LSU’s teachMC team unveiled a new mass communication educational tool during a presentation in Dr. Jensen Moore-Copple’s Strategic Communication class. This teaching tool allows mass communication professors and students to come together as one when teaching and learning mass communication material. Visit us at http://teachmc.wordpress.com for more information on the teaching tool. Follow teachMC on Facebook or @teach_MC on Twitter!
The Geaux Connect team successfully presented its Alternative Media Campaign in Dr. Jensen Moore-Copple’s Strategic Communication class at Louisiana State University today. The team loved sharing #socialSWAG with fellow LSU Manship graduate students. You can view the Powerpoint we presented here.
Remember to download your free “#socialSWAG” eBook at www.geauxconnect.wordpress.com (available for iPad, iPhone, Android, and desktop readers).
To watch teachMC’s presentation click here: http://prezi.com/w2gurfy_1f-c/teachmc/
In our final Strategic Communication Foundations (MC 7042) blog I would like you all to reflect on the following from the syllabus and how the readings, assignments (blogs, Mindfire challenges) and groundswell alternative media project did/did not help with each.
What demonstrates expertise in our field?
- Writing = evidence of thinking.
- Thinking = goal setting and evaluating information.
- Research = finding answers to problems.
- Deadline orientation/organization.
The top 10 competencies employers look for (across disciplines – Korn Ferry/Lominger Model):
- Action orientation
- Dealing with ambiguity
- Decision quality
- Problem solving
- Motivating others
- Priority setting
- Strategic agility/thinking ahead
- Time management
Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate thorough knowledge of strategic communication concepts, principles and practices.
2. Demonstrate thorough knowledge of social media as well as alternative media available to advertising and public relations professionals.
3. Critically analyze and discuss literature and current events in the fields of advertising, public relations, social media and marketing.
4. Identify how market research, segmentation, branding and positioning relate to the process of creating successful strategic communications.
5. Analyze various publics and integrate their needs into a strategic communication plan.
6. Develop fully conceived strategic communication ideas and understand the importance of integrating them across media.
7. Understand the methods used to evaluate the effectiveness of a strategic communication campaign.
8. Demonstrate how effective strategic communications are developed, implemented, and evaluated using the POST (people, objectives, strategies, technology) method.
Chapters 12 through 14 in Measure What Matters by Katie Paine give measurements for success for certain areas ranging from salespeople to nonprofit organizations to universities. Paine in Chapter 12 starts out with explaining how to measure salespeople. Measuring relationships with salespeople can be difficult because of mixed messages and mixed objectives (185). This issue can particularly be seen with corporations that use franchising to sell or distribute their product since they need to balance a way to maintain a consistent image yet allow franchises the freedom to develop programs that attract local audiences (185). Paine says that this issue causes three problems. One problem is that that franchises and corporations have different objectives (186). For example, one franchise may want to target seniors while another may want to attract students (186). Another problem is that there is a mix of activities that franchises can get involved with such as relief efforts (186). Also getting buy-ins from a huge cross-section of entrepreneurs is another problem (186). Having mixed objectives can also cause corporations and franchises to clash with one another because a franchise may be more interested in attracting better employees while the corporation may be more interested in getting new franchises started (186). For this reason, Peter Gilbert looks at profiles of salespeople in his series on “Types of salespeople” on Bizcommunity.com.
The display salesperson: http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/20/26230.html
The relationship profile: http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/20/26077.html
Paine says that solution to these problems is to have consistent key messages (186-187). The percentage of articles that contain the key messages is the criterion for success (187). An independent reader, not a PR person or a franchisee, should analyze the media. Paine then goes on to suggest other methods and how to measure whether these methods work (187). One method is that there needs to be more visibility than the competition (187). The sheer volume of coverage compared to the competition is the measure for success (187). A better qualitative measure though is comparing the percent of articles featuring the company’s name in the headlines to the percent of articles that mention the competition’s name in the headlines (187). Another method is to have better image than the competition (188). This can be done by having franchises do local programs that increase community goodwill (188). A reader should then note the number of articles present the company or brand as a responsible corporate citizen (188). Paine suggests getting visibility for local franchises is another method (188). This should be done by having local spokespersons that communicate the company’s key message to the media (188). Companies should look at what these spokespersons are saying in interviews to see if they are on message (188).
Paine then moves on to discuss how to measure the success of nonprofit organizations in Chapter 13. Although many don’t see nonprofits as businesses, they still have to worry about many of the same things that businesses do such as PR, reputation, and marketing (191). In Non-profit Organizations’ Practices and Perceptions of Advertising: Implications for Advertisers, this point is clearly seen when the authors discuss advertising practices for non-profits. They think like businesses and try to maximize funds in two ways: “they seek free communication techniques, and they collaborate with several different media” (35). The authors of this article do suggest, however, for non-profits to look into paid advertising. Paid advertising might be “better suited to the financial situation of these organizations” (39). Therefore, it is very critical for nonprofits to continuously measure their relationships (Paine 191). Paine says that measuring nonprofits is more important than ever due to social media, metrics, and accountability (192). With social media there are now many new ways for nonprofits to reach their audience and stakeholders (192). She discusses this in more depth on her blog: http://kdpaine.blogs.com/kdpaines_pr_m/2009/07/if-your-a-non-profit-that-needs-social-media-measurement-read-on.html Metrics are important now since many Trustees require detailed evaluations of initiatives (192). Finally, accountability is important since many donors and contributors are demanding it for their gifts (192).
Paine then goes on to lay out 6 steps for nonprofits to measure relationships with members.
1) Nonprofits must determine what their mission is and how they define success (193).
