Is Your Brand Prepared?
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can serve as powerful tools for bridging the gap between generations. Brands that are missing the “cool” factor of years gone by can turn to social media to help reinvigorate a fan base, modernize their “voice,” and connect with an entirely new fan base.
One such brand that comes to mind is Kendall Motor Oil (disclaimer: a former client of mine). Kendall has been around since 1881 and in today’s “do it for me” culture of Jiffy Lube oil changes, younger drivers are less likely to learn (or want to learn) how to change their own oil or accompany dad to the local auto parts store to pick up a quart of transmission fluid. Recognizing this challenge, Kendall has recently done a great job of tapping into the power of Facebook to promote new viral videos, share vintage photos and cool historical brand facts, and generate awareness for its grassroots racing program.
Why the background on Kendall? Because on Sunday evening I randomly stumbled upon a very different – and less positive – example of how social media can connect different generations. While Twitter-surfing instead of watching “The Amazing Race” (thanks to a busted flat screen) I came across a tweet tagged with #BooNestle. I clicked on the link thinking it was a fun Halloween candy promotion, only to learn that it was promoting a decades-old boycott on Nestle products, including candy (there’s your timely Halloween tie) and infant formula. Some additional digging via the #NoNestle hashtag revealed a Sunday Twitter chat dedicated solely to this boycott. One blog even gave numerous offline suggestions for aligning with the boycott, such as window signs for display on Halloween that identify a house as a “Nestle Free” zone with a list of fair-trade candy options.
I won’t get into the history of the debate here, but what I will say is that I was momentarily floored that as a late twenty-something, unmarried with no kids, I was instantly connected to hundreds of women (mainly moms) who are vehemently against purchasing Nestle brands for their families. I never set out on Sunday evening to join the boycott, but after sending a few inquiring #BooNestle tweets and reading the back-story on how and why this movement started, I was involved.
As a PR professional, I am keenly aware of the power of social media and how it can in some cases, make or break a brand depending on how a company deals with an online crisis. I live and breathe it every single day. However, there are still many moments in my “personal” social media explorations that cause me to step back for a moment and think, “Wow, this movement is both incredibly exciting and simultaneously daunting.”
Have you bridged the generational gap using social media lately?