Category Archives: Social Media

How music creates powerful connections for Budweiser: Case Study

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Anheuser-Busch and Budweiser have kicked off their “Made in America” campaign, which connects the brand with music by bringing popular artists to communities around the U.S. Budweiser has leveraged this sponsorship on its social platforms, notably Facebook, and have enjoyed plenty of engagement around the event and campaign. The collaboration with Budweiser and Serge Machial helped produce some polished and powerful graphics, which has been streamlined across multiple media. The campaign has been recognized in a few publications including PR Newswire and Life and Times.

Budweiser is no stranger to leveraging social platforms, specifically Facebook, as the brand is extremely active with large communities. Budweiser’s stat line reads: 4,249,267 likes · 181,111 talking about this–an impressive number for any brand. They average approximately two posts per day. Each post generally has a link or graphic pertaining to the post, which shows it was probably content planned ahead of time. Also, they utilize Facebook Tabs nicely, as they segment different campaigns or sectors of the brand into tabs. Each tab has an individual identity, which is a great way to segment your Facebook community into different areas of interest. Surely, with that large of a community, there must be some segmentation in the demographic. Other channels include Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram.

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Budweiser’s “Made in America” campaign is powerful in so many ways. I cannot speak to how many tickets they sell for each concert, or how it translates into increased sales for the actual product; however I can speak to an outstanding amount of engagement on Facebook–aperfect channel for this specific target. Throughout the campaign/tour, which ends in Philadelphia on August 1 and 2 with a final Made in America festival, Budweiser has brought popular artists to large cities throughout the country. On Facebook, you can see that after each concert, Budweiser posts a picture titled “Made in (insert city)” to customize and personalize that post/experience. For the “Made in Los Angeles” post, Budweiser racked up 2,297 likes, 234 shares and 86 comments. These numbers aren’t exclusive to Los Angeles, either. “Made in Albuquerque” tallied up 1,003 likes, 155 shares and 62 comments. The key takeaway is that Budweiser is connecting with their audience in a physical way, and then giving them the opportunity and space for user-generated content via Facebook. User-generated content is a powerful tactic for brands because while they do pay for content creation, that single post can generate ten times the amount of content all for free. Moreover, that content is coming from direct friends and not just the brand, which can be more trustworthy and authentic.

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Overall, I learned that while a campaign exclusively on social media could work, it’s very powerful when paired with an event. With user-generated content, brands can save money on content production and engage with communities at the same time. Also, utilizing music as a passion point for the audience proved to be powerful.

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Case study: OfficeMax creates powerful tradition, Elf Yourself

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Office Max may not seem like a “hot prospect” for anything social. It’s an office supply store, how interesting or engaging can it really be? In 2006, OfficeMax and JibJab Media Inc. launched a virtual holiday card which plugs users face’s into a hilarious dance number. Office Max sought out a deeper connection with their users. With Elf Yourself they connected with their audience in a way many brand’s only dream of-  Elf Yourself became a holiday tradition. The application allows users to share their virtual holiday card with their Facebook friends via Facebook Connect. Elf Yourself and Office Max enjoy skyrocketing annual engagement with fans, as well as acclaim in the marketing sphere. Elf Yourself is #7 on Hub Spot’s Top 10 most Remarkable Campaigns Ever, as well as a number of write-ups, which include a PR Newswire piece.

Here’s an example of the video.

As a whole, OfficeMax seems to invest wisely in their social platforms. Their Facebook presence, which is the primary vehicle for Elf Yourself, is clean with a pretty good engagement. Their stat line reads: 337,455 likes · 335 talking about this · 20,958 were here, which is a fairly large community. As of Saturday, May 4 at 1:30 p.m., they’ve posted twice on Facebook, both including graphics pertaining to the post, which shows they likely had this content planned ahead of time. The more engaging post of the day is a tribute to National Firefighters’ day. It tallied up 62 liked accompanied by 51 shares. Unfortunately no comments were made on the post, a common theme, which might be a weakness of their Facebook content.

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Since its launch in 2006, there have been over half a billion shares, according to Hub Spot. The success of Elf Yourself is not a mystery. There are some key factors that make this campaign relevant and meaningful for their audience, and in turn, is successful year after year. First, it brings the audience into the picture (video, actually). The connection becomes personal and everyone connects in their own way. Second, it leverages a classic tradition utilizing modern technology. Let’s face it, Christmas cards are a hassle  and can get expensive. Elf Yourself provides a perfect, free option for people sick and tired of sending physical cards. The customization technology is brilliant, but might go unnoticed without the integration of Facebook Connect, which allows users to share with their Facebook community. Finally, it’s whimsical and hilarious. One of the most engaging things a brand can do is make someone laugh. Elf Yourself provides a variety of dance routines to connect with all types of people. Some include: hip hop, the Charleston, and contemporary jazz. With Elf Yourself, OfficeMax has become part of their audience’s lives by providing valuable content to engage with and share.

Here’s an example of the technology and how it works.

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During this case study, I learned that even brands that seem dry can find ways to engage like superstars. I learned how powerful customization can be, especially if utilized in the correct ways. For example, this campaign probably wouldn’t be the same without the humor, ability to share and Christmas tradition it brings to the table.

A look at Best Buy’s social media policy

 

 

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I came across plenty long-winded. elaborate social media policies while searching for the perfect one to analyze. Rightfully so, as they all seemed thoughtful with relevant information that would educate their employees. However, I would argue that no matter the quality of content in your brand’s social media policy, you mustn’t bore your employees with two-four page documents. It comes down to respecting your employees time, arguably a brand’s most valuable asset.

