Youth Marketing Insights » WOM 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 How Social Media Made – and Saved – My Trip http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/06/03/how-social-media-made-and-saved-my-trip/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/06/03/how-social-media-made-and-saved-my-trip/#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2009 01:57:37 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=111

So part 2 of my travel posts, this time I wanted to focus on the role of social media in travel, at least as relevant to my trip (it is my blog after all).

I think this is really interesting trend, WOM recommendations are the most useful when travelling and the interactive nature of social media is escalating access to this sort of information. I found it incredibly useful in the planning of my trip, avoiding tourist traps, booking our “flashpacker” places, and now sharing about my trip with friends.

To put it in context in my recent travels through Vietnam – a vastly developing tourist destination – we found it hard to find information in some of the more traditional outlets – guidebooks, travel outlets and writers, we didn’t even try walking into a travel agent. While of course we had our trusty Lonely Planet, many a backpacker’s bible, from what we could gather it was published in 2007. That is a long time in a country like Vietnam. Restaurants were closed, prices astoundingly higher, places touristed out to the max. While it remained very useful in terms of identifying regions to travel to (and love the sayings in the back…and the “notes” pages, how many card games did we keep track on that?!), we ended up double and then triple checking references through other sources – most notably online (wikitravel, tripadvisor, travel blogs, etc), as well as good old fashioned chats with people we met along the way – on and off line.

Below I have shared a few specific times when Social Media made (and sometimes SAVED) my trip:

  • It’s real time. When we went to Cat Ba Island to go trekking, of course it rained for several days straight so we could not access the trail we had intended. However never fear because one drizzly morning we met a couple of Swedish backpackers who put us on to a blog (cna’t remember the name for the life of me!) that recommended a nice motorbike ride that we could still check out some amazing panorama views. We downloaded the customised map and off we went. Few channels – specifically online and in-person – can have that real time advice.
  • Often disagree with a reviewer. One review (ie in a guidebook or newspaper article) is subjective, that is why I like to read many reviews. On sites such as tripadvisor or Travel Fish (for SE Asia) I found it is easy to discern from tones or content of reviews which you most identify with. To me certain things matter in flashpack hotels – clean bathrooms for one. I don’t care about the continental breakfast – so if someone is banging on about paying a few dollars for brekkie – I skip right on. I felt I knew exactly what I was getting into when I walked into every hotel.
  • Connecting with locals. Social Media has opened our borders far and wide – who knew until I posted my trip to Vietnam I had not 1 but 2 followers that live there! One gave me some great advice for cocktails when landing in Saigon. Another Aussie friend of mine sent me the name of a few tailors in Hoi An from her trip. This I realised only at the end of my planning when I posted status updates that I was leaving….next time I will do this more thoroughly and search by location on social media sites to reach out.
  • Bragging…I mean sharing. And for my final Vietnam Travels post (coming next week), I will provide links to my Flickr pages so I can share with others via my blog, Twitter and friends networks my experiences as well. More to come on this front…..

There has been for quite some time now discussion of how valuable social media channels are in regards to marketing for travel organisations. In fact there are excellent examples such as the power of strategic blogger outreach programs including Tourism Australia who invited The Sartorialist to come play Down Under, promoting the location; activities, weather, etc via Twitter updates (@The_Maldives); or marketing campaigns such as the great example from Tourism Queensland for The Best Job In The World. However what is exciting is some of the advancements in how to monetise this engagement, which seems there is more activity and examples of happening already. It will be interesting when the tools and software can search out the greater web to find people planning or discussing a trip to customise relevant information. Imagine if I post on my Facebook that I’m leaving for Whistler in 3 days and a hotel chain in Canada can monitor my post and follow-up with relevant information on deals and transport when I land, maybe even suggest an dinner reservations? This intelligent targeting really highlights the power and potential to drive revenue through the social web. I know that this is happening now, especially on platforms such as Twitter, take for example Air New Zealand which notifies followers of flight deals (ie @flyairnz) and partner deals. I’m surprised more don’t do this already…..OR maybe the problem is I don’t travel enough….think I have just worked out a way to justify some work trips as “research” :)

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DUDE, Carl’s Jr taps into mysteriously hungry gen-y skateboarders http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/03/19/carls_jr_taps_into_hungry_gen_y/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/03/19/carls_jr_taps_into_hungry_gen_y/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2009 01:41:01 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=87 American quick-service chain, Carl’s Jr., has revealed more details of their BFF partnership with skateboarding star Rob Dyrdek, aimed to engage “hungry” Gen-Y and Gen-Z guys, as explained by Andrew F. Puzder, chief executive of CKE Restaurants in a recent NY Times article.

