Rise Above the Noise: An Integrated Marketing Proposal for BullHorn Media

Amplify-Your-Image-Bullhorn_LOGO

 Let’s face it. There is a lot of noise in the world.  Like  this. Tweet that. Share This. Choose us. Pick me.

The bombardment is never-ending. It’s hard to be  heard in a 24/7 world without dissolving into a sea of  white noise.

Want to rise above the noise? That’s where we come  in.

rise above

We’re BullHorn Media…we amplify your image.

___________________________________________________________________________________

If I were writing the story of BullHorn Media, that is how I would begin. Today’s consumer is savvy. They don’t want to be over-marketed, under-sold and spinned. They want an authentic experience but they want to know they are in the hands of experts.  They want personal attention with professional results. BullHorn Media is uniquely positioned to do just that.

BullHorn Media is twenty plus years of experience in videography, production, design and story-telling.  It is the brain child of Mark and Lisa LeGrand with roots dating back to the early 90s. What started out as a husband and wife team capturing love stories flourishes decades later as a full-service production company serving corporate clientele.   Don’t let the humble beginning dissuade you. It shows what hard work can do.

One of the visionaries behind BullHorn Media is an award-winning craftsman. Mark LeGrand has been repeatedly recognized for his talent and creativity in editing and video production. What makes Mark excel is his never-ending desire to learn in an ever-changing technology driven world.  He has a thorough understanding of the latest equipment ensuring your desires are not only met but exceeded.

The people of BullHorn Media do not have a “been there, done that” attitude. Each project is unique. Every client is an original. BullHorn Media leads the way because the minds behind it understand vision comes from never settling.  BullHorn Media takes pride in your event the same way you do. Whether it is a black tie affair for a thousand or a convention for three thousand or an intimate speaker series for executives, BullHorn Media will amplify your image to the level you seek.

Bullhorn Media has the experience. BullHorn Media has the tools. BullHorn Media has the technology.

You may be thinking, “Yea…but so do the other guys!”

True. They probably do. What they don’t have though…is the personal touch.

BullHorn Media is designed to give each client a unique attention often missing in today’s world. They are with you from inception to completion. This one-on-one philosophy is a core value of BullHorn Media and they stand by it.  It’s who they are. Amplified.

_____________________________________________________________________________

ProjectPostFeatured_612Wx144H_transp_green-45023_80x80

 Target Audience

BullHorn Media is unique in that it can provide services to a wide variety of clientele. It’s target audience is anyone looking for that extra-added wow factor that only comes with a personal touch including but not limited to:

  • Small private or public businesses in and around or traveling to Orlando, Florida
  • Professional Associations in and around or traveling to Orlando, Florida
  • Non-Profit Organizations in and around or traveling to Orlando, Florida
  • Leadership and Training Organizations in and around or traveling to Orlando, Florida
  • Convention and Meeting Planners

BullHorn Media can:

  • shoot your commercial
  • recap that special leadership event you worked so hard to imagine
  • capture that perfect tutorial for your audience
  • enliven your marketing material to a new visual level
  • memorialize that special key-note address for those who could not make it…or those who just want to live it again

The BullHorn Media target audience is technologically savvy, forward-thinking and evolutionary but appreciates the quiet values of originality, authenticity and story-telling.

Interviews, speaker series, event summaries, meeting recordings, conventions, conferences & fundraisers…it’s not about the size, it’s about the personal touch. Amplified.

sWOT

__________________________________________________________________________________

ProjectPostFeatured_612Wx144H_transp_green-45023_80x80

 Why use an Integrated Marketing Communications Strategy?

BullHorn Media is in the business of image but there is nothing surface about their service. People need to know that.

Who wants to be a king without a kingdom?

The purpose of this Integrated Marketing Communications proposal is to provide recommendations on how to reach new customers while maintaining brand voice, brand vision, brand value and message.

Let’s be real. Small businesses are often resource-challenged. That’s why IMC is a friend. Marketing guru and social media influencer Steve Olenski constantly writes about Integrated Marketing in Forbes.  No, wait…Correction: He preaches and rants! Question the method if you want, but not the message. It is solid. He’s a believer in IMC and wants everyone to get on board.

In one of his latest offerings, Olenksi points out that a recent study revealed 65% of marketers are not giving consumers what they want. 65%!  So that tells me that 65% of businesses are NOT giving customers what they want.

