Tag Archives: twitter

Is your business ready to handle a social media crisis?

Reputation, reputation, reputation – hard won and the life blood of a brand it is easily tarnished (even destroyed) during a social media crisis.

Crisis poll












Yet in a recent poll conducted by the DMA almost 60% of businesses were not confident that they were equipped to handle a social media crisis.

This means that for many brands the test of that reputation and their ability to handle consumer unrest will be played out in the real world and in real time with no certainty of success.

Today I attended the DMA’s social media crisis workshop. I and a team of social media experts played out a crisis scenario with crushingly disappointing results. As the adrenaline increased our decision-making abilities declined and it became increasingly clear that we were not equipped to handle the crisis that ensued.

Thankfully it was not a real situation – we didn’t tarnish a real brand’s reputation. What we learnt was a salutary lesson in preparation and planning summarised by Tamara Littleton’s (CEO of polpeo) 8 golden rules of crisis management:

1. Speed – be ready to react to an event. As a rule of thumb you have less than half an hour to respond on Facebook and 15 minutes on twitter to stay in control.

2. Strategy – have a signed-off approach to typical scenarios with an understanding of the implication of typical actions.

3. Know your roles – ensure the response team is known across the business and a leader has been identified.

4. Take control – it’s your brand and your reputation, don’t become paralysed by bureaucracy.

5. Stay calm – don’t be goaded. Spot the signs that individuals need a break.

6. Remember your tone of voice and flex it to suit the channel you are using – corporate speak on Facebook just won’t work.

7. Choose your battles wisely – be confident to decide when to respond and when to ignore.

8. Collaborate – you will make better decisions as a team and can share the effort across every platform.

No brand is exempt from a potential crisis – who would have thought that Greenpeace would target Waitrose or pink pens could be so inflammatory for Bic? The challenge is to be ready and rehearsed – only then can you turn a crisis into a success.

By DMA guest blogger Julie Atherton, Chief Strategy Officer, Indicia and DMA Social Media Council member

The DMA’s Social media crisis workshop was facilitated by Polpeo and supported by expert advice from: Tamara Littleton – polpeo, Keith Ashby and John Haggis (Sheridans Solicitors), George Ioannou (Digital &Wise)

For more information on preparing for a social media crisis, download the DMA white paper here.

The 7 social media trends dominating 2014/2015

Five years ago, there was no Vine, Instagram or Snapchat. There wasn’t even Pinterest. In fact, in 2009 Facebook had just created the “Like”-Button and MySpace was still the second most popular social network.

Since then, social media has come a long way. A recent study states that one fourth of the world’s population uses social media. This means that 1,730,000,000 people are posting, pinning, tweeting, vining, instagraming: Every 60 seconds 20,000 pictures are uploaded on Tumblr; 104,000 pictures are shared on Snapchat; 2,460,000 posts are sent on Facebook. So not only is there a greater diversity of social platforms, there are also more people using them.

Naturally, this phenomenon has greatly affected business: What was considered best practice five years ago, is not good enough for marketers in 2014.

Implications for business
Considering the sea of social networks and the millions of people using them, brands nowadays can’t just hop on Facebook: They have to make informed decisions about which networks to invest their financial and personnel resources in to achieve the best results. Social media is no longer about following the masses, it’s about following your target audience.

The explosion of networks and users inevitably led to an exponential growth of user data, which entails unthinkable potential, but left marketers rather puzzled. A major challenge which arose for companies over the last five years is to collect, analyse, and interpret the data, and in 2014, companies have still only scratched the surface.

If marketers want to succeed, they need a coherent and engaging content strategy with compelling visuals and authentic stories. It’s tough out there, 2014 will see the already competitive environment step it up a notch, improving on last year’s campaigns; take WaterisLife’s #FirstWorldProblems-campaign as an example, or the highly successful Share a Coke with…campaign.

And while brands were busy creating outstanding campaigns, users themselves became more confident in interacting with big companies, generating both positive and negative buzz.

Mostly due to Twitter, the barriers between powerful corporations and the common user were broken down and we’ve seen numerous examples of the public venting their anger online, making individuals’ and brands’ lives a living hell.

Social media trends 2014/2015: conquering land
Retrospectively, some brands faced rough times. While some failed and some succeeded, we’re still all in the same boat, trying to steer social media. And if we want to conquer land, we have to stay on top of things and see the bigger context.

These are the 7 trends I see dominating 2014/2015:

1. Content marketing
It’s been a hot topic for the past couple of months, we’ve probably all had enough of this buzzword. But 2014 will be the year we professionalise our approach and brands will learn to tell truly captivating and beautifully crafted stories that centre around the user, and not the product.

