Blog: Michael Chase 

Michael Chase (bio)
Chief Marketing Officer
St. Joseph Communications

Friday, 16 December 2011

Social shopping offers many opportunities and challenges for brands and retailers. Connecting with consumers via digital media allows organizations to have a deeper relationship with their customers. Customers are making choices based on their friends, what they read on social media sites, and offers and coupons they find through outlets such as Facebook, Foursquare, or Shopkick. I gave this keynote presentation at Customer Engagement Technology World in New York City last month…

And because St. Joseph is a multichannel provider to many large brands we always hear the following…

So where do you go from here? We always ask the question…

Why do you need to adopt a social and mobile program? Why will it be a benefit? Why will your customers care? And many more. But ultimately it comes down to…

What do you want to achieve? If you set clear objectives, then you can measure your success based on defined criteria. We call it Return On Objectives (ROO) and it helps build a blueprint that everyone can follow.

So let’s take a little trip around the social and mobile world…

In July 2011, Coca-Cola-owned beverage company Vitamin Water launched a series of bus-shelter ads in Boston, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles that featured three USB ports so that passers-by could charge their electronic devices. Users needed to carry their own USB cable to take advantage of the charging stations. The posters showed the slogan “Alternative Energy Source,” referencing the beverage’s energy-boosting ingredients and the ads’ charging capacities.

This really starts to show the ubiquity of mobile devices and the consumption engine…

In the UK during September 2011, Finnish cellphone manufacturer Nokia set up a vending machine that dispensed free prizes when the user checked-in with US location-based app Foursquare. Called The Nokia Gift Machine, users had to find the machine on Foursquare and click to check-in, in order to access free items, such as chocolate bars, Nokia accessories, and even free cellphones.

During September and October 2011, US coffee chain Starbucks, which provides free in-store Wi-Fi to customers, showed an exclusive video performance from Canadian singer-songwriter Feist. The move was undertaken in partnership with Yahoo!, and it allowed consumers worldwide to watch several live performances of exclusive tracks from the album ‘Metals’ two weeks prior to the album’s official launch in October 2011.

In September 2011, Pepsi partnered with music competition The X Factor to advertise the latest television series via interactive packaging on Pepsi cans and bottles. The ‘Snap it. Send it.’ promotion was free to enter, and it offered participants the chance to win a trip to Los Angeles to see a live X Factor broadcast when they scanned the product’s branding with their smartphone. Entrants had to email or text a photo of the Pepsi and X Factor logos to US social gaming company Pongr; in return, Pongr sent entrants a web link directing them to exclusive videos of X Factor contestants and behind-the-scenes footage.

Launched in September 2011, Shaker launched a Facebook app that provides different ways for users of the social network to interact with one another and meet new people—in a virtual bar setting. To play Shaker, users log-in via Facebook and then add the app; they can then choose a profile avatar, which they control and move around the bar. Players can interact with others using the app by buying virtual drinks for each other, chatting, and viewing each others’ profiles, as well as dancing or choosing music to listen to in the bar. Each avatar is color-coded to show the user who their Facebook connections are, or friends of friends, making it easier to identify new people to talk to. The virtual bar also features a ‘Tweet wall’ showing recent Tweets from players, and those using the chat function can see interests they have in common.

In March 2011, Clairol’s Herbal Essences haircare brand began using Microsoft Tags on its in-store shelf displays; Tags are graphics that can be read using a smartphone, giving access to a URL which then opens in the user’s mobile browser. Consumers could scan the tags to find out which products would be best for their hair via an interactive quiz and see detailed content on haircare collections, such as YouTube tips, videos, and customer reviews. The Tags were introduced into over 53,000 retailers across the US, and users needed to download a free app in order to scan them.

