Experience Management Blog

How to Turn Your Employees Into Brand Advocates


making internal shift to social

I recently wrote about hiring in the social era. That’s the first step to transforming your business into a social powerhouse. The next step: making an internal shift to social.

Social networking has created a disruption in the way business operates. The question is not whether your company needs to adapt, but how?


Real-Time Marketing at Events: The Evolution of Brand Sponsorship


Real-time analytics paired with real-time marketing tactics have the potential to transform the way brands participate in global cultural events. The transformation of media triggered by social, mobile, and ubiquitous connectivity, means a brand with a savvy creative approach and a strong grasp of real-time marketing can now introduce wholly new tactics to attach their brand to major events. This blog post will explain how to make it happen.

Real-Time Marketing at Events like the World Cup and Super Bowl

Brands pay $4,000,000 to purchase 30 seconds of commercial time during the Super Bowl and tens of millions of dollars to sponsor the World Cup or the Olympics. But what if there was a way to get more value out of an event sponsorship, or to even become part of that event without sponsoring it at all? 

Global sports and athletes have never been more popular, and as a result brands spend huge sums to be part of massive cultural events like the NFL Playoffs or the Olympics. Yet, the focus of consumer attention is no longer just a television broadcast, but also the hashtags, videos, comments, and links that millions of viewers engage with throughout the event. According to the latest Nielsen survey of connected device owners, nearly half of smartphone owners (46%) and tablet owners (43%) said they use their devices as second screens while watching TV every day. This creates an opportunity for nimble brands to become a part of global events by using timely social and digital marketing tactics that can influence, or even hijack, the conversation surrounding a sporting event. 

Precedents for Brand’s Seizing the Spot Light 

First, let’s address the question – is it even possible to build a digital program that closely ties your brand to a major event in ways that are more meaningful than an on-field logo or in-game commercial? The answer is yes, there is ample precedent for this ranging from Nike at the last World Cup, to Doritos every year at the Super Bowl, and Oreo at the most recent Super Bowl.

The key is to combine compelling digital content, with ongoing  adaptive and timely tactics that align to the breaking news of the event.

Compelling digital content: Nike’s 2010 World Cup digital campaign

As we saw in the 2010 World Cup, with Nike’s digital video campaigns, and then again during this year’s Super Bowl with the various attempts at real-time, there is an opportunity for brands to become a part of the atmosphere of these major events, without necessarily (or in addition to) spending huge sums of money on event sponsorship and advertising.

Nike was not an official sponsor of the 2010 World Cup, but you’d never know it based on the effectiveness of their digital marketing tactics. Look back at the coverage of the event and you can see the degree to which Nike was able to build a dominant position surrounding the event with tactical digital executions like their use of sponsored athletes and digital video.

Ongoing relevance: Doritos Crash the Super Bowl Campaigns

Every year brands release portions of their Super Bowl commercials in teasers and hints in the days coming up to the event. But only Doritos really makes a long-running event out of their commercials. Their contest, with its rounds of voting and constant change, keeps the brand’s audience involved for the duration of the event.

Pursuing ongoing relevance has the benefit of not only broadening appeal beyond the audience that solely watches the big game itself. It also creates more opportunities for brands to attach to timely trends while widening the window for timely executions. It’s a lot easier to do timely marketing on a 48 hour timetable, than real-time marketing on a 4 minute time table.

The power of timeliness: Mini’s Burger Controversy Campaign

Similarly, look at Mini’s use of timely content in the context of the burger meat scandals in the UK. They launched a piece of timely digital content within days of the news breaking, and then extended and optimized the campaign across channels as it resonated with their target audience.

Mini joined the horsemeat conversation in the UK

Mini’s horsemeat campaign. Image via AdWeek

So, what does this mean for the future?

Brands that want to dominate the digital conversation alongside major events can design programs that are built to thrive in a world of more timely and real-time conversation.

Multi-day cultural events (like the NFL Playoffs for example) are the perfect place for brands to speed up and elevate their timely marketing. It is relatively easy to identify the trends and news that matters using existing technology. The relevancy window where a brand can say something is much longer than a single game – so brands can move quickly, but not quite in real-time and still be successful.

In the future brands will borrow the Nike strategy of guerrilla digital marketing, link it to the Frito strategy of layered digital execution, and add in a 3rd piece: timely, responsive content in order to become the dominant brand in the context of major events.


How to Do Real-Time Marketing at Multi-Day Events

To get started with real-time marketing at major events, brands need to embrace some new technology, and some new process, but much of this can be done with existing resources and capabilities.

Establish a flexible creative platform and associated guidelines

This platform will be the foundation of all of your tactics surrounding the event – both planned and timely. This is critical because the guidelines for which event storylines and trends to join, as well as how to join them will flow from the brand values and creative platform you’ve already established. Having these rules in place will speed up your execution substantially. Make sure you can quickly answer questions like:

Is this a trend we should join? What tone should we take? What assets do we have? What call to action should we focus on? Is it compliant / legal? What are the specific roles and responsibilities for creative development, approval, publishing and measurement? How will we align our paid media budgets to these tactics? etc.

