Ask almost anyone in a corporate leadership role, and they’ll tell you that the success or failure of a company depends less on corporate structure and a great logo than it does on that hard-to-define, oh-so-important secret sauce: the human element. A great leader cannot be successful without surrounding him or herself with a great team of people who embody the goals and values of the company. And on the flip side, many a company has failed because the wrong team was in place.
I recently interviewed a few of the top CMOs in the country in correlation with The First Annual CMO Awards, hosted by The CMO Club. Many of them agreed that they are only as strong as the team they surround themselves with – and that drinking the corporate Kool-Aid is not a bad thing at all.
John Costello (President, Global Marketing & Innovation, Dunkin Brands): “Like any organization, there will always be the occasional road block, but I’ve worked hard to hire positive, proactive individuals who are strong communicators and adopt a solutions-oriented approach. Our industry is incredibly fast-paced and ever-changing, so we can’t let road blocks slow us down. Leading by example and encouraging people and teams to take initiative, has been a powerful recipe for success.”
Marty St. George (SVP, Marketing & Commercial, JetBlue Airways): “My top 3 priorities are talent, talent and talent. We are always looking for brand evangelists. It's easy to find people who can do the work, but it's much tougher to find people who treat the brand like it's their baby.”
Sheryl Adkins-Green (CMO, Mary Kay Inc): “There is a core that resonates [among our team] in terms of how this opportunity is really meant to be more than just about cosmetics. It’s about empowering women, really helping them discover their inner beauty, their confidence, their passion and helping them discover their special gifts through the opportunity. There are typically meetings and discussions that the Independent Beauty Consultants and directors would have with someone as they are considering this opportunity. It’s not a screening process per se, but there are connections and conversations that help identify our culture and values and help them make a decision. They share some of the things that we aspire to be.”
We’ve all heard about the big brand bloopers of social media: hashtags hijacked by angry consumers trying to mock the brand, and pushy brand tweets attempting to tie product into occasions they probably should not. There have even been sites created like Condescending Corporate Brand Page and Real-time Marketing Sucks that highlight the funniest and most ridiculous of them all. It is clear that many brands still need guidance to build policies and protocols for their social media marketing. That is why I wrote You Get What You Give.
These mishaps happen for two reasons:
1. Brands are treating social media like other advertising or marketing mediums.
2. Brands are forgetting that their audience is made up of people.
An excerpt from the “The Community Experience Strategy” chapter of the book speaks to these issues well.
Your community is made up of people. Real people. As people, they have needs, which can be described by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: food, shelter, friends, esteem and recognition. You can be safe in the assumption that if they are buying your brand, you will not need to provide food or shelter, but you will need to give a sense of esteem and in some cases even fulfill the need for belonging. This is where using a conversational voice and behaving like a friend becomes very important and effective for your brand.
As your brand leads the community of fans and advocates, it must constantly remind them why they are there. In the “you get what you give” ecosystem, to gain more love, you must give more. Over time, your audience will become accustomed to your day-to-day content. Unless they are engaged creatively or have a reason to come back regularly, they will fade away over time. This is inevitable. As a brand on social media, part of your mission is to perpetuate the affinity for your brand by getting new people to join your audience and by creating stories that attract your fans’ friends. “Likes” and praising comments can be effective and tactful, but you must also create actions that can support the business goals of your brand. You are a business and must run like a business, so it’s understandable that entertaining your consumers and making them feel involved can be difficult to justify when you still need to make ends meet.
You Get What You Give has principles for marketing on social media. These simple rules will help your brand avoid the major pitfalls you have heard about, and most importantly, stay out of the news for the wrong reasons. The book covers building social media policies for your internal teams and social media guidelines for your fans and followers. It also dives into the differences between “health metrics” and business metrics, why they matter, and how to tie them to your social media activates.
The book revolves around the idea that brands must first give value to their audience before getting anything in return. This is a core principle in social media that Renegade abides by. The Internet is not a push-and-take environment—it is a give-and-get environment. What you get is not always tied directly to the bottom line, either. Depending on your strategy (Branding, Customers Service, Community Experience, Innovation or Sales) what you get may be tied to an operational business metric, like churn, lifetime value of a customer, or customer service tickets. These are the outcomes businesses need to start considering when measuring their social media impact and striving to connect in their everyday processes.
