The b|spoke story
Having worked with British Airways Americas and Ten Group USA by the time I launched my brand consultancy in 2011, my interest and affinity for British business was firmly established. This interest led me to @BABCSF on Twitter in 2012.In 2014, I began to notice BABCSF’s high-level networking opportunities and events, around which this consultant saw a great opportunity: to capture and share event insights across Twitter, creating real-time engagement for the organization, while building membership, brand proposition and recognition. After a Starbucks coffee with Executive Director Jo Healey, our collaboration began that summer. Over the next six months, through co-branded events such as Panasonic R&D’s #lab1point0, LinkedIn’s #startupbabcsf, The German American Business Association and SAP’s #IOTBABCSF, and the Annual Christmas Luncheon #xmasbabcsf, we grew BABCSF’s Twitter following by 600%; captured business development leads, resulting in individual, corporate and patron level memberships; solidified and grew BABCSF brand awareness and NorCal social and real-world spheres of influence; strengthened ongoing partnership & coordination with the British Consulate in San Francisco.
Your power move
As the BABCSF Twitter case study demonstrates, social media is one of our most powerful business tools. However, it’s only effective to the degree that we successfully create real-world impactand ROI. In addition to any traditional marketing, PR and advertising mix, the unique brand stories we tell via social media give our businesses a fighting chance to differentiate in the digital and real-world marketplace. Whether a bank, a software company, an app or an airline, telling your customers that your organization offers a superior product is where the conversation begins. Authentically demonstrating the why behind brand value (i.e. unique brand experience, the true value of proprietary IP, etc.), that’s when and where effective social media storytelling takes flight.
Engage or die
Aligning brand stories and associated content with business goals is where we start. A bespoke, robust social strategy fires all circuits and connects stories to goals. However, social marketing efforts will fail if a business doesn’t understand engagement. Shockingly, many believe that paid media or one-way broadcasts to targeted masses are enough, failing to understand the critical value of listening and conversing, too. For example, if a company’s social media profiles are a series of articles, photos or business related thoughts, but lack the brand’s overt point of view (and therefore context), this business hangs itself out to dry on meaningless, digital bulletin boards. This failure is compounded when brands aren’t responsive to user questions or comments; how might interested parties connect with a brand – or better yet, become brand loyalists - if no semblance of brand identity or brand voice is returned? An example: you’re at a business mixer and notice a gentleman roaming the room. He suddenly walks up to you and your colleagues, blurting out his latest business win. And then he walks away. Or, you and your colleagues begin to respond to his news, but he stares past you in silence and then walks away. Given these displays, you and your colleagues would probably avoid him in the future. In the same way, broadcast-only and/or non-responsive brands on social media may never get a second chance. Some industries are highly regulated and the exception, requiring a very specific interface. However, engaging in the most powerful and intelligent way for your brand is where customer relationship begins.
BABCSF brands to watch
In August 2015, BABCSF’s ‘Rise of Rugby’ launched with great fanfare at The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. A gathering of some of international rugby’s most celebrated names, its ‘business of rugby’ focus dovetailed nicely with BABCSF super-connecting expertise, creating a one-of-a-kind, high-value sporting and business experience. In 2016, Rugby Partners, Inc., in collaboration with BABCSF, partnered with USA Sevens International Rugby to bring ‘Rise of Rugby: The Rio Opportunity’ to the International Rugby 7’s tournament held in Las Vegas on March 4-6, 2016. Rugby Partners, a Corporate BABCSF member, needed to differentiate ‘Rise of Rugby’ from the larger tournament, in order to effectively establish and grow its expert rugby panel experience. Working with BABCSF’s Jo Healey and Rugby Partners CEO Don James, Jr., as well as other, key ‘Rise of Rugby’ sponsors and marketing partners, we developed a tailored media outreach and integrated social media strategy (with strategic media buys) to create #RiseofRugby traction, resulting in powerful, real-world synergies and global brand recognition: #RiseofRugby tweets reached 1.6 million people on March 4, 2016, with 700% follower growth on Twitter; a ‘Rise of Rugby’ highlights video by Corporate BABCSF member 20/20 Productions has organically reached 25K+ people on Facebook; Rugby Partners CEO Don James, Jr. was interviewed by Guardian US’ Martin Pengelly, generating exponential social media reach while establishing ‘Rise of Rugby’ as a player on the international rugby events calendar.
URSUS, Inc. is also powerfully differentiating its business. Through an in-depth ‘brand blueprint’ process, we’re using digital, social and real-world platforms to intelligently connect this new Corporate BABCSF member’s global IT staffing services and systems integration team with the market’s most qualified candidates, Global 1000 companies and startups. Follow URSUS on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as we ‘go big’ in 2016, with a tailored combination of brand storytelling, integrated social media strategy, digital content and real-world engagement.
Sincerest thanks to Executive Director Jo Healey for the opportunity to share my BABCSF business member thoughts, an honor! Learn more about the benefits of BABCSF membership. I look forward to connecting with you and your business on LinkedIn.