Target hits the bulls eye using social media. A case for corporate social responsibility in a digital world.

     Welcome to the new business frontier. Thanks to social media the power of the consumer has  been unleashed in the digital marketplace. Gone are the days when the corporation crafted and controlled the message being conveyed to the consumer. Gone are the days of wanton profiteering at any cost. The corporation of today is becoming increasingly aware of the fact that they must do business in an ethical and transparent way. There is a new social responsibility paradigm for business, a mixture of for profit goals and ethical values realized in a pro active way. ” Social media has begun to play a key role in how companies shape their corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies and present themselves as good corporate citizens.”

     Consumers can drive the conversation about a company’s ethical values very easily now through social media channels and reach a huge audience on a global scale.  Companies have taken notice. We have seen how social media can act as a pivot and change the direction of an entire culture or country. The Arab spring and other middle eastern revolts come to mind as an example. It comes as no surprise that socially responsible companies are not only using social media to expand initiatives in this regard they are also trumpeting their good works across the same channels. All of this, in the hopes of creating expansive networks of friends engaging in sharing content concerning the company brand and spreading the word globally. The world, it seems, is interested in sustainability, climate change, fossil fuel usage and depletion and green initiatives to name just some of the platforms from which socially responsible companies can jump off from.

     Let’s take the example of Target, a relative newcomer to the Canadian retail market but a retail giant nonetheless. Target is a good example of a company that is both socially responsible and a prolific user of social media. They have many socially responsible initiatives woven into their corporate culture. So many in fact, it would take several blogs to cover them. Here are just some of the highlights including the ones that use social media in clever and effective ways.

  • Increased packaging efficiency, decreasing size and material and replacing with recycled and renewable materials helping to reduce waste.
  • Finding vendors that are screened using certain criteria, i.e. who treat workers well, who obey the law and whose processes minimize their effect on the environment.
  • Target is against the use of conflict minerals such as gold and tin mined in African countries with poor human rights records.
  • Target has reduced the number of Bangladeshi factories making their products by nearly 50 percent while maintaining their overall sourcing volume from Bangladesh so that they could better monitor and manage safety conditions.
  • Increasing healthy, organic food choices in their stores.
  • Modifying shipping routes and distribution centers, in ways that save fuel, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower costs.
  • AS of 2014, 37 Target facilities are solar powered.
  • partnering with FEMA(Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the American Red Cross for multiple initiatives providing materials and fundraising help through social media channels. They have helped these agencies provide flood relief, tornado relief and the Boston bombing victims.
  • Huge supporter of schools and education in North America. Most recently, “Target partnered with Search Institute to develop the ‘Turn Summer Play into Summer Learning’ series on its Facebook page, which provides parents with fun, weekly tips to help their child’s mind stay active during the summer with research on how it makes a positive impact on child development. While demonstrating the company’s commitment to education, Target also created a local solution to a national issue by personally connecting with parents through a timely and innovative social media campaign.”
  • Target uses a mobile app to track its employees volunteer hours. In 2013, Target employees logged over a million hours cumulatively across all its facilities. A communications campaign was launched alongside the app reminding team members to log on and pitch in.
  • Citizens@Target.com is a company designed website. It is a site with an accompanying twitter account for people to learn about Target’s take on issues that impact its business, values and communities, and to get involved with their grassroots advocacy efforts in the area of politics, voting, health care, trade and political engagement.
  • Target is dedicated to having a strong and happy workforce and uses technology extensively to keep employees engaged in corporate communications and directives. They currently have an internal app catalogue with more than 34 new mobile apps to improve efficiency and collaboration for team members. Selections include apps for training programs, workplace safety, health initiatives etc.

     Target uses its many social channels including A bullseyeview, its YouTube channel to promote, through video, some of its efforts and campaigns with FEMA and the American Red Cross as well as for hunger relief etc. In addition, it uses its Target Facebook page(one of 3) to initiate conversations about some of its humanitarian efforts while also cross promoting with other socially responsible companies like Starbucks for any combined projects they may work on. From raising awareness, to connecting with consumers in the way they want to engage and seeding positive action, edging corporate social responsibility into the social media world can strengthen consumer loyalty and faith in the brand, encourage followers (and their friends) to take action and participate, and elevate a company’s status in the hearts and minds of the global consumer.

