Monthly Archives: January 2012

Determine Social Media Engagement Readiness

In our previous post, Technical Support for Social Media Engagement, we took a look at how you can support your engagement efforts from a technical standpoint. In this post, we take a look at how to tell if you’re ready to engage.

Social Networks

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Determine Engagement Readiness

OK. You think you’re covered all the above bases, but are you ready to create your engagement plan? What else do you need to think about before you know you’re ready to execute? Consider the following areas.

  • Budget for engagement — Experts say you should expect to spend at least as much on your first two years of running a social media effort as you did on building it. Ensure that every stakeholder understands that the enterprise needs to be in it for the long haul, and that you’re unlikely to be an overnight success. You’ll need to plan to continue investing at a significant level for some period of time, and you should budget for this support.
  • Assess your resources — Realistically assess your available resources. Determine the size of the team you’re going to need to make your social efforts a success. Try to avoid minimizing the work that is required to be successful.
  • Plan your capacity — Make sure you can accomplish the task of launching a successful social computing effort with paid staff and existing, proven evangelists. Don’t count on new community members to do any essential tasks.
  • Encourage comment on your plan — Put your draft plan on a private wiki[1] and ask for comments from your staff, managers, and board
  • Create some buzz — See if you can include something that will make people say, “Wow!” to begin to create buzz. Promote this to engage visitors, bloggers, media, and potential contributors.
  • Have some fun — If your social media effort is dull drudgery you’ll have fewer followers. Emphasize the fun of spreading the word about your business via social computing.

Next up: Create Your Social Media Engagement Plan

Determine Social Media Engagement Readiness is the 26th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Media Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

[1] A wiki is a Website that allows the easy creation and editing of Webpages, usually following a common theme, by a community of people. The most famous wiki is Wikipedia.

Learning from Crisis: Domino’s Makes the Right Social Media Moves

Domino’s may just go from being considered (but not added) for our Social Media Hall of Shame to social media rock star fame. You might remember that back in April, 2009 a couple of immature Domino’s employees made a video of themselves doing horrible things to (apparent) customer pizzas. The pair was charged with delivering prohibited foods, the media went wild, the company’s sales dropped 3 percent, and the franchise location where the video was made went out of business five months later.

Domino's Gross Video

That the company delayed in handling the crisis with an old-media, delayed-reaction (48 hours), press-releasey response is odd because back in 2008, they pioneered a wonderful interactive application: the real-time Pizza Tracker. When you order a Domino’s pizza online, you can watch the progress via a thermometer graph as your pizza is prepared, baked, checked for quality and delivered.

Domino's Pizza Tracker Status Screen

In a truly savvy move, Domino’s includes the names of the actual employees working to get you your pizza. Unbelievable! When we ordered a pizza recently (for the first time in many years), you could even skin the site using six different themes from Hair Metal to Romance Novel; we chose the tropical theme (it being winter in Minnesota and all). And we got into rooting for the employees – “Go Bob! Check that pizza!” – and greeted the delivery guy by name when the pizza showed up (within 30 minutes).

Even more important than this real-time – the company claims the status is updated within 40 seconds – interactivity: The Pizza Tracker page includes a panel for feedback, entitled Help Us Get Better. One question sets Domino’s expectation for customer satisfaction: “We want your ordering experience to rock. How was it?”

Domino's Pizza Tracker Survey

So despite the fact that creating the Pizza Tracker indicates Domino’s understood a lot about digital media, the company did not handle the gross videos particularly well. But there was a silver lining to the crisis.

Combined with ranking last in a 2009 survey of consumer taste preferences among national chains, the incident caused Domino’s to reevaluate the product they were selling. In numerous focus groups, consumers indicated that Domino’s was producing a low-quality, unappealing product. The company needed to do some soul searching.

In an act of extremely brand bravery, they decided to own up to their shortcomings and even – the horror! – broadcast them. They entirely remade their product line, answering the criticisms uncovered in their research, and then, in December 2009, made a series of commercials featuring company employees discussing the bad qualities of their former product – cardboard crust, sauce that tastes like ketchup – and explaining how they had changed.

In mid-2011, Dominos posted a five-minute documentary online (created by CP+ B agency) called Pizza Turnaround and flanked it with uncensored tweets. In the video, Dominos employees react emotionally to the negative remarks about their food, and they show their passion for their product (following our dictate to Be a Person).

The company then sent a camera crew along with their head chefs to knock on the doors of their worst critics to engage them in conversation, and posted these visits online. One critic, obviously uncomfortable at being engaged on his front stoop, said, “I didn’t know you were listening.”

