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The social media landscape is continually changing. Identify and discuss one implication for brands that you see going forward and how this might impact a company’s existing social media strategy. Is this implication a result of changes in human behavior, changes in technology, or both? Why?

As media and data become more and more mobile, location based services will become more popular. Some of the mobile applications include http://shopkick.com/,   a location based rewards application, which pops up various discounts and rewards to the bargain shopper with a tech savvy device.  Another application called http://www.xtify.com/  which uses location targeting, also called geo targeting to “push” local messages to device wielding users in certain locations. Of course one can always check in with foursquare https://foursquare.com/  and see what local deals are available all around the area that they check in from. The social media interaction potential with location based technology is endless.

The reason for the rise in this type of social media is simple, we are connected as well as mobile. Every level of demographics usually has some sort of mobile device and uses it. A smart company will tap into its desired demographics at key zip code locations. Popular and up and coming programs often generate buzz. The information and discounts that a smart company can put onto those platforms will turn the social media application’s buzz into the company’s measurable and traceable return on its investment (ROI).  For these reasons and the human trend of mobile data devices, location base services are smart money spent by a company. Ty Ray

 

Reference

Schwab, Stephanie (2011).Five Social Media Trends for 2011. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/social-media-marketing/five-social-media-trends-for-2011/

Falkow, Sally (2012). Trends for 2012: Social Media Intelligence. Retrieved from http://www.proactivereport.com/c/sm/trends-for-2012-social-media-intelligence/

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It is the start of the football season. The website that does well for its social media initiatives is The National Football League brand website at http://www.nfl.com/ . The National Football League is an American icon in the world of sports.  The site is active, in real time, and quite interactive. It is full of all kinds of widgets, plug ins, and badges that allow the NFL consumer to interact with the company brand.

So what is viral marketing? “Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence.”(Wilson 2012) In short, viral marketing is making sure that you allow your message to be shared, commented on, interacted with, and taken to the masses.

The NFL.com site has a “pick em” section. Pick em is when a person decides who will win the game mentioned. The NFL site allows for the fan to not only puck the winner of said game, but also to make their own comments as to why you think your team will win. Comments can be posted as well as liked. This interactive content allows for fans to stay involved with the weekly games all season long.

The NFL.com site also has a Fantasy Football section. A fan can pick a fictitious league online with friends. The league player choices and the stats are updated in real time weekly. The league as well is the weekly standings can also be posted on Facebook’s for peers to see and comment on. This is a great team building application which can be enjoyed by any football fan. The social commenting ability on the player’s choices allows any football fan to be involved in the fantasy football application.

There are NFL reporters on the NFL.com site who post on Facebook and Twitter. One recent example said “From Twitter-Lot of good signs for Alshon Jeffrey. In 2 WR sets on goal line. Just ran away from 3 defenders on 34-yd gain. @greggrosenthal Gregg Rosenthal Retweet. The example post allows the NFL fan to do many things. The fan can like or dislike the comment. If they want to they can make their own comment about that person and what they said. They can also “retweet” or resend the original comment from their own Twitter accounts.

A contest is a great way to make a website achieve a great interactive draw. “Free” is the most powerful word in a marketer’s vocabulary. (Wilson 2012) One such contest on NFL.com is the “NFL Rush Fantasy Football Game.” http://fantasy.nflrush.com/rush . This is a great spinoff on the office classic. It is a head to head online fantasy contest, with prizes from the NFL for winning. The prizes include NFL gear, NFL tickets, as well as school scholarships.  The roster, league choices, and leaderboard are all real time and interactive.  This is done through what is called “the comment box.”  Says the sites comment box rules “Comment Box: All Fantasy users will now have the ability to post comments and connect with fellow players via a comment box that lives on the right side of the LEADERBOARD tab. Additionally; there will be a comment box on the LEAGUE tab, where users who belong to the same league may leave comments for other users in their league.”

