Crowdsourcing via social media can backfire on brands

Brands performing crowdsourcing via social networks have experienced positive results, but the practice can also backfire on you as a brand or as a company. Results from this new report by WaveMetrix (pdf, Q3 2011 Benefits and Limits of a Social Media Fanbase) show that brands with an established fan base and brand image tend to get better results from social media crowdsourcing. The report focuses on the social media crowdsourcing efforts of three brands: Colgate, Nando’s, and Uniqlo. The results are not always great and they do not always match the expectations the brands had on forehand. Below you will find the slidedeck with the three examples and a brief summary of each case.

Colgate

With its “Smile” campaign in summer 2011, CPG toothpaste brand Colgate used a dedicated Facebook page where users were encouraged to upload pictures of themselves smiling. These were then turned into large collage posters which were displayed in supermarkets, shopping malls and other point of sale locations. WaveMetrix analysis reveals that Colgate’s strategy also had a positive effect on purchase discussion, as users became 2.5 times more likely to discuss purchasing toothpaste as the campaign went on (6% of purchasers produced buzz the week of June 13 compared to 15% the week of June 27). And: the “Smile” campaign had a positive impact on brand image, as users identified Colgate with a sense of community and fun.

Nando’s

The social media crowdsourcing campaign from casual dingin firm Nando’s was less successful. In the campaign, consumers were asked what noises they make when someone says the word “Nando’s” and they were invited to upload video clips of their “Nando’s Noise” on the campaign website. US comedian and beat-boxer, Reggie Watts, featured in the campaign launch ad, creating a series of “Nando’s Noises” which users could then mix with their own clips on the campaign website. The analysis done by Wavemetrix reveals that the campaign had a positive effect on consumer engagement and purchase discussion. Positivity about the “hilarious” campaign generated the most interest and consumers were led to talk positively about Nando’s products. But the discussion surrounding Nando’s brand was very mixed, with consumers criticizing the campaign for not reflecting what Nando’s does, or commenting that they prefer a competing brand. This shows that crowdsourcing can leave a company with less control of how their brand is portrayed and exposed to criticism through competitor comparisons.

Uniqlo

In addition to having several more traditional regional Facebook pages, Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo also has a fanpage-made-by-fans which garnered close to a quarter of a million Likes. Described as “a page by Uniqlo fans for Uniqlo fans,” the site fosters a community of “Uniqlovers,” with both community managers and group members acting as evangelists for the brand. WaveMetrix shows that the UNIQLO fanpage is successful at prompting consumers to talk positively about the brand, stores and products. Although half of the consumers who post discussion indicate that they are current UNIQLO shoppers, the other half of consumers are engaged by the social media content, but do not discuss UNIQLO.

VIA MarketingCharts.

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