Archive for the ‘Social Media’ category

Nice Job GNC

July 10, 2014

It has been a while since I have posted, but today I was inspired by GNC to write.

GNC has launched a new ad campaign called Beat Average.  You can view it here. 

I am impressed with this campaign for 4 reasons:

1. It has tremendous insight into consumer behavior and the reality of how we think and act.  They are truly holding up a mirror to the bulk of the population.

2. They are buying time in very smart ways.  I first saw it this morning as the ad that ran after I had played an on demand exercise video.  I had just worked out and it was almost a reward / pat on the back for me that I was not average today.  They understood me at that moment.  Nicely timed.

3. The ad is very motivating.  It is well written, filmed and edited.

4. They are launching this campaign in the middle of summer.  Usually, we see the “you need to diet and exercise” ads all crammed together in January (post New Year’s resolution) or in May / June at the beginning of swimsuit season.  GNC (who may have actually been late to the party for reasons beyond their control or actually made this a conscious decision) is not competing with all those other ads right now.  So their’s stands out.

Nice job GNC.  I may stroll over and get some Whey Protein Powder just to encourage such smart moves.

A Little Seasonal Humor

December 12, 2012

Taking a pause from my regular marketing messages, I wanted to share some humor for the season.  I found a few images that made me laugh.  I hope you enjoy them as well.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a very happy and healthy new year.

cell phone

ho ho huh

plane

dancer

brown nose

outsourcedtherapy

And just to end with a bit of social media merriment:

friends me

Social Media Then, Now, Tomorrow

September 11, 2012

I am including a reprint of a post from Peter Kim entitled “What’s next for business and why I joined @RGA“.  While the end of it is a sales pitch for his new company (so I have removed those parts), I thought this post gave a great overview of where we have been and where we might be headed with Social Media.

As I have said in the past, the way we communicate with customers will continue to evolve.  In the end, if you do not offer good value or good information to your customers or potential customers; you will not create an ongoing relationship with them.  Always keep in mind what you value you have to offer and keeping the price and quality in line with the expectations you create.

Here is Peter’s post:

“Let’s face it. Great brands need to be thinking about what’s beyond social business. You might be thinking, “Wait a second…the social business era has just begun!” And if so, you’d be correct…

Let’s rewind it back:

2003 – 2006: Early Adoption. Professionals viewed social media with curiosity and kept an eye out on the trajectory of corporate+consumer engagement. Despite early brand experiments like Randy Baseler’s Boeing blog, most companies were skeptical of the long-term impact of this emerging media/technology. However, some unlucky brands would eventually have no choice but to participate, as detractors used new outlets to broadcast their dissatisfaction – and mainstream media amplified the discontent. Early adopters including Charlene Li, Steve Rubel, and Robert Scoble explained to the world what needed to be done.

2007 – 2009: Early Majority. Brands decide to get involved. They’re getting educated, listening to consumers using new technology, rolling out internal collaboration platforms, and starting to consider how to integrate “social” into existing operations. However, as the global financial crisis caused the world to slide into the Great Recession, budgets were slashed and program momentum stalled. The silver lining to financial meltdown? Brands had to get clever with what they had on hand and also had time to think strategically about integrating social into their businesses. Thinkers like Jeremiah Owyang, David Armano, and Chris Brogan help move brands, big and small, put pieces together and move forward. I identified over 300 brands using social media marketing.

2010 – 2012: Mainstreaming. Budgets start returning to brands and technology adoption starts to hockeystick. The term “social business” becomes increasingly adopted and companies go on record to report return on investment from their initiatives. The pace of social technology acquisitions and IPOs picks up as investors seek to monetize their bets. Social business leaders including Scott Monty, Michael Donnelly, Richard Binhammer, and Bonin Bough have pioneered the creation of corporate social media teams and the presence of this construct is now common for most brands. So what now? Social business certainly still has a way to go. Many brands still lack coherent strategy and tactics for coping with two-way engagement, not to mention internal change management. However, the trail has been blazed by pioneers like IBM, Coca-Cola, and Dell for others to follow.

