The power of social listening and the ‘little win’ that made my day

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Bodyform's Live Fearless campaign has been a hit on social media.

When you manage a creative agency, you get a boost from things like securing a new client or winning an industry award, but every now and then you get a ‘little win’ that can mean just as much.

That’s exactly what happened to us at Media Bounty last month when we were alerted to a tweet that made our day.

In response to a tweet by the feminine sanitary hygiene brand Always on the revival of its celebrated #LikeAGirl campaign, this time with an iteration focusing of female self-confidence, a Twitter user with the handle of @pipsterish posted:

The reason that this little tweet got us so excited is that we at Media Bounty have been the social media agency of Bodyform since 2014. Without wishing to overstate the importance of a single tweet, this meant a lot to us for a few different reasons.

Firstly, we don’t know @pipsterish so to receive this kind of third-party validation for our Bodyform campaign is fantastic. A major goal of any social campaign is to make sure your communications are landing with your target audience in a way that is authentic, consistent and relevant to their own concerns. When 'real people' get involved like this, it’s a very positive sign. In this single tweet, @pipsterish confirmed to us that we were getting things right.

Here’s how we did it.

Listen, do you want to know a secret?

In marketing, making assumptions can be wasteful and expensive. No matter whether you’re marketing the latest innovation in tech, a high-end watch or a sanitary towel – your plan should always begin (and end) with listening.

All too often, when a campaign misses the mark, it’s down to a basic lack of understanding. The marketing team just didn’t ‘get it’. And we see this on social more and more: people directing their complaints towards the marketing team and, in some instances, calling for them to defend themselves or for the bosses to take more decisive action. Like it or not, our thoughts and behaviours are more public than ever. And social represents a rich data pool that can deliver the foundations of understanding for brands.

In 2014, Bodyform approached us in advance of the biggest relaunch in their history. Our initial brief was to localise the global ‘Live Fearless’ platform, to make it tangible for the UK consumer and help to position Bodyform as a brand that understood them. The global positioning was rooted in insight and played to the changing social narrative around periods.

Through social listening, we were seeing a marked increase in social mentions and conversations around periods, with people starting to engage directly with the brand (something that, historically, has been a struggle to facilitate). More and more journalists and social commentators were talking about the period ‘taboo’ and calling for change.

We needed to be relevant. We needed to play to existing conversations and appeal to the things that really mattered to our target audience. In a category such as this, trust is everything. We needed to show an understanding of real women.

So we simply asked the question: what does being fearless mean to you?

This sounds so simple. But at the time, in this category, the approach was pretty much unheard of. Brands were spending millions on telling women that they understood them, understood their needs. But they weren’t asking the questions – or at least, they weren’t doing so publicly. The very act of asking the question formed the beginnings of our campaign.

Hear and now

Our launch campaign featured a full length video, in which we challenged three women to face their fears, along with cuts downs. These were promoted alongside further social content across digital channels. All activity drove to a central hub, which gave people the chance to share their own #LiveFearless moments for the chance to win prizes (including a trip of a lifetime).

A partnership with ITV was used to drive scale, with the content appearing on the X Factor app. From the very beginning, social has been integrated with the media plan, which has seen impressive results.

In order to link this emotional connection to the product attributes, an extensive digital sampling campaign was developed to complement the brand activity – all housed within social. According to ITV research, following this, purchase intent increased from 39% to 54% and women were more likely to recommend the product.

The promotion was such a success that we relaunched in 2015, this time using influencers to drive people to take on their own challenges. Again, this was all about authenticity. We quickly began to see links between social success and sales. Investment in digital increased, with global campaigns utilising learnings from local activity. Results continued to beat expectation. So much so, that 2017’s TV budget was reinvested into digital media.

And we kept listening. In fact, it became central to our strategy. Not only do we utilise insight to continue to build our strategy – the user generated content in itself delivers opportunities for us to shape the brand through those that know us best.

So, if I were to summarise my tips for brand success on social, they would be:

  • Dedicate time to listening on social, not just broadcasting;
  • Be genuine and committed in your campaigning , highlighting issues that actually matter to our target demographic over a long period of time, e.g. tampon tax;
  • Show consistency and authenticity in tone of voice over time.

Today, we can truly say that those who use the Bodyform brand are the ones that build it, as confirmed, in a small but very satisfying way, by @pipsterish’s recent tweet.

Jake Dubbins is managing director of Media Bounty

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