Andrea Misir on Jun 8th 2011
I know that blogs have been around for quite some time now, but I never got into them that much. But, when I became a Peer Mentor, I had no choice but to enter the blogosphere. To match my dry wit, cynicism, and overall indifference towards blogging, the very first blog that I wrote was a carefully crafted critique of how blogging made us all so very self-important and that it was another way to embrace the wonders of self-expression. A year has passed since then and my opinion of personal blogs have not changed: blogs are just like that annoying friend that you have on Facebook that clutters up your news feed with nonsensical, trivial posts bitching about their lack of life. Except it’s worse seeing as how blogs have no character limit; so people are free to bitch and moan all they want in the hopes that someone, ANYONE, will care about their existence.
And I know that what I just said was rather harsh, but that is my opinion coming from personal experience. Personal blogs are public diaries and, for most people, can be seen as annoying and unnecessary. However, our perceptions of blogs gets inverted whenever a company or business executive has one.
As funny as this inverted perception is, it makes sense. Blogs are how professional identities establish opinion leadership. Posts show how well-versed they are in their fields, how they stand out from their competitors, and that they have an actual voice and identity beyond being a logo or company name. People pay very close attention to what these blogs say. And companies know this so they publish material in such a way to cater to what they want the public to read. In order to reach out to their readers, companies position their blogs in such a way that will get more hits. How do they do that? Through search of course!
Materials published in blogs have such a huge impact on searching rankings, including PageRank. This is a great method for companies or executives to dominate SERPs by homing in on specific keywords. Targeted keywords go after the niche audiences that companies will have a better chance at connecting to than broad user bases. Also, if an article is a really in-depth and informative piece, some readers may just link back to the article by posting it on their own sites which will also increase the rankings of the site. When a company publishes a blog post and the link is automatically in a social media news feed, other users will no doubt re-post of the piece is of a high enough caliber. Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, and every single social media outlet you can think of drives up those search rankings too.
All of this brings me back to what I had stated in the beginning about the annoying Facebook friend. The most important aspect company blogs have to take into consideration (besides quality of posts) is the TIMING. It is ungodly annoying to witness the same person prattle on and on about the same garbage. Friends like that get deleted from my newsfeed since I have better things to do than to read about their melodrama. So companies, don’t be the annoying Facebook friend and clog up our newsfeed with dumb posts. Give us something worthwhile
Andrea Misir on May 13th 2011
When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with drinking only Pepsi. I didn’t care if most people liked Coke. I didn’t care if Coke was more fizzy (I loved fizz when I was a kid.) I would only drink Pepsi. If someone dared to give me Coke, I would push the drink away. If I had a cup of soda thinking that it was Pepsi but it ended up being Coke, I would spit it out. Yes, I was addicted to Pepsi for no apparent reason other than the fact that it was Pepsi. My former addiction to Pepsi is a classic case of fierce brand loyalty. However, I took it a step further to the point where I was, not brainwashed, but “brandwashed.” This phenomenon occurs when a person is fiercely dedicated to the brand despite the fact that there are so many products or services out there that are superior, or in some cases almost identical, but the person could care less about them.
How on earth do brands get that pervasive? And why do we care so much about brands in the first place? Are we just inherently drawn to the allure that we just don’t think? Or do the brand builders hold much more cards than we thought and we have no choice but to fear them?
Based on the insights that I have acquired from one of the best classes I’ve ever taken during my four years as a college students, a brand is nothing more than an intricate abstraction. It has life because we give it life. And like all life, it has many dimensions that add to the overall image. The views that we have of it as a product/service, symbol, person, and the organization it represents converge into this singular identity that, if pervasive enough, becomes intertwined in the fabric of our culture.
Brands speak to a distinct audience. Brands are created to meet their needs, to have their back, and even to supplement their personalities. So the punchline of all of this is, brands are so multidimensional because we made them that way. As a marketer, it is of the utmost importance to create a distinct name and image in the minds of consumers that is different and better from what is out there. As a consumer, it is up to us to look past the fancy name, advertisements, and whatever hype is surrounding the brand and discover exactly what it can offer us.
