Archive for Marketing

Tumblr

I can’t say that on this page you’re going to find anything of substance necessarily, but I try to post one or two monumental findings a month. You’ll find that this page ranges anywhere from awe-exciting photos I’ve found, to tattoos I like, to a video or four. It’s a collection, so to speak, of the things I find online that interest me. This blog is similar, but in a more educational genre, where as my tumblr is strickly fun-induced media.

Encouragement of Bilingualism – FedEx Office Submission

Languages aside from English, Spanish particularly, are widely used in our country more and more. Being able to communicate and provide good customer service is difficult when there is a learning gap. We would strike a strong impression on our consumers were we able to demonstrate such a capability that most companies do not possess. This would also open us up to tap into new markets we currently are not capable of communicating effectively with, creating a loss in possible revenue. As a team member with a degree in integrated marketing communications, I understand the value of such a liaison amidst us.

Part 1: FedEx should create tests based on key languages they feel are a beneficial asset to the company. These tests can test the competency of a team member’s talents. Should a team member pass the test, with a pre-determined score or percentage correct, that team member would receive a small raise for their contribution to their team and their company. All team members who pass would be required to wear the drop down on our name badges that state our language competency.

Part 2: Provide team members compensation (a percentage of class and materials paid for, only if certain grades are obtained) for taking FedEx approved courses in foreign languages the company has voted are most used in the United States. This gives team members the opportunity to reach a higher learning, as well as provides a strong service to the company, without too much added expense to the team member. It would be co-beneficial for both parties. These team members would then be asked to take the language tests in order to receive any bonus long term for these capabilities.

“Aol.” – New Social Identity Released

"Lol."

AOL is releasing its ties to Time Warner officially on December 10th of 2009, just before the start of the new 2010 year. This is a bold move, and they declare that their advertising strategies and management of the brand are to be just as strong. Several new logos have been released as the proposed new logo of the company, a far cry from those used in years passed. Their company name has even been altered to conform to mainsteam culture, or at least that’s what I’m proposing this is an attempt at. As can be seen from the picture’s caption, many have already compared it’s decision to lowercase the “o” and “l” of the previously written AOL, to that of “Lol.”, a commonly used abbreviation among instant messengers and texters alike. (Remember: AIM is a deviation of the same company, one of the most used instant messengers, and my messenger of choice).

The Positives: To me, releasing from Time Warner is going to be difficult, and given that the brand, in my opinion, is suffering from lack of integration into today’s socially connected environment, and even from viral marketing, seeing as it’s merger did just that and merged the brand, making it no longer a singuarly used brand name, means that the only way this seperation is going to work for for AOL is by extremely strong marketing and brand identity. Without strong integration and brand identity, and spreading this via the social networking chains, AOL will die alone. This is smart on their part to work to redefine themselves, and basically, essential to their existence.

The Negatives: This is a whole new logo, which is always pass or fail with companies. Brand identity is what defines a brand in the mind of the consumer and places their awareness in the appropriate location. To change is to take a huge step outside of the box and hope to swim and not tie a stone to their foot with a crash to the bottom. Changing something so dramatically involves smooth transition and intense marketing strategies. This can’t be something tossed together overnight, but a well-thought out plan of action. Seeing as this is the first that I’ve heard of the break, and the official date is only days away, I’m truly hoping this isn’t as rash as I have the feeling it might be. It definitely says that to the consumer, and makes one doubt the power behind AOL’s management team.

Noted Problems:

1. As mentioned, this resembles “Lol.” – I hope they plan on being more social network oriented if that’s the approach they were going for. Changing tyography styles or manipulating what was pre-existing is drastic. Sometimes, a change in font type or style is necessary more than just an alteration. Be sure this is truly what you want to say about yourself and that you are prepared to have valid backing for why you chose this for your brand. (Read more about this topic at: https://snippetsection.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/the-font-that-changed-50-years-of-ikea-history/

2. Graphically, I’m not so sure that leaving the first letter capitalized is so wise. It looks a bit off. I would have gone with all lowercase if I kept the same style and font type. This is too similar without a real reason behind it. Any marketer knows that switching your letters around a bit isn’t re-branding. If it doesn’t have some serious validity, you end up causing the opposite effect: a lack of respect for the marketing team.

