Posts filed under ‘Back to School Monday Minutes’

Creative, Relevant, Modern, Insightful, Targeted Ads from…the Library of Congress?!?

Yes, it’s true.

If you are a resident of the Washington D.C. area and frequent the GalleryPlace-Chinatown Metro stop, you can’t help but notice the new ads for the Library of Congress…at every turn, corner and wall.

According to the Library of Congress blog, the ads support the new Library of Congress Experience, opening April 12 by purchasing ads through private funding and placing the ads in the DC Metro System:

“We know that once people are in DC and they learn about what we’re all about, they are much more prone to visit,” excerpt from the Library of Congress blog.

The ads illustrate what the library offers ‘At Your fingertips‘ through four distinct ads, each featuring one of four historically famous people who represent a common good. ‘Imagination‘ for Thomas Jefferson, ‘Integrity‘ for Abraham Lincoln, ‘Fame‘ for Marilyn Monroe and ‘Courage‘ for Jackie Robinson. The tagline featured on each advertisement is ‘Explore. Discover. Be Inspired.” And inspired we are! The Washington Post also recently featured the campaign as a larger story found here

Images from Washington Post.com


April 7, 2008 at 11:25 pm 3 comments

B2School Monday Minute: What is a ‘non-profit’

I recently overheard a conversation that got me thinking. Here’s a clip from the conversation:

Person 1: With the rise of a third sector, defined as the non-profit sector, how will this affect both the private and public sectors? And, what are the relationships between the three and what will that mean for the future?

Person 2: Well, what is non-profit? Non-profit means merely a tax break. You have two kinds of non profits. Those that are genuinely good and advocate for their cause efficiently and effectively, but then you have those that don’t. So, when you say non-profit, you’re merely talking about a tax break.

Needless to say, this conversation got me wondering, and I’m still pondering. What is a non-profit? And, say the word ‘non-profit’ is a brand….how do current consumers perceive this brand?

I feel these questions are important because whether you are a political organization, grassroots, religions, a charity, professional organization, foundation, community oriented, advocacy organization, special interest group, etc… how the broad term non-profit is ‘branded’ and perceived could have large implications for your success.

Graduate student from Case Western Reserve University, Kate Luckert, provides a great outline on the definition of non-profits and various examples, including why they may/are important.

About. com‘s definition tends to support Person 2’s definition of a nonprofit:

A nonprofit organization is one that has committed legally not to distribute any net earnings (profits) to individuals with control over it such as members, officers, directors, or trustees. It may pay them for services rendered and goods provided.

The European research Network states that there is no universally accepted definition to the term: non-profit sector. There is also no universally accepted social marketing definition. My view though is…. if the term non-profit lacks in credibility and reputation, the term social marketing should be used more often to describe certain effots.

Many organizations practice social marketing, but they don’t know it or realize it. Some people say that the term social marketing is too limiting, however, I see it more as an umbrella term backed with credible research.

Thoughts?

  • nonprofit.
  • social marketing.
  • private sector.
  • public sector.

How do they relate?

January 28, 2008 at 1:00 am 1 comment

A.c.r.a.n.y.m.s.i.a – A Crisis Rampant Among Numerous Yams Making Speeches In Associations

Acranyms run beyond the entertaining Cingular cellphone commercial, ‘my bff, Jill.’

They run rampant in every sector, no matter where you work. For example…

“I got an MPH after my B.A. from my NCAA accredited school. Now working towards my Ph.D., joined the AMA, volunteering with BBBS and the PHS. This weekend I’m attended the annual AMA dinner. I work UNICEF, but hope to switch to UNESCO.”

Does this not sound glaring close to… omg, like nbd, text-speak? I deem both these: acranymsia. This made up condition shows symptoms of broken up language, when short, choppy phrases carry long meanings. Side effects include weariness, fatigue, total work obsession or when you’re trapped in a glass case of emotion (thank you Ron Burgandy…).

I find this especially true when working in the non-profit and social marketing arena. Since social marketing and non-profit marketing often involve collaboration among NGOs, government clients and partners, education institutions and more. NGO itself is even an acranym!

So for fun. Try this brain teaser activity. At work on Monday when you find yourself embarking towards a case of acranymsia…

  1. Chuckle to yourself.
  2. Make the word acranym into an a.c.r.a.n.y.m. that may apply to your job.
  3. Share it with the rest of us to share the fun.

Here are some examples:
(Warning-This activity is harder than it seems and may cause prolonged amusement.)

a.c.r.a.n.y.m.s. – A crisis rampant among new your many sectors
a.c.r.a.n.y.m.s. – All chapters revolve around new young mindbending spells (Author)

January 20, 2008 at 9:00 pm Leave a comment

A Little Known Idea for Evaluation: User Interface Test

…does the concept User Interface ring a bell? What a User-Interface test?

