Putting the You in YouTube

“YouTube is the world’s most popular onlinyoutubee video
community where anyone from heads of states to aspiring filmmakers can connect with people all over the world. YouTube’s mission is for YOU to discover and shape the world through video.” – YouTube

YouTube is a video-sharing social networking site that was founded in May 2005 by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim, three former PayPal employees.  The founders noticed that people were capturing videos, but there wasn’t an easy way to share them (YouTube).  By the end of 2005, YouTube was officially a corporation based in San Mateo, California, and the staff grew from a few employees to 65.  A year later, Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion in stocks (Reuters, 2006).  After the deal was announced that “two kings have gotten together,” the founders created this message:

In 2011, Google+ was integrated with YouTube and the Chrome browser (Whitney, 2011).  Now every Google+ user automatically has a YouTube account.  What better way to tell the history of a video-sharing website than through videos? Here’s “the history of YouTube as told through 10 iconic videos” (Epstein, 2015).  Quartz published this article Feb. 15, 2015, on the 10-year anniversary of the site.

Although often categorized as a social network, YouTube is more so a content community where people go to share videos or simply watch them.  Users generally do not know each other, but come together on this platform and share their love of music, videos, or some other niche interest.  For example, fans of Maroon 5 can go to the band’s channel and comment on the videos or other users’ comments to start a conversation.

YouTube has a variety of features that allow companies to customize their channels and support their brand.  Any user can view videos on the site whereas only registered users can upload videos.  Here are the list of features that a company can enable as long as the account is in good standing, which is measured by abidance of community guidelines and copyright compliance.  There are also many resources YouTube offers to help creators get started, such as its Creator Blog and Creator Hub page.

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YouTube features

1. The first feature, monetization, allows companies to earn revenue from the videos posted by displaying ads.  They could do this by linking their YouTube account with their AdSense account to start getting paid.  Learn how to get started.
2. Perhaps a company wants to upload a how-to video, but it’s more than the 15-minute limit? By simply verifying the YouTube account, a company can then upload longer videos.  But shorter videos are typically better to maintain users’ attention.
3. Annotations help make your videos more interactive and engaging for viewers.  These are the little boxes of text that usually pop-up during videos and can be used to simply explain something further or direct users to your website to buy your product.  Companies should use annotations to provide viewers with their website link and remind them to subscribe to their channel/connect with them on other social media.

Maroon 5 Thumbnails

Maroon 5 Thumbnails

4. Similar to Pinterest, YouTube lets you choose the thumbnail for your video, which is what users see when they initially click on a video.  A thumbnail can be a deal breaker because it has to be visually appealing for the user to want to click on it.  As an example, here are the thumbnails for Maroon 5’s YouTube channel (sorry, I love the band and I saw them on Wednesday!).
5. A company can also charge users a subscription fee to watch videos.  I would deter companies from using this feature because users probably won’t pay to watch content, especially if they can find it elsewhere.
6. A company can submit a content ID claim is they believe someone is violating its copyright and then a user can either accept or reject it.  If the claim is rejected, then a company can appeal to protect its content.
7. Uploaded videos are automatically set to public, but a company can choose to have a video private or unlisted.  Not sure why a company would do this, but maybe if a video is still in progress, the video can be uploaded, set to private and tested on the platform to make sure everything looks good.
8. Companies can have live events streamed to YouTube.  This is one of the coolest features in my opinion.  They can “control [the] event production and manage [their] own encoding settings using [their] preferred platform.”  This is something more channels should take advantage of; fans would love it.
9. The next feature allows companies to edit their videos’ content right on the platform.  There’s also a channel customization option where companies can customize the banner (just like a Facebook cover photo; see SoulPancake below).
10. By enabling the fan funding feature, a “Support” button will appear on a company’s YouTube page for users to donate money.   This is great for start-ups, but users will support you if you have engaging and interesting content.  SoulPancake is a website that I really like and has the support button on its channel (blue button on the right side).

