Monday, November 22, 2010

Someone asked where do IMC students go after graduation?

IMC (Advertising Department) used to send almost 100% of the graduates in the late 1980s and early 1990s to marcom agencies advertising, PR and direct marketing. When these firms were merged under holding companies they still hired out students in IMC but also hired MBAs for the corporate offices.

After teaching MBAs for over a decade I found that they would and could work in any industry doing almost anything. Look around your office or room and ask if you are willing to sell anything you see and work for a firm that sells it. The inclination may define an some of the 265,000 MBAs who graduate each year. There are two attactions to hiring IMC students: 1. they use communications as a primary and unique strategic advantage to conduct business. 2. they like to work in the communications industry (agencies, media, publishing).

The 15 month degree is also a bit cheaper than some private school MBAs. All individuals considering graduate should seriously consider "running the numbers" or calculating the return on investment of the degree. You will need to search this blog site for help but also ask the schools 1. all direct costs (tuition, books, travel for classes) 2. housing costs in area as more or less costly than your current costs, 3. estimate loss of income from leaving work to return to school, not working while in school and how long it takes to find a job after graduation (a serious issue in this economy since it can be 6 months or more). What is the cost of borrowing and finally what will be the estimated increase in your salary based on earning a new degree (demand details here). Naturally you can add less economic factors like the value of pride of a graduate degree, meeting your life partner in school, taking time off from work, etc. But, please run the numbers to show that you are a business person with your own decisions.

However, at NU IMC students are educated and trained to be able to apply their in-depth knowledge of communications which is not taught in MBA prograsms to any type of company in B2B and B2C and NGOs and even government. They work in "marketing services", public relations, employee relations, branding (with some distinctions), investor relations, issues management and strategic planning and more.

While many MBAs are hired to work in brand management in consumer goods companies; IMC students are better suited to work on communications (rather than pricing, logistics and product issuues) of branding. There is some confusion in this hiring arena by HR professionals since MBAs may have taken only one or even no course on advertising and promotion, no courses on PR, media analysis and none on database customer analysis. Still, MBAs dominate the brand management hiring.

Of course, IMC students are just as entrepreneurial as as MBAs. They are able and willing to form their own companies (usually with a communications advantage). Search for IMC at Northwestern for a more comprehensive insight to the degree. If you want more information on the salaries, employers, careers of IMC students contact the school for details.

What should you ask before returning or entering graduate school?

Questions to ask (some are very sensitive but ask them anyway)
1. placement record and time to secure a job after graduation
2. scholarships or loans (not available for international students)- this will become a serious issue
3. percent of international and U.S. students (too many too few to learn from and what countries).
4. quality of placement (some call it the euphemistic "career planning") to get you a job with the companies and organizations supporting the school.
5. names of contacts of former graduates to hear the good and bad (not a short list of admission department names)
6. what has happened to the international students? Are they working in the U.S., is it even possible, does the school know where they are if they returned to their country.
7. is the program in professional education dominated by recent graduates with little or no work experience. Does this matter to you?
8. is the program a balance of men and women? Does it matter to you?
9. are they too many part-time faculty teaching in the evening (not available for meetings). Should classes be co-taught to get a mix of new research and thinking from doctoral faculty and new experience and contacts from industry faculty?
10. Is a part-time degree the best choice financially and personally to keep your hand in business? Is the return on investment (ROI) stronger?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

IMC Retail Plan: Research, Plan, Implement and Evalulate

Sample Retail Level Audit of the Brand Image and Performance
Prepared by Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D. 2010
This task and audit memorandum is designed to apply the experience and thinking of the Department of Integrated Marketing Communications and Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D. to retail, single site business. Many of the ideas most often applied to larger consumer goods and business to business level companies have been adapted to a retail firm located in a single site. However, the importance of the application of modern marketing practices to strengthen the store and store owner brand is just as important and may be more important since the stakes are relatively higher for the personal success of the business owner. As with any application of strategic thought and tactics; the memo is really a list of hopefully powerful suggestions that may stimulate the owner to devise his own version of his branding strategy.
First, the memo identifies a number of questions that should be answered in the eyes of the business consumer, in this case member or student. The research steps first ask the brander to understand the consumer, the employee, the co-branding partners, the lending institution, the media, community, business organizations and other stakeholders or publics at the retail level. The retail level IMC communication strategy includes these four steps: Research, plan, implementation, evaluation. See attachment for questions asked at each step for high level professional performance. Each step constantly reminds the branding manager to consider the information gathered primarily in step one (research).
Research is important to gather facts, insights, understanding of the consumer, prospective member, and other critical stakeholders who may heavily influence the consumer’s perspective of the quality and importance of the store and owner brand.
1. Run the “Brand contact audit” and take notes. Ask a current, friendly member to walk through with you recording all his/her comments on their impressions starting in the parking lot.
2. Discuss the brand contact ideas from the impressionable consultant:
1. Where do I park, can I park on the side or is that for the restaurant?
2. Where is the gym? I see the sign but I don’t see the windows. Is that the door?
3. Is it safe to enter? I am in 15 feet and I still don’t know if it is really open?
4. “Wow! Look at all those people in the class; it looks great".
5. Is it the right place?
6. Will someone welcome me? Why don’t they notice me?
7. Was there bell that sounded when I entered?
8. Should I leave now?
9. Where do I wait? Where do I sit? Is my car safe?
10. What is going on here? Do they have my centers of interest?
11. Where are the showers, lockers and toilets?
12. Is that coffee or water for me?
13. Do I like the music?
14. Why is the lighting so harsh?
15. Why are the walls so beat-up?
16. I like the wooden and rubber floors.
17. Do they have shower stalls?
18. Should they have more mirrors? I don’t really like mirrors.
19. Will the class welcome me?
20. Where do I put my purse, bag, and coat?
21. Do they have “cubbies?”?
22. How much is it (wall chart)
23. Do they have personal training? Are these the people? Do they have a female trainer?
24. Where are their pictures and credentials?
25. Is it really, really, really clean.
26. Is the science part real? Can I have an article to take home? Do you have a website link on science?
27. More.

