The Quack is Back

2 Mar

A reality TV show that tells the story of a quirky family in Louisiana is approaching Jersey Shore TV ratings? Tell me more.

Image from Yahoo! TV

Image from Yahoo! TV

According to AdAge columnist Jeanine Poggi, on Wednesday, February 27th, 2013, 8.6 million viewers tuned in at 10/9C to watch the new hit series on A&E, Duck Dynasty. However, this season 3 premier went above and beyond an ordinary TV viewing. In the Duck Dynasty social response lab, analysts were working day and night to engage their audience.

What does this mean? And how did they do that? Great questions. Viewers can watch television through Netflix, Hulu, and DVR (just to name a few options). To counter-act the “I can always watch it later” attitudes of viewers, the social response lab implemented real-time marketing, specifically through the use of Twitter.

By using Twitter to hype up the audience for the season 3 premier, A&E social media managers and strategists engaged their current fans and created a buzz that enticed new viewers to tune in. Essentially, it was all about “in-the-moment” conversations.

The Twitter conversation began hours before the show’s start time. Fans were sending in pictures of themselves in camouflage headbands and fake beards (great material for A&E to use in the future). At 5 pm, A&E began re-tweeting awaiting fans causing even more of a ruckus, and by 6 pm, the Robertson family (the TV starts themselves!) even joined the conversation!

Before the premier, Duck Dynasty had surpassed American Idol mentions on Twitter.  During the show, the tweeting continued. Tweeting was turned into a game and the fans that responded first received a prize. For example, every time Si made a “Hey” reference, the first fan to tweet #Jack was the lucky winner. This occurred often. If you are not familiar with this “Hey,” check out this video! It is good for a laugh or two.

Things started to really heat up when actor James Franco and singer Phillip Phillips started tweeting about Duck Dynasty.

All of the articles we have been reading about customer engagement in Professor Mac’s class, well, it looks like A&E has been reading them too. The fans ate it up. The social media success further reinforces that it is about the experience. Every time their Twitter name scrolls across the bottom of the screen, customers (television viewers) feel a connection to the Duck Dynasty brand. This created a sense of loyalty, and next Wednesday, both long-time and new Duck Dynasty fans will tune in to see episode 2.

What I am trying to convey is that an experience with a product goes far beyond tangible consumer goods. Despite Duck Dynasty being an entertaining show, the viewer engagement really gives them the upper hand. I’m curious to see if the viewer statistics are upheld next week.

For now, Duck Dynasty has claimed the title of “A&E’s most watched telecast of all time.”

And A&E is “Happy, Happy, Happy”

This blog post is a part of Integrated Marketing Communications at Elon University

Source: Inside the Social-Response Lab of A&E’s ‘Duck Dynasty’


Perfectly Passionate about Purposeful Marketing

26 Feb

Phew! That was a mouthful, but I think it really conveys the message I want you, my reader, to understand. According to Alice Korngold’s article Be My Valentine! Winning Partnerships for the Greater Good, “Partnerships among nonprofits, and between for-profits and nonprofits, will be among the best innovations that are driven by this tough economy.”  The passion is connection between the two brands (non-profit and for-profit) and the customers, and the purposeful marketing is telling a story that evokes action from the audience.

Doughnuts and Motorsports: Oh, the Commonalities!

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts’  mission goes far beyond creating the famous Original Glazed Doughnut and other tasty treats. The organization strives a higher goal of “touching and enhancing lives through the joy that is Krispy Kreme.” What does this mean? And how are they accomplishing this beyond quality products and services?

Founded in Winston Salem, North Carolina, the Krispy Kreme brand was born and raised in the Southeast United States. Although the organization now offers public stock and has expanded internationally, its Southern heritage was never forgotten.

Photo from Krispy Kreme

Photo from Krispy Kreme

Embracing regional culture, Krispy Kreme loyalists are also motorsports fans. To enhance this shared demographic, Krispy Kreme Racing was established and serves as the primary sponsor of NASCAR K&N Pro Series driver Gray Gaulding.

