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Fantastic first day at the PRSSA National Conference at Philadelphia. We had our chapter development classes today and it was great to learn some tips to take UVU PRSSA to the next level. It was really interesting to learn what University of Florida does to make their chapter great. Let me share one tips. First. Have consistent branding. Just like the best brands have consistent branding so should our chapters. Apples flair for example can be easily recognized in all of its materials from its adds to the training book for employees. Second make sure your mission is spot on and that it is influencing your decisions. Third. Promote smartly. With brand consistency use creative means get the word out on events.

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“Great brands are stories, they are sets of expectations and they are the reason why one product is chosen over another.” – Ben Johnston

I recently read an article over at Dieline.com by Ben Johnston, an award winning graphic designer who’s work is featured on the image, on how to craft a brand. I recommend reading the entire article, but I will leave with you some of my favorite bits.

– Is your brand trustworthy? Does the brand deliver the same great experience every time? Is the marketing trustworthy in that its consistent? Can customers relate to our stories?

– Does your brand stand for quality? If you race to the bottom you end up as a commodity. Be something unique and people will be more willing to pay you more.  Design something that will make you recognizable. Look at Tesla Motors. Their Model S is distinctly designed and it is designed like someone really put some care into it.

– What is your unique value proposition? What makes you or your product stand out? It drives me nuts to see so many businesses just put out the same typical ads that all of their competitors do, or have the same products. All it would take is for one to step out, be different, and game over they won.

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A week ago I wrote on how T-Mobile missed a good chance to capitalize on some positive sentiment by not honoring the 30 percent off codes for the Samsung smart watch. T-Mobile has now stated that it will be in fact honor the promotion for those that purchased just one, sorry scalpers. Whether that was the intention all along or a change of heart due to the pressure from the media is not all the way known, but this is a good lesson on learning how to help spin a story your way instead of having the media have a hay day with it.

First of all they should have honored the promotion in the first place, but to give them the benefit of the doubt lets say they did. How did they let the bad sentiment get out? They had a great chance to say “hey we care about our customers.” They missed it. My thought is always be on the lookout to delight your customers even if it costs you a bit more than you thought, because if you try to nickel and dime them you will pay a whole lot more.

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I’ve been a big fan of T-Mobiles recents moves to shake up the industry with their Simple Choice plans, but as they have taken three steps forward they took one small step back that is making a big presence. Recently on T-Mobiles website there was an 30 percent off offer on any accessory on their website. Many noticed that it also applied to Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smart watch which might have been a deal to good to be true since it was a brand new product, but placed the order any ways since it wasn’t too far out of the realm of it being honored.

The problem is that T-Mobile could have built some much needed good will in their customer service, they currently are in last place with the JD survey, to their current and perspective customers and completely missed the boat. A recently example of a company with an image in need of repair was United Airlines that surprisingly honored a quite extravagant deal. It’s website had an obvious glitch that allowed flights in the U.S. to be free plus regular tax making a flight around $10. Many were expecting the orders to be cancelled, but to the delight of those waiting United honored the flights. Yes money was lost, but the good news spread quickly and what little was lost monetarily big gains were made in word of mouth in the media.

The lesson for T-Mobile: take a chance like this to delight your customers. They would have payed you back many times more than what would have been lost in the offer if the unlikely deal would have been honored. Now you have to deal with the headlines and comments grilling you for this mistake.

Source of T-Mobile offer cancellation 

I believe in the importance of SEO. I really do, but I am getting sick of seeing such a focus on it. People act like its the be all end all solution, and its not. So your page gets higher ranking? Whats next? Most importantly you need to have a great something to give the people that come to the page!  “The best SEO tool I’ve ever encountered is The Purple Cow, a book by Seth Godin. This book makes the case that investing your resources into developing an amazing and viral product is better than any marketing or SEO campaigns. Instead of gaming SEO, focus on building a product that goes viral,” said Eric Bahn, founder of Beat The GMAT, When asked what are some good SEO tools for startups.

There is the lesson. Build a great product/service first and then add the SEO to it.

Musician Amanda Palmer does a fantastic job at telling her story of how she took her experiences as a street performer to success as a musician. The recording industry status quo hates how she approaches the bushiness and I think its great to rock the boat.

I had the opportunity to present what I learned at the PRSSA National Conference to my PR class. I was a little nervous since I was presenting in front of my Professor who also happens to be our club adviser and amazing PR guru. One I got rolling with it though it was fun, and to be honest I got excited to see students writing down notes from the ideas I presented.

I have attached the presentation to this post so you can also check out some of the neat ideas that I learned as well as some of my favorite campaigns that were presented. The big points I wanted students to remember is the importance of building meaningful relationships. A majority of businesses look at their relationships as transaction based. Meaning once the sale is made their thinking “thanks for the money, and I’ll see ya later!”

Things are changing, and people want more. That is where we as PR students have a great opportunity to learn and then to lead. Hope you enjoy the slides.