Archive | February 2014

Brand Apologies Consuming Twitter?

Its not hard to believe that Twitter has already seen its share of celebrities and brands two-stepping PO’d consumers (or fans) and inserting their digital foot-in-mouth at the response of an angry consumer mob to an innocent or ignorant Tweet.

Most recently, good ole Cleveland found itself on the receiving end of Purrell’s online account when it tweeted during the Super Bowl Sunday game with a taunt about the Broncos looking as bad as the Browns… not granted this is true, but Cleveland sports fans are loyal and have a Twitter voice equal to getting the tweet removed by Monday morning, apologies on Twitter and the Plain Dealer website (Cleveland’s major newspaper) promising nothing like that would happen again… Ashton Kutcher, PizzaHut, BurgerKing, and others know what its like to back track after Tweeting before checking facts or trying to save customers at the offence of an employee.

I even remember reading about a MarCom posting a negative Tweet after landing in a less than fabulous midwest city… then show up at the client meeting a few hours later to be canned at the cost of the client having read the Tweet and been offended because they were proud of its hometown, aka humble midwest roots.

In fact, a linguistics expert analyzed the way we apologize on Twitter after studying 1183 apologies issued by corporations, celebrities and normal folks between 2010 and 2012 for a Bloomberg Business Week article. First result: Corporations apologize A LOT! having used the word “sorry” at 8.6 times the frequency of individuals and “regret” used an incredible 37.5 times more frequently by companies than individuals.

The quality of the apology can also impact how consumers perceive a brand. Companies rarely restated when they’re apologizing for, which is a way to obscure the initial offense, and were likely to stop short of accepting blame. However, in place of sincerity, companies often offered action.

Joshua March, the founder of Conversocial, which helps companies with social media customer service, says companies who want to be edgy just need to be ready for a bit of blowback. It’s not hard to predict that football fans are going to be irked by gratuitous swipes at their teams. “If you make a joke that way,” he says, “you’re obviously going to get flak.” March often finds that corporate executives get instantly spooked by negative comments on social media and tend to panic.

In the end, companies will continue to use social media as a way to engage its audience, sell more product and hopefully increase their brand’s preference against competitors. And if apologizing to each consumer with a complain online helps, then I expect brands will continue their effort to make customers happy and use their social presence to reflect company values.


Predicted Winter Games Viewer Habits

As the Winter Games wrap up this week and Gold medals awarded, I came across this frequency-survey-scale-1-1395771-minteresting article on AdWeek about predicted viewer social media habits and input on what types of ad content they wanted to see from major sponsors.

Winter Olympics sponsors will be glad to know that people who watch the games are 9 percent more likely than the general public to buy from companies that sponsor sporting events, but beware of celebrity endorsements—viewers are 43 percent less likely to buy products that celebrities use, according to Experian Marketing Services. Meanwhile, multitasking during the games is on the rise, with three-fourths of those planning to watch the Winter Games plan to use more than one device while doing so, per Arnold Worldwide.

Of the 400 adults surveyed online, 47% of adults confirmed they will watch the games and 35% might follow (giving marketers a reach to nearly 80% of consumers). And of those watching, 74% will do it with multiple devices… my how our audience has changed. How do you grab the attention of someone like that?

At least 62% of them will share Olympics content (and 77% among 18-29 year olds) to help spread the word from athletes and advertisers. It was also noted that Facebook was the most popular platform for sharing with 81%, of course Twitter (34% adults) and YouTube (36% adults) will also have a part in making Olympics history.

The survey also revealed that while consumers are responsive to brand messages (9% more likely to buy from company that sponsors sporting events and 18% more likely to buy Made in the USA) they are not receptive to direct celebrity endorsements – 43% less likely to buy products that celebrities use.

Which proves that ad pretesting can be a blessing because this year’s sponsor ads fit right into this trend of focusing on stories and connecting with viewer emotions.

Do you think that advertisers hit the mark this year. Who would you give Gold, Silver and Bronze to? In your opinion, which brand earned the Gold Social Media award?


Olympic Gold for Athletes and Marketers

medal-3-1389985-mWith the XXII Winter Olympics underway in Sochi, Russia, a variety of themed ads have viewers overwhelmed as part of the estimated $1 billion in sponsors and advertising. Some of these advertisers are repeat sponsors (NBC, GM, McDonalds) in addition to some new supporters.

Century 21, a first-time Olympics sponsor supporting the US men’s and women’s bobsled and skeleton teams will run commercials branding its “Smarter. Bolder. Faster.” theme in a new way. This is a great example of retrofitting a creative concept into a new timely message.

