Social Media has dramatically changed the marketing world. Organizations that are not actively including social media in their marketing plans are now rare — there is widespread recognition that it is now necessary for all. However, the benefits of social media marketing have been elusive for some organizations — while they have expended time and resources, they haven’t seen the results. In addition, increasingly-vast data sets are being accumulated for organizations to use and this raises many possibilities and questions.
These case studies provide examples of imaginative usage of social media in organizational marketing activity. Reviewing them will help you think about your own effective use of social media.
What binds together four University of Waterloo Alumni, millennia moms, and celebrity moms like Victoria Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rachel Weisz, Heidi Klum, and Reese Witherspoon? Mabel’s Labels. They have developed a brand and social media marketing platform that responds to the needs of moms worldwide. What is unique about this story? The founders of Mabel’s Labels are pioneers. They started their company before the words “social” and “media” were put together in sequence (note that Facebook was founded in 2004). When founders Julie Cole, Julie Ellis, Cynthia Esp and Tricia Mumby created Mabel’s Labels through their social networks with other moms, they knew they were on to something… 2003, four busy moms noticed a huge gap in the market for durable kids’ labels. Frustrated by their children’s things getting lost, mixed up and leaving home never to return, knew they could do better than the scribbles on masking tape that were being passed off as labels. Presently, Mabels Labels has 163,600 devoted Facebook followers with a conversion rate of 5.1%. In January 2016 they were acquired for $12 million by Canadian-based CCL Industries for its Avery North America division.
Rolling around on a skateboard is a right of passage for most children growing up in North America, many of them dreaming of becoming the next Tony Hawk, or Nyjah Huston. While many of these people will never attain these goals, they will still have a blast pushing around town on their boards. Skateboarding is a wonderful tool for transportation, but it has a few key limitations. The main problem is hills, and everyone who has ever stepped on a skateboard has a deep fear of the dreaded “speed wobble“. While going down a hill on a skateboard, you don’t have many options for braking and going up hills is also an issue, as it becomes a battle against gravity. Boosted Board is a company that was founded to improve some of the issues that have plagued skaters for years. Boosted Board is an electric skateboard controlled by a small handheld remote. You can adjust your speed and even brake! Skateboarders everywhere now have a solution to some of their problems. Boosted Boards has turned to social media to showcase their product to the skateboarders of the world and get everyone skateboarding again.
Magnolia…a few years ago it was just a flower, now it’s a trending brand that has reached far beyond its Texan origin. The creators of this brand, Joanna and Chip Gaines have social media followers from around the world. Tourists book stays at their Magnolia House rental property and visit their business headquarters named the Silos, in Waco, Texas. It’s now a tourist destination with a bakery, garden shop and retail store. The fourth season of their HGTV home improvement reality show, Fixer Upper, premieres this month. Each show profiles the home renovation process from purchase to completion in a one-hour segment. Joanna designs home improvements and decorates. Her husband and partner, Chip, constructs the renovations and the featured homeowners are presented with their on-budget dream home at the end of each episode. The hype for this show has been marketed with a quarterly journal publication and a newly released book about the couple’s story. Magnolia has complimented their brand with traditional marketing mediums and qualified it with social media. The book has just reached #1 on the New York Time best seller list,1 and this achievement is promoted on their website. Magnolia has also introduced a furniture, paint, rug and accessory line available nationally in the US and at three Canadian retailers. An online “Market” shop with all of their products is featured on their website. Magnolia has embraced social media to further increase its brand awareness. The company also benefits from Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter activity and has millions of followers. Magnolia has truly saturated the home design, renovation and décor market through both traditional and social media marketing.
