With the unemployment rate in the United States around 9%, it’s safe to say that there are a lot of people in our country looking for work. 13.7 million, to be more precise (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Fortunately, for some of those that find themselves in the midst of getting back into the workforce, there is Twitter to help their cause. Often times, it can take years of school, countless internships, post-graduate courses combined with another several years of employment to successfully work your way up the corporate ladder and make your presence felt. For some, the time, money and effort devoted to their career pays off in large dividends. For others, it can be taken away at the click of a button. Less than 140 clicks for those of you keeping score at home.

Having been blessed with the opportunity to work in and around sports, my natural reaction is to draw correlations between the topic at hand and that of professional athletes and organizations. Over the past few years, professional sports has seen its fair share of controversial situations regarding athletes or organizations and twitter accounts. These included, but are not limited too:

Rashard Mendenhall, RB Pittsburgh Steelers: Following the recent news of Osama Bin Laden’s death, Mendenhall took to his Twitter account and posted numerous remarks criticizing the reaction of Americans seen celebrating on national television.

“We’ll never know what really happened,” Mendenhall tweeted. “I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style”. He continued, “It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side”….

While several of Mendenhall’s were deleted and an apology followed, the damage had been done. In addition to the beating he took from the media, the Pittsburgh Steelers issued a statement distancing the team from their running back’s words. Further, athletic wear company Champion, whom Mendenhall endorsed, promptly fired the running back after his comments.

“In light of these comments, Champion was obliged to conduct a business assessment to determine whether Mr. Mendenhall could continue to effectively communicate on behalf of and represent Champion with consumers,” Champion spokesman told told Michael McCarthy of USA Today. “While we respect Mr. Mendenhall’s right to express sincere thoughts regarding potentially controversial topics, we no longer believe that Mr. Mendenhall can appropriately represent Champion and we have notified Mr. Mendenhall that we are ending our business relationship” (Brinson, CBS Sports).

While Mendenhall may be one of the more recent sports athletes to find themselves at the center of controversy following a Twitter post, he is definitely not the only sports figure.

Fellow NFL star Reggie Bush was recently criticized for making light of the situation surrounding the NFL lockout. NBA star Dwight Howard received media backlash when he published remarks about the Orlando Sentinel commenting on what he called “dumb articles”. In terms of sports, however, the athletes themselves are not alone.

Last week, in fact, Canadian Sports anchor Damian Goddard was fired by Roger Sportsnet following his decision to take a stance on same sex marriage through his Twitter account. The situation came about when a report surfaced about NHL player Sean Avery and his support for same sex marriage. Despite the fact that Avery is not gay, many people criticized him for his beliefs and support towards same sex marriage. Following the report, Todd Reynolds, VP of a well known management company that represents several NHL player’s, posted on his page that he was “sad to read Sean Avery’s misguided support of same-gender marriage. Legal or not, it will always be wrong”.

In response to Reynold’s post, Goddard  added that “I completely and whole-heartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage”. Shortly after his post, Goddard was informed he would be relieved of his duties at Roger Sportsnet.

Whether the face of the organization or simply one of many working behind the scenes, athletes and employees from all sports and organizations are beginning to be held to different standards than typical Twitter users.

While controversy amongst players on the field may have its boundaries, the potential for controversy surrounding Twitter knows no limits. A few years back, a story surfaced about one would-be Cisco employee that found out the hard way the potential consequences of negative messages when Tweeting.

Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

Humorous but harmless, right? Unfortunately, shortly after the post a Cisco channel partner advocate read the post and responded:

“Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”

What followed was mixed reports and debates over whether the person was actually fired or whether she did in fact turn the position down. Regardless, it just went to show the power that a simple tweet could have on an employee who had not even started working yet.

In March of this year, Chrysler Group LLC decided to end its relationship with the social media agency it had worked with after a tweet had been posted to the Chrysler brand’s official Twitter account with an expletive.

“I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the motorcity and yet no one here knows how to (expletive) drive”.

