Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Email Blast

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Lauren Roberts and I'm passionate about joining the ESPN team as a social media professional. As an avid sports-lover and former athlete, with a background in social media, journalism and public relations, I could readily contribute to ESPN's social media strategy.

My passion for sports

As the child of an athlete and the grandchild of a successful coach, I was raised around athletics. I had a soccer ball at my feet and a basketball in my hands before I was old enough to join youth leagues. I always enjoyed being successful on the field, but I didn't find my true passion for sports until I watched the 1999 Women's World Cup, (below).

Brandi, Mia and Briana weren't just soccer players, they inspired a nation. The United States team brought together a nation that was, and still is, apathetic about soccer, and showed the world how compelling the game could be. The team ignited a fire within me and an entire generation of young girls. If I practiced every day, someday I might be a household name like the heroes whose faces were plastered on my bedroom walls.

My dreams of becoming a professional athlete didn't work out, but my passion for athletics increases every day.

Sports and social media

Yankees vs. Red Sox, Ohio State vs. Michigan and Celtics vs. Lakers...we've all witnessed how rivalries can divide passionate fans, but I love sports because they have the ability to bring all fans together. Jesse Owens' performance in Berlin, Germany during the 1936 Olympic games helped bring together a divided nation. In 2001 after the World Trade Center attacks, New Yorkers rallied together to support the Yankees in their playoff run.

Social media provides a platform to expand athletics' unifying reach. During the elite eight of last year's college basketball tournament, Louisville guard Kevin Ware went down with a gruesome leg injury, (above). Moments after the injury, basketball fans from around the nation took to Twitter and made #PrayForWare a trending topic in the United States.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, not only did #BostonStrong trend on Twitter, but a YouTube video of fans singing the national anthem at the Boston Bruins match trended on Facebook, (below).

Check out more of my favorite inspiring sports moments on my Pinterest page.

Why I want to work for ESPN

ESPN is the worldwide leader in sports coverage. I would be honored and privileged to work for an organization that is responsible for uniting passionate fans, no matter what colors they bleed or mascot they cheer for on game day.

Want to see my full resume or connect further? Connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram or Pinterest.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Lauren Roberts

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Five Brands Take On Blogging

A blog is one of the best tools a company can use to connect with its customers. According to Dechay Watts, a blog gives your company a voice, creates a place to talk about your products and services, and it is a place to let your brand's personality shine. I took a close look at five different blogs to see how the brands are engaging with consumers, in the hopes that I could learn a couple things that I could use to improve my own blog. Here's what I found!

1. Express - EXPLife

The clothing store Express maintains a professional blog that's purpose is to inform young adult's about the latest fashion trends, and to showcase the brand's clothing. One thing that really stands out about EXPLife is how the site goes beyond push marketing, and really focuses on entertaining its intended audience. In a post about campus fashion you can listen to a popular Ke$ha song, there is a link for an app that puts your pictures into a collage, and there is a recipe for jungle juice (right). EXPLife goes beyond trying to sell their products, and posts things that are relevant to young adults. The targeted content on EXPLife reflects that Express is a brand for trendy, young adults.

Express marketers drive traffic to their blog by posting new content regularly. If there's always something new to see or read, people will continuously checkin with your blog. EXPLife also provides buttons that link to the brand's Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube channel, Pinterest, Instagram and RSS feed, and there is a sidebar displaying the brand's latest tweets and Instagram posts. These social media links allow readers to connect with the brand and share the brand on multiple platforms, which magnifies the brand's reach and drives traffic to the blog. At the bottom of every EXPLife post, you have the option of liking the story on Facebook, tweeting the story, or sharing it on Google Plus. These share buttons, the links to social media networks and publishing content on a regular basis are the aspects that make EXPLife successful.

It would benefit Express to place its social media buttons higher on the blog, because that is the most viewed and clicked area. While some of the links were near the top, I had to scroll to the bottom of the page to find links to the brand's Pinterest and Instagram accounts.

