Thursday, 26 May 2011

Big Brands embrace 'Word of Mouth' and Marketing for Good.

'Word of mouth' has often been cited as one of the best forms of marketing. People enthusing about a brand to their friends, who then may do the same with theirs, can spread far, costs nothing and as it's a recommendation from as trusted source, rather than the brand itself, can bring much better conversions. A jingle or advert could have a farther reach than the initial audience if they're catchy or funny enough for people to talk about round the water cooler.

Social Media took this to a whole new level. Literal word of mouth was replaced with sharing opinions between online networks of hundreds of 'friends', who could then share with their similarly sized networks and so on. 'Word of mouth' became 'viral' and had the potential to reach thousands upon thousands of people, and at each point, is still a recommendation from a friend.

Though being funny or catchy still remained a good way to increase the proliferation, traditional 'we're great' marketing messages fared less well, as the delivery was in the hands of the consumers, who may be cynical towards such blatant self aggrandisation. A new way was needed.

Levi's, the American clothing manufacturer, is adopting this new way in the promotion of their new line of jeans. We've reported before on the shift towards a focus on ethics in how business markets itself, and that's what Levi's are doing with their new Water>less jeans.

In the current landscape brands need to make friends with and be liked by their audience and having a social conscience and being concerned about the environment, is essential in doing that.

So, rather than the usual big advertising campaign, Levi's have chosen 'word of mouth' through their stores and Social Media to launch their new eco-friendly jeans.

As Levi’s vice-president of global women’s marketing, Mary Alderete, says: “Consumers are now more discerning and are looking for brands that share their value system. It’s not enough to just go out there, sell your product attributes and involve consumers in a transaction."

“The job of marketing is to tell the story of those products and connect emotionally with consumers. The way we do that is not with big ad campaigns, they’re more engagement campaigns.”

To consolidate the positive impression, Levi's goes even further with their campaign, actually including an element of Social Marketing, by encouraging pledges in cutting down water consumption from their customers and offering a donation to for every litre saved.

With business looking to give something back, it all sounds very Big Society, and is certainly the sort of activity that the Coalition is wanting to encourage in the UK. Many companies are already emphasising or introducing efforts to contribute more to society and the Government directly involved a whole host of brands in their Great Swapathon initiative at the start of the year.

TESCO have recently bought a 'word of mouth' agency for the not inconsiderable sum of £37 million, which demonstrates their commitment the strategy and the agency are sure to focus on the 'good' that the company does.

This is the new face of marketing and whether you're a small, medium or large company, it's a direction that should be seriously considered.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Souper Shot!

eskimosoup were on hand at the Gosschalks Charity Golf Day at the KP Club, Pocklington yesterday to film and photograph the excitement and tension of the competition.

Gosschalks solicitors commissioned eskimosoup to capture a flavour of the event which featured 15 teams from the business community competing for a place at the top of the leaderboard at the popular tournament.

In the end, it was the team captained by Gosschalks partner Paul Plaxton who shot the lowest round to take the honours.

A highlight reel of the day will be online soon.

The event was superbly organised and raised a lot of money for the worthy causes supported by the KCFM Smile Foundation. Thanks to Gosschalks for making us part of your special day!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Being Retail Centred

The management team at Eastgate Shopping Centre in Basildon has appointed eskimosoup to manage a “Summer Suitcase” event to help boost pre-summer sales for their retailers.

eskimosoup will be running an interactive event that presents an exciting way of positioning Eastgate as the place to be for the complete package ahead of the summer holidays. The event will showcase a wide-range of products and feature advice on the hottest summer styles from Tina Gill and her style team.

The Summer Suitcase is the first of a programme of events called "Retail Centred" that works with shopping centres keen to ensure that their tenants benefit from all ongoing events and marketing activities.

Check out the Retail Centred website to find out more.

Social Media doing "Good"?

Though they've been around for a good few years now, we're still only just starting to realise the potential of Social Media.

Big Business has already embraced the medium, and is setting an example in how it can have a phenomenal impact on marketing, which small business is slowly starting to follow. In the realms of Social Marketing, more and more campaigns can be found on facebook and twitter, reaching thousands, if not, millions of people (if done right!).

There is a potential that goes beyond just spreading a message though and can actually make a direct contribution to people's well being.

The BBC reports that Twitter is playing a vital role in helping the survivors of the recent earthquake in Japan. Whereas phone lines and traditional channels of communication have been disrupted by the tragedy, the internet has remained relatively robust. With emergency supply chains coming into effect for delivery of medical treatment, Twitter has provided a channel by which people can get up to the minute information on where they can find help. Without twitter, accessing the aid would be far more difficult, if not, impossible for those desperately in need of it.

It's a far cry from the comments of those facebook and twitter detractors, who claim they're good for nothing but trivial and banal descriptions of the mundanity of life, typically about what's been had for dinner. Twitter's use in Japan is unarguably an example of Social Media being put to genuinely good use and truly helping people.

