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It is always fascinating to watch a marketing campaign go viral. As the United States Supreme Court took up the issue of marriage equality this week, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization) came up with a social media campaign that transformed the look of Facebook overnight. They modified their logo from a blue box with a yellow equal sign, to a red box with a pink equal sign and invited people to use it as their Facebook profile picture to demonstrate their support for same sex marriage.
If you were logged in to Facebook on Tuesday for any period of time it was almost like watching a red wave wash over the site. Tens of thousands of people all over the world soon sported the image. And as this morning’s Media Post reported, big brands soon joined the effort. Bud Light (shown above) created their own version of HRC’s logo replacing the equal sign with their beer cans. Kimpton Hotels used two pillows. Martha Stewart Living posted a picture of a slice of red cake with icing as the equal sign. Even fans of southern chef Paul Deen (famous for her use of butter) came up with a version.
Creating content with the hope of going ‘viral’ is every marketer’s dream. So here’s a few quick takeaways from this successful campaign:
- Tap into what people are already talking about – your content has to trigger an emotional response.
- Find the audience likely to spread the message – make sure your target audience knows about it.
- Make it easy – don’t give people too much to do…just give them a quick, easy way to say “me too”.
It should also be noted that HRC doesn’t do this all the time – if they did, it wouldn’t be ask likely to catch on as quickly. So don’t overdo it and you’ll greatly improve your chances of going viral too. Great job HRC!!
Yesterday, my friend and colleague Barbara shared a TED video on her Facebook feed. The talk was filmed in Long Beach, CA on Feb. 27 and featured alt-rock icon Amanda Palmer – former lead singer, pianist, and lyricist/composer of the duo The Dresden Dolls. Mashable reported last Friday that her talk, “The Art of Asking”, was the most memorable moment of the 2013 TED conference. As she talks about her experience with crowdfunding and the music industry, she says something that should be profoundly instructive to professional fundraisers: “For the very act of asking people, I connected with them. And when you connect with them, people want to help you.”
Please, watch and share!
P.S. On social media as a tool, she says: “The perfect tools aren’t going to help us if we can’t face each other and give and receive fearlessly. But more important, to ask without shame.”
By now you’ve read about the amazing tweet from Oreo during the infamous Super Bowl blackout. Within moments of the power going out in the Superdome, Oreo tweeted the above picture saying “Power Out. No Problem”. Digital marketing agency 360i definitely showed us all what it means to be nimble, creative and engaging. Brilliant.
By contrast, there is Poland Spring. As Media Post’s Marketing Daily reported, during the live, televised GOP response to the State of the Union, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) stopped in mid-sentence to reach awkwardly for a bottle of Poland Spring. Unlike Oreo’s rapid response, any mention of their moment in the spotlight didn’t appear on the company’s social media until the next day. In fact, it unfortunately highlighted that their Twitter accounts had been inactive since January 2011. Awkward.
There are any number of lessons to be learned from both of these recent events in the Twitterverse. The most obvious one is “carpe diem” – if you’re going to be successful in social media, you have to be ready and able to seize the day. If you’re only logging in to Twitter, Facebook, etc., etc., once a week you could actually be diminishing your brand. Silence isn’t neutral.But an unexpected lesson comes from a closer analysis of the famous Oreo tweet.
Bryan Boettger, Chief Creative Officer of digital engagement agency The Buddy Group, wrote a great counterpoint to all of the Oreo accolades for the Social Media Insider. In “Everyone’s Dunking the Wrong Oreo” he points out that a closer analysis of the post-tweet activity shows that much of the Twitter traffic it generated was from ad industry pundits, professionals and news outlets…not the general consumer. He doesn’t take anything away from 360i’s creativity and I’m guessing he’d probably have encouraged Poland Spring to ramp up its game.
But ultimately, Bryan’s article and these two stories have reminded me that the social media landscape grows more crowded and complex every day. Success depends not just on creating relevant content, it increasingly requires attention to analytics and strategy must take center stage.
“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.” — Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This month, the charity I’ve chosen to highlight on my website’s front page is not a charity at all – but an effort to engage citizens around the country in a National Day of Service on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in honor of the Presidential Inauguration and Martin Luther King Jr. As Dr. King’s daughter Bernice points out, “This year the Day of Service takes on special meaning as we mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.”
The inauguration website suggests seven ways to get involved and provides a quick search feature to help Americans find an event in their area and serve with others in their community. Here’s the link. And in the tech-savvy style of the Obama administration, individuals can even use the Inauguration’s phone app to find volunteer events in their neighborhood.
The effort even encourages participants to tell friends why they’re taking part in the National Day of Service by taking a picture with an #iserve sign (download one or make your own) that says why they’re pledging to serve their community – then share it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the #iserve hashtag. So how will you get involved?
As Bernice King reminds us, “The beautiful thing about service is that everyone can do it. We can’t all stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial or the steps of the Capitol and inspire a nation to do what’s right. But each of us, in our own way, can follow in our leaders’ footsteps and make a difference for someone today.”