A great interactive aspect which is unique to NFL.com is the “Everything to Prove” page. It is located at http://www.nfl.com/qs/everythingtoprove/index.jsp and is an amazing depository of the NFL real time video, web updates, background on each player and player Tweets. All of the videos can be viewed, commented, and shared. People feel like they are part of the NFL first year players drive to prove themselves.  Twitter, Facebook, as well as mobile devices can all be used in this viral gem.  An example of this interaction is rookie QB Andrew Luck posting right on the page through his Twitter account. He writes “@nflcolts-Driving past the site of tomorrow night’s game, Heinz Field. Game time 8pm Sunday Night on NBC #COLTSTRONG http://t.co/P9Kpncvv about 5 hours ago”. The last link is posted to the popular picture site Instagram, and shows the Colts getting off the plane. This is a great way to project relevance for both the Colts team as well as Andrew Luck. It also puts the fan front and center in a timely manner.

The “Everything to Prove” viral video is a great interactive NFL page. It is located at http://www.nfl.com/qs/everythingtoprove/index.jsp . Each piece of footage is able to be shared as well as recommended.  This shows great football footage of the players in action.  The viral video D3 Designs says “A viral video can be twice as effective as written material.”  The reason for this is that most people remember what they see more than what they read. If this concept was not true then television would not remain as popular as it is today.  (Dwase 2012). These videos can even either be directly emailed to a friend or posted on any social media site.

What can viral videos do for you brand? It can breathe new life, as well as ad personality to your brand. Old Spice was older brand geared towards elderly men until the brand launched its “The Man You could smell like” campaign. This viral ad series featured young and athletic men describing Old Spice as a “mans” smell. The ad projects Old Spice as the product for the desirable man. Product reinvented.

NFL.com is successful in its ability to turn itself into a young raw brand. By allowing all content to be given different measures of interactivity, allowing its content to be shared, and making its information real time form both the player and the team standpoint, the NFL is now the people’s brand. Anyone who goes onto the NFL.com site is going to feel like part of the National Football League. They are going to share the excitement and buzz with their friends and family, as well as social media as a whole. This is not the old, historical, pigskin site of old. This is the new, interactive, and viral NFL.  Touchdown!

Reference

Dwase, Daniel (2012) Viral Video Marketing: How YouTube Can Help Increase Your Web Traffic Retrieved on August 18th, 2012 from http://www.d3webdesigns.com/viral-video.html .

Wilson, R. (2005). The Six Simple Principles of Viral Marketing.  Retrieved on August 18th, 2012, from http://www.wilsonweb.com/wmt5/viral-principles.htm.

Serjeant, Pete (2012) Top Seven Ways You Can Use Social Video To Add Personality To Your Bland Brand. Retrieved on August 18th, 2012, from http://mememachine.viralvideochart.com/blog/2011/1/20/top-seven-ways-you-can-use-social-video-to-add-personality-t.html

       Visa has a great ad with Go World 2012. In the ad it directly touts both world athletics and its sponsorship of the Olympics for 25 years. The ad is filled with athletes from all over the world trover the world working their hardest at the sport they are in. The words in the ad are narrated by Morgan Freeman. This is a very worldly, inspiring, and image building ad for Visa. Per Advertising Age, the online ad reached 4,229,291 people in the week of August 8th, 2012. This was also the week of the London Games so it coincided with current world events, allowing the Olympic frenzy to feed into enthusiasm for those products which are related to it. The ad very effectively ties the Visa brand to the common motivations and behaviors of anyone routing for Olympic athletes, or anyone trying to do well. The timing, images, and the narration make this simple massage of Visa and its history of sponsorship of the Games a winning viral ad.

      The business initiative is clear for Visa in this ad. It says, “We are a world class brand that gives back to the world community.” It also links the peak performance of world class athletes to a world class company like Visa. Thirdly it projects itself as a long established world brand by saying that it has sponsored the Olympic Games for over 25 years. This ad certainly links world athletics to the world bard of Visa. It uses imagery and words to show Visa as an established world credit card brand. Anyone seeing this ad would think that Visa is the credit card to use all over the world. Ty Ray

Reference

Visa “The Difference” Go World 2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9PZV1e9jks

The Top Ten Viral Ads of the week of Aug 8th, 2012 http://www.visiblemeasures.com/adage

    I found a recent Mashable article which takes a close look at search engine optimization.  It is important to note that old links, link buying, as well as link volumes have been ways to rise up in search engine results in days gone by. (Snow 2011). Social media surely affects search engine optimization, says both Bing and Google. Both search engines admit that the measured search engine results are affected in a positive way  by many social signals. These include Twitter tweets, Facebook Likes, as well as +1s.

