Highlights from Member Meeting 49 in Philadelphia

Last week we wrapped up our 49th SocialMedia.org Member Meeting in Philadelphia.

133 social media leaders from 92 brands got together to talk about the things that are most important to their work right now.

We heard 10 Show & Tell presentations from fellow SocialMedia.org members, all senior social media leaders at big brands.

They shared stories about projects they’ve led, challenges they’ve faced, what went well, what didn’t work, and what they hope to do next. We heard from:

  • Nader Ali-Hassan at Comcast on how they transformed perceptions of social media marketing through the use of live video.
  • Tamara Scott from Vanguardon how they fostered client engagement in a regulated industry.
  • Nicholas Sucich with USPS on their social business intelligence program and how to understand the conversation about your business.
  • Anne McGraw at Nissan North America on how they embrace events and activations as their primary mechanism for creating social media conversations.
  • Jen Hartmann with John Deere on clearly defining a crisis on social media.
  • Emily Sechrist from Intel on how they’re transforming social content for a BtoB world.
  • Karen O’Brien at Signet Jewelers on leveraging social marketing to drive both online and offline consumer journeys.
  • Abigail Scott from Hologic on leveraging awareness days to amplify your brand.
  • Jeremy Humphries with Farmers Insurance on achieving lift through value-based content marketing.
  • Jayme Meyer at ExxonMobil on using social media training to drive business outcomes.

We also held 16 Member-Led Discussions where SocialMedia.org members explored tough questions, shared experiences, and got help with specific challenges they’re facing.

Discussions were with:

  • Jess Hoeler and Andy Rose from Amica Mutual Insurance on elements of a successful employee social advocacy program.
  • Cici Ghattas at Discovery Inc. on how your social team works across business units.
  • Doug Busk from Emory University on reporting metrics to management.
  • Lauren Gaglio with Henry Schein on YouTube strategy.
  • Emily Finley at Marvin Windows and Doors on LinkedIn for BtoB and employee engagement.
  • Carly Nusser from Johnsonville Sausage on harnessing the power of UGC and brand ambassadors.
  • Brynn Zech with TE Connectivity on consumer-driven storytelling to increase followers.
  • Heather D’Amico at Travelers on launching new social media channels.
  • Erin Haas from Safelite AutoGlass on using CRM data to personalize ad delivery and drive efficiency.
  • Lynne DeRoche with Marriott International on successfully utilizing social media for customer care and engagement.
  • Linda Lollo at Big Lots on social team structure.
  • Robert Johnson from Paychex on social engagement for BtoB.
  • Chad Parizman with Pfizer on becoming thought leaders.
  • Shelley Crockett at Choice Hotels International on paid social media strategy.
  • Colleen Sokolik at MetLife on BtoC influencers.
  • Kathleen O’Brien with Phillips 66 on agency relations and management.

Here are the brands who were there:

Ace Hardware, Allergan, American Electric Power, American Family Insurance, Amica Mutual Insurance, Andersen Corporation, Audi of America, Auto-Owners Insurance Group, Big Lots, Bimbo Bakeries, Brother International Corporation, Cambia Health Solutions, Capital One, Choice Hotels International, Chubb, Ciena, Citrix, Comcast, Conagra Brands, David Weekley Homes, Delaware North, Discovery Inc., Dominion Energy, Emory University, Enterprise Holdings, Exact Sciences, Exelon Corporation, ExxonMobil, Farmers Insurance, Fidelity Investments, Freddie Mac, Genworth, Henry Schein, Hologic, Intel, Intuitive Surgical, John Deere, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Johnsonville Sausage, JPMorgan Chase, KeyBank, Kia Motors America, Kiewit, Kohler, Lenovo, Marriott International, Marvin Windows and Doors, MassMutual, MetLife, NCR Corporation, Nissan North America, Novartis, NRG Energy, Nu Skin Enterprises, Papa John’s International, Paychex, Paycom, Pearson Education, PerkinElmer, Pfizer, Phillips 66, Prudential Financial, Rust-Oleum, Safelite AutoGlass, Sallie Mae, Scholastic, Securian Financial, Sheetz, Siemens Healthineers, Signet Jewelers, Solvay Group, Synchrony, T. Rowe Price, TD Bank Group, TE Connectivity, Thrivent Financial, The TJX Companies, Toll Brothers, Toyota, Travelers, UBS, UL LLC, United States Postal Service, United Technologies Corporation, UnitedHealth Group, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanguard, Veolia, Wawa, Webster Bank, Wells Fargo, and Xerox.

