Welcome to Chris Runyon’s Blog! A hyper-focused blog on the marketing and public relations industry. But first, lets break down the meaning of these words.

marketing |ˈmärkiti ng | noun– the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.

public relations|ˈpəblik||riˈlā sh ən| plural noun -the professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person. The state of the relationship between the public and a company or other organization or a famous person.

Both words obviously have different meanings but are constantly being used interchangeably. When it comes to brand awareness and reputation, both words have their place in a creating a successful campaign.  I try to find a variety of marketing and PR topics to bring to light. Some of these topics are current or upcoming trends, case studies that exemplify creative and innovative tactics, and even book reviews that will add on your understanding of the marketing and public relations industry. So I invite you to dig a little deeper into my blog and comment as much as possible to become a part of the conversation. Thanks for visiting.

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Mobile Marketing with QR CodesSmartphone users are taking over the population. Nielson says that 50% of Americans will have a smartphone by Christmas of 2011. The iPhone, Droid, and Blackberry are becoming deeply embedded into our every day lives. They are the true Autobots from Transformers (or Decepticons depending on how people view technology). Even the TV commercials make smartphones look like robots. Let’s be honest, having unlimited amount of information at a persons’ finger-tips makes life a little easier. So what does that mean for marketers?

Mobile Marketing : A New Channel

As print or interactive marketing mediums continue to grow and evolve, a new channel arrived in 2003, mobile phones.  Mobile marketing is the use of cell phones and other mobile devices to market a brand or message.  As businesses see an opportunity to reach their target audience, mobile marketing is starting to play a crucial role in an integrated marketing strategy. Mobile marketing is commonly used in order to generate customer opt-in databases, increase brand awareness, and drive attendance to specific events and locations. There are barriers to creating an effective mobile campaigns, including wireless carriers’ individual policies, privacy issues, and the slow growing rate of adoption of smartphones in the U.S.

5 Creative Uses of QR Codes

Here are a couple examples of how businesses have used QR codes in their marketing campaigns.  The first example, Hidden Sounds, from Leo Burnett was designed to promote alternative music label Zoo Records in Hong Kong. The marketing campaign carefully place visuals of a variety of animals, composed of download QR codes, that street walkers could take cell phone pictures of the animals and stream new music to their mobile devices instantly. This campaign resulted in sold out records, extreme street credit for Zoo Records, and the widespread dispersal of an underground sound.

1. Public Art – Zoo Records “Hidden Sound”

 

2. Temporary Tattoos          3. Stamps           4. Scavenger Hunts             5. Restaurant Glasses

      QR code stamps on dollar bills and other printed material.             Use QR Codes to Check-In with Foursquare or Facebook

QR Codes Tips & Tricks

  • When creating a mobile marketing campaign, remember that there are enormous variety of mobile phone screen sizes and memory limitations. Strive to create original content best suited to a mobile device. If the code is part of a specific marketing campaign, send viewers directly to the content they will expect based on the campaign’s call to action. Shape the path.
  • QR codes are great tools in driving customers to interact with your marketing content, but just that — a tool. Don’t get mixed up with utilizing creative tools with creating an entire marketing campaigns around them. QR codes aren’t the end all to marketing campaigns. Like social media, marketers should use these tools because they are effective, not because they are cool.
  • Use the QR code to achieve a specific marketing goal and make it worth viewers’ time to decode it. Similar to increasing “Likes” Facebook Fan Page, offer incentives to viewers like promotions, discounts, and sweepstakes.  Even sparking smartphone users’ curiosity can get them to use QR codes.
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Give your audience multiple paths by adding another response mechanism.
  •  Educate the public. Since only 50% might have smartphones, include instructions to use the code.

What is your favorite QR Code Campaign?


Switch: How To Change When Change Is HardBeing a big fan of Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick, I received their new book titled Switch as a Christmas present from my new sister-in-law. Chapter one was so good that I’m having trouble making myself not breeze through and really let these genius ideas marinate. I encourage you to read chapter one online for free. Just be ready to run out the nearest Barnes and Noble later that day.

The Heath brothers are known to drill their points with sticky stories. Go figure. But I want to highlight their main points and framework that can create change in organizations, your personal life, or even the world. So let’s dig into the key concept that the book is based around. Humans have two systems that are constantly working independently from each other. We have a emotional side and rational side. The emotional side is what I call your gut feelings that feels pleasure and pain. A persons’ intuitive instinct. Your rational side is a persons’ conscience system that analyzes situations. We need both to make good decisions.  See my pervious blog post on Gut Feelings Vs. Wikinomics Mashup: The New Traditional Way of Business for more information on why we need both. Below is a list of surprises that people normally misunderstand about change. Don’t forget to check Dan Heath’s podcast Switch For Marketers.

