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COMSTRAT 310 Syllabus - Spring 2019

COMSTRAT 310 - DIGITAL CONTENT PROMOTION (3 CREDITS) Instructor:  Brett Atwood                                EMAIL:    batwood@wsu.ed...

WEEK 3: Content Strategy Basics - Creating User Persona Research to Craft our Online Campaigns

SUMMARY:

This week, we will:
  • Review the fundamentals of content strategy for our campaigns
  • Review examples of user persona research and then apply these techniques to our campaign
  • Brainstorm and conduct trademark research on our campaign brand names
  • Optional: Read Chapter 2: "Becoming a Digital Guru" 
HOMEWORK:
  • Continue to tweak/revise your competitive analysis and SWOT analysis. This will be used to help shape and inform future branding and messaging elements, including social media outreach strategies. (NOTE: Branding and naming exercises will occur in the next couple of weeks).
  • This week, each campaign should also have at least two user persona research profiles for the audience that you anticipate targeting.
  • Identify at least three potential brand names for your product or service. It is critical that you conduct a quick background check on your proposed names on Trademarkia.com to ensure that your suggestions do not violate any existing active trademarks.
ADDITIONAL HOMEWORK FOR NEXT WEEK (TO BE DISCUSSED IN CLASS AND ASSIGNED ON JAN. 24):
  • Use an online survey tool to create a seven-question survey that aims to test the value propositions and sentiments associated with each brand name. You can also use this tool to "test" what attributes and qualities people associate with each of your proposed logo designs.
  • Once the survey is created, you should share it with your friends via Facebook or email. Each student should attempt to gather at least 20 responses from friends and family to your survey. (NOTE: Due to the limitations of this course, this is NOT meant to be a scientific survey. In the "real world," you would identify and/or even purchase a targeted survey response list to get a larger and more accurate response rate).

Choosing a Brand Name & Creating a Logo

Igor International has created a great Naming Guide with information that can help you demystify the process of creating a great brand name.

Per Igor's Naming Guide, some things to consider as you review possible brand names include:
  • Appearance
  • Distinctive
  • Depth
  • Energy
  • Humanity
  • Positioning (How well does it support your core positioning for the brand?)
  • Sound
  • "33" (As per Igor's guide, "The force of brand magic and the word-of-mouth buzz that a name is likely to generate. Refers to the mysterious "33" printed on the back of Rolling Rock beer bottles...")
To get started, we'll be using a few web-based resources that will help us to:
  • Identify a Brand Name
  • Create a Logo

Brand Name Creation
Trademarkia.com is the largest visual search engine for more than 6 million trademarked logos, names, and slogans on the Internet. Use Trademarkia to identify whether or not your proposed brand name is already registered.

Logo Creation
There are several options to creating your logos. If you are comfortable using Adobe Photoshop, you can use it to craft suggested logos.

However, many people lack the graphic design skills in Photoshop. If this is the case, then you can use one of several web-based "logo generator" services. Wix.com has a great blog post with suggestions on how to cheaply (if not free) create a logo:

Creating a Survey using CrowdSignal

LEARNING CrowdSignal


A great survey tool is CrowdSignal.com.  Use CrowdSignal for surveys or polls that include images. For example, you can use it to test logos for your brand.




If the above-embedded video does not show up on your browser, you can find it directly on YouTube at this link.

Learn more about how to use Polldaddy at the following link:
Note: If you are an existing Wordpress user, you can use your Wordpress username/login info to "link" your account to CrowdSignal. If not, you will be asked to create a new Wordpress login in order to sign up for the free CrowdSignal service (which is owned by the same company).

HOMEWORK
  • Use an online survey tool to create a seven-question survey that aims to test the value propositions and sentiments associated with each brand name. You can also use this tool to "test" what attributes and qualities people associate with each of your proposed logo designs.
  • Once the survey is created, you should share it with your friends via Facebook or email. Each student should attempt to gather at least 20 responses from friends and family to your survey. (NOTE: Due to the limitations of this course, this is NOT meant to be a scientific survey. In the "real world," you would identify and/or even purchase a targeted survey response list to get a larger and more accurate response rate).

