Pinterest Sweepstakes Microsoft Mouse Design: Case Study With BJ O'Hare

04/23/2012

Microsoft Pin It To Win It SweepsakePinterest, the darling of food and fashion pinners, is on a hyper growth slope with brands that at first glance have nothing to do with "life style" e.g. business-to-business, technlogy, software, finance, miliatry, staffing companies and more. Hop over to my Pinterest brand board .. Brands Beyond The Expected to see 101 (and counting!) examples.

As we've seen with Kotex (Diva Marketing interview with the brand manager and agency) brands are exploring ways to engage with customers that go beyond a pin and comment.

Contests are hot hot hot on Pinterest. When I came across an interesting sweepstakes from Micrsoft I wondered if Pinterest contests could really work for tech companies. BJ O'Hare, social media lead for Microsoft Hardware Team, graciously agreed to tell us the back-story in a Diva Marketing Mini Case Interview. Thanks to Kristina Libby for the intro.

BJ OHare_MircoSoft_DM interviewAbout BJ O'Hare - BJ O’Hare is the Social Media Lead for the Microsoft Hardware Team. Over the course of her career, BJ has combined her passion for interpersonal engagement with her enthusiasm for technology to develop expertise in the realm of social media and marketing.

In her current role, BJ is responsible for the management of all Microsoft Hardware social channels including its Blog, Twitter Handle and Facebook page, which she worked to launch in late 2011. She also collaborates closely with Windows and its social channels, particularly its Pinterest page. 

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Of all the tactics Microsoft could have chosen to create awareness for its new mouse designs, which by the way are very cool and fun, why Pinterest?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: Pinterest is a great way to virtually express yourself and be creative. The new mouse designs are very expressive and appeal to people looking for ways to personalize their everyday life, so Pinterest was a good fit for this Microsoft Hardware campaign.  

Diva Marketing/Toby: Were there other social networks/social media and/or marketing initiatives included in the campaign? 

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: It was promoted on various Microsoft Facebook & Twitter pages as well as Microsoft blogs. It was also a discussion topic during a Windows Tech Tuesday #winchat which is a weekly Twitter chat held by the Windows PR and social media teams from 12-1pm PT on Tuesdays. The chats cover a variety of topics from partner products to consumer trends. To participate in a chat follow @windows or @windowsblog and the hashtag #winchat.

Diva Marketing/Toby: How did Microsoft create initial awareness of the sweepstakes?

BJ O’Hare/Mircosoft: We announced the sweepstakes by partnering with the Windows team and promoting the campaign on various Microsoft Facebook & Twitter pages and on Microsoft blogs and continue to promote on those channels.

  • We also add new images every few days so there are fresh pins for people to use so they will continue to stay engaged with our boards.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What were your goals for the sweepstakes?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: Our main goal was to generate awareness of the new colors and artist designs through engagement with an audience that is active on Pinterest, and looking for colorful and rich assets to decorate their boards with.  We also wanted to increase followers of our boards and generate repins. Microsoft mouse
Diva Marketing/Toby: Can you share a high level of the results?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: We generated awareness which resulted in an increase of followers and re-pins.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Were the results what you had expected? Can you tell us why or why not?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: The audience that uses Pinterest is interested in images that they can use to decorate their boards. This was a successful campaign and allowed users to do that through repinning Microsoft mouse designs. We were successful in generating awareness and increasing our followers and repins by using colorful and stylish images.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Did you do any analysis of the pins/boards for consumer insights e.g. Designs most pinned, pin/board descriptors, etc. If so what did you consider?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: We did some simple analysis which included designs vs color images pinned, repinning the contest pin, pin & board descriptors, and group of images vs single item images. We are also doing some analysis on product images vs lifestyle images.

Diva Marketing/Toby: I noticed that the contest board is now the last board on the page. When the contest was running was it the 1st board? Also, do you plan to keep the contest board or delete it like Kotex did with theirs?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: When the contest was running it was in the first row of boards so it was clear to see. We have new sweepstakes we’ve run since Spring Inspirations and now currently Mother’s Day which is the 1st first board you see. We are building our long term strategy for what the presence of contest boards looks like after the contest has finished.

Diva Marketing/Toby: If you were to redesign the campaign, in retrospect, what would you do differently?

BJ O’Hare/Mircosoft: When using Pinterest as a platform to promote campaigns, each will have a variety of different tactical components that will work.  For this campaign, we achieved what we set out to do.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What lesson learned can you share with us?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: Pinterest is a great way to virtually express yourself and be creative.  Since we had such great artists that designed amazing art on our mice, Pinterest proved to be a great vehicle to promote this initiative.

This was a collaborative effort between the Microsoft Hardware and Windows teams and may not be representative of what other teams at Microsoft are doing with Pinterest.

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

To learn more about our Pinterest contest, please visit the Windows Team Blog. If you’re interested in learning more about Microsoft Hardware and Windows, please explore the following:

Microsoft Hardware

Microsoft Hardware Blog

Microsoft Hardware Facebook

Microsoft Hardware Twitter

 

Windows

Windows Team Blog

Windows Facebook

Windows Twitter

Life Without Facebook ~ A View From Gen Y #4

04/06/2012

Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12 _5Jessica Robyn, a typical millennium and 7-year Facebook member, has not seen any of the new time lines for brands.

You see, on January 13, 2012 Jessica disabled her account and began an experiment of "Life Without Facebook."

This quasi social media reality series with Gen Y Jessica Robyn takes us into her world of Life Without Facebook where she offers her insights into the questions: Why? What now? How do you exist without Facebook?

Read Jessica Robyn's Life Without Facebook ~ A Veiw From Gen Y Interviews Part #1 Part #2 Part #3 Part #4  

We found it interesting that Jessica's posts have been the basis for talking points for parents to discuss Facebook with their children. Brand managers have also gained insights.

We also discovered people were not only curious about how Jessica is living without her online peeps, but how her friends are reacting. We thought it would be fun to ask a few so we formalized the process into an online survey. 

Here are a few comments from the question - What was your your reaction when you discovered I disabled my Facebook? 

