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Super Bowl 47, Social Marketing Evolved


The Super Bowl Social

Super Bowl Sunday brings us big parties, a big game, and even bigger commercials.  Every year the bar seems to climb higher from a creativity standpoint and brands are reaching further to get something to resonate with consumers.  It seems more people come to work on Monday morning and discuss the commercials more than they do the game, which was certainly the case in my office today.  In fact the Super Bowl is the one day a year I use my DVR to rewind commercials and re-watch them rather that simply buzzing right by them.

This year I watched the highly anticipated commercials through a new lens.  I wanted to see just how big brands would leverage the use of social media to extend their overall reach and continue the conversation with consumers post view.  Last year it seemed as if the use of social within the realm of TV was just starting to take off, so I was confident the this year’s Super Bowl would be the spring board to really see some great integration.

To my surprise very few brands added this social layer to their commercials, when you look at all of those that purchased spots during the big game.  Perhaps there are still a lot of unknowns as the space is still relatively new.  Maybe when you are investing 3.5 million dollars on a 30 second television spot, you just stick with what works?  Or maybe you take a risk, try something different, and get people talking about your brand in a new way? I’m not saying I have the right answer, but in my opinion trying new things [although not without challenges] often pays off in spades.

Out of all of the commercials I saw yesterday only two brands chose to use a Twitter hashtag to get viewers buzzing about the commercial they just saw. What a great way to continue the conversation and buzz about the brand – Kudos to Audi [#SoLongVampires] and Bud Light [#MakeItPlatinum]. I am certain that both brands saw significant traffic to both their social channels as well as their websites post airing of these commercial with the integrated social layer – even if the hashtags chosen are sub-optimal and don’t really speak to the brand they represent. In this case I am talking about Audi’s play off the Vampire craze that is seemingly oozing out of pop culture in the wake of the Twilight series.  Not sure association with Vampires is a way to sell luxury automobiles, but it sure gets people talking about the brand. Mission accomplished Audi.

Coca-Cola leveraged their infamous polar bears, directing viewers to CokePolarBowl.com which took users to a custom Facebook app where you could watch the bear’s reactions to the big game.  The URL now re-directs viewers Coke’s YouTube channel that has been re-skinned to play off the polar bear theme.  A recent article on Ad-Age reports that more than 600,000 viewers were following the live stream of the Polar Bowl Facebook App by the third quarter.  Even the @CocaCola Twitter handle was turned over to the bears and Coke is reporting a 12.5% increase in US followers prior to kickoff.  This is a great example of how brands can look to extend both the conversation and consumer engagement beyond the realm of just television.

Another way I did see brands try and differentiate their commercials during the Super Bowl this year, was by use of a 3rd party app accessible on any Smartphone or tablet.  It was clear these brands such as Pepsi, Best Buy, and Toyota were trying to reach those with connected devices and serve them additional messages.  The app these brands turned to was called Shazam, which when activated listens to the audio track of a song, or in this case commercial, the can serve up the name, artist info, and in this case exclusive content only those that engaged with the commercial by way of the Shazam app, could experience.  While I am an avid user of the app, I can’t see myself reaching in my pocket for my phone, accessing the app, and recording the audio from the commercial in an effort to get a nugget of new content.  Heck, it takes me more than 30 seconds to get my phone out of my pocket sometimes.  Although this approach of integrating Shazam into the commercial didn’t resonate much with me personally, I applaud these brands efforts for thinking differently and trying something new. In hindsight I could have leveraged that good old DVR to dig deeper on this one and Shazam! Get that exclusive content.

This years Super Bowl commercials are only the beginning.  I predict [and I’m sure many others in the social business realm do as well] that social integration will continue to gain traction and popularity thus finding a home within television commercials.  We’re even beginning to see a shift in how TV is broadcast to us adding in social elements, like live tweets and Facebook updates from sports journalists, news anchors, and even politicians.  This can be seen during many a televised game, news broadcast, or even your favorite reality TV show.  Commercials are not far behind, as more and more brands look to increase visibility, share of voice, and connect deeper with consumers; the social advertising layer will become a new norm.

 

 


A Look Back and Looking Forward

Last year brought many new experiences my way, several of which consumed my attention and threw me off the content creation course (writing).  I can think of two things that have significantly impacted my life for the better even though my goal of being a more proactive writer became distant.  For starters, I’ve been really enjoying being a father. You’d be surprised just how much time it takes, but every minute of it worth it.  This year my wife and I celebrated our daughters first birthday; and have witnessed so many more of her milestones.  All this as she grows into her larger than life personality, what a ride it’s been thus far.  We’re also excited to welcome a second Renno baby into the world this June. Excited for what the addition to the family will bring but now the parents team and kids team will be at equal strength. Only time will tell who has practiced more.

Second I had the opportunity to take on new roles within my career journey this year.  This summer I took on a role in Chicago, kick starting the organization’s first official social media department and helping to develop and implement several social business ideas across the enterprise.  I wanted to pause a moment and recognize all of you that helped me to achieve this opportunity.  There are far to are too many to call out individually; but confident in the fact that the tremendous support shown by the Milwaukee Twitter community and significant increase in local brand recognition they helped me to achieve, aided in paving the way.  Later in the year as our organization’s social efforts grew, so did the need for additional headcount.  It was during this period of departmental growth, I was afforded the opportunity to lead the social media team and program for the business.  I am grateful for this new team and tremendously excited for the skill sets they bring to the table, as together we’ll be able to accomplish so much more.

