“Everybody thinks that social marketing is about making pretty pictures and putting them up in places,” Frank Hwang says.
“But we all know, especially in SocialMedia.org, that data is driving everything.”
Frank Hwang, Timberland’s Senior Manager of Digital Marketing and Paid Media, says that data has been a common link throughout his career path. He’s worked for agencies like Digitas, been a marketing consultant with Pitney Bowes, and was the Global Marketing Director for Cannondale Bicycles, a high-end bicycle company.
For us, it goes back to thinking like the consumers.
“It’s strange, because I majored in biology in college. But interestingly, I found the key skills coming from that — research, data, and analytics — are more important than ever for marketing.”
At Timberland, Frank’s worked in growth areas of the company, like women’s and kids collections. He says, “In growth areas, you have to be innovative and scrappy, which aligned with my passion points in social and digital.”
“At the end of the day, we’re focused on being where our customers are,” says Frank.
That includes joining emerging channels like Snapchat. They recently launched a presence on the channel, because Frank says, “For us, it goes back to thinking like the consumers.”
He explains that while they’re not seeing people disappear from other social channels, more and more of their consumers are adopting Snapchat. So they’re trying out Snapchat content like sharing product sneak peeks from around the office or sharing videos from their events.
“But we’re also doing it in a way that feels right. If you treat it like the brand is a person, you don’t use all the channels, all the time. You’re engaged at different levels for each.”
At Timberland, they’re also exploring tactile consumer experiences that engage with real people in real places.
For example, Timberland recently partnered with Uber to do a sort of takeover of New York City. They created a branded fleet of Uber Timberland cars outfitted with Timberland Tires. Then they gave passengers a free ride and a free pair of boots as a part of their #ModernTrail campaign.
“It’s a great model of having an event and giving people an experience with the brand as a catalyst to create conversations and content that can then go back to the marketplace.”
He says their #ModernTrail campaign is helping that effort to tell lifestyle stories and brand stories rather than just sell a product. The hashtag is meant to reach the customer who lives in an urban environment but loves the outdoors. He says the hashtag references their heritage as an outdoor brand while representing the modern pivot to “everyday adventure.”
“There’s a time and place to sell and show off a new product, and there’s a time and place to just share cool stuff,” Frank says.
“Our brand means a lot of different things to different people,” Frank says. “It’s amazing to see these stories of people who do really cool things on these platforms and get a lot of support for it.”
Frank’s been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2016. Follow Frank on Instagram and ask about his favorite place to go surfing.