Thursday, February 25, 2016

3 Tips for Engaging with “Fashionletics”

If you are someone who follows fashion you know that athletic wear is a very hot trend right now, which means there are new opportunities to engage with in this market. As a former college athlete and current graduate student studying Integrated Marketing Communications this topic is very interesting to me, and I have found two articles that discuss the emergence of this new trend. 
The first article I found came from titled, “Why Are Sportswear Giants Nike and Adidas Embracing Fashion?” This article discusses how powerhouses like Nike have began working with models instead of just athletes, placing a greater focus on style; whereas Adidas has continually collaborated with fashion designers including Stella McCartney former curator of popular designer brand Chlo√©. The article quotes Dirk Sch√∂nberger, creative director of Adidas’ sport style division, “Sports style is really a giant consumer vertical; it’s very lifestyle sportswear, so there is much more of a fashion element”, calling attention to the vast potential for the fitness wear fashion movement. The article recognizes that style will always be a huge part of marketing to women (Truth) even when it comes to high performance gear.

       The other article “Why Fitness Is Having A Moment In Fashion” was published on This article talks about the booming sales in the activewear category. It explains that this trend is so large that even pure fashion clothing companies like Free People and Tory Burch are expanding their lines to include fitness gear (which I am so excited about). In general people are more interested in fitness making this a huge market, it doesn’t matter if you are Tom Ford or Kanye West everyone wants a piece of it. People are drawing inspiration from street style and blending the two worlds.
            After reading these two articles it is obvious that the fitness fashion trend is here to stay. Drawing from my own interests and experiences as a female student athlete studying Integrated Marketing Communications, I have developed three action items that I would recommend to anyone who wants to be a part of this hot athleticwear trend.

·      Leggings, Leggings, Leggings--Tights are the New Jeans” –Nike

·      Take Creative Chances—Go retro, add patterns, don’t be afraid of color.

·      Embrace Comfort—Beauty is pain no more; clothes can be comfortable and stylish.

  Right away the first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with popular styles within “fashionletics” in order to better understand the prospective it can have.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Briana Borsellino is a masters student in the Integrated Marketing Communication program within the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She would like to pursue a career as a brand strategist, communicator, or planner. She is interested in sports, fashion, and entertainment and hopes to be client facing regardless of the industry she ends up in. You can connect with her on Linkedin or follow her on Twitter, @Bernandb.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Collegiate Marketing Directors: 3 Action Items to Consider Regarding Social Media Marketing in Athletics

        As an Director of  Collegiate Marketing and clearly a college sports enthusiast, you are well aware of the impact of social media when generating buzz and how effective social media marketing can benefit a department. As a graduate in the Northwestern Medill IMC program and a former student athlete, I have found two articles that address both sides of the spectrum of the effects of marketing on different social platforms.
      Julie Blakey's article, “The Intersection of Collegiate Athletics and Social Media” explains the upward trend of social media engagement in collegiate athletics. She details how the ability to connect with passionate fans on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook can help develop a community where these collegiate brands can effectively engage fans with hopes of this increasing fan loyalty, with beliefs that this interactivity will produce future returns on investments. She goes on to give great examples of institutions that effectively use social media to help further their fanbase. For example, the Michigan Football Facebook page utilized the ability “like” button to get fans exclusive access to season and individual ticket packages before anyone else, which this sort of buzz pays huge dividends for the university. The University of Oregon has a room called the “Quack Cave.” that is dedicated to monitoring everything Oregon from the coaches, to the players,  and various sports. The approaches from both colleges signify a turn in collegiate marketing that  Julie believes is a win-win if universities continue to effectively utilize social media.


         In Arash Markasi’s article “Social media is a double edged sword in the sports world,”  he talks about the mindset of young athletes of today and their interactions on different social media platforms. In a study from the Pew Research Center showed that 92% of teenagers are online daily, and 90% of teenagers operate on at least one social media platform. Athletes of today tend to operate with a carefree mentality on these platforms, in which this mindset has had numerous examples of individuals ending up on the wrong end on the court of public opinion. For example, Yuri Wright lost scholarship offers from schools like Michigan and Notre Dame because of his explicit persona on Twitter and multiple BCS football coaches have admitted to social media activity playing a factor in college recruiting as well.  It is sort of tough to be so highly critical of these young athletes because they are young high schoolers and they should make mistakes, but essentially they are future ambassadors of the University as a whole, so that sort of responsibility weighs heavy on the minds of whether or not to offering college scholarships. Overall, it’s a great piece that effectively communicates the importance of being critical of what to post online.

         After reading these two articles and from my graduate studies in the Northwestern Medill IMC program, I have three action items you should consider in your next steps moving forward with utilizing social media, which are:

  •  Get Started: Utilizing every platform may not be necessary at first, so start with one(maybe Twitter first) and figure out an online persona that effectively conveys the desired  image/ message of the athletic department.
  •  Get Educated: Understand that everyone involved in the athletic department is a representation of the University as a whole. Education of social media etitique is a must from faculty to student-athletes to avoid any situations that would disrupt the public image.
  •  Get Noticed: In respect to the image of the University, try to differentiate your university from the rest. Be able to answer these questions. What makes people pledge a sincere allegiance to your university for years to come? How do you want to be perceived by someone who knows nothing about your university?

