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MarketWave Welcomes Katie Olivier

December 18, 2012
Katie and Young at client's conference in San Francisco

Katie and Young at client’s conference in San Francisco

On December 3, industry veteran Katie Olivier (pronounced oh-liv-ee-ay) joined MarketWave as vice president. In true MarketWave style, we had to find out everything about her as soon as we could. Her incredibly caring and energizing personality is the perfect fit for MarketWave where we believe being nice is mandatory. And, her almost 20 years of diverse marketing and communications experience isn’t bad either. Take a minute to get to know her and see why we instantly knew she belonged at MarketWave!

Tell us about what you did before joining MarketWave.

I’ve spent my career in public relations and marketing, with a focus on technology clients. I’ve also worked with clients in restaurants, retail, hospitality and professional services. My expertise is in setting strategy, creating messaging and identifying what visibility opportunities will create the most success for my clients.

What attracted you to MarketWave?

As an integrated agency, MarketWave can customize its offerings for clients and create results that will help achieve goals. Additionally, as I got to know the MarketWave team and learned about their diverse depth of experience, I became really excited about working with these professionals.

What do you hope to bring to MarketWave?

I hope to bring a different perspective on business and clients. With the years I’ve spent working in technology, I am able to offer a level of expertise that will further broaden the agency’s client base.

What’s your favorite client or work memory?

I will never forget getting to throw the football around with former 49er Steve Young. He was such a nice guy, down to earth and an incredible speaker… And, those eyes!

What do you love about our industry?

I love the creativity of the people as well as their diversity. I enjoy learning about their backgrounds and how they creatively meet and exceed client expectations.

What is challenging about our industry?

I do wish that companies interested in marketing could come to us with a greater lead time. The more time we have to talk about goals and strategies, the better the end results. Unfortunately, there are challenges clients face that prevent them from spending the time it takes to fully experience the process. But, there is always such a noticeable difference in the end result when we have the appropriate amount of time to plan and strategize together.

Who inspires you and why?

I can’t narrow this down to one person. There are so many people who are really inspirational to me. Leaders like Tina Young, who dedicate their lives to their businesses, but still figure out how to balance everything. I’m also amazed by the scientists and researchers in technology, as well as professionals who work in nonprofits and put their heart and soul into their work to make changes in the world. All these people inspire me to make a difference. And, I can’t forget to mention my parents who have sacrificed so much so that I could succeed.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I volunteer with animal rescue groups, including North Texas Cat Rescue and Hillcrest Animal Rescue, which is an all-breed dog and livestock rescue. If you are looking for a pet, call me. I know some great foster parents who are preparing pets for adoption.

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?

Well, I’ll tell you more than one thing about me…I’ll talk to anyone. I’m a science nerd. Ever since I was a kid, I have loved cows. (We’ve also heard she thinks chickens and the honey badger are funny!)

 Where are you from?

New Orleans, and yes, I can tell you where to go when you visit!

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4 writing tips I’ll never forget

December 14, 2012

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Those who know me understand one thing: I love to write.

For me, a pen and paper is like bread and water. I’d be lost if I couldn’t write every day.

Luckily, my doors led to a career in marketing, where solid writing isn’t just desired – it’s required. And as I craft collateral, blog posts, presentations, bylines, media materials and other content for clients, one truth always remains – less is more.

That is – it’s about what’s not on the page, rather than what is.

If you’ve never read William Zinsser’s On Writing Well, you should. Let a year or two go by, and read it again. And again.

Soon you’ll notice a pattern of tips that you find most helpful. These are mine:

  • Go rogue. Here’s a secret: you can break the parameters of traditional English grammar. If a sentence sounds better as a fragment, use it. Plus, that flavors up the copy – gives it rhythm.
  • Be real. Even in business, write like you talk. Would you really ever use the word “henceforth” in conversation? I don’t. Warm up your writing with relatable words.
  • Press delete. Long copy isn’t good copy. Zinsser says every word should serve a purpose. Reread your writing; challenge everything in it. If a word isn’t doing a job, it’s poison to your text.
  • Get simple. Avoid jargon, always, but most of all, impress readers with copy that flows, not long words on steroids. Why say “assistance” when “help” will do?

I first read the book in my college journalism class, and still have that original copy, now worn and torn with years of love. I’m still learning, every time I pick it up.

