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Nokia's Vision for Social Media Marketing

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nokia generally shows up on lists of the top global brands. This year it was 8th on Interbrand’s annual survey. The report describes today’s consumer as “skeptical, social and savvy” and has good content on branding in that environment. Nokia’s response on their Conversations blog is also worthy of note by social media marketers.
It’s Nokia’s vision for what’s really their integrated marketing communications strategy, not just their social media strategy, that I find compelling. Their emphasis on getting away from isolated campaigns (“big bangs”) in favor of continuous engagement in earned media represents clear understanding of communications in a global, connected world. Forrester defines “earned media” as customers becoming the channel as a result of a sustained and well executed social media strategy in paid and owned (branded) media.

But even if you are a big brand with a lot of resources things will sometimes go wrong as they recently did for Nokia. However, they managed to turn a distinct negative into something reasonably positive.

It’s a story of a sports blogger being approached by Nokia’s PR agency with incentives for participating in one of a set of sports events as part of an outdoor-themed campaign. There’s more to it and you should read it for yourself, but the bottom line is that the promises to the blogger were simply not kept. Is that more likely when the campaign was outsourced? You can decide that for yourself.

The story was published on the British Econsultancy blog on October 12. Nokia’s response wasn’t fast (see the October 20 comment), but when it came social media director Mark Squires took responsibility for the fiasco and made it clear that Nokia tried to make up for the failure. When you screw up, that’s about the best you can do.

The good news is that it seems to be a relatively rare screw-up by a company that generally does its social media marketing well. In fact, the early October interchange with Econsultancy appears to have resulted in a late October interview with Mark Squires that’s worth reading for insights into how Nokia’s strategy has evolved within the organization.

While researching this post, I came across an interesting conference presentation by Molly Schonthan who was then head of social media for Nokia in North America. The section on their complex and apparently effective program at SXSW2010 is especially interesting. If you don’t have time for the 30-minute video, page through her presentation for more interesting insight into a company that takes social media marketing seriously.
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