COMM0014 – Blog #4 – Problem solved.

Earlier this year, Amanda Lindhout was invited as a guest speaker at work. After going through her her biography in the event invitation, I felt the urge to read her book before she would come. Since I read at an extra slow speed, I decided to look for the audio book version on Audible . In only 2 days I managed to “read” the book, just in time before her visit. My reading speed was not an issue anymore; problem solved.

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My picture of Amanda Lindhout used in a Social Media post from work on Facebook.

I was hooked. Suddenly my commute was more enjoyable, and I could go through a book in less than 6 months! While I was not very keen on another monthly subscription, Audible’s initial offer was very generous; 3 audiobooks for free over 3 months.

They followed up with an email strategy that worked where other had failed; they were sending me personalized suggestions of book to read with the possibility of sampling them. With over 5 millions followers on the Audible’s Canadian Facebook page, they are truly engaging with their audience effectively. In this article from Mediakix , they explain how Audible is using Influencer in marketing campaigns on Instagram and Youtube to encourage new clients to try Audible and feed the discussion. Audiobooks are like movies in a sense that they are easy to share and comment on and the company can easily afford to have influencers do that for them.

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Personalized suggestion from Audible received via email

When my offer came to an end, I decided quit to save money. Once again, they had an offer that was hard to resist and to this day I am still with them and have gone through many books since. I believe their marketing is very effective and not aggressive but yet generous. At least it works for me…

Here are a few of the books I have been listening to. Which one was your favorite?

Can’t hurt me – David Goggins 

A house in the sky – Amanda Lindhout

Here I am – Alan Huffman

The Operator – Robert O’Neil

 

Assignment 1; Blog#4 B2C Case Study

Assignment 1; Blog#4 B2C Case Study

From B To Shining C

Bee flying to Sea (B2C)

H&M

An explosion of fashion and a phenomenal number of social media, dazzling advertisements, movies, tips, trips, cultural promotion, and an array of entry points inclusive of customer service, store locations, and environmental responsibility. This fashion giant, H&M, seems to have the glimmering photographs, splendid navigation, and discounts where appropriate. Nonetheless, there is lacking when compared to some competitors and oddly it is right at the Business to Customer (B2C) level despite all the glory and fireworks when attending their website and social media. Customer engagement is imperative.

brunette woman, sitting, holding credit card in air while looking at laptop to purchase
Customer engaging for online purchase

Customer Engagement

H&M do a phenomenal job at consumer engagement. At every turn on social media there is a cornucopia of delightful models, blouses, pants, shirts, shoes, men, women, children, exotic travel scenes and the like. They are colourful, fashionable, light, heavy, seasonable, and they know their accessories. However, they are not approachable due to some issues that become obvious and their respective use of social media is more for product promotion than customer engagement.

a computer screen or smartphone screen with a myriad of social media applications
Social Media Apps

Social Media and H&M

H&M uses a bounty of social media. They employ YouTube extremely well. It encourages viewership by the breadth of topics of fashionable concern. Beauty, swimwear, makeup, designers, back to school matters and travel. There is little interaction by consumers and each video seems to be well scripted and uses models. Thus far, there is a perception that no consumers are interviewed about the product at hand. Very professional, but not customer interactive.

Facebook is well utilized for promotion, but any customer complaint is dismissive and relegated in the language used. Instagram, though colourful and robust, again, has no customer pictures, nor community. Their “Your Stories” is a ruse by nature of every Instagram photo is a given reflection of a fit model without blemish or overweight persons as reflected in the real world.

Twitter reflects the above. It is an ad nauseam of advertisements and a few seemingly directed comments by alleged consumers.  On two social media sights, the Community pages read as “Sorry, this content isn’t available right now”. They also use a magazine format for a blog, but purely for advertising. Where is the communication?

man in brown jacket apparently screaming into the receiver of a telephone which is several inches away from his face. Glasses posed on the white desk
What we have here is a failure to communicate

There is little to no customer communicative interaction. There seems to be no real back and forth as is indicative in B2C. It must affect sales as “social Media is not a one-way street and it requires you to listen and interact (Ryan, 2019).

