Showing posts with label Social Media Explorer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Social Media Explorer. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 27

Pushing Pies: Pizza Hut, Domino's, Papa John's


With speciality pizzas ranging from coal-fired to innovative gourmet pies crowding out chains for the sitdown crowd, the big three — Pizza Hut, Domino's, and Papa John's — are looking to retain dominance over the delivery game. So who's winning?

A Breakdown Of The Big Three.

Pizza Hut. For Pizza Hut, U.S. sales are up 5 percent in the first quarter after struggling last year. The turnaround is hot as the chain believes it found the magic formula. When people order pizza, what they really want is an unbeatable value and quick order convenience.

Pizza Hut has a clear advantage in this arena. By investing in easy order applications across various platforms and networks, ordering is super simple. Quick order apps have also helped make Pizza Hut the most talked about online, often by a margin of 2 to 1. And while the 1958-established pizza chain doesn't cross-connect its online assets, it has still attracted 1.3 million Facebook fans and 29,000 Twitter followers.

Of all its smart moves, the one that stands out the most is its work to implement a global marketing strategy with a localized appeal. Every application allows users to pinpoint their local Pizza Hut and receive hyper-localized offers from franchisers. The biggest misstep, of course, was attempting to be super cool in calling itself "The Hut."

Domino's. Domino's seems to have been hit by a string of bad publicity luck, ever since it accepted blame for two employees who ran amok on YouTube. Every time someone searches the headlines, Domino's has the corner on bad behavior.

Its marketing isn't always much better lately. Even on its Web site, the pizza company calls out its competitors, driving up their brand names as if this number two pizza chain was somehow a distant third or fourth. As for the 30-minute guarantee that helped it rise to to the top? Long gone.

The most recent marketing investment demonstrates heavy exposure without the buzz in connection with American Idol. However, what seems to have always worked well for Coca-Cola didn't translate for pizza pies. The campaign was barely mentioned by anyone online. (In contrast, fans are still taking about Justin Bieber's cameo on the show.)

When Domino's is mentioned online, most of it is related to the recipe mistake. Most people post how bad it sucks. On Facebook, Domino's is closing in on 500,000 fans. On Twitter, a scant 12,500. The most noticeable reason is that there doesn't really seem to be a reason to join. Its increasing corporate image is a turn-off.

Papa John's. No matter what you might think about the Papa John's push to be more Italian, which seems to drift well away from beginnings as humble as Pizza Hut, there is always something to be said for the pizza company that came on strong enough to carve out a niche that used to belong to Little Caesar's and Godfather's.

Despite its 1.2 million Facebook fans, it isn't talked about much online, capturing only a fraction of mentions when compared to Domino's or Pizza Hut. On Twitter, it has only managed 12,000 followers, which is simply a matter of its shout out, no-follow approach to messaging.

Papa John's is hoping to change all that with its "Papa's Specialty Pizza Challenge." People join on Facebook, submit topics, and provide a short write-up of why their pie is unique.

The fine print makes the contest a bit of a spin. The winner gets 1 percent of the sales, up to $10,000, and free pizza for life. The contest finalist also receive $1,000 to help market their creation to victory.

It's Not All About Social. Stick With Core Services.

In terms of domestic sales, the three pizza chains are lock step in order, with Pizza Hut on top, Domino's second, and Papa John's third. If Papa John's could make a break in some segment of its marketing, it could theoretically take on Domino's for the second spot in the next two years (with better expansion plans). Unfortunately, the social media contest isn't it.

The reason Pizza Hut is winning with its promotions isn't only about price. It seems the pizza company has figured out what hits the right spot with U.S. consumers. When consumers want cheap, convenient pies, they want cheap, convenient pies. Pizza Hut is delivering these two points, leaving social media to take care of itself. Consumers seem to like it that way.

In contrast, Papa John's is shooting for social to attract new fans despite saying they are offering the content to "loyal customers." While they might attract pizza fans, the real question is whether they can convert those pizza fans into Papa John's lovers.

Maybe. But right now, it seems more likely they'll attract contest entrants just before those entrants click on one of those super simple Pizza Hut apps and then tweet their friends how easy it is. Get it now? Give people something to talk about and social media will follow. Cater to them too much and they'll talk about everything except your product.

