Weblinks, 21st of April

  • Need a short URL for twitter? try http://url.so-smart.be/ instead of the typical tinyurl.com – this is a nice marketing idea by smart, the shortest car around. 😉
  • A nice new advert by Hondy, in stopmotion, using lots and lots of cars:
  • A card board trailer of „300“ by Panasonic – what would happen to Hollywood given the current financial crisis. It belongs to a German UGC campaign of Panasonic. At the microsite papphelden.de you can upload your own cardboard version of a Hollywood Blockbuster an win lots of prizes.

  • A rather cruel (viral) video, could be a little less gruesome, if you ask me. But then, some say, a good viral video needs violence, blood and disgustingness. However, they called it: „violence is no solution“ – it’s an advert for a secure  e-commerce shop.

Toyota Scion Social Media Strategy

The Toyota Scion social media campaign is amazing for two reasons. First, the casestudy written by the agency lists a few „rules“ for social media strategy which I find quite interesting. You can find those listed below.

The second thing: in the case study, it sounds like a huge, complicated social media campaign, when read quickly. But instead, it’s just a crowd sourcing campaign from what I can see. Users can create their own scion crest on the Scion Speak Website, download it, upload it to facebook or stick it to their car. Nothing more, nothing less. One of the key parts of the campaign was engaging a grafitti artist, who designed all the details you could use to create the crest:

With Scion, we ensured that we developed Scion Speak in collaboration with the Scion enthusiast audience. In fact, we used some of the leaders of the existing online Scion communities to help us to develop the Scion design language. We also ensured that this brand site was designed for purely social and expressive purposes and did not feel like a corporate or money-generating venture.

So apart from the general idea, which seems to fit well to the target audience here are the social media strategy considerations that were mentioned in the casestudy:

Define the key social behaviors of your target online. Where are they socializing? What are the social habits, (e.g., Forrester has social-networking consumer profile segments such as critics, spectators, sharers, etc.) online?

Identify your brand’s social behavior and objective in the social space. How should it socialize with your target? What is the brand’s primary purpose in the social network? Facilitating self-expression? Listening? What is its role at this social party and what useful tools can it create to facilitate this?

Create social-media content; don’t advertise on it. If you’re not providing content, ensure that you are providing a useful service. Social media helps people manage their social lives. It enables them to do something they are already interested in. It gives them the tools to allow for this. Social media provides a service—information, connection points, etc.

Be careful you’re not duplicating established social communities. If your audience is using a strongly established community (i.e., recipe sharing), why create a duplicate, marketing-based branded version of the same community? Why would your target leave the existing community for a branded version of the same offer?

Don’t hijack consumers’ social networks. At the least, marketers should be invited into the social culture. But even better, marketers should create their own culture that consumers want to join. They should also be mindful of forcing friends to endorse products among their peers. Users should be voluntary brand ambassadors, not an enforced sales force.

These points might make it into my set of powerpoint slides regarding social media.

Chrysler listens, Starbucks wants ideas.

There seems to be a concurrent trend. Two companies just announced new projects / plattforms on which they want to listen to consumers, engage them, discuss product development with them.

Starbucks launched the website „My Starbucks Idea“ on which they aks users to provide Starbucks with their ideas:

You know better than anyone else what you want from Starbucks. So tell us. What’s your Starbucks Idea? Revolutionary or simple—we want to hear it. Share your ideas, tell us what you think of other people’s ideas and join the discussion. We’re here, and we’re ready to make ideas happen. Let’s get started.

As you would expect, you can post ideas, vote on other’s ideas, discuss ideas, etc. In addition, there is a blog called „ideas in action“ that covers the project. At the moment, some sources are rather cynical about the project, because people mostly just ask about free drinks, fre Wi-Fi, etc. I am curious to see if there will be some really good ideas with added value resulting from this approach.

Chrysler, on the other hand, will launch a „customer advisory board“ of up to 5.000 consumers chosen of those who will apply through the website to take part. Once they can access the forum, they can submit ideas, get a sneak peak at videos, etc. It will be interesting to see if they can capture the right target audience, to quote autoblog:

However, we’re a little unsure if the tactic will provide Chrysler with what it needs to shape the future of its products and services, considering that the only people likely to sign up are partisan pistonheads who are already married to the Mopar camp or slighted customers looking for a place to vent.

For some companies, this change in dealing with the (online) target group has resulted in successes, as Ad Age writes about the Dell case study:

This sort of online listening post worked for Dell, whose IdeaStorm website resulted in a few concrete product developments and, in turn, helped to turn some of the computer-maker’s fiercest critics. One of them, Jeff Jarvis, went from a state of high dudgeon on his blog to praise the company in BusinessWeek.

In my opinion these approaches should probably work fine, as long as there is added value for both sides. If the consumer ideas and suggestions are crap, useless, unreal or simply silly, the companies might soon stop asking consumers in this fashion. It would then be much easier to go back to the old fashioned model of focus group research, where the noise to signal ratio is much better.

On the other hand, there should be some real improvements/products/ideas coming out of these approaches, making the whole outcome visible to the participating audience, showing them that their little contribution did infact change the way these companies go to market (even if the resulting outcomes were not your own idea, you would appreciate the effort made by the company).

Otherwise we’ll start having similar symptons as you have in German elections nowadays. You feel like your vote is too small to make a difference – and heck, no matter what people vote for, it doesn’t feel like things change much anyway. So why bother.