A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the 2012 Canadian Marketing Association Summit. The annual two day event was packed full of insights and information from true visionaries, with content focussed on this year’s theme of “connections” – how connections with consumers, with customers and with each other are made, maintained, and measured.
I thought I would share a brief recap of the sessions I attended, inspired by a similar post Michael Zipursky from FreshGigs.ca wrote summarizing the recent VISION marketing conference hosted by the British Columbia Chapter of the American Marketing Association.
Key learnings from the sessions on the first day of the conference are below. Click here to read a review of the sessions for day #2.
Sir Ken Robinson
“Leading a Culture of Innovation”
Sir Ken Robinson, PhD, is an internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation. He is also one of the world’s leading speakers with a profound impact on audiences everywhere. Sir Ken Robinson spoke about leading a culture of innovation – his talk was both humorous and inspiring.
Some key points from Sir Ken’s talk:
“The Loyalty Leap: Turning Customer Information into Customer Loyalty”
Bryan Pearson, President and CEO of LoyaltyOne, is an internationally recognized expert and author in the fields of enterprise loyalty and coalition marketing with more than two decades experience developing meaningful customer relationships for some of the world’s leading companies. He is also the author of The Loyalty Leap – an insightful book that I just finished reading.
Some key points from Bryan’s talk:
“What’s Next for Media?”
David Shing is the Digital Prophet for AOL and recently was the head of Media and Marketing for AOL Europe before relocating to New York in 2011. He literally gave the most fast-paced, high tempo presentation I’ve ever seen – sharing insights on the digital revolution, trends he sees unfolding, and how to keep up with the rapidly changing landscape.
Some key points from David’s talk:
“ZMOT – Winning the Zero Moment of Truth”
Jim Lecinski is the Vice President, U.S. Sales for Google, and he leads Google’s advertising business nationally. His focus is helping major marketers and media agency partners in the Consumer Packaged Goods, Pharmacy & Healthcare, Food/Beverage/Restaurant, Branded Apparel & Durables and Media & Entertainment industries adapt to the new digital marketing realities.
Some key points from Jim’s talk:
Brent Choi and Andrew Simon
“Maximizing Your ROC – Return on Creativity. How to make innovate thinking work harder for your company.”
Brent Choi, Chief Creative Director at Cundari Group, and Andrew Simon, Partner and Chief Creative Officer at Blammo Worldwide, discussed creativity and shared some examples of innovative companies that foster a creative workplace culture.
Some key points from their talk:
“The Age of Intelligence: From Insight to Action by Harnessing the Voice of the Customer”
Adam Froman, Founder and CEO of Delvinia, believes that digital platforms can be used to create meaningful, human connections between companies and their customers. His talk focussed on how companies can capture attitudes and behaviours of their customers to develop customer-driven strategies and improve customer experiences.
Some key points from Adam’s talk:
Some thoughts on how companies are misplacing their focus when it comes to building customer loyalty.
Perhaps it’s fitting that I’m writing this on Thanksgiving, a great time to pause, reflect, and give thanks to those who have had a significant impact on my life. Last Wednesday the world lost a true visionary in Steve Jobs. Much has been written, and much has been said, about the overwhelming impact and contribution that Jobs has made; some people have alluded to Jobs as being the Einstein of our generation, and I have a hard time disagreeing with that comparison.
Here are five personal things that I would like to thank Steve for:
Of course, it’s also fitting that I’m writing this using my MacBrook Pro. Steve, you will be missed.
Wow, do those words ever ring true. Thanks to a loyal, ardent fan base, and the power of social media, Vancouver Canucks fandom has risen to an entirely new level. Canucks fans have turned to social media to share their experiences and emotions, expressing themselves through compelling content ranging from short tweets to engaging videos. At the same time, the organization itself has really excelled at leveraging social media to encourage fan participation and build loyalty – and there is little doubt that the strength of the Vancouver Canucks brand has been significantly augmented as a result.
