Goodbye // Hello

2010:

I moved {twice}.

My 18-year-old brother lived with me.

I ran my first 5k.

I quit smoking.

I got all A’s in my classes (Intro to Marketing, Anatomy of Violence, Promotional Communications).

I became active on Twitter and met some great “tweeps”.

I stepped up and volunteered with Ad Fed MN.

I was a “foster mom” for a homeless cat.

My brother graduated from high school.

My other brother recovered from being hit by a truck.

I was a bridesmaid in one my good friend’s weddings.

I danced the night away with my friends on Grand Avenue.

I joined a gym {twice}.

My best friend ended a 3+ year relationship.

I was stressed out.

I laughed at my mistakes.

I turned 23.

I spent the entire year {except six weeks} as a single girl.

I ran my second 5k on Thanksgiving morning (the coldest Thanksgiving in many years).

I learned more about myself than I ever thought I would.

I was asked to be a personal attendant for two of my good friends’ weddings in 2011.

The bottom line?

2010 was a good year. I had (and still have) a great job, health insurance, family, friends, an education, a roof over my head and food on my table. I am grateful for all of these things and happy that I lived a healthy year.

Cheers to 2010; hello 2011. I am looking forward to you.

{via weheartit.com}

Leah

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I am doing the Polar Bear Plunge.

When you live in Minnesota, you need to embrace the cold winter. Otherwise those 3-4 months can seem so unbearable. My winter will most definitely be exciting.

image from securian.com

In January I will be running the Securian Winter Run 5k! This will be fun! I did it last year as my first 5k. I spent the rest of 2010 working on getting better at running. I feel confident with this 5k and will spend January preparing. I also have a few friends joining me and even doing the half marathon! Way to go! Also, this is a part of the 125th Saint Paul Winter Carnival, so there will be many activities happening in downtown Saint Paul!

 
February will be a cold month and I’ll be jumping into frigid Minnesota waters with an awesome team for the Polar Bear Plunge. The Polar Bear Plunge is a fund-raiser for the Minnesota Special Olympics. I am so excited to be a part of this with so many great people. People keep telling me I am crazy for doing this but I never second guessed it. I am thankful that I have the ability to be able to do this for those who cannot.
 
 
 
 
If I surpass my $400 fundraising goal then I will plunge in a bikini!  What a great way to raise money for the Special Olympics!
 
AND in March I will be in the wonderful town of New Ulm, Minnesota for BOCKFEST.  If you’re wondering what Bockfest is… I am also “wondering”. I have heard a little about it, a celebration of a German town and the Schell’s Brewing Company in town. All I know is that I’ll be heading down with a friend and we’ll be dressed up in the ultimate Minnesota outfit, Sorel boots and bomber hats with blaze orange jackets.
 
Keeping busy in Minnesota in the winter is key. In fact, I think I am doing more this winter than I did the past summer. I like to spend my summers relaxing and going to the cabin on the weekend with no big plans.
 
Happy Minnesota Winter!
 
Leah
 

Monday Favorite #1

I saw on my classmate Angeleen’s blog that she’ll be posting a weekly favorite thing, either about marketing or advertising or something completely random. I’ve decided to follow her but rather than Friday I decided to go with Monday!

Without further ado, here is my favorite thing for Monday December 20th, 2010!

Phresh Spa Salon

Phresh is my neighborhood spa/salon. I’ve been a client there since March of 2010 and I LOVE it. On Friday December 17th, I had a day off work and went in for a brow wax. I was told they were offering 30% off facials and massages. I’ve never had a facial so I jumped at the chance. I’ve been extra stressed with moving and work and the mini-facial was AMAZING. Miranda did an awesome job and used great products. Not to mention my brows looked perfect afterwards, as well (as always). It has taken me many bad hair cuts and colors to finally be comfortable with a salon and trust someone with my hair. There’s nothing like the feeling of getting compliments on your awesome cut and color and being able to give credit to someone who truly takes joy in their job.

I love Phresh for many reasons.