"I was very skeptical. Porter was ALL about facebook in her hayday."

"I couldn't believe it."

"I thought it was cool since I had disabled mine before in the past."

 Diva Marketing/Toby: Your friends were really supportive of you disengaging from Facebook.  Although some people thought it was a joke. But they miss you. Did anyone’s comments surprise you?

Jessica Robyn: I laughed a lot reading Greg’s answer that parents being on Facebook ruined it. It’s funny cause I think out of all my friends my dad was one of the first to join Facebook. That is why I was glad there were so many privacy settings. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: I found it interesting that it wasn't one of your friends who want to see you back on Facebook but someone from the boomer generation , Auntie Kaye. - “Holy cow, how will I be able to see what is going on in your life?” 

Why did you think that is? What are you doing to stay in touch with Auntie Kaye?

Jessica Robyn: I think Facebook is just an easier way to at a glance find out what a bunch of people are doing at once and what’s new in their lives. I know Auntie Kaye liked seeing pictures of what I was doing and who I was out with so clearly that hasn’t been happening. We have emailed and talked on the phone to keep in touch.

Diva Marketing/Toby: You’ve been off Facebook for almost 3 months now. Have you missed anything, other than chatting with your friends, from not being on Facebook?

Jessica Robyn: It’s weird cause I wasn’t really missing Facebook or thinking about it until a few weeks ago.

One of my close friends was throwing a surprise party for another one of our mutual friends and I found out about a week or so after that I wasn’t invited. She called me a few days later to apologize explaining that she and another person planned the party mostly via a private facebook event and she forgot to let me know outside of that resource.

I know at the time I wasn’t physically out or around as often (I sprained my ankle and have been recovering), but I had still been in contact with her via text message and email. I wasn’t on her mind during those conversations to invite me. To be honest, I was a little hurt, but I was also expecting something like this might happen.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Your friends have given you all sorts of suggestions for when you should go back on Facebook:

One year from the day you gave it up. 365 days of life without fb!

When you feel like you can use it on your terms. Don't get sucked into anything you don't want to!

Totally up to you. It is more a part of a younger person's world- but not essential. Certainly a nice resource to have- but not at the expense of meaningful relationships.

What do you want to say to them?

Jessica Robyn: I think the one year idea is interesting, but I have no idea if that will happen. I think a few of my friends know me well enough, are supportive, and also understanding which is why none of their responses shocked me.

  • I will reactive my account at some point and hopefully whenever that happens it won’t be as big of a part of my life as it previously was and I can manage my time on there better.

Jessica Life Without Facebook Tweet Bubbe

@JessicaRobyn on Twitter

Kotex + Pinterest = An Innovative Campaign: A Case Study With Yael Linen-Zuchman

03/30/2012

Pinterest_creative KotexSeems we can’t turn a virtual corner without bumping into a post about the hottest social network Pinterest.

What started as a playground for mostly women to share life style images is morphing into a serious business platform. Many brands, B2b, B2C, as well as, nonprofit and even the military and higher ed are pinning.

Recently I was contacted by an Israeli agency about a Pinterest campaign that they launched for Kotex: Kotex Inspiration Day.  Smoyz logoThe strategy capitalized on Pinterest in an innovative way beyond brand pins on a board. Let’s call it a “Pinterst” relationship strategy a la blogger relations. In fact, it might be the first. But I can assure you it will not be the last.

Yael Linen-Zuchman, CEO of the agency smoyz, kindly agreed to fill us in on the back-story, offer her insights about the strategy and share some lessons learned. 

Yael Linen-ZuchmanAbout Yael Linen-Zuchman, CEO of smoyz. She is a 30 year-old who graduated with a BA in business in 2009 at IDC Herztelia Israel. She established smoyz, a creative agency in 2010. She's "always looking for the next (simple yet brilliant) big thing."

About smoyz. A creative agency founded in 2010. smoyz is an agency for unique marketing on New Media, specializing in creative and novel content activities and building optimal platform for the brand on the web. Eran Sion – Digital Marketing Manager at Hogla-Kimberly

In several questions Yael asked Eran Sion, Digital Marketing Manager at Hogla-Kimberly to share his views. We have a unique view of the campaign from two perspectives: the brand and the agency.   

 

Diva Marketing/Toby: Yael, let’s start at the beginning. How did the idea to reach out to pinners come about?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: To communicate the launch of "Kotex Design" designed pads and panty liners by Kotex. We searched for an innovative social platform where women can express themselves freely and openly in a unique way.

Pinterest, and especially pinners, were found to be the best candidates because of the simple and brilliant (and not too invasive) way Pinterest works. In one simple action (pin) you can express yourself.

Diva Marketing/Toby: So, if I understand you, it seems that before you could reach out to women to give them the unique gifts from Kotex you first had to identify them and Pinterest was how you chose to do that.

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: That is correct!

Diva Marketing /Toby: Although you were going into a new area of social marketing… call it social visual communication, as marketers we seem to always be held to the standard of achieving goals/objectives. What were the goals/objectives that the client wanted to achieve for this program? 

Eran Sion/Hogla-Kimberly: Kotex is "the underdog brand" at the feminine category in Israel and Kotex logo therefore we looked for a unique and unconventional activity that will encourage Israeli women to talk about the products and rethink their habits and attitude towards the brand. 

Diva Marketing /Toby: Since this was a novel approach to Pinterest, what did you/smoyz want to learn from the experience that might have been different from Kotex’s goals?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: We generally think the same as Hogla-Kimberly. We were looking for an activity that would generate buzz around the product/brand. My brief was to create the conversation and maintain the brand as the creator of the move.

Diva Marketing /Toby:  Creating a YouTube video to tell your story of the brand strategy was nothing short of brilliant. Note: if you have not seen the video it's worth a click and watch.

In the video you indicated that 50 women were contacted. Let’s dive into what many marketers would like to understand .. your process of the hows and whys. Now, we’re not expecting you to give away any trade secrets Yael but a high level over view would be great. 

