Thursday, July 31, 2008

Milestone for SocialVibe

ReadWriteWeb announced that SocialVibe, the social network that enables users to match causes and non-profits with brands, raised $100,000. I had written about what a unique proposition SocialVibe had before. As a member of the site, I feel pretty good about this milestone. It's always amazing to see how groups whose members have never met before can create change if directed in the right way and given the platform to join forces.

My hope is that one day we look back and realize how small a number is $100,000 is when spread across a number of charities and brands. I wonder if SocialVibe would consider an employee program to incentivize its members to bring in their companies and earn triple points on the site -- similar to matching donations or gifts. What if those brands on the site announced their initiative to their employees and their families? What if brands encouraged their fans to join the site and match the brand with a cause they liked. That sort of push and wide reach would give SocialVibe all the more momentum.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I have not packed a mover’s box in years, but the pain of lifting, carrying and pushing large objects through narrow doorways and blocked hallways is permanently etched on my mind. But when my colleague Rick showed me Klondike®’s latest viral video a few weeks ago, I simply cracked up. The video features two guys carrying a couch into a house while a task master Klondike bar coaches them with condescending remarks. A talking ice-cream bar, whipping two dudes with comments from the sideline...What’s there not to laugh about?

The video is produced by the SNL digital shorts team and was premiered on YouTube by the popular video producer Timothy Delaghetto. Currently, it’s been viewed more than 200,000 times on YouTube, Metacafe and Funny or Die. The Moving Day video follows on the footsteps of the previously released Phone Call video.

These videos, that are meant to drive interest around a Klondike video contest , are shaping to be viral success stories. They take a well-known phenomenon and put a quirky spin on it by having a non-human character speak and other actors say things that many people stuck in frustrating situations would want to say. They strike a chord in a humorous way. They give people the opportunity to be the funny person of the hour by passing it along to friends.

Yet it’s not just quality content that’s pushing the videos along Web networks. The team behind the promotion took a pretty strategic approach to distribution as well. The Phone Call video was first released exclusively on Metacafe. On the release day, the Klondike brand took over the Metacafe homepage, greeting every Metacafe user that came into the site through that central area. As I mentioned before, The Moving Day video was premiered by Delaghetto, who already had a sizable following and had been a fan of Klondike’s. The campaign for the video contest is also supported by the twittering Klondike bear (Twitter ID: Klondikebear), a Klondike Facebook page and intensive media relations and blogger engagement. Best of all, the contest submissions are flying in. So, what would you do for a Klondike Bar? ;-)

* Disclaimer: Klondike is a GolinHarris client. I decided to write this post because I enjoyed the campaign as a Web user and as a marketer.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Next Generation Social Networks

Despite the economic downturn, the exponential growth of social network giants such as MySpace, Facebook and Classmates Online is strengthening our belief that the social media phenomenon will continue to bear new business ideas, social contracts and connections. Recent ComScore data (May 2008) was showing year over year growth of 34 percent for Facebook and 23 percent for

Their success is inspiring companies to start their own social networks. They range from branded private communities that give product-related feedback to public groups that grow organically, branching into discussions driven by consumers. Whether for large commercial players or brand communities, social networks’ paths to success share the same fundamental characteristics:

o Ease of access
o Ease of connectivity
o Ease of sharing

Social network users are already bombarded with information and many have multiple profiles to manage. Therefore, an emerging social network needs to have low barriers to entry and a significant benefit to lure new members.

The vanity in spreading personal stories, the voyeuristic appeal of sifting through other people’s posts and the satisfaction from connecting with old time friends represent the first phase of these Web 2.0 platforms. Next generation social networks will need to help transform virtual experiences into reality.

For instance, members will join a community to help fundraising efforts, give and receive recommendations for product purchases, organize for offline meetings/demonstrations or train for a new role in a company or community. Their membership and time spent online will have tangible benefits.

There are some social networks with goal-driven membership structures. Social Vibe gets its members to match brands with non-profits, Care2 enables its users to sign online petitions and take green actions and SheSpeaks brings consumers’ opinions about new products to companies. Yet in general, social networkers spend their time on entertainment and knowledge sharing. Going forward, marketers’ challenge will be to build and sustain networks around social or commercial goals.

* Gretchen Krieg contributed to this post with her research and analysis.