COMM0014 – BLOG 7: Opportunities Await

This past weekend I got the opportunity to work with the NASCAR social team, which made a lot of course concepts come to life.

                                            Photo by Author

Why is storytelling important to creating great digital content?

Storytelling helps to create an overall brand for the digital content of your business or organization. By connecting with the bulk of consumers over social media it is important to clearly articulate your companies vision with each post. However, with many others also striving to succeed in this area, one must be able to set themselves aside from the competition. With great storytelling, this is possible! The little bit of extra thought into an ad campaign does make a difference!  By connecting to consumers on a personal level you create an emotional relationship with them.

How will your content be guided by story?

The most important thing I learned about content is that one cannot be too controlling over the creation of it. To capture the truth of a story you need to let the creators be themselves. For example, this past weekend NASCAR worked with drivers’ children to create gifs for a Kids Driver NASCAR campaign. Little direction was given to each child, as that creativity from a kid’s mind is what tells the whole story of the campaign.

What kind of stories do you want to tell?

Moving forward, I hope to continue to tell organic stories. I believe that as the digital marketing continues to dominate individuals will begin to tune out media at an even faster rate than they already do. With this in mind, I hope to keep stories short, to the point, but incorporate that ‘wow’ factor right away. I think stories need little scripting when it comes to organization, rather I’ll push to capture the ‘truth.’

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COMM0014 – BLOG 6: Regret or Forget

What choices have you made that you regret?

Everyone has something in their life they regret. Whether it be a failed relationship, poor career choice or chance they never took back in the summer of 2013. (I am talking about myself in that last one in case you didn’t notice.)

Leading up to University I had it easy. I got 90% or higher on all assignments, had a core group of friends, and got accepted into the school of my choice. Not to brag or anything but everything was going great. However, the real world hit me in the face when I had to pick what my major would be in University.

Being a first-generation student, there were a lot of firsts with this whole University experience. I had no clue that suddenly the system changed and there wasn’t core classes I had to take every year.

                                                     Photo by Author

Naturally, having no idea what I wanted to do for the rest of my life I chose a generic root, Sociology. Nothing against any Sociologist out there, but partway into my degree I soon questioned if this was all there was to University.

At this point in time, I started exploring my options, about 2 years too late. Within this journey, I found the stream of Communication Studies and fell in love. Now in the Marketing side of things, my regrets hold in that moment of 2013 when I did not further explore what McMaster University had to offer me. Had I found the Communications program sooner, maybe I would have been able to add Multi-Media skills to my framework as well.

Sometimes I believe that I am at a disadvantage without a Multi-Media certificate, but I will overcome this feeling! Regrets are in the past, I now push for the future.

COMM0014 – BLOG 5: The Brand of Me

Have you ever noticed that it is so easy to judge others without evening knowing them, but when you try to label yourself you are speechless? I sure hope I am not the only one that struggles with this.

                                                                   Photo by Author

Let’s try starting with personal characteristics that make me different from others. I could say shy or friendly, but I won’t. Personally, I think of myself as self-motivated, mature, and opened minded. Both on the job or with family/friends, what you see is what you get with me. I am very passionate about what I do and the excitement of reaching success further pushes me. However, I am always looking to put others best interests in front of mine, as long, as it does not disturb my path.

To stand out is an interesting concept to someone who would identify herself as shy. However, over the years I have been able to make a name for myself in the NASCAR community through Twitter. By engaging with teams, race car drivers and tracks, I have had some amazing opportunities to get involved. Now by volunteering with organizations on race weekends, top notch owners know my face.

Photo by Author

My best trait? I am always up for a challenge. Taking on new tasks in the only way you learn, whether it is on the job or just in everyday life. 9/10 times I will be scared to death of stepping out of my comfort zone, but I never show that in my execution of tasks. Testing new waters is the only way to grow as a person, which is never an easy task. Yet, through determination and strength, I push through to become a better person.