2. Real-time marketing
If Oreo’s “Dunk in the Dark” tweet during the Super Bowl 2013 taught us one thing, it’s that real-time marketing is the future. Real-time marketing as in: monitoring trends on both a large, general and a small, audience-targeted scale, every minute of every day.

3. Audio-visual content
Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat – all of these networks foresaw the significance of visual content and reacted accordingly. We will see a sharp rise in pictures, graphics and micro-clips, but not all visual content will be relevant, targeted and sophisticated visuals will dominate the scene.

4. The revolution of mobile
With a worldwide mobile penetration of 93%, optimised web- and social media sites will become the norm and geo-targeted, contextualised real-time content will become an indispensable component in every digital marketing strategy.

5. Be prepared to pay
Be prepared to invest more of your budget in social advertising. Social media is a gold mine and with the recent developments (Facebook’s algorithm changes, Twitter’s IPO, the introduction of Instagram ads, promoted pins, and so on) this trend is likely to stay around.

6. Google Plus
So far, Google Plus is mainly a hub for digital & tech minded people. But despite Google’s desperate and so far rather doomed attempts to further popularise its social networking service, companies don’t have a choice but to join, if they want to improve their SEO and remain relevant in Search.

7. Anonymity
Though progress in terms of big data, wearable tech and the internet of things pushes the boundaries of people’s perceptions of privacy, anonymous social media will find its place. The only question that remains is in how far people’s need for anonymity can challenge the tech giants dominating the field.

What are your thoughts on the recent developments? Feel free to leave a comment, I’d love to hear your opinion on this topic!

By DMA guest blogger, Jacqueline Woerner Social Media Manager Emarsys 

How can social platforms make themselves more marketing friendly?

If you read the marketing trade press just before the Easter break then you’d have probably seen the story about marketers rating Facebook as the “most marketing-friendly” social platform of all.  The attention-grabbing headline came from a new study published by the DMA’s Social Media Council.

The Social media scorecard is the industry’s first ever quantified assessment of the relative merits of the top social sites in terms of their ease-of-use for campaign planning, execution and post-campaign analysis. One clear victor emerged: Facebook.


More than 170 social marketers polled for the study rated it above Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ in almost every department. The only notable exceptions were Twitter’s ranking as the best platform for building brand awareness and LinkedIn for having the most effective user-targeting tools.

While Facebook received the highest ratings across the board, what really surprised me was just how harshly marketers rated each of the platforms. When asked to mark each of the platforms out of 10 in terms of their strengths, Facebook only managed an average score of 4.39; Twitter averaged 4.02 and last-placed Google+ garnered an average rating of 3.05.
If this was a school report card then even Facebook would be scraping a D-.

So why, in the eyes of marketers, are social platforms falling far short of providing an A+ service for their customers? How can the platforms up their game and improve the tools marketers need for campaign planning, execution and post-campaign analysis. Answers on the back of a postcard please…

Read the Social media scorecard infographic

By Tristan Garrick, the DMA’s Head of PR & Content


What do Subway, Habitat, Associated Press and HMV all have in common?

Answer, they each weren’t prepared for a social media crisis they themselves caused or fell foul of not responding to consumer feeling/feedback.

Subway is the latest in a sadly never ending line of brands and organisations that have fallen foul of social media backlash and do not have clear procedures and guidelines when a social media crisis arises. This month’s anonymous flash poll from the DMA is looking to see what percentage of marketers feel they are prepared to handle a social media crisis if it hit tomorrow.

Being prepared when it comes to social media responses is not only sensible but also a key way of selling in social media in the first instance. Step one is usually having a response procedure (sometimes referred to as an “engagement matrix”) should the worst happen – however due to the speed at which things change, having an update policy is also required.

Be it Twitter, Facebook or Google+ each carries a risk as well as a reward – the question is how prepared do you feel? Let us know your thoughts below.

By DMA guest blogger Paul Armstrong, Founder of Digital Orange Consulting and DMA Social Media Council member

How to avoid your hashtag turning into a bashtag on social media

How should brands talk to today’s always-on customer? Social media is a minefield for brands as British Gas discovered to its cost last year when its Twitter hashtag AskBG turned into a bashtag.

The trouble with these sorts of social media campaigns, according to Jeff Nicholson, VP of marketing Provenir, is that they’re telling consumers what to talk about and the conversation is all about them and not the customer. It’s a bit like having a friend who likes to control or hijack the conversation. (We’ve all been there.)

