Campaign India Team
Jun 05, 2012

“The best way to understand a medium is to take the plunge”: Becky Brown

The director of social media strategy at Intel Corp met with Campaign India recently, to discuss the brand's approach to different social media platforms

“The best way to understand a medium is to take the plunge”: Becky Brown

How has Intel's social media presence developed - from blogs to new-age social networks?

Back in 2005, we were the pioneers of corporate blogging. Over time, we realised that there was lot of energy among employees; and they knew what to talk about on things happening around the industry, and knew how to talk through the blogs. In 2007, we started looking at social networking from a different perspective. So we used to build the content and keeping the focus on a larger social network strategy translated it to 35 different languages. We also initiated large number of training sessions for our employees, to keep them abreast of social media etiquettes; in short, what to write and how. Social became a part of our company, right from conceptualization of products to delivering them and even beyond that.

Social media has significantly changed our marketing strategies - not only the way we design a campaign but also how we activate it. For instance, the latest campaign on Ultrabook was first released on Facebook and Twitter before it hit the mainstream media.

Where does India feature in your social networking strategy?

India is our number one country, as its growing at a very fast pace. Our relationship with our fans on social network shows a high engagement from India. This has helped us to create India-specific strategies to further put impetus on our engagement levels here. In India, we are primarily on Facebook and Twitter. We have a global channel on YouTube, and recently we have stepped in to the latest kid on the social network scene - Pinterest.

On Facebook, we have a global page and then region-centric pages. The activities on the global are cumulative of the engagement happening on the region-specific pages. When we develop the content paradigm for the Intel India page, we focus on providing the latest updates specific to the fans in the region. At the same time, we do have a mix of the global content.

Pinterest isn’t interesting to brands?

Personally, I feel it’s a fantastic platform. It is a great way to express the brand in a visual way. However, for Intel, even though we just launched our page, we are still trying to understand what opportunities it can offer. Being a first-mover, I am really careful. You can’t have a presence on a platform and not have a dedicated team to look after it. It is still very super-early.

2006 was a fairly early time to prepare a social network strategy. How did Intel understand the necessities and nuances of social media then?

The best way to understand a medium is to take a plunge. We have always had several social pioneers like Bryan Rhodes, who is called the blog-Godfather, to help us understand the medium. We enabled our social media pioneers to experiment with the medium. Perhaps, that is a reason why our acceptance of social media platforms has been faster than our peers.  Also, we don’t believe in outsourcing the content on our pages. I personally answer questions on the page, because that is what the user is looking for - engagement. Since we are a very data-centric company, it gives me the chance to understand and gauge if our activities are delighting the fans or disinteresting them.

It is difficult to engage with a consumer who perceives you as a ‘chip-making’ company since they usually don’t interact with your products directly.

I would rather say that it has offered us a better opportunity. Intel technology is there in just about anything. So we can talk about a variety of subjects: right from automobile, telecom, healthcare, music, environment, education, et al. There is a great story about technology changing the world we live in, and we want to harness that.

Brand presence on social network is mostly built with the sole aim of engaging the youth? Isn’t the 40-plus segment important for brands?

Around 50 to 70 per cent of those who come to our pages are under 30 (years of age). So by design, we create content that will engage them. While a 30-plus consumer would be spending approximately 30 minutes on social network, youth today spend several hours every day socialising with the world through digital mediums.

There are several methods to understand the performance of a campaign, like cost per click. How does Intel measure users' online activity?

At Intel, we realised that the cost per click isn’t an effective mechanism to understand responses to our campaigns. So we developed a new system with the help of our media agency, OMD. This system, which we call as Value Point System (VPS), assigns a pre-determined number of points for every action consumers do online on Intel pages. For instance, watching a certain online video may garner 40 points, while a site visit might be worth only two points. As the online visitor moves about the site, they accumulate points, which Intel uses to evaluate its online marketing strategy. For social, however, getting all those things connected is still challenging.

The competition between the paid and social media has ended in a thaw with most brand managers coming to a conclusion that both need to co-exist. What are your thoughts on this?

We think it is best when social and paid media are done together. Even commercials are getting more social. Digital offers far more innovative ways to tell a story than any traditional media. Therefore, the natural extension to a campaign on traditional media is to have a digital (and social) campaign that syncs with this.

To take social to the next level, people should see us as newscasters and content generators. Therefore, instead of going for a different strategy or campaign for different networks, I feel different content should be underlined by the same campaign theme. We have been using a technique called Social by Design; that is, developing content that is designed to travel. This means that developing content that can sustain on social platforms, link them and create the ‘connect’.

Campaign India

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