Posts Tagged ‘social media’

divider

Beyond First Clicks

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

The new season of Mad Men starts soon, where we get to see Don, Peggy and the team once again tell consumers a brand story via advertising (in print, and perhaps even on TV!) that they expect will influence behavior.

But like secretaries and 3 martini lunches, we in brand marketing know that those days are long gone.  We want more that just a captive listening audience. We want “engagement.” Any one who has responsibility for growing a brand needs to not just get potential customers to see their messages, but for them to “engage” with their product or brand.  And marketers are actively tapping into digital media to make this happen.  But we sense that it’s time to reconsider how we think about “engagement”.

In the early days of digital marketing, it was all about the click, and businesses were grown from tracking that all-powerful click.  Even more recently, marketers are defining engagement as the number of “Likes” a brand can get on Facebook.   But really, it’s still just a click, and like many clicks, there is no “there” there after the Like.   Do I know any more about a brand when I click or Like?   Am I more likely to buy or use that brand?  Do I care more about that brand than I did before? The answer to these questions is an unenthusiastic maybe.

likemeanswhat

Just like many of us need more than one coffee date to bond with another person, we need more than one click or Like to commit to a brand.  As marketers, we need to tell (and build) a brand story over time.

Of course one way to have these ongoing interactions is through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, all of which bring customers and brands closer.  But smart marketers have always known that commitment is a journey, not a click.  I think the marketing community at large is just starting to come around to the idea that we simply can’t think about marketing as digital and traditional, because that first response (the impression, the click, or the Like) isn’t enough – we need to look beyond that response.  It’s about creating content that builds a brand’s story across all platforms, in the real world and the digital world.

This of course is a blinding glimpse of the obvious – but is surprisingly difficult to execute in the real world.  Why? Because doing it involves marketers across all different functions who just aren’t used to playing well with each other.   Building a compelling and cohesive cross-platform content strategy is organizationally challenged – different platforms, different lead times, different agencies, different approval processes.  It’s hard but it’s critical to get right.  And it means marketers can’t think in media or platform silos (TV, radio, banner, video, ….) but have to think of how to create engagement across platforms – exactly how their customers interact with the world.

One example we most admire right now comes from an unlikely source – packaged goods.  We recently spoke with the brand manager of Reynolds (yup, the aluminum foil) in a marketer discussion and were impressed by how fully he has embraced the potential of engagement.  He’s not thinking about how to explain why one food-wrapping foil is better than another – instead, he is working to tell his brand story through the food that Reynolds wraps, and the role it plays in sharing meals, family time, great events, and fun.   Reynolds is telling the story of their brand in a way that their customers will want to follow over time.  They are creating real engagement – with a product that is anything but what we’d traditionally think of as engaging.

The brands that don’t get it will still talk at us, and do it in a disjointed way. One group will talk to the brand agency about the big TV idea, another will plan the digital campaign, another will do something in “social media”, and the PR team might even get in on the action. They are creating a lot of impressions (and even those clicks), but not engagement.  What can you do in 2013 to plan and activate a cross-platform approach that will truly create engagement?

Deirdre Davi, Sterling Strategy


divider

Social Media…Pretty Much Like Real Life (a series)

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Part III:  The Inverse

My previous musings noted that successful performances in the social media space hinge on playing by the rules of offline social dynamics.

But a few weeks back I read an article in the New York Times (For College Students, Social Media Tops the Bar Scene) that for me really crystallized just how dramatically social media is actually reshaping offline social life, especially in younger generations.  (It also offers stale and obvious commentary on college drinking habits – not steering you toward the article for that side of its content…)

I’d site two notable shifts.  The first – we’re so much better informed.  I’m not talking about the quick-paced, socially-linked news cycle (which is huge, but not a point I’m running with) – I’m talking about how we can choose to know what our friends and family members literally around the world are doing at any given moment – and make choices about what we want to do and where we want to go based on that information.  As noted in the NYT article, we don’t need to “waste our time” going to a bar at an off time or with an off-crowd.

Another shift:  social media cross-pollinates ideas so fast, which means we’re more exposed to and aware of EVERYTHING – news, fashion, food, travel, etc.  I think this has a beautiful and oft-ignored upside of making us more worldly, more sophisticated and generally more open to experimenting and trying new things.  We enthusiastically seek out, and easily stumble upon, new drinks, flavors, experiences, destinations  – that we can then excitedly share back with our social communities online.

There are also learnings for the marketer shrouded in these shifts.

Knowing that our consumer is using social media to shape where she goes and when – how can we influence that behavior to our advantage? I’m thinking of events and opportunities offered in short, finite windows of time that create excitement and energy and ultimately movement and action from consumers.  Flash sales, secret/hidden events, unique dining or drinking opportunities.  Stuff that’s cool enough to drive the participant to encourage her friends to come join in the fun.

