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Back In The Groove

I’m BACK! Back in the groove of geeking out over marketing and advertising. I was really inspired this morning in my ad design class where we shared some of our favorite ads. Here are some really cool, strategic examples of how creativity can go a long way:

Direct Mail


Customer Appreciation 


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The Power Of An Editorial Calendar

I love a good calendar.


Every year, I painstakingly pick out my planner, open its crisp, new pages and begin to fill in each little box, as if they were each a new opportunity to do something new, experience something new or plan for something new. It’s a science AND an art to make sure a calendar meets my standards:

1. Enough space in each calendar block to write multiple things (I have high expectations for my social life)

2. Enough extra day or “notes” pages to write assignments, To Do lists, grocery lists, or those desperate doodles made during meetings or classes

3. A tough cover that won’t tear because that sucker will get pulled in and out of my purse/bag/laptop case one million times over the next year and it needs a little oomph to make it through

4. Inspirational – whether it’s my color of the moment or a specific design I’m loving, it’s got to make me smile when I take it out

(P.S. Confession time: For my senior year in high school, everyone was required to put one item in a time capsule we will open at our 10-year reunion next year. Can you guess what I put in as my item? That’s right….my planner. I know. My name is Stephanie, and I have a problem.)


But, if you’re like the other 99% that have moved onto electronic calendars a la Google Calendar, iCal or Outlook, then these rules seem antiquated. AND with the proliferation of social media, having an on-the-go, update-able and sync-able calendar is imperative, especially if you’re in the marketing, PR or advertising world. I’m taking baby steps to go in this direction.

More commonly known as editorial calendars or content strategies, these calendars and planning tools can help sort all your ideas, posts, blogs, photos, etc. out to ensure you’re keeping all your content fresh.

I’ve pulled a few great blog posts about this topic, hoping to stir my own creativity to create something like this for this blog, or future clients, or for my own personal life maintenance. Take a look at what some of the experts are saying OR share your favorite calendar/organizing trick with us all!

4 Ways To Beat The Social Media Clock via PRBreakfastClub

Content Strategy Is, in fact, The Next Big Thing via Brain Traffic

Social Media Calendar Template via Ekcetera Design Studio

Organize Your Social Media Efforts via @MaryFletchJones

How To Create a Social Media Editorial Calendar via Search Engine Watch

Let’s get planning!

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It’s A Dance

Choreography. Mostly reserved for a sequence of dance steps in any dance genre you can imagine.

Not anymore, my friends. Now choreography is being used as a buzzword in marketing to coordinate all of your marketing strategies in lieu of coordinating your feet.

Brand choroegraphy. It’s a term I was introduced to earlier this week, and it makes a lot of sense. From this article via Blue Focus Marketing one can see what they mean by planning each channel to work in concert with the other.


“Essentially, this is the orchestration of all appropriate marketing messages and tactics—across traditional, digital, and social media platforms—designed to impact critical brand touch points.”

What that means: IMC (integrated marketing communication) choreographs messages, images, talk points, events, SEO, etc. into one cohesive strategy to make sure the customers at every touch point are met with consistent and strategic marketing efforts.

And that’s the art and science of marketing, making it all fit together into one successful dance.

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5 Emerging PR Trends

i heart pr

Being in one industry for a while, you start hearing the same themes, patterns, MUST HAVES and skills over and over again. Even in an evolving industry like marketing and public relations, you still hear the same, familiar tropes and seminal works on what it means to be a great marketer.

  • the medium is the message
  • good writing is good marketing
  • evolve or die
  • etc. etc. etc.

That’s why I found this article on the emerging trends in public relations so refreshing. It looks at what skills are becoming more and more important for this industry, and how to apply them to your current work. Instead of focusing on the traditional skills everyone must learn, this looks at what you can expect to be asked to do. Here’s a quick look:

1. Storytelling — Would you tell the same story the same way to two different people? What if one person was a 45 year-old mom and the other a 7 year-old boy? The audience will change, and investing time into learning what your audience is about and how they like to be spoken to is key.

2. Quantification — ROI is huge anywhere, but it’s been nearly impossible to track relevant and usable data in marketing and PR. That’s changing and it’s important to know how to analyze data and pay it forward to the next marketing plan or project.

3. Visual Communication — The article is right, everything is visual and the latest apps and websites that are thriving hinge on good design and visual appeal i.e., Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Knowing how to turn your message into a compelling visual can take storytelling even further and make it more memorable. Everyone loves a good picture, right?

4. Proactive and predictive monitoring — Instead of reacting to what the media has said, look ahead and get in front of the conversation. Maybe start the conversation? But reactive media monitoring puts you a step behind.

5. Adaptation — Probably the scariest one. As the term “marketing” and “PR” grow more fluid and all encompassing, professionals need to be able to move quickly, learn even quicker and become experts at many different things. Being a student of the industry can get you pretty far if you’re willing to take the time to observe, soak it in and learn everything you can.


So What Do You Do?

Say whaaa??? Another post during Finals week? What can I say? I’m going a little batty starting at the same 7 theories over and over.

I get a lot of quizzical looks and questions when people ask me what I do, and I say “marketing” or “public relations” or if I’m feeling really tired “communications” or “arts and crafts.” It’s a very fuzzy industry, and a lot of people think its all about making things pretty, sound good or propaganda. Which it can be….sometimes 🙂

So, when I found this infographic via Hubspot, I immediately had to share.

Study it. Learn it. Quiz me on it. This is a simplified infographic, but I think it shows all the intricate steps that go into marketing (inbound marketing, specifically). Now, this isn’t everything. But it does offer a good primer on what good marketing and communication can entail.

If it’s too small in here, click here to see the full version.

inbound marketing

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What Is Your Essence?

What makes you tick? What about you makes other people say “yeah, that’s you.” Is it a certain style? Is it a certain belief? Or is it your accent?

Just as people search for shared meaning among each other, so should brands search for their essence. I know, “essence” is kind of a funny, nebulous word, but it means something for brands.

This recent article from Brand Strategy Insider says it well:

The association of a brand with products in disparate categories often results in the anthropomorphizing of the brand. Thus, brands might be viewed as having a gender, age, social class, as well as personality characteristics. Apple is approachable, Burger King is masculine, and Old Navy is family-oriented. Cartier watches are upscale and Timex is for everybody.”

These types of attributes that consumers assign to brands are important. You won’t shop at a place that you don’t feel (even if subconsciously) aligns with your own attributes. The goal of a successful brand is to find a unifying meaning or brand essence that a majority of the population can align with. That way, you lower your risk of alienation or exclusion of potential customers.

I like the Jenny Craig example the article gave. Jenny Craig isn’t about weight loss, it’s about self esteem. And the more abstract categories you dive into with the brand, the deeper and more resonant the brand essence becomes.

Think about the next time you walk into your favorite store or restaurant and see if you can pick out the “brand essence.” Also, brand essence isn’t only for consumer products. Non-profits, state governments, federal agencies can have a brand essence as well, and it’s up to us as marketers to tap into what makes the most sense for that company and how best to portray it.