Building Brands - of the Consumers, by the Consumers, for the Consumers

2215 Words Jan 19th, 2012 9 Pages
Building Brands - Of the Consumers, By the Consumers, For the Consumers

In July 2006, HUL (then HLL) launched India’s first community portal exclusively belonging to a brand – The Sunsilk “Gang of Girls”. The initiative was an instant success with the number of members crossing the half million mark within six months of launching. It was HUL’s attempt to revive the Sunsilk brand. Today with a member base of 7.5 lakh users (a mere 2.5 lakh users in four and a half years), the success of Sunsilk’s brand building exercise is debatable. But, what cannot be denied is HUL’s early recognition of a marketing channel – Conversational Marketing - that is moving towards becoming the trend for marketing and brand building in 2012.
The launch of
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Surely, people use Facebook to express their views and to be listened to. Unlike traditional media channels like television and print media, social media provides this advantage of being a two-way communication channel - a channel to build brands that are of the consumers, by the consumers and for the consumers.

Starbucks is perhaps the best example of how to leverage everything that social media has to offer. Their online portal “mystarbucksidea.force.com” proudly announced on June 17, 2011, of launching 150 ideas from a plethora of ideas submitted by its customers. My Starbucks Idea is a simple community where Starbucks customers can submit their own ideas about how Starbucks can improve in all categories ranging from their coffee to the experience and involvement of the customers. These ideas are voted by other members of the community and / or are selected by Starbucks idea partners for launching. The progress on each idea is updated regularly and most ideas are replied to. Typical ideas from the 150 launched were:
 An iPhone App to check on the balance on the Starbucks Card (loyalty card)
 Opening a new store in El Salvador
 Reintroducing an old flavour of coffee
 Improvement in a chocolate chunk cookie recipe
 Buying a Friend a Beverage Remotely through Facebook
Critics of Starbucks argue that the entire crowd-sourcing platform has been a

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