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WOMMA Summit 2012: Advocacy & Social Evolution

November 16th, 2012 No comments

Wednesday night, we closed the book on another WOMMA Summit (disclosure: Spredfast is a governing member and I serve on the board).   Having now had a few hours to reflect, there were some major themes.

Back to Advocacy – In session after session, we heard a focus from brands on meeting the needs not only of their X million fans, but creating content, experiences, and value for their hard core fans.  One of the greatest examples of of approaching this came from Jackie Huba’s preview of her forthcoming 2013 book Monster Business.  Lady Gaga’s marketing strategies focus on the 1% of her fans that want to have hyper-engaged relationships with her.  The 6 Lessons of Gaga’s loyalty strategy are a fantastic reminder that this advocate strategy needs to drive platform choices instead of the tail wagging the dog.

Big Businesses are Dissolving the Social Pillar –Nestle Digital & Social Global Head (and WOMMA co-founder) Pete Blackshaw,Greg Gerik of 3M, and “Turbo” Todd Watson of IBM all shared the communications pillars of their organizations – none of which include standalone “social”.  Instead of being a siloed initiative of a few trained marketers, social has permeated the way the company communicates on all fronts.  This is a beautiful thought, but paying off on it requires investment in socially empowering hundreds of brand managers and SMEs, measuring the results of their efforts, and getting engagement and feedback data to the right places in the organization in a way that energizes the organization.

The Paid/Owned/Earned (and sometimes Shared) media model is here to stay as a meaningful model.  No longer is there questioning about the validity or value of WOM that gets stimulated by ad dollars as the changing dynamics of what it takes for users of social platforms to actually see a connections’ recommendation.  What does differ is how people are handling the integration of paid. Whether it is a new skill being picked up by the brand, executed through specialist agency collaboration, etc. – it is a skill set that must be added to your integrated WOMM team’s arsenal molto pronto.

Measurement is becoming more sophisticated and scrutinized.  Many of the success metrics shared in sessions were about the “quick win”.  This seems to be a result of the continued ROI pressure that social initiatives, along with the entire marketing mix face (backed up by data shared in the IBM CMO study.  But elevating social activity to “business value” needs to incorporate the value of both the quick win and the long game for which social is so uniquely designed.  Dr. Walter Carl shared some great guidance on how to look at the full value picture of social in a more holistic way – giving social credit for some of the “long game” communications objectives it achieves instead of short term sales, coupon redemptions, etc alone.  We need to move beyond activity metrics and the “short game” and start thinking about how to give social credit for the more complex role it plays including soliciting feedback, cultivating offline WOM recommendations, and developing brand advocates who will spark to action in a crisis.

The Legal Socialpocalypse – The Summit closed with some amazing and well-timed reminders from lead legal counsel/cyberlawyers for Coca-Cola, American Express, and USAA.  Reminders included the need for a higher level of rigor in terms of sharing rights-protected material to basic security in the way that social accounts are being managed by individuals in the company (personal logins to control corporate Facebook, anyone?).  Above all, the guidance was to get legal involved early and often so they become involved in shaping a program instead of the late stage “no” guys.

It’s great to see so many companies that were early pioneers in social continuing to evolve and willing to share their lessons along the way for the benefit of the entire industry!  For more details and sharable nuggets, visit WOMMA’s curated tweet and photo highlights the summit sessions: Day 1Day 2Day 3. To see more of the WOM that took place at Summit, check out the Summit Social Hub powered by FeedMagnet.

We Need More Tweets!

September 26th, 2011 No comments

(this cross-posted on Ogilvy’s Fresh Influence blog)

Image by John Moore @brandautopsy

On a panel last week for a WOMMA event at Chicago’s Social Media Week, I had the pleasure of sitting with Keller Fay’s Ed Keller, Brains on Fire’s Robbin Phillips, and Social Media Today’s Robin Carey to discuss social media measurement under the heading of “Is WOM worth it?”.  In the context of that discussion, I talked about the siren song of social media counting (vs. measurement) and the trap that we too-frequently see: social media “cases” that end by rattling off 20 different social media metrics that do not track to a meaningful business metric.  To illustrate, I mentioned that no CEO is not banging the table looking for more tweets (which BrandAutopsy riffed into the above), he’s looking for shareholder value – sales, market share, preference, purchase intent and a legion of other measures that can not be ripped off the back of Facebook insights.

