Talking vs. Marketing

Looking at chapter 6 in Groundswell “talking” is discussed. This is different from marketing because it is actions taken by the company that encourage public “talking” rather than communicating to the target audience directly. The four most effective forms of this are posting videos, social networking sites, blogging, and online communities.

This chapter in Groundswell also looks at “When Should Brands Use Social Networks?”. Raising this question is important for effectively reaching the right audience. I currently work for NEWAD. This is a marketing agency that ONLY targets the young and affluent. As a result, social media/ technology is a component in almost every campaign we create. Although we are “marketing”, many of our campaigns create buzz and generate additional online conversations among users.

When making a campaign we check to see if the clients target market is already online. It is vital that a company move forward based on the level of positive feedback for the brand. If they have a “popular” following already, less effort will be required in the approach (e.g. Coca Cola, Disney, Northlands CFR). This does not mean we will put in less effort, it just means customers are already “talking” about the brand and will seek out content  or make it themselves; rather relying on marketing for information. We normally use a combination of print and technology in order to encourage the target market to go online. You may have seen our print ad space around the universities and bars of Edmonton. We are most known for our bathroom stall advertisements and vivid 3D print boxes (see below).  These are used to generate traffic to a company’s Facebook page or online contest application. We try to avoid reusing ideas that may not have been successful for other companies and find unique ways to encourage public communication (experiential marketing using iPad’s to get people talking on their own Facebook pages).

For more information about NEWAD see their website: http://www.newad.com/

For more information about customer “talking”… keep reading my blog for information on other companies and content I find blog-worthy!!!!

Until next blog…..

k

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The POST Process

Taking a look at Groundswell, chapter 4 talks about the importantance of having a clear goal when it comes to implementing technological change in an organization. It can be hard to develop your goals if a company/person does not understand how to use the most applicable aspects of emerging technology and why. The POST process can help clarify appropriate actions, opportunities and prevent groundswell approach-voidance syndrome.

POST: Is a four step planning process used to assess how companies and individuals can most effectively build their groundswell strategy. This is the foundation of groundswell thinking because it allows companies to assess what kind of technology their company and customers are ready for. the following look at how/why a company should use POST.

People: Looking at the first part of the process, the company will need to decide which people they are targeting and how that can be done using technology. In this case a Social-Technographics profile is usually the best approach because it will identify their target market and prevent techniques and technology from being implemented too early/ too late. This will in turn add value for the customers rather than overwhelm them.

Objectives: The next step is to determine the objectives for the company. These goals should align will the company mission to benefit the organization internally and externally. To successfully pursue the groundswell, five main objectives have been developed; listening (how to better understand your customers for marketing and development purposes), talking (spreading messages through increased online presence), energizing (customer word of mouth), supporting (use technology to help your customers), and embracing (customer integration). The goal of these objectives overall is to increase communication among customers through technology integration within the company.

Strategy: This will be followed by the development of an implementation strategy. Here the company will need to decide how they want the changes to be shared with customers, how much engagement is required, and how to avoid transition problems with customer relationships. This will give them a good indication of the technology that would work best for that organization.

Technology: This is the final step where a company must decide what tools they will utilize in order to meet their goals. When making this decision, they must also consider “what could go wrong?”. For example, technology is constantly changing, to avoid problems; a plan may need to be adjusted several times as the needs of customers change or the competition shifts. In addition, companies should also keep in mind basic questions like; “how can we expand on this approach in the future, who will manage the project and what are the consequences of our plan”. Successfully implementing the last step in POST is critical for enhancing a company’s entrance into the groundswell.

Unitl next blog….

k

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Collaborative Communities & the Company

Chapter 11 focuses on collaboration through social media. This does not mean a company should rely solely on technology to communicate; but rather, implement changes that will alter the company culture and their employee’s behavior. When implemented properly, this can transform the way a company functions and increase efficiency in multiple departments.

The example provided in Groundswell discusses Best Buy and how they are empowering staff through applications like “Blue Shirt Nation”. This is a site where employees can circulate ideas and problems as well as connect with other best buy staff. This also allows them to search for advice and provides a social opportunity/boosts moral. However, some managers were initially nervous that promoting increased staff discussion would result in “revolts”. Yet so far, it has resulted in staff moral and communication increases. Managers were then able to gain insight into employees overall needs. This has, and will continue to, pinpoint deeper issues within the company and avoid wasting resources on unnecessary changes.

The video “Blue Shirt Nation” mentions that the managers have now taken on a leadership role, where listening to staff opinions is sometimes more important that acting on senior managements original plans for the company. Staff are encouraged to speak their minds, providing them with an opportunity to create organizational change. This process could easily be applied to multiple industries to foster better communication!

Until next blog….

k

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Can You Hear It Coming???

