Whitehouse.gov just killed the talking head. This is good news for integrated communications.

1/28/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

The multimedia / integrated communications production by whitehouse.gov of President Obama's 2014 State of the Union address sets a new standard for the 21st century speech. -- So argues BIC professor, Frank Walton, in a post at CommPRO.biz published tonight.

Brand and the reciprocity principle

1/28/2014 Unknown 0 Comments


A new Boston Consulting Group study analyzes how the Millennial generation has a distinctive relationship with brands, referred to in the study as "the reciprocity principle."  The study asserts that brand is increasingly created by the consumer (at least the more activist ones), and not solely or even dominantly by the marketing communications professional.

The brand isn't what we want it to be (or what our boss wants it to be); the brand is what the consumer tells us it is.

How neutral (or just no-opinion-yet) are you about net neutrality?

1/23/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Rob Norman
Chief Digital Officer Global

BIC Industry Advisor
While most of us brand enthusiasts are waiting for the Superbowl XLVII ads, some of the people who keep BIC on track are also engaged in the discussion and policy advocacy that will convey the messages and the  impact of those brands to audiences now and in the future.

BIC's industry adviser, Rob Norman, Chief Digital Officer Global, GroupM, posted on January 21 at MyersBizNet.com his reflections on the recent decision of the District of Columbia Federal Circuit Appeals Court relating to the principle (claims) of net neutrality. Rob is skeptical that the "end of net neutrality may act as a brake on innovation," and he thinks it's "unlikely that the infrastructure providers [AT&T, Verizon, et alia] will enter into an aggressive 'pay or throttle' battle with Netflix."

A brand is always embedded in (inextricable from)  its physical, social, cultural -- and economic -- contexts. BIC students are challenged to understand all the dimensions in which a brand must perform.

Toronto is looking for a new logo (brand?)

1/12/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

The Globe and Mail posted last Friday about the finalists in their competition for new logos for the City of Toronto.

The story also lets you vote on which you would recommend.  No discussion -- however -- about what is clearly the elephant in the room: for some time in the future, Mayor Ford is going to be the defining brand feature for Toronto for many people. A new logo won't fix that. But if a new logo/mark is linked to other actions?

Place / location branding will be an important copy in the B3022 course Spring semester 2014. We look forward to the discussion.

Branding safety

1/12/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Auto safety (anti-speeding) is an idea (it's a value, and it's a policy to be advocated to other people).  Often, brand expressions and communications campaigns supporting such ideas get graphic and explicit (like those anti-smoking campaigns that show maimed, disfigured people). But this new public service announcement from the New Zealand Transport Agency found different set of cues. Regret and human sadness -- and the horrific impossibility to have a second chance -- not mangled steel and spilled blood.

YouTube post here -- released on January 8th,  it's getting lots of attention.

Corporate reputation trends for 2014

1/11/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Leslie Gaines-Ross
Chief Reputation Strategist, Weber Shandwick

Leslie Gaines-Ross, Chief Reputation Strategist at Weber Shandwick and author of the ReputationRx blog has offered her analysis of corporate reputation trends for the coming year.

Read her blog at HuffingtonPost.  But her #1 sets the tone for all her observations: " . . . how does a company create a single clear narrative when business is so complex when information is shared within seconds and when a business model is so instantly imitable? . . . . Author and CEO of LRN, Dov Seidman, posits an answer worth repeating -- focus not only on what you are doing, but also on how you are doing it. Do not merely out-perform the competition, out-behave them as well. . . . The most highly reputable companies are hyper-conscious of not only performance, but also of how they build their cultures and their brands."

Some of her other insights:

CEOs and decision-makers must listen to the "whispers" -- insightful monitoring is required to head off reputation risks.

There is a growing importance of "live media" -- conferences, summits, forums -- as a fourth dimension, complementing paid, earned, and owned media categories. One (ironic?) impact of all our technology is that it has been driving us into situations in which we want to meet and interact with people, unmediated by digitalization.

The threats to reputation of uses/misuses of social media will only intensify. The involvement of CEOs is imperative.

The best defender of a corporate reputation may very well be its own employees.