You won’t want to miss Member Meeting 50 in Chicago, October 8-9 — the next opportunity to have face-to-face conversations with people like you at brands like yours.

It’s a huge milestone for the community, so we’re celebrating with a big birthday bash! Check out all the details and reserve your spot here: https://socialmedia.org/community/meetings/mm50/

The Shortlist: Citrix, United, Estee Lauder, and more

Citrix's Manager of Social Community, Campaigns, and Content, Melissa Case, shared how she and her team use the company's annual Citrix Synergy event to shape their social media strategy and engage with their consumers. SocialMedia.org Blog >>

Northwestern Mutual CMO Aditi Gokhale discussed how the brand's focus on women changed their media mix and how they connect with their audience on social media. Digiday >>

United's social media team was spotlighted for their work helping their customers get to their flights on time via communications on Twitter. The Points Guy >>

Busch announced the launch of a "Pop Up Schop" hidden in a national forest. They are sharing clues to the location on their Twitter channels ahead of the pop up's one-day opening. Marketing Dive >>

Right now, members from 100 of the world’s greatest brands are coming together in Philadelphia for Member Meeting 49, with discussions led by Nissan North America Senior Manager of Social Media Marketing Anne McGraw, Farmers Insurance Social Media Manager Jeremy Humphries, Comcast Executive Director of Social Marketing Nader Ali-Hassan, Vanguard Social Media Channel Manager Tamara Scott, Hologic Global Integrated Marketing Manager Abigail Scott, ExxonMobil Digital and Social Media Manager Jayme Meyer, United States Postal Service Manager of Digital Communications Nicholas Sucich, Intel Global Social Media Strategist Emily Sechrist, John Deere Social Media Manager Jen Hartmann, and Signet Jewelers Vice President of Media and Social Media Karen O'Brien. SocialMedia.org Meetings >>

Ally Financial is running a "truth or dare" challenge on Instagram that partners with influencers and encourages their audience to answer financial questions or take a dare challenge. Mobile Marketer >>

Nina Long was recently hired as a Social Media Manager at Foot Locker. LinkedIn >>

Jared Cohen was promoted to Executive Director of Digital Marketing and Social Media at Sony Pictures Entertainment. LinkedIn >>

Stanley Black & Decker is hiring a Senior Social Media Strategist and a Social Media Strategist to lead the planning of their social media strategy and goal setting for their portfolio of brands. (Towson, MD)

Estee Lauder needs an Executive Director of Social Media and Digital Design for their La Mer brand to support their global team in all aspects of digital marketing and social media design projects. (New York, NY) Estee Lauder Careers >>

Melissa-Case

Melissa Case shares how she and her team at Citrix use the company’s annual Citrix Synergy event to shape their social media strategy

In May 2019, Citrix held their annual customer event, Citrix Synergy. The event, which has been a staple of Citrix’s customer strategy for the past 15 years, hosts 7,000 people on average — with even more joining through their online broadcast.

And, according to Melissa Case — Manager of Social Community, Campaigns, and Content for Citrix — every year they do more with their social platforms to promote it.

Melissa said the planning process around the event takes several months.

We wanted our audience to get involved and have a good time. Melissa Case
“When it comes to content, we have to think about which features of the different platforms we want to use,” she said. “It depends on what our product announcements are and what’s going on within the company itself. But every year, each platform offers new things, and we are always game to try new things and experiment with new types of content.”

In their planning meetings, she and her team work to come up with nonstandard ways of using the different pieces of each platform.

“As part of our company-wide goals with the event, we always endeavor to do more and better things than we did the previous year,” said Melissa.

Once the initial planning is done, the team maps out different phases to drip out event-related content to their audiences and raise awareness.

“This year we started doing our promotions for [Synergy] in earnest in November,” she said. “It was mostly about education and awareness, so we shared content around what we do and why we make products that will make your workday easier and more productive.”

