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ComBlu State of Online Communities 2010

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ComBlu State of Online Communities 2010

  1. 1. Studying community performance, member engagement and social media integration of America’s top brands November 2010 The State of Online Branded Communities
  2. 2. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 2 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Table of Contents Introduction……………………………………...3 Community with Purpose…………………………………... 3 Key Insights……..…………………………………………………..4 Strategic Conclusions………………………...5 Good News…….…………………………………………………...5 Key Findings……………………………………...6 Social Experimentation Most Prevalent……………… 6 Evolving Ideas About Community….……………………. 7 The High Performers…………………………………………...8 The Contenders…………………………………………………..9 The Low Performers….………………………………………...9 Missed Opportunities…………..………….10 Advocates Still Ignored…………...……..…………………..10 Additional Missed Opportunities…………………………11 Selected Findings……………………………..12 Best Practice Use……….………………………………………13 Best Practices by Industry………………………………….14 Activity Level and Social Media Integration………..15 Industry Scores………………………………………...……….17 Industry Detail…………………………………18 Automobile……….……………………………………………...18 Travel and Hospitality………………………………………..20 Entertainment…………………………………………………...22 Gaming………………………………………...…………………...24 Banking and Financial Services…………………………..26 Insurance…………………………………………………………..28 Healthcare and Pharmaceutical………………………...30 Retail………………………………………………………………….32 Consumer Products—Packaged Goods……………...34 Consumer Products—Beverage….……………………...36 Technology and Consumer Electronics………………..38 Telecommunications…………………………………………..40 Appendix…………………………………………42 Methodology …………………………………………………...42 Brand Score Methodology………………………………...44 List of Best Practices………………………………………….45 Company Scores………………………………………………..46 Community Sites Reviewed……………………………….48 Glossary…………………………………………………………….50 Contact Info……...…………………………….52
  3. 3. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 3 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Online branded communities have three primary purposes: Feedback, Advocacy and Support. Each of these community pillars requires different ways of engaging and activating stakeholders. Engagement tactics, rewards and recognition approaches, community design and voice and member experience will vary from pillar to pillar. ComBlu’s second annual “State of Online Branded Communi- ties” study closely examines the community and social mar- keting programs of 78 compa- nies—all of which are major brands—across 12 industries. We joined and evaluated 241 communities, comprising a mix of feedback, advocacy and support communities. One of our major goals was to gain firsthand experience with how these communities engage and interact with their members. Specifically, our research assesses the brands’ effective- ness in: ► Providing a meaningful experience for members. ► Integrating their brand strategies across multiple com- munities and social media. ► Applying best practices to strengthen customer en- gagement. As companies move from an experimentation phase to a more cohesive, disciplined approach to social marketing, their performance in these three areas becomes even more critical to their success. The “new normal” for mar- keters is to prove the business value of every program and maximize the return of every dollar spent. The design of community marketing programs must deliberately follow a best practices road map and generate business intelli- gence that provides a diagnostic for maximizing impact and return on investment (ROI). According to Francois Gossieaux, partner of Human 1.0 and author of The Hyper-Social Organization, “Companies realize that to successfully engage with em- ployees, customers, prospects and detractors, you need to go where they congregate and embrace a federated approach to community.” Yet many companies are still barely out of the pilot stage when it comes to overall social engagement programs. According to the 2010 “Tribalization of Business Study,” which surveyed 300 companies, 54% of their online communities were less than a year old, and only 13% were older than three years. A whopping 96% planned to equal or increase 2010 budget levels for social marketing initiatives. Matching social engagement strategy to business objec- tives and optimizing return on social marketing invest- ments is more crucial than ever. Introduction To succeed, brands must understand how to apply best practices appropriate to each pillar. This will generate deeper, more sustained member engagement and enable brands to accomplish their specific community goals. As companies become more experienced with social engagement, their approaches and processes evolve beyond the confines of a single online-sponsored community and extend broadly across the cloud. Community With Purpose
  4. 4. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 4 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) While this year’s study uncovers significant positive mo- mentum in the adoption of best practices, no brand scored in the highest quartile (50 or more points). We were surprised that fewer than 40% of the communities we joined have any kind of rewards or recognition program. “Microfame”—defined as a member’s status within the community—is one of the key drivers for sustaining participa- tion. In addition, a best-in-class reputa- tion management tool will allow the community man- ager to mine member actions for deep strategic insights. For example, they could identify the most influential or highest contributing members and understand how they engage compared to members in other segments. A reputation management system also provides guidance on how to move members from one activity or contribu- tion level to the next and can enhance a company’s member recruitment and engagement activities. Nearly half of the communities we studied still have no active community manager visible as the “face of the brand.” This misses a huge opportunity to personalize the brand and create a human connection. One of the reasons people join branded communities is to feel part of the team. The community manager serves as a "coach,” providing a go-to touchpoint for people who have questions and ideas or want deeper insights into the brand’s mission or game plan. A few of the brands in our study are creating communi- ties across all three pillars—Feedback, Advocacy and Support—but a vast majority focus on Advocacy. The brands that focus on support tend to be among the high- est scoring communities; these communities are the most mature and have evolved consistently over time. The lowest scoring communities provide no real path to engagement. They tend to have a Social Web model that allows some interaction with content, but pro- vides few ways to connect with peers, build on the thoughts or ideas of others or provide any feedback. In contrast, the High Performers (brands scoring 35 or more points), provide highly customized, meaningful experiences to members. They push content aligned with both the information provided by members during the profiling process and their actions in the community, thus making their experiences better over time. These High Performers allow members to bookmark content, challenges, activities and aggregated content from other sites. Some provide a traveling navigation bar that lets the “experience” follow them. Sears is one example of this. As the social ecosystem expands and more people use engagement as a normal part of their lives, brands need to excel at adjusting in real time. They need proc- esses for knowing and understanding not just how the brand is being talked about, but how and when to re- spond. If activated properly, community members become the face and voice of the customer—and ulti- mately of the brand—across the social cloud. Brands that figure this out and apply discipline to this process will be rewarded with higher loyalty, deeper customer affinity and increased lifetime value. Introduction Engagement is a process that builds upon the actions, feedback and interests of community mem- bers. It is dynamic and organic and requires more than the creative execution of viral campaigns. Key Insights
  5. 5. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 5 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Social marketing is growing up. Last year, few brands in our study exhibited any evidence of an integrated approach to social engagement. Many communities were built around multiple—but unre- lated—viral or online campaigns. They seemed less about long-term customer engagement and more about trying the latest social tools or applications. This year, the number of brands with a cohesive ap- proach to social engagement increased significantly. Many brands seem to be adopting a Center of Excellence (COE) orientation with a consistent use of best practices across all of their social assets. In addition, many companies are standardizing to a sin- gle community platform to facilitate tighter integration between properties. This also allows for a single login and the ability to reward points wherever the member is engaging, and prevents “gateway” confusion. ► Brands are doing a much better job delivering di- verse engagement experiences by providing mem- bers with multiple ways to participate. The use of strategically aligned engagement tools nearly tri- pled, growing from 28% to 76%. ► Communities with the highest activity levels tend to focus on a specific need or interest. Those with creative engagement tools, but no clear mission, have less activity. ► Gaming and Entertainment industries have the most active communities, followed by Insurance, Technology and Telecommunications. With the exception of Insurance, these are also the highest scoring industries overall. Our research also found much greater integration be- tween a brand’s sponsored community site and its other social assets such as Facebook, Twitter and You- Tube. However, only 61% of brands offer sharing func- tionality, which limits members’ abilities to be catalysts for community growth and content syndication. Strategic Conclusions We found plenty of other encouraging news in this year’s study. The percentage of brands exhibiting a Cohesive Strat- egy increased from 20% to 33%. The number of com- panies that are High Performers (scoring 35 or more points) jumped from 11% to 33%. This is a strong indi- cator that brands are learning and applying a more focused and disciplined approach to their social assets. Activity levels in online communities are also signifi- cantly higher. This is the expected outcome when com- munities give members more ways to contribute and connect with each other; reward their actions; show- case accomplishments of high performing members; and provide topical information on what’s new and exciting. Each of these best practices has higher adop- tion rates in this year’s study, with some brands show- ing a three to four times increase over last year. Good News