How were the women identified? In other words was it done manually or through technology?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: The women were identified by a few categories: viral, trendsetters and active on pinterest (many profiles on pinterest are open though not active enough to be relevant for this campaign). The women were identified first via social media monitoring and analysis technology  and then manually picked the most inspiring ones.

Diva Marketing /Toby: Did smoyz and Kotex develop a set of criteria e.g. age, country, type of interests, etc?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: We looked for profiles / pictures that could creatively be transformed into "real life products."  

Diva Marketing /Toby: I guess it goes without saying, the women were from Israel (smile).  Was an “influencer” or “power pinner” part of your criteria? If so how did you define that e.g. by number of pins, followers, ect?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: Yes, an influencer & power pinner were part of our criteria; we looked for profiles which are both active and both viral (followers wise).

Diva Marketing /Toby:  What were some of the challenges that you encountered?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: The main challenge was to make the pinners cooperate with a commercial activity owned by Kotex. Because we were very accurate and relevant to the Pinners, we received fantastic collaboration.

Diva Marketing /Toby:  From the video it seemed as though the gifts were a surprise. I’m curious as to how the women’s addresses were located.

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: After monitoring an inspiring pin we prepared the gift and pinned a photo on our Pinterest profile (Get Inspired). Then, on each pin that we monitored we commented and added a link to the gift, in order to receive the gift all they needed to do was repin our photo.

The repin was a signal of their interest, the addresses were taken via personal message approach. We used both the @ symbol and both the pin & like in order to get their attention properly. 

Diva Marketing /Toby:  Your results were beyond impressive; especially since the women posted across multiple social networks. How did you track the analytics? Note: almost 100% participation.

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: Technical social media monitoring and manually monitoring these 50 women.

Diva Marketing /Toby: Yael , I’d love to see how the women positioned their pins? Can you share a couple of the Pinterest board with our community?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyze: The profile we created, was deleted and no longer exist, that's why you can't see the photos. We decided to open the Kotex Pinterest "Get Inspired" profile temporarily and closed it after the campaign. (Note: Eran addresses this approach further below.)

Following are some of the women who participated in the Pinterest Kotex campaign.

Products I Love . My StyleLegally Blonde . Urban Wilderness

Diva Marketing /Toby: My friends (and I admit me too!) are so curious .. what were some of the presents that were in  the boxes? That must have been a fun part of the project .. making sure the gifts reflected the pinner’s interests.

 Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: This was the most amazing part of the campaign. After locating each womens inspiration smoyz team went out for an inspiration treasure hunt.

We went to markets, malls, searched the internet..and finally bought 50 unique inspiring gifts. After buying these gifts artists designed on these gift the new kotex design look. Among the gifts:

Kotex_kittyA women pinning cat photos received two bowls designed and with her cats names. (Note: Maxie pup approves!)

A women that pinned sweets, got a kotex designed jar full of hearted sweets.

A women that pinned cupcakes & got kotex designed cupcakes.

A young girl pinned diaries & got a pocket diary with her name painted on the diary.

A women that pinned pastry-cooking stuff received a cooking kit designed with her initials.

Kotex_gift1 Kotex gift_2
Kotex gift 3

Diva Marketing /Toby: Yael what fun .. buying presents. I want that job! By the way, does Kotex have a Pinterest page? And if they do would you be so kind as to give us the link? If not are any plans in the works that you can share with us?

Eran Sion/Hogla-Kimberly: We believe that any activity on behalf of the brand, should give true value to our consumers and reflect the core values of the brand. The latest activity did just that. We are in a constant search for a platform that will enable us to provide added value to our consumers – It does not have to be a long lasting engagement, short term relations are also welcome.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Interesting approach to Pinterest and social media. Not only short term boards for campaigns but taking them down after the run of the campaign. Eran, I'm curious .. why wouldn’t Kotex want the long-term awareness that the board would bring?

Eran Sion/Hogla-Kimberly: The main goal of our digital platforms is to promote awareness to the brand and we support them constantly. Nevertheless it would be ambitious to create constant excitement on behalf of Kotex on a Pinterest profile; but due the success of the "Kotex Inspiration Day" activity, we will examine our long term presence on the platform. 

Diva Marketing /Toby:  Diva Marketing is all about learning from each other. Yael, would you please share a couple of the overall lessons that you learned?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz:

  • In my opinion New media marketing in 2012 is all about creating intimate moments with the brand.
  • These amazing platforms enable the brands to touch their audience in the most intimate way. 
  • Conventional advertising and marketing cannot stand alone today without a simple yet brilliant touch to blow people away and create a real organic engagement.

Diva Marketing /Toby: In the tradition of Diva Marketing interviews,  you get the last word. So the virtual stage is yours .. wrap it up any way you’d like.

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz:  Would it be cheesy if I quote my most favorite one? Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication -- Leonardo de Vinci

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

Life Without Facebook ~ A View From Gen Y #3

02/08/2012

Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12 (3)
It's 2004. You're a college freshman. You and your friends sign up for a new internet platform called Facebook. It becomes an interactive scrapbook of your life. 

Flash forward 7 years. You disengage from Facebook. Why??

This is a special Diva Marketing quasi social media reality series with Gen Y Jessica Robyn who takes us into her world of Life Without Facebook .. and offers her insights into the question Why?

Part #1 Part #2

Diva Marketing/Toby: Jessica, you disengaged from Facebook  on January 13th. It's been about 4 weeks without the Big F. What are you missing the most?

Jessica Robyn: I miss the entertainment I got from Facebook. Reading posts, seeing pictures, and playing games via Facebook. It was a great way to amuse myself when I had down time. Now I have a new obsession for crossword puzzles. I even found a trivia app on my phone to entertain me on the go.  At least my new obsessions are educational!

Diva Marketing/Toby:  How has life without Facebook influenced your relationship with people who you don’t usually keep in contact with on a consistent basis?

Jessica Robyn: It’s been interesting. I've reached out more to some college friends who I have not seen in a while. I actually found out that one of my old roommates, who lives in New York, was going to be in Rhode Island. I live in Massachusetts, so we ended up meeting for drinks in Providence which was pretty awesome.

