We recently finished helping a client run a QR code promotion. It was the first QR code campaign I worked on directly; it was also the client's first. The campaign lasted a week and was loosely modelled on a scavenger hunt. We placed eleven QR codes across a variety of print and online placements, using five partners in addition to the client's own properties. Twice a day we released clues on the client's Facebook fan page as to the locations of the codes. And for every QR code you found, you gained an entry into a draw for a prize.
A few things came up during the campaign that I thought I would share here for when you're doing your next QR Code campaign. Either things we anticipated, didn't think would be a big deal and turned into a big deal - or things we didn't really anticipate and had a bit of a scramble about.
Kate's Five Things You Should Do for Your Next QR Code Campaign
1. Always have a non-smartphone option for entry.
There's a reason we pay lawyers a lot of money. My client's lawyers, in reviewing the contest guidelines, made sure we had a way to enter the contest if you didn't have a smart phone. I wasn't too concerned because a) who DOESN'T have a smart phone (ahem, my own arrogance and naiveté) and b) if for some reason you didn't have a smartphone, I expected people to just say "Hmm, guess I won't enter" (more personal arrogance and naiveté).
I was SHOCKED by the number of people who left angry, angry comments on the Facebook wall about having to have a smart phone to enter. Accusations of discrimination and threats to boycott were rife. It was epic. The interesting thing was we actually put everywhere we promoted the contest, a note to see the Rules & Regs for a way to enter if you didn't have a smart phone. People don't read. So the community manager patiently (and in a much more friendly tone than I would have mustered) answered each accusation with a link to the Rules & Regs. What was especially awesome is that other fans started answering as well - which rekindled my faith in the self-policing of online communities.
But the point is, if we hadn't had that option in the Rules & Regs, it would have been quite a different story. So make sure if you're using a non-ubiquitous technology as a contest entry, that you have a lower-tech, alternate way to enter.
2. Test test test, especially with your client's boss's boss's phone configuration.
All the case studies about running any kind of QR Code campaign or promotion says to test, Test, TEST! Different hardware, different OS versions, different QR Code readers. We did this. I even had a testing matrix. It was a thing of beauty. But, we approached our testing by figuring out which phone/OS combinations were the most popular - both in Canada (using data from ComScore's MobiLens) as well as with the client's stakeholders by checking their web stats. Here's the overview data from ComScore:
Update: We have a winner - Tai Scott has won the random draw. Thanks to all of you who entered! And remember, we do have a discount code you can use to purchase a ticket - see below.
After the election last night, I figure we could all use some good news. So, here you go ... the awesome conference The Art of Marketing is FINALLY coming to Vancouver on June 9, 2011. Speakers include:
But here's the really great part ... I have a pair of tickets to give away!
Here's how to win them: Simply leave comment below letting me know why you want to go and who you would take with you.
For example, "I am super-excited to see Avinash Kaushik - I can always learn more about analytics and he is THE MAN when it comes to metrics. I'd take my boss, Bill. Because Bill is pretty clueless about social media and he could certainly benefit from hearing some of these folks talk."
As a bonus, if you tweet about my contest and post a link to your tweet in your comment, I'll give you two entries.
I'll keep the contest open til 5PM PST on Friday, May 13. I'll draw a winner sometime over the weekend, get in contact with them, and post here on the following Monday or Tuesday.
If you're not in Vancouver, don't fret - I'll have something for you after May 13!
And, if you don't really like contests and just want to register for the Art of Marketing, you can save $50 off the regular ticket price by using my promo code MNIK. Or, just click on this link to register - it has my promo code built it. So, regular ticket price is $399 - with my code only $349 (or, if you get a VIP Pass, it would only be $449).
I'd love to see you at the Art of Marketing. Leave a comment below and enter. And then watch this video to get all excited about the conference :)
Are you in the market for a marketing or creative job in Canada? Well, look no further than FreshGigs.ca!
My buddy Michael Zipursky is the Co-Founder of FreshGigs.ca (Michael interviewed me last year for his Becoming a Business Consultant blog), and he gave me the low-down on FreshGigs.ca:
FreshGigs.ca is Canada's job board dedicated to helping companies find skilled professionals in marketing, public relations, social media, online business, copywriting, communications and more. In order for someone to apply for a job posted on FreshGigs.ca they need to register. It takes them less than 30 seconds to do that.
