How P&G’s mobile social strategy helps build its brands
By Chantal Tode
February 24, 2014
A recent Vine video for Tide
Brands are struggling when it comes to effectively leveraging mobile social for brand building, as evidenced by several campaigns so far this year, although the must-haves for a successful strategy are beginning to emerge.
Creating mobile social campaigns that consumers can relate to on an emotional level and want to share with their social networks can help brands build awareness and loyalty, something Procter & Gamble has been doing successfully this year for a couple of its brands. However, there is also the potential for a surge in negative sentiment, such as several McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and other Olympics sponsors recently found out.
“We find that in social media, brand ambassadors are more fickle or less loyal, and they’re more oriented around their own voice, versus the brand voice of the business,” said David Turner, CEO of Parallel 6, San Diego, CA. “Developing a strategy through social media needs to be thought out more critically, knowing there is a greater opportunity for backlash.
“A brand needs to have protective, detective and corrective controls in place in order to ensure that those in the social media ecosystem are positively representing the brand,” he said.
One marketer that seems to be hitting all the right notes in mobile social this year is Procter & Gamble.
P&G’s Tide brand leveraged the Vine mobile app to send out bits of video in real-time during the Super Bowl that incorporated other brands’ TV spots during the game. For example, when Cheerios ran a spot about a family welcoming a new baby and a new puppy, Tide created a video tagged with Cheerios’ Twitter handle warning the cereal brand about the stains from puppies.
The campaign is a good example of how brands can leverage social to gain entry into the real-time conversations happening there. In this case that conversation was around the ads running during the game, which tend to get nearly as much focus as the game itself.
P&G similarly accomplished inserting itself into the real-time conversation during the recent Olympics with a multichannel campaign that celebrates moms as the unsung heroes of the athletes competing at the games.
In both examples, P&G created campaigns that consumers could relate to on an emotional level and want to share with their social networks, thereby help it to build awareness and loyalty for its brands.
Social media monitoring firm Engagor found that P&G’s Olympics hashtags had the highest percentage of positive sentiment, at 24 percent of mentions, compared to the other Olympics sponsors.
In contrast, McDonald’s had the highest volume of negative sentiment, at 27 percent of mentions. The negative sentiment was likely driven by the fact that the hashtag McDonald’s put out just before the games, #CheerstoSochi was picked up activists in tweets condemning Russia’s stance on gay rights.
Other sponsors such as Coca-Cola also were the focus of negative social comments during the Olympics.
The right strategy
It is clear that while many brands recognize the potential in mobile social, there are still some that do not understand how to take advantage of it.
In fact, a recent study found that more than 50 percent of companies and brands do not have a strategy in place to deal with negative social commentary. At the same time, 26.1 percent of brands say their reputations have been tarnished as a result of negative social posts.
The problem is that brands are not aware of the investment of effort required to meet customers’ expectations in social media, per the report.
Marketers are increasingly excited about leveraging mobile users’ love of participating in real-time conversations around big events such as the Super Bowl and the Olympics on social media sites because this gives them a way to extend the reach of marketing campaigns in other channels.
There is power in effectively inserting a brand into the real-time conversation that can either generate positive buzz for a brand or leave consumers with a negative impression.
Marketers have been trying to figure out how to harness the words of consumers ever since ratings and reviews were introduced on Web sites.
Social media opened the flood gates even further while mobile ensures that consumers can always be a part of the conversation no matter where they are.
However, with a growing number of social outlets and each having a bit of different style and audience, marketers are struggling to find the right tone and best fit for their efforts.
“There’s a common challenge across both mobile and social,” said Mr. Turner. “It is a challenge with the constant shift in technology and the way that consumers listen.
“One size no longer fits all,” he said. “Remaining agile in strategies across mobile and social, no matter the platform, is critical to incorporating a strategy for brands to build through mobile and social.”
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York
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