The Crocodile » Blog http://thecroc.com Intelligent, award winning marketing Thu, 27 Nov 2014 15:34:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Nectar says Thanks a Million http://thecroc.com/digital/nectar-says-thanks-million/ http://thecroc.com/digital/nectar-says-thanks-million/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 12:46:10 +0000 http://thecroc.com/?p=3403 Even the most rationally-minded of us accept the role of emotion in marketing. Brands frequently manufacture emotive scenarios to pull at our heart strings (a Christmas portfolio of John Lewis adverts – or those of almost any other retail brand – is testament to the power of that). But there are other, less expensive, ways […]

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Even the most rationally-minded of us accept the role of emotion in marketing. Brands frequently manufacture emotive scenarios to pull at our heart strings (a Christmas portfolio of John Lewis adverts – or those of almost any other retail brand – is testament to the power of that). But there are other, less expensive, ways to help customers make that personal connection to your brand.

One of them is to invite the customers to deliver the emotion themselves!

Nectar, the UK’s leading loyalty programme, has just delivered a campaign aimed at deepening customer engagement and emotional connection – with the Nectar brand and their partners’ brands.

In a campaign that spanned TV, radio, social and BTL, The Crocodile’s role was to name the event, create a campaign visual identity and devise and deliver a communications and digital strategy that introduced new ways for customers to participate and engage.

The thanks a million campaign successfully created a conversation with the nation and through a variety of ‘sticky’ content it reminded collectors of the value they get from their Nectar card. But as importantly, it gave them more of a forum to get involved.

At the heart of the campaign was an interactive digital destination. The site hosted: fun video content, a simple but highly engaging online game, a find-and-win competition, and an interactive message board (the thank you wall). This was all designed to drive engagement, encourage social sharing and build positive brand sentiment.

Everything was created to allow people to engage when they wanted (in store, on their commute, at home) – and the way they wanted (mobile, tablet or desktop).

The key to promoting emotional engagement was the innovative thank you wall. Visitors were encouraged to post a ‘thank you card’ and then share it (via email, Twitter or Facebook). Recipients were able to access their message via a personalised link and then respond with their own message.

This simple idea really hit a chord with the audience. The “wall” idea generated thousands of heart-warming messages of appreciation to friends and family, nurses, workmates, charities, shop assistants – even recognising the kindness of strangers.

We’ll obviously have a clearer (rational) idea of campaign impact when the KPI results are in. But as far as making that all-important connection with points collectors? We can confidently say: yes, it’s been truly emotional.

Take a look at the Nectar thanks a million digital destination.

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More emotion for your Monty http://thecroc.com/digital/emotion-monty/ http://thecroc.com/digital/emotion-monty/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 13:06:32 +0000 http://thecroc.com/?p=3415 Don’t have £7M spare for a loveable CGI penguin and heart-warming marketing campaign? No worries – you can benefit from the power of emotion without a mega budget. Here are four features of John Lewis’s ‘Monty the Penguin’ campaign that you can apply to your campaigns for next to nothing. 1. Find and use the […]

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Don’t have £7M spare for a loveable CGI penguin and heart-warming marketing campaign? No worries – you can benefit from the power of emotion without a mega budget.

Here are four features of John Lewis’s ‘Monty the Penguin’ campaign that you can apply to your campaigns for next to nothing.

1. Find and use the emotional messages

Pay attention and learn what really moves your customers and clients. These probably won’t be in a product fact sheet or whitepaper. They’ll be in how customers talk about what your product helps them do.

Yes, you probably have very different objectives to John Lewis. And yes, you probably won’t have the luxury of telling a fairy story. But if you keep your customer perspectives in mind, you can create stronger connections that grow revenue. Just like John Lewis are doing with their mass audience.

2. Leave space for your customer

Peter Cross, communications director for John Lewis, said something really interesting about the campaign in his interview with PR Week:

“Less is more – that is what we have tried to do. The most important thing is the brand and people’s expectations of how the brand behaves. People don’t want it to be arrogant or overly-confident because that is not the personality of the brand. The strategy here is to let people make up their own minds.”

This idea is key for successful emotional marketing campaigns. Leave space for your customers in your campaigns, so they can project their own thoughts and feelings onto them. Nobody likes being told how they should feel.

3. Make it social and mobile-friendly

You’ve connected with your customers. You’ve taken a ‘less is more’ approach. You have everything to lose… if you forget to be social and mobile-friendly.

As individuals we’ve completely changed our daily habits. And it’s all due to our smartphones, that keep us in constant contact with our social networks.

John Lewis are keenly aware of this. On YouTube the video is titled ‘John Lewis Christmas Advert 2014 – #MontyThePenguin‘. Easy to search for, easy to share. The Twitter hashtag might seem like a small detail, however it implies there’s a wider conversation on Twitter to join.

On a side note, try and have the best Twitter account names possible for your brand – @JohnLewis of Virginia has been very busy!

4. Use tech to deepen engagement

Seek opportunities to create a personal experience for customers by using inexpensive technology.

The John Lewis store on Oxford Street gives kids the chance to see their own cuddly toys wake up, jump to life and dance with them, courtesy of Monty’s Magical Toy Machine. Using 3D photography, 3D sensors and large-scale screens, John Lewis are able to create real magic moments for children.

