Why Small Businesses Shy Away From Social Media Marketing?

Every marketing campaign developed by professionals or even by armatures has a mention of social media optimization. While the importance and advantages of a structured social media campaign is obvious to the marketers, it is not that obvious to small business owners. There can be many reasons why that is, one of the most common being ignorance to the technological developments and social media revolution.

Where small businesses are accustomed to the traditional ways of marketing and doing business, online media is changing the way people communicate, recommend and buy things. Be it small or large business, today online communities are talking about good and bad aspects of products and services. In such circumstances it has become extremely important for small businesses to increase their online presence and manage questions and complaints. Instead of waiting for the times when the business can afford professional services, small businesses need to make the best use of the available human resources in the organization to gather information and develop an online presence to handle customer interaction and create awareness.

New Volvo Commercial

It is always a good strategy for companies to narrow down on the message which is consistent with the image of the company. This new ad from Volvo is a very good example of the same strategy. Volvo has created an image of a reliable vehicle which promises performance and delivers. Another important aspect of a good marketing communication is the match of personality between the brand and the source itself. Here Van Dam is an appropriate source who matches the personality traits of the brand which are reliability and performance and delivers the same message.

This ad is impactful and successfully delivers the intended message to the audience. It has an unusual plot; it catches attention and is tastefully done. Another noticeable thing is that primary focus of this ad is not to draw immediate sales but to create a powerful image in customer’s minds so whenever they are considering buying a new vehicle Volvo has a top of the mind recall.

Political Advertising

Media and advertising has become a prominent tool in the field of politics to shape the views and thought of the audience. While different communications sponsored by different parties are skewed because of personal interest, accusations and claims are common. These claims and accusations may not be entirely true, they usually have a great impact. A common man who does not possess an in-depth knowledge of these issues is lead to believe an untrue statement.

I think the biggest issue in political communications or marketing campaigns is lack of accountability which gives the political parties means to misinform through indirect channels of communication. Last election season there were many TV ads from both Republicans and Democrats, accusing each-other for various misconduct which were found to be untrue in later research, but by the time the damage was done. Like corporations, there needs to be a regulation on political communications as well to prevent the audience from being misinformed.

Are Black Friday Deals an Illusion?

With every Thanksgiving comes the opportunity to grab the best deals on Black Friday sales event! Customers are on a lookout for the best deals in town and companies make their best efforts to showcase the deals through every medium possible.

What I observed this Black Friday gave me a new perspective. Almost all the companies go for creating an aura of a special deal whereas the truth is those deals are there all year long. From my personal experience, some specific shops had exact same deals as last month. There is an important marketing lesson in this exercise and that is, companies capitalize on the sentiment/mood of the market. Once customers start seeing the signage of special deals all around, they are more likely to believe they are getting a special deal even though the prices remain the same.

This thanksgiving the total sales was reported to be lower than the previous year. Also, the percentage of customers shopping online increased whereas the customers visiting stores to shop on Black Friday decreased. Trends seem to be changing in the consumer goods market which will soon need companies to change their approach and actually deliver on the promise.

Marketing Through Social Media

The advent of internet has changes how people communicate and share information. The speed and frequency are much higher than traditional media; reach of social media knows no boundaries. It’s an inbound method of sharing where people welcome new and interesting ideas coming from their friends and acquaintance. Having said that, it is not easy to get people talking about your brand; companies have to constantly think of new ways to generate the interest. The ROM campaign I previously talked about, owes its success to social media.

Another big name that has been focusing on these viral marketing opportunities is Coca Cola. Coke has been making the fullest use of free publicity through social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and more. Many of the commercials I shared before by Coke had been geared towards triggering a conversation.

An interesting campaign by Coke carried out in Australia a couple of years ago included personalized bottles of Coke with some of the most common names used in Australia. This campaign resulted in long lines, blogs, tags, likes and online sharing. People would flock in front of vending machines looking for their names. The following feature on this effort is really interesting.

ROM Commercial – A Distinct Marketing Approach

Advertisements don’t always have to deliver a favorable message; sometimes companies opt for a different approach of annoying the customers to attract attention. ROM’s marketing campaign is an apt example of this phenomenon. ROM is a Romanian chocolate brand. The packaging of this product contained Romanian national flag. Over the period of time the brand lost its appeal to the youth, who preferred international chocolate brands more than the local ROM. The company came up with an ingenious idea of challenging the national pride of consumers by changing the packaging which resembled with Romanian national flag to resemble with American national flag.

This campaigned stirred a national debate and resulted in an increased sales as a result of this campaign. The company eventually changed back its packaging but this was a very good example of making your ad stand out from the crowd.

Skeptics on Project Sunlight

The consumer goods market is highly homogeneous; it has become essential for large conglomerates to generate a preference toward their brand name. Unilever’s “Project Sunlight” is a similar effort towards letting people know how socially responsible the company is. On one hand the campaign generates positive emotions; on the other hand it may indicate the greed with the hidden message of “Buy Our Products.” As indicated in my previous blog, this campaign may end up receiving criticism for being an insincere marketing gimmick.

The skeptics have expressed their opinion by saying, the company has tried to position itself as an agent of change and is urging its customers to change their habits for a better future (by buying Unilever products). The video throws some light on a different aspect of this campaign.

Unilever has been consistent in its endeavors to reduce its carbon footprint, cutting down on its impact on the environment and its CSR activities around the world. This campaign provides the most suitable platform to showcase the CSR efforts that the company has been spending money on. At the end of the day there is always a profit motive behind these CSR efforts to create a positive image or attract customers.