SoulPancake YouTube channel

SoulPancake YouTube channel

11. Companies can also enable Google+ hangouts on their YouTube channels.  This is similar to having a live event streamed, but it’s quicker and can be done right from a laptop.

There are also plenty more features YouTube offers companies, such as creating playlists to share with users.  These could be musicians/songs/brands a company recommends mixed with some of its original content.  Also YouTube Channel was launched in 2013 with the main goal being customization, instead of all channels looking the same.  It was meant “to make your new channel look great on browsers across all screens and devices . . . [and] convert more visitors into subscribers with a slot for a channel trailer” (YouTube Creator Blog, 2013).  As a result, companies could create a channel trailer to hook users, create Channel Art, which would look good on all devices, and organize/curate their videos and playlists to make it easier to users.

Not surprisingly, YouTube has its own built-in analytics software that a company can use to measure its channel’s performance, engagement and most watched videos as well as see who its viewers are.  This is great for brands to understand what they need to improve upon and their audience.

According to YouTube, the site has more than one billion users who spend an average of 15 minutes on the site and view approximately five pages every day (Alexa, 2015).  Three hundred hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, which is up from 100 hours per minute in 2013, according to Forbes (Enge, 2013).  In a single day, hundreds of millions of hours of video are watched.  But where are users watching these videos? Half of the views on YouTube come from mobile devices.  The platform has an app and a mobile-friendly site, which are extremely easy to use.  According to Alexa, an analytics company controlled by Amazon, more than half of users are browsing during school, meaning that most users are younger.  YouTube says that 41 percent of its users are 18 to 24 years old, its largest demographic.  Alexa also reports that this site is the third most popular website in the United States and the world.  Most of YouTube’s users come from the U.S., India and Japan.  In the U.S., 78 percent of users are male whereas only 23 percent are female (YouTube, 2015).

The site is available in 75 countries and Hong Kong as well as in 61 languages.

YouTube Countries

YouTube Countries

However, YouTube is currently blocked in a few countries for a variety of reasons, from violating national copyright laws to fear of political activism or rebellion against the government (Liebelson, 2014).  On the map below, the countries in green have local YouTube versions; the countries in gray have access; the countries in red (China and many in the Middle East) are blocked; and the countries in pink previously blocked the site.

YouTube_world_map

Creative Commons


Three brands that are doing it right on YouTube:

1. In 2014, Budweiser “wanted to ‘win’ the Super Bowl by creating the most popular ad. To get started, it turned to Google’s BrandLab for coaching on consumer insights and advertising trends around the big game. Based on what it learned, Budweiser executed a digital strategy that involved releasing and promoting its ‘Puppy Love’ spot on YouTube six days before the actual Super Bowl. In the end, Budweiser scored big time, winning more than 50M views—and the accolade for the #1 ad of the 2014 Super Bowl.”  Harry Lewis, the company’s senior director of media, talks about Budweiser’s strategy and how it wants to become the best company in the digital world.

And here’s the ad:

How could you not love this ad to begin with? Budweiser has a smart marketing team that put the time and effort into doing research beforehand to ensure the ad’s success.  By working with Google and learning about consumer trends, Budweiser hit it out of the park.  The company has more than 115,000 subscribers and about 14.6 million total views.  Videos are regularly posted to the channel to provide users new content often.  All of the videos have thousands of views, with some even having millions.  In each video’s caption, the company includes its other social media links for users to connect with the brand.

Budweiser YouTube videos

Budweiser YouTube videos

2. Not surprisingly, GoPro is one of the best brands on YouTube.  I say not surprisingly because its products produce videos so it just makes sense.  AdWeek also created its own list of the 10 best brands on YouTube with GoPro in the top spot.  The company has five different YouTube channels, all with a consistent look.  The main GoPro account has almost 3 million subscribers and 722 million views.  Between the five channels, there are close to 766 million views, 3 million subscribers and 2,600 videos.  On the channel’s banner, a user can easily locate the company’s website and other social media.  I’ll focus on the main GoPro page from here on out.

