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Future Implications

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Planning for the future (it’s already here).

Over 3.6 billion people use social media globally and the number is projected to increase to 4.41 billion by 2025, with Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp rising to the top (Chen, 2021). Like all forms of marketing, the social media realm continues to evolve at a rapid pace. With so much changing over the past year alone, it is important to look at how this will affect the landscape going forward.

Influencer Marketing

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Gone are the days when trying to secure a worthy firm to produce and implement top-notch advertising for your brand was the only option for brands. One of the largest Social Media trends on the rise is Influencer Marketing, beating out print marketing in terms of popularity on Google Trends (Braker, 2021).

Source: Google Trends

The modern consumer is taking more extreme measures to avoid online advertising. With demand for attention on the rise and overwhelming product options on the market, consumers are beginning to lose sight of who they can trust (Patel, 2021). This is where we see the rise of ad-blockers, cord-cutting and even media fasting. Brands are discovering that they can collaborate with influencers with thousands of these anti-ad followers and leverage their audiences. Authenticity is paramount with 71% of influencers believing that it’s an honest and authentic voice keeping their audience engaged (Patel, 2021).

Artificial Intelligence

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Much like a personal assistant for your customer experience touchpoints, chatbots are software applications that use artificial intelligence & natural language processing to understand what a human wants and guides them to their desired outcome. This requires much less work for the end user. With the importance of brand’s query response time increasing, this use of Artificial Intelligence is on the rise.

Collect.chat is service that doesn’t require a lot of technical knowledge to help you schedule meetings and collect leads with ease. With recent improvements in AI, more brands are switching to this mode of customer service to improve customer satisfaction levels. It can prove beneficial to answer common inquiries which may not necessitate human intervention (Barker, 2021).

Reference:

Barker, S., (2021). The Future of Social Media Marketing
From: https://shanebarker.com/blog

Chen, J., (2021). 36 Essential social media marketing statistics to know for 202
From: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-statistics/

Patel, S., (2021). How You Can Build A Powerful Influencer Marketing Strategy in 2021
From: https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/influencer-marketing/#how-to-build-your-influencer

Viral Marketing Initiatives

What Makes a Marketing Initiative Go Viral?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

When a marketing group creates visual content that resonates with a specific target, the content is then spread to the masses, or goes viral. Through successful viral marketing a company’s sales, engagement, and brand awareness can increase dramatically (Baker, 2020). There are certain criteria however, that can help predict the success of a viral marketing campaign. Here are some to check off your list.

Top Five Checklist.

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Emotion: A successful campaign can appeal to a variety of emotions (negative and positive). Everything from humor and joy to frustration and outrage can help a campaign spread virally.

Social Currency: Individuals are more likely to share things that make them look good in the eyes of their followers.

Triggers: People are more inclined to share topical, widely discussed topics.

Stories: People are more willing to share anecdotal stories as they are relatable and can give a sense of belongingness.

Low Budget: Many successful viral campaigns are studied for their ROI alone. A short, inexpensive video can become a viral sensation overnight.

DOVE – Real Beauty Sketches

Source: Dove USA

A triumphant example of the power of viral marketing is Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches.” The most viewed ad of 2013 was channeled through Huffingtonpost.com and Mashable.com to name a couple. The touching campaign sought to deconstruct the societal perception of beauty and let women know “You are more beautiful than you think.” The ad went viral because it moves you, provokes inner thought and it’s based on a true insight (Grose, 2013). Many connected with the ad on a personal level as the message was strong and something everyone can relate to.

YouTube as a platform exemplifies the advantage of using widgets. Made easy by the ability to copy and paste a URL or even embed a link on your social media platform of choice or blog. The advantage? Visitors do not have to leave your page to view content hosted on YouTube.

Video source: YouTube

Reference:

Baker, K. (2018). The Ultimate Guide to Viral Campaigns
From: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/viral-campaigns

Grose, J. (2013). The Story Behind Dove’s Mega Viral “Real Beauty Sketches” Campaign
From: https://www.fastcompany.com/1682823/the-story-behind-doves-mega

Differentiate

Nike and Adidas have a long history of fierce competition. As the world’s top sports brands, it is Nike that has historically dominated the industry. Their “Just Do It” slogan is one of the most celebrated of the 20th century and a cultural icon. In more recent years, Adidas worked to develop new levels of hype to elevate the brand to the forefront of innovation. Adidas market shares have recently outpaced the sneaker giant and experts attribute keen marketing buzz to their rise in popularity (Isaieva, 2019).

The numbers

InstagramTwitter
Nike122M8.3M
Adidas25.9M3.8M
Adidas is now beating Nike on Wall Street, shares have outperformed the king of the athletic footwear (Isaieva, 2019).

