Consumer Confidence in a World of Data Breaches

Technology has played a role in every aspect of life, since the dawn of man. We’ve come pretty far from cavemen learning how to create a wheel out of stone, but almost daily, there’s some new form of technology that we adapt to. Despite heightened knowledge of how we use technology as the human race, there are still things that we don’t understand about it and quite frankly, it can be terribly flawed. In fact, the slightest loophole can put millions of people at risk from their identity and finances, to their entire livelihood.

Hackers are becoming more and more sophisticated in executing massive data breaches. Most recently, Capital One, a major financial institution was hacked on July 29. Surprisingly enough, the hacker was actually an unsophisticated amateur, yet suspect Paige Thompson stole over 100 million financial records, exposing a major flaw in cyber-security.

Well, I’ll take that back, Thompson had some experience with cloud computing (which happened to be the method she took to hack Capital one). She was a former Amazon employee in their cloud-computing unit. But, she was working alone. In photos, Thompson appears to be rather… normal… late 20s, a haircut that screams “I’m a bad ass, here me roar,” and probably a huge fan of caramel macchiatos. She wasn’t a Russian spy, she didn’t fit the mold of the “Most Infamous Hacker in Modern History.” Yet, she’s going down in the books for just that.

What Thompson did was expose just how vulnerable consumers are. In fact, the public is so vulnerable that simple “misconfiguration” mishaps are leading to these types of breaches in which extremely sensitive data is compromised. Not only does that have a huge effect on the consumers, but the institutions and organizations at risk will have an extremely hard time winning back the trust of their stakeholders.

Consumer confidence in brands targeted by data breaches becomes a major crisis communication issue that can take years to repair. There’s no easy or quick strategy to rebuild trust after a situation like what Capital One faced. In fact, there’ll always be a string of losses long before there are any wins in this scenario.

It doesn’t help that the financial industry is one of the leading institutions that gets the short end of the stick when it comes to consumer confidence to begin with. After a major incident with a big name financial leader, consumer opinions and negative sentiments tend to circulate to other organizations within the same industry. Not only that, but distrust in a major institution tends to lead to greater mistrust in institutions like the government and the media.

The banking industry is in such a fragile state, especially as more and more Millennials and Gen Zers enter the workplace. These two generations have the most debt than previous generations and are less likely to invest their earnings, open savings accounts, and 401K? Let’s not go down that rabbit hole.

In any regard, banks must rebuild trust, especially if they want to tap into this growing population segment.

So what needs to happen?

Millennials and Gen Zers are all about ethics and doing the right thing. Financial institutions need to ensure that their communication strategies are all about accountability, action, and fair treatment. Additionally, institutions need to stay ahead of the game by addressing and fixing loopholes and weaknesses in their cyber-security.

The most important thing to remember when rebuilding consumer confidence is to understand that reputation management is an essential and ongoing factor of every institution. Leveraging continuous brand reputation strategies, not only when crises occur, is what these companies can do to maintain some degree of consumer confidence.


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Three Reasons Gwyneth Paltrow Isn’t Full of Sh*t

In 2008, Gwyneth Paltrow developed a newsletter of self-curated lifestyle recommendations. Today, GP has grown that newsletter to a lifestyle empire, backed by venture capital and valued at well over $250 million: Goop. Despite garnering flack and snark for allegedly deceptive advertising practices around labeling and questionable vaginal jade egg advice, you can’t argue that Gwyneth doesn’t know what she’s doing with regard to marketing. Here are three lessons I’ve learned about marketing from GP herself. 

GP talks to customers like she would her friends.

Goop has developed a degree of intimacy with their readers. They understand how their target demographic talks and exists, and they understand what this woman wants and needs. That combination yields a sense of belonging for Goop readers and buyers. Goop treats customers like they belong – using familiar language and slang. By understanding their customer and immersing themselves in ‘her’ world, they have developed a sense of empathy and familiarity. 

Goop’s Chief Content Officer has been known to say that she focuses on talking to Goop readers in the same way that she would talk to her smartest friends. The company wants to give readers information and trusted recommendations that they would follow just as if their best friend recommended a product or service. The result? A friendly online environment that women not only trust, but also recommend to their peers. 

GP invests in high quality content. 

GP has hired a team of state-of-the-art writers. She doesn’t rely on SEO algorithms to get the job done. Instead, she understands that there is power in creating quality content that women want to consume and engage with. 

Making quality content doesn’t always mean developing an over-the-top photoshoot or producing an elaborate video. In fact, simple content can also be effective, as long as writers understand their audience’s wants and needs.  

GP engages with people IRL. 