GoPro YouTube

GoPro YouTube

The channel uploads at least one video every day so there is constantly new content for users.  The page is organized very well: Users can easily find videos that have to do with snow, animals, music, or people.  This video uploaded last week of pole vaulter Allison Stokke is extremely cool and has received just more than 4 million views.

One GoPro employee said, “YouTube and GoPro are very much aligned.”  In the video below, the company’s staff talks about how it uses YouTube and how the platform has been instrumental to its success as a brand and on the video-sharing platform:

3. For the last brand, I’m going to choose the most subscribed to channel on YouTube with about 35 million subscribers (Socialblade, 2015): PewDiePie.  This is Swedish producer Felix Kjellberg’s page, known for his Let’s Play video game commentaries.  This YouTube celebrity/personality joined the site in April 2010 and has uploaded 2,260 videos that have been viewed more than 8 billion times!

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PewDiePie YouTube page

According to Sven Grundberg and Jens Hansegard from The Wall Street Journal, Kjellberg makes $4 million a year from his videos (2014).  Not my kind of thing, but I can see why they’re so popular: He is candid, entertaining and energetic.  The videos are extremely low quality though — Kjellberg edits all his videos himself — but perhaps that’s the appeal.  Commenting on this, he said, “Unlike many professionally produced shows, I think I’ve established a much closer contact with my viewers, breaking the wall between the viewer and what’s behind the screen.  What I and other YouTubers do is a very different thing, it’s almost like hanging around and watching your pal play games. My fans care in a different way about what they are watching.”

In every video’s caption, he provides a list of ways users can connect with him, download his app, or buy his products, as you can see below.  A couple videos are uploaded every day, which I think is pretty impressive, but I guess PewDiePie is Kjellberg’s full-time job now since his page been so profitable.  There seems to be a cult around this guy.  Similar to how Lady Gaga calls her fans little monsters, PewDiePie calls his fans bros and started the brofist.  His videos receive thousands of comments.

PewDiePie

PewDiePie

PewDIePie brofist comments

PewDiePie brofist comments

Please watch my Prezi to learn more about this channel!

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IMC of Anthropologie, Burberry + Godiva

Anthropologie is a brand that I’ve always loved, but can’t afford.  Nonetheless, it’s fun to window shop and browse the website once in a while to see what new products the company has every season.  As soon as I went to the homepage, a pop-up window appeared asking me to subscribe to emails.  I didn’t because I know I’m never going to buy anything from there, but if I did, I would get pushed an email every day.  There are also links at the bottom of the website to sign up for emails and have a catalog sent to you in the mail.  In addition, instead of having the social buttons displayed, there’s a social media link in the footer that you can click on to see Anthropologie’s pages (below).  I’m so used to seeing the Facebook or Twitter button so it took me a minute to locate the company’s social media — not sure why this choice was made, but I would suggest clearly displaying the social buttons for ease of access.  Anthropologie has Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Vimeo and Google+ accounts.  They’re very plugged in.

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On Facebook and Twitter, Anthropologie posts several times a day, featuring different items, sometimes a sale, and, every few days, a blog post with the link.  Every Facebook post has the link to the website and every tweet has a link to the website and at least one hashtag.  The most notable one being #AnthroPS.  The company also retweets others’ posts, meaning it is interacting with other users.

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The Facebook page is the most extensive I would say in terms of IMC and more.  There are links to its other social media pages and blog as well as a place to sign up for emails.  You can also watch Anthropologie videos and take a poll, which asks you “which cover would you have chosen for [the] February catalog?” This gets users engaged with the brand and content.  I was also very impressed by how responsive the company was to users posting on its wall.  The user below was having trouble with the promo code and three hours later, the company responded.  I think that’s good customer service.

