I’m sorry – did you miss me?


My bad.

I cannot believe that after spending years preaching to so many about the importance of keeping up with their blogs and online ‘voice’ I have managed to neglect my own for SO LONG! In that time, my demanding role as Global Marketing Strategist with Lionbridge, and even more demanding family, has seen a marked decrease in the time I used to allocate to onlineSoul. However, something interesting happened this week which has made me rethink how I managed my time so that I can dedicate more to blogging once more:

  1. I looked at the statistics,  and strangely – with no promotion or activity AT ALL – they are increasing! It seems that what I wrote about 3 years ago still very much resonates with people…
  2. I received a lovely comment on one of my posts, which inspired me to return. I like being liked – don’t we all! 🙂

So, I’m back! Let me know what you want to hear about, and I’ll happily add it to the mix.

Shocking demonstration of influencer marketing from Volkswagen UK


We’ve all heard of influencer marketing, right? You find out who the key influencers are within your target market and use them as a vehicle to get to the people you are aiming at. Great in theory, but not many companies are really doing it right (if they are attempting it at all!).

To begin with, you need to understand the difference between an influencer and a brand advocate, as was expertly described by Aaron Lee recently in his iStrategy blog post. Whilst I don’t agree with his overall point that the brand advocate is ‘always’ more valuable (I think that really depends on how you interact with them – as per the Volkswagen example I will discuss later), his infographic does illustrate how each could be used, and where the strengths are in building on these relationships:

Influencers versus AdvocatesIn my experience, the real difference lies in how you choose to engage them. Writing a piece on how great your company or your product is and then farming out to the influencer – no matter how relevant their audience is – is not the best way to execute what could be a very valuable ongoing relationship. You need to work with them, understand their motivations and plans for the future. In the case of bloggers, what are their future plans for content and growth? What are they motivated by? Is it about volume of content, or about the quality and relevance? Just how influential are they really – are they interacting with their audience and really helping to steer people towards a solution?

In most cases influencers will be crying out for help with regards creating brilliant and relevant content – it’s not an easy thing to generate on a regular basis – and if you take the time to understand them and find out how you could fit in with their plans in a mutually beneficial way, you will end up with a much more effective influencer marketing strategy.

Having said all that, Volkswagen have just done something completely different with an influencer, but which I also think is great…… 🙂

In the UK it seems that around 500k  people have accidents every year due to applying make-up whilst driving. Yes. It’s true – there are that many people desperate enough to top up their foundation and lipstick that they will do so whilst driving and therefore put themselves and others lives at risk! As part of their social responsibility charter (and no doubt secondary brand message around their own vehicle safety levels!) Volkswagen looked to where people who are most interested in make-up tips go – YouTube.

Working with NikkiTutorials, a young woman who has been offering video make-up tips for several years and has built up quite a following,  they filmed this great video which really brings the message home:

This is going to hit people who would not actively select a ‘warning video’ – arguably, just the people they needed to get the message to. Creating a video for their own YouTube channel just could not have done this.

Now, with my ‘Global Marketing’ hat on – think about how you could roll this type of strategy out internationally? Not an easy task!

Febreze launch Global ‘Breathe Happy’ campaign


The latest integrated campaign by Proctor & Gambles $billion air freshener brand, Febreze, kick started last month in the US and is due to launch in the UK next week.

Following a (resurrected) current trend of using ‘real people’ video evidence to show how great a product is, the brand set up several ‘social experiments’ – such as bringing smelly fish, goats and sweaty bodybuilders into rooms with unsuspecting volunteers, or blindfolding people and leaving them in places which have been set up to resemble the aftermath of a nuclear war. Of course, Febreze was used to mask the pong and the people were asked to describe what they could smell and what it reminded them of.

No surprise that they smell the beautiful floral fragrance of Febreze, and not the smeg that it is masking, and that there are lots of dramatic gasps when they take off their blindfold to find themselves staring into the armpit of a bodybuilder, or face-to-face with a dead fish, and not in the middle of a beautiful meadow.

What is this telling us? That the smell of Febreze is so strong it can cover up anything? Actually, it is telling us that the team behind Febreze are starting to do some real joined-up thinking, and have developed a great campaign which will not only work well globally, but will also work across all of their marketing platforms.

The US have kick started the global campaign well, using a dedicated area of their main brand website, as well as active Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels. There is also a competition encouraging people to share their ‘breathe happy’ stories for the chance to win free product and/or money. It’s a shame they didn’t take this concept just a little further and allow people to recreate the experiments and then share the videos. Opening up the votes would have helped to make the campaign more interactive too.

Lets hope that the UK and other countries involved use the same formula as the US, although they will need to do a little work on the online brand consistency between the main websites in order to share the collateral and microsite design already developed. I always tell my clients to sort out global brand consistency asap – if the online branding is consistent, the cost savings when rolling out campaigns can be significant.

Ariel Facebook campaign linked with an offline ‘squirt’


Saatchi & Saatchi came up with a fab idea for Proctor & Gambles latest Ariel Active campaign in Scandinavia recently. Running for a week between 29th August – 3rd September, they created a robot arm which could be powered via users on Facebook to squirt clothing with jam, chocolate, and other things which would usually be tough to wash out.

The whole thing was housed within a large glass container in the middle of the main train station in Stockholm. Anyone living in Norway, Sweden, Denmark or Finland was able to sign up via the dedicated Facebook page, in order to direct the robot arm. If they made a direct hit on any of the clothing, it was washed there and then and sent to them in order to prove that Ariel had removed the ‘stain’.

Although this campaign has obviously received a lot of PR due to its originality, it doesn’t look like it achieved much in the way of user commitment by way of ‘likes’ to their page. They should have perhaps considered including some incentives, such as money-off vouchers, as well as additional interactive content (this easily lends itself to an online game) in order to secure any extra ‘traffic’ it created, if this was their aim. They could certainly have made more of it on their website too. For something which could have had a ton of mileage, they don’t seem to have taken it past the first few hundred yards, which is a real shame.