Sunday, March 30, 2014

Case Study: Enterprise Social Networks @ Toyota – Knowledge Sharing & Collaboration

Toyota uses enterprise social network platform called Chatter that facilitates internal communication between hundreds of thousands of Toyota employees across the world to interact, share and collaborate with each other on a day to day basis and work for the organizational growth. Employees have to login to access the intranet, join groups and participated in discussions of their interests and can post updates, comments, opinions, questions and get answers and suggestions from coworkers based in 170 countries around the world.  With Chatter platform allowing collaboration and sharing of information and documents employees can actively collaborate and work together to resolve critical issues. “People have only 24 hours a day,” says Toyoda. “But through social we can connect with many people at once.” Enterprise social networking platforms are critical tools for knowledge management as organizations need to document and share the knowledge within the organizations effectively for growth. "Most of the knowledge is tacit. It is walking around in the heads of our employees," said Steve Kang, social enterprise manager for Toyota. "The question is how do you get that knowledge? How do you extract that knowledge? Because it's not written down anywhere. This provides us with a way to do that."

Toyota started using the Chatter based intranet since 2012 and employees can access the intranet not only through desktops but also using the mobile devices like iPad, Android and BlackBerry applications. Employees can create topic centered groups and engage with others on this platform and interactions should be mostly work related and one of the popular group is the "ask all Toyota" for employees to pose questions to other Toyota workers around the globe. Another important usage of Chatter in Toyota is the cross-departmental task forces that collaborate across different departments located across the globe and they prefer chatter rather than the traditional email as Chatter allows easy flow of information between collaborators.  Even the senior management in Toyota actively use intranet to communicate with employees and employees keep track of the posts by the senior management. Toyota even implemented a translation service within the chatter so as there will be seamless interaction between Japanese and Non-Japanese employees that enhanced communication among Toyota employees around the world, leading to quicker decision-making and information-sharing as enhanced communication ultimately help to make products and services best suited to consumers. Along with digital modes of communications Toyota also uses face-to-face contact where in Senior management regularly walk around and talk to employees and also regularly hold roundtable discussions. Employees are critical part of organizational success and organizations need to implement platforms that allow communication, collaboration and sharing of information and knowledge between employees and also with senior management so that they can also work together for achieving the organization goals and objectives. Enterprise Social Networks also allow employee engagement with customers and also allow engagement on external social networking platforms too. 

Case Study: Social Media Monitoring @ Toyota analyzes social media data for sales improvement, quality improvement & marketing

Toyota uses social media monitoring to analyze the social media data across social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. to keep a track of what customers are thinking about their cars, specific models, customer feedback, and quality issues and use this data to improve the sales of cars. Social media monitoring and sentiment analysis have become a key element of social media strategy for companies as the customers actively engage on various social networking sites and voice their opinions and often criticisms about the company’s products and services. In a article by Zack Hicks is CIO at Toyota operations in North America and group vice president for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A,Today, we use social media data analysis across many areas--sales, service, quality, marketing and product development. For example, if a customer expresses interest in a car, we can determine engagement by analyzing the frequency of dealership visits via their Foursquare check-ins, understand their dealership experiences, and even understand what features may have sparked their interest in a competitor's product. This allows us to stratify leads based on their readiness to buy, moving stronger leads to the top of the list.” One of the best methods of analyzing the social media data is the keyword correlation and linkages that will help the company analyze what all options the customer looking at before buying the Toyota cars and what keywords customers are using for the search and whether the key words reflect the company’s brand image and reputation.

Social media monitoring also helps in competitive intelligence by using the sentiment analysis the company will study how customers are talking about Toyota’s car models and is that talk is materializing into final purchase of the car by the customer and accordingly use the information in predictive analysis of future sales. Toyota also uses the social media data to understand more about their existing and potential customers like their hobbies, interests, what movies and TV shows they like, what sports they like and what all other social networking platforms they actively use which will help Toyota to do brand collaborations, place ads, promote such events and use their marketing and advertising budgets efficiently. Toyota is also immediately responding to the quality, product and service issues faced by Toyota customers and resolve them as soon as possible to avoid backlash. Toyota is also using social media platforms to identify the prospective customers, analyze their needs and requirements, understand what other brands of cars the customers are looking at and also target the customer with specific offers like discount coupons, providing customers the necessary information and clarifications so that they can make easy and fast decisions. Toyota also uses the data to study the effectiveness and performance of their dealerships and how dealers are pushing the sales as dealers are critical link in the car sales. Social media has become a critical platform for the automobile industry particularly car industry, as the car makers are aggressively using social media for product development and reduce lead times by testing the concepts on social networking sites. Social media monitoring has become a big competitive advantage for the auto industry and Toyota is using the social media monitoring strategy effectively. Social Media Monitoring is proactive strategy that helps companies to understand their customers and develop products accordingly.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Case Study: Audi Social Media Strategy – Twitter & Hashtags linked to Super bowl Ads

