Elizabeth Keserauskis

Building relationships and making connections

Acting Like an Agency

The University Marketing and Communications (UMC) team structure is set up as a strategic communications agency serving our internal clients. With a client-facing level around our core tactical services, we operate as an integrated marketing team for the University. Our services include strategy development, web strategy, interactive media, graphic design, publication and copywriting, media relations, advertising development, market research, event management, social media integration, email marketing, photography, video production, and more. Our team leaders are empowered as relationship managers, serving as a liaison for various internal clients, helping them clarify their marketing objectives and formulating strategies to meet the objectives. I presented this poster at the AASCU Strategic Communicators conference in Washington, D.C., April 2013.

Acting Like an Agency

 

 

 

 

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May 14, 2013 Posted by | engaging, higher education, leadership, marketing, relationships | , | Leave a comment

A Virtual Week at Summer Camp

camp ondessonk logoSo many of us benefitted from a camp in the summer—whether it was in the woods or in a science lab or in a gym, the events during those camps helped shape who we are today. One of my particular favorites is Camp Ondessonk, a rustic, outdoor Catholic youth camp in Southern Illinois.

So how could you possibly recreate such an experience in the “off season”, if you will, perhaps not exactly but as close as you can get using virtual tools? Camp Ondessonk and Elasticity are making it happen. I am currently participating in Ondessonk Online this week. While I think it is a brilliant idea, I certainly was skeptical of how to transform as much of the experience as possible into virtual activities.

From the Camper Guide we received:

This program takes place entirely within the normal activities of Facebook and Twitter. Campers will only need a basic knowledge of those two channels, as well as the basic ability to navigate the web, to participate.

So far, this has been absolutely true! I am particularly interested in how to effectively utilize social media to energize your passionate base, as well as pull a few folks into the brand experience who would not otherwise have the opportunity to meet and experience camp Ondessonk. More interesting though is how you can invoke visceral emotional reactions in the “guests” to this virtual event—so much so that they continue their engagement with Camp after virtual camp is over. Whether volunteering for work days, contributing money for campership and general operating funds, or helping recruit by talking about their great experiences, I truly hope this is one more way to keep our constituents engaged and attract more.

For now, you can watch the event unfold by following @OndessonkGA and the #ondessonk hashtag on Twitter, and the chatter on the Camp Facebook page, facebook.com/CampOndessonk. As with all things, the participants have to put effort forth in order to reap benefits after.  I’ll report back the success when the week is finished.

What other events or experiences are successfully conducted online and utilizing social media? What was effective? What wasn’t?

February 9, 2012 Posted by | connecting, engaging, marketing, social media | , , , , | Leave a comment

LinkedIn Group Management and Membership

I am debating myself: to restrict membership or allow anyone to join; to require verification if a restriction is in place or just trust.

The context is primarily within LinkedIn groups. I can understand restricting group membership for associations who provide member-only access to content. And to become a member of the association, one must pay dues. The old adage “why buy the cow if the milk is free” certainly applies.

In the case of an institution of higher education, affiliation with the university can take shape many ways:

  • Current student
  • Alumnus
  • Parent
  • Current employees
  • Past employees
  • Took a few courses or continuing education courses
  • And more I’m sure

Do you allow anyone to join the group? Do you ask that they at least express their affiliation with the university on their LinkedIn profile? How do you verify accuracy? Do we even care about accuracy?

Accuracy would be important to the groups providing content as a membership benefit. An interesting side note—I recently requested to join the LinkedIn group for a membership-driven association. I just received a “no thank you” message indicating the group is restricted to association members only. Hmmmm… guess I’ll have to waste some time trying to demonstrate my membership IF I find the content valuable. I likely will waste that time, given my current debate!

Is accuracy really important if you are just trying to build a community and ultimately discussion around a common theme? Verification of the accuracy becomes not as important as asking the members to identify their affiliation to the group or how they fit in with the common theme. It is important to separate what qualifies you to join the group from what you are hoping to accomplish with the group (or hoping DOESN’T happen).

Ground rules (house rules, group expectations, etc.) will help keep the group focused on the common theme and not abuse the privilege of membership. Nearly all of us have experienced the abuse of the communication tools with the group members by that one or two people who spam the list selling their products or services. Reserving the right to delete content and restrict privileges is critical, and must be made clear to the members.

And to those who keep spamming the members with sales pitches—go read up on the importance of engagement and conversation in a community. And there are still only two letters difference between helping and selling.

I’d love to see examples of “ground rules” in groups, and feedback on whether you require members to display their affiliation on their profile before accepting the request to join.

January 3, 2012 Posted by | connecting, engaging, social media | , , , | Leave a comment

Would You Like to be Given a D+?

Drake D+ CampaignIs Drake University’s new ad campaign a bust, or successfully getting everyone talking about the school and its benefits to prospective students? It has been the center of significant attention on the web, including just a few I ran across recently:

If their marketing team’s purpose was to create something viral that everyone would talk about, mission accomplished. However, the fact that people are referring to the education you can get at Drake as a “D+” grade is probably not the image they were hoping for.

I also found it interesting that the marketing team did not even include their own staff and faculty in the testing of the new campaign. Your internal audience does not necessarily have to approve everything you do, but you can certainly create a sense of ownership and buy in if you involve them in the process where appropriate. By not including them, the marketing team had to backpedal and be on the defensive, explaining what the ad campaign was about in an internal email that of course someone posted online.

And what does this mean to the reputation of their advertising partner in the process, Stamats? Are they now branded as an agency that can create edgy advertising campaigns, or a team that didn’t include all stakeholders in the testing process or notice that ramifications of a “D+ Grade”?

In today’s communications climate, everyone is searching for the story or idea or campaign that is going to get everyone talking about their product/service/school. Was Drake successful? What do you think?