3. The logos chosen (See more at: http://mashable.com/2009/11/23/aol-logos/) don’t seem to have anything to do with the brand. They remind me of signing into my bank account online and having to pick from the random pictures until I see something I like that I feel fits me, or even a different array of random AIM profile icons. AOL is more than instant messaging, and definitely was defined before, now it looks sporadic and jumbled with no real sense of definition. The bottom 3 are the absolute worse, because they aren’t even true objects to me, just squiggles someone drew out. Did they hire preschoolers to liven up the brand a bit with crayon art? I can’t even tell what half of them are, much less why that should speak AOL to me, of Aol. in this case. Strong brand identity and management of a brand calls for one strong, single, unified symbol that should feel, speak, even sound like that of the brand. When you see it, you should recognize it as AOL’s logo and should understand why you relate it as such. These haven’t even hit photoshop yet… I see halftones and pixels!

50 Impressive Magazine and Newspaper Web Designs

Magazines might still be hanging in there as a form of mass media viable to the American citizen, but newspapers are on a steady decline as technology advances year to year. Both magazines and newspapers have looked to the times and are beginning to embrace this technology as a bandwagon they simply need to jump on to. Being available on the internet is not the only thing to save them, though; it is not a sure-fire way to salvation, only a means of survival. Because of this, some sites are really stepping up to the plate and creating sites that are visually entertaining as well. These are eye-catching, and the designs alone make you want to read and see what the site is honestly all about. Below are a few examples of sites that really make the cut:

See more examples at SpeckyBoy – One awesome design magazine. My suggestion: subscribe to the online newsletter ASAP!

http://speckyboy.com/2009/11/18/50-impressive-magazine-and-newspaper-styled-web-designs/

 

Bank of America: Still the Nation’s Banking Choice?

Bank of America. They changed their name years ago to better reflect what they felt their positioning in the United States among other similar banks, and distinguish themselves above  other banks of the area. Actually, it was also due to a 1998 takeover of the North Carolina-based  NationsBank. This is when the bank really established their main headquarters in Charlotte, NC  where they continue to reside. Anyone from this Charlotte area knows that BofA’s occupation of  the city is obvious; Bank of America offices litter the city. Bank of America even posts its name  across the home of the Carolina Panthers: Bank of America Stadium. One Bank of America  Center, a LEED-certified eco-friendly building, is set to grace downtown Charlotte and is currently  under construction. Charlotte is not their only large city presence, though; worldwide they own  and operate about 28 different corporate locations.

“Bank of America is one of the largest financial services companies, largest bank by assets, largest commercial bank by deposits  and is  the second largest by market capitalization in the United States. The company holds 12.2% of all U.S. deposits. Also, Bank  of America  is  the number one underwriter of global high yield debt, the third largest underwriter of global equity and the ninth largest  adviser on  global  mergers and acquisitions.

Bank of America serves clients in more than 150 countries and has a relationship with 99 percent of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies and 83 percent of the Fortune Global 500.

At one point considered one of the winners and healthiest survivors of the 2007 credit crisis, plunged in market value due in part to massive losses caused by its purchase of Merrill Lynch. Its Q1 2009 profit was 4.2 billion with 3.7 billion having come from Merrill Lynch. As of September 2009, the total value of B of A’sMortgage and Asset Backed Securities is one of the highest in the banking industry at $264 Billion.

Bank of America is one of the Big Four Banks of the United States with CitigroupJP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo.” (Wikipedia)

Despite their enormous sized client base, Bank of America lately seems relentless to stick to making more money this coming year than ever. They pull you in with offers of free money with the opening of a checking account, but what they don’t tell you are about all the fees you’re to be hit with anytime you lose track of your funds. And for those who already possess a Bank of America account, well, you have no promotional offers, you’re exempt of all free money, and you get hit with the same charges as everyone else. Their is always the option of stepping inside of a discussion of options with your nearest banking center, but judging by my past few experiences of the past two years with such moves, you will get nowhere, in fact, you’ll leave more frustrated later on when you realize the agents aren’t even 100% clear on their own rules and policies.

