Does your non profit have a strategic social media plan and know how to measure it?
By Joseph John
Congratulations! Your organization is keeping current. You are doing everything necessary in order to keep up with social media trends — all the while promoting your non profit organization. So, what’s your media?
OH. You were one of the first non profits to create a website and blog. That’s fantastic. Do you recall when you last updated your website or freshened up the blog with some new information? Or, let’s look at some other social media that you may be utilizing:
- Facebook? Check.
- Twitter? Yep.
- YouTube? Check.
- LinkedIn? Uh huh.
- Pinterest? Maybe.
And possibly other social media platforms of the day — social media dujour. Check!
Ah, yes. You’ve got it all. You’re just beaming and your monthly non profit board meetings are full of “high fives”. “Wow. We are ALL OVER the social media spectrum.”
OK. Like I said, “Congratulations.” Now, step back. Do you know WHY you’re on all (or some) of those sites? Is it because “Well, everyone else is doing it,” or to use an old phrase “We need to be keeping up with the Joneses.” And now the most important question: What’s your organization’s strategic plan for using social media? Huh? A strategic plan for social media?
Yes, a strategic plan. What committee was charged with writing the plan and determining what sites are best for YOUR organization?
Are you using social media sites for “friending” and building new followers in the community? Are you using the sites for fundraising? Are you promoting your brand on those sites? Are you using those sites to keep people informed of trends and events in your organization? Or, sadly, are you using the sites merely as a presence, while your site remains very static and hasn’t been updated in a long, long time.
Do you know how many “likes” you have received, or “followers?” Here’s the most important question, before we discuss “metrics” which will be covered in another article: WHO is keeping your social media sites up-to-date, keeping the information fresh, following up on people that are “touching,” “tweeting,” “following,” “liking,” and — the list goes on.
Two firms, Ventureneer and Caliber, joined forces several years ago to develop a survey of non profits’ social media usage. Their final document titled, “Nonprofits and Social Media: It Ain’t Optional,” related the results of the survey.
Let me just share a few of the “ten highly successful media habits for nonprofits” that comprised the introduction to their survey findings:*
1. Excel at social media by dedicating the time to it. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it: to do social media well, non profits have to allocate at least 25 staff hours per week.
2. Use social media for more purposes. The more time a non profit puts into social media, the more it gets out of social media. …those who are power users are using it to: boost a non profit’s visibility, drive traffic to websites, and build community.
3. Start slowly, build a foundation, and then add more media (and time) to the mix. The longer non profits use social media, the more kinds of media they use.
Here’s the bottom line for non profits engaged in (or wanting to use) social media: Develop a strategic plan so that you’ll know why you’re using social media, how you’re using social media, and how to keep the messages and the site fresh. Then, and only then, will you be able to use metrics to gauge your success and your organization’s visibility in the social media arena.
The implications of how alcohol is presented on shelf space by retailers
By Andrea Donaldson
During March Madness there is nothing quite like enjoying a cold brew and cheering on your favorite team in the playoffs. But, while you’re enjoying the dunks, steals, and runs, beer companies are involved in some fierce competition of their own: A competition for shelf space.
Shelf space is the total amount of area allocated for a specific product in a retail store. It is in the retailer’s best interest to put their highest grossing and selling products in the best locations. For beer, this means refrigerated aisles and up front placement. These locations have been reserved for beer giants like Budweiser, Coors, and Miller for decades.
However, Anheuser Busch known for Budweiser, and SABMiller, known for Coors and Miller, are facing new competition. The newest trend in the beer industry is craft brews. In 2012, The New Brewer, a journal published by the Brewers Association released the article, “A Banner Year for Craft,” by Paul Gatza. The article explores the impressive double digit volume growth for the craft beer industry. Distributors for these underdogs are hoping this spike in growth will translate to better placement in grocery and liquor stores. Retailers could stand to benefit from this transition as well; craft beer is more expensive and selling the product provides more revenue for the retailer.
However, Anheuser-Busch and SABMiller aren’t going to give up their shelf space without a fight. They have focused on brand extensions to occupy shelf space in order to prevent new companies from moving in. Brand extensions like Bud Light Platinum, which contains a higher alcohol content, and Black Crown are part of the strategy.
