Best Buy turned to its customers, via its Idea X Web site, for suggestions on qualifications for hiring a new senior marketing manager for emerging media. Previously, Pizza Hut hired a “Twintern” and Queensland used social media to promote a contest. The winner was hired to share his experiences there via social media.
What does it mean?
Consumers helping companies navigate social media showcases transparency, personalizes campaigns, and helps improve brand strategy. For Best Buy, this was a “natural progression for what we're already doing with social media,” said Kelly Groehler, senior PR manager.
“We thought perhaps we could do a better job if we could find a way to have a more pointed discussion about this relatively new job category,” she added.
Jonathan Heit, SVP of digital media and technology for Allison & Partners, said such efforts embrace transparency. “It's an evolution and holds a lot of potential,” he noted.
Discussions around these campaigns give the company a chance to define its brand strategy when it comes to social media. “You want to be strategic and careful about who this person is, as they are representative of the brand,” said Joe Becker, group VP and practice leader for Dialogue Media at MWW Group.
These consumers also help humanize and personalize a brand or campaign, said Julie Atherton, global director of digital for Hill & Knowlton. “It's another step on the road to viewing customers as not ‘the audience,'” she added.
Where do we go from here?
Atherton said it will be interesting to see how many companies jump on this trend, adding, “It's going to be more prevalent going forward, really putting the power in consumers' hands.”