Just another WordPress.com site

Author Archive


As you may remember a previous blog post about Nike’s social media campaign to #makeitcount. I just wanted to share with you my favorite video from the campaign so far. May it inspire you to use social media as a tool to communicate and interact with the world and #makeitcount.

-Cait Wilkinson
Twitter @caitwilkinson



Groundswell and Social Media Marketing have been the books that have guided this blog on my own personal experiences with the use of social media in today’s society. We have come to an era in which we will no longer know what it’s like not to participate in social media sites. If you go to buy products we will research what others say about the products on blogs pages, Twitter feeds and Facebook fan pages.

Know that technology will always be changing and with that so will we as customers, suppliers and buyers. Companies need to go looking for their audience rather then waiting for them to come. The words innovation and customization will become the norm in which we describe the key to groundswell. Also companies will use metrics off social media sites to track what their customers are saying rather then handing out paper form surveys. Companies can’t ignore social media, it’s a collaboration that will decided the success of the company and failure of a company if they choose to ignore.

This is no longer the future of marketing for companies, it’s the present.


What the Future Holds – The Ford Story

The ability to convert ideas to things is the secret to outward success.
-Henry Ward Beecher

When I was young companies told customers what they wanted and put ideas of products into their heads. They would advertise in a way that would bring the customers into their ideas and their innovations. Today the world of marketing has shifted; groundswell has led the way in creating a customers dream of product innovation and customization. The customer controls what to say about brands, how to influence and set focus to their needs.

In 2008 the world watched as the “big 3” automakers in Detroit suffered during hard economic times. Today Ford has taken the their new car the Ford Fiesta on a groundswell marketing approach called the Ford Fiesta Movement.

Ford Fiesta Movement

In this article it shares how Ford has given social media experts the challenge of promoting their new car without spending a single dollar on actual marketing. The article shares the following stats on their new campaign:

– 4.3 million YouTube views thus far
– 500,000+ Flickr views
– 3 million+ Twitter impression
– 50,000 interested potential customers, 97% of which don’t own a Ford currently.

Ford has captured successful groundswell techniques that have opened them to their current customers and their potential customers. They have grasp the most important detail about groundswell by understanding the influence their brand users have of world of mouth marketing to influence the car buyer market.


This figure shows the market position and the available measures of social media conversations. With Ford the moe customers they engage in telling their own Fiesta story, the more share of conversation which would lead to the car possibly being a market leader it’s its category.

Ford has achieved success with its campaign for the reasons that they knew their audience was the younger generation which uses social media because the car is mean’t for the target group who is looking for an affordable car. Ford found opportunity in that it connected with its target market through the channel of social media through sites like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Ford selected its metrics by measuring the awareness levels of their campaign by monitoring the views and impressions of its campaign on social media sites through the number of views and clicks. Last ford engaged the audience through customization and innovation. It put it’s marketing in the hands of its customers and has now allowed word of mouth marketing to be the key of their successful campaign.

The Ford Fiesta Movement is truly a success story of the use of groundswell and social media marketing.

Objectives, Metrics and ROI


“on the Social Web, conversations are driven by actual experiences, which are themselves driven by operations policies and practices.”

-Social Media Marketing An Hour A Day

Well how does this relate to real life you ask? Simple consider the Super Bowl, the greatest day of the year for American football fans. However the Super Bowl has become more of an advertisers dream then the actual game itself. The experience of football fans is no longer just the talk of the game the next day but which commercials were the best. The whole experience of the hours spent on Super Bowl Sunday have been measured for the year 2012 in the following graph for what was talked about most on social media channels.


“Super Bowl commercials don’t sell products so much as entertain, often with great storytelling. Even considering the cost, a primary benchmark for success is the Water Cooler Factor, the brand buzz and many conversations that occur after the game that cause us to like the brand and keep it top-of-mind throughout the year.”


When engaging in Super Bowl ads companies know that they are also engaging in social media buzz, their commercial may get bashed or praised due to the high volume of viewers watching the game that day. They need to consider what and where to measure, this makes sure that the consumers are talking positively about their brand and the company is aware of any back talk.


The key points to remember is:
Content, Relevance and Impact



It’s important to remember your audience because they add depth to the conversation and helps to prove who is leading them versus who is being led. It’s most important to as who are the influencers and are others more or less likely to follow along?

