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TREND. iNSIGHT: Socialising enterprise

TRENDAFRiCA October 30, 2012

TREND. iNSIGHT: Socialising enterprise

A TREND. iNSIGHT report by Publishing Editor Louise Marsland (@trendlives) brought to you in association with Quirk Education.

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Snapshot

It has only been around and used by marketers for two to three years, but its impact has been felt massively as brands feel the effects of a socialised consumer base.

Social media is not the solution to all your marketing problems. You don’t need to change your marketing strategy and hire tattooed interns to beef up your department because you don’t understand The Twitter or why your kids spend so much time on MXit.

What it is, is CRM on steroids – but only if used in context and only if you know your target market more intimately than ever before. It is also about deep engagement with your customers – allowing them to innovate with you on product lines; rewarding them for being your customers; and having a real conversation.

And that is the crux: you need to know and appreciate your customers more than you have. You can’t talk at them any longer, because they are now talking back and you may not always like what they have to say, but you have to listen or potentially lose them.

Social media works for great brands who deliver on their promises, like with any other facet of marketing strategy.

It is about great content, great products and great delivery. Just like marketing should be.

What social media is not any longer, is just a suite of social networks and tools.

It is now about the social enterprise, the brand that integrates social across all platforms of engagement. It is about living social.

 #TREND.ing

  1. Socialise your business: social media is no longer about the platform, it is about how to build social businesses and brands.
  2. Asset management: brands are moving from renting fans to owning fans on their own socialised online platforms.
  3. Be allergic to hype – don’t ‘do’ social media because everyone else is – it must be right for your brand and in the right context and at the right time.
  4. Social content: it really is about content, about creating content that consumers want to share with their networks and friends as it enhances their lives in some way.
  5. Video content: the next big disruptor in social media will be video content as rich content becomes more important for brands.
  6. Social CRM: a huge growth area in social media is customer service where social media is forcing deep integration and is a value-add to marketing efforts.
  7. Social commerce: South African brands need to do more to monetise their social engagement. This is also a next ‘big thing’.
  8. Segmentation: marketers need to understand their customers beyond LSM demographics, in order to really know them and where they hang out on the social networks and how to reach them.
  9. Liquid content: content that can be repurposed quickly and used across various platforms.
  10. Social gamification is the next big thing in social media for brands, whereby interactive games are used to bring the brand message across and create fun opportunities for consumers to engage with brands.
  11. Social media influencer: the rise of the social media influencer, whether they be bloggers or connected celebrities, has seen brands scrambling to connect and even pay for the privilege of being mentioned on popular blogsites. A word of caution: often the unrestrained commentary that made these bloggers so popular wanes when all they post are paid-for advertorials. Influence is earned, not bought, with social media.
  12. The next social media property to watch: Linked In, which is capitalising on its high net worth user base to market to brands.

Social thinking

There are many definitions of social media and as many misunderstandings about what social media can do for your brand.

Marketing 101 brand principles still apply. Social media just helps you do it better.

It is also about the mind set of an organisation: is it open and does it promote discourse and engagement both within the organisation and with customers, or is it closed and limited in its engagement, walling itself off from customers with a myriad of red tape and unfriendly call centres?

Socialising enterprise is about more than teaching staff about Twitter, it is about breaking down barriers to assist business in

Kaitlyn Wilkins, EAME regional director of Social@Ogilvy
Photo By Annabel Moeller

integrating social ways of doing business, says Kaitlyn Wilkins, EAME regional director of Social@Ogilvy who visited South Africa recently.

So what does it mean to a business to be social?

Wilkins describes it as really being about a 21st century brand, understanding the ways your consumers are changing and their behaviours are changing, and their experience, discovery, purchase and post-purchase experience with a brand and how they want to stay engaged with it.

“It is not about doing hot things on hot platforms, but transforming to meet the needs of consumers today.”

Wilkins believes that brands are afraid of social media.

It is happening, customers are talking about your brand online and the question is: are you there to engage? Brands wait too long and end up being reactionary, engaging in a negative way.

If brands are to understand customer behaviour, they need to understand first and foremost where their consumer is in social and what their consumer wants to do in your category on social media.

She points to the fact that in South Africa, for example, demographic behaviour can change every six months in an emergent economy such as this.

Brands need to do their homework on consumer behaviour and marketers need to understand where social interrupts the customer journey in experiencing a product.

Coca Cola decided to deliver more than product on student campuses with this campaign, making it about “delivering happiness” and presenting young artists in celebration of the London Olympics  – creating content people want to see or experience and share on social networks.

Corporate South Africa is definitely aware of social media and has made some effort to incorporating it into consumer strategy, but only about half believe they are being effective, according to the South African Social Media Landscape 2012 study, released in September 2012 by technology market researchers World Wide Worx and information analysts Fuseware.

The study reveals that 95% of major brands surveyed have some form of social media strategy aimed at consumers, but only 51% rate their efforts on Facebook as effective and only 33% believe they are effective on Twitter.

“The survey shows that corporate South Africa has woken up to social media, but it hasn’t yet figured out how to dress for the role,” said World Wide Worx managing director Arthur Goldstuck. “Most large companies are still neutral on the impact of social media, and are still feeling their way.”

According to World Wide Worx, the report includes analysis of South African consumers’ use of Facebook, Twitter, Mxit, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Foursquare, as well as a survey conducted among corporate brand owners.

“We interviewed representatives of 61 major brands, and found that corporate use of social networks tended to be a case of responding to media hype,” said Fuseware managing director Mike Wronski. “The most popular social media platform in South Africa, Mxit, is used as a marketing tool by only one out of five large brands. This compares to Facebook, with nine out 10 using it, and YouTube, with two out of three.”

Other key findings by World Wide Worx and Fuseware included:

• 49% of South African corporations surveyed leave social media in the hands of a marketing team, while 18% allocate it to public relations and a further 18% outsource it.
• The most commonly cited reason for using social media is ‘as an effective PR channel’, with 70% of brands using it for this purpose, while 62% use it as a core part of their marketing campaigns.
• Sales represent a key element of social media for corporations, with 43% using it for customer lead generation.
• Only 13% of companies are using social media specifically because their competitors are using it.
• Most companies intend to make investments in training their current people in social media best practices. A full 36% intend to use specialist social media agencies to assist in their social media PR and marketing. Only 15% say their skills are optimal.

Latest research by Statcounter reveals that Pinterest has overtaken Twitter in terms of popularity and is now the world’s fourth largest social media site, behind Facebook, YouTube and Stumbleupon.

According to Simon Leps, CEO of Fontera Digital Works, the rapid growth of Pinterest in South Africa, combined with its ability to drive users to websites, makes the site an extremely powerful tool for local businesses.

It has been estimated that the rapidly growing social media site attracts close to 20 – 37 million unique users globally per month. “Pinterest also recently became the quickest website ever to reach 10 million unique visitors,” says Leps.

“Based on Alexa traffic data, Pinterest is the 19th most popular website in South Africa. South Africa has the 12thmost Pinterest users globally and is responsible for 1.6% of all Pinterest page views worldwide. In January alone, 328 000 South Africans visited the social media site.”

And according to a recent Ericsson report on TV and video, 62% of people use social media while watching TV – an 18% increase in one year. Consumers are now using social media to discuss what they are watching while they are watching it, amplifying the experience. Mobile devices are an important part of the TV experience – 67% of consumers use tablets, smartphones or laptops in their everyday TV viewing, both for video consumption and to enable a social media experience while watching TV.

The results of Ericsson’s ConsumerLab annual study reveal that social TV is becoming a mass-market phenomenon and, more than half of consumers surveyed want to be able to choose their own TV and video content. Ericsson reports that people are looking for aggregated services that can bring everything together to allow consumers to mix on-demand and linear TV, “including live content, facilitate content discovery, leverage the value of social TV and provide seamless access across devices”.

Ericsson conducted research in Brazil, Chile, China, Germany, Italy, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, UK and the US.

Engagement overall in social media is rising in countries on all continents, according to worldwide magazine media association FIPP’s World Digital Media Factbook 2012 – 2013. Internet users are spending more time on social media today than in the past. In China, 80% of internet users are engaged in social media (Nov, 2011), with activities such as using social networking sites, blogging, uploading videos, sharing photos, micro-blogging and visiting forums, according to the GlobalWebIndex. This was up from 78% in 2009. Numbers in Russia and India are similar to those in China, but in Brazil, the change was more significant, from just over 70% in July 2009 to more than 80% in November 2011.

Microblogging site Twitter is seeing global ad revenues climb steadily, the FIPP report notes, as active user numbers reached more than 500 million in 2012. Ad revenue from paid advertising climbed 83% from 2011 to 2012 to $259.9 million, predicted to rise 55% to $399.5 million in 2013 and by 36% to $540 million in 2014, according to figures from eMarketer as quoted by FIPP.

FIPP also quotes Microsoft as reporting that top social media advertisers will increase social media ad spend in 2012/13:

Brazil 81%
US 65%
Singapore 47%
France 47%
UK 42%
Canada 38%

Social networking in South Africa has crossed the age barrier, the urban/rural divide and even the relationship gap, according to research findings by The South African Social Media Landscape 2012 study. It  shows that the fastest growing age group among Facebook users in South Africa is the over-60s. From August 2011 to August 2012, the number of over-60s on Facebook grew by 44%, compared to less than 30% for those aged 30-60, less than 20% for those aged 19-30, and less than 10% for teenagers, the study reports.

At the end of August, 5.33 million South Africans were using Facebook on the web, 2.43 million were on Twitter and 9.35 million on Mxit. Because Facebook does not measure mobile-only usage among those who have registered via their cellphones, however, the full extent of its penetration is significantly understated: primary research by World Wide Worx shows that 6.8 million people access Facebook on their phones.

The report puts Twitter use measured in this primary research at 2.2 million by the end of June, or 100 000 new users a month since August last year. Fuseware data, collected directly from Twitter through an API (application programme interface), shows that the number reached 2.4 million at the end of August, exactly matching the growth rate measured by World Wide Worx, and validating the earlier data.

Other key findings announced in September include:

  • Both Facebook and Twitter have grown at a similar rate in South Africa, at around 100 000 new users a month, for the past year.
  • LinkedIn has grown substantially, but at a slightly lower rate, to reach 1.93 million South Africans.
  • Pinterest is the fledgling among the major social networks, with 150 000 users in South Africa.
  • *WhatsApp has become the leading instant messaging tool among South Africans aged 16 and over, living in cities and towns, with a user base of 4.6 million.
  • The youngest mobile instant messaging tool to emerge on the measurement radar in South Africa, 2Go, has close to a million adult users.
  • The most common ‘Check In’ sites for Facebook in South Africa are airports and shopping malls.
  • The biggest tweeting day of the week is a Monday, with an average of 9.6 million tweets sent by South Africans on the first working day of the week. Friday is next, with 9.6 million, while Saturday is the slowest Twitter day, with 8.4 million tweets.
  • Both Facebook and Twitter have crossed the urban/rural divide. The proportion of urban adults using Facebook is a little less than double rural users – but rural users are now at the level where urban users were 18 months ago. Twitter’s urban penetration is a little more than double its rural penetration, but the rural proportion has also caught up to where the urban proportion was 18 months ago.

Social media is really about understanding what needs to be done for your brand and your messaging, says Angus Robinson, director: mobile, content and community divisions at Native SA. Robinson says it is not about having a Mxit, Facebook or Twitter presence; it is about what we need to do for our brand to do the best for our customers.

He says brands should become allergic to hype, fearing that if they don’t immediately jump on social media, they will go out of business. It is not about the platform, it is about how to apply social thinking around products, in the way brands interact with employees, in the way staff are rewarded and how they engage with customers.

Angus Robinson, director: mobile, content and community divisions at Native SA

Developing beautiful products that are easy to use, with shareable elements is what brands like Apple are so good at, Robinson asserts.

Apple is referenced often by interview subjects for this trends report, as are Nike and Coca Cola – all great brands with great social strategy that integrates seamlessly with their marketing strategies.

Starbucks is also a brand that understands customer engagement, drawing customers in by encouraging them to share their ideas for new Starbucks products and experiences. Starbucks was also one of the first brands to engage with Foursquare, providing vouchers to customers.

Social media is tightening the circle around customer care, CRM and communications. Wilkins urges brands to take a holistic view of the customer to avoid being forced in to the social domain before they are ready, through consumer behaviour.

The need for effective response in customer care in the social domain has also spawned new tools, such as Brand Embassy and Spredfast to monitor brands’ own eco-systems, particularly where customers interact with a brand across various touchpoints.

Brands that are built to be social will find it easier in this brave new world. Businesses need to move from being ‘closed’ to ‘open’, Robinson advises. An open business is one which wants to engage with clients and both employees and clients have a say in how the business is run. Robinson references First National Bank as a good example of a local South African business that is ‘open’.

A ‘closed’ organisation is one which remains rigid in policy and procedures, with a command and conquer model reminiscent of the top down management structure with centralised control, which is not open to engage on social networks.

‘Open’ organisations tend to be flatter in hierarchical structures, more flexible and open to change, allowing for internal discourse and emergent processes, encouraging of innovation. The Google way of doing business is a creative example of this.

Nielsen’s 2011 report into social media demographics and habits, pegged active social media users as being very influential offline. We all know by now that consumers often trust the recommendations of their peers, making social media an ideal platform for influencers to spread their ideas and purchase power.

Nielsen quotes NM Incite research showing that 60% of social media users create reviews of products and services. Consumer reviews and ratings are the preferred source for information about products, service, value, price and product quality. Another interesting fact is that active adult social networkers are also more likely to be active in other spheres of their lives as well, attending political rallies, professional sporting events and working out at the gym.

Global brands like Redbox, ABC News, Sears, Kraft, Coca-cola, and P&G are leveraging the power of social influencers to develop engagement and trust with potential customers, according to a report by Blogfrog on ‘Why Influencer Marketing Matters to Brands’.

“Brands now have the ability to identify key social influencers, mobilise them to create trusted content that goes beyond banner advertising, distribute that content at scale across the web on all social platforms, and measure the entire process. The combination of these trends is driving the explosive growth of ‘influencer marketing’.

Longevity is no longer a precursor for brand success, as is apparent by the latest Interbrand global Best Brands index for 2012 which includes many ‘young’ companies such as Google and Facebook in the top 100, and more established brands like BP and Blackberry falling rapidly in the rankings after blotting their brand copybook in recent years.

It’s not just the emergence of social networks over the past few years that is enabling the ‘open’ organisation, but the proliferation of smart mobile devices to enable the flow of information and content.

Angus Robinson points to a trend of ‘BYOD’ (bring your own device): “People are saying, f**k that – I want to use a device of my choosing. Business has to make a plan. People are far more able to work on tablets and far more freely. And tablets have to have those apps which are socially focussed to allow employees to collaborate on projects and ideas in an organisation.”

Building social brands

Scott Gray, head of planning at Quirk, says that social media is becoming less of a channel and thinking has evolved on the premise that social needs to be incorporated much wider into business strategy.

“We are talking about people as media – the rise of the connections between people and how every new connection with someone new online adds a larger audience than that one extra person, as you access their network and the reach of your own message becomes considerable.”

