You can go with this, or you can go with that.

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This time around we’re evaluating the Integrated Marketing approaches of three different brands. Each brand chosen must have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ in addition to one other social media channel. At first I thought, “How tough could it be to find a few brands utilizing all of these platforms in today’s marketing climate?”

That question turned out to have an interesting answer, one that I’ll address as I cover each brand.

We start with Volkswagen.

I have long been a fan of VW’s marketing. Always simple, always smart, and always engaging on some level. Their look is clean, contemporary, and unmistakable. I should have kept that in mind when searching their home page for social media links because, well … there were no none to be found.

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It turns out there are actually a couple of different ways to access VW’s social media links. The perfectly unobtrusive Share+arrow link at the top right of the home page (which I didn’t notice until my third or fourth time on the page), and the catch-all More link to the left. The Share+arrow and More links get you this and this, respectively …

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So, from the home page you can share to four different platforms or email. The more image-intensive content is found on the Social & News page which acts more or less as a central photo hub with picture linking to and from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Multiple hashtags are in play for Volkswagen lovers, at the moment, including #ThinkBlue, #VWwasThere, #VWRacing, #VWRoadToHappy, and #VDubLove, among others. The XGames, FIFA World Cup are topical, current subject matter, and VW shows great appreciation to their customers and their personal touches to their own VW’s with plenty of fan-submitted photos posted across all outlets. Many of the photos seen on any given VW social media will be seen on all of them, providing the steady and consistent message vital to a solid IMC. They also have a Driver of the Week to highlight people around the country and their own personal VW story. Also of note, the Facebook page is usually updated three times a day. Plenty of fan engagement and nostalgia there, especially connected to the #VWwasThere hashtag which features old family photos with VW’s in them.

Titleist

The name itself denotes a winner, and Titleist brand golf equipment positions itself as the choice of winning golfers the world over. At first I thought that Titleist only chose to employ Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube as social media channels, as they are the only ones that show up on the company’s home page. I thought, “Really? I totally understand those three choices, but that’s it?” A quick search turned up both an Instagram page and a Google+ presence for the brand.

With multiple professional events during the professional golf season (not to mention collegiate play), much of Titleist’s weekly content is generated from on-location photos and short videos of Team Titleist players and playing tips from a variety of professionals. Another on-going and long-time¬† selling point for the brand is the ball count. It’s basically a running tally of how many players in each professional tournament are playing Titleist brand golf balls versus other brands. For instance, in the recent U.S. Women’s Open, 103 players teed up with Titleist compared 12 of the nearest competitor’s ball. It’s a simple, yet effective, ploy to make the point of, “Hey, all these pros are playing our ball – shouldn’t you be, too?” Article links on Facebook and Google+ lead back to the main website or the Team Titleist site to provide some connectivity.

Both the Google+ and the Facebook header photos match and, like Volkswagen, many of the same images can be found across all of Titleist’s social media to maintain continuity. One thing you will not find is any engagement with consumers or fans on any of their social media sites. Nothing. No “Thanks” or “Hope to see you out there!” or “Hit ‘em straight!” Nothing. It is all #TeamTitleist, all the time. About the only other hashtag you’ll see is attached to that particular week’s tournament. Very structured, conservative, and controlled is the Titleist brand personality, it seems. As for a brand voice, if there is one I’d say it suits the personality: direct, monotone, and reserved. In the end, they definitely do not subscribe to the social in social media.

One major feature Titleist has developed is its Team Titleist site.

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Here, evidently, is where some fan involvement takes place among blogs, discussion boards, the occasional contests, etc. But even on Team Titleist I could not find a single instance of a Titleist representative getting involved in any of the discussions (all of which were initiated by logged-in members). One more thing of note: no link shorteners (e.g. bitly) are used on posted links, so they usually read as two or three lines of alphabet soup. Just a thought.

Bravo TV

Unsurprisingly, my wife’s suggestion. But I’ll gladly give credit where credit is due because this was the first brand I found that posted five social media links (plus a newsletter/email blast link) on the home page (albeit at the bottom).

Talk about consistency across platforms. I guess it’s easy when everyone starts to resemble each other and it’s difficult to distinguish one show from another.

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Bravo has more hashtags than I could count and user interaction like I’ve never seen on a page. Facebook posts with hundreds of comments on a routine basis, even “live commenting” during shows.¬† Over 2 million followers on Google+ (!!!) and dozens of comments on what content they do post (sometimes weeks apart) which is linked back to the main Bravo site with “Read about it here:” or “Check out our new #SummerByBravo video here:” Bravo posts at least twice a day on Facebook and multiple time a day on Twitter, also linking back to stories on the main site, Bravotv.com. With so many shows to push and personalities to promote there is certainly no shortage of source material from which to draw content. Clips, video stills, quotes, promo shots, gifs, red carpet and event photo ops, and teasers of “She’s Back!” all fill the daily facebook feed and up-to-the-moment Twitter feed. The Bravo Pinterest page is 44 boards of recipes, shows, fashion, and “Bravolebs” followed by nearly 100,000 fans.

All in all, it’s pretty exhausting for someone (like me) who is admittedly not a fan of the network. Obviously a LOT of people are fans and are very active in all of Bravo TV’s social outlets. They certainly harness the power of the people when it comes to social media and a thorough IMC.

 

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