So I am a mini owner and fanatic. I am the type of customer companies’ drool for. I promote the products I buy and love. I decided to do a review of the tactics Mini decided to use for the launch of their first crossover vehicle in the US. So the first I read of the Mini Countryman was back a year ago in January 2010. It is promoted as a true crossover vehicle and is Mini’s first 4 door vehicle available in the US. It is meant to appeal to the people who love the Mini styling but need the extra room and possibly 4 wheel drive. Here is the first press release I found using Google about the Countryman. It is full of details and photos of the car a year before the launch to create the buzz needed to sell a new car.
One of the cool factors for the official launch they had a pop music idol produce a new song. They had the artist Timbaland create a song specifically for the launch. http://www.carsession.com/car-news/timbaland-produced-song-for-mini-countryman-launch.html .
I actually found YouTube videos back to October of 2010 featuring the Mini countryman. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6YCYCSMp5I
They actually stood up a twitter site and just said hi to mini http://twitter.com/#!/MINICountryman. So either they didn’t own that account or they did not want to divide their followers from their man brand to a sub brand. I do have to say Mini has a small fan following on twitter so I would say they do not have much success there.
They had a superbowl commercial that went for the humor edgy them with cram it in the boot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il4u4wcDfJA&feature=player_embedded It did not make the top 5 for superbowl commercials but you can tell they were trying to get attention with the walking the thin line of what is appropriate subject for commercials. Overall I thought it was a good commercial because I do not think people realize how much you can fit in one of those cars.
They also have a great TV commercial which featured a Mini Countryman offroading in the city and riding all over the place. Mini is always pushing itself, rightly so, as the fun alternative and their commercials really push this message.
All the mini dealers used their Facebook sites to have mini countryman launch events. Mini dealers have been very good about having mini events at their locations to increase the “mini cooper cult society”. They treat their current clients very well by sending them mini gear. I actually got a spray paint stencil in the mail to spray paint a spot in my driveway where it will be parked. That to me is almost gorilla marketing. I think when it comes to product launches there are few companies that can do it like apple, mini, Starbucks, and McDonalds. They hit is from all sides and are clear and succinct.
Overall I think they really pushed the concept that it is still as fun as a mini cooper but more space. I think they did that very well. I wish they would hit twitter more but they have such a large group of fans that use message boards that I believe they used their energy on those boards.
Social media is a new complex situation to that is changing the structure of marketing departments of large and small organizations. Websites initially were products produced as collaboration between the technology departments, and the marketing departments. We find that social media is a product that is found somewhere between customer service and a marketing departments. The reason for this need for collaboration is if only one of those departments is handling social media we will see a failure. We find that marketers are good at creating their messages and pushing them out, while customer service is more oriented to listening to the customers and helping them through issues.
I believe it is important to establish a social media monitoring team that is a combination of these two departments. The reason why, is you need both departments working together to create synergy and prevent corporate silos of information. With my current position I see how my organization is utilizing Facebook and Twitter to promote news stories, and other information. It is promoting very well, but our organization has completely left the customer service factor out of the game. As a result, we are seeing great stories out there but there is no response to the tough questions that are being asked on Facebook or Twitter. People are becoming more disgruntled and disappointed with the organization because it is not responding to them. This is not because the organization does not care about their constituents, but because the marketing/communications department is not trained on how to respond as a customer service rep would.
I also think that social media is a great way to help develop your SWOT analysis. You can really begin to listen to your customers’ wants and needs. Once you get past the complaints and approvals, you can listen to what the trends are. You might find that your customer demographic is beginning to shift and you need to expand or eliminate certain products or services. As organizations begin to really understand social media, they will begin to develop tools needed to track their constituents and learn more about them. They will begin to know what music the customer likes, where they go on vacation, what they want for Christmas.
I believe a social media department is probably going to be one of the most important departments in future organizations. They are the front line, who will know your customers better than anyone else in your organization. The social media department will understand the intricacies about the customer base. This knowledge could evolve the company, and allow it to prosper if it is fully integrated with the organization from top to bottom.
