tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/strategy Latest Strategy content from Econsultancy 2017-02-24T12:02:09+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68755 2017-02-24T12:02:09+00:00 2017-02-24T12:02:09+00:00 How charities capitalise on sponsored abstinence events Nikki Gilliland <p>While it’s certainly a positive for charities – does the trend have a shelf life? What’s more, how do charities ensure their message is delivered in the face of increasing competition?</p> <p>Here’s a look at why it’s been such an effective marketing tool so far, and a bit of insight into how it might evolve in future.  </p> <h3>What’s the appeal?</h3> <h4>Anyone can get involved</h4> <p>Sponsored abstinence events have mass appeal mainly because anyone and everyone can get involved without much effort required. Of course, giving up something <em>is</em> an effort, but the fact that it’s a passive activity – far removed from something like a skydive – means that people are more likely to sign up.</p> <h4>Builds on social media boasting</h4> <p>It’s been suggested that a lot of people participate in these events simply for the enjoyment of posting about it on social media.</p> <p>While the charitable humble brag is a well-known phenomenon, this is a particularly cynical view. But with social media reinforcement being <a href="https://www.ama.org/publications/MarketingNews/Pages/feeding-the-addiction.aspx" target="_blank">linked to a rise in dopamine levels</a> - this addictive cycle is still likely to be a contributing factor.</p> <h4>Personal challenge</h4> <p>Alongside validation from peers, the opportunity to undertake a personal challenge is also part of the abstinence appeal. In fact, many people now participate in events like Dry January even without a fundraising element, proving that charities often (ironically) capitalise on personal interest and gain.</p> <h4>Time limit</h4> <p>While Movember is not an abstinence event, it still uses the typical tactic of a one-month time frame. This can be highly effective, as people are much more likely to agree to a certain behaviour for a limited time period rather than an open-ended amount. </p> <p>Encouragingly, it’s also been suggested that people who give up something for 28 days or more are likely to stop in the long term.</p> <h3>Awareness vs. Fundraising</h3> <p>This year’s Dry January was marred by suggestions that giving up alcohol for a month could <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/12098843/Dry-January-campaign-could-do-more-harm-than-good-claims-expert.html" target="_blank">do more harm than good</a>. Specifically, it was suggested that abstinence events can lead to dangerous bingeing at the end of the month as people ‘celebrate’ its culmination.</p> <p>Meanwhile, despite the increase in popularity, it appears the charitable element (and core message) could be getting lost amid the social media noise. With three charities running alcohol abstinence events, competing for public attention has become a big challenge - especially considering the somewhat conflicting messages of each.</p> <p>Cancer Research runs a typically light-hearted campaign, focusing on the act of fundraising rather than the core message behind it. Clearly a successful tactic, it has raised an impressive £17m since launching in 2013.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3496/Dryathlete.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="600"></p> <p>In contrast, Alcohol Concern hammers home the importance of changing the core behaviour, with raising money an almost secondary factor. This has proved a problem, which has subsequently led to the charity changing its marketing approach.</p> <p>Aiming to dispel the notion that it is being preachy or condescending, it is now placing greater focus on fundraising. In 2016, it announced that it would be partnering with Virgin Money Giving to allow participants to raise money for both Alcohol Concern and a separate charity. With one in six people reportedly taking part in the event regardless of a charity link, this aimed to provide further incentive and encourage sign ups to Alcohol Concern specifically.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">No Friday night beers this week, it's <a href="https://twitter.com/dryjanuary">@dryjanuary</a>, raising money for <a href="https://twitter.com/AlcoholConcern">@AlcoholConcern</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/breastcancernow">@breastcancernow</a> <a href="https://t.co/srXiHp6ZwG">https://t.co/srXiHp6ZwG</a></p> — Paul Davis (@Saddlerpaul) <a href="https://twitter.com/Saddlerpaul/status/817507977133494272">January 6, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Ultimately then, the success of these events appears to be more related to raising awareness - be it either of the charity itself, or to a lesser extent, a health-related issue such as smoking – rather than raising money. </p> <p>In turn, perhaps whether or not people <em>do</em> raise money in the process relies on the strength (and persuasive techniques) of marketing campaigns.</p> <p>Here are a few further examples and reasons why they’re effective.</p> <h3>Effective marketing campaigns </h3> <h4>British Heart Foundation's Dechox</h4> <p>BHF raised nearly £800,000 during its first-ever ‘de-chox’ – an event that encourages giving up chocolate for March. This year, it is hoping to raise even more by focusing on the workplace.</p> <p>Building on ‘cake culture’ and the statistic that <a href="https://www.fenews.co.uk/sector-news/new-statistics-reveal-over-two-fifths-of-people-working-in-education-have-ditched-the-diet-after-eating-chocolate-on-the-job-13122" target="_blank">55% of people will eat chocolate at work</a> if it is within eyesight, the charity uses relatable messaging to encourage participation, as well as the notion that ‘we’re all in it together’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3495/Dechox_2.JPG" alt="" width="640" height="642"></p> <h4>Veganuary</h4> <p>Unlike health-related charities, Veganuary capitalises on multiple incentives to promote its meat and dairy-free month. While it champions animal welfare, it likely appeals to people who are concerned about environmental issues – plus those who are drawn into celebrity trends related to food and wellness.</p> <p>Social media plays a huge part of Veganuary’s marketing, with the charity capitalising on food inspiration to engage users. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3490/Veganuary.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="485"></p> <h4>Febfast</h4> <p>Unlike charities that promote health-related causes, e.g. smoking or drinking, Febfast uses the abstinence angle purely as a marketing tool.</p> <p>It also opens up the notion to encourage participants to give up anything they like. Whether it’s fast food or being late – its inclusive nature means there’s no reason <em>not</em> to get involved.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3491/Febfast.JPG" alt="" width="590" height="678"></p> <p>Its phrasing is also quite original, urging people to ‘hit pause’ on something rather than give it up. Deliberately avoiding any danger of sounding preachy or overly-serious, it focuses on the positive results, in both the personal and charitable sense.</p> <p><strong><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66592-why-charities-need-true-digital-transformation/"><em>Why charities need true digital transformation</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67451-the-smartest-experiential-charity-marketing-campaign-you-ll-see-this-year/"><em>The smartest experiential &amp; charity marketing campaign you'll see this year</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68781-five-ways-charities-can-encourage-more-online-donations/"><em>Five ways charities can encourage more online donations</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68832 2017-02-24T10:05:11+00:00 2017-02-24T10:05:11+00:00 10 staggering digital marketing stats we've seen this week Nikki Gilliland <p>Please note, we've linked to all original studies where possible. Unfortunately not all of these studies are published online, they often come to us as press releases.