Retailers know that if they are not carrying the latest product extensions, their competition is. This is true in every industry. Ever wonder why popular shampoo companies have twenty-five plus scents? Retailers are forced to carry all popular extensions pushing the smaller companies toward the back or off the shelves completely.
Anheuser-Busch has also acquired brands like Rolling Rock, Land Shark Lager, and Blue Moon in order to fight the craft brew trend. Consumers cannot easily identify these brands as part of the Busch portfolio and often times consider them craft breweries themselves.
Craft breweries must continue to experience exponential growth to make a dent in overall beer sales and gain shelf space in major retail outlets. It is clear they will face heavy opposition from powerful companies as these huge brands try to maintain their prime real estate.
Movie theaters create a restaurant atmosphere to rake in the profits
By Andrea Donaldson
In America, the classic date has always been considered dinner and a movie. But, how many of us have rushed through dinner to make it to the movie theater on time? How many of us have longed for a cocktail to ease awkward first date jitters during endless previews? And, how many of us would sin for a beer while watching Wreck-it Ralph for the second time, because, “Dad, my best friend didn’t get to see it yet!”?
Well, we might be in luck. A new trend is developing among theaters to include restaurants and bars that serve gourmet food and drinks for you to take to your seats. Other theaters have even gone as far as providing servers once you’ve sat down. Featured below are several reasons why this new trend is sure to provide cinemas with increased profit from their new concessions.
1. They have the customers: According to the Motion Picture Association of America Inc.’s research study, Theatrical Market Statistics, released on mpaa.org in 2012, more than two-thirds of the United States and Canadian population went to the movies at least once in 2012. This was a six percent increase from 2011 and a twelve percent increase from 2007. Proving that the cinema is still a top entertainment choice for Americans.
2. Many people eat either before or after a movie: Movies are not only a popular choice for a date, but many families consider it a practical choice for entertainment as well. According to a research study done by Arbitron Inc. titled, The Arbitron Cinema Advertising Study, released in 2003, for natoonline.org. Forty-three percent of Americans ate at either a sit-down or fast food restaurant directly before or after seeing a film. If movie theaters are able to attract these customers to frequent their restaurants and bars instead of dining out, they are sure to increase their food and beverage sales.
3. Most Americans drink: Sixty-six percent of Americans drink alcohol, suggests Lydia Sadd in an article based on a 2012 Gallup Poll titled, Majority of U.S. Drinks Alcohol, Averaging Four Drinks a Week. This statistic is sure to translate to alcohol sales for cinemas.
Recent moviegoer Zack Weissrock from Louisville, KY, said. “Last week, I went to the theater with some friends and noticed a bar. We all laughed thinking the alcoholic drinks would be outrageously overpriced; we were shocked to find that it was actually cheaper to get a rum and coke than to get a medium drink. Two out of three of us bought one.”
It seems as though some theaters have figured out that lower prices can introduce consumers to spending their money on nontraditional snacks. It will be interesting to see if these prices are hijacked once they establish a consistent following.
4. Movie theaters make huge profit on food and beverages: Movie theaters have huge overhead costs and a pressure to keep ticket prices low. They must turn toward food and beverage sales to make a significant portion of their profit. This explains why a medium popcorn can cost up to four dollars and a medium beverage even more than that. The more food and drinks the theater sells, the more profit they make.
Overall, movie theaters are likely to see increased profits by offering customers extended choices for food and beverages. I know before my next movie, I’ll be looking up theaters that serve alcoholic beverages, will you?
A look into emerging trends in Alcohol for the year 2013
By Andrea Donaldson
I have been fortunate enough to work in the food and beverage industry for the last seven years. In my time, I have seen numerous alcohol trends grow and fade. It is critical that alcohol representatives constantly stay on top of emerging trends to successfully move their products. They must also notice when trends are on the outs and which drinks remain timeless.
1. Local beer and wine: The United States is booming with new craft breweries and wineries. In fact, all forty-eight of the continental United States not only produce wine, but are expanding the norms of wine production. These new wineries are featuring fruits like blackberries and plums as well as producing wine from new hybrid grapes that can grow virtually anywhere.
Craft breweries are also expanding their portfolios to attract the local clientele. They offer extensive beer lists featuring everything from stouts to pilsners, which allow people to explore more than just the common lager.