Nordstrom is an excellent model to follow. Through all their social media there are appropriate and well worded responses to customers and effective email marketing that ensues. They deal with customers diplomatically, make appropriate referrals and point them to an array of clubs and discount points where needed. A good blog is in place to facilitate changes in customer and fashion activity (King, 2015).

https://bit.ly/188dxN0
https://bit.ly/1ckcXew

References:

Barker, Shane, The Most Effective B2C Social Media Marketing Channels to Grow Your Business, Media, Jul 25, 2018, https://medium.com/swlh/the-most-effective-b2c-social-media-marketing-channels-to-grow-your-business-32d4052210f9

Coca-Cola | Facebook. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2017, from https://www.facebook.com/cocacolacanada/?brand_redir=40796308305

Creative Commons Photos:

“at sea” by tamaki is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/e7de3a13-eacc-4456-8f28-eae09182eff8

“Bee visiting for a breakfast” by Theo Lagendijk is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/345c203c-3b08-490d-8a38-2f6553741baa

Dalenberg, Alex Inside Tucson Business, TucsonLikes seeks to corral social media for businesses,JUNE 8. 2012, Wick Communications

De Pelsmacker, Patrick, Geuens, Joeri, Van den Bergh, Maggie,   MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS Fifth Edition, Maggie Geuens Joeri Van den Bergh, © Pearson Education Limited 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010 , Edinburgh Gate, Harlow CM20 2JE, United Kingdom

H&M, https://www2.hm.com/en_ca/index.html

Harris, Jess, Sales & Service Excellence Essentials, 7 Best Marketing Tools For Small Businesses, How technology can help you increase customer base, HR.com Inc., 2016

King, Kim Ann, The Complete Guide to B2B Marketing New Tactics, Tools, and Techniques to Compete in the Digital Economy, © 2015 by Kim Ann King Published by Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458

NAC Podcasts. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2017, from https://nac-cna.ca/en/podcasts

Perry, Patsy,   The environmental costs of fast fashion; Water pollution, toxic chemical use and textile waste: fast fashion comes at a huge cost to the environment, , Independent,  8 January 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/environment-costs-fast-fashion-pollution-waste-sustainability-a8139386.html

Nordstrom, https://shop.nordstrom.com/content/canada-department-stores?origin=tab-logo

Pexel:

https://www.pexels.com/search/customer/

https://www.pexels.com/search/social%20media/

https://www.pexels.com/search/no%20communication/

Ryan, J., Digital Communication, Lesson 4: Choosing the Correct Storytelling Tools for Your Audience, Lesson Content, Readings, Lesson Notes, B2B vs B2C vs B2G, Algonquin College, 2019

Scollon, Ron, and Wong, Suzanne, LANGUAGE IN SOCIETY 21, Intercultural Communication, A Discourse Approach Second Edition, Chapters 2. Language and Social Networks (second edition)Lesley Milroy, 17. The Language of the News Media, Allan Bell, 2001, Second edition published Blackwell Publishers Inc., 350 Main Street, Malden, Massachusetts 02148, USA

Sibley, A. (n.d.). 10 Things That Take a Webinar From Good to Great. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/webinar-planning-list#sm.000vynto11461f7ossw2rl26phqxt

Wang, Cheng Lu, Exploring the Rise of Fandom in Contemporary Consumer Culture, University of New Haven, USA, Chapter 8, Charging Fandom in the Digital Age: The Rise of Social Media p. 147 Shuojia Guo, College of Staten Island, USA, Chapter 9,Diversity of Fans on Social Media: The Case of Entertainment Celebrity in China p.163Xinming Jia, Zhejiang International Studies University, China, Kineta Hung, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, Ke Zhang, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kon, Copyright © 2018 by IGI Global

Wilson II, Clint C., Gutiérrez, Félix F, Chao, Lena M, Racism, Sexism and the Media, 4th Edition, 2013, SAGE Publications, Inc., 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, California 91320

Yates, S. (n.d.). 13 B2B Newsletters That Really Shine. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from https://blog.hubspot.com/insiders/b2b-newsletter-examples

COMM0014 Digital Communication – B2C Study Silk + Snow

Silk and Snow logo

After squandering through various online stores and in-person mattress retailers, I finally came across Silk + Snow, a Canadian brand who sells mattresses for a fair price. With the “Bed In a Box” trend becoming increasingly popular, there has been a surge in competition for those who compete to have the best quality and prices in the industry. Silk + Snow is a B2C company that engages on social media and relies heavily on online advertising to promote and sell their products. Using a wonderful website and a variety of social media platforms, which include Facebook and Instagram, they are effectively able to capture interested buyers and promote products to a vast market online.

