Thursday, May 15, 2014

Case Study: Social Media Strategy @ Mercedes Benz – Targeting young Customers through Social Media

Mercedes Benz has been actively engaging with customers and prospective customers particularly younger generation customers as part of its marketing and sales strategy "Mercedes-Benz 2020 - Best Customer Experience". Worldwide, Mercedes Benz has around 23.5 million fans on the national and international Mercedes-Benz Facebook pages and the company has successfully set up a benchmark in the automotive sector in terms of engaging with fans and customers. Mercedes Benz has two million likes, shares and comments monthly at the international Facebook page highlights the aggressive fan engagement who discusses the brand and its products. To attract younger generation customers like 21- to 29-year-old potential consumers who felt Mercedes Benz cars as “stuffy” and more suited to their parents’ generation, the company launched the new CLA-Class cars that feature a compact design and a relatively low price — models start at less than $30,000.

Mercedes put its main marketing focus on social networking and first established a partnership with famous filmmaker Case Neistat who in exchange for a CLA car, made four videos showing his personal experience with Mercedes’ vehicles. Mercedes also invited Instagram’s five most popular photographers to drive CLA vehicles and post photos to the site. The photographer whose post garnered the most attention won a car. Mercedes-Benz’s Nathan Tan, a supervisor of advertising said that the social media marketing effort paid off as the average age for CLA buyers fell by 11 years which is younger compared to Mercedes buyers in general. “Mercedes ended up with an 82 percent conquest rate, or percentage of new buyers who had previously chosen another brand. Seventy percent of new buyers had never previously bought a luxury car. “It was the greatest advertising in Mercedes’ history,” said Nathan Tan.

Mercedes uses Instagram along with Facebook and Twitter successfully in a powerful way and has the most active fans among all car brands. Mercedes plans on increasing these social networking platforms in 2014 to further tap into a younger generation of buyers. Instagram Shootout is where car photographers can post images on the Mercedes-Benz channel which can be rated by users to determine the winner. Since 2009 the company has been using social networking when it launched a professional journalistic network to maintain close contact with a large number of international online opinion leaders from a range of different areas, from cars and technology to fashion, design and lifestyle. Mercedes-Benz marketing strategy for the all-new 2014 CLA-Class is working well and the company believes social media as a critical platform to attract a new generation of younger buyers who have never purchased a Mercedes vehicle before. Luxury car manufacturers are aggressively engaging with fans, customers and potential customers on various social networking sites as they have to constantly engage with above set of people, build brand reputation and increase the aspiration to own the brand’s products.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Social Media @ UBS – Social Media Monitoring outsourced to Accenture to hedge reputational risk

UBS, global financial services provider started using the social media and social data to manage reputation risks since 2010 when the company deployed Jive Software, but the initial intention of monitoring is to provide customer service on social networking sites. Later UBS started combining social data and other media reports like news reports with internal data to identify reputation risks and garner insights to assess its risk exposure before doing business with clients. UBS understands the importance of reputational and professional risks in the financial industry as any damage to these risks will have a significant effect on the bank’s business. Social Media mentions, posts, comments and updates by customers and people posted on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. have a significant effect on the firm’s brand reputation. According to Accenture Case Study titled “Keeping Track: Social Media Monitoring UBS”, “Swiss banking giant UBS is using social media monitoring as an integral component of its communication strategy. The bank wants to get a good snapshot of its public image and identify what type of issues are gaining importance in the banking industry. “First, we want to listen carefully to, and meticulously evaluate, what customers are saying about us and what they expect,” says Michael Willi, Chief Communication Officer at UBS. “If we succeed, we can use social media to better address the different target groups.” Customers are actively engaging on the various social networking sites and are posting both negative and positive comments on social networking sites and financial services firms have to monitor and respond to them or else there will be significant effect on the firm’s brand reputation in the highly competitive financial services industry.

UBS has outsourced its social media monitoring to Accenture which helps them to effectively monitor activity on social media platforms and identify the posts, comments and tweets that could affect its brand and reputation, and respond or countermeasure them fast and efficiently there by reducing the damage. Accenture employees at the Delivery Center Warsaw study comments made on German, Spanish and Portuguese social media sites located in central and southern Europe and Latin America. The Delivery Center in Mumbai, India, processes postings made in Western Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific (Source: “Keeping Track: Social Media Monitoring UBS”). Accenture tracks and monitors comments in social media in English, German, Spanish and Portuguese. Accenture delivers detailed reports on a regular (daily, weekly or ad hoc) basis and these reports are based on the tracking results and additional analysis. UBS gets a comprehensive view on the various social media platforms and UBS Brand Management and Communications Department relies on Accenture to collect and analyze information. Financial Services industry is highly regulated and firms need to follow the stringent regulations and accordingly have to manage their social media presence and customer engagement. It is not easy to keep track of the various social networking sites and it requires highly advanced technologies and analytical tools to capture and analyze social data and use it in further improving the existing and launching new products and services. 