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On Instagram, some of the images are the same as the ones found on its Facebook and Twitter pages, but mostly the posts are different, fresh content.  As far as I can tell, there are two posts each day.  Again, I’m not on Instagram, but thought it was interesting that the post said “Link in profile” (bottom image).  This is probably so that the post isn’t too cluttered.  Each post has at least one hashtag.

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Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 5.38.11 PM Anthropologie Instagram

The Google+ account isn’t updated as often as the aforementioned pages.  This could be because Anthropologie only has about 310,000 followers on this platform whereas its Facebook has over 1 million and Twitter has 518,000.  However, its Instagram page has the most followers with 1.2 million!  This was a surprise to me, but I guess it shouldn’t be after learning about Instagram last week and mobile.  On all these pages, the website link is in the About section along with the tagline: “apparel. home. found.”  Not really sure what this means, but there is definitely consistency across all these platforms.

Anthropologie’s YouTube is updated with a new video at least once a month, which is great.  There are a variety of videos of its models and designers, photoshoots and travels around the world.  The company also has a Vimeo with most of the same videos.  It’s hard to tell how often the Pinterest is used, but the company has 60 boards and 6,753 pins.

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Anthropologie YouTube

I think Anthropologie does IMC quite well.  The company really promotes its website and tries to drive users to it by giving the link to the site in the post or telling users where they can find the link if the platform isn’t conducive to that.  It also uses hashtags to engage users with the brand and each other if they share a love of the company.  Anthropologie tries to update each site every day or at least often.  None of the social media pages were outdated.  Vicki Klemstein of Ciceron, as well as a few others, agrees that Anthropologie does IMC right (2014).

**Update: Anthropologie has a Flickr too, which has some amazing photos, but it hasn’t been updated since 2011.  This might be why it wasn’t listed on Anthropologie’s website, but it’s a shame because the pictures are really unique and interesting.**


On the other hand, Burberry doesn’t do IMC very well. On the website, I could not find links to its social media or how customers could sign up for emails.  These features do not seem to exist, which I find quite strange.  It would be very easy to add social buttons on the top bar or along the side menu.  Perhaps this wouldn’t be keeping with the “distinctly British attitude.”  After some research, you have to “Register” in order to receive emails.  I think this is a bad idea.  Personally, I always try to avoid registering on any website because it’s hard to keep track of all my different accounts whereas just entering your email address is fine, as long as you’re OK with receiving yet another email in your inbox.  During the registration process, you can opt to sign up for email updates, but only if you want.  Burberry seems to make everything extremely difficult.

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Burberry website

The website also hosts what I see as a hybrid between a blog and an Instagram.  The page is called Art of the Trench, which simply has pictures of people in their Burberry trench coats “in any colour, any style . . . in all weather.”  I think Burberry should make an Instagram and transfer this page onto that platform where it would do very well and get a lot more exposure.  The trench coat is its bestseller after all and what its known for.  If anyone has anything Burberry, it’s probably the iconic trench coat — or maybe the signature scarf because it’s cheaper.  The only reason I found the page was when I went to Burberry’s Facebook About section, it provided the link to this page and the company’s other social media.

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Art of the Trench

Burberry has Facebook, Google+, Twitter and YouTube pages.  The Facebook page seems to be updated once a day or once every couple days.  It’s definitely not as active as it could be on this channel because it does have just more than 18 million likes.  There’s also neither a box where I can see what users have posted on its wall nor a review box to see how users rate the brand or customer service.  Also sometimes the posts have links to Burberry’s website, while others do not.  And sometimes there are even posts with links to the Facebook page, which is puzzling because you would be reading the post at that URL.  Burberry should always provide the website link in all posts to direct traffic there.  The Google+ page looks almost identical to the Facebook page in terms of frequency of posts and the exact same cover photo.  There is definitely a consistent image across all these platforms, but it’s boring to see all the same content.  However, Twitter seems to be where the action is.  With 3.6 million followers, Burberry tweets several times a day, always including at least one hashtag.  London Fashion Week, #LFW, is coming up so a lot of posts have to do with that event.  Despite the number of followers, the posts aren’t getting a lot of interaction.  Burberry isn’t retweeting either.

