When it comes to communications planning, brands look at social from an executional point of view, with a focus on building and maintaining a presence on specific channels and platforms. But they’re missing a greater opportunity; to put social thinking at the heart of their purpose and ambition as a business.
The value and potential of social thinking has been hampered by a focus on how we communicate, rather than why we deserve to be in the conversation in the first place.
Humans enjoy and seek opportunities to be surrounded by friends and share personal experiences. The popularity of social networking sites, and the explosive rate at which they’ve been adopted, clearly demonstrate this fundamental human desire. Brands that can tap into this at a deep business level, creating a unique and unassailable bond, can derive long term business benefits. But to make this happen, you have to start with the ‘why’ and then get to the ‘how’.
Ensure Social Thinking Is At The Core Of Your Purpose And Ambition
Much has been written about the value of purpose-driven leadership–business experts say it is the route to exceptional performance, psychologists describe it as the path to greater well-being. Brands also need to understand the role that social thinking can play in defining and driving them.
The key is to understand the greater role which people now play in building and maintaining successful businesses. Defining company purpose and ambition creates a focus based on why you do things, not what you do. Define this and then find ways to for people to take part. Seeing your brand as part of a wider ecosystem creates a stronger, more motivating context for people to engage with you and to support and advocate what you do.
For example, Coca-Cola’s mission is to “inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions”. It has been exemplified in campaigns such as #OpenUp, which ran in the Middle East during Ramadan to encourage people to open up to each other and to different points of view, and Happy ID, which encouraged Peruvians to transform the mood of the nation.
Define Your Values And Beliefs As An Organisation
Many organisations have a dusty document somewhere defining what their values and beliefs are, but very few have made these meaningful and core to how they actually behave. Until this happens, values and beliefs remain internal, and consumers will have no basis for a relationship.
A great example of an organisation that has understood and externalised its core values and beliefs is Irish bookmaker Paddy Power. Its “mischievous irreverence” is at the heart of everything it does, from communications to recruiting. Its first interview question is “how weird are you?”
Find Ways To Create A Positive Social Value Exchange
In the social media age, sharing and liking content is a key means by which we define and explore our identity, our sense of belonging and our role in society.
But to put social thinking at the centre of marketing doesn’t mean just creating content and having a presence on Facebook or Twitter; it means developing ideas which involve and add to the interpersonal relationships that people care about, in a way that also adds brand value. This isn’t just limited to spending money; brands can harness assets such as time, effort, ideas, content, influence and distribution among others.
The way to do this is to change the way in which you understand your audience. Look for social insights; human truths based on people’s interpersonal rather than just individual motivations. Then use this understanding to generate social ideas that have the power to drive social behaviour.
For example, feminine hygiene brands tend to take a functional, product-benefit-based approach. Always turned this on its head with its #LikeAGirl campaign. It championed continued pride in being a girl at the critical time of puberty, when girls are at their most vulnerable to social pressure. The result is a hugely powerful brand campaign, which has social thinking at the heart of it and creates a new type of value exchange.
SPC Ardmona’s #SPCSunday used the social insight that people feel strongly about supporting national heritage and are willing to create communities to save a brand from extinction. Both campaigns were successful because they gave people something to care about and the means to share it.
Hold Social To A Higher Standard
When it comes to social, even business leaders can switch off their business brain. It is important to measure the impact this activity is having on your business.
Social marketing should be held to the same standard as any other marketing channel, particularly as investment in digital marketing continues to grow. Start with a clear expression of business goals, a clear definition of marketing objectives and a robust measurement framework. Measurement should go beyond social media analytics and include areas such as brand equity measurement, web analytics and attribution modelling to closed-loop ROI and media mix modelling.
When budgets can’t accommodate deeper measurement, brands can still focus on a clear expression of goals, objectives and targets and use more readily available metrics.
You don’t necessarily need to change the world, but you should think of how your brand can shake up the status quo. Competitive advantage stems from doing something new – and social is a great way to amplify this. Global brands like Lego champion a disruptive approach to digital and social marketing, with social head Lars Silberbauer stating their strategy is to “be relevant, be brave and do things that others haven’t”. Intermarché demonstrated this attitude with ‘Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables’ highlighting the absurdity of throwing away produce because it looked ugly. The risk resulted in a 24% increase in in-store traffic and a growth in sales of 10%. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be the best decision you’ll ever make.
Mobbie Nazir is chief strategy officer at We Are Social, Mobbie oversees social media strategies for clients such as Google, HSBC, Mondelēz and Tesco. She’d like to see more brands place ‘social thinking’ at the heart of their marketing strategies, because that’s the only way to build better, deeper relationships – and drive real business value.
The name says it all. Facebook has launched a “Lite” version of its social networking service, targeting users in emerging markets where user growth is expected to expand at a rapid pace. According to reports, India is set to be the largest Facebook user base in the world by 2017, so this is hardly a surprising move from Facebook, really.
In sum, Facebook Lite is a stripped-down version of the regular app while retaining all the original functions of the service. It is less than 500 KB in size, and works well on 2G, 3G and 4G networks.
