What the iPhone is to smart phones, flash mobs are to marketing.
As organizations all over the globe try to use smart moves to attract and retain customers, the recent and ongoing turbulence in the global economy has only intensified this need.
While a slew of such campaigns have taken place in India, one that caught the fancy of many is the recent flash mob organized by the IBM OnDemand Community.
If numbers could speak, 19,000 views (and counting) for this YouTube video (on YouTube) is pretty impressive:
It is interesting to see how companies – both large and small – are taking the social route to engage audience.
Keeping the IBM flash mob in square focus, while IBM was one of the first technology firms to champion the idea in India, using social media (Twitter) has only helped to further the reach of this effort.
Here’s another example: a flash mob was organized “just for fun” towards the end of 2011, where nearly 200 people in Mumbai pulled off a four-minute jig at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (where the terror attacks of 2008 began).
And in New Delhi, around 50 Delhiites took the city by surprise with a similar tactic. While there were 200 people who participated, there were over 2,500 views online on YouTube.
Flash mobs have a way of engaging the audience. So CMOs globally (and in India) are taking flash mobs to social platforms to give them a new lease of life.
As you can see from these examples, the reach of such activities without the use of Twitter and YouTube would not be as high.
While the key is to use flash mobs to garner attention from the onlookers, social media helps to improve their repeat audience as well as capture fresh eyeballs for the gig.
Over and above that, 19,000 views (going back to the IBM video) also helps the CMO prove a great viral impact to its internal stakeholders – particularly when it only took 75 IBMers to make it happen!
While IBM India pulled together a great show, there were aspects of the event that deserved more attention, particularly on Twitter. While tweets by the IBM team reached a lot of folks on Twitter, the company did poorly when it came to the related hashtag (#IBMFlashMob) trending.
Given the number of employees IBM has in the country, it shouldn’t have been very challenging to bring them together and make the hashtag trend, so that it reached a larger number of Twitter users.
That said, IBM has been one of the tech giants to take a step forward and try to be different in its approach to reach out to the audience.
Do you think others are going to follow suit? Do share your thoughts in the comments.
@ancitasatija Nice one. To be honest, concept of flash mobs was abused and raped in India, except for the Mumbai CST one. Bad quality output
@shahidm Thanks :) but I believe the IBM did manage to do a good job at it, agree/disagree? :D
Great post @Ancita – so good to have you join the WUL team. I agree with the comments of @rachaelseda below. It’s one thing to get a video to go viral … but what are the business objectives behind that goal? Is it a call to action to buy a product, or to share with friends, or to complete a survey? I think that as brands develop their ‘social buzz’ strategy there’s always the risk of planning big ideas that aren’t tied to strategy and objectives. That said, I think that when tied to objectives and results, initiatives such as flash-mobs and amplification through social media are excellent vehicles to market a brand or product in a world where getting cut through and attention from consumers is becoming increasingly difficult.
@JGarant @rachaelseda Thanks Jamie! I completely agree with your views. However, I believe a company’s business objective might not be just to promote a product or to get a survey filled. It can be as simple as building brand recall in the mind of consumers. For example, IBM has been the first tech giant in India to organize a flash mob and without a doubt, it has created that brand recall in our minds that today I wrote about it and there are so many people reading about it and checking out the video. According to me, the goal and the business objective of IBM was to create that impact and be known as a great and diversified tech brand.
@ancitasatija using the employees to put together the mob is a grt idea. First step in making the org social savy.
@VoxOptima Thanks for sharing my post ! :)
@jfouts Thanks for the RT Janet! :) @shonali
@skypulsemedia Thanks for sharing the post :) @shonali
@jfouts Thank you! @ancitasatija
I just love the idea of flash mobs. They’re such fun to watch. And yes, social is the place to be! Soft sell was always better than hardsell! Great post, Ancita!
@Vidya Sury Thank you so much Vidya. Glad you liked the post :)
I have seen in practice it is really hard to rally people to go above and beyond unless it is a cause near and dear. I have a client who made a video and to win a contest to get a spot on a food show. The rules were people had to register on Eat St (food network site here in the US) and each day everyday you can vote once. None of the 40+ entrants who should of have a few thousand votes had friends and family never mind customers/fans had that many. My client had 400+ votes in 30 days. 25 were mine. I think the hash tag was beyond the reward for the employees. Sounds ridiculous but true.
@HowieSPM Thanks for the comment. Couldn’t agree more with you…
Great post Ancita! I actualluy have a friend who works at a company that has tried to take the flash mob idea and create a viral video. As you and I know, you can’t create a viral video, it either happens or it doesn’t (and nine times out of 10 it doesn’t).
But lets just say that’s your goal and the video goes viral, well then what? I get the point of drawing attention by doing something unpredictable and letting your followers join you but I think what I wonder is what is the company’s end goal and how will they use the flash mob to make this happen.
@rachaelseda Great point Rachael! Unfortunate (but true), most companies do not start with an end objective and launch viral videos for the sake of it. But I hope practitioners like yourself and blog posts like these help organisations better understand the need for the same.
@s_v_g Thanks Sanchit :)