3. Audit of all your communications.
1. All printed materials, contracts, brochures, ads, letters, emails, website, billing notices, exercise sheets, directions to the gym, story of the owner, page of valuable links to website to learn, brochure on science testing device and article confirming its validity.
2. Call your store and gather an impression of how this communications works for brand building. Leave a message and check if it arrives in a timely way. Leave a message for specific trainers.
3. Leave a message on your website.
4. List of all “competitors” that you would like to compare yourself to. Other gyms big and little. Churches, schools, other non-gym gyms. Spas. Home exercise equipment stores?
5. List all formal and informal co-branding agreement and actions taken and date of next action.
a. All stores in the shopping mall and across the street, on each corner.
b. Other business partners including hospitals, doctors, dentists, schools, coaches and gym teachers, university Greek and independent houses, bike shops, sporting goods,
Etc. to place your materials and ask for rewarded referrals.
4. Focus groups and other face to face human research – each idea is an option.
1. Run 5 Post class 30 minute discussion with rewards (drawing for a prize)
2. Offer surveys for all visiting with reward (drawing for a prize)
3. Offer a survey on website
4. Email to members a free survey on “survey monkey”
5. Conduct exit interviews of members who have not renewed, have announced they are leaving because of dissatisfaction with service, price or moving from the area.
6. Interviews with customers you know have left due to service complaints in the past 6 months
7. Find and review of stories and any research on gym management and marketing
8. Locate research materials from suppliers (equipment) of their exercise related research.
9. Conduct general government and social research on exercise
10. Review and locate current scientific and supplier data on your scientific testing systems

5. Gather feedback from conferences, events, meetings
1. Data from show sponsors (pre and post surveys, trends, speakers)
2. Data from specific industry booths
3. Collect data on the floor and events of specific interest to your goals and ideas
4. Arrange to run a focus group at event for a free lunch for about 9 people.
5. Interview people watching people running at half marathons, marathons, 5Ks. What would they like to accomplish in the next 6 months to a year? Would they like to participate in the event
6. See questions on the score sheet attached.
7. more
1. Prepare new product plans that include new audiences identified above and from your own experience and study of competitors
a. Elderly and deals with senior centers
b. People planning to get in shape for an event (party, season, run, family, doctor, trip, etc.)
c. All motivations need to be examined.
d. New equipment ordered or needed to compete (crazy exercise equipment in bike shop)
e. Recent birth mothers with babies in tow
f. Father’s preparing to give away the bride
g. Unemployed professionals who want to look fit, energized and great (team with spa)
2. From the audit above plan to improve the brand contact points
a. Plan specific decorating, remodeling, reorganization and new machines.
b. Use a form to list contact points:
i. List contact point, e.g. front door, front hallway entrance,
ii. List positive or negative impression,
iii. List how important it seems to be to the consumer,
iv. Quote the consumer on if the contact is positive, negative or neutral to them
v. Note improvement s needed on the brand contact point.
3. Use MBO (management by objectives) to plan your statements of success.
a. Mission is your broadest statement of what words represent your reason for being in business and serving others
b. Goals are general statement of what new and continuing actions you wish to do to improve your branding offering. Help recent birth mothers to XXX
c. Objectives are very specific intentions of the plan. By X date, Y person will increase memberships by Z% with a renewal rate of A. The cost of each new member will not exceed $B. Or, By X date, Y person will create a consumer contact database for a cost not exceeding $Z. The database will be used to contact A consumers by B date with offer C. etc.
4. Plan for the personal branding goals of Tony, but plan to improve the store contact points and brand before launching a personal brand to the media or other stakeholders.
a. Conduct a personal brand audit of Tony
b. Develop goals, objectives
c. Devise a list of communication actions that are more personality driven
5. See the questions on the score sheet.

1. Develop an 24 month schedule of action (over two budget periods and two seasons)
2. Test and do your marketing product and communication ideas.
3. Be opportunistic but follow the plan.
4. Measure everything
5. Have fun doing it
6. See question on the score sheet

1. Measure everything
2. Take before and after pictures of the store, the owner and the customers.
3. Re-interview members, consumers
4. Redo the brand contact audit
5. Measure and report on all consumer data, finances profits, costs, per customer acquisition costs, lifetime value of the consumer/member, value of leads from co-branders, etc.
6. See the questions on the score sheet
7. More
Rewrite you corporate statements, if needed. Start over.

Clarke Caywood, Ph.D. 847 2420901.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Comment on this draft of a paper for a conference

When Mere “Selling Word” Strategies Jeopardize Your Brand: “The Other White Meat” as “The Other Brand Strategy”.

Abstract: Marketing communications becomes more than a mere consumer strategy for high risk industries, products and services. The National Pork Board’s Highly Successful Message “Pork, the Other White Meat” faced serious challenges by competitors. A 2010 Trademark Trial and Appeal Board found that earlier “impact” research at Northwestern University and the broader integrated stakeholder strategy of the pork industry and other commodity associations protected the rights of speech and the industry brand.

Following a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Appeal Board that confirmed the constitutionality of commodity checkoff programs as “government speech,” the U.S. Appeal Board of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia affirms the constitutionality of the dairy producer-funded checkoff program, reversing an earlier decision.

We find especially compelling the
evidence from the Northwestern Study of 2000 showing that
only four other consumer messages in the United States had a
greater degree of recognition than THE OTHER WHITE MEAT.
[Ex. 338] This finding supports a conclusion that
Opposer (Pork)s’ mark is extremely well recognized by a broad
spectrum of consumers, and that this degree of recognition
among the general consuming public of this famous mark also
supports the conclusion that dilution by blurring is likely
upon the introduction of applicant (lobster)’s message into the
marketplace. The case is a mark infringement case

Hearing: Mailed: December 16, 2009 June 11, 2010
Trademark Trial and Appeal Board National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council
v. Supreme Lobster and Seafood Company, p. 59

So much of marketing communications can seem trivial. Mere selling words and phrases seem so disconnected from the total brand objectives of a company to exist with permission of society to provide products, services, employment, investment and a clean environment.. ( As a society we should expect so much more than merely a “new, proven, free, dependable, convenient and advanced product X.” See list of common selling words below from: New, Proven, Improved, Guaranteed, Free, Tested, Pure, Best, Fresh, Sure, Healthy, Natural, Refreshing, Energizing, Safe, Quality, Dependable, Secure, Advanced, Easy, Convenient, Quick, Instant, Save, Personal.