  6. 6. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 6 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Social Experimentation remains the most common type of community marketing category, with the percentage re- maining virtually the same as last year. Thirty-five of the 78 brands we reviewed lack a long-term engagement ap- proach and instead use a series of one-off social cam- paigns. These brands have little integration across their social assets and appear to have social ADD. Evidence of a Cohesive Strategy—the second most preva- lent category—jumped to 33% this year from 20% last year, which means that 25 brands are taking a more disci- plined approach to deploying and managing their spon- sored online communities. A key indicator of this shift is the higher percentage of brands with tight integration be- tween all of their social assets. The Community Overload category decreased from 9% to 5%, and the Community Ghost Town category dipped from 24% to 15%, which is another positive sign. Clearly, the brands still in the Community Ghost Town category need to move beyond a “build it and they will come mentality.” These brands use the fewest best practices and exclude many that would encourage return visits and long-term engagement. Key Findings Overall Classification – 2009 vs. 2010 Social Experimentation Most Prevalent
  7. 7. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 7 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) The “Opportunistic Community” This is an example of a more narrow view of community and social engage- ment. We see a growing use of interac- tive campaigns that embed community elements. By design, these have a short shelf life, since they are part of a larger marketing campaign or issue management initiative. ► Many brands do not sunset obsolete or short-term communities and do not migrate members to more current platforms or programs. These aban- doned communities appear to be ghost towns, even if they were once robust social assets. ► A more effective strategy is to host these cam- paigns within a long-term engagement commu- nity. This allows for fresh content and recruitment for the community, eliminates the need to sunset a short-lived campaign and provides a way to maintain engagement once the campaign ends. The “Facebook Community” Many brands are using Facebook exclusively as their community site, but few are doing so strategi- cally. Many use the “out-of-the- box” Facebook functionality and simply push content and contests to their walls and hope lots of fans “like” them. To be effective, brands need to add true community func- tionality and provide deeper engagement for Facebook to be considered a real community site. ► One example of a brand getting community “right” on Facebook is JPMorgan Chase. Its Chase Com- munity Giving program has a reputation manage- ment system that awards points and badges for participation. Key Findings Our research shows that brands have varying con- cepts—some expansive, some narrow—about what community means. The “Community Without Walls” This type of community reflects a more global strategy for social engagement. Brands that adopt this approach engage stake- holders through conversations, com- munities, apps, tools and relevant con- tent across the social ecosystem, in addition to offering a community ex- perience on a branded or sponsored site. Typically, the sponsored community site serves as a conversation hub for social engagement. The impetus for such a concept is the recognition that stakeholders want to engage where it is easy and convenient for them—not the brand. They want the experience to come to them and not be tied to one platform or device to participate. ► Most brands still are only rewarding actions within its online community instead of across the ecosys- tem. While integration with social media is higher this year, members’ reputations and badges do not follow them from property to property. ► Lack of universal logins and integrated reputation management systems make it difficult to aggregate overall contribution and actions. ► Even worse, many brands with multiple communi- ties require registration at each site and do not rec- ognize logins across their own communities. Evolving Ideas About Community
  8. 8. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 8 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Key Findings Only 11% of the brands we reviewed last year scored the 35 or more points needed to qualify as a High Per- former. This year, 33% of brands are High Performers— a significant jump. Although no brand has yet to break the 50-point barrier needed to become Stellar Perform- ers, American Express (48 points) and EA (47 points) came close. All Top 10 performing brands are in the Cohesive Strat- egy category and have the highest percentage of best practice adoption. Two of last year’s top performers make this year’s list—Sears and AT&T—while two oth- ers in last year’s Top 5—Sony and Best Buy—did not make this year’s Top 10. A few High Performers are also on the most improved list, including Verizon (11 in 2009 to 44 in 2010), Ameri- can Express (20 to 48) and Hewlett-Packard (16 to 45). It is interesting that last year both Hewlett-Packard and Verizon were two of the lowest scoring brands. ► Verizon totally revamped its support forums as a robust community and vastly improved the com- munity experience. ► When we scored last year’s study, Hewlett-Packard had yet to launch its integrated community strat- egy in North America. The High Performers
  9. 9. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 9 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Key Findings An additional 16 brands not in our Top 10 list still scored 35 or more points. Of the 16 Contenders, 11 place in the Cohesive Strategy category. Only NBC and Kraft are in Social Experimentation, and Microsoft again shows signs of Community Overload. Six brands just miss the High Performer category: Ap- ple (34), Pepsi (33), JPMorgan Chase (33), Best Buy (32), Ubisoft (32) and Food Network (32). ► The high number of High Performers indicates a move toward a more disciplined approach to so- cial engagement. ► Most of these brands adopt the best practices that lead to deeper and more sustained engagement. 70% of the ten lowest scoring brands are Ghost Towns. The Retail industry has the highest percentage (44%) of brands among the ten lowest scorers, but also has one brand—Sears—in the Top 10. As would be expected, the lowest scoring brands em- ploy few high impact best practices and exhibit little commitment to actually engaging with registered members. The Contenders The Low Performers
  10. 10. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 10 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Missed Opportunities This positive momentum notwithstanding, brands are still missing opportunities to engage with and learn from their stakeholders. ► As we found last year, brands still do not typically acknowledge the feedback they receive. Sometimes a brand representative participates in forum discus- sions, but comments, insights and feedback of the community are rarely aggregated and discussed. Obviously, the Feedback communities do this best, but even their members often have no way of know- ing whether their ideas were ever considered or if their contributions were relevant. ► Most brands are still not customizing the engage- ment experience, despite the increasing use of profil- ing tools. No quid pro quo exists for members who want relevant content and engagement in return for providing extensive information about themselves, their interests and their preferences. Only 20% of the scored communities have a visible advo- cate or expert group—a huge missed opportunity for their brands. Advocates rep- resent the “voice of the cus- tomer”, possess deep affinity for the brand, will actively recruit others and are prolific contributors. ► Gaming, Technology and Telecommunications industries have the highest percentage of communities with visible advocates.  These industries have a sophisticated support community model that relies on customer ex- perts to answer questions and provide content. ► It is important to note that some brands engage their advocates in private commu- nities that are not always visible to the average or new community member. Even when this is the case, the content and output of the advocates should be aggre- gated throughout a brand’s social assets. A good model of this is Microsoft’s private advocate community, The Clubhouse, where advocates create user-generated content (UGC) and rate the contributions of other advocates. The highest rated content is broadly syn- dicated to marketing and product websites, mass social media such as Facebook and MySpace and partner sites. (Full disclosure: The Clubhouse is a ComBlu client.) Advocatesare the 6% to 8% of a brand’s stakeholders who are most passionate about its product, service or mission. They serve as a catalyst for community building by socializing content, ideas, apps and other engagement tools throughout their personal networks. Advocates Still Ignored Missed Opportunities