So, apparently Burberry does have an Instagram, just stumbled upon it.  It wasn’t listed along with the other social media on its Facebook page.  Obviously, not a lot of communication going on.  All of the posts are the same as its Facebook and Twitter pages, no new content.  Every post does have at least the #Burberry hashtag.  It doesn’t have the link to the website on its profile page either, which it should have.  Burberry’s Instagram has fewer followers than Twitter with 2.7 million, but there is more interaction as many posts have thousands of likes, i.e., a post of Beyonce and JayZ got 68,000 likes.  However, the interaction seems to be one way as Burberry is only following 121 users.  Also just found its Pinterest.  This is what happens when you don’t clearly display your social media pages.  Lastly, Burberry has a YouTube page that is surprisingly populated with videos from “Burberry Beauty” to “Burberry Shows.”  The company’s YouTube and Twitter pages seem to have the most unique content.  At some point, I’m definitely going to explore the YouTube page because there are a lot of different videos.

It’s pretty obvious that Burberry needs some help in the way of IMC.  Not having social buttons and an easy way to subscribe to emails are definite no-nos.  There is a consistent image across all platforms, yet the posts were identical across some of them, which I don’t think is necessarily good either.  Burberry needs to include its URL in more places to drive users to the website as well as update its content more often.

After a quick Google search, it’s interesting that a lot of writers wrote positively about Burberry’s marketing efforts.  Robin Swire, the content manager of Parallax, praised Burberry for its use of digital marketing whereas I think the company still has a ways to go in perfecting its online brand to make it as flawless as its in-store brand.  Other companies are doing a better job.  Yet the numbers don’t lie, social media and digital marketing did revive Burberry and turned “an aging British icon to a global luxury brand” (see this article from Harvard Business Review written by Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, 2013).  Burberry CEO said,

We also began to shift our marketing efforts from targeting everyone, everywhere, to focusing on the luxury customers of the future: millennials. We believed that these customers were being ignored by our competitors. This was our white space.”

This is interesting because my age group probably can’t afford most of Burberry’s products.  It’s great that the company is using social media to reach this demographic, but I think it needs to do more in order to achieve an IMC plan.


Godiva

Godiva website

For my last brand, I’m going to look at Godiva because I love chocolate, of course.  I really like Godiva’s website — it’s extremely easy to navigate.  At the top of the page, you can see the different promotions going on.  Right now Godiva is offering free shipping for purchases more than $65 and there is also a sale with items up to 40 percent off.  As pictured above, the footer contains all the the links you’ll ever need: You can sign up to receive emails, request a catalog, join the Rewards Club or the Lady GODIVA Program, learn more about the company and head to its social media pages.  There is also a link that will take you to a recipes page.  It seems like this is a quasi-blog, but it’s probably not updated as often as a blog might be.  Currently, two of the recipes say “Just added” so this lets people know what’s new.  Godiva has Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Google+ accounts.

Godiva’s Facebook is updated a couple of times every day.  Every post has a picture or video and a link to the website (yes!).  There is also a link to the Pinterest page, which isn’t working as of now, so that definitely needs to be fixed.  There is also a link to enter the Godiva Sweepstakes, but this ended last year so the company should either get rid of this or start a new sweepstakes for users.  The company seems to respond to every post that warrants one, such as help for customer service.  Its Twitter has some of the same posts as Facebook, but new content as well.  The company does use hashtags, but doesn’t always include the link to its website.  Godiva also seems to interact with a lot of different people on this platform.  It retweets posts from customers as well as other companies when it’s relevant.  Some tweets also direct users to its Facebook page or Instagram to get users to connect with them on these different platforms.  All of these pages have the website link in the About section.