When the Supreme Court (Dairy) or the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (Pork) rules on a challenge to whether you should be able to promote or market your product as a matter of Constitutional and Trademark law, it seems logical that the marketing goals and practices of that industry probably have more to say than “buy me”. This is the story of how “Pork the Other White Meat”, and other commodity product messages have gained marketing notoriety and success. It is also a story of integrated marketing communications managers building a total branding effort that goes well beyond mere selling language. As addressed in the cases cited above for commodity marketing associations, some marketers must define their “risk industry” products as requiring integrated marketing messaging to stakeholders and customers beyond mere selling messages.

Two works of marketing and law are examined here. In the first case, a seemingly out-of-date piece of research by the authors (1990) (Gronstedt, Caywood, and X ) gained new life as an important piece of evidence for a new case of law (2010) when one of the authors (Gronstedt) testified in the case about the research. In the second case, the authors’ research (and other research) were used extensively by a Trial judge in the U.S. Trademark Office to determine the outcome of an appeal to prevent a corporation from using the brand messaging of the pork industry to market lobster.

Repeating that sometimes marketing seem trivial, we acknowledge that the brief description of the case and research generates more looks of bemusement from our friends and students than attention to social and legal issues.. It does not appear, on its face, to be the story we believe should be told about how commodities and other risk products are more dangerous to consumers and stakeholders unless their messaging is clear and transparent and recognizable.

Research: Case 1

A decade ago the authors were asked by the Tom Hayden, LLD , then President of Bozell Advertising in Chicago IL (now faculty member in the Northwestern University Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) Department) to help conduct a study for their client the Pork industry (National Pork Board). It was not a simple brand study. The owners of the brand were thousands of pork producers (farmers) who contributed a portion of their hard earned income to a “check-off” program to market their commodities in the U.S. and world markets. The experience of one of the authors (Caywood) with other industry associations in the U.S. (beef, dairy) had demonstrated the more complex policy politics of shared governance where thousands of members who paid the fees demanded proof of success and a strong governance role. These organizations also provided extraordinary research and education to society on risk issue regarding their product from “mad cow” disease, to nutrition and food preparation safety. The original research and this summary are a casebook example of what universities with research based professional schools call “research with impact”.

The concept of the “check-off” not usually taught in business schools or IMC programs has given commodity industries like dairy, pork, beef, avocados and other agricultural products in highly fragmented industries a way for producers to cooperate to promote their products where the market buys. The Cattlemen's Beef Board and National Cattlemen's Beef Association’s experience with “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner” was not always positive with one spokesperson found to be a vegetarian and one suffering cardiac arrest. Still, as the research reported here notes, the message has been a strong one for the industry. The dairy industry’s experience with their selling message “Got Milk” won a lot of advertising awards, but industry research in the1990’s by the Leo Burnett agency showed that it did not sell as much milk as the producers wished. With the cooperation of one of the author’s stakeholder integrated model, the industry association representing the dairy farmers (producers) moved away from the message to successfully sell more milk enriched cheese, and cheese infused pizza for younger consumers. In the 1990s the industry also began to use a much wider range of communications channels others than traditional mass national TV and magazine ads.


The key work of research used in a trademark case decided in May of 2010 was conducted for the National Pork Board in 1990 by the authors. The national survey concluded that “The Other White Meat” was the fifth most recognized message in the United States the year 2000. As many as 69% of the adult population responded that they recognized the message and could correctly identify it with pork.

Table 1-1 below shows the top 25 messages identified in phase one of the research study in rank order along with the percentages of people that could correctly identify the brand, company or product associated with each message, i.e. said “Yes” on the question if they had heard or seen the message, and also correctly identified the product, brand or company. It ranked higher than such household messages as Nike’s “Just do it” and State Farm’s “Like a Good neighbor.” In fact, it was among the top-ten most recognized messages among all demographic sub-segments analyzed. Moreover, it had one of the strongest associations with the correct brand or product groups of all messages; as many as 88% of respondents who recognized the message would also associate it with pork. This power of the message suggests that the language was far more effective than a mere selling message.


Ranking Slogan Percent
1 You're in Good Hands (Allstate) 81.7%
2 Please Don't Squeeze the ____ (Charmin) 80.4%
3 Snap, Crackle, Pop (Rice Krispies) 80.2%
4 The Breakfast of Champions (Wheaties) 72.5%
5 The Other White Meat (Pork) 69.0%
6 No More Tears (Johnson's Baby Shampoo) 67.5%
7 Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun (Doublemint) 65.6%
8 The King of Beers (Budweiser) 62.8%
9 The Un-Cola (7-Up) 59.2%
10 Like a Good Neighbor (Statefarm) 57.2%
11 Be All That You Can Be (Army) 57.0%
12 Just Do It (Nike) 54.2%
13 Got _____ ? (Milk) 50.6%
14 The Place with the Helpful Hardware Folks (Ace) 48.8%
15 When you Care Enough to Send the Very Best (Hallmark) 48.1%
16 They're Great (Frosted Flakes) 42.5%
17 Don't Leave Home Without It (American Express) 41.4%
18 The Coppertop (Duracell) 41.4%
19 Built_______Tough (Ford) 41.2%
20 The Fabric of Our Lives (Cotton) 37.4%
21 How America Spells Cheese (Kraft) 35.0%
22 Did Somebody Say______? (McDonalds) 33.0%
23 Drivers Wanted (Volkswagen) 30.6%
24 We Bring Good Things to Life (GE) 30.3%
25 The Soup that Eats Like a Meal (Chunky) 29.0%
Sample size: 1,003


The first phase of the study consisted of 126 personal interviews, testing the recognition of a list of 114 messages. The list was generated through research of secondary sources and input from a panel of advertising professional from Bozell Advertising. The personal interviews were used to narrow down the list to 25 messages. It was a combination of 50 mall intercept interviews in Boulder, CO and 76 classroom surveys at Northwestern University. To qualify for participation, respondents had to be over 18 years of age and have command of the English language. The respondents were read the list of 114 messages and were asked to identify the product, brand or company behind the message.