2. Organic Ingredients: Going organic has been a trend for many products in recent years. Now, the trend has extended to alcohol. Organic ciders offer a gluten free option for those who were stuck in the spirit category, while others just like the comfort of knowing their drink is made with natural ingredients.
3. Whiskey: Whiskey is the chameleon of spirits. It can be sweet, spicy, strong, diluted, but always flavorful. Though the spirit was traditionally viewed as a drink for men, the trend is emerging because of its increased popularity among women. Meghan Leary, published her book Whiskey for Women, in 2009. In the book, Leary discusses the emerging trend of women turning to whiskey for its symbolism of success. She believes as women continue to be focused on career aspirations, they will drink spirits that symbolize just that.
1. Absinthe: Absinthe came on the scene in 2007 after the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau lifted its ban on the spirit. The forbidden fruit of spirits initially attracted those who desired the romance and mystery of a drink associated with the French impressionist who would consume absinthe due to the popularized misconception that the spirit caused hallucinations. But, now that it is known that the spirit does not cause mind-altering effects, is completely legal, and is in an overly saturated market, the fad has faded.
2. The common lager: The emergence of craft breweries has hit beer giants hard. Consulting firm Technomic, released an article titled, Technomic Finds Beer a Challenged but Dynamic and Evolving Industry, on their website, Technomic.com, in September of 2012. The article examines research by Technomic, a leading guide for statistics and facts in the food and beverage industry, reflecting the 2.6 percent volume decline in domestic light beer in 2012. The study suggests that the American palate is changing to reflect more complicated flavors.
1. Scotch: Scotch has always had a loyal following among older men. However, as scotch continues to evolve with blends, smoky flavors, and the expansion of single-malts, young adults are beginning to appreciate the unique whiskey. Scotch will always remain a classic representation of status.
2. Red Wine: There is no doubt, red wine is a timeless classic. The wine symbolizes both romance and luxury, and is the perfect match for red meat. Doctors have even suggested that in moderation the beverage is good for your heart. In an article discussing recent Gallup poll findings by Lydia Sadd titled, Majority in U.S. Drink Alcohol, Averaging Four Drinks a Week, released in August, 2012, Lydia notes that of the sixty-four percent of women who drink moderately, fifty-two percent prefer wine over any other alcoholic beverage.
As palates evolve in the United States, alcohol representatives must stay on top of the consumption trends of alcohol consumers. Local beers and organic ingredients will continue to showcase increased sales throughout 2013; absinthe will be a part of history again, and red wine will continue to be regarded as a classic.
Why is Public Relations relevant in today’s work environment?
By Tiffany Engleman
In a world where information is constantly at one’s fingertips, communication is essential for operating a healthy business. All companies need employees who are able to communicate effectively to any audience. Public relations professionals become the link in communication between companies, their target audiences and the media.
Tom Glover, a writer for Profile, the magazine published by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in the United Kingdom, states, “Clear and consistent communication helps organizations achieve their goals, employees to work to their potential, customers to make informed choices, investors to make an accurate assessment of an organization, and society to form fair judgments of industries, organizations, and issues.”
Great public relation’s professionals can provide businesses with the positive image necessary to build relationships with the public. They can also create growth in success rates of direct mail, sponsorships, advertisements, and all other forms of permission-based marketing. These basic functions are what make the field of PR relevant and beneficial to businesses today.
Not only do PR professionals focus on image and information distribution, but they also look deeply into the competitors of the businesses that they represent. Information such as whether a competitive company is a profit or non-profit organization is just one of the pieces of information that a professional will know. PR experts also have an understanding of how their information and communication efforts will affect the competing companies as well as their own position amongst the competition.
Public relation’s professionals hold the key to beneficial information for a company when communicating with the public, maintaining a positive company image, and also providing a substantial position among competitors. This information is critical for a company to operate lucratively, especially in today’s business world.
Works Cited: Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., & Shin, Jae-Hwa. (2011). Think Public Relations. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education.
Ground-Breaking Red Bull Content Marketing Creates Brand Personality
By Andrea Donaldson
In 1997, Red Bull introduced the United States to the modern energy drink. The company has since established a ground-breaking content marketing strategy to create a brand personality targeting young adult audiences.