Above is a screenshot from Silk + Snow Instagram page, where they use an adorable golden retriever to show how compact the Bed In A Box style mattresses are. With the younger generation being infatuated with social media, the marketability of a compact, quality product that can be mailed to your front door has large appeal. The King-Size version of these beds retail for slightly over 1000$, which compared to the in-store options is an absolute steal! This B2C company proves that versatility, impressive site design and appeal via social media are all key elements of success. Take a look for yourself to see the incredible graphic design and interface that Silk and Snow uses.

Being transparent about your reviews is essential in this day and age. While the Facebook site for Silk + Snow doesn’t have a perfect 5 star rating, they do have many such as the one linked above. By not buying reviews or deleting poor ones, you demonstrate as a company that honesty matters, which can go a long ways with. B2C company. Buying a mattress is a big investment, with many people splurging s much as 5000$ to ensure they have a good night’s sleep. This Canadian company proves that their honesty, ethics, quality of products and reliance on social media to effectively brand and sell their products sets them apart from their competitors. After just spending 1100$ myself on a Silk + Snow, I feel confident recommending them to others and see lots of value in this rising Canadian brand!

Silk + Snow Mattress

COM0014 – Blog #4: B2C Case Study

How Starbucks Uses Social Media to Engage With Its Audience   

Starbucks uses a multi-channel approach when engaging with their customers over social media.

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Photo Credit: Pexels.

App/Rewards Program

Starbucks Rewards has created a loyal following both with an experience-based program and rewards program.

The experience side allows users to manage their card, reload funds, use location service and is enhanced by mobile ordering—a customer can order and pay for any menu item, chose the location, and walk in and pick up their drink without having to wait in line, thus creating loyalty by this enhancement to the customer experience.

Members are given “stars” (points) for their purchases that can be redeemed for any menu item when they reach 125 stars.  Participants can also reach “Gold Level” status which comes with great perks, including an actual gold card.  The elite member status symbol is a strong motivator.

The app also features seasonal drinks and menu items that greet the customer when they first load the app.  Oftentimes a member will receive more stars for trying these recommended offerings.

As a member, I regularly receive triggered emails that mirror my purchasing history with a slight twist.  For example, I frequently buy Caramel Macchiatos and Cool Lime Refeshers.  The company offers me extra stars if I purchase both, plus another menu item of their choosing within a certain time period.  It is a win-win: the customer receives a bonus and tries something new, and the company is upselling by offering extra stars.

Facebook

Besides the usual company-based information that is found on most brand pages (contests, jobs, store locator), Starbucks creates content that focuses on the personal rather than the business so that their page is friendly and engaging.

LinkedIn

Starbucks has a strong presence on LinkedIn that features more than job postings and selling coffee—they highlight their company culture and post interesting articles.

They also emphasize building community and with that, increase loyalty.  The company aligns with other non-profits that serve local communities like Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Instagram

The brand’s posts and customer’s posts alike feature seasonal content—warm and cosy in the winter, and bright, cheery, and refreshing in the summer—with friendly captions.  Starbucks fans also show brand loyalty through their posts.

The platform is also used by the company advertise promotions which increases engagement and brand loyalty.  And they love to regram, especially celebrities drinking Starbucks.

Twitter 

Starbucks’ Twitter communications strategy includes original and retweeted content: information-sharing, emotion-evoking, and action-inducing.  Their replies consist of information, apology/support, and comments which including showing gratitude.

Campaigns

Year-after-year, they creates successful media campaigns—think Pumpkin Spice Latte and their famous red cups.  Of late, one of their more successful campaigns had customers submit their red cup designs through social media.  Thirteen different designs were selected and used that year.  With personalization influencing customers like never before, this campaign was on point.

Where They Miss the Mark

Starbucks is definitely a successful B2C model however, where they succeed in engagement, they fall down in transparency with their rewards program—the parameters for the program change frequently and communication is not great.  Here’s an example of poor communication: did you know that you now have to claim your birthday drink on your actual birthday?  You used to have four days to do so (down from the original seven days).

Sources

https://www.inc.com/rebecca-hinds/5-powerful-lessons-starbucks-red-cup-campaign-can-teach-us.html

https://blog.smile.io/loyalty-case-study-starbucks-rewards

https://www.linkedin.com/company/starbucks/?originalSubdomain=be

 

COM0014 – Blog4

I recently decided to get healthier and wanted to be accountable in some way, so I hired MS Fitness.  I was very impressed that what I needed was available so easily over the web.  I had to fill out some online paperwork and submit it back in order to get my fitness/nutrient plan.  Within 48 hours I was all set up and ready to begin.

