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August Luncheon: Boosting Your Communications Strategy with Video

August Luncheon: Boosting Your Communications Strategy with Video

The August Luncheon at Rothchild Catering and Conference Center served as the first meeting of the 2019-2020 board term. Jessica Gutman, the new board president, welcomed everyone to the luncheon and introduced Jenny Woodbery, Digital Media Specialist – Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Woodbery graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2009 with a double major in journalism and political science. She worked as an intern at Knox News Sentinel during college before eventually being hired on to the editorial staff. It was here that she began working on her knowledge of video. She had to learn how to make a video that was unique from the article accompanying it, a skill that is now an integral part of her career.

After working at the Knox News Sentinel, Woodbery went on to manage communications at both the Min H. Koa Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science – UTK, as well as the Knoxville Chamber. She eventually began working at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 2015.

Musts of Short Videos

During her presentation, Woodbery touches on the musts of using short videos to complement existing communications strategies. A few easy ways that she does this in her every day work is by creating short videos that will typically accompany press

releases and featured stories. With such a technical subject matter and a science-based audience, these videos are an excellent way for the public to engage with ORNL’s stories. She also incorporates these videos on the website and social media channels. These have been picked up by national and even global news outlets in the past.

After covering how to integrate videos with current communications plan, Woodbery begins discussing what types of videos have worked for her. She most often uses videos of “talking heads” in the ORNL community. These often consist of an interview and b-roll (or supplemental footage) cut together into a short, informative video. She suggests not scripting these interviews, but let the interviewee speak naturally.

The second type of video that Woodbery covers is the text-heavy explainer video. It should typically stay under a minute and third seconds long, and display text over a mixture of photos and videos. These videos are great for social sharing, since the text captions mean that the video can be watched and understood without sound.

Lastly, Woodbery covers the videos that she calls “just for fun.” With these, she takes inspiration from what she consumes on social. While these videos can be “just for fun,” it is important for them to have a meaningful impact and tie back to the overall mission. She started a #SoothingScience series on ORNL’s social channels, which have been wildly successful.

Shooting and Posting Video

When beginning to shoot and create videos, Woodbery has a few suggestions. The first of which is – make sure the story merits a video. Are there good visuals?  When it comes to shooting the video, she suggests experimenting with angles, get plenty of b-roll shots, and never be afraid to ask someone to do that again. She even suggests that “people get better the more takes they do.” For posting videos, Woodbery’s first rule is to always post natively from your own social media account to reap all of the benefits. For social media and websites, skip the video introductions. This is a great way to lose viewer retention. Lastly, be mindful of the length of your video. Each social media platform has a preferred length for videos, anywhere between 1 to 3 minutes.

Before wrapping up her presentation, Woodbery quickly covers the tools that she uses to master her video communications. She stresses that these items do not have to be expensive. Editing software is obviously an important video tool and she uses Final Cut Pro for all of her own videos, but Adobe Premier is another option. Woodbery suggests investing in equipment, such as tripods and microphones, to help get better quality video. Lastly, she suggests utilizing exiting footage. She often reuses b-roll video, photos and stock music.

Upcoming Luncheon

The American Marketing Association Knoxville will be back next month for the September Luncheon: Marketing from the Mountaintops, featuring Erica Moore. As the Marketing and Public Relations Manager for Anakeesta, she will cover how to stay relevant in a competitive environment while planning for future growth.

Photos courtesy of Colby’s Photography

AMA Knoxville June Luncheon: Maximizing Your Marketing Budget

AMA Knoxville June Luncheon: Maximizing Your Marketing Budget

At the AMA Knoxville June Luncheon, Dr. Todd White discussed the wildly popular brewing industry. As president of The Brewing + Distilling Center, he shared his knowledge of how small breweries can fully utilize their “shoestring budgets” to maximize their impact in the ever-expanding market.

After starting out in the veterinary field, Dr. White decided to tackle a new career. In 2008, he opened a craft beer department in The Market in Maryville, TN. This was one of the first, if not the first, craft brew store in East Tennessee. After meeting Marty, the pioneer of the Smoky Mountain Brewery chain, Dr. White began to entertain the idea of opening his own brewing education school. In 2013, he was finally able to convince South College to work with him on a brewing education course. This eventually led to him opening the Brewing + Distilling Center, which is a trade school and professional certification program.

