Wednesday, October 22nd 2014

6 Lessons about Community Management from “Pulp Fiction”

“Pulp Fiction” is known to be full of blood and a lot of four-letter words, but I’ve realized it’s also full of a lot of great lessons about community management.

1

“Be cool, Honey Bunny.”

Things can get hairy on social media. If a user is complaining about a terrible experience with a brand, or comments on a post start to get offensive, it’s important to stay calm. If you try to respond while you’re panicked or angry, chances are you’re just going to make things worse. The best way to remain calm in these situations is to create a crisis management plan beforehand. Develop a response protocol for how complaints and other negative comments should be dealt with.

2

“I’m tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd.”

As a community manager, it’s tempting to want to take snarky or nasty users to task. They might not have all the right information, and you’re in a position to give it to them. Use that power for good. Strive to be helpful, informative and, most of all, incredibly kind. Sass only works if it’s a well-known part of your brand voice.

4
 

Asking questions and starting conversations is the bread and butter of community managers. However, you need to be in tune with your audience and know what questions and conversations to avoid. We know all too well the #McDStories debacle and other hijacked hashtags and comment threads. Know what your brand’s pain points are, know what the most common complaints the brand receives, know the sentiment of your audience and plan accordingly.

5

“Just because you are a character doesn’t mean you have character.”

Being funny is great, but when it comes to community management, put customer service first and comedy second. It’s great when you can inject personality into your brand voice, but jokes can get in the way or sometimes make people think you’re not taking their feedback seriously. People will always choose a brand that actually helps them over a brand that’s just good at being witty.

6

Butch: “I’ll be back before you can say Blueberry pie.”
Fabienne: “Blueberry pie.”
Butch:” Okay, maybe not that fast. But pretty fast, alright?”

Timing is everything in community management. We always strive to keep our response times down to at least a couple of hours. People use social media to have real-time or quick interactions with their friends, so they’re expecting the same from brands. We create community management schedules and response protocols so that we can respond in a timely matter to anything that comes in over our channels. Of course, sometimes you have to contact your client or someone on the team before you can respond. Be sure to let the person who contacted you know by replying something like, “That’s a great question. I’m looking into that now and should have an answer for you soon. Stay tuned!”

7

“I’m here to help. If my help’s not appreciated then lotsa luck, gentlemen.”

Every community manager is going to encounter trolls or the person who cannot be pleased. Always try your best to be helpful, but have your team come up with protocol so that you can determine when it’s best to bow out gracefully. If the person cannot be specific in their complaint or is using language or behavior that can’t be tolerated, give them fair notice, and then block, ban, or report accordingly. This is always your last resort, and it’s usually a rare case.

 

NoelFisher
Noel Fisher
Content Marketing Supervisor

Tuesday, October 21st 2014

Product Attributes Affect Purchasing Decisions: MMNPL Insight #5

image001

MMNPL-insight-#5-graphicIt’s a no-brainer that consumers want to stick with products from brands they already know and trust. Consumers are highly influenced by trusted brands because the act of liking a brand becomes part of the consumer’s identity. When consumers can identify with a product, we call this emotional connection brand affinity. Connections develop after a consumer has multiple consistently positive interactions with a brand over a period of time.

Product attributes, such as brand trust, are powerful sales drivers when it comes to influencing purchasing decisions. In our survey, (You can download the ebook with full data here) “Trusted Brand Name” came in first at 59 percent- the highest rated attribute by today’s consumers.

image006We’ve heard tech geeks refer to themselves as “Apple people” and Diet Coke lovers identify with the product as part of their livelihood; not only do these consumers love the product, they have come to associate themselves with the brand. Launch-master Apple is no stranger to developing brand affinity. When the technology giant launched the more travel-friendly iPad Mini, it was a safe bet that the already loyal consumer base would purchase the latest product.

Another key theme to emerge over the last few years is product origin. This trend began during the recession when American manufacturing and outsourcing were common topics in the news and political discussions. Let’s go back to Apple – remember the Chinese factory scandal? The tech company came back quickly, promising the new Macbooks would be made in California, and emphasizing this fact in new advertising.

The lesson here? Cultivate a loyal consumer base through repeated positive consumer interaction and service, evaluate if other attributes (such as location of manufacturing) would either damage or strengthen your brand.

image008

The Most Memorable New Product Launch survey identifies strategies and tactics that brands use to motivate consumers to try and buy new products. Conducted by Schneider Associates and Sentient Decision Science, the Most Memorable New Product Launch survey identifies trends, tracks national product launches and reveals how consumers respond to traditional and new media.