3 Surprises About Change

1. To change someone’s behavior, you’ve got to change their situation.  You’ve got to influence not only their environment but also their hearts and minds.

Switch uses Jonathan Haidts’ analogy of the Elephant and the Rider extracted from his book, The Happiness Hypothesis.  Our emotional side is the Elephant and our rational side is the Rider.  Heath brothers continued in writing,

Perched atop the Elephant, the Rider holds the reins and seems to be the leader. But the Rider’s control is precarious because the Rider is so small relative to the Elephant. Anytime the six-ton Elephant and the Rider disagree about which direction to go, the Rider is going to lose. He’s completely overmatched.

If the Rider and Elephant disagree, then we have a problem. Even though the Rider can temporarily get the Elephant to submit by tugging on the reins, similar to a person’s willpower, the Rider will eventually exhausted.

Self-control is an exhaustible resource.


If people exhaust their self-control then they are exhausting the mental muscles needed to think creatively and continue when frustrated or fail. These are same mental muscle a person needs to make a big change. Change is hard because people wear themselves out, not because they are lazy.

2. What looks like laziness is often exhaustion.

Of course if the Elephant isn’t motivated to change, then change isn’t going happen.  But the Rider also has to be sure in what direction to steer the Elephant or he will just lead him in circles.

3. What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity.

Knowing these three surprises of change can help tackle the switch you want to make in your life, business, or society. From a marketer point-of-view, we might want to change customers’ attitude of your company and buying habits. Below is the basic three-part framework the Heath brothers expand on throughout their book. You can also download a more detailed outline copy in PDF format here. I suggest read the first chapter or if your in rush, listen to this great podcast below. Enjoy!

Switch For Marketers Podcast by Dan Heath

[audio https://runyoncm.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/switchformarketers.mp3]

Direct the Rider. What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity. So provide a crystal-clear direction (Think 1% milk).

Motivate the Elephant. What looks like laziness is often exhaustion. The Rider can’t get his way by force for very long. So it’s crucial that you engage a persons’ emotional side —get their Elephant on the path and cooperative (Think of the boardroom conference table full of gloves).

Shape the Path. What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem. We call the situation (including the surrounding environment) the “Path.” When you shape the Path, you make change more likely, no matter what’s happening with the Rider and Elephant (Think of the effect of shrinking movie popcorn buckets).

Branding: Rise. Wash. And Repeat.

Branding. Every company seems to be going through a rebranding campaign. Marketing specialists can’t stop talking about brand.  I don’t want to add the plethora of inaccurate information or participate in spreading these murky perceptions of brand. I’m here to set it right. Companies that have a true grasp of brand and its positioning can embedded these key concepts into their marketing communication strategies. If implemented correctly, it can become what the women at Warschawski call a “Rinse. Wash. And Repeat” cycle.  It becomes a virtuous cycle, building brand strength over and over.

Brand Is Not Your Tagline And Brand Is Not Your Logo

Brand Is Not Your Tagline And It's Not Your Logo

This should have been tattooed on my forehead while at Warschawski. Taglines and logos are important supporting elements of your brand. Brand is the basic emotional experience that you want consumers to have each time they come in contact with your company, product, or service. Let’s take a look at service, specifically customer service. Excellent customer service is rare. Our daily encounter with businesses as customers is usually mediocre or poor. Excellent service is exceeding the customers’ expectations and giving them an experience of a lifetime. Companies are giving control to customers by creating dialogue via social media platforms. Scott Stratten, President of Un-Marketing, says,

Everyone is a marketer and everyone is marketing.


But no one talks about “meh” customer service.  By giving them an experience (or a story), customers are inclined to share their pleasant encounter with others. Remember stories are sticky. See my previous blog post Sticky Ideas Brings SUCCESS: Creating Unforgettable Advertisement Ideas that Stick for more sticky ideas.

Know. Like. Trust.

Customers believe information from people that they know, like, and trust.  By spreading their story, others might be more likely to try the company’s services for themselves. Make a mistake and there can be a brand disconnect. Your loyal customers might forgive you the first time, but companies should act as if every interaction is a first encounter. Like a first date, first impressions are crucial how people perceive your company, service, or product. However, even with the increase of companies leveraging social media as part of their integrated marketing communications campaign, the average person doesn’t believe news from social media platforms compared to other means of newsgathering mediums.

