Beats by Dr Dre

Beats by Dr Dre is a relatively new company, launched in 2008. Its story is impressive. In only four year it has established itself as premium headphone brand, but they still manage to have young consumers as their main target group.

Their key success, I believe, is that they have managed to mix online and offline in a very good way. They are using the target group’s idols as brand advocates. You see soccer stars, other athletes, DJ’s and singers walking around in their Dr Dre’s. But the brand also let their target group be a part of the brand by meeting with them offline and creating contests for them online. Their latest campaign, Show your color, is about letting ordinary people get the chance to express themselves, and the top ten gets to fly to LA and meet Dr Dre and have the chance to become a star. That sounds like an amazing price targeted towards a young audience. On their Facebook page they have a lot of pictures of celebrities wearing their headphones. I have also seen several times among my friends that when people are buying themselves a pair of Dr Dre, they take a photo and upload it on Instagram, just like they do with their new iPhone’s. Beats by Dr Dre are making the target audience proud to be using their product. That gives them loads of brand ambassadors and positive word of mouth.

Their Facebook page as of today:

Beats By Dre Facebook page

Offline event connected to online contest:

For a brand today to be big among a young target audience, you need to master both the offline and the online channels. You need to have great brand ambassadeurs, both in forms of celebreties but also make ordinary people to talk about the brand. You need to entertain your target audience and make the brand relevant in their way of living. Make people proud of using your brand.

Inspiration: MarketingWeeks article Q&A: Beats by Dr Dre

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Online Reviews Generates Trust (and helps consumers making good purchases!)

Seventy percent of consumers worldwide trust online reviews, while only 47 percent believe traditional broadcast and print ads, according to a Nielsen study. People trust these online reviews more now than they have done in the past. Conversely, paid TV, newspaper and magazine ad believability has declined during the last years.

I know I have been helped several times by complete strangers who have written about their experiences of a hotel or the fitting of a shoe in an online shop. I trust it, especially when several individuals are having the same opinion/experience. Thanks to this I know what shoe size to order, depending on what the comments says “The sizes are small, if you are pending between two; take the bigger one!” for example. And regarding hotel reviews, they often help me choose location in a city. I like because you get a lot of hotel options, and you can read reviews about every hotel and all hotels are ranked (from 1-5 stars). One thing I have noticed is that customers often are better at describing the location than the hotel web page is. “This hotel is located in a bad neighborhood, not safe in the nights.”, then I know I shall not book that, and if I had not read that review and had booked it, I probably would have been disappointed and felt uncomfortable. So it really is a win-win situation, because the customers find the perfect hotel/shoe/etc. for them and the risk of being disappointed and getting a bad experience is drastically reduced.

So how can companies use customer reviews? Denver Business Journal and the article “Online reviews, word-of-mouth and recommendations generate the most marketing trust” have some suggestions:

  • Cultivate and pay attention to online reviews about you. If there are no reviews, start encouring customers to provide them. Attempt to reach out to the reviewer, no matter if the review is positive or negative.
  • Tie together traditional, online and family/friends. Use positive reviews in advertising for example.
  • Align marketing messages to documentable performance. Say what you are. Be what you say.
  • Think mobile. Make sure mobile platforms are up to speed. Make it user-friendly, complete and easily navigable on a mobile device since the Internet use on phones grows quickly.
  • Expand your editorial research. Seek out editorial opportunities from trusted media.

My conclusion: Make it easy for customers to trust you by using things you know they are likely to trust. And do not try to fool customers – the world is way to transparent for you to get away with it nowadays! 

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The Justin Bieber Phenomenon

We often talk about social media being good for and used by different kind of companies, but another major benefit that social media offer is to bring out new talents.

I wanna share to you a short version of how Justin Bieber got famous. He was a Canadian guy that througout his life have had a big interest in music. He was good and people around him saw his talent. He begun singing on the streets in his hometown and entering local talent shows. His relatives had heard about this and wanted to see him perform. Then the family came up with the idea of posting the clips on YouTube to let the relatives see and listen. But there wasn’t only his relatives that was watching. Thousands of people watched and started commenting. They wanted to see more. So he continued posting videos. One day he got discovered through YouTube by a guy in the business. But that is not the end of the story. That guy helped him a lot but the industry still wasn’t sure of a young guy with a kind of childish voice. So he went to radio station after radio station, performed in schools etc. But still no big breakthrough even though he had started to build up a fan page. Then Justin got Twitter and started tweeting about where he was playing next. Suddenly groups of people was waiting for him outside the places he tweeted about and the crowds only got bigger and bigger. I really don’t think that I need to tell you more but today Justin is incredibly famous and loved by people all over the world. His Twitter account, @justinbieberJustin Bieber, has 30,102,972 followers as of today and he follows 122,525. He has tweeted 19,360 times. He tweets and retweets every day and he often writes about how much his fans means to him, and seriously, they do because it was them that made him famous.

So how can you learn from this to other businesses?

  1. Understand the power of social media – but also that it also needs to be really, really good and special to go viral
  2. See the important connections between offline and online
  3. Showing personality and compassion is important – show the fans why they should love you, and then love your fans as much as they love you
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Content Marketing

Content marketing is a good way of deepening engagement with (prospective) customers and to break through clutter. This has lead to that some brands now are behaving like media companies, visit Coca-Cola’s YouTube account and you will see what I am talking about. But to be good at this you have to turn away from conventional self-promotion which has been the standard for a very long time. Nowadays you have to create content that people actually like watching and the best thing is if you come up with so good material that your customers wants to share it with their friends. 

But how to create great content marketing? According to an article in eMarketer you shall:

  • Create value
  • Tell a story
  • Choose the right channel
  • Build traffic

But the article says that the key is for brand marketers to put themselves in their customer’s shoes. I agree, but be certain that you put on your target groups shoes; if you are not in the target group this might not help and can actually be harmful. Look at what your target groups media habits are. What other web pages are they visiting and what do they “like” and share for example. You can compare yourself with competitors to see if they do something good that you don’t to get inspiration. To me, the most important thing is to be constantly updated about what your target audience does and care about – that will give you inspiration and relevant facts that you can use to connect with them in a tailored way. Listen to them and make it easy for them to interact with you – make it fun for them to follow you!

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Word of mouth is powerful – online as well

“Research shows that 51% of people are more likely to buy a product after liking it on Facebook and Facebook fans tend to purchase on average twice as much as non-fans. “

I have just read a few articles about the importance of word of mouth (WoM) online. I trust WoM, because it makes my decision process easier if i know that some of my friends already have tried and liked it. With internet, you no longer need to talk to your friends, because you can see what they like just by looking at the newsfeed on Facebook – what a timesaver! I usually “like” companies on Facebook that I like offline as well, and it is common among my friends to do that.  According to Paul Rand, “those who put word of mouth and recommendations at the center of the marketing mix, along with a winning business model, are almost guaranteed success”. I might feel that he exaggerates a bit, because you obviously have to have a great product and some people must be the first to try it so they can recommend it. I also believe this works better for e.g. restaurants and hotels than for clothing stores. But otherwise I agree, we are overwhelmed with so many ads that we almost do not think of them any more. But when the ads become personally relevant, like when our friend likes it, it is easier to actually notice the ad and process it.

Facebook is a common platform to use when businesses wants to create WoM online. I read an article that ranked four important things to think about for brands wanting to use Facebook to drive revenue and growth:

  1. Build your Facebook page – make it right! Make sure the page reflects what your company stands for and use a profile picture with logo. Also make it easy for existing customers to find you on Facebook – via existing newsletters etc.
  2. Engage your fans with quality content – not only ads and offers! High quality content and do not update too often (twice a week can be enough). Make it easy for followers to interact with you.
  3. Find and connect to fans with ads – to grow, try different kind of paid ads and see what works best. Goal: to get more paying customers to store.
  4. Influence the friends of your fans – The impressive word-of-mouth amplification happens when you are able to post content that is not only compelling to your fans, but influences their friends too. This grows your network and encourages action offline at the cash register, where it counts.

Remember – WoM is powerful both online as offline. Make existing customers interact with you online and manage your online portals well and your brand advocates will help you find new customers which eventually will lead to an increase in revenue for you.

