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AMA Knoxville Presents 30th Annual Honors Celebrating Alan Carmichael

AMA Knoxville Presents 30th Annual Honors Celebrating Alan Carmichael

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.”

APRIL LUNCHEON: FROM FRIENDING TO FIRING – SOCIAL MEDIA’S IMPACT ON EMPLOYMENT

APRIL LUNCHEON: FROM FRIENDING TO FIRING – SOCIAL MEDIA’S IMPACT ON EMPLOYMENT

BY: JESSICA GUTMAN

As an employer, should you find job applicants on social media? Should you accept friend requests from current employees? How should you handle online and physical harassment claims from employees?

Chris McCarty, attorney at Lewis Thomason, covered these topics and more during a lively, open discussion at the American Marketing Association Knoxville’s April luncheon, titled: “From Friending to Firing: Social Media’s Impact on Employment.”

When searching for job applicants or current employees on social media, McCarty said there are pros, cons and legalities to consider.

“You can find out things you could never ask in an interview, including their age or family status,” he said. “You can also see their social life habits to determine how responsible they are. Anything that is publicly posted is fair game.”

However, searching for an applicant’s social media accounts may also cause negative bias against them. For example, if a job candidate is pregnant and posts that information on social media, an employer may be less likely to hire them given insurance costs and future time off.

When accepting friend requests from employees, McCarty said employers should consider their industry and office culture, and that there are always risks involved. He also informed attendees that as an employer it is illegal in the state of Tennessee to force employees to be friends with you on Facebook.

In regard to employment and social media endorsements, McCarty explained the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) endorsement guidelines.

“You can’t have a material connection to what you’re endorsing without disclosing the connection in a clear and conspicuous way,” he said. “Material connections include employment.”

This means employees endorsing their company’s products or services on social media must also disclose that they are employed there. This includes a public employment listing on Facebook or mentioning it in a Twitter or Instagram bio.

He cited an incident in 2017 in which the FTC sent out more than 90 letters to celebrities, athletes and other influencers reminding them to clearly and conspicuously disclose relationships to brands when promoting or endorsing products through social media.

“It’s the same if you work for a hotel and post on Facebook, ‘this the best hotel ever, you should stay here,’” McCarty said. “You must disclose that you work for the hotel because you have a material connection. It’s the law.”

He also said employers must be cognizant of employees’ rights to express themselves online, especially about working conditions.

“Employees are not forbidden from talking publicly about working conditions on social media,” McCarty explained. “This includes pay, benefits, break times and OSHA concerns.”

This protection falls under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which states, “Employees have the right to unionize, to join together to advance their interests as employees, and to refrain from such activity. It is unlawful for an employer to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights.”

Lastly, McCarty covered a popular topic in today’s society: harassment in the workplace. He said to be aware that proper workplace boundaries apply offline and online.

He said, “If someone is uncomfortable in a workplace setting because of something happening online, it cannot be ignored by the company.”

To learn more about these topics, visit FTC.gov or EEOC.gov.

AMA Knoxville Member Spotlight: Annie LaLonde

AMA Knoxville Member Spotlight: Annie LaLonde

NAME: Annie LaLonde

COMPANY: Shoney’s of Knoxville, Inc.

TITLE: Marketing & Advertising Director

WEBSITE & SOCIAL MEDIA: www.shoneysknox.com, Facebook, Twitter

WHY DID YOU JOIN/RENEW AT AMA? 

AMA provides a forum for learning and meeting other marketing professionals in the community. We get so caught up in our everyday tasks that we often forget the world is changing around us, and we need to keep learning!

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A MEMBER OF AMA?

20+ years

WHAT ARE YOU HOPING TO GET OUT OF IT?

Sharing ideas with other marketing professionals is so valuable to me. During networking events we have helped each other brainstorm ideas to solve issues in our organizations. I also have taken several AMA webinars that have been very helpful to me and Shoney’s.

WHAT DOES YOUR COMPANY DO BEST?

Serve guests great food in a comfortable setting with friendly service. Shoney’s is known for the best Fresh Food Bar, Breakfast Bar and for our signature desserts, Strawberry Pie and Hot Fudge Cake!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF CLIENT?

All of our guests are valuable to Shoney’s, however, we love introducing our Fresh Food Bar to new generations of guests.

WHY DO YOU LIKE WORKING THERE?

Shoney’s has a stellar reputation for providing good food at a great value, that’s vitally important. However, I’m very proud of the ongoing community support that Shoney’s has provided to countless organizations over the past 55 years. While Shoney’s works rather quietly on many community events, we were truly honored to receive the 2017 Knoxville Chamber of Commerce’s Pinnacle Impact Award, recognizing our long-term community impact over the years.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THAT JOB?

11 years

WHAT DO YOU FIND BEST ABOUT DOING BUSINESS IN KNOXVILLE? 

I describe Knoxville as a big “small-town”. It’s big enough to have lots of opportunity, but small enough that one can get to know people in business and marketing. It’s a friendly place to work and live.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PAST TIME? 

Depends on the season – waterskiing/boating and snow skiing! I’m a passionate Green Bay Packers fan!

