Perception and Listening in Marketing with Ford Motors

 Perception and Listening in Marketing

Perception: a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression.

I sat in a seminar and an afternoon session last week put on by a company called Brandwatch and their Now You Know (#NYK) Conference, and the topic in this breakout session was called “Evaluating Consumer’s Propensity for American Made Products”. The focus was on the Ford Motor Company. The gist of the session was to determine if people in this country buy Ford, or any brand because their products are made in the USA. We all generally “know” that Ford cars and trucks are made in the USA by US workers in US factories, right? Isn’t that why so many people buy Ford vehicles?

ford marketing campaigns american made

We saw videos of people, mostly men, in focus groups being asked why they buy Ford products, and invariably the answer was because their trucks and cars are made in America by American workers. After all, Ford is an entrenched American car and truck company. But interestingly, the data suggests otherwise. Yes, it’s true we love to buy American, and American made Ford trucks, but how do we know if a car or truck or even a widget is in fact made in the USA? Actually, according to FTC guidelines, to say you are “Made in the USA”:

“Made in the USA” means that “all or virtually all” the product has been made in America.

ford truck marketing strategy

 

That certainly leaves some room for making that claim.

With vehicles, a made in the USA claim to be on the Fortune Magazine list of “Most American Vehicles” means that a vehicle must be made of at least 75% U.S. parts among other things.

All that said, per Fortune Magazine the most American Car in the United States is in fact…the Toyota Camry. Followed closely by the Toyota Sienna. So, perception and reality can diverge.

In fact, the all-American Ford F-150 Truck dropped off the list completely in 2015 for NOT being American made. So, why is it that people are still buying Ford trucks and cars because they believe them to be American made? A quick check of their website and I couldn’t find one single instance of the phrases “American Made” or “Made in the USA”. In fact, on their company page, there is not even one instance of the words America or American. Not one. So, again, why do people want to buy supposed American made Ford vehicles? Marketing and perception, that’s why.

The Laws of Perception in Marketing

the law of perception marketing

 

There’s no crime at all, in creating a perception that dances around reality. In the marketing world, perception in marketing has four distinct stages while a consumer is processing information about a product or brand; Sensation is when a person’s senses are initially exposed to the external stimulus of a product. Like the overload you get when walking into a Starbucks store. Attention is the next the phase, which is when mental processing gives in to an external stimulus from a product or brand. The third is Interpretation; when we assign meaning to the sensory stimulus of a product or brand. Last, and most important to you as a brand or marketer is Retention; the storage of information into our short and long-term memory. If we go back to our story about the perception of Ford as an American made brand, it’s easy to see with imagery, commercials and videos of American workers assembling cars and trucks in American factories, strolling through American cornfields, splashing through water, or the familiar and easy voice of Toby Keith as can be seen in the video commercial below:

But that’s not always enough anymore. The marketing scene is extremely noisy, and consumers are constantly bombarded with similar messaging across an endless stream of channels. You might even have to create a perception of being bigger than you really are. To battle through this noise and create a perception, you also must stand out in the crowd. But how do you do that?

Perception in marketing

 

 Is changing perception enough for your brand?

In today’s world, speed is everything as is being nimble and adaptable. But you can test different strategies, and the ones that work should be at least partially repeatable in all your campaigns. It also doesn’t hurt to be unique. Unique in your angle, unique in your message, just don’t be afraid to set yourself apart without sacrificing your primary brand message. But is it enough to create or even change the perception of your brand and/or your products?

Absolutely, and unequivocally no. It’s a great start to be sure, but you absolutely cannot relax once a customer makes a purchase. You need to continue to foster these perceptions to create that emotional connection, but you also need to delight and create brand loyalty which Ford and Starbucks do very well. They foster superior customer service which in and of itself creates a perception of caring. Maybe not 100% of the time, as no business does, but they approach that elusive proportion.

social listening companies

 

What is the perception of your brand, and how do you find out?