The social media agency attempted to act swiftly by firing the employee responsible for the tweet, but they quickly found out it was too little too late. Shortly after the tweet, Chrylser announced they were ending their relationship with the firm and would not renew its contract for the rest of this year.

As the above cases indicate, the backlash from Twitter posts not only can lead to controversy but in some situations, termination. Regardless of what the topic may be or what may have led to the posts, social media forums can have detrimental effects at the simple click of the ‘send’ button.

That being said, the benefits that Twitter can provide for users (both personal and corporate) strongly outweigh the negatives. Utilized correctly, Twitter accounts can increase brand awareness, educate viewers about an issue, or simply give readers up to the minute information about the figures they idolize.

“You can start up a business and you can build a brand very quickly” with Twitter, said Gene Grabowski, a senior vice president with Levick Strategic Communications in Washington.

“But the downside is, you can destroy a brand very quickly.”

Overall, it just goes to show the true influence that emerging media such as Twitter can have. While Rome may not have been built in a day, it can be torn down…in 140 characters or less.

They invade mailbox’s, litter email accounts, interrupt radio and television shows, not to mention cover billboard’s across the globe. What started as an effective way to reach people via newspaper and print publications is now a multi-media approach whereas companies are willing to spend millions of dollars to have their product or logo seen as often as possible. Impressions = Brand Awareness = Revenue. To put it simply, you might as well replace the s’ in impressions with $$. Advertisements now encompass all walks of life, regardless of where you live, what you watch, read, or listen to.

Fortunately, we still have our cell phone to rely on when we need some personal space to enjoy, free from advertisement chaos.

Right?!?

Wrong.

As the great Lee Corso says, “‘Not so fast my friend”. Today, there are over 5 billion (yes, that’s a B) mobile users worldwide. With a global population of about 6.8 billion, science tells us approximately 74% of them own a cell phone. (It’s no wonder the Kardashian sisters have so many Twitter followers). With such a vast amount of people utilizing a mobile device on a daily basis, it was only a matter of time before marketers leveraged this medium to enhance our awareness of their brand.

Advancements in technology combined with the creation of mobile applications, SMS feeds, mobile commerce, coupon/QR codes, groupons, and countless others have given marketers a wide assortment of mediums to utilize in an effort to promote their products and services while invading our personal space. For marketers, the benefits of mobile marketing not only include the ability to target a global audience, but also a wide age range of users. According to tge National Literacy Trust, “Children today are more likely to own a mobile phone (85%) than a book (73%)” (Sybase Inc., 2010). Scary, but true. Further, marketers recognize that while only 20% of emails that are sent are actually read, text messaging has a read rate of approximately 97% (Zakaria, 2011). With over 2.5 billion text messages being sent each and every day in the U.S. alone, that’s a whole lot of reading going on!!

While the numbers above may cause marketers to drool at the mouth with excitement, for many average consumers mobile marketing is an invasion of privacy. You can bombard them with emails, overload their Step 2 mailbox with advertisements, even interrupt their favorite show on television (It’s recorded on TiVo, so they’ll fast-forward through it anyway), but to take over their cell phone is a whole different ballgame. Unfortunately, for this demographic of consumer, large or small, marketers aren’t planning to let up any time soon. Regardless of how many people they may upset or turn off along the way, as long as a percentage of message recipients take advantage of the campaign, marketers look at it as a success. In their minds, those that oppose mobile marketing are like speed-bumps, you just have to go over them slowly. Until time’s change, we better make sure we have the unlimited text package in our cell phone plan.

We watch their games, collect their jerseys, savor their memorabilia, treasure their autographs and for some, name our unborn children after them. The relationship between fans and their favorite athletes is borderline unhealthy. The success they enjoy makes us feel as if we were a part of the team, yet when they let us down it’s as if they stood us up at the senior prom. The Robin to their Batman, fans are willing to go to extreme lengths to get up close and personal with the athletes they watch and admire on a regular basis.