2) Nonprofits should identify and prioritize large stakeholders along with other members (195-196).
3) Nonprofits should establish no more than five benchmarks (196-197).
4) Nonprofits need to pick metrics that are linked with their mission or objectives in step one (197).
5) Nonprofits need to pick a measurement tool (198). Depending on what the nonprofits are interested in they need to measure their media coverage or survey their membership (198). These can include measuring how much exposure their key messages get in the media to surveying their board (199-201). Another thing that can be measured are behavioral changes in members such as the number of new donors per month, how much revenue comes in for every solicitation sent out, and how much attendance they get in events (201-202). Nonprofits should also measure their results during a crisis such as how quickly it goes away and how the media covers it (203).
6) Nonprofits should analyze results and make changes (203). For example, a nonprofit may have better attendance for certain events at certain times of the year and should therefore change to capitalize on this (203).
In Chapter 16 Paine talks about measuring universities effectiveness in raising money and getting new students (205). Paine says that evaluating universities is very unique (207). For one, you’re dealing with an environment in which everyone thinks that he or she is an expert (207). ). In Internal Branding: a university’s most valuable tangible asset, Rex Whisman states another thing for universities to remember during marketing campaign: “Like corporations, universities need to think about their long-term sustainability. Like corporations, they need to please a demanding public. And like corporations, they face stiff competition” (Whisman 367). Another unique feature is that unlike people in the corporate world, people at universities have data at their fingertips and really like to read into data (Paine 208). Universities, having diverse audiences, need to address parents, professors, students, alumni, and faculty (208). Paine says that the key thing that needs to be remembered when evaluating universities is that their mission is to educate (209).
When measuring a university there are five steps (210). The first step is to get the various “bosses” at a university to agree on a set of priorities and then prioritize the audiences at a university (211). The second step is to define objectives and get everyone on the same page (212-213). The third step is to establish a benchmark such as alumni donations (213). Here Paine says that there should be no more than five benchmarks (213). The fourth step is picking a measurement tool and collecting data (213). Measurements can be looking at media coverage or surveys by students or faculty (213-215). Paine suggest here that social media needs to be measured since it is heavily used in academia (215). Paine also says that universities should measure the behavior of the different audiences at a university and how they interact with one another (217). Whisman agrees and urges universities to build relationships and listen to audiences within the university such as the faculty and employees (Whisman 369). The fifth step is to measure the data, analyze it, and then measure it again (217). Universities should then make changes to improve their institutions (217-218).
Blog Leaders: Matthew Ray and Amelia Tritico
Gilbert, P. (2008, June 10). Types of salespeople: the closer. Retrieved from http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/20/25333.html
Gilbert, P. (2008, July 9). Types of salespeople: the display salesperson. Retrieved from http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/20/26230.html
Gilbert, P. (2008, July 4). Types of salespeople: the relationship profile. Retrieved from http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/20/26077.html
Marchand, J., & Lavoie, S. (1998). Non-profit Organizations’ Practices and Perceptions of Advertising Implications for Advertisers. Journal of Advertising Research, 38(4), 33-40.
Paine, K. (2011). Measure What Matters: Online Tools for Understanding Customers, Social Media, Engagement and Key Relationships. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Whisman, R. (2009). Internal branding: a university. Journal of Product and Brand Managament, 18(5), 367-370.
In this week’s readings, Paine (2011) discusses the importance of measuring the impact of events, sponsorships and speaking engagements, measuring what your employees think, and measuring threats to your reputation.
Chapter 7: Measuring the Impact of Events, Sponsorships, and Speaking Engagements
Event marketing and sponsorship has long been a more than useful tool to companies. Being able to connect with consumers face-to-face creates the ability to establish a deeper connection with the consumer. In Measuring the Effects of Sponsorships, Harvey (2001) further examines the importance of measuring how sponsorships can be beneficial to an organization. He found that sponsorships added value to advertising, stressing the importance of implementing and measuring sponsorships. According to Paine, organizations decide to participate in or sponsor an event with one of these three goals in mind (105):
- Launch of new products
- Drive affinity between customers and the brand
- Reach new markets and customers
Use Data to Support Your Event Decisions
Whether attending or not attending an event, make sure to have data to back the decision (106). Authors suggest creating a form that tracks the potential profit from attending an event. This form tracks items such as total attendees, total views, total leads, site visits, total contracts and costs
Social Media has Redefined the Concepts of Events
The term “events” has evolved with the creation of social media. This online outlet has allowed for companies to reach consumers virtually through holding contests and creating engagement.
Events and the Relationships behind Brand Engagement: How Are People Involved with Your Brand
Involvement in a brand not only measures how many people are engaged, but involves an understanding of the nature and strength of the relationship.
Following sponsorship and events, one of the most important things that marketers are looking at is how the consumers attitude has changed in terms of buying and behaviors. There are seven steps that the book outlines to measure this change (109):
- Define your objectives
- Determine your measureable criteria of success
- Decide upon your benchmarks
- Select a measurement tool
- Define your specific metrics
- Choose a Measurement Tool
- Analyze Your Results and Use Them to Make Your Events More Effective
How to calculate ROI for a booth at an event: was it worth the time and resources?
In the example from the book:
- 50 percent of respondents indicate that they intend to purchase and you know that 1,000 people visited the booth.
- 500 people intend to purchase some thing from your organization
- if on average, the respondents indicate that they each plan to spend $1,000 on your products or services at some point in the next six months, then you can project approximately $500,000 from the show.
- Then subtract your expenses from attending.
