#breaktheinternet for brands without big bu(dgets)

Kim Kardashian just came out with a cheeky headline in one of her latest front covers; suggesting her rear side could ‘break the internet‘. A surely ambitious endeavour, even for a celebrity of her status. Juicy photos of Kardashian`s most valuable asset surely helped to partly do the trick. More can be viewed on the celebrities social channels, e.g. Instagram. Side note, with a little over 21 million followers in Instagram alone, Kim Kardashian managed to build a solid social follower-ship, which amassed roughly 0.5 million views of below`s cover page in her Instagram feed alone. To contrast, some major global brands, e.g. Nike with an in-house social media team and a multimillion dollar social media budget, have a “mere” 7.8 million followers in Instagram. Microsoft`s official channel clocks in with 15K followers… this should really put Kardashian`s backend achievement into perspectives based on the free media coverage she (and her agency) managed to unlock.

Frontcover Kardashian #breaktheinternet

 

What can and should brands learn from this? Has Kim Kardashian`s attempt to #breaktheinternet failed?  Some websites discuss the success of Kardashian`s ambitious attempt to break the internet, such as the Wall Street Journal, comparing total #breaktheinternet tweets with #cometlanding.

I do argue, that despite the failed attempt to the break the internet, thanks to all forces involved, Kim Kardashian surely boosted herself into each major press outlet on this planet and made the headlines from the Time to countless others.

Without having Kardashian`s natural social media follower-ship, most brands will struggle to get the free media attention Kardashian assumed over the last couple of days.

Nevertheless, a few brands stood out by taking advantage of the Kardashian stunt to propel their brand into the discussion and surely score some new fans.

Advertising week listed a few top brand reactions, a few of which I believe are worthy to being mentioned again.

The most outstanding brand reactions are clearly shared amongst Nissan, JetBlue, Jolly Rancher, the Metropolitan Museum and Budweiser. Scroll down for some of examples – Nissan is my clear winner, followed by JetBlue and Jolly Rancher.

What all these brands however have in common is a to react timely with relevant content in the right media channel. If one wants to argue about the headline of this blog entry, one could of course say, that all brands mentioned will have a reasonably sized social media budget. Nevertheless, the above effort could very well be done on a budget. Social media monitoring tools are available on a paid and freemium basis, which allow brands to monitor for high engaging content.

The crux however will be to react timely upon this discovery. E.g. if MarCom needs to get sales, legal and or IR approval before being able to take any action, any endeavour of this sort is almost surely doomed to fail. Establishing brand guidelines for the social media follow up space might help to get stakeholders on board and assure a timely reaction and thus a ride along this freely available media attention.

Content and channel are almost self-explanatory. If Twitter goes crazy, no sane social media manager would attempt to shift the attention to another channel. So engage in Twitter, as all brands below did. Shoot for brand exposure and brand attention and not for channel conversion. This assures that your content is likely more relevant to the wider audience in reach and does not stir up an advertising aversion or even a messaging conflict in that matter.

Budweiser`s reaction to #breaktheinternet

 

Jolly Rancher`s reaction to #breaktheinternetNissan`s reaction to #breaktheinternet

JetBlue`s reaction to #breaktheinternet

JetBlue`s reaction to #breaktheinternet

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Has Coke and its ad-agency just wasted $4m on a spot nobody got?

Coke’s latest SuperBowl commercial has gone terribly wrong.

It has sparked some outrage amongst US residents and even made it into the media as in a very controversial way. Some news hosts claim US residents to be sparking a wave of racism with their pro US or US centric comments.

Without getting into culture or national interests, the question at stake however is, if the Coca Cola company has just wasted $4m in a spot that their target audience clearly did not appreciate. Whilst above’s news host does not seem to waste a second about why organisations place advertising but blames the audience for not being educated enough to understand the brilliance in messaging, it is fair to wonder, if an ad has failed when creating negative brand value.

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Why Adobe and Apple get what a few hundred million $ SuperBowl ads miss

Contrasting many SuperBowl ads screening for $4m, Apple has yet again put a masterpiece out to view, not even 24 hours after the big event the entire advertising world has been waiting for.

Whilst Microsoft screened a similar ad during the SuperBowl, it missed to my taste a few crucial details. While Microsoft celebrates technology on a wide scale and only at times shows Microsoft tech in the picture, Apple celebrates its 30 year brand promise and continuously shows Apple products at work throughout the entire world. To top it off, the entire Apple clip was filmed by using only the iPhone 5s on a single day of filming (granted by having various crews around the world).

So it seems, not everybody finds the need to spend a couple of millions to air their message, or in contrast, if the message is good enough, it will be seen and heard on a lesser budget and thus a more ROI friendly way only hours later.

Adobe trumps the game of advertising with its post-SuperBowl sarcasm. As with their 2013 ad, Adobe yet again questions the effectivness of SuperBowl ad-spendings in a very funny and creative way. I’d say HOMERUN Adobe and MVP Apple are the winners of the 2014 SuperBowl ad-frenzy.

