Strategic Communications and Advertising Planning – Assignment 2 – 88%

Standard

Untitled-1The second assignment of this unit was one of the most unique and intriguing tasks from third year. The assignment had two parts, first of which involved,

  a critical review of past campaigns that had received complaints on the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) website relating to harmful   and offensive advertising, while assessing whether the voluntary codes that operate within the UK are working.

I was given the freedom to chose either a particular company, industry or time period for investigation. Initially, selecting campaigns proved difficult, as the vast majority of complaints derived from misleading ads, not harmful and offensive ones. After significant examination of the ASA website, bearing in mind part two of this task, which warranted for a variety of communication tools to be featured in a campaign. I decided to focus on the first ever e-cigarette ads.

E-cigarettes were first promoted in 2013 by brands VIP and E-Lites (Buchanan, 2014; Sweney, 2013). The methods used to achieve brand awareness received a multitude of complaints regarding harmful and offensive advertising, raising attention from the ASA. As a result, the first two e-cigarette ads were banned in some form. I analysed the creative appeals of the ads and suggested parallels between traditional tactics used to promote cigarettes.

The ASA’s judgement of the two ads appeared to be a catalyst in bringing to light the social damage unregulated e-cigarette advertising could cause. Whether the brands intentionally took advantage of an unregulated environment in order to most effectively achieve their goal of brand awareness, remains debatable. Regardless, following extensive public consultation, the ASA proactively introduced new sections to the CAP and BCAP codes, directly regulating e-cigarettes, in November 2014 (Asa.org.uk, 2014b).

The ASA’s initial negligence placed consumers in a vulnerable positon, giving power to the ad industry and enabling marketers to create content which potentially caused detriment to society. However, through recent complaint analysis, the ASA’s relatively fast reaction to implement new rules, had been judged to have effectively protected consumers and society. Perhaps exemplifying this shift, E-Lites had recently rebranded to be called Logic (Logicvapes.com, 2017). In analysing a key time period for the ad industry, my report demonstrated the need for fast and dynamic action from the ASA, yet, positively supported the organisation in being an effective method for regulating the UK ad industry.

network-782707_960_720

The second part of this task asked me to,

 critically review how you would monitor and evaluate whether this was a successful      campaign or not.

I chose to focus on E-Lites’ campaign, which consisted of: a radio ad, TV ad, Internet banner ad, poster at a bus-stop and display ad on the side of a bus. This broad spectrum enabled me to explore a wide variety of monitoring and evaluation methods.

A key theme of this essay derived from the opportunities digital technology can provide. However, I began by highlighting some more traditional techniques such as, pre-testing and publicity tracking. These can be effective tools, yet do have limitations that digital technology can overcome quite well. Historically, ‘marketing’ has been unable to confidently claim with a credible degree of accuracy that a particular campaign resulted in ‘x’ number of sales. This is due to a plethora of external factors influencing consumer behaviour. The Internet, however, has provided unparalleled tracking potential. E-Lites’ banner ad offers the ability to accurately determine how effective the ad was in making a sale, the click-through and bought rate (Chaffey and Smith, 2013). This is but one example, numerous others featured in the essay.

Despite acknowledgement of the monitoring and evaluation potential of the Internet, I had to relate the various challenges of this new technology. Computer software partly helps the process of converting data into useful information, but turning the information into tangible business decisions is a complex practice needing highly skilled strategic analysts. Stemming from this, misinterpretation of data is common. A company may choose to monitor so called vanity metrics (Chaffey and Smith, 2013), for example, page views and number of followers, in relation to its objective of increasing brand awareness. However, this key performance indicator (KPI) presents flawed relevance to the number of people actually trying a product. This misinterpretation can distort the overall evaluation of a campaign and lead to misinformed future objectives.

Challenges will need to be overcome involving: speed, cost, dynamism and transparency. Ironically, these challenges with the technology are identical to the opportunities it will offer.

I greatly enjoyed writing these two essays and was extremely grateful to be awarded 88%. This unit was a favourite from third year, largely due to committed, passionate and engaging tutelage from award-winning blogger Jeff McCarthy. I was overjoyed to achieve an average of 86%, a grade I didn’t expected to attain in a unit from third year.


Email: hudacummings@gmail.com

LinkedIn: Yehudah Cummings

Twitter: Yehudah Cummings

Facebook: Yehudah Cummings

Click to view my CV.

Advertisements

CORPORATE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT: EXAM – 76%

Standard

image-20160921-21701-1s45a8j

By achieving 76%, this exam resulted in an unexpected personal milestone of progression. Throughout the majority of tasks in third year, I was instructed to analyse a firm’s current situation and with this information, suggest a strategy for the future of the company. One can find the challenges initially faced in my other blog posts. However, I believe my success in this exam exhibits the progression I have made in efficiently applying this practice.