  • We haven’t seen each other in two years, but we still had a connection without Facebook which was pretty impressive. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: What happens when those people who don’t have your eMail address or phone number need to get in touch with you?

Jessica Robyn: I perform at Rocky Horror Full Body Cast in Harvard Square. There was an occasion recently where someone from Rocky Horror had a few questions for me about something they were planning with the production.

I gave permission for people at the show to give her my cell number so she could contact me. But she never did. A couple of weeks later she told me she didn't like calling people on the phone and since she couldn’t find my Facebook she didn’t message me. I think if it was something of dire importance you could figure a way to contact me off of Facebook, even if you didn't have my contact information.

Diva Marketing/Toby: How about people you do keep in touch with on an ongoing basis. Tell us a story of how not having a Facebook page influenced you.

Jessica Robyn: Recently I had plans to go out with a friend; however, we just couldn’t agree on what to do for the evening so we ended up doing nothing. You know how that goes.

The next morning I started to miss Facebook. I am sure if I really wanted to go out I would have heard about a group of my friends going somewhere. Or I could have posted a status asking who was around and wanted to grab a drink. It didn’t really bother me about missing out on events until then. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: Wondering what are the reactions from people who you meet who don’t know you’re not on Facebook and want to friend you.

Jessica Robyn: I haven’t encountered that yet. But I did meet someone right before I disabled my facebook. He was shocked I was going to disable my page and told me that Facebook was his only form of communication with his friends (I later found out he didn’t have a text messaging plan and doesn’t use his phone much. "Big L"). Needless to say, we didn’t keep in touch after that. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: At this point are you glad you're off Facebook? Why?

Jessica Robyn:  At this moment I would say absoultely. I have found myself being more productive throughout the day. Also instead of spending mind numbing hours sitting on facebook, like I mentioned before, I have been spending time doing cross words and trivia games  ... working my mind which has been better than it turning to mush while mindlessly navigating around Facebook.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Anything that you're surprised about with life without Facebook?

Jessica Robyn: I think the most surprising element thus far has been all the exclusive deals or "you hear it first" type of deals that are promoted via Facebook. I heard of two different contests that in order to simply enter you needed to "like" their fan page, or a band releasing a song exclusively through Facebook. But for the most part, I haven't been too disappointed about my lack of Facebook yet.

- @JessicaRobyn  Jessica twitter

To Be Continued ..

Life Without Facebook ~ A View From Gen Y #2

01/26/2012

Jessica Robyn Twitter_20

This is a special interview series on what life is like for Jessica Robyn, a Gen Y-er, who disabled her 7 year old Facebook Page. We're calling it quasi social media reality! Part #1 Part #3

Diva/Marketing/Toby: The big question I've been asked is, "What were the reactions from Jessica's Facebook friends?" By the way, how many friends did you have?

Jessica Robyn: I had a few of my friends talking to me (through phone calls, texts, and of course facebook messages or comments) who could not believe that Jessica, voted biggest facebook stalker junior year, the addict, and social media manager of the Full Body Cast fan page would seriously leave facebook.

People were asking how they would know what was going on in my life and I would just laugh and say "you do have my cell number, right? I know it's an awful concept, but you may need to talk to me in person." (can you sense the sarcasm in my writing?)

I currently have 410 friends on facebook, but several times have gone on what I call "defriending sprees" since there were so many people I was sharing information with who I had met one time at a party, was
a friend of a friend, or a classmate I have no contact with anymore. It was helpful to do that so I could filter through who I was showing my pictures to or updating them on my week. I just am at a point when simply clicking unfriend is not enough.

Diva Marketing/Toby: We relate to people on different levels;  we have various degrees of “friendship” with people. Obviously you’re not going to keep in daily or weekly contact with hundreds of people.

 What percentage do you expect will maintain, let’s call it the first level of friendship, where you are in contact on a weekly basis? Oh and how do you intend to keep up those relationships (email, twitter, etc.).

Jessica Robyn: I would say out of the 410 people I am Facebook friends with there are a dozen or so Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12who I keep in pretty consistent contact with. I text message them frequently or see them on a weekly basis. I do not foresee any aspect of our friendships changing except for the fact that our conversations won't have "Hey did you see what Jane posted today?"

Diva Marketing/Toby: What about, let’s call them the level 2 and 3 friends. What to you expect will happen with those people?

Jessica Robyn: The friendships I have with those who are not in constant cotact outside of facebook may become stronger. It may be a combination of me wondering what they are up to and vice versa. Having real-life interactions would only strengthen my friendships.

I would say that I won't become wicked close with all 410 of my Facebook friends, but there may be
some who I have not spent as much time with that I would like to and may get to know them on a more personal level.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Just curious Jess. How much of yourself image was tied to your Facebook page? What I mean is when you looked at your Facebook page what did it tell  about Jessica Robyn? In marketing we sometimes call this “personal branding.”

Jessica Robyn: My personal Facebook page is private, but if someone who had never met me were granted full access they would see someone who is funny, sarcastic, and does not take life too seriously. I feel most of my photos are carefree and me having fun. They would also see my Rocky Horror life: promoting the show or preshows I was in and pictures of that as well.

I may post a status and get NO likes or comments. Does that mean my friends do not approve of me or validate my thoughts? Of course not. But that is how it is interpreted to some people. If no one likes or comments on my status it's not a huge deal. (Sidebar: I wish brand marketers would take a cue from you Jessica!)

I had 410 facebook friends. Did I comment or like EVERY post they made? No. I did if I found it funny, I agreed, or had something witty to comment.

Also, having so many Facebook friends and with the Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12 _7new feature of a news ticker some posts can easily be over-looked if Facebook does not mark it as an "important post." If I was seeking approval or a comment from a friend it would be through a personal conversation that we were having, not a Facbeook post. - @JessicaRobyn

To Be Continued ..

Stories from Smaller Nonprofits: National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel

12/13/2011

StarsAt this holiday season we are encouraged to look beyond face value to the heart of the people who may touch our lives .. directly or indirectly. "Looks" of nonprofits may also be deceiving at first glance.

