On the Twitter Blog yesterday there is a great chart that compares and contrasts Brand mentions and Super Bowl mentions on Super Sunday. The winning brand? Doritos – hands down, with the largest per minute volume of commercial related tweets. This begs the question: During a large event can we use Twitter mentions about brands in conjunction with ratings data to triangulate how many people not only saw, but also took a vested interest in how a brand has affected them during the larger viewing experience? I believe we can, and I think that you will see the use of this hard data be a complement to institutionalized ratings as brands seek substantiation of audience engagement.
ReadWriteWeb published a synopsis of a larger report released by Sysomos, which aimed to “re-evaluate the top 20 brands by their social media presence on blogs, forums and news sites” – rather than focus on data that Interbrand uses to evaluate top brands (such as financial data, international scope and economic value added) . This evaluation method has shaken up the rankings. While Intel went down year over year from Interbrand’s perspective (slipping 2 slots from #7 to #9), it was the only brand in the top 10 on Sysomos’s report that showed positive traction with regards to Social Media Presence (rising a small percentage to #6). Our Social Media teams across the company do a great job in driving this presence – hat tip to all involved.
Honestly, this campaign baffles me a bit – hasn’t the Internet always been ours? Now Yahoo is giving us the persmission to actually state that obvious fact? Apparently so, and it is costing them $100M to grant that permission. Reading a summary of the campaign announcement on the Wall Street Journal’s Digits Blog, I found myself shaking my head – until I read one of the user comments that summed up my feelings in one sentence:
badgett wrote: No new core value proposition =>wacky marketing
Well said. Perhaps Yahoo should go back to the drawing board on this one. Working at Intel for the last 10 years, I’ve been through my share of rebranding efforts and this one has several components that are, frankly, similar to our current campaign with the most obvious being an updated soundmark – an auditory, recognizable symbol of a company. According to the WSJ article:
“The rebranding effort includes a modified version of Yahoo’s well-known yodel, something she called ‘an essential part of Yahoo’s DNA, but I think we have to admit it’s a bit dusty.’ Yahoo will use several new yodels, and the new campaign ends with one sung by a choir that ends with children’s laughter.”
Interesting… oddly similar to the way we end our newest TV spots. Coincidence or Flattery?
Working at a very recognizable high tech company for the last 10 years (and a smaller, yet equally recognizable one for the 5 years prior) has taught me a lot about what companies think about when they proclaim ‘Leadership’ in their space. At Intel, on the back of our employee badges, we have our ‘Values’. Those values revolve around Customer Orientation, Discipline, and Quality – to name a few. One sub-bullet under the value of Quality stands out to me and it says “Do the right things right”. I think that’s a great line and is applicable to so many aspects of the business. I peek at our values from time to time – mostly when I am writing my self assessment around review periods or mapping a project justification document to the core tenants upon which our company was built. Today I was compelled to review them again after reading a guest post on Fast Company by Paul Worthington. He made a great observation about the power of the customer and the responsibility of brands to lead in their space.
He negates (well, at least cautions against) a popular and rampant belief that, with the power of Social Media and direct feedback, the customer is absolutely in charge and brands must simply accept that as fact. I appreciated how he urged brands to take control of their own fate and do more. Not just with their customers, but also in how they square off with their challengers. He summarizes his observation of what makes brands leaders in their space in three lines:
- Innovate by leading your customer
- Create amazing experiences
- Get involved with the conversation
Three very simple tenants that every brand leader must heed. #3, in my opinion, is probably the most important and could be the potential foundation for the other two to build off of. It all starts with understanding what your customer is expecting from your brand. By listening to, and incorporating their input into, your traditional product development cycle a brand will be better equipped to ‘create an amazing experience’ for current and future customers. Some brands ‘get’ this far more intuitively than other brands. At Intel, we are getting better with #3 and it makes me proud of the team that is helping move that discipline forward.
Hat tip to Paul Worthington for a well thought out post.
This is not a new rule by any means. However, brands are becoming more and more aware that listening to their customers wants/needs is crucial if they are going to stand out in a sea of choices. I’ve used this quote by Barry Judge in previous posts – it bears repeating:
“You’re a part of the conversation, a part of what is being said about your brand. You don’t get to tell customers what they get to think anymore”
The video below, sent to me by my PR counterpart, Becky, illustrates this very simple tenant to a tee. Distilling down to one key point, customers are relaying a very powerful messages to advertisers these days: “I’ve changed, and you haven’t – we don’t even hang out in the same places anymore“.
