Here are all of the posts tagged ‘brands’.
Social media plays a spectrum of roles in daily life. But how is it different from sending an email, or dialing a phone? You could say that they all started by providing a common function: by allowing convenient and accessible communication. As platforms like Facebook gained momentum, however, the social comms component evolved to provide another value. What was formerly used as an alternative for face-to-face, just like emails or phone calls–evolved to become a canvas for establishing, reinforcing and redefining concepts of self-identity. Even amongst unfamiliar faces, it’s important that we represent some parts of who we are. Online, social media has evolved to require just that. No longer are these platforms solely about speaking with people you know, or perhaps even want to know on a personal level.
Social media has become a platform for the performance of personal identity–a value that is inscribed in its primary value as a means for conversation.
As such, it’s no surprise that TescoMobile’s recent Twitter conversation went viral. It’s crucial to recognise that this conversation started out as one that could have easily been as mundane and insignificant as overhearing a customer service call over the phone.
This conversation went viral precisely because that’s not what happened at all. While the customer’s (somewhat confusing) gripes were addressed early on, that only served as a springboard for TescoMobile to launch into a highly engaging conversation with the dissatisfied customer’s ‘whistle blower’, Riccardo Esposito.
Instead of merely thanking Esposito for ‘bringing this to our attention’ (yawn), TescoMobile framed their appreciation in the context of playful banter. The quirky and captivating tone of voice keeps Esposito engaged, and before long, multiple brands are involved in this strangely spectacular performance of delightful creativity and imagination.
While the conversation effectively steered the topic away from the initial complaint, the brand gained most from its ability to balance humour and humility with effortless finesse.
In the end, this humorous, tongue-in-cheek narrative was never about managing customer service, or even about improving upon common marketing metrics like response time, conversions or engagement rates.
This conversation is ultimately about the magic of social media. It exemplifies how the measurable qualities of clicks and impressions are always underwritten by an ineffable chemistry, the odd science that can make or break the relationship between an audience and a brand.
What this conversation suggests, is ultimately a case for the importance of identity in conversation. When brand messaging sounds more like a friendly chat; when tone of voice hints at totems of personal identity; when brands aren’t afraid to wear their hearts, hopes and humanity on their sleeves–perhaps that’s when a passive fan becomes a loyal friend.
If you need proof, take a look at Twitter reactions to TescoMobile below:
When people buy brands, they’re usually paying for something more than a core product or service.
For example, they don’t really pay for the liquid inside a shampoo bottle; they pay for beautiful hair, and for the confidence which that brings.
Ultimately, people pay for benefits; products and services are simply a means to an end.
The most successful brands understand that broader, benefit-led marketing allows them to extend their impact beyond core products and services to deliver ‘augmented’ offerings that create far greater value to both them and their audiences.
This approach applies to brands across almost all categories:
- Nike sees large-scale participative events like its We Run races as core revenue streams in their own right, not just activities designed to increase sales of the brand’s apparel.
- Apple’s App Stores and iTunes Store move the brand from a manufacturer to a lifestyle brand whose impact extends well beyond the technology sector.
- Madonna purportedly earns more money from concert ticket and merchandise sales than she does from album sales.
- Red Bull has gone so far as to reposition itself as a ‘media and experiences company’, using its ‘extreme stimulation’ proposition to extend the brand’s offering well beyond its heritage of energy drinks.
- American Express doesn’t just offer payment services to its merchants; it uses activities like its OPEN forum and Small Business Saturday initiatives to become an overall ‘partner in success’.
It’s clear to see why this approach works: augmented experiences offer people something more than a mere means to an end, and as a result, they succeed in delivering a differentiated value proposition that people are willing to pay more for.
Moreover, these experiences are inherently more ‘social’ than simple products and services too – it’s easier for people to share an experience than it is for them to share most products.
Critically, there are also more compelling reasons for people to talk about great experiences than there are for them to recommend specific products.
As a result, augmented experiences can inspire a social media impact that extends well beyond the reach of customer reviews or the brand’s own social media posts.
So, when it comes to your brand’s social media, don’t just think about how you’ll drive greater engagement with your own social media posts; use augmented experiences to inspire organic audience conversations, and become a brand that’s always worth talking about.
Read more in the Social Brands series by clicking here.
The nature of that value exchange will vary between brands and audiences and over time, but in order for marketers to deliver maximum value to their brands, it holds that they need to understand what value looks like for their audiences.
This isn’t just a case of asking people what they want, though; as Steve Jobs astutely pointed out,
“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” (from this great collection of Jobs quotes)
If you want to deliver real value to people, you need to understand them as people: their behaviour, their attitudes and beliefs, their motivations… In short, you need to understand their lives.
Conventional marketing research is great at finding specific answers to specific questions, but the real magic for marketers lies in modern-day anthropology – not the 19th Century ‘home-stay in Borneo’ variety, but a fresh, always-on digital approach to meaningful people-watching.
Enter Social Media Listening
Every day, hundreds of millions of people all over the world share valuable insights and information about themselves via publicly accessible social media.
