This weeks digital campaign chatter #1

Which digital campaigns have been talked about most this week?

1. Ken & Barbie Reunite

Still lots of talk about this campaign by Mattel Inc. which was launched a few weeks ago in honour of Kens 50th anniversary. Initially people were asked to vote if Barbie should take Ken back after their split on Valentines Day in 2004. Obviously the answer was ‘yes’, as they seem very much together now on the microsite.

This fantastic digital campaign included Barbie and Ken having their own Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as profiles on the dating site! They also used Foursquare, YouTube, the main campaign microsite and a tie in with a US ‘Find the perfect boyfriend’ reality TV show to spread their message.

2. Visit Britain facebook app

VisitBritain has partnered with various travel organisations to launch their ‘Unite the Invite’ campaign, which targets people in the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The Facebook app, created by Albion, cleverly ‘splits’ the participants virtual invitation to the UK in half and gives the other half to a different participant, who they then need to find using only a profile picture and the power of their own friendship groups and social networks. Very viral!

3. Jim Bean

To tie in with their TV ad, Jim Bean have launched a digital campaign which reinforces their message of ‘making a bold choice’. Via their Facebook or Twitter communities you can share your own bold decisions with the brand, as well access lots of video content and downloads.

Digital marketing tips from vampires and werewolves

I have a confession to make – I have become one of the TV-Vampire-watching many. I’m not talking about any of this Twilight rubbish though! Oh no! I am a ‘Being Human’ groupie and I am not afraid to admit it.

The amazing BBC show which features a Vampire, Werewolf and a ghost trying to fit into society and ‘be human’ started its new series a couple of weeks back, and I am already hooked  and counting down the days till I can watch the next installment. This time however, it is not just the pure genius of the writing or the cast which has impressed me, but also the inspired online activity.

Additional online content for TV shows is not a new thing, but the team behind ‘Being Human’ have raised the bar this time! So much so, I actually think that there is a lot us marketing people could learn from their approach and engagement tactics.

Their Facebook page is great and really well-managed, with content ranging from countdowns and event invitations to watch the shows (e.g.” just 20 minutes to go till the next episode”), to sneak previews, behind the scene footage for each episode, trailers, and links to their amazing blog.  Crucially, it appears to be managed 24/7 , with posts also on a Sunday (the day of the show).

They have also created an online spin-off called ‘becoming human’ which picks up the story of a teenage boy vampire character introduced in the second episode of the new series. These online episodes are supported with ‘clues’ to the mystery as it is unravelled, so far in the form of character profiles and mobile phone videos. These are really nice extras which keep you interested and engaged in the 7 days between shows.

So, what can us digital marketing people learn from their efforts?

  • that you should use digital to create an extra depth to your brand, which your target consumers can interact with
  • that you should create a ‘buzz’ BEFORE your campaigns go live by generating sneak previews, countdowns and invitations
  • that the quality of your online videos should be as good as the work you do for TV
  • that you should keep a diary – especially a visual one – of all campaigns as they are produced. People love ‘making of’ content, and it can help to keep you ‘real’ in the eyes of your customers
  • that you need to keep things fresh and interesting at ALL times, and not just ‘post and run’
  • that you need a plan – I’m sure the Being Human team has a content schedule for their online work which takes them throughout the period of the series and beyond

Pink Pony Party Parody

Check out this Canadian agencies parody of an integrated marketing campaign – it made me smile!

I’m always harping on about the importance of integrated campaigns, and this is a great way to show how the right marketing mix can end in a great result. In this case the ROI was calculated in average cost of birthday gift, party attendance and number of tantrums thrown (zero!).

Coca Cola – Expedition 206

Tagged as the ‘largest Social Media project ever’, Coca Cola has recently wrapped up its Expedition 206 campaign, which sent 3 people (voted for by the masses) to 206 Countries around the World (where their products are sold) in search of happiness.  The entire trip was of course documented with posts on the official website, pictures and videos of the small teams exploits.

Conceptualised in Atlanta, US, the company saw the overall project as a Global initiative and one which depended on the local markets getting on board. In many cases, it was the first time some regions had worked within the online marketing arena, and they claim that the “unique way in which each market went about it…” contributed to the overall success of the campaign.

So, what exactly do they mean by success, and how did they track it? Cleverly working with influential bloggers in certain regions the project has managed to increase local engagement online, in particular via Facebook, in countries such as New Zealand and Argentina. However, the figures on the official Twitter and YouTube accounts are very low, which some would see as an area of concern. The company have responded to this by saying that in several regions new local accounts were set up for the project and promoted rather than the main accounts. Should they have had a stronger hold on their local teams therefore to keep consistency? Possibly. However, one of their measures of success has been an internal one. They wanted to create a campaign which would encourage their Global Marketing Teams to truly adopt Social Media and to start engaging with people online, and it seems that in that sense it was a success. I like the fact that they are being open and honest about that, and that for once an internal metric has been added to the success factors.

