by Sean Owens
by Sean Owens
Taylor Swift, a global pop culture icon and musician, was known as a sweet innocent country artist. When she began her career, her songs quickly gained recognition and she immediately assimilated a loyal fan base. Since the release of her third studio album, Red, the music sensation has transformed her musical style and the way she brands herself.
The media targeted Swift shortly after her rise in popularity. She became known as a ‘heartbreaker’ because she seemingly generated tragic romances, which were the inspiration for many of her songs. She used the media coverage of her unfortunate circumstances, to make a transition from innocent country singer to unapologetic pop sensation.
Her latest album, Reputation, which released on November 10th, is a musical expression of her fight against the media chatter, which, coincidentally, was self-inflicted most of the time.
In her attempt to hang on to the musical trends, has Taylor Swift abandoned her true self, or is she just now showing it to the world? How authentic is Taylor Swift’s brand?
In 1971 Coca-Cola launched one of its very first in-color TV commercials. It was named; “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” and has been called, “one of the best-loved and most influential ads in TV history”. It featured a multicultural cast with actors and actresses from over 20 countries singing together on a hilltop in Italy. All holding a cold bottle of coke in their hands.
The commercial has been called “groundbreaking” and was a part of the Coca-Cola campaign, “It’s the real thing”. The slogan, as well as the commercial was created by Bill Backer (creative director for the Coca-Cola account at McCann). The idea of the commercial came to Backer while in an airport on the way to London. He quickly wrote down the words, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company” on a white napkin so that he would not forget it in the morning.
Backer got help from established song writers Roger Cook, Billy Davis and Roger Greenway to write the full song for the commercial. The song became such a hit it was recorded by the New Seekers, a British pop-band. It was so idolized that it was played on the radio as a full-on song.
The lyrics read;
The commercial has received praise throughout the years, and rightfully so. Davis truly captured the essence of Coca-Cola’s brand identity explaining that, Coke was more than a liquid refresher. Saying that, Coke is a “tiny bit of commonality between all people”.
The commercial gave hope to a multicultural world in where a bottle of Coke could be shared together amongst anyone in “perfect harmony”. The Coca-Cola bottle was used as a symbol of peace. By using a multicultural cast the commercial aimed for a world filled with greater acceptance and inclusion. Erasing divisions between people with different skin colors, ethnicities, and backgrounds.
The commercial first aired in 1971. The same year as the US voting age was lowered to 18, Disney World welcomed it’s first visitors, the Pentagon Papers were published, and National Public Radio broadcasted for the first time.
A lot of things were changing at this time. You could possibly argue that in a state of doubt and anti-Vietnam war attitudes, Coca-Cola was ahead of its time releasing this “feel good” commercial focused on friendship and happiness. And it might have been a slight nod against the war oversees.
Take a look at the commercial yourself! Why do you think this became such a hit? Why do you think it resonated with people?
P.S. If you watched Mad Men, the final scene of the show is followed by the Coca-Cola Hilltop commercial. Showcasing just how iconic it was and still is today.
– Olivia Nilsson
What would happen if every company in the world was socially conscious? Would we diminish poverty or maybe end world hunger? This would be a simple solution to much of our worlds problems and it seems as though only a few companies have this figured out like The Giving Keys, a Los Angeles-based jewelry company.
The Giving Keys is not a nonprofit but a social enterprise. They believe that the solution to ending generational poverty and homelessness is to provide jobs for those in need. Instead of raising donations, the company employs those transitioning out of homelessness. The Giving Key is a pay it forward company where you can purchase an collection of different vintage keys with phrases like love, breathe, courage engraved into them. You pick the key with the word that speaks most to you and then once you feel as though it has served its purpose in your life you give your key to a person who needs the message. Through your purchase you help those transitioning out of homelessness get jobs, the company has currently provided 70 plus jobs opportunities to those in need.
Simple and meaningful. These are two words which can be used to describe the keys. It seems as though it is the meaning and purpose behind the keys that sells them. Founder Caitlin Crosby says “We aren’t in this just to make money and be fashionable. We exist to change people’s lives”. Being socially aware and using that to set you apart from other companies can turn a simple idea turn into a widely known enterprise.
Check out their website and see how they are changing the world one key at a time!
Does a company with a social purpose make you more prone to buying their product? Why or why not?
Whether you are an individual about to speak to a crowd or an organization trying to increase brand awareness, connecting to your audience is essential. Knowing your audience, what message you are trying to send, and the most effective channel to send your message, are all critical components when trying to achieve this connection. The various channels that organizations can communicate through is always increasing as technology advances and right now social media platforms are the latest and greatest among these channels.
While Mr. Burgundy is right, simply creating social media accounts is not enough. The most successful companies use social media to show a more human side of their organization. People are bombarded with thousands of advertisements daily and smart consumers block out these traditional advertisements. What social media allows is for companies to reach potential consumers in a different way and engage with their audience more than ever.
The challenge becomes knowing how to properly use this new-found channel of communication. Companies who treat their audience as individuals, and therefore treat their organization as an individual, have the most success establishing a connection through social media. Instead of focusing on purely sales related messages, social media platforms should be used to communicate any information that is relevant to a given audience, messages should sound natural, and be current in order to really show off that human side.
Denny’s is a company that is a great example of this and has been gaining recognition as one of the funnier and more engaging companies on social media.
