The official blog of Nancy Marshall Communications
offering tips, techniques, and thoughts from Maine's PR Maven, Nancy Marshall

 

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The Art of Brand Communication

Portland Museum of Art Brand Strategy Coordinator, Caitlin Brooke

When you think of a museum, what comes to mind? Do you envision a forward-thinking, branding machine that brings art to life on your phone, through an artist-inspired cocktail, or by offering Free Fridays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.? That’s the exact image Portland Museum of Art (PMA) Brand Strategy Coordinator, and this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Caitlin Brooke, hopes to conjure when you think of PMA.

After graduating from Cony High School, Caitlin attended the University of New Hampshire where she received  dual undergraduate degrees in art history and communication, and an MBA in marketing. A summer internship with PMA’s PR department was her first taste of the career path she would choose, but not before spending three years in Boston working as an associate for an investment firm.

Brooke says, “I absolutely loved developing my professional identity in Boston and being thrown into the fast-paced and demanding world of corporate finance. My role evolved from investor relations to marketing, and I began to take the reins in redesigning the firm’s marketing materials and communications plan.”

At the PMA’s Winter Bash Brooke’s job was to sit and draw the guests as they enjoyed the evening.

By 2010 Brooke decided to leave Boston and do some soul-searching saying, “I wanted to eventually establish myself in Maine, so I took a break and traveled the country before beginning my search for jobs in Portland.” Why Maine? Her reason is simple stating, “The cultural vitality of the city had always enticed me and it’s the perfect location—access to the water for surfing and the mountains for skiing!”

This vital culture of Portland is the driving force behind the success of Brooke’s work with PMA. She says, “It’s about being in the know; having relationships with every department and PMA staffer so they think to call me when something cool is happening in the galleries, on TV, or across the street; it’s about embracing social media as a part of our roles.”

In 2012, the institution officially began to integrate social media into staffers’ professional roles. With this change came the need to create a social media policy and social media team who create content, take photos, Tweet and post on behalf of the museum covering all facets of the institution, and giving dynamic perspectives of what is happening on the PMA campus.

Stop by the PMA Café for an artist inspired cocktail created byAurora Provisions.

This new branding initiative plays a major role in Brooke’s daily routine. She starts her day by scrolling through social media feeds and emailing herself potentially relevant content. She adds, “I need to scope the scene and see what people are talking about. A big part of my job is connecting PMA’s exhibitions, programs and collections to what’s happening in the ‘real’ world, which in my opinion helps pull together the bigger picture of why art matters.”

2012 was a major year of rebranding for PMA, when they gathered national and international traction for their exhibition Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer and Maine. Brooke says, “Homer was an American artistic genius, and also a hermit with a fantastic moustache and a studio on Prouts Neck in Scarborough.”

PMA used this attention as an opportunity to launch their new logo and to overhaul their brand identity. Brooke says, “Prior to 2012, the museum had an undefined strategy for social media. It was almost a marketing afterthought, but because of all the media attention, we were able to really throw our new look out into the public arena and have a lot of people see it.”

A lot of people have been seeing a new side of PMA, one that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is having fun. Caitlin says, “There is no other form of communication that can convey the energy of an organization like social media, so don’t take yourself too seriously!” While social media is a part of business, Brooke says that it is a part of building relationships, too, adding, “People like to see the behind-the-scenes, real parts of an organization. If something makes you and your coworkers laugh, more than likely other people will see the humor in it too.”

To learn more about the Portland Museum of Art, visit www.portlandmuseum.org, or like them on Facebook to keep up with their latest events and exhibits.

Strutting Their Stuff

Kennebec Valley Humane Society Executive Director, Hillary Roberts (image via KVHS Facebook page)

Community involvement is the key to success for any local nonprofit, and social media has played a major role in the continuing success of the Kennebec Valley Humane Society (KVHS). This week’s Monday Maine Maven and KVHS Executive Director Hillary Roberts says, “Educating the public on what we do and raising money toward our efforts is very important.”

Almost two years ago Roberts was featured on our blog and discussed how the social media movement was positively impacting their organization through donations of time, money and just about anything else they might need. Since that time social media, Facebook in particular, has only improved and with that so has the strategy KVHS uses to spread their message.

Currently, they have a team of seven people that handle the Facebook page and Roberts says, “We only have two rules: the posts must be positive and they must be accurate.” Their most popular posts are about their adoptable dogs, cats and other pets, and of course the happy-endings posts about past adoptions.

KVHS is currently accepting submissions for their annual Paws in the Park & Mutt Strut Art Contest. Winning submissions will be used as posters, t-shirts, and more to promote their Paws in the Park event.