Once they get closer to the event and the attendee list is more concrete, they move into logistics and content that builds excitement around what’s going to be happening at the event.

“Then during the event, there’s lots of prep that goes into talking about the product announcements themselves, and we work up pieces in advance to share around that,” said Melissa.

They also worked with a creative agency to develop short form video, infographics, and other dynamic media.

When it comes to content, we have to think about which features of the different platforms we want to use. Melissa Case
That content included a series of videos and images around two cartoon owls — “Tobias” and “Prudence” — that started as part of their early bird special (owls are wise and want to save money!), but were so popular that the team wove them through all their promotional phases.

“We’ve found that kind of content really increases our audience and the degree to which people are paying attention to what we say,” said Melissa. “And social media is fun! We wanted to show we could exceed our goals and have a great time while doing it.”

For the event itself, the entire social team was onsite to monitor what was happening in real time and run their event activations.

At the event, they had a social media hub where people could come and meet the team, get involved with contests, or network with other attendees. They also had screens up in the hub with social media leaderboards for who was engaging the most and how many people were talking about Synergy.

“We wanted our audience to get involved and have a good time,” said Melissa. “We set up branded areas so people can share pictures on Twitter or Instagram to show they’re at the event.”

For several years, they’ve also brought Citrix branded LEGO figures for attendees that they can then share online. “The first time we did that, we had a line of 400 people waiting to get them, and they’re still just as popular as ever,” said Melissa.

For video content, Melissa and her team ran “Man on the Street” interviews live at the event to spotlight their customer innovation award winners, executives at the event, and attending customer partners.

Aside from the content they pushed out in real time at the event, Melissa and her team had a full content calendar going in based on what they knew was going to be said.

Being prepared is key. We had our whole content calendar written out and ready to go so we could have time to capture all of the Citrix Synergy action in real time and still make sure we had all our bases covered. Melissa Case
“Being prepared is key. We had our whole content calendar written out and ready to go so we could have time to capture all of the Citrix Synergy action in real time and still make sure we had all our bases covered,” she said.

That content included all their plans for paid promotions on top of the organic strategy they were rolling out at the event.

According to Melissa, their content and new experiments paid off with a big engagement increase.

“Our engagement increased 194% from last year, and last year was significantly higher than the year before,” she said.

“Over the past year and a half, we really changed the way our social programs work. In years past, we were more doing social for the sake of doing it rather than for a specific strategic reason. Now we are more aligned with teams across the entire company, so our work is now much more a ‘why’ than a ‘what’, and we’re getting better every quarter, every year.”

Their organic engagement rate during the event was 12.5%, and Melissa said their video rates were even higher (and by no small margin). She said they also used Twitter’s streaming service this year for the first time to stream their keynote, which had more than 444,000 people watching.

Melissa said these results drove home for her the importance of video to their overall strategy around Synergy (as well as all their other programs) and which platforms give them the best results.

For us, video is the name of the game. There is nothing that's more effective for communicating our message. Melissa Case
“For us, video is the name of the game,” said Melissa. “There is nothing that’s more effective for communicating our message. And Synergy is the real focal point for our yearly strategy, so it’s exciting that it’s made such an impact this year.”

In terms of the technology and platforms they use, Melissa said Twitter and LinkedIn are where they find the most success — with LinkedIn being a resource for their high level, thought leadership content, and Twitter for their more fun, real-time content.

Once the event is over, Melissa and her team get together over the course of several different debrief meeting to assess their results and start planning for next year’s Citrix Synergy.

“The first has a broad focus on how everything went,” she said. “Then we break into specific meetings, such as what photography worked the best or how the product announcements played out on social. We tend to get into the tiny details about what we can do better next time.”

But, Melissa said, just because they saw good results with what they did this year doesn’t mean they’re going to stop experimenting any time soon.

She emphasized their focus is primarily data-driven, so they look to see what’s resonating with people. She said the best advice she can give is to make friends with Google Analytics as much as you can, because your story is in those numbers.

“Even if we thought something was fun and we had a good time doing it, if it didn’t resonate and we didn’t have people talking about it, we don’t do it again,” she said. “Even if it seems like a great idea, what’s the point if it’s not reaching people?”

