As brands explore the plethora of ways to advertise their products using social media, we see an increased market behavior: website banners and sponsor advertising dollars are still spent, however, companies are dialing up their investments in two-way conversations with consumers by hiring community managers, being more personable, and sometimes featuring real customers in advertising campaigns. The goal is to tap into something more personal: consumers’ trust.
John Andrews, CEO of Collective Bias believes that people trust people, not so much direct marketing messages. And this is why “the key to shopper marketing is the relationship between brands and shoppers”. John says trust also comes from communities that share common interests and sometimes geography. Collective Bias started their company based on this philosophy to help brands and retailers better reach customers through sources they trust.
John’s team created Social Fabric, which is a vetted pool of 1,300+ publishers who are content creators, bloggers, and online shopper influencers. When these publishers are matched up with brands, they become brand advocates. “Brand Advocates within Social Fabric create content in a storytelling fashion, weaving their shopping experience and product usage into a creative, compelling and engaging story.” John believes there is a strong relationship between Share of Voice, Community, and Sales. Brands can join a Social Shopper Media campaign that can be targeted based on location, category, age group, etc. An example publisher storyline for a Social Shopper Media campaign would be: I’m looking for a hotel for our 20 year anniversary, and we want to go wine tasting. The publisher then writes about their process of shopping for hotels and making the decision of going with one hotel versus another and shares that with online communities and across social networks.
Currently, Collective Bias’ customers are 60% brands, including Disney, Master Card, Nestle and 40% retailers, including Sears, Walgreens, etc. John shared with me the story of how his company helped Duane Reade open a new store in LA on Sunset and Vine using social campaigning and the power of the community. There was so much hype built up on Twitter with #wag8000 before opening day that it replaced traditional PR methods to inform local residents about the new store. Here are some tweets from the store opening:
— diane rankin (@bellezabandida) December 2, 2012
— Jenny Feldon (@jennyfeldon) November 30, 2012
— Vanessa -QueenofSwag (@queenofswag4u) December 1, 2012
— Matt Gar$ha (@mgarcia1) December 1, 2012
— Sandy Jenney (@OrganizerSandy) December 1, 2012