Lastly, you need to monitor your perception with your fans. Listen to what they have to say. Will they recommend it to friends and family? Why or Why Not? What are people saying about your brand or products? You can do this by going to websites, discussion boards, and of course social media channels and searching for your brand and products. You can also ask. But you need to be allotting time every day to simply LISTEN. Only then can you discover what your customer’s perception of your business is, and only after that can you determine how you will need to either change that perception or further cement that perception when it’s working.

It’s very hard and very time consuming to determine what that perception of your business is. That’s where companies like ours, iWeSocial, and others can help but taking the work out of listening. We listen for you across the entire web, give you all the data and conversations, develop insights and next steps, but it’s still up to you to create that perception and go through the steps we have listed here, and use the examples of those successful businesses like Ford and Starbucks who have mastered the art of perception.

If you need help with determining the perception of your brand across the web, want to know next steps, or need extra help to listen what’s being said about your brand and products, contact us at info@iwesocial.com or call us at 720.880.5492. Your customers are talking, are you listening?

Author Eric Graham, Digital Marketing Manager- iWeSocial

How to launch a sucessful organic social media campaign

There are days where we spend time on Quora.com. It’s an opportunity to knowledge share amongst peers and helpful towards our own SEO efforts. But also, a great place to see and learn what others in similar industries are doing as well. Today we came across the following question: What does a company have to do to successfully launch and grow a social media platform?

There are different strategies for different platforms. One of our golden rules in content strategy is to never just post text without some form of engagement such as Call-To-Action (CTA) type posts, imagery, humor, contests, Gifs, video, etc.

using calls to action in social media

Here are summaries of organic strategy for the well-known platforms to get an organization stared:

Twitter can be B2B and B2C. Twitter is a great platform to post blogs, videos, gifs, contests, CTA’s, infographics, etc. The ‘norm’ for frequency of posts should be 4 times a day allowing a few hours in between posts. Hashtags are also important. We usually suggest a minimum of two hashtags per post, but don’t overkill it (That’s for Instagram). Hashtags should be industry focused and branded.


Twitter character limit

Facebook can be mostly B2C. It’s an opportunity to attract your audience with CTA posts such as “Caption This” (with an image), videos, infographics, etc. The ‘norm’ for frequency of posts should be no less than two times a day with at least 3–4 hours in between posts. Hashtags aren’t necessary on Facebook.

Instagram caters to a younger crowd and this is where you can unload the bucketful of hashtags. We have seen up to 15 hashtags per post and not lose engagement. Of course, every post doesn’t have to have a minimum of 15. Hashtag strategy should be like Twitter; generic and branded. The ‘norm’ for frequency of posts should be like Facebook. One post per day is acceptable, but keep consistency.

how to use instagram

LinkedIn is a B2B platform. This is a more information-based platform and there needs to be an element of professionalism. Many are using it to post content which is not applicable to the platform’s core competency. Frequency of posts should be somewhat like Facebook or Instagram (two times a day with several hours in between). Content should be blog, infographics and information-based. No contests, CTA’s, gifs, etc. Humor is alright if it’s applicable to the subject matter. Many use Twitter to post their LinkedIn blogs / publications.

There are other platforms such as Pinterest, SnapChat, Sina Weibo, Google Plus, etc. But, an organization needs to know their audience and where their audience spends the most time. Once an entity has done this, the content strategy for each platform can begin.

We have listed several organic ways to increase a Follower or Page Like count. There are paid pushes, sponsored campaigns and while we don’t necessarily condone the purchasing of followers, in some industries. Everything can be effective if done correctly.

We realize we didn’t give all the answers for every business. It will be hard to be in every place all the time for each business. The best course of action is always to determine your goals, and what you hope to accomplish from social media. From those goals, you can then determine at least the first two platforms that make the most sense for your business and focus your attention in those places. If you can master one or both strategies; educate and/or entertain, nearly any business can succeed on social media.

If you have any questions about social media, Quora, or anything else, do not hesitate to contact us via our social channels, email us at info@iwesocial.com or call us at 720.880.5492

The Elements of a viral video

How do you make a great video?