As for the fees, I will credit them on the fact that they are not the only one, Wachovia being just as bad if not worse, but considering BofA received a $20 billion bailout, I really think they could cut their customers a little bit of slack. Instead, they intend on joining in with excessive overdraft fees, one of the first rise in overdraft charges amoung banks during a recession since the late 1980’s, and even still, experts say that the fees are extremely high and excessive. Banks argue that their are warnings and everyone should be aware of their funds before they attempt to use them. Banks even argue that people are WILLING to pay for these overdraft fees… I can’t say I ever have been. By the end of this cycle, banks are currently set to generate about a $38.5 billion profit from overdraft fees alone.

I was always the person speaking up in defense of my bank, telling everyone to switch, and how well I was treated. Since Bank of America’s growth and defense of their funds since the economy hit rock bottom, I have been less than impressed with their performance. I find that tellers are not nearly as friendly as they once were. I remember when they knew you by name and were like walking in to talk to a friend. It now seems as if you inconvenience them each time, and they are only there because it is their job to be. I find they talk more than they care to immediately respond to their customers, and even during transactions, find it necessary to talk about the weather and the new cobbler they just read about in a magazine… And the results:

1. I went into the bank with a deposit and was to receive money back. I changed my mind when I remembered that you can send money directly online from BofA customer to BofA customer, so asked for that portion to be discarded and the entire amount to be deposited. As I left the bank, I noticed that only the number I wrote at the bottom was entered into the system, and the other $250 I had originally planned on mailing home was as if it never existed. I’d have walked out $250 short with no proof of its existence.

2. As a customer with BofA since about age 6, I found the free money offers to be a bit unfair, and after a representative came to the store I was working at and said even we could still be eligible, I had renewed faith in my bank and went across the street for more details. I was told if I opened up a second checking account, free of charge and fees, I could get the same money offer as new customers of the company… Twice my referral or new account free money offer fell through. $50 minus what I was orginally promised… I’ve not filled out a referral form, or even referred anyone since, for that matter.

3. I was finally about to receive fees on the second account I opened, so I cancelled it online, which is an amazing bonus feature BofA offers for those that work Mon-Fri 8-5. Only problem was that my savings account was suppose to become my overdraft protection. I received fees the very next time I overdrafted paying my rent, while a significant amount of money sat in my savings account, completely untouched.

4. The day I went in to switch banks, I sat in the office, received a number to ask the clerk to hand me in the form of a cashiers check. As I spoke to the clerk, she informed me his number was over $400 shy of what my actual amount was. There was confusion, and she was FAR from helpful or customer service friendly; this one particular location in Rock Hill, SC always seems to be less than adequate to me. The money was returned to me, in cash, not a cashiers check as I had requested (extremely safe to walk around with your entire bank account worth of cash in hand).

…Point being, I strong urge everyone to take a closer look at your bank in the coming months as these fees and services start to change within your bank. Don’t kindly accept these overdraft fees “willingly”, but instead, put up some fight when you feel the order of withdrawal and fee placement doesn’t quite add up. Contact customer service anytime you have an issue, and get it resolve, and in writing if possible. Online chat is convenient, and allows you to copy and paste a conversation if you feel it necessary. And if it becomes something you feel is right for you, although some of these banks are national, which adds connivence and power to their name, don’t let that hold you back from switching. Smaller, more local banks might not have the same money backing them, but they are much more willing to listen and work with you, and many of them allow the use of any ATMs nationwide, if you really dig and research the different options you have. The bank I am currently now with, NBSC, even offers a 3.5% deposit into your account if you meet their list of requirements, more than even their basic savings account offers.

 

A Snippet: This Blog’s Author

Today, life is run via the internet. It is our ongoing and ever expanding source of all things, human, and non. It is our never ending library, resource center, job board, cookbook, contact system… It is who we are, and as much as we try to deny it, the internet truly defines who we are as a person. It connects us all, through our choice of links, and it is stronger than others, based on our level of expertise and dedication to it. And we get out of it what we put into it, as is life.

For those who read this blog, you know that I am working hard to find a new job, after a bit of poor luck. It happens in the job world. It’s not the greatest time to try to get on our feet, but we do the best we can with what we have available. Since, I do have a background in marketing, I know the importance, although many may scoff, at social networking. It is a lot more essential than many give it credit for… Just so you all many know a bit more about me, get on a more personal level, or connect because you are into social marketing as well, feel free to wise up about who writes these snippets you so often read, or are just discovering.   😉

LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/egeer

Twitter Profile: https://twitter.com/ScotIrish86

To see a few of my more current works, feel free to view below: