Left: Pepsi launched a bold social marketing play, find out what went well –and what opportunities were missed.
Greetings, fellow strategists, In my latest column for the Forbes CMO Network (you can read all my Forbes pieces) I analyzed Pepsi’s big push into social. Also, you should see my detailed field notes, (I did my research before, during, and after the game, thanks to Trendrr folks) to measure any specific changes, before coming up with my findings. I did contact Pepsi pre article to get comments, although they sent me an email after the Forbes piece was up, see bottom response.
Super Bowl: A Missed Opportunity For Pepsi
Cola maker should promote its social cause on TV.
PepsiCo ditched the Super Bowl this year to make a major social media play. Instead of spending money for ad time on the Super Bowl, it’s relying primarily on digital initiatives to spread the word about its Internet-based Refresh Project contest and charity campaign.
The cause-marketing effort is a good one. Word is spreading through traditional media, online networks, social media and celebrity chatter. But I believe Pepsi made a big mistake in giving up its long-held Super Bowl ad real estate. A more integrated media approach–one that included the Super Bowl–would be a savvy play for Pepsi. And such integration is something top marketing executives need to keep in mind in their rush to embrace digital initiatives.
Let’s take a look at Pepsi’s campaign playbook.
The Big Gamble: Social Over Traditional Advertising
Pepsi, as a major ad player, knows that brand association is key to its marketing strategy. Company executives also know that there’s a shift in consumer adoption toward social technologies and that marketers can’t count on reaching the consumers they want to engage through TV. In response to this, Pepsi execs decided to spend the money the company typically plows into buying and creating Super Bowl spots–$20 million or so–to promote and fund a campaign that will identify causes that are worthy of supporting. At refresheverything.com Pepsi encourages consumers to submit ideas to improve community or causes then activate their personal networks to vote for the ideas. To date, the number of submissions possible for the first round of awards has been maxed. It also enjoys a continuous buzz on Twitter with the hashtag #PepsiRefresh.
Playing to its Strengths: Budgets, Celebrities and First Mover
Pepsi has a lot of things going for it. It has the deep pockets to keep a campaign going long-term. It has benefited from notable press buzz from being the first mover of a radical approach. Additionally, the company is using traditional media outlets to glean endorsements from celebrities, including New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees on NFL.com. His charity of choice: the American Cancer Society.
Missed Opportunity: In-Game Tie-In
Pepsi made a misstep in this bold media shift: The company alienated a key channel and missed out on tying Pepsi Refresh to the most-watched TV event in Western media (correction to “U.S. Media” see comments below for details). By not having any in-game discussion on the advertisements, it was unable to use the Super Bowl or its advertisements as a catapult to launch the campaign into the social sphere. In fact, after the game, overall mentions of Pepsi and the Pepsi Refresh campaign remained relatively on the same trajectory as before. To look at a detailed set of my field notes and data, I’m tracking mentions using Trendrr of blog posts, Tweets and news articles on my field notes page.
Campaign Analysis: Advantages
Pepsi’s novel approach to social cause marketing is headed in the right direction. Pepsi benefits from:
- First-mover advantage. By announcing a radical approach Pepsi took advantage of pre-event press coverage (including a story in Forbes).
- Using celebrities to spur campaign. Pepsi invested in influential relationships by the utilization of celebrity endorsements.
- Shifting to “we” over “me.” Pepsi has shifted traditional brand advertising efforts to now being more community-focused, enabling those who won the monies to spread the Pepsi brand on their behalf.
- Planning for the long haul. Pepsi is making its marketing dollars go to work by extending the program over months, rather than a short flight of Super Bowl ads.
Campaign Analysis: Risks
While innovative, Pepsi has some clear challenges–and missed opportunities:
- Pepsi has yet to show the world it gets social marketing. Its recent entry into the space with the edgy–but sexist–”Amp” iPhone applications resulted in severe backlash, and is now a case study on the infamous punk’d list.
- Cultural mismatch. Pepsi’s history of mass marketing means it will need to change its internal culture to embrace social marketing, where success lies in letting go of control.
- Missed opportunity to integrate Super Bowl TV ads with campaign. Pepsi’s biggest misstep is putting all its eggs in one basket–and not benefiting from synergies of multiple channels.
Takeaway: An Integrated Approach to Media is Best
By shifting so much of its annual ad budget from one channel to another, Pepsi missed an opportunity to spur word-of-mouth chatter about its Refresh initiative. Instead Pepsi should have relegated an appropriate amount of TV advertising budget to Pepsi Refresh, encouraging submitting ideas, voting and sharing in the context of the game. It would also introduce Pepsi as a socially conscious marketer to a larger group of people.
CMOs experimenting with digital and social technologies should not invest in them as a silo. They should instead be part of an overall integrated marketing effort.
JKO: Below is Bonin Bough, Pepsi’s Social Marketing strategist response via email. He’s given me permission to publish the following, and I appreciate the time he took to respond in an active dialog.
Bonin: I enjoyed reading your initial analysis of our Pepsi Refresh Project.
Let’s me start by saying on your key takeaway, we are on the same page: An Integrated Approach to Media is Best.
And that’s the approach we’re taking with the Pepsi Refresh Project. Throughout the course of the year-long initiative, we’re absolutely using traditional channels — television included — to support it. Our decision not to announce the program on the Super Bowl was not because we don’t believe in the power of television. We do. Or that we don’t believe in the Super Bowl, specifically. We do. (As you know, we chose to advertise other PepsiCo brands during the game.) The decision was based on the opinion that it wasn’t the most contextually relevant way to tell the story. Arguable? Perhaps. But the conversation around the program — the amount of it and the overall tenor of it — thus far suggests that it may well have been the right approach.
But we’re going to continue to engage in, enable, listen to and evaluate the conversation. And if it seems that we need to course correct we will. A sign, I think, of an internal culture and a senior management that is embracing social marketing.
Of course, the Pepsi Refresh Project is about more than marketing. It’s about engagement … about building affinity and building advocacy by making a real and measureable difference in people’s lives. And that’s why we take very seriously your point about impact. We’ve aligned with top-notch partners including GOOD, Global Giving and Do Something in building the Pepsi Refresh Project. A leading academic and research group will be assisting with project follow-up and measuring community impact. We’re optimistic about the very great potential.
We’ll be watching and sharing as the ideas build, the stories unfold and impact becomes evident. I look forward to watching your analysis and continuing the dialogue throughout the course of the program and the course of the year.
JKO: Thanks Bonin, we’ll continue to watch the interesting moves Pepsi is taking in the space of disruptive technologies. We agree, Pepsi’s core program is strong –but it can be refined by keeping all engines on –not putting all eggs in one basket. I appreciate the time you took to give me feedback. I’ll see you at SXSW again this year.
Left: Inline with the Google style guide of primary colors, Google launches a new logo for Google Buzz, using familiar “chat bubble” iconology.
Google launches status update features
Google launches Buzz, which many will find similar to Friendfeed now part of the Facebook family. Google Buzz will enable content to be aggregated, and then prioritized based upon the people you already email with, which Harry McCracken and I call this a social graph based on history, “Historical social graph” or HSG. Secondly, this Google Buzz feature will rate and rank content based on activity and interaction within your social group. Users can choose to publish the Buzz in public, which will display on the Google Profile page. They also announced the ability to input this data from mobile devices and showed a voice to text scenario. They plan to make more announcements based on enterprise versions –and more at their IO developer conference.
Enough about news, I’m sure you’ll find more on Techmeme, here are my insights.
Analysis: Impacts To Industry
- Google continues its prime directive. At the high level, this is a strong move for Google, they continue to aggregate other people’s social content, and become the intermediatry. This helps them to suck in Twitter, Flickr, and any-other-data type as the APIs open up, giving them more to ‘organize’. This is Google acting on it’s mission to the world.