Hillary says the power of Facebook for their organization is unbelievable stating, “It’s amazing to reach thousands of people to tell them about adoptable animals, or a special event we’re having through a single post. Even better? It’s free!” She adds, “We have even seen an increase in the distance people will travel to come and see a potential pet having seen them online first.”

This past Saturday, KVHS hosted a successful Strike Out Animal Abuse Bowl-a-thon at 1-7-10 in Augusta. On Saturday, May 18, 2013 they will be hosting their 20th Annual Paws in the Park & Mutt Strut—an all day family and pet-friendly event at Capitol Park. This year’s event will include the following activities:

  • Animal nutrition workshop with Dr. Judy Herman
  • The first annual KVHS Best in Show competition
  • Dog micro-chipping and nail trimming
  • Food vendors
  • K9 Police and Agility demonstrations
  • Raffles, contests, and more

Events like the Mutt Strut and Bowl-a-thon are essential to raising awareness to the various programs offered by the KVHS; such as their volunteer and foster programs, micro-chipping, animal nutrition and more.

Roberts has a lifelong love of animals and believes that regardless of how you find the next furry member of your family, the most important part of the decision should be based around research. She adds, “You have to consider your lifestyle and figure out what kind of pet will best fit that lifestyle, and if you do adopt, know that your new family member is grateful for the second chance!”

To learn more about the Mutt Strut check out the Facebook event page www.facebook.com/events/497132327019644/, or see their adoptable animals on the KVHS Facebook page, www.facebook.com/KennebecValleyHumaneSociety. To speak to Hillary directly, you may email her, director@pethavenlane.org.

Let The Good Times Roll

Wrap N’ Roll Creator and Owner, Avery Richter

The best things happen when you least expect it—that’s the motto that best describes the success of this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Avery Richter. Little did she know that when she transformed a business idea into reality as a requirement for graduation, it would grow into what Wrap N’ Roll is now. Richter says, “I honestly didn’t think that far in advance; I thought of it as a way to be able to get a hands-on experience of owning and managing my own small business. I never expected it to grow this quickly!”

Across the country there is a growing trend in buying local, and Wrap n’ Roll fits the mold perfectly. Avery provides homemade sweets that are sold every Sunday throughout the summer at the Belgrade Lakes Market; not to mention the scrumptious menu of items available from her food truck Tuesday through Sunday in the summer featuring locally-grown products, and year-round catering services.

Richter takes pride in owning a local business and is always looking for ways to give back to her community. It’s no surprise that when she was asked to join the board for the Belgrade Community Center she immediately took on the role. Richter says, “The employees of the community center have always been very loyal and supportive of my food truck. I have donated food to their October Fest and Father, Daughter Dance. I also thought joining the board would be a great way to serve the community I grew up in.”

A program that means a lot to Avery is the teen cooking class she is teaching. The class takes place over the course of six weeks and is designed to teach the students how to create healthy recipes that are easy to make at home. The recipes range from cupcakes and smoothies to sushi and burritos. Wrap N’ Roll has truly become a fixture in the community.

A rockin’ day in the Wrap N’ Roll food truck!

All of the exposure of Richter’s business would not have been possible without the integration of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Avery says, “They are essential to a business like mine! You can’t beat free marketing! Everyone uses social media as a part of their daily routine, and it makes communicating with more people and businesses so much easier.” She loves that she can easily share what she is doing with her customers through a post, but more importantly, she loves the networking that occurs on social media between small businesses in the area. She adds, “I’ve found that social media is a great way to support each other by sharing what they’re doing, and what we’re doing together.”

Facebook has been a major push for Wrap n’ Roll. Richter receives messages from customers about their positive experiences with the business, and the photos she posts from catering events are frequently shared by hundreds of people. The posts featuring the “S.O.T.D” (special of the day) or new arrivals are popular and lunch is frequently requested as ‘that sandwich you posted on Facebook this morning’. Avery says that she enjoys using social media and knows that it will continue to help her business grow.

So what’s next for Wrap N’ Roll? This summer you can enjoy the food truck in Belgrade, Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. They will be featuring Boar’s Head meats, and eggs from Emery Farm in Wayne, Maine. Richter says, “I have such a passion for food and am glad that Wrap N’ Roll is allowing me to share that passion with others.”

The official Wrap N’ Roll food truck in Belgrade last fall.

To find out more about Avery and her team, or to request Wrap N’ Roll to cater your next event, check out their Facebook page HERE.

Summit Natural Gas of Maine Hosts Successful Job Fair

On Wednesday, our client Summit Natural Gas of Maine hosted a job fair at the Senator Inn & Spa in Augusta.

