In today’s current social media climate, older companies sometimes struggle to maintain their relevance if they are not quick to develop and sustain an effective social media marketing strategy. A product like LaCroix, with its 37 year history, proves that old brands can emerge like “brand new” again, through the proper implementation of social media marketing. LaCroix is a brand of natural sparkling water offered in a variety of fruity flavours. Despite its French sounding name, LaCroix is actually an American brand distributed by the Sundance beverage company. Although the label was developed and released nearly 40 years ago in 1981, LaCroix is often mistaken as a new, trend-setting beverage due to its ever increasingly popularity with millennials. However, this affinity between the younger generations and LaCroix did not just happen overnight, nor was it a coincidence. In fact, LaCroix came up with a very specific social media strategy in order to win over its now prominent millennial consumers.
Today’s marketplace is highly competitive. In order to differentiate themselves and stay ahead of the competition, companies must think of innovative ways to streamline their operations, increase efficiencies, and optimize productivity. One such aspect of achieving greater efficiency is through good supply chain management practices. Not super sexy, but super important, supply chains and supply chain management are topics that your business should be constantly evaluating!
Being able to create something customers want to engage with and something that catches their attention when they’re scrolling their news feeds daily is a struggle many companies are dealing with now that social media has taken over. Vacations and travel are no different, every company, resort, cruise ship wants you to pick them for your next holiday and how they approach their marketing and engaging customers could make or break their chance at earning your business. “Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. comprises six distinctive companies that share a vision anchored in excellence.” They operate in 47 countries with 50+ ships ranging with staterooms to fit 2500-7000 guests at a time. “We believe we are in the business of making tremendous memories” Michael Giresi, Chief Information Officer, Royal Caribbean Cruises. To make sure you are successful in making memories and meeting all the expectations of an amazing vacation you need to have exceptional customer experience, relationships and engagement not only during the trip but also leading up to it and afterwards. Royal Caribbean has been successful with this through their Crown and Anchor Loyalty Program, personalized emails based on recent searches and the new Royal IQ app that can be used on board. In today’s society everyone wants the newest, greatest and latest in everything they do which is why Royal Caribbean introduced Symphony of the Seas.
In recent years, the ways in which customers behave and interact with organizations has changed significantly. Social media has led to greater competition and weaker brand loyalty, where organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to control their messages. Consumers now have a stronger presence in the market, and organizations are tapping into these changes to increase customer engagement. This is why customer engagement via social media marketing is so important to a company’s bottom line.
In order to properly engage customers on social media platforms, companies/organizations are wise to deviate from conventional in-your face marketing techniques and opt instead to learn to participate in organic communication with their consumers, which in turn fosters loyal relationships among old and new customers alike. General Mills is a prime example of a company that uses social media to their advantage. Not only do they listen to customers and engage them in meaningful ways, but they also have fun doing it. General Mills is what some would refer to as a food processing super giant. The company maintains over 80 leading brands in the USA alone, not to mention various others across the globe.
Shopping has changed a lot over the years from shopping online to wireless debit machines to credit card readers for smartphones and almost any kind of delivery that can be tracked. Did you ever wonder what would be next? Amazon designed and built a supermarket style store called Amazon Go that was created through advanced technology. The purpose of this store is to provide people a shopping experience without having to wait in check-out lines or be served by cashiers. Amazon Go was first launched for employees in December 2017 and opened up to the public in January 2018. If someone wants to shop at Amazon Go they first must have an Amazon account and the IPhone or Android app downloaded on their smartphones. This app is required to be downloaded for the customer to enter the store, as the customer enters the store they have to scan their smart phones to begin their shopping experience. Customers are provided with reusable shopping bags to use and leave with, there are no shopping carts or baskets for customers to use. The store is filled with many cameras along the ceilings that watch every move a customer makes. In addition to cameras, the shelves are equipped with weight sensors that sensor if an item has been removed from the shelf or put back. Every time a customer takes something off the shelf the item is charged to the customer’s account. The customer can always put something back on the shelf and it will be taken off their account. A customer can even return items after leaving the store. The store isn’t completely “staffless”, there are employees in the kitchen prepping fresh food, there are also employees around the store that restock and organize shelves to maintain the store. Another position that is still filled by humans in the store is checking IDs in the alcohol section. Once the customer is ready to leave all they have to do is walk out of the store. A few minutes after walking out of the store, the customer receives a digital receipt that shows the total of their bill. The Amazon Go app will also inform the customer with data on how much time they spent shopping.
