We’ve seen quite a few examples of corporate sites mashing up social media content and presenting it on a single page. Jeep is one of the earliest examples I can remember (they seem to have some special right now, called „urban ranger“).
Now, since June there is Fiat on the web. A wordpress powered site – actually a blog – with all the ingredients: a facebook widget, a youtube gallery, same with flickr, friendfeed is integrated, delicious links accessible, latest twitter updates: every „mandatory“ item seems to be present.
I am not mentioning that because it appears so fantastically special. Instead, I am slowly getting the perception that these kind of social brand presence aggregator sites are become „business as usual“. Or rather: should be considered by brand marketers as a mandatory online marketing component. Yet: how many of those sites have we really seen? How many brands actually have sufficient social media presences in order to justify such a site?
In Germany in 2006, we had Opel (of GM) giving 4 Opel cars to bloggers for 4 weeks. Now, 3 years later and in the US, where everything is bigger, longer, etc. Ford does something even bigger and longer:
In the ultimate foreign exchange program, our 100 agents are spending six months behind the wheel of their own Fiesta, sharing their experiences, and completing monthly missions to show you what experiencing the Ford Fiesta is all about, way in advance of the U.S. launch in 2010.
FiestaMovement.com pulls in all of our agents’ content across the web to let you follow the Movement in one convenient place. And each month will highlight different themed Missions, from Travel, Adventure, and Social Activism to Technology, Style & Design, and Entertainment.
Apparently, over 4.000 people applied for this. You can follow the agents on all the usual social media suspects: twitter, facebook, youtube, flickr and on blogs. Plus potentially a few more – it seems to be up to the individual agents, where they want to be present.
The main campaign site is an aggregator of all the agents‘ content. All photos, blog entries, youtube videos,tweets, etc. you can follow on this site, or alternatively via one common RSS feed. Unfortunately, you are not able to participate in any way on the campaign site. No comment option, no voting, etc. At least for now. Once they start the monthly missions (from May 3rd) this might change, we’ll see. However, it might well be their strategy to keep participation in those places, where the content is, where users are used to participate with content: within the social networks themselves.
According to this source here (in German), the project is the single most important piece of „marketing“ for that car. Sounds like there will be no TV, no print advertising, etc. Quite an interesting approach, definitely one I will follow and see how it develops.
I really like social media aggregation projects like this. They are amongst the most complex to implement, believe me, both in terms of technical integration, as well as working out responsibilities and processes within the agency and with the client. Especially when you’re dealing with time frames that last longer than the usual campaign, i.e. at least 6 months, as in this case (if you include recruitment and teaser phase, which we seem to be in right now).
Last, but not least, you need considerable staff 24/7 to maintain the community to filter not acceptable content (yes, for most projects, there will be some!), if they do actually monitor external commentary. (Because, as mentioned above, you don’t seem to be able to comment or participate at all.)
(By the way, does anyone know the agency behind this?)
In discussions and social media workshops with clients there is always the one question looming: shall we hop on to existing networks or shall we build our own, new social network? A brand centric or at rather: brand-fan centric social network. Of course it’ll have all the feats like uploading content, connecting with other brand-fans, sharing, communicating, etc. Why not, there seem to be a lot of brand-fans out there!
This can be a good idea depending on your objectives. But on the other hand, there are quite a few reasons, why you might want to leverage existing networks. Be it social network platforms like facebook and myspace, content networks like youtube and flickr or loose networks like blogs.
It has got to do something with the old questions:
- what’s the use of being the first in a new network (the first fax machine ever wasn’t really useful, was it?)
- how sticky are the networks, that users have already established elsewhere? Will they go through the effort of establishing yet another network?
The reason I started thinking about this is the current post about identi.ca vs twitter on techcrunch. Twitter is the most popular mobile microblogging service out there, no doubt about it. But the fact, that it has experienced a lot of downtime lately (and „failwhale“ becoming regular geek speak) has put off many people lately.
identi.ca offers a rationally better solution to this problem (even though it wouldn’t have had enough traffic yet to prove it). Its openness let’s you assume, that in the long term, it will be the more reliable service. But still, people seem to be reluctant to move over there. That’s what techcrunch is writing about: the problem with identi.ca is, that it is not twitter.
Twitter is not huge yet, most people won’t even have heard about it sofar. But its user-base is strong enough for everyone to stick with it, hope that the technical problems will cease to happen once they have gotten their infrastructure right with all the VC capital they got…
So if a well functioning network service can’t lure people from a failing one, how are brands expecting to launch completely new network services out of nothing? Why should people start spending their time on the social network site of „FMCG brand X“ and go through all the effort finding and contacting new or old friends (again)?
There might be some brands/products with such a strong fan base or such a strong communicative idea, that they can start building their fan community on their own networking site. For all others, I would probably recommend leveraging existing networking sites. At least to begin with.
This is really cool. Look at this picture. Matt, a wikipedia fan, sticks these „ stickers“ everywhere, where big audacious claims need some further reference. And he comes up with – of course – advertisements. Great idea! Where are the stickers for the product fans who want to support the big claims?