Creating Memorable Brand Experiences using the Social Web

Creating Memorable Brand Experiences using the Social Web

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).

tshirtIn 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 …

blizzcomLast 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.

About Michael Brito

Michael Brito has been making things happen online since 1996 with a legit hustle. He gets mad when the 49ers lose, really mad. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.

  • ClayFranklin

    Great article. A lot of Enterprise as well as small businesses including Mom and Pop shops are missing the boat by not engaging the customer with social media.
    Back in the old days, small advertising novelties and creative TV commercials were the norm. Today, companies need to be where the customer is and with 30M people on Facebook and Twitter expected to be up to 50M by the end of the year, it is the place to be seen and heard and respond to customer complaints as well as provide promotions.

    Sitting at Starbucks at the Pacific Avenue Mall in Santa Cruz, I tweeted where I was. A few minutes later I had a tweet from a hair cutting place with a twitter discount and encouragement to stop their place on Pacific Avenue. Pretty Cool!

    Last week #HP was a trending topic on Twitter because they were doing a giveaway. 30 million people all seeing HP as a trending topic stirs curiosity and I went to see what was up as did a lot of other people.

    Next time I hear that it is difficult to measure the results of using social media for companies, I will send them to read this article.

  • brandlessons

    As always, the little things go a long way-especially in brand development. If brand mangers don't agree, then they should find another job or read the Tipping Point. Great post.

  • olivierBlanchard

    Michael, that's a very cool anecdote and I dig what Intel is doing here, but… being that Intel is mostly a B2B brand (heck, an OEM brand at that,) what is the value of humanizing the brand in a B2C environment?

    Again, I like what Intel is doing here, but… is it really accomplishing anything? Are you selling more chips as a result? Are consumers who now engage with you affecting sales in some way? 😉

  • Richard Clark Marketing Blog

    Great post.

    I think we are long overdue some good case studies on the commercial returns brands have had as a consequence of utilising social media. Most of us understand that social media has positives for organisations that get it right – but what is the financial return?

  • Gillian Verga

    Great story! I read so much about how to measure the ROI of social media, but stories like that one are what really convinces me (and hopefully others) that social media is truly worthwhile.

  • toshiedo

    I love that Intel ad and great artice too! If I'd known I'd have been after a t-shirt as well!

  • michaelling

    I read the report and am not too worried about the ROI thing as there are so many factors that can contribute to a firm's ROI. On the other hand, I like the case studies as it tells me how these companies approach social media marketing..

  • Steve Nelson

    Re-engagement through social media helped Intel overcome the lack of authenticity of the original commercial.

  • kathy389

    Thanks for the great reading, anaheim seo firm . I will pass this on to our Ira clients to read.

  • System77

    Well said. It's definitely about making meaningful and lasting relationships with people. Even if it is only a few at a time.


    I like when companies jump on board to the awesome power of the web especially with the new cell phones.