Let’s first look at fan participation in creating and sharing content. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the blogosphere have all been significant conduits for the spread of entertaining and engaging videos, images, and opinions on the Canucks.
Numerous fun, high quality videos have been created – many by relative amateurs. This one, a parody of Rebecca Black’s viral hit “Friday”, was posted on YouTube at the beginning of April and has already garnered over 320,000 views.
People have also developed Canuck-themed avatars, posting and sharing on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.
The blogosphere is also abuzz with postings related to the Canucks. Enter the term “Canucks” in Google Blog Search, and over one million results are returned. No, not all are related to the team – but given limited alternative applications of the word “Canucks”, it’s a fairly good indicator of the conversations that are happening.
On top of all this, Twitter and Facebook truly enhance the experience of watching a Canucks game, by enabling people to partake in banter as the game unfolds – no matter where they are watching from.
Paralleling the fan generated content, the Canucks organization has really done a great job in engaging with fans through social media.
For starters, the Canucks have built a strong presence on Facebook, with over 445,000 fans, and Twitter, with over 113,000 followers. According to sportsfangraph.com, the Canucks rank 7th amongst NHL teams with respect to total following – and second amongst Canadian teams, trailing only the Montreal Canadiens. They also have a strong degree of activity in forums hosted on canucks.com.
Of course, numbers only tell part of the story. The Canucks have used their website and social media platforms to share compelling content including, for example, polished highlight videos, player interviews, and behind the scene glimpses of team activities. They also run fun, compelling contests that fans enjoy.
One neat social initiative the Canucks have launched for the playoffs is This is What We Live For – a website through which Canucks fans can help create a mosaic. Upon submitting a personal photo for the mosaic, people are asked to mention why they are a Canucks fan, and are then prompted to share the mosaic through Twitter or Facebook.
I find the mosaic itself to be quite fitting. Yes, fellow Canucks fans, We Are All Canucks.
More and more brands are truly embracing social media as an important component of their overall marketing and communications strategy. That’s the good news. However, unfortunately too many companies are focusing on the wrong metrics when it comes to gauging the success and business value of social media initiatives. Sure, it’s great to have hundred of fans on Facebook and followers on Twitter. But where’s the benefit if fans and followers aren’t engaged with the brand?
Companies must do what they can to inspire engagement and action from their fans – focusing on fan acquisition is simply not sufficient. One hundred engaged fans who can relate to a brand and share it’s core values are more valuable than one thousand passive fans. They’re more likely act in favor of a brand – speaking not only with their wallets, but also through recommendations to friends and family members.
Consumers are looking for companies to be more human-centric, and to show interest in the communities they already participate in. Companies that are currently doing a great job of this include Starbucks, Zappos, Converse and Lululemon. They realize that Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms are not broadcast mechanisms. Instead, they leverage available tools to build genuine relationships with their fans.
How are the relationships built? By providing a fair exchange of value. Companies must offer something meaningful to fans and followers, perhaps product, service or cause related, that generates goodwill and entices the community to spread word-of-mouth.
It’s not about numbers, it’s about relationships. Genuine relationships that will enable a community to grow and prosper.
Following up on my recent post on community management best practices, I thought I would share some additional tips and advice – based on my own personal experiences.
Building an online community for your company and brand isn’t rocket science. That being said, there are some simple steps you can take that will facilitate growth and foster engagement with your burgeoning band of advocates (otherwise known as community members).
The five key points from my previous post:
Five more I’d like to add:
1. Give new members a warm welcome
It’s important to make new people feel welcome in your community, to set the stage for engagement – particularly when a community is young and growing. If possible, take the time to send a personalized welcome message to new members. Imagine how a new member will feel, receiving a message from a community host or moderator that is uniquely customized and tailored.
If you see a new member contributing to the first time, give that person some recognition. Thank them for their contribution, and try to elicit further discussion or comments if possible – perhaps that member has more to say. Showing a little gratitude will go a long way!