Background – the partnership is an integrated campaign with retail elements, sponsorship of a new charitable skate park in downtown Los Angeles, YouTube videos, all the social media sites and featuring the brand and CEO Mr Puzder on “Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory,” the skateboarder’s MTV show. For those not familiar, Carl’s Jr. is the QSR that brought us pop-culture marketing campaigns such as EAT MEAT (my first bumper-sticker BTW), and the infamous bikini-clad Paris Hilton car washing video. So needless to say they have been pretty successful at creating campaigns with WOM appeal among that meat-loving, fast food eating, young male population. Oh, and me to but I am probably an anomaly.

I have always been loyal to Carl’s, in LA they were my guilty, late-night pleasure. So I am all for this campaign. Of course as the article references it is great to see companies continuing to invest in “experimental” marketing initiatives – although at what point will we stop calling them experimental, maybe at the same time we stop using traditional vs non-traditional to describe media. In my opinion and without access to any evidence of this, I would think Carl’s would already have a relationship with this audience, therefore already have a level of involvement. Something about the “hungry” male and Carl’s Jr. seem to go hand in hand. Can’t stop myself from calling out the not-so-subtle reference of the super-hungry, skateboarder – is it skateboarding that makes them sooooo hungry?

Moving on….what I think is really interesting is the involvement CKE CEO Andrew Puzder in the partnership. I think it’s a solid move to integrate him into the show, press images and other channels. This says to me Carl’s values the relationships they have with its audiences, and could signal a shift in its marketing into more of a business model. If he could only become a pro skateboarder that would be the pinnacle, in the meantime I appreciate that he physically delivered food to the skateboarding posse as the first point of contact.

One note of caution, I think this will be a big test of authenticity for the brand. The skateboarding community has been notoriously difficult to tap. However defined, this specific tribe is hard on brands that try to market to them as “skateboarders”. In some cases we have seen that they even use the cool insert-service/product-here that companies flog them, and then they turn around and bag them out for it. Grass roots approaches seem to resonate here more than other sports-tribes such as snowboarding or surfing. That is why it took Nike so long to crack, and why Red Bull and others have dabbled but not dropped in. Maybe as high-profile figures such as the Tony Hawk, Bam Margera and Rob Dyrdek continue to bridge the mainstream divide, they will be able to do the same for the brands they work with.

While sometimes difficult to make a corporate brand messages skateboarder-esque, the videos are funny, the food is good, they donated to an inner-city charity and it has some good examples of multi-channel executions –– so, DUDE, I like it!

Photo credit: NY Times, Rob Dyrdek, left, and Andrew F. Puzder, CKE CEO, united to promote the sport and sell burgers.

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Don’t Punish Us: grass roots campaign fighting for the rights of our social life http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/03/11/dont-punish-us/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/03/11/dont-punish-us/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2009 05:47:58 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=54 Oh the power of peer-to-peer movements…I recently came across one I had to share.

I was out over the weekend at a local watering hole in Sydney, waiting in an absurdly long line to get a drink, when I spotted an unusual donation box of some sort. On it was a photo of a girl holding a giant speech bubble that read “Who Says I Can’t Drink Responsibly”.

A bit of background for non-Australian readers. Last year Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stated he would “scare the living daylights” out of Australian youth by highlighting the real and dangerous effects of binge drinking. The solution proposed was a $53 million national campaign including TV ads, increases in alcohol-related taxes, as well as a host of measures put in place at bars and nightclubs, including a 2AM lock out.

Gasp, horror many night owls screamed in protest!

