Tag Archives: brand ambassadors

Over the past few weeks, I have shared how start-up Flashstock has benefitted from social media to stay engaged with customers, employees, and even improve product development and operations which all contribute to driving business performance across the company. Our marketing team has focused its efforts on using social media as it’s the main platform because of the relative ease of use, low cost, and data-rich insight. Start-ups find social media marketing really efficient. At the beginning, most brands are looking to just create community and brand awareness. With existing networks built into Facebook and Instagram, for example, and almost 2.5 billion active monthly users combined, gives marketers unprecedented access to consumers and data. The platforms are free to join and provide simple to use interfaces that don’t take as much effort as a website to manage. With all of these active users, marketers also get great access to data that tells them everything they need about their target audience.    

How would a museum know if it is successful? How would it measure success? The Mission Statement of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (“The Met”), founded on April 13, 1870, and the largest museum in the US, states, “to be located in the City of New York, for the purpose of establishing and maintaining in said city a Museum and library of art, of encouraging and developing the study of the fine arts, and the application of arts to manufacture and practical life, of advancing the general knowledge of kindred subjects, and, to that end, of furnishing popular instruction”. [1]. Daniel Weiss, president and chief operating officer of The Met, believes museums must remain relevant to a contemporary audience while upholding a mission to preserve human culture for posterity. In an interview with Yale Insights, Weiss articulated the challenges of steering America’s largest art institution, “We have to change with the times but not so much so that we lose our way … if no one is interested in our programs, then they are not meaningful programs.”  [2]. Part of the challenge managing a cultural legacy like The Met is its non-profit structure. From its 2016 Annual Report [3], philanthropic contributions have endowed the museum with about $2.5 billion. The building is owned by the City of New York (NYC), but the collections are owned by a private corporation, totalling about 950 persons. The City approved a pay-what-you-wish [4] admissions’ fee back in 1970 ($25 per visitor is recommended but a penny would comply with the City’s policy) which contributed only about 13% of 2016 revenue. However, The Met’s operating budget is about $250 million per year. Its use of performance metrics (measuring overall attendance, the number of museum members, the marketability of exhibits, the percentage of the collection on display, the ratio of adult to child admissions, etc.) are not used to plan for an increase in ROI; instead, they are used to measure its kinds of connections with the public.  “Museums create social values, for which they are not compensated in monetary terms.” [5]. The Met is deeply integrated within the life of New York City, its donors, and the art world. It plays a substantial role in New Yorkers’ leisure activities and is one of NYC’s most important tourist attractions. As visitors have a strong effect on local economies, especially in touristic locations, The Met monitors the number… Read more »

In last weeks post, I discussed the benefits of social media being used at FlashStock to engage employees through the use of a social tool/central communications hub for driving improved business performance. This week, I will continue to focus on engagement, however, one form that businesses are consistently familiar with: customer engagement. I question and explore how FlashStock uses social media as a channel to help with brand awareness, creating thought leadership and market penetration to increase business performance. I think it is important to quickly give you a bit of background to FlashStock. Flashstock Inc. is a Toronto-based B2B tech start-up. We are part of a growing sector called CaaS (Content as a Service). FlashStock is a technology platform used by Fortune 1000 global brands to help accelerate the creation of custom images and videos, connecting a global network of creative contributors. We are partners with Instagram and Facebook, helping businesses generate higher engagement through social and digital channels. Since we are B2B, we use the likes or @mentions as ways to learn about what our clients like and understand their buying process better. Data that helps form what compelled a client to engage with us, helps us understand more about our target audience. As we understand more, we can continue to measure valuable and consumable data in the form of knowledge. As a growing B2B organization, our salespeople sell to business executives who are working over and above and often, over communicated to. FlashStock’s use of social media has been to help create brand awareness, position FlashStock as a leader, and operate as a trusted source. Companies seek assistance through Flashstock to rapidly measure their content needs and keep their clients engaged with relevant content. At FlashStock, we have a well-supported and staffed sales organization which is the main driver of revenue for the business today. As we continue to evolve and have more data to analyze, our marketing team is going to be able to understand what our clients and prospects are interested in. They want to learn about and serve up relevant content in the form of future webinars or whitepapers, which our founding leader, Grant Munroe, is a contributor.