    With social media, the search engine information comes from common users. Social media allows people to share information in an engaged way, and in real time to others.  Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land, said in a recent interview. “Social media allows for people to provide more trusted signals.”(Snow 2011)

   So in the early days of Digg Excite and Webcrawler, users voted on what content became the top priority within its search engine application. As spammers try to mask themselves as useful results, user rated content allows for the legitimately usable links to shine through the clutter. Taking user generated social data into account when serving search engine results can only help promote useful links.

Ty Ray

Reference

Snow, Shane (2011). How Social Media Affects Content Relevance in Search. Retrieved on August 7th 2012 from http://mashable.com/2011/09/09/seo-social-media/.

The company I want to showcase is for a social media makeover is Jeep at http://www.jeep.com/en/. The company site has a Jeep blog on one of its panes. It has side pane with a link on Facebook, You Tube, Google, Flickr, and Twitter. All of these efforts, however, are secondary to the Jeep theme that it is a historical American Icon. I think that Jeep is a very important American icon. I do feel that Jeep is missing its main point that it is a modern vehicle of fun for everyone. I would update the social media campaign of the Jeep website to show the modern uses of Jeep vehicles in a fun and interactive way. I would put the fun of the Jeep brand front and center, and use social media to do that.

The main area of the current Jeep website has a title that states the heading, “Fun and Freedom since 1941 – Explore our History.” The whole background of the website is very passive and nostalgic. It is almost as if Jeep wants to focus on the past rather than now or in the future. The specs of each model are shown in a very calculated and clinical way across the main pane. You can spin the vehicles to your model’s desired picture, click on the specs, and find a dealer, a price, or get financing. There is a finance calculator as well, which is interactive at least, but not at all exciting or emotional.

Payment Calculator

                        Estimates are based on your zip code:   

Jeep- American Excitement to Trek the World in.  

I would revamp the title to be modern and worldly, while honoring Jeep’s legacy. I would have a title which inspired emotion such as “Jeep- American Excitement to Trek the World in.” I would show all of the models with YouTube videos right on the tab. I would title the videos by the driver’s first name to make them personal and fun, such as “Zach tames the mud in his Liberty” or “Joanne tames Mexico in her Wrangler.” This regular named video allows people to relate in a way that inspires them and make them feel that if the average Jill or Joe can do it they can too. I would have some exciting and modern music around the site. If people like the music they will associate the music all the way to the dealer to buy.

                                                                                    

The music alone won’t make them buy, so I would put the Jeep blogs front and center. Let the feeds spill out onto the web page, showing the excitement that Jeep has to offer. Forget the payment calculator and the dealer locations as the only link available. Show that would be buyer what actual users of your product, Jeep drivers, feel and enjoy while they are driving through life. Ford does well with its test drive ads, showing regular people enjoying the “new” Ford vehicles. Mazda shows people driving to the sound on a healthy engine and a whisper of “Zoom Zoom.” These ad campaigns are regular and inspiring on an enjoyable and emotional level. Bringing the modern enjoyment of Jeep the social media where the masses are, and allowing them to see and hear real people enjoying their brand will allow the great history of Jeep to gain mass buying appeal to a whole new generation of drivers.

Outcomes- So can we do this Social Media Initiative?

The answer is a resounding Yes! Jeep.com can be developed in a way that is both realistic and sustainable. I would start with a bold and modern font and redo the center title to say “Jeep- American Excitement to Trek the World in.” This would be done within the proprietary web program that Jeep uses. It is an easy yet vital fix, like a Newspaper headline, to get the website reader to think and react to the Jeep brand name in a modern and worldly way. Jeep is a new and exciting name, not just an old nostalgic one. It is wise to focus on the Jeep excitement using social media. Let us look at some updates using You tube and blogs that can modernize the Jeep brand experience.

