Since graduating from the Professional and Technical Communication program and leaving the University of North Texas, I have picked up a few new hobbies and a few jobs!


This summer, I finally put pen to paper (literally) and began practicing brush lettering and calligraphy. The most helpful tool was having a guide in the form of this book: Calligraphy Made Easy by Ashley Gardner. I’ve tinkered with the idea of creating a website of hand-written recipes that have a technical writer perspective on them (but with lovely hand-lettering!). Have you ever attempted to follow a recipe, only to find that there are four steps in one chunk of words that should really be divided into numbered steps that show a logical process? Yes. That problem is what I would be attempting to fix with my brush-lettered, re-organized recipes, thus, combining food, words, and art, some of my favorite things.

I’ve also started listening to “things” more. Self-reflectively, I’m always talking to myself, but I am referring to the world of radio shows and podcasts. I now commute to Dallas from Denton on the nightmare that is I35 twice a week. Krys Boyd and Terry Gross have kept me company the past ten weeks. Thank you, NPR. Secondly,


I work for the University of Texas at Austin, supporting the sustainability office’s reporting efforts for STARS as their sustainability consultant. I work remotely and get to spend time in our home office (yay!), swatting the cats away and questioning whether I need that third cup of coffee.

I teach a developmental reading and writing course at Cedar Valley College in south Dallas (Lancaster) on a couple of weeknights, which has really helped me practice the instructional design + curriculum part of my graduate career. I’ve found that I really draw from my experiences as a learner in the classroom and what I found helpful in my professors’ and mentors’ teaching methods. Check out the tech comm department at UNT!

I plan to write more about what it’s been like to be a “young” professional, facing the fraud police and evading the impostor syndrome in both my roles as a sustainability consultant and as an adjunct professor at 24. We shall see what surfaces in the next few months and what changes in my voice. Join me! Laugh with me. Cry with me.

Lastly, I work on Fridays and every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Saturday of the month at Dove Creek Animal Hospital in my town of residence, Denton, TX. Although it is a paying part-time gig, I enjoy it almost as if working as a receptionist there could be a hobby. I get to see puppies and kittens grow up and have met so many interesting pets and their humans.

Technical Communication/Writing Related Stuff

For one, I’m updating this blog with new projects, employing content strategy and integrated marketing and communications concepts.

More updates soon!

Relationship Marketing

Relationship Marketing and Contact Points

Relationship marketing can be called direct marketing, customer relationship marketing, and database marketing (Akers, 2017).

This type of marketing may

  • help distinguish the company or organization’s level of service and attention
  • identify the customers who are likely of higher value to the company
  • increases communication and customer satisfaction
  • is typically more expensive per customer than other forms as it is more personalized and time-consuming
  • can pose security issues associated with maintaining sensitive data

Customer satisfaction can be improved by looking at all contact points, or touchpoints (Survey Monkey, 2017)

  • Definition of a touchpoint: A touchpoint is any time a potential customer or customer comes in contact with your brand – before, during, or after they purchase something from you.
  • Find customer touchpoints before, during, and after purchase
  • Put yourself in your customer’s shoes

For each company, organization, or individual, how many contacts it takes before someone buys the product or idea is different (Payne, 2011).

  • Blend advertising and public relations, which will eventually bring customers and salespeople together.


References (APA)

Akers, Helen. (2017). Advantage and disadvantages of customer relationship marketing. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-disadvantages-customer-relationship-marketing-45503.html

Survey Monkey. (2017). How to identify your customer touchpoints. Retrieved from https://www.surveymonkey.com/mp/identify-customer-touchpoints/

Payne, Dennis. (12 July 2011). How many contacts does it take before someone buys your product? Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/how-many-contacts-does-it-take-before-someone-buys-your-product-2011-7

