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