At Renegade, we want your brand to make headlines for the right reasons. Do something profound for your audience, make them feel special, and give them reason to spread the word around your brand. A little product pushing every now and then is okay, but remember that you’re building a group of customers for the long term.
If you're in social media, you know that content marketing was the hot topic of 2013. Companies everywhere were asking, "How do we really connect to our audience over social media? What can we offer to enrich their lives? How do we cultivate a mutually positive relationship through our content?" In a nutshell, content marketing touches on something we talk about a lot here at Renegade: marketing as service, rather than marketing as message.
Five highly successful marketers shared their thoughts on content marketing with me as part of a larger study commissioned by The CMO Club among recent winners of The CMO Awards. While their targets and industries are oceans apart, these pros agree that creating relevant content that is of genuine value—and emphasizes engagement over self-promotion—is the key to effective marketing over social media.
Stephanie Anderson, CMO, Time Warner Cable Business Class: “Content marketing is hot, but not new. In technology, that is the way we work—be relevant, educate and then solve. We are increasing our investment [in content marketing], not because we are following a trend, but because our own thought leadership and solutions have advanced and we need to be able to tell our stories quickly and with the prospect or customer in mind.”
Beth Comstock, CMO, GE: “We’ve been on a path as a content producer for several years now. We’ve widened our definition of content to include data, experiences and, yes, emotional connection and even humor. Content has to be useful and relevant to be effective. We’ve invested in a range of skills like data visualization and user interaction design as a way to drive content that is engaging and relevant. The marvels of science, engineering and manufacturing offer good fodder for content, and we’re constantly seeking out storytellers who get as excited about this as we do.”
Marty St. George, CMO, JetBlue: “I think ‘content’ is a concept that's going to become obsolete very soon; rather than focusing on content as a means, we focus on engagement as the end. Content is one of many ways to create engagement, but certainly not the only way. We have done some innovative programs (like Getaway With It) but we do it with the goal of engagement.”
Michael Lacorazza, SVP Brand & Advertising, Wells Fargo: "We view all of our communications as content, even our paid advertising. And, more than ever, there needs to be a value exchange with the customer. Marketers can no longer ‘message’ at the customer at scaled weight levels. The customer expects much more and looks to us to deliver relevant content on their terms.”
Raj Rao, VP of Global eTransformation, 3M: “We do believe that content marketing holds the key to success with our top two digital priorities. Through our work in the healthcare (dental) industry, where we've invested in several content marketing programs, we have seen strong progress with eCommerce sales and actionable insights based on customer engagement. In the social media programs, content marketing is driving much stronger brand engagement, fueling the growth of advocates and influential followers on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. In China, our content programs in TMall and Weibo are leading to remarkable improvements in sales for both B2B and B2C sales.”
Amid great anticipation, Apple executives introduced two new iPhone models and a new mobile operating system on Tuesday. Below is a recap of what we can expect from Apple’s new offerings.
The new iOS 7 includes an updated control center, notification center and multitasking view, as well as new ringtones and system alert sounds. Also new is AirDrop, which allows users to virtually exchange files with a nearby iPhone.
Of course, it’s the new iPhone models 5S and 5C that have generated the most buzz. The 5S comes in silver, space grey and gold—a new hue among Apple’s products. It also has a new A7 processor re-engineered for 64-bit architecture, allowing it to run more complex software, faster.
The new iPhone 5S (image courtesy apple.com)
The 5S camera boasts an f/2.2 aperture for taking better photos in low light and a dual-LED flash for a more natural color balance. Panorama mode can capture a 28-megapixel shot, and the new burst mode can take ten still images in one second.
Perhaps the most novel feature of the 5S is its Home button-cum-fingerprint scanner, which can be used in place of a pass code and when signing into iTunes. Writer Brad Molen at Engadget found that this feature “made for a much faster and enjoyable experience” accessing the phone.
The iPhone 5C, on the other hand, is a budget-friendly alternative to the current 5, coming in at $100 less. One notable difference is its back panel, composed of polycarbonate in vibrant green, blue, pink, yellow or white.
The new iPhone 5C (image courtesy apple.com)
Writes a blogger for TheVerge about the 5C: “It's an iPhone 5, only a lot thicker and a lot more plastic. And a lot more colorful.”
