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Why The Ice Bucket Challenge Chills The Hearts Of Viral Marketers

Posted by on 9:27 pm in social media | 0 comments

It’s been the viral campaign of the summer — perhaps even of the decade. Between the beginning of June and the middle of August more than 1.2 million videos had been shared on Facebook showing members pouring buckets of iced water over their heads and challenging their friends to do the same. On Twitter, the meme has picked up more than 2.2 million mentions, all in the name of charity. The Ice Bucket Challenge wasn’t started by an agency and it didn’t come from The ALS Association, the medical research charity that has benefitted most from the attention. It started several months ago when Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player and sufferer of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, began posting the challenge on social media with the help of his father. The campaign has since spread broadly. Celebrities have dunked themselves on chat shows, politicians have uploaded pictures of themselves being iced and even Barack Obama has received a challenge which he refused, taking the option to donate $100 to research instead. In dollar terms, the campaign has been a huge success too. On August 21st alone, the organization raised $10 million taking its haul since the end of July to $53 million. That’s just $11 million less than the total amount raised in 2013. A few days later, donations had topped $88.5 million from nearly 2 million donors. Few viral campaigns have spread so quickly — or produced such large amounts of positive, measurable data. Ronald McDonald Iced It’s no surprise then that social media brand managers have been keen to join the fun. Chilis Grill and Bar produced a creative Vine showing iced water poured over a chili pepper. Samsung had its hardy Galaxy S5 smartphone challenge the more fragile iPhone to a dunking, and Ronald McDonald missed the point by challenging all redheads and forgetting to mention donations. Other sellers have cashed in with t-shirts and products. A number of experts though have pointed out the campaign’s weaknesses. Writing in Digiday, Adam Kleinberg has noted the lack of clarity of “ALS” as a brand. [W]hen I first got a video in my inbox, I said to myself, “What the hell is ALS?” I guessed at American Lymphoma Society. It wasn’t until I heard a story on NPR that I figured out it was Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The campaign might have raised buckets of cash this year and awareness of the disease has probably risen too, a vague goal often cited in charity memes and which is difficult to measure. But there’s no sign that understanding of the disease, its causes and symptoms have spread among those picking ice out of their hair or challenging their friends to cool off quickly on a summer day. Responses to criticisms of “clicktivism,” a form of activism that demands minimal action, usually point to the dollar amounts raised rather to any long-lasting change in the treatment of the disease or the hopes for a cure. Kleinberg also notes the gap between the challenge itself and the cause it supports. Lou Gehrig’s disease is a motor neuron affliction that causes muscle atrophy and usually leads to death from respiratory failure within 39 months. Pete Frates wrote on his Facebook page that “ice water and ALS...

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Do Brands Have To Get Naked On Snapchat?

Posted by on 3:40 pm in social media | 0 comments

The Saints chat trash on Snapchat It’s already starting. Snapchat might be the least likely social media platform for marketers since Twitter but big brands are already piling in. They’re experimenting with different content, seeing (by some accounts) good results and they’re producing some clear trends. Most of those trends involve naked honesty. The breakthrough for Snapchat as a marketing platform came last year with the introduction of Stories. Until then, the mobile app’s main feature had been to automatically delete pictures sent from one individual to another after ten seconds. For young people keen to impress their partners, but less keen on their images being seen by others, the feature was a killer. For people who were less likely to take selfies in the shower, including marketers, Snapchat had little to offer. Stories, though, changed the dynamic. They can be seen by more than one person, turning them into a broadcast channel closer to that of Twitter or Facebook. Users can make Stories visible to friends, to custom lists or to everyone on Snapchat. They can also be stitched together to form a narrative — and one that’s told historically. While a series of tweets on Twitter starts with the most recent post, making new readers feel left out and the message hard to follow, stories begin with the oldest image, allowing marketers to tell coherent narratives about their brands. That’s a rare benefit on social media. The content of Stories is still temporary; the images are only available for 24 hours. But while the feature might have been created to allow users to share more creative content than the odd (naked) snap, they do provide an opportunity for brands to engage in visual storytelling that feels personal. It’s that personal touch that’s key. The biggest advantage that social media has always had over other marketing channels has been the closeness of the relationship between seller and audience. On billboards, in print ads and in television commercials, companies interrupt conversations. On social media, they engage in conversations. The content should be friendly, and audiences can respond to it and even receive responses to their comments directly from the marketer. Drew Brees makes plenty of appearances on Snapchat Snapchat takes that personal touch even closer by cloaking corporate messages with the appearance of private MMS messaging. Where companies have combined the visual storytelling potential of Stories with the closeness of Snapchat’s private content streams, the result has been levels of engagement that other platforms can only envy. According to one report, Stories are seen by more than half of the company’s active users. Stories As Chat Channels One approach being taken with Stories is to treat them as louder versions of the MMS messaging they’re meant to supercede. That’s what the New Orleans Saints have done. In an interview, Alex Restrepo, the Saints’ Web and social media manager, toldCNet that Snapchat’s audience was too big to ignore. The team was the first in the NFL to set up on the app, and began publishing content shortly after the launch of Stories. The Saints don’t engage in one-to-one messaging, so fans won’t be receiving private messages from Drew Brees, the quarterback. But Restrepo does believe that the app gives supporters a close relationship to the team. “Fans see Snapchat as...