</p> <h3>60% of millennials have used chatbots</h3> <p>A new study by Retale has delved into how UK millennials feel about chatbots.</p> <p>From a survey of over 500 consumers aged 18 to 34, nearly 60% of respondents were found to have used a chatbot in the past. Out of the percentage of people that had not, 53% said they were still interested in trying them. </p> <p>Interestingly, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/admin/blog_posts/68805-are-brands-failing-to-promote-chatbots/" target="_blank">branded chatbots</a> appear to be growing in popularity, with 71% of millennials saying they’d be happy to try a chatbot from a consumer brand. Lastly, 86% of respondents agreed that brands should use chatbots to promote deals, discounts and offers. </p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68800-pizza-express-launches-booking-chatbot-is-it-any-good/" target="_blank"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4128/Pizza_Express_5.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="678"></a></p> <h3>Retailers increasing investment in store technology</h3> <p>The <a href="http://now.jda.com/CEO2017.html" target="_blank">latest report</a> from JDA/PWC has found that 69% of CEOs plan to increase investment in digital technologies to improve the in-store customer experience. </p> <p>76% of CEOs have or are planning to invest in personalised mobile ‘push offers’ and beacons, while 79% are also investing or planning to invest in smart mobile devices for staff in stores. Despite this, 52% of respondents have not yet defined or started implementing <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation/">a digital transformation strategy</a>. </p> <h3>68% of British retailers have no Brexit plans in place</h3> <p>According to new research from Global-e, 68% of retailers have yet to start planning for Brexit, despite 51% also saying that the vote to leave the EU has already impacted UK sales. The study, which involved a survey of 250 top British retailers, also found that 32% of those selling internationally have seen an increase in online orders from outside the UK. </p> <p>Additionally, 46% of UK retailers were found to be in favour of a soft Brexit, while 36% agreed that a hard Brexit - with no access to the single market - would be better for UK retailers.</p> <h3>Ad blocking levels stabilise</h3> <p>According to the Internet Advertising Bureau's UK <a href="https://iabuk.net/about/press/archive/iab-uk-reveals-latest-ad-blocking-behaviour" target="_blank">Ad Blocking Report</a>, the proportion of British adults online currently using ad blocking software has remained at around 22% for the last year.</p> <p>Despite a predicted rise in ad blocking, this has failed to materialise, perhaps due to many publishers working hard to promote a value exchange.</p> <p>24% of people cited not being able to access online content as the biggest reason for switching off their ad blocker - a figure up from 16% a year ago. Meanwhile, 24% said that it is because they have since switched to a new device.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4122/ad_blocking.png" alt="" width="750" height="453"></p> <h3>Travel brands expected to benefit from Oscar hype</h3> <p>Data from Lastminute.com suggests that travel brands have seen an increase in search interest on the back of this year’s Oscar nominations. Searches for flights to Los Angeles shot up by 21% on the day of La La Land’s release. Meanwhile, Martin Scorsese’s Silence prompted an even bigger surge, with searches for flights to Japan up 82% from the week before, and increasing a further 46% in the subsequent two days.</p> <p>Though it hasn’t been nominated for any Academy Awards, Brit flick Eddie the Eagle also prompted greater interest in ski holidays, with on-site searches jumping 10% after its release.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4123/Lastminute.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="424"></p> <h3>56% of CRM managers lack firm objectives</h3> <p>In a survey of 500 leading CRM managers, <a href="http://news.wiraya.com/news/crm-managers-dont-believe-theyre-generating-revenue-222319">Wiraya found that CRM</a> is perceived as a key business driver for over 30% of businesses. Despite this fact, it seems many still lack the data and strategy to support their goals and create profitability.</p> <p>While 91% of businesses are currently measuring aspects of their CRM work, 56% do not have firm objectives in place. What’s more, just 17% say that their CRM work is clearly contributing to the company’s overall revenue. This proves that major improvements still need to be made, as just 31% currently consider themselves ‘ambitious’ in terms of CRM maturity.</p> <h3>One in six UK shoppers have switched supermarkets in the past year</h3> <p>In light of Aldi becoming the nation’s fifth largest supermarket, <a href="http://www.tccglobal.com/en/blog/article/uk-shopper-loyalty-study">TCC Global has undertaken a study</a> on the state of consumer loyalty to grocery stores. It found that 32% of UK discount shoppers and 16% of all shoppers have switched their main grocery store in the last 12 months. Meanwhile, 39% of shoppers said that it wouldn’t matter to them if their usual grocery store closed.</p> <p>The research also found that growing convenience is making it even easier to switch between retailers, with shoppers having an average of 11 ‘reachable’, 10 ‘easily reachable’ and five ‘very easily reachable' stores.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4124/Aldi.jpg" alt="" width="720" height="480"></p> <h3>UK online retail sales grow 12% year on year in January</h3> <p>The latest figures from <a href="https://www.imrg.org/data-and-reports/imrg-capgemini-sales-indexes/" target="_blank">IMRG Capgemini</a> has revealed that UK online retail sales were up 12% year-on-year in the first month of 2017, with retailers seeing the highest average January spend since 2010. The average basket value was recorded as £85 in January 2017, up from £79 a year earlier. </p> <p>In terms of sectors, growth for gifts reached an eight-year high, with an increase of 62% year-on-year. Meanwhile, electricals were down 9%, falling for the second month in a row.</p> <h3>Consumers struggle to identify British brands</h3> <p>A recent poll by Spread Co has found that the majority of consumers are baffled by the origins of their favourite brands. 50% of consumers believe Tetley Tea to be British, when it is in fact owned by a foreign company. Similarly, 42% think the same about Branston Pickle and 37% about HP Sauce, when they are actually Indian and Japanese.</p> <p>The survey also found that 61% of UK adults don’t know that The Body Shop is part of L’oreal, while 19% think Tesco is the biggest company in Britain (even though it only represents 0.84% of the market share).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4127/body_shop.jpg" alt="" width="650" height="490"></p> <h3>Mulberry and Burberry are the most searched-for brands during LFW</h3> <p>Captify has revealed that the top three searched for designers during London Fashion Week were Mulberry, Burberry and JW Anderson. Other designers saw online searches go through the roof, with Ryan Lo experiencing a jump of 2,000% over the week, followed by surges for Topshop Unique and Sadie Williams.</p> <p>In terms of the most searched-for items, designer trainers rose by 60%, followed by minimalist clothing and 90’s style, which both rose 20%.