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Archive for the category “Responsible Marketing”

Sleuthing through the recent Facebook shutdowns

There’s been fear and loathing in social media land recently. As some of India’s most visible Facebook fan communities started to go missing. It all began early this month when the Pizza Hut India page was shut down. The news was important enough to feature in mainstream media and on digital blogs. While the Pizza Hut page came back up, two other Indian properties, FCUK India and Cadbury Bournville, went down too. Both the pages are back up after the blip. Check out this interesting inflection of the FCUK India page on Wildfire Social Media Monitoring App.

So what’s happening in social media land? Is the promise of limitless, free consumer engagement is beginning to evaporate even before we have started? What are the future challenges that brands and social media managers will have to keep in mind to ensure that their carefully built properties do not disappear?

The simple answer. Adhere to Facebook terms of service. Live by the rule book, they are straightforward, and everything will be fine. No problem.

In reality things are a bit different. Most brands want to grow their fan pages exponentially, And Pizza Hut India has had some success as this report from December points out. A good promo can do wonders to your page and your confidence, terms of service or no terms of service.

These takedowns are widespread. Allfacebook reports that there has been a slew of app take downs around the world where one of Facebook engineer tried to explain “We’ve been getting a lot of user feedback recently, spiking significantly over the past week, on the amount of application spam people are seeing in their feeds and on their walls. We turned on a new enforcement system yesterday that took user feedback much more heavily into account.”  Apologies and a form on a disabled application appeal page continued in the engineers post.

Spam and blackhat stuff aside, what can legit brands and social media companies do to avoid seeing their efforts and nascent fan pages go down? Once again, play by the rules. There’s no escaping that. Don’t misuse the “like” button, don’t try to induce fans to comment, tag or post.

If you have been managing a Facebook community, you may have received mails from Facebook staff urging you to remove apps and promotions that violate Facebook’s terms. We have received a few and  have been proactive in working to ensure compliance.

We think the problem arises when you don’t respond.

The Facebook platform has been written to record every action that a person makes on a page. Dig around the code and even you will know who commented, who posted, who shared something on any page. So it is easy for Facebook to track admins and what they do, the promos and apps they post etc. And if they find an offending app or promotion on a page they write to the specific admin who posted it.  Now this could be the reason why some pages are being taken down and others narrowly missing the cut. The admin who posted the app or the violating promo has moved on and is still the page admin, or has not checked his Facebook designated mail in time. Our experience is that Facebook does warn offending admins and if they respond and take necessary action then the page stays on. Simple.

So going forward. Stay within the limits of what Facebook allows. Ensure that the admins you have on the page are people who are actively managing the page. And three, and this is a tricky one. If you are an admin look thru every one of your Facebook mails, yes, you get a lot many of them from your friends, fans and the community. Read through them, lest one of them happens to be a mail that warns you about an offending item and the future of your million fan social media community.

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Hecklers in the stands

The joke is on someone else. Every status update. Every check in is an open invitation to show the world how smart you are. A gentle rib. Mild sarcasm. A joke whose ripples reverberate across the social sphere. You enjoy the digs and so do some of your friends. LOLs often, rarely ROTFL…

You soon forget the remark you made and move on.

The web doesn’t.

As it builds up its collective semantic intelligence, your digital diatribes are being tracked and silently backed up in a giant database of actions.

Now comes the interesting part.

You are out in the market looking for a job your prospective employer looks you up online. The new-age profiling database, it’s no Vault of third-part comments, it’s trolled through your handiwork. Your tweets, facebook updates, comments and such. And it throws up your online personality. You are extremely social, highly connected, your Klout ratings are impressive. But hey what’s with your personality types? The No Asshole Rule search engine has tipped your scales into the red.

You are no Edward Boches. Not as mature.

You have built your reputation for rudeness and negativity and have been found out in chunks of 140 character posts.

Search engine optimization is not going to help you hide.

Generous Brands

Fallon London’s John King writes about why, in future, all brands will be generous, additive ones to people and culture. They will help build ideas in the world; they leave something behind. There are two ways to do it, says King: You can focus on the old model and fill your cardboard sign with a supply-side sob story ("Broke, out-of-work veteran"). Or you can take a more generous approach: singing a song, making people smile or opening a door. Brands must learn that empty pockets will never earn as much as the empty guitar case. Generosity, he says isn’t charity or cause marketing. While the recent economic woes have made mercy marketing the norm, with Hyundai’s brilliant assurance idea leading the way, generosity is broader in concept. John King’s five tips for building generous brands: Oh Behave! To be successful today requires pushing past positioning toward behavior. Generous brands behave; they do things for people. Uncover the value equation; using a simple research exercise we often use called "Ask/Thank." When interviewing consumers, we’ve found it helpful to start by having them ask the brand for three things and thank the brand for three things. We’ve found their answers provide an excellent glimpse into the existing value equation for the brands we work on. Get in their schedule. Marketers need to get away from thinking about themselves and their targets to find areas in people’s lives and sync giving into that. "Drive sales in Q3!" — a concept that has no relevance on the consumer calendar. Slippy Digital. The most impactful digital experiences today are designed to create portable, slippy content that allows people to take your brand places. Take a bigger role Every brand has a choice: Be stingy or be generous. A stingy brand chooses to focus entirely on product information, asking the consumer to walk up and knock on its door. A generous brand chooses to take a bigger role in the consumer’s life, opening the doors and windows and providing shared ownership. More in AdAge

