St. Lawrence College Convocation: Behind the Scenes

It’s officially been two weeks since I’ve left my role at St. Lawrence College to start placement with Queen’s Law. Through this week I’ve been reflecting on my time within the Registrar’s Office and what an amazing experience it’s been. Below are some key takeaways, challenges, and some of my favourite moments planning our Tri-Campus Convocation.

Kingston Convocation at the Roger's K-Rock Centre

Kingston Convocation at the Roger’s K-Rock Centre.

Expect the Unexpected

During the planning phase, each day was different from the next. One day we would be organizing volunteers, the next we would be trying to ship a podium to Brockville and have a microphone installed. Things will be thrown at you that are out of your realm and your problem-solving skills will be put to the test.

Through this experience, I’ve learned how to be adaptable and flexible. Nothing is ever set in stone, no matter how much we try and plan.

St. Lawrence Convocation at Centennial Road Church in Brockville

Honoring our Golden Grads for St. Lawrence College’s 50th anniversary. Brockville Convocation.

Organization is Key

Managing 8 separate ceremonies in 3 cities with was tricky. With multiple deadlines floating around, it was crucial to have organizational processes in place to keep the team on track. Turning the front of our office into a visual timeline was one of them!

In addition to planning documents, we compiled all of our deadlines on a huge classroom whiteboard at the front of the room. That way, our team could see upcoming deadlines and ensure we were all on the same page.

IMC Shoutout

A shoutout from Advertising & Marketing Communications faculty!

Trust Your Team

After months of planning, the first event date finally appears. Your palms sweat and multiple questions run through your mind… Did I reserve the right amount of special seating? Are all the speeches in place on the podium? Are our volunteers happy with their positions? 

Sometimes it’s a great idea to take a deep breath, realize that our team put everything in place, and trust that the event will be carried out no matter what. Our planning team is composed of about 7 individuals and all of them are dedicated to student success.

Brockville Convocation Entrance

Brockville Convocation Entrance

Students First

At the end of the day, the event celebrates student success, their hard work, and determination. Our team worked diligently to welcome graduates to the next chapter of their lives. Hearing families cheer when students crossed the stage, seeing photos being taken, and realizing all of our graduates were having a wonderful time was worth it all.

-L

DecoCrate Content Marketing Plan

Background

With the change of every season, people want to update their decor to match the tone, feel, and style. Why not have a fresh start to each season with hand-picked items for all occasions? DecoCrate is a subscription box that delivers hand-picked decor and lifestyle items to subscribers doorsteps each month. This service is for people who love to decorate their spaces and explore new items at a discounted price. Pricing is flexible and individuals can choose from recurring subscriptions: 1, 6, or 12 months at a time. If people are looking for a gift, they can also purchase a subscription for loved ones and friends.

With the launch of this new decor/lifestyle subscription box, DecoCrate is faced with raising awareness within the target market and building up a database of customers that will be loyal to the brand for years to come. Creating valuable pieces of content that is also shareable for customers is our key to success. By providing accessible pieces of content for our audience, our brand can funnel individuals through the customer journey to eventually make a purchase. Our main sources of content include video, email newsletters, and blog posts.

personalization is key.jpgTop Strategic Objectives

  • DecoCrate will build a strong community both internally within the company and externally with customers, stakeholders, and vendors
  • Show a 10% increase with comments on blogs within the first 2 months of launch period
  • Increase audience on social media by 30% within the first 6 months of launch period
  • Increase click-through rates from links on content to 15% within the 2 months of launch period

Content Marketing Approach

  • Weekly Blogs
  • Bi-Weekly Podcast
  • Daily Social Media graphics (linked to blog posts, content, and website)
  • Bi-Weekly Videos
  • Bi-Weekly Newsletters

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Target Audience

Our target audience will include females aged 21-45 who have an interest in art, aesthetics, decor, style and spending time with family. These individuals have completed post-secondary and value freedom of choice, hard work, and being self-motivated. Their favourite social media channels are Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. They are spectators on social media and enjoy gathering different ideas, tips and tricks to organize their home, and reading home decor blogs. They have influencers such as friends and family, home magazines, social media accounts, and blogs ranging from motherhood to DIY projects and culinary arts.

Video

In order to appeal to the target audience, DecoCrate will feature 5 quick tips on how to brighten your home. These videos will mostly target joiners and spectators which includes potential customers, brand advocates, current customers, and anybody who has an interest in decorating. The emotional appeal of these videos will be personable, friendly, open, and helpful to consumers. The videos will range from 30 seconds to 1 minute and 30 seconds with a style much like Buzzfeed – featuring interviews, helpful tips, and close up shots with accompanying text.