References

Tying Together Social Media and Corporate Social Responsibility

https://corporate.target.com/_media/TargetCorp/csr/pdf/2013-corporate-responsibility-report.pdf

http://mashable.com/2009/11/06/social-responsibility/

Why Companies Can No Longer Afford to Ignore Their Social Responsibilities

From Social to Mobile: Winning Mobile Strategies

Company: Blue Nile

Founded in 1999, Seattle based Blue Nile is an online retailer specializing in selling diamond jewellery. Diamond rings account for a large portion of its business. Blue Nile is an excellent example of a company discovering the need for, and then designing and executing an effective mobile strategy. The push to create a mobile strategy began after market research done for the company discovered a trend among the millennial demographic of 25-35 year old men. They were browsing the Blue Nile website on their mobile devices. The iteration at that time was a website designed for the PC and laptop user. Blue Nile realized the mobile user was set to encounter a less optimal user experience on their mobile devices. They subsequently invested in a mobile strategy that has proven to be extremely effective in raising their market share and increasing profits. They designed a responsive website that enabled mobile phone users who also have tablets and laptops to continue the shopping experience seamlessly across all platforms. They also developed an app for Android and iphone to target Smartphone users. Blue Nile also created a heavy social media presence that is blowing its competitors out of the water. Blue Nile has been using  social media channels Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest  and Instagram to start conversations around their products, and to understand the customers better,  while raising the value proposition of their products to consumers. The retailer uses social media marketing very extensively and uses the visual appeal of its products effectively to engage and attract customers. Blue Nile is also using new strategies to maintain its upward momentum by partnering with department store giant Nordstrom’s to offer a unique shopping experience dubbed “ bricks and clicks” The idea being that Blue Nile would showcase a cross section of their diamond collection in display case form and have a rep on hand with an ipad to direct and help shoppers to use the online functionality for purchase.

The Blue Nile mobile strategy is;

Effective

What makes a good mobile strategy? In-depth analysis and understanding of customer behaviour is another factor to consider. Within one year of the mobile website launch, “More than 20 percent of our shoppers are using the mobile site.”  says CEO Diane Irvine. The reason being is that it gives people the flexibility to shop wherever they are. “This will become the future of shopping.” Blue Nile has seen profits rise even in a recovering economy, in an intensely competitive market as a result of focusing on customer experience through a mobile strategy. Their unique online experience of educating consumers about diamonds and then offering a build your own ring interface that gives consumers more control over the product. Blue Nile also makes good use of mobile analytics to drive future strategies.

 Potential risks the company is exposed to through its strategy

  • Technology is an ever changing model and must therefore be monitored constantly and maintained with ever evolving strategies which could prove to be costly.
  • Vulnerable to security breaches: the whole shopping experience is done online and as such Blue Nile is heavily dependent on the technology working efficiently. Significant cost goes into maintaining security for customer information and credit card transactions as well as the fact that Blue Nile trades in precious stones and could be susceptible to sabotage more than the average website.
  • Online retail can reach a wide target audience and increase sales internationally, but this also means having to deal with international law, taxes and tariffs, customs, theft of product during shipping cycles, difficulty with different levels of e-commerce effectiveness, foreign currency exchanges risk and many more…
  • System interruptions mean a halt in business.
  • Many consumers have still not migrated to online shopping and as such an entire market is underutilized.
  • Government regulation controlling e-commerce could change at any time making it more difficult for online retailers.
  • Competition is fierce and other precious stones retailers are moving to mobile avenues for future growth.

Company: Starbucks

Starbucks has been very successful at creating a “bricks and mortar” operation that spans the globe. “Starbucks will have more than 20,000 retail stores on six continents by 2014”  Coffee, always a daily staple to so many people once was thought of as an inexpensive and perfunctory experience not requiring any of the bedazzlement of today’s coffee enterprises. I wonder at times how a company like Starbucks has managed to take a relatively mundane drink and turned it into a plus 5 dollar a cup for a “latte” industry. Their habit of creating a successful enterprise has migrated to the mobile web and its mobile strategy has duplicated its past successes.

