Last week I had the chance to run my second workshop on "word of mouth measurement and beyond" at the Esomar annual congress in Montreux (Switzerland). The first one was in Sweden earlier this year. The overall feedback seems to be really positive. With my old friend Pete Blackshaw from Nielsen Online that I invited to lead the workshop with me, we really had fun together sharing insights, views about the challenges and opportunities of measuring word of mouth.
We had a full room of nearly 20 people, all very engaged, the majority of them coming from the advertiser side, with a clear mandate: "understand word of mouth and its measurement to implement things in their companies". I really have the impression that things are coming together slowly but surely when it comes to setting up measurement systems for word of mouth in Europe. We are certainly far away from a market of $200M in the US growing 15% a year as recently reported by PQ Media, but the question becomes important enough for marketers to consider wom hot enough to start dedicating specific investment measurements. Let's see how things progress in the coming months...
Beyond word of mouth measurement, one of the key outcomes obviously is really to relate to LISTENING to consumers' conversations, this is the reason I personally started to be interested in the wom topic more than 5 years ago, a time I coined the expression "customer listening" thus the name of this blog... Things usually take more time than initially expected but It seems that things are coming slowly together. Let's see what the trend will be in Asia in 2010 where I should be running the same workshop at Esomar Asia Pacific event in April 2010. Check it out and register!
A recent global rool out of p&g e-commerce caught my attention : "the consumer goods giant, is adding links to its brand websites in Europe that will direct shoppers to the portals of a range of major retailers selling its products, after a similar initiative helped boost online sales in the US", Warc reports...
Furthermore..."Joe Quinn, P&G's head of global ecommerce, said the broader application of this approach will occur "as fast as we can roll it out. It's just a matter of being able to work out the technology linkages with our retailers."... Quinn said P&G has "seen double-digit percentage growth over the last several years in regards to online sales," a development that is at least partly attributable to Where to Buy, which greatly simplifies the purchase process on the web.
"The uptick in sales is enough that we are rolling it out to all of our brands globally. There is a direct correlation to sales once you put in the convenience," he added.
More broadly, Quinn cited industry research which predicts that 5% of P&G's sales could come from the internet in the medium-to-long term, up from 1%, or $500 million (€350m; £308m), at present.
What I see here is a wonderful opportunity for marketers of all sizes to equally market their brands (big and small, and small ones specifically) to allow their audiences, their buyers to find them and buy them (thanks to the brand website!) even if there shelve space is diminishing in favor of bigger revenue brands...
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Nestle's Juicy Juice isn't the first brand to try to integrate Twitter in to an ad campaign (see Skittles and TurboTax). But it may be the first to allow users to post tweets within an ad unit that can appear anywhere on the web.
Juicy Juice's Twitter display ad
Juicy Juice is testing the unit, from SocialMedia, for one month on mom-targeted sites BabyCenter and CafeMom. The units ask questions such as "How do you stimulate your child's mind?" or "How important are vitamin-enhanced foods to you?" and users can answer the queries as short messages, or tweets, directly in the ad.
If users are logged on to Twitter, the answers will be posted to the ad directly; otherwise users are first directed to Twitter.com to sign in. Posts, which also appear in users' Twitter feeds with a "hashtag" (the symbol #, used to group keywords or events for simpler searches on the site) are moderated by Nestle, but there's the option for that to be turned off.
Clicking on the ad unit, meanwhile, takes the user to Juicy Juice's YouTube site, which is chock-full of helpful videos, including a scary one about how many more germs per inch are on a water fountain than your average toilet seat.
The difference between this campaign, dubbed "Twitter Pulse" by SocialMedia, and other recent attempts is that it allows a conversation to be instigated by -- or occur within -- the ad unit, rather than just syndicating tweets already posted on Twitter.
"The ad unit is paid placement but the additional impressions are effectively earned media," said Seth Goldstein, CEO of SocialMedia, a technology company, noting that the hashtag then reaches the follower base of those who have entered tweets, and potentially sparks more attention and conversation.
SocialMedia is tracking a number of metrics for Juicy Juice, including traditional views and click-through rates but also number of tweets posted and the number of followers exposed to the hashtag on Twitter. Like other executions with Twitter, there is no revenue involved with the microblogging service, but, as Mr. Goldstein pointed out, it could be a potential source of new sign-ups and increased usage.