DoTERRA is a company that is known for selling essential oils and other related products. The company was founded in 2008 in Pleasant Grove, Utah, United States. The name doTERRA comes from a Latin derivative meaning “Gift of the Earth”. DoTERRA is a multi-level marketing company that involves direct marketing and referrals. Multi-level marketing is directed at individuals to sell and promote the brand instead of the company only using mass marketing. These individuals are called “Wellness Advocates” that work for doTERRA and usually use the products as any other customer.
Being responsible for product launching for a Global company I have seen first hand over the years how important it is for attendee engagement. In the past we measured success of a corporate event by the number of attendees along with feedback from a post conference survey. Today attendee engagement is measured at every contact point from registration, pre-conference event, and conference day and post conference and experiential is critical in ensuring an engaged attendee.
It is hard to believe that purchasing razor blades would include a little comic relief but that is exactly what you get when you subscribe to the Dollar Shave Club. My husband, a member since 2014 signed up for The Dollar Shave Club (DSC) after seeing a video shared on Facebook. The Los Angeles-based startup launched in 2011 with the goal idea to steal market share from razor powerhouse, Gillette. Founder & CEO Michael Dubin promised a better price point: for $3 a month, no contracts and no hidden fees, DSC sends you a high quality razor. He created a crude and goofy viral video to support the launch. Fast forward to 2018 and that that video has been viewed over 25 million times, and DSC has grown to include 1.1 million subscribers, a whopping $615 million valuation in 2015, and most recently a $1 Billion all-cash acquisition by Unilever. DSC is a young, smart, stylish, yet playful brand. When you join the club, you’re not just signing on for low-cost razors and blades, you’re investing in the monthly “delight” that comes along with it. As a member, you get in on the joke and belong to an exclusive community that no other brand offers. If your brand can give someone an experience unlike any other; something they can share on Instagram, or mention to their coworkers or friends, they will be that much more pleased (and loyal) in the long run.
FirstOntario Credit Union (FCU) is a classic Canadian success story. FCU first began in 1939, they went through a number of name changes from Stelco Credit Union to Avestel and merged with Family Savings (formerly Auto Workers’ Credit Union) to eventually becoming FirstOntario Credit Union. FCU provide all of the services, safety and security of a major financial institution but with one big difference: “FirstOntario operate on a cooperative model so our Members (customers) are always first, and we see you as a person not a credit score”. They provide these services through 32 locations in 14 communities across Ontario, including Hamilton, Halton, Niagara, Norfolk, and Oxford.
When describing FreshBooks, CEO, Mike McDerment, refers to them as the “leader in online invoicing. What we do is help professionals and their contractors save time, look professional and get paid faster when they invoice their clients and each other. “ Not exactly a business model one would normally associate with a fresh (no pun intended) and ingratiating online presence — but the team at FreshBooks have managed to find a way to connect with customers through social media in a deep (and some would say, near-legendary) way.
What do you get when you mix a burger promotion and Valentine’s Day? You get a “Bling Mac”. What are the first two things that come to mind when you think Valentine’s Day? Would it be food and jewellery? Movies and flowers? In most cases, the trend on Valentine’s Day involves food and jewellery. http://bit.ly/2EjKxrw. This year McDonald’s has decided to stay on top of consumers’ minds during Valentine’s Day.
Company Overview The Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo opens its classroom doors beyond lecture halls to elementary and secondary schoolrooms in the community at large. Through contests, face-to-face workshops, nonprofit school visits, and providing online resources, the Faculty of Mathematics extends their educational doors through the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC). The CEMC is a community outreach organization that aims to increase interest, enjoyment, confidence, and proficiency in mathematics and computer science education among students and teachers within Canada and internationally. To obtain more information about their outreach activities, please follow the links provided in each section: Contests Workshops & School Visits Online Resources MMT Program In addition to outreach activities, the CEMC also offers a Master of Mathematics for Teaching (MMT) program. The MMT is designed to provide current grade school teachers of mathematics with an opportunity to expand their knowledge base and to gain a deeper understanding of the mathematics underlying the content that they teach students in the classroom. The program is unique, in that it focuses on the applications of mathematics – not on pedagogy – and is offered part-time, as well as online. The majority of the Centre’s customers are teachers. This program is a way of building new relationships with new teachers, who enroll into the program. It’s a way to tap into new networks and the program even finds that many of the teachers blog or tweet and retweet about the Centre.
Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) is an American retailer that focuses on upscale casual wear for young consumers, its headquarters are in New Albany, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. The company operates two other offshoot brands: Abercrombie Kids & Hollister Co. The company operates 1,049 stores across all four brands. (Wikipedia, 2017) Once known for its sexy ad campaigns, the company has toned down its imagery and no longer displays nearly nude models in their advertisements. According to Chairman Arthur Martinez, Abercrombie and Fitch is now targeting an older consumer, from ages 18–25. These changes provide the hopes that the audience will see the company is evolving along with its consumers, and boost sales. (Wikipedia, 2017) The field of digital content marketing is maturing, and companies need to make sure that their content campaigns and strategies are keeping up (James, 2017) and being published on time. Gone are the days of free publishing tools, paid third party platforms are paving the path for content publishing. Spredfast can assist many companies including Fortune 500 companies succeed with publishing their content, listening and responding. Thus making social media marketing, real, more human like receiving more engagement and having ads that stand out. Spredfast is a U.S.-based social marketing software company that provides community management, content management, social care, and social analytics tools to brands and agencies. Spredfast was able to assist with Abercrombie & Fitch with publishing and finding those crutial conversations online, and knowing exacting when to take a stab at a conversation, and know when to monitor it, chime in and provide customer support.
Papa John’s Pizza has been using social media channels to help educate customers where products and ingredients are coming from, and creating time effective ordering options available on channels. Aside from social channels, the company has also used a collaborative technology solution to help support the efficiency of the supply chain. The company outsourced the supply chain needs to Manhattan Associates, a supply chain software company, to help create more time effective and cost saving inventory management. Eric Hartman, Senior Director of Logistics said, “Manhattan solutions allow us to manage inventory levels accurately, efficiently and more dynamically based on actual need—and that has resulted in our being able to reduce overall inventory levels (Manhattan, 2013)”. Using the collaborative software has also provided better solutions to inventory transportation. The software can optimize routes, improving on-time store deliveries, and the overall performance of their fleet (Trebilcock, B., 2014, October). Customer service relies on the speed of the supply chain to help get their products to customers in an effective way that will save time and money. “Implementation of Manhattan’s solutions has provided unprecedented visibility along with reduced expenses, improved efficiency and productivity in every part of the supply chain (Manhattan, 2013)”. Papa John’s wants to ensure that its “fast food” moves just as quickly throughout every level of the supply chain.
Chevrolet is one of the world’s largest automotive brands, doing business in more than 140 countries. In the Middle East (ME), Chevrolet has a strong heritage that has come to represent a trusted automotive brand that fulfills transportation needs and aspirations of customers. In 2015 – Chevrolet approached Traffic Digital, and their event partners Blink Experience, with an admirable corporate social responsibility (CSR) idea. This encouraged people to give back during the Holy Month of Ramadan. The idea involved a widespread on social media, posting about the campaign meant truly contributing to it. For every post, Chevrolet would donate Iftar meals to workers residing in labor camps across 6 selected cities (Jeddah, Riyadh, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Doha). Social Media Marketing is an ideal way reach an audience. Real time sharing and the ability to ride your consumers’ emotional waves provides a top notch marketing opportunity. “Having been in the Middle East for nearly 100 years, Chevrolet understands the importance of Ramadan as a special time to reflect and give. And we want to give: to our customers and to the community in general,” said Markus Leith, Managing Director (ME) Commercial Operations. An analysis of the IPAdataBANK has shown, campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well as those with purely rational content.
Social media (as its name suggests) seems to function best for customer engagement when companies bypass the impersonal and take the customer firmly by the (digital) hand. This courting is difficult to do, yet Lay’s Canada (a PepsiCo company), a brand which largely relies on *actual* consumer consumption of their products, recognized that giving the customer agency, or the feeling of ‘a say’ in the design or production of a product is a highly effective, person-to-person way of engaging consumers, relying on them to buy Lay’s products with the subtle feeling that they have had a personal investment or stake in the brand. As a marketing tool, this kind of consumer-business enmeshment is prime territory for social media, which functions largely (and hopefully successfully) as a means of engagement. By researching a consumer’s stake in the product offering, companies like Lay’s assess which viral topics or trends are meaningful to their customers, and follow suit with an effectively-designed interactive digital campaign to increase daily or ongoing engagement with the public. And the outcome of this kind of campaign can be unprecedented.
Netflix is one of the most successful subscription services in the world, 5.2 million customers in Canada. Netflix not only is winning with customer engagement through its content on its services but their “Suggestions for you” their strategy of how they have engaged their customers at a level never-before-seen.The U.S. Facebook Page is a mix of videos, gifs and occasionally images, all related to the currently streaming episodes and movies.
