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Most Viral Videos & Brands Of 2010

by ConsumerSphereGuy on September 13th, 2010 in CPG, Engagement, Social Media Strategy, Videos

Many brands are feeling the pressure to keep up with the times! It’s no longer sufficient to offer “one size fits all” content to consumers. So what’s the secret? Social networking seems to be the hot topic, so maybe that’s the ultimate solution. In this is day and age, it is essential for brands to embrace a practical and achievable action plan for their digital future.

Brands must ensure their content is not just clutter on the Web. Well-defined, relevant, fresh knowledge is a tremendous magnet for prospective consumers.  This may sound like preliminary Web 1.0 advice, but surprisingly, many brands still aren’t doing Web 1.0 correctly. So, that’s the first step — go from Content to Knowledge.

The next step is to extend value by creating community connections around the knowledge.  This aspect of the brand digital strategy is centered on people and their ability to connect to the things that are meaningful to them.  Interaction is the key ingredient of any community Web site and group forming can be a powerful exercise.  This is web 2.0 at its finest, not just social networking, but professional knowledge sharing.

Finally, the brand can extend to web 3.0+, relevant and semantic user experiences in an interactive marketplace. Brands can facilitate the knowledge, connections and business of its category. Consumers collaborating online, exchanging ideas, sharing and contributing knowledge.  Effective social strategic planning and measurement will lead to better ongoing results.

In summary…

Step 1: Knowledge (Web 1.0)

Strategy: Convert content to knowledge
* Harvest existing knowledge assets into central repository.
* Use analytics to determine which content is most popular. Analytics is a fantastic tool. With authentic social interaction you can learn about the tastes and demands of your members.
* Keep content easily accessible and fresh/current.
* Keep design/layout intuitive and consistent.

Step 2: Connections (Web 2.0)

Strategy: Turn member data into community of connections.
* Allow for user generated feedback to ensure content (knowledge) is meaningful: ratings, commenting.
* Facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing through integrated professional networking solution with features including member profiles, messaging, groups and resources.
* Connect outside organization walls with Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr).

Step 3: Marketplace (Web 3.0+)

Strategy: Create a “community beacon” through relevant knowledge, connections and products.
* “Brand” all Content.
* Deliver Relevant/Targeted Content.
* Offer Personalized User Experiences.
* Distribute and Connect with Video, Mobile, RealTime.

Mobil, Coupons and Social Media

by ConsumerSphereGuy on October 7th, 2009 in CPG, Engagement, Innovation, Social Media Strategy

Social media is about sharing. Coupons are about shopping. Shopping is an extremely social experience. That is why a major social media topic in may discussions revolve around tips, advice, and sharing purchase information.

Mobile marketing requires that the participant opt in to your offers. Because of this, mobile coupons can deliver the Holy Grail for marketers, targeted prospects and customers that want your information, and revenue generation.

On-demand mobile marketing platforms provide you with low out of pocket costs and speed to market. With little risk, marketers can get their mobile coupon promotions lined up and running. Once you’ve got your strategy and integration into your traditional marketing mapped out, it takes just minutes to setup and run a mobile coupon campaign. With the open rates at 97%, it’s a no brainer to start using mobile coupons for prospecting and retention campaigns.

Major points to consider:

1. Coupon sharing is a major social media activity

2. The SMS marketing message space is relatively spam free and uncluttered resulting in a 97% open rate (83% within the first hour) for messages.

3. Mobile coupons work best when incorporated into your other social marketing programs, include your short code whenever and wherever possible. Also, give your program time to build, and get viral, your first few offers will serve to build your database.

4. Once you’ve got your communities created, consumers or groups react positively to exclusive coupon promotions. For instance, the clothing designer Armani held an exclusive in-store preview for their mobile clientele that had lines out the door and near record receipts.

5. Now is the time to start thinking about how you can incorporate mobile coupons into your marketing objectives. Your competitors are thinking about it or doing it, so don’t be left on the sidelines.

Social Media As A Marketing Channel

by ConsumerSphereGuy on September 25th, 2009 in CPG, Engagement, Social Media Strategy

Social Networks offer marketers a new channel to reach targets. As with any marketing effort, social media should be thought of strategically first before tactics are even considered. When thinking social media consider the following:

1. Meets a business objective: First and foremost, any social marketing campaign or activity should match with a business objective, regardless of the tools being used.