Thanks in part to social media, fan access is no longer limited to the action that takes place between the dotted lines. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and many others give people across the globe the opportunity to get up to the minute updates on the who, what, where when and why that surrounds their favorite superstar. The filter-free, unbiased status updates give fans the opportunity to tap in to exactly what is on the mind of athletes without the presence of a creative director, publisher or marketing director to edit their thoughts. While this often leads to controversy, the upside to social media is that it allows fans to cultivate a more personal relationship with the athletes by taking them behind the scenes in the day and the life of the nation’s most coveted figures.

While the benefit to fans is often a closer connection, the advantage for athletes can be a more tangible figure that can lead to dollar signs. By enhancing their followers and maximizing their social media exposure, athletes have the ability to leverage the attention they receive in an effort to build their personal brand. Take social media guru Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson, for example. While his comments may raise eyebrows and stir controversy within the sports world, the fact of the matter is that when he talks, people listen. When he ‘tweets’, people read. With over 3.5 million followers between Facebook and Twitter, Ochocinco has direct access to a loyal fan-base of sports consumers that organizations across the globe spend millions of dollars trying to target.

In addition to the self-promotion benefit for athletes, proper utilization of social media can provide tremendous results for the brands that these figures endorse. By incorporating a name or link in to one of their frequent status updates, athletes can help increase brand awareness as well as help drive traffic to the websites of their sponsors that are riding the celebrity’s coat-tails waiting to cash in on their return on endorsement investment. After all, increased awareness leads to increased traffic which often leads to increased revenue.

In the case of Chad Ochocinco, the success experienced through social media did not stop with that of Facebook and Twitter. In the fall of 2009, the rarely humble NFL star teamed up with Rock Software to release a new mobile phone game app titled MadChad. For just $4.99, Ochocinco enthusiasts can follow ‘his daily exploits in photos, videos and tweets. They can ask him advice on dating or anything else that may be on their mind, as well as submit their own photos for posting, and track where he is each day when he’s on the road’ (Associated Press, 2009).

Despite the time and effort that these endeavors may  require, the major appeal factor for athletes and companies is that they can be obtained without the expensive price tag that traditional marketing mediums require. Ochocinco did not need an expensive commercial or a massive ad campaign. As Kevin Cacabelos of Seatown Sports explains, “Through the exclusive use of Twitter and Facebook, Chad Ochocinco and the creators of the game, Rock Software, made MadChad one of the top five apps on Apples iTunes Store within 24 hours of its release. All it took were a series of simple messages fired across Twitter to convince people to buy the game” (Cacabelos, 2011).

Image Provided by Seatown Sports

As is the case with many marketing mediums, there are always risks associated with engaging in social media interactions with consumers. For every handful of opportunistic athlete social media activists, there are always a few figures who fail to recognize the downsides. Unfiltered, emotionally driven tweets can be left for interpretation and thus can backfire for those that fail to realize the reach which these sites truly have.

For others, such as Chad Ochocinco, the ability to leverage the attention they receive in a positive manner in an effort to build their brand image, the opportunities are truly endless. By embracing their role as an influential member of our society, athletes have an invaluable opportunity to capitalize on the attention which they receive from a celebrity obsessed demographic of sports consumers.

With the NFL in its second month of lockout, and many fans being turned off by the ‘millionaires vs. billionaires’ inability to reach an agreement, now is as good a time as ever for football’s elite to reach out to their fans. By developing a more personal relationship with those that fill the seats, athlete’s have an invaluable opportunity to win back the demographic of hard-working consumers that routinely open their checkbooks to allow these figures to enjoy the perks that come with being a professional athlete. After all, if there are no fans, there are no followers, there are no professional sports, there is no Facebook or Twitter, MadChad would not exist and more importantly there is no Ochocinco, but rather just plain old Chad Johnson.

(Special thanks to Kevin Cacabelos for information pertaining to this blog)

Social Media At Its Finest

Posted: April 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

Desired by many, obtained by few, trust is a marketing ingredient in short supply these days. With consumers introduced to thousands of advertisements on a daily basis, it can be tough for viewers to distinguish between a reliable product and one that is inexpensively priced for a reason. Amongst other things, skepticism is one issue that faces marketers on a daily basis. After all, if it’s too good to be true, often times it may be just that.

