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T. Rowe Price social media case study — Live from the Brands-Only Summit

Coverage of this session by Don Vanderslice of SocialMedia.org. Connect with him by following him on Twitter.

2:10 — SocialMedia.org’s Kurt Vanderah introduces T. Rowe Price’s VP of Social Media, Dan Phelps.

2:11 — Dan shares the story of how uber-conservative T. Rowe Price could cut through all the noise of the holidays to talk about savings.

2:13 — Dan: On September 2012, we knew that no one was going to be interested in talking about savings in December, but we were tasked with addressing it.

2:14 — Goal: Maintain brand awareness and encourage savings. The first thing we did: Brainstorm everything that had to do with the holidays that we could think of. We came back to Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge is too evil so we set about creating a new Scrooge.

2:15 — We picked up where the Christmas story left off with Scrooge’s grandson who had learned his lessons well. “It’s good to be a Scrooge!”

2:16 — Dan: The centerpiece was a custom Facebook App that leveraged holiday issues. They were funny cards with actionable advice on the back that were shared socially.

2:17 — Dan: Beyond raising awareness, we wanted to use this to expand what T. Rowe was trying to do on social: increase engagement and increase in share of voice.

2:19 — Opportunity to test everything:

  • Responsive design that worked across all platforms
  • Cross-channel alignments to improve sharing
  • New packaging for our investment content using stories to inform and engage
  • Infuse humor into our social voice
  • Great paid support to help boost awareness

2:20 — Dan shares Challenges of the New Campaign:

  • Biggest question: How does Scrooge fit our 5-year old brand?
  • Biggest issue: Keeping pace with fan comments
  • Biggest letdown: Missing overwhelming executive support

2:22 — Results:

  • 4,120 App views
  • 9,590 Tip views
  • 1+ million impressions
  • High engagement. Lots of sharing.
  • 15% of all visits came from a mobile device. (Even though Droid beats Apple 2 to 1, most of our traffic came from Apple devices.)

2:23 — We added 1/4 of our Facebook likes during this campaign.

  • 10,150 App engagements
  • 4,700 FB actions
  • Minimal number of actions on Twitter and Pinterest

2:25 — Takeaways

  • Humor is a powerful lever. It ensured that it was shared.
  • Value of responsive/adaptive design

2:26 — Power of Paid

  • Value of increasing ad investments was not incremental but compound
  • We increased our advertising dollars by 2x but increased Likes by 4x.

2:28 — Dan: We spent a lot of time in development of the Facebook app, but the shares where made more often through the Facebook Timeline than the app. If we did not share the cards were not in our Timeline they got traction more slowly.

Dan says, if you are going to spend time and money developing the app, don’t give it all away in the newsfeed.

Q & A:

Q: How did you come up with the creative concept? Agency? Internal?

A: Dan: We used an agency who did an amazing job helping us go through the ideation process.

Q: If you had total buy-in from management instead of pushback how would it have been different?

A: Dan: We would have saved a lot of time having to answer to management every three days. We would have spent a lot more time seeing which cards got higher engagement and optimizing the experience.

Q: Was this worth moving this forward? In other words, in aggregate have you broken down some silos and changed perceptions?

A: Dan: This was instrumental in showing that social can accomplish our end goals — that it can accomplish something. It made waves. It opened the marketing team to understanding that social can be leveraged to increase what they do. It puts us at the table with marketing.

Q: How long was it from ideation to enactment?

A: Dan: About 6 weeks. We have great content writers in house and an amazing agency.

Q: Specifically how did this change your relationship with marketing?

A: Dan: I’m now integrating with what Marketing is doing (along with their budget). We’re providing them with the firepower for their campaigns as they integrate social into what they’re doing? From our experience it’s much easier to integrate with them and test on their dime.

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