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68831 2017-02-23T11:48:06+00:00 2017-02-23T11:48:06+00:00 How brands are tapping into the trend for a digital detox Nikki Gilliland <p>Now, we are able to use mobile technology to encourage creativity and enhance entertainment – but arguably at the expense of our productivity and general well-being.</p> <p>This topic was recently highlighted in Mindshare’s 2017 <a href="http://www.mindshareworld.com/uk" target="_blank">Trends report</a>, which also cited how certain companies are tapping into the consumer’s desire to switch off.</p> <p>Here’s a bit of elaboration on the subject, and a few more examples of how brands are (ironically) using technology to combat technology overload.</p> <h3>Dolmio Pepper Hacker</h3> <p>Last year, Dolmio used the notion of ‘too much tech’ as the basis of its own marketing campaign. It was built around the idea that technology has hijacked dinner time, with children becoming so absorbed in tablets and smartphones that they are completely unaware of everything going on around them. </p> <p>So, it created the ‘pepper hacker’ - a device that automatically disables surrounding Wi-Fi - to help families reclaim dinner time. </p> <p>It was a well-executed campaign, incorporating an amusing advert, a competition and a related creative – all hosted on a dedicated website. As well as using a relatable topic to target its core demographic of families, the brand was also able to show care and concern for the people who typically buy its products.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/dN04OO67_do?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>Apple</h3> <p>Apple included a whole host of sleep-related features in its iOS 10 update, recognising the growing problem of users being able to switch off from their phones at night. Putting ‘Bedtime’ into its own dedicated tab, it now allows users to configure alarms to remind them when to go to bed and when to wake up, emphasising that a regular pattern can help aid restful sleep. </p> <p>More recently, there’s been talk that Apple is to introduce new apps for the Apple Watch, including similar sleep and fitness trackers. If it does, this demonstrates the brand's greater intent to infiltrate the health industry, as well as perhaps recognition that it is intrinsically linked to users’ increasing sleep troubles.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4100/Apple_bedtime.jpg" alt="" width="625" height="539"></p> <h3>GE</h3> <p>Another brand to tap into sleep-related issues is GE, with its range of C-Sleep light bulbs.</p> <p>Designed to prevent harsh light from interrupting natural rhythms in the brain, the lightbulbs can be toggled between three settings – one for night, one for morning and one for any time in-between. By changing the light intensity, people will be able to prevent melatonin levels from being disrupted, as well as create a more calming and sleep-inducing bedtime environment.</p> <p>This is a good example of a brand demonstrating that it’s not always about a reaction against technology itself – but finding ways to use technology in smart ways in order to facilitate a modern lifestyle. The fact that the lightbulbs can be controlled via an app proves that balance is key.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4101/GE.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="416"></p> <h3>Meantime Brewing Company</h3> <p>Another content marketing campaign, this time from Meantime Brewing Company, based on the idea that technology is disrupting socialising and our ability to enjoy down-time. As part of its 'Make Time For It' campaign, it challenged six talented craftsmen from six cities to each create one element of a pop up bar. The premise being that it takes time to both create and enjoy a good beer.</p> <p>Meantime’s London bar, also the smallest ever pop-bar, opened last October with one stipulation – everyone entering had to hand over their mobile phone so that they could enjoy a pint, technology-free. </p> <p>It’s not unusual for beer brands to use ideas of patience and calm – Guinness’s famous tagline is course “good things come to those who wait”. However, Meantime’s strict no-smartphone rule proved that more brands are cottoning on to the idea (as well as how it can be used to drum up a good bit of PR).</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jIn0N2mpbKw?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>Headspace</h3> <p>Lastly, just one example of a brand that would not exist if there wasn’t a desire to switch off.</p> <p>Headspace is one of the most successful mindfulness apps, designed to help users take a break from the treadmill of life and instead take a well-earned breather. Now reported to be worth £25m, there has been some suggestion that Headspace goes against the traditional, spiritual premise of true mindfulness. After all, not all of its features are free.</p> <p>This is a pretty cynical view, however, and perhaps one that is beside the point here. What Headspace shows us is that mindfulness is now mainstream. Brands, whether they are already established or not, are merely finding more ways to capitalise on it.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Life is easier with technology. But is it happier? <a href="https://t.co/sEEs4t62jI">https://t.co/sEEs4t62jI</a> <a href="https://t.co/6FHyxFG9eW">pic.twitter.com/6FHyxFG9eW</a></p> — Headspace (@Headspace) <a href="https://twitter.com/Headspace/status/833858035336425473">February 21, 2017</a> </blockquote> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68810 2017-02-22T14:09:14+00:00 2017-02-22T14:09:14+00:00 Four ways AI is already being applied to sales and marketing Patricio Robles <p>Here are four examples.</p> <h3>Chorus.ai helps companies analyze their sales calls</h3> <p>While the phone call is an ancient phenomenon to many individuals, companies large and small still conduct a lot of their sales activity over the phone. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, tracking, analyzing and improving the performance of salespeople on phone calls is a much more challenging task than, say, tracking, analyzing and improving the performance of email sales.</p> <p>But a number of companies, including Marketo, AdRoll and Qualtrics, are using "conversation intelligence" company <a href="https://www.chorus.ai/">Chorus.ai's</a> platform to record sales calls, transcribe them and analyze the content using AI technology.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/4099/chorus_ai-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="189"></p> <p>Currently, that AI technology can identify key points in phone conversations, such as when a potential customer talks about features, reveals a pain point or mentions a competitor. This AI-based functionality can be used to develop market and customer insights, help develop best practices and scripts for sales teams and aid sales managers in mentoring individual members of their teams.</p> <p>In the future, Chorus.ai's AI tech could be used to display content to salespeople in real-time as a conversation is taking place. For example, if a customer raises an objection, Chorus.ai could surface content that a salesperson can use to address the objection.</p> <h3>Cosabella Lingerie uses AI to boost email revenue</h3> <p>Since high-end lingerie retailer Cosabella Lingerie adopted the Emarsys Marketing Cloud in October 2016, it has doubled its email subscriber base and <a href="https://www.emarsys.com/en/press-release/cosabellas-revenue-surges-60-percent-using-emarsys-ai-enabled-b2c-marketing-cloud/">grown email-driven revenue by over 60% compared to 2015</a>.