Archive for ‘Branding’

August 14, 2014

Your kids are sellouts, and they don’t even know it [Documentary]

Are you a sell out? How about your kid?

Frontline’s documentary “Generation Like” tells the story of how businesses use social media and big data to sell their wares to members of Generation Z (people born between 1995 and 2010).  It urges you to think about this topic from two angles. First, the teens’ perspective. Do they know they are being marketed to, and if so, do they even care? Wrapped in with this is the parental anxiety that exists for those parents who are not up-to-date with social media and digital technology. The second perspective is from the world of business marketing. The film gets into discussions about YouTube fame, collaborations, product integration, and content creation. It asks questions like: how much is a “like” worth? Or a friend? A follower? Or most importantly, the “share”.

This documentary primary focuses on the tactics businesses use to “empower” youth to spread marketing messages within their personal social media networks. One teen in this film spends her free time liking and sharing all the Hunger Games content she can possibly find to earn “sparks”. A currency only relevant to Hunger Games movies, that cannot be redeemed for prizes, but it’s used to keep score of who are the world’s biggest Hunger Games fans. Public recognition and a sense of belonging is used as the primary motivator for her behaviour.

GenerationLikeImageThe film also considers how these teens interact with traditional consumer brands, and if these youths are aware that they are being marketed to. At one point the film’s author asked members of Generation Z what it means to sell out…and none of them could give the traditional Baby Boomer or Generation X version of the term. In fact, they really had no clue what selling out was. One puzzled-looking teen thought that selling out means that there are no tickets left for a concert. Although technically correct, I can assure you that this wasn’t the context in which the term was being used.

The film definitely has some cringe-worthy moments. The most notable example I observed was a section near the end of the film when a mother discusses helping her 12 year-old daughter take and post photos to Instagram – her advice “if she (her daughter) wants to get the most likes, I know that all we have to post full body shots” (cringe).

I use this documentary as a piece of course content for the Social Media Management courses I teach in the Public Relations (PR) program at  Algonquin College. Students have written some fantastic reflection pieces on how this documentary has changed their view of how business and social media interact, and what implications it may have on their personal and professional (PR) lives.

You can watch the full doc, and access plenty of bonus content, on the Frontline website… Or use the video above to stream it directly from YouTube (there are more ads  in the YouTube version). Definitely a worth the watch.

 

 

November 11, 2013

You are what you tweet: Researchers predict users’ gender with 92% accuracy

How often do you think about what you are telling the world about yourself when you post an update to your social media profiles? Well, it turns out that you are being studied, whether you know it or not. Earlier this fall, PLOSone published a study that aimed to link the vocabulary netizens use with their age, gender, and select personality traits. The unique twist on this study was the methodology. Instead of using known word correlations to base their analysis on, they adopted an open vocabulary approach in an attempt to “find connections that are not captured with traditional closed-vocabulary word-category analyses”.

The use of the open vocabulary approach yielded some interesting results:

1. Men are much more likely to use profanity and talk about gaming while women seem to be much more positive and upbeat. *The size of the word in the word clouds below indicates the strength of the correlation; color indicates relative frequency of usage. Underscores (_) connect words of multi-word phrases.

MenvsWomen

 

2. Your age can be determined based on whether you talk about school, work or family.

Age

 

3. Extroverts like to party, introverts like the internet, neurotics use angry and depressed language, and the emotional stable like….basketball?

PersonalityTraits

 

4. Finally, the people in your social media networks who’s updates are negative, profanity-filled, and often tiresome, may rank low on the agreeableness, openness, and conscientiousness scale.

Agreeable

Beyond simply being “interesting”, these correlations will further help communicators and marketers get their message in front of the right audience – You need to know where your audience “lives” before you can influence them. Be sure to check out the full study “Personality, Gender, and Age in the Language of Social Media: The Open-Vocabulary Approach” for the complete methodology and findings.

August 8, 2013

A great start to social media customer service by Ryobi Power Tools

ryobiIf you’ve ever walked into Home Depot, you’ve probably seen the name Ryobi more than a few times. It’s their in-house line of power tools and accessories. Over the years, I’ve found myself buying a few of their products including drills, saws, sanders, even weed whackers. This summer, one of my garage projects was to refinish two dressers. Of course the first step in the process is to remove the existing finish. Enter the Ryobi Orbital Sander (P410). Things were going along well, until the sander decided to stop cold. I tried to get it going again without any luck. Turns out, the place where the battery connects to the unit had broken, and I needed a new switch assembly. I thought “no problem, I’ll just order a new one from their website and finish the project next weekend.” The part itself was about $11, but the shipping to Canada was $35, leaving me with a bill of nearly $50 to repair a $40 sander.

I quickly sent an email off to the company to see if there was anything we could do to lower the shipping costs (I eventually received a very unhelpful response from the email team). At the same time, I called Official Ryobi Service Centres from Ottawa to Toronto to see if they had the part in stock. I was told several times that the part was on back order and it would be at least a two-week wait.

Seemingly stuck in my situation, I thought I’d reach out to their social media team to see if they could help me. After a few friendly twitter and email exchanges with Brian at Ryobi, it took less than a half-an-hour from my initial tweet to resolving the issue (a replacement sander is on the way courtesy of Ryobi). Here’s how it looked on Twitter:

Through my conversation with Brian, I learned that using Twitter for customer service is rather new for Ryobi (their account was created just about a month ago), but they are definitely doing it the right way. Three key elements of social media customer service  that I think Ryobi did particularly well are:

1. Fast response to the initial issue (they had replied to my first tweet in under 10 minutes). A company doesn’t have to fix all of the problems within the first 10 minutes, but a the quick acknowledgement of the issue goes a long way.

2. Friendly service. It pays to be pleasant. I’ve encountered CSRs at other companies who either blame the customer for the issue, or simply refer the customer to a website to learn more about their “policies”. Ryobi was fast, to the point, helpful, and polite.

3. Actually resolving the situation. It appears that Ryobi has empowered its social media team to resolve issues and solve problems. I did not have to be “transferred to another department” or “speak with a supervisor” to get things done. I had a problem, Ryobi fixed it. Simple as that.

Good job, Ryobi.

September 15, 2012

Talknowledgy Episode #98: iPhone 5, fake sex site profiles, caught with pot, & more

The top story in this episode is the  largest tech story of the week – The iPhone 5 announcement. We take a look at the new features, upgrades, and how it stacks up to the competition. On the legal side, Apple may not be able to sell their new device in the US for long due to alleged infringement on Samsung’s and HTC’s patents. The phone, by the way, is due out September 21.

We also chat about people being caught behaving badly online. Law enforcement officials are using photo sharing sites, like Instagram, to track down and persecute people who post images of themselves using drugs. And in the “Creepy or Awesome?!” segment we share our thoughts about an Ottawa restaurant owner plead guilty to creating a fake sex profile site to get back at one of her customers for writing a bad online review of her restaurant.

We discuss anonymous comments – are they better than using Facebook for your comment system?

Phil drops into the Social Media Breakfast Ottawa to chat with Collin Douma, Global Digital Planning Director at BBDO New York, about how the digital age is putting an end to demographics. (Phil may have incorrectly identified Collin’s title in the podcast, and he regrets the error).

Finally, our viral video this week is courtesy of Jimmy Kimmel Live as he claims to have the first iPhone 5:

If you liked the show, feel free to subscribe to this blog or our RSS feed to make sure you’re always up-to-date with Talknowledgy.

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