Tag Archives: Engagement

Advertising is Dead: Long Live Engagement.

OK, so advertising is not actually ‘dead’; however it’s syntactical position as the exclamation mark or full-stop in a campaign has been usurped by the genuine need to engage and interact with consumers.

It’s interesting to see how different brands, different businesses and different sectors are employing this need to engage with their customers.  This weekend, I visited Tesco as usual to carry out the weekly food shop, when the following piece of in-store signage caught my eye:


This signage struck me for a number of reasons:

i) It blurs the boundaries between the offline shopping experience and online engagement.  Supermarkets have traditionally bombarded us with in-store signage in order to tempt us with special offers and multi-buys.  However, this piece of advertising clearly goes beyond that and considers the shopper long after they have left the store.

ii) The QR code is a nice touch – it allows smartphone users to access more information (and thus, engage more deeply) with the brand right there and then.  My only criticism is that the social media handles are not signposted clearly for those who do not use QR codes – an ‘@Tesco’ for example would allow customers to search specifically when they got home.

iii) There is an opportunity for genuine two-way interaction and engagement – customers are asked to submit their own recipe and get involved with Tesco’s new venture, the Real Food TV show.

iv) The platform on Facebook itself is innovative, dynamic and adds value, offering a place to compile and view recipes.  Not only is this a nice tool in itself, but it offers clear potential for several repeat visits.

v) It ties in with Tesco’s key business – the app details food that is ‘in season’ etc., providing a clear call-to-action for consumers to return back to the store and spend money.

In a previous post, we saw how Facebook’s marketers are talking about the new cycle of social engagement, and this piece of social marketing activity adheres to each step in that cycle:

AWARENESS: In-store signage
INTEREST: Competition mechanic and recipe feature
DECISION: QR codes and social channels visited
ACTION: Interaction with the application online
RECOMMENDATION: The ability to share / tweet tool with friends

Engagement is not solely the preserve of social media channels, as we saw in my recent ‘Social Media is a Budweiser Bottle’ blog post.  Social media undoubtedly acts as the platform in which brands can engage consumers more deeply than ever before, but successful brand engagement is an integrated phenomenon.

And this first-class example from Tesco highlights how the offline and online channels are becoming ever more intertwined.

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A little rant on the ‘scoring’ of social media users…

As a social media marketer, I fully understand the need for metrics, measurement and analysis, which tools such as Klout provide.  However, I’m starting to find that the rapid permeation of ‘scoring’ / ‘worth’ into individual social media use through sites such as Empire Avenue is proving detrimental to social experience.

For me, as an individual user of social media, the beauty of platforms such as Twitter has always been the ability to share, engage, connect and converse.  As an individual, I’ve networked, discovered new friends, shared resources, assisted people’s queries and had several answered of my own.

The trend in gamification has also been enjoyable – tools such as Foursquare and Yelp! have blurred the lines between online and offline even further, with location-based applications also enhancing digital ‘community’ experience.

But for me, turning social media into a scoring system runs the very real risk of turning social media into a virtual playground, where the ‘cool’ kids hobnob in cliques and strut around puffing their chests out because they have a ‘high score’.

Social media is ever-evolving, but fundamentally, it remains about engagement, interaction and relationships.  Empire Avenue is another recent classic example of how some users are developing over-inflated opinions of themselves, as their daily ‘stock’ fluctuates along with their egos!

I’m not hypocritical – I’ve checked my own Klout score and even had a go on Empire Avenue (which I have subsequently deleted)!  But for me, social media is about ENGAGAING with people; holding discussions and building human relationships in a virtual world.

Yes; as a social media marketer, metrics such as Klout influence are valuable and necessary markers of performance from a branded social media perspective.  They help to illustrate ROI and your position against competing businesses – I use them professionally and they assist me immensely.

But as an individual?  I couldn’t give two hoots whether 3 million people you’ve never met are ‘investing’ in you because you have a high score.

I’d much rather engage with real people about real things.

</rant>

Gillette: Making Social Media the Call To Action

Aside from being, well, rather damn funny, Gillette’s latest advert tells us a lot about the validity of social media:

What is the call to action of this advert?

Visit the Facebook page.

More and more brands are using social media as valid platforms on which to generate buzz and build consumer engagement.

Traditional advertising continues to create ‘noise’, making various ‘announcements’.

Social media however, breeds ENGAGEMENT.

And THAT’S marketing Mecca.

Marketing & HR – In Bed Together At Last?

Despite the (unfortunately all-too-common) perception amongst my peers that all I do is ‘play around on Twitter and Facebook all day’, my day-to-day role at the Stopgap Group is in fact rather diverse and indeed, unique.

For those of you that are still unsure as to what I actually do (including my other half!), I look after the marketing and Social Media functions for Stopgap, Fitzroy and Courtenay; marketing, executive and HR recruitment firms respectively.  Whilst this variety in brands affords me an enjoyable amount of diversity in my day-to-day role, it has also allowed me to look at both marketing and HR from a holistic viewpoint.

If I look back to when I started in the Marketing department here in late 2007, I wouldn’t be alone in claiming that HR and marketing were separate entities requiring different methods of thinking, marketing and strategy.  Move the clock forward to 2010 however, and Social Media has been a huge catalyst, I believe, in bringing these two functions closer together.

I first gained my first real glimpse of this at the well-received Connecting HR event in March.  I attended the event in a professional capacity representing the marketing function of Courtenay HR, but soon found I had more in common with the HR community than I had previously thought.

Several insightful conversations with various HR practitioners caused something of an epiphany for me.  Listening to these HR professionals discussing the role of Social Media from a human resources perspective, I found that this new medium has blurred the lines between marketing and HR exponentially.

Employees are now much more accountable in terms of ‘employer branding’ than ever before.  Traditionally, it has been marketing departments that have set the agenda for controlled communications.  ‘Digital Democracy’ however, has given all workplace denizens a voice – and thus an opinion that audiences listen to.

Similarly, ‘brand advocates’ within an organisation are being increasingly used to market the company.  In our own organisation, we have several prominent Social Media users whose primary function within the organisation is not marketing.  Nevertheless, their blogs, tweets and LinkedIn interactions have all combined to create an additional Social Media marketing / branding function that has undoubtedly complimented the more ‘established’ marketing efforts coming from my direction.

HR and marketing have so many similarities.  Both aim to engage groups of people.  Both functions wish to market an organisation in the best possible light.  Both look at new ways of communicating and engaging – the list is endless.

Now these similarities are not ‘new’ – these principles have been fundamental to these two disciplines for a long, long time.  However, the way we as humans communicate is shifting dramatically – and this can be ascribed almost wholly to the advent of Social Media.

As long as HR and marketing remain intrinsically about connecting and communicating with people, I have no doubt that Social Media will be the catalyst that draws these functions even closer together – and why not?  Marketing and HR are natural bedfellows and I believe it’s crucial for early adopters of this way of thinking to champion this union and achieve some very big things.