Predictions 2011 part 2: Integrated Marketing

There is a lot of talk about Social Media being one of the top marketing ‘trends’ of next year, but in reality, companies are not going to look at this on its own, and it is nothing new!  It is more likely that it will be added into the marketing mix and approached differently.  My prediction is that 2011 will see more people realise that integration and cross-platform campaigns are the key to online digital marketing success.

What does that mean? In reality it means that people have to think more about how their internal marketing teams function to ensure that online, offline, PR and branding all work together from concept stage right through to execution and measurement. They need to make sure that they have platform and technical ‘innovation’ experts on call also, so that they can fully exploit all possibilities and be aware of developing platforms and applications early in the game. Internal communication and cooperation will be more important than ever, which is why larger companies will continue to struggle and small will continue to lead with innovation and creativity (fewer people involved with the decisions and execution!).

Although it doesn’t look at communication within separate teams, a study by Econsultancy in October shows how far most companies are away from the ideal  integrated marketing structure:

With an expected shift in marketing budgets towards more ‘digital’, I expect that people are going to have to think seriously about how this affects team structures and skills, which I think will make the output a lot more interesting!

Predictions 2011 part 1: Content is STILL King

Content has always been a key ingredient for me, so it made me smile somewhat to see so many people talk about it as a growth area in Digital Marketing next year, as if it is something new!

Years ago, content was important for websites (portals in particular) purely because the right content brought users, and the more users you could get, the more advertisers you could get.  A lot of the commercial deals I did 10 years ago involved a share in the ad revenue with the content suppliers (based on clicks and page impressions), as we recognised the fact that content needed to be created by specialists and it was worth paying for.  This approach, however, was not adopted by a vast majority of corporate or brand websites, who would usually stick to the basic product and business information.

However, content should now be a key factor in any marketing strategy, as getting it right can not only mean bringing more people to you (Search Engine Optimisation), it can also mean ENGAGEMENT with you and your brand. More importantly, where and how you choose to create this content, can have a real impact on the results. It’s getting far more interesting, as there is so much more you can do to make a difference!

2011 is likely to see more people realising this and adopting a content strategy which is based on a real understanding of who they are ‘targeting’. Speaking about things which they know will be of interest, and making sure this content is available in the right format and in the right places, is of growing importance. It’s not just about words and a few stock photography pictures anymore – video content, apps, podcasts and thought-out relevant imagery is much more valuable if done right.

Seeking out the right people, including online influencers in the shape of master bloggers and established groups, is also key. Go to where they are and join in the existing conversations (but make sure you say the right things and know what you are talking about or you could do more harm than good! ). Spread your content around!

So, how does this work in practice? Here’s a great example:

The Japanese Tourist Board wanted to get more Australians to their Ski resorts, so they decided to create the ‘right’ content – in this case a cool ski game/app – that the people they were aiming at would really love. They then made sure that they promoted this content in all the relevant places online, where Aussie Ski-lovers already hung out. Note: not just a website which talks about how great skiing is in Japan and the merits of visiting there for your next powder-fix, with the hope that some Search Engine Optimisation will help to get people there, and that they will be bothered to read it!  Truly targeted content, pushed out to the right places, shouting their message instead of whispering it behind a wall! Something which really excites people and is much more likely to have a higher ROI in the long run.

Keeping it viral. Making it useful.

I’ve just read a great post by Richard Lees (dbg) on Econsultancy about keeping viral campaigns going, and how important it is to make sure that you get something from them. He’s been working with Beatbullying’s ‘The Big March’ campaign – the worlds first virtual online protest – in order to make sure that they follow-up on the initial hype and capitalise on their success.

Some key bits of advice from him on thinking ‘long term’:

  • Create something which is relevant and wonderful (goes without saying!)
  • Excite people
  • Think about the channels which are best for communicating with your target audience
  • Include clever data capture where possible (getting the right data to ensure ongoing communication is relevent and in the right format)
  • Just because someone has engaged with your campaign does not mean that they have an affinity with your brand – Follow up communication should work on creating this
  • Follow up should always have a reason, and must absolutely NOT be merged with in-house marketing lists without good reason
  • Plan the campaign in full – not just the initial elements, but the 12 months or so following and the materials which will need to be developed in order to keep it alive

Wise words! You can see how these have been put into action if you sign up to the Beatbullying campaign. The website is by far the best charity website I have ever seen, with the design and functionality clearly well thought-out and appealing to both kids and adults alike. You can explore it. It’s fun. It’s full of relevent content in lots of different formats, and it gives you lots of opportunity to ‘spread the word’. Most importantly, it captures data from you the minute you sign up. The supporting Facebook page and Twitter accounts are still very active even though the main online protest event has already happened, and you can see how they are working hard to maintain the momentum which the campaign would have created initially.

I think a lot of valuable lessons can be learnt from this. It would be interesting to see just how many of the most talked about recent viral campaigns have thought this long-term and planned so well for longer term relationships with their supporters!