Tag Archives: communications

INTEGRATE 2014 Recap

INTEGRATE 2014

Each year West Virginia University hosts the INTEGRATE conference for Communications professionals. Next year’s conference will be May 29-30, 2015.

One of the ways the c21 team keeps up with the latest strategies in communications is by sharing best practices with one another. At least once a quarter, the team hosts internal Lunch and Learn’s where we share ideas and concepts gained from conferences, seminars and webinars we’ve attended.

I attended the INTEGRATE 2014 conference hosted by West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. I’m currently pursing my master’s degree in integrated marketing communications (IMC) from the university and each year the WVU Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) graduate program hosts the INTEGRATE conference, where more than 200 communications professionals attend innovative workshops and breakout sessions, and participate in thought provoking discussions about IMC trends in our industry.

The IMC graduate program is offered exclusively online and allows communications professionals to re-align their marketing activities to ensure a constant flow of information to consumers from a variety of media. Most IMC students, like myself, are able to continue to work full-time while earning their degree.

The students earn a practical, customizable graduate education that is designed to equip them with the skills to emerge as leaders in the field and immediately apply what they’ve learned to their professional lives. The program is taught by a diverse faculty – from marketing directors to academics to entrepreneurs – who are recognized leaders in their fields.

During the c21 Lunch and Learn, I shared a few of the best practices and most creative IMC campaigns with the team. Even though I’ll obtain my degree this December, I’m definitely looking forward to attending the conference again next year. CLICK HERE to check out some of the thoughts I shared with the team.

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The Value of an Internship

For some people, the word intern conjures up images of filing papers, standing idly at the copy machine, or making a mad dash down to Starbucks for 15 different orders with 15 different flavors at 15 different temperatures.

But that’s not the case.

Internships provide a smooth transition into the workforce, and equip candidates with the necessary skills they’ll need to succeed in their industry. I’ve learned this valuable lesson through past experience and my current internship with communications 21. From the first moment I walked through its doors, I knew this was an agency that meant business. c21 has launched award-winning campaigns and is the recipient of more than 70 industry awards; and during my first two months as an intern, I’ve definitely grown to understand why.

c21 awards Just a few of c21’s many AMY and IABC awards

c21 works with clients in a variety of industries: from The Avenue, the CIAA, and the Emory Point shopping center (I knew I was onto something when I’d spend my days shopping at Lizard Thicket), to Xytex, a tissue, cord blood and sperm bank. The leadership here are very dedicated and have helped me become an integral part of the team. I come into the office each day determined to complete client goals and meet deadlines, and I leave feeling fulfilled and confident that I’ve outperformed myself.

You may have heard people say, “I can’t get a job because I don’t have experience, but I don’t have experience because I can’t get a job.” It can be a sad cycle that seems never-ending—especially for college students and recent grads. 

But that’s the great thing about internships! They provide the training that candidates need to land that dream job.

job experience cycle know your meme Photo courtesy of knowyourmemes.com


I was one of those college students who would echo that mantra to anyone who would listen. However, I decided to get productive and made the decision to put myself on the path towards a brighter future. Although I started my intern journey later than some, I’ve gained corporate, international, non-profit and agency PR experience in a plethora of areas including travel and tourism, real estate, sports, retail and healthcare—in just one year.

Another concern that some students have is “working for free.” Paid internships do exist, but it’s important not to be picky. Monetary gain is an added bonus, but the hands-on experience is invaluable and can lead to greater things. Movie mogul Steven Spielberg got his start as an intern; so did Microsoft founder Bill Gates and fashion designer Betsey Johnson.

Two of c21’s account managers started out as interns, and now they’re in charge of several client accounts!

To sum it all up, if there’s one piece of advice I could give about internships, it’s this: don’t limit yourself and make sure you’re doing everything you can to improve your chances of snagging that dream job – especially during these tough times. It’s harder to find something when your resume is blank or filled with irrelevant experience. Take the internship and get the experience!

If you know any superstar internship candidates with an interest in public relations, marketing, communications or journalism, click for more information about an opportunity with c21.

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Brittany Knox
 is the newest public relations intern here at c21. She is an alumna of Georgia State University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications. When she’s not sharpening her skills as a future PR maven, Brittany enjoys traveling, dancing, and dining around Atlanta.