  11. 11. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 11 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Like other entertainment brands, NBC lets its show-based communities go fallow dur- ing the off-season. For example, The Big- gest Loser League is robust and active dur- ing the season, but the community manager does not refresh content, tools or activities in the off-season. ABC, by contrast, maintains active engagement for its show, Modern Family, throughout the year, primarily through an active Facebook page. (Note: ABC was not part of our study sample.) Many brands in the consumer product space have not yet adopted a Center of Excellence approach across their multiple social as- sets. Although General Mills’ communities generally have high activity levels, many lack significant return motivators and practices that can generate deep en- gagement. In addition, the brand misses the opportu- nity to provide access across properties with a single login. By contrast, Kellogg makes it easy to participate across its brands with a central profile and login called its “All Access K Pass.” Overall, Travel and Hospitality is a low scoring industry. While Marriott has the highest industry score, it is still five points shy of being in the High Performer category. Integrating more tightly with social media and providing more ways for members to interact will lead to better com- munity experiences. In addition, Marriott maintains no visible presence in its Ask/Answer section, leaving this task entirely to the community. People join branded communities because they want interaction with the brand as well as other members. Even high scoring brands have room for improvement. Humana has some great communities, but would benefit if they shared more cohesive, integrated rewards and recognition programs. In addition, the brand could explore integration with offline events for even greater impact. Missed Opportunities Some brands can improve their performance with some strategy refinements. Additional Missed Opportunities
  12. 12. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 12 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Selected Findings This year, we added ten best practices to our scorecard. These are indicators of more disciplined approaches to social engage- ment and enable brands to develop more meaningful relation- ships with their customers. Some highlights include: Welcome message makes new members feel appreci- ated, wanted and oriented within the community. It helps en- sure a return visit, and ultimately, higher engagement. This was present in almost 50% of communities. Connection to offline engagement helps extend the brand experience both online and offline. The community experience can make offline activities more successful. Follow- ing offline events, the community can gather feedback, share the event experience in a variety of ways and entice others to participate next time. Only about 20% of brands do this, pro- viding an opportunity for further exploration. Advocate programs can serve as accelerants for en- gagement and member growth. Only 20% of communities have this type of member category—another huge missed opportunity. Percentage of New 2010 Best Practices – Overall Adoption Best Practice Use
  13. 13. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 13 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Selected Findings In addition, we did a side-by-side comparison of the change in adoption rates for the best practices included in the 2009 study. Overall, we were heartened to find big jumps in the usage of many of the best practices with high impact potential. A few ex- amples include: Community manager increased from 32% last year to 51% in this year. This may be one of the reasons that activity levels are so much higher this year. The community manager is the face of the community and provides coordination between the community sponsor and its members. The community man- ager is like the “host of the party” and is an essential part of community success. Social networking leaped from 30% to 48%. This allows real connection between community members. Since many join communities to find experts or people with similar needs, inter- ests or challenges, the ability to find others is an important social tool. Some interesting trends include: ► There is a big bump in communities using both user profiles and faceted search. When executed properly, these best practices can lead to a highly customized, meaningful mem- ber experience. ► Just more than 60% of communities integrate share fea- tures, which leads to the spread of word-of-mouth and drives site traffic. ► While rewards and recognition programs grew slightly, only 39% of communities have a reputation management system. Some reputation management best practices are being adopted, including the use of leaderboards or member spot- lights (44%), a personal dashboard (38%) and content cus- tomization (22%). Percentage of Community Best Practices Use Overall – 2009 vs. 2010 Best Practice Use
  14. 14. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 14 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Community Best Practice Adoption Rate by Industry – 2009 vs. 2010 Selected Findings The adoption of best practices took a quantum leap since last year’s study. Every industry that we reviewed last year (except Retail, which was one point lower) increased its score. ► 86% of brands use more than ten best practices compared to only 36% last year, which is reflected in the number of communities with higher activity levels and fewer Com- munity Ghost Towns. Companies seem to be learning more about how online communities function and how to optimize performance. ► The Top 5 Performers have higher adoption rates in 19 of the 22 best practices compared to last year. Seven of the best practices that generate interaction, feedback and peer group formation have adoption rates between 73% and 77%. This provides a diagnostic for those brands that want to break the 50-point barrier. ► The top five best practices adopted by companies with a Cohesive Strategy help community members locate the highest quality content and find content by the most ex- pert contributors and facilitate a customized experience. ► The five most improved brands—Verizon, Hewlett- Packard, JPMorgan Chase, American Express and Micro- soft—all have high adoption rates of those practices that allow for a customized experience, facilitate interaction with both the brand and community peers, and provide recognition for contributions and efforts. Best Practice Adoption by Top Scorers: AmEx, EA, Discovery, HP and Sears Best Practices by Most Improved Brands: Verizon, HP, JPMorgan Chase, AmEx and Microsoft Best Practices by Industry
  15. 15. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 15 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Selected Findings The percentage of communities showing high activity levels increased significantly this year. This could be attributed to: ► Greater integration across social platforms (32% in 2009 com- pared to 76% in 2010). This drives traffic across social assets (i.e., online community and Facebook) and allows for engagement in the preferred venue of the member. ► Much higher adoption rates of multiple best practices, including specific best practices that generate activity or engagement.  Increase in user profiles (49% vs. 85%), diverse engagement tools (28% vs. 76%) and faceted search (36% vs. 86%), all of which can yield a more customized experience.  Enhanced ability to connect with other members within the community (30% vs. 48%). Many brands are doing a good job of integrating across their social ecosystems, particularly their online community and Facebook and Twitter. While more brands are offering access to rich media through their branded online community, few are integrated with YouTube and other video sharing sites. In addition, most communities do not allow for members to submit videos or rank them. This is a missed opportu- nity for those who want to share insights or stories via this highly en- gaging medium. Overall Activity Levels – 2009 vs. 2010 Overall Social Media Integration – 2009 vs. 2010 Activity Level and Social Media Integration
