Brands are using social media to reach audiences in new and exciting ways. Crowdsourcing is one of the ways brands can incorporate audience participation as well as market research while promoting new products.
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese ran a campaign utilising fans’ tweets. They chose five tweets mentioning “Mac & Cheese” and turned them into television ad spots. The top one ran during the Conan and Lopez Tonight shows, which air on US television network TBS. Four runner-up videos are being broadcast from the brand’s Facebook page where fans can share their thoughts on the videos and their love for Mac N Cheese. Using social media, Kraft are able to communicate directly with their fans as well as rewarding them by featuring their Tweets as television advertisements.
Starbucks created an ongoing campaign called MyStarbucksIdea, encouraging the ideas of loyal customers to improve their Starbucks experience. This initiative has led to approximately 130 ideas (and more on the way) put into action with some of the latest being mobile apps which allow customers to create their own drinks, re-usable cold cups and canvas shopping bags. The MyStarbucksIdea website is an ideal platform for Starbucks to reach out to their community and crowdsource ideas which will ultimately make the coffee beverage experience the best it can be.
T-shirt design collective, Threadless, have always used crowdsourcing for their t-shirt designs. They choose around ten designs each week and the prize award is the same for everyone, whether they are a first time entrant or even a well-known designer. Using this model, Threadless enable their community members to submit their ideas and designs as well as vote on the designs before they are produced into t-shirts. Expanding from t-shirts, Threadless have also teamed up with other brands such as Thermos to create water bottles using the same format. By crowdsourcing, Threadless has developed a community that takes pride in the designs they wear and share with the rest of the world.
Ice Cream is a favourite food around the world. Ben and Jerry’s has reached out to their customers and fan base asking them to come up with their next flavour. With a campaign called “Do the World a Flavour”, fans from around the world were able to submit their ideas for Ben and Jerry’s next flavour. Through Facebook, fans can generate new flavours within the “Creation Station” using Fairtrade ingredients, mixing and matching combinations of ice cream bases and chunks. The new flavours will be announced via U-Stream on Ben and Jerry’s Facebook page.
Crowdsourcing ideas through social media can create amazing results from the passion and ideas of a brand’s community. These are some of the building blocks to creating a loyal fan base.
Erica Whiteman is an account manager at PR Company Punch Communications specialising in digital PR digital PR. For more information on integrated PR, search and social media go to http://www.punchcomms.com
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