Blog

Last Day of College.

It’s almost surreal, but today in will be taking my last final of my college career. Looking back, it’s easy to say it has flown by, however the truth is that there is no real way to describe the experience other than astonishing. Thinking about how much I have accomplished throughout these years have is mind blowing, and what’s more is that when you scale that to every student in the US who will be graduating as well it really is quite exciting picturing how much thought has been captured by like minds during the same time. That is simply incredible!

Tonight’s test is in Strategic Communications Case Studies with Matt Kucharski, Executive VP of Padilla Speer Beardsley. My great friend Ben Fleischman and I have been studying for 48 hours and are ready to rock it.

I cannot believe this day has come. I am looking forward to the journey that lies ahead!

Graduation. This is it.

The truth is, I’ve struggled with the idea of graduating for quite some time now.
No more academic structure. No more walls of security. This is it.
And while I sit here thinking how this is the end of 4 incredible years, there is one thing that hits me harder than reality itself.

This is only the beginning.

Come one life. Let’s dance!

 

Pen-less for Finals – Let the Study Party Begin.

Studying at the Library

 

 

It’s finals week at the University of Minnesota, and I don’t have a pen. This is a problem, especially considering my Strategic Communications Campaigns final is at 4:40pm. “Write it in a blog post man!” stated my brain, and I couldn’t agree more. So as I sit here in Walter Library in the dead center of the U of MN Twin Cities campus, I am going to start a study party with anyone who wants to listen online. I’ll update my post every 5-15 minutes. Let’s ace this test, even though you don’t have to. Click here to join in on the dubstep party jam tunes on spotify.

 

Walter Library During Finals

Strategic Communications Campaigns

Research – How Strategic Communicators Generate Actionable Information

“Research need not be fancy or esoteric. At root, it’s a welcoming inquiring attitude towards change.”

Reasons why NOT to do research. These are all *Facepalm statements, let me tell you why with counterarguments

  • No Money
    • (Facepalm). Doing research can get you a better return on investment for what you spend if done properly. So no money is not much of an excuse.
  • No Time
    • (Double Facepalm). Research can be done very quickly. Even if it isn’t entirely comprehensive, any research will give you a unique leg up on any actionable item your communications team is working on.
  • “We Already Know”
    • (TRIPLE Facepalm). You may know, but research gives you the opportunity to quantify what you know, which will give you more description to find the subtleties in your knowledge. Plus, we’re human; you may not actually “know.”
  • “This is Unique”
    • (QUAD FACEPALM). This is when research is especially important and matters the most. A map allows a captain to sail through vast seas of nothingness. If you don’t have a descriptive map to guide you through ambiguity, then you’ll be lost.

Top Reasons for Research

  1. Reduce Management Uncertainty
  2. Identify New Opportunities
  3. Generate “New” Knowledge

Top Ways to Use Research FOR THE STRATEGIC COMMUNICATOR

  1. Research is a vital counseling tool.
  2. Research should not just measure public opinion or likeliness to buy. Research must be used to measure the total effects of the communications upon your audience universe to give you a complete understanding of how you’ve changed the mold.
  3. Research must provide detailed specifics. Just like a low vs. high resolution photo; the higher resolution you can gain, the sharper the result will be. More descriptive research will give you better leverage on how to inspire activation, reinforcement, and change across your audience.

 Objectives for Research

  1. To Describe: Environment of decisions, characteristics of key publics
  2. To Predict: Behavior of key republics, reaction of key republics
  3. To Plan, To Measure: pre-test, evaluation, longitudinal.

Hierarchy of Research

Level Uno – Did You Communicate?

  • How much reach did you obtain?
  • Did you get their attention?
  • More over, did they comprehend your message?
  • Most importantly, does the audience recall what you told them?

Level Dos – Did you Make a Difference?

  • How did your audiences attitudes and opinions on the matter change?
  • Did you inspire behavioral change with your communications?
  • How did your communications have a larger impact on the world?

 Research Approaches

These are fairly familiar, however still very important:

  • Primary or Secondary?
  • Quantitative or Qualitative?
  • Formal or Informal?

These Approaches ar decided by:

  • The Communications Team’s objectives
  • What is at stake
  • The complexity or sensitivity of the subject matter
  • The credibility factor that your message must attain to.

Common Primary Research Methods

  • Surveys (Great for Quantitative Data Acquisition)
    • Online
    • Phone
    • Mail
    • Personal Interviews
  • Field Experiments
  • Controlled Experiments
  • Focus Groups (Great for Qualitative Data Acquisition)

Research is Tricky! Here’s how it can fool you:

  • Sampling Errors
  • Sampling administration errors
  • Non-respondent error
  • Flawed Instrument
  • Interviewer bias

TAKEAWAYS

Quality Research is possible to be done in practical ways in any organization, no matter the size. The best direction to proceed when aquiring and doing research is to have a happy blend of qualitative and quantitative research, and the blend will be different for each occasion. Most importantly, remember that actionability matters; don’t wast your companies time, money, or even reputation acquiring research that doesn’t give you a clear and actionable result.

Measurement & Evaluation – How We Demonstrate Effectiveness… or it’s Absence.

