Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Twitter Profile Changes Strengthen Brand Messaging

By upgrading the aesthetic elements of Twitter profiles, they’re now providing individuals & brands with more opportunities to strengthen their branding messages in the digital space. The addition of a “Header Image” – which could be likened to the Facebook cover photo – allows users to upgrade the look & feel of their profiles. With the right marketing & creative minds at work, this will also be great for brands as they continue searching for ways to strengthen their digital marketing presence!

Header Image Ex.

Image

How does this affect you & How do you do It?

As it stands today, Twitter isn’t pushing the new profile changes automatically. That means you can disregard this post & do nothing to keep the old profile layout if you choose to do so. However, since you’re here & have read this far, switching to the new profile layout & adding a custom header image is simple. The process is slightly different depending on whether you’re executing it through the website or using an app, so we’ll outline the steps for changing your profile through both the website & the iPad app.

From the Website:

  1. After logging in, head to the profile editing page by visiting https://twitter.com/settings/design. You can also access this page by either clicking on the “Edit your profile” button on your profile page or the “Settings” (gear icon) on the right side of the top menu bar & selecting “Edit profile”, and clicking “Design” on the left menu.
  2. Scroll past all the themes you’re use to seeing, & you’ll eventually see the new “Header” option. From here, you will just need to choose an image from your computer to upload as your new header.
  3. Once you’ve chosen the image, you’ll have the ability to zoom or reposition it before uploading.
  4. Admire your art…

From the iPad App:

  1. Navigate to your profile page by clicking on the “Me” icon on the bottom of the menu on the left of the screen
  2. Click the Settings gear, & select “Edit profile”
  3. Select the “Header” option at the top of the menu that pops up
  4. Choose an image file from your mobile device. If you have a camera on your device, it will also give you the option of taking a new photo. Just like on the website, you have the opportunity to adjust the size & positioning of the image before adding it
  5. Admire your art…

Here at SPYCH, we’re always on the lookout for creative brand messaging & examples of good work. Include your Twitter handles or other great examples you’ve seen in the comments so we can check them out & show you some love!

 

- Landon

“You are such a hipster.” “I am not a hipster. I am just me,” my sister replied, trying to be ironic (hallmark hipster trait), Her response proved my point seeing as according to The Hipster Handbook, “a hipster never admits to being a hipster,” (Lanham, 2003).  Still, I made a vain attempt to define it for her. This task was far more difficult than I had suspected…

Attempt A: A subculture of upper and middle class over-educated youth rejecting (or pretending to) social mores and norms. Attempt B: Self-proclaimed nonconformists conforming to a new set of “counterculture” rules. My sister looked at me with eyes that said, “seriously?”  Attempt C: Hipsters are defined by a certain characteristic sartorial choice including but not limited to skinny jeans, deep V-necks, scarves, messy hair, and obviously vintage-looking (emphasis on looking) handbags. Looking at her outfit, she was caught red-handed, but still appeared to disagree.  So, I resorted to the number one authority on definitions: urban dictionary.  I read this aloud: a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter. And then, I showed her this YouTube video… I recommend it for those seeking a more comprehensive (and hilarious!) explanation of this cultural phenomena.

Hipster (Urban Dictionary): A subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter.

Now, why is this relevant to a market research blog? Well, yes ok, it involves Gen-Y, but it is more than that… The emergence of the hipster trend is indicative of a greater cultural shift towards counterculture and anti-consumerist notions. We are seeing these trends on a nationwide scale, consider the Occupy rallies as exhibit A. Or the sudden couponing craze, exhibit B. Or the reintroduction of vintage into mainstream fashion, exhibit C (Penelope Cruz in a vintage dress at the Oscars in 2009, the popularity of “Fashion Hunters” a reality show about a designer second-hand store in Manhattan). My point is these seemingly innocuous bunch have (intentionally or not) set forth ideas that have permeated the mainstream. And tapping into their buying behavior is not a task for the feeble.

Check out the approach of this Australian ad by Honda. I’d be interested to know how many hipsters actually enjoyed this ad. I would argue that non-hispsters likely enjoyed this advertisement more than the hipster demographic due to the almost-mocking use of magnified stereotypes. And the fact that many hipsters don’t have TVs. That said, take a look at this hilarious mock-up  by Kurt Snibee. While it may not be a real ad campaign, it cuts to the heart of what we as researchers must do… Take the time to understand the consumer.

As the case is with my sister and her hipster friends, often the consumer doesn’t understand him or herself.

Written By:  Margo Aaron, Research Consultant

References: Lanham, R. (2003). The Hipster Handbook. New York: Anchor Books.