“People don’t buy from clowns.” The famous quote from Claude C. Hopkins may have been true in 1923, but times have certainly changed. Some of the biggest brands in the world use humor to sell their products on social media. We all love a good laugh and when we’re choosing who to follow on Twitter or Facebook, brands that make us smile are usually at the top of the list. In fact, entertaining content is one of the top five reasons people follow particular brands or individuals online. Incorporating humor into marketing materials isn’t for everyone and can seem like a risk for your business. Done right, though, a few laughs can bring big benefits to your social media presence, and your bottom line. The Hans Brinker Hotel in Amsterdam claims to be the worst hotel ever. In fact, an official line from one of their ads claims, “The Hans Brinker Hotel in Amsterdam. It doesn’t get much worse.” Without apology, they have made a successful business out of being awful. To truly understand how they can do this however, requires understanding of their target audience, their competitive environment, their strategic competitive advantages, and how all of that can be successfully leveraged. The target market for this hotel – students and youth in their 20s, single, budget minded, international travelers visiting Amsterdam, attitude of adventure, curiosity and risk tolerant. Advertising slogans warn of no hot water, sparse rooms and filthy conditions. Guests are encouraged to dry off with the shower curtain to save on washing. The Hans Brinker owns awful. Nobody generally wants to be the worst when it comes to travel and hospitality. But trying for the best is a crowded space. They recognized that their target market just might love their honesty and humorous attitude. This position has allowed them to not only stand out from most hotels, but it also allowed them to stand out against other budget accommodation options. http://www.adforum.com/creative-work/ad/player/34457207/selling-the-worst-hotel-in-the-world/hans-brinker-budget-hotel
Recently in Toronto, an eCommerce mattress company is creating a buzz marketing around the city and redefining your imagination of shopping for mattress. From radio ads the traditional 680News to pushed ads on various social media sites, Casper bombarded media channels, and want to sell you mattress shipped in a box. Despite how comfy the mattress is, Casper definitely gets a firm handle of social media marketing and it is worthwhile checking out what we can learn about social media marketing from this rising start-up.
In April 2013 Lowe’s launched their extremely successful “Fix in Six” campaign on Vine. With Lowe’s being the second largest home improvement retailer in the world it seems appropriate that their Vine campaign is a variety of six second videos that gives tips for home improvement. Since the campaign began in 2013, Lowe’s has created and shared 115 vines that have generated over 65 million views.
Over the last ten years, the marketing world has changed drastically with the ever evolving world of social media. As a result, marketing plans featuring television or print advertising as a primary mode of promotion have given way to marketing plans that integrate customer engagement, branding and more targeted promotion through social media. Some businesses may certainly survive clinging to old school marketing practices but for those in the computer and technology field, it is essential not only to market through social media but to do so effectively in order to gain an edge on the competition. Bluespark, has truly found their niche in social media marketing while at the same time not appearing to be marketing their services at all. In addition to social media metrics, with clients that include big names like Ralph Lauren, Roomify and Trip Advisor, it’s a sure sign that you’re doing something right.
After 15 years of toiling in the Market Research industry for major corporations in the Toronto area, Mustafa Khaliq decided that the 9 to 5 grind just wasn’t for him. Rather than looking for another job out in his industry, he did notice (in the mirror of course) that he possessed a gift, and that was the gift of Men’s fashion flare. Usually you can see him walking the streets or sitting in a restaurant in his slim-fit patterned shirts, rocking some neon coloured socks with a set of pastel flavoured glasses adorning his always clean-cut head. With that, a lot of his closest confidantes suggested that he offer his ideas and ‘Muse-like’ creativity to the world of Men. “I’m my own best billboard. Men, generally appreciate looking good, it’s just that, its not a priority.” – Mustafa Khaliq In 2013, Mustafa set up a small consulting business called Style Counsel that helped men acquire the guidance in bringing their clothing game to the next level. With Mustafa’s love of discovering new and chic items that men could incorporate into their wardrobe, the service he was offering started to become popular as did the fashion industry for this particular demographic. The global market for men’s designer apparel is projected to reach nearly $33 billion in 2020, up 14 percent from $29 billion in 2015, according to Euromonitor International. ~ Business of Fashion Offering a consulting service to help men with their shopping needs and fashion sense however, just wasn’t enough for Mustafa. He knew that men – especially ones in fields of professions that required a look of utmost sharpness – just didn’t have the time anymore to shop store to store to gather products and ensure what is right or wrong for them. So in 2014, along with his partner Mike Mossallem, a new idea was born to provide menfolk the products they need packaged up and sent to you directly without all the hassle. Items such as laptop bags, ties, bowties, shirts etc were neatly put into a kit, displayed online and marketed so clients can customize and choose whatever they require. Viktor & Muse being only just a month old really needed to engage their social media prowess to get their marketing engine going and we sat down with the founder of V&M Mustafa Khaliq to get his take on the challenges he has to face in such a tough competitive environment. Marketing in… Read more »
In our age of digital marketing where there are so many social media options to choose from, one community library is finding success through their development and use of videos. In addition to using Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, the Pickering Public Library is including short, in-house created videos in their Facebook Page, YouTube channel and website to communicate upcoming events, new programs and services, fun facts and promote client engagement. These videos have become quite popular in their community and beyond. Donna Moritz of Social Media Examiner attributes the rise in popularity of short video social media content to how “snackable” they are, as a quick visual method that grabs our attention, “Short videos suit our busy lives, brief attention spans and the need to consume content easily and quickly. Because fans are consuming content via their mobile devices while they’re on the go, the shorter the content is, the better.”