</p> <p>Emarsys added an Artificial Intelligence Marketing (AIM) component late last year. It can be used to apply AI technology to a number of email marketing optimizations. Specifically, it offers automatic incentive management, "an AI-driven discount personalization layer that analyzes each recipient’s behavioral history to determine who should receive discounts, and for what amount," as well as send time optimization, which predicts when emails should be delivered to specific customers to maximize open rates and engagement.</p> <p>Because of the success of its email initiative, Cosabella says that, "The roll out of the Emarsys platform is the next big step in Cosabella’s move into AI integration during 2017."</p> <h3>IBM allows Watson to manage its programmatic ad buying</h3> <p>One of the most talked-about AI platforms is IBM's Watson. But rather than just pitching the software to its customers, the software giant is eating its own dog food, and one of the ways that it is applying Watson to its business is by allowing the AI to manage its programmatic buying of digital ads.</p> <p><a href="http://adage.com/article/digital/ibm-s-watson-programmatic-yielding-big-returns-ibm/304946/">According to</a> reports last year, IBM's use of Watson's AI tech led to an average cost-per-click decrease of 35% and as much as 71%. With IBM spending tens of millions of dollars a year on digital display ads, it's no surprise that the company was eager to make plans to have Watson manage all of its programmatic ad buying by the end of 2016.</p> <p>"Because of the volume and the dollars involved, trying to save those fractions of a dollar, or fractions of a cent, really matters to us," IBM's VP of marketing analytics, Ari Sheinkin, told AdAge.</p> <p>Watson's AI is capable of tracking and analyzing vast amounts of data – far more than any human ever could – and learning as it sees more campaign results, which means that despite its apparently already-satisfactory performance, IBM could find that the ROI from using Watson increases even more over time.</p> <h3>LeadGenius brings AI to B2B lead generation</h3> <p>As its name suggests, B2B SaaS startup LeadGenius is in the business of generating leads. Historically, lead generation has been a highly manual process involving human research and categorization, but LeadGenius applies AI to this process to significantly reduce the labor involved, saving customers like fraud prevention solutions provider Signifyd lots of time and money.</p> <p>John Livett, a sales manager for Signifyd, says that LeadGenius' tech saves him 15 hours each week, hours "that would have been spent trawling Google, LinkedIn, etc."</p> <p>The AI applied by LeadGenius to the lead generation problem helps the company identify individual businesses and determine how frequently their information should be retrieved based on an analysis of how long information is likely to be reliable; determine whether a company is "in-market" for a particular product or not; and identify buyer roles based on business titles.</p> <p>LeadGenius also applies AI to MailGenius, a salesperson-focused email client it created. MailGenius uses AI to craft email templates, track performance as responses come in and apply optimizations.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/key/3BYRspyKizEA5N" width="595" height="485"></iframe></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68817 2017-02-16T14:59:16+00:00 2017-02-16T14:59:16+00:00 How brands are targeting business travellers Nikki Gilliland <p>According to a <a href="http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/booking.com_survey_reveals_top_causes_of_business_travel_stress" target="_blank">survey from Booking.com</a>, 93% of business travellers feel stressed at some point during their journey - unsurprising given the amount of logistics involved. From planning to managing expenses, and even without taking into account the actual work that needs to done, there’s a whole heap of hassle that goes along with corporate travel.</p> <p>For brands, this traveller presents a unique opportunity. </p> <p>Not only is there less need to dazzle and delight with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67766-10-examples-of-great-travel-marketing-campaigns/" target="_blank">inspirational marketing</a>, but thanks to the deep pockets of corporate companies, the budget can often be sizeable. Meanwhile, with a positive experience likely to result in repeat trips, business travel could prove to be a lucrative market.</p> <p>Here’s how a few brands are setting their sights on it.</p> <h3>Airbnb</h3> <p>The ‘Airbnb for business’ program launched in 2015, signalling the brand’s intent to capture interest from corporate travellers, all the while proving how popular alternative accommodation has become.</p> <p>The service allows companies to integrate their business travel itineraries, giving them a full run-down of where employees are staying and how much they’re spending. More recently, Airbnb has introduced a feature that allows employees to book on behalf of colleagues, making the service even more streamlined.</p> <p>Since it launched, the program has enjoyed a period of growth, however <a href="https://skift.com/2016/11/04/small-companies-have-embraced-airbnb-for-business-travel/" target="_blank">recent data</a> suggests that this could be slowing – mainly due to the companies choosing Airbnb spending as little as possible on short trips. Similarly, Airbnb for business is only seeing real success in cities where the hotel prices are notoriously high.</p> <p>Airbnb is naturally trying to combat this by promoting longer stays and group trips, even offering £40 in travel credit, in order to encourage higher spend.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3951/Airbnb.jpg" alt="" width="760" height="320"></p> <h3>Booking.com</h3> <p>With a reported one in five customers using <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68505-a-closer-look-at-booking-com-s-customer-focused-strategy/" target="_blank">Booking.com</a> for business travel, it’s no surprise the brand decided to launch its own business travel platform.</p> <p>Designed to make the research and planning stage as easy as possible, it places a big focus on peer-to-peer reviews, sorting through the data to find accommodation that is ‘business traveller tested and approved’.  </p> <p>This customer-centric approach is continued across the board, and reflected in the online UX.</p> <p>After completing a simple registration, users can filter the search by ‘business interest’ like fitness centre or free cancellation. Arguably, the platform doesn't offer anything that much different to the main Booking.com platform, however the ability for company managers or administrators to coordinate plans for others is a key differentiator.</p> <p>Since its launch, there have been suggestions that the brand will expand its business offering into flights - though there's been no sign of this so far.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3952/Booking.jpg" alt="" width="750" height="364"></p> <h3>STA</h3> <p>With millennials forecast to make up half of the workforce by 2020, the stereotype of the middle-aged business traveller no longer applies.</p> <p>STA is tapping into this notion, launching a business travel brand to target young people with a desire to combine both business and pleasure.</p> <p>Alongside young people starting their own business, students travelling for internships or first jobs, it also targets people who want to tag on a holiday at the end of a work trip.</p> <p>With <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/05/05/millennials-are-prioritizing-experiences-over-stuff.html" target="_blank">78% of millennials</a> choosing worthwhile experiences over possessions, it’s no surprise that this demand exists. It also bodes well for STA, with the move helping the brand to stay relevant to young people as they move into the workplace.