Hey, listen!

This blog is a response to chapter 5 of the groundswell textbook called “listening to the groundswell” for my MARK4474 course.

A wise fairy once told me, “Hey, listen!” This fairy was Navi of course from the Legend of Zelda series. I did not hear this once, but multiple times. The shrill piercing voice of Navi can easily be recalled from memory.

What wise words of wisdom they were! Listening is an important talent to have. Yes, I’m calling it a talent, as many people don’t know how to listen – most people just know how to talk.

Many people can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk? Many companies may think that they can and currently are. But are they really?

A really interesting point from the textbook that caught my attention was,

Marketers tell us they define and manage brands. Some spend millions, or hundred of millions, of dollars on advertising… We bought this brand, they say. We spent on it. We own it.

Bull.

Your brand it whatever your customer says it is” (Li & Bernoff, 2008, pp. 78).

Companies can spend as much money as they want trying to shape who they are, but when it comes down to it, what people think of a company’s brand is what is really is. A brand can be really convincing, but if the company doesn’t hold up their end of the deal, then that vision shatters.

The Alberta Motor Associations brand is “practically family”. AMA is there for your when you need them – they “save the day” rescuing when you’re stranded on the side of the road because your car broke down, or slid into a ditch in the winter time. And they’re also there for you for a lot of other things – from insurance to travel, and rewards to driver education.

I did some listening of my own for AMA, and here is what I found:

  • Googling “Alberta Motor Association sucks” revealed a blog from a couple years ago that had a chart comparing the different roadside assistance options. The blog itself was fair, but in the comments there was a disgruntled customer. However there were also many positive comments about AMA. The second listing on Google was a comment on the AMARewards portal sucked, as the member wanted to be able to take advantage of it in-store and not online.
  • Googling “Alberta Motor Association is great” showed multiple happy customer reviews on Yelp.
  • Taking a quick peak at the Alberta Motor Association Facebook page showed there are many positive wall posts made by people, and very few negative.
  • Searching for the Alberta Motor Association on Twitter didn’t pull up much besides some new articles and posts from the AMA twitter account.

Do people think that AMA is practically family? Well, a lot of people are thankful that AMA was there for them when they need it – especially for roadside assistance. AMA definitely has the opportunity to work with vendors that provide professional tools to help them listen, and set up private communities so they can gain more insight onto what their members are thinking. AMA can use this information to help change and adapt so they are viewed in the light they desire.

Listening is great skill that everyone needs to use and practice. Any relationship – whether it be husband and wife, friends, or a company and their customers, requires listening so they understand one another. Check out the video below to learn about how Ford uses social media to listen to their customers.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

-B.


Bibliography

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2008). Groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business Press

Advertisements

The Social Technographics Profile

This blog is a response to chapter 3 of the groundswell textbook called “the social technographic profile.”

This chapter talked about how people participate in the groundswell. For the uniformed, the groundswell is, “a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations” (Li & Bernoff, 2008, p. 9).

In order to analyze the activities in the groundswell, we can look at the social technographics profile.

The social technographics profile includes the following groups:

  • Creators: these people publish blogs, upload YouTube videos, and create content that other people can view and share on the internet
  • Critics: similar to a movie critic, these people post comments on videos and blogs, rate things, and post reviews of product/services online
  • Collectors: like their name suggests, they collect things. In this case though, they collect URLs/webpages/images and do this by using the bookmarks feature in their browser, or other websites that help facilitate this
  • Joiners: people that join and update their social media sites
  • Spectators: also known as “lurkers” on parts of the internet. These people consume what everyone else produces – whether it is original content from creators or comments from critics
  • Inactives: nonparticipants. Yes, they exist (Li & Bernoff, 2008, pp. 43 – 45).

Using Forrester’s Social Technographic tool, I looked at a target market of people ages 35-44 that lived in Canada. The target market I had listed in my first activity for AMA was quite broad, so I decided to narrow it down. I did two versions – male and female, as I was curious what the differences would be.

1

(Forrester Research, Inc., 2012)

2

(Forrester Research, Inc., 2012)

Taking a look at this data, males ages 35-44 are more likely to be creators, critics, collectors and spectators when compared to females of the same age. In contrast, females are more likely to be joiners. The amount of inactives is relatively close. This really surprised me! When looking at the indexes, females aged 35-44 are more likely to be joiners when compared to all adults and males are more likely to be creators.