To capture the personal touch and one-on-one experience core to their values, BullHorn Media must understand what their customer wants. There is a lot of noise coming at all of us non-stop. People don’t have to search far to find what they are looking for. BullHorn Media needs to be a part of the conversation.

Or settle for being part of the 65%.

Companies are still operating in silos. Integrating the message of BullHorn Media to a solid, consistent and defined brand makes it easier (and cost-effective) to spread your reach to the channels your customers live and work in.

BullHorn Media must live where their customer lives.

BullHorn Media must listen to their customer.

Only then, can BullHorn Media rise above the noise.

Integrating your marketing accomplishes just what you seek to provide: AN AMPLIFIED IMAGE.

rise above

_________________________________________________________________________________

ProjectPostFeatured_612Wx144H_transp_green-45023_80x80

Final Thoughts

Creating an Integrated Marketing Communications Plan can be overwhelming when you read a proposal like the one I have presented. (Especially when it is accompanied by a dozen others!) Don’t let it be. Once you get the structure in place it can be very rewarding and even fun to keep the content going. Most important though, it’s worth it. Your customers are out there and on these channels. You need to be where they are to stay relevant.

You have a business with brand message:  Amplify Your Image. When that is your brand message, you need to walk the walk.

Amplify YOUR Image.

Rise Above the Noise.

Boring But Important: Email Analytics & Facebook Insights

dubois

 Assignment Snapshot:  Analyze the attached Facebook Analytics and email analytics from a real company.  Review the provided analytics, and tell us your thoughts. Background: ABC company* is health-oriented and in  the Central Florida area. In addition to this Facebook page, ABC company has a Twitter account, Pinterest page  and YouTube channel. ABC Company also sends out a bi-weekly e-newsletter. You are looking at analytics for  their Facebook page during the time period noted on the screenshot (the email stats are from an email  sent on May 21, 2013). Based on the provided analytics and what you learned about IMC, provide a synopsis  of what you are looking at for both their Facebook page and email campaign. Any key findings? Where could  improvements be made? How could other channels play a part in boosting results? What are some future  campaigns or posts that could be effective? *Company identity withheld for the purpose of this project and this project is purely for educational purposes.

________________________________________________________________________________

So I’m the creative type. I like imagining and visualizing and stretching ideas into really cool things. It’s why I swan-dived into television storytelling. In that world, Nielsen is the almighty judge, jury and executioner or savior. While I am not someone who wants to spend all the minutes of my hours of my days mired in data, I do understand it is a necessary evil. It is also the best indicator as to whether or not all that artsy-fartsy, creative juju I’m so in love with doing is worth a damn to YOU.

It’s no different in social media which brings us to this week. You will see the data I am analyzing below in thumbnails. You can click on them to enlarge. I have also included them within this entry. The gallery works better on some devices, the large photos on others.

______________________________________________________________________________

Synopsis & Key Findings    

The Facebook Insights data presented represents a period of time leading up to and including Memorial Day Weekend. The “Overview” numbers at the top reflect the last seven days of data. The program does this by default. The line charts below it represent May 6 through May 25, 2013. The “Reach” reflects data from April 28 through May 25. The “Talking About This” reflects data from April 28 through May 25.

Additionally the data shows a synopsis of posts for the week of May 27 through June 2.

For the purpose of this exercise the Bronto email data is from an email sent on May 21, 2013 not December 19, 2012 as the report itself reflects.

