Adam and Hannie Van Bergeijk were first farmers and cheesemakers in The Netherlands, and purchased their dairy farm just outside New Hamburg, Ontario in 1996, with a dream to return to cheesemaking. They started making Mountainoak Cheese in 2012 when dairy farmers were now permitted to handcraft artisan cheese. On their land, they grow, feed, care for, and milk their herd of over 200 dairy cows. They turn 4,000 litres of high-quality milk into each batch of delicious artisanal Mountainoak cheese, and they try to make cheese 2-3 times each week! In today’s fast-paced world, even farmers need to be on social media. It’s become a key tool for marketing and communicating with customers; social media gives farmers a platform to tell their story to consumers. In Mountainoak Cheese’s case, for showing how the cheese is made, sharing excitement about competitions, and keeping customers informed of their weekly specials and new retail partners where their cheese can be found.
“I wish every outfit I liked on Instagram would magically appear in my closet.” This popular meme from 2014 is almost a reality now with the LIKEtoKNOW.it app. Nowadays, pretty much anybody and everybody can be an influencer of some level and make money through social media. Top influencers are making 7-figures income (yes, $1M – you read that right) and are growing their brands from blogging to fashion line, online retail, home décor, modeling and much more. In 2011, Amber Venz Box, President and Co-Founder of rewardSTYLE & LIKEtoKNOW.it created her company as a way to make money through her own blog. Now, bloggers’ influence on their followers is very tangible through online sales.
Social media is all about building relationships. The application of social media in businesses is easy to understand and to witness in areas of marketing and customers engagement. But how can businesses use social media to improve their supply chain? By amalgamating consumers’ relationships with supply chain management, McCormick Spice Company offers a way to use social media to improve the transparency of its processes and to differentiate itself from the competition. McCormick Canada (Club House) was created in 1883 as Dyson & Co in London, Ontario. The company was acquired in 1959 by McCormick & Co from Baltimore, Maryland USA. Since its humble beginnings, McCormick Canada has grown to be one of the most well-known food company in the country. “Open any pantry or cupboard in any kitchen in Canada, and you’ll likely find a variety of our products, whether it be the spices for Grandma’s cookie recipe or the seasonings that add flair to your barbecue routine”. (source: McCormick Canada). The company is committed to pure flavour, which, in addition to the need to show consumers that McCormick herbs and spices offer a greater purity, has led to the Club House Pure Flavour Manifesto (source: McCormick Canada). The Manifesto is a multi-platform campaign, launched in 2016 that was created in part in reaction to the oregano ‘food fraud’.
This week, I started my research by Googling “what percentage of new products fail”. The featured snippets in search showed 80%. In other words, if you launch a new product, it will most likely fail. Some flops are now part of pop culture (Crystal Pepsi), some were just too “avant garde” (McDonald’s Arch Deluxe), others were painfully annoying (Windows Vista), and others just plain out dangerous (Samsung’s Galaxy s7). As it turns out, lack of preparation, speedy research & development to launch early and even sabotage from a competitor are all factors that contributes to most products failures. Good market research has always been a way to help with the preparation of a successful product launch. Nowadays, social media can replace old school focus groups in most companies and reduce the number of missed product launch, turn around quickly to avoid a disaster – or become Internet famous for the wrong reason.
Business mogul Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has said last month that obsessing over their customers was the secret of his success. Who can argue with him? Marketers know the importance of developing authentic relationships with customers as a key strategy to ensure repeat sales. Furthermore, social medias have increase the proximity between the brands and the customers. Clients regularly interact online with their favourite brands to share posts, ask questions, comments, complain and give feedback. This is important because 95% of Millennials are following a brand through social media (source: Dreamgrow). When customers are positively engaged with a brand or a public figure, they do not even have to promote themselves on social media: it is their customers who do it for them. The vast majority of consumers (71%) who have had a good social media experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others (source: Dreamgrow). Therefore, how does positive customer engagement look like? In her article 7 Customer Engagement Strategies That Marketers Can’t Ignore, Audrey Ference states that “Customer engagement is about encouraging your customers to interact and share in the experiences you create for them as a business and a brand. When executed well, a strong customer engagement strategy will foster brand growth and loyalty.”
It’s a common thinking that human resources are the most important asset of an organization. Big companies, small start-ups, non-for-profit… no matter the size, most businesses understand the benefits and ROI of employee involvement. In my research to find companies excelling in this strategy through social medias, I was particularly drawn to the story of Legal Monkeys. They manage medical records for medium to big American law firms. Their expertise and field of work is so far from the company I work for, however the fact that they are, too, a small organization (80 employees), got me thinking about the use of social medias in smaller scale businesses – such as where I spend my own 9-to-5.
Award winning, Influential and Ahead of the Curve It’s hard to imagine that ten years ago, the term “social media” was only just stepping foot onto the main stage of popular culture and that social media giant Facebook was in it’s infancy. What’s more; Facebook “Pages” for businesses (as we know them today) were not even a “thing” yet (launching… Read more »
Technology has allowed us to increase our efficiency at being “connected”. Whether the connection is for work or pleasure, we use computers, tablets and smart phones to have a constant “connection”. Social Media continues to show its diversity on Smart TV’s. Television manufacturers caught on to the social media trend several years ago and continue to develop… Read more »