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Big Companies Use Content Hubs for Native Advertising

Posted by on 5:33 pm in content marketing | 0 comments

As large companies look for creative ways to draw attention to their advertising on content sites, a number of Fortune 500 firms are going in the opposite direction. Instead of putting their advertising around articles created by news firms, they’re putting news articles around their promotions. From technology to fashion and from finance to food and drink, businesses are building hubs that allow them to control both content and advertising. The content hubs look, on first appearance, like any traditional news site. Large headlines and lead stories point out the most important features of the day. Sections often lead to categories within the site while scrolling down the page brings up more stories and articles. In terms of design the sites haven’t broken new ground; they’ve followed formulas laid out by traditional news firms like CNN and Fox, as well as online news companies like Mashable and Buzzfeed. Copying the design immediately gives them an appearance of objective news gathering rather than a sense of commercial promotion. Companies that have created content hubs now include Coca Cola, GE, Dell, Adobe, fashion firm Barneys and American Express. Despite the differences in the content the hubs use, the methodology tends to be the same: a portion of the articles are usually syndicated from content partners while other articles are original and produced in-house. Syndication makes filling space relatively simple; creating original writing is the hardest part of running a content site. Through syndication, content suppliers are able to benefit from added reach and extra traffic, as well as a closer relationship with an advertising partner; companies get to load their pages with high quality content created by professional journalists that attracts and engages readers. According to Digiday, the goal of creating a content site is to strengthen the brand. [B]y giving people an editorial experience they like, they’ll develop a stronger affinity for the company. The hubs also allow businesses to stay in constant touch with customers, rather than hitting them with individual campaigns, something that Facebook should have provided if it hadn’t decided to cut organic reach as a way of boosting advertising revenue. Content Hubs Give Companies Haloes A good corporate content hub though, should go beyond the simple goal of brand affinity. News content has a halo. Readers tend to trust their content suppliers, believe in a certain level of objectivity, and assume that if a company is mentioned in the media, it’s because it’s done something newsworthy. Companies aren’t following the design of news sites only to reproduce their usability; they’re also looking to win some of the trust that the familiar design evokes. The affinity won by a well-designed and planned content hub should include higher degrees of trust, as well a greater degree of knowledge about the company’s activities and a deeper familiarity with the brand. Creating the hub should be relatively straightforward. Companies like iJoomla even provide off-the-shelf templates to which firms can add their own branding before admins insert the content. It’s an option available even for small firms. But the differences between the different content hubs do suggest that a number of difficult decisions need to be made by corporate communicators. The first important consideration is the ease with which the site can be found. None of the corporate content hubs make...

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Employee Activists Are An Under-Used Communications Tool

