At the ANA Digital & Social Media conference in NYC last week, brand after brand came up and told stories about how their brand was actively engaging people directly on multiple social platforms.
From Ragu to Southern Comfort to Radio Shack we heard about social marketing activity that showed risk, maturity and competence. The host of ANA Social, Michael Donnelly of The Coca-Cola Company added examples of how Coke is leveraging social to grow his brand.
This is a big deal… a big story. Across the board these brands expressed positive results and excitement about building real relationships with people. Across industries, brands are becoming socially involved. Most importantly, they are also building organizations that reflect the people needs of social marketing.
There is no turning back because… why would you? Every story told included metrics and results that left brands pleased and excited. Every story included concrete examples of deeper relationships with people.
TEN BRANDS TELLING THEIR SOCIAL STORIES
Jim Low from Kraft Foods kicked things off with "The Crunch is Calling", building relationships through social tools like Twitter and Facebook. They found passionate fans and let them do the talking using a reality TV approach to get customers to spread the love for them.
Marjorie Dufek and Kate Boltin from Southern Comfort told us of going back to the roots of the brand to make it fresh again. Building relationships with fans was their goal as they utilized crowd sourcing, sweepstakes and checkins to bring Southern Comfort to life during the Mardi Gras season.
Nivi Chakravort from Ragú told us how they used multiple social tools to become moms ally and help her make dinner easy and pleasant. Teaming up with Mommy Bloggers and facebook, Ragú changed from talking about Ragú to creating conversations around, "how we help moms make dinner?"
Chris Gayton and Summer Riley from Gap told us how they are using social to change the way consumers shop and find deals. Groupon, Foursquare and Facebook enabled Gap to connect with their consumers. Using Gap fans as advocates will become a major component of future Gap efforts.
Dennis Maloney from Domino's Pizza highlighted socials major roll in their turn around and personalizing your pizza experience, letting you see the name of who is making the pizza and who is delivering it. This included a live Twitter stream, which motivates customers to act as advocates.
Jennifer Bazante from Visa highlighted their social approach to the Olympic games, FIFA World Cup and the NFL to extend its message and connect with fans with Twitter and Facebook, entering brand into existing fan dialogue and becoming part of the conversation.
Sandy Culver of Lowe's told how they have helped more than 3 million customers by providing innovative ideas and simple, step-by-step instruction through the "Lowe's Creative Ideas" increasingly going social helping people connect with each other about home improvement.
Adrian Parker from RadioShack outlined how they partnered with LiveStrong to create socially conscious connections on Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare while offering credits for old electronic equipment, improving brand perception in its core audience.
Renée L. Horne of FedEx showed how FedEx is creating social video and content using their employees to talk about themselves, FedEx and their lives. This is sustainable content that connected with people on a human, one to one level to build brand loyalty across multiple social platforms.
NEXT STEP: WRAPPING TACTICS IN EFFECTIVE SOCIAL IDENTITY
These brands added an air of enthusiasm and excitement to their story that comes from seeing real relationships with people get better. They saw direct results based on people getting deeper with the brand and sharing that experience with their friends.
What is important now is that brands see this as almost entirely tactical in nature. Brands next step will be more big picture, wrapping all these tactics… and aligning social with their full marketing calendar… with a consistent social identity that plays well for each brand across each social platform. That day is fast approaching. The Rubicon has been crossed. No turning back.
Most recently as the founder of the Social Symphony Tom has, weaved social tactics in concert with CRM 2.0 social strategies with Colgate, Cadillac, Kraft, Gallo, Reebok and others and has spoken about these subjects at iMedia Brand Summit, IAB Social, MITX and OMMA Social. Tom can be reached at TomTroja@TheSocialSymphony.com.
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