Thinking Outside Your Website: Branding Without Borders

March 24, 2009
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Dear Conference Organizers, please space these sessions out a little more or ask the speakers not to run long. As is, I really feel like you’re trying to kill me and I don’t for the life of me understand why. I’ve done nothing but love you. Forever yours, Lisa. With that out of the way, next we’ve got Fionn Downhill moderating speakers Kevin Cobb, Tim Kendall and Ron Diorio.  It’s too early in the day for my brain to be this tired. Fionn yells good morning at everyone a few times until they muster up enough energy to shout back. Well that was an interesting social experiment. Social experiments completed, it’s time for the speakers to give us their magic. Up first is Kevin. His Twitter name is @i_am_me.  I’m not sure how I feel about that. Anyway. 08 Online Brand Marketing Objectives

  • Build brand awareness
  • Create a presence in an online community where customers and prospects are already engaged. Go where your target is and bring the brand to them. [Amen!]

They took a look at YouTube.  Kevin states that one in four Fortune 500s are on YouTube. That’s noteworthy. Also noteworthy is that one in four searches on the Web take place on YouTube.  That proves there’s more than just cat videos on the site. There are also product demos and reviews. Do people take action on YouTuble? 27 percent thought more favorably toward a product or service. They did a test first. They launched a video ad with iCrossing to validate their gut. They found that their gut was right, the people are out there. They got a great response from that. From there they developed a content strategy.

  • Short term: Contests.
  • Long term: Top 10 Customer Service Issues, online outreach, call centers, continue to interact/use feedback loop.

When they saw their objectives synced with their brand promise, they knew it was a place they wanted to be. It wasn’t a campaign. It was branding beyond their Web site. It helped with C-level execs who thought YouTube was just wasting money. It’s an extension of your brand where your customers are. Getting the Word Out

  • Integrated online media campaign/communication plan to meet all marketing objectives.
  • Interact and engage
  • Drive traffic: Search and display

They launched the 48 second contest.  (Their product launches a page 48 seconds faster than dial up, basically they’re giving you back 48 seconds.) The contest had people tell them what they did with their 48 newfound seconds. It generated a lot of buzz. They were able to use YouTube as a form of customer service. He shows a comment cloud surrounding their YouTube channel. Lots of “thanks” and positive type comments. ROI Metrics Met:

  • Over 400,000 views
  • 648 subscribers
  • They saw 1800+ orders.
  • People spent 11,900 hours with their brand.

Next up is Tim. Tim is seriously, seriously cute.  He’s like a grown up Dan Humphrey/Greg Brady hybrid. Evolution of discovery: How consumers find information. Ten years ago it was directory driven – phone book, newspaper ads, etc. Search engines then made it easy to find and search that info. With social media, people can find information through the lens of their friends. People are there to discover the world and the information of the world through the lens of their friends. The Filter Factor There’s a lot of content out there. The search engines were fabulous as filtering that content.  Now our friends do it. That’s manifested on Facebook through the news feed, which filters all the information your friends are producing and then displaying it in a digest (aka Twitter feed) of what’s happening. Distribution happens very quickly. Even if the functionality of the product is worse, it still trumps it. Free marketing tools amplify your message Facebook has:

  • Pages
  • Events
  • Applications
  • Share & Connect links across the Web that pull things back into Facebook.

They’ve set up ads to help promote these marketing tools. Imagine you’re browsing Facebook. You see an ad to become a fan of John Grisham. You click through and see he’s promoting his new book. You can “like” it and endorse that content. That gets propagated out to his friends’ news feeds.  And it keeps going. From an advertiser perspective, a marketer can purchase these actions and then push them out to people, as well. He ends this up by giving us a quick demo of Friend Connect. The ladies next to me are very into it and repeating “awesome” a whole bunch of times. They also discussed earlier how much they liked the Guy Kawasaki keynote. We’re not the same. Last but not least is Ron. He works for Economist, which he says is a lifestyle brand. People want to share it with their friends. They’ve looked for ways on the Web to make that happen. Content is a catalyst for community and discussion.  Part of what they measure is how is represented from pickups in other blogs and the quality of those. They’re interested in the type of discussions happening. Structure interactions. Fans “digg” The Economist and save its “delicious” insight and content. [rim shot] They have 12,000 followers on twitter. Having a number of Twitter feeds including one exclusively for Debates and one for Gulliver travels. It allows the editors to interact directly with readers and fans in real time. He talks about some of the Economist groups on MeetUp. It doesn’t have to be contentious between brands/fans on social media. If there are unauthorized Fan pages on Facebook, get involved in the space. It’s very likely your evangelists will offer up the Fan page to you without you even having to ask. They set up the page because they want to support you, not to cause you harm.  He mentions another cause where he found out The Economist was being translated into Chinese and handed out in China. Do they stop them or help them? Theychose to  support it. The’yre using social media to extend its reach, to increase eyeballs and to find new customers without having to pay for them. It gives them an opportunity to experiment, to learn and to fail.  They’re trying to make the connection between their ideas and the people who search on them.

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