Nicki Minaj Drives Perfume Sales By Leveraging Social Following

21 Jul

When Onika Maraj (Nicki Minaj) brags about being a “Boss A** B***,” she’s not joking. The A-List pop icon partnered with HSN to release an exclusive fragrance for her perfume line. Originally, the fragrance was only going to be available for one day but due to an overwhelming amount of purchases and social chatter, they extended the offer an extra day. The program itself was 1-hour long, both days. Along with Nicki Minaj, hosts Colleen Lopez and Callie Northagen, spent a great deal of the broadcast driving social chatter. #NickiAtHSN was the official hashtag and Nicki threw to it often during the live airing.

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During my MTV days, one of our biggest asks would be for talent to throw to a hashtag on-air. It would always surprise us how fast the hashtag would start trending worldwide after this tactic so I totally get why HSN and Nicki pushed for it. Reading and responding to tweets in real time was also a pretty strong on-air integration tactic that helped to drive sales. Leading up to the broadcast, Nicki shared promotional images with her 18M Twitter followers and her 6M Instagram followers. This led to the hashtag trending worldwide for the majority of the day, during each broadcast.

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Nicki’s made it very clear that she understands she’s much more than an artist – she’s a brand. Jay-Z’s partnership with Samsung and Beyonce’s partnership with H&M shows that they too understand how to use their gifts to bring in serious revenue. I truly love Nicki’s partnership because she knew her social reach would allow her to drive sales in real time.

The first day she sold out of the 9k bottles that were available so she returned for a second day to sell another 16k (25k in total). Nuts! Each bottle was sold at $59.50. That’s $1.4M she made in two days. As she often says, “Don’t sleep on The Kid.” I can’t wait to see which A-Lister will adopt this model next. Have you seen any other celebrities use their social following to drive product sales? 

#BrooklynBrunch: MLK Edition

16 Jan

Since I first made the move to Brooklyn (BK), I promised myself that I’d make my personal development goals just as important as my professional development goals. As a young pro, it’s so easy to allow your career to take over your life. Luckily, NYC is such an amazing place with a lot to do, especially in BK.

As I mentioned in the Pursuing Your Dreams post, I fell in love with BK at a very young age. I made the move from

Via Time Inc

Manhattan to BK a few months ago and decided that I’d like to become a Brooklyn resource — someone who knows everything there is to know about the borough — in a few years. One of the many things I’m doing to make this happen is hosting a weekly #BrooklynBrunch with a few of my closest friends. Every week, we go to a different Brooklyn-based restaurant and have controversial yet meaningful conversations.

In honor of the late Martin Luther King, Jr., we’ve decided to host a brunch today and will be discussing the state of black Americans.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” — MLK

New Blog Name: They Call Me Social K

3 Jan
A lot has changed for me over the last year — professionally and personally. I’m living in my favorite city, working for one of my favorite brands and meeting someone great everyday. My former title of this blog — The PR Nerd — no longer

 represented me anymore so I decided to change it to ‘They Call Me Social K.’
I’ll still be posting my nerdy social media, marketing and PR-focused posts but I’ll also be giving you guys a look into my personal life. 2012 should be a great year and I’m looking forward to investing more time into my blog.

Is Kelly Rowland’s New Image Good For Her Brand?

16 Jun

Can we talk about Kelly Rowland‘s new image? For years, Kelly was branded as a classy woman. While I am happy she is having success with her

latest single “Motivation,” I’m concerned with what it will do to her brand. She is getting very “Keri Hilson” on us, right? I don’t want to think about Kelly as a freak in the bed, I want think of her as a classy woman who can be brought home to meet someone’s mother. I have been (and always will be) a Kelly fan. I had this conversation on Facebook a few days ago with friends who had very interesting opinions.

I would love to hear thoughts from you all. What do you think about her new image? Is it negative? Is it something that can hurt her in the long-run?

HOW TO: Turn Twitter Relationships Into Real Relationships

12 Jun

In the marketing/PR field, real relationships (not pointless “connections”) are a high priority for those who aspire to go far in the industry. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been obsessed with meeting new people and listening to their life’s story. Naturally, this has helped me to meet amazing people in my industry.

Meet In Person

Kanye West and Jay-Z chatting over drinks

It’s easy to email back-and-forth with someone but what’s more memorable … an email conversation or a Happy Hour conversation? I’ve tried to build relationships with Tweeps via email, especially with those who have active schedules. Those have not worked in my favor, plus I digg face-to-face interaction. A few weeks ago, I came across Weber Shandwick professional, Ronn Richardson on Twitter. After tweeting with him a few times, I asked him to meet me for drinks. We met, conversed for hours and discovered we had a lot in common. Now, I talk to him like every day, attend various industry events with him and he will be redesigning my blog. What if I didn’t ask him out for drinks and just tried to “connect” via email?