I’ve written before about Starbucks campaign to help create jobs in the U.S. Starbucks launched the “Indivisible” collection — a coffee blend, branded tumblers and mugs — in its stores in mid-June and makes a donation to the Create Jobs for USA fund every time an “Indivisible” item is purchased. Now in a further effort to end the gridlock in Washington, DC, Howard Schultz is taking #Indivisible to the realm of social media.
Here is an excerpt from his open letter:
Across the country, millions of Americans are out of work. Many more are working tirelessly yet still unable to adequately care for their families. Our veterans are not being welcomed home with the level of support they deserve. Meanwhile, in our nation’s capital, our elected leaders are continuing to put ideology over real solutions. I love America, but we all know there is something wrong. The deficits this country must reconcile are much more than financial, and our inability to solve our own problems is sapping our national spirit. We are better than this. America’s history has showed that we have accomplished extraordinary things when we act collectively, with courage, creativity, and generosity of spirit — especially during trying times.
As we celebrate all that is great about our country, let’s come together and amplify our voices.
Let’s tell our government leaders to put partisanship aside and to speak truthfully about the challenges we face. Let’s ask our business leaders to create more job opportunities for the American economy. And as citizens, let’s all get more involved. Please, don’t be a bystander. Understand that we have a shared responsibility in solving our nation’s problems. We can’t wait for Washington.
You can read the entire letter here. He reminds us that it is time, whatever our differences, for us to strive and succeed as one nation — indivisible. Happy 4th of July – and thank you Howard Schultz.
Christopher Frank (VP at American Express) and Paul Magnone (Director at Openet) have written a book entitled Drinking from the Fire Hose – Making Smarter Decisions Without Drowning in Information. I definitely recommend the book. In one chapter they reference the ‘hype cycle’, a term developed by the Gartner Group in the mid-90s and used today to evaluate technologies and trends.
The hype cycle is a common pattern seen in people’s expectations when exposed to a new idea or new technology (think Apple products like iPad or social media like Twitter). People initially get very excited then all to often what is new doesn’t live up to early expectations and only over time does the best use of the new idea or technology become clear.
I just read an article today that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle raising the question about whether the Pinterest bubble is bursting. The story points out that monthly active users are down from 11.3 million on March 1 to 11.15 million on April 1 to just 8.3 million today. The author speculates that Pinterest will continue shedding early adopters (the trough of disillusionment) and then start growing again (slope of enlightenment).
Has your organization or corporation gotten sucked into a hype cycle? It is easy to do. The point they make is if you use short-term data to guide your long term business decisions, your win/loss record is going to be somewhat erratic. They use a conversation about the hype cycle as the basis from which to offer several recommendations, here are a few:
- Watch out for discussions that focus on “recent trends” and short-term projections.
- Even if changes are statistically significant, remember to ask yourself, “Are they meaningful?”
- Always ask yourself whether the short-term change is sustainable.
Great advice whenever you’re analyzing data as part of a strategy development process. The authors close their book with this quote:
“At the end of the day, it is the golden few who understand the power of data, know the questions to ask to separate the wheat from the chaff, connect it to business, and then use it to engage the customer to achieve revenue objectives. We have seen innovations missed, opportunities passed by, and customers lost because people did not know how to create and deliver insights.
This morning on Up with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, one of Chris’ guests spoke about the viral Facebook campaign “Israel Loves Iran” – an effort launched by Israeli graphic designer Ronny Edry to provide everyday Iranians and Israelis who oppose a war between the two countries a space to interact. As of today the page has 62,648 likes and features images like this:
At a time when diplomatic tensions continue to escalate between governments, social media is creating a space for ordinary people to express their desire to live in peace.
“For there to be a war between us, we must first be afraid of one another, we must hate,” Edry says in this video. “I’m not afraid of you. I don’t hate you. I don’t even know you. No Iranian ever did me … harm. I never even met an Iranian, just one in a museum in Paris – nice dude.”
There should be no doubt that social media is an invaluable tool for those who wish to prompt collective action. Time will tell whether or not this effort will have the desired result. We can hope.
Over the past 7 years I’ve had the opportunity to work with many banks and credit unions around the United States. One of my trusted resources for insights into financial services marketing comes from Jeffry Pilcher and his website TheFinancialBrand.com.
This morning he ran a great article featuring the best of bank marketing on YouTube. There are several examples worth noting, but this one from Norwegian bank DNB stands out! As Jeffry describes it:
DNB recruited Norway’s most famous choir, the Norwegian Broadcasting Boys Choir, to sing all of the messages for its automated, touch-tone telebank. For the entire Christmas season, every word on DNB’s phone banking system was sung by angelic voices. The concept is brilliant, the execution is beautiful.
I hope the video inspires you to think a little differently about marketing. You may view it here.