Mobile Strategy approach: Increase User Engagement

  • Using MRAID for ad campaigns on the mobile web. “Mobile Rich Media Interface Definitions. This means ad units not only expand to fill full mobile screens, but they incorporate the unique mobile features of swipe, tap, and shake for users to engage with their brand and then share within their social sphere.
  • Mobile Payments & Transactions: Starbucks recently launched its newly enhanced payment app for iPhone where customers just need to shake their phones for the payment barcode to display. It also launched the digital tipping option where customers can tip their barista through their phones. As a result the company drove over $1 billion in mobile payment revenue in 2013, according to estimates from Business Insider’s research service, BI Intelligence.
  • My STARBUCKS rewards earn points if you use the mobile app (incentive)12 million active monthly mobile users as of July of this year and growing.
  • Loyalty programs play a critical role in retailers’ success. The Starbucks app captures all of your purchases, gives you points and advances you to tiers where you can get promotions and offers, which ultimately attracts you back to your nearest Starbucks location. free Wi-fi in their stores, one of the first to do so.
  • Free Wi-fi in their stores, one of the first to do so.

Effectiveness

Starbucks has an overall effective mobile strategy.  Aside from offering a convenient and easy way to purchase coffee while engaging mobile users Starbucks offers a high functioning mobile app as well as virtual giftcards and coupons. Starbucks is effective at enhancing the customer experience beyond the point of sale with its loyalty programs. They have identified and purposed ways to attract a tech savvy clientele while at the same time making the in store experience more efficient using mobile devices alongside its app. The unique approach of having a mobile experience simultaneous with an in-store experience is a huge driver for continued market dominance and future growth.

Potential risks co is exposed to through its strategy;

  • Competition is fierce and Starbucks must be vigilant in order to stay on top. Cheaper alternatives and new competitors offering the same product for less are in direct competition with Starbucks and as such the mobile strategy and rewards program could prove costly to support if any shifts in the global coffee market cause prices to go any higher.

Company Name: Target

In this analysis I had decided to pick three very different companies with innovative or industry leading mobile strategies. Blue Nile is an almost exclusively mobile company. Starbucks is a basically a premium fast food company and finally Target is a huge department store chain. Three very different retailers with one thing in common; strong marketing strategies. Target is an excellent example of a large department store executing an effective mobile campaign.

Target maintains one app across multiple platforms, android, ipad and iphone. It is a mobile web app with a responsive design architecture. Target not only has an app for Smartphones and the iPad, but customers can also sign up for monthly text coupons. Engaging consumers is also helped along by a diverse offering within the app and not just online shopping. Even games are available on the apps. They use text alerts once a month that will link consumers to a web page of coupons that can be used by simply showing the cashier the phone screen. Target will also send any weekly alerts to an email address given by the consumer accessible through mobile.

Target focuses on using social channels as well. Target put quite a bit of effort toward cool and unique Instagram videos and generated massive buzz from that.” Target used social channels to support its “Give with Target” program that invites consumers to vote for a school to help Target allocate $5 million in donations for schools. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr and Linkedin are used for marketing and social engagement. Target’s mobile strategists are realizing young people especially were more likely to share, tweet or comment on content created by the retail giant.

Social Channel saturation:

Twitter 6 accounts, 939752 followers

@Target-product promotion

@Abullseyeview-promo for each Twitter account

@Targetstyle-new styles, trends and cosmetics

@Targetcareers-hiring, interview and career tips

@Asktarget-customer service, feedback, questions

@Targetdeals-promotion of deals

Facebook-3 accounts/pages,  22,314,716 likes

  • Target-fans engaging and sharing content with Target
  • Targetbaby- a page for families with infants and young children
  • TargetStyle- discussing fashion trends etc

Youtube , 18979 subscribers

  • 3 channels- Target, Target careers, a bullseyeview (videos about brand, commercials, styles etc)

Instagram, 131518 followers

  • 4 accounts

All this creates a large amount of content for social channels.