Marketing strategies have shifted, grown, and developed greatly over the course of history. From DeBeer’s age old “Diamonds are Forever” campaign in the early 1900’s and the Lucky Strike ads which had everyone picking up a bad habit in the 60’s, to the modern day “Just Do It” Slogan that defines Nike, we’ve seen a lot over the years. The channels of communication for marketers has changed over time as well. The game changed for marketers again and again, challenging them to come up with new and innovative ways to promote their products and services as the technologies and trends changed over time. In today’s world the internet reigns supreme, and marketers have quickly adopted web advertising as a part of any self-respecting ad campaign. Social Media is the most important aspect of this. A campaign that doesn’t have a #hashtag, YouTube video, or searchable Facebook content, may as well not exist at all. The companies that are realizing, embracing, and integrating social media into their campaigns are the ones who are seeing the most success. Many modern brands are doing a great job of combining social media with their marketing strategies, but one in particular really stands out.
DB Schenker supports industry and trade in the global exchange of goods: in land transport, worldwide air and ocean freight, contract logistics and supply chain management.1 Globally they employ over 66,000 employees at over 2000 locations. Their Canadian operations account for over 1600 employees at over 40 locations. Roughly 3 years ago, DB Schenker started to utilize social media as part of their marketing strategy.
One does not need to dig very deep through the internet to see how social media has changed the entire world, let alone marketing strategy. The list of changes to marketing tasks is a long one, but the level, speed and dependency of the of changes varies from business to business. Through my research, I found it interesting that businesses have embraced social media differently, at different paces and with different weights. But most experts agree, embracing social media at some level is a must. Ian Altman, contributor to Forbes Magazine says, “History is repeating itself. Only instead of phone or email, we call it Twitter and Facebook. If you ignore customers on social media, it’s like not answering your ringing customer service line.”
New Trends in Marketing Some people today will tell you that traditional marketing is dead – killed off by social media and the redistribution of power from marketers to the consumers. With technology we are able to find out for ourselves which brands are superior; we don’t need to be bombarded by ads to be persuaded we can simply read online reviews, blog posts, feeds etc. or ask our friends and family. We are even able to block digital ads from reaching us as we peruse our favourite sites. Consumers are literally outcompeting marketers for each other’s attention – according to Forrester Research 70% of people trust brand recommendations from friends and only 10% trust advertising. Personally, I agree. This is the end of marketing as we have known it; ads full of purely self-serving content merely get overlooked these days. Enter Content Marketing. This is when companies provide valuable and interesting information to their target audience and the consumers can’t help but to read or watch and take notice. The strategy behind it is to produce useful and relevant information to buyers who will then reward the company with business and loyalty. It’s no longer about marketing your brand but rather marketing an experience with your brand and reaching people on an emotional level before they make their purchasing decisions. This isn’t exactly a new marketing technique but a growing trend with 92% of marketers using it to increase brand awareness according to the Content Marketing Institute. One company that has this marketing tactic down pat is Huggies the maker of diapers, wipes, swim pants and training pants. Their target market is huge and they do a fantastic job of connecting with them and keeping them engaged. They even have a large following from women who don’t need their products yet – moms to be! Here’s how they do it…
When I think of a women’s lingerie store, my mind automatically goes to Victoria’s Secret, La Senza and La Vie en Rose. When walking by these stores in the mall and while going inside the stores, women are constantly bombarded with images of perfect looking models wearing the products. I think that trying on the products with these images in your head makes a lot of women reluctant to buy the items. Most women forget that yes, these models are beautiful and have thin bodies, however even they don’t look like the photos. Countless hours of retouching and photo shopping go into making them look like they do in the posters. Modern American standards have created this perfect image of what women should look like, resulting in low self-esteem and dangerous eating disorders. Body image has become extremely important to women, especially at a young age.
