I Think Therefore I Blog – Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing.

Social media is a wonderful tool in the world of marketing. Most of us know and understand the many advantages of using social media to connect with consumers, but what are some of the DISADVANTAGES, and what happens when social media campaigns fail?

One major downfall of social media is that many companies feel presure to use it, but don’t fully understand how to use it well. “Oh ya, and I want a tweet please”. Just because the technology is available doesn’t mean it should be used. Improper use of social media can be very harmful to a company. A spoiled reputation online can travel faster than chicken pox in a 1st grade classroom. Messages aren’t just being seen by a couple hundred people, they are being seen by a couple thousand people, and those thousand people are showing all of their friends.

Here are a couple examples of when social media went wrong.
1) In the heat of their “imported from detroit” campaign the Chrysler twitter feed was “hacked” and this lovely message was tweeted.

It very well might be true that the account was hacked, but apparently Chrysler failed to combat the tweet with any damage control.  A very big no no in social media.

2) In spring of 2011 Molson Canadian launched a campaign that asked consumers to submit photos of themselves “enjoying” Canadian to the Facebook page for a chance to win a trip. This campaign failed miserably for a couple of reasons the main one being that it promoted underage drinking. Consumers, who were underage, submitted photos. These photos were then seen all over the Facebook page, and used as free photography for media campaignes. There was a huge back lash against Molson by parents and universities. It was a huge PR nightmare.

3) Skittles was so confident in socia media it relaunched its homepage into a social media extrveganza. The idea was to let consumers fill in the brand message. Big mistake. At first it didn’t seem like such a bad idea. Twitter was shut down because the site was so popular. By the second and third day of the campaign, however, the site was filled with profane messages.

Social media can be a great tool, but companies need to first understand how to use it and use it well. They also need to find balance between consumer interaction, and brand messaging. Not only is it lazy advertising to let consumers say who you are, it’s also not a very smart idea. Social media is for listening, and reacting.


Here Wego

Ok this has officially become my favourite super bowl spot!


Not only is this commercial funny, creative, and entertaining, it also features a really cute dog and supports a good cause. Good job Bud Light! Now please make better beer.

An unlikely but awesome pair

So this past weekend was Commercial Bowl.. opps I mean Super Bowl. And in case you missed it, OK GO did it again.  This foursome has always had a unique approach to music videos, and knack for going viral.

This time around the OK GO gang pair up with the new, and hip Chevy Sonic to produce the first ever completely sponsored music video (not a fact!). This video is so cool I’m not even mad that OK GO sold themselves. Actually I kind of want a Chevy Sonic.

I love this spot. It’s a clear win-win for both the brand and the band. Kudos to Chevy, and a stellar performance by the boys of OK GO.

Too Bad This One Isn’t Funny

Taking inspiration from the popular internet meme “Sh*t people say”, Vancouver based yoga apparel retailer Lululemon has developed their own internet sensation “Sh*t Yogis Say”.  To no surprise the video instantly went viral, now with over 1.5 million hits on Youtube alone. On the surface this seems like a very good use of the popular internet meme, and a great use of guerilla marketing, but the video has created quite the controversy, and unfortunately fails to deliver.

Sure it’s fun to poke fun at your consumers every now and again. It’s important to stay light and laugh at yourself. Consumers can even respond positively when they aren’t taken to seriously. But, this video goes beyond that. Comments on some blogs suggest that true yoga enthusiasts find this video to be quite insulting, and that Lululemon is just trying to piggy-back on what’s already popular in order to sell more products. To be a true Yogi one must practice yoga along with a rigid religious Buddhist, Hindu, Janis faith. To couple this title with a sarcastic, and offensive look at the yoga and meditation culture is just plain rude. The video also uses course language, which many commenters did not like. In a community promoting peace, positive outlooks, and better being is this really such a good idea?

One article coined the term trend-jacking to describe what Lululemon has done here – using a popular internet trend to help sell more products. This is not surprising. Lululemon claims to be the brand for true yoga enthusiasts when in reality the brand’s real consumers are trend followers, those with a high need to fit in. This video reinforces the notion that Lululemon is a pre-packaged brand with no real imagination.

