Marketing and Social Media

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.

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 [1] 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[2]  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.

The beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar market and social media is becoming a beauty battleground as companies compete for their share of the pie. Companies are constantly looking for new ways to engage their customers, build brand loyalty and of course increase sales through their social media efforts. With a number of major players in the industry thriving in the social media landscape, beauty companies constantly have to come up with new and innovative ways to garner the attention of their sometimes fickle target market. One company that has been very successful in accomplishing just that is L’Oréal. Not only has L’Oréal amassed an impressive base of followers on their social media accounts but they have also been praised for their innovative campaigns that continue to raise the bar for competitors and inspire companies in other industries as well. “Globally, L’Oréal has an objective of building 100% love for our brands, and social media is crucial to driving engagement and affinity for the brands that sit under the broader L’Oréal group banner.” – Emma Williamson, Manager, Consumer Affairs and Social Media ANZ The following video provides a quick look who L’Oréal is and at some of their social media successes to date.

Do you have a favourite advertisement on TV that just grabs your attention every time its on? Or perhaps a campaign run on Twitter, Facebook or another social media platform that lights a fire within you and inspires you to share it along.  Businesses have sure changed the way they market products or services to us.  In the past marketing campaigns were solely focused on selling their products to us post production, now companies are turning to social media from the inception of a product all the way to its delivery on store shelves.  However the challenge has now become how to use social media platforms to reach customers in new and exciting ways while providing real time experiences for them to comment on and share, thus making companies more likeable and trustworthy in the eyes of their customers. I asked Ed Rush, Global Marketing Executive at Elemica to share his thoughts on this subject, “There is an old saying – “you have two ears and one mouth, listen twice as much as you speak.” In my experience in business to business, it seems most forget that rule when it comes to social. Too many marketers are eager to post their message and speak to the market and attract likes, comments, and follows. However, so much more can be learned when you refocus your attention from social “speaking” to social “listening” across your networks. When the primary objective is to learn about the challenges, priorities, and/or objectives of others in your community, you can then approach your outreach with a much more strategic and tailored communication. Ultimately, facilitating a buyer’s journey is more about understanding where they are at and expertly facilitating them through the process. You can’t do that if your speaking twice as much as listening.” There is one company that I am excited to share about which is taking its social media marketing campaigns to new heights, and that is HP.  Keeping in trend with the latest platforms, HP launched the #BendTheRules campaign that blew customers away and resulted in much success socially. So what is Social Media Marketing and what are its the benefits? How are businesses currently working with it and what are the new trends that companies should embrace?  Let me begin by answering the first two questions.  According to Wikipedia, “Social Media Marketing is the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites.”  In… Read more »

How the Communitech incubator in Waterloo ON, is leveraging social media to market its services to Silicon Valley North start-ups in need of just the right guidance to get their big idea off the ground.

The Social Media Paradox: The Closer We Get, The Further Apart We Become

jamie.mccormick   November 22, 2015

Company Name:  Sportsnet Industry:  Sports Broadcasting and Interactive Technologies Contact:  J. Austin, Senior Programming Editor References: sportsnet.ca, cbc.ca, tsn.ca, twitter.com, linkedin.com, Roy MacGregor, youtube.com   The Great Social Media Paradox suggests that the more connected and integrated technology seems to bring us, the further apart, and more isolated we become.  That the online communities and connections that we make only serve to… Read more »

Brewster Travel – Socializing Their Future

SCapling   November 19, 2015
skywalk

Organization – Brewster Travel Canada  Industry – Travel and Tourism Contact – Mark Hendrikse, Director of Marketing for Brewster Travel Canada Web Sources  – Brewster Travel, Facebook, Instagram Brewster Travel Canada has been providing amazing natural experiences to guests of the Canadian Rocky mountains since 1892. Starting with two young Brewster brothers providing guided excursions in the Rocky Mountain national parks and now a leading travel and… Read more »

Royal LePage Niagara…Social Media Metrics

Lisa Taylor   November 18, 2015

Company: Royal LePage Canada, Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre Brokerage Industry: Real Estate Contacts: Ryan Johnstone, Broker/Manager, Royal LePage Niagara, Deanna Gunter, Broker/Manager, Royal LePage Niagara Web References: Royal LePage Canada, Royal LePage Niagara, Inman.com – 6 social media tools for real estate, Increasing Real Estate Social Media Engagement In a previous post (Top Share of Voice Rankings for… Read more »

Minimalism Style: Muji in Social Media

stephanie   November 17, 2015

Title of Post: Minimalism Style: Muji in Social Media Industry: Retail Web references: Muji, Twitter, Instagram, Wikipedia Muji is a Japanese lifestyle brand acknowledged for a minimalistic aesthetic and having an anti-brand appeal. Ironically the ‘no brand’ philosophy has propelled Muji into an international brand itself with the increasing number of people who are rejecting the prescriptive and lurid nature of traditional brands. The success… Read more »

Top Share of Voice Rankings for Royal LePage due in part to Social Media

Lisa Taylor   November 15, 2015

Company: Royal LePage Niagara, Royal LePage Canada Industry: Real Estate Contact: Ryan Johnstone, Broker/Manager, Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Web References: Wiki Royal LePage Canada,RoyalLePage.ca, RLP Pinterest, RLP Facebook, Homesniagara.com, Royal LePage Canada Twitter Dial back to 1913 when Albert Edward LePage establishes his real estate company A.E. LePage – The Bungalow Specialist. Eddie, as he became known as, was… Read more »

Toms: Using Social Media Marketing Effectively

m234ali   November 12, 2015

Organization Name: Toms Industry:  Retail References: Toms, Social Media Breakdown, How Toms Creates Customers for Life, A Case Study in Profitable Cause Marketing, Social Media Analytics for Social Good As the shift between having a social media marketing strategy and needing one lurches towards the latter, online marketing intelligence will glean much from the examples and experiences of sustainable enterprises like… Read more »

Baanto – Touching on Social Media and Marketing

SCapling   November 11, 2015
Baanto check out our features -

Organization – Baanto International Ltd. Industry – Computer Hardware Contact – Avanindra Utukuri – Executive Chairman/CTO  Web resources  – Baanto,  YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn Baanto International Ltd. is a leading developer of innovative, high performance, and scalable touch solutions with eight (8) patents filed and twelve (12) in process. Baanto ShadowSense for touchscreen applications solves many of the technical issues that plague other touch technologies. ShadowSense touch… Read more »

Santa Flies WestJet to Grant Real-time Christmas Wishes

DanielleB   November 11, 2015

Title of Post: Santa Flies WestJet to Grant Real-time Christmas Wishes Organization Name: WestJet Industry: Airline Web references: CBC.ca, The WestJet blog, Shorty Awards, Globacore Description So often I hear people say “We want to make a viral video,” but a viral video cannot just be created. A video becomes viral, and for that to happen, you must first create something… Read more »