Implementing an Integrated Marketing Communications Plan

Budgeting for an IMC and Measuring an IMC

  • A marketing communications budget template can be useful in setting up and maintaining a budget. This will help with visual representation of data, and month-to-month tracking of spending in certain sections. The benefits of using an Excel budget tracker include saving time on formatting, generating charts automatically, tracking month-by-month, and calculating year to date and cumulative spend (Demand Metric, 2017).
  • Consider the following when setting up your marketing communications budget:
    • A percentage of revenue – some companies set their marketing budgets by allocating between 1% and 10% of their revenues to marketing, this method assumes a direct relationship between revenue generation and marketing (not the case for AWWW)
    • Marketing budget history – a detailed look at last year’s budget versus the accomplished goals offers marketers a good idea of where they need to be in the year to come
    • Task-oriented – tally up the cost of all marketing activities planned for the next year, the total amount will give you the marketing budget for next year – one thing to keep in mind is that obtaining accurate costing from various vendors in advance might be challenging (this method does not offer much room for adjustments during the year however)
    • Competition-oriented – matching what your competitors are spending is another way to establish a marketing budget
    • Hybrid method – using the above principles to come up with a realistic marketing budget
  • Communications strategy exists to (TNP, 2017):
    • Help audiences discover your organization and your work
    • Participate in your programs and services
    • Learn from the content you offer
    • Take action on issues
  • Nonprofits can meaningfully measure (TNP, 2017):
    • Activity metrics – can help you better understand what you’re doing to implement your communications strategy, can help you evaluate your process of producing and sharing your messages
    • Reach metrics – can help you assess the size of your audience and whether it’s the right audience for your messages, so that you can understand who may potentially hear your messages (this metric doesn’t show a complete picture of your effectiveness on your own)
    • Engagement metrics – can help you understand the effect your communications messages are having on those who hear them, is a measurement of when and how others engage with you (audience interaction is required in these metrics)
    • Impact metrics – all about who you are and what you are really trying to achieve, can help you measure the behaviors and attitudes you’ve shifted, the wrongs you’ve righted, and the actions you’ve inspired audiences to take
  • Measuring the effectiveness of communication is vital to understanding its value and learning how to shape it for greater effectiveness (NAP, 2017). Six temps to achieving a quality of measurement:
    • Define your goals – identify the role of communication in reaching the goal, defining the activity metrics (a.g. percentage increase in visits to website) and determine the outcome metrics (e.g. percentage growth in program participants)
    • Understand stakeholders – connect the dots between stakeholders, prioritize them, and understand their needs and interests
    • Define your benchmarks – compare past performance over time or compare results with those of other services
    • Define your metrics – pick the right metric, the ideal index is actionable, is there when you ned it, and continuously improves your process, and gets the results you need
    • Select data collection tools – select the right tool depending on what you are measuring
    • Use the data to make better decisions – ask “so what?” in order to understand what the data actually mean in real-world terms
  • The appropriate tools depend on the objective:
    • Content analysis can be used to evaluate messaging, positioning, themes or sentiment
    • Survey research can be use to measure awareness, perception, relationships, or preference
    • Web analytics can be used to measure engagement, action, or purchases

References (APA)

High Performance Marketing, Demand Metric. (2017). Marketing communications budget template. Retrieved from https://www.demandmetric.com/content/marketing-communications-budget-template

The National Academies Press. (2017). Measuring communication effectiveness across diverse backgrounds and missions. Retrieved from https://www.nap.edu/read/21876/chapter/6

The Nonprofit Times. (2014). Measuring the success of your communications strategy. Retrieved from http://www.thenonprofittimes.com/management-tips/measuring-the-success-of-your-communications-strategy/

BrandUniq. (2012). Six ways to set your marketing budget. Retrieved from http://branduniq.com/2012/6-ways-to-set-your-marketing-budget/

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)

