Nordstrom: Socially Speaking [mini case study]

Nordstrom was founded in 1901, as a shoe store, by John W. Nordstrom and Carl Wallin. They currently operate 229 stores nation wide. They claim to be the nation’s leading fashion specialty retailer. Since it’s start as a small specialty shoe store, Nordstrom was found on superior Customer Service and is what set’s them apart still to this day.

That being said, their customer service values truly shine through in the marketing and community building efforts online. If there’s one thing that’s clear about their online strategy, is that it is superbly designed to fit there all around clean and modern motif. As more and more consumers become more accustomed to buying online, Nordstrom has stepped up there e-commerce division of business with updating it’s online marketing strategies. They’ve even recently acquired men’s exclusive online retailer, Bonobo’s, their hopes: “to improve their practices, using their online partners as laboratories where they can develop new e-commerce strategies.”  Bonobo’s bring customer’s a customized experience when shopping online, this is something Nordstrom hopes to also improve on with this acquisition. This all comes into play while analyzing their marketing and community building online, Nordstrom must try to uphold it’s superior customer service ratings across the board, and must not be beat. While e-commerce is very important, focusing on community and social interaction online is equally of value. In my opinion, they go hand-and-hand.

It’s clear that Norstrom’s owner’s are in tune with the fact that having an online presence is of upmost importance.  In fact Jamie F. Nordstom, the head of Nordstrom.com and the great-grandson of the company’s founder, says “We’ve been thinking about where growth is going to come from across all retail over the next 10 years, and certainly square-footage growth is not where that growth is coming from.” 

Nordstrom on Facebook

 Nordstrom on Twitter

The Thread – Nordstrom’s Fashion Blog

Nordstrom on Pinterest

strengths

Nordstrom definitely has there tracks set for successful customer relations, and social media management online. With employees constantly working, and answering their customers tweets and comments on Nordstrom’s Facebook Page and Twitter Accounts. Since they’re known for customer service, this comes to know surprise that they take all of that very seriously.

weaknesses

I’ve noticed that while their blog is very on target as far as design and content goes, it lacks in it’s connectivity and tie-in to it’s social media outlets. They could also post more often, and post the link to their blog posts to their Facebook and Twitter pages. Another weakness to highlight is their Instagram account, all companies should be taking this new social network just as seriously as Twitter and Facebook. Considering it was just acquired by Facebook for 1 Billion dollars. With their current numbers at about 12, 00o followers, there’s a huge lack of interaction on there, with only 17 photos posted. According to their account, it seems they’ve only been posting for about 9 weeks.

opportunities

And finally a narrative suggestion of where you feel the company should go in the future. What can they do better? Where do their biggest opportunities lie ahead?

Politically Correct

About a week ago, democratic strategist, Hilary Rosen critcized Miit Romney’s wife saying, “She’s never worked a day in her life”. This struck a huge outrage to stay-at-home mom’s all over the America.

I believe that that woman should have used her words more carefully when trying to describe Mrs. Romeny, whom stayed at home to raise 5 boys. Needeless to say this created a strer in the online world as well…

After Rosen’s opinion about Mrs. Romney hit the air, Ann Romney stuck back by tweeting: “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.” @AnnDRomeny. That tweet was then re-tweeted by her 5 sons!

First lady Michelle Obama jumped into the fray with this tweet: “Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected. – mo.”

Even the Romeny boys are said to have mounted a Twitter defense against. Perhaps one of the most talk-about tweets was the one by third son Josh Romney, that was as follows:

“My mom has been able to get more followers in the last hour than I have in the last couple years. Follow her here@AnnDRomney,”…

Paywalls…A Go or a Gamble?

With web content being so extensive these days, some may believe media sites that charge to view their content are absolutely unreasonable. Why should we pay to view content that we can most likely find elsewhere for free? Sites set up these “Paywalls” to help increase revenue in addition to the paper print sales, which have been universally steadily declining for the past 20 or so years since the web has became more commonly utilized by society. Most find that their main source of news is found online via blogs, and news websites.

It’s rare to find that payrolls are successful because of these facts, and thus it’s even harder to find a company found a favorable outcome under the establishment of paywalls. But, I’ve found one company that has somehow managed it…The Augusta Chronicle.

With a 10.1% increase in traffic to their website since their establishment of the paywall, they are one of the only examples of how a paywall works in the companies favor rather than diminishing their traffic to the site. It costs users $6.95 a month for Web-only subscription, $2.95 a month for print subscribers (in addition to the $16 a month cost of a 7-day subscription). In comparison to the NY times web-only subscription at $20 a month, the Augusta Chronicle’s price is on the lower end. But, if you compare the site’s and companies all around especially in content, there is really no comparison. So, the price difference makes complete sense. Since the paywall was established December 6, 2010 their monthly unique page views went from 190,944 in November 2010, to 210,286 in May 2011.

