Brand Lessons from the Corporate Social Media Summit


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With special thanks Rohit Bhargava who spent the day at the Corporate Social Media Summit.

"The event was put on by the team at Useful Social Media - and that indeed was the theme of the day as panelists offered real case studies, answered tough questions and generally demonstrated that there is real hope for large corporate brands to actively use social media to generate real business value in multiple ways."

Here are a collection of some of the biggest lessons that brands featured on Day 1 of the event shared in their presentations.

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Brand Lessons from the Corporate Social Media Summit

  1. 1. Social MediaBig Brand Lessons From TheCorporate Social Media SummitSpecial thanks to Rohit Bhargavaand
  2. 2. “Altruism has a long tail.” > 1. American Express*Uniquely qualified to talk about theimpact of altruism, American ExpressOpen Forum VP of Social Media LauraFink went behind the scenes of thehugely successful “Small BusinessSaturday” campaign that AmericanExpress launched back in November of2010 to create a day where consumerscould get rewarded with a $25 statementcredit for shopping at a small businesslocation.According to Fink, the campaign engagedmore than 1.2 million small businessesaround the country and also helpedthose businesses to see a 28% sales lift onthe day of the promotion.Perhaps more importantly, it showed 02that doing something good can generatea real business impact for customers aswell as for the big brand putting on thecampaign.JUNE 2011 M a r q U E C rE at i v E © 2 0 1 1
  3. 3. “Never underestimate local communities.” > 2. Union PacificOne of the largest railway companies in theUnited States, Union Pacific has also beenaround for nearly 150 years. To celebratethis heritage, Senior Manager of MediaTechnology Tim Mcmahan shared a casestudy of a crowdsourced competition thatUnion Pacific held to get people to vote onthe ideal route for one of their old steamengines to take on the “Union Pacific GreatExcursion Adventure.”The voting was split into several rounds,with some fierce competition fromunexpected locations. Through each round,Mcmahon shared that the consistentlysurprising result was that smaller townslike Tuscola, IL were routinely outpacingbig metro markets like Chicago. 03The point, he noted, was that sometimesthe most passion for a campaign like thiscan come from smaller local communitiesfor whom winning may be a bigger deal.Across the campaign, there were nearly200,000 votes recorded, over 100,000email addresses captured and the brandplans to reprise the campaign next year.JUNE 2011 M a r q U E C rE at i v E © 2 0 1 1
  4. 4. “Nobody owns social media.” > 3. Best BuyIn one of the most eye-opening talks of the day,Gina Debogovich shared some big lessons learnedfrom her time over the last 3-4 years building upthe Best Buy customer service and social carecenter to what is now called the “Twelp Force.As a former customer care person herself, shetalked about how Best Buy uses the overarchingmission of “creating meaningful communicationsin the virtual world” to guide all of their efforts.They have an inner circle of about 26 teammembers dedicated to social media at their team,and then an extended 3000 employees who areactively encouraged to use social media andoffered lots of different forms of training on howto do it. Her team is a resource that individualstores can use for advice on such tasks as how toeffectively use Facebook specifically for their 04store.In addition, their team is the only customer careteam in the world who currently has their ownproduction studio for creating content such astheir Best Buy Unboxing feature.In one case, Gina shared the unheard of stat ofhow they managed to reduce the volume of one“call driver” (customer service lingo for a topreason that people call a contact center) by 50%simply by producing a video to answer thatquestion.JUNE 2011 M a r q U E C rE at i v E © 2 0 1 1
  5. 5. "Negative experiences are our biggest opportunity." > 4. SamsungSamsung is a brand that has made lots of stridesrecently in integrating social media into theircustomer service, and has been very active injoining conversations about their brand online.One of the leaders of this, Jessica Kalbarczyk (@samsungjessica) shared her insights about howher small team of four colleagues manages toengage people online about Samsung, and helpsolve their problems.For Jessica, coming from a marketing and PR roleinto one more focused on customer service was afulfilling role because every day she manages toaddress real problems and change consumersexperiences one by one.Anyone in a marketing role who has sufferedthrough never ending meetings about socialmedia without a real vision or tangible outcomewill easily be able to imagine how nice a feeling itmuch be to actually solve real problems and thesense of accomplishment that would offer on adaily basis. 05As part of that, she shared a point of view which iscommon among customer service pros ... thatthey would much rather find negativity and have achance to fix it and change that consumersperception. Marketers, on the other hand, tend torun scared in the opposite direction from anynegativity. There is clearly a lesson here about thenecessity of integrating marketing and customerservice more closely.JUNE 2011 M a r q U E C rE at i v E © 2 0 1 1