Hello my name is Deonte Gibson, and I graduated from Northwestern with a BA in Communications and a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications in June 2015. I am currently enrolled in the IMC graduate program with an open-mind and eagerness to learn about the ever evolving field of marketing communications. The blog was inspired by my career goal to work on the marketing side of collegiate athletics, and how incorporating my knowledge of social media platforms to further marketing success. For more content or just to chat about the ever evolving field of marketing or just about sports, my twitter handle is @deontegib_13!

Tech Managers: 3 Things to Keep in Mind About IoT

Tech Managers: 3 Things to Keep in Mind About IoT

One of the major industry buzzwords is the “Internet of Things.” While people have an abundance of applications for IoT, what needs to transpire to ensure these applications are possible? As a graduate student in the IMC program at Northwestern University with an interest in IoT and AI, I have found two articles which focus on the relationship between these two technologies.

The first article "The Internet of Things Will be the Worlds Biggest Robot"( by Bruce Schneier published in Forbes indicates that the “Internet of Things” is the computerization of everything in our lives. Schneier talks about how you can buy internet-enabled thermostats, light bulbs, refrigerators and car. Soon Schneier argues that “everything will be on the Internet: the things we own, the things we interact with in public, autonomous things that interact with each other.” The article states that the two things that make this possible are sensors that collect data about us and the environment and actuators that will affect our environment. Schneier states that “Increasingly, human intervention will be unnecessary. The sensors will collect data. The system’s smarts will interpret the data and figure out what to do. And the actuators will do things in our world.” This will create what Schneier calls the “world-sized robot.” This world-sized robot or “world-sized web” as he calls it will be on at all times collecting data.

The second article “IoT Won’t Work Without Artificial Intelligence” ( by Mark Jaffe ( published on talks about how interconnected the success of IoT and AI are. Jaffe states that “as the rapid expansion of devices and sensors connected to the Internet of Things continues, the sheer volume of data being created by them will increase to a mind-boggling level.” While all of this data can provide a ton of useful information, its true value will not be recognized by human analysis. This is because “it’s simply impossible for humans to review and understand all of this data.” Jaffe argues that in order to IoT to live up to its promise, we must improve the speed and accuracy of big data analysis. This is where the machine learning aspect will play a vital role. Jaffe hammers his point home by saying “ since current approaches don’t scale to IoT volumes, the future realization of IoT’s promise is dependent on machine learning finding patterns, correlations, and anomalies.”

As a graduate student at Northwestern University in the IMC program, these two articles lead me to these three action items.

  • Pursue Standardization - The first company to create a standardized adaptable form of Artificial Intelligence will be in the best position to leverage the growth of the Internet of Things. 
  • IoT Rules - IoT will only go as far as artificial intelligence will take it.
  • Sense for Success - Improving sensors, actuators, and mobile capabilities will provide the richest and insightful data for marketing analysis.

As a CMO in the technology space, following these three actions items will help you better prepare for the changes taking place in this connected world.

Joseph Macdougall is an M.S. candidate in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University - Medill School, Class 16. Prior to attending Northwestern, Macdougall received a bachelor of science degree in communications from the University of Miami. Upon graduation, Macdougall is interested in pursuing a marketing position in the technology industry. Macdougall can be contacted at Twitter @Joe_Mac15 and at LinkedIn at Please let me know what you think and feel free to comment.

CEOs: 3 Steps to Embrace Big Data Analysis

   As a CEO, you realize the world of marketing is rapidly changing and big data is becoming the best way to grow your business. As a master candidate at Medill IMC, Northwestern University with a specialization in marketing analytics, I have found two insightful articles that describe the bright prospect of big data analysis and give simple instructions on how to best use big data in your own business.

“Big Data and the Future of Business” (MIT technology view written by Kenneth Cukier describes the future of big data. It clarifies that the basis of commercial enterprise is always information and big data is no more than a fancy tool to better harness information. However, the quantitative shift in terms of data leads to a qualitative shift for business management. Big Data’s “more” has not just been more of the same, it has been “new”, “better” and “different” in many industries. In general, big data will change business, and business will change society.

Big data in the real world: how to move from buzzword to strategy? (Computerworld UK by John Sidhu gives step-by-step instructions on how to apply big data analysis to business management. It claims that big data gives businesses the power to solve problems that were previously hard to tackle. Big data facilitates the communications between business and customers by precise matching. The business has to work closely with data scientists to really understand what their data is telling them. After adopting big data analysis, businesses should create a structure to measure its success.

As a graduate student with a close interest in marketing analytics at Medill Northwestern, here are three steps that any traditional business should take to embrace big data analysis:

  • Think Big Data – Understand how big data help make better assessments by handling critical information all the time.

  •  Collaborate with data-scientists - Business should work closely with the data scientists to really understand what their data is telling them. 