The chefs gave the critics a taste of the new pizza, eliciting at least one “Oh my God, that’s delicious” response. The media loved it. Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert quipped, “It takes alpha meatballs to stand up and say, ‘America, we suck.’” The immediate result: a sales gain of 14 percent, doubled profits, and a 44 percent rise in the company’s share price.

Wow! Domino’s went from a stiff and corporate response to the gross pizza video disaster to an intimate campaign to let people know the company had listened to their concerns and changed their product. They took the opportunity presented by a negative experience to learn how to use social media to tell the company’s – and its employees’ – story.

Some enterprises might be uncomfortable opening the kimono like Domino’s did. Could yours really take the things that people really hate about your products, publicize them, publicly fix them, then ask customers to give real-time feedback on your Website? Maybe? Check the results we cited: a sales gain of 14 percent, doubled profits, and a 44 percent rise in the company’s share price.

Would that work for your company?

Old Spice and Moneyball: Integrating Social Media

Old Spice and Moneyball: Integrating Social Media

What do the Old Spice body wash “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign and the movie Moneyball have in common? In the first post in this series, Old Spice and Moneyball: How Marketers Must Learn to Love Social Media, I examined Old Spice’s campaign, and in the second, Old Spice and Moneyball: Embracing Social Media, I reviewed the most remarkable facet of the campaign: direct-response YouTube videos. In this post I compare Billy Bean’s innovation vs. Old Baseball with current conditions in the advertising and marketing industry.

Old Spice Guy Manta Claus

I just saw Moneyball, the movie, and I see some real parallels here between the Old Baseball techniques of traditional advertising and marketing and the new ground Old Spice has broken.

In the movie (and real life) Billy Bean decides to disregard the conventional wisdom (experienced scouts find and evaluate talent; fielding is as important as getting on base) and build a new paradigm. He was told in many different ways how it won’t work; it’s heretical; he’s an idiot. Although his team wins 20 straight games, setting a major league record, it fails to win the pennant. Everybody says this confirms his idiocy. Then the Red Sox use his method to win two World Series and break the curse of the Bambino.

This is like the ad world’s reaction to Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign: They only managed to maintain share; the social media frenzy didn’t turn into dollars; quirky works, but can’t sustain.

After the YouTube video response campaign, Old Spice didn’t entirely abandon the quirky and interactive social media based approach to advertising. They set up a duel between “New Old Spice Guy” Fabio and “Old Old Spice Guy” Isaiah Mustafa that featured each spokesman responding to comments made via social media. They went on to do some other clever videos. Then, during December, 2011, they created the “Manta Claus” campaign in which Mustafa announces he wants to give gifts to all 7 billion of us.

In the first video, Mustafa name checks Twitter user @beautyjunkies  and gifts her with a pair of shoes made out of necklaces. @beautyjunkies is a lady named Amber with more than 12,000 followers who runs a sophisticated Website that hawks all kinds of beauty accessories. This type of site is similar to the “fashion hauling” sites targeted at young women. On haul sites and videos, women show off their latest fashion finds. So @beautyjunkies is a savvy choice for Old Spice, who admitted that when they started, they had little idea of how to find social media influencers. “We don’t have the answers of who the real influencers are in the world right now,” said Iain Tait, global interactive executive creative director at Wieden + Kennedy, who produced the original Old Spice campaigns. “We wanted to pick a cross-section where we could meet influencers in different areas.”[1]

Mustafa goes on in a series of videos name-checking 25 other social media users, Australia, Billings, Montana, Matt Lauer, and South America (in Spanish). These videos don’t have the stratospheric numbers of views of the originals — ranging from 45,000 to half a million views each versus the 3.5 million combined views for the Fabio/Mustafa duel videos — but the approach shows that Old Spice understands the technique they pioneered.

That Old Spice gets it is reflected in the fact that, for the second straight year, their campaigns have topped the list as the most viral brand of the year in video. Old Spice is even name-checked in Mashable’s infographic, The Evolution of Advertising: From Stone Carving to the Old Spice Guy.

Continuing our conversation, Chris Cortilet, Principal of human-centered design firm, Azul7, thinks that companies in both the advertising/marketing and the digital/interactive camps can learn a lot from Old Spice’s success. “There are so many in the digital or interactive industry who think the ad world is crap,” Cortilet said. “I just think that there is a legacy of things agencies do that our community should take note of. By the same token, advertising folks are starting to get some aspects of social media, and when they do get it, they’ll be a force.”