2. Encourage Member Interaction: The most successful social networking campaigns and efforts involve the audience.

3. Quickly scale: Social networks are designed for information to quickly move from member to member, so campaigns that lean on these capabilities perform the best. These attributes known as Velocity, Viralness, and Spread are key.

4. Foster self-expression or communication: Members of social networks like to communicate with each other, or self-express. As a result, campaigns should satisfy these needs with the appropriate tools

5. Offer an satisfying User Experience: This encompasses the overall experience of the campaign, the content and navigation items should be where expected, the language familiar to the audience, and overall look and feel of the site appeasing.

6. Provide longer term utility: Successful campaigns have a longer term value, rather than a short term ‘disposble campaign”. These campaigns add value by being a useful application to the members, rather than just quick dose of entertainment.

7. Enhance Value as Community participants: As more people contribute or interact with the campaign, the value is increased. This can be in the form of content that is created by the community, contests, voting, or games.

8. Supports Community Goals: Every community is different, and each has unique goals (from supporting products, to each other, or to just be entertained) the campaign focus should therefore meet the needs of the community, before the needs of the marketer.

Consumer brand or Brand consumer?

by ConsumerSphereGuy on October 2nd, 2008 in CPG, Social Media Strategy, Videos

Social media is having a profound effect on advertising and marketing and this video says it all!

The End of Command & Control Branding

by ConsumerSphereGuy on September 3rd, 2008 in CPG, Social Media Optimization

For years, classic brand strategy has always been about the creation of a single message that can be used with all of your constituents; investors, employees, senior management and customers about who you are and what value your company provides. Brand managers tend to write it up and paste it on every wall and train every new recruit in it. It’s a classic approach to command and control brand messaging which then gets deployed via all the traditional media and used in every communications channel.

But these days you hear a lot of discussions about the explosion of new media types and formats like RSS feeds, blogs, podcasts, video, communities, micro-blogging and other emerging forms of social media. And it is causing plenty of concern that this disruption of media is eroding the traditional command and control branding that has become such common place for marketers.

Well, I say hallelujah and good riddance!

I believe that there is a very compelling argument that media doesn’t have to be fragmented while at the same time the message need not be command and control anymore. It is only a matter of knowing how to orchestrate it.

One of the first instances of this to hit the marketplace was Ogivly & Mather’s Dove “The Campaign for Real Beauty” (ok yes it is B2C but sometimes we marketers can take inspiration from our B2C brethren) Which won the 2006 Grand EFFIE Award and for good reason, They did a great job finding a powerful attribute of their brand and made a very inviting campaign around it that engaged their key audiences into a conversation. Evidence this by the nearly 3000 blog entries about it, the 2,000,000 viewers of their video on YouTube and you will see that they got the blogosphere humming about an ad campaign. Now I am not professing you drop everything and just do some clever video with your ad campaign, I do applaud the use of video to make their campaign more viral. What can we learn from this as technology marketers? Take a look at my next example.

Now compare this to the “Greg the Architect” campaign from TIBCO. Here is a B2B example that took a very different approach to making their technology funny, and engaging. What they have done is told the TIBCO story through a series of episodic vignettes and allows the viral component to kick in. Viewers are bound to have an opinion on these videos and so is the blogosphere. Also they have given the audience something to react to for better or worse rather than say “we do SOA better than the next guy”. Also don’t forget about the reaction internally to these videos and how that helps give everyone in the organization a conversation starter for the next meeting.

So why is this good news for technology companies? Because for the first time ever, technology companies specifically in B2B can lead the way using technology tools to get their message out to the masses for very little money. Just one tactic like using a video on YouTube can reach 325,000 viewers and engage them with your brand but more importantly with a message that they have sought out. But how to you take something so tactical like a video and make it part of an overall approach to your brand?

Here is the secret.

First, the brand manager needs to architect a single theme that can be used across all media traditional or otherwise. Notice here I didn’t say command and control at all – just to create a theme that is broad enough to use across every aspect of your media plan and “invite” customers and prospects to “engage” with it.

Next, you need to give your customers and prospects the digital tools to comment, to interact, and to add to the conversation. Then you add in more traditional elements of a media plan that all point to the online conversation and you will end up supercharging your media plan!