  16. 16. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 16 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Active Communities by Industry – 2009 vs. 2010 Social Media Integration by Industry – 2009 vs. 2010 With the exception of Retail and Auto, all industries show big in- creases in level of activity in their communities. Retail is the only industry to actually lose ground, with a whopping drop in commu- nities rated “active”—53% in 2009 to 22% in 2010. Retail has three companies among the lowest performing brands and the highest percentage of Ghost Towns. ► Entertainment shows the most improvement in activity level, increasing from 40% to 89%. ► The Technology and Gaming industries are early adopters of online communities.  Technology continues to show more focus and discipline as reflected in their activity increase. This industry is doing a good job of tapping its customer advocates to be active community members and have mature rewards and rec- ognition programs that incent further engagement.  Gaming is an activity superstar. All of the communities scored in this industry showed high activity levels. They deserve a special badge! Ten of the 12 industries show a healthy integration between their online communities and other social assets. We define social me- dia integration as those brands that present a consistent graphic format and experience on both their community and social media sites. They also have easy linkage between these social assets. ► This integration is achieved through content syndication and aggregation, links and marketing themes. Selected Findings Activity Level and Social Media Integration
  17. 17. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 17 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Scores by Industry As with last year’s study, the industries with the high- est adoption of best practices also have the highest average industry scores. The most improved industries are Entertainment, Tele- communications, Financial Services and Technology. Scoring Key:  Scores between 0 and 34 are considered “low performers” and are in the “red zone.”  Scores between 35 and 49 are “high perform- ers” and place in the “green zone.”  Scores of 50 or above are considered “best practice leaders.” Selected Findings Industry Scores—Average
  18. 18. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 18 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Although this sector shows some positive movement, the Auto indus- try as a whole is still low scoring. Even the highest scoring brands have yet to adopt a significant number of best practices. About half seemed to adopt a “push” mentality rather than one of true engage- ment. When this happens, members will abandon the sponsored community and create a user-generated one. The auto industry drastically decreased the percentage of its commu- nities that are Ghost Towns and also increased the prevalence of So- cial Experimentation. The number of communities with high activity levels nearly doubled. The reasons for this increase in activity include: ► Leverage of the natural passion and loyalty that consumers asso- ciate with car brands. ► Use of some best practices that generate high levels of engage- ment.  10 of the 16 communities we scored integrate online com- munities, social media and offline events.  The two motorcycle brands are particularly good at providing tools for planning meet-ups and rides with other community members.  Numerous opportunities for storytelling and interaction be- tween members.  GM provided a highly customized experience by using an overlay of profile information, car model and interests to push appropriate content and engagement activities.  Use of return motivators such as traffic alerts and best gas prices in local area. This industry lost ground in a few interesting ways: ► The presence of a community manager dropped from 31% to 13%. ► Both the use of forums and the ability to comment on blogs de- creased. This removes the opportunity for interaction with peers and the brand’s subject matter experts. This reinforces the “push” model adopted in this industry. Top Scorers: BMW Motorcycle and Toyota Most Improved: Honda Industry Detail Total Brand Score Percentage of Community Best Practice Use Auto
  19. 19. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 19 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Industry Detail Industry by Classification Community Activity Levels Social Media IntegrationPercentage of “New” Community Best Practice Use Other Auto Data Points
  20. 20. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 20 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) This sector is new this year. As a whole the industry is highly experimental, with no evidence of any cohesive strategy across brands. One third of its communities are Ghost Towns, and this sector has the lowest activity levels of all the industries. Engagement tends to focus on feedback about hotel properties or sharing travel experiences. ► Almost all of these communities focus on pushing market- ing content rather than facilitating engagement with fellow travelers or the brand itself.  Little use of social networking functionality discourages return visits.  While many of the communities have forums, the low activity levels demonstrate that members aren’t bond- ing with the brand or connecting with each other. ► Big missed opportunity: While there is some basic rating and ranking of properties or destinations, few allow visitors to rate each others’ contributions or use a reputation man- agement system. These factors mean members can’t search for reviews by people that the community thinks provide useful information and can’t connect with individu- als who may share their travel interests and preferences. The industry has let third party sites own this role and therefore has lost some highly potent return motivators. Top Scorer: Marriott Industry Detail Total Brand Score Percentage of Community Best Practice Use Travel and Hospitality
  21. 21. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 21 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Industry Detail Industry by Classification Community Activity Levels Social Media IntegrationPercentage of “New” Community Best Practice Use Other Travel and Hospitality Data Points
  22. 22. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 22 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Five brands were added to this sector this year. Overall, this industry took a big leap in adopting more Cohesive Strategies in their social engagement programs, although 50% are still highly experimental. Last year, nearly 40% of the communities were Ghost Towns; this year not one is in this category. Some key trends and insights: ► Just like the Auto industry, this sector can leverage the strong affinity consumers have for entertainment properties and stars. Most brands take advantage of this by showcasing them in their communities to promote new seasons, drive engagement around current programming and build an audience for an up- coming event or show. ► This industry is working hard to personalize member experience.  Big increase in use of faceted search, content aggregation and social bookmarking. Nearly 30% of its communities customize content based on profile information. ► This industry offers its visitors and members very creative ways to play and engage.  Food Network facilitates interaction between viewers during episodes of The Next Food Network Star. Viewers can chat with one of the network’s celebrities during the show, which generates lots of participation and com- ments.  NBC’s The Office community has a highly engaging “virtual office” world where members can earn Schrute bucks. It has lots of interaction and return motivators, as well as a great reputation management system tied to specific en- gagement “tasks.”  DreamWorks Animation has several fun interactive games that allow visitors to engage with key characters (from Shrek, Madagascar, etc.) When one of these characters has a new movie in circulation, the company creates a full -fledged microcommunity to build word-of-mouth about the movie. ► Evidence of a Center of Excellence approach with lots of the same best practices used across multiple communities of a brand (NBC and Bravo). ► Missed opportunity: Many network show communities “go dark” during the off-season. Superstar: Discovery Most Improved: Comcast Industry Detail Total Brand Score Percentage of Community Best Practice Use Entertainment
  23. 23. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 23 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Industry Detail Industry by Classification Community Activity Levels Social Media IntegrationPercentage of “New” Community Best Practice Use Other Entertainment Data Points
  24. 24. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 24 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) This is another new sector in this year’s study. Gaming equals the Telecommunications industry in having the high- est percentages of communities exhibiting a Cohesive Strat- egy (67%). It also has the highest activity levels among all industry sectors, with 100% of its communities showing high levels of engagement. This industry is also the leader in inte- grating advocate programs. The high engagement levels are supported by several fac- tors: ► Competition is the driving force behind most engage- ment in gaming communities. ► Not surprisingly, all communities are high scorers in the use of best practices. All have rich media, faceted search and lots of fun engagement tools. Almost all have repu- tation management, social networking, integration with social media and a community manager. ► An interesting exception is the SEGA Buddy community, which expands its mission beyond gaming to include other lifestyles. Gaming communities seem to do better when they focus on facilitating conversations around the games themselves. Superstar: EA Industry Detail Total Brand Score Percentage of Community Best Practice Use Gaming
  25. 25. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 25 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Industry Detail Industry by Classification Community Activity Levels Social Media IntegrationPercentage of “New” Community Best Practice Use Other Gaming Data Points
