Aim Increases Facebook Fans, Social Conversation and Experience Engagement for NRG, Reliant Energy and eVgo
When NRG unveiled its eye-popping energy exhibit at the world’s largest Consumer Electronics Show January 10th, visitors got their first taste on an experience stretching seamlessly into cyberspace and across the state of Texas during 2012.
The exhibit was packed with energy-themed eye candy like the new prototype DeLorean electric vehicle; an electric vehicle charging station; a human-powered “hamster” wheel and specially equipped mountain bikes where visitors generated energy to benefit charities; solar panels, intelligent thermostats and; The Smarter Home on Wheels, a giant, rolling demonstration of today’s top energy-efficient home appliances, home automation and personal energy management solutions.
Custom-designed digital experiences and social media tie-ins enabled CES visitors along with those online to contribute to charities tied to the exhibit’s theme of “The power to change life. The energy to make it happen” as well making possible an entry into a sweepstakes to drive the one-of-a-kind DeLorean electric vehicle.
“CES is the perfect place for NRG to demonstrate how consumers can use smart energy products and services, solar energy and electric vehicles to build a more sustainable energy lifestyle,” said Karen Jones, Chief Marketing Officer of NRG. “Working with our subject matter experts and internal creative teams, AIM has helped us to create a truly unique exhibit.”
“Our goal was to create an immersive experience that would appeal to different customers and be able to live beyond the 4-day trade show,” said Jeff Symon, Chief Creative Officer of AIM, the marketing firm and brand experience agency that created it. “We wanted to not only create an engaging brand experience for those visitors at CES but also be able to amplify NRG’s brands across multiple platforms and multiple audiences. Through the ability to repurpose the physical assets we created as well as through the social media sphere we were able to maximize NRG’s overall investment.”
The experience is designed to reach a range of potential customers, first as a B-to-B exhibit at CES, and later as a B-to-C event when the core of the exhibit, the rolling Smarter Home on Wheels, travels to fairs, events, schools and retail store locations in Texas as part of Reliant Energy’s, “Your Smarter Home Tour 2012″.
The Smarter Home on Wheels, which includes solar panels and smart energy solutions that demonstrate how home network technologies can work together to put consumers in control, giving them the power to make more informed decisions about their energy usage.
The NRG Power Playground Backyard, including the Human NRG Wheel, allowed visitors and people linked in through social media at the Facebook pages of either NRG Energy, Reliant Energy, Evgo Network or DeLorean Motor Company to use their personal energy to raise funds for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Rebuilding Together, a national nonprofit that provides free rehabilitation and critical repairs to the homes of low-income Americans.
The prototype of the first electric-powered DeLorean, plugged into NRG’s eVgo home charging station. The DeLorean’s appearance streamed live during CES. Both on-site and as part of the online experience, participants could enter the Drive Into the Future Sweepstakes for their chance to win a weekend in Houston to tour the Reliant Energy SmartHouse, visit the DeLorean factory and take the car out for a spin.
On-site, a photographer captured visitors as they got their picture taken in front of the DeLorean. They received a unique code to pick-up their pictures online and share them through the Reliant Energy Facebook page after the event.
The unique social media tools enabled fans not present at CES to also participate through:
- A fangate on the NRG Energy Facebook page and a double fangate on the Reliant Energy, Evgo Network and DeLorean Motor Company pages creating a unique synergy and seamless social media experience across multiple brands Facebook pages.
- Live video streams from the event focusing on the DeLorean and Human NRG Wheel that include the ability for fans to view, comment and share.
- A click for charity interface that enables online visitors to contribute to the overall donation just through their clicks and by sharing with their friends, as well as being able to monitor their impact with a real-time donation meter.
- Online registration and sharing of the Drive Into the Future Sweepstakes.
“We wanted to amplify the NRG brands by getting a much bigger bang for the buck,” said Symon. “Through close collaboration with our client, we were able to create an on-site experience packed with state-of-the-art energy touch points that could launch at CES and travel beyond to other events along with an integrated social media experience engaging online visitors and their friends.”
Earlier this week, we posted about Facebook’s changes and what it all might mean for marketers. Mashable was kind enough to run an article on how you can implement Facebook’s timline right now. It’s a fairly easy to follow set of instructions but be aware that only other people who have done this will be able to see your changes for now. Once timeline goes out of public beta, it will be viewable by everyone.
Mashable added another article a day or two ago regarding how these changes might directly effect brand pages. We’ve already heard rumblings that Facebook is pushing down brand pages from fan’s news feeds, in preparation for coming back to brands with their hands out for MONEY!
