MarketingCharts: SocNet Crowdsourcing Has Mixed Results

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Oct 21, 2011
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Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from MarketingCharts, a Watershed Publishing publication providing up-to-to-minute data and research to marketers.

While brands performing crowdsourcing (letting consumers take over a portion of your promotional activity) via social networks have experienced positive results, the practice can also backfire, according to a new report from WaveMetrix. Results from Q3 2011 Benefits and Limits of a Social Media Fanbase show that brands with an established fan base and brand image tend to get better results from social media crowdsourcing.

The report focuses on the efforts of three brands: Colgate, Nando’s, and Uniqlo.

Colgate Gets Smiles on Facebook

With its "Smile" campaign in summer 2011, Colgate used a dedicated Facebook page to encourage consumers to upload pictures of themselves smiling. The smiles were turned into large collage posters which were displayed in supermarkets and other point of sale locations. WaveMetrix analysis reveals that Colgate’s strategy also had a positive effect on purchase discussion, as users became 2.5 times more likely to discuss purchasing toothpaste as the campaign went on.

Moreover, the "Smile" campaign had a positive impact on brand image, as users identified Colgate with a sense of community and fun.

Nando’s Noise Needs Nourishing

In a less successful campaign from casual dining chain Nando’s, consumers were asked what noises they make when someone says the word "Nando’s" and invited them to upload video clips of their "Nando’s Noise" on the campaign website. U.S. comedian and beat-boxer, Reggie Watts, featured in the campaign launch ad, creating a series of "Nando’s Noises" which users could then mix with their own clips on the website.

Wavemetrix analysis reveals that the campaign’s humorous aspects generated the most interest and led consumers to talk positively about Nando’s products. However, some consumers criticized the campaign for not reflecting what Nando’s does, or commenting that they prefer a competing brand. This shows that crowdsourcing can leave a company with less control of how their brand is portrayed and exposed to criticism through competitor comparisons.

Uniqlo Gets Shoppers Talking

In addition to having several more traditional regional Facebook pages, Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo has a "Worldwide fanpage," which has garnered close to a quarter of a million Likes. Described as "a page by Uniqlo fans for Uniqlo fans," the site fosters a community of "Uniqlovers," with both community managers and group members acting as evangelists for the brand.

WaveMetrix social media monitoring shows that the Uniqlo fanpage is successful at prompting consumers to talk positively about the brand, stores and products. Although half of the consumers who post discussion indicate that they are current Uniqlo shoppers, the other half of consumers are engaged by the social media content, but do not discuss Uniqlo.

Discussion Questions: What do you think of the potential to engage consumers through crowdsourcing via social networks? What inherent risks do you see in the practice and how should they be managed?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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8 Comments on "MarketingCharts: SocNet Crowdsourcing Has Mixed Results"


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Dr. Stephen Needel
Guest
9 years 6 months ago

Is anybody else amazed that anyone would spend any time on any of these pages doing any of these things? I’m thinking the phrase “get a life” applies here. We can only hope that this whole thing goes down the tubes and becomes irrelevant to business the way Second Life did.

Warren Thayer
Guest
9 years 6 months ago

Remember when TV was totally dominated by 3 networks, and you could get a huge national audience by buying a spot on any of them? And then cable came along and changed everything by fragmenting the market into little tiny pieces? And how people were predicting the imminent demise of radio, newspapers, books, movies and theater? Sheesh! Okay, I agree that new media is here and finding its way, and I applaud that. Congratulations. But I sure get tired of hearing how it’s taking over the world, and on some grand glorious day we’ll never have to leave the house, see another human being or communicate in any other way besides ESP via brain implants. It all seems so adolescent, self-important and self-indulgent. Sorry. An unrelated rant, I suppose, but I just had to scratch the itch this morning. I’m heading downtown now to pick up the mail, and chat with friends. Not even taking my cell phone.

Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
9 years 6 months ago

So much focus on anything social media these days and we haven’t really seen if it works or not. While I do believe that social media can be a component of a merchant’s marketing arsenal, it’s not the end all be all and from what I see, users are getting over bombarded with marketing messages through social media networks. Eventually, people will stop caring. Look what happened to MySpace. Facebook seems to be traveling down that same path. My advice is to look at these tools as part of the bigger picture. Engaging your customers or potential customers through networks is a great way to build brand presence and loyalty but it cannot be the total focus of the brand. People have short attention spans and will eventually stop caring if all that’s coming through their wall is marketing messages.

Lisa Bradner
Guest
Lisa Bradner
9 years 6 months ago
I think a lot can be summarized by my experience reading this post: Colgate (of course, know them, have known them all my life); Uniqlo (trendy, hip, NY, wish I had more access have heard great buzz and word of mouth). Nando????? hmmm. Better Google them before I respond to this post. After visiting their website, still not totally clear on where I would find them or their full menu. Clearly, I’m not the target, but it says a lot. My point is only to say that social media is often reflective of brand equity that’s built in other places and channels (including the actual store). If you have a problem with your brand experience that you’re not keeping tabs on and working to fix, launching a splashy social media campaign is only going to publicize that problem not whitewash it. That said, whatever negative feedback Nando got, hopefully they were able to use it to improve their customer experience and address concerns. We tend to see negative comments as a travesty but if brands… Read more »
Ronnie Perchik
Guest
Ronnie Perchik
9 years 6 months ago

There’s no doubt that social media is risky. A brand blasts a message out, and gives consumers the ability to directly respond, either positively or negatively.

But, this is the beauty of social media: direct, 2-way communication. Positive response means building buzz. Negative response allows for market research. In this case, brands should take the opportunity to learn about how consumers view them, and what the expectations are. Then, relay these learnings into adjusting messages and products to suit the response.

One way to potentially combat negative response is to work with a social media agency that specializes in this medium. They understand placement, or which sites are best to promote on, how to tailor the message, and how to communicate back.

But bottom line is, the benefits of social media far outweigh the disadvantages.

Anne Bieler
Guest
Anne Bieler
9 years 6 months ago

The most valuable information will come from consumers in the moment — product/shopping experience is a small part of their busy lives. So asking people to comment is a risk — it takes time, and the product may not be top of mind. The disconnect between what consumers think while experiencing the product and what they say or do has to be kept in view when considering the social media. Some communities are engaged on a continuing basis, e.g. moms using infant care products, others react well when asked for an opinion about a favorite product, or new products.

But honestly, who has time to enrage in all this social chatter unless it matters to our daily lives? Knowing how the product is integrated into consumer use should be the first step in establishing then proceed with carefully. Opening up the conversation means that many opinions might be expressed, and marketers need to listen and learn as well consider that deliberately harmful remarks will sometimes appear and need to be addressed.

Doug Garnett
Guest
Doug Garnett
9 years 6 months ago

A few of these ideas are nice. But they aren’t what most people mean when they say crowdsourcing.

The good ideas involve, as with the Colgate smile, going out to consumers of a product and bring back into our advertising the ways that our product affects them. That’s just a creative or production gimmick for the ad — and can be quite effective.

True crowdsourcing usually means having consumers generate your ad ideas — in other words when the ad agency avoids its responsibility and asks consumers to take it on. That is generally a gimmick to get clients to spend money differently so that the agency has a new ability they can use to get OTHER new clients. It’s rarely about the client.

So, “vital component”? Nope. Or if everybody does it, everybody is going to end up looking the same and confusing consumers even more than they are today.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
9 years 6 months ago

If you are confident you can use “crowdsourcing” while remaining in control of your message, go for it. However, if there is the slightest doubt you can completely manage your message through crowdsourcing media, back away. Businesses work too hard sculpting their brand images to simply hand a current or potential customer a mallet and chisel and telling them to take a crack at it. Certainly, there is an element of risk inherent in all marketing. An important task for brand stewards, then, is to minimize risk rather than maximizing it.

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