At The Crocodile, we used Augmented Reality and other innovative tech to give EMC customers the Speed to Lead, lifting the user experience and generating excitement, engagement and pipeline.

For EMC, the results over a two week period included: 19,206 online viewers of the event; 2,000 participating partners; 98,238 campaign launch page views; 85,000 social engagements (likes, shares, comments, favourites); and 25,700 fans and followers added to EMC Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

Where could emotion take you?

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How to achieve non-cheesy Christmas marketing http://thecroc.com/digital/achieve-non-cheesy-christmas-marketing/ http://thecroc.com/digital/achieve-non-cheesy-christmas-marketing/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 16:04:13 +0000 http://thecroc.com/?p=3389 Let’s be honest, Christmas in B2B can be a giant pain in the Rudolphs for marketing departments. How do you make a seasonal connection with customers, employees and partners without descending into sea of cheese and cliché? And how can you hope to gain any genuine marketing value from the exercise? Companies are beginning to […]

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Let’s be honest, Christmas in B2B can be a giant pain in the Rudolphs for marketing departments. How do you make a seasonal connection with customers, employees and partners without descending into sea of cheese and cliché? And how can you hope to gain any genuine marketing value from the exercise?

Companies are beginning to spot the potential within digital and social media channels to use Christmas time as an opportunity to do something different and engaging rather than relying solely on one-off cards and gifts.

At The Crocodile we started to think about the problem last year; and this year our clients have been asking us if we have any useful marketing ideas for a time of year when it’s difficult to gain marketing traction. As it happens, we do!

We’ve packaged up our own Digital Advent Calendar idea into an easy-to-deploy destination that provides 25 days of content-based, socially driven engagement for our clients.

Here’s how it works:

A piece of content is created for each day of December leading up to Christmas – usually a mix of employee-created, seasonal, corporate, product or brand-led – posted daily on the site and promoted to a target audience through social media, email signatures, or on your website. The Crocodile provides as much or as little help as you need: either creating and promoting the content, or provide you with a Social Media Activation Kit (SMAK), or leave it all to you.

Here’s one we created earlier (if nothing else, it’s really worth seeing The Crocodile partners featured in the “Elf Yourself’ video on the 25th December panel!).

 

Click here to view.

 

Not bad eh? If you fancy creating a sustained seasonal dialogue with customers, employees and partners via a content rich digital medium, optimised for mobile and tablet, drop a quick email to jonathan.evans@thecroc.com or call us on 020 7749 4400.

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RELATIONSHIP ADVICE FOR B2B MARKETERS: BE MOBILE http://thecroc.com/digital/relationship-advice-b2b-marketers/ http://thecroc.com/digital/relationship-advice-b2b-marketers/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 11:37:59 +0000 http://thecroc.com/?p=3239 Dear John… I’m sorry. It’s over. We’re breaking up. I’m leaving you for someone else. Someone who understands me, looks after me, considers my needs and is capable of being more personal, more intimate. They’re there for me when – and how – I need them They’re simple and straightforward, completely different to the awkward, fiddly […]

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Dear John…

I’m sorry. It’s over. We’re breaking up.

I’m leaving you for someone else. Someone who understands me, looks after me, considers my needs and is capable of being more personal, more intimate.

They’re there for me when – and how – I need them

They’re simple and straightforward, completely different to the awkward, fiddly moments you and I have together. They just let me connect on another level.

Goodbye.

According to Forbes Insights with Google research, as many as one-in-four IT decision makers leave websites not formatted for mobile straight away and three out of four executives say a bad mobile experience makes them less likely to engage with the brand. In other words B2B brands all over the world are breaking up with the people they love most: their customers.

But it doesn’t have to be this way…..

Virtually all of us now exhibit hardwired, mass market mobile behaviours that simply didn’t exist as recently as two years ago.

We wake up differently

We commute differently

We work differently

We shop differently

Individuals are completely altering the habits of daily interaction with their mobile devices. This change is so fundamental that to just view mobile as part of ‘digital’ is missing the point. What’s needed is a shift in the strategic mindset – way beyond email formats, responsive design and the odd app.

Consider the typical in-built features of a mobile and how these alone could impact B2B marketing techniques. With cameras, facial recognition, scanning, global positioning, accelerometers and gyroscopes coming as standard in many smart phones, a new world of possibilities starts to open up for clever marketers.

And with a wealth of analytics and behavioural insights, we can easily start the process of getting the relationship back on track, avoiding sloppy assumptions and increasing the chance of relevancy, immediacy and more personalised moments. Putting the ones you love first is essential in creating meaningful mobile moments.

And they all lived happily ever after

With so much statistical and empirical evidence in plain sight it’s interesting that in 2013 only 37% of B2B marketers had mobile as part of their plans. With the tidal wave of momentum behind mobile I am sure the 2014 numbers will show positive change, however one could argue that as an industry B2B marketing is behind the curve of meeting the demands of customers when it comes to mobile.

In B2B it can be hard for enterprise organisations to make a cultural or strategic shift that is led by customer demand and insight rather than what can be built or produced.