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SuperBowl ad frenzy against all Marketing ROI rationality

SuperBowl commercials attract a media frenzy like no other public event does. Over the last couple of years, the media, companies and the public alike have increasingly focused on commercials shown during the SuperBowl. Dedicated websites, pre-SuperBowl commercial previews and an “who is who” hiring of actors and celebrities to star in SuperBowl commercials tops all what has previously been done.

While the overall spending on SuperBowl commercials has almost doubled since the year 2000, some maintain an also increasing recall effect and thus heightened brand awareness during the SuperBowl.  According to Nielsen, ads that aired during 2011′s Super Bowl XLV were, on average, 58 percent more memorable than commercials airing during regular programming in the first quarter of 2011. In addition, brand awareness for commercials airing during the Super Bowl was up to 275 percent higher than awareness for the same creative during regular programming.

Yet does this justify the advertising expenditures? If one assume an average SuperBowl ad-time of 30 seconds to cost anything from $3.7 million to $4.0 million in 2014, plus an additional up to $2million in production costs for roughly 60 seconds of ad material, companies are spending easily >$6 million if we do not account for any other advertising or media spending (e.g. pre-SuperBowl Ad-display, Display & banner campaigns, mailings, pre-TV screenings etc…). As it has been reported, some companies like CareerBuilder and Teleflora spent more than 30% of their full year ad budget on the SuperBowl (2012 figures). The question “Is it worth it?” however remains – particularly if one looks at the nearly $2 billion in advertising costs that have been spent on SuperBowl ads over the last couple of years. Money that could have been invested in big data (smart data if you ask me) driven behavioural marketing systems.

The Wall Street Journal’s SuperBowl Infographic, provides an interesting view on sectors and ad spending. Interesting to see is the increase of Automotive Ad-Spending, particularly after the Automotive crisis in 08/09.

Depending on which report to follow, the SuperBowl ad-frenzy is a merely attributed to organisations following patterns of uniformity. Agency’s do obviously have a high stake in this game and incur much of their yearly income during the SuperBowl hype, yet a smart marketer might need to rightfully ask, is this money spent on ads at the SuperBowl bringing in the highest return I could get for my $ or have I fallen prey to mass media and irrationality in ad-spending myself? Some issues I found with the most “widely” claimed campaigns were that mobile integration was poor or non-existing and omnichannel integration seemed mostly to be focused on YouTube ad-previews.

I am sure we are going to see another SuperBowl advertising hype in 2015, spending will of course increase and everybody will fight for the very top spot, the best ad, the most earned media reach and won awards (let’s do not forget the agency side). I just hope some organisations take a closer look at their ad-spending (as most should with their exhibition spending) to examine the ROI (contrast here the CMI 2014 data on the difficulty of marketers to determine their marketing ROI) to assure marketing is not only seen as the guys producing colourful pictures but as one of only two basic organisational functions (Peter Drucker).

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The value of internal communications to tighten the identity – image gap

I have recently given a seminar  about the basics of communication to an IT department of a large multinational organisation. Like many internal service providers, they were struggling to be accepted by the organisation as a value providing business partner. This manifested itself in late project inclusions from the business side, political in-fights, a misunderstanding of the value of IT to the business and worst of all, a continuously decreasing self perception of IT staff.

Within the first day of the seminar, it became clear, that the gap of self to outside perception was much attributed to the department’s missing strategic alignment. Whilst a change in the departments top management has already brought some noticeable and positive change, the overall direction (vision & strategy) of the department was however largely unknown to workshop participants. With that, any outside reflection, argument or negative notion would hit IT staff unprepared and in negative spiral of ever decreasing self perception. On the other hand, IT staff knew, that some of the things they were working on was on the cutting edge of IT operations.

They were thus faced with a classical problem many organisation and many departments face. To align their departmental identity with the their perceived image within the organisation.

It did not take long for everybody to understand, that a creating a logo and or a claim for IT to pimp up their internal marketing would not be the sole solution to their problem. Whilst creating a logo and a claim is fun, creative and much more fun than anything analytical to most people, it would completely neglect the foundation of a solid brand architecture. Instead of running a pure image campaign, much work had to be attributed to internal alignment within the department to assure both managers and staff understood the department’s strategy and were readily trained to take this new message out to the organisation. A myriad of examples from their daily work helped to clarify why a pure image campaign wouldn’t cut it.

Overall, this was a very fun project which continues to be interesting throughout the current and impending implementation phase.

 

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book review: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World

I have recently purchased JAB, JAB, JAB, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuck (Amazon Link). Although the delivery took a little longer than usual (Amazon’s drones seemed to be grounded) I was quite thrilled to be getting this new bible of social media marketing. The book is heavily based on a boxing analogy (JAB, JAB, JAB, Right Hook) which is refreshingly funny in the first few pages but starts to become slightly annoying and repetitive after the first one or two chapters.

