Tag Archives: Engagement

ChapStick vs. Carmex- A social media competitive assessment

4 Mar

This is my assessment of the way ChapStick, (I chose them in spite of their PR/Social media disaster of last fall) and Carmex are  using  social media as of Spring 2011. As part of an assignment for my Social Media Insights class we were asked to choose an industry and pick 2 companies that compete in that industry that are using Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and compare and contrast how each company uses these tools.

I found it interesting that ChapStick doesn’t have a twitter handle at all, but I am impressed with some of the things that they do on their other platforms. Both companies seem to be targeting anyone who is a regular user of the product. A lot of ChapStick’s and Carmex’s content focuses on contests to win free product or on encouraging customers to share their experiences with the product. These brands are trying to build fan loyalty, not create new fans. For ChapStick, the objective seems to be to increase awareness of limited edition flavors by encouraging customers to share their favorites and to introduce them to something new. Since lip balm is a product that you can use multiples of at one time (one is a purse, your car, at your desk, etc), promoting all the different flavors will encourage additional purchases. Carmex’s business objective seems more focused on just pushing Carmex as a whole brand instead of focusing on the individual products as sub-brands. They’re objective seems to be increasing loyalty to Carmex by encouraging customers to visit social media sites for chances to win free product.


In an effort to get more Likes, Carmex is running a “75 years with 750,000 fans Carmex Collection” Giveaway. You have to like the page, submit a form, and then you have the option to publish the giveaway on your FB page.  Carmex also has a graph showing their likes so far and their goal. By giving away a decently large amount of their basic products, they’re obviously targeting people who are committed users of Carmex. I thought it was interesting that they make it optional to share the competition. They are clearly more focused on getting Likes than on getting interaction. It might have been better if they had made the contestants write a post on the Carmex wall telling where and when they use Carmex the most (i.e. When skiing, at the movies, on the train, etc); this would have gotten more discussion going about the brand. I like the idea that they’re tying this to celebrating something, instead of just trying to get likes in general. It makes the campaign feel more genuine and less like a gimmick. When reading some of the Carmex posts on their wall, I got really bored. Most of the posts were either spamming of promoting contests or saying “congratulations to our winners…”  There was nothing really worth looking at (although they did look like some cool contests/prizes). If I were a fan of the page, I might check it fairly regularly to see if there was a contest I could enter, but I would not write on the wall or feel more inclined to purchase the product.

Carmex Facebook contest

On ChapStick’s FB page they are promoting their new limited edition flavors in a variety of ways. They ran a “Send a Kiss” Valentine’s thing that wasn’t really a promotion, but it encouraged fans to interact with the brand.

Chapstick Facebook post

They also occasionally do free giveaways, but it’s not the focus of the page. Most of their posts are great interactive questions to fans. “ChapStick fans always have a backup flavor. What’s your number 2?” or “Name a President and name the ChapStick® that you believe was his favorite, or would have been his favorite! Go!” or  “If ChapSticks® co-mingled, which two flavors would you want to see hook up?” Sometimes the questions have absolutely nothing to do with ChapStick, but they’re hot discussion topics so the fans will spend time on the page talking about them anyways. Recent posts include “What do you think of reality TV–love it or hate it?” “Which celeb has the best looking lips?” (This question had 159 likes and 248 comments) another “Fill in the Blank Friday, you know the drill! It’s Friday night and I’m _______________.” The questions ChapStick posts are almost water cooler topics that people might talk about at work. It makes the brand feel more like a friend posting this on their wall than a company.


Carmex redeems its overzealous contest promotion on its FB page with its Twitter account. On Twitter they interact with fans more, answering questions, responding to complaints, and thanking fans for compliments. They retweet good things fans say (but they do it as RT instead of hitting the button, so it looks like a tweet from Carmex and not the follower). They encouraged fans to interact with the brand via their LeBron James partnership. People tweeted things like “I use @Carmex just like #TeamLeBron. My Terrific Tuesday game depends on it. #TeamCarmex http://bit.ly/vz7FNm” Basically they were only changing what their “game” was that depends on Carmex and including the link to the LeBron/Carmex page. The RTs of these fan tweets are all over the Carmex page near the end of January and into February so it seems like it was a popular trend. Very few tweets from Carmex were unique content that was not a response to someone else or a contest announcement. After being so underwhelmed with their FB page, it was nice to see more involvement with the Twitter handle.

ChapStick has an @ChapStick handle but it’s got a person’s name attached to it, has 35 followers and no tweets. Sad.


Chapstick’s YouTube channel looks impressive at a glance. They have a background with pictures of the different flavors and the same lips image shown above that they’ve got all over their Facebook page. The two pages are cohesive and display the brand nicely. I then noticed that there’s been no activity on the channel for 4 months. Not good.  It looks like last fall they did a “Sing your love for ChapStick” competition so some of the videos from that are posted, but nothing since then. They do have some featured 15-second videos that are set up as interviews on the street asking people “where is your ChapStick now” and “Who is the ChapStick thief in your life.” These are cute, but are obviously staged and a bit commercial-y. There are not very many comments on the channel and none of them are by ChapStick. They do have a referral to their FB page that keeps a real-time count of how many Likes they have.