 

The mainstreaming of social business will continue throughout 2013, as brands focus on scaling programs externally and internally. Emerging challenges like SoMoLo (social/mobile/local) will occupy attention even further. Most approaches are focused on building four of five capabilities outlined by Umair Haque: singularity, sociality, spontaneity, and synchronicity. I see this playing out primarily in employee education and consumer engagement, with a focus on training, tools, and measurement.

 

But what’s next? Solving for social at scale requires determining solutions for today, not tomorrow. That’s delivering on mainstreaming. Along the way, the concept of “social business” risks losing meaning, similar to the reductive definitions placed on originally expansive concepts like BPR and CRM. Is the pinnacle of social business success equal to the presence of robust two-way communication? That’s difficult for many brands and a step forward for sure, but ultimately limiting. It’s only focused on plateauing on the top of the social media S-curve…

 

…Recognizing the value of “functional integration” for brands is very much in line with my thoughts around owning experience ecosystems. In a world of increasing connectedness, brands must employ a holistic point of view with regard to consumer relations, employee collaboration, and value chain management. This requires thinking through communications and how they’re aligned with products and services.

“Social” describes everything we do, but technology always underpins the change. As Deb Schultz has said: technology changes, humans don’t. The rise of social business has not been about figuring out humans – it’s been about how people and companies use new technology to communicate, transact, and entertain. Being ready for what’s next means taking today’s social business investment and expanding into a broader approach to functional integration.”

Social Media – It isn’t news

September 8, 2011

I attended a presentation last night at the University of Chicago Marketing Round Table.  The presenter, Jonathan Salem Baskin, made some interesting points about social media that I wanted to share.

He recently wrote a book where he traces social media throughout history.  With many major technology innovations in the past, our ability to connect with others has increased.  The social media concept isn’t new (he gave some great examples in history – the telegraph, the radio, the telephone, television, expressways built in the 50’s – all things that allowed us to connect with others in a new way).   Facebook and Twitter were the most recent examples.  And there will be others in the future that we can’t correctly predict now.  Technology innovations will always be developed to help us connect better with others.  In other words, technology change is a constant. 

While I didn’t agree with everything he said, I do think the part of his discussion that was impactful was the reminder that since technology changes will always be there, we should be focused more on the messages we give to our customers and less on the technology

We need purpose driven content – something that is meaningful to our audience. 

We need to consider who we are targeting and how they want to hear from us.  Finding your most receptive audiences and have a conversation with them if it will enhance the relationship.  If not, do not waste their time.

And I would add that if you are delivering a stellar product or service and doing it in a way that provides awesome customer service; your customer will reward you.  Great marketing – social or traditional – cannot make up for a bad product or bad service.

Customer Control and Social Media

May 5, 2011

Peter Kim from the Dachus Group (formerly with Forrester and also a UPenn alum) is a long time writer and consultant about social media.  I subscribe to his posts and want to reprint one for you in its entirety today.  I think this presents a truly balanced perspective on the amount of power consumers have through social media.  The perception is that they have a ton of power.  But the reality is that when the decision makes sense for a corporation, the corporation will make the changes requested by the consumer.  But when the change will not make sense or will not pay out in the long run, the corporation is unlikely to make the change.  And for business, that does make dollars and sense.

Here is Peter’s Post:

Customers aren’t in control.

At least not in the way that the social media cliche would have you believe.

I was on an Alaska Airlines flight last week from Austin to San Jose. This route is nicknamed “the nerd bird.” However, Alaska announced that it would be canceling the route in May. While we were boarding, a passenger was lamenting its demise to a flight attendant. She told him that another frequent flyer had been on a mission collecting comment cards from the in-flight magazine to stage a write-in campaign to save the route.