The 2 brands use social media to differentiate in an effort to advance differing strategic goals. Of the many strategic goals, creating buzz is among the most noteworthy. The key drivers of this buzz are the enthusiastic aficionados deemed “sneakerheads.” With the astounding success of the Jordan Brand, Adidas needed a dynamic spokesmodel that would stoke the same frenzy in the growing subculture. Recognizing that a strong majority of these dedicated fans have never watched Michael Jordan play a single game, rapper Kanye West was the natural choice for Adidas. Not since the Jordan brand launched in the 1980s had a brand ignited a generation of fans the way Kanye’s Yeezy brand would prove to. West has all the makings of a cultural icon. His blend of fashion, music, artistry, and creative adventurism make him a global element of global culture (Cohen, 2020).

Reigniting controversy, Nike announced Colin Kaepernick as the face of their #JustDoIt campaign in 2018. The campaign generated 170,000 Instagram followers during release, had over 2 million Twitter mentions and has 25 million YouTube views (Cheng, 2018). Kaepernick announced the campaign on Twitter with the activistic tagline: “Believe in something. Even if it means losing everything.” These woke undertones were met with debate but well within the brand’s right to freedom of expression. Bonus: controversy sells.

Around the time Nike was making waves, Adidas was targeting micro-influencers on social media. The brand created a private Facebook Messenger group giving them exclusive access to Adidas football content, new product reveals and opportunities to work with their sponsored clubs and players. By creating long-form videos uploaded to their YouTube channel, Adidas created a playlist featuring the episodes. The longest episode of 25 minutes has close to 6 million views on YouTube and the second-longest at 17 minutes has created retention rates of 50% and over 600,000 views (Cheng, 2018).

Time will tell which strategies will pay off for the 2 brands. Effective use of relevant hashtags, audience engagement, cross-channel messaging and using innovation to generate personalized conversations can continue to achieve results and market leading social media campaigns for the brands.

Sources:
Cheng, T., (2018). Battle of the Brands: Nike v Adidas
From: minttwist.com/blog/battle-of-the-brands-nike-vs-adidas/

Isaieva, Z., (2019). Nike vs Adidas: Who’s on Top with Social Media
From: https://youscan.io/blog/nike-vs-adidas-who-is-on-top-with-social-media/

Cohen, S., (2020). Yeezy vs. Jordan? How Kanye West’s Deal With Gap Changes The Game
From: https://www.forbes.com/sites/sethcohen/2020/06/26/could-yeezy-top

image credit: Greg Dubois















About Greg

I work for Geophysical Survey Systems Inc (GSSI) in Nashua, NH. We manufacture devices that allow our customers to view subsurface imagery. The devices we manufacture are widely used for construction, forensics and archeology, to name a few. I conduct training courses on using our equipment either in house or onsite, in addition to technical support. I am also involved with various creative projects within the organization (branding, video, logo and presentation design). This has allowed me to pull from my past creative endeavors and more importantly scratch the creative “itch.”
The nature of my day-to-day boils down to making indelible connections with our customers. Whether I am fielding tech support calls or conducting training on the 80th story in full construction guy attire, I am regularly in intimate contact with our customer base. This has given me keen insight to our customer’s experience with the product. When the time came to consider where I see myself evolving within the organization the choice was pretty clear. In my mind, the most efficient way to connect and build relationships with our customers is through social media. As I work through the forthcoming curriculum, I plan to use the assignments to not only further my own knowledge of the material but gain insight that GSSI can use to elevate our own marketing efforts.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Warby Parker

Back in 2010 when I realized my vision was in decline, Warby Parker was just beginning its infancy as a disruptive worldwide brand. My introduction to the company was through another up and comer, Instagram. I’ll admit, I was skeptical of WP’s new concept of “try before you buy” eyeglasses. Flash forward to 2020 and online purchases like Amazon and Whole Foods have become ubiquitous and my dissonance about online purchases has come around full circle.

How does social media technology aid Warby Parker’s alternative business model for selling prescription eyeglasses? What challenges would the company have faced in a traditional media environment?

Through the use of innovative technology, WP was able reduce the cost and overhead of brick and mortar storefronts and staffing. By mitigating challenges based on customers initial dissonance with the new online model, Warby Parker developed their now famous “Home Try-On Campaign” to capture loyalty (Mahoney & Tang, 2017).

How is Warby Parker using social media to promote transactional communication with customers, rather than more linear advertising? What role does user-generated content play in this process?

With 70% of grievances by consumers ignored on Facebook, WP opted to be a part of the 30% that effectively utilize social media to communicate with customers (Stec, 2016). User generated content is amplified when customers are prompted to share selfies in their WP spectacles on social media.