Talking on the DMA’s webinar The golden guidelines for actionable social engagement on 26 January, Jeff explained that the key was knowing how to listen for the right data cues and act on them without making the consumer feel like they’re being stalked.

It’s straightforward enough when it comes to direct mentions @yourbrand on social media, but what do you do if someone is looking for advice about a product? Should you jump in and if so how should you behave?

Most marketers would agree that if someone shares an update on social media “Just tucked my kids up in bed” a brand shouldn’t jump in with a “That’s great to hear. By the way we’re offering 20% off beds this Friday” but what if someone is asking about car insurance or has just tweeted that they’ve passed their driving test?

This is where a delicate balance must be maintained based on what the customer is expecting a brand to be listening to and when and how to respond.

Brands also need to build trust with consumers by starting conversations about what they care about but being careful to avoid the creepy factor. It is only then that brands will make the most of the opportunities in this ultra-connected world. What consumers want is an honest, open relationship with brands who know them and are prepared to talk to them on a one-to-one basis about the things they’re interested in.

By Smarayda Christoforou, Copywriter, DMA

Listen to a recording of the webinar for free.
Join us for the second free webinar in the series, The new look of loyalty – email, social, real time, on Wednesday 26 February.


A socially superficial Super Bowl

The Super Bowl remains a seminal social event, and not just for the growing fan base of American football.

It is one of the last truly mass reach marketing platforms, and one with a unique relationship between consumers and marketers.  Shouldn’t smart social strategies embrace, extend and deepen that very special connection?

I’d not be able to name another mass cultural moment where people wait for, talk about and debate adverts.  The increasingly expensive costs of booking a spot, combined with the size and universality of the audience, has always meant that the ads have been part of the experience, and heavily anticipated.

Just think: 100 million viewers glued to their screens and their sofas.  Expecting great ads. A marketer’s dream and an ideal proving ground for social media integration or even ‘social first’ thinking, right?

Not quite.

According to the metrics vendors, well over 12 million mentions of the game appeared on 2nd February across Twitter and Facebook, with a slight but instructive majority on the latter.

Something like 1.2 of the 12 million mentions on the two main platforms were about the adverts in some way.  Typical prices for a 30-second spot are allegedly $4m – just for the media.

Take a moment to do the maths, in any direction you like.

Even assuming mates rates taking that cost way down to $3m, it doesn’t seem like cause for champagne cork popping to me.  Under what circumstances would a single consumer mention of your brand communication be worth $40?  What about $100, $200, $500 or more?

Not many.

If my multi-million pound punt returned such scarily low scores, I’d turn off my phone and be on the next slow boat to somewhere with no extradition treaties before my clients or colleagues thought something amiss.

But sadly, I’m the odd one out at this tailgate party, despite the cold hard facts.

Even if you pretend that the total production, agency and media cost (rather than just media) for a single Super Bowl spot was $4m – and you lucked out with one of the best performers on social with 100,000 mentions or so – are you sure it was all worth it?  How many of the 100 million viewers even gave it a glance?  Can you be sure they were not cracking open another can, in the bog or attacking the guacamole instead?  And if they did see your spot, are they impressed or amused by the advert, or inspired by the brand?  Will they change behaviour in your favour or even buy something as a result?

Probably not, and the evidence keeps looking worse.

Communicus, an advertising evaluation firm, deftly deployed the news cycle to release research demonstrating that 80% of Super Bowl adverts have no sales effect, and in fact fare worse in recall than regular spots.  This could well be because these s’leb stuffed, big budget executions are seen as simply entertainment, rendering the brand unnoticed or irrelevant.

There is a big difference between content ‘brought to you by’ a brand like the original ‘soap operas’, where the value exchange is clear and the association is long term, and just jamming as many laughs and mainstream stars as possible into sixty glossy seconds of video, slapping a logo on it all.

Social buzz words and beige ‘best practice’ concepts are not ignored by the Super Bowl circus.  They are stuck on to the same old thinking like go faster stripes.

Surely the internet and memes and all that are mostly based around animals and Kawaii?  Why not make the ads ‘viral’ by releasing them ahead of time?  Genius idea! Build up momentum on social and watch it peak during the game like a tidal wave of consumer enthusiasm.

So brands previewed and teased their big spots more than before, possibly depressing social buzz in the process.  Not such a good move. The reality of the ‘second screen’, a much misunderstood and mis-sold phenomenon surely would suggest a bit of live surprise remains relevant?

