“Viral Marketing Can Make Your Brand Sick” was a post here from two years ago. Since that time, marketing executives have learned some key lessons. Take the current Mountain Dew Dewmocracy campaign. Here are the five key ingredients of its successful use of social media:
1) Social Media Needs to Be On Brand:
The campaign fits with the Mountain Dew brand positioning and targeting. The Dewmocracy campaign targets young, active, adventure seeking consumers who seek caffeine to keep going. Failed social media campaigns (like Motrin’s disdain for mothers who “wear” their children) are disconnected from the target consumer and hit the wrong notes (like Target which denigrated charming homemade Halloween costumes).
2) Social Media Takes Planning and Investment:
Pepsico, the owner of the Mountain Dew brand, fully committed to the campaign. Failed social media campaigns tend to be off-the-cuff ideas that lack the planning and investment needed for success , like the Dr. Pepper campaign (covered in the same Viral Marketing post). Dr. Pepper couldn’t keep up with demand and went back on their promise of a free can of soda to people who bought the new Guns N Roses album.
3) Social Media Is About the Conversation:
Give and take is built into the structure of the Dewmocracy campaign. Failed campaigns consist of companies just blasting away at the public with no conversation. Witness BP using Twitter to blare press release headlines, never actually engaging in conversation with people making comments or asking questions.
4) Social Media Is Integrated with Other Marketing Communications:
The Dewmocracy campaign was much, much more than a social media campaign. Social media was one integrated element in a program that included trucks bringing cans of product to events, online design tools, advertising (traditional and online), as well as a top-to-bottom PR campaign (get the details here). The failed Skittles “bold move” campaign was nothing but a Twitter feed that ended up dissing the brand.
5) Social Media Requires Being Genuine:
Dewmocracy created a real conversation about a real project of the company and led to the creation of a real new product. The “Starbucks My Idea” campaign comes across as “do something with social media” rather than a way to really interact with consumers to create real product innovation.
Social media can be a powerful marketing tool. Because it is new, fast and inexpensive, companies haven’t always taken its power seriously. But like any marketing tool, it takes solid thinking and considerable investment to make it work.