Interbrand: branding itself for the new year

1/06/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Interbrand today posted on Vimeo "Life at Interbrand" -- the agency brand message for prospective employees, but also for clients. As you might expect from a branding agency, all the messages you'd want are here: global, innovative, full of opportunity, committed to values, changing the world (nothing less). Nice video.

What one BIC prof learned first semester

1/05/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

BIC professor and PR Track Director, Frank Walton, has posted at CommPRO.biz about "What I Learned in the First Semester about Integrated Communications." 

Frank's observations are based on his insights from interacting with an extraordinary group of BIC students -- our first, the class of 2015 -- but also based on discussions with the full-time faculty, with our adjunct faculty who are currently in leadership positions in the marketing communications services industries, and with our highly regarded group of official and unofficial advisers and friends in the advertising, PR, digital, communications research, and design communities.

Frank Walton, Ph.D.
Director, PR Track, BIC
Spoiler alert: his conclusion is  -- "We have more to learn."  Are you interested in being at an epicenter about where the future of integrated communications is being explored?  And do you want to be prepared for that future? Curious?  Click here.

Edelman: January 5th -- shows up differently

1/05/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Richard Edelman announced in his 6 A.M. blog today the launch of
Edelman 's new new branding campaign

Richard Edelman, CEO, of Edelman, has used his blog, 6 A.M., for several years as the place to break news about his global agency as well as to ruminate about trends in the integrated marketing communications sectors.

This morning, Richard blogged the announcement of Edelman's own new branding campaign: Show Up Differently.

It is more than fair to acknowledge that Richard Edelman has been a thought leader about PR and integrated communications, as well as a successful CEO -- especially over the last decade as he prominently led Edelman in the "digital space" with authentic commitment.

Now, with the Show Up Differently brand campaign, Richard has another somewhat different perspective on what integrated communications is. He writes: "We believe that the combination of public relations, digital and research will allow us to build a new kind of marketing communications firm that can help clients both promote and protect their brands."

Note what was and wasn't said in that quotation: nothing about advertising (native or otherwise) and nothing about content marketing/generation. Nor does Richard use or focus on the word "creativity." Richard focused on two traditional concepts/categories (public relations and research) and played to Edelman's undoubted, well-developed strength in implementing digital communications that show results. He also plays to Edelman's business-model as a strength ("independence"), and he wraps up his agency's package of services and expertise in the concept of "story telling."

"Hurrahs!" are being heard far and wide from the PR research community today. For the past few years, the Edelman agency has continued to strengthen its strategic communications research capacities in research through investments into Edelman Berland.  With the Show Up Differently campaign, Edelman has put research at the top priority in a way that no other PR firm has; it will be very interesting to see how this plays out both for Edelman and for its competition.

Richard Edelman
President and CEO,
The Show Up Differently campaign also touts the differentiation of Edelman's independence (not part of the global groups of Publicis-Omnicom, WPP, Interpublic, and Dentsu).  Here is Edelman's video on independence.

Finally, the Show Up Differently campaign describes Edelman's Story Lab (a process? a place?) that asserts an agency expertise in helping clients create better stories, with state-of-the-art and non-traditional media, for better business results. It is significant -- and probably a very good PR tactic --  that the word "creativity" is not used in this environment when Everybody wants to be Creative.

Of course, "time will tell" -- but true to its brand (they're showing up differently in January 2014), Edelman has not sat back and let the impending close of the Publicis-Onimicom merger and other events steal all of the limelight.  One way to make sure you keep your new year's resolutions is to make a public commitment: Show Up Differently is evidence that Edelman understands brand concept and brand strategic timing -- and the element of risk and potential reward.

Student identity guidelines make BICsters the brand

1/05/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

For more student work, check out the gallery.

With a nod to Christopher Doyle’s Identity Guidelines as seen at the Cooper-Hewitt’s exhibit on graphic design on Governor’s Island last year, BIC students deconstructed the details of themselves to determine what constitutes their own brand identity.

The semester-long project in Professors Nancy Tag's and Gerardo Blumenkrantz’ Idea Development course this fall not only allowed for personal reflection and analysis, but forced students to (quite proudly) master some basic digital design skills -- some for the first time.