Chapter 5 of the Groundswell focuses on “listening to the groundswell”. This basiclly means that social media plays a role in how consumers view your brand. Their opinions can be shared on such a large scale that customer parse and disapproval can make or break your company’s image. Their personal opinions can be formed by marketing or reviews, but also post-purchase feedback. Listening to this feedback and learning from it/acting on it can is a key planning tool when developing a social media plan. (social feedback cycle)

walt-disney-pictures-logo

Recently, I wrote a report for my Change Management class which relates to this topic. My paper was on the Walt Disney Company and their “Landmark Nutrition Guidelines” as well as the “Magic of Healthy Living” campaign! As an influential company, Disney wanted to set a new standard for children’s advertising. As a result, they started a campaign in 2006 which would  reduce the amount of “junk food” associated with all aspects of their company and its affiliates. Although the changes will not be fully implemented until 2015, they have done a fantastic job of listening to their consumers complaints and responding accordingly. For more information please refer to their website: www.thewaltdisneycompany.com/mohl

Until next Blog….

k

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The Power of Social Technographics

The novel Groundswell was written to address the changing pace of social media in 2006. This trend was caused by an influx of online participation from the public as well as many organizations. Chapters one and two focus on what the groundswell really is and why it happens. It also focuses on how the groundswell can be used to a company’s advantage; by evaluating the effectiveness of new technologies in relation to one’s product/service offerings and their clientele.

Looking closer at chapter 3, this section focuses on the Social Technographics Profile. This profile is most effective for understanding how social technologies are being adopted in general. Once that is done, a company can assess if their customers would benefit from adjusting the current social strategy. Consumer participation can then be broken into six categories; Creators, Critics, Collectors, Joiners, Spectators and Inactives.

I found Table 1-3 in the book to be quite interesting. It showed that “Asian countries participate in groundswell activities at the highest rates in the world.” (pg50). This does not surprise me because much of our innovative technology comes from overseas. Therefore, it makes sense that they would start the groundswell, before the technology reaches North America. For example, I frequently read reviews online for products that are not yet available in Canada. I am able to do this because Creators and Critics usually create “buzz” before a new technology is released worldwide!!

Until next blog….

k

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The Challenges of Social Media

This week I have chosen to blog about the challenges of social media. This topic interests me because although I was born into a generation that uses Web 2.0 constantly, I am still behind on technology trends. Until last month, blogging was a foreign concept and I have just figured out how to use my Twitter account (….I’ve had it for 2 years)! To shed some light on social media, I recently read chapters 1 and 2 of Groundswell as well as an article which discusses the challenges and opportunities of Social Media. This article is entitled Users of the world, unite, by Andreas M. Kaplan and Michael Heinlein. It provides information and statistics to show just how much we rely on the internet now. “According to Forrester Research, 75% of Internet surfers used ‘‘Social Media’’ in the second quarter of 2008… this represents a significant rise from 56% in 2007”( Kaplan, Heinlein, 2009). Although these stats are old, I can only imagine how much they have risen in the last four years. In addition, it was found that the growth was “not limited to teenagers, either; members of Generation X, now 35—44 years old, increasingly populate the ranks of joiners, spectators, and critics. It is therefore reasonable to say that Social Media represent a revolutionary new trend that should be of interest to companies operating in online space–—or any space, for that matter.” (Kaplan, Heinlein, 2009). After reading this, all I could do was think to myself…. if my mom can do it…. so can I!!

Going forward I have realised that I did not take an interest in social media before, because I did not fully understand its benefits. This could be comparable to many companies who are behind on adopting new technology. I previously worked for the Public Relations department of the Federal Government. I noticed that they were unable to transition into social media effectively at first and are still struggling. This was because there were a number of liabilities, surrounding the question of “professionalism” and lack of control. As a result it was monitored for information, but not used consistently to provide content. Personally I think this is a shame because using it would give them access to so many young users through sites like Facebook, Twitter or even cell phone apps. After reading this article, I think the opportunities outweigh the challenges and Web 2.0 will continue to be a part of our personal and work lives.

Until next blog…

k

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Isn’t It Funny How The Time Flies…

Hello again,

Here we are, almost one month after my first blog post, and I haven’t shared any content with you! Sorry for the delay, but I have been reading the textbook for MARK474. Unlike most classes, our textbook is a novel entitled Groundswell, by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. After reading the first three chapters, I can see that it’s purpose is to provide a better understanding of how consumers look at social media; and also how it affects corporate activities. To better understand this, I have compleated a few exersizes for my class which provided insight into how and why social media has become such a large part of our lives. Over the next week I will be sharing my thoughts on an article entitled Users of the World Unite, (which relates to chapters 1 and 2 of the textbook); and then turn my focus to chapter 3 in Groundswell.

Until next blog…

K

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