If we look at people as media who can distribute brand messages, then brand messages need to be designed around sharing, says Gray. He admits it is a huge paradigm shift for traditional marketers.

Marketers don’t have much of a choice though, as media fragmentation and consumer freedom of choice makes it harder for brands to create “once off messaging”.

“Messaging really needs to be designed across interest verticals.”

Attention is a currency and consumers will only spend their attention on experiences that are worthwhile, Gray emphasises.

Most South African brands are still struggling with the fact that their customers can now give them direct feedback. But no brand manager or marketing director can proclaim ignorance as the conversations are happening whether they like it or not, and the tools to track those conversations about their brands are already there.

And guess what, brand competitors are using the same tools to track what your customers are saying about your brand, as well as their own.

Lieze Langford, strategic director of HelloComputer

Brands also forget that not all the conversations going on out there are negative, says Lieze Langford, strategic director of HelloComputer. She equates the social media opportunity with that of a relationship for brands, which need to slowly introduce themselves to the cool kids group in the schoolyard , comment where relevant, and if someone says something nasty, decide whether you want to participate and how.

The magic happens with campaigns where there is intense engagement, in your brand’s social reach, the tone of the conversation, and being able to stay relevant, Langford says.

Brands are struggling with content though, says Langford. “Anyone can do a few posts a week, but you have to put great content up that you can share, which is a challenge for brands.”

She questions whether brands really know who their consumers are beyond the LSM segmentation.

“They need to really understand what makes one person different to another. Research shows that the number one reason people like brands on Facebook is promotions and shareable content, VIP access, etc. This is where brands have been very successful.”

Proving the value of social media campaigns is also becoming easier with new tools coming to market. Return on investment is shifting from tallying impressions to engagement.

Kaitlyn Wilkins emphasises the need to plan the outcome with social media campaigns, as a marketer would any other campaign: “What do you want to achieve? Is it a reputation play or a service play or a sales play? There is not a one-size fits all model in the social space. There are the right platforms to meet your objectives.”

To get started, Wilkins advises brands to draw up social brand guidelines:

  • What is your social brand character? Social brand guidelines need to be developed beyond the brand architecture.
  • Why are you engaging in the social space and why should your consumers want to interact with you?
  • Tactics: how are you going to do it?
  • Crisis management: what is the worst that can happen, how will you respond?

Prezence CEO, Prakash Patel, says the key growth in social media has been in online reputation management (ORM) where traditional public relations has come under attack as real time conversations are happening now about brands.

The other growth area for brands has been to promote a product or service and for social responsibility – causes are being used to

Prakash Patel, CEO, Prezence Digital

drive campaigns to mobilise the masses via social media for a common cause.

Patel says in his experience, some South African brands don’t yet understand that you can’t do social media in isolation – it has to be part of a total strategy.

For brands, it has to be about: ‘What is going to be good for you as a brand and how can social media be a help to managing that conversation or galvanising people?’

Brands need to find out what is being said about their brand and then identify different clusters of people who are talking about the brand.

There has to be some kind of human intervention he says, to understand and humanise the tone and language of the conversation – brands can’t just rely on metrics.

“Good governance is to use social media from an ORM perspective for brands and to help all stakeholders understand that there have to be rules of engagement.”

A brand should not just hire a 23-year-old to manage and write social media policies, for example, those with a vested interest in the brand, who understand marketing and brand management, have to be involved too.

There are various social media tools and platforms which will assist any brand in positioning it, giving it a voice and leveraging that voice in a positive way. “The key thing is the engagement policy,” Patel says. Brands have to understand the rules of engagement.

Brands also need to understand how the different social media platforms and tools link in to each other, as well as how to take a negative conversation off-line and engage directly and when appropriate.

Social customer relationship management (CRM) is gaining traction and becoming one of the most important developmental facets of social media. “Social CRM is a transparent, open, honest way to engage with that conversation happening out there with your brand. It is a great tool to leverage what is being said about you,” Patel says.

Working around the social media clutter and hype is what communication agency Cerebra tries to do with clients, says Cerebra CEO Mike Stopforth. Return on investment is as important as understanding all the new platforms and new tools.

“The first thing we ask clients when they come to us with their social media needs is, why? What is their motivation? If we can’t find a good business reason, we advise the client to avoid the platform, or stay out of social media for the time being. A bigger question is the fundamental way that consumers interact with brands and how employers and employees interact. We need to first look at the gaps between what companies promise in social media and in real life.”

And that is the crux of social media: you can do more harm to your brand by getting it wrong. When brands enter the social media melee, there is no going back and it pays to know what you are doing and have the resources and capacity to follow through on your promises.

Confectionary brand Rascals made a big impact on their return to South Africa with a campaign seeded successfully through social media channels; but distribution problems turned much of the positive feedback into negative reviews.

Like all marketing strategy, social media strategy needs to be driven by the brand objectives and informed by customer iNSIGHTS in order to manage the community online.

Social media strategy deals with the unpredictable audience variable, so needs to be updated constantly, says Stopforth.

“Brand objectives become the driving force in everything that we do.”

It still is about what your brand needs, first and foremost, Patel says and warns brands not to expose themselves on social media until they have a plan. “Digital is not the holy grail of marketing and social media isn’t the holy grail of digital.”

Pure, classic brand management is often the simplest idea or concept to succeed on social media. Patel references a bakery in Soho in the United Kingdom, which would tweet its followers whenever fresh bread had just come out of the oven. Bespoke butchery/coffee shop Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants  in Cape Town tweets its daily lunchtime specials to customers.

KLM did a random act of kindness campaign, where they started following people who tweeted that they were flying KLM, got to know them via their social media profiles and surprised 28 of them with a personalised gift while they were in transit or on arrival. The ‘Random acts of Kindness’ campaign generated more than 1 million impressions on Twitter in three weeks alone, for a relatively small investment in a small sample group of customers. See the campaign results here.

Understanding your customer base and their behaviour online and what is important to them will inform what kind of content brands need to seed.

“In South Africa brands are still playing catch up on how to truly integrate their through-the-line thinking with social media. We have the technology platforms, but the challenges are like anywhere else in the world: cracking the idea and how to leverage social media,” Patel concludes.

With social media communication still largely in its infancy for South African brand engagement given the various digital variables and market segmentation, Stopforth hopes for a greater degree of maturity from service providers with more measurement, analysis and real returns.

“Clients need to be thinking how to build a real social business and close the gap between what they promise and what they deliver. It is an ongoing marketing problem. In social media you are in a very intimate space, reaching customers in their homes, their personal spaces. The customer in turn, has a set of unrealistic expectations of what to expect as brand engagement.”

Brands that are built to be social from the beginning make marketing them easier, Angus Robinson says. Social media campaigns need to add value and be relevant to customers as then they will engage meaningfully with the brand. These are his pointers:

  1. What value is there? Is your customer the first to use it or report it as a social currency, like Apple products or some of the memes. Or have your consumers participate in the crowdsourcing a new design of a product which several car brands in particular have engaged their consumers on. Robinson himself participated in the design of a new BMW dashboard when innovation was sought online from customers.
  2. Is it relevant? Time of day, seasonal, relevance because it is targeted at me, utility? There was a famous BMW snow tyres campaign in Germany, where on the day it started snowing, BMW sent out an MMS message with a photo of the make of each customer’s car, with snow tyres on it, accompanied by a discount voucher for new snow tyres at their nearest BMW. It is the law in Germany when it snows to put snow tyres on your car.
  3. Engagement – what do we want people to do with our brands online? Contribute to product, share product, help build the product more?

One of the most social opportunities to drive social into the next couple of years is “gaming”, says Lieze Langford. Social gamification is the next big thing in social media for brands, whereby games are used to bring the brand message across. HelloComputer launched a game for fans of Red Heart Rum whereby they could modify a roadster bike online and brand ambassador and rugby champion, Victor Matfield would choose the best design, winning a lucky contestant a custom designed bike (see here and here).