According to the Instant Pot website, this “intelligent multi-cooker, [is] capable of completely replacing [a] pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker/porridge maker, sauté/browning pan, steamer, yogurt maker and stockpot warmer.” Currently one of Amazon’s best selling items, Instant Pot has a huge online fan base. With an official community site on Facebook boasting more than 434K members and a number of satellite communities (e.g. Instant Pot Recipes with 122K members and Instant Pot Cooks with 60K members), the Instant Pot is an internet sensation. That said, it may be surprising to find out that Instant Pot is not a brand new product . According to Grace Hwang Lynch in her article Not Just a Crock: The Viral Word-Of-Mouth Success of Instant Pot,  the electric pressure cooker “has been around since 2010, but really became the buzz during the last six months of 2016.” Let’s take a look at the clever social media strategy that created all that buzz.

Victoria’s Secret is a brand known around the world for it’s glamours images of it’s elusive Angels creating a goal that many aspire to.  In the fast paced world of today the excitement of receiving their catalogue in the mail has been replaced by a few easy clicks to  order a little piece of the magic.  Though this provides quick and easy access to the customer,  the company has been faced with the question of how to reinvent that same excitement in today’s world?  Enter social media.    

From a marketing perspective, being able to distinguish your brand in a sea of competition is a difficult challenge. That being said, if you are the brand, this task takes on a much more strategic and personal dynamic. You are putting your personal interpretations and artistic creativity on display in an open forum for all to see. It can be an extremely daunting and vulnerable process. Your success as a artist/business, relies heavily on your ability to tell your story in a way that allows the consumer to relate to you, and your artwork. Such is the challenge for Joanna Gresik, a Canadian abstract artist by night and corporate interior designer by day, living and working in Toronto, Ontario. Joanna creates paintings that are inspired by the energy and life of towns and cities shown through sharp lines, carefully crafted colour palettes and gestural abstract expressionist marks. Joanna has a unique ability to see architecture and landscape through a different lense , and even more impressive is her ability to express those interpretations onto a canvas. With the emergence of social media as a trusted marketing tool for businesses over the last decade or so, it comes as no surprise that these same social media channels now play an important role for small business owners and artists just like Joanna. By providing a platform and a vehicle for messaging, social media marketers can now reach a wider more specific target audience with their products and services. Joanna understands the importance of creating such relationships and quickly determined that these interactions were essential for her growth, not only as an artist, but also as a business person.

At times we can all become the victims of a good trend.  The next big things is always around the corner and can often times seem like the answer that we have been looking for.  But is the appeal the concept itself or the popularity of the solution ?  Will the solution work within the  operating reality?  In the world of social media the only true predictor is Social Media Metrics.

Social Media’s Impact on the Supply Chain industry is deeper than you might think.  Many organizations are using the information gathered from social media to predict trends, ensure timely delivery of goods and source where a product is made.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest and most disruptive professional network with over 467 million members in over 200 countries and territories. When I tell people I work at LinkedIn, one of the most popular questions I receive is whether our environment is like Google… then I get asked whether we’re hiring. (The answer to both questions, I would say, is yes.) We are a dynamic company that is fiercely proud of our culture. One of the easiest ways for us to show who we are – beyond the company that sends out connection requests – is by using our hashtag #linkedinlife. Created in early 2015, #linkedinlife has moved beyond LinkedIn into other social platforms, and is being used by employees all over the world to demonstrate the breadth of our culture and our humanity beyond the work we do.    

When actor Chris Hemsworth is not on screen swinging Thor’s hammer, you can usually find him in the gym crushing a weight training workout with Luke Zocchi of Zoco Body Pro. Hemsworth uses Zocchi’s expertise to get in shape for major movie roles, but Zoco Body Pro’s target market is the regular joe. Having A-list clients was enough to attract viewers to the company’s social media, but they have stayed for the incredible content. Zoco body pro has used their social media presence to create a new avenue for a business that started as a personal training, and while they still do that, their new market is global. When training local clients, Luke prefers hands on training. Some people like to be yelled at, that old-school, drill sergeant approach, but I normally train alongside the people I work with and that’s how I like to do it. This strategy is excellent for customers lucky enough to live near Zoco Body Pro, but the company has made a move on social media that will also help potential customers that can’t travel to “The Iron Temple”. They have recently launched a program called Twenty40 training that allows anyone on Earth to try the same workout regimen that has produced world famous results. This is an online venture that provides customers with step by step instructions on how to sculpt their goal physique, as well as giving nutrition tips to help fuel the new body. Zoco Body Pro uses many aspects of social media effectively to run their organization, and this new program will help spread their fitness message world wide.