Stop right here though, this is not a commentary on binge drinking, this is a post to discuss what happens when an “unimaginative” government initiative (as deemed by the Sydney Morning Herald) collides with the empowered millennials of today.

Back to the beginning of my post. The donation box was collecting funds for a campaign called Don’t Punish Us. This is a non-profit, grass-roots movement established to build ground-swell support in favor of retracting the above mentioned pub and venue restrictions. From what I can read those supporting this movement are not suggesting to turn a blind-eye to the issue, but instead question in rather harsh terms the benefits, or lack thereof, of those that were initiated.

So, you might ask, other than lambasting the government on a public forum (what’s new there?) what to date really has Don’t Punish Us achieved?

Well, quite a lot. Already they have 17,000+ registered as part of the petition, and 18,000+ members joined the Facebook cause. At some stage the sheer volume of supporters will force the NSW government to respond.

However it is not just about numbers as we know, it is how this movement has sparked a conversation via the blog platform that highlights the real impact to me. This group has an opinion and they are holding the government accountable to finding the solutions. And of course they all have an opinion, why wouldn’t they? It is their issue, it effects them both the binge-drinking and in terms of the new restrictions. Why is it an after-thought to engage the target audience, especially when you are trying to effect change among them?

As for Don’t Punish Us, I think this is a great “youth” marketing example for several reasons:

- I like the power of grass roots demonstrated here, it is a bottom-through-to-top strategy, it makes people feel involved.

- I like the fact that it is both on and off line, just like social networks.

- I like that while it is a serious issue, the tone is perfect for the audience, it is entertaining and cheeky.

- I like how it is empowering and relevant – keys to youth marketing success.

- Most importantly, I like how it harnesses conversation and dialogue to effect change.

Moral of the story – if you doubt the impact of youth advocacy and/or social media, then I hope this modern-day story of David with his slingshot working to take down Goliath may make you think.

Oh, and thought it would be fun to post a little artistic irony from a friend (check out the box in the background)….

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Ford Fiesta movement calling for “agents”, but are they agents of change? http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/02/24/ford-fiesta-movement/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/02/24/ford-fiesta-movement/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2009 00:11:59 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=41

Love the new Ford Fiesta campaign (www.fiestamovement.com) – the company is giving away 100 free cars to chosen “agents” as part of an ambassador program. To enter people (I’m assuming as they are targeting “millennials” there are restrictions on who can enter but didn’t come across them as of yet) have to submit a short video on their own YouTube channel (great idea as they will have more reach, one of the entrants has a video with 1.2 million views…). As part of the vid they need to share how big their social network is and what it consists of, might as well be upfront in what Ford is asking of them, right? Once they have the car Ford asks that they blog, tweet and share their experiences with friends…

So let me get this straight – I can submit a video, get a FREE car (already hooked), and write about it on Facebook – sold!

I like it for several reasons – it empowers people to leverage their network versus trying to pull everyone onto the Ford site, it is transparent in its intent – hey blog for us and you may get a free car, and the message is simple hence why there are already 1,500+ entries. It might not solve the world’s problems and give Ford a CSR platform, but I think it is clever and fun, all you have to do is check out a few of the videos to get what I mean.

Not just a pretty face, it is also a strategic business move -  according to Sam De La Garza, Ford’s small car marketing manager (in a recent comment on MarketingDaily), “By the time of the Fiesta’s U.S. launch, Millennials will account for 28% of the country’s driving population (a total of 70 million new drivers). The movement gives [Ford] an opportunity to connect with the group before they have established brand loyalty while appealing to their affinity for social networking and technology.”

So the strategy seems solid, the launch has proven to be successful, now I look forward to following the follow-up. How will this campaign in which they are encouraging direct consumer feedback on their product change either marketing or development? I want to see what Ford does with any constructive feedback (ie is this being used for R&D purposes), and how they will use the platform to turn any potential criticisms into positives. Early days but if they can harness these conversational elements inherent in social media marketing, they could nail it.

And just for fun, wanted to share my fav video of those I watched – Ford, Fiesta (can you believe I actually took the time to watch several, but they were amusing, what can I say?)  – definitely give both of these guys one! And I want an invite to the Ford, Fiesta :)

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