From a recent article in The New York Times, Trudy Hardy, vice president for marketing at BMW of North America, said her company was “super excited” and making “a huge investment” in the Winter Olympics as part of a six-year sponsorship with the US Olympic Committee (during the 2012 Summer Games, BMW was also a Team USA sponsor).

So far this year advertisers have seemed to focus on how they got there (the background stories) instead of that single moment of shining Gold… or Silver or Bronze. And I’ve enjoyed this more realistic approach.

Then there’s Coca-cola, who despite the backlash from Super Bowl viewers that the “America the Beautiful” spot was sung in multiple languages including English, ran an extended version of the spot during the opening ceremonies… I for one am proud of our country’s rich history of diversity, what better way to communicate this than to feature these cultures. The spot is an excellent fit with the Olympics.

But the glass isn’t half full for everyone. Aside from political controversy about Russia’s laws, a satirical Twitter feed @SochiProblems has 109,000 followers , nearly as many followers as the official Sochi2014 feed – 125,000 followers. (The feed is quite funny to read if you have the chance.) The Power of Social Media continues to impact global events and activities like the Olympics. Many advertisers have also capitalized on this new format, bringing messages across platforms and engaging with consumers as they cheer for their favorite athletes.

Where do you feel marketers were most successful this year? Do you think they’ve taken the right approach to connecting with viewers and their changing attitudes of what makes someone a GOLD athlete?

Either way, I’m looking forward to see who wins and which athletes will have marketers knocking on their door for endorsements.


Social Media for Start-Ups

The power of social media can be seen most effectively in the success (or lack there of) in start-up companies. Not only do they have to compete with competition often bigger than themselves but they do not have marketing budgets and resources to build their brand.

Often they rely on their online presence for marketing their products and services. Digital media can make a big impact on their audience with little cost and a lot of effort. If used smartly and tactfully, startups can reap huge benefits and soon become a force on the social media playing field.

This infographic from Business 2 Community explains it all.

How Can Startups Use The Power Of Social Media (Infographic) image How Can Startups Use The Power Of Social Media

Predicted Social Media Trends for 2014

I think we can all agree that 2013 has seen more changes in the social media advertising landscape more than any year before. And Don’t expect the train to slow either according to top analysts.

From Search Engine Watch, here are 5 Social Media Trends to Watch for in 2014.

1. More Twitter Ads
In 2013, Twitter increased its user interface on desktops and mobile devices helping the platform gain millions of new users (not to mention completed its IPO). With the introduction of Lead Generation Cards, tailored audiences (remarketing), promoted accounts in timelines and new optimization for keyword targeting, Twitter has a big year ahead showing its new shareholders the rapid development it expects will continue.

2. Facebook Video Ads
Aren’t you glad to know that TV advertising is was (and still is) a fundamental piece to the modern advertising puzzle?  I am, although many viewers are adapting their TV habits online meaning video advertising must shift with it. Because videos are prominently featured in Facebook feeds organically, it seems the next phase is to adapt video ads into its content. We’ll see where this leads…

3. Ads on Google+
What you didn’t know that people actually use Google+? Yeah it surprises me too, but as marketers we need to be where our audience is active and engaged. While for now its still completely void of ads, we can’t expect that to continue at the loss of revenue… Rumor has it that +Post Ads are in development. Notably this isn’t an ad unit, brands will be able to take quality Google+posts and advertise them across the Google Display Network. Hmm…

4. Fragmentation vs Variety
Every tech guy out there is trying to build the next Facebook network and though some like Pinterest and SnapChat have established a mass base of members, others have burnt out. Then with mass-appeal and adoption comes new responsibility to create revenue. Pinterest and Instagram are both experimenting with fledgling advertising platforms. Reddit, Foursquare, Tumblr and others are already providing self-serve ad campaigns.

All of these new platform begin to create a dilemma as companies try to decide which platform is going to give them the reach and engagement they’re seeking. So if you missed my post last week with the SUPERGRAPHIC of the social media landscape, look again because our jobs are only going to become more complicated when trying to reach our target audience.

5. Blurred lines between Paid and Organic Content
First came a simple and straightforward ad unit on Facebook. Then Twitter and its promoted tweets for timelines. Now, Facebook, LinkedIn and others have newsfeed ad units that have boosted engagement and click-through rates while blurring the lines of what is organic or paid social content. Effectively blending into the natural landscape of the users social feed. Why? More people click on ads that look like organic content…  so just expect this sticky trend of “sponsored” content to grow.