Monday, 12 December 2011

The Gift Of Sight

Well it is that time of year again – Christmas! The time of year when we all gather around our trees, surrounded by gifts and smiling faces.  It is the time of year where we reflect on all the blessings of the year gone by.

This year in particular, I have something to be very thankful for. This year I was blessed and given the gift of sight. A miracle? Well, yes and no. No because this didn’t just happen over night. My parents helped me out financially so I could have this elective surgery. But it is also a bit of a miracle because technology has come so far that we can now correct vision with the use of a laser!

On December 10th I decided to undergo laser eye surgery - Advanced Custom Wavefront provided by LASIK MD. I had my free consultation in Kingston, Ontario and the surgery was performed in Ottawa.  My stay was above satisfactory – they did everything from answer all my questions about the procedure to help me put my eye drops in while I was in the waiting room.  Most importantly, they kept me at ease.

On December 09th I was near sighted and used both contact and glasses to help correct my vision. Today only 24 hours after the surgery, I have 20/20 vision! My eyes will be fully healed in three months and my vision can only get better from here.

By now you are probably wondering how this at all connects to my blog theme of marketing and advertising. Well, in my eyes the answer to that is simple. LASIK MD does the traditional forms of advertising such as television and radio but with their strong customer service and positive attitudes the advertising takes care of its self. Word of mouth advertising it’s free, dependable and most importantly powerful.

So what else do I want for Christmas? Actually there is a list. I want to see you smile as you open the gifts I got you; I want to open my eyes and be able to read the clock; oh - and finally - I would like to be able to drive and actually see the road signs before I am on top of them.  Looks like those are all covered.

Thank you Mom & Dad. Thank you LASIK MD and thank you readers. I’ll see you soon.  Literally, I can see you now J

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Trends Talk

Today I tweeted 30 times in less than 3 hours. I was automatically entered into a number of contests (none of which I won) and I took my networking to a whole new level. Today I attended my first “non-conference” - Trends Talk.

Trends Talk was held at St. Lawrence College, organized by two amazing professors (Kathy Patterson & Lindsey Fair) and lead by the third year students in the Advertising Integrated Marketing Communication program.

In groups of two the students had 30 minutes to do a presentation about a media topic of their choice. Topics included; Celebrity tweets, Facebook and fashion, hashtags, and the top ten media campaigns. There were many others as well.  Audience members were encouraged to live tweet the sessions as well as ask questions to encourage the discussion. At one point during the discussion #TrendsTalk was even a trending topic in all of Canada! How amazing is that?

The students were both engaging and inspiring.  You could see how much work they had put into their presentations and their excitement was palpable throughout the event. Their topics evoked discussion among the crowd and really got me thinking.  This is what I am going to be doing in the next two years. I will be the one standing up there giving my presentation about the trending topics of 2014.  I have become so motivated to continue my hard work and strive for the best.  I cannot wait until I am at the top of this educational food chain and if this is what I have to look forward to – well all I can say is  - you haven’t heard the last from me! 

Friday, 2 December 2011

That Time of Year

Although it seems impossible, it is that time of year again. This is when students hunker down in their bedrooms, the library or the well-lit corner of the cafeteria to go about their business. In my opinion this is the worst time of year to be a student. You guessed it. EXAM TIME!

While we are all overwhelmed by the stacks of books and piles of papers we have acquired in order to prepare for this week, I have had some time to reflect on my experiences. This is the first time I have added reflection to part of my studying regime and to be honest, I am glad.

I looked back and remembered all the fun we have had in the classrooms this past semester.  I connected each story to a lesson I had learned in class. Oddly enough this helped build my confidence and helped me to remember important concepts as well.  I easily remembered things like strategic alliances as taught by Kip Tuckwell and the value of powerful presenting skills lead by Jackie St Pierre.

I have also taken the time to reflect on who I have become as a person. I can see how much I have grown, changed and how the people around me have made an impact on my life. A perfect example of this is when Kathy Patterson handed me a magazine in class this week. It highlighted the top ten media companies of 2011. Kathy suggested that I find one I liked and she would help me get in touch with them.

How amazing is that? I had made an impact as well. I was showing my potential and the people around me could see that I had something to offer. Not only am I leaving this year with new knowledge, friends and an amazing social media profile I am heading into my future with confidence and positive outlook. With a little less than 3 years of school left to go I have learned that the possibilities are endless.

Watch out world - I am coming for yah! But for now, it’s back to the books.

Friday, 25 November 2011

The Psychology of the Season

No sooner have the jack o lanterns been swept from our doorsteps then we begin to hear that familiar sound of Christmas carols streaming through speakers in the stores.  The shelves start to fill with red and green and toy ads with happy old St. Nicholas can be seen and heard everywhere.  We feel compelled to get into the holiday spirit – whatever that means.  Our tummies start grumbling for that turkey dinner before we have barely digested the first one from Thanksgiving.  Hurry, hurry, hurry – we need to get prepared for the biggest event of the year.  The pressure starts to build long before our southern friends prepare for their Thanksgiving and this carries through at a frenzied pace until we ring the New Year in and finally take a moment to breathe and reflect on another year gone by.

