FIVE FUN WAYS TO ENGAGE YOUR AUDIENCE DURING A FESTIVAL

Festival season is in full swing here in New Orleans. With Mardi Gras wrapped up last month, and many festivals soon to come like the New Orleans Wine & Food Festival, Jazz Fest and plenty more in between, we’re getting ourselves ready for the month ahead. Putting on events is no easy task, from planning to executing and promoting, the process can be overwhelming. Throughout, you want to be able to pull in attendees, whether that be through social media or traditional advertising, and you want them to stay engaged during the entire event. We’ve come up with five fun ways to help keep your audience engaged during your event/festival:

Photo Scavenger Hunt

Increase engagement by setting up “selfie stations.” Have the guests visit each station, snap a selfie then post it on Instagram. Set some easy guidelines and rules, such as tagging your company and using featured hashtags for the event for a chance to be entered into a drawing to win some type of prize.

 Filters

Sharing experiences through stories on social media has become more popular than a post itself. Snapchat and Instagram filters are a great way to get your audience involved. Creating a filter with your company name, brand, festival or even themed to match your event is a way to allow attendees to share the time they spent at your event in a fun and exciting way.

 Spotify

Everyone loves a good playlist. Create a playlist to share with attendees before the festival/event. These playlists can range from music to informational podcasts, allowing guests to get a firsthand look at what to expect. Sharing a playlist will connect your audience as well, give them something to discuss during and after the event.

 Live Polls

If your event features seminars and/or lectures, or you simply want to get some reviews and stats, encourage guests to participate in polls. By doing this you can increase your following, get those at the event involved and get live feedback.

 Create an App

This may sound a little daunting but having an app specifically for your event can help smooth over the entire process for your attendees and yourself. An app can be the first resource to your attendee, holding ticket information, event programming, dates, locations and more. Have a comment section to get feedback, or make in-app purchases an option to allow for a more enjoyable experience for your attendees.

 

GET TO KNOW US: JOE SNOWDEN, CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER

In this on-going series, we introduce you to some of the new folks at DEVENEY, their unique perspectives and ultimately, why they chose to work at our agency.  Today’s entry spotlights, Joe Snowden, our Chief Strategy Officer.

Joe Snowden DEVENEY Chief Strategy Officer

How did you get into this industry?

In college I started writing jingles for a few local brands, mostly banks. I wrote, produced and performed all of them by playing my guitar and singing. Jingles were my compromise between “real work” and creative work, where music and marketing merged.

What did you study in College?

I majored in advertising.

How long have you been working in the industry?

I’ve been in this industry for about 30 years now. I started out in the industry back in college. I was president of my fraternity at the time and was living this “double life” of putting on a suit and living in the real world then coming back to the fraternity house.

What continues to motivate you in this industry?

When I’m excited about the people I’m working with, I’m excited about helping them grow. I enjoy being able to look at a client and know that they succeeded personally and business wise from our work.

What was your favorite project?

Working with a regional retailer of billiards and home recreation products. The owner was one of my friends and I would write all of his radio spots. I was able to really have fun and write some ridiculous and funny things. The relationship with client was great!

What is your key to success?

You have to focus on the relationship with the client. Look for an alignment between the cultures, if yours and the clients match, they’re more likely to trust and enjoy the agency.

What’s your favorite thing about New Orleans?

The joie de vivre. New Orleans is full of friendly and happy people, plus the music culture just flows through the city.

Number one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

Relax and appreciate it more.

Why DEVENEY?

The DEVENEY team is very empowered to do things on their own volition. Everyone here knows how to stop and smell the roses. We work hard but know how to embrace and enjoy the day.

What do you do in your free time?

I still spend a lot of my time writing music and playing my guitar. I’m a big fan of Country, Americana and Bluegrass. If I’m not doing that then I’m usually running.

THIS BOOT WAS MADE FOR…EXPLORING!

