February 2011

Integrated Marketing and a Brand Relaunch Done Right

by Susan Zweibaum on February 28, 2011

When I get the chance I like to highlight great examples in the area of integrated marketing.  One I recently have come across is a new brand relaunch campaign for Keds footwear. In an attempt to revitalize their brand and make them hip to the 18-24 year old demographic they have pulled all the pieces together, integrated multiple relevant touch points and did it methodically over multiple years to grow interest. 

So, what exactly is Keds doing?  First of all they have clearly defined their target audience (Adults 18-25) and are going after them in ways that make sense.  What’s more, they have been building up to this campaign for 2 years laying the groundwork including revamping the website, initiating fashion partnerships and joining forces with museums and retail outlets.  Keds also started a new advertising campaign in 2009 as a way to reintroduce the brand and it’s positioning to their target demo. 

Keds has created a multi-faceted campaign with elements that should resonate with this target.  For starters, they are using influencers on college campuses to create excitement.  Specifically, they are targeting large campuses with strong arts and fashion programs which coincides with the individual style and creativity elements of the promotional campaign.  These school choices clearly make tremendous sense.  They are also using significant social media to generate interest and interaction with the brand. 

(Click below to see the actual Keds site)

Let’s look at the key elements of the plan:

  • A mobile vehicle in the shape of a shoebox will be visiting college campuses in nine US cities.  The vehicle includes interactive touch-screens where visitors can watch videos of local artists, locate Keds retail outlets and learn about charity organizations that Keds is working with.  Also included is a gallery of Keds shoes inspired by each city being visited.  Outside the vehicle there are multiple activities including a kiosk where students can design and then purchase their own Keds.
  • A shoe-design competition that includes a $1000 prize for the winner and a $5000 donation to an art-based charity of their choice.
  • Charity component where Twitter users can post messages describing what inspires them about their city.  For each post $1 will be donated to a local art-based charity in that city.
  • Local artists in each city will use the sneakers as a canvas and will also create a mural on an 8-foot canvas inspired by the Twitter postings.
  • YouTube campaign with video from the tour and the artists participating in each city.
  • A fashion show will take place in each market using local models wearing Keds shoes and clothing from local designers.  They will also include performances from local bands and DJ’s.
  • Student ambassadors have been hired for each campus to promote the events and help run the local elements.
  • Advertising campaign featuring charitable and art-based initiatives.

The website pulls all of these elements together very well and each of the different activities is clearly identified.  This campaign has just kicked off and the Facebook page and Twitter feeds are already talking about it.  The PR plan is not totally clear, but it is apparent that the PR folks are working hard as they landed a big NY Times article, local newspaper interviews and numerous blog posts.  However, I couldn’t find an actual press release.

Integrated marketing leverages the right promotional and advertising vehicles to achieve the brand’s goals.  If the goal here is to broaden appeal and reintroduce this iconic brand to the target I think they are doing and effective job of using integrated marketing.  It remains to be seen how successful it will be as this is just launching, but from an integrated marketing perspective it is a great example of how to do things the right way.

For more details you can also read this NY Times article.

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Social Media and Your Neighborhood Cheese Shop

by Susan Zweibaum on February 23, 2011

Recently, I have started “friending” some of my favorite local stores that I go to repeatedly.  I had been slow to the practice wondering what the point was (I am not one of those early adopters), but have discovered that I like seeing the updates of the “special of the week” or announcement of a big store event.  Whenever my favorite gourmet cheese shop downtown posts the special cheese they are sampling it often gets me into the store to try it and ultimately buy it.   I used to get all of these via email, but find I like the Facebook announcements.  So, what does this say about social media and how local businesses use it?

In this recent article businesses indicated that they are increasing their use of Facebook, but other sites such as Groupon, Foursquare and Living Social are not being used to their full potential.  (Click on image to go to article)

Additionally, the survey indicates that consumers do react to local deals and information to drive them into the store (just like I do).  What then is the disconnect between consumer behavior and retailer marketing methods?

What I have encountered speaking with local retailers as well as small local businesses such as real estate agents and consultants is they just don’t know what these vehicles are or how to use them.  They don’t have any real money to spend and are fearful of taking the leap.  What’s more, they are all really concerned about the time it will take to utilize things like Twitter, blogging and online offers and they claim lots of technology ignorance.

There are always early adopters both from a marketers and a consumer standpoint.  Those that fall into this early adopter camp take the biggest risk, but also can reap the biggest rewards.  The younger generation is more likely to try the new technology especially mobile marketing and these are often the ones who are spending the bucks. Moreover, it appears based on some recent research that fewer and fewer of this younger set are using email, thus, making email blasts potentially obsolete.  They use texting or email on Facebook instead so you need to talk to them where they consume the media. 

If Twitter and Facebook are getting more of the lion share of local online marketing it is most likely because they are low-cost (free), easy to master and part of our daily vernacular.

When I speak to these small retailers and small businesses I use a variety of techniques to get them into the modern age to use social media to grow their businesses. 

  1. Help them get over their fears:  Not easy, but it is a matter of not just explaining how things work, but actually demonstrating the ease and speed with which these things can be done.  Share some data on success stories and survey data and they will be more easily swayed.
  2. Provide a reasonable timeline:  Building a large enough database through viral marketing techniques takes time.  Even if they use their email list to drive more eyes to the offers it will take a while for those other than the early adopters to start acting.  Don’t expect an immediate response.
  3. Test Offers:  Building on the “it takes time” idea, the first offer doesn’t always work.  It often takes a few different offers until you find the one that will resonate with consumers and drives them to purchase. Keep trying until one gets the ROI they want.
  4. Start Slow and Add On:  If the business is entering social media for the first time they should start slow and get comfortable.  Most likely they have a website.  Start by adding Facebook and Twitter and connecting to the website.  Get them familiar with the vehicles and then slowly add on additional offer sites.  Balance it with some SEO and paid search at a local level where they are more open to spending.  Then test replacing a direct mail piece with an online offer.  Show the potential ROI of doing the social media over the direct mail.  It will probably be very eye opening for them.

Eventually, from a retail perspective it all comes down to customer service, product offerings in store and the economy.  Do those things right and you have a great chance to succeed.  Additionally,  if local retailers then leverage emerging social media marketing tactics as a way to drive growth on top of  the basics they are more likely to increase their success.

Would love to hear of examples of how social media has driven local retailer success.

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