Chapter 10: Measuring what your employees think
Constantly measuring the perception of the organization through the eyes of the employee is extremely important. Making sure that employees are spreading word that the company is a good place to work and recommending the product to others lowers costs in other areas such as recruiting and creates word of mouth advertising.
If Employees are so connected, why is it so hard to communicate with them?
- Employees constantly receive information about the company from outside sources. The media and social media are constants in the lives of employees. This is creating a shift of internal communication from Human Resource departments to the communication departments.
Seven steps to measuring what employees think, say and do as a result of your internal communications
- Understand the environment and where they really get information, what information they trust, what information is important, and what they actually think about the organization.
- Agree on Clear, Measurable goals
- Select a Benchmark to compare to
- Define the Criteria of Success
- Select the measurement tools and collect data
- Analyze and take action
- Make changes to improve employee relationships
Susan Rink describes how to measure the effectiveness of employee communications in this 6-minute Youtube clip:
Chapter 11: Threats to Your Reputation
In chapter 11, Paine discusses how to measure crises (i.e. threats to your reputation). Reputation, Paine explains, “is the sum total of your relationships with all our publics” (p 163). Moreover, trust is the key to building a solid, lasting reputation (p 172). She notes that while it takes a long time to build a reputation, it can be destroyed in a matter of seconds. Consequently, crises occur when certain events threaten one’s reputation (p 164).
The best type of crisis communication is to avoid the crisis all together. Grunig, Grunig and Dozier (2002) describe four principles of a crisis period:
- The Relationship Principle: an organization will be able to better withstand a crisis if it has established solid, lasting relationships with publics who may be affected by crises
- The Accountability Principle: an organization should always accept accountability for a crisis (even if it was not its fault!)
- The Disclosure Principle: organizations should disclose everything it knows about the crisis or promise full disclosure if it does not already know what happened
- The Symmetrical Communication Principle: during the time of the crisis, organizations should consider its publics’ interests just as importantly as its own (e.g. public safety is just as important as making a profit; p 164)
In sum, the best way to diminish a crisis is to pay close attention to your publics so that you can respond before things spiral out of hand. Paine recommends monitoring what is being said about your organization via Google Alerts, etc.
However, though the best type of crisis communications is proactive, sometimes crises occur without a moment’s notice. In the event that a crisis does ensue, Paine recommends the following measuring what is being said about you, what people believe about you, and what people do as a result.
To measure what is being said about you, monitor media (i.e. print, television, radio, online news sources, blogs, Facebook, tweets, Youtube videos, online forums, etc.; p 165). This includes not only mainstream media, but also what your customers are saying about you outside of traditional media. Good crisis management aggressively deals with negative content so that the volume of content decreases after the first week or so (p 169). Measuring what people believe about you allows you to see what your publics think about you. Paine says the best way to do this is through overnight polling. Sometimes polls can reveal that media outcry is not necessarily representative of your public’s opinion (p 170). Lastly, following up by measuring what people do in the event of a crisis is essential as it can help you learn from your mistakes. Ulmer (2011) reiterates this point in the article Creating Opportunities and Renewal Out of a Crisis. Ulmer (2011) describes how to take the lessons learned from a crisis and turn those lessons into valuable experience that will contribute to future situations.
Lastly, Paine outlines seven steps to measure crises and trust:
- Define a specific outcome for the desired crisis
- Define your audiences and what you want your relationship to be with each one
- Define your benchmark (look at your company vs. other companies in a similar crisis)
- Define your measurement criteria (how will you define success?)
- Select a measurement tool (i.e. surveys, focus groups, content analysis, etc.)
- Analyze results, glean insight and make actionable recommendations
- Make changes and measure again
Here’s a great blog that explains how to measure crisis communication:
Additionally, the Institute for PR has a PDF available for download regarding how to effectively measure communication during a crisis:
Blog Leaders: Kathryn Nick, Christina Persaud
Harvey, B. (2001). Measuring the Effects of Sponsorships. Journal Of Advertising Research, 41(1), 59-65.
Paine, K. (2011). Measure What Matters: Online Tools for Understanding Customers, Social Media, Engagement and Key Relationships. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Ulmer, R. (2011). Creating Opportunities and Renewal Out of a Crisis. Communication Currents, 6(6), 1-3.
Now that social media is firmly entrenched in the everyday life of PR, Chapter 5 of “Measure What Matters,” is all about monitoring your social media profile constantly and keeping on top of it basically around the clock to stay in tune with the current.
The concept of “now” has been redefined to include nights, weekends, holidays, you name it; brand monitoring must be a daily process, if not hourly. “There’s no shortage of examples of how quickly reputations can be made or destroyed in today’s social media environment” (Paine 71).
With users acting as the media, editors and reviewers (69), PR and marketing must adapt to new methods of communication on a smaller scale but to the right people if much more valuable than reaching millions of faceless eyeballs with old methods of advertising (73). This also means a new way of quantifying success. “We must change from pitching to listening, and from measuring eyeballs to measuring engagement (74).
Helene Blowers points out that old methods of measuring success can no longer be relied upon and new measuring sticks are usage and influence. “Just because your traditional Website stats may be trending down, it doesn’t mean that your digital usage is down… they may do it through other channels, such as mobile app or Facebook” (Blowers, 2012).
Paine identifies four new rules for PR and social media monitoring:
- You’re Not in Control—and Never Have Been
- There Is No Market for Your Message
- It’s about Reaching the Right Eyeballs, Not All the Eyeballs
- It’s Worse to Not Be Talked about at All
Paine goes on to identify two worlds of social media profile monitoring: measuring what you can control and measuring what you can’t control. Both Paine and Blowers concede that what is really important and a key component to things you can control is engagement.