  26. 26. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 26 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) The percentage of communities in each performance category remained unchanged for this industry. In addition, activity levels remained constant year over year. Yet the use of many best prac- tices spiked in this sector. ► The biggest increase in adoption rates are for the best prac- tices that have the highest potential for generating return visits and ongoing engagement. ► The communities that do well tend to focus on a very specific segment, such as small businesses or support CSR initiatives. Both American Express and JPMorgan Chase show significant im- provement. ► JPMorgan Chase went from a Ghost Town to very active (more than 2 million fans).  Tight focus on using community to determine where to “invest” its charitable donations. ► American Express has been using community longer than oth- ers and seems to be growing its approach with a significant increase in the number of sponsored communities over last year.  Each community focuses on a specific, yet separate segment.  Social networking serves as the basis for site growth, content and continuance.  All communities provide tools for significant interac- tion with both the brand and other community mem- bers.  Lots of good engagement tools appropriate to commu- nity mission or segment.  Each community is designed to spread insight, obser- vations and tips from one member to another. Rewards and recognition is important, as this is the means for sort- ing relevant contributions from non-credible information. Top Scorer: American Express Industry Detail Total Brand Score Percentage of Community Best Practice Use Banking and Financial Services
  27. 27. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 27 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Industry Detail Industry by Classification Community Activity Levels Social Media IntegrationPercentage of “New” Community Best Practice Use Other Banking and Financial Services Data Points
  28. 28. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 28 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) This sector is another new addition to the study and includes both health and property and causality carriers. While there is a high per- centage of best practice adoption across communities, overall this is a low scoring industry. The companies are evenly split between Co- hesive Strategy, Social Experimentation and Community Ghost Towns. The Community Ghost Towns are all health carriers. Health insurers are strictly regulated and offer few opportunities for direct interaction with the brand. These carriers use third-party con- tent providers rather than directly managing their branded commu- nities. ► Both WellPoint and Anthem BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) use a service called Healthy Chat with their communities—branded WellPoint Healthy Chat and BCBS Healthy Chat. ► BCBS provide the opportunity to give feedback and integrate this community with their Facebook page. ► Communities tend to be educational in tone or deal with life- style issues rather than pushing products. We’re starting to see a trend in this sector of linking community to CSR campaigns. Missed Opportunity: Few have yet to figure out how to engage com- munity members without violating their privacy or compliance rules. Superstar: Humana ► Manages distinct communities for specific audience segments. ► Common set of best practices across all communities, indicating a Center of Excellence approach. Industry Detail Total Brand Score Percentage of Community Best Practice Use Insurance
  29. 29. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 29 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Industry Detail Industry by Classification Community Activity Levels Social Media IntegrationPercentage of “New” Community Best Practice Use Other Insurance Data Points
  30. 30. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 30 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) This industry still has no evidence of any cohesive social engage- ment strategy. While the number of Ghost Towns decreased by 35%, overall the number of communities with high activity levels plummeted, dropping from 90% to 20%. Four out of five brands have no integration with social media. Overall, adoption rates for best practices are very low. Since the FDA strictly regulates marketing and has not yet issued guidance for use of social media, these findings are not surprising. Pharmaceutical companies are hesitant to ask for feedback, allow commenting or facilitate user-generated content. Many healthcare companies partner with third parties or support the efforts of dis- ease support groups rather than become too directly involved in social engagement with patients. The overall trend in healthcare communities is to sponsor “lightly branded” sites that focus on disease support. Many reach out to caregivers as opposed to the patient population itself. Those healthcare brands that do engage patients and caregivers tend to do so in private communities that are not widely or publicly marketed. Missed Opportunities: ► Lack of links from communities to websites containing “fair balance” content, which has been vetted for compliance. Interesting Brand: Novartis ► Uses a common engagement approach across two separate communities for products within the same franchise. ► Has a surprisingly high level of interactivity for a healthcare community. ► Connects members with other patients based upon extensive profile information. ► One of its communities also connects members to the home- page of local healthcare professionals—a great idea to engage with patients and show value to physicians who prescribe medications. Industry Detail Total Brand Score Percentage of Community Best Practice Use Healthcare and Pharmaceutical
  31. 31. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 31 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Industry Detail Industry by Classification Community Activity Levels Social Media IntegrationPercentage of “New” Community Best Practice Use Other Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Data Points
  32. 32. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 32 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Overall, the Retail industry is a subpar performer in 2010. Its number of Community Ghost Towns doubled, while the number of brands with a Cohesive Strategy only slightly increased. Note- worthy brands are Whole Foods and Sears, both of which offer an engagement experience that is closely tied to its consumers’ expectations. ► Whole Foods provides a great place to explore organic foods, learn about special diets and interact with others with similar interests and views. ► Sears does a great job of aggregating content and driving a highly customized social shopping experience.  Reviews from across the Web are aggregated at the online point of sale for the specific item being re- searched.  Traveling navigation bar allows consumers to book- mark potential purchases, aggregate content and sub- mit a review. Activity levels dropped across the sector, with 78% of the com- munities exhibiting low engagement levels. ► The decrease in both content aggregation and content tag- ging, along with low level of social bookmarking functional- ity, can potentially impede a seamless social shopping ex- perience. One of the emerging best practices for this indus- try is to aggregate product reviews, research info and peer- to-peer conversations at the point of sale to help custom- ers make purchase decisions. This experience should be extended across the social and mobile ecosystem. Two big brands—Walmart and Best Buy—lost ground since last year’s survey. Industry Detail Total Brand Score Percentage of Community Best Practice Use Retail
  33. 33. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 33 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Industry Detail Industry by Classification Community Activity Levels Social Media IntegrationPercentage of “New” Community Best Practice Use Other Retail Data Points
  34. 34. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 34 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Industry Detail Total Brand Score Percentage of Community Best Practice Use These industries have relatively high activity levels, but activity is more “transactional” than indicative of true engagement. Their communities tend to use a lot of “one-off" campaigns that have some community functionality embedded in them. Though this approach serves a purpose, the opportunity for deeper engagement is missing across the board. ► This industry can employ more feedback functionality to improve engagement. ► The widespread use of CSR as an engagement strategy may speak to the difficulty in engaging deeply around many consumer products, which are almost commodities. (How passionate can you be about cereal or cheese?) ► Big jump in the use of member profiles, social bookmark- ing and faceted search capabilities could point to the emergence of a custom content model, which makes sense in these highly “push’’ communities. ► Only 60% of communities highlight sharing functionality, which is a big miss in this highly campaign-driven sector. Missed Opportunities: ► Inconsistent use of best practices across communities. ► Kellogg has a dieting site without a reputation manage- ment system. If any category needs rewards, it’s dieting! ► Lack of a Center of Excellence approach in a sector that is typically “house of brands” vs. a “branded house.” Packaged Goods
  35. 35. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 35 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Industry Detail Industry by Classification Community Activity Levels Social Media IntegrationPercentage of “New” Community Best Practice Use Other Packaged Goods Data Points