For any event of this scale to be successful, Melissa said having a well-executed strategy makes a huge difference.

“This has been a big catalyst for revamping our social program over the last two years. Because we got into the data around not just Synergy but our programs as a whole, we were able to double our social actions the first year and then did that again the second year,” said Melissa. “That’s the name of the game, and that’s how we’re going to keep iterating and improving.”

Melissa Case has been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2015. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter.

The Shortlist: Bank of the West, Workday, Amgen, and more

Rebecca Mulligan Santos shared how Bank of the West found success with an Instagram contest that engaged with their eco-conscious audience. SocialMedia.org Blog >>

Workday recently joined the SocialMedia.org community! Their membership will be led by Director of Social Media Elizabeth Houston. SocialMedia.org Members >>

Macy's launched an Instagram-friendly pop-up called "Story" in New York City to drive social engagements as well as retail sales. Business Insider >>

Malibu Global Marketing Manager Monica Jungbeck shared how they're running their in-house influencer marketing strategy and why they made the switch from agencies. Digiday >>

Skyy Vodka partnered with John Cena to celebrate the Fourth of July with their #SparkChange photo-sharing social media campaign. Mobile Marketer >>

Alyssa Wagner was recently promoted to Senior Performance Marketing Manager of Paid Social at Uber. LinkedIn >>

Katherine Gancarz was promoted to Senior Manager for Social Media at Hyatt Hotels Corporation. LinkedIn >>

Amgen is looking for a Corporate Affairs Senior Manager – Social Media Story Teller and a Corporate Affairs Manager – Social Media Story Teller to support their digital and social media strategy at the enterprise level and work to establish their brand voice across their social channels. (Thousand Oaks, CA)

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is hiring a Senior Social Media Strategist to develop and refine their corporate social media strategy. (Columbia, SC) BlueCross BlueShield Jobs >>

Liberty Mutual Insurance needs a Marketing Program Manager for Social Media Enablement to develop, implement, and support social media enablement for their Field Operations channel. (Boston, MA) Liberty Mutual Group Jobs >>

Rebecca Mulligan Santos shares how Bank of the West ran an Instagram contest to engage with their eco-conscious audience

As an organization, Bank of the West is prioritizing energy transition as the most immediate and important impact they can have on the future. According to Social Media Program Manager Rebecca Mulligan Santos, they’re making important decisions around their financing policies as part of their commitment to driving sustainable finance.

It’s from that priority and those policies that the idea behind their latest Instagram photo contest, #CaptureTheChange, came about.

The actual sentiment we were seeing in the engagement on those posts was incredibly positive as well. Rebecca Mulligan Santos
“We wanted to focus it on the idea that your money has the power and purpose to finance the change you want to see in the world,” said Rebecca. “Most people don’t think about how their banking relationship impacts our planet.”

#CaptureTheChange, which ran from February to March of this year, invited people to post a photo on Instagram of critical changes they see around themes of sustainability, environmental consciousness, energy transition, and green technology. For the contest, they had two grand prize winners who would receive a three-year paid lease on a Tesla Model S, and four runners-up (one in each of the themes).

“Those changes could be positive, negative, big, or small,” she said. “And then we wanted the entrants to include a caption for what the photo means to them and why it’s important.”

The contest itself branched off of an initiative their parent company, BNP Paribas, launched two years prior.

“This was an awareness campaign for us,” said Rebecca. “We looked at impressions and reach but focused more on the engagement we could get through the influencers.” This marked the first time Bank of the West was doing a contest on this scale.

Getting the contest off the ground was a huge collaborative effort across teams at Bank of the West.

We looked at impressions and reach but focused more on the engagement we could get through the influencers. Rebecca Mulligan Santos
“It was driven by the advertising team, working closely with the earned media, acquisition and compliance teams.” she said. And they didn’t waste any time getting the contest rolling.

“We worked on a fast timeline with only two months between the first kickoff meeting and the actual launch of the contest.”

Because so many people were involved, they had one project manager from the advertising side assigned to keep them on track every week. “That was crucial for this because there are so many tools involved and we needed to connect everybody and make sure there was a core part of the team that was aware of everything that was happening,” she said.