This is a perfect example of why brands needs to focus on building an engaging brand experience on their own site and not put all their eggs in a specific social media service’s basket. If you buidl a storefront in Facebook what happens when Facebook changes their terms of service? It’s kind of like a New Jersey protection racket…”Gee, it would be a shame if you’re nice little store had a fire or somethin’, wouldn’t it. But, if you take advantage of our special policy, I can assure you nothin’ will happen.”
Social media is great, until it isn’t. For years, all brands could do was lease somebody elses media to reach an audience. Not anymore. A smart brand, who knows how to find out the information, education and inspiration needs of their customers can now cheaply create their own media channel and build an audience that they own.
Really, we think the safe bet is for brands to take the later course, viewing themselves as media companies, producing helpful, relevant, engaging and entertaining content that people are already searching for and building an audience they own on their own brand site. This site then functions as a distribution hub for the content to be scattered over then entire web. By all means, post it on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and YouTube and any other specific social site that makes sense for your audience. But, don’t for a minute think these social channels will continue to offer brands their services for free forever. It’s only a matter of time before they start flexing their media might and changing for audiece acces.
Facebook changed the way their social network works…again. As this article from Mashable points out, there’s changes in store for how marketers use the social network as a result.
Facebook is constantly mixing things up in an attempt to stay relevant and ahead of consumer preferences. Unfortunately, this means more for marketers to keep up with. We’ve been talking about the value of content in your social media presence for some time now and this recent slew of Facebook changes makes it even more critical for marketers to deliver relevant, helpful, entertaining and informative content that serves the information and entertainment needs of their audience rather than pitching the marketers products or services.
How to do this? We’d like to suggest a couple of simple steps:
First, use your listening platform to mine for insights about topics related to the end benefit your product or service delivers to consumers, rather than the features so many marketers drive their digital marketing around. An example of this is for a camera company to create really helpful e-books, mobile apps, videos or other digital resources to help people take better photos…the reason people buy a new camera in the first place.
Second, get your digital distribution ecosystem in place so that you can get the content out to all the social channels your consumers are using…blogs, social networks, forums and message boards, Q&A sites…you name it. Don’t keep the content behind your walled garden on your web site. Free Your Content!
Third, make sure your content is sharable. You want your audience to help with distribution, don’t you? Sure you do, because the crowd can get it out to the masses like nobody else. Again, Free Your Content!
Finally, make sure the content has a call to action that links your audience back to your home site for a deeper layer of engagement…a special offer for more content, an incentive for purchase or some other relevant call to action. Think of your content as bread crumbs scattered across the internet, leading the little birds back to your site.
Brands that create compelling content and follow these steps reap substantial rewards, converting consumers who didn’t even know they were in the market for a product or service. When we ask marketers seek first to provide answers to needs rather than shill our stuff, everyone wins!
So, this is pretty scary. This article in New Scientist talks about the growing problem of hackers attacking computers with malware via image searches. I search for a lot of images and this kind of freaks me out.
There’s an ever-escalating battle going on between these bad guys…parasites of the internet…and Google. I think someone needs to develop a malware for malware…a software that attacks your attacker. These guys need to get a real job!
Keeping up with all the weekly and sometimes daily changes in the digital marketing ecosystem is a full-time job. We know. We do it and it takes hours and hours a week of scanning and reading just to stay current.
In the corporate marketing environment where everyone is trying to do less with more, busy marketers are doing all they can just to get the current work done. Forget about keeping up with what’s hot and new!
So, we got to thinking…since we spend so much time keeping up with the digital marketing Jones and none of our clients can, maybe we could turn this into a plus for everyone. With this in mind, we’d like to present our first of what will be many versions of our Big List of Really Useful Digital Marketing Tools and Resources.
This list isn’t intended to be exhaustive. Books could be written each individual piece of the digital ecosystem…in fact, they are! But, rather, this is intended to be a kind of “hot sheet’ of what’s new, current or the best of the best we’ve recently run across.
We hope you enjoy this list but more than that, if you have anything to add or topics you think we should cover in this list but we haven’t, let us know.
Google To Revive Real-Time Search, Thanks to Google+ | Mashable, the top source for social and digital news
Yet another reason for marketers to keep a close eye on Google+. According to a report this morning in Mashable , real time search is returning very soon and it will be enhanced with data from Google+ as well as other social sources. Real time search was, until July, Google’s way of delivering social signals from Twitter, Facebook and other social sites and sharing in search results. When Twitter squeezed off Google’s access to the Twitter torrent, Google dropped real time search. Google+ is their attempt to make Google a social sharing powerhouse as well because we all know that social is impacting traffic to web sites. Watch for Google+ to introduce a search feature just for Google+ in the very near future.