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I really actually enjoyed this commercial based on what I have learned so far in IMC. I can see how this commercial came to fruition through the SWOT analysis. If you look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Audi brand you see that their competitors are luxury brands that have been around a long time, and are established as the vehicles of the wealthy. The key message for this campaign is Luxury has Progressed. What Audi has decided to do is play off their weakness and make it into a selling point. Audi created a commercial that attempts to classify Audi automobiles as the new luxury brand in contrast to Mercedes as the OLD luxury brand. Throughout the commercial they contrast two men buy having one seem born rich and not very smart, while the other is quick, athletic, and modern. In the end the “old rich” gentleman was hoodwinked into getting into a Mercedes because his father owned one. While the other hopped into the Audi and drove off. The Mercedes man was driven back into the prison while the man in the Audi got away. It was a great commercial that turned out to be even a better move once Mercedes played their commercial. The Mercedes commercial showed their cars throughout history and ended up making Mercedes look old which really allowed Audi’s strategy stand out.
One of the major things I actually looked for was how commercials used social media and overall I was surprisingly disappointed. I could not believe how many of the commercials decided to not have anything social and interactive. But… with that said Audi was the first Super Bowl commercial to have twitter hash tags. They introduced a contest for users on twitter that allowed them to use the #progressis in a tweet and the winner would win a drive in an Audi R8. They creatively got people talking about their product on twitter and got people to think creatively.
Where do you start!
Most businesses and people at first blush go to where their audience and community reside. But do you even know who your people and potential customers are? Do you even know what types of media they prefer to consume? You really don’t know much do you?
Develop your plan!
I have found that plans are ever changing and morphing now a days as technology changes and as communities grow but you need a clear concise starting point. You need to start this plan buy building your SWOT Analysis Wikipedia defines at SWOT analysis as follows ”SWOT analysis is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieve that objective. The technique is credited to Albert Humphrey, who led a convention at Stanford University in the 1960s and 1970s using data from Fortune 500 companies. A SWOT analysis must first start with defining a desired end state or objective. A SWOT analysis may be incorporated into the strategic planning model. Strategic Planning has been the subject of much research.
- Strengths: characteristics of the business or team that give it an advantage over others in the industry.
- Weaknesses: are characteristics that place the firm at a disadvantage relative to others.
- Opportunities: external chances to make greater sales or profits in the environment.
- Threats: external elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business.
I find this really is a way to hear what is going on around you. Looking internally and understanding what you do well and what you don’t is very therapeutic. I know I am not a very good writer but I am very good at design, photography. While my wife Cari Rosen (@plumwv) might not be as good in graphic design but she is amazing constructing with her hands and has a unique ability to understand style and trends. While looking externally you will see what techniques and tools the competition is using successfully and where they are beginning to overlap into your market. Also, listening externally will allow you to understand frustrations and needs of your customers that you can begin to address. At this point in my life I think your SWOT analysis should be updated quarterly to ensure that you are keeping in touch with your environment. Once you have heard all that is going on around you, decide what opportunities and strengths overlap that you can begin to work towards solving. Write it down in a clear and concise goal and put it somewhere visible.
Okay, now that you have your goal and what you plan on achieving in your sights your need to narrow down your strategy to something that is manageable. So first setup your central location for all communications. I have Creating Itchy as my central location but I could see down the road http://www.davidscottrosen.com/ become my new home. Now that you have your core all that you do in other forms of media should direct users to that content… whether it is is print, on twitter, facebook, youtube, whatever it is work to refer them to your hub.
Ok so you have your hub now you need to establish what tools you are going to use to get people to your hub. Most companies use facebook, twitter, and youtube as their sattelites to get people to their hub but during your SWOT you have listened and you now know where your community is and what is the best way to reach them. Now like my post yesterday “tips for small business marketing with social media” make sure you are not a push marketer but mix it up. I would say for every 10 to 15 posts on twitter of facebook or whatever, refer to one of your posts on your hub. This is probably your best mix and actually will give you quality of content rather than being me centric. Remember that interaction with your community is how you build new contacts and new ways to reach new customers.