[1] Advertising Week’s How Old Spice Ruled the Real-Time Web:

Old Spice and Moneyball: Embracing Social Media

Old Spice and Moneyball: Embracing Social Media

In the first post in this series, Old Spice and Moneyball: How Marketers Must Learn to Love Social Media, I asked “What do the Old Spice body wash ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like‘ campaign and the movie Moneyball have in common?” The post examined Old Spice’s campaign, which was a smashing success by almost any measure.

Old Spice Video Responses

According to Chris Cortilet, Principal of human-centered design firm, Azul7, “The advertising community noticed the effect of the campaign and, because the ads started on YouTube and achieved such success, likes to use it as a case study of effective integration of social media and traditional advertising. Agencies talk about the initial 19% increase in sales. Very good. But then Old Spice did the unthinkable: They stopped producing the commercials. Six months later they relaunched the campaign and saw a small 7% uptick in sales. Then they did the unthinkable again: They stopped updating content, and six months later they saw a negative effect on sales.”

There may have been seemingly rational reasons for this. Ad agencies and brands are afraid to let an approach get stale (tell that to Mr. Whipple, the “Don’t Squeeze the Charmin” guy featured in ads for more than 20 years). Perhaps the effect of the campaign was diminishing. There was discussion in the ad community that the campaign had done nothing more than maintain Old Spice’s share in the face of Dove’s launch of a competing product.[1]

Whatever the reasons, in some way, the traditional way of managing ad campaigns won out, and Old Spice moved on. Advertising folks figured the campaign was clever and splashy, but changed nothing. I’m sure there were plenty of naysayers saying things like “It’s a fluke; you can’t replicate this” to Old Spice. I think they were wrong. Old Spice minted gold, and the industry had no idea.

What the advertising community did not catch is that Old Spice invented a new way of relating with individual users — YouTube custom video responses to individual fan comments.

Old Spice’s video response campaign, in which the Old Spice Guy responded in near real-time to fan tweets and posts, was the fastest growing interactive campaign in history, according to Social Times,[2] who noted the following statistics about the campaign:

  • The campaign received a shocking 5.9 million YouTube views in the first day. That’s more views that Obama’s victory speech received after the first twenty-four hours!
  • On the second day of the campaign, Old Spice accounted for 8 videos out of the 11 most popular videos on the Web.
  • By the third day, the Old Spice response campaign had more than 20 million views.
  • A week after the campaign launched it boasted over 40 million views.

OMG. Imagine if it were your tweet they responded to. Wouldn’t you tell everyone you know? Wouldn’t you think Old Spice was the coolest brand ever? Wouldn’t they have a fan for life? Now, if they’d taken the next step of hooking those fans in to an evangelism program, that would have been even better. (See our social media evangelism series, beginning with the post How Can Social Media Scale?)

Sure it was probably expensive to do those spots, but the way they did it — in almost real time, with writing, shooting and editing taking a half hour for each bit — was, I think, sustainable. And probably fun for all involved. After 48 hours, during which it sparked nearly 200 viral response videos and receive tremendous coverage via blog comments and tweets, Old Spice shut the campaign down. It’s like creating a golden goose and leaving it in the barnyard to move on to regular geese.

Cortilet said, “Advertisers may get social media strategy, but they still don’t understand the human part, the engagement on an ongoing basis. It’s still a media-driven mindset. They loved the idea of what they did to get the attention of the consumer, but they didn’t consider the ongoing relationship. And it seems like, in this one, they really missed an opportunity.”

What’s this got to do with Moneyball? That’s the subject of the next post.

Next up: Old Spice and Moneyball: Integrating Social Media

[1] Advertising Age’s How Much Old Spice Body Wash Has the Old Spice Guy Sold?

[2] Social Times’ Old Spice Response Campaign Was More Popular Than Obama:

Technical Support for Social Media Engagement

In our previous post, Sample Social Internal Social Media Policy, we took a look at a sample internal social media policy. In this post, we return to the subject of engagement and how to technically support it.

Social Networks

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Technical Support for Engagement

In addition to the general policy framework we’ve been describing, you’ll need to think about the technical framework for your community. If you are using existing social media sites, be sure you understand all that the sites offer to support your goals. If you are creating your own community, either as part of your existing Website or as a standalone social media community, you’ll need to decide which of the following technical functionality you require.

