In an exciting presentation conducted by Lila Honaker, director of marketing and outreach at the Historic Tennessee Theatre, attendees of AMA Knoxville’s October luncheon learned about the specialized marketing campaign, media blitz and brand refresh utilized to celebrate the theatre’s 90th anniversary.
“Anniversaries are like birthdays: occasions to celebrate and to think ahead, usually among friends with whom one shares not only the past but also the future.” – Zbigniew Brzezinski
The Tennessee Theatre’s story begins on October 1, 1928 when it was opened as an escape to life’s troubles. This “otherworldly” movie palace took 11 months and around $1 million dollars to build. After years of touching the lives of locals, the theatre closed for a few years in the early 1970s. In 1981, Jim A. Dick purchased the theatre to save it from becoming a parking lot. After a few years, in 1996, he started a nonprofit and donated the theatre with the mission to “make sure that the Tennessee Theatre is accessible and available to all.” Since then, the theatre has undergone a massive renovation, totaling $28 million dollars, which was funded by various corporations and individuals.
October 1, 1928 The Tennessee Theatre opened its doors
After giving a brief introduction of the Tennessee Theatre’s extensive history and impact on Knoxville, Honaker jumped into a description of the long list of events and celebrations surrounding the theatre’s 90thanniversary. Celebrating such a big milestone presented Honaker’s team with “a once in a decade opportunity … to cement some of our nonprofit messaging.”
“We really wanted to connect with the community,” she explained. “Because part of our mission is being a theatre for everybody, we wanted this 90thanniversary to be able to touch everybody from all walks of life, from all backgrounds … as diverse as we possibly could.”
With Oct. 1 being the theatre’s official anniversary, Honaker and her team created the campaign “90 days for 90 years,” with special events and online messaging celebrating the monumental milestone from October until the end of the year.
As a kick-off for their 90-day celebration, the Tennessee Theatre hosted a speakeasy party. The main idea behind this event was not about one piece of entertainment, but a way to experience the theatre in a way that it had never been experienced before. This monumental cocktail party opened by leading the audience down a side alley and in through a secret entrance. Once they entered, they were greeted with food and beverages, jazz band, swing band and photo booth. This event was focused on celebrating the roaring twenties when the theatre was built and to emphasize the brand message of creating experiences, memories and stories.
The Tennessee Theatre has a full docket of events, merchandise and more – some of which has not even be announced to the public yet. To secure awareness for this celebration, they have created a new logo, secured pole banners throughout the downtown area, created specialty pins for staff and flooded the media with information about their festivities.
Tennessee Theatre’s New Logo
While reflecting on the past 90 years, the Tennessee Theatre staff also used this time to look ahead at what they wanted their brand to become in the future. Using this 90thanniversary as a transitional period, Honaker’s team was able to rebrand the theatre with an emphasis on patron experience.
“Creating an iconic brand that captures the essence of the theatre starts by knowing who we are,” she said.
In order to fully understand and appreciate the patron experience, audience members were polled in the lobby, through email and on boards. These insights helped direct the rebrand.
The Tennessee Theatre unveiled a new logo, redesigned their website and changed out their bar signage, all with an emphasis on a cleaner, more modern look. With the theme of “A New Look for an Icon,” Honaker and her team had to ensure that the rebranding campaign encompassed the tradition of the well-loved building. The new designs incorporate patterns and visuals from the architecture of the theatre itself into their new branding.
“This theatre means a lot to a lot of people and we want to share that.”
Written by: Anna Wilt
Drew Bedard, the Vice President of Brand/Customer Marketing at Bristol Motor Speedway, led the audience at the AMA Knoxville September Luncheon through his methods of storytelling. His goal was for everyone to “have fun and walk away with something actionable.”
Bedard dives into an explanation of why you should strive for story telling with your brand. The first is the idea of “Noise v Music.” Bedard compares “noise” to a confusing ad that your brain can’t understand. American consumers are bombarded with noise. Your ads should be music that tells your customer your brand story.
Since “clarity is key,” it is imperative that your ad be as clear as possible in order to capture and keep your audience’s attention. Bedard uses Apple as a prime example of this form of clear storytelling. “Stories make so much sense” in the marketing world because American’s are “starving for stories.” People spend $500B a year at the movies. This is evidence that your brand should be capitalizing on this need for stories.