Posted by on 9:11 pm in employee communications | 0 comments

In 2009, a group of employees at a  Fortune 500 company came together to create a blog about their firm. Monsanto According to Monsanto was a response to The World According to Monsanto, a film which took a highly critical look at the agriculture company. In an initial post, the bloggers explained why they set up the site and why they were taking the time to write on behalf of their employer. People here are passionate about what we do and feel strongly that Monsanto and our efforts contribute a lot to agriculture and to the world in general. That’s often hard to get across in typical corporate communications and we’re hoping that this blog will offer a more personal view of Monsanto. Monsanto According to Monsanto represents both the opportunity that engaged and loyal employees represent to their firms — and the degree to which companies are missing that opportunity. Monsanto isn’t the only large company with a difficult public image that could benefit from a real and human face. But it is the only one whose employees have chosen to organize in order to represent the firm publicly. According to a study by PR firm Weber Shadwick, many employees are willing to speak up on behalf of their employers. Some are already doing so, although in a way that’s disorganized and personal rather than planned and ordered — but many employees are also being publicly critical of the firms they work for. The report, entitled Employee Activism: Seizing The Opportunity In Employee Activism, surveyed 2,300 employees aged between 18 and 65 who work at least 30 hours each week for an organization with more than 500 employees. Respondents were first asked about their attitudes towards their places of work then expressed their degree of “activism” by marking a list of social behaviors in which they engaged. According to the report, the respondents generally thought little of their companies’ internal communications. Only one in four believed that their company did a good job of keeping them informed. Fewer than three in ten said that they are being listened to and kept in the loop. Only 17 percent rated highly communications from senior management. And that was even though they reported receiving on average 4.4 different kinds of communications from their employers. Employees Feel Unappreciated — And They Have Facebook An average of 30 percent of respondents said that they were “deeply engaged” with their companies, a definition which covers a variety of attitudes including enthusiasm, a sense of appreciation, caring about the company’s success and reputation, and pride and satisfaction in their job. But more than one in five employees said that they felt strongly that they were putting more effort than necessary into their job but that their effort was unappreciated. That leaves a large pool of employees who are both disaffected with the company and unaffected by the attempts of corporate communicators to keep them motivated. If that disaffection could stay within the company, the problem would only be one of morale. But the survey also looked at employees’ use of social media, and here the figures were worrying. 88% of employees use at least one social media site for personal communications. 50% post messages, pictures or videos in social media about their employers often or...

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The Fortune 500 Crowdsources Innovation , And Gets Innovative In-House

Posted by on 2:02 pm in content marketing | 0 comments

A food company wants to tell its market about its products. It wants customers to know how flexible its products can be and it wants to prove that they can use them to do more than bake bread or make basic cakes. It could turn to an advertising agency, run some focus groups or conduct some surveys. It could hire some chefs, give them some of its products and create a recipe book based on what they produce. But the company takes a different approach. It turns to crowdsourcing. It runs a cooking competition open to the public in which the only rule is that participants must  use one of its products as an ingredient. The winner will receive a cash prize and the recipes made by the entrants will be shared. Today, that sounds like a standard marketing practice. Participants would upload videos of themselves cooking to a dedicated YouTube channel. Viewers could vote for the best and anyone could browse a website and find the recipes they want to make. But the year was 1949 and the first Pillsbury Bake-Off was taking place a long time before social media allowed for easy audience participation and content sharing. It’s taken place almost every year since then. Crowdsourcing isn’t new but it has won a whole new lease of life. The ease with which members of the public can now interact with brands and with each other, share content and participate in a company’s work has opened a whole new opportunity for marketers. They’ve been quick to make use of it. A timeline created by Yannig Roth, a Research Fellow at eYeka, a company that specializes in crowdsourcing, starts in 2004 with a lone “Dream Car Art Contest” by Toyota. By June 2014, it had identified nearly 60 crowdsourced projects from major brands in the first half of the year alone. The timeline focuses largely on competitions. Participants usually have to submit a video or a design but crowdsourcing can be much broader and much more varied. We looked at how Fortune 500 companies have been using crowdsourcing recently and noticed some clear patterns. Projects can be fairly easily divided into distinct categories — and each category tends to be dominated by a particular industry. Tech Firms Crowdsource Solutions Tech companies are using crowdsourcing for brainstorming. They want innovation and they’re willing to look outside the company’s walls to find it. General Electric has used crowdsourcing several times, including to solve specific engineering problems. In 2013, the company was looking for a way to reduce the weight of its engine brackets. It turned to GrabCAD, an online design and engineering community, and offered a $7,000 reward for the design that reduced the most weight while still being able to support the engine. The contest produced more than 1,000 entries. The winner was a young engineer from Indonesia who managed to cut the bracket’s weight by 84 percent. When GE wanted to find an algorithm to optimize flight paths and reduce delays, it used the same approach on Kaggle,  a community of data scientists. The winner of that contest won $50,000. And the company did it again when it wanted to improve its range of air conditioners, although this time, it gave back to the community as well. For this...