         THE DATA: Overview Page

Overview Page: Facebook Insights analytics from a real company
Overview Page: Facebook Insights analytics from a real company
  • During the time of this data, the company’s page received 880 total likes, up .69% from the previous 7 days.
  • The Friends of Fans is up 1.31% to 340,325. This metric show an estimate total of potential audience when counting the friends of those who liked this page. This metric was deemed not very useful and was removed in July of 2013. Basically, a page would only reach this amount of people if ALL their fans engaged with the post and then by extension…all their friends saw the post.
  • The People Talking About This is down to 46 total, a drop of 50.54% from last data period. These are the people that liked, commented or shared a post from this page or basically engaged in some way with the page.
  • The weekly total reach for May 19 through May 25 is up 39.83% for a weekly total reach of 5,740. This is not only the page, it includes ads and sponsored stories.  This could reflect people looking for a fitness club while potentially traveling to the high tourist area for the holiday weekend. There is further data to support that which I will address in other metrics.
  • The overview page also reflects data for 8 posts the week of May 27 (Memorial Day) through June 2. These vary from inspirational messages, reminders, promotion and encouragement.
  • The reach of the posts increased midweek as we moved away from the holiday reflecting the possibility of people returning to their exercise routine. Additionally, while the reach was lowest on the National Cancer Survivors Day, the virality of the post was the highest in terms of ratio percentage. People love a cause.  
  • The reminder to honor the soldiers for Memorial Day had a strong reach of 477 and the 2nd highest number of engaged users in that 14 people clicked on it and 8 of those people took the time to share or re-post or comment on it.
  • The two Group Fitness posts for May 28 and 29 had high reach numbers with the 29th reaching the most people for the week. In turn, those two posts had the 1st and 3rd most engaged users in direct numbers with the post on the 29th leading to the highest numbers in People Talking About This.
  • Overall, trying to get people to participate in Group Fitness, the holiday and the national campaign garnered the most attention.

         THE DATA: Reach Page One

Reach Page One: Facebook Insights Analytics from a real company
Reach Page One: Facebook Insights Analytics from a real company
  • The key finding here is that the site engages women predominantly to the tune of 60% with the biggest group being 25 to 34 years old and the next largest group being 35 to 44. Depending on the goals of this particular company, you could develop a campaign to target more men without losing women or you could continue to focus on a deeper engagement with women. 
  • I would be curious to know whether the country, city and language data reflects as much diversity in a non-holiday week. I imagine these numbers are high during the summer and other peak travel times. 
  • Orlando is a hot holiday destination so it is no surprise to me that numbers outside of Florida are high during this time. People could be looking for a workout facility while traveling for the holiday weekend.

         THE DATA: Reach Page Two

Reach Page Two: Facebook Insights Analytics from a real company
Reach Page Two: Facebook Insights Analytics from a real company
  • The color dotted lines at the top of the page reveal how the page is reaching people. Viral and Organic lead the way with Viral performing at a higher number. Viral means that a user viewed your page and then pushed content out to their own feed. Organic is when someone just sees your page as is. Based on the flat line for paid content I am assuming no ads were purchased during this time frame.
  • The bar graph on the top right reflects the unique visitors to the page with nearly 3 thousand unique visitors coming to the page once during the data period. The bottom line reflects the amount of time unique visitors frequented the page for the given time period. 
Reach: Facebook Insights Analytics showing page views, highlighting uniques
Reach: Facebook Insights Analytics showing page views, highlighting uniques
  • The dotted lines at the bottom of this page (above) show page views for the period and highlight which ones were unique. The views including uniques see a spike when the bi-weekly email is sent out. 
  • Most of the traffic comes in from search with the most entering from Google. the second source is a virus/malware page. The other 2 non-search referrers are email and one from a digital publishing platform, possibly a blog.
  • The timeline is the most popular feature of the page above all else with the profile and photo streams also showing strong engagement. 

         THE DATA: Talking About This

Talking About This: Facebook Insights analytics from a real company
Talking About This: Facebook Insights analytics from a real company
  •  It’s no surprise given reach that the most engaged users are also women in the 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 age range. They speak English and the cities with the most activity are in Florida.
  • The blue dotted line reflect the days and numbers that users or followers of the page are engaging. The green shows the reach to users who were exposed to your page from a post by someone else. These numbers also seem to spike in relation to the bi-weekly email campaign. 

THE DATA: Email Analytics

 Bronto email analytics from a real company
Bronto email analytics from a real company
  • The delivery rate for this email is strong but given the little spike seen in the Facebook page coinciding with the email newsletter, I would have expected the open rate to be higher. 
  • Hard bounces reflect things like an invalid email address or the email flagged as spam. Soft bounces are considered more temporary such as a server issue or a full mailbox. It can be an early indicator of an abandoned email though.
  • My greatest takeaway from this is that clearly this newsletter isn’t full of compelling content worth sharing.

Improvement Possibilities

I think one improvement possibility is looking at the content in the newsletter. Clearly it is not driving people to share it. First…is there social share buttons in the email? If not, I would add them. Then start to take notice of the social share and social view stats.

With the email open rate being low and the click rate being lower, I would take a look at subject lines. Do they give your regular user a reason to open it? Then look at your links. Do they give your user a reason to click? That’s an area that can easily be focused on with no cost and could help with Facebook numbers.