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Listening online

I have just read some articles about listening online. To “listen online” means that companies can keep track of what people are writing about their brand/company/product by tracking key words like brand name. One thing I found interesting while reading about it was how you could use it to find customers that didn’t even know they needed your product. They gave an example, that “I hate having a cold house” might actually mean that your furnace is broken or that you need one. People might not know that they do have a need for your products (if you are into the furnace business) but then you can respond to them and tell them. I got inspired by this and started to think about how I would use it within the fast moving consumer goods industry. Because the thing is, you can get access to loads of information about your customers in that way. For example you can find out how customer feels about problems that your product solves. If you are a Wellington brand, you might find valuable information about why people are not using Wellingtons when it is raining. To search for words like “wet feet” or “my feet are so wet” you might find information about why they didn’t use wellingtons and inspiration about how you can develop your product. You can also be inspired about how to make advertising etc. The information you find then comes directly from the customers or prospective customers, which is both cheaper and feels more trustworthy than finding information via surveys or interviews.


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Demystifying social media

I have just read an article called Demystifying social media from McKinsey Quarterly. A really inspiring article that my professor Paul Cubbon in eMarketing told us about.

In the article they write about what they believe is the four primary functions of Social Media:

  • Monitor
  • Respond
  • Amplify
  • Lead consumer behavior

A great summary, I would say. But what do they mean? I interpreted it as such monitor is about constantly look up what people are writing about your company, so you know what the customers are saying about you. Respond is about taking action on what is written about you. That means that you cannot take weekends of, but you have to monitor social medias all the time, since no response is quick enough. If someone is writing untrue things about your company and e.g. people start tweeting about it, then you have to discover it quickly to reduce the potential damage. Amplify is about making your customers more engaged,  e.g. by competitions that makes people interact with you and with other people. Lead can be used proactively to lead consumers toward long-term behavioral changes. Maybe they are interested in buying from you but needs an incentive.  If you give them a time limited offer and they go for it, if they like you they might turn into loyal customers.

To me as a customer, the amplifying part is the part I like the most, and events is the kind of marketing that makes me the most excited. To be invited to an event at Facebook that you think sounds really fun, attend to it and have a great time, to me that is the best kind of marketing. Nothing gets me more involved than that kind of marketing and I love inviting friends and buzzing about these events. It is marketing that makes brands come to life and be a part of your way of living. I can list many brands I have got a better attitude to, and actually consider using/buing or already have used/bought. I have also made a lot of new friends through these kind of events, friends from other cities that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Guess if you get a super good attitude towards the brands sponsoring the events like “Red Bull Crashed Ice” or “Stadium Winter Jam” (Stadium is a big sports chain in Sweden) when you had so much fun with the brand and with other people that also like the brand!

The article summarize all with pushing on how important it is for senior managers to understand this impact social medias have on customers. Through social medias you can learn so much about your customers if you only know how to do it (knowledge that even can help you improve your product), and you can gain loads of new customers at the same time as you strengthen bonds with current customers.

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Does social media drives sales within the fashion retail industry?

I am a fan of social media. I love following my favorite brands. But do I buy more from them because of that? Actually, I really think so. People easily forget things, we need repetition, I need repetition to remember. To be a follower of something you like means that you constantly are being updated on what they are up to and what they stand for. You feel close to each other, you develop a relationship. And when you go shopping, your favorite brands you follow on social medias continue to be top-of-mind and you make sure to give those stores a visit. Also, nowadays it is standard to be on the social medias, so if you are not, your customers are much more likely to forget about you. Because, seriously, there are a lot of nice brands out there. Another thing is, I like my best friends, and if they like something on Facebook it makes me interested in that brand, cause if they like it, then I will probably do so too. I therefore believe that the investment companies within the fashion retail industry do on social medias is well spent money.

I have just read an article about use of social media in fashion merchandising by clothing and retail industry firms and I found some really inspiring texts there:

“…few brands, if any, are seeing significant sales result from their postings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other sites. Social media hasn’t been about driving transactions; it has been about building brand awareness and a “community” that will be devoted to a brand and, thus, buy it. Social media isn’t about sales today; it’s about driving sales in five, 10 or 15 years as the Internet-mad generation of twentysomethings matures.”

“What Facebook allows, is for companies like Macy’s and Wal-Mart to have a true dialogue with their best customers, and, most importantly, provides high-value customers a platform to evangelize a brand.” – Maureen Mullen, New York University think tank Luxury Lab

“That idea that because of my relationship with you and your relationship with a store, I am more likely to be open to that store’s messaging and ultimately buying because my friend is a fan.”