Levels of user engagement identified by Paine include:
Web analytics systems like Google Analytics, WebTrends and Omniture are recommended by Paine to measure engagement.
However, Paine admits there’s far more things you cannot control. “The new environment is so vast that even the largest budgets can’t truly dominate the conversation…The best you can hope for is to learn from those conversations, make improvements, and maybe influence them” (84).
Chapters 6 and 8:
The innovation of social media brings several benefits to companies and business. It allows them to “get feedback from our customers and marketplace” (Paine, p. 99). Chapter Six outlines the differences in listening to customers and listening to the marketplace. The first step in listening to the marketplace is to set up any web analytics program. By using the analytics program, one can search keywords to see if they are collecting results necessary for their business. “Make sure you have set up alerts for all your competitors’ names and brands in addition to the general terms describing you r product or market areas” (Paine, p. 100). The next steps are to review and track the results to see what is relevant and irrelevant to the search. At this step companies and business are also able to see mentions of the services and products. Next, one should pay attention to those mentions that mostly matter to their company. “Channels, outlets, and writers who get the most comments are usually more influential, and so you should pay particular attention to them” (Paine, p. 101). The next steps call for companies to weight the mentions and find out what the market thinks about their competition and them. By doing so, companies give them self an advantage over their competition to improve their own products.
To listen to customers, companies need to probe into and evaluate customers’ conversations. By evaluating conversations, companies will have the opportunity to gain “insight into people’s relationship” with their brand (Paine, p. 103). Meesh and Mia, a company licensed to sell university-related clothing items, listens to its customers via social media. Meesh and Mia listens to consumers by simply using its social media to ask the consumers what they think of its brand. “Customers on Meesh & Mia’s Facebook or Twitter pages will find requests for feedback on product categories so the company can learn, for example what branded items they want to see more of” (Aquino, p. 1).
Chapter Eight expounds on the need for companies and businesses to move from targeting traditional influencers, to targeting communities. Those communities are composed of consumers that have strong interest in one’s brand and narrow topics. “Whether it’s small farmers, fans of a particular product, or parents of children with a specific disease, there’s now a group for it. And that group has members and the members have friends and all of them can influence your market and your market share” (Paine, p. 124). Instead of individuals being seen as influencers, communities are now the new influencers. These communities influence others that may not be as informed or engaged with one’s brand. To build communities, companies should search blogs that mention their marketplace, and evaluate if those blogs are important.
Next, companies should measure the relationships they have with the influencers of their marketplace. “Periodically assessing the health of your relationships with them is absolutely critical, because understanding what they think about you is just as important as understanding what they write about you” (Paine, p. 128). In an article written by Marisa Peacock, she speaks of a new discovery platform that helps companies to target influencers. “Sometimes the hardest part of content management is not tracking it, but targeting it to the appropriate audience. Thanks to a new content discovery platform called Outbrain, companies can find and acquire an audience for their content. By using personalized links at the bottom of online articles, such as ‘Recommended Reading’ or ‘You Might Also Like,’ Outbrain is able to grow an audience by distributing your content on other sites, where people are looking for something new to discover” (Peacock, p. 1). Paine offers five steps for one to measure their relationships with influencers:
- Define goal
- Define audience
- Define benchmark
- Define key performance indicators
- Select measurement tool
The “Measure” reading starts out by saying, “Al business in a democratic society begins with public permission and exists by public approval.” –Arthur Page. That being said, whatever public approval an organization has at a given time can be quickly removed. Likewise, it can certainly grow.
Because news travels faster today than ever, it’s critical to understand, measure and improve your relationships with your local community. Paine refers to community as “our neighbors.” Neighbors are no longer just those within a tight, local circle, rather, this includes an organizations “internal communities of customers, vendors and partners, as well as external advocates, nongovernmental organizations and any other community with which you have a relationship.” (Paine, 72).
How do good or bad relationships influence your organization? Paine put it succinctly when she said, “the short answer is that you ignore your communities at your peril.” (Paine, 72). She used Amazon as an example of the negatives associated with ignoring customers. Amazon ignored its Kindle community of users and led to loss of trust. On the flip side of that, Paine used the positive example involving SeaWorld when PETA attacked them after a trainer was killed by a Shamu. Because of SeaWorld’s positive involvement with its community, “PETA voices were quickly drowned out by SeaWorld fans.” (72)
The last question is who and what is most important to measure? That depends, but the fact is that millions of bloggers and Twitterers out there, negative stories can no longer be contained as was possible years ago. Measuring relationships with just customers is a great start, but organizations must take into account potential crises when non-existent relationships are thrust into existence by virtue of a negative or newsworthy incident. Organizations are no longer in control of their message.
There are seven steps an organization can use to measure relationships with its communities and neighbors:
1. Agree upon solid measurable goals that are tied to the bottom line:
2. Define your publics:
3. Who or what are your benchmarks?
4. Set your audience priorities: Who and what is most important to measure?
5. Choose your measurement tools
-Local media analysis is critical
6. Analyze the data
7. (Taken from Chapter 3) Turn your data into action
A great, detailed example of measuring relationships and navigating social media is a presentation by Beth Harte of Harte Marketing & Communications.
Bottom line, it may seem irrelevant, but establishing, embracing and maintaining a good relationship with as many publics as possible can help an organization ensure success. Taking the data from the aforementioned measurement tools can shape the organization. Ignoring the data and ignoring how others see the organization can be a negative consequence of failing to measure relationships.