GP made a bold business decision when she moved Goop from the Internet to the real world. In 2017, the successful media company created “In Goop Health,” a wellness summit that boasted partnerships with brands like Lululemon, served buzzy drinks, sold novelties like crystals and gems, and offered one-on-one tarot card readings. The event, which now spans the US and UK, has provided an offline channel for the company to meet customers and listen in real time to what customers like and want. 

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Alexa, What is a Voice Marketing Strategy?

“Always think about how to get your audience’s attention” was the first marketing tip that Gary Vaynerchuk, the chairman of VaynerX and CEO of VaynerMedia, shared during the Adobe Imagine 2019 Conference. However, getting your audience attention is becoming more and more difficult as competition increases and people’s attention span decreases.

In Forbes article about the future of marketing, Bill Boulding, Dean of the J.B. Fuqua Professor of Business Administration, revealed that understanding your consumers is key to getting their attention.
He shared that understanding your consumers today means knowing everything about them from their specific patterns, decisions, and experiences. This understanding helps brands go beyond even grabbing their audience attention to building trust and encouraging their transition from consumers to brand advocates. One thing that has gotten a lot of attention and trust lately is voice technology because it is simple to use, efficient, and familiar.

The technology has become more common on mobile devices, for example using Siri and google. Also, through the presence of voice assistants like Alexa/Echo, Google, and Apple’s voice-enabled Internet of Things in houses. According to data collected by Search Engine People, 60.5 million people in the U.S. are already using voice assistants when making decisions about products and placing orders. ComScore says that by 2020, 50 % of all searches will be voice searches.

In addition, this technology is becoming smarter every time it is used. The artificial intelligence behind it is evolving to not only service consumers but to predict their intent and behaviors.

Voice technology is changing how consumers search and make decisions about products, services, and sometimes experiences. In a recent Bright Local Survey, 58% of consumers surveyed answered that they have used voice technology to search a local business in the past year.

Based on all that, voice marketing has become one of the strategies that marketers are considering in their strategic marketing plans. In addition, audio marketing is making its reappearance slowly but surely. Now how fast will brands take advantage of this technology is what will make a difference. This is all a new era and it will take some trial and error.

One brand that already took advantage of the opportunity is Domino’s Pizza. The brand introduced an easy order option and made it available on Alexa in the U.K. Also, it launched a pizza brand’s personality, called Dom. Dom responds to the consumers’ questions in the brand’s tone of voice. According to Nick Dutch, head of digital for Domino’s UK, 20% of customers had used Alexa to order pizza just two months after launching.

If voice technology is becoming one of the fastest technology in understanding audiences and getting their attention, what should we expect next from Alexa and Siri? Will companies be paying top dollar to have an ad randomly spoken to you from your Google Home? Or will the devices become our future influencers suggesting sponsored brands?
Imagine what would marketing and communications campaigns look like ten years from now?




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My mom just started using cannabis.

Don’t tell my mom I told you, but she’s 74. She has lived a great life where she has gotten the chance to do a ton of thing, but recently she has been complaining more and more about aches and pains. She has been taking more and more medications to deal with her various aliments which has caused a bit of concern for both of us. Recently I brought up the possibility of getting her some CBD cream to see if it might help limit the medications she is taking and her answer shocked me.

See in high school I told my mom I had smoked pot and she freaked out. It was illegal where I lived and she was staunchly against anything illegal, especially something as illegal as marijuana. So when my dad’s health deteriorated I had made the suggestion of using CBD to help with his pain. Both of my parents objected because they thought of it in the same way that the think of marijuana and where they live marijuana was still illegal. There was no distinction between the two. So when I brought up the subject again with my mom recently, it shocked me when she actually agreed to try it.

You may have noticed that CBD is showing up in a bunch of different places. From coffee shops to golf shops; from national chain stores to pet stores; CBD is everywhere. In 2018, the Farm Bill made cultivating and selling CBD products legal as long as there is less than .3 percent THC.

With this new classification my mom was now willing to listen to what I had to say. I told her about the science that was out and gave her several links to interviews with people who have found relief from their ailments because of CBD. She mentioned that she had a couple friends who had tried it with some success and soon agreed to try it. We went out and found some in a local pharmacy and were soon headed home. She tried it that night and while she didn’t feel completely “healed” she did mention that she did feel better. So I took that as a win.

With the legalization of marijuana in more and more states and a wider acceptance of CBD, the sky seems to be the limit. By 2024, Forbes thinks the industry could exceed $20 billion in sales and the people buying the CBD aren’t what you might expect. The typical CBD customer is in their 40’s and educated which is a far cry from Otto and Spicoli. So is CBD be the magic elixir?



