The psychology of referrals: 3 reasons people advocate for brandsPosted by Matt Kucharski on May 8, 2013 at 9:56 AM
If you've seen a recent photo of me, you know that I go through a lot of razor blades - not just for my chin but for my head. So when I read an article about Dollar Shave Club, an e-commerce business that sends a month's worth of really good shaving cartridges for a fraction of the price of what you'd pay at the store, I was all-in. Anyone who shaves every day knows that $7/month for four high-quality cartridges is an incredible deal -so incredible that I was motivated to tell my Facebook friends all about it.
Which is SO not me...
It didn't hurt that the cool people at DSC (that's what I call them now that I'm in "the club") made it really easy for me post with a simple click-and-send, but I'm really not the kind of guy to advocate for brands on social media.
It just so happens that soon after my smoother-than-LeBron-in-the-paint shaving AND buying experience, we had a SMERF team meeting here at Padilla. That's our Social Media Elite Response Force for those of you uninitiated. We got into a great discussion about why people choose to advocate for brands, and the smart folks on the team were able to boil it down to three motivators:
- Helping Others: There may not be an "i" in team, but there's a "self" in selflessness. In other words, helping someone out also makes the helper feel good. While the DSC folks said they'd reward me with points for referrals, it's not really motivating me. As a relatively recent head shaver (don't judge me), I was really and truly annoyed at the prospect of paying $3 for a handle and $20 for a pack of 3 friggin' cartridges. Self actualization was achieved when several of my felly baldy social media friends acknowledged my post with their Likes and comments.
- Validation: Some people do it simply because they want everyone to know that they did it. It could be because they need validation after making a high-involvement purchase (like the more than 400,000 people who Like and post on the Toyota Prius Facebook page) or it could be simply because they want people to know what they're doing online - like the people who let friends know that they took the Grey Poupon Society of Good Taste test and passed.
- Perks: Some people just want the free shit (hope Lynn isn't reading this!) There's nothing wrong with that, and I'd argue it's the most straightforward reward that brands can offer. My colleague and social media role model Michelle Wright is a daily deals site addict who is more than happy to tell her closest social acquaintances about her latest Groupon score if it means getting a kick-back on her next purchase with the site (so long as it's something she thinks her friends would Like).
And then there are some that use more than one motivator. The marketers for the Broadway musical Book of Mormon are using Big Door to create a program where you earn rewards for sharing information (the free shit component), and the "street team" members also are the first to receive news about this very popular, hard-to-get-into show and can share it with friends (part validation, part helping others). Our digital creative director Bob Brin calls it "gamification." I call it "too much time on your hands."
So what's this all mean? If one of the goals for your campaign is to drive referrals, you need to understand which of these three motivators comes into play, and develop your content marketing strategy accordingly.
Oh, one last thing. Sharing this post via Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook page will not only help me out, it'll also make you feel really, really good. Sorry, no free shit, though.
S.E.C. Sets Rules for Disclosures Using Social MediaPosted by Al Galgano on April 22, 2013 at 3:02 PM
To tweet or not to tweet? That is the question.
Earlier this month, the Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.) outlined new disclosure rules that shed light on how companies can use Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to disseminate information. As typical with any pronouncement from the S.E.C., the new rules come with some restrictions. Companies will be able to make key announcements as long as they tell investors which sites they will use. In the scheme of things, this requirement isn't terribly onerous. I wonder if the S.E.C is getting soft.
On the face of it, it makes sense. Isn't the spirit of Reg FD that all investors have access to the same information in order to make an investment decision? Doesn't it make sense to put out information through as many portals as possible, so the greatest number of people have access to it? Yes and yes!
But not so fast. Have we really thought this through and do the new S.E.C guidelines really raise more questions than it answers? And, do these 140 character messages have any impact?
There is no doubt that social media is an extremely effective way to get a message shared with direct and indirect stakeholders, and almost every company is already Tweeting news on a regular basis. According to a recent article in Financial Times, research has found that tweets are influential and can indeed have a marked impact on investors.
My concern is with the 140 character restriction. I think it was Einstein that is credited with the quote, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." And while I'm totally on board with that philosophy, my concern is that the 140 character limit and the brevity that you find in most posts fall short of even making it as simple as possible. Let's take for example what a 140-word tweet could look like when earnings are announced. At that length, little more than the headline could be tweeted. At the very least that could be misleading, as pertinent information is left out. At the very worst, its selective disclosure!
It's commendable that the S.E.C., by acknowledging the ascent and prominence of Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the new media genre, is showing its willingness to join the 21st century. As for me, my advice is to still tread lightly here. I can't forsee, for instance, any investor-oriented Tweet being posted without a link to specific, credible supporting information located on a company's website that provides more detail behind the 140-character post. The opportunity for selective disclosure is just too great and the very rules the S.E.C is trying to protect may be in more jeopardy than ever.
5 Easy Ways to Stay at the Top of Your GamePosted by Amber Graves on April 4, 2013 at 2:42 PM
Having coached and mentored large teams and complex projects, I know a lot can go awry on the quest to delivering creative, measureable communications programs. Along the way I've picked up a few tips that might be valuable to you, regardless of whether or not you're in communications. It might be good insight if you're new to your role and want to ensure your first big project is a success. Others of you might get a reminder that a little bit of advanced thinking not only leads to great work, but also to building great partnerships both internally and externally.