  • “Additionally, the retailer continued to fine-tune its mobile apps and Web sites while pushing forward its mobile video, location-based, content, advertising and couponing efforts.”
  • “Target is also leveraging Pinterest witha new microsite that merchandises products with the combination of top-pinned items and best reviews on Target.com. Target was one of the first brands to incorporate Pinterest’s new API to create a custom microsite.”
  • “With in-store shoppers increasingly using their mobile devices for assistance, Target updated its iPhone app to improve navigation and make it easier for users to engage with the app from inside one of the retailer’s stores. The move followed the launch of free Wi-Fi in all Target stores in late 2012.”
  • To support the Wi-Fi initiative, Target rolled out in-store signage encouraging shoppers to download the Target iPhone or Android app to help them find what they are looking for.
  • Connecting online to other retailers like Pandora. Cross promotion.
  • Online magazine

Effective? Yes.

Increase in engagement with consumers by using coupon text alerts and apps has driven a positive lift in a very competitive market. Increasing engagement leads to an increase in loyalty amongst customers which is vital in the area of big box retailers.

Potential risks

  • Cyber theft and security breaches.- at the end of the 2013 shopping season there was a data breach that affected some 40 million customers. In fairness this was not a mobile breach per se it doe however put target on high alert for any future breaches mobile or otherwise
  • Negative word of mouth across social channels could spread fast through viral avenues knocking the company off kilter.
  • Shipping or out of stock issues depending on distributors could discourage consumers from using mobile channels.

References

  1. http://investor.bluenile.com/secfiling.cfm?filingID=1091171-14-14#NILE-12292013X10K_HTM_S75C6102C0B321BE25D3B9816B396C075
  2. http://www.voziq.com/social-media-analytics/social-media-dominance-of-blue- nile-an- analysis/
  3. http://mashable.com/2013/12/15/blue-nile-metrics/
  4. http://marketingland.com/coffee-mobile-king-starbucks-serves-mobile-strategy-98823
  5. http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/starbucks-looks-share-its-app-payment-system-other-retailers-159100
  6. http://www.reciprocatellc.com/marketing-strategy/internet-marketing/what-you-can-learn-from-targets-mobile-strategies/
  7. http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/target%E2%80%99s-social-strategy-stands-out-for-driving-mobile-engagement
  8. http://www.slideshare.net/ZainHaider6/target-power-point-31127384
  9. http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/target-is-2013-mobile-retailer-of-the-year

The Importance of Social Media in Communications

  1. How has social media impacted the traditional communications industry?

The Internet has heralded many societal innovations over the last two decades. It has revolutionized information sharing in a way that can be compared to the first printing press and mass produced periodical. In recent years it has proven that it is the glue that holds our global society together and further to the point social media has had a tremendous impact on all our lives and also traditional communications. Print journalism, public relations, telecommunications etc have all seen dramatic adaptations. Here are some ways in which social media has impacted traditional communications;

  • Social Media has changed the old one-way model of newspapers, corporations, governments, or other types of leading organizations giving out information as they saw fit at times they saw fit. Social media has given rise to audience participation and readers choice. It has given more power to the audience in what they see, how they see it and when they see it. Organizations are compelled to seek an audience based on what they think the audience wants versus what they want the audience to see.
  • Traditional news sources and digital marketers must link to social networking sites in order to remain viable both financially and through audience numbers.
  • The traditional communications industry focused on a one way model of information transformation. Social media is a two way model. Further it is two way communication in real time. Again, this is a representation of the target audience driving the conversation as opposed to the messenger.
  • Now everyone with a message can be heard. Social media gives the individual the power to reach the masses in the same way an international media conglomerate does. There is no restricting the participants or censoring and filtering the message.
  • Instant feedback means the speed of business, the speed of communications has reached a real time status.
  • Advertising budgets are shrinking as businesses can steer away from traditional forms of communicating messages through print, television and radio. They can now push their message on social media properties and potentially reach many more clients that way.
  • Communications between audience/customer and business/government can now be a conversation in real time. A results based system not relying on tedious and outdated methods.
  1. What about social media has been a positive influence for communications?
  • Increasing the speed of communications to a real time environment has had benefits for people’s personal time. We are a busy culture/people and time is important, and we require information and communication to accommodate us in this fashion. Communication can be tailored to deliver the best and shortest message to one or any number of potential viewers as required quickly and efficiently.
  • The world is a smaller place figuratively speaking due to social media and this has a positive influence on how business is done and how people interact. There are few industrialized places around the globe that cannot be reached by the Internet and subsequently social media sites. Friends who have moved away, family living in another country, businesses requiring up to the second stock information from other countries are just a few examples highlighting the need for social media and the positive effects these properties have on business and on the individual. Distance and time are issues social media sites are continually working to overcome.

