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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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.

Public Relations

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.

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

Video Games are the Future of Education

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When I was young, my teachers told me video games would rot my brain. Because I was a child and video games were just emerging, I didn’t have any proof to argue with my them, so I kept my mouth shut.

Looking back, I haven’t thought about whether or not my teachers were right or wrong until I read an article written by Jacob Kastrenakes. It stated that an educational version of Minecraft is being used in schools.  This assures me that I was right and my teachers were wrong. Now the world has reached a digital age where anything we can imagine we can make real on computers. The gamification of education is proof of this.

What is Gamification?

Gamification is the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve goals with non-game purposes. It exploits the basic human desire and need for gratification.

By using video games to satisfy the users impulses that revolve around the idea of Status and Achievement, educational video games can be used to teach students while maintaining their interests. Are you still confused about what exactly gamification is? Allow me to explain with Microsoft’s latest attempt to turn Minecraft into an educational program for schools.

Microsoft recently announced that it would produce an educational version of Minecraft designed to have students explore real world places like the Pyramids of Egypt. The educational version of Minecraft isn’t too different from the original, except it is designed to go along with teacher lesson plans and show real locations. Microsoft’s use of Minecraft as an educational program is only one basic example how how video games are starting to be used to teach children in school.

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Why is it important?

There is still so much educational potential in video games yet to be uncovered. Only recently have games started to teach what many consider to be complex skills. Educational games like Minecraft are limited to very young audiences, but now there are games that can even teach complex mathematical skills. If companies can continue to create games that can teach important skills and actively engage people’s interests,  the way that school systems approach education could be revolutionized.

Need more proof? What if there was game that could teach you how to code while having fun? Well there is and it’s called CodeSpells. This is a game where people create a wizard and play in an online virtual world interacting with many other users. The game works by teaching people how to code in Java script to create the spells that their characters cast. This then rewards the user by making them more powerful in the game with the more they learn to code.

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As companies continue to find ways to teach educational skills through video games, public schools and universities will be pressured to use these tools to engage students in ways they interest them. Now that video games are being used in schools, what will be next? Perhaps companies with training programs will begin finding ways to use video games to train new employees.

– Nathan

Buy Buttons Will be Big for Brands

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As you may have or may not have noticed, buy buttons have invaded the Internet. Over the last year, many of the most popular social media companies have found ways to add commercial uses to their social platforms. Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have all added buy buttons to their websites and mobile apps. Their hope is that people will begin using their social platforms for purchasing products directly.

A new frontier is emerging, where business is integrated with social media . As a result brands and retailers will need new strategies to reach consumers in this evolving marketplace. For brands that can see the opportunity  and merge their social media platforms with commercial use, buy buttons could be the first step to getting ahead of the competition.

So, why exactly do buy buttons have so much potential? The reason is because of an explosively growing ecommerce. Over the last year, the global ecommerce has increased by over 17 percent, and is intended to skyrocket over the next few years. By 2017, ecommerce is expected to be at over $370 billion per year in revenue; it was only $220 billion in 2014. 

One significant benefit about buy buttons is the vast amount of data provided by them is easily analyzed to determine the buttons effectiveness and give data driven results. This will change the way marketers and advertisers assess the effectiveness of social media marketing. Spreadsheets can finally have dollar amounts in the “ROI” columns.

After more than six months since Pinterest first added buyable pins, reports have started to prove the effectiveness of these buttons. Early success for Pinterest has lead to an expanding number of products with buyable pins. With ecommerce becoming an exceedingly bigger market, brands who can benefit from using buy buttons on social media to sell products would be foolish not to.

So, why should your brand be using buy buttons? Because if you aren’t, you’re missing the opportunity to have your products reach your target audience directly.

– Nathan