Implement the technology, team, and process to adapt the creative platform in a timely way.

This breaks down into three stages. You will need to identify trends, join trends, and then measure/optimize your efforts. Some of this is technology enabled, and some of it is just old fashioned project management, but sped up substantially.

Identifying trends

Use a combination of software and your creative platform guidelines to identify the narratives and content from the event that are trending among your target demographics. These will give you the raw materials for trend attachment.

Dachis Group’s software finds the topics and content trending among your specific target segments in real-time (men who love soccer for example) so that you can know the most fruitful areas to build content and participate in the conversations.

Dachis Group General Social Trends

Joining trends

Once a trend is identified, you must rapidly create content, get it approved internally, publish it and promote it. This will typically be the responsibility of a joint brand/agency team who can work together to filter through ideas and actually make the creative assets necessary for publication. Because this effort will take place in a timely (though not quite real-time manner) you won’t need the huge team in one room that Oreo had for its famous Tweet from the Super Bowl. But make no mistake, this will require smooth and rapid hand offs between a number of parties – we recommend practicing well in advance. 

Dachis Group can help with specific training and guidelines that make it easy for your brand to rapidly develop and implement content.  

Measuring and optimizing participation.

Most of the events you choose to join are long lasting and occur in bursts over the course of weeks. For example, the NFL Playoffs occur over more than a month. This affords brands the unique opportunity to experiment with tactics, track their effectiveness, and optimize for the next round of content.

Real-time analytics that track very specific audience reactions, content performance, earned media performance are critical to ensure an optimized program. This will also help you to understand which content is resonating and may be appropriate to extend into other channels – even traditional media as we saw with Mini’s burger controversy campaign.

Dachis Group software helps you optimize with a number of analytics dashboards that report on competitive brand performance, content effectiveness, and earned media performance – all in real-time.

Real-time content optimization


Inserting your brand into the conversations surrounding major cultural events has never been easier or more valuable. The World Cup, Super Bowl, Nascar and countless other events no longer play out solely on the pitch or track, they play out in real-time conversations on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and YouTube. Is your brand ready?


Download 6 Steps to Real-Time Marketing

You’ve Got DM: Understanding and Leveraging Twitter’s New Update


new twitter dm policy

We’re constantly bombarded with updates to social channels, but Twitter’s new DM policy is particularly important because it’s a major change for Twitter. And it presents a major opportunity for marketers.

Previously, users could only DM an account if that account followed them. Now, users can DM any account they’re following (if that account has opted in to the new feature).

Before this update, publicity was the cornerstone of Twitter’s features — trending topics, hashtags, lists, etc. all encouraged public communication. The new DM policy adds an element of privacy rarely seen on the channel.

Quickly incorporating this change into your social strategy will give you an edge over the competition. Failure to optimize the new feature will make you fall behind.


Sprinklr’s Marketing VP Discusses Scaling Social with MarketingXLerator


How can you scale social? How do you personalize your message to each audience and platform? What the heck is a Social Navigator?

Jeremy Epstein, Sprinklr’s VP of marketing, recently sat down for an interview with Natascha Thomson of MarketingXLerator to explore these questions. See original version here.



Human Centered Design: The Key to Modern Marketing


This is Part II in a series of guest posts by Matthew Tennant, Operations and Oversight Manager for the Microsoft Social Command Center (CIC). Check out last week’s post, “Don’t Be the Conversation, JOIN the Conversation.”

human centered design process

It isn’t relevant to only occupy the social and digital space anymore. By occupying space, you just create noise. But by analyzing the end users and creating meaningful human experiences and interactions in their daily digital consumption, you create relationships. This is called Human Centered Design (HCD) and it is key to modern marketing.


Building A Social Business Community: How to Reach Critical Mass


This article was prepared collaboratively by authors from the Social Business Council – a free community for social business practitioners. It includes insights from leaders at companies like AXA, Dachis Group, Lexmark, and Outside in Collaboration.

4 Essential Steps to Reach Community Critical Mass

Before users invest time and energy into a social platform, they have to know they will receive value in return. The conundrum that every social business professional faces is that the greatest value is only realized when there is a critical mass of individuals on the platform. So how does one grow from nothing and hit this critical mass?

To succeed a social business community manager must:

  • Quickly display value
  • Allay user fears of participation
  • Onboard individuals correctly
  • Measure and optimize to keep the community growing

Each of these areas of focus has its own set of tips and tricks necessary for effective implementation. In this new Council whitepaper, leading Social Business practitioners from AXA, Lexmark, IBM, and Suncor Energy, have provided lessons, activities, and tips from their own implementation experience to enable a successful Social Business initiative.