In phase two, the top 25 messages were tested in over 1,000 phone interviews. The interviewer asked the respondents if they had heard or seen the message and the respondents who answered yes were asked to identify the brand, product or company behind the message. A national sample was used and the qualifier was that the respondents were over 18 years of age and did not work in the field of marketing or advertising. The margin of error for the study is +/- 3 percent for the total sample and +/- 5 percent for the subgroups (at a 95% confidence level). It is interesting to note that none of the top ranking messages use what are overtly called selling words or phrases, but they have nevertheless penetrated the memory of the audience,

Case 2: The Legal Case: Pork and Lobster

In this review of national trademark law case we point out that marketing has far more serious integrated messaging to conduct that can be understood by a host of stakeholders including Supreme Court, Federal Court and Trademark Appeal Board judges. A lack of integration means that the creative message may be an isolated and independent group of words that are not linked to key stakeholders including employees, media, shareholders, government, community supplier and more. The public as represented by the press if you look at any recent Wall Street Journal are not interested in selling words; they are reading about takeovers, reduction of workforce, CEO salaries, corruption, the EURO, China business, trade, and other substantive issues (September 29, 2010). The challenge in marketing communications is to make the selling messages relevant, important, and signifying of a wider range of reasons to put a buyer’s confidence in a product or service. Some companies as revealed by research understand this better than most by supporting their brand message as a product message and a corporate/organizational reputational message or integrated communications (Caywood, ed. The Handbook of Strategic Public Relations and Integrated Communications, 1997 revision 2011.

These industries are always under some attack which is why research, public relations and issues management play a key role in their success. The authors’ have called certain organizations “risk industries”. Risk industries are those who market products that are taken internally (drugs, food, beverages) or applied to the skin (cosmetics, hair care, drugs) or used for transportation (autos, motorcycles, airplanes, boats, etc.). They can also be products sold to children, the elderly, poor or other protected social groups. The risk category normally contains food products due to ingestion, safety issues, commodity status and chemical content or use. How many brand marketers and agency leaders have the ability to respond to such attacks by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) as “Got Pus” instead of “Got Milk”? The commodities beef industry was also under attack by NGOs and individuals with harsh counter messages such as “Heart attack on a bun” featuring a billboard picture of a hamburger. Commodity foods demand more serious marketing thought and planning beyond mere selling language. In these cases the messages much appeal to higher courts – figuratively and literally.

More than ever, research is needed to protect the trademark but also the reputation of the fragmented, risk commodity industries. The story of how the National Pork Board protected its message “Pork the other white meat” as a leading brand message reveals the value of such messages, the importance of their being more than “selling words”. This case is about a message becoming a “larger brand message supported by the public and protected by the law.

How the Federal Trademark Appeal Board Used the Research

With the breadth of such commodity promotional
messages in the marketplace, there can be no
question that consumers recognize these
messages for what they are, marks designating
the promotion of an industry group as a
whole. As such, these messages function
quintessentially as trademarks.”

Clearly, the Appeal Board judge was impressed with the original Northwestern study, but this discussion is more about how the ruling illustrates the value of a fully integrated marketing program that even those trained in the law understand and appreciate as evidence of impact. The “Opposers’ in this case were the National Pork Board with the National Pork Producers’ Council and the “Applicant” was the Supreme Lobster and Seafood Company. The seafood company had tried to use the well-known brand developed by the pork industry and Bozell Advertising as the “The Other Red Meat” with other variations of use to possibly mimic the “The Other…”. As the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) recounts, the Pork Board had taken their message to a very high and broad level of use to ensure that the highly recognized message was also linked to many marketing channels, customer experiences and frame of mind when thinking about food, family, romance and more.

This rich and integrated use of the creative message was first articulated by Professor Stanley Tannenbaum, one of the four faculty team founders of integrated marketing communications at Northwestern University (Tannenbaum, Schultz, Caywood and Scissors). Ref. Caywood and Ewing). Professor Tannenbaum in 1992, with great verbal and gestured drama, would often note that the integrated message should be “one voice, one look, one feel” across all channels of communications.

To emphasize the IMC linkage, the Trademark Trial Appeal Board documents an A-Z list of marketing communications tactics (Cite: Harris and Whalen, A Marketer’s Guide to Public Relations). They list “shirts, jackets…recipe books, cooking utensils…etc. bearing the mark THE OTHER WHITE MEAT…” The Court was also impressed with the early website (July 2007) which “received almost a hundred thousand daily, unique visitors, with a total of almost six hundred thousand page views”. In some astonishment the Court writes:
The highest volume traffic goes to Opposers' (Pork) web pages having recipes – an
informational service that has proven to be most popular. Perhaps logical to modern marketers and IMC practitioner the Court must seemed amazed at the breadth and depth of ways that a message can be employed when they went on to list other creative uses of the slogan:

Opposers (Pork) have run local and national advertising playing off the mark with tag-lines that read
“The Other Backyard Barbecue,” “The Other Stir-Fry,” “The
Other Romantic Dinner,” “The Other Sunday Brunch,” “The
Other TV Dinner,” “The Other Way to Spice Up Your Love
Life,” “The Other Steak Dinner,” “The Other Prime Rib,” and
“The Other White Protein”