“Not every brand knows how to get it right, with the right social element, but users are spending a lot of time online, so you need to understand your market to engage with your customers on the social media channels in which they will respond to your brand.”

The days of the one-way brand conversation are over, where a brand message was shouted at the masses. “Social media forces you to be in a dialogue with your consumer. Clients tell us they don’t want to be a part of that dialogue, but the conversation is already happening – you don’t always have a choice,” says Langford.

A real problem is the lack of capacity within marketing departments. Training also needs to be on going in all digital applications, not just social media. Because social is so overarching, strategists like Langford believe digital agencies should look after social as part of the wider digital marketing bouquet for brands.

“Brand custodians have to allow the brands to open up; be open to criticism and positive comment. Our best results have been with our alcohol brands which are under pressure from mainstream advertising restrictions, so are actively using other channels to engage with consumers.”

Langford also urges brands to understand that any social communication online is amplified tenfold because of the reach of social networks.

“Marketing 101 principles still apply – really really understand your customer, CRM is more important than ever. You need to know where to meet your consumers and have a conversation.”

In fact, many brand managers have ‘increase social reach for the brand’ as part of their KPIs.

 Social CRM

Social CRM – using social media to drive loyalty programmes, collate and respond to feedback, by using the basic mechanics of social media to enable sharing, commenting and checking in, is becoming more prevalent amongst SA brands. New platforms such as Pinterest generate interest and provide more opportunity.

True integration with social means having a campaign “with social baked into the heart of it right from the start”, says Michael

Michael Krynauw, Ogilvy hed of Social

Krynauw, Ogilvy head of social, social strategy and implementation in in Cape Town.

Krynauw says social is growing and mobile is becoming more of a key focus as that is where consumers are.

He advises brands to step back and look at their over-arching business objectives and where social fits in. “There is more of a need for integration where companies are not looking for social in the long term, but at campaign-led activities. “Either the companies or the campaigns are not fully integrated.”

Krynauw believes South Africa is at the brink of opportunity where companies are shifting to become more social. “Marketing directors and CMOs need to lead from the front and put social at the heart of their business and link with social and leverage off real time platforms.”

He said too many companies were not developing social or mobile solutions for their brands.

“Those agencies and companies in the know understand that. There is a different strategy for mobile that must work with desktop strategies.”

One of the most talked about and awarded integrated campaigns in South African advertising history to date is Ogilvy’s Carling Black Label ‘Be the Coach’ campaign, which brought home three Cannes Lions: gold, silver and bronze in 2012, as well as a Grand Prix for the 360 degree campaign at the 2012 Loerie Awards. Social media was an integral part of the campaign. Watch it here.

Brands that are successful on social media understand their customers.

“South Africa is still at the very beginning of social media – there is a lot more understanding of how it works and how people are connecting with one another. There is a lot more going on in mobile. Even Facebook originally thought social media would live on the desktop,” says Sifiso Mazibuko, Facebook Innovation Manager at Habari Media.

“Mobile was a gateway device originally, but now, for many people, it is the only screen they look at. In Europe, with the proliferation

Sifiso Mazibuko, Facebook Innovation Manager, Habari Media

of tablets and smartphones, Facebook have gone back to focussing on mobile.”

Mazibuko says for brands, the focus needs to be on figuring out where the people they are trying to connect with are, which platforms they inhabit?

“There are so many platforms, as a new one comes along, people get all hyped up and want to jump on board. Traditional research still applies. We need to focus on the one our core target market is on, then what are we going to achieve, as a brand, by being on that platform in conjunction with current marketing communications strategy.”

Brands need to ask what they are using social media for? eCommerce, building loyalty, CRM, connecting in general, learning about their customers habits, learning about new products, or as a feedback mechanism?

“Social media is about social connections. People go on to social media platforms to connect with their friends. When you as a brand go into that space, you need to communicate with people in a very social manner. You are not competing with other brands; you are competing with their friends, their personal life and interests.”

For brands it is about figuring out how to add a social tone and integrate into the social fabric of people’s lives.

One of the reasons brands don’t get social media right, is when media is decided before the idea is decided. Then the priority is according to budget and social media and online is considered an afterthought, says Dave Duarte, digital media specialist and Huddlemind MD.

“We need to shift to brands with purpose. There was a clear message at Cannes this year: brands need to shift from storytelling to brand behaviour. They have to have absolute integrity. If your brand is about empowering women, then what does your advertising say about empowering women and is your company going all out to empower women?”

Duarte says Nike has shifted 40% of its traditional marketing budget to social, digital and ‘making stuff’. Nike no longer says ‘Just Do It’. Customers are asking them to show them how to ‘Just Do It’, which they are doing exceptionally well on a multitude of platforms like Nike +.

“Once again it comes down to that deep integration that is so important. Deep integration is way into the business – into the way leadership works. Those internal conversations have to harmonise as much as those external conversations.”

Duarte describes those brands getting it wrong out there as “surface phenomena”.

“Most brands on Twitter are just talking heads, there is no partnering with people to achieve what they want to achieve. They haven’t got the utility side of social media right – customers are not as interested in niche brand communities as brands think they are. People are very interested in getting discounts and deals via social media – customers want to know what you are doing to give back.”

Duarte agrees that social customer service is one of the next big things in social media. “People go to social media when they are desperate. Brands might not prefer it, but customers do.”

He believes instant messaging and other social media tools will radically change CRM.

One concerning factor is that agencies are picking up a lot of aggression directed at brands, says Duarte. “People seem keen to ‘take a brand out’ to prove their ‘powers’. Brands need to have their big ideal. We know that there is an expectation to make money, but customers need to know what value brands are adding. That is why we will be loyal to a brand: if we can believe in something that will change the world.”

Mazibuko says brands must still have a specific brand objective, utility, adding value to people’s lives and providing content they want to share.

“Nike figured out that people want to get fit and it is a social thing, so instead of broadcasting brand messages at people, they created a product that will enable people to get fit and share their social behaviour and experiences. People are becoming their brand advocates. Nike is one example of a brand that has really figured it out.”

Mazibuko says from a strategy point of view, brands need to ask why they are doing social media and the value of engagements on these platforms. “Everything else leads on from there. Everything else builds on from there. Once you know what you want to do, then you know where you need to be, what your KPIs are and what your success looks like.”

He doesn’t think that brands all see social media as an intrinsic part of their business, which shows in how some brands treat social media and the limited resources they allocate to it, allocating the management of social media platforms to interns or ‘social media guru’s’ because they have 5000 followers on Twitter, but no branding and marketing experience.

Local brands such as First National Bank and Vodacom have internal social media teams and it is estimated that FNB have put upwards of R10 million into their internal social media teams and have upped social media spend for 2012. And it shows in both brands’ success and marketing efforts.

“There are lots of brands which have done cool social media campaigns, but haven’t followed up on them… haven’t delivered on their brand promise. FNB score there: people are using technology a lot more than before and now FNB have become the single largest distributor of iPads in South Africa. They made it easy and now they are an internet service provider, offering access to various services online.”

The future, Mazibuko says is mobile, both globally and locally.

In South Africa, brands have to figure out the feature phone versus the smartphone market as South Africa works in two different economies – the 6 to 7 million taxpayers who can afford smartphones, and the rest of the mass market that have feature phones.

“The number one reason people are on the internet is social networking. The Chinese are busy developing cheap android handsets and cheap tablets, so if the price comes down, then penetration becomes a lot more, especially in the African context,” Mazibuko reports.