In February 2011, Old Navy partnered with British music recognition app Shazam to launch a series of interactive TV ads. In the commercials, a song was played that viewers had to ‘capture’ using the music app. Those who triggered the app successfully were directed to a mobile site with coupons, style tips, and a lookbook of what musicians were wearing in each ad. The first 1,000 entrants also received a voucher to collect a free pair of jeans from stores.

Launched in August 2011 by Microsoft’s search engine Bing, ‘We’re In’ is a free app for the Windows Phone that allows users to organize social events by inviting people to a temporary group. Each user invited to the app automatically consents to share their location with the rest of group, enabling them to quickly and easily see where everyone is. Users can then send messages to each other, share plans and create status updates for the app.

Social network game developer Zynga and financial services company Capital One teamed up in September 2011 to integrate the bank’s branding into Zynga’s primary online offerings. Zynga-owned Facebook games CityVille, FarmVille, and Pioneer Trail all feature playable Capital One elements that reward users with limited-edition items and experience points when they interact with them. For example, In CityVille, Capital One opens a bank which, if players engage with it, will award them bonus items that assist with in-game advancement. The gaming promotions also link to Capital One’s Facebook page, which rewards users with more exclusive gifts when they opt to like the brand.

In July 2011, fashion and beauty retailer Victoria’s Secret partnered with online radio station Pandora to include geo-targeted mobile banner ads within Pandora’s iPhone app. The ads activated when Pandora users came within the vicinity of a Victoria’s Secret store to show where it was located and their distance from the retailer. The ads were created to promote the brand’s NFL apparel, and clicking on the ad redirected users to the Victoria’s Secret site where the apparel was sold. Victoria’s Secret offered users free cellphone wallpaper featuring the New York Giants.

In September 2011, The National Louis University in Chicago became the first educational establishment in the world to sell a course on daily deal site Groupon. The private university offered a $1282 discount on the regular price of $2232 for its graduate-level course, The Introduction to the Profession and the Craft of Teaching. Priced at $950, the deal activated after 15 people purchased the deal. The course began in September 2011 and offered students three hours of tuition every Monday evening until early December 2011.

Of course, it’s not just physical retailers that are exploring new sales channels; e-commerce brands also need to reach out to consumers everywhere, real world included.

Home Plus—the Korean branch of UK-based supermarket Tesco—launched a series of virtual stores on subway platforms in May 2011, enabling customers to make purchases using their smartphones while they wait for a train. The virtual stores, constructed from large back-lit billboards, displayed images of all the items one would expect to find in a standard Home Plus shop. QR codes were placed next to the image of each product, enabling smartphone-equipped commuters to automatically add the merchandise to their virtual basket by scanning the code. The total order was then delivered to the commuter’s door once they returned home from work.

In July 2011, American Express launched two social commerce initiatives for both consumers and businesses: Link-Like-Love—an app that gives users personalized discounts based on Facebook Likes and check-ins, and Go Social—a tool that enables retailers to provide customers with offers integrated into Foursquare and Facebook.

Shopkick is a location-based gaming app that dispenses “kickbucks” reward points to consumers for checking-in to stores via sensors that automatically recognize when shoppers enter a store. Retailers such as Macy’s and Best Buy signed up in 2010, and in June 2011 the company announced that they were extending the program to 1,000 smaller, local stores in a partnership with Citi.

September 2011 saw Ford launch the free Ford Mustang Customizer website that allows consumers to create their ideal virtual Mustang V6, GT, Boss 302, or Shelby GT500. Consumers can change the car’s color, add a body kit, and modify bodywork, such as the spoiler, wheels, or headlights. They can also change other elements, including the car’s background picture, and they can even add tire smoke. Designers can pit their creation against those of their Facebook friends in ‘Battle it Out’ scenarios where users vote on the look of each other’s vehicle. Customers can have their dream Mustang made into reality by downloading the finished design as a PDF and taking it into a Ford dealership.