Which reminds me of another write-in campaign that was once touted a feel-good best practice example of the POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA. As background, I disclose that I’m no stranger to being on the business end of multiple write-in campaigns. I’ve heard an earful about chimpanzee exploitation, racist reggae artists, and sexually suggestive advertising. But that was before social media – faxes, phone calls, and email are all one-to-one communication. Today, detractors can voice their displeasure publicly and incite others more quickly to their cause; examples like Comcast Must Die abound. The apparent takeaway for brands: customers are in control whether you like it or not.

 In 2006, US television network CBS piloted a new show called “Jericho.” It was a tale about a small town in middle America and nuclear holocaust, with plot driven by the principles having a lack of information. CBS programming executives had all the information they needed, watching show ratings drop like a bomb. The show was cancelled. That was when social media swung into action.

CBS is nutsJericho fanatics started a write-in campaign to save their show. But they took it a step further. In the show’s final episode, a protagonist utters the rallying cry “nuts!” before heading into battle. Jericho enthusiasts embraced the idea and decided to send nuts to CBS President Nina Tassler. 40 tons of nuts. Finally, the network makes the decision to bring Jericho back for another season and tells fans, “P.S. Please stop sending us nuts.

The story is described as a victory of social media. Power to the people! Consumers are in control!

But that’s not where the story ends. Jericho came back to TV – but no one was watching. Ratings were worse than when the show went off the air. Without ratings, a network can’t drive advertising revenue – and fans aren’t enough to offset a lack of corporate sponsorship. Jericho was cancelled again and finally put to rest. People rarely tell the part of the story where social media is proven wrong and that’s important to understand.

It’s true that consumers vote with their dollars. Social media can also generate business results when used properly. Plenty of opportunities exist for applying new thinking to content, operations, viewer engagement, commercial support, cross-platform integration, and elsewhere. It’s dangerous to rely on blanket statements from the early days of social media to today’s social business operating environment.

Pete Blackshaw of Nestle offers great advice regarding customers in control:

The overheated rhetoric acts as a deceptive rationalization. We marketers have far more control than we let on. We buy the media, make the product, write the message, pick the messaging platform, select the suppliers, and hire the employees who ultimately do all the above.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen to the Alaska Airlines route, but it’ll most likely go away as scheduled. I doubt loyalists think strategically about the decision – passenger loads, fuel costs, competition from Southwest, better yield on Hawaii flights – before beating their social and traditional media drums in complaint.

Organizations must have process and policy in place to deal with detractors (individuals and groups) rather than using a blanket approach based on the wisdom of the crowd – or lack thereof. And confidence that control is best shared in carefully measured cases.”

How important is Facebook?

March 26, 2011

I read a lot about social media (it is all marketers can talk about).  Every company worries that they are not doing enough on Facebook or whether they are doing the right things.

I came across this article on ClickZ and think it summarizes what many have been thinking but afraid to say – Facebook Social Marketing isn’t as important as people think it is.  

For your convenience, here is the short article she wrote (reprinted from the article “If Facebook Social Marketing Really That Important” by Pace Lattin 3/24/2011 http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2035885/facebook-social-marketing)

“Right now, perhaps the biggest “new job” in online media is the social media manager, and similarly the social media management company. Agencies all over are scrambling to create social media divisions and every major brand out there has been equally hurried to hire “experts” to assist them in this new empire of social media. All those “new media” and “affiliate marketing” experts have now become “social media” experts in order to get jobs. The pundits are constantly talking about how they engage users on Facebook, how to use it to engage clients and make new clients, how to get people to click on “like,” and so on. I honestly believe that most of this talk is not only self-serving nonsense that is created to fill the plethora of junk journals out there, but more importantly has no basis in reality. Most Facebook “social” marketing has little or no return on investment.