The most important challenge for brands going forward is to decide how to integrate social media into the overall media mix, like with television, while watching Idols, voting takes place via MXit, Mazibuko says.

“That will be the future for me, converging all those traditional media offerings with mobile – not just watching media, but watching it with your mobile phone.”

Asset portfolio

What if Facebook were to implode tomorrow? What would happen to all your brand fans and collateral? It is a question being discussed and does not only apply to a platform like Facebook. Brands are moving from renting their fans to owning their fans by building their own properties to manage their data and interlock social media programmes with their own loyalty CRM platforms.

Melissa Attree, Strategist, Cerebra

As someone who is working with brands maturing in this space and understanding how to build communities using social media and having active conversations with customers, the question digital marketer and strategist at Cerebra, Melissa Attree and others in the space are asking, is “WTF now? What do we do now?”

This is where ownership comes into play. Many brands successful in the social space still have limited ownership of their data, or indeed, of their communities which are built on properties which they have no control over, like social networks Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

“My biggest issue at the moment is that we are building enormous communities on platforms not owned by the brands. What if Facebook does something else? Where do those people go?”

Attree and her colleagues at Cerebra are doing a ‘360 back-to-basics kind of thing’. “We need to go back to the beginning where we were talking to clients about their own blogs, niche networks, and clients were asking where to spend the money?”

The emphasis is moving more to corporate blogs and networks that clients have ownership of, to repurpose content and engage with customers.

She thinks that businesses who throw everything at Facebook and Twitter are being pressured into it, and should rather focus on their own customer service first before taking the next step onto social networks.

“There is so much pressure from consumers to engage with them where they are… but it must make business sense and brands have to be ready.”

Attree emphasises that social media is the conversation, a way to connect with your customers.

“I used to be in marketing, I had a sales team and we ran successful campaigns, but we didn’t know anything about our customers. We just knew them as a demographic, we didn’t have names and faces for them… They were our brand fans and we didn’t know them. That is why I got involved in social media. Brand haters are people that at least give a shit, like brand fans. Focus on those two groups as they will give you proper feedback.”

Delivering on your brand promise, like in traditional marketing, should be a brand’s number one concern in the social space.

“You can have fab Twitter and Facebook accounts, but if your internal processes are shot, then you can’t deliver on your brand promise.”

Another problem brands face in the social space is tonality. Attree says many brands talk as if they are robots. “Brands need to look at it as a natural dynamic. I think a lot of brands over complicate things. They need to speak like human beings to people in the way they would like to be spoken to.”

Attree says these basics are damn obvious, but need to be revisited because a lot of brands are scared to define the brand, what it looks like and what they are about.

“Look at your customers, interrogate down their dreams – that will help with the brand conversations.”

Understanding who your customers are and what they want sounds simple. “It is, but it can get really confusing and complicated in social media if you get it wrong. Brands need to be completely honest with who they are, don’t over-complicate things. Brands need to anticipate what kind of conversations they are going to have,” Attree emphasises.

In the future brands need to anticipate that their customers are becoming really really smart and the gap between customer and brand is getting smaller. To keep pace, brands need to:

  1. Look at the social structures within the business and whether the different departments speak to each other.
  2. Another huge move, as Wilkins and Attree predict, is brands as publishers. “It is going against the traditional advertising model, brands producing content that people really want to look at.”
  3. Another trend will be that of liquid content that can be repurposed quickly and used across various platforms.
  4. Content curation: is going to become more important for brands to facilitate proper conversations.

Despite all the talk about tapping into the conversation on social media networks, brands need to realise that people actually don’t want to talk to brands unless they have a problem or want something for free, explains Attree.

“We need to be facilitating proper conversations – where you are looping ideas and feedback back into the business. Where your customers come back with ideas and innovation for your brand based on what they want and need . We need to understand that customers know more about brands they care about, so give your customers a place to share their thoughts, problems, suggestions, etc., like Starbucks. That is where we need to go next,” Attree urges.

Businesses also need to understand the potential repercussions of failing to manage their social media channels properly, especially during a crisis when activity around a brand is heightened, says John Ginsberg, marketing director of Ensight.

“Typically, one finds there is an influx of comments by social media users following a brand crisis. It is vital that these comments are continuously monitored, not only as a feedback mechanism, but also to avoid the possible risk of liability for the comments made.”

He says a recent court ruling in Australia held international liquor brand, Diageo, responsible for the comments made on its Facebook page. The ruling by the Advertising Standards Bureau in Australia declared Facebook as an advertising medium and therefore ruled that brands need to vet all comments on the social network platform or face the legal repercussions of any abusive language or false product or service claims that could lead to a company being sued.

Ginsberg urges brands engaging online, even during a brand crisis, to make sure they know what they are doing.

“The first step is to listen and engage, and the second is to take the feedback to the rest of the business for implementation.”

Ginsberg says in order to benefit optimally when engaging with consumers on social media platforms in the event of a crisis, brands need to keep the following points in mind:

  • Use more than one channel – if Facebook is overrun by ‘activists’, leverage other channels to help the brand’s voice rise above the activists.
  • Stop the usual conversation and focus just on the problem people want to talk about.
  • Be part of the conversation – always.
  • Be human – this is the most important aspect of social media responses – corporate statements won’t subdue the masses and most likely won’t be seen by their social connections, whereas emotive statements are also more likely to get shared.
  • In social media, everyone’s opinion matters equally, therefore do not discount anyone.
  • Celebrate those who take the time to engage, people who receive praise for their engagements are more likely to comment more frequently and can become a brand advocates.
  • Solicit the community’s involvement to help stamp out trolls and general brand detractors.
  • A spark can turn into a flame very quickly, therefore do not leave the management of social presence to one person or one team, involve the whole company.

“The importance of active social media engagement with consumers, especially in the event of a crisis, should not be discounted or ignored by brands. Ignoring the discussions online won’t stop the discussion, it will just likely mean that customers will take it elsewhere, which could result in unintended negative consequences,” concludes Ginsberg.

Dark social

Digital marketing is thriving in an economy that demands measurable results. Well, what if only 50% of digital and social media marketing can actually be tracked? The other 50% of traffic experienced by your brand is referred via routes that do not intersect with ‘mainstream’ social media networks, and therefore, cannot actually be tracked, no matter what the strategists say.

Alexis Madrigal, a senior editor of The Atlantic in the US, caused a stir in October when he argued that a huge amount of online traffic cannot be tracked adequately as those users are coming via email and instant message accounts which cannot be tracked with web analytics tools, like social media sites can.

He termed this category ‘dark social’.

It’s when a user shows up at your ‘doorstep’ (website) and you have no idea where they came from, unlike traffic from Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, which is easily measured by the tools around today.

Explains Madrigal: “The main situations in which this happens are email programmes, instant messages, and some mobile applications, and whenever someone is moving from a secure site to a non-secure site. This means that this vast trove of social traffic is essentially invisible to most analytics programs. I call it dark social. It shows up variously in programmes as ‘direct’ or ‘typed/bookmarked’ traffic… Most of the time someone Gchatted a link, or it came in on a big email distribution list, or your dad sent it to you.”

Madrigal discounts the fact that social media alone has created the “social web”, which he says was around before as people shared content via instant messaging applications and email. It just wasn’t as organised or public as Facebook and Twitter. People just did what they needed to do to connect online.

It took deeper analytics from Chartbeat to make Madrigal realise that a lot more traffic than he, and anyone else realised, came from ‘direct social’ or links other than usual social media. And this previous unmeasured traffic, was delivering 56.5% of people to individual stories on The Atlantic’s website. The rest of all the social media tools together, delivered 43.5% of their traffic.

“This is not a niche phenomenon. It’s more than twice Facebook’s impact on the site… Day after day, dark social is nearly always our top referral source.”