BLOG POST LEADERS: Jason Newton, Dionell McNeal, Lisa Charles
Anderson, F. (N.D.) Measuring the Strength of Relationships. Forrest W. Anderson.com. http://www.forrestwanderson.com/documents/MeasuringtheStrengthofRelationships.pdf
Aquino, Judith. (2012). Transforming Social Media Data into Predictive Analytics. Retrieved from http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Editorial/Magazine-Features/Transforming-Social-Media-Data-into-Predictive-Analytics-85687.aspx
Blowers, H. (2012). “Measuring Social Media and the Greater Digital Landscape. The Digital Strategist. Columbus.
Harte, B. (2009) @TheForefront: Successfully Navigating Social Media. Theharteofmarketing.com. http://www.slideshare.net/bethharte/theforefront-successfully-navigating-social-media-1441164
Paine, K. (2011). Measure What Matters: Online Tools for Understanding Customers, Social Media, Engagement and Key Relationships. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Peacock, M. (2012). Digital Marketing News: BlogFrog, Outbrain Use Analytics to Target Influencers. CMS Wire. Retrieved from http://www.cmswire.com/cms/customer-experience/digital-marketing-news-blogfrog-outbrain-use-analytics-to-target-influencers-017926.php
In Brand Media Strategy, author Antony Young states that measuring effectiveness for the brand media strategy is, “the very core of communications planning,” (210). The ability to measure the elements of a communications plan helps to determine which elements were effective and which elements needed improvement. Young states, “Just like sports coaches, a communications planner needs a strategy to win, and that involves making the adjustments needed to improve the outcome,” (211).
Technological advancements have improved our ability to measure the effectiveness of the campaign. Inversely, technology has also made it more difficult because it multiplies the influences placed on the consumer regarding their purchasing decisions. Young writes, “…only 14 percent of senior marketers felt confident in forecasts of how marketing activities would affect sales,” (211).
Young states that $8.6 billion is allocated towards research of media habits. There are copious amounts of tactics that gauge data, and it has become overwhelming. “There are tracking studies, competitive reporting, consumer segmentation, product usage and attitudinal studies media currencies, online surveys, copy testing and econometric modeling, in addition to literally billions of data points now being collected in digital media,” (212).
In order to track a brand media strategy, it is important to define success and the key performance indicators are used to measure the success. KPI’s measure the collective impact of a message.
- The Campaign Measurement Process
- Determine objective and success criteria
- Identify learning objectives and analysis approach
- Identify metrics and data sources
- Define measurement and reporting plan
- Communicate measurement plan
- Collect data, interpret and analyze results
- Marketing and process optimization
Online tracking is useful for measuring online campaigns, as well as determining the effectiveness of the entire media communications effort. Online tools such as Google Insights, HowSociable, Social Mention, Twitalyzer, Twitrratr, and Wordle are used as a quantitative measurement.
Ultimately, Young maintains that brand media strategy planners need to realize measurement isn’t only about reporting in justification, it is also about making better decisions and adjustments.
“Measure What Matters,” by Katie Delahaye Paine, discusses how important social media is and how it has reinforced businesses to rethink their strategies. The movement to online media has given businesses the ability to increase their research on consumer behavior because it is easier to track. Paine also differentiates between counting and measuring and states that counting just adds things up to get a total, whereas measuring takes it one step further and analyzes those totals to figure out what they mean and how they can improve the business. Measurement helps business to allocate their budget, their staff, and to gage the competition better. Measurement provides data that is incontrovertible, which makes it easier for a business to agree on objectives. It reveals the strengths and weaknesses of a company.
Paine also discusses myths that keep business from using measurement:
- Measurement will only create more work for me.
- Measurement is expensive
- You can’t measure the ROI, so why bother?
- Measurement is strictly quantitative
- Measurement is something you do when a program is over
- “I know what’s happening: I don’t need research”
Billions of dollars is spent on Marketing but most companies do not allocate money to measuring. Studies have proven that those companies who do spend the time and resources on measurement seem to do better than those who don’t.
Google has created Google Analytics, which allows companies to track online success.
Chapter Two of Measure What Matters states, “If you are new to measurement, it’s best to start with baby steps,” (Paine, 19). Paine recommends beginning with a pilot program. This would be either a three-month benchmark study or a targeted program aimed at a particular launch of event. It is nearly impossible to please everyone with your measurement program. Make sure you have confidence in your data. “Accurate data is the key to both the success of your measurement and to the decisions you base on it,” (Paine, 19).
Here are ten questions every communications professional must be able to answer:
- What are you objectives?
- Who are your programs target audiences?
- What is important to your audiences?
- What motivates them to buy your products?
- What are you key messages?
- Who influences your audience?
- How do you distribute your product or service?
- What are you going to do with the information you get from your research?
- What other departments or areas will be affected?
- What other measurement programs are currently underway?
“Before you can achieve success, you have to decide how you’ll get there,” (Paine, 23). You need to have measurable objectives when making a program. People are either for or against ROI (return on investment or return on influence), ROE (return on engagement or return on effort), and all possible metrics in between (23). It may sound easy or obvious, but it is very important to measure objectives in a realistic matter. People may make excuses for not measuring because “they can’t afford it,” but you are already spending money on different programs, so you should make an effort to make an objective when measuring. Without having accurate data, you are wasting your time and effort.
Return on Investment, according to investopedia.com is “A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. To calculate ROI, the benefit (return) of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment; the result is expressed as a percentage or a ratio.” (investopedia.com)
In chapter 3, Paine explains the seven steps to perfect measurement program that show how to prove your results and use the results to improve.
Below are the steps:
- Step 1: Define your goals and objectives. What is the “R” in ROI that you are seeking to measure?