So, with that in mind and the voices of my esteemed co-presenters in my head, I put together a list of 4 potential measurement pitfalls that can kill your social media measurement program before the horses have left the stable:

1) Setting the wrong objectives.  This sounds silly, but often an activity or “client brief” will be mis-translated as an objective.  For example, “run a high-impact event” is an activity, but “increase consideration and share of voice among X audience” attending that event is an objective.  TEST: Can it be measured?  If the answer is no, it isn’t an objective.

2) Determine the meaningful (vs. diagnostic) KPIs before you begin:  Chances are, meaningful KPI’s will require measurement techniques beyond simple, spoon-fed social media metrics like likes and shares.  Take a walk through our Conversation Impact(TM) white paper to determine how to craft meaningful Reach, Preference, or Action KPIs.

3) Find where your audience is interacting on a relevant topic: Yes, Facebook has 800 million people and likely some of them are in your desired “audience” but they may not be on Facebook to discuss their mother’s prescriptions or whatever topic that you may have value to add.  The important second step to “going where the party” is already happening is not just determining where your audience is, but how they are using social media for different things – where do they share recipes vs. look for snowboot recommendations?  While they could light up for FB, Twitter, Flickr, etc it will be critical to understand the relevance of those platforms to their lives to put together a measurable strategy.

4) Plan to measure: If you put together a measurement plan after you’ve already begun, you have lost your chance at a baseline and being able to know the true impact of your efforts.  Ed Keller admitted that he often gets calls halfway through campaigns at which point, there are limitations on the types of measurements that can be taken.  The baseline is going to be the key to your “winning” metric such as “Increased purchase consideration by 45%”.  That is the type of metric that CEOs do care about and will keep your social media efforts on strategy and in budget in 2012.

Coaching from Andrea Jung

April 29th, 2011 No comments

0922_1_andrea_jung_280x340Andrea Jung is a rockstar.  Frankly, anyone who is a CEO of a company of Avon’s social and financial importance for more than a decade would be.  Yesterday, I saw her give a public address on leadership to an audience of largely women.  She was down to earth, inspiring, and highly quotable.  A few of my takeaways and their applicability to social media below:

Listen to your compass, not your clock – When Andrea Jung was passed over for CEO of Avon in 19997, it made headlines.  She was offered 2 other CEO positions at other companies.  It would have been easy to feel slighted or embarrassed and hop companies to earn the next checkmark on her resume.  But Avon’s mission of economically empowering women inspires and connects with her.  And staying true to that compass is what laid the ground work for a more meaningful, long term success to flourish.

You can’t reinvent your company if you can’t reinvent yourself -After missing earnings and falling out of favor with Wall Street, Andrea knew she was at risk of being fired in a quarter or 2.  a coach advised her to “fire herself” and walk in the next day as if it was her first day at a new job.  She could then approach and assess the company’s situation with fresh eyes and energy and start anew.

Proceed ethically – As Thomas Jefferson, “In matters of style, swim with the current.  In matters of principle, stand like a rock.”  So many business leaders have found themselves at the core of corporate scandal.  They tend to be shorter lived and their shareholder value returned far lower.

“Communities have never needed companies more” – Choosing to be in the private sector does not mean you are opting out of a live of service.  The public sector can not meet the needs of our country or the world – and it is up to corporate citizens to stand up and do their part for the benefit of all.

Prioritize, and be present – So many working parents are constantly making micro daily tradeoffs about family and work.  They are difficult and constant.  Prioritize, make your decisions and then drop the guilt.  Once you are in the most important place for you to be present, you owe it to your companions to fully be there.

So much of this has direct applicability to our little social media corner of the world:

  • Because we’re moving so quickly, career focus often is on quick hops and ticking title boxes instead of finding a company, team, mentor, client, mission or purpose that gives you passion.  Once you’ve found that the rest will follow.
  • The WOMMA ethics code is just one incarnation of a way to make sure you are swimming on the straight and narrow of the social media current.
  • Social media has brought with it a massive case of divided attention syndrome.  The temptation to live tweet/Facebook/document your life instead of focusing on the humans around you is very strong!  Be present and see what happens…

Send “Vajazzle” to a Friend (or 14)

November 28th, 2010 No comments

Having recently returned from the WOMMA Summit in Las Vegas, I am reminded of some of the quick, head-smacker, “why didn’t I think of that” tips shared by WOMMA co-founder Andy Sernovitz at the very first meeting in Chicago.  One of these was to put a “send to a friend” button on every page of your website.