“A corresponding study from March used a test and control methodology that aimed to quantify incremental purchase behavior that could be attributed to social media exposure. Research showed that fans who were exposed to Target’s messaging versus fans who weren’t exposed were 19 percent more likely to buy at Target. Friends of fans who were exposed to the retailer’s messaging were 27 percent more likely to buy at Target than those not exposed.”

Next class in my eMarketing course we are going to talk more about social media. I’m excited and I look forward to learn more about it 🙂


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Being an exchange student

I have discovered two things that makes my studies here in Canada more difficult compared to back home in Sweden. It is not the language, we are so used with course literature in english and english movies and so forth. But it is my specialization, the businesses I am passionate about, retail (clothing) industry and social medias. It just isn’t the same things here as back home.

Besides from the big, global companies, the examples we get here are mostly about Canadian/U.S. brands. Brands I have no knowledge about. Therefore, thank god, I have my laptop with me in class, and can google the company names, every time I don’t understand what the teacher is talking about. I had never heard about Domino’s Pizza, Papa Murphy’s, Dairy Queen, Lululemon, Snapple etc. before. But the thing is, after only three weeks I feel that I have learned a lot of new brands and I can look at them with different perspectives than those people that have grown up with those brands. That is interesting, and I learn so much new stuff about the industry. It might takes me a bit more time to understand what the teacher is talking about, and therefore it is much harder to be active in class than what it is in Sweden. But I seriously believe that when I leave Canada I will have learned so much more about my favorite industry than what I possibly could have learned in Sweden. That feels good, and it definitely is a skill I will be able to use in my future career.

The other thing that makes my life a bit more complicated is the webpages I use to use. They are almost always in Swedish, which makes no sense to anyone else in class than me. And all webpages automatically understands that I am Swedish so even though I don’t want to go to the swedish version of a homepage I still get there automatically. But in many classes we get examples of good web pages in english (guess how many bookmarks I have saved during the last weeks!) and I find it really interesting and fun to be able to see such a new side of the Internet. I have now begun to read news in English, and found loads of inspiring web pages (my favorite one so far is PSFK). My Facebook account now understands that I live in Vancouver and I love that the ads now are directed to me (more targeted than what the ads use to be in Sweden actually).

I believe that the mixture of the European Linnea and the North American Linnea is a really good one, and I love every day of being an exchange student. I love learning new things, and even though it takes a lot of effort, it is so worth it. And a future career within a global company seems closer than ever.

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Benefits with Paid Search for clothing retailers

I am of the opinion that paid search, that companies pays money to be on top of a Google search, makes it easier for the customer to find what they are looking for. When doing a Google search you many times just want to find a company’s website or similar. Then as a customer you always find what you are looking for if you google for example the store name since a link to the webpage is practically always is the first search result (unless the company is really small or you have totally spelled it wrong maybe).

I am going to give you some examples; first of all, me and my friends google a lot to find where the nearest outlet is or to find the opening hours. One of my favourite brands is the Swedish brand H&M, offering clothing. If you search for “H&M” you do not only find the correct link to the webpage but you can also find short links to for example kids clothing, accessories etc. You also see exactly where the closest store is located and you can just press the map to get straight into Google maps and search for driving directions. Easy and time-saving for the customer, saves a lot of clicks you otherwise would have to do.

Second of all, if I want to buy a specific product or read about a product, I can feel that I trust the pages on top since they have the money to be on top which probably means that they have a lot of customers already. That means that many people has trusted them before which makes it easier for me to buy from them or to trust their reviews.

I also believe that it is a huge asset for businesses to be able to manage the search results. I quite agree with what is said on Occam’s Razor: ”…the secret gift of Paid Search is that you get to control the user experience, rather than the search engine. You decide what the keyword is. You decide what the ad copy is (your promise to the user). You decide the landing page experience.” That means that the companies want to help us save time and effort. And since the company itself is the writer they themselves can give us the promise they believe they can live up to. I think it is a complete win-win situation. And if someone earns more than the other I definitely would say that it is me as a customer who gets the most out of it. I don’t have to pay a thing and the things I actually probably wanted to find, the companies also wants me to find and therefore I find it!

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