Can we challenge ourselves to be more daring and creative when it comes to what we offer our consumer?  And can we become richer sources of ideas and inspiration for them so they’re compelled to continue experimenting, and sharing their triumphs out with their networks – and rewarding them for doing so?  And in the reverse, can we do a better job of tapping them for ideas?

I’m certainly not the first to note that what this all adds up to is a continually savvier and more demanding consumer – which could be kind of a pain in the…neck.  But if we can embrace this era and adapt to it, I think it opens the door to have a lot more fun with the consumer, and do a lot more sharing and collaborating. 

Sara Linderman, Strategist

divider

Social Media…Pretty Much Like Real Life (a series)

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Part II:  Good Friends Treat You Well

This past weekend I was in the wedding of a good friend.  On her wedding day, she took a moment to thank each of her bridesmaids with little gold necklaces, each containing different charms reflective of our individual personalities.  It was perfectly representative of what makes this particular person such a good friend:  she treats those that she cares about well – in particular, through her thoughtfulness and generosity.
In social media, these same hallmark characteristics of being a “good friend” hold true.  Brands that outwardly exhibit these traits seem to make more friends, attract more friends, keep more friends.  Some examples of how brands can successfully activate behind these principles…
• “Generous” brands…
◦ Give you presents:  Starbucks frequently runs giveaways and discounts.  Regardless of where they’re originally hosted (i.e., via Living Social, their homepage, etc.), the brand always keeps Facebook and Twitter fans in the loop.
◦ Make you things:  Old Spice gives fans special content, like short films, screen savers, and clever images.
◦ Treat you “special”:  The Daily Show makes a point of providing its Facebook page fans content they can’t get anywhere else, like extended interviews and special segments.
◦ “Thoughtful” brands…
▪ Go out of their way for you: When one fan expressed his longing for a Morton’s steak via Twitter, the brand came through with a special steak delivery (from a tuxedoed waiter, no less) to the Newark airport.  Occasionally going above and beyond goes a long way.
▪ Tell their other friends how great you are: Dunkin’ Donuts features a different fan on its Facebook page each week.  The winners are always featured on the brand’s billboard in Times Square.
▪ Seek out (and care about) your advice: During the payroll tax debates, Obama and teamasked constituents to tell them what a $40 cut in taxes would mean to them.  Responses, received via Twitter, Facebook, and The White House Web site, were overwhelming enough to help the White House win an extension on the tax cut.
Sounds relatively straightforward.  But even good friends make little mistakes and exhibit bad judgment or offensive behavior at times.  In real life, you can usually patch things up relatively easily.  When you’re communicating with the world at large, it’s not so simple.  So here are some things you may consider NOT doing when it comes to SM:
• Stepping over the line:  Belvedere Vodka posted this gem on its Facebook page and was quickly inundated by posts and Tweets from outraged fans and observers – and that news traveled into the media fast.
• Ignoring your friends: Chapstick posted this add, which didn’t go down so well (shocking, I know) with the ladies – who reacted vehemently.  But instead of taking constructive next steps, Chapstick simply deleted all the posts.  Which only made its fans angrier…
• Being generally inconsiderate:  Too many examples here to include.  Sometimes brands simply don’t think about the broader context and implications of their actions.  A good general rule of thumb:  before you send a communication out into the SM world, think about how your real friends would react.  If there’s potential for hurt feelings – abort.
Activating behind social media is daunting.  It’s daunting because it’s still relatively new, because it has no established rules, because it can feel more uninhibited and flexible.  But if you think about all those millions of people out there than you’re communicating with as potential friends, and reflect on how you treat your close friends, you should be starting yourself out in the right direction.

This past weekend I was in the wedding of a good friend.  On her wedding day, she took a moment to thank each of her bridesmaids with little gold necklaces, each containing different charms reflective of our individual personalities.  It was perfectly representative of what makes this particular person such a good friend:  she treats those that she cares about well – in particular, through her thoughtfulness and generosity.

In social media, these same hallmark characteristics of being a “good friend” hold true.  Brands that outwardly exhibit these traits seem to make more friends, attract more friends, keep more friends.  Some examples of how brands can successfully activate behind these principles…

“Generous” brands…

Give you presents: Starbucks frequently runs giveaways and discounts.  Regardless of where they’re originally hosted (i.e., via Living Social, their homepage, etc.), the brand always keeps Facebook and Twitter fans in the loop.

starbucks

Make you things: Old Spice gives fans special content, like short films, screen savers, and clever images.

oldspice

Treat you “special”: The Daily Show makes a point of providing its Facebook page fans content they can’t get anywhere else, like extended interviews and special segments.

dailyshow

“Thoughtful” brands…

Go out of their way for you: When one fan expressed his longing for a Morton’s steak via Twitter, the brand came through with a special steak delivery (from a tuxedoed waiter, no less) to the Newark airport.  Occasionally going above and beyond goes a long way.

mortons

Tell their other friends how great you are: Dunkin’ Donuts features a different fan on its Facebook page each week.  The winners are always featured on the brand’s billboard in Times Square.

dunkin

Seek out (and care about) your advice: During the payroll tax debates, Obama and team asked constituents to tell them what a $40 cut in taxes would mean to them.  Responses, received via Twitter, Facebook, and The White House Web site, were overwhelming enough to help the White House win an extension on the tax cut.

