Tag Archives: social media

Foster undergrads create social media plan for U.S. Open Golf Championship

Foster undergraduate students enjoy U.S. Open media day with legendary champion Greg Norman and FOX Sports broadcasters.
Foster undergraduate students  at Chambers Bay Golf Course during  U.S. Open media day with legendary champion Greg Norman and the FOX Sports broadcast team.

When the world’s best golfers tee off at the U.S. Open June 17-21, not all of the action will take place on the rugged Puget Sound landscape of Chambers Bay. A coordinated “Open For All” Fan Experience in Seattle’s Lake Union Park will offer big-screen viewing of the championship, games, activities and official merchandise, a “Learning Science through Golf” exhibit, local food trucks, and an opportunity to see the famed U.S. Open trophy at the end of its cross-country tour.

The event—if not the trophy—will bear the fingerprints of Foster School undergrads.

In winter quarter, the United States Golf Association and its broadcast partner FOX Sports challenged students in Abhishek Borah’s social media class to brainstorm event ideas and promotion of the fan fest viewing party. Their target demographic was a familiar one: Millennials, the legion of 20-somethings raised on technology though not necessarily on golf.

“The executives from FOX Sports and the USGA wanted my students to provide research and analysis to support a location for the event, and a plan to create social media buzz that would get young people excited about it,” says Borah, an assistant professor of marketing at Foster.

Golf in the city

The projects, conducted through the FOX Sports University program, became the real-world capstone to Borah’s course.

Four teams presented. The winning “Golf The City” team—Yen Phung, Tyler Ronish, Supo Techagum, Nap Poshyananda and Coral Lee—delivered outside-of-the-box creativity in a coherent and professional presentation that most impressed the USGA and FOX Sports executives.

“The kids came up with a variety of great ideas, presented with real professional polish,” says Greg Ross, manager of branded and special events at the USGA. “Since we’re not from the Seattle area, it was a great eye-opener to see what options are there, what the younger demographic would think was cool and fun.”

Golf The City proposed a network of mini-golf installations around the city, encouraging social sharing of pictures and recommended hashtags. They outlined an advertising campaign featuring local celebrities. For the Fan Experience, they envisioned photo ops with wax figures of famous golfers from Madame Tussauds, specialty golf-themed cakes and a virtual swing analyzer. They recommended favorite food truck vendors and popular local bands.

“Since we were the target audience, we thought, what’s interesting to us? How could we be convinced to go?” says Phung, a senior at Foster who is president of the school’s American Marketing Association branch.

“The winning team had great ideas—along the lines of our original thinking,” Ross adds. “But they went the extra mile and presented budgets, projected impression numbers. Information we weren’t even asking for.”

Next generation entertainment

Their reward (beyond an excellent grade and a valuable resume booster) was an all-access pass to U.S. Open media day in May, and VIP status for the Fan Experience.

The winning team gets a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to broadcast a major sporting event.
The winning team gets a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to broadcast a major sporting event.

The students have seen how such an event is promoted and executed, and how well their ideas dovetailed with the USGA’s plans. Their mini-golf notion resembles the “Epic Putt Challenge” that has challenged fans at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (and continues at the Fan Experience) to match some of the greatest putts in championship history. Their swing analyzer has morphed into a golf simulator that allows fans to virtually play the signature 15th hole at Chambers Bay. And there will be food trucks galore.

Alas, no golf ball cakes or waxed U.S. Open champions.

In sync

“The students didn’t know what the USGA was planning for the Fan Experience,” says Kaitlyn Beale, manager of marketing and strategic partnerships at FOX Sports. “So to be so in sync was pretty exciting. It was great for us to be able to tap into some great minds at the University of Washington, and for the students to be so engaged and invested in this project.”

They certainly learned a lot. Apart from Ronish—an avid golf fan who will intern with the USGA this summer—nobody on the winning team knew the first thing about the sport at the outset.

