Customer Engagement using the HASHTAG Media

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 771 , Published on 06 September 2016
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Hashtags have become an important aspect of marketing in the digital world. Social media marketing is a set of multi-disciplinary marketing programs through which firms try to reach their stakeholder network effectively. In the current disruptive era, brands and customers are equally participating in social media marketing to achieve a gamut of benefits.


Image: pixabay


Characteristics:

User Generated Content:

Any firm of media that is non-paid and produced by the customer. This is also called as earned media contrary to traditional paid media. The content include blogging, reviews, customer feedbacks, customer tweets, shares and posts etc., As the content is created by the user, there is high chance of authenticity in the content.

Co Creation:

While User generated content is widely used by marketers, customer co creation is a niche section which a few companies have embraced successfully. By this, company uses the content generated by the customers in their products, promotional activities.

Cost Effective Solution:

While TVC consume a substantial proportion of the promotional budget, social media marketing is otherwise cost effective solution. As per the DAVP(Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity) approved rights, a 10 second commercial on Star at prime slot of 8-11 PM was priced at Rs 50,000/- in 2010 & the same goes as high as Rs 3,50,000/- during cricket telecast.


While the social picture is very rosy and glamorous, there are inherited issues and problems which brands are not able to tackle. One of the main problems is to understand the relation between online engagement and sales of the company. While survey reports suggest that firms which are more active on twitter are getting more positive contributions, how effective are firms to distinguish between customers and non-customers from their user group.


We will analyze two social media campaigns which have garnered huge social impact with different bottom-line results.

Dove is known for using real people in their advertisements from 1957. This is in line with their brand promise of redefining beauty and the perception towards it. One of their successful campaigns is “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” in which they promoted the perception of beauty through a series of commercials. In 2011 Dove came up with a concept of “Real Beauty Sketches”. The objective of the campaign is to make women realize their internal beauty and not just to confine on skin tone & looks. The 3 minute youtube video launched in April 2013 was one of the most effective social media campaigns.

- Reached 163 million youtube views

- 97% of positive feedback

- Bagged Cannes YouTube Ads leader board

- Totally created 4.6 billion PR media & blogger content by 2013

- Gained 3 lakh followers on Google+

Dove increased their sales from USD$ 2.2 bn to USD$ 4 bn in one year

 

In 2011, Pepsi launched Pepsi Refresh Project where they invited the individuals to submit their ideas which would bring change in their locality/town. Pepsi then asked users to view & vote the ideas and started distributing funds to the most voted ideas of transformation. The budget allocated to Refresh project is USD $ 20 million, which they diverted from declining participation in Super Bowl. The campaign is viewed as one of the most successful and impactful campaigns for Pepsi.

- Allocated budget of USD $ 20 million

- Achieved 18 million unique visitors to Refresh page

- With 12000 projects, the project saw 76 million participation through votes

- Received 3 billion audience impressions in 8 months

- More than 14000 tweets and 2 million facebook likes

- Pepsi became the most talked about brand in SuperBowl despite not joining

 

While the numbers show a great brand acceptance, the results it displayed were quite contrary to our earlier studied Dove campaign.

- 2011 saw a remarkable drop in Pepsi sales where Pepsi lost its position of 2nd popular drink to Diet Coke

- Drop of market share to 9.7% when Diet Coke grew to 9.9% with Coke at 17%

- Huge criticism on this refresh project and its impact on bottom-line

- Critics reported customers could not find correlation between Refresh project and Pepsi brand

- Also the operational glitches and allegations tarnished the brand and its million dolar project


With the backdrop of these two cases, current marketers are finding it extremely difficult to achieve the bottom-line while keeping up their #HASHTAGS. As more and more users are adopting the online channels, it is imperative that brands have to be active and more talked about on respective social-media platforms.


A 2014 survey by Social Media Explorer put forth the impact of social marketing and the growing need for measuring the ROI.



A few suggestions that are recommended to keep up track with the social marketing are

Original & well connected

Marketers suggest that the content/concept should be original and related to the brand. Coke has been a successful brand in creating content which is well connected to its brand proposition. Open Happiness & Taste The Feeling communicate the rejoice and refreshing experience of Coke.

Connect, Communicate & Conversations

While the underlying motto of social marketing is to connect to the customers, it is equally important to communicate the brand persona through its campaigns. Pepsi case is a typical example where it was not able to make a connection. It is also important that the brands should keep the conversations alive. While acknowledging the positive feedbacks incentivize users to create content, facing criticism and responding to negative experiences will help customers to build belief in the brand.

Fight for a Cause

Brands receive positive feedback when they are associated with a cause. Dabur Bold & Beautiful talked about successful stories of women who fought against cancer. Though it is not directly connected to Dabur hair products, the campaign was positively received for its cause. Samsung recently launched #Betheireyes campaign which was huge success in Hing Kong markets. The ad which enabled to help visually challenged people to view the tourist places through the posts shared by others and also pledged to donate money to treat the visually impaired.

 

This article has been authored by Karteek Kala from IIM Raipur


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