Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Olympics Post - Be Social from the United Kingdom

Getting ready for the Olympics!

The 2012 London Olympics are about to get underway, and according to some reports, 4 billion people will watch the competition. So in the spirit of international goodwill, I would like to present something different on my blog during the next two weeks. In the words of Vala Afshar, "Don't do social, be S.O.C.I.A.L., which means be sincere, open, collaborative, interested, authentic, and likeable." So, during the Olympics, I will feature experts from around the world who will share their insights and answer questions about social media. Tune in every couple of days to see which country will be represented and who will be featured. And if you want to comment during the Olympics on Twitter, don't forget to use hashtag #London2012.

To honor the host country, my first guest is Kittie Walker, the founder and CEO of Indigo Girl, a boutique design and communication agency based in London. Her background is in business turnaround, rebranding, and marketing across various sectors including real estate, healthcare, retail, industrial, hospitality, and technology. You can connect with Kittie on Twitter @TheIndigoGirl.

Which social network is most popular in your country?

Facebook is by far the most popular social network in the UK with around 65% of the population active on it monthly. Interestingly though recent research indicates that two out of every five people are getting bored with social media over here.

How are your country’s legislators dealing with the privacy issue resulting from social media?

Well, this is a fun one as we have just had the EU Cookie Law come into effect here in the UK. Europe's privacy laws for the individual have always been robust. The latest law is an update to the 2003 directive relating to tracking technologies and the use of cookies. All websites in the EU must comply with this directive, which gives website visitors the option to opt-out of the use of cookies and thus stop the collection of personal data. The initial thoughts were that every website in the EU would have to seek the visitor’s confirmation that they agree to the use of cookies and/or tracking software. The advice in this regard has been somewhat softened, and at the moment you are allowed to infer consent if you clearly display your site's use of cookies via a policy document...but things may change again!

What three ways are major businesses in your country using social media as a marketing tool to promote products or services?

I've chosen three contrasting brands that all use social media effectively to capture the imagination of their target markets. What all three have in common is the fact that their messages are clear and everything that they do reinforces their brand image perfectly.

[1] Mass Market Viral Campaigns: T-Mobile ran a successful integrated marketing campaign "life's for sharing." The campaign ran across the bloggersphere, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and traditional media. A flash mob campaign initially ran in 2009-2010. Social media and a blog were used to encourage the public to visit given locations at a set time and to sing and dance. Various train stations and landmarks came to a stop as these events overtook them.

[2] Seamless Luxury Branding: Burberry is an old school luxury goods brand established in the UK in the 1800's. The organization has embraced the digital world and they are the best in class from their market place. It doesn't matter how you connect with the brand - in-store, from a mobile device or a desktop, you get exactly the same stunning brand experience. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are all well-established marketing channels for them with high engagement levels.

[3] A Cooking Personal Brand: Nigella Lawson is a household name in the UK and many parts of the world. Nigella is a food writer and avid cook. She has thrown her hat into the digital arena. Her social media set up is not perfect, but all of her web properties are true to her personality and brand. She provides her audience with exactly what they want, their questions answered by her and her team, a recipe repository, somewhere for her audience to share their experiences, and a daily recipe to cook along with and discuss.
What is the most valuable social media advice you can offer?

Be yourself and be true to your brand but always keep in mind who your audience is and what they need and want. If you don't, there is a danger that you will give conflicting messages and experiences to your audience, and this can have disastrous effects on your business.

In what ways will smartphones and tablets further evolve in your country?

The use of smartphones is widespread in the UK. It's thought that one in three adults now use them. This is quite surprising when you consider that the UK does not have "all you can eat" data plans. Tablet usage is not as widespread, but it is on the rise. Few consumers use basic handsets in the UK. If they do not own smartphones, then they tend to have advanced featured phones, which access the internet, play music and so on. The trend is on an upward trajectory, across all demographics, and the natural evolution is that smartphones/tablets will become fully pervasive and the norm over the next few years.


1 comment:

  1. Nice job, ladies!

    Debbie - Interesting group of questions you have chosen to ask.

    Kittie - Very cool to see these facts from your perspective!

    I enjoyed hearing about the brands and how they are using social media.

    Also looking forward to hearing more from other professionals in the various locations across the globe!



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