Looking at the male to female ratio, this company could have a day of the week where they devote a post campaign targeted to men to elevate those numbers.

Group Fitness seems to be of high interest as well. I would consider creating more Group Fitness opportunities and posting about them.

Since there did not appear to be paid content driving traffic based on the data, the company could look at buying ads in high tourist times as a good destination for the fitness-conscious traveler. Google search was the biggest external referer but an ad could drive that number up more. If there is a budget allowance ads could be purchased of Facebook to attract women looking at various fitness pages.

How Twitter, Pinterest & You Tube could play a part in boosting results & Future Campaigns and Posts

The Twitter  account could affect these results by including a link to Facebook with every tweet. I don’t know how many Twitter followers this company has but if you send a tweet offering something with added value by clicking on a link, you could increase traffic. Fitness people are dedicated and some are even fanatical. They like added value. Promise 5 tips to something or 3 ways to something…

Additionally, you can make the same promise via twitter by getting fitness people to subscribe to the email and boost those numbers. Again, fitness people want good information delivered to them. It’s a chance to create a loyal social following who may never set foot in your business but values your content.

We know that women love Pinterest. We know that women are engaging in this Facebook page and that it is reaching more women than men. Pinterest could definitely be playing a role in that if this company is good at maintaining its content on Pinterest. I would continue to focus on that added value for the fitness person. The company could use Twitter as its mechanism to drive traffic to both locations. It could diversify its content by making the Pinterest page about fitness fashion and nutrition. It could post that information for users and have a board for users to post their content.

The company could then use the Facebook page to highlight specific exercise, fitness, workout tips, etc. Keep the Facebook page focused on the workouts, exercise and events at the company. Keep Pinterest for fashion and nutrition and DRIVE to Facebook for the other content. Twitter becomes the catch-all referer with links always included.

Finally, if there is a You Tube account then there is a Google+ account. That is a default of creating a You Tube account. First, I would make sure the Google + page has content. We all know this is great for SEO to have something on Google+.

You Tube could be used as a place to demo/provide tutorials on various fitness activity. The videos can then be posted to Facebook. With You Tube being owned by Google, the company could properly tag videos with key words  increasing the chance that search for such tutorials or fitness content  would land people on the Facebook page.

One final recommendation for this company…start a blog. Promote the blog in email and on Facebook. Fitness is a GREAT area for blogs and as I said, fitness people are passionate about their fitness! It’s a good opportunity for this business to make itself into a content source. When you are a business in a HUGE tourist location, the chances that you are going to have a handful of temporary brick and mortar clients is high. So why not capitalize on that and make yourself a source for fitness expertise? You keep the travelers loyal to your brand. You build your local base. You continue to expand and grow. It’s a win-win.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

JUST FOR FUN

Simple. To the Point. Pretty much sums up where I am at this point in the semester!

I'm getting better at not doing this...
I’m getting better at not doing this…
My fear for my kids...
My fear for my kids…
justforfun3
This conversation pretty much plays out in every newsroom I have been in.

“All Five Horizons Revolved Around Her Soul, Like the Earth to the Sun”

I’m a Pearl Jam Fan. I mean a cross-country, international traveling, tattoo-wearing, every album-owning fan. We call ourselves the Jamily. It’s a passion I share with my younger brother.

My fave jam is Black. It’s always resonated with me primarily for the above lyric (blog entry title). I love the idea of horizons…seeing them, reaching for them, going beyond one to find another. It’s a mantra I believe in. It’s a concept I always turn to no matter what I am doing. I often use some form of the word Horizons in my usernames or something creative I am working on. In some ways, it is slowly becoming my brand title: KFG Horizons.

So that brings us to this week’s assignment:

For Intro to Multimedia Communications, we are to create the copy for an email blast promoting who we are as a brand, complete with links, YouTube videos and a content community. Since this is out on the world-wide web I include this disclaimer. I am a work in progress. I’ve been fortunate enough to tell amazing stories, produce content of all kinds and broadcast the news events of your lives from the hot seat of several network control rooms. I am pursuing my masters in social media because I am a journalist at heart and believe good stories need to be told. It’s 2014 though. You won’t find much news ink on thumbs each morning. How we deliver the story evolves every moment. I want to be a journalism evolutionist. (Aim high right?) That’s why I am a student: to keep telling good stories in whatever way you want to read/touch/watch/slide/pin/like/post/tweet/Instagram/YouTube them!)