1. Rewards points! When you refer a friend you get 10,000 points. For every dollar you spend you get points.These rack up quickly when you get services like color, cut, waxes, etc. Once you hit 25,000 you get $25 back. You can save them up for a big-ticket item like that $100 massage you’ve been longing for or you can just do what I do, which is apply the $25 every time you hit it.

2. I love the way they get involved with social media. They have a Facebook and Twitter account and also use Foursquare (I happen to be the mayor at this moment…) They respond to tweets and they post valuable information via their social media. They also have a blog on their website where they’ll talk about different things in beauty, like how to keep your skin and hair moisturized in the winter.

3. The staff: everyone that works there is so sweet and great. You’re always welcome. You can come in with your hair looking awful and they’ll take you back and fix you up. Once I mentioned that I was having a group of girls over for a pre-wedding party and they did my make up for free! Nothing like making a girl feel beautiful.

4. Online appointment scheduling: You can log in online and schedule any services! So conveient for folks that like to go online to do their business.

Phresh is so well-rounded and it’s clear they value their customer relationship. Head on over to the website, give them a call, schedule an appointment. You’ll be happy you did.

**I did not receive any compensation for this post. I am just a happy Phresh customer and want others to be happy, too 🙂

End of Term Thoughts

As I close the semester and finish up my Promotional Communications class, I can reflect on what I’ve learned over the past term. I am no longer required to write a blog post about things going on anymore! I have Thursday nights back to myself and can now catch up on the whole season thus far of Grey’s Anatomy! Score one for Leah’s free time. But, I digress.

Anyway, one of the main take aways from the class is that if you can create a wave in the social media world, you can do anything. You can use social media for creating awareness for a cause, marketing your business and many other things. Online publications and media branding is a key essential to a successful business or brand.

Last night was the award ceremony for the Twin Cities Top Ten Titans In Social Media 2010. From this blog post, you can see why someone would be nominated.

“The people who make the list will have made an impact on society through using social media in the past year. People on the list may be independent, work for large companies, work in media, public relations, politics, the arts, or some other type of work. One thing that that will determine the winners is that they will be people who are finding new ways to use social media and pushing the limits of the platforms they are using.” Continue reading

What happens when things on the web go viral?

In my promotion communications class we’ve discussed when “things go viral” – meaning, take the internet and media by storm.

A few examples of things/people/posts that have taken off in the past couple of years:

1. Justin Bieber: He started off as a Canadian kid whose mother posted his videos on YouTube for out of town family members to see. Somehow he was discovered by Usher and is now the tween heart-throb for this generation.

This video is my personal favorite pre-famous Biebs.

As of today this video has 23 million hits. He also has over 6 million followers on Twitter.

2. In July of 2009, Jill & Kevin got married in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The entire wedding party danced down the aisle to Chris Brown’s “Forever”. The video took off and they were featured nationally. Here is their video:

While researching this post, I discovered that Jill & Kevin turned their viral wedding dance video into a way to raise money for a good cause, The Sheila Wellstone Institute. In 2009 Chris Brown (the artist of the song they’re dancing to) physically abused his girlfriend at the time, R&B Pop star Rihanna. As of 9/29/10, Jill & Kevin’s viral video has raised $34,900 in donations for the Sheila Wellstone Institute. Way to go, Jill & Kevin!

3. On November 2, 2010 Nerdy Apple Bottom wrote a post on her blog titled “My Son Is Gay”. Her 5-year-old son, “Boo”, wanted to dress up like Daphne, a popular female character from Scooby Doo. Other mothers at Boo’s school were clearly offended and stated that the mother never should have “allowed” her son to dress up as a female character.  The bottom line is bullying. It seems that lately teen and child suicide has been on the rise, specifically in regards to bullying. So this mom took to her blog to defend her son. She says in her post:  

“Just as it was heartbreaking to those parents that have lost their children recently due to bullying. IT IS NOT OK TO BULLY. Even if you wrap it up in a bow and call it ‘concern.’  Those women were trying to bully me. And my son. MY son.” {found here}

I tweeted Nerdy Apple Bottom this afternoon and she responded that as of today she’s had 3,086,673 views. That post has over 45,000 comments. It’s been just over a month since it’s been posted. From a basic Google search I can see that she was featured many places, including: a Forbes.com blog as an example of a “bad mommy blogger”; Good Morning America; In the U.K. on Mail Online;  The Today Show; The View and many others, including tons of other blogs. BlogHer author Melissa Ford interviewed her regarding how her post went viral and her reactions {here}. She states she had about a dozen readers, put the post together in 10 minutes and published.