2. Study your community
Yes, study your community! Do your homework! Learn the make-up of your of your community – read member profiles and gain a better sense of just who has joined, and the different types of interests your members have. The more knowledge you have, the better you’ll be able to interact and converse with your community.
3. Monitor community activity and health
Be sure to stay tuned in to your community, from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective. Track key data that is most relevant, whether related to new member joins, commenting activity, voting activity or another metric that you value, and develop reports as deemed appropriate. Keep an eye out for trends! If your community had higher or lower levels of participation that expected during a specific period, dig in and find out why.
4. Communicate with your members
It’s important to keep members appraised of activity in the community. A regular email, if you’re hosting the community on an internal platform, can go a long way. If you’re using Facebook, Twitter or another network, make use of status updates. Just don’t overdo it, however – you’ll need to find the communication mix that is right for your brand.
5. Keep members engaged
Provide community members with incentives for contributing. At Genius Crowds, a product innovation community I used to moderate, we provided community member with gift cards related to different types of community activity – such as posting product ideas, commenting and voting. There’s plenty more you can do. For example, if a new hot topic is posted in the community, send a personal email to members who might be interested, to let them know (this is where your homework on knowing member interests will come in handy!).
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a huge fan of TV commercials, I tend to ignore them. I just don’t feel that most advertisers are creative enough in their messaging, nor are they infusing enough value – through entertainment or relative, informative engagement – that is worthy of attention.
Attention companies: I care about how you give back to the community. I care about which charities and initiatives you support. I care about what your employees do, and how their efforts set you apart. Sometimes, I care about all of this more than I care about the services you offer and the products you sell. I really like it when companies come across as being … human.
Well done, Telus.
Now, have you considered leveraging social media to build further awareness of your “Telus cares” efforts, as well as solicit input on other charitable initiatives you should consider? I’m sure you have. Perhaps you could create a micro-site or a Facebook Fan Page, through which you could provide regular updates of your community involvement and receive feedback on what you’re doing? How about opening the door to suggestions on programs worthy of your support, and letting people vote on which ones they like the most? You could also make it easy for people to share news of what you’re doing.
You’ll come across as being more human. And in today’s world, that’s a good thing.
I would like to share an amazing example of customer service, and what can be accomplished when a business truly puts a customer – and not a brand, product or service – upfront and central in its core focus. This is also a great example of why businesses need to be listening to and participating amongst the conversations that are happening about them in social media.
Last month, Dutch airline KLM announced on Twitter that they would be restarting their Amsterdam to Miami route on March 27th. Following the announcement, a Dutch DJ and a filmmaker replied, both indicating that the flight was too late for a DJ festival that was starting in Miami a week earlier. They also mentioned that they could easily gather enough people for a full flight, should KLM wish to move up the launch date so they could attend the festival.
It’s safe to say that most airlines would likely have ignored this request – at most, the DJ and filmmaker would have received a polite reply on Twitter.
What did KLM do? They took the DJ and filmmaker up on their challenge! If the DJ and filmmaker could get enough people to book for the flight, KLM would restart the route to Miami a week earlier. Within five hours, 150 requests for the flight were collected.
On Twitter, KLM announced that they would be re-starting their Amsterdam to Miami route on March 27. A Dutch DJ and filmmaker then replied, mentioning that the flight was too late for a DJ festival in Miami starting a week earlier. They indicated to KLM that they could easily gather enough people for a full flight. KLM took up their challenge – and within five hours, the DJ and film maker collected 150 subscriptions for the flight.
Here is a video that tells the tale:
I really hope more companies follow KLM’s lead, truly focusing on and engaging with customers. You can bet that KLM won over a number of new customers and increased the loyalty of existing customers by changing the date. Sure, there’s no doubt it cost KLM a fair bit of money to make the change – but imagine what the longer term returns will be over the course of the life-cycles of customers who took the flight?
Clearly, social CRM has become part of KLM’s DNA. Rather than just focusing on traditional advertising, they leveraged social media to engage with their customers – and they made a difference, providing true value. Bravo! Way to go!