Brand Awareness at the Heart of RTMPosted by Dave Folkens on March 14, 2013 at 10:17 AM
Online and digital marketing has been particularly effective in creating new acronyms and catch phrases over the past few years. The best buzz of the moment? RTM or real-time marketing thanks to a quick, creative tweet about a cookie.
When a power outage hit during Super Bowl XLVII, Oreo made a splash with its timely "You can still dunk in the dark" effort that caught on with both consumers and marketers thanks to its rapid-response and creativity. It was a smart move that helped the brand stand-out from a crop of otherwise mostly forgettable ads that averaged $4 million dollars per 30 second spot.
Now, RTM is the latest craze in the digital marketing world with brands all over trying to capture a sense of timeliness. Companies are looking for opportunities to hop into the discussion and appear on top of the moment.
Travelocity was cute and picked up on the masses viewing the Bachelor while brands are looking to jump on trending hashtags with very mixed success.
However, are these bursts of creativity and the ability to get an effort approved rapidly worthy of being placed at the top of the brand pedestal? The answer is no. A singular timely tweet or post does not equal a new breakthrough simply by being quick to respond to an external event.
The reason the Oreo effort was such a success is because the team truly knows its brand. Understanding and cultivating a brand that is differentiated and takes on a real personality is a significant challenge that requires time along with careful strategy along with communication and training to ensure the value of that brand is embedded throughout an organization. Without that widespread adoption, there is significant risk in missing the mark with rapid response or engagement. Brands that have a sense of who they are can succeed in today's digital environment because those that work for companies like Coca-Cola and Oreo (which have done great work well before the Super Bowl) have a clear sense of what qualities are tied to their products and the audience they serve.
At the core of successful real-time marketing you'll find foundational brand values, audience insight, and a commitment to creatively share what the customer wants in a way that is meaningful to them rather than the brand. As companies evaluate how to catch the latest wave, it's important not to overlook the true elements that build a brand and quality reputation driven by strategy versus buzz.
Cruising Toward Social Media Success with a Customer Advocacy ProgramPosted by Michelle (Haschka) Wright on July 15, 2010 at 10:38 AM
I had the opportunity to sail on the inaugural cruise of the NCL Epic last week with a travel agent friend. (The ship's first sailing is reserved for travel agents and their guests, who all travel free). It's a smart influencer relations and awareness building strategy - wine and dine the people that are going to sell your stuff. Show them first-hand what a wonderful experience they'll be selling their customers.
The fact that people are making the effort to form communities in this way fascinates me, but it also got me thinking about what Norwegian Cruise Line could be doing to engage with these folks and tap into their excitement about the brand. They're basically being handed a plate full of social-media savvy influencers eager to talk about them in a positive light. It doesn't get much better than that!
How would we advise our clients to get started? We'd recommend they tune in via social media monitoring and identify the people talking about NCL. Then they could sponsor the planned tweet-up and create a social media ambassador club (with a cute name, of course ... The Social Skippers, Cruise Crew, NCL Socialites, etc) for attendees to join. While cruising, offer this group some exclusive perks that will encourage them to share information about the ship after they've landed. From there, elevate their experience and help them get social:
What else would you suggest they do?
Photo credit Ell Brown
How LeBron James Twissed* His Fans... And How Businesses Can Do BetterPosted by on July 14, 2010 at 6:26 AM
*An admittedly lame attempt at creating a Twitter term. In case it wasn't clear (which is likely), I was going for "Twitter Dissed."
I'm not much of an NBA fan, so I don't really care which jersey LeBron James will wear next season. But like so many others, I waited anxiously to see what would happen on July 8. Not on ESPN, however. On Twitter.
James created Twitter handle @kingjames just two days before his overhyped much-anticipated "Decision." Though I wasn't watching myself, I'm told that he gained some 300,000 followers in one day. With that sort of momentum, one would think James' PR team would jump on the opportunity to engage the fans who were eagerly looking to be engaged.
Yet on the night of the Decision, no tweets. Just a wasted opportunity.
LeBron James fans did what almost any company wishes their customers would do - they congregated in one place and tuned in to hear what he had to say. And he left them hanging.
And worse yet, he didn't deliver on a promise. Just a few hours before the "Decision," King James tweeted: "Good Morning! It's your chance to ask me a question about my decision, use #lebrondecision to submit and I'll answer them tonight."