LiveCA LLP is a virtual CPA firm. Founded in 2012 when Josh Zweig CPA, CA, LPA and Chad Davis CPA, CMA joined forces and created an online accounting firm out of a love of technology and desire to work from anywhere with an internet connection. As Canada’s first online only accounting firm they provide the same professional services as a traditional brick and mortar firm such as tax, accounting, bookkeeping, payroll and technology services however with an emphasis and focus on systems. “Being a virtual practice in itself is not anything special,” says Chad. “But what makes it game-changing is how we have also focussed on building a practice driven by customer needs, not pricing based on a menu and not being closed minded on the services we’ll offer. Through this we spent a lot of time on processes, documenting as much as we can, systematically learning from every failure, and involving everybody in the firm in constantly improving every single aspect of what we do. Because of that we are able to attract the very best people, wherever they are located in the country. It’s really rewarding working next to people who believe the same things you believe and work tirelessly every day to make the lives of our customers better.” Chad Davis, CPA, CMA, Partner at LiveCA LLP, quoted in “LiveCA – how a practice became totally digital” How does LiveCA LLP engage with clients and build strong client relationships?
As one of the biggest international beauty stores, Sephora has managed to surpass retailers by increasing the number of engaged online and instore customers. After winning the 2017 The World Retail Congress’s International Retailer of the Year, the company has been able to enhance the in-store retail experience by letting customers take the in-store experience home with them. “Sephora has more than 20 million customers that shop and interact with the brand with thousands of products and 100 brand partners who bring these products to life (Forte, D. (2017)”. Now all of these customers have the ultimate online shopping experience.
In the midst of this Social/Mobile Marketing Era, business has changed its focus from being all about maximising a company’s financial return, to real-time connections, and social exchanged based on relationships driven by the consumers. An industry that understands and uses customer engagement as a tool is the beauty industry.
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.
“Engaging customers through social media is an important tool for R3. Our Facebook live feeds allows us to build TRUST with our clients and enables them to know who we are” – Coach Crystal Mallari – Owner of R3VOLVELIFE fitness studio and online services. Opening its doors in 2013, R3VOLVELIFE Studio (aka R3) is a Coaching and Weight Loss Studio located in Mississauga. R3 is not a commercial or “big-box” gym. It is a unique boutique fitness studio with a tight knit community of members. At R3 you will experience the benefits of one and one personal training in a class environment, hands on instruction, and encouragement from all their coaches. In the last 2 years, after feedback and comments from its members, Coach Crystal decided to expand its brick and mortar business to an online enterprise by offering a digital library of workout videos and online weight loss challenges. These online services are facilitated through social media platforms in order to engage its customers.
For Metroland Media, customer engagement is essential for many aspects of their business since there are such large selections of print publications and other media sources available to the public. Although all media channels are equally important to Metroland Media, their community newspapers and print publications are their number one source of revenue. Today we see the Internet evolving into a larger number of social media channels and television alternatives; this puts customer engagement at the top of their priority list. With the amount of choices available, competition amongst companies and brand loyalty becomes a problem.
So what is the future for social media? Well, it seems daunting to try to predict the future even more so if you consider the exponential growth of technological innovation so I am going to try to look at the year ahead. In the article “5 Trends That Will Transform Social Media in 2017” it is suggested that 66% of adults globally, log on to Facebook every day. It is clear that social media use continues to advance and using it to advance your business is also critically important. Other things to pay attention to: Not only is social media usage continuing to increase it is doing so across all demographics. Employees are going to increasingly be encouraged to share business updates. People want real-time “real-time” updates. Increasingly there will be an expectation from consumers for even quicker responses to their inquiries. Decisions will be increasingly driven by analytics. Social analytic tools continue to get more powerful and can provide valuable information even to beginning users of social media. On this point, it is important to reflect on the data that is driving decisions. In the article” Are We Mining Data Instead of Answering Questions”, it is suggested that the biggest challenge in the big data world is understanding that data analysis is not the same as answering questions. There are nuances in social data that compliment pure data in understanding what the data is saying. For example counting the number of likes of a particular post is interesting but if the individual responds with a like and also says “because there were easy to follow lessons” that provides added value. Social video content is important and will only get more important going forward. I would add to this list in that I think there is a lot more opportunity to use social media for collaboration particularly between businesses and between organizations. Consumers want to have the full range of services available to them conveniently and are expecting organizations and businesses to be working together to provide that service to them. In the article “From Social Networks to Collaboration Networks: The Next Evolution of Social Media for Business”, the author argues that the biggest opportunity for Social Networks is the opportunity for collaboration. These collaborative networks breed co-creation, and most importantly the culture of collaboration. “The new generation of Millennials and Generation C (connected, computerized and community oriented) have… Read more »