Wouldn’t it be great to be a mobilized brand that can immediately provide solutions that react and respond to customers in real-time and eventually predict their needs. The ultimate, attentive, sensitive partner. The Don Juan of marketing.

In 2015 don’t be afraid of taking some calculated risks. Even though mobile is an evolving medium, there is enough proof to show its power and impact. New endeavours have a way of energising teams and giving shared purpose. Find the areas of the business to pilot mobile, embrace the odd failure and then share success stories and cutting-edge learnings that breed excitement and galvanize groups into action.

Start taking some small steps to ultimately make sure you take care of the ones you love x

#B2Bmobileromance

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The uncomfortable truth about marketing automation http://thecroc.com/lead-generation/marketing-automation-uncomfortable-truth/ http://thecroc.com/lead-generation/marketing-automation-uncomfortable-truth/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:23:35 +0000 http://thecroc.com/?p=2571 Let’s get one thing straight – Marketing automation is awesome technology. As a tool to support the development and progression of leads; as an enabler between marketing and sales functions; and as a rallying point for results-focused marketing activity, marketing automation is where it’s at – and no buts. But…. Let’s not forget that much […]

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Let’s get one thing straight – Marketing automation is awesome technology. As a tool to support the development and progression of leads; as an enabler between marketing and sales functions; and as a rallying point for results-focused marketing activity, marketing automation is where it’s at – and no buts.

But…. Let’s not forget that much of the marketing automation buzz in the market is generated by the platform vendors themselves. Clever, innovative, persuasive software specialists they most certainly are; marketing people with the job of making it work under the pressure of today’s KPIs? Er, no.

So while the vendors are pouring honey in our ears and whispering sweet nothings about SQLs and nurture flows, pause for a second to consider ten all-important truths.

Mildly uncomfortable they may be, but together they should offer busy marketers a more pragmatic perspective on the reality of marketing automation and how to make a success of this powerful platform.

1. Your platform is not a strategy

It’s software. Pure and simple. Marketing automation can help define your approach to marketing and provide an activity framework of sorts, but it’s no substitute for having a robust plan.

2. Marketing Automation does not generate leads

Campaigns generate leads. Marketing automation brings methodology and science to a process that still requires full strategic, creative and planning legwork. There are no shortcuts to effective lead gen!

3. It doesn’t connect your marketing and sales departments

It takes actual people, committed to an effective sales and marketing partnership, to sit down and plan a new, results-driven vision. Marketing automation is a great enabler, just don’t forget the humans!

4. Global is a big ask

The global marketing automation option can work, but don’t underestimate the role of data, process, training and hands-on regional implementation. It will take time, patience and (ideally) local support from agencies that know their stuff.

5. Reporting comes first, not last

Begin your new marketing automation-enabled strategy by defining exactly what you want to be able to report, and work backwards to build your lead nurture programme. Don’t just jump into marketing automation and assume ‘good things’ will come out the other end.

6. If it’s non digital, it’s a non starter

Marketing automation isn’t magic. The only way to incorporate touches from direct mail, events or telemarketing is through a digital link or by human input.

7. Bad content can kill you

Too many marketing automation projects crawl along on a diet of mediocre, all-about-me content. It’s vital to invest the time, budget and expertise needed to deliver a winning content portfolio.

8. Marketing automation best practice: approach with caution

We need to be very careful about swallowing the line that marketing automation is a straightforward DIY job if you just follow the manual. You will almost certainly require expert support with selection, implementation and activation.

9. It’s automated, not automatic

The brilliance of the software is the ability it gives you to experiment, adapt, test, push what works and learn what doesn’t.  Don’t be reticent, and don’t be frightened of diving in and exploring.

10. Marketing automation might not even be the answer…

There are plenty of automated email broadcasting tools (often cheekily defining themselves as marketing automation) that offer simple lead scoring plus a few other bolt-on goodies. You may not need to go the whole marketing automation shebang to get the solution that’s right for your business.

We know the pressure of working with stretched budgets, limited resources and pressure from the C-suite to deliver. We also know your marketing automation platform and lead nurture strategy can be up and running cost-effectively (and hitting your KPIs) if you take a marketing-led, holistic approach.

Find the right agency to support you (preferably one with an end-to-end marketing automation capability), and together you can make measurably magnificent marketing. Now that’s the truth.

Full guide (PDF)

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Translated success http://thecroc.com/digital/translated-success-2/ http://thecroc.com/digital/translated-success-2/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 10:30:28 +0000 http://thecroc.com/?p=3098 Rosetta Stone Enterprise & Education selects The Crocodile to promote its new suite of solutions to EMEA businesses It’s always great to win a new client. But it’s particularly sweet when it’s a global market-leader with cutting-edge products and an awesome brand. So we’re delighted to have been appointed recently by Rosetta Stone, one of […]

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Rosetta Stone Enterprise & Education selects The Crocodile to promote its new suite of solutions to EMEA businesses

It’s always great to win a new client. But it’s particularly sweet when it’s a global market-leader with cutting-edge products and an awesome brand. So we’re delighted to have been appointed recently by Rosetta Stone, one of the world’s biggest and best language training companies.

These are exciting times for Rosetta Stone. Following a recent acquisition, the company now has an expanded product portfolio, offering an even greater breadth and depth of language training. Rosetta Stone provides beginner and advanced training courses to organisations, in up to 30 languages.