Godiva has a Google+ too, which it updates less often than Facebook or Twitter.  Similar to the past two brands, the company has the fewest followers on this site, but it’s easy to add this site to your social media routine.  When you update your Facebook, update your Google+ as well and share a couple of other users’ posts — it will take only a minute or two.  The Google+ page is how I found out about the company’s Tumblr.  Not sure how to get to the blog from the website though.  The company posts once every couple days it seems like, many of the same images as its social media pages.  But it includes hashtags in every post to allow users to easily search the company and its products.  I think the company should add the recipes page on its website to this blog and perhaps have some of its chocolatiers post entries.

Godiva Tumblr

Godiva Tumblr

Godiva has the most followers on its Instagram account, yet it doesn’t have this site listed on its website.  Regardless, I really like what Godiva does on its main profile: “GODIVA Chocolatier, Inc., is a global leader in premium chocolate. Tag your #chocolate photos with #GODIVA http://www.godiva.com/GameOverGameOn.”  This provides followers with the link to the website and encourages them to use the Godiva hashtag for engagement.  I guess it seems intuitive, but none of the other companies explicitly said that.  Only problem is that link doesn’t work either…Godiva posts at least once a day, if not a few times, and in these posts, includes about three hashtags and sometimes posts @ some of its followers.  Godiva’s Pinterest has 30 boards, but not that many followers.  I think one of the problems seems to be it’s not saying in the caption where the photo came from all of the time to drive traffic back to its Pinterest or website.  On its YouTube page, Godiva seems to post a few videos all at once and then none for months at a time.  In the video captions, the company includes the website link as well as hashtags.

I would say Godiva does IMC somewhat well, in between Anthropologie and Burberry.  There is consistent messaging and imagery across all platforms.  Most of the content is up to date.  The company includes links in the content to its other pages, but as I found out, some of these links don’t work.  Hashtags are used across all these different platforms to make the company and its products easily searchable.  One of my main grievances with Godiva, and Burberry, is that it doesn’t clearly list all of its social media pages on the website.  For example, I just happened to stumble upon the company’s Instagram and blog.  If Godiva did this, it might see more traffic on these sites.

Now I might go make this delicious looking Triple Layer Godiva Dream Cheesecake.  Until next time!

In My Words 3: Case Study of Pier 1 Imports

pier1I wouldn’t say it is my favorite brand, but Pier 1 Imports does an excellent job of integrated marketing communication.  I know this because I’ve been on both ends: I worked there for five years  and am a consumer.  I believe Pier 1  uses almost every channel of communication possible to reach their customers.  During the holidays, this is especially the case.

I’ll start offline.  Pier 1:

– features TV ads.

– features ads on the radio.

– sends out monthly mailers and, depending if you’re a frequent customer, coupons as well.

Pier 1 Imports January 2015 Mailer

Pier 1 Imports January 2015 Mailer

– has signs outside and inside the store indicating what sales and promotions are going on.  The store is very meticulous about its signage.  I used to work overnights just to mark the inventory to make it easier for our customers to know what was and was not on sale.

Pier 1 Imports

– keeps the sales team up-to-date with KPIs, specials, new products, etc.  As a sales associate, I was always told to push the Pier 1 Rewards Card and its benefits.  We had signs promoting the card throughout the store, but word of mouth marketing (WOMM) was sometimes more effective.  We also had team meetings quite frequently when there were big events or changes taking place.

pier 1 sales associates

*The only offline-medium Pier 1 Imports doesn’t utilize is newspaper advertising, as far as I know.  I’ve never seen an ad in my local newspaper or a magazine.  This could be because print advertising revenue is declining every year, while conversely online revenue is increasing every year  (The State of the News Media 2013).  However, another source indicates that print marketing is still an effective method because “79% of households say they read or scan direct-mail ads” and “39% of customers say they try a business for the first time because of direct-mail advertising” (Morris, 2014).  This could be why Pier 1 still sends out mailers to consumers.  As a former sales associate, I did see many consumers come in with the mailer asking where a certain product was.*