The Truths of Today’s Expectations for Strategic Communicators

In the past, strategic communicators could work without providing a convincing argument that their actions worked without evidence of measurable results. Today, this is definitely not the case. You must measure everything that you can and prove that your actions resulted in a positive change in ROI, or you’ll be gone faster than you can say “but…” This isn’t picking on the strategic communicator, it’s just pulling it up to speed with the expectations of every other department in other staff functions. Measurable objectives allow:

  • Executives to look at your claims with less suspicion and more likely to acquire their support.
  • Practitioners to quantify the effectiveness of their campaigns, what worked and what didn’t, and evantually defend their budgets and justify increases.

Basic Steps of Evaluation

  1. Write program goals and objectives in measurable and observable terms.
  2. Determine the best way to gather evidence
  3. Use evaluation findings
  4. add to professional knowledge

Objectives need to be observable, measurable, and possibly time based. Here are a few examples:

  • To increase brand awareness of our target universe 30% within the next 6 months.
  • To contribute to increase in business results.
  • To Increase consumer knowledge and recall surrounding the product/service.

The Evaluation Process: Basic Questions

  • Was the program effective?
  • Were their unintended or unexpected effects?
  • Has the program been an efficient use of resources?

Evaluation and Methods

Evaluation Awareness

  • Recognition- Aided Awareness – Do you remember this ad?
  • Recall – Unaided awareness – Have you seen anything surrounding this brand lately?

Evaluation Knowledge

  • Images, perceptions, positions, characteristics. How did they change in the eyes of the consumer?

Evaluation Attitude

  • Direction & strength of the consumers decisions prior to the communication.

State of Evaluation Competency

For Advertising, there have been standards for evaluation for a very long time and are relatively straight forward; reach, frequency, behavioral influence, etc.
For Public Relations, however, there has been no strong tradition of measurement and evaluation until 2010. In 2010 the Barcelona Principles were adopted, and that changed the whole ball game. I’ll cover them in the next lesson.

Measuring Public Relations – The Barcelona Principles (2010)

In 2010, the Barcelona Principles labeled 7 principles for measuring strategic communications efforts, most specifically Public Relations.

  1. The Importance of Goal Setting & Measurement
  2. Measuring the Effect on Outcomes is Preferred to Measuring Outputs.
  3. The Effect on Business Results Can and Should Be Measured  Where Possible
  4. Media Measurement Requires Quantity and Quality
  5. Advertising Value Equivalents (AVE’s) are not the value of public relations
  6. Social Media Can  and Should Be Measured
  7. Transparency and Replicability are Paramount to Sound Measurement


*Note: Due to a lack of time before my final at 4:40pm, I am going to expand on these later.

Arthur W. Page – Founder of Public Relations & Visionary

Page’s Principles of Public Relationship Management:

  • Always Tell the Truth.

Let the public know what’s happening and provide an accurage picture of the company’s character, ideal and practices.

  • Prove the Truth with action.

Public Perception of an organization is determined 90% of what it does, and 10% of what it says.

  • Always listen to the customer.

Understand what the public wants and needs. Keep top decision makers informed on the publics reaction to company products, policies, and practices.

  • Manage for tomorrow, not today.

Anticipate the public’s reaction to your actions. Eliminate practices that create difficulties & create good will.

  • Conduct Public Relations as if the entire company depends on it.

No Corporate strategy should be implemented before it consideres it’s effects on the public. Corporate relations is a management function. The public relations professional is a policy  maker capable of handling a wide range of corporate communication activities.

  • Realize a company’s true character is expressed by firstly its employees and secondly consumers in which it serves.

The strongest opinions – good or bad – are shaped by it’s employees
Every Employee – old or new – is involved with public relations, and it’s the responsibility of corporate communications to support each employees capability and desire to be honest, knowledgable, and an ambassador to customers, friends, share owners and public officials.

  • Remain calm, patient and good humored

Lay the groundwork for public relations miracles with consistent, calm, and reasoned attention to information and contacts. When a crisis arises, remember that cool heads communicate the best.

***UPDATE: The test went well! Minus one or two oddball questions I believe a good grade will come from it!

Facebook’s New Button

Facebook is cruel.
Instead of inviting me into Graph Search, Facebook’s more intelligent search engine, they’ve instead decided to give me a new fancy button; the “Post From Any Page” button.

Post from any page button Facebook

I first spotted this small button last night within the top-right hand corner of my user display. Much like Twitter, this button allows you to post an update from any page while on Facebook instead of having to travel back to your newsfeed or personal profile. When clicked, a prompt window opens with dialogue very similar to what you would see when posting a Facebook status.

Post from any page button facebook dialogue

It’ll be interesting to see what Facebook decides to do with this button. It seems like a small diversion from their effort to implement Facebook Graph Search across all of its US users and it signals to me that maybe they are still having some issues. However, I am guessing Facebook is implementing this feature as a way to encourage its users to share more by lowering the barrier it takes to make a status update, or they  may be testing the feature to see if they should implement it within their new user interface. No one is quite sure why or what is going on behind this new feature, but in the mean time I will continue to pout that I still don’t have Facebook Graph Search.

Want more? Check out Mashable’s article on the new button here!

Welcome.

Thank you all for visiting the new and improved www.KevinCWalker.com.
While the original launch date was scheduled for March 1, 2013, I couldn’t risk the opportunity to share it for the first time at the 2013 AdFed Student Advertising Summit here in Minneapolis, which begins in roughly 3 hours.

Which reminds me, I need to catch some rest.
Goodnight and enjoy!

PS – There are bound to be flukes with this new site! If you see anything that is off, please feel free to email me using the contact form on my main page.

Kevin C. Walker