Does social media have power? Truck yeah!

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.16.40 AMWe recently met with a prospective client who asked if we could act as his media spokesperson. Sure we can, but we suggested that we train him to be his own well-prepared spokesperson. He said, “You see that guy give Bumgarner the Chevy at the World Series? That would be me on a good day.”

Yes, we all saw it – the World Series blunder where Rikk Wilde gave Madison Bumgarner keys to a new Chevy Colorado. It was one of the most awkward live television moments in history. Sweat running down his face, and drowning on air, with notes on a Post-it, Wilde presented the keys, saying things like, “It has technology and stuff.”

General Motors could have had its spokesperson make the presentation. Why Rikk Wilde? Because Wilde was a regular guy and relatable to the company’s target audience.

Social media blew up, sharing laughs about Wilde’s presentation. We often find that many clients are afraid of social media’s transparency for scenarios exactly like this one. Social media can be too unpredictable and out of their control.

GM played it perfectly. By 12:30 a.m., less than an hour after the event, the company participated in what had become a trending topic on Twitter.

GM’s first tweet: “Truck yeah the 2015 #ChevyColorado has awesome #TechnologyAndStuff! You know you want a truck.”

Hours later, GM’s spokesperson tweeted that Wilde was on message, saying “The truck does have technology and stuff.” Then, GM used the national conversation to tell its audience about the truck’s offerings.

At the same time, GM quickly added the words “technology and stuff” to its online and television ads. In addition, the company purchased the keywords “Chevy guy” and “technology and stuff” so when people Googled the event to have a laugh, GM’s site would be at the top of the search page.

GM’s “technology and stuff” television spots aired during Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel and other shows that would poke fun at the “Chevy guy.” The motor company took out full-page ads in USA Today, The New York Times and daily papers in San Francisco and Kansas City.

GM followed the golden rules of social media:

  • Be prepared, but more than that, be responsive to what really happens. Empower your social media team to make quick decisions and remain responsive.
  • Don’t take your brand too seriously – be authentic and relatable.
  • Remember, in any communication, you have the opportunity to bring the conversation back to your key messages and mission.
  • Then, see it through. Watch it carefully until it’s over.

Estimates reflect that the “gaffe” generated more than $5 million in free public relations for GM. Its website traffic went through the roof. There’s an opportunity to make hay if you have the national spotlight turned to your brand – even for three minutes – even over a gaffe. It’s the ultimate #lemons2lemonade moment.

 — Shawna Samuel, Senior Vice President/Account Group Director 

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Ice Buckets of Social Media

Emily Drape

Emily Drape

It is impossible to escape the #ALSicebucketchallenge on social media. Whether it is documented as a photo or video, this campaign is taking social media by storm. The feel-good (well, not so good when you have ice down your back!) campaign has raised more than $23 million for the ALS Association. So how is this happening? This campaign pulls major social and emotional strings that get people to stop and give … while having fun.

Being doused with ice water had been around in early summer, particularly among pro golfers raising money for their own charities. In mid-July golfer Greg Norman got Matt Lauer to take the challenge on the “Today” show, though it wasn’t yet known for ALS. But a young Boston College athlete with ALS picked up the idea and his friends and family fueled it with an abundance of postings on his behalf. From that point on, social media took over. People began posting their own “ice bucket” challenge videos and photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Not to be left out, celebrities joined in, like Jimmy Fallon and Lady Gaga, who wanted to be part of the social conversation. That gave the campaign a larger platform and by early August it had taken off: 118,000 tweets from mid-July to mid-August. So why is this working?

It’s so simple, anyone can do it.

It’s simple. It’s personal. Anyone can do it. The beauty of this campaign is how easy it is to get a network of your family, friends, co-workers or neighbors involved. They feel included. They feel like they are part of something and that makes people feel special. They can be part of the team; join the conversation.

Competition is a powerful motivator.

A key component of this campaign is the requirement to nominate three to five others to participate. But wait, there is a catch: You have only 24 hours. Ready. Set. Go. As soon as that last icy drop lands on your damp scalp it is time to repeat the cycle.

With a race against the clock, this campaign causes people to feel the urgency of completing the challenge, while emphasizing the urgency of finding a cure for this debilitating disease.