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Need a <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/visa?src=hash">#visa</a>?. We can help you find out if you need one! Speak to our experts to find out more businesstravel@statravel.co.uk <a href="https://t.co/sbH3xH0RzE">pic.twitter.com/sbH3xH0RzE</a></p> — STA Travel Business (@STABusiness) <a href="https://twitter.com/STABusiness/status/825335372343308289">January 28, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Marriot</h3> <p>STA isn’t the only travel brand to target business travellers with the promise of an experience.</p> <p>Marriot’s Renaissance Hotels brand recently launched a new campaign to do just that. Called ‘The Navigator’s Table’, the video series features TV chef Andrew Zimmern from “Bizarre Foods”, and involves chefs and entrepreneurs offering insight and opinions on regional dishes. </p> <p>Essentially, it is designed to appeal to the modern business traveller – someone who is curious, and who wants to get as much out of a business trip as possible.</p> <p>The frequency with which business travellers travel is largely the reason behind this marketing push. For a large hotel chain like Marriot, a single ‘authentic experience’ could result in multiple and repeat bookings in future – reason enough to pay them more attention.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7UUT15kQG1A?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68805 2017-02-14T11:01:00+00:00 2017-02-14T11:01:00+00:00 Are brands failing to properly promote their new chatbots? Nikki Gilliland <p>One issue I failed to mention is that the brand doesn’t appear to be doing much to promote it. Which is odd, as how are people meant to use it if they don’t know it exists in the first place?</p> <p>Here’s a bit more info on this issue and how brands can combat it.</p> <h3>Discovering chatbots</h3> <p>In order to access the Pizza Express chatbot, I typed @PizzaExpress in the recipient search bar in Facebook Messenger. Easy enough, as it immediately appeared in the drop-down menu.</p> <p>However, I was already aware that the bot existed, and it’s likely that most existing users don’t.</p> <p>So, where else is it promoted?</p> <p>Looking at the brand’s main Facebook page, I discovered that it can also be accessed via the ‘book now’ or ‘message’ buttons, which take you straight to Messenger.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3880/Pizza_Express_page.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="635"></p> <p>Fair enough. Although, it does seem like this would be very easy to miss, even for existing fans of the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64674-how-to-market-your-branded-facebook-page/" target="_blank">Facebook page</a>. Most people find and access content directly from their news feed, so how likely is it that anyone will see this?</p> <p>Upon further inspection, I spotted that the brand has actively promoted the feature in a recent post, highlighting it in conjunction with a current Valentine’s Day special offer and urging users to book it via the chatbot.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpizzaexpress%2Fposts%2F10155045491108139&amp;width=500" width="500" height="512"></iframe></p> <p>But, while fans might see it, what about people who occasionally (or even regularly) eat in a Pizza Express restaurant, but haven’t liked the brand’s Facebook page?</p> <p>Personally, I’ve enjoyed the odd Padana Romana in my time. I’d even go as far as saying Pizza Express is my emergency high street restaurant chain of choice, but I’d honestly never think to hit that ‘like’ button. </p> <p>In that case, I’d miss the chatbot entirely. And Pizza Express might miss out on my data and the subsequent opportunity for retargeting. </p> <p>It's also worth mentioning that anyone without Facebook Messenger installed on their smartphone will be left frustrated if they happen to click ‘book now’ on the Facebook page.</p> <h3>Promoting bots</h3> <p>From this example, we can see that brands often need to do more to promote and facilitate chatbot use. </p> <p>One option is of course cross-promotion, using social media to drive interest, and in some cases creating separate social media channels specifically for the chatbot.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fkayak.unitedkingdom%2Fposts%2F554525934735318&amp;width=500" width="500" height="517"></iframe></p> <p>This aside, one of the major issues with promotion could be related to whose responsibility the chatbot is. I recently read an article that suggested a lack of internal strategy often leads to the failure of bots, with businesses unsure whether activity should be driven by marketing, IT or customer service.</p> <p>Lastly, alongside organic promotion on social, another good option is targeted ads.</p> <p>This appears to be one of the most effective and fool-proof solutions, however, with chatbot technology still in its infancy – and with real value yet to be proven – brands will understandly feel reluctant to throw a lot of money behind promotion.</p> <p>Perhaps the recent announcement that brands can now <a href="http://www.adweek.com/digital/brands-can-now-promote-their-chatbots-targeted-facebook-ads-174526/" target="_blank">serve targeted ads</a> to users in Facebook Messenger (as long as they’ve previously interacted with the brand) might spur on greater promotion in future.</p> <p>While chatbots might offer the opportunity for greater engagement, brands will need to do more to ensure that customers know about them.</p> <p><strong><em>Related articles:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68532-the-case-for-chatbots-being-the-new-apps-notes-from-websummit2016/" target="_blank">The case for chatbots being the new apps - notes from #WebSummit2016</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68046-five-pioneering-examples-of-how-brands-are-using-chatbots/" target="_blank">Five pioneering examples of how brands are using chatbots</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68732-what-makes-a-good-chatbot-ux/" target="_blank">What makes a good chatbot UX?</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68802 2017-02-14T10:41:36+00:00 2017-02-14T10:41:36+00:00 Five content marketing examples from dating sites and apps Nikki Gilliland <p>As online dating services become increasingly popular – with <a href="http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/02/11/15-percent-of-american-adults-have-used-online-dating-sites-or-mobile-dating-apps/" target="_blank">15% of all American adults</a> reportedly having used one – these sites are cleverly tapping into customer demand.</p> <p>While some larger dating sites rely on television or PPC advertising, good old fashioned content marketing remains a great way to attract a clientele.</p> <p>Here’s a look at just a few examples. And to learn more on this topic, check out these Econsultancy resources:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/content-marketing-and-strategy">Content Marketing Training Courses</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-future-of-content-marketing/">The Future of Content Marketing Report</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/implementing-content-strategy-digital-best-practice/">Implementing Content Strategy: Digital Best Practice</a></li> </ul> <h3>OKCupid</h3> <p>OKCupid was one of the first online dating websites to use content to drive its overall strategy.</p> <p>The original incarnation – OKTrends – was run by the company's co-founder, Christian Rudder, who used his mathematical background to set the tone of the blog. </p> <p>Essentially, he turned statistics and user data into fascinating articles, generating huge interest from online readers in general - not just those using its main dating service.</p> <p>Since being acquired by Match.com the blog has changed, however data and insight from the dating community remains at the heart of its content.