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COMSTRAT 310 Syllabus - Spring 2018

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
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 one user persona research profile for the audience that you anticipate targeting. Before the end of the semester, you should create at least one addition user persona profile to include in your social media marketing plan.
  • 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.

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:

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 three user persona research profiles for the audience that they anticipate targeting.

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.
Xtension is a free web-based user persona tool that you can use for this assignment

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:

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.
Check out this template that can help you get started:
The above template might not import correctly into Google Documents, so you might want to re-create a version of it in Google Documents and/or develop your own template.
One web-based tool that can help you better understand the website demographics of your competitors is:
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 to your campaign. You need to KNOW your brand and the larger product  category before subsequent work can begin.
Here is a worksheet that you can use to help guide your analysis:
Looking for examples? Marketingteacher.com has great examples of several brands, including:

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
  • A Facebook fan page
  • A Twitter feed
  • Social media press releases
  • A targeted e-mail campaign
  • and more!
Examples of Previous Semester Campaign Sites:
Examples of Previous Semester Social Media Marketing Plans: