely feedback which enables us to react even faster than in the past. Essentially we’ve developed a more satisfactory method of word-of-mouth advertising with the introduction of social media. We have an opportunity to share our products with people and they have opportunity to help us distribute the word about it.

One issue, and I understand here especially why we need to go back to the basics, is that a lot of material and information is just constantly repeated, and while repetition is essential in making a lasting impression, it won’t be successful if the original message is not eye capturing, that is to say if you cannot capture the consumers attention effectively by triggering some sort of emotional connection you’ve lost the battle.

So do we really need to go back to boring or do we need to just put more attention on remembering the basics that have helped lead the world to where it is today. Effective messages are still going to reign supreme in my vision, its the most important that the message we provide is effective, maintains the basics that have been laid down before us as general guidelines and think about how its distributed and delivered second, Social Media just adds another layer to the puzzle, if the message being exposed to is isn’t effective then it becomes just white noise so again remember the basics and prosper.

With the emergence of social media being birthed into a platform for marketing and its deviation from just being a fun social club into a viable business platform, corporate branding is up for a review session.  The old structure that the corporate world has been surviving on for ages and ages is old and tired and with the birth of social media we now are presented with opportunity to change all our mistakes from the past, we now have opportunity to communicate directly with consumers and build actual two-way relationships as opposed to the one-way that has been dictated by brand managers since the early days.

Before the reality of being able to harness social media networks as business platforms for targeting consumers, developing relationships, and improving image based on feedback, before all that wonderfulness things were handled with a lot more direct control.  Brands determined the image/persona they projected, they relied on themselves for creation and distribution and were designed to be very consistent, usually containing a distinct focus.

Today thanks to social media we now are presented with the idea of crafting brands in a manner that accepts feedback from consumers, and develops communities that can help improve the design, creation, and image of a brand through social efforts.  With this new direction we have the opportunity to make a brand that has greater connection with more diverse groups of people because we have access to a better means of understanding how a brand is viewed.  From the communities that develop for a brand we are able to identify who is interested in the product and adapt the image of a brand to meet the needs of various customer segments, so long as they are desired segments.

I find this new opportunity absolutely amazing, we now have the ability to directly collaborate with the people who buy our products.  Its not that it was impossible to do before social media, its just that it was way to difficult and time consuming.  Before if you wanted to take customer suggestions and what not to contribute them to a brand it’d take a long time because you’d have to wait until you had enough similar suggestions registered, today with social media if someone makes a suggestion on a brands social media page within hours you can have enough comments to make a decision on whether or not to take a brand in this direction or that.

Social media opens up a whole new venue for creating more intelligent brands, brands that have substance and certainty, we’re able to take a lot of guess work. One thing that I think SHOULD be utilized more often by social media networks is the distribution of creative ideas a company might be pondering whether it is a new product idea or something new the company is contemplating, they’d be able to get valuable feedback from reliable, loyal customers that care about the company’s survival and they can make sure they get things right the first time around without putting too much money and time into the old tried trial and error method. Social media opens up possibilities galore, are you ready for the storm?

When coming up for a new name for a product line it is usually one of the most important tasks because that name is going to need to represent the product, possibly for years and years to come. The name of your product is going to be how your consumers recall what your product is, what brand it is apart of, its the key identifier much like our own names, which essentially make up our brand and personality.

So what happens when you try to come up with a fun new creative name to describe your new product, what is the typical process you go through, probably lots of brainstorming, comparing, contrasting, evaluating, lots of failures before you land on THE name. We all know this but what happens when you finally decide on that excellent name and then after releasing the product and campaign for market it discover that there may be an alternate meaning to your brand name already, a not so desirable, respectable meaning that might taint the image of your new product because of its vulgarity?

This is just the situation Proximo, makers of the Three Olive’s brand, found themselves facing after coming up with their extension to the brand “RangTang“, which is the name they landed on after deciding it was a catchy way to describe the combination flavor of orange and tangerine. The new name “RangTang” is described by them as a tasty mix of imported English vodka and the amazing taste of mixed juicy oranges and tangerines.  To me that sounds like an excellent vodka though I honestly can’t remember if I’ve ever had an “English” vodka or heard of one for that matter, I’m more of a “Holland” vodka type.

Apparently “RangTang” has a slightly different meaning when you visit UrbanDictionary.com, which I warn is vulgar and definitely not safe for work, feel free to take a gander though. Proxmio has declared that they were unaware of this at the time of conception and admit that had they originally known that their new catch brand “RangTang” had this slang definition then they definitely would not have picked this as their choice.

Proximo defends itself however by pointing out that after searching through Urban Dictionary they discovered that a large variety of fruit have some sort of dirty slang definition it can be associated with. Things brings to my mind the question, how valid or important is anything that Urban Dictionary posts in relation to branding?

Personally I believe the only real issue would be more if there are direct correlations between the slang definitions and the brand.  Realistically the world we live in is diluted with words that have multiple meanings, slang variations all of which evolve from context which is the most important factor on determining what a word means anyway. I’m curious what other people think, is Urban Dictionary the go to before deciding on a name or is it just a minor bump in the road?