The structure of a story includes some fundamental components that can translate into your brand storytelling. The first of these key features is “the hero.” Each of these heroes has a conflict or problem that they must overcome. In order to overcome this issue, they need a guide to give them a plan and call them to action. Bedard describes this structure using pop culture references, such as Luke Skywalker and Yoda in Star Wars.
In this structure, your customer must be the “hero.” Your product and brand need to be the “guide” that gives them a plan to lead them to action and overcome their problem. For this structure to work, Bedard recommends to “boil it down to how a brain can understand it.” He suggests that even something as simple as a big, red button on your website that says “BUY NOW” can be a solution to your customer’s problem.
When applying this process to Bristol Motor Speedway, Bedard found his “heroes,” or customers, to be blue-colored, Southern individuals looking for an amazing experience. Their problem is that they “lead stressful lives” and need an outlet to relax and “feel a sense of community.” His team then presents their brand as a guide to help their customers overcome their problem. Bristol Motor Speedway is marketed as an exciting, custom experience to share with a like-minded community.
The best way to organize your company’s brand is to come up with The Statement, or “The One Liner.” According to Bedard, this is a critical step in the process to simplifying your brand’s story. To come up with this “One Liner,” you will need to identify “the problem, the solution and the reward.” Bedard’s team worked to come up with a one liner that applied to Bristol Motor Speedway.
“People have stressful lives and want to have fun. We give them a place to escape, engage in community and enjoy sports and entertainment, so they can make memories that will last a lifetime.”
Bedard challenged the audience to go back to their office that afternoon and come up with a statement like this that would apply to their brand. He stressed the necessity of making this statement as clear and concise as possible.
For as long as I can remember, I have loved to read. Reading has educated me, broadened my horizons and exercised my imagination. Even now, with precious little time to indulge in my favorite activity, I rely on audiobooks to “get my fix” while commuting or shopping. Reading has impacted my life in many ways, from career aspirations to passionate causes.
What does reading have to do with marketing? Quite a lot, if you think about it. Both writers and marketers need you to be interested enough in their product to want to learn more. However, a clever book or blog title, or social media blurb, needs to have the substance behind it to keep you engaged. Publishing houses and marketing agencies must stay on top of trends and technologies in order to provide timely content in relevant mediums.
This year, AMA Knoxville is focusing on one of the most challenging trends in recent years – storytelling as a marketing tool. Storytelling takes the best parts of both worlds, literature and marketing, and combines them to excite, inspire and motivate people to act (or buy or sell). It’s no longer enough to say, “Here’s our product, isn’t it great? Go buy it!” Now, people want to know the story behind the product and how it will help them. All of our programming this year will be related to storytelling, whether it’s how to tell your brand’s story, how others have incorporated stories into their marketing campaigns or new technology that helps you do it better.
AMA Knoxville is adding another facet to our storytelling theme. We are partnering with Leaders for Readers, part of Great Schools Partnership. Leaders for Readers is a program that helps children in first, second and third grades learn to read and improve their skills by providing free books and matching volunteers with children for weekly lessons. AMA Knoxville will not only be donating books in honor of our speakers but will include the creation of a volunteer recruitment marketing plan at our conference this November. (The conference’s theme is “Wonder,” inspired by Alice in Wonderland!)
Reading is the first step to experiencing all the world offers. Without reading—or wonder—we marketers would not be in the careers we are. Without literacy, we wouldn’t have college students to award scholarships to each year. I am excited that AMA Knoxville is combining the worlds of reading and marketing into one amazing focus this year. I am confident that with our dedicated Board of Directors, volunteers and members, AMA Knoxville’s story will be one of success, community involvement, engagement and education.
BY: ANNA WILT, KNOXVILLE HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
With over one billion unique monthly users, YouTube presents a unique marketing opportunity for businesses, and it’s more important than ever to utilize digital ads as more advertising moves towards multimedia formats.
At the American Marketing Association Knoxville’s June luncheon, “Push Play on Growth,” Jonathan Halley and Lucas Cooper of Big Slate Media led the audience through an enthusiastic presentation covering all things YouTube.
Big Slate Media is a Knoxville-based content creation company. Since its creation three years ago, they have grown to advise their clients on a variety of topics, such as video marketing, content and strategy.
The digital age has given advertisers the unprecedented opportunity to “track exactly how far [their] dollar amount is going” using this video platform. More specifically, YouTube allows businesses to track the effectiveness of their ad and content campaigns through a variety of tools.
Halley and Cooper also pointed out the distinctions between YouTube and other social media platforms. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat present a “finite” option for video content. With YouTube, marketers have “the opportunity for that content to live forever.”
Marketers can organically boost their SEO ranking simply by “having a video with the keywords you want to be found with and tagging them correctly.” YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, which is owned by the largest search engine, Google. By uploading and tagging videos, Google AdWords is able to crawl and index your content. This, in turn, makes it easier for customers to learn more about your business.
Spending advertising dollars on YouTube can be a quick and easy way to see results. As a caveat, Cooper pointed out that non-skippable ads can be an annoying inconvenience to consumers. However, they can also be a “wonderful tool for advertisers if you need more time to tell your story.”
Skippable ads have proven to be the most popular form of YouTube ads. These ads are appealing to advertisers for several reasons. They are low-risk, versatile and visible to a wide audience. This method encompasses the entire Google search and YouTube search networks.
The top three data points to measure while analyzing your performance metrics are views, view rate and cost per view. View rate is the number of views and engagements on your ad, divided by the number of times your ad was shown.
As all marketers know, determining your audience is the first step you should take when making an advertisement. This is especially true for YouTube and Google AdWords. According to Halley and Cooper, you should narrow down your audience by demographics, interests and video remarketing. Video remarketing includes people that are “already engaged in your brand,” whether that means they have already watched one of your videos or bought your product.
According to Big Slate Media, the secret to successful content marketing can be found by following these five easy steps:
- Practice filming yourself until you know what works for you and your audience.
- Research is an important aspect to developing meaningful content. Cooper suggests spending ten minutes a week analyzing competitor YouTube channels.
- Brainstorm with your team, and write down your ideas.
- Planning is essential to achieving a great YouTube campaign, even if it is just an hour a month.
- Lastly, and most importantly, just do it! Challenge yourself to make “consistent, relatable content” that will engage your audience.
Want to learn more? Check out this blog post from Big Slate Media.
The American Marketing Association Knoxville (AMA Knoxville) held its 30th Annual Honors Ceremony on Tuesday, May 15 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Historic Southern Railway Station. Alan Carmichael, president and chief operating officer for Moxley Carmichael, was recognized as AMA Knoxville’s 2018 Outstanding Marketing Professional.
Alan Carmichael brings more than 30 years of real-world experience to help clients communicate effectively in his role as president of Moxley Carmichael. From a love of literature and writing, he crafted careers first in journalism and then public relations. The ability to create and execute up-to-date communications strategies is based on firsthand experience in advising clients on proactive public relations programs, as well as preparing for and managing crises.
The Outstanding Marketing Professional is a lifetime achievement award presented to an individual who has made meaningful and innovative contributions to the community and in the field of marketing. Past recipients include Jeff Lee, Jim Clayton, James A. Haslam, II, Townes Lavidge Osborn and Pat Summitt.
Attendees enjoyed dinner and drinks as AMA Knoxville celebrated Alan Carmichael, recognized this past year’s AMA marketing scholarship recipients and honored AMA Knoxville’s chapter leaders with the Locander Award, Volunteer of the Year Award and STAR Award. Board members recognized this year included:
In addition to honoring an outstanding professional and AMA Knoxville’s chapter leaders, the annual Honors event raises funds to provide scholarships for exceptional students majoring in marketing at the University of Tennessee. This program, the Eagle Endowment, has provided over $120,000 in scholarship money in an effort to preserve and grow the marketing industry.
“The AMA Knoxville board of directors is so happy to honor Alan Carmichael as this year’s Outstanding Marketing Professional,” said Carol Kelly, AMA Knoxville president. “His longstanding dedication to this community and his incredible work in the marketing and communications industry makes him so deserving of this prestigious honor.”