In 2013, comedian Bryan Callen, asked UFC heavyweight fighter Brendan Schaub to do a podcast with him in his garage. The two were good friends, and Bryan noticed that Brendan had a natural comedic instinct, that could crack up a whole room. While both were moderately successful in their profession, nothing could prepare them for the heights their new show would soon reach. In three short years, the podcast has grown into one of the top 10 sports podcasts on Itunes. Podcasting has allowed the pair to have a stable income, while they pursue other interests. Acting and fighting are no longer their main source of income, and they can rely on income generated from their podcast. The podcast generates revenue from ad reads on the show, with many companies relying on podcasts to generate new customers. Bryan Callen had this to say about the future of social media. What’s really cool about the whole business of internet is it makes it easier and easier to have your own autonomy. The show has produced over 200 episodes, and spun off into various other side projects. Other businesses can look at The Fighter and The Kid, as inspiration to step into the future of social media.

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.

When you ask an old person what their biggest regret in life is, an overwhelming majority lament that they wish they had travelled more in their youth. They often cite a lack of funds, or life’s responsibilities as reason for postponing their plans. Contiki was a company that was created to address this issue. Contiki is a tour company that connects like-minded people, by offering affordable trip packages for ages 18-35. The organization’s slogan is “No Regrets” which shows that they know what note they need to strike with their customers to encourage them to book a trip. Contiki uses social media effectively to encourage their customers to tell their story, and by doing so, market the service to all of their friends. While not the only marketing technique they use, this is one of the many ways Contiki keeps their customers engaged.

Started in Australia, Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign won a great success in 80 countries from 2011 to 2013. This multi-national campaign selects common first names, puts them on the label and aims to have people go out and find a bottle with their name on it, then share it with their friends. In Coke’s China market, when first hit difficulties in 2013, the campaign became probably the most inventive twist in the end. Co-creation with social media played an essential role in this success.

I will admit that until very recently I was not familiar with the brand Chobani. You see, despite being the number one Greek yogurt in the United States, Chobani’s line of all-natural, non-GMO products aren’t currently available in Canada. However, when I started researching companies using social media as a means to engage their customers I kept seeing the Chobani name come up, so I decided to explore this brand and its strategy a little deeper. And now I’m thinking it might be time for a road trip south to see what all the fuss is about. Founded just over 10 years ago by Kurdish-American businessman Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani has quickly risen to the forefront of the yogurt industry capitalizing on the market shift towards the creamier Greek-style of yogurt. In a 2013 interview Ulukaya stated that at the time of Chobani’s product launch in 2007 “Greek yogurt market share in the United States was less than 1 percent. And today it is almost 60 percent.” Becoming the top brand in that marketplace is quite the accomplishment, and proves that the company is doing something right not only with its product but its marketing strategy as well.

Wow, I can’t believe this is my first blog ever!  So readers, please be gentle. We all know that happiness has a ripple effect. When we are happy we want everyone to be happy.   According to Forbes, “There’s plenty of hard evidence that shows that happy employees lead directly to better performance and higher profits. Last year revenues increased by an average of 22.2 percent for the 2014 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these same companies added new employees at a rate that was five times higher than the national average.”[1] I am super excited about the topic of: Employee Engagement.   Heck, why wouldn’t I be? I am an employee after all.  What does it take to engage an employee like myself?  I pondered this question as I spun through the great wide web.  I was amazed at the lengths some companies have gone through to keep their employees connected and happy in this digital era of ours. This trend is increasingly apparent in the Hi-Tech sector. I chose to write about Shopify because they are a passionate company with a culture that contributes to employee engagement.  They were also recognized as one of the Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces™ for 2013. [2] For those who still haven’t heard about this kickass company here is some background for you folks. From its humble beginnings in 2004 and the ingenious minds of 3 young entrepreneurs looking to sell snowboards online (Snowdevil) came the birth of Shopify. A leading cloud based solutions provider that targets companies of all sizes.  Its unique platform allows business to add value to their storefronts with a variety of tools including a third party market place. There are over 200,000 companies using Shopify based in 150 countries. Shopify has offices in Toronto, Waterloo, and is headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario.   A powerhouse in the market place Shopify Inc’s (SHOP.N) (SH.TO) shares rose as much as 69 percent in their U.S. debut, valuing the company at about $2.14 billion. [3] At Shopify happiness is built into their very culture, they have designed and implemented every detail to ensure it flows through out the whole organization. Check out Daniel Weinand, Co-founder and Chief Cultural Officer  (Yeah, you read that right!), giving us a peek at their Ottawa office and describing some of their many perks. Still not convinced then please view the YouTube video Life at Shopify