Now, 5 years later and in a mainstream social age, very little inspires me to email something to a friend.  I might post something on Twitter to my work peeps or on Facebook to my more personal network of family, friends and colleagues, but very that I receive in my Gmail – largely for promotional e-commerce emails, would inspire me to email.

Austin’s own “Waxing Studio” sent an email a few weeks ago that bucks that trend.  The subject line read “Free Longhorn Vajazzle Only Through Saturday!” (I’m sad to say – the deal has expired).  There are so many things I love about this.  The silliness of that word, the false urgency of the timeline, and the concept of bedazzling lady parts with the University of Texas’ famed logo.

rsz_longhorn

I almost snarfed my coffee.  I had to share the joy of this silliness with a few girlfriends.  Then with a few UT alums.  Then with some other WOM marketers (how inherently WOM-worthy is this?).  And goodness knows, it makes business sense as its an add on to their famous 15 minute Brazillian – their highest margin service by far.  By the time I was done, I had forwarded an email to 14 people.

Lo and behold, I did end up going to this local business during the time of this fantastic limited time offer and got to ask them about uptake.  While they had only had ONE taker to this offer, the sheer remarkability of the offer did spark a lot of long time clients to call and book (more boring) appointments.

This strikes me as akin to the restaurants that offer a $75lb hamburger or David Burke’s famed Lollipop Tower – you aren’t going to get rich selling them, but giving your customers something to talk about – and FORWARD – is priceless.

(Disclosure: Ogilvy is a Governing Member of WOMMA)

BWOW: Wow Bao

June 7th, 2010 No comments

WowBaoIf you’re wondering who owns the eyebrow-lift-inducing Facebook vanity “hotasianbuns”, look no further than Chicago’s own Wow Bao.  Wow Bao is a concept of Lettuce Entertain You, but it has a social media voice and plan of action all its own.   Geoff Alexander, Wow Bao’s Managing Partner joined me on a panel at WOMMA’s School of WOM and shared enough of those elements to make me want to learn more.  The personality and choices that Wow Bao has made qualify it as a Brand Worthy of a Weekend (BWOW) – a brand for whom there is a passionate set of fans that would give up a weekend with their families to come “immerse” themselves in the brand – learn more, meet the people behind the brand, and want to have a hand in crafting the brand’s future.  So what’s Wow Bao’s recipe for a talkable, weekend-worthy brand?

Product Offering w/ Story, Ritual, & Explanation – Chicago is a food town, but steamed Asian Buns aren’t the most common offering by far.  The product itself provides the opportunity for Word of Mouth to be exchanged – in location or on their website in the “the Way of the Bao” video.

Sauce-Up Your Brand Voice – @BaoMouth – Their brand voice on Twitter is the disembodied Bao Mouth.  The spicy Bao Mouth’s location and identity remain a closely guarded trade secret (even when I pressed Mr. Alexander on stage).  It is interesting to note that this is usually counter to what we think of as a best practice in terms of building relationships through transparency, but here it truly adds to the Bao mystique.  What we do know is that he/she is not only listening for mentions of Wow Bao, but ready to comment on other seemingly irrelevant, but fun tweets.  My favorite today:

I’m gonna walk in through the out door all day today RT @CarolBlymire: Prince turns 52. How will YOU be celebrating his birthday?”

Surprise & Delight with Innovation – Despite (or maybe because?) Wow Bao is in Chicago and only rocking a handful of locations, they are innovating their marketing at light speed.  They know that young, digital, early adopters are their bun eaters, so they have experimented by being one of the first restaurants in Chicago to offer Foursquare deals (in fall 09), they have an iPhone app, remote ordering and shipping anywhere in the US, Facebook weekly “secret word” deals, Foursquare Mayor rituals that walk the walk in store (this talkability has to manifest IRL after all), and mobile single-use barcoded coupons with Mocapay.  Even if 75% of these fail, they’re worth remarking about and, while experimental, that probably justifies the ROI on its own.

What other brands are challenging their audiences by pushing their marketing bounds vs. being dragged into the future?  Or using the complexity of their product as a WOM advantage?