What I’ve Learned at Ketner Group

This blog post was written by our intern, Daniela Ramirez. 

Find an Internship to Help You Develop These Four Skills

Senior year has held lots of great memories for me, from interning at Ketner Group to finishing my capstone project during my last semester of college. Working at Ketner Group throughout my senior year has been a wonderful experience as I gained a variety of skills, whether I realized it at the time or not. I believe a few of the skills I have learned along the way have been particularly critical in prepping me for the next phase of my career.

Teamwork really does make the dream work. What I have appreciated the most about Ketner Group is the team-oriented approach. They tackle everything with teamwork and include members of the team from every level, which has allowed me to gain experience in real client work. I never feel intimidated to ask questions, go to a team member to understand something better or pick their brain about a certain subject.

Time Management
The great thing about Ketner Group is that you are not solely assigned to one client so I’ve been able to work on a variety of projects and tasks. A valuable result of working on a multiple clients has been learning to manage my time, making the most out of deadlines and priorities.

Media Relations
One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned about media relations is how big of a role research plays. Pitching media is nothing if you haven’t taken the time to research the best targets for a particular opportunity or idea. Being smart about the journalists you reach out to and making sure the information you are pitching them is relevant and appropriate is key for achieving media relations success.

A big part of PR is looking at the bigger picture and understanding the noteworthy takeaways. When putting together customized pitches or content, understanding the overarching message and goals will help grab journalist’s and the reader’s attention.

Land an Internship to Help Gain These Skills
I have been fortunate enough to be a part of a team that challenges me everyday and pushes me to continue learning. I believe this is something everyone should look for an internship.

When seeking an internship, go after opportunities that spark your interest and relate to your passion. If you want to work at a non-profit in the long run, intern at a non-profit, but if you’re interested in working at a PR agency or corporation after graduation, find an agency or corporation with a strong internship program. A good place to start your search is by joining student organizations that are relevant to your major and attend events with companies, events or individuals that are of interest to your work. These opportunities are a great way to learn more about their day-to-day and will help you get your foot in the door.

Ultimately, make the most of your four years and put yourself out there; the more internships you do, the more you will learn and get a better idea of what you want to do after school. Before you know it, these opportunities will be gone and it will be time to enter the job market.



Girls Can Run the World

When my husband and I found out that we were pregnant with our first child, we were of course thrilled! Starting our own family was very important to us and we couldn’t wait to find out whether it was a boy or a girl. A few months later we got the word – we would be having a baby girl. I was beyond excited and immediately started shopping for cute baby girl dresses, bows, socks (with plenty of Texas Tech gear, of course) and started planning the color scheme and décor for her nursery. She was going to be the sweet, perfectly styled baby girl I always wanted.

Then it hit me – I’m having a girl. I pondered about what she’d be like – would she be the shy girl like me or would she inherit my husband’s strong personality? I also thought about all the things that go along with raising a girl – from teaching her how to fix her hair, helping her deal with friendships, how to cope with boyfriends and having the serious “talks” about her body. It was all very overwhelming to think about, but I knew that my husband and I would be up to the task.

Nine years later, it turns out that my beautiful Madeline most certainly got her father’s personality and height! She is mentally and physically strong, intelligent and inquisitive and has all of the qualities and the confidence of a good leader. (Case in point, she refused to get in the back of the tug of war line with the rest of the girls, insisting on being at the very front with all of the boys in the class!) Of course she has squabbles with her little girl friends from time to time, which has resulted in hurt feelings and some tears. But Madeline is not the type of person to dwell on things for too long, and is very quick to bounce back from anything that gets her down. I’d like to give my husband and I a “high-five” for all of this, but the truth is that I believe that 50% of her personality, and the personalities of all young girls, come with them on the day they were born.

The other half, well, that’s on us as parents and the rest of you out in the world. What can we as parents and the “global village” do to help our young girls grow into strong and capable members of society? What’s more, what can we all do to help them become the leaders of tomorrow?

When I heard about the #BanBossy campaign, I was immediately intrigued. Ban Bossy is a public service campaign designed to help girls flex their leadership muscles while having fun do it. It was developed in partnership with the Girls Scout of the USA, Rachel Simmons (co-founder of the Girls Leadership Institute) and LeanIn.org. According to their website,
Girl Scouts
“When it comes to girls and ambition, the pattern is clear: girls are discouraged from leading. When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy”—a precursor to words like “aggressive,” “angry,” and “too ambitious” that plague strong female leaders. Calling girls bossy is one of many things we do to discourage them from leading. It’s no wonder that by middle school, girls are less interested in leadership roles than boys, a trend that continues into adulthood.”