The numbers show it, their paywall has increased not only revenue but also traffic. The Augusta Chronicle took a gamble and won! They are one of the few companies finding success in this content pay-per-view.


M&M Super Bowl Commercial – Introducing Ms. Brown

Ok, So let’s be honest, I watch the super bowl for the ad’s & the half time show, not the game. Especially this year, the teams that were playing were completely irrelevant to me.

And my down right favorite was the M&M “Just my shell” Ad. Shown below:

The voice of the newest spokescandy“, Ms. Brown M&M, is Vanessa Williams. This 2012 Superbowl Ad was her premiere debut! Along side the  cynical and sardonic Red (originally voiced by Jon Lovitz, thereafter Billy West) who is the mascot for milk chocolate M&M’s. 

The commercial was really on brand, you see the brand the entire time throughout the commercial. It was consistant with their value…warm, friendly and super humorous. The fact that they used the LMFAO song, “Sexy and I know it” song, really helped connect the brand with the audience. They were able to comically connect and get their brand message out through the use of a current Top Billboard Charts song. It was ranked among the top superbowl ad’s for 2012.

Here is the Pre-Super Bowl teaser that M&M’s released to get some talk going about the the newest “spokescandy”. Releasing a teaser really helps the brand to draw attention and bring about expectancy for the upcoming commercial. It’s a perfect lead-in to the big reveal in the super bowl:

They used Twitter to connect with customers and debuted both the teaser and full length commercial via the Ms.Brown Twitter account. This is just one example of how M&M’s is really using social media to supplement to their advertising, as well as connect with customers more personally.

The Importance of Online Identity – For Brands, as well as Personal Use

As an Emerging Media and Communications major at The University of Texas at Dallas, exploring the power of image, meaning, and identity online is my job. Moreover, examining how people or brands portray themselves, and build their own reputation or identity online. A person’s persona online can be looked at by the entire world, so it’s very important that everyone know how to represent him or herself properly. There’s much to be said and evoked by a users online presence and “profile”.  An individual uses text, as well as images to portray their identity online, whether that identity is a real or an anonymous one. People must ask themselves; how do they, as individuals, function within an online society? It is very easy for a person to either confuse or enlighten their online identity, that’s why it’s essential to use the right elements when compiling an online profile. There are virtually no limitations when the Internet is the medium of choice, so the choices and options are endless.

“In the digital realm, everything is made into a choice. The medium is biased toward the discrete. This often leaves out things we have not chosen to notice or record…”

Rushkoff words it in such a way that makes it the user’s responsibility and choice to put whatever he or she may want online or not. It’s common sense, if someone does not want something to be found or recorded, then don’t put it out there for the world to see. On the contrary, if there’s a need for something to be known about themselves, user’s have full control over their content.

The term profile is used commonly on the Internet; it’s essentially a person’s public or private spectrum of how they depict themselves on any particular social interactive website. It gives others the options to explore what an individual is all about, and offers the tools the user needs to present themselves on that specific online platform. User’s, being the working, middle to upper class, who have personal computers and access to the Internet at home, as well as at work. Websites like LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook are becoming more and more popular for professional and personal use. For instance, LinkedIn, is a website for professionals to connect. It’s a lot like Facebook, but the profile’s are structured in a way that they look more like resume’s than bios. Since LinkedIn is a site where most employers go first for candidate searching, if a person’s not on this site, it can be easily said their chances at getting the job are more slim than someone with their profile up on the site. Having a poor presence, or none at all, on any of these sites can result in a list of negative outcomes; lessened job opportunities, inadequate professional favorability, or even irreversible damages to reputations. The Internet is a place to connect and is more and more becoming a part of our culture for mainstream communication.  It is a place where misconceptions are easily made and first impressions are made in about five seconds. That’s right, it’s no longer 30 seconds, it’s 5 and if a person’s online identity seems unclear, the user is likely to assess that the person is technologically inadequate. Most jobs these day’s demand for computer and network knowledge, unless it is some kind of manual labor. But, generally, for the upper to middle working class, it’s true that they must know how to adequately use a computer and work it’s networks. Depending on the circumstances, an employer may not even need a paper resume, they may just ask for a link to an online resume. This is another example of why having an acceptable online presence should be considered a priority to most.