Another important point is engagement, this is the feeling that a consumer has towards your product, service or brand and the elements of social media that are involved in this “relationship.” Having post comment or post to comments allows for consumer participation and will help to measure what consumers are talking about.

Another thing to look for is loyalty this is when a consumer makes a repeat visit or purchase of a similar product from the same brand. Also referred to as brand loyalty and can be measured through consumer promotion of their positive experience by using social media to influence others using word of mouth.

The last important point is action, this is where you evaluate the role of social media in the conversation. This is where your ROI comes into play, this refers to the return on investment, it plays the best measurement in determining the impact.

Social media can be measured to help better your brand, products and services. Knowing how to measure it is a whole other story, if you can take what your customers are saying then you’ll have a better handle of what influencers consumers have over your brand.

We Care What You Think

According to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), word of mouth “is the most honest form of marketing building upon people’s natural desire to share their experiences with family, friends and colleagues.”

How can brands encourage a positive referral among its customers? ENERGIZING

The way I look at it is think of a battery when the battery life is full, the battery gives off more energy, when it’s dying the power is weak. That’s exactly what can occur through energized customers of a product, the amount they believe in a product the more energized other people become.

Why does word of mouth work?
1. It’s believable
2. It’s self-reinforcing
3. It’s self-spreading

However you have to be cautious that sometimes energizing can be used against your product. In the video below a customer demonstrates his frustration with an airline and spreads the word of his terrible service through a YouTube video.

12 million people have viewed this video so the word of mouth marketing of United of having an energized customer went against the company.


This chart shows that business travelers like the one in the video are more likely to be critics.

So how can you use word of mouth marketing in a positive way, through telling your friends about a product you love. For example this commercial of a shampoo helps to encourage its customers to be energized and spread the word about the product and their own experience.

Creating online communities that talk positively about your product will encourage the energized customers to spread the word. In this chart from groundswell it shows that the most effective consumer trust sources of information come from an opinion of a friend or acquaintance.


There are three basic techniques to connect with your brand enthusiasts

1. Tap into customers’ enthusiasm with ratings and reviews.
2. Create a community’s to energize your customers.
3. Participate in and energize online communities of your brand enthusiasts.

In order to effectively energize your customers in groundswell you must remember to LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS.

The DIET: Twitter and multimedia channels

There is never a day where you don’t meet someone who says I’m watching my weight. I’m trying a new exercise or I’m on a diet. Face it people are obsessed with their health, which probably is a smart thing considering the amount of obesity in today’s society. Companies make billions of dollars each year just shoveling out new diet pills, new diet foods and new work out equipment.

However in the past individuals would spend money on getting this advice and paying billions of dollars to find the perfect weight loss “secret” as quick as possible.

Question: Has social media outlets changed the way we access new diet information?

My answer is YES

I took at watch watcher, a company who recently charged a fee to join and gave participants a point system to follow to help reach their weight loss goals.

Before it was common to attend weight watchers meetings and discuss food tips in order to reach your desired weight. However today we have weight watchers help from the company of your own home. For example look at the following places to access advice on diet secrets.


Here’s a picture from the weight watchers twitter page which currently has 128,736 followers. Weight watchers no longer involves going out in public and going to meetings but instead has created an online community where people can discuss their personal stories of success and be part of the weight watchers community without having to pay a fee.

Another outlet where you can find weight watchers is on weight watchers blogs.


Weight watchers uses its blogs to communicate with the online communities, post new recipes and tips to losing weight. It also features the famous weight watchers point system that has all the points for eating out, eating in and snacking. It helps it’s customers stay up to date with new restaurants as well as new foods that the weight watchers line releases.


The weight watcher community is also not shy on communicating success stories and helpful tips through the use of online videos on YouTube. Some of the videos are like online cooking segments to show how to cook some of the most popular weight watcher recipes for those who find cooking to be a challenge.

Weight watchers has really taken advantage of multimedia channels and the online social media communities. It’s tools have been effective for reaching a larger audience for those who might be unsure if weight watchers is for them. Instead of paying the initial fees of joining weight watchers, you can become part of their online community for free. However weight watchers needs to be conscious of sabotaging weight loss or gain stories that could hurt their reputation.

With all said weight watchers has proved that diet secrets no longer come at a cost but can be enjoyed through social media.