(Alexa Internet, Inc., 2014)

(Alexa Internet, Inc., 2014)

Using the tool that is provided by Alexa, I looked up ama.ab.ca and found that the website ranks 5,935 in Canada, with a majority of its visitors located in Canada as well (Alexa Internet, Inc., 2014). The audience demographics for AMA’s website are more skewed towards females, with no college education and somewhat to those with a college education. The most popular browsing location for this website is from home. This does surprise me a bit, as I definitely thought that our audience’s demographics would have a higher education. However, if our audience is mostly females, with no college education and they’re browsing from home – maybe they are a stay at home mom? However, the confidence rating on this data is low, so I am not sure how accurate it is.

To wrap up this blog, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at myself and think of what I am compared to what the Forrester tool states for social technographics profile. And I gotta say, they hit the nail on the head.

(Forrester Research, Inc., 2012)

(Forrester Research, Inc., 2012)

I definitely am a joiner (I am on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc, etc.) and on all of those websites I spectate, posting occasionally (a bit of a creator) and responding sometimes (a bit of a critic).

Thanks for reading! 🙂

-B.


Bibliography

Alexa Internet, Inc. (2014). Alexa. Retrieved June 7, 2014, from http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/ama.ab.ca

Forrester Research, Inc. (2012). What’s The Social Technographics Profile Of Your Customers? Retrieved June 7, 2014, from Empowered: http://empowered.forrester.com/tool_consumer.html

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2008). Groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business Press.

MMOs are Social Media?

Hello Internet,

As a part of my Social Media Marketing Class (Mark474) at NAIT, I’ll be writing a blog each week! 🙂

This blog is in response to an article called, “Users of the world, unite! The challenges of opportunities of Social Media” by Andreas M. Kaplan and Michael Haenlein.

Something that definitely piqued my interest was the classification of virtual game worlds as social media – I guess it just never occurred to me. Now, I played World of Warcraft (WoW) from Grade 11 to my first year in college (I quit before Mists of Pandaria), and I’ve always thought of massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs) as just that – video games!

According to this Wikipedia article:

Social media is the interaction among people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.

So by this definition, MMORGs like WoW are considered social media…?

The picture below is an old one from “back in the day” with a few guild members which I guess could also be called a virtual community. We interacted with one another; we talked, we raided, we helped each other out. BAMMO! That sounds just like the definition! Case closed, MMORPGs are social media.

ImageHowever, I personally think the definition is a bit to broad.

Similarities & Differences:

I can see how a virtual social world like Second Life can be considered social media because that’s what it was meant for – socializing. But MMORPGs are just so much more than socializing – it’s about grinding levels or gear, progressing in game and reaching different achievements. Not to mention, you don’t even have to be social. Some MMORPGs, like World of Warcraft, have a tool that helps you find other people to queue with for dungeons, etc. – no socialization required.

On the other hand, if you want to be social in MMORPGs you can add friends, block people, join a guild, have a conversation… Sounds a bit like Facebook, right? (But the guild would be a “group” instead.)

Both MMORPGs and social media are also similar though, in the sense that people want to do well or achieve something. On Twitter, you want to gain more followers and popularity, on Facebook you want your status updates to get tons of likes and in MMORPGs you want to gain more skill, gear and achievements so you are seen as “better”. Everyone loves getting rewarded, and both social networking websites and MMOs deliver that. Lots of people use social media for “bragging rights”.

Another similarity between MMORPGs and social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, is that they are very customizable. People want their profile or avatar to reflect who they are in a good light. Whether it’s having an amazing profile picture or having the best looking gear in the game, it’s essentially the same thing. People that use these mediums want to out their best face forward.

One of the main differences that I see between MMORPGs and social networking sites like Facebook and microblogs like Twitter, is that you have companies actively trying to engage you and get your attention. Maybe this is why my brain says, “NO! MMORPGs aren’t social media!” Maybe this is also a huge opportunity that is being missed by companies? … Who knows? Virtual game worlds have a high social presence and media richness, allowing for them to be a powerful medium.

As a gamer, I’m always going to think of MMORPGs as just games, but there are definitely many parallels between them and today’s popular social media platforms. This article on Mashable does a good job of explaining them! 🙂

-B.

What did I do this summer?

