This is an excerpt of the deck I presented as part of Harvard Business School’s Alumni webinar series on May 8, 2013. If you happen to be a HBS Alumnus, you can catch the replay here. I will continue to fine-tune this presentation with the intent of publishing an e-book on the topic. The Business of Serendipity is the quest to recognize patterns that may lead to moments rich with the promise of serendipity. Social media is just the platform for this quest.
From a personal perspective, I’m a fan of Pinterest. From a business perspective, I am a HUGE fan of Pinterest. Why? Well the stats are staggering on how much the site, while still in beta, has grown to the point where it drives more referring traffic than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined! Pinterest is becoming an increasingly important tactic for all of the social media strategist of ecommerce sites and retail brands.
Armchair Psychology behind the Pin
To understand the success of Pinterest you have to understand the psychology behind the act of “pinning”. Pinning is a declaration. A declaration that the Pinned image (ergo the object(s) in the image) is worth sharing. It could simply be beautiful photograph or work of art but most of what you’ll find are objects of desire. When Pinners create Boards (collections of Pins) they become a collage of that pinner’s visual representation of their personal brand crafted (intentionally or subliminally) for public consumption. Public, mind you. Not just for friends. Pinners are curators of whatever they deem shareable. There’s even a gaming mechanic the comes in the reward of having their Pin “repinned” by as many people as possible. Repinning is not exactly a follow of Twitter and it’s far from the Friend on Facebook. It’s more like a hat-tip to say thanks for sharing. Eventually, the hat-tips become follows of a pinner’s board or entire collection of Boards. Because the act of Pinning and Repinning is so effortless and visually driven it becomes in some ways more of an act of lust rather than a gesture of love or even a “Like”. But that’s the secret sauce of Pinterest – we as marketers can turn that lust into sales and brand equity.
Purchase Intent and the Pin
There are many adjectives that can explain reasons behind a Pin such as “cool”, “interesting”, “amazing” but I’m more interested in one verb – “Want”. It’s easy for eTailers to be fooled by the visceral, lustful and even passionate act of thousands of Pins as a love of the brand. It’s not. It’s a collective of individuals declarations of “Want” of the brand’s object. Remember, they’re going by visuals alone. The difference between converting a Pin to a one-off sale versus converting the Pinner to a lifelong customer is still driven by the immutable laws of branding. Lust, love or like, the act of Pinning speaks volumes on purchase intent. And it’s because of this, that Pinterest is a game changer for eTailer and retail brands. Our challenge create catalyst that drive conversion in their moment of attraction.
Turning a Pin into a Win
So in the end Pinterest is going to be force to be reckoned with. What do you do? Pinterest does not yet have any kind of advertising model that we as marketers can leverage to reach our target audience. So how do you turn a Pin into a win? Here are just a few quick ideas to get the Pinning started.
- Ask for Follow
This may seem obvious, but invite visitors to follow you by adding a Pinterest button on your site.
- Find Influencers on Pinterest
Sign up for PinReach to discover, follow and engage Pinterest influencers in your category.
- Search for Your Brand’s Wants
In the Pinterest search box, type in the word “Want” and your brand/product and follow those who have mentioned you then repin their Pins. For example, type in “Want Victoria’s Secret” and you’ll see a cavalcade of Pins.
- Reward your Frequent Pinners
Reward your frequent Pinners. To find them, type http://pinterest.com/source/YourDomain to see who your most passionate Pinners are and reward them in them in a big and very public way. Promote your Pinterest campaign across all channels.
- Make your site “Pinterest Friendly”
Turn Pinterest into a powerful branding and PR tool. Make your site Pinterest friendly by peppering it with imagery that is “Pinteresting”. Invest in photography, create stunning visuals, get creative with your product shots but think about what that image will look like as a 200×200 pixels. Most importantly, be sure the images are recognizable by Pinterest. Flash content, for example, is a no go. Look what happened when I tried to Pin the Nike+ Fuelband!
- Create “Pin Farms”
Yes product shots should be beautiful but why not create a what I call a “Pin Farm”? What’s a Pin Farm? It’s an easily browsable gallery of photos of really Pinteresting shots with your products featured in them. Design the page(s) to drive Pins. Five word, keyword rich captions and an easy way to convert to a sale.