Ketchum to mentor BIC public relations students

1/03/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Nancy R. Tag, CCNY Branding + Integrated Communications (BIC) MPS Program Director, and Associate Professor, Media & Communication Arts Department, has announced that Ketchum, one of the leading global public relations and integrated communications services agencies, will offer personalized mentoring opportunities for all BIC public relations-concentration students.

Professor Tag says, "BIC public relations-oriented students will now have a distinctive and invaluable opportunity to gain insights and personalized guidance from senior professionals at one of the leading PR agencies in the world.  This partnership between CCNY BIC and Ketchum is a deeply appreciated expression of the confidence of Ketchum in CCNY and the BIC program -- particularly by Barri Rafferty, Ketchum's CEO, North America, who is one of our program advisers."

Ketchum will offer BIC public relations perspective on the best of PR practice.  In 2013, Ketchum and its clients won nine Silver Anvil Awards, the leading U.S. public relations industry awards program, sponsored by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) -- more than any other PR agency in 2013.  Ketchum and its clients also were awarded nine Cannes Lions awards -- the only PR firm to have won Cannes Lions awards across multiple marketing communications categories.

Ketchum, a member of the Omnicom Group, is a PR firm that offers branding, marketing, and communications services worldwide. One of the first-generation of PR agencies in the United States, the firm was founded in 1923 by George Ketchum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Today, it has operations in 25 countries and has affiliates throughout the world. Ketchum has been one of the global leaders in integrated communications (started as an advertising agency) and data-driven communications services (as one of the pioneers of public relations research).

BIC industry adviser, Rob Norman, warns: don't underestimate the news

1/03/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Rob Norman
Chief Digital Officer,
Global, GroupM
and BIC Adviser
Rob Norman, Chief Digital Officer, Global at GroupM, kicked off the new year by writing for Advertising Age a column, "Why Is Hard News a Hard Sell for Advertisers? Marketers Still Aren't Putting Enogh of Their Dollars Where Online Users Are."

Rob dispels the oft-repeated assumption that the news media is dying. Acknowledging the vast impact of digital technologies and news' delivery system, Rob also reminds us that "news organizations, those with their roots in newspapers as well as TV, have enjoyed an astonishing increase in consumption and now are far more current, enriched as they are by multimedia, by social media and citizen journalism. Furthermore their content is the most-shared across the Internet."

Brands and ad agencies are short-sighted to underestimate the audiences that news media can -- still -- deliver. "Digitally delivered news, both hard and soft, appears to combine reach, popularity, engagement and authority like no other collective of digital assets. And individual news outlets engage their readers and viewers frequently."

Rob Norman
(2011 photo from Advertising Age)
with the inaugural group of
GroupM Diversity Scholarship

Rob Norman is one of four senior communications industry advisers to CCNY's MPS program in Branding + Integrated Communications. Rob is a long-standing supporter of CCNY's Media & Communication Arts Department, spearing-heading the GroupM Diversity Scholarship Program with CCNY since 2011 and counseling on the creation of BIC from its inception.

As Chief Digital Officer, Global at GroupM, Rob oversees the activities of the world's largest buyer of online media with more than $5 billion in billings. In this role, he develops the digital capabilities within GroupM while establishing thought leadership positioning in the digital space and contributing to the agency's business development. In December 2013, GroupM was named Media Network of the Year by Campaign Magazine.

BIC welcomes SS+K's Kate Rothen as new adjunct professor

1/03/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Kate Rothen, Partner, SS+K
Adjunct Professor, CCNY BIC
Kate Rothen, Partner at SS+K, has joined the CCNY BIC program faculty as an adjunct professor. Kate will begin her CCNY-BIC career by teaching the Internal Management course which focuses on the creation and management of communications programs in creative, design-oriented, data-rich, process-driven, and collaborative environments  (integrated communications!).  The course is a requirement for the Communications Management Track BIC students and an elective for the Creative and PR BIC students.