And online, Pier 1:

– sends out daily emails highlighting different products/collections or informing customers about promotions.

pier1imports-mothersday2012

Pier 1 Imports Mother’s Day Email Campaign 2012

pier1imports-january2012

Pier 1 Imports “Freshification” Email Campaign January 2012

– maintains its website daily to reflect in-store and online sales.

Pier 1 Imports homepage

Pier 1 Imports homepage, January 22, 2014

The website is not only easy to use as everything is categorized, but also very interactive.  You can view the current catalog online and click on a product you are interested in, which will take you to that product’s page.  Then you can either buy it online, have it shipped to a store, or find a store near you that has the product.

– updates its social media regularly (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and YouTube).

Pier 1 Imports Facebook Page

Pier 1 Imports Facebook Page

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From what I can see, Pier 1 tries to respond to each customer’s post on its wall, which I think is very important.  When I worked there, I always tried to provide the best customer service.  It is definitely much harder to provide this online, but Pier 1 seems to be doing a good job.

Pier 1 Imports Twitter

Pier 1 Imports Twitter

Pier 1 Imports Pinterest

Pier 1 Imports Pinterest

Pier 1 Imports Google+

Pier 1 Imports Google+

Pier 1 Imports YouTube

Pier 1 Imports YouTube

In my opinion, Pier 1 Imports uses IMC very effectively by taking advantage of mostly all media to reach consumers.  Yet even more importantly, the company always has a consistent message across all platforms, online and offline.  Its tagline is always “Find what speaks to you.”  And in the commercials and mailers, the company often features one of its products talking to a consumer.  The company has a product spokesperson rather than a celebrity.

Pier 1 Imports prides itself on its imported products that you can’t get anywhere else; therefore, they always make sure to highlight this.  On its About page, the company says it is “the original global importer of imported decorative home furnishings and gifts.” 

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The company also has a page devoted to its history, so a customer can see the progression of the brand and company.  In my opinion, the company appears to be very transparent about its goals and intentions.

I found this presentation below, which was done by students for their consumer behavior class.  They did a case study of Pier 1 Imports, examining a customer’s in-store buying experience.  I would agree with many of their points.

Source: Fraser, Zito & Torres, 2008

According to ZDNet’s Larry Dignan (2014), Pier 1 didn’t have such great quarterly earnings in 2014.  To turn this around, the company is looking to pursue what it calls an “omni channel strategy,” to spend about 70 percent of its capital on e-commerce and the remaining dollars on stores, rather than its current 50-50 model.  For the in-store portion, the company plans to introduce computers (when I worked there, it had one computer at the cash register for customers to use.  So I guess they’re looking to add more.), tablets and swatch stations as well as make the brick-and-mortar stores more like showrooms for its website.  Online, it will revamp the website to be more mobile-friendly and create a recommendation engine (I guess sort of like Amazon suggests products).

Overall, I think Pier 1 has been on the right track from the beginning in terms adapting to changing consumer behavior and technology, and it looks like it will continue to succeed as long as it is willing to make these changes without sacrificing the brand and loyal customers.  I was with the company from 2008 to 2013, i.e., I witnessed a lot of the organization’s transitions to online.  Pier 1 Imports is an excellent example of a company that uses integrated marketing communication to its fullest.  It takes advantage of all the different platforms and maintains a consistent image on each.  One suggestion I would make is to include the tagline, “Find what speaks to you,” more frequently.  It’s not clearly stated on each platform, and since it is quite a few words, not short or quippy, showcasing it more would be helpful for the customer and also make it more memorable.

Find what speaks to you