While a new Apple release usually stirs up widespread excitement, some have found the updates underwhelming. Reuters reports that investors are not particularly thrilled about the new products, and ReadWrite posits that some fans were hoping for more.
Do iOS 7 and iPhones 5S and 5C give consumers renewed impetus to line up and stay loyal, or did Apple’s updates fall flat?
Chipotle recently admitted to tweeting a handful of confusing and nonsensical messages on purpose. At the time, it appeared that Chipotle’s account had been hacked, but the tweets were actually clues in an ongoing promotion called Adventurrito, a 20-day-long scavenger hunt featuring 20 puzzles to celebrate Chipotle’s 20th anniversary.
Is faking your own Twitter hack really the way to #CutThru? Chris Arnold, Communications Director and Official Spokesman for Chipotle, thinks so: “We thought that people would pay attention, that it would cut through people's attention and make them talk, and it did that.” But what does it all mean?
Brands are now owning the Twitter hack.
It started with the real hacks on the Burger King and Jeep Twitter accounts. Then, MTV and BET employed a fake hack as a publicity stunt to attract followers. Now, Chipotle has taken the fake-hack to a new level by using it to spread the word about a special promotion.
Chipotle played and won.
Just look at the charts in this report. Chipotle made “getting hacked” work in its favor; it was not an embarrassing situation calling for ridicule, as Twitter security breaches usually are. The company attracted publicity and earned 4,000 new followers on the day of the hack, compared to its usual 250 followers per day. And the hack got people to know about Adventurrito.
Chipotle came away practically unscathed.
The increase in Chipotle’s followers and the thousands of retweets of the “hacked” tweets suggest that Chipotle’s followers were unshaken by the stunt. One writer wrote a piece titled “Chipotle’s Twitter Hack was Fake and I Ain’t Even Mad.” Perhaps customers didn’t have negative feelings towards the brand because it owned up to its motives.
Self-hacking compromises brand authenticity.
Rick Liebling, creative culturalist at Y&R, brings up a good point in his tweet about authenticity in social media:
Chipotle may have acted off-brand, tarnishing its “authenticity.” But in doing so, it boosted its social footprint. Influencer Francisco Dao was recently quoted in an article saying, “The only community you need to worry about are the people who buy what you’re selling.” It looks like growth trumped authenticity in this case.
Self-hacking takes advantage of the audience.
Social business strategist Andy White, asks, “What is social without trust?” Chipotle may have compromised the trust it earned from its fans and lowered sentiment. Some even say that Chipotle “is killing social“ because it manipulated its audience. Chipotle made customers actively complicit in the stunt; the company needed only post 12 tweets and wait for the hype to begin.
Let’s hope that if brands try this kind of stunt in the future they remember that while it’s good to win on social, it’s important that the customers don’t lose.
Busy week? We bring you six bits of information that you might have missed.
1) Surprise! Not many businesses believe social is important. - MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte surveyed 2,545 business professionals in 99 countries on the topic of social business, and found that only 36% of surveyed professionals viewed social as important to business.
2) If Instagram is high school 2.0, who are you this time around? - Instagram is the high school of social networks, allowing users to develop their style and personality in a very public way. Find out what typical high school role (The Star, The Selfie, The Foodie, etc.) you play with your Instagram portfolio.
3) Facebook is raking in profits from mobile advertising. - The social networking company said Wednesday that it had revved up its mobile advertising from virtually nothing a year ago to 41% of its total ad revenue of $1.6 billion in Q2 2013.
4) Chipotle faked their own Twitter hack, and it worked. - To promote their 20th anniversary, @choptletweets posted a series of abstract tweets that were hints to their daily trivia. Because of the stunt, they gained over 4,000 followers and received over 12,000 RTs; that’s way more than the normal 250 followers they gain per day.
5) Instagram ads are on the horizon. - Mark Zuckerburg announced during a Facebook Q2 earnings call that Instagram might one day have ads. It’s no secret that advertising on social boosts brand engagement, but will users accept the interruption?
6) Facebook user stereotypes: are you a stalker, a newbie or a curator? - Facebook users each browse and post on the platform in different ways, but this Optify infographic attempts to whittle them down to nine stereotypes. Which profile best suits your habits? Note: none are particularly complimentary.