My meals were laid out for the week ahead complete with a shopping list so I couldn’t miss anything, an exercise plan for the week that had me excited and an app for me to keep a journal of everything I eat and everything I do.  Immediately I started to receive emails with post from Facebook with lots of yummy recipes and its a private group so you can ask questions and talk to others doing the program as well.   Lots of tweets and Instagram post to keep you motivated.

So Friday I had surgery and after 3 days of not using the journal I was contacted by MS Fitness to see if everything was going okay, I was very impressed to know that someone was actually making sure that I was being accountable.

MS Fitness is a new business that has started in my community so keeping it local appealed to me.  They are off to a good start with using social media and I absolutely loved the fact that rather than send out an email/text they picked up the phone.

How about you do you like to hear that friendly voice on the phone asking how you are or would you rather a simple email/text saying “How r u?”?

Tesla Vs Musk

Tesla- is an innovative and cutting edge company. Its most prominent figure is their CEO and one of the founders, Elon Musk.

Tesla as a company I found had a rather boring Social Media platform. They are inconsistent sharing new content, inconsistent replies and not always in a timely manner. It could explain why they are currently using their LinkedIn profile to advertise positions, in social media and in communications. At least this is one platform they are using.

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Looking for a job?

Elon Musk, however, appears to be very active and responsive with his customer support and listening skills on social media.

One of the most recent, notable interactions was this one where a Tesla Motors user complained about the lack of free charging station.

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“Twitter”

He took 20 minutes to reply to the tweet and within 6 days changes had been made on the Tesla website.

This was most likely already in the works but what a great way to publicize it. This was a great example of social media done right: someone had a complaint and Elon Musk replied quickly. He not only agreed that this was a problem but then affected change within his company and put it into effect and circulation within a week on their website.

He took a negative issue and turned it into a major good.

This is not only cementing brand loyalty with current customers, it is also making others take notice. I don’t know about you but I would LOVE the funds to be able to afford anything from this company. Elon Musk appears to care. This is something even the communication and marketing team from Tesla should take notes from!

B2C Case Study: Vistek

As one of Canada’s larger photography chains, Vistek communicates to its audience online much like as other photography stores, manufacturers and magazines. It’s all about making sales, not engaging with photographers.

Vistek’s social media presence is barely visible on its website. An RSS feed logo beside the word “Blog” and an 180× 80 pixel ad for its YouTube channel are all that exist. Missing are the Facebook and Twitter logos, which many other photography websites leave for the bottom of the page with the sitemap, terms of use and copyright information—must-have pieces of little importance.

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The blog URL http://prophotoblog.ca does not include “Vistek”, which is a missed branding opportunity. The majority of posts read like advertisements promoting products, complete with bulleted specifications, prices and quotes from the manufactures. Upcoming Events are Vistek seminars and tradeshows it will attend; there is nothing outside of Vistek. The “Tips and Tricks” section includes links to products being sold. None of these engages the community.

Vistek continues its sales pitching on its Twitter and Facebook pages. It has 5,352 Twitter followers (following 1,118) with 1,328 likes and 7,350 Facebook page likes. The only engagement is encouraging followers to visit the Vistek booth at various tradeshows.

Vistek’s YouTube page has a series of how-to, product promotion and speaker videos from a recent tradeshow. Community engagement has resulted in two comments from four years ago and visitors liking 11 of the 74 videos.

There is so much more Vistek could do to communicate with photographers. An “Ask an Expert” call for questions would not only position Vistek as an expert but also encourage followers to answer each other’s questions. Offering a $50 gift card as a prize in a monthly photography contest would not only have followers submitting images but also voting for their favourites. Vistek staff could periodically post photos with common novice errors and ask followers to provide constructive criticism, which could generate discussion and help photographers analyse their own images more critically.

Vistek could probably increase sales if it softened its sales pitch.

COM0014 Blog # 4 – B2C Case Study – Tangerine Bank

 

Tangerine Bank is a good example of a business doing B2C transactions right on social media. Tangerine prides itself on being a bank for the people and saving them money. Tangerine does a great job of keeping that theme throughout their social media channels. For the sake of this blog, I will just be looking at Twitter and Facebook.

