Last week I had the pleasure of listening to a joint session between Coca-Cola and WWF at the Cause Marketing Forum in Chicago. As anyone who noticed the white Arctic Home Coca-Cola cans will tell you, the campaign to protect and restore polar bear habitat was a bold marketing move in terms of commitment to a cause, scale of execution, and dramatic results both for the brand and WWF fundraising. Equally valuable to all of us are the insights and learning from a large scale, purposeful partnership , and so I wanted to share the lessons they passed on at the event.
In terms of their ‘Keys to Success’, Coca-Cola and WWF shared four main points:
1. Partnership: It is far move effective to make a meaningful difference when you partner with an expert in that subject such as the WWF and polar bear habitat.
2. Champions in leadership: The ability for a brand of any size to act on a purposeful initiate turns on the commitment of leadership.
3. True to brand equity: Any effort must be ethically aligned with the brand’s equity, for example, Coca-Cola and their long-running campaign featuring polar bears.
4. Innovation and risk: Any marketing initiative involves a degree of risk but purposeful commitments are also largely uncharted, so a combination of the two is required.
Yet, as with any bold move, there were ‘Learnings’ and here’s what Coca-Cola and the WWF shared:
1. Always room for more collaboration: No matter how busy everyone gets and how quickly a project scales, you can never have too much collaboration so that things never get out of control.
2. Defer to the expert on the issue: Always know what you know and know what you don’t by deferring to the expert on a topic (for example, Coca-Cola with marketing and WWF with polar bear habitat).
3. Simplify participation mechanics: With so many engagement tools and strategies to choose from, it’s easy to over complicate things which makes it doubly important to keep the consumer engagement part simple.
4. Carefully consider the role of each communication: As a project builds to and expands beyond the launch, it’s important to ensure each communication is directed towards a strategic goal to avoid miscommunication and maximize the positive impact of the marketing spend.
Arctic Home is an important commitment by Coca-Cola and the WWF in its own right but its also a powerful and inspiring case study for other brands to follow. It’s success odes well for other brands seeking to bring their values to life in ways that are meaningful to the company, its employees, consumers and the world at large.
As social media matures, apps proliferate and new enterprise platforms appear everyday, it’s almost impossible to track with all the changes let alone integrate them into your company. With that in mind I felt it might be useful to distill and isolate ten trends that are reshaping the social business marketplace as we speak.
2. Consumers now expect real time, personalized and seamless engagement.
3. The amount of information consumers can access is increasing exponentially (as a function of auto-publishing).
4. All this information and all our relationships will be available everywhere (as a function of tablets, smart phones, and the cloud).4. Competition for consumer attention is increasing exponentially diminishing the impact of traditional advertising.
5. All this information and all our relationships will be available everywhere (as a function of tablets, smartphones, and the cloud).
6. Leader brands are being distinguished by the quality of their social listening and response to consumer needs and demands.
7. Social technology is changing at an increasing pace and being adopted and adapted by consumers before brands.
8. Consumer activism is rising.
9. Co-creative brand/consumer marketing campaigns are becoming the new standard.
10. Social technology is becoming increasing fractured, crowded, and niche every day.
In the face of such blistering speed and complexity of engagement, the wisest thing a brand can do is to serve as its own compass. It does this by defining what it stands for, and its core values, and then bringing those to life in a consistent and creative way across new technologies and platforms. To do otherwise is to chase the tireless tail of technological innovation only to broadcast your schizophrenia and confuse your customers.
Brands must know themselves before they can expect others can talk about them and so as counter-intuitive as it seems, the most valuable investment of time you can make as a brand is looking inward towards self-definition, rather than chasing the latests social technology.
Do you think the pace of social technology is helping or hurting brands trying to define themselves?
Yesterday it was announced that Karma, Facebook’s new gift app, will be instrumental in its e-commerce success. No doubt social data is an incredibly powerful e-commerce tool yet there are many reasons both for and against for arguing that Facebook will become the dominant e-commerce force.
First off, here are 5 reasons that Facebook will dominate e-commerce.
1. Captive Audience: Facebook already owns the lion’s share of social media eyeballs and as platforms proliferate, more and more users will buy through the social network they know.
2. Social Search: As consumers become increasingly overwhelmed by amount of information and advertising available to them, they are turning to their peers (as opposed to Google Search) for purchasing recommendations, choices, and sharing.
3. Seamlessness: The ability to find, buy, share and be rewarded for what you buy is being baked ever deeper into the Facebook platform reducing the need to ever leave.
4. Real + Virtual: Facebook’s ability to sell both virtual goods and physical products using virtual and real world currencies creates a stranglehold on the growing merger of the on and offline world.
5. Targeting: While advertisers clamor for great and more dynamic advertising real estate within the platform, Facebook remains true to the wishes of its users by designing the size of the ads and leveraging data driven targeting.
Yet, with all this great opportunity, Facebook faces 5 equally compelling challenges:
1. Saturation: With almost every imaginable intersection between a person and product now covered within a single platform, users may tire of Facebook once advertising overwhelms the experience.
3. Competition: Rest assured there are dozens of platforms designed purely for mobile consumers that are currently in stealth mode and primed to be the next Facebook.
4. Pollution: Shopping is an important but small part of the relatedness between people and the more that Facebook co-opts that relatedness for commerce, the greater the risk that the connective tissue it rely on will atrophy.
5. Shareholders: It is one thing to reinvent the way commerce is practiced and another to balance the competing demands of users and shareholders.
Stacked side by side, it’s easy to see why the jury is out on the future of Facebook especially in a mobile-centric marketplace. But their dominance and iterative business strategy bode well for continued success, as long as they never lose site of the fact that they must serve their users first.
Do you think Facebook will become the dominant e-commerce force? Or will too much advertising be its undoing?
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