Chartbeat also aggregated numbers across other media sites for Madrigal and they discovered that on average, almost 69% of social referrals to stories on the websites came from dark social – individual referrals.

Facebook came in at second with 20% and Twitter at 6% on average.

These are the lessons Madrigal is taking from this experiment that all content publishers, both brands and media publishers should note – and that is that it is all about the content:

  1. “There are a couple of really interesting ramifications of this data. First, on the operational side, if you think optimising your Facebook page and Tweets is ‘optimising for social’, you’re only halfway (or maybe 30%) correct. The only real way to optimise for social spread is in the nature of the content itself. There’s no way to game email or people’s instant messages. There’s no power users you can contact. There’s no algorithms to understand. This is pure social, uncut.”
  2. “Second, the social sites that arrived in the 2000s did not create the social web, but they did structure it. This is really, really significant. In large part, they made sharing on the internet an act of publishing, with all the attendant changes that come with that switch. Publishing social interactions makes them more visible, searchable, and adds a lot of metadata to your simple link or photo post. There are some great things about this, but social networks also give a novel, permanent identity to your online persona. Your taste can be monetised, by you or (much more likely) the service itself,” said Madrigal.

Measurement in social media remains critical, says Michael Krynauw, as it helps to shape the design of the strategy, measure performance, and shake loose those incredible iNSIGHTS which continuously develop that strategy.

As chief marketing officers and marketing directors start taking social more seriously in South Africa, they want a return on investment that they can benchmark against.

Interestingly enough, as regards dark social, Dave Duarte says email is still the most popular way to share content.

And there is the crux: “to share content”. If your content is excellent and interesting, people will share it – in their preferred way and on their preferred platform.

Smashing silos

Social media is smashing silos, not only in brand silos, but in customer service and advertising communications.

“Social media is accelerating. We need platform agnostic strategies, we need to understand the brand narrative… everything is linked – paid media, campaigns, CRM. Consumers don’t look at channels like brand marketers do – they will interact with you and feedback where they are most comfortable,” Kaitlyn Wilkins reiterates.

It was obvious this year at Cannes that the winning integrated campaigns using social media were more successful when integrated across all marketing and communication disciplines.

“Consumers are eating up content and brands need to think about becoming media companies – and they need to be thinking about where and how the customer wants to interact.”

Nike and Coke were referenced again by Wilkins as examples of brands doing social content well.

One of the challenges for brands, Michael Krynauw says, is education. Platforms and social media properties are constantly changing and one of the challenges for clients is how social and digital fits into overall brand strategy.

One of the properties to watch going forward into 2013, Krynauw advises, is Linked In. “I think it is a real opportunity for brands… it gives brands an uncluttered, high net worth access.

Other trends that Krynauw has identified, include a need for integrated campaigns to smash silos across the industry, integrating across marketing disciplines.

Krynauw says there is a bigger push to socialise business and connect employees in a more relevant way and work together in communities to develop solutions for their companies. “That will be the business shift, where social media can tap in and facilitate solutions.”

Acceleration Media digital strategist Melody Maker says brands need to accept that the size of a social media community isn’t the sole or even the best way of gauging its success.

“The point of social media is to have authentic customer relationships, not the most fans or followers. Social media consultants need to spend time educating their clients about the real metrics for success in social media rather than accepting or even encouraging a focus on pure numbers,” she urges.

Dave Duarte says the big brand conversation currently happening is that brands must have paid, owned and earned media. Brands are seriously looking at owning more media too.

“IT budgets are giving away to marketing budgets – it is a battle of control between IT and marketing.”

The frustration marketers have with the access and lack of agility around their own platforms has resulted in the boom in social media activity, as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, and so on, gives marketers traffic and agility. Brands are ‘making hay while the sun shines’, says Duarte.

What is one of the most significant trends is the shift from media to content production from brands, even in South Africa, where the higher quality activations are about content made for the web with the understanding that it will be shared, he says.

Social commerce

Another challenge for brands as regards existing channel strategies, is how to slot social media into, not only customer service, but also their sales strategies in order to fully monetise social media.

Service taps into the commerce stream as the direct engagement should be seen as an opportunity for brands to integrate the feedback into existing CRM systems to turn it into positive interaction and build long term customer loyalty.

Social commerce in the South African social media context, however, is lacking according to Kevin Meltzer, co-founder and business development director, Consology.

Internationally, some larger retailers have scaled down on Facebook, for example, he says, after limited success in driving sales.

One of the reasons for this is that brands are trying to push sales and commerce in a social environment where people are there for social engagement; another, is that brands are offering a less sophisticated version of their own online commercial platform on properties like Facebook and are starting to question why they should use Facebook as a commercial platform when they have already invested in their own shop front online.

The result has been more of a focus on building customer loyalty and engagement through social networks for some brands. What is working well on many social platforms is the call to action or promotional stream.

Customer data in the social context, however, remains an issue and many South African marketers actually don’t own their data and subsequent metrics, outsourcing that functionality to agencies.

Data is a crucial component of social media and any digital marketing effort. It is clear that not enough is being done by marketers, either in South Africa or indeed globally, to measure data, optimise it, or, indeed, make sure they own it.

Ogilvy & Mather CEO Abey Mokgwatsane points out that social media, mobile phones and other data tools have billions of people on the planet leaving wide data trails, making for much richer data sources than ever before, ushering in a new marketing era where data unlocks realtime value.

Results from the Adobe 2012 Digital Marketing Optimisation Survey show that there are still untapped investment opportunities to improve conversion through data-driven optimisation. Adobe defines optimisation as taking action on rich data and content to deliver the highest return on marketing spend and efforts.

“While the digital marketing landscape has continued to evolve to meet customers’ high expectations, there has been little change in investment to meet the demand with marketing spend that really counts. Research shows that marketers spend $92 to acquire traffic and $1 to optimise it, reports Adobe, which advises that a greater balance in investment between acquisition and optimisation is needed to drive higher returns.

The picture isn’t any different in South Africa.

The World Wide Worx and Fuseware study, South African Social Media Landscape 2012, showed a clear lack of understanding of how to measure return on investment and efficacy. While 74% use number of followers as a key measure on Twitter, only 24% measure the number of their own customers who are followers. Similarly, while 72% measure effectiveness according to comments and mentions, only 40% consider sentiment analysis – evaluating the positive or negative tone of the comments, according to the study.

An even bigger gap is seen on Facebook, where 83% of brands live by comments and mentions, but only 37% measure tone.

“The survey shows that companies haven’t quite figured out what is more important,” says Goldstuck. “It comes down to separating volume from value, and that takes time and energy, rather than just a dashboard of numbers.”

Wronski adds: “When we asked companies what barriers were preventing marketers from getting more value out of social media, the most commonly cited was, ‘Time to properly manage these channels’. This is the largest bottleneck to social media success. Brands are struggling to allocate resources and time to manage social channels.”

Adobe says marketers have always understood the power of word of mouth to influence people, something which social media technologies have opened up. Up to 70% of the respondents to the survey of 1700 digital marketers globally, said they would be focusing on social sharing as a top effective social media strategy in 2012, followed by blogs/community sites and user comments/reviews. In fact 73% of respondents to a 2011 Chief Marketer survey said they used social media in marketing campaigns, and 15% intended to implement them in 2012, says Adobe.

“The best way to engage with consumers on social networks is to give visitors a voice to participate and interact with the business. It’s important, however to have moderation and measurement tools in place to help ensure that the conversations are making a positive impact on your business. Conversion optimisation is a strategic tool that empowers today’s digital marketers to monetise significant consumer engagement and marketing investment opportunities. By taking action on rich data and content with small, yet concentrated efforts to enhance the customer experience throughout the funnel, businesses can make an impact to the top- and bottom-line revenues,” the Adobe report states.