Simple as that – advertisers and brands must recognize that their customers are interacting with their messages differently these days. It’s not enough to raise the megaphone and simply talk TO your customers. You have to be willing to engage with your customers on their terms, listen to what they are saying about your offering, and incorporate their input into your future interactions with them. The successful brands recognize this and are engaged in a 2-way dialogue with their target audience – using that input to shape future brand experiences with that customer. Those that don’t recogize the value of this input and the power of customer sentiment around their brand are doomed to fail.
The hot social trend for the first half of 2009 has been undeniably, Twitter. Everywhere you look brands, personalities, heck even your grandparents have some sort of relationship with the micro blogging tool. The usage growth of Twitter has been well documented in my blog and in many blogs more interesting than mine over the last 6 months. This month, we see that growth slow for the first time in a 12 month cycle. Granted, Twitter enjoyed a phenomenal spike over the last quarter and will continue to grow – but will it see another burst that we saw between February and May of this year, visible in the graph below? I think so – especially if we continue to find innovative ways to use this form of communication. Steve Johnson has a fascinating article in Time that details the effect of Twitter on our every day life and the potential for it to drastically change the way we live. Clive Thomas is quoted in the article as saying Twitter provides us with ‘ambient awareness‘ of our social and physical networks. It’s that ambient awareness that keeps us hungering for more…
I think so
As a follow on to our Sponsors of Tomorrow effort, we (Intel) are clearing up the confusion around our processor brands. This week we announced our new brand structure and refined our strategy around a new, focused, ‘hero’ client brand – Intel® Core™. There will be three levels of Core ‘modifiers’ that differentiate the various features and benefits native to each level of Core. Joining the current instantiation, Core i7, will be an entry-level (Core i3) and a mid-level (Core i5) modifier to round out the Intel Core family. Our VP of and Director of Corporate Marketing, Deborah Conrad, explains this transition to Core as our hero client brand in a video posted to intel.com.
Jeremiah Owyang’s recent report “The Future of the Social Web: In Five Eras” is getting a lot of traction this week. It should – and marketers must take notice of his findings. Jeremiah is spot on in his interview with CRM Magazine regarding the power shift from the brand to the consumer:
“The community will take charge, and that’s going to happen whether or not marketers or brands participate.”
Jeremiah goes on to outline the 5 eras of the social web – overlapping across the past, present, and future. His insight is predicated on substantial qualitative research with 24 of the top technology brands, enablers, and publishers that are leading in the social space (I’m biased – Intel, my employer, was one of the companies he spoke with as was Federated Media – a publisher whom we’ve had great success in partnering with). The overlapping eras are as follows:
- The era of social relationships
- The era of social functionality
- The era of social colonization
- The era of social context
- The era of social commerce
I can appreciate this statement specifically:
“…focus is on community and the advocates within each community. Doing so will be the only way a brand can scale.”
Those companies that understand the power these communities represent in terms of advocacy for their brand, will be light years ahead of those that don’t.
Summarized from Ad Age and their reporting from last week’s Digital Conference. Unilever’s CMO, Simon Clift had some interesting and bold things to say about Social Media and its role in the success or failure of Brand Building. As Ad Age states, he ‘Throws Down the Social Media Gauntlet’ and warns those brands that don’t recognize and adapt to constantaly changing role of digital media are in danger of extinction through ‘accelerated natural selection‘. He makes a great point. Survival of the fittest (or most adaptable) – Darwinism in marketing.
“Brands aren’t simply brands anymore. They are the center of a maelstrom of social and political dialogue made possible by digital media.”
He’s right. He went on to discuss how brands are becoming ‘conversation factors‘ and the ‘conversation is no longer one way or 30 seconds.‘ In effect evangelizing an open dialogue model – truly cracking the brand disccusion wide open and letting the consumer share in the building, or eroding, of that brand through their social voice.
As a postscript to the article, Ad Age outlines their “New Rules” to maintain pace in this ever changing digital world. 5 great points that I’ve summarized quickly, you can find the full list on their site.
- Listening to consumers is more important than talking at them.
- You can’t hide the corporation behind the brand anymore, or even fully separate the two.
- PR is a primary concern for every CMO and brand manager.
- Cause marketing isn’t about philanthropy, it’s about “enlightened self-interest”
- Social media is not a strategy. You need to understand it, and you’ll need to deploy it as a tactic.