Daily Archives: 14 May, 2009

New Tricks for Dogs Trust

Last night our agency had a sweet evening event (#hksocial) which I was jazzed about because we invited one of the best UK examples of a brand embracing social media.

Dogs Trust is a wonderful charity that helps educate folks that “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas®.” They live and breathe their brand promise to “never put a healthy dog down.”

Founded in 1891 (wow), Dogs Trust has over 600,000 members and supporters. Like many charities, they traditionally communicate with their base mostly through direct mail and a lot of the messaging is around fundraising. They’re a client of my last agency, but mostly I follow them because I sponsor a smiling pup called Smudge.

About a year ago, they hired Alex Goldstein to be web editor. In her presentation last night she told us that the marketing department didn’t have big spreadsheets and endless PowerPoint strategy decks proving the ROI of new media. But Alex and her boss, Jacqui Darlow, did have the conviction that their brand needed to be where their audience was. And more and more that is the social spaces of the web. So they tried a Facebook app and built from there. My admiration comes from how they have brilliantly and instinctively use multiple 2.0 platforms — mostly unpaid or earned spaces — to talk with the different segments of their community, like their young supporters on Bebo. It is classic listen and learn from the very people you are trying to reach.

Our own David Jones detailed how to assemble a Social Media Team in his talk. The heart of it needs to be the Community Manager, who is human, not a message machine. That’s Alex. Responsive and helpful and a personable face for a brand that’s already warm and cuddly.

Last year, Dogs Trust looked after over 16,000 dogs through a network of 17 Rehoming Centres. Since they started tweeting, they have rehomed three lucky dogs via the twitterverse. Those pups would consider that awesome ROI, don’t you think?


Follow me and Alex on Twitter, even if you are a cat person (we are too ;-)

Check out Dogs Trust around the interwebs:
Dogs Trust Blog
Facebook Page
MySpace Profile
YouTube Channel
Flickr Photostream

Is social media too wordy???

I’ve been following Woolworth’s re-launch over the last few months and really like how they’ve optimised the use of social media to maintain that loveable / close relationship Woolies always had with its customers.

Whilst readying themselves for their big launch in the coming months, Woolies have been maintaining their customer love + building new love via the usual social media  channels: blog, twitter and facebook.  They’ve also added a nice aural aspect to their social media by using Last.fm and Spotify by creating “Now that’s what I call Woolworths”.  That’s a great innovation + nice and quirky + very Woolies.

However, one thing that the Woolies social media team seem to have missed is pictures!  There’s a real lack of imagery on the Woolies blog – there’s not even a photo of the mysterious Woolies blogger Matthew -  and given that much of a shopping brand experience is visual (think of those overladen-toy-covered shelves that used to fill Woolworths)  they seem to be missing a trick.

With the recent surge in Twitter usage, social media seems to have been over-run by words, and the humble image has been left behind.  If a picture paints a thousand words, then maybe we should all be vlogging + flickring rather than tweeting,  Or maybe that’s the problem, images say a little too much – 1000 words rather than 140 characters . . .