The campaign provides leadership tips for girls, teachers, parents and Girl Scout leaders, to encourage confidence and leadership for young women. I thought this would be a wonderful lesson for Madeline’s Girl Scout troop. My two female co-workers (who also used to be in Girl Scouts) graciously offered to co-lead the meeting with me and talk to the girls about what it means to be a leader and how important it is to speak up and stand up for yourself and your friends.

Girl Scouts Silly
The meeting was a hit! We divided the girls into groups and had each of them act out different skits that allowed them to showcase different scenarios on being a leader and being a good friend. We talked to the girls about what it means to be “bossy” and that it is ok to be “the boss.” The girls loved hearing us talk to them about being the very best they can be and the importance of being confident young ladies.

One of the girls told us that sometimes people call her a “know it all” but that she really didn’t care. Awesome. That same girl told us later in the meeting that she wants to be President of the United States, and I’ve just learned from her mother that she has instituted a family newsletter with deadlines, assigned columns, etc. Even more awesome. Watch out world, this girl is going places!

As for Madeline, I know she is going places, too. My husband and I will continue to do our part to nurture her confidence, but I ask that the rest of you help us in the process. Please encourage Madeline and all young girls to dream big. A woman’s place is anywhere she wants it to be.

I encourage you to check out Ban Bossy and the below campaigns designed to encourage and inspire young women:

Meet Kathleen See

Hey y’all! I’m Kathleen See, the newest member of Ketner Group! The past few days have been such a whirlwind, but I’m so excited to hit the ground running with Ketner Group as an account executive. By the way, my coworkers are awesome, like “Let’s watch the World Cup together before your first day” awesome. I can already tell that I’m going to LOVE working with this multi-talented team! Everyone should be jealous they don’t get to work with this awesome, dynamic group of individuals.

I hail from Mississippi. Yes, I do own multiple pairs of shoes, and I even wear them some days. Saying that makes me think of the “Mississippi, Believe It” advertising campaign in 2008. The campaign was all about discrediting negative stereotypes about Mississippi and its people. I really enjoyed that campaign because it was so direct about addressing common stereotypes. Maybe that’s what triggered my passion for communications and advertising messages. You can see more about the campaign here.

In 2012, I graduated from Mississippi State University with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and an emphasis in public relations. Sorry to disappoint all you Longhorn fans, but I’m an SEC girl all the way. Plus, let’s be honest, that orange doesn’t look good on anyone.

Last Friday was my first day in Austin, so I’ve been running around like a chicken trying to get all my affairs in order and to see all the sights of Austin. Coming from Jackson, Miss., there is no comparison between activities and experiences to be had. Although I will say that Jackson has a lot going on this summer with the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer. There are a lot of memorials and celebrations happening throughout the state this summer. If you’re looking for something to do with the family that has educational and historical significance that’s not too expensive, I highly recommend heading that way for a few of those this summer.

In my short 24 years, I’ve learned that the best way to experience a city is to eat your way through it, and I’ve come to realize that some of the best memories I have involve a meal, whether they be around a table enjoying one or in the kitchen creating one. That being said: all you foodies out there, comment below with places I should try in Austin.

Also I can already tell that I’m going to have to become more outdoorsy. That should be interesting. I’ll let you know how that one goes.

Fun facts are one of my weird things I love to know and learn. They hold no actual value other than for trivia night. Here are some fun facts about me and my quirks:

  • Before joining Ketner Group, I spent two years with the Mississippi Children’s Museum. I learned so much with them working in the non-profit and attraction fields. Working for the museum gave me such a unique perspective on integrating fun and education through the activity, exhibits and outreach programming messaging.
  • I don’t like sandwiches. It is few and far between where you will actually catch me eating a sandwich.
  • And I don’t eat peanut butter. I know I’m a statistical anomaly.
  • Being a Mississippi State fan, of course I own a cowbell, and I’ve gotten blisters from ringing it a little too excessively.
  • Reality television is my guilty pleasure. I’m not proud of it.
  • One of my biggest pet peeves is using shorthand in text messages, like ROFL, IMHO, so on and so forth. (Sorry, Mom and Dad, even when you do it.) I know that they are the best solutions to 140 character limits, but not in a text message.
  • Oxford commas make my skin crawl.
  • When I grow up, I want to be philanthropic and give back to the communities and organizations that have given me opportunities and shaped me into the person I am today.
  • Both of my parents are pilots, so I grew up going to airshows on weekends and during the summer. It was definitely not a normal family outing compared to the other family vacations my classmates would come back to school telling everyone about. Those hot, noisy days are some of my most treasured childhood memories.
  • I can write my name backwards and upside down.

