Sunday, December 27, 2009

Keep Your Crowd Interested: Foster Social Interaction

For a controlled crowd-sourced campaign to work, you need to keep your crowd interested. There are several key ways to do this: fostering social interaction, providing entertainment value, creating a venue for self expression, providing rewards or recognition to motivate members and create a sense of member worth to the greater cause, as well as others.

Mountain Dew, in Dew Labs site and with their broader online fan base, does all of these things. Fostering social interaction can be tricky.
  1. Site moderators need to keep the site clean - so as to not offend any of the members - while maintaining open expression. This is accomplished by the automatic censorship of offensive language. For key communications, like the start of new discussion threads, it appears that brand moderators review the content modifying it if necessary. For example I read of a member having a comment about his mother worrying about tooth decay being censored.
  2. The site allows approved user-generated discussion threads. This endows members with a sense of worth and interest, while further encouraging social networking and expression. Each comment is rateable by fellow site members with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. This is one of the smartest features, since many members fit a demographic looking for validation and recognition. Members leave comments and then check back several times to see what the overall response is. I know I have done this. I make what I think is an insightful remark and look back several times to see how many thumbs-up I get relative to everybody else. It sounds silly, but it works (and, I HAVE actually gotten a sizable amount of thumbs-up).
  3. Some of the discussions initiated by Mountain Dew moderators seem to be in place solely to encourage member participation. For example, one of the most popular discussion topics is about what type of Dew Labs gear members would like... if they get any. Obviously, Dew Labs members make up a demographic that would love free stuff. So, right before Christmas, moderators started a new thread about what members are asking for for Christmas. This way, members get to talk more about what free stuff they want to get while moderators get an informal look at what is hot this season AND member participation is catalyzed. Another topic Dew started for the holidays was a Dew Labs themed version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, in which members were to come up with new lines to the classic poem. Each member was to write a single line, then allow another member to make up the next rhyming line and so on. Honestly, it was fun.
I have asked some marketing experts (jayadvertising, sweetjames, dhatfield, K8Johnson, and simonmainwaring) to comment on Dew Labs. I can't wait to hear what they have to say. In the mean time, the various ways marketing and branding experts at Mountain Dew keep fans interested will be discussed. On a side note, the Mountain Dew Throwback re-introduction seems to be going well. Dew Labs gave feedback a the various product designs for Throwback.

Throwback pepsi is back... on Twitpic

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