My journeys as part of the Louisiana Travel Association’s Louisiana Tourism Leadership Academy

 

Dear Carrie, Happy New Year! We are excited to have you as a student for our fourth year.

I returned to work after holiday break to this greeting in my inbox. It was a New Year, 2018, and I was beyond excited to learn that I’d be embarking on a year-long professional development journey exploring our great state of Louisiana (the boot), as part of the Louisiana Travel Association’s (LTA) 2018 Louisiana Tourism Leadership Academy (LTLA).

We’d represent a group of 28 strangers, picked to live in a house, work together and have their lives taped, to find out what happens when people stop being polite… and start getting real. Oops, sorry, flashback to my days binge watching MTV’s The Real World.

In reality, we were a group of 28 lucky tourism professionals from across the state, selected among a slew of applicants, to explore some of Louisiana’s best tourism assets in cities including New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, along with those lesser known, but just as enjoyable areas, like Natchitoches, Monroe-West Monroe and Avoyelles Parish.

The program’s mission is to build future tourism leaders, develop their leadership skills and strengthen their networks. And that it did!

Over the course of the year, I logged approximately 1,981 miles of travel, and committed 120 hours to the program. I learned about the importance of advocacy at the State’s Capital; I discovered the charm of Natchitoches (and learned how to pronounce it correctly!) and toured the church where Julia Robert’s character (Shelby) gets married in the movie Steel Magnolias; I shook the hand of the Mayor of Mansura, La., Kenneth Pickett, and tasted some of the best cracklins I’ve ever had at Durand Food Store – I would later place a special order to feature them at the rehearsal dinner of my wedding; I toured (tasted and enjoyed) Landry Vineyards – one of Louisiana’s few wineries; and I discovered a new found love for craft beer at Crying Eagle brewery in Lake Charles.

But more importantly, I made lasting connections with peers that I know I can call on at anytime for feedback, guidance or a favor. I went beyond my comfort zone of Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and visited areas that I’ll travel back to one day, and will encourage others to explore as well. And I saw firsthand the hard work of our tourism leaders to promote Louisiana, not just for their wellbeing, but for all residents and visitors.

I’m happy to extend my involvement in LTLA as a proud alumnus and as part of the LTLA Auction & Scholarship Committee. The two-year commitment is made up of six individuals representing each former LTLA class. As part of my involvement, I’ll be meeting with future LTLA classes. And so, these boots will keep walking…

 

Do you represent a destination you would like to promote? Our professionals are passionate about travel and tourism and DEVENEY would love to help, tweet us @DEVENEYMKTG to get the conversation started.

 

WORD-OF-MOUTH: THE BEST MARKETING TOOL

word of mouth

As marketers, we know it’s personal. There are so many tools brands can implement to boost sales, but none are as effective and highly trusted by consumers as recommendations from friends and family. As a brand, it may be hard to conceptualize how to get people talking and genuinely recommending your products. But if you can manage to make it happen, the payoff is big. Word-of-mouth marketing generates twice the sales of paid advertisements.

According to extensive consumer studies, word-of-mouth marketing is the most highly trusted and effective marketing tool. A staggering statistic, 75% of consumers do not trust ads while over 90% of consumers believe brand recommendations from friends. People are four times more likely to buy products when referred by friends.

How can brands facilitate the rise of something as organic as personal recommendations?

User-generated Content

Brands can align with user-generated content to connect to their market. User generated content comes directly from consumers—including positive information about brands and testimonials. This type of honest, organic content builds trust and gives marketers extra material for sharing. 86% of millennials trust this type of content as a good indicator of a brand. Campaigns that work particularly well for compiling user-generated content include viral hashtags and reposting consumer media praising the product or service.