This year we developed an e-book about the 2013 Most Memorable New Product Launch survey. We’ll be sharing our research findings and insights each week, so be sure to check back! Next week, we discuss our sixth insight, the multi-stream experience and how consumers are receiving their media from multiple channels.

Wednesday, October 15th 2014

Product Launch of the Week: Pepsi True

launch
true
To keep up with its rival Coca-Cola and ride the “green” wave, Pepsi announced its first mid-calorie soda last week, Pepsi True. With a combination of real sugar and the plant-based sugar substitute stevia, Pepsi True has 60 calories per serving and 30 percent fewer calories than regular soda.

As soda sales decline in the U.S., the food and beverage industry has seen a recent push toward natural, fewer-calorie ingredients. Last month, Coca-Cola launched its naturally sweetened soda, Coca-Cola Life, after seeing success in the U.K. and South American markets. The success was despite the fact many consumers have been apprehensive about converting to stevia as an alternative to sugar due to an unpleasant aftertaste –Vitaminwater fans flooded Coca-Cola Co. social media channels with complaints when the company substituted 1 gram of sugar with stevia.

Rather than launch at grocery, Pepsi announced the brand would roll out the soda exclusively on Amazon later this month in 24-packs of 7.5 ounce cans. An intriguing consumer marketing strategy, launching the product online gives Pepsi the chance to gauge consumer reaction before spending time and resources to put the cans in stores.

Accompanying the new product launch is a one-minute video with unconventional aesthetics for a soda commercial. The spot plays on the “natural” theme of the new product, depicting people hiking and spending time outdoors.

This will be an interesting launch to watch as the product becomes available online and potentially in stores. It comes on the heels of notable failed mid-calorie sodas over the decades (remember Coca-Cola C2 and Pepsi Edge?). Is it possible this natural, stevia-sweetened soda will lure in a generation of millennials who are not soda drinkers?

(Image source: http://bit.ly/1w2nPGP)

 

NicoleLeLacheur

Nicole LeLacheur
Account Coordinator

Tuesday, October 14th 2014

When Purchasing a Product, Coupons Have Influence: MMNPL Survey Insight #4

MMNPL Masthead 2014_Final_Insight4

MMNPL insight #1 graphic_v2_2

Although they don’t have much impact when finding out about a product (17%), coupons are a major source of influence on consumers’ purchasing decisions. In 2012, we saw a dip in coupon significance when consumers realized how much of a difference coupons could make on their budget. Plagued by oversaturation when TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” debuted, many stores and brands scaled back their coupon programs after facing an overwhelming number of deal-savvy consumers – this has made the coupons that do arrive in mailboxes or inboxes far more enticing.

With a heavier focus on big data, brands have revamped their coupon strategy; this time, taking a more personalized approach and pinpointing the consumers who they wish to receive a coupon. In our most recent MMNPL survey (You can download the ebook with full data here), we found that with this new approach coupons jumped in influence, coming in right after recommendations from family and friends (78%).

image006

Take Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer, the number seven most memorable new product on our list. It’s rare a beauty product makes our top ten, so the company must have done something special for this launch. Pairing social media and coupons, Vaseline coined #SprayItForward as the campaign’s hashtag for savings and offered various printable deals on the company’s Facebook page. Incorporating a social engagement aspect and allowing brand ambassadors to do the personalizing, the company gave out additional coupons to users who shared the deal with a friend.

image008

Even though a coupon may not always inform someone about a new product, it most certainly influences purchasing decisions. By coupling targeted savings with social media, marketers are sure to see results.

The Most Memorable New Product Launch survey identifies strategies and tactics that brands use to motivate consumers to try and buy new products. Conducted by Schneider Associates and Sentient Decision Science, the Most Memorable New Product Launch survey identifies trends, tracks national product launches and reveals how consumers respond to traditional and new media.

This year we developed an e-book about the 2013 Most Memorable New Product Launch survey. We’ll be sharing our research findings and insights each week, so be sure to check back! Next week, we discuss product attributes and the need to frequently evaluate consumer values.

 

Thursday, October 9th 2014

CEO Joan Schneider Speaks at Worldcom Partners Meeting

Joan Worldcom Meeting
Sharing ideas with thought leaders and her partners in the marketing and public relations industries, CEO Joan Schneider spoke at the 2014 Worldcom Partners meeting in Chicago about the latest techniques in business-to-business marketing.

