#Womma Summit Day 2: Brands and consumers need to work together

Home #Womma Summit Day 2: Brands and consumers need to work together

The second Womma summit day started with again a big bang. Keynote speaker Simon Mainwaring brought a strong story, followed by insights and cases in quick succession. The day’s theme was the necessity for brands to work together with consumers. Below you can read my impressions on day 2 of the Womma Summit; this article, published yesterday, will give you my impressions of day 1.

Simon Mainwaring: Brands and consumers have to change the world together

Until a few years ago everyone could enjoy his or her own money. Nobody wondered about bonuses and flows of money. These days we live in a different world, Simon says during his presentation. Consumers like the marketers and major companies less. Consumers no longer trust the companies’ motives. Faith in companies has decreased dramatically in the past year. Research has shown that the consumers’ expectations are crystal clear: transparent communication, honest treatment of employees and customers, good service and quality products.

2011 is the year where people actively meddle in the development of society. The “Occupy Wall Street†movement is alive and kicking in more than 1000 cities. We had the Arab Spring. The Bank of America recently had to adapt its policy after one single consumer started a petition which more than 300.000 people signed. Consumers want companies to change and are willing to help do so. The only way to stay relevant as a brand is by working with the customers in order to achieve a better world. Greenwashing does not work; brands need to be really prepared to do well. If every company donated a minimum percentage of every purchase to a charity, this would be a structural investment in a better world. Let consumers and brands work together towards an improved world. That is how companies can retain confidence. Certain companies are advancing rapidly in this body of thought. P&G’s Pampers donates money for child vaccinations in poor countries, every time people buy Pampers. Zynga has developed virtual goods that people can buy to support charity. These virtual goods brought in millions of dollars, and people had fun while donating.

Nike founded green exchange, a website where Nike describes a technology allowing shoe manufacturers to design their shoes in an environmentally friendly way. They make their innovations available to the competition so everyone can help to improve the world. Imagine a company making their technological innovations accessible to its competitors five years ago … The world is changing, says Simon Mainwaring. Brands no longer have an excuse. The world is changing. Consumers have different expectations compared to a few years ago. Furthermore we now have the technology to involve consumers. What is stopping them? This video gives a brief description of Mainwaring’s bestseller We First:

The integration of social media in companies

Mainwaring’s keynote clearly explained that social media are a perfect partner to help introduce consumers in a company’s management. In a fascinating panel conversation Christine Cea (PR director Unilever), Ekaterina Walter (Social media strategist Intel) and John Bell (managing director Ogilvy 360 digital influence) focused on the steps a company should take to integrate social media.

The first interesting item in the discussion was ROI. There is too much discussion going on about the ROI of campaigns. When integrating social media, the main aim is the corporate KPIs. The objective should be to have a structural impact on the company’s results. For a company such as Unilever it is quite a challenge to adapt the marketing philosophy. Step by step they are managing to evolve from campaign to campaign marketing, to ‘always on’ marketing. In addition there is a strategy to participate both reactively and proactively in the conversation. And finally a listening culture needs to be developed. Listening is more than just hiring an agency; customers really need to feel like they are being listened to.

Ekaterina Walter at Intel talks about the challenge to roll out the social media strategy to a global level. One of the difficulties is to make the social media programme scalable. First there was need for efficiency, then for a lever across all the countries. In 2009 Intel had more than 250 social media pages. This has now evolved to 1 Facebook page with more than 4 million fans in 2011. They also have 32 pages which are filled out locally. Every local team has the option to create content itself. The objectives are the guiding principle to see what does the job and what doesn’t. If those objectives are not met, the countries are assigned to adapt the content strategy and the actions.

Intel created a very detailed Facebook strategy where the company provides training, tools, templates for identical branding and guidelines for engagement. They absolutely want to maintain the flexibility of their social media approach. Local countries can make suggestions and if these are relevant, they quickly act upon them. A super case here is the ‘Museum of me‘. The aim was to use that application for the Asian market only. Other countries saw the application and wanted to use it in their local markets. The application was spread worldwide rather rapidly.

Many insights shared by both ladies reminded me of the conclusions of a survey I did on the integration of social media. Every company has similar challenges and has to go through a comparable process, starting with training employees, then taking the first steps and finally moving on to full integration. There is no magical shortcut, everyone has to work equally hard and you only achieve something by trial and error.

Sephora builds a ‘brand nation’

Candace Sims, community manager at Sephora, and Paul Gilliham, director customer marketing at Lithium, dream of converting their ‘Likes’ into ‘Loves’. That is why they built a brand community, which they gave the (much sexier) name ‘brand nation’. Sephora has millions of fans on Facebook and hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, but they wanted to take it one step further. They built their own brand nation: ‘Beauty talk’ . This is a community where they can talk directly with the consumer. The conversations between consumers on ‘Beauty talk’ are much more detailed. Furthermore beauty experts are also participating in the community to help the consumers.

The community results are impressive. Community members spend up to 2.5 times as many dollars as non-members. The most active community users spend up to 10 times more money in the shops. In other words: such a community is a new type of loyalty programme. This type of communication gives CRM the recognition it deserves, because I think this is what CRM is doing it all for: bringing the fans together and involving them more in the brand.

And finally: the international panel

I enjoyed the pleasure of being part of an international panel discussion, composed of Fernando Anzures (representing South-America), Tatsuro Sato (representing Japan) and Asit Gupta (representing China) and presided by Molly Flat (social business director 1000heads). I represented Europe. During the discussion we talked about the difficulty to realise global international campaigns. The world is composed of so many countries and cultures that it has become an almost impossible task to reach global success. The only relevant solution is to involve consumers in the realisation of global campaigns. Co-creation is thé way to ensure campaigns taking the local culture of the target group into account.

This was another very inspiring day for me. It feels great to hear that one of the things I strongly believe in – involving customers in a brand – was the day’s main theme.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow is the last day of the congress. You can follow my live report on Twitter: @steven_insites.