For the first time we are opening Diva Marketing's Holiday For Small Nonprofits Series to a couple of special programs offered by larger nonprofits. These initiatives often have unique budgets and dedicated staff .. much the same as smaller nonprofits. 

John Pollock _Public Justice CenterThis story is told by John Pollock who manages this unique program. As Jennifer Pelton, Director of Development, proudly told me, "John brings strong leadership -- and helpful tools -- to the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC.)"

John Pollock - This Coalition seeks to address a severe justice gap in this country. People who can afford private counsel will hire a lawyer when something critically important to them – such as their home or the custody of their children – is at stake. Too many people do not have that choice. In what is a surprise to many, the right to a lawyer (in civil cases) is not guaranteed. 

Private counsel is unaffordable and civil legal services (or other “free”) counsel meets only 20 percent of the need. Further compounding the problem, all too often,indigent litigants  face an opponent who does have a lawyer. This justice gap especially hurts families of color, families headed by women, children and the elderly.

In 2004, attorneys and advocates from around the nation created the NCCRC to expand recognition and implementation of a right to counsel in civil cases. The Coalition is led by the Public Justice Center, a legal advocacy organization based in Maryland. As the coordinator, I oversee services to coalition participants by providing advice, information, testimony and other support. I also managed a vast amount of information through a newly created wiki and bibliography.

Judge Annette Marie Rizzo talks about civil rights to counsel in foreclosure cases. 

One of the major problems faced by the Coalition was its lack of an easy way to share its massive research and case-related resources with all 200+ participants in an organized fashion, particularly given the wide levels of familiarity with technology within the Coalition.

Additionally, because of the lack of organization and the fact that few knew the full extent of documents in existence, key resources would go unutilized and reinvention of the wheel (with respect to repeating existing research) was not uncommon.

Social Media Lessons and Challenges

The Coalition chose a product called PBWorks which was obtained at a very steep discount thanks to the generosity of the PBWorks company. I established the wiki and stored the documents in an organized system, then used web-conferencing software to train coalition participants on how to access and navigate the wiki.

In addition to ensuring that Coalition participants could remain aware of all of the Coalition's resources, the wiki  has solved other problems as well.  In the past, when documents to be shared were emailed, Coalition participants that joined the Coalition later on would not have access to such documents without combing through the email archives.  

Now, both new and old participants need only visit the wiki to see a complete picture of the Coalition's resources.  Also, the wiki provides a weekly summary to all Coalition participants about all documents on the wiki that have changed, thus allowing them to know if Coalition staff upload newer versions of memos, case briefs, or other important documents.  Finally, the wiki provides one centralized location for the entire memory store of the Coalition.  For all of these reasons, the wiki has empowered advocates in the various states to benefit from the collective wisdom and work of the Coalition.

Public Justice Center logo
More From Public Justice Center

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Read More Small Nonprofit Stories

Interview with Brian Solis Author of The End of Business As Usual - Part II

11/17/2011

Brian solis_2In part two of my interview with Brian Solis, Brian shares his vision of what I might call the essence of social media. He talks about our new responsiblities, opportunities and business values. (Part I Interview with Brian Solis Author of End of Business As Usual)

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Recently Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) made a faux pas on Twitter. He then said in his blog that he felt Twitter had gone from a “communication platform” to a “mass publishing platform. “ He’s now turned the management of his stream over to his agency as a “secondary editorial measure.”

 Two questions Brian:  One - do you feel that social networks in general have gone from a way to talk to directly to customers or have they become just another mass market communication channel?

 And two - what would you have advised Ashton to do?

Brian Solis: This is difficult to answer. Ashton is a friend of mine and honestly, it’s not my place to comment on his experience. If he asked, my advice to him would be between us. However, I don’t want to let you or your readers down, so allow me to answer it another way.

  • With social media comes great responsibility.

Regardless of the size of our networks, each of carries a duty to engage with purpose, transparency, authenticity, and above all, respect. We are defined by what we say, share, and at times, what we don’t say.  

Essentially, we create a digital representation of who we are and what we value. In the end, what people think, how people value our connections, and how people interact with us is reflective of our investment. Or said another way, we reap what we sow and cultivate. 

The challenge is of course, that this is all so new, that we’re learning as we go. We’re, as everyday people and celebrities, not conditioned for living in public without filters or handlers.

To answer your first question, people are becoming full-fledged media networks and that’s why this moment is so special and alarming at the same time.

As media networks, and as novices really in the world of catering to extensive networks, it’s tempting to approach social media with a traditional mentality. Producing and publishing content in social networks isn’t necessary social media…in fact, bringing a one-to-many broadcast methodology to social is quite anti-social to say the least. 

We are responsible for what we create and share. But we are also challenged to do more than just create content. Anyone can do that now, so what makes you different? It’s also another thing to create consumable content. Again, anyone versed in traditional media can do that.

  • Now, we’re presented with a tremendous opportunity to produce consumable, shareable and actionable media. Those that master this will be rewarded with time, attention, and loyalty for the long term…and that’s priceless.

Marketing/Toby: Your book is filled with wonderful quotes. This is one of my favorites, “… brands must figuratively wear their hearts on their sleeves to best connect with customers.” (p 170) Would you speak a little of what that means to you?

Brian Solis: There’s an old saying, “don’t take it personally, this is just business.” Now, the opposite of that statement is true. One of the best-kept secret ingredients of any engaged business before, during, and after social media is empathy.

The connected consumer is incredibly sophisticated. Add to that, the nature of social networks. What Facebook, Twitter, Google+, et al. share is that they’re rich with emotion. People share what they like, love, dislike, or even hate. People engage with one another based on these emotions because it’s personal.

Businesses are entering these very emotional landscapes and they are treating them in many regards much as they do with other media channels. Just because they’re present and participating doesn’t mean that they’re human or that what it is they’re expressing is empathetic in nature.

During the listening process, we can capture the challenges, joys, struggles, and achievements of people who are customers or those related to our markets. Rather than just track keywords and activity, we can feel what it is that would matter to customers and build off of those findings.