All I hear is “Heads Up!!!” and out of the corner of my eye, I see a white blur coming at me. My right hand is busy carrying a grocery bag, the dog is barking and I’m mid sentence encouraging drinking glass use as opposed to directly from the faucet or milk carton. I caught that baseball seconds before it hit my forehead and earned a “Wow, good catch Ma! You didn’t even stop talking when you caught that!” No doubt these new found reflexes are a result of over a year of working out at Fergus Kickboxing.
It’s no fluke how Little Mushroom Catering has become one of the premier full service catering companies in the Waterloo Region. Hard work, determination, a great staff and a strong leader with a passion for food, people and success. Little Mushroom Catering was created in 2010 by Stephanie Soulis who is President and CEO. She started LMC as a natural extension of her love for food and quality service. The one thing that has made Stephanie so successful in such a short time, other than her work ethic, is the way she uses social media as a marketing tool for her business.
Coca-Cola has found a way to stay relevant in a market that is slowly turning away from sugary drinks like soda. Coke’s integrated marketing strategies utilize both traditional and new media to create unique ads that tell a brand story across multiple channels. Coke employs social media as a way to invite consumers to be a part of their story. Using social media as a marketing tool allows Coke to onboard younger generations and creates a call to action. Personalized content and an innovative delivery system are what make Coke so popular. No matter which way you slice it, Coke is winning the social media ad game. Because after watching these videos, you’re probably going to be thinking about having a Coke.
We’ve all seen one of those Canadian Tire flyers waiting for us at our doorstep… Did you know the retailer stopped distributing them two years ago? Yet, the company’s marketing team is busier than ever with digital advertisement. Facebook has become the company’s second biggest advertising platform after Google. Why did Canadian Tire decided to invest in digital advertising?
Show of hands: how many of you have poured a bucket of ice water over your head? Had I asked this question two years ago, most of you probably would have thought it was a rather bizarre thing to ask. But, I’m guessing that most of you reading this have, in fact, poured a bucket of ice water on your head or, at the very least, know someone who has. In the summer of 2014, the phenomenon known as The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge swept across social media. It was hard to go even a few hours without seeing someone on Facebook or Twitter posting a video, bucket in hand. While it might have seemed like an odd phenomenon, the beauty of this challenge, and the reason why it was so successful, was that it was for a good cause: ALS awareness and research.
Namaste! One retail brand that is great at inspiring and educating people around the world is non-other than Lululemon Athletica! Lululemon lives, breathes, and encourages healthier and happier lifestyles. This clothing brand was founded by Chip Wilson, whose passion lays in technical athletic fabrics. After taking his first commercial yoga class, he came to a realization that the post-yoga feeling was quite close to the exhilaration he would get while surfing, skating, or snowboarding. From this, a design studio was created that doubled as a yoga studio in the evening to pay for rent. This started an underground yoga movement where yogis could purchase exclusive yoga wear, and yoga teachers would wear the products to market and provide feedback. Eventually, in 1998 the very first Lululemon store was opened in the Kitsilano beach area of Vancouver, BC. The goal for Lululemon was to hire and train their staff to live and breathe Lululemon culture so that they could positively influence those around them. The positivity the company spreads, and the quality and popularity of their product has created a success story out of this Athletic wear brand, where it has now opened 354 stores world-wide.
