Tag Archives: social media

Brand Fast-Trackers #170 – “Make Sure Your Products Don’t Suck”

Send to Kindle

Today we are reposting a classic interview we did with Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales. His advice for brands was simple:

“Make sure your products don’t suck.”

When we first spoke with Jimmy in April of 2011, Wikipedia had grown to 400 Million users per month. Today, they are the 6th most popular site - GLOBALLY. They have grown 14% in the last year with over 450 Million unique users per month. Mind-blowing…Below I’m including two key excerpts from the interview – Jimmy’s views on products and on social media. Enjoy!

Jimmy on Products:

Jimmy:  Yes, definitely. I mean, Wikipedia was always interesting and worth talking about. And so we always got a lot of attention from the press, good and bad. And one of the things I always say in terms of my advice to brands today, the very first thing is, make products that don’t suck, because all the marketing in the world doesn’t help. And that’s true more so today than any other time, because consumers have access to information. You know, you can’t cover a bad product with more marketing spend. It just doesn’t work.

Jimmy on Social Media:

Companies continue to get smarter with the social media presence – especially in the last 18 months since this interview, but Jimmy’s advice is still dead on. Of course it does not help that certain social media gurus are still encouraging people to buy followers (a nod to Jason Konopinski for pointing out this post.)

Jimmy:  You have to be really careful if you think about leveraging social media because you really run the risk of being inauthentic and doing all kinds of stupid things. I think that there are a lot of pitfalls. I think that what you should really be thinking about is community. Thinking about real people who are your partners, your customers, and thinking about how to serve their interests. What do your customers want? Give them what they want and talk about it. Those are the fundamentals. When we think about a social media strategy, too often, people are not really thinking about fundamentals. They’re just thinking about doing some gimmicks to get some Facebook fan page followers which is absolutely useless, and misses the point entirely.

Brian:  Why do you think that’s something that so many brands are trying to achieve?

Jimmy:  I think it’s an easy metric, it’s easily measurable. You can say, “Oh well, we have this many Facebook fans.” Well, there’s two ways to get Facebook fans. That’s to have actual fans, people who love your products. And two is to have a really good marketing consultant who racks up your numbers.Well, the second is basically useless. It’s racking up numbers for no actual purpose. The first is what you’re really after. You really want people to be passionate about your product because you’ve built something really great.

This also reminds me of the podcast with did with Inkling Media’s Ken Mueller where he said, “It’s the social that’s important, not the media.

To hear the rest of the interview, tune in below or hop on over to iTunes. No time to sync? Check us out on Stitcher, all of your podcasts will download automatically. Enter the code brandconnection for a chance to win.

Send to Kindle

Brand Fast-Trackers #167 – “We Need a Twitter Strategy”

Matt Dickman’s
Send to Kindle

The intro to today’s podcast really struck me. Last week it was announced that Susan G. Komen founder Nancy Brinker was stepping down along with their President, a move that followed numerous other executive departures. For 30 years, Komen built an incredible brand meant to help people and literally took breast cancer from being a behind closed door issue to all of us seeing pink ribbons on NFL Sunday. And as Brian notes, with just a few missteps and not being prepared for the fall-out, public perception has completely shifted against them. A recent Harris Poll noted that Komen had fallen from a number 2 rating to 56 – all due to the change in “brand health.  It’s startling how quick things can change if you are not prepared for the risk.

For this reason, we reached out to an expert in the area of risk management as it relates to social and digital media. Matt Dickman is the EVP of Social Business Innovation at Weber Shandwick. As Matt puts it, he works with Fortune 100 companies on everything that needs to happen within social media BEFORE they tweet. The first question Matt asks all of his clients is “What is your social media strategy?” and not one has had a solid answer for him. These are companies with huge ad budgets who are heavily engaged socially, but they are not taking the most important step – aligning their social media strategy with their business goals with the support of the CEO. It is critical, says Matt, that business think beyond the tactical in the social space. Statements like “we need a twitter strategy” are ridiculous because it shows that the brand is thinking tactically instead of strategically. To this point, he addresses how a social media policy needs to be created and supported by the C-Suite and why it must align with the overall business objectives.



