Brands Going Green

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Lately there has been a noticeable trend in brands going green. After recently working on a project about Patagonia, I found myself wondering when this shift toward eco-friendly brands occurred. More so, I wanted to know and why brands started doing this.For a few years now, brands started making efforts to highlight philanthropic and eco-friendly efforts made by the company. Some people might be naive enough to think that this is because brands want to make the world a better place, but they have another agenda.

Some people like Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, truly do set out with a mission to make the world a better place. Some communication professionals noticed that companies like Patagonia were able to reach niche audiences who value the environment, and as a result companies started capitalize on this eco-friendly trend.The Millennial generation is the key reason brands are making this shift. Studies have shown that people from the millennial generation will buy brands that do things to impact the world. This generation is founded on the idea that everyone can make a difference. Because of this, people have made a conscious shift in the products the buy and the brands they support.

With all the proof of how damaging some companies are to the environment, companies that emphasize green initiatives are able to positively appeal the consumers desire to make a difference. It interesting to see how some brands have adopted green initiatives to attract desired target audiences.

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Zappos is Creating a National Holiday

 

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Brilliant! That’s the one word came to my mind when I read about what Zappos is trying to do. After reading an article by David Gianatasio, about Zappos letting its employees stay home on leap day. Not just that, but Zappos has also created an organization called “change.org” which has created a petition to get leap day declared as a federal holiday. It seemed almost comical that a brand hadn’t already come up with this idea.

It isn’t unheard of to create new holidays, for example, Mother’s Day was created in 1908 and Father’s Day in 1910. Many people think Hallmark has been one of the leading companies in creating holidays since their business revolves around it. Considering we celebrate days that come around every year, its surprising to notice that we don’t celebrate a day that only comes around every four years.

This movement says a lot about Zappos as a brand, specifically because it shows the people that Zappos wants to make the customers happy. Nowhere in Zappos campaign messaging suggests that Zappos is trying to advertise its brand as a product. Instead Zappos is using this opportunity to create something that that everyone would enjoy and as a result creates positive association between the brand and consumer happiness.

This campaign is a win-win situation for the company. If the holiday were to succeed it would bring massive amounts of attention to itself. It would also have the opportunity to brand the holiday as brought to you by Zappos since it would be responsible for the holiday existing. Alternatively, if the holiday isn’t successful in being recognized, at least the campaign generated massive amounts of public awareness and demonstrated to the public what kind of a company it is.

Presentation Skills are Crucial for Careers

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As I reach the end of the term, I find my courses requiring me to create three presentations. I remember when I first started pursuing an education in advertising, Deb Morrison once said in a lecture, that becoming a powerful presenter was one of the most important skills you could have in life. I find this increasingly true as I begin to search for a career where I will be pitching my ideas and work.

Forbes recently published an article with the headline, “New Survey: 70% Say Presentation Skills Are Critical For Career Success”. This has me thankful that I was able to take a class aimed strictly at making me a better presenter. A few years ago, when Deb told the class this, I raced to take advantage of her advice.

I was lucky enough to be blessed with the opportunity to have learned from the amazing Mark Lewis, may he rest in peace. One of the best classes I have ever taken was his “Presentation skills” course. Because of this, I am writing this in tribute to him, just four months after I finished his class, he unfortunately passed. He will be remembered by the lives he touched and the knowledge he imparted.

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Photo taken from Mark Lewis’s old Website, Laughing Moon Productions

Mark taught me not only how to become better at presenting, but also what makes a good and memorable presentation. The knowledge I’m sharing isn’t my original thought but rather a reiteration of what mark taught me. The structure to use when creating a presentation is: “Tell them what you’re going to tell them,” “Tell them,” “Tell them what you told them.”

I know this might seem simple or even repetitive for a presentation, but there is science behind this. This structure relies on the psychology of persuasion using the primer of consistency. To sum up what some people have devoted their lives to researching, people require consistency to be persuaded by others. Even if a presentation isn’t mean to be persuasive, you are still trying to persuade your audiences to listen to your information. So it’s a battle with the listener’s attention.

