Can You Change A Brand In 140 Characters


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Can You Change A Brand In 140 Characters

  1. 1. From Media140, London Can you change a brand in 140 characters? Robin Grant Mel Exon Gareth Jones Scott Seaborn Nuria Garrido & Kieron Matthews “If Cu stomer aren’t i Service nterest with it ed, get on is and pro “Listening case w ve the ters ithout the k ey. Marke them.” that.” aren’ t good at about:George 1
  2. 2. Robin Grant (@robingrant) is Managing Director at We Are Social; Mel Exon (@bbhlabs) is Managing Partner at BBH Labs; Gareth Jones (@GJ) is Editor of Revolution Magazine; Scott Seaborn (@scottseaborn) is Head of Mobile for Oglivy Group UK, and Nuria Garrido is Digital Marketing Innovations Manager at British Airways. Chair Kieron Matthews (@IAB) is Marketing Director at IAB. Chair Kieron Matthews begins by asking a few questions to the assembled dignitaries, before opening it up to the masses. Kieron: Let’s start with brands. We’ve deliberately opted for a slightly spurious title, which we’ll get to a bit later on. Mel: you’re at a leading brand ad agency, where do you see social media fitting in? Mel: Primarily it’s about recasting perception. Especially if your brand isn’t particularly agile / approachable / human. If social media is done well, it can have a real impact. Brands doing well are the ones that are born in that space: Amazon, Dell, etc. Their culture is geared around it. Robin: Perception is shaped by what people are saying. Social media is “Advertising has to making brands transparent. Social media is climbing the Google rankings. Social come from the heart media defines a brand. now. If it doesn’t, Kieron: You mean before social media we people will kill it.” didn’t have defined brands? Robin: Companies look at brands as something they can control and shape. Pre-internet and social media that was true. Ultimately now it’s about collected experiences. Scott: We love Twitter. Lots of us [at Oglivy] use it. As a creative agency we’re in the business of using human understanding to create business advantage for our bands. Twitter is word of mouth on crack. Kieron: But brands got on okay without it before... Scott: There’s been a paradigm shift. Brands realise that consumers now have the power. If you’re going to advertise to them then it needs to come from the heart. If it doesn’t, people will kill it. Give people the tools to be more powerful on behalf of the brand. Kieron: Social media is working with products and brands from the digital dspace, but you’re miles away from that space aren’t you? 2
  3. 3. Gareth: Instead of pushing our story out to consumers, we have a dialogue now. What Robin says about transparency is true: brands are interactive, brands are transparent. It’s very difficult to get right. Kieron: How are British Airways dealing with Social Media? Nuria: We know that when people interact with us it’s at the airport or on the plane. What social media gives us is the ability to speak to people who might not necessarily consider BA a ‘human’ brand, or an attainable brand. It humanises BA to people. Kieron: Robin, isn’t social media a made-up phrase? It’s just PR, let’s be honest. Robin: That’s an interesting question. There’s a lot of push back from people about the phrase, just like there was with ‘web 2.0’–Media is the wrong idea. It’s PR in a sense that the original definition of PR is public relations: that is, ongoing discourse with different ‘publics’. It’s not in the modern sense of the word in terms of tactics, press releases, et cetera. So yes and no, really. Kieron: Traditional Ad agencies are quite a distance from PR agencies. This relationship feels like it’s getting closer... Mel: From an agency perspective we founded BBHLabs because we saw that it was going to be impossible for us to do everything. Ad agencies have very high walls. They aggressively run collaboration. Frankly I don’t care where you come from; whether it’s PR or a more recent social agency: if you’re any good we want to work with you. Kieron: How do you use social media to get your news story? Gareth: Social media will never change the way that we approach journalism. You can’t beat contacts and engaging with people one- to-one. What it does allow us to do is follow people we’re interested in, and get to know them. That’s one of the reasons we follow BBH Labs, incidentally. Mel: Steve Rubel said something quite interesting. He thinks that agencies use Twitter as spokes to their hub, whatever and wherever that might be. In BBH’s case it’s our blog. Robin does the same. Robin: Yep. 3
  4. 4. Paul: Media is a channel. Social is a definition of a segment within that channel. PR is a discipline. PR is to do with news. It’s interesting that people don’t get the different uses of Twitter. Twitter has replaced RSS for me. Kieron: I never understood RSS in the first place, it just seemed like endless noise. Nuria: Social media is easy for companies born on the web. For BA there are complexities around operational head office; who is involved; at what levels do you involve people... it’s difficult to get people onside. Many people internally still don’t get it. That is changing. Departments where we thought we would encounter barriers are beginning to help. PR department at BA are a challenge to work with. It’s taken a while to get them proactive. Unfortunately there are so many BA stories that the PR department have to deal with, but we do have them onside. Kieron: It’s all about ROI for brands. Social media isn’t the greatest measurement of ROI. Isn’t that the barrier? Robin: There’s no magic bullet. Everyone is working very hard on it. Social media council is a good example. There are various bodies in the UK itself, let alone at a global level. in an advertising and marketing context, the spends on individual campaigns are hard to work with. They’re small. We’re getting better at it, though. We are Social has gone from two