Reviews and Testimonials

Like user-generated content, testimonials garner high levels of trust. 79% of consumers trust product/ service reviews and testimonials as much as they trust personal recommendations. On the brand side, adding ratings and reviews to a website can generate as much as 18% more sales. Companies like Amazon utilize this tool notably well. While showcasing positive reviews, companies must also be mindful of negative feedback. Responding proactively to negative review and testimonials with quick and thoughtful language is essential to getting ahead of any content that may harm your brand. Since reviews come so highly trusted, negative reviews are of equal importance and must not be ignored.

Incentive and Referrals

To elicit word-of-mouth marketing, brands often use an incentive or referral program to create new users. Offering customers a discount or free gift for sharing with friends works well for generating word-of-mouth referrals. Effective examples of this are credit card companies offering cash incentives for referrals and Planet Fitness’ points referral program. For the same reason people love giving gifts, happy customers want to share with their friends. Offering a reward in exchange proves incredibly effective for generating organic outreach.

Influencers

We already know the importance of influencers. They earned their name. In fact, the most valuable word-of-mouth recommendations come not from friends or family, but from influencers. 40% of people said they’ve purchased an item based off their recommendations. Win influencers over with exclusive free product trials or by mentioning them in your brand social content.

How are you using word-of-mouth marketing to build your brand power? Join us in the discussion and tweet us @DEVENEYMKTG.

DEVENEY has been recognized as a top Integrated Marketing Company on DesignRush

SOUNDS OF SUCCESS: MY PR ASSOCIATE PLAYLIST

Spotify x DEVENEY associate

I used to wonder what the soundtrack to my life would be. Then I realized I couldn’t make a playlist long enough. So, I started with a day. Whether it’s my keyboard clicking beneath my fingers as I write a press release, or the rattle of the streetcar on its tracks during my morning commute to work, every day here is punctuated by sounds.  Our playlists reflect a lot about us, so this is a day in my life as a Public Relations Associate at DEVENEY, told through my daily Spotify playlists. 

Morning

Every morning, I wake up an hour before I leave the house. After a few hits on the snooze button, I play my favorite Wake Up playlist. I’m not naturally a morning person, so this playlist features lively tunes to kickstart my day. As an Associate at an engagement agency, I have to stay sharp. Things move quickly here, and a crisis project can happen anytime. Starting my day with this energetic flow pushes me into starting my day at my best.

I commute to work on the streetcar every morning and listen to different podcasts to pass the time. I love the Mindvalley podcast for tapping into my potential and productivity. Mindvalley helps me tap into my creative flow. This allows me to start my day with confidence and mental energy.

Before lunch, I listen to something calm to get me in the zone. I focus and organize myself, check my emails. start projects, go to meetings, and establish a flow. 

Afternoon

I don’t listen to music during lunch, but if I did it would be the DEVENEY happy songs playlist. This playlist captures the office atmosphere and the spirit of the neighborhood.  I love exploring the beautiful Lower Garden District neighborhood during my break and trying restaurants nearby. My favorite is Lilly’s, their spicy tofu is heavenly. 

In the afternoon to jumpstart my productivity and knock out any deadlines, I listen to POLLEN. This eclectic playlist feels fresh and sunny with interesting new songs that keep focused and alert. This playlist helps me channel creative flow into writing talking points, conducting client research, building media lists or assisting with speaker training binder development.

Music inspires me to reach my goals and put my best (tapping) foot forward.

If you’re interested in joining the team, apply now to the Associate Program. The opportunity lasts for 12 weeks, starting in January. Associates may work a maximum of 20 hours per week. Interested students should apply by October 31, 2018 to be considered. To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, relevant writing samples, and/or portfolio examples to AssociateProgram@deveney.com. 

 

BEST PRACTICES FOR SOCIAL MEDIA GRAPHICS

When it comes to social media and branding, generating engagement and making an impact on our audience is essential. A key element to aid in the success of social content and the impact it has on your target audience is by keeping your visuals consistent and brand aware.

Studies have shown that our society is heavily persuaded by visual stimulation. Good visuals have become a necessity to maintaining a concrete brand message and keeping a constant line of communication open between brands and audiences.

