Bucky’s Buzz #3 – Excellent Social Media Engagement by Lululemon

Marketing thoughts and insights to help you stay ahead of the game.

Bucky’s Buzz #2 – How to respond to negative social media PR

Marketing thoughts and insights to help you stay ahead of the game.

Bucky’s Buzz #1 – Three ways to build customer rapport using social media

Marketing thoughts and insights to help you stay ahead of the game.

Read and Recommended (Feb 11)

A pre-Olympics edition of Read and Recommended!  Hare are a couple of articles and a blog post that caught my attention over the past few weeks.

Why Visa’s Going Big for the Olympics

(AdAge.com) Longtime Olympic sponsor Visa is broadening its exposure this year, for the first time launching a global campaign tied to the Games.

How Toyota Can Flip the Funnel

(Joseph Jaffe’s blog) It’s tough going these days if you work for Toyota or any of its partners. It’s tougher being a customer especially with the doubt surrounding loose floor mats and sticking accelerator pads and safety concerns in general. And then there’s the perceived broken trust and the lost credibility associated with a brand that seemingly reigned supreme in terms of relationship, bond and loyalty.

In the Age of Friending, Consumers Trust Their Friends Less

(AdAge.com) Whom do we increasingly trust less? Us.

It’s a finding that strikes at the foundation of many a social-media marketing philosophy: Tapping into peer-to-peer networks is a way for marketers to tell authentic, credible stories to consumers whose confidence in corporate CEOs, news outlets, government officials and industry analysts has taken a beating. But according to Edelman’s latest Trust Barometer, the number of people who view their friends and peers as credible sources of information about a company dropped by almost half, from 45% to 25%, since 2008.

Key Considerations for Launching a Social Media Strategy

More and more companies are embracing digital and social media as an opportunity to engage and deepen relationships with customers, augmenting or even replacing traditional marketing strategies. A recent example, rather move forward with a traditional Super Bowl TV spot, Pepsi launched the Pepsi Refresh Project. Through the $20 million crowdsourcing initiative, which will no doubt be a marketing case study, people are enticed to submit and vote on ideas that will have a positive impact on society. The best ideas will receive grants ranging from $5,000 to $250,000 each.

Pepsi is just one many companies endeavoring to be more innovative in an increasingly fragmented media landscape. Such innovation is now a necessity, as brands strive to break through and achieve relevancy in the mindset of modern consumers. However, before going full on in digital and social media, there are some very important questions companies must ask themselves.

1. Is the strategy aligned with the brand and overall marketing plan?


An interactive social media strategy should be created and executed in proper alignment with the overall brand strategy. Keeping in mind that social media is based on two-way dialogue, companies must ensure that the brand identity is upheld and in each and every interaction. Like any medium, desired messaging must be consistent with other components of the marketing plan.  Social media should not be a standalone strategy, where possible companies should consider integrating it with other mediums.  For example, a print ad could drive people to a Facebook fan page, with a proper incentive that consumers find to be of value.

2. How will the social media efforts be measured?


As with any marketing strategy, metrics are important. While it is always valuable to determine ROI on a given campaign, social media measurement should be considered a bit differently. Effective social media engagement strategies rely on word-of-mouth.  As such, companies need to monitor the conversation that is occurring. What is being discussed? What is their share of the conversation, for a particular market segment? How often is their product and/or service being recommended?

The 4Ps have evolved into the 4Cs – content, connections, community and conversations.

Here is an overview of online buzz generated from this year’s Super Bowl commercials, courtesy of Mashable.

3. Are the necessary resources available to execute?


Companies need to consider whether they have the knowledge and skills necessary to properly execute a social media strategy, either internally or with partner agencies. Social media is much, much more than possessing an understanding of Facebook and Twitter – companies that rely on that as a basis for “expertise” are only setting themselves up for failure.  As a side note, in May 2009 a search of Twitter profiles revealed that there are 4,487 self-proclaimed social media experts. As of December 2009, there were 15,740. This represents a three and a half fold increase, within just six months! Yikes! Drawing a parallel, I’ve been skiing most of my life, so I suppose I should be trying out for the World Cup circuit right now, shouldn’t I?

Of course, there are many top social media pros who stand out from the crowd, I am fortunate to know some of them. In building resources to execute social media program, an understanding of both social media and marketing fundamentals is important.

What are your thoughts? What should companies consider when developing a social media strategy?

Ambush Marketing

With the Vancouver Winter Olympics fast approaching, the city is now fully adorned with ads from Olympic sponsors. All of the city’s outdoor advertising, including bill boards and buses, has been purchased by VANOC. In a classic example of ambush marketing, Pepsi capitalized on it’s sponsorship of the World Junior Hockey Championship in Saskatchewan, running a national contest to develop a new cheer for the Canadian junior team. The winning cheer, “Eh, O’Canada-Go!”, is still being heavily promoted – particularly at point-of-purchase. Of course, Coca-Cola is an official Olympic sponsor.