Newsletter

Newsletters will target joiners, collectors, and spectators and is only accessible by signing up for our email list. These targets will include brand advocates who want an inside look at upcoming products, current customers, and people who have an interest in decorating. The tone of these newsletters will be informative, helpful, and friendly. The style of these newsletters will usually have a main promotion image/newsletter theme at the top, and supporting links to articles by the bottom. This newsletter features how to decorate with copper as well as exclusive articles and videos only available to subscribers.

Full newsletter can be viewed here.Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 2.10.44 PMScreen Shot 2018-01-05 at 2.10.55 PM

Blog Post

Our blogs will target mostly spectators that do not actively participate with content but enjoy taking in information. The featured article will be the top 10 essential decorating tips to personalize your space. The tips are easy to follow and will showcase how others use the technique.

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Final Thoughts

In the end, I found this project to be very enjoyable. With the past 2 years focusing on promotional material, it was challenging to come up with a different way to attract our audience. It was easy to come up with various topics, but we always had to remember what stage of the buying journey the customer was in and tailor the content to it. Providing content of value instead of pushing promotions is a great way to build strong relationships and have an audience for years to come.

-L

A Tale of Two Cafes

Social Media Audit – Juniper Cafe

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 3.52.38 PMNestled on the bottom floor of the Tett Center, Juniper Cafe is the place for treats by the water, admiring art, and sitting on their beautiful twinkle light patio. Many do not know of this hidden gem, but when they find it they will be pleasantly surprised. With a focus on catering to Queen’s students, Juniper Cafe creates scratch meals; sandwiches, salads & baked goods using 75% local food year round. Below is a social media audit for the cafe.

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Social Media Audit – CRAVE Cafe

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 4.06.38 PM.pngWithin the heart of Downtown Kingston, you’ll find CRAVE Cafe catering to all students alike. You can get cozy next to their fireplace while binging projects or studying for tests. With free wifi and comfy seating, there’s no question that this coffee shop is one of the top places for students. On social media, you can find them curating content on Twitter and featuring user photos on their Instagram feed. Below is a social media audit for the cafe.

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Conclusion

After comparing the data, some conclusions that can be drawn would be that Juniper Cafe is deeply rooted within the community by participating in local charities and partnering up with different businesses. They also focus on influencer marketing by bringing in Kingston bloggers who write articles about their cafe. However, there is still room for improvement on their social media channels.

One opportunity they can take includes un-linking their Instagram account from Twitter and Facebook and instead, optimizing content for each separate channel. Crave Cafe does a great job by curating content such as articles, infographics, and facts that apply to their audience. Juniper cafe can do something similar to this and instead focus on the arts and local businesses they have partnered up with.

Crave Cafe does many promotions on social media which Juniper can learn from. Small things like mentioning other social pages (Crave Cakes & Catering Business) or getting customers to vote on a poll would help increase followers and brand loyalty.

When creating content, both coffee shops have the opportunity to brand their graphics which will increase awareness when customers share them. The last opportunity for Juniper Cafe and possibly the most important would be sharing user’s photos on their feeds. This will not only increase engagements but will let customers know that they appreciate them coming to their cafe.

Overall, both cafes have an overwhelming positive sentiment from their customers. Kingstonians love both cafes for tasty treats and spending quality time with friends or colleagues. Be sure to check out both Juniper and Crave on Facebook to learn more about these great spots!

The Art of Pre-Roll Ads

Pre-roll ads. Just the thought of them can put you into a state of annoyance. They can easily be seen as disruptive or intrusive, but if used correctly they can be a powerful tool to drive traffic to a website or bring positive awareness to a brand.

Below is an example of a Youtube pre-roll ad that not only captures the viewers attention, but gives consumers something of value.

Instead of trying to fit as much information as possible into 30 seconds, this company uses an effective creative approach. Below are some benefits of pre-roll ads.

Creativity

As soon as a “skip ad” button pops up, 94% of viewers will press it. This is why it’s crucial to capture their attention within the first 5 seconds. Advertisers are tasked with creating something of value where each second counts. Your video ad must be memorable and be able to stand out from the crowd. The ultimate goal is to have a conversion- whether it be website traffic, a like on a page, or a sale.

Niche Marketing

When launching a campaign on Youtube, you have the power to reach just the right customer for your business. This is why it’s important to understand your target audience from their demographics, psychographics, purchase behaviours, and geographic profile. Another benefit of Youtube pre-roll ads is if the video is not watched till the end, you do not have to pay for the spot.

Measurable

Finally, pre-roll ads are measurable. By using a video platform, you can see exactly where viewers exited out of the video or if they watched until the end. From this information, you can identify what campaigns were successful/unsuccessful.