Audi is one of the world’s leading premium brands and is among the most admired manufacturer of high-quality and  innovative luxury cars and represented in 110 countries  worldwide. Company success can be attributed to pioneering concepts in the domains of advanced technology and design. Audi had been aggressively building its social media presence for the past few years and the company has widely acclaimed for its innovative social media campaigns particularly its twitter campaigns, a unique bridge between social media and TV, being an early adopter of using hashtags in TV ads. Audi was the first Super Bowl advertiser to attach a hashtag to a Super Bowl spot in 2011 for its ad “#ProgressIs” for “Luxury Prison” that encouraged conversation on Twitter prior to, during and after the game, and Audi also used this similar strategy in its 2014 super bowl ad with #StayUncompromised, based on the “no compromise” strategy promoted in “Doberhuahua.” #WantAnR8 hashtag was originally started by one of Audi company’s followers, was initially organic and then supported by Audi with paid advertising through an ad agency and was also featured in a nationally run TV advertising campaign, along with over a year of social messaging and this hashtag is widely synonymous with Audi social. Audi has presence on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Audi social media strategy is based on long-term goal to "connect consumers in bold new ways and break through the traditional approach to social media platforms." Audi’s largest social media entities including Audi USA on Facebook and @Audi on Twitter are operated by Audi of America. The official Audi R8 has more than 28 million likes, Audi USA page has more than 7.9 million likes and also maintains individual Facebook pages for different countries. Audi used Tagboard to display certain tweets from consumers on a large display screen near its vehicles at the New York Auto show. The automaker has promoted the Tagboard through its Twitter and Facebook channels. Consumers can contribute to the Tagboard by using two hashtags – #Audi and #NYIAS – in their tweet. Audi had been using the various social networking sites to promote its brand and company also utilizes its social user engagement platform to really understand the fans, boost engagement levels and improve the overall user experience. Audi believes fans are most important for the brand success and use the social data about their fans and develop content that significantly improves the customer engagement. 

Audi social media success highlights the fact the automakers can look at social media as a reliable way of engaging with customers and followers. Audi opened digital showrooms in prime city centre retail estate to attract luxury car buyers where vehicles will be displayed virtually, with Audi’s displays being on show on Berlin’s grand Kurfuerstendamm Boulevard in a shop four times smaller than a traditional dealership. All 49 models are available to be seen on multimedia screens without the need for time-squeezed prospective buyers who cannot go on test drive. The digital solution also solves the problem of being able to display a big product range in a small space where footfall is much greater than on the outskirts of urban centres. Audi’s showroom comes with the comforts of a customer lounge alongside its car dealers, who face a new challenge in selling cars which potential buyers are yet to sit in or drive.

Case Study: Starbucks Social Media Strategy – Cross Promotion & Sharing Customer experiences

Starbucks, the premium coffee chain that competes with a unique selling proposition rather comfort and luxury rather than convenient quick service concept has built a significant social media presence across various social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, etc. The company has millions of fans and followers on the social networks and Starbucks uses social media not only to advertise its offerings but also occasionally drives customers to various stores located across the globe through promotional offerings. The Starbucks Facebook Page was created in 2008, with a total fan count of around 17,544,417 and 36,359,483 likes and Starbucks Twitter page has more than 18,300 tweets and 58 million followers. Apart from Facebook and Twitter Facebook social media strategy is built around their company web site and additional social platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Youtube, and My Starbucks Ideas. On Instagram the company has 400 posts and more than 2.1 million followers. Starbucks has more than a million followers and posts content every few days with nearly all of it taken from its Facebook page and Twitter feed.

One of the most important for Starbucks social media success can be attributed to the fact that the fans and followers of the company can easily post the pictures, videos, tweets and status updates on the various social networking sites. Company actively encourages to share the in store experiences of the customers and also talk about their coffee and also promotes the customer stories on its social network pages which has encouraged the customer to build a long term relationship with the company and the company also benefited from the active consumer following on the social networking sites. Starbucks also is very active on the image based social networking sites like Pinterest and Instagram, where customers share their Starbucks moments—whether it be the return of a favorite holiday drink or just an artsy coffee cup shot. Customers along with their happy moments also share the promotional offers and new product launches too. Starbucks promotional programs include My Starbucks Rewards, personalized "signature" drinks, and localized store experiences. Social cross-promotion has been gaining prominence in the digital world and the company uses this strategy well as when Starbucks takes a photo, it shares it on Instagram, posts it to Facebook, tweets it on Twitter, pins it on Pinterest.

Starbucks has over the years built a strong loyal customer base of coffee drinkers who are not bothered about price but like the company’s unique selling proposition of good coffee, quality service, and a nice environment to hang around. Along with focusing on high quality coffee and customer service the company also works on many charitable initiatives. A team of five people manage the company’s social media presence and the company is sticking to principle of more customer created content rather than the company creating and posting the content on the social networking sites. Starbucks also understands the fact that each social networking site has its own unique set of users and the company needs to reach the users with appropriate content which can be done by encouraging their customers to share their experience actively through pictures, videos, posts, status updates and comments. This strategy has helped the company dominate the social media space and rank among the top companies in terms of social media presence. 