Jeep currently has blog pages at http://blog.jeep.com/ . The blog is a mix of public relations, Jeep questions, old Jeep ads, and other posts. The only common theme to the blogs are that they are related to the Jeep name. I would organize the blogs by the vehicle models and encourage everyday drivers of each model to tell their story of all of the fun and exciting adventures that they have with their Jeep. I would put a monthly showcase at the top of the blog which would be chosen as a strong story towards the Jeep and the model. I would also have a You tube video showcase. I would put a You tube video with a Jeep driver submitted mini epic on how they “trek the world” with their Jeep. To keep the entries Jeep focused I would run a contest with cash and prizes monthly for great blog stories and great Jeep mini trek videos. It will be a great way to motivate the user submitted content on both the blog and the video. The user content of viral video and Jeep driver blog is both real product user testimonial as well as sustainable low cost advertising for the Jeep product.

It is important to point out that this is social media advertising. All posts will be viewable and scrollable. All videos will be uploaded to the Jeep website so long as they are pertinent to the Jeep experience. The showcase of the Jeep videos and the blog pages at the top of each vehicle model, however, should focus on two aspects of Jeep excitement that is lacking in the main pages of the current http://www.Jeep.com web site. The showcased blogs and You tube videos must be exciting and worldly. Users who see a Mexican girl and her social crew trekking the Baja in her Wrangler will realize that Jeep is a world name which truly promises anything is possible with a bit of adventure. Diversity of age, gender, country, and terrain should be respected in the showcased blogs and videos. It was great that Jeep’s kicked butt in World War II for the US Army. We want Jeep to perform excellent for your everyday world adventure as well. Ty Ray

Reference
Staff (2012) The Official Jeep website. Retrieved July18th, 2012 from http://www.jeep.com/en/

Staff (2012). The Official History Page of the Jeep website. Retrieved July18th, 2012 from http://www.jeep.com/en/history/

Staff (2012) The Official Blog Page of the Jeep website. Retrieved July18th, 2012 from http://blog.jeep.com/

 

The number one goal of a business is to make money. If it is to survive and prosper then a product must be good value and generate new customers to sustain itself and its company. A recent Mashable article showcased a great trend which, as a marketing professional I would recommend to a company in order to increase revenue and sales. They are Targeted, Geo-Mobile Coupons. The personal and targeted nature of these marketing offers from a business take a new frontier, social media, and use it to expand a customer base of a business. Brand parity is achieved through social media with both the brand name as well as the value offer.  Let us look at this emerging social media trend in detail.

 

Groupon, Living Social, and the rest of the email deals give you little cause to stop and buy. More often than not these email offerings are little more than common spam in your email now.  In 2009 Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai decided to take the coupon out of the email. They use your mobile device to check in and get discounts. The GPS function of the mobile device on a foursquare member will give them instant discounts which are relevent to what they seek to buy and local to them. No more one way communication and no more email spam to any email which signed up.

 

The trend of this specific and geographically targeted mobile discount is smart, personal, and environmentally friendly. Any company with a mobile app should take advantage of the GPS ability in a mobile device and target a new customer the same way. Jeep owners in Maine should be able to get service deals at Jeep dealers in their areas. Comcast customers in Philadelphia PA should be able to get three pay per view movies for twelve dollars in a weekend. All of these offers are specific to what the mobile phone knows are the consumers needs as well as where they live. The mobile aspect of the offers saves on paper coupons and does not allow for passive email spam. It achieves the number one goal of any brand. To add customers and generate revenue.  As applications go more mobile and mobile data is the norm, it is vital that these specific mobile targeted coupons become the norm over the old spam email. Customers will appreciate them and use them and the company will prosper for its diligence and forward thought. Ty Ray

 

 

 

Reference

 

 

Snow, Shane (2012) 8 Hot Media Trends You Need to Know. Retrieved July 7th, 2012.

http://mashable.com/2012/04/19/hot-media-trends/

 

Armano, David (2012) Six Social Media Trends for 2012. Retrieved July 10th, 2012 from http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/12/six_social_media_trends_for_20.html

FahrvergJeepgen    

 Identify two companies in the same industry that utilize social media. Compare and contrast their social media efforts. How does each organization use social media to differentiate the brand as well as advancing differing strategic goals?