The allegedly most loved advert, and one of the most heavily teased, Bud’s ‘Puppy Love’, may not have increased purchase intent. At all.

You like Bud, or you don’t.

An interest in puppies exists independently of adult beverage preferences. All the money, cross channel integration and PR around the advert (yes, some people still try to do marcomms about marcomms) and more cannot change this fact. A simpler approach with some kind of incentive and direct response mechanic, even just on social, would have shifted the needle further, faster for Bud.

We all know that Oreo’s typically genius Tweet in response to a power failure was the highlight of last year’s show.

This time, they offered a related quip and stepped away to let consumers enjoy the game.  Other than that, JC Penney’s accidentally sort of brilliant ‘Tweeting with mittens’, where the line between demonstrating a product truth and appearing to be dangerously over-refreshed was blurred, is the only stand out for me.

It will take more than smart cookies and woolly typing techniques to call time on this ritual destruction of value.

The back slapping and magical thinking around Super Bowl adverts mirrors how the remains of Hollywood does its risky business. Big budgets mean big efforts to make it work, or at least make yourself think it worked, and even bigger love for your own effort all round. The higher the cost, the higher the hoopla, and therefore the higher the risk of getting little return on investment.

Yet return on investment is not the point here.

It’s all a mutation of the ‘sunk cost’ fallacy – investment decisions and perceptions are shaped by the mental burden of monies already spent.  In the case of the Super Bowl, there is a psychological sunk cost to add to the fun – the implied duty of big brands and agencies to participate means that opting out is taking a huge risk.

Shareholders, bosses and media will have an easy thing to point to if any metrics don’t perform as expected.  Second half of Q1 looking low?  Whose idea was it to sit out the Super Bowl?  Q3 sagging like a soggy sandwich?  Well, we didn’t go into the year with strong momentum like our competitor that hired half the cast of The Hangover and sent them to the North Pole in honour of the Super Bowl.  All these would be very ‘career limiting’ conversations.

A codependent conspiracy of self delusion and fear prevents any rational examination of the circus, and therefore the more pragmatic, accountable thinking required for social media excellence.

By DMA guest blogger Jay Sorrels, Senior Social Media Strategist, Social@Ogilvy

Achieve actionable social engagement without the creepy factor

Fortunately, most companies have come to realise that traditional marketing approaches will only get them so far in the world of today’s perpetually connected consumer. Over the last decade, consumers have been pushed to a breaking point. They’re tired and understandably so after years of being inundated with irrelevant, impersonal, and untimely offers. Continue reading

Spooktacular creative

Each month, the Creative Hub of the Brand Activation Council seeks out inspiring work, to share with you, here, on the DMA Blog. To do this, we ask creative teams and individuals from member companies to put forward new, standout work that they’ve spotted, from anywhere in the world, that involves at least one brand activation element. This might be: ambient, digital, direct mail, experiential, PR theatre, shopper marketing or social network activity.

For our creative showcase, we’re not necessarily looking for joined-up, strategic, multi-channel brand activation – simply something that creatively brings a brand to life and encourages positive physical or digital participation.

For October, members of the creative team at N2O were challenged with sharing their favourite brand activation pieces; with the added criteria of a spoonful of spookiness just for Halloween.

Here are my top five frights from their terrifyingly long list; four fresh from 2013 and one dragged up, screaming, from the vault:

Date spotted: 2013-10-11
Client: BuzzFeedCampaign / Brand: ‘Pricehound’ controversy spoof
Agency/ies: BuzzFeed UK writer, Tom Phillips
Image: Included
Spotter: Lucas Owen, copywriting

Luke says: BuzzFeed, as I’m sure you know, creates highly-shareable curated and funny content lists, such as ‘8 dogs who just can’t handle it right now’ and the like. Brand Activation for digital brands like BuzzFeed are difficult, and I was really impressed with one they did earlier this month. On Friday, they published an article entitled The 29 Stages of a Twitterstorm, which drove massive amounts of traffic to their site.

Buzzfeed staffers created an elaborate fake “Twitter controversy”, in which a fictitious internet retailer (‘Pricehound’) puts a children’s costume on sale which they knew would cause offence. The article details how controversial statements by companies or celebrities can gain a lot of attention on Twitter, by showing ‘screengrabs’ of supposed responses from Twitter users in a well-observed timeline. Each fictitious tweet is a tiny work of satirical genius.

Buzzfeed also created dozens of fake Twitter accounts to make it seem real, including: @PricehoundUK (supposedly the retailer) and @Pricehound (supposedly an unrelated account belonging to a birdwatcher named Mr Price-Hound). A fictitious website for the retailer was also created (and redirected people to the article on Buzzfeed).

