Tag Archives: Social marketing

A Reason To Believe

I’m thinking that Tuesday just might be headed for “Tunes-day” here on the screed. As you can probably tell if you’ve spent any time here, I get a lot of inspiration from music and often that inspiration turns into business insights. Let’s hope that’s the case today.

Rod Stewart

Tim Hardin wrote a song called “Reason To Believe“in 1965 and it has been covered by many other artists including Rod Stewart, The Carpenters, Johnny Cash, and Glen Campbell The original recording appeared on Tim Hardin 1, released in 1966. Obviously the version by Rod Stewart made it a hit and is probably the one with which most people are familiar:

If I listened long enough to you
I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true
Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe

A few other writers have tackled the same notion – people who want to have faith in someone or something else.  Here’s Bruce:

Struck me kinda funny
Seemed kind of funny sir to me
How at the end of every hard-earned day people find some reason to believe

And Pink:

Just give me a reason
Just a little bit’s enough

Why do I bring this up? Because it’s a simple principle that some businesses forget every time they command people to “like” or “share.” Having fans in the first place who are willing to self-identify and follow is amazing.  We assume everyone knows what hashtags are for and that they’ll use them the way we want them to. Before they can use whatever knowledge they have, we often don’t give them a reason to believe – a compelling reason to act and the knowledge with which to do so.  The fact that they’re paying attention to your message at all is a win.  The fact that they’re looking to find a reason is tremendous.  From there, it’s on us as marketers to help them act, grow their faith in our products and brands, and spread the message.

Make sense?

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Brands Out Of Control

A Foodie Friday that begins a long weekend here in the US. Today, however, we’re doing Foodie Friday Fails, and actually they’re kind of fun because of their inherent stupidity. Our fist bit of joy comes to us courtesy of the folks at Nutella.

Deutsch: Ein Glas Nutella-Nussnougatcreme

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A big fan of the hazelnut and chocolate concoction decided to celebrate the product by creating a “World Nutella Day” celebration and used social media and the web to promote it. Want to guess what happened next?

Sarah Rosso, the principal organizer of World Nutella Day, says she received a letter from Ferrero demanding that she stop using the Nutella name and logo. Since it’s a little hard to celebrate Nutella without using the word “Nutella,” that essentially spells death for any sort of World Day. Rosso, who described the letter as “a bit of a surprise and a disappointment,” will have to shut down her Facebook page, Twitter, and website — or, I guess, make them into blind items. “World Day to Celebrate An Unnamed Hazelnut Spread” doesn’t have as much of a ring, but at least it’s not actionable.

That’s right:  in a time when hundreds of brands are spending millions of dollars to create social virality, the geniuses at Ferrero shut down something that does nothing but celebrate their product in a positive way.  They’ve since recanted and are now supporting the effort, blaming their lawyers who reacted reflexively to use of a trademark.  Right.  In an event, the damage has been done but the lesson is worth repeating.  We no longer “own” our brands.  Our customers do and we need to support nearly everything they do unless it’s hurtful or illegal.

Then there are the folks at  TGI Fridays in the great state of New Jersey.  13 of their outlets were caught filling premium liquor bottles with cheap booze and charging top shelf prices for it.   Obviously, the brand takes a hit as a bar, but it also has to make customers wonder what’s going on in the kitchen if the bar is so out of control.  One bad apple and you can write it off to a rogue bar manager.   13 outlets and clearly no one is minding the store (or bar) by watching inventory and sales reports.  Maybe they’re not watching what’s being served or how it’s being cooked.

While the Nutella case shows someone paying too much attention, Friday’s shows the opposite   Managing is often a balancing act and here we have two food brands that have fallen off the wire.   Thoughts?

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Filed under Consulting, food

Immersion Blenders

Do you own an immersion blender? They’re the Foodie Friday Fun topic this week.

This is a wand blender (also known as a stick ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe you call it a wand blender or a stick blender or maybe you call it the “boat motor” as do a few TV chefs. Whatever you call it, the tool is a sharp blade at the end of a stick that a cook uses to blend food in a pot or bowl. Soups, whipped cream, mayonnaise, and pesto are all things for which I’ve used mine.  Restaurants use much larger versions in their kitchens and they’re really useful to have in the home kitchen.

There was an article on them called “Bandages Not Included” in the NY Times two months ago.  One thing that happens fairly often in the home kitchen is that cooks try to clean food off of them while they’re still plugged in.  The blade is very sharp.  The on/off switch is under your thumb by design.  What could possibly go wrong?   While I’ve been fortunate never to have pureed a finger into a stew I was thickening, the article got me thinking about business.

A lot of firms use the business equivalent of an immersion blender: social media.  Like the stick blender, the tool seems very simple and is easy to use.  A business can also cut off a finger pretty easily.  In the last year, KitchenAid, McDonalds, StubHub and others have been in the spotlight for doing exactly that.  Personal tweets sent from a company account, commercial messages tied to trending topics without understanding why they were trending, and “set and forget” use of automated tools have caused brands massive headaches and public black eyes.

Companies perform the  social equivalent of cleaning off the blender blade without unplugging it first every day.  Simple tools often lull us into a sense of complacency and that’s dangerous whether we’re in the kitchen or on the Internet.  That’s why your business’ social media activity needs to be managed just as professionally as the rest of your business and not by an unsupervised intern or someone unfamiliar with each medium’s particular potential pitfalls.  These tools are dangerous even though they’re incredibly useful.  Like the immersion blender they can be the best way to accomplish a branding task.  Provided, of course, you do so and hang on to all your fingers.

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Filed under Consulting, digital media, food