For example, there are companies, like Freshbooks, that makes every employee in the company staff the customer service lines to better understand customers. The objective of course is to instill empathy. Because once you do, business becomes personal.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Brian, as we say, the Diva Marketing viral stage is yours. Wrap it up any way you’d like.

Brian Solis: This is an important time. We are presented with an opportunity and some of us need to make touch choices right now.

I believe that we are standing at a crossroads. In one direction, we can continue our quest to bring social media within business, to help companies “get it” and work with them to socialize marketing, communications, and service. In the other direction, we can use the lessons we learned from social media to bring about change within the company.

As change agents, this path will bring together once disparate teams and functions to coll Brian solis _ the end of business as usual.phpaborate in creating new culture of customer and employee centricity and overall market relevance.

Each path is important. It’s up to us to make a decision and push forward to help whomever we work with benefit from our vision and perseverance. 

Catch up with Brian on Twitter or Facebook and of course read more about The End of Business As Usual.

Bloggy Disclaimer: Brian kindly comped me a copy of the book The End of Business as Usual.

Interview with Brian Solis Author of The End of Business As Usual - Part I

11/16/2011

Brian Solis has earned a reputation as guy who digs deep and comes up with insights that result in head nodding. However, his analysis quite often takes our own thinking into directions that might not have been as obvious to us. 

Max Business As UsualFor me his new book, The End of Business As Usual, did both. I nodded and at the end of the read I thought just a little differently. Brian graciously agreed to share his thoughts about social media and the connected consumer. (Yes, Max liked The End of Business As Usual too!)

Brian's responses were so rich and deep that I've turned his interview into a two part series. Tune in tomorrow for part two! (Part Two Interview with Brian Solis)

Diva Marketing/Toby: The End of Business As Usual explores how the digital world, including social media, is impacting not only the way customers connect with companies but how companies interact with their customers and stakeholders.  At this point in the evolution of social media what does social media mean to you?

Brian Solis: Social media means a lot of different things to me and that’s why I’m inspired to invest as much possible to understand the impact on business, culture, consumers, and also individuals. At a minimum, social media is an opportunity for introspection. We have the ability to easily connect with one another.

We’re forming incredibly vibrant and extensive networks around relationships and interests.  We’re learning how to live life in a very public, and searchable, space. Just as individuals, businesses, organizations, governments, you name it, are equally given the gift of connections and the ability to interact with people directly.

Social media opens the door to empathy and influence. But as a result, the tenets required to thrive in social media require a different approach, a thoughtful strategy, and intentions designed to deliver value to all participants in engagement. 

I study social media programs by the thousands and I have to tell you, there are amazing examples and best practices out there. But, there are more examples of antisocial media then there are of social media…meaning, content, campaigns, contests, messages, are stuffed into new networks under the guise of social, when in fact, there’s very little social in the social media initiative.

Social media is in a state of rapid maturation and that’s why I wrote The End of Business as Usual. There are important lessons right now that are more important than social media. Understanding the bigger picture will only benefit how businesses use social media and how they grow as a company and a team of human beings united to accomplish something that’s bigger than any one individual.

Consumerism is changing. There is no longer one audience bound by demographics. In the book, I introduce the reader to the connected consumer. How they find information, how they make decisions, and how the influence and are influenced, is not at all like the previous generations of customers businesses are used to marketing and selling to, servicing, or tracking.

The book title says it all. This is about a fundamental change in behavior, which isn’t regressing, it’s actually spreading. Taking the same old strategies, programs, philosophies, and us vs. them culture into this next generation of connected consumerism is the surest way to digital Darwinism, the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than our ability to adapt.

  • No longer is it just about survival of the fittest, it’s now also about survival of the fitting.

Diva Marketing/Toby: You discuss the importance of creating and maintaining authentic exchanges which in turn, lead to building relationship with the connect customer. For every person who happens onto those interactions (random or deliberate) these exchanges become part of a shared brand experience.  People can see who the brand chooses to engage within the social web.

How do you ensure that connected customers who have reached out to the brand but are not included in, call them direct discussions with the brand, still feel special and not left out? I wonder .. are we creating an illusion of special?

Brian Solis: Interesting…I like the idea of the “illusion of special.” The same is true for social media and individuals. From Klout scores to Twitter followers, many people are struggling with the idea of importance. Whether or not connected consumers expect a company response or if an interaction actually occurred, people will freely share their experiences with companies.It is those published experiences in social networks that become not only searchable, but also impact the considerations and decisions of those who are either connected or those who find it in social search or simply by asking.

Many businesses see social media as a necessary evil and/or an opportunity to engage with customers who have negative experiences.  Doing so puts an organization at risk. By responding to negative experiences, companies get stuck in a move and react form of engagement.

The real opportunity is to learn from customer behavior to design better products, build an infrastructure that supports improved experiences, and continue to do so over time. It’s part leadership and part support. However, it’s never ending. What is the experience your customers have today? How do they find you? What shows up as someone is considering you now in social networks, not just Google, and what does their click path look like?

Once you understand the “day in the life” and what it is that people are expressing, you can begin to design a meaningful experience.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  In Chapter 13 you said listening is “Not an administrative position left to a recent college graduate because they get social media. This is a senior function that reports to management that processes authority to make decisions …” (p160)

I’m curious to understand who you believe should participate in social conversations as the voice of the brand. Is it a job for an intern or junior staff member or is this also a senior or mid management responsibility and why?

Brian Solis: This section refers to importance of the role of intelligence. It extends the thoughts shared in the last question. Often we get caught up in monitoring for mentions, sentiment, share of voice, and we miss the insights that can guide our engagement strategies and internal processes. Brian Solis

But to specifically answer your question, it’s not the role of just any one person to become the voice of the company. The needs of customers is far greater than any one person can or should manage.  At any one moment, your consumer can be an advocate expecting rewards, a customer needing help, a prospect requiring information or guidance, a partner wishing to express ideas to improve experiences, a potential employee needing HR attention, etc. The point is that every division affected by the activity within social media or any new media for that matter, must include an extension to 1) listen, 2) learn, 3) engage, and 4) adapt.