- Privacy woes will scare consumers –yet adoption will continues upward. For consumers, the risk of privacy will continue to be at top of mind. Although the features allow for sharing only with friends or in public. expect more consumer groups to express concern. Overtime, this will become moot as the next generation of consumers continues to share in public.
- Buzz could have faster adoption rate than Twitter. For consumers, this could potentially have more adoption than Twitter as Gmail has a large footprint Google told me it’s tens of millions (active monthly unique). Of course, most Gmail users likely aren’t Twitter users, but there could be a large platform to draw from.
- Physical businesses lose more control over search strategy. For small busineses and retailers, this will impact their search engine results pages, as a single top ‘buzzer’ could cause their content to be very relevant, if that person was relevant, then their influential content could show at top of SERP pages. Expect Google to continue to offer advertising options now around buzz content –fueling their revenues.
- A direct blow to Facebook, they must accelerate go to market. To Facebook, this is a direct threat, these features emulate Friendfeed and the recently designed Facebook newsfeed. Expect Google to incorporporate Facebook connect, commoditizing Facebook data as it gets sucked into Google and displayed on Google SERP.
- Great for Twitter now –yet painful in the long term. This is good for Twitter in the short term, as it’ll amplify tweets, and suck them into a new system and give additional reach. Yet over time, status features will become a commodity, and Twitter as a destination will fade into the background.
Back in July 2009, I took a bold statement to say that Email and Social Networks are the same, I distinctly recall a lot of people disagreeing with this notion, but I think it became true today. Posted from the Googleplex at the live briefing, I also spoke to NYT, SF Chronicle, SJ Mercury, NYT (second time), UPI, and Financial Times. Also, I polished some of the writing up in the afternoon, as the first pass was quick and dirty.
Below: Pictures from the event, including Sergey, Google Founder
Left: There are four main categories of social strategy, yet with over 20 subset objectives, which we’ll discuss at a high level.
Organizations that focus on social technologies suffer from the symptom of ‘Fondling The Hammer‘ . True social strategy stems from business objectives –not the latest technologies.
So often, companies develop social tactics based on the latest tool that’s sprung forth. Yet, so far and few in between to organizations develop an actionable plan based on business goals.
This second in our no-cost webinar series is coming up on the topic of social strategy. In the spirit of open research, we’re leading a discussion in public, and encourage you to join, learn, and share with others. Co-hosting with Charlene Li, we’ll be hosting a no-cost webinar to discussin how companies can develop a social marketing effort that meet business goals.
Although not a requirement, our sessions build off each other, read, watch, and listen to our previously recorded session, we discussed how companies should really understand their customers before entering the social space.
Register: Developing a Social Strategy by Objectives, Hosted by Altimeter Group
Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM PST
(Status: 858 out of 1000 maximum have registered, as of Feb 11th)
Please sign up, we’re only limited to 1000 attendees and last time we have over 800 signups. If you are unable to make the live webcast, we’ll post the full set of slides and recording on this blog and the Altimeter blog, so please subscribe. The hashtag for this event is #AltimeterWebinar, and if you’ve questions you want to pose in advance on Twitter, I’m listening and will factor in the top questions, or leave a comment below.
Time to put the hammer down, and start focusing on building that house.
The submissions are defintly picking up, I’m seeing more submissions than before. Why? I attribute this to the start of the new year when many folks change up jobs, and the slight uptick we’re starting to see in the economy.
In an effort to recognize the changes in the social media space, I’ve started this post series (see archives) to both track and congratulate folks who get promoted, move, or accept new exciting positions. Please help me congratulate the following folks:
- Congrats to Jeannette Gibson (Twttier) who has moved to corporate marketing to run social media at Cisco Systems. I’ve shared the stage with her a few times, she’s quite impressive, and has been successful in deploying social programs in B2B environments.
- Congrats to Maria Povermo (Twitter) who’s ascended to the Group Manager, Social Media at Adobe Systems, (Altimeter client)
- Dave Armon has joined Context Optional as director of strategic accounts.