I want to know what tips for navigating traffic, restaurants to try and things everyone living in Austin needs to know. I’m looking forward to your suggestions! I cannot wait to see what adventures Ketner Group and Austin have in store for me!

Google+ and B2B: Drink the Kool-Aid

Let’s say you’re training to be the next Sanya Richards-Ross and you’ve got a track meet next spring that you’re planning to dominate. You bought the high-tech water bottle, the chicest of running outfits and have really committed to your weekly training schedule. You’re doing everything right! Except for one thing… you’re training in some worn-out Converse shoes you’ve had since high school. Your track meet rolls around, and you’re the fittest of them all, but before the first lap is over you’ve fallen behind your competitors.

In a similar way, Facebook and Twitter are still widely used and well-loved, just like that nifty pair of Converse shoes you’ve been hanging on to, but if you haven’t upgraded to some Nike trainers and aren’t including Google+ in your marketing efforts, you’ll be last place in the race for SEO success and B2B glory.

Google+ has taken off in the last several years as the search engine giant’s attempt at a new social platform. It initially landed on the social scene with a flop, but the good people at Google stood by their new product and have boosted Google+ into popularity contention with Facebook while surpassing Twitter and LinkedIn in active users. Over the course of its lifetime, it’s now become a widely used tool for businesses in virtually all verticals. So what can Google+ bring to the B2B marketing table?

Brands like Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard and VMWare are taking advantage of the platform’s most beneficial B2B marketing uses. Here are a few things we can learn from these Google+ gurus:

  • When visiting their company pages, you first notice that they’ve put some actual thought into the look and feel of their profile. A visually appealing and interesting cover photo immediately catches the eye and can actually keep people on your page for a longer amount of time.
  • Outside of optical impressions, you can see that each company posts regularly on not only company updates, but industry news and current events. A consistent and relevant presence on any platform is a good rule of thumb, especially if thought leadership and industry expertise are important factors in your B2B campaigns for growing your customer base.
  • Hashtags, photos, infographics and videos are all great ways to beef up company posts that give profile visitors a more engaging experience overall. The more you can connect what you have to say to significant trends and hot topics in society, the more visibility you’ll harness for your brand. Making those connections noteworthy for your prospects can lead to a phenomenal B2B marketing program that could result in new customers.

Facebook and Twitter are obvious tycoons in the social sphere, but in terms of the best platform for business to business efforts, Google+ overpowers the other two outlets used mainly to talk to consumers directly. Its integrated features for SEO and video boost online visibility and its customizable categories in the form of circles is one of the best segmentation tools on the social web. Here are three main points to keep in mind when considering how your company can build its Google+ presence and why.

Highly Targeted Segmentation

Utilizing the circles feature in Google+ can make a world of difference in your efforts to reach specific groups, customers or prospects. By segmenting the companies and users followed by a company page, businesses can push out extremely specific information that can directly relate to any particular vertical your business has grouped into a circle. This kind of targeting is invaluable for B2B companies that need subdividing tools to effectively reach potential customers in various lines of business.

Sensational SEO

The entity that controls almost all search criteria and results for the entire internet of everything has created a social platform – you should be on it. Google+ places a great emphasis on search engine optimization throughout its whole platform, a huge differentiator from Facebook and Twitter.  Because Facebook and Twitter restrict certain data from Google’s search indexes, time spent marketing on Google+ leads to more tangible SEO results as it is directly correlated to PageRank. This article on Social Media Today does a great job of outlining the real SEO benefits of using Google+ in your marketing and PR mix.

Hangouts: More than Just Video Chatting

photo by brianDhawkins on flickr

Businesses these days are looking for ways to integrate and optimize more and more, so while we have all come to love Skype, it may be time to streamline communication and use Google+’s Hangouts for all your video needs. It acts as a video chat application, eliminating extraneous platforms like Skype, but Hangouts leverage the power of Google and its partners to boost your online visibility. Hangouts can be recorded as videos and shared directly to YouTube, letting you share product demos with prospects, stream live presentations for interested parties that can’t attend the trade show your company is keynoting, or simply post general company updates from the executive team to your audience using a highly engaging channel. Internal uses include client meetings, staff meetings, training sessions and more that will help you and your company maintain a strong and effective hold on brand image.

Every dollar counts in PR and marketing budgets, so breathe easy when making the call to jumpstart your company’s Google+ presence – when done properly, you’ll get some major bang for your B2B marketing buck! Is your company on Google+? Post your comments and experiences here – we’d love to see how you’re using it!

Social Media Scores as an Effective Marketing Tool

Image courtesy of Branding Magazine

Super Bowl XLVII Shines in the Dark: Social Media Scores as an Effective Marketing Tool

Here is a statistic that will blow you away: According to a study from the Mobile Marketing Association and Session M, during the Super Bowl, a whopping 91% of viewers used their mobile devices during the commercial breaks!

