Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Beuaty, Fashion, and Entertainment Brands Experts: 3 Tips to Make You Help You Unlock Diverse Opportunities in Asia Pacific

As a professional in beauty, fashion, and entertainment industry, you know how Asia Pacific has become a global growth engine and opportunity areas with the most dynamic markets, including China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. As a graduating senior at Northwestern University with a multicultural background and extensive knowledge of Asia as well as several internship experiences in marketing industry, I have found two articles highlighting the importance of business opportunities in Asia.

According to CNN’s journalist in Hong Kong Peter Shadbolt in this article, cosmetics and beauty products now outstrips groceries as the biggest selling item in its department stores in China. Japan’s annual beauty and personal care market is still the largest in the region at about $50 billion, second in the world only to the United States, according to Euromonitor International. While South Korea’s domestic market is only a third size of China, in terms of soft power the country punches well above its weight thanks to Asia’s insatiable appetite for Korea’s drama series and their stars. Korean beauty brands are now the hottest ticket item in China, and is setting the standard for the growing market in skincare products that have become so popular in Asia.
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According to The Washington Post’s bureau chief in Tokyo Anna Fifield, South Korea has become famous in recent years for skin-care products for women as well as men. The South Korean beauty-product industry boasts about $10 billion in sales annually, and exports to China and Southeast Asia have been growing at a rapid pace. Cosmetics and skincare are a huge prospect in South Korea as well as other parts of Asia, thanks to the phenomenal popularity of Korean dramas and music.

3 Recommendations
Drawing on these two articles and my experience as a student of Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University, I have listed three actions that I would recommend to companies who want to become leaders in the growing Asian beauty and cosmetics industry.

1. Utilize Main Social Sites in Asia: Social networking sites such as China’s Weibo or other messenger services such as Korea’s KakaoTalk or Line are used to collect big data and analyze consumers’ interests and as a platform to promote brand marketing campaigns.  
2. Don’t underestimate men’s grooming: The main target audience is not only females in terms of beauty and cosmetic products; demand for male-specific cosmetics is growing and men’s toiletries subcategories are becoming more sophisticated.
3. Tap into K-pop tactics (Hallyu): Along with popularity of K-Pop, the dramas, TV shows, music and film are gaining great interest all over Asia including China, Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines. Utilizing this Korean wave to present products can be an effective to expand to broader Asian industry.

Rinah Harin Jang
I am currently a senior at Northwestern University studying Communication Studies and Business Institutions along with pursuing a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communication from the Medill School of Journalism. I am graduating in June 2016 and looking for full-time employment in Brand Management and International Marketing. Feel free to reach out or connect with me at @RinahHarin or LinkedIn:

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Brand Marketers: Big Events and Big Celebrities are Key to Big Awareness

A key piece of strategy for the in-house marketing team of any major brand is implementing a specific image for the public to consume. By aligning the brand with public figures with certain key values, brand marketers can feel sure that their brand stays salient and is exposed to their desired audience. While the focus here is on fashion, the prevalence of pop culture allows all industries to benefit from celebrity and event association.

Steph Curry's partnership with Under Armour has led to an increase in the brand's sales

Brands should understand the power that celebrities hold over consumers, especially because this has increased exponentially with the advent of social media. The New York Times highlighted the “Marketing Power of Sports Stars” in a feature under their Fashion/Style category that focused on professional athletes and their style ambassadorships. In particular, the article mentioned Roger Federer’s failure to rip his Uniqlo shirt during Wimbledon as “an incredible moment where the athlete was trying to express himself and Uniqlo’s quality almost gets in the way,” said Justin Kerr, chief merchandising officer and co-marketing director of Uniqlo U.S.A. “We couldn’t have planned it.” This vignette shows the benefit of having celebrity relationships with brands. Brands receive organic, wide-reaching exposure that sends a loud and clear message to consumers.

Similarly, major events that draw hundreds of celebrity attendees have become prime opportunities for brand marketing efforts. Bethany Biron in Digiday discussed the implications of Coachella, one of the largest music festivals in the world, as an event with “critical mass...that fashion designers and retailers are clamoring to cash in” on. Marybeth Schmitt, North America communications director for H&M, described the meaning that brands can find in such events: “the festival’s roots may be in music but it has transcended into a full fashion and lifestyle experience.” Labels are able to make branded content for the show, seen in the H&M promotional photo above, as well as leverage celebrity “endorsements” during the event to gain exposure to the wide range of audiences that consume news on Coachella fashion.