    The two companies that I chose are two car companies, Jeep and Volkswagen. Jeep has a website at www.Jeep.com and Volkswagen has a website at www.Volkswagen.com. Both sites use social media to represent their image. The methods are similar. The product images are very different.

 

Jeep

 Image

   Jeep attempts to be the vehicle of the open American road. The theme of the website is Fun and Freedom. The font in the middle of the Jeep web page reads “ Fun and Freedom since 1941. The main page after that reads Explore Our History. The link is http://www.jeep.com/en/history/. A click on that link shows the would be buyer how Jeep vehicles have been solid American icons in driving on and off road since the 1940’s as a war vehicle. The whole tab is rugged, historical, and simple. It paints a picture of Jeep interwoven into American history. The other tabs are Vehicles that showcase Jeep models and their specs, Shopping Tools, which allow on-line brochures to be downloaded and help find dealers, Capacity which has all of the towing and 4×4 information Jeep models boast, Jeep life which shows off parts and products on mobile apps, and ha slinks to Facebook, Google Plus, Youtube, and Flickr and a great blog tab. The final tab is called Owners. This is a complete on-line service and warranty log-in to help the Jeep owner after the purchase. This is a great tab to help the Jeep owner feel that Jeep.com is always for them.

   In conclusion I found the social media efforts of Jeep to be broad, effective, and useful throughout the course of Jeep owner’s tie with his or her vehicle. The formats were great in the sense they had Jeep information for every kids of social media user. I also liked how the ongoing service and ownership support was on-line and available.

 

Volkswagen

 Image

Volkswagen is the vehicle for the masses. It is the epitome of modern German engineering. The huge font greets you in bold letters in the middle of the page saying “Welcome at Volkswagen International.” A new red sports car is next to the title.  The image of the entry page is simple, sporty, and fast.  Volkswagen shoots for that brand makeup in all of the models the company produces.

  The main link that impresses me about VW and social media are the VW apps.  The link is http://en.volkswagen.com/en/volkswagen-live/volkswagen-apps.html . They are available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The mobile apps include games, catalogues, and the VW Magazine.  This is a great App page. I would like to see it developed in format to Android and Google Plus. VW should be broader in its apps to reach more prospective customers. That will help more people interact with the VW brand. Increased interaction surely sell more cars.

   Other tabs include Product World which touts new VW products, Innovation and Technology which shows what VW is working on for the future, Volkswagen Live which has VW videos , Events, major breakthroughs, and VW Forum. This tab is the main e- public relations tab of VW. I liked the forums and how one can interact with other VW owners. The final tab called Company contained all of the essential facts and figures about VW’s company profile and brand history.

 

    In conclusion I found the VW social media efforts modern, worldly, and slick. Some expansion is needed in formats to reach different types of technology users, but the image and framework of the VW on the social media front is very solid. The main difference in VW and Jeep In terms of the social media image is that VW uses social media as a tool to make VW look more modern, while Jeep uses social media to reinforce the history of its great American brand name. In this type of social media image setting the edge goes to VW as its goals are in tune with the image of social media itself, modern clean and enjoyable. The Jeep social media, however, was in more formats and carried the Jeep owner form original purchase throughout vehicle ownership. For keeping the longevity of the Branded social media, the edge goes to Jeep.

 

Reference

 

(2012)The Official Corporate website of Volkswagen. Retrieved from

http://www.volkswagen.com/de.html

 

(2012) The Official Corporate website of Jeep. Retrieved from

http://www.jeep.com/en/

 

 

The End of the Tunnel – Social Media and Progress

   The era of the buying tunnel is over. A buyer does not have to pin his hopes in a fulfilling product to a decent deal with a brick and mortar salesperson. Many different engagement points; reviews, blogs, consumer apps, and customer fan sites all now make a customer brand aware, breakdown product consideration points, and discuss how and where to purchase. How is this different form traditional marketing? The users and customers of the products themselves do all these engagement activities. The days of push marketing down onto product user as subjects are over. It is the customer, not the company, who will inform, compare and ultimately cause purchase or lack thereof in modern engagement marketing.