- Zena Weist (Twitter) has landed at HRBLock as the director of social media, congrats.
- Ginevra Kirkland, long term customer advocate at Six Apart (I had the joy of working with her years ago as a client) has now joined the mighty team at Get Satisfaction as a Community and Account Manager read her post, as well as read the interview on Gsat blog.
- Joe Stanhope joins Forrester Research (great folks) as a Senior Analyst focused on site optimization strategy, which includes coverage of Web analytics as well as online testing and targeting platforms.
- WPP owned agency Ogilvy PR hired Dirk Shaw as a senior vice president in its 360° Digital Influence Practice. I’ve worked closely with Dirk in the past and have been impressed, congrats Dirk and Ogilvy.
- Todd Bowman has joined (PDF) Senior Vice President of Sales at appssavvy
- Joel Johnson is now a SVP Integrated Planning Director at Porter Novelli
- Marc-Antoine Ross is the Community & Content Manager at SoftCity Technologies
- Matt Dickman has been promoted to SVP, Digital Strategy at Fleishman-Hillard
- Carey Sullivan has been promoted to Manager of Social Media American Electric Power
- Angela Connor is a new hire as Social Media Manager at Capstrat
- Chris WIlson has joined as a Senior Account Executive, Digital Strategy at Fleishman-Hillard
- Michael Litman joins as a Social Media Planner at Dare Digital
- Andrew D. Nystrom is a new hire as Digital Marketing Manager, Social Media at Red Bull North America #wings
How to connect with others (or get a job):
Several people have been hired because of this blog post series, here’s how you can too:
Submit an announcement
If you know folks that are moving up in the social media industry, fill out this form.
Seeking Social Media Professionals?
If you’re seeking to connect with community advocates and community managers there are few resources
This list, which started with just 8 names continues to grow as folks submit to it. List of Social Computing Strategists and Community Managers for Enterprise Corporations 2008 –Social Media Professionals.
Job Resources in the Social Media and Web Industry
Web Strategy Jobs powered by Job o Matic (Post a job there and be seen by these blog readers, these affiliate fees pay for my hosting)
Read Write Web keeps announcements flowing at Jobwire, although is broader than just social media jobs
Facebook group for community manager group in Facebook
Jake McKee’s community portal for jobs
Chris Heuer’s Social Media Jobs
SimplyHired aggregates job listings, as does Indeed
ForumOne Jobs for Social Media and Community
Teresa has a few jobs, some around community
New Media hire has an extensive job database
Social Media Headhunter
Social media jobs
Jobs in social media
Altimeter Group’s list of social media consultants and agencies
See this list of Corporate Social Media Strategists and Community Managers that I keep up to date
Hiring? Leave a comment
If you’re seeking candidates in the social media industry, many of them are within arms reach, feel free to leave a link to a job description (but not the whole job description, please)
Case Study: An Influential Mom Blogger Caused Mainstream Crises
Popular blogger, Heather Armstrong (@dooce) was dissatisfied with her non-working Maytag appliance. Following protocol, she called their support number, yet her issue was not solved. Stonewalled, she argued/warned the support staff that she was on Twitter, yet didn’t receive special assistance. Escalating further, she then flexed a muscle and told them she had over 1,000,000 Twitter followers –yet the support rep did not budge. Finally, she blogged and Tweeted against Maytag, initiating a boycott by her followers, “DO NOT BUY MAYTAG” and continues to chronicle her experience on her blog. While critics suggest she wielded her power with irresponsibility, the point is moot, what matters is her social influence was not factored into the support triage decision making process –making a minor support issue a PR issue now on Forbes.
Just as companies factor in value of a customers celebrity status, buying power or customer loyalty –companies must factor in social influence or put themselves at risk. That’s right, customers with more Twitter followers are more likely to get better service and support than those that don’t.
