Wednesday Apr 29, 2015

Social Media Case Study: Head Case Designs


Doug White, CMO, Ecell Global

It’s all fun and games to talk about social marketing strategy, but when push comes to shove, we learn the most from real life experience. We spoke to Douglas White, the CMO of Ecell Global (which owns and operates Head Case Designs) about what works for them in social media marketing.

Who Is Head Case Designs?



They create personalized cases for your mobile device. Founded in 2005 in England, the company has over 350 employees around the world, with a strong presence in the US, UK, Germany, Italy, Australia, Hong Kong, and Japan. According to their website, “Head Case is the global leader in custom mobile case designs, with more than 3 million product offerings shipped to the hippest cats worldwide.”



Up until a year ago, their cases were sold exclusively on eBay and Amazon. They decided they needed to establish a direct-to-consumer selling strategy, and that’s when their social media marketing kicked into high gear.

Social Strategy - Marketing and Selling

Most importantly, Head Case Designs knows their customers. They primarily serve 18-24yr old millennials, with 75% of their customers under the age of 30. They skew female. These people are cool. They’re unique. They don’t want what everyone else has - they want to stand out. They view their phones as an extension of their brand identity.


Building off of that knowledge, Head Case Designs created a brand personality that is “someone you would want to hang out with at a party,” says White. “We’re friendly, jokey. Not too serious.”

Developing their brand identity and tone guided their hiring decisions as well, White adds. They’ve hired three new people who mirror their clientele and have experience cultivating a following in their personal life.

With these fundamentals in place, they’re creating content that is specifically tailored to their customers. White says “we used to post photos of the front and back of cases, but that was not engaging. You’ve got to make sure your products are presented in a way that consumers can relate to it. People need to be able to see themselves using it.” They started posting photos of the phone cases on desks, with jewelry and papers strewn about. This type of content created a new level of customer engagement and support.



Social Strategy - Customer Experience

There’s something special about being able to say “I made that.” Head Case customers are proud of what they have created and they want to share it. Head Case uses the Oracle Social SRM Media Mixer tool to create their “Cool Case Wall” on Facebook. White adds, “It only took 30 minutes for us to set it up. We search #headcase and #headcasedesigns, find the good photos and then add it to the wall. Then we direct message the people who posted it and say, ‘Hey, thanks for posting that great picture of your Head Case, we’ve highlighted it on our Cool Case Wall, go check it out.’ And then they feel closer to the brand.”



Customers also need to know that their concerns are being heard as well. “Social is the place where we need to engage the consumer,” says White. Head Case prioritizes responsiveness on all platforms because they know that “if one customer complains on social, you’ve lost 10,000 customers. Social has shifted the power from the brand to the consumer.”

Best Practices

The first thing White said was, “We’re learning our social strategies every day.” That’s not to say that they’re amateurs; rather, it means that Head Case maintains a “beginner’s mindset” every day. A beginner is unbiased and open to new ideas. They’re creative. They think differently. Keeping a fresh perspective allows you to create fresh and original content, which is what resonates with customers.



Of course, not everything is going to be a winner. Head Case has set up specialized analytics dashboards within Oracle Social’s SRM to analyze what content is doing well on each platform. “We would prefer to grow our fan base slowly and stay engaged,” says White. “Wouldn’t it be better to have a small number [of fans] that is engaged and sees everything you post, than a big number that never hears your message?”

White also mentioned “proactive marketing,” a relatively new strategy that utilizes Oracle’s listening capabilities to capture when a customer is having a problem with a competitor. For example, if someone posts “ugh my case just broke again!” this message would be flagged for Head Case’s team to reach out and say, “Hey, we hear you’re having a problem, how about you try us for a discount?” This strategy also has the added benefits of creating a metric that will show directly how social media drives the bottom line.

Conclusion

“Social marketing is built to break rules and operate quickly,” says White. Check them out on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Google+ to follow their social progress in real time.