- Mobilize the Pin
Don’t forget about Pinterest’s mobile app! Put some “Pin This” calls to action on your displays and encourage real-life pins. Better yet, use QR code to drive to the Pinterest page of the real life object and ask for the Pin.
- Architect Your Boards’ Information
Organize your Pinterest Boards to align with your product categories. If they don’t align with what is organically happening on Pinterest, you may want to rethink your site’s information architecture. As people browse your brand’s Pinterest page, they should be able to find accessories for example, as quickly and easily as they would on your site.
- Tagging for Dollars
Be sure to put a “$” and price for your Pinned products. It will show up under the “Gifts” tab and SCREAMS “buy me” in the process.
- Pinteresting to SEO
You can leverage Pinterest to drive traffic to your site if you optimize your Pinterest brand page for image search. Here’s a great post I found on Google+ with nice tips.
- Ask for the Pin
Along with your Like, +1 and Tweet buttons on each product on your eCommerce site, be sure to add your “Pin This” button.
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If your in the fashion arena, I highly recommend Pose.com. It went live around the time of Pinterest and has a eerily similar user interface. The main difference is this is consumer generated content where “Posers” snap photos of themselves wearing their favorite fashions then post to Pose for peer review. Follow the influencers including Rachel Zoe and engage. Heck, might as well Pin your Poses!
Google+ is rolling out a new interface that replaces the black utility bar across the top of the page. In the video, it show how elegantly it cascades to reveal all of the different services that integrate into G+.
Lovely or Scary?
Well I decided to take inventory of all of the Google services I’m using and what it means to my privacy. Here’s what I came up with:
They know the names, emails and numbers of all of my contacts. They know every single correspondent to/from each and every one of them.
They know where I’m going to be and when
They know the formulas for my estimating and the board minutes from my meetings
They know everything I find important enough to save
They know my entire web surfing history
They know the routes I’ve taken
They know how many times I’ve viewed the cute kitten videos
// Picasa (only because of G+)
Now they’ll have my kids birthday pictures
Ok. I maybe checked in once. But chances are it will be integrated into the G+ experience
// Google Voice
They know the who and time every inbound and outbound calls and the transcript of every voice mail and text sent to my phone
They know what I’m passionate about learning
They know what songs I listen to and which ones I love
They know the behaviors of the visitors to my wife’s site
The traffic of my site and nearly every one of my clients
This is the glue. The master plan. They now know who my friends are and what circle I’d categorize them. Where I check in and when. What I like and what I love. I’m going to +1 my world.
// OH YEAH…and Search!
Every keyword I’ve ever searched
WHY DO WE DO THIS?
I’m ok with the price I’m paying. I have nothing to hide or to be embarrassed about.
But darn it, Google…
……don’t you DARE hurt me!
The launch of The Daily on the iPad is likely to be a step in the right direction, but media companies (Newspapers, Periodicals, TV & Radio) are still trying to put an engine on a horse-drawn buggy and calling it a car.
The Bad News First
Media companies need to realize that going digital is not just about turning picas into pixels. It’s about sparking a relevant dialogue that is wrapped around content delivered at the right time on the right device that empowers that user experience.
The best example of what NOT to do is my hometown’s newspaper, The Columbus Dispatch (locally owned along w/ TV & Radio Stations). By now you’ve heard of Ted Williams, the homeless man with the golden voice. Well, the paper had YouTube remove the video due to copyright claims. True as it may be, had the video not been posted, it would never have gone viral. They insisted on viewing the video on THEIR site in hopes of benefiting from the ad impressions. Hours later after backlash from twitterverse, the video was back up, but now on the paper’s YouTube channel (great!).
But this “mine, mine, mine” philosophy about content is the same antiquated approach the music industry had about MP3 downloads. As soon as they realized that the horse and buggy industry was gone, they adapted and are reemerging and embracing the digital space.
The Good News
Media companies power is NOT in controlling the content, but rather creating, curating, validating and distributing the content. Think about it. You’re pitching a company on a big project and you need facts. What’s more reputable – a quote from my blog or The New York Times? Media company’s editorial process means the content is well written and based on fact. Their access to the insiders of a story is deep and wide which ultimately means better content.
