Owning Social Media–3 Brands A Short Story
This week I dug a little deeper into branding by taking a look at three very commercial brand names to evaluate how they are using social media to promote their “brand.”
I chose Arianna Huffington, Coca Cola and UPS. All three have international name recognition, and each, in their own right, are arguably a very well-known brand. The public is used to seeing these brands participate in traditional marketing efforts such as television, radio, print, magazines, and bill boards. So it’s fair to say that anyone reading this blog would immediately recognize the three.
For the purpose of this post I will review each brands use of social media and if their efforts are positively contributing to their overall Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) efforts. Specifically are they using consistent messaging across all social media channels and how active each are in the world of social media.
Arianna Huffington is a Greek-American author and syndicated columnist. She is best known for her news website The Huffington Post and has 3,615,449 followers on Google+ which is quite remarkable. I must admit that even before this assignment I was following her. She is an interesting figure, almost a celebrity, yet more of a journalist. Huffington is also known for her elegance, sense of style, beauty and intelligence.
Arianna Huffington is the chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of fourteen books. Launched in 2005, The Huffington Post, a news and blog site quickly became one of the most widely read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. In 2012, the site won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.
Arianna on social media?—she’s got it all! She is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and has over 3 million followers on Google+. In fact Google+ is how I became interested in her. Her content is eye-catching, fresh, interesting and the imagery is wonderful to look at. She uses hashtags primarily on Google+ and embeds the hashtags into the posts making them very easy to use and take part in.
On her Facebook page she is listed as a public figure, and there are a variety of very nice photos of her. Her image is always well coiffed, classy and attractive. As with most social media strategies, content from the Facebook account is repurposed for the Twitter platform. Huffington, uses social to sell, one can purchase her new book Thrive easily from her Twitter, Facebook and Google+ pages. Huffington is actively using all her social media platforms to promote her new book. All these efforts coincide effectively with the mass media blitz she had been undertaking to promote the book as well. A few of the most recent hashtags include #Iraq, #Innovation and #Quote.
She has her own YouTube channel where one can view and review the numerous interviews she has done recently about her new book. One can even subscribe to the Arianna Huffington YouTube channel if you are so inclined. Across all channels the brand is consistent, there are lots of opportunities to share and explore her other social channels through sharing buttons and links. All content is up to date and consistent. The Arianna Huffington brand leverages social media extremely professionally and successfully.
Everyone loves Coke! Seriously have you ever heard anyone say they hate Coca Cola? Coca Cola is an enduring brand and is one of the most recognizable brands in the world. So it did not surprise me that Coca Cola could be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and Flickr. Coca Cola is everywhere—and consistent across all platforms. With that familiar bright red and white lettering across all social media platforms it’s obvious you have found Coca Cola.
The brands overall theme is “happiness” and it is weaved throughout each social media channel and Coke’s numerous marketing campaign. The current campaign features teens sharing summer fun and Coca Cola’s. For summer 2014, Coke is swapping out three of its iconic logos on 20-oz. bottles for the 250 most popular first names among American teens and Millennials. “Share a Coke” allows you to have a coke with your name printed on the label. The campaign uses the hashtag #shareacoke, a present day, real-time, example of how the brand uses hashtags very effectively.
The Coca Cola brand places easily found social sharing buttons across all of their social media platforms allowing for effortless transport form one site to another. No matter where you find Coca Cola on social, no matter where you land, you will find something familiar. Images, happy stories, photos so realistic you’ll get thirsty, and all the information you would ever want to know about the Coca Cola brand.
Their LinkedIn page features a neat marketing article that begins with the hashtag #AnyGivenTuesday. The article features Wendy Clark, the president of Coca-Cola North America, explaining how two interconnected teams are executing Coke’s planned approach to real-time marketing — for major sponsorships like the 2014 FIFA World Cup and “on any given day.”
The Coca Cola brand relies heavily on social media and are keenly aware of its value. They monitor social conversations about their brand at a location they call the “Hub,” a network of 23 customer interaction centers around the world linked to a Coca Cola Atlanta-based hub. The Hub analyzes social conversations about Coca-Cola brands (including an average of 33 social mentions of Coca-Cola per minute).
The “Hustle content development team” operates like a newsroom to source, create and distribute sharable, real-time content around the world based on The Hub’s insights. To see for myself how reactive the Coca Cola brand is in response to its social communities, I tweeted them at 11:30 am they Tweeted me back at 11:39 am.
P.S. Coca Cola–I loved that!
United Parcel Service
The last brand I reviewed was UPS as in United Parcel Service. UPS is a competitor and partner of the United States Postal Service and therefore a relevant brand for me to review. Plus I get to size up the competition! What I found was that UPS does consistently well in their social media outreach.
The UPS brand can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube, they even have their own channel one can subscribe too. Across all platforms you will find the familiar brown and orange UPS logo and the tag line, “We love logistics” weaved through out.
The UPS Facebook page has 1,318,714 people who liked the page. The content is up to date, colorful, and fans seem to be very interactive on all posts. It appears UPS is loved by its customers and UPS loves them right back. They have 94 thousand followers on Twitter where customers can stay connected to global trade, sustainability and logistics. The UPS Twitter content is fresh and sometimes different from their Facebook content. The theme throughout both however, touts an environmentally friendly and green company that is using social to brag about its company, and reach out to its customers in a meaningful and helpful way.
Hashtags are used to promote the same green messaging, with a recent post featuring the #UPS2milliontrees hashtag promoting the UPS recent tree planting effort.
UPS is actively and purposely pursuing an Integrated Marketing Communication approach as all of their social sites mimic the television commercials and main stream marketing we are familiar with regarding the UPS brand. The main difference is that unlike their main stream marketing efforts their social media presence has no active direct selling.
See for Yourself–Resources
Links to UPS social sites
Links to Coca Cola social sites
Links to Arianna Huffington social sites