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Does Advertising Always Win?

I believe what we are seeing, over the course of the last 50 years or so, is a slow but steady progression to a point where advertising is unrecognizable from every other part of our lives. Television and radio may have been the first time advertisements started making their way uninvited into people’s lives. If you’ve ever seen those early TV ads it’s a little shocking how unsophisticated they were. As people pushed back against annoying TV ads, companies switched to things like product placement in the actual shows. But that was really only the beginning.

From there, strategies like native advertising, social media influencers, and more showed up. I think many people used to believe that social media would finally be a place where people could connect with each other or consume media uninterrupted. But we probably underestimated the ability of advertisers to find new and creative ways to insert themselves into new technology.

When my generation, the Millennials, came of age one of the supposed biggest insights into our group was we value experiences over things. Here was a generation of people that was not concerned with consumerism – they just wanted to live in the world and grow as people. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for advertising to figure out a way to take advantage of this as well. Enter experiential marketing. If you haven’t heard of it, it basically boils down to this: If people aren’t open to television ads, or targeted spots on social media, or influencers hocking their “favorite” product on YouTube, we will create an “experience” for them. This experience will be an in-person, live, real-time event that gives them a fun time with friends while also selling them a product or service.

It seems to me that whatever people are looking for, or whatever new technology emerges that offers to change society, it eventually (usually sooner rather than later) turns into a marketing tool. If we have gone from seeing advertising on billboards, to have them snuck into commercial breaks on TV, to being inserted directly into big-budget movies as part of the script, to posing as articles on respected websites, to now being the experience itself – what’s next? I mean we are literally at the point with experiential marketing where we are choosing to pay for an experience – paying to give up our time – to an event that was built first and foremost as a marketing tool. Not the other way around.

I’m curious to know what everyone thinks about a few things since this is a marketing class. First, how do we all feel about how much advertising has infiltrated our everyday lives to the degree that it has? I personally don’t have a problem with it, but I DO think that we as a society need much more media literacy. Second, what is going to be the next area that advertising makes inroads into? Some of the newest technologies are things like AI, augmented reality, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things. There is no doubt that advertising will be a feature in all these technologies and, if history is any lesson, likely become the main driving force behind them. What will advertising in these new arenas look like?? 

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Amazon Enters Influencer Marketing with the Celebrity Store

Have you ever purchased something based upon the fact that your favorite celebrity enduring it? Better yet, have you purchased a product produced and sold under a celebrity brand? Amazon is banking that you have, with the launch of their ‘The Celebrity Store’ which features self-branded produced sold by the retail giant by a selected group of top actors, athletes and influencers.

Celebrities cashing in on their personal brand isn’t anything new. In fact celebrities sometimes leverage their personal brands to keep themselves relevant. And often these celebrities turn to management companies to help them realize their full potential in sales (Olenski, 2018).

The Celebrity Store, which pushes celebrity endorsed products, most of which were co-created by the celebrities themselves.  With current counts tracking at 18 celebrities across 10 brands, The Celebrity Store provides consumers celebrity endorsed merchandise, each curated with their virtual store (Smith, 2018).  

Given Amazon’s position as one of the biggest four technology companies, do they really feel that there is much to gain with this new influencer tactic?

The answer is yes, celebrity sells. With today’s ever expanding market of choice, consumers can feel overwhelmed when determining what product to choose. Often decisions are left to emotion and a celebrity connection may make the difference on making that decision (Creswell, 2008).

So does Amazon really need to improve their marketing?

Amazon sure thinks so. Amazon has saturated the market with their Prime membership offering.  The company understands that they can’t keep adding millions of new memberships every year, so they are re-evaluating their current marketing approach, expanding far beyond the traditional tactics focused on sales promotions like ‘Prime Day’ to influencer tactics that are celebrity driven (Soper, 2019).  

To further expand Amazon’s reach, the company collaborated with Snapchat as part of their affiliate program, allowing influencers the ability to collect commissions based upon amazon promoted and linked products.

Since Amazon developed their Marketplace, which allows for others to sell their wares, sales resulted in huge profits for the business, tapping into revenues once generated by eBay. This really illustrated the future earing potential of Amazon by leveraging new sales channels, and expanding their marketing integration approach, supporting the notion of trying something new.

The result?  It’s working. 

Amazon’s revenue remains on the rise with steady increases since 2015.  Leveraging influencer-marketing tactics through The Celebrity Store and expanding their online integration with social media platforms, are just another way for Amazon to dominate online sales, keeping them in prime position against the competition.  