We’ve learned how important it is for brands to establish a consistent brand image that audiences can routinely begin to recognize and appreciate as they scroll through their social feeds.

A great way to establish a visual narrative of your brand across all social platforms is to start with drafting your concept. Once you have that down, you should move along to determine if your visual follows basic design principles:

 

  • Legibility
    • Be sure that the text chosen for your graphic, is easy to read. Many overlook this step for fonts that they find appealing. Don’t do this. Choose a typeface that your audience can easily decipher.
  • Visual Hierarchy
    • This instructs the user on how to read the content by differentiating the elements needed for the graphic: like type size, color or other artistic elements.
  • Color
    • Be sure that you are cognizant of the color choices in your social graphic. Colors have been proven to influence how we digest certain visuals and what moods we associate them with.
  • Typography
    • Dependent upon the tone of your graphic and its messaging, the typography you choose to further that message is also significant. Type can convey different ideas or moods to audiences, so it’s important to choose the type you want wisely.

By striving to maintain a recognizable approach to your social graphics, you leverage your visuals to reinforce and elevate your story with audiences. Additional sustainable habits include using the company logo, colors, and type to brand your content as you craft your posts.

Remember, consistency registers the most with people and will create a new connection between your brand and its constituents.

So, next time you sit down to create a social media graphic, create a checklist of the necessary components for a successful and brand aware graphic. From there, you’ll be much closer to meeting the objectives you conceptualized.

Want to learn more? Join our conversation by tweeting us @DEVENEYMKTG.

 

AR, VR and AI: USING NEW TECHNOLOGIES TO CREATE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

Graphic demonstrating AR technology.

As technology becomes more and more prevalent in our everyday lives, it is important for us to learn the differences between new computer systems and the ways in which they can be used to capture value. All too often, businesses will adjust to and learn to implement only one kind of technology, just for another newer and preferred platform to come along and force them to start this process all over again. Marketers need to be consistently looking to the future and staying up to date on these innovations in order to determine the most practical applications for their companies.

There are three types of technology that we as marketers will be using more frequently (and much sooner than you may think):

  • Augmented Reality (AR) involves virtual enhancement of a real-world environment. AR systems identify existing objects and conditions, and then augment them with superimposed, computer-generated imagery.  AR includes technology like Snapchat filters, the Uber app and Pokémon Go.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) uses an interactive, artificial world to suspend doubt in the user. VR systems combine software and hardware to create some degree of immersion and sensory feedback. Most video games involve some level of VR immersion.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) adds adaptive learning and/or intelligence to computers so that performance is improved. Computers with AI capabilities can learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform some human-like tasks using data collection and storage. AI encompasses anything from smart speakers to self-driving cars.

But how do we use this information to create competitive advantage?

The increasing accessibility of information through social media—and internet usage in general—has opened the door for many companies looking to differentiate their offerings through personalization.

  • Augmenting Customer Realities: By tailoring your company’s products or services for use on AR equipped platforms, customers will be able to view your offering in their physical environment. Ikea’s “Ikea Place” app does this particularly well, allowing customers to preview furniture wherever they plan to place it in their homes.
  • Using the Past to Inform the Future: Data collected by retailers about customers’ historical information from past purchases can be used to create deeper engagement at home or in-store. Companies will be able to suggest and possibly even predict future purchase decisions with the use of AI.
  • Increasing Interest through Interaction: Consumers are becoming less and less interested by traditional advertising in mass markets. It is no longer enough for brands to include a prominent celebrity or an adorable animal in their ad. Advertisements through VR platforms will allow for seemingly real user-product interaction and will likely be more successful in influencing purchase decisions in the coming years.

How will your brand use these tools to capture value for your audience? Tell us how by tweeting us @DEVENEYMKTG

MEET YOUR SUPERVISORS

When searching for your summer internship, questions like, “what tasks will I be assigned,” “what is the day-to-day like” and “what will I be paid” may be running through your head. However, one question that often goes unaddressed is: “Who will I be working with?”

