Social Media: The Cornerstone of Financial Firms in the 21st Century

Hi class,

Just wanted to share this article that I came across. We all know the impact of social media on firms especially those in the FMCG sector, but its interesting how this article shows us how social media is becoming increasingly important even to Financial firms. The example brought up is Ritholtz Wealth Management and this company claims to have increased its Assets under management (AUM) and employees simply through the use of Social media. This fascinated me as despite todays highly competitive and almost homogenous market, a company was able to differentiate itself as a result of its blog posts and social media presence.

https://blogs.cfainstitute.org/investor/2016/03/31/social-media-the-cornerstone-of-financial-firms-in-the-21st-century/

Cheers, Darshini

G1 Individual Research Project – UBER

Hello to all!

I hope everyone is pressing on towards the end of the semester. (:

The organization I chose for my individual project is UBER, and I’m sure many of us are familiar with it and its wonderful services. Through my analysis of Uber and its performance on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, I have come up with certain recommendations with the campaign hashtag of #UberMovesMe. Please do take some time to read my project summary, and all the best for finals!

uber-serp-logo-048389ae0a

Background or Organization

Uber is a mobile app-based company offering services pertaining to mobility on demand. Currently, it is most widely known for its online vehicle-for-hire service, where Uber riders are matched with Uber drivers on a real-time basis to bring them to their destination.

While Uber has grown at an exceptional rate to be active in over 300 cities worldwide, it has had its fair share of controversies. The legality of Uber is widely disputed, given its nature of being a disruptive type of technology. Another issue Uber is heavily involved in is safety, as the company has faced several incidents, ranging from sexual assault to vehicle accidents. Hence, social media is a necessary tool to mitigate potential negative externalities from such incidents, which may greatly impact the uptake of Uber’s services.

Research objective

Upon analysis, my paper seeks to provide a set of recommendations for Uber to:

  • Better engage with their fans on the social media platforms, and
  • Better integrate the brand into the lifestyle of Singaporeans.

Uber’s Current Strategies on its Social Media Platforms

Uber has three main strategies, as I observed on its Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.

  • Uber provides accessible updates about the happenings within the company

Example of an Instagram post announcing Uber’s new logo

IMG_2016-03-30 19:34:13.jpg

  • Uber leverages on the jovial mood of festivities to engage its fans

Example of a Facebook post for the Lunar New Year

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  • Uber focuses on delivering a consistent message of safety:

Example of a tweet on safety

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 7.33.27 PM.png

 

Data collection

To deeply analyze the current performance of Uber’s strategy, data on Uber’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages were collected. The period of data collection was from 01 February – 14 February 2016, and the types of data collected were a) number of likes/ followers, b) number and type of content of postings on the social media platform, c) volume and direction of response from the online community.

While the data collection was done on Uber’s global pages, the recommendations are tailored to the local Singaporean market. Hence, to get a better understanding of the issues Uber can address with regard to Singapore through social media, I also conducted a separate survey with 41 respondents from the target demographics of Uber to figure out the existing perceptions of the brand.

Conclusion

Uber is poised to become a significant force in the mobility-on-demand market given its first-mover advantage. However, there are impediments to sustaining Uber’s position, such as the ever-increasing number of innovative competitors, legal and safety issues, and lack of brand loyalty. Hence, it is in Uber’s interest to utilize the social media recommendations so as to achieve consistent and sustainable integration into the lifestyle of Singaporeans.

To end off, I hope all of us will remember that Uber is great because Uber makes us mobile, #UberMovesMe

G5, Sang Hee

Facebook and governmental & news agencies

Hi everyone!

waterway point

On 23rd March, diner Rita Lim posted a complaint about a rat she encountered at Waterway Point, which prompted an investigation by NEA to conduct hygiene checks across the mall less than a week later.

This is a sign of how communication methods have changed with the use of social media. A comment tagging the social media accounts of Straits Times and other news outlets can easily notify them of the issue rather than sending in a tip. Reporters can also get a more accurate sense of the person’s sentiment  given the informal nature of social media which will portray the user’s feelings more organically.

Governmental agencies also have to address the issue quickly given the potential backlash, as social media facilitate the sharing of such complaints easily.

It is truly amazing how social media has shaped the procedures in organisations today.

#JeSuisBruxelles

Hi all, I’m sure you have heard about the recent Brussels Bombings which has just occurred yesterday. At least 31 people were killed and 200 injured in the attacks on Brussels.

In the wake of these explosions, thousands have gone online to share cartoons and their condolences using the hashtag #JeSuisBruxelles. As a result, the hashtag has trended for much of the day on Twitter.

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 5.28.04 PM.png

However many criticized netizens for being apathetic towards the Ankara bombings, which occurred on 13 March 2016. In fact, on Google news, typing in’Brussels attacks’ generated more than 18 million results, while ‘Ankara car bomb’ brought up fewer than 400,000 results.

In a post that has now gone viral and been shared more than 120,000 times, Mr Taylor, who has lived in Ankara for 18 months, said: “It is very easy to look at terror attacks that happen in London, in New York, in Paris and feel pain and sadness for those victims, so why is not the same for Ankara?”

The following tweets show other users who share the same sentiments:

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 5.23.07 PM

 

What do you think about the use of social media in both cases?

For more information:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/brussels-attacks-terrorism-isis-google-news-ankara-car-bombing-a6947646.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/brussels-bombings-social-media-reaction-to-attacks-criticised-as-disproportionate-compared-to-ankara-a6947186.html

G1 Group 7 – The Body Shop

Hi prof and fellow classmates! My group will be presenting to you our research and social media strategies for The Body Shop. Please have a look at our outline below.

000267-Header-Committment

Background

The Body Shop was founded in 1976. The founder, Dame Anita always ensured that her cosmetic products were not tested on animals and was a strong advocate of fair trade. The company prides itself on offering high quality products made from natural ingredients obtained from fair trade with over 26 Community Trade suppliers. Since 1986, The Body Shop has established itself as an unconventional beauty brand that has been on the forefront of advocating about worldly issues.

However, The Body Shop brand started on a decline when the L’Oréal Group acquired it in 2006. Since then, the company has struggled to uphold its original brand identity of being an ethical organization and has lost its market share. Today, the brand has over 3,000 stores that span more than 60 countries.

Analysis

Through the use of Synthesio, the group identified that The Body Shop has lost its affiliations with being a “sustainable” and “ethical” business. Rather, consumers associate the brand with words like “beauty” and “makeup”, concluding that The Body Shop’s unique brand positioning has been diluted over the years.

The group has also identified the brand’s strengths and weaknesses as follows:

Strength: Content for product marketing

Weaknesses: Corporate Social Responsibility marketing and user engagement

With the brand’s weak CSR marketing and user engagement on its social media platforms, The Body Shop loses out significantly to competitors like Lush, who generates higher conversation and applause rates through fun and creative advertising and content that is relatable to its target audience.

Objectives

3 research objectives were identified:

  1. Build an active community of The Body Shop’s campaign ambassadors
  2. Increase audience engagement on social media posts on campaigns
  3. Increase brand appeal among target consumers

Message Strategy

From the objectives and taking into account the target consumer of The Body Shop, the core being females aged 20 – 35 who are socially conscious and responsible, the group recommends that The Body Shop develop its marketing efforts around the brand’s new manifesto, “Enrich Not Exploit”. Additionally, instead of rallying its consumers to be global citizens and uniting for global causes, “Enrich Not Exploit” can start from oneself, through a sustainable lifestyle.

Social Media Strategy

3 platforms will be used to, to focus on communicating The Body Shop’s commitment to ‘Enrich not Exploit’ and sustainable living by generating word-of-mouth around the brand and its causes, namely:

  1. The Body Shop Mobile App
  2. Facebook
  3. Instagram

The use of these 3 platforms aim to fulfil the objectives of this research through the alignment of the consumers’ values with the brand, the co-creation of the brand’s identity, the promotion of an active community of brand ambassadors, to spread The Body Shop’s message about sustainability and to build brand loyalty.

Conclusion

Although The Body Shop might be met with obstacles dealing with the sustainability of the campaigns, finding the right amount of incentives to garner higher levels of engagement or even the misinterpretation of marketing messages, the group is confident that there are right mechanisms in placed with each of the suggested social media strategies which would help strengthen The Body Shop’s brand identity of being a sustainable company with its roots in social activism in the following years to come.

 

Submitted by: Dasuki, Sang Hee, Shermaine, Nicole, Yu Nato

G2, Group 2 – Zappos

CEO tony
CEO Tony Hsieh

Research Question:

How has Zappos’ corporate culture driven its social media efforts in building a brand community?

Introduction

Zappos.com Inc. (Zappos), is an online shoe and clothing retailer known for its commitment to providing incredible customer service to create an extremely loyal customer base (Roggio, 2011). Customer satisfaction begins with a business’ employees, for a customer will love and trust a company more when the company is well loved by its employees (Faeth, 2015).

Zappos Corporate Culture

Zappos’ culture emphasizes on high employee engagement – through providing a family-like working environment that is fun and empowering, as well as creating and maintaining a high level of customer engagement – through the provision of assistance and answers to enquiries driven by the main goal of achieving customer satisfaction.

According to Frei & Morriss (2010), what sets CEO Hsieh and his team apart from their competition is their deep awareness that Zappos’ culture is its most important asset. Given that “Service is a by-product of culture” (Zappos’ former chief financial officer as cited in Frei & Morriss, 2010) and that Zappos has a reputation for delivering exceptional customer service, it can thus be inferred that Zappos’ culture of achieving high level of customer satisfaction is not merely a vision set by top management but also deeply entrenched and practiced by its employees.

In return, Zappos is rewarded with satisfied and loyal customers, which translate into positive business results that propelled Zappos from a start-up to a company valued at $1.2 billion within a short span of nine years (Hsieh, 2010). With the employees’ strong awareness and acknowledgement that Zappos’ success is highly attributed to their culture, Zappos’ culture is further reinforced and its manifestation can be observed through its communication to and with customers across its different social media platforms.

Zappos’ Corporate Culture and its influences

Our research aims to determine how Zappos’ corporate culture has led to their social media efforts and success in building a brand community and how they can further strengthen and expand that brand community.

Specifically, we will examine how Zappos’ corporate culture has influenced their  1.emphasis on creating real relationships with their customers, and on 2.empowering employees as powerful brand ambassadors. This is based on the important underlying assumption that customer loyalty and satisfaction are better achieved when employees also love the company, which is the argument postulated by Faeth (2015). In addition, we will also analyse how we can 3.enhance Zappos’ brand image by increasing awareness of their corporate social responsibility efforts.

Ultimately, we will analyse how positive engagement of the 3 above factors (in bold) have affected Zappos’ business outcomes respectively, in terms of impacting customers’ behaviour, increasing employees’ satisfaction and engagement and in boosting the overall image of Zappos.

Research Method

While Zappos employs many social media platforms for their customer engagement activities, we will focus our analysis on Zappos’ use of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. This is because these social media platforms most clearly show the two-way interaction between Zappos and its customers, which will allow us to better understand how Zappos’ culture is manifested, thereby facilitating us in conducting a more meaningful analysis. On top of this, Synthesio, which is used to find out customers’ sentiment, and references to literature review will also be used to supplement our research and analysis.

Value of Study

The value of this study is to explore the drivers of Zappos’ success in their social media use, to identify the social media platforms that have room for improvement and thereafter, to recommend suitable social media strategies that will support Zappos in sustaining its competitive advantages and continue to be the best online service leader and in building their brand community.

For instance, in our analysis of Zappos’ use on social media, we have found that Zappos has very high level of engagement on Twitter and moderate level of engagement on Facebook and comparatively lower engagement on Instagram. We have identified that there is room for improvement for Zappos to better leverage on the benefits that Instagram brings and also to further tap on the large following of 2m fans they have on Facebook. As a result, we will be proposing 3 strategies via Instagram and Facebook to help Zappos increase its level of engagement on these two social media platforms.

zapponians at work
Zapponians at work

G1, Group 4 – BreadTalk Project Summary

G1 Group 4 – BreadTalk

Hi everyone,

Our group would like to give you a brief preview of our suggestions for BreadTalk’s social-mediated crisis management strategies.

What is BreadTalk?

BreadTalk is an established Singaporean bakery known for its innovative and artisanal bread. On top of bread, its stores feature other products such as jam, cakes and beverage.

Most of you should have seen or consumed one of BreadTalk’s signature product – the Floss Bun – which looks like this:

(Source: BreadTalk Singapore)

Yes we get it, the bun looks awesome. So moving on, what happened to BreadTalk?

BreadTalk was caught in a couple of crises in 2015, namely those involving the Lee Kuan Yew-themed bun called ‘Lee Bu Kai Ni’ (which sounds similar to I Can’t Leave You in Chinese), and the Yeo’s Soya Milk.

Although the sales proceeds of ‘Lee Bu Kai Ni’ Bun would go to the charity, netizens still perceived it as an insensitive marketing strategy. It created the impression that BreadTalk was an opportunistic brand. The second crisis struck when a photo of a BreadTalk employee was repackaging Yeo’s Soya Milk into plastic bottles with labels that indicate those beverages were freshly made by BreadTalk. This constitutes a crisis involving poor food quality as it misrepresents the freshness of the soya milk. Netizens even casted doubts over the quality of BreadTalk’s other products and threatened to no longer purchase from BreadTalk.