Monday Feb 23, 2015

5 Emerging Themes for 21st Century Business

When you look at the nexus of forces impacting business today we can clearly see momentum building.  Each of the themes noted below is already happening, albeit at varying stages, in businesses across the globe. The continued innovation and speed of technology, coupled with the rise of millennials, will drive a tipping point in the next 12 to 36 months that will have a material impact to the business of business.

Cultural Change Will Be the Driver for Modern Business Success:
Change is hard. But as Richard Branson said in a recent blog, “A company that stands still will soon be forgotten.”  A recent study from the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University estimates that 40 percent of today’s F500 companies on the S&P will no longer exist in 10 years. A key reason why: reluctance to embrace change. Organizational structures and business models have to evolve for modern, 21st century business.  The rise of millennials entering the workforce is fueling the flames of change. The Hartford Financial Services Group estimates that by 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials. Accounting firm PwC pegs it much higher - nearly 80% by end of 2016. Our future is digital and collaborative. Organizations have to embrace technology innovation and encourage new ways of doing business across their consumer, employee and partner relationships. More often than not, it is culture that prohibits innovation because culture, well, it doesn’t like change. The CEO becomes not only a strategy and business execution leader but also a change agent.

Marketing “Technologists” Will Usher In Modern Business - Equally adept at marketing and technology, marketing technologists will become critically important to businesses, especially as customer experience, digital technologies, social business, and data take center stage. Perhaps more than any other function, marketing technologists will help spur innovation and digital transformation within their organizations. Look for new hires in this area, as digital natives and data scientists begin to flex their skills for the benefit of the bottom line. The rise of CTOs reflects the importance of technology and data skills.

Data-Driven Customer Interactions Emerge: The prime directive of marketing is to build deep and lasting relationships with customers to ultimately drive top-line growth.  To do this effectively in the digital era a marketer needs to understand the impact of every customer interaction.  While the amount of digital data available today is greater than it has ever been, the number of different technologies that are currently employed to interact with customers has grown out of control. Today’s reality is that we have actually moved further away from our goal of deep understanding. Disparate data systems and the inability to easily tie offline and online actions together has made attribution and data management too challenging for most organizations. As we progress to the next generation of these modern customer experience systems, we are going to finally solve this complex problem, bringing traditionally “siloed” technologies—marketing, social, service, commerce, third-party data—to an integrated and unified customer profile.  Collaborative efforts within the enterprise—across people, processes and technology—are driving major changes, while modern cloud-based systems with API driven architectures are creating platforms that are finally able to talk to each other effectively. The moment we have all been waiting for, the convergence of cloud, integration technology and digital tracking, is finally here.  Look for the continued integrations of consumer-facing technologies to merge for more data-driven and complete customer experience solutions. This is going to have great impact on top-line growth as well as customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention.

User Experience Leads Technology Adoption and Innovation: User experience will continue to be a critical requirement for enterprise software adoption.  Consumers today have high expectations from their technologies, as they are accustomed to modern, engaging, personalized and intuitive experiences. Those expectations don’t change at the workplace. Millennials will demand it. Customers will require it.  And thanks to the cloud enterprise software providers we will finally be able deliver modern, innovative and elegant user experiences. No longer will long enterprise software upgrades get in the way of investment in user experience. The cloud allows vendors to deliver at the pace of change that we all have grown to expect.

People Centric Business: As businesses grow more customer centric, organizations will begin to expand relationships across the entire value chain to include their employees and partners. Engaged, valued and empowered employees will help drive customer-centric objectives and overall better business outcomes. As IDC’s Mary Wardley stated in a recent report on Customer Experience, “Customers are obviously at the center of CX. But the company’s employees are just as important, if not more so, as they are in the direct flow of delivering the customer experience. Employees are the advocates and evangelists for the company.”  The rising millennial generation is all about engagement, interaction and collaboration. They expect it. Listening, understanding and engaging all your people collectively is the future. People centric business is modern business.




Tuesday Aug 21, 2012

Social Content: Creativity + Common Sense

Are you stuck trying to figure out how to generate a consistent flow of quality content?  You're not alone.  Here are some the reason why brands get stuck and a formula for getting un-stuck. 

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