In addition to a motorsports marketing partnership, Krispy Kreme has taken it to the next level by activating a non-profit/for-profit co-branding partnership with Victory Junction Gang Camp. Victory Junction is a non-profit organization founded in memory of the late NASCAR driver #45 Adam Petty, son of Kyle Petty and grandson of the King, that enriches the lives of chronically ill children in a medically-sound environment.

Richard Petty enjoying a Krispy Kreme Doughnut on his 75th birthday. Photo Credit: Ashley Bunting

Richard Petty enjoying a Krispy Kreme Doughnut on his 75th birthday. Photo Credit: Ashley Bunting

In the months of April and May, Krispy Kreme supports the Drive for 45 Campaign, benefiting Victory Junction. Drive for 45 offers duel NASCAR and donut customers to donate $1, $2, $5, or $45 dollars to Camp. Customers can donate over the counter or at the drive-thru window. Customers can also choose to ‘round-up’ their purchase to the nearest dollar or make a ‘pit-stop’ and drop their donation into a Drive for 45 Tire Bank. At the end of the campaign, Richard and Kyle Petty visit Krispy Kreme locations in Greensboro and Winston Salem to show their appreciation for the fans’ support.

The Drive for 45 Campaign is a recently new development. According to the Krispy Kreme News Release, in only a few years, over $800,000 has been donated to Victory Junction.

It makes total sense, right? To activate partnerships between organizations that share the same audiences. Holly Stewart, marketing and PR strategist, visited my IMC class last week to share her expertise on non-profit/cause-focused marketing.

Holly emphasized that for-profit organizations, if they choose to co-brand with a non-profit, should select a cause that reflects their shopping demographic. This allows customers to make a connection, to both the brand and the cause which is exemplified in the partnership between Krispy Kreme and Victory Junction.

But I think the biggest take-away from Holly’s lecture is the power of the story, and the importance of storytelling versus money-chasing. To tell a story that leaves the audience feeling empowered and connected is the ideal goal for cause-marketing.  Holly also shared her favorite catch phrase for effective cause-marketing: timelessness and timeliness. In other words, a message should create a sense of urgency to a relevant cause.

Ready, Set, Go!

Three of my classmates and I have teamed up for the semester to work on a marketing objective for ABAN, A Ban Against Neglect. This organization is a non-profit based out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Accra, Ghana who works to “empower street girls while cleaning up the environment.”

Consider these statistics: Over 40,000 tons of water sachet bags are thrown on the streets everyday. On that same day, over 30,000 children are sleeping on these streets.

These numbers are devastating, but they are the facts. ABAN is working everyday to reduce the plastic on the streets by teaching street girls how to sew and transform the recyclable material into a fashionable women’s bag. That is not all. ABAN enhances a girl’s overall quality of life, enriching the body, spirit and mind.  In the words of Holly Stewart, heartache has been transformed to hope. 

Callie Brauel founded the organization to help girls gain skills to lead a sustainable life, while at the same time running a business. To become a sustainable organization, ABAN needs to rely less on donations and grants, and more on profits from the bag sales. How can ABAN gain awareness for their organic, recyclable products? Good question. That is where we come in.

Of course, I cannot spoil my group’s ideas for ABAN co-branding! After all, it is a competition between the other groups in the class. But what I can tell you is that we are aiming to partner with an established for-profit business with a similar customer demographic with similar buying habits.

While formulating strategies for ABAN to reach $25,000 in sales revenue through co-branding partnerships, we are striving to focus on relevance and connection. The story of ABAN is unique and captivating. What is do NOT want to do is make the same mistake that the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness has done, and slap the brand on anything that shows an ounce of interest in ABAN. The pink ribbon is practically ignored because of the effects of pink washing.

So much I want to share about co-branding and our ideas for ABAN. I will definitely have to upload our report as a PDF when we have finished our research.

Until next time!

