Youth Marketing Insights » Social Marketing http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg Inspiring best in practice youth marketing through sharing of ideas, strategy, trends and conversations about cool stuff Thu, 04 Feb 2010 04:31:40 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 We are living in a Transmedia World, and I am a Transmedia Girl (Part 2) http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/12/10/we-are-living-in-a-transmedia-world-and-i-am-a-transmedia-girl-part-2/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/12/10/we-are-living-in-a-transmedia-world-and-i-am-a-transmedia-girl-part-2/#comments Thu, 10 Dec 2009 02:43:10 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=172 As promised I wanted to share some thoughts I had about transmedia storytelling and how it relates to brand storytelling. While Transmedia storytelling seems to be an obvious extension of properties such as comic books, we often forget how important the role of storytelling is in brand marketing. Dynamic brands talk to consumers at more than a functional or utility level and cross-media marketing can help us communicate more effectively.

Below are elements I consider important in marketing and idea development as initial guidelines to get us thinking in the right cross-media frame of mind.

  • Start with a central idea, not channels. I find often we want to jump straight to solution in execution – Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, iPhone app. Yes these are priority platforms but consider the entire ecosystem first as there are many others that might be more effective. Don’t fall into the trap of bandwagon campaigning and most important please keep in mind offline executions as well.
  • Various channels for different audiences. Create different points of entry for different audience segments, for example as Henry Jenkins points out in this Transmedia 101 post, for the Spiderman property consider what link will be particularly attractive to females (a romance comic “Mary Jane Loves Spiderman”) or younger readers (coloring book or picture book versions of the classic comicbook stories ).
  • How does your brand fit within the role or organic nature of these channels. Discuss the nature and the social utility of relevant channels as part of development – outside of your motivations or brand of course. Many good ideas are executed without this insight, resulting in a half-assed branded community somewhere. Strategy is more important than ever so while I wouldn’t criticize for trying something new, I would for not thinking.
  • What is your brand’s participatory culture. Once and for all, adding a share function is not encouraging participation – consider not that you engage with your audience but how you can allow your audience to engage with you.
  • You don’t decide the value, your audience does. This is one of the most important things to keep in mind when creating great content that will get audiences in social media communities to interact and engage with you. Without the value to the audience, you will get the inevitable “so what?”.

What I love about marketing in today’s culture is it makes you think deeply but connection, engagement and relevance. For those of us not blessed with off the cuff creativity (ahem), what will survive are those brands that value a customer-centric, holistic approach. If you don’t get analysis paralysis and over analyze – it is way more fun.

Image credit, Geoffery Long

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Why I think the Ford Fiesta Movement rocks (and no, I’m not an “Agent”) http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/09/02/why-i-think-the-ford-fiesta-movement-rocks-and-no-im-not-an-agent/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/09/02/why-i-think-the-ford-fiesta-movement-rocks-and-no-im-not-an-agent/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2009 00:57:34 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=168 This is an update on an previous entry on my blog “Ford Fiesta Movement Calling for Agents – but are they agents of change?

In April, Ford tapped 100 top bloggers and gave them a Ford Fiesta for six months as part of a huge blogger engagement program. To enter people had to upload a video that demonstrated why they would be the best ‘Agent’ – ie who had the largest network to tap both online via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc, as well as offline. The 100 successful “Agents” were provided a loaner Ford Fiesta and have since been given missions to complete – all cleverly featuring the Ford Fiesta – which they capture and share via their social networks. From what I can see the program was designed to stimulate grass roots hype online, and as well as allow Ford to participate in authentic conversations about the new model.

I think this campaign is great – I loved it in April and now I really love it! Here’s why:

  • It exemplifies best practice social media engagement in a clever, and yet authentic way. In a time when brands are cautiously stepping into an important new engagement model – a very personal and direct model which couldn’t be more different than traditional advertising methods – Ford has proven a brand can authentically and successfully stimulate online conversation. While there was a little controversy surrounding ‘cash for comment’ initially, many of the participants and other social media advocates stood by the genuine approach of Ford – in no way does Ford control the content so if someone is unhappy with the car they are free to say so, and it is pretty up front what the arrangement is for any one who runs across this content. Not sure how many people would bag out a free car (no such thing as a bad free car my stepdad said when I was begging for my Mustang Convertible when I turned 16!) but from a marketers perspective who likes to control product messages it would still be risky. Really, it is a simple and yet innovative concept – one I believe may (including myself) will replicate parts of. One vlogger sums it up here, she thinks Ford does it best as they have allowed her to feel she is part of something bigger, not just selling out to get free stuff.

NB read more from Scott Monty, head of social media at Ford in today’s USA Today story here. Follow Scott Monty on Twitter (@ScottMonty) - not quite the Ashton Kutcher level but a Social Media celeb indeed.