The goal was to fill over 40 job openings in their new Augusta office, and the turnout was incredible! More than 400 people showed up, resumes in hand, to meet with recruiters. The media was also present and the success was captured by The Kennebec JournalThe Morning Sentinel and WGME 13.

Hundreds of people turned out for the Summit Natural Gas of Maine job fair earlier this week at The Senator Inn & Spa in Augusta.

Director of business development, Mike Duguay, was on site to meet with candidates and to further discuss the company’s $350 million investment in the Kennebec Valley project. The project will generate 400 heavy construction jobs and more than $100 million in work for local plumbing, electrical and heating professionals over the next five years.

Keep your eyes open for upcoming job fairs conducted by the contractors to fill the heavy construction opportunities in the near future.

2010 Called – They Want Their Website Back

NMC Interactive Marketing Manager, Matt Rideout

Does it seem too soon to say something like that? It’s not. The truth is, mobile devices have completely changed the Web landscape over the last couple of years. Mobile searches have grown 4x since 2010. More people are ditching their laptops and are using smaller tablets or large smart phones for a lot of their Web browsing now.

Are you trying to drive traffic to your website using social media platforms like Facebook? Did you know that Facebook’s mobile users grew by 50% to over 500 million in 2012? It’s likely that any links you post to Facebook will be viewed on a mobile device.

So far in 2013, NMC’s clients have regularly received 25% – 30% of their traffic from mobile devices. In 2012 we were saying 15% – 20%. In 2011 it was less than 10%.

Full desktop for Summit Natural Gas of Maine.

The problem is, desktop websites just do not display properly on phones. People need to “pinch and zoom” just to read small areas of text. They have to pan when lines of text don’t break within the limits of the screen. Buttons are hard to click, drop down menus do not work, and visitors become frustrated.

If your website is not mobile friendly, your business is literally leaking money. Customers are hitting their phone’s back button and trying elsewhere because they can’t make it through your website without unnecessary effort (it’s like making the entrance to your store into an obstacle course).

This is why NMC is now making all new websites completely responsive. Responsive websites automatically resize and rearrange content and menus according to the size of the screen that the user is viewing the site on. This makes it so that on small touch screens, everything becomes navigable with just a thumb and content is organized much like a mobile app. On larger tablet screens, everything works perfectly through touch with more content filling the entire screen area, and on desktop screens, users get a view that is optimized for a keyboard, mouse, and large viewing area.

Tablet display for Summit Natural Gas of Maine.

To see a responsive website in action, head over to one of NMC’s latest creations at http://SummitNaturalGasMaine.com. Check it out on your smart phone, tablet, and desktop. All of the same information is accessible to everyone, but rearranged and presented differently depending on the screen size. Using Google Chrome, you can watch this transformation live by dragging your screen width from full screen to narrow to see how elements of the page reposition and resize themselves. Watch as it immediately responds to changes in screen size. This website was building using responsive (mobile friendly) technology on the Drupal platform. Our client can easily upload and add new content themselves once, and the system will automatically adapt it to any screen size without any extra work.

To learn more about what responsive Web technology can do for your business, feel free to come see NMC, the mobile marketing experts.

Article by NMC Interactive Marketing Manager, Matt Rideout

Raising Awareness and Brand Building

Coastal Human Society Marketing and Development Coordinator, Jane Siviski

Awareness plays a huge role in the success of a business, and adorable four-legged friends definitely don’t hurt your cause. This week’s Monday Maine Maven, Jane Siviski, marketing and development coordinator at the Coastal Humane Society (CHS), could not agree more! She says that over 60% of their adopters look at the animals online before coming into the shelter.

Siviski adds, “Without question—Facebook and our website are our best advertising tools and there is never a shortage of content.” If you visit their Facebook page, you will find pictures and videos of adoptable animals, newly-adopted animals with their new families and heartwarming stories of community involvement.

Their goal is to engage fans and followers by creating an inviting environment for animals and people. Jane apologizes to Sarah McLachlan saying, “Facebook helps us break down the stigma of shelters being a scary, sad and overwhelming place. Unfortunately, there are shelters in other regions that are bursting at the seams and euthanasia is their only option—for us and many Maine shelters, it’s not.”

The role of social media manager is divided between Jane and the volunteer coordinator and shelter manager. This division is important—Jane says, “We all bring a different perspective on shelter life and that adds richness to our Facebook presence. The CHS mission prioritizes our posts, so anything that promotes adoption or brings people into the shelter comes first.”

CHS recently hosted Rescues on the Runway, an adoption event at the Maine Mall in Portland.

These values are clearly exhibited when you walk in and are instantly greeted by friendly staff members and volunteers who are more than happy to spend some time with you and share the stories of the animals. They encourage you to go into the cages (with an adult of course) and spend time with your potential new family member.