After hearing this, one thing is for sure – we love our mobile phones as much as, or even more, than my three-year old son loves his special security “blankie.” Speaking from personal experience, when it comes to any highly-anticipated sporting event or celebrity-fueled telecast (such as the upcoming Academy Awards), my iPhone is never too far away. My need for instant gratification and social connection leads me to constantly check out what my friends are saying on Facebook and to make my own witty comments about the details of the event.

We all know that the Super Bowl commercials have become just as important to the overall event experience as the game itself, especially now with the saturation of mobile devices and social media. Brand marketers and advertisers have certainly stepped up their digital media game in recent years, and last Sunday was no exception. A few highlights:

Instant Advertising through Social Media
After the Super Dome lost power at the beginning of the third quarter, the quick-thinking team at digital ad agency, 360i, posted a picture of an Oreo cookie on Twitter with the tagline “You can still dunk in the dark,” moving from concept to posting in five minutes. Raise your hand if you were craving some Oreos and milk after seeing that posting! The ad became a viral hit, retweeted more than 15,000 times in the first 14 hours. Other brands tried to take advantage of the 34-minute game delay through Twitter, including Calvin Klein, Tide and Volkswagen – but none of them seemed to have the same affect that the Oreo ad did.

Online Contests and Customer Interactions: A New Focus on Online Integrated Marketing
While watching the commercials, I noticed that many brands developed advertisements that directed viewers to their websites for a more interactive experience. Coca-Cola held an online poll to vote for the ending of its commercial, asking viewers to select which one of the three groups in the ad (cowboys, showgirls and badlanders) would win a race across the desert to reach a bottle of Coke.  Oreo again received rave reviews for their commercial that asked viewers to vote, via Instagram, whether they preferred the cookie or the cream part of the Oreo. After the cookie vs. cream campaign, Oreo gained more than 50,000 followers on Instagram.

The TV spot for CBS’ new show, Under the Dome, directed its viewers to visit www.UndertheDome.com

and enter your address to see what your home would look like under an actual dome. I did this and saw my house under a dome similar to what was shown on the commercial. I really don’t know what the show is all about, but the TV spot left an impression on me so I will probably check out the first episode.

Overall, the notion of online integrated marketing seemed to resonate with Super Bowl viewers. According to social marketing solutions provider, SocialCode, brands that advertised during the big game saw Facebook fan increases 2.7 times higher than non-advertisers, when compared with previous fan growth.

The Second Screen Super Bowl Wins
Super Bowl XLVII has been deemed the “Second Screen Super Bowl” meaning that CBSSports.com, for the first in Super Bowl history, provided a digital live stream of the game, as well as all of the TV ads and the halftime performance. This second screen experience gave fans new ways to interact with the big game and generate as much as $10 to $12 million for CBS.

What were some of your highlights from Super Bowl XLVII? Any forecasts for how NBC might try to checkmate CBS on the digital media front during the 2014 Winter Games? 

Originally posted on Digby’s blog, The Mobile Retail Blog by Catherine Seeds

Vine: The New Social Sensation?

VineWell we’ve just begun 2013 and a starlet app has already hit the social scene. Vine is the new kid on the block everyone is talking about – could it be the next big thing in social sharing? It’s still too early to tell, but the mobile technology industry seems to think this Twitter spinoff has a pretty good shot.

Vine is a video creation platform designed to let users record 6-second video clips or GIF-like spots and share them to the social sphere. After its January 2013 release by Twitter, the industry hype surrounding the app has been on the rise. Other social video products, like SocialCam and Viddy, have been circulating the mobile sharing community as early as 2011. These platforms gained momentum rapidly, but after the launch of the social media giant’s own video app, the chances of survival have dwindled drastically. Viddy has experienced the most significant blow to followers and finances after supposedly turning down a buyout by the very company that is putting it out of business.

Brands like Trident and Wheat Thins have already jumped on the Vine train, and more companies are on their way to implementing the new social feature on Twitter. While the video application offers a unique outlet to not only promote products and services, Vine does come with bugs and burdens as new platforms typically do. Some non-Apple mobile devices have seen difficulty viewing the clips and other issues involve the inappropriate or unintended use of Vine for explicit content. Vine has its concerns, but the possibilities for future use are potentially endless. Specifically, the entertainment industry is interested to see how this new face of social sharing will impact music marketing.

So will Vine become another addition to the list of failed “Instagram for video” platforms, or will this new app see a consistent following in the coming months? Only time will tell, but KG looks forward to observing the role Vine will play at the fast-approaching SXSW Interactive Festival!