David Hargreaves

Reflections on the reinvention of the PR industry

The Great Skittles Experiment: Hit Or Miss?

Last week I was lucky enough to be on holiday, but even so, the Skittles social media makeover made it onto my mobile web browser.

I didn’t see enough to get everyone’s take on the story, but I have seen a number of articles that ranged widely from ‘this is a company that really gets it’ in Mashable, to another article from Search Marketing Gurus which has a headline ‘Skittles and Social Media – a company that really doesn’t get it.’ Who is right? What do you think?

My take for what it is worth is that the concept was right but just poorly executed. The concept was right because an organization needs to evolve or rather ‘socialize’ its own web sites so that brand.com websites themselves become an important destination in the social media landscape. All too often companies only focus on a multitude of external social media sites without thinking about how they can engage the captive audience they already have on their own ‘online doorstep’.

However, if you are going to turn your own site into an important part of the social media landscape, then you still have to obey all the rules of the road. You need to actively engage with the audience through a planned and systematic approach. The second article mentioned above said that Skittles didn’t even have a Twitter account and what’s more they didn’t take part in the very conversation that was appearing on their home page. I’m sorry but if this is true it is just unforgivable. So many brands have made this mistake before, surely lessons have been learnt by now.

So Hit Or Miss? I think it was a Mit! Fame – yes; Egg on Face – yes. I have to say you can tell this idea was driven by an ad agency taking the big bang approach of a TV ad rather than an approach-based on understanding the importance of engaging in a conversation. I’m glad to see an op-ed in PR Week thought it was a complete miss. Or maybe I, like PR Week (or rather competing interactive agency Virilon), am just biased?

Filed under: Communications, Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, Trends, , , ,

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