In this week’s social media roundup, we scoured the Internet for the stories you may have missed and have found six that are worth a read.
1) Some banks miss the mark with older customers’ online experience. - A recent survey of baby boomers confirmed that some banks should reevaluate the online experience they provide. This speaks to banks’ broader problems transitioning to the digital sphere with online banking and social media platforms.
2) What would the iconic Wall Street Bull say if he could speak for himself? - This short film follows the life story of the bull from its birth to its transition to a symbol of financial excess, all through his truly New York perspective. The film is nominated for Smithsonian Magazine's In Motion video contest.
3) Mobile ad revenue will top $1 billion in 2013. - A recent eMarketer study says that mobile payments at point-of-sale will top $58 billion by 2017. Delays in technology and adoption have hindered growth in recent years, but one-third of brands plan to have mobile payment options in the near future.
4) This hugging chair brings to life Facebook birthday wishes. - Outback Steakhouse and ad agency Lew'Lara/TBWA have created the B-day Chair, which gives patrons some tangible love when connected to their Facebook accounts.
5) Online publishers now have a way to track and monetize copied text. - When a user highlights more than eight words on a page synced with Share Text, the app presents several sharing options, ensuring that the publisher always knows where their words are headed.
6) There are several simple solutions to common productivity problems. - Over-absorbing, over-scheduling, over-multi-tasking, and procrastinating are habits easily developed, but also easily broken, with a little bit of psychology.
In more Twitter news, the company’s interactive Amplify program welcomes a new client, television giant Viacom. Viacom will soon have the ability to deliver ad-supported video content from networks like MTV, VH1, CMT and Nickelodeon directly into the feeds of its followers.
Taking another step towards brand-friendliness, Twitter launched Amplify to integrate traditional TV into the Twitter platform, allowing partners to embed real-time programs—highlights, trailers, promotional clips—into their tweets. These so-called “second screens” have the added feature of a frame that can host additional advertising content.
Viacom’s first use of Amplify will occur during the MTV Video Music Awards on August 25, when the network will tweet real-time clips of the program to the Twitterverse…probably something along the lines of “Here’s a clip of Beyonce’s performance: what did you think?” “Check out Bruno Mars walking down the red carpet: how about that hair?” The conversation should be interesting, to say the least, and we’ll be watching.
What’s more, this kind of video integration may eventually open doors for smaller brands to directly embed their own video content into Twitter, interacting with followers in a new, meaningful way.
Facebook Page admins now have a new, very welcome option for viewing comments on a Facebook post. The social networking platform recently rolled out a site-wide feature that allows users to sort comments by “Top Comments” or “Recent Activity”—in other words, by popularity/engagement or by chronological order, respectively. The previous interface displayed comments beneath a post in oldest-to-newest chronological order.
This new sorting option comes on the heels of another improvement to the comment interface. Taking a cue from message boards like Reddit, Facebook also recently began nesting replies beneath each related comment, threading together a line of conversation in an organic and visually practical way.
Prior to these two updates, Facebook’s comment interface had remained unchanged for many years; page admins once had to scroll through all comments to gauge which were most popular, and only through tags could the admin see which users were replying to each other.
Thanks to the new updates, an admin can now easily assess which comments are garnering the most engagement, which are being ignored, and which should be addressed the most urgently, providing yet another useful tool to measure content effectiveness and the gravity of user feedback.
Yesterday, Twitter released a public analytics dashboard to all users in a move that they hope pushes more users to adopt their ads platform. To access the analytics platform you must go through Twitter ads dashboard. Taking a cue from Facebook’s ability to promote personal status updates, Twitter clearly wants you to consider promoting your tweets.
The most insightful information users can access in their dashboard is which content receives the most engagement. It shows statistics like the number of “faves,” retweets and replies to your last 500 tweets. Users can also see how many clicks each link receives, which we see leading to more optimized content. The dashboard also shows a 30 day history of your followers gained and lost, but does not allow you to see details from specific days. The platform also includes an overview of your followers with information on interests, gender and location.
Although informative, Twitter’s analytics platform is still behind many third party platforms. We would like to see more analytics on the per day loss and gain of followers. The export features is handy but is missing information on the number of clicks. A larger backfile of tweets, and a total number of users who saw your tweet would also be nice. At this time, the dashboard is barebones information, but is enjoyable.