WEEKS 1 & 2: Intro to Course & Overview of Semester Project

SUMMARY:

During the first two weeks, we will:
  • Be introduced to the semester-long project and general course structure
  • Explore the basics of web-based public relations and advertising campaigns
  • Review the fundamentals of a SWOT analysis and a competitive analysis. Then prepare these for your product in preparation for your looming campaign
  • Review examples of user persona research and then apply these techniques to our campaign
HOMEWORK:
  • As we begin our semester campaign case study project, please identify the focus and positioning of your product and where it fits into the competitive landscape. Do not worry yet about the brand name or logo. You will conduct a competitive analysis and a SWOT analysis on the product line that they are aiming to develop a campaign for. This will be used to help shape and inform future branding and messaging elements, including social media outreach strategies. Soon you will also create at least two user persona research profiles for the audience that they anticipate targeting.
  • OPTIONAL: Read chapter 1 in your textbook ("Foundations in Integrated Digital Marketing")

Competitive Analysis & SWOT Analysis

Many students are already familiar with the concept of a Competitive Analysis and SWOT analysis. As you may already know, you can use both of these to help identify where your product fits within the overall marketplace. By developing both of these documents, you will help focus the approach used in planning your advertising and/or PR campaigns.
COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS
A competitive analysis involves a simple exploration of your competitors in the product category or niche that you are aiming to develop a product and campaign for.

Xtensio has a free template that can help you get started:
Examples of completed Competitive/SWOT Analysis documents:
The above template also includes a section for a related SWOT analysis. However, you might also want to create a dedicated SWOT Analysis as a separate document.

(Note: The "free" version of Xtensio has some limitations that you should be aware of if you use it to complete this project. Please see the pricing page for information on what features are supported).

SWOT ANALYSIS

In addition to understanding your competition, you should do an analysis of the key attributes and value propositions of your potential brand. A SWOT analysis can help you get a clearer understanding of your product by documenting the:
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats
To do a proper SWOT analysis, you will need to really consider what the key value propositions are in relation to the overall existing marketplace. This is why both the SWOT analysis and competitive analysis are important as a starting point for your campaign. You need to KNOW your brand and the larger product category before subsequent work can begin.
Looking for examples? Marketingteacher.com has great examples of several brands, including:
Some people choose to create a SWOT Analysis that is entirely separate from the Competitive Analysis. If that is of interest, then check out this template:

COMPETITOR INTELLIGENCE

For all of the above, there are useful tools that can help you gather intelligence on your competitors. One web-based tool that can help you better understand the website demographics of your competitors is:

User Personas

Who is your target audience? Are there multiple target audiences for your brand or product?

Rather than think about these in broad, abstract terms, you can develop "user personas" to better visualize who your potential audience is.
Orangebus, a U.K.-based digital agency, has created a great template that you can use to create your various user personas. Check it out (.pdf format) at:
More examples and templates to explore:
You can also use Xtensio again for this assignment:

Semester Project Overview

For the duration of the semester, we will be creating fictional brands that the class will use to generate original social media, PR and advertising campaign elements. Rather than use “real” brands or services for each campaign, you will orchestrate your campaign around a single fictional brand that you create.

The types of fictional products or services will vary, but some examples of categories include:

  • Non-alcoholic beverage (e.g. soda pop, sports drink, coffee, etc.)
  • Energy Pill
  • Airline
  • Internet-based music company
  • Shampoo or Hair Grooming Product
  • Stylish clothing line
Each student may identify other brand categories to be considered, but the above is only meant as a starter list for consideration. For each of the above soon-to-be-created brands, each student will research varying brand names and logo treatments as they consider the competitive positioning of the brand in the presumed marketplace.

When naming your brand, it is important that students NOT use any existing or "real" brands for these projects. However, you will use a trademark search engine to investigate whether your suggested brand names already exist. You may also use Adobe Photoshop or, alternatively, a free online tool to generate an original logo for your "fictional" brand.

Your campaign prep work also includes user persona research and a SWOT analysis to help determine brands strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Remember: You are inventing the brand and the attributes that define it! This is the perfect chance to examine the competitive landscape of your product to identify "opportunities" or under-served niches that you can aim to reach with your campaign. It's a clean slate!!!

Your initial research helps to define your brand, messaging, audience and its position in the marketplace. This is all essential to the second phase of your campaign: the actual social media marketing, advertising and public relations outreach that will help bring awareness of your campaign to the masses.

Over the duration of the semester, students may create some or all of these elements:
  • A social media marketing plan
  • An SEO-optimized campaign website
  • Social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  • A performance marketing campaign
  • A targeted e-mail campaign
  • and more!
Examples of Previous Semester Campaign Sites:
Examples of Previous Semester Social Media Marketing Plans: