May 29 2010

Fake BP Public Relations Twitter Account 10 Times More Popular Than the Real Thing

by Andrew DiFiore

Without getting entrenched in the politics of what is undoubtedly one of the worst environmental disasters in US history, the fact that millions of gallons of crude oil is still spewing into the Gulf of Mexico more than a month after the oil rig explosion seems obscenely absurd. People tune in to their news source expecting to hear that the oil leak is at least contained but even now it appears the latest attempt by British Petroleum has failed to have an impact.

It is this absurdity that has given rise to a fake BP Public Relations Twitter account @BPGlobalPR that tweets satirical sentiments like: “Sadly we can no longer certify our oil as Dolphin Safe.”

The account’s owner remains anonymous (for now) though “he” recently had an interview with Brenna Ehrlich of Mashable. At the time of this writing @BPGlobalPR has collected over 84,000 followers since the first tweet on 5/19/10. That’s more than 10 times the followers of BP’s official Twitter account @BP_America which has about 8,100 followers and twice the tweets. It is really no surprise that more people would rather laugh than cry (so to speak). And as every good marketer knows, humor is a powerful memory hook.


Some people may feel that a parody of this kind is in bad taste but apparently BP doesn’t think so given they have not asked Twitter to take down the account (see this AdAge article); a smart move on BP’s part as they have enough to worry about without adding Twitter to the list.

The reason I write this post at all is that both BP and the fake BP make good use of the social network to address their respective audiences. For one it is about damage control and for the other it is about cause awareness (albeit in a droll sort of way not unlike John Stewart).

For the record, sales of the $25 BP Cares T-shirts being promoted on the fake BP Twitter feed actually goes toward the Gulf Restoration Network.

May 12 2010

Social Media Governance

by Andrew DiFiore

Want to know Microsoft’s policies on tweeting? Maybe you want to adopt Coca-Cola’s social media best practices?

Chris Boudreaux’ is a great resource for B2B and B2C community managers who want to get the most from their social media ROI. At the time of this post Chris had compiled 126 social media policies and 150 studies (some are free, some paid). You can even add your own. It is certainly worth bookmarking.

May 10 2010

Groupable: Virtual Yente for Groups and Corporate Sponsors

by Andrew DiFiore

Imagine an online service that matches groups with corporate sponsorships (and vice versa). Enter Groupable: a social network of self-organized, grass-roots entities looking for corporate sponsorship, and corporations looking to reach potential audiences.

Groupable recognizes your hiking or cooking group has greater power to set trends and to influence others than that of its individual members. The service uses its own proprietary algorithm to calculate a Groupability Index, an influence rating that takes into account Groupable’s sponsorship activity data as well as activity from a variety of social media data points such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Klout, blogs, and podcasts. The index rating is calculated based upon aggregate scores in the following categories: authenticity, engagement, and relevance. This enables sponsors to zero in on the demographics that will produce the greatest return on investment (ROI).


Groupable’s strength lies in its ability to aggregate similar interest groups into marketing packages. Best suited to established organizations that might be seeking sponsors. This works well in the real world (e.g. uniforms for little league team) as much as online (e.g. sweeps prize for popular mommy blog).

“It’s about knowing which groups to engage with so as to maximize word-of-mouth equity,” says Groupable CMO Michael Klausner. “The Groupability Index provides marketers with a single reference point that captures a group’s ultimate influence potential.”

Jan 12 2010

Twitter 101 for Business

by Andrew DiFiore

Dell Outlet sold over $3 million worth of computers through Twitter!
I would love to see the case study on that one.

Okay, here it is.

In fact, Twitter has just launched Twitter 101 for Business showcasing its own case studies for brands like Dell, JetBlue, Levi, Pepsi, and Naked Pizza. These companies have had (and continue to have) huge success leveraging their brands through the SMS-based channel; using social contests, exclusive coupons, or just plain old-fashion PR.

twitter101As Twitter evolves so do the ways to use it as an effective marketing channel. Thankfully, Twitter keeps an update of Best Practices. If you are new to Twitter then you might want to check out Mashable’s The Twitter Guide Book.

Oct 19 2009

If we build it better why don’t they come?

by Jeff Propper

One of the most often asked question of small and medium businesses is: “how can we unseat our competition”? Often times, the incumbent supplier has the benefit of a long-standing relationship, along with a reputation of quality products and services.  This is understandably, a serious issue when you may have a better solution, at a better price and even better service.  I call it the “if we build it better why don’t they come?” syndrome.  They don’t come because customers don’t want to take chances.  Most people will avoid risky decisions, even when their current supplier makes mistakes.

How do we change this behavior?

It can be changed, but it takes time and money. What’s more, it takes building a reputation. Creating a promise and making good on it time after time, influencing your target market, and in other words, even SMBs must build a brand!  Sometimes, simply saying the word “brand” sends shudders through the very beings of senior management.  “Build a brand? Those are only for big companies who can afford it—not us!”

Let’s take it one step at a time.

Building a brand for your SMB doesn’t have to cost multi-millions of dollars, but in order to be successful you must think SYNERGY. Remember we’re talking about a building process, not an instant solution. In the brand building process you start with the basics, and those basics include asking the right questions:

  • Assess who you are: What is your company’s corporate culture?  What is the perception of the company in the marketplace?  Does your reputation reflect the true nature of your company? What is it about your company that makes you better/different than your competition?
  • What do you stand for? What core values best describe your company?
  • What can your company promise? A distinct, clear, attainable brand promise must be articulated.  Example: GE.  imagination at work.  The perception of a high quality company dedicated to turning imaginative ideas into leading products and services that in-turn make our lives better.

Building your brand is not just advertising.

Your brand must be incorporated into every aspect of your company. From your corporate culture and customer interface, to advertising, social media, internet marketing and public relations.  Your brand personality must come through consistently.  Example: The Body Shop has developed programs that reflect its core identity called Values and Campaigns.  It contributes to rain forest preservation efforts, is active in women’s issues and even has a program called COMMUNITY TRADE that embodies their commitment to trading fairly and responsibly with suppliers.  The Body Shop’s vision carries right through to the in-store experience.  Walk into a store, and you’re greeted by a salesperson wearing a T-shirt with both the logo and a social message.

In the end, building a brand for your SMB takes time, effort, commitment and money.  It’s not a quick fix.  It’s a long-term strategy that leads to growth, profitability and stability. After all, don’t you want your company to be your customer’s “supplier of choice” no matter what?