3.  What should a social communications plan include?

A good social communications plan should include:

  • A purpose for your social media strategy at the outset. A collections of requirements and values designed to give your social communications plan a viable direction. What goals do you want achieve with it? What content you will share? What social media properties do you want your audience driven toward? Who is your audience?
  • A viable scheduling format. Being aware of a global presence on your social media platforms requires an organization/individual  to be time sensitive about their offerings to said audience. Time differences in different countries for example. Topical and appropriate content aimed to engage and compel the audience to participate and share.
  • A solid plan for customer interaction. Those in different locations may have different needs, speak different languages, or follow different trends. “You’re going to want to optimize your searches and filter them by language to help you curate relevant content for different demographics.”
  • A well defined keyword list to maximize the organizations SEO.
  • Clear expectations for what your social media campaigns will be and then solicit aid from your team of people. The idea being a collaborative effort will be much more effective than a single person offloading content.
  • A strategy for gathering viable metrics must be in place as well. An organization can benefit greatly from information and feedback about social media strategies and whether or not they are working properly. Determine what analytics software will be the best fit for the business. Use it to drive future budgets and plans.
  • Keeping apprised of changes in the social media universe. What’s new on the horizon? What social media platforms best work with the organizations needs?
  1. How has social media changed the press-to-PR professional dynamic?

Public relations is an industry that has had to adapt its practices to match the changes in social media. Practitioners seek to communicate with, and hear from consumers, as well as using social channels to share information with key audiences.

  • Public relations pros can no longer simply trumpet a message out to the masses. Social media has paved the way for two-way communication directly with the consumer. Real-time feedback is a by product of two way. The live interaction allows for ongoing refinement and improvement to make a deeper connection with the target audience. A human connection is made and the customer feels less like a sales target.
  •  The speed of information sharing is faster than ever before and PR professionals have access to a wealth of content that can be shared with consumers seeking solutions to a problem. This forces them to be even more proactive in developing ways to reach the audience they are targeting.
  • Social media has also positively changed long-standing dynamics of the PR/Journalist relationship. Journalists seek information and sources online and PR professionals have benefited from the added access available thanks to social media. Some reporters maintain blogs and others are active on Twitter but gathering information about potential stories is significantly easier than the days of heavy, out-of-date media guides.
  • With the advance of social media, there is an expectation from consumers that they will not be subjected to mass, non-targeted information and any concerns will be addressed quickly and personally. In essence the focus has pivoted from the source to the audience and both the press and PR professionals must be adept at managing expectations directly from the consumers of content.

 

REFERENCES

http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/02/social-media-changing-pr/

http://www.brandignity.com/2012/10/how-social-media-affected-marketing-communication/

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/positive-impact-social-networking-sites-society-opinion/

http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/best-practices-solid-social-media-strategy

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/build-solid-social-marketing-plan-21494.html

 

Red Bull and Social Media: A match made in heaven

1.   What product(s) is Red bull attempting to sell via social media?

Red Bull is a unique business in that it does not sell its energy drink products and related merchandise via social media in the traditional dollars and cents way. Rather it sells a “way of life” that associates red bull products with its target audience. It sells cool, edgy and fun by way of extreme sports and stunning imagery posts. Even though Red bull generates multiple updates per day across its various social media properties, it is a rare sight  to discover a post that is dedicated to its products. Rather, Red Bull’s corporate strategy is to focus on promoting the athletes and events that they sponsor. This reinforces the notion of Red Bull being a lifestyle choice rather than just an energy drink.