Because EXPLife is a blog for a retail store, there are no advertisements on the blog. It wouldn't make sense to display clothing ads for any of Express' competitors! If the brand was going to add advertisements, they might consider showing advertisements for brands that they work with. On the blog there are video segments that Express does with GQ. Since the two brands are already working together, EXPLife could have advertisements for the magazine.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

When it comes to push marketing, Oreo's website crumbles

When it comes to push marketing on Oreo's website, the popular cookie seems to crumble. There are no popups, chat windows or signups to receive email. There are widgets on the website that allow you to like the brand on Facebook and follow them on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Google+. These links do push consumers toward the brand. Oreo marketers may not focus their efforts on push marketing on the cookie's website, because Oreo is already America's favorite cookie, and the top sold cookie in the United States. Tanya Robertson says that once a brand has established itself, it no longer needs to focus on push marketing because consumers are already aware the product exists.

Offsite, Oreo utilizes push marketing through its social media accounts, print advertisements, television commercials and grocery store displays. Oreo posts comical and relevant advertisements on its Facebook page and Twitter feed that push customers to remember, and ultimately buy, the brand. Several days ago Oreo posted an advertisement on Facebook and Twitter of a cookie with dark cream in the middle. (Right) The caption read, "Why all black? Because all white was sooooooo last week. #FashionWeek." Oreo used the posts to push the product at consumers, which Robertson says is key in push marketing.

Oreo uses push marketing to spread awareness of the brand, and more specifically the Wonderfilled campaign, through YouTube, print advertisements and television commercials. According to Janda Lukin, director for Oreo, The Wonderfilled campaign centers around how something as mundane as sharing an Oreo, could positively effect the world. The brand uses celebrity singers like Kasey Musgraves and Adam Young (of Owl City) on its YouTube channel and television commercials. The celebrity endorsements of the cookies are an effective way to push the brand in front of more consumers, because consumers are drawn to and trust celebrities.

Oreo does a much better job of pull marketing on its website and through its social media. During this week's lecture, we learned that pull marketing takes place when consumers engage with a brand, as opposed to a brand pushing their products onto the consumer. As part of Oreo's Wonderfilled campaign, consumers can upload and share their Oreo-related photos and videos. Those images and videos can then be shared on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. People who see their friends posting the videos and photos on social media may want to post a picture of their grandparent or child eating Oreos, which drives them to Oreo's website. Below is a video that was shared on Oreo's website.

We also learned in this week's lecture that pull marketing focuses on answering consumer's questions. For consumers wondering where they can find a certain Oreo recipe, they have to look no further than the cookie's website. From parfaits to cheesecakes, Oreo's website offers a magnitude of recipes that would make any dessert lover's mouth water. The brand pulls customers in by offering content that they're searching for.

Dave Birckhead says that social media is driving an increase in pull media, and more consumers want to engage with companies that are posting relevant content. Oreo does a good job of pulling consumers in by posting relevant and comical posts on social media. The brand caters to whatever is going on in the world, but they relate it back to the product. Oreo relates their posts to Fashion Week, Labor Day and the Super Bowl. As stated in my previous post, their tweet from the Super Bowl about dunking in the dark was one of the most successful ads. Recently the brand tweeted, "We've got 7 years to figure out how to say Dunk in Japanese. #Tokyo," in response to the Olympics announcement. (Below) It's this type of content that will pull consumers to the brand.


As shown with the example above, Oreo does a good job of updating their social media accounts to keep them relevant. They update their Twitter feed, Facebook page and Instagram account almost daily.  Compared to the brand's social media accounts, Oreo's webpage is a little stale. In the week that I have been monitoring Oreo's website, nothing has been changed, added or updated, besides their social media feed. 

Oreo's website is mobile friendly, but there are several aspects of IMC and branding that the site could improve on. If I were Oreo's website designer I would consider creating a blog and attaching it to the website. A blog will allow the brand to have the relevant content that people crave, and it will help the brand establish a human tone to garner consumers' trust. The blog could focus on what Oreo is doing in the communities, it could feature new products and it could highlight Oreo-related stories from the brand's loyal followers. If you added a blog and a place to sign up for an RSS feed, Oreo's website would be as addictive as its cookies!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Oreo's multimedia is a slam dunk...or twist!

