Is Viral Marketing For Your Business?

Every few days, there seems to be a new viral video surfacing online. A couple years ago it was flash mobs, then the Harlem Shake and of course you can never forget the adorably sweet cat videos making the rounds.

The right elements contained within your video can mean the difference of just a few likes, shares or views to millions. You want to keep your video simple, they should strike an emotional cord – whether it be funny or pulls on your heart strings, it should contain an offer of some sort or a connection back to your company.

With a fickle and ever-changing audience mood, viral marketing can be hit or miss. Your idea could be clear genius and relevant and still not garner much of a viral impact or it could be online for two years and then take-off. Knowing this is part of the planning process. For this reason, pumping money into a viral video may not be the right strategy for your organization. Keeping it light, easy and with a ‘homemade’ feel is key. At InFUSION Group we can help you determine if a viral marketing strategy is a good fit for your organization, assist in developing a plan and work with you to get your videos seen.

Our expertise in human resources, marketing, leadership and corporate culture will provide your organization with the tools it needs to sustain and grow your business. At inFUSION Group we strive to implement specific solutions that will work for your particular organization.

Social Media – It’s More Than Just a Marketing Tactic!

Written By: Amanda Trombly

Social networking has changed the world. Anyone with an internet connection can now communicate with current friends, old friends and new friends from all over the world at any time they’d like. During the early days of social networking, that’s all it was about.

But now, the corporate world has jumped onto the band wagon and has integrated itself into the newsfeeds of millions of people across the globe. In fact, over 3.8 billion dollars were spent on social media (ad only) marketing in 2011. This doesn’t even include the status updates with the news/offers/incentives that companies post. Businesses, small and large, have a unique opportunity to connect with their customers (or potential customers) like never before. Not only can they continually keep their products/services/brands in the forefront of their customers’ minds, but they have the opportunity to receive feedback from their target markets, good or bad.

The question is: how can a company capitalize on this valuable resource?

The answer is…complicated. So, allow me to suggest a few ways (as a consumer and a self-proclaimed social media addict).

1.)    Clogging a news feed with several updates per day is a surefire way to get your company ignored, “hid” or “un-liked”. Instead, post a useful update twice or three times per week.

2.)    Make your posts interesting. Include something entertaining like a little-known fact or a funny picture every once in a while. Such posts entice discussion; and when people comment or “like” your post, it’s likely that their friends will see it, too!

3.)    Respond to complaints. If your valued customer is taking the time to post a complaint on your page, then he or she deserves a prompt and polite response. Your social media administrator should be well-versed in public relations and/or customer service in order to handle all sorts of direct communications with your clients/customers.

4.)    Offer discounts to your followers that you don’t offer on your website or elsewhere. It makes your followers feel special.

I’ve seen social media marketing done very well; but I’ve also seen it go terribly wrong. To me, the trick is to understand the medium itself. It’s social. It’s a conversation. It’s a relationship between a company and its consumer. It’s such an excellent opportunity to connect. When it’s done right, the sky is the limit.

How can Infusion Group help? We work with clients to understand their unique social media needs. Then we present you with a recommendation that identifies what resources you will need to execute that plan. Finally, we assist you in turning your ideas into quality content all while managing the details of the process.

An Unexpected and Amusing Response to Bic “For Her” Pens!

Written By: Amanda Trombly

Have you seen the new product Bic has recently launched? The company known for products such as razors, lighters and pens has broadened its horizons by introducing a “pen for women” into the market. Supposedly, the pen is designed for women because it is thinner and “prettier” than regular pens. The pens come in shades such as pink and purple; and the packaging somewhat resembles that of a tampon box.  If you’re thinking that a pen designed for women is a bit ridiculous, you’re not alone. Hundreds of Amazon members quickly posted snarky, sarcastic reviews for the pens shortly after the product was launched.

One (fake) review reads: “After decades of struggling with massive man pens each day, my teeny tiny hands can finally manage the daily shopping list. Ironing is pure joy and massaging my husband’s feet is no longer the pure torture it once was.”

Another reads:  “I allowed my wife to write the grocery list with one of my pens. Shortly thereafter she went out and bought a bunch of flannel shirts, cut the sleeves off and grew a mullet. While she was writing her feminist manifesto, I secretly switched out the man pen with a Bic For Her. She’s now back to baking apple pies, vacuuming in heels, and popping bennies in order to keep her girlish figure… like a proper American gal. Thank you Bic!”