Okay… So how did BreadTalk respond to those crises?

For each of the crises, BreadTalk posted an apology post on Facebook. It also shows its appreciation for the netizens’ feedback, and what it will do in response to the crises.

(Source: BreadTalk Facebook page)

Is BreadTalk’s response good enough?

Our group believes that BreadTalk did not respond effectively to the crisis. We conducted a survey to gauge how BreadTalk’s target audiences (the general public and loyal customers) perceive the effectiveness of BreadTalk’s response on Facebook in relation to the Soya Milk scandal, and only 19% expressed satisfaction with BreadTalk’s response.

After in-depth analysis and observation, we found that BreadTalk’s social-mediated crisis management strategy faces three fundamental problems:

  1. It does not address audience’s concern
  2. It is too reliant on the default response template
  3. It has weak value proposition in building BreadTalk’s brand image

So what do we think can be done?

Our group has identified three social media strategies BreadTalk should adopt.

Strategy 1 : Proactively monitor and build customer engagement and respond to crisis.

While this strategy may seem general, BreadTalk needs to clearly identify the platforms it wants to maintain and proactively monitor them. It is only through monitoring (environmental-scanning) will they be able to detect an impending crisis or note down any positive, neutral or negative sentiments that arise. They should also proactively cultivate consumer engagement during non-crisis periods to foster consumer loyalty and better communication which could shorten the duration of audiences‘ negative sentiment towards a brand in lieu of a crisis.

More than just their proactive behavior, BreadTalk will also need to learn how to respond to crisis readily and in a more genuine manner. It is evident that BreadTalk has taken an initiative to respond to negative posts or comments that have appeared over the recent months, but can they make the engagement experience better?

Our group feels that BreadtTalk can take the approach of removing standardized replies and changing it to more personalized replies (ie, signing off with their individual names) or even responding with emoticons and stickers for positive comments. It may seem trivial, but customer engagement through these means seem viable.

Strategy 2 : Engage through Corporate Social Responsibility

BreadTalk is a local company that we see almost everyday, with it being one of the most accessible bakeries country-wide. However, being within sight of a community does not mean being integrated into the community. Hence, this idea evolved.

BreadTalk can target a local beneficiary (in this case, our group feels that the Straits Times Pocket Money Fund is a possible one) and do deeds that will not only provide them with the monetary funding but also create awareness. Yes, BreadTalk has donated to the Community Chest multiple times but many do not know the reason why this beneficiary. The Straits Times Pocket Money Fund, on the other hand, as the beneficiary can go hand-in-hand with BreadTalk’s direction on investing in talent and in the future.

Our long-term strategy will be explained in class.

Strategy 3 : Excite with Floss of the Month

Pork Floss Buns have shot to fame since 2000 and have had few variations since then. In our attempt to engage the stakeholders while highlighting BreadTalk’s innovative spirit, this campaign will showcase not only BreadTalk’s most famed bread but also get customers who may have eaten BreadTalk bread growing up excited.

This exclusive floss of the month bread will only be available, as you may have already guessed, for a period of one month. The salted-egg yolk craze has already begun with BreadTalk but we think BreadTalk can do better than that.

Hear about the details of our strategies in class soon!

Signing off,

G1, Group 4

G1, Group 1 – Abercrombie & Fitch Project Summary

Hello everyone,

How you doin’!*

As you may recall from our proposal presentation, our project aims to develop social media strategies for American retail giants Abercrombie & Fitch. Of late, A&F has unfortunately suffered plummeting sales, attributed to several key events surrounding their exclusionary marketing techniques. A&F has  We thus seek to augment A&F’s ongoing global rebranding exercise, specifically in the Singapore market.

Social Media Listening

USA: An initial analysis of A&F’s brand sentiment on various social media platforms in their primary market, found the tone of these mentions to predominantly neutral, skewed towards positive. However, thorough examination of a 500-post representative sample revealed 112 negative, 74 positive, 54 truly neutral, and 260 irrelevant posts. This provides support for the unfavourable brand perception noted across several surveys and op-eds. However, it is encouraging to observe posts acknowledging A&F’s new, inclusive brand identity.

Singapore: A similar analysis of 64 posts in Singapore between Feb 12, 2016 and March 14, 2016 revealed 15 negative, 12 positive, 20 truly neutral and 37 irrelevant posts. The analysis provided three notable insights. First, A&F brand conversations in Singapore are insignificant, allowing for room to meaningfully influence brand perception. Second, current perception, based on the limited results, is neither favourable nor unfavourable. This is further supported by the A&F store being tagged or featured in largely neutral posts generated by users, for example, on Instagram. Lastly, many posts are simply shared from sources in the US.

