Private and corporate business models have not ignored the wave of the future of marketing: social media. In theory, it is an ideal, magical marketing tool best used for garnering interest, building followers and customers, and monitoring the successes and failures of digital campaigns via an alarming amount of data. These functions continue to make social media central to the contemporary corporate marketing team. But what about the small business, the entrepreneur, or the industry of community services, charity, or social enterprise, where a multi-person marketing team is not in the cards? How might social media as a marketing tool aid a non-profit organization in reaching goals, building donors, and creating buzz with (sometimes) less resources? For the marketing team at Toronto’s Furniture Bank, social media is a key, cost-efficient, and effective tool in the promotion of the organization and meeting its ongoing goals of building brand awareness, growing donors, and strengthening relationships with its sponsors. (Below: A video giving a glimpse into Furniture Bank‘s daily operations, with a personal touch. The organization has used visual platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram in recent years to up its online content game, and give a more defined face to the brand, and how the Furniture Bank “machine” works.)
Media. Monitoring. No one understands the utility of social media in the development of products better than than those in the thick of the media monitoring industry, the champions of multiple products which, like digital butterfly nets, capture curated data from the far corners of the online world, with the aims to organize, analyze, and report on that data in an impactful way. In effect, social media research in this industry IS the product. In Canada, a competitive set of top industry players, such as Cision Canada, have made the monitoring, organizing, and analysis of traditional and social data their full-time business by developing digital media monitoring/analysis platforms and bringing them to market. And, given the nearly daily shifts in digital technologies and modes of communication, pushing out new user-friendly, contemporary communications products for clients (mostly those in PR, marketing, advertising, and communications across an expansive list of industries), and meeting the demands of the market in a timely and effective way, are vital in staying relevant to the needs of the communications and PR professionals who’s primary need is to keep their fingers on the pulse.
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.
Welcoming employees into your digital content strategy isn’t always easy, especially if your company represents a niche product or service that might not lend itself to community-building on social channels. For Penguin | Random House Canada, however, demonstrating employee engagement appears easy enough. Like many successful shops, Penguin recognizes that the core of their business is a widely-celebrated object, for customers and staff alike: the book. Through its recent content strategy, followers have come to understand that Penguin employees are a fans as well.
I am one of those people who is fascinated by branding and marketing. Who brands are, why they are who they are, how they share and connect with their targeted audiences… why did that ad campaign work? How did that company figure to target that audience in that way? And of course, why is some marketing such a failure? In my love for branding and marketing mixed with my passion for social media, I came across Gary Vaynerchuk years ago (if you don’t know him, Gary is “…one of the most sought after public speakers alive today. He is a venture capitalist, 4-time New York Times bestselling author, and an early investor in companies such as Twitter, Tumblr, Venmo and Uber. Gary has been named to bothCrain’s and Fortune’s 40 Under 40 lists.” (GaryVaynerchuk.com, 2017)) I follow Gary on social media, and was excited to see he was part of a series Apple is releasing on iTunes, Planet of the Apps. This show “…a sort of hybrid of The Voice and Shark Tank lets app developers make their pitch to four potential celeb mentors: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Will.i.am who then help coach their mentees through developing their pitches and courting venture capitalists for investments.” (Howard, 2017) One of the most successful pitches on Planet of the Apps was Dote. Dote dons itself a mobile mall in your pocket (Dote, 2017). “The app curates products from over 130 stores, including Sephora, Forever21, and Urban Outfitters, in one place. All you need to do is enter your credit card once, and you can buy a product with a single tap, without wasting time shopping on individual store websites.” (Buxton, 2017) Dote also landed a 5 million dollar investment from VC’s from a pitch on Planet of the Apps, “one of the largest ever doled out on a TV series.” (Vogue, 2017)
Paul Sperry hailed from a family that had a longstanding relationship with the sea. As a result, he went on to become an accomplished sailor himself. Sperry was a Seamen, First Class in the United States Navy and in his spare time sailed aboard his own boat ‘Sirocco‘. During a chance encounter with rough seas, poor shoes on a slippery deck nearly cost Paul Sperry his life. It was at that moment that he began searching for a solution to the unfortunate problem of many sailors. After much trial and error, it was eventually Sperry’s dog who would help him come to a solution. After watching his dog run across ice without struggle, Sperry decided to create grooves in a rubber sole, similar to those that were in his dog’s paws. In 1935, the first Sperry deck shoes were made. The sole of the Sperry Top-Sider deck shoe “sticks like a barnacle” and was therefore trusted by the United States Navy as an official shoe during the Second World War, The Kennedy Family during their sailing adventures, and as the official shoe for the America’s Cup. Given the fact that the Sperry brand of deck shoes were, and continue to be the top choice of such customers, it is no wonder that the Sperry brand entrusts their customers to ensure the quality and the longevity of the brand.