Source: Holly Stewart

This blog post is a part of Integrated Marketing Communications at Elon University.

Firearms Financials

24 Feb

Blogging for Finance? Why not! My finance professor, Dr. Reilly White (aka Dr. Cleveland) was curious about my blogging for IMC assignments. Thus, here goes my first finance blog post! (drum roll please!)

An example of a high-capacity credit: mr.smashy via photopin cc

An example of a high-capacity magazine.
photo credit: mr.smashy via photopin cc

According to Jennifer Oldham’s article Colorado After Aurora Shows Hurdles to Gunbuyer Checks on Bloomberg, Colorado’s biggest manufacturer of high-capacity ammunition magazines, Magpul Industries Corp, is in the hot seat. It is under the microscope because it makes of the same product that was used in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, the Aurora movie theatre shooting, and the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007. High capacity magazines, or clips, increase firepower and are what causes shooters to pause to reload.

Proposed legislation from Democratic lawmakers is aiming to ban high-capacity mags in the state of Colorado. In response to the Colorado ban, Texas and South Carolina are inviting Magpul to relocate their business to more Republican states.

What does this mean from a financial perspective?

Currently, the gun business has provided more than 4,700 jobs to Colorado. The move to gun friendly states will not only cause a huge job migration, but Colorado will suffer an economic impact of $590.7 million. The job market would affect both manufacturing (employed 133,400 in December) and retail trade (employing 244,500 at the same time). According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, in 2012 the firearms industry contributed $43 million dollars to state tax revenue.

“While the firearms industry’s contribution to the state’s $264 billion private-sector gross domestic product is small, it has a multiplier effect of two — meaning it creates a job somewhere else for each person it employs — that helped prop up Colorado’s struggling manufacturing sector.” –Gary Horvath, a Broomfield-based economist.

Despite the resolution in the coming years, this issue will remain constant conflict. Anti-gun legislation, a hot topic in Washington, has severe economic consequences for states. Along with a huge shift in revenues and employment, moving industries such as Magpul will also further the divide between states and legislators.

Source: Colorado After Aurora Shows Hurdles to Gunbuyer Checks

Go Daddy… GO GIRL!

19 Feb

Danica Patrick wins the Daytona 500 Coors Light Pole

I have been so busy, but SO eager to blog about this: Danica Patrick won the Coors Light Pole for the Daytona 500! What does this mean for all my  non-NASCAR readers? Danica Patrick will start at the front of the pack (inside lane) on Sunday, February 24th, 2013 for the biggest race of the year, the Daytona 500. Along side her in the #2 qualifying spot is Jeff Gordon.

Why is this huge news? It is the first time in history that a woman has won a pole in a premier racing circuit, at a top speed of 196.434 mph. This is big news for Danica and the Go Daddy team, but the headlines and the exposure are also great for the sport. I cannot tell you how many of my Elon friends (who do not follow NASCAR) approached me and wanted to talk about Danica’s pole win.

More Danica news coverage = Increased advertising and friendly reminders for people to watch the race this Sunday!

I would say that I have a similar body type to Danica. I am 5 feet and 3 inches tall, weighing in at approximately 115 pounds. I like to run and weight lift regularly, but by no means am I training for a Sprint Cup race. Danica’s “secret to success” just might be in her workout. She has really been focussed on developing her upper body strength, like a linebacker, to stay upright during the turns. Holding the steering wheel is like holding a medicine ball for 3 hours, and a driver can lose up to 7 pounds during a race because of the sauna-like conditions. Impressive.

Danica #10, Jeff #24, or Aric #43 (to name a few), their workouts are impressive. For anyone who thinks NASCAR is not a sport, reconsider. Watch this video! You might change your mind.

On that note, I think I am going to the gym. Happy Racing!

Sources: Danica Wins Daytona Pole

Girls are Emotional? You mean, Brands.