The bottom line for technology firms is your customers and prospects are perhaps the most savvy engaged technology users of any buyer in any industry. You can’t expect to reach them with traditional media only any more, you need to deliver your message in a way that is targeted to their exact interests. So why not get out there where they talking about your product or service, and give them a conversation starter along with the permission to start a dialog with your brand!

Benefits of Social Media for CPG

by ConsumerSphereGuy on July 11th, 2008 in CPG, Social Media Strategy

The most critical benefits of Social Media to CPG brands include:

Accelerating Brand Advocacy – Compliments can come in many forms. It could be about brand performance, quality or superiority. It could be a customer raving about the experience they just had with a product or with customer service. Potential consumers and customers are looking for reassurance on a product decision love to see what others think of your brand. ConsumerSphere helps brands to identify and nurture brand advocates and enable them to share positive buzz/testimonials about consumer brands and products.

Greater Insight – Social media offer marketers real-time, cost effective, and unique insights that traditional qualitative focus groups don’t necessarily provide.  Social media provides a new laboratory to listen and dissect consumer opinions. Our solution process is specially designed to listen to and understand what consumers are saying about your brands. Our “Extract” process digs deep to uncover the “Gold” in brand discussions and identify the key implications and opportunities for your brands.

“What’s Hot!” – Topics will often pop up online that draw huge crowds. There is a lot to be learned in the discussions especially when they have the potential to affect your brand. Following the swarms can give you a better understanding of current sentiment and thinking towards a certain topic and who has opinions. It also may point out a topic that you will need to monitor going forward. Tracking a topic’s viral nature and how long it lives can give you an idea of its importance. Our clients don’t miss the action because our 24/7 brand alert capability provides our clients with the reassurance of “always on” monitoring.

Targeting Influencers – Influencers within a space can carry a lot of weight. They gain their power either from conversation frequency, the number of people who link to their posts on a topic, the number of people commenting and how engaged visitors are to their posts. The swarm forms around an influencer helps spread brand opinion and therefore carries significantly more weight. Knowing who these influencers are, and their opinions of your brands helps you determine who to reach out to for help as brand advocates or to understand why they currently hold a negative view. The unique influencer detection capability integrated into our tracking suite gives marketers the ability to know their brands “who” and “where” of social media influence.

Reputation Management – Discussions happening in social media can serve as an early warning system before an issue goes main-stream. By using advanced tools, you can observe new words popping more frequently about your brands. If you were an airline, as an example, the sudden appearance of the word “cancellations” along with the words “bad” and “customer service” would immediate trigger a need to drill into the posts driving them. Tracking these “crisis” words over time on an ongoing basis will help gauge the effectiveness of any outreach campaigns to address the underlying issues. Our 24/7 brand alert capability is constantly monitoring for any developing issues.

Measuring Success – There has been a lot of buzz lately on how to successfully measure online marketing and outreach campaigns. Much of the focus has centered on the topic of engagement. While a universal engagement metric has yet to be agreed upon, there are still a number of effective ways to measure engagement and ROI in general. More specifically, by tracking the mentions of a brand in user-generated content before, during and after a campaign and isolating positive words associated with a particular brand, you can gauge the number of times they were used over a period of time and thereby gauge consumer reaction to any given brand initiative (ie: promotions, advertising, online efforts). We work closely with each client upfront to establish the optimal metrics to fit their specific measurement needs.

360° Social Impact– With so many social media channels available, conversations often become splintered. A discussion can start within one channel and quick leap into another making it difficult to follow. Comprehensive and integrated monitoring can help bridge the thread across all types of social media. These various related inter-channel discussions can then presented as a cohesive connected conversation. Our 360° suite of tracking tools was created to effectively track and integrate them into an intuitive, and easy to understand social media brand assessment.

Ultimately, a brand represents the sum of all conversations (consumer and customer) surrounding the brand. We can assess a brand’s overall user sentiment, determine which words are commonly associated with it, understand which competitors rank closest in buzz or mentions, uncover advocates, and uncover the channels that contain the most discussion. We can thereby pinpoint opportunities for reaching and influencing the most valuable and engaged audiences. Identifying the strategic implications of our social media analysis is a paramount objective of all ConsumerSphere client engagements.