“If your brand isn’t good in real life, it will suck online.”
KSV recently participated in a social media and creative conference hosted by the MAGNET Global Network with special guest speakers, including:
- Tim Leake, Saatchi & Saatchi/Hyper Island
- Andy Ellwood, VP for Business Development at Gowalla
- Brookes Thomas, Emerging Media Coordinator at Southwest Airlines
- Pam Grossman, Creative Research Manager at Getty Images
- Jeffrey Hollender, co-founder and former CEO of Seventh Generation, partner at Jeffrey Hollender Partners
Here are our top 9 learnings and confirmations coming out of the conference:
A mistake is a gift. Bad things happen. It’s how you handle them that defines you. After a printing screw-up left millions of James Ready beer caps blank, they launched a promotion to fix the problem called the Blank Cap Recall. Thousands participated. Check out this video to see what happened.
Useful is the new cool. Make the active choice. Solve a customer problem and tell everyone about it, like Domino’s did with its Pizza Tracker.
Make everyone else look brilliant. Don't spout on about how great you are – let your customers feel great and inspire them to share the love. Spotify did that when it gave each of its customers a little clout and cache by giving them 150 invites to its music-sharing program. Google does it, too.
Start adprovising. How do the rules of improv theatre apply to advertising? The smartest brands listen well and often – and respond cleverly to the larger conversation – just like improv actors. Take JetBlue: When hedge fund managers were lambasted for flying private jets in the wake of the country’s financial meltdown, JetBlue quickly placed this ad with the copy "welcome big wigs."
Small ideas are the new big idea. Try little things to see what works – a press release that takes advantage of an opportunity or mistake, a video reaction to a customer complaint. Don’t be afraid of trial and error. Remember, it’s easy to fail when you fail small. Work fast, minimize waste, expose your ideas to people early and often, iterate in response to feedback and scale success.
Think Beyond the Cheese. The theory of Skinner’s Box contends that a behavior followed by a reinforcing stimulus results in an increased probability of that behavior occurring in the future – the mouse and the cheese, for example. The same goes for brands who only use social media to give away coupons. It’s boring, it’s expected and it won’t get you much beyond that tried-and-true behavioral response. The question isn’t what can you give away, it’s what can you do to inspire your customers to share your story and theirs?
Long Live Brand Journalists. Set up your internal communications structure to bring your brand’s culture to life – and help your PR team bring it to the media. Southwest Airlines has created an SWALife Intranet and mobile app, weekly news show, internal monthly meetings and department-specific newsletters, and digital signs to keep everyone in the know – and invite them to share stories. Their team of 30+ bloggers, culled from all departments has helped bring amazing stories to the public.
Me, Myself and iPhone. Never has photo and multimedia content been more pervasive and far-ranging, demanding that brands think beyond type and leverage authentic, real and “Flickr-like” imagery in their campaigns. Getty Images is now crowdsourcing such imagery for use by brands (and brokered a partnership with Flickr).
Wear See-Through. Social media necessitates transparency on the part of brands. Those who listen and respond will survive and thrive. Take a pulse on how your brand stacks up in your customers’ eyes through tools like the Good Guide, or simply ask them how you’re doing. Never has it been more important to work on your brand’s internal culture, mission and values and align them with a sustainable vision – then, communicate that vision to the public.
What’s your favorite? #2 is Barbara’s!