Social Capital and Never Bowling Alone Again

Posted: November 14, 2011 by Grace Hughston in Gen Y, Social Media

How many hours do you spend with technology every day? Two hours?.. Eight hours?.. Think about your smartphone comfortably sitting in your jeans pocket or resting in the special pocket designated in your purse… Do “Twitter” and “Facebook” come up regularly in daily conversation? How often do you turn to your phone when you’re sitting at a traffic light, or waiting on the elevator?

Social capital refers to connections of social trust, norms, and networks that people can develop to get collective or economic results.

Without a doubt, technology has become ingrained into the daily lives of most individuals, but I can’t help but reflect on what it must have been like before this time…  The sociological book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert D. Putnam highlights the emphasis humans place on social interactions with others. The novel received its name from the 1950’s and 60’s fad of bowling leagues within communities, and describes the reduction in all forms of in-person social interaction – taking from Americans one of the greatest methods of enriching the fabric of their social lives. Putnam fights to highlight the declining involvement in communal organizations, which is interesting because this novel was published in 2000 – right before the spike of social networking sites online. In the short years since this was published, not only have people found a communal satisfaction through online forms of social media, but the majority of the American culture has embraced the technology wave with open arms.  Brian Solis sums up the minority to this evolving trend when he states, “Skeptics will now be recognized as laggards as they now officially stand in the way of progress” in reference to the recently released Nielson Social Media Report.

Market researchers and technology developers have recognized this shift and emphasis on consumers’ need to fill their social cravings with social sites/digital media. This was accomplished by utilizing smartphone surveys and hand held activity tracking on cell phone devices. Older generations look on to the younger generations, such as Gen Y and Millennials, and tisk at the dependence they have on their connection to their cell phone or computer. However, it may be that they’re simply not realizing the underlying innate-need for a social community, which is being satisfied with their channels of technology… They can reach out to friends and family at an arm’s length, literally.

Market researchers learned, adapted and utilized creative ways to gain this access to consumers – using smartphone surveys, hand held activity tracking, etc… If we label this as an early example of using technology to create more accessible marketing research, what is the next step in applying technology of the future to consumer research?

You know what it’s like: sitting at the computer and staring at the “Social Media Slot Machine” with continuous updates from Facebook friends and the stream of tweets trickling down your screen… Not knowing what to post or even just lurking on different sites trying to learn how to get your customers involved with what your company is doing online… There’s a better way to interact online than silently stalking competitors to understand their strategy!

Here’s where we suggest you start.

First, think about your company (you may need to get out a sheet of paper to track this conversation in your head), and REALLY think about it. Lay out all your marketing messages, brand promises and mission statements and get down to the core of what your brand represents. Conjure up what it means to be a part of the company – to be involved in the everyday excitement of working with colleagues and having the opportunity to build relationships with new clients. It may help to think about the concept behind:

  • Brand Vision- What do you want to accomplish through social media? Do you want to teach your customers about your company? Or, do you want to educate other professionals about your industry? Picking the core vision will help when discerning what content to post online.
  • Brand Audience- What audience do you want to listen to you? Identify the key customers your company should broadcast its messages to.
  • Brand Personality- It’s more than just your company’s voice, it’s what that voice represents. Think of that ultimate employee who exemplifies the company’s values in everything he or she does on a daily basis. Whether it is in their communication mannerisms or the activities they participate in after work… Speak from this voice!

The next important step is to become an active and consistent presence online. By making daily updates on social media channels, customers following your company will begin to develop an understanding of your brand. You may be asking yourself, “I don’t even know what to post! How can I find something that will engage my followers?” Well, the good news is you don’t necessarily need to be the opinion leader yet, but you do need to have an opinion with what you choose to post. Find articles and online sites that correlate with the vision of your company and make sure they are fitted to enlighten your specific audience. As mentioned earlier – “customers following your company will begin to develop an understanding of you brand”… Therefore, make sure posts are ON BRAND!

Consistence and stability are both key to maintaining an authoritative position online. When sharing information, keep an even flow of communication from your company to your users. Sporadic postings may conflict with your company vision and users may lose interest in keeping up with your news feed.

Social media sites have provided companies of every size the ability to target and communicate with their customers much easier than ever before… Remaining consistent across all channels is a fundamental principle to actively connect and provide value to others. While these are only the first steps on the path to utilizing social media to its fullest potential, they are core concepts to understand and implement into your online branding strategy!

So, what do you think? What are issues you’re facing? What are some tips YOU can share with others?

- Grace

So, you just unwrapped that shiny new iPad here at the MRA Corporate Researchers Conference in Chicago eh? Now, you’re looking for reasons to cover it with fingerprints, but you just don’t know where to start? Here are a few of my favorites and why I like them. Start here and let me know what you think. Feel free to add your favorites in the comments!