As I hinted to in my last post, I think the evaluation step is maybe one of the most important steps a marketing plan can include, yet many lack. Doing evaluation, allows one to:

  • Reflect on the strengths of the campaigns
  • Document the process so there’s no reinventing the wheel for next time
  • Identify areas for improvement
  • Lets you gain and track client feedback
  • Find ‘lessons to learn from’
  • Calculate ROI and compare to previous years/cases

For best evaluation results, one should meet with a team, get outside feedback, talk to the client(s), key associates or other employees who had a hand in the project. Now, it the fun part. I want to introduce to you a great, but commonly unknown tool to add to your evaluation methods: the User Interface Test.

User Interface is a concept that describes how users interact with a website. If you’ve ever had any of the following questions, then conducting a User Interface test might be right up your alley:

  1. What should be on the homepage?
  2. Should the main graphic be video, a slideshow, a moving graphic, etc.?
  3. Where should the ‘search’ button go?
  4. Is our website easy to use?
  5. How functional is our website?
  6. What’s the message our users are getting?
  7. What would make our website easier to use?
  8. When someone first comes to our site, what’s the first thing they see?
  9. What would get users to spend more time on our pages?
  10. Does everything on our site communicate our message?
  11. Does our content engage the reader?
  12. What is someone expecting when they come to our site?
  13. Is the site easy to use?
  14. Is our site customize-able?
  15. Does our site have a professional tone? or an appropriate tone?
  16. Does our site speak relevance to those trafficking the site?
  17. Does the design capture attention?
  18. How do our users interact with our site?

If you find yourselves asking these questions and similar others, then a User Interface test could be right up your alley! To test your User Interface, you can use either quantitative or qualitative approaches. Four qualitative approaches are outlined below.

  1. Time to Task: Tests ability for tester to complete an action to user’s satisfaction in a decent time.
  2. Accuracy: Tests the accuracy of the website and the information found.
  3. Emotional Response: Tests how the testee responds to their overall experience on the site or in conducting their tasks.
  4. Recall/Repetition: Tests ability to recall the process it takes to find desired information. Also looks as how the testee’s ability to recall where he or she is on the website and how he or she arrived there.

To create quantitative results, one can have testee fill out forms measuring various categories on a scale of 1-5 (customization, professionalism or tone, design, organization, usefulness, relevance, and interactivity.)

Hope this little research tidbit, and way of evaluating your website comes in hand. =)

January 17, 2008 at 4:17 am Leave a comment

Future Social Marketers Unite

As the debate on the creation of a National Social Marketing Association continues, future social marketing and SM-related students/practitioners should check out FLiP (Future Leaders in Philanthropy). It is another online community that offers many great resources and connections for those exploring philanthropic related fields. According to the its homepage, FLiP’s mission statement includes:

We are the future leaders in philanthropy. By working together, we will further our careers, serve our organizations’ mission, and change the world. FLiP is dedicated to creating a community and a network where other future leaders can meet, learn, exchange ideas, and contribute to each other’s success.

They offer interviews with young professionals in a variety of social change/philanthropy related careers. They offers resources for further education, career guides, views from fellow interns, opportunities to network, online presence on Facebook, MySpace and AOL and much more.

This community is great for making connections with those who have related interests and goals. In the meantime, there is a Massachusetts Social Marketing Association and WOMMA (Word-of-Mouth-Marketing Association). However, a national social marketing association is still in progress. Nedra Weinreich, on her blog Spare Change, offers a better history about the creation of a professional social marketing society. Weinreich also offers her views on the status of such an organization. The big debate seems to rest on whether or not the SM Association should be underneath the AMA (American Marketing Association) or be its own separate identity.

As this blog has hinted at, I believe this relates to the ‘identity crisis’ that all of strategic communications is facing, whether commercial or not, in seeking universally accepted definitions. How do you draw the lines between what is and what is not advertising, marketing, dare I say journalism, corporate social responsibility, word of mouth marketing, social marketing, viral marketing, sponsorship, etc. I have my own ideas, of course. But, I’m more curious about learning what others think about this topic.

  • Should social marketing have its own professional organization?
  • How would you decide who could and could not join?
  • Should it me under the AMA? If so, then should word-of-mouth-marketing also be under the AMA instead of having its own organization?
  • ETC. There are much more questions than answers about this topic. Feel free to leave your own questions as comments.

January 5, 2008 at 9:15 pm 1 comment

Blogging: Finding Magellan in an Identity Crisis

After my last post, I received an email asking how other non-profits or social causes could also use blogging technology for its purposes. Below, I list someways blogging can be used by non-profits as well as some strengths and limitations of the technology.

First Things First

I come with the view that like in the commercial sector, finding an umbrella term to put all non-profit marketing and advertising under is difficult. Research studies have been explored, textbooks written, debates held and still universal definitions are lacking. Some used to think a few years back the IMC, Integrated Marketing Communications would be the end-all classification system for advertising. Yet, this debate still continues. Do we put public relations under this? Why the term marketing? Where does viral belong? etc.