  • Ford Fiesta Movement is delivering huge results proving that social media is an indispensable business tool. Recently (July 2009) Ford released initial impressions from the campaign including: more than 2.2 million YouTube views, more than 312,000 Flickr views and more than 2 million Twitter impressions, resulting in more than 13.4 million impressions. This highlights how social media is progressed beyond a niche channel – even given different non-youth audiences – and when done well actually drives mass impressions. Obviously I would like to see some more Social measurements that showcase the impact of the conversation, sentiment, changes in brand perception perhaps – but most don’t necessarily reveal that information (well, unless an agency is trying to win an award). I add that the ‘missions’ are a clever way to integrate key messages. In one instance, “Agent Joe” is tasked with filling up the gas tank of his Fiesta (a fuel efficient car) and driving until he runs out of gas. He makes it 432.5 miles.
  • The Hub and Spoke model in practice, a strategic approach to managing an online brand presence. The Ford Fiesta Movement site – or Live Feed they call it - is a great example of what I call the ‘tentacle’ approach (others call it many things, this is not an original theory) – which is about having a strategic presence in many different social networks and online platforms, and aggregating that content back on your own site. This approach empowers people to spread the word for you, and takes into account that people engage on various social networks in different ways. To truly harness the power of social media (key word being social) we need to understand the ecosystem of how people play online, and at the center is where we should sit. When managed strategically and integrating insight derived from key word research, these conversations can be an important factor in driving web site optimisation – a hugely influential piece of the online marketing pie. This is a great reason why Social Media should not be executed in silos with a couple random people on computers punching out tweets – we as an industry need to move beyond this idea and show how we can integrate Social Media activity to deliver back to the business (see point Number 2 above).

So in summary the campaign is great because it’s innovative, strategic and delivers results – what more can we ask for?

I have one thing to say to Ford, Scott Monty and the others behind it – wish I had thought of that…..

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It’s official, banning viral marketing from my vocabulary http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/08/11/its-official-banning-viral-marketing-from-my-vocabulary/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/08/11/its-official-banning-viral-marketing-from-my-vocabulary/#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2009 02:10:17 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=163

Ran across an article on Advertising Age – a book review and interview with author Bill Wasik, the Godfather of flash mobs. In his new book, “And Then There’s This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture,”* he ponders the life (and possible death) of Word-of-Mouth Marketing in a Social-Media World. Mr Wasik notes that with the rise of social networking in which people are familiar with the ideas of personal branding, it poses certain future challenges for marketers – ie the more savvy consumers are, the harder it is to tap into them via social media.

While I have not yet read the book and do not want to misrepresent the context – it has got me thinking. I feel Word-of-Mouth marketing by nature is more important than ever. Research suggests peer influences are very important factors in a customer’s purchase pathway – for items big and small. They also influence perceptions of brands. I also feel social media with peer communities presents heaps of opportunities.

However I agree with the statement that viral marketing might be dead. Perhaps this is because the idea of viral marketing at its foundation is based on old advertising-models. As noted by Henry Jenkins in “If it Doesn’t Spread, It’s Dead”** (a must read), the very definition uses a metaphor of viruses being spread involuntarily by unaware consumers. Like Swine Flu. Why would anyone want to be involved with that? The term was created by marketers who were comfortable with disruptive advertising models to hold onto an inflated sense of their role in the process.

But we all know the truth – we (collective we as in the marketing industry ‘we’) have lost control. Unpredictable results in social media campaigns, fueled by unpredictable behavior by consumers, is a source of great anxiety within business. It is a common story – we built it, why didn’t they come?

Therefore I have ditched the term viral and instead adopted Mr Jenkins’ theory of ‘spreadable media’ – which emphasizes the role of consumers, or what he calls ‘multipliers’, in shaping the distribution of content. This notion of spreadability is a direct contrast to outdated models which emphasize centralised control of distribution and message. The power is with those who spread, not those who create.

If as marketers we want to be able to harness and effectively engage the power of WOMM marketing within social media we need to better understand the role we all play.

Here I have developed 3 overarching principles I feel are important when successfully creating spreadable culture and ultimately developing communities. I originally had more but I felt everything else kept falling into these buckets – so this is what I am sticking with:

  • Stop and ask why – without your brand hat on. It can’t be said enough but in order to engage your audience you need understand the motivations – and let me give you a hint – your recent ad campaign 99.9% of the time is not serving the interests of the consumer. Consider what content you are offering and how that is going to strengthen the relationship with your consumer. Another way to look at it is to solve your customer’s issues, instead of your own.
  • If your strategy relies on one video to “go viral to extend reach” – go back to the drawing board. To best integrate into a connected society, you need to provide as many layers as possible, building an ecosystem around the brand. You might want to consider the role of RSS feeds, corporate blog, Twitter, EDM, mobile apps, Wikipedia, LinkedIn, Yahoo! Answers, etc – that is not even to mention offline activations which should feed into all these as well. Social media is not “a” channel – it’s is heaps and these should play many roles in your marketing strategies, just not a mere campaign extension as in my opinion that misses the point a bit.
  • Stop thinking of your content as ‘free’, think of it as a gift. As Mr Jenkins notes in his whitepaper, “in a gift economy the gifts we share say something about our perceptions of the person we are passing them to as much as they express our own tastes and interests”. It is important to think that all these interactions should reward your consumers for participating in your brand. What gifts are you giving your customers?