EMAIL BLAST ASSIGNMENT:

Hi.

If you are reading this, chances are we may have something in common.  You believe there are many people telling stories but very few storytellers. If you are like me, you believe in good journalism AND you don’t believe social media is the death of it.  It’s a tall order to combine them but that’s where I come in. I’m a storyteller who believes in the Greater Fool. A Greater what, you say…?

Pretty cool right? Oh and if you want to know who the girl in the newsroom is, hang tight, I’ll get to that. The point is I want to work alongside other aspiring Greater Fools. I believe in the Fourth Estate but I also believe in Twitter and anything else that connects.

SO WHO AM I…

Save the flowery sell – just give you the resume?

My LinkedIn Profile

My LinkedIn Profile

I’m not a rookie. I have produced with the best in local, national and international newsrooms.    You want more flavor?  My fast ball paid for my college degree so I know what it means to  compete at elite levels. I have jumped out of a plane at 10,000 feet and lived so I can be fearless  when needed. I dove the Great Barrier Reef so I like adventure. I shook hands with a Pope  and a President (not at the same time) so I have manners and know how to respect. If you  want the professional rundown, just click on my LinkedIn profile to the left.

____________________________________________________________

Oh…you’re more the right brain, creative type? (Yea, me too.)

Pinterested? Click Me.

Read No More.

Check out my Pinterview

_____________________________________________________________

So you may be saying, “That’s nice Kelly, but I need more…”

Ok, ok…I pride myself on being a great writer but a good writer knows when to let someone else wax poetic:

I guess you could say there is a little Lloyd Dobbler in me. I want to be authentic in a one-click, info-in-an-instant, twitter-me-this world.

Everyone’s an Expert…So Why Me?

Because I believe we can be innovative, engaging, interactive, relevant AND responsible in a new media world — without being stupid. No question, Journalism must be experiential. We have to embrace our audience without losing our audience. That means interacting but to Jeff Daniels’ point, being smart about it. I don’t think you have to “dumb it down” to be a social media journalist. In fact, I think you have to be even smarter, more witty and more aware. I’ve been telling Emmy-nominated, Peabody-winning, captivating stories for over a decade. That’s one-of-a-kind experience, combined with an education-backed social media prowess at your fingertips. It is about the story I can tell you today that captures the audience of tomorrow.

Are you read to expand your horizons?

Let’s go be Greater Fools!

Kelly Frank Green

twitterfbG+PininstayoutubeLinkedinbut 

(Oh…and I mentioned we’d get back to the girl … the Greater Fool Speech?  Here you go…just for fun & thanks for reading)

horizonheader

Keeping “Power to the She” Consistent

There is no question that 2013 was a breakout year for Athleta. So much so that the Chairman and CEO of parent company Gap Inc. recently said, “…It looks like Athleta is on its path to becoming the fourth iconic brand within Gap Inc.’s portfolio.” (Jeff Quackenbush) The three other brands he’s referring to are Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic. I have worn all these brands during various periods of my life but Athleta is where I have found my second skin these days.

When it comes to maintaining its brand in an integrated world, Athleta does an excellent job. As you can see on its main company site and across key social channels, it maintains the same logo, imagery and title fonts.   It’s aesthetically cohesive and consistent. Occasionally, there will be a different image on one channel over another as you see below with Google+ but the subject is always the same: A strong, fit and active woman.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On each page you will find a simple two sentence mission statement, something very key to success as outlined in this week’s reading Branding Your Website.

 “The premier fitness fashion brand for women who see being healthy and fit as vital to life. Power to the She.”