To deliver the contest, Rebecca and her team engaged Instagram influencers to both promote the contest on their channels and serve as judges.

“We worked closely with advertising partners and our agency managed those influencer relationships for us, which was really helpful,” said Rebecca.

Their agency gave them a list of influencers from the photography community and Bank of the West selected four photographers from that list.

“We provided guidelines to help drive the narrative, and reviewed every post they published. Then compliance had to review everything as well,” she said.

One challenge they ran into is that most people don’t follow their bank on social media — which is why influencers became so important to the success of the contest.

We worked on a fast timeline with only two months between the first kickoff meeting and the actual launch of the contest. Rebecca Mulligan Santos
“We were trying to set it up in such a way that people could connect the beautiful photography they were seeing from entrants and influencers with the changes we care about at Bank of the West,” she said.

All that focus and hard work paid off when the results started coming in.

Their overall engagement rate for this contest was 25x higher than their average brand campaign, and their Instagram followers doubled across the two months.

“The actual sentiment we were seeing in the engagement on those posts was incredibly positive as well,” she said. “Overall, the cost per engagement was much more efficient than standard social advertising.”

Rebecca said another great result from the contest is they now have actual benchmarks to use for campaigns moving forward.

We wanted to focus it on the idea that your money has the power and purpose to finance the change you want to see in the world. Rebecca Mulligan Santos
“We can compare results from organic, earned, paid influencer, and dark posts,” she said. “Based on this experience and these benchmarks, we’ll definitely be using influencers in the future.”

They also had big learnings from having creative tailored to each platform and paying attention to ongoing engagement.

“We learned it’s important to make sure you have a community manager engaging with the comments on each entrant’s post,” she said.

For campaigns like this in regulated industries, Rebecca said it’s important to engage compliance as soon as possible and get them involved.

“We are lucky to have a responsive compliance team that understood the urgency behind reviewing posts,” she said. “To help with this, before we actually launched the contest, I worked with compliance to develop guidelines to provide our influencers that were compliant with our policies.”

Rebecca Mulligan Santos has been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2018. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter.

Everything that’s happening at Member Meeting 49 in Philadlephia

We’ve got great conversations lined up for Member Meeting 49 in Philadelphia, and we’re excited to have so many members joining us. Here’s our full roster of Show & Tell talks:

  • Nader Ali-Hassan at Comcast will share how they transformed perceptions of social media marketing through the use of live video.
  • Tamara Scott from Vanguard will discuss how they fostered client engagement in a regulated industry.
  • Nicholas Sucich with USPS will talk about their social business intelligence program and how to understand the conversation about your business.
  • Anne McGraw at Nissan North America will share how they embrace events and activations as their primary mechanism for creating social media conversations.
  • Jen Hartmann with John Deere will speak on clearly defining a crisis on social media.
  • George Olexa from Intel will talk about how they’re transforming social content for a BtoB world.
  • Karen O’Brien at Signet Jewelers will discuss leveraging social marketing to drive both online and offline consumer journeys.
  • Abigail Scott from Hologic will speak on leveraging awareness days to amplify your brand.
  • Jeremy Humphries with Farmers Insurance will talk about achieving lift through value-based content marketing.
  • Jayme Meyer at ExxonMobil will discuss using social media training to drive business outcomes.

We’ll wrap up day one with a fantastic Member Dinner hosted by Comcast. Then, on day two, we’ll have 16 Member-Led Discussions with:

  • Jess Hoeler and Andy Rose from Amica Mutual Insurance on elements of a successful employee social advocacy program.
  • Cici Ghattas at Discovery Inc. on how your social team works across business units.
  • Doug Busk from Emory University on management metrics.
  • Lauren Gaglio with Henry Schein on YouTube strategy.
  • Emily Finley at Marvin Windows and Doors on LinkedIn for BtoB and employee engagement.
  • Carly Nusser from Johnsonville Sausage on harnessing the power of UGC and brand ambassadors.
  • Brynn Zech with TE Connectivity on consumer-driven storytelling to increase followers.
  • Heather D’Amico at Travelers on launching new social media channels.
  • Erin Haas from Safelite AutoGlass on using CRM data to personalize ad delivery and drive efficiency.
  • Lynne DeRoche with Marriott International on successfully utilizing social media for customer care and engagement.
  • Linda Lollo at Big Lots on social team structure.
  • Robert Johnson from Paychex on social engagement for BtoB.
  • Chad Parizman with Pfizer on becoming thought leaders.
  • Shelley Crockett at Choice Hotels International on paid social media strategy.
  • Colleen Sokolik at MetLife on BtoC influencers.
  • Kathleen O’Brien with Phillips 66 on agency relations and management.