Many tweets were posted using the designated hashtag, but King James' camp never responded. His next tweet didn't come until the next day when fans finally received the following: "What's up yall. Just landed in my new home. Thanks to all the fans and Miami organization who greeted me. The Road to History starts now!"
By then, old news.
When fans (or customers, as the case may be) meet you in a social media space, don't leave them hanging. Engage them. They appreciate the feeling that they are somehow part of your decisions and activities. And the interaction can lead to invaluable opportunities to hear what customer think, answer questions, fix problems, and change negative opinions.
Padilla's client, Rockwell Automation, is a great example of successfully executing a new Twitter handle. The company wanted to better reach manufacturers and trade media unable to attend its annual Automation Fair event in 2009 due to tightened travel budgets. Rockwell Automation created a Twitter handle for the event to increase the real-time coverage of the event. In the months before the event, the marketing and public relations team developed a detailed execution plan, and commissioned a team to see it through. By the end of the week-long event, the Twitter handle had 122 followers, and achieved nearly 1,000 click-throughs on posted links.
Some planning and execution tips that helped Rockwell Automation succeed include:
1. Starting early - Create your profile and begin building a following before the event, so that you have a following AT the event. Build interest by giving attendees a peek into what's going to happen at the event. Consider pre-event interviews with speakers. Also, be sure to communicate the event hashtag in the weeks prior, so that everyone knows to use it.
2. Planning a schedule - Many people find it hard enough to Tweet during a regular day at the office, let alone when they need to run across a trade show floor from appointment to appointment. Plan a schedule of what you'd like to Tweet and when. Rockwell Automation's list included things like "9:45 a.m. - Reminder about customer forum start time and location," "10 a.m. - Quotes from customer presentation," and "1 p.m. - Interesting new products showcased in partner booths."
3. Designating a team - Once you have a plan of everything you need to Tweet, you probably will realize there isn't one single person available on site who can schedule enough time to cover it all. Delegate to others as appropriate (but be transparent, i.e., don't pretend to be someone you're not). Rockwell Automation delegated the posting schedule to approved company Tweeters. These individuals were able to ensure all postings were made, as well as monitor Tweets from others that mentioned the company or event and work with approved spokespeople to respond.
Be careful what you (don't) tweetPosted by on July 12, 2010 at 8:52 AM
CNN fired a 20-year veteran of the network last week over a controversial tweet she posted, according to The New York Times.
Read the article for all the details, but the issue started with a tweet posted by the editor, Octavia Nasr:
Critics were quick to point out Ayatollah Fadlallah's writings and preachings inspired the Dawa Party of Iraq and a generation of militants, including the founders of Hezbollah.
CNN responded to the issuing saying the tweet did not meet CNN's editorial standards. Nasr said people were misinterpreting her tweet.
Either way, there were real world consequences that may be a direct result out of Twitter's 140-character limit.
The lesson? Be sure your tweet tells the whole story. And if it can't, be sure the tweet includes a link to a page that unpacks what a 140-character tweet cannot.
Be More Social than Media: 5 Strategies for Diversifying Social Media MonitoringPosted by Michelle (Haschka) Wright on June 30, 2010 at 2:28 PM
We talk a lot about listening in social media. Why it's important, how to start a listening process, who should be doing the listening, etc. Those are all important questions. But don't forget to ask one more seemingly simple question: What am I listening for? Company and brand mentions, most certainly. But you shouldn't stop there.
1. Industry trends
Look for conversations related to your industry, company growth areas, new products areas or technologies where you're investing.
Seek out discussions related to events where you're presenting or attending.
3. Research results
Keep an eye out for research that's relevant to your company or business unit, especially if it supports the work you're doing.
4. Company content
When you appear in a media article, distribute a news release or complete a case study or white paper, look for related conversations where this content may be of interest
People often turn to social media to answer their questions, however, questions may not mention your brand specifically, instead they'll probably ask a broad question - looking for a new cable provider, any recommendations? What are the latest developments in business intelligence software?
"Social" is the crux of social media, and people want to hear from people. As you broaden the scope of your monitoring program and social media interactions remember that it's important to be approachable, helpful and transparent about your company affiliation.
So, what are you listening for? Do any of these "types" stand out as opportunities? What's missing from your list?
