Marketing Idea No. 248 : How to link social obligation with social network and ensure effective fundraising

Its a very intriguing statistic. 1 billion people in the world is connected to social media now. And 1 billion people in the world dont have access to clear drinking water. And in this unlikely comparison, a site called Water Forward found an idea to connect the dots. Designed as a photo album, in Water Forward people can buy portrait space for their friends at $10 / portrait and that money goes to charity that makes clean drinking water available in poor countries.

Water Forward is not the only example where social network is used effectively for fund raising purpose. Nine out of ten non profits in USA is now present in social network. Therefore, social communication has found a space in social network just like corporates and multi-nationals. And it makes total sense. As more and more people want to engage instead of just being told to do something and as more people spend more and more time in social networks, thats the place to go to initiate fund raising and create social awareness.

On January 13th, volunteers from 83 countries converged in Estonia to launch World Cleanup 2012 which is the largest and most ambitious rubbish and garbage collection movement till date. Again, social media played a big role in it.

Social network is a handy little way to build up a steady group of followers and volunteers who would like to be involved in their favorite cause and do their part of being a good samaritan.


Marketing Idea No. 247 – How to bring back a dead brand

Like movie, brands can also experience reboot, remake or prequel.

Among the Hollywood style filmmaking, remakes and reboots are a popular and common choice. Think about the suffering Batman franchise. In the wrong hands, supported by aweful storytelling and some glaring mistakes (the infamous nipple suit of Batman being one!), Batman almost suffered a tragic death in the mid 90s. But thanks to the Christopher Nolan led reboot, the Dark Night has risen again and is now pretty much leading the way for all super hero film reboots. Next in line is the Superman franchise.

There is a powerful lesson in there. Despite the best interests and truckload of money, your brand can simply wither away. Blame the timing, blame the luck, blame management or fickle consumers. But thats the fact. But if you are clever, and if the timing and strategy is right; dead brands can be brought to life. Brands that made such a heroic turn arounds are Apple, Nissan, Hush Puppies, Saab (still in the middle of rebirth after General Motors bought it and gave back its identity – a car that is made of jet plan standards), My Space (Again in the middle of the turnaround after Justin Timberlake and his comnsortium bought the brand) etc.

Marketing Idea No. 246 – What makes Red Bull charge ahead

1987 was a groundbreaking year in beverage market. That was the year when two unknown brands called Starbucks and Red Bull came into existence. Whereas a lot is being written about the rise of Starbucks mania, relatively little is known about the rise of the Red Bull brigade. What very few people know is that Red Bull is not American (its Austrian), its totally privately owned, its inspired by a Thai drink, still sales only one basic drink and is probably one of the biggest success stories of how to build a brand without advertising.  

While other brands talk about consumers looking for a distinct identity and differentiation, Red Bull is probably the only one who understood that. Red Bull is the biggest anti-brand brand, the coolest thing that happened this side of atlantic for a long time, its underground despite being over the ground. That creates a close connect between Red Bull and its notoriously fickle target market: teen agers. Teen agers strongly identify with its slightly irreverant positioning and the brand has reached iconic status thorugh its association with all sorts of extreme sports like cliff diving in Hawaii, skate boarding in San Francisco, dirt biking in London etc. Here is a brand that definitely bucks the trend and lives by its code of taking the plunge. Also unlike other FMCG brands its not extending its line.

Red Bull understood that Generation Y is immune to commercial messages. Thats why it identified a very simple grassroot level marketing strategy – find out college kids who are opinion leaders in their circle, supply them with free drinks and allow them to throw parties where they sample the products among their friends. This simple mechanism allowed Red Bull to carve out a market in an extremely competitive beverage market.

One brand. One flavor. One can. In an era of advertising and innovation; its almost unthinkable how a brand of this magnitude can be built without advertising with just one offering. But Red Bull is definitely a living proof that if your strategy is right, everything else will fall into place sooner or later.

Marketing Idea No. 245 – Why fans follow brands in social media

In most cases, companies do not understand the massive opportunity that social media marketing represents.

Last month the IBM Institute of Business Value published a report entitled ‘From Social to Social CRM’. The report surveyed 1000 consumers about the reasons they interact with companies via social sites and then compared this with the results from surveying 350 business executives on why they thought consumers followed them on on social media. The results highlighted a perception gap that can only mean companies are missing out on direct revenue opportunities.

The reality is social media followers WANT to be monetized – they are after deals, promotions and discounts. Unfortunately most business executives are barking up the wrong tree by thinking that conversation with the brand is what drives people to follow them. In reality it is quite the opposite. Of course this represents a massive opportunity. If brands build up large social followings they can distribute social offers into this community and the research suggests that commercial results will be healthy. You can’t get more focused social ROI than campaigns focused on revenue. Marketing executives need to meet consumers expectations when they follow companies on social sites through providing regular deals, coupons and social offers.