  • Below are some of the definitions that I find most memorable, succinct, and useful for IMC from a list compiled by the Data Marketing Association (2017):
    • “A planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service, or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time.” – American Marketing Association
    • “Integrated marketing incorporates an individual customer’s own perspective into all customer-facing functions at a company, including marketing, sales, and service.” – LinkedIn (Peppers, 2013)
    • “No single channel can win out any more … which means delivering great customer experience and truly integrated marketing, across any and every channel: web, social, mobile, broadcast, email, in-store, outdoor and beyond. And that means re-engineering processes, investing in new technology, and creating entirely new, integrated strategies.” – IMW
  • When thinking of integrated marketing communications, it is important to remember that it is a kind of “relationship” marketing, which speaks to human emotions and is a brand’s ability to build an emotional connection with the customer (Olenski, 2013).
    • “When the campaign isn’t targeted or specialized for a particular demographic, it just becomes noise.”
    • “Unlike perishable media like print, radio and TV, branded merchandise has the ability to live on in the lives of consumers for decades.”
    • “Nostalgia is one of the most powerful emotional connections that consumers can have to brand and being connected to those special moments in popular culture freezes time for them.”
  • I can understand the order of the projects in this course better in the context of creating an integrated marketing communications plan, having read more about IMC. Without first strategic planning and branding, there would be no content to put forth or use for an IMC.

References (APA)

Data and Marketing Association. (2017). Integrated marketing definitions. Retrieved from https://thedma.org/membership/member-groups-communities/integrated-marketing-community/integrated-marketing-definitions/

Olenski, Steve. (9 May 2013). This is the most important word when it comes to relationship marketing. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/marketshare/2013/05/09/this-is-the-most-important-word-when-it-comes-to-relationship-marketing/#a3d20f669e61


Peppers, Don. (7 October 2013). What “integrated marketing” really means. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20131007140900-17102372-what-integrated-marketing-really-means


Entering the World of Integrated Marketing Communications

Integrated Marketing Communications

  • From MMC Learning’s information on IMC, I found an additional way of thinking about integrated marketing communications, that it is a simple concept that ensures that all forms of communications and messages work together in harmony (2015).
  • One of the most important parts of IMC is that it builds on strategic planning and branding; one of the golden rules of IMC is to “build relationships and brand values (MMC Learning, 2015).”
  • Additionally, one should identify different marketing communications to use in an IMC, some of which include (Meyer, 2016):
    • Content marketing – making content available through online blogging and dynamic website content
    • Advertising – pay-per-click ads, social media marketing, and a variety of other channels
    • Sales promotions – incentives like bonus offers, special discounts, trial offers, and other limited-time promotions
    • Social media – developing brand awareness and generating website traffic
  • Coca Cola is an example of a company that has had a successful IMC approach, setting a standard that offers a point of reference (Stringer, 2015).
    • Coca Cola has had record-setting sales and revenues, brand visibility and recognition and positioning on the global market.
    • Coca Cola products are consumed world-wide as a direct result of retail and in-store marketing efforts.

References (APA)

Busby, Roy. (2017) What is integrated marketing communications? [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from Course Content on BlackBoard website: https://learn.unt.edu/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_98426_1&content_id=_4148088_1

MMC Learning. (2015). Integrated marketing communications. Retrieved from http://multimediamarketing.com/mkc/marketingcommunications/

Meyer, Elise Flynn. (20 February 2016). 4 steps to developing an integrated marketing communications strategy. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/4-steps-developing-integrated-marketing-strategy-elyse-flynn-meyer

Stringer, Gregory. (11 March 2015). Case Study: Coca cola integrated marketing communications. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/case-study-coca-cola-integrated-marketing-gregory-stringer

Brand Objectives

Brand Audits and Brand Objectives

One of the major challenges for me in branding is determining what the content of declared brand objectives should be. I focused most of my research on this topic because brand objectives encompass a lot of the details of a person or an organization’s branding. Still, I came across additional, interesting approaches to branding that are tangentially related to my main research question about objectives that I detail here.

