Viral Marketing Initiatives

Kmart needed to get the attention of discount shoppers and they did it with humor. The “Ship My Pants” and “Big Gas Savings” campaigns both went viral. The viral marketing content does support the business objective because it is a discount department store and allows product shipping to another store or the customer’s home. I think both of these created brand awareness and made people seek out the videos as well as possibly consider a stop to the nearest Kmart. Since the videos we funny, the content was shared by many and viewed by millions. Not only did Kmart produce two ads that went viral in a short amount of time, they also created a third, “Show Your Joe.” Although it revived the brand and created a splash, Kmart is still struggling to compete with the likes of Target and Walmart.

Viral marketing can become a successful tactic when it works. In a time of instant gratification and faster internet, a company has less time to be memorable and effective. Marketers need to create unique plans to stand out from all the noise and coloring outside the lines becomes the standard. The most important ingredient is to evoke an emotion from the viewer. A positive one is best such as laughter, happiness, etc. This will make them want to share it with others. If it made them laugh, they want to make others laugh.

Differentiation

Uber v Lyft logo

Uber and Lyft are making a big splash in the ridesharing market by competing head to head with each other, public transportation, cab companies, and carpools. The interesting fact is that they are more focused on knocking each other out of the market than the rest of the competition. And, it’s a heated competition on and off the road.

There are many similarities when you compare them side by side. Both use their own smartphone app to connect passengers with drivers who are for hire, using their own vehicles. On this app, customers may request rides and track their reserved vehicle’s location. The fare charge includes fees for per minute, per mile, minimum fare, and safety fee. They both also have a “surge pricing” for peak times during the day.

The Lyft brand in more recognizable than the Uber brand. Have you noticed those pink mustaches on cars? Most drivers place that pink mustache to the front of the car  for identity, leading toward brand awareness. The Lyft brand differentiates itself by being more personal than Uber. The moustache lends itself to a more casual brand and it does not stop there. The drivers allow you to sit in the front seat instead of the back and the more chauffer-driven Uber. Uber drivers are not allowed to be tipped, but Lyft encourages tips and has a reminder set at the end of the ride. This personalization extends to Lyft social media channels of Facebook and Twitter. The tone of Lyft’s facebook is more personal showing driver and rider experiences, while Uber is more corporate with of a sales tone.

The overall goal of each company is sales. How do increase sales? Offer a service where the customer is happy and feels engaged.  According to the image below, Uber is the clear frontrunner with over 92% of rideshare between the two companies.

uber-lyft

 Lyft has a lower price point and Uber has been in business longer, but for the past year, it is evident that Uber wins…for now.  So, does brand recognition equal sales? For now, it does not, but I believe that personal touch of Lyft will win over Uber in the future.

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Griffith, Erin . (2014, September 11) Uber vs Lyft: The credit cards don’t lie. Retrieved September 13, 2014 from http://fortune.com/tag/lyft/

Lyft. (n.d). Official Twitter Account. Retrieved September 13, 2014 from https://twitter.com/Lyft

Lyft. (n.d). Official Facebook Account. Retrieved September 13, 2014 from https://facebook.com/Lyft

Uber. (n.d). Official Twitter Account. Retrieved September 13, 2014 from https://twitter.com/Uber

Uber. (n.d). Official Facebook Account. Retrieved September 13, 2014 from https://facebook.com/Uber

Best Practices for Blogging

Blog word.

Blogging can be a great way to connect with your consumers. For the mass transit industry, this is another way to connect with it’s riders.  Most blog posts consist of routes and closures, but there is that opportunity to connect. If there is a large light rail project with several potential routes, the company blog may be the arena to start the discussion. 

Mass transit examples include the Eastern Sierra Transit Blog and the Port Authority of Alleghany County Blog.

If you are considering a blog, here are a few suggestions:

1. Create Policies and Procedures. This includes for blogging topics, editors,and how to handle comments. A set of guidelines will need to be established on how the blog can affect the business. Know what you are getting into and how you will handle the risks. You may discover a blog is not the right fit, right now.

2.  It’s NOT About YOU! This is an opportunity to engage, not to sell. Any attempt to sell will backfire. Readers are looking to be a part of the dialogue not a recipient of your ads. If you make a connection, they will buy. Make the post about them and they will continue to read.

3. Timing is Everything. Keep your content fresh and relevant. There are so many ways to do this just look at the company news, jobs, new products, etc. Even commenting on recent events and how it will relate to you and the reader is a great way to connect.

4. The Blog is Your Image. This is a direct reflection on the company. Keep the image consistent as well as any messaging. You want to be open and transparent with the readers. Keep in mind that what happens on the internet, stays on the internet. Be mindful of how you respond to comments.

5.  Be Engaged. Always respond to comments whether good or bad so they know you are listening. If you need to direct them offline then do so with a comment. If you find a comment has brought up a few good points that starts a conversation, use this in your next blog article.

6. Mingle Your Social Media. When you post a new blog article, tweet about it or post a link of Facebook. This is a great way to cross-market and can get more followers pointed in the blog’s direction.

7. Know When to Say Good-Bye. Nothing lasts forever as this includes your blog. Here is a great blog about ending a blog, How to Know When to Stop Blogging.

The key is building a solid understanding and foundation on what the company’s goals for the blog are currently and where they want to be in the future. To continue your education on starting a blog, consider reading Corporate Blogging: 7 Best Practices by Kari White and Blogging for Beginners: 17 Tips Before You Start Your Blog. This case study about the Boeing blog will make a great benchmark on how to sustain your blog for the long haul, B2B Social Media Example: Boeing.