Edelman's 2011 Trust Barometer®Above is a chart from Edelman’s 2011 Trust Barometer®, the annual survey that gauges attitudes about the state of trust in business, government, NGOs and media across 23 countries. If we look closer at the numbers above, social media only accounts for 5% of first new source. Watch the short video overview on the key findings from the President and CEO, Richard Edelman.

 

Steve Rebul, Director of Insight at Digital Edelman, highlights an important point in the video below dealing with brand. Search engines are no longer just search engines but reputation engines.

 

Whether passionate customers, bloggers, or creditable media outlets establish your brand reputation, well-planned marketing communications campaigns have what I call by-product PR opportunities. These built-in public relations campaigns complement your marketing program and even further reinforce your brand in online or traditional print publications.

Rinse. Wash. And Repeat.

You have established your brand, developed a marketing program (that consistent with your brand values), and have a strong built-in public relations campaigns so now just Rinse. Wash. And Repeat. and watch your brand strength grow.

What is your favorite campaign that has illustrated the “Rinse. Wash. And Repeat” brand cycle?

Social Media Marketing: Return of Investment or Return of ObjectiveMarketing and communication departments are getting their hands dirty with social media. The pressure to justify and measure the advantages of social media marketing is beginning to rise. Marketers often hear upper management ask that one question: What is the ROI of social media?  But the real question should be what is the return of objective?

Objectives. Objectives. Objectives.

We have seen companies jump into social media marketing because it’s THE THING. It’s not pretty.  But it’s time to start doing social media because it’s effective, not because it’s cool. Your objectives should determine what technologies to use to accomplish your marketing goals, not vice versa.

POST

My college professor, Dr. John Guiniven, warned his students not to jump the tactics/tools (social media) before determining their specific marketing and communication objectives. We seem to get too excited that social media is a cure-all to our marketing and communication problems. Above is the Forrester’s Four Step Approach to the Social Strategy. It’s a simple yet genius POST acronym that will help get you back on track.

ROI or ROO?

Financial metrics are just one way to evaluate social marketing programs. Social media can bring a variety of advantages to organizations, both for short and long-term success. To accurately asses the impact of their social media marketing efforts, marketers must align their objectives, metrics, targets, and strategies with a “balanced scorecard“.

Social Media Balance Scorecard

A balance scorecard brings other perspectives into focus, not solely measured on financial metrics.  Dr. Robert S. Kaplan and Dr. David P. Norton’s, The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action, is a wonderful book that explains that an effective social media marketing balanced scorecard considers metrics from four different perspectives:


  • Financial: Has revenue or profit increased or costs decreased?
  • Digital: Has the company enhanced its owned and earned digital assets?
  • Brand: Have consumer attitudes about the brand improved?
  • Risk Management: Is the organization better prepared to note and respond to attacks or problems that affect reputation?

I recently read an analogy that said direct marketing is like getting the consumer wet by directing a hose and spraying water on him or her; brand marketing is a fog that constantly envelopes the consumer and gets them damp over time. You can measure the water coming out of a hose, but how do you measure fog? To properly assess your social media marketing programs, other perspectives must be accounted for when determining short and long-term success.

Now, think about the potential success when you have a clear understanding of what your company brand is from the beginning. Talk about powerful marketing. I will go a little deeper in branding in a PR stand point in my next post. Until then, take care.

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Warschawski

After an amazing and intense internship at Warschawski, I am BACK. But before I dive back into my marketing and PR posts, I wanted to share my great experience that helped me mature my marketing and PR skills.

A Little Background Info

Warschawski is a full service branding, PR, marketing, advertising and interactive agency in Baltimore, Maryland. It was named “U.S. Small Agency of the Year” four of the past five years and has won over 200 marketing communications awards in the last ten years. I was lucky enough to work for an agency that has been ranked one of the “20 Best U.S. Agencies to Work For” the last nine years in a row. With such an impressive track record, I knew there were high expectations joining a team of rock stars.

The W Experience

Right off the bat, I knew that every Warschawski team member was a BRAND expert and had clearly mastered the art marketing and public relations. The guru that trained his army to become these brand warriors was the main man himself, Mr. David Warschawski.

David is the simply the real deal. I recently was able to attend one of his seminars on how to successfully use social media in an integrated marketing communications strategy to help companies achieve their business goals and reinforce their brand. I will be expanding on some of the basic ideas in future posts. Stay Tuned!

Mission: Grow.

While interning at Warschawski as an Assistant Associate (AA), I played an important role working on client accounts, learned how and why strategic decisions are made, and actively participated in brainstorming sessions for clients. I worked on a variety of accounts, ranging from a tree top adventure company to a luxury high-end mattress company. One advantage of working at the W, I was able to get the experience and expertise of a large firm but have the personalized mentorship of a boutique agency.

