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A new way to shop: F-commerce

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

As Facebook has grown over the last six years, it has become a significant part of over 500 million people’s lives. It has gone from social network to what Zuckerberg calls a “social utility”  – Facebook is more than a community, it is a hub of online activity (kind of reminds you a bit of AOL in the 90’s). In a 2007 interview with TIME, he stated: “What we’re trying to do is just make it really efficient for people to communicate, get information and share information. We always try to emphasize the utility component.”

Facebook has gone from the trading of virtual goods (a la Farmville, Mafia Wars and Cafe World) to a marketplace and connection to the purchase of real, tangible goods. As previously written, Starbucks has now made it possible to check the balance on a registered gift card, and even give a gift over Facebook (in the form of money on a gift card) to your friends. Facebook commerce (F-commerce), which has been best defined by Brian Solis, includes both the internal use of Custom Tabs within a Facebook fan page, utilizing FBML (Facebook Markup Language) and on external sites through the use of Open Graph. Pampers and sellers on Etsy have already taken advantage of the Custom Tab “store” options, as has Starbucks.

In early November of this year, Amazon made a move similar to Starbucks. Now, when purchasing a gift card through, a shopper has 4 gifting options: a mailed physical card, sending an e-mail, printing out at home, and finally, gifting via Facebook. Amazon uses Facebook’s Open Graph to broadcast this present to not just the recipient, but his or her friends.

Four different options are now available for sending a gift card

Amazon also does a great job of educating the customer about the process and the use of the user’s Facebook information.

Once signed into Facebook, a gift card can be designed. Customers can then type in a friend’s name in the “Facebook friend” box, which will auto populate, similar to Facebook’s search function. Additionally, a user can select the “See a list of my friends” link, which opens up a separate dialogue box. The default view shows your friends, sorted by their upcoming birthdays. This makes it pretty convenient to remember to buy a gift for a friend. The “sort by name” option lists your friends in alphabetical order (by first name). Gift cards can also be pre-ordered, up to a year in advance, making it easier to do bulk shopping.

This new form of commerce makes it easier to directly track the amount of revenue associated with an interaction. While not exactly the “value of a fan,” the exchange of real goods via Facebook is becoming more prevalent, proving the importance of the social network (and its wealth of personalized information) to companies, brands and marketers.

My Starbucks Idea – including customers in the innovation process

December 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Share. Vote. Discuss. See. These are four simple actions that represent the social network My Starbucks Idea (MSI). While the site is not new (it was nominated in 2008 for Forrester’s Groundswell Awards in the Embracing category), it has made tremendous progress in the last two years. This quarter, Starbucks announced its 100th idea to be launched with its customers’ help – “Buying a drink for a Friend Remotely…on Facebook.”

100th idea launched

Prior to the launch of this idea, Starbucks Facebook fans had access to an app which allows users to manage and check the balance of registered gift cards. The coffee giant paired the Facebook gifting announcement by rewarding it’s loyal Facebook friends – with $5 automatically loaded on registered cards.

$5 on my Starbucks Card

Not only did I get excited about the new capabilities of the Facebook app, I was also psyched to have $5 more to spend at my favorite coffee chain (poor grad student that I am). The new app is also much easier to use than the traditional gift card manager on It even takes advantage of the social and viral nature of Facebook – if I want to send a gift to a friend, they must have the app installed. Starbucks, of course provides me with the opportunity to make them aware of this new caffeination delivery system. And, like many other Facebook apps, I can choose to broadcast this purchase.

Besides the convenience of this 100th idea, it is worth noting that since March 2008, the coffee giant has made a solid effort to listen to its customer base, particularly in the midst of a rough economic time. MSI is one of the better examples of how crowdsourcing can really work, and how listening to your SHU’s can ultimately benefit the company. Not only is Starbucks open to ideas, it keeps the community up-to-date with the progress of each submission, mainly if its under review, been reviewed, in the works or launched. In addition to getting feedback from The Siren, users can provide their own commentary on ideas.

Popular launch ideas have included Splash Sticks, iPhone and BB apps, mini Starbucks cards for your key ring, healthier food options (including raw, vegan and gluten-free offerings) and the recently rolled-out free WiFi. For a complete list, visit: 100 of your ideas launched and MSI milestone – 50 ideas launched.

Noticeably, the site is a giant focus group, and there are several ideas that have been submitted that focus on the environment, sustainability and corporate social responsibility. While Starbucks is a business, its customers are very aware that the company is also a member of the global community that has tremendous impact.

Since we are constantly looking for the BIG IDEA in IMC– what’s your Starbucks Idea?

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Measuring ROI within Social Media campaigns – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

October 24, 2010 Leave a comment

This year Proctor & Gamble’s Old Spice and the ad agency Weiden & Kennedy (W+K) received significant attention with their innovative integrated marketing campaign which started with tv broadcast spots and then moved into the social media space. Many hailed the creative effort, but some industry experts, including BrandWeek and Fast Company initially questioned the effectiveness of the campaign asking if it drove revenue. (Once updated figures were released, several publications quickly made corrections).

While there are many different ways for determining a campaign’s success (awareness, demand, increased likelihood to purchase), in most cases, Creative has to prove its value and that the work must positively contributed to the bottom line. W+K and P&G took great care in monitoring the Old Spice campaign in the digital form (views, tweets, unique page views and engagement) and in the form of a ringing register (sales, market share, share of voice). This enabled them to correlate the social media effort (as a part of the overall IMC strategy) with an increase in brand awareness, engagement, market share (both for body wash, and in a ripple effect, other Old Spice product categories), and finally and most importantly to the CFO – an increase in sales and revenue.

The video made by W +K (post below) is a great case study for not just a social media campaign, but also how an agency/marketing team can show how a campaign can effect the bottom line. The Old Spice campaign, with W + K’s help, has been able to do something rare in the industry today: combine memorable, outstanding creative with the almighty dollar.

In addition to the increase in market share and profits, the campaign has received accolades and awards, including an Emmy). The idea of the “Man your man could smell like” has even taken on meme status, and truly has gone viral, enough for even Sesame Street to notice.

Hopefully this creative success will lead to more innovative campaigns overall that are smart and resonate with the target audience, making just a bit more of all that communication clutter worth paying attention to.


The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, Part 2

October 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Here is the embedded video related to the post “Measuring ROI within Social Media campaigns – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”

Categories: Uncategorized