Not all of these posts mention brands, but that doesn’t mean they’re not of value to marketers.
Indeed, almost all public posts can help inquisitive marketers to build a rich understanding of their audiences that they couldn’t gather elsewhere.
Even the much-bemoaned practice of posting “photos of my lunch” can reveal powerful insights into an audiences’ worldview: do they opt for expensive restaurants? Do they look for healthy alternatives? Do they mention brand names or generic topics?
When we explore people’s social media activities with an open mind, we’re almost certain to find something of value.
However, almost all marketers miss this value, because they’re too busy ‘listening’ for explicit mentions of brand names or campaign hashtags.
As a result, we’re leaving far too many rich insights uncovered in the feed.
Big Data vs Big Insights
One of the reasons we’re missing this value is that marketers are often too egocentric when it comes to their brands.
This isn’t a judgment on marketers as people, mind – more often than not, this selfish focus is driven by a the demands of the quarterly sales cycle, and the quick wins that are invariably the easiest ways to achieve short-term targets often come at the cost of seeing (or seizing) bigger, longer-term opportunities.
This focus on ‘delivering the numbers’ means marketers spend too much time looking for ways to insert themselves into conversation.
Put simply, we spend too much time looking for opportunities to interrupt people.
But it doesn’t need to be that way.
Indeed, this interruptive approach – even though it’s become ‘industry standard’ – contravenes one of the most important rules of effective communication: when you’re talking with someone, actively listen to what they’re saying, and don’t simply wait for your turn to speak.
Sadly, too many brands don’t even wait for their turn to speak though; they’ve become used to interrupting audiences whenever they have sufficient budget.
Even amongst those brands that do listen, most only do so on an ad-hoc basis, usually by using traditional market research techniques to ask a series of brand-oriented questions.
This approach does offer a certain value, of course, but the danger is that marketers only pay attention to a summary of aggregated findings, and miss out on the opportunity to dig deeper into the motivations and contexts behind people’s statements and behaviour.
In order to become more successful, marketers need to move beyond this ‘brand egocentrism’, and start to think of their brand’s activities in the broader context of people’s whole lives.
We need to spend more time actively getting to know our audiences, and being personally involved in the listening process.
Social Listening vs Social Monitoring
Fortunately, rich insights are readily available to marketers with the willingness to listen.
By paying attention to the statements and conversations that people share in public social media, we can gain a far deeper understanding of what people actually want, need and desire.
We don’t need to collect everything in one go, either; by spending just 5 minutes a day actively listening to the conversations of a subset of your audience, you’ll quickly gain an affinity for the things they care about.
More importantly, these insights can add value well beyond your social media activities too; most people (i.e. non-marketers) use social media to talk about a wide variety of their everyday lives, so proactive listening can inform every aspect of your brand’s value proposition: advertising, packaging, CSR opportunities, in-store activities, and even R&D:
In order to do this effectively, though, we need to move beyond ‘ego monitoring’.
Instead of listening only to what people are saying about your brand, use more generic keyword terms in your searches.
For example, if you’re a shampoo brand, don’t just listen out for mentions of Pantene, Dove and Head & Shoulders; ultimately, people don’t pay for shampoo, they pay for beautiful hair, so listen out for the broader conversations they’re having about hair.
By adopting this broader approach, you’ll quickly gain insights into people’s problems and motivations, their preferences and their needs.
Furthermore, by moving beyond the simplistic measurement of ego metrics like share of voice or campaign engagement, you’ll start to find opportunities to join organic audience conversations where your brand can actually add real value, without needing to interrupt them.
The bigger opportunity in social media listening is that it can help us use communications to add value and become welcome participants in bigger conversations.
The first step towards uncovering these rich insights is to identify who you want to listen to.
Don’t restrict this definition to your consumers; listening to broader groups such as influencers, advocates, detractors and even NGOs and regulators can help add rich and unexpected insights.
Once you’ve defined your audience, you’ll need to find where they are in public social media.
You don’t need to find everyone in your audience of course, and you certainly don’t need to analyse every one of their posts.
The way I usually get started is to find a few dozen people talking about something generic (but brand-relevant) on Twitter, and then read through some of their other recent posts. Inevitably this will include some photos of lunch, but I start to get an affinity for who they are as real people.
Once you do this a few times, you’ll probably want to adopt a more systematic approach.
Start by putting together a simple list of keywords, and make a regular ‘appointment’ to listen to the people who’re talking about them.
Select a few people from these conversations at random, and take some time to listen to what they’re saying about other things too; this way, you’ll quickly build up an intuitive understanding of your audience that goes well beyond demographics.
Using social listening tools can help make your anthropological efforts more effective too; harness the power of always-on listening tools like Tweetdeck and HootSuite, as well as powerful aggregators like Sysomos and Radian6.
Once you have your tools set up, you’ll only need to listen for a few minutes every day before you start to identify new ways to add value to your audiences’ lives and to your brand’s bottom line.
Go on, try it out now.
Last week was filled with fantastic events and invaluable experiences for all of us here at We Are Social Singapore.
