Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Big Brands should Think Local with Social Media!

Yesterday I showed why Social Media has not made it into the C-Suite of Consciousness in big Brands because it is not driving sales on a large scale. But that can change. Some Brands can do this easier than others. But all can do it, even if it is by Proxy.


I view the benefits of Social Media being the intimacy it can bring via technology between people. People don't want to talk to Brands. They want to talk to people. I have had good experiences with some Brands. Namely Vans and McDonald's where I have had personal contact by real people via Twitter. Nikki S(@Vans_66) helped me me find sources for my trademark bright Orange Laces for my new Black Suede Vans. And Katy at McDonald's (@ktymcd) answered an Australian Prank via @wisey asking what is in the Filet-o-Fish (only works in a McDonalds!). That is easy when you have a small pool of followers to deal with vs millions.

If you are Pepsi and there are 7,000 Tweets about you today, no way even with a full team of workers in Corp HQ can you make all those people feel valued in a personal way. You can automate responses etc. But that is like talking to an automated phone system. Pepsi has 800m-1b customers. You can not talk to all those people!

But what if you had local points of contact. Like Starbucks or McDonalds. Wouldn't it be better to have a strategy for the people working at those locations to engage in social with the local patrons to build relationships? I used to have a Starbucks 3/4 block from my apartment in Redondo Beach, Ca. It was faster for me to get coffee there than make it. I spent $5 a day 5 days a week at Starbucks. $1300 a year just for mornings! Even when I worked from home! Sometimes I went back in the afternoon. But I always had the same order and the minute I walked in they started making it. That earned them my devoted stupid blind spending.

Now most people have a choice. They can visit numerous places for similar things. You are going to choose the places with best product, service, and people. Wouldn't Social give you a leg up? Couldn't a local employee who sees me do a better job than someone at HQ. Think of my Starbucks story. What if I could get 50 more people to behave like I did. Just 50. That is $65,000 increase in revenues for that location. Over 500 Locations that is $32.5 mil and now someone in the C-Suite might start paying a bit more attention.

You might think $65,000 is small beans. But think of the Baristas or McDonald's workers and how much they get paid. That easily covers better pay all around, higher morale, and an impact on sales and customer retention.

On this note of going local, the esteemed Aaron Strout (@aaronstrout) - CMO of Powered (www.powered.com) and co-host of the Quick-n-Dirty Podcast (see links to your left) was promoting his Colleague and VP of Strategy Greg Verdino's new book about MicroMarketing. I have not read the book. Greg has been on the Beancast (see links to your left) in the past and is a very smart fellow. 


1 comment:

  1. Howie - very thoughtful post. And I would tend to agree with you... the C-suite needs to see some economic value to social media before it really decides to embrace it in earnest. Fortunately, we (that's the royal we) are starting to see some collective wins in the marketplace.

    BTW, thanks for the kind words and the nice plug of Greg's book. DM me your physical e-mail address and I'll make sure you get a chopy.

    Aaron | @aaronstrout