Category Archives: Comm 464

Apple: Energizing its Community

The vibrant Apple community exists as it clearly articulates a belief system that attracts Apple fanatics with common interest and beliefs. This is the primal code (7 pieces of code).

1. Creation Story – Apple’s origin story continues to inspire followers.

2. Creed – Shared vision, values, reason. Their core operating principle is to think different.

3. Symbols. The apply icon is easily identifiable and iconic. It is incorporated within product design and packaging, offers users the Apple experience. Apple includes social icons such as Ghandi, Muhammed Ali, John Lennon and Yoko Ono

4. Sacred words. Specialized product vocabulary and hierarchy

5. Rituals – community in motion. For instance, stores feature the “genius bar”

6. Nonbelievers- countertrend. There are people who would never be part of the Apple community.

7. Leader – Steve Jobs was the iconic leader who recreated the world

Apple’s innovative website featuring their latest products

To integrate customers into the Apple experience, I strongly encourage further applying the Energize-Support-Embracing framework.

Energizing – Apple should continue to get their customers to evangelize products by encouraging online discussion and fuelling their passion for the latest products. It even had a product evangelism campaign in 1983 to promote the development of software programs for the Mac.

Supporting – A “Think Different” campaign would be fascinating and encourage customers to help troubleshoot each other’s problems, employee development programs to encourage customers to ask questions

Embracing – Apple could include fans in design campaigns and and improving product and promotional processes

RaDaR Framework enables companies to look at the way their customers look at products – ongoing sequence of reach channels, depth channels and relationship channels

Reach channels – get Apple into the consideration set. Word-of-mouth through avid fans and branded searches followed by branded searches (traditional channels like creative iPod TV ads and in-store displays)

Depth channels – Apple website which features the latest product, the in-store environment and salespeople and their committed salesteam offering personalized advice to guide customers to a purchase

Relationship channels – serve the interested Apple community via mailing lists or follow them in social media are existing and satisfied customers. It sends out satisfaction surveys to gauge customers’ in-store experience. It is important to constantly stay in touch with biggest fans.

Reach channels

These are channels in which Apple can continue to keep in touch with its customers.

In essence, Apple is doing a great job building a social brand community, but needs to improve on its retail store environments. It should continue to meet these criteria along the 4 dimensions of people, process, culture and technology. Value is created in 3 different ways: user-to-user, administrator-to-user and user-to-administrator. Apple has been doing a great job of innovating and rolling out new versions of existing products – experimentation and learning are key to successful development of online communities: needs and expectations of users evolve over time.


Do you really want the best job in the world?


The beauty of Queensland, now wouldn’t you want to work here? 😉

One of my favourite examples of consumer generated marketing and buzz is Tourism Queenland’s 2009 campaign for the “Best Job in the World”. It received extensive international media coverage (estimated $368 million) after asking viewers to enter video submissions and encouraging consumer generated marketing, reaching a global audience of 3 billion. They offered one lucky applicant A$150,000 and the chance to be a caretaker of a paradisiacal island in the Great Barrier Reef.

Despite their relatively low $1.2 million budget, they made a huge splash worldwide by refocusing on a novel concept. Instead of promoting the job scopr of island tourism their marketing centred on “The Best Job in the World”, with its exciting roles and responsibilities.

YouTube Preview Image

Despite the focus on consumer generated marketing by engaging consumers through websites, page views and social media platforms, Tourism Queenland maintained some control over Ben Southall,  who kept fans engaged through his blog, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube feeds.

I found this super relevant to what we learnt in class – the concept is indeed more important than the budget. Even through the online voting process, Tourism Queensland covered a huge range of media platforms. There was site engagement as Ben connected with his fans, free regular content via Ben’s blog posts and constant video updates, giving him the chance to generate revenue and make a living. The content was also trustworthy as Ben was living the experience and blogging in real-time about what was happening.

