Ben Wise on Branding

Watching the world through the lens of the brand

Posts Tagged ‘Social Media

Despite All the Buzz, Email Still Trumps Social Media

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Much to my dismay, I found myself spending much of my Sunday afternoon in a mall. While I don’t love shopping, I am always amazed by the positioning of brands at this crucial touch point in their relationship with me as a consumer. After stopping at a few stores, it became abundantly clear that brands are still placing much more emphasis on email marketing than social media.

Four of the five stores I stopped at were offering discounts if you signed up to their email list. Only one of the five prominently displayed their social media channels (ie ‘check us out on Facebook/Twitter/YouTube’).

This was reinforced in data published by eMarketer that shows that most consumers still prefer to receive promotions by email. Of all respondents, 37% said their preferred method was Email, followed by Mailers at 23%. Only 9% prefer to receive promotions by Social Media, placing the channel fifth among consumers.

Is this short-sighted?

However, this  may indicate that brands are being too short-sighted. Email promotions offer a very clear and easy to measure ROI. If you measure the ROI of a single promotion on social media, it will likely come in lower than email. In the short-term, email definitely wins.

But this isn’t an ‘apples to apples’ comparison since it doesn’t take into account the long-term impact on consumer loyalty. With the common ‘Please do not reply to this message’ on almost every email campaign, there is much less opportunity to develop a relationship between the brand and the consumer. Social media, on the other hand, is designed around building and maintaining relationships.

The downside is that these relationships are hard to measure, so brands stick with email campaigns.

What do you think? Email or social?


Written by benwisebranding

July 21, 2010 at 8:24 pm

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Advertising on Social Networks Doesn’t Work

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ComScore has just released data showing that social networking websites still charge much less for digital advertising than traditional websites.


This should come as no surprise. People find social networking addictive. They spend hours checking the latest updates on the Facebook wall. For many it is the first thing they check in the morning and the last thing they check at night.

People find social networking unbelievably engaging. One can assume from this that the actual content must be pretty interesting. So why would anyone expect people to notice small ads on the side when the content in the middle is so damn good?

The answer is simple – they shouldn’t. Social networking by its very nature is not as well suited to regular ads as traditional websites.

What can your brand do about it?

Don’t worry, there is some good news for your brand. Social networkers have shown a tremendous willingness to engage with brands through social platforms. Today, Starbucks is just short of 10 million fans (or ‘Likes’) on Facebook giving the company access to a huge pool of potential brand advocates.

By engaging with these fans, Starbucks (or any other brand for that matter) has the chance to build brand loyalty with users in a much more meaningful way than is possible with regular ads.

The idea of ‘engaging instead of broadcasting’ through social networks has become a cliché, but for good reason – it works.

What do you think? Is your brand still relying on regular ads on Facebook?

Written by benwisebranding

July 12, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Don’t Engage If You Can’t Engage

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Self-professed social media gurus will be quick to tell you that brands need to engage with consumers online. Get on Twitter and Facebook and consumers will love you for it.

However, before jumping in, brands need to ensure that they have the true commitment required or they may end up hurting their brand instead of helping it.

Last week I wrote a post on Workopolis’ brand refresh. Someone from the PR firm reached out to me through Twitter asking if I would like to speak with someone from Workopolis about their brand. As well, a Workopolis employee commented on the post. My first instinct was they were doing a great job by reaching out and showing a willingness to engage in a dialogue with me about their brand.

But I soon learned that the company lacked follow-through. I responded to both saying I would love to speak with someone further about the brand. It has been almost two weeks and I still have not heard back.

I wasn’t expecting a response to the original blog post and was delighted when I received one. I was, however, expecting a response once they reached out to me and found myself disappointed.

This goes to show both the potential and the danger of social media for brands. The commitment in terms of time and human resources are high, as are the risks. If a brand isn’t ready to use social media properly, they will continue to put themselves at a greater risk of harming their brand.

What do you think?

Written by benwisebranding

May 28, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Your “fans” are worth $3.60? Think again!

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I recently came across an article on BrandWeek that discusses valuing a ‘fan’ on social media. Social media specialist Virtue has pinpointed that the equivalent media value of each fan is $3.60. The basis of this calculation assumes that an impression on social media is roughly equivalent to other advertising impressions online, at an average price of $5 CPM.

Unfortunately, this method is deeply flawed and greatly underestimates the value of a brand’s fans on social media.

Why Only Advertising?

From a strictly advertising point of view, the rationale makes some sense. But therein lies the problem – a fan on social media is about much more than advertising impressions.