The Inconvenient Truth
This is NOT 1990 anymore.
The internet changed EVERYTHING.
Facebook changed EVERYTHING.
Twitter changed EVERYTHING.
Content is everywhere so convincing viewers that your content is better is like Gary Vaynerchuck convincing the guy chugging Boone’s Farm that a $50 of wine tastes better! YOU know it’s better! I know it’s better! But to the Boone’s Farm guy?…Not so much. And even then, I’m not convinced it’s worth what your charging. I am convinced, however, that when I subscribe to a newspaper I get a tangible object delivered to me. The exchange of value is simple to demonstrate. But content delivered to me on screen?? It’s not the same.
What to Do?
Here’s where I think media companies are missing the boat…ARCHIVES! This is where people can and will be willing to pay. Imagine if you will, a freemium subscription model for media companies where they BREAK the free news that goes viral because they empowered consumers to share as they see fit under creative commons. They get the traffic as long as the story is hot. They’re on their home turf doing what you do best -breaking important news. NOW, let’s say a year later, I’m writing a report to submit to a client and this story has the facts I need to cite. THIs is where I’d be willing to pay for premium content. I’ll pay market value for that news story. The price is set by demand tracked by their analytics and social sentiment. So one story may be $50, while another may be $1. The best part? Subscribers get the story for free! Think about it, pay $50 for 1 story or for a 1 year subscription. The choice is obvious. Now your web site is a backchannel for all stories and the breaking story is the gateway. News breaks that relates to archived story? Sell it!!
In A Nut Shell
- Your content is not as valuable as you think.
- Your content does not belong to you. Liberate your content to the masses and the masses will thank you! Ask Ted Williams.
- Create user experiences that are designed for the device in which the content is consumed. Repurposing content is a no no.
- Don’t treat your digital ad inventory like the red-headed step child. It has value if you hire someone to monetize it to it’s potential.
- Forget everything you think you know or you will be a black smith serving horseless society.
- What you learn about digital this will be old news by evening drive time so don’t just break news, break new ground.
DIGITAL BRILLIANCE HISTORY LESSON
Now I know what it must have felt like to watch the lunar landing! Watching the twitterverse buzz over the @oldspice’s video replies to tweets and comments from across the web made me feel like I was witnessing (in real-time) an epic paradigm shift and birth of the benchmark for which all ad campaigns will be measured for years to come.
The first seismic shift happened in 1999 during Super Bowl XXXIII with the Victoria’s Secret’s spot promoting their Webcast fashion show. Then in 2001, BMW created a stir with their high quality film shorts featuring world-class directors and in the process building mindshare on the desktop with their branded video player. Even still, these campaigns were more about branding and less about action (and even less about interaction). In 2004 Burger King’s Subservient Chicken was the first campaign to successfully deploy a viral tactic that was launched from just a handful of the ad agency’s staff to grow to 5 million visits in the first 5 days. Dove’s 2006 Campaign for Real Beauty that was elegantly executed and honest and it too created some buzz.
But these campaigns were all BT (before twitter).
Since Twitter meteoric rise, marketers and advertisers have been trying to figure out how to leverage it’s potential. In a world where ad agency’s traditional leadership relies on mass-media to move the needle, this brilliant Wieden+Kennedy Old Spice campaign shook that suits out of their office chairs to face the nemesis – the web and more pointedly social media! Nothing demonstrates this more than comparing AXE’s efforts to Old Spice’s. Let’s face it, this campaign has left AXE looking like your father’s Oldsmobile.
In spite of its brilliance I still wanted more!
Where’s my mobile app? We want more!! I’d be curious to see how many queries for “Old Spice” were done in the iTunes store! How about an Augmented Reality app the scans a QR tag on either a POP display or Print ad that launches a Old Spice guy video related to the printed piece.
I want to know who @Jsbeals is! I want meet his girlfriend! This is HISTORY!!! Get the mainstream media to write about the power of social media with the angle of interviewing some of the real-people to whom you replied.
Where’s the POP support for the campaign??!!! Gerard makes a great point in his blog post!
