You no longer own your brand. Stop whining, and deal with it.


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Think you’re in control of your brand? Think again. The old rules of brand management no longer apply. Your customers have a new megaphone called social media, and they’re using it to share the best – and the worst – about your brand. This session provides guidance on using social media to your advantage and practical ways to protect your reputation online. Presented at the East Coast Gaming Conference.

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  • Social media has transferred the power to publish or broadcast to large audiences from a select few to virtually everyone. What many business owners, marketers and communication professionals are beginning to realize is they no longer own your brands— we do, the audience does. Social media have given that power to everyone. I have played on both sides of the fence. As a marketer, I have developed and run a number of campaigns where we identified influential bloggers and reached out to them to participate in our campaign. I have also as a blogger, been approached by marketers with a varying degree of success. I would like to start by discussing your target audience. Let’s get into the mind of the individual.
  • Advertising and marketing are falling on deaf ears. A Yankelovich study showed that 76% of users do not believe that companies are being truthful in their marketing.
  • Game companies regularly touch up images, screenshots, trailers and media in order to make their games look good. the origin of this phrase comes from a brilliant penny arcade comic: it’s still a common tactic now, as most of the gaming audience simply isn’t paying as much attention as the core gamers. However, a more recent upshot of this coming to light is that more game marketing media is coming with the claim “all images have been taken in-game” or “all video is of in-game action”.
  • At the same time, your target audiences care about and are listening to other people “like themselves”. Amazon example. So we don’t trust people.. Now how do we act online?
  • We are informavores , we are hunting for information at all costs. To sum up, we don’t trust what brands are telling us about their company, products and services, our peers have a much greater influence on us than any type of marketing and we all act like 8 year olds with the worst case of A.D.D. when online. As marketers and communication professionals what can we do to effectively engage with our target markets online?
  • Platforms – console, PC, web, mobile So many types of games – Visual identification – How to stand out in a retail environment Customer expectations – game companies are trying to control the content, but the customers have that power.
  • Where are your target markets congregating? How and what are they communicating? Who are the influencers? What are their pain points? Capstrat’s Social Media Intelligence provides clients actionable insights on the social footprints of their competitors. From Facebook fan pages to branded YouTube Channels, LinkedIn groups, corporate blogs, podcasts, Twitter accounts, online communities and forums.
  • There is so much talk about how social media is exploding and for a while that was true, but social media adoption is beginning to slow down. We see young people 13-17 less into Facebook, email and blogs and are far more interested in the immediate gratification of texting. There is a real opportunity for companies and brands to take a breath and put together a strategy that will deliver them long term successes.
  • Game companies that have made a commitment to brand the company and continue branding whether a new game is coming out or not are winning. Games will come and go, but if done correctly, your company could be sustainable in the long term. How do you do this? Continue putting out interesting things. Thought leadership, content, identify emerging trends and capitalize on them quickly. And keep engaging with your target audience.
  • Social Media is a great way to feature the community participation. Have a sense of humor Talk to your community as they are, not who you want them to be.
  • Facebook is becoming a key part of how game companies are messaging to their target audiences. Facebook allows game companies to engage with their audiences quickly and easily. It is also a great promotions tool as every post that gets in users feed is seem by many of their friends. Several recent studies asked gamers who engage with companies and games online what do they want to see most and the top three answers was tips and tricks, videos and free downloadable content – the winner by far. Facebook is therefore a blessing and a curse. There are problems with the “add-me-please” fans who spam walls, trying to gather friends so they can quickly advance in games like Zynga’s Farmville or Playfish’s Pet Society. There are problems with scale – it’s difficult to engage and communicate when you have too many fans.
  • In 2009, at ComicCon, EA, in promoting their game Dante’s Inferno created a marketing campaign based on the 7 deadly sins (very clever). However, for “Lust” they encouraged comicon goers to commit an act of lust to a “booth babe”, any booth babe and take a pic of it. This was seen as the “grope a booth babe” contest. On twitter, the hashtag #EAFail started going hot and rather than deal with the situation, they issued a “we’re sorry if some of you were offended”… which is your standard douche-bag non-apology. Obviously, this was geared towards men (the game was very violent in nature and had a fairly low percentage of appeal for women). The argument was that this crossed the line between poor taste that gamers are accustomed to, to nearly becoming “assault”
  • Reporters read blogs
  • American Red Cross had an issue, they reacted like you would when mistakes happen. You apologize and recognize that people are fallible. They then recognized this was an opportunity to turn this
  • On the other side is Chrysler. After coming off a very strong campaign on the Superbowl, a staffer for their agency dropped the F bomb on their twitter account. Now instead of apologizing and moving on, Chrysler went into full panic mode and kept on releasing statements, blogs and finally, more people were writing about how poorly handled this situation than the issue itself.
  • You no longer own your brand. Stop whining, and deal with it.