2.   How does red bull position itself across its various social media properties? Is there a difference between them?

Red bull does use various social media platforms to promote its brand. In a holistic sense they are all similar approaches, however there are some differences depending on the platforms I researched. A brief summary below will highlight the differences and similarities.

Facebook

With over 36 million “likes” on their Facebook fan page, Red Bull is one of the Top 10 most  liked corporations on Facebook. Red Bulls strategy across its social media platforms is to comment as little as possible in order for the users to drive the comments and generate the buzz. It adds some mystery to the brand which raises its profile among its core audience. The main Facebook page generally posts one or two updates per day.  The wall posts focus on images and videos of extreme sports and athletes sponsored by Red Bull. It fits with the brands overall strategy of promoting itself as a lifestyle choice rather than a simple, caffeinated drink. In addition to the main page Red bull activates accounts and pages related to its various events and creates links between them all to increase volume of audience.

Twitter

Reb Bull’s Twitter account has just over 900,000 followers and it generally just tweets out links to images and videos of its sponsored athletes, though there are occasional questions and comments on current events.(https://econsultancy.com/blog/62178-how-red-bull-uses-facebook-twitter-pinterest-and-google#i.55zdk7fcqee1us). Similar to Facebook Red bull keeps the tweet responses to a minimum, relying on the users to comment on the images it posts of athletes and events. Red bull also maintains a large number of Twitter account for events and geographical regions.

Pinterest

Red bull uses pinterest, but only maintains a few accounts with them. Unlike the other social media properties, most of the images are linked back to red bull websites and pages. The result of this tactic is that very little actual social activity is occurring on Pinterest itself.

Google plus

Though Red Bull has several Google+ accounts for its various enterprises, it does not use it with the same regularity as Twitter or Facebook. The updates are minimal and tend to be reused from Facebook accounts and duplicated in many cases. Nevertheless Google+ still maintains a huge user group.

YouTube

A hugely important platform from which Red Bull can broadcast live events and link out to all the other various social media properties thus creating a wide blanket of connected tissue to generate brand “buzz”. The Red Bull Stratos event was one such broadcast. Unlike other social media properties YouTube can be the premiere event platform from which all the others connect to.

The similarities between all the social media properties tend to stop when it comes to frequency of use and reliance on by Red Bull. Some are clearly used more than others. They are all however dedicated to increasing brand awareness through promotion of lifestyle and word of mouth. Minimal posting and commenting by the Red bull group and heavily pushing of stunning imagery and event sponsorship are the hallmarks of the Red Bull Social Media strategy.

3.   What promotions does it run across its various channels?

Publicity stunts/promotions  like the Red Bull Stratos event in 2012 garner huge amounts of viral attention. Red Bull uses extreme sports and stunts to promote an edgier feel to the product and to attract its core demographic.  The Stratos stunt, wherein extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner made the highest jump ever recorded from the stratosphere was one such promotion. It was hugely successful. Red Bull used multiple social media platforms simultaneously to show the stunt and increase brand awareness by volume of shared comments and posts, shares, likes and retweets. Rather than focus on the product lines they are focused on promoting brand awareness as an adjunct to lifestyle choices.  7.3 million live viewers on YouTube including Live tweeting of the event on Twitter. Half the worldwide trending topics on Twitter that day had something to do with the jump. Facebook updates created a huge amount of word of mouth for the event and by extension for the sponsor.  Red Bull not only has company accounts for FB and Twitter it also creates pages and accounts for events just like the Stratos jump event. “After a successful landing, Red Bull posted the landing picture of Baumgartner on Facebook, which totalled nearly 216,000 likes, 10,000 comments and more than 29,000 shares in less than 40 minutes (CBS News).  Just two days later, the same post has over 522,000 likes and over 15,000 comments.” http://therealtimereport.com/2012/10/16/how-social-was-the-red-bull-stratos-livejump-publicity-stunt/ .  “Red Bull posted twice more about the jump since Sunday – to over 32.5 million fans on the brand’s Facebook page –  with impressive levels of engagement. In addition to the live video on YouTube, the brand established dedicated Twitter (over 250,000 followers) and Facebook (over 715,000 likes) accounts for the Red Bull Stratos project, and an Instagram feed”  In addition to the social media presence, other mainstream media sources report on the event thereby creating even more buzz through incidental channels.

