Jordan Suresky: A Life-Long Cultural Journal

Posted on February 6th, 2015 by Jordan Suresky Categories Interns

My cultural journey began in Atlanta, GA where I grew up. Profile Photo of Jordan SureskyAlthough, I grew up in this city for all of my childhood before moving on to South Florida for undergraduate degree at Lynn University. I also have grown to have an international perspective on most topics. This is because I attended an international school during throughout all of high school. Here, I was surrounded by an abundance of students who were from a different country or at least lived in one before coming here. It was the best environment for me as I now have friends in several countries that I can visit whenever I want.

 

I would say that because I attended an international school, it has attributed to my never-ending curiosity to travel to unique places throughout the world. Two of the most impactful excursions I took included a trip to to Thailand to visit one of my classmates family in Bangkok. I learned many cultural attributes firsthand by staying with a family versus in a hotel and experienced amazing Thai food from the house.

 

Petting a Kangaroo near Sydney.
Hanging out with a Kangaroo

The 2nd trip that I always look back on is my semester abroad in Australia. This was a unique experience in the sense that it challenged me to go outside of my comfort zone as I would be both studying as well as living in a different landscape for 6 months. The challenge was worth it as it allowed me to discover such a vast and animal-filled landscape.  The most interesting part of my term abroad was the two weeks. I arrived in Cairns for an introductory week at the Great Barrier Reef region in the tropical northeast of the country. It was supposed to be a week of introductions with the other study abroad students and learning cultural norms of Australia. However, things were quickly halted as Cairns was about to be the epicenter of Tropical Cyclone Yasi. This cyclone was about equivalent of a category 4-5 hurricane barreling in a westerly direction. The airport was closed and we were forced to go via bus all the way to Rockhampton, a regional town in Queensland some 16 hours south. The news from the radio was grim and there was a constant white-noise of winds to listen as a soundtrack. Thankfully, we made it to a motor-lodge in Rocky as the locals refer to it. We beat out the Cyclone that ultimately did not cause casualties.

 

Both of these experiences have inspired me to pursue a career in both marketing and/or the tourism fields, or ideally both. For me it is the best way to articulate experiences of trips to different destinations throughout the world.

 

Currently I am in my last-term of my master’s program at University of Houston’s Conrad Hilton College. There, I am also writing my professional paper on how Mobile-Commerce is impacting the airline and aviation industry.

 

What I hope to gain out of this experience at the Refuge Group is more practical experience with marketing tools and becoming more comftorbale using all Social Media Platforms. These channels are becoming more crucial for businesses to gain an audience than ever before. I also would like to apply some key skills such as brand activation, brand marketing, global brand strategy and other related skills needed in this vastly competitive job market.

 

Above the Thames
Taking a Break from Exploring London.

After I finish my master’s degree I hope to continue my career with a tourism related marketing organization such as Expedia or in a Corporate Travel Management role with a company such as Coca-Cola.

Closer Look: Apple’s Marketing Strategy

Posted on July 30th, 2014 by Skye-Lynn Ferch Categories Uncategorized

Website Contact Page ConceptApple made a press release yesterday announcing that they have updated the 13 and 15-inch notebooks, which is great news to say the least. These improvements include more battery life and better performance. Apple has also increased the memory of the 13-inch notebook to 8 GB from 4 GB and from 8GB to 16GB on the 15-inch notebook – that is double the memory!

 

With the new announcement from Apple on the recent updates, we have decided to take a deeper look at Apple’s marketing and how they manage to juggle everything. Let’s go through some of the factors that make Apple so good:

 

Apple has a very strong foundation, which was established in 1977 by Mike Markkula whom was both an advisor and investor in the company. Mike decided that there were 3 points for marketing that would make Apple very successful down the line. These included: empathy, focus and impute. Mark believed that with these 3 things he could take Apple’s marketing superior to the rest of the industry.

 

Apple has proven themselves as experts at thinking outside the box. Targeting the innovators, artistic, educational and design-oriented businesses instead of simply going after the big dogs in the business industry is Apple’s way of making a point to show that they are different. Apple has made their products simple and functional consequently making it easier for their customers to work, which brings in one of Mark’s principles: empathy. Having empathy in marketing means truly understanding what the customer needs and in order to be successful you have to out-do every other company at this.