We've written before on the possibilities of the platform in doing more for Public Health than just being a medium by which to spread Social Marketing messages, with potential in delivering CBT and remote monitoring/telehealth. It's still the early stages, so Social Media's capacity for going beyond Social Marketing has barely been tapped, but it's increasing ubiquity means that the subject is very much on the agenda for those in power.

The Government's digital champion and founder of, Martha Lane Fox, spoke on the subject in the Times this weekend (unfortunately, I can't link to the full article, as it's subscription-based content on the newspaper's website);

"I'm not for one minute advocating that you can take away the benefit of face-to-face care, but if I'm living alone - and we know that there are 3.5 million people who don't see anyone in a week and there are 1.7 million who don't see anyone in a month. No one - it's got to be better to be able to have that point of connection in using the internet, than not."

With the current uncertainty in the NHS, Social Marketing activities have slowed somewhat, especially at local and regional levels. But with the Governments enthusiasm for 'Nudge Theory', it's certain to have a resurgence in the near future, with Social Media playing a big part.

For this, marketing and communications teams, such as ours, will provide the support and expertise needed in utilising Social Media, as well as other channels, to spread the word and attain engagement. More and more though, we will find ourselves not only doing this, in the traditional marketing mould, but also directly taking part in providing help and affecting outcomes, by supplying the means by which health care is delivered.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

'' email addresses coming very soon. For facebook pages too?

Back in November, the new facebook messaging system was announced, with the promise that everybody would be entitled to the email address some time soon. Initially though, only the special people were invited.

The announcement in February, that the system was now rolling out to everyone, was less well reported, but brought it a little closer.

Next I hear, a real world friend tells me yesterday, that when he logged in, a pop-up allowed him to setup the email address. I hadn't recieved this and quickly seethed with jealousy. I wasn't quite sure why I was so excited by the prospect or what I'd do with it when I got one, but I wanted one.

So, this got me to thinking, what use will they be, especially in relation to businesses? Will this be a game changer, a seismic shift or will little change? As the prospect of widespread availability comes closer, it's certainly something to be considered.

But before all that, I needed to try and get hold of one. After borrowing my friend's facebook account and routing around and exchanging several emails with his new address, just to confirm he wasn't pulling my leg, I still couldn't find out how to get hold of my address. I was especially concerned that addresses for any brands I administer should be secured, so I kept searching.

Finally, I found an introduction at, with a 'request an invitation' link to the bottom right. After clicking this, I was told I'd receive the invitation soon and I'm still waiting.

Good news I found while searching is that the email will be of the format '', i.e. if your profile address is '', your email will be ''. So, there won't be a problem with securing that.

This does raise the question though; what about business pages? There's been little to no mention of the facebook email address for pages, so they might not actually be coming as part of this, but if not, it surely can't be long before they do. The following's therefore specualtion to a certain extent and if they never come, a waste of digital ink, though I'd be very surprised if that were the case.

If email for pages follow the same pattern as for personal profiles, they also have the username, so ours being '', it follows that '' would be reserved for us. Therefore no need to worry about someone else getting in there first.

But how would an admin access it? When using the recent feature to 'use facebook as a page', unlike a personal profile, there's no private messaging system. The icon is missing between the friends and notifications icons, in the top left, next to the facebook logo. It could therefore be introduced at some point, otherwise page emails would have to go into a perosnal inbox.

I'm guessing the former will come, further encouraging people to use the 'use facebook as a page' feature. Who knows, there may even be a charge to enable it, monetising the business pages for facebook.

For that to work though, people would really need to see the benfits of using a facebook email address. So, what would they be?

Firstly, for anyone who has a facebook page as their main online presence (which there are increasing numbers of), without a separate domain name, it gives them a professional email address directly relevant to their online location.

Many micro businesses may still use a yahoo or google email address, so with their facebook page, that's effectively two domain names for clients and prospects to remember. The new email unifies these, with the easy formula of =

But what about the companies who do have a domain name and established, corresponding email? I already have ', why would I use ''?

I feel, like with many changes with facebook and the wider internet, this is a question with an evolving answer, that will become wider, yet more defined as usage increases, but here's a few thoughts.

For a start, it offers a direct point of contact that I know is going straight to a page admin. Pages should always have a contact email displayed, but it's often a 'info@..' or some such, that may have to go round other people in the company before getting to an admin.

That's great when wanting to email a page from an external email address, but the internal system will offer it's own boon. Finally, facebook users will be able to send private messages to a page, something many have been hoping for since the introduction of pages.

This would be really useful, as people don't always want to ask questions in public. If it's medical advice page, for instance, users may be embarassed to discuss their problems in a public forum.

To do this at the moment, a page can either direct users to the private inbox of a personal profile or use an exeternal email, at their own domain name or somewhere like Google.

