Archive for category Community

Making couponing modern and sexy…

That’s right, digital enthusiasts & frugal-lites alike…I said couponing & sexy in the same sentence.

Today, Valassis officially announced the Facebook product I’ve been lucky enough to manage the last few months — a couponing app like nothing else out there. Sure, you’ve seen web based coupons before, but have you seen a Facebook app that enables the entire end-to-end couponing experience all within Facebook that ALSO allows you to…

  1. Add digital (paperless) coupons directly to your grocery store’s loyalty card in addition to enabling traditional coupon printing?
  2. Leverage an array of social capabilities beyond just sharing (Tweet it, Pin it, private message/email it, see what your friends are clipping, invite them to use the app, update, etc.)?
  3. See a timeline view of your savings goodness as well as a timeline view of your friends savings?
  4. Peruse your coupon shopping list by printed, clipped, & redeemed coupons?

Yup, RedPlum Social Savings does all that, and…

  1. It’s a white-label product — skinning & deploying a brand specific instance is a snap. By “snap” I mean being up and running in days vs months.
  2. It’s integrated the best of the Facebook platform with Open Graph. Since we quietly flipped the RedPlum skinned version of the beta app live in March, it’s organically grown  a user base of 25,000 users triggering 450,000 open graph impressions — just by  us pushing it live with no promotion what so ever (until today!).
  3. For the white label clients, they get the full suite of Facebook Insights analytics reports that they can run anytime to get an accurate pulse on the performance of their app.

All of that is stacked nicely on top of our incredibly mature couponing back-end & the Valassis powerhouse of major retailer relationships (side note:  the science of coupon security is fascinating — individual serial numbers, secret watermarks etc. — it’s just like currency)!

I’ve had the opportunity to demo many new web products in my career — many of those demos were rather hairy & drove me to drink heavily. Just kidding. Sort of. But really, the reaction of demoing this product to leading retailers, manufactures & CPGs has been consistently well-received — a true indicator that we’re filling a gap marketplace in a big way.

Props to Food Lion for snagging the first early adopter spot — we’re looking forward to launching their branded instance of the app soon!

Props to the team — Lea, Mandarin, Matt, Tom, Ana, Vinod, Jay, Duane, & Ian —  for designing and building an amazing app!

Props to the best interns ever for creating this video that tells the app’s story. Enjoy!

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And now for some good news…

Did you see this story? “Little boy lost finds his mother using Google Earth” It’s remarkable, inspiring and will make you happy to be alive in times where global connectedness can make genuinely good things happen.

Those of you who know me, know that working for a company who is socially responsible is a big deal to me (& I’m not just talking about companies who have cheesy corporate responsibility posters plastered on their walls with little follow thru). Genuine social responsibility is one of the attributes I loved about Sun Microsystems & love about Valassis.

In addition to having the accolades and data to back up Valassis’ commitment to diversity, check out this social goodness

RedPlum is Valassis’ consumer brand. You probably see its coupon insert in your mailbox on a weekly basis (it looks like the image below). The next time you do, please take a closer look at the “Have You Seen Me?” section — you might be the conduit that reunites a missing child with their family.

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Additional thoughts: “Integrating Community Into Corporate Websites”

Matt Zellmer has an excellent post titled “Integrating Community Into Corporate Websites“, where he summarizes a comparison study that he ran regarding six high tech sites (Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, and SAP).

Some thoughts:

I agree that one size does not fit all, but whatever the corporate community/social media user experience/information architecture is, it should be somewhat cohesive & at a minimum, there should be some cross-pollination in place by making the all inclusive community bits findable & easy to navigate between each other & the main company site.

With regards to community sites outside of the main site (or company domain), another example of when this is OK is for open source communities. But there again, there should be some cross-pollination (at least links from the main site to the external open source site(s)).

Two additional principles I would suggest are:

  1. A single set of guidelines/policy (including community moderation) for all community tools that are officially sanctioned/branded by the company. Again, open source communities that reside outside of the main site are an exception.
  2. A single search engine. When people are seeking community contributions centered around a particular topic/product, they should be able to do this via a single search query.

And what about globalization, localization & internationalization? 🙂 That’s one area that companies seem to have forgotten about in their over-all social media/community strategies.

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Buying Corporate Gripe Site Domains: Effective PR Defense Mechanism?

RaganTV.com has an interesting interview posted with Paula Berg, media manager at Southwest Airlines. She explains how Southwest buys domain names that may be used by hostile consumers to denounce the company or it’s execs — these kinds of sites are also known as “gripe sites”. Per Paula, “[For] $10 or $15, what’s the harm? It can prevent some PR crisis down the line.”

My take is this can become a slippery & expensive slope. The best way to quiet an angry mob is to listen, then promptly & efficiently react — I’ve found that more often than not, they’re right. Having a company engage in the discussion on the gripe site might actually be perceived as more credible since the conversation is happening on community turf. At best, buying gripe site domains might make the conversation slightly less findable.

Thoughts?

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