Social Media Advertising revenues expected to continue growth till 2017, marketers cautious

According to a report by emarketer, social media advertising revenues in US are expected to reach close to US$ 4.5 billion in 2013 and also predict the revenues to grow by more than billion dollars and reach close to US$ 6 billion in 2014 and reach US$ 7 billion in 2015. According to BIA/Kelsey’s U.S. Social Local Media Forecast, social display ad revenues in the U.S. will grow from $4.3 billion in 2013 to $6.8 billion in 2017, a 12.6 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR). During the same period, U.S. native social advertising, spurred primarily by Facebook’s Sponsored Stories and Twitter’s Promoted Tweets, will more than double, from $2.4 billion to nearly $5 billion, a 20.3 percent CAGR. U.S. social mobile ad revenues are expected to grow from $1.6 billion in 2013 (up 250 percent from 2012) to $3.5 billion by 2017, a 21.3 percent CAGR. BIA/Kelsey projects total U.S. social media advertising revenues will grow from $6.7 billion in 2013 to $11.9 billion in 2017, representing a CAGR of 15.5 percent. Locally targeted social advertising will grow at a 22.6 percent CAGR, from $1.7 billion in 2013 to $3.9 billion in 2017.

Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, LinkedIn, Google+,  etc. are the major social networking sites that are expected to drive revenue growth and they are investing heavily on the advertising platforms and looking to monetize. But the crucial fact is that all the major social networking sites are struggling with mobile advertising platforms as majority of the social networking sites users are using their mobile devices to access social networking sites rather than personal computing devices like laptops and desktops. Facebook is still experimenting and constantly changing their website layouts and also experimenting with different types of brand pages format and also the ad display formats. Almost all the social networking sites are seeing good growth in revenues but the amount spent on social media advertising is small compared to the traditional television, print and even overall digital advertising like search and Google ads. Reasons for this is that marketers are not able to exactly quantify the return on investment of the social media advertising, effect on customers in terms of retention and satisfaction levels.

According to Dachis group social media predictions for 2014, less than 10% of advertising budgets are allocated to social channels, Social media budgets will only be 12% of all marketing spend in 2014, and despite the critical importance of content to seed social marketing and community engagement efforts, only 9% of marketers have a full time blogger. Yet over 70% of marketers plan on increasing their investment in social media in 2014. Image based social networking sites like Instagram, Pinterest, Video based sites like We Chat and chat based social networking sites like WhatsApp, etc. also causing confusion in the marketers as there is an argument that fatigue is setting in Facebook site users and they are slowly moving away to other social networking sites. Even the reemergence of blogging is also attracting the marketers to look back at it. Overall marketers are looking for quality engagement rather than quantity engagement on social media sites and are also recruiting specialists who will help them effectively manage the social media presence. Social networking sites on their behalf have to make sure their advertising platforms deliver the best value. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Case Study: Unilever Social Media Strategy – Internal Digital Social Platform & Project Sunshine

Unilever Plc sells more than 400 brands of products across the world in 190 countries and the company iconic global brands include Dove soap, Hellman's mayo, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Axe deodorant, etc. Unilever is world's No. 2 consumer-goods company and spends more than US$10 billion on advertising and promotion of its products. In 2013 end, Unilever launched an internal companywide social media campaign Project Sunshine that shifted from different marketing campaigns for individual products in different countries to a new strategy that promotes the brands' social-mission stories and urges consumers to make small changes in their own lives—changes that generally involve buying Unilever products. The company shifted its focus based on the fact across consumer products industry most of the players have realized social media as cheapest and effective way of reaching customers and also need to have a centralized marketing strategy which will enhance the effectiveness of social media strategy overall. Social media marketing is different from traditional marketing as social media is real-time and companies need to sense and respond immediately and constantly review and change their social media strategy.

The internal digital platform was designed and built by Accenture using Chatter, the enterprise social networking technology, that will help Unilever connect its marketers, brand managers and partners in 190 countries and enables sharing of knowledge, best practices and creative assets across the company. According to Accenture press release, “The new applications boost collaboration amongst our marketers globally, helping them to easily find people, information and conversations that they should be a part of,” said Marc Mathieu, SVP Marketing, Unilever. “The platform provides our team with the tools they need to develop and build our brands in local markets, which is critical to driving our ‘Crafting Brands for Life’ strategy. It also frees up time for our team to create more magic – that is, to engage with consumers and create more effective marketing, which will be key to delivering our ambition to double the size of our business while reducing our environmental footprint and increasing our social impact.”

For effective social marketing the digital platform will help Unilever brand team create a central hub that showcases individual brands and allows marketers and partners participate in conversations and also access relevant content and assets. There also has to be collaboration with the central brand teams in company headquarters and local teams in different countries so that company maintains uniform brand strategy on various social networking sites. “These tools really help us harness the power of the brands, the power of the people in Unilever and our agency partners – that combination is very powerful for us,” said Mark McClennon, CIO Consumer, Unilever. Unilever believes social media savvy consumers are expecting from the company high ethical standards, accountability and transparency across all the company’s brands and Unilever is using the social networking sites to deliver the message of sustainable living.