Creswell, J. (2008, June 22). Nothing Sells Like Celebrity. The New York Times. Retrieved from:

Olenski, S. (2018), April 2). Brands, Branding and Celebrities. Forbes. Retrieved from:

Smith, J. (2018, October 8). Amazon Launches “The Celebrity Store” to Spur Influencer Marketing.  TJI Research.  Retrieved from:

Soper, S. (2019, July, 15). Amazon Taps Kobe Bryant and Other Celebs to Generate Prime Day Buzz. Bloomberg. Retrieved from:

Zetlin, M (2017, June 29). Here’s How Amazon Gets You to Buy More Stuff. Inc. Retrieved from:

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Police Need Communication Skills to be Effective Leaders in their Organizations and Communities

In today’s world, it is critical that law enforcement personnel have the interpersonal skills needed to communicate effectively with their peers, supervisors, subordinates, community members, other law enforcement, government, private organizations, and the courts. Communication skills are crucial especially when investigating crimes, de-escalating situations, building trust with those in the communities they serve, writing internal documents, crime reports and for those who aspire to assume leadership positions within a law enforcement organization.

Secret to Success

Talk with any top leader in law enforcement, and you will find them citing communication skills as the main ingredient to their success. Law enforcement officers who build their communication skills toolbox are the most effective because they understand how to communicate with people from different backgrounds under a host of different circumstances. Communication skills are used by L.E. leaders to build trust, transparency, and create a feeling of respect and empathy with employees, the community, and while testifying in court.

L.E. leaders often cite their ability to relate to others was because of the communication skills they developed. L.E. leaders should consider as many channels as possible to connect to employees and residents in order to become even stronger leaders in these challenging times law enforcement is facing.

Language Barriers and Better Communication

Being able to relate to people from diverse backgrounds is crucial for any law enforcement professional. Depending on the community you serve, you may run into hundreds if not thousands of people from multiple cultures. Learning other languages can be extremely beneficial because it can be hard enough to communicate with suspects, victims, and witnesses who speak the same language, but now add a language barrier. James Anderson, the Director of the RAND Institute’s Justice Policy Program, told Fox News, “Essentially, a police department’s ability to build trust with an ethnic community is difficult if you literally can’t talk to them.” Now, multiply this by the hundreds if not thousands of other languages spoken in an individual community. Communication is crucial for a police officer’s success.

Communication is Essential for De-Escalation

The way police officers talk to and with people is critical to help change individual and public perceptions and improve relationships with the community. It is no secret that a level of severe mistrust, anxiety, and tension exists among many members of the public and law enforcement. Ever since the incidents that began with a police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, and several other high profile incidents throughout the country, police departments have been focused on de-escalation strategies in training environments, and when making arrests and simply interacting with members of their communities. L.E. leaders have always known that having good communication skills, used the right way, work during almost any situation. Edwin Pantoja, a 27-year police veteran, and founder of Force Effects Training has held many interviews, and says that “Officers who are trained and efficient in verbal communications and basic take-down techniques rarely receive excessive use-of-force complaints.” De-escalation does just that, utilizing effective communication skills to reduce the use of force incidents and the number of physical altercations between police officers and the public.

Learning to communicate with people of different populations; experiences, or any other issues is not an easy thing to do. Police officers and police organizations should consider communication skills as one of the most important skills they should learn and teach in order to be more effective in the communities they serve.

The Press of Atlantic City (2016). Law enforcement agencies work to bolster bilingual officers officers, but it’s not that easy. Fox News. Retrieved from

Pantoja, E. (2016, March 21). Better officer training would prevent excessive use of force. USA Today. Retrieved from

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Lost in Translation

Businesses that operate globally use translation services to convey their internal and external messages into different languages and cultures. Literal translations cause messages to get lost and create confusion. Translating simple business communications is easy – Right? For example, if a company has a concern for fire safety, the evacuation procedures should not be difficult to convey. The concept that fire is bad, people should evacuate, and calling emergency services seems basic. However, the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words could not be truer than when looking for that familiar exit sign during an emergency.