Chapstick Facebook likes

Carmex’s channel is a little less showy than ChapStick’s. The background is their signature yellow color, but the channel almost looks like a fan and not the company might run it. Their latest activity was back in October, and since they joined in 2006, they have only posted 4 videos; one is a 4-minute tour of their labs, one is an announcement of their new skin-care product. One from 2008 is a 1 ½ minute TV commercial with this copy under it “Do you have a unique Carmex story to share? Why do you think people love Carmex so much? How do you share the tingle? Well, break out your video camera or cell phone (and some Carmex!) and show us your movie making magic. Enter your video (under three minutes) and we’ll reward the most promising up and coming film-makers with $5,000 or other fabulous prizes! Videos will be judged on creativity (“tingliness”), humor, overall appeal and popular vote in case of a tie.”
There doesn’t seem to be much follow-up on the page from that promotion and there’s been nothing like it since then.

Both of these brands have a lot of room for improvement in their social media customer interactions. I applaud them for having YouTube channels, but both of them really need to refocus on making the channels valuable. I am very surprised that ChapStick doesn’t have a Twitter, but at the same time the conversational tone of their Facebook page covers a lot of the same content that a Twitter handle would. Since they focus so much on the visual of each new flavor or difference in product benefit, it makes sense for ChapStick as a brand to focus their attention on FB where they can post pictures that are easy to see than on Twitter.

Carmex redeemed their weak Facebook page with their Twitter handle, but then was very disappointing in their YouTube channel. I’d say that in the end ChapStick wins out, mainly because they seem to be working very hard to provide clever and fresh, relevant content on their Facebook page. I loved the question about “Name a President and what ChapStick flavor they would use.” They weren’t blatantly pushing their brand, but it did encourage fans to stop and really think about the different products they offer. In reading the comments other fans made, I realized that there are some flavors out there that I wasn’t even aware of. So ChapStick wins this contest, but due to their PR/Facebook debacle last fall only by a margin. (They still use the phrase “Be heard on Facebook” but they seem to have learned that they can’t say that and then delete peoples’ comments.)


Google-lytics: Part 1-Using Google’s FREE search features to find your audience.

29 Jan

I’m taking a Social Media/online tools class at DePaul this quarter and one of the things we’ve worked on is using free Google searches and tools to help businesses select their target audiences and find the best point of connection with them. I’m going to call this series “Google-lytics”  but I’m hoping to make a small series of posts on this and related topics. One of my Delta Gamma sisters, Sarah Eutsler, has a small business she’s just started, On a Good Note Designs, and I’ll be using her as a case study.

Part 1 is all about something you think you know how to do: Search. Yes, you open your browser and start typing away, letting Google autocomplete help you out, but there’s so much more you can do.

Sarah’s company specializes mostly in cute notecards, some personalized cards, and more recently wedding invitations/save the dates. When you type “note card designs” into Google, you get this. Notice over 83 million results, what does that mean to Sarah?

Screen shot of a google search for notecards

What Sarah can do is click “more search tools” on the bottom left and select “related searches”. This will help her learn how people look for note cards online.

Screen shot of related searches for "note cards"

So instead of just looking for “note cards” people look for things like “custom note cards” or blank or personalized note cards. When choosing keywords, this will be important information for Sarah to have. (but we won’t get to that until my post for Part 2.)

Now that she knows what some of the terminology out there is, Sarah wants to know what the online note-cards community is like. Who is her competition, who are note-card enthusiasts she can reach out to, and what words are these people using when discussing note-cards? (do they even use “note-cards” or “note cards” or “notecards”?)
When you’re in Google you can scroll to the bottom to find “advanced search”. Here you can enter in specific phrases to search for, things you want to exclude, and keywords. Here I decided Sarah does not want to know about people selling templates or giving “how to” advice so it was removed from the search results. With the words I chose (and by playing around with others) Sarah can see who else is using the same words she has in her name and on her website and how they’re using them.

Screenshot of Google Advanced Search Results for Note Cards

Once you submit the search, you can expand the options on the left sidebar to specify what kind of content to search for. Sarah can search for blogs that fit this criteria and pitch them public-interest stories related to her business. One of my blog results was this site which is a blog of an artist/writer with an interest in cats who just happened to write a post on Valentine’s Day cat cards. Since Sarah includes pictures of her cat on her webpage and sometimes writes anecdotes about cats in her blog, this could be a perfect connection for Sarah to make.

In Part 2, we’ll look at Keywords to maximize search optimization and how to use Google AdWords to select the best keywords with the lowest competition.