One of my favorite brands is "America's favorite cookie," Oreo. In this week's lecture we learned that it takes seven "touches" for consumers to take notice of a product or respond to a call to action. The more marketing channels that a brand uses, the quicker they're likely to get noticed. Oreo achieves ubiquity by marketing across several different channels including, the brand's website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, television commercials and an Oreo cellphone app. The addictive cookies and the company's multimedia strategies have made Oreos the world's best-selling cookie of the 21st century.

In the week two lecture, we learned the importance of content and how sharing content that is up-to-date and relevant, is key to a brand's success. Oreo's website has a sidebar that display's the brands latest Facebook posts, tweets and Instagram uploads, so the consumer is able to stay up-to-date. This feature also allows consumers to easily connect with the brand on many different multimedia channels. Jae Baer says that in order for a company to stand out in a world full of advertising clutter, they must be useful. One way that Oreo's website is useful to consumers is they offer many Oreo recipes. Consumers are getting this great information for free and all in one place, making the website making it convenient and useful.

Oreo's Facebook page has over 34 million likes, making it the sixth most liked brand on Facebook, worldwide. Warren Knight talks about the importance of creating engaging social media sites to attract customers. The more you get the customer engaged, the more likely they will be a loyal follower of your brand. In February 2012, Oreo asked its Facebook followers to post their favorite conversation heart messages. They then posted the responses, but with a little bit of a twist. They put the messages on Oreo cookies and then tagged the Facebook followers who submitted the sayings. They engaged their Facebook users by getting them involved, and the outcome was thousands of likes and shares.

Oreo's Instagram page utilizes all the multimedia strategies above and is useful, entertaining and engaging. There are pictures and videos of various Oreo desserts with links to the recipes. Once again, having all of this information in one place is useful and convenient for consumers. The brand's most recent post got me laughing and made me want to scroll through the rest of their pictures. In April 2013, Oreo got Instagram users involved by asking them to submit pictures of their pets and then users got to vote on "best smile," "best selfie," "most playful" and "thinks they're human." Even if people don't love Oreos, they were engaged because they love their pets.

One of the most talked about ad's of this year's Super Bowl, wasn't a commercial, it was a tweet. During the blackout delay, someone at Oreo was thinking on their toes and tweeted this:

The ad was retweeted 10,000 times in an hour. Young says that media planning is all about reaching people at the right place and the right time (Young, 35), and this ad did just that. Millions of people watch the Super Bowl and were experiencing the blackout, so they could relate to this ad and be entertained by it. Oreo's twitter feed is constantly staying relevant and using a personal tone to connect with its audiences. Recently when #WorstPickupLines was trending on Twitter, Oreo posted, "You must play basketball because I can see you dunking me. #WorstPickupLines." The brand's tone helps audiences feel connected, and has gotten the brand over 97 thousand  Twitter followers.

Oreo's YouTube page has used the power of celebrity endorsement to garner 25,500 subscribers. The videos include songs about Oreos recorded by up-and-coming country singer Kasey Musgraves and hip hop artist Chiddy Bang. Dean Crutchfield says that celebrity endorsements cut through advertising clutter, create a brand narrative and allow for channel specific optimization. Fans of Musgraves and Chiddy Bang will be drawn to the videos, and they help establish the human tone and trust that an audience needs to connect with a brand. If Taylor Swift endorsed a brand, I would most likely buy whatever it was, just because she said that she used it!

Oreo's most recent commercial (above) uses a human and relatable tone to connect with audiences. Some people like the cookie, some people like the cream. A lot of people have had the debate, albeit doesn't usually involve throwing someone over a library railing! People can relate to the debate, so they feel connected to the product.

Recently, Oreo developed an app that allows users to point their phones at the sky and see a map of the constellations, and they're able message their friends on Facebook. The app keeps users engaged with their friends and the brand because if they post the most messages in a lunar cycle, they get to "own the moon" and post something for the entire Oreo network to read. According to Paul Tassi, consumers feel inundated with advertisements on social media and they're looking for sites, or in this case apps, where they aren't bombarded by advertisements. Oreo's app doesn't seem like an advertisement so consumers aren't being turned off, but the brand name is still on the minds of consumers.