However, what if this image is also foreign to the viewer? The literal translation for Kentucky Fried Chicken’s slogan “It’s finger lickin’ good” from English to Chinese is “Eat your fingers off.”  The letters KFC and the iconic American image of Colonel Sanders mean nothing to others that have never seen them before – Both are literally, “lost in translation.” Nonetheless, images do help convey messages and play critical roles in marketing and branding – “Marketing is what you do and Branding is who you are” ~ The Tronvig Group

Images help with brand imaging, which is how customers recognize and identify brands. Essentially, brand imaging is how customers view a brand. If the image is great, that alone can create brand loyalty. For the most part, images are synonymous and help with understanding translations. Regardless of the spoken language, people across the world look up at the moon, point, and call it the moon in their native tongues. It does not matter if the moon is called luna, buwan, hilal, or tsuki because it remains unchanged. Nonetheless, when choosing images for marketing and branding, it is important to ensure the pictures are congruent with the culture and language. If you do not believe that to be true, look at the two images below and ponder how they are similar and different at the same time. �

While both pictures are of busy cities with a plethora of advertising, chances are that you might have felt a little lost and confused by the messages in one of the cities. The images help with identifying the meaning behind the advertising. The first picture advertises the movie “Tank Girl” but also has an advertisement for “Girls”, which would definitely cause confusion if the consumer only understands basic terms – In this case the pictures keep mistakes from happening.

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The future of Marketing is coming…….

This is the article we will be talking about.

Its lively discussion time!!!!!!

Our topic tonight is what we are all in this program for, or most of us I would think. MARKETING. Social media has sparked an importance in real time marketing data. Individuals who can analyze and collect data to make a pre suggested “successful” marketing campaign are priceless to some agencies.  At least that is what the MCM program material has taught me.

Things that come to mind when I think of marketing analytics:


Click through rates

Google Advertisements



Real time Engagement data  

SPSS ( I am sure every participant in this program can relate to the sad face)

The reality is that social media and marketing analytical data is complex but the future is going to make it even more so. Do we have to change as technology does? The simple answer is yes. If we do not have the up to date or at least some current knowledge of how to collect data then we are obsolete marketers.  Right? You are reading a post by someone who despises change but realizes it is necessary.  Are you ready for the changes to come or will you be stuck in the knowledge you learned in this program? Are we ever experts?

This is where the individual really matters. Some people love SPSS. Some people love data. Personally, I enjoy the creative side of marketing much more than the data side.

An article by Timothy Carter in Marketing Land Magazine called How Next Generation Algorithms could impact your marketing strategy states that future marketing data collection will eliminate the human element. ???? That means us, right?

Just because the algorithm can self-adapt does not mean that the human element of marketing data will be eliminated in my opinion.  I think this will be an amazing advancement for a task that can waste several human hours in the day.  Data is great for strategy but humans need to develop and implement this strategy.  Will the self-adapting algorithms ruin the data though? That is my question. Only the future can tell.

The article states that new algorithms will actually prevent manipulation of data. This is something to consider since we are all looking for data that supports our approach.  TAG marketing company is working with Nintendo to develop a fresh marketing scheme.  Our pitch to the CEO relies on data. We looked for data that supported our big idea even though our observations and surveys were un biased. Individuals picked the questions. We WANTED a particular outcome.  WE FIND RATIONAL FOR OUR BUDGET in our pitch. That is a technique and strategy.  Is anti-manipulation data collecting better? Of course when it comes to a straight answer but what if my multimillion dollar budget needs other data?

Maybe the answer we are looking for is the flexibility option in the potential new algorithms.  They will be customizable. So with that said I will see you in the future with my easier to get, less manipulated, and more flexible data. My company will be using it and winning the pitches.

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Kids are now striving to be Professional YouTubers more than ever!

GP: Astronaut kid EU

Aspiring Astronaut or YouTuber?

When I was growing up in the 90s, my dream job as a young child was to be a professional athlete. I grew up watching all kinds of sports, and it was available to me in my free time. Personally, I would assume that striving to become a professional athlete is the dream job for many children, especially in my era. Fast forward to today’s media landscape, where professional gaming and YouTube creators are viable careers….. Becoming a professional YouTuber is now the number one dream job for Children in the UK and the United States!

In a survey of over 3,000 children between the ages of 8-12 in the USA and UK, over 1/3 participants chose YouTuber as their top dream job. The next choice was teacher, then pro athlete, musician, and finally astronaut, chosen by 11% of participants.

There is no question that becoming a professional YouTuber can turn into a lucrative career, as we have we live in an era where some of the top content creators are making massive amounts of income and hold millions of loyal fans and followers. This study displays the monumental impact the YouTube platform has made on the world, and social media overall.

There are also many questions to be raised from these astonishing results. Is it time for universities to amp up their curriculum and educate students on viable career paths that can come from Social Media and YouTube? How realistic is it to make a living solely of YouTube content? We have been enlightened by the many popular YouTubers who have massive followings, but what about the struggling content creators that aren’t as relevant?

It will be interesting to see what the career aspirations are like for children in the year 2030, as social media and digital media evolve even more.

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