Wednesday, August 5

Exploring Social Media Semantics: Falls


Jason Falls, principal of Social Media Explorer LLC, presented a potential challenge with social media: not everyone who practices it is comfortable with the term. And while many carry similar definitions, few have embraced the same definition.

The good news is that it doesn't matter when people listen. The bad news is people don't always listen, which can confuse the professional arena (probably not the personal arena because, frankly, most people don't care) much like there is ample confusion over public relations, with its varied definitions and even more practices.

The reason it doesn't matter is because as long as Falls defines it before speaking about it, we all know what he means.

Social Media can be best described as mediums, mostly on the Internet, that allow users to add or generate content to published works, creating conversations and sharing around the content and conversations. — Jason Falls

It's similar to the definition I use prior to presentations. Yet, as similar as they are, the two meanings eventually diverge.

Social media describes online technologies that people use to share content, opinions, insights, experiences perspectives, and media. — Richard Becker

The good news is that it doesn't matter because I listen (and so does Falls). So when Falls says that "A blog doesn’t qualify as social media unless the ability to comment is enabled," I understand where he is coming from even though my construct absolutely allows for blogs to disallow comments and still qualify as social media because any conversations about the content can still happen anywhere — on forums, message services, and whatnot.

The bad news is that most people, clients and even some colleagues, don't listen, which is why so many companies hire public relations firms to do nothing more than media relations. And, it's also why a design studio in my market recently adopted the term "integrated communication" when in fact all they mean is that they can make their various designs all look the same. (Integrated communication means something much different to me, and I hope to you too.)

While the challenge might be semantics, the real blame belongs to whatever point at which bad marketing intersects a living language.

For example, once upon a time, "blogs" were really "web logs" until the population employing them abbreviated the name as they will and do. Corporate marketers and executives, which loathe the name for no other reason than it sounds bad, came too late to change it (even though several have tried unsuccessfully to do so since).

They did, however, find some wiggle room as blogs failed to define other channels of communication online, which the online population described as "new media." Corporate marketers and many company executives didn't really like the term new media either, and successfully repositioned it as "social media" on the basis that "new media" wouldn't have a name when it became old. Since, we've seen social media called anything and everything from social computing to collaborative marketing (eek), with reasons that range from trying to create a better definition to less admirable attempts to highjack the coining credit.

All of this has been going for a very long time. It will continue to do so, which is why I generally stay out of the name game. Let whomever call it whatever they want. As long as people who listen take the time to discuss definitions, it will all work out.

The reality is over the long haul, I don't expect the term social media to survive as it will eventually be absorbed into integrated communication (which is okay, even though I prefer the strategic communication umbrella better. Not that it is up to me). But for now, social media works because most people understand it, especially when it is defined as simply as possible.

As for my presentation definition, that is the intent. After I define social media, I break it down a bit further. The media part means online technologies. The social part means people. Because at the end of the day, that is all there is.

Thursday, April 23

Considering Content: Two Top Ten Tip Lists


There are plenty of people who might argue the point, but content is still king on the Internet. Readers, friends, associates, colleagues, etc. are all looking for the most useful information about someone, something, some service, or skill set.

After all, content searching and sourcing is the primary reason Google exists, isn't it? How about Amazon? How about Flickr? How about Etsy? Most people go to these places to look for specific content. And once they find you, the question is "did you deliver?"

I know two people who delivered this week on the topic of content management. First, Valeria Maltoni on Conversation Agent and then Kat French on the Social Media Explorer.

Something I always tell students when taking in information from different sources on how to be a better writer is to look for similarities and underlying themes. If diverse parties like Ogilvy (advertising), Princeton (academic), and KSL (journalism), and Copywrite, Ink. (communication) all say similar things, albeit differently, there might be something to it. With that in mind, this is where Maltoni and French seem to intersect:

Ten Tips For Content Management

1. Operate from a strategy and plan.
2. Provide value with the right content mix.
3. Choose the right messenger.
4. Participate with your community.
5. Recognize their participation.
6. Make good on your promises.
7. Keep it fresh by meeting their needs.
8. Consider legal and public interest.
9. Never force the sales message.
10. Know your objectives/expected outcomes.

Add the five steps most publics take to move from being aware to taking action, and you'll find all three models blend together rather nicely. So maybe there is something to it, whether you're talking about social media or communication in general.
 

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