It’s no secret these days when it comes to creating engaging social media content for your business, or even your personal page, nearly nothing gets the response from people like videos do. But why is that? What makes a video go “viral”? Is there a recipe for virality? What key elements of videos make people love them? Dogs? Absolutely. Cats? 100%. Kids? Without question. Adults? Maybe but not as much. Destruction and chaos? In most cases, yes. Food and recipes? Oh, yeah. But why do people love video, but also love some videos even more so, and what makes good video content?

What makes good video content?

Some difficult questions to answer for sure. One of the main reasons so much video content is made from marketers, and everyday people, is that we remember video so much longer than other forms of content such as the written word. It’s so much easier and generally more entertaining to consumers as well. This article not withstanding of course. And according to an article by ARS Technica, we might have neurons in our brains that “light up” when we are exposed to certain types of content. What about cat videos?

Who doesn’t love cat videos?

Researcher Dr. Radha O’Meara from Massey University in New Zealand who poured over hundreds of hours of cat videos to find out a common theme or trigger: Because “cats don’t care they’re being filmed — an especially rare thing these days, particularly at a time that we ourselves are a bit unnerved about being watched. Cats don’t seem to acknowledge the camera at all and just do whatever they like, they are oblivious to it.”

But there is also the element that all of us have a deep seeded pleasure in surveillance and spying in other people’s lives.  This is essentially what spawned the evolution of so-called “Reality TV”. We like to think there is no script and no acting, so we can observe the life and flaws of another person. It makes us feel good knowing other people are as flawed or more so than we are. There’s comfort in other people’s flaws to some extent. But aren’t we all a little voyeuristic when it comes to people’s everyday lives? We all want to see behind the curtain from time to time. Does that also explain our seemingly insatiable appetite for food and recipe videos?

Recipes and Food shows aren’t just for TV

We all love food, we all secretly want to be chefs, and being a home chef is probably the closest most of us will get to being a chef. But how many recipe building and food videos are enough? Apparently, there aren’t enough as we can’t seem to get enough of them.

But why? In article published by Spoon University, nostalgia plays a big role. “Tapping into what has made cooking channels so well-liked, food videos make viewers feel all warm and fuzzy inside as they imagine themselves as a child devouring their favorite snack or now as an adult cooking food from the heart for their loved ones.” Plus, we don’t have to watch an hour-long show to get the recipe, but rather in 60 second increments and poof, Coq Au Vin! And the birth of yet another home chef has been fostered. But this trend of video watching must stop or slow down at some point, right? Isn’t it getting close to running its course? Maybe, but probably not. Is there a “Next Frontier” of video content? Oh, yes, and this time it’s live, not recorded.

 

Live video is the new video

Live video is the new frontier, and it satisfies nearly all our emotional cravings. A simple live video can satisfy our voyeuristic tendencies by letting us in on something happening now, and giving us at least a glimpse of what is happening behind the proverbial curtain. It provides that instant gratification we all so sorely demand from nearly everything. Live video also provides a sense of FOMO, or fear of missing out. But live events and videos also can replace our need to be somewhere faraway to see it and experience it in person. Can’t afford to attend or have the time to go to this year’s Coachella? Not to worry, tune in to the live feed and experience it from the comfort of your desk. With Live Video now, you can even interact with the content and creators. But is all this enough to make your video or live stream go “viral”? Not necessarily.

How to make a viral video

I got to thinking about this concept of virality in recent days with the viral video of the dad and professor in South Korea giving an interview over the air to the BBC network about East Asian affairs, his kids and wife stormed into his office seemingly and unknowingly sabotaged his live performance and interview that was being shown across the globe. As anyone who is a parent knows, kids have a distinct and innate ability to show up out of nowhere when the moment is least appropriate or desired for them to do so. This video, dubbed the “BBC interview hijacked by children” went viral in a matter of minutes after its’ original showing live on BBC.

What is it about this video that struck a chord with so many people around the world? Is there something we can all take away from this video that can improve our own video content and potential virality? I say unequivocally yes. And does it do anything to satisfy emotional triggers we all have deep embedded inside each one of us? No doubt about it. Here is what that video had and has that can enlighten all of us on what kind of video will potentially engage, or even delight people.

