The branding guys up on the 6th floor may not agree with me but sometimes it’s the little things you do that can drive influence and delight your customers. It’s these little things that don’t necessarily require a branded microsite overloaded with marketing messages or a cool piece of rich media. Sometimes it’s as little as listening to the community and acting.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post for Brian Solis’s blog, PR.20 that highlighted the recent study conducted by Charlene Li of the Altimeter group. The study looked at the top 50 brands and measured their level of engagement on the social web. The study also looked at the financial performance of each brand and the results revealed something very interesting. The brands that engage with their customers more deeply enjoyed increases in revenue during the reporting period. A closer examination reveals that the top brands, specifically Dell and Starbucks do an excellent job listening to customer feedback. More importantly, they are taking that feedback and acting on it. And in my opinion, that act alone has created memorable brand experiences for their customers.
On a much smaller scale, I wanted to share a case study that outlines the concept of listening and acting on the social web by my employer, Intel.
Back in May of this year, Intel launched Sponsors of Tomorrow; a marketing campaign that centers around the people who work for the company in an attempt to humanize the brand. As a part of the campaign there was a commercial that aired on television titled “Your Rockstars aren’t like our Rockstars” that featured Ajay Bhatt (Intel Fellow and the co-founder of the USB).
In the commercial, while Ajay (played by an actor) is walking though the office, someone appears in the back holding open a shirt revealing a t-shirt with Ajay’s face on it. The commercial was uploaded to Youtube (almost 1 million views to date) and shared across the internet on various web properties and blogs; and then amplified through Twitter. Within days, there was a huge outcry within these communities begging for Ajay Bhatt t-shirts. They were tweeting about it, commenting on the Intel blogs and the Youtube channel as well as in third party tech blogs.
So we moved fast and printed 100 Ajay t-shirts and decided to give them away using a contest on Twitter. We didn’t use the same t-shirt from the commercial; rather we printed t-shirts with the real Ajay Bhatt on it. The contest (more details here) lasted for the entire month of June. Once the t-shirts were shipped we asked the winners to post pictures of themselves with the t-shirt on to Twitpic and/or Ajay Bhatt’s Facebook Fan Page. Many agreed and they continue to upload their pictures to this day.
The human interaction and authentic conversation that happened and continue to happen today are what define a memorable brand experience, in my opinion.
Don’t believe me, well the story continues months later …
Last month, I attended Blizzcon; a conference for gamers and World of Warcraft enthusiasts in Anaheim, California. While in the booth tweeting, blogging and interacting with the masses, a young guy walks up to me and says, “Hey, I know you. You are the Intel blogger”. Honestly, I was a little freaked out, and then he continued, “I was one of the winners of the Ajay Bhatt t-shirt contest”. We talked for about 30 minutes and then I snapped this picture to the left.
Even if the other 99 winners of the contest don’t remember their experience with Intel; at least one has and that’s all that counts.