What resources have helped improve your writing?

A MarketWave Case Study: Energy Savers, an exciting and educational partnership

December 5, 2012

MarketWave has enjoyed a fast-and-furious six months supporting the fantastic partnership between Scholastic and Oncor. Together, we launched Energy Savers, an educational program that teaches Texas children in second, third and fourth grade how to reduce their energy use.

The program follows TEKS standards and can be combined with history, math, science and language arts subjects. The knowledge children gain isn’t just beneficial for their academic success it’s good for the environment and their family’s pocketbook.

But it’s not all hard work and no play. Students can play an online game depicting how energy is consumed and use the Energy Tracker activity to learn how an advanced meter tracks energy usage, which is the first step in conserving energy.

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A creative piece, designed by MarketWave, and now on display at Oncor headquarters.

Some materials we enjoyed creating are:

  • Internal communication toolkits for Oncor employees
  • Energy Savers awareness materials (blog posts, social media calendar, lobby displays)
  • Collateral flipbooks for Oncor employees to distribute to the community
  • Website content and an interactive game
  • Video showcasing the program in a real classroom
  • Energy Topics (a fun spin on the popular Table Topics game)

Stay connected with Oncor and Scholastic for more information about Energy Savers, and tell us – how do you like to save energy at home?

They Say Talk is Cheap, but It’s Priceless in Hispanic Marketing

November 29, 2012

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Cuba has been on my mind recently (and not just because of this hilarious video going viral that would make Celia Cruz proud).

It’s because of the press it has recently received. From the November issue of National Geographic to a recent NPR special, Americans’ interest in this colorful Caribbean island has undeniably grown. As a Cuban-American, I could not be prouder.

I appreciate their interest in Cuba now that capitalism has blossomed, as I’m also eager to see a bright future for the country. I grew up in Miami, where my Cuban heritage was like “arroz con pollo,” a typical dish seasoned with several spices. That is, my upbringing was a fusion of North American and Latin American cultures, and it was seasoned with the intense flavor of my Cuban heritage (with salsa dancing at high school parties and teachers that spoke Spanglish in class).

Cuba’s economy is shifting, while its tenuous relationship with the U.S. is strengthening. And that means that open communication between Cuba and the U.S. are about to explode for the first time in more than 50 years. As we consider the economic and cultural implications of external communication between the two, it is important to understand the nature of internal communications in Cuba.

Take advertising: In the U.S., we complain of information overload, but how do brands in Cuba get the word out with bans on television commercials, radio spots and social media? Enter guerilla marketing tactics. Cuban entrepreneurs have turned to word-of-mouth to market their businesses. One restaurant owner decided to stick decals on cars to promote his business. The fact that cars’ license plates are color-coded in Cuba worked to his advantage: he staked out the blue-plated tour vans, black-and-white plates of diplomats, and the orange-plated cars of foreign company employees to find his target markets, i.e. those with foreign currency (as opposed to weak Cuban pesos). “We put one on the ambassador of Spain’s car a few days back,” he said, “and he turned up.”

Marketers in the U.S. can learn a thing or two from Cuban entrepreneurs. In the U.S., we are constantly immersed in advertising and social media. As a culture, we demand more high-tech media and advertising with the elusive “wow” factor, while at the same time proving that “old school” word-of-mouth can create a successful brand overnight.  Perhaps the best way to break through the clutter is to look to word-of-mouth, especially with regard to Hispanic marketing. The importance of word-of-mouth in Cuba is indicative of a greater trend in the Hispanic/Latino culture across the Americas. Studies show that across social networks and media platforms, Hispanics tend to use social media and express their opinions online about brands more often than their non-Hispanic counterparts. As businesses reevaluate their social media strategy in the wake of Facebook’s recent changes, it is important to remember that the Hispanic culture is, by nature, social and group-oriented. Therefore, though talk is cheap, word-of-mouth marketing may be a worthwhile investment in order to reach the booming U.S. Hispanic/Latino consumer base.

What are your opinions on this matter? Like this post, share your comments, and pass this post along. If you already did, I’d be willing to bet you’re eating “arroz con pollo” for lunch today.   