Plus lots of fast-paced, peer-to-peer unconference discussions where members will focus on the topics that interest them the most.

Here are the 94 brands who will be there (so far): Ace Hardware, Allergan, American Electric Power, American Family Insurance, Amica Mutual Insurance, Andersen Corporation, athenahealth, Audi of America, Auto-Owners Insurance Group, BBVA Compass, BD, Big Lots, Bimbo Bakeries, Brother International Corporation, Cambia Health Solutions, Choice Hotels International, Chubb, Ciena, Comcast, Con Edison, Conagra Brands, David Weekley Homes, Delaware North, Discovery Inc., Emory University, Enterprise Holdings, Exact Sciences, Exelon Corporation, ExxonMobil, Farmers Insurance, Fidelity Investments, FMC Corporation, Freddie Mac, Genworth, Guardian Life Insurance, Henry Schein, Hologic, Intel, Intuitive Surgical, John Deere, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Johnsonville Sausage, JPMorgan Chase, Kaplan, KeyBank, Kia Motors America, Kiewit, Kohler, Lenovo, Marriott International, Marvin Windows and Doors, MassMutual, MetLife, NCR Corporation, Nissan North America, NRG Energy, Nu Skin Enterprises, Olympus, Papa John’s International, Paychex, Pearson Education, PerkinElmer, Pfizer, Phillips 66, Prudential Financial, PVH, Rust-Oleum, Safelite AutoGlass, Saint-Gobain, Sallie Mae, Scholastic, Securian Financial, ServiceMaster, Siemens Healthineers, Signet Jewelers, Solvay Group, Synchrony, T. Rowe Price, TD Bank Group, TE Connectivity, Thrivent Financial, Toll Brothers, Travelers, UBS, UL LLC, United States Postal Service, United Technologies Corporation, UnitedHealth Group, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanguard, Veolia North America, Wawa, Webster Bank, and Xerox.

Check out all the details here: https://socialmedia.org/community/meetings/mm49/

The Shortlist: Marvin, MGM Resorts, PepsiCo, and more

Emily Finley and Brett Boyum discussed social media's role in merging their two consumer-facing brands, Marvin Windows and Doors and Integrity Windows and Doors, into one overarching master brand, Marvin. SocialMedia.org Blog >>

Nissan North America Senior Manager of Social Media Marketing Anne McGraw, Farmers Insurance Social Media Manager Jeremy Humphries, Comcast Executive Director of Social Marketing Nader Ali-Hassan, Vanguard Social Media Channel Manager Tamara Scott, USPS Manager of Digital Communications Nicholas Sucich, Intel Director of Global Social Media George Olexa, Hologic Global Integrated Marketing Manager Abigail Scott, ExxonMobil Digital and Social Media Manager Jayme Meyer, John Deere Social Media Manager Jen Hartmann, and Signet Jewelers Vice President of Media and Social Media Karen O'Brien are leading talks on their social media programs at SocialMedia.org's Member Meeting 49 in Philadelphia, July 16-17. SocialMedia.org Meetings >>

Agnes Landau, Senior Vice President at MAC Cosmetics, talked about their partnership with Famebit to launch an AR virtual try-on across their YouTube channels. Glossy >>

Meredith Ulmer recently joined Abbott as their new Senior Content Strategist. LinkedIn >>

Bree Petrilla was brought on a Digital Platform Operations Manager at Genesis Motor America. LinkedIn >>

Sarah Troncone was recently hired as the Digital Communications Manager and Social Media Lead at PepsiCo. LinkedIn >>

Johns Hopkins Medicine is hiring a Social Media Marketing and Communications Manager to oversee the alignment of strategic social media programs and campaigns and execute their brand social media initiatives. (Baltimore, MD) Johns Hopkins Careers >>