When calling a user to action, it's commonly held wisdom that the less clicks they have to do, the more likely they are to do it. Keeping the private messaging internal means a minimum of clicks and having it around the page, rather than a personal profile, means less still. People can also be reluctant to change platforms, so keeping it within the one improves the likelihood of contact even further.

It's also worth noting that if users can private message a page, the page should be able to do the same back. This would be a vast improvement on the current 'updates' that are sent through the admin area, which are rarely viewed by recipients. It would also finally put to bed the argument over whether a page or group is better, as the one remaining advantage of a group is it's ability to private message it's members.

Private messages for pages would also be great for business to business.

When facebook introduced the option to use it as a page, that really upped the ante for using facebook for business. It's long been great for targeting consumers, but this brought in a whole new level for B2B, where businesses could now communicate on a professional level. I think we're yet to see the full potential of this and suspect it could be a potential Linkedin killer when we do.

Private messaging will take that a step further, allowing private conversations between companies and far easier cross promotion, without the need to move away from facebook.

There's lot's more to consider and many more questions and considerations to come as the feature is taken up, if indeed it does come for pages, but I'll leave it there for now.

One last thing to mention though, is a concern with the overall subject of the facebook email address. The facebook email offers a visible, external route into the inboxes of it's users and up to 600 million new addresses could be like catnip for spammers. Unless a user has the tightest security settings, so that there profile is invisible to non-friends, there username is visible to anyone. It's certainly possible that these could be scraped by spambots and converted into email addresses to target.

facebook assures it's users that the new messaging will have state of the art spam protection to reduce this. It also prioritises emails from those addresses registered on facebook for a users friends, in their inbox. Any others, say bills or spam that gets through the filters, will go into an 'other' folder. We'll see how effective this is.

I'd love to hear your thoughts around this subject, so if you have any, please leave a comment. Thanks.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Marketing for Trees?

More often than not, when we talk about 'marketing for good', we look at Social Marketing, and in turn, the majority of our output on that area focuses on Public Health. But these are not the only ways marketing can be used for a good cause, so let's look at an example.

The Big Tree Plant is a campaign launched in 2010 and aimed at planting 1 million trees in the urban areas of England over the next four years. It's a nationwide joint venture by various organizations, including DEFRA and the Forestry Commission, who work with community groups to plant trees in their neighbourhoods. They've just passed a massive milestone, having now planted over 100, ooo new trees.

Speaking after she joined in by planting her own tree, Environment Secretary for the UK Caroline Spelman said:

“Hitting the 100,000 mark is a fantastic achievement and shows how much people care about enhancing our urban green spaces. The number of trees in urban and semi-urban areas has dropped over recent years, so the point of this campaign is to reverse that trend so that we can all gain from the benefits that trees provide in our towns and cities.”

The associated marketing activities ran in support of this campaign are unarguably for a good cause, which also includes increasing green spaces in the NHS. Any efforts to raise awareness and increase participation in the initiative are most certainly 'marketing for good'.

Amongst these efforts, it would be great to see a big drive in Social Media. As we mention here quite a lot, there's nothing quite like a facebook page or twitter profile to spread the word, raise awareness and engage with a large scale audience. If it's a genuine good cause, then the impact can be even greater.

This was more than evident in the recent 'Save Our Forest' campaign, launched by protest group 38 Degrees, in opposition to Government plans to sell off chunks of national forest. Over 220,000 people shared the campaign on facebook, which made a huge contribution in gaining over half a million signatures on the corresponding petition. As was well reported at the time, this was enough to make the Government rethink their intentions.

This demonstrates the passion that people hold for our green areas and that those people are ready and waiting on facebook for associated campaigns. The Big Tree Plant could quite easily look to target the same people by engaging with 38 degrees and asking for help.

This is often a good tactic in general with Social Media. Talking with other businesses and organisations, who may share your demographics and looking to cross promote can be very useful in gaining more exposure. It can also be very easy; simply leaving a comment, starting a conversation, and then reposting each others content.

One importance difference between the two campaigns above though, is the end outcome. 38 Degrees' wanted people to sign a petition, which they could do straight away online, without moving away from their computer screens. With the Big Tree Plant, apart from raising awareness, the main intention is to obtain a real world outcome, with people actually planting trees.

This is the main dilemma with so much online marketing; converting it into real world outcomes. If the point of sale can be online, such as with eCommerce or indeed, signing a digital petition, then the chances of making it are much higher than if the target has to go elsewhere, giving them time to forget or change their mind.

In such cases, the best course of action is to get as much commitment and investment from the target as possible, before they go offline. This may involve registering to take part or for a call back, subscribing to future content or offering an email address. These are by no means concrete routes to sale, but they at least establishing a communications channel, by which to reinforce that initial interest towards reaching that desired outcome.