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Selling The Story To Extend Focus Beyond The Product

The word “engagement” has become a buzzword for marketers lately, but many brands do not fully understand its definition: to ignite excitement that leads to participation. A call-to-action does not always need to equate to a transaction. Yet, not every campaign must directly sell a product in order to be considered successful. In many scenarios, brands have grown their businesses by building relationships with their target audiences, eventually turning consumers into brand advocates. For many, social media has become the driving vehicle for consumer interaction. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have transformed the meaning of campaigns in order to sell a story, extending focus beyond just the product.

dressbarn: Share Your (MOM)ent

Last Mother’s Day, dressbarn launched “Share Your (MOM)ent,” a multi-platform campaign that invited users to upload their (MOM)ent – a photo, video, or written memory about an influential maternal figure in their lives. Customers then voted on their favorite (MOM)ent and shared their own submission with their social networks. Entries that received the most votes were automatically entered for a chance to win a spa day for two. Within an 18 day period, nearly 950 users submitted their (MOM)ents. For each (MOM)ent uploaded, the retailer donated dressbarn gift cards to help underprivileged children in selected neighborhoods, purchase a Mother’s Day present for their mothers. This campaign demonstrated dressbarn’s commitment to women and charitable causes, and gave consumers the opportunity to interact with the brand without having to directly market a product.

Adidas: #thereturn

To celebrate Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose’s future return to the court after undergoing ACL surgery, Adidas launched #thereturn, a six-story documentary that lived through a series of YouTube videos. These videos, which included a mix of candid interviews and footage during Rose’s rehab, were created to inspire fans and create buzz leading up to the start of the NBA season. Engagement on social media was crucial to the campaign. Fans shared comments using the hashtag #thereturn, which Adidas then aggregated and featured at the end of each video.

Lia Vakoutis, head of Digital Strategy at Adidas America, comments that, “each part of the story was released exclusively through Adidas’ and Derrick Rose’s social channels and brought to life through video, photos and a Facebook application that allowed fans to add a red filter to their profile picture to show their support for #thereturn.” Fans were able to connect with Derrick’s inspirational story and share their own as well. Vakoutis went on to state that “it has always been our goal to connect one-on-one with athletes to demonstrate how Adidas footwear and apparel will take them to the next level.  Social media marketing has allowed us to amplify this philosophy by making it easier to connect with athletes on an individual basis, allowing us to engage with millions of our consumers almost instantly.”

Lysol: New Era of Clean Challenge

When Reckitt Benckiser wanted to promote the benefits of using hydrogen peroxide over bleach with a new line of Lysol products, the brand created three micro-games. The “New Era of Clean Challenge” garnered value added impressions, engagement and sales for Lysol in a fun and digitally creative way. Fans (predominantly Moms and bloggers) who participated were given a Lysol Power & Free Product printable coupon at the end of the game. Found on Facebook, the app allowed the user to zap stains, such as coffee spills and sauce ruminants, using new Lysol Power & Free spray. While the coupon, which could be redeemed at Target, provided incentive, it was the game that triggered Moms to become familiar with the product’s offerings.

Marketers have found success in shifting their end goals from immediate sales, to creating a memorable experience among their core consumers. A brand’s social presence must be developed in order to inspire fans to interact. Creating content that consumers will want to, “share,” “like” and pass along to their digital networks is a shift for social marketers.  Aligning content with the brand’s philosophy is crucial to creating impactful, engaging campaigns that will not solely drive sales, but stay top-of-mind for consumers.

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