19 Feb

In his book How Customers Think, Gerald Zaltman states that 95% of purchases are motivated from the subconscious, the home of your emotions. For the dramatic effect, let’s repeat that statistic: 95%!!! You could say that marketers are playing with your heartstrings, because emotional branding (brands that appeal to emotions) engages consumers and at the end of the day, it seals the deal.

According to the FastCompany article Time To Get Emotional, emotional branding has transformed from “oh that is nice to know” to absolutely essential in creating a connection between a consumer and a brand. Marc Gobe’s article, Emotional Branding: Fuel for Success in the 21st Century agrees. Because “brand do not belong to corporations anymore, but to people!”

The consumer expects a brand to know him/her and his/her needs. However, connecting with a brand goes beyond a need; it is about the experience. A need is purchased based on convenience and price, and if a brand is going to connect with a consumer and capture them for the long haul, then fulfill a customer’s desires.

Bottom line? To all you brands out there, start a conversation. With your consumers. And get to know them really well because personal dialogue is going to appeal to your customers’ emotions.

Spending with your Heart or with your Head?

I think one of the clearest examples of emotional branding is the connection that people feel with social causes. Tell me you have seen the ASPCA commercial where “In the Arms of an Angel” plays while showing pictures of  abused cats and dogs. It is a tear-jerker. My mother literally cannot watch this commercial because it upsets her. Fun Fact? She is a volunteer at the Greensboro Animal Shelter because she says her job is to “love on dogs.” She also gives dog food and sponsors families to adopt pets during the Holiday Season. My mother supports this social cause because of the emotional effect.

If you have not seen it, watch at your own risk!

I took this hypothesis a step further and took a mini-poll on students’ favorite non-profits and why.

Here is what I found:

Photo Credit by Star Shuping

A Stick From Chase: Little Boy with his First Lacrosse Stick
Photo Credit by Star Shuping

Sarah Moran, junior at East Carolina University: A Stick From Chase, an organization that distributes miniature lacrosse sticks to young children in memory of Chase Bunting’s generous spirit and lacrosse legacy. Sarah says, “It is my favorite because it embodies hope for young boys and gives them the chance at a bright future, one as bright as Chase’s was.” Sarah knew Chase and watched him blossom into a young athlete being recruited by college coaches.

Peter Goltz, freshman at Elon University: Boys and Girls Club of America, because it is where he used to play basketball after school. This non-profit embodies Peter’s enthusiasm for staying physically active. Peter recently was hired at Elon University Campus Rec because of his passion for fitness.

Brian Sharnsky, senior at Elon University: Victory Junction Gang Camp, an organization founded in memory of Adam Petty, the late grandson of NASCAR legend Richard Petty. Sharnksy says, “Victory Junction allows kids to forget about their sicknesses. It lets them just be kids.” Sharnsky is NASCAR fan and the two of us totally bonded over our favorite non-profit.

Between each of these organizations and individuals, an emotion has been generated that provokes donations and support. Whether it is happiness or sadness, people purchase on emotion. In Clow’s textbook Integrated Advertising, Promotion and Marketing Communications, he defines brand equity as “a set of characteristics unique to a brand.” I have drawn my own conclusion about brand equity for non-profits. Instead of securing shelf space, brand equity for a non-profit is securing a place in peoples’ hearts. Instead of allowing manufacturers to charge more for products, brand equity for a non-profit is increasing the tax-deductable donations.

The take home message for today: It is inevitable! Marketers and brands are playing your heartstrings. Why? Because it works.


This blog post is a part of Integrated Marketing Communications at Elon University.

Relationship Status: Taken

13 Feb

Marketing myopia was one of the first vocabulary words I learned in my Principles class. So focused on the product that the customers’ needs are forgotten. This seems crazy, right? I thought so too. Well, according to Schultz’s article “What is Value-Based IMC?,” in the 1950s, the Four Ps guided marketing practices and the customer was not even considered.

Organizations actually used to do that? And mass messages were the ‘go-to’ moves in an advertising and marketing campaign? Despite the fact that I am a part of Gen Y and do not know much about the marketplace pre-1980s (besides what I read in textbooks), it just sounds crazy!