Therefore, just like the commercial advertising arena suffers from an identity crisis, so does the community of non-profit/health communications/social causes/etc. Though, I might classify many of these as social marketing. But then, where do we put corporate social responsibility or cause marketing? (These both have profit aims…) So, yikes! Is there overlap? Is overlap the right word? What are we to do? The questions and debates continue. In discussing these terms and looking at definitions, I am going to offer up that is depends largely on your end objective. I agree there’s more to this debate, but for practical considerations (and when looking to use blogging technology) I say, first determine your end objective to decide if, and what type, of blogging is right for you.

Examples of Blogging Being Used by Non-Profits:

Citizen’s League in Minnesota. They have two blogs. One that is updated with public policy news, trends and updates. The other who is from the point of view of a person which has similar content, but the first person point of view adds relevance and personalizes the stories.

Children Matter. A Christian non-profit ministry who uses a blog for its message.

Strengths of Blogging

1. A blog can provide an outlet for stories to be told regarding the issue or project. This can also be created as a way to get more involved and to increase participation. It can also make the message for personal and relevant. Interplast has their volunteers upload information and share stories about their experiences regarding their work site.

2. Helps build an online community. This includes expanding your traditional media lists to include other bloggers, online social networks, websites and more.

3. Blogging has no geographic limitations unlike a lot of traditional media (tv, radio, magazine, newspapers).

4. Requires small tangible finances. But, may require more employee/volunteer hours and time to manage.

5. Can boost media coverage by expanding your traditional media list to include fellow bloggers, social networks, online communities, websites and more.

6. Put your already-drafted press releases to good work by setting up an RSS feed on your blog to provide up-to-date news about your organization. this allows others to know what the organization is up to, gives those interested more information to talk about and can increase your media coverage.

7. Provide information and resources via a blog. A blog is one way to provide the same information you could on a website or brochure, but in an interactive, fun, and personal manner. For example, instead of telling what the participants do throughout the year. Have the voice of your blog be told through the ‘Volunteer Sarah’ and give it a diary feel.

8. From your blog, you can also provide information on how to get involved, donate, volunteer, and participate. This could include a sign-up page for the weekly email blasts.

9. Blogs also are a way to track, organize and build a resource for an organization/cause. If it comes time to write a report, you can search your blog for all relevant information regarding ‘XYZ’ and poof- you have all the information you need already written.

10. Use a blog as your organization’s website.

11. For good feedback, use your blog as a sounding board or discussion forum. Also, blog stats and analytics could help you find more target audiences interested in your cause.

12. Add your blog to the Nonprofit Blog Exchange using this form to automatically get plugged into an online community and to increase traffic.

Limits of Blogging

1. If you use a free service (blogger, wordpress, etc.), sometimes you are limited with the type of content you can post. Examples including: limitations for customizing options including how you organize content or the design unless you have someone with the expertise to do so, or upgrade your blog service.

2. The domain name can be tricky. Unless you want to purchase a domain, your domain name will (usually) include the blog service you are using. However, domains can be purchased for something like $10/year. This blog also provide many helpful tips and resources for creating your own domain.

3. Must provide quality information at a consistent rate.

More Sources

Should Your Non-Profit Launch a Blog?

10 Ways Nonprofits Can Use blogging

Have Fun * Do Good

Blogs for Non-Profit Orgs

5 Tips to Starting a New Blog

December 30, 2007 at 5:06 pm 1 comment

An Open Market: Social Marketing Resources

10 Quick SM Start-Up Resources

Due to the roadblock that there aren’t very many full social marketing graduate programs existing in the United States (to my knowledge)(sound the deans, I think there’s a gap in the market up for grabs), as a fellow student, I wanted to offer some insights on educational opportunities for gaining social marketing expertise. And, some of the resources I myself have employed to keep learning, keep growing…

1. Own your education.

2. University of Southern Florida: Graduate Certificate, Social Marketing in Public Health

3. Numerous Workshops, one of which is Social Marketing University.

4. Contact working social marketing professionals. Read their blogs, websites, etc.

5. Subscribe to the SM Quarterly.

6. Currently, social marketing is rooted in public health, so many practitioners get a MPH or masters in public health communications, etc. (John Hopkins, George Washington both have these programs. I’ve also heard that the following schools have great health/social focuses in their research: Georige, Florida, UNC-Chapel Hill, Penn, and UT-Austin.) So, there’s more options.

7. However, social marketing continues to grow in other areas: civil issues, social issues, international issues, environmental behavior, etc. So, taking related coursework is helpful. Click here for a full listing of social marketing educational programs known to date.

8. The CDC has a great list of programs for those interested in professional development in the health marketing department.
9. Subscribe to the social marketing listserv run by professor and SM researcher Dr. Alan Andreason. Or, subscribe to the ‘Social Marketing in Higher Education’ list serv, run by Jim Grizzell from Cal Poly Pomona.

10. Nedra Weinreich, of the blog Spare Change and Weinreich Communications, has a full listing of resources and shares her story on how she entered into a SM career. She also offers more resources and information on how to prepare for a SM career.

Feel free to add more! =)

December 17, 2007 at 4:30 am 1 comment


Meet Alexandra Rampy, aka SocialButterfly

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