On nearly every webpage in-which individuals must identify themselves with a username, there’s is almost always a long list of information that can be mentioned about them. It could mention many and often times too much information about a user; schools attended, living location, relationship status, hometown, birthday, current work information, or even languages they speak. A lot has to do also with privacy of a webpage; often times there are privacy settings in place that a user can adjust to keep their page more private or open to the public. Of course, not every kind of user wants their hometown, birthday or living location in plain site for the world to see so they often times “hide” this information from other users. This is a common feeling for beginners. They are weary of who’s online, therefore are reluctant to start any kind of online presence. In some cases, user’s start profile’s but lie about who they are to connect to the network, this is considered unethical to media and network professionals in my field. They consider it to be “hacking”, the term is commonly used in the context of computer use to gain unauthorized access to data in a system.  It’s when hiding becomes “who you are” online, when it becomes a problem.

When a person can’t be identified as their real selves, is when we run into complications. But why? Rushkoff says, “We are more likely to lash out from the seeming(ly) safety of obscurity”, and that “this can promote an illusion that we may act without personal consequences”. For example, on the online social network Facebook, there have been many instances when people create false profiles for an alternate motive. Often times, in many cases the perpetrator is a young person trying to make victim of one of their peers whether it be in Jr. High or High School. Student’s, who create these false profiles, are claiming that they are someone totally different than themselves. Therefore, making it easy to prey on others, with no consequences for their actions. “Anonymity breeds mob behavior, merciless attack, and thoughtless responses” (Rushkoff 4). These teens engage with others with a false identity, meaning most of the time they can’t be traced or caught. This frequently results in someone else’s feelings being hurt or even mortified. It get’s worse, if a person is targeted by one of these so-called “Hackers”, it can ruin their reputation and in some cases their life. John M Grohol, Editor-in-Chief of the website World of Psychology, describes it as, “It’s a brave new world online, where a misstep on a social networking website like Facebook can result in hurt feelings between real friends”. This is also a place where parent’s must play the roll in the use of Internet and network control in their homes. Often times young adult’s and teens have these unethical “mob like” behaviors only that can extend into their real lives. Parent’s must take control over what a teen is allowed to access online, as well as common behaviors and proper online ethics that must be taught. But, if parent’s don’t have a clue about online networks and what’s out there as far as the digital realm is concerned, how on earth are they supposed to mediate what their children say or do online? This is just another clear example of why individuals just build their online identity as well as their knowledge of networks, especially if they are parents.

As I’ve said before, working carefully with the medium of the Internet can result in either destruction or establishment of users online identity. Since the Internet is so commonly used in present day, this is becoming even more important. By staying the course and only portraying an online image of a person’s true self, they can steer clear of any temptation to say anything they wouldn’t say in the ‘real world’. There are many different platforms to represent one’s self online, and with the way social media is moving, most websites will all be linked together to access each other from one another. In other words, every text or content a user publishes to the Internet can be “quoted, shared and linked to” (Rushkoff 63). So, why publish, posts, or say anything online that one isn’t proud of claiming? If it’s likely the entire world can access it. Also, having the same identity across all platforms is much easier to keep up with, also “remain(ing) accountable and present- we are much more likely to bring our humanity with us into the digital realm” (Rushkoff 54). Not having an online presence at all leaves many susceptible and open to “hackers”. Also, even if a user is not engaging daily, it’s still very important to get their true information out there so that they have control over and may manager their own identity.

Location, Location, Location!! – I’ll oust your Mayorship if you’re not careful!

I’m going to go ahead and make the generalization that you are a smart phone user. I am the queen of making generalizations, so sorry if you hate that kind of stuff. ANYWHO, so you’re a smart phone user, you should already know that your phone has a location device on it that can track where you are at any moment. This may seem creepy to you if you didn’t already know this, but it’s true. AT&T, Verizon or what ever carrier you’re with has access to this information all the time. So, queue SOCIAL MEDIA, here’s where they come in. Sites like Foursquare and Gowalla use location devices on your phone to locate where you are. So, if you out at a restaurant meeting friends for happy hour, you simply “check-in” on one of these two apps and it publishes your location on Twitter, Facebook or where ever you direct it to.

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. You don’t want the entire world to know you’re at a Pub having drinks with friends, that’s your right and you don’t have to. But, for fun people like me, it’s yet another wonderful way digital technology and the social communication scene is making an impact on society! It’s simply revolutionary. I’m enthused by it, it’s like a game with my friends and I.  We compete to “unlock badges” and earn point per check-in. It’s fun, and if your so lucky as to oust a “Mayorship” from someone, you may just receive special treatment at your favorite place. For example, Pinkberry, one of my favorite frozen yogurt shops, gives away a FREE small yogurt to it’s mayor everyday they come in and “check in” as mayor! It’s interactive MARKETING at it’s BEST! So go on, get the app, start checking in! It’s more fun than you think!

