Tag Archives: collaboration

Hallmark’s Innovation Leaders Value Market Researchers for Customer Insights

At last year’s TMRE,
Laurie Monsees, Vice President & Platform Leader, Hallmark, sat down with
IIR’s Marc Dresner to discuss how market researchers help Hallmark reach its customers more
effectively.
When it comes to Hallmark, it’s a best practice in the
industry to have an innovation funnel and pipeline with stage gates in between
so you have lots of ideation in the front of the pipe.  According to Monsees, there is a lot of
iteration at the front and that is where Hallmark’s spends time working with
research.
‘I recently read Tina Fay’s book ‘Bossy Pants’ and it made
me think about how collaboration has a lot to do with comedy, especially
improvisation,’ she explained. ‘In addition, you have to be very open to
everyone else’s ideas and you can’t be set in your idea and wait for the person
to stop talking so you can say your idea – you have to respond to what the
other person says.’
To Monsees, it’s a dance within the room as there is a great
deal of cross functionally at a table, but everyone is throwing ideas around as
innovators.
‘Collaboration is where the juice is for me,’ she
commented.  ‘As someone who has a
background in creative design, writing and editorial, I welcome the ideas of
our research partners because they are objective and have all this consumer
insight floating around in their brains that they are able to pull out at the
right moment so that we are not speaking to ourselves.’
According to Monsees, you must put yourself in the consumer’s
mindset. She took one of Hallmark’s new concepts home to share with her family,
but she soon realized the scale just wasn’t there.
She added, ‘You can’t get that insight without living it
yourself. It keeps you in the real instead of the ideal.’


Check out the full
interview below:

Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmanadCicc. 

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NACCM 2009: Answering the Social Phone ‘ Listening, Measuring, and Engaging in Social Media.

Your social media phone is ringing. But are you answering it? Do the right thing by listening and engaging with your customers says David Alston, VP of Marketing & Community for Radian6.

What should we be listening for? Alston says that he listens for ideas, compliments, memes, crisis, complaints, competition, crowds, campaign buzz, and needs. Treat the conversations as if you are at a cocktail party. Don’t just jump in but look for the point of need from a customer. Listening first and then engage has been the common theme throughout many of the NACCM presentations today.

Alston shared the 5 C’s for engaging in social media. They include:

Content ‘ give content because people don’t want your promotions.
Community ‘ you want to create a place where your fans, customers and even critics can live together.
Conversation ‘ they build the relationships that build your business.
Collaboration ‘ because the consumer is more and more in control, it’s best to collaborate with your community than try to control it.
Connections ‘ you can’t be a hermit. You must actively and consistently connect with your community.

What do you do if there are no conversations about you? Find people who share your passion and join their conversations. Eventually these relationships will evolve and bring you more exposure. The ultimate is to have customers share their positive testimonials about your business using tools like Twitter. Alston shared how he files positive tweets about Radian6 as ‘favorites’ which he calls ‘twestimonials’.

Alston listed several reasons why some companies hold back from using social media to engage customers. They include restrictive policies, culture, bureaucracy, lack of momentum, concerns over window dressing, lack of top level support and lack of resources. When it comes to your culture, Alston says ‘if you suck in real life, you will suck on social media.’ Make sure it’s right first.

In his Social Media Maturity Model, Alton talks about the various levels of engagement. We all should begin at the bottom and work our way up. That way you build credibility with each step.

Contributing - Contributing value through content and helping customers achieve goals
Sharing – Tell your own story. Share your brand’s passion & personality
Participating – Adding on and sharing your knowledge
Responding – Answering the ‘social phone’
Listening – Monitoring and analysis

For those still hesitant about getting engaged in social media, Alston says ‘find your path, and get started NOW!’ Consumers want to connect with your brand. You’ll make mistakes but you will survive. Alston’s advice is to ‘have fun’. With over 11,000 followers on Twitter, you can bet that he is having tons of fun!

How does your company share information through social media?

I came across this article in Mashable in which the list 10 ways that universities sharing information using social media. Here’s a quick recap..