But we pre-screen every professional that applies to ensure they have the experience that they say they do. Companies appreciate this as it saves them time in the hiring process. We've also made posting a job affordable for companies of all sizes. There are a lot of companies out there that need marketing and creative help and at the same time many skilled and experienced professionals that are looking for new work or projects.
Our goal is to connect the two.
Personally, if I were a hiring manager, I would LOVE the pre-screening part of the service.
They've got a lot of great positions posted for right across the country - mainly Toronto and Vancouver right now, but there are also recently listed jobs in Edmonton, Regina and Winnipeg. I've included a little FreshGigs.ca widget in my sidebar that lists the most recent opportunities. So, if you're looking for a new marketing or business gig - or are hiring for one - check out FreshGigs.ca!
For this week's shill, I wanted to highlight a client's project (though not really much of a LintBucket project - we just did the landing page). Last summer, Suncor Energy started publishing a weekly email newsletter called Oil Sands Question and Response (OSQAR for short).
I have to say, from a content perspective, I do love their writing style and sense of humour. My favourite issue of the newsletter is "In Situ Oil Sands: Mining’s Hotter, Younger Sibling" - which, if you've spent as much time trying to understand the oil sands process as much as I have, is actually pretty funny (and drove some pretty good open-rates).
I think it's hard for a corporation like Suncor Energy to have a sense of humour - the line they must walk is so very fine. And I'm sure that some people feel they have crossed it. But I think that opening up a constructive dialogue around controversial topics, one that is framed in a human way - that includes both humour and pathos - is essential. Humour doesn't necessarily indicate a lack of seriousness. And our collective business and political rhetoric could use a good dose of humour these days.
Related: I read a post today by Joseph Thornley entitled Three Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Controversial Client.
Disclaimer: This post is my own opinion and in no way reflects the opinion of Suncor Energy.
I've been working with a client who is slowly engaging, from a corporate perspective, in social media. However, they happen to have a number of employees who are already individually engaged in social media. So the conversation has often turned to: what about our employees.
An informed and empowered employee base can be one of the most effective forces in social media. By sharing your corporate use of social media with your employees and subsequently encouraging employees to share relevant and appropriate information about your corporate activities, you can leverage this force.
Key steps to empowering employees for social media:
1. Give them clear guidelines for social media usage.
Employees want to know what they can and can't do. Now generally, these guidelines don't have to be much different than your existing guidelines for employee communication to the media. But adding in a few social-media specific notes can go a long way,e.g. if an employee posts about your company, they must disclose their relationship; don't discuss certain topics (especially anything that could be construed as "forward looking"); etc.
Chris Bordreaux maintains a great database of social media governance policies and guidelines. I've found this to be an amazing resource and a good "reality check" for clients (and their legal teams) whose first impulse is to mandate every little aspect of social media, particularly on a per-channel basis. Personally, I'm a big fan of social media policies like Nordstrom's where it takes a plain-language philosophical approach, but with clear directives regarding customer information and what to do if you mess up.
2. Share your content or program on employee channels first with a message specifically written for them.
Your employees are on your team; treat them that way. There is nothing worse than finding out from your neighbour or your spouse or your hair stylist that your company launched a cool new social media program or campaign. Tell your employees what you're up to and they can help you get the word out.
For example, a few years ago, we did a social campaign with a Canadian corporation that netted 250K participants. Over 1/3 of those were driven through employee-initiated contacts. We gave employees a "sneak peek" of the campaign a few days early as well as a unique URL they could share with their family and friends - through this unique URL we were able to track the impact of employee contact - it was significant!
3. Create a place on the intranet where there are links to your social media channels and initiatives.
Just as it is important for organizations to have a public-facing social media hub so that official channels can be verified, your intranet should have something similar. The content on your intranet can be augmented with a bit of background on the campaign as well as with any unique links or messages that you would like your employees to use when sharing the content or campaign. It's also a great place to archive links to your campaigns.
4. Make employees aware of your social media monitoring activities.
One of the most frustrating things for employees who are active in the social media space is to see conversations happening about their employer and not knowing:
a) if they themselves should respond; or
b) if anyone in the organization is even seeing it;
c) how and to whom they could report it.
