November 16th, 2010
The potential for consumer engagement within social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc., tends to split opinion: successful marketing has either become a matter of “likes” and “followers”, or everything that can be measured beyond the realm of social media. No matter your stance, what remains is that existing and – perhaps more importantly – potential customers flock to social networks in large numbers.
One way to bring perspective to this new level of consumer engagement that social networks provide, is to perceive these consumers from the viewpoint of how political branding has developed within the last 20 years.
Since the 1990s and especially Philip Gould’s seminal book, The Unfinished Revolution, the importance of being a political brand has increased for politicians in the West. This movement has partly been fueled by politicians learning from how companies have successfully branded themselves in increasingly competitive markets through time. However, besides increased political awareness and social responsibility, the insights from strategy and promotion in the political sphere haven’t moved significantly in the other direction.
Gould’s key learning from his analysis of The Labour Party in Great Britian is that politicians should ignore the voters that most definitely will and will not vote for them, and instead target their campaigns towards the large group of voters who through campaigning can be convinced into voting for them.
If Gould is right, then the level of consumer engagement that social networks constitute provides a key marker for marketers to steer by, as the people who “like” or “follow” brands show the level of engagement necessary for continued persuasion. Social networks are cheap and contain great potential for marketers, but for now they are merely a new advertising platform and not the consumers themselves. To the point, brand disciplines shouldn’t be perceived as a criterion for success, but valuable means to an end.
November 3rd, 2010
Pop sociologist, Malcolm Gladwell, recently wrote an essay in The New Yorker on social media and social activism. Inspired by network theory as usual he thoroughly argues for distinguishing between social media infused activism and “offline/real” activism. Accordingly, Gladwell states: “Social networks are effective at increasing participation—by lessening the level of motivation that participation requires”, which – if Gladwell’s analysis is valid – should have marketing and social media practitioners contemplating their future usage of social media.
To elaborate, it’s interesting that people might be participating because they “like” a brand on Facebook, “follow” a ditto on Twitter, or “check in” through Foursquare, but this should be interpreted based on the fact that the level of motivation necessary to participate is equally lowered. To the point, social media might have changed online behavior for good, but companies and agencies need to have KPIs that are more tangible than clicks, “likes”, “followers” etc., when they plan and follow up on their social media campaigns.
Eventually, it’s all about converting awareness into purchases, i.e. if your brand achieves immense awareness in social networks, but cannot convert this – and doesn’t have tangible ways to measure the conversion – then the money is probably used better elsewhere.
Consequently, social media hasn’t changed the level of customer engagement that a purchase requires, but it has added a new level to that customer engagement. It is imperative that marketers and sales people have this in mind.
October 18th, 2010
VerticPortals created a social media campaign for VisitDenmark on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to drive Americans between the target age group of 40-60 to visit Denmark. In 4 YouTube episodes a viewer is taken through the storyline of a virtual American couple in their 40s named Ann and Bill who are deciding on their travel plans and ultimately choose to visit Denmark because it’s considered the “happiest place on earth.” The viral element is a contest through a Facebook application whereby viewers who click on the application are automatically entered to win a free trip for 2 to Copenhagen for 3 nights. “Ann and Bill” also post and tweet about their entire travel experience in Copenhagen including their throughts prior to traveling and their fond memories throughout when they arrive back in the U.S.
Here are the links for all three social media platforms to view the campaign:
Episode #1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gq38Rdoi0nY&playnext=1&videos=yo69V93zgTs&feature=mfu_in_order
Episode #2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPFR2oTQzjQ&playnext=1&videos=8KI1srBH6fg&feature=mfu_in_order
Episode #3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDErZ99hN-U&playnext=1&videos=TofvwKuROaQ&feature=mfu_in_order
Episode #4 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoZnnQhOLU0&playnext=1&videos=YkJ7SuSDLuM&feature=mfu_in_order
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=127541253960434
Twitter – https://twitter.com/annandbill
September 13th, 2010
Recent article in Wired Magazine claims the web is dead. I am not sure the Web is really dead (or dying) but I believe that the way we find and access information is changing.
The article claims closed networks like Itunes and Facebook is changing how we use the Internet. Plus the need to capitalize of the Internet has moved focus away from the Web to alternative Internet outlets.
Writing off the web just because alternative information networks has sprung up may be taking the analysis too far but it it does serve as an important reminder how the Internet has changed in a short time and how it will continue to change in the future.
It also helps to understand why social media has grown as much as it has in such a short time. If it wasn’t for new way of connecting like Facebook social media would not have been the same. I like to call it the personalization of the web. And just as our life outside the Internet, our communication needs takes on a different degrees of personalization which the Web has finally caught up to.
Itunes, Twitter and Facebook are the current hot topics just like Netscape, Second life and Geocities were before them. It’s not so much about death as it s iabout constant development and renewal of the Web.
August 23rd, 2010
Solution City is a virtual showcase of Microsoft partners. The site @ www.visitsolutioncity.com will be marketed by Microsoft as a destination for companies searching for solutions to sustaining and growing their business. Companies across multiple sectors are represented, creating an environment in which they can see real business solutions in a virtual world.
The site has received a site of the day award from Design Licks.
July 19th, 2010
The KODAK PULSE site @ experience.kodakpulse.com was developed to generate buzz around the KODAK PULSE Digital Frame which KODAK launched last December. KODAK retained VerticPortals to create awareness for the KODAK PULSE product using the power of FACEBOOK CONNECT. The objective was to promote the product, engage the consumer and ultimately drive people to purchase the product.
The VP site allows users to personalize a photostream in a virtual version of the digital frame with pictures from their Facebook account while simultaneously posting the KODAK PULSE frame to their Wall and creating a photo album in Facebook that notifies any tagged friends which appear in the album. The Facebook Connect function on the VP KODAK PULSE site is implemented to create a viral effect and generate buzz around the product.
The KODAK PULSE digital WI-FI frame allows you to upload photos from various platforms including your computer, phone, Facebook page, email and Kodakgallery account once you set up your unique login code. The PULSE automatically alerts you when you get new pictures from friends and family.
The site won “site of the day” on Design Licks (July 27th) and made the FWA public shortlist (July 27th). Top countries where the site has been viewed include China, India, France and Korea. We believe the site will continue to garner widespread attention.