Here is the part that I am beginning to do, but I really see as the essential component, is develop a contact list, a database of sorts of all the people interested in you or your business. Large associations and corporations that I have worked with like AASLD, ASAE, or SHRM use a tool called a CRM (Customer relationship management ) while small business like PLUM use tools like constant contact. Why you ask? This is where the gold is. If you have a new event new offering or whatever it might be this is who you know is actually interested. They will be the people you go to speak with to find out what their issues are and how you fit into the solution.
You did it!
So now you have your plan and you know what you are actually going to do to achieve it. You no longer will waste your time and effort on fruitless efforts but will be able to take advantage of all the tools out there to reach new contacts and customers in a concise method. Now understand this is something that should be updated on a regular basis to insure you take advantage of shifts in technology and your customer base.
What tools and methods are you using?
So, Cari (my wife) and I were talking the other night above our pet peeves about marketing on Facebook and how to change our strategy to improve the way Plum does business online. The first thing that came to mind was push marketing and how big of a turn off it is. Some great people that have great products ruin their social media presence by being so intrusive with push marketing. The biggest problem is when they advertise for their business using these techniques with their personal accounts. It is as if in order to be their friend I have to hear them sell stuff every 5 minutes online. It is a major turnoff for a customer no matter how great an offering you have. So after going over our conversation here are 6 tips for social media that I think all business should think about online.
- If the business is self centered and not focused on its community and just does push marketing it will continue to do so with social media and fail.
- A business that is lame offline will be even more lame on Social Media
- A business that is not interested in building relationships with its customers will find Social Media a waste of time. While a company that cares, will see social media as a way to improve its business and make things better for its customers.
- A business that will be successful using social media is interested in growing and becoming the best it can by listening, and recognizing greatness in their community and customers.
- Don’t ask people to like your business… show them something awesome that makes them want to like your business.
- Look for opportunities to have conversations with people that might be interested in your service don’t just spam them with unwanted content.
What is the problem? Before you can begin solving problems with creativity you need to know what the problems are. Using a SWOT analysis is one way to start solving your problems. Your weaknesses and your threats are sometimes your biggest opportunities. To generate ideas to solve business problems we all need a starting point. You cannot get to Washington DC if you do not know where you are. So get a good grasp of the current situation before you begin anything.
Learn! Most of my best ideas come when I have an issue in the back of my mind and I watch movies or read books that subject is somewhere in the vicinity of the issue. You never know what can trigger a brilliant idea. One of the great things I have found with our IMC online discussion forum is how many creative ideas I am coming up with just by participating in this course and reading the required readings. I also have worked for a few “learning organizations” throughout my career and I think promoting education and training within an organization can really improve your workforces creativity. You would be surprised how excited people get about their job when they have learned something new in a class or in a book that is relevant to their job. The key is to not stifle that excitement but encourage it.
Brainstorming. Everyone has heard about Brainstorming throughout their career or time in school, because it is a brilliant method to get creative. It is amazing what a group of people what new ideas a group can come up with when working together. If you are not worried about finances or feasibility you can really generate a lot of new ideas. It works really well when you actually put constraints on the group like a time limit or a required amount of ideas. Also, be sure that everyone is fully instructed to think in the best case scenario.
Borrow from the competition. One thing I do if I am in a rush to come up with a creative solution is look at how the competition is solving the creative problem. As a hobby I am a photographer and some of my best ideas have come from trying to emulate the work of someone else. The end product is an evolution of my own style mixed with I see as the best from someone else.
Force ideas. When I worked for a contractor I used to make my employees write down a set number of solutions to a problem not caring how silly those ideas are. Then I would bring them back in the room the next week and have them write down new solutions to the problem. You would be surprised on how they would come up with better solutions the second time because their brains work on those ideas even when they are not at work.
Get out of the box. Another way to get creative is to go somewhere new. Get out of your comfort zone. Go to the air and space museum or to comedy club. Just do something that you would not normally do. In the corporate situation you can get your group of employees to go on a field trip and have a brain storming session at an offsite location. When people are away from the office distractions and can completely focus on an issue, sometimes new ideas can be triggered. When I worked for the Army Corps of Engineers they would have leadership meetings where corporate leaders and up and coming leaders would do meet off site to come up with new ways to improve the organization. These meetings were used to set the direction for the organization for the following year.