I landed on Best Buy’s policy, which appeared on the screen as a refreshingly simple one-pager. Here are three strong qualities of Best Buy’s social media policy.

 

  1. Simple, logical layout: Although this may seem like a no-brainer, many policies I saw looked like some of the papers I wrote in college. They were long and in paragraph form. I believe that if you want to respect your employees time, and actually inform them of a policy, you must make it nice and easy to digest for them. Best Buy has bolded headers for easy recognition as well as checkboxes for those who wish to take an interactive approach. Similarly to the bold headlines, the policy displays an overall sense of hierarchy with bolded lines and large text in places. I think this layout helps employees digest this information.
  2. A clear source: In the top left-hand corner of the policy, it shows a name “Matthew-BBY” displaying the source of information. I like this because it allows employees to connect with content-as dry as it may be. For example, if Matthew is an office favorite, there might be a sense of respect attached to the policy, or a sense of guilt in not reading it. Also, it provides a contact for anyone with questions about the policy. If employees do not know who to ask, they might not ask anyone at all.
  3. Provides consequences: Toward the bottom of the policy, there are three clear-cut consequences for failure to abide by the policy. In my eyes, this is a must-have in any social media policy. You cannot enforce a policy without a consequence because the implications are ambiguous. A lack of consequence also comes off as casual and non-professional.

Best Buy proved to be the most efficient policy I found. I think it is most effective in sending key messages to employees. At any rate, A social media policy, long or short, is a critical part of a brand’s success or failure. A failure to recognize this is a true sign of an ignorant brand.

The Solar System of Strategy: Earth is Social

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With the emergence of new media and technologies, marketers have an opportunity to reach consumers at multiple touchpoints throughout their day, week, month and year. However, contrary to many belief’s, it’s not enough for a brand to just be present in a space such as social media. A brand must execute tactics under a well thought-out strategy in order to succeed.

It seems like there’s a strategy for everything, though. A social strategy, a brand strategy, a content strategy, a campaign strategy- the list goes on. Well, that’s because there is. And if there weren’t, account people, like me, would end up pulling their hair out. Strategies are wonderful. They allow us to stay grounded in an industry where the only creative constraints are ourselves. It allows brands to remain efficient, consistent and dynamic.

But which strategy trumps all strategies in a marketing plan? I think of it like a solar system. The sun is the brand strategy, the one thing we must not stray from. The brand strategy is at the center- all other strategies orbit the brand strategy. Without the brand strategy, the social strategy would not exist.

Where does a social strategy fit in? It sits  92,960,000 miles from the sun, has only one moon and is the only planet with proven life. That’s right, social strategy is Earth. Social media has given brands the opportunity, for the first time ever, to form two-way communication with their audience. It is no longer a print ad, a radio spot or a billboard. Brands can now have conversations with the communities that matter most. It makes sense because Earth is all about interactions, cultures and communities. A social strategy is an important part to a brand’s marketing plan because social media empowers consumers and humanizes brands. Without the sun, however, Earth and many life forms would sadly die (too soon, dinosaurs?).  If you build a social strategy without relating it to the brand strategy, it will fail. On the flip side, a weak brand strategy will hinder even the strongest social strategy.

The three most important takeaways of The Digital Advertising Insight Summit Series

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This year, Milwaukee-based advertising agency Laughlin Constable and Marquette University partnered to bring marketing professionals, students and faculty the First Annual Digital Advertising Insight Summit Series. Although there were many speakers from the client side, agency side and publishing side, there were messages that resonated in most presentations.

  1. Simplicity: We live in an era where instant gratification is the status quo. We consume a ridiculous amount of content everyday, and most of the time on multiple devices at a time. Marketers must keep the experience simple and memorable. Marketers compete with thousands of content producers fighting to gain the attention of target consumers. Without simplicity, we risk losing that attention. Marti Gahlman, Director of E-Commerce and Digital at The Master Lock Company, put it nicely: simplicity through complexity.  Digital can be perfectly simple on its face, but is immensely complex under the surface. Vast amounts of data and analytics allow marketers to polish the experience for every user.
  2. Data: It wasn’t long before Spider Man quotes hit the microphone. “With great power comes great responsibility” Dennis Jenders of Laughlin Constable said. And it’s true, especially regarding data and analytics. Marketers must invest in solid data analysis and measurement tools in order to stay ahead of the game. Everything in digital is measured- that means that you must not only be equipped to pull those data, but it is also critical to be able to read and understand the data. I would argue digital is a wasted investment without the proper data analysis in place.
  3. Content, content and more content: The power and importance of content was a point in almost every presentation I saw. The lines between earned and owned media are becoming more and more blurred, according to Molly McKenna, Director of Public Relations for McDonalds. With content, marketers can reach consumers with real, genuine messaging that builds brand loyalists and advocates. Casey Flanagan, Senior Account Planner at Laughlin Constable, provided a simple, yet potentially overlooked insight- content must be searchable and sharable. A brand with Mona Lisa-status content will fail if it doesn’t give users the ability to simply search and share it.

The opportunity to attend the Insight Summit Series was invaluable. I heard from a number of incredibly intelligent marketing professionals with multiple perspectives on digital advertising. The knowledge gained surpasses most lessons that can be taught in a classroom, and it provided a great opportunity to network with potential employers.

My only regret: I didn’t major in Economics.

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