1. Be paranoid.
Whether you're working on a big presentation or just sending an email to someone important, don't be too quick to hit send. Stop and ask yourself questions like: "What could I have missed?" "What are all of the things that could go wrong?" "If I were the one receiving this, what questions would I have in response?" This will allow you to proactively cover off on things in your first piece of communication to avoid unnecessary back and forth. We are human and all make mistakes, but over time errors affect your personal credibility with both co-workers and clients more than you realize. I like to say, "Why not put one extra quarter in the parking meter to avoid getting a $60 ticket?"
2. Get out your trusty old calculator.
I love technology, but sometimes you've just got to go old-school. Whether it's a budget document or a measurement report, it's always smart to get out your calculator and check the numbers one last time -- by hand. This is an easy step to skip when you're rushing or up against a deadline, but keep in mind this is also when the most mistakes are made! Excel is a great time-saver when it comes to number intensive documents, but it's easy to miss something in a formula now and then so you shouldn't rely on it completely. Not only will double-checking by hand help prevent errors, but it will also give you a better appreciation of what's behind the numbers.
3. Be prepared for meetings.
Many of us seem to spend more of our day in meetings than not. Regardless of role, discipline or seniority; responsibility falls on each of us to be prepared for those meetings. Start by looking at all of your meetings for the day and make any necessary PHYSICAL preparations. Perhaps you are presenting something, or you need to set aside time to review someone else's materials in preparation for the meeting. Then, a few minutes before each meeting, give yourself time to MENTALLY prepare so that you're ready to add value. If you're leading the meeting, bring print outs of reference materials (yes - old school!), assuming others may not have prepared properly. And don't forget - if you organized the meeting, it's your responsibility to ensure that any key people you've invited are able to attend.
4. Go see a guy about a thing.
While I love the speed and efficiency of email, sometimes you just can't beat face-to-face conversation. When a situation arises that might warrant getting up out of your chair and talking to someone, trust your instincts and go do it! Maybe things have taken on a strange tone in someone's email, or perhaps you've attempted to write an email multiple times and can't quite find the right words. If you are feeling a bit apprehensive about having a conversation, this is usually a good sign that one is needed. Have the courage to do it, and you'll be better off in the long run by heading off any confusion or misunderstanding.
5. Conduct some water cooler research.
You're doing yourself and your clients a disservice if you don't leverage the extremely smart people around you. Regardless of our specific disciplines, we all have the tendency to get wrapped up in our own thinking sometimes. Running your ideas past people you respect is a great way to ensure that they are ready for prime time. Do this when you are far enough along to defend your thinking, but with enough time to make changes. And be open to receiving feedback. Because the chances that people will tell you they agree with your thinking exactly the way it is, are very slim. But that's why you asked, right?
Measuring communications effectivenessPosted by Ned Winsborough on April 1, 2013 at 2:24 PM
Companies should know what they're paying for when they invest time and money in communications campaigns, but measurement should be more than just about pure financial return on investment. It also can be an important in-process monitor that helps optimize and change course in a program to get the best possible outcomes.
We obviously want to know if the campaign is driving awareness, generating leads or increasing sales, but they're not the only metrics. To meaningfully gauge the effectiveness of communications, companies need a clear understanding of what exactly was created, how it was disseminated and who saw it.
The Outputs, Outtakes and Outcomes model that Padilla uses works well for this. Outputs measure how well you're executing the program. Is it on time, on budget and on message? Outtakes gauge how well the work reaches the right audience. What are the impressions from an ad, the attendance at an event or the search rankings after our SEO? Outcomes - the ultimate measure - are changes in perception and behavior that help achieve the business goal. If you're measuring at an Outcomes level, you need to make sure you have strong benchmarks in place and that you measure programs and campaigns rather than individual tactics.
Together, Outputs and Outcomes allow you to understand HOW you built awareness, increased engagement or grew sales.
One size rarely fits all, so you need to identify all of the possible measurement strategies and match them to the objectives of the communication program.
Still, one thing remains constant: A clear measurement plan is one of the key elements of any communication campaign.
Forecast for corporate finance activityPosted by Marian Briggs on March 26, 2013 at 12:08 PM
I recently was asked to contribute to an article by IR Magazine on the state of the M&A environment. You can read the full story, but here's a summary of where I see things today:
It's fair to say that investment bankers were glad to say goodbye to a dismal 2012, but they're optimistic about 2013 as nearly one third of the 2012 total came in the final quarter. That's the biggest single-quarter performance since Q3 2008.
With potential for more money coming available as 2013 gains strength, IR pros should once again be ready for M&A activity.
Industry-specific dynamics are driving much of the deal activity, and I expect that to escalate this year. One prime example is reform driving M&A across device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, providers and payers. I also see movement happening in the technology and retail spaces as those industries continue to both innovate and consolidate.
You can't have deal activity without activist shareholders - either those who think the offer is too low or the cash balance is too high. With shareholder activism back in the picture, IROs should take stock (no pun intended) of their company's vulnerabilities. You need to be talking regularly with your large holders and make certain they understand your strategy. And listen carefully if they have governance issues.
A recharged deal environment can bring stress, but also many potential benefits for IROs. This can be the perfect opportunity to revise your investment thesis and refresh your story to the Street.