  • Tweetdeck – Free – the main Twitter utility I use. You can keep multiple search columns going, send tweets, follow trends, shorten links, all in one! Use it! Start a search column for #MRX and #CRC2011 and you’re off to the races!
  • Facebook – It’s really not just for college and high-school friends anymore. Download, play with it and understand what it is really about. It is changing the communications industries and is changing the world of Marketing Research….forever!
  • CRC Conference App – It’s really good! (Plus you can see my goofy face on the cover)
  • Flipboard – Really great app for consuming content
  • Mashable – the number one news source for social media and new tech news, I start every day reading the top stories from Mashable
  • Evernote – The way I keep track of all of those in-the-moment insights and thoughts I would usually end up forgetting. Great clipping feature and really useful for things that you need to follow-up with later
  • Dropbox – The software I use for large file size transfer. Since you have a limited amount of space on your ipad, use Dropbox to store your files in the cloud until you need them.
  • GoodReader – My favorite app for reading PDFs….I think it is the best!
  • Outlook Web Access – Great way to keep up with your email on the go!
  • CNN – Obvious
  • Sportscenter – I am a sports addict
  • Huffington Post – great news source
  • New York Times – I don’t need to explain anything here
  • Yelp – great for reviewing and looking at consumer insights about places!

What are your other favorites? Leave a comment with your favorites that I may have missed in the list! Enjoy the conference and don’t forget to say hello!!

Ben Smithee – (@SpychResearch on Twitter) or Find me on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/BenjaminSmithee


Here is something to chew on as you start to wrap up 2010 and hopefully have already begun thinking about 2011.  I want to know your thoughts as well, so please share!

The walls fall down:

Researchers are finally going to get sick of talking about this qual/quant divide.  So many blended advancements will also help to break bricks and create a universal language which we will call understanding.  That is, understanding the consumer first as a person (More on that in a bit).

Another barrier that will continue to deteriorate in the 2011 is this MR silo.  It’s inefficient and quickly becoming a barrier to the almighty Understanding…at least in achieving it in an effective and efficient means.  MR is going to be a facet of the entire communications/customer relationship mix.  Those walls between marketing/advertising/PR/etc. are coming down too.  MR will follow.  Communications, driven by the consumer, are too fast to have completely segregated teams trying to keep up.  That gap between the marketing and MR teams will diminish rapidly, and it’s okay…I promise!

Consumer is King:

We’ve gone through content, the message, the medium, and a bunch of other manifestations of king, but the true focus will be on the consumer, and not as a customer….as a person.  Panel/sample providers will focus on better knowledge of them.  Researcher/moderators will focus on better relating to them.  Companies/brands will focus on treating them and communicating with them in better formats.  B2C, B2C, C2C, it’s all the same when you drill down to the basics of humanity….unless you sell to robots.  People have wants and needs, they are rational and irrational, and people work with and buy from people they like.  Are you likeable?

V=[(R+T)/A]-P:

It looks confusing, but it isn’t.  It’s about value.  It always has been, and always will be!  Value equals Relevance and Timeliness over accountability, minus price.

Expectations of relevance are extremely high, and will continue to grow even higher.  The digital persona provides a high-level of detail about our lives, wants and needs.  As people, we expect communications to be tailored and relevant, it will be researchers’ jobs to translate and interpret into digestible and executable bites.

Timeliness is redefined.  People expect faster results from Companies, Companies want faster results from MR and MR wants faster support from its suppliers.  Nothing will change that.  It’s do or die.  Embrace the tools that serve as a life vest because the storm is coming.

People want that same level of highly tailored relevance every time they interact and engage a brand.  They expect the brand to be accountable, and they will find someone else if the brand falls short.

Price is not irrelevant; it’s just not the most important piece of the pie.  Sometimes the reduction in price/monetary value is not a cheapening of status, but more-so a re-balancing and association with relevance and overall worth.  Consumers will pay more for greater value in return.  With the advancement of transparency through social media there are just less places to hide.

Under the Influence:

This whole rise of interest in the influencer model is not a fad.  Influence matters and the way in which people obtain, sustain and utilize influence will be highly studied by companies and researchers.  Do you have influence?  What is influence?  How do I get it?  What do I do with it?  How do I measure it?  Figure out the answers to those questions, because your clients are going to ask you for them.  Researchers will need to know how to identify, relate to, understand and utilize influence in the world of communication.

Hybrids:

I’m not talking about cars.  I am talking about the blend between what we call traditional and new, in-person and online, and quant and qual.  After the walls come down, we build new ponds where ecosystems consisting of appropriate blends and mixes of these variables exist in not only harmony, but synergy.  Many researchers talk about the ideal projects where clients approach them with a problem in need of a solution, rather than a request in need of a bid.  Well, I fell like you will have your chance 2011, are you ready?  We will need to know the full plethora of research solutions and how they best apply to providing specific solutions to client problems.

