Last week I attended the excellent CMO Summit put on by Aberdeen. It was an terrific opportunity to learn how to be a better marketer and even brush up on my statistics.
I took away insights from each of the presentations but my favorite was from Michael Williams, VP Marketing for the San Francisco 49ers. The whole presentation was, in internet-speak, full of win, but the insight that has really stuck with me was that when fans talk about a game the next day, if their team won fans will say "we won!" However, if their team loses they'll say "they lost." How do you connect so deeply with your consumers that they see themselves as a "we" and not your brand as a "they?" And there is no reason why any brand cannot be a "we" brand. I feel that way about my razor (the Schick Intuition) of which I am an unabashed raving fan.
Also, an aside, if you need a speaker to talk about marketing, branding, managing competing organizational goals and a variety of different challenges and opportunities, and you can persuade Michael to join you, you won't regret it. I honestly had no idea professional football marketing could be so relevant and compelling.
Another excellent insight came from Matt Smith, VP Marketing Services for Best Buy. Matt talked about Best Buy's "Twelpforce" on twitter. The interesting aspect of the Twelpforce is that, other than basic guidelines, Best Buy employees are empowered to be a part of the force and provide customer service. This seems to be very much in line with Best Buy's employee-trust centered Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE). Seeing companies approach social media and use it in a way that is consistent with company values provides smart case studies.
Burt's Bees CMO, Mike Indursky, gave us another fantastic example of leveraging company values to guide social media use. When Clorox bought Burt's Bees there was a lot of fear expressed in the blogosphere that Burt's Bees would lose their green and natural standards once a bleach company was running the show. Mike described how Burt's Bees smartly engaged skeptical bloggers while maintaining and enforcing their core values. Great learning.
Sylvia Reynolds, CMO of Wells Fargo, which has long been a leader in innovating consumer-facing social media use among large companies, especially heavily regulated companies, talked about pro bono marketing and other professional services work Wells Fargo employees do with the Taproot Foundation. In the course of her talk she mentioned an eye-popping statistic: 1 in 500 Americans work for Wells Fargo. I tweeted those numbers. Several people re-tweeted it. The next day, Aberdeen President, Andrew Boyd saw the tweets because I used the #CMOSummit hashtag. He (kindly without naming me) pointed out the tweets propagated through social media and will live on. Andrew made a great observation: of course the proper statistic would be 1 in 500 working Americans. Still a wow for me but a very different number. In addition to remembering to be precise in statistics, it provides an important reminder about how social media can quickly and easily share and spread information that shouldn't always be taken at face value.