Athleta’s website features social buttons connecting its consumer to some of its social channels including a button drawing attention to its mobile site:

Additionally, the mobile site is very user friendly. I have placed orders with ease on both my iPad and my Android phone. Having a sleek, clean mobile site that is consistent with the brand is key. It’s an understatement to say mobile is the future:

“Although most online purchases still occur via PCs, Digiday believes commerce will be among the industries most affected by the rise of mobile. Global e-commerce sales made via mobile devices are expected to top $638 billion in 2018, according to a forecast from Goldman Sachs. For perspective, that was roughly the entire size of the world’s e-commerce market in 2013. Goldman predicts that tablet, not smartphones, will be the primary drivers of mobile commerce growth. (Cooper Smith)

(You can read Digiday’s entire Mobile Forecast Report HERE)

Push & Pull:

Athleta combines push and pull marketing in many ways. On their company site, a consumer gets “pulled” with an option to receive emails and/or the catalog. Those emails and catalogs are then “pushed” out and might include upcoming sales, events in your city or just a product highlight. Below is an example of one I received recently that is both sale and product highlight:

Athleta also utilizes traditional push marketing such as billboards and advertising kiosks in malls:

When I recently visited my local Athleta store I saw this in the window ~ a little push marketing with a local social media twist:

Athleta leverages all their social channels as brand enforcers ~ not a one-stop shop.  Athleta wisely houses all ability to purchase online on its company website only. It uses its social channels as a pull strategy by showcasing the brand message and linking to the main company site. It’s most effective pull strategy in my opinion is its blog: Athleta Chi

The blog is a forum for women to discuss fitness, sports, wellness, travel, exchange recipes, view demo videos, learn, bond and share empowering, inspirational stories. Athleta wisely incorporates a “Fit Style” category which will take you to their product lines but it’s not shoved down your throat. You can also respond to the push marketing technique of opting in to receive a pull via “Chi-mail” (above right).

Marketing & Branding through Events:

Athleta has several partnerships, some they showcase right on their homepage including the Mudderella and Esprit De She. These events along with Athleta’s participation at expos for various 5ks and other races are another form of pull marketing. Women who participate in these events are exposed to Athleta in a supportive role. They get an opportunity to see the brand at work out in the community.

Recommendations:

The Athleta website is clean, beautifully laid out and reflective of their brand. Athleta’s relationship with Lifetime for Esprit De She & Mudderella are partnerships with like-minded brands of strength, empowerment, health and well-being. In creating partnerships with like-minded companies, Athleta stays true to its “Power to the She” brand message. In further analyzing their integrated marketing and brand, I have a few recommendations where Athleta could be a bit more consistent and drive consumers back to their main website.

  • Athleta is on more social channels than they link to on their company website. The social media consumer is widespread and consumers are loyal to different channels. There is an opportunity to measure click-through and see what social channels Athleta consumers are interested in. A recent loyalty social survey revealed “These channels are powerful and should not be ignored. Gather intelligence from these channels and aggressively seek opportunities to influence the conversation.” (Jim Tierney) Additionally we already know that having your brand on Google+ increases your chances of showing up in Google search results – so why not flaunt your Google-ness? (Kristin Curtiss)  I recommend adding icons for You Tube and Google+. Loyal customers make loyal and knowledgeable employees. I would add a LinkedIn button as well. Then, I recommend making buttons consistent across the blog, company website and social channels that allow other social buttons. For example, on Athleta’s You Tube page (click below) there is a Google+ button but You Tube allows Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and blog buttons as well.

YouTube:

  • On Athleta’s main website, I also recommend moving the location of the social/sharing buttons “above the fold” similar to what Athleta does on its blog. As you can see below, on the main company site the social buttons are buried at the bottom of the page. This may be strategic with the thought being not to leave the main company site, however, the company wisely has purchasing ability housed on the main site. Sending potential customers to their social channels will only increase brand awareness and potentially strengthen a consumer connection. It’s a worthy gamble.

“BELOW THE FOLD” (on the main site)                 “ABOVE THE FOLD” (on the blog site)

  • As discussed above, Athleta has a beautiful and informative blog for women empowerment and community.  Interestingly though, Athleta does not link to their blog on their Pinterest page in any prominent way (see below)

Pinterest:

We know that Pinterest is dominated by women. 94% of all activity on Pinterest is by women. (Craig Smith) This is a missed opportunity to expose women to a brand- defining blog. Additionally, the blog is not featured on their Twitter page either. I would add prominent links on both these channels above the fold.

  • Another recommendation I would make for consistency would be adding the main website www.athleta.com to the top of its Facebook and Instagram pages. It is on the Facebook page, but you have to click the “About” link in order to access the company site. On Instagram, the only link featured prominently takes you to the Athleta Chi blog (see below). I think promoting the blog is great but I would advocate prominent links to both the main website AND the Athleta Chi blog.