 

Apple has created a “brand mote” by excluding other company brands from Apple stores. Having a brand mote gives Apple the ability to impute the best representation of their brand. They make their store environment and product experience unlike any other thereby putting another one of Mark’s principles into action. Apple employees make a point to be there to help and guide the customers from the moment they walk through the door to the moment they are signing the receipt by explaining products, introducing them to the latest and greatest as well as the older models, telling them where to go for technological assistance and adding value of the product by making it impossible for the customer to envision their life without it.  The aesthetics of the store aren’t something that needs to be shown, but instead something that needs to be taken in.

 

More than anything, Apple has focus. The company eliminates all distractions and does what they do best. They did not try to make another PC identical to Microsoft, but instead took a different approach by reaching out to the  “left-brainers”, made their product simple and, more than anything, made their marketing simple as well. Realizing that flashy and loud advertising was not working the way it used to and simplifying everything about themselves put Apple in a different pool than the rest.

 

Take a look at your business’s marketing plan. Does it exclude the clutter? Is it offering the RIGHT information for the company?  Remember, the key to modern marketing is simplicity.

Movie Marketing: A Lesson From the Best

Posted on July 23rd, 2014 by Skye-Lynn Ferch Categories Uncategorized

Movie NightWhat does it take for a film to earn the title of “summer blockbuster?” Well, some factors are a given, like having a big celebrity cast and a good script, but wait, there’s more! How a film is marketed can have a huge impact on how profitable it is in the box office. Now we’re going to look at 3 of this summer’s biggest blockbusters marketing campaigns:

 

Maleficent

Angelina Jolie is one of the biggest celebrities in the world, and according to imbd.com, her last on-screen performance was in 2010 with The Tourist, so of course there is going to be buzz surrounding her return to Hollywood. Apparently it was only good buzz, as Maleficent grossed $69.4 million opening weekend, earning the number one spot (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/). In fact, the marketing strategy Maleficent used was to tell the audience that they weren’t coming to see a Disney movie with a celebrity, but to see Angelina Jolie AS a Disney character. Disney put all the emphasis on the actress, as seen here in the film’s first trailer: https://www.youtube.com.  Of course, Jolie did plenty of press junkets and interviews as well. The actress also brought her entire family to a few of the film’s premieres, which is rare for her. Some unique marketing for the film came on the red carpet, as Elle Fanning and Angelina Jolie dressed to reflect their characters. Fanning stuck to wearing soft, whimsical outfits; while Jolie wore darker colors, leather, spiked jewelry, and even heels with fake blood dripping down the back (http://fashionista.com/).

 

22 Jump Street

This comedy had great reviews; in fact Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 85%. However, where the film really shined was at the box office where it grossed $57.1 million in its opening weekend (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/). The film wanted audiences to expect pure comedic gold in theaters, so it realeased movie trailers and a spoof video featuring Channing Tatum (watch that video here: http://www.hypable.com/) . The film set the audience’s bar high and delivered. One key to 22 Jump Street’s success was that it was marketed equally to both men and women, making it a “man’s action-comedy” and a suitable “date movie” (http://nikkifinke.com/). In addition, it did not hurt that within the two years after 21 Jump Street premiered, the two leading men, Johan Hill and Channing Tatum, experienced quite a rise in fame.

 

Fault in Our Stars

This book-turned-movie earned a lot of attention from the female market, but who’s really surprised? Afterall, the film’s leading lady, Shailene Woodley, is taking Hollywood by storm. Fault In Our Stars opened at number one, grossing $48 million dollars (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/) .  The dramatic film quickly became all-the-buzz in social media, with the goal of making fans feel involved. The author of the novel the film was based on, John Green, even tweeted about the movie (https://www.yahoo.com/l)! Other platforms the movie took over were Facebook and Instagram. It’s no secret that Fault In Our Stars was targeted at a young, female audience and it looks like the film’s marketing hit a bullseye.

