3 reasons you should blog about your internship

Hanging out in the courtyard of the SF office. Photo by Amy Higgins for the Concur blog.

Hanging out in the courtyard of the SF Concur office. Photo by Amy Higgins for the Concur blog.

Summer is in full swing in San Francisco!  And that means fog, fog, and then a little fog on the side … plus some more fog.

And for many of us college students, it also means internship season!

Are you interning this summer? Here’s some advice for you — definitely consider blogging about your experience. Taking the initiative to write about your internship is a smart thing to do in the long run, even if it means Read the rest of this entry »


Marketing Must-Read — “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind”

a classic book -- the title says it all

a classic book — the title says it all

As a student, it can be tough to get time to read above and beyond your course materials. I mean, it can be a challenge just to read everything that your professors prescribe for you, much less anything for pleasure or your own self-directed education.

But sometimes, you just have to explore a tangent that invites you, and you’re very glad you did.

One tangent for me this semester was to dabble a bit into the concept and history of positioning. I wish I could remember Read the rest of this entry »


“One thing” to remember about your brand — it’s not just for your customers

The Power of Now ... for brands.

The Power of Now … works for brands, too!

One of the things I love about getting a business education is that your classes progressively build on each other and the lines between them begin to blur. You start out with prerequisites like accounting, economics and statistics, and by the end you’re specializing in the function you want to practice — in my case, marketing. You finish with a capstone case-study seminar, which is basically an integration and application of all the disciplines you have studied since your first day of school. I love that it’s like one long project.

So the other night, my marketing and management courses collided in yet another “Aha! So that’s how they work together!” moment. Who knew that brand strategy and HR are destined to get married and have beautiful babies? Let me explain. Read the rest of this entry »


Social Listening Psychosis: “Don’t answer me — JUST LISTEN!”*

San Francisco Zoo -- an organization that knows how to listen.

San Francisco Zoo — an organization that knows how to listen.

One of the things I love most about social media is the access that it gives consumers to brands. I especially love how that access makes closer relationships possible between them.

Smart brands listen to what consumers are saying about them online; hence, we have the term “social listening” (a term that you need to know if you are in business today, frankly.)

And the best brands respond.

One of my favorite brands that does a great job of listening is the San Francisco Zoo. They routinely do things on Twitter like this:

The San Francisco Zoo listens and responds to online mentions.

The San Francisco Zoo generates engagement by listening online and responding to mentions.

The social media person at the zoo clearly takes time to monitor what’s being said about the organization online — and responds.

The Zoo's responses to online mentions often aim to add value to customers' experience.

The Zoo’s typical response to an online mention often aims to add value to the customer’s experience.

And it’s proactive relationship building — no crises here, just friendly “hey, how was your visit, we’re really glad you came out to see us, here’s a tip to make your trip even better.” Genius!

Thought leaders like Bryan Kramer of PureMatter believe that social listening is incredibly important — and in some cases it’s even an ingredient in the alchemy that creates brand loyalists.

But it looks like we may be beginning to see some backlash. Brian Solis of Altimeter recently posted analysis of an infographic that seems to say consumers don’t necessarily want brands to listen so closely and respond all the time. It sounds like people want access to brands, but they don’t necessarily want brands to hover like helicopter parents.

If you look at the Netbase infographic that Solis posted, they urge brands to be smart about listening and responding. And that advice absolutely makes sense. Social media is about personalizing and interacting, not “spraying and praying.” It might take a couple of extra seconds, but really analyzing the context of what you’re hearing before you respond — if you respond — may help your brand avoid alienating potential brand advocates.

Yes, we’re reminded yet again that there is an art that dances cheek-to-cheek with the science behind marketing communications.

I’m incredibly curious — what do you think? Do you sometimes feel that brands listen a little too closely? Do you sometimes want to be able to mention brands online without a response?

*Quotation in the title is based on a line from one of my favorite movies, Sordid Lives, written and directed by the inimitable Del Shores.


Maker’s — Off the Rocks and Back on the Mark?

a nicely used bottle of Maker's Mark. Photo by user swanksalot on flickr via Creative Commons.

a nicely used bottle of Maker’s Mark. Photo by user swanksalot on flickr via Creative Commons.

Now I don’t know about you, but I like my bourbon neat. Maybe this has to do with my being from the South. But that is neither here nor there.

Perhaps you heard the recent story about how Maker’s Mark is experiencing a pinch in supply of its bourbon due to unanticipated Read the rest of this entry »


Wait, what? Someone used a QR code correctly? (or, How to Rock a QR Code)

sfsu food trucks - postcard size

postcard-size advertisement for SFSU food trucks

Behold! The ever-elusive specimen of smart QR code use in its native environment!

So there’s lots of talk about QR codes from me lately, eh? Some people have already written them off as useless, some people love them, and some people apparently love to hate them.

Like a lot of people, it took me a while to understand what they are and how to use them, but now I’m impressed with QR codes’ potential for quickly linking the tangible with the digital. But as we are all painfully aware Read the rest of this entry »


And the winner of the Hottest Super Bowl Ad* Award is ….

You can still dunk in the dark. At the Super Bowl.

You can still dunk in the dark. At the Super Bowl.

OREO!

*On Facebook and Twitter

Now I have to admit I am not much of a football or Super Bowl person. But as a marketing nerd, obviously I’m watching what’s going on from the sidelines — especially on social media!

And when the lights went out in New Orleans (did Beyoncé blow a fuse?) giving America a longer potty break than usual, smart brands knew that mobile devices and laptops would be humming with activity. 

Oreo’s team swooped in and dropped the above photo on the unsuspecting Facebook- and Twitterspheres.

Just absolutely brilliant. Timely, humorous, great design … and almost 15,000 likes and nearly 5,000 shares. And climbing. Not to mention that a *lot* of people were left craving an Oreo cookie!

Oreos — the (un)official cookie of Super Bowl XLVII!

What outstanding examples of social media use did you see during the Super Bowl? What would you have done?

*Honorable mention goes to Duracell, which went to Facebook with a photo of the darkened half of the Superdome plus the text, “If only Duracell was powering the lights …” and then cheekily added “Looks like they used some Duracell batteries! You’re welcome. Enjoy the game. #TrustYourPower” once the lights came back on.

UPDATE:

Excellent coverage of how Oreo did it from Rachel Sanders at BuzzFeed.

HubSpot offers a solid replay of brands that jumped on the blackout.