Thursday, January 7, 2010

Keep Your Crowd Motivated: Promote From Within

What happens when you need your crowd to not only brainstorm ideas and give feedback, but actually put in some real effort promoting your product? You are not paying them, but you need them to work for you above and beyond idly checking your consumer panel and fan pages. How do you make them care?

Mountain Dew has been faced with exactly this problem, and looks like they have figured member motivation out. They have created a hierarchy of fan control and leadership, using a little friendly competition, with outstanding members settling to the top with more responsibility (and fringe benefits). Let me explain the way this has worked.

  1. Mountain Dew has this large online fan base (their Facebook page has over 600,000 fans) this is the base of the DEWmocracy pyramid.
  2. They get 4,000 of their most active members to join Dew Labs which comes with the additional responsibility of commenting on discussion boards and providing feedback, BUT Dew Labs members get to taste the new flavors first, see the new designs before anyone else does, and have a greater say in the soda development decisions. Plus, there is the faint hope that free Mountain Dew gear will come from participation, so far the general Dew Labs population has only really been promised Livestrong-style bracelets (which we haven't seen) and "more opportunities to get gear in the future." That's okay, for me it isn't about the Dew gear, it's about the experience. So why select just 4,000 of your fans (of which ~500 are active) to make decisions instead of 'em all? I think it is because the vocal Dew Labs members rile up the larger fan base making them wish they participated in Mountain Dew related events more... Dew Labs helps activate the rest of the fans.
  3. Out of all the Dew Labs members, 9 were chosen to take a leadership role in one of their online events - the Twitter name race. These 9 leaders were given the opportunity for increased participation in the outcome of the DEWmocracy campaign by running the Twitter name race (where the outcome was directly related to how hard the leader worked), they were included in a conference call with the winners of the can design challenge (the designers that actually designed the new flavor's packaging), and in a live online chat. The 9 "lead" Dew Labs members help activate the larger Dew Labs base.
  4. Finally, there is activity going on now to select 3 "council members," one to represent each flavor nation. The perks with this job seem pretty nice. Moderators said "... comes with HUGE benefits ... council member must be able to travel to NYC." Already, 3 Dew Labs members were invited to travel (all expense paid) to NYC for a media event. Only two of the three were able to make it. The report from the two that did go to NYC for the DEWmocracy day is now up on Dew Labs. Just like each other step in the hierarchy, these two sort of rile everybody else up... even the most active members, to make them a little jealous and see the possible benefits of participating even more in the Mountain Dew online community.

I think that all this organization is a way for the brand team to maximize bang for their buck. They pull out all the stops for a couple of members (after all, a free trip to NYC for two nights isn't cheap), and there is a trickle down effect of activity to the larger populations of fans.

**The Dew Labs members who went to NYC are telling their story on the private site. Expect an account of their adventures (in their own words) in the near future. I think what they have to say is an insightful look into Marketer/Consumer relationship. Also, the bacon loving @DHatfield has agreed to write an article, so look forward to that.**

No comments:

Post a Comment