On a panel about innovative B2B tactics, Schneider presented a fresh take on using blogs as a marketing strategy to generate business. To attract the attention of media and business prospects, Schneider discussed the agency’s proprietary methodology called MediaLEAD, which is a planned content marketing strategy combined with traditional and social media relations that drives business and engagement among key prospects and the media.

In her presentation, Schneider answered the question: How do PR and sales professionals attract media and prospects in the digital age? In both media relations and business, it has become harder than ever to gain the attention of reporters and prospects. That’s why it is important to create original blog content that is newsworthy and relevant to potential customers and stakeholders.

To learn more about how MediaLEAD can work for you, click here.

Thursday, October 9th 2014

Lauren Torlone Joins Schneider Associates as Director

Lauren Torlone

Schneider Associates is pleased to announce the hiring of Lauren Torlone as Director.

Torlone brings more than 10 years of experience in national news including working as a producer for “America’s News Headquarters” at Fox News Channel, a News Assistant at CNN and most recently as a producer for C-SPAN’s flagship political and public affairs program, “Washington Journal.”

Torlone has produced segments about a variety of topics across the U.S. and internationally, including breaking news, politics, foreign affairs, education, health and entertainment stories. At SA, Torlone works with clients and staff to develop and execute media relations strategies and marketing programs for the agency’s consumer, corporate and education clients.

Torlone earned her Bachelor’s degree in Media Studies from Catholic University and holds a master’s degree with a focus in International Affairs from Georgetown University.

Wednesday, October 8th 2014

PR/Marketing 101: How to Rock Your Internship

1

(Image source: http://bit.ly/1lZbnB5)

So, you have scored an internship at a PR/marketing agency thanks to your impressive resume. Now what? Before you step foot into the office on your first day, you should plan how to maximize the experience. If you follow these simple steps, you will be on your way to creating valuable connections and expanding your network.

1. Be a fearless communicator
Go out of your way to introduce yourself to all of your new colleagues. It might seem frightening and a bit intimidating to introduce yourself to the VPs and higher-ups, but by putting yourself out there, you will make a memorable first impression. Meeting everyone in the office will expand your network and open up the possibility of working on a variety of projects with different teams.

2. Reach for more
When you have free time in between projects, be proactive. Do not be passive and let the work just come to you—go looking for new work. When you reach out, your supervisors will see your interest and dedication, and they will start trusting you with more involved projects.

3. Be heard
Just because you are an intern does not mean you should hide behind your computer screen. Voice your ideas. A fresh take from an intern who has new ideas and skill-sets may be what is needed to enhance a project or be the impetus to suggest a new project.

4. Establish goals and track your work
Set personal goals at the beginning of your internship and share them with your supervisor when you start. Goals can be skills you want to learn, projects you want to complete and tools you want to master. Record your goals somewhere you can continually refer to so that you understand—and so does your supervisor—that you are making progress. Also, track your work from beginning to end. This way, you can create a portfolio and talk about your work experience in future interviews.

5. Be ambitious and take initiative
When you start meeting your goals, you might realize you want to write a blog post or propose a pitch for a potential story idea. When you take initiative, your work will be of a higher quality and your dedication will show through. This can give you a chance to tackle a larger learning curve and feel some independence–enthusiasm is admirable.

6. Always ask questions
If you have a question or need clarification, do not hesitate to ask. The internship is meant for you to learn. No one will shut you down if you ask why you are doing a task, where it fits into the overall picture, and what is required to complete it. Asking questions before you tackle a task will ensure you do it correctly the first time.

If you follow these lessons, you will be on your path to a very successful internship: completing your goals, making important connections, developing your skills and growing your portfolio.

To learn how to become an intern at SA, click here.

 

Allison Penn
Integrated Marketing/Social Media Intern

 

Monday, October 6th 2014

Media Consumption Patterns Vary by Generation: MMNPL Insight #3

image002

image004

Members of the Millennial generation are being heralded in the news for not only their social savvy, but also for the power they wield as consumers. Not coincidentally, we found that Millennials remember more new products than all other generations – 63 percent of Millennials recalled any new product, whereas the next best recall rate was 49 percent for Generation X.

