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.
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.
Stec, C. (2016). How to Master These 3 Social Media Platforms Like Warby Parker
Mahoney, T., & Tang, T. (2017). Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change
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.”
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.
Mahoney, M. & Tang, T., (2017), Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change
Cancer.net, (2020). Breast Cancer: Statistics
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.
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.
Mahoney, M. & Tang, T., (2017). Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change
Huang, E., (2019). WeChat is setting a blueprint for the world’s social networks
Statista, (2020). Number of social network users in China from 2017 to 2019
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.
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.
Mahoney, M. & Tang, T., (2017). Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change
Ananth, V., (2014). The rise, fall and subsequent death of Orkut