Sure, they may be considered disruptive- but with the right message, the right people, and the right element of creativity you can easily connect with viewers.

-L

It All Begins Here

**Note**   The campaign is over! I’m happy to say I got selected to attend INBOUND along with 5 of my classmates. Thank you everybody for all of your overwhelming support. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Opportunities are always out there. Entering my second year in Advertising and Marketing Communications, we’ve been given the opportunity to attend INBOUND– a conference held in Boston MA from November 8-11.  Along with my classmates, we are competing for 4-6 spots.

This is not only a once in a lifetime chance for me, but an opportunity to expand my knowledge and share what I’ll learn with others.

You can help #SendmetoBoston by liking, subscribing, sharing, and commenting on my video!

-L

Updates

So your first year of college is finally done! Now what? We spend so much time waiting for summer, but when it finally comes around we have no idea what to do. During this time of quiet reflection we ask ourselves: what did we actually learn? Here are 3 things I learned from my first year of college.

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There will be Setbacks

If you want to accomplish something great, there will always be setbacks. Whether it be something small like a grade you’re not too proud of, or something bigger like a breakup. There will be times you will want to drop everything and give up. Here’s my advice to you: don’t. You have the perfect opportunity to turn it around and create something fantastic.

Teamwork is #1

Before this program, I always focused on being independent and doing things without any help. It may have worked in high school, but it wasn’t going to fly here. Being part of a team helped us identify all of our weak and strong qualities. Together, we figured out ways to bridge gaps and work together cohesively.

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My lovely team at the Greg Awards (April 16, 2016)

Have Pride and Passion for Your Work

One of the most daunting parts of working as a team was creating a product that we were all proud of. Countless hours were spent in the lab refining the final campaign for Frontenac Cycle. Having a vision or idea was one thing, but executing it was a whole different story. One thing I learned is that it’s okay to ditch an idea if you’re not feeling passionate about it.

All in all, I couldn’t be happier with the way first year turned out. I was honoured to receive 2 awards at the end of the year- something I never saw coming. I can’t wait to share and experience all the opportunities that second year has in store for all of us.

-L

 

Come Home to Play

The Spot

This ad is set in a fantasy land where a bat and eagle teach their robot friend how to fly. The viewer is then transported to a family’s living room where two kids dressed up as a bat and eagle play with their father who is dressed up as a robot. The caption, “Come Home to Play” spreads across the screen as the ad comes to an end.

You can find the ad attached below.

The Challenge

Ikea’s vision is to go beyond home furnishing and create a better everyday for all people impacted by their business. To accomplish this vision, Ikea stresses the fact of being an open, playful, and innovative company to consumers. In this ad, the company focused on the creativity of children and showcases the importance of play during everyday lives at home.

THe Idea

To build onto the brand, Ikea features the fun and games between separate generations in a family. By doing this, they can connect to families who have children, expand their customer base, and implement their vision of creating a better everyday life for consumers. Ikea has a price positioning strategy with an emphasis on low, affordable prices. This will appeal to the individual who is willing to sacrifice time to put together products in exchange for the lower cost.

Execution of The Idea

When a consumer thinks of home, they think of family and safety. Most home furnishing stores feature a family within ads and just tell the consumer about specific promotions. Ikea takes a creative approach and attempts to convey the feeling of playfulness and being youthful to the audience. In addition to this, the advertisement aligns with their innovative products that they create to make the home a better place.

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What Works? Why?

Because of their creative approach, the ad is visually striking and will easily capture the audiences attention. Ikea is a well known brand with over 700 million visits to their stores worldwide. Most consumers recognize Ikea’s values of creating innovative, affordable furniture and this ad will reinforce the ideas.

Another positive aspect of the ad is how the children teach the dad “how to fly”. After a stressful day at work, it is beneficial for adults to relieve stress by playing with their kids. Once again, this element will appeal to a consumer with children.

What Doesn’t Work? Why?

Though the ad is very creative, they never show any products. A consumer who has never been introduced to the brand will not understand the purpose of the advertisement. The only speech is placed at the ending stating, “Ikea. The wonderful everyday”. To an outsider, this ad will not make any sense without previous knowledge of the brand.

The Grade: B+grade_b_plus-300x205

Overall, I’d give this ad a B+. The brand had wonderful creative ideas and successfully conveyed the feeling of openness and being playful to the consumer. These feelings align with the brand values- specifically their innovative and cost effective furniture.

The visuals were striking and eye catching, but to a new Ikea customer this ad would not make any sense. They failed to have some sort of call to action at the end. It would be more beneficial to include a website address, social media, and where to find them.