An interesting studyf rom bigmouthmedia reported that brands in Europe take 9% all searched terms, although there are differences between countries, this shows again that branding has never been so important to "signal" quality and drive consumer's expectations and desires. To view main results of the stuy.
I've been thinking for many years, althought not a media expert myself, that the only way out for traditional media (vs digital media) is to be customer-centric... In fact, I've been arguing that rather than managing "audiences" (I really think by the way that the term is dull, like "respondents" rather than "people" for market researchers), they should manage, nuture relationship to grow their brands... And indeed they have fantastic brands... The problem is that Press experts may not really know the value of their brands, not from an audience standpoint, not from the dollars it generates in advertising BUT from the customers/readers view point... I guess that one way out is to attract digital marketers to the press industry to help this shift...
The irony is that advertsing agencies that also face the same pain and stress that their clients impose due to budgets cut are now also telling press and media digital people that they should better manage their brands..of course I fully agree but the irony is that it comes from "middle men" that have also facing challengnes to reinvent their businesses by being more customer centric to drive positive buzz for the client's brands... Read the following article from AdAge to see what I mean, Publicis CEO recommending to magazines to really pay attention to their brands... Interesting and funny no?
In the same issue of Ag Age, John King from Fallon recommend advertisers to Build Generous Brands (we may need to be "kings" to share?)... I like the term as it really gets in the bigger question of value creation for brands and companies...It seems that we enetred a period where remarkable brands in the coming yeras that are able to share part of what they create (and their profits) with the communities they serve... This is I think a huge idea that is worth talking, shaping, sharing and putting in action for brands...
The clear way to go as all academic research available shows that big brands should continue to spend and innovate to win consumer confidence specifically in down times.
Below an article sourced from WARC that provides some empirical evidence of this.
VALENCIA: Procter & Gamble, the consumer goods company, and Coca-Cola, the soft drinks giant, will continue to spend on advertising in the downturn, but both firms are also placing a greater emphasis on innovation and efficiency.
Bernhard Glock, P&G's vice president of global media and communications, argued the world's biggest advertiser is "committed to continue spending behind its branding efforts."
Among other initiatives, it will also aim to double its outlay on innovative and sustainable products to $50 billion (€39bn; £35bn) by 2012 according to Glock, who was speaking at the Festival of Media in Valencia.
He added that in the current, rapidly-changing environment, advertisers and agencies must adapt, and also seek to drive the overall transformation rather than "be changed" by external events.
P&G wants to work "hand-in-hand with our agencies," combining increased collaboration with a greater simplicity in decision-making in order to "develop and free up capacity for innovation."
Maarten L. Albarda, Coca-Cola's director of media and communication innovation, said the Atlanta-based beverage-maker was similarly attempting to "nurture" and "protect" its marketing budget, but would also be "keeping investments relatively flat."
As such, he argued that agencies should not to "look at budgets to determine position or relative strength," and also be honest enough to admit when they "can't handle something."
Coca-Cola's marketing strategy for the recession revolves around "connection planning," which Albarda defined as a "360 degree" approach that is "consumer-centric," "media neutral" and "goes across all touchpoints.”
Babs Rangaiah, director of global communications planning at Unilever, also said at the event that the Anglo-Dutch food-to-homecare company was "scanning the globe for ideas and content."
In this vein, she argued that the modern agency – "Agency 2.0" – needs to bring "everything together in the way it comes to the clients with the solutions."
Data sourced from AdAge/Rightbrainleftbrainblog; additional content by WARC staff, 23 April 2009
This interesting article on Adage last week caught my attention and I wonder who really thought that Eric Schimdt, Google CEO, would have said the opposite ?
Since its early days, Google built its business and content on others' content, offering the mass, consumers, you and me, useful information through a "universal platform". This is not going to change any time soon as Google has taught consumers for "Free Stuff". Google is not to blame, the free content model is in Google "genes", the ones that did not really get the Internet early on, and to some extent still now, is the press and media industry, looking at portecting their content, thinking of people as "their audiences" rather than thinking about themseles as ubiqutious branded content and ways to make this content unique enough for consumers to care enough to stick to it and eventually value it to pay for either directly or indirectly. The issue is that the battle is probably over, Google drives massive audience, media websites struggle to make people loyal and make them pay using their traditional advertising and media models. It is even worse now in a troubled economy, at the end you need to follow your consumers, if they are on Google, accept it, this won't change any time soon, only try to master what you have under your reach: Your Brand!