- Step 2: Define your environment, your audiences and your role in influencing them
- Step 3:Define your investment
- Step 4: Determine your benchmarks
- Step 5: Define your key performance indicators
- Step 6: Select the right measurement tool and vendors and collect data
- Step 7: Turn data into action: Analyze data, draw actionable conclusions and make recommendations
To target the users of Facebook in 2011 marketers spent over $1 billion on social advertising each quarter, with $992 million of it going to Facebook. (business2community) Another chart given from this source shows the 10 brands that spend the most on social media. According to comScore, AT&T was by far the biggest, with nearly 13 million impressions served. The big question of this article is whether or not marketers are seeing a profit. According to Businessinsider.com, the problem is that Facebook and LinkedIn only give some evidence. Interestingly Twitter doesn’t even make its ROI data public.
Chapter four explains how a person or company can afford to measure ROI by choosing the right tools. Depending on what you are using and what you are using it for. In the Altimeter Report: The Social Media ROI Cookbook found that there are half a dozen methods being used each with its strengths and flaws. “A through set of industry findings with 16 brands, 38 vendors, 3 agencies and 4 ecosystem contributors, and surveyed 71 social media and analytics practitioners.” (web-strategiest.com) This article also argues that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach.
Paine, Katie Delahaye. (March 15, 2011). Measure What Matters: Online Tools For Understanding Customers, Social Media, Engagement, and Key Relationships. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, New Jersey.
Young, Antony. (December 21, 2010). Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era. Macmillian.
Blog Post Leaders: Chavez, Kisluk & Kopecky
Now that Li and Bernoff have effectively communicated the importance of connecting with customers in the groundswell, they use chapter 12 of Groundswell to focus on connecting with employees. According to the authors, “Throughout corporations around the world, employees are connecting on internal social networks, collaborating on wikis, and contributing to idea exchanges.” (216) They explain this internal groundswell by looking at three different applications: the community at Best Buy, wikis at Avenue A/Razorfish, Organic, and Intel; and an idea exchange at Bell Canada (217).
Two members of Best Buy’s marketing team created the Blue Shirt Nation (BSN) to find out directly from employers what was really taking place in the stores. This online community not only helps management but also allows employees to help each other by sharing valuable problem-solving tactics. Blue Shirt Nation accomplishes all five of the objectives Li and Bernoff addressed in chapter four.
Managers listen and corporate talks to employees by posting easily accessible policy changes. This energizes fellow blue shirts by spreading positive thinking which then creates support for one another and can embrace talent and ideas. While companies find online communities satisfactory, others such as Avenue A/Razorfish need to collaborate using wikis. More than 1900 employees interact on the wiki to share ideas, skills, and blog about work. Unlike BSN, Avenue A/Razorfish houses vital company information such as, team members’ roles, notes from meetings, and project information. More than 90 percent of Razorfish’s employees have accessed and contributed to the site. The company’s CEO Clark Kokick is also deeply involved in the community. The active presence of executives proves to be a necessary component of successful internal groundswell applications, such as in the case of Bell Canada. This company created its application, ID-ah!, which allows anyone to submit ideas, and employees vote on them.
An article found on Forbes shows how leaders at Dell have also joined the internal groundswell. However, this was not always the case with Dell. Chapter 11 in Groundswell uses Dell to discuss how a company’s blatant failure can fuel a new method of communication in a place where the conversation already existed. After receiving a firestorm of negative comments from a customer with repeated technical problems and no answers, Dell faced not only a PR problem, but also a question about its transparency (224). After meeting with a team, a “blog resolution” was created to offer customer service and technical support to its customers. After having the new feature up and running, customers responded with positive feedback about Dell’s presence in this ongoing conversation (227). This is a clear indicator that companies must not just join the conversation, but start it.
The internal groundswell must be nurtured. Li and Bernoff provide three vital components for nourishment: ensure management is listening; encourage, but do not force participation; and provide creators with necessary tools to build successful applications. As shown in the case studies, an internal groundswell is the key to employee communication. When implementing the application make sure management is active. A company risks reaching its full potential when executives do not lead by example.
Along with blogging and communicating internally to employees, companies should also take advantage of the information that customers are already offering. In an article focused on corporate blogging and its effects on company image, the authors stressed that the conversation must be kept with everyone. All the time. The article notes that companies “…discovered the importance of having internal blogs to allow forums for their employees, as well as having external blogs to encourage valuable feedback from their customers” (Strother et. al, 251).
Perhaps one of the most successful beauty campaigns to date has an ironic twist on today’s high standards of beauty. In 2004, Dove launched its Campaign For Real Beauty that focused on the average woman—and really their true consumer (218). Although it was a risk, the company’s campaign featured commercials and videos that went viral on YouTube and allowed for more positive feedback from Dove and Unilever’s new and refreshing message (219). The leaders of the campaign clearly saw success in embracing new media and, “giving the consumer a voice in the brand” (221). One of the pieces is the Evolution video on YouTube that shows a woman being transformed into today’s standard of beauty.
However, despite the success of the campaign, using new media also allowed for both positive feedback and the questioning of Dove’s methods. This Businessweek article, questions Dove’s retouching what was originally meant to highlight “real beauty” (Helm). The real-life models used in the ads were allegedly highly retouched for the ads, which completely contradicts the original purpose of the campaign. The article also features a commenting section—a new method of communication that can sometimes carry backlash (Helm). Although Dove’s success relied on planning and new marketing methods (221), we must remember that these new methods of communication require constant upkeep and carry with them the possibility of negative feedback.
