Monthly Archives: August 2013

Future Implications

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The social media landscape is continually changing. Identify and discuss some implications for brands that you see going forward and how this might impact a company’s existing social media strategy. Is this implication a result of changes in human behavior, changes in technology, or both? Why?

One of the biggest implications brands will face in the changing social media landscape is the introduction of new social media tools and the learning curve that comes with them. This year saw dramatic growth in new social media tools like Pinterest, with 5,124 percent growth, and Instagram, with 17,319 percent growth. Analyst James Murray with Experian explains that, “Offering deeper functionality combined with a lower technical barrier to entry will mean new leaders in social media being created in a matter of days versus weeks and months (Holmes, 2012).” This implication reflects changes in both human behavior and technological growth, as social media venues expand and become more simplified and diverse, users are more inclined to become active. But the evolution of technology has led users to become more reliant on simplified interfaces.

However, social media will begin helping companies improve inter-office communications. Although thus far, social media has largely been limited to marketing and community building functions, social media is poised to become an office productivity tool, allowing employees to communicate and collaborate via instant messaging, wikis, virtual work groups and centralized message boards. E-mail is becoming a tool of the past, and even human resources departments are using social media already to communicate with job applicants and streamline the application process. Sales teams have begun using social media to communicate with and track customers through the sales funnel (Holmes, 2012). Dealer.com, for example, is the automotive industry’s leading provider of dealership website marketing solutions. The company’s employees use instant messaging to communicate with one another. This benefits dealers, because when an account representative is unavailable, another representative can speak with the dealer on the phone while chatting with that dealer’s assigned representative. But the evolution in the way we work is not solely due to the changing technology that we work with, but can also be attributed to the way we behave as well. For example, car shoppers today want information instantly. While shoppers 20, even 10, years ago, drove from car lot to car lot, shaking hands and negotiating with salesmen for hours, shoppers today can compare vehicles side by side online and gather safety information, specs, pricing and even chat with sales representatives. Today’s car shoppers demand a dealer’s best price before they set foot in the showroom, and today’s car dealers have no choice but to keep up with the competition. 

 

Holmes, R. (2012, December 11). 5 Ways Social Media Will Change the Way You Work in 2013. Forbes Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2012/12/11/5-ways-social-media-will-change-the-way-you-work-in-2013/.

Module 9.2: Viral Marketing Initiatives

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What do you think makes a marketing initiative go viral? Write a blog post around your choice of top five characteristics of a viral campaign (your opinion). Support this with relevant and current examples and identify widgets, plugs-ins, or badges that the company utilized. Feel free to utilize videos (your own or existing).

 

As the Internet has evolved from an experimental network restricted to the Department of Defense to an essential, everyday information-sharing tool, the act of sharing content online has become a part of modern life. In fact, 59 percent of users report that they frequently share online content with others (Allsop, Bassett & Hoskins, 2007), and it has been reported that someone tweets a link to a New York Times story once every four seconds (Harris, 2010).

So what makes a marketing initiative go viral?

  1. Content. If it’s not interesting, nobody cares. And by interesting, I mean moving, funny, charitable, emotional, scary, heartwarming, cute or touching in some fashion. There has to be a human connection, otherwise no one will be interested enough to watch it, share it, tweet it, link it, send it. The Dove Real Beauty Sketches, for example, has more than 55 million views on YouTube and the video is so popular because it touches women, and people over all, on an emotional level. Women, especially, can connect with and become engaged in the video.
  2. Participation. The most successful videos are simple and can be easily replicated. For example, Gangnam Style and the Harlem Shake are relatively easy dance moves that thousands of users can imitate, record, upload and share. “Sh*t Girls Say” is an example of another video that went viral and was spun off into user-created videos like, “Sh*t New Yorkers Say,” “Sh*t Cats Say” and “Sh*t Nobody Says.”
  3. Controversy. When it comes to viral marketing, all PR is good PR because even bad PR generates word-of-mouth promotion. Clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, for example, recently experienced a bout of viral negative attention. CEO Mike Jeffries went on record stating that he doesn’t want “larger people” wearing his products. The news spread like wildfire across social media networks and resulted in the #FitchTheHomeless campaign, complete with a YouTube video. But the negative publicity and the FitchTheHomeless campaign didn’t put Abercrombie out of business. In fact, it generated further brand awareness and spotlight attention.
  4. Interaction. Engagement is important in social media marketing, and sometimes emotional engagement isn’t enough. Many users like to interact with the medium and when they can, they’re more apt to share the content with their friends. The Burger King Subservient Chicken, for example, allows users to type in commands and control an interactive chicken. It had more than 20 million hits in its first week (Anderson, 2008).
  5. Humor. Ok, so it goes hand-in-hand with No. 1, but let’s face it: Nothing makes an initiative go viral faster than humor. People simply enjoy a 30-second or minute-long break from their mundane or hectic day to laugh. And funny initiatives, like photos or videos, often get replicated and recreated into user-generated content, like “memes” of the actor in the Dos Equis commercial, “I don’t often drink beer…” If you don’t believe me, try a Google Image search.

 

Resources:

Allsop, Dee T., Bryce R. Bassett, and James A. Hoskins (2007), “Word-of-Mouth Research: Principles and Applications,” Journal of Advertising Research, 47 (4), 388–411.

Harris, Jacob (2010), “How Often Is the Times Tweeted,” New York Times Open Blog, (April 15), [available at http://open. blogs. nytimes.com/2010/04/15/how-often-is-the-times-tweeted/].

Anderson, M. (2005, March 7). Dissecting ‘Subservient Chicken.’ InAdWeek. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising/dissecting-subservient-chicken-78190.