  • Measure Success - Businesses should create a structure to measure success of big data analysis and a target path that allows for inevitable change.

These 3 steps gives you a general idea of big data analysis. Next time when your business seek for disruptive innovation, go for big data!

Yuan Zhao is a master candidate in the Integrated Marketing Communication program at Medill – Northwestern University. He has worked as a social media manager in China and full understand the difference between China and English-speaking countries. Now he specializes in marketing analytics and would like to pursue a career in data analysis after graduation in Dec 16.

Follow Yuan on Twitter or connect through LinkedIn.

Marketing Managers: 3 Ways to Harness the Power of the Internet of Things

Everyone seems to be talking about the Internet of Things (IoT) these days, and you might have wondered more than once just how this futuristic technology is relevant to your work as a marketing manager today. As a graduate student of Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University, I have two articles here that help you understand IoT and how it can make you a power marketer.

As Chief Innovation Officer at DDB (APAC), Anthony J James wrote the article "What Use is the Internet of Things to Marketing?" on LinkedIn to help marketers like you see how IoT makes your job easier. With IoT, objects are becoming smarter with real-time data collection and connectivity, and this wealth of information makes you smarter too. Marketers can use the data to pinpoint and predict consumer needs, seizing that invaluable pre-purchase aperture without wasting resources. You can also use the data to identify problems at various points of communication and optimize your marketing process. It’s all about efficiency, intelligence, and simplicity.

The second article "Why Marketers Must Understand the Internet of Things" is written by digital expert Marko Z. Muellner on the Edelman Digital Blog. Soon, devices and people will be connected everywhere, every minute of the day. IoT is transforming your consumers’ lives, and you too need to transform the capabilities and methods of your marketing team. You should hire data experts, listen to data experts, and think like data experts. Simply put, IoT takes you straight to the head and heart of your consumers, but first you have to know how to work with what you are given.

  • Optimize your process - The data is there to help you see things you don’t normally see, and you can use it to eliminate inefficiencies in your tasks.
  • Think with data - The value of IoT lies in the wealth of data it provides to anyone willing to learn.
  • Focus on humans - Ultimately, the most important thing you can do with any technology is to create value for your customers, and IoT can help you with just that.

Next time you hear IoT in the coffee room or at a convention, recall these three points and join in the conversation on why it’s truly the next big thing for marketers.


Shuyi Shang is a current graduate student of Integrated Marketing Communications at the Medill School, Northwestern University. She has industry experience in digital marketing, social media analytics and market research. You can reach Shuyi on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Filmmakers and Television Producers: 3 Action Items to Enhance Storytelling Through Diversity

Diversity in Hollywood, or the lack thereof, continues to rock conversations around awards season and ignite questions about opportunities for minority groups in the industry. As a graduate student in Northwestern’s Integrated Marketing Communications program, I have come across a couple of interesting articles that critique this current situation.

Michael Epstein at Flavorwire wrote an article on Ryan Murphy's new foundation, Half. In response to many of the diversity conversations swirling around the Oscars, the producer who is creator of FX’s hit series American Horror Story and American Crime Story, has launched a new foundation aimed at creating opportunities for female, gay, and non-white filmmakers in the industry. The foundation, Half, was born out of Murphy’s belief that those members of the Film/TV industry in power have the opportunity, and responsibility, to create avenues for underrepresented voices to be heard. The foundation will offer a mentorship program for female and other minority students as well as a filmmaker database of underrepresented filmmakers to be shared with other producers in the industry.

The lack of representation from minority groups and the LGBT community in all Best Acting categories sparked conversations about inclusivity in Hollywood.
Source: Los Angeles Times, 2016

Over at TV GuideLiz Raftery wrote about President Obama's opinion on the lack of representation of minority and LGBT groups in this year’s Oscar nominations. In his comments, the President echoed a sentiment that many supporters of diversity hold, “When everybody’s story is told, then that makes for better art.” President Obama also went on to add, “The Oscar debate is really just an expression of this broader issue of, ‘Are we making sure that everybody is getting a fair shot”.

Based on the insights offered in these two articles and my experiences as a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill IMC program, here are three actions you can take to avoid the same pitfalls as The Academy:

1)    Outsource Your Content Since you cannot write, direct, or produce a story from all people’s point of view, it is important to hire creators from different backgrounds in order to bring a wealth of new stories, perspectives, and experiences to both the silver screen and the small screen.

2)    Question Yourself - When creating content, be sure to step back and examine whether or not you are telling a new story with new characters, or the same story with the same characters.

3)    Invest In TalentMentor programs, grants, and internships are a great way to give opportunities to underrepresented voices that may not have access to jobs in the Film and TV industry otherwise.

Through these three actions, we can all look forward to new and exciting films and TV shows that better reflect the world we live in today.

About the Author:
Chelsea Ferguson has a B.A. in Communication Studies from Northwestern University where she is also currently pursuing a M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications. Her interests are in Film and Television marketing.

You can follower her on Twitter @yoitscferg