Ernan’s Insights on Marketing Best Practices

Monday, January 28, 2013

Disney: Smart & Fun Shareable Content to Build Buzz

The Challenge: Creating content that is conducive to social sharing can be tricky. Here's how Disney used smart and creative magic to crack the code.

See U Disney CampaignDisney is using a mock university website and a promotional video spoof to promote the new Pixar movie "Monsters University." At first glance, both look like the real deal. The Monsters University (MU) website, for example, gives visitors a chance to apply for admission, learn about life on the make-believe campus or even purchase college gear like hoodies and travel mugs. The YouTube video, "Imagine You at MU," looks a lot like your typical college promotional video, as well -- until you realize that most of the students have neon-colored fur!

So, what's the value to marketers? When done properly, shareable content can take off and build remarkable momentum. Case in point: Since Disney released the MU video on Jan. 1, it has received more than 610,000 hits. Additionally, many of the people who viewed the promotional video will likely be among those who head to theaters when Monsters University opens on June 21.

In a column written for Marketing Land, Courtney Seiter shares nine rules for creating quality shareable content. Among Seiter's tips: Focus on content that is useful, funny, encourages sharing, and strikes a positive chord with your audience.

A successful video like "Imagine You at MU" is a marketer's dream.
Even better? The ability to create a steady stream of shareable content can make a definite impact on your bottom line. Jennifer Burnham, director of social and content strategy at Salesforce.com, says there are concrete ways to demonstrate measurable results. "If what you are doing every day on social channels is reaching new audiences that convert to customers, and you can measure that conversion through leads collected from your content shared on social, you are truly connecting social to pipeline and demonstrating ROI."

Key Takeaways for Marketers:

Make Sharing Easy. Create neatly-packaged content. Videos and images work well, but they certainly aren't the only options. Infographics, for example, can be especially successful in the B2B sphere. In fact, Stew Langille, former VP of marketing at Mint, says blog posts that incorporate infographics on Mint's corporate blog generate 30 to 40 times more page views than text-based content.

Ignite the fire. Include links in as many different forms of communication as possible (digital newsletters, email signatures, etc.). Additionally, Allyson Locke, an internet marketer for Union Street Media, says it's important to make sharing easy by adding follow and share buttons. "If people have to hunt for a Facebook or Twitter share button, chances are your content will never be shared," Locke said.

Encourage engagement. Contests, giveaways and other interactive content can be a great way to encourage social sharing. If done well, your fans and followers will want to spread the word and encourage their personal network of followers to participate, as well -- and that's social sharing at its best.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Coke’s 7 Smart Social Media Rules for Success

The Challenge: How has Coke thrived in a social media world, ranking as the world’s most valuable brand and attracting the biggest Facebook fan base? Learn from their 7 Social Media Rules for Success.
Coca-Cola on Social MediaAcross all the Voice of Customer research conducted in 2012 by our firm, Ernan Roman Direct Marketing, there has been one consistent finding: consumers have shifted from being passive recipients of ‘push’ marketing/advertising, to selecting companies which engage, listen to, and act on, input from customers and prospects.
Few have done this better than Coca Cola. Born in the 19th Century, few brands have adapted better to the new media conditions of the 21st. It now ranks as the most valuable brand in the world and the most followed on Facebook.
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In a recent interview with Fortune, Coke SVP of Integrated Marketing, Wendy Clark lists seven rules for success in social media:
1. “The #1 thing we think about is being shareworthy in everything we do,” says Clark. “If we do our job well of developing useful, compelling, interesting and shareworthy content, our fans become our sales force for us.”
2. “Listen. Then respond authentically and humanly… There are more than 15,000 tweets everyday on brand Coca-Cola; any that are questions, we answer. We have to. Consumers expect that we’re listening and responding.” Clark strives to achieve a Flawsome experience: “You have to be awesome with your flaws, the things that aren’t perfect. You want to be human, to speak like a human and act like a human.”
3. “Think big. Start small. Scale fast.” Coke continually innovates, but it runs small tests before launching globally, analyzing results for learnings. “Because we’re built for scale and if we don’t get better at testing, learning and then scaling, we have the potential of scaling the wrong thing perfectly.”
4. “Social is not a silver bullet. But social can make everything else better… We think in terms of ideas and campaigns that are social (share-worthy) at their core and then we think about how we can amplify the ideas and campaigns.” Social works together with other media but does not replace them.
5. “Content is the new currency… The world is not suffering from lack of content. With this in mind, content creation has to be useful, interesting, important, shareworthy.”
6. “We might be shepherds, stewards and guardians of our brands, but we no longer control them.”
7. “Think of your constituents as storytellers… 10-20% of the content and conversation on our brands comes from us. The other 80%+ comes from others.”
Coke’s Results:
1. World’s #1 brand.
2. Coke: 56.8 million fans on Facebook (#1); more than half a million fans talking about content per day.
3. Per Wendy Clark: Coke’s social media fans are twice as likely to be a consumer and 10x as likely to purchase Coke as nonfans.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Duane Reade: Generating Millions of Impressions Through User Generated Content

The Challenge: Since consumers now trust peers more than most brands, Duane Reade, the drugstore chain, utilized their VIP Blogger Team to create user generated content about an important new promotion and launched a comprehensive social strategy. Results include: The Duane Reade Legwear campaign increased Duane Reade brand hosiery sales year over year by close to 20%.