There are also drawbacks, of course. Internet users with illicit purposes can create a false identity and obtain personal details and information from the unsuspecting or naive. It was also not easy for the contest team to organize a structure free-form of UGC. Also, there was a lot biased and questionable (though wildly entertaining and amusing) content offered by interested participants.

Reach (brand messages – call for submission)
Engage (Media coverage, online and video discussions)
Amplification (content spreads to friends, content boosted by advertisements)

This campaign was so popular that it spawned video submissions for Tourism Australia! YouTube Preview Image Sadly, the winner have been announced, but you never know when your next shot at The Best Job in the World will be 😉

Ready to be an Owl?

HootSuite Pro dashboard

HootSuite is a web-based social media management tool which gathers social media in one platform to manage social media profiles more effectively.

It’s accessed through the web browser VS desktop client.


  • Unlike other social media management systems, HootSuite is accessed through your web browser rather than a desktop client. You can access your HootSuite dashboard everywhere that has a web browser.

  •  Secure team set up: With the vast reach of social media, it’s important for marketing organizations to be aware of who has access to which accounts and how they’re using them. HootSuite has put a number of features in place so managers can keep accounts secure as teams grow and change, including the ability to add and remove members without sharing passwords.

  •  The biggest advantage is the time saving and high efficiency when acting as an online marketer. It helps you in every stage of communication with customer – you will better monitor and listen, you will talk and converse more easily.

  • There are several things you can do with Hootsuite as a marketer

    1.   Track Campaigns and Engage Daily

    • Streams

      • HootSuite’s dashboard can help manage daily community building and one-off campaigns. For actively-managed accounts, you can set up streams for the types of content you want to monitor, including news feeds and mentions. These streams live in customizable tabs, which can be organized by account, network or content, which comes in handy for tracking campaign-specific hashtags.

      • Scheduling feature:

    Batch scheduling is another useful feature for keeping campaign updates organized. You can pre-schedule up to 50 unique messages, making your team’s workflow more efficient and allowing you to optimize peak traffic times.

    • Identify Influencers – by seeing Follower’s Bio & Klout Score

      • HootSuite allows marketers to understand their audience by providing a follower’s bio and Klout score along with links to his or her social media profiles. You can also create lists of followers you want to keep a closer eye on and increase engagement with.

    2.    Measure Success

  • Built-in Social Analytic Report

    Built-in Social Analytics reports allow teams to measure the success of campaign tactics

  • by tracking URL click-throughs

  •  Measurable items include follower growth and mentions on Twitter. Facebook Insights and Google Analytics data are also integrated, enabling you to track how many users are visiting your website based on specific links your share through HootSuite.

    3. Educational Features

  •  Hootsuite Training:

    Learn the features and functionalities of the HootSuite dashboard and start effectively managing your social media efforts.

  •  Social Media Courseware

    You can learn social media knowledge through hootsuit’s up-to-date, video-based courseware.

  • HootSuite Certification

    Earn industry-recognized credentials demonstrating your expertise with the HootSuite dashboard, earned through passing a series of exams.

  • The running of HS is not difficult, training for our employees would take just several hours, and I believe they will like, it is something new, not boring and the fact that I like most is, once again, the effectiveness. (most importantly, effectiveness from streamlining social media management)


The Customer Journey to Online Purchase

Google Analytics Funnels are shown above. They have several flaws.

Google Analytics allows us to build funnels only with URLs, so it will be challenging for a user wants to track events that do not match with a unique URL.

There are hacks around this with virtual page views in the form of snippets of JavaScript you can add to your site which forces Google Analytics to record a page view at a URL of your site. However, you can only track a series of consecutive steps that people go through all at once. Google Analytics funnels break down if you lack unique URLS to work with and can’t use virtual page views, people leave or bounce around your site between steps. Ultimately, it is challenging to determine when a customer is moving through different steps of the business.

