Our BLOG

Karianne Kraus

Recent Posts:

Social Media ' How May I Help You?

On Monday, December 27th, the East Coast was paralyzed by the after effects of the 'Blizzard of 2010'?. Power was out, roads weren't paved and airline travel was at a standstill. Everyone was scrambling to rearrange their schedules in order to get home or back to work from Christmas. A family member who works in the travel industry was trying all day to reach JetBlue to help with a client's cancelled flight. The phone lines were so overloaded that even calling the 1-800 number, he wasn't allowed to be placed on hold. He decided to place a 'Help!'? message on the JetBlue Facebook wall, along with his number, just to see what would happen. To his surprise, he received a call from a JetBlue employee in response to his post. He was able to rebook his client and make someone's holiday season a little brighter. Not long ago, I was having issues with my Hotmail account. For those of you who have also experienced issues with Hotmail, you know that it is not easy to find a customer service phone number anywhere on the MSN site. After being put through the voicemail system for about 20 minutes without the benefit of speaking with a live person, I decided to follow Windows Live on Twitter and sent a direct tweet with a very high level (140 characters) overview of my issue. It may have taken them some time to respond, but I did hear back with instructions on how to access my account. As frustrated as I had been, I was relieved to know that I had been heard. Is this the future of social media? Today, most companies have a Facebook page and/or a Twitter account in conjunction with their corporate website. Facebook and Twitter allow brands to have a more real-time, one-to-one conversation with their customers. With the increasing demand for answers, companies are going to need to ensure that they have the proper staff in place in order to respond to a consumer's question, complaint, issue, etc. in a timely fashion. If not, the negative response by consumers will spread rapidly on the social networks. I'm interested to see how brands continue to evolve their social media platforms into customer service vehicles in 2011. I know from past experience, it is now the first place I'll go to get answers.

Social Media ' How May I Help You?

On Monday, December 27th, the East Coast was paralyzed by the after effects of the 'Blizzard of 2010'?. Power was out, roads weren't paved and airline travel was at a standstill. Everyone was scrambling to rearrange their schedules in order to get home or back to work from Christmas. A family member who works in the travel industry was trying all day to reach JetBlue to help with a client's cancelled flight. The phone lines were so overloaded that even calling the 1-800 number, he wasn't allowed to be placed on hold. He decided to place a 'Help!'? message on the JetBlue Facebook wall, along with his number, just to see what would happen. To his surprise, he received a call from a JetBlue employee in response to his post. He was able to rebook his client and make someone's holiday season a little brighter. Not long ago, I was having issues with my Hotmail account. For those of you who have also experienced issues with Hotmail, you know that it is not easy to find a customer service phone number anywhere on the MSN site. After being put through the voicemail system for about 20 minutes without the benefit of speaking with a live person, I decided to follow Windows Live on Twitter and sent a direct tweet with a very high level (140 characters) overview of my issue. It may have taken them some time to respond, but I did hear back with instructions on how to access my account. As frustrated as I had been, I was relieved to know that I had been heard. Is this the future of social media? Today, most companies have a Facebook page and/or a Twitter account in conjunction with their corporate website. Facebook and Twitter allow brands to have a more real-time, one-to-one conversation with their customers. With the increasing demand for answers, companies are going to need to ensure that they have the proper staff in place in order to respond to a consumer's question, complaint, issue, etc. in a timely fashion. If not, the negative response by consumers will spread rapidly on the social networks. I'm interested to see how brands continue to evolve their social media platforms into customer service vehicles in 2011. I know from past experience, it is now the first place I'll go to get answers.