This tweet of a viral video and catchphrase, with Denny’s’ personal touch, shows the company’s ability to take something that is relevant to their target audience and apply it to their brand. Denny’s goes even further when it comes to engaging with their audience and actually responds to some of their audience.
While these tweets may be on the more extreme and silly side for many companies, it is perfect for Denny’s and what they are trying to communicate.
There is a fine line between showing the more human side of an organization and being inappropriate, as many companies have found out when there has been significant backlash after an inappropriate post. However, with a properly run social media account, the benefits of using social media to gain new customers and maintain an image of being a thoughtful and relevant organization, vastly outweigh the potential downside.
This year’s Super Bowl showdown between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots is just days away. More than 100 million people tune in to the football game annually, but many of these people only care about the iconic halftime show performance. Over the last few decades, some of the world’s biggest stars have hit the stage, drawing in viewers from all walks of life. This year’s Super Bowl halftime performer is the one and only Lady Gaga.
When Lady Gaga came onto the pop music scene in 2008 with her hit single “Just Dance”, the world did know that a pop culture icon was being born. Over the next few years, she would go on to release single after single that topped the charts. Her fame grew exponentially and she gained a loyal fan following that would praise her every move. Lady Gaga began to refer to herself as “Mother Monster.” Gaga sent a message to the world that she embraces the weird in people rather than criticizing them, and encourages her fans to not be afraid of being a little different.
Aside from her music, one of the most iconic aspects of her brand image would have to be her out-of-this-world fashion choices. Fashion critics and fans alike would anxiously await for Gaga to arrive at red carpet because there was no telling what she would wear next. Lady Gaga’s raw meat dress from the 2010 VMA’s was arguably (but really there is no argument) one of the most memorable fashion statements ever made.
While Gaga’s fashion choices seem to be a little less extreme in recent years, her advocacy for LGBT rights, women’s rights, and against sexual violence have certainly not slowed down. Lady Gaga has used her voice and massive following to fight for the rights of so many people. She has cemented her brand image as someone who advocates tirelessly for equality.
With that being said, there is no doubt that Lady Gaga’s half time performance this Sunday will be anything short of iconic. What will she do with this massive platform? I think it is safe to say that a statement will be made. Do you think Lady Gaga will send a social message? Bring back the (now very very aged) meat dress? Or will she just captivate the world with her amazing vocals?
Leave a comment down below telling us your 2017 Super Bowl half time performance predictions.
Living in the US, the NFL is easily one of the most recognizable brands we come into contact with on a daily basis. More specifically, living in North Carolina, we are fully immersed in the mania and hype of “Panther Nation.”
The Carolina Panthers, like other franchises, maintain a prominent and consistent brand image among their target demographics. There are numerous ways that an organization of this magnitude must communicate with its audience in order to stand out among the many notable NFL “power franchises.” The typology, or types of messages that an organization delivers, must be tailored to the situation, the environment, and the audience that they are trying to reach.
The 2015 NFL season is one that Panthers fans will not soon forget. The team’s star quarterback, Cam Newton, and his fellow teammates rose in popularity as they went on a 15 game winning streak. The team was frequently seen unapologetically posing for mid-game photo-ops, while “dabbing” on their competition.
Cam Newton was awarded the coveted title of league MVP and the team even made an appearance in the Super Bowl. I think it’s safe to say that a season like that makes the marketing team’s job quite easy. First of all, the media delivers a great deal of positive, unplanned press for a consistently victorious team. There was even hype created about “the perfect season” before it even happened!
They were heavily represented by the media in a positive manner. The message was either about another Panthers victory, or something equally as amazing like Cam throwing his insane number of touchdown balls to kids in the stands.
Secondly, football fans are obviously more likely to root for a team that delivers wins. Panthers fans began to come out of the woodwork to see what “Super Cam” or “Luuuuuke” would do at each game. Advertising and social media material was at no shortage due to their strongly positive image in the media, as well as their ever growing, ever enthusiastic fan base.
The marketing and branding techniques of the organization seemed to shift in a new direction after the crushing Super Bowl loss to the Denver Broncos. The social media updates, advertising, and media coverage transitioned to a much more humble, appreciative tone. The constant stream of “Keep Pounding” updates quickly transformed into a message of “We will work harder” and “next year is our year.”
Unfortunately for the Panthers, the 2016 season has certainly not been their year. So far the team’s record is 1 win and 5 losses. Even worse, their MVP sustained a concussion along with several other key players being placed on injured reserve. This has placed the organization at the bottom of the NFC South Conference. Their current struggle has caused a shift in the typology of the organization’s communication methods. Instead of relying on positive media attention and bandwagon fans, the focus has been more on philanthropy, hard work, and the “ride or die” fan base. Without the epic victories and record breaking plays to broadcast, the Panthers are forced to look for content that comes from within its organizational culture and soul. Recent communication from the Panthers places a larger impact on team motivation and hope for the future:
While other messages highlight the organization’s charitable efforts and donations.
A small sigh of temporary relief likely comes from the generally supportive response the Panthers have received from their true fans:
Although the NFL audience may be harsh and unforgiving at times most fans stay loyal to their favorite team, no matter how stormy the weather. The determination and optimism found within the typology of the Panther’s messages will likely resonate with true fans and keep them coming back for more!
Are you a Panthers fan? If so, are these communication strategies keeping you hopeful for your team, or are you fed up and just ready to see some wins? Let us know what you think!
-“PR and IMC: The Benefits of Integration” Public Relations Quarterly, Fall, 1994, 38-44