In another example, ScotiaBank recently launched it’s “Show Your Colors” campaign, depicting cheerful Canadians adorned in red. Based on the picture on the right, would you perhaps associate them with Olympic sponsorship?  Are VANOC or RBC particularly pleased with ScotiaBank’s campaign? Nope.  A smart marketing ploy by ScotiaBank? I would have to say yes.

What’s in a Name?

Selecting the right name for a company, product or service is an important element of building a brand. A well thought out, strategic name can poise a brand for success.

Here are some important factors to consider when deciding on a brand name:

Ownership: Is the name unique and distinguishable? Are you able to trade-mark it? Will people be able to connect the name to you? Goodrich and Goodyear are both tire brands. Which one comes to mind first?  I’ll be you didn’t say Goodrich.

Simplicity: As Chip and Dan Heath convey in their book “Made to Stick”, people are more likely to remember names that are simple. Think about the last time you were introduced to someone who had a unique and more complex name. Was it easy for you to remember? Nike. Coke. Google. Apple. Enough said!

Descriptiveness: Does the name reflect a unique benefit about your product, service or company? Will it fit given the category or industry you’re operating in?

Synergy: Does the name complement your overall corporate vision? Does it reflect your company’s values and ideals?

Positioning: Should your name reflect a position in the market that is unique to your company? For example, Costco, PriceSmart Foods and No Name reflect value brands. A luxury brand might choose a name similar to Infinity.

Media representation: Does your name have a graphic possiblity or some sort of representation on all media?

As you can see, there is lots to consider. Do you have any comments that you would like to add? Please feel free to share them!

Crowdsourcing: Vitamin Water Announces New Flavor

Following up on my earlier post about Vitamin Water’s crowdsourcing efforts to create and name a new flavor, a winner has now been selected. The new flavor, voted on by the brand’s Facebook fans, will be called “Connect” – with Facebook’s logo prominently displayed on the packaging.  All told, one million people participated in the initiative. That’s a lot of people who will no doubt be interested in buying the product.  What a great example of crowdsourcing!

Full details about the can be found here.

Read and Recommended (Jan 15)

Here are a couple of articles and a blog post that caught my attention over the past few weeks.

2010: The Year of Mobile

(Peter Kim’s blog) A year from now, we’re going to look back on what happened this year and declare that it was finally the “year of mobile.”

Social Media is the New Super Bowl: Pepsi Refresh and What It Means to Marketers

(The Forrester Blog for Interactive Marketing Professionals) If you track Social Media news, I’m sure you saw the eye-catching headline: “Pepsi’s Big Gamble: Ditching Super Bowl for Social Media”. For the first time in 23 years–23 years!–the brand will not be purchasing a Super Bowl spot.  Instead, it is sinking $20M into a Social Media program called Pepsi Refresh. The Pepsi Refresh site will allow people to vote for worthwhile community projects, and Pepsi expects to sponsor thousands of local efforts via this program.

The #1 Problem Most Brands Have

(Mitch Joel’s blog, Six Pixels of Separation) It’s not about profit. It’s not about customer service. It’s not about inventory. It’s about consistency.

Crowdsourcing: An Overview

Crowdsourcing is a term that many people have heard of over the last couple of years, yet there still seems to be some unfamiliarity with what it is. I thought I would provide an overview, with some contextual examples as they apply to marketing.

Made possible by Web 2.0 technologies and social media, the term was coined by Jeff Howe in a 2006 Wired magazine article. In essence, crowdsourcing is a problem-solving model in which particular issues are communicated to an audience of unknown participants, as an open call for solutions. The audience submits proposed solutions to the problem, and often times is tasked with sorting through the solutions, selecting the best one. For a full overview of crowdsourcing, Wikipedia has an excellent article.

From a marketing standpoint, executed properly, crowdsourcing can be an excellent method of engaging audiences with a brand. By providing a mechanism for feedback and interaction, brands can foster greater loyalty and sense of ownership. The caveat, however, is that for crowdsourcing to work, companies must show that they are willing to embrace and enact on the solutions that audiences propose. Companies can also go further by rewarding those who submit solutions that are implemented.

Several companies have successfully leveraged crowdsourcing as part of their marketing efforts.

Dell, some time after having suffered an online PR disaster, created a forum for participants to contribute and vote on ideas –www.ideastorm.com. The website currently attracts 15,000 users a month. So far, they have implemented over 350 of 13,000 ideas submitted. Here is a promotional video for the website.

Venerable consumer giant Procter and Gamble has also made a foray into crowdsourcing. They host contests on online research and development communities, inviting the public to submit solutions related to product design or new ideas on it’sconnect + develop website. So far, more than 30% of problems posted on InnoCentive, one of the community sites P&G uses, have been solved. The Swiffer, a major revenue generating product, came from P&G’s crowdsourcing initiatives.

Have you implemented or contemplated implementing a crowdsourcing strategy for your brand? Do you have any crowdsourcing examples that you’d like to share?

I would love to hear from you.

Special thanks to Chaordix for providing crowdsourcing case studies. They have more available on their website.