“Coming into this class, I didn’t know anything about golf, and not a lot about the power of social media,” says Phung, who will join Hitachi Consulting after graduating this June. “But I did know something about marketing. It was so interesting to see all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into a big event and social media campaign. And it was an incredibly valuable challenge to apply what I’ve learned in school to an unfamiliar industry, something I’ll be doing a lot in my career.”

Thought leaders

Guest post by Emilia Griswold, Foster MBA 2014
She attended the Day of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which was organized by Ken Denman, Edward V. Fritzky Chair in Leadership at the Foster School.

Nilofer MerchantNilofer Merchant, author and corporate director, spoke at the Day of Innovation and Entrepreneurship about Social 2018: Where does social media go from here and what principles can we apply to the future? Nilofer argued that “social” is not “social media” and that we’re actually in the “social era” where individuals can now do what once only centralized organizations could accomplish. For companies, this means that they need to embrace openness and fluidity while allowing employees to take ownership in everything they do. But this also applies to people. Nilofer advocated that it is our job “to learn, not to know” and that being open to new ideas is what allows you to learn best.

To close out the day, we were very lucky to have Ben Casnocha, the entrepreneur, author, and chief of staff to Reid Hoffman, speak about his new book The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the future, invest in yourself, and transform your career. I took two big points away from Ben’s talk. First, think of yourself as a start-up and commit to investing. One simple way to do that is by setting aside some time and money to take interesting people out for coffee. Second, keep your mindset in “permanent beta.” Ben noted that when you consider a product “finished,” you lose the momentum to keep improving. By staying in beta, you feel empowered to fix the bugs that pop up and to leverage extraordinary opportunities that come your way.

Ben CasnochaHe also talked about ABZ Planing. Plan A is what you’re doing right now. Plan B is what you want to transition into, and Plan Z is your back-up plan—what you’ll do if Plan A and Plan B don’t work. When you have this mentality you mitigate the risk that comes with transforming your career and yourself. The worst that can happen is you have to pursue Plan Z.

With so many incredible events going on at Foster, it can be difficult to commit to a day without studying or prepping for interviews. But I’m so glad I made time for this conference. I came away with a better idea of how to assess opportunities as well as new ideas for approaching my own career. All-in-all, a great way to spend a Friday!

Special thanks to Ken Denman, Dean Jiambalvo, Jason Hsaio (MBA 2013), Nelson Haung (MBA 2013), and all the Foster staff and volunteers who made this conference possible.

Watch videos of all the sessions.

Related blog post: Great insight and thoughtful honesty at Day of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Student Consulting Program – student perspective

Guest post by Rai Huang, Foster undergraduate

BEDC Student Consulting ProgramI initially enrolled in the BEDC Student Consulting Program without really understanding what consulting means; my impression was that consulting is the dream job of many of my peers at the Foster School of Business, yet it wasn’t something I particularly cared for.

I expected to walk away from the class with experience in conducting market research and formulating online marketing/public relations strategies, which is related to my dream career after graduation. And I liked the idea of working with a team; the communication skills learned would prepare me for work in any field. The fact that it would look good on my resume didn’t hurt either.

My team’s assignment is to formulate online marketing and social media strategies for our client, Concourse Concessions, who currently operates a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf franchise in the Seattle-Tacoma Airport. A newcomer in the Seattle market, they wish to grow brand recognition through traditional and non-traditional public relations methods as they expand to locations outside of the airport within the next year. It was an exciting task to take on, as the overall business environment and market for coffee in Seattle is very saturated, and would require creative thinking to accomplish the mission.

The first step for our team was to identify the strategy and comparative advantage of the franchise.  Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has only been in operations for about three months, and there was lack of substantial data for us to analyze. Challenged by our advisers and mentors, we were able to take a step back and look at the project from a wider perspective. We learned to think in terms of what is most valuable for the client every step of the way. With the support of our mentor and advisors, we came up with a framework in which every question raised had to be answered in a way that would help the business.