Hello! Yes, I’m alive. 🙂

Since I haven’t blogged all summer I thought I would do a “master blog” and talk about it all in one post! Get comfy folks, this is going to be a long one…

1. Completed my marketing diploma!

Due to credit transfers and all that jazz, I had to take two courses during the spring semester (May/June) to finish my diploma in marketing! I completed both the Business Law and Management Information Systems courses. Out of the two, I’d have to say Business Law was a lot more interesting and I learned a lot! I received my diploma in the mail with honors – go me! 😀

2. Watched a bunch of movies in theaters.

There were so many good movies out this summer! Me and my boyfriend love going to the movies together, and pigging out on popcorn. Don’t judge! This summer we watched:

–          Iron Man 3

–          Star Trek Into Darkness

–          Man of Steel

–          Great Gatsby

–          The Internship

–          The Heat

–          Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

–          City of Bones

A few movies we wanted to see but didn’t get the chance to include: This Is The End, Kick Ass 2 and Pacific Rim. World War Z would have been cool to see too, but I wanted to read the book first!

Other movies I look forward to include Enders Game, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Thor: The Dark World, The Book Thief, The Hobbit pt. II, Divergent, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spiderman II. Maybe I’ll also see Gravity if I am brave enough…

I absolutely love that all the books I read while I was in Jr./Sr. high have been and are being turned into movies! I also love seeing comic books come to life as well!

Henry Cavill is a hunk!

3. Attended Otafest in Calgary!

Otafest was my first “con” of any kind. It was awesome seeing people dressed up as their favorite video game and anime characters. It also made me really wish I brought my Sailor Venus outfit to cosplay in! Oh well, maybe next year.

There was a bunch of vendors, and so much stuff that I wanted to buy! In the end, I opted for Espeon and Umbreon plushies for my brother and sister as a gift. I only went for one day, so I only saw a few panels. My favorites were “Steampunk 101” and “A Brief History of Video Games”.

Image

Amazing Shana cosplay from Legend of the Dragoon at Otafest!

I really wish I could afford to go to San Diego Comic Con or another huge convention! SOME DAY! For now, I’ll live with just going to The Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo this September.

4. Went camping with the family.

When I visited my family for a bit, we went camping somewhere outside of Bonnyville. They have a nice lot with their trailer and trees surrounding it on top of a hill.

It really isn’t summer, if I don’t go camping. When I lived in my hometown, most of my summer was spent in the outdoors, camping. Nothing beats cooking and eating food outdoors, or eating s’mores around the campfire. Mmmm.

5. Used my taste buds to explore Taste of Edmonton.

It was delicious. From The Three Amigos Authentic Mexican Restaurant, I had a burrito norteno with a side of rice, which was delicious with just the right amount of spice. I was REALLY disappointed that they didn’t have churros as advertised. I really wanted one. The freshly squeezed lemonade from Lemon Heaven was DIVINE. I then continued to spend the rest of my tickets on deserts (mostly). I grabbed a chocolate crêpe from The Creperie and a chocolate lava cake with raspberry sorbet from Hong Kong Bakery. Since I had a few leftover tickets, I also tried their green onion cakes, which were good too. I didn’t eat anything that I didn’t like, so I’d say it was a success going there. 🙂

Image

Chocolate lava cake with raspberry sorbet from Hong Kong Bakery. Trés cute!

6. Had my wisdom teeth removed.

When I went to the dentist last year, they told me in about a year I would need my wisdom’s removed or my teeth would start to crowd. Low and behold, exactly a year later they start to ache. So, I decided to get them out – I didn’t want my front teeth to crowd and they had already begun to a bit.

I have never had surgery before, and was a bit anxious beforehand but overall, it wasn’t terrible. I remember them sticking the needle in my hand and thinking, “I don’t even feel drowsy.” Then, nothing. I was out cold. I don’t even remember waking up, just looking at my hand and them taping a piece of cotton to my hand and walking out asking, “Are you sure you got them all?” with a mouth full of gauze. The first thing I ate was a small chocolate Frosty from Wendy’s. Boy, was it good. Unfortunately, my entire mouth/jaw area being numb made eating it a very tough feat.

Now, fully recovered, I am definitely more appreciative of have a pain-free mouth to eat with. I missed solid food for a good couple of days. Eating real fruit juice freezies just wasn’t as satisfying as I thought they would be.