Red bull also uses sports in an innovative fashion. In addition to being sponsors of the events themselves, they also develop, participate and run events. Red Bull owns a formula one racing team and a soccer team. They sponsor unique sporting venues like extreme mountain biking and wingsuit jumping. This has the effect of attracting more brand recognition by those that are interested in these types of sports. These people are more likely to consume red bull beverages and use word of mouth through social media creating a sort of cycle of shared information.

4.   Who is the consumer/customer red bull is attempting to market to?

Red Bull’s prime consumers are in their 20s. More specifically men in the early half of their twenties. .  (Euromonitor, 2013)  The athlete, the worker and the party goer all fall under the demographic as sub categories of consumer. This group is most likely to respond the various events and campaigns brought forth by Red Bull.

References

http://www.sfu.ca/~sheppard/478/syn/1131/Group_4.pdf

https://econsultancy.com/blog/62178-how-red-bull-uses-facebook-twitter-pinterest-and-google#i.jotn448btf73y6

http://www.redbullmediahouse.com/products-brands/online/social-media.html

http://therealtimereport.com/2012/10/16/how-social-was-the-red-bull-stratos-livejump-publicity-stunt/

http://www.business.umt.edu/Soba/featureStories/redbullmarketing.aspx

http://www.mackcollier.com/red-bull-content-marketing/

Social Media: The new advertising frontier

A business must know its target audience in order to be successful at building brand awareness. Fun Time Studios has experienced success advertising to parents of the kids that use the facility. This is something we would want to continue going forward. The idea is to add to this success by using Social Media advertising to target a wider audience. Parents are always searching for ways to occupy their children and they are also the ones who have the spending power. However, even though the parents have the money, the demographic more likely to respond to Social Media advertising are the patrons of Fun Time Studios. The 10-16 age group in this day and age are particularly savvy and adept at navigating the multiple Social media platforms. The teenagers in particular from age 13-16 are more likely to possess a mobile device and thus more likely to spend time consuming media and using social media. This is important to note because Social media advertising, sometimes referred to as the “new word of mouth” will likely be a vessel for much more talk about Fun Time studios. The client can advertise its functionality as an after school hangout, a place to have parties and to get together and socialize. The 13-16 year old age group is one that is defined by larger social groupings and as such marketing the business through Social media will help to reach a maximum number of people and drum up a great deal of localized interest.

The Social media advertising methods seem uniquely suited to a small business in that you can pay a modest amount and reach a large audience through peripheral means. One ad click could mean multiple shares/suggestions/retweets etc. The client can set a modest budget and increase it if needed as the efficacy of their ad campaign is revealed through trial and error.

Facebook & Google Adwords

  • Start bid relatively low to test the efficacy of the ads and use platform tools to measure traffic.
  • Create ad with link capability to external Fun Time Studios website, YouTube channel, Facebook page and connected pages.
  • Set lifetime budget for 3 week ad run
  • Pay for leads with CPC ad method
  • Set initial budget for both Google Adwords and Facebook.
  • Costs: 750$ each
  • Returns: 2200 targeted leads generated per site.

Twitter

I would use Twitter to advertise for increased traffic to FT Studios website and to promote a Fun Time Studios Twitter account. Client must Tweet frequently core information about business, anecdotal evidence, special prices and promotional statements. Increase the buzz about the site. Twitter ad costs

  • promote a website card-1/4 of budget
  • Promote Twitter account-3/4 of budget
  • Costs: 1000$-60 c per engagement
  • Returns: 1250 real engagement to Twitter Account for FT Studios. Approx 420 website cards issued.

Traditional source of advertising. Create a small but engaging video Ad usable on Fun Time Studios Youtube Channel and linked to by the Social Media Ads with a modest Budget of 5000$. Target a designer who specializes in Mobile website ads. A 30 second to one minute ad to be shot on location displaying the facilities in use by the demographic in question. Smiling faces, laughter, communal engagement, snacks and drinks, some testimonials from a parent and some of the patrons younger and older could be a starting foundational theme to be built on. The whole strategy hinges on Social Media building up buzz over a 3 week period and directing ad clickers to the website or YouTube channel where the video commercial ad will be displayed.

