Sports Marketing 2.0 – when being a regular fan is not enough

23 07 2009

Ok, so you’re a fan, but are you a citizen?

This is the question asked by the Phoenix Suns NBA team, who are doing some intersting things to build a tribe through social media. The question is on a banner that advertises PlanetOrange.net, “a social network built just for real fans” (their emphasis).

Planet Orange includes a live twitter stream from 25 Suns staff, including the mascot (“who can’t speak but can type”) and Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq is regularly interacting with fans through twitter. So much so, that the Suns threw him a virtual birthday party where fans were encouraged to create a happy birthday video and send the link to him via twitter.

Back at Planet Orange, fans are encouraged to register as citizens, create blogs, join groups and share audio, video and photos. These include Fan Art – mashups of photos and drawing that other fans can share and use. And if all this isn’t enough engagement for the real fans, the Suns also have a Facebook fan site where citizens can share more comments and media with over 46,000 other facebook citizens.

At the centre of the Suns social media campaign is Amy Martin, aka PhoenixSunsGirl, seen here being interviewed on the Suns own TV channel.

While it’s easier to think of sports teams than businesses having fans, this level of customer engagement (Shaq has over 1.5m followers on Twitter) must have some insights for organisations in other industries. What type of content would  an airline or retail store need to share, in order to get real customers wanting to sign up and become flag-bearing citizens of their brand?

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Voice of the customer – Cadbury’s divide chocolate lovers

17 07 2009

There are many elements to delivering a great customer experience. And Cadbury seem to have tripped over one at the same time as they’ve succeeded with another.

Cadbury’s recent TV ads have won them many accolades, tweets, posts and comments. The gorrilla feeling the air has nearly 4 million YouTube views, and the eyebrows already have more. I’m sure the word of mouth from these ads has even driven a few extra sales for Cadbury and Phil Collins.

But all is not smooth and milky in Bourville. Cadbury have apparently downsized their Dairy Milk bar to 200g, and customers have rebelled like angry gorrillas. And in the same way that customers can spread the good news about a fun advert, they also have powerful ways of sharing their displeasure. A chocloate lovers action group has sprung up, with a website and twitter account. There’s also a YouTube video, comparing the packaging and showing the reaction of some consumers.

In years gone by, such rumblings may have soon disappeared. But the mainstream media has picked up on it now too, with a story on Campbell Live and a story in the National Business Review by Hazel Phillips. This in turn has inspired one of Cadbury’s local competitors, Whittaker’s, to get on the front foot and create a comparative advert.

Cadbury’s say that they prefer to focus on the ‘fun & enjoyment’ of chocolate, but it goes to show that customer engagement comes from delivering a consistent customer experience across all customer touchpoints.








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