    1. 1. Companies no longer own their brands - We do. Stop whining and deal with it Cord Silverstein, EVP Interactive and Social Media Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein
    2. 2. 76% don’t believe companies or organizations tell the truth in their marketing and communications - Yankelovich Cord Silverstein, EVP Capstrat - Twitter: @cord - LinkedIn: cordsilverstein Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein
    3. 3. <ul><li>Combining “screenshot” and “bullsh*t” it’s a fabrication of a game image to misrepresent the graphics in the game. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Madden </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assassin’s Creed 2 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Operation Flashpoint </li></ul></ul>Do game companies deserve that level of distrust? The “Bullshot” Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein
    4. 4. 68% trust other people “like themselves” up from 22% in 2003 - Edelman Trust Barometer Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein
    5. 5. Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein “ Online users are selfish, lazy, and ruthless .” - Jakob Nielsen
    6. 6. <ul><li>Ads </li></ul><ul><li>Media </li></ul><ul><li>Reviews </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Friends </li></ul><ul><li>Gamers see </li></ul><ul><li>themselves as </li></ul><ul><li>skeptical yet savvy </li></ul><ul><li>consumers. </li></ul><ul><li>Forums </li></ul><ul><li>Word of Mouth </li></ul><ul><li>Online Friends </li></ul><ul><li>Gaming Groups </li></ul><ul><li>Social Media </li></ul>Gamers have the same trust characteristics as the average consumer. However, that trust is spread out over more channels, lessening the weight of influence on a particular source.
    7. 7. Selfish <ul><ul><ul><li>Gamers desire the next item, level, achievement, kill-streak and will often position themselves to maximize their chances to get it. </li></ul></ul></ul>Lazy There will always be someone willing to figure out how to get from level 1 to level 40 in the fastest way possible through game play optimization, exploits, bugs, cheats.
    8. 8. Ruthless Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein
    9. 9. Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein Informavore An organism that consumes information
    10. 10. <ul><ul><li>Gamers are skilled puzzle solvers </li></ul></ul>Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein Gamers are extreme informavores <ul><li>Relish a challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Relied on crowdsourcing before it was a word. </li></ul><ul><li>Detail oriented </li></ul>If your message isn’t being dissected by the community of gamers, you’re putting out the wrong message.
    11. 11. Challenges Platforms Competition Differentiation Customer Expectations Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein
    12. 12. Training and Practice Begin by Listening -Identify influencers -Recognize discussions -Track congregation points -Understand markets Cord Silverstein, EVP Capstrat - Twitter: @cord - LinkedIn: cordsilverstein Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein
    13. 13. Social media is a tactic not a strategy
    14. 14. What is your story? Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein
    15. 15. Game marketing tells a story in three parts. <ul><ul><li>Multiplayer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1080p resolution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4 person co-op </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3D </li></ul></ul>Part 1: Features
    16. 16. <ul><ul><li>40 hours for the main campaign </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Over 100 side quests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>50 Hidden locations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unlockable gear and rewards </li></ul></ul>Part 2: Value
    17. 17. <ul><li>Journey through time in an epic story. </li></ul><ul><li>Build, train and send your army to war or keep it for defense. </li></ul><ul><li>Your decisions will affect the outcome of the game </li></ul>Part 3: Story
    18. 18. <ul><ul><li>Encourage community mashups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create rewards for participation in the official forums </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Directly engage with your social media audiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Call out and support enthusiastic fans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourage machinima </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allow for reasonable spoofing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Incentivize feedback </li></ul></ul>Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein The company is your brand
    19. 19. Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein The company is your brand Gamers have specific intrinsic behaviors - Put them to use for you. Connect with your brand and games Create content Share experiences
    20. 20. dddd Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein Facebook Free downloadable content
    21. 21. Dante’s Inferno - Sin to Win Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein
    22. 22. Monitoring and Response Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein
    23. 23. Cord Silverstein, EVP Capstrat - Twitter: @cord - LinkedIn: cordsilverstein Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein FTW!
    24. 24. Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein FAIL!
    25. 26. Thank you! Questions? Cord Silverstein Twitter: @cord Cord Silverstein, EVP Capstrat [email_address] Twitter: @Cord LinkedIn: cordsilverstein