I really like Amazon. They have Facebook, Twitter, and Android Apps to make your time there easier.  What I really like are the actual reviews and rating by the people who bought and use the products. I often find peer reviews to be very helpful in seeing how a likeminded consumer may enjoy or not enjoy a product before I buy it. I try to be a brand advocate with the Amazon website. If I like a product I leave an honest positive review. If I didn’t no like a product I leave an honest review about what needs improvement. In these tough financial times it is vital that all of the buying power of a customer go to a product that serves the practical use it is intended to. Amazon helps you get a test drive out of the product via other people’s experiences. For that engagement I enjoy Amazon.

Actual Review Information for the Kindle Fire on Amazon.com

Customer Reviews

(18,409)

4.0 out of 5 stars

See all 18,409 customer reviews

It’s fast, easy to type on, very responsive, and has an excellent screen resolution. Kenneth Idskou | 1,849 reviewers made a similar statement

I also love that with my Prime Membership I can “borrow” one book a month and watch the streaming free movies/television shows that are included in the Prime deal. Shell6a | 950 reviewers made a similar statement

My only issue is that sometimes my touch doesn’t always seem to work and I am tapping the screen a few times. Philip Logiudice | 657 reviewers made a similar statement

Reference

Unknown Author www.Amazon.com (2012) Kindle Fire Sales Page Retrieved June 20th 2012 from http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Fire-Amazon-Tablet/

Social Media First Aid and Checkup

When a person makes an odd post on social media, they are expressing their personal opinion. When a person engages in the same activity on a corporate blog or social media, the whole brand that they are involved with becomes tainted. Even though mistakes of this type are hard to repair, there are steps that a company can follow to keep the management of its social media network under control after a gaffe.

Step One – Recognition

It is important to acknowledge what the problem is and where it came from. If it was an employee then it is important to take care of the issue with the employee right away. If the offense is from a third party then it is equally important to get in contact with said party and right the wrong. Don’t ignore the issue or it will take on a life of its own and get worse.

Step Two – Take Action

Once you know what the problem is the way to respond is quickly. Put a reply on whatever format the gaffe was on. Then follow the reply up with an official and formal apology. This should be inclusive of three facets of content. First, it is vital to project your understanding and acknowledgment of the mistake or problem. Secondly, it is important that affirmation that you have learned from the situation is detailed in the account. Lastly, and the most vital, it is important to show the steps you’re taking to correct the issue and prevent similar issues from happening in the future. These steps are simple and can help a company get past the present ordeal.

Step Three – Learn for the Future

After a mistake is fixed, it is vital to put a social media policy in place. That way the social media process will continue, but in a manner that does not jeopardize the company or the brand at hand. It is also important to realize that social media needs to be managed. Ashton Kutcher recently handed over his social media activities to a management company after posting some comments on Twitter that were considered uniformed and insensitive. He quickly apologized online but also handed over future social media actions to a social media management company. It is important to know how to leave the control of social media to those with the public relations skills to administrate it.

The bottom line is that everyone makes mistakes. Even a company or person can make mistakes on social media. The important thing to always keep in mind is that you want to clean up the mistakes in a way that is timely as well as is honest. The game plan discussed here is a good way to get past mistakes in social media. ty Ray

This is a great article by Beverly Macy of the Huffington Post highlighting social media for business in terms of what trends she sees in store for 2012 business on this front. It has great concise breakdown with regards to the power of real time, the global social brain, content curation and discovery, and educating in social media.

One of the great points of this article is both that social media is here to stay and that a company should now have a “knowledge baseline” in social media. This is a working knowledge of social media processes and functions that allows a company to make informed decisions and changes which involve and benefit ROI through social media. In other words, the company cannot afford to just talk the talk with social media; it must know what it is doing. A company which just goes to a set the web site up and move on type of approach will suffer. Those social media sites which are interactive are the ones that will excel in terms of ROI. If a company cannot handle such tasks in house, Beverly says, then get a consultant to help them. The work is vital and must be taken seriously in 2012 to add to the total marketing portfolio of a company. Some of the students of social media now will be encouraged that they will become the teachers of tomorrow. Adapt or die. Ty Ray