The Appeal Board clearly recognizes the concept that we noted in the introduction to this paper. The complexity of the marketing challenges facing the commodities industries in a high risk agriculture field does not escape the Appeal Board. They see that marketing in the world of “check-off” under government rule, with a fragmented industry of independent business leaders (farmers) of high visibility and high risk consumables is not child’s play for mere selling terms. The Appeal Board clearly recognizes that the industry and their marcom consultants have devoted themselves to establishing the power of the brand with enormous effort, investment, dedication and creativity.
Opposers (Pork) argue that these marks and other like them:
“… function in precisely the same way as
NPB’s mark, as a message to promote the
interests of an entire industry through
marketing aimed at promoting the consumption
of that industry’s principal product,
whether it be fresh beef, cotton fabric, or
whole eggs. These messages pervade the
marketplace. The marks are instantly
recognizable, and their iconic impact aims
to promote not a particular brand of goods,
but rather a service to that commodity
industry as a whole, promoting consumption
of that industry’s principal product.

Here, in black and white, is where we separate the wheat from the chaff of marketing and messaging. The challenge was to show that the applicant (lobster) did not fully understand the nature of stakeholder marketing by associations such as the National Pork Board, Dairy Management or the National Cattlemen’s Association or dozens of other commodity marketing organizations. The Court gives credit to commodity marketing organizations for promoting the commodity but not acting as a government agency to guarantee the product.
However, applicant (lobster) argues that consumers will be
misled and deceived by commodity promotion messages, and
that all such agencies should be scrutinized because of
their inability to control the quality standards of the
commodity being sold.

In an age of increasing food safety issues (cite) it may be that the associations should be more diligent in showing how they do work closely with government agencies and other stakeholders to protect the quality of their member’s product with program like ”Pork Quality Assurance Plus” program and the work of Dairy Management with programs of food safety research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The National Pork Board has adopted a resolution urging all U.S. pork producers to become certified in the Pork Quality Assurance Plus® program by June 30, 2010, and to achieve PQA Plus® site status by Dec. 31, 2010. Additionally, the board is recommending that producers embrace the ethical principles the industry adopted in 2008.

In this important case, the Appeal Board sees the challenge as larger than a simple single brand. The Appeal Board clearly understands the larger stakeholder issues facing the pork industry.

Additionally, this is not a product mark for identifying a
brand of pork. Clearly, the owner of a product mark for
fresh pork who does not control the quality of a
licensee’s products risks a finding that its trademark has
been abandoned. By contrast, the owner of a commodity promotion message
is concerned with the marketing effectiveness of all the
producers, suppliers and vendors within its industry sector
as a whole, whatever the principal product may be.

Opposer (Pork) herein maintains a precise message and focus by
controlling the ways in which their message/mark is used on
the promotion and packaging of pork and pork products. The
ultimate measure of this effort is the level of pork
consumption in the United States as a share of all meat
products, ultimately translating into economic benefit for
all pork producers

The Appeal Board cites as an important reference to valued communications about an industry and its producers to the consumers, the media, government the notion that the Pork Industry (and many other groups) only allow their message to be used in cases of high standards. The message is a validation of the reputation and Total Brand of the industry:

(Contra Midwest Plastic Fabricators Inc. v. Underwriters
Laboratories Inc., 906 F.2d 1568, 15 USPQ2d 1359 (Fed. Cir. 1990)
[Underwriters Laboratories certifies with its well known
symbol that electrical equipment meets safety standards];
In re Celanese Corp. of America, 136 USPQ 86 (TTAB 1962)
[CELANESE certifies plastic toys meeting certifier’s safety


There are many more questions to be addressed. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board document cited throughout contains many more pages of deliberation and debate over the value of this form of branding which should find their way into academic and trade articles testing other concepts of marketing, public relations and business. The authors’ expect to address some of the questions posed by the Appeal Board (not simply because the Appeal Board praised our research). We are embarked on a replication of the original research to retest some of the findings and more developed concepts of a more complex, stakeholder rich, and integrated world of marketing communications.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Actions will speak louder than words August 2, 2010

Speech and Discussion August 2, 2010

As the Economy Recovers, Actions Will Speak Louder Words

More than two years since the start of the worldwide economic crisis, we still are struggling with some of the new language of the downturn. For instance, universities continue to increase tuition well beyond the inflation rate while providing “negative and zero salary increases.” Service providers are “decreasing the increasing rate” of fees. And the press seems to easily accept politically conjured framing words, like “public investments,” as a substitute for taxes.

These are examples of how some institutional leaders sought to mollify us with words during a time that created real pain for real people. Yet, in my mind, such language misses the real point of wordsmithing which is more like blacksmithing – based on action– and it illustrates why public relations will be essential as we enter the economic recovery.

PR professionals and experienced leaders know communications is not simply persuasive words or selling language, as so many traditional marketers believe. Rather, communications is how humans build relationships; learn to trust one another; study new ideas; and more fully understand the actions of economic, political, religious, educational and other institutions. All of these will be essential both in adjusting to a positive economic shift and in helping make it happen.

How can the PR pro help marketing and management?

As a management profession, PR can help organizations understand that communications is just part of the message. The words we use to talk about an improvement in the economy or in a company’s bottom line must be tied to actions and must speak clearly about those actions.
Did you ever try to drive a car or a single engine plane by only looking at the dashboard or instruments. It doesn’t work.

We must look not just to the financial dashboard but outside the dashboard for windshield management.

To do this most effectively, today’s PR practitioners have a four-part communications model at their disposal – one that includes stakeholders, technology, metrics, and numerator and denominator management.


Recently a senior Chicago-area executive, confronted by stakeholders who have challenged every aspect of his normally well-run business, summed up his need for help with this gut-felt statement: “I need someone to tell me how to deal with all these groups out there.” We call them stakeholders.

For more than 25 years, I have tried to teach my colleagues in schools of business and in schools of journalism where advertising and PR are taught that we need to consider more than customers for building relationships. In a very rough metric, Google counts the two words “stakeholder” and “Obama” together with more than a million hits.