We’ve combed through the best advice on how to get up and running with Google+ and are sharing it here in our Brand Talk e-newsletter Google+ edition. Although business pages haven’t been launched yet and won’t be for a couple months, according to Google, now is a great time to start using Google+ for yourself. Let us know what you think.
Chris Brogan writes a pithy piece on the 10 Things CMOs Need To Know About Google+ for Forbes. After using Google+ for a couple weeks, we think it will be game changing.
As Brogan and others point out, AOL seemed pretty cool at the time it first arrived. But it just got the email ball rolling. In the same way, Facebook will seem rather dated by the time everyone starts using Google+.
Already, the “by-invitation-only” service, which is still in beta and requires a Google account, has over 10 million users and over a billion pieces of content are shared with it every day. The open and flexible nature of the tool will lead to fast adoption and pervasive use, we think. And, the mobile interface is also very easy to use.
Google+ just may be the one ring to rule all the other social networks. Are you using Google+ yet? There’s often a first mover advantage in digital. Time to check it out.
Jim Lecinski, managing director of U.S. Sales and Service for Google and all around good guy, has kindly given us permission to distribute his phenomenal report entitled Winning at the Zero Moment of Truth. The 73-page e-book documents the startling changes in consumer buying behavior brought about by the internet and activities/tools such as search/search engines, social channels and networks, user reviews, other consumer generated content and “always on” smart phones.
In reality, the “internet of things” arrived a bit earlier than anticipated. It came in the form of the Internet of US and emerged due to our iPhones, iPads, Androids and other smart, mobile devices, perpetually connected to the internet, broadcasting our likes and dislikes…our sharing, creating, commenting, reviewing and recommending. The hard cold truth for most brands is not that the technology is ahead of their marketing efforts…their customers are ahead of their marketing efforts!
In order to understand the Zero Moment, you have to understand the First Moment of Truth. This concept was made popular by Procter & Gamble and referred to the first place a brand had to win…when the consumer, stimulated by some kind of marketing communication or advertising like a TV spot, a coupon or a magazine ad stood in front of the product at the retail shelf and weighed the decision to put the brand in their shopping cart. The marketing model was simple: run creative advertising to get the consumer to be aware, to have interest, to go to a retail location and buy your product. A tremendous amount of time, money and effort has gone into perfecting this system.
What’s changed is there is now a huge critical moment between stimulus and shelf in every product or service category. Consumers still watch your TV spots or see you magazine ad. But then they grab their laptop or smart phone and search for reviews to see what others are saying about your product. They go to Twitter or Facebook and ask their friends if anyone has used the product and what they think. They may go to YouTube and look for a vedeo of someone using the product. And, before they’ve even been able to go to the store, they’ve made up their mind.
The Zero Moment of Truth describes the dominant role these connections, community and content are now playing in how we research, learn, search and ultimately find and buy products and services. It’s not just about business-to-consumer brands or considered goods. The behavior is remarkably consistent for business-to-business marketers and it’s just a relevant for makers of $40,000 automobiles as it is for manufacturers of $3.50 bottles of toothpaste.
Jim sites several examples of zeros moments of truth in his report:
- A busy mom in a minivan is looking up decongestants on her mobile phone as she waits to pick up her son from school.
- An office manager at her desk, comparing laser printer prices and toner cartridge costs to determine which office supply store has the best price
- A student in a cafe, scanning user ratings and reviews while looking up a cheap hotel in Barcelona.
- A winter sports fan in a ski store, pulling out a mobile phone to watch video reviews of the latest snowboards
- A young woman in a condo, searching the web for juicy details about a guy with whom she’s been set up on a blind date
We’ve been tracking these behavioral changes for a while ourselves. That’s why we started to incorporate digital content and social connectivity components in our promotions, events, experiences, sponsorship activations and shopper programs. The idea is to take what happens in the real world, reaching thousands of people, and amplify it with the conversations, content, connections and community so that the offline activities ripple online to impact and reach millions.
Kim Kadlec, worldwide vice president of Global Marketing at Johnson & Johnson puts it this way in the report:
We’re entering an era of reciprocity. We now have to engage people in a way that’s useful or helpful to their lives. The consumers is looking to satisfy their needs, and we have to be there to help them with that. To put it another say: How can we exchange value instead of just sending a message?
That’s the question every marketer should be exploring and using to examine every piece of traditional advertising and marketing. Is it delivering value? Is it helping to answer the consumers need for information? Is is designed to engage and amplify across our now reality, filled with zero moments of truth? Something to think about.