Evaluating Creative

When watching TV, reading a magazine or surfing the web, what is it that makes a brand's ad stop a consumer? Like art, it is subjective. While Impressionism may resonate with some, others gravitate towards Abstract and Pop Art. Similarly, the humor in an ad may be what is memorable to one, while others remember the music or unique camera angles. However, just because you remember the ad, doesn't mean that you can recall what brand it was for. When evaluating creative, on a subconscious level, consumers are probably asking themselves the following questions: Does this ad make me laugh? Does the ad evoke an emotional response in me? Do I remember the product? Am I already a fan of the brand? Will I talk about this ad with friends and family? This subject has come up on two different occasions during the past week. Sitting at a bar with friends on Friday night, one member of the group started talking about our favorite ads on the air right now. We all came from different industries ' marketing, consulting, technology. Only a few responses were the same ' Apple, Budweiser, Nike. One friend said Geico. Since there are currently three or four campaigns on the air, I was curious as to which one. His response, all of them. Whether the Cavemen, Gecko or the Rod Serling-esque announcer, he remembered that they were all Geico. And, more importantly, they all made him laugh. Does having that many different campaigns dilute their brand or cause consumer confusion? From my informal focus group of a few, apparently not. While at a TV shoot for one of my clients, we were talking about what a brand needs to do to stand apart from all the clutter in today's marketplace. The oversaturation of marketing messages is much greater today than even a decade ago. What are the campaigns we remember and why. We agreed that the use of music in Apple's iPod ads differentiates them. The PC vs. Mac campaign's simplicity against a white backdrop is now something other brands try to emulate. The Old Spice 'The Man Your Man Can Smell Like'? campaign brings the message to life in a 360 degree way. One thing was certain. As long as the ad reflects a brand's personality, goals and objectives, whether or not it is liked by the public is a matter of personal opinion. Ask the question the next time you are with a group of friends. Their answers might surprise you.

Wasting Away Again in Margaritaville

At a recent lunch, a client commented that one of the hardest adjustments his wife from South Africa has had to make to living in the United States is adapting to how consumer-driven we are as a society. Growing up in another country, she was unaccustomed to the sheer volume of brand messaging that is imparted into our lives on a daily basis. This got me thinking about how much brands affect us and our decisions every day, consciously or not. I didn't have to think about it too hard during a recent trip to Orlando, FL. Brand messages compete for attention the moment you step off the plane. Billboards touting Disney parks, Universal exhibits (the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter is pretty amazing if you get the chance to visit), Sea World, Busch Gardens, etc. line the highways to entice you as you drive to your destination. Our first night in town, friends and I headed over to Universal's CityWalk to grab dinner. After surveying our options, we migrated over to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, thinking it would be quick and familiar. Initially, I wanted to head off the beaten path to another Orlando restaurant that might not be overwhelmed with tourists, but was shot down as my friends weren't up for venturing too far from our hotel. We put our name in and were able to move to the top of the list because we were staying at a Universal property. Even then, there was a half hour wait. At 6:30 p.m. On a Wednesday. While grabbing one of the Adirondack chairs outside the restaurant to sit and wait, we glanced over at the Latin Quarter restaurant next door. There didn't appear to be a wait there. I was up for the dining adventure, but one of my friends said that if it wasn't crowded, then, in her mind, the food must not be that good. If the food was better, there'd be a line. This got us talking about why then there was a line at Margaritaville. Is the food that spectacular? It's not. Is the service five-star? Again, no. What it boiled down to was that people were waiting to eat there because of the name, for the cache of saying they ate at Margaritaville and spend their time waiting at the onsite store buying Margaritaville merchandise. What Jimmy Buffett did was bring the experience of his popular song to life for all. If you build it, apparently the Parrotheads will come. I almost had my friends convinced to check out the Latin Quarter when our buzzer buzzed. Even as a marketer, I'll admit that I wasn't able to get away from finding a familiar brand appealing. After an ok meal with subpar service (thanks Dana!), I was left to wonder if we missed out on a fabulous dinner at a restaurant whose only fault was it wasn't named after a popular song, or anything else we, as consumers, had ingrained in our subconscious. I guess I'll never know. At least not until my next trip to Orlando.

    Related Posts