15 Brands We’re Watching in 2014

If you’re like most, the New Year brings on a renewed drive for organization, improvement, and goal setting in your personal and professional lives alike.  If you’re a social marketer, upping the ante on your social program to create even more compelling experiences likely tops your list of 2014 New Year’s resolutions.  As you’re thinking through how your brand can inspire continued engagement and build lasting relationships with your community this year, keep in mind that “one message doesn’t fit all” in today’s social landscape.  Each social network has its own unique benefits for helping brands achieve their desired business objectives, and as such, must be treated differently from a content and messaging perspective.  

 

In need of some inspiration?  See how the below 15 brands are shining bright on some of today’s most popular social networks.  

 

1.  Ogilvy

Flexing their creative agency muscles, Ogilvy leverages Facebook to regularly share visually intriguing content that drives engagement.  Whether it’s inspiring quotes, infographics or showcasing client work, they maintain a light-hearted tone, while still providing industry-relevant content to their community.  

 

2.  Forever 21

Wondering how to stay fashionable while exercising or in search of the perfect necklace to wear with that new shirt?  Forever 21’s Pinterest page has you covered.  With more than 60 boards to scour for inspiration, and new ones emerging to keep pace with seasons and trends, the brand creates never-ending opportunities for consumers to interact and share.  

 

3.  EA Sports

While the amount of time playing FIFA 14 might spike in 2014 as we near the Men’s Soccer World Cup, that’s not the only reason we’re keeping an eye on the global leader in digital interactive entertainment.  Through the creation of sport-specific handles such as @EASportsNHL, @EASportsUFC or @EASportsNBA, the brand smartly targets its community with content most relevant to their interests.  

 

4.  Intuit

Social is about building lasting relationships, and the small business software provider hits the nail on the head time and again by featuring quotes of advice from small business owners on their Facebook page.  What better way to build and strengthen relationships with customers than by highlighting their smarts and business success? #CustomerLove

 

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5.  Accenture

The business services company quickly grabs the attention of LinkedIn followers by regularly posting compelling content from their survey and research study findings.  Keeping content fresh with things like interesting data drives better social experiences and creates value for both the brand and its social community.

 

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6.  QVC

A company founded on the three guiding principles of Quality, Value, and Convenience, the world's leading video and ecommerce retailer stays true to its mission in the Twittersphere too.  The brand drives customer loyalty and retention with how-to ideas for easily incorporating the latest fashion trends into your wardrobe, as well as special promotions and coupons to make shopping that much easier.  

 

7.  HomeAway

The saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” couldn’t be more true for this online marketplace of vacation rentals.  From breath-taking beach views to quirky travel gear to dream vacation locales, HomeAway creatively taps into travelers’ experiences from the planning stage of a vacation through to after the memories are made on Pinterest.  

 

8.  General Mills

The consumer packaged goods giant is a pro at storytelling – something every brand can benefit from doing well. Take their “Hello Cereal Lovers” social media community for example.  While it leverages multiple networks (Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr), the Facebook page has become a destination for like-minded consumers to share all the things they love about cereal (even if it’s a competitor’s cereal brand) because General Mills believes “cereal can make every day a little bit more happy.”  

 

9.  Johnson & Johnson

Using a cross-network approach, Johnson & Johnson regularly features videos from the company’s Careers YouTube account on their LinkedIn Company Page as a way to reveal company culture and recruit new talent.  

 

10.  Life Time Fitness

While fitness might be top of mind for many as we kick off the New Year, Life Time’s Facebook page provides its fans with inspiration to stay healthy year round.  In addition to its owned content, Life Time’s active community members keep each other engaged and on track with their fitness goals with their own inspiring stories of health and wellness.

 

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11.  Hyatt

Consumers set the bar high when it comes to expecting a quality experience when they travel.  Hyatt tries to meet and exceed customer expectations both on- and offline.  For example, the hotel chain’s @HyattConcierge Twitter account offers guests at over 485 properties a central location to receive concierge style service via social media – a simultaneously creative and on-brand way to deliver value while reinforcing guest relationships.

 

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12.  H-E-B

The Texas-based grocery store chain endears cooks from all regions of the state on their Pinterest page.  Providing entertaining and recipe ideas not only builds relationships with customers via food, but enables the brand to showcase the products carried in their stores.

 

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13.  Nestlé

Nestlé leverages social to deliver immersive and engaging experiences to consumers as it relates to all-things food.  With brands ranging from Toll House and Häagen-Dazs to Lean Cuisine and Stouffer’s, the food company’s US Facebook page is chock-full of recipes, as well as tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  

 

14.  Harvard Business School

One of the top business schools in the country, HBS leverages Twitter to strengthen relationships.  Sharing a mix of owned content such as on-campus happenings or upcoming webinars on business best practices and user-generated content such as photos from fieldwork projects, the brand gives its community reasons to stay engaged as a student and beyond.  

 

15. Toyota

A leading automotive manufacturer, Toyota has something for everyone on their Pinterest page – literally.  With traditional boards that showcase the carmaker’s design to a kid’s board with coloring worksheets, Toyota fosters relationships with the drivers of today and tomorrow.  

 

We're excited to see these brands continue to impress in 2014. Do you have any brands you think are making the most of their platform? Let me know on Twitter.

brittany@spredfast.com's picture

Brittany Edwards

@Btodd12
Brittany is a Marketing Manager on the Brand Communications team at Spredfast where she leads the company's executive visibility and analyst relations programs. She spends her spare time chasing after her energetic toddler, playing soccer and enjoying all-things food related that Austin has to offer with her family.