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Social Media Redefines The Brand Experience


Brands abc blocks  Random thoughts on a late summer afternoon. How do you define a "brand experience?" 

It seems to me .. the traditional "brand experience" is evolving into what it might be more appropriate to call .. the "human experience." It seems to me .. brand experience goes beyond the customer use of the product/service, ad messaging, PR spins or slick logos that are all wrapped up in a beautiful bow of consistency across all communication channels. 

It seems to me .. that while those elements may be important to build the structure of a brand promise, they become part of the new brand equation. Add to that a not so minor detail of peer-to-peer influence.

Example: What makes Zappos a great brand? It's not so much its offering of a zillion different shoe options or even the free return policy. It's the commitment to customer care which begins with its trust in its own employees. Employees are encouraged to take good care of its customers, as well as, to build people-to-people not brand-to-people, relationships from call center exchanges to tweets.

How odd it seems in 2010, to build a relationship with an inanimate object when people (employees & customers), who are really the heart of a brand, are out from the shadows.

Your thoughts? 

 Sidebar: Zappo CEO Tony Hsieh's, book Delivering Happiness, is worth a read.

Learn more about social media and branding in Chapter 7 of my free eBook Social Media Marketing GPS. Listen to an expanded conversation with my guest interviewees Beth Harte and Dana VanDen Heuvel on the AMA sponsored podcast series ~ Social Media GPS A Road Map To Social Media Success.  

Social Media Lessons In A Small Smooth Stone


Inspiration can come in many forms and in many ways. From a dance troupe, as Yvonne DiVita  Heart 1a  describes, to a simple stone washed by the ocean. 

 As the tides came into the shore, I watched as gray sands began to cover the little stone-heart. I was tempted to pick it up and carefully place it in the purple straw purse I was carrying. Somehow it seemed wrong to do that. Instead I snapped a photo with my iPhone.

I continued my beach walk wondering if someone else would notice the stone shaped like a heart. Or perhaps it was just my imagination that a heart was hiding in a small, smooth stone. Maybe the next person would see something different.  

We each see the world through our own unique lens. Often people think they see something in a similar way. However, the illusion is it's never quite the same .. it's always a little different. 

In the world of social media we are learning that our customers can see our brands differently than what we might have imagined. In the world of social media we are learning that diverse views can help create better products. In the world of social media we are learning that there are many shapes hidden in a smooth stone. 

This post is dedicated to Susan Ellen -- Jessica's & Scott's mummy, my sister, Polli's friend, Kaye's & Mal's cousin and Barbara's niece -- who saw the hearts in little smooth stones. Sending virtual happy birthday xxoo. We miss you Sus. Susan atl  

Diva Marketing Talks Social Media + eMail with Simms Jenkins and Morgan Stewart


Diva Marketing Talks is a live, internet radio (BlogTalkRadio) show. 30 minutes. 2 maybe 3 guests. 1 topic about social media marketing. Why? To help you understand how to participate in the "new" conversation without getting blown-up. Miss today's show? You can pick it up as a podcast or listen on your computer.. 

On today's Diva Marketing Talks we're exploring how a "traditional" interactive tactic .. eMail can be integrated with social media to produce more compelling campaigns. 

Joining me as to talk about, what to some people seems a bit anti-intuitive, are Simms Jenkins, CEO, BrightWave Marketing and Morgan Stewart, Principal, ExactTarget's Research and Education Group.

The Details

eMail Marketing and Social Media: Marketing's New PBJ

August 19, 2010
Live At: 4:00p - 4:30p Eastern/ 3:p - 3:30p Central/ 2:00p -2:30p Mountain/ 1:00p -1:30p Pacific
Call-in Guest Number: 718.508.9924

2008SimmsJenkinsHeadshot  Simms Jenkins is CEO of BrightWave Marketing, an award-winning agency specializing in email marketing and digital targeted messaging programs. BrightWave Marketing partners with clients in the development, management and strategic optimization of digital messaging programs that drive revenue, cut costs and build relationships. Jenkins has led BrightWave Marketing in establishing a top tier client list including Affiliated Computer Services (A Xerox Company), Chick-fil-A, Cox Business, O’Charley’s, RaceTrac Petroleum and Ted’s Montana Grill as well as leading advertising and marketing firms.

In 2010, Jenkins was awarded the prestigious AMY 2010 Marketer of the Year from the American Marketing Association’s Atlanta Chapter for being the top agency marketer. Jenkins is regarded as one of the leading experts in the email marketing industry and is the author of The Truth About Email Marketing, which was published by Pearson's Financial Times Press. 

Jenkins is currently the Email Marketing Best Practices Columnist for ClickZ, the largest resource of interactive marketing news, information, commentary, advice, opinion, research, and reference in the world, online or off-. His industry articles have been called one of the top 21 information sources for email marketers. 

