I think you nailed it with the description of social media communication.
However, you mention that:
"Since the growth of many-to-many communication is roughly the square of the number of customers divided by 2"
Are you sure it's not the root mean square? Just kidding. I've learned not to challenge your mathematics.
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btw, if you don't like reading and want to see a short cartoon on how this, check out http://www.lithium.com/what-we-offer/#/lithium/video-tour/ . It's the hors d'œuvre for the webinar (which you should still check out)
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I feel like every day that passes, I read about a company that is leveraging the power of its brand advocates and influencers to increase its "kwan". Do you know "kwan"? It was from the movie "Jerry Maguire". In the words of Cuba Gooding Jr.'s character, Rod Tidwell, "Yeah, man, it means love, respect, community... and the dollars too. The package. The kwan."
Just today I read an article in the New York Times about Procter and Gamble reaching influential bloggers for the BlogHer 2009 conference in Chicago to present their new and updated Swiffer Wet Jet. As Beth Feldman, one of the bloggers who helped organize the P&G event stated, "“It’s not just about blogs anymore. It’s about the numerous ways you can get the word out to people that can make an impact."
"But Tim," you say, "we don't have access to these legions of bloggers. We're at the front door of the social party and the doorman says that our company's name isn't on the guest list!" What if I told you that right under your nose, among your existing customers, are influencers and enthusiasts, advocates and promoters (if you subscribe to the Net Promoter approach). What if I were to further state that there are tools that would allow you to identify these folks and let them do what they do best -- recommend your products and services to a whole array of people out there, some of whom your company has done business with but many of whom have not yet interacted with your company?
That would be a powerful statement indeed. Not one to shy away from being outrageous, I further state that with these tools, my sales and marketing friends, you can build programs that build upon themselves and can grow with little to no incremental cost. Now you're probably thinking that the combination of Peet's coffee and Laffy Taffy at the Lithium office has taken its toll, but I swear this to be true.
Lithium customers are seeing these kinds of results -- and now it's your chance to hear it firsthand. Check out our free webinar on Weds., July 29 (11 AM PDT) "The Power of Customer Influence: Mobilizing and Engaging Your Customer Base." You'll hear from two distinguished speakers who offer different angles on the topic:
Kevin Ryan - VP of Social Media, Barnes & Noble
Jeffrey Zabin - VP and Research Fellow, Customer Management, Aberdeen Group
The webinar is moderated by Lithium's own Joe Cothrel, Chief Community Officer.
So come check it out. Get your company on the guestlist. You will find an exciting, dynamic world of customer interactions and relationships that you may not have previously thought possible... and in time, you, too, will get that kwan.
Althought the webinar is free, attendance is limited, so reserve your spot now!
About the author
Tim Hsu is a Director of Customer Success at Lithium Technologies. He primarily views himself as a marketer and creative in a business operations and strategy role, and jumped at the opportunity to write about this topic. He is also writing about himself in the third person right now.
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Question: What happens when a national fast food chain removes its signature item (burger, as it was) from the menu?
Better yet, what if you caught those reactions on hidden camera?
That was the premise "Whopper Freakout" campaign for Burger King, architected by Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B). (Click on the graphic to jump to the site, www.whopperfreakout.com)
...and yes, some of them do freak out. Consumers do that from time to time, I'm told.
Random Burger King restaurant removes Whopper from their menu for a day. Customers that tried to order the Whopper were told that the Whopper was no longer available FOREVER. Consumers' reactions were taped.
Other patrons who ordered Whoppers were given burgers from other fast food chains. When they went back to the counter to complain, their reactions were captured. (If they asked to speak to the manager, The King made a cameo.)
The beauty of this campaign was the authenticity of the comments and reactions. We don't know what hit the editing room floor, but the clips that we see show people reminiscing about their histories with the Whopper. As advertising is often criticized for being contrived and unauthentic, these stories were very visceral and real.
Of course, there should ultimately be some business value in all of this, or so I'm told. The campaign was also credited with helping with a double-digit increase in quarterly sales for the Whopper.
As much as I liked the campaign, though, it would have been better if there were a community presence where consumers were asked to share their own stories about their histories with the Whopper, and how they had to walk 10 miles in the snow uphill both ways to go to their favorite Burger King.
Although the campaign was run at the end of '07, CP+B earned a Grand Effie for it a few weeks ago. Congratulations to CP+B; it is a really good campaign.
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