Mokgwatsane in fact, emphasises that data makes marketing return on investment trackable, as data demystifies marketing ROI. “The realtime nature of the new data streams means that the impact of any marketing investment becomes instantly available for measurement and refinement. Campaigns stop being one-hit wonders… but interventions in the building of ongoing consumer relationships, used not only to pique interest, but to drive data too. Data makes real the virtuous cycle of consumer communications.”

A key takeout from the Adobe report is that marketers need to provide customers with relevant, professionally produced content, including user generated content for video, to entertain, engage and empower; as well as optimise all mobile channels – especially tablets – to generate a higher ROI by delivering device-appropriate relevant experiences and promotions: “Give consumers a participatory voice on social networks, but use moderation and measurement tools to guide conversations towards a positive impact for your business.”

Another facet impinging on effective social commerce for brands, Meltzer says, is the “one size fits all” social media solution that brands often employ to connect with their customer base. They need to be far more innovative. For example, Eskom, rather than telling customers to cut back on electricity via public service announcements on TV, should also provide links to engage with their customers on social media networks to crowdsource ideas on saving electricity.

Social commerce has the opportunity to be a game changer as brands have the opportunity to interact with their customers in the channels that they find most convenient.

Retroviral owner of awesomeness, Mike Sharman says he is sick of people selling digital like the second coming. “It is a different platform, but the communication hasn’t changed.”

The objective is still to promote product or sell services.

Good social media and good social public relations support the business objectives of a brand.

What is very important is the distribution and seeding channel. “But in the online space you can’t just slap content out there, it has to be relevant in creating online talkability for brands.”

Referencing a campaign he worked on: ‘Nando’s Last Dictator Standing’, the campaign went global and was retweeted by celebrities and written up in international media, due to the relevance. It was the year of fallen dictators; and the fact that the right social media channels were used at the start to seed the content by using a Mugabe lookalike to deliver the Nando’s meal being promoted to 50 of the most influential bloggers, first off.

“We seeded it and gave it the best possible legs to spread far.”

Prakash Patel believes we still have a long way to go in South Africa for brands to invest in social media departments;  understand how to use social media through-the-line on their brand platforms and in organisations; use it on a tactical basis to promote services; and to manage reputation.

“I still think many social media applications aren’t really being used properly yet by brands in South Africa, which are seeing brand investment in Europe and the United States – Facebook Places, Foursquare, etc. Brands here need to understand how to leverage them for discounts and for customers to reach out to brands.”

Digital ad spend on “the internet” as the PWC Entertainment and Media Outlook 2012 – 2016 terms it very broadly, is predicted to be the fastest growing media segment for the next five years in South Africa, with a projected 20.3% compound annual increase and double-digit increases in internet advertising, coupled with broadband and mobile access growth
This is what Duarte believes brands should be doing to get social media right and their spend in the right places:

  • SEO – now social media optimisation. People are becoming specialists in social media optimisation and video optimisation.
  • There is no such thing as social media expertise. The field has become quite complex and the difference between someone with experience and someone without, is the difference in success and failure.
  • Linking social media with business objectives – this is very important for brands. Social media is about far more than analytics, it is about integration with every aspect of a business objectives. You can’t expect to be social, if you are not working social.
  • Fragmentation – there is a sense that social media is fragmenting, rather than converging. Consumers have more interest in niche social media which reflects their interests.
  • Specialisation on the rise – understanding of social media is becoming  more nuanced and brands have the opportunity to become specialists in certain areas.
  • Socialising enterprise: the rise of big data – there is a big reporting gap and skills gap in media. Social media is going to be used far more for business intelligence in the future and for involving customers more in innovation.
  • Internal CRM social media tools are important but require an investment in stakeholder management, the unsexy stuff that needs to be done. Augmenting call centres with social media support, as FNB and Discovery SA have done, is definitely being taken more seriously, but requires a process shift in business CRM.
  • Corporate hierarchy – excos and CEOs now need to know about social media, how to incorporate it meaningfully, whether the brand and corporate are threat?
  • Mobile is of course a big trend – smartphones mean we carry our decision making tools around with us at all times. You need to out-smart competitors by making your lead customers smarter than your competitors’ lead customers, which again, is what FNB did by giving select customers an iPad when they opened an account.

Specimens

Successful social media campaigns are those where social thinking is embedded throughout the entire campaign.

Carling’s ‘Be the Coach’ scores

Ogilvy’s ‘Be the Coach’ integrated campaign for Carling Black Label is becoming one of the most awarded campaigns in South African advertising history, gaining accolades internationally at Cannes, locally at The Loeries Awards and elsewhere. Social media, particularly mobile, was a crucial component in the campaign to interact with the massive soccer-mad mass market in South Africa whereby fans were allowed to choose their own soccer teams to play in the historic Carling Cup.

The consumer engagement was huge, as was the multi-media exposure that Carling gained.
The aim of the digital component of the Be the Coach campaign was to take the concept beyond the process of voting.

The Black Label bottle provided the call to action, with a unique code found under the Black Label cap. Users were directed to the voting system – a mobile USSD system which allows for you to choose your team – all it took was an SMS from any cellphone. This USSD system aided the mass appeal of the campaign as it wasn’t limited to those with web-enabled or smartphones. Voting was the crux of the campaign and the USSD provided the best possible mechanic for it.

Ogilvy created a ‘Be the Coach’ mobile site – a simple but effective tool from which to view your team, information about all the players, the current state of the voting, and to follow and debate selections in taverns across the country. Coaches could also share their teams via Facebook and Twitter directly from the site. No set-up was required by ‘coaches’ (no user names or passwords); all they had to do was login with their own phone number.
The mobile site was easy to use and worked on all web-enabled cellphones.

Facebook ads drove users to the custom tab on the Carling Black Label Facebook Page, inviting users to get involved in this truly unique Soweto derby.

From the mobile site users were directed to the ‘Be the Coach’ custom tab on the Carling Black Label Facebook Page, where they could win a Unique Coaches experience, including four tickets to all their team’s games for the season, a signed jersey and more. The custom tab and wall were the next level in user engagement.

Display Ads drove users to the custom tab on the Carling Black Label Facebook Page.
MicrositeBethecoach.co.za was the campaign headquarters. While the mobile site and Facebook page provided real-time updates and community debate respectively, the micro-site mirrored those elements and expanded on them. Full player profiles and online videos were accessible, along with the rest of the campaign elements, for those who wanted the full scope of the coaching experience. Coaches were given personalised guidance and tips from Ruud Gullit when selecting and putting together their team and could share their selections on Facebook and Twitter.

Importantly, rather than only Carling Black Label itself pushing the campaign, consumers and the press drove much of the conversation surrounding the Carling Black Label Cup. Coverage from consumers and the media was extensive, and the vast majority spoke positively about the sponsorship of this unique edition of the Soweto derby. The ability of this campaign to target key influencers ultimately lead to an overall increase in the credibility of the conversation covering the ‘Be the Coach Campaign’. Controversy surrounding the selection even reached the team’s official coaches themselves, who vented their frustration in the media at having the power taken out of their hands.

Over the seven week period, more than 10.5 million votes were received through the USSD system. Tickets for the historic match set new records, with 85 000 fans attending and millions more watching at home. The mobisite had 31 088 visitors (18 405 unique) over the period of the campaign. The microsite had 10 042 visitors (6 846 unique) and users visited 5.54 pages on average, with an average time on site of 5:05 minutes. The amount of returning visitors was 40.83% and 32.31%

International accolades for Mandela campaign

Prezence Digital won silver in the Social Impact/Not For Profit category for its #MandelaStory viral campaign at the global Mobile Marketing Association’s (MMA) Smarties Awards in New York in September and took silver across four categories of the Daveys in October, namely: Mobile Marketing – Charitable Organisations/Non-Profit; Online Film and Video – Public Service and Activism; Online Advertising and Marketing – Viral Marketing; Online Advertising and Marketing Social Media.