During the research phase of the project we gathered survey data and took a close look at local competitors such as Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Uptown Espresso, Espresso Vivace and Café Vita. We examined how they are utilizing social media and promotion strategies to maximize brand equity. Marketing concepts we’ve seen play out in real life include: how social media is being utilized for Customer Relation Management; how Search Engine Optimization is becoming increasingly intertwined with social media; why it’s essential for all business owners and managers to understand the marketing concept; how to really use a business’ competitive advantage; and how to communicate through interaction with the consumers.

As we come near to the end of the project, I now understand what consulting really comes down to is communication. It is important to practice the art of listening to your client and really hearing their needs, and finding resources and formulating recommendations with your team to create value for them. Through the process of tackling the different obstacles, my team and I have bonded together and grown both professionally and personally.

I look forward to applying the skills I’ve learned to a future career in Public Relations. I now understand what it is like to work with a real client, how to identify their wants and needs, and strategically come up with solutions that would benefit the client and heighten awareness of the brand. The Student Consulting experience is not just a line on my resume, but truly a real-world experience I was fortunate to have as an undergraduate student.

Learn more or become involved in the Student Consulting Program as a client or volunteer advisor.

Social media judo

Guest post by Ryan Loren, Foster MBA 2013 and president of the Global Business Association
He attended the “Social Media: For Your Business?” roundtable, which was hosted by the Japan-America Society and Foster Global Business Center.   

Social Media: For Your Business?As any MBA student will tell you, networking is a must, but finding the time is tough. Meeting the right people, connecting with the right organizations—all are factors in where to spend your “extra” time.

For me, “Social Media: For Your Business?” was a no brainer; I had to go. Having spent nearly seven years living and working in Japan, as well as interning over the summer at one of the world’s largest PR and ad agencies (that also has a big social media team), I knew this would be a good opportunity to network and meet industry leaders who work internationally, have a connection to Japan, and are involved in social media.

Companies represented in the panel discussion were Starbucks, Microsoft, Ivy Worldwide, PSPINC, Nikkei Concerns, and Niconico. Each company representative gave a 10–15 minute presentation on their social media strategy and the impact social media has had on their organizations.

I learned effective social media strategy is about leverage, or as Nick White, partner and general manger of Ivy Worldwide, a word-of-mouth social media marketing consultancy firm, called it, “social media judo.” He said if your firm is going to have an effective strategy, you need to:

  • Listen.
  • Contribute on other sites.
  • Publish your own content and make sure to link back, cite, and propagate.
  • Don’t sell, rather soft sell your product or service.
  • Listen even more.

Seems simple, but in the ever changing social media world, it is anything but simple. The buying process has changed, the customers are changing, and the frameworks that we have grown to love/hate in our MBA studies are changing. Thankfully, events like these allow real-time perspective from industry leaders in organizations many of us will end up working for one day. The opportunity to meet, mingle, exchange business cards, and practice your elevator pitch with the panel and other attendees is a great way to go that extra mile and make genuine connections. You never know how or when you might come across the same people when searching for an internship, or in my case, a job.

Podcast: Social media as a leadership tool

This morning’s UW Foster School of Business breakfast lecture focused on the social media revolution. Richard Law, CEO of Seattle-based Allyis, talked about “Social Media as a Leadership Tool” and how executives can socialize their way to employee engagement, retention, collaboration and success.

Law touched on the communication game that’s already changed due to social media, ROI of engagement, statistics, social media being a broader concept than just its platforms of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Conversations among customers, employees and their peers now help create brands.  Two-way dialogue is the best way to represent a brand and Law offers tips for staying competitive in today’s marketplace.
RSSListen to podcast on social media.

Video extra: The Generation Y workforce will equal Baby Boomers in numbers, and Gen Y’s digital media presence is noteworthy. Law played this four-minute “Socialnomics” video about current social media use and demographics.

This lecture is part of Leaders to Legends Breakfast Lecture Series, an event for business leaders and faculty to share insights about current business topics and trends with other business leaders, alumni, faculty, students and the Foster School community.