On Twitter, they post tweets and articles about saving money, as well as sending out tweets that link their great products and services with saving their customers money. They also do a good job of interacting with their customers by retweeting customer posts about the awesome service they received from Tangerine, or a product that helped them save money.

Tweet Tangerine

An example of Tangerine interacting with their customers.

Tangerine continues their theme of saving their customers money on Facebook. Their posts are very similar to the information they post on Twitter but with more interaction with their customers. They are very quick to respond and offer advice or help to their customers who are looking for it.

Facebook Tangerine

Tangerine interacting with their customers on Facebook.

Tangerine does a great job of posting information for their consumers, without always looking like they are selling a product or service. By sharing tweets and posts about money saving tips and how to budget, and then connecting it to a Tangerine product, they are marketing their product effectively. They understand who their audience is and what they are looking for in a product. They make sure that they have high quality interactions with their customers on all their social media channels.

COM0014 – Blog #4 – B2C Case Study: Well.ca

As the mother of a busy household, I value my time and appreciate quality products for my family. I know I want my family to use products that are as natural as possible, and I don’t want to pay a fortune to get them. Well.ca is a company that is effectively listening and serving busy moms and dads like me.

Well.ca is a Canadian company delivering natural and green wellness products on-line to their customers. They offer a wide range of products which are trialed and tested by people just like their target audience. Items are available on-line, and shipped in a timely manner right to their customers’ doors. Shipping is free on orders over $29, how awesome is that?!?

Well.ca uses social media to talk to their audience. They use Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Linkedin, Instagram and email newsletters to promote their products, specials and promotions. They also feature a blog on their website with all sorts of interesting tidbits of information. It covers everything from reviews of great products, to recipes, to health tips, and news of trending products. These social media interactions are effectively targeted towards moms and dads who make the majority of the purchases for their household.

In my opinion, Well.ca is an example of a company successfully executing Business to Consumer social media marketing.

COM0015 Blog Post #2 – Strong/Weak Organizations

CV_Product_Orange

Sharpie? Hello?

While the ultimate goal of any B2C organization is to increase the bottom line, there are a number of ways businesses can establish themselves as the go-to for consumers above the often over-saturated aggregate of similar companies. This is where the better social-media driven B2C’s thrive.

I’ve been following Sharpie for many years as a scrapbooker and mixed media artist (when I have a few moments to spare). Boasting a pretty good 5-10 page rank, Sharpie has endeavoured to connect not just within the artist audience, but parents (labeling, chore charts, etc) and students/teens. Visually represented across multiple social media platforms, their strength comes from images and the ability to engage their customers through submissions and tags. While Sharpie’s Instagram account may boast a relatively modest 128K followers, its hashtag use has well exceed 1.3 million. A community and culture. Their Facebook page boasts over 3.6 million followers. While the blog and direct engagement is still lacking on some forums, it’s the visual representation of the brand that shines not only from the company, but moreso from the #sharpie culture. #sharpietattoo is my personal favourite! It is empowering the creativity of its community and foreshadows continued growth in promotion and practice….

…BUT…

Then, they all but disappeared. Sharpie just…stopped. Dead.

Instagram? Last image uploaded was 115 weeks ago. Blog? Last post was written July 10, 2013! Twitter? Last tweet was February 29th. Not so bad? The one before that was December 21, 2013!

For a company actively engaged with the teens who “tattoo” and the moms that label and the designers who design and the Pinterest winners (and maybe Pinterest failers)…Sharpie seemed to have hit some kind of social media roadblock. What happened? Did they, then, just become the mirror “weak” organization…of themselves??

Arik Hanson had a few speculative points of interest as to why a company with over 4 million fans would suddenly up-and-leave the social media foray in his article: “Why did @Sharpie shut down all its social media accounts?” Change of CMO? Being a company that is owned by a bigger company and got eaten by the bigger proverbial fish?

I think the withdrawal from the social media communities that really found niches within the creative industry is going to leave a lasting impact on the value of engagement, obviously, but more so, though people will continue to purchase Sharpie products based on brand loyalty, Sharpie is really missing out on expansion and growth opportunities as social media continues to evolve and reach further target markets and communities. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to be an active contributor to have seen them just up and…who even knows? No explanation. That kind of corporate behaviour risks a lot, that very brand loyalty, especially.

How do you think Sharpie’s withdrawal from social media will eventually affect their bottom line over time, if perhaps the management change felt it more cost-effective to do so? I’d love to have my own “clear view”of what the heck happened!