Rosetta Stone takes an innovative approach to language training – driven by technology – to put users in control of their learning experience. This helps clients acquire language skills more quickly than traditional face-to-face methods. It is an e-Learning solution that isn’t just a great employee perk, but a business imperative for many Rosetta Stone clients, as the speed of learning directly impacts the bottom line.

The Crocodile will be developing campaign content – including an assessment tool – and a series of outbound awareness and automation-driven lead nurture campaigns in the UK and EMEA, working with the fantastic Rosetta Stone sales and marketing team in Oxford Street.

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The social media team is buzzing! http://thecroc.com/digital/socialmedia-team-buzzing/ http://thecroc.com/digital/socialmedia-team-buzzing/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 15:36:01 +0000 http://thecroc.com/?p=3027 We’re in high spirits at the agency (despite the miserable weather!) with even more 2014 awards nominations announced this week!  The Social Buzz Awards bring together companies at the forefront of social media to celebrate excellence and we’re delighted we managed to impress the judges once again! Following last year’s triumph in the Largest ROI category, this […]

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We’re in high spirits at the agency (despite the miserable weather!) with even more 2014 awards nominations announced this week! 

The Social Buzz Awards bring together companies at the forefront of social media to celebrate excellence and we’re delighted we managed to impress the judges once again!

Following last year’s triumph in the Largest ROI category, this time around we’re up for :

Here’s hoping for success on awards night!

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Right place. Real time. http://thecroc.com/social-2/right-place-real-time/ http://thecroc.com/social-2/right-place-real-time/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 15:02:59 +0000 http://thecroc.com/?p=2974 Speaking at a Social Media Week London event, key players in the digital industry shared thoughts on the importance of connecting with your social audience at the right time. The panel: Roy Jacques – Managing Director of Marketwired Selena Harrington – Head of Digital Market UK at Microsoft Tariq Slim – Strategic Partnerships at Twitter UK […]

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Speaking at a Social Media Week London event, key players in the digital industry shared thoughts on the importance of connecting with your social audience at the right time.

The panel:

  • Roy Jacques – Managing Director of Marketwired
  • Selena Harrington – Head of Digital Market UK at Microsoft
  • Tariq Slim – Strategic Partnerships at Twitter UK

There were three main themes:

CREATIVE RECONNAISSANCE

Roy Jacques flagged the idea of ‘Creative Reconnaissance’ and marketers being ‘always on’ in order to take advantage of the marketing opportunities happening in real time. This unrelenting marketplace and the extent to which social media is now deeply embedded are forcing the re-evaluation of every marketing decision. Roy highlighted a need for marketers to embrace experimentation in order to support quick execution, rigorous analysis and continuous improvement. In short: if you listen and provide the right content you will get a response.

Being (re)active is all very well but the ‘rigorous analysis’ part isn’t so easy! Especially when, as Roy explains: “we’re technically drowning in data, but not technically coping”. To overcome this, marketers need to match data with human insight in order to engage and qualify customers.

At The Crocodile, we use a number of tools to obtain social data on a per client basis that enable us to make bespoke actionable, recommendations on both strategic and tactical levels, confident in the knowledge that they’re based on live intelligence.

SOCIAL LISTENING

Selena Harrington gave examples of real time marketing for Nokia Lumia in both reactive and planned situations; both of which were informed by data obtained through social listening.

Real time: This Nokia Lumia red card Suarez tribute aimed to exploit a trending topic during the World Cup in order to maximise organic reach for the brand.

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Scheduled: Nokia Lumia’s planned, branded content is supported by social advertising to help drive reach. Ad targeting, timing and budget decisions are dependent on real time audience behaviour gained through social listening.

Nokia Lumia wasn’t alone in its rapid response to this saga. The Drum shared its favourites including this one from Snickers:

Snickers-Suarez

Hashtag and keyword monitoring is the most basic forms of social listening that can help brands to join relevant conversations as they’re happening. An example of this is our client Heidsieck & Co. Monopole, the official champagne supplier of The Tour of Britain. It was important for them to engage during the weeklong event; monitoring and using #tob2014 enabled them to do this.

PARALLEL CONSUMPTION

Smartphones and social media allow us to be constantly connected even whilst doing other things. Tariq Slim referred to this as ‘Parallel Consumption’ and discussed how it creates a challenge for brands to connect with their customers despite only having a share of the attention. This fundamental shift to mobile has benefitted Twitter.

According to Tariq:

  • People check their phones on average 110 times per day
  • 80% of Twitter usage is via a mobile device
  • 50% of people use Twitter during their commute and 60% while watching TV

This trend is particularly relevant for brands who can relate to “events” which have sharp peaks of activity on Twitter. For example, The Crocodile’s client delicious. magazine for whom we can leverage buzz around  The Great British Bake Off and in turn contribute to the conversation with relevant content that drives referral traffic to deliciousmagazine.co.uk. 

Common across these themes, and evident from the examples shared by Roy, Selena and Tariq as well as from our own experience with clients, is the need for brands to exploit social media to engage with customers and potential customers in real time. An ‘always on’ approach, a social listening tool and an ability to be part of the (increasingly mobile) social conversation are fundamental components of the 2014 marketing tool kit.

