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Using the Social Ecosystem to Increase Brand Consideration

Paula Drum, VP of Marketing for H & R Block presents a case study and learnings from Social Media efforts to date.

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Using the Social Ecosystem to Increase Brand Consideration

  1. 1. H&R Block Using the Social Ecosystem to Increase Brand Consideration May 13, 2008
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>H&R Block </li></ul><ul><ul><li>WHQ in Kansas City, MO </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revenue: $4 billion in FY 2007 </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. What You Think You Know about H&R Block <ul><li>Misperceptions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>H&R Block is not for complex returns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>H&R Block is not for DIYers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>MISSION: Increase consideration of our brand by communicating that H&R Block stands for Expertise, Advocacy and Innovation </li></ul>
  4. 4. How We Approached the Solution <ul><li>Hard to get past strong brand associations in banner advertising. H&R Block Online messaging is likely perceived has H&R Block retail messaging </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate through context </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create unexpected and more meaningful interactions with customers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Expertise: Freely share our rich tax content and advice </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Advocacy: Give our audience tools and tips to help them put our expertise on their side </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Innovation: Associate our brand with current and useful technology </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>We don’t have the “luxury” of testing one thing at a time, due to seasonality; so jumped in to lots of things to get the learnings </li></ul><ul><li>Social media efforts represented about 5% of total budget (much of which can be leveraged in the future) </li></ul><ul><li>Created assets that could be used across multiple platforms (where appropriate) to get the most mileage from our investment </li></ul>
  5. 5. Leveraging the Social Ecosystem to Increase Consideration of the H&R Block Brand Video Syndication Widgets <ul><li>Leveraging the Social Ecosystem to: </li></ul><ul><li>Create unexpected & meaningful interactions with customers </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate brand attributes of expertise, advocacy & innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Introduce H&R Block products </li></ul><ul><li>Listen to what customer have to say about the brand </li></ul>
  6. 6. Digits: H&R Block’s Own Community Site (beta) http://digits.hrblock.com/ <ul><li>A tax forum…and then some </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blog posts (text and video) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Open for comments (text and video) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Podcasts (tax tips) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Videos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Widgets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tax calculators and tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Product information </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Facebook http://www.facebook.com/HRBlockonline <ul><li>Kicked off with product giveaways </li></ul><ul><li>Tools and games to help fans learn about tax deductions and personal finance </li></ul><ul><li>Forum for asking tax-related questions, talking about refund plans, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-promoted Digits, Second Life </li></ul>
  8. 8. YouTube http://www.youtube.com/trumangreene <ul><li>Truman represents the brand: not sexy; really wants to help. He’s an advocate. </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube brand channel, 16 videos in 14 weeks </li></ul><ul><li>Homepage ad kicked it off, gained subscribers </li></ul><ul><li>Linked to Truman’s MySpace page </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ What H&R Block has done is create an obvious fake persona for a social media campaign, but done so transparently. They’ve nailed a fun, off-beat spokesperson who is over-the-top corporate shill, but still engaging and entertaining.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Jason Falls, Social Media Explorer </li></ul>
  9. 9. MySpace http://www.myspace.com/trumangreene <ul><li>Carried over the Truman persona, but in a much deeper way: blog posts, photos, discussions </li></ul><ul><li>Leveraged the same widgets that help customers learn how to make the most of their tax situation in engaging way </li></ul>
  10. 10. eHarmony <ul><li>Sponsored a series of tax posts within eHarmony’s new Advice section </li></ul><ul><li>Offered personalized tax advice through eHarmony discussion boards: post a tax question and get an answer from H&R Block within 24 hours </li></ul>
  11. 11. Second Life http://slurl.com/secondlife/HR%20Block/112/52/38 <ul><li>Open office hours on Tuesday and Thursday evenings during tax season (including live DJs and a dance floor) </li></ul><ul><li>Live tax advice from H&R Block Tax Professionals in avatar form </li></ul><ul><li>Tax trivia contests with Linden Dollar prizes </li></ul><ul><li>Streaming media in auditorium featured our video assets </li></ul>
  12. 12. Twitter http://twitter.com/hrblock girlinblack @ hrblock : sup. You know anything about tax filing for part-year residents in the Commonwealth of Virginia? :) jamuraa @ HRblock does TaxCut online support amended filings? I just opened my K-1 after I filed :( drewolanoff @ HRBlock I have to do taxes for 3 different states. PA, WA, NY. Help. Please. Help. I'm serious. Please. Help. drewolanoff @ HRBlock contacted me within 5 minutes of my tweet the other day, and called and emailed within an hour of that. Unreal!! stevehall @ HRBlock well who knew HRBlock was on Twitter? lol. Good stuff. Thanks but I'm on the home stretch with TurboTax. I'll check tips though Created consideration with prospects Jillfoster @ HRBlock Thx for tax info link & calming vibes on tax stress. Found a tax office in Virginia to help Provided product help Fulfilled on brand promise of advocacy Created a brand evangelist
  13. 13. Common Craft Paperworks Movie <ul><li>Along with the widgets, Facebook applications and Truman videos, we also commissioned a video from Common Craft to communicate the value of our new product, Tango </li></ul><ul><li>The video was used on H&R Block, Facebook, Digits and Tango has it’s own page on YouTube and received over 10,000 views </li></ul>
  14. 14. Results <ul><li>Community Sites </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Over 570k views of Truman Green videos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Almost 700k pageviews on Digits.hrblock.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Over 400k exposures and 60k interactions with H&R Block marketing widgets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HR Block Island listed as one of the top eight corporate sites by Computer World </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Almost 4,000 friends on MySpace </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Over 1,000 fans on Facebook </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nearly 350 brand followers on Twitter with over 150 conversations conducted through tax season </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Brand metrics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Total Brand Awareness for TaxCut from H&R Block increased 52% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Among our target audience (digital users) internet advertising awareness increased 171% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Among our target audience (digital users) word of mouth awareness increased 55% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Won’t have consideration numbers until late May </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Results <ul><li>Online and Industry Influencers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Robert Scoble (FastCompany.tv, Scobleizer.com, author of Naked Conversations) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shel Israel (Global Neighborhoods; an online video blog series, author of Naked Conversations) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jeremiah Owyang (Forrester Research) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rodney Rumford (FaceReviews.com) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chris Heur (Social Media Club) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TaxMama (Taxmama.com and syndicated reviews) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Traditional Press </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wall Street Journal (two articles) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brand Week </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kansas City Star </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promo Interactive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PR Week </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Blog posts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Over 6mm impressions and 20mm inbound links </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Results Digits nabbed good rankings on popular “AMT Information” term when this was big news Listings for our Truman Greene took over the whole SERP. Poor Truman Greene, VP of HR at Dallas machinery company fell to the bottom
  17. 17. What we learned <ul><li>Offer value: functionality, service, entertainment </li></ul><ul><li>Be a person when talking to customers. Humor helps! </li></ul><ul><li>Advertising in social media is both necessary and risky. Entertainment works best. </li></ul><ul><li>Your customers don’t know your brand silos. </li></ul><ul><li>Social media can represent a very small percentage of budget, but will likely represent a large percentage of time </li></ul>
  18. 18. Where to Find Me <ul><li>Paula Drum </li></ul><ul><li>VP of Marketing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Email: [email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter: http://twitter.com/pauladrum </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facebook: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blog: </li></ul></ul>