While it may seem trivial to focus on the language, when you drill down it’s not the words we use it’s how we understand the mechanics of it that are misleading and ineffective. Perhaps by changing the language, we will change the deeper meaning.

For more information on the sources quoted, please see here:

*Bill Wasik’s new book “And Then There’s This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture,” a survey of the rise of the “nanostory” in America and its impact on culture, art, politics and, of course, marketing, is out now. Check out these Amazon reviews.

**Henry Jenkins’ white paper “If it Doesn’t Spread, It’s Dead”, co-drafted by Henry Jenkins, Xiaochang Li, and Ana Domb Krauskopf with Joshua Green, was developed by the Convergence Culture Consortium on the topic of Spreadable media. Check out the paper available on Henry Jenkin’s blog Confessions of an Aca Fan here.

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Why being teased as a kid might help brand marketers http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/04/07/why-being-teased-might-help-brand-marketers/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/04/07/why-being-teased-might-help-brand-marketers/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2009 00:13:20 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=100 There are all different types of bullying, some more spiteful and hurtful than others. However some forms of teasing, while at the time of childhood development could be quite damaging, are actually probably more a compliment. This is called impersonation, we all know how the saying goes, it is the biggest form of flattery.

With that in mind, watch this Dove Evolution parody:

While I know the video or remake is not new, I just got this for the first time. It highlights how the central idea offered by Dove in the form of a spreadable video is so powerful and simple, and now so iconic, that others borrow from it to spread their own ideas which live on in the online universe. This video is only one example of the several that have sprouted up in the years since this Dove brand campaign launched in 2006, and it is case in point that the best ideas are those that can be stripped back, appropriated and reworked by a variety of communities. Look beyond the content of the re-make as it does not have to be about the product anymore, if you inspire people to act or to speak you are evolving as a brand. Probably someone is going to come across this clip for the first time (not seeing the Dove Evolution ad), and create a mock of a mock. The cycle of culture creation continues, and deep within the new content lies the heart and soul of the first version….the potential is inspiring actually.

As brand managers we should take the time to grasp this opportunity, and instead of trying to stop or contain the online shenanigans, embrace it. Allow people to have fun and create their own interpretations. It is brave to allow consumers to be brand transmitters as that means we lose control, but it is naïve to think that they aren’t already. This is a modern approach to brand-to-consumer communications that really grasps how it works in real life. I would love to see Dove somehow harnessing and connecting back to the consumer activity, not to control it but to remain in the “conversation” so to speak, build on the momentum.

I’m not inherently a creative person with a big “c” so instead of creating my own video I am going to re-post Dove’s original ad and hope that this discussion inspires someone else who might stumble upon this blog.

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When GenY rules the world…or at least the marketing agencies http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/02/23/when-geny-rules-the-world-2/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/02/23/when-geny-rules-the-world-2/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2009 04:33:38 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=33 On my never-ending crusade to observe and soak up as much as I can like a little sponge, last week I attended The Digital Tipping Point: The Future of Branding and Social Media, presented by Adknowledge AU (thanks @laurelpapworth for the head’s up on twitter). [NOTE I am editing after post to include Laurel Papworth's correct info, sorry for the slip - it is @silkcharm]

While overall I found many topics intriguing and some really interesting insight was shared from all over the world, I have to admit I was a little taken-back by the focus on “advertising” in the room. I know, I know – I was at a marketing function – I shouldn’t be so naive. I guess my concern isn’t that the tactics and strategies seemed dated like the term itself – they weren’t – it was the overwhelmingly use of it that threw me off.

Maybe I am focusing too much on the word, and missing the context. However i think this fundamental shift that we are all facing is much broader then advertising, PR or any type of marketing – it is a shift in the way we deal and communicate with people. This cartoon I saw recently sums it up best:

What’s my point — maybe we need to change the language of marketing and in turn the nature of it will follow. Not just buzz words, but actually change it. Have we thought how important it really is to open a dialogue with consumers, to engage – that’s pretty deep….and to me very exciting….and very not “advertising” as there are no ads involved.

The conversation that we non-GenYers are having about how to best target youth consumers will soon be irrelevant. When GenY starts running agencies, marketing departments and – gasp! – major corporations, that is when wistful dialogue of the possibilities will transition into business strategies and models — and then we shall see what the real effects this shift have had on brands and consumer marketing.

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