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5 WAYS TO DRIVE SOCIAL VALUE ACROSS THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY http://thecroc.com/social-2/five-ways-drive-social-value-across-customer-journey/ http://thecroc.com/social-2/five-ways-drive-social-value-across-customer-journey/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 14:58:38 +0000 http://thecroc.com/?p=2979 Kicking off Social Media Week, London 2014 (#SMWLDN) OgilvyOne’s Rob Blackie, shared his “Five Ways to Drive Social Value Across the Customer Journey”. From increasing awareness, encouraging consideration and influencing purchase, through to earning loyalty and gaining advocates, social media continues to play an undoubtedly valuable role, debunking the myth that social is all about ‘what […]

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Kicking off Social Media Week, London 2014 (#SMWLDN) OgilvyOne’s Rob Blackie, shared his “Five Ways to Drive Social Value Across the Customer Journey”.

From increasing awareness, encouraging consideration and influencing purchase, through to earning loyalty and gaining advocates, social media continues to play an undoubtedly valuable role, debunking the myth that social is all about ‘what we put on a Facebook page’!

Here’s how:

1. AMBASSADOR REACH

A common bugbear amongst social media folk of late is the difficultly for brands to achieve previously-anticipated levels of reach on Facebook. According to Rob:

  • 10 Facebook fans are now equivalent to 1 Twitter follower
  • the average organic reach of a Facebook post is now between 0% and 1%

As such, for a post to reach 10 people on Facebook you need 1,000 fans, whereas for the same message to reach 10 people on Twitter you only need 100 followers. Ironic really given a tweet’s 140-character limitation and its average 10-minute shelf life.

So what can we do about it?

As a marketer, hearing that your organic social reach is 0% (unless you support it with paid advertising) makes for tough listening, which is why Rob focused his attention on the need to leverage existing advocates to generate more engagement i.e. provoke comments, likes, retweets and shares. Such engagement will drive awareness within and hopefully influence fans’ networks. (Not a bad approach at all given that a recommendation from friends or family apparently leads to a 55% higher ad recall and a 27% higher chance of purchase!)

2. SOCIAL FILTERING

In the same vein as advocacy driving reach, brands should be savvy around individuals’ tendencies to ‘filter’ out the broader online noise and focus on information from within their networks. Facebook actually helps users to do this; page suggestions are an example. These are not paid ads but recommendations from Facebook based on location, interests and pages your network already likes. Rob highlighted the TripAdvisor model – where social integration shows users where their friends have visited and reviewed – as an example of how a whole business model can be tailored to exploit this word-of-mouth social behaviour.

Marketers need to think like their target audience rather than like their brand or organisation to achieve cut-through in this parochial landscape.

3. SOCIAL CARE

Rob highlighted examples of good, bad and ugly lead nurture delivered through social media by various car manufacturers. Historically the social communication of car manufacturers on social media was poor and detrimental to the buying process. A shift has occurred from manufacturers/dealerships passively waiting for responses to outbound marketing i.e. receiving a direct enquiry in response to a piece of direct mail, to them using social listening to drive inbound; communicating with existing and potential customers and nurturing them through the decision-making process. The social aspect of the journey is vital to ensuring sustained growth and a positive sales experience.

Social media managers should be mindful of the expectation to add value to customers through delivering ‘service’ not just marketing to their audiences.

4. SOCIAL SELLING

Whilst one thing that remains contentious is trusting your social network with your personal payment details, progress continues to be made to integrate social channels and ecommerce.

Rob discussed the application ‘WeChat’ which is being widely used in China and enables users to do everything from a single app. For example, book a restaurant, diarise the booking, invite friends, pay for the meal and review the experience, all whilst keeping your social network informed. Rob is confident that within a year more brands will adopt this integrated approach to customer care and sales, through a single social application, and that payment via Smartphone will become the norm. (The iPhone 6 integration of NFC technology is perhaps further example of this.)

Closer to home, a Twitter card is currently one step removed from ecommerce. You can define a call to action through this rich-media tweet format, e.g. ‘Sign up to a newsletter’, ‘Save this item for later’ or ‘Buy offline’, but the ‘Buy now’ button is coming soon#AmazonCart is another example of social media playing an invaluable role in the sales cycle, as is Apple’s new feature ‘Apple Pay’.

That said, ecommerce does not define social selling. In B2B, social lead nurture is as much a part of the sales cycle as other more transactional methods. At The Crocodile, we’ve embraced social selling for our clients by integrating social into broader marketing automation strategies, thus resulting in marketing qualified (social) leads being passed on to sales teams. The on-going development of marketing automation platforms continues to evolve this approach in much the same way as new payment methods advance ecommerce.

5. THE JIMI HENDRIX

Rob quoted Jimi Hendrix: “great minds borrow, genius’ steal”, to illustrate the power of data in social selling. Not advocating ‘stealing’, but the extent of data readily available online. He flagged the likes of Google Think  and Google Research which should not be ignored when considering actionable data to influence the social customer journey.

