What Does George Clooney Have to Do with Coffee? Nothing and Everything.

george clooney coffeeA visitor at my office bumped into me in the break room. She wanted to make coffee but didn’t know how to work the espresso machine. To be honest, it looks like a machine from space—so many nozzles, buttons, and levers that it can get pretty confusing even for an espresso machine connoisseur. So I lead our office visitor to the cabinet of espresso capsules. She looks at the boxes upon boxes of colorful capsules and then at the machine, putting the two together, and then exclaims, “George Clooney coffee!” She shouted that out to me with so much enthusiasm and pleasure that I was sure that George Clooney himself had magically appeared in the break room. I looked behind my shoulder for good measure.

George-NespressoIf you have kept up with advertisements for espresso, you’d know that George Clooney is one of the many celebrity faces of Nespresso. My office visitor’s excitement and delight over “George Clooney coffee” is a testament to how important marketing and branding is to successfully selling products and services today. Sure you need to have a good value proposition, but without having the right marketing and branding initiatives you probably won’t get the attention of consumers who are already inundated with information and marketing from their phones, tablets, and computers, as well as print and digital media elsewhere. So the takeaway here? Nespresso is getting what they paid for. George Clooney is certainly making a positive impact on their products (at least for female consumers), and hey, he’s not so bad to look at either.

Message Testing: Are You Getting Your Message Across?

Have you ever visited a horrible website and wondered about its purpose? Have you ever been turned off by a website’s color, music, or design? Chances are the company didn’t employ message testing. Message testing for online media allows companies to understand who is reading their content and how people are reacting to it. Indeed, this tool is critical to creating a successful media campaign and strong identity online. Further, how a company markets itself online is extremely important, especially for attracting new customers, and keeping current ones, so message testing is something that all companies should consider.

Survey research can help companies understand precisely how its message is being received by users. It involves deciding on a range of different ideas for how to market a company and helps them to dwindle it down to one that best gets the message across.

Message testing can be conducted several ways, however, there are a few key goals. The first aim of message testing is to ensure that the message is sticking with users. Is it memorable? Next, message testing should help companies understand if it stands out among competitors. If the company doesn’t stand out, it then knows where it needs to improve. The third goal of message testing is to help companies decide on a message that is an accurate reflection of its vision. The message should be all encompassing and broad enough target all potential audiences. Lastly, message testing should help companies develop a message that makes customers react positively—whether it’s a call to action or a conversion of some sort (buying a product or service).

While I haven’t had the opportunity to carry out message testing research on a grand scale, I can agree that it has the potential to help companies create campaigns or an online identity that will help them accomplish their goals. I think that one company that consistently has the same strong message each time I visit its website is Apple. The message is consistent, clear, and attractive and I always leave the website wishing I could upgrade to the latest iPhone or iPad (I’d say the message is a success!).

Questions to readers:

-What website has a strong message? 

-Have you carried out message testing? If so, how did it help improve your message?

-When is message testing most appropriate?

Virtual Image: A Closer Look

Reputation management is something that every person can gain from. In today’s world where everyone’s information is online, managing one’s reputation and image is crucial. Employers who Google their recruits or locate them on social media networks are not unheard of. In some cases employers ask applicants for the credentials to their social network profiles so they can take a closer look at their potential new hire—which is illegal, I’m quite sure. Nonetheless, it is safe to say that researching an applicant’s background online is standard procedure in many HR departments both in the U.S. and abroad where I have been subjected to it.

What about in the business world? How does the ubiquity of the Internet affect corporate communications? Does it enhance a brand’s image or hinder it? This week’s reading included research on the topic. In “Drowned Out? Rethinking corporate reputation management for the Internet” published in the Journal of Communication Management, I gained a better understanding of the world of corporate reputation management. Essentially, as someone who has worked in the corporate communications field for a few years now, I am playing a role in helping to manage the reputation of the company I work for. However, like the study points out, the challenges of the Internet reinforce the value of effective corporate reputation management and the Internet has made good PR more important, not less. Basically, if companies want to make the most impact, they need to leverage the Internet as much as possible, and embrace it as a valuable new communications and reputation-building tool.

Questions to readers:

-As many of you work within the communications realm, are any of you taking part in corporate communication management? In what ways do you do this?

-How are you managing your own personal reputation online? Have you used www.beenverified.com? Have information online ever presented a problem in your life?