Want to see how they did it? Download the whitepaper.

CTA 4 Steps To Critical Mass



 Meet the Authors

Sandy AdamSandy Adam, Social Media Marketing Manager at ANSYS – Sandy manages the development, deployment, and strategic vision of the global social media marketing strategy for ANSYS, Inc., driving brand awareness and engagement with engineers in finite element analysis, (CFD) computational fluid dynamics, electronics and electromagnetics, and design optimization. Sandy earned her bachelors degree at Alverno College.

Vishal AgnihotriVishal Agnihotri is the Head of Knowledge for the Americas Financial Services Office in Ernst and Young. Her group catalyzes the successful pursuit of business opportunities, speed to market and overall competitiveness through the use of collaboration tools, and market research and analysis within the growing Americas FSO practice of 6,500+ professionals. Prior to joining EY, Vishal held many operational and consulting roles in enterprise Knowledge Management spanning business research, knowledge technology implementation, training and communications, knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) and social KM. Vishal earned her MBA at the University of Leicester.

StephaneStéphane Aknin is Head of Group eCommunications at AXA, first global insurance brand according to Interbrand. He has been leading the business and change management for the Global Intranet Program across the company, and managed the AXA.com corporate website. Stéphane is now moving to a new position as Lead Director Strategic Communications at AXA Equitable, AXA’s entity in the US. Stéphane specializes in digital communications, social business, community management, social media and online video. He graduated with a master’s degree in International Trade from The Université Paris V.

Chris DittrickChris Dittrick, Enterprise Collaboration and Social Business Consultant, working with Suncor Energy – Chris is responsible for the implementation of Suncor’s collaboration roadmap. Chris utilizes his deep information technology and consulting experience to facilitate his clients’ social journeys. He works with teams to identify high value use-cases and sees a solution through to technical implementation. Chris received his bachelors degree at The University of Calgary.

Patrick O'BrienPatrick O’Brien, Strategist at Dachis Group – Patrick works to develop social media strategies for enterprises using insights derived from Dachis Group’s big data social marketing platform. He also acts as the community manager for the Social Business Council, a Social Business CoP for some of the world’s largest brands. Patrick received his bachelors degree from The University of Texas and his MBA from Southern Methodist University.

Dennis PearceDennis Pearce, Enterprise Knowledge Architect with Lexmark – Dennis started as a plastics manufacturing engineer for AMP, then IBM. He moved into IBM’s Plastics Technology Center in the 1980s where he developed an interest in artificial intelligence and began working on manufacturing-related expert systems. The AI interest morphed into a KM interest in the 1990s, which prompted him to go back for his PhD that led to his present job. Dennis earned his bachelors degree at Lehigh, his MBA at UNC-Charlotte, and PHD in Decisions Sciences.

Sharona Lina PearceSharon Lina Pearce, Social Learning Professional at Alcatel-Lucent – Sharon has worked in collaborative training since the inception of an internal social network at Alcatel-Lucent. Among her responsibilities are creating learning itineraries for Alcatel-Lucent’s new personal learning environment, internal communication and the training department contact for social network and language issues. Lina earned her master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University.

Simon VaughnSimon Vaughan, Social Business Consultant at Outside in Collaboration – Simon is an evangelist for the adoption of Social Business, He has recently established a consultancy practice to help organizations adopt Social Business. For two consecutive years, he was announced as one of 50 Global IBM Collaboration Champions. Simon graduated from the University of Wales, Swansea.

Improving SLA Response Time to 97% Across 45 Countries


Having one trillion Facebook fans, with a five percent engagement rate, doesn’t mean much if you’re not actually driving business value. We were recently charged by a global client, located in more than 45 countries, to prove the business value of social.

business value of social infographic


Tweets Now Delivered to a Country Near You


tweet delivery by country

Earlier this week, Sprinklr enabled a brand new Twitter feature called “Tweet Delivery by Country.”

We’re very excited about this update because it allows our users to do something very cool: deliver organic tweets, by country.  

This means you can now create a tweet that is only viewable by Twitter users in Canada, Guatemala, or wherever your heart desires.

Limited geographic distribution is something brands have been asking for since Twitter’s early days, and we’re thrilled that Twitter is making this available for our clients.


Thinking Beyond a Social Media Strategy


integrated marketing and social media

“What is your social media strategy?”

You hear this question more often than enough in the conference rooms of enterprises. Five years after the adoption of Facebook, Twitter, and their social companions, corporations are still trying to pinpoint their social media strategy.

That’s the main problem. (more…)

Citibank Invested in a Social Infrastructure… and It Paid Off


Social media can be a business’s best friend or its worst frenemy, it all depends on how you manage the relationship. When Citi was having trouble connecting with their customers online, they decided to rethink (and restructure) their social media. It paid off. The brand experienced a 20% reduction in time spent sifting through data.

Here’s how it happened…