Similar tools used by us and our clients include Google Trends and Google AdWords Keyword Planner – though don’t mistake this blog for a Google advert; the data is used to inform SEO strategy and enables social content to be tailored to trends. Freely accessible information can be invaluable if analysed and interpreted appropriately,

On the whole, it’s evident that there is a huge, but often neglected, opportunity to use social strategically to communicate, inform and influence buyer behaviour, adding value at each and every step of the way, with the right tools to hand and processes in place. Once organisations have nailed this, they’ll be in a prime position to ensure a full-circle customer journey, integrating social selling – not just ecommerce – therefore seeing quantifiable return on their investment in social.

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We’re a #somecomms finalist! http://thecroc.com/social-2/somecomms-finalist/ http://thecroc.com/social-2/somecomms-finalist/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 19:50:27 +0000 http://thecroc.com/?p=2956 It’s only Tuesday but the best news of Social Media Week so far came today in the form of The UK Social Media Communications Awards shortlist! The Crocodile was delighted to learn of shortlistings in three categories in the awards which celebrate the very best in UK social media communications: Low Budget Campaign: The Superpoints social campaign for […]

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It’s only Tuesday but the best news of Social Media Week so far came today in the form of The UK Social Media Communications Awards shortlist!

The Crocodile was delighted to learn of shortlistings in three categories in the awards which celebrate the very best in UK social media communications:

  1. Low Budget Campaign: The Superpoints social campaign for Nectar Business
  2. Private Sector Campaign:  The digital and social campaign for KPMG’s High Growth Technology Group
  3. Best Business Blog:  KPMG’s High Growth Technology Group content strategy and execution.

With worldwide focus on social media this week, never has an awards shortlisting been more timely!

Cue: a month of patience until the awards ceremony…

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Why Microsoft bought Minecraft http://thecroc.com/brand/minecraft/ http://thecroc.com/brand/minecraft/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:31:58 +0000 http://thecroc.com/?p=2931 Learn from Microsoft, Apple, Pepsi and Harley-Davidson. 7 tips for smart brand association So Microsoft has decided to buy Minecraft creators Mojang for $2.5 billion. At first sight, this may seem a really strange purchase, but when you start to think about it, there is logic there. ENGAGING WITH THE CUSTOMER OF THE FUTURE Minecraft […]

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Learn from Microsoft, Apple, Pepsi and Harley-Davidson. 7 tips for smart brand association

So Microsoft has decided to buy Minecraft creators Mojang for $2.5 billion. At first sight, this may seem a really strange purchase, but when you start to think about it, there is logic there.

ENGAGING WITH THE CUSTOMER OF THE FUTURE

Minecraft is one of the most compelling online environments ever created. It’s engaging and even social – if you choose it to be, and lots of people do. With the on-going negotiation around a Minecraft film franchise, Microsoft probably think they have bought digital Lego.

Microsoft is already a giant force in console gaming with its Xbox. But the Mojang acquisition is about more than just extending its gaming empire. With its emphasis on creativity in constructing your own worlds, Minecraft players tend to be a little bit [whisper it] geekier than the average console gamer.

Minecraft provides Microsoft with access to millions of young geeks who, at some point on the near future, will be developing an opinion about whether they follow their parents and use Microsoft products – or if they follow the option of going with free cloud-based applications like Google’s. And it’s not just about personal preferences – it’s a safe-bet that many of today’s Minecraft players will be tomorrow’s business IT decision-makers.

The question is – will simply owning Minecraft (and being king of the best geek playground in the world) be enough to make the Microsoft brand appeal to a new generation?

Aligning a brand to something cool is generally a great idea, but it’s not without its pitfalls.

Here are 7 tips for smart brand association and extension:

1. MAKE SURE IT’S IN LINE WITH YOUR BUSINESS

If I worked for Microsoft I would be delighted with the acquisition of Mojang and Minecraft, in the same way I would have been pleased with the Xbox connection. It provided fun for me, and made Microsoft seem cool. Only time will tell if this is more than a vanity purchase. There is probably an equal chance of cool geekiness rubbing off on Microsoft, as there is of global software empire turning Minecraft into the evil Empire.

2. DON’T BACK THE WRONG HORSE

Nokia teamed with Microsoft to have its Lumia as the flagship handset for Windows Mobile. This turned out to be the wrong path for Nokia’s mobile division, which was already in decline – it has since been bought and folded into Microsoft, and the Lumia has become a great also-ran in the mobile race.

3. MAKE SURE IT’S A POSITIVE ASSOCIATION

iTunes giving away the latest U2 album must have seemed like a great idea. But among music fans, liking or disliking a band as big as U2 has become a polarizing factor. There is a genuine danger that half of iTunes customers are not simply ambivalent to this generosity, but disgusted that their beloved Apple would align itself with U2.

4. MAKE SURE YOU DO IT RIGHT

The ‘Give a Child a Breakfast’ Twitter promotion by Kellogg’s was an initiative to show the cereal firm’s generosity. Kellogg’s was doing something positive by providing breakfast cereal for many schools around the UK, but by adding a ‘tweet-to-give’ mechanism, it was seen as trivialising and commercialising issues like malnutrition managed to turn the initiative into a massive PR own-goal.