  • It’s at least mildly voyeuristic. Shows behind the scenes of life.
  • It’s humorous.
  • No script or acting of any kind.
  • It’s nostalgic. Reminds us of our current or past lives.
  • Exhibits or exposes perceived “flaws” in us, our team, or our family.
  • It’s slightly or overly chaotic.
  • Bonus: If it’s Live.
  • Bonus: If it contains either a dog, cat, or a child.
  • Lastly and maybe most importantly…It’s human and real, or a representation of life.

 

While these elements of a video certainly do not guarantee success, huge engagement, a staggering number of views, or even virality, utilizing these elements organically in your videos and video campaigns will certainly better the chances of any of them and possibly all of them happening. Just don’t script it out. Be real, be flawed and most of all be human.

Author, Eric Graham, Digital Marketing Manager- iWeSocial.com

What is the most effective social media channel?

What is the most effective social media channel?

I was hanging out on Quora the other day (yes, that’s what we do here sometimes), and the following question appeared:

What is the most effective social media channel?

Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? OR D: All the Above

Without getting carpal tunnel, I have provided some examples for the ‘perceived’ Big 3:

From a professional standpoint, it really depends on the type of business. Twitter is great from a B2B and Customer Service standpoint. It definitely is applicable to a B2C audience too. It’s also a great way of pushing out blogs and articles from LinkedIn. Twitter is a great platform for Call-To-Action posts. A simple tweet from a Globally known brand such as AmEx can reach thousands. For example, “Where did you use your American Express Card this weekend?”  OR Check out what American Express does (below).

what is the best social media channel

This post was not only a Call-To-Action post, but it was a short video as well. This is the best of both worlds and great partnership branding.

Facebook and Instagram are great for a B2C industry. Imagery speaks volumes. Facebook is inexpensive (compared to Twitter and LinkedIn) for a paid campaign. It’s great for contests and Call-To-Action type posts.

is facebook the best social media channel

Here, Ent Credit Union implements a contest / Call-To-Action post with a great image. For a local credit union, this is great engagement with its audience. The content is short and the objective is clear. It’s also timed perfectly for when Ent’s followers are most on line!

Instagram is perfect for tangible products. One can post a variety of images of products, people using the products, videos (Twitter and Facebook works effectively for videos too), etc. Instagram is also ideal for general hashtag spread. We have seen companies use up to 15 hashtags without losing engagement with their audience.

Instagram can be integral for college recruiting purposes as well. Out of the ‘perceived’ Big 3, Instagram’s demographic is the youngest; approximately 18-24. Take a look at how UCCS takes advantage of their scenic views from campus.

best social media channel for 2017

This was a video of a student hiking up an on-campus, unpaved hiking trail, summiting and then providing a panoramic view from the top of the UCCS campus. For incoming Freshman and others who are deciding on where to go to college, this type of post will certainly attract many. UCCS used #Colorado which can potentially open up their campus to millions just by using a Globally known hashtag such as #Colorado.

Clearly, this is a high-level overview of how Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can be affective. Is it important to be on all three channels? Absolutely, just for the sake of credibility. Is it important to have verified accounts? It certainly can’t hurt and establishes more assurance with an audience. Should the concentration only be limited to these social channels? Heck no! Pinterest is critical for an organization which sells clothing. LinkedIn is vital to push out information such as infographics, trends, etc. But at the end of the day, the first two things any business should do when determining the best social channel for their business is to determine who their ideal customer or persona is, and then create some goals as to what you are trying to accomplish with social media. Once you have gone through this exercise can you start to determine not only which channel or channels you should be active on, but also how much of your time you should devote to each channel.

There’s a saying, “Too young for AARP, but too old for Snapchat.” I may be too old for Snapchat, but if I was a teenager or a millennial, I certainly would be on it. If not, I would have missed the proverbial peer pressure train.

Smart organizations know this and any beginning business should clearly understand their target market before diving off the Social Media Channel High Dive.

Author, Pete Knoblock, Social Media Analyst- iWeSocial.com

For more information on how to increase your brand’s presence, please contact Evan Escobedo at 719-339-0603, Email: Evan.Escobedo@iwesocial.com  or visit our website: iWeSocial.com.

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