Andrea Misir on Apr 20th 2011
As students, we hear a lot about how social media can inflict major damage on our reputations. Actually, we hear horror stories of how embarrassing pictures and colorful status updates have jeopardized employment opportunities and have, in some cases, resulted in serious lawsuits. Are we to believe that the only thing social media is capable of doing is highlighting how rambunctious and irresponsible we are when we post pictures of drunken escapades the night before on Facebook? Or what if we are so explicit in our expression that whatever blogs we have will be constantly scrutinized or, at worst, jeopardize employment opportunities because managers don’t like what their employees say on their own time? (Which by the way as far as I’m concerned IS a flagrant violation of the First Amendment.)
This is why I’m writing this: to implore everyone that social media is not out to destroy you. Social media can work to your advantage if you know how. There is so much potential to be explored in the many social media platforms. Especially for my generation. The slight tragedy is we aren’t even aware of the opportunities literally at our fingertips.
A wonderful case in point would be Facebook, the arguable titan of the Internet (it’s okay Google, you’re still closer to taking over the world.) Like many newsworthy subjects, so much emphasis is placed on the negative aspects. The privacy concerns, unauthorized distribution of user data, third party app developers who are indifferent towards user data, and of course, the constantly changing user interface. As an avid Facebook user myself, I will admit that these issues are, for lack of a better term, a pain in the ass to deal with. However, as a marketing major, I understand how much of a treasure trove the Facebook user database is.
Because so many people use Facebook (500 million worldwide and counting,) and they spend so much time on Facebook (if I recall correctly, people spend as much time on Facebook as they would watching TV but don’t quote me on this,) one can only be blown away with the vast amount of communication that takes place via Facebook. The countless status updates, event pages, and shared links are remarkable for spreading viral mayhem. The sheer volume of individual user actions translate to Facebook being, in most cases, THE primary medium for information retrieval. This can be indicated in some cases when people literally check their Facebook page as soon as they wake up or when they won’t even reply to others through phone, text, email, or IM but through a Facebook wall post/message/chat. Pretty powerful huh? Here is just a handful of how businesses have been able to harness the power of this immense social network:
- post jobs jobs
- measure performance via new engagement metrics
- creating conversations and ongoing dialogue that gauge user interest and provide piercing insight
- exclusive deals/discounts and contests
Not bad for a demonic entity, eh older generation? I know it isn’t, that’s why more of you are flocking towards social networks than us. It’s okay to admit when you’re wrong. We won’t rub it in your faces…that much
Andrea Misir on Feb 6th 2011
You know that old saying “you can’t judge a book by its cover?” As true as that statement is, why is it that we never seem to follow it? In many situations, we tend to pass judgment based on appearances; sometimes, appearance is the only criteria we use to judge. Wouldn’t our parents be ashamed of us for not being mindful and not taking the time to delve into what is given and discover the truth? Or, would they applaud us for our quick, keen judgment by screening a situation and dodging a bullet? Either way, image has such a profound impact on our decisions. But does it deserve to have such influence over our actions and thoughts?
We all have our lives to lead, which can be hectic at times. One can argue that we simply cannot afford to spend time and energy. We need to take what’s given and make a decision in a heartbeat. But on the other hand, we could very well be depriving ourselves of something greater by being rash. Nevertheless, there are some instances in which image is not an accurate measure of a person’s character and there will be some instances in which image is the only factor that matters.
I maintain that image importance depends on an individual’s implicit status based on society’s reception of his or her actions and words. For example, celebrities have carefully crafted images which are the results of not only their unique personalities and polished good looks, but a brilliant team’s buzz marketing and evocative writing. True, most celebrities genuinely have talent but nobody would even blink an eye at them if it was not for the hard work that molded them into household names. If they are not able to combine their talent with a marketable image and create money for the people that have them under contract, they will disappear from the industry’s radar. But very few of us, for many reasons, will not have an image so heavily scrutinized as a celebrity’s. What about our own image?
Because there are so many different personalities that encompass different attitudes toward image, I’ve compiled a list of different subsets that are based on my personal observations and judgments:
- The independent crowd, the people who don’t care about their image in the eyes of society but still strive to do what they want
- The apathetic crowd, the people who don’t care what they look like in the eyes of society and don’t really care to do anything
- The neurotic crowd, the people who care so much about their image that all of their efforts go toward maintaining it and nothing else
- The productive crowd, the people who understand the importance of their image and work towards shaping it to their advantage to better themselves and the people around them (celebrities are NOT a part of this crowd because, as far as I’m concerned, their entire career is based on their image and it has a huge impact on the lives they will lead since society is closely watching them.)