Li and Bernoff spend chapter 13 discussing how organizations attain social maturity. The socially mature “empowered organization” is defined as: A business that leverages social technologies to enable better connections and relationships between empowered customers and employees – ultimately leading to better products, more efficient work-flow, more loyal customers, lower costs, and greater revenue (255).
The main takeaway from this definition is the focus on customers AND employees. A truly socially mature organization will use social technologies to empower both groups. Organizations attempting to attain social maturity face four fundamental challenges: the cultural issue, providing perspective, the organizational issue and the general risks of using a social platform. Organizations can develop in a variety of ways to combat these challenges. The authors list six factors that can be used to benchmark an organization’s progress in overcoming these problems. These factors include experience, resources and organization, process, measurement, commitment and culture.
To achieve social maturity all organizations go through five stages. The first of these stages is the Dormant Stage. Oddly enough, in 2011 one in five large companies still were not involved in social activity of any kind. While this step seems somewhat unnecessary, it is where all organizations begin. As the authors state “the first step is the hardest, so take it in a way that doesn’t raise a threat” (261).
After organizations take the first step, they move into the Testing Stage. This is early implementation. Most organizations focus on listening in this stage. Externally, they use things like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. Internally, companies begin expanding their own intranets with platforms such as SharePoint. About one-third of large companies were in this stage in 2011. Li and Bernoff recommend building on success, making measurements more “robust” and connecting to move into the next stage of Coordinating (262).
The Coordinating Stage also housed one-third of large companies in 2011. This stage is said to determine “the social future of companies” (265). Organizations build confidence during this stage. They focus on governance and the development of key staffers, which they call shepherds, who coordinate other employees’ innovative social ideas. In this stage, companies also focus on strategic growth and planning. Policies are also developed regarding their social policies and training occurs so mistakes are avoided.
The fourth stage in achieving social maturity is scaling and optimizing. Only 20% of major companies are in this stage which is the “pinnacle of embracing social media” (265). At this point, shepherds become managers with distinct titles and roles. Organizations have reached a stage of social maturity where the cultural of the organization is fully receptive.
The final stage of social maturity is Becoming Empowered. Right now the ideals of an empowered organization seem farfetched, but with the fast paced nature of the groundswell, it will not take long for this to take place.
In chapter 14, Li and Bernoff focus on the future of the groundswell. They believe rapid participation in the Groundswell is coming which will force companies not only to join the movement but also to rely on it. Organizations will be forced to think on the long-term instead of focusing on short-term goals and product-life cycles will decrease as organizations are able to interact with customers more rapidly.
The corporate strategy of deception is also discussed. Li and Bernoff state that “strategies based on deception are doomed” (279). They are apparently not the only ones that feel this way. Keiko Krahnke and Isaac Wanasika recently found that deception is more detrimental than productive, and “corporate executives with sufficient wisdom are better equipped in … arriving at effective value-based strategic choices that minimize deceptive strategies” (15).
While organizations can take advantage of the groundswell, they are still just organizations, and the groundswell will always be bigger. The authors end the book with seven pieces of advice on how to be in the groundswell concluding with the most important, be humble. This is further covered in an upcoming Groundswell publication. However, Empowered, the next book in line to effective communication, should take a page out of its current book and be a bit humble…especially with title choice. Just saying. #socialnetworks #wikis #socialmaturity #groundswell
-Kali Johnson, Khristen Jones, Silvia Medrano
Bandukwala, A. (2012, July 13). Internal Social Media: Is Your Company Missing Out? Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/dell/2012/07/13/internal-social-media-is-your-company-missing-out/2/
Helm, Burt. Surprise! Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” ads actually kind of fake. 7 May 2008.
Krahnke, K., & Wanasika, I. (2011). Minimizing strategic deception through individual values. Journal Of Academic & Business Ethics, 41-23.
Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.
Strother, J. B., Fazal, z., & Millsap, M. (2009). Legal and Ethical Issues of the Corporate Blogosphere. IEEE Transactions On Professional Communication, 52(3), 243-253. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.libezp.lib.lsu.edu/ehost/detail?sid=427483ff-73eb-4795-9ee4-5ad38171ae5a%40sessionmgr14&vid=5&hid=16
Brand Media Strategy (chapters 8 & 9) and Groundswell (chapters 7-9)
Jessy Hutchinson & Lilli Lopez
In chapter eight of Brand Media Strategy, Young (2010) examines receptivity tactics and the different platforms that allow for receptive messaging. Young gave a personal example where Saatchi & Saatchi New York came up with an effective media strategy for Tide laundry. The campaign placed ads in “points of dirt” to ensure their audience thought of Tide whenever they were faced with a dirty situation or environment (p. 128). Receptivity is achieved at the “moment of aperture” when consumers are in the right mind-set to think about the product category (p. 131).
As Young stated, “technology platforms are quickly bringing this (receptivity) planning into this decade” (p. 128). “Rather than simply advertise, we use media to build content that entertains and immerses those influencers. The experience has to be authentic and interesting” (p. 137). The experience is a huge factor in the receptivity of a message. Online platforms pose new opportunity for brands to use online and interactive media as a touch point in conjunction with events/POS Guerrilla (see fig. 9.4, p. 157).