As we move into the New Year I feel more grounded, more thoughtful, and more open minded to new ideas than ever before.  I am continuously learning both personally and professionally from those around me and through the relationships I have made with all of you.  For this I am forever grateful.  Twenty Twelve brings about another change, made possible by a good friend of mine Phil Gerbyshak.  His thought leadership and digital experience has helped me to expand the way I think about the social / digital space, as well as helped to breathe new life into my own little corner of the web.  Thank you for taking the time, sharing your knowledge, and above all being a good friend.

This year I am looking forward to sharing new thoughts and ideas with all of you.  I am looking forward to asking more questions, seeking different opinions and challenging the status quo.  I look forward to learning more and perhaps even teaching at times.  I look forward to making the time to connect with more people and build new relationships. I look forward to giving more time to my growing family.  Along the way, I look forward to sharing my reflections with you.

*Photo Credit*


Check-In & Unlock a New Way To Connect With Customers

Just as I do every year, I wait until the last minute to do my holiday shopping.  Each year I vow to buy everything online, yet for some reason it never seems to work out.  Tonight I found myself all over town trying to make gift selections for those dearest to me. As I fought the crowds I kept myself entertained reading the colorful tweets prior to tonights contraversal football game featuring the typical Brett Favre shenanigans, that seem to be never ending (retire already).  Blazing a trail through the newly fallen snow, I also was certain to check-in via foursquare as I visited various retailers hoping to unlock a great special or a new badge.  Mission accomplished, as I unlocked “the bookworm” badge upon my check-in at Barnes & Noble tonight!

New badge earned and in a better mood now, I carried on with the shopping bonanza and ventured across town to a favorite retailer of mine, REI. Getting out of my car and walking to the door I check-in, nothing to unlock here but at least I know i’ll enjoy the time I spend while in this store. My ten plus years in the outdoor industry has spoiled me when it comes to high end sporting goods. I enter the front door and then I see it. A very large sign encouraging customers to “check-in” on facebook places with their smart phones.  For every check-in REI was going to donate $50 to the Ice Age Trail for maintenance.

I sat there thinking to myself, now in the mobile phone industry and a social media junkie, wow this is awesome! I was so geeked that REI was using location based social media to not only bring more visibility to their business, but also to create a deeper connection with their customers! These donations for simply visiting and checking in truly go a long way in building those all important connections to the communities in which retailers do business. I proudly checked in, and am looking forward to my next hike on the Ice Age Trail, knowing that REI helped to maintain it using social media as a catalyst.

Albeit tiny in scope, this is a great example of the power of social media in action and at its best. You know darn well I tweeted about this right away with the hopes to draw even more people into REI.  It also shows a simple way location based social media applications can be used to drive increased brand awareness, connect with your target customers, increase sales, and lead to brand evangelists.

Tonight was a pretty outstanding evening for me from a social media perspective. New badge unlocked and $50 donated to a local trail, all by simply checking-in.  My passion for customer service and the social media space causes me to stop think about how retailers are doing business and connecting with their customers quite often; tonight was a good night to reflect on that.

For those of you wondering, I still didn’t finish my holiday shopping. Four days left.


Excited to Share How Twitter Has Lifted Sales & Created Customer Advocacy

From a blogging perspective I’ve been pretty quiet lately. The past couple of months has been the final push in training our teams and preparing to “Wake Up” the wireless industry with The Belief Project from U.S. Cellular®.  Although time consuming as a leader responsible for training associates for launch, the preparation was worth it as our company sought to change the way wireless companies do business.  I am extremely proud of my team for their additional commitment to learning and creating an enhanced customer experience.  Additional pride is felt in knowing I work for a company that is focused on creating an environment that gains and retains customers with forward thinking programs, and rewards for loyalty. In today’s corporate world there are not too many people that get as excited about the company they work for as U.S. Cellular® associates do.

Anyways, “shop talk” aside, back to the reason for this post today.  Today I had the day off but for the most part I felt under the weather today, the start of a cold I presume.  Unfortunate, as I would have loved to enjoy the beautiful day outside on a hike or even doing yard work; there is lots to do in the way of yard prep for winter.  Instead I spent the day indoors juggling a fussy baby (we’re sick at the same time) and trying to put together a presentation on leveraging Twitter for business.  I was recently asked to discuss how I have built a large repeat customer base and utilized Twitter to provide a heightened degree of customer service for the WCTC DECA Organization.  I was honored to have been asked, and will be speaking this Wednesday morning.

After giving some thought as to what my discussion will entail, I have decided to pull from a several resources.  For starters I am going to draw from a presentation I gave to my BNI chapter which covers an overview of what Social Media is and how it can be a low cost and highly effective tool for business.  I will also be pulling from a blog post I wrote regarding Three Themes for Success in Social Media. In addition to those items I am going to pull from the successes I have found in building a customer base and creating a high level of customer service via Twitter.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to share what I found has worked in building my personal brand, and creating loyal customers.  There is significant potential in leveraging Social Media to create an impression on people as well as build your business.  Hopefully sharing my journey on how I’ve developed new and repeat business through Twitter will allow others to find their niche as well.


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