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the hundreds of clever reviews, but I’m curious how these reviews will affect the sales of the pens. Is it true that any type of publicity is good publicity? I’ll have to admit: when I saw them while I was back-to-school shopping, I nearly bought them just so I could joke about them with my husband. Perhaps I’m not the only one who wants to purchase the pens just for amusement purposes alone.

Surely Bic could not predict that their product would provoke internet “trolls” to post over 500 phony reviews. Yet, it happened; and the witty reviews have made national headlines. Amazon members have turned a typically “boring” product into an extraordinary internet event. In my opinion, Bic has a very unusual opportunity to capitalize on its recent unexpected notoriety. If you were a Bic marketing executive, how would you react (publicly or otherwise) to this product review phenomenon?

Click here to read the reviews.

Orange Paper: Brand & Culture

The Classic Scenario: Your organization has diagnosed the need for major change. Whether it be driven by a new senior management team, alterations to your product line, or even consumer feedback, you have decided it’s time to give your company a face-lift. Powerful buzzwords like vision, mission, culture and branding start flying and the reality of the workload required to pull this off hits you full force. You know that change of this magnitude is multi-faceted and it will require an army of dedicated resources to make it happen.

The Classic Solution: Despite the fact that most organizational change movements are intended to increase team cohesiveness, the project manager in all of us still falls back on the divide and conquer approach. So, armed with a new vision established by your senior team, your marketing and HR managers get their marching orders to recreate a portion of the wheel. The marketing team is challenged with rebranding and overhauling the advertising plan while your human resources team is charged with improving employee morale and redefining your internal culture.

The Classic Problem: First, even the most well articulated vision leaves room for interpretation. Setting a common goal is no guarantee the same path will be followed by both teams. Second, the brand experience had by your customers is directly driven by the cultural experience of your employees. When two separate teams are leading branding and culture initiatives the best you can hope for is two similar concepts. Yes, even with your monthly check-in meetings and quarterly progress reports.  What you really want is one brand/culture that drives the internal and external experience through and through. You see, these buzzwords (though applied differently by professionals in varying disciplines) are simply synonymous.

A High-Brow View of Brand and Culture: At In-Fusion, we remind our clients that a brand is more than a logo. Scholars (researchers, geniuses, word-nerds) in the field support this notion, though they state it with a bit more eloquence. Take this view from the Journal of Advertising Research, “To create a brand ideal, a company must identify a higher calling than simply selling its product. This ideal drives innovation and inspiration, enhances recognition, and unifies the organization in delivering against it. It not only informs business strategy: in an essential way, it is the business strategy.”

Amplify the Message: A brand is an ideal that unifies the organization. It is the business strategy.

Organizational culture is typically studied based on its impact upon your internal organization. Most scholars define it as the system of shared values, beliefs, and assumptions that impacts employee choice and drives desired outcomes.

Amplify the Message: A culture is a set of values that unifies the organization. It is the business strategy.

The Academy of Marketing Science made this strong assertion regarding developing your brand ideal, “organizational culture has long been recognized as having an important impact on marketing-related decision making.” So, rather than putting the cart before the horse we must know what our actual organizational identity is before we seek to describe that to our customers. The Journal of European Marketing also reinforces these intertwined concepts, “Corporate service brands need to coordinate internal branding activity to enhance their employees’ identification with, commitment to, and loyalty to, the brand.” There is a strong, deterministic relationship between the concepts of identification, commitment and loyalty of employees.

Amplify the Message: Brand and culture are inseparable. They are simply synonymous.

In-Fuse Your Solution: Boiling it all down to the simplest terms, you cannot define brand without culture nor culture without brand. Rather than assigning separate initiatives to define and unify your organization, you must approach it as one initiative and then allow each team to be driven by the implications of the outcome. This; however, doesn’t mean it is an ambiguous, leaderless project. It just means you need the right leader. In-Fusion Group can bring more than 30 years experience of marketing and human resource leadership experience to your organization. In addition to facilitating your journey to brand/culture identification, we can also project manage the marketing and human resource projects that result from your outcomes.

Smart People We Quoted: 1) Punjaisri, K., & Wilson, A. (2011). Internal branding process: key mechanisms, outcomes and moderating factors. European Journal Of Marketing, 45(9/10), 1521-1537. 2) Simon, M. (2011). Brands In Context. Journal Of Advertising Research, 51189-194. 3) Yarbrough, L., Morgan, N., & Vorhies, D. (2011). The impact of product market strategy-organizational culture fit on business performance. Journal Of The Academy Of Marketing Science, 39(4), 555-573.