Location Based Engagement
How about FourSquare/Gowalla? When I checked-in at Target on FourSquare I was hoping to see an offer to drive my purchase.
Build a subscriber list, get my name and home address and send me something amazing in the mail!
NOT SO PERFECT
It looks as if AXE left the Social Media strategy to the PR firm Edlemen. Which brings up another debate – who should OWN social media? PR, Client, Ad Agency? If nothing else, this campaign has made a compelling case for the ad agency to lead. I believe the answer should be dictated by the client’s situation, resources, and passion for the channel. If you are BP, uh yeah, PR should be manning the social media ship. But certainly in this circumstance, the payoff is HUGE when the ad agency leads. No matter who’s leading, the big lesson is that for a campaign to reach its potential digital/social media must be on equal footing with TV. Amazing things can happen if you do, and if you don’t, well… look for yourself.
OLD SPICE VS. AXE STRATEGY SHOOTOUT
|Launch Date||~ Sept 2009||~ Jan 2010|
|Brand Voice||Spokesperson: Old Spice Guy (Actor, Isaiah Mustafa)Old Spice did a great job of humanizing the brand in a way that plays well to social media. You know your talking to a brand, but you feel like the brand is your fiend. There’s the critical ingredient of brand authenticity perfectly mixed with entertainment that you feel compelled to root for Old Spice.||Spokesperson: Jennie Averbrook (Edlemena PR Employee)AXE isn’t driving the voice posts because posts are sparse. And when they appear, they tend to be very promotionally driven. Occasionally, there will be replies to conversations, sometimes even defending the brand. They do a good job of putting a human face in the conversation, but it almost seems like they looked around and said – “Oh, you have a facebook profile? Ok, you are in charge of our client’s brand on Facebook”.|
|Features||Talk to OS GuyLeave comments to Old Spice in hopes of getting a video message. Hillarious responses. Store Buy Merch including “I’m on a horse” tying back to the TV campaign. I’d like to see the merch go viral too. Perhaps do a deal with Threadless.com – unleash the masses!DownloadsYawn. #fail where’s OS Guy?
Seems like leftovers from previous campaign. Pointless and diluted the OS Guy experience. #fail It would have been cool if OS guy called out the interns and mobilized them to support this campaign.
Made me smile but this too seems like an artifact from a previous campaign, diluting the experience for me.
User generated content complete with buxom blonde (is no place safe….jeez). It would have played better if we were guided with what upload and rewarded with video message.
Behind the scenes and user generated videos complete w/ spammers. Again, it would be great to see focus on what is being uploaded.
Witty questions – 20,683 people voted!!
|AXE W.A.D.DFacebook app that allows you to report “boring” friends because they suffer from “Women’s Attention Deficit Disorder”. To date 11,777 “WADDS” tagged. This is on-brand as the least-common-denominator humor that would attrac their target audience.Axe Rise TestLink to their microsite where you answer questions on a web cam that that records me without my permission, asks me inocuous questions that are recorded only to be used to be edited into a canned video with sexual innueandos. Ha ha got me. WHERE IS MY DELETE BUTTON!??? I don’t want this on the internet. I’m calling my atty to see if he can find the delete button. #EPICFAIL
AXD Indie Run
Info on their promotion encouraging to donate clothes on the spot then run in their underwear. Seems fun and charitable. Will it move product?
AXE Hair Action
Oh, boy….what can I say….surround sound experience of sexy girl running their fingers through your imaginary hair breaking into an imaginary catfightfighting over you with no video . I know I’m getting old, but do they think even horny college (or younger) kids think this is funny much less want to share this?! #fail
Personalizing Axe through the employee of the PR firm. Um..Jennie seems sweet and all, but…what? See “Spokesperson” notes.
AXE produced videos and TV spots (love them!) and 5 fan generated videos.
2 polls with a total of 20K responses!
|Fans/Likes||595,056 People Like This||274,503 People Like This|
|Fan Engagement||Each wll post by OS guy garners hundreds, sometimes thousands of “like” and hundreds of replies. Amazing level of engagement.||Jennie post interesting finds and does a good job of keeping a conversation going with a couple of cross-promotional posts, but most of the comments are fan driven quips and comments about the product and how much they LOVE it (a lot of 1-liners) or their experience at AXE events|
Old Spice: Well friends, like all great things this too must end. (508 replies!)