Psychologists have proven that it takes 3-5 times for a information to be fully absorbed. By addressing this scientifically proven factor, presentations are much more engaging and the information fully absorbed. Let me break down the structure. When you, “Tell them what you’re going to tell them you are giving them a primer to your information so that they are ready to hear your information. The Next step when you actually, “tell them” is the second time giving them the majority of the information making it on the forethought of their minds. Lastly, when you “tell them what you told them” you are hitting on the persuasion primer of consistency.

The below image is a sheet he passed out in course. I found it while cleaning and I felt like Indiana Jones in “The Raiders of the Lost Ark” when he find the artifact. As Indiana Jones gave it to the museum in the film, I want to share it with the public and anyone who wants to take advantage of it.mark lewis

Engaging the Audience

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I’ve been thinking about audience engagement a lot lately. Mainly due to that fact that it’s a key strategy I’m using in an advertising campaign for Copper River salmon. There are so many brands trying to reach desired target audiences today that it’s easy for brand messages to drown out each other. Because of all the companies trying to reach the same targets, audience engagement is becoming an increasingly important tactic used by advertising and public relations professionals.

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A perfect example of a PR campaign that relied on audience engagement was the ALS association’s ice bucket challenge. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you’ve been living under a rock. But for those of you who don’t know about this, the ALS association created a PR campaign to raise awareness and donations for ALS research. The campaign utilized celebrities to challenge people through video PSAs on television. This campaign was awarded as one of the top ten PR stunts of 2014. It was through the use of audience engagement that led to this campaign’s success. By challenging the public to create challenge videos, there was so much user generated content that everyone was participating.

Advertising

In 2014 Starbucks launched a white cup contest where people across the country were given the opportunity to draw their best design on Starbucks cups for a chance to be selected as a template for a special edition cup featured at all Starbucks across the nation. Customers were asked to draw a design on the white cup and submit a photo online. By engaging with Starbucks’ customers and letting them create the new design, this advertising campaign achieved a great amount of success. In the end, over 4,000 people submitted designs in just a three-week span. This campaign was designed to engage with the audience so that customers would know that Starbucks greatly values customer feedback.

Apple Refuses the FBI

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As everyone should already be aware, there was a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California on Dec. 2, 2015. During this attack, 14 people were killed and 22 were seriously injured. This mass shooting and attempted bombing on American soil has people fearing for their continued safety.

After the shooting, the FBI demanded that Apple create a backdoor into the shooter’s IPhone to retrieve information about the attack, but Apple refused. This has created a battle between the FBI and Apple, which has been going on for a couple months now. Eventually, the FBI was granted a federal court order requiring Apple to assist the FBI in retrieving data from the phone.

I bet you’re thinking, “no company would be foolish enough to refuse a court order from a federal judge.” Well you’d be wrong. After reading an article by Clare Lane, I learned that Apple not only continuously refused to comply with this order but the CEO stands by its decision. So why is Apple refusing to help the FBI?

The truth is that Apple already proposed four different ways to recover the information without requiring doing as the FBI demanded and building a backdoor into the IPhone. Apple even sent some of its best engineers to assist the FBI. It was then that the engineers discovered that the suggestions to recover the information were no longer possible. The key reason was that the FBI’s attempts to decrypt the phone before asking for help from Apple reset the phone, making it nearly impossible to access the information without a backdoor. Apple announced that the FBI messed up and Apple was refusing to comply with the court order to create a backdoor.

Apple’s reasoning behind not creating a backdoor is due to the catastrophic possibilities it could have. Although the government says that this backdoor would only be used to access this one phone, Apple explains that this would jeopardize the security of all IPhone. By creating a one backdoor, it could easily be modified and applied to any other IPhone.