The book itself is structured in 12 rounds (according to its boxing analogy). Round 3 to 7 are the main chapters of the book and cover the biggest social networks by active users. Thus Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. Each chapter briefly describes the social network and then provides plenty of examples of both good and bad jabs, hooks and knockout blows.

Table of Content JAB JAB JAB Right Hook

Review:

For first time social or digital marketers, this might be enough to get a brief overview of what is going on and or what works on the premiere social media platforms. The book is nicely structured and provides ample of examples for most networks. The book’s main stronghold, its entertainment value, is however also its biggest weakness. It completely lacks subjectivity in example reviews (e.g. basic analytics of user reactions). A little demographic introduction to social networks would also be quite helpful to give people a feel of what or whom to expect in which network. Although the examples are nicely picked from all sorts of industries and companies, many seem very subjective in description. Providing some strategic brand perspective to it would undoubtedly help to make the book more useful for marketing professionals. Another shortfall is the missing link of social or digital to traditional media. Either one is hardly to be seen in isolation these days but needs to work together with other networks or channels.

To conclude: If you shoot for a book to provide you the background for a social media strategy or to build up your knowledge on the usage social media for brand purposes, you might not find enough meat on this one.

 

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HOHOHO by WestJet Airlines – amazing interactive marketing stunt

With the holiday season approaching fast, and advertising budgets going crazy, brand exposures are at an all time high. It is obviously harder for each brand to leave a lasting memory nor to get much attention from customers. Yet, some creative marketing stunts deserve the later by showcasing creativity, contextual integration and on the spot execution. WestJet Airlines has surely gotten this right with their latest christmas surprise for some of their passengers.

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Using digital channels, WestJet not only shares this stunt but gets also feedback from passengers and as it seems much earned media attention.

Passenger interaction

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My Milka ‘dare to be tender’ experience

After my last blog post, I couldn’t resist to head out and get a bar of the ‘dare the be tender’ campaign bars.

My Objective: To get a dare to be tender bar to test the campaign

Hurdle 1: My quest quickly evolved into a treasure hunt. After I have hit various large retailers, I still couldn’t find a ‘dare to be tender’ bar. So I went online and wrote to Mondelez (through the campaign microsite’s contact form). Roughly 2 days later, somebody from Mondelez got back to me saying that they do not know distribution details but suggest to talk to a local store manager. Thanks Mondelez for that amazing and very helpful advice!

The Purchase: I finally found a retailer (Real) who had the bars in stock. Only a little queuing up and a 15 minute drive home was holding me off from experience the ‘dare the be tender’ claim of the campaign. So far, it was more a dare to believe experience.

Unboxing Premiere of the dare to be tender bar:

Let the ‘dare to be tender’ experience begin: 
After having enjoyed the first pieces of the bar, I followed the instructions as printed on the packaging. The campaign microsite is nicely done, yet it takes quite a few steps to finally send the last piece off, including an invite join Milka’s community (see the gallery above).
Waiting for the last piece to arrive:
…waiting…waiting…waiting…
So far, so good:
One has to admit, the campaign is quite fantastic. Not only is it fun to eat chocolate, having a bar with one piece missing is quite an eye-catcher. Using the product as the communication medium is nothing short of genius and a very brave move by Mondelez. Brand integration is nicely done throughout the entire experience. I cannot wait for my wife to receive the last piece of my Milka dare to be tender bar…
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Milka out’squares’ the market with smart product centric campaign

Milka’s latest campaign set in France and Germany “Dare to be tender” exemplifies like no other campaign that it sometimes takes heart and a little bravery to really think outside the box.

YouTube Preview Image

With over 10 million chocolate bars missing one square, Milka has put the edge back into the advertising game. The product centric campaign capitalises on its very product feature “tender” by giving consumers the choice to either claim the last square or to have it sent to a friend of their choice. The French agency Buzzman has apparently been working with Milka for roughly one year to setup the campaign, including alterations to Milka’s manufacturing process. The campaign leverages the product in a unique way, not only is the product message-medium but to some part, the message itself. Branding aspects have been neatly integrated, too.

In Germany, Milka has sent over 56.000 chocolate squares and received wide public attention. Social Marketing aspects, such as the crowd-gamified “tender o-meter” complete this campaign and give it incredible leverage.

Screenshot: Microsite Dare to be tender

Screenshot Microsite: Tender-O-Meter

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News Flash: social design contest activates fans & followers

BeyerDynamic, a German manufacturer of high quality audio-equipment (wiki entry) has just run a great social design campaign called “My headphone” on a special microsite www.my-headphone.com. With over 4000 design entries, Beyerdynamic has run a great campaign, combining both fans and the product, in a smart and as it seems contact cost efficient way.

My Headphone Contest Winner

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