Fortunately for marketers, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks in part to emerging media in the marketplace, companies have a wide assortment of opportunities to not only reach consumers, but cultivate a relationship with them that encompasses trust. Erick Smith of Technology Guide for the Digital Citizen explains that “The very heart of social media is that it demands and depends on user-generated content, which—and this is the great news for businesses—consumers consider more trustworthy than an advertisement or marketing campaign directly promoting a company’s goods and services” .

Consumers don’t want to be wined and dined with fabricated claims and unreliable statistics. They want the cold hard facts and they prefer them to be given via a medium of their choice. What better way to give them just that then by people who are just like them? Purchasers trust the opinions of other consumers, which increases the value that social networking brings to the table. Social media relies on interaction amongst  its users. Instead of forcing an advertisement or promotion on potential consumers, marketers can create interactive sites that educate their target market about their products while simultaneously allowing others to leave some valuable feedback for their peers to enjoy.  To put it simply, its word of mouth marketing at its finest. With social media, however,  you have access to millions of consumers at the simple click of the button.

(Video Provided by Constant Contact)

If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven’t done anything today“.

-Lou Holtz

It is often said that part of getting where you’re going is knowing where you have been. In the economy that exists today, one of the most influential factors in a company’s success is their ability to adapt to change. While some may resist change, the innovative minds welcome it with open arms. For some company’s this may mean altering their product, while for others this may include enhancing their services. Regardless, in order to experience success for the long haul it is essential that your business be willing to adapt to the demands of today’s consumer demographic.

When it comes to change, few industries have experienced tremendous growth over the past decade like that of the marketing industry. Thanks in part to technological advancements as well as the introduction of new media platforms, marketers today have a wide assortment of mediums to utilize when looking to target consumers.

At the simple click of a button, marketers today have the ability to reach potential consumers across the globe. While social networking sites (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc.) have helped mold the overall landscape of emerging media, these type mediums are only the tip of the opportunistic iceberg that exists for today’s decision makers. Web Sites, Video Ads, Widgets, RSS Feeds, Podcasting, V-Casting, Banner Ads, Short Films, Blogs/Vlogs, Chat Rooms, Bluetooth, In-Game Advertising, Social Bookmarking and Smartphone Apps to name a few have provided endless opportunities for companies to expose their brand. In the time you have spent reading this blog, there are probably additional platforms being designed and implemented.

Marketing is no longer a way of thinking, it has quickly become a way of life. Many of the most successful companies in the world have embraced and leveraged the emerging media landscape that exists in our marketing world. With that in mind, we salute you, Entrepreneur State of Mind!!

(Video provided by Grasshopper.com)

Hey Guys, thanks for taking the time to swing by my blog!!

My name is Dave Eyssen, and I stream to you live from Northeastern Ohio. While my ‘About Me’ page digs a little deeper into my professional background and experiences, I currently work for Sterling Sports Management, LLC.

Surrounded by an amazing cast of creative, innovative brains in the sports business world, my duties at SSM are to assist in the marketing and representation of athletes in various professional sports. Blessed with the opportunity to work with some of the most talented athletes across the globe, it is safe to say that no two days are the same at SSM.

While our athletes look to take care of business on the field or course, it is our job to help assist in their efforts off of it. In order to consistently offer our clients the high level of professional experience they deserve, one way we look to maximize the success of these wonderful athletes is to enhance their marketing appeal. Thanks in part to the tremendous growth of the social networking world (ie Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc), never has it been so easy to get up close and personal with your favorite sports figures.

In an effort to maximize my knowledge and experience in the world of marketing, I am currently in pursuit of a Masters Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University. As part of  our Emerging Media and the Market class, one requirement is for each student to take the leap of faith in to the media world by designing a social media blog.

Over the next 8 weeks, I will be opening my mind to the public with regard to my views, beliefs and experiences in the world of emerging media. Until then, sit back, enjoy the ride and thanks for stopping by Eyssen’s Edge: Socially Acceptable……Emerging Media As I See It!!

Cheers,

Dave