I’m Still Here!

Time flies when you are having fun! 

It may seem like everything has slowed down since I haven’t written a post in so long, but that is far from the truth. 

Last month, I published my first ebook for HubSpot called “Reinvent Your Event Marketing for Higher ROI.” It takes you through the planning process of setting goals for your trade show and creating a detailed strategy to make sure you achieve those goals and ultimately get higher ROI for being at the trade show. Sometimes it may be difficult to measure your trade show results, but it gives you details on how to do that!

Image

Cover for Reinvent Your Event Marketing for Higher ROI

I have also written a ton of content for the HubSpot Marketing Blog. One of the awesome things about this blog is that as soon as there are new marketing developments (Google+, Pinterest, etc.), we have an article posted about it. Though it may be hard at times to keep up with all these advancements, this blog is definitely an awesome start!

My last 5 blog posts include:

But probably the most exciting news is the conference I’m planning at HubSpot, Inbound 2012. This conference is from August 27-30, 2012 at the Hynes Convention Center for 2,000 marketers. You may have read about HUGS 2011 last year that was for 1,000 HubSpot customers. Inbound 2012 expands that conference to twice the size, three times as long and for any marketer, not just HubSpot customers. There will be keynote speakers including Gary Vaynerchuk and Rand Fishkin, certification and training, more than 50 sessions, a live band karaoke party and a sponsor pavilion different than anything you may have seen before. Stay tuned for some exciting updates on that!

What have you been doing lately?

Minier Coke Can

Going off of the last blog post on branding, Coca Cola Company has done it again.  This December, it is coming out with a 90-calorie mini can, similar to its 100-calorie mini can that they came out with a few years ago (http://www.ajc.com/business/coke-mini-can-to-162682.html).  Instead of the normal 12 ounce can, it will be 7.5 ounces.  However, I question the marketing strategy behind this new product.

First of all, there are many health issues related to this new product.  Even though Coke has a new health initiative by partnering with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation by encouraging a healthy balance between its products and others and exercising, this new product goes against this plan.  Even though it is less calories, what other artificial chemicals are put into this product to make it taste similar to the normal sized Coke products?  Additionally, it has been proven that when there are food products with fewer calories, people eat or drink more of them.  Whereas a person would have stopped at the 155 calorie cans, they will now drink two of the smaller cans, which add up to 190 calories.  So much for drinking/eating fewer calories with these smaller cans.

Also, many people grab Coke out of vending machines or at gas stations.  However, these unique cans will not be sold in these places, eliminating this large target segment.  Yes, they will be sold in grocery stores, but the availability of Coke at multiple places is part of its charm.

I’m sure the product will be successful.  After all, Coke has the most valuable brand out there.  However, there are clear complications against it from the availability to the health concerns.  Yes, there will be people who simply drink the one smaller can and do not drink more, proving the benefits of the product.  But there will also be the people who drink more cans because mentally they think they are drinking less (which is something I would do).  Despite these factors, it is a good strategy to launch the product in New York City and Washington, D.C. before introducing it to rest of the country in December.  They will be able to adjust their marketing strategies and hopefully put the product in place to be more successful.  However, there are definitely hardships to come, and it may turn out that it is worth only having the 100-calorie mini can.  We’ll see how it does next year!

Brand Loyalty – Do You Follow This Rule?

Brand Loyalty – How does it happen?  From a good experience?  From a bad experience with competing brands?  What makes a person decide they will pay a higher price for one product over another SIMPLY because of its brand?  How are some brands worth millions of dollars, like Coca Cola?

In my Marketing class, I was asked “Are you brand loyal?  For what brands?”  It was funny to hear this question directed toward me because among my friends I am known to base my purchasing decisions off of the brand.  From Coca Cola to Red Bull to Verizon to LG to Poland Spring to even Advil (I NEVER take Tylenol), my decisions are based entirely off the name on the label of the package.

For example, I have always ADORED Verizon.  I cannot even grasp the notion that I would ever have another cell phone carrier.  However, with my Verizon phones, I will never buy a Motorola or Samsung phone; it will ALWAYS be LG (see my earlier blog post about LG phones).  My first phone was an LG phone, and of course, I was in love with my phone being a teenager with a cool new “toy.”  My next phone was a Samsung phone, and I went through 7 of them in a year and a half.  I think my brand loyalty to LG was instilled after this bad experience because I refused to buy anything but an LG phone after that (my new two phones were LG, and I have been completely satisfied with them).