7. Was a couch potato and played video games.

Me and my boyfriend decided to go back and play some video games we played when we were kids. Since he has only been down on the weekends, we’ve only had time to play a few, including Legend of the Dragoon (PS1), Super Mario RPG (SNES) and Final Fantasy VII (PS1). We have a bunch more lined up, but first we have to finish FFVII.

And of course, I’ve been playing League of Legends all summer. I’ve been so lazy though, and haven’t played any ranked so I’m still in silver division. I won’t delve into that anymore though, haha.

8. Was even more of a couch potato and became addicted to Doctor Who.

Doctor Who ruined my life summer. It’s seriously so GOOD though. Don’t watch it! Seriously though, watch it. I haven’t finished it yet (I would be though, if I didn’t have such horrible amazing self control). I am currently on season 5, while my boyfriend is on season 2. So, when he’s back for good, I’ll have to backtrack so I can watch it with him. This isn’t a bad thing though, because I absolutely ADORE the 10th Doctor (David Tennant). *swoon*

You know you want to! 😉

Overall, I’d say it was a pretty productive summer! … Who am I kidding?!

What has everyone else been up to during the summer? 🙂

The Essential Things

Now, I can’t say I made this list. Credit goes to one of my teachers at NAIT, Drew. I can’t be sure if he made this list, or took it from someone else though! During the last class he held, he gave us this list of essential things to remember. Some of these things apply directly to sales (which is the course that he taught) but many of them can be applied to life in general.

The Essential Things:

1. Set Goals

Sometimes, it’s hard to set goals. “What do you want?” is a hard question to ask yourself. Once you set out a few goals for yourself, it’s good to ask, “Is what I’m doing right now getting me closer to my goal?” If it is, great! I think it’s definitely worth it to set goals and measure progress. If you don’t, how will you know if you are succeeding in life?

2. Attitude

Simple. Be positive, take charge and be self employed. I guess that’s not so simple. Being positive can be hard at times. I sometimes struggle with that, but it’s something that I’m working on. Taking charge of life is important too – sometimes sitting back and letting “fate” decide is going to get you nowhere. Being self employed doesn’t necessarily mean being your own boss, it means taking care of yourself and showing others how awesome you are.

3. Never Stop Learning

I love this one. Sometimes, I think that I want to stay in school forever. (Yea, right!) If you want to be better than the competition, know more than they do. Continue to learn outside of school.

4. Passion & Enthusiasm

“Selling could be simply described as a transfer of enthusiasm.” This is one of those sales tips, but it can also apply to selling yourself to potential employers. Show that you are motivated and enthusiastic to join the team, and are passionate about what you do.

5. See Rejection Differently

Successful people see failure only as an opportunity to improve. It can be hard to think of rejection as an opportunity to improve or become better, but I’ll definitely be reminding myself of this when things don’t go my way in life.

6. Always be Prospecting

This is another sales-related tip. Everyone you meet  is a potential customer or referral source. This tip though can still be applied to everyone’s lives. I think it’s important to not be afraid to talk to people – you never know who you’re going to meet.

7. See Customers as Friends

Yet another sales tip. Spend time with your customers, listen to them and look out for them.

8. Do the Unexpected

Become the differentiator! What you sell can be copied, but not yourself. In life, I think it’s important to do things you wouldn’t normally do. Take risks. Do the unexpected. Don’t conform, and be yourself!

9. Patient Persistence

Do not quit! It can be discouraging at times, but don’t give up on your goals.

10. Time Management

What is your time worth? “Don’t prioritize your schedule, schedule your priorities.” Unfortunately, each of us has a limited amount of time on this earth. Make every minute count!

——————————————————————————————————————-

When my teacher gave his speech, I felt so inspired. I wanted to go out into the world, and leave my footprint. I wanted to make my family and friends proud, and be the best person I can be. Sometimes, we all need a little motivation, a little push to get our day going. I hope that after reading this, you feel a little bit inspired and motivated to change your life for the best.

What are your “Essential Things” or tips for life?

NAIT Promo Awards

I’m a little late blogging about this, but after the awards ceremony, I went to bed, woke up and had to present a mock trade show for my business to business class. Maybe now I’ll finally have the time to press some keys and make a blog happen. Here we go… !

Overall, the NAIT Promo Awards were delightful. I sat at a table with Laurie from DDB, Dana from Kick Point and Sona from Venture Publishing, who were all amazing. Dinner was delicious, as well as desert. I couldn’t tell you what was in that cake – it really was something different.

