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The Art of Listening to Customers 365 days!

December 18, 2012 Leave a comment

The nation is still trying to make sense of why evilness reached Sandy Hook Elementary School and took the lives of many innocent souls and those adults that cared for them. Tragedies like these affect everybody and it becomes a big part of society. What is the appropriate approach for companies during this time?  A great example here is Jet Blue. According to Mashable, Jet Blue made sure that a letter written by Noah’s cousin reached Connecticut in time for Noah’s funeral. Noah’s mother had asked all the family members to write later that would be buried with Noah.

The reason I bring this up is not for companies to suddenly start doing something to show their sympathy. Actually, I have a problem with a lot of companies trying to get behind a cause that doesn’t align with their mission or those who try too hard to create a great PR image. However, Jet Blue has keep an on-going conversation with customers on social media sites and therefore can justify doing such gesture. Hence, here are several reasons why I bring this up:

1. Companies should always lend their ear to their customers (especially since the digital era has allowed customers to be more available and willing to engage with companies). Do you really like those friends who talk your ear out but they don’t listen to anything you have to say?

2. What affects society affects companies too (at this point  customers are heartbroken due to this tragedy). Being proactive is the best way to keep consistent with any company’s brand.

3. Companies shouldn’t do anything if all they want is free publicity. This is why customers have grown to distrust companies.

As a company, you have to be you and be real. Listening is a great skill that brings about unplanned publicity. It also shows you what customers really NEED and not what you think they NEED. I hope that as we move forward in the future, that companies will riley for causes and events that they really believe in, while truly catering to their customers. It is my hope that one day companies will be heroes and not villains. I also hope to be part of that change, STAY TUNED!



Twitter Chats

November 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Twitter is my favorite social media site out there. In fact, I get most of my news from there. Where else can you follow industry leaders, CMO and instantly know the trending topics of the day all at the same time? In addition, my feeds ranges from technology, to PR, to advertising, to travel, to NGOs, to entertainment, to local as well as global news and many more. Therefore, Twitter gives me a broader look into the world I live in. The reason for my post is to share with you something else I love about Twitter, the “Chat” sessions provided by various companies. Here are three sessions that I participate in (when time permits):

1. #Awschat (by Advertising Week) Twitter: @advertisingweek

The #awschat takes place every Tuesday (unless stated otherwise) at 1pm. Any body interested in advertising is welcomed to join and share they opinions. Usually there are 4-5 questions asked and time is allocated to each question in order to allow discussions, and retweets.Each week, the questions vary. Here’s one question asked that was asked during the chat:

Q2 (11/27/2012): When is “quirky” productive? Why?

2. #PRcafe (by Ideal Publicity LLC) Twitter: @IdeaPublicity

The #prcafe chat is held every Wednesdays (unless stated otherwise) at 1pm. They chat focused on different aspects of PR as well as well as bring guest experts. Topics range from restaurant pr, to client relationship pr, to sports pr, and many more. Here’s one question that was asked during the chat:

Q2 (11/28/2012): What do you think is a crucial need that people forget to invest in when it comes to their brand? #prcafe

3. #SoloPR (by Solo PR Pro) Twitter: @SoloPR

The #solopr chat is held every Wednesdays (unless stated otherwise) at 1pm. You might have noticed that it goes on at the same time as the #prcafe but it is easy to navigate between the two. This chat focuses on different aspects of pr as well. Some of the topics are ROI, social media, project fees, asking client feedback, PR journalism, transitioning from agency to solo and many more. Here’s one question that was asked during the chat:

Q4 (11/28/2012): Are you seeing any trends among clients for 2013? Budgets up or down? New areas of focus (or downplaying others)? #solopr

There are probably many more, but I haven’t mastered this yet. Also, sometimes the questions are not relevant to you because you are still in school and haven’t gained the experience yet. However, the insights you gain from just reading other people’s responses is priceless. Yes, textbooks and lectures will teach you a thing or two but how will you know exactly what goes on in the marketing field if you don’t hear it from the people who live it everyday?