I came across the post early in the morning on November 4th. I remember because we were coincidentally talking about viral media/marketing in class that night and I brought this post up. I saw it on WordPress’ main page that morning then it was tweeted and re-tweeted by many people I follow!

4. This video “I Hope This Gets To You” was created by Walter May to create something different to express his feelings for his girlfriend that had just moved away for graduate school. This was posted on 11/28/10 and has had 534,160 hits as of this moment.  Walter says:

“I secretly created a song and video with my friends the Daylights in hopes that it would be passed around and get to her organically. WITH YOUR HELP, we can meet this goal and it can stand as a symbol of what we can do as a digital social community.”

Check it out… (it is cute)

I saw this because of retweets on Twitter with the title “This is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen”. Naturally, I was intrigued. This guy knows what he’s doing – using the digital social media community to create a viral video.

So the question remains: how does something go viral?

In my opinion, based on what we’ve discussed in class, what I’ve learned in other classes and what I see in my own life, I think there are a few things that contribute to something “going viral”.

A basic Google search {I already explained that Google is my daily go-to for searches!} of “How does something go viral” brings up TONS of blogs and articles. Someone could spend a lot of time researching this topic. Our book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott, is just one example of more research that has been in regards to social media and interactive marketing and PR.

I think that there are a few components to something going viral. I think it either needs have a platform or a controversy behind it. I doubt that my blog about Coke Zero & Diet Coke will go viral. But, based on the above examples I can conclude the following:

  • Justin Bieber went viral and is now the tween IT man because he fit the marketing niche. At the time, there really wasn’t a teeny bopper boy. Someone came across him and thought he’d fit the mold  – he’ll bring in the money. And I’m sure he has. There’s going to be a 3D Justin Bieber MOVIE coming out…
  • Jill & Kevin’s wedding entrance dance. Jill & Kevin posted it on their YouTube page and from there, well, we see where it went. I think it went viral because it is great! It is funny, creative and not something you see every day. It today’s world of bad news, it’s nice to see something funny and happy. I am happy that they’re from St. Paul. They have been parodied, too! You know you’ve made it big when someone is making fun of you.
  • Nerdy Apple Bottom’s post created some controversy, especially in the mommy blog world. Although, she does say 98% of the comments were positive, there were still people who criticized her for “putting her son out there”. She took a risk and she stood strong her beliefs. She’s a great parent and her children and family are lucky! She gave the interwebs something to talk about.
  • Walter’s video that he created for his girlfriend: I will be curious to see if he has created enough hype for it to get to her. And if so, I will be curious to see how she felt. I would be flatter and probably cry, but then again I’m kind of a sap for things like that. I’ll definitely be following him on Twitter for an update and will update this post when I find out. I think it will go viral, and it will get to her because, in less than a week it’s got half a million hits. It’s the law of the six degrees of seperation. Someone has to know her and email it to her or post it on her Facebook or Twitter.

In today’s world of instant news, constant updates and interconnected lives there are so many things that are posted on the internet that can become a hit – good or bad. The one thing I can conclude is that, with the exception of Walter’s video, the others did not INTEND for their posts to go viral. They simply were venting on a blog, posting music for out of town family or just being goofy.

What does this mean for the marketing world? Does this mean that if you want to spread the news about your product that you need to create something to cause a stir? Or do you do your normal thing and hope it takes the world by storm? Interesting questions that I will definitely keep pondering.