My main focus during the AA program was to develop my media relation skills. DONE AND DONE. I was able to generate news and obtain media coverage that increased name recognition, credibility, and visibility for clients. While at the W, I established strong working relationships with key editors, producers, and reporters. I will be posting links to these placements in the near future.

BrandMaPR

When I wasn’t pitching to different media outlets, I was learning how to create communication campaigns that brings clarity to a company’s brand.  These integrated campaigns combine marketing strategies with PR, advertising, and creative and interactive design. Warschawski’s brand-centric and business goal-oriented model, BrandMaPR© (pronounced brand-mapper), helped me understand how companies can positively impact their bottom line and ultimately move their target audience to action. I’m only scratching the surface of an extremely intricate process. Visit W’s website for more information on their BrandMaPR© model.

So Was It Worth it?

Absolutely. Even though traffic was horrible at times (particularly my eight-hour commute during a snow storm), my experience at Warschawski was worth every minute. It was worth the average 3.75-hour commute each day, the $100 dollar gas bill each week, and the 2,480 miles I put on my car each month traveling.  Yes. I’m crazy… crazy about Warschawski. Thank you to everyone at the W. I will miss you all.

99designs:Crowd Sourcing For Companies And A Chance To Shine For DesignersIt’s tough out there in the job market now. But I think we are a little tougher. It’s been 5 months since I started applying for jobs. Looking for jobs is almost a full-time job itself. But we can always do a little extra, right? In between applying for jobs,  I’ve been helping out two local non-profits in the Washington D.C. area for the past month. I have to admit, it keeps me sane. There’s only so much house cleaning a person can do until they pass out from Clorox ™ over dose. Dance4Peace and Fairfax Symphony Orchestra have been wonderful by letting me help them out with marketing and media projects. But what if you don’t have access to local resources like that? How can you build up your portfolio?

ENTER CONTEST!

Search for contest in fields that you have interest. One part of marketing I love is designing and branding. I recently stumbled upon a website called 99designs. Similar to Groupon’s crowd-sourcing platform that I mentioned in Groupon: Bringing Deals and Business? post, 99designs is a site where designers can enter contest win clients accounts. Once the deadline is up, the company that posted the contest picks their favorite design. With more designs, the company has a better chance in finding a design that fits their needs.  We are all competing for a chance to be a rockstar. Sometimes designers just need a shot. With 99designs, it guarantees your design work will be seen. Watch this video below to see how the company XL Media logo contest brought him the perfect design.

The best part is the private feedback you get back from the company. As one project ends, another begins. So if you’re trying to have a constant To Do List, sign up for a contest and get busy. I’m starting to enter tomorrow! Now it’s your chance to shine.

Interested? Another site that you might want to check out:

Email Signatures Build Personal BrandI’m no scientist but there is one thing I have down to a science. Applying for jobs. I have a standard email draft waiting to be customized for each position and company.  Another for a more creative position. This email already has my resume, cover letter and references attached; begging to be opened and adored by potential employers. Yet the phone calls aren’t coming in. DANG IT! Then I read an article about email and personal branding. Seems like I needed to step my game up to become a front runner for each position (specially in communications/marketing and media industry).

Email:

Create an email signature. Have your brand incorporated into to signature so people can immediately associate you with your work. Show off your personal logo at the bottom followed by all the ways to stay connected: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, blog, Flicker, or YouTube channel, ect. Don’t forget the basics. Include your name, tag-line or job title, your work mailing address (optional), email, and phone number. I tried using WiseStamp and failed. Many people are successful.

It must have been me.

So I created my own using a great site Social Media Icons for your Email Signatures where it gives all online icons and a web address to easily insert icon with a Gmail account (and I’m guessing other email servers). To insert an image you just put in the URL of each icon when you click the image button. Then link each image to the the right website. Example: Twitter icon to your Twitter home page. Easy right?  I recommend using 16X16 pixel images if for some reason the site doesn’t have your social networking icon. This was the case for my online portfolio network, Behance.  Here is my email signature.

Email Signature

Simple and sleek. And that’s just what you want. Having an email signature is a blessing for those looking at your work. Instead of searching and digging for your information, they know they have it all right there in one place. For most hiring managers and HR employees, it’s all about convenience.  Let’s make it easy for them. Not to mention, email signatures have more of a professional look. This can potentially transfer over to more followers, phone calls, and connections.

Put it this way, it won’t hurt your brand.