Apple. The Consequences Of Making Good Products

One of those rare moments when you get to look at what happens at Apple. Jonathan Ive Apple’s head of design since 1996 spoke of what makes Apple the company it is. Ive was insistent that the key to Apple’s success was that it was not driven by money but by a complete focus on delivering just a few desirable and useful products.’ For a large multi-billion dollar company we don’t actually make many different products,’ he explained. ‘We’re so focused, we’re very clear about our goals.’ Ive had bad news for anyone looking to foster a design or innovation-driven culture within an enterprise that doesn’t at heart "get" it. Unless the disciplines are acknowledged and embraced as core values by every employee, they won’t gain traction. "We don’t have identity manuals reminding us of points of philosophy for why our company exists," From Businessweek

A Great Customer Service Letter

Jackie Huba at Church of the Customer blog writes about her recent experience with Apple customer service and how this once again proves why the company is such a great brand. She has reposted a follow up letter that she received from Apple service:

Dear Jackie,

This is Stacy, with a courtesy follow-up. I haven’t heard from you and wanted to make sure that your request was handled to your satisfaction. You’ve truly been a remarkable asset to the iTunes Store Family and as such I don’t want to leave you without any type of resolution, so if you do not respond, I will be closing this request. I hope that you continue to enjoy the iTunes Store and would like to thank you for being such a wonderful member of our family.

Please remember if you require any further assistance I’m only an email away. Have an awesome day!

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you. You may receive an AppleCare survey email; any feedback you provide would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Stacy
Tier 1 iTunes Store Support

While she thinks it may be a form letter, she is impressed at the use of emotional words; truly remarkable, family, wonderful, awesome. More on the Church of Customer blog.

Financial Literacy Through Advertising

AdCouncil is the place for work that educates and informs people on different things. So it is perfect timing that the AdCouncil run a campaign on financial literacy. Here are links to two campaign they are running at the moment. One for general public, here. And another for young adults, here.

Pay Debts Faster With Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo has announced new tools to help consumers save more while reducing what they owe, while also introducing resources to use credit better for a lifetime. The Wells Fargo Debt Pay Down Solution allows customers to consolidate their monthly payments through a personal loan and help find money to pay off the loan faster.
The bank is also offering the
Wells Fargo Cash Back Card and the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card to incentivise customers to pay down debt by offering cashback rewards that they can use to reduce credit card or personal loan balances or add to checking or savings. Wells Fargo is also introducing its Smarter Credit Center, an online resource center with information about how to establish, rebuild and use credit. More from Payment News.

Bank Of Twitter

Bank of America becomes yet another bank to embrace Twitter with a customer service stream. Manned by customer relations specialist David Knapp, customers can tweet him if they have problems with their accounts or general questions. Wachovia, which in August started an account to seek out and serve customers on this micro blogging platform, now has over a thousand followers. While some banks have active twitter accounts, there are others who have created accounts and not followed up on it. Read more in Finextra.

Web Comforts Those Who Lost Trust In Their Banks

If people no longer trusted their banks, why would they trust some start-up with their most private financial information? As it turns out, interest in these sites is up, not down. Burned by their banks and the stock market, people seeking help with budgeting, saving and investing are turning to sites with names like Mint, SmartyPig, Cake Financial, Wesabe and Credit Karma. Visits to online personal finance sites are up threefold over last year, said Jim Bruene, founder of the trade publisher Online Financial Innovations, and many of the sites say they have grown quickly since the crisis worsened in September. “The worse the news was, the more people started using Mint,” said Aaron Patzer, founder and chief executive of the company, which is based in Mountain View, Calif. “People realize they need to get a better handle on their money.” “It’s the wisdom of the masses,” said Michael Healy, 33, a recruiter in San Francisco who discusses investments on Cake Financial. Marc Hedlund, co-founder and chief executive of Wesabe, said: “Oftentimes you don’t want to talk about stressful financial issues with your friends. Online, you can come in an anonymous way, talk about the things you’re struggling with and get feedback.” Read more in NY Times.

Amex. Open Forum

If you want to see the power of a brand or a corporate blog, head over to Amex Openforum. Wonderful magazine style website designed to help small businesses, the core target of Amex Open, how to get better at the things they do. With articles and stories in finance, innovation, marketing, leadership and management, the place is choco-bloc with inspiration for someone who wants to do better in business. The forum has interviews and stories featuring many luminaries in the business including, Sir Richard Branson, Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki and more. If there’s a way for a brand to use the web to help their core customers get better at what they do, Amex is surely showing us how. Amex OpenForum more.

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