HERE’S me on FOURSQUARE – be jealous of my 18 BADGES! 😉

Sorry Kim K, I don’t care for your Tweets – Celebrity Endorsed Tweets

Yet another way Twitter has forever changed the PR and advertising industries. Here’s an agency that was fabricated to run celebrity endorsements in social media, more specifically on Twitter. Here’s what Ad.ly has to say about their mission:

“We help brands connect with consumers via the most influential celebrities, artists and athletes on the most popular platforms.”

Toyota, Best Buy, Microsoft, American Airlines, NBC and Sony are just a few of the brands that Ad.ly partners with for campaigns. So, how does this effect us, the non-celebs who follow the celebs? After finding this information, it wasn’t surprising to me that celebs were getting paid $10,000 plus per tweet to post about products. Some celebs that are endorsed by major brands such as Nike or Coca-Cola, get paid millions to do commercials and simply wear the brands products to an event. So, ten thousand plus makes sense: 1,000,000+ followers getting one tweet sent out to them equals maybe over a million made impressions with a couple strokes of a keyboard, and the re-tweets could be endless.

It’s brilliant, but this is my marketing/PR self talking. Even though I am an avid Twitter user, I am weary of what celebs to follow. Out of about 130 that I am following, 3 are probably A-list celebs, I really have no need to  follow celebs because I know of these agency and endorsements that are going on. I have no interest in what Kim Kardashian has to say about Nestle or Carl’s Jr, let alone anything she has to say. Sorry Kimmy fans, she’s just not one of my faves.

simply put…TWITTER = COMMUNICATION – Get it? Got it? Good.

For all those who STILL don’t know what Twitter is and it’s many uses…

This can’t be put any simpler…SO please, just try and grasp it this time!!!

 

K? Thanks.

Parent’s, Ya Done Goofed! – Extreme Cyber Bullying

You wouldn’t leave your 8 year kid at a carnival or state fair by themselves…So why do so many parent’s neglect parental guidance online?

To me the comparison between state fair and online is a weak one, I just couldn’t think of anything more relevant. Point being—PARENT’S THERE ARE ONLINE PREDATORS, PEOPLE WHO OPERATE ANONYMOUSLY TO PREY ON YOUNG CHILDREN! During a heated class discussion this week, the question of parental responsibility online came up. What is it? How do you monitor your child’s online activity? It doesn’t always have to come in the form of some fancy, complicated software designed to track your child’s every move. It’s as simple as, Internet time is spent in common places such as the kitchen or living room when a parent is around.

My fear is that parents don’t see the gigantic risk that could arise from unsupervised web use. Here’s just one example, and I’m sure this is not the only case of this kind of situation:

 

Here’s a piece by abc, about the situation involving Jessi Slaughter —

 

 

Productivity and Prioritization Online: What’s That???

Why do we feel like we need to check our emails constantly? Or watch our Twitter feed? How many times do we go online for one reason and end up at a completely different place when we’re done? Are we ever done? Technology gives us the ability to be online and stay connected 24/7, via smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Many view this as a CONSTANT nightmare.

Feeling like there’s a million and one things to do online, leaves us feeling stressed when we open our computers. Realizing these effects exist, is the first step to a less stressful online experience. It comes down to two things Productivity and Prioritization, and understanding what’s important and how to manage stress.

Online distractions come in many forms. For me, it’s not so much one particular site that is distracting, but the ability to have all my emails, Twitter feed, and Facebook up at once. I confess, I have to completely log myself out of these programs when trying to get work finished, especially when trying to write. Although, I admit to spending at least a good 15 minutes of free time checking these sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, before starting on a new task or project. A recent post in
The New Yorker titled, In Praise of Distraction, James Surowiecki mentions that recent research shows “forcing Internet-addicted employees to to go cold turkey may make them less productive, not more.” (Read more http://nyr.kr/gp9gfg) So maybe going completely offline when trying to get work done isn’t the best idea.
Perhaps there are different ways of  managing these behaviors to try and get what you need done, DONE. Manage those impulses, by allotting a certain amount of time to check your social networks or watch that new Youtube video that just went viral, to help you be more productive in the end. Give yourself some FREE Surf Time to check all your favorite sites that you LOVE to spend countless minutes or even hours of your free time on. Then, when your times up, get back to the task at hand. I believe giving yourself these breaks will help your overall productivity! So give it a try!