When it comes to Social Media I have to admit I was a late bloomer. But since my initial hesitancy I have dived in and become quite the advocate. I have been a speaker at global social media conferences like the Global Twitter conferences as well as helping a few small agencies in the Middle East find their feet on the platform. I am currently living in Dubai where a few major companies have really tried exploring the platform to some success. A fellow speaker at the Global Twitter conference who launched his brand WILD PEETA (A local shawarma restaurant with a twist, very funky and friendly, oh! and great food!) on Twitter and Facebook six months before they opened the doors to their restaurants had a huge success within the first few months which showed the way for many of the larger organizations.
Etisalat, the major telecom company in the UAE and beyond as well as RAK Bank have joined the social media bandwagon. Both have suffered a negative perception in the past but I have to say have really done a great job in using social media. Both have really used Twitter especially to help this negative perception which mainly was regarding feedback on questions and upcoming services or events. Both do not just send out the latest offers or products. They have looked at the media and truly understood that it is a one to one conversation with a consumer, with a sprinkling of self promotion as well which is fine if the first is done properly. Both are very active and are really making a difference to the perceived image of these stiff corporate companies. There is a long way to go for both but you have to applaud both for their efforts so far. They both answer questions immediately and are actively engaging with consumers to help with their banking and telecommunication questions.
We see many global brands online now but we rarely see behind the scenes and how the major corporations are dealing with this new phenomenon of social media. This video about gatorade and how their full service digital marketing agency, VML have turned social media into a full research and development industry that will hopefully reduce focus groups and testing of campaigns to the archives of advertising history, well you can’t blame me for hoping! Anyway have a look at the video and please let me know your thoughts on, what I believe, is a wonderful case study of what happens when a major brand embraces technology. Good luck to VML and Gatorade on this project, the race is on and now everyone is playing catch up to them. Can other brands put their money where social media is? Only time will tell. Enjoy.