What elements of Warby Parker’s social media marketing strategy help reduce dissonance for consumers that are considering switching eyeglass brands? How does the socially conscious business strategy help provide an alternative narrative that they can share with their social network?

Reduced customer dissonance is something WP was able to accomplish as word of mouth spreads like wildfire on social media. By providing a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair sold, WP became a champion for social awareness.

References:

Stec, C. (2016). How to Master These 3 Social Media Platforms Like Warby Parker
From: https://www.impactbnd.com/master-3-social-media-platforms-like-warby-parker
Mahoney, T., & Tang, T. (2017). Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change
From: https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781118556900/recent


Breast Cancer & Cyberactivism

It’s hard to hear the words “breast cancer” and not think of a beloved family member or friend that was affected by it, regardless of one’s gender. For this reason, Breast Cancer Awareness is viewed by many as rare apolitical cause that is worthy of their attention and on some level their involvement. In reality, well-intentioned individuals do little to circulate prevention info or self-check understanding, despite their efforts of “cyberactivism.”

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

What qualities of the Facebook breast cancer awareness meme make it so viral in nature? Why would thousands of social media users want to participate and share with their friends?

Viral hits like the breast cancer awareness Facebook phenomenon in 2010, sexualized the idea of spreading awareness with a cheap attention grab. Thousands of women were discretely asked to share their bra color in an attempt to confuse men and somehow bring attention to a serious threat to the lives of women every day. An invasive threat that an estimated 276,480 women in the United States will be affected by this year (Cancer.net, 2020).

How did the social media meme fall short of user mobilization? What changes could be made to make more of a difference to breast cancer causes?

Rather than mobilize followers to action, compassionate individuals fell short by making a joke at the expense of men. As if in some way, the male population was to blame. Perhaps, a more advantageous change would have encouraged volunteer work, donations or petitions (Mahoney & Tang, 2017).

Creating emotional real-life experiences for users is one of the biggest indicators of mobilization success. How do cyber-activism and other prosocial movements have a natural advantage to social media mobilization strategies? How can this be incorporated into a brand authenticity and mission statement?

Prosocial movements are only as good as their ability to move people to action. Simply liking a social media post may work as a signal of virtue, but those interested in making a tangible difference seek more from brands. From the brand’s perspective this is an opportunity to gain trust though authenticity. A brand’s mission statement is a testament to the goals they wish to pursue and what they stand for. For this to feel authentic, consumers must see action and not just posturing advocacy. By putting their money where their mouth is, brands can position themselves as trusted activists for positive change.

References:

Mahoney, M. & Tang, T., (2017), Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change

From: https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com

Cancer.net, (2020). Breast Cancer: Statistics

From: https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/breast-cancer

The Weixan Monopoly Problem

Wiexin, or WeChat, is a Chinese social app that combines the features of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, eBay and Uber. It allows users to send messages, share news, and pictures through an integrated mobile app. Mainland, Weixin is becoming the only option for native Chinese users and the reason has little to do with individual choice.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What can you we do as practitioners to ensure that you know as much as you can about your audiences? How did Weixin achieve this goal?

As we attempt to understand our audiences there is a wealth of demographic information that can be obtained through various studies of habits and behavior. For Weixin, the focus was young suburbanites in China. By recognizing the diverse variety of mobiles apps used by the Chinese young people, the brand went all in by combining the features of these apps into an all-in-one experience.

How do Weixin’s features fit into their audience’s needs, tastes, and interests? Is it possible for audiences with different backgrounds to individualize the social media for their individual lives?

By providing users with a tailored experience based on the user’s individual needs, Weixin satisfies a variety of users. For many people, social media is an outlet for their interests and a place to find others with similar passions.

What elements of Weixin make it a part of Chinese people’s daily life? How were they able to integrate the technology to accommodate every characteristic of their audiences? Do I think Weixin will be successful in other countries?

With an estimated 882 million users in China (Statista, 2020), it’s clear that social media is an integral part of their daily existence. The abundance of media options, affords audiences a greater control over their media choices like never before (Mahoney & Tang, 2017). Despite a growing competition for users, Weixin has an arguably unfair advantage. By banning Facebook, YouTube and Twitter in China, Weixin has unsurprisingly attracted millions of users. Its comprehensive nature has also made it the prevailing tool for government surveillance over China and its citizens (Huang, 2019). Currently, Weixin is exclusive to mainland Chinese users. Given Weixan’s authoritarian control over China’s Social Media market, it is unlikely international success will come to fruition.