The CHS team also works to reunite families with lost pets. Occasionally they get a stray brought in who weighs a little too much or is a little too friendly to not have come from a good home. Multiple times CHS has posted about an animal in their custody, the image is shared and the next thing they know someone is calling saying the cat belongs to them.

The CHS permanent resident, Amere!

Although, after spending some time at CHS, it’s no wonder that some of the animals, like Amere, just never want to leave. Amere came in from a cat hoarding situation last summer and while many of the cats that came with him were feral, Amere was not. Known for his crinkled ears (a result of ear mites left untreated), tolerance of dogs and playful disposition with guests, Amere is the perfect lobby cat/mascot for CHS. Staff members, or his pets as the staff puts it, love him and when they find themselves buried in projects and spending late nights at the shelter, he is their very own crinkle-eared watchman.

When I asked Jane how people can help out, she asked, “How much time do you have?” Any involvement is very helpful, whether it is a donation of money, food, or time. You can check out CHS on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CoastalHumaneSociety, or visit their website www.coastalhumanesociety.org to find the best fit for you!

Spring has Sprung!

Happy Spring!

With temperatures reaching the 50’s today and the sun shining, it feels like it’s almost time to break out the shorts and flip-flops. Last weekend, Maine celebrated Maine Maple Sunday, and NMC’s Erika Bush shares two of her pictures from her family’s visit to Goranson’s Farm in Dresden. She says, “It was a lot of fun. We loved visiting Hubble, a calf born on Christmas Eve. As you can see, he really liked my Mom!”

Maine Maple Sunday at Goranson’s Farm in Dresden.

How did you celebrate Maine Maple Sunday?

Social Media and Kids

KVYMCA Program Coordinator and Camp Director, Johanna King

The never ending debate on how old is old enough to participate in social media can be tricky, especially since it is now readily available to people of all ages, children in particular. This week’s Monday Maine Maven, KVYMCA program coordinator and Camp KV director, Johanna King, is well aware of the pressure and bullying that can be found on social media sites, but she believes many concerns can be resolved with open communication, education on social media etiquette and programs that instill positive self-esteem.

King has been working with children for a very long time. She started coaching soccer camps in high school, volunteered at her church’s summer Bible school and did a lot of babysitting. Since graduating from the University of Maine at Orono, she has worked part-time at Indian Elementary School as a tutor and, after receiving her ACE certification as a group exercise instructor, she landed a job working for the KVYMCA as their program coordinator and camp director.

Johanna gives a high-five to a camper last summer.

This role has been a perfect fit. Johanna says, “I went to so many camps growing up and have wonderful memories of camp. It is great to be on the other side of the experience and be able to help create those same great memories for kids today.” A part of this experience is using social media to share these memories with the parents of summer campers.

Johanna King has a firm grasp on social media needs for organizations like the KVYMCA. King adds, “People don’t want to sit down and read a long brochure, they want their information to be more succinct using images and less text; they want information from sites they’re already using such as Facebook and Twitter.” Johanna says that is why social media awareness is so important for not only children, but for communities as well. The information received is the information that is given, and so much of that information is found through the daily use of social media.

That is why King says, “This year, my goal is to update the YMCA Facebook page with a picture and short description each day for the parents to check out while they are at work or at home to see what their children are up to throughout the day.” Facebook and other social media sites are increasing awareness of the KVYMCA and their programs, but one new program is particularly popular due the Olympian namesake that hosts the session.

Johanna with Learning Center Director, Ranae L’Italien and Olympian, Julia Clukey during a recent camp program planning session.

That Olympian would be Julia Clukey. Johanna says, “Social media definitely plays a part in the need for programs like Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls. It is incredibly important to teach kids that their self-worth isn’t correlated to how many Facebook friends they have or how many people have liked their status updates.”

During a recent planning meeting with Clukey and the KV Camp team, they were able to establish the curriculum of this summer’s program. The camp will feature themes such as “Be Healthy,” “Be Your Best,” and “Be Caring.” Kings says, “We received wonderful feedback from parents of Clukey campers and we know that we will be having a lot of repeat campers, so it is important that we present the information in a way that is new to the girls that attended last year.” Programs such as Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls help promote positive reflections of oneself, resulting in confident young women.

To learn more about the summer programs offered by the KVYMCA and to connect with Johanna, you may email her at johanna@kvymca.org.

Painting Fun!

Here at NMC, we go above and beyond to meet the needs of our clients. Last week, we hosted a photo shoot and while tidying up, realized that the walls could use a little sprucing up.

Business Manager, Juli Settlemire makes painting look easy!

NMC Business Manager, Juli Settlemire volunteered and got right to it! Who says you can’t have fun at work?

Have a great weekend!