Additionally, Jenkins is the creator of EmailStatCenter.com, the leading authority on email marketing metrics. Prior to founding BrightWave Marketing, Jenkins headed the CRM group at Cox Interactive Media. 

Jenkins serves on the eMarketing Association's Board of Advisors and recently completed his tenure as a Board Member of Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association (AiMA). Jenkins is a graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio and resides in Atlanta’s Brookwood Hills neighborhood with his wife and three children.

Find Simms on: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, The BrightWave Blog, eMail Stat Center and his book website - The Truth About Email Marketing.

Stewart1  Morgan Stewart is the Principal of Exact Target's Research and Education Group. Morgan began his email marketing journey in 1999 when he managed the development of Pampers websites and email marketing programs across the U.S., Western Europe, and South America. Morgan came to ExactTarget in 2004 to launch ExactTarget's strategic consulting group, which he managed for more than 3 years. His true interests lie in demographics and studying how consumers interact with brands. He now serves as ExactTarget's industry expert on marketing trends across all interactive channels. 

Considered one of the industry's thought leaders in interactive marketing research, Morgan is a regular columnist for Mediapost's Email Insider and frequently appears in industry publications such as MarketingProfs and iMediaConnection. His work has also been featured in leading publications such as Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, Mashable, and AdWeek. 

Find Morgan on: Twitter, Email Research Blog, Subscribers Rule eMail Subscribers, Fans, and Followers

Tips From The Diva Bag 

Complements of Simms Jenkins

Integrate not Isolate

Email Isn’t Dead or Dying

Social is Email’s New Best Buddy So Get Used To It 

Know Your Audience

Follow Your Customers 

Don’t Market in Silos

Talk Uniquely Where Your Customers Are

Don't Be the Cut-and-Paste Social Marketer

Share Content and Value

Use Both to Build Permission Databases 

Test & Measure 

Complements of Morgan Stewart 

Email, Twitter and Facebook all have unique strengths (and weaknesses) in the minds of consumers

Email’s key strengths are Relevance and Exclusivity – consumers expect highly tailored content that makes them feel special

Twitter’s key strength is Influence and Interaction – the people that are most active on Twitter have huge voices across the internet and they want to interact directly with brand insiders

Facebook’s key strengths are Entertainment and Discovery - Consumers use Facebook because it’s fun to see what their friends are into... Which includes brands. Consumers don’t go on Facebook planning to interact with brands, but they consistently find new things that peek interest through friends.

Marketers need to understand and leverage these nuances in order to develop integrated and optimized messaging strategies.

Consumers do not operate in digital silos. Marketers can’t afford to operate in silos either.

Beware! The Social Media Dog Strategy Mentality


With over 13,500 views on YouTube, my dog Max thinks he's a social media rock star pup. Shh.. don't tell him there are videos with millions of views and he is at most a blip on the celebrity circuit. It would hurt his feelings.  Max multi color  

In all honesty, Max doesn't really care if 13,500 or 13,500,000 viewed his cute video. Max is a dog. Max is not a brand. For him quasi social media star status is good enough bragging rights at the doggy park.

What is disheartening is many organizations/brands have similar, let's call it a "Social Media Dog Mentality" where cute and counting are the extent of their planning process. Tweets and Facebook status updates fly into cyberspace that are little more than "cute" spins from a marketing campaign. Success is determined by the number of likes, followers, connects, comments or views rarely taking spam bots into consideration or if the "right" people are engaging. 

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking at a conference, sponsored by Connuntelligence, about how to build a social media strategy. I presented a 3 phase model that might be helpful to you as you build your social media strategy. 

If your organization is new to social media, or if you jumped in without an enterprise direction,  I would encourage you to spend some time on Step 1: Align the Enterprise

Our customers' expectations of how they make purchasing decisions (peer reviews, online conversations with peers and with the people behind the brand) are changing. That change impacts every traditional customer touch point e.g., customer care, sales, marketing. Business units that rarely, if ever, had direct customer contact may find themselves center stage.

Step 1: Align the Enterprise .. Develop the Social Enterprise 

Face the Gorillas in The Room, Determine the impact on the enterprise, Determine cultural compatibility, Identify social media champions, Inform all your staff  

Step 2: Build the Strategy

Objectives/goals support business outcomes, Conduct social media assessment audit, Conduct industry and competitive analysis, Identify target audience, Ensure Brand consistency, Determine tactics and Content direction, Determine metrics for success

Step 3: Create Awareness

Cross promotional, Social media, Traditional marketing

I'm happy to share the deck with you - below. Thanks to Dorothea Boziconlona-Volpe for her help transcribing the participants' comments about Barriers. @socialespinonage

Puppies are fun and a Social Media Dog Strategy Mentality may be great people talk at meet ups or tweet ups. However, it is not a business strategy. Max sends woofs to you!  

Social Media Strategy In 3 Steps

Learn more about Social Media Strategy in my ebook Social Media Marketing GPS and from the companion podcast series, Social Media GPS,  sponsored by the American Marketing Association.