  36. 36. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 36 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) We looked at Beverage companies as a separate segment be- cause they share many traits and community approaches. Over- all, these sites tend to be loyalty programs disguised as product communities. This results in high activity, but as with consumer packaged goods, activity was transactional in nature. ► Primarily short-lived campaigns, not communities designed for long-term engagement. ► Top scoring communities integrate with CSR instead of hav- ing a product or lifestyle orientation. Missed Opportunities: ► Lack of consistent use of best practices across the industry. ► No way to connect with others. ► Lack of reputation management across most communities in this industry. ► Most best practices resulting in deep engagement are miss- ing, which underscores the “loyalty” orientation of many of these communities. However, deeper engagement will help move customers along the loyalty continuum. Superstar: Starbucks ► Only focus is on product feedback and innovation. Good use of community to improve customer experience and match new products to customer needs/wants. Note: Since the study, Starbucks has begun recruiting community members to join a MyStarbucks rewards program. Industry Detail Total Brand Score Percentage of Community Best Practice Use Beverage
  37. 37. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 37 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Industry Detail Industry by Classification Community Activity Levels Social Media IntegrationPercentage of “New” Community Best Practice Use Other Beverage Data Points
  38. 38. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 38 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) More than 50% of the communities in this industry have Cohesive Strategies, and not one is a Community Ghost Town. The evidence of Community Overload sharply decreased, indicating that as brands gain experience in social engagement they tend to become more focused. This industry does a good job of sunsetting obsolete communities, which leads to less overload and diminishes confusion. Technology companies tend to have all three types of communities: Feedback, Advocacy and Support. This sector has relatively high adoption of most best practices, which is understandable given the early adopter distinction of this industry. ► The growth of new/featured content, content tagging and content rating and ranking points to an industry trend of spreading the community experience beyond the four walls of the sponsored community site. Many of the technology brands are aggressively syndicating their content to partners and other social media sites. ► Many communities are focused on product support, which under- scores the need for a community manager, content aggregation, faceted search and the ability to rate and rank community- generated content. Some notable engagement trends included: ► Good integration between Apple community and the creation of user groups. Apple provides all the support and tools for those starting and running user groups and effectively integrates online and offline activities. ► IBM provides different customer segments with tools to form work groups and collaborate on projects. This allows for social networking within a company to facilitate finding experts and oth- ers who can help. ► Missed Opportunity: Lack of reputation management across com- munities. Superstar: Hewlett-Packard ► Hewlett-Packard consistently uses best practices across communi- ties, following a Center of Excellence model. It has a well-defined, distinct approach for each segment with little overlap, which eliminates multiple gateways and doesn’t confuse members. Industry Detail Total Brand Score Percentage of Community Best Practice Use Technology and Consumer Electronics
  39. 39. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 39 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Industry Detail Industry by Classification Community Activity Levels Social Media IntegrationPercentage of “New” Community Best Practice Use Other Technology Data Points
  40. 40. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 40 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) This sector is tied with Gaming for the highest percentage of brands with a Cohesive Strategy (67%). It also has the biggest drop in Community Ghost Towns, and more than a 50% decrease in Social Experimentation. This industry fo- cuses its social engagement almost entirely on support communities, which accounts for the high percentage of cohesiveness in its approach. ► This sector also has some of the biggest increases in best practice adoption. Last year, this was almost a “laggard” industry with lots of missed opportunities. ► The best practices with some of the highest adoption rates are essential for the success of support commu- nities: faceted search, social bookmarking, polling/ feedback, community manager, social networking, content tagging, content rating and ranking, etc. ► This sector has the second highest prevalence of cus- tomer advocates, who are also crucial for support community optimization. Superstar: Verizon ► Relaunched their forums as a more robust community that integrates many more best practices. Industry Detail Total Brand Score Percentage of Community Best Practice Use Telecommunications
  41. 41. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 41 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Industry Detail Industry by Classification Community Activity Levels Social Media IntegrationPercentage of “New” Community Best Practice Use Other Telecommunications Data Points
  42. 42. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 42 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) For the 2010 study, ComBlu analyzed the community and social engagement programs of 78 companies during the summer of 2010. Selection criteria re- mained: ► Large enterprise ► Industry leader ► Diversity in its marketing approach We increased the number of industries reviewed from 9 to 12. These include: Auto, Entertainment, Banking and Financial Services, Insurance, Healthcare and Pharmaceutical, Technol- ogy and Consumer Electronics, Telecommunications, Con- sumer Products – Packaged Goods, Consumer Products – Beverage, Retail, Gaming and Travel and Hospitality. With one exception, all sectors include at least four companies. None of the companies were aware that we were analyzing their com- munity sites and social media initiatives. Further, ComBlu did not contact these companies prior to the collection or analysis of the data. Each company was analyzed using a comprehensive auditing tool that was designed to draw quantitative rating and rank- ing data as well as qualitative reactions to community experi- ence. Once all scorecards were complete, they were tabulated to determine an aggregate score. ► Capture data about overall community health and wellness, when available, including community size, activity levels, frequency of engagement by community members and lev- els of recent activity ► Evaluate social media integration with community sites. Specifically, this evaluation examined the brand’s presence on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and LinkedIn. Other social media presence was also noted. While the primary focus was community/social media integration, detailed observations about branded social networking sites that were being used in lieu of a traditional branded online community were recorded. ► To determine social media presence and integration within the communities, researchers specifically sought evidence of an official brand presence in popular social media sites available for public access. However, to be deemed inte- grated with social media, a brand must:  Drive traffic between social media properties and online community.  Indicate a shared vision and purpose through common graphics, verbiage, community managers or theme.  Share UGC between properties while using the strength of each property for a defined purpose to demonstrate the highest level of integration. Appendix: Methodology The auditing tool was used to: ► Identify and capture attributes of multiple company or brand sponsored community sites. In instances where one company had dozens of community sites, a repre- sentative sample was selected for scoring. Each site was analyzed using a scorecard that indicated which of 22 community best practices were present. In addition, a separate scorecard was used for the 2010 study to track adoption of an additional ten best practices. Observa- tions about overall experience in interacting in each community were also recorded. The Approach
  43. 43. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 43 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) ► Assign each company’s community marketing efforts a primary and, where pertinent, secondary classifica- tion. These included:  Cohesive Strategy: A brand has a solid commu- nity foundation with multiple activities rolling into a single online experience, or “building with a solid foundation.”  Social Experimentation: A brand is experiment- ing with one or more communities as well as social media, but lacks evidence of a cohesive strategy to tie it all together, or “lots of bricks, no buildings.”  Community Overload: A brand has multiple communities fighting for attention from the same audience, or “too many buildings.”  Community Ghost Town: A brand has unpopu- lated communities with little to no member ac- tivity, or “no bricks, no buildings, no people.” ► A literature search provided additional insights about the overarching strategy of a company’s social mar- keting efforts. Once all data was captured, analysts applied an algorithm that yielded a Brand Score. ► The community scoring algorithm overlays multiple data points to yield a score for brand community performance. A detailed description of the filtering process follows. ► Resulting scores could range from 0 to 60.  Scores between 0 and 34 are considered “low performers” and are in the “red zone.”  Scores between 35 and 49 are “high perform- ers” and place in the “green zone.”  Scores of 50 or above are considered “best practice leaders.” Appendix: Methodology The Approach (continued) Calculating Brand Score