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Brand Netnographers Need To Look As Well As Listen

Posted by on 6:27 pm in social media | 0 comments

In February 2007, with insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan at their peak, the American military sent a special squad of experts into the warzones. The teams of the Human Terrain System were made up of anthropologists and their job was to understand the environment in which the military was working and help the allied forces to win over the locals. In using anthropological tools to conquer ground, the US army was late. Large brands have been doing the same thing online since the days of bulletin boards and listservs. With the growth of social media and the emergence of virtual communities large enough to be studied meaningfully, that “netnography,” as one of the discipline’s biggest evangelists has called it, is now more important than ever. According to Robert Kozinets, professor of marketing at York University’s Schulich School of Business and the anthropologist whose 1995 doctoral dissertation was the first piece of research to mine online communities for marketing information, netnography has a clear definition. It’s a set of techniques that adapt anthropological research to the world of the Internet. It uses ethnography, the study of populations, and applies it to online communities. For his dissertation, Kozinets was looking at the conversations surrounding Campbell’s, the soup-makers. He found that customers were swapping innovative recipes online and discussing ways of using the company’s products that the company itself hadn’t considered. In addition to those interactions Kozinets also looked for deeper connections. A post on one board in which a customer mentioned that their granddaughter had won an equestrian competition the previous weekend revealed the state of the community’s health. “Members relate to one another almost as if they were in a real kitchen, pointing to the feelings of trust, closeness, and familiarity associated with the brand,” Kozinets pointed out. Conducting the research was relatively straightforward — certainly easier than spending a year with a tribe in the Amazon. The process of practicing netnography tends to have six stages: Research planning. “Entrée” — the method chosen by the researches to enter and observe the community. Data collection. Interpretation. Ensuring ethical standards. Research representation. For Campbell’s Kozinets located and listened to bloggers. He reviewed competitors, “checked out” forums and newsgroups, examined videos on YouTube and produced statements about brand impact, best practices, missed opportunities, failed efforts and key trends. Better Than Focus Groups The information he found might have differed little from the data that could have been produced using more traditional strategies such as focus groups and surveys.  Focus groups, however, are artificial and, like surveys, rely on eliciting answers to questions posed by marketers. Both are expensive. Netnography allows marketers to observe customers unobtrusively, see how they interact, and gather information and insight based on their real activities without interference from the company. The result of Kozinets’ research was a plan that enabled Campbell’s to build its products into meal-planning routines, offer tips for busy cooks, show portion control and even allow customers to “search by mood” so that they could choose soups that were “hearty” or “comforting,” choices that presumably drew on the kinds of words used by online community members. Other companies have followed suit. Kozinets’ other customers have included American Express, Coca Cola, BMW and Swarovski. Hyve, a Munich-based market research company specializing in netnography, studied online communities of...

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Design and CSR based Initiatives by Big Brands

Posted by on 9:55 pm in social media | 0 comments

Every company would like to be like Apple. Not just because those giant revenues and profit margins would satisfy any shareholder but because the company has produced the right results in the right way: by using design to charge a premium for beautiful products. That focus on design has led to an entirely new way of thinking spreading through the business world over the last few years. Companies as large as Proctor & Gamble and GE have turned to “design thinking” as a solution for producing more efficient processes, products better suited to customers and greater innovation. BusinessWeek has described how GE’s “best and brightest” managers start their Technical Leadership Development Course by reading comics and describing their toughest problems in haikus. In 2012, Mauro Porcini was nabbed from his position as 3M’s first chief design officer to take on the same role at PepsiCo. “They want to bring design thinking to every brand touch point–packaging, communications, online experiences,” Porcini told Fast Company at the time. They may now be regretting that decision. Even some of design thinking’s biggest advocates are rowing back. In an article in Fast Company, Bruce Nussbaum, one of the idea’s pioneers, has said that the concept has ossified and may even be doing harm. He’s advocating an entirely new approach: Creative Intelligence. In the same magazine, Helen Walters, another leading advocate, has noted that other companies have struggled to define the term and to replicate the early success of competitors, and she warned companies that design thinking won’t save them. But while few companies have ended up churning out products as beautifully designed as the classic iPod or the Macbook Air, areas that have seen great innovation over the last few years are  green initiatives and  social responsibility. Walmart has run a sustainable design competition; eBay has built a Green Team; United Natural Foods has built the sixth largest solar array to power one of its plants. Design thinking might not have produced sleek products (or customer service responses delivered in haiku) but it has helped to change the impact that companies make on the world around them. That matters. A recent report by Ernst & Young into the value of publishing corporate sustainability reports listed seven benefits enjoyed by companies that tell shareholders about their social and environmental efforts. These included improve financial performance; greater access to capital; higher efficiency; better risk management; “reduced negative social influence”; higher employee loyalty and recruitment; and improved reputation. But those benefits rely on the degree to which companies successfully get that message across. At the moment, the message is being delivered in a couple of ways. The first is through dedicated publications. About 80 percent of the companies of the Fortune 500 now publish CSR reports. These have developed into glossy publications that rival only corporate annual reports in their planning, design and execution. Companies commission professional photographers to travel around the word, take pictures of their plants and rigs in hard-to-reach locations and use their writers to tell the stories of how their local branches are benefitting far-flung regions. We see pictures of solar plants, recyclable packaging and mostly happy employees enjoying the kinds of opportunity and training that only a caring company can deliver. The second is through websites. In addition to making PDFs...