Local communication apps, text are preferred modes of mobile communication in Japan, South Korea
That’s according to a report by Ericsson Consumer Lab, which surveyed 100,000 individuals in Japan, South Korea, India, UK and the US. The findings reveal some interesting insights. For instance in India, users spend nearly half of their time on smartphones on communication apps. In markets like Japan and South Korea, local communication apps are more popularly used as compared to those surveyed in the UK and US markets. Japanese and South Koreans also prefer text over voice calls. According to Ericsson, 1 in 4 Japanese smartphone users do not make traditional voice calls anymore.
Taiwanese chat messaging app Pal+ secure $1.3m in funds
Taiwan chat messaging app, Pal+ has received all of $1.3 million in fresh funds to expand its growing venture. The funds came from Asiasoft, a listed game publisher in Thailand.
Pal+ is a forum-based app which invites individuals with common interests to participate in online discussions. Users get to share and discuss a wide range of topics from entertainment to animation and games, and share them with friends instantly.
This week, many of the We Are Social team have been enjoying the sunshine, the parties and of course, the amazing creative work on display at Cannes Lions.
And the week got even better on Tuesday, when we were delighted to hear that our work joined the impressive roster of agencies and brands highlighted as the world’s best at the festival, with four shortlisted entries in the Cyber categories from our London and Parisoffices.
Last night we received even more fantastic news.
It’s a simple idea. It allows Hello Bank!’s customers and non-customers alike to fund music projects, helping support the future of the music they love.
It’s a perfect example of the work that has been gaining traction in Cannes – ideas that make a difference, that make the world just a little bit better. It’s also a great example of social thinking in practice, recognising that those who stream music will be passionate about helping sustain its future.
As our blog post about the campaign explains, to get involved, people can visit the Hello Play! platform and connect to their usual streaming service. Then, by listening to songs, users collect a virtual currency called Hello Coins, which they can redistribute to a choice of music projects. Hello Bank! then transforms the Hello Coins into real money to fund these projects.
It’s already created a lot of brand love for Hello Bank! and has been incredibly successful in terms of results, too, with 35 music projects fully funded so far, and even more to come.
We’re confident that these Lions will be the first of many for We Are Social.
It’s been a big year for We Are Social, and we haven’t even hit the halfway point yet. So far, we’ve picked up multiple awards both for our work and for our overall performance as an agency, we’ve started working with a number of great new brands and we’ve continued to grow and expand our global footprint with recent office openings in San Francisco and Shanghai.
Today we received even more fantastic news, with four shortlisted entries in the Cyber categories at Cannes Lions, the world’s biggest creative communications festival, with work from both our London and Paris offices.
Hello Play for BNP Paribas, a unique service that revolves around allowing users to fund music projects while listening to the music they love, is shortlisted twice, for both Engagement Platform and Financial Services.
The campaign has already picked up some great recognition, including Gold in the Social Media category at the Trophées du Marketing and was winner in the Innovative Digital Service category at Grand Prix Stratégies du Digital. And it’s still ongoing, with more than 35 musical projects fully funded so far – and more to come!
We’re also in contention for our multi-award winning work with adidas at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which picked up Gold in Best Use of Social Media and the overall Grand Prix in the Sports Marketing category in the Cristal Festival late last year.
With #allin or nothing, shortlisted in Response/Real time, adidas came at the tournament social-first and stole the show, significantly out-performing other sponsors and competitors to become the most talked about brand at the World Cup.
Lastly, @brazuca, adidas and We Are Social’s campaign to bring the 2014 World Cup ball to life on Twitter, has been shortlisted for Community Building/Management. @brazuca has already picked up a Silver in Best Digital-Led Campaign at the prestigiousCreative Circle Awards and was the winner in the Sports category at the International Shorty Awards; it’s a world-class campaign, transforming perceptions of adidas’s hero World Cup product.
The recognition of our work, alongside the a number of other amazing, socially-led campaigns at Cannes this year just shows the growing importance of putting social thinking at the heart of brands’ marketing strategies. We’re looking forward to helping more of our clients produce first-class, industry defining work like this in the future.
I’m so excited to be in Cannes, judging the Cyber category this week. Ask anyone in adland, this is one of the most exciting festivals on Earth. And winning a Lion is one of Life’s Greatest Achievements.
This clever interactive map skews country sizes and colours based on Lions success over the last decade – so the bigger and redder the country, the more successful it has been. It’s fascinating to see how the creative landscape has changed. And it’s also revealing to see that different countries consistently own different categories.
You can explore any year and drill down into the various categories. We’ll let you have fun fiddling and drawing your own conclusions. But here are some patterns I’ve noticed:
Cyber is consistently dominated by US, Europe and Japan, while film is a category the UK rules, alongside the US.
Direct seems to swing from country to country each year – no single country dominating
Outdoor is ruled by Brazil, with Europe also performing consistently. But this category is particularly notable for the frequent underperformance of the US. Does no one go outside in the US?
PR – Europe and the US have been doing well in this relatively new category.
As for Radio – South Africa, you are mightily bulbous. Congrats.
The rest of this week, I’ll be sifting through hundreds of entries from around the world. I can’t wait to find the campaigns that’ll put countries on the map this year.
For a more detailed look at the global creative landscape, visit We Are Social’s Cannesogram here.