Think about it people…these are people saying, “please keep trying to sell me Old Spice!” Amazing eh?
|AXE : Amy K here, your AXE Hair Spokestylist! For Giveaway Wednesday on Twitter, I want to see ur favorite summer ‘do. Follow @AXE and tweet a pic for a chance to win an AXE hair gift basket! So, what’s your favorite summer style? –Amy K (22 Replies)
|Sentiment||Obviously extremely positive sentiment that is tying back to purchase intent. Comments include:
||There’s a good deal of positive sentiment in the posts. Mostly 1 line proclamations of their adoration for the brand. This is good, be it would be great to start a conversation as Old Spice has done.Dylan Andrew: ughh u should smell my gym locker room these idiot kids spray it EVERYWHERE and it stinks!Reply Thread:
|Launch Date||January 2006||June 2005|
|Gist||Packed with OS Guy’s video responses to comments from across the web as well TV spots||Uploaded AXE TV spots. Of course the spots are fantastically clever and witty. There are scenes from promotional events and even hidden camera show featuring Olivia Munn (call me <wink>).|
|Stats||Channel Views: 7,258,771Total Upload Views: 72,505,746 Subscribers: 104,612 Channel comments: 16,901 #3 – Most Subscribed (All Time) – Sponsors
#1 – Most Viewed (Today)
#1 – Most Viewed (Today) – Sponsors
#1 – Most Viewed (This Week) – Sponsors
#7 – Most Viewed (This Month)
#1 – Most Viewed (This Month) – Sponsors
#2 – Most Viewed (All Time) – Sponsors
|Channel Views: 3,670,200Total Upload Views: 4,274,193 Subscribers: 4,418#91 – Most Subscribed (All Time) – Sponsors|
|Highest Rated Comments of Most Viewed||
|What the??!!||@Jsbeals: @OldSpice Can U Ask my girlfriend to marry me? Her name is Angela A. Hutt-Chamberlin #Johannes S. #BealsReply (hint – she said yes!!!)Just think about it…a BRAND proposed to a guy’s girlfriend on YouTube via TWITTER!!||Smell my finger? Ah…<blush>…a girl asking a girl to smell her finger??! Contrast with a marriage proposal and you get the gist.|
|Followers||84,253 (3,307 at start of the campaign) Rank: #2,172||1,688 Rank: #71,645|
|Top Retweets||RT @OldSpice: Well friends, like all great things this too must end. Watch Video>> Possible Reach: 147,266RT @OldSpice: hello twitterers, @twitter I haven’t had any luck taming whales. Watch Video >>Possible reach: 120,210||RT @AXE: Well @mrwright8413 both #undierun were amazing, the students were great. In terms of clothes collected, ASU is winning with 530 …Possible reach: 4,508RT @likeaffabieber: Tapi lo tetep keren seeel hahhahha byk klii cewe yg ska ama lu RT @axePossible Reach: 4,366|
|Sentiment and Passion||Positive Sentiment: 11:1 Passion: 28%||Positive Sentiment: 2:1 Passion: 17%|
|What the??!!||First ever Brand to Brand Twitter conversation (?) @Starbucks to @oldspice You look cold. Need some coffee? Reply to Tweet >> @Gillette to @oldspcie – shameless plug, but at least they adimitted it!Brilliant to engage celebrities such as @Alyssa_Milano who retweet and even responded with a charitable challenge to which Old Spice donated $100,000!!!Brilliant to engage influential bloggers and media outlets! Ashton Kutcher was the first @oldspice tweet I saw referencing @kevinrose. Of course both retweeted.Reach from those 3 tweets alone = 7,419,952 at a CPM of $0.00!!!!||Stream seems to be about promoting product events, or personal insights. This was particularly intriguing conversation:@codyks: @AXE I use Body wash/shampoo/Deodorant/ and a spray (@tamajama really digs the spray, Dark Temptaion) Reply Thread:
Customer engagement, swag, or bribe? What do you think? Did he follow before or after the offer?