This time of year is a marketers dream! They know that people love to get into the spirit and they can use this to their advantage to make their entire year’s profit in one fell swoop. If there is anyway to spin your product into a holiday-necessary item than the average consumer will flock to the stores to keep up with their friends and neighbors. This is a brilliant strategy.
Every avenue possible is used to spread the “good cheer” – radio, television, social media and newspapers.  The marketers play on every one of our senses – we can feel it, see it and smell the holiday season everywhere we go. Advertisers and marketers alike have this time of year down to a science. Play on the primal competitive nature of the average consumer.  Common techniques like sexual appeal, lifestyle, and humour are all used to pull in consumers – we simply cannot wait to open our wallets! So all I can say is “Happy holidays”!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Facebook Frenzy

Facebook suffered a serious blow this past week. It was hacked by a group of people looking to do only one thing – wreak havoc! These people were not trying to steal Facebook user’s identity or credit card information; they only wanted to make the Facebook community a little less trusting of their beloved social networking site.

Across the world Facebook user’s home pages were plastered with disturbing images of dead animals, people and babies as well as extremely detailed pornographic images. These images spread like wildfire from home page to home page with just a simple click – viral in less than a minute.

Facebook was ambushed by this attack and their public relations department was forced to immediately send out a news release not only warning their users but reassuring them that the problem was being dealt with as swiftly as possible. They also urged their customers to tag each photo as spam in order for them to track the process of the virus more effectively.

Facebook users were appalled at the fact that this could happen to their beloved social media site. Some consumers even messaged that they were going to, “Boycott Facebook until they figured this mess out!”

This shows the power that social media carries in our world today. This reassures us advertising students and people in the field that social media is here to stay! Facebook as well as other social media platforms are an essential tool to help us with advertising but examples like this show how easily these sites can be corrupted and distorted to cause mass confusion.

With power comes responsibility. Facebook is giving us the power so it is our responsibility to use it to its fullest potential without letting it get out of control.  

Friday, 11 November 2011

It Is All About Respect

Today in class we talked at length about the issue of classroom ethics. My professor Kathy Patterson, continuously tried to relate the business world to that of our everyday classroom. Issues such as eating and drinking, texting, typing and attendance all were part of the discussion. After talking at length about these habits and actions, it became clear to me that these were not the topics being disputed. The issue is really all about respect. Respect for your professors, fellow classmates and eventually your colleagues or employers.
Many of my classmates argued that having their attendance taken and being marked for participation are both a waste of the professor’s time and there seemed to be a sense of the students being “babysat”. I feel very differently about this matter. I believe that the professors are teaching us life skills. If these skills are not developed appropriately then we could face all kinds of problems when entering the world of business. Skills like punctuality, organization, time management and problem solving are all necessary evils to succeed in the real world. Most of us come to college with these skills only partially developed and we need to work on honing these skills so we can impress our future employers and please our clients. If we practice this in the classroom, it will hopefully translate into our everyday life and our place of employment.
In the business world if you show up late to a meeting you might be fired. It is not recommended that you interrupt, text, eat or be disruptive while others are speaking. This is simply an issue of respect. We should start practicing this behavior in the classroom and develop good habits. Let’s not criticize our professors for trying to prepare us for our future!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Tweet it, Link it, Like it, Post it

Like it or not we live in a technologically savvy world - not only in the traditional form of tangible technology but also the ever growing world of the web.  Social media is literally taking over our lives! On Facebook alone the average user spends approximately 8 hours a month or 16 minutes a day!   

You may be thinking that you’ve heard this before but social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and others are no laughing matter. We learned this week in Kathy Patterson’s class that your social media and its maintenance could be the difference between you getting a job or not. Employers now have the capability to be your friend, follow you, subscribe or even join your network. This means they get to see everything you post, link, like or tweet. Your profile says a lot about you – whether you like it or not.  We should never forget that what we post is public and although it may seem funny at the time, it could be viewed by a potential employer and negatively impact on you in the future.

Another skill that many employers are looking for now is called “influence”. This basically reflects how influential a person is on different social media sites.  This information is only a click away.  New software called Klout is an online date base that gives you a score out of 100 based on your influence. The higher the score the more influence you have. Your Klout score could also be a determining factor in the hiring process.

Social media is a powerful tool that can help you or hinder your potential. Managing your information and using a common sense approach to building these sites might very well keep you (and me) ahead of the pack! 
This video has slightly different statistics but the message is still very strong!
@HollieKF <-- Twitter

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Options Options Options

I would be a liar if I told you that my educational journey has been easy.  I have always been at the top of my class and I was very involved in extracurricular activities. From the moment I entered high school, it seemed that I would be destined to head to university.   

Being a na├»ve 18 year old, I attended university straight out of high school.  I studied a variety of courses and was mildly successful. Unlike high school, I had to work really hard and the learning did not come naturally to me. This sent me for a loop and I felt lost and confused. I knew I wasn’t stupid – but I also knew that this program was not for me.  School wasn’t fun anymore.

This is when I discovered a whole new world – college. I learned that the class sizes were much smaller and that hands-on learning was an option.  This was not my experience at university and I missed that the most. College was something that I had never explored.  No one talked to me about college – university was the path. 

I’m not here to bash university but I am trying to open the eyes of other youth in a similar situation to mine. Looking at all options is a necessary step so that you can take advantage of all the opportunities available to you.  

Figuring out what you’re going to do when you leave high school is no easy task!  My best advice would be to follow your heart along with your head and take a look at all options available to you.  When they don’t match – take a breath and re-evaluate your priorities and what you want at the end of the day. After all, it’s your future and you’re worth investing in.