Created with official approval from the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, which delivers the core work of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Prezence Digital developed this viral campaign to honour the global icon’s 94thbirthday in July 2012.

Looking at Nelson Mandela’s lifetime, the campaign asked one simple question: Would South Africa’s first democratically elected president have spent 27 years in captivity if he (and others) had access to the same social media platforms and technological tools we do today? The stirring tribute is available on atwww.mandelastory.com.

When Prezence Digital first embarked on this project, the single aim was to honour the exemplary life Nelson Mandela has lived, but in an emotional way, that was educational, fun and in a language that truly resonated with people all over the world. as the results have shown.

Reaching over 130 countries with over 100 000 views in less than a week, with no paid marketing drive is a testimonial in the power of digital let alone social media, explained Prakash Patel, CEO of Prezence Digital.

On the announcement of the shortlist of finalists for the Smarties Awards, the MMA noted that “the finalists represent the pillars of innovation, creativity, and success, highlighting the teams and talent that push the boundaries of mobile marketing to reach and engage with consumers like no other media channel”.

Commercial space

The Socialising Enterprise report was made possible with the support of Quirk Education

Quirk Education – Socialising Enterprise
By Jason Warner, Marketing Coordinator & Community Manager

Traditionally, the typical business organisation has been shaped around dated modes of technology, media, commerce channels and staff structuring.

A potentially contentious statement, but one that rings true when considered alongside the young Turks of today such as Google, Facebook, and Apple. The core difference between them and the titans of the past is that at their heart, these companies are social enterprises.

Social business allows organisations to undertake fluid, transparent and perhaps most importantly, collaborative work efforts, from market research to internal communication. What more, this is done at ease through intuitive tools, progressive company mindsets and dynamic structures and workflow processes.

This social aspect has been key to the success of the greater Quirk brand, allowing strong collaboration between departments and individuals while emphasising clear-sighted objectives and an emphasis on measurable results.

Recently we have seen large businesses such as Coca-Cola, Nike, Unilever and even massive organisations such as the United Nations and International Olympic Committee make the transition towards truly social enterprises.

But this business adjustment requires both a shift in thinking and a tailored form of learning which takes into account emerging techniques and theories,as well as the real-world successes which have brought about this change in enterprise.

Quirk Education, the educational arm of Quirk, Africa’s largest digital agency,have in a short time become the industry leader in online learning, largely through the implementation of unique social enterprise models both within the business and its educational material.

By embedding expert research writers in the respective Think, Create, Engage and Optimise disciplines of the Quirk agency, Quirk Education have created the social and progressive position known as Knowledge Officers.

Tasked with curating and compiling the vast practical experience and working knowledge of the Quirk agency, Knowledge Officers ensure that Quirk Education courses are not only fully up-to-date in terms of global best practice principles, but capture the capabilities of Quirk’s experts in the very DNA of the material, giving Quirk Education courses the definitive edge.

As a form of social enterprise, Knowledge Officers produce cutting-edge educational material by openly collaborating and working with Quirk experts. This form of on-going learning and knowledge sharing allows for up-to-date material, and strong communication channels which would not have been possible outside of social enterprise.

Simply put, Quirk Education prides itself on beingtheonly distance-based digital marketing education institution offeringup-to-date, practicallearning based directly on real-world experience. This, together with Quirk Education’s team of stellar course writers, academic coordinators and digital marketers ensures each student receives a structured, holistic and business relevant education in their chosen digital discipline, leaving them fully capable of meeting everyday goals and needs.

The Next Step

There are a range of practical operational benefits when implementing social processes and customs, as well as a wealth of information made accessible as a direct by-product of this workflow style.

In the last 80 years businesses have struggled to source enough data to provide meaningful iNSIGHTS. Now, the “big data” that social (and other wider digital efforts) provides offer great opportunities with unique challenges for the 21st century business.

As such, organisations must strongly cultivate a sensitivity to this emerging dynamic. Importantly, they need to recognise that information flows from a myriad of channels and brands are required to interpret and respond to opportunities and threats promptly and efficiently while considering available data and market context.

The Quirk Education course portfolio is reflective of this growing field of social enterprise, and covers every aspect of Digital Marketing.

To find out more about Quirk Education, visit www.quirk.biz/courses/home or pop the team an email on education@quirk.biz. Alternatively, follow them on Twitter @quirkeducation or on www.facebook.com/quirkeducation

Extra credit

Social media news:
http://socialmediatoday.com/
http://www.forbes.com/social-media/
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/
Social media blog: http://mashable.com/social-media/
Nike+ http://nikeplus.nike.com/plus/?locale=pl_pl
Social media revolution: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SuNx0UrnEo
WTF is social media: http://www.slideshare.net/mzkagan/what-the-fk-is-social-media-one-year-later
TheYesMenFixtheWorld phenomena – vigilante justice for consumers affected by bad brands (official trailer): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sW35PKEVYMw

Sources

Adobe: Digital Marketing Optimization Survey, 2012.
Attree, Melissa: digital marketer and strategist, Cerebra. (Direct interview)
BlogFrog: influencer marketing platform, www.TheBlogFrog.com. ‘Why influencer marketing matters to brands’, 2012.
Duarte, Dave: digital media educator and entrepreneur and managing director, Huddleminds Lab. (Direct interview)
Ericsson ConsumerLab: TV & Video Consumer TREND. Report 2012, September 2012
FIPP: World Digital media Factbook, 2012-2013. 
Ginsberg, John: marketing director, Ensight. ‘Brands urged to effectively manage social media platforms during crisis’, October 2012.
Goldstuck, Arthur: managing director, World Wide Worx. South African Social Media Landscape 2012, September 2012
Gray, Scott: head of planning, Quirk. (Direct interview)
Krynauw, Michael: head of social, social strategy and implementation, Ogilvy Cape Town (Direct interview)
Langford, Lieze: strategic director, HelloComputer. (Direct interview)
Leps, Simon: chief executive officer, Fontera Digital Works. ‘The rise of Pinterest in SA: six ways your brand can reap the rewards’, August 2012
Madrigal, Alexis: senior editor, The Atlantic. ‘Dark social: we have the whole history of the web wrong’, October 2012.
Maker, Melody: digital strategist, Acceleration Media. ‘Are social media agencies prostituting their brands?’ September 2012
Mazibuko, Sifiso: national account manager, Facebook, for Habari Media, Machine. (Direct interview)
Meltzer, Kevin: co-founder and business development director, Consology. (Direct interview)
Mokgwatsane, Abey: chief executive office, Ogilvy & Mather South Africa. ‘The four ways data changes business forever’, September 2012.
Nielsen: State of the media: the social media report, Q3, 2011.
Patel, Prakash: chief executive officer, Prezence (Direct interview)
PricewaterhouseCoopers: South African entertainment and media outlook, 2012-2016.
Robinson, Angus: director: mobile, content and community divisions, Native SA. (Direct interview)
Sampson, Jeremy: group chairman, Interbrand Sampson. ‘Interbrand’s 13 annual best global brands report’, October 2012.
Sharman, Mike: founder and owner, Retroviral (Direct interview)
Stopforth, Mike: chief executive officer, Cerebra. (Direct interview)
Wilkins, Kaitlyn: EAME regional director, Social@Ogilvy. (Direct interview)
Wronski, Mike: managing director Fuseware. South African Social Media Landscape 2012, September 2012

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  1. Pingback: Social thinking: transforming to meet the needs of consumers today : Marklives!com

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