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Big Brands Serve Similar Dishes On Facebook

Posted by on 12:12 pm in social media | 0 comments

For a restaurant chain, social media is an unforgiving place. The company might have a workforce that stretches to six figures but it only takes the poor service of one surly teenaged burger-flipper for a public complaint to be posted on Facebook for millions of people to see. Thousands of outlets staffed by hundreds of thousands of minimum wage workers serving millions of customers a year make those grumbles inevitable. The “Recent posts by others” box on Pizza Hut’s Facebook page, for example, shows four posts all of which are currently complaints. One customer is unhappy that his pizza came eight minutes late; another says the bowl was too small; a third didn’t receive his midnight meal; a fourth posted a picture of a badly-packed take-out box. They’re the sort of problems that should be solved by a quiet chat and an apology from the manager; on Facebook they’re blown into brand-damaging proportions and they drown out the majority of satisfied customers. And the company has no control over that content. Brands are aware that the only thing worse than allowing customers to post complaints on their pages is the complaints that they would receive if they tried to censor them. The best they can do is to offset those moans with a strong content strategy. A Buffet Of Food Photos The restaurant brands of the Fortune 500 have content strategies that are largely successful. Although Pizza Hut’s comments and wall posts do occasionally show squashed pizzas and badly arranged toppings, the page itself is rich with professional food photography of tempting slices and open boxes. Some of the pictures are accompanied by text that carries the item’s price but the strategy largely seems to be to show the brand, display the menu options and build appetite. In addition to that product-based content, some brands also engage in customer service. Olive Garden’s Facebook page is a buffet of professional food photos. The comments beneath those pictures can be divided between praise for good dining experiences or, more commonly, complaints about poor service. Each of those complaints is met with an apology and a request for the disgruntled customer to get in touch privately. (While those replies show that the company is listening, the suggestion that complainants may be rewarded with gift cards may also act as an incentive for customers to post more complaints.) McDonalds follows a broader content strategy. In addition to showing pictures of its menu items, the company also posts commercials that contain its branding messages, photos of events that it sponsors and even in one picture a shot of red and yellow balloons. The images show a wider variety of content than those found on Pizza Hut’s page but the company also has a policy of not responding to customer comments. A post on McDonalds’ page will typically pick up anywhere from 150 comments to more than 1,000. Those comments will include accusations of animal abuse and toxic food products, complaints about unfriendly staff, spam messages offering work-at-home jobs and stock tips, and occasional protestations of love for particular menu items. McDonalds ignores all of them. The policy may appear unfriendly and, in not clearing out spam, even untidy. But it does put the page’s emphasis on the content rather than on the comments and...

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For Fortune 500 Retailers Selected Product Posts Win Engagement

