First impressions are lasting impressions. We all know what it’s like to carefully choose an outfit for the first day of school, an important job interview or artist series. Everyone is in the “business” of impression management, including businesses and companies.
In the business world, impression management often involves companies hiring outside agencies to manage their advertising and brand networking. UniComm Media Group — founded by the brother duo of Ramon and Gustavo Nieves in 2009 — is one such company, which specifically focuses on the development of marketing targeted for the growing Hispanic community in the Greenville and South Carolina Upstate region.
Upon graduating from BJU in 2008, Ramon recognized the absence of an advertising company in Greenville that specifically catered to the needs of Hispanic consumers. “We started with the idea that there simply was no organization designed to reach the growing Hispanic market [in our area],” Ramon said.
As chief marketing officer, Ramon supervises the very heart of the company by creating strategies to reach Hispanic consumers for the company’s clients. The company’s efforts include creating advertising specifically for Hispanic media outlets, collaborating with individual Hispanic organizations to market their brands, and tailoring advertising for the distinctive needs of Hispanic consumers, according to Carlie Maldonado, UniComm’s director of public relations.
Gustavo, Ramon’s brother, is the chief financial officer and supervises the financial aspects of advertisement rollouts for clients. He develops pricing timelines, project schedules and production cost estimates for projects. Gustavo is very much in tune with any project that UniComm is currently working on. “I’m very involved in the day-to-day project management,” Gustavo said. “I make sure projects are delivered on time and that we have appropriate resources to fulfill projects.”
Ramon isn’t the only BJU graduate working at UniComm. Carlie Maldonado, who graduated from BJU last semester, is responsible for the writing of press releases and advertising. Drawing from her public relations classes and experience writing for The Collegian, Maldonado was able to immediately adapt to the UniComm environment. “I help plan events and community efforts and generate grass roots media mentions, promotions, donations and overall awareness,” Maldonado said. “By including PR, UniComm becomes more of a full-service agency. PR is a powerful tool for clients to generate a consistent, trustworthy presence in the community.”
Senior business administration major Mark Frenette directs UniComm’s social media efforts. He is responsible for mapping out in detail (often in a timeline format) how clients will use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with customers. In addition to writing social media posts and releases, he also carries out much of UniComm’s customer research. “The client may not understand all that it takes to connect with Hispanic consumers,” Frenette said. “We’re not just doing research. We’re helping them understand why what we’re doing actually works.”
In addition to its Hispanic emphasis, UniComm also provides “total market” services, complete marketing strategies, for its corporate clients. This involves heavy research from the UniComm team, specifically from Frenette as he prepares social media strategies for clients. The goal of this approach is to present clients with a complete marketing strategy for all consumers, not just those in the Hispanic community. In order to gain a better understanding of how clients should tailor their advertising, Frenette conducts research from a variety of different sources in order to best assess the current market situation.
A vital aspect of UniComm’s identity is the company’s Christian testimony and work ethic. “Ramon and Gustavo are genuine and sincere; they are the same people in the office as they are with their clients,” Maldonado said. “They present all the facts to the client and help them get the best prices and best services they can.”
Anyone can make a good impression, and organizations can hire from hundreds of companies that will provide marketing and advertising. But UniComm is different. At the heart of everything that UniComm does is a strong emphasis on Christian values. “We believe that these core values — integrity, respect, effective partnerships, and work quality — are values that Christ used in His earthly ministry and that we should share them,” Ramon said.