- Last but not least, the manipulators. Basically these people are looking for their own self interests, so they will not hesitate to change or distort their image or the images of others to get what they want
So those were some of the main mindsets of image (I know that I’ve glanced over them and that some more could still be out there, but the ones that I outlined are the ones that I think are the most visible in society.) I think I have a hybrid of productive-independent: I understand the importance of image, I do what I can to improve myself but chiefly because I want to fulfill my ambitions and better myself. If I put my best foot forward and people don’t appreciate it, then it’s their loss
Andrea Misir on Dec 20th 2010
- Disconnect/Reconnect: Targeted towards older kids and adults who have played with Lego in the past but stopped because of the influx of cell phones, laptops etc. In the ad series, the guy shows boredom in his face because he beat all of the installed game apps on his phones. So he decides to stack them up but they can’t hold. Then he sees his little brother making a building with his Legos so he decides to join them.
- Building Dreams One Brick at a Time: A wide-eyed kid is watching a construction site on TV and is clearly fascinated. Then he plays with his Legos after he shuts the TV off, creating a base. The teenage version is on his laptop surfing the Web and looking at videos of cool architecture simulations. Then he creates more with his Legos and adds to the base. Then the adult version is setting by office desk, talking to a phone client saying “Yes, I’m gonna send you the design.” He sends a picture of a finished building and the camera zooms to the corner where the finished Lego building is. He smiles and asks “You love it? Great!” to the client as we see in the background the exact same lego building as a real-life building
- TV doesn’t always go the way you want it to. So go your way. With Lego. Anything is Possible
A kid is watching a cartoon where a crane is holding a beam. The kid is touching the glass, trying to reach out to the beam so that he can place the beam in its proper place. The crane drops the beam incorrectly and the kid plops back down on the ground with a sour face and his arms crossed. Then, he goes over to his Lego set and uses his crane to build a site that he sees fit.
Andrea Misir on Dec 4th 2010
Oh advertising. You are so pervasive in our culture. From the moment we wake up and see billboards and posters on our way to work/school to when we fall asleep on our laptops after watching animated characters dance across the screen, you work tirelessly to get across your message. The constant barrage of advertisements through so many channels makes most of us feel bombarded and irritated at advertisers who relentlessly attempt to shove all of this information and flair down our throats. However, most of us are ignorant of the methods behind the perceived madness of advertisers, especially children.
Our very first thought of advertisers when we were younger were nonexistent. We weren’t quite aware of the role that they played, but they sure made Cinnamon Toast Crunch look good to eat, My Little Pony look oh so pretty, and Hot Wheels look so cool! But apart from those commercials that seduced our vulnerable little minds with fun background music and clever editing to make the toys seem larger than life, there were also the other commercials that pissed us off right before the climax of whatever cartoon we were watching. So there was Pikachu, frightened and unsure as the massive Raichu was thundering towards him. Would Pikachu be able to successfully evade Raichu’s strike? Or would Raichu make a rotisserie rat out of Pikachu? Stay tuned as we keep you in suspense by showing two torturous minutes of ads!
I find it astounding how my perception of ads have changed so much when I was younger. I went from annoyance to amazement in what seems like a matter of minutes; looking narrowly at first but widely now. Now I know that without those commercials, the channel operators would be unable to pay the programmers which would mean no more Pokemon. This same principle applies to all media including radio, magazines, newspapers, you name it. And because there are so many products which do the same thing but have different names, it’s hard for each one of them to really stand out. That’s why they go to such lengths to make sure that we remember who they are and what they can do FOR US.
There will be hit and misses but that goes to show you that advertisers are human too. They make mistakes, they work under pressure, and some of them don’t even know what they’re doing. So we will get a stupid ad along with a brilliant one, a simple one and a long-drawn out one, and so on. All in the name of establishing a brand that will be remembered and revered
I thank the classes that I’m taking now for this realization and for the knowledge bestowed upon me. Each and every day, my perspective widens as I absorb more information and I am grateful that my naivete is being shattered so I will no longer misunderstand a seemingly abstract concept
Andrea Misir on Nov 26th 2010
On the one hand I’m not perturbed by the obliviousness of some people, but on the other hand I’m surprised that most people don’t realize how prevalent marketing is in our culture. I think that the failure to acknowledge this prevalence has to do with the marketing stigma: marketers are only out to brainwash, manipulate, distort, and basically rip people off with shitty, pointless products. Like most stigmas, this is not only grossly out of touch with reality but sadly more pervasive than the truth. And the truth is that marketing occurs more often than you already think.