With all guerilla marketing stunts there is the possibility that it wont really help to sell more products. Knowing that this video would be an instant success, Lululemon could have done more to help direct their clients to visit a Lululemon store, or shop online. They easily could have purchased a relatively inexpensive media buy on their Youtube page. A quick banner ad that takes users directly to the Lululemon website. Given that this video will be shared over and over again, it’s important for the Lululemon brand to take advantage of the medium they are using and redirect their consumers back to the brand, back to the point of purchase.

Overall I thought this video was well done. It mimicked the video quality and production value of the internet meme perfectly. I just felt that the brand could have done better – should have done better. Plus haven’t we seen enough of this meme already?

Give Me More

Brand Utility – Blog Response

Some examples of brand utilities I use in my life are my Iphone apps. Phone apps are a great way to connect with users. They are interactive, entertaining, and practical. Three that I think do a really great job at connecting with their consumers are Starbucks, TD Canada Trust, and Sephora.

The Starbucks app is great for many reasons, but why I love it is because it offers consumers to take the time to choose their drink and then show it to the barista. Consumers can take the time to make a completely customized drink and order it without having to use all the fancy jargon. The app also gives detailed nutrition information as well store locations and services. Consumers can also sync up their rewards cards, or pay via their phone app. The Starbucks app integrates perfectly into their consumers every day lives and makes the coffee buying experience personal and enjoyable.

The TD Canada Trust app allows consumers to bank comfortably on the go. They can make bill payments, check account balances, and transfer money. The app is secure and very easy to use. It also allows consumers to find the nearest branch, and make appointments. It’s very reliable, easy to use, and safe. It really matches well with the TD slogan, “banking can be this comfortable”

Sephora’s Iphone app is one of the best I’ve seen.  Consumers can shop, browse and even try make-up on. The entire collection is available for viewing and purchasing via the app. If consumers prefer to shop in store they can make a wish list to bring in and show a consultant. The “try it on” section allows users to make a model that looks like them and try on different make-up and nail colours. There is also a review section that consumers can look at for guidance from their peers. The app is also equipped with a store location finder, and offers consumers who use the app specials sales incentives each week. Its very interactive, and rewarding for the consumer.


Week One – Blog Response

In her TED talk, Social Media and the End of Gender, Johanna Blakley talks about the increasing importance of psychographics for market segmentation. While the talk was fueled by feminist undertones, it did raise some interesting points. Demographics are no longer enough in determining an audience profile. Psychographics are becoming extremely important, and easier than ever to determine, because of increased popularity in online communities, such as facebook. Brands are now able to focus their efforts to a specific audience, and relate better to that audience.

This TED talk left me with two questions. The first is, what if our online selves our not real representations of our reality selves? If an outsider were to look at my profile on Facebook (my profile) they would probably see that I like to cook, arts and crafts, music that isn’t necessarily mainstream, and graphic design. While all of this is true I consciously limit what I post on my Facebook page to those things that interest me and at the same time separate myself from my peers. I also listen to pop music on the radio, go to all the latest Hollywood movies, and watch prime time TV. If marketers ignore that about me, because I haven’t “liked” them on my profile, I may slip under their radar. I would also argue that many of us do this. We identify ourselves as the person we want to be online, not necessarily the person we are.

This leads to my next question. I have a friend who is really into fashion, and she likes all the expensive, one of a kind designers on her social media pages. In real life, she alters her clothes, or buys them at the mall like everyone else. She can’t afford Gucci, or Prada, and yet it looks like she’s a huge fan according to her online persona. If simple demographics, such as income, are not disclosed on her online presence than companies such as this might waste efforts trying to market towards her.

In his article, Understanding Luxury Brands and Social Media, Samir Balwani talks about luxury brands and their online communities. Gucci has an online following of over 400,000 fans. Balwani argues that even if many of these fans can not afford Gucci, the interaction between the brand and the consumer creates lust for the product.

While I can see the great possibilities online communities can bring to the marketing world, psychographics need demographics. Marketers shouldn’t become to focused and lose some of their potential audience. They also shouldn’t just rely on lust alone. Money is required for sales.