COMM0014 – BLOG 4: Red Bull Marketing Magic

     Photo: Red Bull

The B2C, business to customer, relationship that I find most effective on social media comes from Red Bull. This energy drink company is decades old but is no fool to the marketing industry. Since its arrival to the energy drink market, Red Bull‘s television commercials have always grabbed the attention of their target audience. Flash forward to today, Red Bull still manages to take its original brand identity and translate that to social media platforms.

Photo: Red Bull Instagram                             @redbull

Specifically focusing on Instagram, one of the fastest growing audience platforms, Red Bull does an amazing job connecting to its youthful audience. With over 7.5 million followers this brand is clearly giving consumers what they want.

Using all short films, Red Bull is feeding into the reoccurring takeover of video advertising. These eye-catching videos draw in users as they are scrolling through their feed. If this isn’t enough to pull you into Red Bull‘s post, try reading the captions. With little to no words, Red Bull leaves their audience wanting to watch their videos to make sense of the cliffhanger.

Ultimately, it is amazing what Red Bull’s brand is doing. Watch a video or two, do you even see the product shown? Besides the subtle displays of drink cans or logo banners, Red Bull’s whole aesthetic is built with little association to the product. Their power in the extreme sports world allows customers to make associations between these types of videos and their products instantly.

Now hear me out. I am not an energy drink person, but Red Bull catches my eye. That right there is some good marketing friends.

COMM0014 – BLOG 3: A Community of Left Turns and Beer Drinkers

I am a NASCAR fan.

Right away I know most of you associate NASCAR with left turns and American rednecks. I hate to break it to you, but sadly that is an overused stereotype. Sure, you have some NASCAR fans that drink beer and have a southern accent, but there are core values in the sport that many fans hold close to their heart.

Photo Credit: Author

NASCAR has always been a family sport. From drivers to teams and now fans, the organization continues to push the family dynamic. A race is no longer a ‘guys weekend’ but rather a family experience with a large focus on kid’s activities. In 2016 NASCAR announced that all children under the age of 12 would be free to Xfinity and Truck races, a huge cost saving for families.

Staying true to their roots over time is why the NASCAR fan base is so loyal. Despite, many obstacles in their path fans still follow the sport week in and out. Although many fans only attend a race or two a year, staying active on social media is the way to engage with the NASCAR community. By using the race weekend hashtag or simply #NASCAR, you can connect instantly to thousands of fans via Twitter.

Although the NASCAR community seems unique, it is just like any other consumer market. This group of individuals have specific interests, you just need to learn what those are. Personally, I recommend starting on social media. That place can work wonders.

References:

NASCAR. 2016. Retrieved from http://www.nascar.com/.

NASCAR. 2016. NASCAR to Offer Free Youth Tickets for Xfinity Series, Camping World Truck Series. Retrieved from http://www.nascar.com/en_us/news-media/articles/2016/8/22/free-youth-ticket-programs-xfinity-series-camping-world-truck-series.html.

COMM0014 – BLOG 2: Storytelling in a Digital Era

Storytelling is for children, right? Wrong! Storytelling is an effective communication style that is used daily. Even right now, I am telling you a story. Although storytelling takes a different approach in the 21st century, the same principles apply that date back thousands of years.

The Digital Age is a perfect example to prove how useful storytelling is still today. By connecting with an audience on a personal level through the use of stories, companies now have the ability to promote products in new ways. Organizations now know that in order to grab a viewers attention they must be able to relate to them. For this reason, we see many promotional runs no longer including the item itself, but a story that can grab the viewers’ attention. Instead of selling a product, companies sell a lifestyle, an identity, a feeling to the consumer.

This new element of storytelling makes humanity so mesmerizing. Individuals are able to feel an emotional connection to an inanimate object solely based on the way it is presented to them. This alone shows the power of storytelling as communication tactic.

So, the next time you walk by a kids’ bookstore think to yourself ‘how does this story address our society?’