It goes without saying that Millennials are voracious consumers of social media, while older generations resort to more traditional outlets such as print ads and newspaper articles. In our most recent MMNPL survey (you can download the ebook with full data here), we found that media consumption patterns vary considerably by age range: 57 percent of Millennials use social media to learn about new products, but only 13 percent use magazine ads or newspaper articles. On the other hand, less than half (39 percent) of Generation X consumers use social media, and an even fewer percentage of those in the Baby Boomer and 67+ cohorts use this source (20 and 10 percent, respectively). Older generations are much more inclined to use more traditional sources of information, such as printed newspaper articles and ads.

These results mean one thing for marketers: identify which channels best reach your target demographic.

image005

The Most Memorable New Product Launch survey identifies strategies and tactics that brands use to motivate consumers to try and buy new products. Conducted by Schneider Associates and Sentient Decision Science, the Most Memorable New Product Launch survey identifies trends, tracks national product launches and reveals how consumers respond to traditional and new media.

This year we developed an e-book about the 2013 Most Memorable New Product Launch survey. We’ll be sharing our research findings and insights each week, so be sure to check back! Next week, we’re highlighting our fourth finding: sources of influence when purchasing a product.

Thursday, September 25th 2014

More Information Sources Means a Better Memory of New Product Launches: MMNPL Insight #2

image002

image004

With attention spans shrinking and new media sources cropping up every day, brands are trying all sorts of new tactics to target consumers. According to our 2013 MMNPL survey, the more information sources that consumers use, the more likely they are to remember new product launches. When two or three sources of information were used to learn about new products, 44 percent of consumers recalled a new product, compared to 71 percent of consumers who viewed six or more sources.

This correlation makes a strong case for a multi-channel, integrated marketing campaign. Campaigns that employ this approach truly help drive home the brand messaging for the new product and increase memorability.

Integrated marketing is the way to go: by accessing consumers through a variety of touch points, both traditional and digital, the viewer is forced to take another look, which can boost product recollection and ultimately purchase potential.

image006

The Most Memorable New Product Launch survey identifies strategies and tactics that brands use to motivate consumers to try and buy new products. Conducted by Schneider Associates and Sentient Decision Science, the Most Memorable New Product Launch survey identifies trends, tracks national product launches and reveals how consumers respond to traditional and new media.

This year we developed an e-book about the 2013 Most Memorable New Product Launch survey. We’ll be sharing our research findings and insights each week, so be sure to check back! Next week, we’ll be discussing the third key insight: media consumption patterns of different generations.

 

Wednesday, September 24th 2014

Social Media Marketing: Could Social Commentary Be the Next Form of Currency?

121837261-51611dc6-1b00-4160-8736-466e0f9df989

If you could get free products by posting about them on social media, would you do it? In Denmark, one company is giving it a try.

Freemarket, a store in Copenhagen, has adopted the “try before you buy” mentality – and in the era where online reviews, Yelp! Ratings, and social recommendations reign supreme, they could be onto something.

Freemarket is a new-concept supermarket that offers consumers different products to test as long as they provide feedback in the form of social media posts. The benefits are two-fold: Companies get exposure and gain valuable customer feedback, while consumers can try new items risk-free.

This is how it works: Customers register online and pay a $3-4 monthly fee. Next, they choose up to 10 products and either order them online for in-store pickup or select them in-person with the help of a store associate. In addition to the 10 products per month, customers receive discount vouchers and gift certificates to other retailers.

Each product has specific “campaign requirements” that come in the form of questionnaire responses or an interaction on social media. These vary from product to product. One might ask you to post about your experience on your Facebook page while another requires you to share on Instagram demonstrating how you used the product. Miss a deadline? Prepare to pay a fee.

The companies that use Freemarket are tapping into a review-obsessed generation. By harnessing the power of customer reviews, it offers brands a way to build their brand profile among the exact demographic they want to reach: consumers.

Freemarket

The concept of “tryvertising” isn’t unique to Denmark. Companies are shifting away from the traditional realm of advertising, choosing instead to communicate with their target customer base through the channels they use every day. As we’ve learned through Schneider Associates’ Most Memorable New Product Launch survey, Gen Y and Millennials are skeptical about brands and marketing. Young people see right through paid advertising and prefer to find out about products through word of mouth – even if it’s from a stranger writing a review that lives on a product website.

As companies continue to adapt to the ever-changing marketplace and make a name for themselves; they might consider tryvertising to gain feedback and build a base of product reviews. The more a company can leverage real endorsements from consumers, the more successful they will be in growing awareness for their brand.

(Articles about it in English)

 

DanielleGerard

By Danielle Gerard
Account Coordinator