Instagram:

  • While Athleta has a beautiful mobile site, at this time they don’t have an option to receive text message alerts about new stores opening, sales or other events. I recommend creating this option for consumers. It allows the company to target a customer who is clearly interested.
  • Athleta should consider a Twitter and Pinterest Widget on its website.
  • Finally, IthinkAthleta can offer a more integrated brick and mortar experience. I recently made a purchase and noticed there is no social media imagery in the store promoting their channels. When I paid for my purchase, the sales team did not ask for my email to send me my receipt (and then have my email on file!). My purchase was packaged in an awesome reusable, recycled bag but there was no website signage on the bag at all.  Lastly, I noted on my receipt at the very bottom there was a line about “Liking on Facebook” but that required a purchase to even reach that touch point. The below gallery is a visual of my experience:

Overall Thoughts:

Athleta could be a little more consistent in their social media integration, blog promotion and driving back to their main site for purchasing. That said, the company does a great job of keeping its brand message consistent on all its channels. They are all about creating a strong, empowered community for women and it is reflected in word and image beautifully throughout their pages. Each channel lives up to giving “Power to the She”.

Sources:

Jeff Quackenbush. (February 28, 2014). Gap calls 2013 ‘breakout year for Athleta’. Retrieved June 7, 2014, http://www.northbaybusinessjournal.com/88434/gap-calls-2013-breakout-year-for-athleta/

Cooper Smith. (April 2, 2014). US E-Commerce Growth is Now Far Outpacing Overall Retail Sales. Retrieved June 7, 2014, http://www.businessinsider.com/us-e-commerce-growth-is-now-far-outpacing-overall-retail-sales-2014-4

Jim Tierney. (May 9, 2014). Social Intelligence: An Opportunity for Loyalty Marketers. Retrieved June 7, 2014, http://loyalty360.org/resources/article/social-intelligence-an-opportunity-for-loyalty-marketers

Kristin Curtiss. (February 6, 2014). Google Plus: Your New SEO Valentine. Retrieved June 7, 2014, http://blogs.constantcontact.com/product-blogs/social-media-marketing/google-plus-seo/

Craig Smith. (March 4, 2014). By the Numbers: 80 Amazing Pinterest Statistics (Updated June 2014). Retrieved June 7, 2014, http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/pinterest-stats/#.U5S5H_ldWnY

 

Power to the She…& Me

I’ve been on quite a journey the last two years:  A scary, amazing, life-altering journey. I became a mom. Twice.

To understand my journey, you would have to know I was an athlete all my life. My right arm paid for my degree. I could throw a pretty fast curve ball back in the day! I grew up in a competitive, fitness-oriented family. My older brother went to Ohio State on a football scholarship, my younger brother was a collegiate baseball player, my sister played tennis and ran track and my father made a business of training NFL, NBA and MLB players.

I’ve been pretty lucky. I’m one of those people who has enjoyed success…on the field, in the classroom, in the newsroom and at home. Don’t get me wrong. I worked my butt off for it! It wasn’t handed to me but with that success comes an expectation that you are always going to be at the top of your game.

So what does this have to do with this week’s assignment? Everything.

Like many moms, I gained weight. 60 pounds to be exact. I also quit my job in week 8 of my maternity leave. I could not fathom leaving my child and felt broadcast journalism was changing. It all seemed irrelevant. So I threw myself into motherhood…and then 9 months later was pregnant again.

This time was different. About 4 months after my first child Gracen was born, I was suffering a bit of an identity crisis. I had always been an accomplished television producer, making my own money, doing my own thing and now I wasn’t. I felt small. I felt worthless. I was a little lost. I needed a reset.

A friend and cancer survivor who had found peace in yoga introduced me to her teacher.  On a cold December day, I signed up for a private lesson and life was never the same.

When you are feeling like I was and looking like I thought I looked, it takes everything you have to feel comfortable in your own skin. Enter Athleta.

Athleta came to be in 1998 as a catalog company specializing in yoga clothing. Gap Inc. acquired them in 2008 and they evolved into athletic wear, every day clothes, swimwear and accessories adding online sales and brick and mortar stores to their successful catalog business. (GapInc.com & Bloomberg.com)

Athleta is more than a business though. They are a modern brand as defined in What is BRANDING? published by the Norwich Business School.  As you see in that clip, brands of today are finding information, sharing films, selling stuff, making friends and adding to knowledge.  Athleta accomplishes all of this utilizing the channels below and integrating a consistent, solid and straightforward brand message: Power to the She

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ You Tube

Google+ ~ Athleta Chi (Blog) ~ Athleta Website ~ Catalog ~ Email

With Power to the She, Athleta celebrates the busy lives women lead and how they make fitness a priority. They promise to put performance first and comfort a close second. (Maddy Lucier) I would add that “Power to the She” extends beyond making fitness a priority – it makes well being and empowerment a priority.