Photo credit totalAldo
Is your organization laying track for social media or lying on the track?Posted by Bob Brin on June 22, 2010 at 11:26 AM
(Or, a runaway metaphor)
Yesterday we launched our strategic process for social media. We've used it for awhile with clients and it really helps a cross-functional team of communications, marketing, IT, HR and legal folks get on the same train. Mostly it's for the people responsible for communications programs.
Will It Blend? How to Mix Offline Efforts with Online Customer ServicePosted by Michelle (Haschka) Wright on March 26, 2010 at 9:10 AM
Customer service and social media go together like Facebook and recreational stalking. Okay - maybe it's not that bad, but the web has become an open forum for customer feedback. Why wait for the next available representative when you can complain about your broken internet to a few hundred of your closest friends on Twitter? Is your washing machine on the fritz? Why write a letter to some faceless executive when you can post a rant on your blog to thousands of dedicated readers instead?
It's true. Social media can help solve customer problems. But it doesn't happen automatically.First, companies must be tuned into the social media channels where people are talking about them. They also must have an internal process in place that allows them to be helpful in their response. Only then can they can turn a potentially negative situation or dissatisfied customers into allies.
We're finding that when it comes to customer service via social media, thoughtful often means taking the conversation offline.
Padilla monitors hundreds of conversations for our clients daily. We see the good ... and the not-so-good. The trick is deciding when someone is just looking to pick a fight and when there's a real opportunity to win over a customer.
When it comes to effective customer service, the same rules of engagement apply whether you're solving customer problems from a call center, in person or from a laptop. The question you need to keep top of mind is this: Can anything be done to remedy this situation?
Recently, one of our clients had a great opportunity to test the waters when a customer posted a lengthy rant entitled "Why Does [Manufacturing Company] Hate Its Customers?" on his blog. The customer aired his frustration over not being able to access the company's online support database.
We flagged the post and recommended our client respond by posting a comment with the name of someone the customer could contact for direct help (in the spirit of Twitter feed @comcastcares). Our client (the ever customer-service minded) did us one better. They created a customer service ticket and contacted him directly - via phone - to troubleshoot the problem.
Just as our client was preparing to post a comment to the blog explaining the action taken, the blogger posted an update of his own. He gave the company kudos for listening and explained that they'd helped solve the problem.
The critic became ally. Mission accomplished!
Good customer service goes beyond resolution. Our client called the blogger a few days later to make sure the problem was fully solved. As a result, the blogger posted a lengthy account detailing the great service provided and expressing his appreciation for our client listening and making sure they took care of him.
Still not convinced?
If your customers are online, then using social media for customer service is absolutely a good idea and it's something you should be doing (hint: they are online). However, it's easy to get social media tunnel vision. Sometimes you need to step back and think about what you can do that would be most helpful. Oftentimes that means moving the interaction into "real life."
Are you using social media for customer service? How's it working?
Stop, Collaborate and Listen.Posted by Michelle (Haschka) Wright on February 5, 2010 at 3:22 PM
In the world of social media marketing (and early 90's rappers), it's easy to get caught up in finding more followers, sharing the latest app. and getting more mentions. But all the hype is pretty worthless if you don't remember one simple rule: be helpful. That was the theme of best-selling author and social media guru Chris Brogan's keynote on digital reputation management held at Best Buy's headquarters this week.
Brogan worked his way thorough the social media framework he advocates - listen, connect, and publish - and shared a number of insights along the way (based on content from his book Trust Agents).
I've had a little time to process the event and here are my top 5 insights from Brogan's presentation:
1. Be helpful.
Being helpful isn't about broadcasting. And it isn't about control. It's about listening.
To listen well, you need to listen bigger.Think of listening as a committed long-term relationship. It takes time and effort to keep the magic alive. You have to dive beneath the surface. Get to know what's really going on. Ask all those "getting to know you" questions and then dig deeper. Where do your customers hang out online? Who do they trust? What do they like to do? What do they like about you? What are their biggest challenges? What bugs them?
It's practically impossible to figure out how you can help someone when you haven't been paying attention to the problem. And luckily being helpful doesn't always mean you have to fix the problem.
Make it all about others.
Brogan shared a little rule of thumb: for every time you comment about yourself, make 12 comments about other people. Point someone in the right direction. Give props to a fan. Share a resource. Connect people. It's the little things that make long-lasting and meaningful connections.
