Beyond Tactics: Moving the Needle with Emerging Media

Emerging media provides countless ways for companies to push the boundaries when it comes to engaging and interacting with consumers. But, too often it’s much easier to talk about integrating social channels into marketing and communications campaigns than it is to actually do it. Unfortunately, sometimes emerging media is often added as an afterthought tactic rather than being used as a key campaign element. It’s important for brands to think about each medium and how it can be used as a communications vehicle to reach and engage key audiences. After all, social media isn’t just about the size of a fan base, but rather about how interactive those fans are. These three companies can serve as examples of how to use emerging media mediums to create campaigns that generated extremely high consumer impact.

Facebook & IKEA: In 2009, the Swedish furniture company opened a new store in Malmo, Sweden. Rather than hosting an event or spreading the word the old-fashioned way, the brand went directly to consumers via Facebook. Here is a short video explaining the campaign:

The campaign instantly went viral, generating a lot of buzz about the launch of the new store without any high budget campaign. Over a two-week period, showroom images were uploaded to a Facebook photo album and using the “tag” feature, customers were able to locate items in the pictures and put their name on them. The first person to tag an object got to take it home… for free. Word of mouth conversations generated by the campaign engaged thousands and thousands of Facebook users, who willingly promoted IKEA to their social networks.

Since 2009, the brand has continued to take some different approaches to engaging fans using Facebook. The UK Ikea hosted an in-store sleepover in response to a Facebook fan group called ‘I wanna have a sleepover in Ikea’ and Australian couple got married in an IKEA wedding witnessed by their friends, family and 80 random Facebook fans who secured an invite through IKEA’s Facebook page.

Pinterest & CB2: Home décor chain CB2 turned online home design daydreams into reality with APT CB2, a five-day event in which five popular Pinterest designers decorated one real-world apartment with the real-time input from the Pinterest community. The campaign happened live on Pinterest and a microsite, which was updated every 15 to 30 minutes with photos from the apartment.

Pinterest, as a platform, connects well with the brand given that it is a forum for collaboration, experimentation, and getting people to play with design at home. In this campaign, CB2 relinquished some brand control to the “Pinfluencers” or influential Pinterest users. When combined, their own posts, along with those of CB2, helped to build an authentic and honest brand voice as well as further extend dissemination of the brand’s message.

Vine & Lowe’s: When Vine launched the six-second video app, Lowe’s embraced the new medium and used it to house short “how-to” videos that were then distributed via Twitter. Knowing that the highly engaged Twitter audience would find the posts interactive and engaging, the #LowesFixInSix campaign led the charge when it came to brands using Vine as a strategic communications tool rather than just a novelty. Lowe’s Vine videos caught on like wild-fire and the company has gotten a lot of buzz from the videos alone, but building beyond that, there have also been dozens of press mentions of the campaign and its engaging and almost infectious content. Watch what they did:

According to BBDO New York, roughly a week following launch, the campaign had already generated 28,000 mentions across social media. #Lowesfixinsix was able to strike a perfect balance between brand promotion and consumer usefulness. Additionally, according to Lowe’s CMO Tom Lamb, “What consumer behavior is forcing us to do is learn to be incredibly concise.” These two points – finding balance and being brief – perfectly summarize the challenges and opportunities that are facing modern brands today when they turn to emerging social media tools, like Vine, for promotions.

Social media platforms can be catalysts for people (and brands) to present their best selves. IKEA, CB2 and Lowe’s have stretched emerging media channels beyond tactical add-ons. They have proved that, if used correctly, emerging media can be an effective marketing tool, helping the brands to quickly, and efficiently, educate consumers while making content that is shareable and fun to watch.