 

Other movies that are set up to do well at the box office this summer are Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Hercules, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

 

Snapchat and Your Business

Posted on June 18th, 2014 by Skye-Lynn Ferch Categories Uncategorized

FThere are millions of people sharing photos or videos, otherwise known as “snaps”, with their friends on a day-to-day basis with the use of the newest social tool on the market called Snapchat. It has been catching the attention of people and companies across the nation, including the infamous Facebook who wanted to buy it for a mere $3 billion. With so many users on Snapchat every day, it has been hard for businesses to continue turning their head from this social tool, but instead businesses are now running to their marketing teams for ideas on how they can utilize this social tool to better their business.


Why should you begin “snapping” to your customers? Well for starters, Snapchat is the newest viral social media on the market, and it isn’t going anywhere! Using Snapchat will show that your business is eager to reach the customers in as many ways as possible and that you can keep up with society’s everlasting changes in technology. Some business owners may be concerned with how Snapchat will affect your Facebook and Twitter metrics. The answer to that is hakuna matata! Your existing social platforms can remain healthy even while you are promoting Snapchats to your customers!


On a day-to-day basis, the general users of Snapchat use it to send silly pictures to friends, make short videos of a crazy situation or just to say hi to basically anybody on their contact list. So, how is a business supposed to use it? Keep reading and we will go a little deeper into this epidemic that has hit us all!


One major way that businesses will promote Snapchat to their customers is by giving coupons through it. On Snapchat there is a way to screenshot the picture (on the iPhone keep one finger on the picture while pressing the home button and lock button at the same time) so what a business will do is put an ad that says, ‘Send us a Snapchat of you tasting our yogurt’. The customer will send the snap, then the business will send a coupon back and the customer screenshots it! The next time they visit the shop they would show the clerk the coupon and receive the discount.

Another way businesses use Snapchat is to give a “behind-the-scenes” view. The NBA has perfected this. The NBA Snapchats pre-games, players being silly, talk shows, locker rooms, players’ outfits and anything else that happens off-screen. You may not be the owner of the National Basketball Association, but you and your business can still utilize the same idea! Let’s say you own a clothing store that gets new arrivals every week. You could Snapchat your employees setting up the new merchandise for a behind-the-scenes look! When politicians, businesses and companies started using Youtube they figured out that views for their videos went up with more authentic and less-than-perfect footage. Snapchat is the same way with consumers. They don’t want prim and perfect ads, but instead like the real footage of what’s going on. So don’t hesitate to send a Snapchat of you and your employees working hard on a new set-up in your store at 5 am!


One more way to use Snapchat is for promotions! This covers a large spectrum of things like new arrivals, daily specials, seasonal sales and even job openings! For example, GrubHub utilized Snapchat to find an intern with “Snapchat skillz”. They sent out snaps promting the opening and steps to take to apply. Putting promotions on Snapchat generates excitement from your consumers and gives them a close connection between themselves and you.


As you can see, Snapchat has endless possibilities for your business and presents a new way to market to the public. Snapchat is unique because when your consumers view the snap it is because they want to, not simply because it popped up on their newsfeed based on what they have viewed in the last 24 hours. Utilize Snapchat, and take your business to a new level!

 

Deadlines & Meeting Them

Posted on September 25th, 2013 by Skye-Lynn Ferch Categories communication

You, the person next to you and the stranger over there all have deadlines. There is no one in today’s society that doesn’t have some sort of deadline. There are a variety of methods of going about completing deadlines. Here are some practical and do-able tips on never missing any more deadlines and even finishing early.

Deadlines & Meeting Them

  • Create A Start & End Dates: Write or input tasks and deadlines into a planner or digital calendar. This creates a clear picture for a visual timeframe. Keep your planner or calendar out into plane view so that you will be reminded of your upcoming deadlines.
  • Be Realistic: Set realistic expectations for your clients, employees and most of all yourself. You don’t want to become overwhelmed, keep it simple and timely when setting your expectations for your tasks to get done.
  • Don’t Be Mental: Although mental lists work well for most people. However it can be a struggle to remember everything when you have several deadlines, multiple projects and tasks.  Seeing things written down is helpful because you won’t be solely relying on recollection.
  • Break It Down: Break down projects into little tasks and work one step at a time. This will help give you an estimated amount of time needed to finish one task and how long it will take you to finish the remaining steps.
  • Disconnect: In order for all of this to work smoothly you have to cut off connections with the world just until the task is done. Forward calls to voicemail, inform others that you prefer not to be disturbed and refrain from social media. Most importantly don’t use scheduled project task time to do other work projects or personal endeavors.
  • Reward Yourself: Treat yourself with a reward for all your hard work once you have met your deadline. Whether it’s a big or small reward, you will have an “eye on the prize” mentality to push you to the end.

