Friday, April 5, 2013

Issues and Crises: A Look at Crisis Communications

Let's talk about Crisis Communications. This past week, my social media class had the chance to listen to two great guest lecturers specializing in crisis communications. The first, Melissa Agnes, discussed the differences between issues and crises with negative situations. Melissa taught me that issues can range from negative tweets or comments directed toward a particular brand, but issues never truly threaten the reputation of the brand. True crises are much more serious than issues, often involve high emotions, and can affect major stakeholders.

The next guest speaker was Jonathan Bernstein, who gave us great advice about being successful in crisis communications. Jonathan told us in order to be a successful crisis communicator, you need to be a swift thinker, skilled writer, and able to speak in front of all kinds of different audiences for different situations.

An example of a large company forced to succeed in crisis communications is Walt Disney Company. In June 2009, Disney faced the crisis of a fatal monorail crash in Walt Disney World. Two monorails ran into each other, killing the pilot of one of them. This traumatic event required serious professionals in crisis communication. Disney's spokespeople stated the facts, continually released information, offered sincere sympathies for the family affected, and never withheld information. These are just a few best practices when it comes to dealing with crisis communications.

Stalking Vampires and Internships!

This past week, I had the opportunity to travel to Covington, Georgia with Marketing Media Management, who I just finished interning with as a Content Strategist. On this trip, we presented a social media campaign for the city of Covington’s tourism, while gaining new ideas for content from local business owners. While on this business trip, I met many business people, learned how to present a social media campaign to a client, and even had the chance to speak during our company presentation. Though I enjoyed the meetings and presentations and gained valuable experience from participating in them, I have to admit my favorite part of the trip was getting to know local business owner Jessica Lowery and going on her Mystic Falls Tour.
Covington, Georgia is known as Mystic Falls, Virginia to fans of the hit CW show, The Vampire Diaries, as it is the primary filming location for the television show.  Jessica Lowery, a Covington citizen and super fan of The Vampire Diaries, took her knowledge of her hometown and her passion for the show and turned them into Mystic Falls Tours. Jessica shows groups of “vampire stalkers” around main filming locations in Covington, while giving insight into which scenes were filmed at each location and providing great photo ops (See pics below!).
Kiley and me at The Lockwood Mansion! Beautiful!
Me being a diva in front of the Mystic Grill! :)
As a Vampire Diaries fanatic, I absolutely loved being a part of the tour. Jessica knew every scene that took place in every location we visited, and even gave us hints about upcoming episodes. From the Gilbert household, to the Mystic Grill, to the Lockwood Mansion (actually called Worthington Manor), Jessica showed us every filming location and gave us a detailed description of important scenes. She even has a wooden stake signed by the cast for tour members to “stake” each other and take pictures with. This stake includes Ian Somerhalder’s signature…fangirls UNITE! Click here to go to Jessica's Mystic Falls Tours website for more information! 
Kiley staking me with the stake signed by the cast!
Marketing Media Management has taught me how to successfully run a social media campaign for one of our clients, how to present in front of a room full of people, and simply how to manage and present myself as a business person. I’ve learned much from my internship, and made great friends along the way.  My advice to any young professional waiting for their first real job is to get out there and start an internship. Participate in as many internships as you can. You never know what connections and networking opportunities may become available to you during your experience, and you’ll receive invaluable working and hands on experience as well as have opportunities to do great things and go to great places.
Kiley and me with Ian Somerhalder's Star on the Walk of Stars!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Magical Gamification

Let's talk about gamification. What's that, you ask? Gamification is "the use of video game elements in non-gaming systems to improve user experience and engagement." Brands are using gamification for several reasons, including to create brand awareness and drive user engagement. As I learned in my social media class, more than 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application by 2014. This statistic proves the importance of gamification in keeping up with competitors.

When using gamification, you should keep a few things in mind. Create rewards for effort, such as exclusive offers, status levels, and access to more levels/information. You should also have short and long term goals for gamification, as well as quick and frequent feedback which will boost sustainability. Also, allow a community to build around your gamification app, so people can share their achievements and recruit others to join.