Clearly, that was an example of a good experience leading me to be brand loyal.  But have you ever had a bad experience with another brand that pushed you to be brand loyal to a new brand?  During Passover, I am stuck drinking water with a Kosher for Passover label.  The brand: Evian.  I know everyone thinks that all water tastes the same, but I bed to differ.  I don’t know if it is the way the different companies purify the water or the plastic bottle they choose, but water tastes different to me.  As for Evian water, I cannot STAND it!  It may be because I drink only Evian during Passover, which is associated with other food that doesn’t taste good, but I have become 100% loyal to Poland Spring water.  Even when I am at college, I buy Poland Spring bottles in bulk, even if that means carrying them from the convenience store to my apartment (even though I have beat the system by finding a place that delivers them to your doorstep with no shipping cost).

Another aspect of branding that surprises me is the amount of money some of these brands are worth.  In 2009, Coca Cola’s brand value rose 3% to $68.73 billion according to Interbrand.  (Among the other brands with top values are IBM, Google, Nintendo, and Sony.)  How is a brand able to be worth THAT MUCH money?  It is truly fascinating that a company can earn so much money off of a brand.  Granted, everyone recognizes Coca Cola’s red color and font, but it is still impressive that they earn that much revenue through its brand recognition.

Brand loyalty surrounds my life, but how many other people base decisions off of brand loyalty?  How many consumers would stick with an Apple iPod if another company came out with a similar iPod?  How many consumers pay more for energy drinks like Red Bull when drinks like Monster are larger but cost less?  (I am guilty to that one!)  Stay tuned for another blog post about branding (our regional conference theme)!

To Blog or Not to Blog

How did blogging become so popular?  Who created the first blog?  How did he/she get everyone else’s attention?  Did this person know how huge the creation would turn out to be?  Did he/she get all of his/her friends to start blogging to turn it into this gigantic empire?

Even though I am currently a sophomore in college, I was not exposed to blogs for many years of my life.  Even though I had heard of this mysterious thing called a “blog,” I did not really know how to use or even create one (until now, of course).  Every time I access my blog or other people’s blogs, it interests me.  How do people come up with all of the ideas for all the different types of blogs.  Yes, there are the standard entertainment, job-related, political, and news blogs, but there are also more creative ones like those about art or a hobby.  Blogs are more just pieces of journalism in my mind.  Journalism is censored and the true story cannot always be published.  But blogs are the complete truth.

Many journalists are now turning to blogs to get their messages out.  Instead of writing for their papers where they cannot fully express themselves, they write on their blogs.  Even if they choose to write anonymously so as to not get into trouble with their company, they are still able to speak their minds.

On the other hand, some blogs are not exactly ethical.  How do we know that the shopping blogs or the blogs that give information on different appliances and products are not staged PR campaigns by the companies themselves?  Is this new media innovation going to ruin our access to truth?  Will there ever be a way to censor on the Internet?  We’ll find out…

 

Global Warming

So I have taken a brief hiatus from writting here because I have been writing a 16 page paper for my public relations class.  The purpose of this paper was to develop a PR Plan for promoting awareness in college students about global warming.  Unlike my past experience of promoting products, global warming took on a different angles.  The plan starts by explaining the four-step model of a campaign: research, planning, implementation, and evaluation.  It continues to compare the campaigns for global warming with similar campaigns that have been conducted to promote awareness: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the American Petroleum Institute.  Next, it explains the role that research plays in promoting awareness and the effects it will have on this segment of the population.  The next part is the publicity part, where 6 traditional media outlets are targeted, and specific journalists with specific beats are mentioned.  Finally, a new media perspective is used to show how the college students will be reached (blogs, RSS feeds, podcasts, etc.).  The last component is a pitch letter to one the journalists in the fourth part.  To complete the paper is my four page bibliography highlighting my research.

I found this paper extremely interesting to write, not just because of its relevancy to my future career, but because of the different angles that are necessary to be taken to reach an audience.  Instead of convincing a journalist to write a feature article about a product, you have to convince a journalist about the importance of a cause.  Whereas certain publications would not be interested in a cause but only in products or accessories, other publications thrive off of promoting awareness on important issues.  Additionally, instead of presenting journalists with a sample of a product, you have to think of something more creative to encourage journalists to write about this issue.  Though my experience has always centered around media kits with samples, this different perspective proved to be extremely interesting as well.

A sample from the paper (showing my interest of this different aspect of PR): Even though many people believe that public relations campaigns are only used to promote a product, they are also used to raise awareness for causes.  From global warming to oil drilling to animal testing, there are many concerns that do not need to be sold to the public, but that need greater attentiveness.  Public relations campaigns may not always be credited for these efforts because many times they are more subtle than product placements or promotions.  However, at the heart of the campaign lies a public relations professional.