  44. 44. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 44 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) The community research algorithm is a performance filter built in two parts intended to assign a score for brand com- munity performance. This score is set against a color coded graduated performance ranking scale (red, green and black), with red being for low performers, green being for high performance and black being for best-practice leaders. ► The filter calculates overall brand performance taking into account aggregated community activity and pro- vides an overall average of that brand’s community effectiveness.  Assigns a value to only those brands which exhibit an identifiable community strategy.  Assigns a sliding scale value to the different type or classifications of a brand’s communities (Experimentation, Community Overload, Ghost Town and Cohesive Strategy). ► Part one of the filter contains a single multiplier which is applied if the brand exhibits a Cohesive Strategy. ► Next a performance score is calculated for brand activ- ity associated with community. ► This score is then integrated into Part Two, where it is incorporated with the sub scores associated with the various individual communities the brand has in play. ► This filter addresses individual community performance against a set of best practices and performance thresh- olds. Scoring of the second part of the filter is broken into Tool Use, Community Activity and Social Media Integration.  Tool Use: Thresholds which measure the percentage of tools are applied to a branded community.  Community Activity: A value is then assigned to communities which show consistently high levels of activity. This metric does not take into account membership count, only activity (so that a small but vibrant community is not penalized).  Social Media Integration: A value is provided to communities that exhibit social media tools and activity integration within their community. Com- munities that lack this integration and activity do not receive a value. ► In this filter there are two potential multipliers avail- able to high performers.  The first multiplier is applied to the tools section of the filter. Communities using 70% of the tools (i.e., Forums, Wikis, Content Tagging, Community Man- agement, etc.) or more receive this first multiplier.  The second multiplier rewards communities that integrate their community and social media strate- gies. Each of the three multipliers in Part One and Part Two of the filter carry an equal weight. Brands and their respec- tive communities that integrate best practices and show- case strong results will reap the benefit of all three multi- pliers and will move them closer to the top performance category of black. Brands and communities achieving one or two of the multipliers, as well as showcasing strong gen- eral and individual community results will fall closer to or within the green category. Those brands with sporadic or poor performance are assigned to the red category, indi- cating ineffective community use. Appendix: Brand Score Methodology Algorithm Structure and Rationale Part One Part Two
  45. 45. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 45 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Appendix: List of Best Practices ► Collaboration  Forums  Comments ► User-Generated Content  Rich media  Blogs  Wikis ► Social Networking ► Polling/Feedback Mechanism ► Community Manager ► Content Tagging ► Content Aggregation (RSS) ► Quality Content Rating and Ranking ► Faceted Search ► User Reviews ► Social Bookmarking ► Rich Media ► Fun Engagement Tools ► Avatars ► User Profiles ► Emoticons ► Rewards/Recognition ► Available Site Statistics ► New and Featured Content ► Easy Navigation ► Share Features ► Welcome/Getting Started ► Leaderboard, Member Spotlight ► Personal Dashboard ► Campaigns/Contests ► Offline Engagement ► Content Customization ► Advocate or Expert Program ► Toolbars or Custom Widgets User Participation Personal Identity/Profiles Return Motivators New 2010 Best Practices
  46. 46. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 46 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Appendix: Company Scores *2010E — Enhanced score using ten new best practices Company Scores Auto Brand 2009 2010 2010E* BMW – Mini Cooper 13 22 25 BMW – Motorcycles N/A 28 33 Ford 17 23 26 General Motors N/A 22 25 Harley-Davidson N/A 20 24 Honda 3 11 14 Hyundai 11 11 14 Toyota 20 26 33 Bankingand Financial Services Brand 2009 2010 2010E* American Express 20 48 55 Bank of America 30 36 42 Citigroup N/A 17 20 JPMorgan Chase 4 33 36 WellsFargo 22 26 30 Beverages Brand 2009 2010 2010E* Bacardi N/A 19 22 Coca-Cola N/A 21 25 Pepsi N/A 33 38 Starbucks N/A 36 41 Entertainment Brand 2009 2010 2010E* Bravo 25 42 50 Comcast 23 41 46 Discovery N/A 45 50 Disney N/A 36 42 DreamWorks 11 14 17 ESPN N/A 40 48 Food Network 20 32 36 NBC N/A 35 40 Sony Entertainment 16 28 32 Warner Brothers 22 24 27 Gaming Brand 2009 2010 2010E* Activision N/A 44 48 EA N/A 47 53 Sega N/A 29 33 Sony Online Entertainment N/A 41 46 Ubisoft N/A 32 36 Xbox N/A 42 50 Healthcare andPharmaceutical Brand 2009 2010 2010E* Bayer N/A 20 22 Johnson & Johnson 4 21 23 Merck 4 5 6 Novartis 10 16 21 Pfizer 3 7 8 Insurance Brand 2009 2010 2010E* Allstate N/A 25 29 BlueCross and BlueShield N/A 24 27 Geico N/A 38 42 Humana N/A 39 43 State Farm N/A 28 33 WellPoint N/A 18 21 PackagedGoods Brand 2009 2010 2010E* General Mills 27 22 25 Kellogg N/A 26 29 Kimberly-Clark 20 44 48 Kraft 12 35 40 Procter & Gamble 31 35 38 SC Johnson 16 9 12 Unilever 19 20 22
  47. 47. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 47 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Appendix: Company Scores Company Scores (continued) *2010E — Enhanced score using ten new best practices Retail Brand 2009 2010 2010E* Best Buy 40 32 36 Home Depot 11 13 18 Lowe’s 15 22 25 Nordstrom 14 14 17 Sears 37 44 51 Target 11 15 17 Walgreens N/A 17 20 Walmart 21 15 16 Whole Foods N/A 41 46 TechnologyandConsumerElectronics Brand 2009 2010 2010E* Apple 21 34 38 Dell 28 42 46 Hewlett-Packard 16 45 50 IBM N/A 26 38 Kodak N/A 29 34 Lenovo N/A 26 29 Microsoft 13 40 44 Quicken N/A 29 31 Sony 43 43 48 Telecommunications Brand 2009 2010 2010E* AT&T 43 44 49 Sprint 23 28 31 Verizon 11 44 50 Travel and Hospitality Brand 2009 2010 2010E* Fairmont N/A 26 30 JetBlue N/A 23 27 Marriott N/A 30 34 Southwest N/A 26 31 Starwood N/A 26 30 Virgin America N/A 14 17
  48. 48. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 48 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Appendix: Community Sites Reviewed COMPANY COMMUNITY Auto BMW - Mini Cooper Mini Owners' Lounge BMW - Motorcycles BMW Motorcycle Owners of America BMW Xplor Ford FordFiesta Movement FordMustang Sync GeneralMotors Owner Center Harley-Davidson Harlistas H.O.G. Women Riders Honda Owner Link Rider's Club of America Hyundai MyHyundai Toyota Lexus Drivers Toyota USA Facebookpage COMPANY COMMUNITY Beverages Bacardi Bacardi Coca-Cola The Coca-Cola Company Expedition 206 Full Throttle MyCoke MyCoke Rewards Pepsi Amp Energy Dewmocracy Mountain Dew OceanSpray Pepsi Refresh Project Starbucks MyStarbucks Bacardi Bacardi COMPANY COMMUNITY Banking and Financial Services American Express Business Travel ConneXion Executive Travel magazine Food&Wine magazine Members Project OPEN Forum Travel + Leisure magazine Bank of America Small Business Online Community Citigroup Women&Co. JPMorganChase Chase Chase Community Giving Facebook page Wells Fargo StagecoachIsland COMPANY COMMUNITY Entertainment Bravo BravoTV Comcast Comcast Comcast Network Fancast Fandango Tunerfish Discovery Discovery Channel Discovery Health Discovery Influencers Planet Green TLC Disney DisneyChannel DisneyFamily DreamWorks DreamWorks Animation Madagascar Ogre Resistance ESPN ESPN Food Network Food.com Food2.com FoodNetwork NBC Dunder Mifflin MyNBC The Biggest Loser League YourGarage Sony Entertainment Crackle SonyMyPlay SonyPictures Movies SonyPictures Television Warner Brothers DC Comic Kids WB TCM The WB WarnerBrothers Zuda COMPANY COMMUNITY Gaming Activision Call of Duty Guitar Hero HeroHQ EA Armyof Two EA EA Sports Skate The Sims 3 Sega PhantasyStar Universe Sega SEGA Buddy Sony Online Entertainment Free Realms SonyStation Ubisoft Avatar:The Game Prince of Persia R.U.S.E. Your Shape: Fitness Evolved Xbox Xbox COMPANY COMMUNITY Travel and Hospitality Fairmont Everyone's anOriginal JetBlue JetBlue Airways Facebookpage Marriott Marriott Rewards Insiders Southwest Nuts About Southwest Travel Guide Community Starwood Sheraton StarwoodPreferred GuestFacebook page The Lobby WestinHotels & Resorts Facebook page Virgin America VirginAmerica COMPANY COMMUNITY Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Bayer MS-Gateway Johnson & Johnson Acuvue Johnson & Johnson Johnson's Baby Splenda Merck Isentress Januvia Zetia Novartis CF Voice CMLEarth GistEarth PatientsLikeMe Pfizer Pfizer COMPANY COMMUNITY Retail BestBuy BestBuy@15 BestBuyForums BestBuyRemix GeekSquad Idea X RewardZone Home Depot GardenClub Home Improver Club Lowe's Creative Ideas LowesforPros Team Lowe's Racing Nordstrom BP FashionBoard Sears MySears Community Target Target Walgreens Walgreens Walmart BabyBuzz Blog Connect and Share Customer Rating and Reviews ElevenMoms HealthyLiving Walmart YourStories Whole Foods Whole Foods COMPANY COMMUNITY Telecommunications AT&T AT&T Developer Community AT&T Wireless Community smallbusinessInSite Sprint Inside Sprint Now Now Network Sprint SprintUsers Verizon Small Business Center Thinkfinity VerizonDeveloper Community VerizonForums and Blogs