A&F – Current Social Media Strategy

Upon analysing their current social media strategy, we found that A&F enjoys a large following on their global pages. Thus, potential exists for A&F to leverage on its social media platforms to execute a campaign that could influence a large target audience.

However, the key shortcoming of their overall social media conversation is that the conversation is predominantly one-way. Despite a large following, A&F’s social media pages do not engage meaningfully with their followers by inviting comments, creating alternative content appropriate for generating buzz, or featuring user-generated content. With minimal interaction between the brand and its audience, A&F misses out on an opportunity to communicate its rebranding exercise with its followers.

Additionally, A&F’s social media content is static – simple product visuals and model shoots, which by nature not engaging enough to like or share by its audience. Unsurprisingly, the brand’s global Twitter page regurgitates content from its Facebook and Instagram pages without adjusting for user behaviour on each specific platform. The brand thus does not leverage on its wide following to craft a strong, relatable brand identity through its social media.

Our First Strategy: #AFreshbreath, #TrendyAF

The key objective of our proposed strategies is enabling A&F to leverage on its existing social media capacity to continue their rebranding exercise, positively influence brand image, and capitalize on market opportunities in Singapore, through:

(i) A CSR-style strategy

This campaign focuses on communicating the importance of second chances, and how A&F champions this philosophy, and aims to subtly portray A&F’s efforts to right its past wrongs and adopt an inclusive brand identity moving forward.

(ii) A brand ambassador strategy

An influencer-based campaign would further our objective of community engagement and two-way conversations, by advocating the message of ‘looking good’, which celebrates each individual’s ability to look good – in stark contrast to A&F’s previous cookie-cutter, stereotypical idea of attractiveness.

(iii) Native advertising

Native advertising has proven to be successful at influencing tastes and preferences of shoppers active on social media, particularly teens and millennials.

Our proposed strategies are aimed at stepping up A&F’s rebranding exercise in Singapore, drive home the principle of looking good, and engage and involve the target market across a variety of platforms.

Consequently, we hope that A&F will be able to solidify its brand image as a premium lifestyle retailer in the Singaporean market with its quality offerings and engaging brand atmosphere.

Looking forward to sharing our project with you in greater detail tomorrow!
– Alethea, Ser Yang, Shaurya, Sheena & Shivin

*Fun fact: ‘how you doin’!’ is A&F’s classic in-store greeting.

G1 Group 8 Pepsi

Pepsi

Hi All,

This is Lynette from the Pepsi Group (G1) and this is what our project is all about!

Introduction

Pepsi is one of the world’s leading carbonated drinks and owns around 30% of the market share as of 2014 (NASDAQ, 2014).  Pepsi stands for music, sports and fun, and they strive to be at the pulse of pop culture and bring fans closer to the musicians, athletes and experiences they love. In line with this, Pepsi sponsors events such as the Superbowl and the Indian Premier League Cricket Tournament.

 

Findings

Based on our findings, we realize that although Pepsi pushes out campaigns periodically over the years, their campaigns are not as well received as its main competitor, Coca-Cola.

After analysing various Coca-Cola and Pepsi campaigns, we found some areas in which Pepsi can learn from Coca-Cola:

  • Knowing your audience : Structuring your campaigns in a way that consumers can identify with
  • Adopting a proactive stance
  • Alignment with business strategy and congruency of messaging strategies : Campaigns should be aligned with your current business strategies as well as having a recurring motif

Research Question

Thus this led to the derivation of our research question:

“How can Pepsi maximize its global consumer engagement through the use of social media?”

Recommendations  

We came up with a short-term and a long-term recommendation with the objectives to:

  • Unify and employ a consistent message strategy
  • Alignment to business strategies
  • Generate a positive word-of-mouth effect

We will be delving into the specifics during our presentation so stay tuned!

Cheers!

Junwen, Cari, Shermae, Jaemie, Lynette

 

G2 Group 9 Magnum

Screen-Shot-2013-08-19-at-4.38.37-PM

Magnum is a premium ice cream brand under Unilever’s Heartbrand. Originally, developed in Belgium and launched in Germany in 1989, Magnum is the first handheld ice cream aimed exclusively at adults. Since then, they are sold over 40 countries worldwide. Magnum’s focus on product innovation has seen the launch of Magnum Classic which uses a special formula to combine ice cream and fine chocolate to withstand temperatures as low as -40 degrees celcius.

How can Magnum create strong brand community via interactive social media activities?

Read More »