This is a major transformation and not something to be taken lightly. It starts with a mission, purpose, and vision. It requires a thoughtful plan. It requires training, governance, and compliance.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Throughout the book and in particular, Chapter 13 Brands Are No Longer Created, They’re Co-Created, you discuss the responsibilities of the organization to embrace the connected customer in developing the brand.  With the connected customer now involved with developing the brand, the CC must also share in the responsibility. What is the accountability of the connected customer to the brand?

Brian Solis: At the end of the day, connected customers will share their experience with or without you. That’s the power and freedom of new media and self expression is the ante to buy into any social network. The question is, without your involvement, without design, with trying to shape experiences proactively, what will your customers say and what will they do?

To truly create and steer experiences, businesses must design programs that seek their involvement. For example, Dell’s IdeaStorm and MyStarbucksIdea are proactive forms of communities dedicated to rallying customer feedback, recognizing and rewarding their input, and designing new experiences as a result. It puts customer ideas to work and they can see the progress of their input. Programs like this convert a connected customer into a stakeholder. Dell has gone even further by opening up an inward-facing community where employees can contribute and engage around their ideas as well.

Communities such as this are designed to channel self-expression into forms of collaboration. American Express recently launched its Link.Like.Love program that ties together the company’s rewards program with social activity. Beyond contests, general conversations, reactive customer support, smart businesses are thinking ahead to deliver value while steering and shaping desirable “shared” experiences.

As they say .. Tune in tomorrow for part two of Brian Solis' interview. In the mean time continue the conversation with Brian on Twitter or Facebook

Update: Part II Interview with Brian Solis where Brian shares insights about new values, responsibilities and how we are on the cross roads of marketing. 

Bloggy Disclaimer: Brian kindly comped me a copy of the book The End of Business as Usual.

Boo! What Is Your Scariest Thought About Social Media?

10/31/2011

Halloween_pumpkinThe oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. ~ H. P. Lovecraft, Author

How are you learing about social media? Perhaps through books, conferences or workshops. Just as valuable is the way knowledge was transferred when blogs hit the business scene .. from peer-to-peer in online discussions. 

Just Once Crowd Sourced Question is a Diva Marketing series where the community shares their insights on a specific social media issue. In doing that, we can help alleviate some of the scary fears.  In celebration of Halloween .. 

Just One Crowd Sourced Question

  • What is your scariest thought on how brands or agencies are using any aspect of social media/social networks? 

One of the scariest things I see is too many "brand" witches around the social media kettle. Each with a different opinion and no common, customer-centric vision to unite them.

So they disagree and waste time and money chasing warts, I mean likes, fans friends and followers instead business outcomes. In the confusion, the "social media expert" gets paid to maintain the status quo. Now that's scary. Muahahahaha ~ Lee Odden, Top Ranking Blog @LeeOdden 

Businesses should focus on the model and how they trade: What do they need to start doing more, and what do they need to stop doing? Conversation is a way to draw out the model and build the promise architecture to trade. The scariest thought, therefore, is that businesses are asking precisely the *wrong* question.

Technology needs to be viewed in light of the business model. Entire industries are being disrupted and organizations are still hiring people to be in charge of Twitter and Facebook -- this is what is truly scary. ~ Valeria Maltoni, Principal, Conversation Agent LLC  @ConversationAge

Biggest scare: when brands or orgs jump into social media because they "should" an without a coherent strategy for connecting existing goals to their social media efforts. ~ Hillary Boucher, BirthSwell @hillaryboucher

Scariest thought is how so many PR practitioners use social media in impersonal and ineffective ways yet believing they're doing it well. That is worse that those who just don't get it at all.~ Neville Hobson, NevilleHobson.com @jangles

I've heard of people who have been involved in cases of mistaken identity as a result of social search. In other words, they had "digital doppelgangers" -- people who share their name. Doesn't sound too dangerous, until one of those people is a murderer or was charged with fraud.

Organizations need to be careful not to assume a simple Google search always results in learning the correct information about the person in question! On the flip side, individuals need to seize control of their names online by creating profiles and digital presences to overcome negative digital doppelganger results! ~ Miriam Salpeter, Keppie Careers,@Keppie_Careers

Scariets thought is having content stolen and being misrepresented. ~ Toby Neal, TobyNeal.net @tobywneal Crowd source

YouTube - advertising there is getting more and more cluttered and scary. ~ Jake Aull, Zen of Digital Brand @JackAull

My scariest thought: brands assuming social is just another direct response channel and missing out on the opportunity to create a relationship with some of the brand's most valuable customers. My second scariest thought: assuming everyone who has liked or followed the brand is a valuable customer and thus offering richer discounts than those who have raised their hand and shared their information.

Don't forget to connect the dots back to the customer database, so while you are creating great relationships you can also make sound business decisions around discounting and rewards. ~ Teresa Caro, [r]Dialogue @teresacaro

Toby, I think my scariest thought is that brands start developing content in social media, without having a backup plan and the people to support and respond to any crisis that will happen. ~ Anon

Mass Following on Twitter -I get scared when a company skips the process of vetting and actually reading the profiles of the people they follow and opt to use tools that let them follow massive numbers of people. Your followers are about quality not quantity people! ~ Natalie MacNeilShe Takes on the World  @NatalieMacNeil

Scariest thought? That they're not listening. And that they think how they did business in 2005 is the same as 2011. ~ Anon

My scariest thought is that brands (and agencies) are jumping into social media with no forethought, planning or strategy. Because so many of the tools are free -- they are not giving them the "respect" they would offer traditional marketing tools/efforts. The outcome of that is, of course, their efforts fall flat and then they declare that social media is not right for their business.

This is particularly worrisome for the small business owner who could reap all the benefits if they just took the time to learn/think it through before jumping in. ~Drew McLellan Drew's Marketing Minute @DrewMcLellan

Toss of a pink boa to the people who generously shared their thoughts.

It's your turn! Let's continue the learnings. What is your scariest thought about social media? 

Read More Just One Crowd Sourced Questions

How Do You Build B2B Relationships Using Social Media?

How Do You Take The Fear Factor Out of Social Media?

