By Megan Cotton
If social media is a free way to communicate with your public, why doesn’t every company have a successful Facebook fan page with thousands of fans or an established Twitter with tweets that make followers feel personally connected? If every company and brand have the same access to free media and people, what is the difference that pulls one or two campaigns out of the crowd?
Rich Sullivan, president and executive creative director of Red Square Agency, said grabbing the attention of an audience is all about sticking with campaign basics: you need to have a solid concept that connects with people.
“People think just because it’s free media you can just produce something and it will go viral,” Sullivan said. “It is free, but the time it takes is pretty steep and very intricate.”
Sullivan and Red Square Agency are responsible for the first re-branding of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama in 20 years. The concept behind the “Be You” campaign is that when your health is taken care of, you are free to be yourself. It is a fresher take on an old campaign that focused on telling the story of the customer.
Since storytelling is still the center of the concept, the company established a social sharing website that gives customers a chance to interact with Blue Cross Blue Shield more than just through Facebook or Twitter.
“The challenge was that we’ve been stuck in a one-way communication with traditional media,” Sullivan said. “With a brand that is based on storytelling, it was essential that we gave people a platform. Social media is essentially a way for people to tell their story, so for a brand that is all about storytelling, integrating it made sense.”
Another strategy is allowing brands to “go there” and take that extra step to be entertaining. The new, re-branded Mr. Peanut is all about two-way communication. The Planters Nuts spokes-peanut is a regular user of Facebook and is always talking with his fans. When one fan showed his appreciation by shaving a picture of Mr. Peanut on the back of his head, Mr. Peanut responded with a picture of the fan shaved on the back of his head.
These campaigns work because they each focused first on finding great concepts for their re-branding initiatives — simple ideas that would work across all media. Then, they found the forms of two-way communication that work best for their key publics. So while any company can create a Twitter or Facebook page, there is no guaranteed success. Success requires a solid foundation, hard work and an in-depth understanding of the key audience.