Deadlines are vital in life and business they keep us on track and on point.

Spring Has Come, and So Will the Fruit of Your Social Media Labors

Posted on March 20th, 2013 by admin Categories Social Media

If you are feeling skeptical that your social media efforts are having any effect, a recent post by Stephanie Chandler for Forbes.com assures you that they certainly are.  While building momentum with social media is not an overnight proposition, Chandler highlights the hidden impact social media campaigns have for businesses.


As a supplement to Chandler’s article, the following (based on the article) is a poem of encouragement for those social media marketers wondering when they will see the fruits of their labors.

 

Spring Has Come, and So will the Fruit of Your Social Media Labors


Let people know your name and tell them what it is you do

“Sit Down” a while and ask them what they like and DON’T LIKE too

Say “Howdy” to them often, or at least give them a smile

Invite them over to your place so they can see your style


If you see they have a problem,
Do your best to lend a hand

Share your knowledge with them as often as you can


Now, many won’t respond to you,

But they’ll know that you’re there

And someday they’ll surprise you when they open up and share


Your progress may be hidden, Your forward steps concealed

No clock will tell exactly when such things might be revealed


It can be slow to breakthrough,

Yet you are on the right track

Soon your big wins will come and then

You won’t stop to look back.


What advice do you have for a marketer struggling with the slow results of a social media campaign?  Share your thoughts in a comment below.

 

From Our Forum To Yours: Utilizing Blogs & Forums

Posted on December 12th, 2012 by admin Categories Blog

The holidays are a time for sharing with others. One way to share with your customers is to reach out with a blog or forum. These digital discussions will help you engage and interact with your customers and fans.

 

It’s Your Stage

 

With a blog or a forum, you choose the topic you want to talk about. You can take your customers behind the scenes of the company or ask them which discontinued product they want to come back. By sharing with your customers, you will not only be promoting your company, but you’ll also be building credibility and trust with your customers.

 

Find The Key

When writing a post or a discussion question, there are a few things you should consider. The first is making sure you use keywords not only in the main body, but also in the title. This will allow people searching with those keywords to find your content. Even if you are hosting the blog or discussion on your website, make sure you link to your website in the text. If your content ends up on another website, people will still be able to get backto your website thanks to that link. Finally when you publish the content make sure you respond to people’s comments. By encouraging and interacting with your customers, people are more likely to respond to later posts.

 

Go Social

 

Now that you’ve written your blog or created a new discussion, push it out! Make sure you share the content or post the link to all your social media platforms. You should also look into social bookmarking websites like Digg or StumbleUpon. These bookmarking sites let you link your content, so people that are looking for similar blogs or discussions are able to find you.

 

If you’ve tried blogging or a forum for the first time, let us know about it!

 

Twitter Socialite: How Do Your Followers Perceive You?

Posted on November 28th, 2012 by admin Categories Blog

A majority of companies today have jumped on the social media wagon and created a Twitter account. The next matter of discussion is how well are these companies using their Twitter account? Well, I’ve broken down Twitter accounts into three categories: Wallflower, Piggy Backer, and Socialite.

 

 

The Wallflower

 

A Twitter wallflower is an account that sits back and just observes tweets from other people. They may occasionally retweet or comment on someone else’s tweet, but they create original tweets. If you find yourself in this category, I suggest doing some research. You can do this by looking at what your competitors or others in your field of business tweet and then think about how you could work something similar into your tweets. Also find interesting articles that relate to your business and your consumers would want to read.

 

Piggy Backer

 

The Piggy Backers are the retweet masters. They like to share what their colleagues and industry experts are saying, but they haven’t found their own voice. To keep from piggybacking, when you see a post you want to retweet, take that same idea but form it into your own words. For example, you are dying to hit the retweet button because your distributor announced they’re re-releasing an old product. Instead of retweeting, you could say “@bootsareawesome is re-releasing their black shiny boot! Who’s excited?” In that tweet, you’ve recognized your distributor, but you also have started a conversation with your followers.