My customized Mustang is currently kicking a lot of butt in the social world…

And… you have to love when brands really go for it…

In September 2011, UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s partnered with British television provider Sky to test a system allowing shoppers to watch key sports events while they shopped using in-cart iPad docks and speakers. Trials were undertaken in a branch of the grocery store in London. The Sky Go cart features a tilting iPad holder and speakers, along with an onboard battery with self-charging solar panel. To try out the cart, shoppers needed to download the Sky Go streaming app onto their tablet and then load it into the shopping cart’s dock to keep up with all the latest Sky Sports News live while shopping.

The priceless moment: to prevent any accidents that might result, the carts also featured a front bumper complete with a sensor that beeps if the user strays too close to other shoppers.

And… of course no presentation on mobile should end without a QR code to our blog

So now… please be social and share this blog post.

Posted by: Michael Chase AT 03:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 09 May 2011
Just returned from San Francisco where I was speaking at Customer Engagement Technology World (CETW) show, which showcased more solutions than pure technology plays. Once again Lawrence Dvorchik, the CETW team and the Digital Screenmedia Association put on a great show.

What I spoke about.
  1. The Store of the Future – Now. The Bell Story.
  2. Intuitive Digital: Creating a Sticky & Engaging Interfaces To Increase Interactivity
  3. Avoiding Death By Omission: A Survival Guide for Digital Projects
An interesting mix you might say. The interesting thing about it is, that as we create new ways to “digitally market” to engage, we are creating very powerful solutions where consumers, retailers and brands can dialogue more effectively. And if the ultimate goal of marketing is to create brand loyalty, drive trial and sell more products then this new interactive world certainly delivers.
Ecosystems vs Screens
It’s about connecting digital, social, mobile and commerce together, enabling advertisers and brands to have deeper, more meaningful relationships with their customers – let’s call it… a convergence of digital media and the rise of the active consumer.
You need to make your programs holistic, 360 and integrated to take advantage of the active consumer. These are the consumers of the future and they will respond positively to efforts to connect digitally. Delve deeper into consumer insights, so you can better identify social and time starved consumers—those who are leading the way in the digital space. As those who fail to take their cues from these connected shoppers are missing an opportunity.
Forrester’s POST Methodology: A Systematic Approach To Creating A Social Technology Strategy
Forrester says that executives are going about social strategy backwards: picking technologies like blogs or communities first instead of focusing on what they want to accomplish. Don’t ask what technology to use. Ask first who you’re trying to reach, what you’re trying to accomplish, and how you plan to change your relationships with your customers. Then, and only then, can you decide what technologies to use.
People. Review your target customer’s social behaviors and attitudes.
Don’t start a social strategy until you know the capabilities of your audience. If you’re targeting college students, use social networks. If you’re reaching out to business travelers, consider ratings and reviews. Just don’t start without thinking about your audience.
Objectives. Decide on your social technology goals.
Pick one. Are you starting an application to listen to your customers, or to talk with them? To support them, or to energize your best customers to evangelize others? Or are you trying to collaborate with them? Decide on your objective before you decide on a technology. Then figure out how you will measure it.
Strategy. Determine how your objectives will change your relationship with customers.
Strategy here means figuring out what will be different after you’re done. Do you want a closer, two-way relationship with your best customers? Do you want to get people talking about your products? Do you want a permanent focus group for testing product ideas and generating new ones? Imagine you succeed. How will things be different afterwards? Imagine the endpoint and you’ll know where to begin.
Technology. Choose the appropriate technologies to deploy.
A community. A wiki. A blog or a hundred blogs. Once you know your people, objectives, and strategy, then you can decide with confidence.
Everybody’s talking tap.
Now… how are we going to attack the next game changer that has swept the Asian world – Near Field Communication (NFC)? You know that little tap & transact technology that Juniper research is forecasting $300 million in transactions by 2014 and $47 billion by 2016?
My next phone – the NFC enabled iPhone5. What will I do with it… everything.
Posted by: Michael Chase AT 09:54 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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