September 5, 2010 Posted by | engaging, higher education, marketing, reputation management | , , , , | Leave a comment

Who’s Behind the Curtain??

Have you ever gotten excited by a technological advance on a website where you are trying to do business, only to have your hopes dashed by the fact that it is fake?? You nearly had to peel me off the ceiling this morning when I was paying a credit card bill online. I was irritated by the fact that they were charging me a $10 fee to make a same day payment, whereas two days later it was free. I fully understand that the credit card companies need ways to monetize their products, but irritating nonetheless.

They almost redeemed themselves when they had a live chat window to confirm the amount of your same day payment–here was my chance to complain about the fees to a customer service rep! The minute I strayed from the “script” they expected from me,  I got the “please call this number and we will answer your questions.” Aaaah! There was NO real live person behind this chat! They even made up names, because I got a different name the second time I went through it! I would far rather they just don’t give the appearance of a live chat option than to bait and switch me! A lower tech site would have impressed me more, because they would not promise me anything they could not deliver.

So what does this mean for a business and marketing? A lot! Bottom line- don’t pretend you are something you are not, and don’t promise things that you cannot deliver!

Getting back to Marketing 101- hopefully you have defined a brand promise and value proposition for your customers. But can you deliver on that promise? The fastest way to destroy your brand is to have your customers lose faith in you. Shall we talk about Toyota? BP?

Your brand platform/promise is not only driving your external marketing, but it also serves as an internal compass driving the operations of your organization. If your employees do not understand your brand promise, how can they possibly be delivering on your promise to your customers? Thoughts?

July 21, 2010 Posted by | connecting, engaging, marketing, relationships | , , , , | 1 Comment

A Few of My Favorite Marketing Resources… What Are Yours?

A friend recently asked me for suggestions of books she could read to help freshen her marketing skills, and bring them up to the bleeding edge of the social media marketing/technology/SEO/SEM world. So I responded to her via email, and then thought I might as well share my thoughts here as well.

My first reaction to that question is that the technology and user interfaces are changing so quickly that books teaching applications almost immediately become obsolete when they are published. There are a few that address theory and approach that are applicable whether there is a shiny new technology object.

My favorite book:
The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, 2nd Edition by David Meerman Scott (amazon affiliate link). This has helped me re-frame the way I approach marketing drastically.

Next up on my reading list (after the mindless, yet terribly entertaining, crap I am currently reading):

Tribal Knowledge: Business Wisdom Brewed from the Grounds of Starbucks Corporate Culture by John Moore (amazon affiliate link). This came highly recommended to me by a new colleague as I am navigating the new waters of radio station management.

Also, blogs I follow include Mashable, Jay Baer’s Convince and Convert, David Meerman Scott’s Web Ink Now, Sysomos for research, Dan Zarella, and Marijean Jaggers.

Google has a whole slew of free training videos for Google Analytics and Google Adwords. The Analytics for Dummies book may still be useful, but they keep changing the interface of both so books quickly become obsolete. I’d use the free online tools.

LinkedIn groups I belong to: Web 2.0 for Higher Education, Marketing Profs, the Social Media Marketing Group, Southern IL Marketing and Communications. Connect with me if we haven’t already: linkedin.com/in/BethKeserauskis.

July 19, 2010 Posted by | engaging, marketing, social media | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Engaging Presentations

Last night I attended the Meet the Design Teams event for The City + The River + The Arch Competition at the Roberts Orpheum Theater in St. Louis. They have narrowed the field down to five design teams who are vying for the chance to design the landscape around the St. Louis Arch grounds on both sides of the Mississippi River and do a better job of incorporating this iconic piece of public sculpture into the city of St. Louis and it’s tourism industry.

I have to say it was very refreshing to watch Joe Buck as the emcee. He really injected some humor into it. He came right out of the gate saying that this was going to be a fun event rather than a formal event and almost took more of a approach of a traditional “roast” event rather than a formal presentation. So, immediately I was heartened to see that it wasn’t going to be a long boring night of presentations.

However, when the first design team got up to present their capabilities and their team members, I was a little disappointed the he was not as engaging a speaker as Joe Buck. I wasn’t expecting him to be a perfect speaker. However, I was asking for it to be a little bit more engaging and interesting and to capture my attention.

I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that the presentation set-up in the theater was poor. The image quality on the projection screen was dark and blurry at best. I don’t have the best eye sight but I don’t need glasses, and sitting in the back of the theater it was extremely difficult if not impossible to read any of the text on the slides and to make out the specific details and some of the images. And, his presentation was heavy on photography and imagery. So, I found that to be distracting and I lost interest very quickly in what he was saying because, I struggled to see what he was referring to on the presentation slides.

So, I guess my take away from this event was the importance of being an engaging and dynamic speaker. To capture the attention of an audience that can range anywhere from people who are specifically interested in architecture and design to just the general public interested in what’s happening in the community. You have to find that perfect balance between getting very technical to please the technical people but, also being very engaging and top of a strategy oriented to draw in the general public.

I also understood the importance of really understanding the venue in which you are presenting and the tools that are available for you, and tailoring your presentation to meet those challenges. I think that if any speaker would have paid close attention to the venue and the equipment available, they probably would have tailored their presentation a bit differently to meet those equipment challenges. And therefore, would have done a better job of engaging people.

Some of the best presentations I’ve seen interacted with the audience and really drew people with what interested them into the presentation. I know that it’s difficult to do with a large crowd but I think it’s possible.

So, my challenge to myself and to all of you is: What are you going to do to make each presentation different and unique and draw in that audience?

April 29, 2010 Posted by | connecting, engaging, public relations, reputation management | , , , | Leave a comment