Hallmark: Integrate social learning to help your organization become more consumer focused — Live from the Brands-Only Summit

Coverage of this session by Kristen Platt of SocialMedia.org. Connect with her by following her on Twitter.

3:50 — SocialMedia.org's Lauren Clevenger introduces Hallmark's Camille Lauer .

3:51 — Camille: “There's too much talking and not enough listening and learning in social today. Instead focus on customer experience.” — Seth Godin

3:53 — We look at it all in 3 buckets:

  • Monitoring and response (primarily on Facebook and Twitter and Amazon)
  • Measurement (Hallmark brand and campaigns)
  • Ideas & inspiration (unbranded social listening — starting with hypothesis or theme)

3:55 — Camille gives some background: Social listening lives with in Consumer Understanding and Insights Dept (aka Research). Hallmark is 104 years old (both a blessing and a challenge). The phrase, “when you care enough to send the best” was coined 70 years ago.

3:57 — Talking about Jingle the Dog (toy). 50 vocal consumers across social media. Our lesson: Risk is defined externally.

When we launched Jingle, it was kid-focused, technical, and had high emotional context. It was a new product dynamic for us. We used TV advertising and had a holiday TV special on the Hallmark channel.

3:58 — Camille: It was an enormously successful program! Sold through inventory, met “quality acceptance” levels, holiday TV special did very well, forging ahead with the everyday franchise, and Jingle 2.0 planned for next holiday.

3:59 — Camille: On Dec. 26th, Jingle's bark stopped. We were not prepared for this malfunction that was VERY emotional for these children who's dog stuffed animals “died.” We also were only able to offer a $5 refund.

4:00 — Camille says Hallmark faced a lot of negative customer comments on social media from livid parents. The social team showed these comments to their executives, and things happened.

4:01 — Camille: This never would have been an issue if social media were not in play. You cannot communicate your way out of what you behave yourself into.” Natanya Anderson: “Often, we are the only ones who can see across the entire business.”

4:02 — Camille: In order to prepare for the next holiday, we tried to get to the root of the problem. We took the issue to the social media steering committee, product integrity, warehouse/distribution, and product development teams to help us out with a solution.

4:03 — Camille was inspired today by Vince Golla's words: “Be fearless about being the bridge across your organization.”

4:05 — Solution to make it right: Nugget was being introduced in April, Jingle's friend. We gave consumers vouchers for Jingle 2.0 in the meantime. Camille made a new Twitter support handle herself to help direct customers to what they were doing to make things right.

4:06 — Don't lose sight of what your brand stands for — especially in social media where all of your customers are listening to you. Hallmark sent out a nice letter to the children still heartbroken from Jingle's “death” about how Nugget was here and Jingle was just “resting his voice” in the meantime.

Their customers were thrilled with the response and filled social media with positive and forgiving responses to Hallmark's actions.

4:08 — Your harshest critics will become your biggest fans if you make it right.

4:09 — Camille talks about the established guiding principles they put in place:

  • Act like one company
  • Emphasize what is human and emotional
  • Personalize solutions
  • Make it easy

4:10 — Camille shares the long-term outcomes:

  • Retailer scorecards
  • Product integrity: Real wear and tear testing for kids' products
  • Inventory planning: For products that meet Jingle-like criteria
  • Improved CRM: Link consumer contacts across touchpoints
  • Customer service: Migrate from cost containment to consumer satisfaction

4:11 — Finally, Camille summarizes some key takeaways:

  • Comments in social are a mirror of how your consumer experiences your brand
  • The public dynamic of social can be a powerful change agent
  • Don't underestimate the power of real people's stories — names, faces ,etc. — to rally a team internally
  • Aim for the root of the issue
  • “Consumer advocate ” is implicit responsibility of your role in social

Camille shares a quote from last year's Summit from SocialMedia.org Andy Sernovitz: “You're the one who is going to make business better. You're the one who's going to make business kind.”

Q & A

Q: How did you get that dialogue started with the C-suite?

A: Camille: Our CMO felt strongly about what we were doing in social, and the Jingle issue escalated things quickly. Tip: Find that one senior manager who will listen to you and champion your efforts in the company to pull social to the front.

Q: How did you respond to the Amazon complaints?

A: Camille: Uncharted territory! I personally created an account, Camille from Hallmark, and responded myself one-by-one. It was a lot of manual work.

Q: Do you have plans to put a team in place?

A: Camille: We do have processes in place to prevent this in the future. If the new product is in any way similar to a Jingle product, then we have processes in place to monitor its life cycle.

Q: Who is on your social business steering committee?

A: Camille: CMO is the head, but reps are from digital team, brands group, content division, marketing & PR, customer service, and when needed, we'll bring in folks from other parts of the organization. It's continuing to evolve, but we identified key players in the company to join the committee and add value.