Tips for Crafting Your Story

By: Kate Shropshire

Twitter started real-time conversations, now they have facilitated real-time video with their on-the-rise app, Periscope. We can do more than listen, we can watch things happen live. Periscope is a platform for users or brands to live stream video to the world where users are tuning in to see live broadcasts of the first appearance of the Royal baby or sunsets on mountains.

Similarly, Snapchat is bringing brands to the devices consumers are attached to. Snapchat users can see celebrities get ready for award shows or watch a video story of an international musical festival and its attendees.

So why do these platforms matter? They provide new ways for brands to showcase a story on social media. These platforms also require creativity to breakthrough the status update quo. Here are 4 tips for brands when crafting a storytelling strategy.

  1. Think Mobile. As more and more people rely on the Internet for news, entertainment, and communication, it’s no secret your consumers are on their phones. To reach consumers, brands need to participate on the platforms people use daily. Brands are using Snapchat to give an inside look to consumers. Taco Bell shows off new products in Snapchat stories and the NBA generates excitement around the playoffs. As a brand, you can be one click away to consumers on the platforms they already trust and love.taco bell snapchat (picture source)
  2. Offer True Engagement. Engagement comes naturally as users can comment on Periscope streaming videos while they are happening. As a brand, there are now opportunities to really connect with consumers instead of pushing one-way messages at them.periscope on phone(picture source)
  3. Keep It Short. Some users are watching 8-second Snapchats instead of 2-minute videos. People want quick content that costs them little time as they move on to the next thing. Consumers want behind the scenes, exclusive looks at the world around them, and they want it fast. For the Billboard Music Awards, brands showed red carpet updates to fans through quick stories that highlighted the popular stars.IMG_4546
  4. Channel Your Inner Artist. With Snapchat, brands can type, doodle, use emojis, and pick filters for video and pictures. Brands can create anything they want since custom content is easy. Use the opportunity to show case some personality and get creative.SnapChat_Scavenger_FB-300x300 (picture source)

Now go explore the story-telling possibilities. Try it out and showcase the personality of your brand.

Digital Marketing Specialist

Google Recognizes Derek Blaszak as an AdWords Certified Professional

The Internet is a powerful tool to market and grow your business. However, combining your business objectives with an effective digital strategy can be a challenge if you don’t understand how popular search engines like Google work.

Derek's certificationAt Element, we are here to help. You may recognize him from his awesome hair, but we are pleased to announce Derek Blaszak has been recognized by Google as an AdWords certified professional.

So what does this mean and how can it help your business grow? Who better to ask than our very own digital marketing expert Derek:

Let’s start with the basics – what is Google AdWords?

Google AdWords is Google’s online advertising program that helps companies reach new customers and grow their business across the internet. The program allows businesses to choose where their ad appears and measure the impact for the ad placement.

 Why is AdWords an important component to a digital marketing strategy?

Paid search engine advertising has a low-cost of entry and results can be seen instantly, which makes it a great marketing tool for any type of business. Plus it’s trackable, so you can easily calculate a return on investment or new customer acquisition rate, while easily making adjustments when the market changes.

How do you get certified?

An AdWords certificiation allows you to demonstrate that Google recognizes you as an online advertising professional. To achieve this certification, I passed the AdWords Fundamentals exam and the Search Advertising and Display Advertising exams.

How long have you been with Element and tell us about your role as Director of Digital Marketing?

 I started at Element in November 2008. As the Director of Digital Marketing, I am responsible for the successful strategy and development of digital marketing initiatives that include: website usability, search and online advertising campaigns, social media, search engine optimization, online brand management, and email marketing programs. I combine business objectives with effective digital strategies to deliver a holistic marketing approach that enhances traditional and nontraditional marketing efforts.

Beside his Google AdWords Certification, Derek is also a Certified Account Manager and Agency Financial Manager. It is also his goal to become certified at being certified.

Director of Digital Marketing
Officially, Derek is Element's Digital Marketing Director, specializing in search engine optimization, social media marketing, and website user experience design. However, outside the office, Derek cannot be pinned down to a single title, so let's go with "happy-hour-turned-late-nighter," "driveway fire-starter," "fins-up-Parrotheader," "world traveler," "Frisbee-throwing-dog-lover," and "up-to-the-minute digital dominator."

Element Public Relations – We’ve Got News To Share!

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We are excited to announce the expansion of our public relations service offerings with the recent hiring of Tara Brzozowski as Director of Public Relations.

Tara brings 12 years of public relations experience specializing in the areas of strategy, planning, publicity, media relations, special events, and content marketing. You may know Tara from her previous role as marketing and public relations director for the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.TaraBrzozowski

Never one to miss a chance to grill a new employee, we put Tara in the hot seat for some Q&A:

What is public relations?
Public relations is both the art and science of building and maintaining relationships between a business or organization and its publics. We define publics as groups of people that have a stakeholder interest in the organization.

What is a common misconception about the public relations industry?
Most people think of public relations as just publicity, which are the stories you read in the paper, online or see on the evening news. While publicity is certainly an aspect of public relations, the practice involves other business functions including reputation management, internal communications, community relations, and crisis management.

What are the trends in public relations for 2015?
Public relations professionals today need to be well-trained in traditional media and digital media. Integrated public relations campaigns should consider four media types: paid, earned, shared, and owned. Today’s public relations pros need to know and understand SEO principles and how Google ranks and displays content.

What are business communication trends for 2015?
I think we will continue to see the lines between marketing and public relations blur. Content marketing is a great example of this combination. When done well, content marketing can be a powerful relationship builder between a company and its customers. You have the ability to showcase your company’s personality, build trust, and develop engagement through the use of creative content.