  6. 6. “Forget ROI and focus more broadly on business value.” > 5. DellAt the top of most analyst’s lists of brands thathave managed to integrate social media into theiroperations in a real and tangible way would likelybe computer maker Dell.During his talk, Richard Binhammer from Dellshared a historical perspective of how socialmedia became integrated into the organization,and one of the most powerful points in hispresentation was where he shared the sixbusiness areas which have fully embraced socialmedia for different business reasons – marketing,product development, sales, online presence,customer service and communications.While other brands focus on one of these at atime, Dell has reached a point where they can“inhale and exhale at the same time” as Richardshared in his talk.Ultimately, his biggest point is that “ROI” is sucha restricting term when it comes to describingwhat social media can offer and there is a muchstronger way to describe the real value behind it 06that we need to think about including in more ofour discussions.JUNE 2011 M a r q U E C rE at i v E © 2 0 1 1
  7. 7. “Have fun and be human.” > 6. SouthwestFun and airline are not two words that anyonewould typically use in the same sentence, yetSocial Media Manager from Southwest AirlinesAlice Wilson devoted a good part of her talk abouthow Southwest creates a more human brand byusing an irreverant voice.The questions that keep many other large brandsup at night in terms of making sure they havebackup for employees who are running socialmedia channels, or mapping everything back tosome specific campaign or column on aspreadsheet don’t seem to matter as much forSouthwest.They have guiding principles around their socialvoice, yet Alice shares that most people whospeak out for the brand “just get the hang of it.”Without that formalized training or overly 07bureaucratic approach to managing every aspectof Southwest, the brand succeeds because theyhave such a strong culture that people start totake it on as their own from day one and thistranslates into social media.JUNE 2011 M a r q U E C rE at i v E © 2 0 1 1
  8. 8. “Real time listening pays off.” > 7. KodakKodak is a brand that has won a lot of respect forhow forward thinking they have been in movinginto social media over the past several years, evenpublishing a guidebook which was available forthe attendees on how to use social media andwhat they had learned. In his talk Tom Hoen, theKodak Director of Interactive Marketing, shared anumber of examples demonstrating the power oflistening.In one example, the brand awoke to a barrage ofnegativity from fans of a Nickelodeon TV showcalled Degrassi because there was a rumor thatthe brand had pulled all their advertising due tothe show’s sometimes adult themes.Fairly rapidly, they were able to use social mediato diffuse the rumor (it was actually just a naturalpause in flighting for their ads) and engage those 08angry voices – leading one person to share onTwitter “Now I feel bad. I told the Kodak peopleto eff themselves sideways, and they sent me atweet being all nice.”Aside from the newly found good feelings,Degrassi and Nickelodeon offered up 2 free spotsto Kodak during their season premiere. Not a badROI for engaging a few irate teens.JUNE 2011 M a r q U E C rE at i v E © 2 0 1 1
  9. 9. “Real time listening pays off.” > 8. PepsiThe last presentation of the day came from JoshKarpf, who focuses on an area that more brandsshould consider having as part of their marketingefforts ... digital research and development.His group runs many forward thinkingexperiments on how to use social media to engageconsumers, and he shared some real examplesand hard data from a few of their efforts aroundtrying to offer couponing as a layer on top ofgeolocation and encouraging people to check in.For one campaign with Hess convenience stores,they found that using a Foursquare promotion ina particular location offered a 47% boost involume of purchase over previous weeks wherethe campaign was not running - a great result forthe retailer.On the Pepsi side, they interesting learned thatcoupon redemptions were much higher whenoffered to people as a reward for some type ofbehaviour, which seems to offer the logicalconclusion that people are more likely to follow 09through a claim the discount or product from acoupon if they feel they had to "earn" that couponin some way such as by checking into the gym for10 days in a month.JUNE 2011 M a r q U E C rE at i v E © 2 0 1 1