Send to Kindle

Brand Fast-Trackers #164 – Scott Monty of Ford Motor Company

We make the ultimate mobile devices
Send to Kindle

In today’s episode, we are joined by social media powerhouse Scott Monty of Ford Motor Company. As a brand marketer, there is no one doing digital and social at a higher level than Scott. We discuss how Ford works across departments – customer service, marketing, and communications – to present Ford’s one vision and how they use social to communicate that vision.

For Scott, brands that take the time to understand their customers and how their customers want to be communicated to are the brands that are succeeding (and will succeed) at social media. Scott shares why mass communications – talking at consumers – does not always work and why the old expression that ‘nothing beats a firm handshake and looking someone in the eye’ can now be done digitally for the brands that get it. Scott’s insights are truly invaluable and I think you will love it!

[Title graphic from social.ford.com]

Send to Kindle

Kim Brink Shares How to Truly Understand your Consumer – Episode #163

Send to Kindle


As marketers we all know how important it is to know our consumers, and even more so in certain categories like automotive.  It is a huge cost if you fail, and a massive success if you win.  Today, we speak with Kim Brink, the Managing Director, Brand, Consumer and Series Marketing at NASCAR. Kim spent the majority of her career at GM, with Chevy and Cadillac.  She worked on the Chevy and Cadillac brands when they were undergoing brand transformations, and now she is taking all her marketing lessons and applying them to Nascar and helping them with something many brands struggle with – how to retain, avid loyal fans, while also attracting a entire new generation of fans.

One of the most valuable nuggets that Kim shares is just how important it is to truly understand and appreciate your consumer.  This is vital regardless of whether you are undergoing a brand transformation.

“Be very precise with who it is that you’re going after, and then just know them more deeply, than anything else. You need to know their media consumption habits, what their wants are, what their worries are, what their dreams are, what their hopes are. I think if you just start there, and get into the shoes of your customer, I think it makes the entire process that much easier.” –Kim Brink

To that end, Kim suggests the power of using ethnographies and going to your customer where they are consuming your product. When she was at GM, they used to do in-home garage visits. For many brands this won’t make sense, but the concept of truly knowing your customer certainly does. So how can all brands achieve this detail about their customers? Focus groups? Sure, but then you are reaching only a small fraction of your base in an environment completely removed from how/when they consume/experience your product.

Full-blown ethnographic studies are cost-prohibitive, but now we have the ability to create experience for of customers offline and online. It is a great way to not only collecting key insights  about your consumer for a fraction of the cost, but also for something we marketers like to talk about a lot – creating earned media.

As Kim puts it, “now you can watch behavior online or behavior in blogs or behavior on Facebook and learn a lot just by observation.

Tune in below to hear the full episode.

Like the episode? Please share it with your friends and colleagues. Give us a tweet or a like. We’d appreciate it.

Send to Kindle

Brands must go beyond the tactical to be a true social business – Episode #162

Send to Kindle

Social Business

There has been a lot of discussion lately around brands on Facebook, particularly in regards to their IPO. The real question is how will brands use tools like Facebook in the future? How will they really be leveraging social? Today, we turn to one of the most respected experts in this field. David Armano is the EVP, Global Innovation & Integration at Edelman Digital and the brains behind the well-respected Logic+Emotion blog.

David describes social business and what the term means as brands continuing to develop their social initiatives. According to David, brands have 5-10 years of hard work ahead. A true social business views social holistically, and goes beyond the tactical (social media marketing, and integrating PR and customer service into social profiles).

David also shares why he is bullish on Facebook long-term, what they are doing with sponsored stories and advertising is really breaking the mold. We discuss why influencer marketing is just a new form of advertising in its infancy and the same thing brands have been doing forever. Lastly, we discuss the emergence of the intrapreneur.

Fascinating episode on Facebook, social business and more!  Tune in below or on iTunes or Stitcher (enter code brandconnection for a chance to win).

Send to Kindle