If you want to do some searching on your own, there are a number of free tools that you can use. (and some of them that I’ll be posting about) Here’s a list, courtesy of my professor Ben Foster.

Google Search options

“Navigating the Interactive Marketplace: Challenges, Trends, and Opportunities”

26 Oct

This evening I attended the “Navigating the Interactive Marketplace”Challenges, Trends, and Opportunities” panel at DePaul and I’m so glad that I did. The event was hosted by the Kellstadt Marketing Center, Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) and the Chicago Interactive Marketing Association (CIMA). The panel consisted of Jennifer Anton-Brand Manager for Miller Genuine Draft, Richard Hren-VP of Customer Insight Group at Razorfish, EJ Schultz, marketing report for Advertising Age, Clive Maclean, CEO at Euro RSCG, and was moderated by Diane Mermigas- adjunct new media professor at DePaul.

As moderator Diane Mermigas had the panelists address three main areas in interactive marketing Social Media: Cracking the Code, How does engagement lead to the transaction?, and Metrics-How do we identify them, apply them, and how do they lead us to the transaction. (As you can see, this was NOT a non-profit based presentation). Sorry but I don’t have quite the energy to break this down into a full discussion post, and I doubt you want to read it as such. I’m just going to write each panelists main points under each area.

Social Media: Cracking the Code

Jennifer Anton: Social Media is all about consumer engagement that is appropriate for your brand. Voice is key in successful social marketing. You have to make sure that the voice you are reaching out to consumers with is appropriate for your brand and is also appropriate for the platform. The voice that you use also has to be unique enough to set you apart from similar brands reaching out to the consumer on that same platform. Example: On a Friday night every beer company posts “Where you are going out tonight? Where’s the party at? etc.” You have to find a creative way to distinguish your brand from them.

Richard Hren: Social Media puts a face on the clique. It allows us to control, and actually have, a conversation. When dealing with brands on social media, participants (re: consumer) of different ages have differing expectations of the results of their engagements. Younger participants who interact more on social media platforms have a lower expectation of getting a response from their involvement with the brand, while older participants, who interact less frequently have a higher expectation of being engaged back.To these points E.J Schultz pointed out some of the obvious pitfalls of social media being that you can’t control the situation or what consumers are saying about you on these platforms

Clive Maclean: We now live in a “Conversation Economy.” It used to be that you wanted your brand to be noticed, now you want it to be talked about. “Conversation is mankind’s natural search engine”. (I love that one). Engagement moves the interaction to become more long-term with higher expectations. Instead of doing 1:1 marketing, we now do 1:1:many-by getting the consumer to engage their own network.

How does your organization go from engagement to the transaction?

Jennifer Anton: You need to make sure you’re not trying to do a “one size fits all” campaign -let people interact how they want to. Examples: Miller has just set up a test relationship with Yelp where when a KBD (Key Beer Drinker) searches under Chicago, any business that sells Miller/Coors products will show up first in the search. Blue Moon has an airport campaign running. If you’re a fan of Blue Moon on Facebook, when you land in any airport that serves Blue Moon (which I guess part of the campaign is that now all of them do), you get a text when you land letting you know where the nearest Blue Moon is (or something to that effect. Since I’m going to Charleston on December 1st, I’ll let you know how it works then).

Richard Hren: What the consumer wants is in the moment. Mobile Devices=the moment. The mobile device will eventually become a preferred payment method.

E.J Schultz: 84% of a brands fans are existing customers. The number of fans that a brand has is not as important as the number of people who are talking about the brand.

Clive Maclean: We need to stop chasing “the next big thing” and focus on getting the basics of marketing down. When the mobile payment device does explode, the money in it won’t come from the payment aspect, but will go to whoever owns the customer interface. Mobile payments are the fight of our lives and the ownership of the data from those transactions will be key.

Metrics of Social Media:

Richard Hren: Basic “click” date (what a customer clicks on) is easy to count, but doesn’t say much. Data on sharing, repeats, etc is better. Focus on what behaviors are indicative of the final sale I.e Does a comment lead to a sale? a Like? a share? Beware of “Data Silos” in your company -where each department (sales team, marketing, etc) has statistics and a certain view of who the customer is, but they are never combined to create the whole image of that customer.

Clive Maclean: Has created a “Customer Engagement Index” that measures how you’re engaged and the spirit of the engagement. It has two dimensions covering the relationship over an 8 part scale ranging from devoted-hatred and then an engagement dimension covering what type of engagement it is. This is tough for me to explain but the link to Clive’s blog about it is available here.

I hope some of this was interesting. There was a bit more flow to the conversation and it was really very well put together, but these were my main take-aways. Just the other day I read a blog post by Martin Weigel-The Head of Planning for Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam titled: “‘Engagement’: Fashionable Yet Bankrupt” which undermined a little what some of the panelists had to say. It was a really long blog post so I won’t go into a discussion here, but you really should read it. I would love to know what these panelists would say in reaction to it.

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