Posts Tagged ‘Spych’

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

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(I have had this post half-finished, and was inspired to finish it after seeing @Frankie_Johnson’s recent post)

Enough with the Henry Ford references!

I get the point.  I really do, but it just doesn’t resonate very well with me.  True, if Henry Ford asked the people what they wanted, they probably would have said they wanted a faster horse or something of that nature.  But, equating that with MR and its “irrelevance” is somewhat shortsighted.  Though, maybe it is not totally inaccurate.

The essence of research is not to ‘parrot’ what consumers say in front of the glass.  The clients have ears, and the A/V and FocusVision tools provide that ‘insight’.  Isn’t our role to take the commentary from people and then apply our skills and knowledge to turn it into meaningful impact for the client?  Frankie’s discussion of how the conversation would have gone down, if a good researcher was involved, is probably a much more likely scenario.  Though it does scare me that the opinion of MR is that we would have walked out of the room and wrote a report on how we could make the darn horse go faster!  Maybe we feed it more protein?  Super-natural hay?

Next up is Steve Jobs.  Apple doesn’t do research.  What that really means is that Apple does not hire researchers and consultants.  There is really nothing wrong with that.  Honestly, I think they are doing a great job and are one of the most innovative companies out there, but not everyone is Steve Jobs.  Apple’s core structure allows them to function successfully in this way as well.  Not all companies are fit to allow for truly organic innovation.  In fact, many companies have a structure that is detrimental to innovative thinking.  What Steve doesn’t tell you is that they think about the consumers in ways that other companies should be doing in the MR process.  They have an innate understanding for consumer wants and needs, and regardless of what they say, they are good listeners.  They do listen to the pulse of the people, and look for opportunities to grow and innovate.  They are pros at challenging the status quo.

Not to beat a dead horse (pun intended), but this goes back to an image problem.  How do we change this image of the MR world?  How do we continue to showcase the innovations and advancements we have made and continue to make?  There has been so much buzz around the MR/Consumer Insights realm recently, and it is extremely exciting!  How do we keep this going?  My “step in the right direction” answer is to cut out the roadblocks.  Push the limits and quit being afraid to fail.  It’s key to have a voice.  In this era of equality in media, why do we not have more of a representation in the digital space?  It’s growing; it really is, but not fast enough!

I personally promise to start blogging more frequently and more meaningfully (without just writing for writing’s sake).  I also promise that the efforts we put forward in creating good content will not be self-serving, and that we will do our part to help better the MR industry and its overall image.  But, a handful of companies can’t move the needle.  Spread the word, because as the tide rises, so do all of the boats!

Honest question.  Are you/Is your company a parrot?  Or, are you striving to continually be a mechanism of innovation?

As always, thanks for reading!

Each reader makes a difference 🙂

Spych IRL #2

Posted: August 20, 2009 by Ben Smithee in Spych In Real Life
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Today was the DFW American Marketing Association Executive Luncheon in Dallas.  It was a great event where Dana Williams and Ginger Hardage from Southwest Airlines presented on building brand culture.  Along with the great presentation, I was able to meet several great attendees, one of them being Kristy Hoover.  You can find Kristy here on Twitter – @Marketingjedi.  I have have run into her several times in the digital realm but we finally got the chance to meet In Real Life (IRL) today at the luncheon!  She is absolutely great and you should take a moment to reach out and get to know her as well.  We have worked with her company M/A/R/C on a few occasions in the past and hopefully we will have the opportunity to collaborate even more in the near future!!

If you are in the DFW area, we hope you can make it out to next week’s Ft. Worth Executive Luncheon at the Ft. Worth Club.  There will be a great opportunity to network and connect with other Rockstars in the DFW Metroplex.  I have the honor of presenting, and hope to get the chance to meet another great person for Spych IRL #3.

Spych IRL #2 - @SpychResearch with @MarketingJedi

Spych IRL #2 - @SpychResearch with @MarketingJedi

Spych In Real Life #1

Posted: August 15, 2009 by Ben Smithee in Spych In Real Life
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So, I was playing around with Animoto yesterday, and made a fun 30 sec clip of some pics I had of our team.  After all, sometimes you only get to see us in the capacity of the research facility or in the backroom 🙂 I hope you enjoy them and check out Animoto to make your own.

Hey Everyone!!

It’s been a while and so much has been happening!  First let’s start with a few special thanks.  This past month I had the pleasure of presenting to two different wonderful groups in TX.  First was the Dallas Executive Women’s Networking Group.  Talk about an amazing group of DFW women!  Thanks so much to Therese Tetzel from Business Modern for setting that up.  Additionally, we are looking forward to working with the Business Modern team in the near future!

The second presentation was for the Preston Trail Job Network.  Blane Cox asked if I would present to his group on the value of Twitter for the job search process.  We had a great turnout and the audience was definitely engaged and ready to learn.  I have received so many great e-mails from audience members since the presentation and I look forward to the chance to help them out in the future!  If you are looking for a pool of talent in the DFW area, definitely check them out.