“Representing” as a female marketer

November 15, 2012

After a fast-paced day at work, it can be a struggle to find the energy to go to an event. A few Mondays ago, as I looked ahead at the traffic en route to attend a screening of the documentary “Miss Representation,” I sighed and wished momentarily for an evening of mindless media consumption from the comfort of my couch.

But a funny thing happened after watching the film that evening – I actually went home feeling more energized than I have felt in a long time.

The film opened my eyes to the incredible impact that I, as a marketer, have on shaping the future for young people who are impacted by the images they see and the media they read. The sense of responsibility and the opportunity to make a difference deeply affected me.

As marketers, we’ve been taught to appeal to our target markets, and sometimes that can mean creating a message with little thought to the unintended repercussions beyond that audience. The problem is that by doing so, we run the risk of stereotyping, offending or even worse, negatively influencing the people who are exposed to our messages.

As marketers, we are responsible for the way we portray fellow human beings in our efforts, and we must be sensitive to the effect of our choices on future generations.

And, in a world so tied together by social media, online reviews and consumer advocacy, businesses should aim for higher standards in their work as well as their communications.

Want to know more about how the media and business can affect future generations? Watch the “Miss Representation” trailer at http://bit.ly/MissRepTrailer or download the movie on iTunes.

Memes that marketers can appreciate

October 23, 2012

If you’re not familiar, memes are tokens of pop culture that are extremely viral on digital channels and fueled by humor, satire or both. They usually come in the form of a ridiculous image with a funny phrase slapped across the top and bottom.

It might be an understatement to say that I’m a fan of memes. These days, I’m pretty much obsessed. I know my colleagues would agree, given the bounty of them patched across my office wall.

And it’s not just because I think they’re hilarious – even though they are. It’s also not just because they’re so applicable to my craft: these brands have expertly found a way to weave memes into their own marketing campaigns.

What I love about memes – and what makes them so viral – is the camaraderie. There’s a reason we find them hilarious; they carry a thread of humor that binds us all together based on common interest, industry or experience. While they’re hot and trendy, I like to think of them as the ultimate vehicle for inside jokes.

The marketing/PR world is no exception. I hope clients and colleagues alike enjoy these silly memes (all created by the MarketWave team!) that any marketer can appreciate.

From me:

From Whitney:

From Michelle:

What are your favorite memes?

Work as worship?

October 5, 2012

Recently, I came across the book Work as Worship – How CEOs of Interstate Batteries, Hobby Lobby, PepsiCo, Tyson Foods and more bring meaning to their work, and as a devout Christian I was intrigued.

Mark Russell interviewed more than twenty CEOs from various companies to discover how these great leaders bring their faith and meaning to work. At first glance of this title, one might assume that these are Bible thumping Christians who demand all their employees believe the same way they do. But to the contrary, I found that most of them actually prefer an open atmosphere of varying beliefs so they can enter true dialogue. This tends to bring unity and respect within their companies versus division and disregard.

Some might believe that the secular and sacred are to be separate. Many are taught that to be “holy” one must become a minister or a missionary. However, these leaders believe that their faith is at the essence of their being and that God created them with certain desires, talents and skills. So why would God create them this way if they were not to be out in the work field? And after all, many of the great men and women of the Bible had careers in the “secular” world, such as fishermen, carpenters, blacksmiths and seamstresses. So the question for the Christian might be, as it was for Norm Miller, CEO of Interstate Batteries, “How do I integrate the claims of my faith with the demands of my work?”

These leaders suggest that can be done in a variety of ways:

• Living a life of integrity, honesty and humility in all business dealings
• Financial management that gives back to the community
• Doing the right thing even when it might cost you your job
• Praying for your business, supervisors, coworkers
• Stewardship to the environment
• Health and wellness initiatives for employees
• Keep the Golden Rule – Do to others as you would have them do to you
• Work/Life balance – honoring family time
• Allow employees decision-making power

I found it interesting that whether you are a Christian or not, most would support the above ways to operate business. These leaders found their employees to be more loyal and engaged in the development and success of the business. Some found reduced turnover rates; others better health and/or improved relationships.

Mo Anderson, of Keller Williams, suggested, “There’s a hunger in the hearts and minds of most of the people in this country to be affiliated with an organization that has integrity and cares about more than just profit.”

I’d love to hear your thoughts on faith in the work place.

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