Duane Reade Social MediaMost consumers are wary of most forms of advertising.  A recent study by Nielsen showed that fewer than half of consumers trust most major advertising channels. On the other hand, 92% trust recommendations from people they know, and 70% trust online consumer opinions.

Duane Reade has been effective in leveraging the power of peer groups. Early in 2012, the New York City drugstore chain launched its VIP Blogger program.  Working with its social media agency, Collective Bias, Duane Reade recruited 20 bloggers with thousands of engaged followers and a clear interest in Duane Reade and its suppliers.  In exchange for perks, special deals, and privileged access to suppliers and events, they agreed to write about Duane Reade. The relationship between the bloggers and the brand is completely transparent. They’re free to write whatever they’d like. Calvin Peters, PR/Social Media Manager for Duane Reade, supervises the program: “Controlling consumer-generated media isn’t something I want to do.  Unlike traditional media, social media conversations are a two-way discourse.” The campaign’s effectiveness depends completely on its authenticity.

According to Peters, “User-generated content or consumer-generated media is not only more trust-worthy, it also runs throughout the shopping experience and afterward.  A great example is our Show Us Some Leg campaign.”  The campaign asks customers to upload their original photos wearing Duane Reade brand hosiery via a Facebook page application. VIP Bloggers built awareness for the campaign with their own pictures and stories. The bloggers provide much of the content and traffic for the brand’s presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Google+ – even in stores through QR codes.

The results?

1. The Duane Reade Legwear campaign has increased Duane Reade brand hosiery sales year over year by close to 20%.

2. The Show Us Some Leg campaign has generated 10.9 Million Impressions for DR Legwear so far, which is more than all competitor conversation at Duane Reade combined.

3. The Twitter party around Show Us Some Leg helped deliver almost 2 million impressions while trending #DRLegwear throughout. A promoted trend on Twitter is now a $200K media buy and it indicates a “paid promotion” not an organic trend.

4. In 2012, Duane Reade Twitter followers grew from 2,200 to over 200,000; Facebook fans went from 21,000 to over 58,000 by strategically disseminating relevant and dynamic user-generated content.
Key Takeaways for Marketers
1. Enlist brand enthusiasts to tell their stories.
Consumers trust their peers.  Find real customers with influence, and encourage them to write about, photograph, or video blog their experiences.

2. Pay attention to customers after they buy the product, not just beforehand.
Duane Reade encouraged customers to share their excitement with a picture contest creating more dynamic consumer-generated media.

3. Understand that user-generated content is not something you can control.
Marketers need to monitor online conversations and can initiate some, but trying to dictate what bloggers or customers say, detracts from their authenticity.
4. Amplify user-generated content via your full social media menu.
Marketers can increase the impact of content by linking to it from other social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Starbucks: Social Media Revenue Based on Relationships

The Challenge: How can brands turn their social media fans into revenue? For Starbucks, success through social media begins with a commitment to relationship-building, not sales.
Social Network RevenueMany companies concentrate social media efforts on getting as many fans as possible, but focusing just on the number of fans misses their true value - they are loyal customers who have raised their hands to say they want a relationship.
The real win is achieved by engaging with customers. An Ad Age study found that only 1% of the Facebook fans of major brands engaged with the brand pages in a given month. One-time promotions to increase the number of fans rarely produce long-term benefits. IBM's Yunchun Lee writes, "That isn't to say that CMOs shouldn't strive to build a fan base. The issue is how to do this in a productive way. There are no short cuts. Winning a loyal customer begins with matching a great product or service with a flawless and repeatable customer experience." Social media marketing requires a long-term commitment to enriching the customer experience.
Starbucks is a great example of a company taking the right approach. In an interview with Adweek , Starbuck’s Alexandra Wheeler said that the firm’s social media strategy “isn’t a marketing initiative. It isn’t a PR initiative. It’s cultivating and creating great consumer value and great consumer relationships.” Starbucks treats its fans to a steady stream of special deals and a richer experience than they’d get solely by going to a store, including interesting background stories on coffees and great photography of merchandise. Starbucks also encourages fans to share all of this with their friends, which spreads the good will and increases the likelihood that posts will appear more widely in newsfeeds.
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The results?
2. According to a joint study by comScore and Facebook, Starbuck organically reaches more non-fans than fans with its posts on its Facebook brand page. This means that fans engaging with or forwarding content more than doubles the reach of the fanbase – a process Facebook calls amplification.
3. The same study also shows that exposure to a Starbucks post leads to 38% increase in in-store purchases.
Key Takeaways for Marketers
1. Don’t just add fans, build a genuine connection with them.
Although a large fan-base is valuable, it should be based on a genuine connection with the brand. Make it a long-term strategy to identify why consumers love your brand and use social media to build on this.
2. Make engagement worthwhile.
Deliver content that fans want and will forward to others. Great photography, stories about coffee, exclusive deals – even taking a stand on controversial issues -- are ways Starbucks does this.
3. Use the brand page as a listening tool.
Fans give invaluable information with their likes, comments and user-generated content. Respond to any complaints, or proactively offer solutions as customer needs arise.