  1. Most people are using Facebook as a communications device between themselves, friends, colleagues, and family. Facebook works because it’s an easy way to get in touch with people you know. It’s great because you don’t have to remember someone’s e-mail address, you don’t have to remember someone’s birthday, and you don’t really have to care all that much for the people to show interest in them. People relate to others on Facebook at the most superficial levels, and that’s partially why people love Facebook.
  2. The actual engagement ratio is close to 0 percent. Here is non-scientific-based proof: I’m a member of the Starbucks group, as are 20 million other caffeine and scone addicts. On a daily basis, some 1,000 people leave short messages on Starbucks’ websites, with things like “I love you Starbucks” and “My Café Latte tasted like cat pee.” That’s approximately a .005 percent engagement ratio. The people who respond to these posts with “likes” and other actions are usually close to few or none. People aren’t involved with the Starbucks’ fan page, even though on a daily basis a large percent of them are involved with Starbucks. However, the “real” posts where there is actual feedback and involvement is close to zero.
  3. In the cases where there is engagement, there is no way to engage the users back. I’m one of the 9 million or so people who “like” the Britney Spears Facebook page. When Britney (I love you Britney!) or her manager uses Facebook to communicate, they receive at least one to two thousand responses back. There is no way they can process those comments in a way that is actually useful to them. It’s like monitoring teenage girls’ cell phone habits and trying to decode what they are saying. Half of it they’ll forget the next day, similar to comments on Facebook, so who really cares?
  4. There are too many groups on Facebook to be truly engaged. Facebook has become the flea market of online media. While everyone once in a while loves going to a flea market, no one would enjoy living in the middle of one. While in real life you can meet a group of friends, sit down for a drink, and talk about subjects that everyone likes, doing this on Facebook is like trying to have that same conversation in the middle of a rave. You’re going to try for a few minutes to have a real conversation until someone slaps you with a glow stick and gives you a hug (or “poke”). Everyone who joins Facebook at first joins the groups, “likes” all their favorite brands, and tries to engage, but eventually just starts to ignore the cornucopia of pages and groups.
  5. Facebook advertising, on the other hand, provides real and immediate results in comparison. If you want to spend money on Facebook, buy an advertisement. With the growing amount of targeting features, the enormous audience buying advertisements and sending to your own landing page seems like a much better spend. Instead of having to worry about all the management issues with having a fan page or group on Facebook, you can send people to a site that you control.

I’m not going to say that there’s no reason to have a page or group on Facebook – that recommendation would be silly indeed. It’s free advertising. However, I am saying that having a “social media” plan with a panel of experts advising you on what the page should look like, 10 full-time employees looking at the comments, and also paying some analytics company $250,000 to give you reporting on how many people responded to your “we are not open on President’s Day” message is just plain ridiculous. Please, I beg of you, don’t waste your money on these “experts” who have about as much experience in media as I have in swimsuit competitions. Most companies don’t pay people to monitor the graffiti in the boy’s bathroom, and much of Facebook is similar to that. It has little or no real-world impact on sales or brand perception. If you disagree with what I am saying, feel free to post it on your Facebook page, and I’ll “like” it.”

Truth

February 22, 2011

Truth is the new black.  Truth is the newest buzzword.  It appears to be something that people have recently discovered (as though they just did some search on google or bing and magically the truth appeared in a search result).  There is a lot of noise about searching for and finding the real truth.

I am sure you have heard that old adage – there are 3 versions of the truth.  Your version, the version of the other person (or people) involved, and the actual truth.

These days, it gets even more complicated.  For every event or issue, there are now so many more voices and opinions, I think the internet has gotten us further away from the actual truth than we have ever been before (and let’s not get started on the whole lack of reality in reality TV – that has really screwed up our concept of truth).    The truth seems to be the version that gets repeated most often, not necessarily the version that is the most accurate or correct.   Or in the case of Yahoo answers, the one that gets the most votes from other people .  Or the most “likes” on Facebok.  So now, instead of having a real truth, we just have the most popular truth.  What kind of truth is that?  And who are all these people who vote on which is the best truth?

The next time you read something where the writer professes to be saying the “truth,” I ask you to consider that what you are reading may not be the entire or most accurate version of the truth.  Even when  a writer is supposedly a journalist writing for a reputable newspaper, you may be getting just one side or version of the truth.

So when you are reading some “facts” on the internet, especially ones that don’t seem quite right to you; stop a moment and think.  Search in your head and your heart and I bet you will find that you already know the truth.