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The Super Bowl: PR, Marketing and Branding Blitz

Over the years, the Super Bowl has experienced an evolution—and it’s not just for hardcore football fans anymore.

It’s gone from simply being the most popular national sporting event, to becoming every advertiser’s dream time slot. Marketers, advertisers and public relations professionals have quickly caught onto the trend of capitalizing on television’s biggest event. Corporate sponsors, products, companies, musicians, teams and players alike all use the Big Game to get a step ahead. Some favorite commercials are ones that premiered during a Super Bowl.

NFL AND ITS TEAMS/PLAYERS
Obviously, the Super Bowl is a major opportunity for sports, team and player marketing. The NFL and its sponsors rely on loyal fans to wear those Seahawks and Broncos colors and jerseys to advertise for these teams during and after the big game.

And that goes for all teams. Football is football; whenever one team is being discussed, it’s an opportunity to discuss them all. 

It’s also an opportunity for those players who have product endorsement deals to capitalize, even if they’re not on either of the competing teams. Even though Clay Matthews didn’t play during this year’s matchup, his Gillette commercials still got buzz. Drew Brees still had Nyquil ads.

And who could forget Troy Polamalu’s ridiculously fun Head & Shoulders commercials?

troy polamalu head and shoulders
Photo Credit: luxist.com

 

PRODUCTS AND SPONSORS
There certainly wasn’t a shortage of Super Bowl ads this year, despite the $4 million price tag for a 30-second spot. There was an engineer quitting her job, a puppy and a Clydesdale, Tim Tebow without a contract, a Frito Chicken Enchilada melt…and a frisky bull.

More than 20 brands and products began unveiling their ads several weeks before the game, generating early buzz and anticipation. Viewers and critics already had a few favorites selected well before the kickoff.

(Are we the only ones who still have that Budweiser commercial pulling on our heartstrings?)

But it’s not just about getting a product’s name out there anymore: it’s also about how PR, marketing and digital professionals can push their products by seizing every opportunity to grow awareness and fan engagement.

Oreo-Dunk-in-the-Dark 
(Remember this brilliantly-placed ad following last year’s brief Super Bowl blackout?)
Photo Credit: wired.com

In my opinion, the blackout that happened at the Super Dome last year was the ultimate test of professionals thinking on their toes in an unforeseen situation.

Not just thinking in terms of, “Oh dear…how should we handle this crisis?”
But also, “How can we take advantage of this moment and be memorable?”

And the folks over at Oreo nailed it—it’s a marketing move that’s still talked about today.

PERFORMERS/ENTERTAINERS
And what’s just as big as the actual game? The halftime show! Bruno Mars took this sought-after musical spot during this year’s game and revived the crowd witnessing a virtual blowout into a frenzy of catchy tunes, bright lights, gold vests and dance move reminiscent of James Brown and Michael Jackson. The Red Hot Chili Peppers joined him in the middle of his set to rock the stadium and keep the crowd on their feet.

Half time performers are often announced several months in advance, so it’s a great opportunity to create added buzz around entertainers and boost record sales.

And it’s definitely a plan that works.

Billboard reported that following their highly anticipated reunion at the 2013 Super Bowl, Destiny’s Child album sales spiked 197%. The Who’s album sales jumped 102% after their performance in 2010. Justin Timberlake’s album sales for “Justified” increased 160%, despite the infamous wardrobe malfunction during 2004’s halftime show.

bruno-mars-and-the-red-hot-chili-peppers-take-over-super-bowl-halftime-show

(Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers brought the house down Sunday night)
Photo Credit: businessinsider.com

The bottom line is this: the Super Bowl is more than the final football game of the NFL season. It’s an event that’s hyped up for months preceding its commencement, and is talked about for months after the winning team has been crowned. It’s a great opportunity for products to push their companies that will be used all year round.

Make sure you keep that sports momentum going—the CIAA 2014 Basketball tournament is just a few weeks away! As the agency of record for the CIAA, c21 is busy putting the final touches on the event. Check it out!

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Brittany Knox is the newest public relations intern here at c21. She is an alumna of Georgia State University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications. When she’s not sharpening her skills as a future PR maven, Brittany enjoys traveling, dancing, and dining around Atlanta.