The exam was slightly unique, in that it was open-book and that I was asked to prepare a two-page analysis of the case-study organisation, Sports Direct, to be included in the exam. The open-book nature and the prior knowledge of the case study meant I was able to gather useful information, allowing me to construct highly detailed and specific answers.

The exam had three questions. The first was previously informed to be either CSR or Ethics. The other two were a raffle between ten topics. Commonly with exams, advice from tutors involved; out of the ten topic areas, choose four or five to cover in depth, increasing the likelihood of two of them coming up.

Sports Direct was specifically chosen because of the damage its reputation had received from various stakeholders. Through rigorous research of Sports Direct, looking at the historical timeline of negative media coverage and the manner in which Sports Direct handled the situation. I was able to see the links between the company’s failure and the theory covered in the unit.

The extent to which I achieved this was extremely surprising. When one has prepared specific questions for an exam, the anticipation of whether they are going to come up is immense. This is intensified even more where, instead of covering four-to-five topics, I had gambled with only preparing three. Time was a major influencing factor of this but I was also quietly confident that these were by far the most important issues. Despite my confidence, I was absolutely stunned when I opened the paper and saw, the three questions I had prepared for the second part all featured in the exam in the exact way I had written them. I was able to answer three out of the four question (although only two were needed) and essentially write down my answers word-for-word.

At the time I brazenly thought, I couldn’t have gotten luckier if I had written the exam myself. However, on further reflection, I found a great deal of pride in managing to analyse a company’s situation and prioritise the most important actions, to the extent that I had reached the same conclusions as my tutors through their choice of questioning. I believe this grade showcases the ultimate progression I have made through repeatedly engaging with this analytical practice and gives me great confidence for my future work and career.


Email: hudacummings@gmail.com

LinkedIn: Yehudah Cummings

Twitter: Yehudah Cummings

Facebook: Yehudah Cummings

Click to view my CV.

Strategic Communications & Advertising Planning: Part 2 – Poster Pitch – 78%

Standard

IMG_20170607_144021894

Following on from the situation analysis undertaken in Part 1, my team and I were then tasked to brainstorm a campaign in order to attain one of the suggested marketing communication objectives. We showcased our ideas in a 10-minute pitch, facilitated by an A0 poster, designed collaboratively using Adobe Photoshop.

We focussed on the Golf GTE, hybrid/electric car and utilised the car-purchasing-journey, adapted from Mintel, as a framework for our pull/profile strategy. SEO and a TV ad were strategically applied for the ‘initial search’ stage. We dreamt up a promotional event, VW Volt, intended to engage with the public and inform of VW’s commitment to sustainability. To aid potential customers’ ‘choice evaluation’ a partnership with Zipcar was tactically proposed, allowing the public to test-drive VW cars, encourage purchasing and ultimately, achieve return-on-investment. We divulged a budget and schedule for the campaign by way of a Gantt chart.

It was empowering to have the freedom to innovate my own extensive campaign on this assignment. Working as group of five, bouncing ideas off each other, while using the car-purchasing-journey as a guideline, made producing this comprehensive campaign seamless, fun, and creatively satisfying. The tricky part was keeping our presentation down to just 10 minutes long. However, practice helped achieved this and my previous experience with pitching helped the delivery to be confident and precise.

My team and I received 78% for the second part of this assignment, giving myself an overall average unit grade of 84%.


Email: hudacummings@gmail.com

LinkedIn: Yehudah Cummings

Twitter: Yehudah Cummings

Facebook: Yehudah Cummings

Click to view my CV.

The Responsible Marketer – Ethics & Professional Development: A Reflective Essay

Standard

BusinessEthics003In the Responsible Marketer unit of my university degree, I gained my first experience of ethics from a business perspective.

My first task was to compose a reflective essay, this involved considerable self-analysis and discovery. I delved into my own personal ethical values, relating them to figurehead philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and the archaic Aristotle.

In addition, twice a year, for an entire week my university hosts a variety of interactive workshops designed to broaden one’s skills and attributes in a scheme it calls professional development week. This week was the secondary focus of my essay.

Reflecting on what you have already learnt, what you are good at and what you still need to learn in order to become well-rounded professional was a humbling but greatly beneficial experience.

I especially enjoyed writing in an essay format, in contrast to the more regimented report structure, it was a welcome freedom to produce a more personal creation.

Finally, this assignment marks my first time applying reflective thinking as an academic practice. As I have repeated this style of analysis and writing in subsequent tasks, I have become to increasingly realise how valuable the process is for mindfulness, introspection and overall growth as a human being. Ultimately, this appreciation influenced the start of my blog.

I received a first in this assignment.

Click on the link to view an excerpt from my essay: Ethics & Professional Development


Email: hudacummings@gmail.com

LinkedIn: Yehudah Cummings

Twitter: Yehudah Cummings

Facebook: Yehudah Cummings