O’Brien, McCoy, Rhodes, Wagoner, and Wolfson released a study for the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, titled Caffeinated Cocktails: Energy Drink Consumption, High-Risk Drinking, and Alcohol-related Consequences among College Students, in March 2008.
The article examined how Red Bull utilizes “student brand managers” and “mobile energy teams” in order to target college students. These teams gather information about specific college cultures in the area as well as distribute free samples to college-aged individuals. The teams also specifically target young adults at events based around extreme sports, in an effort to convey a message of invincibility. These integrated marketing strategies have enabled Red Bull’s brand awareness to skyrocket as though it had wings itself.
Energy drink competitor, Monster, has been tackling the drink market with an entirely different strategy. The company has been engaged in brand extensions since their launch in 2002. According to their website, Monster now boasts up to thirty unique flavor extensions.
The popularity of these options has pressured Red Bull to establish brand extensions of their own. In March of 2013, Red Bull launched three new extensions in the United States. The extensions are labeled the red, blue, and silver editions. Each edition has a unique flavor associated with the beverage. However, the flavors curiously relate to those of traditional bar mixers.
Red Bull’s new red edition is the same Red Bull with essentially the same ingredients. The only difference is the addition of cranberry flavoring. Cranberry juice is a critical mixer to any bartender, due to the popularity of vodka and cranberry drinks.
Red Bull has also released a silver edition. This edition features a lime taste so strong, that puckering is inevitable. Considering lime juice has also been a common staple in bar mixers, it is featured in popular drinks like mojitos, margaritas, and gimlets; the release of these new editions create endless opportunities for new mixed-drink creations.
Although, the mixture of Red Bull and alcohol has been heavily criticized by the media, internet webpages feature over 65 different cocktail recipes for the popular drink. The use of Red Bull as a mixer for alcohol has been growing in popularity for the last several years. In the same article previously cited, Caffeinated Cocktails: Energy Drink Consumption, High-Risk Drinking, and Alcohol-related Consequences among College students, researchers published statistics suggesting that a quarter of all college students in America engage in mixing alcohol with energy drinks.
Mixed Messages: Alcohol and Energy Drinks, published by the organization Alcohol Concern, in June 2011, cites Red Bull’s own website noting they encourage young adults to mix alcohol and Red Bull. The website says, “Having maximum fun at a long lasting club session or a house party requires robust physical endurance. That’s why a whole generation swears by the boost of Red Bull to fly through the night.”
It is clear Red Bull has utilized their marketing strategies to encourage energy drinks and alcohol consumption. Red Bull’s new brand extensions further suggest that the company is willing to risk the ethical implications associated with marketing their product with alcohol. As concerns are raised about the potential health hazards of these products on young adults, it will be interesting to track how Red Bull addresses that media predicament.
By Tiffany Engleman
Public relations professionals consistently work to communicate with the public through means of corporate communications, community relations, media relations, event planning, and writing. Here are a few suggestions of social media strategies that can be combined with traditional public relations practices to amplify reach on target audiences.
A question that is often asked within public relations firms is: “How can social media be used as a tactic in managing a company’s public relations program and how effective will it prove to be?” The answers are: Hire an “expert” in social media to help guide this transition. And, it’s extremely effective!
As of 2012, over 500 million people have registered on Twitter. With that said, if a crisis situation were to occur with a client’s company, creating a hashtag campaign on Twitter would be an effective and cost-efficient means to promote a positive view on the issue and begin minimizing the negative impact of the crisis. By addressing the issue instantly and through an interactive medium like Twitter, stakeholders and key publics will feel assured that the situation is being handled immediately and responsibly.
Another way that PR firms can integrate social media is by creating a Facebook page for a client’s events. Public Relations professionals work closely with event planning and what better way to advertise an event than through a Facebook page that has the potential to reach over one billion active users? Creating a Facebook page will also provide clients and consumers the opportunity for direct communication, as they can post comments and questions on the page itself. Facebook also offers the option to “share” events and stories, which will only increase reach and frequency for the event and the company simultaneously.
Social media has the potential to reach a wide variety of audiences and best of all—it’s free! PR professionals could benefit extensively by encompassing traditional and social media to create the ultimate PR campaign for any client.