Don’t Be Afraid To Outreach

Justin Bieber With His Mentor, Usher

Whenever I find someone on Twitter who I think is cool, I make sure to meet them in person. This isn’t always an easy task because I tend to digg a lot of people who others digg as well. Due to this, I have to be innovative (in a sense) to get them to pay attention to what I’m saying. While trying to convince them to pay me attention, the first thing I think of is: how can I help this person. Before asking someone to meet in person, it’s important you know that they know how you can help them. Being a junior-level employee, this has not been a hard task because a lot of the senior folks I outreach to love giving back. Chatting with a junior-level guy and sharing tips/giving advice helps senior folks (who do not have a lot of time) pay it forward.

Twitter is a great place to meet wonderful people, especially if you work in marketing/PR. So many great professionals from our industry maintain an active presence on Twitter. Until the day I get bored with the tool, it will always be one of my main sources of meeting amazing professionals in my industry.

Have you had any experiences with turning Twitter relationships into real relationships? Do you think a Twitter relationship, by itself, is a “real” relationship?

Pursuing Your Dreams And Not Settling For Less

23 May

The last day of summer was always the hardest day for me because I knew I would have to leave the place I always wanted to live: NYC. Visiting family in Brooklyn as a child sparked a passion in me for the “NYC-Lifestyle.” The passion grew with me and all through college I told myself I was going to graduate, move to NYC and work in marketing.

A few months before graduation, I noticed my plans changing because I feared not being able to survive in NYC. Why? Because the cost of living is pretty intense and the workforce is beyond competitive. A lot of this persuasion was the result of me listening to others.

Times Square

I still desired to live in a large city so I accepted a post-grad internship in Chicago at a well-respected agency, where I worked on a few teams for nationally-known consumer brands. I gained a valuable experience but towards the end of my internship, I discovered I was not going to receive an offer because there wasn’t anything available on my account teams. A normal person would have accepted this and moved on. Not me … I panicked because I feared embarrassment because I was a former national officer in a prestigious organization and had members expecting me to be one of the ones who “makes it.” I folded to the pressure (that I was placing on myself) and accepted an offer at an agency I didn’t want to work for, in a city I didn’t want to live in, telling myself “I can make this work.”

Some of my initial concerns with the agency proved to be true: the company culture was not one I could thrive in and the management style of the woman leading me conflicted with my working style. The working relationship with the manager got so bad I looked forward to sick days. I was in a situation where I felt trapped by the professional constraint of staying with a company for at least one year.

After receiving advice from two of my good friends — Jasmine Brooks and Evan Roberts — and being motivated by my grandmother’s sickness, I quit the job, packed my things and moved to NYC. I told myself I wanted an NYC story (moving to a large city with a little bit of money, chasing a dream).

Automatically, I outreached to some of my Twitter friends and told them I was looking to transition to New York. Without hesitation, they helped me to set-up interviews. Thanks to Andrew Worob, Justin Goldsborough, Tiffany Winbush, Pegah Rashti, Mark Ragan and Valerie Simon. With the help of these friends (and a few others), I interviewed more than 15 times at agencies and corporations and received a few offers. The only problem was that I realized I did not want to walk back in the same situation I left. I also discovered that I wanted to focus more on social media marketing, instead of traditional public relations.

Sadly, my grandmother (who was my best friend), lost her battle and passed away. An hour after I received the sad news about my grandmother, a certain television network called me to set up an interview. A few weeks before, I applied for a job that I thought was not possible to land, social media coordinator at MTV. While applying, I shot a friend who worked for the company a note, asking for a recommendation. She put in a good word and that combined with my experience led me to the interview.

Only after a few minutes in the interview with the hiring manager, I knew this was the job for me because he was extremely charismatic, passionate about his craft and team and had a vision! They felt I was the best person for the job and hired me to be social media coordinator, a position that requires me to use all of my marketing and PR skills to help our amazing brand remain social.

It’s still surreal to me that I am living in the city I always wanted to be in and working (in Times Square) for a brand I always loved. If I didn’t step out on faith, have friends and loved ones who believed in me and believed in myself, I would not be where I am today. I encourage all of you who have dreams and goals you’ve been pushing off, to stop pushing them off. Pursue your dreams and don’t settle for less.

Entertainment PR Chat (#entprchat) is Back by Popular Demand

13 Apr
Lights, Camera, Action … Entertainment PR Chat – a monthly Twitter chat – will be re-launching on April 20th from 8 – 9 p.m. EST. This chat will be a monthly discussion moderated by Pegah Rashti (@pegahrashti) and myself

Entertainment PR Chat

(@kionsanders). Our goal: to build a community for professionals working in the entertainment industry. We will come together once a month to discuss issues, trends, social media and current events in entertainment & fashion marketing and PR.

Will you be joining us? If you have any questions, tweet us @entprchat or email us at entprchat@gmail.com
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