The conference packed a huge variety of events throughout each day, putting a round-the-clock spotlight on social media over the course of five days. Some events started as early as 8 am, while others didn’t end until well-past midnight.
Thankfully, for those who couldn’t attend all 41 events on the schedule, live-tweeting and the event-specific hashtags made it easy to follow and contribute to the discussions online.
We Are Social research shows that, over the 5 days of events, there were 4,993 tweets about Social Media Week from 1,153 unique users, delivering an impressive 13.3 million impressions on Twitter alone. #smwsg accounted for 98% of the tweets, with #planwathena and #smwsgwomen also delivering impressive reach. We Are Social’s very own #smwlivestrat, #smwtoptips and #sataysocial also created significant buzz on Day 4, accounting for almost half of that day’s social media activity.
The overarching theme of the week revolved around the true value of social media for brands. Compared to SMW last year, SMW 2013 saw a dramatic shift in brands’ understanding of the potential of social media, and where it fits into their overall business plans. An indicator of this increased appetite for social media, and one of the many great things about this year’s schedule, was the variety of events with a very specific focus.
Some of these events addressed particular platforms, such as Growing up on Facebook and Change the World with a Hashtag. There were events dedicated to niche audiences too: Love in a Time of Social Media looked at the developing convergence of social media and online dating, while The Future of Recruitment looked at the intersection of social media, recruitment and professional networking.
There were also events with a demographic focus, with many of Friday’s events dedicated to empowering and engaging women. This theme corresponds with the overwhelming support expressed for The Athena Network, who secured Diageo’s Plan W funding thanks to 1,934 #planwathena hashtagged tweets over the course of the week.
Another recurring theme was the topic of careers in social media, demonstrating that the industry is succeeding in differentiating its role within the nebulous concept of “marketing”. In particular, the panel of experts at We Are Social’s Tips from the Top event shared a variety of insights into how their own careers in social media are becoming far more specialised, more organised, and more tightly oriented toward the skills required to understand the real meaning and value of engagement, conversation, insight and long-term social strategy.
The We Are Social team had a great time, both learning and contributing to Social Media Week Singapore – not to mention partying, networking and making new friends all week! The wrap-up party was a blast, if somewhat bittersweet; good times always seem to go by so fast! However, we’re already looking forward to SMW14 – if this year offers any indication of how quickly social media can grow in a year, we’re sure that the next season will bring even more new ideas and exciting events.
So, until next year…
Singapore turns to social media for travel & food products
Nielsen recently released their annual global social media report, which showed that social media is playing a bigger role in influencing the purchasing decisions of Singaporeans when it comes to travel and food. 68% of Singaporeans turned to social media when choosing a restaurant. More than two-thirds also read online reviews such as blogs when it came to food and beverage products. Singaporeans are known for being foodies and given that the nation is a food paradise, this trend comes as no surprise. Also, 67% said they would choose travel products based on recommendations that are shared online. At least 30% of Singaporeans post comments online about brands every week. Most impressive is how Singapore has the highest penetration of social media users via mobile phones in the world, with 70% of Singaporean social media users logging on to the platforms via their mobile phones - 23% higher than the global average of 47%. While the top three categories conversed about in Singapore are F&B, travel and entertainment sectors, in Southeast Asia as a whole, entertainment, electronics and clothing were the top three categories that were most influenced by social media.
Most Indians are ignorant about privacy on social media
Line gains popularity in Thailand
Mobile messaging apps such as WeChat, KaKao Talk and now Line are posing a real threat to Facebook in Asia. Line, a Japanese Whatsapp rival just announced that it has surpassed 10 million downloads in Thailand. The app has more than 82 million downloads worldwide. Thailand is Facebook’s 17th largest market with 17.9 million users, and with a bulk of the Thai population becoming heavy users of mobile messaging apps, there is a real challenge for Facebook to grow any further in similar markets.This is why Facebook needs to get more competitive in the messaging space. Despite being the market leader in social media in Asia, Facebook is bound to lose out to these emerging players if it does not continue to seek opportunities to grow in the mobile realm.
“Too many updates” poses the biggest social danger for brands
A study by SocialVibe has found that consumers ‘unfollow’ brand pages on social media platforms simply because there are too many updates from the page. 1 in 3 American social media users ended their social connection with a brand due to this reason. A key finding was that 22% of respondents said the brand’s content and values were different from their original perception. This is increasingly becoming a concern for brands as well – to ensure that the content they post reflects accurately what the brand truly stands for.
Convergence of TV and social networking in Canada
Canadian TV viewers are becoming mini ambassadors of their favourite TV shows. According to a Q2 survey from Solutions Research, 3 out of 10 internet users considered themselves a “social TV viewer”. Contrary to popular belief that Twitter is more famous as a go-to platform whilst watching TV, people posted more comments on Facebook. In Canada, Facebook has a 61% reach whilst Twitter only has 25% reach. However, 15% said that they watched a TV show after being prompted by a tweet. This is a trend that the industry is watching to see grow in 2013 as TV shows get increasingly integrated with social media platforms, especially hashtag interactions, in most scenarios.