9 years ago, when I first joined in L’Oréal Group as a PR professional, what I saw my Marketing colleagues doing was paying media, buying advertisement and telling consumers who we are. Today, as consumers turn to social media to seek out beauty secrets, the industry is signing faces for their followings, not just their fame. (Why big beauty brands are courting social media stars) There won’t be any doubt to a marketer that run your social media campaign like your traditional media campaign and you’re likely to see more damage to your brand reputation than benefit and you’ll waste a lot of money doing it. (16 Differences Between Traditional Media and Social Networking)
The world of marketing has drastically changed since 2005 when Solowave Design first entered the world of manufacturing backyard play sets with its first brand, Big Backyard. When first entering the market most of the product marketing was handled directly by the retailers through which their products were sold. This left little need for Solowave to focus on marketing efforts or have a marketing team.
Whether it has been with a talking chihuahua, or jamming Doritos into all parts of Tex-Mex fast food, Taco Bell has taken a thinking outside the box approach to marketing and advertising for years – long before social media was really a thing. Though, of course, they’d say they’re “thinking outside the bun.” Taco Bell thrives on the bizarre, the unconventional, and the uncommon. They’re all of these descriptions and more! – Wrapped in a Cool Ranch Doritos shell and smothered in sour cream, salsa and gooey, orange, plastic-y cheese. While marketing is a subject that is relatively difficult to go too crazy with, on the surface, Taco Bell manages to find a way to go against the grain here as well. While the 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report shows that many corporations have low interest in utilizing Snapchat in their marketing at this point, Taco Bell is embracing the platform and using it really effectively.
Acquisitions, mergers and takeovers are far too familiar in today’s marketplace. In fact, in the past decade, I have worked for 3 Canadian companies that have either merged or been been acquired by a US firm. As businesses evolve and grow from these complex transactions it is critical how they position themselves in the eyes of all their stakeholders. These changes can be both exciting and can create uncertainty for consumers, investors and employees alike. Marketing, plays a crucial role the way the newly formed entity will be portrayed. It is the heroic efforts of marketing teams to rescue brand identities from getting misconstrued in the market. Fortunately, marketers are armed with Social Media tools to aid them though the all stages of an an A&M. Pre-Merger Due Diligence- Do You Really Know What You’re Acquiring? Prior to an acquisition Marketers can gather valuable Intel about companies they wish to align themselves usually by Social Media tools like LinkedIn and Facebook. Social media profiles, if set up correctly can be assets for Entrepreneurs looking for an exit. International business law and litigation firm Fasken Martineau conducted a survey on the Role Social Media Plays in Mergers & Acquisitions. Their key findings “Our survey revealed that senior M&A executives are certainly using social media, and some are using it to research and communicate deals. Interestingly, social platforms are currently viewed by M&A professionals as having less value than other sources of information, and most don’t currently see great value in social media’s application outside of post-merger integration. It will be very interesting to see if the SEC guidance will impact this perception and if in fact we will see an increased acceptance of these tools in the M&A and general finance community.” – Kareen Zimmer, a partner in Fasken Martineau’s corporate and M&A practice groups  To see results of their survey click here Fasken Martineau 2013 M&A Social Media Survey Research through Social Media, can bring wealth of information about your M&A target. According to Iris Vermeren at Brandwatch you are able investigate the company’s health and reputation, its products, its customers, the market and even competitors. “Mergers and acquisitions create uncertainty for consumers, so post-merger marketing messages and initiatives should focus on providing a sense of security. Brand confusion is the number one brand killer, and mergers and acquisitions create a great deal of brand confusion in the minds of consumers. The marketer’s job is to clear up… Read more »
In today’s social media communities it can be noisy, even annoying, to see sponsored and promoted messages, have products clamouring for your attention, and marketing departments from companies of all sizes try their best to stand out in the chaos. But for one ABC television show, they’ve successfully approached social media in a different way. To listen. The show itself (The Bachelor) is a marketing goldmine. The quest for love, smothered in manipulated drama, to appeal to the hopeless romantics, or provide an endless parade of judge worthy material for the cynics. Its hard to deny the vapid nature of the show itself, but what the show has done with it’s social media offers a lot of lessons for the marketing community.