It is the era of the stakeholder, and someone has to manage the relationships with dozens of organizations that directly affect a business or organization’s survival. More than any other marketing discipline, PR is uniquely positioned to do this.


Technology has given PR and its stakeholders a gift that keeps on giving new strategies and new tools. No other organizational field has been so richly endowed over the past decade. PR has the tools to build relationships and continues to lead in their application of nearly every new communications format.

Social media may not be the right term for management or business but, as soft as it is, it is the right term for building relationships with stakeholders. PR always has found a way to fully use the inventions of Web 1.0 and 2.0. We will be there for 3.0.

If you think you might need a fan page on Facebook, a blog, a Twitter site, even a more interactive website, the usually younger professional can not only tell you why you should use the tool but how to use it effectively.


Basic research at universities (Wisconsin-Madison and Northwestern) and think tanks like SRI International created the theory and early models. Factiva, Lexis-Nexis and Google assembled the words. Companies (Biz360, VMSInfo, Radian6, and Growth Concepts) now offer relatively sophisticated programs.

They track what reporters, experts, columnists, bloggers, competitors, customers, elected officials, tweeters, Secondlife participants and others are saying about a corporation or other organizations.

The charts, graphs and nearly real-time tracking of broadcast, print and digital media sites can give communicators early and frequent access to boardrooms and a heads-up on potential crises.

Numerator and Denominator Management.

My academic friends might be thrilled by this notation: (∂/∂t) (ν/δ). It represents the simple idea that both the short-term and long-term value of an organization increase as the increased numerator value is divided by a reducing denominator value. To capitalize on this in a way that goes beyond academics, PR professionals can use communications to identify and eliminate denominators, i.e., actions that

(1) undermine trust in a brand,
(2) increase recalls due to failed quality systems,
(3) create employee turnover and loss of intelligence, and
(4) ignore prevention of costly crises.

Just as important, communications can help identify and build up numerators that will drive revenue growth – such as brand assets, trust, new competitive alliances, new solutions and a highly motivated workforce.

Numerator and denominator strategies are more than words, and managing them effectively will lead to stakeholders and media that view communications as a trusted precursor to actions.

Like the economic downturn, the recovery undoubtedly will introduce language of its own. As we all begin to look for words that work to talk about the economy, our companies and our brands, remember this: Actions speak louder than words.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Saying "spin" in class will cost you $1 for the beer fund

The word "spin" from politics and public relations has not been my favorite term. In my graduate classes I suggest that the use of the word requires a $1 contribution to the "beer fund". The word does require explanation to my new Chinese and international students. The word has ethical and legal implications. It also contradicts the newer notion of transparency where organizations and individuals are more open about their values, background, policies and actions. The term suggests that the role of public relations and communications is to deflect, distract or otherwise mislead the reader or listener with messages that obscure the truth. However, this note from a political friend on the "other side of the aisle" is too funny not to share. I can't vouch for its precise validity but it rings true. If you want to have an intellectual discussion about it we might be stretching it's value, but here is a "spin".

"This is how you learn to spin things when you are in Washington .
It just all depends on how you look at some things...

Judy Wallman, a professional genealogy researcher in southern California, was doing some personal work on her own family tree. She discovered that Congressman Harry Reid's great-great uncle, Remus Reid, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. Both Judy and Harry Reid share this common ancestor.

The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows in Montana territory:

On the back of the picture Judy obtained during her research is this inscription: 'Remus Reid, horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.'

So Judy recently e-mailed Congressman Harry Reid for information about their great-great uncle.
Harry Reid:

Believe it or not, Harry Reid's staff sent back the following biographical sketch for her genealogy research:

"Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory . His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sample Syllabus for review by colleagues, current students and readers

For 2011 Draft Integrated Marketing Communications Department
Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D.
Integrated Communications
 Formerly known as Communication Skills and Persuasive Messages
IMC 454, Section 20-21 9 a.m-11 a.m. Noon -2 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, Wednesday Labs 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.  Winter 2011

I.          Class Schedule and Instructors

Lecture at MTC 3-127 and Forum Room, Sections 20/21
9-10:50 a.m. Mondays and Thursdays or 12:00-1:50 p.m., Lab depending on your assigned section

Laboratory teaching and assignment work in Fisk Basement Wednesdays Labs a. 9 a.m.-10:30, b. 10:30 a.m. – 12 noon 12-12:30 lunch 12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m. d.  2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.  e. 3:30 – 5 p.m.

George Harmon
      Office hours: Wednesdays or by appointment
      3-139 McCormick Tribune Center
      847 491-2092 (office), 847/446-1189

Clarke Caywood
Office hours: Wednesdays or by appointment and before and after class
      3-101 McCormick Tribune Center
      847 491-5011 Office phone. Or 847 4915011

Rachael Mersey Office hours: Wednesdays or by appointment and before and     after class
      3-114 McCormick Tribune Center  
      Phone:  847-491-2196 

II.         Course Description, Goals and Objectives

From a very senior communications executive of a top branded company:  “Let me offer up Walker’s Law: The greater the amount of communication, the less valuable bad communications and the more valuable good communications. Here’s how I got there. Today, many of us communicate essentially from the moment we wake up until we turn out the lights at night, sixteen hours or more. (If you include passive one-way communication, like radio and TV, that number goes even higher.)  This is far more than our grandparents or their grandparents communicated. With sixteen hours of communications a day, only the good stuff cuts through the clutter and gets noticed.
The quickest way to the top in any organization is to be able to express your thoughts concisely and compellingly. Especially for those just starting out, it provides a way to set yourself apart and show your potential in a very tangible and noticeable way.  I continually remind those on my team: “If this e-mail (or memo or presentation or elevator conversation) was the only thing a top executive had to judge you by, are you OK with that?” Often it is what they will be judged on. As a result I advise every professional, but particularly those starting out, to put communication at the top of the list of things to work on. Communication matters.”