employees to twenty since May 2008. We’re doing very well with what clients spend. Kieron: Won’t you get found out eventually? This is just web 2.0 all over again, surely... Robin: That’s one of our fears, both internally at We are Social and at other agencies too. There are clients who are only interested in social media. They’re chasing the new toy. This will create a backlash. Kieron: Scott, anything to add on ROI? Googling the definition there I see... Scott: This from the man who said he didn’t “get” RSS. I’m interested in mobile. Clients, to be frank, always have an issue with defining reach. If you have a TV ad it’s like an x-ray on a rock [prolonged and slightly incomprehensible x-ray/rock analogy here] Reach has changed. It’s up to people like us to explain to clients that the social web works. It’ll help you sell more cars and beds and things. Kieron: Mobile and social media sounds like a match made in heaven. Sex on a stick. How does mobile integrate? 4
  5. 5. Scott: I just tweeted from here. Took a photo of everyone and tweeted it. It makes instant word of mouth much more instant. Traditionally in advertising you have a great idea and then it’s left for consumer’s to resist it. With SMS marketing there was this idea that if you catch me at the bus stop, the chances of me logging on are pretty much zero. But Twitter changes that. It changes push and planning of impact into pull and engagement. If you have a strategy for that (engagement via activate)–if the pull is turned into a gift (nice piece of brand engagement) then the power of the pull is increased. Mobile has a very serious part to play. Nuria: A brand perspective on ROI: social media gives you potential revenue. If you’re not already in social media you need to work out what’s important to you as a brand. it might not be the revenue, it might be the relationship with users you don’t already speak to. Mel: I’ve never met a CFO interested in metrics and measurements. They’re all interested in transforming their business. Starting with how businesses can be changed–look at change not revenue. Set expectations based on this sort of performance. Use emotive language, not analytical language. Q&A Session: @Lesanto: Give us some examples. Scott: Here’s one. For Wimbledon we came up with a new way of using Twitter. We made an augmented reality application for IBM. Twitter in an experiential fashion. There were numerous IBM scouts wondering around Wimbledon, sat navving at key points like taxi ranks. You could look around using a device and see how many taxis were at a rank, or when the toilets at Henman Hill were broken. @Lesanto: But what was the benefit to the brand? Scott: They had the chairmen of the world’s leading companies in an executive box. We gave them 14 Google Android phones to get scores on all courts, and information from five-hundred points– live–from in and around Wimbledon. It was about making Wimbledon work better for people. Robin: Skype put in place an overall media strategy. Listen and respond in real time a la Comcast. Looking at how DirectGov should be responding to citizens in social media. pizza express doing their new pizza on social web. Blogger lunches and things. Kieron: Tweet Bake is a great example. A bakery in Shoreditch with a gadget by the oven. Every time the croissants are ready they send out a little message and people get a Tweet saying that there 5
  6. 6. are fresh croissants if they want them. Genius. BakerTweet I think. Q: Curious about the need for agencies to shift their business models from one that talks about campaigns and launch and die and peak and valley to one that is more sustained in terms of the conversation. Social media is intrinsically social. If you walk out, you’re not having a conversation. How do you face the fact that it’s sort of indefinite? How are you guys tackling that as an industry? Mel: You’re right. We really are witnessing a huge shift from short-term campaigns. Metro Twin is a platform we built for British Airways. It’s a social media. It twins things in New York with things in London. We prefer to talk about social ideas than social media. I don’t like the term viral, for example. If agencies cannot put together platforms and programs then they aren’t going to be around for long. Gareth: Social media is forcing us to rethink. We’ve been trying to figure it out for a few years. The rise of Twitter is making us look at all our different platforms. Presences are becoming different. Nuria: BA do have their teams in a holistic capacity. They control how many Twitter streams and Facebook pages there are because each marketing team wants to be involved and present. They do ask about the long term commitment–if there’s a campaign above the line for two months it’s bad. People in the social media space expect a relationship and not something short-term. BA are trying to keep everything together: for example, BA UK supports BA Highlife and so they don’t have to have their own individual streams. They were converged to help preserve longevity. Q: For a brand like BA that’s in trouble, isn’t social media just another way of keeping the wolf from the door? Social media for brands that are in trouble is seen as a loyalty thing not an innovation thing. Nuria: Obviously we’ve had to refocus, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not sincere or are excluded from fighting our corner in other spaces. Digital is important for BA. Yes there is loyalty 6