How Do You Put Soul Into A Blog Post?

Why Don't People Get Social Media Is Not A Private Conversation?

What Is Your One Tip To An Agency/Freelancer Contracted To Be The Voice Of The Brand In Social Networks? 

Interview with Becky Carroll Author of The Hidden Power of Your Customers

09/07/2011

Becky Carroll_2 Traditionally customer service has been perceived as a necessary business function whose purpose is to appease unhappy customers.

Becky Carroll believes differently. She thinks customers rock and caring for your customer is one of the joys of doing businss. 

With the onset of social media, savvy companies like Dell, Zappos and your neighborhood food truck are learning servicing the customer can be a critical strategy; and sets you apart from your competiton.

That's what Becky's new book, The Hidden Power of Your Customers, is all about. 

In Brian Solis’ foreword to The Hidden Power of Your Customers, there is one line that especially resonated with me. “With the emergence of social media, we are given not just a right to engage but a rite of passage to earn relevance.” Relvancy and customer service .. a novel idea!

Becky Carroll kindly shares her innovative, but it makes sense, approach to building a “Customers Rock” focused company. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: I would imagine a Customer Rocks company takes coordination, alignment and team work that many organizations may not have in place. What would you tell those companies where departments are silo-ed or where employees may never have thought of their role as being part of customer service?

Becky Carroll: You are right, Toby, it does take quite a bit of coordination inside an organization to create an integrated approach to customers – whether that’s in customer service, marketing, sales, or any other customer-facing function. Company silos can create inconsistent messaging and treatment for and of customers.

To answer your question, I often recommend those companies create a customer experience map of their interactions with customers. Described in my book, this mapping of company transactions helps to do two things. 

First, since the map takes the customer’s perspective, it reveals how different internal organizations come together (or not) to impact the customer experience.

When cross-functional teams sit down and analyze this map, they usually find opportunities for process improvements, as well as areas of best practice, that will ultimately make the business more efficient, as well as more effective for the customer.

Second, a customer experience map can also help employees who are not “customer facing” to understand how their roles ultimately impact the customer experience. The map includes data and process inputs and outputs from different organizations, so employees can visually see where their outputs feed into customer interactions.

This understanding, along with cross-organizational metrics that help drive customer focus across all employees, can help everyone understand how they are a part of “taking care of customers”.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Becky, including multiple departments or business units in supporting customer service begs the question, “Who owns the service to the customer?”

Becky Carroll: As you can see from my answer above, I firmly believe that every employee participates and ultimately owns the service of the customer. Some employees interact directly with the customer to provide this service; others are serving fellow employees across departments, which empowers them to perform their customer-facing roles effectively – from the customer’s perspective.

Employee metrics focused on customer service will help make drive employee behaviors to support customer-focused initiatives.

Diva Marketing/Toby: The irony of social media is that we began this journey with a focus on bringing people together .. customers and the staff behind the brand.  However, frequently it seems the objective is not building relationships but in how many friends, likes, followers and now 1+ a brand can accumulate.

You turn the tables and advise us to be your customer’s fan (love it!). How do we get out of the "collecting numbers mindset?" 

Becky Carroll: Social media practitioners get into the habit of collecting numbers when they view social media as another place to run campaigns.

Social media is not a campaign – it is a strategy to build relationships.

When a company creates a social media strategy that is based on business goals, such as increasing customer share of wallet, as well as based on improving customer relationships (which can include prospects, too), rather then simply tracking “traffic” to social media properties (likes, followers, etc), we begin to move out of the campaign-mindset.

It also helps executives to better understand what we are doing with social media when we talk to them in terms of business goals and metrics as opposed to the much-touted social media “numbers”.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  I’ve used social media to call companies out and also to tell companies their service or product rocks. Sometimes I’ve been acknowledged and sometimes I have not. I must admit that when I don’t get a response, but notice that other people are getting special treatment I feel slighted. How does a company scale Customers Rock service?

Becky Carroll: Customer service via social media scales best when it is part of a customer-focused culture. This type of culture is created by company management as they model servant leadership towards their employees.

When employees, all employees, see how it looks to serve others in the organization, they learn how to serve customers.  Once everyone at the company understands how customer service is everyone’s job, and this is supported by management and metrics, employees will be empowered to treat all customers well – both in social media as well as in other customer-facing channels.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  I agree with you .. at the end of the day it is all about the people on both side of the equation: customers and employees. As our friend Sybil Stershic reminds us although most product and services can easily become commoditized relationships built on caring service are more difficult to duplicate. 

After you’ve listened (Chapter 1) and understand your customers’ need what is the first step to take in becoming a Customers Rock company?

Becky Carroll: The first step in becoming a Customers Rock company is to create a customer strategy. Companies have marketing strategies, social media strategies, and product strategies – but how many of them have a strategy for how they will treat their customers? This strategy needs to be thought-through carefully and embraced at all levels of the organization.

It should incorporate all four keys described in the book – Relevant Marketing, Orchestrated Customer Experience, Customer-Focused Culture, and Killer Customer Service – in order to create a strategy that can unlock the hidden power of your existing customers.

 Diva Marketing/Toby:  Becky, the Diva Marketing virtual stage is yours. Wrap it up any way you like.

Becky Carroll: I would just encourage organizations not to take their current customers for granted. They have more power than you think to help grow your business. And it’s not really hard – start with a thank you for being our customer!

Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of Diva Marketing, Toby. You rock! Becky Carroll Hidden-Power2

Becky totally rocks too .. in fact she gave me a copy of The Hidden Power of Your Customer to give away.

If you want the book drop a comment and let me know why.

Becky will choose the comment that she thinks rocks it out!

Update: Contest deadline is midnight Friday 9 Sept 2011.

Continue the conversation with Becky!

Customers Rock

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The Hidden Power of Your Customers

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Update: Becky Carroll chose Aimee's comment as the winner. As an extra bonus for us ~ Aimee graciously agreed to tell us her 3 top customer rock tips .. skip over to this post! Thanks to everyone who participated!

 Bloggy disclaimer: Becky kindly comped me a copy of her book.