I am also extremely proud to announce a few more dates to put on the calendar for 2009!  On August 27th I will be presenting at the AMA Fort Worth Executive Luncheon.  I’m definitely looking forward to meeting the Fort Worth crowd.  October brings the 2009 Annual QRCA Conference and I’ll have the opportunity to help share with my colleagues on how SM is influencing the market research industry.  Last year was my first time to attend the conference and I had an amazing time!!  The QRCA group is such a great group of peeps and one that knows how to have a great time as well.  November is going to be an exciting time as well.  I will be making the trip with my friend and fellow QRCA member Abby Leafe to present in Marrakech Morocco at the 2009 ESOMAR Summit.  ESOMAR is a great organization that really helps to set a standard in market research and having the opportunity to visit Morocco is ridiculously exciting.

Changes and Updates

Coming up in days is something we are VERY excited about – the launch of our new website!  We have been reviewing and testing the pre-launch site has been work, but it was definitely worth the wait as Singularity Design has done such an amazing job.  I know you will enjoy it and we are looking forward to your feedback.

Having a career that puts me on the road and in the air quite often gives me the opportunity to meet wonderful people all over the world.  Recently, I have tried to meet with our online friends and followers in every city I visit.  In the spirit of creating “real life” connections with those who I communicate with online, look for new updates titled “Spych In Real Life.”  These updated will feature the great friends and people I get the chance to meet “In Real Life” on my travels.  If we haven’t had the chance to connect online I look forward to it in the future.  I love meeting our Facebook friends and Twitter followers!

More big changes for Spych in store for the future, and look for the launch announcement about the new website!

Feast or Famine

Posted: April 29, 2009 by Ben Smithee in AMA
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speaking-badge1

Those of you know are in the market research industry are well-aware of the cyclical nature of our business.  In addition to the natural economic fluctuations, we face all of the market characteristics that a stock broker would. e.g. mergers, acquisitions, leadership change etc…  All of these things tend to affect the flow of research that brands and companies conduct.

Luckily for us, the famine seems to have ended and things are beginning to pick back up!  For now, we hang-on, dig in and enjoy the ride.  Dave and Elizabeth will be off shortly on a practical world tour as I will be speaking at the AMA MR SIG and at BigD, as well as working on two other potential Spych projects.  This influx of time consuming tasks is the major cause for the lack of a recent update, but not to worry, we will keep you updated!

Things are really starting to take shape with the new website design as we have signed off on the final design and are moving into the production phases.  Everyone is excited and the demos I have seen are phenomenal.  It will be cool to see a totally new looking site in the MR realm.  The next task is revamping our business cards.  We are looking for a cool design and for the right printer.  I recently received some great samples from BLANKS in Dallas and they look great.  I will continue to browse and narrow the choices as we begin to formalize a design.  If you have any thoughts or suggestions feel free to let me know!!!

I will be traveling back to Dallas for a good part of May and hopefully if we have not had a chance to meet yet, we should!!  Feel free to give me a shout via twitter or any other channel through our website and I will make every effort to find a way to meet up and chat.  The Spych consumer team is still brewing and we will be reaching out to teens and young adults everywhere in a short time.  It will be such a cool way for you to stay connected with the companies that you love and help give a voice in the production and ideation process that goes into the products you buy.  If you have ever asked “why doesn’t ___ make this” or “__ company should do this,” then the Spych consumer team is your way to finally voice your opinion.  We are working toward bringing you some of the most popular companies as well as some local smaller shops that you can help take to the main stage!  More updates to come!

What companies would you like to work with and give advice to?

The Evolving World of Market Research

Posted: March 25, 2009 by Ben Smithee in SXSW, Uncategorized
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There is no denying the fact that the market research industry is evolving and changing.

For the most part, we are finally past the days of leaving a facility with a stack of audio cassettes and VHS!  I could not help but get a kick out of the amount of e-mails I received touting the new capabilities of digital audio and video recordings.  Maybe it is the Gen Y part of our company culture, but I feel as market researcher in such an innovative environment, our industry should be at the cutting edge of advancement.  On the flip side, I believe if our clients were demanding that innovation and “push of the envelope” we would have been forced to change as an industry,many moons ago.

That being said, it is such a positive sign to see our clients and companies embracing innovative technology and methodologies! Seeing companies like Skittles and Tide take the leap into SM through Twitter s a sign researchers must be able to use and harness the power of SM.  Just this past week at #sxsw we were able to implement social media such as Twitter and Facebook into the complete market research process.  Starting with recruiting respondents, progressing through an interactive digital deliverable, we were able to incorporate different elements of social media and “web 2.0” applications to fully give our client an in-depth view of their target market.

As more and more companies begin to reach out to us and others about social media and other ways of advancing their voice, it will be interesting to see the way the MR industry responds.  Afterall, when you can incorporate blended techniques and methods to provide a plethora of rich insights to your clients, doing less would be a dis-service.  We are constantly evolving and findin new ways of gaining insights, so if you see something new and creative please share it with us!  We love hearing from companies and people who can help us offer enhanced solutions to our clients and on the other side, we welcome any questions that you may have!  That is truly the essence of what the SM “revolution” is about – a platform for universal info-sharing and collaboration!

If you are interested in finding out more regarding SM tools and how they can effectively be applied, try and join us at the AMA Beyond Borders Summit on April 15th of the DFW UPA Big (D)esign Conference on May 30th.  Ben Smithee will be speaking about SM 101 and ways that you can apply different tools in your own company culture and daily life, as well as tools that you can use to add value for your clients.  He will also tackle the ever-present challenge of showing the conversion and monetization aspects of SM.