The following are ways to use insights on your target market to align your brand with consumable and digestible media:

  • Choose one key event that draws audience members that would align with the core brand values. Which types of experiences does your intended market value? What kinds of events do they care about? And of these, which draw the most media attention, particularly media that they can consume and digest?

  • Utilize celebrity endorsements that again align with the core brand values; have them post on their social media channels. Celebrities can be seen as influencers for every aspect of a consumer’s life. Proving your product’s worth to a single celebrity will encourage many of their fans (who most likely attempt to live according to similar values as specific celebrities, even unknowingly) to regard the product highly. While this essentially is a form of advertising, it is more valuable than standard advertising because it gives the impression of a personal recommendation.

  • Promote using an integrated approach (similar to native advertising on internet) with the event/figure involvement. While events and celebrities are a good way to help the brand reach its market and strengthen its equity, this approach can be construed as overly orchestrated. Don’t use excessive hashtags or repost the exact same thing on every social media channel, as today’s consumers, who are both social media savvy and value brand honesty, will perceive it as a heavy-handed advertising attempt and will therefore disregard it.

Content Creators: 3 Ways to Develop an Instagram Community Around Your Brand

Instagram has become one of the most popular platforms for creating and sharing branded content. As an undergraduate at Northwestern University studying Communication Studies, I have found two articles that highlight the importance of engaging customers on popular social media channels, namely Instagram. 

In her article Using Instagram to Build Brand Awareness, Amanda Clark highlights three main ways to build brand awareness on Instagram: encourage engagement, include customers as parts of the stories, and call users to action. Brands can encourage engagement with photo contests, include users in their stories by reposting and sharing their photos related to a branded product, and utilize many hashtags to call users to action and increase brand awareness.  

Hashtags for Major Sports Brands

Instagram recently updated the look of its icon and inner app design. A more major change involving an algorithm, however, is in the works. Mike Isaac in his article, Instagram May Change Your Feed, Personalizing It With an Algorithm, discusses the potential results of this new algorithm. Instagram will be implementing a new algorithm that pushes the moments it believes the user cares about the most to the front of their feeds. The order will be changed based on ‘likelihood of interest’ and relationship the user has with the person posting. The goal is to increase the personalization and engagement of Instagram. As a result, brands must find even more powerful ways to stand our from other content posters and enhance their relationships with followers.
Instagram User Feed

Based on my review of the these two articles and my work with content creators at Northwestern, here are three actions items I recommend you consider:  
  1. Engage your followers: To ensure you don't get lost in the cloud of content, focus on engaging loyal customers by pushing them content that prompts them to act (ex. hashtags, reposting for prizes, social mentions). Just as valuable is reaching a wide enough group to hold onto a more diverse audience. 
  2. Share your stories: Not only engage your followers to be active, but also engage directly with them. Share personal brand stories, create brand narratives, and allow users to tell their own stories. Listen, but be heard, and the connection will form.  
  3. Show you care: Show customers that you are seeing their personal stories and that you appreciate them. Comment on and like users photos, give special shout outs, and highlight loyal customers. This will increase their relationship with the branded content and the likelihood for followers to see the brand’s content. 

Social media use will continue to increase, and content will continue to be moved on to user-curated platforms. With over 400 million users on Instagram, instead of just selling a brand, we should think about forming relationships with followers. Instagram is not only a platform to send creative messages, but has become a place for conversation and connection. 

