Two salesmen are sent to a newly discovered tropic island to sell shoes to natives. The first one writes back, “situation hopeless: no one wears shoes.” The second one writes, “Amazing opportunity: everyone needs shoes.”
It’s an old joke, but it illustrates the different view two companies take of yet-to-be defined land of social media. Which comes closer to reflecting your online engagement?
Clorox: call the attorneys
According to AdAge Magazine, Clorox has “taken the unusual step of advertising for a full-time in-house legal counsel to focus on social media — a rather surprising sign of how entrenched social-media marketing is becoming even for relatively established household products.”
It turns out that a survey of entries on Twitter and Facebook regarding Clorox are for off-label purposes. The possibility of such an entry causing harm and being traced back to a company employee was all it took for Clorox to prepare for the worst. There’s also the unthinkable risk of someone advancing their own interests with the unauthorized use of Clorox.
The company recently ramped up their social media efforts with creation of the Understanding Bleach blog. It’s squeaky-clean (no pun intended) and hobbled by ad-speak and self-serving video. There’s nothing warm or human here–unless you find it amazing to learn what can be cleaned with “Clorox® Regular Bleach.”
P&G: put the best Facebook forward
That same issue of AdAge carries a story about Proctor & Gamble’s opening of an office in California’s Silicon Valley to better leverage social media–especially Facebook. The company’s goal to reach 5 billion social media consumers worldwide makes Facebook the obvious step.
“P&G sees the value of digital and social media in consumers’ lives and we want to connect with consumers in the environments where they are spending their time,” a P&G spokesperson told the magazine.
While Twitter allows what the company sees as a one-to-many vehicle more akin to television, they see Facebook as a relationship deepener. For example, Tide is offering vintage shirts for sale on their Facebook page with proceeds going to their Loads of Hope benefit for Haiti relief. The brand is plugged into what matters to their customers, allowing them to make a difference.
Clorox, meanwhile, is a sea of “we-we” that sees the world through a lens of how their product can be used. Even as flu season abates, Clorox continues running a flu-prevention promotion that offers an in-school appearance by an American Idol finalist.
Posture drives headcount
P&G’s Tide brand alone has 310,263 Facebook fans. Meanwhile, Clorox has 69,792 fans for it’s three listings combined. The point is larger than Facebook fan counts; there is a fundamental difference in the approach used by each of the companies and it shapes the relationship being built with their customers. One sees natives in need of shoes while the other is taking precautions against getting kicked. Which approach is reflected in your advertising posture?