Toronto-based Lulu et Elle Photography specializes in stylized newborn imagery. Owner and principal photographer Lana Polashek is at the top of her game on account of her innovative and personalized approach to documenting the arrival of newborns. Her success lies in the ability to produce photography shaped by client-driven narratives and share the studio experience through social media. “Being a newborn photographer allows me to document intense moments of vulnerability. The fragility of the baby, along with the vulnerable state of the parents, are all essential parts of the story. This is where my brand is – excuse the pun – born. Customer engagement starts at the most fundamental level – the photography session – and continues through my social media strategy.” Lana Polashek Customer engagement can be understood as the psychological state emanating from a collaborative customer/brand experience. Engagement reflects a motivational state which occurs through an individual’s interactions with a particular product or service. Engagement differs from satisfaction, as the former is focused on consumers’ cognitive, emotional and behavioural patterns during specific brand interactions, whereas the latter may only develop thereafter.
A new approach to employee involvement The L’Oréal Group developed a two prong social media strategy to engage existing employees and compete for top talent. L’Oréal is the world’s largest beauty and cosmetics firm with its head office in Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine, France. Offerings include hair products, skin care, sun protection, make-up, and perfume. With increased employee engagement through social media, L’Oréal has been able to demonstrate the benefits of its corporate culture to a broader audience.
Today’s marketing landscape is ever changing, and with it, the way we engage with our customers. It is no longer about selling a service or a product; now it is all about the customer experience. Companies like T by Daniel, a Brampton based tea house, strive to provide a genuinely exceptional experience for each and every person they meet. Lovers of tea, fashion and especially people, Daniela and Renata Lewis had a vision to start something that could speak to all generations and could bring people together 1. It began when Daniel Lewis overcame a tragedy and used his new found passion for life to follow his dream with his loving wife by his side. “From the moment a person walks into our store, our immediate goal is to wow them” says Renata Lewis, co-founder. Their friendly staff focus on getting to know their customers, whether in person or online.
Full disclosure: I’ve been a ‘BzzAgent’ for a number of months now. How did I find out about it? Someone else told me. In turn, I’ve told others and promoted the site to them. And that, is exactly what BzzAgent is trying to do. BzzAgent is part of dunnhumby, a customer science company that analyzes data and customer insight. According to dunnhumby they, “married science with the most expansive suite of consumer advocacy solutions on the planet to create the next generation of advocacy marketing – one created to build and sustain long-term brand growth. From insights and consumer generated content that optimise your product launch plan to widespread reviews that deliver on your brand promise to the authentic customer conversations across social media that drive product sales, you’ll feel the impact of these programs across your entire enterprise. BzzAgent’s Advocacy Suite is a blend of social and science you won’t find anywhere else – with results you won’t find anywhere else, either.” To the customer, they are marketed as a way to get freebies and sample new products that you can ‘brag’ about to your friends. There are twitter accounts and blogs devoted to ‘free stuff’ and giveaways and BzzAgent fits into that demographic perfectly.
Organization Name: Tim Hortons Industry: Restaurant/Coffee Name of Contact: Peter Nowlan, CMO, Tim Hortons Web References: Tim Hortons, internetslang, Swyftmedia, Emarketer, The Gathering, MakeSnaps, iTunes, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, National Post Are emojis the new internet slang? According to Swyft Media, 6 billion emoticons or emoji stickers are sent every day via mobile messaging apps worldwide…. Read more »
Organization name: University of Waterloo, Center for Extended Learning Industry: Education, Professional Development Name of contact: Peter Carr, PhD, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance Web references: Social Media for Business Performance Using Crowdsourcing to Develop a Student Resources Application WordPress is a relatively easy program to use. However, for novice users who are not widely computer experienced, and… Read more »
ORGANIZATION NAME: Fortress Real Developments INDUSTRY: Financial Services – Mortgage Products NAME OF CONTACT: John Tenpenny, Manager of Communications, FDS Broker Services I’m fortunate to have raised both my 24 & 25 year old daughters on the “MATRIX” franchise which with the inclusion of all three movies, grossed over $742,000,000. “The Matrix … depicts a dystopian future in which reality as perceived by… Read more »
Organization Name: TD Bank Financial Group Industry: Retail Banking Name of contact if available: Mathieu Nesbitt, Mobile Mortgage Specialist Web references for TD: Twitter, facebook, website Description of how social media is used for business performance: TD is among the five largest banks in Canada, offering anywhere, anytime banking solutions through branch, telephone and internet banking. It has been the recipient, eight years in… Read more »
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 »
Graco Baby connects through Heart to Heart blog – Social Media Marketing to tech-savvy parents You find out you’re expecting your first child. So many things are racing through your mind and you don’t know where to start. You need a crib. A stroller. A car seat. And like most expecting and new parents these days, you start with an online… Read more »