5. TIMING MATTERS

Remember ITV’s £175 million purchase of the website Friends Reunited in 2005 – just before Facebook took over the social networking world? Minecraft currently feels like it will last forever, but who knows whether anyone will be playing it in a year’s time?

6. DON’T HAVE AN IDENTITY CRISIS

Motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson has an amazing brand that allows them to put their logo on a money-spinning range clothes and accessories. But when they launched a Harley-Davidson perfume, that was seen a brand extension too far. Fans of the brand were clear this wasn’t the right association, and the whole project disappeared very rapidly.

7. THINK IT THROUGH

Pepsi decided to launch a new ‘skinny’ Diet Pepsi can at New York fashion week in 2011 with an advert showing a willowy model and the slim can. They simply didn’t anticipate that a ‘skinny is better’ message would be seen as irresponsible and linked to eating disorders. Context is everything.

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Apple’s NFC pimped iPhone 6 http://thecroc.com/digital/apples-nfc-pimped-iphone-6/ http://thecroc.com/digital/apples-nfc-pimped-iphone-6/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 16:49:15 +0000 http://thecroc.com/?p=2876 5 reasons why Apple’s NFC-pimped iPhone 6 blows the contactless market wide open… You may have noticed one or two news stories recently about the release of a certain new smartphone – who’d have thought people would still get excited about that sort of thing in 2014? Anyway, Apple’s iPhone 6 has one new feature […]

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5 reasons why Apple’s NFC-pimped iPhone 6 blows the contactless market wide open…

You may have noticed one or two news stories recently about the release of a certain new smartphone – who’d have thought people would still get excited about that sort of thing in 2014?

Anyway, Apple’s iPhone 6 has one new feature that should really attract more attention than the bigger screen or better camera. However that feature is hidden away inside the iPhone 6 – an NFC chip.

NFC (Near Field Communication) is the ultra-short-range wireless technology that’s been knocking around in mobile devices for a few years now. NFC is based on the same basic mojo that’s in the ‘contactless’ credit cards appearing in your wallet. Contactless technology is also an everyday thing to the millions of London commuters who tap their Oyster card at the ticket barrier.

The bright idea with NFC has been to combine that contactless magic with today’s mobile devices – in particular, the ubiquitous smartphone. The advocates of NFC have been singing its praises since 2004 (when the NFC Forum was set up by Sony, Philips and Nokia). NFC can let you pay for your coffee and newspaper with a tap of your mobile phone! Your NFC mobile can replace your travel tickets, give you money-saving e-coupons, open the door to your hotel room, and much more…

I WANT MY NFC!

So why aren’t we living in this golden NFC age yet? (And while we’re at it, where’s my flying car?) People are certainly using their mobile to spend billions of dollars with online retailers – but have you seen anyone tapping their mobile to pay at McDonald’s yet?

The answer can be summed up in two words. The first word is “infrastructure”. You have to do more than just pop an NFC chip into your smartphone to do anything really useful – although smartphone makers like Samsung have been NFC-enabling their phones for a few years already. To make NFC mobile payments a reality, you also need merchants to install contactless payment terminals, you need banks to process the payments, you need security to protect the payment data, you need to persuade consumers to actually start trusting and using it, and so on. The complexity of bringing together all the many necessary key players and technologies has been rather like herding the proverbial cats.

The second word is “Apple”. Apple’s iPhone may not have been the first smartphone or now have the biggest market share, but since 2007 each new generation of the iPhone has undeniably defined the zeitgeist of mobile technology. Pundits have increasingly claimed that, since Apple never incorporated NFC into the iPhone, this was proof that the technology was doomed never to take off. If the market-defining Apple believed they couldn’t make NFC a success, then that was that.

TAPPING INTO NFC REALITY

Despite Apple’s indifference, however, NFC has been patiently growing and maturing as a technology over the last decade, making ready for its big moment to arrive.

Here at The Crocodile, we’ve been living and loving NFC for a few years now. Our client Gemalto is one of the world’s leading providers of digital security technology. Today, that includes the production and provision of contactless bank cards – and NFC-enabled mobile SIM cards (which incorporate a ‘secure element’ vital for NFC mobile payments).

Gemalto has been busily working with mobile network operators (MNOs) across the world for a number of years to test, trial and deploy live NFC services. The potential is huge but commercial uptake has been limited outside of a few core markets.

However, Apple’s unveiling on 9 September of the NFC-equipped iPhone 6 (and its accompanying Apple Pay service) is going to change everything.

Here are 5 reasons why the iPhone 6 blows the NFC market wide open…

1. GLOBAL REACH

To date, the NFC market has been fragmented. MNOs, banks and handset manufacturers all want to “own” the NFC experience. But each is limited to the markets they serve. Samsung might have had the clout to take NFC global when they implemented it in their Galaxy smartphones more than 2 years ago – but it hasn’t been able to convince all MNOs to activate NFC capability while continuing to subsidise handset costs. Consumer demand will ensure this is no problem for Apple.

2. MARKETING MUSCLE

Once more, Apple has entered the party late. Rarely do they move first. That’s more Samsung’s job – to release new technology and see what flies. Apple plays the long game. It releases incremental functionality and allows users to become familiar with it, as with its Passbook and Touch ID technologies. Then Apple sells users the dream of what a technology can do for them – backed by massive marketing investment. It makes the masses understand, need and want what the early adopters have embraced long before.