DO YOU READ, WATCH MOVIES OR TV, AND IF SO WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITES?

I love to read, mostly fiction. I am a die-hard “Survivor” fan!


Next time you’re at an AMA Knoxville event, be sure to chat with Annie about what she’s reading!

March Luncheon: Integrating Sales & Marketing

March Luncheon: Integrating Sales & Marketing

BY: ANNA HUGHES

On March 14, AMA Knoxville hosted its March Luncheon in Knoxville’s Old City at the Alliance for Better Nonprofits in the Regas Building. Brandon Bruce, co-founder of Cirrus Insight, shared his experiences and observations since his business vision came to life six years ago. Recently named no. 41 on Inc. 500’s fastest-growing companies, Cirrus Insight works to seamlessly integrate sales and marketing.

Bruce began his presentation by briefly explaining what the software company offers. Cirrus Insight is a browser extension for Gmail and Outlook and was the first software of its kind. It features email templates and tracking, drip campaigns, reminders, meeting scheduling, attachment tracking and salesforce integration.

March_Luncheon

After admitting that he believed the company would only last about two years, Bruce shared that roughly 250,000 people are now utilizing this time-saving email software. In an era when social media was anticipated to end the use of email, he explained that “email still dominates the internet,” correctly – and humorously – pointing out that to open any social media account, you must have an email address.

Through years of marketing and selling their own product, the team at Cirrus Insight has discovered what works best for email campaigns. Bruce told the audience that for marketing emails, an email blast should be more generic with graphics and a flashy designs. On the other hand, sales emails should be short, sweet and completely text.

He has found that if you use the wrong format for your purpose, your open rates will be drastically lower, and it will be harder for your emails to stand out in an inbox. Knowing your audience and how to reach them makes a drastic difference in terms of email effectiveness.

He also emphasized the necessity of “short emails from real people” in sales. These emails gain much more attention than computer-generated emails and drip campaigns. Although these systems are decent at pattern-recognition, Bruce joked that “Artificial Intelligence (AI) is long on artificial and short on intelligence.” Because of this, a human touch still prevails in the world of sales.

Although the majority of its customers are in sales, there is an upward trend of marketers utilizing Cirrus Insight for the first time in six years –  showing that Bruce and his team are meeting their goal of bridging the gap between sales and marketing.

Want to learn more? Check out this blog post from Cirrus Insight – “What to Include & Avoid in Sales Emails.” 

February Program: Branding the Beer Business

February Program: Branding the Beer Business

BY ANNA HUGHES

February’s AMA Knoxville meeting took place after hours at Hexagon Brewing Company on Feb. 21, 2018. With beer in hand, Co-owner Matt McMillan walked the audience through his experiences of starting the brewery with his business partner, Stephen Apking.

The Hexagon Story

The business started out with the name Underground, which came from Stephen’s method of brewing the beer under his porch. He quickly ran into the issue of “Underground” already being used by another brewing company.

Rather than fight to keep the name, Stephen and Matt decided to move on and find something more unique to their story. Through the process of trial and error, the two came up with the name “Hexagon,” which has many interesting ties to the duo.

Stephen was an avid beekeeper, which of course includes the hexagonal honey comb structure. Also, while looking through some of his grandfather’s old bamboo fly rods, Stephen came across an autographed book from the maker of the rods. Stephen came across a passage about how the rods were constructed using a hexagonal structure. He took this as a sign from his grandfather, and the name Hexagon was chosen.

The Hexagon Mission & Brand

Hexagon strives to focus on local partnerships. This has led them to partner with many local chefs, restaurants and foods trucks. He explained that ties between food and beer are “ever more prevalent, especially with the demographics that we are selling in.”

People want both great food and great beer. In order to cater to its market, Hexagon is working on building a small kitchen on site to provide food to patrons, in addition to the free popcorn that is already offered.

Hexagon differentiates its brand by focusing on quality and unique flavors. Matt explained their success in the craft beer business by saying, “We’re excited to be alive and making great beer.”

He is not only involved in Hexagon’s business, he is also on his fifth year of coordinating the Knoxville Brew Fest. He is also heavily active in the Knoxville Area Brewer’s Association (KABA). This group, which started in 2015, is a collection of breweries, retailers and individuals in the industry. This group helps to “define the landscape of the craft beer culture in Knoxville.”

In order to better promote the industry and “cater to locals and tourists alike,” KABA produced a map of all breweries in Knoxville in partnership with Visit Knoxville, known as the Knoxville Ale Trail. Matt explained this as a great way for Hexagon and other breweries to market themselves in the area.

Knoxville’s craft beer culture has grown from being well under the average number of breweries three years ago to 20 breweries today. Matt stressed the benefits of the craft beer industry to the local economy. By catering to their demographics and working in collaboration with other local breweries, they are able to grow the craft beer culture in Knoxville while also growing the local economy.

The AMA Knoxville event concluded with a tour of Hexagon’s impressive brewing facility.

AMA Knoxville hosted its February Program at Hexagon Brewing Co. The event concluded with an exclusive tour of its impressive brewing facility.

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