Helen Chen is a undergraduate studying Communications and International Studies at Northwestern University. She is currently completing the Integrated Marketing Communications certificate, and is interested in a future in creative advertising, nonprofit work, as well as starting her own small business. She is also very passionate about education and is involved in a student-run nonprofit called Supplies for Dreams. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Outreach Coordinators of Nonprofit Organizations: 3 Recommendations for Outreach

          Within the last decade or so, the idea of corporate responsibility and social good has become highly discussed among the corporate world and even within the general public. As a result, non-profits are growing larger and more impactful in the communities that they help. At the same time that people in need are becoming more likely to receive services from non-profits, people and especially big donors are becoming more willing to give their money to good causes. Thus, as an outreach coordinator of a nonprofit, your job is two-fold: you need to be able to reach people who use your services and you need to be able to gain recognition and legitimacy in order to get funding. Both of these ultimately allow you to maximize the social impact that a non-profit can have. Much of this outreach will be done through social.
As a student at Northwestern interested in the outreach of nonprofit organizations, here are two articles that give interesting recommendations. “Twitter at Age 10: Why ItStill Matters in Nonprofit Communications” published by Prichard communications speaks to the importance of Twitter specifically for non-profits. On the services side of things, Twitter has become a first resort for many to get their news and learn about new trends. Tweets are closely linked to Google and will often show up in a Google search. Because of this, non-profits should use Twitter in order to gather the attention of those who they provided services for, publicizing their mission so people will see it when a trigger event occurs. Twitter has also become a great tool for activists and other revolutionaries in the world, making it a great tool for those who are looking to donate their time and money to a good cause. By “Following” the people who speak out about issues in the world, you will be able to publicize what your non-profit does to those who are passionate about looking for solutions.

            Another article, “Social Media Matters: Smart Strategies for Nonprofits”, published in Biz Journal, pushes the idea of “social messaging” to create a dialogue between patrons, advocates, and donors. This way, both people accessing services and donors will get a better understanding of the organization and feel more personally attached to it. This increases their likelihood of using the services or donating their money because they know that the organization is creating good change. This article also highlights using social media tools to increase visibility of an organization. Because there are so many non-profits in the world, people may have to sift the missions of hundreds of organizations before they get to yours. Increasing visibility can be done through increasing the Google search function, using Youtube’s nonprofit program, creating a function to donate on social media, or maximizing your posts on social media platforms. This will ensure that the mission of your organization as well as the impact that it has had will be easily accessible to those looking for it.

Based on these articles and the changing landscape of social media, the three suggestions I have for you are:
1. Increase visibility across all Social Media platforms
2. Keep up-to-date on your Social Media posting
3. Increase your Google search using keywords

By using social media in a strategic way, you will maximize your reach and ultimately elevate the mission and impact of your nonprofit.

Vicky Ho is a senior at Northwestern studying Psychology, Science in Human Culture, and Integrated Marketing & Communications. She is interested in non-profit and social sector work and wants to combine that with her interest in and knowledge of marketing and communications. She has had experience doing outreach work for student organizations at Northwestern through her involvement with the Academy of Music and Arts for Special Education and Sustained Dialogue. Connect with her on LinkedIn here

College Marketing Students: 3 Tips for Navigating the Job Hunt

As students of marketing, we seek to learn this ever-important skill to help brands tell their stories to consumers, as well as to tell our own stories to prospective employers. Having done so at Northwestern University, on the job hunt and for brands such as Coca Cola, my experiences only echo the outcomes of advice about breaking into the professional market mentioned in two great articles.

In her “If You Need An Interview Script, You Shouldn’t Be Interviewing” article for Forbes, Liz Ryan, founder and CEO of Human Workplace, a prominent think tank, coaching and consulting business, emphasizes the importance of avoiding “the script” on job interviews for employers and potential employees. She holds that the strongest culture fits and organic conversation come from more humanized, natural-feeling conversation, rather than more contrived back-and-forth. In letting go of pre-rehearsed questions and answers, employers and potential employees yield more meaningful results from the interview process, and thus, better understanding of job fits.

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In his “Landing an internship has become way more important and complex than anyone’s acknowledging” article for LinkedIn, Jeff Selingo, a prominent thought leader in higher education, emphasizes that this sense of fit holds true in the realm of landing internships as they become even more important in the ever-evolving job market. He underscores the paramount importance of internships (summer and school-year) in helping college students get a foot in the door for full-time jobs after graduation, or developing strong hands-on work experience.

After reviewing these articles, working marketing-intensive internships and studying Marketing Strategy at Northwestern, I offer three tips based on my experience, as well as Liz Ryan and Jeff Selingo’s expertise:

·      Beware of Scripts: Approach each interview not as a rigidly structured back-and-forth, but rather as an engaging conversation with someone you would like to work with.