At DEVENEY, our Associate Program is unique in that it is led by two previous Associates: Brittany Cruickshank, Senior Account Executive + LifeCare Practice Lead, and Samantha Krupicka, Associate Advertising Account Executive. Over the past several years, Brittany and Samantha’s careers at DEVENEY have truly come full circle. From Associates to full-time employees and leaders of the same program that taught them, the two have gained the skills not only to supervise but also to truly lead and teach each new class of Associates as they begin their professional careers at DEVENEY.

When asked about their experience as Associates, Brittany and Samantha both acknowledged the Program’s role in preparing them for their professional careers. Samantha recalls, “I learned pretty much everything I know about really working in the industry from being an Associate (and now an Account Executive) at DEVENEY. I was able to learn skills and utilize them at the same time – experience I feel like you really have to gain through an internship like DEVENEY’s Associate or Summer Scholar Programs.” In agreement with Samantha, Brittany mentions how her experience as an Associate allowed her to see the theories she learned in college come to life and produce tangible results.

As Public Relations Associates, Brittany and Samantha had the opportunity to refine their professional writing skills by focusing on building media lists, writing press releases, and drafting pitches for both local and regional media outlets. “I was trusted with actual client work”, says Brittany, “and then [I was] given the opportunity to see the client work come to life with real results.”

If you’re not interested in Public Relations, you’re in luck – DEVENEY’s Associate Program also includes Creative and Digital positions. The artistic talent of Creative Associates shine through the graphics and other pieces of collateral they design for client and agency projects. For those like me who are more interested in the social media aspect of the business, the Digital Associate position is the one for you. In this role, I create and schedule content for a variety of web, email, and social marketing campaigns.

Brittany and Samantha also share a passion for teaching, and their roles as Associate Supervisors provide them with the opportunity to blend their love for sharing knowledge with marketing. Brittany mentions how the DEVENEY Associate Program is a great way to “train and educate the future of marketing” by assigning Associates with real work that provides value to the team. As opposed to interns who fetch coffee or make copies all day, DEVENEY Associates are “integrated into the dynamic of the workplace and are often working on client projects alongside full-time employees,” says Samantha.

As they continue to receive applications daily, Brittany and Samantha would like to share three pieces of advice to all applicants:

  • Proofread your application
  • After you submit your application, follow up
  • Be confident and open-minded

 

Interested in learning more about the Associate Program? Click here!

 

WHY MEDIA TRAINING IS IMPORTANT

As public relations professionals, we have a number of tools at our disposal- these items make our business lives easier as we strive to deliver on the objectives set forth for our brands each year. One tool that is often overlooked and sometimes considered unnecessary is media training.  Often, media training is not something that comes to mind for a business until absolutely necessary.

Media training IS necessary. Today, business leaders are expected to have the ability to easily navigate a media encounter- at times it is even considered a job requisite. But speaking to the media is not a skill that comes natural to most people, it’s a skill that needs to be practiced and honed.

DEVENEY offers a media training that is best-in-class and covers a variety of methodology including interview simulations with a journalist and film crew. The DEVENEY method teaches attendees how to control an interview, stay on message, utilize body language effectively and avoid the pitfalls of an overly inquisitive reporter. Our training sessions are uniquely tailored to your business needs and we work in conjunction with your team to specifically target each spokesperson’s strengths and weaknesses in communicating key messages to the media.

Other distinctive DEVENEY techniques include methods of messaging recall, weak language to avoid and tips for live interviews. After working through several media encounter simulations, trainees leave with a comprehensive binder of best-practices and tips, to encourage continued practice and improvement. We like to say that POISE comes with PRACTICE and our ultimate goal is to make training effective and efficient for you and your team.

Think that media training might be right for your business or organization? Get in touch with us at @DEVENEYMKTG