It will make you cry.

This campaign is full of emotional stories that draw you in and make you want to do something. Everyone wants to be a part of something special. Being able to say you dumped the bucket on your head, or donated, can do that, especially when other people know about it. The ice bucket challenge evokes a strong emotional rush.

This has become a simple, unifying concept that plays on people’s desire to become part of the social conversation, and do good at the same time.

-Emily Drape, Account Executive

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Cleaning house.

Moving2Last week my family and I packed all of our belongings for a move. The challenge was fitting everything we’ve accumulated over the past 18 years into an 8-by-16-foot container. Needless to say, it didn’t quite fit. It’s amazing how much stuff one accumulates even after annual purges. Yet many things are important, such as childhood keepsakes, a bed and the recliner for Sunday afternoon naps. Then there’s the “I’ll use it one day” stuff. Since we have a three-week transition period before we move to our new home, essential items were scrutinized down to the last teddy bear.

How does this relate to marketing and PR? Like your home, your organization and brand collects excess baggage over the years. Some items are very needed, some are nice to have and others are not necessary at all. It’s likely your organization has generated a plethora of marketing materials and messages over the years – a new sales sheet here, a micro-website there, a news release from a satellite location, a new business presentation, etc. The message and materials you relied on a few years ago may not be relevant or fit in today’s market, and they could be slowing you down. It’s vital to pause and take an audit of your brand, before the truck arrives. Just as your new home may not need that picture of Elvis above the mantle, your brand may not need that message that your CEO’s wife liked in 1990.

Conduct an audit, clean house and keep your brand refreshed and moving forward.

— Jeff Madden, Senior Account Supervisor

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Welcome to Kansas City

imagesWe’re a kind bunch here in Kansas City. As a people we are friendly, helpful, hardworking, and we treat everyone with a smile. It’s our Midwestern way. Especially when it comes to welcoming visitors to our town. When we see an out-of-towner, we go out of our way to make sure they know how to get to the Country Club Plaza, or to remind them they are actually in Missouri right now, and (of course) to assure them that the line that reaches outside the door at Oklahoma Joe’s won’t take too much longer … and, yes, it is worth it.

We roll out the welcome mats and greet them with open arms. Unless they are going too slow along Ward Parkway, or taking too long figuring out what to order at Gates Bar-B-Q. If that’s the case, all bets are off. They can go back to California. But that’s a whole other story.

When it comes to business, though, shouldn’t we show the same Midwestern hospitality? Imagine you are an established company – maybe from Austin or Houston, Boulder or Vancouver, Wash. – and you’ve picked Kansas City to expand your brand to the Midwest. Wouldn’t you want a friendly face waiting with open arms to show you the ins and outs of Kansas City? To describe the difference between folks from Parkville and Leawood? To explain the fact that parking really is a big deal to us?

At Trozzolo Communications Group, we’ve adopted this Midwestern hospitality as a charge for our “Community Team.” We are truly inspired when an out-of-town brand chooses Kansas City as its next place to do business.

We are constantly surprised when a new prospect or client comes to town and they haven’t heard of the Plaza Lights or the Plaza Art Fair, or they don’t quite know the difference between Missourians and Kansans. (Yes, we’re all the same. But not really. But sort of. But not really.) We’ve come to realize that these new-to-KC businesses need a local’s touch. A guide. A friend. A partner.

We believe it is our duty to welcome them with open arms, share our knowledge of Kansas City, and put that knowledge and our connections to work. To inform, engage and inspire Kansas Citians about new brands – from Chuy’s to Hotel Sorella to Papa Murphy’s to the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce – who choose Kansas City to share their message, their products and their new approaches to their craft.