In class, we have been learning about fascinating looped frameworks such as McKinsey’s customer decision journeys and the conversion funnel. In April this year, Google Analytics has added a conversion funnel benchmarking tool which plots the various channels’ impacts on purchase paths by industry.

Different marketing channels from Assisting to Last Interaction channels

Under assistance, we comparing the awareness, consideration and intent ratio against the last interaction ratio to determine the channel’s position.

However, as different markets utilize various marketing channels and social media platforms, it will be increasingly challenging for them to figure out which channels to invest in at what point in a customer’s decision journey.

The Customer Journey – Assist or Last Interaction

This channel provides a clear quantifiable spectrum for whether each channel plays more of an “assist” or “last interaction” role. There are also paths for different industries and regions.

Furthermore, there are so many ways to determine how the length of the customer journey (in number of days and number of interactions) differ depending on the kind of purchase.

Below are some of the ways you can do this:

Average order value (size of a typical purchase)

Marketers can observe the typical path to conversation and how that affects the average order value.

Total Purchases by Days – Total Revenue comes from purchases made in > 1 day


Coca Cola: Every day is a Journey

Professional, engaging and featuring fresh new content

The relaunch and dare I say, reinvention, of Coca Cola’s new website really impressed me, and I admire that Coca Cola is stepping up its game and redefining itself as a global brand to reinforce its own social DNA. Coca Cola has always been an iconic brand, but this website has cemented its reputation, redefined its brand presence, tied its stories neatly together and engaged the customers in a meaningful manner.

I decided to apply the 7 Cs of Customer Interface to this website, as well as overall usability in terms of accessibility, identity, navigation and content.

Context 8/10

Aesthetic – The content resembles that of a slick magazine, with emphasis on relevant international news stories. The site has an appealing and professional color scheme which is very eye-catching. The colors are consistent and match the images and overall cohesiveness of the website.

Functional – The home page is neatly categorised into different sections according to whatever engages the user and looks very professional as it has ‘Stories’, ‘Opinions’, ‘Brands’, ‘Videos’, ‘Most Read’, ‘Most Shared’, ‘Most Watched’ and social media plugin sections which are clearly separated and displayed.

Social Media Plugins are clearly displayed, easy to follow and boldly state the number of followers

However, the website seems to be available only in English.

Ease of Navigation – Consistent logo and menu bar at the top of the page. Drop down menus under clear menu categories makes it easy to navigate.

Content – 9/10

The content is arranged to resemble a slick magazine or digital media brand’s website, with the emphasis on international stories. “The more editorially-focused website creates, aggregates and curates content while maintaining the core functions of a corporate website (careers, investor relations, press releases, executive bios)”.

Good combination of text, blogs, well-placed graphics and videos; engaging editorials and relevant pages and content.

Communication – 7/10

Coca Cola’s website has strong communication features. Site-to-user communication includes email notifications and social media plugins and live newsfeeds.

User-to-site communication is either by email, the toll-free hotline, snail mail, or the option to submit an idea or newsletter subscription.

Commerce – 2/10

The website lacks a transactional capability, as its main purpose is not to promote a product or service, but the brand as a whole. The ‘Brands’ section of the website could be considered one of its advertising features.

Customization – 2/10

Customization is not really allowed as visitors do not have the opportunity to personalize the site. The student zone allows interested applicants to filter their career preferences through the search options.

Connection – 6/10

Links to Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other social media networks are clearly visible. Links to press releases and company statements are displayed. There could be more relevant links to external sites.

Community – 8/10

There is a strong sense of community due to social media plugins such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Google+, Linkedin and YouTube, as well as the blogs and breaking news. This helps to achieve the goal of the website which is to encourage debate and different perspectives, building an engaged and well-informed community.

Embedded below is an example of one of Coca Cola’s advertisements, a clever mix of advertising with an underlying social mission which emphasizes its “Coming Together” campaign.