If you were not working in public relations, what would you do?
If I had any musical talent at all, I would be a performer on Broadway. I enjoy the performing arts tremendously, but unfortunately I do not have a musical bone in my body. I’m happy to sit it the seats and leave it to the pros!

Next time you visit Element be sure to say hello to Tara!

Rabid wolf attacks man in lobby

The whole office remained very quiet after a sudden and unprovoked wolf attack in the lobby of Element Creative today. What started out like a normal day of shredding paper and refilling coffee mugs took a unexpected turn for office watchdog Danielle. “I was just sitting at my desk in the lobby tuning into my Michael Jackson channel on Pandora when I smelled the familiar scent of Lumberjack Noon cologne and the guttural growl of some wild animal.” says Danielle Papineau. What followed could only be described as a scene from the 1981 movie The Howling.

“I saw Lance Peroutka walking to the door and out of nowhere this wolf just sprang at him. It grabbed his leg and started thrashing about like my Aunt Penny trying to do the chicken dance at a cousin’s wedding!” Danielle went on to say that this wasn’t the first time she’d seen this particular wolf in the area. It seems to have marked it’s territory in the lobby and had been seen laying there most of the day. But until it attacked Lance, it didn’t seem to be bothering anyone.

Soon after the attack, Ross Atkinson, one of Element’s web gurus, was seen fleeing the scene. When approached after the attack to see if he saw anything he said, “I didn’t see anything, I was just trying to un-clog a paper jam in the conference room.” Oddly, there is no printer in the conference room, but additional questions to Ross went unanswered.

Lance is a little shaken up but came out with only a few scratches. “All in all, things could have been worse, all Lance needs is a couple of shots and he should be ok” says Danielle. She did not elaborate on what he would be doing shots of, but we think it will be probably something pretty strong.

On another note, wolf burgers will be served to the staff at Element and their guests all day tomorrow.

The Unofficial Element Spokes-Moose
Canuck is a surprisingly intelligent and humorous character that could talk your ear off. He loves life, learning new things and, most of all, sharing new insight with people. He’s adjusted well since emigrating to the U.S. from Canada and settling down at Element. In fact, he’s taken strongly to blogging about marketing, branding, social media, and the Element office happenings. He’s still very loyal to his homeland, insisting that hockey is the only real-man’s sport, pancakes are acceptable at any meal, and Canadian beer is superior to the swill made everywhere else.

Barista Extraordinaire

Patrick McCormick, former member of Element’s interactive department, has been promoted to Barista. With the recent need for a higher-powered stimulant, and an obvious lack of interest in Folgers Original, promoting McCormick was an easy decision. His main duties include making foam, purchasing milk, and cleaning the recently purchased espresso machine.

“As part of Patrick’s promotion, we supplied him with a variety of aprons, a serving tray, and a really nice magnetized notepad to take down our orders,” said one of Element’s owners. “It was all part of the negotiation process, but well worth it.”

McCormick is extremely happy with his new promotion, although he noted one problem. “Grinding each individual coffee bean by hand takes a long time. But nothing is too good for all of my co-workers, and I’m sure they’ll eventually buy me a grinder … I hope.”

The Unofficial Element Spokes-Moose
Canuck is a surprisingly intelligent and humorous character that could talk your ear off. He loves life, learning new things and, most of all, sharing new insight with people. He’s adjusted well since emigrating to the U.S. from Canada and settling down at Element. In fact, he’s taken strongly to blogging about marketing, branding, social media, and the Element office happenings. He’s still very loyal to his homeland, insisting that hockey is the only real-man’s sport, pancakes are acceptable at any meal, and Canadian beer is superior to the swill made everywhere else.

‘Barley’ Making it Without You

A vital part of our agency has been gone for sometime now. Project Manager Sue Barrett decided that a week vacation was necessary in order to keep her sanity. As she continues to float down the Mississippi River sipping her cocktails, the invoices have piled high, new jobs have been put on hold, payroll delayed, and the flowers…well, they’re practically dead.

We could no longer take the insanity, and Element was forced to hire a replacement. After minutes of searching, and with no other suitable applicants, we hired Barley, a close friend of Web Developer Ross Atkinson. We feel that he is a great fit for Element, and so far the perfect replacement for Barrett.

Director of New Media Kiar Olson commented, “I’m really happy that Barley smokes the same Grape Cigarillos as Sue. That sweet aroma always puts me in the mood to really crank out the work. The only thing I don’t enjoy is the slobber all over the copy machine.”

Brand loyalty and making great copies are not the only things Barley and Barrett have in common. Many of the employees like to hang out with Barely outside of work too.

“Barley and I went out after work for a few drinks,” said Ann Behling, Director of Publications. “We started off at Palukas for a Bloody Mary, but just like Sue always had to do, we went to the liquor store and purchased a few Colt 45s. We both ended up passed out somewhere down on East Mason Street. It was like I was with Sue the entire time!”

Though the employees enjoy the similarities, Barley wishes everyone would recognize the differences. To differentiate himself, Barley has given Fridays off to all Element employees, requires no timesheets, leaves the office lights on 24 hours a day, and has glued numerous toasters to the kitchen counter.

As Barley becomes more settled, Element will most likely be in for more surprises.

The Unofficial Element Spokes-Moose
Canuck is a surprisingly intelligent and humorous character that could talk your ear off. He loves life, learning new things and, most of all, sharing new insight with people. He’s adjusted well since emigrating to the U.S. from Canada and settling down at Element. In fact, he’s taken strongly to blogging about marketing, branding, social media, and the Element office happenings. He’s still very loyal to his homeland, insisting that hockey is the only real-man’s sport, pancakes are acceptable at any meal, and Canadian beer is superior to the swill made everywhere else.