The Brewing Industry

When diving into the history of the brew industry, Dr. White shared enlightening numbers on the history of brewery economics. In 1873, there were over 4,000 breweries in the United States. A century later in 1978, there were only 89 due to prohibition. The brewing industry has been steadily increasing ever since. As of 2018, there were over 7,000 craft breweries in the United States. Ninety-nine of those are in Tennessee, with 20 alone being in the Knoxville area.

These breweries have had a huge impact on the Knoxville area. It has created $1.14 million dollars of revenue in Tennessee alone. In Knoxville, it has created roughly 195 jobs and created $7.9 million dollars in wages and benefits. Sales and output of all breweries in Knox, Blount and Anderson counties totals a whopping $43.7 million dollars.

Knoxville Brewery Marketing Strategies

Despite these big numbers, most craft breweries are small businesses with even smaller budgets. A case study of the craft beer industry in Knoxville revealed some valuable information about the marketing strategies of these businesses. Since most of them are on a small budget, they will have non-traditional marketing and their overall strategy will not be defined.

Most craft breweries strongly utilize social media as a low-cost way to promote their new beers, events and collaborations. Dr. White suggests that it is important that all posts be positive in nature, avoiding “edgy or controversial” content. He notes that craft beer has become mainstream and that these tactics do not resonate with the general public.

The most important things that craft breweries will spend money on are logos, trademarks, and label imagery. Almost as important, craft breweries will spend money on merchandise for customers to wear. These items are to serve as promotional marketing in the community, not to create profit for the business. Beer events are also an important aspect of the craft brewery marketing plan. These events help build relationships with the community, promote their name and product and lastly, but not any less important, support causes in the community.

With small budgets, it is important to pitch small projects at a time. It would be better to spend $400 for a two-week campaign instead of a $5,000 campaign for the entire year. Developing relationships with the brewer and understanding their customers is a must for a successful experience. By working with all of these things in mind, the marketing budget will grow and allow the brewery to further expand.

Wrap Up

To wrap up the June Luncheon, AMA Knoxville presented a children’s book that will be donated to the Leaders for Readers program in honor of Dr. White. Also, a special presentation was made in honor of the last luncheon under the current board. On behalf of AMA Knoxville, President-Elect Jessica Gutman gifted current President Erica Coffey with a limited-edition Patricia Nash Designs handbag in gratitude of a fantastic year of leadership. This python-inspired tote benefits the new Amphibian and Reptile Center at Zoo Knoxville.

Photos courtesy of Colby’s Photography

May Luncheon – Frontiers Magazine: The Transformative Journey from Print Publication to Dynamic Digital Stories

May Luncheon – Frontiers Magazine: The Transformative Journey from Print Publication to Dynamic Digital Stories

Jesse Bunch, Marketing Services Coordinator for the University of Tennessee Medical Center, led the audience through the transition that his team made as they transformed Frontiers Magazine from a print publication into an interactive, digital storytelling device.

In 2017, Frontiers Magazine was mailed to the homes of over 18,000 alumni and friends of the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Two weeks before the next issue was scheduled to drop, the published decided to move to a digital platform. To keep the publication on time, Bunch and his team had to learn to adapt to this new storytelling channel.

Aside from formatting to a new platform, Bunch and his team had to rebuild their mailing list from scratch. Moving from a physical address mailing list to an email address list is an enormous undertaking. When the first digital mailing was sent, the list had around 7,000 email addresses. While this seems like a huge hit, from 18,000 to 7,000, the open rates of the new, digital Frontiers Magazine proved that it was still reaching a substantial audience. With an open rate of 24% and a click rate of 19% (well above industry average), it is obvious that the audience of Frontiers Magazine was open to the new change.

This new, digital version of Frontiers Magazine started out as a Flipbook. Users could use their mouse to digitally “flip” the page. While this was more interactive than a typical PDF document, Bunch and his team knew that they could do more.

Dean Baker, Graphic Designer for the University of Tennessee Medical Center, described yet another transition that the Marketing Services team made in order to improve Frontiers Magazine. Adobe Digital Publishing Suite allowed Bunch and his team to create an interactive publication for subscribers. They were able to “flow information into and flow information out” of this more dynamic medium.