According to Kate's official SS+K bio, Kate sought refuge from a traditional PR career and found a home at SS+K.  She has helped clients tackle challenges ranging from fighting TV censorship to empowering female entrepreneurs to getting Americans to reconsider the electric car. She has engineered engagement strategies for clients including Chevrolet, Kraft, Audi, and Westin Hotels.  She has served as SS+K's first Director of Social Media and as Executive Director of the agency account management team. In 2011, the Impact Center named Kate as one of twelve Women's Leadership Institute Fellows.

SS+K was created twenty years ago as one of a small group of first-mover pioneers in true integrated marketing communications. The founding partners came from politics, public affairs, advertising, and design. The agency has resolutely remained "channel neutral" -- as they say: "SS+K was founded to provide great work for great clients and causes by defying the boundaries of communication at every turn."

BIC welcomes Zontee Hou as new adjunct professor

1/03/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Zontee Hou
Social Media and
Digital Marketing Consultant,
BIC Adjunct Professor
Zontee Hou has joined CCNY BIC as an adjunct faculty member beginning in the Spring 2014 initially to teach the Consumer Behavior and Persuasion course, a required course for the Management Track BIC students and an elective for the Creative and PR Track BIC students.

Zontee has worked as a brand and digital marketing consultant as well as having served as a spokesperson for national media for her clients. She currently works with Convince & Convert, a new-format marketing communications services company -- social and content accelerators -- that has worked with leading national brands, including Wal-Mart, BMC Software, Caterpillar, Columbia Sportswear, Petco, and many others.

Zontee holds an M.S. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University.

BIC student, Raj Andrew Gomes, dances (no ...) draws, paints, CREATES -- with the Stars at JWT

1/02/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Raj Andrew Gomes
BIC class of 2015
JWT  College of Art Battle Warrior
BIC class of 2015 student, Raj Andrew Gomes, represented City College of New York Branding + Integrated Communications M.P.S. program at the 2013 JWT College Art Battle.  All of us at BIC were thrilled to watch Raj battle, for BIC, against the long-standing programs such as the Miami Ad School, the School of Visual Art, and New York City Tech -- in a showcase (and DJ-ed celebration) of the best university advertising/creative young talent you can find.

You gotta watch this video from JWT: Video Here.

Raj was cheered on by a contingent of his BIC fellow-students -- strong testament to the community of BICsters and the support that BIC students are finding from their fellow students, from their faculty, and from the NYC advertising and PR communities.

Dee Salomon, BIC prof, appointed CMO of MediaLink

1/02/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Dee Salomon
Chief Marketing Officer, MediaLink
On December 3, 2013, Dee Salomon, BIC Adjunct Professor, was appointed Chief Marketing Officer of MediaLink.

MediaLink provides deep market and business insights to a wide range of companies to help them to capitalize on the emerging opportunities of the media industry.

Here is the MediaLink release on BusinessWire, and some examples of the trade coverage at MediaPost and 4-traders.

Salomon has been a highly valued supporter of BIC since (and before) Day One, providing advice and encouragement as the new M.P.S. in Branding + Integrated Communications was created.

In the up-coming spring semester beginning January 2014, BIC students will have the extraordinary opportunity to take the BIC course in Brand Experience taught by Salomon -- a defining (but far from exclusive) example of the network of professionals and resources that BIC offers its students.

Watch this blog for more insights about Brand Experience -- from MediaLink's new CMO and BIC students.

BIC prof is finalist for prestigious global ad award -- leveraging brand power to save lives

1/02/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Gerardo Blumenkrantz
Professor, CCNY
Media and Communication Arts
Art/Creative Director,
Ogilvy Indonesia

BIC faculty member, Gerardo Blumenkrantz, was an art director and creative director for a campaign designed by Ogilvy Indonesia for the UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) that is a finalist in a global awards competition for public service/social welfare ads sponsored by the London International Awards (LIA), a global ad awards program for advertising, digital, branded content, design, production, and music & sound.

The campaign leverages our attention and engagement with the processes of social media to demand attention and thoughtfulness about a significant public health problem (that can be remedied with sufficient support) -- malaria among children in Indonesia.

Blumenkrantz' / Ogilvy's campaign is a great example of branding at its best -- effective and compelling for its inherent communications attributes, but also arresting and compelling for its ideological and moral power.

Check out the description and video relating to the campaign, here.