·      Internships = Investment: Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty in the job market during and between school years, as even the job experiences you like the least give you perspective on the road ahead.

·      Think Big Picture: Always have a sense of your true north, as each step you take (whether in an interview or networking event) helps to guide you on your path toward achieving your greater goals.

With these three takeaways in mind, the job search should stand as a look to your future (near and distant), as well as an exercise in finding a work environment that genuinely fits your personality and skills.
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Michael Schonfeld is an Integrated Marketing Communications student at Northwestern University, as well as a marketer experienced in helping brands use music to build their identities with consumers.

You can find him on LinkedIn or on Twitter at @MSchony.

Trends on The Street: Big Banks and Oil

The performance of dismal investment banks and oil prices over the past month hold some troubling implications for the way markets are looking to shape up in the remainder of this year. How major financial players respond will crucial to their either the continuing underperformance or banks or their turn around.
As an undergraduate student at Northwestern University studying Economics with minors in Psychology and a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications, I provided two articles below that I think will be informative to financial professionals and enthusiasts.

The first article written by two Wall Street Journal financial reporters takes a look into the recent earnings reports of Goldman Sachs Inc. and the related implications to other banks on the Street. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reported sharply weaker first quarter results, raising investor fears that there are fundamental problems in the Wall Street money-making machine. Profits for most of the largest U.S. banks were down. However, on top of this five of the six also posted shrinking revenue—led by a 40% drop at Goldman.
The performance has raised tough questions from analysts and investors about the road ahead for the firms and their ability to generate the level of business they have in the past. Banks’ trading businesses have deeper challenges that may not go away with a pickup in economic activity: Goldman and other banks have been discouraged from taking big trading risks by tougher capital rules and the Volcker rule, which limited bets with banks’ own money as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial legislation. In order to bounce back many banks will have to implement new and extreme cost cutting measures to fight shrinking revenues.


            This second article delves into the correlation between oil prices and stocks in the current year. Not so long ago, the easiest way to figure out where U.S. stocks were headed was to look at oil. Remember when what was bad for oil was bad for stocks, and vice versa? Well, that isn’t really true anymore. For investors, this indicates the adverse feedback loops that were rattling markets earlier this year have, for the moment, been broken. A good thing—though it may also make the Federal Reserve more comfortable about raising rates.
Indeed, oil and stock prices have moved in the same direction on just 11 of the past 20 trading days. And the correlation between daily moves in the crude contract and the S&P has fallen to 0.28. The Fed, wary of what happened earlier this year, is in no rush to tighten; the chances of a rate increase at its meeting next week are next to nil. But with the fading of the extreme correlations between oil, stocks and other market instruments, it has one less reason not to go in June.

Three Actions Items

So at the end of the day what does this mean for investors? Here are three item actions for investors with stakes in financials and oil:

1)    Be cautious in the investment of the stocks of big banks
o   Banks’ trading businesses have deeper challenges that may not go away with a pickup in economic activity
§  discouraged from taking big trading risks by tougher capital rules and the Volcker rule
o   Upside: Despite tough first quarter, all six big U.S. banks beat earnings estimates for the first time since 2013, according to data from Thomson Reuters.
§  Banks including Goldman said trading conditions had improved in March and April, giving some hope to investors who had bet on bank shares of late.
2)    Do not have too much anxiety about the outlook of U.S. and world economies during the remainder of 2016
o   Isn’t as grim as many feared when stocks hit their low for the year
3)    Do not make investments that play off the correlation between oil prices and stock prices
o   Correlation has proven to be minimal at best as of late despite movements in late 2015 and early 2016

Tunde Kelani is a graduate of Northwestern University with a B.A. Economics, minor in Psychology and an Integrated Marketing Communications certificate from the Medill School of Journalism. He will being working for Goldman Sachs as a Securities Analyst in July 2016. LinkedIn:


Me: Tunde Kelani, Northwestern, IMC, Social Marketing, Goldman Sachs
Article: Justin Baer, Peter Rudegeair, Justin Lahart, Wall Street Journal, Banks, Oil
Topics/Industries: Finance, Financials, Big Banks, Oil, Markets, Interest Rates, The Fed, Stock prices, S&P

Target Market: Finance Professionals, Investors, Finance enthusiasts