WeWork is looking for a Social Media Manager for their WeGrow and WeLive brands to create and implement social media strategies across their social media channels. (New York, NY) WeWork Careers >>

Medtronic needs a Senior Social Media and Digital Strategy Specialist to develop and execute social media strategies across their digital marketing platforms. (Friedley, MN) Medtronic Careers >>

MGM Resorts International is hiring a Director of Social Media Events and Nightlife to develop their social media programs and strategies from content ideation to execution. (Las Vegas, NV) MGM Resorts Jobs >>

SocialMedia.org is gearing up for our 50th (!!) Member Meeting in Chicago, October 8-9

SocialMedia.org started when 12 heads of social media came together needing a place to talk — just leaders, big brands, and no vendors.

That was 12 years and — incredibly — 49 Member Meetings ago.

It’s such a testament to the members of this organization that while all the other groups and conferences came and went over the past decade, SocialMedia.org continued to grow into the thriving community it is today.

Looking back, we couldn’t help but add up all the crazy numbers from 12 years of Member Meetings:

  • 6,330 attendees
  • 800 Show & Tells talks
  • 2,400 unconference discussions
  • 19 different cities
  • Over 25 member-hosted meetings at the following headquarters: Boeing, Cisco, The Coca-Cola Company, Dell, Duke Energy, General Mills, Intel, McDonald’s, McGraw-Hill, Mayo Clinic, Microsoft, Newell Rubbermaid, Procter & Gamble, SAP, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, SunGard, Texas Instruments, U.S. Navy, USA TODAY, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Whole Foods Market, Yahoo!, and 3M.

We can’t wait to celebrate with our members at Member Meeting 50 in Chicago, October 8-9.

It’s going to be an incredible series of conversations with senior social media leaders at the world’s biggest brands — and we’re hoping to make it one of our best meetings ever.

Learn more about our 50th meeting here: https://socialmedia.org/community/meetings/mm50/

See you there!

Marvin’s Emily Finley and Brett Boyum discuss social media’s role in merging their sub-brands

Marvin is in the midst of merging their two consumer-facing brands — Marvin Windows and Doors and Integrity Windows and Doors — into one overarching master brand, Marvin.

Senior Manager of Corporate Communications Emily Finley and Vice President of Brand & User Experience Brett Boyum have been integral to the process — both for its high level strategy and in rolling it out across Marvin’s social channels.

The idea for the sub-brand merger came about two years ago, when the company did a value proposition redefinition.

During that time, the new CEO, Paul Marvin, was developing his vision for the business strategy and growth as an enterprise.

“We took that opportunity to look at what we were doing and our brand strategy didn’t appropriately reflect Paul’s vision for the next 10 years at Marvin,” Brett said.

He said they discovered that with different brands, consumers found their portfolio difficult to navigate. To solve that, the team wanted to take their sub-brands under the Marvin master brand, with a common purpose and set of values.

“Each product line can carry itself in its own lane and still have a distinct value proposition, but all of them fit into the master brand value proposition,” he said.

According to Brett, they hoped the singular brand would better reflect the purpose and vision of the business.

We allowed them to actually design and describe to us what our portfolio should look like. Brett Boyum
They also hoped the shift would contribute to their aggressive growth goals and make the user and customer experience within their portfolio easier.

“There’s also the marketing power opportunity,” Brett said. “Instead of dividing up your resources and trying to grow multiple brands, you can put all your resources into building one power brand. Which will be more efficient at the product line level and let the product marketing sell the features and benefits of the products instead of carrying the load of selling the brand itself.”

To kickstart the brand merger, they first had to rally internal leadership to buy into the new strategy.

Once they had the buy-in, they went into the marketplace to learn new ideas through interviews with dealers, architects, builders, remodelers, and homeowners.

“It was design oriented,” Brett said. “We allowed them to actually design and describe to us what our portfolio should look like.” Then, they built prototypes off that, brought them back out to the market, tested them, and landed on what they felt was a confident architecture strategy.

They repeated that same process to name their product lines. “It all came from the market up to us and not from us to the market,” he said. “It’s based on user experience and user insights.”

