Archive for the ‘Digital Marketing’ Category

Courtesy of E Releases

Media relations 2.0 is real.

I say this because I found perfect evidence today. Social Car News, one of the automotive blogs under High Gear Media, published a post on Feb 18. The post questioned Jeep’s recent celebration as the “first domestic automotive brand with more than 1 million Facebook fans“, because Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro already hit the record before Jeep. Joel Feder, the author asked: “Is Jeep splitting hairs when it comes to Facebook Fans?

So far the post only attracted 57 views. Not really impressive. However, the only two comments surprised me a lot based on the people who left those comments.

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Integration will be a key focus for social media strategists in 2011. This is from the research result of Altimeter Group’s recently published “2011 Social Media Business Forecast”. According to Jeremiah Owyang’s keynotes for this research, 46.7% of 140 corporate social strategists said they would focus on the integration of social media onto corporate website.

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Volvo is unique. It is the automobile brand that persistently pursues safety technology and innovates. It is also the trustworthy brand that offers premium value to consumers. In United States, Volvo is known as “Mom’s car” because of the maximized protection it gives to families. Important as tradition is, transformation is inevitable and irresistible. Volvo faces fierce competition while it still has potential to grow and expand. In this proposal, I have analyzed Volvo and designed a package of social media marketing strategies for Volvo. Here are my final proposal slides and text descriptions.

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It took me only three seconds to decide my theme for this blog: “public relations + auto industry + social media =?” The three subjects are where my passion and curiosity is. However, it took me more than a while to decide what to write for my first post, because there are so many topics and questions I want to discuss through this blog with the whole world.

Perhaps I should start with a simple question: “Why do automobile brands need social media?” From an automotive engineering/PR student’s standing point, here are my answers:

  1. All the auto brands are striving to survive in a horrifyingly competitive marketplace. They need to leverage every tool they can to amplify their voice.
  2. The major products of this industry, cars, are highly complex. Selling cars involve assorted factors including technology, emotion, culture, etc. To achieve this, different channels for demonstration and visualization are needed.
  3. Auto industry provides a variety of services in a purchase cycle which can last more than ten years. Auto brands have to build and maintain a good and long-term relationship with their customers.

All of the three features proved that automakers need social media. Social media helps auto brands:

  • To be heard
  • To be personalized
  • To be proactive and quickly reactive
  • To be credible and trustworthy

With the exponential growth of social networks, selling cars on Facebook and Twitter is no longer ridiculed. A recent survey done by ROI Research showed that 61% of the respondents discussed vehicles online, 49% follow car brands and dealers on Twitter, and 26% of them were “likely to make an automotive purchase…as a result of a recommendation someone posted on a social networking site”. (Resource: Social Car News)

Do automakers know this? Hope so.

One of my favorite social media books, The New Rules of Marketing & PR (by Daivd Meerman Scott), told a story about automakers at the very beginning of Chapter 1. At that time, the official sites of GM, Ford, and Chrysler looked like pure advertising and one-way messages to the author. “They were luring me in with one-way messages, not educating me about the companies’ products.” What about now?

With a curiosity, I examined seven auto brands in spring, 2010 (Three of them are from the Big Three). All of the seven brands built Facebook page and Twitter account. Surprisingly, however, only Ford identified some social media links on the homepage of its official site. Every brand is making efforts on social media, but how to make your efforts visible and accessible? It seems to be another story.

Only five months later, by now, 4 of 7 brands have identified some links on their official Web sites to their social media pages/sites. I think everyone is exploring, learning, and making progress in the era of Web2.0. And I, myself, can’t wait to start this journey.

Image Source: bw-inc

 

 

 

“Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the earth with a lever.” – Archimedes

What Archimedes said two thousand years ago, can have a new interpretation today: “Give me an idea, and I shall amaze the world with social media.”

This is not metaphorically exaggerated. Social media is endowing every individual or organization with a magic power, with which you can let the world hear you, understand you, or even be crazy about you. For marketers and PR professionals, a new world is forming, in which social media makes the rule.

Go Viral: What Can Never Be Achieved before the New Era

Have you ever considered toss a Mentos candy into a bottle of Diet Coke? Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz did, and they presented the results through a video on YouTube. What happened next was just old news – more than four million views in only three weeks, hundreds of blog posts, mainstream media coverage, etc. It can be that simple but also that amazing in a world with social media. Like David Meerman Scott said in his book The New Rules of Marketing & PR: “One of the coolest things about the Web is that when an idea takes off, it can propel a brand or company to fame and fortune for free.” Viral marketing is the extreme but typical example of this thought.

Viral marketing is like a level in Archimedes’ hands, it enables individuals or small organizations to magnify their voice and compete with multi-billion dollar corporations. If used appropriately, it will be a shortcut to success. Two examples are employed to show how small business leverage viral marketing.

One is Boone Oakley, a small ad agency from North Carolina, uses videos to showcase their creativity. By using simple and hilarious cartoons, the agency differentiates itself with Madison Avenue companies. By utilizing YouTube, it creates an innovative company website with high interactivity with audience when at the same time showing their works. (See the video below.)

Another example is Blendtec, the blender manufacturer that creates a series of viral videos named “Will It Blend”. Before that, Blendtec was a faceless company. Its marketing director, George Wright, recognized the practice of “extreme blending” and applied it into Blendtec’s marketing strategy. IPad, IPhone, Guitar Hero III… The weird but genius way of showing products won 100 million views in total for Blendtec.

Read my resource below to learn more:

“Social Media Marketing Primer: How Blendtec Got Its Face On” by Jackie Peters

Both of the examples demonstrate the magic of viral marketing. While every business owner dreams of their websites going viral, “it is virtually impossible to guarantee that” (David Meerman Scott, The New Rules). Despite the extreme example, however, we can still do a better job by following the new rules of marketing & PR.

The New Rules: Contents Matter

Examining the new rules of marketing and PR in Scott’s book, I find one key issue that may guide us to success – content. In the era of Web2.0, it is all about contents.

  • Create great contents for your product/company

“You are what you publish.” – This is one of the most impressive remarks I found in the book. With Web and new media, we can reach our audience with the focused content tailored for them through the channel they prefer to use. Customized content fits the theory of Long Tail, and save people’s time to process information.

“People want authenticity, not spin.” “Instead of causing one-way interruption, marketing is about delivering content at just the precise moment your audience needs it.” Living in Information Explosion, useful and great contents will differentiate a person or an organization by being more efficient and helpful. That’s what we should offer to our audiences.

  • Send your contents directly to your audience

“PR is not about your boss seeing your company on TV. It’s about your buyers seeing your company on the Web.” “Blogs, podcasts, e-books, news releases and other forms of online content let organizations communicate directly with buyers in a form they appreciate.”

Obviously, social media increases the probability we can get our messages to our audiences because there are so many channels through which we can reach buyers directly. After all, our focus should be on customers more than media.

  • Use your content to drive people’s actions

“Companies must drive people into the purchasing process with great online content.” I believe this is one of the most innovative thoughts pointed out in the book. When designing website, we need to take visitors’ buying cycle into consideration. If we can provide customized information for buyers in different stages of buying cycle, it will drive them into action.

A perfect example would be our university, Michigan State University. On the official website of MSU, five target audiences are identified and offered with customized web content. Click the picture below to check our website

Again, content is important.

Though I haven’t earned a chance to practice the new rules, I do take The New Rules of Marketing & PR as a Bible for digital marketing, because who masters the rules plays best.

* This post is originally published as an assignment on New Media Drivers License Seminars.