I have written before that social media has sadly ended up a primarily marketing tool, despite potential applications throughout the organization. Being able to interact with and listen to your fans can provide you value far greater than advertising. What about forecasting, demand planning, inventory planning, just to name a few?

Social media has cross enterprise benefits that need to be captured if anyone is going to try to value a ‘fan’. Until then, any guess at the true value is just that – a wild guess.

What do you think? Can you put a dollar value on a social media fan?

Written by benwisebranding

April 13, 2010 at 8:13 pm

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Gaining Trust on Social Networks

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Last week eMarketer released some great data about brands and social networking.  It should come as no surprise that the most trustworthy source for information about brands on social networks is from other consumers. It has long been known that peers are the most credible voice and this is no different on social networks. Brands themselves actually place a close second (32% vs 38%), which is much better that I would have guessed.

But the real implication for brands is about how to gain consumers’ trust on social networks. There are two steps in doing so. First, since both brands and consumers are seen as fairly credible sources, your brand must create a community where conversations occur among consumers in which the brand has an ongoing role.

This makes use of both influential groups in a way that is already naturally occurring in the eco-systems created by social networks. There are lots of tools and platforms to create and take part in these conversations, but Facebook and Twitter remain at the top of the list (mostly because of their size).

The second part, and much more important than the first, is that brands must provide something positive for consumers to discuss online. Essentially, this means that you must offer a remarkable product or service – something that is worth talking about. This comes back to viewing your brand as a business system. It is not enough to say how great you are, your entire business system must be set up to deliver this greatness. Amazing customer service? Really innovative products? A great shopping experience? These are the kinds of things that will start positive conversations on social networks.

Once the conversation starts, and it doesn’t matter who starts it as long as it in a genuine interaction between the brand and consumers, it will be seen as a credible source of information on your brand. The flip side is that if you offer something that is sub-par, consumers will talk about that too. And then it won’t matter what you say, people will only see the negative side of your brand.

I know, this is pretty common sense (or at least it should be). But the reality is that it happens far too infrequently.

What do you think? Are you giving consumers something to talk about online?

Written by benwisebranding

April 5, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Social Media’s Financial Rewards

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A couple months ago this blog discussed the ability of social media to create emotional brand benefits. eMarketer has just released data that now ties these emotional benefits to bottom line performance. For marketers and brand professionals looking to substantiate their social media efforts, look no further.

A full 19% of respondents said that for many brands, they are more likely to buy a brand that they ‘follow’ or ‘fan’. An additional 32% said they are more likely to buy for a few brands that they follow/fan.

Over half of social media users have just said that interacting with brands through social networks increased their likelihood of purchase (admittedly, stated behaviour and actual behaviour often differ).

For any brands that are still deliberating a move into social media because they can’t convince their CEO or CFO or the benefit, here is your proof.

What do you think? Will this help make the case for a brand’s involvement in social media?

Written by benwisebranding

March 17, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Google’s Growing Brand

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In the past decade, Google has become pervasive across any online experience. They have launched dozens of products – some very successful (eg. Gmail) and some not so successful (eg. Knol).

Many of these launches showcased their impressive innovation capabilities. This week Google took two steps to further entrench their brand into your internet experience. The first was the launch of Google Buzz and the second was the announcement that Google will move into the ISP sphere with a super high-speed network.

Initial reviews of Google Buzz, which seems to be getting more attention than the ISP news, haven’t been great. Users say it is just another tool that doesn’t add much value, and competitors have highlighted that Google is late to the Social Media game. Both of these points are true. What is intriguing is future potential of Google Buzz. The Google brand is not about one time innovation, but about ongoing improvements through innovation. Buzz might be a bust now, but if the Google brand lives up to its promise it could be trouble for Facebook and Twitter down the road. I know this hasn’t happened with all their launches (eg Knol), but social media is too important and too lucrative for Google to ignore. It is at their own peril that they ignore Buzz.

Google becoming an ISP has even bigger implications for internet users. Google makes their money almost entirely through small, targeted ads. The obvious benefit is that with a better connection, people will be online more and thus click on more ads. But equally important is that controlling the network will give Google access to mounds of data that competitors don’t have. Google’s ads have been successful because they are so targeted. This additional data will make that targeting even better, and will likely produce products that we can’t imagine yet. Either way, a big win for the Google brand and their consumers.

This has been a big week for Google. They are integrating forward and backward: forward from a platform to find information into the conversation between users and backward into the underlying infrastructure and technology.

What do you think? Will Google Buzz eventually be a success? Will you sign up to an internet connection provided by Google?

Written by benwisebranding

February 10, 2010 at 9:47 pm