While this was another giant leap forward a truly interactive platform for Frontiers Magazine, Bunch and Baker were worried about their readership’s ability to digest a 30 to 40-page document. With this in mind, they decided to make another change to engage their audience. By moving to Adobe Spark, the information is broken down into much more manageable, “bite-sized” pieces of information. They were able to present three to four stories at one time, instead of an entire magazine. This made the information more mobile and social-media friendly.

As all of these changes were implemented, the number of subscribers continued to climb. Currently, the Frontiers Magazine subscription list has around 10,000 emails and maintains an open rate of 20% and a click rate of 28%. While the number of subscribers is still not where it was before the transition to digital, Bunch and his team are better able to track how many people are reading and engaging with this publication.

Bunch believes that their process can be applied to anyone looking to make a switch from traditional print to digital platforms. He recommends genuine, visual storytelling to which your audience can relate. He also reminded the audience that we are in an era where “video is king.” If there is a way for you to tell your brand’s story through video, this is a definite way to get more audience engagement.

To view the new Frontiers Magazine for yourself, visit UTMedicalCenter.org/Frontiers

December Luncheon: Marketing Tennessee to an International Audience

December Luncheon: Marketing Tennessee to an International Audience

Now, more than ever before, international visitors are traveling to Tennessee. In fact, in 2017, Tennessee was the fastest-growing state in the country for international travel.

What’s Bringing Them Here?

Is it the outdoor recreation? The food and drinks? Dollywood? Kevin Triplett, Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, says it goes beyond those elements.

“International visitors want authenticity. They want America, and you can’t get much more American than Tennessee,” he said. “They love what we have to offer, and we’re authentic, genuine and real.”

Commissioner Triplett shared these insights and more at the American Marketing Association Knoxville’s December luncheon as he detailed how his team markets the state to an international audience. Thanks to their efforts, travelers are coming here for longer and spending more, contributing greatly to the overall economy (a whopping $1.83 billion in state and local sales tax revenue).

Building a State Brand

Maintaining brand consistency is essential to any marketing campaign, and it’s no different for marketing the state of Tennessee to the world. So, the Department of Tourist Development worked to develop a brand that exudes the heart and soul of our state.

“Music is in our DNA in Tennessee,” the commissioner explained to a crowd of Knoxville-area marketers. “Seven genres of music call Tennessee home. No other state can claim that.”

And thus, the “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.” brand was born.

Utilizing the Brand

At the luncheon, Commissioner Triplett detailed one of the most recent international marketing campaigns developed by his team.

Last year, British Airways announced the first nonstop flight between Nashville and London, which is expected to significantly boost international tourism as well as business opportunities in Tennessee.

In order to drive UK visitors to Tennessee, the Department of Tourist Development held a month-long marketing campaign using an impressive installation at London’s popular Waterloo train station. “Sights & Sounds of Tennessee” included a giant map of the state and headphones to listen to music recordings and other sounds one can experience only in Tennessee.

Using their mobile devices, visitors also accessed corresponding websites offering 360-degree videos of the Great Smoky Mountains or popular music venues in Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville, virtually transporting themselves to Tennessee.


The Waterloo installation was just one piece of the larger campaign in support of the “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.” brand that included advertising across London. Campaign creative included notable Tennessee music destinations such as Ryman Auditorium, Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the historic Tennessee Theatre, promoting the British Airways flight to Nashville and encouraging British travelers to learn more about vacation opportunities across the entire state.

The team at the Department of Tourist Development is constantly developing unique marketing tactics like the Waterloo installation, including concerts promoted entirely through Snapchat and the “Tennessee Music Pathways” tourism development project. However, Commissioner Tripplet said it’s sometimes more than a marketing plan.

“It’s who we are. It’s what we have. It’s why you should come here.”

Photos and videos courtesy of tnvacation.com. 

October Luncheon: Making the Most of a Milestone

October Luncheon: Making the Most of a Milestone

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

AMA Knoxville September Luncheon: Let People Into Your Story!

AMA Knoxville September Luncheon: Let People Into Your Story!

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.

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