Traditional brands have had a hard time figuring out social media. They are used to old marketing models where they keep firm control of the message.
Create a brand phrase or concept and then repeat it millions of time on whatever media platforms, getting as much exposure as possible. The adage "If they say it often enough, it must be true" has been the prevailing wisdom for decades. The hoped-for by-product? "Gosh, if they are willing to spend so much money to tell me something about their product, it must be true...so I'll buy it."
All the traditional ad markets have softened: TV, newspapers, radio, magazines. And the projections for the next few years look tough.
For decades, consumers have been sold, pitched, cajoled, and almost guilted in buying products through the magic of marketing and advertising.
Why are the ad markets hurting? Psychologically, making a purchase satisfies many possible things: taking care of a need; a want; a desire; or for preventing something they fear. That is no different today than from previous generations. Traditional media still "sells" needs, wants, desire and fear-fixers.
It's just that today's consumers want more than simply being told to buy something before they make a purchase.
They want to engage.
They want to hear from other consumers to validate their own thinking about the brand choice.
They want their own voice heard.
So far, traditional brand marketing has been slow and inconsistent in its success using social (or user-generated) media for marketing.
Remember the user-generated Dorito's Super Bowl TV ads?
What about the GM's Chevy Tahoe SUV ad contest?
Just in the last few weeks, Skittles set the Twitterverse afire by changing their main brand homepage to their Twitter profile, then to their Facebook profile. To help their customers "Interweb the rainbow", users create custom "garageband-like" audio themes using various Skittles audio clips. What did it get them? Lots of social media hype, more than 630,000 Facebook friends (M&M's Facebook site only has 25,000 fans)...and an increase of their web traffic by more than 1,325% the first day it launched the campaign.
So can a brand do well by saying "Screw You, Recession"? One is trying...and using social media to do it.
Here's a site blending social media merged with an established brand. Go to ScrewTheRecession.ca/ and it comes from the new thinkers over at Virgin. Virgin tends to embrace marketing experiments; I think it's worthwhile to check it out. Tying in recession concerns with younger people, it's a blog with a heavy user comment section, simple Virgin Mobile advertising and various topics sections on money, living, fashion, going out, tech and more. Plus they Twitter and Facebook it tying it together.
The impact: How can you (the consumer) screw the recession? You need your cellphone. Screw the recession by using a Virgin Mobile cellphone.
They've done some cool research through the site on their users.
As reported this week in Virgin Mobile press release of their JD Power study:
"Virgin Mobile Canada has created a mood meter that ranges from "Everything Sucks Huge" (red) to "The Recession Ain't Getting Me Down" (green). The five-stage colourcoded system shows that – this week – young Canadians are on Yellow Alert ("Sorta' Freaking Out Right Now"), which means:The only thing they miss is not tying it into their Virgin Radio sites. It's a natural partner.
* Biting nails - 72% are anxious about their future
* Brand disloyalty - 41% have given up a brand they love
* Show me the value! - 52% are open to trying value brands
* Chic-onomics - 88% have changed their shopping habits
* Recessionistas - 42% are making "noticeable sacrifices"
* Unemployment - 42% fear being unemployed
* Politics - 57% say they don't believe a change in government would change anything
* The Simple Life - 75% want a simpler life.
The Mood Meter looks exclusively at the impact the recession is having on young people's (17-35s) lives, how they're feeling about the state of the economy and what the recession means to them. It's also a barometer of their thoughts and shopping habits, as well as their feelings on how brands are behaving. See Virgin Mobile’s www.screwyourecession.ca."
Cross-platform connection on contemporary consumer demands, needs, desires or fears...with the consumer front-and-centre contributing and sharing the content.
The audience (listeners/customers) are the drivers...all we in media have to do is provide the proper vehicles for them to get where they want to go and what they want right now.
That's how brand marketing can use social media to its advantage.
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Friday, March 20, 2009,
- At 6:45 PM, said...
i think sceewyourecession.ca is a great site, both for virgin as well as the audience. The blogs are pretty funny, and there is enough content to keep one interesting for over 5 minutes...which says alot believe it or not. Is that calculator at the top of the page new? it only has added 1.4 million dollars for the whole country. That's not very much money for 30 million people haha.