Mobility:

The smallest of the “three screens” is going to be the most important in 2011.  If you look at the formula for value I portrayed above, then it’s no surprise that mobile devices have a huge play in 2011.  We have only scratched the surface of what we can do with mobile.  Get ready for amazing advancements in 2011!

Leadership and Collaboration:

We’ve talked about influence, now let’s talk leadership and collaboration.  We have driven to such specialization in today’s world that in order to keep up, things are going to have to do a bit more consolidating in order to be most effective.  I see smaller companies being incorporated into bigger ones and several companies who are smaller and more specialize teaming up to go after bigger wins and offer more complete solutions.  It’s not really a surprise; it’s history.  If you are seen as a leader in the space your role with clients will evolve in 2011, from leading individual projects, to more of a consultative partnership with clients (this is a good thing!).

Collaboration on the consumer side of things is not too much different.  We’ve made enough mistakes in collaborative design and crowd sourcing that in 2011 we will maximize its efficiency and effectiveness.  It’s really not that different of a total concept from what he have always done in MR.  As researchers, our job has revolved around crowd sourcing ideas, concepts, feedback etc.

This list does not serve as an exhaustive list of changes to expect in 2011, and I may even post some additional thoughts at a later date.  But, I think it gives us something to think about, and discuss as a starting point.  What do you think?  What is missing?  What points do you argue?

Thanks for stopping by!

I sit here in the CLT airport on a short layover before my flight home to Dallas and my mind is still on info overload from the past few days.  This was my third time to attend the QRCA Annual Conference, and it will definitely not be the last!  In my opinion, attending the annual conference is one of the biggest member benefits for QRCA members.  The amount of education, networking and fun that occurs over three days is amazing.

QRCA has played a tremendous role in my market research career.  In 2007 when I joined D. Gustafson & Associates, Dave asked me to start early (Friday instead of Monday) so that I could attend the Philadelphia Chapter’s QRCA meeting.  That meeting was my first day on the job as a qualitative researcher, and the beginning of several close friendships.  The way in which QRCA’ers come together and share in mentoring and collaborating is something of a rarity in the world of professional organizations.  I know many preach of collaborative spirit, but with QRCA, I can honestly say I look forward to connecting with friends every conference…..it just happens they are also qualitative researchers!  Some of my first projects, upon starting Spych, have come from QRCA friends and I know this is true of many other members as well.

This spirit of collaboration was very strong at this year’s conference, and the topic of many sessions, like the one by Carla Essen and Amy Winstel.  The positive outlook for qualitative research relies heavily on the notion of collaboration and community.  The only way we can evolve the industry in a timely fashion and keep it on the forefront of the innovation spectrum is to collaborate and work together to educate and help mentor our quali peers.  I had great conversations with Renee Murphy, Kendall Nash and Lynn Greenberg about the need to educate our QRCA peers and industry colleagues on the world of Social Media Research, and to help position QRCA as a leader in the scene.  A few folks even brought up the topic at the Town Hall meeting yesterday afternoon, and expressed interest in helping out.

One of my favorite aspects of this year’s conference was seeing the continual growth of “young” researchers!  I say “young” because as I explained at the conference, “young” to me is young in age, young at heart, young to the industry, or young in the organization.  If you’re interested in joining the newly-formed QRCA Young Professionals Shared Interest Group let me know!  We are looking for mentors and those with experience and knowledge to share with our youngsters as well.  Kendall and I were VERY excited to have over 20 people attend the YP SIG dine-around on Wednesday night!  It was a huge success, and I hope it is a true indication of what is to come from the group!  There is a huge need to help educate others about qualitative research, and perhaps the YP SIG is a great way to do so.  Also, a huge shoutout to our International Scholarship Winner, Sophie Van Neck, from Belgium.  She was also in attendance at the YP SIG dinner, and has done some extremely interesting research work.  Get to know her and thank her for adding to the talented young researcher pool!

Going forward, I hope that after next year’s conference I can report about having the biggest conference in the history of QRCA.  I really believe this is possible, and hope that everyone will spread the word.  QRCA is a MUST for researchers that live in the qualitative space.  You will not find a source of information, education, friendship, and partnership related to the industry of qualitative research, as compelling as QRCA.  It has made me a better researcher, a better mentor, a better educator, and a better business owner.  I have made friendships with other QRC’s that I know will be ever-lasting, and I know that the organization will continue to provide these values to its members.

See you in Vegas for the 2011 QRCA Annual Conference!