If you're going to talk, say something useful.
Gone are the days of organizations relying on traditional media to spread the word about their products and services. Today, thanks to blogging tools, video platforms, photo sharing, etc., companies have the power to tell their own stories in new, unique, and low-cost ways. But just because it's cheap doesn't mean you should do it. Minimally, your stories need to be relevant to your consumers. If you really want to make a splash, you need to take the next step and write something that's actually helpful.
Keep in mind that you can make all the news you want but if you haven't connected with people willing to listen, you'll be talking to an empty room. Companies that have built a tribe of loyal followers have a unique opportunity to tell their own stories.
Make sure your helpers have the right tools for the job.
You wouldn't start building a house without talking to contractors, designers and inspectors and getting the proper permits. Nor should you dive into connecting and creating content via social media without making sure you've convened the right stakeholders and rolled out the proper policies.
Brogan didn't cover this piece, but it's an important one. Identify the people in your organization that will be affected by social media - it's probably people in marketing, public relations, HR, internal communications, IT, and legal (but it could be others like sales and manufacturing, depending on the goals of the program).
Once the group is solidified, bring them together to come up with a policy everyone can live with. For some companies, it's as simple as "don't be stupid." For others, it comes down to adjusting policies that are already in place. Getting the right folks involved and establishing ground rules early on will save headaches down the road.
How are you showing your customers that you're listening? Are you being helpful?
Using current events to fuel marketing campaigns.Posted by on January 15, 2010 at 10:07 AM
I'm all about seizing the moment and taking advantage of real life events to help enhance a marketing campaign. Several weeks ago Tiger Woods was the theme many PR firms used to highlight poor crisis communications. For a moment I thought Minneapolis-based Parasole would provide a great example. Before I Tweeted their novel approach, however, I did a little digging.
The back story - Monday afternoon two guys landed their planes on a Minneapolis lake to get lunch. Turns out Minneapolis lakes are illegal to land on, unlike lakes in most other cities. The police met the pilots at their planes after lunch and issued tickets. News reports said they got a burger, but not where they went. I actually gave it a moment's thought to what restaurants are in that area, but that was about it.Current events meet promotional opportunity - Wednesday I received an email from Burger Jones (a Parasole restaurant). The subject was "Burger Jones Honors Naughty Pilots" and offered an opportunity this Saturday to order "The Mile High Club Burger" and make a donation to the defense fund for the pilots. (Each of the two pilots face up to a $1000 fine). Creative, huh? Tweets from Burger Jones (@burgerjones) refer to many ways to get there (bus, car, plane...). I like it. I also like that it creates a way for the restaurant to help the pilots pay for a lunch that ended up being VERY expensive.
If only they'd actually given any donations to help the pilots, it could have been a very cool campaign. Timely, empathetic and a little edgy.
Instead it feels like they're just taking advantage of the pilots, doesn't it? What other campaigns could the restaurant have created? Can you think of other campaigns that successfully leveraged current events?
Get your boss on the Twitter highway.Posted by Bob Brin on January 10, 2010 at 5:22 PM
When your boss looks at Twitter, she may see drivel in an indecipherable shorthand akin to gang graffiti. To get her attention, you'll need to show her the dialog she's missing out on. Partners talking to competitors. Analysts talking about the company or products. Maybe people talking about her. Once you've shown her there's a big world out there, give her a crash course in the rules of the road, including your corporate social media guidelines. Then set her up on TweetDeck or some similar dashboard to make it as easy as possible. Here are some suggestions to get your boss rolling.
Circle the neighborhood
Head for the big city
Most execs already have the tools for Twitter: confidence, something to say, great networking skills and common sense. With a little coaching from you, they should be able to see beyond the drivel to what drives business.
Pitching Via Twitter: WCCO Meet the Journalist Part 3Posted by on October 13, 2009 at 5:22 PM
According to what seems to be every self-proclaimed social media guru in the world, Twitter is the most momentous development since explorer Sir Francis Drake returned from his circumnavigation of the globe and discovered happy hour. Whatever its long-term impact is, Twitter certainly has made a huge difference in the way PR professionals and journalists interact. We asked WCCO reporter Jason DeRusha and WCCO news director Mike Caputa what they think of being pitched stories on Twitter and you can watch part 3 of our WCCO Meet the Journalist series to find out what they said.