Congrats sir! You have a blog. Great. Now what?

Creating a blog is the easy part. I tend to believe that most things in life do not just appear out of thin air and run or work perfectly. I have a seed planted. I want it to grow. I liken my blog to a fledgling piece of flora. It needs water and sunlight and I need a good blogging strategy going forward. Let’s brainstorm.

  1. Why do you need a blog?

To promote content I have created and that I find relevant and the blog is a structured environment to do that in. It is platform I need for self promotion of my ideas and information. A blog is a great way to gain exposure to a potentially large audience.

  1. Who will read it?

I am hoping to eventually attract a wide demographic. Government employees for one, although this could be tricky as there are strict rules in place about what one can publish about the Government if one works there. I would start with friends, family and colleagues.

  1. How will they know about it?

To start I would use other forms of social media. I would create a publishing schedule and map out release times. I would arrange a colourful announcement on twitter and facebook and other social media sites. I would email post links to colleagues. The Federal Government has a work in progress social media site for employees called GCconnex. It has roughly 44000 users and it has an element similar to twitter called the wire. I would post links here as well.

  1. What do you want them to do?

I mainly want to focus on social media content. The new “news” so to speak. How are other governments utilizing social media? I would find and research the connections between mobile devices and social media. Discussing trends and providing anecdotal evidence of social media in action in the public sector and private sector. It will be less of a marketing tool and more of an industry tracking blog. I want to be a purveyor of information and a trusted source in delivery and content.

  1. Who will write it?

Based on the personal nature of this blog I will be the writer. I would accept worthy and topical submissions from trusted sources or guest bloggers. For example I would invite my wife to blog. She has earned a Ph.D and is a high level analyst for another governmental agency. She could bring in a perspective that would be informative and illuminating on the subject matter.

  1. What will you write?

I want to tie together elements related to social media and present them in a wide range of iterations. For example I would use anecdotes, both serious and/or witty. I would use research driven articles, academic and analytics etc. There would be informational posts, coming trends and coming soon themed articles with a user experience component added in.

  1. How will you extend it?

Building loyalty is not an easy task unless one is truly talented. I would create a linking strategy between posts. In a way I would expand on certain themes or ideas already touched upon but not in depth. In a sense it is like the coming attractions at the movie theatre. I would engage my visitors by responding to questions and comments in a constructive way. RSS feeds would be another great tool for extension. Automatic delivery will take much of the work out the equation. I would invite guest bloggers to expand audience interaction.

  1. How will you measure it?

I would be curious to know about unique visitors, time spent, popular page views and linking numbers. There are variety of tools available to a new blogger such as Google analytics to measure these elements.

Setting sail on the H.M.S. Blogship

Welcome to my blog all,
This is my inaugural post and to commemorate it I am smashing an imaginary champagne bottle against an equally imaginary hull. Feel free to join me and imagine it to. My name is Geoff and on top of being a student I am also currently working for the Federal Government of Canada. More specifically Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada(AANDC). I am a Correspondence and Briefing Officer. My University degree is in Communications. I earned a few journalism credits along the way. I am interested in writing, social media, advertising, marketing and communications.
AANDC is widely viewed as a poorly run, trouble plagued agency. More than rumours it seems, there is some truth to it according to recent news. This is exactly why I want to be there. I am an idealist and I want to help drag the bloated department out of the basement and into the light. I have wanted to work in the public sector for quite some time. The job I had before was in an industry that exploited its workers and treated them unethically. I wanted to move to the opposite end of the spectrum where the workers have a great deal of power as a collective bargaining group. The Federal Government is a couple of years into an ambitious strategy called Blueprint 2020. It is a Government wide initiative to introduce sweeping changes within the operational framework. One of the main initiatives is building connections to the citizens of Canada through the use of Social Media and mobile devices. This area is expanding greatly and the Government is on board.
The program Mobile and Social Media Management is cutting edge. I want to bring in this new skill set to the table while AANDC is still realigning their communications strategy and staffing for the new initiatives. I want to be a part of a team that creates, executes and manages Social Media strategies and see where I can go from there.