Chelsea's Blog

Archive for October 2009

There are many types of social media out there that can assist a company in promoting their products.  For instance a company could implement blogs, microblogs, podcasts, webcasts and RSS feeds to reach their target markets.  Perhaps the most common and effective type of social media is blogging.  According to Blogger.com, a blog is “is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world.” Viewers of the blog can then react to the information by adding comments which offers the potential for further interaction between the blogger and the reader.

Blogging can be used by anyone, for a number of reasons.  For example, I am using this personal blog on WordPress.com in order to enhance my research capabilities and understanding of various Online Marketing topics.  Blogging can be effective for larger companies as well.  By creating a blog that uses a personal, authentic voice – the blog can enhance credibility in the eyes of the consumer.  Also it could be the first form of communication to break the latest news and issues surrounding a company.  Perhaps the largest benefit to a company is the fact that it is easy to use and no special skills are required.  According to Debbie Weil, author of The Corporate Blogging Book “Internal blogs can form a powerful component of corporate communications strategy. Chief executives talk directly with employees, disseminate strategy and ask for feedback at grassroots level. Blogging dialogues are faster and cheaper than focus groups or discussion forums. Sun Microsystems’ CEO is so convinced of their importance that he’s predicting they will be mandatory for executives within 10 years”.  Blogging is a fast, effective, popular way to reach the target market. Perhaps the most ironic part of finding the effectiveness of blogging is the fact that I have referred to many other professional blogs in order to support my own blog post!

Before a company can reap the benefits of publishing a blog they must learn how to create a blog properly.  There are many things to incorporate into a blog and many things could go wrong.  For instance Problogger.net has (ironically) an entire blog with links to provide essential tips for the beginner blogger.  For instance there are many helpful links pertaining to the content written, content length, title’s, tags and links, as well as blog design and establishing a niche.  A similar site is produced by Matt Huggins.  He writes a professional blog, and has a specific blog post entitled “55 Essential Articles Every Serious Blogger Should Read”.   These articles are more professional and there are many links to help a new blogger build meaningful content, among other things.

If the entire blogging phenomenon is still confusing, here is a video called “Blogs in Plain English”. This video explains what a blog is in simple terms.



There is also a video by Scott Rosenberg, a journalist, blogger and co-founder of Salon.com an independent online magazine, featuring lively original reporting and commentary on news, politics, culture, and life.  In the video Rosenberg discusses the “10 Myths About Blogs”.

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Social networking is an essential part of brand and customer engagement.  The social networking world is always growing and there are always new ways of social networking.  It seems like sites such as Twitter, and Facebook are emerging every day.  While researching brand engagement and social networking I came across the Kodak website. I was absolutely amazed by the various techniques the brand uses in order to engage customers.

Kodak has three professional blogs.  A Thousand Words is a blog written by the people of Kodak who love what they do and want to share their stories about how they use imaging.  Grow Your Biz is a blog where Kodak shares insights about products, and technologies for the graphics communications industry.  Plugged In is where consumers go for information regarding Kodak products and services and can read the latest news, tips and reviews.

Kodak also implements Twitter – currently operating ten accounts.  Two Twitter accounts are at the corporate level one being the “Chief Blogger” Jennifer Cisney, she is the social media manager of Kodak and the other is Jeffery Hayzlett who is the Chief Marketing Officer for Kodak.  Kodak also has four international Twitter platforms, three consumer level accounts and one dedicated to showcase current trends in graphic communication.

Kodak also uses YouTube and has its own channel appropriately named the Kodak Channel. They also have a Flickr photostream which showcases tons of photos from Kodak contests and events, if you join the group you can “tell your story”.  They also “tag” relevant material in their very own delicious account.

Kodak has a podcast entitled Kodak Close Up which brings together photographers, scientists, executives, and others for conversations about company news, groundbreaking innovation, and more. What I found extremely interesting is the fact that they have webcasts online that include  a recorded version of the “Kodak company earnings conference call”,  and “Annual Meetings, and Investors Meetings”.

Kodak also has Applications on iTunes for the iPhone &iTouch which includes the Kodak SmileMaker Application which tries to make every picture a happy one by having the option to add smiles to the people in the picture.