Here is a word from the CEO about weight watchers and social media.Social media and Weight Watchers

Awareness and Influences (Sports Edition)

Let me start off my post with two pictures and I’m curious how many can guess who they are.



If you guessed Tom Brady and Maria Sharapova, your right. These two were among 28 others who were named the 30 most beautiful athletes in the recent Sportsnet March 12, 2012 issue. The thing that caught my eye was the explanation to why when we see these athletes we recognize them because of their looks rather then their skills. To be completely honest I could pinpoint Tom Brady out of any crowd but yet I couldn’t tell you how many Superbowls he’s won. That’s exactly what the article called “The Beautiful People” featured in Sportsnet touches on. It takes a stand that social media has opened up a channel for good looking celebrities to brand themselves as celebrity athletes. It mentions Anna Kournikova, a tennis player who really wasn’t spectacular but was good but not good enough to be known. However because of her looks she was one of the most known female tennis players of all time. Social media has acted as a channel for her to become her own brand, sell her beauty over her athletic abilities.

The article makes you question have we become so obsessed with celebrities because of their looks and branding on social media channels? Also what happened to the old days where athletes were acknowledged on their skills rather then their looks?

With this said I am completely guilty of buying products based on what good looking celebrity is endorsing them. I have always been a fan of Tiger Woods and he is known for endorsing the brand Nike. I have to admit that I bought all Nike golf stuff because of the way Tiger Woods has branded himself with association himself with the famous red Nike shirt. In PGA tournaments I am constantly being aware of what Tiger Woods is wearing and I make my next Nike purchase based off that awareness.

Example of my old process of watching Tiger Woods apparel, followed by my next shopping trip to Nike.


If you notice the last stage of the marketing funnel is LOYALTY. Even after the media frenzy that Tiger Woods has participated in, I still feel I have a connection to the Nike brand and remain loyal.

However since social media is the gateway to unlimited information my buying process has drastically changed.

Current process


Now if I am looking for new Nike attire I notice what Tiger is wearing but I will also go to the Nike social media sites like Twitter and facebook and do more research into what people review about different Nike apparel. Social media has impacted the buyers process in that it’s reversed roles of the buyer telling companies what they want. Customization of customer demands might due to the innovation of social media. Customers have a social media channel to research absolutely anything they want and have the ability to be picky on their needs.

One way to help improve your brand using social media is the Net Promoter score. It helps you out in three ways, first is that it identifies which customers would recommend your product or service, second you know what part of your customer base is going to be negative and third you can pinpoint issues and decrease detractors and increase promoters.

I believe that Nike has taken advantage of acknowledging the importance of a Net Promoter score based on their current campaign. Their current campaign “How will you #makeitcount”

The Nike is no longer trying to sell you a product or service but rather a feeling of belonging and making a difference. In their campaign they include the #makeitcount in hopes that people will tell their stories and motivational wisdom in a Nike based community. Nike wants people to use social media to establish a community of people who would only promote their product and service rather then demote.





Many fellow Starbucks addicts may be familiar with walking into a Starbucks and seeing this book usually near the cash register. On an impulse buy I decided that I would take a chance and really hear what Howard had to say. Personally I expected nothing spectacular, however after reading the book I felt a little more appreciated to the workers of Starbucks and the brand itself. I probably doubled my coffee purchases that week!

I do admit that the book was written from a mediocre level, the content in it is what grasped my attention. Howard took over a company that went on only selling coffee beans and combining it was a European inspired coffee experience. However after he over saturated the market by offering Starbucks pretty much anywhere he looked, he realized he needed to step back and reevaluate the loss of Starbucks profits.

This is called touchpoint analysis where you reflect on your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges from a marketer’s perspective. The book goes through the challenge that Howard faced to shift his current business practices to the ones that he used before. He discusses the low and high points in Starbucks life span and the turning point of the company.

At one point in the book it discusses the media frenzy day when he closed down every Starbucks for a few hours to teach all the employees about what Starbucks customer experience is all about. He made sure every Starbucks employee knew that a proper espresso shot was supposed to be thick like honey and that the average live span of an espresso shot is only a few seconds before it is considered “dead” to use.

Starbucks experience of using touchpoint analysis has been successful in that they have turned their company completely around, they went from being an over saturated coffee company and returned itself to the coffee experience.