My friend and fellow project partner Danny Siman did a great job being the MC for the night. He had nothing to be nervous about! All of the other speeches were captivating as well, especially the one by Sylvia and Jordan from Calder Bateman. I don’t know how I will ever 1-UP that cover letter by the man from Scotland, but I’ll figure something out.

During the awards ceremony, I’ll admit, I had a bit of trouble breathing. There was so much anticipation and excitement!

First off, congrats “Cannonball Marketing” for winning the Best Media Solution award with the campaign you created for Ernest’s. You guys deserve it! I’ll definitely be checking out Ernest’s sometime in the near future!

Congrats to “Pinnacle Advertising” for winning The Big Idea award and the Best Presentation award for the NAIT Advising Center campaign! Your group was so energetic and positive, I had no doubt that you would win the Best Presentation award. The energy you guys have is contagious!

Lastly, I wanted to thank my group. We put a lot of time and dedication into this project. There were many weekends spent at NAIT, doing work, and practicing our presentation. Many days it felt like I had no life, but in the end it was worth it. Tatianna and Danny, you guys are awesome. Congrats to us for winning four big awards for our Avonair Junior Program campaign: Best Overall Campaign, Visual Excellence, Brand Management, and Best Use of Direct Marketing Piece! Also, I wanted to thank our graphic designers, Kyle and Annelies! They are AMAZING!

And of course, congrats  to everyone who made it to panel and didn’t win awards. Everyone did an amazing job and I know a lot of hard work was put into all of the projects.

A big thanks to Bev and NAIT for making this course possible. I anxiously await for the Promo Awards website to be updated. I can’t wait to see pictures!

My Favorite Things – Week 2

Hello again!

This week of my favorite things will feature different categories than the last. Partially because last week’s favorite things (ex. food, drink) are the same for this week (I just can’t get over that San Pellegrino Limonata and those macaroons were just too delicious!)

Some of this weeks categories may be a little “odd”.

Favorite Commercial

I’m a marketing student, and sometimes my teachers send me amusing things. This commercial, in particular, is genius and hilarious! It was uploaded 5 days ago, and almost has 24 million views! Click here to watch this awesome Pepsi commercial.

Favorite TV Show

This week, Supernatural is still my favorite show. However, I think that Arrow deserves an honorable mention. I’m all caught up, and awaiting the next episode that comes out on March 20th. Arrow is about a spoiled playboy millionaire who, after 5 years of being stranded on an island, returns home and becomes a hooded vigilante, wielding a bow and arrows. I think it’d be incorrect to say he is a modern day Robin Hood, because he doesn’t steal from the rich to give to the poor. Usually, he just ends up killing them.

Image

Oliver Queen, played by Stephen Amell.

Favorite Music

A few days ago Monstercat posted a new album called Aftermath, which is almost an hour of electronic music! I’ve listened to it quiet a few times already, and was glad to see that some of my favorite songs were in the mix. You can choose to support the various artists by buying it or you can listen it on Youtube here. I just love how the video includes people’s memories and comments about Monstercat and the artists.

Favorite Daydream

Yea, this category is a bit different. But hey, I do have a favorite daydream this week. While riding the bus home back from college, a song came up on my iPod – one that I overplayed way too much when I drove my car around my hometown. I just imagined myself, in my car, shifting gears, listening to the roar of my engine and cruising. It made me really miss my car… Unfortunately, it’s back home stuck in a garage. *sigh*

Image

My first car. For some reason, I really love yellow cars, and just had to have it. I ended up learning how to drive standard so I could buy it!

Favorite Makeup Product

(Guys can stop reading here :p)

Forever, I’ve used drugstore mascara, and my favorite one for a long time now has been the L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara. It lengthens and separates, it doesn’t clump and makes my lashes look a bit thicker. Mascara was one of those things I would happily go to a drugstore to buy, whereas other products I “needed” to go to Sephora for.

I subscribed to the ipsy Glam Bag in November when it came available to Canada, and have been really happy with the products in the bags (besides the last one wasn’t so great, but for $15, I can’t really complain). In one of the bags, I got a mini version of the “They’re Real” mascara by Benefit, and it’s my absolute favorite mascara now! It’s similar to the other mascara I mentioned, but it does the job better and has a brush that works better on my lashes. Is it worth the more expensive price tag? Hmmm… I’m not sure yet!

Thanks for reading!

What’s your favorite thing this week? 🙂