  • Rich media — Rich media refers to a wide variety of technical capabilities such as the ability for members to control the format of their posts (bold, italic, add hyperlinks), add videos or podcasts, participate in games, and upload documents
  • Widgets — Widgets are little pieces of functionality that allow you to embed features from other sites into your community site, such as LinkedIn polls, Facebook Ads, members’ Twitter feeds, and so forth
  • Landing page calls to action — Your main page may be the place most of your prospects land. You may also want to create special pages, called landing pages, for visitors who may come to your site via a Google search, from Facebook, or from a partner site. Consider crafting language and calls to action specific to these arriving visitors. You’ll also want to offer opportunities for them to register for the site, and for your newsletter as well as:
    • Creating special videos
    • Offering coupons and special materials
    • Offering free trials or free demos
    • Enable “send to friend,” call us, talk to an expert, and so on.
  • Thank you pages — Whenever someone takes an action, send them to a thank you page. This is an opportunity to further engage with them and keep them on your site. Use the landing page techniques described above to offer them more value and entice them to stay
  • E-mail auto replies — If visitors fill out a form to get something of value, offer secondary calls to action to continue the dialog by setting up an autoresponder. An autoresponder sends out an email automatically to the user when they submit a form. This email is another potential touch point that can help draw the visitor into a deeper relationship with you.
  • Viral/social/advocacy calls to action — You may have seen little social media logos for Twitter or Facebook on other sites. These icons allow users to click and then comment about your site on the relevant social media site. Be sure to enable members and visitors to forward your site to a friend, post about you to their blog, tweet about you, post to Facebook, and thus spread the word.
  • Capturing leads — Everyone who fills out a form or otherwise gives you contact information is a lead. Decide what you do with these leads. When do you follow up? How do you track them categorize them and escalate them? Consider obtaining a customer relationship management (CRM)[1] system to manage these leads.

Next up: Determine Social Media Engagement Readiness

Technical Support for Social Media Engagement is the 25th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Media Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re now at about page 124. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

[1] CRM defined:

Old Spice and Moneyball: How Marketers Must Learn to Love Social Media

Old Spice and Moneyball: How Marketers Must Learn to Love Social Media

What do the Old Spice body wash “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign and the movie Moneyball have in common? No, I’m not thinking it’s that they both have sports tie-ins (Old Spice’s actor, Isaiah Mustafa, was a pro wide receiver). I’m thinking in a social media context.

Old Spice Guy

I’ll get to the answer in a bit (this is a multi-part series). But first, let’s take a look at the wonderfulness that was Old Spice’s ad campaign. The following is adapted from a chapter about creating buzz in our book, Be a Person: The Social Operating Manual for Enterprises.

Buzz Creation Techniques

The first thing you must do to create buzz is to find a promotional hook, something that grabs your community’s attention, like Seth Godin’s purple cow. If you’re short on ideas, track the hottest conversations about your product category; ask opinion leaders in your community.

Once you have the hook, you need the story. Consider involving those you serve (customers, clients, stakeholders of all kinds) and get them to tell their stories. A kind of silly story, and some innovative combining of old and new media, drove one of the most buzz-worthy ad campaigns in recent memory: the Old Spice body wash “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign. It combined quirky, high-tech television commercials[1] featuring an attractive and cheeky former NFL wide receiver with deft use of social media to enhance the buzz.

In addition to heavy rotation of the ad on TV, Old Spice posted 186 highly-publicized personalized response videos[2] on YouTube, and they amassed an incredible 34 million views and a billion PR impressions in a single week. These videos responded directly to tweets about the product, including a hilarious “this has in no way been a cross-promotion for an affiliated Old Spice sister company” response to @Gillette.[3]

These videos helped make Old Spice, with 94 million views, the number 1 all-time most-viewed sponsored channel on YouTube.[4] In addition, Old Spice’s Twitter followers went up 3200 percent; Google searches rocketed up 2200 percent; Facebook interactions climbed by 800-1000 percent; and traffic to the Old Spice Website increased 350-500 percent. Old Spice became the number 1 branded body wash, and sales increased 55 percent, with some product variations’ sales rising by as much as 1900 percent.[5]

This brilliant campaign shows how to synergistically combine old and new media to achieve dramatic results. Old Spice combined a well-done TV ad campaign with use of Twitter and YouTube to increase buzz.

Next up: Old Spice and Moneyball: Embracing Social Media

[1] A sample Old Spice commercial:

[2] A sample Old Spice response video:

[3] The non-cross-promotion:

[4] AdAge’s How Much Old Spice Body Wash Has the Old Spice Guy Sold?

[5] MediaBistro’s article The Old Spice Campaign, By the Numbers: