Jarter Jargon

Archive for October 2012

The past few days have been very tense for the eastern seaboard. Hurricane Sandy has been tearing across New Jersey, New York, and other states leaving destruction in its path. Hundreds of thousands are without food and power, and many are turning to social media to find loved ones, reassure family (During Sandy, 30 million+ tweets sent, after Sandy, the top Facebook status is “We Are OK.”), and keep a captivated America connected to what’s happening in real time.

I for one have been keeping track with a #HurricaneSandy stream on my Hootsuite deck. It is truly amazing to see the outreach offered by people. Tweets of prayers for safety, Red Cross donation channels, and overall general concern for those involved are the majority of messages. However, there have been a string of comments, Twitter accounts, and corporate slip-ups that try to bring light to a subject that is devastating for millions.

Really, it’s just not funny, and those who are affected by this storm are outraged. Can you blame them?

However, some have taken it too far. On Monday, American Apparel and Gap found themselves on thin ice for their email blast and tweets, respectively.

The American Apparel ad apparently targets people who are seeking refuge during the storm. Needless to say, online backlash has been primarily negative. But American Apparel wasn’t the only culprit.

Gap also rubbed east coast-ers the wrong way as Hurricane Sandy was making its way along. On Monday afternoon, as the storm was touching down in the New York and New Jersey area, Gap tweeted the following:

Again, needless to say, it wasn’t the best thought out plan. The brand later took the tweet down and offered the following semi-apology: 

The Twittersphere blew up once again with outraged tweets.

American Apparel is just one of several companies that have committed online marketing faux pas. Last year, fashion designer Kenneth Cole’s Twitter account made light of the protests in Egypt by tweeting, “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online.”

What do you think? Are you offended by American Apparel and Gap’s messages during the massive storm? It surprises me that mistakes like these still continue to happen. From the Kitchen Aid fiasco during the Presidential Debate to the mishaps during Hurricane Sandy, it’s about time people controlling these accounts realize the true potential the Internet provides.

Advertisements

On a rainy day in Milwaukee, what else is there to do besides settling down in Alterra and do some studying?

I met up with my buddy Alec, and he told me about the thesis for a class presentation he was working on. Before I proceed, I have to tell you that Alec is absolutely obsessed with coffee. Not just drinking it, but literally, everything about it. Different co-ops, different roast styles, different prep methods, and he can make a mean latte with a perfect tulip in the foam.

Either way, he told me of a presentation at the 2012 Nordic Barista Cup (yes, it exists) by a man named Doug Zell, of Intelligentsia Coffee, on “Coffee Bars and the Evolution of Hospitality.” The premise is that way back when, the idea was that “the customer is always right.” Of course we all like to think that, but Doug had a different idea.

Doug’s idea is that customers should be treated like pets. Not in a derogatory sense but in the sense that there has to be the fostering of a relationship. Picture this: you come home, Fido meets you at the door, tail wagging. You greet him, petting him, telling him he’s a good boy. You reinforce healthy relationship habits to maintain that relationship with him. If you don’t, Fido will bite your hand and take a shit on your rug. And nobody wants that.

Take that same idea and apply it to brands, and you have a powerful tool to foster relationships with your audience. Of course customers have some control over the direction of your brand, but for the most part, the brands themselves need to hold the reins. At the same time, however, you don’t want it to get to the point where you have to bat customers on the head with a newspaper for bad behavior and try to reel them back in. You want to create brand loyalty and brand-customer synergy.

Let’s look at a recent example. Chic-fil-A was known as a wholesome brand. They are closed on Sundays, they call you ma’am and sir, and tell you each and every time how much of a pleasure it is to have served you. You come in, they scratch you behind the ears, and you wag your tail (and buy some delicious chicken). All was fine until last year when they donated a large amount of money to organizations that were opposed to gay rights.

That’s the equivalent of dangling a piece of bacon in front of a dog’s nose and then eating it in their face. Cue your dog biting your hand and crapping on your rug. At this point, Chic-fil-A tried to sweep the crap under the rug instead of clean it up outright.

Essentially, Doug was right. Customers not only expect an enjoyable experience when interacting with your brand, they also expect consistency. Again, your dog has no sense of time and is overly excited to see you whether it’s five minutes or five hours. We need to treat them as we would treat our furry companions, with warm respect. It only strengthens relationships and fosters brand loyalty. The customer might not always be right, but if you treat them wrong, you could end up in the dog house.

It’s a bit lengthy, but here is Doug’s 45 minute presentation.

Last week, Hanson Dodge hosted their annual PR and Social Media Summit at Marquette University. It was a day-long event featuring presentation and keynote speeches from professionals across the country.

In 2011, I was fortunate enough to attend and actually speak on a panel on Social Media and its influence on the Arts & Entertainment. This year, I was able to sit back and relax and soak up some incredible insight from some heavy hitters.

I attended 4 presentations on Instagram, Social Media and the News, a presentation by Augie Ray, and a very interesting panel that talked about Social Media and its influence in the Craft Beer community. All in all there were some great topics discussed, and I can say that I learned a lot.

 

‘Dr. Gee Ekachai on Instagram

The first presentation I attended was a very informational section on Instagram by Dr. Gee Ekachai. She spoke on the importance of the hidden gem, Instagram, for brands to connect with fans. Many people like brands on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, however, Instagram gives a “face” to the brand. People can see products, events, as well as fan-generated content without having to sift through all the nonsense.

Instagram can also be used to bridge gaps between campaigns being carried out by a brand. For example, the Father Marquette account uses many different hashtags including #MUexplore created by Tim Cigelske, later adopted by Gee for one of her classes.

Using an account familiar across campus in collaboration with a single class on campus, the hashtag instantly exploded and many students were discovering beautiful new spots on campus.

 

Social Media’s Influence on the News and Media

This panel was very interesting as well. It dug deep into the ever-evolving media rooms now know as Earth. With the explosion of social media and the interconnectedness of the world (in real time), people can now help journalists create and expand on developing news stories. However, with the newly created direct lines with journalists comes a price. People now expect to interact and experience journalists’ personalities.

We all have an online presence, and this does not exclude those who deliver news to us. It also paints a better picture of who is actually presenting this news to us.This idea also helps to develop the collective brand of media outlets. Journalists are people as much as we are, and as Kathryn Janicek puts it, “I want my people to be able to have a beer with our audience.”

However, this direct line between audience and journalists can be a double-edged sword: If a journalist has to be continuously corrected on facts, or dubious stories are abound, it can be very detrimental not only to the journalist’s credibility, but that of the overall media outlet as well. The expanse of the Internet means that facts can, and should be, checked quickly and easily.

 

Augie Ray on Social Media Bubbles

In this presentation, Augie Ray tackled some great myths of social media. It tackled whether or not we should be overly personal on social media as well as if social media is truly a marketing medium.

In the beginning, social media was meant to be, well, a social medium, but as strategies and studies on social media develop, we are finding out that sometimes it’s not the best advice. Augie urges that our tone matches our objectives. You can’t act one way online and a completely different way offline.

As far as being a marketing medium, Augie argues that if consumers are in charge, social media inherently can’t be a marketing medium. He also argues that because audience trust in TV, magazine, and radio ads are down as much as 20%, in this day and age, consumer trust is becoming a very important currency.

However, in all reality, consumers are not footing the bill. Social media needs revenue so even if you don’t click ads, you still find marketing tactics in front of you. Then what is the big relationship? Augie believes that marketers and their audience mutually create value and build relationships. Money does have to be invested into target audiences, but trying to gain the value and engagement of likes/followers can end up being neutral, or even worse, detrimental. It doesn’t matter to have a bunch of fans and followers, but it does matter how those fans engage with your brand.

 

Social Media’s Influence on the Craft Beer Community

The final panel I attended was a very interesting look at how social media ahas helped the craft beer community evolve into what it is today. What surprised me is the behind-the-scenes grassroots-eqsue effort that has gone into growing and fostering the community. Through the use of social media, breweries have adapted packaging (use of hashtags, QR codes, etc.) as well as marketing tactics to get their specialty brews out there.

The panel included representatives from Goose Island, Milwaukee Brewing Co., and a craft beer critic. Many said the use of social media helps companies announce when/where new brews will be available as well as interacting with fans to see what is a hit and what is a miss.

Overall, this day-long event can celebrate another successful year. Unfortunately, I could not attend throughout the entire day, but I’m confident that the other presentations were on point as the ones I had attended. If you have the opportunity to attend this event in coming years, I highly suggest you do as it is a great and enlightening experience.

 

The following is a list of Twitter handles for the panelists/presenters I attended:

Dr. Gee Ekachai, Diederich College of Communication, Marquette University – @FvrythingPR

Sharif Durhams, Social Media Editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – @sdurhams

Kathryn Janicek, Executive Producer, NBC Chicago Morning Show – @kathrynjanicek

Andy Tarnoff, Co-Founder and Owner, OnMilwaukee.com – @AndyTarnoff

Herbert Lowe, Diederich College of Communication, Marquette University – @herbertlowe

Augie Ray, Director of Social Media, Prudential – @augieray

Mike Thiel, Marketing, Goose Island Beer Co. – @Mike_Thiel

Emma Pohl, Milwaukee Brewing Co. – @MBCemma

Brew City, Beer Blog for MilwaukeeMag.com – @InsideBrewCity

 

Tonight is the night of the Presidential debate. It’s been a long road for both candidates, and while I particularly don’t follow politics (although I probably should), what is interesting to me is all the nit-picky discrepancies that come out during the election time.

Everyone picks sides, draws a line in the sand, and marks their territory. Politics can be a pretty rough topic to bring up among most crowds although, in this day and age, the debate floor won’t be the only place where each candidate’s campaigns square off. As with each party’s conventions and speeches by numerous people, social media activity spikes dramatically, and I won’t be surprised when the numbers for tonight’s event are calculated.

Interestingly enough, again, are the smallest details that people pull up and make into a big deal. According to Mashable, Obama has four times more LinkedIn followers than Romney, about 42,000 to about 10,000, but wait, there’s more: Obama’s 29 million fans on Facebook compared to Romney’s 8 million, as well as Obama’s 20.4 million Twitter followers compared to Romney’s 1.2 million. People are making quite a deal out of these stats, but Obama has been in the limelight much longer than Romney has so it’s not surprising.

But who the hell cares. Although a simple Google search of “Twitter” turns up some pretty interesting results.

Again, I don’t follow politics, but the pissing contest that amasses during election time is quite honestly hilarious. The debate will be interesting to watch and follow online, though. With such a connected nation (and planet for that matter), the conversation will be, well, epic. Technology has created a real-time debate floor for millions and millions of people. Sure it might be hard to sift through the clutter and shit talking within the online universe, but in all actuality, I’m confident the debate will pump out some very impressive numbers.

So throw your hat in the ring, or sit back and watch. Follow the official #debate hashtag tonight on Twitter.

Last month, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg mentioned in an interview that the social media giant was looking to develop a search engine.

Zuckerberg believes that, with the use of internet bots, he can create a search engine unlike Google (or its estranged second cousin twice removed on its mother’s father’s aunt’s side, Bing). To emulate Google’s success, Facebook would have to invest a hearty amount, and their data warehouses are a different kind of data than that found through Google searches.

Facebook users talk about movies, music, products and vacations. Essentially, the Facebook search engine could simply become a massive consumer database. The company’s social scientists are hunting for insights about human behavior. What they find could give Facebook new ways to cash in on our data—and remake our view of society.

The problem with this is obviously security and privacy. Facebook has been slapped on the wrist quite a few times for privacy issues, but this intense data mining will definitely have to be scrutinized. Now of course, President Obama’s administration unveiled it’s “Privacy Bill of Rights” which calls for giving people more control over what companies do with personal information. Some even believe that Facebook, as the world’s largest social media site, should be subjected to specific consumer protection regulations.

While the world of commerce and information gathering continues to expand rapidly, we need to take a look at what is acceptable and not acceptable information gathered on people. But where do we draw the line on what is acceptable? Age? Gender? These are basic information, but to some it’s still too much. Salary? Spending habits? It’s a matter of how we feel individually that defines what goes too far.

Some people are smart about it while others aren’t. What gets posted online is going to be there forever. We need to be careful, just as much as Facebook does, as to what information we give out, although Facebook does a good job of burying privacy settings deeper and deeper with each new reformatting.

So here I am. It’s almost 1 a.m. in Milwaukee, and I have been searching and applying for jobs since 10 p.m. This is a reoccurring theme in my life lately.

With graduation looming in the (scarily) near future, job applications become a blur. I honestly take time to step back and refocus on the goal, and in all actuality, everyone’s goal in life: Do what I love and love what I do.

It’s as simple as that. Of course I’m not going to have the ultimate dream job right out of college, but it’s still in the back of my mind. What is in the forefront is something I’ve slowly started to seriously consider. As a college grad, it can be daunting to get your foot in the door and get that first job. For me, it’s a matter of finally getting to this point.

Now before I go on, I already know that once I get a job, I’ll think, “Man, I wish I was still in college,” but all I can think of right now is, “Well college is fun, but I can’t wait to get out there and work towards something I am passionate for.” I am a marketable soon-to-be-graduate. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I’ve seen how some students coast through their four years and freak out when they can’t find a job they enjoy.

I’ve put in my hard work, my long hours, and I hate to admit it, but I’ve also kissed some asses here and there. We all have. The point I’m getting at is that as a soon-to-be-grad, the job search is a time consuming, carpal tunnel-inducing, and exhausting, but I also understand that it’s a rite of passage we all have to go through.

I’m just waiting for someone to give me the chance to bat.