Guarantee

At its basic core, Athleta is a business with a product that it guarantees.

I know this to be 100% true. I had a short sleeve sweatshirt I just loved but after about 5 times wearing it, there were very discernible  arm  pit stains. Yuck! This was not typical of Athleta’s clothing so I returned it. No questions asked. Brands guarantee quality.

According to the Norwich Business School, Brands also instill values that lead to action. If you go to the parent company website at  Gap Inc. you will read the following about Athleta:

At Athleta, we design the ultimate performance apparel and gear for every active woman, from the weekend warrior to the committed yogini to the fiercely driven competitive athlete. And as women athletes, we road-test, court-test and water-test everything ourselves to be sure each item we offer features the perfect balance: performance and style

Another key aspect of a successful brand is Ownership.  Athleta lives this in the people who design and create the product. The corporate leadership of Athleta seeks to understand their customer by looking within. They take this introspection and make it a call to action:

Athleta exemplifies communications planning as we read about in Brand Media Strategy this week because their message is clear and uniform across all their platforms.

They engage and reward:

They engage and educate:

And what you see on Twitter…is what you see on Facebook…is what you see on Pinterest…is what you see on Instagram…is what you see on You Tube…is what you see on Google+ …is what you see on the company’s website. Each campaign and message lives on each platform:

Our journey this week also told us that Brand is Confidence. Brand is Passion. Brand is Belonging. Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman once said, “when people use your brand as a verb, that is remarkable”. (brainyquote.com). I would add that when people forget your Brand is trying to sell them something, that is remarkable as well. Athleta does just this by creating a forum for confidence, passion and a sense of belonging. They call it Athleta Chi. It’s a blog devoted to “connecting women to the energy of inspiration.” You can opt to receive inspirational emails as well. The blog features recipes, how-tos, travel information, training videos, health guidance and a forum for people like you and me to chat, engage and belong.

So what about that post-partum, overweight, insecure, somewhat lost new mom? 

I’m getting to that.

The most important thing I consider in a “brand” is me. After all as our class this week reinforced “You” make a brand. “You” unmake a brand.  Yoga is intimidating as hell. I always avoided it because it seemed clique-ish. It was for skinny girls that could put their heads in places I never wanted to go.  Heck, I couldn’t even touch the ground when I started without hearing something shred inside me.  As silly as it sounds, Athleta made it easier to start. I found a comfortable skin.

After I tried Athleta clothes for my yoga practice, I stayed with it because I found the “experience” of Athleta resonated. The women weren’t stick figures with untouchable goals and unrealistic representations. They were real. They were like me:  Normal, Unique, Curvy, Curvy-er in some areas more than others.  In the social community on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, I found women of all design…including me:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I now own Athleta clothes of all kinds including the bathing suit below. (I really should own stock in the company!)  The catalog arrives and it’s like Christmas. I get an email for a sale and I can’t resist. Yes, I am their target customer…and I am a brand loyalist.

It’s more though. I turn the pages and I see where I have been, where I am and where I want to be. I’ve lost 57 pounds. I can bend over and touch the floor with flat palms.  I stand a little taller.  I smile more. I breathe deeper. It’s not about the clothes…it’s about the community.  It’s Power to the She…and Me.

Yogaonabeach

Sources:

http://www.gapinc.com/content/gapinc/html/aboutus/ourbrands/Athleta.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-17/gap-s-athleta-stalks-lululemon-one-yoga-store-at-a-time.html

http://www.stack.com/2012/01/12/athleta-power-to-the-she-campaign/

Maddy Lucier. (January 12, 2012) Athleta’s Power to the She Campaign Celebrates Female Athletes. Retrieved June 1, 2014, http://www.stack.com/2012/01/12/athleta-power-to-the-she-campaign/

Antony Young. (2010). A Shift From Media Planning to Communications Planning. Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era. New York: Palgrave Macmillan

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/meg_whitman.html