3 Signs of Sophistication from Cutting Edge Social Brands

With another Spredfast Summit in the books (and a few nights of sleep to recover), some very positive trends among many inspiring lessons and cases shared are a bit more visible.  I am humbled by the generosity of the dozens of customers willing to take the stage and share their triumphs and struggles with their peers in the "IRL" manifestation of the ethos of what makes social.  Along the way we saw a few themes emerge from the crowd:

Social Marketers are gaining Digital breadth.  

Community managers and social strategists continue adding more and more skills to their resume.   They are working on everything from creative direction and brand storytelling to learning more about conversion analytics, CRM, and what convergence could mean for all these practices.  

Strategy needs Creativity to sing. 

The most compelling strategies and campaigns we heard about were built from social marketers understanding their brand and having deep insights about consumers, but were powered in the last mile by creativity.  And it’s not just the major transmedia executions where this comes into play.  The need for creativity was just as apparent when talking to brands that are engaging with consumers on a daily basis to build relationships and create WOM-worthy moments. 

Fundamentals aren't Sexy, but still…fundamental.

Underlying all of the great social initiatives we discussed are strong underpinnings of governance, policies, and training. The good news is that if organizations like Arbonne, Caterpillar, and AARP can navigate social across dozens of countries, thousands of independent consultants, or nationwide state chapters, you too can figure out a way to work across marketing, communications, digital, and creative silos and keep it fresh by reviewing your social org annually.

There’s no doubt we’re seeing a growing sophistication among the brands that are on the cutting edge of social.  As I mentioned previously, the people behind these social communities and campaigns are getting more sophisticated in their skillsets, but the strategies themselves are evolving too as social becomes more tightly integrated into larger digital deployments. 

To acknowledge this progression and the innovation we’ve seen across our customer base over the past year, we introduced our first-ever customer awards ceremony at Summit.  These awards honored five different brands who are excelling at social storytelling, using social to market in the moment, proving social’s impact to the business, leveraging social for social good, and embracing social’s power to transform an entire business.

  • Social Storytelling Award Winner: HBO masterfully engages their audience to collaboratively advance the storylines of hit shows like Game of Thrones and Girls.
  • Social at the Speed of Life Award Winner:  Whether it’s putting trending social content on air during the World Cup or activating millions of fans during the Super Bowl, ESPN connects with their audience during every play of the game. 
  • Social Impact Award Winner: Hyatt created the first social concierge service that boasts an average response time of 10 minutes or less to proactively engage with guests and deepen relationships.
  • Social Good Award Winner: Using a live social vote, Summit Attendees chose to recognize Target for their use of social for a good cause. Target’s Buy One Give One campaign provided back-to-school supplies to the Kids in Need Foundation, donating over $25 million in supplies. 
  • Social First Award Winner:  From keeping their brand top of mind or driving conversions through social channels, Foot Locker is embracing social’s ability to truly impact an entire organization.

Our customers continue to inspire all of us here at Spredfast and I hope all of these award-winning executions inspire you and your team to take your social marketing program to the next level in the year ahead.  

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Virginia is focused on Spredfast customer success at every stage of the partnership journey. She leads the team dedicated to the customer experience including account management, strategic services, training, and enablement, and has over a decade of experience in providing social media and marketing strategy to leading enterprise brands.