</p> <p>It also regularly posts larger features, designed to poke fun at the perils of modern dating. One recent example is the amusing ‘Dictionary for the Modern Dater’, found on its Medium blog. Managing to steer clear of the clichés of online dating, it uses relatable humour to engage and entertain readers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3867/OKCupid.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="422"></p> <h3>Match.com</h3> <p>Match.com is another site that uses data to inform its content, largely for its annual ‘Singles in America’ study, which surveys over 5,000 US singletons to create informative and in-depth infographics and blog posts.</p> <p>Last year, the ‘Clooney Effect’ was one of the most successful pieces of content to arise, subsequently being picked up by a number of high profile publishers such as Glamour and Business Insider. </p> <p>Stemming from the statistic that 87% of men would date a woman who made ‘considerably more money’ than them (like Clooney and his highly successful wife, Amal Alamuddin) – it built on themes of positivity and empowerment to generate interest. With a reported 38% increase in traffic around the period the study was published, the results speak for themselves.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3868/Match_survey.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="428"></p> <h3>eHarmony</h3> <p>Unlike the aforementioned examples, eHarmony relies on emotive storytelling rather than statistics.</p> <p>With a helpful and thoughtful tone of voice, it aims to stem the fears and general stigmas that surround online dating, using advice-based articles to drive registration on the main site. </p> <p>While some have labelled its style of content as patronising, one area where eHarmony undeniably succeeds is in user-generated content. The 'success stories' page of its website is littered with positive reinforcement, cleverly breaking down content into various categories to target a wide range of demographics and backgrounds.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3870/eharmony.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="720"></p> <h3>Tinder</h3> <p>In just two short years, Tinder acquired more than 50m users – a feat that can perhaps be put down to its shrewd use of third-party integration. </p> <p>By enabling users to sign up with their Facebook login, it cleverly cuts through the frustrations of traditional dating websites, encouraging a younger audience to download and use the app.</p> <p>Unsurprisingly, Tinder is also one of the best examples of how to use social media to engage users. Not only does it integrate social on its app (now allowing users to cherry-pick the Instagram photos that they would like to show on their profile) it also populates its own social media with interesting, humorous and decidedly tongue-in-cheek content.</p> <p>For example, its Facebook page continuously drives interest. Last year, a Valentine’s Day post generated over 58,000 likes, 9,600 shares, and 2,900 comments – coming out on top in terms of engagement for online dating sites.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ftinder%2Fphotos%2Fa.378789085524216.87768.353659601370498%2F914594031943716%2F%3Ftype%3D3&amp;width=500" width="500" height="589"></iframe></p> <h3>Hinge</h3> <p>Dating app, Hinge, has turned its back on ‘swipe culture’, recently introducing a subscription-based model to help users cultivate meaningful connections. Features of the app, unlike Tinder, are also designed to resonate on a deeper level. For example, users are required to ‘heart’ specific parts of another’s profile such as the book they’re currently reading or their go-to karaoke song.</p> <p>Hinge also builds on its positioning as a ‘relationship app’ rather than a dating app to inform its wider content marketing. </p> <p>A recent email campaign, launched in time for Thanksgiving, asked users what they were thankful for.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3874/Hinge.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="787"></p> <p>Using a seasonal theme alongside a message of gratitude – it was a clever example of how to use content to reinforce brand values and reignite user interest. </p> <p><em><strong>Related articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64270-five-dating-tips-you-can-apply-to-your-email-marketing/" target="_blank">Five dating tips you can apply to your email marketing</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68068-four-ways-brands-are-marketing-through-dating-services/" target="_blank">Four ways brands are marketing through dating services</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67563-how-tinder-has-changed-ecommerce/" target="_blank">How Tinder has changed ecommerce</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68790 2017-02-13T15:08:00+00:00 2017-02-13T15:08:00+00:00 Pros and cons of creating multiple brand Facebook pages Nikki Gilliland <p>Of course, it’s not always appropriate or realistic to do this, with some arguing that it can dilute quality and even damage brand perception.</p> <p>So what’s the answer? Here are a few pros and cons to help weigh up the argument.</p> <h3>Pros</h3> <h4>Greater impact</h4> <p>While Facebook pages used to be a destination – the place users went to be able to consume content – <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66378-facebook-s-algorithm-update-what-it-means-for-marketers/" target="_blank">changes to the algorithm</a> means that these pages now act as publishers, with users being fed content directly in their News Feed. </p> <p>Meanwhile, as the algorithm rewards the most engaging content with greater reach, brands and publishers are taking advantage of this by separating out into multiple verticals or incredibly niche topics.</p> <p>One of the most successful examples of this is <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68426-a-brand-that-loves-you-how-buzzfeed-uses-empathy-to-connect-with-its-audience/" target="_blank">Buzzfeed</a>, which has an impressive 90 different pages in total. With the likes of Buzzfeed BFF and Buzzfeed Weddings, it can hone in on the audience’s super specific interests, essentially hoping that the more focused a page is, the better its content will perform.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FBuzzFeedWeddings%2Fposts%2F585014391694477&amp;width=500" width="500" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>With around 79 pages, Huffington Post has also demonstrated this approach – and proved it can work. For instance, a video about feminism generated 1.5m views when it was posted on the main HuffPost Facebook page, however, when it was posted on the HuffPost Women, it received 3.7m. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FHuffPostWomen%2Fvideos%2F929651497102904%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>This goes to show that putting relevant content in front of a small but highly engaged audience can generate more success than merely posting content to a large pool of people roughly interested in a similar theme.</p> <h4>Promotes localisation</h4> <p>Another reason for creating multiple Facebook pages is to promote localised content or products, where the strategy is aligned to growing a community based on geography rather than interest.</p> <p>A good example is Lululemon, the women’s sportswear brand, which has multiple Facebook pages for its various store locations around the world. Whether it's Lululemon Edinburgh or Lululemon Toronto, each page is dedicated to promoting specific in-store events (which in this case is often yoga classes) and store-specific offers. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FlululemonLondon%2Fposts%2F1319697514719040&amp;width=500" width="500" height="546"></iframe></p> <p>By doing this, the brand is able foster a real sense of community, as well as aid customer service, as most pages are run by the people who also work in the store location.</p> <h3>Cons</h3> <h4>A lack of resources</h4> <p>So, while it can clearly be beneficial, having multiple Facebook pages is not always so easy or effective. </p> <p>One of the biggest drawbacks, often for smaller brands or publishers, is simply a matter of resources. Requiring constant monitoring and attention, it is naturally easier and less time-consuming to focus on just the one page. </p> <p>Revenue can also be a big issue. Again, for bigger brands like Buzzfeed, it might be feasible to duplicate advertising across multiple pages – yet this could be a very costly and unrealistic notion for others.</p> <h4>Duplicated content</h4> <p>One of the biggest cons is keeping a steady stream of original, relevant and engaging content across the board. It is quite likely that users will like multiple pages from the same brand, which in turn means that duplicated or similar content will be less effective, not to mention off-putting for users.</p> <p>Finally, there is the suggestion that creating multiple pages for segmentation purposes is not only more hassle than its worth, but unnecessary due to the Facebook Targeting feature. This allows brands to post tailored content that can only be seen by a specific audience, meaning that you can already deliver the most relevant content to the right people.</p> <p>All in all, perhaps it depends how much effort a brand is willing to put into its Facebook presence, alongside how ready and willing the audience is to embrace it.</p> <p><em><strong>More on Facebook:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67691-content-creators-it-s-time-to-abandon-yourself-to-facebook/" target="_blank">Content creators, it's time to abandon yourself to Facebook</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67603-what-marketers-need-to-know-about-facebook-s-livestreaming-push/" target="_blank">What marketers need to know about Facebook's livestreaming push</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68415-the-low-down-on-facebook-marketplace-is-it-any-good/" target="_blank">The low-down on Facebook Marketplace: Is it any good?</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68765 2017-02-02T14:19:00+00:00 2017-02-02T14:19:00+00:00 Why brands should be making more use of Pinterest Nikki Gilliland <p>Of course, Pinterest’s age-old image problem remains, with the platform often being dismissed as ‘female-centric’ – a place for wedding inspiration and rainbow cake recipes. But having surpassed 150m monthly users in 2016 – a 50% increase from the previous year – and a growing male audience, could this be a false assumption?</p> <p>Here’s a rundown of why it might be worth paying Pinterest a bit more attention this year. And to learn more on this topic, check out Econsultancy's range of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/social/">social media training courses</a>.</p> <h3>Encourages path to purchase</h3> <p>Unlike Twitter or Facebook, which both have messaging or communication at their core, Pinterest is built on strong commercial elements. 55% of Pinterest users visit the platform for the <a href="https://www.socialbakers.com/blog/detail/?id=2652&amp;url_key=6-pinterest-updates-marketers-need-to-know-from-2016&amp;category_url_key=marketing" target="_blank">sole purpose of finding or shopping for products</a>. In comparison to just 12% doing the same on Facebook and Instagram respectively, the opportunity to directly drive sales is unrivalled. </p> <p>With a Buy Button and Promoted Pins, brands now have the opportunity to expand visibility on the platform, serving native ads to relevant feeds and search results. </p> <h3>Incorporating AI</h3> <p>Further to this, Pinterest has recently announced that it is incorporating <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67745-15-examples-of-artificial-intelligence-in-marketing/" target="_blank">artificial intelligence</a> into its platform, using deep learning to improve its Related Pins feature. </p> <p>By drawing on user data, it will be able to serve pins that are more related to the user's context and ongoing activity. </p> <p>This focus on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67070-why-personalisation-is-the-key-to-gaining-customer-loyalty/" target="_blank">personalisation</a> is already proving successful, with early testing resulting in <a href="https://engineering.pinterest.com/blog/applying-deep-learning-related-pins" target="_blank">5% more engagement</a> on Related Pins.</p> <h3>Introduction of video ads</h3> <p>Last year, Pinterest launched video advertising or ‘promoted video’, allowing brands to add another dimension to their presence on the platform. With a <a href="http://fortune.com/2016/08/04/pinterest-video-focus/" target="_blank">reported 60% increase</a> in the number of videos saved on the platform, it is clear that users crave this visual medium to further enhance their browsing and shopping experience.</p> <p>By pairing video ads with promoted pins, brands have even further opportunity to drive sales, with beauty brands in particular making use of tutorial videos and customer reviews.  </p> <h3>Expanding male audience</h3> <p>While fashion, beauty and weddings remain a few of Pinterest’s most popular categories – Pinterest is not actually dominated by women. In fact, male usage increased by 70% last year, and 40% of the site’s monthly active users are now made up of men.</p> <p>So what are they doing on the site? Funnily enough, exactly the same thing as women, which is curating and discovering content related to their hobbies and interests. </p> <p>Brands are also realising that the platform doesn't have to be so gender-divided. One example of this is Pinterest’s new microsite aimed at Super Bowl fans. Based on the idea that sports viewers will search the platform in advance of big events, looking for party planning ideas and other related content, it aims to target potential buyers, as well as increase the platform’s focus on personalisation.</p> <h3>Examples of brands on Pinterest</h3> <p>So, how exactly are brands utilising Pinterest? Here are a few of the best examples.</p> <h4>Etsy</h4> <p>Pinterest acts a bit like a shop window display for Etsy, carefully curating collections to highlight the very best of the marketplace.</p> <p>For shoppers, it provides inspiration and encourages purchases. On the other hand, it is a brilliant marketing and promotion tool for Etsy sellers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3566/Etsy.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="414"></p> <h4>Lonely Planet</h4> <p>For travel brands, Pinterest can be a highly effective tool for targeting consumers in the 'planning' stage.</p> <p>Lonely Planet uses the platform to curate travel guides, drawing on content from bloggers and social influencers as well as its own site. This approach encourages a community-feel, meaning that users are inclined to contribute to group boards.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3567/Lonely_Planet.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="413"></p> <h4>L’Oreal</h4> <p>Last year, L'Oreal Paris launched a series of Promoted Pins and video ads to promote a new line of highlighters. Results show that these ads <a href="http://www.adweek.com/digital/pinterests-scroll-activated-video-ads-are-paying-lor-al-and-hersheys-170354/" target="_blank">increased purchase intent by 37.2%</a> and boosted brand awareness by 30.7%.</p> <p>By targeting users with relevant and well-timed content, L'Oreal is one of the best examples of how to use Pinterest for advertising purposes.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3568/L_oreal.