  • Brand audits are detailed analyses of brands in their current state (DeMers, 2014). In some ways, we conducted a brand audit by looking at A Wish With Wings and their needs. In a brand audit, you do the following:
    • Determine which qualities of your brand are effective and which ones are not in order to restructure your identity and messaging goals to produce better results
    • In other words, giving your brand a makeover
    • Examine current branding:
      • The standards of your brand image and voice
      • The demographics of your target audience
      • The mission and strategic objectives of your company
      • The strategies you use to reach your goals
    • From this definition of a brand audit, it seems that conducting one simultaneously with strategic planning would be useful for a company or a person looking to re-brand themselves.


  • Debina Dey writes about brand awareness, a concept that I tried to weave into the brand objectives that I worked on this week. She lists the following in her “Three Objectives of Brand Awareness” article as essential to branding (2014):
    • Build customer awareness
    • Promote the website
    • Add value
  • The last tip, adding value, was the one that I found most useful in approaching branding. The first two are somewhat a given when branding a company or individual.


  • I learned a new acronym for an approach to social media marketing, that I think is important to consider when branding. The acronym is G’SOT, or Goals, Strategies, Objectives, and Tactics, and it has more to do with strategic planning than branding, but is helpful in writing a brand objective and considering all parts to it as well (Belicove, 2013).


References (APA)

Belicove, Mikal E. (27 September 2013). Understanding goals, strategy, objectives and tactics in the age of social. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikalbelicove/2013/09/27/understanding-goals-strategies-objectives-and-tactics-in-the-age-of-social/#309367154c79

Dey, Debina. (19 August 2014). Three objectives of brand awareness. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140819050533-78938514-three-objectives-of-brand-awareness

DeMers, Jayson. (21 November 2014). Why you need a brand audit (and how to perform one). Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jayson-demers/why-you-need-a-brand-audi_b_6195428.html



Branding, Patterns, and People

  • Once tangible attributes of a brand have been created, other aspects of the brand need to be nurtured and maintained (Beesley, 2014).
    • Brand guidelines not only include a style guide for logos, websites, and signage, but also the “voice” of the brand.
    • Customers should be able to get to know the face behind the brand, especially if you are small business owner or freelancer.
  • “Branding is about creating patterns, not repeating messages.” In this article, Mark Shillum writes about creating a believable and consistent brand in a philosophical way (2011).
    • A brand should create coherence around multiple, broken-down ideas that are part of the whole brand identity.
    • Smaller ideas are fresh and immediate, and embracing them is a powerful way to navigate a rapidly evolving and ever-connected world.
    • Creating a pattern around smaller ideas makes customers recognize the brand more than repetition does.
    • Patterns create consistency around the difference and variation that may exist in a brand.
    • Repetition can build immediate recognition, but doesn’t fully account for variation in a brand’s products, although it may be consistent in quality of the products.
  • One of the most important things that a brand will do is to analyze and understand its audience (DeMers, 2013).
    • “The best brands have a thorough understanding of the demographics of their target market, what their interests are, and how they communicate.”
    • “Understanding the target market is critical because it provides direction for the tone and reach of a marketing campaign, along with the overall identity of a brand, while helping to create an organic, human connection between a business and its audience.”
    • Audience analysis, such as interviews and creating personas prior to embarking upon branding or re-branding is important for the reasons stated above.

References (APA)

Beesley, Caron. (29 September 2014). What is branding? Your Business, Your Brand – 7 Simple Brand Identity Tips. Retrieved from https://www.sba.gov/blogs/your-business-your-brand-7-simple-brand-identity-tips

Shillum, Mark. (23 June, 2011). Branding is about creating patterns, not repeating messages. Retrieved from https://www.fastcodesign.com/1664145/branding-is-about-creating-patterns-not-repeating-messages

DeMers, Jayson. (12 November 2013). The top 7 characteristics of successful brands. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2013/11/12/the-top-7-characteristics-of-successful-brands/#3e0031ba42f9

How Does Branding Work?

What is a Brand? What Does Branding Mean? How Brands Work

In addition to the definition that “A brand is nothing more than a special promise made to a customer, and the relationship that exists between the two through communication,” I offer some additional ideas about branding.