Let your employees know that you are monitoring social media and that you evaluate each situation for response. Give them an outlet for reporting conversations they are concerned about. A great example of this is included in Coca-Cola's social media guidelines for employees (the reference is actually in the print version rather than the online version).
And important component of making employees aware of your monitoring is making them aware that you are, in fact, monitoring their conversations as well. And perhaps how to change their privacy settings In working with clients to set up their monitoring programs, I can't begin to describe the shocking things people are writing about their feelings about their companies and their co-workers. We all like to occasionally complain about work, but if you're going to post about these things on social media channels, make sure your privacy controls are in place!
A radical and refreshing step a company could take in regards to their employees and social media would be to both coach them on how to use it as well as how to protect themselves. Coca-Cola refers to something like this in their guidelines - an employee Social Media Certification Program. (Personally, I would LOVE to see the curriculum from this program!) Programs like this can go a long way towards helping both organizations and their employees be better social media participants.
And even if you don't want to have a "certification program", engaging your social media champions (those who are already using social media tools on behalf of your organization) and inviting them to share their knowledge and experience with other employees is a solid step towards building a social-media-savvy organization.
I would love to hear your tips about how you work with and encourage your employees to engage in social media activities, either as official spokespeople or just simply an enthusiastic team member. Any sure-fire methods or pitfalls to avoid? Please leave a comment below!
Image Credit: David Armano
I haven't blogged about clients lately. Well, ok, about anything lately. But there have been a few developments on the client front that I wanted to share.
We just launched a redesign of FarmCity.ca. FarmCity specializes in backyard and balcony organic gardening for Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. Seaton and her team will inspect your proposed garden plot or garden, help you figure out what to grow, build the necessary structures and get you started on your path to urban gardening. I'm particularly thrilled with their strawberry condos - the ability to grow strawberries in small places on a balcony: super cool!
Also, Seaton is an amazing photographer. We've got her started on Flickr, sharing photos of the fruits of her and her clients' labour. (Psst .. if you're getting this in the email or the feed, there is an embedded slideshow above you may not be seeing - please click through for amazing veggie photography!!)
Another local business that we completed a new site for recently is Pellé Hair Salon. Marie was an independent hair stylist, but recently purchased her own hair salon in downtown Vancouver. In addition to setting her up with a new site, we've started her on Yelp and Google Local - essential elements for the marketing plan of any local business with a storefront. Our next step is to experiment with tools like Foursquare or Gowalla - to see if we can find a way to engage users of those tools.
Oh, we also partnered with BBN3/Vancouver - a video platform that lets businesses engage video journalists, documentary makers and other experienced video producers to create fun narrative documentary-style business videos (as opposed to old-skool corporate talking heads vids). See the video below.
And finally, our client, Petro-Canada, launched an iPhone app called PetroFinder. We didn't build it (it was created by Thrillworks), but we like it and are excited that our client is getting into mobile apps. Using PetroFinder, you can (predictably) find a Petro-Canada station near you - it will also give you the current price of gas there as well as directions and any of the services/amenities they have on site.
Petro-Canada is holding a contest to find their "Family Correspondent" for the 2010 Winter Games.
You and one lucky family member can win the experience of a lifetime: the chance to become Petro-Canada’s Family Correspondent and report LIVE from the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver! Successful candidates will have the chance to interview our Canadian athletes’ greatest fans – their families – who will be watching their loved ones vie for a top spot on the international stage thanks to Petro-Canada’s Canadian Athlete Family Program.
Through Facebook updates, tweets from the field and videos uploaded to YouTube, Petro-Canada’s Family Correspondent will have the opportunity get behind the scenes and find out about the sacrifices families have made to help their loved one reach this milestone, memories from amateur sports days, what the athletes and their families will do to celebrate, what the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games means to them – you name it, we want to know about it – and so does the entire country!
To enter, you need to submit a 30-second video via Facebook saying why you and your favourite family member want to be Petro-Canada's Family Correspondent. Deadline for entry is December 27, 2009. Oh, entrants must be 19 or older and have pre-existing Twitter and Facebook accounts. Full Official Rules.
It seems like a pretty cool gig. You do some reporting from your home location and then are on-site at the Olympics for three days in February. These are the types of things you'll be doing:
So, why not enter? Deadline is December 27, 2009 - 5PM EST.
Disclosure: Petro-Canada is a client of mine though I am not involved with this promotion specifically.