I follow Starbucks on instagram, twitter and facebook and I believe they have really grasped the concept of social media marketing. They treat their customers with the “friend” relationship rather then pushing their brand on them. Starbucks social media success

Now go and enjoy some Starbucks coffee 🙂

Accepting Change

Question time, name a company who you believe uses social media as a strategic marketing tool for their company.

To be honest it took me a while to think of a company that I use track their social media accounts. As I was thinking of a company I went through my facebook page and found nothing, then I went to my Twitter page. I came to realize companies that I follow are usually through my Twitter account however I tend to be picky for who I follow.

One example of a company that uses social media marketing in an effective way is WestJet. They promote daily deals and offer promotion codes to their followers. I fly WestJet every month and since following them on Twitter I have been informed about all their “blue tag” deals and see first hand their use of social media marketing.

This article relates to WestJet’s strategy for using social media.

In the book groundswell it discuses The acronym “POST” – People, Objectives, Strategy and Technology

1.People: Asking the question what are your customers ready for?
In the terms of WestJet their target market is anyone who travels. Knowing how their market is, WestJet analyzed what their customers wanted from them and how effective social media would be for advertising flight deals to their customers.

2.Objectives: What are your goals?
WestJet prides itself on customer service, so to the, joining social media only helps to them to better understand their customers. They are constantly tweeting “What can we do for you?” and “Whose flying with us today?” I believe that WestJets objectives was to simply use social media to increase their customer service level and flying experience.

3.Strategy: How do you want relationship with your customers to change?
In the case of WestJet it was clear that the strategy they had was to first increase their customer service levels, second increased awareness and third advertise promotions and their brand in an effective way. The “blue tag” event has enabled WestJet to gain a lot of followers by offering daily deals that last for a few short hours. They know that it’s strategic to offer such brief sales to increase their brand awareness through groundswell.

4.Technology: What application should you build?
WestJet understands its customers and where they are located, WestJet having social media accounts has allowed them to tap into a bigger market then they expected. They have gained more success with advertising through their social media accounts then any other advertising that the company has done else where.

I believe WestJet is one of the best companies who have tapped into what groundswell is all about.

“The most successful marketer becomes part of the lives of their followers. They follow back. They wish happy birthday. They handle problems their customers have with products or service. They grow their businesses and brands by involving themselves in their own communities.” – Marsha Collier, speaker and business author

Listening to the Ones Who Know You Best

“No matter what you’re after, in internal groundswell, the secret to thriving is culture. This is not about technology implementation but about managing and changing the way organizations work, a change that needs the blessing-or, even better the active participation-of top echelons of management.”(Li, Bernoff. 2008)

I have a question for you, what makes great customer service? The answer is simple a happy employee. Companies tend to spend more time focusing on their customers and not on the backbone of their company, their employees. Employees are the face of the company, for instance when you walk into a Best Buy, you don’t get greeted by the CEO but rather it’s a individual in a tacky blue shirt. However unflattering the shirt may be, this is what every Best Buy employee has in common. These blue shirts symbolize the blue shirt nation, a community within Best Buy where employees can voice their opinions, ideas and be listened to. It helps to create a work environment with better communication to improve employee interaction and make work less of a place that’s despised.

Using groundswell internally within your company can help create a better feeling among the entire community of employees throughout a company. One company in particular that you’ll find makes a lot of contributions to YouTube is an airline called Southwest. The following video is an employee of the company taking his job and adding his own twist, he seems to enjoy his job and appreciated the unique style of his company.

Reed’s Law


Reed’s Law typically explains the social networks that are used today where communities of people can explore communication among many other groups of people. “Compared to a network of 10 people, the change of value for a network of 100 people that can talk not only with each other as they would under Metcalfe but also within groups of people is 2 raised to the 90th power which for all practical purposes is a exceedingly large number. (Evans.2008)

Reed’s Law is the idea behind social media sites. In my personal experience I don’t believe I would ever be able to stay connected to all the groups of people that facebook allows me to be connected to. I have groups on facebook that consist of personal contacts, fellow peers and even work related groups.

“[E]ven Metcalfe’s law understates the value created by a group-forming network [GFN] as it grows. Let’s say you have a GFN with n members. If you add up all the potential two-person groups, three-person groups, and so on that those members could form, the number of possible groups equals 2n. So the value of a GFN increases exponentially, in proportion to 2n. I call that Reed’s Law. And its implications are profound.”
-David P. Reed