An example of gamification is Disney's new My Magic + app, called MyDisneyExperience. This app allows users to explore attractions, park hours, make dining/hotel reservations, and even plan out your day in an organized schedule. This app allows you to connect with your friends and family, and choose a Disney character to use to represent each one of your connections. This ability to share is crucial to the growth of the app.  Users can also schedule fastpasses with this app, which gives users a great benefit and motivation to use the app. 

Click here to check out more on Disney's My Magic + and here to sign up for MyDisneyExperience and learn more. 

Thanks for reading and have a magical day!  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Magic Kingdom Adventures!

Over my spring break, I had the chance to visit Magic Kingdom with my roommates. While there, we were able to check out all the new areas and attractions in New Fantasyland as well as get a sneak peak into the construction of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction coming in 2014. I have a lot of photos to share, so I thought I would dedicate this blog post to my adventures at Magic Kingdom!

As soon as we pulled into the parking lot (we parked in the Heroes section-Aladdin) we made our way to buy our one day tickets, and from there, we climbed aboard the Monorail to take us to the happiest place on Earth! When we first walked into the park, I went straight for the statue of Goofy on the bench next to the Town Square Theatre to take a picture (seen below).
As I was taking this picture, I noticed a small group of people standing in line next to the hat store on Main Street. When I focused in on the group of people, I realized they were waiting to meet none other than Mary Poppins and two penguins! Mary Poppins is probably one of my top ten favorite Disney characters, so I couldn't go without taking a picture with her! She was practically perfect, in every way!
After posing for a picture with Mary, we went straight back to New Fantasyland where we got in line for Enchanted Tales with Belle (we only waited about 15 minutes!). This attraction allows guests to reenact the day Belle and the Beast fell in love. Once we got into the actual room where the roles are given out, I was chosen to play the Wardrobe!
After reenacting the story of Beauty and the Beast, all of the guest actors got to take a picture with Belle! Enchanted Tales was super cute, I highly recommend this for young mouseketeers!
After meeting Belle, we went to eat at the new Be Our Guest restaurant for lunch. We got in line around 10:15am (they open at 10:30) and we made it inside to eat around 10:45. This dining experience was amazing. I felt like I was in the Beast's castle the moment I stepped inside. Disney really hit the target with Be Our Guest. We ordered our food, received our "roses," and chose to eat our lunch in the grand ballroom. Guests can also dine in the West Wing or the Rose Garden. The ballroom was simply stunning, with intricate chandeliers hanging from beautifully painted ceilings, just like in the movie. The next time you're in Magic Kingdom, make sure to go to Be Our Guest. You won't regret it!

The rest of the day was full of character meet and greets, classic attractions, and delicious snacks!  
Ariel sporting her feet :)

Dole Whip-the best snack EVER!
My favorite part of the day was meeting Merida from Disney/Pixar's Brave. Her accent was great!

We ended the day with the Main Street Electrical parade and Wishes Nighttime Spectacular, making our day truly magical!

Take a peek at all the new Disney goodies I bought while there!
I LOVE the Orange Bird! :)

When was your last trip to Disney? Feel free to share your own Disney experiences or ask any questions you have about Disney by leaving a comment below! 

Thanks for reading about my Magic Kingdom adventures and have a magical day!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Mobile: The Great and Powerful!

Mobile marketing, or marketing through the use of a mobile device, is an increasingly important way to market for businesses and companies everywhere. Mobile devices have become a huge part of our society, with most adults having their smartphones at arm's reach 24/7. Mobile phones have transformed through the years from being primarily a mobile telephone to being a device to create knowledge and find information.

Mobile applications are software applications that run on handheld devices such as smartphones. There is a large variety of types of mobile apps, from games, to photo and video sharing, to social networking. Mobile apps have many characteristics, including the following:

  • Personal- Mobile is personal, and allows information to go to a single person, which is critical for personal interaction.
  • Unity- Mobile allows businesses to reach a huge mass of individuals with the press of a single button, creating a sense of unity.
  • Immediacy- Mobile allows information and entertainment to be delivered to individuals immediately and directly.  
  • Community- Mobile creates a local community and allows people to get local information wherever they go.
I'm sure you have your own favorite apps that you can't live without. For me, I couldn't live without my Weather Channel app, Twitter app, Instagram app, and "Brave" Temple Run app. Which apps can you not live without?