I've been wanting to start a workshop series on digital marketing and social media for a while. Well, finally, the day has come! Woot! So I'm thrilled to announce that I'm holding the first one on January 22, 2010. And I've even more excited that I've been able to partner with the lovely and talented Annemarie Tempelman-Kluit, founder and editor-in-chief of yoyomama.ca and yoyobelly.ca. Annemarie has a wealth of experience as an entrepreneur as well as in email marketing and web strategy - essential components to any social media program.
We've designed Social Media Springboard to be a little different than a typical seminar.
First, we're limiting the numbers - only 10-14 participants in each session.
Second, since this workshop is all about sharing ideas to get you to Step 1 of your social media plan, we will try to ensure that there are no participants who are in direct competition. So, if you sell solar-powered waffle irons, no other solar-powered waffle iron seller will be enrolled in your session.
Finally, there is pre-homework. Social media is fun and engaging and interactive - but you only want to spend time doing it if it adds to your bottom line: e.g., growing your market, entering a new market, increasing your customer loyalty or their spend. So, you do a little guided homework before the workshop, spending some time thinking about your business and how you see social media as part of your business plan.
At the workshop, we all come together. Each entrepreneur will give a mini-presentation. Annemarie and I will have done our homework as well and will offer some initial ideas about your online marketing. Then we spend time brainstorming as a group on how each business could accomplish their immediate goal using social media strategically.
Every workshop participant will walk away with at least half a dozen steps she can implement to start accomplishing her goals.
Following the workshop, each participant will have an individual hour-long follow-up skills session that she can use to ask specific implementation questions.
Both Annemarie and I know that it can be confusing about knowing where to start in online marketing and social media. Every entrepreneur has about a b'zillion different ideas for growing their business. But they aren't always sure where to start. So, we wanted to create a workshop that lets participants really focus and move them from idea to action.
You can get more information about the Social Media Springboard over at LintBucket's site. The first one is being held in Vancouver - if you're outside of Vancouver and are interested, leave a comment or send me a note. We're interested in taking this to other cities.
And for my readers (thank you for reading!) there is a discount code - use mynameiskate50 to get a $50 discount off the workshop price of $349.
With less than 100 days to go til the Olympics officially kick off here in Vancouver and the Torch Relay finally underway, there have been a lot of Olympic-themed campaigns that have started around the Internets and beyond.
The Canadian Olympic Committee launched their "Paint the Town Red" program. If you need ideas on how you, your organization or your town can Paint the Town Red, you can download their idea booklet (pdf). Some of my favourite suggestions (tongue only occasionally in cheek here):
The COC also created this facebook app - PodiumPals - where you can stick your face on different cartoon sports representations and use the pic as a profile app.
Disclosure: the COC's PR firm sent me a "Paint the Town Red" paint can kit as part of the launch of this program.
And as you could expect, National Olympic Partners are also starting to launch their promotions. Petro-Canada has re-launched their iwilldreambig.ca site. It now includes a very cool "Longest Wave in the World" - you can take a series of 5 shots with your webcam, mimicking you doing the wave, and then upload them. The website animates them and joins your pic in a wave across Canada. It's a neat idea.
As part of the iwilldreambig relaunch, LintBucket Media (my company) worked with Petro-Canada on a blog to promote their Canadian Athlete Family Program (CAFP). The CAFP takes care of two family members of Canadian Olympic Athletes who are competing at the Vancouver 2010 Games. Once they arrive in Vancouver, Petro-Canada's CAFP houses them, gives them great swag, gets them tickets to their athlete's competition, transports them to the competition and provides other support during their stay.
Finally, my own personal Olympic fever stems from my recently caught pin obsession. Olympic pins. This month is my birthday and Rosemary kicked off my birthday month celebration with these four pins.
Cute, huh? (Mukmuk, with the foam finger, cracks me up every time I look at him.) And then I entered a pin contest on Twitter from Atos (an awesome "100 days to go" pin - and they are still doing the trivia if YOU want to enter) and then I entered another pin contest from Cold F/X and I read Andrea's 2010VanFan blog obsessively and have been entering her draws. Oh, AND I donated $20.10 to Molson's podium fund to get their pin. It's a sickness. But I can't stop. This is my pin collection goal.
So, if you have any Vancouver 2010 Olympic pins that you have kicking around that you don't really want, I know where they can find a good home :)