The Ritz-Carlton – a look at their customers

cdiesbourg   November 2, 2015

Organization Name:   The Ritz-Carlton Industry:   hotel Web References: brandwatch.com, www.svmsolutions.com, http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/LetUsStay/Default.htm, www.google.com, www.travelandleisure The Ritz-Carlton – this luxury brand wants to stay with you According to Hubspot, 92% of marketers in 2014 claimed that social media marketing was important for their business, with 80% indicating their efforts increased traffic to their websites. And according to Social Media Examiner, 97% of marketers… Read more »

Let there be shoes – How Zappos is changing the social media game with employee involvement

ekastner   October 5, 2015
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Title of Post: Let there be shoes – How Zappos is changing the social media game with employee involvement Organization: Zappos.com Industry: Online retail CEO: Tony Hsieh Web references: Zappos, Social Media Examiner, simply-communicate, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram When it comes to employee engagement, Zappos is doing it right! Consistently topping the leader boards with employee retention their practices are often… Read more »

Hyatt gets Social Media right by making it Personal

lwarburt   October 5, 2015
hyatt-logo

Title of Post: Hyatt gets Social Media right by making it Personal Organization: Hyatt.com Industry: Hospitality Web References: Hyatt Thrive, Harvard Business Review, Gallup, Wikepedia, Triplepundit, The Gallup organization reported that in 2014 over 68% of US employees toil day in and day out unengaged and/or actively disengaged in their workplace. That’s part of the modern world you yawn; but that could… Read more »

soleRebels “pairs” a great product with a strong ethical business model to create locally and sell globally

CRS   March 8, 2015

Organisation Name: soleRebels Industry: Footwear manufacturing and distribution Name of contact if available: Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Founder, CEO and Managing Director About soleRebels: In 2004, Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu began a footwear company based upon the creativity and skills of local Ethiopian artisans using sustainable production materials and methods. SoleRebels artisans create hand-crafted footwear while earning three to five times more… Read more »

Social Media and Employee Engagement: The Starbucks Example

tinageisel   February 1, 2015

Organization Name: Starbucks Corporation (Starbucks Coffee) Industry: Coffeehouse Name of contact if available: Howard Schultz, CEO Web references: http://www.jeffbullas.com/2010/06/14/starbucks-and-the-4-keys-to-social-media-engagement/ Who Are They? Basically you’d have to be living under a rock if you have not heard of Starbucks. But sadly if you have, Starbucks Corporation, more commonly known as Starbucks Coffee, is an American coffeehouse chain based in Seattle, Washington… Read more »

Unbottling Coca-Cola’s Employee Engagement Strategies

katewilson   February 1, 2015

Title of Post: Unbottling Coca-Cola’s Employee Engagement Strategies Organization Name: Coca-Cola Industry: Beverage Name of Contact: N/A Web references: www.coca-colacompany.com Who they are: The Coca-Cola Company is an American multinational beverage corporation and manufacturer, retailer and marketer of non-alcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups. The company is ranked as one of the worlds top ten private employers with over 700,000 system employees in more… Read more »

Giddy Up Little Pony!

Jaye Torley   October 21, 2014

Organization Name: Hyundai Industry: Automotive Name of Contact: Ted Troughton,  National Manager for Market Representation for Hyundai Canada In 1988 I bought a two year old Hyundai Pony. At that time they were referred to as “throw away cars”, you know, you drive it for 3-4 years and, well, you throw it away. Oh my, how things have changed! You ask the… Read more »

Red Lobster: “Sea’s” social media differently

Amanda   October 16, 2014

Organization Name: Red Lobster Industry: Restaurant Web References: Red Lobster’s Facebook Page We live in a world where we’re all connected and information is exchanged faster than I could have typed this sentence. Social media is the new way of interacting and organizations need to be part of this world to stay relevant and build relationships by engaging with their customers…. Read more »