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="366"></p> <h4>Tesco</h4> <p>Recipe ideas are a great way for supermarkets to drive sales of ingredients, as well as improve general brand awareness.</p> <p>Tesco does this particularly well, using its Pinterest presence to target food-related searches and curate healthy and family-orientated recipes.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3569/Tesco.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="417"></p> <h4>GQ</h4> <p>Apparently, more men use Pinterest than read GQ magazine or Sports Illustrated combined.</p> <p>This puts the platform's scale into perspective, as well as its ability to target men who are already interested in specific media publications.</p> <p>GQ is one magazine that capitalises on online interest, using Pinterest to curate helpful and fun content. It's not afraid to be a little off-the-wall, either. I spotted a particularly humorous board called "Leonardo DiCaprio's Year in Leisure", detailing everything fun that Leo did back in 2014.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3570/GQ.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="404"></p> <p><em><strong>Now read:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68763-can-snapchat-survive-instagram-s-aggressive-copycat-tactics/" target="_blank">Can Snapchat survive Instagram’s aggressive copycat tactics?</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68720 2017-01-23T10:07:44+00:00 2017-01-23T10:07:44+00:00 Six successful examples of online brand communities Nikki Gilliland <p>Unlike areas of social community management (such as a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64674-how-to-market-your-branded-facebook-page/" target="_blank">Facebook page</a> or a Twitter channel) these tend to be the dedicated forums or websites where online communities share and discuss their interests.   </p> <p>So, let’s take a look at some of the best examples.</p> <h3>Lego Ideas</h3> <p>Alongside Lego message boards, Lego Ideas is a creative online community for enthusiasts of the famous toy sets, allowing users to find and submit ideas for new designs. </p> <p>As well as promoting the sharing of ideas, it also incorporates a competition element whereby fans can vote and offer feedback. If a design receives 10,000 votes, it will be considered by Lego to become one of the brand’s official sets, even giving the creator a percentage of the final sales.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Meet this week's 10K Club member, Adrien S., fan designer of the The Little House on the Prairie project. Read more <a href="https://t.co/1c7wzz8OSq">https://t.co/1c7wzz8OSq</a> <a href="https://t.co/bgc5EsGWts">pic.twitter.com/bgc5EsGWts</a></p> — LEGO® Ideas (@LEGOIdeas) <a href="https://twitter.com/LEGOIdeas/status/821009322624905217">January 16, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Championing creativity, this example rewards loyal customers and gives them a reason to truly invest in the brand.</p> <h3>Made Unboxed</h3> <p>Furniture retailer, Made, launched an online community that connects undecided buyers with previous customers. The aim is to allow shoppers to see what Made's products look like in real life, as well as share ideas and inspiration. </p> <p>It is built on the idea that furniture shopping is a typically physical experience, yet not everyone has the ability to visit a showroom.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3164/Made_Unboxed.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="533"></p> <p>By enabling consumers to envision the set-up in a natural setting, it bridges the gap between online and physical stores and gives people a reason to connect.</p> <h3>Figment</h3> <p>Figment already existed before Random House bought it in 2013. Since then, it has continued on in the same vein, predominantly as a community for aspiring writers of YA (young adult) fiction. </p> <p>It acts as a sort of social network for 13-18 year olds, including both discussion elements and the chance for writers to express their own ideas and submit stories.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3165/Figment_2.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="554"></p> <p>By keeping the original community and using it to subtly promote Random House books (as well as titles from other publishers) – Figment is a great example of a subtly-branded online community, and one that provides real value for consumers.</p> <h3>Playstation Community</h3> <p>The Playstation community has flourished in recent years, boosted by the popularity of the online gaming community in general. </p> <p>It allows gamers to talk to each other in forums, with dedicated channels for different games as well as general topics.</p> <p>There’s also a competitive element in the form of ‘Trophies’ – a rewards system that recognises gaming accomplishments – allowing users to compete with friends online.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3166/Playstation_trophies.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="714"></p> <p>Combining gaming elements with discussion and competition, the Playstation community is a great complement to the everyday experience of playing video games.</p> <h3>BeautyTalk</h3> <p>BeautyTalk was created in response to the thousands of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9366-ecommerce-consumer-reviews-why-you-need-them-and-how-to-use-them/" target="_blank">online reviews</a> and consumer queries left on Sephora.com.</p> <p>An online community for beauty fans, it is now a thriving forum whereby consumers can share tips, advice and reviews – as well as merely talk to one another about whatever topic they like.</p> <p>One reason it has become so successful is that it is incredibly helpful for answering product-related queries. By simply entering a question or keyword into the search bar, users are likely to be met with multiple existing threads, instantly reinforcing whether or not they should buy a specific product.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3167/BeautyTalk.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="650"></p> <p>Building on the need for unbiased opinions in the world of beauty, it has become a thriving community for beauty fanatics as well as a valuable resource for occasional Sephora shoppers.</p> <h3>Harley Owners Group</h3> <p>The Harley Davidson community is more than just an online forum. In fact, the ‘online’ aspect is pretty minimal, merely serving as a way of connecting with fellow riders and letting members know about the group’s perks, meet-ups and events. </p> <p>Unlike the aforementioned examples, membership isn’t free, and you can only join if you own a Harley Davidson motorcycle (or are a family-member or friend of someone that does). </p> <p>From dedicated motorcycle tours to access to the members-only website – there are many benefits to joining HOG. More than anything, it reinforces members' dedication to a particular lifestyle.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3168/HOG.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="412"></p> <p>By building an online community based on the experiences that come from riding one of its bikes - rather than just the actual product itself - Harley Davidson has managed to attract over 1m members worldwide. </p> <p><em><strong>To improve your knowledge, check out Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-community-management/" target="_blank">Online Community Management</a> training course.</strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>If you're looking for a new role within community management or social media, you'll find plenty on <a href="https://jobs.econsultancy.com/?utm_source=econsultancy&amp;utm_campaign=econ%20blog&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">Econsultancy's jobs board</a>.</strong></em></p>