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Archive for March, 2015

Brand Awareness & Selfies

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Around the world, about 1 million selfies are taken daily – particularly amongst the younger generation. But when it comes to taking selfies on behalf of a marketing initiative, does the obsession translate?

Brands are struggling to connect with the millennial generation, of which, 84% claim that they “do not like nor trust all forms of advertising.” As such, brands are forced to reevaluate and suggest other ideas to try to attract the elusive audience. There is no point spending advertising dollars in front of a reluctant viewer, so instead of reaching out to mega-celebrities for endorsements, brand marketers are turning to their own customers on lower-cost platforms in a bid for success. Using social media to capitalize on free, user-generated content to drive engagement and sales, brands are asking their customers to be brand ambassadors through #hashtagged selfies. But does this tactic work?

Over the past year, more brands have tried to incorporate selfies in their marketing campaigns. Ellen DeGeneres’ Samsung Galaxy selfie at last year’s Academy Awards helped fuel some of the buzz for the marketing tactic and Dove, AXE, Aerie and Pantene are just a few of the brands who have implemented selfies in their campaigns.

Survey Monkey conducted a study to explore surveyors’ perceptions of selfie campaigns. While nearly three out of four respondents said that an ad company that included selfies would not prompt them to buy a product, over 50% of respondents thought selfie campaigns were actually effective.

Not all brands should adapt hashtags and selfies in their marketing plans just because they seem to be a global sensation. There is no denying that brands have achieved significant success from their campaigns, but for many brands, it simply wouldn’t work for every product, messaging and target audiences.

Never lose sight of your foundational brand messaging when considering new marketing strategies. It’s easy to fall into the trap of ‘everybody else is doing it,’ but it is far better to be the outlier, than it is to have a drop in sales because of a poorly designed campaign for your business.

Ann Keeling says:

Millennials are a generation that’s, well, obsessed with themselves. I’m not saying every single person who falls into the Millennial generation, but as a whole they do tend to be a very narcissistic generation. Studies suggest that the Millennial generation is the most likely to live at home and/or return home if the “real world” doesn’t work out, or to save money to buy a house, etc; to wait to get married and to have children – if they ever do. Our society, in fact, will suffer from under-population in the coming decades because of this generation’s decision not to reproduce. So I guess there’s a reason why selfies are all the rage these days….

Puzzle Pieces

Friday, March 27th, 2015

B:W exterior architectural shot

Blocks of concrete, compositionally complete.

Shot on an iPhone by Jon Keeling. 

Growing Pains

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Public relations employment has increased 9.2% from January 2014 to January 2015; that’s approximately 5,000 new workers in the field in the US. This growth correlates to the decreasing area of print — magazines and newspapers. Magazines saw a 5% decrease in employment from the year before, falling below 100,000 employees.

While public relations was once focused on getting the attention of editors, writers and broadcasters, PR has become multi-faceted encompassing a variety of responsibilities. Since the traditional media environment is changing so rapidly, public relations has been forced to do the same. This means public relations not only has to embrace digital channels, such as blogs, social media, webinars, etc. and strategize accordingly – but also become content creators. Public relations teams not only pitch the story, but often develop the content as newsrooms diminish in size.

Public relations isn’t the only field adapting to a changing print industry; other major changes in media and communications include growth in both advertising and graphic design. In 2013, advertising employment surpassed printing employment for the first time in history. Media, as we know it, is transforming in front of our eyes. Being part of the industry means adapting to and staying ahead of all of the changes and trends to ensure that you are not only providing the best services, but protecting your company and career. 

Ann Keeling says:

PR today requires that anyone who works in the field can do it all – strategize, write/develop content and be great at media relations. Long gone are specialist positions. Most client budgets just don’t allow for it. If you are currently on the media side and seek to move to the PR side, being prepared to for ‘baptism by fire’ is critical.

The Race to the White House – c/o Public Relations

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

With less than 20 months until a new President of the United States of America will be elected, vying candidates are preparing to make their official entrance into the 2016 presidential race. While speculations have been made regarding political high rollers like Hillary Clinton, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and others, Ted Cruz is the only politician to make his candidacy declaration for either major party.

Reuters reported last week that U.S. Senator Rand Paul will declare his candidacy on April 7, as confirmed by members of Rand’s team. There is a great deal that goes into consideration when making such a political announcement…and a lot rides on significant involvement from public relations professionals. While many of these candidates have been campaigning and fundraising for months – perhaps even years – a lot more is at stake when a candidate goes public with their political desire. There is a very precise time and place for an official announcement to be made and high public opinion ratings are necessary. For example, for Hillary Clinton to make her declaration to enter the 2016 Presidential race now, would not be a smart move as her email debacle has prompted negative sentiments beyond party boundaries.

Over the next few months as politicians enter the most public political competition in the world, there is a great deal that can be learned from a public relations and marketing perspective. Timing, key messaging, event coordination, crisis management, media relations and monitoring public opinion all play a significant role for a presidential campaign to be successful. These public relations practices hold equal importance for promotional & informative campaigns in any business, and when properly implemented can help bolster a person’s or company’s image.

Ann Keeling says:

Those who are considering presidential candidacy likely have been in the political arena for a good portion of their career, so they understand how the game is played. Any candidate, whether experienced in the pitfalls and intricacies of politics, or not, needs to be prepared for every minute of the life they’ve lived so far to be public knowledge. Even the smallest life error or the most innocent of situations can be twisted against a candidate and be a cause for questioning a candidate in the minds of voters.

Artistic light.

Friday, March 20th, 2015


Ethereal and sculptural, light that’s functional but designed to appeal to our innate sense of beauty.

Shot on an iPhone by Clare Whitaker.