YouTube Preview Image

Overall, I feel that Coca Cola’s website leverages on the value of customers and word of mouth. It has built a strong conversation prism by creating a more organized picture of the new web to better harness the Social Web’s potential, activity and overall reach.

Furthermore, I admire its detailed and organized social map for how it targets social networks and communities and is clear about its social media usage, intent and powerful capabilities.

The Myth of Content Marketing, the new SEO and Penguin 2.0

I find it interesting that SEO consists of more than link-building. It provides various useful services for website owners, for example – review of site content or structure, technical advice on website development, content development, keyword research, expertise in specific markets and geographies and SEO training.

Website + promotion of website = content marketing = SEO

The article pointed out several tips to make SEO successful, which echoes what we learnt in class.

  • Clear titles and descriptions
  • Anchor text (the clickable text in a hyperlink) should be properly optimized with keywords
  • Clean inbound and outbound links and understand your link profiles
  • Ensure that sites do not crosslink to other sites
  • Page speed tool should be above 90% – page speed is an important factor
  • Prevent user-generated content spam
  • Redirects  – check site pages for redirects
  • Over-optimization on non-content items – navigation, header or footer
  • Alt-attributes: treat alt text as actual text
  • Ad Issues – avoids ads which are above the fold for your screen size
  • Crawl issues – avoid crawl errors
  • Malware or rogue sites – check if you trigger malware warnings

In class, we learnt that it is important for marketers to be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you random emails. No one can guarantee a high ranking on Google.  You should be sure to understand where the marketing money goes -toward permanent inclusion or temporary advertising.

If the SEO owns shadow domains, puts links to other clients on doorway pages, offers to sell keywords in the address bar or gets traffic from “fake” search engines, businesses should feel free to walk away.

In my opinion, there are many techniques that could be adopted to combat these dangers. It is important to monitor my own site on a regular basis or request our SEO to do this for us. Audits need to be conducted at regular intervals.  Furthermore, another suggestion would be to analyze the most popular articles, and try to understand what makes them popular or high quality. Following that, it would be good to imitate the writing style and content ideas and INNOVATE, to increase visibility.

Other sources:






‘Why Some People Have No Boundaries Online’

I found this article very relevant to all of us as we subconsciously, or even consciously, think about how we appear to people and filter what we say and how we behave to others depending on our level of comfort and understanding about them. Not only is it marketing, it is also human nature.

It raises so many interesting questions: How similar are our online selves to our offline selves? Are we integrators or segmentors? To what extent does how we want to appear to others affect our online actions? Do we aim to impress or express?

It was interesting that research findings indicated that being more of a segmentor, which involves separating our professional and personal lives, is more favourable to our social image. This “creates online relationships that mirror the tailored nature of offline relationships”.

For example, the bestselling book “Boundaries in an overconnected world” discusses setting limits to preserve our focus and privacy. It reminds us that it is important to protect ourselves online from possible cyber crime while still maintaining meaningful relationships.

However, it is challenging to be hyper-organized and maintain various social media profiles to serve different needs and engage others in different types of information, personal and professional.

Furthermore, this is closely related to what was discussed in class – how we would deal with the challenge of language being hijacked and diluted. Our personality and communication skills are supposed to connect people to the personality of company or brand which we represent. Deciding the kind of interaction and collaboration that we want to engage in to build meaningful interactions that provide value to contributors affects whether we achieve our goals of impressing or expressing ourselves. Sometimes, the tradeoffs of authenticity, connecting with others on a personal level, are presenting online relationships that “mirror the tailored nature of offline relationships”. Interaction, collaboration and consistency build meaningful interactions that deliver value to contributors.

Personally, I am more of an integrator, often building bridges between my personal and professional life. I am also more of an expresser, more concerned with being seen accurately by others and trying to understand others through social media in a more personal manner. I even keep a personal blog which is open to the public. This article has allowed me to gain insight into the strategies that I select to maintain more of my privacy and segment my Linkedin VS Facebook audience.