Disney has recently created a new Temple Run app tied into their new movie, "Oz the Great and Powerful." This new app by Disney has topped Apple's App Store, currently at the number one spot for paid apps. Watch the trailer here! Disney is a leader in the mobile realm, and I'm sure Disney's mobile magicians will continue creating and developing new and exciting apps for users like you and me!

Gold Statues and Poison Apples

This year's Academy Awards were a golden event for Disney. In case you missed them, the Oscars were packed full of fun and entertaining song and dance numbers, jokes from first time host Seth McFarlane, and even some acceptance speeches cut off by the classic "Jaws" theme. This year, Disney won the Best Animated Feature Film award with Pixar's "Brave," and Best Animated Short Film with "Paperman."

Now let's rewind a couple decades...

In 1932, Walt Disney won his first Oscar for the Silly Symphonies cartoon, "Flowers and Trees." Throughout Walt's career as an animator and director, he won 21 more competitive Oscars. Currently, Walt holds the record for receiving the most amount of Academy Awards competitively (22) and non-competitively (26). In 1938, Walt Disney was awarded a special Academy Award for his achievement of his first animated feature film, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." This statue was presented to Walt by Shirley Temple and had seven smaller "dwarf" statues attached to the regular Oscar statue, shown below.
Disney's legacy and quality film making continues today with Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios. Pixar has won 11 Academy Awards, including the very first Best Animated Feature Film category's award for "Monster's Inc." in 2001. Walt Disney Animation Studios has produced Oscar nominated films, "Sleeping Beauty," "The Lion King," The Princess and the Frog," and "Wreck-it-Ralph." In 1992, Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, making it the first ever animated film to be nominated in this category. "Beauty and the Beast" held that honor until 2009 when Pixar's "Up" was nominated for Best Picture as well.

Walt Disney's 26 Academy Award statues are on display at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, California. There, you can see a special exhibit called "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Creation of a Classic" and learn how Walt's first animated feature was made into the successful film remains to be today. {Just don't take any apples from strangers while your there}.

Check out the to visit the Walt Disney Family Museum's page on their Snow White exhibit.

Thanks for reading and have a magical day!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Star Command: Social Media Style

Social media is continually growing as a key element of successful marketing and advertising. Because of this, businesses and professionals who do use social media need a strategy to keep up with all of their profiles, posts, mentions, comments, etc. Without a strategy for your social media management, you won't get far. One way companies are managing their online presence is through social media command centers. Yes, social media command centers. Sounds pretty cool, right? If you're like me, when you heard the words command center, you probably thought of the Space Mountain Command Center (seen below) from Magic Kingdom Park. Anyways...

Companies today are continually building and using social media command centers to help monitor all of their sites at once. Social media monitoring is important for the following reasons:
  • Allows you to discover conversations happening in real time. This way, you can reply to comments or questions immediately, creating a strong connection with your audience.
  • Allows you to understand your audience better.
  • Helps you determine what content works best and doesn't work at all with your audience.
  • Helps you discover which content your audience is most engaged with.
  • Makes a connection with strategies and objectives of a social media campaign.
These social media command centers are a great investment for businesses wanting to have a better way to control all of their social media sites. All a social media command center really requires is a few TV screens, computers, and the wires needed to hook them together. The American Red Cross, Dell, and even the 2012 Presidential campaigns use social media command centers to manage their social media sites and receive the benefits of having them.

So, if your business isn't quite keeping up with all of its social media, think about building a social media command center. You'll only benefit from it if you do! And, you'll be able to pretend like you're Buzz Lightyear when you talk to your coworkers by saying things like "We have a new comment, Space Ranger!" or "This is *insert your name* of Social Media Star Command, do you read me?" Or at least I would. :)

Thanks for reading and have a magical day!