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Feeling the Heat

It was 6:56 p.m., and I was feeling the heat. We had over a hundred people sitting down and about 30 more standing as Dr. Colistra thanked everyone for helping the Brand Launch be a success. I was sitting at the social media booth, with four minutes to get the Point Pleasant Instagram account page running, when I realized that the pictures were not fitting to the format. At all. That day was one of the busiest days of my life, not to mention the week leading up to it. 


Before the event, when it was time to head to Point Pleasant from Morgantown, we left excited and eager. I was riding with Chelsea, BrandJRNY’s digital media director, who, before we left, jokingly told me she always has car troubles on trips like these. A few minutes later, when her back window shattered into a million pieces on route 60 from a rock that was kicked up by a semi-truck, it seemed only fitting it had happened to us. We were able to recover quickly from this and take my car instead, which created extra bonding time.


Fast forward a day, and we were at the Brand Launch. The Brand Launch event was planned to showcase the new Point Pleasant brand and all the hard work we’d done behind the scenes for the community. It was a chance for so many people to see the new logo, slogan, website, and more. It was also a time to engage with many different people from Point Pleasant. It was a time to show them why we loved their town and get them excited about all that was happening. 


For me, as the social media director, it was one of my most exciting days of the semester! We were finally able to launch the city’s Instagram. For weeks leading up to this event, we worked cohesively and strategically for reasons I didn’t even know existed when I started in this position. Now, I knew I needed to be ready for anything to happen. 


In this position, you must be:

Working at the Social Media Station at the Brand Launch. Source | Seth Seebaugh, Brand Storytelling team
  • Strategic 

  • Data-driven 

  • Creative 

  • A people person

  • Discerning 

  • Super-organized 

  • Good writer 

  • Research 

  • Have an eye for aesthetics 

  • Agile and Curious

For instance, prior to the Brand Launch, the Instagram account was completely locked down. No one was able to see it, keeping it a complete surprise until the day of the reveal. We had worked on picking the exact photos to showcase Point Pleasant’s attributes, choosing each with a purpose. I read countless articles studying a completely different target audience than I had ever worked with before. I read about how they used Instagram, their search behaviors, and how to get them onto our page.


Then, I had to learn how to run a page that didn’t have anything to do with me. This may seem like a no brainer, but social media for me had always been running accounts for either myself or target audiences with my demographic. It was never to increase tourism or attract visitors. I had to think of a new way to word captions while staying on brand. I also had to be innovative in this position. Social media and its associated tools are constantly changing, such as IGTV, Instagram Analytics, and so much more. So thinking on the spot and constantly learning how to use these tools was just as important as deciding which picture or video to post. 


If you’re reading this and wondering if everything went smoothly at the Brand Launch, it did! After about five of the most stressful minutes of my life, we kicked off the Point Pleasant Instagram account, and I learned another valuable lesson. You can never be too prepared because something will always happen. You might even lose your back window to a semi-truck rock, but as long as you keep pushing forward and learning from your mistakes, you can and will reach your goals.


My name is Rebecca Jerome, I am the Social Media Director for the Point Pleasant project. I copy my brother in simply everything he does because I think he is one of the coolest people alive (true for both of my brothers.) Make sure to follow me on Twitter - @rebeccaajeromee!


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Housed at the WVU Media Innovation Center, BrandJRNY is a community branding initiative that is a grant-funded collaboration between the American Electric Power Foundation and WVU Reed College of Media.

The Initiative was previously funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation for our three pilot projects.

Original website designed by Mariah Elliott, under the direction of PI and Director Dr. Rita Colistra.

Photos and content may not be used without written permission by contacting brandjrny@gmail.com.

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