The heartland is the melting pot of the United States. And Kansas City is at the center of it all. Please join us in welcoming not just visitors to our great city, but the permanent transplants, companies, and brands alike. So, what can we do to play our part in a way that could impact your business, while welcoming new companies and their people here? Here are three opportunities we can leverage:

  1. Be their community concierge. Show them the ropes of this city. Describe how consumers in Leawood may be different from consumers in the Northland. Heck, you may need to describe what the Northland is. Help them discover the unique areas of town – where business is done, who their neighbors are. Ask yourself, if I don’t share this information with them, who will?
  2. Connect them with a cause. Every company wants to do something good for the community. Help them navigate the waters of finding a charity to become involved with, a cause they can connect with and truly support. Kansas City has so many great organizations that need corporate sponsorship and involvement. When the right match is made, special things will happen.
  3. Help define their position in the community. Often times a business that is new to Kansas City may not fully realize the competitive landscape that awaits them here. We all know that competition can come from all angles, in all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t have to be from another company. It can be misperceptions, or the dreaded “they’re from out of town” tag. Help them define themselves here in Kansas City. Don’t let the market or the competition do it for them.

Let’s help those who are new to our great city add something great to our community. Let’s roll out that welcome mat. Shine up that smile and say it like you mean it with the words, “Welcome to Kansas City.”

Josh Brewster, Account Group Vice President

 

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Avoiding the Dreaded Rejection Letter

Sarah Davis

Sarah Davis

Let us begin by saying thank you for your interest in Trozzolo. We know that our application is not for the faint of heart so the fact that so many of you have already applied or are thinking about applying really means something to us.

The No. 1 question we get asked by potential interns is, “How do I break through the clutter?” To shed some light on this age-old question, we wanted to take this opportunity to teach you about our process. Perhaps this will help a few of you get our or another agency’s attention.

To be 100 percent honest, we look for reasons to put you in the “no” pile. Not because we feel like it or because we are mean, but because we want to spend our time focused on the candidates who might have what we are looking for. There are five rounds to our process.

Round 1 – We skim your résumé for the following:
– Spelled Trozzolo right.
– Free of typos.
– Submitted a complete application.
– Addressed the application to the correct company.
– If there is an objective listed, it mentions something our company does.

I know that more than one of you reading this is saying “Well, duh!,” but you would be surprised how many people get knocked out of the running in round one.

Round 2 – We look more thoroughly at what is listed on your résumé and skim your brand essay. We look for the following:
– What year you are in school.
– Previous internships.
– Involvement in school and community.
– If you are a designer, we look at your portfolio.
– Brand essay is clear of typos and has original thoughts.

We want the best and brightest; therefore, past experience, involvement and your ability to articulate who you are matter. Those who have all three move on to the next round.

Round 3 – We do a detailed review of résumé, portfolio and essay. This is where we get really super-duper picky. This is where we decide who gets an interview and who gets thrown into the “no” pile.

We pit résumés and portfolios against each other. We ask, who has the experience or design aesthetic we are looking for? Who has the talent that would be a good fit for our agency?

We read the brand essays again – and in more detail. What essay grabbed us and left us wanting more?

Oh and then we stalk you on social media … you knew that was coming!

The people we select to interview have the following:
– Experience via internships or school activities that match what we do.
– A brand essay that showed personality, spunk and creativity. Hint on this: Not one of the interns we selected last year said they were Google, Apple or Nike. That is a tad too cliché.

Round 4 – The interviews. We look for candidates who:
– Have a personality that matches or clicks with ours.
– Are self-starters who are hardworking and hungry.
– Answer the tough questions with ease.
– Have questions for us.
– Do their homework on Trozzolo.
– Bring their “A” game to the interview.

The interviews are, as we say, “where the rubber meets the road.” We want to make sure you are not just great on paper. Those who come in eager to learn about the company and show us how they could fit in here are the ones that get to the selection process.

A few no-nos to touch on quickly –
– Don’t leave your cellphone on. In fact, don’t bring it in!
– Don’t come unprepared. Please bring in your résumé and work samples.
– Don’t say you want to work in an industry that we don’t touch on.
– Don’t forget to follow up!

Round 5 – The selection.

From there we pick our top three, run the portfolios and résumés by the management team and then make the offers.

Please use this advice as an opportunity to review your materials and approach. You might notice a typo or rethink your interview strategy. It will make you better … and you will have a better chance at getting that internship or job you are pursuing.

And know this, for several of you, there will be nothing wrong with what you submit or your interview. Someone was just a better fit. Keep trying!

