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Archive for April, 2015

When School Recruiting Isn’t Just for the Admissions Team

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Public relations and strategy consultants have been a rarity for many public entities, particularly K-12 public schools – but desperate circumstances have made them a purposeful investment. School districts are realizing that if they want to retain and grow market share, they need to embrace modern marketing strategies.

Throughout the generations, the number of communities with school age children has steadily decreased. Now it is not unusual for many districts to have fewer than 30% of households with children in public schools. With parents no longer as the core constituency and a higher competition from charter and private schools – school districts have had increasing challenges winning tax levies. This has prompted school boards to implement more proactive marketing tactics to explain their value to the broader community.

Public relations can help school districts collect and analyze public opinion. This level of analyzing and counseling to the school board and administrators can then be utilized in the development and implementation of communication programs to better meet the target goals and objectives of the district. A successful marketing strategy will translate into more awareness amongst the district, helping the community understand the resources of the institution, and, in turn, the importance of financially supporting the school system.

Ann Keeling says:

Whether public or private, schools all need to invest in marketing communications. Many private schools have larger challenges than public schools, given that they depend on mostly private/individual funds to cover operational costs. Now more than ever K-12 schools are in competition with each other and if they choose to bury their heads in the sand, they likely won’t be around long.

The Business of Funny.

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Last week, Piehole discussed the success of Netflix, commending the company for its unique focus on original programs as a way for the company to continue its success in the media space. But, thanks to a conflict on the set of one of Netflix’s upcoming productions, reputation for the stellar programming could be tarnished. Nine American Indian actors cast to star in the satirical film, The Ridiculous Six, walked off the set, criticizing the script and other elements of the movie.

One of the actors, Loren Anthony, explained that the “producers ignored their concerns about [the film’s] portrayal of Apache culture and the inappropriate use of props.” He, along with eight other actors, followed through on their threat to quit, complaining that that the stereotypes, offensive names and scenes disrespected Native American religious practices.

The film is the first of several projects directed by Adam Sandler, who signed on to work with Netflix this past fall. Spokespeople for Netflix have reported that Adam Sandler’s movies are some of the most popular movies amongst their viewers, and have come out in support of the production. In a statement, Netflix reports “The movie has ridiculous in the title for a reason: because it is ridiculous. It is a broad satire of Western movies and the stereotypes they popularize, featuring a diverse cast that is not only part of – but in on – the joke.”

Well, when nine of your actors leave and report their discontent to the Associated Press, it doesn’t sound like they’re in on, nor want any part of, ‘the joke.’ While this might be the first time such an incident has happened to Netflix, it’s definitely not the first time this has been a problem in the movie industry, most infamously with Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder. Controversy can sometimes be a good thing, but there is a fine line between satire and cultural disrespect. It’s true that not every crisis can result in happy parties on both sides of the conflict, but it seems as though Netflix is belittling the concerns of the Native American actors. Due to the lack of considerate messaging for the injured party, it seems unlikely a team of expert public relations or communication professionals were involved – or if they were, how low are the blows that are still deemed ‘acceptable’ for business?

Ann Keeling says:

I’m all for creative freedom. While I don’t have the specifics of what offended the native American actors, from an outside perspective it does seem as though perhaps Netflix didn’t realize what it was getting into. If the actors are offended, what will other native Americans or people in general think ?

Cult following.

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Goudy building facade in Barcelona

The vibrancy of design with color, shape, texture — a structure comes alive.

Shot on an iPhone by Jon Keeling. 

Viral multichannel campaigns – do they work?

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

If you happened to watch any YouTube videos in the past week, more likely than not an advertisement for horror flick Unfriended made an appearance. The movie focuses on the life of a high school student who watches an unseen stalker terrorize and kill her friends while she views from a Skype call. With a technology-communication convergence, it is not surprising that a viral marketing campaign was incorporated as the primary marketing initiative.

The movie premiered this past weekend and placed third behind Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and Furious 7. While third place isn’t particularly applause worthy, Unfriended made six times its production budget – and that’s from just one weekend. While 75% of the opening weekend audience was under 25, it’s safe to say Unfriended was still a success…and viral marketing had a big role to play.

Viral marketing won’t work for every campaign, but there is no denying that traditional advertising is changing and viral marketing campaigns can’t be ignored. It might be working now for the young Millennial and Generation Z segment, but it won’t be long before that transcends the youth demographic.

Ann Keeling says:

Ann Keeling is traveling. Her commentary will return next week.

House of Cards and Netflix’s winning marketing strategy

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Last week Netflix told investors that in the months ahead the media streaming service will be focusing more of its marketing efforts on promoting its original programs, instead of the site and its services as had been the priority in previous years.

Netflix has succeeded in its first wave of marketing promotion – spreading awareness of its brand. Now as a household name, Netflix is reimagining its strategy to be certain they are targeting their customers most effectively. Even with new competitors entering the market like HBO, Amazon and Sony, Netflix’s marketing strategy involves a decreased the amount of advertising spend in the U.S. While it might seem quite counterintuitive for the network to cut back its traditional advertising dollars, Netflix has a winning marketing strategy in mind – one that is keeping the service ahead of its direct market contributors, while also making it even more challenging for the rest of the traditional media industry to keep up.

Netflix has been moving its marketing dollars internationally where it is less of a household name and transforming its domestic spend to the digital space. In the U.S., Netflix’s marketing efforts will highlight its original, network exclusive programs like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. These shows have faced unprecedented success, having prompted many nonmembers to subscribe, while also keeping those subscribers hooked on the service. To keep this energy and excitement alive, Netflix will focus on adding more original programs; an area that other streaming services haven’t been able to duplicate similar success. These programs will be primarily communicated to viewers across the digital space, better separating Netflix from the traditional television networks and reaching its viewers on their platform of choice.

This is an excellent example of how business development and marketing teams can work together to better and more efficiently develop and implement strategies to grow their core business and reach key objectives.

Ann Keeling says:

Ann Keeling is traveling. Her commentary will return next week.