Because a shift like this can take years, the team prioritized which changes would have the most impact — and Marvin’s social presence was at the top of that list.

We started thinking about how we could talk about more holistic Marvin content as opposed to singular brand content. Emily Finley
“We identified everything, from business cards down to invoices and stationery, and up to things as big as trucks, and put a priority categorization on it,” Brett said. “Social and our advertising campaigns are way ahead right now.”

Emily said it was important to signal the change to their social audiences so they’d start to understand before the new Marvin branding began showing up offline — in displays and showrooms.

To cement the move to one brand, Marvin needed to consolidate into one social channel.

First, the team started to spend less money on paid content for the channels that would eventually become defunct. “When we think about our organic presence versus our paid presence, it didn’t make sense to keep people engaged with this channel,” Emily said.

Some channels allowed them to merge audiences, but others did not. To build up their followings on those specific pages, the team began sharing posts that mentioned the new brand channel on the original channel.

Traditionally, they had kept each brand channel separate and each had its own voice. “We started thinking about how we could talk about more holistic Marvin content as opposed to singular brand content,” Emily said.

Since the channels have merged, Emily said their Instagram strategy has changed.

When we think about our organic presence versus our paid presence, it didn’t make sense to keep people engaged with this channel. Emily Finley
According to Emily, one of the biggest challenges has been how many audiences they reach and having to tailor content to suit them.

“In any given social channel, we might be talking to an architect, builder, home remodeler, window installer, or homeowner who purchased our windows, or one who purchased a home that already had our windows,” she said.

She said their main strategy involves thinking through how to provide relevant, thumb-stopping content to a mixed audience who might be looking for different takeaways.

The team also focused on sharing visually engaging content that is centered around the environment their windows provide, rather than the functionality of them.

“Windows are a conduit to natural light and fresh air and create a feeling of well-being in your home,” Emily said. “A lot more of our content now features humans living in Marvin spaces as opposed to just a focus on windows and doors.”

They’ve begun to include more authentic user-generated and influencer content into their Instagram Stories as well, which has helped bridge the gap between their audiences.

“It resonates across the professional and consumer audience,” she said. “It’s complementary of everything we’re working toward from a brand reputation management standpoint, and it’s helping to position us as a thought leader on a variety of topics that are important to our business.”

The response to the shift has been overwhelmingly positive, both internally and externally.

We took that opportunity to look at what we were doing and our brand strategy didn’t appropriately reflect Paul’s vision for the next 10 years at Marvin. Brett Boyum
Brett said the new Marvin brand has been embraced internally across the company — including by employees of the former Integrity Windows and Doors brand.

The reaction from Marvin’s dealers across the market has been positive as well because the products are easier to sell under one brand name.

According to Emily, this reaction has extended to their social channels as well.

“We wanted to have a singular channel strategy across all of our social channels, but we didn’t want to lose the engagement we have with our audiences,” she said. “People caught on quickly. The same day, people were using our new handle at an increased rate because it’s a single channel.”

For both Emily and Brett, the key takeaway from this process has been to never underestimate the amount of work required for a brand overhaul.

Brett emphasized the importance of having the brand and brand structure represent the business purpose and vision. They didn’t set out to completely change the Marvin brand — they simply evolved it to fit a new business vision.

“Whether it carries through into our identity or how we handle ourselves on our social channels, that reflection of the business vision is powerful, and it has to be authentic and genuine,” he said.

From the social side, Emily said doing the work leading up to the shift was integral to getting their audiences on board. “They’ll come along with you if you do the work up front,” she said.

When it comes to other companies attempting a similar brand merger, Brett and Emily suggested starting with the user.

“Be authentic to who you are,” Brett said. “Always start from the user’s vantage point of your brand and work your way back to the actual execution.”

Emily also said from a social perspective, it’s critical to put yourself in the shoes of the user. “If you do that, you can go forward with confidence knowing your audience can follow along,” she said.

“If you’re actively utilizing a strong engagement strategy across your social presences, you’ll find that your audiences are excited for you and want to come along on the journey with you.”

Emily Finley and Brett Boyum have been members of SocialMedia.org since 2019. You can connect with Emily and Brett on LinkedIn.

The Shortlist: Nissan, DSW, Goldman Sachs, and more

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