We already know for a fact that the government invades our privacy; this was made publicly aware in 2013 by the Snowden leaks. Apple stands by its decision to not create a backdoor not only because of how the government could abuse it, but also because of the risk it poses to all of Apples customers.

 

 

The Possibilities of Virtual Reality

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To some people virtual reality still seems like science fiction, but the fact of the matter is, that it is here and it’s just going to grow in popularity. There are many companies investing billions of dollars into the virtual reality industry with Oculus Rift in the lead. What these companies see that many people might not is the applicability of virtually reality to their businesses.

Virtual reality will allow brands to actively engage the target audience in an immersive ways that have never been done before. I predict that Virtual reality will be the next significant medium to advertising and public relations, and I am not alone. Facebook acquired Oculus Rift because they too see the potential.

Virtual reality is just around the corner but there are simplified types of it like what is in the marketplace today. The most basic ways of achieving virtual reality-like effects started Google’s use of phones as a virtual reality screen. Although virtual reality is just an expensive luxury right now, in five to ten years from now it will be much cheaper and as such many people will buy it. Once virtual reality has been adopted into mainstream media, it will be a valuable medium for advertisers to use to engage the target audience. Additionally public relations professionals will be able to expand brand content.

The applications of virtual reality are endless. As I mention in one of my previous post, gamification is currently trending into mainstream education. Once virtual reality is adopted and gamification is applied, education could be revolutionized. Instead of students just learning basic things, they would be applying them in virtual simulations. Right now students go to school to take tests, but virtual reality would offer a completely new way to teach the next generations.

-Nathan

Job Search: Distinguishing Yourself

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It need not be said that technology plays a significant role in our lives, but it is important to understand how vital it is to your career. This hardest thing for most people to figure out today is, how do we show employers our capability and willingness to learn and apply new technologies.  Lauren Johnson wrote an article about using Snapchat to land a job and I felt motivated to share the three tips that I see as crucial. However they will that when used together, I see as crucial to standing out when trying to snag a job.

1. Research, Research, Research

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Before all else, Research is the most important thing you can do. Since I am a planner and strategist so it’s easy for me to say that research is key. The truth is that employers and professionals are looking for people who will go above and beyond the average person. It says a lot about you when you have deeply research the companies you are applying to.

It says even more so when you have gone out of your way to discover the skills they deeply desire and acquire them. An example of this would be, finding a job opening at a new agency and you research the desired skills for that position. You see that this company could use all the skills you have but they also want someone who knows basic graphic design and adobe creative suite skills. Which leads to the next tip/step.

2. Learn Tangible Skills

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It’s not enough to just research the skills that these companies want, if you want to work there, you need to go out of your way to learn the unique skills that will set you apart. There are dozens of online tutorial sites that can teach you virtually everything that you need to know to actually acquire tangible skills.

Knowing industry information isn’t as important in the digital age what with search engines acting like a digital memory. What employers want in new hires now are applicable skills that can be applied and used to perpetuate the company. This means learning skills like the Adobe Suite, Final Cut pro, Microsoft Office, and much more will be a critical component to distinguishing yourself from competing applicants.  So once you take the time to learn the skill you’d think that would be enough, right? Wrong. This leads to the final step

3. Create personal project

Once you actually learn these skills, it isn’t enough to just say you have them. If you go into an interview tell the person interviewing you that you have skills in adobe creative cloud, you better be able to back that up. Which brings up the importance of personal projects. So many people get in this mindset that they only have to do things that are assigned to them.

Personal projects require you to be intrinsically motivated because there is no point to what you are doing other than to fulfill the goal you set for yourself. These are important because they allow you to develop your skills into physically or digitally produced items. It will be these projects that you can actually show during your interviews to set you apart.

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Personal projects prove that you have not only researched what the company wants, but also you have learned the skills they desire and physically produced something to prove it. This goes above and beyond what more people do to apply for a job.

-Nathan