Kodak supports the deepening and strengthening of relationships and that is why they are involved in such social networks as Facebook.  You can become a fan, or add an application.They have the Konga Line which is an application that allows you and friends to post pictures into the same gallery, a Smile Meter which spreads the love of smiling.  There are also international Kodak Facebook accounts, as well as numerous contests consumers can enter.

As learned in my Marketing 430 lecture: marketers should go where the people are, not expect the people to come to them.  According to Catherine Seda social networking is “the online tools and platforms that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences and perspectives with each other.  Just over 10 percent of Fortune 500 companies have public blogs. Kodak implements a wide range of tactics including blogs and I believe Kodak has a cutting edge advantage to social media compared to other companies.

The existence of a well designed web page is beyond crucial when it comes to offering your products and services online.  Once your company has a web presence, many opportunities could present themselves; however, creating an efficient, thoughtful web page is not an easy task.  There are many things to think about like: the products you will offer, visual design (ie. colors, mood, tones, style), ease of use, content relevance, security or trust issues if online purchasing is an option, and support for the web user.

When creating an effective web page it is important to understand your customers.  The web page must speak to them and keep them interested as well as provide everything they are looking for.  A web page must also convey your company’s theme and vision to the consumer.  If you have a traditional brick and mortar presence – a website is just an additional means of communication.  Other times a web page is the only conveyance of communication available.  Regardless of the situation – a well designed web page is a must.  To understand and read more about the importance of a website read an article by Sharon Lepcha entitled Importance of Website Design and Development.

There are many strategies to use once deciding to build a web presence.  You could research online and find some interesting resources telling you everything from how to create your own web page to what types of font and color to use.  Sites like Make A Website and Webs.com can walk you through making a simple web page by yourself.  Sites like JustCreativeDesign.com are also helpful – they released a four part series showcasing things like the top seven fonts used by professionals in web design and the top seven overused techniques and elements used in web design.   Making a web page by yourself could be useful if you don’t have the resources to hire someone or maybe if you aren’t big enough to add a web campaign into the marketing budget.

The other option is hiring a professional web design company to create a spectacular site for you.  This takes the stress off you and allows a professional to create the page and incorporate all the elements of a successful page.  West Coast Web is an example of such a company and they do amazing work.

When creating a webpage there are numerous things to consider and it is important that you take your time because creating a successful web presence is not a simple task.  Once the webpage is operational it is important to update regularly and measure the effectiveness so you can see how a website influences your company’s success.

We are living in a world that is becoming so advanced that there is no longer a distinction between producers and consumers.  Instead a new breed of tech-savvy and intellectually advanced consumer is developing and it is called the “prosumer.” I was introduced to this term when investigating Nike’s new tactic called “Nike ID” which was established to integrate technology with personal customization in order to create a unique product and enhance the overall customer experience.

Prosumer is the new role that many of customers choose to become.  Prosumers no longer settle for the original product – they assist in producing the product, as well as consuming it.  People want an individual and unique product.  It is assumed that there can be some type of customization to almost any consumable product.  The market is no longer passive.  Many companies are introducing a type of service that the active prosumer can participate in.  As witnessed with Nike ID and Sony’s Prosumer Camcorder there are no end to the possibilities that could be created with the aid of an active prosumer.

The prosumer market is ever growing and marketing strategies must be adapted.  Sure the idea of a prosumer could be a great thing for a company to interact with its consumers; however, there are possible complications that could arise when facing this new segment.  Prosumer devices such as the Apple iPhone, Samsung Instinct, and Blackberry models are blurring the line between business and personal life – with many employees bringing them into the professional environment.  This is a direct threat to the security of certain businesses as highlighted in the article by Colin Gibbs entitled “Prosumer devices add to security concerns” that was published in RCR Wireless News.

Another concern is the intimidating task of managing the prosumer especially in terms of their safety and security as well as other peoples’ security.  An article entitled “Managing ‘Prosumers‘” by Matt Hamblen was published in ComputerWorld.

The term prosumer is extremely interesting to me.  It is definitely the biggest trend to keep in mind as far as marketing implications go.  The entire interaction of producer and consumer is fascinating and has motivated me to further research the idea.  If the whole prosumer explanation is still unclear take a look at this video below by David Casaleggio   which features the revolutionary ideas brought upon by the prosumer movement.  It is very interesting and will leave a lasting effect on anyone who watches it.



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