Case Study: Social Media Marketing Strategy @ JPMorgan Chase – Customer Service & Relationship Management on Twitter

JPMorgan Chase, United States biggest bank has been actively using Twitter majorly for customer service as the bank's customer-service team responded to complaints, queries and also offered solutions to the problems and redressed the customer grievances. J.P. Morgan's customer-service account alone has more than 26,000 followers on Twitter and has sent more than 90,000 tweets since its inception. “A lot of people think that Twitter is a fad and you can’t really use it effectively to talk to customers,” Bianca Buckridee, a VP of social media with JP Morgan Chase told a recent panel discussion, according to a report by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton business school. Buckridee’s team responds directly to questions, using personalized accounts with photos attached – making for a more intimate connection with JP Morgan Chase staff. In November 2013, JPMorgan tried to conduct an online discussion with one of its executives by asking questions via the Twitter hashtag "#AskJPM" and was forced to cancel the even within six hours as Twitter users tweeted hundreds of messages for the event that were either jokes or negative questions about the company's business practices. The planned Q&A was quickly aborted. "Tomorrow's Q&A is canceled. Bad idea. Back to the drawing board," the bank tweeted. JPMorgan Chase also uses its twitter account to also provide the news, policy changes and also information about bank’s product and service offerings.

In January 2014, JPMorgan Chase promoted Kristin Lemkau to chief marketing officer who announced her plans to build out the bank's online digital marketing capabilities and also rework the bank’s social media presence that took beating due to the twitter fiasco. In an interview with American Banker, Kristin Lemkau said, "If you look at our digitally owned channels, we just don't have as rich a strategy as some of our competitors do," she added, citing the company's lack of a main Facebook page and room for improvement with its website. She feels the bank needs to talk more about the good things it is doing on various social networking sites so as to improve its social media reputation. Mobile phones are another area where Lemkau is hoping to "find better ways frankly of reaching our customers." Despite many challenges and regulatory issues Banks have to increase their presence and consumer engagement significantly as the customers are actively engaging g on various social media platforms and networking sites and address the grievances and also provide the necessary information related to policy changes, rules, regulations and products and services. To further strengthen its efforts JPMorgan Chase recruited Susan Canavari as Chief Brand Officer for Chase for leading strategy and development for the consumer brand, including advertising, creative services and social media marketing and reports to Kristin Lemkau, the firm’s Chief Marketing Officer. JPMorgan Chase is not only looking at social media as way of engaging with customers but also use the data on various social networking sites to further improve the bank’s product and service offerings. 

Case Study: Social Media @ Wells Fargo – Listening to Customers through Social Media Command Center

Wells Fargo made significant investments to set up its Social Media Marketing unit over the past 5 years for listening and evaluating the voice of their customers on various social networking sites and platforms effectively and respond to their grievances and queries. In an interview with Portada,  Wells Fargo's CMO Jamie Moldafsky  said, "In the past 18 months we established new policies and processes, engaged partners and people, and launched new platforms to move from social test/learn to having a robust social business. We have a hub and spoke model where an enterprise team develops the capabilities, accelerants and guardrails for the company to follow." Wells Fargo established "social media command center" in San Francisco and a backup location in Charlotte — where employees keep an eye on  eight large screens that display Tweets, Facebook posts and other social media content published about the brand, engage with consumers on topics that are trending and quickly respond to specific customer queries.

Both the command centers are constantly monitored by dedicated staff five days a week, 12 hours a day and the bank deployed technology of that monitors the mentions of its name around the clock so that the bank keep watch on customer’s response to various products and services, or initiatives such as establishing more computerized smaller branches. "It's a fundamental change to consumer behavior," says Renee Brown, the head of the enterprise social media team at Wells Fargo. "[Social media] is the new water cooler and street corner where people are gathering to talk.” The monitoring is also helps in better handling of complaints and negative comments as large banks regularly face complaints related to everything from poor branch service to questionable fees to their handling of foreclosures, and in the social media world it is very important for banks to quickly acknowledge the complaints and make an effort to resolve them. As part of its social media outreach, Wells Fargo has a "social care" unit to which it refers many of its customer complaints.

In the year 2013, Wells Fargo was mentioned more than one million times on social media sites and comments included a mix of positive and negative comments. In an interview with Portada, Wells Fargo's CMO Jamie Moldafsky said, "in 2013, we significantly increased engagement, fans and followers and have seen improvements in sentiment by integrating and moving toward a socially engaged business. We’re excited about the engagement we’ve experienced so far."  We have a terrific team of more than 75 social practitioners that meet regularly across all of our businesses to build and support our social media content and programs. Social media also allows us to spread our marketing messages very quickly and effectively, particularly when integrated into our marketing campaigns. When our millions of fans tell their friends that they like our products and services which helps change perception more than anything else." Wells Fargo have always been an early adopters of technology and Wells Fargo executives were the first in banking industry to adopt the new social, mobile technologies to help deepen customer relationships.