And just in case you're in too big a hurry to watch a video that clocks in under three minutes, I'll sum it up -- they're big fans.
The brewing social media turf war: why advertising, marketing, and PR need to learn to play nicely togetherPosted by on September 1, 2009 at 11:23 AM
There's a storm a' comin' - a rumble in backrooms and boardrooms on par with anything the Jets and Sharks might have put together, though not nearly as jaunty. The number one with a bullet rise of social media has created some significant questions as to who should "own" this space, as in this article in The Firm Voice. And while some structure is necessary, the debate here is counterproductive because it asks the wrong question. Rather than asking who should own social media, we should be looking for an answer to "how can we best collaborate to make social media better?"
PR already leads social media and digital communications at 51 percent of companies, according to the latest Digital Readiness Report. And it's true that the nature of social media, especially tools like Twitter, make it a natural fit for public relations pros to lead the way on corporate usage. However, rather than take that as the doorway to exclusive ownership, PR executives need to lead a collaborative effort to leverage these tools in an effective, thoughtful, and responsible way.
Since the public relations function is primarily concerned with reputation and brand identity/awareness - the two primary benefits of social media - it's uniquely suited to take on this role. But to truly leverage social media, like any other tool in the marketing communications toolbox, everyone needs to be able to use it. Locking that tool away in any one discipline's tackle box is a profoundly bad idea. PR should coordinate - making sure the overall plan makes sense and that each discipline and initiative that needs to be is represented in a company's overall social media strategy.
In other words - play nice and share your toys with the other kids.
Twitter finds a seat on press rowPosted by John Scally on August 26, 2009 at 1:52 PM
As the traditional print media continues to shed reporters, a willing army of bloggers and micro-bloggers is eagerly filling the journalistic void. This week, a major landmark for social media sports reporting occurred when NCAA-member, St. John's University, in NYC, announced that it was credentialing Peter Robert Casey as its first Twitter reporter. As a result, Casey will be granted a spot on press row for the upcoming basketball season. You can follow Casey on Twitter @peter_r_casey. He is currently among the Top 10 most-followed basketball-related users on Twitter and most-followed basketball-related individual who is not a professional basketball player, team or coach.
foursquare: Because Twitter Has No Stinking BadgesPosted by on August 4, 2009 at 9:42 AM
Twitter has gotten the vast majority of social media wonk love in the past year, but another application has caught hold with the cool kids recently -- foursquare. By "cool kids," we of course refer to the same 18-34 year old tech-savvy group with a ridiculous amount of disposable income that jumpstarted the Twitter frenzy. And by "caught hold," we of course mean it has done for them what World of Warcraft has for obsessed shut-ins with social anxiety disorder and adult acne.
foursquare's premise is simple - where Twitter asks "What are you doing" and gives you 140 characters to answer, foursquare asks "where are you," using SMS, the web, and an iPhone specific application to allow users to check in at various places. Billed as an "urban mix-tape," the idea is to help people in the 21 metro areas it's available in find new places to go and things to do, similar foursquare's precursor, Dodgeball. Like Twitter, you follow a set of friends and are kept updated on their movements through the service. In practice, here's how it works:
1. You check in (as shown in the screenshot below)
So far, it's nothing you can't do with a little extra typing in Twitter, right? That's where the insidious nature of the service starts - the points and badges. Yes, the same tactics that keep Boy Scouts going back for just one more clove hitch or sheet knot have caught the attention of hipsters throughout the U.S. You don't just use foursquare, you play it. Every time you check in on foursquare, you get points. And you can compare your points against your friends' on a personalized leaderboard, showing who has scored the most that week. Even more addictive, by accomplishing different feats involving checking in, you can score badges such as:
- The Explorer Badge - 25 check ins to unique venues
While this is only a small sample, the potential for marketers is enormous. First, foursquare allows you to identify the "mayor" of a particular venue - the person who checks in there the most. Many venues are already offering special deals for their respective mayors - from free drinks to discounted tickets and other perks. Partnering with foursquare on special badges associated with events, such as movie premieres, block parties, and other elements is certainly within the realm of possibilities as well. Plus, Twitter has proven that humanizing executives, especially at consumer products companies (Zappos being a great example) ties consumers closer to the brand and enhances loyalty - foursquare can provide an even more intimate window into the lives of company figures, creating tighter associations between a brand and a consumer's identity.