Trend: Consumers Becoming Influential Using Social Technologies
- Companies Already Give Preferential Treatment To Famous and Wealthy Customers. Companies have given high influence customers preference for years. Take for example, shopping malls in the Los Angeles area have private entry ways for celebrities to enter the mall and receive priorty treatment. Or, how B2B companies cater to their top customers with special event days, golf outings, or other clients with deep pockets. Companies know that not all customers are valued the same, and as a result, treat them differently.
- With More Consumers Adoption Social Technologies, the Problem Will Get Worse. The tide is rising, in fact with more consumers adopting social technologies, the amount of voices that companies will need to deal with will increase in volume. Treating each customer with the best possible service and support (Like Zappos unique culture) is ideal –but not realistic. Companies are ill-equipped to support millions of customers in real time on the social web. They must have prioritization programs in place to handle the high risk/opportunity accounts quickly.
- Companies Who Don’t Factor In Influence Put Themselves at Risk. Companies can choose to not factor in the social influence of customers, but will be putting themselves at risk. It’s just a matter of time before a company has a social blowup, and by not trying to handle priority customers could cause a small issue to quickly escalate into a larger one. Also, savvy competitors who factor in social influence can swoop and acquire high influence customers from companies that don’t. Your goal, is to stay off this list.
Matrix: The Four Phases How Companies Factor Social Influence
|Do not factor in social influence
||Companies treat all customers the same, regardless of number of readers, followers or social influence.
||It’s cheap, companies don’t have to spend resources to understand if a single customer can influence others.
||Run the risk of not prioritzing a customer that could influence others, resulting in missed opportunity or greater PR risk.
||Companies factor in social influence as it surfaces, such as a customer explicitly staying their influence, or a service member proactively having to find it.
||Companies don’t have to invest in a program or system that tries to calculate this influence.
||May miss opportunities of serviing a high influence customer, or may not realize a potential social crises till it’s too late.
||Companies factor in total number of Facebook book friends and activity, number of Twitter followers and assign a raw number.
||Easy to calculate, and expect future Social CRM tools to do this with ease in the future.
||Data may not be accurate: Numbers can be manipulated and gamed, resulting in companies misallocate resources. Risk of alienating consumers without social influence.
||Companies factor in the true influence a customer has over their actual market –ignoring factors that may not be relevant.
||Finally, companies can focus on those customer with social influence that impact other prospects and buyers in their specific market
||Such a program is hard to setup and costly, and will require constant inputs and tuning. Risk of alienating consumers without social influence.
Companies Must Factor In Social Influence
- Recalculate The Customer Lifetime Value Quotient. For years, companies have factored in the total value of customers over their entire lifetime, Stanford has methods to calculate this called the Customer Lifetime Value formula. These formulas factored in ability to be a repeat buyer, income level, and size of purchases over time. Just as companies spend more time with customers with deeper pockets, they should also spend the appropriate type of attention with followers that don’t.
- Yet Recognize, that Not All Social Influence Is the Same. To be efficient, companies shouldn’t reward those with spammy followers they got from an overnight follow script, but recognize that influence isn’t always about quantity, recognize there are at least two types of social influence: The first, absolute influence is the total size of the individuals influence. Take Scoble for example, who has over a 100,000 Twitter followers and probally 100k subscribed to his blog is influential in a broad market. However, his relative influence within the high-end fashion market is low. D&G must factor in both types of influence in understanding how to deal with customers, therefore while Scoble’s absolute influence is high, his relative influence to the fashion market is low.
- Expect New Technologies To Address This Problem. We’re seeing a whole group of companies emerge in the Social CRM space that are trying to address parts of these problems. Eventually, we should expect CRM systems to automatically indicate to customer facing employees the level of influence customers have. In the most radical future, customers may choose to broadcast their preferences to retail stores before the walk in based on preferences and past purchases in order to receive a better experience. If this happens, companies can match with their social influence, and treat them accordingly.
I look forward to hear from you: have companies treated you differently because of your social influence? What companies are doing this now? What are the risks of doing it or not factoring in social influence?