Are you keeping up with your younger consumers?

September 30, 2012 Leave a comment

As markets found different and unique ways to reach their target audience for “Back to School” sales, a lot did not take full advantage of digital marketing. Perhaps because this term “digital marketing” is still new to the field and a lot of people don’t quite know how to use it effectively. I understand that some people might not know how to create effective digital marketing campaign. Well, I am going to use this article that demonstrates six great “Back to School” digital marketing campaign and give my own opinion of why I think it was executed well and what could have been done to further enhance it.

1. Teen Vogue:

First of all, Teen Vogue allowed customers who have the “insider app” to retrieve coupons and discounts on their mobile devices. This allows only an exclusive group of their target audience to get discounts and spread the word to their friends to also join this app. Second of all, the benefit of having fashion shows in different cities is that those who don’t subscribe to Teen Vogue were reached. Furthermore, participating retailers increased brand awareness and trials.

Improvement: They could have encouraged those who witnessed the fashion shows to send live pictures of the events on Instagram and Twitter (ex. #TVfashionshow) in a chance to possible gain coupons and discounts.

2. American Eagle

First of all, American Eagle (AE) used a catchy phrase. “Live Your Life” really encourages young people to live their life the way they want without worrying about what others might think or say. Second of all, by asking your consumers to enter their pictures, you gain brand ambassadors. These brand ambassadors will be able to influence their peers more than an ad would do. Third of all, AE asked their followers to vote in order to increase interaction amount friends as well as those who don’t want to post their pictures but still want to participate.

Improvement: They should really extend this “Live Your Life” campaign and partner with non-profit organizations. Being a teenager in the U.S is very hard especially if you do not fit in with the cool crowd. The tag line would go so well with the anti-bullying organization or eating disorder organizations to bring more awareness to the on-going issues.

3. Staple

First of all, they were smart to keep offering new deals weekly, because this keeps consumers coming back for more deal. They want to see what will unfold this week that didn’t last week. In addition, your brand becomes top of mind for these consumers. Second of all, it was great that they added the #StaplesforStudents hashtag in order to make consumers feel like they are participating in a good cause.

Improvement: I don’t think the campaign should be limited to Twitter only, because they will be overseeing a lot of their target audience who are not on Twitter yet. The same idea, minus the hashtags, should be transported to the AE Facebook page. In addition, videos should be created that show where the donations are going and post it on Youtube (with tweets of those who donated embedded in the videos).

4. Target

First of all, Target understands the headache that goes into going away for college. In order to attract more consumers to their mobile app, they created this engaging checklist to help the new students easily transition in their new life. Second of all, they provided design inspirations to help students understand what goes with what. Years later they might remember Target as the brand that helped them in their transition phase.

Improvement: I know this might sound too stretched but adding tips beyond what they need is necessary. A lot of students might not know how to wash covers, bed sheets, etc. They also might not know how often they need to change they sheets or how to fold their laundry. You also want to provide a chat option in case they have questions.

5. Sears

It is always good to partner with a non-profit and raise awareness that might be overlooked. However, the cause has to reflect your mission statement and your longterm goals. Sears in this case did a good job of reminding students about bullying as they were heading back to school.

Improvement: Again expanding it beyond Twitter, because the company is still growing. I think adding Youtube again might be a good idea. Or creating educational short documentaries that could be picked up by teachers so they can show it to the students.

6. SpareFoot

This is such a simple but yet effective campaign for a storage company. All you are doing is grabbing attention from users by asking them what they’ve kept since elementary school instead of talking about the services that you offer. Not only are you engaging with the brand by you are helping them supply kits to students. And here you see the use of both Facebook and Twitter.

Improvement: In addition, SpareFoot could allow users to create a collage from their keepsake  to be posted both Pinterest and Instagram

The first time is always hard especially in this ever-changing era where you have to constantly be on your toes. However, the key to creating effective digital campaigns is understanding where your consumers are, be creative in a simple way , integrate different social media sites, and allow engagement/sharing.