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Care Enough to Get It Right

Lisa Phillips

Imagine a company called Acme Optical & Eyecare (I know it’s redundant; work with me here!), founded by Jon Kelley and Michele Hofmann. And you offer services you think could benefit Acme, so you reach out to them in hopes of doing business together. You decide to write them a letter and explain the many benefits both companies can reap in such a fruitful relationship. You begin by addressing the letter:

Acme Opticians and Eye Care

John Kelly and Michelle Hoffman

Dear whoever you are:

Blah, blah, blah, just another sales pitch, blah, blah.

Insincerely,
Who Cares

That’s how the letter will likely read after noticing the sender didn’t even bother referring to the company website to check the names. Jon and Michele put their blood, sweat and tears into building their business, and they deserve the respect of having their names and the company’s name spelled right.

How many items do you think Procter & Gamble receives each day addressed to Proctor & Gamble? I’ll bet those letters and direct mail pieces don’t receive the same attention as letters whose senders cared enough to get it right. Résumés with errors like that are destined for only one place: the trash.

Thanks to the Internet, the world is our oyster. Do your homework before reaching out. The company website and LinkedIn are great resources and will likely have the correct information. But beware of other sources that come up in search results; there’s always a chance they got it wrong. If you’re unsure, just pick up the phone and call. They will appreciate the extra commitment to detail.

And getting it right goes beyond just spelling names correctly. Is it Eyecare, Eye Care, or EyeCare? Is it ‘&’ or ‘and’? Check carefully, and make sure it’s consistent throughout your communications. If you’re using industry-specific terms, do some research and make sure they’re spelled correctly and used correctly.

Read up on the company, too. Perhaps in 2012 WeMakeStuff Manufacturing, Inc. changed its name to WeMakeStuff Industries. Mail items addressed to the old company name could give the impression that they’re just another company on a long, outdated mass mailer list.

Cliché or not, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Show that you care enough to get it right. And once you’ve gotten it right, keep getting it right. Your client will likely not be impressed if you create a brochure for them that reads Acme EyeCare, when their name is actually Acme Eyecare; or acmeeyecare.com, when their Web address is acmeeyecare.org. These little errors might make an impression, but probably not the one you were going for. Attention to detail creates a good first impression, and diligence in the details will make it a positive, long-lasting one. The motto for a happy ongoing client relationship: Get it right; keep it right!

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Don’t just tell ‘em – understand ‘em.

Shawna Samuel

Shawna Samuel

The account service team at Trozzolo is always sharing cool things we see – ads that work, videos that make an impact, strategic ideas that are different. Jeff Madden recently sent me the P&G “Thank You, Mom” television spot running during the Olympics. It represents a number of their consumer brands that are purchased by moms – a powerful buying group.

This campaign is a perfect example of what we tell our clients – that it’s more important for a brand to establish a place and meaning in its target audience’s hearts and minds than “just telling them” about products, services and features.

Today, there’s clutter and distraction – beyond a brand’s obvious competition. Because of the 24/7 access to news and social media, marketers are trying to find creative ways to break through the clutter, which, in turn, only adds more clutter.

People crave simplicity. They want to be able to make a clear choice. Establishing a “feeling” leads to a subconscious loyalty about a brand that ultimately leads to more buying.

Research shows that two-thirds of Gen C agree that “if there is a brand I love, I tend to tell everyone about it.” And, 90 percent of Gen C are content creators, increasing the odds a spot like this will go viral, the ultimate home run. Gen C is a powerful force marketers need to pay attention to. More than an age group, Gen Cs care deeply about community, connection, creativity and curating content.

“Thank You, Mom” says “we get you, we’re in it with you. We’re here to make your life easier because you are pretty terrific and important.” It doesn’t push a product, or highlight its own features and benefits. It doesn’t “just tell them.” And, it’s in context – everyone will be talking about the Olympics, so this spot rides on the coattails of where our minds will be anyway.

One of the reasons brands fail is their “feature-centric” approach. Instead of just telling them, make your communication about them, and where they are and what they want.

— Shawna Samuel, Senior Vice President/Account Group Director

Source for statistics: *Ipsos MediaCT YouTube Audience Study, June-August 2013 and TNS Australia Pty Ltd YouTube Audience Study 2012-2013.

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