3. THE APPLE ECOSYSTEM

Despite Apple’s iOS having a lower market share than Google’s Android mobile platform, app developers still mainly adopt an “iOS first” approach. And these developers will be all over Apple Pay – using it to accelerate m-commerce purchasing, while better leveraging the wider Passbook functionality to provide a true end-to-end mobile engagement.

4. INFRASTRUCTURE MATURITY

The foundations for NFC are in place today. Visa and MasterCard have heavily incentivised the rollout of contactless POS terminals. Transport systems all over the world have long embraced contactless ticketing services, and direct contactless card payments (now becoming available across London’s transport network) just further reduces the operational costs. The work done by others over the last 5 years ensures that iPhone users will have vast and easy access to contactless services.

5. CONSUMER BUY-IN

Contactless technology is readily available, and consumers have been happy to embrace it, whether in the form of debit cards, travel cards or hotel key cards. Combine this with Apple users’ familiarity with Passbook, and you’ve got a known, trusted consumer experience.

A BRIGHTER NFC FUTURE FOR EVERYONE?

So what does all this mean for Gemalto and the MNOs? Time will tell, but now – thanks to Apple – we have a sudden increase in market interest and momentum. There is a global audience with increased visibility and awareness of NFC and how it can be used in everyday life – starting with contactless mobile payments.

That has to be a good thing for the NFC market. Remember, the majority of smartphone users don’t have iPhones, so may soon be looking to MNOs and handset makers for alternative NFC solutions.

The challenge now will be to show users and merchants that – when it comes to NFC – Apple’s way isn’t the only way.

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6 Seconds of Fame – Vine http://thecroc.com/mobile/6-seconds-fame-vine/ http://thecroc.com/mobile/6-seconds-fame-vine/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 15:40:39 +0000 http://thecroc.com/?p=2818 Largely driven by Vine and Instagram videos, a new kind of content marketing has now been established: the short-form social video. This means super-snappy video: just six seconds for Vine, 16 seconds for Instagram. And it comes with social media sharing elements baked right in, not bolted on. Vine is owned by Twitter, so videos […]

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Largely driven by Vine and Instagram videos, a new kind of content marketing has now been established: the short-form social video.

This means super-snappy video: just six seconds for Vine, 16 seconds for Instagram. And it comes with social media sharing elements baked right in, not bolted on. Vine is owned by Twitter, so videos can be embedded in an in-stream tweet. Instagram is owned by Facebook and is an active social photo platform in its own right.

Short-form video, social and smartphones make a great alliance. Anyone with a smartphone can now make, upload and share a video – but not everyone can necessarily do it well. It forces you to distil the essence of your story into something that respects your audience’s time and makes best use of the channel through which it is being received – usually mobile. For any brand, learning to tell your story in 6 seconds can be a therapeutic exercise in getting to the point – or establishing if there really is a point!

So why do I really like Vine? Six main reasons:

1) It’s simple to use
2) It creates video, but at 6 seconds, an easily digestible amount of video
3) It’s shareable
4) It demands creativity
5) It has a huge amount of marketing potential
6) It makes cost-effective video content when done well

“Posts on Vine are about abbreviation – the shortened form of something larger,” said Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann at its launch. “They’re little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life.”

Get the Vine app here https://vine.co

Five other great video-sharing apps:

1. Snapchat: Lets you share nine-second videos with your friends. Its unique feature is that you specify a time for your videos to self-destruct.
www.snapchat.com

2. Qwiki: iPhone app that allows you to create videos straight from your camera roll. Recently bought by Yahoo! for $50 million.
www.qwiki.com

3. Viddy: An app that enables you to edit and add effects and sound to 30-second videos, then share them with your friends and follow other users’ video streams.
www.viddy.com

4. Tout: Lets you create your own 15-second news and entertainment videos, and follow the accounts of celebrities and news organisations.
www.tout.com

5. YouTube Capture: Enables you to record videos and then enhance them with editing, stabilisation and music. You can then upload and share via the usual social networks.
www.youtube.com/capture

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We’re a B2B Awards finalist! http://thecroc.com/content/b2b-awards-finalist/ http://thecroc.com/content/b2b-awards-finalist/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 17:25:56 +0000 http://thecroc.com/?p=2740 Awards season is well and truly upon us, and this week brought news of another shortlisting for The Crocodile. The much-anticipated B2B Marketing Awards 2014 shortlist included our Speed to Lead campaign for leading provider of IT storage hardware solutions EMC, in Best International Audience Campaign category. The category recognises exceptional multi-national or global activity […]

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Awards season is well and truly upon us, and this week brought news of another shortlisting for The Crocodile.

The much-anticipated B2B Marketing Awards 2014 shortlist included our Speed to Lead campaign for leading provider of IT storage hardware solutions EMC, in Best International Audience Campaign category. The category recognises exceptional multi-national or global activity that demonstrates effectiveness across cultural, legislative and geographic diversities.

The campaign had content and social media at its heart and was based on the idea of giving EMC customers the Speed to Lead.

Staying on theme, we hope to lead the way in this category at the black tie B2B Awards ceremony in November!

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