1. Gathering and Sharing Information
2. Showcasing Student and Faculty Work
3. Providing a Platform to Broadcast Events
4. Emergency Notification
5. Connecting People
6. Producing, Not Just Promoting
7. Creating a Dialogue and Communicating to Students
8. Facebook Office Hours
9. Coaching for the Spotlight
10. Getting Wired Via Mobile

Read the full article here.

What are some other ways your company shares information through social media that is not listed here?

Interesting ways to use the collaborative web

In the more recent years, the web has reclaimed its nature of being collaborative- the way it was meant to be in the first place.

There are collaboration tools galore- some that have achieved fame as the collective noun- ‘social network’. Some others including the social network form what has come to be known as the ‘social media’

Wait. Before you think this going to be a shpeel on social media and its importance (It IS important though) let me declare otherwise now.

What I do want to highlight though, is the fact that today the web is full of collaborative tools that could be used by businesses in a variety of ways- some that encourage connect-ability and yet others that thrive on rationalizing the wisdom of crowds.

There are comparison and review sites that attempt to give rational advice- say on specifications and even price points. And then there are blogs and other engagement tools that people so freely use to express, discuss and activate about a subject. Not only this, the collaborative web today can even get inside the mind of people- when people speak their minds in the high reach and safe anonymity of the web.

The great things about these tools is that they can be manipulated by companies in a myriad of ways to not only to connect and collaborate, but also listen to what the market is saying about them. It can help them get some of those elusive customer insights for which they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and still feel, well’somewhat blank.

To establish context, I showcased one such popular tool- called BrandTags on chasingthestorm.com recently. It is a collaborative experiment to assess people’s perception of brands- what’s the first thing that comes to their mind when they think of the brand. Something that the ad guys are quite used to doing while planning communication strategies (unaided recall or brand personification type studies)

To show that it can be used a little beyond frivolous interpretation (though it has quite a following), I conducted a basic perception audit. I chose some top computer brands and analyzed the outputs from the tool.

I plotted top 30 tags that the crowds cumulatively attributed to the brand and divided them into positive, negative and neutral mentions. The ones that referred to a brand name or a product were categorized neutral. Ones with positive or negative connotations were then labelled similarly. It was not as easy as it sounded though- how do you classify ‘cheap’ for example? And how do you classify ‘India’ or ‘China’ as tags? Remember these are largely ‘western’ perspectives (I classified countries as neutral though).

When I published the first post, I wanted micro analysis done. I had many brands and models in the consideration set- but soon realized that (A) the tool was not meant to be micro enough to give model specific response (B) Fewer (top) brands analysis will do just fine- to showcase the kind of inferences that could be drawn.

Now, as you read the analysis post, you will realize that the insights are far from scientific and do not offer detailed insights. But the fact is- when you use more such tools together, it is then that they have the potential to deliver more insights. A simple example could be combining this tool with a tool that collates Net Promoter Score- leveraging the Crowd wisdom.

I also mention that listening and leveraging the collaborative tools can help brands develop engagement strategies best suited to engage their stakeholders.

See the analysis of brands like HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer and Apple. Some astonishing results and some others that you’d probably be expecting anyways. Tell me what you think about them. What are the other ways in which this can be used? Any other similar tools that you have come across? I’d love to know, experiment and spread.
Happy New Year to all readers.

Allvoices: Collaborative News Reporting

Say goodbye to traditional journalism and news reporting. This post on The Inquisitr discusses the latest launch of Allvoices, a news service that aggregates content from visitor submissions and ranks them, sort of like Digg and Technorati.
The idea behind this newly built community it that the CEO, Amra Tareen, wanted to enrich traditional news with alternative viewpoints. News reporting is too often censored by global media organizations, and so its users can submit its own coverage. The ranking system and its filters ensure correct placement of valid submissions. Tareen mentions her ideal model:
‘Our model of merging user-generated content and professional news sources into one community will create the first true people’s media’
It’ll be surely interesting to see how the community reports on controversial topics like political issues and global conflicts.