COMM0014 – BLOG 1: “DRIVER’S START YOUR ENGINES!”

“DRIVER’S START YOUR ENGINES!”

As 40 cars all rev up at the same time a smile appears on my face, as well as thousands of other spectators at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). This sound is my cue to put in earplugs and hold any conversations for 400 miles of top speeds.

Image by author. 

Not familiar with NASCAR? Not a problem, here is a quick lowdown. The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing has three primary levels, The Camping World Truck Series, the Xfinity Series, and the Monster Energy Cup Series. With the Cup Series being the main attraction every weekend, audiences watch the top drivers compete to earn their title. With 36 races in a season, ranging from February to November, these top name drivers impress their fans with speeds well over 320km/hour.

During my time at MIS in June, I had the opportunity to work directly with the track on multiple occasions. By volunteering with the Youth Fan Advisory Board, one of our core values is positively promoting the track to kids and young adults. What does this mean? For race weekend, this gives me and 11 others the opportunities to talk to young fans and help them find their interests in the sport. By assisting with garage tours or allowing them to meet drivers it is amazing to see their commitment to the sport at such a young age!

Image by author. 

Aside from working directly with fan, I had the privilege to connect with the social NASCAR audience by running the tracks Snapchat platform for the weekend. With a passion for social media and marketing, this experience gave me my largest audience ever. My weekend at the track also taught me to listen to my audience and provide them with interesting ‘behind-the-scenes’ aspects they want to see, not only what I find interesting. I learned that asking questions makes fans feel engaged and more excited about the content being posted.

 
Moving forward, I hope my time within this certificate program can continue to improve my skills with social media. This will make my time at MIS in August that much more enjoyable given the opportunity to run another social media account.

The green flag has just waved on my career in social media so watch out, for there is no checkered flag in sight anytime soon for this girl!

Rebirth of NASCAR? More like the death to Twitter fans.

Rebirth of NASCAR? More like the death to Twitter fans.

2017 was supposed to mark the beginning of a new era for NASCAR (National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing). With a fresh new sponsor, Monster Energy, and a new racing style, this year should have been the solution to all the sports problems – so NASCAR management thought.


Photo Retrieved from: http://www.nascar.com/

Following the recession that hit the United States of America in 2001, no industry has fully recovered. In the NASCAR world ticket prices and fan attendance fell drastically in 2002. As the economy has slowly rebuilt itself, the sport took turns to grow with it.

With three racing series and 23 tracks on the regular season schedule, the interest in the sport never fully recovered to where it was in the late 1990’s. Monster Energy hoped to fix that this year, by introducing a new, ‘young,’ ‘hip,’ appeal to the sport. With a new target audience of young, party people, NASCAR changed the approach to race weekend.

You may be wondering, in theory, this sounds like a positive thing. NASCAR is trying to draw more fans to the sport, great. But what if I told you these new marketing tactics were pushing current fans away, fast. Need proof? Check out these Twitter screenshots!

 Images by author via Twitter.

It is safe to say there was a negative social media presence surrounding NASCAR following their ‘big news.’ To be honest, it would have taken me hours of scrolling through Twitter to find one good tweet about the changes. So, with such a negative buzz, you would expect NASCAR to address the fans concerns, right? Wrong.

As time went on, days, weeks, months, NASCAR addressed no concerns of life-long fans, leaving them feeling unappreciated. Now, half way through the season, this shows. Television ratings are lower than ever before and the attendance at the tracks, even worse.

Moving forward, the future does not look dazzling for NASCAR’s current relationship with fans. However, I wait to see if social media can fix the problem it started.

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Twitter Promotion:

This NASCAR season: do or die? See what negative tweets fans are spilling about the sport! Only here: http://bit.ly/2sQA8cQ

Facebook Promotion:

NASCAR fans are dishing out some hate via Twitter! See what changes the sport made and why fans are so upset here: http://bit.ly/2sQA8cQ! Do you think this season is do or die for NASCAR?