  49. 49. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 49 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Appendix: Community Sites Reviewed COMPANY COMMUNITY Packaged Goods General Mills BettyCrocker Eat Better America Hamburger HelpMost Popular Driver Join My Village Millsberry Pillsbury Pssst Kellogg Morningstar Farms Pop-Tarts Kids Pop-Tarts LOL Pop-Tarts Sprinklings Rice Krispies Special K Kimberly-Clark Depend GoodNites Huggies Kleenex Kotex Girls Space Kotex Ladies Room Poise Pull-Ups Scott Kraft Crystal Light Kraft Planters Real Women of Philadelphia Tassimo Procter & Gamble Asacol BeingGirl Bounce Denture Living Eukanuba Everyday Solutions Luvs Man of the House Pampers Village SCJohnson Rightat Home Unilever Axe Bertolli Dove LiptonTea SlimFast Vaseline Wishbone COMPANY COMMUNITY Insurance Allstate GoodHands Keep the Drive Teen Driver BlueCross and BlueShield HealthyChat Geico GeicoFacebook page MyGreat Rides Humana Caregivers Corner REAL Twit2Fit StateFarm The 50 Million Pound Challenge WellPoint HealthyChat COMPANY COMMUNITY Technology and Consumer Electronics Apple Apple Discussions Apple UserGroups Dell Dell Groups Dell Ratings and Reviews Dell Support Forums Dell TechCenter Direct2Dell GoGreen Challenge IdeaStorm Owners Club Hewlett-Packard Business SupportForums Creative Studio for Business Creative Studio for Home IT Resource Center Forums TeacherExperience Exchange IBM BPM Blue Works IBMCommunities Mydeveloper Works Kodak Print Rave Tips &Project Exchange Lenovo Lenovo Community Microsoft Microsoft Imagine Cup Microsoft Office Live Microsoft Student Lounge Microsoft TechNet Microsoft Windows Live Microsoft Windows Live Explore Microsoft Windows Server Microsoft Virtualization Windows XP Virtual Zone Quicken Quicken Quicken Inner Circle Quicken Live Sony Sony Blog Sony Ericsson Sony Forums Sony Frontline Sony Playstation Network SonyStyle
  50. 50. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 50 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Appendix: Glossary ► Cohesive Strategy – A brand has a solid commu- nity foundation with multiple activities rolling into a single online experience, or “building with a solid foundation.” ► Social Experimentation – A brand is experiment- ing with one or more communities as well as social media, but lacks evidence of a cohesive strategy to tie it all together, or “lots of bricks, no buildings.” ► Community Overload – A brand has multiple com- munities fighting for attention from the same au- dience, or “too many buildings.” ► Community Ghost Town – A brand has unpopu- lated communities with little to no member activ- ity, or “no bricks, no buildings, no people.” ► Polling/Feedback – Inquiring into community opinion through surveys, open forum discussion, commenting or polls to allow community mem- bers to voice their recommendations for commu- nity improvement. ► Community Manager – A personality present in the community charged with building, growing, and managing it and making him or herself visible and active in dialogue. In some cases, this is a single person; in others, there are multiple people representing the brand. In both cases, they are active and regular participants. ► Content Tagging – The ability to tag user- generated content with keywords to allow for enhanced search and organization. This helps members find the content they are most inter- ested in. Typically, you’ll see a ‘tag cloud’ search function visible in community pages. ► Content Aggregation – Grouping like-minded con- tent from various resources into one or more eas- ily searchable sites. ► Content Rating/Ranking – Allowing community members to judge the quality of user-generated content based on their own criteria. ► Faceted Search – The capability to explore the community’s content by filtering available infor- mation through keywords, topics, dates, etc. ► User Reviews/Content – The presence of user- generated content in the shape of user reviews of a brand’s products and services, experiences, sto- ries, opinions, etc. ► Social Bookmarking – Offering community mem- bers a way to store, organize, search and manage content either within or outside of the commu- nity. ► Fun Engagement Tools – Games, quizzes, enter- taining rich media and other bells and whistles created by the brand for the sole purpose of member entertainment. ► Use of Rich Media – Integrating video, audio and/ or photography into brand content as well as al- lowing for user-generated rich media to be cre- ated and shared. ► Forums – Also referred to as message boards and bulletin boards, these are applications used to hold both consumer-to-consumer and consumer- to-brand discussions containing user-generated content. ► Blogs – Online journals housed within the commu- nity that may be written by community managers or community advocates and offer commenting by all community members to create two-way dialogue rather than simply a one-way push of information. ► Wikis – Allow all community members to easily create and edit any number of interlinked (often database) community content. ► Comments – Opportunities for community mem- bers to add their own point of view and expres- sions to either written content or rich media cre- ated by the brand and other members. ► Social Networking – The ability for community members to find and interact with others within the community that share similar interests, opin- ions or activities. Community User Participation
  51. 51. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 51 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Appendix: Glossary ► Avatars – Customizable online identities selected by community members that help members cre- ate their own online persona and share their per- sonality with the community via an uploaded photo, brand-generated illustrations, icons or 3-D models. Avatars enhance a community member’s user/screen name. ► User Profiles – Collection of personal data com- piled by community members allowing others to find people like them and vet the credibility of members’ content by gauging their background on the subject at hand. ► Blog Roll/Recommended Reading – List of blogs, websites and other sources typically reviewed by each community member, commonly included as part of a user’s profile. ► Emoticons – Portrayal of a community member’s mood or facial expression via illustrations or text. ► Social Media Integration – Integrating key social media platforms for the intended audience (i.e., Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, You- Tube) into the community platform and market- ing/communication initiatives. ► Rewards/Recognition – Publicly awarding commu- nity members for community activities and in- volvement. Typically reflected with points, badges, callouts (e.g., Member of the Week). ► Available Site Statistics – Sharing community ac- tivity and size data with members and/or site visi- tors. ► New & Featured Content – Highlighting new, highly-rated or interesting user-generated content outside of its original home, whether on the com- munity homepage, user profile or topical pages. ► Welcome/Getting Started – An acknowledgement (instant or via e-mail) of a new member joining the community and/or initial engagement tasks are sug- gested. The latter could include a suggestion to com- plete your profile or an initial incentive (bonus points) for your first action. (You need to register for the community to judge this. It can take up to a couple of days to get response.) ► Easy Navigation – A user interface and structure that makes it simple for members to find information and participate in community activities. ► Content Customization – The ability to customize my view of information to what’s of most interest to me. ► Personal Dashboard – Allows the user to monitor individual community activity. Could show the num- ber of posts, type of expertise, friends, kudos, how many points needed to get to the next level, etc. ► Share Features – Making it easy for me to share community content with others within my personal network or in the cloud (via Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, my blog). ► Toolbars/Custom Widgets – When the community goes with you. A tool that downloads to a user’s browser. Can include custom apps, games, custom signatures, content and social tools. ► Offline Engagement – Connecting members offline and face-to-face with localized or special events. Personal Identity/Profiles Return Motivators Social Media Presence “New” Best Practices
  52. 52. ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities 52 © Copyright 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. All copyrighted and trade- marked material presented herein is the sole property of Communications Blueprints, L.L.C. (d/b/a ComBlu) Contact Info ► Learning more about community best practices? ► Getting a customized best practice review? ► Finding out how ComBlu can turn your communities into High Performers? We’d love to talk! Kevin Lynch ComBlu 312.649.1687 klynch@comblu.com Steve Hershberger ComBlu 312.649.1687 sthersh@comblu.com You can also check out: www.comblu.com www.comblu.com/blogs/Lumenatti Follow us on Twitter: @comblu Since 2003, ComBlu has built or manages 30 communities in 20 languages with more than 15 million members worldwide. Interested In...

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