Posted by on 12:24 pm in social media | 0 comments

Harley Davidson has it easy. The motorbike company is known for producing a single product. That product is photogenic so it’s not surprising that the company’s Facebook page looks like a photo album of beautiful motorbikes. A Photo of the Day shows a rare model every 24 hours. In between those posts are pictures of other models and when the page’s 5.6 million followers add their own comments, which they do in their hundreds (“likes” typically range from 15,000 to 30,000 per post,) they often include pictures of their own bikes. It’s a content strategy that’s simple to apply and obvious to choose. While the page might sometimes advertise the company’s own riding courses or show events at which the bikes have been featured, nowhere do we see branded accessories like jackets or helmets offered for sale. This is a page that’s all about the bikes, and it works. Posts win engagement, deepen the relationship with customers and give the brand the viral reach it expects from social media. Companies with a broader range of products have to make some harder decisions. B2C retail firms of the Fortune 500 are among the most enthusiastic users of social media. They use Facebook and Twitter, as well as Instagram and Pinterest, to promote their products and draw people into their stores. But retailers like J.C. Penney, Nordstrom and Macys face a challenge: with a huge range of different products on offer, which pictures should they place on their content streams? Should they promote samples of their entire stock to appeal to as broad a spectrum of their followers as possible? Should they show stores and themes, happy employees and announcements of sales? Or would they do better by focusing on a narrow band of iconic products, as Harley Davidson does, even at the risk of excluding some potential followers and some sales? Looking at the response rates won by companies that have used each of these strategies reveals that for retailers a specialized content strategy is more effective than a diversified strategy. Nordstrom Versus J.C. Penney For retailers and other firms with wide product ranges who are struggling to understand which content is the most effective, A glance at the figures isn’t always revealing. On Facebook, J.C. Penney’s audience of more than 4.6 million likes is far larger than Nordstrom’s 2.6 million. But while J.C. Penney has won more likes overall, Nordstrom has much higher engagement figures. The company typically wins one like on a post for every 1,329 followers; J.C. Penney requires 4,636 followers to land each like. That average, calculated by counting the responses to the most recent twelve posts and removing the best and worst-performing content, hides a great deal of variability. Nordstrom’s last ten posts included a picture of a male golfer in shorts that generated just 33 likes and a shot of a Michael Kors watch that picked up more than 18,300 likes. J.C. Penney’s variation was much narrower: from 295 likes to 9,868. On Instagram, where Nordstrom has more than ten times the number of followers that J.C. Penney has, its overall engagement rate is more than double that of J.C. Penney: it needs just 40 followers for every favorite it receives; J.C. Penney needs more than 88 followers for every favorite. But again, Nordstrom’s...

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The Facebook Strategies Of Fortune 500 Finance Firms

Posted by on 10:06 pm in social media | 0 comments

Retail  companies can have an easy time on Facebook. Companies like Walmart and J C Penney are able to fill their timelines with pictures of their products, reward followers with special offers and show pictures of happy employees. But for service companies, the challenge is much greater. Loans and life insurance policies aren’t physical products that can be photographed and shown in a timeline. Financial advice isn’t easy to communicate in a short post and the self-identity that leads followers to like and share is missing in a picture of a credit card or a photo of banker. And yet financial firms are using Facebook to promote their brands and win customers. Some are doing better than others. In this post, we look at the Facebook content strategies of four financial firms in the Fortune 500 and the different results that their strategies are producing. Visa Shows Life As It Should Be Lived With nearly 14 million likes, Visa’s Facebook timeline is both one of the largest commercial page on the platform and one of the most effective. Its strategy is also among the simplest. The company posts a regular stream of photos showing the products that people can buy with the Visa card. The card itself doesn’t appear in any of the pictures. At best, we see a customer hand over what could be a credit card to a checkout clerk. Only recently have the images even started carrying the company’s logo. Those pictures might show a pile of mangos in a market, a meal in a restaurant, a round on a golf course, or a destination for a vacation. Sometimes, we aren’t even shown a product. Among the pictures of salads, surfboards and shopping bags are inspirational pictures of people in parks, enjoying a view or of the open road. Descriptions tell followers to “Enjoy a new perspective” or “Live without boundaries.” Neither the image nor the description appear to have anything to do with payment processes. Certainly nowhere on Visa’s Facebook page are we told about annual premium rates or urged to sign up. But it is clear that all of the activities shown on the page, from eating in a restaurant to flying a microlight at dusk would involve the use of a credit card. The overall message the page portrays is that Visa allows you to enjoy your life. That’s a strong branding message on any platform and its effectiveness can be seen in the engagement those posts receive. A pile of mangos gets nearly a thousand likes, more than 200 comments and 43 shares. A shot of a cruise ship earns 846 likes, 46 comments and 98 shares. A patio meal in Europe has more than 800 likes, 75 comments and 77 shares. For a page with nearly 14 million likes, the numbers aren’t huge but they are positive and they show that people are willing to share and like inspiring, professional photographs with little variety and no obvious branding. Citibank US Both Tells And Shows The approach taken by Citibank US on Facebook is very similar to that used by Visa. Again, we see pictures that have little directly in common with the banking and financial services provided by the company although hashtags reveal why images have been posted and what they’re...

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