  7. 7. involved, but social media is about building a relationship. After you’ve built that relationship, hopefully people choose BA. Kieron: Look at EasyJet’s @tweets and there’s some very colourful language. It’s a real chance for brands to tackle perception at source. Q: Mel, what happened to Scamp? [Ed–Scamp was BBH copywriter Simon Veksner’s popular blog, which ran for 3 years until June 2009.] Mel: Has it been taken down? I genuinely don’t know, I’ve been on maternity leave. It sounds like maybe Simon decided to do something else. I genuinely don’t know. Q: This is a good example–how long term does the conversation have to be? Scott: I know he had to invest a lot of time into it. The more we get into the social space, whether you’re Nike or “It’s human soul and EasyJet or BA, it’s human soul and a shitload of effort. It’s a mammoth a shitload of effort. investment of both time and emotion. Scamp I think got a lot of crap comments It’s a mammoth on the blog that didn’t pertain to what he was talking about. He had to start investment.” moderating comments. The premise of social is that it should be self- moderating, and you shouldn’t have to be doing that sort of thing. He wanted to ask questions and celebrate credibility. Kieron: Maybe he got bored. If you’re bored that’s a good reason to end a conversation. [Ed–he’s now writing a book, for the record.] Q: I’m interested to know how much conversation you guys are having with Customer Service (CS) departments that have the relationship with brands? Marketers don’t have the CS skills. Robin: We are regularly talking to them. It’s early days and businesses are still getting their heads around things. Obviously there’s an awful loot you can get done through pragmatism. Eg. if CS don’t want to play ball then we can get things moving and prove the case without them. Q: Are you going into client briefings and saying “Where’s CS in this briefing? How do we incorporate it?” Those are the people with the face-to-face experience. Isn’t it our job to encourage clients to think in those terms? 7
  8. 8. Robin: We regularly do have those conversations. To set it up as a big scary thing is the wrong way of going about it. Organisations need to evolve and probably start reasonably slowly. It’s not the end of the world. You start with a small part of someone’s time, you don’t dive in with a team of twelve. Scott: You might use mobile to create economic efficiency for British Gas. Texting your meter reading for example. The idea of customer service on Twitter is gold. Orange used to have the best CS in the world and it was a great part of being with them. Fizzback is a nice example of a text based CS system. Great dashboard tools. There’s a nice story about National Express using them. Apparently it’s true: a guy on a London–Oxford bus sees the little sign on the back of the seat saying “If you have feedback text it to us on this number” and sends a text saying that it’s “bastard hot” on the service, and they call the driver who then turned down the heating. Tweetdeck has become this dashboard for a whole new generation. Searching Twitter as a CS department within your call centre is absolute gold. Mel: Paul Hopkins is head of CS at EasyJet [Ed–And unfortunately had to drop out of the panel at the last minute, with the valiant Nuria Garrido stepping up] It was one man deciding to solve people’s problems first by listening and seeing what is being said and then actually doing it. Listening is the key. Marketers aren’t good at that. Gareth: Just to go back to longevity; clients are doing things without strategy to ‘tick the innovation box’. Learning about what they are doing is really important. Q: On strategy... EasyJet are ‘just doing it’. Sometimes action happens before strategy. BA are engaging with people who find the brand too expensive. Aren’t you being reactive? Nuria: You’ve got to be careful with the brand. You need to know whether to be proactive or reactive. Don’t follow everyone who talks about BA, but we do talk to some people. We can’t sit on Twitter all day. Q: Social media is more inclusive than old-fashioned advertising. We should be talking about inclusive media than social media. Mel: People talk about premium bands being inclusive. Burberry. High-level fashion brand. They worked with us on their spring/ summer show. We let people (anyone) do live commentary in real- time as the show goes on. That’s the crack cocaine of Twitter: when you are given a public platform and allowed to get involved. Q: Small example of a local goldsmith, having left-over commissioned pieces to sell. They tweeted about them with some photos, and the orders flooded in. 8
  9. 9. Kieron: @minxymoggy would like to hear some examples of what hasn’t worked? Mel: I saw one last night on Twitter. A big organisation that we’re always attacking in some way or another here: BT. [Ed–BT’s broadband crumbled under the combined weight of a few hundred Tweeters and thus Media140 happened under a wireless blackout] There was that hashtagging #oneletterdifferentfilms meme, and someone had written one called “BT: Alien seeks new broadband network.” A BT rep Tweeted back “Can we help you?” It’s not a terrible example because they were sincere, but they just didn’t get it. They didn’t get the joke. Scott: The Habitat example is one that people keep returning to. The intern who hijacked a trending hashtag to spam. Q: How can an advertiser work out what a success is? “When you’ve got real- Scott: More brands would spend money on social media if there was time results next to a metric. If you reduce it to a metric, though, you lose the your Google results, essence of social media. Good CS is the best marketing. When you’ve got you’re dead if you’re real time results next to your Google results, you’re absolutely not doing well.” dead if you’re not doing well. Q: What success have you had onboarding people form the top down? Getting resonance with senior management to change business is hard. Scott: Clients come to us looking for it, so that’s half the battle won. Robin: 50% of our clients are swing-seats. Making a case is important. Explaining the impact it will have, and talking in terms of benefits, not features. Mel: Yeah, show them stuff, don’t talk about it. Gareth: Our whole model is moving towards social media. Nuria: Showing it at a director level is essential. Our Director of Strategy is on it in a personal capacity. BA will get there. Photos courtesy of Paul Clarke: 9