Twitter users believed that the retailer and costume were genuine (failing to spot that all of the tweets were dated in the future) and sent messages to both the @PricehoundUK and @Pricehound accounts criticising the non-existent costume. The article became a self-fulfilling prophecy: BuzzFeed created a Twitterstorm among those who didn’t realise it was a spoof, and everyone clever enough to spot the joke felt very satisfied and was impressed by BuzzFeed’s self-awareness. The story was a trending topic in both camps.

HD comment: A clever piece of digital, social and PR activation work for Buzzfeed, themselves. Should we smile, knowingly, at all the Twitter users who fell for this spoof, March Of The Zombies’-style? Or… What do you think?








Date spotted: 2013-10-03

Client: NikeCampaign / Brand: Nike Hypervenom ‘House of Deadly’
Agency/ies: BBH Asia Pacific
Image: Included
Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhGGZcG7tgc
Spotter: Renato Lopes, digital design

Renato says: Nike created a real, physical ‘virtual’ stadium football-playing experience in Bangkok, encouraging trial of the new Nike Hypervenom football boot. The four-day experiential activation pulled together gaming, physical sport, motion detection, interactive projection mapping and 3D effects. Just about anything you can think of! Around 400 people tried the game out in three days and Nike say that thousands saw it in action. Players received a digital and physical personalised memento, showing their agility and accuracy score, at the end of the experience.











HD comment: The ambition and spend of this part of the brand activation is impressive; but the number of hits on the various online video uploads really isn’t. You have to assume that there was no strategy for extending the reach via video. What’s next? Well, BBH Asia Pacific say that they’re planning to package the experience and take it to several other markets. So watch out for the resurrection of ‘House of Deadly’ near you. Which would scare you more: the snakes or working out the ROI for this brand experience?

Date spotted: 2013-10-16
Client: Kellogg’sCampaign / Brand: Rice Krispies Scares
Agency/ies: Fail Safe Films
Image: Included
Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ihFG25EXNI
Spotter: Bianca Padurean, design

Bianca says: If you go down to Dublin Institute of Technology Student Union today, you’d better beware. There’s a scary comedian (Marcus Olaoire) inside a vending machine for Kellogg’s Krispies Scares ready to grab your hand when students try to use it! The stunt’s been featured on a few websites – but the plan’s for a video release in time for Halloween. Will it be successful for the brand? Hmm.It’s not the best Halloween stunt I’ve seen so far this year (that’s the Carrie coffee shop takeover!  – but that’s already featured everywhere!) – it’s still a shocker, though. First spotted via ramblerandgambler at Reddit.

HD comment: Night of the Living Vend” or “Invasion of the Hand Snatchers”? Can a spoiler truly be a spoiler in our everything-everywhere online shared environment? We knew about the ghost in the machine over a week before the brand uploaded their video and did the PR piece. Is that the graveyard stench of something deliberately leaking?











Date spotted: 2013-10-11

Client: UNICEFCampaign / Brand: Escape ends here
Agency/ies: Stockholm PR agency Deportivo
Image: Included
Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKeIPVkWO1M
Spotter: Heather Devany, creative direction


What do I say? This is a truly haunting campaign, for all the right reasons. UNICEF always seems to inspire agencies to create really interesting campaigns for their causes. In Stockholm, UNICEF has been projecting ghost-like moving images of child refugees around the city at night, to highlight how they live in the shadows in Swedish society.

According to UNICEF, thousands of child refugees flee from persecution, oppression, war, poverty, violence and abuse to Sweden every year. Once in Sweden, many of these children still get their rights violated, but people there see or hear nothing. This eerie campaign is part of a UNICEF campaign activation to bring to mind the plight of these children and encourage people to sign a petition to make the UN convention on the rights of children a Swedish law.










Date spotted: 2011-09-07

Client: Warner Bros. Pictures CanadaCampaign / Brand: Contagion
Agency/ies: Lowe Roche
Image: Included
Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LppK4ZtsDdM
Spotter: Creative team

The team says: Here’s an award-winning classic scare campaign from Canada. A genuinely innovative use of ambient media promoted this sci-fi movie, with time-reveal, living bacteria ‘posters’, hazmat-suited BAs, a city centre quarantine scene and interactive decontamination chambers.
HD comment: Our pick for this month’s Mouldy Oldie.









By DMA guest blogger Heather Devany, Creative Director at N2O Limited and member of the DMA Brand Activation Council