 

Blog #3: Instagram is where I am the realist.

Instagram is where I am the realist.

Photo retrieved from: https://fstoppers.com/

Growing up in a digital world everyone has heard that phrase, “wow, her Instagram posts are so fake.” In that rare chance, you never have, this is for you.

Despite what they say about social media, I find these outlets to be the only place that represents the true me.

Since I was a kid, I was always interested in sports, fast cars and other activities that were not necessarily considered ‘girly.’ As a child, teen, even early adult, I often hid my interests from some of my closest friends, in fear they would judge me.

This frame of mind all changed when I downloaded the social media application Instagram. I discovered that people connected to the basis of similar interests, which encouraged me to share my true passions. At first, I did not let friends from school follow me, in fear they would not like my posts. However, over time I became open, free one could say. I stopped caring about what those around me thought and starting expressing who I really was.

 Photo retrieved from: http://www.wisegeek.com/ 

Today, I have almost 1000 followers. Not because I post selfies of myself, but because I post fast cars and concert videos. These people that follow me are interested in the REAL things I do, not what I pretend to do. Luckily for them, I follow those whose posts interest me. Minimum celebrities or business, lots of NASCAR drivers, radio stations, track friends and concert junkies, because those are the people whose lives are interesting to me.

At the end of the day, everyone’s opinions will always be different, even about social media, but the way you choose to express yourself is up to you! That right there is the beauty of living in a digital era.

So my final question for you is: What do your last 9 photos say about your life?

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Twitter Promotion:

STOP! Are those first 9 Instagram photos truly you?  Check out who I really am on Instagram ➡️http://bit.ly/2sBknap

Facebook Promotion:

STOP RIGHT NOW! Yes, you! Take a second and open your Instagram. Do those first 9 photos describe the true you? Check out who I really am on Instagram ➡️ http://bit.ly/2sBknap

Don’t talk to strangers… online.

The Internet was established many years before I was born, yet the number one thing I heard growing up was “don’t talk to strangers online.” With so much potential, followed by uncertainty, I cannot blame my parents for the extra precaution they took regarding the internet.

It is very unlike me to not listen to what my parents say, one could even call me a goodie-two-shows, but I am thankful I didn’t obey by my parent’s online rules. If I never created a social media personality for myself, I would not be where I am today.

In September of 2011, I joined Twitter, the online hub for any NASCAR fan. After learning the tips and tricks of the site, I began interacting with NASCAR drivers and other fans. Through hours of hard work and connecting with people day after day, my time finally paid off in 2014.

After months of online interactions with Michigan International Speedway’s former president, Roger Curtis, I received a once in a lifetime experience. Curtis gave me a ‘fan appreciation’ award for my online personality representing the track. This award invited me to an exclusive race weekend behind the scenes tour, which gave me the opportunity to interview my favourite driver, Brad Keselowski.

 

From here my passion and involvement with NASCAR continued to grow. I joined the Michigan International Speedway Youth Fan Advisory Board, helping to promote the track to youth, and began writing for a NASCAR blog, The Podium Finish.

These NASCAR opportunities not only made me a better race fan but gave me more confidence in my everyday life. It is hard to believe that if I did not go out on a limb and talk to strangers online, most of these experiences never would have happened.

Moral of the story kids, it is important to listen to your parents. Maybe they do not ALWAYS know what is best, but just remember their intentions are pure. Like every situation, there are good and bad consequences from the internet, thankfully I have benefited from the World Wide Web.

Thanks for reading!

  • Kathleen

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Twitter Post:

They say ‘Don’t talk to strangers online.’ Find out what happened when I did! Get the full story here: http://wp.me/p3QRy0-fgL

Facebook Post:

When I was younger I always heard ‘Don’t talk to strangers online.’ It is safe to say that I did not listen to my parents. Find out what happened when I talked to strangers online and met these people in real life! Get the full story here: http://wp.me/p3QRy0-fgL