The fact is that customer engagement matters. As a customer, it matters to me, it [most likely] matters to you, and it definitely matters to Willem. In his article, he explains that the customer is king because the customer has more control than ever. When is the last time you made a significant purchase? Did you Google the product before you bought it? I did. I read reviews online and shopped around for the best price. And then perhaps during your shopping experience, a box appeared that said: You May Also Like or Recommendations for You.

Recommendations on when purchasing NASCAR The Game 2011

Recommendations on when purchasing NASCAR The Game 2011

Organizations have shifted their focus to the customer and not for a day, a month, or a year, but a lifetime. To strengthen this lifetime relationship, organizations are collecting customer information. Personal information, information about a customer’s lifestyle, buying habits, and past purchases are data that speaks volumes to companies.

I would think that collecting all this data would get pretty messy. I started to ask myself how marketers could keep all this information organized so it is actually useful. This is where the so-called Blueconomy comes into play. The idea is to combine information, where brand managers are sharing information to have a better understanding of their customers. This ‘benefit’ of a Blueconomy started to concern my inner worrywart. There is a line between collecting customer data and an invasion of privacy. Where is it crossed?

At the Bank of America I am constantly advised to download the new iPhone app where I can check my balance and view my account activity. The old-fashioned grandma living inside me will not download it. There is no way I will have my banking information on my iPhone. To me, the potential risks are not worth the convenience. With that being said, there many companies I will volunteer other information to for something in return.

In Dimitri Maex and Paul B. Brown’s article, If You Want Customer To Fork Over Private Data, Give Them Something Irresistible In Return, they discuss that providing customer data and acquiring it must be mutually beneficial.

photo credit: windley via photopin cc

photo credit: windley via photopin cc

“They make data collection and value creation a central part of the value proposition, so that people actively want to participate.”

Consider the social media application Foursquare. This application tracks an individual’s location, except all the data is entered voluntarily! In return, users receive offers and discounts to nearby restaurants and stores. The mutualism between the organization and the customer is at the heart of the exchange.

Call us needy, but this is marketing. If they play their cards right, a company can capture the customer and behold! the sprouting of a lifetime relationship with satisfaction on both ends.

This blog post is a part of Integrated Marketing Communications at Elon University.

Breaking News, This Just In

12 Feb


For my second blog post, Professor McAlhany encouraged me to blog about the latest article that is the top headline on the Elon University E-Net website. The funny thing is, it is about me! I never get the chance to brag about myself, so I am pretty excited to share this article with y’all.

This feature article showcases my internship this past summer at Petty’s Garage, Richard Petty’s custom hot rod shop. I have to admit that throughout the summer, I would forget that I was working. The assignments, the meetings, the trip to Daytona… I enjoyed it all. Reading and re-reading this article refreshes my memory of why people say “do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.”

Career Moves: Racing fan lands motorsports internship

I am honored to be featured on my university’s home page. It has fueled the fire underneath me that was already lit. I am blessed for the opportunity at Petty’s Garage because it reinforced my passion for the career path I have chosen. I have a feeling that a good closing line for my blog posts is going to be the signature NASCAR catch phrase, “Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines.” Everyday as I get closer to walking across the Elon University graduation stage, that is exactly how I feel: Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines.

about ashley

11 Feb


Hey Y’all! I’m Ashley, a junior at Elon University studying Marketing, with a concentration in Sales, and a Spanish minor. I’m a Southern belle and NASCAR enthusiast searching for a job where I can combine my drive and creativity with my passion for racing.

IMC is going to have my brain running wild with new ideas for the auto-racing industry. This class is so applicable and will supplement my NASCAR spark.

My interests? Making you laugh. I am a firm believer that the most happiness in life comes from a good sense of humor. I run like crazy because “exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” –Elle Woods.  & My little brother is why I wake up everyday and be the best Ashley I can be; he is my motivation.

Ladies and Gentleman, start your engines.