Integrated Communications (Communication Skills and Persuasive Messages) is an IMC course designed to improve students’ skills in developing and delivering traditional and newer technological communications. The course emphasizes knowledge of the how communications can contribute to policy, and strategy. It also provides the rationale or explanation of why communications is needed or a particular tactic would be productive. 

The course will improve your skills in writing for business, skills in oral presentation, interpersonal skills in business environments, and, when needed, persuasive messages. The course builds on the title of the degree and your personal orientation and commitment to communication. In the professionally competitive spirit on NU’s campus, we would like to say that our goal is to make you 20 percent better communicators than your peers enrolled in the Kellogg School of Management.

This course is designed to give you an overview of the role of communications for a wide range of stakeholders relevant to Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). We will address the “C” in IMC as a policy and strategic advantage for marketing and management leaders. The strategic elements are unique to communications. They include an audience based 4 step process from the international work of IMC faculty and consultants.

It also contains rich theoretical concepts that have been tested time and again to provide the argument why a particular strategy or tactic would be useful for solving organizational problems.  Several strategic research and data tracking methods for communications will be introduced for your use to help you defend your recommendations.  Most managers will not have the specific knowledge you will possess from this class and the IMC curriculum – you must be prepared to prove the value of your suggestions.  You will learn that in this class.  

We seek to:
1.    Write fundamental and more advanced types of IMC messages and know the basic elements of each type.
2.    Write clear, brief and accurate pieces of communication that employ correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, usage and context.
3.    Edit our own writing for basic errors and correct them by using proper editing symbols.
4.    Write and edit fast enough to be able to complete assignments under deadline pressure in a corporation, in the field, on the way to the meeting or on the podium.
5.    Use Associated Press (AP) style as followed by businesses and other organizations.
6.    Apply judgments to sets of facts and then synthesize those facts into openings that are concise and writing that is organized and coherent.
7.    Know when to attribute information in order to avoid editorializing, and know how to handle attribution smoothly and quotations properly.
8.    Gather facts and transfer them accurately.
9.    The strategic process used by hundreds of businesses trained by the faculty gives the tactical methods above a means to be measured and rewarded.  To evaluate the tactical activities above we will learn about general communications audits, digital database audits, readability studies and competitive message analysis software. 

IV. Assignments / Projects

You will have many manageable assignments in this course. Assignments are due on the dates in the outline, but many of the assignments can be completed in the weekly lab with a writing teacher and coach supporting you. For all assignments, emphasis is on quality of writing and presentation. The intent is to constantly improve your skills.  

The course imitates the standards of professional communicators and marketing communicators and researchers in corporations, agencies and consulting firms. This is not just a class but a simulation of your ability to produce communications clearly, accurately and quickly. Like the writing examinations corporations, consulting firms and agencies are administering to job applicants; we expect you to be able to write and speak intelligently about your field with grammatical and rhetorical precision.

Class participation
You should always be prepared to contribute to class discussions, demonstrating preparation by asking questions and by integrating the vocabulary and concepts from the readings into class comments.  You will complete a self-evaluation for attendance and class participation at the mid-point with the help of Searle Teaching Center and at the end of the quarter.  Your effective class comments may address questions raised by others, integrate material from this and other courses, draw on real-world experiences and observations, or pose new questions to the class.  We encourage your thoughtful contribution from your reading, experience and inspired class discussion.

High-quality participation involves knowing when to speak and when to listen.  Comments that are repetitive, disrespectful, or lacking sufficient foundation are discouraged.  Students will have the opportunity to post relevant news articles via Twitter and to elaborate on their relevance in the class

Mid-term Subject Examination
There will be a one 90 minute mid-term exam in class. The exam will consist of several short essay questions about the readings and lectures. You will be given the reading before the exam and will be expected to apply the content from class to answer the questions. Some suggested topics will be part of the review session before the day of the examination.

Final Subject Examination
There will be a 110 minute final exam in class. The final exam will also consist of several short essay questions about the readings and lectures. You will be given the readings before the exam and will be expected to apply the content from class to answer the questions. Some suggested topics will be part of the review session before the day of the examination. 

Final Editing Examination
You will also take a final editing examination in your final laboratory session.  The exam will be your “post” editing exam to demonstrate your graded improvement from the class entry “pre” editing examination.

Peer and Personal Evaluation
Also, please note that you will be asked to complete a peer evaluation of each of your lab partners. In addition to quantitatively evaluating the contribution of each team member (including yourself), you will offer developmental feedback for each teammate as well.  You and your peers will evaluate your own contributions to the progress and success of the class. The expectation is that you will share in the success of the class with your participation.
V.        Evaluation

There are four cases, 6 editing assignments, 2 oral assignments, two examinations on content (reading, lectures, panels, and cases), discussion, Twitter site usage, peer evaluation, pre and post editing examinations

All work in the course contributes to your final grade. This includes in-class assignments and lab homework, quizzes and examinations. In keeping with the proud Medill tradition, you must rewrite any assignment with a √- or a grade of C+ or below. Your grade on a rewrite will combine with the original grade for an average grade on the assignment. There is the tradition of a “Medill F” where you misspell the names of the people, company or product/service in the IMC work.

VI. Honesty, Plagiarism, and Cheating

This course follows the Northwestern University code of student conduct as described in the NU student handbook and the Medill code of ethics. Questions of academic dishonesty, cheating, plagiarism, and other violations, their terms and conditions are all listed in the Student Handbook. The Student Handbook outlines the contract between the student, the instructor, and the University. Please read this and familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions.

The headline from Medill is: You cannot cheat in any way. It can cost you your graduate degree.

VII.      Labs
Please attend your assigned lab. There isn’t space for extra students in the lab rooms. Unless you arrange to shift to another lab with another student and notify the instructor in advance, the instructor may give you a zero on your work that day.
VIII.     Course Outline

The 10 Week 19 lecture/discussion classes would include the following topics:
1.   Stakeholder Targeting and Mapping (1) (supported with video) Readings and theory related to: Eckhouse: Rhetoric and Competitive Advantage. Organization and Competitive Messages
·         Mainstreaming: TV's ability to pull people to a common understanding of an issue.