Reference:

Mahoney, M. & Tang, T., (2017). Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change
From: https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com

Huang, E., (2019). WeChat is setting a blueprint for the world’s social networks
From: https://qz.com/1613489/how-wechat-put-the-internet-in-chinas-hands/

Statista, (2020). Number of social network users in China from 2017 to 2019
From: https://www.statista.com/statistics/277586/number-of-social-network-users

The Fall of Orkut

Google’s first and lesser known foray into social networking was through Orkut. Before Google+ the Orkut platform was popular amongst Brazilians for its comprehensive, exclusive photo storage/editing features and its deep integration with Google’s various offerings.

Photo by Cristian Dina on Pexels.com

How did Orkut successfully use a marketing action plan? In what areas did they fall short?

Orkut’s plan was for users to find communities through keyword search, including titles, description, and browsing through other users’ memberships (Mahoney & Tang, 2017). The brand enjoyed early success as so many first movers do. Orkut would inevitably fall short when more innovative platforms like Facebook took over the world. As it turns out, people wanted a homepage populated with user-generated content. Orkut opted for one that only displayed information based on the person logging in.

Why so popular in Brazil?

Orkut’s initial purpose was for users to find communities through keyword search, including titles, description, and browsing through other users’ memberships (Mahoney & Tang, 2017). With outdoor advertising banned in Brazil, it’s no wonder the culture reflects an affinity for digital platforms. Orkut came at a time when the country’s middle class was slowly emerging and technology became more affordable (Ananth, 2014). Computers and Internet were no acception.

Reference:
Mahoney, M. & Tang, T., (2017). Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change
From: https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com

Ananth, V., (2014). The rise, fall and subsequent death of Orkut
From: https://www.livemint.com/Consumer/zAYIirsyDYC2ZVcNxGkXcJ/The-rise-fall-and-subsequent-death-of-Orkut.html

Differentiate

Nike and Adidas have a long history of fierce competition. As the world’s top sports brands, it is Nike that has historically dominated the industry. Their “Just Do It” slogan is one of the most celebrated of the 20th century and a cultural icon. In more recent years, Adidas worked to develop new levels of hype to elevate the brand to the forefront of innovation. Adidas market shares have recently outpaced the sneaker giant and experts attribute keen marketing buzz to their rise in popularity (Isaieva, 2019).

The numbers

InstagramTwitter
Nike122M8.3M
Adidas25.9M3.8M
Adidas is now beating Nike on Wall Street, shares have outperformed the king of the athletic footwear (Isaieva, 2019).

The 2 brands use social media to differentiate in an effort to advance differing strategic goals. Of the many strategic goals, creating buzz is among the most noteworthy. The key drivers of this buzz are the enthusiastic aficionados deemed “sneakerheads.” With the astounding success of the Jordan Brand, Adidas needed a dynamic spokesmodel that would stoke the same frenzy in the growing subculture. Recognizing that a strong majority of these dedicated fans have never watched Michael Jordan play a single game, rapper Kanye West was the natural choice for Adidas. Not since the Jordan brand launched in the 1980s had a brand ignited a generation of fans the way Kanye’s Yeezy brand would prove to. West has all the makings of a cultural icon. His blend of fashion, music, artistry, and creative adventurism make him a global element of global culture (Cohen, 2020).

Reigniting controversy, Nike announced Colin Kaepernick as the face of their #JustDoIt campaign in 2018. The campaign generated 170,000 Instagram followers during release, had over 2 million Twitter mentions and has 25 million YouTube views (Cheng, 2018). Kaepernick announced the campaign on Twitter with the activistic tagline: “Believe in something. Even if it means losing everything.” These woke undertones were met with debate but well within the brand’s right to freedom of expression. Bonus: controversy sells.

Around the time Nike was making waves, Adidas was targeting micro-influencers on social media. The brand created a private Facebook Messenger group giving them exclusive access to Adidas football content, new product reveals and opportunities to work with their sponsored clubs and players. By creating long-form videos uploaded to their YouTube channel, Adidas created a playlist featuring the episodes. The longest episode of 25 minutes has close to 6 million views on YouTube and the second-longest at 17 minutes has created retention rates of 50% and over 600,000 views (Cheng, 2018).

Time will tell which strategies will pay off for the 2 brands. Effective use of relevant hashtags, audience engagement, cross-channel messaging and using innovation to generate personalized conversations can continue to achieve results and market leading social media campaigns for the brands.

Sources:
Cheng, T., (2018). Battle of the Brands: Nike v Adidas
From: minttwist.com/blog/battle-of-the-brands-nike-vs-adidas/

Isaieva, Z., (2019). Nike vs Adidas: Who’s on Top with Social Media
From: https://youscan.io/blog/nike-vs-adidas-who-is-on-top-with-social-media/

Cohen, S., (2020). Yeezy vs. Jordan? How Kanye West’s Deal With Gap Changes The Game
From: https://www.forbes.com/sites/sethcohen/2020/06/26/could-yeezy-top

image credit: Greg Dubois

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