Lilli: The first marketing strategy that comes to mind is through music festivals. I’ve been to several music festivals and, aside from the awesome live music, my favorite part of these events is all the free stuff. At every major music festival, big brands sponsor parts of the event. At Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2011, some of the sponsors on site were Honda and Google Plus. Honda had their latest Civic model on site where festival-goers could sit inside and get their pictures taken. In exchange for signing up for a mailing list, Honda representatives gave photo booth participants a bandana featuring their pictures screen printed on the giveaway. Honda paid to be there and though they can’t give out the actual product they’re promoting, they gave a tangible reminder to their consumers. Across the festival grounds, Google Plus paid to host a private lounge party for attendees to relax in an air-conditioned space on Google colored beanbags. While inside, Google Plus reps helped people create their personal Google+ accounts. Every time someone left that tent, they walked out wearing promotional Google Plus Wayfarer-style sunglasses and a new Google+ account. People started asking each other where they got their sunglasses or bandanas, which created a constant flow of visitors for these brands. This event marketing strategy deserves at +1! Here is an article that outlines paid, owned and earned media through event marketing: http://www.inc.com/guides/201102/new-rules-of-event-marketing.html
Advertising may be losing its effectiveness now, as consumers are targeted with more and more paid media messages. According to Li and Bernoff (2011), companies can increase the spread of positive word-of-mouth by locating their most enthusiastic customers encouraging them to speak about the company. Consumers are more interested in hearing about other people’s personal experiences, and trust these first-hand accounts more than a brand’s carefully crafted image. Podnar and Javernik (2012) refer to “word of mouse,” using the internet to spread word-of-mouth more quickly and across geographic boundaries (p. 147). They state that word-of-mouth can influence a range of consumer behaviors, from brand awareness to brand choice to purchase behavior. Although you cannot fake word-of-mouth, according to Li and Bernoff, you can encourage it. Citing Christiansen and Tax (2000), Podnar and Javernik believe that “companies should encourage consumers to talk about their positive experiences immediately if they want to maximize the effect of positive word of mouth” (p. 164). Although Apple recently received some negative word-of-mouth due to problems with the new iPhone maps app, sales of the new phone have not slowed down: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57525319-37/apple-maps-snafu-isnt-hurting-iphone-5-sales-say-analysts/
The website Kickstarter is built on the idea that positive word-of-mouth will inspire others and lead them to donate money to interesting projects. If someone wants to embark upon a creative project but do not have the required funding, they can create a profile on the Kickstarter website, listing their funding goal and a deadline. With the help of press, blogs, social media, and word-of-mouth, artists can spread the word about their project.
Jessy: Chapter seven of Groundswell discusses the possibility of building a community around a company’s groundswell. This community does not have to focus specifically on a product, and instead could form around a problem consumers experience. Li and Bernoff also mention the groundswell’s ability to support itself. They describe the groundswell as “a fantastic support system” (p. 157). This system enables people to connect and care for one another. Chapter eight provided the example of CarePages, a journaling website that allows people to update friends and family members on serious medical conditions. Several other websites also assist in the coordination of caring for loved ones during an injury or illness. My family used the website Caring Bridge after my brother was involved in a serious motorcycle accident. This site operates in a manner similar to CarePages. Caring Bridge allowed us to provide updates over the span of a year to many people regarding Matt’s multiple surgeries. Take Them a Meal is an online scheduling system that organizes meal donations for those that are unable to cook for themselves. My parents recently received a month of meals from close friends after my mother underwent a mastectomy. They received email reminders several times a week, letting them know who would be dropping off a meal and even what food they’d receive.
Companies may choose to create support forums, wikis, or Q&A forums for their customers. Other times, it may be smart for a company to join an existing site to promote their brand. Areas of the groundswell attract like-minded people. Music fans come together on sites like Grooveshark and Spotify to share albums and playlists. Brands can use Spotify to both express their personality and connect with consumers. Companies can share playlists that fit well with their brand. Spotify users can share these playlists with friends on social networking sites. In an article on the Forbes website, David Clarke provides a simple formula: “brand experiences + content that people want = happy and engaged consumers” (Clarke, 2012, para. 6). Clarke encourages brands to create experiences that consumers will value, will actively seek out, and incorporate into their daily lives. He contrasts intrusive audio ads with interesting branded playlists…which is more attractive to consumers?
Chapter nine of Groundswell focuses on gathering feedback from the groundswell. Embracing the groundswell allows companies to gain information from consumers, including their wants, ideas, complaints, and praise. But the book makes the distinction between having consumers create an ad for a company and truly inviting them to participate in product innovation. Ad contests are short-term projects that don’t deepen the relationship between consumers and companies. Brabham (2012) defines crowdsourcing as “an emerging problem-solving model that leverages the collective intelligence of online communities for specific purposes” (p. 307). Brabham examined the Federal Transit Administration’s use of crowdsourcing in 2009 to obtain new ideas from the public for transit planning, noting the power and value of collective intelligence. “That’s what accelerates innovation—starting a conversation with your customers and using your skills to understand and exploit their knowledge” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 194).
Take a look at this crowdsourcing infographic: http://www.rigatuso.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Crowdsourcing-Umbrella-infographic.jpg
Brabham, D. C. (2012). Motivations for participation in a crowdsourcing application to improve public engagement in transit planning. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 40(3), 307-328. doi:10.1080/00909882.2012.693940
Christiansen, T., & Tax, S. T. (2000). Measuring word of mouth: The questions of who and when? Journal of Marketing Communications, 6, 185–199.
Clarke, D. (2012, June 12). Spotify is helping brand managers change their tune. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/onmarketing/2012/06/12/spotify-is-helping-brand-managers-change-their-tune/
Lagorio, C. (2011, February 9). The new rules of event marketing. Retrieved from http://www.inc.com/guides/201102/new-rules-of-event-marketing.html
Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.
Podnar, K., & Javernik, P. (2012). The effect of word of mouth on consumers’ attitudes toward products and their purchase probability. Journal of Promotion Management, 18(2), 145-168. doi:10.1080/10496491.2012.668426
Young, A. (2010). Brand media strategy: Integrated communications planning in the digital era. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.