  • You can consider a brand as the idea or image people have in mind when thinking about specific products of a company, both in a practical (e.g. “the shoe is light-weight”) and emotional way (e.g. “the shoe makes me feel powerful”). (Andrivet, 2015).
  • I add to the idea that “Brands transform products and services into something larger than the product itself”
    • “Branding is the process of giving a meaning to specific products by creating and shaping a brand in consumers’ minds. It is a strategy designed by companies to help people to quickly identify their products and organization, and give them a reason to choose their products over the competition’s, by clarifying what this particular brand is and is not.” (Wright, 2016)
  • Branding is important for the following reasons, according to Amanda Wright of The Branding Journal (2016):
    • It helps people identify and recognize your products and organization
    • It’s what makes your company different from the competition
    • Branding helps you connect with customers emotionally
    • It help consumers know what to expect by making your products easy to choose
    • Branding is the best strategy to attract top quality talent
    • It helps you build trust with many different stakeholders
    • It allows you to stay clear with your organization’s strategy and stay focused
    • Building your brand helps you grow your business
  • Small businesses with stellar branding examples from Karla Cook (2017):
    • Folklorious, accessories boutique
      • “incorporated excerpts of classic artwork, illustrated design, and photography with modern graphic elements and typography. The end result is an eclectic, stylish, and truly unique brand identity.”
    • Zonzo Estate, winery, restaurant and popular wedding destination
      • “The redesign is surprisingly modernistic for a rustic winery. The work is centered around a versatile, floating-letter logo that looks classic in gold foil, and youthful and fresh when printed in outline on a menu cover.”
    • Notel, a hotel
      • “The name and logo explicitly express the idea that this is ‘not a hotel’, with a subtle nod to the slashed ‘no symbol’. Celebrating the best of Melbourne, reframing both high and low culture, Self-titled created the brand positioning — ‘reflecting and reframing Melbourne’. This helped inform the reflective surfaces, cut-out logo and a website design which reveals and reframes layers of content.”


References (APA)


Andrivet, Marion. (2015). What is branding? The Branding Journal. Retrieved from http://www.thebrandingjournal.com/2015/10/what-is-branding-definition/

Cook, Karla. (20 February, 2017). 15 inspiring examples of small business branding. Retrieved from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/inspiring-examples-of-small-business-branding#sm.000018ibcw97s8fsptz4i7lscuih4

Wright, Amanda. (2016). Why is branding so important for your business? The Branding Journal. Retrieved from http://www.thebrandingjournal.com/2016/06/why-is-branding-important-business/


Strategic Planning

Strategic Plans are Less Important than Strategic Planning

Business strategy, or strategic planning, must be developed and applied considering a much more fluid and unpredictable environment than travel plans or blueprints, for example. In this way, strategic plans should be considered continuous. Graham Kenny writes the for the Harvard Business Review the following tips to strategic planning (2016):

  • Think of the plan as a guidance tool
    • Avoid letting the strategic plan become a device for control, which stifles creativity and growth
  • Look for disagreements and toward the future
    • Ensuring that you’re on the same page as an organization and not disagreeing, along with keeping the future in mind will generate preparedness
  • Focus on the organization and key stakeholders, not individual actions
    • Business strategy operates at the corporate level while action functions at the individual level
  • Assume the plan is a work in progress
    • Circumstances rapidly change, making it a good reason to re-visit the plan regularly

Have One Hour? Create a Strategic Plan on a Page

The “plan on a page” process works for busy business owners or small teams by shortening the process of building a strategic plan. This method was a great way to approach my individual strategic plan. Although this seems contrary to the continuous cycle of planning as mentioned by Graham Kenny, this method serves as a good way to begin if facing some kind of obstacle upon starting. Sarah Beth Aubrey offers 4 parts to crafting a solid outline for a strategic plan (2016):