Sounds relatively straightforward.  But even good friends make little mistakes and exhibit bad judgment or offensive behavior at times.  In real life, you can usually patch things up relatively easily.  When you’re communicating with the world at large, it’s not so simple.  So here are some things you may consider NOT doing when it comes to SM:

Stepping over the line:  Belvedere Vodka posted this gem on its Facebook page and was quickly inundated by posts and Tweets from outraged fans and observers – and that news traveled into the media fast.

Ignoring your friends: Chapstick posted this ad, which didn’t go down so well (shocking, I know) with the ladies – who reacted vehemently.  But instead of taking constructive next steps, Chapstick simply deleted all the posts.  Which only made its fans angrier…

Being generally inconsiderate:  Too many examples here to include.  Sometimes brands simply don’t think about the broader context and implications of their actions.  A good general rule of thumb:  before you send a communication out into the SM world, think about how your real friends would react.  If there’s potential for hurt feelings – abort.

Activating behind social media is daunting.  It’s daunting because it’s still relatively new, because it has no established rules, because it can feel more uninhibited and flexible.  But if you think about all those millions of people out there that you’re communicating with as potential friends, and reflect on how you treat your close friends, you should be starting yourself out in the right direction.

Sara Linderman, Strategist

divider

Social Media…Pretty Much Like Real Life (a series)

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Part I:  Good Friends Are Good Listeners

Do you have a friend that you sometimes can’t stand to be around because he steamrolls the conversation – talks so fast, and so much, and so loudly that you want to cover your ears? I do. Actually, I think I might have several.

I’m reminded of these friends when I think about the way a lot of brands behave when it comes to social media.  These brands walk into the Facebook party and become the guy that dominates the conversation.  It makes sense in a way, given that marketers are trained to talk loudly and often to help shape their brand.  But this model doesn’t work within social media.

Why?  Essentially, making friends in social media is akin to making friends in real life – it’s as much about listening and getting to know your friends as it is talking about yourself.  Good listening builds trust, rapport, and openness.

Let’s take a look at some self-aware brands that get this – and through their adapted behavior, have become fluent social butterflies.

target

Target: Target is all about being the philanthropist.  But Target’s Facebook page doesn’t just shout about the brand’s good-deeding.  Instead, Target asks its fans to share what they care about (charities in past years; now focused on schools) and then makes charitable contributions based on their responses.  Target’s Facebook presence gives the company’s consumers and advocates an actionable voice and enhances Target’s position in the community.

fordFord: Ford loves talking about cars – but it understands that it needs to hear from consumers, too. In fact, Ford is so empathetic that it developed a social site dedicated to soliciting stories from car owners.  Ford’s brilliant approach lets the brand get to know their car owners in a much deeper, more personalized way, which provides inspiration as well as the chance to build long-term relationships with consumers.

kleenex

Kleenex: Kleenex is listening even when friends don’t realize it.  In December 2011, the brand launched the “Feel Good” campaign, whereby the brand combed through status updates on its page to identify 50  “friends” with colds – and it couriered each of them a get-well kit.  All of them returned the favor by posting the interaction to their FB walls (delivering 650K impressions).   Pop Chips is also known to take this low-key approach– the brand will show-up with unexpected gifts of Pop Chips if they discover hungry Facebook friends.

One red flag: don’t bother initiating dialogue if you don’t really care.  Because no one likes that guy, either.  One online travel company recently asked its community to share stories of their favorite travel souvenirs.  A ton of fans spoke up, but the company took no note of their responses and missed an opportunity to bond and create dialogue.  Brands attempting to listen to their consumers need to follow through on what they hear and learn to start building lucrative relationships.

Sara Linderman, Strategist

divider

Home Improvement Brands Can Bust Through with Forward Facing Trends

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Let’s start with the good news. As a result of the economic downturn, we’re now working with consumers who are ready to work – on their homes that is. While massive remodeling projects are pretty much out the window, consumers are more engaged in smaller, more affordable, do it yourself projects. It’s no longer about sprucing up the façade to aid in a home’s resale value. Homeowners have changed their focus toward important fixes that will protect their investment and save them money, long term. (more…)

divider

Brand Communication is Changing Shape

Friday, April 16th, 2010

vege-scanner

Our world is changing, people are changing and technology is now very rapidly evolving. (more…)

divider

How Do You Listen?

Friday, October 16th, 2009

With all the new media, social networks and technologically-induced ways of communicating these days, it suddenly struck me that there may be a lack of balance between what we are saying and how much we Listen.

More important than reading the responses to our tweets, postings and status messages on Facebook- what are we doing to proactively read and research what our audience is up to- (more…)