 

Socialite

 

Twitter socialites are the golden children of the Twitter universe. These people share industry news in such a manner that people look anticipate and look forward to their tweets. In essence they are the ones the wallflowers look up to and the piggy backers retweet from. If you are a socialite, I say congratulations. If you’re not, you can become one! Like I said earlier, do some research. See what your competitors or industry leaders are doing to interact with their followers. Also try reaching out to your followers. You can do this simply by asking them questions about their product preferences or what they would like to see you carrying next.

 

Which Twitter category do you fall under? Or do you think you fall into another category entirely? Let me know with a comment!

Making UGC Work

Posted on June 27th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Campaigns

Does User Generated Content (UGC) work? More specifically, can a campaign reliant on UGC work? We think it can, provided the idea is carried out the right way. The best part about UGC campaigns is the element of risk involved with them; as far as content creation is concerned, UGC campaigns take a little relinquishing of control on the marketers part.

Granted, UGC platforms have come under fire for not being professional enough. Remember the great journalism debates over self-publishing on blogs? However, there are distinct advantages to taking this road, especially in terms of the creativity that gets channeled through people in different corners of the world.

Just so you know, we like the idea of building community through a common cause. It gives us warm fuzzies everywhere.

Think about it. If you’re creating a campaign from a crowd-sourced idea or content, you’re making the room to create a huge fan following by making your brand a lot more accessible than it probably has been.


 
Case in point: Doritos and their UGC Super-Bowl commercials. Doritos invited their audiences to create and send in their own Super Bowl commercials with a chance to win a very cool $1 million and have their ad aired during the Super Bowl.

The advantages here are self-evident. First of all, crowd-sourcing new content keeps production costs at a definite minimum. With countless numbers of talented amateurs and home grown video enthusiasts out and about, the production costs for creating video and then laying down media buys for dissemination are cut down, in some cases, by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Secondly, there’s always a new perspective and new insights to be had. You don’t really know what brand means to other people or how they connect with it until you offer them a chance to create or recreate an insular perspective that’s carried by a select group of people.

Finally, with a built-in potential for going viral, UGC campaigns offer an unprecedented opportunity for social engagement. While there’s no set formula to get millions of people talking about what you want to share and have to say, there’s no doubt that human connection is the basic driver.

It’s a simple principle. Don’t tell people what they need. Ask them and then deliver.

Mobile Marketing: The Changing Demographics

Posted on May 16th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Branding

If there’s anything traditional marketing can be adversely good at, it’s alienating an entire demographic that isn’t moved by a blanket message. Remember those burgeoning billboards on the sides of highways in the middle of nowhere? They’re still around, but they’re not as relevant as they used to be.
 
Smartphones and digital communication are now facts of life, and in trying to adapt to this not-so-new-fangled form of connecting, marketers are faced with changing their strategies and revised metrics. Again. Buckle in – it’s going to be quite a ride.
 
 
Device Demographics
 
Gone are the days when an audience could be neatly packaged into factors like “gender,” “age” and “ethnicity.” Some truisms may exist, still. iPhone users are more likely to be young and affluent more than Android users, but their spending habits and the information they consume is vastly different.
 
We communicate, consume, share and advertise digitally. That part’s easy. What becomes difficult is bridging the gap between ROI insights and adjusting strategies in real time. As marketers, we’ve always faced a lag between traditional advertising and the feedback we receive.
 
Device demographics are making advertising much more relevant and targeted than it ever has been. Marketers can now customize the content and experience for their audience for each mobile device available, and as it turns out, the trend is sticking around. Consumers are beginning to prefer targeted ads that are sleeker, have higher definition and are more interactive.
 
One Step Up
 
Targeted or even preferred content isn’t just for social media platforms anymore. Everything that you do with your smartphone offers an insight into who you are and where your interests lie. From status updates and geotagging on Facebook and Twitter to the kinds of utility or gaming apps you use – we were all here for the Angry Birds fever – every activity leads marketers to create an experience that’s tailored uniquely to you.
 
There’s a side of the fence that believes these rapid changes are exciting and revolutionary. How do you feel?
 

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