  • Core values
    • List what you value, jotting up to three ideals and context for them
  • Future vision
    • Consider core values and how they inform what you want for the future
  • SWOT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis
    • Aubrey suggests two independent items for each category and selecting items that are concrete
  • SMART goals
    • SMART stands for specific, measurable, ambitious, realistic, and timely – make sure goals can match the SMART criteria

Content Strategy and Strategic Planning

Content strategy tools support and help in strategic planning endeavors, both individually and for a business. Houssem Daoud of Kuno Creative published a list of actions to improve and maintain identity, a critical part of strategic planning (2013):

  • Identify your business goals
  • Identify your ideal customer
  • Choosing platforms and tools
  • Allocating budget and resources
  • Social branding
  • Designing a content strategy
  • Tracking, reporting and assessing

Four Bold Goals for the Future of UNT: University of North Texas Strategic Plan 2012 – 2017

In doing research for these projects, I was constantly looking for examples of strategic plans. For work, I had to analyze UNT’s strategic plan, and found it to be a great example for the purposes of this course. The plan includes:

  • Mission
  • Vission
  • UNT’s Promise
  • UNT’s Covenant
  • UNT’s Core Values
  • UNT’s Four Bold Goals

References (APA)

Aubrey, Sarah Beth. (2016, June 27). Have one hour? Create a strategic plan on a page. Forbes Coaches Council. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2016/06/27/have-one-hour-create-a-strategic-plan-on-a-page/#58848b4f6255

Daoud, Houssem. (2013, October 8). How to design the perfect social media marketing strategy. Inbound Marketing, Content, and Design. Retrieved from https://www.kunocreative.com/blog/bid/87091/How-To-Design-The-Perfect-Social-Media-Marketing-Strategy

Kenny, Graham. (2016, June 21). Strategic plans are less important than strategic planning. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2016/06/strategic-plans-are-less-important-than-strategic-planning

Four Bold Goals for the Future of UNT. Retrieved from https://www.unt.edu/four-bold-goals/



Personal Branding as a Leadership Requirement

  • A brand is a commitment that builds a relationship between a professional/a company. For a professional, this means the following, as detailed by contributor to Forbes, Glenn Llopis (2013):
    • The process of developing a personal brand is a big responsibility that extends beyond social media and an online presence
    • Managing one’s personal brand means that you are showcasing your achievements and success stories
    • You must be fully accountable to your audience and your customers, as your personal brand should become instinctual and natural, a genuine part of who you are
    • Llopis suggests living through the “lens of a brand” to develop more mindfully a true authenticity that will be meaningful to customers

Social Media Branding for Professionals and for Businesses

  • Social media is an effective way to manage a brand’s equity, image, and campaign. Sprout Social contributor Dominique Jackson writes of ten social media strategies, from which, I have chosen the three I find most useful (2016):
    • Develop your voice
      • How you communicate should connect with your audience
    • Use your bio/profile section
      • Let people know who you are and what you do, don’t fill this section up with hashtags or motivational quotes
    • Engage, engage, engage
      • Share content, but also reply to tweets and comments

Designing Brand Identity

  • One of the most significant steps in branding is the actual planning and design of the brand identity. Alina Wheeler created a comprehensive guide-style book from which I have found the following self-reflective questions to be useful in my strategic planning (2013):
    • Who are you? Who needs to know? How will they find you? Why should they care?
    • When do you start the process of designing brand identity?
      • New company, new product
      • Name change
      • Brand revitalization
      • Creating an integrated system
    • When companies merge/when you partner with someone
    • Who are stakeholders? Who are constituents? What are their characteristics and needs?


Jackson, Dominique. (2016, February 3). 10 Social Media Branding Strategies Every Business Should Follow. Retrieved from http://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-branding/

Llopis, Glenn. (2013, April 8). Personal Branding is a Leadership Requirement, Not a Self-Promotion Campaign. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2013/04/08/personal-branding-is-a-leadership-requirement-not-a-self-promotion-campaign/#4aedb7e315c0

Wheeler, Alina. (2013). Designing brand identity. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.