Whenever you’re arguing, don’t you employ tactics to make your side more appealing by using reason and sound evidence based on research? Or how about when you listen to a dear friend’s plight and you use the information given to console him or her with soothing, sound advice? Or even when you’re on a first date with someone, you analyze every major and minor facet of the situation from the location to that tiny speck of lint on the left side of your Kenneth Cole blazer to make sure that your date goes off without a hitch.
Because they fail to realize the prevalence of these behaviors, most people won’t call them marketing activities right away due to that grossly inaccurate stigma. However, if they put that stigma aside, they will realize that marketers are not so different from the consumers they serve.
You wouldn’t go into a dark, dangerous dungeon without a map of it, would you? Neither would marketers. They rely on hard facts and data before they move forward with any of their plans. They analyze their current situation and look for ways in which they can improve. Then they conduct research and oftentimes they do listen to what their customers have to say. In fact, customer feedback is one of the best things a marketer can get as they would save so much time and money since they would have a better idea as to what they specifically want. And if the customer isn’t satisfied, they will make sure that every resource is available to them. All of these efforts will give them much needed insight as to how to proceed. They aren’t just operating blindly, their findings are their road map to success.
Andrea Misir on May 22nd 2010
Let’s face it: we all like attention (well, some of us do.) And what’s not to like about it for those that like it? For a brief moment, it seems as though the world is screeching to a halt because whatever you’re doing or saying is so fascinating that it must be observed. We feel a glowing sense of inner pride as onlookers gaze and praise at our attention-worthy work. However, due to recent technological breakthroughs, attention has become a double-edged sword.
In a fast-paced society where we want today’s news yesterday, it’s rather difficult to obtain the attention of an audience, particularly when the transmission of information travels faster than the blink of an eye! So, I guess, in order to compensate for our quasi-compulsive need for attention, we resort to posting content up on the Internet, for all eyes to see if only for a second. One of which has become ubiquitous in the online world and it is simply known as a blog.
Granted, compared to all of the other daring, explicit, and downright vulgar material available on the Internet, blogs are relatively tame. But, has this made everyone so insecure that they have to have a blog in order to have some semblance of self-importance??? I mean, think about it: how many people will honestly read about your humdrum day at work or your fun day at the beach in its entirety?? Sure, I can understand if those days were really important and you might want to write them down so that they could have some kind of place in your memory (or in this case the world wide web)
But really, do we want attention that bad that we will spend, I don’t know, like 10 minutes or so typing and editing a blog? I can understand if it was for monetary or entertainment purposes because people’s jobs are on the line, but when you’re at home and you could be doing other things instead of blogging, you’re typing away your life’s story for all to see!!?? (and hence, I’m writing one. Ohhh the sweet paradox!!!)
But I digress, what has happened to all of us? Has the advent of the Internet created such an ease in access to share and obtain information that we find ourselves helpless to indulge in this guilty pleasure? Has it also completely eradicated everything that we did when our hands weren’t permanently attached to keyboards and our eyes glued to screens? Or is it just a scapegoat as we place blame on it instead of us as we silently broadcast our insecurities and perceived attention-getting material to millions of people across the world?
Then again, do the answers to those questions really even matter???
Be it a cure for our boredom, a quick, easy way to make money, or an outlet to channel your insecurities, the Internet has become almost a permanent staple in our lives, a tool that we so heavily rely on especially since it satisfies our incessant need for attention! Who are we to question and challenge what it has done to how we evaluate attention worthy material when it has so revolutionized how we give and receive attention?
So in closing fellow bloggers, embrace the attention and type your little hearts out until you get carpal tunnel syndrome, you need major invasive surgery, you lose all feeling and movement of your fingers, and you must resort to one of those Stephen Hawking-like laptops that hook up to your brain and type and talk as you blink your eyelids!!!! Express yourself and don’t let your friends, family, employers, society, and other angry bloggers get in your way!!!!!