Fan Involvement Aids SocNet Rebranding

October 13, 2011

wavemetrix-pizzahut-oct-2011.JPGBrands should consider their existing fan base when rebranding or launching new goods via social media, according to [pdf] a new report from WaveMetrix. Results from “Q3 2011 Benefits and Limits of a Social Media Fanbase” indicate successful brands involve fans in social media rebranding efforts rather than trying to force a positive response.

The report focuses on social media rebranding/product launch of three brands: Pizza Hut, Nike, and Old Spice. A brief summary of each effort follows.

Indian Pizza Hut Fans Prefer Status Quo

In August 2011, Pizza Hut India launched a Facebook campaign giving users an exclusive look at their latest products, including skewers, mojitos and pastas. The page’s community manager encouraged viewers to discuss whether they prefer Pizza Hut’s new age or vintage styles.

By giving its Facebook fans a sneak peek at the new ad, WaveMetrix says Pizza Hut successfully managed to engage its consumers, with reactions proving overwhelmingly positive. However, the campaign was less successful in promoting discussion about whether consumers prefer the restaurant’s new age or vintage styles, despite prompting by the page’s community manager.

WaveMetrix analysis indicates this suggests that Facebook fans are a difficult audience when attempting to reposition a brand, as they are already fans of the product and are unlikely to advocate change. The campaign produced 1.3 million Facebook likes.

Nike Fans Feel Forgotten

wavemetrix-nike-oct-2011.JPGResponding to an online petition, in September 2011 Nike launched the limited-edition Nike MAG, a shoe originally featured in the 1989 film “Back to the Future II” and now released in limited quantities, to be auctioned off on eBay. All proceeds go to Parkinson’s Disease charity The Michael J. Fox Foundation.

However, WaveMetrix social media monitoring reveals that more than one-third of responses to the campaign are from those who feel “cheated” because the MAGs are only available to “the rich and famous.” Consumer disappointment is prominent on Nike’s social media pages, which WaveMetrix says reveals the importance of ensuring any campaign driven by consumer demand fulfills that demand.

Although the campaign enhanced Nike’s caring image, it led 66% of Facebook fans to reject the brands aspirational image, as they felt it did not cater for regular fans. The campaign has generated 5 million Facebook likes.

Fans Reject New Old Spice Guy

wavemetrix-old-spice-oct-2011.JPGOld Spice’s recently changed Old Spice guy, Fabio, has not received a favorable response from fans who say they prefer the “sexier” former Old Spice guy Isaiah Mustafa.

Male consumers are especially negative, which WaveMetrix analysis indicates as suggesting the new image does not resonate with fans’ expectations.

However, a Facebook- and YouTube-based contest for fans to say whether they preferred Mustafa or Fabio (Fabio replaced Mustafa despite Mustafa winning) drew high levels of engagement, with 540,000 YouTube views.

SocNet Crowdsourcing Has Mixed Results

While brands performing crowdsourcing (letting consumers take over a portion of your promotional activity) via social networks have experienced positive results, the practice can also backfire, according to other results from “Q3 2011 Benefits and Limits of a Social Media Fanbase” showing that brands with an established fan base and brand image tend to get better results from social media crowdsourcing.

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