What is freedom of speech for corporations? Politically oriented corporate messaging?  How can we have a common understanding in a diverse nation? If it works in China should we use it in the U.S. and vice versa?”
·       Technological determinism: Media communication and the technology it uses help shape the society in which we live. 

What is the real effect of a wildly popular magazine in this age such as People Style Watch? What is our perception of our society? Is it the medium or the message again? How does any important issue, product or service become successful in a high tech age?
2.   Applied Rhetorical Communications Theory in IMC and Journalism 1  Read  Competitive Communications Eckhouse Classical Argument and Modern Business and articles on specified communication theory 
·         Uses and gratifications: People use media to fill personal and social needs.

Can the newer cable media go too far with Fox and MSNBC?  Is this the new propaganda age?

·         Agenda melding: People join groups by "melding" agendas.

What about Chinese on-line buying clubs for building commercial communities? Can we integrate business and society with common green agenda?

·         Dissonance: When confronted by new information, people experience mental discomfort and they work to limit or reduce that discomfort.

Do I buy gas from the local BP dealer? Should I give my fiancé a diamond (possibly conflict source)?

3.   Applied Communications Theory in IMC and Journalism 2 (see video for  review)  Eckhouse: Refutation Argument as Inquiry, Strategic Disposition,

·         Parasocial relationships: People establish social relationships with media personalities.

Q scores with Fox, Good Morning America and micro channel hosts. What is the ROI value of “fame”?  Is trustworthiness and branding related?

·         Framing: To make sense of events, we categorize them.

“Progressive is the new liberal”. Who uses the term?  The President’s talking about stakeholders. Who defines the context of business and society?

·         Knowledge gap: The more information in the social system, the more the higher SES groups will gain in knowledge compared to those in lower SES groups.

Food deserts, environmental racism, hourly wages from non-union shops - What is sustainable for whom? And, who decides?

4.   Applied Communications Theory in IMC and Journalism 3 Eckhouse: Ethics in Argument – Classical Fallacies, Managing Ethos – Argument and Credibility
·         Adoption: Adopters pass through five steps--awareness, interest, evaluation, trial, adoption. 

Is the old model too linear as some IMC experts claim? Isn’t adoption even more important in a widely growing technological, entrepreneurial and innovative economy?

·         Cultivation: People who are heavy viewers of TV tend to believe that the "real" world is more similar to the world seen on TV than do light viewers.

What are the marketing and policy ethical issues? What about product alignment with the gullible or less cynical viewers (children, elderly, undereducated)?

·         Symbolic Interaction: People give meaning to symbols and then those symbols control peoples' behavior. 

Why aren’t graphics and imagery more important in IMC? What has happened to semiotics in the classroom and research programs of IMC?

5.    Reputation Case Study in Communications, Paul Argenti book. Case brief and discussion.  

§  Two-step flow: Certain members of society are active consumers of media and become opinion leaders who influence others.

Does this include bloggers, tweeters, those who are linked or use retweet or Bitly or Tinyurl?

6.   Executive Panel on the Role of Communications in Leadership - Best Communication Practices in IMC. Senior managers of communications who participated in design of this class.
7.   Authentic Storytelling Structure and Delivery 1 (supported with video/lab)

·         Spiral of silence: Public opinion consists of those opinions you can express in public w.o socially isolating yourself. 

Will we be allowed to blog about work? Can we be too transparent?

8.   Storytelling Structure and Delivery 2 (Presentation of best examples from lab practice)
·         Social learning theory: Children learn behaviors by watching them, including watching them on TV. 

What balance should IMC put into the system?  What greater damage can advertising do to marketing? Can advertising refocus its power? Doesn’t transparent PR gain in stature?

9.   MARCOM Case Studies in Communications, Argenti, Brief and discussion

·         Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM): Persuasive messages can be processed using either the central (recipient is motivated) or peripheral routes (recipient is not motivated).

Voting compares to which purchases? Is digital buying central?  How do we process increasing numbers of messages, over increasing numbers of channels?

10.                Midterm Examination on readings and lectures to-date
11.                Advanced Writing and Editing 1 (supported with video/lab) Eckhouse: Managing Ethos: Conciseness; Word Choice, Syntax, Punctuation, Grammar.
AP Manual of Style and Dunsky Chapters 1-4
12.                Advanced Writing and Editing 2 (corporate standards for employment)
AP Manual of Style and Dunsky Chapters 5 to conclusion
13.                Communication Metrics 1,  How communications is measured, Eckhouse:  Electronic Ethos - Computer Revision,
14.                Communication Metrics 2, Simple to sophisticated metrics  Kellogg Advertising and Media, Caywood and Diermeier Chapters
15.                Media Presentation Practice and Theory (supported with video/lab)
·         Agenda setting: The media don't tell people what to think; they tell them what to think about. 

Who is setting the industrial policy level agenda? What about extreme cable as product endorsers. Does it make sense?

16.                Media Case Studies in Communications,  Argenti

17.                Global  and Cross Cultural Communications
·         Cross-cultural Theory and experiences
18.                Global/Cross Cultural Case Studies in Communications, Argenti
19.                Executive Panel on the Role of Global Communications   in Leadership
20.                Comprehensive Final Examination
 Communication Coaching and Labs 10 sessions

Lab sessions for coaching and editing, rewriting would be held weekly for 1.5 hours in groups of around 18 students. The five sessions would meet from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in a dedicated writing lab.

Writing and Editing 6 assignments from IMC field: The assignments would depend on your background education, experience and testing with your peers. It would continue to include advertising, public relations, direct marketing and general business assignments. All work would be evaluated on progress in performance.

Oral Communications Delivery 4 assignments:  Each student will prepare two 2-3 minute presentations that will be videoed and critiqued.  Some will be presented to the entire student body.